Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Contest! A Giveaway! Free Stuff!
A gifted designer from Ravelry has given me a copy of her new ebook to review and one to pass along to some lucky person...if you'd like a copy of your own, leave a comment here at my blog, and tell me who your favorite Hobbit character is.  I'll leave the contest open until midnight, December 31, 2012, and then will draw a name at random to receive a link for the download.

Josie Mercier has designed five patterns for knitwear inspired by the book The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  You can see pictures at Josie's blog, and read about her long love of all things contained therein. 
Each brings to mind a moment in Bilbo's adventures through Middle Earth.  I am most drawn to the Elvish Singing Shawlette and the "Pocketses" vest, but I think the Mirkwood Satchel is intriguing as well. My only wish is that Josie had knit some of her projects in lighter colors, or done something different with the backgrounds to show off her lovely knits a bit better.  The charts are clear and look like they'll be easy to follow, and the patterns seem to be well-written.  I'm looking forward to casting on my first Hobbit-y project, and hope that you all will be tempted, as well!

Don't forget to leave your comment below so that you can be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please.  This is my first real giveaway, and I am easily confused! :D 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past
And so, I have put up a tree this year.  It's a job that's always filled with emotion, with memories, with so much of my life.  Christmas was a very special time when I was a child, and for as long as my mother was alive, but it has become more difficult since her passing some years back.
Last year, it was too much to bear, and I could not bring myself to open those boxes and let the ghosts out.
This year, I decided I had to do it. It was poignant. There were a few tears. I am, however, glad that it is done.
My tree is not 'themed', it is not coordinated, it doesn't play music or look especially stylish.  My ornaments are bits and pieces of my life, and each one has meaning.
Here are a few of them:
This one is from my first birthday party, in late November of 1957.  My mother bought these Santa ornaments at our local variety store, and each of the children at the party had a little hat with one of these perched atop it.  I have two of the Santas left now.  They are showing their age, but my tree wouldn't be the same without them!

 I bought this little bride on the day that I bought my wedding gown, in 1973.  There is also a silk rose corsage that was given to me by my mother, and a silver swan that came from a shop in the town where my husband grew up.

 There are many miniature books on my tree, including tiny reproductions of the Little Golden Books that filled my childhood bookshelves, a wee edition of A Child's Christmas in Wales, a red-and-gold-bound copy of The Night Before Christmas.  Books are such an important part of my life, I couldn't possibly leave them off my Christmas tree!
This little porcelain doll is one of several that my mother used to decorate her trees.  The snowflake was crocheted by a former co-worker of mine.  We made a deal: she hated to block her work, and I do not enjoy crocheting.  She made the snowflakes, I starched and blocked them, and we divided them between us. 

This was one of the first collectible Hallmark ornaments I purchased.  When you press a button on the back, it plays a recording of Neil Armstrong's famous lunar landing speech.

There are ornaments made by my mom, by my brother-in-law, by my son, by my Cub Scouts, many years ago, by friends, and by me. 

There are whimsical additions, and beautiful ones.


And yes, there is even a collection of Star Trek ornaments!
This one plays a special Christmas message from Mr. Spock.

And here are two special friends that I had not seen for several years, since we packed them up after our last Christmas at the other house.  It was such a joy to find them once again!
Many years ago, when I was much younger, I made dolls.  I made them every year for quite a long time, one for each of my nieces.  They were not original designs, in fact for each one I used a purchased pattern, but each one had its own individuality.
These were two of the last that I made, after the girls were 'too old' for Aunt Becky's handmade dolls.
Before these, I never made one for myself, and I have no pictures of any of them!
I hope if one of my nieces still has hers and should happen to read this, that they will email me some pictures of their Christmas dolls.
Each one was made with great love and care.

And so, Christmas is coming.
Be well. Be happy.

Next post, coming soon, a giveaway! I have been gifted by a fellow member of Ravelry with a copy of an ebook of knitting patterns inspired by The Hobbit.
Check back soon, and enter to win it for yourself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

 Take5, take 2

I finished another pair of socks using the Take5 method for sock yarn remnants.  There are twenty-four differently-colored stripes of all sorts of sock yarns, with Kroy Sock in Glen Check for the ribbing, heels, and toes. 
Because all of the yarn for this pair was left over from other socks, my yardage was limited.  I was afraid that I was going to run out of the Kroy Sock before I could finish the toes, so I engaged in the time-honored knitter's trick of knitting as fast as I could; I suppose in the hope that it would help me to finish before I ran out of yarn.  : D  It worked...I finished the toes with just a few yards to spare!
Knit 8, purl 1 rib for the body of the socks, EOP heel flap, Dutch heel...I love these socks!

This is another pair from the Big Bag O' Sock Yarn, and yet one more where I had long, unbroken lengths of yarn and could make two socks without having to join any ends together.  The pattern runs top to bottom in one sock, and bottom to top in the other.  This color was one of the biggest lots in the bag, and I have plenty left to knit at least two or three more pair of socks.

