Sunday, August 31, 2008

Under the Weather

I've been taking a little break...from most everything. I caught a bad cold, actually, my son brought it home from work, and I can't seem to shake this thing. It has gone into my lungs and is being most unpleasant. It is hard to work with any "fibery" as I sneeze worse & can barely breathe. I would appreciate prayers, and also prayers for the people and pets on the Gulf Coast in Gustav's path. Hurricanes are bad business. Growing up in Florida, I went thru several. Here's to better days!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Tale of Five Little Girls

Once upon a time there were five little girls, all the same age, growing up on North River Road. In the 1950's there weren't too many concerns for the little girls. We all wondered about an angry man in faraway Russia, who would shake his fist and tell us that he would bury us, but we all had plenty to eat and nice dresses to wear to school. Our fathers all had jobs and we'd never heard of "downsizing" or lay offs. Most of our mothers were homemakers. We all met in the second grade at River Road School.

Life was good. Summers were hot but tollerable. We had no air conditioning in the 1950's. We swam in the Black River behind my home. Winters were very cold with lots of snow. We made snow forts and snowmen and had lots of fun together.

I am the oldest, and I turned 59 this past March. Next in line is Kathy, who birthday is in June. Then comes Marianne and Linda, both born in July, then Susan, born in August.

The cure for polio was not yet found, so in the summer, we all had to be quiet during the heat of the day. My mother would read to us from "Pollyanna" or "The Secret Garden". Kathy's mother taught us easy sewing stitches and embroidery, and took me to Church. Sometimes we would play baseball in Marianne's yard or spend the day at Susan's house, 1/2 mile down the road. She liked the new Barbie dolls. Crafts were not popular then, not even in VBS.

Well, in 6th grade, my family moved to Florida for Dad's health. In 7th grade, Kathy moved to Detroit area for her father's work. I lost touch with Marianne for over 25 years, but we found each other again awhile back. Kathy and I have remained close. Sadly, Linda died in a car accident when we were 24. Susan died of a brain tumor in 1998, right before my husband died of cancer. Kathy, Marianne and I keep in touch by email now. Marianne and I are retired, Kathy works in her husband's business office.

Kathy does beautiful needlepoint, Marianne and I both make quilts. My friend, Tammy (in NC), taught me to spin a few years ago and it has taken over my life and home. My dust bunnies are wool and mysteriously migrate around my vinyl living room floor like tumbleweeds. Spinning has given me some degree of peace since my husband died.

Come to think of it, life is still pretty good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Family Cat Quilt

The quilt picture on top is called "To All The Cats We've Loved Before" and was started in the mid 1980's from traded quilt blocks. I used to trade quilt blocks all over the world. Well, I got this bright idea to put the names of all the cats, mostly indoor cats, that we have cared about over the years, beginning with our first cat, KeyKey, in 1972. I added Dora's name to the last and final block today. The photo of my helper cat for today is the outdoor kitty we call Jack. He's a great cat and a good helper but will remain outdoors at his request.

The second photo is my "Boo's" block, who died a year ago this week. I don't think I will ever get over losing her, and I cry every time I think of her. She was a solid black, longhair. My husband had named her "Blackie", but after he died, she just seemed to be called Boo from then on. I began this blog about two weeks before Boo died, and didn't have digital camera at that time. I only have a few old photos of her. I didn't realize this until she was gone and it was too late. She died so suddenly. I feel like this quilt is finally complete as of today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Snoopy (happy) Dance!

After several months (yep, I said months!) of working on spinning this purple mohair/wool it is finally finished. I washed and dried the last of it yesterday. This stuff was awful to spin, but I was determined to finish it! It was full of veg.matter and sandspurs (anyone from S.Fla. will know what I am talking about). But I am doing a snoopy dance, as best I can, and will give it to my daughter the next time she comes over. She wanted it to make a tri-loom shawl out of it and was eagerly awaiting my finishing with it. By the way, I couldn't show it all on the small table, there is more of it than shown. I started on some plain-jane, off-white, easy to spin stuff late last night. Whew! What a pleasure to spin after that purple stuff! <>< June

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Camera Shy Kitty

The family cat did not want her picture taken! Usually she will run & hide when she sees me with the camera. She is 11 years old and was born in Ei-cho, Japan. She is my daughter's cat and loves her dearly, but she wants to live here with my son and I. I am home all the time and my daughter works. This cat is not a helper-cat like Dora. But she is a joy to have around and is very intelligent. Cats sure make life more enjoyable!

