Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Starbucks in Honolulu

The ship docked at 8AM and DH and I got off in search of a WiFi hotspot.   He noticed a girl carrying a Starbucks cup and asked for directions.  And two blocks later, we were set with free WiFi and iced teas.  So now I can post a few photos from the trip.  Like this luscious sunset over the ocean.

One thing I have noticed on this trip is that the waves sound different out at sea.  I finally figured out that waves on the shore are throwing stones and shells and sand around and it makes noise.  The bow wave from the ship is just a swish of water.  Yeah, you can hear the engines, too, but you can shut that out and imagine that you are on a sailing ship, coasting across the Pacific, listening to the hiss of the wake and the hum of wind in the rigging.  Except for the scurvy, rats, weevils, floggings and miserable food, it would have been an idyllic life
DH in his dress shirt and slacks, leaning on the rail and watching the sun set.  By the time we arrived in the islands, the weather had gotten warm enough to linger on the verandah, breathing the clean air and wallowing in the sunshine.  I took advantage of the privacy in the back of our verandah and did my sea-bird imitation, letting my boobies flap in the wind.

The warmth brings out the summer and resort wear among our fellow passengers.  The skinny 80year old guy in the shorts and tank top, with his fish belly white legs, sunburned knees, and hairy shoulders is a fit mate for the grandma in the fuchsia, turquoise and orange muumuu.  I may get myself a few muumuus.  They are so kind, so forgiving, so comfortable.  They permit air circulation, provide shelter from sun, and present a palate for all your favorite colors.
Here are DH and Bucky and I under the world's second biggest banyan tree in Lahaina.  You may wonder at my unusual stance. My knees are buckling under the weight of an immensely self-satisfied sheep.  He was SO please to be able to publish his account, and is already working on the next one.

Here is Bucky waving farewell to lovely Lahaina.  He flirted outrageously with pretty shop girls and pretty much made a nuisance of himself, trying to get out and skip around in the sunshine.

And I am sort of making a nuisance of myself now.  I've been catching up with other people's blogs from the last week.  He knew I was going to be at this for a while, but I don't think he realized how LONG a while it would be. As we got off the ship this morning, DH bought me a beautiful lei with plumeria and purple crown flowers.  I have been swooning with delight at the fragrance.

Benita, I will drill my pearls and add them to the necklace I have been working on for years.  Every time we go somewhere that I can buy an oyster, the eccentric necklace grows.

Photos of the fat quarters Asian print fabrics?  When we get home, I'll do it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roxie Writes

