Fireworks and Confetti!

Wishing you blessings in 2006.

Happy New Year!

Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:19


It Seemed Important at the Time

"Wow! You've finished all of Mexico!" exclaimed J when he saw the world ghan that I'm knitting for him according to his color specifications. Two reactions: This map is recognizable--goodie-good! And, he doesn't realize that it has taken me an entire month to do this little bit! What with the end of the semester, Christmas, and all! I am now entering Canada, which J has determined to be yellow. This ghan is a fun and easy knit! And---he likes it!!

An odd little book, It Seemed Important at the Time by Gloria Vanderbilt (mother of CNN's Anderson Cooper) is "a romantic memoir" that reads like listening to someone talking into a recording machine. It is very much a romantic view of the lives of the extremely wealthy. Voyeuristic, yet odd somehow in its narrowness, its undeveloped stories. Why did she write this? Then there's a touching section about the death of a son and a husband that almost has depth but not enough. There's a certain thinness, a withholding of the material.

: : : : : : : :

I think you should take a picture of me eating this cookie! --Little j, age three years


December 27

The house.
Too quiet.
No musical sounds from toys.
No crying for bottles,
Or giggling at silly words,
No gleeful laughing.
No grand children.
No sons.
No women who complete them.
Wonderful sons now men.
"Good-bye, Mom!"
He said.

Weren't they just children?
Wasn't I?
Aunt Lucy Jane died
Nine days before Christmas.

Be still and know that I am God. Ps 46:10



The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means, ‘God with us.' --- Matthew 1:23

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. --- John 1:14


Ready for Christmas, so...

Finished a charity lapghan in a variation of basket weave. It's actually a soft yellow color with a dark green crocheted edging.

Look at this web site for a cutie-cute hat and sweater set for a child.

Read a quickie novel by Barbara Delinsky entitled The Woman Next Door. Who would have thought? This is a lusty, sensual story of married love and living life with gusto, passion, and deliverance!

If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment.
--Harry F. Banks


Deck the….er…deck…with boughs of…uh…juniper…

That's my song and I'm stickin' to it! At least when I'm on the deck with the boughs and festive ornaments adorning the flower planters, I will. Max supervised, of course. We covered the bare soil in the box planter, the table planter, and at the window too! Much improved!
Christmas lights? Not this year! At least the back of the house is colorful, right? Yes, it is! And, when the snow melts that is now covering all this beauty, others will be able to enjoy it too--just like Max and me!

I made this ghan with "Light n Lofty" yarn for charity. I devised the pattern as I got into it, then repeated it until I finished off.

Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice. ---Unknown


Dos Ponchitos

A headless child wearing a nice, warm poncho!..hmmm. I knit this child's poncho with WW blend and added a fun fur trim. Very simple, very neat.

The mesh poncho below was made with Berroco Suede which was fine, although I didn't really enjoy working with this fiber. I don't know specifically why I didn't. Maybe it was the fee

l of it or the way it turns when it's crocheted. Added a bit-o- fun fur here too.

Christmas decorating is complete for this year!
There are two small trees in a corner near the bay window in the living room. One tree is a taller than the other. 
Tree #1 is decorated with birds and small gold balls with a bird on the top. The ribbon steamers don't show in this picture. They are wired white and gold ribbons. There is white tulle around the bottom.

Tree #2 has snow flakes, icicles and white tulle with a white star on top. Around the bottom is a poinsettia tree skirt that I crocheted about 25 years ago. 

My experience with West Nile Virus is that there good days and bad days by which I really mean that there are bad days and worse days. And, that is why there are days when I don't post to my blog. Recently, there have been too many worse days so a reprieve should be on its way. I would like to hear from anyone who has experience with West Nile. Please leave a comment. Thank you.

As for reading, Good Grief by Lolly Winston turned out to be a captivating book with a bit of melancholy for me. A 36-year-old widow ponders cancer, sadness, loneliness, and memories of quiet, fleeting, precious moments. Written with clever, witty, stream of consciousness asides, the author allows us to know Sophie Stanton as she grieves, loses her grip, forces herself through days, reaches to others and says in the end--"Its' OK." Just what my Dad said to me when he was dying.

Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart. --Myla Kabat-Zinn


A Rose By Any Other Name...

We have us a compass rose....And it's rather well balanced! This, remember, is the world afghan that J thought I might have finished by Christmas. How about Easter, maybe? We are now moving through the Pacific toward the western coast of South America. Actually, it rather resembles the back of a pair of pants on a diapered child, doesn't it? Sort of an Esher thing!

