Monday, June 30, 2008

FIRES that are North 5, 6 & 7 hour drives from HOME

We are South of the more than 1400 forest fires that were ignited by lighting, because of the dry hot weather that California has been experiencing.  We are 5, 6 and 7 hour drives from that region that is heavily forested among magnificant coastal mountains of the Las Padres National Forest, which advances along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and owns the San Andrea's Fault Line and hooks to the East dividing the Southern End of the San Joaquin Valley, in Kern County, from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County.  
We are encouraged to stay indoors away from the extremely polluted air that is giving many respiratory problems, some worst than others.
Our county has sent many firefighters to the stricken area, but they had to be called home, because we are now fighting our own fires in the mountain range that borders us on the East. Yes, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are on fire and our firemen are home to fight the flames of devastation.  
Our towering skyscrapers are Ancient Redwoods and 100+ year cedar and pines and they could become envolved and are in the fire's path and the homes and businesses of the mountains are threatened.  
We have to trust the Lord to protect the people and the animals and we pray for this daily.
Late this afternoon I saw a smear of blue sky just beyond the smoke which is backed up against the mountains of our Valley.
The people in the mid-west are suffering lost I can't pretend to imagine and they need our prayers too.  
Nature happens and God happens.  Let us have the peace that passes all understanding.  Thank you. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Knitted Afghan

Lion Brand Suede, Red Heart Mexicana, size 19 circular needle, st st with garter st at each end.
As promised, here are pictures of the knitted Afghan after frogging the crocheted version, which my hands couldn't execute without pain.  I was able to knit without without inhibiting discomfort.  This is going to be a warm, washable, comfortable and color coordinated afghan for my living room.
Take note of the way I was able to separate the skeins of yarn, keeping them from tangling.  The crocheted version was maddening, because the ball I  wound, with the three yarns, kept tangling.  Well, I got through that first ball, even though I spent the same amount of time untangling the mess as I did crocheting on it.  I decided what was needed was a better way to get those three strands to behave themselves.  Necessity is the mother of invention and after looking around I used three of those innumerable canvas bags we all acquire over the years.  I placed one skein in each and never had to stop and untangle my yarn.  I know that zip lock bags and some specialty commercial bags could be used, but, this will work just as well, and maybe even better, and it is "green".


I began this Afghan with a size N hook, but my thumb joints couldn't tolerate the stress.  After crocheting for 27" I had to stop.  I frogged it and began over again using a Size 19 circular needle.  I didn't have a larger size, and my preference would have been to knit using a size 24 needle.
I will get a pic of the knitted one, soon.
My husband and I were on vacation when he saw an advertisement for the 99 cent store showing Lion Brand Suede yarn for 99 cents.  When we got back into town I went to the store and checked out the yarn. I hadn't used this yarn before, but the price was right.  Twenty skeins later I was driving home.  I am not crazy about the suede yarn, because it is so stretchy and very relaxed.  I knitted a pillow.  Then I put 2 strands of dif colored suede yarn with a strand of Red Heart Mexicana and I liked what I saw, so the new couch will have a new afghan in time for Winter.  

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Funky Monkey Anticipation

I am waiting for the Funky Monkey get it here  pattern to arrive via Snail Mail.  I have some ideas for it's cute appeal.  
More Funky Monkey here

Friday, June 27, 2008

Creations from the Garden

Everyday our garden gives up her bounty.  Today we picked another Zucchini........sigh, and we are able to pick Tomatoes and Jalapenos.  The Canning Cucumbers have been hiding and I found a competition sized one under a leaf from the zucchini plant.  I don't grow them for pickles, just to eat in our salads, and they are so much better than those great big green cucumbers.  Also, I planted a yellow tomato, but it turns out to be a smaller tear drop shaped fruit like the cherry tomato, but smaller. They are great in the salad.  I am going to find the larger yellow tomato plant,  they have a dif taste and they makes a marinara that has an enhanced wonderful flavor. My tomato plants are loaded with green fruit, and I thought they would all come off at the same time, but fortunately that isn't happening---yet.  I had a tomato sandwich for breakfast.............mmmmmm good.  Nothing like a home grown, vine ripened tomato.  The tomato we buy in the stores do not taste like tomatoes.  They really don't.  It is so easy to grow your own.  One bag of  cow manure turned over in the soil and then plant your tomato plant deep up to the largest leaves at the bottom of the plant, this is so additional roots will grow to support and get more of the cow manure nutrients into it's system.  Water. but don't over water, pinch back the tops when the bush is about 4.5 feet.  This will force growth into the production of tomatoes, otherwise you could end up with a lot of bush and fewer tomatoes. 

Swift and Ball Winder! is Wonderful!

This makes life a lot easier!
Sure is an interesting and uncomplicated
Swift - Skeiner .
I love this set-up and the more I use it the more I appreciate it's smooth and non-frustrating response to the skein of yarn.  Doesn't it look a little primitive? Information about it origin now eludes the search engine, so this will have to do, history of the Swift, . I would like to research the swift, but so far all I could find are lots of little blogs from knitters and sellers.  Textile history at the Smithsonian would be a good place to start my research.  We will see......

Take the Flower Quiz

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cotton Yarn and Cotton Blend Comparison of Texture

While cruising the Ravelry site, a community of knitters and crocheters,  I saw a darling baby bib that talented Designer Dehbiknits posted in her projects. As I studied the bib, with a thick strap, attached at one side, and fastened on the opposite side with a button and buttonhole connection I invisioned a halter top.  I don't have anymore babies in my life, all the grandkids are grown past the bib stage, six grandkids being girls, so when I looked at the bib, I  invisioned a halter top, with that  fashionable strap, which, for modesty's sake, would hold up the top. Not having a pattern, and being at a kindergarten level of learning and knowledge, in my knitting experience, I CO 149 st and used a seed stitch for the first 1", which is the bottom of the tube. I continued knitting, using a circular needle, in a st st.   