Roxie writes

:Lahaina is pretty much a charming tourist town.  Boutiques and bars line all the streets downtown, and since there were two ships in port on Wednesday, everyone was doing a booming business.
Getting off the ship was a challenge.  The ships had to anchor out in the harbor, and passengers had to take the tenders in  to the dock.   There was a four foot swell and it was quite challenging to get the door to the tender, and the ship’s dis-embarkation docks to match up, vertically and horizontally. And on Holland America, we are dealing with folks using canes and walkers.  The crew had it down to an art, though.  Two sturdy lads stood in the doorway to the tender, and two more stood on the dock,holding firmly to the passenger’s arms. Meanwhile the lad piloting the tender is doing his best to bring the boat close enough to the dock, but not so close that it gets beat to pieces.  When the stars align, and the waves are in synch, the crewmen on the dock cry “Now!” and thrust the passenger forward, while the crewmen on the boat pull him into their arms, then steer him to a seat.  This works equally well with octogenarian gentlemen, who then get their walkers handed across, folded and stowed till we dock, and with timid three hundred pound grandmas unsteady on their feet and even on the young couple with twins in the stroller.  The parents made the crossing, then the crewmen waited patiently, cannily, until just the right moment to swoop the babes and stroller across the frothy gap. The wait left Mom in a nervous collapse, and Dad sweated bullets during the three minutes or so until the transition was safely made.  But those crewmen knew their job and had evidently done this sort of thing often before. 
Kyle remarked to the parents that there are old sailors and there are bold sailors, but there are no old, bold sailors.  Then he pointed out that all for of our crewmen had grey at the temples. 
The tender tied up at the dock behind a breakwater, and going ashore was like stepping out of a bus. We stopped at MauiDivers and got a coupon for 50% off on an oyster with a pearl.  I always pick the fattest oyster,and wound up with  good-sized white twins (maybe 6mm).  I was so tickled with them thatI bought another oyster for full price ($14) and got a larger (7mm) white pearl.  I do love my pearls!
We wandered around for a while, then stepped into a boutique that took Kyle’s eye.  He knows what I like and what I look good in.  They had sheer silk jackets printed with various dramatic designs.  He talked me into a knee-length one in shades of purple and red with a Geisha on the back and flowers trailing artfully down the front.  They had some nice silk aloha shirts and I tried to find one he would like, but nothing appealed to him.  He did buy something for himself in the next store, though.  The ABC store had clip-on sunglasses that fit over his prescription lenses.  Maybe $6.  He’s such a big spender!
The second largest banyan tree in the world is in Lahaina.   This single tree covers an entire city block,providing shade for all and sundry. There we took photos of some of our fellow passengers and they took photos of us.  Then we returned to the ship.  luckily, by that time, the swell had abated a bit and we were able to get on board with danger to neither life, limb, nor equilibrium.
That night, we dined in the Canneletto, an Italian themed restaurant on board the ship.  It was scarcely half full, and our service was magnifico! We had a waiter and a bus boy all to ourselves.  The antipasto was all that one could hope tiny balls of mozzarella, marinated calamari rings, paper thin slices of prosciutto and salami, marinated artichoke hearts and mushrooms, three different kinds of olives, cherry tomatoes, and four different kinds of bread.  
Kyle had the Spaghetti and meatballs.  I couldn’t decide between the chicken cacciatori or the fettuccine with seafood, so the waiter said, “I will bring you both!”  He did.  It was sublime!
Kyle ordered a lovely lemon-flavored dessert, and I ordered peppermint tea. The waiter also brought us a plate full of pink fluff.  It was cotton candy.  I can’t tell you how it tickled me!  It was so pretty and frivolous and surprising.  It immediately began to dissolve in the warm humid air, but we ate it all.
Sailing between the islands is such a treat.  Little twinkly lights shine out from shore, the air is a warm and tender caress, the stars and moon are brilliant above and the ship rocks gently, gently under foot. Romance is in the air and even the folks in walkers and wheelchairs are holding hands and exchanging smooches in the shadows.
Thursday, I woke at five and sat on the veranda, watching the north east shore of Hawaii slide past as we sailed down to Hilo.   The sun came up with lemon-colored light, the clouds drew their dark silhouettes across the swathes of greenery, and here and there, an early rising soul turned on a light, making a pot of coffee, getting ready for the day.
In search of the wiley internet site, we took a shuttle out to Hilo Hattie’s which is right near a Starbucks.  And Bucky’s photos got posted. (wild rejoicing ensues!) Then we took a cab back into town, walked to the fabric store, and Roxie got the bit in her teeth and went loco.  I adore these asian prints,but contented myself with just fat quarters. And I’m not going to tell you how much I spent because it was shameful to spend that much money on fabric when I have boxes of it at home.  I’ll feel guilty about it later.  When I get home I’ll be sure to schedule some time for guilt in my calendar.
DH, meanwhile, sat patiently outside.  Swear to God, that man is a saint!  Surely, I am among the most fortunate of women. 
We sauntered down to the Farmer’s market and gawked at the fruits and vegetables.  Long, skinny purple Japanese eggplants, coacoa pods, golden pineapples, taro root, onions and garlics and bundles of fern fiddleheads.  We bought a luscious ripe mango that weighed a pound and a half, a butter avacado as big as DH’s two fists held together, limes the size of chicken eggs, and a strawberry papaya that is calling out tome even now.  And I bought 5 strands of semi-precious stones, each 37 inches long, for $60.  The lady gave me two bracelets to go with it and a sweet kiss on the cheek as well. 
And then, with these pounds and pounds of food and stones and fabrics in my back pack, DH said, “Let’s work off some of our dinners.  Let’s walk back to the ship.”  I knew this was no stroll in the park, but he offered to carry the pack, so off we went.  Two and a half miles later, we crawled back to our room.  Naps are sounding really good right now.  Good LORD I’m out of shape!
Tomorrow, Honolulu for two days.  I am just blissed out with all the fun we are having and oh,my dears, I wish you could be here to have it with us! 

