Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

Hello friends! I hope everyone is at their favorite New Year's Eve pastime. Me, I got blackeyed peas in the pot, a ham in the oven, hot buttered cornbread, and fudge and champagne with peaches for dessert. I am knitting (of course :0) and watching MacGyver DVDs I got for Christmas from my nephew.

I finished nephew's scarf the day after Christmas, then got granddaughter's ruffly wristers done. The clogs I made myself last year need a deep cleaning break so I'm making myself another pair tonight. Last year's were royal blue. This year's are 2-tone green and I've got the perfect fuzzy stuff for the cuff. :o)

I love Richard Dean Anderson! Got acquainted with him this year while becoming a dedicated fan of Stargate SG1. Nephew always fussed at me for never having seen MacGyver and that's why he gave me the DVD set of the first season. He's so young and skinny! But he sure is cute! And clever! I sort of miss the cynicism that he has in SG1 though. I wish Jack were in more episodes this season. I hope he and Carter are secretly married or carrying on behind the scene. :o)

Anyway, just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful New Year, full of health, happiness, financial comfort and lovely, scrumptious, contented knitting. Here are a few pics. The nephew's scarf, granddaughter's ruffly wristers, and some more kitties!

For the scarf I used one hank of Schaefer's Elaine in the colorway "Nancy Ward" and one hank of a blue-gray Cascade. Simple pattern. One edge stitch, 3 garter st., 15 st. of 3x3 rib, 3 more garter st. and another edge stitch. I knitted until I ran out of yarn and it was perfect! He wanted a 6 foot scarf and that's exactly what he got. :o)

This is the "Mrs. Beeson" pattern from I used a Patton DK weight and a sock yarn I don't know the name of. They are fairly easy to knit and next time I will add beads. Found excellent directions here (Thanks Deb!)

Now let's see, you've met Merlin and Arthur, Trilby and Kitty and Percy. So here are Rufus, Polly, Sammy and Penny.

Rufus is about 4 years old, still a teenager. That fuzzy blue pad was in the carrier I brought him home in when he was a teensy orphan and he hasn't been parted from it since. He "nurses" on a fuzzy spot when he's feeling really contented. And he sleeps with his yellow blankie and loves to be tucked into it on a chilly night. He's very affectionate and sweet, but he can be a rambunctious little guy when he feels like it.

Polly is nearly 18 years old. Her adorable brother, Uncle Mitzie, was everyone's best friend but he passed away last year. Polly is a big, foofy old sweetie. When she meows it is hardly ever audible. But when she walks around with her favorite mousie in her mouth she yodels up a storm!

Sammy is about 16. He's sweet, sort of a dufus, will eat anything but citrus and never gains any weight. If you give him a toy with feathers he will growl and scurry off to a corner with his "catch". He loved Uncle Mitzie and misses him so much he cuddles up to Polly every chance he gets.

Penny is Sammy's sister. She's sweet and loves attention, but to most of the male kittie in the house she is "walking bait". Meant to be chased at every opportunity. So she lives on top of the refrigerator most of the time and has her own private cat tree to get up there. She's a fangless wonder too. Had to have them pulled a couple of years ago. So she has this weird little sneer now and then.

And now you've met them all!


Monday, December 26, 2005

A WONDERFUL Christmas!

I hope all my friends had a wonderful Christmas day. We sure did! We fell into bed much later than planned last night while Santa tapped an impatient toe on the roof. Got a few hours sleep then up early to get the bird into the oven and get the vacuuming and tidying finished. Had a quick breakfast and went through our stockings then settled down to wait until the kids arrived, which was supposed to be around 2PM. For the first time EVER we decided to wait until we were all together to open gifts, much to Alex's dismay.

At 2PM my Mom arrived. We checked the turkey and it was done much earlier than expected. We were supposed to eat at 5! So we tented the bird and let it rest and keep warm. Time ticked by... nobody arrived. By 3:30 we were a bit worried. David was driving down from Jenny's Uncle's house in Sacramento and the weather wasn't great for anyone, much less someone driving in unfamiliar territory. I went to check my email and there were 3 from Jenny. They had left later than expected and were bogged down in traffic. At 4:30 sister-in-law Mary and nephew Alec arrived. Still no kids! Check the email! They were through the traffic and were about 20 minutes away.

Tick... tick... tick... 4:55, there are footsteps on the porch. The kitties hear children's voices and vanish to their hiding places. They're here!!! Hugs all around. Ooohs and aaahs over the Christmas tree, the heaps of colorful gifts, the inviting dining table. Let's eat! No unwrapping until after dinner. "Aw Mom!" And that was Grampa Alex! :o)

Dinner was a royal success. Now for the unwrapping! No orderly one-at-a-time for us. Gifts were piled around each recipient and the mayhem commenced. I was so busy taking pictures that I had hardly unwrapped anything when everyone else was done. Lordy! What wonderful things! A mouse pad with a picture of the family on it. Coffee mugs with pictures of the kids on them. Coasters with pictures of the kids on them. Wow! Mary gave me a framed picture of Alex from when he was a football star in high school back in the 50's. It quickly joined the rest of the family pictures on the piano. And so much more.

