Dancing in Louisiana

February is done, and it’s only July!  I finished my February Lady Sweater today. Happy dance, happy dance!   DH did the photo honors in our rose garden:

February Lady Sweater in the rose garden , lakeside

Yarn is Cotton Fleece, Antique Lace, with buttons from the Button Drawer.com
I wanted you to see my living room view, including that red rose.  It’s a Chrysler Imperial, which is a damask rose.  The damask roses have a fragrance to die for! I have had a lifetime love of the Chrysler Imperial because my grandmother grew it in front of a white picket fence that lined the back of her garden.  That was the site of many of my birthday pictures…me, a pedestal table with a birthday cake, and the roses in bloom.  Happy times!

The Great Unwrapping

Marilyn, aka The Skipper, had a blogversary contest at  http://mvwindwalker.blogspot.com/.  I was the lucky winner, and today the gift box arrived.  There was much celebrating at the mail truck door as I signed for the box!  Here is what I received:

There was a skein of black lace-weight yarn, 4 skeins of Elann worsted-weight in maroon ,  two skeins of  Elann Sock It To Me in navy, two stitch holders, a row counter,  a Knitting Daily measuring tape, a knitter’s journal, 3 magnets from the Victoria Fibrefest 2008 (Knit like you mean it, Eat.  Sleep. Knit, and Knit Happens), and a sassy “I knit, therefore I am” bumper sticker.  All this was packed in a navy canvas and white vinyl tote.  Wow!

Even the card that Marilyn enclosed is a keeper: It is a print of “SnowcappedMountains”, a Fabric Landscape Applique by Alison Kobylnyk, Victoria, BC.  Love it!

You know I’m having fun savoring my choices of projects.  I’m also thinking about all the knitting notions, and I thought of what may be a novel application.  I’m planning on knitting the Secret of the Stole III KAL, which is charted knitting.  I’m thinking these three magnets would be great for underlining my chart row.  I will  lay the chart out on the back of a large cookie sheet, and the magnets will not only underline, but hold the chart in place.  Pretty slick, eh?

I should also mention that I’m pleased to have these mementos of the Victoria Fibrefest.  We read about so many plans and preparations, but couldn’t travel that far.

Marilyn, I’m thrilled with your gifts.  Thank you, again!

Knitterly pictures, at last

Progress has been made on a regular basis; photography, not so much. Finally, there are pictures to show you. I have finished the Limbo socks, a gift from Robin S in New Braunsfels. I’ll enter them in the next two-week period of SOS08.

This is my first pair knit in DK weight yarn. I was surprised and pleased that a) I had enough yarn for a pair; and b) they fit. Oh, I of little faith. Both are always good outcomes, eh?

Since I had a completed pair of socks in hand for the next Summer of Socks 2-week entry, I felt free to knit on my February Lady Sweater. I’ve been using it for my travel knitting as we traverse the state every weekend with Eastern Star. DH told me to go ahead and order buttons from http://www.buttondrawer.com. That was a tremendous incentive to knit on! I finished the first sleeve this morning, and took the second off the waste yarn.

It’s Cotton Fleece in Antique Lace color. That should be perfect for “uber-air-conditioning” that folks seem to prefer.

Breaking etiquite rules

It was considered proper for a lady’s name to appear in the newspaper on three occasions, only:  her birth, her marriage, and her death.  Well, that one’s out the window.  As I posted earlier, I agreed to write up my weight-loss story and have my portrait taken.  I wanted to share them with you, too.

The new me, after 120 lb. weight loss

The new me, after 120 lb. weight loss

I can truthfully say I never went on the grapefruit diet. I counted calories and went down 2 dress sizes for my wedding. The only other time I got serious about dieting I tried Weight Watchers. I lost a lot of weight, but wasn’t comfortable with the new me, and put it all back on, plus a bunch more.

At my high weight I was having a lot of problems with knee and lower back pain. Stairs were very difficult, kneeling was impossible, and I fatigued easily. My doctor told me weight loss would probably help a lot. I heard her, but did nothing. In addition, I was taking several medicines for high blood pressure and one for cholesterol, both made worse by my weight. Mostly I had come to accept that I would never be thin, and ate whatever I wanted.

