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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Already??

Yup! It sure is.. so it's time for the book question of the week:

Paper or Plastic:
Do you read e-Books?
If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
Or are you a paper purist? Why?

This one is a toss up. Reading for pleasure? That definitely paper, normally hard-bound books from the library. Reading for information? That type of reading is often on the computer as I Google my way though various sites and take advantage of the on-line access to Heritage Quest's genealogy library. I'd be interested in finding out more about e-books because the library is supposed to have a selection that's downloadable from home, but to date I haven't looked into it very seriously.

It's been a busy week. The garden is planted as of Tuesday - all 36 tomato plants (ok, I got a bit carried away at the green house and didn't really realize that I had that many until DH was digging holes for them with the post hole digger and I had to keep asking for more - more holes, I say!) Basil wasn't available this year in the 4-packs like last, so I bought three 2½" pots instead with about 6 plants in each clump. I'm hoping that they do well enough that we can double our production of pesto this summer. The stash in the freezer from last summer is almost gone but it's been an occasional welcome reminder of summer in the depths of this last winter.

Tuesday was also the day that my Amazon order showed up - Barbara Walker's First Knitting Treasury, Knitting In The Old Way, & Folk Vests. I was a little disappointed in the Treasury as I hadn't seen it before and from the cover I was hoping for all lace patterns. The lace section is nice but only a small part of the book with textured stitches, color work, cables, and other types making up the majority of the pages. I did discover that over the last few weeks of working lace designs into the K4 shawls I made a break-through on reading charts so that the all text directions in the Treasury seemed strange. Knitting In The Old Way has been updated from the book I borrowed years ago from the library - lots more information on how to design sweaters in various ethnic styles. The Folk Vests book is a standard knitting pattern book with some very nice designs - I'm especially interested in making the Chinese vest.

Yesterday, DH tried to add a sound card to this computer. Ok, I know I'm probably one of the very few people in the world with a dead silent computer, but when I bought this one it was strictly for doing a little moonlighting in printed circuit design here at home and a sound card seemed like something that I wouldn't need. Fast forward seven years.. I'm retired and the computer is used mainly for blogging, web wandering & working on my genealogy page - none of which require the concentration that the design work did - so having some music playing or being able to follow some of the on line pod-casts would be nice. Suffice it to say, that with the sound card in place the computer wouldn't boot because of some sort of conflict. Take the card out and it still wouldn't boot - "cannot find operating system".. AARRGGGG.. After a few tries, it did magically resuscitate itself but the tech with the sound card company ventured that the problem might be that the hard drive is going. Double AARRGGGG.. DH hooked up a CD-ROM burner we found a couple weeks ago at a garage sale and I've backed up most of the drives - at least the important stuff. Everything seems to be running smoothly if still dead silent, but it was a slightly nerve wracking day.

Today was garage sales - two huge subdivisions full of open garages.. Lots of walking, looking and bargaining. I found a few books for the grandchildren, but that was about it. It was awfully hot out with only a trace of a breeze. High 80s day after day this time of year are a bit unusual.

We got home about noon which gave me time to cool off and relax a bit before heading for the weekly K4 meeting. We had an almost full group today. Four of my knitting students were there and making great progress. Frances hasn't been there for a few weeks but she brought in five crocheted afghans! Gloria is starting a darling child's hat. Sharon is working on a crocheted afghan that is turning some variegated yarn that the rest of us avoided into something beautiful. And Jean is knitting a vest in a pale pink. It's so much fun to watch these friends enjoy knitting & crocheting. No photos today as I only completed one K4 shawl and the yarn ends still need to be run in before taking a photo. I have two other shawls started - I'm almost to the point on one where I have to decide which lace pattern to put in before the border so I started the second one at the meeting today - something easy that I could put down without losing my place when someone needed help. I have another rag-tag afghan about half done but with Boomer looking for more lap time in the evening while I'm watching TV, I haven't been working on it as steadily as usual.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Wailing

Ok, I don't really have much to wail about - other than the temperatures being in the high 80s already & the price of gas jumping 18¢ a gallon overnight to $3.579 here in the south-east corner of the Mitten. But I was stuck for a title {g}..

