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Saturdays Mean Something, Again

During the summer when school is out and if you’re not working outside the home the days pretty much melt one into another,  especially here in the Deep South.  I get to sleep a little later in the summer and go to bed a little  way later than usual.  But school has been in session since August 8th which means early mornings and daily drives to and from high school.  So.  On Saturdays  I can sleep late.  But don’t count on it.  Between the 9th grader who likes to get up before the birds (she’s not mine, must be her daddy’s…) and cook breakfast. And because her daddy who thinks I’m wasting the day by being in bed, I am usually up no later than 7:30.  Oh, and let us not forget the cats who jump upon the bed and start making biscuits on your stomach while purring loud enough to register on the Richter Scale. Lately my daughter’s specialty is baking English Scones from scratch and they taste delicious, wonderful, and scrumptious.  She makes enough for me to nibble on what’s left all day long.  And for an extra special treat, sometimes she puts out the blackberry jam she made from blackberries she picked while on walks up and down the street in July.  Again, early morning walks.  I am usually still hanging onto my first cup of coffee and talking incoherently.  Unless I have something to knit, then I am alert, making sense when I talk and looking forward to that second and third cup of coffee,  And woe be to the person who wants me to stop and do something for him out in his bike shop. 😦  So maybe after Saturday morning, I will have something to show you in the way of that raglan sleeved sweater I am almost finished with.  Oh, so close.  But it has wool in it, blended with cotton and I am not that anxious to wear it when it is 95 degrees outside and when the car sits for two minutes, the thermometer registers 115 degrees F.!  It’s Labor Day Week-end; the trees are beginning to turn colors.  Let’s cool it off, please.  But, back when I was in high school, I got my second-worst sunburn lying out by the pool over Labor Day week-end.  The absolute worst sunburn I got came from my sorority’s week-end house-parties in March in Destin, Florida.  Not in May or June, but March!  Suffice it to say, I don’t tan very well.  But burn, that I do very well.  Besides knit.  And sleep.  And snuggle with my cats.

The Art Show was held this week-end in the Mentone Park among the trees.  That was a very good thing; as it was hot in the afternoon.  I took a few pictures of the vendors.

The Mentone Art Show among the trees.

One of the vendors was Beth Bailey aka The Original Scarf Lady, who takes yarns and strips of fabric and makes necklaces and hair clips.  She was generous and gave the Teen-ager one to wear in her hair.

The scarf and hair-clip designer with the Teen-ager. Sorry you cannot see the hair-clip very well.

I’m sorry you can’t really see it on her.  I took a picture to show you how nice it looks.

Hand made hair-clip using vintage fabric and yarns.

She may be reached at alabeth@aol.com.   Here is another picture of Beth wearing one of her scarves.

Beth Bradley wearing one of her scarves made from vintage fabrics and yarns.

I bought a pair of handmade earrings from Pam Nicholson of Napoleon’s Baubles.  She may be reached at spaigenicholson@gmail.com.  For the last couple of years I have this thing about wanting to wear handmade earrings.  I love them, they are beautiful.  I was going back to another vendor to get a pair of earrings made from melted glass which were gorgeous.  However.

I never made it back to the art show as it was supposed to last two more days but Tropical Storm Lee interfered with a lot of people’s plans.  On  Sunday, the power was out from 2:30 p.m. (with the last sheet of macadamia and white chocolate chip cookies left in the oven) until 12:15 a.m.  We were very fortunate compared to other people in town.  Down the street there are several trees down, two of which fell on the same house.  When high winds are combined with saturated ground, you get trees falling over.   And my thoughts and prayers are for those who are really suffering from the effects of floods and power outages and tornadoes.

One more thing about Saturdays in the fall:  FOOTBALL!!!  Southeastern Conference Football!!!  In my house the Auburn and Alabama games are evenly supported until THE GAME.  Then we watch it from opposite sides of the room.  But preferably in separate rooms.  Now, having said all this with such emphasis I can not tell you who Auburn is playing this week-end.  After all, it is just a game.

My current WIP is the Garterlac Dishcloth.  I’ve frogged it twice and in frustration went back to the Ravelry site and a tutorial was offered.  Due to the power outage I did not get to work on it any yesterday.

Twice frogged Garterlac washcloth

I still have not seamed the raglan sleeved sweater.  After all, there was no power and it is hard to seam dark blue in the semi-darkness.

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Mystery Yarn

Do you have any anonymous yarn in your stash?  I like to visit thrift stores and sometimes I hit the jackpot with yarn. On one visit to my favorite thrift shop, I found skeins of Tahki Stacy Charles Cotton Classic for $1.00 per skein. Yes, I bought all they had.

Cotton Classic Colors

11 skeins of Cotton Classic White

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I return from the shopping trip empty-handed; however, on occasion I can find a name brand blouse or tee-shirt for only $4.00 unless the store is having a half-price sale and I can buy it for $2.00!  Last week I bought a pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $1.50!  Excuse me, I’m getting off topic.

I have several balls of yarn without a band in my stash that were bought at this shop that I definitely want to use for a knitting project one day.

Mystery Yarn

A swatch of one mystery yarn

A few are very soft and I can’t decide if the yarn is a high-end acrylic or an acrylic blend.

The "Great Unknown"

One yarn in particular is an unknown content and as there are just a few skeins to work with, I really don’t want to “waste” it making a swatch.  But, I probably will.

Any suggestions for knitting projects?

The First Time I Picked Up Knitting Needles

When I was little, one of my mother’s friends seemed to be able to do anything she set her mind to doing:  wallpapering, painting, sewing, and….knitting.  She probably crocheted, too, but I don’t remember her doing that.  I watched her knit and was fascinated by the things she made and I wanted to learn to do that.  I pestered Mother until she let me ask Ruby to teach me how to knit. I vaguely remember wanting to knit a sweater and that’s what she started me on – a sweater!  Not a scarf or scarves, not a washcloth, or even a hat but a whole sweater.  I remember it was a simple cardigan with 2×2 ribbing in a soft olive-green wool.  Mother bought the needles and yarn for me and I was on my way to knit;ing a sweater!  But….. I didn’t finish it.  However, I did complete the back but never knitted the front sides or the sleeves.  I remember seeing the back with bound off armholes and the neck stitches on a brass holder, stored in Mother’s double cedar closet; but after she died and we cleared out the house I didn’t find it in the closet.  When I think about when I learned to knit and how young I was, I am amazed that Ruby let me begin knitting on a sweater and not something simple like a garter stitch scarf.  Maybe that is why I am not intimidated by complicated designs or patterns considered advanced or needing experience; I was not told that I “could not do that.”  I am the same way when it comes to sewing.  The first piece of clothing I made after taking Singer sewing classes when I was 14 was a lined, wool, princess-seamed jumper with two pleats.  Daddy always told me to never say “I can’t.”

It has been a long while since that first almost-sweater.  These days I am finishing a second v-neck sweater.  I call it my “tornado” sweater since I started it back in April when the power was out from the tornadoes that hit a community two miles from where I lived at the time.  The back andthe front are finished and the sleeves are being knitted at the same times on circular needles.

"Double" knitting sleeves

This ‘double’ knitting is great in that when I finish a sleeve, they are both finished!

Sleeve for the Charlotte "tornado" tee shirt

Coco sitting on the back of the sweater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo was taken at the same time as the one above but with a different exposure.

 

 

 

 

I would love to complete the sweater in time to wear to a wedding this Saturday but it is a wool blend and the wedding is in downtown Chattanooga, in the middle of July, no less.  Maybe not.  I may wear the first v-neck sweater I finished earlier this summer a combination of linen and cotton, perfect for a hot, humid Southern afternoon.

Mid-Summer Art Festival

This afternoon, my teenager and I walked down the street toward town where the art festival was being held in the town’s square where it was hot and even more humid.  I learned years ago when I was a camp counselor that the only way to survive this type of weather was to give yourself “permission” to be hot and sweaty. We wandered around the various booths of beautiful handmade glass jewelry, pottery, watercolors, oils, iron work, wood work and other artsy items.

 

 

 

 

My favorite items were handmade earrings and these felted purses:

Becky's Bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becky's Bags in art festival booth

Becky also works in pottery and makes wonderful lidded bowls with little wrens on the lid.  Her booth was next to a butterfly booth and a wren was hidden in it singing away.  What a delight!

Yarn Has Many Uses

Yarn has many uses besides knitting.  I discovered that skeins make great padding when packing boxes of breakables.  My daughter received some very bright, neon colored yarn and I used it first.

Then, still needing padding, I moved on to my stash that was (still is) packed in a large grey plastic bin. 

My "breakables"

I also use pots and pans to provide greater protection against breakage

My better yarns are still stored in clear plastic bins so I know where they are without a lot of hunting.  I used the grey bin to store acrylics and blends I use for toys. The question my husband keeps asking is “When are you going to get rid of those magazines?”  I’m not sure.  I do know that I have quit purchasing every knitting magazine I come across.  Also, I have let my magazine subscriptions expire and purchase a magazine only if there is an article I really want to read or a pattern I want to knit.  If I get around to knitting all those patterns, I will be knitting when I am 100 years old!  My favorite magazine is Interweave because the patterns are not outlandish and the articles are so informative.

Other than knitting what other uses do you find for your yarn?

A Tale of Two Sweaters

The past couple of months have been more than unsettling.  I knew back in March I would be moving in June and since then it’s been hectic to say the least.  In the middle of packing I was still knitting, hoping I could finish a sweater to wear the first Sunday in a new church.  However, that was a little too ambitious.  Perhaps if I had not been knitting two sweaters, I might have finished one.  Someday I’ll learn.  The first sweater is “Charlotte Raglan Tee” designed by Rosemary Drysdale found on the Tahki Stacy Charles website.  I’m knitting it in Chelsea by Lily Chin in blue.  I love the lace effect on the hems of the sleeves and body of the sweater and it’s easy to memorize.  I am knitting both sleeves at the same time on the size 5 Hiya Hiya circulars.

Back of Charlotte Raglan TeeCoco and the Charlotte Raglan Tee

The front of the Charlotte Raglan Tee with a different camera exposure. I hate it when that happens.... The top picture is a more accurate rending of the yarn color.

The second sweater is a free round neck tee shirt pattern in K4, P3 ribbing from Plymouth Yarn using Bella Colour in a baby blue.  It is in hibernation at the moment due to circumstances I could have controlled…our new puppy (more like half-grown dog) pulled my size 8 Hiya Hiya circular needles out of my bag and chewed the cable.  Of course, the front of the sweater was full of dropped stitches but, thankfully, the yarn was not chewed in two.  Will wonders ever cease?   My bag was on the floor, so what can I say?  So far Maggie May has chewed two leashes, a collar, a lawn chair and my daughter’s shoe.  She’s a stray who came to the house and we’ve kept her.  Based upon Maggie’s chewing habits, she must have some lab in her but she’s built like a greyhound.  We already had three cats, Sweetie, the fat ginger kitty, who is as sweet as her name; Monkee, the black with three white spots down her chest and tummy; and the baby, Coco, who isn’t really black but not brown either.  He’s is the most loveable cat I’ve ever had.  When you pick him up, he goes limp like a ragdoll.  How did I go from knitting to cats and dogs?  Oh yeah, the dog who likes to chew.

The back of the round neck tee shirt pattern from Plymouth Yarn

The front of the sweater Maggie May ripped by chewing the needle cable

All my yarn is either in boxes or bins and will stay there until I get these two sweaters finished.  My Peaches and Cream yarns are in a tote bag which I’ll dig into to pick out yarns for dishcloths to knit for gifts – for the people who helped me move and the special people left behind.

The Aftermath

Power is back on for me and life is pretty back to normal;  but, for countless others life will never be the same.  There are towns and communities practically wiped off the face of the earth and people are still missing.  Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa on Facebook is doing outstanding work putting people and resources together.  Food is being cooked and distributed; diapers and personal hygiene items are being handed out and people who are walking around in a daze not knowing what to do next are being comforted.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the Alabama way of life, Toomer’s Corner is the famous corner at Auburn University where people gather after football games.  And the rivalry between the two universities is unmatched.  In the state of Alabama, when you are introduced to someone, one of the first things you ask is “Are you an Auburn or Alabama fan?”

So it is significant that this effort is instigated by an Auburn graduate who has made appeals to alumni from Maine to California.  18-wheelers loaded with supplies are leaving from places like Delaware and California headed to Alabama. It’s not just Tuscaloosa that is  benefiting from her efforts, other towns and neighborhoods suffering damage from the multiple tornadoes are being helped.

I am so impressed by this young woman’s efforts – she’s awesome.  If you would like to support her and the tornado victims check out Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa on Facebook.   I am moving in June and instead of having a yard sale I’m taking clothes, kitchen and other items to the local drop-off.