Friday, March 30, 2007

One finished item:


This is the baby sweater for my great niece, Samantha, born on March 15 (see earlier post). The color in the top photo is most accurate (on my screen, anyway).

Here's a close up of the buttons:


Little chicks for the new little chick! Very Easter-ish. However, she probably won't be wearing it until the fall.

Okay...back to tying quilts.....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

AWOL.....

I haven't posted to the blog this week because I have been:
  • tying quilts for the graduating high school seniors at church.
  • knitting a sweater for the new baby.
  • cleaning out my closet and sorting clothing to go into the upcoming church rummage sale.
  • clearing some work surfaces in the sewing room to work on creating a spring wardrobe.
  • sewing a black jersey knit jacket and slacks.
  • sorting through some aged UFO's.
  • knitting the sock monkey socks.
  • weaving a few shots on the kitchen towel warp.
And that is the extent of my fiber life in the past week. Plenty of threads, not much product yet.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

There's a new kid in town:



Not the sheep, tho' he is amazingly entertaining as a puppet with a 'baaa' chip that enables the puppeteer to produce tunes such as Old MacDonald, Frère Jacques, and London Bridges. (The novelty has worn off on my family, including the cat. But I remain relentlessly entertained by my puppet.)

The lavender baby sweater in progress is for the "new kid"...Samantha Catherine, new daughter of my nephew and his wife on March 15. Welcome little one. The sweater is one from the XRX book, Kids, Kids, Kids. Pictures of the finished item to follow.

In other news, I've mailed in my registration for Michigan League of Handweavers summer workshops to take "Tapestry: A Way of Expression" with Ann Schumacher (and more Ann Schumacher). I've taken a design workshop from Ann in the past and found her to be a wonderfully inspiring teacher. I'm psyched!

One of my goals last year was to try tapestry weaving. It didn't happen in '06, so perhaps it will begin in '07.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day!!

Just in case you don't live with engineers or math geeks, this will serve as official notice that today, March 14, is Pi Day. If you don't believe me, google it.

To celebrate just a short while ago, at 1:59 PM to be exact, ds served up cherry pie! Why so exact with the time?
3.14159 ...get it? Yeah well....we all have our quirks.

Now back to reading through Long Term Care insurance contracts to determine which is the best deal. And after that, moving things back into the freshly painted laundry room.

I really should wash that 5 lbs. of fleece, rather than move it back into the laundry room. Problem is, even though it's warmed up a bit, it's very humid and rain is forecasted. Fleece would take forever to dry in these conditions, indoors or out.

Meanwhile, dh and ds, after getting a quote from the air conditioning contractor (to bring our existing system into a more environmentally friendly state), just left for Home Depot to pick up a new toilet and paint for ds's bathroom. The toilet will be white, but I trust them to get the "right white" (wink). The paint, ds and I have already made two trips to the store for samples, so that's all been negotiated (and is not white).

It appears we are in major renovation mode. Things will be in disarray for awhile.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sock Monkey:

This is the only new fiber project these days and the socks in this photo are the third iteration. They started out as plain black and white socks, but then they screamed from the needles for a little something extra. It took ages to find plain red, sock weight yarn. Once that was found, there was a second false start. Now it appears they are good to go and will be seen through to completion. They haven't told me yet if the heel is to be red as well.

2007 is proving to be a quite different year than 2006. Dh took an early retirement effective Jan. 1. Despite all the cautions and warnings, we are having a pretty good time with this new found freedom. There is a lot more laughter in the house. (Who knew that after 30 years you can find out again how much you like and enjoy the person you married so long ago!?)

Speaking of the house.....it is getting a lot more attention than it's had in the past decade or so. Dh is a very competent handyman and (fortunately for all of us) he finds working on household repair and improvement projects to be relaxing (at least for now...I'm sure the novelty will wear off at some point.)

For the past several weeks I have felt like I'm playing Murphy Brown to his Eldon. Last weekend, I was away for the weekend and came home around 5 PM on Sunday to the smell of wet paint. Hmmm...the family room ceiling had been repaired and painted the week before, so that was finished. The house was quiet..so where was the paint odor emanating from? I shouted up the stairs and down the basement stairs....He's in the basement was the reply. Now, the basement family room and bathroom have been painted recently and I like them the way they are.....so what was being painted?

Zoom down the stairs....whew..not to worry, he was painting the basement mechanical room. (Who makes it a point to paint the room that houses the furnace?....dh apparently.)