I finished another rag-tag afghan last night. This one is another lap sized in black, grey, blues, greens and back to grey & black. I'm slowly whittling down the stock of yarn left over from earlier K4 projects.

I finished this shawl last night too (good night for TV with the NCIS finale & the Tom Selleck movie on CBS). The pattern is Fir Cone from the Folk Shawls book. I think this one would probably work better on a shawl that was being blocked rather than unblockable (unless you want to really KILL it) acrylic, but it is a pretty lace pattern and not too hard to follow (i.e., I didn't have to tink back too often). Looking at the photo, I may have added two more rows than needed in the repeat closest to the border, but it's finished and hopefully the recipient won't mind.

The shawl I finished earlier uses a stitch pattern from the Irish Diamond Shawl in the same book.

Slowly, but surely, I'm trying to work myself up to tackling another full lace shawl from the book. In the meantime, practicing the patterns on these K4 shawls is giving me a bit more confidence after the limited amount I had was shattered when I started the Adamas shawl with lace weight yarn. I have another shawl started in a smoky blue - no idea yet of what pattern I'll use when I get down to the lace section, but I'll find something. I'm seriously considering ordering the Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns for more stitch ideas. I keep finding neat patterns on line, but very few of them define the stitch repeat.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

It's OFFICIAL..!!!

We officially adopted Boomer today, slightly over 1 month after picking him out at the Cat Adoption event at the Sr. Center. He's found his "Forever Home"...


Friday, May 18, 2007

Garage Sale Fever

Whew! I am totally worn out after going to two subdivision garage sales which really means about 25-30 individual sales, but it was worth it. At one of the last ones, about the time I was ready to wait in the car while DH browsed, I ran across 22 - that's right, twenty-two - Piecework magazines for FREE!! Here are most of them spread out on the desk along with a short stack of others that wouldn't fit. The stack of books at the back are new ones to send to the grandkids as soon as I find a suitable box.

I also found some other goodies - like a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in my size for $1 that look like new {g}..

Yesterday was our K4 meeting and I turned in a small rag-tag afghan in shades of blue and a willow green shawl with lace.

Once again, the willow green yarn doesn't show up well in the photo - it's really a very pretty shade of green. The lace design was borrowed from The Lacy Prairie Shawl in the Folk Shawls book. I'm now working on a turquoise shawl and another rag-tag.

I need to update my sidebar, both the projects and the reading list section. Right now I'm reading The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen. She has other books out and I'm going to check for them the next library run. I also found The Golden Compass - the book behind the Daemon quiz from last week - in the young adult section. It's surprising how many good books - like Eragon & the Redwall series - are in Young Adult, so if I can't find anything to my tastes in the adult stacks, I wander across the lobby and see what the teens are trying to keep all to themselves {g}.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's Thursday Again

And that means that it's time for Booking Through Thursday.. This week's question is an easy one:

"It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?"

I head for the library! It's a rare visit that leaves me without anything to read. Sometimes it may be just one or two books to tide me over to another visit when the choices may be a little better, but I can't remember even once walking out empty handed when I went there looking instead of just dropping off a book that was due. Even those times, I normally find time to wander past the "New Books" area where something will jump out and grab my attention. The library has just installed book holders on the end of each stack as they face the main room and the staff places up to 6 books from that area where it's easy to notice them. I've found a couple new authors this way that I might not have found otherwise.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gee Golly!

It's getting "dangerous" to visit Sallee's blog {bg} She has another MeMe up so of course I had to jump in..

Bold for stuff you've done, italics for stuff you plan to do eventually, and normal for stuff you don't intend to do.

Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down

Socks: toe-up (they're on the needles)
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana-fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns

Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting

Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street) HUH?? --- I'm not sure what this one means..
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes

Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting

Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO

Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items

Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm-warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public


Friday, May 11, 2007

Once More Into The Breech....

