Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's gonna be loud

Dear Mom-
The Cul-de-sac Fourth of July Celebration Preparation started a couple of weeks ago.

And he has plenty of fuse.



Monday, June 28, 2010

Rags to Rugs

Dear Mom,
It was rags to rugs around here over the weekend.
On Saturday, two friends and I took a "Rug in a Day" class up at Tabby Tree Weaver. To prepare for the class we cut 5-6 yards of fabric into 1 1/2 inch strips to be woven into a rag rug. I didn't want to love weaving. Looms are expensive and take up space. I just wanted to like weaving and have a good rug to show for it. I wasn't too far into weaving the rug when I caught myself rearranging the house to accommodate a loom. I reigned myself in. A big part of weaving- warping the loom- was already done for us when we arrived for class and just thinking about setting up all those warp threads is pretty daunting. Before I fall headlong into turning myself into a weaver, I'll need to take a class that teaches every step of the process and I'll see if I still like it. I'll do That, and start saving my money.

As you can see, our rugs were all very different from each other. That is mine in the middle. TheNeverDullAlwaysCreativeBecky's is above mine and CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightning's is below.
Here are some close ups of the rugs-

After about 6 hours of weaving we all were really tired- not that any part of it was physically that difficult- I think it was a combination of learning and being inspired that left us drained. We all wondered if we would "feel it" tomorrow. Becky decided to forget about the Bow flex- working the loom was a good upper body workout! The only reminders of my day of weaving were a tender spot on my right hand where my middle finger meets my palm and another on my right cheek where I had it planted on the bench. (Surprising, considering the padding I have there.)

My rug is now home and after "trying it on" in different locations, I think this is where it is going to live-

in front of the kitchen sink. It is long enough to cover the width of the sink and dishwasher. It has also been claimed as a good resting spot by Patsy.

Then, on Sunday, as if one rug in a weekend wasn't enough, I decided to get on with it already and finish something in an attempt to clear off the project queue on my dining room table. The one taking up the most space and also the one most likely to be completed in an afternoon was the Rag Doily Rug I posted about awhile ago. Shorty after posting about it, I purchased some sheets at the Goodwill and tore them into strips. They were wound into balls and waiting for further action.
It felt better scratching this one off the list than it did in the actual knitting of the fabric strips. Fabric strips do not slide through each other and across the needles like yarn does, so this project was work. Not hard knitting, and the pattern is easy to follow- it was just the fabric that made it tough. I like the rug though, and wondered while I was knitting what it would be like to knit it in mop cotton, or that shiny rope stuff from the hardware store, or even lots and lots of strands of cotton yarn held together. And maybe the fabric strips would be easier to knit if they were cut and not torn and thinner.....(As if I need more rugs or more knitting projects. But sometimes these ideas wiggle around in my head and won't leave until they get some play time.)

After all that rug production, the house needs me to do some catching up. To be honest, I am surprised there isn't a pile of dog hair somewhere in those rug pictures. The vacuum cleaner is my friend.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Something finished and a serious case of startitis

Dear Mom,
This cardigan was started sometime last summer and set aside for a  forgotten reason. Maybe because I knew even a year ago that it wasn't gonna fit me. The good news is that it will fit you if you want it.
The lesson here is- even if the knitter wrote the pattern, she STILL has to get gauge. Or find a body to fit the sweater. Good thing you are tiny.
I made a few modifications- I used 6 different yarns rather than the 10 called for, made 3/4 sleeves and I knitted a mitered and hemmed border around the hem, button bands and neckline with loops for the buttonholes.

Having finished that, I went into a ball winding frenzy, with plans to start several projects, all with different levels of difficulty and concentrations required. Yes, there is a method to this madness.

I started this, using one of the hand dyed yarns from the workshop I took last month.

And last night I began this cardigan using a soft mercerized cotton- Ultra Pima by Cascade in a happy orange sherbet color that reminds me of Pushups we got from the ice cream man when we were kids.

It seems I am in an orange/coral/fiery red phase.

Have no fear. I have plans for this today:
This is Black Water Abbey yarn, color Forest, and I am extremely anxious to knit with it. NO matter how hot it is outisde. I need a wool fix.

And I should probably start a new pair of socks even though my sock a week resolution is pretty much trashed.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Olympic Dreams

Dear Mom,
Do you think Benny is dreaming of winning gold in diving?!

Love, Bonnie Jo

Monday, June 21, 2010


Dear Wendy,

Thank you for posting the new header photo of the stunning daisy!  Your photography is awesome.  I hope your busy schedule opens up so you can join us in posting more of your beautiful photos and mouth-watering recipes!  We miss you!

Love,  Bonnie Jo


Dear Mom,

Inspired and working efficiently, I briefly became my own little bucket hat assembly line, cutting out several combinations of hats and linings, then sewing them all step by step, pressing all of the seams open at the same time- you get the idea. Doing it this way was almost hypnotic, and listening to a lame thriller on my ipod while I worked put me into a time warp. I was shocked to look at my watch on Friday night and see that it was actually 2:00 on Saturday morning! At that point I made myself step away from the sewing machine. 

