The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's Flowers - A Touch of Spring

It has been extremely warm here this week for the end of February. Some record temperatures have been recorded. The warm weather is driving the train in the garden right now. The trees, the roses, the mums, even Joe's lemon tree are racing towards spring.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts at a Quilt Show

On Sunday Maria and I went to the local quilt guild's show. We used to belong to this guild a number of years ago, but quit when there just wasn't enough time - or interest - to keep up. Lately, though, it had occured to me that it might be nice to start up again. At any rate, we decided to do a mother/daughter trip to look at the quilts.

There were plenty of quilts to look at. And yes, I realized as soon as we got there that I hadn't grabbed the camera. There were many beautiful and creative quilts being displayed. Some would certainly stop you in your tracks. But what I did notice was that nearly every quilt, if not already a small wall hanging quilt, was really a quilt that would probably never be used except as a work of art to be hung on a wall. The colors and patterns were extraordinary; nearly every one had been professionally quilted by the local machine quilter. The quilting designs, some in metallic threads, were extensive and highly detailed. They were gorgeous quilts. But I couldn't see them being used on the floor to cradle a sleeping child, or tossed over a napping toddler, or snuggled up with on the couch late at night. There was too much art involved to make these quilts daily use friendly.

Now, perhaps only the most dramatic quilts were entered in hopes of winning a prize. It's perfectly possible that the "everyday" quilts were left at home, considered not good enough for the show. But while I admire a beautiful work of fabric art, I want to see the real quilts, the ones that get used on the beds and couches and floors. I love old fashioned quilts made with the 30's-40's style fabrics; I want to see quilts handpieced and handquilted by a loving mother or grandmother. And I see no reason why those quilts couldn't be displayed at a quilt show just as well as the arty ones. Any quilt that I would spend time making would have to be one that would be used and used and used. Perhaps it's an outgrowth of all that knitting. I expect the knits I make to be worn and used and used up. Sure, special pieces could be saved to wear on special occasions, but they would be worn, not hung on a wall. And they would be utterly wearable.

So, perhaps I will rejoin a quilt guild at some point, but perhaps not this one. It may be that I can find a guild that is more into the substance than the show, or at least whose philosophy is more in line with my own.

Anyways, while cruising so many blogs in the last month I've found a resurgence in my sock mojo. Perhaps some of you have noticed how many sock patterns I've added to my Ravelry queue lately. I've added a bunch of sock yarns to the stash, and more are on their way. And as soon as I finish up the Glacier scarf, I'm casting on for a new pair of socks.

Two colorways of Trekking XXL. The brown on the right is actually several shades darker.

On the left, Jojoland Melody Superwash for two pairs of socks. On the right, some Mini Mochi. There is more of this on the way.

On the right, Tofutsies in a limited edition colorway. And four balls of Jojoland Harmony laceweight. 880 yards per ball, so I can make up a really big shawl.

By the way, stop over at Julie's blog and see the scarf she's knitting inspired by the Glacier scarf. I really like the colorway she's chosen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Got My Wish

Things did slow down at work last week, finally, and I did get some work done on the Glacier Scarf. It's long enough now to set comfortably in my lap while I work on it. I'm hoping the work load stays this way for a while. I would like to get more projects done; not running so hard at work means I'm not as tired when I get home, and more knitting gets done in the evening then!

Case in point; the second granddaughter sweater is finished and put aside until we fly out there next month. Details on my Ravelry page.

So the third and last of the granddaughter sweaters is on the needles. This is the Twisted Cables Pullover, once again from "Kid's Knitted Sweaters and More". (All links are to Ravelry.) It's a top down raglan that I'm knitting from Patternworks Bretton yarn. It's a very soft superwash wool/nylon/alpaca blend and I'm very happy with it so far. The cable yoke pattern was easy to memorize and it's a very pleasant knit, at least at this point.

Hopefully the little girls will enjoy wearing these as much as I've enjoyed knitting them!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Sky - Jamaica Sunset

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday's Flowers - The Jungle Edition

It's hard to give you a real feel for the jungle, but I shall try.

See if you can see me zipping through the trees.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Swing With Me Wednesday

Sometimes some really odd thoughts come unbidden to mind. I was preparing this post about our canopy tour in Jamaica, riding the harness and lines through the treetops from platform to platform, when a thought occurred to me about life as it is nowadays.

