"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Friday, March 27, 2015

Springtime...At Least Indoors

I woke up this morning to the outside thermometer reading 16° F. (that's -8.8° C) Brrrr! I really don't complain much about the weather because, well really, what difference is my complaining going to make. However, we have dragged the long johns back out of the drawers. Or should I say "...the long drawers out of the drawers." And the heavy coats back out. But it is springtime in Wisconsin, after all. And this happens every year. Just this last Monday evening - while my mother was visiting us from Tennessee - we had about 4 inches of snow.

Where I grew up further south, we always wore springy clothes for Easter, little white shoes, short sleeved dresses with lace or chiffon, and the like. Maybe we occasionally wore a light weight spring jacket, but only when Easter was in March and if it was breezy. But up here we often have snow over Easter weekend so we wear what we must to stay warm.

But that doesn't stop us from decorating for spring. So, since it is quite cold outside today, I am inspired to post some pictures of my spring decor. Nothing deep or profound. No patterns. Not even fabulous decor. Just springtime indoors. (I'm still working on the knitting projects from this post.)


I just made these little "cups" with some of my knitting friends. They are actually spray painted peat pots that we had fun decorating with buttons, stickers, fabric trim, fabric flowers, even earrings. The grass is recycled paper grass from Wal-Mart.

I recently got the Wilton Sheep Cake Mold from a local second-hand store. I was quite excited with the purchase.

Not a great photo, but this little bird and nest was a gift from my sister and is for slipping over the rim of a flower pot. Little Bird likes it just fine on the top of a lampshade. cheep-cheep

I smile each time I look at this bunny. She is a tin bobble-head bunny. She is supposed to look like a vintage tin toy. But she looks to me like a pleasant bunny whose head bounces back and forth. :^)

So, happy spring. No matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Run to the Hospital and Basement Remodel Revisited

Two nights ago, about 9:30 p.m., my husband came to my knitting chair, where I was happily knitting away, holding his chest and struggling to breathe, and said he thought I better take him to the hospital. Oh man, he's had heart issues before so I jumped up, began grabbing things - phone, charger, coat, purse, keys. Then I lingered over my knitting bag. Shouldn't I take it because, of course, we'll end up waiting for hours...Linda, this is crazy...Dean's heart. Okay, I'll leave it and I ran on.

As it turned out, he was quite nauseous, too. So after a remedy of that by the side of the road on the way to the hospital, he was feeling a lot better. Breathing was still an issue but he was feeling a bit sheepish about rushing us off to the ER. However, being thorough and all, they were concerned about the symptoms and a few of the numbers from early blood tests. So we waited. And waited. And waited. All the while, my hands were twitching, wishing they could be busy.

And I couldn't even call my son to tell him that hubby was doing well. I had jammed the phone charger into my purse but who knows what I did to my phone. Well, I do know, I sat it down by my purse while I dealt with the charger. And left.

My husband's phone had been left intentionally so we didn't have to deal with it while they stripped him of his clothing in exchange for a floral hospital gown. And I couldn't even beg to use the hospital phone - I have no idea what my son's phone number is because my smart phone handles that for me. So we sat. He'd dose off but his sleep apnea would kick in, causing his oxygen to go down, setting off a variety of beeps and boops on the machine to which he was attached. So no sleep, no phone and no knitting.

Finally they decided to keep him overnight because of some tests they wanted to continue taking. Have you ever noticed in a hospital, when you are cold and ask for a blanket, they take a wonderfully warm blanket out of the blanket warmer and you think you're in heaven when they put it on you. And then it cools down and you see that it is barely thicker than a sheet and you lay there chilly and never fully warmed up again. They've stripped you down to nothing and put a sheet and a sheet double on you. And then they put those super thin, super short socks on you because they have rubber nibs on them to keep you from falling.

And then they come in all night to take blood, give meds, mistakenly flip your lights on thinking they were in another room....Yes, he got about 1 hour sleep that night.

I must say, that it was actually a good hospital experience. Our local hospital has always given us good care and been very attentive. And we are so thankful to have it so near. There are just some things that are a given when you're hospitalized.

They discovered that his symptoms were a result of being dehydrated. He's been working hard to get the basement remodel completed to the point where we can begin dealing with the huge pile of stuff in the middle of the floor. And not drinking enough water. For days.

He was kept in the hospital for about 24 hours which involves a lot of running and not much sleep for me, with the dog to care for, bringing needed items back to hubby, etc. But I did get my knitting bag over there and did get some knitting time in.