It was cold and blustery here today, perhaps a foreshadowing of the weather that Hurricane Sandy has sent our way.  There is snow tonight in the mountains of North Carolina, where a group of my motorcycling friends have gathered to spend a week riding together.  I hope that the weather wll improve for the rest of the week.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Ode to Fall

My connection is freakishly quick tonight (for dialup), and so I am able to post.  It has been a spectacular fall here. I cannot remember a year when the colors were more brilliant or lasted so long as they have in this autumn of 2012. I hardly knew where to look or what to photograph!  My photos can't do justice to the beauty I've experienced this year, and my words are inadequate.
Autumn is a feast for all of the senses. 
We see the colors, feel the cooling temperatures, taste sweet, freshly-pressed apple cider, hear the crunch of leaves underfoot and smell them as they burn. 
We mow the grass for the last time until spring.  We coil the garden hoses and winterize the spigots.  Shorts and sandals are packed away and sweaters and woolen socks are unpacked and shaken out. 
 An extra quilt is placed on the bed, and I spend a few extra minutes before sliding out of the warm covers in the morning. 
It is a glorious time to be outdoors!  Roadside markets are ablaze with great heaps of orange pumpkins and squash, and pots of many-colored chrysanthemums to be carried home and planted. 
Apples have ripened and fruits in all colors appear at the grocery favorite is the Jonagold: juicy, crisp, and just sweet enough.
The rain and wind have taken down most of the leaves now, and most of the trees are bare. 

 The first flakes of snow will soon appear. 

I've been knitting, of course.  These socks were knit from bits and pieces of yarn that came from my sister's stash.  The pattern concept is called "Take 5" and requires that you change yarn colors every five rounds.  I knit them for a German group on Ravelry called RestEnd.  :- ) I don't speak German and cannot read group posts without running them through an online translater (always a source of amusement!), but they are a friendly and welcoming group, and have made me feel welcome.  I have a second pair of Take 5 socks nearly finished, just the toes to knit.

This is another pair of socks from the Big Bag O' Sock Yarn.  I think the yarn is from the Schafpate collection.  All of the yarn from this collection is completely produced in Germany: German sheep and shepherds, German spinners and dyers.  It is lovely yarn, with a wonderful hand and perfect bloom!  Each of these socks was knit from one long, unbroken length untangled from the great mass.  I've knit two pair so far, and have enough left for another pair or two in this color!

There is a little project currently being knit in the RestEnd group, called "Knubblechen".  I can hardly wait to finish a project or two so that I can start knitting along with the ladies!  I'll show them here when I've done one or two.
Bundle's cold outside!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Some Knitting
There has been constant order to protect my sanity!

At the Tennessee Lunch Run this past April, I gave away three door prizes of hand-knit items, and was happy when all three were won by people that I know, and one of them even chose to receive a pair of my socks over another prize of a motorcycle part!

These went to Bob VanNess in North Carolina

These went to Crabbywinger Bob in Michigan

Both have received their socks and seem happy with them.  The third 'winner' elected to have me knit him a hat, and I'm still waiting to hear what color he wants.

 This yarn:

 is from the Big Bag O'Sock Yarn that I acquired on my visit to Tutto in Hechingen, Germany.  I untangled it to get this:

From which I knit these socks for Rich:

I have enough left for at least two more pair of socks, and have started a pair for myself.  Rich's were made from the little balls of yarn, but mine will be knit from the two long, unbroken balls of yarn so the stripes will match, just because I want to see how the stripes are supposed to come out.

Likewise, these balls of yarn: 
came from this tangle, also from the Big Bag O'Sock Yarn

 and were turned into these socks, which I've already shown you, but they're pretty enough to show again, I think. : )

I gave enough of this Flamingo-ish yarn to one of my regular customers who is a sock-knitter, and still have plenty left for at least another pair.

On the needles are another pair from a HUGE tangle in the bag.  Pics to come later.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Leftover Summer Silliness...
When we went to visit our friends in Eastern Ohio in July, as we have for the past ten years or so, there was a mystery of sorts...I was standing in Peggy's kitchen when her little granddaughter, who we all call 'Bean' looked with some alarm at my feet.
"You only have four toes!" she said.
I looked down to see this:
Four toes
"No, Bean," I explained, "that's just the way it looks because of my sandals, see?" and I stepped out of the shoes to show her this:

Five toes

And I slipped my sandals back on.
Still four toes
She wasn't convinced.  "Do it again!", she said, and I did:

Still five toes
This action was repeated several times until she grew bored and walked away, shaking her little head.
Apparently, it bothers her quite a bit because I was required to do the same exercise LAST year when we were there.

I do, indeed, have five toes on each foot, as evidenced by my dusty footprints made during the installation of the new hardwood floors in July and August:
Really...five toes on each foot!
In addition, I now have beautiful floors in the entire downstairs of the house:
New floor
and they are finished, except for one little corner beneath the stairs, where the Tool Fridge sits.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Our Budding Artist

Robby spent the weekend at the house, and on Sunday afternoon, a perfect autumn Sunday, I took him out into the marsh, handed him the camera, and turned him loose.  These pictures are the result, and I think he did a pretty good job for a brand-new six-year-old!  I cropped two of the images and converted one to gray scale because he thought it looked 'cool', but all the rest is his work, with the exception of the picture of him on his belly on the bridge, looking for fish and frogs...his favorite position! 
You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.


Yellow Flowers

Dried rose hips

Barn and foliage


Hummingbird nest?

Waves in the sand




Mossy stones

Old shed


Autumn path

Preying mantis

Fuzzy flowers

Water Bug

Sassafras leaves



Tiny flowers

Wild rose hips