Friday, February 29, 2008

D is for Dunes

They may not be the tallest or the most spectacular, but the dunes at Matagorda Beach are my favorite.


I like them best for what you don't see in the picture--no man-made development. On the first mile of the beach there are a few homes, but no high rise hotels or condos. The rest of the 20+ miles is undeveloped.


On one side of the dunes is the beach and the Gulf of Mexico.


Behind the sand and sea oats is marsh and coastal pasture for cattle.


It's not uncommon to see cows grazing on the dunes.

(Photo by John)

I don't know if it will always be like this, but I hope so.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monkey Socks

I've been in a sock knitting rut lately, knitting only simple stockinette stitch. But no more! Here's proof that I can actually execute a yarn-over and even carry the stitch pattern across the instep. It's been a long time, I know.


Yarn: Pagewood Farm Hand Dyed Sock Yarn
Fiber Content: 70% Merino, 20% Bamboo, 10% Nylon
Color: Butterfly
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) DPNs
Start: 2/4/08
Finish: 2/20/08
Lifetime Total: 23


Of course, I had to stick to my preferred heel and toe: short-rows the PG-R way. It was a perfect match for these socks. I worked six repeats of the lace pattern, then began the set up for the heel. It always looks better to have about an inch of stockinette stitch before starting the short-row shaping. This required working one more repeat.

I don't think I caught the fever to knit multiple pairs of Monkeys like some people, but I did enjoy making them. The best part of these socks to me though is not the pattern, but the yarn. The bamboo content gives the yarn a silky feel. Heaven to knit with and oh so comfortable to wear. This is my favorite sock yarn so far.


My next pair of socks is well underway and they aren't stockinette stitch. See, I really am out of my rut.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Magically Simple Scarf

I first saw a scarf like this one knitted as a store sample in Ogden, Utah. If you purchased the yarn, the store threw the pattern in for free. This sales tactic worked. I bought the two hanks of Inca Alpaca it required for $8.00 each--a bargain, in my opinion, for such a luxuriously soft yarn.

Photo Styled

Two Color Inca Scarf
Yarn: 2 hanks Classic Elite Inca Alpaca (100% Alpaca)
Colors: 1124 (Blue), 1103 (Gray)
Needles: US 7
Size: 7" wide x 43.5" long
Started: 2/7/08
Finished: 2/19/08

Scarf In Action

This was a very quick and easy scarf to knit. It utilizes a stitch pattern that I call the prayer shawl stitch. If it has an official name, I couldn't find it, but it's the same stitch used in this pattern. Simply k3, p3 on the first row and then purl the knits and knit the purls on the second row. Change colors every two rows and an intricate design of stripes, blocks and columns fall into place like magic. You will notice (first picture) the scarf begins and ends with three rows of regular 3 x 3 rib.

Full Length View

This scarf is extremely soft with a nice drape; stretchy, but with plenty of memory to hold its shape; and completely reversible. All these qualities make it extremely versatile and will likely become one of my favorites to wear.

In fact, I will probably make it again. I think it would look good as a stash buster scarf, using lots of colors of whatever is on hand.

Friday, February 22, 2008


One day I may have to knit this pillow.

I think you know why.




Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm joining Margene and others in SpinKnit.


Everyone is invited. No special sign-ups. All you do is spin some yarn in February and then knit it in March.

I decided to spin a blend of Columbia/Dorset that I've had for a while. It's combed top which I have found to be a little more challenging to spin in the past. Usually I have a harder time drafting it evenly and I have to be extra careful not to put too much twist in it.

Straight Out of the Package (left) and Pre-drafted (right)

I didn't have too many problems this time though. And since I was shooting for a bulky weight two-ply to match some other handspun in my stash, the spinning went quickly, as will the knitting.

Two-ply Bulky

I plan to use this yarn and two others to knit a pillow. No need to spin a fine yarn for something like that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Two Days

Saturday was a washout weather-wise (threatening storms and tornado watches), so we stayed home for a change. I spent most of the day with a pair of knitting needles in my hand. The result: my scarf grew several inches and the second sock of a pair I haven't even blogged about yet is well underway.

Sunday was the complete of opposite of Saturday. It was a glorious day of sunshine and mild temperatures. So after church, I packed up my knitting, John grabbed his fishing gear and we headed out for our favorite place--Matagorda Beach.


See how much the scarf has grown from last week?


This is my mindless knitting project. It's super simple: K3, P3 one row, then knit the purls and purl the knits on the other row. It's the alternating colors that give this stitch pattern interest.

Classic Elite Inca Alpaca
Blue and Gray

And the socks I'm working on?


The ever popular Monkeys.

Pagewood Farm Hand Dyed Sock Yarn

I'll have more to say about these when they're finished, which should be soon.


John didn't catch any fish, but he had fun trying.

Friday, February 15, 2008

C is for Cloud

I enjoy clouds. Not the kind that block out the sunlight and make the day gray, but the ones that decorate a blue sky on a sunny day.

Fair Weather Cumulus
Rockport, Texas

Clouds are our mountains here in the flatlands. When they are low on the horizon, I imagine a snow covered mountain range in the distance.

Marsh Mountains
Matagorda, Texas

Clouds at sunset are pure drama.

Backyard Beauty
Needville, Texas

A few minutes later...


