Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday at The Ponderosa

Fall in Texas. You just never know what it is going to be like. Forty-two degrees in the morning and eighty in the afternoon. But I love the cool weather. Saturday we went to "The Ponderosa" to visit. Originally it was to be a pre-birthday party for Jo. Her twin cousins were not going to be able to come to her party so we were having a get together this last weekend. Unfortunately Jaxson came down with a fever and a cough so they could not come. Jo and her Mom had made "Princess" cupcakes so our attendance was requested. TJ and Uncle "Daisey" were going to boil deer and hog heads for European Mount display. Uncle Daisey is actually Uncle Matthew but Jo has called him Uncle Daisey her whole life. Matthew has a boxer named Daisey. Jo would always see them together and called the dog Daisey and Matthew, "Uncle Daisey." Well that stuck and that is who he is to her. I asked him one time if he wanted her to change it and he said no, that it was fine. She adores her Uncle Daisey so I guess he did not care. In the middle of the morning Allison got a call from Matthew saying that he had a bad sore throat and was not coming. Since Allison is expecting grand-daughter number two in the spring this was good as she would not want to catch it or for Jo to get sick. This just meant that the heads would not get processed this weekend. Our "party" had dwindled to five. The important part was having the cupcakes and YoYo and Coach were there so Jo was happy.
Jo and I went out to get the mail and she had a package from her Aunt Jane Ellen. She had mailed Jo's birthday hat. It is a "helicopter hat." This is one of the coolest patterns I have ever seen. She takes multi-colors for the base of the hat and then the top has "strings" which are really I-cord that make the propellers. I don't know if the hat is really called this or it is just what Jo calls it but she loves it. She had one when she was smaller but Aunt Jane Ellen wanted her to have a bigger one. She said, "I love it!" and wore it everywhere. My sister is a prolific knitter. I go to her with any "weird" questions I have or just to ask her opinion about a pattern. We both do knitting for the Knit-A-Cap project. This group makes hats for pre-school and young elementary school kids who live on the Native American reservations throughout the United States. I know she does not want praise or attention but we have done this since 2003 and this last year in 2008 she sent in 361 hats by herself.
After lunch we had the "Princess" cupcakes. Jo had helped ice them so they were pretty covered with sprinkles. The weather was so wonderful that we spent the afternoon sitting on the deck watching Jo do what she does, entertain herself. She has such a vivid imagination. She likes having people play with her but is just as happy to create her own play by dancing, singing, and exploring. She checks on the garden, the dogs, plays in the sandbox. She is just a joy. TJ had smoked a chicken on the smoker and Jo had to help her Mom make supper. The pix is of her stirring the cheese into the Mac and Cheese, one of her favorite foods.
I have another pair of socks on the needles for her. They are Tofutsies also in a reddish orange with some light brown. I had enough of the yarn from her last pair leftover that I am going to make matching socks for the new baby. So much yarn, so little time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fun With Great-Grandma

