Birthday crocheting.

Six years have passed since our first grandchild was born on this day. (Blog posts of the occasion on my old blog.)

It seems like overnight that she’s gone from being a wee baby, to a toddler, to a little girl and now a young girl who’s growing up so quickly. I managed to crochet a beret for her in time to wrap up with a few other gifts and send it in time to be opened today.

Last autumn during email exchanges with Scarlet of Huckleberry Yarns (“Where Colors Sing”), I’d mentioned having a hard time finding purple yarn with deep saturated colors to make something for my granddaughter, Faith, (usually blogged as Feather) who loves purples and violets.  Within no time at all Scarlett made up a brand new colorway just for her. The colorway? Faith  🙂 Oh look, Scarlet has some in stock right now on etsy!

Stitch Diva Studios has a crochet beret pattern which looked like it’d be adorable on Feather. Crocheting this beret was a breeze! So quick and fun. Casting on last Sunday afternoon it was wrapped in Happy Birthday paper and mailed by Wednesday.
Pattern: Slouchy Lace Beret
Hooks: Size D 3.25mm for the main part, C 2.75mm for the brim edge. These are one size down from the pattern recommendation due to using a sock yarn instead of the recommended DK weight yarn. After all, the beret is for a child, not an adult for whom the pattern is written.

It was blocked on a dessert plate balanced on top of a mason jar overnight Tuesday. (This is closer to the true color though more purple than blue.)
Lacking a suitable model to test the size, her 7 month old cousin, Violet, was a willing tester when the beret was about 2/3rd finished.

The Baby Surprise Jacket I was zipping right along on in the previous post…

Frogged.

I tried it on Violet when I baby sat her a week ago Tuesday. It fit, barely. Better to start over than to complete something that will quickly be outgrown within weeks.

The problem was caused by using size #2 / 2.75mm needles with the sock yarn. Or, perhaps better to admit the problem was in swatching but not taking the time to figure the math. The swatch looked great.

After finishing Feather’s beret I cast on the BSJ again, this time with size #4 / 3.5mm needles and it’s making quite the difference.
It still remains a fun knit.

I had a blast at the hands-on Turkish spinning demonstration I was asked to do at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at the Willamette University in Salem last Saturday. There is currently a Turkish Flat Weave exhibition at the museum. I’ll blog about this in my next post.

And now to close with a picture Feather’s mom took of the birthday girl this morning as they were about to take part in a Harvest Celebration and costume party. Introducing six year old Faith, aka Feather, aka Cindy Loo Who:

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Drawing!

The Drawings took place much later than anticipated. The evening was suddenly filled with birthday phone calls and a Skype call from the grandkids.

Thank you all who left comments! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one, smiling at many of them, both the first time you commented and again late this afternoon as I read back through all of them to be certain I hadn’t missed anyone for the drawings. I hope to directly reply to each of you in the next few days.

By far and away there were many slips in the Aegean bowl, in fact we decided it’d be better to use a paper bag to shake them all so everyone would have a fair chance. When our cat, Hank, heard the rustle of the bag he immediately wanted to be involved.

In the order that the Jenkins Woodworking items had been posted starting with the Loom, for which only one person submitted her name:

Hairpin Lace Loom
  Kathy C!

 
Circular Needles
  Jana!

 

Crochet Hook
  Grannie Linda!

 

Tambootie Turkish Delight
  Susan P

Olive Aegean Spindle
Restless Knitter!
AND

Due to so many people putting in for the Aegean Ed felt he just had to add in a bonus drawing for a second chance win at an Aegean. So, all the slips with names for the Aegean were tossed back into the bag, minus Restless Knitter, shaken well and one more tag drawn out…

 

  Valerie!

I will be contacting each of you in the morning with details and asking for mailing addresses.

Please don’t get too anxious if I don’t email as soon as you’d like: The cold that’s had Ed miserably down for the past two days is threatening my head and throat. I’ve been drinking plenty of hot green tea, a packet of Airborne and taking zinc and Vitamin C trying to ward it off.

Several ounces of wonderful fiber found their way into presents for me today. Thanks to Ed understanding my wants, and a wonderful friend who thoughtfully sent wool from one of her beloved shetlands. I scarcely know which to begin with. Umm, really, I ought to finish up the last third of a bump I’ve got on the wheel and also decide which spindle wants the honors of spinning which fiber.

My birthday haul! A Yarn container at the back; Camel andCamel/Merino bumps; white mystery wool – Ed couldn’t remember what he’d ordered from our friend Jim and Pam of Herndon Creek Farms and I’m waiting to hear back from them; a healthy bump of Shetland wool. Isn’t it lovely! The white wool is shouting to be made into an item for Aurora’s baby due in March.

