Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Wonders - M

M is for Missing.

The day before yesterday, there were twenty apples on our tree.  Our first crop!  We have watched over these apples as carefully as mother hens with new chicks.  We were bursting our buttons with pride at their healthy growth and reddening skins.  Our taste buds were waiting impatiently for that first tangy, crunchy bite. 

But, overnight, something took half of them.  This is what we have left.  They've been picked too early, I know.  The tang is more like tart and they could have stayed on the tree a bit longer.  But, since we have no idea who - or what - took them it seemed like a good idea to get them while we could. 

My daughter tells me to wrap them in paper and they'll ripen.  Good idea. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Stash

It's been a busy, busy week.  I'm glad I have these ongoing blog themes that make me slow down on the weekends and go visiting as well as share what's been happening.  Today it's my knitting time.  Knitting keeps me relaxed no matter how busy  the schedule may seem.  there's always a place for the needles and yarn.

These mittens are the only true stash today.  Trolling ravelry for patterns, I found this one by Ruth Gallo for Maritime Mittens.  Apparently, this is called a Maritime Waffle stitch.  I have only seen it as Honeycomb but was delighted to be able to apply the - to me - more relevant name to mittens.  My father used to tell me of my great-grandmother who, even when quite elderly and unable to see, would sit in the warm kitchen knitting mittens for the many cold and snowy days the winter would bring.  I thought of her often as I knit these.

Ted has the most fun knit this week.  He's all ready for winter to show up with sledding and snowman-building.  It looks as though he might prefer to start with the hot chocolate and marshmallows, doesn't it?  The pattern is one of Elaine Fitzpatrick's cute little baby bibs, Snowbaby.  I love making these bibs - so easy and so much fun to see the pattern emerge.  If you can knit and purl, you can do this.  Great gifts.   I confess to buying a couple of balls of cotton yarn - on sale! - to make more of these. 

Ordinary socks for an extraordinary color way.  I tried making a pattern in these socks and it looked horrible.  Those beautiful colors just wanted to sing on their own.  They remind me of new Levis with shiny copper rivets and stitching.  Or desert skies just after sunset.  Oh, the heels are a bit fancy with an Eye of Partridge heel flap.  This is also new yarn because, well, I was standing in Michael's with a coupon.  What's a yarn-lover to do?

While not all are stash, all are for giving. 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Fifty Fridays #9

Summer is definitely sloping into fall here.  The tomatoes are ripening faster than we can pick them.  The apples will soon be ready to eat.  The squirrels are filching all the peanuts that the Stellars jays hide in the shrubbery.  But I thought maybe one last look at summer through the wrong end of the telescope.

Does anyone remember going for Sunday drives?  Our family used to do this almost every Sunday.  It was a way for my mother to get out of the house and see something of the countryside.  Because my dad was 'the telephone man' in the area, he knew so many interesting roads and places to visit. This photo was taken on one of those Sunday drives. 

I wonder who the spontaneous parent was?  Maybe both. I know that inherited those genes - as well as the 'lets go explore the backroads' ones.  Where is this?  It's called Stave Lake and it was formed by a hydro dam.  To me, it seemed way far away in the mountains.  But, really, it isn't.  Then, though, it wasn't well-known and Dad would have found it while driving his big truck around mending the telephone lines.  It was, I'm sure, a hot Sunday afternoon and the water would have been so inviting.  We just stripped down to our underpants and jumped in.  Of course, neither my brother nor I could swim and so Mom would have to get in and keep us afloat.  Although, I'm pretty sure that if she'd dared, she'd have been in the water with us.  She loved to swim.  But times being what they were, even with no one around, I doubt she'd have done it. 

Can you see that my brother has one of his toy vehicles in his hand?   It may have been a boat but was probably a car.  He loved them all and always had one ready to play.  To this day, he loves boats and cars.  I think this photo contains the essence of our lives then: always happy and sunny.

Update on last Friday's photo.  I did find out how much my Dad paid for that house in 1956:  $8,500.  Being a curious sort, I wanted to know what that was in today's money and was stunned to see that it calculated out to about $75,000.  Since this bears no relation to the asking price of the house today, I'm sure there are market forces at work here. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Wonders - L

L is for Luscious.

If kind of lumpy-looking.  The tomatoes are really coming on now after a slow start to the summer. 

We planted about ten different varieties this year - a kind of taster tomato garden - and these are some of my favorites.  Especially the heirloom Black Krims.  They're the big dark red fellows.  They are less acidic than most tomatoes.   The gold and the yellow cherry tomatoes are also some of the best.  I'm saving seeds this fall!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Stash

This was the week of the cowl.

