Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finished Projects 2011

It's a couple of days early, but the only thing I may finish in the next three days is another baby blanket. While I ate lunch today, I went through my logbook and counted the projects I finished in 2011; only two of them had been started in 2010.

shawls - 26
short capes - 3
scarves - 9
hats - 9
dishcloths - 19
lapghans - 6
baby blankets - 11
doll clothes - 4
toddler jumper - 1
slippers - 3 pairs
sweaters - 2
apron - 1 (for great-granddaughter's dance costume)
Christmas stockings - 3
mittens - 3 pairs

According to my logbook, I have the following projects in progress:

purse - 1
lapghan - 1
shawls - 4
scarf - 1

I have also woven six throw rugs, and have the warp for six more on the loom, with one of them half woven. In addition, I have two bookmarks woven and warp for several more on the little Structo loom.

 The rugs are woven on a 4-harness floor loom that is about a meter square and has six treadles. The reeds I have for it limit me to a 27 inch width, but I think I could use a 30-inch reed. The Structo loom also has 4 harnesses, but it sits on a table and has hand-manipulated levers rather than treadles. It's maximum weaving width is 8 inches. I put a short (2 yards, I think) warp of 20 threads on it one day when Rose wanted to weave. I decided yesterday that I want to weave off that warp as bookmarks, and then put on a wider one to weave mugrugs. I may even decide to carry it to the knitting group sometime.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Christmas Day, I hemmed the rugs that I wove at the walk through Bethlehem earlier this month. There are six altogether. Three are good enough for human use, but the other three will go to the animal shelter.
 Yesterday I started tying a new warp onto the ends of the old one; that way I don't have to go through the whole threading process. Here's the way it looked at one point today. I've been knitting, as well, so this process is going slowly.
After I weave these six rugs, I plan to tie on a narrower warp and weave some placemats - some with plastic bags as filler and others with the same cotton thread as I'm using for warp. My intention is to spend at east half as much time weaving as I do knitting. Does that sound like a good New Years resolution? Maybe I can use up a lot of this stuff I've accumulated over the past I don't know how many years.

I think my mouth is healing satisfactorily. The swelling is almost gone, and I'm eating the things I normally eat. I just need to continue with the antibiotic and the rinsing, and go back to Dr Heine next Tuesday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stocking no. 3

The day after I took the Lego Man stocking to Devin, I said to Sara that I supposed I should do something or Krya. She laughed and said, :"She wants the same angel that's on mine, but not the words. We've already had that conversation." (Nothng shy about that kid!) For this angel, I worked from the same chart that Carmen devised 25 years ago, but I'm sure I interpreted some things differently. I also don't have the same yarns I had than, and couldn't find what I wanted at either Michael's or Hobby Lobby. If I'd had time to mail-order yarn, I probably could have gotten exactly what I had in mind. As it is, working from my stash, the darker blue is cotton and the medium blue is linen. The light blue of the wings and all the others are acrylic, I think. I hope Kyra likes it.

Now I ned to get back to some other knitting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oral Surgery

Last Thursday (12/15) when I went to the oral surgeon for a follow-up in the bone-scraping he did last year, he said there was still a little piece that was stopping the complete healing, so he wanted to do more, plus some on the other side of my mouth. Since I was being 'put to sleep,' I had to have a driver. Tuesday morning (12/20) Sara drove me there for the 9 am appointment (after dropping Rose off at school for her final day before Christmas vacation). About an hour later, she helped me walk to her car, drove me across the road to the Davis Drugs in the Super Valu store to get three prescriptions filled, and then took me home with her. As the anesthetics wore off, my mouth started hurting. I took two doses of Percoset that afternoon and evening, but have not needed any since than. I'll be taking Augmentin and rinsing with Peridex for at least two weeks until I go back to let him check the progress of the healing and remove the stitches. It really feels funny to have all these little pieces of thread in my mouth. I also look sort of funny, with a great deal of swelling on the right side of my jaw  I've started using heat packs on it today.

