Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

My Photo
Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Friday, March 28, 2014


I haven't been posting much because last June & October I had my arthritic knees replaced - the left one first & then the right - followed by a painful bout of pain from my IT (Iliotibial) band running from my right hip down through the thigh. Was just starting to get around comfortably when DH fell on the 9th & fractured his ankle. This was the same ankle he broke about 20 years ago and the hardware that was already in there twisted & made the break worse. He insisted that it was just a sprain for two day before he let me call 911. So it was emergency room & two nights in the hospital that week because of the fracture blisters, surgery the following Tuesday to stabilize it some more and add pins & tensions rods (he looked like he had a miniture Eiffel Tower on his lower leg), a doctor appointment this last Monday to check on the condition of his skin which is improving, surgery again on Wednesday and home on Thursday. From not getting much exercise for a couple months, I'm getting a lot now. Fortunately, the weather has been improving as we go back to the surgeon's office next week to get a cast.

The winter weather, the potholes that could swallow the IQ and now this has limited my getting to the Orion Center for knit/crochet group. I don't think I've been out there since January {sob}, but I have been working here at home. Made a few dozen hats for Remenant Ministries and now I'm working on crocheting a baby blanket - a nice mindless project to work on in the waiting rooms.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Not Much New

It's been really quiet. First we had the holidays (which DH & I pretty much ignore), then the "Polar Vortex" with actual temps of -14°, almost 13" of snow & then more snow. When January 6th came around, the roads were horrible so I didn't leave the house and missed Monday's knitting group. Come the 13th, I was feeling lousy & slept most of the day, another miss, then this last Monday was MLK Day & the Center was closed.

We're back in the deep freeze again. It is 6° with a wind chill of -14. I've been keeping busy knitting and just sent 14 more hats to Remnant Ministries. I have another one cast on and will work on it during the newscasts. Unfortunately, both NCIS shows tonight are old repeats but maybe I can find something on Netflix. Just finished another book and listed it - that makes 11 books read since the 1st. Sorry that most of the updates to blog are book listings in the left panel. No photos this time, the hats weren't much different than the previous photos. Used up a 8 oz skein of yarn making six of the hats with stripes of various colors to make the cream go further.

I need to go down to the basement & get another big skein of a solid color to mix with leftovers or knit some very strange looking hats with all the leftovers put together. I've been having trouble with something called the IT Band along the outside of my right thigh which makes it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Back in August or early September, I thought I'd pulled a muscle in that thigh as it hurt quite a bit - but nothing like the last couple weeks. Posted an SOS on my hip & knee replacement group on SparkPeople and learned that quite a few of us have had problems with the band. I'm doing exercises for it & hoping that it resolves itself real quick.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Another New Year Rolls Around

2014 - seems just like yesterday when we were worrying about Y2K. The years keep going faster and faster now that I'm retired. This will be a short posts - no photos as I've been too lazy to download the camera card to the computer - just a way to let you know that I'm still alive & kicking.

I finally got the surgery on my right knee done on Oct 18th and everything is going fine. At my 7 week visit, Dr. Kasab said that if he didn't know better, he would have thought that I was at the 6 month mark in terms of range of motion. Both knees still ache a bit in this cold weather, but not as bad as they did with the arthritis.

I've been knitting - mostly more hats, so take a look at the photo from October and imagine them in different colors. The Orion Center has taken away our access to the room we use on Thursdays so our K4 group will only be  meeting on Mondays. They're hoping to rent out more rooms during the day to increase revenues. Not sure how that's going to work, but so far they haven't asked us to pay rent which would be difficult as they no long allow us to display items for sale except for several times a year when they have indoor garage sales.

On the genealogy front, my  Dunham-Wilcox-Trott Kirk site was picked for the third year in a row as one of the best 75 websites by Family Tree Magazine. I haven't made any breakthroughs in my own research and I'm way behind on coding files others have sent so that's one thing I have to get done in these next few months.