It started with a 'how can I use this bulky yarn?' and became the Sage Leaf Cowl.  Easy recipe: take one ball of bulky yarn and a 16 to 24 inch circular needle (I used 6mm).  Cast on enough stitches to give you about 28 inches circumference.  Join in a circle and - this is the best part - keep that twist in the stitches that you're never supposed to have when knitting in the round.  Knit until almost all the yarn runs out.  Cast of loosely.  Time needed: a couple of hours.

I used seed stitch because I wanted it to look like this real sage leaf.  But you could use garter stitch for a cushy feel.  Or ribbing for more structure.  Anything that is reversible would be perfect. The twist step came about because I was trying to figure out how to approximate a moebius cowl without doing the special cast on. 

I was having so much fun with the cowls that I pulled out another ball of worsted weight this time and went looking for a pattern which would be easy.  I loved the mix of textures in the Infinitude Scarf  by Jeni Chase and the multiple ways to wear it.

It was so soft and warm I didn't want to take it off.  You can make it twice as long (it's actually a circle) and wrap it around your neck more times or have two long loops.  Or make the extra loop a headscarf to keep your ears warm, too. You could make it wider with more rows of whatever stitch you liked.  Time for my version: three hours.    I'm planning a search for some more yarn for the longer version.

I finished the purple scarf.  Pretty as it is it wasn't nearly as exciting as the cowls.  Nor as quick - probably because I wasn't as excited about it.  All of the above are for donation.  Now that the weather is a bit more fall-like, I think people will be looking on the craft sale shelf for some transitional warmers.  Fingerless mitts are coming, too.  That's next week's show. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fifty Fridays #8

It's hard to look at a house you used to live in as just another piece of real estate.  My paremts bought this house when I was nine.

 It was the first house they would own and I remember how proud we kids were.  It was quite well-known in the community.  It had belonged to the first doctor in the little mill town and so had a status that I didn't really understand at the time.  I only knew it was special.

I remember the the wide steps and the flat concrete tops on the side walls - not railings - that we would run down and then leap off onto the grass. At my wedding, my 10-year-old brother was found on these steps howling at the sky.  He'd helped himself to people's leftover glasses!  In the photo he's standing right on the flat top...quite sober, I think.  Not sure about the one behind the camera, though.  The tiny tree on the right  is the offspring of a huge walnut tree that was toppled in Typhoon Frieda. 

The back yard.  Where we picked cherries from this big old tree.  We ate as many as we could and still Mom had enough to can.  We got so tired of those canned cherries by the end of the winter.  It was always a cause for great joy when June brought the new crop.  My brother kept a chicken in this yard.  Dad had a vegetable garden.  Mom sewed in the sunroom where the big windows are to the right.

This is a side view.  That vine would turn bright red in the fall and was probably not good for the stucco underneath.  I didn't worry about those kind of things then.  We kids would play Kick the Can on summer nights and range all over the several blocks of our neighborhood.  In those days, every house had at least two kids and often more.  There were, ultimately, five in ours.  So, there was never a shortage of ideas for fun outside.  Which was where you wanted to be if you didn't want to get tapped for some chores around the house.  It was a big house and, looking back, I don't know how my mother had the strength or energy to raise us kids and keep the house so clean and tidy.  And she had a hankering to re-decorate every couple of years. 

The other day when we were on our drive to the countryside, we went by the old house.  It's still there and has lots of updating to the inside.  Not so much has changed on the outside, though the picket fence is gone.  You can see it here, if you're curious.  You could buy it for $549,900 if you like it.  I wonder how much Dad paid for it 56 years ago?  Not a question I ever thought to ask.  Wish I had.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A walk

Summer is lingering here with us.  It has become more common for September to be just another summer month...even the week before the official start of fall.

We went for a walk by a lake we rarely visit.  It's a bit of a drive to get there but so worth it.  It was so quiet in the woods that you could almost hear those leaves falling. 

It was a school day.  You can learn a lot from a day on the water.

You can study center of gravity and floatation and leverage and stuff like that.

 Maybe biology is more your subject?  Do those long bristles mean a cold winter ahead?

Whatever.  The day is warm and it's much better when you share it with friends. Just what we did. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday wonders - K

K is for Kiss.

This is what my mother used to leave each of us when she went out in the evening.  It didn't happen often but we had our kiss to put under the pillow.

I can't remember if I did this for my kids...they'll remember, I'm sure.