Lexi was with us, as well. Alyssa had called me Monday morning and asked if I could pick her up from her grandparents' house and let her spend a couple of days with me. So Lexi slept on the top bunk in Rose's room and I slept on the couch in Sara's living room. Then we females all got up about 4 am (Reggie got to sleep a little longer before getting up to go to work) and left about 4:30, headed to Charleston WV. There we met Rose's dad and let him take her back to NJ for ten days.There was drizzle frequently on the trip out, but it was clear most of the way back. We took Lexi home to Metropolis and then Sara brought me home. I had her call me when she got home so I wouldn't worry about her. She did all the driving - I was just her navigator.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another stocking

A few days ago, Carmen emailed me a question, "Does Jaimee have a stocking?"
I replied, "I'm sure I haven't made one for her. Should I? If yes, what should I put on it?"
The answer was yes.
Less than a week later, here is the result. The manger and Mary were done 'free hand.' The star is from a chart I did many years ago. The letters were as Carmen designed them for her children's stockings - also many years ago. The heart on the bottom of the foot is from one of my stitch dictionaries. It is actually meant to be worked in seed stitch (all one color, with the stitches done here in red done as purls). I like it in two colors. The wreath is from something I found in my 'Christmas stockings' folder, with the beads added.
It is now wrapped and ready to travel to NJ on Wednesday. I hope Jaimee likes it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hey! Three Little Kittens . . .

I found your mittens!
These are the ones I made to help a girl at church get one of her Girl Scout badges. They are what my husband called 'idiot mittens' - with the cord joining them, not even an idiot could loose just one. When I washed them this morning, the cords got tangled up with the other clothes. I untangled them before putting them in the dryer, of course.
In the dryer, they left the other clothes alone, but did their own little dance around the Maypole. More untangling.

I also spent a little time outside today - burning paper trash and taking the other trash down to the end of the driveway to be picked up tomorrow morning. Why does 55 degrees outside feel more comfortable than 70 degrees indoors?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend with great-granddaughters

Lexi spent Friday night with me. I picked her after she got home from school. Before leaving Metropolis, we went to the Hallmark store there. I found one of the remaining ornaments I was looking for, but still am missing the one for Rose. Then we stopped at Kroger in Paducah for a few things, including something for our supper. We got a garlic herb rotisserie chicken and some frozen spinach. The spinach package we got said it served four. I decided to cook the entire package (with olive oil and garlic), because I know how much Lexi likes it. I like it too, and probably took one and a half servings - she ate the rest.

She wasn't satisfied with the star Rose had drawn for the top of my 'feather' tree, so she made an angel and moved Rose's star down a few branches. She also strung more popcorn to put on the other little tree.
 She has started playing trumpet in the fifth grade band, so she brought the instrument along to practice. Not very melodic, but then she's just starting. I could get nothing but squeaks out of my clarinet at that age, and didn't continue. I hope she won't give up. They're having a concert tomorrow. I'd love to attend, but it's at 6 pm, and I don't like driving that far (about 40 miles each way) in the dark. I told her there will probably be another concert in the spring that I can attend. She seems to be all right with that.

Alyssa was going to pick Lexi up yesterday, but she called and said she had a migraine, and also had no gas in her car, so I drove Lexi home. As soon as I got back, Sara, Reggie and Rose came. Sara had called earlier and asked if I would keep Rose overnight.  They had a Christmas party to go to. These girls are both great kids, but I do prefer to have them here one at a time.

This morning as I was cooking breakfast (French toast), there was a call for help from the dining room. "Grandmother, I've started a fire!" Rose had decided to light the candles on the table, but had dropped the match on the edge of a placemat. So now I have one placemat with a badly burned fringe. I told her she's a bit young to be using matches..

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Monday afternoon, the pastor and another man brought my loom home. They brought a little sort of bad news, too. When the pastor opened the door to the fellowship hall earlier, dirty water gushed out at him. There was a leak somewhere, and an inch or so of water covered the floor. The loom had stood in it for a few hours. After they left, I mixed up some Spic'n'Span water, got down on the floor, and performed a foot-washing on the loom. Later I sprayed it with some disinfectant. It's  fine now.

