Monday, August 17, 2009

Recycling and Whip Up

Pearl Geyser glows eerily in Yellowstone National Park.

I just found the coolest tutorial. It is non-knitting related, but still the best crafting/recycling post I've ever seen! It shows how to make fabric shades out of old cheezy miniblinds!! Go check it out at Little Green Notebook

I found that tutorial via whip-up, one of my fav blogs. I have not read any blogs in months, I feel bad about that. I have been knitting, working and spending my time on Ravelry. But this morning I decided to link to some of my chicas and see what they are up to. I have really been missing out!

(A big thank you to those who have been reading and commenting on my blog in spite of the small little world I've been living in the past couple of months!)

Anyway, here's an amazing website (in Portuguese) with gorgeous lace projects. You could spend hours scrolling her beautiful photos. I'm in love with that style of crochet lace, very reminiscent of Irish Lace, but updated with gorgeous colors! Sigh...
If I only had 300 years to make everything I want!

Finally, look at Anne's cute red & white theme she has going (love the polka dots too!)

Gotta run, or I'll be late for work.
Happy crocheting and knitting and recycling and sewing and crafting and cooking and...well, you get the picture.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nana Memorial Slippers--a free vintage pattern

My Goompa was known for his gardening and his poetry. He was very witty, and wrote humorous poems that always made you laugh. He was even published in the Saturday Evening Post!

My Nana was known for her hospitality, her knitting, ceramics, and sense of style. She wore wonderful outfits with matching chunky jewelry (it WAS the 1970s girls), and always looked just so. There is a photo of her with my grandfather in the 1920s, a stately teenager gorgeous in her ruffle-sleeved polka-dot dress with a cloche. What a stunner...

She always knit. In fact, she kept all 8 of her grandchildren (and her children and in-laws) in slippers and mittens and hats. Throughout my childhood she knit continuously. When we would visit she always pulled a box of mittens and slippers from under the bed, and let us choose our own. She also gave them as gifts each Christmas. We never once wore store-bought mittens or slippers until we were well into adulthood, when she was too ill to knit anymore.

(In addition, she supplied her church's annual holiday bazaar and various charities with those same knitted items EVERY YEAR. She was amazing.)

Sadly, during her lifetime I crocheted, sewed, and crafted, but I did not knit. I purchased "The Principles of Knitting" in about 1995 to help me learn more of knitting. But knitting never really caught on until 2002; Nana passed away in January 2003. She never saw my knit items.

Every single stitch I create now reminds me of her. I miss her, but what a legacy she left!

My point is this: My brother mentioned that he sure misses the slippers Nana used to make, and do I know how to make them because he'd love them for a Christmas gift?! (Also, he stated he is still wearing the last pair she gave--they have to be about 15 years old at this point!)

That comment made me go stash diving into my patterns. I thought I remembered seeing a hand-written sketchy pattern for slippers from my Nana's estate.

I dove in and pulled out this:

written in her own hand! (click for better view)

I cast on eagerly: if I'm gonna make these for gifts I'd best get started! And never a better time for "reminknitting" than when the loss of loved ones is so fresh.

I thought I'd share this timeless pattern for slippers, as I have scoured Ravelry without success looking for it:


size US 4 knitting needles
4 ply worsted weight yarn



(You can change colors here if you like)

(change back to the first color here)


(You will fold this oddly shaped square into a triangle with the garterstitch points together. Then sew from this point down one side completely. On the other side, you will only sew together the ribbing section for a heel!)

As much as I'm a yarn snob now, I grew up in these slippers knit in acrylic yarn. They lasted through many washings and really the only thing that ever ruined them (I remember) is snagging them on a loose nail on the flooring, which ripped a hole. A testimony to how long they can last is my brother wearing his 15 year-old pair!

I hope that my posting this pattern will lead to a whole bunch of people knitting these for loved ones this Christmas--I will try to "pdf" this at some point, and get it listed on Ravelry. And, I'll be back to update this post once I get a finished slipper to photograph!!!

Happy gift knitting everyone!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Good reads

Mammoth Hot Springs, view of the town from the top of the hot springs formation. Our happy little cabin is tucked back in there!

I just read Maeve Binchy's latest book, "Heart and Soul". She writes such good stories about life in contemporary Ireland. I have read all her others as they came out, and always wait impatiently for the next one.

I just finished reading "Journal of a Trapper" by Osborne Russell, one of the original mountain men who traversed the Yellowstone area in the first half of the 19th century. It was sometimes tedious reading as he really kept a log of miles traveled each day and in what direction, but it is also interspersed with very lovely prose and accounts of the beauty of the wilderness, gripping Indian encounters, and tales of the trappers' life. A great book if you are interested in history, and at all familiar with the area of which he writes.

I remember always being fascinated with that particular group in American History class in High School, the mountain men were a very hardy bunch, and, though trapping and hunting in that era contributed to the plundering of the land (and near-extinction of some species), that lifestyle has always appealed to me in a romantic sort of way. Imagine working all day for yourself, in the company of only the wilderness, and you are only as well-off as your persistence and ingenuity make you.

Anyway, I remember being in the bookstores of Yellowstone national park and seeing quite a few titles about the historical figures of the area. So now I am on a quest to read as many of them as I can find. And I will start here, in the online bookstore of the Yellowstone Association. Each book usually gives plenty of references to others, too.