Bucky writes

 Bucky writes

Kyle and Roxie agreed thatI should go to Hawaii on the cruise ship with them.  On the train up to VancouverBC, I stayed hidden in Roxie’s back pack, because the Canadian don’t usually allow undocumented sheep to cross the border.  I wish Roxie would get to work forging a passport for me.  The next day, though, Kyle decided that we were safe and let me peek out of the top of the backpack as we went through the lines to get on the ship. Evidently my sheep shape was considered ship shape and I was allowed on with no trouble.  I even got my photo taken.
Here I am waving farewell to the lovely city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

 And here I am admiring the upper deck of the Oosterdam, our home for the next 17 days.  It’s a cold and cloudy day, though Roxie promises that as we get farther south, things will improve.

So I decided to try on a deck chair for size.  they are very spacious and comfy.

 The swimming pool on the stern of the ship has silly chairs in it.  Kyle told me that the wide space around the pool is to keep the water inside the pool when weather is rough and the water splashes all over.  I think I’d like to see that.

The next morning, the weather WAS fairly rough, and Kyle stayed in the cabin.  Roxie and I went up to the Lido Deck for a cafeteria style- breakfast, rather than a proper sit-down breakfast in the dining room.  Roxie explained that the dining room is right in the stern and gets a lot of movement, whereas the Lido is midship, so things are quieter.  You get the food quicker, too.
Every table in the Lido has an orchid on it. Isn’t it pretty?

The main swimming pool has a retractable cover so people can sit by the pool even in the cold north.  And it has a bar with funny stools.  These dolphin tails make pretty nice seats, though.
There are antiques and elegant pieces of art all over the ship.  This old baptismal font would be a good place for a sheep to  take a dip.

There is a bench next to the stairway on our floor that has satyrs at each end.  They remind me of the kids I used to play with at theTranscendent Peace and Harmony Herb Farm where I was born.

Here is the view from our verandah.           There’s an awful lot of cold gray ocean out there.  It’s enough to make a sheep nervous.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

However, Roxie has pointed out that our very own lifeboat is right underneath us, so safety is just a short hop away.

Roxie has been a bit perplexed lately, because people keep wanting me to speak to them, and she doesn’t know how to tell them that sheep can’t talk.  I mime dance and eventually they get the idea.  Haha! If only they knew what a demon typist I am.

Roxie and I are having a grand time, and Kyle is perking up nicely as well.  We will go ashore in Lahaina on Wednesday, and I hope to post this from there.  Surely we can find a Starbucks or a MacDonalds with WiFi.  The internet on board the ship is slow as dial-up, and has been down completely for the last two days.

I’m meeting many interesting people, and everyone on the ship’s staff thinks I’m pretty cute.  Lots of charming young ladies have flirted with me.  Lots of charming OLD ladies have flirted with me.  And I remembered that sheep can swim, so I feel better.  The rough seas don’t bother me a bit, and the further south we go, the warmer and calmer it becomes.
Thursday:  There were two cruise ships in Lahaina on Wednesday, and so many people hit the internet that it crashed ferry connection in the city.  No posts from there.

today is Thursday in Hilo, and roxie and Kyle took a shuttle bus out to the Starbucks at Walmart.  The connections so FAST!  Whee!  Pictures!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In a rush withoutphotos