The stockings ARE hung by the fireplace. You can see the ones I knitted with a few purchased ones among them. Can you find the 

single crocheted stocking? There are five more that should be hung there, but their owners aren't coming home for Christmas this year.

I crocheted the Christmas angel and Santa in 1983. Th
ey have survived the years rather well. Doncha just love her pink feet?

I came across this amazing web site today that truly blesses me. The lady who has the site has written a book about prayerful knitting so I ordered two of the books and one download of the journal that accompanies it. I printed the journal and am so anxious for the books to arrive. This site is a blessing, a true find that I'd like to share with you. The URL is
The Joy of Soulful Knitting: Reflections on the Art of the Craft by Patricia Turner is a book that I am so looking forward to reading!

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. ---Proverbs 31:10


Of A Dog -N- Bad Hair

 did I mention that Max is a grand and gentle babysitter? Well, baby little j and I think so! What's a big lick across the face got to do with it? The perpetual runny nose is definitely taken care of. Baby j's not Max's!

Gotta love this little tree! She lives--where else?
-- in front of a hair salon. I don't know what's with my fuzzy pictures! Anyway, this little tree lady gets twinkle lights in her hair at night. Isn't she the cutest?

Birds in winter need food too! Here's snowy view of the feeder and house outside the bay window of my office. It's a challenge to keep it "seeded". It's like ringing a dinner bell every time I refill it. There's something calming about watching the birds despite what Hitchcock would have had us think!

Elsewhere, I have returned to J's World Ghan and have almost completed the compass rose. This is where my creativity kicked in, which is code for I am reworking it because it was off center. It is looking a bit better. Symmetry can be daunting!

On the reading front I am deciding whether to read Anne Rice's Christ the Lord Out of Egypt or Shelf Life by Suzanne Strempek Shea. Which to read next? Any suggestions?
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?---- Dr. Robert Schuller


Crochet Mini-Stocking

The itty-bitty stockings are fun to make with worsted weight yarn or some of the holiday colored variegated cotton yarn and a G hook.

Chain 11.
Single crochet back and forth on 10 sts until the piece is approximately 3.5 inches long, chain 5 more sts onto your piece.

SC for approximately 3 inches, then return back on 10 sts.

Continue in sc on the 10 sts until the piece is the same length as the original 3.5.

Fold in half. Join in sc from the foot, over the toe and up the front. SC around the top, making a chain of 15 at the back for hanging.
Continue around the top of the stocking and finish. Cute!

I enjoy selecting the motif and color combinations--stripes, finishing the top in white, crocheted the join in a contrasting color. I hope these directions make sense because this is quick-n-EZ!

In Confessions of a Bigamist Kate Lehrer writes "We have obligations, jobs, family....If we're lucky, we stay involved with our children and grandchildren, parents...friends." This fantastical story line with a surprise ending kept me enthralled in the page-turner story of a woman and the exploits of her alter ego in her professional life. This book is full of insight and surprises that make it an unusually fun read!

Having a sense of humor is like knowing you'll have an umbrella when the rain rolls in.
---Kathleen Keller Passanisi


From One 2 Four

The lone gauntlet of yore has been joined by it's mate as well as another pair made in Denver Bronco colors for K3. These are quick to crochet in child's sizes. The pattern link is below. The other pattern link below yielded this scarf knitted on 13s in Spice and Idena Magic for K2.

The quickie projects are fun to crank out. I understand why people get addicted to them! Alas, I do need to get back to J's abandoned world! All the grading is finished for one of my courses as of tonight! I have another set to grade yet for another course. Then, well....hmmm....Still more work to do, but the knitting time will definitely increase between semesters!

John Jaffe wrote Shenandoah Summer set in the Virginia countryside with an interestingly named character, Alvin Dwight Palifax, Jr. who is mercifully nicknamed "Tug". This is the romantic story of a DC drama teacher and a New York artist who meet and fall in love during a summer at her farm and his stay at a nearby artist's colony. It's a wonderful evocation of place. An enchanting, quick read.