I really want to revisit that beautiful outdoor theater of the great wild West...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Perfect Cloudless Day

A perfect cloudless hot summer day. She gets home from work feeling run down; today is the first day of another summer virus. So she sets up a cushion on the patio lounge chair to relax in the late afternoon balm.

Her spouse brings in the mail; brings out to her a special letter. It is in her mother's handwriting, with her late Grandfather's return address. She opens it--it contains a card that says "I miss you" and inside is a check for her inheritance from his will.

She cries. She misses him so much. And while the grief threatens to overwhelm her, she looks up. Above her, in an otherwise cloudless sky, hovers an oddly shaped cloud. It fully captures her attention in the midst of her sorrow. As soon as she sees it, the cloud hesitates, and then begins to shrink slowly from sight. Wonder gradually displaces grief. Suddenly, she understands. He is here, attending her reciept of his gift. Making sure she remembers that he loves her.

The cloud does not blow along to the horizon like clouds do; it simply grows smaller and smaller until it dissipates directly above her. A sense of peace, and bittersweet sorrow, and gratitude for a lifetime of memories are all that remain.

Til I see you in Heaven, Goompa. My life with you was a precious gift. Thank you.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Something to Say

Oh ho, ah ha ha haaa haaaaaaa! I HAD to post it, ha ha, it's just too too good.
Let's see how did that go? Oh yes: "vote for change." Ho ho. Ha ha.

Too bad the joke's on us. We're stuck with that for 4 YEARS.

Knitwise, I have been doing some serious keep myself distracted from the sale of my family's lake house. Here are links to some of the coolest patterns I've found, I thought I'd share them with you:

The most exciting project I found was these seahorse mittens. Aren't these great?! I can't wait to make a pair!!! (Perfect for taking to Hawaii when I move, I'm sure I'll need mittens, heh.)

Another is this crochet bolero. I love the styling of this. Here is a white version, sans pop-ups, and another really cute hot pink version! How Spanish looking!

I'd love to make this flower illusion shawl/scarf! How cute is that?! Pattern's in German, but I think you could figure it out from the diagram...

Don't recall if I posted this link before: free Christmas Stocking patterns from Cascade yarns. These work up really beautiful, you should see the ones listed on Ravelry!

I also want to make this pair of picot ankle socks. Looks good to me because it is plain--no foo foo lace pattern to follow--and they look quick! Someone on rav said they had to put elastic into the cuff to make them fit right, though.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I'm trying to be a more positive influence in the blogosphere. It's so easy to be negative, and I don't want to add that to the world at large. So after the maudlin post yesterday about poor me, here is something more upbeat.

I plan on making this sweater next, it's the Leaf Yoke Top from Knit1 S/S09 issue. I love this pattern, it looks to be a pleasurable knit.

But I have one question....why did Michael Jackson pose in this sweater?! Wierd.

I'll move on.

Random things you never wanted to know about me:

1) Pinecones that are shaped like turds freak me out.
2) I love a man in a uniform (with MANY exceptions, as the girls at work have pointed out!)
3) I NEED sunshine to keep me happy.

I'm goin' crazy in the midwest this year with the overcast 60s all the time. I'm really whiney about this, because it makes so much difference to my mood. The rare sunny days we get are during the work week and the weekends are ALL rainy, cold, and gray. If I wanted to live in Seattle, I would move there. Hawaii is looking mighty good right now. I can't take much more of this.

Back to knitting: here are some fun links. I LOVE RAVELRY!

Here is the pattern design blog for the Leaf Yoke Top in the photo above. I love Angela's design blog!

This is a normal looking doily, but the pansies around the edge look very realistic.

Pretty pretty fiber to spin....

Izumi's lovely knit blog--it's all in Japanese, but the photos speak for themselves.

Fun knitting blogs: A Sheep in Wool's Clothing She always has something interesting to say. And a blog from somewhere in scandinavia--I'm not sure where exactly, but she has neat felted slippers, spinning and garden photos going on. Felisis norwegian knit bloghas good location photos.

Another nice blog about spinning, knitting and weaving. I'm interested in learning weaving, have been for 25+ years, but I recently realized I don't have time for yet another hobby so for now I'll be happy with knit, spin, crochet, tat, scrapbook, sew, cook, garden, write, read, and Bible study. Yes, I have enough to do!

I saw someone's version of this lace top by Shiri, and now it's on my WIST list! So pretty!

Best new find: the Flower Power Elephant pattern for free through Ravelry. These rock!!!

Happy knitting.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Knitting will get me through

Gull Lake Michigan, view from my Grampa's yard.

68 degrees out, and cloudy. That echoes my emotions. Mom just told me my Grampa's lakehouse sold. It closes in 3 days. I'm so sad about this, as are DD and my brothers.

I guess I was in denial that it would really sell, trying to put on a brave face that faked me out too. I'm so unhappy to lose something so meaningful to our family. I am trying to rally by knowing that it is LOVED by the people that bought it, so likely it won't be torn down and rebuilt as a nouveau mansion like so many of the other cottages along there. There will be children there again, playing in the lake, swimming and running in the sunshine. The love of that property will go on.

And we have a lifetime of memories and photos and videos and love. A reminder that all things are temporary, except God. And I have to tell myself it wouldn't be the same without my grandparents there, anyway. But it is so hard to let go of this.

So I turn to knitting. I am comfort-knitting right now, while the tears stain the wool in my hands. March Lady Sweater will always remind me of this trial. And hopefully it will get me through this.