The turning point for me was a longevity quiz that Good Morning America posted on its website. The results said “taking into account your family history, and deducting 20 years for the effects of your weight, you have one year to live”. That was enough to get my attention! There on my table was a copy of Zachary Neighbors, with an article about Scale Down. I called, attended orientation, liked what I heard, and was ready to start immediately! The next class didn’t start for a month, so I purchased the entrees and shakes and followed the brochures by myself until class started. That was February, 2007, and there has been no turning back.

The hardest part for me has been changing my mental image of myself. Every week I held my “before” picture in front of me and looked in the mirror, saying “I don’t see any difference”. Finally, I put the before picture away. When I got it back out this week, I was startled at how different it looked – who’s that fat woman? I’m beginning to recognize the new me when I catch my reflection in store windows, but I’m still amazed!

As for my medical problems, they have been greatly improved. I no longer take blood pressure medications, and my cholesterol has been significantly reduced. I did a trial of no cholesterol medication, but because I have a family history, my doctor and I opted to continue the medicine.

I do have arthritis in my lower back and knees, but it is well-controlled with arthritis medicine. I can run up stairs and walk as much as I wish, and once again I kneel in church.

There have been a lot of changes: I’ve gone from a size 28 jeans to size 10! I started with a BMI of 46, and now am 26.5. In just over a year I lost 120 pounds, and I’ve kept it off for another 4 months so far. And that longevity quiz? I took it again recently, and I have my 20 years back!

So, my friends, that is my story.  One of my main reasons for agreeing to all this publicity is that it will keep me honest.  There’s no ordering mega-calorie desserts if your face is recognized by all in the restaurant!


Pick me, pick me!

Alison Hyde wrote about a fire in her county that caused her concern. She didn’t have to evacuate, but it did start us talking about what to take. There are givens: the documents needed to pick up one’s life, computer back-up, personal medications, the cats and their accoutrements.

High on my list would be the sewing/embroidery machine and the serger. My sewing machine is only a distant descendant of the treadle machine I used in high school home-economics. How far we’ve come! Frankly, when we were young newly-weds, we couldn’t afford to purchase a car with an equivalent price tag.

Yarn stash shouldn’t be left behind, either. It wedges in so nicely around suitcases and all – packs it securely in place, eh? You think I’m being frivolous? Let me tell you a Katrina story that any needlewoman will understand.

It was September, 2004, about 3 weeks after Katrina, when I was shopping for a new pattern in the cross stitch shop in Baton Rouge, LA. A lady came in, looking for something to work on while she stayed with her daughter in Baton Rouge. She seemed a bit dazed and unfocused, as so many did after that trauma. As we suggested our current favorite designers, more and more of her story came out. She had had to leave all her craft supplies behind, and all was lost…not just her embroidery thread, but her floor-stand Dazor lamp, her scissors with a beautifully embroidered fob, everything! Shock set in for all of us as we priced a new Dazor, and compared that to what we had originally paid. Replacement was out of the question.

The patrons in the store rallied with suggestions: clip-on magnifiers found at Michael’s, working at a larger scale, a pattern that would entertain without purchasing an excessive number of colors. The lady just needed to be able to set her hands back to the familiar motions, and loose herself in the embroidery.

What would you pack for your mental health?

Fat Man’s Misery

As a child I visited the Wisconsin Dells with my family. We took the traditional boat trip to the sandstone formations, and walked through a narrow opening called Fat Man’s Misery. I remember that I was worried about getting stuck in the rock (thanks, Mr. Tour Guide!). I wasn’t anywhere near big enough to wedge myself, but my mental image was.

So it is, after a lifetime of being the “big girl”, that Fat Girl’s Misery is a formal portrait…until today. Today I have agreed, stepped forward when asked, volunteered to have my portrait done. Here’s the kicker: it’s for publication! The folks at Scale Down, the doctor-supervised diet program, have asked me to write up my story and have my portrait done at their expense. Here is the address for the national program: http://www.hmrprogram.com. It is a research-supported, well documented program that has helped me loose that 120 pounds and keep it off.

I’ll post the picture when I have my copy and my story. It was easier to write than I feared. I just considered it another blog post!

Delilah and the quilt/hold the Sampson

Mrs. Lyle Hannan Springsteen was my great-grandmother.  She was born in 1868, and married John Henry Springsteen in 1886.  I’m sure her parents, John and Anna Hannan, thought they would never marry her off!  They were married for 41 years, just as DH and I have been.  John died in 1927, and she lived on to 1968!  Can you imagine what it must have been like to be a widow for 41 years, after being married for 41?

