Christmas Memories

Yep - that's me right side of picture.

I'm the middle daugther, but we won't go there in this post.

I have so many memories of my sisters.  We are normal ...  we remind each other of shared events.  The two younger were in our oldest sister's wedding 45 years ago, and both of them were in mine, 43 years ago.  I'm telling you we were close.

We had girlfriends who were sisters (4 of them) and all but one was deaf.  We all 3 learned sign language and the 7 of us ran together middle school and early high school, and drove people crazy with our antics.

We dated and argued over some of the same guys.  I had gym class in Junior High with my younger sister's husband - we had to do ballroom dancing in gym with each other, clueless he'd be my brother-in-law one day.  So many memories fresh on my mind this holiday.  My older sister met her husband on her first job out of High School, she was hired to be his secretary, but soon was dating him, and 6 months later planning a wedding.  He died a few days after their 43rd wedding anniversary.  That was 2 years ago.

Now my younger sister and I are headed to a wedding.  She has fallen in love with a wonderful widower who has proposed.  My husband will preach the ceremony and we'll pray for a wonderful life together.  Both bride and groom have walked in grief for more than the 2 years, as they both lost spouses to cancer, long sad illnesses. They talk about their future, knowing they each have a loved one from their recent past in mind at all times.  It's wonderful to know they laugh together, share fond memories, cry together and share scriptures for strength.

I'm gaining a brother-in-law, a married nephew with 3 children, and a married niece.  In a few short days our family grows by 8 people and I cannot wait to meet them. 

She is in the middle in this picture, she is in 2nd grade walking me, 1st grade and our baby sister, Kindergarten, to school, the first day, September '54.  Now we will symbolically stand on either side of her as she walks this new road, a widow, marrying a widower ... but never forgetting the 43 years with her hubby, or their children and grandchildren.


Knit/Crochet A SUPER BOWL 2012 Scarf

Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Colts are sponsoring the 2012 Super Bowl.

Knitters (and Crocheters) are asked to make scarves for the 8,000 volunteers.  I'm making some!!

They do have specifics, like size and the choice of yarn,  check it out.

SUPER BOWL Volunteer Scarves


My Design - Iguana Fingerless Gloves

I just finished the neatest pattern.  My design of course.

The pattern uses sock yarn, and I knit lengthwise rather than in the round.  I knit and purl a ribbing for the length, then decreased just enough to gather the ribbing, and knit the pattern until it was 7" wide.  A thumb hole is formed 1/3 down the side seam using a cast off and cast on on consecutive rows (like a large button hole).

The gathered ribbing stands straight out to the side and gives the fingerless gloves a ruffle along the outside of the wrist and hand, or switch hands and they can be worn with the ruffle on top up the center of the hand.

My Prayer Reminders

Prayer Reminders.  I like pausing and speaking a prayer for certain people, and I have so many prayer reminders throughout daily chores.

I guess this makes me objective. It is objects that cause me to pause to pray.

For instance, every time I load my dishwasher I'm reminded of something funny my Mother always says, "Don't let the spoons nest."  If they go into the dishwasher and stack together they won't get washed.  So loading the dishwasher always brings her to mind, a time to pray.  She's 84, being treated for Multiple Myeloma and Macular Degeneration, so she can certainly use the prayers.

When I'm ironing the hubby's shirts I'm reminded of a friend who had a deep hate for starched creases in clothing; comes from her days as a military child.  Each time I make a heavy starched crease I whisper a prayer for her.

The water in our town isn't the tastiest, so I filter it at the faucet and again in a pitcher that has replaceable filters.  A friend, raising 5 kids, also filters her water in the same way, but she never had room in the refrigerator for the pitcher, so she added ice cubes to the pitcher and kept it on the counter for easy access.  I fill my pitcher several times a day which causes me to think of her a lot, so she gets lots of prayers.

Riding down the highway this time of year the Sunflowers are stretching their faces to the sun as we pass.  I want so bad to be on the side of the sun, but it seems we're always going East to West, I love it when they turn their faces toward us.  It reminds me of God turning His face towards me when I have a need for strength or wisdom.  My brother-in-law really likes Sunflowers, too., so he gets my prayers when we see a field of them.

My sister really struggles with a low self esteem.  She is very creative.  So, anytime I come up with a unique design when I'm knitting or weaving, I think of her and whisper a prayer that she will gain confidence and others will help her realize how talented she is.  I'm so proud of her.

(Remember - I taught her how to knit - now she's way passed me up in skill.)


A Brief Visit With My Sister

I could probably count on both hands the number of times I've gotten together with my older sister since she left home to marry Norman nearly 45 years ago.  Last weeks brief encounter, we were both traveling in the same area of the country, and found we were 90 miles from each other.  Made arrangements for a brief layover on her part.

I'd have to say that she is always a part of my day, though.  My sisters and I were never estranged, only separated by marriage and child raising.  Anytime we are together there are so many memories there isn't enough time.  And if one has issues, the other is the best listener in the world.  I think that is why I so treasure my "sisters" in life that God has sent me throughout the years.  I have them in several places.  They aren't my big sister, but they, combined, each step in to fill the gap and bring peace where she cannot.

A few years ago, my older sister and I found out we were real close again on one of our trips and her weekend get-away with Norman.  She was bringing our parents to Branson, and we were there for ministry.  We met for a day, and the ladies shopped, the hubbies sat on benches and talked.  We were in a kitchen supply store and I was trying to decide on a set of silverware for our camper.  The men all walked in, and I was ready to pack it in, because it meant they were either done, hungry or lonely for us, so I turned to my hubby and said I was checking out this silverware here - look it has a rack to hang all the pieces, accessible in the trailer.  He said it was sharp looking.  and Norman said, "Hey, if it's something you like, it's unique, and it's something you will use - don't pass it up, who knows if you'll find it again when you walk away from here."

