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I’m finding it rather amazing SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESthat knitting socks is a butt-kicking experience.  I’ve finished this first sock after ripping large sections out 7 times only to achieve a FAR less-than-perfect sock.  Mistakes abound!!

Onward and upward!

I have begun knitting this sock’s mate (with fewer mistakes, thus far) and if it turns out nice, I’ll frog (rip-it, rip-it) this first sock and re-use the yarn to make a new one.  I am determined to successfully knit a pair of socks, though I truly can’t explain why.

Here in Texas, I live most of the year in sandals and flip-flops and I already own a drawer full of socks to wear on rare cold days.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense that I’m hell-bent to knit socks…. but it’s the challenge.  In my mind, if one can successfully knit socks (with all the fiddly components), one is an accomplished knitter.  It also offers experience using fine-gauge fingering yarn, I’ve seldom used in the past.

I’m learning that my radical allergy to wool either has eased as I’ve aged or this particular yarn (75% Merino Superwash wool, 25% Polyamide) doesn’t trigger itchy hives.  That’s definitely good news after spending a lifetime avoiding yarn and fabric I’ve loved when I see it contains any wool.  I’m excited to be opening my fiber horizons!

There was more washcloth knitting done recently.  I gave a few away as Valentine’s gifts and have received great reviews and requests for more.  I failed to take photos of some of them but this one is the newest.  I’ve already purchased yarn to make a few more.  I love them for their mindless knitting and the resulting useful and pretty products.  They make a great pairing with my homemade, luxury soap.

Hope the remainder of your weekend is filled with happiness!

Shirl

 

As I finished, washed and photographed the two newest shirts for Jacob, I was surprised to realize no new shirts were made since December, 2015.  That poor guy has done without new ‘Mama made’ shirts for over a year!

During a quick chat last night, I asked him if any of his shirts need repairs (loose seams, missing buttons, etc.) and he said they are holding up surprising well.  I know they are receiving good care and I’m happy he is still enjoying them.  He’s often wearing one when he drives here after work and I’m pleased to see ’em in action.

The new shirts are made using the usual seersucker he loves. I suspect he likes the ease of care and breathability of this 100% cotton fabric.

The first one pictured is red/white/turquoise/blue stripes with a bias pocket and back yoke.  As I was hemming the pocket, I noticed how the hem offered an interesting zig and zag and since this is yarn-dyed fabric (looks identical front and back), I turned the hem to the outside for a little added zing.  A contrasting inside collar stand provides interest and flat-felled seams were used throughout.

When I purchased the fabric for the second shirt, the description said it was grey.  When it arrived, I would call it more a muddy tan (far from grey).  Regardless of the color, I like it and fortunately since both shirts used white thread for sewing, I was able to stitch each similar seam one immediately after the other.  This is probably no faster but feels as if two shirts are made in little more time than one requires.

The second shirts also includes a contrasting collar stand and bias back yoke and pocket.  It too has flat-felled seams.  The buttons are real deal antique mother of pearl.

I’ve done a little more nighttime washcloth knitting.  I plan to use a few for Valentine’s gifts.  They will serve as a little token without being romantic and mushy.  My current life has no room for romance or mush.

The washcloths are also serving to stall my first attempt at sock making.  I’ve bought expensive yarn and tiny size needles needed for making socks but I’m incredibly intimidated by the whole prospect.  I know the intimidation is unreasonable and the Internet (YouTube) is at hand for instruction/help but for some strange reason, I find learning the project daunting.  I also want to see how I’m effected by knitting with wool yarn.  Inherited from my father, I have a wool allergy but since I’ve avoided wool my entire life, I’m anxious to see if I’ve outlived the allergy.  Simply touching the yarn doesn’t seem to cause problems thus far.

In hoping an added ‘nudge’ will help me get over my unfounded fear, I’ve vowed not to purchase any more yarn until a serious attempt at knitting socks is accomplished.  After all, thousands of people knit socks every day! We’ll see how it goes!

In the past few days, I’ve suspected Mother Nature has forgotten how to read a calendar!  IT’S WINTER, LADY!  February is usually our coldest, iciest and nastiest month of the year.  Not this year!  Our current high temperature is hovering at 80°.  We will drop into the mid-60° range later this week but still, that’s warm for this time of year.  I’m not complaining but I am a little fearful for what summer will bring.

Shirl

I wish I could claim to have been too busymardi gras scarf to blog but that’s just not true.  The only way I can explain my absence is to say I’ve been hibernating.