Update on Dora

Our Dora is about three months old now. She is quite the little "helper cat", unlike the family cat who could care less about my quilts or yarn. Dora got tired of watching me on the computer, so decided to catch a nap under an old box of my son's tapes. She looks slightly "hungover" here, doesn't she? At times I'd like to give her back to the yard cats, but then, when she's asleep, she's a nice kitty. She sure keeps things active around here, and helps me to remember to keep things picked up and "kitty-proof". I really need to get the day started around here, but just can't decide what to work on. Went to quilt guild meeting yesterday, so am almost inclined to work on something "quilty". But then again, the round ripple afghan is calling to me!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another view

I just can't figure out why I can't get a good photo of my crochet hook. It appears to be a "too much light" problem, but the background is actually gray. Hmmmm. Maybe I should consider a photography class next?

New Crochet Hook

After looking at a crochet hook carved (whittled, actually) from a regular chopstick I said "I can do that". The one I saw is called Jimbo's Chophook. It didn't take me long to find an old, mismatched chopstick and have a go at it. I'm sorry for the bad quality of the photo, I tried twice to get a better one, but didn't have any luck. This chopstick isn't bamboo, but some other wood and has interesting grain lines not visible in the photo. I think the hook turned out pretty good and the size is about a J, which is my favorite for afghans. The second photo is the 12-point Round Ripple afghan. This pattern is quickly becoming my favorite also. I have made crochet hooks before. I made a tunisian crochet hook in a large size, when I couldn't find one that I wanted. Where I live, I have to drive 35 to 50 miles to get anything (creative) that I might need. There is no joy in living in the "country".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lap Quilt

This is a lap quilt that I made in '02 when I was teaching a class at my church. I enjoyed working on it at the time, and am still pleased with it. The second photo is of a Grandmother's Fan block in the lap quilt that I added tatting to. It is some yellow shuttle tatting that I found in my mother's things. I think she originally intended to put it on a pillowcase, but never did. Mother had Alzheimer's disease the last 14 years of her life, and I still have not gone through a lot of her things she left. I think she would be pleased that I learned to needle tat, as I could never learn to shuttle tat. She successfully taught my daughter, though, and I gave her Mother's shuttles. I also have used tatting around the outside of a Hello Kitty small quilt. I like to incorporate tatting into other projects I make. I am also working on 2 afghans for the homeless this winter, granny squares, and a pair of socks. Oh, and the Wonderful Wallaby. Back to work now.......

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Needle Tatting

The box that I had been using to keep a door closed contained my needle tatting. I'd forgotten all about it, and had not worked with it in years. I actually tripped over this box last Sunday and fell. The Good Lord really does have to knock me down to get my attention . The photo is of some handkerchiefs that I put a simple ring & chain lace on. I made over a dozen of these to send back to Japan with my daughter for Omiagi. I really enjoyed making these, but went on to other things. Funny how things come full-circle, huh? I have decided to do some tatting during these hot days of August, and maybe make a few more handkerchiefs. They are always good as gifts & can be put in an envelope to mail easily (with explanations to the P.O.). I never quite got the "hang" of round-things, that is.... doilies. I think I'll stick to ring & chain for right now. It really is my favorite, and not too much thought involved. I have joined a yahoo group for some advice, too. The thread I am working with is called "Fiesta" from the Wildflowers collection from Caron. It is a really beautiful varigated thread that might be discontinued by now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wonderful Wallaby

The Wonderful Wallaby Sweater pattern is by Carol Anderson, Cottage Creations, of Iowa. All her patterns are wonderful and I highly recommend them. I have several, and everything I have knitted from her patterns turn out really good. I have knit this one twice before, and have been pleased. I am using some old Heatherblend by Brunswick Yarn (no longer in business, too bad). This is going to be a gift for someone dear to me, but I just may knit a larger one (for me) before I put the pattern away! Also on the needles is another tube sock. One done, one just begun. Photo when they are a pair!

My son bought me the latest two movie installments of the "Love Comes Softly" series by Jeanette Oke. They are called "Love's Unending Legacy" and "Love's Unfolding Dream". Both were good and decent to watch. There is so much trashy tv these days, that it is nice to find a story about people being kind to one another, and families sticking together. My daughter took us to Winston-Salem last Friday and bought our supper at a Chinese restaurant. She also bought me some sock yarn. I am very proud of both of my (grown) children and don't know how I'd get by without them. I am truly blessed.