Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In Memoriam

Mother Mine
author unknown

O Mother mine, when I was small,
You seemed to me my all in all;
The sunshine shimmered in your face;
The flowers blossomed in your grace.
You laughed with me when I was gay
And kissed my childish tears away –
Mother dearie, Mother cheery, Mother mine.

O Mother, as the years rolled o'er
Our heads, I loved you more and more.
When weakness laid its hand on you
You were so patient, brave and true;
You seemed the sum of all things good;
My dream of perfect womanhood –
Mother dearie, Mother cheery, Mother mine.

O Mother mine, if I can be
To little ones who look to me,
A mother half as sweet and wise
And tender; if they but surmise
That in your likeness I have tried
To grow, I shall be satisfied,
Mother dearie, Mother cheery, Mother mine.

In loving memory to LaRee Cuthrell, October 13, 1933 - December 28, 2008
Gone, but never forgotten – the world is a better place because you were in it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

For My Mother

With all that's gone on lately, I wanted to let the world know how precious my mother is. So mom, whether we have days, weeks, months, or years left, each hour is a gift; and I'm so glad to know you, and to call you mom.

For My Mother
by Brenda McCunn

With words I wish I could express
The joy you bring, the happiness
Your love imparts to all you meet.
With tenderness so sweet
Your gentle smile lights up each day.
Ever guiding by example, the way
In which the wise do tread.
Your life showing there is no dread
In giving all, selflessly, to those
You love. Forever changed are we whose
Lives have intertwined with yours.
Beyond this time your legacy soars
To generations who will rise and call you blessed.
©2008 Brenda McCunn All rights reserved.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well,
but you excel them all."
Proverbs 31: 28-29

Monday, December 8, 2008

When It Rains...

October descended upon us with it's usual brand of crazy. 5 birthdays. All within one week. Two of them in. my. house. And the one we threw a party for, we all got unexpected presents. We had the unutterable joy of spending the next month ill. Thank God for antibiotics and OTCs that work, and that we are all now well. So, that was our October, and most of November, too.

Which brought us to Thanksgiving. Ilene came to spend the holiday with us, and she and I spent a quiet weekend at home while my guys spent the weekend racing. We had the traditional dinner of turkey with all the trimmings. I had fixed an 18 lb. turkey for 4 people thinking that we would have plenty of leftovers. It was all gone within a week. I couldn't believe it. But we enjoyed it. :)

Now that December has arrived, we do a little each day to decorate and get in the spirit. Jordan put up the tree, but has yet to add the decorations, I'm trying to do a bit of baking each day so that we can all get completely overloaded on sugar (because, seriously, what's Christmas without that???), and Jordan is LOVING the new tradition of the chocolate Advent calendar. I love this time of year.

Happy Birthday Scott

Love you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

October/November Projects

A bath puff, using Priscilla Hewitt's Cotton Bath Puff pattern, crocheted with Knit Picks CotLin in Kholrabi. The yarn was from the Georgian sampler, and is lovely. Knit Picks recommends this yarn for (among other things) making dish cloths. I think it is much nicer that the dish cloth cottons I have used, and would highly recommend it.

These were started in December of 2006. I got the pattern from a Christmas KAL on the Knitting Help forums. I knit them using (I think) Red Heart Super Saver yarn, and have had these knit up for over 1 1/2 years, but had never gotten around to stuffing them or adding any finishing details. So, I finally got around to finishing them. I sewed up the edges and stuffed them with polyfil, ordered some sterling silver beads from Artbeads and stitched them on, and made hangers by twisting together some of the leftover yarn and stitching them in. I am pleased with the way they came out though I don't have any plans for them yet. But having a present stash on hand is a good thing.

I also knitted the La Luz Eye Mask from handkint Holidays, worked on the MS4 stole and the Galveston shawl, started the (slightly modified) Viking Socks, and am crocheting a kippah that one of the members of our homeschool group commissioned. I'll post pics and details of these later.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sherbet Socks

So, I finished the clues for the stole KALs I was working on, but didn't feel like moving on to more lace right away. Instead of working on my Galveston Shawl (which has been languishing ever since I started the stoles), I started a pair of socks.

