Thursday, December 31, 2009

Passage


Here we go--we are passing into a new year. Before leaving this old year behind it's time to reflect. Reflections of sharing time with good friends, learning from them, laughing with them, crying with them. Reflections of the love of family; caring for each other; being there for any crisis or happiness.
Yes, we are passing through a tunnel into a new year. Here's the best to you and yours for a Happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good-bye! Hello!

It's time to say good-bye to 2009.........

And hello to twenty ten!

We will close out the year with one final handspun and hand knit item--Basket Whip Cowl as modeled here by 'Greenhead'.

Finished, complete! Now, we move onto other projects that are on the list. And maybe add new projects to those wips........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!


The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nick soon will be there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stressed?


Do you feel like these end threads of a sari? All jumbled up? Running around with no purpose to your madness?

'Welcome' to some stress relieve! Stop! Take a deep breath! and think about the reason for the season! Now, doesn't that feel better?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Tis the Season

Whether it's serendipity at the shopping center when you come across a junior high band playing holiday music dressed in their finest;
Or a planned evening to hear Middle Ages Christmas songs performed by Kemper Crabb , there is something special about the Christmas season. Look for Kemper and his band in your PBS line-up. His special "Downe in Yon Forrest" features many interesting songs played with traditional instruments of the period. Or maybe, you find a live nativity scene on your local church grounds--complete with donkeys, sheep, cows and goats grazing peacefully as shepherds and angels attend the birth of the Christ child....... The season is definitely magic and alive with spirit of joy, peace and love.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elves, Elves and More Elves


Beginning in 2002, elves have been busy at Reliant Center during the month of December. There is hustle and bustle as volunteers from all communities gather to assemble bikes that will be distributed to children who live in poverty. This is under the leadership of Elves & More

"A few years ago, we made an important discovery. We learned that by giving bicycles to impoverished children we could dramatically change their lives by helping them stay in school and out of trouble while improving their health"

Here are the guidelines that each child must follow:

First, working with school administrators, bicycles are used as incentives for children to achieve.
•To earn a bicycle, a child must first enter into a contract with his or her teacher or school.
•That contract requires each child to meet at least one of five criteria: 1) attend school regularly, and be on time, 2) behave well in class, 3) attend tutoring classes or Saturday school where necessary, 4) improve their grades in one or more areas or 5) whatever else the teacher believes a particular child needs to improve upon.
•The specific target area and level of performance required by each child is established by the teacher or school counselor, agreed upon by the student, and approved by the child's parent(s).
•Once the teacher determines that a child has met the terms of the Contract, the child is rewarded with a new bicycle.

This year is no exception for our family members as they journey to the vast Reliant Center, Houston, to work with tools and hands, to build bikes. In 2008 Elves & More had delivered 90,000 bikes! In 2009 Elves and More will give away their 100,000th bike. All this through the effort of volunteers!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Past Comes Alive

While rearranging the guest bedroom closet for upcoming guests, my eyes spied a quilt that was long forgotten. It was buried under loads of holiday decorations. And bringing this work out into the light, brought back memories of the days of years gone by. Memory comes into play as this was made for the first grandchild, born in 1990. What fun it was to savor this pattern again!
Oh, there are many handstitching errors, but who cares? It brings back memories of the grandbaby lying on the quilt to play or sleep under for warmth and comfort. You see this grandbaby was born right before Christmas. So, it was perfect to find it again at this time of year.
This was the first applique quilt done by these hands. And look it's tied! not quilted by machine or hand. If you stop to think about time, nineteen years seems like a long time but then sometimes, it seems like it was yesterday. When this grand(child)adult has her own family, this quilt will be handed to her along with the memories.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rounding out Hat Knitting 2009

The latest to the collection of hats is finished, packed in a box and heading on its merry way. Dare, we mention that this is the latest in the hat saga, not the last! There will be a hiatus of hat knitting until the holidays pass and all family members have departed to their homeland. And who's to say that the hat excitement will continue into 2010. Only time will tell--although there have been some wonderful hat patterns spied in the knitting magazines and ezines.
Green head was unavailable to model so a glass hurricane container was pressed into service. It doesn't complain either. But, it doesn't have a round 'head'. Isn't this the most wonderful hat? Lots of leftover sock yarns were used for this basic hat pattern. A baker dozen hats were loaded into USPS priority mail box, postage was paid online (just love that option!) and the box was dropped at the local contract station. Our wonderful mail carrier would have been happy to pick up at the door but we were already out and about so it was easy to avoid the lines and drop in the mail box.
Okay, we are not actually devoid of knitting......as the next project on the needles is a good use for this handspun, which was plied with a silk thread. For three of the skeins, beads were added on the plying yarn. Now, plying with beads gives an added problem; not only, are you trying to control the plying yarn but you are also pushing up a bead.When plying, there is a rhythm to treadling and pushing up the bead. And it's necessary to place the bead at different intervals or else the beads will all line up when you are knitting. This is a challenge that has not been overcome. Here is the pattern from the Ravelry group Basket Whip Cowl KAL. This is a free pattern by Laura Patterson and can be found at Classic Elite Yarns An easy pattern to knit.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

4 for the Season!

