Friday, March 30, 2007


Both sleeves for the Aran sweater are finished. I measured them to the model last night. And I have cast on the back and done the bobble edging.

This is the honey comb cable. There will be two on the sides on the front and back as well as a large aran diamond in the middle. That's quite enough for a child's sweater. The moss stitch makes the sleeves look a bit fussy for my taste, but I think when the whole thing is done, it will recede a bit into the background.

OK. Back to knitting.


I just got a call from Chaplain Dan telling me he is at the Long Beach Airport, helping to welcome home a unit of soldiers from deployment. That's why he is here in Los Angeles today, and will be spending time with us this weekend (sleeping in our guest bed).

Have I ever said how proud I am of my son?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Down To The Wire

I knitted and knitted this afternoon and I finished the first sleeve of the Aran sweater. There are bobbles around the "cuff". I started with 31 stitches, increased to 32 after the cuff to accommodate the honey comb four stitch cable in the center of the sleeve. There is moss stitch on the sides of the cable and I increased to 52 stitches in the 13 inches of the sleeve length. I am using size 8 needles and worsted weight yarn so it goes fast.

I hope to have a photo of BOTH sleeves tomorrow.

Will I finish this sweater by March 31st?

Kristie and I walked for 1 1/2 hours in the cool (60 degrees) STRONG WIND at the beach this evening. That's our usual time for our Tuesday evening walk. The wind made it uncomfortable sometimes. We tensed up our shoulders against the wind and I have a bit of a wind headache. But it was so good to get out and walk. Helps with the stress.

Fair Isle Hat

The Fair Isle hat is finished, blocked and ready to be modeled.

I don't have a good mental eye for color and design, so I have to design visually. I bought six different colors of Cascade 220 yarn and started to play around with the arrangement of the balls. I realized that equal amounts of each color did not give me a realistic idea of how the colors work together.

What color should I use for the hat, the background color?

Turquoise, bright pink, white?
I finally pulled out the bright pink altogether and used only five colors.

I'm pleased with the finished product. I hope the certification committee is, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Not Dead

I'm not dead.

Just run over by the stress truck.

I finished the Fair Isle Hat for the TKGA certification. It's drying from the blocking. Photos soon.

I have an observation at a school in Santa Ana tomorrow morning, going with two other teachers. I have only two tests left to give on my students for evaluation. And tests to give 8 kindergarteners.

My biggest stressor is designing and knitting the Aran sweater. I have the measurements for the model, a four year old girl. I have some of the patterns chosen. I am just really focused on this and it's getting a little overwhelming.

Not to worry. I will sleep on it and figure it all out--the gauges and number of stitches and patterns.

Oh yes. I'll be glad when it's done.

Monday, March 19, 2007

From the Weekend

I had the most wonderful birthday ever. What makes a great birthday? A spirit of celebration, a few presents, completeness of family. Oh, and chocolate. Dan and Jennifer brought their contribution to dinner--a box of See's dark chocolate truffles.

Our visit to the Getty Center was fab. There were a couple of great exhibits, especially the French medival illuminated manuscripts. I love the delicacy and beauty of color of the old illuminations and whenever the Getty displays any of its massive collection, I try to get up to see them. I have always said that I just enjoy walking around the buildings and touching the travertine marble and gazing out at the various vistas. If you face north and look out from the northwest corner of the museum, the grounds around the area look much like Hadrian's Villa just outside of Rome. Of course, the climate, terrain and flora are similar (Mediterranean) but the winding road up the back side of the Getty through the groves of trees is just like the old road that meanders through the olive groves surrounding the ruins of Hadrian's buildings. We stood there and looked out, just enjoying the views, sipping our drinks (it was my birthday, I could have a mocha at 11:00am if I wanted) while we waited for Deb and Jeff to join us.

We all arrived at our house by 6pm; John had the barbie fired up and we ate and talked and laughed and after dinner I opened my presents. Gift Cards! Yeah! The best kinds! Starbuck's, Border's, Pier I Imports, and some green to go to the Huntington Library for tea one day soon. Mia and Tim must have heard me mention how much I admired the cream and turquoise cup and saucer set at Starbuck's because they got me one. And Kristie had given me one too, so I have a matched set. What a wonderful day my birthday was! Thank you to my beloved fam for making the effort (hours and hours of driving) just to spend it with me. Several friends sent cards and emails and others called to sing to me! I am so blessed with many good friends. And brothers and sisters-in-law.