The holidays took their emotional toll and when I feel down, I tend to crawl inside myself and wait for better days.  It hasn’t helped that I’ve been sick off and on for six weeks, first with an upper respiratory infection, then a serious bout of cellulitis.  With the help of multiple antibiotics, I finally feel I’m on the mend but doctors have warned with my compromised immune system and aging, I can expect increasingly severe illnesses more often.  Oh what fun!!

In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed visits from Jacob.  It’s a great comfort knowing when I’m in need, he drops everything and comes.  When he’s not here, he checks on me daily.  I am so fortunate my only child grew up to be compassionate and kind.  I couldn’t love him more!

As I’m feeling better, I’ve started sewing 2 new shirts for Jacob.  I hope to have them complete (and photos shown here) before his next visit.

I’ve also picked up my knitting needles again.  I’ve found following patterns and counting stitches is a terrific distraction from ‘the sound of my own gears’ but doesn’t interfere with movie viewing or conversation.

After winning some incredibly inexpensive (and not so pretty) yarn on eBay®, I’ve knitted another scarf.  Folded in half, it is 37″ long.  It is knitted in the round with linen stitch in Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, gold and white.  I already own several shirts in these colors so this will be a nice accessory for chilly days especially prior to Ash Wednesday (when Mardi Gras ends).  The linen stitch makes a dense fabric so knitting it is slow going while mindless, making it a perfect pattern to knit during my sickest days.

Also, while I was sick, my across-the-road neighbors sent over several tubs of homemade soup.  I can’t say how much I appreciated it and after racking my brain on how to show my appreciation, I’ve baked cookies to fill the returning tubs and am gifting a couple of hand knitted cotton washcloths.  I’ve made several and will share them with friends and family members.  They are perfect for body/face cloths as the nubby stitches act to exfoliate and feels invigorating to the skin.  They also make excellent dishcloths with the texture offering good scrubbing action.  I’ve really enjoyed knitting them and look forward to gifting them along with bars of my handcrafted soaps.  I plan to make several more since I love using them too!

After baking 2 loaves of yummy banana nut bread yesterday (one for the freezer) and not putting away the baking supplies when I was finished, today I plan to make cookies.  I’m expecting visitors in the coming weeks and it would be nice to have homemade treats to serve and send home.  I love using wholesome ingredients and reducing refined sugar.  Today, I’ll bake chocolate chip cookies by exaggerating Betty Crocker’s recipe (more chips, more nuts!). Before I lose interest or my energy runs out, I hope in the next few days to bake nutty peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal apple walnut cookies.

Shirl

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I spent it with my dogs (they’re lonesome too).  In looking ahead to a long string of holidays and birthdays, I get the feeling each is a hill to conquer.  Eventually, I hope being alone feels more natural and the hills less steep.  In the meantime, I’ll keep busy and concentrate on TODAY.

The holiday wasn’t too bad and I cooked and feasted as usual.  I baked turkey wings and drumsticks, sweet potatoes and the very last cream peas stashed in the freezer.  With bits of bacon and plenty of onion, those peas were wonderful!  The entire meal was delicious and I made plenty to provide for days of leftovers!  YUM!

To fill the evenings, I’ve continued knitting and made this turquoise and shades of grey long scarf.  It finished at 87″ x 5 ½” with an additional 3″ fringe.  I love the super-long length as it provides for multiple ways of wearing it.  It can be worn as shown in the picture, doubled around the neck or doubled with the ends drawn through.  I will be gifting it and hope the recipient enjoys it.

When the scarf was finished, I decided to use some yarn I’ve had for many years and make some leg warmers for myself.  I like wearing them under my boot cut jeans for added warmth in my chilly house.  I found a pattern that would offer me more practice of knitting in the round using the magic loop method.

The yarn is fairly small and the needles required were smaller than I’m accustomed to so the progress was really slow.  After knitting a lot on the first leg warmer, I remembered that I already own some nice ones.   I dug them out, tried them on and decided I truly don’t need another pair, especially ones taking most-of-forever to knit.  Though the first skein of yarn was almost used, I ripped it all out.  I’ll find something else to knit with the yarn.

I’ve also done some VERY little sewing this week  From scrap fleece, I’ve cut out a self-drafted long-sleeved top with a kangaroo pocket.  I had hoped to include a hood but didn’t have enough fabric.  I managed to get half of it sewn before I ran out of enthusiasm.  Maybe when the house gets colder, I’ll be inspired to finish stitching it.  The temperature is dropping tonight so we shall see!

