Thursday, September 29, 2005

Not a "plain" old trip

Ellen and Naomi,
On the way to the workshop on Monday, I spotted a fence of what I thought might be morning glories, but they are not as large as the flower that I know of as the flower. Growing on a fence in front of a trailer, this plant has been there for a while. On my journey back on Tuesday, I stopped by and took this picture. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so the flowers did not shine like they did the first morning, but pretty all the same – it covered the entired length of the fence and the flowers were pink, purple and white? Any clue to the name???

The four day workshop was very good – long, but good, and memorable in the fact that we were in this town:

Now, dear friends, Plains is a small town, very small and with the exception of a few stores that have antiques, Carter memorabilia, and a few eating establishments (no chains – all local restaurant/cafes), one is limited into what one can do. However, the Plains Inn is the charm in this small town. The name in itself is quite ordinary for an extraordinary place. Created from a renovated old warehouse, this inn is a bed and breakfast with each room decorated in a decades theme from the 1920s to the 80s. Each room has a distinct personality and relics from that particular decade. The 1950s room has the following:
All rooms were decorated by former first lady Rosalyn Carter and the renovations of the warehouse were done by Jimmy Carter along with some inmates. Each room had a notebook where guests could sign and tell a little about their stay and themselves. Truly a delight to read the stories of people visiting this little community.

Knitting did take place in the form of dishcloths for Katrina, along with a little sock work. However, I still don't have something right on the back of the sock, and it won't take much to rectify it. Unfortunately the knitter didn't get it right, because she thought there MUST be an error in the directions. Looking at a similar sock pattern, the first one must have been correct, so a little tinking never hurt anyone.

Naomi, I remember seeing the Cereus last year. It must be happy on your porch.
I have more pictures and more stories, but I am tired and will post more later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


This is my third attempt. I manged to lose the first two.

The Cereus bloom is about 8 inches in diameter. If only there was a way to preserve it. It is completely closed by mid-morning.

Ellen the socks are impressive, awesome. Socks appear more difficult to me than lace knitting.

I was sorry to see the Bob Dylan special end last night and am looking forward to the second half tonight. While watching I complete my 4th washcloth and started a scarf.

Irresistable Quiz

Dear Cathy and Naomi - According to this quiz I am Shetland Wool, "tough as nails and prone to intracacies." My daughter concurs, but only if "intracacies" means "quirkiness."

Here are the knitted surprises! Red socks, for the Red Sox fans of the family. I finished them in time for the playoffs, but right now it looks like the Red Sox will finish their season before the playoffs. I really enjoyed knitting the pair on the right. They are Knit Pick's Sock Garden in Geranium, and I used #1 dpns in a basic top-down pattern. The wool is a pleasure to knit. The dark red socks are Knit Picks Essential sock yarn, which struck me as adequate but not exciting.

Here is a glimpse of the no-longer-pink bathroom. I got it painted last week (in time to show off the tile and paint to our company) and the plumber is installing fixtures as I type. Maybe tomorrow there will be a picture of a claw-footed tub.

Naomi, I loved reading about your garden. Please get some pictures, especially of the night-blooming cereus. My Muhly grass is just starting to bloom, and the dark-blue plumbago is covered with blooms. The cuphea is getting ready to bloom for the second time this season, and the tibouchina (pictured above) continues to be just about the prettiest thing I've ever seen. Both the leaves and flowers are covered with silky hairs that reflect the light.

Did either of you see the first half of No Direction Home, the show about Bob Dylan, last night? It made me so nostalgic, and also made me think that the current celebrity-obsessed culture has damaged popular music. There doesn't seem to be lot of interesting music now, in the way that Dylan was interesting and relevant. The show continues tonight, and it will be available on DVD.

I went back to the second Twisted Rib sock, and added a few more rows to the shawl. Second-sock guilt is stronger than second-sock syndrome; unfinished projects feel like failures to me.

Let me know what kind of wool you are.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Lost in Space

As soon as I master not losing my blog I will learn to attach pictures. Yes I wrote a blob last night in my usual rambling style and then began editing to tighten it up. I am still looking for it.

