Monday, April 27, 2009

Drumroll, please!

The "Rebekah and Allyson Shawl" is done! And in plenty of time, too! Rebekah is still on bedrest, but no contractions, as of a couple of days ago. She's just over 31 weeks pregnant now. Just 6 weeks until Allyson will be "full-term"! I'm done with the knitting, but I'll still be praying, until the very last day.
Here are a couple of pictures of the finished project.

Here's a closeup picture, so you can really see the lace pattern.

I'll get this mailed off today, or tomorrow at the latest. Time to pick out the next project...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Okay, I know it's not anywhere near Christmas, but...

I wanted to show you the Christmas Tree Angel I made. I got the general idea from a magazine somewhere. I don't remember which magazine, but that's okay, because I only used it as inspiration. I designed this myself. If there's enough interest, I'll refine the pattern and publish it.

The basic design started with a knitted tube; I used a light worsted weight yarn. I did some decreasing for the shoulders, and she does have a neck; you just can't see it well from the angle at which I took the picture. Then I increased for the base of the head, knitted even for a few rows, then rapidly decreased for the top of the head. Then I picked up stitches around the "waist" and started the over-skirt. The basic tube is just barely covered by the skirt. At the top of the skirt, there's only one purl stitch between each cable. I increased one stitch between each cable on the same round where I did the cable crossings. But when I was getting near the bottom of the skirt, I increased two stitches between each cable, which gives it that lovely flare at the bottom. The arms are I-cords. The hair is just attached using the "latch hook" technique that we all learned as kids, then I unplied the yarn to make it wavy. The belt is a crochet chain of fun fur, as is the halo. The wings were fun fur carried along with the plain yarn, to make them more dense than just fun fur alone. The smile was just backstitched on, and the eyes are drawn on, though I did consider using tiny beads for the eyes. And finally, I knitted a little piece with thin yarn on size 1 needles. And I transferred the live stitches to toothpicks, for the angel's needles; I used a dot of clear glue to keep the stitches from sliding off the needles.

I have plans for all sorts of Christmas decorations; this is just the first. I think one of our trees will be decorated with only handmade ornaments: knitted, felted, sewn, or otherwise handmade. I'm starting early, so I can get them all done. I think the next think I'll figure out will be a knitted garland of colorful "lights"...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth day...

Yes, I purposely didn't capitalize "earth day". It's bad enough that the liberal environmentalist wackos worship the earth all year-long, but they even have a special day set aside for telling the rest of us that we should do likewise.

So let me just say that I will worship the Creator today, as I do throughout the year. I will not worship the creation, today or any day of my life.

Psalm 8:1 - O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 24:1-2 - The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 103:19 - The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 121:1-2 - I lift my eyes up to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 139:13-16 - For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 144:15 - Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.
Psalm 145:1-2 - I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.
Psalm 150:6 - Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everyone should read "Atlas Shrugged"

So much for writing something every day. Well, I guess I haven't had a lot to say in the past week. I've been knitting, finished my last square for an afghan knitalong...still working on the shawl for my sister. I started spinning the alpaca I mentioned a few posts ago. But I've actually been focusing my attention on reading.

I just finished reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. It is a very very good book. Before I read it, I had heard that it was "an interesting study on the nature of socialism". But it's so much more than that. In the book, socialism is slowly but surely taking over the country. (This was written in the 50s, so it's not necessarily about the current administration.) The main characters in the book are Dagny Taggart (Operating Vice President of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad), Hank Rearden (of Rearden Steel), and Francisco D'Anconia ( of D'Anconia Copper). These, among others, are the producers. They work hard, think for themselves, think outside of the box, and expect to make a profit on the products they produce. As they should. But, throughout the book, other producers are suddenly, and without warning, disappearing. Nobody knows where they are going, or why. Over time, Dagny and Hank begin to understand why: they refuse to produce for the system of "looters and moochers". Eventually, they do learn where the missing men have gone. And they discover the answer to a rhetorical question people ask throughout the book: "Who is John Galt?" It's used as a phrase that means "Why ask questions that have no answers?" But it does actually have an answer. There is a small part of the philosophy included in the book, with which I do not agree, but for the most part it's very good. Well written, well-thought-out. It's not for children, but I think every adult should read it. It's timeless and timely. I'm seeing a lot of parallels in current events. Read it; you will, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tea Party Day!

Okay, now I'm ready to talk about Tea Party Day. Warning: political content ahead. You may be offended. If so, get over it.

I wanted very much to go to a Tea Party today. I had it all imagined out. Then I read about how Acorn and the Huffington Post, and others like them (read: fascist haters of everything America stands for) were recruiting people to infiltrate the Tea Parties and start trouble, to make us look bad. I know the type of trouble people like them like to stir up, and I know it usually ends with police in riot gear breaking up the protest and arresting people. And then I read a document that came out of the Department of Homeland Security, which said, essentially, that conservatives are terrorists. Anybody who believes that the government is too big and spends too much and taxes too much...must be monitored. Uhm, yeah. We aren't the ones breaking the law. We may not like some of the laws, but we still follow them, because that's what kind of people we are. So anyway, I decided that I would not go, because I would have to bring my children with me. And I would have to protect them from people who feel like stirring up trouble. I live in a very large city, and my city and surrounding county went blue during the last election. So I know that the majority where I live is liberal. I'm okay with that, except when and where it would be likely to put my children in danger.

