Knitted Gift Bag Pattern Posted

September 29, 2006 at 11:48 am | Posted in country living, faith, food, free knitting patterns, knitting, yarn | 11 Comments

I prepared the pattern this morning for the Small Knitted Gift Bag, and have posted it on my patterns page for anyone interested. On Monday I’ll show you all a silly and fun scarf I am making for my daughter, and I will provide the pattern for it as well.

Firefly Self PortraitToday I will be doing some writing for a couple of clients, but I also need to bake the pumpkin pie I am entering in the agricultural fair competition. I will make two of them, one for us and one for the competition. My husband has not had any of my homemade pie before, so I am looking forward to his enjoyment. There are two pies in particular which are my specialties: pumpkin pie, and apple-cranberry pie. The apple cranberry pie is beautiful to make at the holidays and features a double crust with cut-out leaf and berry decorations on top. I love left-over pie for breakfast, and so I always make two pumpkin pies for that purpose … although I usually only make pies at Thanksgiving and Christmas because I like to minimize caloric temptations as much as possible.

Somewhere on my blog these words used to appear: “I write. I paint. I knit.” It must have been in the auto-formatted header before I replaced that with a graphic. The words are gone, but they are true. I do write, and I do paint, and I do knit … among other things. From time to time I would like to share one of my paintings with you, and sometime I would like to share with you the story of how I came to paint. It was a little miracle, and miracles are on my mind today. This photo here is a self-portrait I did in watercolor back in late 2004, capturing a moment during a very difficult time in my life. It was a cross roads, and the forces playing out in my life at that moment in time eventually led me down a road where I met my husband and moved to this lovely farm. I wanted to share it with you, as a start point in sharing the painting side of my life.

Fireflys Fire Sunrise from 2003Over the past few days I have heard news reports of a large fire burning in Southern California … it reminds me of the terrible fires we had in California in late October of 2003. The photo you see here is one I shot from our house on the hill, when we lived in the foothills north of Los Angeles. This shot was taken early one morning as the smoke was beginning to fill the air everywhere. It seemed all of California was on fire. By the end of that day we could not see beyond the deck of our house, because the smoke was so thick from all of the fires. It was terribly hot, and our air conditioner was working very well but we had to run it round the clock so we wouldn’t have to open the doors or windows. It was a very frightening and eerie time.

Something miraculous happened though. Someone started putting the word out via news programs for people to pray. I was amazed to hear the news media urging people to pray … it is one thing for ordinary people to think of that, but for the news to broadcast it was something else. People all over California, and I am sure other places as well, did begin praying; I was one of them.

After the FiresIt was just before Halloween, and overnight the temperature dropped and it began to rain in the lower lands and it began to snow in the mountains. The rain and the snow put out the fires, mostly and brought the horrors of the days previous to an end. The skies turned a glorious blue, white puffy clouds were everywhere. It was a miracle and it happend literally overnight after the word went out for people everywhere to pray.

I notice these things, and I know that prayer worked. The beautiful thing about prayer is that it is a non-denomiational activity. There are no requirements as to faith or how you specifically define God and under what name you are praying. Prayer is accepted from anyone who engages in it, and people of all faiths or no faith may all join together and pray in unison and it still works.

It worked in California on October 29th of 2003 and the call for help was not a small one.

Those are my thoughts for today. I hope you enjoy the gift bag pattern and that someone gets a delightful knitted treat from you someday soon. Knitters, from my obversation, are very generous souls.

Have a beautiful day and weekend, and thank you so much for stopping by today.

~firefly

Knitted Drawstring Gift Bag

September 27, 2006 at 12:47 pm | Posted in country living, family, food, free knitting patterns, knitting | 12 Comments

[Note: I just posted photos of a couple more knitted Christmas Stockings for those interested. It is Thursday morning at about 9:20 EST.]