Bucky, our roving ramporter ,was such a good sheep that we agreed he could accompany us on our cruise to Hawaii.  He was very modest and self-effacing while on the train to Seattle and on the bus from Seattle to Vancouver.  He even kept a low profile while we were wandering around Vancouver.  But as soon as we got on the ship – in fact, as soon as we got in line to get on the ship, Bucky popped out of my knapsack and began charming everyone.  Waving at other folks in line.  Holding onto my boarding pass for me. Rudy, our room steward, scratched  Bucky behind the ears.  All of the ladies in the spa flirted with him, tickling his tummy and massaging his scalp.  I may take him into the beauty salon for a little trim around the fetlocks.  Bucky just makes people smile!
So now, DH is at a travel tips seminar, Bucky is ruminating, and I have unpacked all our luggage.  I LOVE moving into a cruise ship cabin.  Part of it is the joy of taking possession. This  is MY room.  This is the drawer for MY underwear.  Here is where MY t-shirts belong.  I have taken over this side of the sink.  If I were a tomcat, I would pee on every doorpost in the area.  Mine.  MINE!
It’s also a lot of fun to find the ingenious storage hidey holes.  There are drawers under the foot of the bed.  There are shelves under the bathroom sink.  There are shelves above the closet rods.  Suitcases fit under the bed.  There are shelves above the TV.  And there are lots and lots of hangers.  Carnival gives you about 6 hangers, but Holland America provides about 24 hangers.  Very accommodating!
Yesterday, our first full day at sea was quite rough – 10 – 12ft swells -.  Kyle had taken one Meclizine, but when it came time for breakfast and we were seated clear in the stern, the motion was amplified, the light bouncing off the wake was intense, and there was a wait for the American breakfast Kyle had ordered because everyone wanted it.   It was too much and he took his slightly green self back to the room.  Now he knows that he should have 2 pills instead of one.
I had a Japanese breakfast, which always causes comment  but is so much easier on a queasy stomach. When I got back to the room, Kyle was wrapped in blankets and being brave.  I grabbed my knitting , pulled the drapes, and  left him to suffer in peace.  He slept most of the day except for a brief lunch foray to the Lido, and was feeling much  better for dinner.
He looked around and remarked that all the walkers and scooters lined up in the entry made him think of a Biker bar with motorcycles parked out front.  But with this group, all it will take is one swift kick to knock over all the riders, instead of all the bikes.  And they won’t get up and beat you to a pulp like bikers would.  You don’t want to try it though, because they don’t get to be octegenarians by being soft and stupid, so they will surely find a number of ways to get revenge.
Bucky also had a touch of mal-de-mer,  so stayed quietly in the cabin most of yesterday.  
But today is much calmer, so  Kyle and Bucky are both feeling more the thing.  I’ve gotten a number of photos of Bucky around the ship.  He’s quite the popular young ram and loves flirting with the girls.  When we get to Hawaii, I’m going to find an internet café and upload a bucket-o-blogging.
We are into our second full day at sea and still not halfway to Hawaii.  I adore this languid, leisurely pace.  I could almost swear my pulse has slowed to just about one beat a minute.  I think of my friends who are going through surgery right now, or fighting cancer, or facing other troubles, and I send them great armloads of peace and calmness.  I send an ocean empty of trouble from horizon to horizon. I send a sky full of fresh air and clean breezes.  I am sending them to you in particular and you know who you are.  I don’t want to share your name on the internet.
I have learned to be especially cautious because many of the staff are quite computer literate, and they come from terribly poor countries where they can make a buck just by providing name and nationality to scammers.  

4/ ?? Sunday , somewhere south of  the overcast.

Sleeping in, time changes give an extra hour every two days.  Eating.  Relaxing, eating, watching the ocean, eating, relaxing. Formal night last night.  I brought all my gowns and forgot all the jackets.  Crap!  But, one gown is purple, and Dave Daniels gave me a piece of hand-dyed silk in shades of purple, lavender and blue, and it made a stunning stole.  Dave, you saved my cupcakes!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We're on board the Oosterdam and halfway to Hawaii. They are charging $8 a minute and the connection is dial up slow, so I will post pictures and full reports from the Islands when we get there.  Rest assured that I am having an awesome time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On the rails again