Other than the two surgeries, it's been a quiet year. Hope everyone has a great New Year in 2014! For this next year, I've decided that this will be my New Year's Resolution:

Be warned!! {g}

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I Shouldn't Really Be Here

Nope, sure shouldn't. About this time I should have been coming out of recovery after having my right knee replaced, but the operation has been postponed to sometime next week. So, with nothing planned for this afternoon, I thought I'd try to blog a bit - mostly photos. The one bright side is that I'll get Thursday & probably next Monday at knitting group.

Anyway, here are the photos although Blogger seems to be dropping them all over the place. Most of these are made with wonderful hand-wash yarns donated by a kind woman from Royal Oak, MI, so we've used them for items that our group can sell to raise money for machine wash/dry yarns to make items for charity. But how nice it was to work with these fibers.

This one is a wonderful self striping yarn, Paton's Soy Wool Stripes (SWS) that I used to advantage in knitting on the diagonal. I love the colors and the soft feel of the yarn. The hat below is a very heavy wool with a button tab.

A hat & scarf set knit from a pebble yarn in browns, creams & greys on the left & a mohair yarn in the same colorway in a super long curly crocheted scarf.

These next three gave me a chance for the first time to work with the legendary Noro. The first two are in rainbow colors and the third is in a brown/green color way.  Number 1 is another diagonal knit, number 2 is knit in seed stitch and the third is brioche stitch.

This last one doesn't show up as well in the photo as it does in real silver & glitter.  The "wild" one below is a design by one of our K4 members, Evelyn. It has a crocheted sleeve with long fringe attached. The fringe wraps around the neck, through the sleeve and hangs down. These were a big hit at the Made In The Mitten sale at the center last Saturday.

And back to the more mundane - in other words plain old acrylic yarn - knit into fourteen hats that went to Remnant Ministries here in Lake Orion this afternoon.

Guess that's it for a bit.. Time to get back to knitting, probably hats for a while as Rev. Patty was very happy to get these.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dang, I'm A Bad Blogger

Yes, it's been ages since I posted last, but it's been a busy time. First of all, I had a TKR (Total Knee Replacement) on my left knee in early June because of  bone on bone arthritis and now I'm getting ready for replacement of the right knee in early October. I went through 5 weeks of physical therapy, was able to shed the walker at the end of the first week for a cane & by the end of the second week I found myself forgetting to grab the cane when moving around the house. I still use the cane if I'm going out because sidewalks & cracked parking lots can be tricky.

I've kept myself entertained by reading - list on the sidebar and those of you who follow the blog & get a notice of an update, chances are I just added a title or two to the list. I had to miss over a month of my knitting groups out at the Sr. Center before I could drive again. This time around, I think I'll use the NOTA bus afterwards as while I could drive with the right foot for both gas & brake, I don't know how that will work when it's my left foot that's the "good one"..

I have to confess that while I took my knitting to the hospital, I barely cast on one dishcloth & only knit a few rows. Since then, tho', I've been busy.

First of all, more toddler sweaters that will go to the Red Bird Mission in KY with the group from the local United Methodist Church again this year.

These last two, I cut back the stitches by 25% to make smaller sweaters but I kept the neck opening the same 32 stitches on each side so they should be easy to put on a smaller child.

Some of the dishclothes I knit before & after my hospital stay.

And some curly crocheted scarves out of mohair yarns - I've made one more since these and just finished a scarf in Paton's Pebble, a thick & thin yarn. With one skein left, I'm going to try to make up a hat pattern to match.

The Seven Sisters Rose that we transplanted from the old house two years ago is thriving - mostly thanks to my  neighbor watering her garden on the other side of the fence. This was the only time I got out in the back yard since early June, but I had to get photos of the rose. It came up again over at the other house & we were able to transplant two new ones down at the other end of the fence. The two new ones even bloomed a few weeks after the established roses! Right now the trumpet vine on the west fence and the rose of sharon that's about 8' to the left of this photo are blooming and we often see humming birds at the flowers as well as at the feeder just off the deck. Last year, the rose of sharon seeded and and I have about eight "babies" that are about a foot high now. The original plant is about 7 or 8' tall now after nine years. Love it when flowers & shrubs reproduce!

