Friday, September 30, 2005

Slipped Rib Hat

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You will notice that this hat bears little resemblance to the picture on the pattern. That's because I never could get the rhythm of the slipped ribbed design. S1, k1, sl1, p2. Sounds easy enough, but for me, it became tedious. So, I did a couple of repeats of this and then finished up with straight ribbing. Later I realized I was reading too much into the instructions of how to slip the stitch, so that part doesn't even look like it's supposed to. I decided not to be a perfectionist and leave it as is. This hat is tiny and will fit a 1-3 lb baby. Yarn: Caron Cuddle Soft. Needles: size US 3. Cast on 60 stitches. I have one more hat to show you tomorrow. Until then, more sky pictures...
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blue Sky Hat

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This is another hat I loved making. It is simply called Knitted Newborn Hat, though I will always think of it as the Blue Sky Hat. I used Cotton-Ease for the yarn and size US 7 needles. The pattern is written for straight needles, but I adapted it to dpns. My hat will fit a 6-8 lb baby. I'll be making this one again.

The day I took this picture was the day many people were venturing out to see the damage and destruction that hurricane Rita had caused. The same storm that brought angry clouds to parts of Texas and Louisiana also produced this beautiful sky in the Texas Hill Country. What a sharp contrast. Something like the way I was feeling. Grateful to be safe and to know our town was spared. Sad and concerned for those that were not so lucky. Humbled is a good description. I tried to capture the beauty of this sky in pictures. I'll share a few later. But for now another picture of the Blue Sky Hat:
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My idea with this picture was to get a good shot of the sky in the backgroud, but the horse came over to investigate. I was afraid he would eat the hat so I took the picture really fast. A better shot than planned. And, the hat was safe. All he wanted was for me to pet him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Our Refuge from the Storm

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Our evacuation was stressful and tiring, but once we arrived, we began to recover and relax. We were blessed to find refuge in such a beautiful place, Feathered Horse Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Comfort, Texas. Everyone staying here had evacuated from the Houston area. This B&B is unique in that it has facilities for boarding horses. Two families traveling together had evacuated with two small children, three dogs and six horses. Can you imagine what they went through to get here? While we were here we took advantage of the quite countryside and really did nothing at all. It was just what we needed to prepare for our trip back. I found plenty of time for knitting and was able to make some more hats to finish up New Hat Week that I started before we left. Some I liked and some I didn't. But, I'll show you all of them here this week along with some more pictures of the Texas Hill Country.

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This was one I really liked, Hat For Newborn Baby. I didn't change anything in the pattern and it knit up easily. The yarn I used is Red Heart Baby Teri. It has a nice soft texture. Unfortunately, I cannot find it in the stores anymore. This hat has an interesting shape that reminds me of a pixie hat. You could knit it plain without the eyelet row if you wanted. Either way would be nice. This hat will fit a 3-5 lb baby.

Correction: I forgot that I did change one thing. I knitted this hat in the round on dpns in the recommended sizes. I adapted it myself, but here it is already done for you. I really should pay better attention.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Safe and Sound

There is so much to tell of our evacuation from hurricane Rita, it is hard to know where to start. Last week Rita was a category 5 storm predicted to come on land in Freeport, TX and head north right over our house in Needville. We decided it was not safe to stay, so we hitched up the travel trailer and hit the road early Thursday morning. Our son drove behind us in the Tracker with the two dogs. It was the beginning of a very long day. An experience we will never forget.

My sister lives in Houston and was leaving too. We made plans to meet along the way and to eventually end up in Comfort, TX which is about 40 miles west of San Antonio. We expected traffic to be bad, but little did we know what was in store for us. We made good progress for a while and then we hit stop and go traffic that was more stop than go. It is no exaggeration to say we were inching along. We were lucky to be pulling a trailer so we could take bathroom breaks. Other people were searching out bushes and the few stores that were open were packed. We tried to keep in touch with my sister by cell phone. The system was overloaded and it was rare that we could get through. Text messaging worked and though cryptic at times, we could tell that our plans of meeting along the way would have to be abandoned. We continued on as did she, hoping to make some progress and to find some gasoline along the way.

We saw a lot of good and bad on our journey. One of the kindest things: a family had set up a table along the side of the road and was handing out free iced tea and water. One of the rudest and most dangerous things: people driving around the stopped line of traffic on the shoulder or in the wrong lane (we called them cheaters) and others fed up with it, pulling into the way to block them. We never saw a wreck, but I know there were some because we saw lots of ambulances.

Some more of what we saw in pictures:

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Miles and miles of Texas at a snail's pace.

