Saturday, May 28, 2005

Slowly But Surely

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The Meadow Flowers Shawl is growing, be it ever so slowly. Right now it measures 10 inches from the point to the edge. A more deligent knitter would be almost finished by now. However, I've decided not knit on it unless I know I have a good chunk of time to knit uninterrupted and I'm not too tired to concentrate. Lately, that means I haven't been working on it much. What I'm trying to do is avoid careless mistakes, because I've found that this yarn is really hard to "unknit". The long hairs tend to get knotted and it can become very frustrating to rip out. My plan--MAKE NO MISTAKES. Yeah, I know that's not going to happen, but maybe if I'm really paying attention I can catch a wrong stitch before I start a new row. So, this project may take some time to complete.
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I've been trying out some new preemie hat patterns. I'm not really sold on either of these. Although, I think they look better in the picture than in person. Maybe I should donate them afterall. If not, they will make cute hats for some little girl's baby doll.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Knitted Gift

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Last week my husband came home from work and handed me a manila envelope. "What's this?", I wondered. "Open it", he said. Inside was this apple cloth, knitted for me by one of his co-workers. She made it to go with my new mac laptop. Isn't it great? A special gift from one knitter to another. Even more special because it's the first thing anyone has ever knit for me. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Does Anyone Know What This Is?

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I bought this mystery treasure at the Comfort Antique Mall thinking it was a sock darner. But, now I'm not sure. You can see that the end comes off revealing a pick, something like a hat pin. I'm not sure what purpose this would serve in darning socks. I don't think the antique dealer I bought this from was exactly sure what it was for either. She had it labeled, "Vintage sewing implement made from horn". It was in the same case with the sock darners, but she had those labeled as such. This "darner" is small, only about 4 1/2 inches long and is made of horn. If anyone knows it's purpose or how to find out, let me know. I've searched, but so far have not found an answer. For now it will join my collection of darners.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Knitting Treasures

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Love this sign. Love this store. It's one of the yarn shops I visited on our trip to the Hill Country. Stonehill is in Fredericksburg, just down the road from Comfort. This town caters to tourists with B&B's, restaurants, and gift shops everywhere. Many interesting things to do and see here. Our time was limited so we made the best of it. First we ate lunch at Mamacita's. One of our favorites for Mexican food, especially the homemade flour tortillas, tacos al-carbon and the green sauce. Yum! Then, we headed for the yarn store. Stonehill carries quality merchandise for knitting, spinning, and rug hooking. The lady working the day we were there was very helpful and even showed us how to spin yarn on an Ashford wheel. It looked like so much fun that I ended up leaving the store with some rovings and a drop spindle, a book about spinning and a needle felting kit.
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The white roving comes from the store owner's merino sheep. It is so soft! I haven't had a chance to try out anything yet. But, I'll let you know when I do. Oh yeah, I also left with an Ashford catalog...maybe one day.

The other yarn store I went to was The Yarn Barn in San Antonio. This is a HUGE store. You really should schedule some time to see everything in here. They claim to have "Every Type of Needlework". This is not an exaggeration. Knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, etc.--it's all there. Since I had already loaded up in Fredericksburg, I only bought one skein of sock yarn and some size 0 dpns to knit these cute baby socks. I wish I had bought a set of bone knitting needles I saw there. They were reasonably priced at $20 a pair. But, I talked myself out of them, because afterall I really don't need them. Sometimes I'm just too sensible. When I was at the check out counter, I overheard a customer commenting that she had been to a lot of needlecraft stores all across the U.S. and that this store was the best she had ever seen. I got the impression they've heard that before.

Tune in tomorrow to see a little treasure I found in an antique store.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Texas Sheep Country

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Saw these sheep in Comfort, Texas. It was our wedding anniverary and my husband and I headed for the Hill Country, our favorite part of the state. We stayed in a cabin at The Feathered Horse Ranch B&B.
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What a beautiful place! My husband was able to do a little fishing in the creek nearby and I spent some time knitting and enjoying the view. Peace and quiet, just what we needed.
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Many people raise sheep in this area. There was even a pen of sheep in downtown Comfort right between two antique stores.
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How can you not love a town like that. This little get away also included a visit to a couple of yarn shops. I'll show you my treasures tomorrow.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Time To Knit

You may have noticed I haven't talked about knitting lately. That's because I haven't knit a stitch in a week--not one stitch. And, that's just not right. Time to knit! Hopefully the "hairy shawl" will get some attention later today. That's the plan anyway. Before the non-knitting week began, I finished this:
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It joined the Texas dishcloth (see the April 4 post for a picture) as part of a Texas-themed gift basket for a friend who will be moving to Colorado soon. The free patterns for these cloths and others are here. I think I'll try the sheep cloth next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bee Report