Most of the socks I'd knitted were made out of wool. Well, when you live in the desert, having wool on your feet during the summer is NOT a pleasant experience. Because of this, a while back I purchase several balls of sock yarn that were primarily made of cotton. These socks were made from one of those balls of yarn.

The yarn is Sockotta in the 505 colorway, and they are knit on Knit Picks size 1 (2.5 mm) dpns. The colors remind me of rainbow sherbet and so that is what I've named these. Even though they are simple toe-up, short row heel, stockinette socks, I had to restart these 5 times before I was finally accepting of the way they were working out.

The first time I wasn't happy with the way the color repeats were going, so I checked the ball band. The recommended needle size was a US size 2, so I frogged and started again with 2s. Not only did this not help with the color repeats, the guage was way too loose. Thinking this would improve if I started with a smaller needle and gradually worked up to the 2s, I started again, this time with US size 0. I gradually worked my way back up to the 2s. It didn't help. So I decided to just go back to the 1s. I started again, but the gauge was just as loose as before -- maybe even worse! I kept on, telling myself it would get better. It didn't. I checked my needles again, and it turns out I had grabbed my US size 3s instead of the 1s. Back to the frog pond. I got started again with the 1s, and though I still don't love the way the color repeats are going, I'm happy with the gauge of the fabric. And I'm NOT starting again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Aprés-Ski Kerchief

A while ago I purchase the Georgian Sampler from Knit Picks. I love the colors. I love the yarns. I do not love the patterns that came with them. This left me with 6 balls of yarn I love, but didn't know what to do with, so they were set aside, added to my stash. Last week I embarked on a mission to get my UFOs completed and my stash better organized. During this organizing I rediscovered my Sampler pack. I took the package out and fondled the yarn; still love them. I took out the patterns; still do not love them. I was ready for a new project, having taken care of most of my UFOs, and this was the yarn I wanted to use. What to make? I grabbed a few of my books and began flipping through them. I opened Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick and was nearing the end, when I saw the Aprés-Ski Kerchief. I had been wanting to make this, and since it only required one ball, I knew this would be perfect for one of my Sampler yarns. But which one? In the end I chose the ball of Crayon. I modified the pattern just a bit, making I-cord ties and edging. I love it, even if it's not one of Scott's favorites.
Aprés-Ski Kerchief

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stash Prevention

When I completed the birthday outfit for Jasmine, I found myself with several extra balls of yarn. Normally any left over yarn that I have gets added to my stash until I find a project that I wish to make with it. Not this time.

Knit/crochet baby blanket

This yarn is so soft that I decided that it would be perfect for a baby blanket. Then I rummaged through my stash and came up with a couple of balls of Patons Beehive Baby Sport in Angel White -- just what I needed for the edging. I did a very simple crocheted on lace edge et voilà! A blanket even Linus would approve of.

Jenny Socks

Jenny Socks, View 2, Contest Socks

As some of you may know, I've been working on a pattern for the Think Outside the Sox contest being run by XRX.

Well, the socks are done, the pattern is being checked over for errors, and I'm hoping to get everything sent off this weekend.

The name for this pattern came about when I went on a yarn crawl in Tucson with a couple of Knitwits -- Jenny and Ruby. When we stopped at Kiwi Knitting, there was an advertisement posted for the contest, and when Jenny saw it, she encouraged me to enter and volunteered to test knit the pattern for me. Now, I'd had several design ideas floating around in my head, but never put anything down on paper. Jenny gave me the nudge I needed to finally get at least one of them done, so the socks are named in her honor. Thanks Jenny!

Jenny Socks, View 1, Contest Socks

Secret of the Stole III, Hint 7

Just finished hint 7 this morning.
I also realized this morning that there are only 2 more hints before this is finished. The time is going by so quickly!