Judy and Brandon were joyful over each present. The felted clogs brought excited squeals and were put on immediately. They fit!!! Disbelief that I made them and demands to explain how they were made.

Who me? Happy? :o) You betchum!!!

We tidied up and the kids played and hunted for kitties in hiding. Then it was time for dessert. Mary had made a tray of individual lemon cheesecakes, a tray of individual chocolate bundt cakes, piles and piles of fabulous cookies, and my Mom brought a pumpkin pie. So we all lounged at the table with coffee and Bailey's Irish Cream, having a little of this and a little of that. By the time Brandon was trying to feed crumbs to his Lego charcters and Judy had a lapful of contented kitty we had all had a wonderful relaxed gab session and caught up on all the latest news.

The grandkids and I wandered off to my messy room to "Lookit alla yarn!" and find Judy some replacement knitting needles for the ones she had lost and answer a bazillion questions from Brandon about "What's this?" and "Did you make that?" and "Can you make this for me?" etc. etc. etc... David came in to use the computer for a map to their next destination, Jenny's Sorority sister where they were spending the night before heading back to Los Angeles on Monday.

So, lots of hugs and kisses and fond farewells and suddenly the house was quiet again. The kitties came creeping out of their hidey holes to sniff out all the strange smells and beg for treats and cuddles now that it was "safe". Alex and I looked at the happy mess and took a lovely nap.

Here are the best of the pictures for you to enjoy. The pretty table before the feast, the happy crowd around the table, the Jedi trainees with their light sabers and the kids with their felted clogs and delighted smiles. Enjoy!

Now if we can just keep the kitties off the table!

Around the table from the left... daughter-in-law Jenny, grandson Brandon, son David, granddaughter Judy, my Mom, Alex's sister Mary, nephew Alec and hubby Alex.

The well done and falling apart turkey.

Jedi Brandon with blue light saber.

Jedi Judy with purple light saber. (I tried to sneak off with this one but...)

Brandon with red clogs.

Judy with purple clogs. Did I mention she's a "purple person"? :o)

And there you have it! A WONDERFUL Christmas!!! Now I just have this piece of dressing encrusted turkey skin to finish munching and I am off to bed for a loverly "long Winter's nap", and I am sooooo ready. (yaaaaaawn). I'll just post this and check it and... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Well, it's almost here! I am all finished wrapping. Still have 2 gifts in progress but the recipients will get I.O.U.s in a box with a little poem. Took pics of our little tree and of the felted clogs I made for my Grandkids. Dinner is at 5 and I still have to make my cornbread for the stuffing tonight. Alex is out looking for a shirt for our nephew and hasn't wrapped anything yet!

I wish all my friends the Blessings of the Season. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!

Here is our little tree...

And Brandon's felted clogs...

And Judy's felted clogs...

I will post lots more tomorrow! And to all a GOOD Night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Christmas elf name!

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Peppy? That's what I wish I was right now! Trying hard to make Christmas gifts, decorate our little tree, continue de-cluttering as the situation comes along and just remember everything that needs to be done before Christmas. Yikes! A package from Sears containing 4 Christmas presents for Alex and my grandkids has not been delivered yet. Even though the UPS tracking page says it was delivered last week! Maybe it was delivered but it wasn't to MY address! So I'm waiting for email from Sears and UPS. What is an elf to do!? Make elaborate IOU's and wrap them in large boxes so the tree has more under it? Oh well, what will be will be. I'll just keep praying. :o)

Here's are a couple more kitties from our herd. First is Arthur, Merlin's brother. Second is Kitty (the creme Burman) and Trilby.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thoughts about Lyra

A friend asked me to give her something quotable to put on the Lyra blog so I sent her a lot of stuff to choose from. But to me, now that I've calmed down a bit, it was good therapy to write it all out. So I think I'll post it here for posterity. :o)

Challenges, well... not getting too sidetracked, like I did for a couple of months knitting other things. And while I was sticking to it, trying not to think about other things I wanted and needed to knit. Knitting something like this with my style of "combined" knitting. Blocking it was a major challenge. I bought those ABC jigsaw mat pieces off eBay to block it with. Would have liked a bigger, sturdier platform that I could mark lines on. I did mark on the back of a corner of one of the pieces with a fine point Sharpie. Then I rubbed it with a dampened clump of the cotton thread I was knitting with. Sadly the color came off onto the cotton. I could have stretched it even more than I did to get it more square. But I ran out of mat and was a little afraid to as well. I was worried about feeling let down when it was all over too. So the minute it was pinned out I started knitting myself a warm shrug. I was also worried abut the kitties wanting to lie all over it while it was trying to dry. I got very lucky there!