I bought it.  We use it everyday we're in the camper, and I think of my sweet Norman everyday.  He passed January '09, but it is a reminder of him and his sweet nature, and my amazing sister who is hurting, lonely, but growing, healing and changing before my eyes.


Feeling a little better about the Master Knitting.

I quit knitting.

Well, I quit knitting my "SWATCH Lessons" for the Master Knitting program, and took some time off and designed the neatest Wrist Warmers, with a thumb hole and cable.

I've written the pattern. 

Problem is, I used the Cascade 220 Wool that I bought for my lessons.  No big deal, just have to find a yarn store that sells it and pick up more in pastel colors.  I've actually finished lessons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 14 ... but I'm planning on buying new yarn and doing them all again.  Now that I've made a piece using all the stitches in the lessons, I'm ready to KNIT FOR CLASS!!

Not quite as discouraged now.


The Knitters Guild Master Knitting Program - Progress Report #2

I'm totally frustrated.

I did figure out that somewhere along the way my Purl stitch was weirdly backwards.  Once I started to doing it correctly, the swatches for my lessons started looking more normal.

I have a couple of bad habits I've developed over the years, and the habits have gotten worse now that I end up felting so many of my items, perfectly even stitches aren't that crucial.  Felting covers up a multitude of errors.

I've done the first swatch with cotton, acrylic, and wool.  The wool makes more even stitches.  I started with a size 8 straight needles, but now I'm using 9's and Cascade 220 wool.  The first swatch is complete, it has garter stitch for 4 inches, and is about as even as I can get it.  I believe I did this swatch at least 7 times before I was happy with it.  Swatch 2 was only re-done 4 times.  Swatch 3 twice.  And Swatch 14 which uses the same needle and yarn as 1, 2 and 3 I've had to re-do 3 times.  Today I knit it in one setting.  I'm still doing something wrong, but I think my instructors will be able to tell me what I'm doing wrong.

This isn't a picture of my swatches, it's a picture of my Felted Fedora before I felted it.
There are decreases to start shaping the top of the hat.

So, I'm 1/4 of the way there on my swatches and ready to start writing answers to the many questions topics about what I've learned and what research I've done, documentation ... fun stuff.  I'm really enjoying this, I know it will improve my work.


Keeping Track of Your Pattern - Weaving

Weaving for Cutting Apart
Placemats, napkins, and towels are some of the many handwoven fabrics woven as a single length on the loom but meant to be cut into sections later. If you know where you'll want to cut, here’s a good way to prepare the place.
After the first piece, weave two rows of contrasting yarn—two rows because the valley between them forms an indentation that’s easy to follow with a scissors. Plain weave provides a clear path for cutting, although any two treadles that lift opposite shafts work well.
When you are ready to separate the pieces, stitch on top of the first yarn of each section, next to the contrasting yarn. Stitch up one side, turn the fabric, and stitch down the other side of the contrasting pair. Stitching before cutting prevents the last rows of each section from loosening.
Use a zigzag or straight stitch. If you choose a zigzag, set its width so that it encloses only one yarn and sew with that yarn centered in the presser foot opening. If you choose a straight stitch, set the length slightly shorter than the number of ends per inch so that the needle pierces every warp end as well as the weft that the stitching follows.
For a firmer edge, stitch again next to—but not on top of—the previous stitching.
When you cut between the two contrasting yarns, these rows ravel out, but bits of them may stick if the yarn is caught by the sewing machine needle. If you’ve sewed evenly, they ravel out easily leaving a clean edge with a very tiny fringe that helps taper the cut edge.
back to top

Found this web page

Making a Weaving Guide
Use a weaving guide for each of your projects to make weaving more enjoyable.
A weaving guide is a strip of cash register paper marked with the weaving measurements and pinned to one edge of the fabric on the loom. You can buy rolls of cash register tape at office supply stores.
To make a weaving guide, calculate the finished length of the piece, including hems. Then add shrinkage to determine the woven length on the loom. For instance, a towel with a finished length of 28" plus a 1" hem at each end equals 30". Add 10% for shrinkage and the woven length on the loom is 33".
Cut a length of cash register paper longer than the project length, about 40" long for this example. At the beginning end, write the name of the project and the date. Then draw a starting line. Measure 33" and draw an ending line.
Attach the weaving strip to one side of your weaving with two long pins, about 4" apart. Leapfrog the pins as you weave, taking out the first pin and re-pinning it close to the fell of the cloth while the other pin keeps the strip attached to the weaving. Both ends of the strip are unattached—if the strip is very long, wind up one end and fasten it with a paper clip. When you’re finished with the weaving, roll the strip with the project name and date on the outside, fasten with a paper clip, and keep it for reference for future projects.
Example of a weaving guide
There are many advantages to using a weaving guide. Let’s say that you want the two ends of the towel to match. Fold the strip in half, matching the starting and ending line to find the middle of the towel. As you weave, mark the strip with repeats and color changes. During weaving, when you reach the middle of the towel, remove the guide and transfer the marks to the other half of the strip. Reattach the strip and weave to the end of the guide. With very little effort, you’ve woven a towel with matching ends!
Using a weaving guide for every project allows you to weave faster and with more confidence. It helps ensure that your project turns out the right length and keeps track of your pattern when you mark treadling and color repeats. Once you try a weaving guide, you’ll wonder how you ever wove without it.   


