Saturday, December 22, 2007

Turning point

I haven't posted for a month, some of you have been checking in to see how we are doing and I really appreciate that. I struggle with posting, these have been dark days. I have been sad, angry, resentful, weak, lost, melancholy, resigned, and unmotivated. I have had to force myself to finish the work for the three classes I was taking, I think it helped to have that to focus on, it gave my brain something to do. December 13, I was done and my friends were all asking how it felt to be done with school for the semester, and I couldn't tell them. I couldn't really feel anything, I expected to feel relieved and lighter but I didn't. I felt empty, and pressured by expectations that seemed meaningless. I am still mourning my Dad, Brian is still looking for work and we are living with uncertainty. Then on the 15th my daughter and I were involved in a car accident. We were rear-ended and pushed into another car. We are okay, some neck injury, but we walked away from it. The car is not drivable though. This week we have been focusing on healing, daily visits to the chiropractor, massages, ice packs and rest. Rose is 11, and the accident freaked her out, it was scary. We have been talking a lot with the kids about the accident because the boys are both about to become drivers, and that really scares me. They may be good drivers, but we can't control what the other people do on the road. I was doing everything right, I was not speeding, I was not tailgating, I was not talking on the phone, or adjusting the radio, or putting on makeup or any number of things I see people doing while driving. I reacted quickly, I was stopping, but the woman behind me didn't. Then while I was checking Rose and comforting her in the minutes after the impact, the woman left the scene. She did come back half an hour later after the CHP were there taking our report.

I keep replaying the scene in my head and wonder how the boys would handle the same situation. It has been a week now and I felt that we needed to come together as a family and process what has been happening.

I decided that we would have a winter solstice ceremony, celebrate leaving the darkness and moving into light. Amidst their protests that this was Pagan and contrary to our Christian beliefs, and squashing the thoughts that we were going to build a big bonfire and drink mead, I gathered all the candles I could find and set up a little table in our family room with them and sun symbol.

I explained what we were doing and why, that I wanted to mark the turning point in the earths movements with a turning point in how we are viewing our lives. That we have had a number of events in our family that have brought darkness and sadness and that we could use this celestial moment to let go of some of the darkness and focus on the hope in the coming of light.

I had them turn all the lights off, even the Christmas tree and blow out the candles and I asked them to reflect in the darkness and silence on the things that have happened that bring them pain and sadness. Then one by one we each lit a candle as we thought of the hope in our future. Brian read the Genesis story of creation and I read a Native American poem called "Spirit Walker" as we lit the rest of the candles in the room and enjoyed the warm glow. We talked for a little bit, well, mostly Rose talked and the boys slouched, about what we had just done.

Then we opened all our Christmas cards together and read the good wishes people have sent us. I think it was good, I think it was meaningful, I think it was strange for the kids, and maybe even a little strange for my husband, but I am grateful that they go along with me and participate because it makes me happy. I feel their love for me in that, and for that I am grateful. I am sensing a turning point, I am so aware that we are interconnected as a family and our emotions and well being are bound together. The subtleties of how we treat each other have great impact especially when we are in this vulnerable place in our lives. We must care for each other.
Care for those you love, even when it feels strange.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


As I lounge in bed for the last few minutes before I get up to start the turkey, I am reflecting on what I have to be thankful about. I like to do a dorky activity with my family and guests every year that ends up creating something I can put up in the house to remind us to be grateful instead of greedy during the upcoming holiday season. I haven't come up with the activity for this year yet. It will come, I am good at winging it. This fall has brought some difficult times for our family with the death of my father and the loss of work for my husband. We are facing some tight months ahead as he searches for employment. These losses make us dig deeper for the things we are grateful for. May you all dig and uncover the true blessings in your lives today.
L1020723.JPGjoeL1020713.JPGdad.jpgDSCF4894.JPGrose 5th gradeDSCF4923.JPG
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to the kitchen! I love to make turkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I finished mom's shawl. She looks beautiful in it, it is her colors, and it drapes just perfectly over her shoulders like a hug. I hope it brings her comfort. We are all home now after dad's funeral. I am exhausted. It is exhausting to mourn. I know this is normal and expected and all that, but it is not easy. I miss Dad. I miss Mom the way she was with Dad. I am not ready to be the older generation, I want just a little longer being my father's daughter. I am just sad, that is all.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beautiful sorrow

