Sunday, January 27, 2013

Well, let's see if this works...
It's been another long, dry spell for blogging. The dialup Internet has not allowed me in to the blog for weeks and weeks.  During that time much has happened and at the same time nothing much has changed, but that's life, isn't it.  This will be a long post, as I have much to share and who knows when I'll be able to log in again?
Ignore the weight-loss tickers to the right of the page. They are the result of a bet with three of my motorcycling friends and I'm struggling with the formatting.  I am hopeful that the actual weight loss will be easier than setting up the tickers, but so far my own weight has not changed much.  The guys are doing well, though!
So I think it was well before Christmas the last time I posted.  Since then, there has been much knitting, the death of another old friend, a visit from my brother, an evening with the Harlem Globetrotters, a whole lot more knitting, the re-addition of six more people to my home, an adoption of the feline sort, and probably a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember at this moment.  
At this moment the house smells quite wonderfully of fresh baking raisin bread.  My oldest grandson had a bad dream and came into my room to wake me for comfort. We couldn't get back to sleep so at 4:45 a.m. we were up and in the kitchen, starting the bread machine.  The bread should be ready around 8:00 if you're in the neighborhood.

So. Back in mid-December I posted a contest for a free e-book of knitting patterns.  The winner was  barazile, from Ireland!  There is a link to her blog in the comments on the December 19th post. 

Here is a little story:
A little story
Once upon a time, a little doll lived in a little shop. She was quite homely, with staring eyes and a cheaply-made cotton dress, but she was very friendly and dear. A hard-working young woman named LaVerda loved her so much, and wanted to take her home, but alas, a dreadful accident happened: the little doll took a terrible tumble from a high shelf and broke her little head quite badly!
The good shopkeeper (that’s me, silly!) mended the little doll as best she could, but there remained a bit of her scalp that had fallen down inside of the little molded face, and a little hole remained that could not be repaired.
The poor dolly sat for months and months, over most of a year, with the sad hole in the top of her head. She feared that she would sit on the lonely shop counter forever, and would never have a warm and loving home to call her own. Whenever Miss LaVerda came to the little shop to work, she would take her up and talk to her and tell her how much she was loved, but still the little doll sat, sad and lonely, as the days passed.
One day, the good shopkeeper found a bit of warm woolen yarn and began to knit a little cap for the dolly. She knit a feather-and-fan crown for the cap, with reverse stockinet stitch for the back, and adapted the ruffled skirt from the Knubbelchen pattern to make a little tail at the bottom to keep the dear dolly’s neck warm. She sewed two bits of red satin ribbon to the cap for ties.
Then the shopkeeper took up her wool and needles once more, and knit a simple garter-stitch shawl for the little doll. She cast on two stitches, then worked an easy dishcloth-style pattern, slipping the first stitch of every row, then wrapping the yarn over the needle once and working the rest of the row in Knit stitches. When the piece seemed big enough, the shopkeeper worked one row thusly: Sl 1, (yo, k2tog), repeating (this part) across the top of the shawl. She then knit back one more row across the edge and then bound off as loosely as she could, although she SHOULD have used a larger needle to do that because it’s too tight, dangit, and won’t stretch as far as I want it to and...oops, I have gotten off track, haven’t I?
The shopkeeper took the little shawl and bonnet to the little shop and dressed the little doll in them. She tied the cap’s red satin ribbons under the doll’s chin, and slipped the button from the doll’s bib through the lacy edges of the shawl to hold it closed over her chest. The sweet dolly was so warm and cozy, and there was no longer any sign of her frightening adventure and dreadful fall, except for a tiny mended crack down the center of her face!
The shopkeeper wrapped the dolly in a bright and cheery red-and-white dishtowel, because she knew that Miss LaVerda liked the pattern, and tied the package up with a blue bow. She placed the little gift in a spot where she knew it would be found when Miss LaVerda came to work the next day, and left it with a little pat, and a wish that the dear little doll would always be loved.
Merry Christmas, LaVerda! :o)

Some Miscellaneous Knitting That Could Not Be Shown Before Christmas:
Incognito Cowls for the grandchildren.  These can be worn instead of scarves to keep their little necks warm, or can be pulled up to cover the lower parts of their faces, giving each of them a funny mustache!