Spending the day preparing a Bible Study for a Womans group, and listing my handmade items on Etsy.

Multi-tasking today.

I'm preparing a message for a woman's Bible study group and getting several items posted on my Etsy shop.

I'm really mixing it up, but not really, I think some people who observe Christians are of the opinion that if you're a believer you have to have your face in the Bible at all times, meaning you ain't spiritual enough if you ain't studying.  Well, 32 years of serving God, telling others about my faith, I think I've realized one and only one thing.  God wants our devotion to Him to be revealed when we are away from our personal Bible study time.

Yes, he wants us to pray, and worship Him and declare the amazing gift He gave us through His son's death on the cross. 

Things coming out of our mouths in the form of words mean nothing, if the actions we display when we turn and say cross words to the person(s) observing our life, or we short-change someone for our benefit, or act unfairly in any manner unbecoming a believer.  So the true answer to being holy isn't what we say, but whether we do what we say.

No, this isn't my lesson for the Woman's Bible Study, this is my conviction for me today.

If you had observed me yesterday, freaking out because (with my sister following in the car behind me) driving to the bank, the exit and entrance signs were not clear.  When ONE sign says Exit Only and also says Entrance Only would you be concerned about going into a one lane entrance knowing this is the only way out for people already in there?  So, I sought out another entrance, which placed me into a parking that forced me to park and exit my car, to go into the bank, cash a check, instead of driving through the ATM lane, using a card to get cash.  I was more than agitated, because I was thinking the ATM must be inside, once I was in there I was the only customer in a huge lobby with tellers on the back wall, no ATM in site.

I tried to explain the confusing signs to the teller, but she just wanted to see some I.D.

I think I was probably not a good "do as I say person," because, instead of going back to my car, I went straight to my sisters car and told her how the teller had treated me, when I tried to explain how confusing her parking lot is.  I simply forget sometimes that I have a choice on the battles I choose, and the way I square up to people to make a complaint.  My sister laughed and laughed at my behavior, because it was unexpected and she hadn't seen me in this form, and it was unbecoming and out of character behavior for me. 

Sometimes I really kick against the behavior I know I'm supposed to display and just put it right out there, that I have issues with this imperfect world I'm stuck in.

OK with that out of my system, I'm listing some items on Etsy today, and I have some better pictures of my scarves that I've been weaving.  Here is a taste of this fall's projects.  I think I've landed on a yarn I love and a style that really pleases me.  Enjoy.

For this scarf I used left over yarn from Aven's Hoodie below:

Below is a scarf made from sock yarn, also, the Gray tweed fringe is the warp, and the different shades of burgundy and eggplant are subtle self-striping sections from sock yarn.

I also used my loom to weave this soft angora scarf, it is narrow and I've used the same yarn on the warp (vertical stripes) as the weft (horizontal.)

Just a few samples.  Gotta go, listing on Etsy is pretty simple now ...


Sock Yarn

I know that people still hand knit socks.

In fact in reading the sock knitting patterns I can tell that the foot of a sock pattern is just like some of the slippers I've knit then felted.

But socks are so inexpensive I can't understand the time factor for knitting a pair of socks, and getting two of them knit just alike sounds like too much stress to me.

BUT, I have learned to greatly appreciate sock yarn.  It is awesome on my floor loom.  It is the perfect yarn for a draping scarf or wrap.  If made of 50% wool it is the softest, and now several commercial luxury yarn distributors have incredible colors and patterns.

I used the left over yarn from my granddaughter's sweater to weave a scarf, using Caron Simply Soft as the warp threads (pretty much hidden, but left long at both ends for fringe) the sock yarn as the more dominate colors.


I need a yarn swap = need to trade out some of my stash

I don't know about others, but after I've used a yarn for a few minutes, I can tell if I'm going to work with it or not.  By then it's too late to take it back to the store, because the first thing I do is wind it into a ball.

I found this link today when searching for Yarn Swap.


I want one this fall!!


Update on TKGA Masters Level I - tearing out my knitted swatches ...


I'm not perfect, here is my new mantra, "I am not perfect."

If so, then why.

Why can't I accept my non-perfect self and just knit a 4 x 4 inch square and be done with it, put it in a top-loading page protector, put it in the notebook, type the answers to the question with references and stick the lesson in the mail????  Why does it have to be perfect to move on to lesson two of Level I.

I knit it, I see stitches that aren't perfect, I tear it out, I knit it, ... you know the rest.

I've knit sweaters, purses, scarves, hats, blankets, gifts, household items, etc.  Why can't I knit a 4 " square?

Now, I did discover one of my HUGE errors while knitting, but fixing it is totally impossible.

I cast on a row of stitches, like I always have done - years and years, I knit a ribbing row, for the first few rows - a little more methodically than I've done for the same length of time, then it happens, I look at my second stitch - just the second stitch, no the 1st - not the 3rd - and randomly sometimes the 8th or 12th or 16th but mostly the 2nd stitch.  What the hey!!  What am I doing wrong.

That vertical row on the right side is just WRONG!!  I think I figured it out - going to experiment.

OK this knitting a swatch for a test thing is causing me to do research and read and web browsing and nailing down back issues of magazine articles and dusting off old knitting books and a quick trip to the library.  If this ends up interrupting my free-spirit knitting self, I may call the money I spent a business investment loss and quit before I begin.  Herein lies the problem ... I want it to be perfect and will settle for nothing less, because of this, I press on.  I stopped for awhile to begin dressing my loom, maybe some weaving on my loom will help me go back to knitting a 4" square without the big stitches on the second stitch - every single row!!

