Saturday, April 26, 2008


I've been toying with an idea for my nieces for Christmas. I'm going to try to knit them a "bakery." My mom did something similar for me when I was little. She put together a store for me by opening cans upside down for months. I don't exactly remember how she set it all up, but I do remember loving it. There are so many patterns for knit "food" around that I think I can knit up enough stuff to make up a wonderful imaginary bakery. I'm going to knit a couple more cupcakes from BeeKnit's pattern; donuts from Kat Knit's pattern; slices of pie from Pie Knit's pattern; and slices of cakes from Bitter Sweet's pattern. I also found a bunch of really cute patterns for biscuits and cakes on Jean Greenhowe's free patternlink on her site. I don't plan to mention my plan to my sister even, and I've drafted Russ to figure out how to make some trays for everything to be displayed on.

I finished one of Paige's Tyrolian stockings. It looks darling on Paige's foot, and I'm ready to start the second one right away. No second socks syndrome for me!

Gidget says that pink stockings are lovely.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Loving Flowers

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while (all two of you, LOL) know that I wrote my master's thesis on the ubiquity of food in ethnic literature. I explored all kinds of purposes for food, but the one that stood out was that food is a way of handing down a culture, even when one has to adapt to a new culture in other ways, ie. learning a new language, etc. My ancestors came from Denmark, and while I don't cook a lot of Danish food, I do know quite a bit about it and do cook it occasionally besides during the holidays. Food is a way for me to connect to my past and to create memories for my children.That's a long segway to the point of my post today. I thnk that knitting and gardening fall into a similar category as food in the memory department. I don't have a huge history, family-wise, with knitting. My aunt taught me, but I've done most of my knitting in isolation--as in no one else was knitting with me--not as in being alone. I still like the connections I feel with women who knit before me. You know, like Ma in Little House on the Prairie.

Now gardening, that's another story. A love of gardening runs in my family. My parents love gardening. My grandparents loved gardening. I have many pleasant memories of going to my grandparents' ranch and seeing all of the pretty flowers that my grandparents had blooming in their garden. My grandmother usually had hydrangeas growing near her front door, and she liked to remind me of how when I was really little I had fallen from the steps into them. I told her, "I fell in the 'flowders.'" She thought that was so funny. I also remember my grandmother having lots of johnny-jump-ups in her garden. They may not be a very elegant flower, but they are my favorite; and I have been disappointed lately to see them appearing less and less in nurseries. This year I bought two seed packets of them, and all I ended up with is this one plant. I check on "him" daily to see how he is doing, and he is often a little ragged. I notice a big bite out of one of the petals this morning.

Another unglamorous flower that I grow every year are poppies (Yikes I hope the grammar police aren't close by!) Actually I just let them reseed all over my front yard. I still remember a little poem that my mom taught me when I was in kindergarten. I think I brought a little bouquet of poppies to school for show and tell and recited this poem.
Poppies, golden poppies, blooming in the sun.
Closing up at evening when the day is done.
Pride of California, flower of our state,
Blooming from the mountains to the Golden Gate.

As you can see, I tend toward easy-to-grow type flowers. I live in an area that gets less than ten inches of rain a year, so I have to baby even hardy flowers. Growing geraniums may not take much skill, but I am especially happy with this geranium (I's probably not technically a geranium.) My mom had this one growing outside her back door, and I just loved the varigated leaves. I took a little slip last summer, put it in some water near the kitchen sink, and waited for the roots to show up. Nothing! Finallly, I was ready to just throw it out, and I decided that I'd just put it in some dirt. I ended up with this. The flowers aren't anything special, but I'm so happy that it's flourishing. I'm so happy that I can have a piece of my mom's lush Northern California garden here in dry Central California.