Red berries on green wreaths!
Small Chapels for prayers of thanks!
Decorated trees in large shopping malls!
Lights! Lights! Lights!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ongoing Quilt Research

During my tenure as Education Coordinator at Magnolia Mound Plantation Baton Rouge, LA, we sponsored a quilt research program. During the year we had hundreds of quilts brought to our attention. We noted the history, origin, technique, color, fabric, name of pattern, etc. Anything the owner could tell us about the quilt was noted. All this information went into The Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project . Now, there isn't a quilt that can be passed up. Saturday night as we attended Christmas in Rosenberg, a small town that boasts many an antique shop, one window display presented a lovely red and white bowtie quilt. Of course, the quilter might have a different name for the quilt and since it was after hours, no questions could be asked about the quilt.
In my stash are a couple of wonderful 'antique' quilts--and like most of these blankets of past eras there is no knowledge of the quilt maker or origin of the pattern. This quilt was found at a California garage sale and only $15 was asked for this piece of history.
Some parts of the quilt are in sad shape; maybe due to use or maybe due to fabric dyes. In some of the blocks you can clearly see the hand carded cotton that was used for the batting. More research on my part is needed to give a name to this pattern. This lovely work of art is hand stitched and quilted.
The nine patch wonder was a 'freebie', can you believe? It definitely was used for warmth as the batting is thick and lumpy, but it still has eye appeal. It is hand stitched but machine quilted.
The one quilt in our possession that was lovingly handstitched and hand quilted by hubby's grandmother is the best example of workwomanship. Not necessarily an antique (yet!)this quilt spent many a night bringing love and warmth to our bodies. It suffered smoke damage during a house fire, but it was rescued and remains sheltered from light and other damage now. " Trip Around the World" is the name of quilt --tiny blocks, handpieced with love. And like so many quilts this reminds us of the many quilter hands that worked their magic with scraps of fabric, needle and thread.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The LACE Has It!


It's been a year of study for one weavers small group. A year to learn about the structure; a year to see how different yarns and colors interact and then there are the meetings when members show off their weaving talents. It's a time when critiques are given and the learning continues. Discussion centered on whether lace shows better with solid colors in warp and weft or whether a weft color change would hinder the lace design.
This weaver took the project study further by weaving matching napkins for the tablemats.
So many different weave structures can be lace.
And colors can add to the textural technique of this varied weave.
Needless to say my hands didn't touch the loom with this study--what's the old saying? "Been there, done that"! And there sits the sample book to prove it! Yes, Lace does have it for being an interesting weave study.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BEVY of HATS!

My Colorado knitting friend, Judy, doesn't know what a hat knitting monster she has created! This past summer she told me about a hat using odd bits of left over sock yarn. That note rested in my brain for several months before finally getting a recipe from her and taking those little bits of sock yarns and knitting hats! It has been so much fun to see the results of combining two different sock yarns to knit these basic hats! My hands will not stop until the pile is depleted. A look at four of the hats that were knitted within the past few weeks. The pattern is so easy and quick that a hat could be turned out within a matter of hours--good TV watching. The pattern recipe is simple--cast on 80, 88 or 96 stitches and knit using two sock yarns. That's all there is to it! When you think it's depth has been reached, decrease with knit row between decreases. K6, K2tog one row, K5, K2tog and so on until you have reached the end of stitches, which will be pulled together at the top.
This one is smaller version, using basic blues.
This was the first hat to be knitted where different colored yarns were combined. This hat is called "Starburst Hat" by Elizabeth A Cote and you can find the free pattern on Ravelry. This child's hat used some handspun wool.
Using some leftover yarn from a beret made for granddaughter, this child's hat is from a free pattern called 'Mr. Tom's Beanie, which can be found on Woolly Wormhead site. The pattern features several different sizes and there are several different versions. The latest hat just off the needles is being modeled by green head.
All these hats will be donated to Knits for Needs . And the hands continue to knit to deplete the pile of leftover sock yarns! Thanks Judy this is a great journey!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It is Beginning to Look Like Christmas!


Thanksgiving has come and gone--Whew! that was a great day spent with family. Now, the stores are filled with shoppers and the spirit of Christmas is moving within us. Although, the weather is humid and the sky is filled with clouds and threatening rain, we go tree shopping. We like a real tree! There is nothing like the smell of fresh greenery in the house!

This one looks perfect for our space! Of course, before we can place the tree it is necessary to move furniture--chairs from master bedroom to upstairs studio, chairs from living room to master bedroom--okay, now we are set.
Shopping trip to Brookwood Community is the perfect opportunity to purchase lovely holiday flowers. Whether it is traditional red poinsettias or the unusual colors; maybe, you prefer Christmas cactus, the greenhouse is filled with these blooming flowers.




If you are a quilter, don't forget to check out Quiltville for the first step in the Carolina Mystery quilt.