I wove off the rest of that warp, and cut the six rugs off today. I remembered to tie off the warp strings in front of the reed so I can just tie on a new warp rather than going through the whole warping process.

Later Monday evening, there was a knock on my door. It was Lexi's grandfather bearing this fruit basket and some candy. While he was here, I told him about the utility closet door falling out on me last week. He fixed that side of it, but then a piece broke on the other side. He'll come back sometime, probably with a helper, to fix that. Although I think Mary may have a good idea - take off the doors and put up a curtain.

Tuesday, when we met at the Art Guild, Mary was knitting mittens for her granddaughters. We both have the same favorite glove and mitten pattern booklet. I looked today to see how old it is. It says MCMLIII - I was only 12 then, and I think Mary wasn't born yet. It must have stayed in print for a very long time! I probably got mine in the early 1970's; the price printed on it is 65 cents.

Yesterday afternoon, when I read the church newsletter for December, there was an article about one of the girls in the congregation who is working on her community service (or whatever they call it) badge in Girl Scouts. She has chosen as her project filling 'family stockings' for a group of families served by a local agency. She is asking for donations of items from the church parishioners. One of the items on the suggestion list is mittens. So last night I pulled out that pattern booklet and some yarn and cast on for a child's mitten. Such small projects don't take long. Except for the thumb, I finished the first mitten last night. I finished the thumb this morning, and have started the mate. I'll probably make a couple more pairs before I take them to the church next Wednesday.

After doing several other errands yesterday, the last one before going to the coffee shop to knit, was taking watchcaps and scarves to the Seaman's Church Institute. When I opened the door, I forgot/didn't notice that there is a step up right there. I fell into the building. The last time I was there, the little lunchroom to the left of the door was full of men. I am glad there was only one man there yesterday. He immediately came over and helped me get up. After I assured him that I was OK, he gave me a hug. I find that, as I get older, I can accept such hugs graciously, without embarrassment. A couple of hours later, I noticed soreness in the base of my right thumb - I guess I reached out to catch myself.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Forecasters Were Correct

It was very comfortable (considering the layers of clothing I wore) at the Walk through Bethlehem last night, and then it did start raining some time during the night. About 2 pm yesterday I thought we might need to cancel last night, too, because it was windy. However, the wind died down, and it was beautiful. About quarter to eight, the pastor came around saying we were going to stay open an extra ten minutes because of the number of visitors who were still in the 'village.' But, just about eight o'clock the wind picked up again, and the pastor announced that all visitors needed to make their way to the village gate, and 'inhabitants' should wait for further instructions. I started closing up my loom, getting ready to leave about the time he started giving those instructions. Men came quickly for the loom (and me - they've always given me a ride on one of the golf carts, since I slipped, fell and broke a bone in my left ankle the first night I participated three years ago).

When we were back in the church basement (I'm glad it has an at-grade entrance), and out of our costumes, they announced that there were about 475 visitors. So there were close to 1,000 visitors over the three nights. It's really a shame we had to cancel tonight, because several churches would probably have brought their youth groups.

Since it was probable that we would cancel, I brought my costume and my rug home with me. I figured that if it didn't rain, I could easily take them back tonight. In fact, they're still in the car. I'll bring the costume in tomorrow, wash it and put it back in the closet until next year. The rug will go back on the floor. I guess someone will bring my loom and stool back to me some time this week. Then I'll finish weaving off that warp and tie on another one to weave a few more rugs. During the pause after I got the loom opened last night and the first visitors arrived, I was planning a fair amount of weaving I want to do in the next few months - got to use up some of this 'stuff' I have. I have to get myself to put down the knitting needles sometimes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blanket or Swatch?

Both, actually. My daughter wants me to knit her an afghan with cables on both sides. You can see the three cables on this side; the six stitches between every two cables here are made into cables on the other side. Simple! But makes a nice, reversible blanket. Carmen bought the yarn when she was here a year and a half ago, but she has yet to tell me how wide she wants it to be. The yarn is the same as I used recently to make a baby blanket (different dyelot, though), so I decided to use the leftover from the blanket to make a gauge swatch for the afghan. That way I can figure out how many stitches to use when Carmen does tell me how wide to make it. I like making swatches large enough that Lexi and Rose can use them for doll blankets. I don't know which one this doll belongs to.