Those who can, do. Those who believe others can also, teach. --John E. King


Hidden Content

Knitting is present here with mini-Max, pillow Max, and Mighty Max. Yes, it is indeed the blue and cream pillow I made for Max with Dive' Super Cotton Club and size 17 needles. A make-it-up-as-you-go project, it is a combination of stockinette and garter stitches. Very simple. Very fast Very Max! Do you see the wonderfulness on the window seat? There were serious doubts about the Gerbera daisies being left on the deck too long into the Fall weather. After slight
tending, the Lord gave me this beautiful gift! How glorious! Now I want the pot to be full of these luscious blooms that I so enjoyed in the summer!

A trip to the library is in order today to pick up Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy for the "Knit & Crochet the Classics" group project at

This will be a welcome change after reading Leeway Cottage by Beth Gutcheon about the role of Denmark in the Resistance Movement of WWII after the main character, Annabell Sydney, marries a Danish musician. It is a sorrowful story that I didn't really enjoy. It is the story of lives--all lives--and war. The changes caused by aging lends a very strong sense of futility.
No joy.

Every setback might be the very thing that makes you carry on and fight all the harder and become that much better. --Les Paul


Run it or throw it down?

...couldn't decide so I crocheted the gauntlet! As soon as my Berroco newsletter arrived with the free pattern, I grabbed some Plymouth Encore and an I hook and cro-eated. (Looks weird, but it's my word for crocheted and created.) I borrowed the yarn from the mapghan, which you can probably guess is going slowly since I haven't mentioned it. It got stalled since I had to wait to get some more yarn bobbins. (Having West Nile virus keeps me home until a "good" day.) I do have the bobbins now, however it is moving into the last week of the semester and I have loads of final projects to grade. Oh, woe is me!

Meanwhile back to the gauntlet, it is child-sized for K2 whose rainbow consists of purple with maybe a touch of pink. If you're brave enough to pick up the gauntlet, you may do so here: Let me know how you do yours. It would be fun to see all the variations! I also plan to make this if I have enough fun fibers in my stash!

I had a most unusual reaction to Symptoms of Withdrawal the so-called memoir by Christopher Lawford. In his repeated referral to being "a second-tier Kennedy", he appears to be struggling mightily in this book to present himself as a first-tier Kennedy, or top of the heap, or whatever the label might be. He somehow manages to end up with a large red L on his forehead. It is a compelling read, but not a good one. This is a book that shouldn't have been written, but I couldn't stop reading it! It was quite perplexing to read the first person account when I found myself truly disliking the author! I seldom, if ever, feel that way about anyone. I must admit I wouldn't have even considered reading this book were it not for the Kennedy connection. Yet I find it irritating that his name appears on the cover with Kennedy as his middle name rather than Sidney, his actual middle name after his father and paternal grandfather. Then there's the book jacket with the author as a toddler with his ill-fated Uncle Jack. See what I mean? What a conundrum of reactions. I felt as though I were listening in on sessions between the author and his shrink knowing that shouldn't, but unable to stop. This man is a person of weak character with an excuse for every bad decision, large and small. The book left the reader with true distaste for the author and the desire to take a shower. Low, very low.

If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.
---My Mother & probably Ben Franklin



Behold the Wonderful Wallaby sweater knit with Mission Falls 1824 cotton on sizes 7 and 5 needles. Because it's knitted on dps and circs—voila!—no seams! This is the hoodless version at the request of K3. You can, of course, make a pouchless version….a hoodless and pouchless version, or a hooded and pouched...well you get the idea! The sizes are from a child's size 2 to super size adult! I made a size 4, which—by the way—is called the "Willie Wallaby" in this nifty little pattern book!

Here's the contact info to get the booklet with all the sizes:

Cottage Creations
At the Farm on Deer Creek
Carpenter, IA 50426-0070

Honestly, I am not kidding! That really is it! And, the pattern booklet is as quaint as the address. Just think! Your entire family could be decked out in wonderful wallabys (wallabies?) from the toddlers to the grandparents! Do I hear needles clicking?

Belonging by Nancy Thayer is a wonderful-wonderful story of a career woman who eventually discovers aspects of "belonging" in different places and with a variety of people for diverse reasons. This is a fascinating study of the evolution from superficiality to deeper meaning. EXCELLENT read!

Back by popular demand, well--OK--there was ONE comment, is Mighty Max my wonder dog in his holiday tie. Maybe I'll try to teach him to bark "Jingle Bells"....hmmm....

That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing...I meant it.


Crocheted Sample Ghan

This is a fun project from Leisure Arts leaflet 555, "63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches". Choosing from the 63 patterns, I used an H hook and worsted weight yarn for this project.