I'm a knitter - not a photographer!



What a relaxing anniversary. Stopping to smell the roses.

We drove about 450 miles to go to a friend's 60th birthday party, then headed south into the AR, MO foothills down to a creek bed, where the hubby loves to fly fish for trout.  My Mom calls it stopping to smell the roses.  Anytime our lives got really hectic and I'd share with her the details of our woes, she'd ask when was the last time we stopped to smell them.  I'd laugh her off, like she was from another planet and wonder when we'd ever have that kind of time.

Now, I understand.  Wish I had known how vivid the wildflowers can be early in the morning, but I was always rushing the same hour that the world was - pushing each other in our muffler exhaust and pulling each other with our vehicle's draft - hoping no one is distracted causing the phantom stops and false starts - passing the same 2 or 3 vehicles after they just passed me in the other lane, never looking, only smelling the morning's accumulation of pollution.  32 years of working, rushing, eking out a paycheck, oozing predictable responses and stifling creativity.

So - I took my knitting to the mountains.  I took my Masters Hand-Knitting  course.  I knit, I tore it out, I knit it again, I walked to check on my fly-fishing hubby, I sat on the balcony, stared at wildflowers, listened to birds, watched baby grasshoppers, and was stared down by a house cat. 

He caught trout.  We brought them home, I stuffed them with a crab stuffing, baked them and we ate like kings.  Happy Anniversary to us. (43 years)


OK So I started the TKGA Masters Hand Knitting Level 1

It is a pretty involved course.  You don't just knit a 4" square and send it in for evaluation.

First off, finding needles that I'm comfortable with and that meet the gauge "tension" that they're looking for has been tricky.  Didn't know there were so many varieties.  My current blog picture is one of my older needles that I used to learn knitting.  Some of them are over 50 years old.  Some were used for baby items for my babies.  A few were gifts when I started knitting, some are the modern plastic kind that I HATE!!

There are two other containers of needles, circular, and shorter, lots of wooden needles, which I LOVE!

The first lesson is a swatch that starts with ribbing, increases and goes into garter stitch.  Now the ribbing I've done hundreds of times, but never paid this much attention to detail.  I mean to the point that I'm on my third try, 2nd size needles and I may be over reacting to the instructions.  I hope to relax and just knit the test swatch and get on with it - what are my chances?

I'll probably be referring to my journey to the Masters a lot here, why not, it's been 3 days and it's already a huge challenge.  I got the material, looked at my "craft" room and supplies, and freaked.  How can I take a Knitting Masters Level 1 course in this mess.  Thus 3 days of cleaning and reorganize before I could get cozy in my chair to knit.  Then I re-read the instructions and realized I have questions to answer - in writing, and research to do as I go.  It isn't just knitting - (really I knew that beforehand I was just in denial!)

So why do I add this level of stress to my life at this moment in time?  I really have to keep challenging myself to learn new things and improve what I know or, I could admit myself into a rest home and forget it ...

gotta go

gotta knit (and write and study)


My Fiber Nook & Cranny

OK so there was a lot of wheelin' and dealin' going on to get this space eeked out for my fiber use.  I wanted a place that I could weave and look out a window, look at a shelf with all my yarns in baskets and look at a display of finished items.  My view as I weave was important.  I also needed enough room for my Navajo Weaving Loom to be displayed, even if I never use it again, I wanted to keep it and have it handy.

Navajo Loom back right.  Harrisville Treadle Loom foreground

Behind the loom is a two shelf unit with baskets of yarn here's a better close-up pic -

On top of this shelf unit are some gifts I've received through the years.  The stand-up wooden box with a handle my dad made in his wood shop many moons ago, I've stored some of my pattern books in this piece.  My shuttle, spools and a couple of combs for weaving are standing in the other side of the unit.  The drop spindle on the left and the small piece of wool roving is from Guatemala from my d-i-l when she adopted our granddaughter.  The leather zip closed case is my mother-in-law's crochet needles I acquired when she died nearly 3 years ago.  And a sweet needle case from my d-i-l at Christmas last year.  The basket on the floor was a gift from my mother-in-law many years ago.  It was full of twine and cord from when I used to do a lot of macrame'.

I knew that I would have to share this space with something that already existed in our living area, but wasn't too concerned with what area it was, necessarily.  Well, the office ended up moving into the closet.  Really it has it's own little nook, a drop leave table with a folding desk chair, a little stand for the printer that sits to the back of the table, a two drawer matching file cabinet in my Fiber Nook, but it matches the light oak of my loom and allows me some eye level display footprint for my needles, and some small books with bookends.

The office space has reduced in priority over the years.  The laptop is in the living room more than the office anyway, and the printer is only used occasionally.  So the closet is perfect, with both doors shut, you'd never know it was an office in there.

In the Fiber Nook, the only remaining reminder of an office is the mile high bookshelf.

But the compromise here is one side is books, and the other is my display area for finished items, works in progress, specialty yarns, and a few knitting and weaving books.


I officially have a room to set up my loom and display/store my yarn.

I'm emptying a closet, slipping a small office area into it, and using our office for a knitting/weaving studio.  I'm going to redo the window covers, pull everything out and paint, and maybe even get new flooring - I'd love wood floors with an area rug under the loom.

I'm looking for large baskets and hoping my woodworker will make me a cabinet for the storage baskets for the yarn and magazines, patterns, needles etc.

He built a great storage box for my Loom supplies this winter.