Sad Occasion:
The building that was St Martin's Church in Mayfield has been sold - we closed it six or seven years ago, because there were so few of us remaining. Yesterday, the bishop came to 'secularize' the building. He didn't know the name of the buyer, only that it is a woman who plans to make it her home. I'd love to see it when she gets the remodeling done. There were nine of us there yesterday - five clergy (the bishop, three other priests and one deacon) and four lay people. It was especially sad for the two who were St Martin's parishioners before they built the building sometime in the 1970's.

Walk through Bethlehem:
It was cancelled Wednesday night because the ground was too soggy. Thursday night we had fewer than 100 visitors - because it was a weeknight? It was cold, as well, but not cold enough to cause frost on the loom like I had last year. Last night was much better. It was not quite so cold, and there were about 380 visitors. The two hours went fairly quickly - lots of people (especially kids) to explain a little about weaving to. Sara and Reggie brought Rose and Kyra, and Reggie's grandmother and little sister met them there. Casey is 12 or 13, and I've been hearing about her ever since Lexi learned to talk. (They go to the same church as Lexi's grandparents, and there is also some round-about family connection.) The younger girls all love Casey, and Lexi has worn many of her hand-me-downs..

I took the rug I usually have inside the door from the driveway into my bedroom, and hung it just behind me along with other rugs that members of the church provided. That way I could point out the type of rug I was making, and say that the other rugs were made on other types of looms.

Tonight may be the last night for this year, although it is scheduled to go through tomorrow night. It is forecast to be warmer tonight (high 40's), but then rain is expected after midnight and throughout the day tomorrow. Since we're outdoors, rain cancels.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weather Report

Don't you just love it when you're listening to a radio station 40 miles away and they're saying rain with a chance of snow mixed in, but you look outside and see this.

This isn't supposed to happen yet; it's still November. And the Walk through Bethlehem starts tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time with Rose

Sara called yesterday to ask if Rose could spend the night with me, so she and Reggie could go out with friends.It was almost bedtime when they brought her, so Sara had her put on her PJ's and brush her teeth, while she helped me set up the cot. It may have been her bedtime, but we stayed up for a while longer. She wanted to show me that she can string popcorn, so we popped some (she punched the buttons on the microwave). She threaded the needle and I tied a knot in one end of the string. Here she is hard at work.

But before she did that, she put her dolls to bed on the living room floor.

This morning we went out to the shed and brought in two trees.

The one on the left was made for me a few years ago by Lexi and her Nana (her dad's mother). I tried to catch it with all the lights on, but they cycle too fast. The one on the left, I made many, many years ago from a broom handle, wire coat hangers and garland. I got down one small box of ornaments from the utility closet and we decorated the tree. The first thing that went on was the string of popcorn. The paper on top has a star drawn on it.

After Sara called yesterday, I decided to start a project in crochet. Rose always wants me to teach her to knit, but I don't have the patience to do that. I thought maybe it would be easier for me to teach her to crochet, if she wanted to try that. She didn't say anything about wanting to. What I started was a narrow strip, mostly white, with stripes of a red/white/green with silver - very Christmasy. I was planning to make several strips and sew them together to make a laprobe. However, Rose had other ideas. Here she is wearing her new scarf.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Stockings Were Hung . . .

A few weeks ago, Alyssa asked me to knit a Christmas stocking for Devin (her boyfriend's son) similar to hers and Lexi's. Alyssa's has an angel and Lexi's has Winnie the Pooh. Devin loves Legos, so Alyssa took a picture of one on his Lego men and emailed it to me. The 'peace, hope, love, joy' is from Alyssa's stocking as designed by Carmen 26 years ago. The Lego blocks I put on the toe don't show up very well. I hope Devin likes it.

