Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Easy way to string beads on yarn!

I've been trying to string beads on worsted weight yarn. It hasn't been pretty. Trying to get a needle that had a large enough eye to accept the yarn, but that would allow the bead through was tough.

Anyway, here is my solution...

I threaded a needle with thread. Made a knot in it, and put the the yarn through it, and slipped the bead through the needle, and down onto the yarn.

It allowed me to (once I figured it out, darn it for being so slow!) to load the beads fairly quickly, and start knitting. Still had the problem of the beads that were too small for the worsted weight yarn, so I advise doing one or two at a time, so you don't have to take too many off. But, I was able to develop a rhythm. And cheaper than buying a bead needle that I'll lose. Would be nice to have one, but still, in a pinch, this worked nicely!

The commission sweater is off in the mail, as is the dragon scale scarf, and 9 helmet liners (I didn't knit all of the helmet liners!)

Friday, November 25, 2005


Lots of things to be thankful for this year. Yesterday was a quiet, pleasant day.

Gordon Hunt lived across the street in New York. It was fun having someone with the same last name! He shared family occasions with us. His Thanksgiving and Christmas offering was a marvellous fresh cranberry relish. It became our own family tradition. Of course, over the years, it has been adapted, but it is still "Gordon's Cranberry Relish", and the holiday isn't the same without it.

Gordon's Cranberry Relish

1 package fresh cranberries
1 whole orange, rind and all (wash the orange)
1/2 cup pecans

Chop the pecans, reserve them. Chop the orange in the food processor until fine, then add the cranberries a few at a time until they are all chopped. Then add the pecans to mix. It is ready to serve.

This is good on in so many ways:
  • as a garnish on turkey, chicken or pork,
  • in baked yams (not candied ones, just baked in the oven, popped open, sprinkled with salt and pepper then a tablespoon of this dropped in,
  • as a winter fruit serving,
    and my latest adventure,
  • Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies!

Made those yesterday evening, and they turned out beautifully. A very lacy crisp cookie. Will try again today, after I get the body done on the commission sweater, and will come back to give you the recipe. Mom, I think you would say it is a tea cookie.

Friday, November 18, 2005

on gauge, and family

Did a gauge swatch. too small. Changed needles. Just right. Knit 2.5 inches of the front and back, checked again and the gauge is off. Sigh. frog. Have you noticed that things like that happen especially if you have a deadline?

Had a quick visit from my just barely turned 80 year old Aunt Ivadell today. She was driving to visit her cousins in a nursing home 2 1/2 hours away from her home, and we are about the halfway point. So, she tries to stop and visit when she sees them. She is special to our children, and I'm always glad to see her. Ivadell, with her daughter Virginia and grandchildren Timothy and Kimberley came to Nathan and Kim's wedding.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How do you spell relief?

Howard had surgery on his other shoulder Tuesday. We went in not knowing whether we were going to have a simple clean-out, or a rotator cuff repair. He went in on the right shoulder this spring expecting a clean-out and had rotator cuff surgery. I think we both half expected this to be the same, while hoping it wouldn't. Even the doctor felt the same way, as the X-rays, and MRI on the right shoulder didn't suggest the damage. So, he went in for a "decompression with a possibility of rotator cuff."

Imagine my relief when the doctor came out and told me that it was NOT a rotator cuff! He should be out of the sling by the weekend, and recovered shortly. Without the pain of the bone spur in his shoulder. Howard's relief was much greater, of course. Should have had the camera along!

The day of knitting at the hospital was great, as it allowed me to just sit and knit without many distractions.

An update to the tornado information of Saturday, there was an 84 year old woman died about 15 miles from here (24 km). Some of the middle and high school students went to help clean up Monday. They had planned to clean up yesterday (Wednesday), but I haven't heard if the school took them or not, as the weather has turned brutal. Tuesday was out, because of the forecast for blizzards (welcome to Iowa, 70 degree F (21.1 C) or more on Saturday, and blizzards on Tuesday. Then, we plummeted into the freezer -- right now it is 12F or -11.1 C. at 10 in the morning. It is supposed to warm up into more seasonable weather, but who knows.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

An amazing site

Here is an amazing site that everyone should bookmark (at least in my opinion!)
Find a human The way to call and actually talk to a human, instead of being lost in the maze of automated phone service!