My Salvia 'Andrew' is flourishing right now and the hummingbirds are really enjoying the red blooms on the 4 feet tall plants. It was a passalong from a friend whose son developed it while he was studying horticulture in Texas. In a sheltered southern corner it has survived the winter here and played host to Rufous hummingbirds in mid-December. My Beautyberry, Callicarpa, is sparkling with purple berries but they aren't as pretty when the birds deposit them on my car. I have been parking the car right by the door for convenience forgetting that the cable wire is overhead. Twyla, the Night-blooming Cereus has another bud. The third time to bloom this year.

The second member of my household is Priscilla, my husband's cat, who is commonly called Miss Priss or the Princess. Yesterday afternoon she visited her Aunt Beth and family to get acquainted with the three dogs. She will be staying with them next month while I enjoy a short stay in the hospital.

Three washcloths have now been knitted and a fourth started. The grey shawl is beginning to show some progress. Still do not know how I casted(or is it cast?) on 70 stitches when I only needed 62.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I think I can...I think I can....

Ellen, and Naomi,
I know, I the making is a S O C K.

What you don't see is the NEXT part which I have made a mistake on the heel. The purl side is showing up on the wrong side and it doesn't look right in addition to that, but I can rip that sucker out.
Here is a good resource for sock directions - step by step with PICTURES!

After the first inch, it does get easier. Tomorrow, if I don't back out, the sock goes to a Presidential town.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Epicurean Delights

Well, as I type this, Ellen and her husband are in the midst of an epicurean feast. In Ellen's posting several days ago, she presented the menu for this evening. I went a-huntin' for a picture of one of those recipes and I could find SOME of the recipes, but not all, and NO pictures. I think it only fair that we get a picture of at least ONE of the meals. We can live vicariously through the blog.

I need to finish the baby afghan - I don't think I will knit something with an edge to attach to the body again. It's beginning to loom over my head and becoming a monkey on my back.

Two more Cloths for hurricane relief - don't think we can call is Katrina again. Here is a good site to check out for stories by individuals of the storm.


Friday, September 23, 2005

This blog is hoppin'

Welcome Naomi to blogdom!! And a wonderful introduction! Yes, Naomi and I have known each other for some time - 20 years! She has seen my children grow up and they are catching up with her in age!

Naomi has had quite the past year - one that has presented challenges and she has taken them head on - with spunk! Before you know it, you will be not only Master Gardener, but Master of your Garden! Just think of you allowing the weeds to be free spirits at the moment!

ON another note - the state of Georgia has announced that all school close for next Monday and Tuesday because of the gas shortage. I am in amazement because they do not take closing school lightly so this unprecedented. We have closed because of near misses on hurricanes, but not indirectly like this. WOW

Cloths for Katrina will surely become Cloths for Rita also, and I can knit a cloth coming and going to practice.... almost..... I was just shy of being finished.

Ellen, hope the gourmet dinner goes well.... we will need a review of how it went.

The Garden Curmudgeon Steps Out

Welcome, Naomi, it's great to have a gardening expert on board. Since we are expanding the role of gardening in our little commentaries, let me reveal my alter-ego: the Garden Curmudgeon! My biggest complaint about garden writing is that much of it is just so chirpy! Serious gardeners know that real gardening is full of hard work and disappointment, a regular Pilgrim's Progress complete with a Slough of Despondency. As the Garden Curmudgeon, I will attempt to share some of the many trials of gardening, and some of the few, bright satisfactions.

On the knitting front, the surprise project has been completed and mailed. It should reach its destination by Monday so a picture will be forthcoming on Tuesday. Now I can get back to some unfinished projects--the single twisted rib sock waiting for a partner, the silk and cashmere shawl--or I can just start some new socks with the beautiful Sockotta yarn that Cathy gave me last night. No, I must be strong and clear out some of the backlog!

Cathy, I hope you and Naomi have a great weekend. I doubt I'll get to much gardening or knitting; the dinner party looms, and I have neither cleaned nor cooked. Instead of dusting I think I'll set out candles and turn off the lights.