The shawl above is for my mom, I'm making it with many purple yarns I have been collecting for her. There is a little touch of green too. I flew back to Chicago to be with my Dad for what turned out to be his last 24 hours. Due to his strokes he could not swallow anymore and we all knew the end was close. I took the red-eye and drove directly to his bedside, just missing my sister by a half hour. Dad had not spoken for a couple of weeks, and I wasn't sure what to expect when I got there. I was grateful he was still with us. He opened his eyes and seemed to respond to me. I wept, and told him how much I loved him. After a few hours my mom arrived, then my sister, and two brothers, arrived and we sat around his bed all day. He seemed to know we were there. At one point I answered a nurse's question in Spanish and he tried to speak! I think he responded to the Spanish. We talked to him of our love for him, that all would be okay, that we, his family were all with him, he was not alone. We sat in silence too, all lost in our own emotions and feeling of being in uncharted waters. What do you say when your father, your husband of 52 years lay breathing his last. He seemed to stabilize, so we went home for some food and a little sleep. Then the nursing home called around 11 and said his breathing was labored and blood pressure dropping we had better come. My brother, Pat and I went in and promised to call mom and Tim if it looked bad. (It helped that Pat is a doctor, he knew what to expect). We sat with him in the dark room through the night. Stroking his arms, holding his hand, singing gently, weeping a little, talking, and dozing. We called mom around 6, dads circulation was dropping, his breathing had been a struggle though the whole night. He was working so hard just to breathe. He took his last breath around 9 and he was gone. The earth and time stopped and we were deep in our moment of loss, we knew, but the pain of his dying seared us. We cried, we kissed him, and we held each other. He was gone, right away he was gone, his body was not him anymore, it was just his body. It was a moment full of sorrow and beauty. Dad's suffering was over, he is home. We will ride the waves of grief knowing that he is at peace and in a beautiful place. Thank you to all who helped us pray.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

prayers needed

If you are a praying person would you help me pray for my Dad's peaceful passing. He has had several strokes and has been in a nursing home, this week he had another and can no longer eat or drink. I pray it won't be long, he has been through enough.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Felted purse finished

Here is my blue felted purse before felting. It is pretty basic. I used Cascade 220 yarn doubled, on size 11 needles. Since my washer disaster, we have a front loader washer now, which of course you can't felt in. So I am felting by hand. My husband found me an old fashioned washboard. I think it was meant for decoration though and not real use, because the corrugated metal kept popping out of the frame as I was scrubbing against it. Luckily, hubby is a handy hubby and he can reinforce it for my next project.
I used alternating hot sudsy water (with Kiss my Face soap) and ice water. It took about fifteen minutes to felt. Then I dried it out on the clothesline

I love this size bag, 12 x 11 inches it slings over my shoulder and holds just my essentials, with a little bit of stretch as what I consider essential is always growing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blue Moon Rocks!

You are awesome, Blue Moon Fiber Arts! Remember this pair of socks I was working on in July and August on all my trips to Virginia. I had bought a bunch of sock yarn in June at the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. The Blue Moon booth was wonderful. All those colors and the most luscious sock yarn. I started making this pair of socks using their Rockin' toe up pattern out of their Socks that Rock yarn in colorway Typhoon Tina. A lot of traveling this summer so lots of knitting progress, and by the time I went back to Virginia in August, I had the first sock done and was well on my way into the second (take THAT, second sock syndrome). I was at this lovely spa in the mountains in Virginia (really, this is rare for me, it was a quick weekend to celebrate my SIL 50th). Somewhere, sometime probably while I was packing to go home, I lost the first finished sock. OH NO! I couldn't believe it. I have only lost knitting once before, many years ago I lost a baby blanket I was working on, I lost the whole knitting bag. This time it was just the finished sock (without the ends woven in) I called the Homestead, I emailed them, I sent them a photo of the sock so they would know what they were looking for, I spoke to the front desk, I spoke to housekeeping, I spoke to the concierge. No luck, someone has a beautiful handknit sock for 1 foot. I was crushed. I finished the second sock, and started on the third and I realized there really isn't enough yarn to make a third sock. So I started searching. All my usual yarn shops, the internet. When I got my invite to Ravelry I quickly joined the group; ISO and destashing and put up my request for more Typhoon Tina. No luck. Someone suggested I write to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Of course, I had searched their web site and Typhoon Tina is not available. So I wrote to them. Hallelujah! They replied this morning that they will dye some more for me! How cool is that!?! That is excellent customer service, I am so impressed. So it looks like this story ends well, Brian will not have a cold foot when he wears his Typhoon Tina socks. YeeHa!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Moment of weakness