Scuse me a sec--gotta get a little truffle--

OK, I'm back. We are enjoying our visit in Redondo Beach. I am currently at home waiting until John finishes his class at the Union Rescue Mission and then we will drive back down to RB for one more night. Little Trooper has entertained us and you know how cats are--always choosing the guys to cuddle up to. Tim and John are both favorites. The only not favorite part of house sitting is taking stuff back and forth--clothes, books, shoes. I understand how children of separated parents must feel about their two household families. It can be confusing--where DID I put the tennies? I thought they were in RB, oh yeah, I remember, I wore them yesterday and changed shoes at the other house...

This afternoon I went to lunch with one of my favorite people to celebrate her birthday. Dorothy chose DownTown Buffet on Crenshaw, so I drove over and picked her up and we sat around and ate and ate yummy things from the buffet. Dorothy and I always celebrate our birthdays together. It really doesn't matter to us WHEN we celebrate, we just make sure we do. Dorothy's birthday is in December, so we celebrated her last birthday. Now we can scheme and plan for my birthday celebration for a month or two. I think I want to take her to Tender Greens, that place in Culver City where John, Mike and I went a couple of weeks ago. Dorothy spends Christmas and Thanksgiving and sometimes Easter with us. She always makes me laugh and that is a good characteristic in a friend.

I am currently separated from my camera. See paragraph above about two homes. But I hope to be able to show you all a cute little photo of Trooper and a snap shot of the cards the first graders made me for my birthday.

Nope, no more chocolate...I didn't walk today...gotta stay away from the See's box...get some tea, that'll help take my mind off the truffles...

Friday, March 16, 2007


It is just after 4:00 pm PDT and I just finished the two book reviews, the two magazine reviews and the two reports! That is a lot of work for one day. I did not get out for a walk to coffee, the library or the Cotton Shop. John should be here fairly soon and maybe I can convince him to take me out to celebrate!

What do I have left to finish the certification? 1. Design and knit the Fair Isle hat. I have already worked on a sample hat. 2. Design and knit an Aran sweater. I have done some research on Aran sweaters (very interesting to this history geek) and I am really tempted to make a baby or child's sweater because it will take much less time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sight Word Bingo

We play Sight Word Bingo once a week in my class. First graders just need to drill and learn those words that don't follow the rules. And it's way more fun to learn when you are playing a game...

Playing Sight Word Bingo every week is paying off! This morning the first graders were taking turns reading books aloud to their classmates. One of my boys wanted to read and I guided him to "The Foot Book" by Dr Seuss. We had studied 'oo' as in foot and book yesterday, so he knew those words. My procedure in reading with students is "by, with, for"--the first time the book is read by ME, the second time with me and the third time the student reads for (or to) me.
He recognized several words from our bingo game, like morning, here, how. I'm so pleased with his progress and he was so pleased when he was able to read the whole book with great enthusiasma and expression to the whole class. Have I ever said that I have the best job in the world???!!

Stickers to reward achievement, cooperation and hard work.


I am looking forward to the weekend, which this week, for me, will start this evening!

We are going to our friends' home near the beach to kitty-sit for five days. This kitty-sit is coinciding with my birthday. Tomorrow I am going to celebrate my birthday a day early by spending the whole day at the house and doing reports and knitting projects for the certification. I may divert myself a bit with a walk to Starbuck's for coffee, to the library to return some books, to the Cotton Shop to look for buttons for a sweater and other inspiration. My goal is to write two reports, two design book reviews and two magazine reviews. I may even try to do some knitting on LilliAnne's sweater for fun or the hat and sweater for certification.

Saturday's plans include a visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. It should be a beautiful day to spend at a beautiful place. The Getty Center has four different buildings with numberous art and sculpture displays, a fascinating garden, a couple of cafes. Tim and Mia will already be with us and Deb and Jeff plan to join us in the morning. Then when we have had our fill of expansive vistas and culture we shall come to the little house on the freeway, meet up with Mike, Dan and Jennifer, and have dinner. The menu is enviable: bbq salmon, beef and chicken, baked potatoes, asparagus, green beans, salad, and for dessert, blueberry parfaits and some chocolate.

I am so looking forward to the weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Circular Lace Swatch

I have been learning a number of things during this certification for the knitting guild. I learned this weekend that circular lace should be blocked on a perfect circle. So I pulled out a plate, made a circle by tracing around it and cutting out the paper. There's your perfect circle. Then I pinned the lace, stretching it out so the pattern is visible.

When photographed against a dark background, the lace pattern is easier to see.