Several readers asked for the cinnamon roll recipe, thank you! I will post the recipe in a few days.

As for the maple dressers Ed made for Haymaker and Aurora. When they were married he made them a bed with our local bigleaf maple for their wedding present. They’ve been making do with one small dresser for these past 2.5 years and he felt it was time to make a matching dresser. The maple is from a farmer 1.5 miles up the road from us who has a small portable sawmill. He used local alder for the drawer bottoms and side. Aurora’s dresser is taller than the one picture with 2 side by side drawers. Needless to say they are thrilled to have the dressers.

Thank you all for entering the drawings! I wish we could give each one of you something. Maybe I shouldn’t wait so long for the next drawing. Let’s see… hmmm, my very first blog was written March 11, 2006, a blog anniversary could be a good reason. We shall see…


Good times

Earlier today I stumbled across an article on the theory of the flexibility of time; time is not rigid and constant as seconds ticking round a clock but can be expanded. Benjamin Franklin was cited as a person who well understood how to “expand” time in his pursuit to achieve much in his lifetime. Being the ordinary person who’s constantly tripped up by sweeping minutes, I desperately wished that I had the time to fully read and dig further into the concept.

I’ve wondered often how it is that the older we grow the faster time seems to move , except for those agonizing times when time stands still. And lately it seems that even children have been caught up in the rush of time compared to what I remember of long days with plenty of time to explore, read, craft, daydream, do schoolwork, feed the animals and attend to home chores. And still be in bed by 8 or 9, depending on age. (My parents believed in a full night’s rest. Ed does too.) For a long time I entertained the notion that time seeps slowly for children because of their anticipation of what’s ahead, and zest for time to hurry. “I’m almost five… when I’m 16… I can’t wait to be 21…”  then we’re twenty-five and we realize how carefree and pleasant childhood really was.

I don’t get too excited about the changing of the year on a calendar. Deep down I believe the new year begins on my birthday. And yes, I like celebrating my birthday. 🙂

Christmas and my birthday falling on the weekend was nice, we were able to kick back and really relax. We had such a lovely, quiet Christmas with Aurora and Troy over for mid-morning present opening and feasting on hot cinnamon rolls and coffee. They headed to Troy’s parents by early afternoon leaving Ed and I to our succulent lamb dinner.

Saturday morning moisture sparkling in the frozen air with the dawning sun lured me outside for a walk. It was the perfect morning to borrow a neighbor’s dog as a companion. If it were possible I’d bring Jasmine home to live with us. She’s mild-mannered, good-natured Rotweiller, and we seem to connect at a deep level.

Aurora and Troy invited us over for a birthday lunch. It was fun hanging out with them at their new place, a charming older farm house just down the road from his parents. They’d love to eventually buy the place someday. It sits on a country corner with a church kiddy-korner, another farm house right across the road then just up the road a bit an old grain elevator still in operation,  a few houses scattered near a small school with about 70 kids attending.

The surprise in store at their house was something Ed dreamed up in October. To my utter astonishment and delight he’d bought me a mountain dulcimer. I’ve been enjoying learning how to tune and play it. Cousin Faith? Can you come play with me? 🙂 She let me play her dulcimer when we visited her on our way back from Idaho, which is where Ed got the notion that I needed one.Mountain DulcimerInstead of meeting at a coffee shop for a birthday get-together, Hope hosted a birthday dinner of Indonesian food mid-week for my four friends at her house. (They had lived in Indonesia for over 20 years) She hand embroired the beautiful table cloth which set off the gado-gado very nicely.  Hope also made peanut sauce (to go over the gado-gado) and chicken curry which was served with rice. Delicious!

It was wonderful to celebrate and enjoy being with these dear friends. Constance and Grace played duets while I tried to strum along on the dulcimer, then we played BananaGrams (sort of like Scrabble), and charades. It’d been ages since I’d played charades, yowzsers, I’m bad at guessing!

The weekend before Christmas we visited Ed’s dad and Linda. While there we both became enamered with a new little dog that came to them happenstance. Linda already had a poodle that she adores but she couldn’t resist when someone desparately asked her to give Millie a home. Before we left she casually asked if we wanted her. Knowing Ed’s not keen on dogs I waited for him to answer but he didn’t say a word. Later that day he mentioned that Millie would be a nice dog to have.

On January first we drove 80 miles to meet Linda half-way to bring Millie home. She’s 8 years old, well trained and a very agreeable little doggy. She’s fitting right in and has made herself quickly at home claiming the couch as her hangout.

