Success!

Another handspun hat finished, this time knitted. It’s primarily blue as requested by my grandson.

The colors in the picture above are more true; the blue is dark, but not as dark as navy, with some bits of lighter tones. The creamy white was spun from from a BFL sheep raised by a friend of somewhat local spinner friend, Adele. The variegated was spun during the  Ravelry Jenkins Yarn Tools challenge, Feb 2017. Need inspiration to dig out your spindle(s)? Join the JYT forum for the January 2019 challenges! Our fantastic moderator, Homecraft/Sharon, comes up with fun, do-able challenges. 2019 will be the year of Spindle BINGO. There will be two smaller challenges in January to kick off the new spinning year.
This week brought cold weather with clear skies and temps into the 20s before the sun climbed the sky. This town is often sheltered from the bitter winds that blow from the east that affected much of the northern Willamette Valley.

Before heading out the door on a morning walk I snapped this picture out our back door.
The birds and this one squirrel have been feasting on the seeds and grains Ed throws out to them every day.
By the time I returned from walking the sunshine was creeping across the line. I think this little guy was quite enjoying the sun on his face and ears.

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Try, try again

The Moebius I wrote about starting early last month, posted here , has been a far greater challenge than expected. Since I wasn’t really following a pattern, having watched only Cat Bordhi’s cast-on, I decided that 196 was a good number for the cowl. Initially it was coming along great. Mostly it was worked on when out walking.

After 6 rows (essentially 12, the nature of a Moebius!) I switched from straight knitting and purled the next 6 rows when I saw that the was it was developing would have made half the rows purled and half the rows knit and I didn’t want the separate looking halves. Purling slowed down the process as well as the bulk of material on the circs. I was constantly pushing the material along the circs to bring it around so the next few inches of stitches could be worked.

When the ball of yarn started quickly diminishing the bind-off process began, until about a 1/3rd of the way around I didn’t like the way the edges were curling in. It was unbound back to the beginning of the round then the process began again except this time doing a purled bind-off. 200 stitches of trying to bind off evenly and loosely was slow going. This time I was close to half way done when I realized there was no way I had enough yarn to finish.

Again, tinking back, and back, twice around determined to have plenty of yarn for another go. This time I grabbed a 5.5mm crochet hook for quicker binding off.

Thursday night, with close to 2/3rds bound off, I knew. The yarn was running out again! I’m stunned that my calculations of how much I’d need to bind off the Moebius was once again wrong. I’d always figured that 4x the length would be adequate. It’s not.

Now I’m debating: rip back 3 rounds (600 stitches) then bind off, or simply frog the entire thing? It’s narrower, and longer than I’d wanted; wrapped twice it doesn’t snuggly around the neck. If I start over I’d cast on 150 stitches thus getting a slightly wider end result.
So much for a quick knit! I think it needs to go in time out while I knit or crochet a hat for Wesley! After all, we’re now in the month of Christmas and a few gifts need to get made.

This morning we decorated the church for Advent/Christmas which got me to thinking about putting out a few decorations then adding a few more each week as we anticipate celebrating Christ’s birth. Youngest granddaughter and the tree they decorated at her home today.
I intend to continue practicing being grateful each day.
Grateful for
  – this season when we wait, filled with hope in the Promise.

Accomplished

Three must-do items were checked off today. Such sweet, sweet relief!

I’ve been very grateful for songs such as “Find Me” (see 11/27 post) and “Love Lifted Me” (an old hymn) running through my head during this rather taxing week. I had a hard time focusing my thoughts to stay on track, especially when I worked on the article with the deadline of Dec 1st, and innumerable interruptions kept happening, including some big ones out of my control.

I started working on the article in September gathering information with the goal of having it written by Nov 1st. To my dismay I kept falling down fascinating rabbit holes. Ed would firmly pull me back to solid ground saying, “Keep it simple!” I got too simple. There weren’t enough woods. There were too many words, too random, too much over-thinking, too complex, too redundant.

Last night Ed read my final draft and declared it perfect. I went to bed with new sentence structures and order to make it more cohesive. Ignoring all emails this morning I settled in working on the article. Adding the ideas I’d thought of last night took the article 200 words past the limit thus began another paring process. Just before noon it was saved as a .pdf and sent off to the publisher along with some supporting pictures. Huzzah! What a tremendous relief to have that monkey off my back before it turned into an Orangutan.

#1 Absolutely must-finish and email article. Check!

#2 Eye exams for Ed and I. Check! It’d been three years since our last vision check-up and we both felt that we were way overdue but time slipped by. Yesterday when it crossed my mind I immediately picked up the phone and made back to back appointments for us. After hanging up I remembered that a DMV office was right around the corner from the optometrist’s office.

#3 Driver’s License Renewed. Check!

For a person who has the tendency to procrastinate going to a doctor/dentist or the DMV it feels super to have accomplished seeing the dentist, optometrist, AND getting the license renewed almost a full month before it expired – all this week.

Remember the picture posted 11/23 of the row of ferns in a stone wall by a dry creek bed? This is what it looks like after several days of rain! The fish ladder is flowing with abundant water again!
Grateful for
  – tasks accomplished
– the love of writing
– perseverance even though I longed to take a day off
– visible signs of hope, of life! The reminder that even when the creek, and life! seems dry beyond hope the waters will flow again.
– Abundant, living waters!

Red Surprises

This morning we decided to walk the main road leading out of town. It’d been a long time since I’d gone that way but it didn’t take long to remember why I’d stopped walking that road: traffic. It used to be that I could walk that route in the morning and only encounter a car or two the entire distance. In the past few years traffic has increased tremendously in this out of the way area.