Here it is, Friday morning, and I'm just getting around to checking the Booking Through Thursday site for this week's question which is the opposite of last week's:

Where DON’T you read??

Behind the wheel when I'm driving! Ok, I've seen people doing it out on the highway, but I'm not one of them. I'd just as soon get where I'm going in one piece. {g}

Over at Nana Sadie's Place, I ran across this:

There's a button up there to click to see if your answers about me agree or if I should adjust my Dæmon.

Update: May 13th.. My Dæmon, Tarquin, is changing. He started out as a Tiger, morphed to a Lion and now is a Wolf - all with the same attributes. Color me confused {g}

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Well Pegged..

I ran across this quiz on Donna's Drama - it asks how you pronounce various words and then tells you from which area of the country you come. Talk about spot on!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Having lived my entire life in Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes, I guess I can't get any more pinpointed than this quiz accomplished. Of course carbonated drinks are pop! A soda is a combination of ice cream & pop - something that never set well with my stomach. And the way we Michiganders speak certainly sounds like the national newscasters on TV - still some of my out of state friends insist that I have an accent. {g}


Thursday, May 03, 2007

R.I.P. - Booking Through Thursday

This week's question:
No, not THAT kind of R.I.P.
Reading. In. Public.
Do you do it? Why or why not?

Sure, though I'm not out in public all that often any more, but when I was working I always had a book in my bag for lunch & breaks. I read in the car while DH is driving. I even K.I.P. - Knit In Public - often at the same time I'm So many books, so few hours in the day {g}..

On the knitting & crocheting front, with three hours of good t.v. last night (I love sweeps periods), I finished off the latest rag-tag & the latest shawl.

This one is in shades of turquoise with mostly white shades in the center.

It's impossible to get the entire shawl spread out on the desk. This area is about 3x3.5 feet and by folding the shawl, I can get it to barely fit the space.

The lace pattern is called "Falling Leaves" and is super simple - an 8 row repeat with the 4 wrong side rows simply purling across. The four remaining pattern rows are basically two rows that shift slightly over. It was easy to tell exactly where I was in the pattern at all times once the first row was completed. I could get to like this type of lace.

Here's a close up of the pattern. I worked a total of 12 rows because I needed the yarn that was left for the garter stitch border. Another time, I think I would start the pattern earlier. If the Adamas shawl was this easy to keep track of, it might be done by now..

Unfortunately, it's right where it was about a year ago....

Part of the problem might be the size of the needles and the lace weight yarn. Things go much faster with worsted weight & size 15 needles.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Reader's MeMe

I found this MeMe on Nana Sadie's Place. It seemed like a good one given that I'm a voracious reader - though maybe not of the books that are on this list. The ones that are in BOLD are the ones I've read.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkein)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Ablom)
45. The Bible (parts)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I'm not sure how they came up with this list, but there are books that I'd add to it:

101. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (Robert Heinlein)
102. Wyrd Sisters (Terry Pratchett)
103. Exodus, (Leon Uris)
104. The HAB Theory (Allen W. Eckert)
105. Hawaii (James Michener)
106. The Dragon Prince (Melanie Rawn)
107. The Queen's Grace (Jan Westcott)
108. Dragon Flight (Ann McCaffery)
109. The Legacy of Heorot (Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steve Barnes)
110. A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin)
111. Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
112. A Boat of a Million Years (Poul Anderson)
113. Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke)
114. The Adolescence of P1 (Thomas J Ryan)
115. Roselynde, (Roberta Gellis)

A lot of these are old - I read Hawaii & Exodus the week of my senior finals in high school - others are the beginning book of good series. But they're all excellent books that I've enjoyed over the years - sort of the best of the best. If I ever took the time to list every book I've read and enjoyed, going back to Woofis, the Woolly Dog at about age 4, this might turn into the longest post Blogger has ever seen. Suffice it to say that while growing up and since reading has been one of my greatest joys and I've read a LOT of books over the years.


Acrylics Anon/a