Potential Projects

It’s sobering to realize that 20 days have passed since the last posting. Too many project deadlines invading my regular evening computer time.

The tencel/merino spun up beautifully.

50/50 Merino/Tencel from Crown Mountain Farms, Chasing Rainbow dye, colorway Madrona (I think. The tag is long missing)
2 ounces = 160 yards
16 WPI

This has been measured out and sleyed, meaning that I’ve threaded it through the reed which is a device on a loom resembling a comb and used to space warp yarns evenly. (Someday a post will be devoted to weaving and the various terms.)

I had planned to weave the entire vest with the corriedale/camel yarn with random streaks of merino/tencel in the warp to give it a bit of spark. Did you hear my groan around the 11th? I discovered that I’d forgotten to tally in the amount needed for weft which meant there was only enough yarn for the warp.(huge groan of dismay) Back to the spinning wheel with another 4 ounces of the dark brown corriedale wool. Several days later and another 250+ yards of yarn, still not nearly enough. Ransacking through the stash I found the perfect treasure!

Do you see that gorgeous smushy grey in the upper left of the picture? Authentic organic Irish wool straight from the Emerald Isle and Jo. It had been languishing, waiting for a very special use. I’m so tickled that it will be part of Ed’s vest! The four different yarns that will make up the vest are pictured above. The dark corriedale is a bit hard to spot under the tencel yarn.

Since the vest was still being assembled on the loom come the 24th I scrambled to make something for Ed’s birthday the next day. At night he empties his pockets and puts keys and the odd coin into a plastic container. Potential for a great present for change.

Saturday, the 23rd, we’d gone to The City of Books (aka Powell’s Bookstore) in Portland for a book fix then stopped by a yarn shop where Ed snagged a ball of Nettle Yarn. Yep, yarn made from nettles. At first I tried crocheting a basket (sans pattern) from the nettles but the yarn is stiff, bumpy and very uneven. Digging out various bits of my handspuns I devised this just in time to gift Ed on his day.

The nettle yarn was used on the turning rows.

What else have I been up to…My first attempt at Broomstick Lace! Destined for someone special.

Last week Ed and I were activity engaged during our local church’s Friend’s Kids’ Days (VBS). Ed helped with crafts and made paddle wheels for the kids to paint which they then raced during activity time on the last day. I got to oversee, organize, and teach. We’d been put in charge of directing the VBS this year. It was great fun, totally exhausting and at times very chaotic when the rain poured down on the third day and everything was taking place inside our little church.

But oh so worth the time to make a difference in some of these kid’s lives. To hear a boy declare that he can hear Jesus whispering in his heart during a dark night, “Be Brave, it is I, don’t be afraid” fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.

Books and A Birthday

This was the first Christmas, to my recollection,, that no books were wrapped and waiting under the tree. Ed scored with six books and I went to bed slightly disappointed for I always look forward to having some new books to savor. Not to worry. The first present I opened on the 26th revealed:wildhorses.jpg
A wonderful book about the various wild horse refuges. The friend who gifted me with the book went to school with the daughter of the author, Charles J Summers, Jr who had a working ranch.. It’s truly a fascinating book that has stirred up a bit of horse dreaming.

Last year I saw this book while visiting a library during a trip to the coast and marked it down in my book wish list. I was delighted to find in it hidden in birthday wrapping paper. 3cupstea.jpg_Three Cups of Tea_ is the story of a man who after attempting to climb K2 took a wrong turn and ended up in a remote village that had no school. Determined to help these people Greg Mortenson set out to build them a school with sheer determination and perseverance. It’s a pleasure to be vicariously. back in the Baltistan mountains, a place I first discovered through Dervla Murphy’s, _Where the Indus is Young_. I’m trying to read it slowly, in small portions. A book filled with the tallest mountains in the world and deep gorges shouldn’t be galloped swiftly through, I don’t want to miss any of the rich details.

Ed also gave me a book I’d recently read about and had high hopes of receiving:musicophilia.jpg

I’m looking forward to engaging my brain in, _Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain_. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and the author of _Awakenings_, explores the power of music.

Two other books round out this feast of books:
_Tales of Persia_ William Miller, a missionary who’d worked in Iran for 43 years. He wrote the book for his grandchildren hoping that his stories would help them to see past the media and political image and instead see the regular everyday people.
_Home to Holly Springs_ Jan Karon, one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors. Her stories are peopled by characters strikingly reminiscent of people in your own community, especially if you live in a small country village. I look forward to peering back into the story of Father Tim who Jan Karon brought to vivid life some ten years ago. Jan is not an author who churns one book out after the other but lets them develop and mature slowly. As a result it’s been a couple of years since I read her last adult book and I’m looking forward to a slow blustery weekend when I can wrap up in a soft cuddly throw with a cup of hot tea and time to lose myself in Holly Springs.

