A Finished Object Returns Home

Yesterday I picked up the completed framing of the Summer Garden sampler.  In fact, I was so excited that I made an extra trip to Baton Rouge to retrieve it.  (You’ve heard of giving up things for Lent?  I was supposed to give up frequent trips to Baton Rouge for gas prices. Sorry, DH.)

Several of you have written that you’d like to see the framed sampler, so here it is. I fell in love with this sampler because it reminded me of my grandmother’s lovely gardens.  At the back of the yard was a white picket fence with an archway gate.  Growing against the fence were Chrysler Imperial roses – deep red with a marvelous, rich perfume.  Many years my birthday picture was taken out there, with the cake on a pedestal table beside me.

The key to the wall grouping is in that memory.  You see, the upper frame contains the handwritten recipe for my grandmother’s white cake.  She kept that a close secret during her lifetime; I received the recipe as an inheritance.  Her cakes were amazing – the cakes on Ace of Cakes always make me think of her.

What would be on your wall, were we to capture your passions of life?

Our New Farmer’s Market

The big city has had a farmer’s market for years.  It’s 16 miles of gas one way, and then the stalls are on the hot concrete of a blocked-off city street.  I’m told the big city charges the vendors a pretty penny for the privilege,  too.

Our small town has decided we’ve grown up enough to have our own market.  After all, many of the farmers are north of us, and have to drive through here to get to the big city market.  The city fathers promoted less hassle, lower fees, and the ability to park the vendor’s vehicles right at their booths. The market is on the grass at the Youth Park (think baseball venue), and the city furnishes one friendly policeman, there mainly to “show the colors”, and make sure no one gets an idea about relieving the vendors of their hard-earned cash.

From the very beginning it has been a big hit.  The first week there were only four vendors, and they sold everything they brought in the first hour.  Undaunted, people returned the next market day (2nd and 4th Saturdays), and bought out the market again!

This week the produce was less plentiful, as we are in the heat of the summer, and have lacked sufficient rain.  I brought home new potatoes, green onions, and yellow squash from this stand.

You don’t need an elaborate set-up, or even a canopy, as the market is set among mature trees.  This man sells melons on the side of the road, too, thus the sign with the arrow.

I got a real chuckle from this stand.  I suppose they are selling a delicacy, but I couldn’t help asking:  “Would that be eggs laid by pickled quails?”

Introducing the Persian Ulmus

We were blessed with 2.9 inches of rain this weekend.  It had been a long, dusty stretch of time, and we are thankful for rain.  This morning the sun is shining, and the hoped-for photo shoot went off on schedule.  Without further ado, I give you the Persian Ulmus:

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock , in colorways 852 Persia (on the left) and 416 Indiecita (on the right).  At first, I thought “What have I done!”  As the knitting went on, I fell more and more in love with the combination.  I am amused by the number of times a knitter has said this same thing in the Ravelry Ulmus KAL.  It’s not an ugly duckling, but an “ugly Ulmus syndrome”.

The rich blend of colors makes me think of a Persian tapestry, so Persian Ulmus it is. 

Geeks don’t waste time counting

Yesterday I cast on for my second Ulmus, this time in Malabrigo sock yarn.  (I’ll share details and pictures tomorrow, after this rainy weather passes.  Why, yes, I’m bragging – we’re getting rain!)  After knitting the set-up charts you have, let’s say 45 stitches on the needle.  (I am changing numbers for the sake of the illustration.  You are clever knitters, and it wouldn’t be fair to the designer to use the real ones.) The next instruction is to continue repeats of the rows of the second chart until you have 395 stitches on the needle.

Whoa – 395 stitches.  Visions of repeatedly counting to see if I was at the 395 mark danced through my head like a nightmare.  Not gonna do it!  So I started playing with my calculator:  395 – the 45 I already have = 350.  I could see from the chart that doing one repeat of the chart rows would add 14 stitches.  So, the question is:  How many times through the chart (14 stitches)  would equal 350?  Type 350 in calculator, divide by 14,  = 25.

Okay, 25 repeats of the chart will do it.  Where to write that down do I won’t lose it?  How to remember, through TV shows and movies and interruptions, that it’s 25 repeats?  Time to use my Geek powers! My counter application for my PDA, CountAble has multiple counters, and the ability to count down as well as up.  I set “pattern repeats” at 25, and knit away.  Every time I finish a chart repeat, I click one down.  When it says “0”, it’s time to add the lace.  Much less stressful.  Having invested a few minutes of thought, I don’t have to think about this again for days…except to remember to use the counter.

Knitter’s learning curve

I had to drive to Baton Rouge for an errand  yesterday.  Once that was completed I decided to prowl through Michael’s Crafts.  I hadn’t been there in months, and the knit chat lists have mentioned a lot of changes.

There in the yarn aisle I met a lady holding a pair of pink Pony Pearl needles, about size 9, and very long.  I struck up a conversation, and pulled my circular needles out of my purse, explaining that you could knit back and forth, too.  I extolled the virtues of circular needles that put the weight of a large project on your lap, not your wrists.

She replied “Oh, yes, I’ve had trouble with carpel tunnel syndrome in the past.  But these needles are pink!”

I explained about different needle materials working for different yarns:  bamboo for slippery yarn, slick metal needles for cotton.

