Friday, December 28, 2007

'Twas Dishcloth After Dishcloth~~

I don't know what it was with dishcloths there for a while, but I just couldn't seem to stop myself. Every time I finished one, there was another pattern I had to try, so I'd do "just one more" before starting a different project. Fact is, I wish I were knitting one right now, but I've forced myself to take a break and do some other things. So, I've finished a scarf for my son (which I'd like to frog and do over, but he loves it!), and now I'm working on another scarf for myself.

Meanwhile, for the sake of some knitting FO pics, I've compiled a little gallery of dishcloths for your viewing pleasure. First up, a little blue ditty that really doesn't have a pattern. I saw the center section as part of something else, so I added a seed stitch border and turned it into a dishcloth. The pink one is a pattern I love, from a Leisure Arts book, Color Splash Dishcloths.
Next up, an attractive pattern in a frothy shade of seafoam. This pattern is called Stitch on the Blocks Washcloth, and was designed by Tricotine.
Following Stitch on the Blocks is Another Favorite from Harvest Moon Designs. If you haven't been there shopping for dishcloth patterns, you're missing out. Sue comes up with more fantastic designs than you could ever imagine. And their service is great.Right on the heels of these four colorful beauties comes a series of three done in the color "jute" from Sugar and Cream. A "Study in Neutral", as it were. All three patterns are from Harvest Moon Designs.
"Early Frost"
"Makin' Waves"
"My Favorite Dishcloth"
While leafing through my patterns looking for names, some that I haven't made yet caught my eye and they're calling out to me. Can you hear them? Will I be able to finish my scarf, or will I be enticed into starting yet another dishcloth?? Perhaps with some of the pretty "Stripes" cotton I've gotten from a couple of my swap pals......

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Kid "Finger Knits"~~

As I was feverishly knitting away on one of my projects while visiting my brother and his family, my nephew informed me that he knew how to "finger knit". I was clueless as to what he was talking about, so he set out to find his previous work, which turned out to be a monster i-cord long enough to go around the "circle" from the dining to living room about two and a half times. Must have been over 30 feel long. And no, that's not some exotic turban he's wearing, but rather his finger knitting coiled up tastefully on his cranium.
Next was a finger knitting lesson for Auntie. He wraps the yarn around his little fingers, turns his hands over, and pulls the previous loops over the yarn he just wrapped. Funny thing is, it really is an i-cord. I was able to put my finger right into the center of it.
Here's a detail of the "stitch technique"!!
And look... waa laa... a giant, variagated purple, good for nothing i-cord. We discussed it, but weren't able to come up with one idea for this knitted creature. Even so, it is VERY cool, don'tcha think??
He said he thought I should teach him how to really knit a little when he comes here for Christmas, but we haven't done that yet. I'll have to remind him! It'd be fun, and he's a sharp little bugger that would catch on right away. It wouldn't be tedious and painstaking like trying to teach some wooden-headed adult. Every time I do that I swear I never will again, but the teacher in me always wins out!
On the knitting front, I finished a scarf for my son yesterday, and he's had it around his neck every time he went out today. He loves it, and that makes mom feel happy! I'm not thrilled with the way the pattern turned out--it's ribbed and wants to stay all bunched up. I had it steamed into what I thought was the "perfect" width, but after he had it on for only a few minutes, the ribs pulled back together. If I had my druthers I'd frog the whole 6-1/2 feet and do it over using a different pattern, but he thinks it's very cool, so we'll see. I'll take photos of it so I can post pics. Maybe someone out in blogland will have a good idea! Now I've started another scarf for myself, and I'm likin' the way it looks so far!
Did a little online shopping this evening, too. Went over to Amazon and ordered a couple of knitting books. Hard to believe, isn't it? Well, I'd gotten a little Christmas Cash, so I figured, why let it sit around and collect dust. That would just be wrong. I'd seen a book on a friend's blog, and was immediately smitten with knitting book envy. Grace, you're a bad influence on me, but that's okay!! I couldn't help myself... I just had to order Ocean Breezes Knitted Scarves, and then to SAVE money and get free shipping, I NEEDED to order another, so I got the newest One Skein Wonders. Makes sense to me..... You too?? Ya, I know.
It's so fun sitting here and typing away. Ever since school started, work and responsibility have gotten in the way of knitting and blogging. I keep thinking there must be a solution (quit my job, perhaps??), but so far I haven't figured out what it is. The good news is, I have six more days to enjoy reading blogs, and maybe even do some leisure posting on my own. Woo Hoo!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap Goodies~~

My coffee swap package arrived last week, and it was wonderful!! Chan was my pal, and she did quite the job of spoiling me rotten. It was the perfect pick-me-up during a very stressful week. I opened the box to find lots of goodies, all nicely wrapped in Christmas colors. See....Of course she sent coffee..... A fantastic Holiday Blend from Greenberry's, which is new to me. It's either local, or something we don't have in these parts. And what a fun mug-- Just perfect for my morning java. I love the Lindor truffles, and don't plan to do much sharing with those!!
She also sent a beautiful English China cup and saucer with a holiday theme. That will be reserved for my evening cup of tea.
The yarn she sent was just fabulous! I like using Cascade 220, and there were two skeins of it in a great shade of turquoise. The variegated is a soft wool, and I'm contemplating using it for a felting project, but don't know for sure yet. I thought it would make a cute felted bowl and some felted coasters. I can hardly wait to use the Sugar & Cream stripes. I haven't been able to find it around here, and I've really wanted to get my hands on some. I've gotten some from a couple of my secret pals, which makes me very happy!!
I kept unwrapping one fun thing after the other, and couldn't believe all that she sent. There was a candy stripe trimmed note pad, and some cute little napkins. The bell tree ornament is gorgeous, which does not show up in the photo. It's just encrusted with sparkle and glitter!! I'm in love with the crochet covered tape measure. It went straight into my "traveling" knitting bag, and has already been put to good use. Sweet Mugsy even sent some peanut butter treats for my two doggies, which they love.
I had to take a close-up of the stitch markers-- They are TOOO cute for words!! Are you jealous?? Well you should be, because they are really special! I can hardly wait to use them for my next circular project!This swap was so much fun! Chan was a great spoiler who not only sent a wonderful package of fun things, but she also kept in touch with me, and we had a great time emailing back and forth. We read each others blogs, so she was keeping in touch with me both as a regular blog friend as well as anonymously, and she never made a slip! I couldn't have been more surprised to see who my pal was!
THANK YOU, CHAN...
You made this swap a
Very Special
One for me!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Big "Thank You" To My SP11 Pal!!

