Don’t Peek Before… OOPS!

I told the kiddies I didn’t have the time to shop for them each a gift of their own this year, but I would be getting them one big special gift that they could all share. That gift arrived today, and… well… the understanding was that “it” promised to be very still and quiet until Christmas morning. Best laid plans and all that…


Some of the younger children were looking for something to do this afternoon when they heard an odd sound coming from a beautifully wrapped gift. It sounded very much like a little boy sniffling and trying not to cry, and there was no question in their minds what they should do. The package was open in moments!

Good-hearted, though impulsive, little folks that they are, they were totally oblivious to the fact that they had just, without permission, opened the only Christmas gift – and without even having the rest of their brothers and sisters there to see. Their only concern was that someone was crying, and they intended to fix that!


To their chagrin, Mikkey, Mariette, and Mae Lei could do nothing to assuage the little newcomer’s sorrow. He wasn’t scared, nor was he homesick. He was just dreadfully sad. In the excitement of packing for his journey to Ohio, somehow he neglected to get his doggie into the travel box before the lid was sealed shut. Though he knows his foster sisters will take good care of his beloved pet, he’s just sure he’ll never see his puppy again.

Vital stats: William Jacob arrived December 23, 2008. He is named in honor of my paternal great-grandfather, William Owen Spitler. Will was born in Candy Anderson’s Studio, and was made using the Twirp mold. Oh, and he’s cute as a button!

Post script: I just heard Emmalyn tell Little Will that that wonderful things happen at Christmas time, and that she’d help him write a letter…

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 2:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Snowflakes and Lace

I’ve decided to take on a challenge – definitely not the most painful I’ve accepted, either. I’ve joined the winter session of Session of Seasons of Lace. The goal is simply to knit as much lace as possible between December 21 and March 21. Somehow it seems fitting in our northern climate to have God’s lace floating through the air outside while my knitted lace drifts onto my lap in ever growing folds indoors.

I’ve been lining up my projects – mostly a matter of crowd control, to be quite honest! Despite my finishing frenzy the other night, there is still a lot vying for my time, so it’s hard to say just what exactly I will be able to finish in the next three months. However, here’s what I know for certain…

There was no way I could resist inaugurating a new challenge with a new project, so I cast on my Pearled Romance Sunday night. I’m using laceweight yarn from Fearless Fibers in the Rubicund colorway, and the beads are Dyna-mites from Fire Mountain Gems in Cream Soda. I’ve worked 16 rows so far this week, and will post a photo once it’s long enough to start looking like something. For now, here’s my yarn and bead combo. They are working together beautifully, and I’m very pleased with my choices.


Rose Trellis currently looks like this, and will definitely be staying a primary project. It’s at 45% complete.


My Spring Violets Shawl has been dozing in my project box lately, resting comfortably at the halfway mark. Since I’d like to have it done for spring, it’s a perfect project to work on in this challenge, and with Christmas happenings over the next few days, I should have plenty of opportunity to work on it, as it’s relatively mindless lacework in the center section especially.


Sky Drama has been in the time out corner. I was working the hearts and decided a few rows too late that I wanted both rows to be right side up. I’ve not had  the right sort of time to pick out and reknit the 16 that are set the wrong way. I’ve been figuring “after the first of the year” to get it back into shape, so it fits into the project list nicely, too.


I will be casting on either today or tomorrow to make a second Razor Shell Lace Scarf, this time from a pretty sage green Jojoland Cashmere. That yarn has me spoiled in regard to what should be running through my fingers! Wish you could reach through the screen and feel it! If I have to do a pattern twice in rapid succession, at least it makes it tough to complain when it’s cashmere!


I’ve been holding off starting my Bronte project for the Knitting the Classics group, but Jane Eyre is sitting here in my stack of audiobooks from the library, so I’d like to work on that scarf while reading the book, then put it back until I choose my next Bronte title. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, but stash diving pulled up my favorite option as being a laceweight, so I’m going to swatch it and see what I think. This is laceweight alpaca and silk from Fiber Optics in the Lazy River colorway.


I’m also going to have a mystery shawl KAL starting on Christmas Eve – or at least the rest of the group is starting that day. I’m not sure I’ll be able to start before the beginning of next week. I suppose it would help if I could settle on which yarn I want to use. I’m pretty sure I’m using one of my Colourmart cones, but which color, weight, and fiber? Hmmm…


New Year’s Day needs a new shawl cast on as well, though it might be just that – cast on and not much else, at least until I get one or two other things off my needles. I just like the thought of starting the year by starting a shawl I’ve been wanting for a long while, so my Dream in Color Baby in Jade is going to start its journey to becoming Sivia Harding’s Shetland Garden. I expect this shawl to be addictive, so I’m going to do everything I can for the next week to get some of the underway projects completed.