Mystery Stole 4, Clue 4

Clue 4 is done. I thought, after seeing how the design was turning out after this clue, that the theme was going to be a Japanese tea ceremony. Boy was I wrong. Georgina posted the theme this week, and it turned out to be (drum roll please) Serendipity. I never would have guessed that, yet I love it just the same.

It's Been A Long Time

I'm shocked at how quickly time has passed, and how long it has been since I've updated. It seems that I've been wrapped up in the minutiae of life -- nothing really note worthy, but keeping me busy just the same.

The change of season seems to have affected me, even though it is still in the upper 90's and 100's here. I've been doing a lot of baking and nesting, and working to complete projects I'd started. I've managed to complete several knitting projects that have been languishing (some for several months), and am working on getting the rest of my UFOs completed within the next couple of weeks. I'll be posting photos and info about them as I'm able.

Jordan is doing a fabulous job at putting his photography class to good use. He's even teaching me how to use my camera to better effect.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mystery Stole 4, Clue 3

Finished through Clue 3! I'm loving doing this pattern.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Secret of the Stole, Hint 5

Hint 5 is completed. I'm loving the airiness of this pattern. Thank you DK.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Psalm 8

The Glory of the Lord in Creation

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen --
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


What a delightful day!
After spending the morning knitting and visiting with the Knitwits, I headed off to the city for a yarn crawl.

A new store, Knit Happens, has recently opened so I had to check it out. And I walked away with these treasures:

Alpaca with a Twist's Socrates 4017 - a luscious blend of alpaca, merino wool, bamboo, and nylon fibers in a heathered green/blue/purple color. Definitely for *Special Socks*.
Also, Crystal Palace Yarn's Panda Silk 3014 - an incredible blend of bamboo, merino wool, and silk fibers in gray (the bamboo and silk lend a sheen that is simply beautiful).

Then I headed to Tempe Yarn and Fiber. I got a little lost, though, and ended up nearer to The Fiber Factory, so I went there next. I was able to get some superwash merino wool roving that I have big plans for.

Next I tried again to make it to Tempe Yarn and Fiber, and this time met with success. I received some excellent help and advice for a project I'm working on, and was able to get a copy of this delightful book:
A must read for every knitter.

In addition to all of this, I was able to visit and have dinner with my wonderful sister, Ilene. Now that's the way to spend a Saturday!

Secret of the Stole, Hint 4

I've completed Hint 4, now it's off to do Hint 5.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mystery Stole 4, Clue 2

I've finished clue 2!

I'm delighted with the pattern so far. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Mystery Stole 4, Clue 1

Remember when I said I was doing two mystery stoles? Well, the other one has begun! Clue 1 is done (completed Sunday, September 7).

This one is made with baby alpaca that I hand spun and some black opalescent glass beads.

Secret of the Stole, Hint 3

Hint 3 is done as well. Completed Saturday, September 5.

Secret of the Stole, Hint 2

After making a mistake and having to frog the whole thing, Hint #2 is finally done. Completed Wednesday, September 3.

Summer Vacation, Part 5

Thursday was a very rainy and cold day. It was also the day we took the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

The ride was smooth and the scenery was incredibly beautiful. We had been hoping to spot an orca, but alas, all we saw were some water birds.

Friday Harbor is a cute little town, with plenty of architectural interest. There are many Victorian Era homes with lots of gingerbread trim. Even the newer buildings look as though attention was paid to the beauty of the final product.