New Girl on the Block

This is my maiden voyage into blogland. Little biographical information: I became a widow April 28th of this year and am still adjusting to the new status after 50 years of marriage. My family consists of four adult children, two in-laws and a significant other, eight grandchildren and some of them are now adults plus one great grandchild. Quite an accomplishment for someone 39 years old! My last gainful employment was as a librarian at Bainbridge College. I enjoy a variety of crafts and have ambitions to become an artist. In 2003 I realized a longterm ambition and completed the Master Gardener program. Unfortunately a spinal cord injury last year has hampered my gardening efforts and my major crop right now is weeds but they are prize winning weeds. I have completed three knitted washcloths toward our goal of 50 for the washcloths for Katrina victims. Knitting is my second language, crocheting was my first. My grandmother taught me to crochet before I was old enough to go to school. I taught myself to knit after my fourth child in six years was born. Sitting down to knit was a chance to catch my breath and not appear lazy. Obviously I did not have the best teacher but I continue to learn. Articles on gardening for the local newspaper count as volunteer hours needed to maintain status as an active Master Gardener. One thing I have learned is that it is harder to write about gardening when you are not actively gardening. Incidentally, I am expected to fully recover from the injury and I am looking forward to actively digging in the dirt again soon. Unlike Cathy and Ellen who have beautiful voices, singing is not me-my husband described my singing as one note, flat and off key. I have mentioned knitting so have been on topic briefly but wanted to introduce myself. Cathy has known me for 20 years so she knows even more about me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Dear Ellen,

Check out Sandy's Knitting, go outside (better yet - go up to the top of the Capitol building with your digital camera - or wherever), take a picture of the sky, leave a comment with Sandy's Knitting, and become eligible for the drawing of some yarn. Looks like fun to me. I did it.

Hmm extreme knitting...wonder if you can get a picture done with some top government official or at the Governor's front door :) hehehe.

Ok, enough silliness - work calls and see you tonight. Hope next week I can afford the gas to go to practice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dear Ellen,

We would have loved for you to have been our token out of towner at our KNIT-IN, but believe it or not, we had someone come in that was only a mile or two from where you live come to the meeting! You two could have carpooled (btw gas is 2.55 at the state line). Your epicurean feast that you posted in your last letter made me a bit envious - I know it must be lots of fun to gather with friends with a specially designed menu and partake in culinary delights. This evening at the knit-in, I had chicken alfredo with sun dried tomatoes and artichokes, and I must say that it was quite tasty. The other choice was eggplant rollitini.

Eight of us sat after we ate and knitted away at the cloths for Katrina. Now I want to say this. Rita, we would be more than happy if you dissolved and petered out before coming to any land. The last thing we need is for the Gulf Coast to be battered again. Methinks that my wish will fall upon deaf ears and Rita will do what it pleases when it pleases. Let's hope something will take the wind out of its sails.

The person that came from your neck of the woods is quite the knitter and likes to knit socks on circulars. She also is a retired English teacher and likes to knit Aran sweaters. Perhaps you might mosey up with her at our next October 4 meeting. Would love to have you.

I attempted to begin the Kiri Shawl last night, but it was not to be as I kept getting to one point and couldn't find out why something wasn't working.

Unfortunately, the news will focus on the inevitable this week. Sort of like the movie Groundhog Day....
I look forward to seeing your completed project. I feel like a broken record right now (will the children of this generation KNOW what a broken record sounds like?) - I have now made 12 washcloths....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wishing for Fall

Dear Cathy - The plants in the front of the picture are what I brought home from Just Fruits. They aren't agaves; I was afraid the agaves would get big and become a safety hazard to anyone walking to the front door. These are yuccas, but unlike Spanish Bayonets, they don't have sharp points on the leaves.

Despite the heat I did some gardening this weekend. I planted the yuccas, spread mushroom compost on low spots in the lawn, junked two roses that had been growing in pots (they were succumbing to old age and neglect) and fixed the low voltage lights. All except fixing the lights got done before noon, so as to avoid the worst of the heat.

I also planned the menu for the dinner party. Gary and I have participated in a "gourmet" club for about 15 years in which 4 or 5 couples (we've had some membership changes) get together about 8 times a year, with each couple taking turns hosting and planning the menus. The host couple provides drinks and the entre, and assigns the other dishes. Here is the menu for Saturday:
The Multi-Source Menu

Green Pea Soup with Garlic and Herbs
Kitchen of Light
Beef Tenderloin with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
Bon Appetit (
Roasted Vegetable Torte
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Buttermilk Yukon Golden Mashed Potatoes
Everyone Can Cook
English Cheddar-Plum Tart
The Tallahassee Democrat

