Thursday, April 26, 2007

Granny Afghan

The first 20 grannies for the afghan to put on the guest bed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Taking a (Crochet) Break

After the TKGA certification was finished and I pulled out the works in progress and did those, I decided I needed a break in my knitting. The next knitting project I have is going to take some thought and planning.
So I'm giving my brain a crochet break.

I decided to make granny squares.
Every square is different.

The theme is flowers. I look at my yarn assortment and choose colors and combinations that remind me of blooms in my garden, nurseries, even Trader Joe's flower department.

Every square is bordered with one to four rounds of light blue.
Each square has nine rounds.

I have crocheted fourteen flowers. I think I'm going to do forty-eight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Make A Bag

Roxie asked how I make the bags.
I buy old 100% wool sweaters at thrift stores. When I get them home, I felt them in my washer (remember shrinking your favorite sweater? I do it on purpose), then cut them out to whatever size I want them. Usually I use the arms for the handles. Then I sew them up and look at them and let inspiration decide how they should be decorated.
This afternoon we will be going to the Beach Cities to do errands and then in the evening while John is in his Men's Bible Study, I will walk with a friend along the beach.
In the spring, wind's up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Classie Bag

My friend Classie will be getting this bag tomorrow. She teaches next door to me and I truly value her friendship. She saw a bag I had made for a gift exchange and tried to get it but someone else beat her to it. So I told her, "Not to worry. I'll make you another one." Here it is:
This is the first time I've made a button hole closing on the top of the bag. I think I'll need to learn to make machine buttonholes. I'm not as good or fast as Laura Ingalls was.

I cut out a red bag this evening and am planning a pink bag, too.

Storm has passed

We are having beautiful weather here again. Blue sky and warm afternoon. My plan is to water outside plants and repot some small herbs. I have several tomato plants I started and I also plan to see about repot them.

I have made some minestrone soup for our dinner. The smell is already making me hungry.

Some plans and ideas are in the works here at Willow's Cottage. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Baby, It Pours

It's raining in Los Angeles today. We need the rain but it is hard to believe that it's mid April and we're having a rainstorm.

What do you do on a rainy Friday afternoon in Los Angeles? Drink tea and do the mending.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Does anyone know why the add a picture sidebar will not let me add another photo? I keep getting an error message.

Am I allowed only two?

Is there something wrong with my photos?

Is there something wrong with Blogger?


I have been learning a little about how to change my blog around to make it look the way I want it. I'm still working at it, but I like this better than the old pink template, and it's not as overpowering as the template I tried out yesterday. I'm still trying to figure out how to put my own photos up in the background...

On this Thursday afternoon, I am looking forward to the weekend. Tomorrow morning I'm going to Pasadena with a friend and then I don't have plans. Staying home sounds nice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Template

Do you like it?

Let me know.


I have this photo on my laptop right now.
Sunset at Manhattan Beach.

On the knitting front
I finished two projects last night. This green sweater is knitted with Simply Soft yarn in the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern Babies Neckdown Cardigan which is the pattern I usually use for baby sweaters. So easy, no seams to sew.

Brown sweater knitted with Red Heart Soft Yarn. Same pattern. I am branching out a little and using different edgings and decorative touches. This sweater is going to LilliAnne (or is it LiliAnne? I can't remember and I just have to memorize the spelling!) in Troutdale, OR. She will be wearing it on hiking and camping trips this summer, so I choose brown yarn with white leaves embroidered in duplicate stitch.

Spring flowers are everywhere. These greet me on my 100 foot walk to school from the house.
Mock Orange

Iris with nasturiums in the background.
Yes, that is a chain link fence.
No, they are not my flowers.

Have a happy day, everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2007

What I Like

Everyone who knows me, knows what I like. I like Americanos with room for cream, cats, books, yarn, knitting, gardening, my friends and family, my husband.
And it doesn't take long for people to figure out I like the beach.
Thursday night we went to dinner in Manhattan Beach with friends and then walked down to the pier and along the beach.