Fireflys Critter IngredientsFirst of all, thank you very much to those of you who joined me for coffee the other day … whether you sat silently sipping without leaving a comment, or made your presence known with one. It was a good day, and a good time. The past few days I have actually started thinking that sometime in the future I might like to host a retreat here on our farm for some of the readers of my blog. There is such a lovely sense of a growing community here at the blog … who knows. I was imagining several of us sitting around the fireplace one autumn or maybe during snow in the winter, knitting and chatting and sipping whatever we each would have: coffee, tea, cocoa, cider, Pepsi … what have you. Maybe spring would be better, perhaps summer. It is an enchanting thought to consider.

The golden light this morning has a ginger glow to it; must be another sign of autumn. As I sit here at my computer, I look out the window to my right and one cedar tree in particular is simply glowing with ginger golden light, and a stand of trees back by the road glows with a less intense version of the same warm light.

I am beginning to build up a good sized stash of items from the outdoors for the Christmas tree ornaments I will be making. My favorite are the teasels … the longish thistle looking items with spikes all over them. I think they are beautiful, and we found a huge field over by the apple orchards with perfect teasels growing everywhere.

Side Bar: Wow! I just glanced out the window again and the intensity of that ginger golden light is magnificent. Makes me want to run outside and hug the world and say, “Good morning!”

Back to Teasels: The teasels require prep work in that they have to be gently cleaned by rubbing two of them against each other. The stalks they grow on are very prickly and there are a lot of pokey little thorns, so I wear an old pair of my husband’s work gloves when I am handling them. After cleaning them, all of the prickly thorny parts are trimmed off and then they are perfectly easy to handle. The teasels will be the bodies and heads of various critters I will be making. Other items will be used to make eyes and noses and hands, and hats, and feet, and various props. I anticipate much fun and a great outlet for my imagination.

Yesterday I made the prints of various photographs I am entering in the competition at the agricultural fair we are attending this weekend. One of the categories for entries is sorks of art, including photography, depicting the buildings, animals, horticulture, and life in the country village where the fair is being held. I am entering four photographs, and have them all printed out (8″ x 10″, matted in 11″ x 14″ boards) and ready to go now. Friday night I am making the pumpkin pie I am entering, and then Saturday morning I’ll make the buscuits I will also be entering. My husband and I are excited about the fun of it all, plus we are looking forward very much to spending another day in the village and museum there, exploring the many old buildings (early 1700’s to late 1800’s) they are preserving. It is an interesting concept for a museum I think: a museum of old buildings moved there and arranged in a village and lived in and maintained by people in period costumes who bring it all to life for visitors.

Fireflys Knitted Small Drawstring Bag for Fetching GlovesYesterday I also knit up this pretty little bag, creating a variation on my knitted Itty Drawstring Bag pattern. This bag isn’t itty, it is small (small is larger than itty, in case that wasn’t clear). I wanted to see what size the bag would come out if I knit it up with worsted weight yarn on size U.S. 8 dpns. Plus, I wanted to try out a picot edging along to the top and mostly I wondered if a small “itty” would accomodate one pair of knitty.com’s “Fetching” fingerless gloves … and it does. My Fetching gloves were in the bag when I shot this photo.

My thought is that as a gift idea it would be nice to knit a drawstring bag out of a complementary color and yarn to go with a pair of Fetching gloves. Naturally, the small bag could be used for other gift items as well. I am pleased with the detail of the little french knots on the peak of each picot point. Also, I knitted an I-cord for the drawstring, using a little scrap ball of Sirdar baby yarn left over from a sweater set I made for my nephew’s baby girl a couple of springs ago.

I will prepare pattern instructions for this new bag and post them shortly … sorry I don’t have time to prepare the pattern this morning, but I have a couple of new projects going for writing clients and have to focus on that today. I should be able to put up the pattern this Friday, so check back then if you are interested.

The golden light outside is fading as clouds move in, covering the sun. Looks like the clouds are only patchy though, so there is certain to be more delicious ginger gold in the air before long.

I hope you have a beautiful day with hidden surprises in ordinary things and for which you will feel grateful.

~firefly

Cup o’ Joe?