1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mason-Dixon Felted Box

From Start to Finish

Begin with yarn suitable for felting. Whatever you choose should be equal to two strands of bulky weight held together. I used one strand of Caron Felt-It and three strands of White Buffalo Canadian Unspun.

These colors look good together: Adobe and Goldenrod.

Get out your copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting and size 10 (6mm) needles. Turn to page 60 and follow the simple pattern. In just a few hours you will have knitted the whole thing.

That didn't take long at all!

Clever "fold lines" are the key to square construction.

Time to sew it up. You'll need a crochet hook for this part. Don't fret it though. No special knowledge of crocheting is needed. Step-by-step illustrations take you through the whole process. It's easy!

Looks a little crooked, but it will all straighten out in the wash.

Machine wash in hot water on the lowest water level setting with a little soap and a lot of agitation. Take it out when it looks right to you. Shape and allow to air dry (this might take a day or two). Trim off excess fuzz with scissors (my preference) or a disposable razor. Fill with treasures of your choice and enjoy.

All finished. That was fun!

This is the small box. Mine turned out to be 4" x 4" x 3". Just right for holding an assortment of Post-It Notes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Day Trip

Here I am in Rockport, Texas with my new *knitting project.


We drove over on Saturday to look around and to paddle the kayaks. I lived in Rockport when I was in high school. In 1978, my first summer job was at the Sea Shell Shoppe. Walking into that store this weekend, was like stepping back in time. Nothing had changed: the same shelves, the same layout and if I'm not mistaken, some of the same merchandise.

The Sea Shell Shoppe may not have changed much, but the town certainly has. It has grown and flourished. Tourism is still big business though. This time of year, the RV parks and vacation rentals are filled to capacity with people from colder climates. We used to refer to them as Snowbirds, but now we call them Winter Texans.

After our tour and my remembering how things used to be, we went to Goose Island State Park where we intended to paddle, but after checking it out, I changed my mind. While we were there, we stopped to see Big Tree.


It's surrounded by a fence to keep people from getting too close, so it's impossible to get a perspective of it's size. More impressive than its size to me though, is its age. It is estimated to be over 1000 years old.

Afterwards, we decided to check out Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail in Aransas Pass. We should have come here first. This type of paddling is what I'm most interested in.


You can't tell from the picture, but on the other side of the boat channel is a series of mangrove-lined estuaries. It's advised to paddle with a map of the trail and a GPS, as it's easy to get turned around in the maze of channels. We're coming back when we have more time. It was too late in the day to start out on a serious paddle.

As long as we were so close, we took the ferry across to Port Aransas. Drove out to the beach and walked along the jetty until about sunset, then found a nice restaurant on the harbor to eat dinner.


It was a very full and enjoyable day. Round trip (including all the driving after we were there): 370 miles.

* I'm working on a scarf. The stitch pattern is K3, P3 for one row, then P the knit sts and K the purl sts on the next row. Yarn colors are alternated every two rows creating an interesting design.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Nature Walk

Sun and blue skies, at last. What a blessing!


A nature walk at Brazos Bend was how I celebrated. I saw alligators, of course, and a few turtles, but the birds stole the show.

Elegant Blue Heron Looking for Fish

Creepy Black Vultures (Buzzards)

Beautiful White Ibis in Flight

Entertaining American Coot

Bottoms Up!

White Ibis Against a Clear Blue Sky

Male Cardinal Getting Ready for Spring

Hope the sun shines on you this weekend!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Chenille Washcloths

Knitted Luxury for the Bath


Classic Washcloth
The Knitter's Book of Yarn
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille
Needles: US 4

According to the designer, the key is to use a smaller needle than the yarn requires, and then machine wash and dry the cloth to tighten the fabric even more. It was a little hard on the hands to use size 4 needles with this yarn, but not too bad. My gauge was off and I should have gone down one needle size smaller, but I knew I could never manage that, so I just adjusted the pattern instead. Really, it's such a simple design, you don't even need a pattern at all.


Reverse-Bloom Flower Washcloth
Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille
Needles: US 6 Circular (16") and DPNs

For those of you who have not tried this pattern yet, the flower shape is achieved by knitting the garter stitch petals separately and then joining them together in the round. To finish, you work in stockinette stitch, with gradual decreases, to the center.

ETA: Thanks, Jean for locating the free pattern for the flower washcloth.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend Paddle

It was warmer on Saturday, so we took the kayaks to Matagorda. By the time we got to the water though, the weather began to change and our blue skies were replaced with gray.


We decided it didn't look too bad, so we launched anyway.


The transitioning sky entertained us as did the pelicans.


We spooked a couple of wild hogs and they swam across the channel to get away from us. It all happened too quickly to get a picture.

Soon it was too overcast for good pictures and the plan I had of photographing my new blue socks was put on hold. It has been gray and dreary ever since.

This morning the sun broke through the clouds just long enough for a couple of shots.


Simple Socks
64 stitches, Short-row heels and toes
Needles: US 1 (2.25)
Gauge: 8 stitches per inch
Yarn: Trekking (XXL)
Color: 77


I really like how the transition of color creates subtle stripes in the knitted fabric. And the blue makes me happy.

Won't it be wonderful when the sky matches the color of these socks? I'm so ready for that!