Being Pacific Coasters, we like watching the SUNSET at the beach.

After sunset I took a photo of the pier from the beach below. It was really too dark but the lights on the pier showed up really bright. I messed around in editing (my first time!) and this is my first result. Probably too washed out to be a good photo. But it was fun to practice.

There is not much in life that's better than a walk on the beach!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jill Sweater

Remember this yarn I bought last week to knit a sweater for the silent auction?

I finished the sweater and took it to the concert/auction this evening. It turned out well, I think.

I knitted the pockets in basketweave stitch and sewed them on; then I embroidered the flowers.

Details of the flowers on the collar

I don't usually say much about patterns. I know that pattern writing is an art and also a science. There are standards for pattern writing. I should know: I spent the past year working on patterns for the certification. One would think a yarn company like Rowan would be careful to publish patterns that are easy to read. I found Jill to be vague in some of the instructions. I took out the button bands several times and reknitted them, mostly because the instructions were not specific about where to put the button holes. Rowan pattern books are expensive. I expect good instructions. From now on, I will read through any Rowan pattern I am going to knit and make sure all the instructions are understandable BEFORE I start knitting. Plan twice, knit once.
I asked someone at the yarn shop today about Rowan patterns. She stated what I had thought last night about 11pm when I was again ripping out stitches---sometimes Rowan is in such a rush to get a book to print that they sacrifice quality in pattern writing. In fairness to the company, I have to remember that British companies have a different set of expectations for the target market. Maybe the vagueness is due to expectations that knitters will know how to interpret the vague directions.
Whatever. The sweater is lovely and is already on its way home to its new owner.


First things first.
We love our grandkitties. We actually have three, but another little sweetie has been living at Deb's for several months.. Nala was shy at first, but she warmed up to us the last day. In fact, she bonded so well with us that she wanted to come home with us. She hid in my bike helmet box, knowing I have an unlimited supply of catnip here at the house.

This is Touchy. Touchy Feely. Touchers for short. He's fluffy. We can't decide if he's the mastermind behind all the games and plots at the house or really is just the (not so bright) sidekick. He looks so innocent.

Hobbs may be the brains of the outfit. He knows how to open sliding glass doors; he is the daredevil who decided to see if cats do have nine lives and flung himself from the second story balcony. There are cat marks on the rails to prove it.

Aren't they precious?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On Vacation

Yesterday morning Deb, John and I rode bikes down to the local coffee place and sat around there for most of the morning just chatting. In the afternoon, between movies, we took several bags of recycle to a local recyclers and got $$ for them.

Last night we watched a movie, filmed in 1933, that won Best Picture. It must have been a slow year. Cavalcade was pretty depressing.

This morning John and I rode our bikes to downtown Visalia, got coffee, visited the lys so I could get replacement size 3 needles. My old circulars broke. Actually they weren't that old, just cheap. So this time I bought better ones. We stopped by the local thrift store and found summer shirts for John and a white sweater with possibilities for me. The possibilities include dyeing it so I can wear it or felting it for a bag.

Knitting is progressing. Unfortunately I can't post photos. I can use Deb's computer, but the wireless router is out so I can't upload my photos and post from my own laptop. I have finished the knitting of a helmet cap for LJ's new nephew. I am more than 1/2 finished with the baby sweater for the auction. Back and one front side are done and I'm working on the other side. We are planning to watch Wind in the Willows this afternoon, so the sweater should be near completion by evening. I still have LA's brown sweater to finish, just one sleeve and the neck and front bands.

I have been enjoying the cats. Hobbs and Touchy are upstairs here with me. Touchy is grooming Hobbs' head. Nala is hiding... I've taken some pictures. I really will post them when I can.

This evening we are looking forward to dinner with Jeff's parents.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spring Break

We are at Deb's and enjoying our visit. We drove up this afternoon. Now we are looking at movie possibilities and Deb's knitting after eating a wonderful dinner cooked by Jeff.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Sky

No photos because who wants to look at nothing but gray clouds?
Especially when you can look at beautiful yarn...

