Beautiful Golden Morning

September 22, 2006 at 1:25 pm | Posted in country living, family, knitting, yarn | 11 Comments

Hand Knit Fingerless Gloves in Berroco Ultra Alpaca YarnI woke up at four o’clock this morning with my husband, but tried to sleep a bit more … to no avail. I spent some time knitting on a pair of fingerless gloves (the “Fetching” pattern from Knitty.com’s summer edition) as I watched a bit of Fox and Friends. I started them yesterday but only knit the first few rounds. This morning I knit a substantial amount of the hand part of the glove. I am using some of my Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Lavender Mix, and I do like the look of them so far. Rather than knitting the first round in the 4×1 rib as the pattern instructs, I knit the first round and began the ribbing on round two. This created a tiny little roll at the cuff which I like because it is a little bit unfinished and rustic looking – which is what I am going for with my scarf, gloves, etc. in this Lavender Mix yarn. I am using size U.S. 5 dpns, rather than the size 6 dpns called for in the pattern, because I have small bones and didn’t want the gloves to be loose.

By the way, see that ball of yarn I’m knitting from. That is one my husband and I wound from a skien of the Ultra Alpaca yarn. Following a tip from another blogger, I wound the ball around my thumb, with a tail coming out the bottom. When the ball was finished, I was able to pull on the tail and have a center-pulling ball of yarn. That was a very cool tip! I just wish I could remember whose blog it was so I could give her credit.

Fireflys White Flowers with Red BerriesIt is about forty degrees out; I have been drinking my tea and waiting for the sun to come up so I can go outside and see about capturing some pretty white flowers growing amongst a shrub with deep red berries on it. My husband pointed them out to me yesterday after he mowed the lawn. A little bit ago a saw golden morning light began lighting up the yard, so I slipped on my husband’s big ol’ yard boots and went outside wearing my flannel pj’s, one of his flannel shirts (which comes down to my knees because I am not very tall) and this wonderfully funky robe I have which I call my “dog” robe. The robe is dark green fleece and has dogs embroidered on it here and there. It was so funky and funny I had to buy it when I saw it couple years back.

Side Bar: I love living in a place where I can go out dressed rather absurdly and traipse around all over the place taking photographs without being spotted by other humans other than the odd trucker that might happen to be passing by. The annonymity is delicious and so much different than the crowded conditions of Los Angeles.

Fireflys Barn on a Golden MorningBack to the photoshoot. The morning sun was not at quite the correct angle to hit the flowers the way I had hoped, but they are pretty and I am sharing them anyway. Meanwhile, there were quite a few other beautiful golden moments I did catch … too many to share in one blog. I think my favorite from this morning is this one of the side of our barn awash in golden pinkish light, framed by a bare tree. I don’t know why that tree is already bare … I’ll have to ask my husband.

All in all it looks like we will have a beautiful day on the farm. We are heading out late afternoon to pay a visit to my husband’s mother, then we will meet his sister and her husband for supper and a Guiness at our favorite Irish pub in a village about forty five minutes away.

Fireflys Yard on a Golden MorningBy the way, I spent some time this morning doing more photography of the hand knit Christmas stockings I have on hand, in preparation for a page of photos I will put up by Monday for all who are interested in making or seeing more of that work. It is a bit of a project, so I need more time to put it all together than I have today.

We plan on having a wonderful weekend, and hope you do as well.

~firefly

Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking Complete

September 20, 2006 at 1:43 pm | Posted in country living, family, food, knitting, stockings, yarn | 23 Comments

Fireflys Barn on a Rainy MorningGreen. My world is filled with green. I come from a place where we had about two days of green each year (Los Angeles) and I find myself in a place so lush and rich with water and soil nutrients that even the brown is green.

Each day we have some beautiful sunshine with blue skies and puffy clouds skittering along followed, at some time day or night, by rain. This morning it rained early, but now the sun is shinning and reflecting off of the sweet water on the streets, on the lawn, and on the corn field.

Fireflys Willow PondOur pond grows deeper daily … unfortunately, our septic system has backed up a bit because the ground is so saturated there is no where for it to drain. Oh well, so it goes. I am told to avoid running the washing machine for a few days to give it time to drain. Luckily I can still take showers … I am so spoiled!

As for knitting–first of all, I want to say I made it. For those of you who have followed the progress of the stocking I have been knitting for my husband, I did not run out of Winter White. All I had left was a tiny little ball, but … I did make it through to the toe. Whew!

[Note: I won a blue ribbon for this stocking at our agricultrual fiar on October 1st. Info on that posted in another posting, for your info.]

Hand Knit Hugs and Kisses Aran Christmas StockingFor more information about some of the details of knitting this project, see my blog of 7 Sep 06.

This stocking was knit using the “Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking” pattern on page 57 in Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit from Interweave Press; designer Dee Lockwood.

I used Size U.S. 6 dpns for the cuff, and Size U.S. 5 dpns for the leg as called for in the instructions (knit on four dpns, so two sets are needed to have a total of five of each to work with). The yarn is Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca in Winter White and Cardinal. The pattern stitches include 2×2 ribbing, OXOX cable, 2×1 twisted ribbing, and latticed spindle cable.

