Monday, August 27, 2012

Knitting Distraction—Advice Needed

Right now, when I absolutely, positively do NOT have time to think about anything else except getting ready for this move, I am, of course, thinking about some knitting.  At least, it would be for the new place.

I saw this item in a catalog or magazine—I’ve lost the source.  I pinned it to my Pinterest page.  It is obviously knitted.  It is made of rope.  It is described as 14” x 16”.  I need some baskets about this size for the new place and this kind of looked like fun.  However, I can’t figure out how to shape the bottom.  Any ideas out there?  And needles?

rope basket

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Last night, there was RAIN over the region.  Unfortunately for some people, it came with high winds, thunder and lightning, and electrical outages.  I understand that in Amarillo, rains came so quickly that there was flooding in the underpasses along I-40, but there was the blessing of rainfall in drought.  Here, at least, I think we got 0.8 of an inch.  I know that doesn’t sound like much to people from some areas, but in “this part of Texas, we measure precipitation in hundredths, even in “wet” years.  We seldom get huge rainfall amounts. This year is our second successive year of drought, so we are grateful for every drop.  Locally, this may be a “million dollar rain” as far as the corn crop goes because the farmers won’t have to irrigate.  Of course, blessings are mixed, and those who are presently cutting their unripened corn crop for ensilage will have difficulty getting into the fields for a couple of days.  I only hope the fierce winds did not blow down standing crops.

I started to automatically send a text to my son to ask him to check to see if they were starting the concrete work on our house, but then I remembered that it is likely to be delayed a little because of this, and I find that I really don’t care even one bit.  We need rain too badly.

Note:  In cleaning out some of my mother’s quilts to pack for the move, I found some unexpected stashes of yarn.  Sorting those items into my stash is on my list for today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Semi-Productive Week

The most important and fun thing I did last week was driving up each day to stay with my youngest granddaughter while her dad went to work.  This was my last chance before she hits the wide world of kindergarten.  I think grandparents, who are not having to focus on the practicalities of clothes, shoes, and school supplies, really appreciate the fact that this is one of the big changes in a child’s life.  In spite of a broad variety of experiences as a toddler and preschooler, this is when life gets serious, and after this point, childhood goes all too swiftly.

The week was almost unbearably hot, much too hot for being out in the Texas sun jumping on a trampoline.  M is a very active little girl, so we compromised.  I didn’t particularly want to cook, so we went to lunch one day at McDonalds and one day at Chik-fil-a.  Both of those places have indoor playgrounds.  You know the kind where you give your children a few minutes to play after you finish eating?  Well, this grandma had nothing better to do than stay in where it was cool, so we stayed just as long as she wanted to stay in both places.  She even got to be a hero at the chicken place by helping a toddler who had climbed much too high find her way back down to her mama!  Then on another day, we went to the mall so that I could buy a washer and dryer for the new house.  There was a really good sale, and I could put them on layaway until I needed them.  While there, we visited a special indoor playground that has unique climbers and slides with a Palo Duro Canyon theme.  And cushy seating for the adults.  And hand sanitizer.  We followed it up with lunch at Panda Express.

This is a picture of the REAL Palo Duro Canyon.  This formation is adapted as the central feature in the playground.  This canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in the United States.  The Comanches used to overwinter here, and legend says that this was the site of the first European Thanksgiving in America.  Coronado’s exploration party had travelled for an extended period time with little water or food, and then they came to the Canyon, with its stream and wildlife.  They celebrated with a feast of Thanksgiving for their survival.  If you visit here, there is an excellent musical production in the summer evenings in the bottom of the Canyon.  There are also camping facilities, but the summer months can be very hot down there in the daytime. 


Something else happened this week.  House progress!


Nope!  That’s not our house.  Our house is the wet spot.


And then after lunch, they packed down the area for the slab, alternating with more sprays of water.  I think the water actually contains a soil-stabilizing chemical.