I am going to knit a sweater for a silent auction to benefit the Ugandan Lambs Project, a group of 50+ AIDS orphans all related to a Ugandan couple who goes to our church. We sponsor one of the older boys. My old administrator at Watts Christian School is going to sing with the Japanese Black Gospel Choir of Long Beach. Ray Sidney is the world famous (really!) leader of Firm Soundations. He travels all over Japan, Korea and the US singing and leading Gospel workshops. The concert and auction are scheduled for April 14.

This is for a 12-18 month baby sweater, Cashsoft Baby DK.

And this yarn is for MEEEEE!

I'll get right to work on a cardigan after I finish the three projects I put aside to focus on the certification.


Friday, April 06, 2007


It's in the mail!

Did someone just say that I'm the cutest girl in the world?

That's a nice thing to say...
hey! What are these little bubble things on the sweater?

I am now going off to the yarn shop to find something to make for myself.
To celebrate.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tomorrow is the day!

My to do list is short:

1. take photos to print shop and get them printed, put them in notebook.

2. finish charts, photocopy them and put them in notebook.

3. go to post office and mail the box to TKGA.

4. celebrate!

Photographing the sweater was the most fun part of the whole process. Wanna see some pictures?

This girl could make a living for her parents as a model!

You can see the details of the patterns.

Naomi wanted in on the fun.
They are two of the most photgenic girls in Los Angeles!

Naomi can hold her own in the cute photo shoot category.

I took these photos. Tomorrow I'll show you some of the shots their dad took.

After I've been to the post office.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


The Aran sweater is finished! I took it over to the model's house and tried it on her. Cynthia and I oohed and aahed over how cute it was. It fits perfectly. Olivia was less impressed. After two minutes, she said, "I think I'm done trying on the sweater." She wanted to get back to watching Robin Hood.

Now that I have been fortified with hot chocolate, maple oat scone and a yummy salad made by John, I am going block the sweater, and this evening I'll write up the charts while we watch a new episode of Bones.

Tomorrow afternoon I will photograph Olivia in the sweater, take the pictures to RiteAide to be printed, print out the bibliography and the sweater pattern and BE DONE.

I can not wait.

Finishing touches

I am weaving in ends and plotting my next, and hopefully last, attempt at getting the neck edging right to the sound of a helicopter overhead. This noisy event was a daily occurence over at our other place but here near USC we don't hear them as often--maybe once a month. If you live in the inner city of any metropolis, you know if there's a helicopter, there are police cars and the best thing you can do is stay inside and just lie low for awhile. Curiosity killed the cat and it may cause you some problems.

This is the list of what still needs to be finished and put into the Level 3 notebook:

Bibliography--up to date, just needs to be printed.

Cover letter--mostly explaining that all my knitted work is done left handed and needs to be reviewed that way (cables and decreases are opposite when worked left handed) and thanking the judges for working hard to look at my stuff.

two photos--one is taken but I want to crop it or photo shop it to remove the distracting clashing color of the model's jacket. Can't take the other one until the sweater is finished.

Aran Sweater pattern with charts--I typed in the pattern as I worked but it needs tweaking--how many times in a row did I say WS: work in pattern? And I need to do the charts for four cables and the moss stitch and seed stitch.

I am so close to the finish line.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Getting the Dog's Tail Over the Fence

With a lot of coffee (thanks, honey),
a little chocolate,

I am making progress on the Aran sweater.

Yesterday, after I finished the basic pieces, I ran over to the model's house and with the help of her dad, I measured and pinned.

Isn't Olivia beautiful?

I knitted the neck edging three times and ripped it three times. I just don't like it. The bobbles look weird.

Back to the design board.

In the meantime, I am stitching up the seams.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I'm almost finished with the sweater. I didn't make the March 31st deadline. I thought I had a mistake early on in the figure eight inside the diamond so I took out 6 inches of the front and redid it.

I now have the neckline and shoulders to shape on the back and front. I want to go slowly through the process, so I didn't start it late last night when I was already tired. I'll do it this afternoon. So...

photos later today!