This week it has been the laundry room and mud room. (This is ironic and demonstrates just how different people can be.) Dh asked what color I wanted in the laundry and mud room. My reply was something kind of white because I like to have good lighting and visibility when doing laundry and fiber things in there. His reply, "Okay, I'll stop at Lowe's and pick up some white paint." Me: "Wait a minute! Do you know how many whites there are? I'm coming with you because I know exactly what I want."

Our laundry room and mud room walls are soon be be Dove White.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering how two men (dh and ds) used up a 5 lb. bag of potatoes and a 3 lb. bag of onions while I was away last weekend. Apparently there is some culinary talent that is as yet untapped!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hands....

Lately my hands have been much on my mind. If you're reading this blog, no doubt your hands are very important to you as well.

I couldn't judge if I was a particularly whiney kid or not, but I do remember one thing I used to whine: "Mom, I need something to do with my hands!"

Fortunately she seemed to know what to do about that. I remember:
  • Sewing cards, the kind that had pictures of clowns, kittens, and puppies with holes punched in them so you could lace yarn through with a chunky darning needle.
  • Embroidery - blue pictures stamped on ready-made bibs and pillowcases. Metal hoops where the inner hoop was lined with cork. Coats & Clark six strand embroidery thread that came in more colors than even the biggest box of Crayola's. (If Vickie is reading this, I know she'll remember our little summer sewing circle on Owens Ave.)
  • A red metal potholder loom and a big bag filled with chunky cotton loops from some sock mill not far away (at least not across an ocean!)
  • Bags of scrap fabric that were sold as potential quilting material and a children's handcrank sewing machine that never worked very well. I don't remember that it had a bobbin of any sort and the needle certainly wasn't very sharp. I do remember abandoning it in frustration and just sitting with a needle and thread, stitching pieces together to create rather crude doll clothing.
  • The green and orange Coats & Clark "Learn to Knit and Crochet" pamphlet with a big skein of Red Heart ombre' yarn in primary colors, purchased with money for "baby sitting"neices and nephews. Accompanying these were chunky plastic knitting needles with aluminum caps, size "11" stamped on their ends. And an equally chunky size G aluminum crochet hook.
Of course there was play dough, clay, & paper mache'. There were forays into making puppet heads with these materials, followed by attempts to make garments for the puppets. I didn't care much about what play the puppets would be in, that was my friend, Patty's, domain.

And there was parquetry.....ah...who doesn't love parquetry?! Remember those smooth, thin wooden, geometric shapes colored in jewel tones, where one could make designs that would cover the whole table surface. (Hmm...I wonder where my son's old parquetry set is?)

My Mom wasn't particularly crafty or gifted in working with her hands. During one period in her life, she did some wonderful embroidery in pillowcases and dresser scarves. And later in her life she crocheted a bale of afghans for children and grandchildren, 'til it seemed that she alone was keeping Red Heart yarn in business. But she did place a lot of things in my hands which have had enduring value to me.

I hope that mothers of young children today have that same wisdom. After volunteering in our church nursery this past weekend, it seems to me that as a culture we are more interested in teaching children to push buttons for entertainment.

So that's the history of my hands. Let's move to the present. These days my hands are still busy:
  • They often fold in prayer, especially in this time of war.
  • They have been busy preparing meals more often with my son and husband around the house more these past weeks. Chopping vegetables, trimming meats, peeling potatoes, and chopping parsley all cause my hands to have a new fragrance to remind me what they've been doing.
  • They help prepare and serve communion on Sundays. My hands, holding a cool silver pouring chalice in one hand, while steadying the hand of the recipient. It's humbling to pass around the altar rail and see, up close, the hands of all those everyday hardworking people held out in sacramental prayer.
  • These past two weeks, these hands have been busy cutting 300 plastic bookmark templates and 1200 pieces of jewel toned ribbon to be made into hymn markers for the new hymnals we put into service this year. Last night, 56 people gathered to assemble the markers and insert them in the spines of the hymnals. Work, passing from hand to hand.


These hands:
  • groom me in the morning.
  • Feed me at the table.
  • They help me to cook and clean, sort and fold laundry.
  • I couldn't drive to all the places I want to go (remind me to tell you about the new yarn shop they took me to this week!).
  • They reach out to shake hands and give hugs in greeting.
  • They write thank you notes, get well cards, and condolence notes.
  • They grip weights and exercise machines to help keep the rest of my body strong.
  • They knit socks for my feet, hats for my head, scarves for my neck (and for my loved ones)
Is there any other part of the body that cares for me and others so thoroughly?

And so, that early plea for "something to do with my hands" has been answered. I thank God for my hands and the work given to them.

Moses said it best in the closing of Psalm 91:
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.