I wanted a 100% cotton yarn,  and decided that Red Heart Carefree Cotton, a blend of 51% cotton/49% acrylic (pink)would work best for a child.  I first knitted a swatch with Lion Brand Cottom Ease 50/50 blend (smoke lavender), and proceeded with the Red Heart (pink).  The seed stitch, using the Lion Brand, was not as "sharp" and pointy as with the Red Heart.  I also, did a swatch using Louisa Harding's Nautical Cotton 100% cotton (grape-magenta) and my preference would be this gorgeous yarn, but the price is almost double the Red Heart.  The cotton/acrylic blend would dry faster than the other, so this is the choice of this knitter for the top.  The Harding cotton will be saved for something I can wear. 

Check out this community of knitters and crocheters at  Ravelry



Markers-Turquoise and Pearls

How many of us have dabbled in bead work?  I know I have.  Years ago when traveling the Navajo  Nation and Wyoming and Colorado even Mammoth, Ca I saw beautiful jewelry made by creative and imaginative artisans.  My fingers began to get the "itch", I had to get my hands into the mechanical process of earring and necklace making.  Of course, as always, I had to have "it" all and I bought tools and beads, turquoise, semi precious stone beads and from QVC I bought a matching pearl necklace and bracelet set, just for the pearls.  Sterling silver wire and Sterling linked chain, gold filled and 10Kt gold wire, 14Kt gold wire, copper wire and the usual other wire used for jewelry making was in abundance in my "stash". I have long gotten jewerly making out of my system, but I never regretted buying all that "stuff" as I kept it organized and safe.  When my grandchildren came to visit they knew exactly where to get all the jewelry makings, and they would set it all up in the big table in the studio and, they would spend hours of creative bliss making wonderful necklaces, bracelets and some earrings.  Years later we had a family reunion and my new daughter-in-law joined in the creative experience too.  No, I have never regretted the money spent on all my supplies.  The memories of the days of purchase grew into more wonderful memories and their is so much more memory making that's waiting for another trip from the grandkids, so it also gives hope to the future.
Now I am back into knitting and trying to learn how to finesse  a stitch, follow a pattern, correctly determine the ply, knit a gauge and then apply it to my measurements and come up with a needed correct CO...............sigh
Well, I am not that crazy about my plastic stitch markers, they are too fat and seem to cause a gap between stitches and some of my beautiful gifted homemade markers are just too weighty and their length is cumbersome.  So in the middle of knitting a hat, knowing I needed a marker soon, I stopped the hat and made these markers and took the pics in less than an hour.  
The Tourquise beads, bought in Jackson, Wyoming, before they knew that they could have asked a whole lot more for them, was perfect for it's next life cycle.  The spring ring, yep, from the long ago manic purchases, can be used on needle size 4 and under.  The QVC pearls are still in abundance and they are on a smaller spring ring clasp for needle size 3 and under.  I will soon get larger spring ring clasp and soon I will have la petite markers that will fit on larger knitting needles.  They are light in weight and the small size are working out perfectly.  Now I get to worry about losing them one by one, as I have the cheaper plastic markers.  .........sigh 
If you want to make your own markers and you don't have the tools, you can use scissors to cut the wire (not the good scissors) and you can use tweezers or your fingers to twist the wire.  Just nip the wire left poking out with your scissors.  
I think a crocheted chain with some beads would works just as well, too.  In my jewerly cases I have many one of a kind 14Kt and sterling earrings that could work.  How about those darling cloisonné pierced earrings of cats by that artist Laurel (???)? I have a couple of them in one of a kind now.  They would make cute markers.  I have seen many markers on Ravelry a knitting and crochet community on the Internet.  You can become a member too, at no cost.  You will love it.
I have always been a do-it-yourself type, are you one too?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sample Fingerless Checker & Striped Mitten

My daughter sent the variegated sock yarn to me, and I loved it's beauty, but wanted to do something different with it.  I added black sock yarn and started playing, but without a pattern I decided to think in 3's.  3's is a good rule of thumb, 2 is ho hum and unimaginative, but odd numbers give interest. Colors were added in the FairIsle (<----found here) knitting technique, 3 rows, 3 stitches changing to the black 3 st and then 3 st of variegated and so on for 3 rows.  I had to increase some stitches at the end of the first check row, and it shows, but this is going to be frogged, so onward I proceeded, 3 rows.  Next, 3  rows of the same checker, but used the variegated where black was in the last set.  Next, 3 rows of one color only and then 3 rows of the other color.  I was enjoying my creation and didn't realize I had gone beyond the thumb, so I knitted 2 more sets of strips.  Yes, I was having a very satisfying time.  
Where is the graph paper?   

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Magic Loop Socks

I learned much by following the 2 at a time Socks tutorial in Melissa Morgan-Oakes magic loop sock book (<----found here), and it is clever, this I have to admit, BUT I don't think I would want to knit a complicated or very involved pattern using the 
magic loop (<---found here) method.  We will see.
I can see many uses for the magic loop technique.  Mittens, sleeves are just a few of the possibilities.
I knitted these socks according to the lesson using two colors.  This helps to keep you "clear" which sock is which.  I switched up the toe and crocheted a lace edge to make them girlie. My granddaughter Tessa has them.  I am waiting on a pic of her in wearing them, then I can add that pic to my Ravelry project.