I'm amazed

Two people in two grocery stores while in Colorado offered outstanding service.

On the first, I commented at the checkout. The person there automatically felt I was voicing a complaint, and called the manager on duty. She was very surprised that anyone would bother. She asked me to fill out a customer response form. When I did so, she said the person would probably get an award, as it happens so seldom.

At the second store, the person had already clocked out for lunch, but when she heard that I was looking for dried smoked peppers (hey they aren't readily available in my part of Iowa!) she came by and helped. When I got to the checkout I again commented and filled out a customer response form. They had to track her down to be sure I had the right person (bad Mary!) She came by to thank me, and I could tell it was a rare occurance. But it obviously made her day.

Please, when someone does a good job, let the people above them know! THAT is the way to counter in a small way the growing negativity we see around us!

I'm practicing avoidance techniques this morning...

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Your Hair Should Be Orange

Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.
You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

A Funny Story

This was what happened last Monday evening when we got in to Denver. It is in Serena's words, I lifted it from Serena's blog.

Okay, so my folks flew in to visit this afternoon. I left work, drove over to the airport, and picked them up. Three adults, crammed into the cab of my pick-up. Not a very big pick-up, mind you! Toddled through traffic (not as bad as I'd expected, even leaving work), and headed toward the health/organic/healthy food grocery store to get stuff Mom could eat (severe food allergies), as well as dinner. Right next door, there's a Barnes and Noble. Since Mom and Dad don't have one close, we wandered over. As we perused the books, Dad and I wandered off, as Mom was doing more serious book browsing. Whilst wandering through aisle just after "Food" and "Wine", I spotted something laying on the floor of the aisle.

After gaping in disbelief for a moment, I looked at Dad.

"There's underwear on the floor at Barnes and Noble!"

He looked at me VERY strangely! "What!?"

"Look," I pointed, "there's someone's underwear on the floor!"

He looked. He stared. We both started giggling.

He asked, "Should we tell someone?"

"No!" I said. "I'M not telling anyone!" Still giggling...

I wander off to tell Mom, seeking a safe haven (safely away from the navy boxers decorating the floor). I whisper to Mom, " there's underwear on the floor over there!"

She looks at me blankly. "What?"

I try again. ""There's underwear on the floor over there!"

And again, the blank look. By this point, I'm starting to giggle all over again.

"There's underwear on the floor over there!" Mom looks shocked. "Where!?!"

I point, and in doing so, notice that Dad is calmly, and politely, informing the girl at the information desk of the newest decoration (He, the cad, tells her that "There is an article of clothing on the floor." She looks puzzled, and a little concerned, and heads off.

My father, at this point, is grinning like a fool. I'm giggling. My mom, not believing me, heads off toward the "underwear" aisle. She returns giggling. Now we head toward dad, who's in prime position to watch employee consternation over the "underwear" aisle.

We see the girl who first headed off turn a brilliant shade of red, at sighting the new decoration. We see her commandeer the gentleman working behind the counter at the help desk. We watch him follow her, very skeptically I might add, and then voice an appalled, "Oh my." He turns pink.

At this point, I'm laughing so hard, I'm facing a book display, and holding on for dear life. My mother is chortling, and my father is doing his best to not roar with laughter! We watch the same beleagured young man stare at the undies on the floor, and proclaim, "This is NOT in my job description!" which only succeeds in making us laugh all over again.

As we left the store, we saw someone had removed the thoughtful floor covering. We're hoping they dispose of the offending article. But it sure made us all laugh!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


A group of us went on a shortened yarn crawl today -- we visited one yarn store. Just as well, tornadoes blew through this area of Iowa. Not quite what one expects in November! As far as we know, no one was hurt, but the path we would have been on was such that we would have been driving in heavy wind and rain. Not good. As it was, we drove home from brief periods in driving rain.

While there the group decided that they couldn't wait until December 3rd to meet again, so they will have a "pick-up" meeting this Monday at 4 to start the new projects with the yarn they just purchased. Mittens, socks, afghan, scarf... I'm not sure what else! Knitting enthusiam! Hooray for knitting!

As for me, I bought four skeins of an autumn toned mohair that seemed to want to be a shoulder shawl. This is from vergnasco, and I have 400 yards. More than adequate for the current pattern in mind.