I did enjoy getting reacquainted, on foot, with the so familiar sights that we normally speed past in the car. There was a time when this road was the final part of the loop I walked almost daily. Perhaps someday I’ll manage my time better and get back into shape to walk that 4.5 mile loop with its two significant hills.

Looking down an alley I spied an espaliered apple tree. Ever since seeing the espaliered trees at Mt Vernon I’ve wanted to try growing / training one. Training a tree this way takes a great deal of understanding and patience. Sort of how a parent should raise children: learn the strengths and direction each child is naturally inclined towards then gently, yet firmly, and patiently train them so they can reach their best potential, a life of productivity that brings joy and satisfaction.
The man makes excellent use of his tiny lot in growing food! See the red peppers still producing?
The drops of rain dripping off the apple almost made me want to take a bite.
By the time we reached the top of the hill out of town we were tired of the noise and needing constantly step back from the road as trucks and cars whizzed past so we headed home.

The red holly berries on the loaded tree caught my attention; my stopping to take a picture caught the Hereford cow’s attention.
The road leading into town, to home.
Grateful for
the unexpected sight of the espalier tree with ripe red apples
– the lifting of the fog and rain
– bright joyfulness of holly berries during the season when colors are fading and muted
– the article that is basically finished!

A Resilient Aunt

My grandparents were married on this day 114 years ago in a tiny town in SE Minnesota.  Grandma gave birth to her fourth son on her eight anniversary. Five years later her sixth child, and only daughter was also born on their anniversary. Imagine, two of your children sharing birthdays  on your anniversary, with even bigger celebrations when Thanksgiving fell on the 28th of November!

All six children were close to each other but the bond between my dad and his little sister was very strong. Within a few years after my folks settled in Oregon to raise their family, Aunt Ruth packed up her small household and followed him west.

Aunt Ruth wasn’t much of a talker. Her passion was singing, most often in church choirs. Before she moved to Oregon she’d been in a large choir that had even put out an album in the early sixties. She was quite proud of that album.

She was a lady, in dress, actions and manners. Her elegance reflected in her slender posture and the clothes she wore even though she was very frugal making her meager dollars as a secretary stretch as far as possible. I never heard her tell her story; it was something she’d put in the past and refused to dwell on but my dad told me about it when I questioned him why no one ever mentioned her husband.

The story as my dad told me: A few years into her marriage her husband took her and two-year old Vic to a remote hunting cabin during a late snowy spring. Shortly after they arrived he told her he was leaving them, got in the car and drove away.  Abandoned with her small son deep in the forest.

The cabin was so remote there was little chance of anyone coming to their rescue in time. With only the food and wood they’d brought for the week she knew they’d been left to die.

The next morning she bundled herself and Vic in as many layers as possible, and packed what food she could carry as well as needing to often carry Vic. Praying for protection and strength, she set out to walk to safety along the snow-covered road occasionally seeing faint tire tracks left by the car. Trudging through woods where bears were plentiful and at a time they were coming out of hibernation, hungry and mean. It took two days of walking to reach a road where they were rescued, on the brink of collapse. Sheer grit, determination and God’s grace got them out alive.

My quiet, unassuming aunt was a rock of fortitude, courage, resiliency, and tremendous faith.

The hanging basket on our porch is still sending out new shoots and a few flowers even after a few freezing mornings.

Grateful for
  – my aunt and her steadfast example of resiliency and never complaining even though her life wasn’t easy.
– my dad and his wonderful example of quietly loving people.
– the abundant, real life that they’re now enjoying!

Find Me

While processing and mailing orders that had come in since Friday afternoon, a song came into my head. Normally I like working in silence but the song was persisting  with only partial bits of the lyrics weaving in and out of the tune  so I looked it up on YouTube then listened to it over and over.

Each time I woke up during the night the song was there, as it has been throughout the day and even now.

I had a dental check-up this morning. Overall it was encouraging. The dentist saw no need for any work at this time. Once the implant is finally finished (my understanding is 2 more steps: the next in 2 weeks for the final prep for the actual “tooth” piece and then I’ll see him to be fitted with the tooth.) The two other teeth that have been feeling a bit out of sorts he strongly believes are reacting to the space created by the extraction of the molar in June and that they’re shifting a bit. Once the implant is done and the empty space filled they should stop shifting and be fine.
I am grateful!

Setting out on a late morning walk, the sun shone brightly on the birch tree opposite the end of our lane. The arch of yellow leaves has been framing the back-way alley path that leads to the Post Office, and the skeletal oak tree beyond the brambles at the far end of the field for the past several weeks, soon they will release their tenacious grip on the branches and float to the ground.
“Find me grateful,
Find me thankful,
Find me on my knees…”

Turning to walk up the hill the sight of the silver edged thundercloud stopped me in wonder at the changing, shining beauty. Quickly I grabbed the camera. Even in those few seconds the cloud on the right was rapidly closing what had been a big blue expanse when I first noticed it. The blue space had almost disappeared while the silver lining was intensifying in its brilliance the band was fast narrowing.
A split second later, to my vast surprise – the sun!
By the time we were walking back home thunder was rolling in the southwestern distance. All afternoon it rumbled closer, then overhead, continuing its rumbling journey northeastward into the evening. A gentle thunderstorm without loud crashing booms, or visible lightning.

“Find me dreaming,
Find me singing,

Find me lost in Your grace.”
Find Me by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser