Saturday, July 31, 2010

Better Late than Never

Dear Mom,
It was a little late getting finished, but Bonnie won't be able to wear her birthday sweater until it gets cold out anyway. I am very happy with how it turned out.
Here is Elle, modeling the sweater in my vegetable garden.

This is the Tea Leaves Cardigan, designed by Melissa LaBarre for Madelinetosh. I used Black Water Abbey Yarns, color Forest. This beautiful Irish wool was everything I was hoping it would be. I love a good hearty wool, and it got much softer after washing it. I suspect it will continue to soften with future washes. I made a few modifications to the pattern- placing four buttons in the yoke rather than two, and I added afterthought pockets because I thought the sweater would look nice with them and Bonnie told me she likes pockets when I asked.

I may have been as excited about the buttons as I was about the yarn. A long while ago I found these vintage Girl Scout Uniform buttons in an Etsy shop. I knew that one day they would be in a sweater for Bonnie and they've been waiting for the right sweater pattern and yarn to come together.

I placed them over a larger button to keep them secured in the buttonholes. The black buttons also serve to frame these special buttons with out attracting too much attention away from the sweater. I always find it a challenge to find buttons that compliment handknits. I want the buttons to be worthy of their place in the sweater, but not be the first thing you notice about it either. This could explain why I buy good buttons when I see them. (Plus, I just like buttons!)


p.s. Bonnie tried on the sweater and it fits perfectly.

Friday, July 30, 2010

This one is easy to figure out

Dear Mom,
With My Hero away for a few days on a family golf trip, and Bumper no longer able to jump up onto the bed, Patsy, smart enough to recognize a Good Thing when she sees it, has been keeping the other half of the bed warm these past few nights.

Last night I dreamt about a baby moose.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Dear Mom,
My kids, thankfully, are at an age that allows me to leave them home alone without too much worry. It is nice, on the rare occasions that I do some hygiene subbing for the dental office, that I can go to work and be reasonably certain that things will be fine.
On one of my work days last week, I came home to find this.

A scorched tea cosy.
A pretty obviously scorched tea cosy. Kinda hard not to notice, yet a week later, no one has stepped forward to explain just how the tea cosy that was fine when I left for work at 7:30 am, was looking like this when I got home at 5:30pm. Surely it isn't fear of punishment that is keeping the tongue tied; I am thankful that this is all that happened and whatever it was didn't burn the house down. And when I think about it, I am thoroughly amazed that the "innocent" party hasn't thrown his/her sister/brother under the bus.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where the time went

Dear Mom,
Wooo. I feel like I sort of lost a couple of weeks. They were a busy 2 weeks, though. Family vacay, a side trip to Amish country, 2 noisy days of dental hygiene for the pedodontist and 2 birthdays will do that to a girl.

I am now living under the same roof with two teens. And My Hero begins his 6th decade.

Enough said. We will quickly move on. No good will come from dwelling on either of those facts.

We spent a week in South Haven, MI for the family vacation this year. We were joined by My Hero's brother, Eggbert, and his family. The house we shared was cosy, but just right. The guys played golf or tennis every day, we spent hours on the beach, and ate way too much food. I knit only a fraction of what I packed, but I did spend some good hours spinning.

I didn't, but should have lost weight. To get to the beach we had to negotiate these steps. There were 150 of them. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY STEPS. Not a problem on the way DOWN to the beach. But getting back? Let's just say we didn't want to forget anything, and on day 2, we decided to leave our beach chairs piled up in the sea grass until we packed to come home.

We found sea glass, skipped stones, built sand castles and buried the Young Man (at his request, and after he dug the hole).

Things were very relaxed.

 Don't be alarmed!!! These are candy cigarettes.

I visited 2 yarn shops and a fiber farm, and came home with more knitting projects than I had packed. A lot more. I wish I could buy time.
At Needle in a Haystack, in South Haven, I purchased the yarn and pattern for this shawl. I visited Lizzie Ann's Wool co. in Holland and found too many things.(I'll blame it on all the great shop samples they had.) That's the thing about visiting yarn shops. There is so much yarn and so many ideas, that no one shop can have it all. Visiting new shops gives a knitter the chance to see new things. Or new to her anyway. For example, The Grabbit is not a new pattern, but I had never seen it. Lizzie Ann's had a shop sample and the Young Lady and I were drawn to it immediately. It is one of those "why didn't I think of it?" things. So, I bought the pattern and yarn for it. I also brought home the yarn and pattern for this A-line tunic and this Rowan pattern book. I stopped myself before I bought any yarn to make the sweaters I want in this one. Like this one:

 and this one:

I also like this model's hair style.

My Hero drove me out to Marr Haven fiber farm, near Allegan, MI. and I brought home a couple of cones of her gorgeous wool and a bat for spinning.

Because, really, how could I not? I wish you could reach into your monitor and feel how soft this wool is.

