The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You Know What They Say

Gas for car for trip to Mesa, AZ: $2.91/gallon

Burger, fries, and Diet Coke in car during transit: $5.62

Temperature in Mesa: 115F (more or less)

Book to be signed by gracious, funny, delightful lady author: $12.95

Making the neglected Trekking Sock (on the right) happy again: Priceless

Monday, July 24, 2006

Off and Gartering

So I started the log cabin sock yarn project last night -- okay, I haven't gotten very far yet, but hey, I got to start it, seeing as how I finished the Lacy Kerchief Scarf. I'm taking this along with me to Mesa, along with Branching Out and warshclothes and the sadly neglected Trekking Socks. Remember, knitting is stress relieving.

Joe was in Mesa this weekend with two of the kids, and between them all they got a lot of Nana's stuff packed up. Several good sized boxes are now in the garage, and I shall be bringing more back. A realtor has been contracted for the house and it will go on the market next Monday. I'm leaving for Mesa in about an hour and my task is to go through the remaining kitchen items and contract with a moving company. I have several appointments booked for cost estimates. I've packed the coolest clothes I've got (they've been having record highs) and lots of cotton knitting. Remember, knitting is stress relieving. I'll show you what I accomplished when I get back.

The poor Trekking Sock has been complaining about being abandoned. I have promised it a nice (hot) trip this week and have planned a Very Special Treat for it (lucky socky) on Wednesday evening.

See you all later in the week.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lacy Kerchief Scarf

Lacy Kerchief Scarf
aka: Magda LittleLace
Pattern: Interweave Knits Summer 2005
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine, 6 balls
Needles: US Size 5, straights
Finished Size: 12" at widest point
100" long
Model: Annie
What would I change?
Nothing. It's a fantastic pattern. I would definitely do it again, probably trying different yarns.
I had more than enough yarn and ended up making it longer than the original pattern.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Been Thinking

About a cool place to knit. This was last month, just a few short weeks ago, knitting in New Hampshire. Notice that it was the middle of the afternoon and I was wearing a SWEATSHIRT. And this was the view I had...

Ahh, dreaming of green trees, cold rivers, and sweatshirt weather! May you all have a cool place to dream about, too!

P.S. Thank you all for the kind comments you left about the lace scarf, and Barbara too. I'm still holding off on casting on anything new, but that Mason-Dixon stuff is getting harder by the day to resist.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Simple Lace Scarf

Simple Lace Scarf
AKA: Moira Littlelace
Yarn: Louet Gems Pearl 100% Wool Fingering Weight
approximately 700 yards
Needles: US 5's
I started with straights and switched to circulars.
Finished Measurements:
10.5" by 92"
*K2, YO, K2tog, K2, P2*, repeat from * to * for desired width,
end with K2, YO, K2tog.
Repeat this row for desired length.
What would I do different?
Use a laceweight yarn. The fingering is a bit heavy.
Make it shorter. 72" to 80" would be better.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Recent Aquisitions

I know, I've been falling way behind in both blogging and Bloglines. And it will probably get worse before it gets better. Annie is moving out and into a college apartment in the next few weeks; I'm working a bunch of overtime; and we are moving Joe's mom into Annie's soon-to-be vacant bedroom. Nana will be 90 this fall and keeping up her house on her own has just become too much. Next week I will be spending a few days in Mesa, helping to clear out closets and cupboards, looking for a moving company, and perhaps checking out realtors as well. Things will probably be topsy-turvy for the next 6 weeks or so, and blogging will probably suffer for the time it takes.

However, knitting still proceeds at a decent pace. (Stress-buster.) I've gotten some new acquisitions, and thought I would post them for you all to see. I have three new sock yarns. On the right is some Trekking, and on the left are two balls of the new Austermann Step, the one with the aloe in it. The two yarns on the outside were vacation purchases, and the one in the middle was picked up in Tucson last week.

Sock knitting has really slowed up right now while I work on the Amazing Lace projects. The only sock I am working on is the Harebell (Baby) lace. It's coming along slowly but I am still pleased with how it's doing so far.

This was also vacation yarn. This is six balls of Butterfly to do a shawl, probably Clapotis. I'm still not going to start anything with wool right now, since it is much too hot and humid right now.

We have been getting some rain in the afternoons for the Southwest Desert monsoons. Lots of lightening and thunder, plus plenty of humidity. No real heavy, overpowering storms yet for us, which is okay. Too much rain in a short period leads to a lot of dangerous flooding in the creekbeds; that's when people get stuck in their cars trying to drive through it.

Then there is the newest obsession, one which is obviously shared by many others these days. I found the Mason-Dixon knitting book at Barnes and Noble in Flagstaff while on vacation. Once I read through it (while sitting under a juniper tree at the Grand Canyon) I was hooked. Since then, I have acquired Peaches and Cream and Sugar and Cream. Here you see warshrag knitting in progress. I've got enough Creamy yarn here to do several warshrags plus try out some of the burp clothes and bibs, too.