I've also been making scarves (only 2) for Seaman's Church Institute.
This one has a 'message' worked in the rib patterns. One end says SCI and the other says TUG. Can you read Morse Code? (....  -.-.  ..  and -  ..-  --.) Someone on one of the Yahoo groups gave us a link to a 40-minute lecture linking knitting, Morse Code and binary notation. It intrigued me, so I printed out a copy of Morse code to see what I could do with it. This is my first such project, but I have others in mind. Am I nuts?
No code here, just an easy stitch pattern that looks nice on both sides.

Even though I had my car back in operation, I have not done much 'running.' After that quick run to Fancy Farm on Thursday, I stayed home until Tuesday. Then I went in to Mayfield to the Art Guild and WalMart. Wednesday I went to Paducah to the coffee shop; there were only two other knitters there. On Thursday, I had Thanksgiving dinner at Sara's boyfriend's grandmother's house with some of that family. I had met some of them before, as long ago as 10 1/2 years.

Black Friday, I stayed home - I don't do crowds if I can help it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

On the Road Again

Here are my mechanics, hard at work Wednesday putting in the new radiator. Sara came back yesterday to make sure nothing had leaked overnight, and to top off all fluids. Then we drove into Fancy Farm (7 miles) to the post office and the Dollar General store. The car is running well. She checked fluids after we got back, too, before leaving to pick Rose up from school and get on with her other responsibilities. I need to call the auto selvage place (sounds better than junk yard, doesn't it?) to see if they have a hood for my car. I couldn't possibly be lucky enough to find one the right color, could I?

Now that I have my own transportation again, I have no place that I need/want to go until next week. I may go into Mayfield just for the heck of it.

These are the watchcaps I've made for the Seaman's Church Institute in the last week, between loom-warping sessions. I may try to get a scarf or two done before I take them to SCI. I had planned to do more hats, but by the time I got 2/3 of the way done with the fourth one, I decided that was enough of working with a 16 inch circular needle for a while. I know I could knit them flat, but I don't like having a seam in a hat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finishing the warping process

But first: Last night as I was sitting at the computer, I realized that the wind was pretty fierce. It was blowing the porch swing against one of the chairs out there. So I took about two yards of clothesline and lashed the swing to the porch post.
 While taking this picture this morning, I also took one of the maple tree next door. This was a spectacular tree until the Ice storm 2 1/2 years ago. You can see a couple of large limbs still hanging. Angela had some men trimming it a few weeks ago. They wanted to take the whole thing down (I think they should), but she still wants to save it.
Anyway, back to the warping. I started threading the heddles yesterday after I posted. First I took the reed out of the beater.

Then I used my sleying hook (sley rhymes with they)
 to reach through the harnesses/shafts, grab a thread (in the correct order) and pull it through a heddle (a thin wire-like thing with an eye in the middle). My loom has four harnesses, but I am only using two of them for this project.
I took eight threads at a time out of the raddle, threaded them through the heddles and tied them together in a slip knot to make sure they didn't slide back through.

This procedure means I was sitting, leaning over the front beam, reaching and pulling. I got about 2/3 of the threading done, and took a break from it until this morning. After having oatmeal and coffee, I finished the threading, and removed the raddle from the top of the loom. Then I put the reed back in the beater and started sleying it; that is pulling one thread through each space in the reed.
Again, I pulled through eight threads and tied a slip knot to keep them from sliding back. After this was complete (I took a couple of breaks to stand up and move around.), I tied the warp onto the cloth-beam apron.
See all those nice little knots? The red stuff is to space the threads out evenly. After this I wound two bobbins with the same thread I used for the warp, put them in my double shuttle, and wove about three inches. When I take the rugs off the loom, I will make a hem out of this three inches.

So now I'm ready to weave some rugs, but I will do that at the Walk through Bethlehem five nights next month. I'll be weaving outside with freezing fingers, by the light of an oil torch, so I know the weaving will not be very good. I'll donate the rugs to the animal shelter - the dogs and cats don't care what they look like.

I loosened the wing nuts on each side of the loom, pulled out the pins, and folded the thing up to be ready when someone from the church comes to transport it.

Did you notice the long shoelaces in several of the pictures? They come in very handy. Here are a couple of ways I use them.
 Holding the beater between the castle (that middle section of the loom that holds the harnesses/shafts) and the front beam while I sley the reed.
Holding the lease sticks between the castle and the back beam while I wind the warp on and do the threading. I also use them to lash the raddle to the top of the castle while I need it to help spread the threads out to the desired width.

