Friday, December 28, 2007

Home Again


Hope y'all had a nice visit with the people who matter to you over Christmas-even if it was not in person-phone calls and e-mails do bridge the distances, too! We are back in FL--we missed the sunshine and warm temps!


Here is the skein of yarn I dyed for each of us-hers is a bit different-only 3 sections of colors and her sock is knitting up with a spiral pattern of color-mine is just little bits of color-I learn something new every time I dye-its great. I am finishing up the socks that we started for Christmas-she was making good progress on her first pair-tho she kept knitting it inside out..........I will investigate the psychology of that!



New furniture arrived yesterday-sure was a challenge to arrange the room but I think we have it for now-in the future, the window behind the couch will be a doorway to the new addition so I will have to make some changes...you think?!







The cats approve, too, and that is a good sign!

We both fell asleep in our recliners last night.........it was a lot of work moving stuff around and we are retired, you know!

Today I will finish de-cluttering the piles we moved out of the new space, finish knitting the second sock, spin some of my birthday fiber of Merino and Tussah silk from the McKees, laundry and probably will have to spend some time cooking because Bill says he is starting to diet for the new year but it isn't time yet..............HA-have you had that conversation before?!
This will come as no surprise to many of you, Bill has a fascination for weather patterns and for years has called us to let us know about the Doppler status of our area....he takes his weatherman duties pretty seriously and so his kids bought him a very hi-tech weather system...the smile says it all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to You!



Greetings to all who read this! We are spending a week in Georgia at my Daughter and Son-in-Law's home. Matthew and Caleb arrive tonight so we will have a happy houseful!


Bill and I have spent 33 Christmases together--sure does bring up memories. It seems like yesterday and a hundred years ago both that his parents would come to our house on Christmas Eve and open gifts with our little ones...........Christmas day was always closed out with my parents and siblings and gifts and laughs..................... A ton of changes already have been incurred with the move a year ago so what is a few more!


Weather is a bit cooler in the 40's so we dug out some sweatshirts, sweaters and corduroy! So wonderful to receive real hugs from the grandkids instead of just the phone ones!

Craftwise, I am teaching Marsel to knit socks.........she already knits but never socks so we are making ourselves a pair of toe-ups! Since it is all new to her-why not!? I bought some white superwash with nylon from Knitpicks and dyed it brown, green and purple- each of our skeins are a little bit different and both are knitting up beautifully. Hopefully, we will post a finished sock before we leave!



May all your endeavors enrich your life and those around you-
Have a very Merry Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

How quickly this past year has unrolled. Even in the frustrations of the permits (garage and addition) dim in view of the fact that WE ARE HERE! It is always good to take a good look of the year in review- Health-We always joked that it would take a year for Bill to catch up on his sleep after all the shift work...........it is true; he is finally starting to wake up early and get an energy level back! And me? I feel great-rested and relaxed.

Empty Nesters-after a few false starts, we are enjoying living in a home with just the two of us. The housecleaning is easier and so is the cooking! Bill is doing 99% of the shopping-a promise he always gave and is now kept-a result of my dislike of the chore and his love of shopping and shopping for food to boot!(And he always said he could do it better 'cuz he likes going to different stores for the best deals and I didn't do that!)


Grown Children-all of our children are now 21 and older-2 married and 2 developing careers while single. It is wonderful to be able to keep in touch and visit with them(grandchildren are a mere skip and a jump away (8hrs)-even our oldest son will be visiting with his bride from the Northwest this year! (He has never seen our new home and she has never visited FL!)
Weather-is absolutelly perfect-to be outside and in our yard every day is a blessing which words do not do justice..........The sun is out, the air is clear-even the hottest summer heat did not discourage us because it was only 'too hot' for a few hours in the middle of each day-mornings and evenings were still great.
Friends-While we are farther away from many (thank goodness for cell phones and e-mail!) we have moved closer to some and made new ones, too. Finding a church home was a major hurtle overcome pretty quickly after being here-a blessing we still do not take lightly.
Landscaping progress-we added trees, flowers, grass and beat the jungle growth back on most of this 10 acres! Bill even beautified the wet area into a pond and lawn now!