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Very high temperatures. The highest we saw on our truck's thermometer was 108 degrees. When we were stopped in traffic, we had to turn off the engine to save gas. It was very hot! Some people could not use their air conditioning at all for fear of overheating their engine.

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Long lines at gas stations. This station did not even have gasoline. People are in line simply because they cannot go any farther. They are hoping for a delivery of gas. At this point our guage is sitting at 1/2 tank. Every town we have been through was out of gas. There is no way to know if we can find gasoline anywhere. However, we can tell that traffic is moving well on I10 due to the fact that all lanes are now open in one direction. We decide to continue on and pray that we will find gasoline.

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Smooth sailing...for a while. The contra-flow really helped traffic to move along. You can see the cars driving west in the east bound lane. A strange sight. We can even drive at normal highway speeds! The guy with his legs hanging out the window expresses how relaxed we feel now, because we were able to find gas for both vehicles. We had called ahead to a station we often stop at and were told they had gasoline. But, by the time we arrived they were out. We were down to 1/4 tank now--not enough to make it to Comfort. We decided not to get in line at the truck stop that had gasoline because there were about 200 cars waiting. We were afraid the tanks would be drained by the time it was our turn. Five miles later we found gas! Now we have enough to make it.

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Contra-flow ends. Once again we hit stop and go traffic where I10 returns to two way traffic. You can see the cheaters crossing the median and generally causing dangerous situations for everyone. But, God is good and he gave us a beautiful sunset to take our mind off of the chaos.

In the end it took us 16 hours to travel a little over 200 miles. In normal situations it would have taken us around 4 hours. As for my sister, it took her 16 hours to drive 30 miles! This barely got her out of the city. She spent the weekend with friends near where we live. By this time, Rita had changed course and our area was out of danger.

We returned home yesterday. I don't think we even got a drop of rain here. It could have been so much worse. Our prayers are with those who were not so lucky. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Hat Week: Day 3

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I chose today's hat, Spiral Preemie Cap, mainly because it looked like it would be quick to knit. It is. The only changes I made to the pattern were to use size US 7 needles and to add a crocheted chain topper similar to the one here. This cute hat will fit a 3-5 lb baby. And just in case you were wondering, the yarn I used is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, but any worsted weight would do.

I have the next hat already started, but I'm not sure it will get finished today or even posted. I live near Houston and as you have heard, hurricane Rita is heading our way. Today I will try to get things prepared for us to leave. We are not in an evacuation area, but HIGH winds are expected here and we're not interested in staying around to see that. Pray for those in the path of this storm.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tea Cozy Hat

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This hat is simple to knit although it seemed to take longer to make than some. It is a repetition of three rows (knit, purl and knit). Using Bernat Baby Softee and size US 5 needles, I cast on 36 stitches and worked the pattern even (no decreases) until it was as big as I wanted. After binding off, a simple whip stitch joined the cast on edge to the bound off edge. I now had a tube of ribbed fabric. To close the top, the pattern says to "thread tail onto tapestry needle and gather top tightly and secure tail". This is where I changed things. My hat would have been too tall otherwise. So, instead I ran a thread through the ribbing about an inch down from the top, gathered it tightly and secured. I then added a twisted cord as an embellishment and folded up the cuff. Here's how it turned out:
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I like this funnel style even better than the original hat! This hat will fit a 6-8 lb baby, but you could easily adjust the Tea Cozy Hat to fit any size head.

Monday, September 19, 2005

New Hat Week

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I want to thank Ruby for directing me to the pattern for this cute hat. I saw it on her blog the other day and decided to give it a try. This hat comes in two variations. The version I made is called Seed Stitch Hat. This is a good pattern that I will use again. I made it according to the directions and ended up with a hat that will fit a 3-5 lb baby. I think it looks a little like a muffin from the bakery.

There are lots of free patterns on the internet for preemie hats. I know, because I have collected a binder full! So this week's knitting focus will be to test some those. I'm calling it New Hat Week. I will knit only hats that I have never tried before. I hope they all turn out as cute as today's hat. We'll see. I can't guarantee a new hat everyday, but I'm going to try. I leave you with a picture of Monday's hat as viewed from the top. The decreases create a pretty spiral.
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mail Time

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These baskets live on the hearth in my living room. The rice basket on the left is for my current knitting project (right now it's the shawl). Everything else is for TPP. The three grass baskets hold the yarn I use to make hats, booties and gowns. And the canvas basket is where I keep finished objects for TPP. As you can see, the FO basket is full and so it is time to box it all up and put it in the mail. This donation will be all the pumpkin items I worked on last week. I was able to make 15 blankets and 2 pumpkin hat sets like the one in the picture below. You've seen this before, except this time I used green yarn for the cuff. I think it's cuter than solid orange.
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Football Score: Needville 49, Edna 14