Another item that makes things easier is my secretary's chair. I have it all the way down while I thread the heddles, and all the way up while I sley the reed. Having the different heights makes those operations much easier on the body.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weaving and Knitting

Well, not weaving exactly, but preparing to. I'm going to weave some rugs. I don't know yet if it will be at the Walk through Bethlehem or at home.
First I wound off 200 threads, 8 yards long, making a cross between the second and third pegs on the top of the board. (You can see a very small bit of my yarn stash in the storage boxes behind the warping board.)

I wound off the warp threads 22 at a time and placed each group with the lease sticks on either side of the cross. What looks like a real tangle of thread really isn't.
When I moved the warp to the loom, I used my raddle to place the threads evenly across the width I want the rugs to be. There are eight threads in each one-inch space.

Then I had to tie the warp onto the warp-beam apron. After this, I wound the warp onto the warp beam. I used slats from an old venetian blind occasionally to separate the layers. Tomorrow I plan to thread the heddles and the reed and tie onto the cloth-beam apron. Then I'll be ready to weave.

I took several knitting breaks during this warping procedure. I didn't feel like working on any of the projects I already had going, so I grabbed some burgundy yarn left over from my grand-niece Kaillee's afghan (yes, Pauline, I finally remembered what I made for her), a size 9, 16-inch long circular needle and cast on 80 stitches to do a knit 2, purl 2 ribbed watchcap for the Seaman's Church Institute. I started that first round just fine, but about halfway through it, I realized that I had switched to the knit 1, purl 1 of the seed stitch I've done so much of recently. I had to tink (that's knit spelled backwards for you non-knitters) to the spot where I went wrong. I did it again in the next round, but caught myself after only a few stitches. It took a few rounds to get my hands reprogrammed.

I have about eight inches done so far. In a few more rounds, I'll start decreasing for the top. I'll need to use double-pointed needles after the first or second decrease round. I think I'll go work on that for another hour or so tonight - I may even finish it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Car update

When I unlocked the back door (the one we, and everyone else, use) this morning about 8 o'clock, there was a large package lying on the porch. From the size of it, I figured it must be the radiator for my car, although when I moved it, it isn't nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. UPS must have delivered it yesterday after the last time I was near that door before it got dark - I'm sure they didn't come before 8 am. I called Sara and told her that it has arrived. She said she'll let me know when they can come to install it. I don't know what Reggie's work schedule is.

Much as I like being alone in my house, two weeks is a bit much. I know Sara would have provided transportation, but there was no place I had to go. I was too lazy yesterday to walk to the fire house (about a quarter mile away) to vote. I was glad to hear this morning that Bashear will remain governor; I really had no feelings one way or the other about any of the other races.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I've been in scarf mode for the past week.After finishing the one in the previous post, I did three for the 2012 Special Olympics. For this project, we are required to use certain colors of Red Heart brand yarns, because they are one of the major sponsors of the events. The colors for 2012 are red and navy.
 I did three very different scarves.
 This is a slip stitch pattern, On the back it just looks striped.
This one I worked side-to-side rather than end-to-end. I worked it in seed stitch, alternating colors every two rows. I started and ended the red stripes at one end of the scarf and the navy stripes at the other end. I left the ends of yarn hanging to be fringe, so one end has red fringe and the other has navy.

The third scarf had the message I'M SPECIAL worked into it in reverse stockinette. I wasn't able to get pictures to show it.

After I finished those scarves, I made one for the Red Scarf Project, which puts the scarves in 'care packages' to foster kids in college or trade school at Valentines Day.

 I used the 'I'm special' message on this one, as well. It's very hard to photograph, but you can see the I'M pretty well in this shot.

I also finally finished a watchcap for the Seaman's Church Institute that I started back in February. Pooh Bear agreed to model it for me, even though he said it clashes with his red shirt.

Here are two other pictures I took today, both in my back yard.

A beautiful rose.
Nandino berries.