I also bought 2 skeins of a gorgeous Fonty rust mohair (190 meters total)(why do my fingers want to type morhair tonight?) with coordinating ribbon yarn. And one gorgeous lonely ball of Trendsetter Dune that looks as if it is a party all by itself. Again, autumn colors, closer in tones to the rust than the other skeins, but spun with glitz. A yarn of many colors. Whether these will be one shawl or separate hasn't been decided.


Gauge is an odd duck. Have patience with me, I really will get somewhere, eventually.

I learned to knit in Brownie Girl Scouts, many many years ago in second grade. We know it was in second grade, because Annette didn't learn. She would have learned if I was in third grade, because she would have been in the troop too. I learned on red Boye size 2 short needles (still have them) and with sport weight wool burgundy yarn. We started by covering an oatmeal box and top with contact paper for a project holder. All of us had the same paper. It was white paper with little pink roses, with 2 leaves per rose. There was a hole in the top for the yarn to feed through. When you finished knitting, take the top off, put your knitting in, put the top back on, and everything was safely stowed until the next time you were ready to knit. I think we also had cotton cord carrying handles, but I don't remember for certain.

We were on to the knit stitch, then to the purl. I was lucky that my mom was able to help me, so if I faltered, she was there to rip back to where the error was, and start me on the right track.

The first project I remember was the infamous scarf. I really don't remember finishing it, but that scarf went with us on a camping trip. It kept me busy as we drove from Missouri to Colorado, in the month long camping, and on the long drive home again (hey I was little, I knit a LOT slower then!) I don't remember wearing it, I don't even know if I finished it.

Over the years, Mom and I have had exactly the same gauge. She could fix my knitting when I had problems when I was a child or a teen, althought she believed in ripping back and letting ME knit it back up. Felt I remembered the lesson better. When I teach, I usually knit back up to where the student was. I wonder which method is better? (I figure my way prevents the student from being discouraged. Comments?)

That burgundy yarn followed us around for years. I don't know what use Mom had for it originally, but she had several skeins of it. Some of it in balls, at least on still in a skein, and I remember holding it as Mom carefully rolled it into a ball. I remember finding it off and on through the years, and have even found small balls of it still in my stash.

Later on, Mom started a few projects and became tired of working on them. I was able to pick up her knitting, using the same needles, and finish them for her after tinking back a row to eliminate the needle mark. There was no difference in the gauge. She did finish knitting a gorgeous afghan (that I never would have started) full of trinity stitches. Things had to catch and hold her attention. This one did.

When I broke my wrist my knitting became looser. I didn't even think of it when I asked Mom to knit on the helmetliner the other day. And you know what? Mom's gauge has changed too. You STILL can't see the difference between her stitches and mine. She knit the first inch of the stockinette portion. Our gauges are exactly the same. After all these years, we STILL knit to the same gauge. CHEERS Mom! I love you!

Friday, November 11, 2005


Had a wonderful time Thursday knitting with the Evergreen (Colorado) Knitting Floozies! They are such a welcoming group! Mom and I felt a part of the group, and the time passed by so quickly! They meet every Thursday from 10-12 at Hearthfire Books. If I have it right, we have: Barb, Cindy, Georgine, Gail, Mom, Nancy, and Gloria. Mom knit an inch on a helmetliner while we were there. I was repairing a damaged sock for Georgine(and forgot to take before and after pictures!) that had been attacked by a puppy, so have nothing to show of my time.

This is Howard, my sister Annette, and Mom at the airport, just before security. Hey, I'd forgotten to get pictures most of the trip, so I thought I'd get one picture at least! LOL! Annette and Steve cut THEIR vacation short a day so they could see us. They had taken 2 weeks and traveled to southern Utah just to relax and visit the sites there.

Update on the items I took to knit with me:

  • Mabel's helmet liner was finished right away
  • I did start and finish a helmetliner while I was gone.
  • The Parting ways socks are much further along.
  • The short row scarf needed a new needle -- the stitches merrily jumped off the needle without any provocation. darn it. Even while transferring from one needle to the other it was quite easy to lose stitches.
  • The dragon scales scarf has grown, but needs to grow some more.
  • Couldn't start the other socks -- the needles were occupied.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hello from Colorado!