So, here's a picture of my loom.  And above is one of the scarves I made this winter - it's my favorite so far.  I designed the pattern, drew it out on graph paper and set up the loom for the design.


Knitting Guild Member - I'm going to take advantage of some classes.

I've longed to be able to do complicated knitting projects like cardigans that people would wear, and to design my own pieces.

Today, I'm biting the bullet, so to speak, and ordering the Master Knitting Program through the Knitting Guild.  They'll be sending me all the instructions via email.  And I'll get started perfecting the art.  I'm pretty excited about this new venture!!

Hope people are excited about future gifts - very professional looking ones at that!


Great Article on Why Wool Yarn Felts

I saw this article in my Knitting Guild Newsletter and copied it here - so interesting.

The link above also takes you direct to the article.

Felt Making with Knits Ideas from Crystal Palace Yarns - Straw Into Gold

Why Does Wool Felt?

Recently I was reading various online sites about felting and about making felted purses and I was amazed to see a felted bay designer explaining that wool felts because it has a spiral structure and the coils get tangled and that makes felt.
This is an incorrect explanation of why wool felts, so I decided I should write a little about it.
As someone who has taught spinning and fiber classes since 1970 I have always explained felting this way:
Wool fibers have tiny microscopic scales along their surface. Some types of wool have larger scales than others. The types of wools that are coarser and smoother and have the highest sheen to them (such as Lincoln, Leicester, Wensleydale) have larger scales and reflect more light off their surface leading to the sheen. Finer wools (of which Merino is the main example) have much, much smaller scales and do not reflect light and have a more "matt" look to the surface of the yarn or finished knitting.
When wool fibers are shocked by temperature and rubbing the little scales lift up and as the fibers rub against each other they lock down on nearby fibers and form a tighter and tighter mass and form felt. Felt can be made from "just the fibers" unspun, or as many knitters are discovering, from knit pieces that are felted after knitting.
Many unhappy owners of fine wool sweaters have discovered felting by accident when a (usually well-meaning) mate or child dumps a wool sweater into the washing machine and out comes a much smaller, thicker sweater.
Superwash wool is a wool that has been treated by one of several processes or surface treatments that smoothes or "glues down" the little scales on the wool so that they do not lift up and lock down on neighboring fibers. Some treatments are more stern and really lock the fibers (with often a textile "glue" made from a nylon type solution that will dye similarly to the wool) and these treated wools can go through both a washer and a dryer. Most Machine Wash yarn labels, however, mean you can do a gentle wash cycle, but dry flat and NOT put in the dryer.
Remember, however, that machine washing will eventually soften the surface and lift fibers - even if the garment doesn't actually felt - and your handknits will look their best the longest if you do as much handwashing as possible, even on Machine Wash labeled yarns. I also recommend using a Lingerie Wash bag for washing machine washables (and many also use them for felting for a less fuzzy surface.)  See information here.
Here are some links to see the wool fiber under a microscope (I used to have a small microscope I took to classes I taught to show students wool, cotton, alpaca, etc. under magnification - great fun!)
This page shows microscopic views of various wools & a lot of information on wool:
Why wool shrinks - this article refers to the scales as "shingles" on the wool
Electron Microscopy of Wool - see page 6 of this PDF for a CLOSE View!
Comparing Alpaca fibers and structure to wool
I've been experimenting with making felt using the printed colors of our Labrador (thick-thin spun yarn) and Iceland (smooth spun soft wool) and the interesting patterning and texture of the surface of printed colors adds an additional fun aspect to felting.
With both Labrador and Iceland being bulky you can knit up the piece for felting quickly on size 15 needles.
Here some before and after felting swatches using Labrador (with measurements):

Above knit on 15s in garter
using Labrador wool
stitch using color Picnic #7263
with a little stripe of solid
 color #1219 fuchsia Iceland
6" x 5.5"

Above after felting*
4.5" x 4.5"

 Above knit on 15s in rev Stst
areas on 15s with Iceland in color "shadows" #7268
100% soft wool
5" x 5.5"
Above after felting*
4.5" x 4"
* For felting these - I put the pieces in the washing machine with a small load of bath towels and did a 5 minute wash cycle. Since they were not felted as much as I wanted, I put them in the dryer with the towels and took them out when the towels were about half dry (10-15 min.)
Susan Druding
SEE also photos of Iceland felted with Blippity yarn here.
Retail shops in the USA should contact CPY Wholesale for information on purchasing Crystal Palace Yarns.
email: cpyinfo -at- straw.com (change the -at- to @)

or write to:
Crystal Palace Yarns, 160 23rd Ave, Richmond, CA 94804
phone: 510-237-9988,  fax: 510-237-9809


Noni patterns, Savage Maryland

I was searching for a touristy place to meet our friends, half-way between Washington DC and Falling Waters, WV, when I came upon a Weaving Mill that was restored to a specialty shopping center with restaurants, unique shops and best of all a Noni shop with yarns, patterns and knit felt items from the patterns.

We made the arrangements to meet, but found the shops to be closed ... even though the web page had the advertised as open.  But there were windows in the Noni shop and I saw first hand many of the items that I've only seen in photos in yarn shops.  I so wanted to look inside each knit felted bag, and examine the huge felted flowers, and embellishments, but that wasn't possible this trip.

The 45 minute trip back to DC took over 2 hours, but we were in a borrowed vehicle - rather than on the bikes, so the scorching heat wasn't the issue it would've been on motorcycles.  Here are a few links to Noni bags, and the link to Savage Mill

Noni Bags and Patterns


I'm Knitting the Lucy Bag - when I take breaks from ...