Driveway-graded and laid with asphalt millings so it does not wash out on the road every time it rains! (Tracks less sand in cars and house, too!)
Septic system-we have a whole new system with a drainage field moved out of the way of the new addition!
Well-a new well is drilled and placed where it will be away from the pool area to come--no sulphur either!
Contractors-we have eliminated dozens of them and have a few leads on possible workers in the area!
Power Service-added new pole and laid the foundation for underground service to come with the addition.
Snakes and Bugs-are not an issue-we learn how to deal with ants-(don't go barefoot in an ant hill), roach tablets and a quick swat with a shoe controls the Palmetto bugs (only dealt with 6 in the house so far), spiders all get the shoe or sprayed (no larger ones in the house than we had in the old farmhouse!) the snakes, only 3 so far, startled us outside but haven't seen them in a long time (are told by locals that having cats around the yard eliminates their presence!) Thank you Tommy and Bling!
Birds-an abundance all the time is incredible.........from chickadees to sand hill cranes--all are welcome and in abundance. We have lots of berry trees and it is an 'all you can eat' feast for all the birds (and squirrels, too!) We have tons of the northern robins now-they are looking fat after a few weeks of the aforementioned feast! And we learned that our hummingbirds also go south-er for the winter-Central America in fact!
Seasons-Yes, we do have seasons and it has been wonderful to see Florida for a whole cycle. We have been visiting here for 30+ yrs but have never seen the whole picture-it has been so exciting to see and we have learned so much. Most of the trees that are also found in the North have just about lost all of their leaves now. The colors that started their demise didn't start until November.
Flowers are a feast all year round-many species flower for 6-8 months and then rest a bit until they start all over again-others, like the rain lilies literally sprout a bloom overnight (in the first rains of late spring) and last only a week-all are beautiful and worthy of our attention! Most of the locals take their vacation in the Fall-the weather is truly perfect Sept - Dec, warm, sunny and no humidity (and most will tell you that the snowbirds aren't here yet either!)

Yes, it is good to reflect on the past year....even if they do not all hold the 'firsts' that this year produced! Like most years-it has had its high and low points yet I am so glad this dream of living in Florida has been realized!
In the memorable quote of Jackie Gleason when asked if he had lived here is whole life, he replied, "Not yet!" Lord willing, we will be able to say the same.



[As for pics...most have already been added to this blog under earlier posts!]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tree Skirt



Managed to get the tree skirt finished-it is probably a Victorian idea that the tree stand must be covered-as is proper for all legs....I must admit , it does look framed now. The cats apprciate my effort to make it more comfortable at any rate!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fake Isle Again


Made this over the weekend and still don't feel like it will be the last one! The 'solid' color has much more subtly of color than expected-which is one of the reasons to try to dye it yourself-the color is more of itself! The hat went much quicker this time since I have the confidence of the size and results now. Knit this one with additional stitches around and like the overall proportion even better. Found mitten pattern to match wool size-fingering almost so will start on them today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Faux Isle Hat Take 2

Voila! Now it has a better ribbing, a better shape and proportion and I am smiling. Have enough yarn to make a pair of mittens to match-will start them tonight.

So satisfying to see the labors of your hand-spinning the wool, dyeing the yarn, knitting and now posting it--thanks for sharing y'all!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

'Tis the Season.........

Our usual markers for the passing of time and the arrival of the Christmas season are different......we are working on making new ones that we will remember-always a challenge! We decided that Dec 1st will be put up the tree day...boys up for Caleb's early birthday celebration so we did this with more their help---->
This tree looks like the 'real' one we have cut down each year but this one is a perpetual tree........I had it up in minutes(prelit)........it improved in my estimation immediately! I now get to make a new tree skirt....hopefully will be done by next week!

Bill surprised me with a Poinsettia-it has already lost most of the leaves.......I have a love/hate relationship with this flower-the good news down here-I will plant it after Christmas-outside and it will grow and so I win!