We're (Howard and I) are on a quick trip to visit family. Sunday we saw Nathan and Kim. The night was enlivened by Tucker, their basset/lab cross jumping on the bed at midnight. He managed to land on both of us, he didn't want one of us to feel left out. That dog is HEAVY! He has the lab body from his mom, but the basset legs from his dad. -

We are spending the days with my parents and the evenings with our daughter Serena. Much laughter has occurred. Mom and Dad's cat Isabelle has been properly adored, and Serena's cat Tora-chan has reminded us that she is queen of our hearts. After all, she lived with us for several years.

Went to a yarn store today, and was saddened when they told someone that she needed to learn to knit a different way, so she could get help. The woman was taught to knit back backwards instead of purling by her grandmother. At what point is it all right to step in and offer to help, when the store clerks are stymied? But, they are suggesting a method that is going to put money in the store (if she accepts). If she doesn't accept, we may have lost a knitter. Sounds as if it may be a lose/lose situation all around. What happened to the philosophy that there isn't a wrong way to knit?

Did find a book I'd been wondering about buying, and was happy to buy. "The Cable Knitting Handbook" by Annie Maloney. Subtitled 101 Original Stitch Designs . She did a great job of pulling together the book on her own, and self-publishing it. If you are interested in cable knitting, I recommend it. She also did a lace book, I'll have to look for that later.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A frogging we will go!

Rats! The scarf is looking good, but it is curling too much for my liking. So, I'm going to visit the frog pond and start over. This is the current incarnation. I'll put a garter edging on either side and both ends to fix it. Since I like its current width, I'll go down in needle sizes too, so it doesn't overwhelm the wearer! Otherwise, we could be looking at a too small shawl!

Packing to visit Serena and my parents. I tend to pack more than needed, "just in case." Always bring extra fiber projects, don't want to run out of knitting, for heaven's sake! That would be a catastrophe! Right now I have ready for the trip:
  • Said scarf that has started over -- the second picture. It hasn't been blocked at all, but you can see how the colors are working together well;
  • Pair of socks that are knit in Jackie E-S's Parting Ways pattern. Both are ready to have the stitches picked up from the heel flap;
  • Helmetliner that just needs the face ribbing -- rest beautifully knit by Mabel until she ran out of yarn. I'll finish that, and have enough yarn for at least 2 more complete helmetliners;
  • Yarn for another pair of socks;
  • Yarn for a short row scarf. Do you think that will be enough for 6 days? sigh

I had written this and uploaded it earlier, and it didn't work. Hope this one does!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

oh my

Today, after several days of 70 degree weather, it has started to cool off. Murphy's law, the new air conditioner is being installed, and the basement door is open and the furnace has been turned off. For some strange reason, the house has steadily cooled off. As he left tonight, the guy said that unfortunately the furnace wouldn't be running tonight either! I see comforters on our beds tonight!

The commission sweater has been put in the mail, thanks to my sweet, ever patient husband! Whee!

I've started the next project. This is obviously the wrong size of needles for I'm going to have to frog and start over, but I love the colors! I'll try more pictures in other light, as there are more colors of blue and green in this. The yarn is from Margaret. I'm knitting it up for her. This color is Sea Cruise, and the yarn is a cotton/rayon with 700 yards per 8 ounce skein.

I had to have some help on winding the ball on the skein, one of the ends buried itself when I snipped the knot. I've never had that happen before. Absolutely bewildering! Clip the knot, and suddenly I had only one free end! That was certainly exciting! Especially as it was NOT the one which allowed me to wind the skein into a ball. I couldn't figure it out. Howard spent 3 minutes looking at the same skein, and started the skein. sigh

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Nathan Christopher!

Today is our son Nathan's Birthday. Happy Birthday Nathan!

Nathan had severe asthma as an infant and child. It landed him in the hospital a couple of times in complications with other illnesses. He had a lot of shots. He used a nebulizer (he called it making dragon smoke.) Running was out of the question.

He outgrew the asthma for the most part about 12, thank God. He has mild exercise induced, and he deals with it.

Nathan and Kim have been happily married for 3 years. Right now he is working 36 hours a week, doing an internship, and going to college full time! He graduates next month! I'm very proud of him. He's matured into a wonderful man!

On the knitting front, I'm almost finished with the sweater. whee! On to the next project, a scarf for Margaret The yarn came yesterday, and is gorgeous! Don't you think? She hasn't even had time to put the picture of this color on the website yet! I asked, she said it was all right to put it up here.