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sewing Day

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I'm getting better at sewing and faster too. I cut out and sewed eight small blankets for TPP today. Since I could never find any pumpkin print flannel or fleece, I used a regular cotton print (for cuteness) on one side and a cotton flannel (for softness) on the other side. I like that combination a lot. I thought about adding a blanket stitch along the edges. But after giving it a try, I decided it looked better plain. I still have enough fabric to make a couple more blankets and just enough orange yarn for a pumpkin hat or two. I'll see what I can do with that tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Not Forgotten

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I was able to spend a couple of hours knitting on the shawl yesterday. It now measures about 22" in length, the width is anybody's guess. I still have a little yarn left in the first ball, but I'll be pulling out the swift and the wool winder for the second hank soon.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday's News

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A hat for TPP. Flower from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments.

In other news, John is home from Mississsippi. His group helped many people remove trees from homes and driveways. It is estimated that 100,000 trees were uprooted in the small community of Tylertown. Residents are working hard to get things back to normal. It will take some time and more hard work, but they will do it. As John's group left, the real support teams were arriving, people to clear trees from power lines and to get the electricity turned on.

And, for those who were wondering, there was victory on the football field on Friday night. Needville 42, VanVleck 13. A homecoming win is always a good thing.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In Memory of 9/11

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This mural was painted on a building in our town not long after the attacks in 2001...lest we forget...we will never forget.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's Addicting

Sometimes I get started knitting baby hats and I just can't stop. This frilly one will look sweet on a baby girl:
Ruffled Hat
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This one is knit in blue for a boy:
Jester Hat
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I made this one a couple of weeks ago:
Square Hat
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I like them all.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Pumpkin Hat

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Another set for TPP pumpkin patch. Won't the babies look cute wearing these? I used this pattern for the hat and this one for the booties.

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments about my husband's trip to Mississippi. John left a thank-you in the comments section of my last post (he's signed in as dj wooly bugger, a nickname given to him by our son-in-law...a long story). He and his group arrived safely in Tylertown, MS on Monday evening, so yesterday was their first day to help with the clean-up. From what I hear, it is encouraging to the residents just for them to be there. John's job is to cook the meals for his group, about 20 of them I think. I'm hoping to hear an update later today.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Meeting Goals

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The shawl has been on hold for a few days while I've been knitting hats and booties for TPP. A last minute request went out to volunteers to make just a few more so we could meet our September target. We were also asked to make large sized blankets which we were low on. The response was good and assignments were made. I am confident we will complete our goals. Every two months we will try to provide 136 hat/bootie sets and 125 blankets to The University of Iowa Hospital and Cinics. We were told that 800 babies come through their NICU every year. It is our hope to provide each baby with a hat, a pair of booties and a blanket. It's a huge undertaking and we could always use some help. Laura delivered our first donation on Friday. I'm excited to hear how that went and to see all the pictures.

The news about the devastation caused by Katrina has saddened us all. Today my husband is traveling to Mississippi with a group from work. They are bringing supplies, physical help and encouragement to fellow employees hit by this storm. Last week it wasn't certain if they would be able to secure gasoline along the way, but that has all been worked out. They will be arriving late tonight and staying for a week. The work will be hard, but they are ready to help in any way they can. I am praying that their efforts will comfort those in need.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

For Robyn

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A picture (sorry it's blurry) of your brother directing the band in 20 minutes of For Your Eyes Only for Parent's Night. Does that bring back memories? I saw Matt checking his watch and Mrs. Amos shaking her head each time the brass came in too early. They finally perfected it by the end though...good thing because this is one of their show tunes.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Parents Night begins pre-game with the introduction of each football player and his parents, with pauses for pictures. Each player presents his parents with a gift provided by the booster club. Cheerleaders and parents are also introduced. The whole time, the band is providing the never ending background music. It's a long time to direct--it's a long time to play. But wait, there's more at half-time. Band parents join their children on the field and seniors and their parents are introduced. Then, everyone marches off to the fight song, ending with the little salute and "JAYS" (Robyn knows what I'm talking about).

This week we were playing Sealy. It was a close game and the Jays led for most of it, but in the end they we were not able to ring the victory bell. Final score, 17-14. Missed an easy field goal in the last minutes of the game. Next week is Homecoming.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Finding Beauty

When reading Margene's blog yesterday, I learned that Donna has challenged everyone to find something beautiful one mile from their home and post it on their blog. A good idea, I thought, so I took a walk this morning and came up with these pictures:

A Tree Lined Street
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School Pride
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American Pride
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Turk's Cap and Butterfly
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A Collection of Rocks and Fossils
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Look around. I know there is something beautiful in your neighborhood.

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