The "Lucy Bag" by "Two Old Bags" is a pattern that Jenn bought me in Kansas, she bought the yarn for it too - so-o-o-o I'm knitting one up.  It will end up being a ball (balloon) shape sort of, with two straps, a long one on one side long enough to drop the bag to the waist and rest your hand on the top of the bag naturally, and a short strap to pull the long one through as a closure!

This is the bag - the link to their web page is  HERE (twooldbagspatterns.com)

 The Lucy Bag - see link to their web page above

I've seen this pattern over and over and have always planned on getting the pattern and making it or designing something similar.  It is super simple, because it starts out knitting in the round with double pointed needles.  And this is pretty neat, yesterday I got a great video from Berroco How to Use Double Pointed Needles check this out.  It really helps to see how to hold the needles with a video demonstration.

I was looking forward to 10 days of chilling before I do our annual Run For The Wall motorcycle ride, it is close to 4000 miles for us, on our motorcycles, long days, short nights and well, a great reunions with friends and communities all across America, but in one word exhausting.

So when we came home to our closed up home from our winter trips, and found mice had turned our home into an amusement park, I was totally dismayed.  Now instead of liesurly filing monthly reports, wrapping up the last minute details for nearly 1000 RFTW riders on the Run, placing orders for last minute materials for RFTW and catching up on time with my Sis, Russ's Sisters, Son, D-I-L and g-kids, & friends - (was that too much to plan in 10 days?) instead we're digging through dark places finding a nest with 7 babies in the hubbies underwear drawer, next fixins in my underwear drawer, mice trails in all silverware and lower cabinets in kitchen, and the worst - all through the cabinet where we store our clean folded clothing - EVERYTHING MUST BE WASHED! - I'm so bummed, and achy.

Anyway - we'll get through this.  With a little advise from my B-I-L who does extermination, and making myself walk into rooms with enough boldness to check traps, I've found one in a trap - victory, now where are the other 12 they say you have if you've seen one!!

Field Mice belong OUTSIDE!! Someone please tell them that!!

Enough about mice.  Our house is usually very sound and wonderful to come home to, so I'm not complaining, just saying, no rest for the weary this week.  Last night talking to my Mom she reminded me that they have bombs for critters that you can set when you leave- actually my Dad yelled it from the other room, "get a bomb," and we, being girls, misunderstood, and decided I'm not ready for that drastic measure unless, of course, insurance covers it.  Really - I can do this.  My Dad's other suggestion was to get a couple of snakes, and Russ's reply was if you can put a leash on a snake he would do it - it's finding the snake after he's eaten - never know when they'll show back up after a belly full.

I don't like spiders and snakes, OR MICE!!


YES OF COURSE!! WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY MADE THE NEST OUT OF!  But they didn't touch my wool or natural yarns - so weird (and so thankful) they liked the polyester/acrylic kind..

Patons(R) Bohemian Yarn -  Patons(R) Bohemian Yarn is an intriguingly soft textured yarn with a cool subtle handle that you just can't stop touching. This luxurious chenille is ideal for garments such as scarves, hats, ponchos, wraps as well as hip home decor projects, pillows and glorious throws. AND NESTS FOR MICE!!

Patons Bohemian here's a picture and a description of the yarn - too funny they picked this yarn out of a downstairs (bottom of a basket of yarn) closet, and carried strips of it to each of our vanities in upstairs rooms. So Creative they are - oops thought I was done talking about m---! 


Knitting and Motorcycles

Knitting will be on hold for the next month or so, unless I choose to take a small stash with me, I may.

This month is full of motorcycle events that we will be working.  So, thanks to Theresa Honeywell, and this internet, I've placed a picture of a knit covered motorcycle.

Still not sure how she did this, but ... when you think of me I'm either knitting or riding in may.

Events:  Run For The Wall www.rftw.org (my committment, May 17-May 30)
Arlington Assembly of God Biker Sunday May 30
Centreville Community Church Biker Sunday June 6

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go ...


That wet wool smell.

I continue to felt wool pieces that I've knitted.  Every time I do I find myself thinking about mini-scenarios from my childhood.

Funny how much I hated that wet wool smell as a child.

I had a lot of things that I hated, but knew better than to complain loudly.

I hated wet socks inside my shoes, I hated wet shirt cuffs or sleeves, inside my coat, I hated water running down my back inside my clothes from the rain.  I walked to school - no weather exceptions.  And our winter clothes were wool.  I distinctly remember the coat room at *Lucretia Mott School #3 downtown Indianapolis.  You could find the coatroom with your nose.  They were in the hallways outside the classrooms.  We weren't allowed to leave anything overnight - but believe me something always got left and grew more rank in the overnight.  I'll add one more thing to my "hate-list" that stinky coat room. 

So when I work with wet wool, I remember the most curious things.  Like one day I was felting (shrinking) a purse I had knit out of wool yarn and alpaca combined.  I had a quick memory flash of coming home from school, not only having wet wool winter clothes on, but also having stepped in some dog doo-doo in the snowy slop on the sidewalk.  I was thoroughly disgusted.  I think odors really effected me back then and my recent washing the wool/alpaca mix gave me a slight reminder of the odor ...

Now, I start thinking about that school building and some of the memories.  Like Tommy T., the guy everyone laughed at, talk about bullying, it was horrible..  He was the nicest guy, just a little larger than the rest of us with big thick glasses.  He had round cheeks that were always flushed and wore baggy pants.  He was always smiling.  When we moved to the suburbs in junior high - he moved too and we ended up being neighbors.  He was unofficially my first date, Halloween, I was 15.  The neighbors threw a party for all the teens in the neighborhood, it was the night the coliseum in Indianapolis blew up, from a propane explosion.