And, to prove that bloggers must suffer for their art, I had to put real lipstick on.  Haven't worn it in years but there was a tube at the bottom of the drawer.  Felt really weird.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Stash

I have had an interesting learning experience this week.  And all because I met a cat on Facebook. 

My niece was cat-sitting last weekend.  His name is Wesley and he's a Hairless cat.  Most of the comments were of the 'eew' variety and I confess I didn't warm up to him at first, either.  But, then, my knitter's fingers saw an opportunity.  He lives in a city with cold winters.  He needs woollies.  I researched Hairless cats and know way more now than I ever thought I needed to know.  I also found a couple of patterns for cat sweaters. 

This is Wesley's Hoodie.  It isn't meant for a cat like him but rather one with its own fur coat.  But I think he could wear over a thinner pullover.  Like when he goes out to play in the snow.  Do you think he needs legwarmers and boots, too?  Here is the pattern if you want to dress your cat in something other than doll clothes. 

I call this Wesley's Star Trek shirt because I can so see the young William Shatner on the Enterprise in this pullover.  It's very soft...I'm sure he'll love to wear it around the house.  Wesley has proven to be an able stash buster. I'm sorry that I don't have a cat to model these things.  They do look weird when they aren't on a body.

Not forgetting the people fashions, I started a pair of socks.  I'm using this pattern  by Sarah Wolf but I'm not wholly convinced that I'm using the right yarn for this pattern.  Maybe just a plain sock would be best.  Decisions, decisions.

And, last, a really easy scarf.  This is a variation on the Seafoam pattern.  You can find the pattern by  Kate Heister right here

I hope to have some photos of Wesley, man cat about town.  Just as soon as he gets his package in the mail. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fifty Fridays #7

This is the first time I've had for blogging this week.  That means a whole lot of visiting coming up.  Keep the tea kettle boiling, folks, I'm headin' over.

But first things first.  It's time for the Friday photo.  And this one makes me smile.  It is Easter Sunday and many years ago - as you can see.  That's my Mom and me before or after church.  I think we're standing in the back yard of our house.  I remember that back part stretched on and on into the woods. Dad would have taken the picture using my mother's lovely old bellows camera with the cool viewfinder that looked like a cube-shaped eye on top of the camera.  . 

My mother made all my clothes.  I thought all mothers did this.  And, of course, Easter meant a new dress.  My mother was very fashionable and enjoyed making clothes.  So, when she asked me what I wanted to have for my Easter dress,  I immediately said a mauve dress and a light gray coat.  Poor Mom.  She was so distressed.  I can remember how hard she tried to talk me out of that choice.  They were 'old lady' colors.  They were the colors that she remembered widows wearing when they came out of their deep mourning colors of blacks, then  into the less deep purples and dark grays until they got to these lighter shades.  Certainly not suitable for a 7-year old. 

But she relented and found a pretty mauve nylon seersucker.  I'll never forget how that fabric felt:  all pebbly when I ran my hand over it.  White ribbon ties and a light gray duster coat to go with it.  Oh, I was stylin' for sure.  I'm not wearing my hat but I remember it was a white straw with little white flowers.  You had to have a hat.

In this photo, I feel as grown up as I possibly could.  Check out my Mom's gorgeous dress.  And she has the de riguer white shoes.  It was Easter, after all.  Time to get out the white shoes, white gloves and store away all the winter stuff.  Me? I had black patent Mary Janes.  Oh, happy day! 

The bag Mom is holding was also a fascination for me.  It was hard-sided and made of gray - sort of silvery - snakeskin.  I loved that purse. 

Easter was always a big fashion day when I was a girl.  Is it still?  I don't think so as we can get new clothes whenever now.  And there don't seem to be the same fashion rules. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday wonders - J

J is for Jewels.

I don't have anything that I would consider jewels. I'm a very plain person, I think.  Or lazy.  Accessorizing is hard to remember to do and usually I don't bother.  Since I love to look  at jewels,  I'm very glad that Mother Nature always remembers to put on her shiny stuff each day.

I can walk out to the garden in any season and find something  beautiful.  Like these beautyberries. 

Or a blueberry leaf dressed for fall.

Diamonds are almost always on offer.

Maybe a cluster of black pearls is to your liking?

Right now the garden is getting ready to set out the winter wardrobe.  That means holly berries.

Who needs to buy jewelry when it's all around?  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday Stash

Another week flying by...

Another small crop of knitting produced and harvested for the donation shelves.  I did get out the sewing needle and put the puzzle sweater together for some little girl.  I like how it turned out and would make it again.  Think it would be better in wool with its fuzziness to help blend the shaping stitches. 