Last week I received a wonderful final package from Angela, my SP11 spoiler. It was just what I needed to come home to, as the past couple of weeks have been very stressful for me. Just look at all the great things she included!
First, there's a way cute mug and some cookies that come from her neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest. How did she know I love snowmen?!? Just look at the beautiful handmade items. The Christmas colored cloths are so fun, and the doily is just beautiful! Each will be well used and treasured!!And then, of course, there's the yarn! What's a swap package without some great yarn? I got two skeins of Sugar & Cream Stripes in the Christmas colorway, which I can hardly wait to use. (Still can't find any of the striping cottons around here, so this makes me very happy!) The colors in the Trekking XXL are just gorgeous--very soft and pretty. And to go with it are a set of bamboo size 1 dpn's, which I didn't have, so was thrilled to receive. Finally, a hank of hand dyed yarn in orange and raspberry shades that are just delish. It was dyed by Jen at monkeyknits.com.Though not pictured, I also received the last two installments of the audio book that Angela sent me part 1 of in a previous package. I enjoyed the first CD, and am looking forward to hearing the rest of the book. I need to find out "whodunnit"!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH ANGELA!!
You've sent me so many things
that I will use and enjoy!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winter Wonderland Topic of the Week #4

What is the ideal setting for enjoying the perfect cup of coffee? Who would be there - or would you be alone? Inside or out? Morning or night? With food or just the steaming cup of joe?

Ideal setting.... well that depends. This time of year it's sitting is in my favorite chair in the living room, gazing at my Christmas tree! The coffee can be black or with a good shot of International Delight. If it's time for breakfast, a good muffin is great, but most of the time all I need is the coffee.

I do have one friend that comes over to knit with me, and we love to drink coffee, visit, and knit. When she's here, we often have a goodie with our coffee. One good piece of chocolate is all that's necessary--or maybe a biscotti.

Early summer is one of the most perfect times of the year to enjoy coffee outside. First thing in the morning is such a fun time. I just love to sit at my patio table with a cup of coffee and gaze at my surroundings: flowers, trees, birds, squirrels, etc. My dogs come out with me, and I love to watch them play and stretch out in the sun. Then, later in the afternoon when the sun has passed over the house and my patio is in the shade, it's time for round two!

Typing this reminds me to be thankful for these peaceful, quiet times. This week I've been drinking my coffee out of a styrofoam cup sitting beside my mom's hospital bed, and that is not cozy. I took her in Monday evening, and have been there every waking moment since then except for the time I'm at school. The good news is that the tests they've been running have been coming back negative, for which we are greatful. We've got a tough stretch in front of us trying to keep her safe until she is strong enough to get her knee replaced, but we'll just take it one day at a time. Please keep my sweet mom in your prayers.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's Contest Time Again. And Again....

Stop by Chan's blog and enter her contest. She's giving you a chance to share about your favorite charity, and will be giving away fun stuff! And, tell her I sent you so I get an extra entry!!

And then, "Congratulations" to Jane, who is giving away some wonderful prizes to celebrate her 300th post. I haven't even made it to 100 yet! Be sure to stop by and check out all the fun stuff she shares on her blog!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Winter Wonderland Topic of the Week #3

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving in the U.S., so let's all - American or not- share what it is we're thankful for. A wonderful thing to do any time of year, I thought it'd be a nice thing to share for this week with the group!Family: Mine is fairly small, so each member is a treasure. The love and support of family is a wonderful blessing in my life.
Friends: I have some of the most wonderful friends in the whole wide world! I don't know what I did to deserve them, but I sure am thankful that I have them!!
Home: It's warm and comfortable, and I love "coming home" here each day.
Music: Music is a huge part of my life, and it provides me with countless hours of enjoyment. I love to listen to music, but I play the piano, so I participate actively as well. I'm a member of the band that plays for two contemporary services at my church every Sunday, and it's something I just love to do. Great fun rockin' and rollin' with the others!!
My Woofers: I didn't even like dogs until my oldest son bribed me into letting him get one about 6-1/2 years ago. He promised not to get a crotch rocket cycle if I'd let him get a dog. For this mom, that was a no-brainer! Now we have two beasts, the boy child has moved out (and has another HUGE dog of his own), and the "original two" are mine. I adore them and spoil them rotten. And yes, he did keep his promise about the crotch rocket!!
Job: I'm fortunate to be able to teach in a small private school with a group of fantastic people. It's very different from what I'd been doing previously, and it's great!
My Hands: This may sound strange, but I'm thankful for all the things that I am able to do with my hands, and the amount of enjoyment I get from doing those things. My whole life I've been artsy in a number of different ways, and I can't imagine not being busy with my hands. From lettering to coloring, needlepoint to cross stitch, stamping to beading, crocheting to knitting, and playing the piano, my hands love doing all that and much more.
Faith: I'm blessed with a faith that I can count on no matter what life sends my way. I always have somewhere to go, and someone to turn to through all the ups and downs of life.
Little Things: Every day there are the "little things" that bring joy and make life interesting: Coffee with a friend, an unexpected conversation with a stranger, or a colorful tree on the way home from work. Or, an hour to sit and knit with a cup of strong coffee and a candle burning on a nearby table.
Have a Wonderful
Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A "Thankful" Contest....