Aloha, my darlings!  We are on our way!  I am blogging from onboard Amtrack enroute to Seattle.  Amtrack in business class has free wifi, and I'm taking full advantage.  Wish the picture was lighter.  It's a cloudy day, of course, but all the trees and bushes are leafing out amidst the firs and cedars so the world is a million shades of green!  It's just a feast for the eyes.  The first leg of the trip is alongside the Columbia, so we get to enjoy all the waterside and bottomland birds and critters. I saw one seat tree that sprouted about two dozen cormorants!  And the herons are hunkered down all over the place.  They look like pteradactyls when they fly.  Fields full of contented cows are succeeded by fields full of muddy sheep.  Then a glade of maples with undergrowth browsed clean by hairy highland cattle.  Here, a couple of colts frolic on the new grass, there, someone has dumped a dead water heater and several bags of miscellaneous garbage which the dear little raccoons have strewn far and wide.  Useless varmints! And I don't care much for raccoons, either.

DH has chi laptop out and is watching a movie.  I can hear clicking all around as other passengers get on with their daily work.  I do LOVE taking the train!

In the dining car I ran into a charming young couple - he was from Mississippi, she was from Alaska.  They are exploring!  Good for them!  I was ahead of them in the line, and gave the counter lady some extra cash to pay for part of their meal.

Anyhow, we will arrive in Seattle about 12, and transfer to a bus which will take us the rest of the way to Vancouver, BC.  We will spend the night at the Pan Pacific Hotel, the embark on our cruise ship, the Holland America Oosterdam.   The weather looks a bit rough up here in the North, but we have motion-sickness drugs.  And these modern ships are so big and stabilized that it takes a LOT of weather to make them pitch and roll.  I'm not worried.

People have asked us, "Aren't you worried something might go wrong with the ship?"  Well, it's a lot more dangerous to get into the car and drive down the street, and I don't worry much about that.  Our cabin has a veranda, so if the power goes out, we can still get fresh air.  If the engines quit, someone will come get us, and we'll have a great adventure to tell stories about.  AND, the cruise line will give us a free cruise to make up for it.  We take most things in stride.

So, happy trails to you and may your travels be smooth.

Oh, I was getting some knitting set up on a  size one wooden pointed circular and - yup - the point broke.  This time, I have lots of other needles and projects, so I changed my mind and my design and am using the yarn doubled on a size 5.  This will use up the yarn so much faster, though.  I might even need to buy yarn in Hawaii. Too Bad!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


More wool and silk scraps joined into hats.  This one grew big, so I put a couple of  little pleats in the sides.  It's kind of cute actually.    And very, very warm!

Tomorrow we leave for our cruise of a lifetime.  Train to Vancouver, ship to Hawaii, around Hawaii, and cruise back to Vancouver, then Seattle. Pictures and posts as I can get internet connections.

(And the house-sitter has a .45 and a rotweiler who loves kitties and hates everyone else, so all you thieves and bad persons take note.)

Cruise ship, Cruise ship!  I've been packed for two weeks.  DH bought me new gowns for the four formal nights.  I'm not as pretty as I used to be, but with these dresses, I'll feel like a queen!  And in his eyes, I'm lovely as ever.  I do love his eyes!
This hat is a good way to manage  if you just don't know how far the yarn will go.  Garter stitch a band that's long enough to go around the head, seam it up, then pick up around one edge, divide into quarters, place markers, and k2tog every time you slip a marker.

If you want a cuff on the hat, knit the band wider.

 If the yarn runs out, you can do the crown with something else, or work the end of it in stripes, or frog the whole project and start over with a better idea of how far it will go.

We saw this young fellow on Sunday. The Micro-Cooper stayed on the sidewalk, and dad stayed right beside him on the street.  It was a great day to be driving around in a convertible with the top down.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What a GOOD day!!

I need only one good knife in my kitchen.

DH repaired an exercise sword for a friend who does martial arts.  I'm better at marital arts, but I thought I would give it a swing.