She replied “But those don’t come in pink!

O-kay, I see a trend here!  I admired some pink wool, but she made a beeline for the acrylic.

I just walked away.  Some people are not good candidates for knowledge.

A Quiet Weekend

Although Garrison Keeler always begins his monologue   “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone”, you know he’ll have much to report.  Quiet in small town America can equal good, peaceful, trouble-free.  It is far superior to the latest crime beat news from big city America.

Our quiet weekend was spent enjoying scenes like this: 

That’s mid-day siesta in the birch tree shade.  Remember those little ducklings?  My, how they’ve grown!

They are accompanied by their guardian, the “watch goose”.  Notice that all the flock except the watch goose is facing the lake.  She is prepaired to face down any foe that might aproach by land.

Since my last post I have completed my Summer Garden sampler and taken it and its frame (as shown in the link) to my framer.  This is a departure for me; I normally choose a frame stock and have the frame custom made.  The cross stitch store had assured me there would be no problem using a purchased frame.

Not so, my friends!  The dear lady who does such beautiful work said she no longer stretches cross stitch for framing if she wasn’t making the frame herself – it was just too much work.  I said “Oh, dear!  I don’t know who else I would trust with my work!”  As we talked on, and she did allow that it was a lovely frame for the sampler, she said “I don’t have much needlework in shop now, and since it is you, I’ll do it.”  Thank heavens I have used her exclusively to frame my samplers in the past.  She had once remarked that it was a pleasure to work with my samplers because I didn’t have a “rat’s nest” on the back.

Much Christmas knitting was achieved this weekend, thanks to our own, personal film festival.  DH and I decided that we would watch all the previous Harry Potter films on DVD before seeing the new release in the theater.  We have enjoyed spending the time together instead of geeking out at our computers.  Also, by catching up this way we avoided the weekend theater rush.  Come about Wednesday we should be up to date and ready for a theater night.  I won’t try to take my knitting to that one, though.  It’s too big a risk – the floors are just too sticky!

What cha doin’?

I’ve been spending a lot of time at my cross stitch frame.  As I come close to the end it calls me more and more…it’s the lure of a nearly-finished object.  The sampler I’m working on is called “Summer Garden” and it just makes me happy.  I’ve even ordered the frame shown in the link, which goes so well with our white woodwork and kitchen cabinets.

I got a call Friday that the frame had come in to the cross stitch shop, but the pattern I ordered is still on its way.  Gas is costly enough that I will drive down there once, when the pattern comes in.  Now, if I can only finish the stitching before the pattern arrives, I could go straight from the cross stitch shop to my favorite framer.  There is some urgency involved with framing, too, as I hear she will retire in August.  Arrgh!  I trust no one else to do the job.

When the urge to knit overpowers the cross stitching, I’m working on grandchildrens’ Christmas.  DD was kind enough to measure everything there was to measure on my granddaughters (that ought to confuse them).  There is nothing like measurements for a needlewoman to give a true sense of a person.  My, how those young ladies have grown!

A time for change

Want to change up your interior decor?  Tired of the sad old sofa?  Then leave a sale catalog in the bathroom for “occasional reading”.   After spending some time “reading”, DH asked me if I liked the chairs on the cover of a catalog.  I hadn’t really noticed them, but yes, they were nice.  He liked them enough that the set (2 swivel rockers and a matching footstool) were ordered as his Father’s Day gift.

Those of you who are wise in the ways of the world know full well they didn’t come for Father’s Day.  In fact, they arrived two days ago.  Not feeling compelled to be conventional, we threw out the old sofa and put the two chairs and their footstool in its place. We now have a seating group of four upholstered chairs, and room to pull in more should the occasion call for it.  Minky and Torrie have staked out their spots, and peace reigns.

So, what catalogue are you going to strategically place for reading?

Time out!

Monday was definately not a good day.  I was soaping my left foot in the shower when my lower back went Sproing! No fun!

Then, around noon, DH phoned to say an idiot had run a red light and hit his car.  The impact was hard enough to spin our car around 180 degrees.  Could I come get him?    DH is sore, but will be ok, we think.  Can’t say the same for his Accura.  The insurance company hasn’t had time to give its final verdict, but they were certain enough that it would be totaled to have him go remove the license plate.

The diet?  Oh, that diet.  Yes, indeed, Monday was a comfort food day.  I’m back to eating on the plan now, but not able to exercise yet.  Hey, my back thinks it’s a challenge getting up out of a chair.

Finishing Friday

My Meezer Ulmus came off the needles last night, and was blocked in short order.  It was just the right size to use the diagonal of one panel of my blocking board as its long edge.  Then it was a simple matter to pull each point out to the sides of the board and pin them…no measurements required.  With the Ulmus pinned to just one panel I was able to pick it up and take it out to rest on the drying rack in the garage, free from Meezer wallowing.

This morning I pulled the pins, and was very pleased with the final results. 

The slip stitch pattern takes on a more subtle color blend after bloccking. Pre-blocking it reminded me of a woven fabric I had seen at a woolen mill in Wales. 

No photo shoot in this house is complete without Meezer intervention. “But Meowmy, you said it was a Meezer Ulmus!”  So I did, Torrie.