I just entered a fun contest that GNAT is having to celebrate her 100th post! Go check it out, enter, and be sure to tell her I sent you! She reminds us to stop and think about all that we have to be thankful for.

Winter Wonderland Topic of the Week #2

As the cold of winter approaches, do you change the projects you work on? Not intentionally, but warm, cozy things are more inviting to make when the weather is colder. There's something about having a wooly afghan resting in my lap that just doesn't work so well when the weather is hot. I'm just finishing a pair of felted slippers that I can hardly wait to wear, but I didn't think too much about having them a few weeks ago!! I'm also thinking of starting a wrap, and yes, maybe even a afghan, who knowsl!

Do you work on gifts for others or do you continue working on projects for yourself? Either, I guess. I usually plan ahead to make things for others, and not necessarily more at Christmas than other times of the year because of the time crunch during the holidays. This past year I've made quite a few birthday gifts for friends and family, which was fun. If my slippers turn out the way I'm hoping, I just might whip up a few more pairs for Christmas gifts because they're quick and easy, and IF they turn out like the picture, they'll be very cute, too!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Secret Pal Had A "Novel" Idea!!!

I received a package from my SP 11 spoiler this week, and what a fun package it was! I opened it to find great colors of yarn and yummy treats! (Missing from the pictures is the bag of tasty goodies she sent--they didn't make it till picture day!!!) Just look at all the loot!
I love felting with the Patons SWS, and she sent three skeins in the nice denimy blue, which I haven't tried yet so it was the perfect color choice! Then, four skeins of cotton, all in colors I'll enjoy. She must have been snooping around my blog, cause I know I've mentioned wanting to try the Sugar & Cream Stripes, but not being able to find it around here. Now I have a skein of that, too, and can't wait to try it. And look at the box of Oregon Chai. That is good stuff, and I'll enjoy every sip. Who knows, maybe I'll even share!Her note was on a postcard that gives me a "hint" as to where she lives, and if you look closely you can see a CD case peeking out from behind the postcard. It was cleverly hidden at the bottom of the package--- and what I fun idea! It's the first CD of three; a novel set in the "world of knitting"! Last night I had a friend over and we sat and sipped tea and knit as we listened to the story. We had such fun!! We didn't stop until we'd listened to the whole thing, and now I'm anxiously waiting for the second installment. And the third!!
Thank you SO much, Secret Pal!
I really appreciate all
the thoughtful gifts!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Time to Enter Another Contest!!

I was catching up with some blog news after being out of town for a few days, and found out that Cass is having a contest!! She's giving away some fun stuff to celebrate her 333rd post, so hop on over there, congratulate her, and check it out! And tell her I sent you so I get "extra credit"!!

Winter Wonderland Topic of the Week #1

When did you first start drinking coffee? What age were you? Was it about the caffeine, or do you love the taste and smell? Tell us how your passion began!
I didn't start drinking coffee until I was an adult. When my youngest son started kindergarten, I started substitute teaching. Others I worked with were always dragging around a mug and drinking coffee. I felt like I was missing out on something. There was a certain "romance", or "charm" to this coffee drinking thing. So, what choice did I have but to start carrying a mug in my briefcase so I could join in the fun! I really didn't like the taste of the coffee; it was more the "idea" of drinking it that appealed to me!

The next step was to go to a coffee shop, and there I discovered the mixed espresso drinks!! Oh ya... liked those!!! We have a shop in town that roasts its own beans, so the smell in there is beyond description. You don't even need to buy coffee... all you have to do is inhale! Pure Coffee Bliss!!

My coffee "habit" grew slowly over a number of years, going from something I enjoyed occasionally to the beverage I can't leave home without every morning when I head off to school.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I've Got Some Catchin' Up To Do...

Where does the time go? I've managed to keep up with the weekly topics, but other than that I haven't done much posting. I was out of town for several days a couple weeks ago, as I attended teachers convention. I would have rather stayed home and worked in my classroom, but we all went, and had a fun time. Look at the snazzy dessert they served at the keynote luncheon. The desserts were at our places when we got there, and the tables looked just beautiful!! I was surprised at the delicious meal they served us. Very nice!

I finished my bag for my Fall Felted Bag Exchange Pal and put it in the mail today. The picture isn't very flattering.... it actually looks quite cute in "real life"!! I ended up making my own buttons out of polymer clay, which was fun. I took a close-up pic of them, but it turned out blurry. My pal said she likes bags that are embellished, so I took her at her word and went for it. Sure hope she likes it!
And, I found out about a CONTEST!! Pop on over to the Knittin Coop and wish her a happy 2nd blogiversary! She wants to meet more bloggers, so leave a comment, and be sure to tell her I sent you!