We started at the Whale Museum. There was so much information -- I never knew so much about whales! The skeletons and life-sized replicas really put their size into perspective in relation to us, other marine animals like dolphins, and each other. I was surprised to find how heavy whale teeth are, and how much baleen feels like our fingernails. After the museum we split up again. The men walked around and went to the pier to look at the boats, while Pam and I found a wonderful bookshop. The bookshop was in an old house, and stuffed to the gills with books. There were many treasures there, and Pam came away with a few of them. I could have spent many happy hours there, but we were meeting up with the men and had to cut our shopping short. We all met for brunch at a little diner near the dock, all of us opting for breakfast and having a pretty good meal. Then it was time to catch the return ferry. When we got back to Anacortes, we stopped by the harbor shop and picked up coats for Scott, Jordan, and myself, who were all damp and cold by this point. Of course, shortly thereafter the sun came out. Ah well. We needed new coats anyway. The rest of the day was spent puttering about the house and in the garden, so all would be ready for the 4th.

The morning of the Fourth dawned with a bit of fog which burnt off quickly. We went downtown to look at the floats and find a spot before the parade began. It was a cute, typical, small town parade, with loads of candy and Marti Gras beads being thrown to the crowds along the street. The Shell Oil company has a refinery on the island, and they were giving out rubber duckies in addition to the beads from their many parade entries.

The children were having a wonderful time, and the adults got quite into it as well, and I think nearly the entire town was either in the parade or in attendance.

We followed up the parade with a picnic in the park where the town celebration was also being held. There were many patriotic songs sung, many speeches by locals of importance, and many prayers offered for the town and our nation. Then the games began. There was an egg tossing contest, potato sack race, archery contest, and much more. Jordan participated in several events, and then we called it a day. We stayed in and watched the fireworks displays from the house. We were able to see at least 2 of the official ones, and quite a few unofficial ones as well. We called it a night fairly early as the next day would be a travel day.

Saturday morning was spent getting packed and ready to go. Mike drove us to Seattle to catch our plane, and the rest of the day was spent in travel. We arrived home late Saturday night, grateful to have Sunday back at home. It was a wonderful trip, and I'm so glad we were able to take it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Summer Vacation, Part 4

Wednesday we stayed close to home -- relaxing, running errands, and of course, hiking in Washington National Park.

One of the first things we saw along the trail was this giant slug on the side of the trail. This was not a particularly large specimen, but was still the largest slug that I have ever seen.

Shortly thereafter we came upon this unusual tree. It grows out of the side of a little cliff overlooking Puget Sound, but instead of growing up, it grows out over the beach towards the water.

Some of the trail is more open with views of the water, and some is more shaded. As we walked along the more shaded areas we saw the cycle of life vividly portrayed by some of the trees. There are many large tree stumps which have other trees growing out of them. The visibility of the root system was so neat to see.

This particular trail follows along one edge of Fidalgo Island, and below you see the view of Puget Sound from the other (south) side of the island.

One of the last sights we saw on our hike was this monument which commemorates the donation of a park "by T.H. Havekost - Pioneer of 1871".

The trail is 2 1/4 mi. and was a very pleasant hike. The day was capped off with barbecued hamburgers, chips, and salad.

Summer Vacation, Part 3

The next day we took a driving tour to look at the historic homes and buildings in Anacortes. We stopped by Ana Cross Stitch where I was able to purchase some Austermann Step and Louet Gems Fingering yarns for socks. They also had a selection of rovings that tempted me greatly, but with further shopping on the agenda, I didn't bring any of them home. I should have. It was the only shop we went to that had rovings.

We then headed into La Conner, which is just across a short bridge from Fidalgo Island on the mainland. The downtown historic area was bustling, and finding parking was a bit of a challenge, but we made it and started exploring. One of our first stops was the yarn shop Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts. They had a pretty good selection of yarns, but nothing I felt I MUST have, so we went away empty handed. Then we stopped and had lunch at a packed eatery. The food was good, and, though I had tea, I was told the coffee was excellent. More shopping came next, and this is where we found the bookstore. There were quite a few books of local interest, and one on the native flora made it's way home with us. There were many special interest shops selling everything from olives to teddy bears. It was fun to browse, and Pam especially liked the olive shop. One of the curiosities in the town was a giant log slice leaning up against a building. There was no information on it about why it was there or where it came from, but boy was it huge!