Beautiful, isn't it? This is a rose that my Grandfather gave me when I was still in elementary school. I was so glad that we could rescue it from the farm when Mom & Dad moved over here and that it's so stubborn about putting up new shoots over at the old house so it's multiplying.

That's about it for now - and I really will try to post more often.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Mumblings


First up: 50 Snuggles made by our K4 group. I took them to the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center yesterday. Hopefully, they'll be used up soon as one goes home with each adopted cat and I'd love to see all the ones we saw yesterday find their forever homes. (Not sure why Blogger wants to shove the photo to the far left, but the HTML doesn't seem to like to be edited.)

Another lap-robe for the Ann Arbor Veterans' Hospital. One of our members is going to take the tote & a half of the ones we've completed to the hospital this week.  I'll take this one in tomorrow so it can make the trip too.

I found an unfinished hat from the marathon hat knitting session of  last summer & finished it. It will be the first of the 2013 "collection" as I switch from lap-robes to smaller projects for summer. Right now, I'm working on a new toddler sweater with a neat rust, brown & turquoise variegated for the body. I have a skein of matching brown I could use for the sleeves & yoke, but may dig around in the yarn bins to see if I have a skein of turquoise.

About 20 years ago, I found an antique quilt in a shop in Royal Oak. Because it was pretty tattered, I was able to get it for $10. There were about 5 blocks, including the one above, that weren't torn so if I folded it just right, it looked nice on the top of my refurbished antique trunk. I love the Carpenter's Square pattern & the colors, so I've been thinking right along of recreating the quilt if I could find the right fabrics.

Last week, Hancock of Paducha had free shipping, so I started browsing. Trying to find exact matches for old fabrics is difficult, so I usually go with something that's similar & looks old. I'm happy with the stripe on the left even if it isn't predominately rust like the original & love the acid green on the right. I'm not positive about the other two. While they're nice reproduction prints, I'm not sure that they'll work.  I still need to find the little pink stripe that was used for background in the blocks, so it may be a while before I can start - that will give me time to decide. And yes, I'm thinking seriously about getting back to quilting after about 6 or 7 years of only doing crafts for the K4 group's charity projects.

On the other hand, I found these two prints. I've been looking for ages for fabrics that are reminiscent of the pink roses on a brown background that I see so frequently in antique quilts from the late 1800's. Hancock had these two and they'll make great additions to my stash.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Is Supposed To Be Here

Yes, it's supposed to be SPRING as of this last Wednesday, but.....  That's right - snow & way below average temperatures for this time of year. It's a balmy 20° outside at 8 a.m., forecast high of only 35°. All I can say is "BRRRRRRR".. We should be in the mid-40s. It's not snowing right now and a good part of the snow cover in the photo has disappeared, but there's more snow forecast for today & tomorrow.

I've been working on more lap robes for the Veterans' Hospital. One of our members took the last batch down in January and was elated by the response that she received from a staff member. He told her that the veterans loved these amall afghans.

 We usually make them wheel chair size at 30x36" - but she was told that they could use some larger ones up to 40x48". It's surprising how much longer it takes to make one that size.  This is my first one of the larger size - as you can see Max & Quinn thought that a lap-robe on the floor meant time to pose..

And to start a bit of a dust up.. One of the reasons that these photo sessions are few & far between. All three of these lap-robes are crocheted using the Box or Brick or Brain-dead stitch. Personally, I like the last name as after the starting row, it's one of the easiest patterns other than straight double crochet.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Year And A New Start

It's been a while again, hasn't it? It's come to the point where the vast majority of updates on the blog are additions to my Books Read list in the sidebar - 137 during 2012 thanks to the Orion Township Library's link to the Midwest Collaborative For Library Services and all the e-books available there for my Nook. In the entire year, I only borrowed two hardbounds from the Library itself and Max chewed the corner off a page of the second one. The Nook is much safer - at least he hasn't tried to eat it yet.