Here's what I worked on:

This is a pink shawl for a little girlfriend of mine. I want to give it to her for her 7th birthday in June. She loves to be pretty and when she saw me wearing my Faraway, So Near Shawl, and she found out I had made it, she had little sparkles in her eyes. So I determined right then and there to make her one. Her younger sister's birthday is the very next day as hers, so I'm thinking a second shawl is in order. ;^)  This one is Lala's Simple Shawl. I'm using a Kramer worsted yarn and using slightly smaller needles than the pattern calls for, in hopes that I can get a smaller version. Or I can stop when I think it's a good size. It's a nice pattern in that way.

This is my progress on the Ojo de Dios Shawl. I have begun the 11th triangle out of 17. I am using Tangier by Cascade because that is what I had on hand at the knitting retreat. I do not love this yarn but it is 1/2 silk so it will be great this summer. I do plan to make another one in the Gina yarn for which the pattern was made.

And this is what it should look like eventually.

But now that hubby is back home, well-rested, and drinking water, the work downstairs begins again. And the Basement Remodel is about to really cut into my knitting time. Oh well, it will be nice to get that beast finished. 

And I'm so thankful for my husband's healthy heart.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I Guess I'm a Social Knitter

Oh my, I did go to the 2 1/2 day knitting retreat about which I posted last week. It went from last Friday-Sunday. And then, come Wednesday, a knitting friend had 3 of us over for fondue, a fun craft and knitting. And then that evening my roommate from the retreat had a coupon for one night in a nearby resort so she came and invited a few knitting friends to her room to Knit. So I've had some good knitting time with great company this past week. I really should get some housework done. But I digress.

Hard at work on Fair Isle hats. And on
a smart phone.
Early stage of my Ojo de Dios Shawl.
A brief summary of the knitting retreat would go as follows: there were 2 classes, one that I taught on my Fair Isle hats and another taught by a great knitter doing the Ojo de Dios Shawl.
Learning new skills.
It is an awesome shawl with a unique triangle pattern. I started it and have 5.5 triangles out of the required 17 knitted already. (You should really go to the link above for it and see how great it is.) There were two other sessions, one on chart reading and another informative session by a pattern designer. You know, like those great patterns we see in Vogue Knitting or Love of Knitting, well she designs some of those patterns. It is quite a process.

On the last day of the retreat we went to the local yarn shop that put on the retreat. We all got door prizes (various knitting bags with goodies inside) and had a presentation of the "art knits" done by the owner. She is a musician and she is an artist. And her palate is yarn. She makes fabulous shawls using super chunky and novelty yarns. She is quite an inspiration.

Look at all that luscious yarn. 
We had continental breakfasts provided by the inn in which we stayed and lunches were provided and catered in as part of the registration fee. Dinners were on our own and we were given 3 hours to rustle up food. That gave us plenty of time to get a jump start for the evening open knitting. We talked and knitted and snacked and talked some more. I only knew one of the ladies ahead of time, my roomie, so I made new friends with several others there. It was quite a time!
Karla, my friend and weekend roommate.

A peek at one of the tables during evening
open knitting. That's my sock in the foreground.

For the door prize I received when my name was drawn, I got a great knitting bag, a ball of multi-colored Cotone and a Vogue Knitting magazine.

So, of course I had to buy coordinating yarns to make something pretty with the free ball. So here's what I bought. With it I plan to make a narrow summer scarf to wear with a pretty shirt or dress.

I had taken, oh, maybe ten projects to work on. What I actually worked on was my Ojo de Dios Shawl for class, the fair isle hat I started for demonstrating during my class, the sock I've been working on and I started a Gallatin Shawl. I'm using Cascade Yarn's Sunseeker

My Fair Isle for demonstration purposes.
It is Basic Norwegian Star.

Gallatin Scarf

And I can't quit describing the Knitting Retreat without showing a photo or two of the fun things I purchased. 

Now, onto Wednesday and fondue day, we had yummy cheese and chocolate fondues, with amazing things to dip, provided by each one of us. The craft was cute litte peat pots that my friend had lightly spray painted and then we embellished with all kinds of jewels, trim, vintage buttons, and various other niceties. When the food and crafts were put away, we pulled out the ol' knitting bags.

And the evening at the resort was mostly just spent eating other goodies, dips, chips, and cookies. And knitting! And talking. Alot.

So I guess I'm a social knitter.

