Sunday, July 9, 2017

Baby Sweater and Hat

It's July.
It's hot.
But we've got a grandson on the way, and another baby shower, this time at our home church, where our eldest grew up.

I've been working on a matching sweater and hat. I found a likely candidate pattern here, but there were issues I didn't quite understand. I've rewritten it without the bound off tabs and illustrated how to align the pieces on one long circular needle.




You can download a link with the PDF here. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Golden Ratio Lace Baby Blanket

Back in January, Mr. H and I went down to his Mom's house to meet up with our eldest and and her husband for dinner.  It was their first free weekend in a while. Our FSIL (FavoriteSonInLaw)'s sister's wedding was New Year's Eve and, December being what it is every year, they were ready for a no stress outing. And they had been keeping a secret!

As we sat in Sr. Mrs. H's den, our eldest got up, handed me this ball of yarn, and said with a smile, "Now you can start knitting baby things."

Her sisters, as well as her newly-wed SIL, had been informed a few days earlier (which explained why my other 2 girls would not answer my calls for those few days and would only reply to texts: they were afraid they would spill the beans!)

I had already been toying with the idea of designing a lace pattern to make a scarf, but hadn't made much progress. Now I had a purpose!

The basic lace pattern came about over the next week. I think of it as 0, 1, 2 for one row, followed by 1, 2, 0. The 0 is a yarn over, 1 is knit 1, and 2 is knit 2 together. Then a blanket design began to materialize in my head.  The Golden Ratio has always intrigued me, so I started with that in mind.

I was so eager to get started that I didn't really plan well.  I cast on my stitches and started a bottom border before the final design had come together. My finished blanket is a bit different than the written pattern that is attached below. The center border is wider than it should be and the top and bottom borders aren't wide enough.


I had just gotten to the top border of the lower left square when we discovered that the baby is a boy. I thought that deserved celebrating for Mr. H's sake! I had some blue left from a project a few years back that would co-ordinate nicely with the mostly white blanket.

In the process, I discovered that I am not adept at intarsia knitting! My project was no longer portable and the 3 balls of twisting yarn  gave me a headache! Luckily, the blue box is relatively small, and I was back to a single ball pretty quickly. The instructions don't include any color changes. I didn't feel confident enough to guide someone else through that.

Now that the blanket is finished, I thought I'd spend a little time writing it out.

If you'd like the PDF, click here.

If you find any errors, or need clarification, please let me know. I'll fix or explain anything I can.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Empty Nest

This morning as I was sitting out on the deck (in my recently re-located swinging hammock chair), I heard a commotion going on behind me.  The usual early morning commotion is caused by hummingbirds and their refusal to share a feeder. (Are hummingbird-feeder manufacturers aware of this trait? And if so, why do they insist on putting 3 or 4 feeding flowers on a device that will in fact only be utilized by one hummer at at time?) This morning's commotion, however, was not hummingbirds but blue birds.

We have a nesting box in our yard that has been occupied every summer for 18 years.  It came about as the result of a blue bird nest continually being constructed in our drier vent. At the time, we lived in a mobile home on the property. The vent for the drier ran under the house and ended at the exterior wall. I was afraid the heat would fry the baby birds that would eventually abide there, not to mention being a fire hazard. I removed several nest start-ups, but those birds were determined to build there.  I finally settled on a substitution plan. El was a newborn and I noticed that formula cans were roughly the same diameter as the drier vent.  I covered the vent with mesh and attached an empty formula can directly under the opening. The blue birds liked it just as well and proceeded to build anew.  The girls were able to watch several broods of baby blue birds that summer. Early the next spring, we bought a blue bird nesting box and mounted it on a post in the yard. It's been inhabited every year since then.

Back to this morning:  The commotion was lots of agitated twittering at the box.  I spun my chair around to see what was happening. The dark blue dad was on a nearby antennae guy wire. The less-blue mom was on the front of the box. It looked like she was blocking the entrance. An even lesser-blue fledgling was on top of the box. And all of them were making blue bird noises, all at the same time.  I imagine it was the blue bird equivalent to a T-ball game: lots of encouraging yells from the parents and lots of excitement and/or whining from the kid being forced out of his comfort zone.

The young one gradually got used to his wings and fluttered up to the top of the post and then over to the guy wire. Once he flew back to the opening in the box and looked in, but he didn't try to go back inside. (I did take a picture, but the distance was too great to be able to see much. I didn't want to get any closer and risk interrupting the process.)

By the time I had to leave, he had flown over to the big oak tree. He was sitting on the end of a branch with his mom nearby.

And the commotion had ceased.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Funny Dreams

Have you ever wondered what triggers dreams?
I woke up from a dream this morning with a ridiculous phrase running through my head:

THE HULL HALL SONIC EGG OF DESTRUCTION!

It's been rolling around in my mind all day.  And it wasn't just the phrase itself: it was who said it. Those ludicrous words were spoken in the dream by my middle daughter, but not as she is today. It was this version of her:

I think the dream was a result of the game we played after supper last night. It's called Munchkins. In order to play we had to watch several youtube videos because, while entertaining, the instructions were not very helpful at first. After playing the game twice (both games won by the 21 year old version of the above redhead), the instructions did make a few things clearer. 

There are dwarves and elves and warriors and thieves. There are monsters and curses and treasure. And the names are just plain silly: Squidzilla and the Gelatinous Octahedron are 2 of the monsters. The Cheese Grater of Peace and the Potion of Idiotic Bravery are names of weapons.