Yep, that's just the way my mind wanders when I smell an odor from my past.  Weird how that mind works!

*Lucretia Mott, a Christian (Quaker), a wife, mother, teacher, an activist, woman's rights leader and evidently extremely effective in the anti-slavery movement of the mid 1800's.  She made here mark in history, and a school was named after her in Indianapolis, in 1906.
One of her quotes:

"We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth."


Definately a one-day project - another knit felt purse finished.

Another Knit Felted purse.  Jenn really like the purse I made with wool yarn and alpaca sock yarn.  It turned out pretty cute, and is a great spring accessory.  She's a February girl so purple was perfect. 

It's been great visiting with our son in Kansas, we were glad to have a washer and dryer right off the kitchen.  I sat in front of a good movie and made Jenn a purse, then felted it in the next room.  So much better than going to the laudro-mat to felt an item.

This is one of my favorite bags - and the picture in natural light just highlights the details. I know what I did wrong on this one - because it is still in the family!  The strap i-cord wasn't stretched well enough before the piece was dried and assembled, therefore it stretched out quite a bit.  Live and learn!!

I've been looking into kicking up my weaving a bit, still have some questions for my instructor, and hope to move forward on weaving wider pieces.  I get stuck on the same width no matter how I set up my loom (which is stored currently while we travel).


Turn Signal Problems. And MOTORCYCLES really are everywhere.

Mind if I Rant?

We figured it up last year. We have done an average of 45,000 miles a year, for the last 10 years, yes that is not a typo. We've averaged that many miles. (Truck and bikes totaled.)

Now, when I rode my Harley it had what is called a self-canceling turn-signal. meaning - if I forget to turn it off, it goes off soon enough for people behind me to get the message.

On the other hand, on my Yamaha FJR 1300, if I turn a signal on it stays on -we even put auxiliary lights (extra flashing dash lights) in my view to remind me to turn off my signal. It's very dangerous to leave them on, as people are even more tempted to turn in front of a motorcycle if it looks like they can beat the small little vehicle, and the light left on is like a welcome sign. "Please turn in front of this tiny vehicle, it won't hurt that much to land on cement right in your path."

But that is not the topic tonight. Fooled you.

I'm talking about people driving vehicles, locally and on interstates, that basically assume that since they know they are changing lanes or turning, that everyone in every vehicle on earth should know that too!!

I'm miffed. Every near miss we've had (not that many d-i-l) but each one involves people turning without signaling.

The only major accident we've had was someone not only turning left hitting us when we had the right-of-way, at a red light, but also no signals and turning from the wrong lane.



Here's my thinking,

Once people are real close to home, or
when they are driving the same route everyday, and/or
they are distracted by texting and nearly miss their turn, or
when they have a lot on their mind, or
when they are running late, or
when they are just out for a drive, or
when they are in a strange place, or
when they are in the wrong lane and need to exit right now no matter what the consequences, or
when people simply are thinking of themselves and absolutely no one else on the highway,

they simply do not push that little bar down,
or up as the case may be ... just one more nerve wracking thing to remember, I guess...

Hey, at least turn-signals cancel in most vehicles ... you have the advantage over me.

I'm retraining myself to turn the bugger off!! I shift from 1st to second gear then check my signal, nearly everytime I complete a turn, unless I have something else on my mind, like someone turning in front of me, in which case I must upright my bike from the lean of the turn before I can hit the brakes ... then the turn-signal may have to wait its "turn." They called me "flasher" one year on Run For The Wall, because of my continuous flashing signal. At lease I use them.


Back to knitting.


That kind of sums up winter.

I designed and wove this s

(Hanging from a limb below - and folded to the left)

My loom wasn't used a lot this winter, this
piece I drew out on graph paper and started it over 4 times. It is 11.5" wide and 63" long with long fringe, it drapes, it is out of sock yarn and it just flows over the shoulders. It was really fun to design and weave.

As we work our way back East, leaving Arizona, I did a little review of the ministry opportunities we had this winter for our next newsletter. Riding in the mountains last week on my motorcycle, I was reminded of the winter 4 years ago, same ride, same route, same group of people, Arizona Bike Week, but the weather was extremely different.

Not only was there snow on the ground that year, but it started spitting snow while we were on the 3rd leg of a five part ride near Flagstaff. In other words we had ridden as far from the starting and/or ending point as we would be all day, and now it's snowing, we're in the mountains, and we're all on motorcycles. We're not dressed for it, and NO ONE is happy about the turn of events.

After warming up a little at the lunch stop and taking a potty break, we were about to leave the establishment that provided the break for us, when I noticed a lady crying. I had seen her on her bike earlier, and in the parking lot as we parked, she was riding her own bike.

I told the hubby I'd be right out, and approached the couple. I asked her if she was OK, and she said she was freezing and this was her first long ride on her own motorcycle and that she had to ride it back because that was her only transportation home. We talked a few minutes, and some of us offered her more clothing - the man she was with even offered to take her home on his bike and come back to get it another day. She considered that offer, then I suggested that I could pray for her, and she was honored that I would offer, and her friend said, "please do." So, I asked God to give her the wisdom to decide what to do, and that if she chose to ride to give her the courage and protection she needed to arrive safely. She stood and hugged me and he shook my hand, and we were on our way down-hill in the spitting snow.