I hope the rest of your week is joyous!

Shirl

First I would like to thank Ceci, Helen, Sheryl and Janice for the kind words.  They truly helped carry me through a difficult day.  Thank you for caring.  It is so appreciated.

After crying a few tears on our anniversary, I decided to remember funny times… those rare moments that have me laughing decades later.  I also spent a few hours cooking.  I baked a half ham slathered with dijon mustard, sweet potatoes and cooked some of the purple hull peas I had frozen from our garden.  The meal, though eaten alone, was delicious, as were several consequential leftover dinners.  Today for breakfast, visiting Jacob and I enjoyed grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on whole grain and there is more ham to freeze for later.  No ham ever goes to waste in this house!

I have devoted more time to knitting.  I finished the second fingerless mitten… this one without mistakes!  Since I plan to use them at home, I don’t mind they aren’t perfect but will serve their purpose well.  They were knitted with Caron® Simply Soft Paints in the color Oceana. I don’t know the yarn weight for sure but it feels and knits like sport weight and the sizing was perfect using size 7 needles.  The pattern called for either DK or worsted weight.  I frankly don’t know what ‘DK’ means as much has changed since I ‘understood’ knitting terms.

The next thing I knitted is a snuggly cowl.  It’s made completely with garter stitches and finished 13″ x 60″ before stitching into a loop.  I used Lyon Brand® Homespun® bulky weight yarn and size 10 needles.  The color of the yarn is Painted Desert.

Not only do I love the soft texture and colors but I will enjoy the versatility of the garment.  I can wear it as shown as a long cowl but because it’s so long, there is plenty to cover my head on misty, rainy or windy days.  I can even wrap it around my neck twice for a snuggly turtle neck.  With the width, I can completely cover my shoulders and upper back for added warmth.  It will be useful in so many ways this winter and I know I’ll enjoy wearing it!

I’m currently knitting a narrow scarf in shades of turquoise and gray worsted yarn.  When this is done, I hope to make some lacy, feminine fingerless mittens.  I also plan to drag out a sewing machine and make myself some flannel and fleece pajama pants and if yardage allows, some warm t-shirts too.

Have a great week!!

Shirl

 

 

 

Tomorrow marks a wedding anniversary with hubster and myself.  Usually we would celebrate the day by him purchasing and grilling rib eye steaks while I made either loaded baked or garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad or veggie.

This will by my first November 10th alone.  Without the hubs, things will be very different.  I won’t think about our long ago struggle to purchase wedding rings in the correct sizes (without resizing) or originally planning to get married on 11-11-77 (lucky numbers) but having to move it one day earlier because of Veterans Day.  I won’t give a thought to my father-in-law presenting me a corsage saying ‘every bride should have flowers’ and welcoming me to his family.  I won’t remember our lunch break jaunt to the courthouse or the shortage of cash to pay the license/judge’s fee (it cost more than anticipated) and the funds contributed by total strangers also waiting to be married.

No, I won’t think about these things……MUCH.

Instead, I will be a little sad without him but thankful for the many years we were together.

The house is too quiet and my memories too loud.  I definitely need a distraction!

Shirl

Enjoyed a 3 day visit from DS + girlfriend this past weekend.  I love having them here, talking, laughing, grubbing down and comparing life-notes.  They are both such wonderful people!!  They were very grateful to receive the t-shirt rug and have already decided where it will be used in their home.

Since finishing the rug, I’ve searched for a project that doesn’t require I drag out a lot of stuff.  I’ve settled on knitting.

Many, many moons ago (38 years to be precise), I learned a couple of basic knitting stitches from my MIL.  Though I never learned the proper way to hold the needles, I figured out how to follow patterns and knit some intricate sweaters, afghans, baby items and lace.  I don’t know why but I quit knitting a couple of years after learning.  Recently, I’ve found some patterns for knitted items I would like to own so I brought out my sets of needles, stitch holders and yarn and began teaching myself (with help from YouTube) to knit in the round using the magic loop technique.  Gee willies, it’s taking me more than a minute to learn this!  My hands feel so stupid!

I have managed to knit one complete fingerless mitten (with several mistakes).  I am finished with half of the second one (without mistakes, thus far).  It’s still slow going as knitting memory returns to my hands but I’m excited to be learning!