I've been lurking lately around the MDKAL site. The projects that are posted are just feeding the passion right now. I tried to find some cotton that I liked to do a Moderne log cabin, but in two trips to Tucson I just couldn't find anything I liked. So I finally picked up some Dreambaby DK. Yes, it's acrylic, but I wanted something machine washable and in the muted colors. I'm quite anxious to start this, but I'm holding so far to my resolve not to start anything new until I've finished the lace projects. And I have a new FO! The Simple Lace Scarf ("Moira LittleLace") was finished last Sunday and finally blocked today! Hopefully I will find a child tomorrow who is willing to take some pictures for me. What I may go ahead and start is a Log Cabin using the leftover bits of sock yarn. I have seen knitters doing this on a couple blogs and it looks like a neat way to use up those ends. It would probably make a nice kitty blanket; d'ya think Big Cat might like a Log Cabin of her own? It might keep her off my WIPs!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

LittleLace Chapter 4

***Links to the previous three chapters may be found in the sidebar***

Momma LittleLace was confused. While tending the counter in the giftshop, she had seen Magda walk through the hotel lobby. Then, a few minutes later, Magda had run back outside; Momma had seen her go out and sit down on the porch. Momma wanted to go out and ask her if she were done working for the day, but then some customers came in wanting to see Indian jewelry, and she had not been able to leave. Now, as the shop closed for the night, the hotel manager strode angrily in. He wanted to know if Momma knew where Magda had gone. She had disappeared a couple hours ago. Did Momma know what had happened to her?

Momma didn't answer. She ran out to the porch, now deserted. Where could Magda have gone? To Poppa's store? To the cabin? She heard her name being called. The young man who had been working at the front desk had followed her out on the porch. Now he held out to her a folded bit of paper. She took it and quickly opened it. Three lines were scrawled on it.

"I'm okay. Don't try to find me. I'm not coming home."

Momma fainted.


Max had become a regular sight at the canyon. He still followed Moira wherever she went, doing her errands or just sitting out with Megan at the rim. Often, when she was busy in the cabin, he would wander off on his own, climbing on the rocks and exploring under the rim. Max made many friends at the canyon, most of them the four-legged kind. But he always came home to help Moira.

Lately, however, Max couldn't figure out what was bothering Moira. It had all started when Magda had stopped coming home; Max hadn't seen her for quite a while now. Since then, Moira seemed listless and quiet, and Max couldn't seem to cheer her up. They still took Megan out to get some sun on the rim, but now Moira did not seem interested any more in Max's friends. Max didn't understand what was going on, but he continued to stick close to Moira. Perhaps one day things would change and Moira would start to smile again.


Poppa felt sometimes as if he were lost in the canyon and couldn't find the way out. All because of Magda's disappearance. He had tried to find out what had happened to her, only to be told that someone looking like her had gotten on board the westbound train along with a mysterious stranger. And he could not find out anything about the stranger except that he was rumored to be a gambler, frequenting the saloons of New Orleans, San Francisco, and many more places in between. Poppa would have set out long ago to try and find Magda, but he could not see how he could go and leave Momma behind.

Momma had not recovered from Magda's disappearance. Oh, both Momma and Poppa had always realized that Magda hated the desert life, and had long ago accepted the possibility that she would one day marry and move to the big city. But to leave like this! Running away, and with a disreputable stranger that she wasn't even married to! Not knowing where she was, or if she was alright...

Momma hadn't gone back to work since that day. She said she couldn't bear to enter the hotel. She spent her days sitting in the cabin, letting Moira do more and more of the work. For a while Momma had kept working on her embroidery. She had always enjoyed sewing up things to put in the girls' hope chests. Lately Baby Lace, who was now starting to grow and become stronger, wanted to help Momma with her stitching. It was almost as if Baby Lace could sense that something was troubling Momma, and wanted to cheer her. But Momma would sit with the embroidery, unworked, in her lap, staring off into the distance, for hours at a time. Poppa would come home from long hours at the store to find her still sitting in her chair, and Bably Lace making a tangled mess of her threads.

No, Poppa didn't know what to do, until one day several weeks after Magda's disappearance, a letter came from his brother Jake, back east. Poppa had written to Jake of the family's sorrows; now, Jake was inviting Poppa, Momma, and the girls to come east. One of Jake's neighbors had a farm to lease. Why not come? The change might be good.

Poppa walked aways down the canyon that evening. He could still remember the green trees and fertile fields of New England, where he had grown up. He had come west to find his fortune, and had fallen in love with the desert and the canyon. But he had not found his fortune, and now with Momma and Moira both so silent and unsmiling, a change was imperative. He would send a letter to Jake tomorrow. He would miss the canyon, as he would miss Magda, but it was time to let Magda go; it was time to move on.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Alert the Media

So I've still been in the blogging doldrums -- that's not what we're alerting the media about. Daughter Maria has been letting her hair grow out in order to donate it to "Locks of Love". She passed the minimum length a little while ago and today was the big day. She and several other "donators" got their locks cut off in a fairly public ceremony.