Today was a busy day. We were going to see Jo's Great-Grandma to tell her the news that Jo is having a baby sister. Grandma lives in an assisted living center in Carrollton so we were meeting in Lewisville and then heading in one car to see her. By the way I paid $2.26 for gas at the Sam's in Lewisville. We headed over to the center and when we got there Allison's cousin Julie was there with her son Noah. Noah and Jo are only about a month and a half apart so they entertained Grandma. Unfortunately the picture of them is on the other camera so it will have to wait. Jo let Grandma know "I am having a sister!" This is really kindof neat because she has only boy cousins. Plus she really wanted a sister. In a bit Julie and Noah left and we visited with Grandma. I had finished the Tofutsie socks for Jo and had waited to give them to her till we were at Grandma's. Grandma is the one who taught me to knit starting with baby booties so I wanted her to see the socks too. These pictures are from my cell phone so they are not very clear and there are more on the camera that will be coming. I also have a nice picture of Jo and her great-grandma that I will add too. These socks fit her so well and she did not want to take them off. So she wore them. It was time for Grandma to have lunch so we said bye and headed for our own lunch. Jo thinks that when she goes to see Grandma we have to have lunch at Steak and Shake. Here we are coloring the placemat. They do have great chili and their Diet Cherry Coke is the best anywhere since it is hand made. Jo likes to wear the hat because then she is "Chef Jo". After lunch we headed to the mall and Bath and Body Works. Their Christmas scents are out and I absolutely love the Twisted Peppermint. I have not been able to find the Wallflowers in the peppermint but thought I saw it on the website so I will have to check. I love peppermint chapstick, peppermint soap, peppermint lotion, and especially peppermint tea. I got to thinking about it and I had some peppermint lipstick by Cutex in the eighth grade. That was a while back. It was very, very pale pink. I ended up getting three of the foam pump soaps in the Twisted Peppermint. We then headed to Academy. Jo was going to get a new pair of shoes. Allison found a pair of Disney Princess shoes. Well that was easy of course no others would do. We then found a camo hat for Jo that had pink trim. We went down the backpack aisle. They also had purses. So the picture here is Jo in the pink trimmed camo hat, Princess shoes and a pink Princess purse. By the way the purple and green sweater is one I knit for her last winter. Of course no shopping trip is complete without going to Sam's and Wal-Mart so off we went. We did find some Bernat Jacquard yarn that we may use for the new baby blanket but we have not decided yet. Tomorrow we are heading to Ponder. TJ and Matthew are going to boil the hog and deer heads for mounting and we are going to have BBQ. Jo iced cupcakes so we are eating those too. I have never seen a kid this young that likes to cook as much as she does, but that is for another blog as the stories of her cooking are well known in the family. Actually she is a very good helper. By the way she also empties the dishwasher and throws her clothes in the washer. She will be three next weekend. After I got home I cast on Jo's new pair of socks, Tofutsies color #852 a reddish orange witha hint of brown. I would like to have the rib done by in the morning so I can show Jo what they look like so I need to get busy on them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get Out The Pink Yarn!

Yes, get out the pink yarn. My daughter had a sonogram today and I am now knitting for a new grandaughter. Really the last week was spent in anticipation of what color I was going to get to use. Everyone was excited especially Jo. She had already told us that it was going to be a girl. At three we kept saying it could be a boy or girl and she insisted that it was going to be a girl. If you ask her about girl names she would give you one or two but if you ask her boy names she would say,"Nothing." I said "Nothing is not a very good name", but she would not even think that it could be a boy. So we are now going to start looking for yarn for a blankie, and hats and baby socks. This picture is of a hat I made her out of my standard sock cap pattern. It is made from "I Love This Yarn" from Hobby Lobby. I loved the color which is called Candy Corn. Now I am off to finish the toe on her second sock. She will get these on Friday and we will see how she likes wearing them. She chose the yarn for another pair of socks already, Tofutsies #852, a reddish orange with hints of brown. Since it is supposed to get to 43 degrees tonight she is going to want these socks pretty quick. Yea for cold weather!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is Yarn Supposed to Be?

