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.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Monday, July 31, 2006

We're Having A Heat Wave....

It's 94° out there with a 104° heat index - not fit for man nor beast - but the garden is loving it combined with the inch of rain that fell last Thursday. It was just last Wednesday when I estimated that it would be another two weeks or so before the tomatoes started to ripen, but here - just five days later - is the first grape tomato of the season. YIPPIE!! Plus the basil is growing back thicker than ever so we should have pesto again fairly soon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Summer Bounty

Summer has now officially begun!!

This container of basil leaves fresh from the garden was turned into some fabulous pesto by my DH. Now if the tomatoes would start to ripen! The plants are covered with blossoms, especially the grape tomato plants, but it will probably be another couple weeks until we'll be able to pick. The Delectia squash are blooming and the plants are huge - they resemble zucchini plants more than the usual vines on acorn squash - but I don't see any squash forming yet. I hope they hurry up as despite our hot summer weather, frost can come early in the fall.

This is the latest of the lengthwise Homespun scarves that I've made. I love the colors which remind me of the desert & Navajo turquoise jewelry.

For an example of colors I wish I could forget, we have here the rusts, golds & avocado greens of the 70s. Some kind soul donated a whole bag of this variegated yarn to the K4 group. I'm trying to match it with solid color scarves to tone it down a bit - is it working??? The hats are done in Quaker stitch - knit 3 rows, purl 3 rows - on a circular needle and I adapted the decreases in the top to take advantage of the swirling colors of the yarn. Instead of the usual row of K2TOG around, followed by a plain row and another row of K2TOG before gathering the stitches left on the needles, I decreased 11 times around the hat (every 6th stitch on the first row), every other row until I was down to 11 stitches and then gathered them in for the top. The rust scarf is still on the needles and I have a skein of solid gold to make a third scarf plus enough of the variegated for two more hats.

Friday, July 21, 2006

More Scarves & Hats

I've been working on some "Rag-Tag" crocheted scarves - a way of using up this bin of tiny balls of leftover yarn while not having to sit under an afghan in the summer heat. Here are the first two which I had planned on matching with plain black knit hats (don't ask what happened to the crocheted hat I tried - it wasn't pretty in more ways than one {g}), but the ladies at K4 yesterday convinced me that the blue & green scarf should have a blue hat and the predominately red one should have a red hat. The ribbing on the blue one is almost finished. I've also been making hat & scarf sets in dark green & white which are the colors of the local high school & the Lake Orion Dragons and more washcloths for Cloths For Crisis (C4C). I mentioned the group on a shawl list the other day and we've had a number of new members sign up to help which is absolutely wonderful..

In the Summer Reading Challenge, I just finished Bess of Harwick - a biography of one of the most powerful women (other than the queen herself) during the reign of Elizabeth I. I'd recommend it highly to anyone interested in Tudor England history. Right now I'm half way though a swash-buckling tale by Clive Cussler which is a complete switch. I think that my tastes in reading could be described as *very* eclectic.

The "reading gene" has passed on to my grandchildren. Both of my Sweet M&Ms love books, so Grandma Jane just sent a 37# box of garage sale finds out to California to keep them busy until school starts again. The Media Mail rate from the USPS is wonderful for shipping books. It's far slower than regular mail - I think the last box took about 10 days to get from MI to CA - but the cost per pound isn't much more than a 1st class stamp on a letter. It was under $15 to ship the box.

On a less happy note, I just discovered deer tracks in the garden and four more tomato plants nibbled.. I've strung jute twine around the garden as I've heard that the deer don't like running into something that they can't see in the dark, but it doesn't seem to be deterring them this year as it has in the past. At least the plants are still there if somewhat shorter, but I'm not happy about providing salad for 4 legged critters.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's Been A While

I'm not sure where the days go, but I suddenly realized over the weekend that it had been a while since I posted here last. At that time, I didn't have much of anything to show as I've been spending more time on my genealogy projects than I have knitting. But today, I finished a couple projects and I'm well on my way to being half way done with a scarf I started this afternoon - you've got to love BIG needles!

This set has a hat worked on size 11 needles (60 stitches) in Jiffy yarn using the Quaker stitch pattern of K 3 rows, P 3 rows. The scarf is plain garter stitch with the leftover variegated yarn forming the ends. Because the plain brown yarn is a lighter weight - worsted vs. chunky - I cast on 14 stitches to start and then increased 2 stitches across the row when I changed to the brown and decreased 2 stitches on the other end when I switched back to the Jiffy.

I made the hat for this set slightly smaller as I didn't have a full skein of the Jiffy - 56 stitches on a size 11 needle. The plain yarn in the scarf is about the same weight as the Jiffy so I didn't need to add stitches to keep the width the same.

I also have a crocheted scarf in process - approximately 250 or 260 stitches end to end with a size K hook and I'm changing colors similar to the way I do with the Rag-Tag afghans. I think I may have been a little over zealous with my beginning chain as I think the scarf is going to be well over 8' long. I'll post a photo when it's complete.

On other subjects, the garden is doing well despite having deer nibble off about five of the tomato plants and pull two more completely out of the ground about a week after I planted them. The nibbled ones are, with one exception, recovering nicely by sending up new stems. Last week something - maybe deer again? - ate off 9/10ths of my row of green beans which was something of a disappointment. The last time I saw beans eaten that way with just the stems left was 20 years ago at a different house that had a resident ground hog. I'm really hoping that one hasn't moved in here! Now if the beans would just recover the way that the weeds I hoe out one day and find growing again the next do, but I know that's too much to hope for. Time now to get back to my genealogy project - a concerted effort to find Great-great grandfather Daniel Dorrance Dunham, b. in NY state in 1813. My man of mystery as I'm no closer to finding him than I was eight years ago when I started researching my family tree.

Acrylics Anon/a