Every week when I drive to Samuel Merritt to my physiology class I go down Telegraph Ave and drive right past a great yarn shop called Article Pract. I know I don't need any more yarn, and I am supposed to be studying this fall anyway so I don't stop to look. I can't stop just to look, I am not a good looker, I always buy something. Today, though, after 3 1/2 hours of the nursing entrance exam, there was a parking place right in front of the shop. My little bug just pulled right in, I couldn't help it.
Here is the first thing I bought. Sock yarn in a lovely colorway.


After I got it home look what I found inside!


would you look at that, inside the ball of sock yarn is a little bobbin of reinforcing yarn for the heel. How cool is that, and it matches the colorway!
Then I wandered to the sale area and couldn't pass these up,


and because I don't have enough patterns (;-), at least not any on nifty convenient little cards, I bought this.


Brian wondered if I "needed" new needles too.
I do actually, I need some size 11 circular to start some felted kitchen mitts to replace some that have been burned beyond use. I didn't buy any though.

See that capelet? I wonder if I could make that out of the yarn I just unravelled from the shawl. Anyone know how to figure out how much yardage there is in handspun? Isn't there a way to calculate it based on weight and wpi? Some way that is easier than actually measuring it?

Friday, October 19, 2007


I frogged the shawl. It was a little painful, but not once I got pulling and winding the balls. I'm not sure what I am going to knit with the yarn, maybe a vest, maybe a hat, I just don't know. There isn't a lot of yardage. Now I don't have much left on the needles. I have my Bluefaced leiceister sweater, my Tidal wave socks and Hubby's socks which are at a standstill until I locate more Socks that Rock yarn in the right colorway. I need to start something, something, something.........


oh, where you calling me? pile of books? I have been buried in schoolwork. My physiology class has gotten hard, I guess because we have gotten to the part of the material that is totally new for me. And the professor is not so organized, so it is hard to figure out what he is expecting from us. Tomorrow I have to take the Nursing Entrance Exam. It just tests basic reading comprehension and math. I had purchased a study guide and have been doing the practice exams, it includes a lot of basic science (like Big Bang Theory, how the stars form, and parts of a plant and other useful knowledge.) I was beginning to panic, because I didn't learn some of that stuff way back when (probably because some of it was not discovered yet). I spent an evening skimming Pat's physics book, and pumping him with questions. But it turns out I don't have to worry, they are just testing us on the verbal and math sections. I just need to get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast and sharpen some #2 pencils, I should be fine.
Then when I am done with that I need to work on my essays for my application, due November 1.
Maybe I can knit after that.......

Monday, October 15, 2007

Should I rip it out?

L1020506.JPG, originally uploaded by knitwitmama.

See this shawl? I started this in the summer using some yarn I had spun last summer and a pattern from my knitting calendar for a travel cozy. I quickly ran out of my handspun yarn and I bought some merino and some mohair in similar colors to continue knitting. I am not liking how the whole thing is looking though. The pattern starts at the neck and establishes increases as it goes over the shoulders, and it looked a lot more lacy in the photo. I put it away for a couple of months, actually it sat in a basket near my spinning wheel looking at me. Asking me to work on it, but I have just not been inspired. I love the colors, and the feel of the yarn, but I just can't get into how it is shaping up. So this weekend for some reason I grabbed it when I went to spend the weekend with a friend who is recovering from surgery. We sat and talked and watched movies, and I knit mindlessly on the shawl. By Sunday morning I looked at it in the bright light of day and it struck me that I am crazy to just keep knitting! Why do I think it is going to improve with more length? It is not. I need to rip it out and make something completely different with the handspun yarn. If I could just bring myself to do it and give the yarn a new chance. here I go.........