I had an e-mail from my sister today. She had knitted a shawl out of linen. Somehow you knit and then when you are finished you do something and some of the stitches drop down to the beginning of the piece. (Sorry I already deleted the e-mail and can't give you the specifics on the technique.) She was frustrated because somehow, someway the stitches had gone too far and come loose. Now was the debate on fixing the problem or ripping out the whole piece. We are not talking a difficult pattern as she herself said it was eighty inches of boring knit. Nothing was there to stop the mind numbing process of pure vanilla knitting. I reminded her that when I was knitting my lace shawl and found a mistake fifteen inches below the needles that she told me to rip it back or I would always see only the mistake. I knew she was right, ripped it out and re-knit it. It came out beautifully and is one of my favorite pieces of knitting. I told her to rip the shawl out. I even went on about the joy of the process of knitting. She would be getting to use "free" yarn and make a whole new project. I reminded her about my Huckleberry Shawl. I have knitted many things. I have knitted intricate lace. Number one on my list for comfort is my Huckleberry Shawl. This shawl started out as a sweater. Some kind of simple all knit stitch in black (which I liked) Homespun by Lion Brand. Surprisingly this yarn when washed is so soft and well, comfy. That sweater was the most boring awful sweater. I tried to like it. It was easy just knit, knit, knit. The more I knit on it the more I hated it. It was finally relegated to "the tub." Out of sight out of mind. During this time my daughter moved. Her 170 pound Mastif Huckleberry came to stay at my house. This was the most loveable, kind and sweet dog ever born. He could sense when you were sad or stressed and would come and lay beside you or put his head on your lap. Yes he was very slobbery but that was a part of his charm. At this time I came across the pattern for the Prayer Shawl. It is a very simple pattern and I thought I would whip it up. What should I use? I went through tubs of yarn and the closet of yarn and came across the dreaded black Homespun sweater. Ok, I would try that. I ripped it out and put it in balls. The yarn seem to flow on the needles. Three-fourths of the way through the shawl I discovered that even though all the skeins had the same dye lot they did not match. I had three different shades of black. You're kidding, right? No, they were not matching. Oh, heck, fine I am finishing it anyway. It is just going to lay around or be in a tub to be ripped out again. Once it was finished I discovered that not only were there three shades but the darker two were in the middle and the lighter black was on each end. Good thing I never planned to use this thing. Now remember Huckleberry was living at my house. Every night I took him out for his evening constitutional. As it got more cold that fall I grabbed up the shawl to walk out front and stood waiting for him to do his business. It got to a point I did not even have to tell him to come on, when he saw me pick up the shawl he headed to the door. Later on Huckleberry moved back with his mom and I did not have to go out in the evening cold. Sadly a few years later Huckleberry left us. My daugher told my grand-daughter that he was in Bowie, Texas which he is at a pet cemetary there. That shawl is my favorite shawl. It is soft, warm and comforting just like Hucklebery was. I put it in the closet during the summer but every fall and winter it is on the back of my chair ready for use. Since we are anticipating a cold front today it is back on my chair. Here are pictures of Huckleberry with my son and my granddaughter. If you look closely at the one of my shawl you can see it the color does not match but everytime I use this shawl I think of that wonderful dog and his love for our family. So what is yarn supposed to be? Maybe not what you think it is. It may be something completely different and yet more precious and dear to you than you ever might expect.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One Stitch

One stitch. Just one stitch. One stitch that has caused my hair to turn grey. One stitch that has made me wish there was a pound of chocolate in the house. Ok, I have spent the last hour and a half trying to figure why the blessed sock is not working out right. Why is the heel not decreasing right? Why are there too many stitches? Why am I ready to throw it across the room and scream at the top of my lungs? Why? One stitch. But I slowly realize what it is. I have caused the knitting gods to look on me and say, "Let's have a little fun with her. She has become too confident in this sock." It all started with the sock that I finished for Jo on Saturday. Boldly, confidently I cast on the Second Sock. Oh, yes I was so proud. First I had taken the Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe and shrunk it down to fit my right at three year old granddaughter. I counted stitches, counted rows, measured, sized it, tried it on her, did everything I could think of to make sure the sock fit. It was a thing of beauty. It fit perfectly. Ah, here was the problem. I was way to confident. The knitting gods were waiting, watching for the perfect opportunity to strike. Tonight I was knitting along in such confidence. I was so excited that the first sock ahd come out so well. I finished the leg andwhipped through the heel flap. Oh it was a thing of beauty. I love the sturdy heel that Yarn Harlot recommended. I love the look of it. I love the way it flows on the needles. Now Iwas to turning the heel. No big deal. I had very confidently written down all of my changes to shrink that pattern to fit a three year old foot. I have to do this in most of my patterns. It makes for easy checking later. I am whipping through that heel and am so excited. I can probably get the side stitches picked up tonight also. Then in the morning I can start on the foot. Hmm, Houston we have a problem. There are too many stitches. Ok, I must have just mis-counted the first time. Unknit, reknit, unknit, reknit, unknit, reknit. Ok, I have rechecked everything. I have recounted to infinity. I am now afraid of the wear and tear on the yarn. I re-read the notes I have written on my trusty yellow tablet. All of a sudden I realize what it is. SL1, k16, SSK, k1, turn. Holy cow, it should be SL1, K15. After an hour and a half of counting, unknitting and re-reading over and over and over I stitch. Now, I must not be too confident, I must work slowly, I must not even breathe until the last of the heel stitches is done and there are sixteen of them. Miraculously there are sixteen stitches. I carefully heave a sigh of relief. My eyes were starting to get blurry from the counting and unknitting. Now I can start the foot in the morning. I have learned tonight though that I must not get to confident even in simple stockingette stitch. I will be knitting that foot very carefully.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Busy Day