I sewed some Christmas accessories for the boys..........for my young men (Caleb at 21 is no longer a boy...I need to make the verbal shift!) When I asked them if they were going to decorate they said only if they didn't have to put out any money. I had these in my closet to sew some day-what a perfect opportunity and the amazing fact is that I found them! It required hours and a strong son to find the big box of decorations in the portable garage but he perservered! I had plenty of extras to share from that, too, so they left with an apt's worth of stuff!
The weather is really warm still, very easy to put up some outside lights on the front porch-Jared called while I was putting them up to say that it was snowing for them, here, Bill and other sons were playing golf-shorts and polo shirt-you see why we are having to make some new seasonal markers! We will catch on and Lord willing, will have years to learn the signs!


Friday, November 30, 2007

ALMOST RIGHT

It was very exciting to knit this up-but there are too many negative points to keep it-I am going to 'rippit' as soon as I am done with this post!



WHY?!




Because....It is too long in shape-need to remove some of the rows in the spacing, not of the chart work. It is too wide-I like the dimensions of the smaller size after looking at this knit up. I don't like the ribbing the pattern calls for-k3p1-it rolls up and won't lay flat like a k2p2 rib does and it doesn't hug the head like I think it should--------->3 strikes; you're out!




I do like the colors but even there I learned that I need to use the dye board a bit differently-I wrapped the yarn in only one row repeats....I need to wind it at least 3 rows worth of color so I don't get a varigated color pattern when I really want a stripe pattern--I will remedy that on the next batch!
It was such a delight to knit I am not discouraged to do so again....however ripping it out will not be as much fun 'cuz I do not carry yarn more than 3 sts worth on the back-see pic....it will mean I could use another pair of hands to help with the untwisting......Bill will hold a wrapped skein on his hands for me to wind in into a ball when I am away from my skein winder but I can't picture him involved in this activity!
I will keep you posted! (sorry for the pun!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Set 2 of 2 and Thinking Out Blog


Finished up the second headband and fingerless gloves set.............I ran out of yarn as I was binding off...short by 18"! After setting it down and leaving it last night I had the solution....spin up an almost match...remember this is out of the Mystery Batt and that is gone...............but I did have a stash of merino sampler fibers and sure enough, I found a close enough match to spin up a few yards to bind off and sew up the seam! There is great satisfaction in overcoming an obstacle no matter how small!
This was a great way to unwind after having to play with cars today with my DH. Since the boys are no longer living here I am demoted to car tow-er, car follower (to make sure it doesn't stall on test drives) and car driver (to drive one when he is in the 'new' car and SOMEONE has to drive the old car home! I thought this was adventureous when we were dating(34yrs ago)....it is no longer my idea of adventure--I think DH has planned this so I will concede that we need a car hauling trailer...........I had previously resisted the expense but today I whole heartedly agree-Yes, buy one and let me ride shotgun with him-now that is an adventure I am willing to take on! (I will just happen to be knitting all the way!)
Another new wrinkle to retirement-Bill is home for every Monday Night Football! It is good to knit or spin to I must admit; there are instant replays when I miss a particularly good play and I don't have to pay too much attention to what is going on while still enjoying DH's company. I am kinda looking forward to it even, and last week even offered advice for the next play and Bill stopped watching to exclaim, "Hey, you're talking strategy with me about football!" I have been deep in thought about it all week. I think he felt like I do when he notices and comments on one of my projects all on his own without my prompting. In marriage, some things grow on you and others are thrust upon you in a kind of sink or swim mode............I think I want to chose to watch football with my husband......he doesn't mind me knitting and spinning at the same time-now that is something to be grateful about!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