I have nearly all of the menus plus recipes for all the dinners we have ever done. It could be a cookbook, but I really don't think the world needs another cookbook.
Fall Favorites
I'll take up your fall favorites challenge, although fall seems like a distant dream.
Favorite fall dessert: Apple pie made with fresh apples.
Favorite fall holiday: Halloween, although we never have many trick-or-treaters.
Best fall memory: Going back to school. When I lived in Virginia you could count on a significant change in the weather by late September, no matter how hot is was on Labor Day weekend, when you were moving your stuff into the dorm or apartment.
Worst fall memory: 9/11/2001
Most puzzling fall memory: I'm puzzled.
Best thing about fall walks: There is a different smell because of the drier air and changes in vegetation.
Favorite fall chore: Hanging ghosts in the tree.
Least favorite fall chore: Watering the garden--fall is drought season in North Florida
Best change in the home: Turning off the AC and opening the windows.
Favorite flower: Barleria is covered with purple blooms for about a week in the fall.
Best tree in the fall: I have a beautiful Japanese maple that turns fabulous colors every year at Christmas. For fall, I think the hickory trees have the best color.
Fall ritual: Going to the Southern Economics Association meetings with my husband. We always see lots of friends.
Most frustrating thing about fall: Just when the weather gets nice the days get short.
Favorite childhood game: Roller skating (on the sidewalk)
Favorite childhood memory: Field trips to the National Gallery of Art.
Favorite decorations: Pineapple ginger flowers; they last for weeks after they are cut.
Favorite clothing: Wool socks, once it is cool enough.
Best scenery: I made trips to the midwest (Ohio, Western PA, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri) to visit colleges with both my daughters in October. The fall color up there really puts North Florida to shame.
Best fall travel tip: My best tip is to avoid the Skyline Drive in Virginia on fall weekends.
Favorite drink: I don't really have a fall drink, but at some point I switch from iced tea to hot tea.
Traditional fall candy: Candy corn!
Favorite Sound: The outdoor sounds that can be heard after you turn off the AC and open the windows.
Fall song/hymn: We Gather together to ask the Lord’s Blessing
Reliable prediction: Sometime in the middle of October I'll hear someone complain about how hot it still is, and I'll remind them that you can't count on it being cool inTallahassee until after the fair. Some years it isn't even cool then.
Best fall television show: Monday Night Football. I love John Madden!
I made really good progress on the project this weekend. I expect to ship it out by Wednesday, and I'll post a picture a few days later.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Transformation and Fall Questionnaire

Dear Ellen,
A transformation has occurred. I would have been able to identify the prior color of your bathroom a mile away. The new colors of the bathroom are more soothing and as for the color of the walls, I am a chicken. My sense of color is not the greatest so I tend to stay bland and not take risks. I know what looks good, but I can't always put it together to make it look good myself.

Just Fruits and Exotics. I love that place and have been there on several occasions. We must see your front entry way of the new agave plants.

I continue to plug away at Cloths for Katrina. I did take a brief reprieve last night and cast on for a sock, and actually knitted 2-3 rows and realized I had twisted it - and so had to rip the confounded thing out. So far socks have eluded me, but I SHALL OVERCOME.....

Holes.... you know it is interesting you have to pay for something and they make you dig a hole - something is wrong with that picture. But since you were digging SOIL, I guess it makes it worth it :)

Well the world of blogdom has a questionnaire floating around so I will post it on here. It's a fall themed one so thought it would be interesting for us to share how we see the world as the autumnal equinox soon passes by.

Favorite fall dessert: My grandmother’s apple cake – email me and I will send you the recipe. Lots of pecans since we are in the heart of pecan country.

Favorite fall holiday: Thanksgiving. Turkey, cornbread dressing, broccoli casserole, apple pie. And, at night, a turkey sandwich on WHITE bread and a coca-cola – no diet coke tonight! Not to mention the required nap in the afternoon.

Best fall memory: There is something about the angle of the sun in the fall that I love. I can see the change in September. Excitement is in the air with football, homecoming parades, and anticipated holidays.

Worst fall memory: Probably when I went home from school after the assasination of JFK and saw the maid ironing and crying in front of the tv.

Most puzzling fall memory: My memory fails me on this one.