I didn't have much more to do to finish them all- and this batch doesn't seem to have cured my obsession with this hat. I am imagining button and embroidery embellishments and frayed edges and secret pockets and even wool/ flannel combinations for autumn hats.

Here they are so far....


Sunday, June 20, 2010


Dear Mom,
This is what happens when two hens need to lay an egg at the same time (and there is only one nesting box)!

With Gloria on the left and Marge on the right side, they sat patiently together while Golda waited outside.

Love, Bonnie Jo

Friday, June 18, 2010

An actual conversation, overheard in the Wagner household one evening this week.

Dear Mom,

Young Lady, trying to pack for a sleep over:  Mom, have you seen my hat?

Me: I didn't wear your hat. Where did YOU put it?

Me: (Exasperated and in a voice that will let everybody know that I  am making an Announcement): I AM DONE WITH KEEPING TRACK OF EVERYBODY'S STUFF!!!

....... announcement is met with silence....

A few minutes later....

Me:  (Shouting, but not in an angry voice):  YOUNG LADY!?

Young Lady: ( in that tone of voice that only soon to be 13 year olds can achieve): What!

Me: Come here and give me a hug. I have to leave and I won't see you until tomorrow night. 

Young Lady: Oh. I thought you found my hat.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tomten #2

Dear Mom,
I finished another Tomten, as a stand in for the one that Patsy decided to chew the buttons off.

Kinda makes me want to knit one for myself.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A sigh of relief

Dear Mom,

I can stop holding my breath and clenching my teeth, because Michele has received her socks and is happy with them. I probably should have warned her that hand knit socks spoil your feet and the store bought ones will never be good enough again, but this is one of the subtle ways we knitters get people hooked on handknits.

I took this photo of the socks before I sent them off.

On Sunday we had tickets to the Air Show. We've never attended an Air show before and it was very exciting. I tried taking pictures to capture the death defying spirals, stunts and tricks. Most of my pictures ended up like this:

Blue sky, clouds and a black dot. Sometimes I got a blurry black dot. Or just sky.

Or the back of a stranger's head.

But I did manage to get a handful of decent pictures.

Okay, even though they don't capture the excitement I am pretty excited that there were any decent shots amongst the way too many pictures of sky that I took. I don't even know what kinds of planes these are, and some of the planes that taxied in front of us looked like there was NO WAY they would ever get off the ground. And some of those stunts? Why would anyone even try them and whose Mom would let them, anyway??!!  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pins and Needles

Dear Mom,
I am really nervous. Today is the day that Michele should receive her package from me.

A short while ago, Michele left a comment about some of the socks I posted and that lead to an exchange. I would send her a pair of socks and she would send me a quilt block. Michele's appliqued quilts are jaw-dropping stunners. And even though (or maybe because) the resume of my short quilting career would only include 4 placemats and a queen size quilt (queen size quilt = quilt burnout), I appreciate the exquisite detail and beauty of her quilts.

Anyway, we happily decided to quilt and knit for each other, and to surprise each other with our projects.

Last Friday afternoon, my quilt block arrived. It is so beautiful that I am challenged to take a photograph that will do it justice. And for someone who has never been in my house, the colors she selected belong here.

I am nervous because I think there may be NO WAY that Michele likes her socks as much as I love this quilt block.

Here are a couple of quick shots I took of the block on my knitting chairs.

The block also looks lovely in the guest room, but I am too selfish to leave it there. Not knowing what I had planned for this quilt block, Michele very kindly sent extra fabric for a back and binding. I'll turn it into a pillow and it will make my knitting nest(s) even more cosy. 

Gosh I hope Michele likes her socks.


Friday, June 11, 2010

78 yards and 2 miles

Dear Mom,
Thanks to the sanctuary of your kitchen, which besides being clean and quiet is most importantly Patsy free, I made a wee dent in the box of roving (formerly known as the bag o'wool). I thought you might like to know that after filling that second bobbin, the yarn you witnessed me plying totalled up to a whopping 78 yards. Just need about 1425 more yards to go if I am going to spin enough for a sweater. Less if I don't put any cables in it, but this seems to be a cable-wanting yarn.

The humidity is cranking back up and as much as I hate to do it, the house is closed up so that we can be comfortable. Pink tongues were hanging out and I was "glowing" after this morning's walk.

But this makes it all worth it.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Bucket List (it's not what you think)

Dear Mom,

I don't often get bitten by the sewing bug, and when I do, it seems to bite in the summertime for some reason. A couple of summers ago it was a wrap skirt frenzy. Last weekend, I caught the bug again after seeing this on this blog. I immediately ordered the pattern and started digging through fabric scraps.

The first bucket hat used a faded pair of denim capris and you may recognize the lining from a little jacket I made the Young Lady when she was just a toddler. I strategically placed one of the pattern pieces over a pocket to give the hat a bit of personality.

 The Young Lady has claimed this one as her own. I immediately cut out a second hat for myself.

I have at least 4 more hats in the queue, and the only thing I needed to purchase was some fusible interfacing. The pattern is well written, the directions are clear, the hats were easy sewing and fit just right. This second hat went much quicker than the first- it was probably a 2 hour project- max- including the cutting the pieces out. I have a feeling it is gonna be a hat-a-day until the fabric runs out.