I spent Saturday and Sunday in recovery from all the getting up very early in the morning, and today I am back to decluttering, packing, and a little computer repair.  Going through all this junk is definitely slow going.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I’m Not a Quilter, but

I really love quilts.  The problem is that I already have too many.  My mother and grandma (her mother-in-law) pretty much quilted their way through the Great Depression.  Mother stored many of the tops until the ‘60s, when they were hand quilted by a neighbor, mainly because until we moved into this house she didn’t have room for the bulk.  She did the bindings herself, by hand.  That didn’t mean that we didn’t have plenty of quilts to use that she and grandma had previously quilted, because we did.  Dealing with wintertime, was a matter of putting another quilt or two on the bed.

One quilt that she never finished, however, was a set of blocks of the state flowers.  They were not her usual style.  I think they are done with some sort of fabric paint or crayon and then outline-embroidered in a silk or rayon thread with a running stitch.  Ever since I moved back into her house in 2000, I’ve been looking for those blocks, and I had just about decided that she had thrown them away.  In removing the very last items to pack from her cedar-lined quilt closet, I was startled when a manila envelope fell on my foot from the very top shelf.  It is the blocks.  I am not photographing them at the moment because she had tissue-wrapped them very carefully, and I also discovered that the envelope holds the original newspaper advertising for the pattern, a handwritten list of the blocks and states, and two pages of about-to-fade documentation.  I put everything back in its envelope and put the envelope carefully into a dresser that will be moved with the drawers intact.

Now, I have a question, what do I do with the blocks when I get settled?  Do I preserve them “as is,” or do I make them into a quilt?  If I quilt them, how do I preserve the nature of the craft used?  I suppose I can look at the original newspaper illustration and see what I can determine that would be authentic.  It’s an interesting question, and I welcome suggestions.  There are only 48 blocks because there were only 48 states at that time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Random Weirdness and a Question

Disclaimer:  Although this is primarily a knitting/craft blog, no knitting or crafting has taken place since my last post.  The rest of this post is devoted to miscellany.  Which reminds me that a week or so ago I loaded my granddaughter into the car to run some errands.  When she asked what we were going to do, I said something that included the word “miscellaneous.”  After several stops, we headed back to her house.  As we drove into the driveway, she protested that we had forgotten to see “Miss Elaine.”  I think that was one of her teachers at church.  Anyway, it provided an opportunity for a vocabulary lesson.

I have not been knitting because I’ve been too unsettled to knit.  I’m trying to decide what to keep and what to discard before the move.  Some of those decisions are easy—there’s an amazing amount of just junk and an equally amazing amount of stuff that I just don’t want.  It’s the items that have at least in the past had sentimental value that give me trouble, as well as the tendency to keep anything that has “some good left in it,” even if it’s some good that I will never need or want.  I’m going much more slowly than I anticipated because I’m finding it exhausting.

We’re still living without a microwave.  I’m finding it difficult.  I am so much in the habit of being able to defrost instantly—because of shopping inconvenience, almost all of our meats are frozen—and having to plan ahead is an unaccustomed chore.  In addition, when you are only feeding two, you have leftovers to heat up.  It’s so easy to put them on a plate and pop them into the microwave instead of getting out a bunch of little pans to heat them on the stove.  Much more work.  At least, however, the replacement dishwasher is in and working.

OK, my question, at least for those of you who are older.  In the new house, one of my goals is to have things that are easy to keep and require as little maintenance as possible.  I want more time to do things I enjoy doing.  So I am trying to devote thought to having things ready to fix right the first time as I move in. The laundry room will have room for a washer and dryer together on one side.  Above the washer is a wall cabinet that goes all the way to the ceiling.  It is the depth of a regular kitchen “upper.”  The side above the dryer will have a small cabinet at ceiling height with a hanging/drying rod underneath.  I need to figure out how to use this storage space efficiently.  I considered stacking the appliances and moving the set to the dryer side, but I know that the drying rack above the dryer works well for clothes that are hung to dry.  (My son’s house, built by the same builder, has this setup, so I have experience.)  However, my days of easily climbing on a stepladder are over, so I would like to maximize my use of the storage space in some way that is efficient.  I plan to have the backdoor “Landing Area” on top of the washer with some sort of container or cubby arrangement.  Because of the door swings and the entrance from the garage, that’s about the only place to have it.  In the cabinet above, I can easily reach everything on the lower shelf, so that will be for detergents, etc.  The second shelf and above, however, are out of my reach when I consider the fact that I have to stand in front of the washer.  What I need is some way to “containerize” items that go on those shelves so that I can handle them with a reacher/grabber of some sort.  Considering that the cabinet depth is only about 11”, the best I’ve been able to come up with are these:




These are the baskets to the Closetmaid Cubeicals.  The one on the left is fabric.  The drawback would be that it would be so flexible that it might dump contents when grabbed with the reacher.  The one of the right is obviously wire.  It would be a little harder to grab and would obviously leak small objects, but it would be sturdy.

My question is:  What would you do to make these storage spaces useful and accessible?  Surely some of you must have some sort of solution that I’m not thinking of. 

Friday, August 03, 2012


This is an almost totally random post because my life is pretty much random right now.

  • Knitting, personal—Some progress on the Mitered Cross Blanket, my constantly-in-the-car-just-in-case project.
  • Knitting, granddaughter—She has gotten the hang of the knit stitch, mostly.  She still has the attention span of a 5-year-old, so two rows (5 stitches each) is about all she can stand at a sitting.  We did do some hot pad weaving, however.  She has probably inherited a multi-fiber-project gene.  Alas.
  • House—in the past two weeks, I’ve selected brick, window shape, carpet, tile, interior paint, and outdoor trim color.  Oh, and a front door and kitchen cabinet stain color.  I’ve also approved electrical and coax cable placements and bath customization plans. Oh, and decided on blind type and found a source.  That wasn’t much actual work, but it involved a lot of thought and research.  Thanks to both of my grown children and all three granddaughters for helping with various parts of the project.  And, of course, to my Dear Husband, who is graciously putting up with all the craziness while planning his own parts of the project.  He is, however, colorblind, and that makes discussion of all those picky details his idea of a day in hell.
  • Moving—alternating between decluttering and either trashing or delivering to charities and packing into boxes.  We will be using a moving service that rewards having as much as possible packed into boxes for ease of moving.  I know because I discussed the subject with the mover.  This is a relatively short move.
  • Planning and finding sources for what needs to be done to the present home to put it on the market as quickly as possible after we move.
  • Olympics—I have enjoyed watching some of the events and been sorry to miss others.  Part of the charm of the Olympics for me is seeing things that I don’t ordinarily get to see, and some of the quirkier sports seem to be missing from the coverage.
  • Olympic uniforms—The ceremonial uniforms were not as bad as I thought they would be from the modeled pics.  I’ve appreciated the change in the Beach Volleyball uniforms; however, the Beach Volleyball dancers were horrible!  I realize that’s not a Team USA problem.  The Women’s Gymnastics leotards are gorgeous, in both color and style.  And, I must admit that I really like the sweats they are wearing this year.  All too often sweats have that bottom ribbing that rides up in the rear.  The bottom styling of the longer top and the shaped hemline is very flattering on the women athletes.  On the guys, it looks nice, too, but looks like sweats.
  • Olympic Opening Ceremony—an absolute joy for someone who is an retired teacher of British Lit.  One question—that was the real Queen with James Bond, but were those the real royal Corgis or stand-ins?  And, I know why it wouldn’t have worked for today’s audience, but I really felt the need for Sean Connery.
  • Photo—House progress as of the time I left Amarillo yesterday afternoon:



  • Political correctness in election “silly season”—Granddaughter and I were singing songs while driving around town.  She is VERY fond of “B-I-N-G-O.”  I decided on “Ten Little Indians” because it is good practice in counting backwards and I was really tired of counting jumping monkeys.  The thought did cross my mind that I should probably say “Native American,” but that phrase does not fit into the song.  Then I noticed that she is not saying “Indian” anyway; she is saying “alien.”  She is sure—and very firm in her opinion--that she is repeating exactly what I am singing.  Since we live where we do—relatively close to the border with Mexico, but where the shortest route to that country goes through Roswell—I’ve decided that we are not politically incorrect—we are singing about creatures from another world.