Here is part of the set-up for the tea.  I took this photo before the sausage and puff-pastry pinwheels came out of the oven. On the top plate we have hazelnut macarons.  On the bottom plate are hazelnut scones.  Under the grapes are the pear and nutmeg upside down cakes.  Those went really well wit just a dab of sour cream. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of the Earl Grey tea biscuits.  I cut them square like a teabag and strung a tag though a hole in each one, and wrote happy thoughts on the tags.  Things like, "Hugs are good for you" and,  "You are stronger than you know."  The Earl Grey tea added a delicious flavor.
Here's the teapot set-up in the living room   My tulips are blooming now, and the grape hyacinths are going great guns!

We had a wonderful turnout, and so many people brought goodies to share.  Linda A brought a home-made lemon cheesecake.  Moma brought rocky road candy.  Linda G. brought meringues.  I was running out of places to put the food. And Paul and David brought orange juice and champagne.  Knitting with Mimosas?  Oh yes!

Just a few late blooming daffodils left.   I kind of like the shade they cast here.

We had a wonderful discussion about art and craft and what makes the differences.  Tamara pointed out that The Cubists and Dadaists were dealing with culture that was changing at an unprecedented rate, with all standards and expectations disintegrating and being re-built, and the art was a response to this. I'd never thought of it in that way before. So now, I wonder, when change is hitting us like a jackhammer with a jetpack, How is art responding?  I am SO not up on the current state of the art world.

And, we discussed the anniversary of the Titanic (think of all the folks who decided not to have dessert at dinner that night because it might be fattening.  Take your joy when you can.  You never know what'll happen next!)

In the living room, whenI made arun out there with the coffee, they were talking about celts, who went into battle naked and painted blue.  Someone asked, "Why did they do that?" And I said, "Because they were in the middle of the woad."

Here's the table, set up and awaiting the first nine people to arrive. And at the end of it all, after hours of tea and feasting and laughter and knitting, Tamara and Linda A stayed behind and helped me clean up..  Wow.  Just wow!  It was SUCH a swell time.

Next month we are planning to do a yarn swap, so go through your drawers and find yarn which you are ready to part with, and bring it on down on the second Saturday in May.  You'll probably find some new yarn to love.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April showers

Here's another hat for Medical Teams International.  This one's handspun wool and a few ounces of silk from an estate sale.  I have such an addiction for estate sale yarn. I love working with other people's precious leftovers.  And it does make for a warm and pretty hat.

Four days till knitting. It looks like there'll be 15 or 16 of us.  So here's your warning, folks - First nine to arrive get to sit at the table.  Latecomers get the living room.  We are having pear and nutmeg upside down cake, Earl Grey tea biscuits, scones with a variety of jams, chicken/apple sausage pasties, and some sort of fruit. Grapes?  Fruit salad? I haven't seen any decent melons in the market, and I hate to buy imported berries, so it might be apples, oranges and coconut, peeled, sliced and mixed.  And chocolate, of course.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Presents and a little sweater

Janette in Oz sent me an Easter present. I never think to give people Easter gifts, and she always sends the bestest  ones.

There were two Lindt chocolate rabbits.  I would share a picture of them, but chocolate rabbits have a very brief life expectancy around here.

She sent an Australian barbecue cookbook to DH because she knows he collects cookbooks, and we have a relatively new grill.

And she sent this utterly awesome NoroSilk scarf.  It's long and swagger and too cool for school!
Lookatall that crochet!  Look at how the wonderful Noro colors play.  Look at that fascinating design.  Oh, I'm gonna have fun with this one!

And Benita, at Dyed in the Wool, sent me a pair of socks to squee for.  They're pink and squiggly and I'm going to wear them all over today.  Here they are with Serena, my gargoyle.
Last, but not least,  what do you do with 3 half-skeins?  Put them together and make a baby surprise jacket.  DH even complimented me on the color choice. the buttons are off center but I can live with that.

Yesterday I got down on my hands and knees with a scrubber and worked over the baseboards corners and under-fridge-area in the kitchen, then scoured my bathroom.  Today, I find myself wanting to dust.  What is WRONG with me?  Clearly, I need to knit more.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A pleasant Easter sunday

DH and I had a lovely day - the warmest day yet for 2012- 68 degrees.  We had breakfast at Sully's before the Easter church services let out, then took a slow, leisurely drive through some old neighborhoods on the way to Ikea, and wandered happily through all the pretties.  We went in for a new lampshade and a wall-mounted lamp.  Besides that, we got a duster, an overhead light fixture, three sets of plastic food containers, and one of their giant reusable tote bags.  (We needed something to carry everything else, it was only 59 cents, and it's huge! How could I resist?)

