Friday, February 25, 2011

Something New

I decided to order some double-pointed knitting needles last weekend.  They arrived on Tuesday and I got busy.

Double pointed needles are used to knit tubes, like socks, when you don't want a seam.

I always try new stuff with leftover yarn, so I found what was left of what I used for a Christmas stocking last year.

This picture is about 4 or 5 rows into it.  I had just about gotten the hang of managing all those needles.

I decided that this would make a good cover for the handle of my Calphalon tea kettle.  It gets a bit too hot to hold on to.

Here's a closer look at the cover.

Now, to work up the courage to start on those socks. . .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Unexpected Moment of Peace

Have you ever had an unexpected moment of perfect contentment? 

A moment, however fleeting, when all was right with your world...

I experienced that today in a most unexpected place:  a skating rink!

I was there with about 60 kids, aged 12 to 18, 2 preschoolers, and a dozen or so adults.  I wasn't skating, but just sitting, watching the kids go by. 

There went El,surrounded by her 3 buddies, flashing me a big smile.

Then came Em, being pushed by a friend.

And then the eldest, sailing by with her young gentleman.

It was as if the Lord spoke to me:  'You are so incredibly blessed . All your children are here, with their church family, and there is no where else that they'd rather be.'

The feeling was so powerful that I almost cried.

It was such an unlikely place for the Lord to whisper in my ear. 
And considering the volume level of the music in that place, I'm amazed that I could hear Him

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mom - Sandra Coy

Today would have been my mom's 73rd birthday.  She shares the date with Abraham Lincoln.  I remember her being teased by my dad that she and Abe were the same age.  Considering that she never looked as old as she actually was, she always took the joke with a smile.

My mom was a funny combination of traits.  Her job for several decades was maintaining the file room for Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company.  This was back when everything was on paper, which was placed in a manila folder, and then filed according to some numerical scheme in a forest of metal shelves.  And my mother was in charge of being able to retrieve any given document. 

What I find amazing is that my mother, who could never keep up with her coffee cup, car keys or glasses, could locate anything you wanted in that file room.  Even now, if I take my cup of coffee with me and leave it somewhere in the house, whoever finds it will bring it to me and call me "Sandra."

Mom was a dancer when she was a child.

Here she is as Uncle Sam, probably between 1949 and 1951, when she was around 12 years old.  This is one of my favorites of her.

In addition to dancing, Mom could also play the ukulele.  I think I only ever heard her play 2 songs, though:  The Bed Bugs and Mosquitoes Song, and Five Foot Two.  I've learned the Bed Bug Song.  I guess now I need to learn Five Foot Two. 

Oh!  And she had another unique talent.  She is one of the few people that I know who could actually do what a paddle ball was intended for.  With the string at its full length, Mom could keep that ball bouncing for as long as you cared to stand there watching.  How many people can do that?

These are some of my other favorite pictures of her.  They seem to capture the Real her!

Happy Birthday, Mom...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Knitted Neck Warmer

I learned to knit not too long ago.  I really love it.
But I wanted to learn to do more than just the basic stockinette or garter stitch fabric.
I've done scarves for the girls but they seem to take a long time.  And face it, what do you need with all that hanging-down part, anyway?

I discovered the answer:  a neck warmer!  Mr. H calls it a turtleneck without the sweater.
Not too long after that, I received an e-mail from Lion Brand Yarns with a link to a sampler afghan.  It gave instructions for several different stitch patterns.  Now I had all the ammunition I needed!

I used a basket weave stitch to make this neck warmer.
The buttons in the top picture are too small and keep coming unfastened, so I looked in the can of buttons that used to belong to my Grandmother Nell and came up with 2 possibilities:

 (I'm leaning towards the white.)

Here are the details if you want to try it:

(Note:  If you've never made a button hole before DON'T PANIC!  Click on the link in the instructions below and practice on some leftover yarn before you start this project.  If you still don't get it, skip the holes and simply attach some loops to the bound off edge.)

Basket Weave Neck Warmer

1 skein Caron Spa (A silky Soft Bamboo Blend)  it's a light weight acrylic/bamboo blend
note added 2/9/11:  (oops, when I originally posted this, I forgot to mention that I used a double strand of this yarn:  that's 2 strands held and knitted together as if it were all one strand.  You can pull one end from the center of  the ball and the other from the outside.  That way you don't have to buy 2.)
#8 (5mm) knitting needles

(If you are using a bulkier yarn, you may want to reduce the # of stitches cast on.  Just remember basket weave requires multiples of 6.  Basket weave is also a reversible fabric.  Either side can be the right side)

cast on 24 stitches
Rows 1-4: *K3, p3; repeat from * to end of row.
Rows 5-8: *P3, k3; repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1-8 for Basket Weave pattern.
Keep working in pattern until work is long enough to fit around your neck comfortably.
Mine is 16 1/4 inches long, but it fits pretty snugly.  You may want to make yours a bit longer, maybe 17 inches or more if you need to.

When it will fit around your neck, now it's time to decide how big your button holes will be.  The button holes will stretch a bit so the button needs to be slightly bigger, not the same size as the hole.
Click here to see the site I used to learn how to make button holes.

For mine, I knitted (or purled) in pattern for the first 3 stitches, then made a 3-stitch button hole.  Then I continued the pattern until I was 6 stitches from the edge and made another 3-stitch button hole and finished the end of the row in pattern.  Work 3 more rows of your basket weave pattern and then bind off.

Find some buttons that fit snugly through your button holes and sew them on.  I used the same thread/yarn to attach the buttons that I used to knit it.