But what about Delilah?  That name was never spoken, and didn’t come to my knowledge until I read the obituary.  She was raised Church of the Brethren, or “Dunkards”.  Most folks lump them in with the Amish or Mennonites; the Amish would consider them “fancy”, though.  They were pacifists,  plain people, with a strong faith.  The selection of that name from all the Biblical choices is a family mystery.  Clearly, she was uncomfortable with it.

Delilah was an exquisite quilter.  She mostly made scrap quilts, as times were lean and she had only Social Security (she was one of the first recipients).  However, this quilt was made to mark my father’s high school graduation in 1929.  It is mostly golden yellow and white, but there are a few small squares of paler yellow in one block.  It is bound with feed-sack muslin, as I discovered one bleached-but-evident spot of writing on the back of the quilt.

over-view of quilt made 1929

over-view of quilt made 1929

This is the only quilt she made that didn’t feature scraps, so you know it was a truly special gift!  I believe the pattern would be called a Double Irish chain.

The quilting is done at 10 stitches/inch.  As a child, I witnessed quilting there, with the frame made of long boards, propped up on the backs of dining room chairs.  This put the quilting nearer eye than lap level, and allowed for a group of women to sit around it and quilt.  Her friends from the Fairview Ladies’ Aide probably helped quilt this.  I know they quilted my baby blanket, and my first-born’s baby blanket, which has been used by two of my daughters and 4 grandchildren.

Here’s a look at the feather quilting in the sashing:

feather-quilted sashing

feather-quilted sashing

Delilah was the guest-of-honor at our wedding in 1966.  She wore black – not in disapproval, but because that was considered proper “dress-up” for her.

We had been married only two years when she died.  That obituary listed 10 grandchildren, 2 great-grand children (my brother  and I), 20 great-great grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchildren!  We weren’t even thinking of having children, yet in another branch of the family we would have been great-grandparents ourselves!  Yipes! What a surprise:  all those people I’d never heard of!  The generational slippage occurred when 3 generations married later than the current average:  my grandmother at 20, my father at 34, and I at 21.

And one final mystery was solved in the safe deposit box yesterday.  Delilah and my father shared the same middle name:  Frances.  I hadn’t known he was named to honor her.

Now, how did that go?

I planned to write some family history today, to tell the tale of Delilah.  (It still seems odd to me to call her that.  She was always Great-Grandmother Springsteen, or Mrs. Lyle Springsteen. )  But as I lay awake last night I realized that after 40 years, I’m no longer certain what is fact and what is conjecture I have used to fill in the gaps.  As keeper of the family story, I feel an obligation to get it right.

So, my friends, I will stop at the safe deposit box today while I am out running errands.  (Did you think it was only for passports, birth certificates, and the occasional old coin?)  There are obituaries and funeral cards there that have some solid facts.  Funny, how lives are condensed down to these bits of paper.  Then, we will have the story tomorrow.

Moving in!

I had a brief fling with barbara-kay.vox.com, but found out very quickly that no one could comment without registering with Vox.  Bummer.  So here I am, world.  A bit about me:

My life is defined by music and needle arts. I am a classically-trained pianist, having studied from the age of 3. In college, I made a decision not to pursue a concert career, fearing the family tendency to arthritis. (Professionally, I am a retired RN.) I do continue to perform on occasion, both as a soloist and as an accompanist for an operatic tenor.

My Great-grandmother, Delilah Springsteen (born 1868) taught me to knit. (She learned to knit socks for the Spanish American War!) Her method was Eastern Crossed, I now know. When I became interested in lace knitting I stumbled into transforming my knitting to Western, and never looked back.

I love to knit shawls and socks. Until this year, I was “excessively fluffy”, so these two items were really about all that fit me. Now, after a 120-lb. weight loss, and still in progress, I’m knitting a sweater and a vest for me. Yipee! Of course, the shawls and socks continue on the needles, too.

You’ll find me on Ravelry as meezermeowmy, too.  I try to keep life simple.

We’re moving!

I know I just arrived here, but so many people have complained that they can't post a comment without registering with Vox.  So, now you'll find me at  http://www.meezermeowmy.wordpress.com. ;
Bye! 

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