The big news of the summer was that my eldest daughter, grandson & grand-daughter came for a visit. Before that, I cleaned out what I've been calling the Yarn Room - where I hide out to watch tv, knit, crochet & store yarn - both mine & what I'm working on for our K4 group. Believe me - it didn't look this neat previously! Picture wall to wall bags & totes of yarn and you'll get a pretty good idea. Anyway, while daughter & grandson proceeded to Chicago for Godzilla-Con, grand-daughter stayed with us. A trip to the DIA and a couple library runs for books in a series she's been reading kept her semi-occupied. Lordy, I wish I had that much ENERGY!!!!

I spent a lot of time using up yarn scraps during the summer crocheting Snuggles for the animal shelters. Here is the stack of ones that I made plus ones that other members made that I took to the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center in July. Since then, there has been a delivery to MARL and a second one to OCPAC. Most of the ones I made were crocheted with two strands of yarn and a size P hook.

After the weather cooled down a bit, I started in on making toddler sweaters for the United Methodist Church's annual trip to the Redbird Mission in KY. This first one is difficult to see as the top & sleeves are knit is a blue tweed that almost matches the carpeting.

Max found a nest in another stack of Snuggles before they were delivered. Looks comfy doesn't he.

That clears out most of the photos I took in the summer & fall. Finally located the gadget I needed to pull them off the camera's card and onto the computer. In other news, the garden on the deck turned out so-so. The bags required watering every day & sometimes twice a day. Will have to rethink the concept. The IQ has almost 1000 miles on it - mostly driving to the Sr. Center & back. The cats are healthy - and BIG, when they were weighted at the vet's in November, the combined weight of the three came in at 50#s. Will try to be a better blogger in 2013, but can't promise because retirement is a tad bit dull. Oh, and my genealogy site - Dunham - Wilcox - Trott - Kirk - received an award from Family Tree Magazine as one of the best 75 sites on line!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 2012 - Gardening

To start off, I'm going to pitch a b*tch. Google Blogger has quit supporting my Opera browser & it's putting all sorts of odd code into this post - much of it stuff I don't recognize although I've been writing in HTML here and on the genealogy site for years now. I guess I'll have to decide whether to continue here or to go elsewhere for future blogging. I have absolutely no desire to use either Internet Explorer or Google Chrome! But on to happier topics..

Not much knitting in this post though I've been steadily knitting more hats, crocheting Snuggles to use up odds and ends of yarn and have started making toddler sweaters like last year's.

First up, I'll bore you with a couple more photos of Quinn who is fairly photogenic. The second one is what we call "Quinn belly" or his usual pose when he flops down in front of us for a belly rub.

The roses are blooming again this month.

DH found these for me at a garage sale earlier this month & he's been finding quite a bit of yarn for our K4 group..

I decided to take the easy route to gardening this year after skipping it all together last year. I bought four 1 cubic foot bags of Miracle Grow garden soil & planted the tomatoes & basil directly into the bags after putting them on the deck. The large tomato in the corner is a Mortgage Lifter, then there are four Goliath & four Juliet Grape tomatoes.

Another shot of the tomatoes when I put them in the first week of this month.

They seem to like the bags - you'll notice that the Goliaths are almost as big as the Mortgage Lifter which hasn't grown all that much. We had a heavy downpour last week (think horizontal rain) that bent it over so we had to tie it up afterwards. I'll put in stakes to tie the ones on the outside fairly soon and will probably let the inside ones sort of sprawl across the deck.

Another shot of the Juliets in the end bag.. All the plants are blooming now though they haven't started to set fruit.

I'll try to include more knit & crochet stuff next time. The old Senior Center is now closed and we've had to relocate to the new Community Center out on Joslyn Road about a 20 minute drive. I'm getting used to the IQ - I pull into a parking spot until my driver's door is even with the back door of a 4 door sedan & the 10' long IQ is parked with room on either end. It has a sharp turning radius - it will pull out of one parking spot and into the second one down - kind of fun!!

Labels: , , ,

Acrylics Anon/a