A hundred years ago our ancestors probably would have considered living to their mid-fifties as reaching a ripe old age. Family history has it's stories of relatives who didn't make it past their twenties, due to the lack of medical care that we take for granted today. Certainly my own grandparents never traveled much if at all, and when they did it was very low key. Certainly not anything highly adventurous.

I certainly couldn't see my grandparents riding ziplines or even traveling so far in their mid-fifties. Yet nowadays we take it for granted. Joe and I are both fortunate to not have any health issues that preclude us from living a full life with a multitude of adventures that our grandparents and even perhaps our parents could not have imagined. I felt just like a kid swinging through the trees.

Even if my hair is gray and the old waistline disappeared quite a while ago. Hey, Tarzan, here comes Jane!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Arizona Morning

I realize that probably most of you are sick to death of winter and snow, but the sight of snow in the desert is a major event down here in the southeast corner. Even Tucson got a light blanket of the stuff. Fortunately the roads are not in the least icy, perhaps only over bridges would it be slick driving. It's expected to melt off later this morning and return to normal weather by this afternoon.

Buddy is very definitely not amused by it.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saturday Sky - Jamaica Morning

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday's Flowers -- Jamaican Version

It was overcast and just barely drizzly when we got into Montego Bay midmorning. Despite it being in the high 60's, and about as cold as it gets in the Jamaican "winter", there were still some flowers blooming. And of course it was very green.

Uh-oh. It looks like a scary jungle cat is stalking us.

Gratuitious picture of Joe on our balcony on Deck 8. Royal Caribbean knew what they were doing when they upgraded us to a balcony stateroom a couple years ago. We've been purchasing balcony rooms ever since. It's the only way to go, especially on any cruise longer than a day or two. I love the privacy of my own balcony, and the fact that I can wander outside in my pj's first thing in the morning. Nobody ever steals my deck chair, either, when I make a trip to the bathroom. Or the buffet. Or the bar. Love those Pina Coladas.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sail With Me Wednesday

Can you imagine anything more "let's get away from January" than sailing in a Grand Cayman bay on a racing catamaran? Two weeks ago today this is where you could have found us, providing that we were amenable to being found.

The weather was absolutely perfect, and the brisk wind totally refreshing. Our sail took us out to Grand Cayman's Stingray City, where we swam with the stingrays. I wasn't too sure about doing this when Joe signed us up for this tour, but I found myself getting excited when we saw stingrays circling the catamaran. I couldn't wait to get into the water. The water temperature was rather cool, but such that you wouldn't notice it once you were in it.

The stingrays came along brushing up against us. It is incredible how large they are, and not a bit slimy or creepy. A bucket of squid was brought out so that we could feed them. I declined, but Joe had a grand time. At one point he had at least two dozen stingrays circling him, waiting for a treat. Most of the other folks on the tour didn't stay in the water very long, but I stayed in for quite a while and they practically had to drag Joe back into the boat. We were able to rinse off with fresh water and then the sails were raised for our trip back to the dock.

Guess who got drafted to sail the big catamaran back?

Not to worry, we used to sail years ago on the Detroit River and lakes.

Everyone on the tour was referring to Joe as "Captain Jack" (Sparrow). Perhaps he should have been sailing this ship instead!

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Plodding Along

It's been a busy week since coming home and getting back to work. The Glacier Scarf has gone back to work with me, but only a few rows have been accomplished on it. Work has been mighty busy; I wish it would slow down a little bit so that we could get a breather. One that doesn't involve taking vacation time. But it's good to be busy. While my job is hardly in any danger of being eliminated in the general budget crunch, it's possible that pay and/or benefits could be cut. I've been thinking a lot about spending and saving issues, lately, just like everyone else. We are in pretty decent shape, thank God, but I know that many aren't.

At home the Icarus shawl and the qiviut cowl have taken a back seat to the toddler sweater. The body is nearly finished and will only need a couple more inches. We are going out to visit the grandbabies in March and I want to have the sweaters finished. Don't know how the sizes will actually hold up, but I've checked on Ravelry and no one who has already knit these patterns has any complaints about the sizes being appropriate for the age of the child.

Just as an aside, anyone who isn't on Ravelry certainly should be, even if you don't want to post any of your own projects. The research capabilities of this site are phenomenal. Just about any information at all about yarns, patterns, etc, is almost instantaneously available.

And just so you don't think that I'm the only person in this house who works on projects, here's a picture of Joe's banana plant. This monster started out as just a little twig, but with lots of care it's gotten quite large. I'm just waiting to see if he can get it to fruit. Now that would be really cool!

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