VICTORY MENDING


Saturday is good for putter jobs and finishing up projects that got side-tracked during the week. Here is a mending job that makes me smile....this is a pair of my pants that fit well but they are just that 'little bit too short' to feel good.........I have finally found a solution-I cut the pants off 2" up from the finished hem, I measured the grossgrain ribbon ( 1 1/4" wide) to fit the pant leg width and seamed it, tapering it a bit narrower at the bottom, and then topstitched it 1/4" over the top of the pant leg with a very small zigzag stitch(for Designer SE owners it is the A5 stitch). I then lined up the seam with the bottom portion I had cut off and VOILA! the pants are just a bit longer and now also very cool!
I picked the ribbon color to match my 2 most often worn colors, brown and teal but your choices are only limited by the color choice at your local fabric/craft shop!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Today is our first Thanksgiving in Florida--it was a great beginning to new traditions....Matthew and Caleb are here from Ocala and our neighbors and their son and daughter came here for our dinner-it was great. We played some table games and a great time was had by all.
The boys just came in from a big walk to see the landscaping progress their Dad has wrought in the back of our property and are now eating pie and cheering on their football team! What more could you ask for! Hugs and hellos to family and friends who check this blog out-Love to y'all-Cindy

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mystery Batts Finished


Here is the headband and fingerless gloves I knit up with the yarn from the mystery batts (a variety of fibers with some glitz added!) I knit them on straight needles for a change, they were wooden, and it was a very nice change from the ol' circulars. I just ordered some more in pink/purple Mystery Batts to make another set.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mobius Shawl


Finished the Mobius shawl. I had purchased 8 oz of some white/yellow wool and mohair fiber but after spinning it wasn't thrilled with the color-way too washed out for my taste. I washed the wool and put it in an old crockpot with some green Rit dye and let it simmer on low for 3 hours. It resulted in this --shaded colors of green; my favorite color! I am going to wear it Friday night to the football game!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beach

We had quite a surprise when we went to our beach (Matanzas River outlet) the ramp to drive onto the beach was closed! We drove north to the next ramp and then drove back to our favorite spot down the beach-it was pretty empty so we only had to dodge a few beach walkers! This is the scene when we arrived-30' of dune and beach gone........even the last of the boardwalk was gone. It is an awesome reminder of the power of our God as His hand wrought this creation a few weeks ago with a Nor'easterner that sat off the shore for a week! I want to know if the ocean ever gives back the sand-it looks like it is sitting about 50' out in the water in the form of a sandbar right now.
We were able to reap a treasure in conch shells.......this is the most we ever found in one day. We do love to walk the shore and we were alone most of this visit-a nice bonus! The water is at 70 degrees right now and the air temp was about 78-we enjoyed a picnic lunch and each others company.............................

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Green Coopworth




Will finish this up tonight- I am plying it right now-it turned out very nice and darker than I thought-a good surprise.


Now I just need to get going with my knitting-I feel like a squirrel getting ready for a long winter.........at least I will be able to knit when we can't afford to buy gas anymore! (just joking!)
Speaking of winter, the cats are eating like they are preparing for a long, cold winter also--the colder nights (40's) put them in the "Oh, no! We need to eat before the snow covers up all the lizards!" mode. I have tried to explain that they are going to be okay but so far it isn't making a difference. Bling started whining about the ice and having the flu and Tom ran and ate just thinking about it............BTW, Tom sits patiently in front of this chair (Bill's) and waits for Bill to vacate it, usually for something to snack, and instantly the cat moves in--the very essence of 'move your feet, lose your seat!' Bill complains but accepts the rule and goes to the couch instead (Just like our friend Neal would do!). I just love felines! There is so much to admire about them........

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day Salute

Thank you to the few that have protected our many....


Here is a fiber way to say thank you; a helmut liner of wool. This pattern is from the Lion Brand Yarn Co newsletter link and it comes in both crochet or knit versions. The only change I would recommend is to severely decrease the rib band around the face at each 'corner' at the eyes-to prevent a gap in fit--I didn't read this hint until I was finished with the band and when I tried it on it was definitely not acceptable-I reduced by 6-8 stitches on each side and now it lays flat.