The Will by Reed Arvin is a captivating story written in a very wordy style. It's the story of a fortune left to the local "crazy man" known as Bird Man. This intricate story holds interest, but needs a good editor!

Max is getting in the Christmas spirit by wearing his festive tie! He is the most handsome Boxer ever!

Whoever thought up the word "Mammogram"? Every time I hear it, I think I'm supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone. -Jan King


People Like Us

This is a fun baby gift to crochet in the half-double stitch with worsted and an H hook using each of the pocket colors for the border. The final border row is picot done with yellow. Crochet each pocket separately and whip stitch to the blanket. I crocheted the animals for the first one of these I made. As you can see, I purchased small, plush animals for this one.

People Like Us is a tour de force of the frivolous and avaricious among certain people in New York City society. It is all the more appalling because it is based on Dunne's experiences as a quasi-member of this social group in the years following the murder of his daughter.
The character of Gus Bailey is quite obviously based on the author who uses his fictional self to avenge the ridiculously meager prison sentence given to the murderer. That, however, is the underlying story of Gus. The focus of book is on the wealthy, wealthier, and trying to be wealthy as they claw and scratch their way through the social house of cards. In disappointment, shame, or sorrow, there rises the indominantable human spirit.

The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy. -Helen Hayes (at 73)


Crocheted Quickies

Here are two small projects that I enjoyed making for Christmas past. Sister Merry-Merry was crocheted with worsted weight yarn and an F hook. She is stuffed with black hosiery to avoid white batting from showing between the stitches. You can find the pattern at

The ginger bread ornament was made in the same way with an F hook and worsted weight yarn. Cinnamon and ginger sprinkled on the filling add a freshly baked aroma to this ornament. I particularly enjoyed decorating the gingerbread man! Find him at
Snobs by Julian Fellowes is a satire of British society which is perhaps third or fourth strata of self-important people living in country estates and manors. Edith, common but pretty, weds the passive, dim son of a very haughty mother, Lady Uckfield. Love that name! Not an impressive book, but got more interesting as I read on. The great questions about marriage and happiness being answered with "I'm happy enough." Trade offs.
There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.--Mother Teresa


Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.who made the great lights,
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to the one who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26 (NIV)


The World Unraveled

Chicken Little may think the sky is falling, however my world unraveled last night! I was very brave about it, not stoic, but brave. After seeing some loose stitches along the color changes, I pulled the switch..errr...yarn and removed the ocean from the world. I pray there were no casualties! It is now reknitted to the point of the very first posting about J's world. There! Now I feel better.
Another Christmas gift is completed! Yaaay! All two items that I knitted for gifts this year are finished! (Hold the drumroll and trumpet fanfare, please!) Isn't it these small victories that bring us joy?!! Here is the striped, mitered tote bag in prefelted mode. Then after the magic of hot water, detergent and agitation, it is all wonderfully sized and finished. The free pattern is available at
The colors are Renaissance blue, navy, and plum from Jo Sharp done on size 9s. I enjoyed the mitering so much that I have started a mitered throw using leftover yarns in shades of green including two different shades in chenille on size 13s. I know! I know! I just started the Ghan of the World, but what can I say? Although I am an avowed one-man-woman, alas I am easily wooed by patterns and become a multi-project addict all too easily. Just take a look at the simple, yet lovely mitered squares ghan here Now you understand, don't you? Amazingly, it is knit in one piece! It's just all too easy, too alluring, and...I fell! Spare me thoughts of little J waiting forlornly for his World Ghan!In other news, a summer read found its way to the top of my book stack. Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand rather drifted into a Harlequin teen romance through most of the midsection. The focus is a family that returns to their Nantucket summer home for their yearly stay after the sudden death of the father in a plane crash. The wife and teen twins are shattered and endure a summer accentuated by old romance, new romance, death, birth, and renewal. The writing is not terribly impressive. It is a nice, easy read. :)

Praise the LORD with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Sing new songs of praise to him.
Psalm 33:2-3, NLT

All good wishes for a happy, blessed 
Thanksgiving Day!


J's World View

It arrived yesterday. The sizeable manila envelope addressed in large six-year-old handwriting containing J's map colored in a most interesting way. It appears something has happened in Asia. Have I missed something on the news? It is delightful and will make for an interesting ghan of the world. Using his color scheme, I will proceed in knitting my way through The Pacific Ocean toward the compass rose and my first landfall in South America! Here is Vogue Knitting Chart One that I will use with J's colors.