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The bee guy came today. He surveyed the situation and asked me, "Have the bees been bumping you or acting in any aggressive manner." "No," I replied. "Shouldn't be too bad then," he said. He then proceeded to suit up for the "extraction". He put on light colored coveralls, heavy gloves and boots. Then he tucked his sleeves into the gloves and his pant legs into the boots. And, for good measure wrapped these areas with duct tape. Of course he wore the traditional bee keeper hat with the netting which I think he tucked in also. I wanted to stay and take pictures, but I was wearing short sleeves and flip flops--not a good idea. I went inside and watched from the window. The "extraction", as he called it, is really just another way to say extermination (sorry, all you bee lovers). It took about 30 minutes of spraying before he knocked on the door to say he was through. He explained that since a lot of the hive was out foraging that I would still see bees because they would naturally be returning to the hive, even though it no longer existed. The spray he used deters as well as kills, so most of the bee activity should be gone in a couple of days. He'll be back then to caulk up the space so this won't happen again. In the meantime, he left me with a bee fact and some advice, "Bees are attracted to the output of carbon dioxide from a person's breath. So if you are ever attacked by angry bees, just hold your breath and run. That usually gives you enough time to escape." "Thanks," I said, "I'll try to remember that."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Proud Mom Posting and Bees Too

I took a break from knitting to attend this:

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My daughter just graduated from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas on Saturday! Somehow in just four short years she has managed to achieve a degree in two majors (Theatre and English) and a teaching certificate. I am blown away by her ability to carry such a heavy load of classes, be active in various organizations, perform in plays and be married all at the same time. She is an amazingly talented person (a knitter too). Now that she has graduated, what's next? Graduate school, of course. She and her husband are both working on master's degrees and plan to graduate (again) next May. We had a wonderful visit with the two of them. It was so good to have the family together. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen as often as we would like since Searcy is over 500 miles from here. Below is a picture of the graduate on Harding's beautiful campus:

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When we returned from our trip from Arkansas this is what we saw on our house:

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Swarming bees! If you squint a little, you can see them in the corner by the roof line. I couldn't get and didn't want to get any closer for the picture. We were told by a man who knows bees that they were looking for a place for the night and might move along in the morning. However, the bees liked what they found and are still here. So far they don't seem to be the aggressive "killer bee" variety that has been known to attack people and dogs in this area. We have someone scheduled to come take care of them. Hope it's soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hairy Shawl

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Here is the beginning of Meadow Flowers Shawl from Knitter's Statsh. I'm starting to wonder if the mohair I chose is a little too thick and hairy for the design of the shawl to show up properly. You can see the eyelet pattern in the sunlight, but it doesn't show up so well in normal indoor lighting. According to the instructions, the blocked size is about 30 percent larger than the unblocked one. That tells me the design will open up with blocking. Will it be enough? I have my doubts, but I will continue on because when it is finished it will still be soft and keep me warm. And, I will learn something in the process.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Newborn Hat Project

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Twisted Yarns is a great yarn store in the Houston area. It is located in Spring right on the way to Old Town Spring. And even though it is over an hour from my house, it is my favorite. The staff is friendly and helpful and the store is well organized and stocked. Recently I read about their Newborn Hat Project and decided to join. Basically all you do is stop by the store, sign up, take some free yarn and a free pattern or two and knit some hats. When you bring the finished hats back to the store, you will receive a coupon (one per hat) for $1 off any purchase. This project benefits St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in The Woodlands. I bet there is a hospital in your area that could use some newborn or preemie hats. Check with your LYS or local hospital to see if they have a program or start one of your own like Laura did. I came across her Preemie Project the other day. Her project currently sends donations of preemie hats, booties and blankets to a deserving hospital in Iowa. Click here to get all the specifics. Also, visit the volunteer page for links to some great patterns.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Good Day

A poem written for me for Mother's Day:

The Wool Winder

Fibers spun into a yarn
Sheep in meadow, field and barn

Birch-wood needles knit and purl
The ball winder's twist and whirl

Skein is stretched upon the swift
Row markers made just for a gift

Projects made to give away
Blessing someone day by day

It was a good, flowers, lunch at a favorite restaurant, time spent with family...and of course, some knitting too.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sheep Shots

Earlier this week my husband was in Utah and took these sheep pictures for me. He knows what I like!
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mother's Day Stitch Markers

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What are you sending your Mom for Mother's Day? My mom, a new knitter, will get a knitting gift that includes these four blue bead stitch markers (the shell marker is one I made for myself) plus some yarn and needles for a felting project. She has never felted anything before, but has expressed an interest in it. I know she will have fun with this. The markers were easy to make thanks to this great tutorial from Stacey. The instuctions are clear and simple and there are pictures too! The only problem I had was that I was unable to find split rings in the right size. The ones I found were either smaller than any knitting needle ever made or the size you would use to make key chains. You would think I could find such a thing in Houston, but no luck. I searched all the craft stores and even a hardware store. There is probably a store out there, but I didn't find it. Instead I used jump rings. They worked fine, but split rings would be better. I guess I will have to order some. If anyone knows a good source, let me know.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mitten Knittin'

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Sometimes I see a pattern and know that I have to try it out right away. That's how it was with these mittens. Thanks to Julia at Moth Heaven for sharing her design for these cute child-size mittens. What a talented knitter! I like the way she designed the thumb opening to be extra large, making it easy to slide on little hands. Go get the pattern and knit a pair for the Dulaan Project.