So, since we wouldn't be participating in an organized tea party, we decided to have our own. It was my oldest daughter's idea. She's 7 years old, and smart as a whip. So we all dressed in red, white and blue today. And we're spending the day talking about history and politics, and the significance of the Tea Parties. And we had a real tea party. Which is a very special once-in-a-while treat. This was actually the first time my youngest got to participate, but she used plastic dishes. Later, the girls plan to watch one of their favorite movies: Felicity. It's a historical fiction movie, set in 1774, about a girl living in colonial Williamsburg, deciding whether she'll be a "loyalist" or a "patriot." It's a very good movie, and I highly recommend it.


Thanks for praying!

Rebekah is home from the hospital! She is still on bedrest, and will be for the next 6 weeks or so, but at least she's at home. Please keep her in your prayers.

I am working on the shawl, and am about 4/5 of the way done. Another week or so ought to do it. I'll make sure to post pics of the finished project before I send it to her.

I'll post more later this afternoon if I get time. I can't let today pass without posting about the Tea Party protests.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayers, please!

I'm keeping busy. I've had to set my spinning aside, to work on my "Rebekah and Allyson Shawl". Rebekah is in the hospital now; she lives in a small town and has been airlifted to a city nearby that has a NICU. So far, Allyson is inside where she belongs. I'd like to ask anyone who reads this, if you are they "praying type" to pray for Rebekah and Allyson. During her previous pregnancy, Rebekah was in labor off and on for 6 weeks. She was on bed rest, and in the hospital, for much of that time. But Emma was born full-term. Rebekah was ready, a week earlier, for Emma to be born, but I told her, "I'm sorry, but I prayed for her to be born full-term." Emma was born, a week later, after the 37 week mark.

Rebekah is 30 weeks pregnant. It would be alright if Allyson is born 4 weeks from now, but I'm praying for a full-term baby. I'm asking my friends to agree with me in prayer. Actually, I'm praying that whatever is causing the preterm labor would be healed. That the labor would stop, and wouldn't start again until it's time. Who wants to pray with me for that miracle?

I mentioned I'm working on the shawl. It's almost 4 feet long. So just a little over a foot to go. I sure hope she likes it when it's done.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Thank You, Lord, for taking my place, paying my debt. I am a sinner, and deserve the wages of my own sin. I could never earn salvation, because I cannot live up to Your standard of perfection. Thank You for being willing to die in my place, so that I could live. Help me, Lord, to do what pleases You. Help me to be an example of Your love to everyone I know. Help me to trust You in every part of my life. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Day Off...

Today, I took the day off. I got a massage, then drove around finding local yarn stores. The first one I visited didn't have what I was looking for: wool roving. But they did have lots of lovely yarns. I was going to buy some "cool cotton", which is cotton with super-fine threads of steel spun into it. Very cool-looking. The price that I thought was for the whole bag of 10 skeins...which I thought was a great price...turned out to be the price per skein. So I decided to save up some money first. I didn't need to spend that much money on yarn for one project, especially when I already have boxes and boxes full of cotton yarn at home. But maybe if I get a gift certificate at some point...

At the second yarn store, I hit pay dirt. (What, exactly, does that mean anyway?) I found eight ounces of red wool roving, and 7 ounces of the softest, squishiest white alpaca fiber. I'm looking forward to spinning them up, especially the alpaca. It feels so lovely. The wool isn't so soft, but I can condition it with hair conditioner after it's spun, and that should help.
I had a very nice day. I had planned on also going to my favorite bookstore and just sitting there, knitting or spinning, but the traffic was getting pretty thick, and I was starting to get a headache. So I went home earlier than I'd planned. Now it's time to start the pizza, and do a little spinning...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dolly's birthday

Today is Dolly's birthday. She is two years old. I can hardly believe it; she's growing so fast. She got a very cute little tea set for her birthday; the teapot makes boiling and pouring sounds, and sings songs about tea. She really likes it; she spent the rest of the day giving all of us tea. I spraypainted her old (very very old) dolly cradle purple, and helped Angel (my oldest) make a doll-sized quilt and pillow to go with it. The cradle itself was made for my husband's aunt when she was a little girl, and I had painted it cream several years ago. But now I'm getting ready to redecorate Princess and Dolly's bedroom in a fuschia and purple color scheme. So purple it is!

We just had a nice, quiet family celebration. I'm not much good at planning parties, so I've decided to just enjoy birthdays without turning them into big productions. Less stress for me that way. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Summerlin" dresses

Here are my girls in some sundresses I made for them. The top of each is recycled cotton, and the skirts of the younger two are from fabric I had in my stash. I had to buy some to go with the fuschia yarn for my oldest.
"Angel" - age 7 1/2

"Princess" - Age 4

"Dolly" - age almost 2

These dresses were so easy to make, and my girls love them. I'm sure they'll wear them many times this summer; I should probably make a few more. I actually knitted the top parts upside down from how the pattern was written. But that's because it made more sense to me that way. In the pattern, you are supposed to start at the ends of the straps and knit to where the v-neck comes together, then join the two pieces and continue. Instead, I started with the waistband, and knit both sides of the front and both straps concurrently, with two balls of yarn. I like how they turned out. Cool enough for summer, without looking tarty. But don't get me started on current fashions for little girls...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spinning Success!