Television cameras were rolling and interviewers were busy doing their thing as Maria and the others got shorn. Word has it that Maria's filmclips will be seen on the local news tonight.

And here is the new "do". Pretty good lookin', don't you think?

So now, everybody, since Maria does read the blog, why not leave her a nice comment before you move on?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th!!

The Covered Wagon

I seem to be in the blogging doldrums these days. Not the knitting doldrums, as work on the Simple Lace Scarf (Moira) takes me into the last ball of yarn. The Harebell Lace-Pumpkin Socks-Baby Lace socks are growing slowly but surely as well. But blogging? Now in my own defense, it has been pretty darn hot and muggy here. We don't have air conditioning, except for a window unit that we use in our bedroom. The house is cooled by a swamp cooler. For the uninitiated, a swamp cooler is a box that sits on the roof, with a very large fan in it that blows air into the house. The sides of the box are made of pads which are soaked with water when the unit is turned on. The fan sucks in air through the wet pads, which cools the air, which then gets blown into the house. It works quite well, until the weather turns humid and/or rainy. Then it doesn't do much good at all except to keep the humid air moving like any other fan would. Fortunately, it's only for a few weeks of the year.

Anyways, I decided that today I would do a post in Kathy's honor (Kathy who sent me the super Regia of my last post). She had asked a while ago to see the camping trailer, so I present this post at her request.

Above you see the camper in travel mode. Everything is folded up and locked down; the refrigerator is running off the car battery. (Yes, there is a small square refrigerator built in, which holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff.) Normally the refrigeration and all other power systems will run off electricity at the campground, but we are also capable of running off propane gas -- there are two propane cylinders mounted on the front of the camper, in that small white box, and we can also run on battery if there is no electricity where we camp (two large marine batteries, also mounted in the front). We pull it with our minivan, which we ordered with a special towing package built into the engine. It allows the car to pull all that extra weight without overheating, etc.

Once we arrive, the top cranks up and the beds on either end pull out. The beds slide out and everything that is folded down for travel folds back out to make a king size bed on both ends. There is a mattress already on the bed and we toss our sleeping bags on top of that. It is amazingly comfortable.

Then one side pulls out to make the dining area. This is what really gives us the room inside the camper. Our old camper had the table set smack in the middle, and you had to crawl over it and anyone sitting at it to get to the bed behind it. The old trailer also had heavy canvas sides that were hotter than heck and leaked on a regular basis. It had no air conditioning (you can see the air conditioning unit sitting on the top of this one) and no heat (we have propane heat now). A faucet for cold water only and a small propane stove. It was pretty bare-bones. You can see Joe hooking up the water hoses here. We now have a small hot water tank which is more than sufficient, which feeds hot water into the sink and the shower (yes, dear readers, there is a shower). Because the hot water heats up sooo hot, you need a lot of cold to make it a reasonable temperature. So the five gallons in the hot water tank lasts a long time. Of course, you do have to watch the temperature when you turn the water on.

Here is the dining area. It holds four adults comfortably. The canvas on the sides will zip down and make a nice window area. Under the seats are two big bins for storage. The table area is almost constantly in use while we are camping; it can drop down at night to make a double bed. The only bad thing is that you have to move any teenagers sitting there if you want to get into the storage for potato chips or supper fixings.

We keep an entire functioning kitchen packed away in the camper. Dishes, silverware, kitchen tools, cups, pots and pans, mixing bowls and storage containers. I don't need to transfer anything from the house to the trailer when we go anywhere. We also have a toaster oven and a hot water pot packed away, as well as enough towels for a Girl Scout Troop and then some.

Here is a shot of the length of the trailer, from me all the way at one end to Barbara all the way at the other. As you can see, there is a lot of room in here. The dining table is off on the left, and the sink and stove are on the left closest to the camera. The refrigerator is under the stove. You can see the air conditioner in the middle of the roof. On the right, closest to the camera, is storage and a shelving unit. Next is the door out, then a small couch with storage underneath it. Just past the couch is the shower and toilet area, which is not set up yet. It all unfolds and sets up into a small shower area with a chemical toilet which we only use in dire circumstances. (It's pouring and storming and the campground toilets are a bit distant, for example.) The shower is probably my favorite feature in this camper, as we avoid having to use campground showers which may be less than sanitary and, in some areas, we avoid having to pay to take showers in the less than sanitary facilities.

We also have a large awning that pulls out over the door side of the camper and we can also attach canvas to the awning supports to make a screen room, giving us extra room and storage. We have camped with 8 adults and teens at one time, three on each end and two on the dining table, but it is pretty tight and you have to keep all the suitcases, etc, in the cars.

So, once you are all set up, you throw a couple steaks or some chicken on the grill, fry up some potatoes on the stove, make a salad with what's in the fridge, bake a small cake for dessert in the toaster oven, wash up when done with the hot water in the sink, and head out to take in the sunset.