I seem to have lost my knitting mojo, with the exception of dishcloths. I've got so many projects I want to start, but I can't seem to get any of them rolling. I just keep saying to myself, "Well, maybe I'll make another dishcloth". I do believe I'm stuck in a rut. I'm headed to Minneapolis later this week, so I really want something fun to work on during the trip, as that's about 5-1/2 hours of knitting time each way.

My dad, who lives in Arizona, lost his wife on Friday. She's from the twin cities, so the funeral will be there. She's lingered for quite some time, suffering with Alzheimers. My dad told me that watching her deteriorate like that is the hardest thing he's ever been through in his life, including his experiences in Germany during WWII.

I know I talked about my mom's problems with her mobility in an earlier post, and now it's been decided that she'll have a total knee replacement on November 12. I really dread that, as she's had a knee and a hip done before, and she doesn't do well with those surgerys. With the hip she was in the hospital for 21 days, and we thought we were going to lose her.

So, I'm in a whirlwind trying to get ahead of the game and be ready to be gone from school both during this week, and then again the week of Nov. 12. I must say I'm feeling overwhelmed.

On a lighter note, I do have a picture of one of my finished dishrags! It's the first time I've used this pattern, and I really like it. Have already made another one, in fact. I recently ordered a few more patterns from Harvest Moon Designs, and this is one of them. Their patterns are so well written and easy to follow. If you've never checked out their site, you should. Lots of great dishrag eye candy!! Isn't the yarn gorgeous? It looks good enough to eat! It's a hand dyed that I bought on ebay some time ago, and now I wish I'd gotten more.

Guess I better get to bed. Morning comes so early, and I am NOT a morning person....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap Questionnaire

COFFEE~~
What are your favorite kinds of coffee? I enjoy Starbucks, Caribou, or any other brand of good quality coffee. I enjoy Breakfast blends, as well as rich, full-bodied roasts.
Do you prefer whole bean or ground coffee? Whole bean.
This time of year, there are often Holiday Blends available, and many flavored coffees - do you drink flavored coffee? Do you enjoy special blends? Yes to both!!
How do you take your coffee? Cream and Sugar? Straight up? Decaf? No decaf. I often drink it black, but must confess to really enjoying a splash of International Delight in my coffee. My newest fave flavor is Bavarian White Chocolate. Yum!!
Do you prefer drinking from a nice thick mug, or a matched cup and saucer? Mugs... but not necessarily big and thick. I have some tall, slim English Bone China mugs that I Iove to use. I also like fun, pretty mugs, though I prefer it if they're not too big and clunky.

WINTER HOLIDAYS~~
What is your favorite part of Winter? Oh, that's a good one!! It has to be rushing to my frozen car after work in a 40 below wind chill only to go head over teakettle on the ice and twist the living daylights out of my knee! Not really... I don't mean that... there are other things about winter that are EVEN BETTER!! Seriously, I do love it when we get that rare snowfall with flakes so huge you can hear them hit the ground. When that happens, there's no wind, and the big clumps fall straight down and sparkle like diamonds. Those "big flake" snowfalls are always very short lived, and to me there's just something very cozy and comforting about that "type" of snow.
Do you celebrate a holiday in December, and if so, which holiday? We celebrate Christmas, and we do put up a tree.
Would you enjoy items related to the holiday, or would you prefer a Winter themed package? Either one would be wonderful. However, I do like decorations that are more artsy, as I'm not a big fan of "cute".
Do you collect anything? There are many things that I enjoy and have a few of, but not really anything that I collect.
Are there any holiday or winter-themed items (Snowmen, Angels, Snoflakes, Santas, etc) that you collect? I do have a few snowmen, and really like them. I have a couple made by Lang, and they're SO fun. My son gave me a Willow Tree angel last year, and I love it! I would like to add a couple more of them to my shelf sometime.
Do you wear scarves? Mittens? Hats? I'm bad about just throwing on my coat and heading out the door, but I do like to wear scarves sometimes. I wear gloves rather than mittens, and seldom wear a hat--only when it's storming and I have to clean off my car after work!!
What is your favorite holiday or winter treat? Something hot and yummy to drink.... a nice mocha or latte hits the spot, or sometimes a flavored hot chocolate is fun. And popcorn. I love sitting down with a bowl of nice, hot kettle corn!
Please share a favorite Winter or Holiday memory. We have three couples who we've been friends with for over 30 years, and our kids have grown up together. Each year we get together for a Christmas celebration sometime during the holiday season. We do "family" gifts, and in the past our kids would also exchange presents among themselves. It got more and more difficult to find things to buy for the kids, so one year we decided to ask them if they'd like to give gifts to a needy family instead of getting gifts themselves. They all liked the idea right away, which kind of surprised us, so we pooled all the money we would have spent on each others children and bought clothes, toys, and groceries for a needy family we knew that went to our church. Once everything was wrapped and ready, we dropped it off at their door, rang the doorbell, and took off. Doing that allowed us to feel the true spirit of what Christmas is all about, and seeing our children participating and getting so much joy out of giving was a special blessing for us as parents.

YARN AND CRAFTING~~
Do you Knit or Crochet? For how long? I learned both from my grandma when I was very young. However, it was crochet I took to, and did lots of it over the years. About three years ago I decided to expand my knitting horizons, and found that I love it!! It started with scarves and progressed to felted bags. Now I want to try anything and everything!!
Do you like wooden, metal, or plastic needles? Circular or straight? I use both wood and metal needles. I have wood straights and circs, and I recently bought a few addi turbo circs, and find I like them very much, as well.
What sort of projects do you enjoy making? I love making felted bags... they really got me hooked on knitting. Lately I've been just nuts about knitting dishcloths, making one after the other. Some things I'm planning to start are a couple of shawls, some felted slippers, a non-felted handbag, fingerless gloves, and some mobius projects such as a scarf and some bowls.
What are your favorite types of yarn to work with? I love wool, and also cotton. I have to like the way yarn looks and feels, and then if I think it will wear well and hopefully not pill, I'll give it a try.
Do you spin or dye? No, but it sure looks like fun!
Do you do other crafts? I've done a lot of beading, though not recently, and a really miss it.