I found the directions to be thorough but for one exception: the pattern stitch on needles #1 and #3 continue through the heel and the instep, whereas the pattern stitches on needles #2 and #4 do not continue through the heel. That’s all fine, but confusion can occur after you knit and turn the heel and pick up stitches to continue on toward the foot. At this point the author merely says that you might not be at the same place in the pattern stitch on needle #1 as you are on needle #3. If you do not keep track of where you left off on needle #3, it can be disorienting when you start working that needle again.

Hand Knit Hugs and Kisses Aran Christmas StockingTo avoid confusion, write a note to yourself stating exactly which row you ended off with on needle #3 before working the heel on needle #1.

The hanger is a knitted I-cord, which is a pretty cool detail I believe. You cast on a few stitches on dpns and knit across but then instead of turning, you slide the stitches to the end of the needle and pull the yarn across the back, then knit across. You end up with a sturdy cord that can hold up a stocking full of goodies!

The finished product is wonderfully cushy to hold and squeeze. When I finished it last evening I gave it to my husband so he could give it a squeeze, which he did. He thought I was being a little silly, but this is the first time anyone has knitted something for him, so he wasn’t aware that squeezing the completed item was a part of the ritual and celebration of calling it a “done”.

If you would like to see photographs of other Christmas stockings I have knit using patterns from the same book, please leave a comment so I can get an idea of how much interest there is in this topic.

At the end of this month we are going to an Agricultural Fair at the country village and museum I have spoken of in other blogs. They are having various competitions and I decided to join in the old fashioned fun and enter some items of my own. I will be entering baking soda biscuits (my grandmother’s recipe from her farm, tweaked to suit my baking style), pumpkin pie (my grandmother’s pie crust recipe and my filling recipe), several photographs I shot while in the village recently, and this hand knit Christmas stocking.

I am not entering the competition to be competitive, to tell you the truth. I am entering to be supportive of the event and for the fun of participation. I feel certain there are many women around here who have skills far beyond mine in both cooking and knitting, so I am not anticipating bringing home a ribbon; I will, however, enjoy spending a day in good wholesome company with my husband in that beautiful and historical country village.

~firefly

Lavender scarf is complete

September 18, 2006 at 1:17 pm | Posted in country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, knitting, yarn | 8 Comments

Fireflys CowlickIt is a beautiful, crisp and sunny almost the beginning of autumn day here. Last week we received more than three inches of rain … some of it leaked into a downstairs closet through a problem area in our roof. On Saturday my husband and a good friend got up there and put a new surface on the section where we were having problems so hopefully I will be able to find a different use for our buckets, rag towels, and mops this week. Actually, this week I would like for all of those objects to remain unemployed.

We also grew a pond out by the grand willow tree that stands between the farm house and the corn fields. I had heard of the disappearing/reappearing pond but had not seen it until last week. From what I understand, it comes each fall and remains through spring. Last year was dry, so the pond was gone before we got back from our honeymoon. With the rainfall we have been seeing all summer I believe the pond will be a part of our landscape for several months ahead.

My husband tells me we get Canadian geese camping out back in that area where the pond is each winter. They will be loud (in a good way) and leave some poopy messes around. It will all be interesting, I am sure.

Fireflys Barrel of HopsGoose pooh or not, pond waters or not … I will be grateful for whatever comes our way. I have come to believe from personal experience … actually, not to believe, but to know … that gratitude, sincere gratitude, is one of the secrets of life. I look outside and see the golden light of morning reflecting off the trees surrounding our farm and I am grateful. I look out the window beside my computer desk and see, from my upstairs vantage point, the pond out behind our grand willow and the corn fields beyond; I am grateful. I hear the soft breathing of my daughter’s beagle as he sleeps on the floor beside my feet and I am grateful.

But what of the things I have not wished for, the mistakes I have made along with way, the problems I have encountered, the tears I have shed. Of these do I feel grateful?

The secret I have learned from paying attention to life as best I can is this: be grateful for it all, the good times and the bad, the right turns and the “wrong”. Gratitude is the key, and has a power like magic waters to wash over even the most painful of experiences and losses to reveal life’s mysterious and often hidden blessings. Without gratitude, many things might be missed along the way.

I have much more to say on this subject, but cannot say it all in one blog so more will come later and much more will come blog by blog as time goes by.

I will say this though, gratitude led me here to this place of peace and beauty. Gratitude helped me find my way through confusion and misfortune to a place where dreams come true.

The Official I Live on a Farm ScarfAnd, back here on Earth … I finsihed knitting my lavender basketweave stitch scarf Friday evening. I have posted the pattern for anyone interested. I am close to finishing my husband’s handknit Christmas stocking and will be able to post photos later this week.

I have to get my work-a-day day started, so will end off here. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, and for those who post comments and send emails I thank you especially for your encouragement and support.

Best wishes,

~firefly

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