I have yarn here for several vests, and I’m thinking about adapting at least one of them to include a lace panel instead of plain knitting, especially since I bought a solid color of yarn. I think I’d like the small challenge of making that change. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what comees of that!

And last, but not least, I think I want to whip up one of Meg’s Swansen’s Bridal Purses from A Gathering of Lace, just for something fun and quick. I have a ball of Panda Silk that seems just perfect for the project…

So, that’s the plan for the immediate future… and if it doesn’t keep me out of trouble until March, there are plenty more projects begging for their turn… like a golden butterfly shawl for summer, and a pretty little black number, and…

A Small Miracle Happened Here

Hang onto your hats! The oddest thing happened Saturday night, and I’m at a loss to explain it. I sat down to knit, and it turned out that my audiobook had a short CD, so I completed only four rows on my Rose Trellis Shawl. That’s when it happened…

Normally, I’d have grabbed a second disk and kept on with the Rose Trellis – my current pet project. Instead, I turned on the KnitPicks podcasts to start catching up on the ones I missed – and finished the peach cashmere Razor Shell Lace Scarf instead – and even sewed in the ends! All it lacks is to be washed and blocked.

I had loads of time left, and I should have tackled my backed up email, but sense had apparently flown out the door, as I found myself pulling out the audiobook again, and of all things, my poor, abandoned Thordis Icelandic Shawl. It had been pushed aside at the end of September when all the KAL’s started in close succession. Unbelievably, I finished knitting it and cast off, then, with the help of another podcast, sewed in all the ends and finished the last of the crochet edging.  All it lacks is to be washed and blocked.


The podcast had ended and another started by the time I was done with Thordis, and I did want to finish listening to it. Did I pick up my Rose Trellis for a few well deserved reward rows? No! My hand drifted over to where my Way of Life was folded, and before I could stop myself, I’d threaded my needle and woven in the ends on that shawl as well. All it lacks is to be washed and blocked.

By this time, I realized I was totally helpless to resist the strange force that had obviously taken over my body, so I didn’t even try to fight it when I found my Honduras Washcloth suddenly laying in front of me… Ends are woven in. All it lacks – is to be used!


I went to bed in a daze. Thankfully, whatever it was has completely dissipated, and today common sense has been restored. I cast on my Pearled Romance. :o)

I do need to know… Does doing the icky finishing work on four projects in one night neutralize the purchase of five projects worth of yarn the day before?

And How is my Knitting Progressing?

So, I’ve not posted a knitting update since I’ve been home, but it doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. I did a fair bit of yarn play in Honduras, too, having somehow managed to wedge it in between  mud removal and potato peeling.

I cast on a washcloth – the first that is just for me, rather than a class sample – while I was in Miami between flights. I knit on the plane; I knit standing in line at immigration, I knit on vans and buses traveling to and from Belize and on the drive to Pulhapanzak, where I finished it, promptly casting on a second one to see me home. I’m reasonably sure I was one of the few passengers on our plane who didn’t mind sitting on the tarmac for a half hour after landing while we waited for a gate. I chose washcloths for my travel project because they are small and portable, nearly brainless knitting that would be boring done at home sitting on the sofa, would cause little emotional trauma if lost, and could be very easily washed if soiled. Besides, I wanted to have some! I’ve been using KnitPicks Cotlin, and I’m spoiled rotten. They feel so marvelous and look great! I actually had someone ask to buy one that was still on the needles – they are that nice.

Once I got to the Children’s Home, I cast on my traveling lace project – a cashmere scarf with a simple enough pattern that I had it memorized in a couple minutes. However, it was lace, it was cashmere, and it was fun to watch it grow – until I got home and it wasn’t quite done and the tiny ball of yarn remaining started reproducing itself in the dark to become never-ending… Other than that little challenge, I’m loving this scarf! Pattern is by Arlene Graham and published in One Skein Wonders. Anyone who has spent much time in Arlene’s shop, Fiberworks, knows her passion for this pattern. When I was there yesterday, she was knitting it in a marvelous, vintage, brown, pure angora yarn, producing a scarf that I would have just stood and petted were it not for the boxes of new yarn calling out for me… Anyway, the scarf came home somewhere over three feet long, and I really want to finish it tonight – presuming I can knit faster than this gorgeous JoJoLand Cashmere reproduces.