GENERAL~~
When is your birthday? April 25.
Do you have any children? (Furry kind count!) My husband and I have three sons ages 25, 21, and 21. We also have two dogs, one of which is snoring very loudly right now! Flex and Jayda are 6-1/2 year old Boxers.
What are your favorite colors? I like rich colors: teals, berry shades, navy... jewel tones. I'm not a fan of brights and pastels.
Do you have any allergies? No.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Weekly Topic # 4

What was your favorite Halloween costume ever - for you? I had a great time dressing up one year as a very "unusual" woman. Just a bunch of little things that added up to one hilarious looking old bag, I guess. I put stuff in my hair to make it look greasy, grimy and gross, and then pulled a silly looking knit hat with a brim down over it. No make-up, of course, and I blackened out one of my front teeth. At the thrift store I found a "lovely" dress about 8 sizes too big for me, and a bra of the same magnitude. I filled plastic bags with oatmeal and used them to fill up the bra cups. Then cinched in the waist of the dress over my padded figure. Old snow boots over mismatched socks and rolled down knee-high nylons completed the ensemble. What a babe I was!! I guess what made it so memorable, was that several of my friends did similar things, and we went shopping and out to eat in our lovely get-ups! Since this little outing wasn't actually on October 31, we were treated to some very inquisitive looks. More than worth the price of admission. for your kids, if you have them? The very first costume both of my boys wore was a little pumpkin outfit I made them. It was just a printed cape with a "stem" for a hat, but they were just little, and looked so adorable in it. Another time when my oldest was about 4 or so, I made him up to look like a little old man. Baggy pants... suspenders... flannel shirt... slouch hat. He had pillows both in front and back, belted into place, so he was just round. Then I used Vaseline and coffee grounds to give him some whiskers. His sweet little face peering out from that get-up was just too cute. Why did you enjoy it so much? Because it was funny and made me laugh. The funnier and goofier the costumes were, the better I liked them. Do you still dress up now? Nope. Don't do Halloween at all any more, except to hand out candy to my little visitors. Met a woman who'd at one time been involved with the "darker" side of Halloween, and through her I learned what it is really about, and some of the things that go on that we don't realize. Very scary stuff--I could no longer look at Halloween as being fun and innocent.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week #6

Now that it is getting cooler here, it makes me think of apple picking and hay rides. Are you the type that likes to go to participate in all the fall festivities like apple picking, pumpkins, decorating for the fall, hay rides, baking fall goodies, etc. or do you just sit and count the days till Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah?

No day counting here--- I only wish things would slow down and give me some extra time before the holidays. Where on earth does the time go??
I enjoy decorating, and have fall things that I love to put out every year. I have a basket of gourds on my coffee table, and a fun welcoming scarecrow that hangs outside my front door. I put out table squares and placemats with fall colored leaves and pumpkins on them, and I have a Longaberger basket that's shaped kind of "pumpkinish" and has a stem for the handle.
I've never been apple picking - except in my front yard - nor have I harvested pumpkins. Does sound like fun, though. I can't remember the last time I went on a hayride, but I sure would if I had the chance!
And as a side note... I had a THICK layer of frost on my car this morning when I left for work! Guess it's time to start parking in the garage.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My Tea Pal Has Spoiled Me!!!

When I arrived home from work on Thursday, I found a UPS box on the corner of my step, "cleverly disguised" by having been covered with my door mat! Oh Happy Day... it was my Knit One Tea Too package from Cassie, of time warp fiber.

She put together the most thoughtful grouping of fun stuff for me. This is what I found when I opened the box:
Look at the adorable card! And that blue "square-topped shape" sticking out of the teapot is an actual teabag--Harney & Sons Orange Pekoe! How cute is that?!? The KnitPicks Memories yarn is GORGEOUS!! The color is Redwood Forest, and Cassie described it as being "lots of the colors of tea", which it is. Rich reds, browns, and greens. I tried to get a close up of the colors, but they washed out so much with the flash that there's no point in even showing them. I can hardly wait to knit something up with it. Then the Sugar & Cream is also a color I love. It's called Jute, but I like Cassies description of "tea and milk" much better! I promptly went to Harvest Moon Designs and ordered a new dishcloth pattern (or two, or more!!) to use with my new cotton! Check out the fun tea themed napkins.... and the wonderfully scented Jasmine candles... and the cute knit "sweater" for my tea mug. And since I wear sandals every day of my life that it isn't so cold that my toes turn blue and threaten to fall off, I got a little "whale" to help keep my feel smooth and comfy! (I just typed "mapkins" instead of "napkins"--- Made me smile, cause that's what my oldest son always called them when he was little!) And of course, the tea and goodies. Two kinds of tea with vanilla, which are perfect for me. I haven't tried either one of them before, and I know I'll love them. And a yummy muffin mix. Cassie wants me to eat one with a cup of rum vanilla tea, which I promise to do!Finally, I got a fun little "tour" of her own tea collection. These arrived with the little "mug sweater" wrapped around them! I look forward to trying each and every one of them!

Thank you SO MUCH, Cassie!!!

You have been a thoughtful and fun pal!