I’m really enjoying it and today purchased yarn for a couple more projects.  I plan to make another pair of fingerless mittens along with a long scarf I’ll enjoy using during the approaching winter.  Our old farmhouse is cold so I’ll have plenty of opportunity to use cuddly, warm items and I’m hoping the fingerless mittens will offer the ability to continue doing handwork while the weather is miserable.  We shall see!

Shirl

Since the weather here in East Texas has cooled, I’ve been outside enjoying it.  I’ve spent several days mowing near the house.  I really wish I could mow it all (just less than 6 acres) but all I have is a push-type mower and am the sad owner of ruptured and spun spinal disks.  I don’t dare get back on a riding mower or tractor.

Though it sometimes doesn’t seem worth it, I’ve continued cooking for myself most days.  On other days, I eat leftovers (which I don’t mind).  I also cook for the spoiled brats dogs.  This week, they shared 10 lbs. of roasted chicken with me.  Later, we’ll eat pulled pork.  My dogs eat better than most but I only feed them meals that cost less than dog food!

I’ve devoted most of my evening attention to finishing the rug using DH Bob’s old t-shirts.  I completed it this afternoon and am anxious to present it to DS Jacob.  I only have a few t-shirts left but combining them with many of my own that I don’t wear, I should have enough to make another rug for myself.

After racking my brain for a use for DH’s many white athletic socks, I’ve decided to cut them up to use for stuffing dog beds.  My critters like their current beds in my office but sleep on thin rugs in my bedroom at night.  With winter coming, I know they would appreciate having warm, snuggly nighttime beds.  What other use do I have for a huge laundry basket stuffed full of socks?  Wish I could find a clever use for men’s underwear!

Shirl

Enjoyed a visit with son Jacob recently.  He’s so unique and interesting and I so much enjoy his company.  He’s my favorite person in all the world to cook for or make things for.  He truly seems to appreciate me.  The only drawback is when he leaves, the house is even more empty and it takes a little while to get accustomed to it again!  Even the dogs miss him!!

I’ve continued to work on the rug made with DH Bob’s old tshirts.  Amazingly, it doesn’t matter how stained or worn the shirt, the strips look pristine when twined into the rug. Many of the shirts featured large advertisements but because of the properties of tshirt knit, the strips tend to turn inside out, showing only the shirt color and not the logos or themes.  I really like the way it’s progressing and Jake really likes it too.  He’s making plans for it’s location at his home.  The rug should be finished by the time he returns for another visit (which I hope is VERY soon!).

With the passing of the first day of Autumn, I can’t help but think of upcoming holidays.  It will be so different without the hubster.  I’m hoping to begin building new traditions without turning my back on the old ones.  Maybe this year I’ll enjoy ribeye steaks for Thanksgiving!

This old dog is learning new tricks!

Shirl

The String Pyramid (Bob’s String Pyramid - Bob's Memorial QuiltMemorial Quilt) is finished.  All that remains is making and attaching a label and this task will be done as soon as the supplies I ordered arrive.

When I first began stitching the triangle units on my Singer treadle machine, I loved the process but didn’t care much for the appearance of the units when stitched together.  I showed them to DH and he loved them and asked if I would make something for him incorporating the units.  Together, we decided to make a single-size lightweight quilt he could wrap up in while relaxing or use on his single bed.  He selected a lightweight batting and everything else came from my scrap bins.

The larger the quilt grew, the more it grew on me.  I will proudly display it on Bob’s bed while wishing he had survived to enjoy it.

To read more of the steps in making this quilt, click ‘2016 – String Pyramid (Bob’s Memorial Quilt)’ in the left column under ‘Finished Quilts’.

Finishing the quilt left me with idle hands (like there’s not several other projects awaiting attention), so I decided to begin another rug.  This one will be made from Bob’s old, stained, worn t shirts.  I’m cutting them in long strips so I expect the rug will be more striped rather than chaotic like the scrappy rugs I’ve made.  We shall see!

After making the denim rug, this one is a pure delight!  The warp strips are made of good quality muslin and I’ve only begun the twining.  The t shirt strips are soft and pliable (unlike the denim) and will make a wonderfully soft, absorbent rug.  I love it!  It’s such a terrific way to use these old shirts and more beautiful than cutting them into cleaning rags.

I’m hoping there’s enough shirts to make 2 rugs; one for Jake and one for me too!

Have a great week!

Shirl

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