The other day I found a package of mystery fiber at the thrift shop for a dollar. I decided, at that price, there was no reason not to buy it. I would practice spinning it, no matter what it was. But I was still curious to find out what it was. So I did the burn test. I held a tiny bit of it over a glass bowl and held a flame up to it. It burned; didn't melt. The smell it produced was like burning hair (nasty) and the flame was small and flickering. The ash was brittle and fell apart easily. And it didn't smolder when the flame was put out. After this test, I was fairly certain of what the fiber was, but I decided that to be completely certain, I needed to perform the bleach test. I got another glass bowl and placed a little bit of the fiber into it and added straight bleach. It only took about 5 minutes for the fiber to completely dissolve. I thought that was pretty cool. And based on the results of my oh-so-scientific tests, I knew that the fiber was wool. And, knowing that, I was very happy; I had gotten roughly four ounces of wool for a dollar! And since it was natural cream-color, I would be able to dye it any color I chose!
I began spinning it immediately, using the same spindle I showed you in another post. I was very glad that I figured out how to control the fiber better. It still turned out thick-and-thin, but the thickest was about fingering weight, and the thinnest was like cobwebs. But overall, it was mostly laceweight. Here's a closeup picture to show the thinness and consistency. It spun up into roughly 130 yards. I say roughly, because the chair I'm using for measuring is actually 38 inches around, so I'm not getting an accurate yard measurement. It went around 125 times (I think), and I didn't feel like doing all that math to figure out the exact measurement. So I just called it 130. It's not like I'm going to sell it, so it's just for my own reference. Now I have to decide what color to dye it, and what to knit.
I was considering a really pretty beaded lace cowl I saw in Knitty. It's called "Ice Queen", and it calls for a mohair yarn that comes in a 229 yd ball. It doesn't say whether or not the entire ball gets used, so I'm thinking I might not have enough. Oh, well, the search continues.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Can I just say, "I hate Saturdays"? I do. Saturday is such a promising sort of day; there are all sorts of things that could be done on Saturdays. Yard work with my hubby (because I'm not strong enough to accomplish much on my own), family time, going somewhere fun together, etc. Yeah, none of that is likely to happen on any given Saturday at our house.
Saturday is when my hubby goes to the airport. Why? Because he's a pilot and part-owner of a plane. All the pilots at our airport hang out at the airport every Saturday morning. They hang out, eat donuts and talk about flying. When the weather's nice, they go flying. Why? I have no freaking idea. To me, hanging around in airports is the absolute worst part of traveling. Why the heck would someone do it when they don't have to? But then, I'm not a pilot. I don't even like flying. I spend every minute in a plane praying, knitting, or both.
To be fair to Hubby, he does usually take one of the kids with him, which (he thinks) gives me a little break. Yeah, to me, it's just a regular day; I just have one less kid underfoot. On Saturdays I usually do laundry, catch up on the housework I've ignored during the rest of the week, and try to keep the two kids at home with me entertained. Of course, today, Hubby's not taking any of them with him, because he's going flying. And they all hate flying, just like mommy. :P
That means, in addition to not getting to have a nice relaxing Saturday, I won't even get my "little break". And he'll be gone all freaking day. Wasting money on an unnecessary flight. And he whines at me about what I spend at Walmart. Yeah. He bought into a plane, and (on top of the buy-in price) has to pay about $100 per hour that he flies it. Double standard, anyone?
Well, if you've read this entire rant, thanks. And let me just say one more time "I HATE SATURDAYS!"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Been busy today.

I've been pretty busy, but don't feel like I got much done. I was supposed to have my yearly doctor's appointment today, but when I showed up, they told me I was two months too early and my insurance wouldn't cover it. Okay... that's stupid, but whatever. I had errands to run anyway. So I went and got some supplies for my handmade spindles. And a few groceries.

This evening, I made two whorls, but one of them is for my seven-year-old. After watching me spin the past few days, she told me that she really wants to learn to spin. She's learning to knit already, and I think learning to spin seems to be easier than learning to knit. At least, for me. So I told her that I'd make her her own spindle (because both of mine have yarn on them) and I also decided to make her a matching set of size 10 1/2 knitting needles. I used the same clay for the whorl of the spindle, and for the end buttons of the needles. I'll take a picture when all of it is done. Anyway, I decided that I might as well make two whorls, so I can make one spindle to sell on my etsy. The whorls are still baking right now...I'm getting sleepy, so I hope they are done soon.

So anyway, like I said, I didn't really get much done. But that's okay, I guess.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Rebekah and Allyson"

Here are the first pics of my "Rebekah and Allyson Shawl", which I'm knitting for my sister. It's about 2 feet long now. So just 3 more feet to go. :)