I have really enjoyed getting to

know you a little!

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week # 5

So for the Topic of the week: Flash your needles and other items you use to make your wares: Dpns, circs, straights, hooks, tape measures, darning needles, favorite stitch markers, needle holders, cases, the works!
Well I certainly don't have the stash that many of you do, as I haven't been knitting all that long, but things do tend to collect, don't they? Knitting wares also have the ability to wander off, I believe, because this "stash flashing" project got me hunting for some things, which I never did find!! I take good care of my things, put them away for safe keeping, but still they disappear. I've looked where they should be, where they could be, where they might be, and where they must be because they're not any of the other places. All to no avail. You know how it is... they'll turn up unexpected one day in the most unlikely spot, and I still won't know how they got there. I think I'll blame the dog; she does seem to have in interest in all things knitting!!!

My needles have a tendency to be here and there--some in a drawer, some in a vase, some in my needlework basket, but I'm going to change that. I think the wooden box will make a great home for them, so all the straights, and probably the dpn's as well, are moving in there.

This little assignment forced me to do some cleaning, winding, and organizing, and that's a good thing!! Plus, I've really enjoyed checking out other peoples wares on their blogs. I've seen some great storage ideas that I'd love to have some day!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Weekly Topic # 3

How often do you change the purse or bag you're carrying? With all the fun bags there are, and I certainly have my share, you'd think I'd change more often than I do, but when I get real comfy with a purse it's hard for me to move on!!
Do you change based on seasons? I probably tend to change with seasons more than anything. I like to carry something "summery" and "fun" when it's hot, and in the winter I tend to use a "reliable workhorse"!!

Outfits? Sometimes, especially if it's a special occasion. Or even if I'm just in the "mood".

Something else? Well, if I'm attending a craft show or similar event where I don't want to lug my loaded bag, I have a small Coach purse that holds some cash, check blanks, and a credit card. Then I throw in some lip balm, Advil (sore feet, you know!!), a pen, and maybe some tissue. It's small, light, and holds only the "musts". Works great!

What's your favorite bag in the world (and it doesn't have to be a knit/felted one!)? Hmmm..... that's a tough one, but I think I would have to go with my Black and Brass Coach Willis Bag. Everything fits just right, it's got just enough pockets, black goes with everything, and it's an all around comfortable bag to carry. It's a great basic bag, and I love it. Hubby has my camera today, so I can't take a picture of it, but I do have a picture of the felted bag I'm carrying right now. I knit it with one strand of Patons SWS and one of Lamb's Pride, which gave it the nubby look. I do get quite a few comments on this purse.
I made a lot of felted bags before I actually started carrying one myself, but this one has worked out well for me. Just today during my break at school I was going through a pattern book trying to decide which bag to make for myself next. I've kinda got a hankering for a new one!!

Mmmm... Is That Fresh Coffee I Smell??

Or maybe it's just the excitement about the Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap that's coming up soon! Anne and Holly will be hosting this swap, and it's sure to be a fun one. I'm just finishing up the Knit One Tea Too Swap, which was GREAT, so next.... it's gotta be coffee! Sign ups start on October 24, so don't miss out!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

And They Call it "The Golden Years"....

I know there are others of you who are faced with the struggle of watching your parent(s) grow old. It's so hard; such a heartache. My mom is a treasure, and always has been. She's almost 86 years old, and is blessed with a sharp mind, excellent general health, and a sense of humor that ROCKS! What she doesn't have is good joints. Both her knee and hip were replaced on one side, and now the other knee is so bad that her leg is useless.

Sometimes she can't get up out of her chair. Sometimes she can get up, but then can't move for 20 minutes because her knee won't support any weight. She has a scooter, but has so much trouble getting on and off of it that it's dangerous. She's fallen five times within the last few weeks because her knee gives out, and down she goes. Thankfully, she's not been seriously hurt because of the falls.

Yesterday morning she called me at 7:30, needing my help because she'd been on her scooter since 2:00 the previous afternoon and couldn't get off by herself to go to the bathroom. That's 17-1/2 hours.

My brother came home yesterday, and tomorrow he and I are taking Mom to an orthopedic doctor. She more than likely needs a new knee, but at her age they may not want to do it, especially given her history of having a very difficult time recovering from surgery. She was in the hospital for 21 days when she had her hip replaced, and we thought we were going to lose her. Unless there's something they can do for her, she won't be able to live alone any more. My little bro and I are heartsick at the thought of Mom having to live in a home, especially since her only problem is mobility.

And of course my mom is only one of the millions of elderly who struggle and agonize to get through each and every day. I know it's part of life, and we all have to do it, but getting old stinks. The "GOLDEN" years.... uh uh.... doesn't seem very "golden" to me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Weekly Topic # 2

The colors of fall tend to be oranges, yellows, crimsons, and other 'leafy' colors - what is your favorite "Color of Autumn" and where do you see it?

Hmmm.... that's a tough question. I'm not a fan of yellows and oranges, however in nature, they're absolutely glorious. I think I'll have to go with the crimsons, though, because I just love wine and burgundy shades, and deep plums and fuschias. I see them every day, because I've decorated with them in my home. The 'bottom half' of the walls in my office are a winey shade, and I also have two chairs that color in my living room. There are touches of it in the sofa and loveseat, as well.