Best thing about fall walks: Fall doesn’t last long here, but there is something about kicking up the leaves and hearing the crunch they give when the weather cooperates. The summer humidity leaves (sort of) and allows the drier weather that we get with the cool/ occasional cold fronts come through our way.

Favorite fall chore: Taking logs into the fireplace

Least favorite fall chore: Laundry - and that is for every season

Best change in the home: The first fire of the season, even when we truly do not need it.

Favorite flower: Mums in the fall come to mind

Best tree in the fall: Sweetgums have pretty leaves in the fall. On the downtown square there is a gingko tree that sometime in November has the most beautiful yellow leaves on the tree. Then they all fall at once and there is a yellow blanket underneath the tree, waiting for a child to sit on them to get a fall picture.

Fall ritual: Almost fall - our church grape stomp

Most frustrating thing about fall: The anticipated very short days of winter and the winter funk sets in.

Favorite childhood game: Loved jumping in the leaves

Favorite childhood memory: I remember my dad getting all of the kids to rake the yard and he would give away prizes (method to that madness).

Favorite decorations: Indian corn

Favorite clothing: Doesn’t change much here from summer, but I have a couple of sweaters I do like, and I love my flannel gown.

Best scenery: The hills between here and Tallahassee

Best fall travel tip: Do I travel in the fall? Hmmmm, teaching seems to get a little in the way of that, but I do remember a great cruise my mom and I went on two years ago. I did notice that my photos had a different look in the fall in the same tropical place because of the sun’s location. I do enjoy the beach in the fall and winter better than the summer.

Favorite drink: Again, I have had REAL cider before and it is wonderful. The best we can get is hot apple cider.

Traditional fall candy: Somehow I do love Candy corn

Another blogger remembered Kraft Fudgies – Hadn’t see them in a long time, but do remember them. I loved the texture and flavor. Wonder if Vermont Country Store can get them???

Favorite Sound: I do enjoy the sound of the band in the night air at the football game. I always do get a head start on Christmas CD choral music starting in November. I love singing them when no one is around.

Fall song/hymn: We Gather together to ask the Lord’s Blessing

Reliable prediction: I will wonder why I ate so much for Thanksgiving. I will eat the turkey sandwich on Thanksgiving evening. Also the whole family will come to our house to eat.

Best fall television show: Hmmmmm…. Someone give me a hint.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Signs of Progress

Dear Cathy - We have tile! The wall above the tile will be painted; if you have a suggestion for a color please weigh in. I may have to knit something in honor of the tile, like some washcolths. By the way, this tile project was only possible because of all the help I got from Kristi at Carpet Studio in Tallahassee. If any of our readers need tile or other flooring in the region, please check it out.

I'm still knitting on the surprise project. The little setback I told you about yesterday took only until midnight last night to correct. I hope to charge forward this weekend and have something to mail out before this time next week.

Did you ever see the movie Holes? It is about a reform school where the "discipline" consists of forcing the boys to dig holes in the desert. Well, my Master Gardener class had its own holes episode yesterday. The topic of the day was soil, and after hearing a lecture about soil we got some practical experience with it. Each team of about 8 people was assigned a place to dig a 2'x3'x3' hole. We observed how the soil changes as you dig deeper, and how the activity on the surface affects the soil underneath. We learned that for digging a hole 3' deep you should use a post hole digger (or maybe a pick) instead of a shovel! We also learned that soil is what you dig in the garden, while dirt is what you track in the house.

I really want to read Book book book 2, but I'll try to put it off until Christmas. It would be the perfect Christmas stocking item, along with a few sets of dpns. Have I told you that Gary and I are going to New York City between Christmas and New Years? We will visit Camille and Alexa (and a yarnshop or 2) plus do some sightseeing. I haven't been to NYC since 1989 when I was there for work. On that trip I ate breakfast at the top of the World Trade Center.

Sometime this weekend I will go to Just Fruits and Exotics in Wakulla County. It is a wonderful plant nursery, and I want a couple of agaves for the entryway garden. This is part of the dinner party preparation, so that even if the new bathroom isn't finished the walk to the front door will be looking good.