After another meandering drive back home, we mounted the wall lamp, then ran to Lowes for a lightbulb.  Somehow, we walked out with 12 yellow trailing petunia plants, two tomato plants, and the required lightbulb.

It was too nice outside.  We poured a couple glasses of wine and pulled the cushions out for the pavilion furniture.  The cushions, packed carefully away for the winter, had become housing central for a gazillion spiders.  DH flicked them out of the chest onto the grass, and we kicked them about a bit till we felt the spiders had moved on.  Old Fly cat then came out and joined us for a while, but the breeze got too much for us by about 4 o'clock.  it was a great way to spend a day!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

It'sEaster in Australia

Janette, in Oz, asked for a kitty close-up, so here is the valiant Ben, guardian of Mount Washmore.  Clean laundry just out of the dryer is SUCH a good place for a kitty to curl up.

Friday, April 06, 2012

And the knit goes on ...

Still using up the tail ends of things.  I keep finding boxes half-full of odds and ends.  I never throw more than a yard of yarn away.  And thus I am able, when taken by the frenzy, to soothe my thrifty soul by churning out these scrap hats and scarves.  I'm listening to "Dragonfly in Amber" by Diane Gabaldon, and sewing, then watching the tube and knitting.  I have no job, no kids, and no sense of responsibility.  Life is freaking GOOD! Have I mentioned this before?  Not bragging, just reveling. It's what I'm doing right now, so I may as well enjoy it.  Life is too short not to enjoy what you're doing.

The scarf is knitted the long way, in seed stitch because it mixes colors and maximizes yardage, one row per color.  That gray fun fur has a lot of impact for being used in every fifth row.  And it makes for a fluffy, soft scarf.  As you can see, there is green, pink, gray and black

The hat, again knit from the top down, is using up bits of pink and white wool and silk.  Knitting this hat made my inner 6 year-old so happy!  She squeed every time we came to the end of a ball and had to select a new shade.  At least two strands of yarn held together all the way through. Fun, fun!

As you can see from the flowers in the background, spring is rolling right along.  the theme for this month's tea is "Daffodils"  Yellow table cloth, yellow shades in the china, daffodils of course on the table.  Pear and ginger upside down cake.  Yellow macarons, (hazelnut flavor maybe) Earl Grey tea biscuits (recipe from an Aussie pal) Lavender scones. Maybe a fruit salad with fresh pears.  And something chocolate.  Hmm - - - what incarnation of chocolate shall I use?  Lindor balls?  brownies? Mini cupcakes?  Chocolate cookies?  Classic chocolate chip cookies?  Decisions, decisions.  Any ideas, suggestions, recommendations or requests?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

/quick and easy quilt

Randomly joined stripes of dark and light, cut into right  triangles and sewn together.  Jivey and exciting, in a calm, neutral palate.  I do love strip piecing!

And everything is better with a kitty.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Would someone please call my phone?  I have no idea where it has gotten to this time.

I have photos of finished objects to post.  A quilt and a scarf.  Hey. I have no job, no kids, and now I get to knit and sew as much as I want.  Of COURSE I'm turning out a lot.

Benita asked for a pattern for my  lazy cowl.  It's more of a recipe than a pattern, to be adjusted according to taste.

Using size 5 needles and sport weight yarn, cast on 92stitches and work k2/p2 rib for four inches,( more or less depending on how much yarn you have, how long your neck is, and whether you want a turtleneck on your cowl. 10 inches isn't too much for a pencil-neck geek like me.)

Increase one stitch, and work seed stitch (k1/p1) for several rounds.  Switch to size 8 needles and work 3 or four inches of seed stitch. You can probably use circular needles for this. Switch to see 10s and work another four or so inches of seed stitch and bind off.If you have lots of yarn left, crochet a lacy border. Maybe add beads. Or not.  As you choose.