Saturday was a busy day. Jo's dad and uncle were out deer hunting so she and her mom came to my house. I had promised Jo we would make Halloween cookies to send to her Uncle Joseph who is stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia. We had found the cute little pumpkin cookies that all you have to do is put them on the stone and bake them. Very easy. Of course there had to be enough for us to test them and make sure they were good for Uncle Joseph. There also had to be enough for her to take some home. When she cooks she has to wear the apron that her great-grandma made for her mother to use at this age. She then becomes "Chef Jo". After finishing the cookies we were going to head to The Shabby Sheep to pick up some more sock yarn. I am "into" Tofutsies right now and we were going to look for some colors to make Christmas socks. Of course we can never go that way and not stop and eat lunch at El Fenix. It is only about four blocks from the yarn shop and for me is comfort food. We had lunch and headed to the yarn shop. I had decided that I needed to get several skeins of sock yarn to add to my stash. This is to prepare for the coming ecomomic crisis. I do not want to run out of yarn and not be able to knit. I also do not want the yarn in my stash to get lonesome as the skeins disappear with use. After great restraint and plenty of time for Jo to visit with Abby the shop dog we headed back to the house. I had finished Jo's previously discussed first sock but I was still leary enough to not seam it shut before I tried it on her foot again. So now was the time to try it on. She was excited and of course loved the color since it is the color of her favorite blankie. She even was very cooperative to have a picture taken of it on her foot. I think she really wanted it right then but of course we have to whip up the second sock. So the second sock is now cast on and all I will do the rest of the day is try to get as much done as I can on that sock. After all I have to get started on her next pair.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cooler Weather

Finally, cooler weather. It is the middle of October and time for those wonderful cool mornings. It was 60 degrees this morning. Fantastic. Of course by three in the afternoon it had reached almost 80 degrees, but hey I love those cool mornings. Time for the sock fitting. I have been working on Jo's socks and since I was just adjusting the Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe down to fit a 3 year old I had written all adjustments down. Still you just have to try on socks to make sure where those little toes hit. I did not want to be "unknitting" the toe of a sock and all those decrease stitches. We met at the mall in Lewisville. We had to go see the fountain and throw in some pennies. Of course we had to have Panda Express for lunch followed by a cookie with sprinkles from the cookie store. But before the cookie we needed to try on the sock. I did not know how this would work out because sometimes three year olds are easy and sometimes everything is well I guess a drama. I pulled out that sock and her eyes lit up. So we put it on her foot right there in the food court. "Do you like it?" I asked. "Yes." So we took a picture to record the progress. Now I have to really get knitting because she is going to want to wear those socks and she has another skein of yarn chosen and cooler weather is almost here to stay.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This last weekend we went to the Greek Festival in Euless. We go to this festival every year. We have been to several festivals in the area but the food at the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is absolutely the best. It is now the only one we go to. Their moussaka, dolmathes, and loukoumades are absolutely to die for. Everything is homemade. Can't wait till next year.

The Tofutsies socks for Jo are on the needles. Saturday after the Greek Festival we tried the socks on. I was worried that they were not long enough before I started the heel. I had Jo try them on. We added another inch to the leg length. These are a combination of Yarn Harlot's basic sock pattern, Nancy Bush's Classic sock and my own ideas. The color is pink, purple, and green verigated. I have made tons of booties but never socks for a three year old. Once we get the first one done I think we will be ok in making her a few more. I worked on the sock today and here is where we are at. Hopefully they will be done by the end of the week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Day With the Girls