 Knubblechen: little dolls knit from some of the Big Bag O'Sock Yarn that I got at Tutto last February. They are quite soft and cuddly, and I love them very much!  These four were knit in worsted-weight yarn for the grandkids, but I've knit three more in leftover sock yarn and have two more on the needles for baby gifts.
If you know me, you know that I do not care for the color purple (although the book and movie of the same name are among my favorites), due to a bad relationship with a purple-loving former boss.  I had a great many bits and pieces of purple sock yarn and I thought if I used them to knit a pair of socks it might help me get over my aversion for the color.
Here are the socks.
It didn't work.  I'll wear them, but I still don't like purple.
These, however, I love.  The yellow striped yarn is my treasured Opal Bee yarn, held in my stash for several years now.  I had only some leftovers from socks that I had knit, along with some of the same yarn that was leftover from a friend's socks, and I didn't think there would be enough for a full pair, so I added some black and some wonderful honey-gold yarn to make enough, using those colors to stripe the cuffs, heels and toes. 
Did I mention that I LOVE these socks?

I also love these...yellow, my favorite color, was the theme for one of my online sock-knitting groups, and knitting a pattern from a new-to-you designer was the theme for another.  This is the quite splendid Lang Jawoll yarn in a quite splendid yellow, and the pattern is Cabled Spakenburg by Erry Pieters-Korteweg, a designer from the Netherlands.  She has adapted stitch patterns from traditional Dutch fishermen's sweaters to knit socks for her family, and this design is one of hers. 
Erry's notes about the source of her pattern:
" Designing for my son with shoe size 14,5/49,5 a pair of socks based on the gansey of the fishermen from Bunschoten/Spakenburg, a fisherman’s town in the Netherlands. Fishermen from this fishing village had two ganseys; one for during the week and one for Sundays. The one for during the week was knitted huge, like twice the size wanted. Then the gansey  was put into hot water, and rubbed and pounded until it shrank to half. This procedure resulted in a very  heavy, and wind-­ and water-proof sweater. For Sundays the gansey was knitted with a thinner kind of blue
yarn, called ‘sajet’. The dominant motive were cables with bands in stockinette stitches in between. More about these sweaters in the book Nederlandse Visserstruien by Henriette van der Klift-­Tellegen (Bilt 1983)
The book has also been translated in English.
I was able to locate a copy of the book in English through Michigan's Inter-Library Loan program, and it was a very interesting read!  I'm planning to use another of Erry's designs for my February Knit-Along socks.  Her patterns are beautifully written and result in some lovely socks.

These are socks knit for one of our motorcycling friends in trade for a pair of heated riding gloves that were too heavy for Frank to wear while operating his motorcycle.  Frank's bike is orange, as were the bikes that belonged to our friends Ross and Steve, and this yarn is left over from socks that I knit for them.  I bought the yarn several years ago from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions in Zwolle, Netherlands, to continue in the Dutch theme. I didn't have a lot of the orange yarn left, so used brown for the heel flaps and heels.  When I finished, I had just a few yards left of the orange yarn.

This is Pearl.  She adopted us last fall. She is a very loving kitty, and makes me realize how much I've missed having a pet.

Friday evening, we were treated to a Harlem Globetrotters game at Notre Dame.  I have seen them many times on television over the years, but this was my first time to see them in person.  They are impressive basketball players, and fun (and very funny) to watch,  but what most stuck in my thoughts as I watched them was the history behind their team. Thank you, Michelle, for a wonderful evening and a MOST thoughtful gift.

And last, but most assuredly not least, there has been another passing.  Don (Donnie) A. Moore, a friend of my husband's since first grade and of mine for around forty years, died two weeks ago today.  He was a military veteran, Legionnaire, pillar of his community, father, husband, friend.  He was tireless in his efforts to make his town strong. He was loud, rude, obnoxious, insulting, profane, and terribly, terribly funny!  He was the owner/operator of their local radio station, an ever-present volunteer and fund-raiser, and the sort of man who makes me realize what a complete slacker I am. His shoes will be impossible to fill.

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