I didn't gravitate toward these colors when I was younger, but I've grown to like them more as I've matured. Just like a fine wine, better with age, right?? :o)

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week # 4~~

Are there any recipes you especially enjoy having in the Fall? Any foods that are seasonal that you especially enjoy? Some of the fall recipes I enjoy tend to be things we serve on Thanksgiving. LIke pumpkin pie, and steamed cranberry pudding. I got the pudding recipe from my great aunt many years ago, when I was a kid, really, after having it at her home and thinking it was just the most wonderful thing ever! In case you're curious, here's how it's made:

Steamed Cranberry Pudding

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups cranberries, cut in halves
Pinch of salt
1-2 cup light molasses
1/2 cup hot water
2 scant tsp. soda

Mix flour, berries, and salt. Combine molasses, soda and hot water and mix into flour and cranberries.

Butter the top of a double boiler, add the pudding, and steam over boiling water for 2-1/2 hours.

Sauce:

1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter, & cream and heat together. Mix in vanilla. Serve hot over puddding. May add pecans to the butter sauce.

Obviously, the pudding is pretty undramatic... it's the buttery sauce that makes it good. My boys even like this, and they tend to be uninterested in most desserts.

I also think that hot, steamy drinks take on a whole new appeal in the fall. I'm not sure why it is, but things like coffee and tea have a different "personality" in the fall and winter than they have in the summer. And hot chocolate, of course!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Weekly Topic # 1

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar - but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why? Well, I'm a teacher, so getting back to school seems to set the stage for autumn, even though school starts about four weeks before autumn arrives around here. Students, lesson plans, and decorating my "back to school" classroom with apples gives me my first nudge, even if I'm not ready for summer to end yet!!

Next, of course, is the weather! Living in North Dakota, we experience four very distinct seasons. In the fall, the air has a different feel to it--less humidity, maybe. It's clear and crisp, and scented with the smells of falling leaves and smoke. When I pull up to the curb and school, I can hear the crunch of leaves beneath the tires of my car; and of course beneath my feel when I walk!

There's a "cozy" feeling about autumn.... probably knowing that winter is coming, along with warmer clothes and knitted afghans! Oh, and knitted, felted slippers!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week # 3~~

Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? One of the things I just love is the bright blue sky contrasted by the colors of the changing leaves. I also love he smells, especially the waft of smoke on the breeze from someone's fire pit. Then there's the gourds and the pumpkins and the fun decorations. Why? There just seems to be an air of coziness about the whole season. Bundling up and enjoying warm things. Maybe it's a sort of "nesting" feeling because of the upcoming wiinter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BAD DOG.... BAD, EVIL DOG!!!!

This was the scene in the middle of my living room floor today. Looks innocent enough... like I might have laid it down after carefully sticking the needle through the yarn for safe keeping, right? WRONG!!!
Look Closer. Do you see the the chewed off chunks on the pretty end of my lovely needle. Do ya? Ha? And how about the pointed end. Do ya like the nice little angle that it takes, with tooth marks and slivers of wood sticking out here and there?
How about this? Don'tcha wish you had one of these? A pair, maybe? Well, I do.... Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!Yup, doggie knitter strikes again. We have a "half door" that keeps the beasts in "their" part of the house when we're not home. Guess someone didn't get it completely latched. (Thank you ever so much, sweet son of mine!) Had to be him, as hubby is out of town till tomorrow, and the kid and I are the only ones around, and I had them all tucked in when I left for work. Grrrrrrrrrr...........

Anyway, that was what greeted me when I got home from a long day of taking my fifth graders on a field trip. We walked a lot, and my feet hurt (a lot!), but it was a good time. The Department of Engineering and Mines at the University had an open house, so we went to see all the cool science things they were showing.


I think everyone's favorite, hands down, was the oobleck. Know what that is? The name comes from a Dr. Seuss book, Bartholemew and the Oobleck. I think that's the name of it. Anyway, it was a mixture of 160 pounds of cornstarch and 25 gallons of water in a very large trough-like container, which had been dug into the ground. If you stuck your hand into it, you pulled out with big globs of slimy looking stuff plopping off your dangling fingers. It would all slide off, back into the "trough" and only a thin film would remain on your hand.


However, AND THIS IS WAY COOL; as long as you kept moving, you could WALK on it. It was set up so the kids could start at one end of the trough and walk, run, hop, or whatever to the other end. It was maybe five feet from end to end. Their feet didn't even get wet. If you stopped, you would start to sink (they said it was about 18 inches deep), but if you kept going, you were fine. I've never seen anything like it, and it really was fun!


There's a Starbuck's in the University Bookstore, and the kidlets had talked me into taking them there on the way back to school. I am blessed with a bunch of fifth graders that like coffee; how cool is that? We sipped mochas and frappuccinos while browsing through books (also a Barne's and Noble in the store) before we went back to school. Twas a good time indeed. Now tomorrow it's back to language and math...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Contest...

This is the yarn I am planning to use for my bag. I've been debating long and hard, but I'm pretty sure this is what it will be. The pattern I want to use seems to have fallen off the earth, so I'm not able to tease you with the little corner of it that I was willing to show! It's one I purchased online, so I'll just have to print out another copy. I've made this bag once before, and it turned out really cute.

The blog friend that I have probably been doing the most "back and forth" commenting with is Dorothy. I enjoy reading about her knitting escapades, but also like hearing about her kidlets as well as the rest of her family. We seem to share some common values.

Well, I'm off to print my pattern and get to work on my bag. I have a fun downstream pal that I'm looking forward to sending it to....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Delivered To My Doorstep....

Please don't hate me for winning this beautiful shawl in the blogiversary contest that Grace held recently. After all, I did work hard to be the winner... commenting, posting, linking, and even hunting feverishly for answers to her trivia questions. Yaha. And even after all that work, and mopping the sweat from my brow, I still didn't think I had a chance. Too many entries... that one question I couldn't find the answer to... no way would I win. But I did, and no one was more surprised than me!!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH GRACE!
THE SHAWL IS LOVELY AND
I WILL TREASURE IT!!