(Yes, to those of you who have been to my home in the last few years[we owned it longer than we have lived here]you will recognize the watcher, a mannequin head, who has sat watch over the property in our absence. She now resides in the house and no longer on a post in the front yard.......)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ORANGE COOPWORTH


Here is the Coopworth oranges that I dyed. It does have wonderful shadings in the singles and changes quite a bit in the plies. It is a fingering weight and its complement of the greens is on the wheel now. I think I will be spinning a dark brown to go with these two colors for the Faux Isle projects............more dyeing!
Speaking of which, her is a new batch off the dyeing board. How different the skeins look from the last batch even though it is the same dyes! The colors are stronger and in a different order than the last ones.......this wool seemed to absorb the dye differently which is an interesting and new factor for me to consider. Still very satisfying!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Motivation














I said I was done spinning boring ol' white wool.........I have to eat those words!.....Why? Just look at the results of the skein from the dyeing board! It is incredible and if I have to spin boring to get this, I am willing to do it!

The yarn unwound without a single tangle-every step of the process was worth results like these!


The roving always looks so abused after dyeing-looks how beautiful it becomes after a bit of drafting (pulling the fibers apart along thier length just a bit to fluff it up again). A nice visual and it is all ready to spin now! (Except I am spinning some more blank wool first so I can dye again!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Day to Dye For!

I finished all the usual Monday morning chores with a mighty reward in mind-






Dyeing for the rest of the day! I started with the dyeing board and 2 skeins of Finn wool-I had seen this in Spin Off magazine last year and it has fermented in my 'ideas' compartment until today...(My neighbor is a woodworker and he obligingly made this to my specs-he looks tolerant but he follows my drawings, bless him!) I said I wasn't finished with the hot and cold colors to do Faux Isle socks and hats so that was my theme for the day. First I used the dye board for dying a color combination skein ........







and then I laid 2 skeins on top of each other in the bowls-one for hot colors and then one for cool-matching up the skeins so the 2 skeins would be similar in how they knit up later on...














On to the roving.......yeah, no more boring white spinning for me--color rich at last! I halved the pound of Coopworth wool and coiled it in its bowl-again, one for cool and one for hot colors. I just spot dyed and had a 'mad scientist' time of it. I did flip the wool gently and move it around so as to remove any areas where I might have missed -- no white spots on this batch!







Into the oven for a sauna for an hour at 200 degrees---all the dye is taken up and the colors are perfect, beautiful.....
ahhhhhhh, a fiber fix extraordinaire!

Yes, this was a day to dye for...........tomorrow--on to spinning!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Still Piecing


I had purchased a bag of these old , hand pieced blocks at an antique (junk) store many years ago when visiting Florida; though the store is not longer here, it used to be near to where I now live. I found them when I was digging in a box for something else last week and inspiration bloomed! I knew just what I needed to do to bring them to life. I searched for the length of old fabric that is my first fabric memory-it hung in the doorway of room, right near my crib-I recognized it when my Mom pulled it out of a box a long time ago and amazed, she gave it to me. I have kept it folded up in my stash ever since....what a perfect complement to these blocks-that solved, I pulled out the blocks and began to move them around to come up with a pleasing arrangement. I soon found out why they were tucked into a bag so long ago and never finished (40's and 50's fabrics is my guess); the points of some of the 'flowers' go right into the seam allowance and their sizes vary from 6 1/2" to 7 1/2". I pulled out the rotary cutter and mat and began trimming them all to 6 1/2" even if it meant some of the areas were 'thinner' than others..........it will all look good eventually and I was right! I did run into a little glitch but in true Grandmother Coon fashion, I didn't let it bog me down too long-I pieced some of the set triangles along the edge when I saw I was running out of grey fabric. I did keep the pattern as lined-up as possible so it is pretty subtle, I'm happy to say. Now I did not have enough for the corners so I am going to look for some solid grey at the fabric store when I go later in the week.
A very satisfying Saturday I must admit.

The Solstice Bloom!

 During the day I finished piecing some more flannel squares.  I was bored with the straight setting of the squares so put them on point!...