Going from rib to seed stitch gives you lots of ease, and then going up in needle size opens your gauge to make for a lacey, loosey-goosey sort of fabric.

Benita also asked what pattern I used for my knit from the top down hats.  I sort of unvented one.

Top-down hat

using double-pointed needles of a size appropriate for your yarn, cast on 7, leaving a 3 inch (or so) tail to sew the top shut.
Row 1: increase in each stitch (I like to knit in the front and back of the increase stitch, but use the increase of your choice)  14 stitches
Row 2 and all even numbered rows: knit
Row 3: *increase in first stitch, k1,* repeat 6 more times  21 stitches

Row 5: *increase in first stitch, k2,* repeat 6 more times  28 stitches
Row 7: *increase in first stitch, k3,* repeat 6 more times  35 stitches
Row 9: *increase in first stitch, k4,* repeat 6 more times  42 stitches
Row 11: *increase in first stitch, k5,* repeat 6 more times 49 stitches
Row 13: *increase in first stitch, k6,* repeat 6 more times  56 stitches
Row 15: *increase in first stitch, k7,* repeat 6 more times  63 stitches
Row 17: *increase in first stitch, k8,* repeat 6 more times  70 stitches
Row 19: *increase in first stitch, k9,* repeat 6 more times  77 stitches
Row 21: *increase in first stitch, k10,* repeat 6 more times  84 stitches
Row 23: *increase in first stitch, k11,* repeat 6 more times  91 stitches
Row 25: *increase in first stitch, k12,* repeat 6 more times  98  stitches

Depending on your yarn and needle size, this should be an acceptable size crown of a hat for infant, child or adult.  Hats aren't the most perfectly fitted sort of thing.  A too-big hat on a kid is adorable.  And hats for preemies are about the size of a demitasse cup, so there will always be someone who can wear your hat.

At this point, I usually work k2/p2 rib for 6 to 10inches, but you can indulge in lace, color work, cables or whatever strikes your fancy.  Hats are a great place to try new techniques since they are a small investment in time and materials.  Just remember that if you don't finish with at least an inch of ribbing, the hat will not stay on as well.

Any questions?  Feel free to use, repost, or sell these "patterns".  Putting a copyright on them would be like trying to copyright a technique for watching a sunset.   You have eyes, don't you?  You have a sunset?  Watch it which ever way seems good to you.

You have yarn, needles and the skills to cast on, knit, purl, increase, and bind off.  Make your hat any way you like!

Monday, April 02, 2012

April already?

April already?

 We have survived the  wettest March on record.  April shows signs of being equally damp, but there is a break in the deluge and I have run out with my latest knitting and the cell phone.  Photo Op!  Still using up the odds and ends of the bulky yarn.  This hat is child sized.

This hood used up the very last bits.  Random stripes in garter stitch incorporating short rows.

This cowl was cast on to provide knitting for movies. The 2/2 rib was knitted on size 5s.  The seed stitch was knitted on size 10s.  This means the neck is snug, and the skirt of the cowl spreads and drapes loosely and gracefully.
And finally, white worsted weight yarn, with a thread of Dave Daniels' handspun, hand-dyed yarn to add interest.  This is another hat started from the top and knitted down so I could use every teensy bit of the yarn.

Lately, DH and I have been having back troubles.  I suggested that we swap sides of the couch, because my side certainly had a list to it, and I figured that his side was similarly broken down.  We've had this sofa for ten years, and I figured it should be good for another 30 or so.  Ha, ha! He sat down on my side of the sofa, stood up and said, "We're going shopping.  I'm getting a quarterly bonus check and WE are getting a new couch.  How could you sit on this?"

So we spent most of Saturday putting our butt prints on various styles and brands of furniture and eventually decided to get two Lazy Boy recliners.  It will be ten weeks before we get them, so in the meantime, we spent Sunday re-arranging our living room furniture.  DH is really good at this.  We now have a cozy tv nook separated from a social seating area, and we no longer sit on the broken down sofa.