*****
Though it’s a pain in some ways to have a birthday on the heels of Christmas there are benefits. A few friends of my heart were able to meet me for birthday coffee at the local coffee shop. The times of getting together to chat and catch up with each other is precious.

I love having my birthday so close to the beginning of a new year. The week from my birthday is often a time for looking back and making decisions on how I can also move forward in my life. I want to be able to have more balance in my life this year. Somehow I need to find the time to balance our business and fibery pursuits with other important areas: personal relationships, walking, music. And even within the fiber world I want to sort out projects and goals. I’m not sure how that’s going to look, yet. I know that I want to spend more time at the loom, and the other night I dreamed I was making bobbin lace again. It’s such a slow process I’m not sure I should take up the pillows, bobbins and thread again but Sarah has been longing for me to make a bobbin lace bookmark to replace the one that was stolen from her Bible years ago.

*****

This past week I finished the first prayer shawl (Yes!), spun a couple ounces of corriedale roving and made a hairpin scarf. Ed gave me a camcorder for Christmas (I am so spoiled fortunate to have two days in a row opening gifts!) I’m still learning my way around with it this new camera that also takes still photos. Soon I’ll figure out how to load the still photos to this computer. And then on to making some tutorials of hairpin lace and spinning. : -)

Wednesday, January 2nd Ed and I will be celebrating 30 years of matrimony! Whew, where did those years go?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May it be filled with Peace.

Birthday Hoodie

Sure, the hoodie was going to be finished with a week to spare.  No Problem.

The entire back was finished in two days. A few days later I was merrily zooming up the front thinking the hoodie was a snap until I realized – the needles. I’d forgotten to change to larger needles after ribbing. Rip and Knit. Again, partway up the front, this time I saw that I’d forgotten to do the 3 garter stitches along the front edge. Shoot, rip. It was almost another week before I picked up to knit. Then the second sleeve gave me as much problem as the first front half and suddenly it there were only two days left to finish the sleeves, knit the hood part and put it all together.

1 a.m. Friday I pinned it out then spritzed it and left it to dry over night. My first blocking job.

Hoodie Blocking

Staying up until 1pm is not in my best interest, especially two nights in a row. By Saturday the 20th, the birthday the cap sleeves were installed and seams joined,  only the zipper remained, and I was a zombie. I tried, really I did try, to sew in the zipper by hand but the hands on the clock were relentless and Ed’s dad had said they’d arrive at 11:30am. After 30 years of marriage I KNOW that if Jared said 11:30, they’d be at our door by 11. Probably earlier. By 9 I knew there was no way I could get that zipper in by hand in a timely manner so out came Old Faithful, the 1951 flyweight Singer. Finished with time to spruce up the house a bit.

10:30am while passing down the hall for the shower the phone rang. I tried to be invisible. No such luck. A customer with a phone order, waylaid with no escape. Jared and Linda arrived while I was still on the phone. I didn’t get to watch their faces as they saw our made-over living room and kitchen though I could catch bits of exclamations.

Faith’s Radio Flyer
At Faith’s party Aurora produced a red Radio Flyer for Faith. She was entranced going in circles from living room through dining room into kitchen and back into the living room by another hallway at her house. Ed and I have always slowly doled out presents, this gives the person time to enjoy the gift rather than ripping from one present to the next which almost feels as though the first is being discarded, so it was fun for us to watch Faith have time to really enjoy the wagon before she started in on the round on presents.

For the past month her parents have been making Faith keep her hands away from her mouth and food while she’s eating, (except, of course, for finger foods) so she was hesitant when the cake was placed in front of her and she was encouraged to dig in with both hands.
Once she got the hang of it, no worries. Peace Cake!

peace-cake.jpg

The Hoodie:

faiths-birthday-007.jpg

faiths-hoodie.jpg

Pattern: Hand Knit Yarns by Naturally Fashion Collection
Yarn: Cascade Tweed 220 Hot Pink 2+ skeins (Pattern called forVero 12ply)
Needles: US 7 & 8  (one size smaller to adjust for change in yarn)
Since both the yarn and needles were of smaller gauge than pattern required I used the instructions for the 24″ chest rather than 22″ – Faith is 20″ right now. It worked, with room for her to grow.
Time to complete: 3 weeks

Grandpa’s Gift:

block-shapes.jpg