Have a good weekend.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Book Book Book 2 is here here here

Dear Ellen,
It's here .... still warm from the press. I opened my mailbox and the box had arrived and voila - Yarn Harlot : The Secret Life of a Knitter had arrived. I find it oxymoronic that the title has "Secret Life" since the Harlot lives far from a secret life since she posts her most intimate moments (no, not that kind) for all the world to read. Now, I know, dear Ellen, that you, like me, keeps up with the Harlot and her escapades (and I do call them escapades for a reason). She might be Lucille Ball and Erma Bombeck rolled up into one character with the pointy things thrown in. She just has one major flaw: she has yet traveled for book signings far enough south for us to even CONSIDER making a trip to join in the groupies that she has.
Now, I am well aware that you had some near misses, and almost got to see her in Virginia and California, but this home girl has to have it a wee bit closer for me. Stephanie - if you have a book signing in Atlanta, Ellen and I will cut you a deal. We will sing AND knit at the same time for an EXTREME KNITTING entry. How's that for luring you down south??
Ok, with that out of the way, I have to do some reasoning with myself. I will NOT read the book in a day, nor a week. Her meditations were to be read over a period of time, but do you think I had an ounce of discipline in me? NOPE! Read right through it like the 2nd coming was going to be tomorrow. This time I want to take a week little extra time to savor the stories. However, I still get my fix of the stories on her blog so it's the best of two worlds.
Update on Katrina Cloths: I have 8 and the above wad of knitted washcloth is a new pattern I created - it's a combination of Granny's favorite (the garter stitch one) and Darrell Waltrip's washcloth. I don't know who Darrell Waltrip is, but it sounds more NASCARish than a knitting junkie. Notice the pattern has not been divulged for public viewing. We are having a Knit in Public Knit-in at our Courtyard Cafe next Tuesday, September 20 at 6:00. Come on up!
Tiles and your renovation project.......
Dear Ellen,
Just from the sheer fact that you will have company on Sept. 24 is a sure fire way for your retro bathroom to be in such a state that you might need a portapotty in your yard, next to the spider condos.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Dear Cathy - What a beautiful weekend it was! I spent just about every waking hour either working in the yard or lounging and knitting on the screened porch. I bet Donald Trump doesn't have a better life than this!

You were asking for an update on the bathroom project? Well, look at the picture of the cats and boxes. Inside those boxes are the plumbing fixtures, but until the tile man finds time to install the tile, the fixtures are just cat furniture.

The other pictures are my dear Little Kittle posing on the pergola, and the spider condos in the back yard. I hope they are munching on mosquitoes.

The secret knitting project is more than half done, and I took a break to knit a washcloth. I like the diagonal garter stitch pattern; as you approach the end it seems to go so quickly! I used some left over cotton fleece (80% cotton, 20% wool) and I'm curious to see if it dries faster than 100% cotton. I didn't listen to music while knitting, but did listen to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and "Le Show" with Harry Shearer. I am something of a weekend public radio junkie.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dearest Ellen,

KIP - that's what you were doing on Thursday night. I get to rehearsal and you had your needles and yarn out moving right along in front of everyone. And I didn't have my camera.....sigh..... opportunity missed. I could have blown a secret. But alas I will not since I DO KNOW NOW that your offspring DO read this blog! Poor Mellie needs a washcloth so will not deprive of that luxury of a hand knitted one. If you will notice the washcloth on the left, it is an interesting pattern called the Darrell Waltrip knitted cloth. True to its promise, it shows off variegated cotton yarn nicely. By the way, I listened to Stabat Mater by Pergolesi while knitting the one on the left.
I timed myself making the cloth on the right. I can do it in less than 90 minutes, but if I want to ENJOY knitting I can knit it in less than 2 hours. Basically a trip to Tallahassee and back would almost allow me to finish one. The one on the left takes a little longer since it is a tighter knit cloth, but visually more interesting.
Our shawl ministry meeting met yesterday and some of us are setting a goal of knitting 50 cloths to send off for Cloths for Katrina.
I am amazed at how the clam claw pins look so much like stitch holders. I did get a sneak peak at those skeechers and though they may LOOK like them, they do not FEEL like them. Much heavier and tighter than the ones made for knitting.
Pokeweed was indeed the plant in the picture from a previous posting. That plants is BIG and ominous looking. Speaking of plants, have you noticed the beauty berry out in bloom in full force? I know the birds love the magenta berries and soon we will see the in result on our windshields :)
I think it only fair to allow us to see the progress on the 21st century bathroom, replacing the "pank" one. In return, when we get ready to redo our 70s bathroom, which is in dire need of upgrading, I will return the favor. If we wait long enough, we won't have to remove the wallpaper, it will do it on its own......


Friday, September 09, 2005

What's This? What's This?

Dear Cathy - Do you think you see stitch holders, those mundane but useful knitting accessories?
Well, my dear, you are deceived. These are clam bag clasps, a gift from my sweet Alexa, the marine biology student who has access to such things. When she was visiting in July she saw a real (overpriced) stitch holder and commented that it looked just like a clam bag clasp, and we started discussing all the "knitting accessories" that you could buy in a hardware store, or a marine supply shop. Small rubber o-rings will definitely work as stitch markers! Let me know what ideas you have.

As for your mystery plant, I'm not sure about the leaves, but the berries are Phytolacca americana, commonly known as pokeweed. In my much younger, mudpie-making days, these berries were highly prized for their color, but my mother repeatedly warned me that they are poisonous, and it turns out she was absolutely right. The young leaves can be boiled and eaten, but they should be boiled twice and the water from the first boiling discarded.

I love your washcloths. About how long do they take to knit? I'm almost to the half-way point in my secret project, and a little break seems in order.

There is good news on the bathroom redo! All of the tile has arrived and as soon as the tiler can spare a day for us we will see progress! I feel like Annie, you know,
The tile will go up tomorrow,
Bet you bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be tile!
It's Friday again! Hope you have interesting weekend plans. I plan to knit and weed, and do my reading assignment for the Master Gardener class. It might also be a good idea to look over some Angel's music.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shame me

Shame me - last weekend you were being productive, taking all those weeds out of your garden while mine is in a state of total chaos. It's been taken over by weeds in such a way that it's close to being condemned. Ultimatum(s) (what IS the plural of ultimatum? - hmmm online dictionary states you can add an "s" or make it ultimata) have been delivered to get those weeds out before next spring. I know what your project can be for your master gardening! However, I do have a picture of a WEED, which Naomi, my personal master gardener has identified. Now you, too, have that opportunity:

It's about 7-8 feet tall and stands as though it was properly planted by the owner of the house. However, Naomi says more than likely a bird shared it with us. Do you know what it is?
I have been in dishcloth/washcloth mode for a Cloths for Katrina project. So far I have knitted up three of these cloths to send on to be shared with the evacuees. Here are the fruits of my labor:

Yarn Harlot : The Secret Life of a Knitter has been on order from Amazon, waiting for it to come hot off the press. The last request I had for a book was The Hornet's Nest : A Novel of the Revolutionary War by Jimmy Carter. I waited ever so patiently for that book, but it never seemed to register to the children that I really WANTED that book. Of course, there was this tiny little detail that seemed to keep them from fulfilling my request. I wanted the autograph. Not even eBay could seem to lure them to purchasing the book the newfangled way.

One of my finished objects is making its way over the Great Pond and will be claiming Irish soil as its new home. Branching out scarf , my first lace project, will travel to Kate's new home. Kate and her husband and daughter, will be moving to Sligo, Ireland to place new roots. Her husband, a very serious birder who is very well respected amongst the best of ornithologists, calls Ireland his home. She promises to send a picture of her with the scarf on in their new home. However, its meager beginnings is shown here blocked on the bed:

I am getting itchy to start on more lace knitting. Must have a bit of masochism in me. However, I can't help it. I love the challenge and the end result. Those size 6 needles are naked for the moment. Maybe some yarn needs to wrap itself and make some lace.
Methinks that you are knitting something for October - with double points.
See you Thursday to make a joyful noise.
Knittingly yours,

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dear Cathy - Are you familiar with The Five Remembrances? It is bit of Buddhist teaching that I have found myself returning to a lot in the last week:

