Finishing Find: The Little Things

This may seem like a small thing, but  I had to write at least briefly about my find.  When I was in Tulsa at Loops, I came upon what I consider to be quite the little treasure: Susan Bates Finishing Needles!

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Maybe I am one of the only people who have not seen these before, but I was thrilled to find them.  They have an eye that extends the length of the needle!

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They are flexible.  I was able to squish them as needed.

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They are great for shorter pieces of yarn that need to be woven.

I tried them out yesterday to finish off a shawl, and they worked most awesomely.

A great find.

Darn Good Yarn

I discovered some “Darn Good Yarn” when we were visiting in Arkansas.  I found it at my old knitting home Knit Unto Others  – where I’d returned to see my knitting friends.  Claire (the owner) has always carried and promoted fair trade yarn. One example that I discovered this trip is Darn Good Yarn.  This company provides opportunities for local artisans to make yarn by using primarily scraps from sari production (I had no idea how much waste there is involved!).

I chose some silk yarn.  It’s called Silk Cloud, and it knit up beautifully.  I chose a pattern that I’d purchased when I was visiting Loops in Tulsa.  It’s a fun pattern called “Effin’ Scarf”. This is a scarf that is knit with size 13 needles.  I loved how it knit up, and I’d make it again, but I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of knitting fingering weight yarn with size 13 needles.  However, I love the almost cobwebby look it creates.  Davey likes to ask what it would be like to knit with spider silk (he is lately fascinated by spiderwebs).  While this is not cobweb lace, it does have a kinda webby look to it knitted up in this pattern.

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I love the combination of colors.

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I had a hard time taking good pictures of it or pictures that captured how pretty I think the yarn is.

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I am spending time on Ravelry already trying to figure out what I’d like to make next with Darn Good Yarn.  I love their mission!  There’s a great video on their website which does a great inspiring job of showing what they do.  Check it out! :  The Story of Darn Good Yarn.

Lilia

I have been knitting hats.  I have been knitting them flat (as opposed to in the round), and I have been having a great time learning a new stitch.  It all began with a message from an Etsy seller named Lilia.

Lilia lives in Italy, and she messaged me a little over a month ago.  She told me that she’d read my blog, and she wanted to offer me a couple of free patterns.  She said that if I enjoyed them, I could share my experience and also offer a 15% discount on anything in her shop!  (Just enter the code HAPPYKNITTING when you check out!)

I went to her etsy site – Lilia Craft Party, and I started looking at her patterns.  She has a large variety of both crochet and knitting patterns.  She has cowls, hats, cup cosies, handbags, headbands, scarves – there is a lot to choose from.

I looked through the patterns, and there was a stitch pattern that caught my eye.  I chose a slouch hat with this pattern stitch, and then I chose a newsboy hat pattern.  I’ve never worn a hat with that style of a brim so I wanted to try it out.

The stitch pattern that was on both hats is called the almond stitch.  I had never encountered it before, and when I googled it, I couldn’t find any information.  This made me all the more interested in the stitch.  I asked Lilia where she had learned it, and she said she’d learned it in South America.

Knitting this stitch involves periodically dropping a stitch down three rows.  This sounded scary to me, but it really wasn’t. After you drop it, you pick it up and knit it again.  You only do this every other stitch on every 4th row, so the knitting still goes pretty quickly. You can get an idea of how the stitch looks in the following pictures.  I had so much fun with these hats that I made three of them!

Liliana-hats

When I started the hat, I just made the assumption that it would be knit in the round.  I did this because I almost always knit hats in the round. The pattern clearly said that I should knit in rows, but I was just not paying attention. So I was knitting along, but my stitch just wasn’t looking right.  Finally, I realized, “hey I should be knitting this flat”.  I started over, and then found that I really enjoyed knitting it flat.  There is not much of a seam required, and so that went really quickly.  I used mattress stitch, and it took me maybe five minutes to seam up.

I initially was just curious about the almond stitch, and I wanted to give that a try.  But these turned out to be some of the best fitting hats that I’ve ever made.

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David worked hard to take pictures for me.  He got some great ones of my little model Davey.  I had him try on the newsboy hat.  This picture is a little silly, but it shows off the side of the hat nicely.  I really like the shape (and Lilia sells the plastic brim that you insert into the folded hem at the front – very easy to do!).

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I just really like this picture of my sweet kid a lot.

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David took a picture of me in the hat as well, but I like Davey’s pictures better!

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I made the newsboy hat and the hat below with Rowan worsted superwash.  It’s a really pretty yarn that I had not seen before.  It has an almost tweedy look to it.

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That’s really more pictures of me then I need to see, but I just wanted to show how beautifully these hats knit up in different yarns and colors.  The first burgundy hat was done in a Lion brand acrylic.  I like it a lot as well.

When Lilia contacted me, I thought – “How neat.  This nice person somehow found my blog and wants to share some patterns with me.”   I am so glad she did.  I learned a new stitch, and I learned that I can make awesome hats which are knitted flat.  But most of all, I have really enjoyed talking to Lilia.  She has been so helpful and friendly, and I have enjoyed getting to know her.  She has been crocheting since she was seven years old.  I love that she has a passion for knitting and crocheting.  She says that she knits or crochets every single day – no matter what kind of day she has had.  I am with her.  I find the process very relaxing and therapeutic.