I'm guessing the Hull Hall Sonic Egg of Destruction will be in a later edition. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#HarrisDCemberVaycay

Our youngest daughter graduated high school in May of this year, but never had time in her schedule for a senior trip.  We decided that Christmas vacation from college would be the perfect time to go.  After much debate (and a final word from Mr. H), Washington D.C. was named as the destination.

Mr. H and I had been there back before we had any children, but that was about 30 years ago.  Some things haven't changed at all, others have changed significantly!


The discussion happening here is not as heated as it appears.

Mr. H and the 2 youngest H girls.

The girls are almost recreating a picture taken by my brother about 30 years ago.

I think this is one of the coolest monuments I've ever seen.  We approached it from the street, which is the back side.  You can't see the face of the center section until you walk between the 2 rear pieces and past the cut out piece. 
OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN OF DESPAIR
A STONE OF HOPE

She's posing with that other Eleanor.

This is where we got lunch that first day.  The street was lined with food trucks serving just about every kind of food imaginable.

We had some time to spare before we had to be somewhere that evening.  A Starbucks with some outside tables was the perfect spot to sit and watch.  D.C. is just about as different from home as can be imagined! All those lights and all those people!

We had tickets for the Kennedy Center to see "Matilda the Musical" that night.  Before it started we went to a free concert called "Merry TubaChristmas" on the Millennium Stage of the Concert Hall. 

I have never seen this many tubas and euphoniums (or should that be euphonia?) all in one place. The stage as well as the box and 1st and 2nd tier levels on both sides were full of musicians of all ages and skill levels.  They played carols arranged specifically for this instrumentation. It was great fun.

(Photos were NOT allowed in the Opera House where we saw Matilda the Musical!)

The following day, which was wet and much colder, we spent indoors as much as possible.  We took a tour of the Capital, which is currently being renovated.

Here's Mr. H standing by the statue from his state of birth. There are 2 statues from each state in various places throughout the Capital.

You can see the plastic surrounding the Apotheosis of Washington at the eye of the Rotunda. Floor level of the Rotunda was filled with scaffolding, so it was difficult to see it.

The next 2 pictures are of the Library of Congress. I believe this has got to be one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been inside.



The following day had much better weather, but it was just as cold. We went out to Mount Vernon for a tour of George Washington's home. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" has had an impact on the venue.  We took the National Treasure tour, which allowed us to go into the basement. The tour also took us down to the riverfront to see the door to the Icehouse tunnel. Walking a bit farther, we could see the front of the house itself way up on the hill


We did miles of walking while we were in the city. 
We did WAY more driving to get to and from D.C.

I'm just glad that my everyday commute doesn't look like this:


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My First Sweater

I've been knitting for a few years now.
I started with scarves and blankets, moved on to hats













and finally got up the courage to try socks.




I figure now it's time to try my hand at a sweater.

I found a free Ravelry pattern called Purple Sweater by Jennifer Stark. She calls for a bulkier yarn than I wanted to use, so I'm making some adjustments.

I'm using a worsted weight yarn so it will take more stitches per inch.  I'm thinking if I knit a larger size with the smaller yarn, I'm going to be close. So I am knitting using the XL pattern numbers and I'll see how close it comes to the medium that I wear.

I started it while we were on our vacation. (Driving to Washington, D.C. gives the passengers PLENTY of time to keep their hands occupied!) I've completed about 40 rows so far.


We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Running in the Dark

I run.
Not very fast, but I'm consistent.

I try to do at least 3 miles, 3 times a week.  Those 3 miles consume about 45 minutes from the time I go out the door until the time I get back inside. The best time for me to fit those 45 minutes into my day is in the morning.  And since I need to leave home at 7:30 to be at work by 8, this time of year those 45 minutes are when it's still dark outside. 

This morning, in addition to the dark, there was incredibly thick fog. Not patches of fog, but a huge wet blanket that stretched for miles and miles.

I'm accustomed to running in the dark.  I have a headlamp for seeing ahead and a flashing red light for being seen from behind.  I wear a reflective vest that seems to light up when hit by headlights. But this morning's fog was a challenge.  The pool of light in front of me was only about 5 feet out. If I lifted my head to aim the light straight ahead, all I got was lots of white reflection off the fog and none of the road at all.

About 3/4 of a mile from my house is a street light.  Now, technically, it's not a "street" light.  We call them booger lights.  Booger lights are what rural folks have to light up their property since there are no street lights to light up county roads. I could see this light up ahead in the distance, but it didn't really light up anything other than the fog. After I passed that light, I was truly running in the dark.

I know that shortly after the 1.5 mile point of my usual run there is a white fence marking a pasture to my left. When I spotted that fence, I knew exactly where I was. Until then, I had been unsure for about half a mile.  I ran with that fence in my peripheral vision until I came to the end of it.  I thought about running a bit farther, but the idea of running in total darkness made me feel dizzy, so I turned around at the end of the fence. 

That fence is a boundary in my life.  Its main purpose is to keep the cows that live in the pasture from getting out.  Perhaps it may be to keep four-wheelers from getting in.  But for me, that fence tells me where I am. I had been unsure of my place until I saw the boundary. 

On weekends I run in the daylight. I've noticed that my pace is usually quicker when there's light, but I'm not as relaxed as when I run in the dark.  I think maybe it's because in the daylight, I can see how far I still have to go. When I'm running in the dark, I can just see the next few steps. Those are the only steps I have to worry about.  When I can see a mile or so down the road, I can see how steep the hill is that I have to climb.

There are people that want God to show them the whole big picture of what lies ahead of them. They want to see far down the road.  I'm thinking that God sometimes just reveals the next few steps because if we could see the whole journey, we might never take the first step. And the boundaries He sets for us might not be to keep us in or out, but just to let us know where we are.