In other knitting, I completed the Ruffle Scarf AKA the Potato Chip scarf(because you can't make just one) to be given as a Christmas gift. The pattern is available at where you can download the pattern for free! I used Cascade yarns "Pearls" and size nines which yielded a slightly heavier weight as seen modeled here by Mighty Max my
Wonder Dog! The next one I make will be with an airy fiber for a wispy ruffle for K2's birthday in February.

A Puzzle in a Maze in the Dark of Night

Joan Didion's The Last Thing He Wanted challenged me to concentrate and strive to stay with her. Challenging style! This is not a book to lay down for a day or two and return later! I had to review to understand where I was, what was happening, and to answer "Who ARE these people?!" After seeing Charlie Rose interview the author on PBS, I wanted to read some of her work preceding her current best seller The Year of Magical Thinking. Her elliptical writing is thought-provoking. I do enjoy her technique of restating phrases in full as often as three times in a given short paragraph. Another charming device is using phrases such as he "may or may not have..." stating oppositions that appealed to my own imprecise memory although the intent was to write in the need-to-know basis of a CIA covert operative. The whole thing finally makes sense and comes together in the final few pages. The author succeeds in
placing the reader in the helpless abyss of a covert agent who must wait for an unknown contact to provide a glimmer of the next action.

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.


The Beginning of the World

J is excited to help me make his map of the world ghan from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2002. He has selected the colors for each country and colored his map to match the yarns I have purchased for our creation. With Plymouth Encore knitting worsted and size nines, I have gotten as far as the orange trim and blue ocean. In all honesty, I had to frog down to the first four rows of blue after discovering that I had incorrectly done the color pattern. I added two blue at each end of that section rather than the requisite one at each end. Since this would be problematic with a ghan that is knitted in panels. Taking a deep breath, I yanked it all out and have not yet restored it to the point in the picture. Woe is me! I first saw the pattern at . This is an exciting project! I plan to frame J's colored map to go with the ghan.

FYI: Although I do teach online courses, I am affiliated with the state system & not associated in any way with the sponsor of the blog counter.

A Place in the World

A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi started ho-hum. I wasn't even certain I'd finish it--a memoir, romantic, lush with food and Damask and descriptions of Italy--chiefly the lagoons and waterways of Venice. Everything has a golden hue--even the man with one sharp front tooth! This writer paints with words in recounting meeting and marrying a Venetian man, giving up everything and moving to Venice. She, a renowned chef and writer from St. Louis, MO, USA, traveling to far-off Venice to marry a banker seemed preposterous to everyone who knew her. How wonderful it would be to travel beginning in St. Louis and visiting all of the places in her book!! A slow, extended tour to see the richness, the beauty that she describes--to delight in the succulent foods and wines she tastes!

"A thousand days. A minute. A flash. Just like life I think."

--a luscious book to savor--I hesitate to begin another and diminish the "taste" of this one~

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3, NLT


Off the Sticks...

Hands and Heart: Made with Bernat Soft Boucle on size 17 needles, this long scarf is knitted on 41 stitches in moss/seed stitch. I crocheted a fairly wide scalloped edging to provide a finished look.

Eyes and Mind: The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford is set in the environs of London in the 1920s and 30s. The story details social life and mores of the upper class a few rungs below the royals. The unconventional family is led by a foul tempered uncle of the storyteller who spends summers with her seven unruly cousins at Alconleigh--a wild estate filled with game to hunt and horses to ride. The exploits of the family are shocking and surprising. The aunt and uncle as well as the other characters are based on the author's family, who indeed must have been shocked and surprised when they read the book!

The second story in this volume centers on socialite Polly Hampton who engages in a scandalous affair that could destroy her social standing. Nancy Mitford's writing has a beautiful flow, precise language, wit, and satire.

...make me truly happy by agreeing whole-heartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.
---Philippians 2:1-2, NLT


Here I am in blogland!!

Did I slip down the rabbit hole with Alice? I can't believe I'm here! I mean-- I've considered blogging for about three years, but never-never thought I'd make the leap! I mean, I'm a private person--almost hermitic, even! How wondrous to go on and on and on about reading and knitting, even though I can do those things in my knitting group and book club. The thing is...I have West Nile Virus and haven't felt able to attend those groups. So, in addition to teaching online college courses, I will now blog-bloggedy-blog about two of my favorite things: reading and knitting. Most likely, I will toss in a few of my other favorites as well!

The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.---Fred Rogers, Ph.D.