Lilia includes great photographs with her patterns so you can see exactly how to do the almond stitch.  It is important to her that she creates patterns that are beginner friendly, so her patterns include an explanation of how to do every stitch and technique required.

I really enjoyed knitting her patterns, but I am really going to enjoy even more wearing the resulting hats!

Check out Lilia craft party.  You won’t meet a nicer more helpful designer.  She is offering everyone who reads this post a 15% discount on everything in her shop.  Again, just use the code HAPPYKNITTING at checkout!

Heavener Runestone

On our way to Arkansas, we drove through the eastern Oklahoma town of Heavener.  As we passed through, I saw a sign that said “Heavener Runestone State Park”.  It was really hot and really humid, but we decided it might be fun to go see the runestone.  I am glad we did.

heavener5The park is a little overgrown, but it’s beautiful.  There were stone steps leading down to the runestone.  The steps rounded around several large caves.

heavener2The steps were a little treacherous.  Davey had one unfortunate little tumble and banged his knee, but we didn’t have him in the best shoes for walking.

heavener1There is a lot of speculation about the runestone.  It was once believed to be really old – as in Viking Norseman old – but now it seems more likely that a Scandinavian immigrant may have carved it in the 19th century.

heavener4heavener3I’d highly recommend exploring around this park.  Don’t wear flip flops and crocs like we did though!  I think it would be great fun to explore on a nice winter day or in the late fall.

 

Advice from a Second-Grader

This is one of those posts that I just had to get written so that I would not forget this Davey conversation that I overheard.

Yesterday we had lunch with some good friends in Arkadelphia.  Davey had the best time playing with and chatting with their son Jack who is going into kindergarten this year.  I couldn’t help but listen to some of their conversation.  Davey was asking him all types of questions about starting school, and he was giving his best advice.

He had some basic advice for him like:  “If someone tries to bully you, just walk away.”

I also heard him tell Jack, “If someone tells you that they hate school, don’t listen to them!”

He asked Jack if he was nervous about starting kindergarten.  Jack said he was a little nervous.  Davey explained that this was a good thing “because it would help him learn better.”

I found this to all be pretty sound advice from my little second grader to be.

Mama Pearl’s: 2015

After three years, we are back at Mama Pearl’s.  We love it here, and we love getting to spend more great time with family.

I have been taking some pictures of the beautiful scenery around here.  This is our view next door.  Davey used to look out the window and watch the cows in this pasture when he was about a year old.  glenwood1I like to walk Buster down this road.

glenwood3Davey is enjoying his time here as well.  Here he is playing outside yesterday evening.

glenwood4Today we went over to the Caddo River and played.  It’s a beautiful river that felt great on this hot and humid day.  We had a great time building rock sculptures.

glenwood5Davey built one which he named Wilbert.  Wilbert is actually the taller stack.  The rest of the structure is Wilbert’s protective barrier.

glenwood6I’m sitting outside right now as I write this, and I am really enjoying all the sounds.  I have missed the noisiness of the cicadas and crickets.  It’s good to be back.

Vacationin’

We are having quite a time here in Oklahoma.  It’s been too long since we were home, and we are lucky to be able to spend a couple of weeks here this time.  We have spent lots of time with family and friends.  Last week, we dragged Davey from place to place for about 4 days in a row.  I finally realized that all these get togethers might not be quite as fun for him, although he had a great time with young friends at a couple of them.  He’s had a few “loki” (low-key) days now, and he is very happy to be spending time with his cousin.

I love to listen to him ask his cousin questions.  She is 10, and so he looks to her for wisdom in many things kid-related.  I wish I could think of a good example.  It’s cute to listen to.

Tonight, I was talking to him before he went to sleep.  This is when we have some of our best talks.  He was telling me about a friend who had fussed at him at school.  (He will tell me stories about things that happened months ago as if they had happened only yesterday.  It can be hard to keep up!)  Anyway, the friend said something to him that I thought was a little unkind, so I told him he should tell her (if it happened again) that he was doing the best that he could, and that she should mind her own business.  He said, “well, I can tell her that I am doing the best I can, but she will get TERRIFYINGLY CRAZY if I tell her to mind her own business”.

I had to write that down.  It definitely caught me off guard!  He can be quite dramatic.

So we are enjoying a few more days here in Oklahoma.  I get to see my grandparents every day which has been great.  Tomorrow, I am meeting friends whom I have known since elementary school – some since kindergarten.  I am looking forward to it. Friday David is having a mini-reunion of sorts with friends from his high school class.  It’s his 30 year class reunion this year.  Yikes.

10986518_10207152297226232_8258060080791044077_nIt’s definitely a trip to remember.

 

 

 

Driving Driving to Oklahoma

Today was the second day of what I have been calling “Our Drive Across America” even though really we are only going about halfway across.  I was thinking it might feel like a drive across America by the time we were done, but so far it’s been a lot of fun.

