Thursday, February 28, 2013

Porch Swing in Winter

To and Fro…
To and Fro…
Today, I caught Mother Nature relaxing 
On my wooden porch swing.
She is light
And exerts such little effort,
To rock, suspended above cold cement.
Only She seems to hear the music of the roots
Of the cottonwood tree below her, gathering strength,
Preparing for Spring.
The melody must be grand, for she continues,
Enjoying the accompanying rhythm track
Of rattling fence slats, as she glides
To and Fro…
To and Fro…

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sock class

I'm scheduled to teach a class on knitting socks on circular needles.  To make it easier, I like to start with worsted weight yarn and size 5 needles.  For beginning knitters, having the larger needles and yarn make it so much easier to handle and much faster. (Like Nancy S. says, they're great house socks, and I like them in boots too.) So, I am getting my "stuff" together.  The yarn I'm going to use is "Encore." Today I decided to cast on and rehearse my "demo" mentally and physically. Those first couple rows are tricky.

We'll have 3 sessions with a little "homework" in between: 1 for the cuff or leg, 1 for turning the heel, and 1 for the toe and kitchner join.

How well do you remember knitting your first pair of socks? Did you use double-points? Circulars? What was the hardest section to get your head wrapped around?  How long did it take you to finish the entire pair?  Any adult beverages involved?  Hot tea to relax?  Soda pop to keep you going?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 the needles

The Metaliza Scarf is finally off the needles.  I blocked it last night, and it was dry this morning.  So, it ready to wear!! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Warmth from a sweater shawl...

Well, it's finally ready to wear.  This garment is so easy to slip around the shoulders, and it's nice and warm.  I'll wear it out and about today to see how I like it. 

From the front, the sweater shawl draped straight down the front and back.
Looking at the back.
Here it is draped on me...but it's pretty tricky taking my own picture.
Here it is on the hanger.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's off the needles!

The sweater shawl is finished, off the needles, and is being blocked.  The wool is taking a full 24+ hours to dry!  I thought I might be able to take a picture of it this morning to illustrate how it's worn, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

As you can see, I really "lucked out" with the second sleeve, because I had to attach a new ball of yarn to complete it.  I didn't even try to see if the color striping was going to work, I just attached the yarn as it came off the ball and hoped for the best.  Whew!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweater Shawl

I'm finally to the cuff on the second "sleeve," so it won't be long now before this project is finished!  A ribbed "collar" is next.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting Tuned

It's that time of year get the piano tuned.  The guy who comes to tune was a student of mine in the early days of my teaching career.  He lives about 3 1/2 hours away now, but comes up to visit his parents and books a couple days' worth of piano tuning while here. So, we usually squeeze in a short visit while he's getting ready to tighten the strings. 

Do any of you remember when piano tuners used a set of tuning bars?  Now it's all digitized, and an electronic devise can give you the exact tone you need.

I discovered how slick that was when I purchased a little "tuner" for my ukulele.  You don't have to rely on your "ear" because it indicates when the note is exactly on the right pitch.  Amazing.  And wonderful if you are just learning to hear flats and sharps in a tone. But mighty fast, even if you can.

This all made me think about how I usually feel this time of year, and can usually use a little "tuning"in attitude.  When in the classroom, I felt 3rd quarter was the toughest.  Teachers were tired, kids were tired (the season of school testing, regional and state tournaments), and winter hangs on for another month.  And we had so much to do! 

I'd find myself thinking too much about the future... (anxious for spring, perhaps...or dreading something)...and not paying attention to the NOW.  Are we appreciating that hot cup of coffee? Brunch with friends on a frosty Saturday morning?  Time for casting on another wool project or finishing one that's long over-do? Reading? Blogging...without interruption? Quiet observations?  Prayerful decisions? How good it feels to hear from a friend or relative?  How good it feels to reach out to one?  Yeah, a little tune-up is good.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Young bucks and melting snow...

This young buck was grazing right by the lane leaving school again today, and I couldn't help but stop, roll down my window, and take a few pictures.

Then, I looked out the passenger side window, and this more mature buck had his eyes locked on me.  He might have had a little attitude.  But he didn't move a muscle while I rolled down the passenger window and adjusted the telephoto for this shot. 
"Really, lady? How about moving along?"