We also sailed on the Friends Good Will, a replica of an 1810 schooner that fought in the War of 1812, was captured by the British, recaptured by the Americans and later burned by the British. It is the sloop that Admiral Perry refers to in his famous quote, "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."

We were treated to some beautiful sunsets, warm water and sunny days.

There is no place like home, and despite everything good about our trip, I was ready to get back home. I am still catching up and need to get in gear before the in-laws arrive on Tuesday (TOMORROW!!!- trying not to panic now) for a short visit, and it is time to start thinking back to school- they start way too early, on August 10th, and I never thought I would say this, but I am NOT ready for them to go back.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bonnie Jo!

Dear Mom,
As we were growing up there were lots of times I wished I didn't have a sister, or any siblings for that matter, but now I have to admit that being without Bonnie Jo would mean having no one to share early childhood memories. 

Minturn Lane and Ann, Mark and Evelyn and dressing up their cat, Ping Pong. Making perfume in Evelyn's bathroom. Loretta. Allison. And the Coulson's ( is that how you spell it?) next door. Cuddles and Ruddles. Making potholders. Riding in the Corvair on benches so we could see out the window and not get car sick. The goldfish- Herbie, Cindy and Jinks, and Salt and Pepper and the time Mom and Grandma had to get Herbie out of the tank cause he was wayyyy too big. Going to the circus and the time the clown kissed Mom. Riding in Grandma's yellow mustang convertible, Mary Sunshine, and walking on stilts at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Roller skating and skate keys. Having one tv- black and white- and watching Captain Kangaroo, and then a few years later, Not being Allowed to watch Dark Shadows after school. Getting a color tv and watching the moon walk. Exercising with Mom and Jack Lalanne. Dwarf when she was a puppy. Saddle shoes and watching the Indianapolis 500 parade at night and scuffing up the desk tops at Daddy's office where we sat to watch. Learning to snap our fingers. Bonnie learning to whistle, and me not. Ever. Picking dandelions for fish funerals. Running home for lunch from Evelyn's house to discover Bonnie had taken a bite out of the stick of butter. Harcourt Elementary. Going to doctor appointments with Mom and waiting for the twins to be born. Playing in our beds when we should have been sleeping and falling asleep while listening to albums Daddy played- Finian's Rainbow and Simon and Garfunkel come to mind. Playing in the "boat" next door, and right now I cannot remember their names, but the mom had long black hair and lots of boys- looking back now as a parent, that boat was genius- a crowd of kids all climbed in and and the grass was water and we dared not get out of the boat... and there we stayed for how long? til dinner?.... there were days I would wish for that boat when my kids were little. Playing dolls. The Twins flushing Tracy's dress. Moving to a new house and having to change schools and ride a new bus. Watching The Wizard of Oz and getting scared, and crying every time we watched Lassie -even choking up when we heard the theme song. Those were the days when Charlie Brown specials really were special.

It occurs to me that I have no memory of life before Bonnie Jo, and that having a sister so close in age makes those hazy memories of our Wonder Years more focused and real.  And I never would have believed it all those years ago, when I wished desperately to be an only child, but I am happy to be able to wish Bonnie Jo and Very Happy Birthday today.

Love, Kim

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation Plans

Dear Mom,
If there is room to pack 2 sets of these

and a bunch of these

then there should be no problem with this
and this

and this

and this

or especially this



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cover Girl

Dear Mom,
I interrupt my regularly scheduled  vacuuming to let you know that the September issue of Creative Knitting Magazine has arrived on my doorstep and yes, let me shout it our far and wide....THAT IS MY SWEATER DESIGN ON THE COVER!!!!!

For real.
Pinch me.
Lord, help me not to share the news with complete strangers in the grocery store, or camp out in the magazine section at Barnes and Noble. Amen.


The last thing I should be doing

Dear Mom,

Why is it that the very last thing you should be doing is exactly the thing you do???

Last 2 bucket hats. But I am not promising anything at this point. Moving Judy Jetson, my vintage "Slant-o-matic" Singer sewing machine, upstairs did not deter me.
This first hat is for a brother-in-law, who, after seeing the hats I made for his wife and daughter, dropped several not too subtle hints.

 And this next is for the Young Lady. She found some bandannas on our most recent visit to Hancock Fabric and asked for another hat.

I applied fusible interfacing to both bandannas to give the fabric a little more body. This hat has earned a spot on my favorite list. Who knew that two cheap bandannas and a bit of interfacing could turn into something this cute. And leave it to the Young Lady to see it.

Okay, now back to what I should be doing.

I hope.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Scratching the Itch

Dear Mom,
I have more bucket hats to show you.
this one may be my favorite

this is my least favorite- I used black burlap

This last batch has scratched the bucket hat itch. For now. I still want to make some wool hats with flannel lining for autumn, but for now I am letting my sewing machine rest.