What fiber fun have you been having?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This week has been full of anticipation and preparation for the upcoming weekend. I will be attending - and even teaching at - my first ever overnight KNITTING RETREAT. It will actually be 2 overnights. It is in a small town about 2 hours away from our small town. I was initially asked to teach a Fair Isle Hat with Latvian Braid class, the same hats about which I posted here. I agreed and then got excited about the other classes offered, the show-and-tell and all the evening knitting with friends and new acquaintances. It's going to be at a little inn with breakfasts and lunches provided. Suppers will be on our own where we will find local dining and maybe even bring a crockpot and desserts. It's will be fun - I'm getting super excited. I have had my project bag packed since Monday and got my hat class basket packed yesterday. Now I just need to pack my clothes, toiletries and snacks. First things first. :^)

In preparation for the class I will be teaching, I have started 2 Fair Isle hats to show the braid process and to show the methods I use for 2 color knitting.
This hat will be the Basic Norwegian Star hat from Ravelry.
The blue yarn is Frog Tree Yarns, Melange. It is 100%
merino but I think it is no longer made, I can't find it on
their web page. Too bad, it is wonderfully soft. The white
is Lion Brand Wool-Ease in the color of White Multi. It is
bright white with a thin strand of metallic sparkle. Really fun.
That's what the star will be knitted in. But I prefer
to call it a snowflake.

This varigated yarn in this hat is Cascade Tangier in the
color Fantasy. It is very beautiful but is 1/2 silk,
with acrylic and cotton. It has no give and I fear the hat will not
spring back into shape. It is what the retreat organizers carry
so I thought I should use what the students have available.
(I still stand by Plymouth Gina for lovely, long color changes.)
The white is Cascade 220.

For the show-and-tell I'm taking the handspun sweater I made for my son. And even though it's for "your favorite item (singular)," I'm also taking my latest finished project, another "Whimsical Tassel Hat". I made 2 for Christmas presents and got inspired to make one for myself. I got "un-inspiried" after the 6th I-cord and have finally gotten around to finishing it. It is really a fun hat and now that winter is winding down, I have it finished. :^) But, not to fear, here in Wisconsin in early March, there will still be plenty of days that a nice stocking hat will be needed.

This blue yarn is Patons Classic Wool Worsted
in the color New Denim. The white is also
Lion Brand Wool-Ease, white with

For the projects that I may or may not get to during the retreat, I'm going to start a shawl for a little girl friend for her summer birthday,  a pair of hand warmers to match the sweater I just completed (see below), a knitted basket and I even have a couple of shawlette patterns with the needed yarn, and a pair of tube socks for which I just got the pattern. I may be taking wa-a-a-y too many projects, but I must be prepared!!! Good thing for large Thirty-one totes.

I got the above mentioned sweater finished just in time to wear this weekend. It is a great pattern that I purchased from Patternworks.com. The sweater is Dolman Pullover Pattern. Lion Brand Wool-Ease in color Denim. The pattern is really simple, knitted in just 2 pieces, with sleeve increases on the front and back. I had bought the yarn a while back for $1.00 (USD) off of the regular [cheap] price at a local store. So I bought all 7 they had left. That was more than enough for the sweater. It is very nice yarn.

I plan to knit another one with Cascade 220 Paint in Denim Mix. I also want to use the same pattern with handspun. Sometime.

The sweater is in the color Denim. This yarn is in
the color Denim Mix. My tassel hat is in the color
New Denim. Starting to see the pattern?
Along with the sweater, I've been also working on a pair of socks. I got the pattern on Ravelry (DK Rib Socks) but when I got to the heel it didn't seem right. I went back to Ravelry, looked around and found the "editing" tab on the far right. And, wouldn't you know, someone had added this comment, "the turning of the heel on this pattern is wrong." UGH! Instead of ripping out all those strips, I found an old pattern from my stack that has the same number of stitches. I worked the heel according to the 2nd pattern and now for the foot and toe am using the 1st one. Combining two patterns for socks has been a little tricky but I think it'll be okay.

The colored yarn is a wonderful painted wool created by a local, family run woolen mill. The cream colored yarn is some corriedale handspun I did a few years ago. For the heel, I added a strand of thick thread to reinforce it. I plan to do the same thing on the toe. For a look at this process, see this Very Pink.com video from You Tube.

So, I must get on with my packing. Have a great weekend, in a few days. I plan on it. And you can be sure that I will report on the Knitting Retreat. :^)