Yesterday was really a lovely day. My daughter called and asked if I would make a pair of socks for my granddaughter. What a question. We decided to meet at the El Fenix Mexican restaurant in downtown Dallas. Ah, comfort food. This is my favorite restaurant and the one downtown is the best. After a wonderful lunch of enchiladas we headed to The Shabby Sheep. This is a great LYS. There is always yarn in abundance. It is so hard to choose and so easy to spend. I am a firm believer that yarn purchased while you are somewhat downcast does not count as spending money. Don't try to figure that out. We arrived at The Shabby Sheep. My grandaughter, who will be three in three weeks was excited about the fountain out back. Then we opened the door to the shop and "there were puppies". Abby the shop dog was there and one of her dog friends. Well, yarn took backseat to the dogs. I showed her several skeins of sock yarn encouraging her with "do you like this color?" Every answer was "sure." Every few minutes we heard "I want a dog like this." The reason? Abby is a small dog. Her dogs are a Mastiff and a Lab/Pointer mix. My daughter and I looked at all the yarns touching, testing for softness discussing colors. Then you would hear again, " I like this dog." She was sitting by Abby and I said let me take your picture . Here she is with Abby. She eventually chose Tofutsies. The color was a perfect match to the blanket I made for her when she was born. It is a purple, pink, green and white blend. I came home and of course immediately cast on the yarn. With cool weather hopefully arriving soon she will probably want more socks. I am sure the next time I say I need to get yarn she will be wanting to come along. Of course not to choose the yarn but to see Abby.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Cool Breeze

Finally it is a little cooler. I do not know how long it will last. It is 76 degrees with blue skies and a wonderful breeze blowing through the trees. I love fall. Probably because living in Texas, where I have been known to turn the air conditioning on in my car on a warm day in February, it just stays hot forever. 100 degree days through the summer are nothing. Fun is in July going to the grocery store and sticking your head in the frozen food cooler. All this leads to the fact that I finished the first Online Savanne sock this morning. I really like this sock. I love the pattern the yarn makes and I adore The Yarn Harlot for her Basic Sock Recipe. Finally I can knit socks and they actually are wearable. I love 2.50mm DP needles. I love tiny sock yarn. I get like this sometimes, "into" things that are small. My sister says when you are stressed people tend to gravitate toward small. I can't remember why but she will let me know. I e-mailed this picture to my sister and my daughter proud knitter that I am. I had to laugh out loud when my daughter e-mailed me back. Does this sock look hot? Well, it is only October. She said it was nice but looked like it would make your foot sweat. I am laughing now, not at her, but I was thinking maybe wool socks do look hot especially in October. My aunt lives in Minneapolis. I wonder if it is cool enough yet to already be wearing them there? Well there is no SSS here. The second sock is already cast on. Mmm, I think I need to head to The Shabby Sheep and get more sock yarn. Besides that, we all need to help out the economy any way we can.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What a joy!

October in Texas. I am ready for some cool weather. I have one project that has had to be set aside because it is too hot and too heavy to have in my lap right now. October for the young means pumpkins and candy. I made my granddaughter a pumpkin hat. I was really surprised at her reaction when I gave it to her. She gets hats fairly often from her Aunt JE and I and she always likes them. When I handed her the pumpkin hat she actually caught her breath and said oohhh! Ok, it was only 91 degrees the day I gave it to her but it is October. Needless to say she had to wear it with her sundress. The face is Bernat's Glow in the Dark yarn. I told her if she goes in the bathroom and shuts the door it would be dark enough she could see the face in the mirror. I go on knitting jags and had already given her a hat that was made out of I Love This Yarn in Boo. It was of halloween colors of purple, orange, yellow, black and white verigated. Needless to say the pumkin hat went over big. Now, what will we do for Christmas?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Already?

Unbelievably it is October already. The Grandboys have headed home. What a fun visit. They are growing so fast. It is hard to believe they are five months old.
The socks I have been working on are done. I love this color. It is Regia Kaffe Fassett in Landscape Fire. I got it at Shabby Sheep in Dallas. Love that store. What is it about tiny needles (2.50mm) and tiny yarn that is so soothing? I don't really know. But I am in a sock phase. Part of that could also be that I decided that there had to be a good basic pattern out there. After being unhappy with the one I had tried many years ago I found Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe. Ok, now I am hooked, or should I say needled. So this pair is finished and fit. Yea! I immediately cast on a new pair. This time it is OnLine Supersock 100. There is no color name on the label but I will take a picture. It is light blues and pinks and purples, totally different than the last pair. I wanted something that was a little brighter in color. I think things have calmed down a little now with the Christmas stockings being finished. Well that is until we know if the new grandbaby is a boy or girl. I am trying to have patience but when we find out I know that YoYo will be knitting up a storm.