Look at the stitch detail...
Isn't it just grand???...


When I opened it, I just had to "try it out", so I threw it on over my jeans and t-shirt and went out to my patio for a cup of coffee. Sat there feelin' special, admiring Grace's talent. It was good.

I'm so glad the weekend is here. Today was just way too long, and my sixth period class was just... just... something!! I had the distinct privilege of teaching about "the excretory system" to a class of 7th and 8th graders. A treat that was, let me tell you.

I knew it could get dicey, but I was prepared: Sober face... serious tone of voice... matter-of-fact attitude. But come on people-- how do you talk to kids that age about poop, pee and farts in a dignified manner?? (Of course the book uses words like "feces", "urine", and "flatulence", which is even more uproariously hilarious to the kids!!)

I have to give them credit. They tried; they really did. Volunteered to read aloud and the whole nine yards. But tell me, how does a cute 8th grade boy read aloud to his classmates about constipation without cracking up?? It simply CANNOT be done. No way. No how.

One boy propped his book up on his desk to spare me seeing the tears rolling down his cheeks. However, the book was not large enough to hide his shaking shoulders. It was the kids, not the subject matter, that had me in stitches. I knew I should set the example, but there I was with my bird's-eye view of all of them. Each one would start to read with such confidence, and within a sentence or two I'd hear their voice start to quaver.

At first, I was able to hide my laughter from the kids (ya, right!), but after a while it just got to be too much. I finally just gave up and became part of the meyhem. What kind of teacher am I? Should I be fired? Locked up somewhere, perhaps?

I'll never be the same. Permanently scarred I am. And heaven help me, the reproductive system is only a few pages away....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Anne's Dishcloth & Other Finished Objects~~

I enjoyed Anne's first dishcloth pattern so much that I just had to make the second one, too. Besides, I want more entries in her contest!! And I love it... fun and easy to knit, and it's a great design. While I know the stitches would have better definition in a solid color, I was happy with the way they showed up in this particular variegated yarn. You're not able to tell from the picture, though, which is too bad. So, here are the stats on this one:
Knit on size 7 Lantern Moon straights
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream, Country Sage Ombre
English method
What name would I give this pattern?
"TRAIN TRACKS"
Then, I also finished another one that's been laying in my basket waiting around for me to sew the sides together. This petal dishcloth is another one I enjoy to knit.

I've also finished the felted bowl. I started it during a "girl's night out" with three friends, and I did take some grief about "knitting a bowl". I think I can safely say, however, that when "she who made fun of me" sees it, she will want one of her very own. She won't get one, though. The other two might, but she will not. That's just the way it has to be!

Anyway, the bowl: It was a quick knit, and felted up perfectly. I used the pattern in One Skein. The bottom tapered in so that it's nice and flat and sits just right. After I'd knit it I put it on my head... twas a roomy hat indeed! It covered my ears, and didn't squish my hair. I just might make one to keep in my car for when I'm caught having to shovel and scrape snow in -60 degree wind chill blizzard winds. Maybe it would stop those little snowflakes that get driven into my ears like little pins.

After felting: A stout 5-3/4 inches in diameter, by 3-3/8 inches tall. I WILL be making more of these! If you're wondering about the yarn, I used Classic Elite Paintbox.

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week #2~~

When you knit or crochet dishclothes, washclothes or face clothes, what do you use? I've been using size 7 rosewood and ebony straight needles from Lantern Moon. I ordered them so I'd have "cool" needles to knit dishcloths with, and indeed I do! After using them a few times, they have come to be my "dishcloth knitting needles", so, in my mind, they now go hand in hand with knitting cloths.

Why do you love that needle or hook so much? Since I ordered them with making dishcloths in mind, they have just become part of the "discloth knitting process" for me.

Is there one you are dying to try? Oh my goodness... that would have to be the gorgeous new Harmony needles from KnitPicks! Not specifically for dishcloths, but just for knitting in general. I want them all.... DPN's, circs, whatever there is!!

Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for clothes? I've tried some others that are more "high end", but I tend to gravitate back to Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Cream.

What is so special about it? They're a good weight--have a little heft to em, are nice to knit with, come in unlimited colors, and most certainly the price is right. I'd like to try some of the Lion Brand Organic Cotton, but haven't been able to find it here yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Look What I Won!!!!

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning when I stopped by Grace's blog this to see who'd won her fabulous contest. I'd convinced myself that there was no way I'd win. You know: Low expectations equal less disappointment. (Mm Hmm!) So, when I saw my name listed as the winner of the silk drop garn shawl... WOW!

Being I was in school, I had to maintain a modecum of decorum, and I can assure you that no screams were heard throughout the building. However, I'm glad my students were at the library and no one could see me, because I shot back from my computer, and sat there in my chair stamping my feet up and down like a tantrumming (yes, that's a word--it's a technical term!) toddler. "I won!, I won!, I can't believe I won!".

I think I heard a little voice say: "Ya, you won alright, but you're also psycho nuts, lady". Here's a picture of the shawl. Isn't it just lovely? I lifted this picture right off Grace's blog. (I hope that's okay, Grace!?!)
When my kiddos returned, I showed the girls my new shawl, and they're anxious for me to bring it to school so they can see it. The guys... well, they weren't quite as interested. No extra credit for them, I tell ya!

The shawl will be treasured, and I can hardly wait to receive it.