Frustrations - getting 3 different numbers on 3 separate counts of the same segment. Finding that I had dropped a stitch that raveled back through 2 weeks of work. When the work was young and the rounds were shorter I used lifelines. Later I couldn't bring myself to do it. Sometimes I would tink back to fix an error and create a new one by dropping a stitch during the tinking. Finding I didn't have the next size circ I needed to do the round version.

Revelations - I learned how to find an error many rounds back and unravel a group of stitches all the way down and reknit using separate dp needles and a crochet hook. A couple of places I just couldn't figure out how to do that so there are a couple of errors that are very visible to me, although nobody else seems to see them. I learned how to tink carefully. I learned how to tell right away if I was on track by "reading" my knitting as I was doing it. Stitch by stitch I could tell where I was by how the stitch felt when being made. It is something very hard to describe!

Joys - believing I could even try to do something like this! I've been collecting patterns like this that I never really thought I could do. Now I know I can. Seeing it turn into real lace as I was blocking it. Hearing my husband say that it was beautiful. His usual praise is "fine" or "OK". Showing the work in progress to my Mom and watching her go cross eyed and shake her head. :o) She taught me to knit when I was 5. And the best joy of all will be when Mary opens it on Christmas day.

Observation - I think the stress on that last set of flower leaves could be relieved by narrowing that fat, outer part of the calyx. I would love to figure out how to do that. I would also love to figure out how to add a long straight center to make this into a long oval tablecloth for my own table. I do dream don't I? :o)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ta Da!!!

Lyra is done! I am SO relieved! I worked hard to convince it that it was supposed to be a square. I am quite pleased with my first ever effort at "real" lace. But you know what? Next one is going to be round! :o) Those corners came out really nice (I think) but actually it was hard to block the rest of it to go along with the corners. If I could just do 4 of those corners and make a doily without all the rest I would love it.

The great thing is that I now know I *can* knit real lace, and that I really enjoyed it. Here are a few pics. Wish I had Mary's table to show it on but I won't be able to do that until after Christmas. BTW, she doesn't "do" computers, so I am safe. :o)

Now I have to go check on Alex. He was dozing in front of the telly when I went in and turned on the Victoria's Secret "Fashion" Show" and bumped his chair on the way back to my room. Didn't hear any desparate gasping but I did hear him muttering the word absurd. I do love my man!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lyra is off...

The needles that is. Been too busy knitting to post. Anyway, crocheted it off the needles and darned in all the ends and plopped it on the table for a look-see. Now I am praying it will block out nicely. It is to be my Christmas gift for my dear Sister-in-law. I wanted to do it round but I didn't have the next size needle required for a round version. There was a lot of discussion on the Lyra list about modifying the pattern because the 3rd round of leaves always pulls. But I knit it following the pattern as charted. It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

So now I have to wash it and block it out. That's the part that scares me the most! I think I'll probably have to evict the kitties from the bedroon for a day. It should stretch a lot more than the dining room table is wide and I want to add another layer of jigsaw pieces to the matt. I wonder... if I draw lines and circles on the back of the matt with a fine line Sharpie, it should be safe to block a wet hunk of lace, shouldn't it? Guess I should test, huh? :o)

Here's a pic of it unblocked. Some folks just HAVE to have before and after pictures!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Good things in the mail...

I love to get packages! Specially "squishy" ones... yarn or fabric or quilt blocks... stuff like that. Today was a really bonus mail day. :o) First package was nice & squishy. I opened the top and all these cute little baby tribbles popped out, all different colors and sparkly and fuzzy. The kitties and I got sidetracked into a bit of a romp before I got back to see what else was in the package. My rescue yarn! Thank you Janet!!! Now I can finish Alex's birthday socks.

Second package is 2 gorgeous hanks of hand painted merino/rayon yarn. The colors are Tropical Sea and Moonlit Sea. I see a couple of lovely shawls here! I got them from Diane at Dimity's Dry Goods online and at most excellent prices! Thanks Diane!

Here's a picture of the loot. :o)

Better late than never...

After many false starts I finally borrowed Barbara Walker's vine lace pattern to make Alex's bookmark. The ladybug is one of Chappy's cuties. And... he likes it! Next one leaves, or cat's paw. And some Harry Potter bookscarves from this pattern.

Back to Lyra now. I'm on round 141!

Friday, November 11, 2005

"Grow old along with me... the best is yet to be!"

Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. I'm knitting Alex a lace vine bookmark. Hope to finish it tonight. Alex got me a bunch of flowers at the grocery store. Are we an old married couple or what? :o) I am roasting the 2 ribs we had left over from last Christmas' prime rib. Roast potatoes & carrots, biscuits, wine sauce. Nice little dinner? Tomorrow back to laundry and such. Time to start on the apple pie filling.

Making good progress on my Lyra! Up to row 141 of 179. Whoopie! Having this Ott lamp really is making a difference. Knitting goes a lot faster when I don't have to tink back to fix mistakes. Feels SO good to get a couple or 3 rounds done a day. Nearly 1000 stitches per round now.

I did some online pricing of those kids play mats that come in jig saw pieces? Very pricey! Today I got a whole set for $16.99! And that includes shipping! I will be using them as a blocking board for my knitted lace. Cool huh? :o)

This was our "going away" picture after the reception.

Dig those crazy glasses! LOL! And nowadays his hair is all white and mine is... well, it ain't platinum anymore. *grin*

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Languishing Lyra

While my mystery yarn socks are waiting for the rescue yarn to come, I am finally getting back to my languishing Lyra. While it was sitting, under everything else on my desk, the tip protectors came off and a *bunch* of stitches slipped off of both needles! Aaaargh! It took forever to get things back to where they should have been but I am finally making progress again.

To solve the tip protector problem I found some little plastic doohickeys that work great. They are used to put a screw into a sheetrock wall and expand behind the wall as you put in the screw. But they also fit perfectly and firmly on the end of fine needles!

Spent most of today cleaning out an old chest freezer that is going out the door tomorrow. Yay! I live with a genetic pack rat and the house is very visible evidence. But the freezer too?!? Anybody like persimmons? I have TONS! One of his gardening clients has a persimmon tree and Alex has to bring loads of them home every year and squirrel them away in the freezer. And a tree load of Gravenstein apples. And I found enough rye bread to keep a deli going for a couple of days. And whole fishes right out of the Bay. And tons of blackberries off our thicket before the City cut it down to do some work in the alley. And plastic containers with mystery stuff. And tomatoes from back when we actually had room to grow them ourselves. I'm going to make blackberry jam and tomato paste and apple sauce and probably some mystery soups. :o)

And his sister, Mary, has been active in Rainbow Girls for years. Every time they made Lumpia for an event they put a few bags in our freezer. Half our freezer was full of Lumpia and bagels and giant pretzels. I told her to call the Masons and tell them to have a feast.

A new side-by-side is coming tomorrow and it *will* be neat and tidy and organized! I am in a clean-it-out-and-get-organized mode and seem to have been building up to it all year. Mr. pack rat is worried.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

There may be hope...

Well, I've heard from one gal (hi Janet!) who says she is knitting socks with the same yarn and that it is a very old Opal she's been aging. I sure hope so because I get the leftovers! :o)

Another gal (hi Debra!) thinks it is a Fortissima, but I'm not so sure. I've looked at tons of sock yarn this week and most Fortissima socks seem to have that little spotted band.

This is a lot harder than trying to track down some old quilting fabric! Speaking of quilts, here's one of the miniatures I used to do. It's called Sonora Nights

And here's the other resident of my studio. His name is Percy and he sleeps in a basket in the bookcase. He has the most unusual bronze colored eyes! He is my first "exotic" kitty, a short hair Persian. When he was 6 months old we rescued him from life with a yappy little dog who kept him trapped under a friend's bed for a week. He's been my constant shadow ever since. Merlin thinks he is a cute little toy so Percy is rather leery of him. But as long as Merlin is asleep (which is most of the time) Percy trots around the room and plays with his toys and begs for treats and generally owns the place. He will even sneak up to Merlin and gently sniff and pat him. If Merlin opens an eye Percy disappears in a hurry. :o) Outside of this room he is definitely a shadow.

Oh Dear!

I'm in deep doodoo now! A friend sent me a skein of lovely sock yarn that I've been knitting into a pair of socks for my hubby Alex. The skein had no wrapper and I guess it wasn't all there. It was Alex's 70th birthday and I had never knit him a pair of socks before. I finished one and it fit him perfectly. Now I see I am only going to make it through the cuff of the second one. Aaargh! My friend (hi Laura!) says it's probably an old Opal but I have searched online and can't find anything like it. If anyone has any leftover of this yarn would you be willing to part with it? Swap?

This is Merlin. He is sleeping in his bed under the knitting machine behind me. His bed is padded with a lace sample from one of the first knitting machines I learned with. He keeps me company unless there is a good sun spot in the living room.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Welcome to my blog!

Here I plan to show what I'm knitting or crocheting, share pics of my kitties, talk about various things like quilting and using treadle and hand crank sewing machines, and just generally ramble on.

I can't promise I'll post everyday nor that I will be witty or grammatically correct, although I will try.

So come on in! Read, share ideas, leave comments, give me tips, just generally make yourself at home. :o)