Some friends of ours weren't ready to leave when we were, and they left after this lady, so they had the opportunity to check up on her down the road. They told me later that they passed her - she was taking it pretty easy on the downhill, but by the time she headed out of the mountains on her motorcycle the Sun was shining and they said it looked like she was pretty content with her decision to finish the ride herself.

I love encouraging people. This blog is supposed to be about encouraging, 1st my sisters, and then of course the general public who happen by here. If I'm aware of my surroundings and stop to encourage someone else everyday, then I end up being pretty positive as a result ... good stuff.

Well here is s brief picture summary of my winter projects.
In the heat of Arizona it is really weird knitting with wool and weaving winter clothing items, but I love knitting and weaving with wool, no matter where I am or what the weather.

The creamy turquoise with a touch of mauve scarf is part mohair and the fuzzy yarn gives it some texture as the colors blend. I used the same yarn on the loom for the warp thread as the yarn I used to weave (weft). So there are occasional blends of plaid, very subtle.

These wrist warmers are a quick knit out of some bulky wool - a Christmas give from our d-i-l. I've made a lot of articles out of my Christmas YARN - so much fun to have a variety of specialty yarns I would never buy for myself - a real treat!

This little purse was an experiment in off-white wool knitting. I simply knit from the base up, added a strap and flap, then dyed it in Kool-Aid. Tie-dyed at that. Turned out pretty cute - pretty small, but I know a little girl who can wear it across her shoulder!!



If God Needs Hard Working Angels ...

If God needs hard-working Angels to help him organize the masses when things like Haiti Earthquake Disasters happen, I could almost justify losing Nona from our realm to His.

(I honestly do not know how I feel about angels, I don't know if they are real, I'm not sure we get our wings or bells ring in Heaven when we die, or if we turn into the hubby's kind of Warrior Angel and go to war up there, but I do know Heaven got a super hero when Nona left us - and our world is not the same.)

She was one of those ladies that simply could not say no to a need.

If it was a pair of miss matched socks it went into the bag for Haiti. She didn't correct the young Haitian men when they pulled new purple t-shirts from the donations bags and instantly put them on. She just noted that they had no idea the saying, "Purity Seminar" and the pink flowers were meant for girls. It was clothing to them.

If the vegetable can was dented, but didn't reek when opened it was served to the masses. Canned bacon fried up in the mornings with handmade biscuits, and bottled coke doled out on about the 5th or 6th day of a mission trip after enduring the horrific heat and dirt of an organized trip to the Mission, she cared for the volunteers and Haitians alike.

Traversing mountains and rivers were all in a days labor as she mentally prepared for the next day, the next meal, the next team, all while managing 3 kids, a focused, driven husband and their eager followers across the rugged terrain of Missions Work.

So, is she organizing you up there, God? My guess is, since there are no tears in heaven, she's busy, she's served all the Haiti earthquake victims their Heavenly Banquet and now they are sorted out by their talents, they've polished streets of gold, helped set the banqueting table and she's started cooking classes for that wonderful Supper in the Sky that we'll all enjoy in Jesus presence when we join Him, and Nona!

Questions for Nona:

Have you met my brother-in-law Norman, yet. He came about a year after you. He is so missed, he's the guy with the amazing smile.

Your sweet granddaughter came your way this year - it was very sad here, but we knew she was with God (and with you).

I miss you girl, and I know your sweet family and many people who knew you have wonderful memories to hang onto till we're reunited. Do you go to the Pearly Gates each day to greet new arrivals, or stay in the kitchen, or do you have a new comfort zone?


Haiti Mission
My Tribute to Nona Last Year

Outdated words? Stricken, Smitten, Afflicted - Reconciliation.

A news commentator solicited electronic comments from viewers when the Health Care-Reform Reconciliation Bill was signed last week.

His request: "When was the last time you used the word 'reconciliation' in conversation?"

My first responses, in my mind was:

I am reconciled through Christ, but haven't heard the word lately or admittedly used it in daily conversation.

In reference to the Health Care Reform Bill.
Law and Order uses it in court scenes.
I reconcile my bank account.
Pastors preach about it (or should).

But, if we think about it, we do this every day. We back-up and re-state conversations to reconcile misunderstandings. We make calls to clarify billing statements to "make them right;" we excuse ourselves when we are in someone's path; or apologize when we are in the wrong (or not). We adapt, resolve, accept even more so as we experience life and learn from trials.

WOW! This really is a word unused in America, unless you are "churched," a "believer," or have faith in a power greater than you making ammends with you, or are in the court system or accounting.

Reconciliation: To rec·on·cile (rkn-sl)
v. rec·on·ciled, rec·on·cil·ing, rec·on·ciles
1. To reestablish a close relationship between.
2. To settle or resolve.
3. To bring (oneself) to accept: He finally reconciled himself to the change in management.
4. To make compatible or consistent: reconcile my way of thinking with yours. See Synonyms at adapt.
1. To reestablish a close relationship, as in marriage: The estranged couple reconciled after a year.
2. To become compatible or consistent: The figures would not reconcile.


Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

By: Thomas Kelly

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See him dying on the tree!
This is Christ, by man rejected;
Here, my soul, your Savior see.
He’s the long expected prophet,
David’s son, yet David’s Lord.
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
He’s the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, all who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like this?
Friends through fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that justice gave.

You who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed;
See who bears the awful load;
It’s the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man and son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ, the rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on him their hope have built.

Hymn # 116 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Geistliche Volkslieder
Tune: O Mein Jesu, Ich Muss Sterben
1st Published in: 1850

Romans 5:10 (New International Version)

10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


You can buy this poster.