We headed back home to compare notes with the men, who arrived back before us. They had gone sailing, spending the night moored at Spencer's Spit. They did a bit of exploring in the dinghy, and after a night of rough seas, returned home. Jordan got to steer the boat back the entire way, and did a very good job of it.

Personally, I think that we women had more fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Vacation, Part 2

We left Coupeville, headed for the Lavender Wind Farms. The scenery along the drive was beautiful, and the company excellent, so we managed miss our turn. Thankfully we didn't get too lost, arriving at our destination with plenty of time to explore.

The fields of lavender were very pretty, but I must admit I preferred the flower beds.

Everything there seems to grow so effortlessly - or at least the gardener makes it seem so.

The calla lilies are a personal favorite. The little orange flowers grow everywhere in Washington. If only the weeds that grew here were half as lovely.

These little beauties made me wonder how being called a wallflower is a bad thing.

We did a bit of shopping - Pam bringing home some plants, and me some tea, lavender for cooking, and plenty of recipes.

Our last stop was for ice cream at a little roadside café. It was delicious. We then called it a day and headed back home for some supper and a soak in the hot tub. A wonderful day.

Secret of the Stole, Hint 1

I've finished hint 1. The instructions have been perfect so far, and the pattern is a delight to knit. Is it Friday yet?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Vacation, Part 1

We had a wonderful vacation this summer. We went to Anacortes, WA and visited Mike and Pam. It was so good to see them again, and they are such generous and welcoming hosts.
We arrived in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. We didn't stay long, or at all really, but headed out immediately for Anacortes, which is about 90 mi. north on Fidalgo Island. We spent the day settling in, visiting, and just relaxing. A perfect start to our trip.

Monday the menfolk went off sailing on an overnight trip in Puget Sound, while we women went exploring by land. Pam and I started out on Whidby Island by visiting the Admiralty Head Lighthouse Interpretive Center. The lighthouse is no longer in use (being decommissioned after WWI), and the lens has been removed, but we were able to climb to the top and enjoy the view. The museum area downstairs is filled with interesting artifacts and information about the lighthouse, including a scale model of the military base it was once a part of. Upstairs had some fascinating information about Puget Sound and the animals that call it home. One of the neatest things was a 3-D scale model that showed the depths of the Sound. It is amazing how deep it is, and how narrow the continental shelf is. Outside is a cement platform where the cannons were kept to guard the island that has had the cannons removed, but just down the road is another with the cannons still in place, though not in use.

Next we went to the tiny town of Coupeville. The downtown historic area is filled with beautiful architecture, most of which dates from the late 1800's.

The Gray Goose B&B and the Methodist church across from the courthouse, Coupeville, WA

We stopped and had lunch at the lovely Anna's Tea Room. Our meal consisted of Quiche Lorraine, soup, scones, and, of course, tea. The meal was delicious and the setting perfect, with lots of Victorian style furnishings accented with a delightful teacup collection from which we were instructed to select our cups for our tea. Our repast left us refreshed and ready to explore more of the town.

We went down the street to do some sight seeing and shopping. The buildings were all historic landmarks which now house restaurants, shops, and museums. The shops were filled with items made locally (in WA) and a few from elsewhere to commemorate one's visit to their little town. The street runs along the channel, and the wharf held a restaurant and several little souvenir shops where a purchase of huckleberry syrup (for ice cream sundaes) was made. We were then ready for the next leg of our journey.

A Fine Beginning

Because one stole mystery is never enough, I've joined two. The swatch for the Secret of the Stole III is coming along beautifully.

The needles are from Knit Picks, the yarn is Grignasco MerinoSilk and the beads are Blue Moon Beads.

The swatch is now done, and the real fun has begun. I have cast on clue 1, and am loving this design.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can You Keep a Secret?

A belated birthday present is making its way to the birthday girl. All a lovely purple, of course, with accents of pink and princesses. And every stitch crafted with love.

Happy birthday sweet Jasmine.