Monday, October 1, 2007

Glass cozy brigade

A family of 5 can go through a lot of glasses in a day. You know how it goes, you get a glass of water and you don't finish drinking it but when you go looking for it suddenly there are three partially empty glasses and you can't figure out which one has your germs on it and which one is covered with sister kooties. So you get another clean glass out and start again. Take this times 5 and we have a full dishwasher before we get to dinner! It is extra work for the person on dish duty but it also uses more water and soap. So here is my creative solution. Individual glass cozy's. I made a bunch of them in different colored yarns, I used Peaches and Cream Cotton so that I could wash them in hot water with our cloth napkins. Everybody that takes a glass needs to put a cozy on it and use it for the entire day.

Most of us have our favorites that we use all the time, I like the yellow and my daughter likes the pink-orange-yellow, I made the black one for the 15 year old teenager who is in his black phase. Hubby wanted me to make him a dirt colored one because his hands are always dirty from gardening when he comes in for a drink and he didn't want to keep getting his cozy muddy. I haven't found that color yarn yet.

Here are the instructions for cozys that fit the french tumbler glasses that we have, the same size works on the 8oz, 12oz and the 17 oz glasses. They are knit in the round on double points or circulars.
with size 8 needles cast on 36 stitches
join without twisting
knit 5 rounds
round 6: k2tog, k to end of round
knit 5 rounds
round 12: k2tog, k to end of round
knit 5 rounds
round 18: k2tog, knit to end of round
knit 2 rounds
cast off, weave in ends
after washing they soften and grip the glasses quite well

I wish I could tell you that we only wash 5 glasses a day now; we don't. But we are using significantly fewer glasses a day, and I think it has raised awareness in the house about how easy it is to be careless with resources.
I then knit a cover for the ubiquitous can of Barkeepers Friend that sits by our sink. Hubby laughed and wondered if I was going to cover everything in the house with knitted tubes! Tell me would you rather look at this:

or this?

If they aren't going to put things away, my theory is to make stuff that is out as attractive as possible. That is why I have always used wicker laundry baskets. I knew that there would always be laundry out on any given day in some stage of being sorted or folded or transported. I like looking at wicker baskets way better than those plastic baskets! And surprisingly my wicker baskets have lasted almost 20 years!
If you can't control the clutter at least make it tolerable.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

cold water

When one thing breaks, it all goes. Over labor day our washing machine stopped running. We thought we would just get it fixed, after all it was only 7 years old. Seems young for a washer to go kaput. Of course the warranty was out, so we called Sears and arranged for them to come to repair it and got our 4 hour window of time for them to show up. Then they told us we could buy another service contract; $200 would get us 1 year of service or $500 toward a new washer, sounded good to us. Well, the service guy missed his 4 hour window and I had to go to school, we set up another 4 hour window two days later. They didn't show, and when I called they didn't have our appointment. Boy was I ready to blow, mind you at this point the washer had not been working for a week and 5 people create mountains of stinky laundry. You know. I cancelled the Sears contract, got my money back and started calling independent repair guys. Ah!! little did I know that we did better than most with the washer we had, they all told me that most people only got a few years out of theirs, apparently this washer has the worst repair record in washer history. Ugh, they said don't spend the money fixing it and start over. So we went shopping for a new washer, got some fancy front loader that is super efficient, but we had to wait another 5 days for it to come. So the kids and I traipsed to the laundromat and filled 10 washers, hauled 10 wet loads home and hung them on the line and dried some in the dryer. Great, then the clothesline fell over twice with the weight of all those wet clothes and Brian had to bend the metal back into shape and make a new stand for it with hurkier pipe fittings. At the same time my bug stopped starting. I had it towed to the repair shop, but they couldn't figure it out right away, it turns out a computer thing in the car recognizes the keys, and that was what stopped working. The engine was fine, the cars brain just had alzheimers. Unfortunately only the dealer has the secret code to straighten this out and they would not give it to the repair shop. They called and I called several dealers, no luck, so we had to pay for it to be towed to the dealer to get fixed. All that took 2 weeks! Finally everything was back and running fine and Brian and I were relaxing on the front porch the other evening and a thought came into my head that we have had our water heater since we moved in 18 years ago and it is still working. I didn't say it out loud, I thought I was safe! But noooo, Friday night the hot water heater went out, so we are without hot water until Monday, when Ernie's, our trusted plumber can come install a new one. Why does this stuff always happen on the weekend? The picture above is the hot water being made for my bath today. I was feeling rather grungy, I tried but just couldn't bring myself to step into a cold shower. My hero, husband carried three giant pots of boiling water to make a nice hot bath for me. Warm water never felt so good.