I finished the Wild & Woolly boot socks.  I really like them but they, too, are for the donation shelf. 

And since, I still had yarn left, I started another pair.  I'm hoping that by using both the green and the brown, I will have enough for a shorter, smaller pair of similar socks.  Believe it or not, the same green yarn is in both.  Funny what the camera does with available light.  The second sock is on the needles and now it's just a case of knitting fast enough to make sure the yarn doesn't run out.  That's how it works for me, anyway.  I can't wait to cross this bag of yarn off the inventory list. 

Today, I'm off to sit at a booth and explain our programs to interested seniors.  The sun is shining and I'll be knitting that second sock. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fifty Fridays #6

I love this week in the year.  It's back to school week.  It was my favorite time when I was a kid.

This is me and my brother setting off on what was probably the first full day of school in September.  I don't think we would have taken our lunchboxes if we weren't staying all day.  But I can tell you I was so proud of my Dale Evans lunchbox that I might well have carried it empty just to show it off.

My memory isn't the greatest but I think I was going into Grade 3 and my brother was just starting Grade 1.  We did not have kindergarten in those days so it would have been his first day in any kind of learning setting.
We had obviously done what kids have done every summer forever.  We grew.  We got tans.  We spent the hot, lazy days of summer playing with our friends and wishing - in alternate breaths - that school days would never come and that September would soon arrive.  Kids always think they can have it all.

This would be my last year at this school but I didn't know that yet.   I wonder if my brother even remembers that school as he only spent one year there.  Hmm...must ask.

When my kids were in school, this was my favorite week because I could look forward to the structure to my days that schooltime brings.  For kids and parents.  Bedtimes are mandatory, meals are more regular and, when they all get old enough, the door closed and I could have another cup of coffee and read a few pages or knit a few rows. 

Now, I know that in the next few minutes, I will hear their bright voices carrying through the open window as kids walk to the school a couple of blocks away.  I miss them during summer vacation.  The school year is still putting structure to my days. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Look who I found on my desk.

How can I get any work done with this cutie smiling at me? 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Wonders - I

I is for Interiors.

I admit that I am a pretty snoopy curious person.  I like to know what's going on behind the door. 

What's inside this sod house at L'Anse aux Meadows?

Looks like it could be a blacksmith's forge.  It was lovely and cool inside the earth walls.  I'm equally sure it would be one of the warmest places in the cold winter months.  

I think that's why I like the macro lens so much.  Flowers have an interior life that's always intriguing, always beautiful. 

This clever mural in a visitors' center fooled me.  It looks flat but each house painting is actually on a box.  The front doors open and you can see what the house looks like on the inside. 

This is interiors everywhere.  Reflections show what we're doing,  where we are, where we're going. Confusing but effective in it's way.

 It's easy to see the outside... it's more fun to take time to explore the interior.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Stash

This week I really got into the stash. 

Here are all the puzzle pieces .  Now all I have to do is put them together.  Ha, ha.  Always a lot easier said than done.  I used some purple yarn I bought in a thrift store on my little road trip last week.  The pattern uses three colors but I only had two that worked together.  So my third color is stripes!  Since pink and purple are all my 4-year old granddaughter wants to wear, it seemed perfect for this size 4 sweater.  It's not for her, though - this one will be donated.  When it's put together.   Soon.

I started a heavier wool sock than I normally knit.  This was a nice bit of stash left over from a young man's sweater.  I'm undecided whether it's for a man or a woman but I'm leaning towards the men's side.  And since it's going in the donation box, it's for anyone who thinks it fits.  

And...finally!  Those Woodstocks are almost finished.  Not quite because I need to re-knit the toe of the first one.  I made a short-row toe and a 3-needle bind-off since I had forgotten to take a needle with me to graft the toe.  I like the rib flowing to the end of the foot a lot better.  So, I'm going to do it again.  I must have known I would do that since I didn't sew in the end.  I like how these turned out but I'm not sure about the color blending.  Especially the second sock where the gold is joined to the yellow too abruptly when I started knitting in the round again.  But I do like knowing that I'm walking on words.  They came out as little black dots scattered among the stitches. 

The weather is changing.  Even though the sun is shining, I can feel fall just lurking around the corner. The light is becoming more golden and the air has a drowsy, wine-like quality.  There is a minor melancholy note underlying the warmth of the sun as if summer is sad to be leaving us. But go it must.  Time to make a rhubarb jam.  I'm experimenting with the last of the stalks from the garden.  Some onion, ginger, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and apples.  My last taste was pretty tart!  Hope the apples mellow it out. 


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