September 25, 2006 at 1:49 pm | Posted in country living, knitting, stockings, yarn | 18 Comments

Enjoy a Cup o Joe with FireflyWould you sit and have a cup o’ Joe with me? As people read my blog and some leave comments for me, I have begun to feel as if there is this cirlce of friends … new friends … who are gathering ’round. I began feeling this weekend that I would love it if we could all get together now and then with a cup of coffee and maybe our knitting projects and just have a knit and a chat together. Well, maybe we can do that virtually … so how about it, you in?

I finished my fingerless gloves (“Fetching” pattern from Knitty.com). My modifications to the pattern are:

1) Knit using Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca in Lavender Mix.

2) Size U.S. 5 needles: pattern calls for size 6. I have small bones and wanted to make sure the gloves would not be loose.

3) I did one round in straight knitting before starting the pattern stitches and I did a final round in straight knit just before the bind off which gave my gloves a little roll at each edge to match the rolled edge on my Lavendar Scarf.

4) I added five rounds in the body of the gloves because they looked to me like they were going to be shorter than I would like and I wanted to be sure they would come down low enough to keep my wrists warm. I have small hands, so if I needed extra length I would imagine other people might as well. I am just under 5’3″ tall, and wear a size 5.5 wedding ring if that helps at all with guaging adjustments for larger or smaller hands.

5) I added three rounds to the thumbs because I also thought they should be a tad bit longer for a bit of added warmth.

Enjoy a Cup o Joe on the Farm with FireflyI found the project to be very quick and easy to follow and quite a fun little project for a weekend knit. They are so cute I am going to make them for … well, I can’t say right now in case certain people are reading my blog (I don’t want to give away what I’m giving for Christmas presents and to whom). My daughter loves them, so I’m going to knit a pair for her right away because she is here on the farm with us and will likely need them soon just as I do.

It rained much of the weekend, which of course put me in a cozy mood for coffee and knitting while curled up on the sofa. Mixed with the rain we had patches of sunshine with the beautiful puffy white clouds gliding along throughout the sky. The environment is rapidly changing clothes from the brilliant greens of summer to a sumptuous palette of autumn colors along the roadsides and fields everywhere we go. “Fallow” fields; my husband tells me they are fallow fields or fields left for a season or two without being planted. And yet, they are planted by nature and the environment. Those fallow fields are alive with abundant growths of thistles, milkweed, teasel, straw flowers, and other vegetation I could not begin to name (yet). Gold, rust, deep purple, bright yellow, crimson red, browns … such terribly beautiful colors creating a life in the fields that makes me ache with appreciation.

Firefly Lives Near Apple OrchardsI am gathering various items from the outdoors to use for making Christmas tree ornaments. All of my Christmas things are still in California in my storage unit and my husband has been here alone for a very long time so does not have Christmas ornaments (he has not been in the habit of putting up a tree). We both agree we don’t want shiny balls and so forth from the store so I am going to make all kinds of natural ornaments as well as some itty knitted items for the tree. He has been wonderful about helping me find and gather things. It is fun to watch the collection growing and soon I’ll post a photo of the pretty little goodies we’ve been finding.

As we were out and about searching for “ingredients” this weekend, we drove through some local apple orchards, of which there are many. The apple trees are loaded down with apples because this year has been very good for apple growers (up here anyway). The air was thick (in a good way) with the beautiful fragrance of ripe apples … yum yum yum. Soon we will visit a local farmer to buy a bushel of our very own apples to keep here in cold storage and draw from each week. How cool is that?

Another treasure we found but didn’t gather was a duo of little brightly colored mushrooms growing under an evergreen across the road above the bank of the river.

Sweet Little Mushrooms by the RiverIt was a busy weekend, but also cozy and relaxing. Saturday morning we helped paint a room at our church and afterwards enjoyed chocolate zuccinni cake and a cup of coffee with the handful of people who were also there painting. That afternoon we spent cuddled up inside when it rained and outside gathering and exploring or doing chores whenever the sun came out. Another delightful weekend in my new life on this old farm.

Hope yours was a good one as well. My cup o’ joe is finished up now, and I think I best be getting on to my work now. Thanks for stopping by!

~firefly

(P.S. I put up a page today for Christmas stockings, where I will show photos of hand knit stockings for those interested.)

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