And just in case it seems like I don't get to knit anymore, it is true. Well, not totally true, I get to knit some. Here are the socks I started the other day. Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn in Lunasea. Tidal wave pattern. I love this pattern, it is easy to memorize and I think I like cuff down better that toe up socks. I tried a new cast on that is stretchier.
I don't dare even think about what else might break, clear your head of all thoughts of broken things. But don't hold your breath, life goes on.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

got my invitation!

Yippee! I finally got my invitation to Ravelry, now I can join the fun. So I'm knitwitmama, if you are in Ravelry come be my friend. Now I need to get busy with Flickr and all my projects and stash. Yet another thing to keep me from knitting, but at least it is related to knitting.
I did start a new pair of socks last night. Tidal Wave pattern, using Blue Moon sock yarn lightweight, colorway Lunasea, on #1 needles. I can't finish Brians socks till I manage to find more Blue Moon lightweight sock yarn in Typhoon Tina. I had bought it at Black Sheep Gathering, but it seems to be a colorway that is not available online.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer weaving experience

Well would you look at that, my scarf is finished. It took me all summer and I am so proud of it! I made just a few errors that I didn't catch and reweave while it was still on the loom. I actually made many errors that I went back and fixed while it was still on the loom, but I missed a few. Now it is washed and the yarn softened up quite a bit, Lou (my teacher) says if I didn't beat it so tight it would be softer yet. I am sad that with my school schedule I will not be able to continue the class , maybe in a couple of years after nursing school is done. I did begin to wind on a warp for some cotton dish towels. I got the 370 ends wound onto the back beam, but I still need to thread the heddles and sley the reed (don't you just love the vocabulary). Weaving at home I will miss the camaraderie of my fellow weavers. There is something to be said for sitting in a room full of looms to transport you back in time to another era when groups of women actually did this. The sound of many treadles, beaters and shuttles clacking made me imagine that I was living in another time when the pace of life was a bit more sane. I imagine I am in an ancient Celtic village weaving tartans and catching up on the village gossip. All around us the children are playing with scraps of thread and the young girls are learning to spin and weave too, we can hear the sheep in the pasture and smell the bread baking in the village oven. Nevermind that we don't have flush toilets and we have to carry our water, let me live in that fantasy world for just a few hours a week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm a two college student

So I didn't get into the physiology class or microbiology at DVC, but I did just hear that I am enrolled in the physiology class at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland that starts next week. YeeeHaaa! Now I know my schedule finally. I'm at DVC Tuesdays and Thursdays and at Samuel Merritt on Wednesdays. Mondays and Fridays are free for studying. Two colleges at once! how about that. At least now I can sing with the kids at St. Catherine's every morning, I was sad when I thought I wouldn't be able to do that. I love starting my day singing. St. Catherine's started this morning, Rose was very excited, and her best buddy started there today. Now she and Hailey will get to see each other every day even though they are in different grades. It feels good to have a routine to fall into. We love the long days of summer and sleeping in, but Rose was getting bored and she really does function better with a set routine that she can count on. Pat is off at school helping with freshman orientation at Alhambra. They start school next week, we picked up their schedules yesterday, and we had to keep reminding Joe that "school is fun! school is great! we love school!" he isn't anxious to go back, I guess it takes too much time away from his piano practice.