I am of the nature to grow old; there is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health; there is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die; there is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me; and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
It is a reminder to cherish each day, but to be accepting of change.
I had a lot of time to philosophize this weekend. I didn't have my car most of the time, and I was determined to do some serious weeding, which is highly conducive to philosophizing, and very sore glutes and hamstrings. Two beds--one large and one small--are weedfree for now and I feel very productive (and sore).
I got some knitting done, too, while resting up after the weeding sessions. I won't give away the surprise, but here's a hint: what do knitting and Major League Baseball have in common?
Your mitten story reminded my of my own grandmothers. I'm sure I missed some nuances from my childish perspective, but it seemed to me that one of my grandmothers was loving and generous and the other was critical and complaining. As an example, the generous grandmother (who was called Cookie, which is a clue to her character) made handkerchiefs for me and my sister with crocheted edging. I still have the handkerchief she gave me. The other grandmother looked at these handkerchiefs and criticized the crocheting, pointing out mistakes in the pattern. The irony is that I might not have remembered the handkerchiefs at all if "bad" grandmother hadn't criticized them.
Have you gotten your copy of the Harlot's new book? I think I'll put it on my Christmas wish list; I like to have things of the appropriate magnitude to suggest for the kids to give me. I made some progress on the Oliver Cromwell biography over the weekend. I find it astounding and discouraging that many of the religious issues that the English civil war (and the 30 years' war in Europe) were fought over are still being contested, and that the human race hasn't gotten past fighting wars over religion.
Have you finished the baby blanket yet? It seems like a long repeating pattern might be a good discipline for troubled times. Thankfully my (secret) project involves a lot of stockinette that I just have to count occasionally to make sure that I haven't left a stitch dangling somewhere.
We had a really nice visit with Philip this weekend. It's sort or a shame that just when your kids come out of the depths of teen-aged angst and obnoxiousness they move out of your house. Well, I guess that's the point of having them.
Take care, and see you Thursday.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Knitting, stories, and music

Dear Ellen,

Since you posted, the news on the Katrina victims have become ever more bleak. It has gone beyond "weather" news to news of violence, hunger, death, and destruction. All the news channels are in the mode what we have seen in previous disasters. I, too, am a weather obsessed news watcher. Little did I know or anyone else know the magnitude of this one until now.

All of this time, while watching the news, I have been knitting, but I would call it restless knitting. I can't seem to focus on the job I am doing - it's as though I wonder why I am knitting and watching this in the comfort of my own home? I think of the times I have complained about the hot weather, but can go into my home in air conditioned comfort under the vent and ceiling fan so I could remain cool.

Yesterday, I came in from work and didn't turn on the television as I had been doing this week. It had been a long day at work with meetings, assessments, and paperwork - which is part of my Friday job. I had gone to the library to pick up some children's books for next week and decided to listen to some music, to drift a little bit and meditate. I chose the CD Vision-The Music of Hildegard von Bingen. I don't know if you are familiar with the cd, but it is what I termed "nuked" - made palatable for today's listener instead of in its purest original form. It's nice for a change and I find it soothing.

It allowed me to escape the world, from the harshest details that we all have been seeing. The knitting needles began to relax in a rhythm where the fingers become like a well oiled machine and the knitting results become constant and smooth. Wouldn't it be nice if all knitting could be like that - no tinking, frogging, stopping to look at the pattern, wondering how many more rows until finished thinking mode takes over.

In your last posting, you asked me if I had a favorite knitting story. I was not familiar with the Seven Swans story, but there is a children's book The Mitten by Jan Brett. Brett is a wonderful author and illustrator of children's books (I am not sure if I like her stories or her artwork better - both are excellent). In this Ukrainian folktale, Grandmother knits mittens for her grandson. He wants white mittens. Grandmother really does not want to knit them in white for fear of the little boy losing them in the snow. The little boy does lose one of the mittens and it becomes home for many of the animals of the forest. The mitten grows and grows as more animals make the mitten their home. Then the bear sneezes. What happens to the mitten??? Oh you will have to read it to find out what happens.

My grandmother used to knit us mittens. I remember my hand being traced as a child to send off my measurements to have the mittens knitted. The mittens would come back and I loved them - but in Florida, one doesn't wear mittens often. However, some things never leave us, and grandmother came from New Hampshire and even after she moved to Florida, she still knitted mittens for us. Oh she would have loved the diverse yarn of today, but would have never bought expensive yarn unless she found it at a thrift shop. She had lived the Depression and remembered what it was like.

You have aroused my curiosity as to what you are knitting - not even a single hint for our readers?

Today the house is full of children again. Laura and Allison return from college for the weekend (carpooling this time!), and Rachael. Tomorrow we go to a grape stomp to make wine for Communion at church.

Somewhere knitting will fit in the picture.