Another thing I did in Honduras was a total accident – and will be hibernating a while, now that I’m at home. Hitty Darlene was, of course, my companion on the trip. She conned me into buying some crochet thread (It was only 5 Lempira per ball – about 25 cents.) and a hook at a little shop we visited a couple days after I got to Honduras, and next thing I knew, she had an entire outfit designed for me to make. I think this thread is a pearl cotton – or very close kin.


I got a good start on it, as my daughter and I holed up in our room in Belize and crocheted until lunch on our full day there, then both evenings until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. This outfit is going to be like a casserole – everything in one – skivvies, slip, skirt, and blouse. Here are the little tap pants, which I absolutely adore! hitty-tap-pants-blog

And with the slip added on…hitty-slip-blog

Thankfully, I ran out of time before I had to figure out how to make the blouse portion, but I did nearly finish the skirt, which isn’t photographed yet.

And my daughter made herself a little doily start to finish in Belize. It had an oddly tricky maneuver around the outside edge, and it took us a while to figure out what she was supposed to be doing, but as you can see, we finally got it. I’m proud of her for persevering despite her frustration, and the end project looks great.


She’s working bit by bit to make her room, which was formerly an examination room in the clinic, more homey. I took her  a clock and matching picture frame, and you can see the doily under a candle sitting by the frame. She made the larger doily, too. marissa-arrangement-blog

My first order of business once home was to download the final clue for my Way of Life Shawl, and using the excuse of nursing my cold, I had it finished and bound off within just a few days. It looks wonderful – love it! Can’t wait to block it now, so I can see the full effect. I did pin out a portion just to see it, though that’s definitely only second best. (Remember that this was knit from the long side, so this shows it from cast on to bind off.) It’s been around my shoulders often enough unblocked that I know I love it, though. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m sure. I absolutely adore Dream in Color Baby yarn! I’m so glad I risked buying it sight unseen!


As soon as Way of Life graduated to the blocking pile, I started in earnest on my Rose Trellis by Tina/Yarnfeathers. This is such a gorgeous knit, and I’m loving it! I’m within a row of completing the second repeat section, which will be 45% done, but this photo was taken a few days ago.


Yarn is KnitPicks Shimmer in sherry. It has a lot of silk in it, and the only needles I had in the size I wanted to use happened to be their Options needles. I have to say that I should have waited and bought a Harmony in this size. The Options are quite slick, and I’m finding it to be somewhat stressful to keep the silk blend yarn under control on these needles. I won’t make this same mistake again! The pattern is super – just a little more challenging, IMO, than Way of Life because the rows aren’t as repetitious across. It’s definitely another winner of a project, though! Pattern is currently available for free at the Yarnfeather KAL Yahoo group. Tina also did up a beaded alternative.

Okay, for the moment, I think that gets my most active knitting up to date. I either need to stay home so I can do this more often or knit less… nah…

Turned a Corner!

With very little fanfare at the actual moment, I turned a huge corner in my lagging sewing room this past evening. I’ve barely been in there the past few months, due in large part to trip prep and actual travel. It’s been frustrating, as I’d wanted to start putting it back together while the weather was still decent, and I still had painting to do outdoors. Somehow, I think that our temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s aren’t quite what Behr recommends for paint application, though. But, I digress…

So, since I came home, I’ve stolen a few minutes here and there and nudged DH a few times for some of the detail work, and in the process, managed to get every bit of the painting at the back end of the room completed at long last. I can hardly believe I’m saying that! However, tonight he carried down the big tote with my Central and South American dolls and treasures, and I reloaded the high shelves on the back wall. It was a lot of fun to dust off each piece and really look at them again for the first time in years. One does tend to get jaded to a constant display. I was surprised to find that I have two dolls using drop spindles, one of the girls being just over an inch tall! She was purchased years ago, and I’m not even sure I knew what it was she was doing at that point. Now she’s an even better treasure!


Pardon the funny angle. Space is tight and I did the best I could.

So, why is this such a major turning point for me? Well, that is the first location in the room that something has been officially put into its permanent new home, not to be moved again! There will be much to move, sort, clean, and shuffle in the days to come, but I’m done with those two high shelves for good! I’m SO excited!!!