Yesterday I was in the line at the coffee shop at DVC which is inside the bookstore, the line was long and there were many students ahead of me. A young man with his hands full of a drink and some snacks walked up to the young student in front of me and said "you know, I could just walk out with this stuff" the door was right there and they had students checking people coming in and out. The boys just laughed and then this boy walked right out the door! nobody stopped him or even noticed (it was crowded and busy) except me! I was saying to the boy in front of me "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" and "he just did!" The young man in front of me just laughed, I watched the door and that young man stood outside and opened his drink and started enjoying it waiting for his friend in the line. After the one in front of me paid, I nudged him and said to him that he ought to give his friend a hard time for what he just did. I kept thinking that I should have said something to the cashier but I didn't. I walked past both boys as I walked out but neither of them would meet my gaze, and I didn't say anything. I already feel like every one's mother there rather than a student. What would you have done? should I have said something? Why is it so easy for people to just break the law, because they can? I find the whole thing rather discouraging.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Last hour of peace

There is this octagonal pool in the garden by the spa that is fed by the natural hot springs and surrounded by benches with foot baths in front of them. Here I sit enjoying the soothing water on my feet and the shade of the giant oak tree behind me. I am feeling quite blessed to have had two relaxing weekends away this month. I'm tring to store up this experience as we go into the fall. Fall always feels like a runaway train through Christmas. And I fear that this fall will be intense,with my heavy school load, Pat's college search and Brian's job on top of the usual shedule. I will just need to take good c
are of myself so that I can take good care of the rest of the family too. I think now about all the people who cannot get a break like this and my gratitude swells.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I can hardly knit, I am so relaxed from my trail ride this morning through the woods and the afternoon in the spa. This is the good life. Here is sock in the grand lobby waiting for ribbing. I am waiting for the other Clyne women to come back from the Jefferson hot springs. Maybe I'll just rest my eyes for a moment...zzzzz..

Heel trouble

Here is second sock, we just touched down in Roanoake, VA. We're here to surprise my sister-in-law for her birthday. A significant one but I won't tell you which one. My brother, Peter arranged it all at a resort in the mountains. I have been flying all night and this morning, so I got the foot and the heel done. I am not sure I like this pattern, the heel always ends up with some holes at the ends of the short rows even though I think I am twisting the stitches the way the pattern says to. Anybody have any pointers?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

t-minus 2 days

Two days from now I will be in school again, a week before Rose starts and 2 weeks before the boys start. How can that be fair? I should be in physiology, microbiology, nutrition and interpersonal communication. Some of you know that I decided to go back to school to get a nursing degree, (read looming college tuition) and it has been more than an education so far. I am trying to take care of my prerequisites at the local community colleges(DVC, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa College), however the classes I need fill before I am allowed to register for them. You see, I fall into that group of people that is disadvantaged because we aren't discriminated against. I have a BS degree already so I only need a few (in high demand) classes, thus I do not have many hours under my belt at the community college, I have enough money to pay for school (it only costs $20/ credit hour) so I am not economically disadvantaged, I can read and write without any disability so I am not learning disadvantaged, and I have a working husband so I am not a displaced homemaker. All those people get to register for classes before I do. Physiology and Microbiology were full when it was my turn to register at all three community colleges in my area. For the next several weeks I put the registrars office on my cell phone speed dial and every time I picked up the phone I called them first to see if someone had dropped and I could get in. WooHoo ! by the end of June I got on the waiting list for both classes. Now 2 days before classes start I am 6th on the waiting list for physiology and 3rd on the waiting list for microbiology. I emailed the professors to see what my chances are for getting in, should I purchase the books yet? They said no, last semester only the first 1 or 2 people on the waiting list got in. AAAAHHH!! I drive over to the Samuel Merritt College website and see that they have posted their Physiology class for the fall, it starts in 2 weeks, and meets on Wednesdays and online (it is a hybrid class). It would fit with my nutrition and communications class. I print the application, send it in with my $35 app fee, and email the professor to see about space. The BIG problem with this class is the cost, $1300 plus books compared to $80 at DVC. But a good thing about the Samuel Merritt class is that it doesn't start until 1:30 in the afternoon and is only 1 day (albeit a loooong one) a week instead of 4 days a week starting at 8 am at DVC. I would be able to still sing with the kids at St. Catherine's everyday, and Rose would only have to go to after school care 1 day a week instead of 4. (I don't really need the micro class if I apply to the 1yr nursing program at Samuel Merritt, I already have a BS in micro, I just wanted to refresh; after all I graduated in 1980!) This should be a no brainer, I should just spend the money for an easier schedule. I am constantly fighting my Scottish genes that balk at spending the money for convenience if there is something cheaper. So I wait. T-minus 2 days. I still don't know what my schedule will be or which school or schools I will be attending.
I am off to my last weaving class, I am glad I was able to squeeze weaving in this summer, it has been a blast. I hope to get my loom warped today for weaving some kitchen towels at home. Tonight I study, study, study, for my last quiz and my final in Life Span Development. I'm glad this online class is almost over. If I take the final tomorrow I get an extra 20 points for doing it early, to me it is worth it.
There is still the house to paint...........