This is the last swatch I have to knit. I still have two reports (six kinds of fiber and blocking and care of handknits), two design book reviews, and two knitting magazine reviews to write up. I also have to design and knit a Fair Isle hat and an Aran sweater. I spent yesterday practicing the hat pattern, both the style and shape of the hat and the color changes for the Fair Isle pattern. I also spent some time reading about the history of Aran sweaters in a book by Alice Starmore. Will I finish all this by the end of March? I don't know. But I'm going to try.

No Wireless at Home

We've been without internet access at home most of the weekend. Consequently, there were no posts. So sorry.

I'm hoping we'll be back up again today. I am at school using my classroom computer. No photos, though.

I do have a couple of great pictures to show you all as soon as I can.

We attended the International Justice Mission banquet at Biltmore Millenium Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night. Our church hosted a table and needed people to fill it, so we were invited. Wow, the food was great. The salad had flowers in it and there was this leaf or petal, long and white, that was sweet and crunchy. I'd love to know what it was. The presentation was great, too. Two lawyers spoke. You know all the lawyer jokes--these two people, a man and a woman, have devoted their lives and careers to seeking and administering justice in the world for slaves, children in prostitution, people unfairly imprisoned, and widows whose land has been illegally stolen. I am impressed with the work these people do. Check them out:

Have a lovely week, dear readers. I hope I'll be back full strength soon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Daisies are for Spring

These blue-eyed beauties grow in a pot in front of my house.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Beaches Blanket!

Come for a walk on the beach with me. Or at least snuggle up in this sandy blanket.
Oh, the treasures you'll find...

All kinds of shells!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Swatch Knitted from Charted Symbols

This is the swatch I worked on over the weekend for the certification. The pattern is from Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs. It's called 'Embossed Heart'.

I had to write out the chart using symbols such as or - or V or ^ to mean knit, purl, increase a stitch or decrease a stitch, and then I had to follow the pattern while I knitted it.
I think it turned out rather well. I made four hearts with a single stitch of stockinette stitch to separate the panels.

I chose this pattern for my daughter in law Jennifer who is a Valentine's Day baby. I wanted to learn the embossed heart pattern, so someday (when I am finished with the certification and can knit whatever I want, whenever I want) I can incorporate it into a sweater, bag or afghan for her.

If you squint enough you can pretend this close up is in focus.

Smells of Spring

The past few evenings when I returned home I'd get out of my car and notice an odor. I couldn't place it. I knew I'd smelled the fragrance before but I couldn't remember where or what the association was.

One morning, I stepped out of the house and it hit me--both the fragrance and the memory of what it was.


Jasmine is growing on the fence between our house and the school yard. I wonder who planted it so many years ago. I hadn't noticed it before because our neighbors park their car by the fence so I don't walk over to that part of the driveway.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Los Angeles Marathon!

March 4, 2007
I walked the 5K Run/Walk with Julie.

John rode the 22 mile Bike Tour.

Now we're going to go celebrate with a cup of coffee.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Birthday Tea Party

I'm ready for Roxie's virtual tea party. Can't decide which cup to bring.

Blue flowers?

Tudor Cottage?

Blue and pink roses?

A most unusual marking on the bottom of the saucer.

Happy Birthday, Roxie! May you enjoy this coming year and many, many more!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Promised Photo

I promised to post a sunny photo for Roxie. But I got to the beach yesterday and the sun never really came out. The sky was blue on the horizon but by the time the sun got low enough to go below the clouds, other clouds had blown in and so there was no real sunshine. By blown I mean BLOWN. It was very windy. I had planned to take a beach walk but I stepped out of the car to take these photos, realized just how windy it was and popped right back in the car. Call me a wimp, but I don't enjoy walking into the wind.

The ocean was a bit broody yesterday. This photo doesn't really show the height of the waves along the Pacific Ocean, but to give you an idea of how windy and cool it was, I can tell you for most of the time I was sitting in my car, there were no surfers or anyone else on the beach or in the water. Finally about 3:30, one lone and hardy surfer showed up, went out in the surf, never got up on his board and came back to shore about 4:00.

March On

Happy March, everyone! March is my birthday month, and Roxie's, Joy's and my nephew JR's. The current plan is for us to kitty sit at a friend's near the beach my birthday weekend. But we'll be around to celebrate with anyone of the family who shows up.

I think I'd love to steal Roxie's idea of the virtual tea party...

Today I am subbing in a 3rd grade class for 1 1/2 hours. All I'm going to do is teach a couple of cursive letters (n and w, I think my memory tells me) and then maybe read a book to the darlings. Two of my students are in the class and the brother of a lovely, smart as anything, girl from my 2nd grade class in Watts three years ago.

But after 12:20, the day will be my own! Walking, knitting, blocking a swatch, cooking...