About the dolls and other treasures – I’ve been accumulating these for about 25 years. They range in age from very vintage to bought new last month. Some are gifts brought by traveling friends and family, some purchased on my own journeys. Many have been rescued from yard sales, some from stores, and several from doll shows I used to attend when they had them on Saturdays in Ohio. The dolls and other items come from Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, various Carribean Islands, and other Latin American Countries, and, if you look very closely, you might even be able to figure out which three of the dolls I made myself! Leave a comment if you’d like to guess. :o)

Contrary to Appearances…

I’m still alive and kicking, and I do know how to count. What I don’t know yet is how to totally control all those lovely little things that just “happen” in life, nor have I entirely conquered the skill of estimating precisely how long certain chores will take. To those last two matters, I owe my very extended 3 week break. (And Joy, when you said 3 weeks was a long time, you didn’t know the half of it!)

So, here I am finally – and at least partially. I have about ten dozen things I’d love to share, but I figured I’d be better off to try to put up a short post – then do the same thing again – regularly. ;o) So, with that thought in mind…

The internet fast was spawned not by any grand personal challenge, but rather by reality. There wasn’t a full internet connection where I was. It was somewhat spur of the moment – at least based on what it was and how much prep time it required – but I ended up with tickets for an out of country experience. My daughter, who lives in Honduras, was getting a hankering to see her mother, so she started pesting (her word for the activity)  me to visit again, asking me to come over Thanksgiving and hopefully early enough to go with her when she renewed her visa. It took me a good while to actually say “yes,” though I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to say “no.” So, November 10 found me heading to a hotel near the airport to get a few hours sleep before my early morning flight.

I can’t begin to go into details. First of all, I’m sure most of you would be bored beyond tears if I launched into a narrative of my trip. There is a rather fat album of currently uncaptioned pictures and videos now residing at the MyPhotoAlbum link in the sidebar. Captions coming eventually – I hope! A capsule summary would be that my daughter lives at a children’s home in the mountainous region of Honduras, and she works there as a full-time cook. This results in me helping get more people fed more meals in 2 weeks than I do the entire rest of the year here at home. This year, potatoes seemed to be my thing, and by the time I came home, I’d peeled and cut up a good 100 pounds of the things. I still can’t look at a french fry without wincing!


Perhaps the true highlight for me in the kitchen was learning how to make cheese. It was SO good! I can’t wait to do it here at home, and I’ve laid in the basic supplies already.

Other daily life activities include selling milk, cheese, eggs, banana bread, menudos, and other assorted items out the kitchen window to the local people, generally mangling the Spanish language in the process, but loving every moment of the interaction.


I always look forward to going to market with her, as well as having a shopping in town day. This year it was rainy and muddy. I came home covered in mud from my waist down, thinking the situation quite far removed from running into Kroger’s for the week’s produce!


We’ve staged a girls’ party both times I’ve gone down, this year making it a tea party, which was very well received. Worshipping in the church and local homes as part of a congregation well mixed with Americans and Hondurans is always a memorable experience – as well as one that I find painful to not be able to share in photos.


And, of course, never is life boring when you are living with 26 children aged 2 weeks to 15. I hope that my photos and videos will have accurately captured some of the joy of being there.


This year, we had several special activities planned. One day we took Marissa’s two special charges and drove to Pulhapanzak, an impressive waterfall. Despite the mist and drizzle in the air, we had a wonderful day, and we all arrived home tired and muddy, but very happy.


Thanksgiving was another special event, and it probably deserves its own blog entry. It was a definitely memorable day! And the last, and certainly not the least, of these activities was the overland trip the two of us made to Belize – a definite step of faith for me, as Marissa had never done this without a travel companion experienced in this sort of journey. We had a wonderful and restful time away, and she said it was her best trip out of country since she went down there.

I was certainly pleased!


Sadly enough, I had to pack my bags and come home the day after Thanksgiving. What teary farewells, especially when the school girls came to give me hugs before running off to classes! It was more difficult for me to leave this time than before, having had yet more time to love them in person.

After a somewhat rocky trip home, I found myself looking at nearly three weeks of undone work, a massive pile of mail, over 2000 emails, suitcases to unpack and air, and the reality of Christmas being imminent – with no shopping whatsoever having been accomplished. Figuring that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I promptly got sick! I’ve finally gotten past that, unpacked the bags, got reaquainted with my knitting, started the shopping, and learned not to look too closely at the total number of emails still unread…

More soon!

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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