Thursday, August 9, 2007

crazy disaster scarf

I have been working on a beaded scarf kit that I bought at Stitches this year. It is called Gilda, from Twisted Sisters Knitting. The yarn is their Rayon/Cotton called Mirage, and you knit beads into the scarf as you go. First you string beads onto the yarn, the directions say to string 7 strands of beads on. I happily knit along following the directions, a fairly simple pattern, moss stitch with a bead every 5 stitches. At the ends each panel is scalloped by sliding 10 beads between the panels, then 9 then 8 etc... Like so:

It was all going just fine until I ran out of beads with about half of the scarf left to knit. AHH!
so I unraveled the ball of yarn remaining and started stringing on more beads. (My friend, Char gave me a floss threader that works much better than the copper wire I was using) I slid the beads along the yarn toward my knitting then, the yarn broke! Beads went everywhere, in my lap, between the couch cushions, on the floor........ now it all is a big messy disaster. I am about ready to just shove it under the couch and pretend I never started, beaded scarf? what beaded scarf? I've always wanted to try beaded knitting. Maybe I'll forgive it tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

pickles keep me from knitting

Brian has been growing pickling cucumbers this year, so every few days now a basket of them appears on the kitchen table. I could ignore them, I've tried that, but they just get all moldy and icky and I have to throw them in the compost pile and that goes against my grain. So I make pickles. I've made several batches of bread and butter pickles, and different recipes of dill pickles. (he also finally got some dill to grow in our yard too) Someone gave me a recipe for Hungarian sun pickles, but I just couldn't bring myself to try it. It calls for alum, and leaving the pickles out in the sun for three days. I've tried just the standard kosher dills, and also some that you don't process at the end but store in the fridge. I am hoping that these are more like the refrigerator pickles we sometimes buy.
It takes a couple of days to make a batch because the first step is always salting or brining the cucumbers overnight.

here are some cucumbers salting with onions to make the bread and butter pickles. The dill pickles get soaked in a salt water brine without onions.Here are the ingredients gathered for the dill pickles. Cucumbers, salt, dill, pepper and garlic.

both the bread and butter pickles and the dill pickles get packed with a hot vinegar brine. The bread and butter recipe has sugar, turmeric, pepper, and mustard seed.
Here are the bread and butter pickles getting heated in the brine.then they get packed in sterile jars, the dill pickles get packed cold and have hot brine poured over them, the bread and butter pickles get packed hot.

Then they get processed in the boiling water cannerand voila! jars of pickles!
Today I am making another batch of bread and butter pickles. I have given away a few baskets of cucumbers too, let me know if you want some. We are eating the traditional cucumber and tomato salad too, but I think Brian is just about ready to pull out the plants and move on. Tomatoes are not coming with the abandon we are used to, it has been a troublesome year for them. But that is another blogstory........ At least I have my weaving class today so I will get to fondle some fiber.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Here is sock at the ocean. My bff Sheila has brought me to Fort Bragg for my belated birthday tradition. It is the most lovely afternoon. Shopping in Mendocino, some local seafood for lunch, and soon some more for dinner. A couple of girl movies and here we have a great recipe for my beach getaway. Wish you were all here.