We are leisurely travelers.  For example, we made our first stop in Vantage, Washington.  It’s about 30 minutes from our house.  I’d been wanting to stop at the scenic overlook to see the Wild Horses Monument though.  So we did.

wild-horses

It’s just beautiful.  This scenic stop also overlooks the Columbia River.

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I love the Columbia River.  We took the opportunity to take Buster for a little stroll too since we’d stopped.

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We drove across eastern Washington on I-90 to Spokane.  We had not made this drive before.  It’s pretty flat and desolate, but it was fun because I kept seeing these!

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Dust devils everywhere in the fields!  We have driven through a lot of areas similar to this in other parts of the country, but I’d never seen so many dust devils.

We stopped at a rest area outside of Spokane before we went into Idaho.  We like to stop at rest areas, and there are a lot of beautiful ones in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  The facilities were almost all spotless.  Some even have fenced in areas for dogs to run leash free.

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I didn’t take any pictures, but our drive across I-90 through part of the Idaho panhandle was amazing.  We drove by Couer d’Alene Lake, and it’s just incredible.  It’s a beautiful mountain lake, and we can’t wait to go back there some day.

We spent the night last night in Butte, Montana.  We left pretty early this morning and headed to Rock Springs, Wyoming which is where we are tonight. We drove through some beautiful country today.

For the past two days we listened to the entire first Harry Potter book on cd.  Jim Dale reads it and he is an amazing reader.  Davey wanted to listen practically all day long both days.  Jim Dale is so entertaining to listen to, and the story is so good that I think we could happily listen to it again.  We might!

Today we also drove through Spencer, Idaho.  There are opal mines there, and you can pay to dig for opals.  I don’t know if they brought this rock in or if this is the mine?  There were some people digging here though.  I thought this was interesting!

opal-mineAnother highlight of the day were the “square” ice cream cones we had in Swan Valley, Wyoming.  Swan Valley is another beautiful area not too far from Jackson.  We stopped for a little break and saw people pouring out of this little convenience store with their square ice cream cones.  It was definitely some good ice cream!  (Well Davey wasn’t thrilled.  He claimed that his was too “vanilla-ey”  and he didn’t like his much.  David and I, however, were very satisfied customers!)IMG_0061

Tonight we experienced a nice noisy thunderstorm, and it poured down rain.  Buster was not happy.  Poor nervous dog.  He hadn’t really experienced thunder much before.   He’s been enjoying the trip for the most part though.  He’s always just happy to be with us.

Buster3Somehow David and I both accidentally wore Eskimo Joe’s t-shirts today.  So when we checked in to the hotel tonight, we encountered a group of people who were traveling together on their Goldwing motorcycles.  They were from Sand Springs, Oklahoma which is only about 20 minutes from where David and I grew up!  Small world.  The Eskimo Joe’s shirts almost always bring out fellow Oklahomans!

Now it’s time for rest before we head out again tomorrow.

 

Wonder Woman!!!

I came across what I thought was the cutest hat pattern a couple of weeks ago.   It was a pattern for a Wonder Woman hat!  I am pretty much of the mind that everyone needs a Wonder Woman hat, so I decided to make one.

This was a great fun pattern.  It would be a good pattern for someone new to colorwork.  I was excited because I was able to go to my yarn stash for all the colors I needed.  It’s kind of a mish mash of yarns as a result, but I very much like the result.

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The red is some leftover Lion yarn.  The white is some baby dk.  The blue is Cascade 220 Superwash, and the gold is some alpaca that I got back in Arkansas at Knit Unto Others!

I should probably have included pictures of me wearing the hat, but I couldn’t get a picture that I liked very much (no offense to my photography assistants), so I convinced my little Wonder Kid to pose.

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He got goofy with me, but he let me take a few nice pictures.

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The pattern is for a beanie, but I made it longer.  I wanted good coverage in the winter cold.

I also had never done a cast on with two different colors.  This was just a long-tail basically, but I held one color in one hand, and the second in the other.  The result was the red edging.  I liked that effect, and it was really easy to do!  I also used worsted weight, so I followed the instructions of another knitter (they are copied onto my ravelry project page).  Basically I cast on 100 stitches and began my decreases at 7 inches instead of 5.

It’s such a fun hat!

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Manastash: A First!

Yesterday we decided to go for a hike on the Ridge.  This is a beautiful hike along the Manastash Ridge outside of Ellensburg.  It’s about 2 miles long and you climb about 2,000 feet.  It’s a steep climb. There is a trail that goes along in the woods though that makes the ascent a little easier, and we decided to take that route.  It eventually meets up with the other trail which is steeper and which ascends to the top of the mountain (as I like to call it.  Davey insists that it is not quite a mountain!).

We hadn’t necessarily intended to go all the way to the top, but once we started going we decided to go for it.  We did take frequent breaks.

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We worked our way up up up, and finally we reached the top!

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When you get to the top, there is a book to sign, and so we signed it making note of the fact that it was Davey’s first time!  He was disappointed that we didn’t bring something to leave at the top.  Next time, I told him we would.

He’s ready to go again!

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