Oh, I did do a little knitting this week. I'm making progress on my Tyroliean stockings. I've made a few mistakes, and quite a bit of unraveling and reknitting; but I'm pleased with them. I'm just hoping that I have enough yarn. I usually have so much left of Lornas Lace yarn when I knit regular socks that I thought I'd have enough. I may have to buy two more skeins of pink to knit the second sock. I don't think a different dye lot would matter for a different sock. We'll see, I guess.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gearing Up for Summer

I never knit very much during the summer. It's funny because all year I try to grab moments to knit, often knitting at 6:00 in the morning, watching the clock until the last second I can put off getting ready for work. Fortunately, my three minute commute makes that about 6:55 a.m.. As an amateur phychologist, I'm pretty sure that the reason I crave knitting during the school year is that it represents free time, and I don't usually feel like I have enough of that, even though I have much more than I used to have. During the summer, I usually have at least a month where I have nothing to do but relax and occasionally clean the bathrooms if we're home; and relax and go out to eat if we're traveling somewhere; so while I still enjoy knitting, I'll often go weeks without picking anything up to knit. Another reason I don't knit as much during the summer is the HEAT! We're having our first taste of it today. It's supposed to be 88 degrees, and we're worn out after working in the yard for just a couple of hours. What will we do when it hits 100?

Socks, even wool ones, aren't' too bad to knit when it's hot, but I don't feel too inspired to do that usually. This year, I think I'd better change that, since I just spent a bunch of money on sock yarn. The light purple yarn is from the Hill Country Yarns Sock Club. I received it several weeks ago, but that didn't deter me from ordering more Lorna Laces purple sock yarn from the Loopy Ewe. Yes, those are two different shades of purple. One is called "blackberry" and the other is "grapevine." I swear they looked like they were different on the website. Don't get me wrong, I still love them, but they are basically the same color. This fact did not surprise my daughter, who likes to point out that when I like an item of clothing, say a blouse or shirt, that I'll buy two, three, sometimes four different colors of it. She thinks this is ridiculous....I don't.

I also bought some pretty maroon yarn from J Knits I thought that color was really pretty, but the main reason I bought it was that its called "Indiana," and my sister lives in Indiana. Guess what she's getting for Christmas again...socks!

For a long time I didn't know what the word "frog" meant, but I'm quite familiar with it now! I frog a lot. That would explain why I don't have a lot to show for the week since I posted last. I did start Paige a pair of Tyrollian stockings from the Fall 2007 IK. I can't remember the name of this yarn, but, of course, it's Lorna's Laces. I just love the way her yarn feels. The pattern looks kind of complicated, but it's very easy, and I'm enjoying it. They're knee socks, which would look horendous on me, but Paige is blessed with her dad's skinny ankles. her feet aren't so beautiful, but her legs are...yet another reason that her father and I keep close tabs on her and more specifically on her associates. She makes pretty good choices, but it doesn't hurt to know that your parents will be checking on you can be a bummer
having your mom teach at your high school, except for when you need lunch money or to have someone rush home to get your team uniform, or you need to have your fieldtrip form signed ten minutes before the bus is leaving...or when you just need a little hug!

This has nothing to do with knitting, but here's Paige and her date for prom. They are going to an nice restaurant in Bakersfield for dinner with eight other couples and then they will go to the Prom back here in Taft They wil then stand around and occassionally dance. You may read about kids spending hundreds of dollars on Prom. Paige borrowed her dress and asked us for thrity dollars, just in case. That seems pretty good to me....except for the fact that the boys are paying for a Hummer limosine to take them to dinner. So, I guess I don't get to look at popular culture with too much distain since we seem to beright in the middle of it, at least tonight.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hearst Castle

I finished my citrine socklets last Friday. I had several hours of uninterupted was on a school bus, but it still wasn't the same as regular work. I also knit for a little while while looking out at the ocean since I just happened to have my socklets in my coat pocket.

Every year, one of my fellow teachers and I take our shared honors students on a trip to Heart Castle. It takes about two hours to get there We let the student walk around the town of Cambria for a while before we go up to the castle to see the IMAX movie about how great William Randoph Hearst...I'm not convinced, but I get that he wasn't totally evil either. We take the evening tour of the castle, which highlights the best features of the four daytime tours. It really is incredible. I've probably been to the castle twenty times or more, and it still is awesome to me.