Since our big snow, we've had a couple nice days with warmer temps, and the snow has begun to melt. Awww....sunshine!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

        I had time for a second project at the needle-felting class. 
                         It was this pin...On Wings of Love...
                                  Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Needle-felting

I drove with some needle-felting buddies to a class (about 1 1/2  hours away) to make some needle-felted, Valentine-inspired projects.  The teacher of the class showed us several possibilities for projects, set up several centers that had all kinds of yarn, threads, beads, lace, material,  and felt.  She wanted us to let our imaginations take off and create "whatever." 
Front of card

Back of card. All it needs is a sweet message.

One of the ideas was a needle-felted postcard.  So I gave that a try.   Card stock was sewn on the back side of the felted piece.  And, I guess it's actually ready to mail.  I call this design "Waves of Love." I hope that's what you feel on Valentines' Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The first sleeve is completed!

Whoohoo!  I finally finished off the cuff of the first "sleeve" of the sweater shawl.  Now to start the neck shaping on the 2nd sleeve.  Since it's cloudy and cold, I'm planning on making good headway on it today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter White

       I welcome Mother Nature's winter white wardrobe today.  
            The drab brown she was wearing in recent days
                                was not nearly so attractive. 
              I like seeing her as a queen dressed in ermine.  

                     Dark bark, forest green pine needles, 
                          moisture soaked wooden rails, 
                        and grayish architectural designs 
                                 contrast wonderfully 
                     against this coating of pure white snow. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Storm's a brewing...

                     Wednesday's sunset was rather spectacular 
                     as it lit up sky, clouds, and mountain peaks.
         What amazing changes are manifested in a matter of minutes!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Extending the arm...

Gee, it seems like it's going rather slowly...this left arm that is to be knit.  I still have about 9 more inches to go!

I have another project on the needles, a simple cowl, but it's not getting much attention at the moment. 

Every time I attempt to reach for it,  I hear the Sweater Shawl whining, "Pleeeease, finish me before winter ends!" Since the February groundhog weather prediction, I'm afraid I may not have a lot of time...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blending in...

                    Talk about blending into the background! 
    Mother Nature sure takes care to dress deer in winter's colors. 

                                   It was nearing sunset, 
                and the grove of olive trees south of the school 
                               was a quiet feeding ground.

                                Nearly a dozen deer have  
                              found this a safe place to graze,         
                             and it's not unusual to see them 
                                          in late afternoon 
           as one drives slowly down the school entrance lane 
                            before turning west to head home.

                                 Momma moved forward 
                             just before I snapped the picture, 
                               as if to say, "Stay right here.  
                   I'll let you know if we should run for protection."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mountain snowfall...

Storm clouds have come rolling in from the northwest 
                   But they've come to a halt,  piling up on the high mountain ridges 
                            Stopping to heavily clothe the tall pines and hide jagged peaks...

Monday, February 4, 2013


Another place in my travels that has intrigued me is Stonehenge in England.  The first time I visited the site, I was so amazed that these stones were just "out there" on a gently rolling hillside.  Furthermore, at the time, visitors were able to walk right amongst the stones.  It was fantastic!  No so anymore.  All visitors are kept well behind a fence.  Can you believe it's been a tourist attraction for at least two thousand years?  Because the people who built this (from the Neolithic and Bronze Age) did not write, we'll never know all the secrets as to why Stonehenge was built.  But, of course, there are many theories, and  new discoveries hint at what happened many centuries ago.

An interesting fact is that just under the grass, one finds chalk, a soft white rock which was formed under the sea. Stonehenge is built on one of these chalk hills, as it is porous, drains easily, is good for farming, and the early travelers found it easier to hike along these areas, as opposed to the heavy clay land that lies below.

The first monument, simply made of chalk rubble and a circular ditch, was made in about 2,700 B.C.  It wasn't until about 500 years later that new inhabitants, known as the Beaker people,  began the new construction, adding to Stonehenge. These people were the first in Britain to own gold and copper objects and traveled in search of these metals.

The Bluestones (weighing up to 7 tons) were brought to the site from South Wales, 130 miles away. It's very interesting to read about how these stones must have been transported and erected. Later, the Sarsen stones were erected.  They are much larger boulders, averaging about 26 tons, and they were found and transported from an area just 25 miles to the north.  It is so fascinating to consider how these stones were set and what an engineering feat in must have been!!