Thursday, March 29, 2012

My new coffee table book

The buzz finally reached Montana a few weeks ago...
The second edition of The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt has been published. I just  received my book in the mail. This edition has been updated and many new sketches have been added.

While knitting on my current projects, I've been studying the book. It has reinforced some techniques I've been using but I've revised a few others. 

I would suggest this book for any serious knitter who is want to improve their skills. It is a very interesting read. This will have an honored place on the coffee table, just an easy reach away in the evening.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kit Cook

The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet echoes on in sweet, soulful refrains.
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
Author: Unknown
Katherine Hovgaard Cook of Manchester
March 2, 1943 to Feb. 28, 2012

Our beloved Kitty peacefully passed away in her home on February 28 in Manchester after a 7-year-long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Born Katherine Ellen Ballard to Fred and Merab Ballard. Known as Kitty or Kit, she spent her entire life in Manchester. She loved life, her family, and had countless friends.

She was an active member of the Children's Hospital Guild, devoted years to the Board of Directors of Helpline, and was past president of the Commodears of the Port Orchard Yacht Club. She and her husband Dick hosted the Manchester Sailing Regatta for over ten years. Kitty served as Manchester's much loved postmaster for 16 years. She had a smile and kind word for each and every one of her customers.

She is survived by husband Richard; sons Eric (Tracy) and Mark; grandchildren Janelle, Max and Jonah; stepdaughters Jennifer and Barbara; stepsons Jason and Roy; and brother Robert. Her parents preceded her in death as did her brother Bill, sister Mary Galpin, niece Kitty Sue York, and first husband Ellery.

My cousin Kit and her family are often entwined in my childhood memories. My first sleepover, cut short because of a "sunburn"(in Washington??) and Kit carrying be home late into the evening. My first movie, Tammy and the Bachelor with Kit and Mom, very grown up. ( I don't know why but the theme song still brings a tear to my eye.) We spent birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with Kit and her family. The photo of Kit, her dad "Uncle Foddie" (my early attempt at Father, which I had heard often from the four older cousins) Mary, Steve, and others was the last Thanksgiving we all spent together. The next week we moved to Montana on what was intended to be a two year stint for my dad but turned into a life long move.

Mom and a soft spot for Kit. Kit was always "the go to" role model my mom placed before me. Smart, pretty, sensible, happy, always looking on the bright side of things even when things got tough and she did have bumps along the way. When Kit's first marriage ended, she'd call Mom and they'd have nice visits. She'd told Mom she wanted to find a guy like her Uncle Jerry, my dad. Dad was a kind, caring, and a down to earth kind of guy.  He loved my mom and family, and they always came first. What was important to us, was important to him. Kit eventually met and married her husband Dick. They were married in Hawaii and I could see the happiness on her face in the photos she sent to Mom.  

Years passed. Mom had a rough time the last few years of her life but Dad was always there for her. It still makes my heart swell when I think of how he took care of her and did it with such love Dick was there for Kit too. She indeed got her wish for a guy like Dad when she married Dick.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kids say the darndest things

The kiddos at school have said and done some things that have made me chuckle this year:

1. I was wearing my Born oxfords one day at school. They aren't the height of fashion or even close, but they are comfortable shoes for someone who's on their feet all day.

Tristan, one of my third graders, walked up to me, looked down at my shoes and said, "My grandpa has shoes just like those."

("Kids," I thought.) "Oh," I said.

"No, I mean JUST like them." Out the door he trotted, and to the store I went!

When I told the young salesclerk why I was there buying new shoes, she was slightly offended. "Since I'm on my feet all day at work I wear them!"

 Just saying, from the mouths of babes - it's a bitch getting old honey!

2. Shortly after Christmas a parent came into a fellow teacher's classroom. Unaware that he was interrupting a math class he wished everyone in the class a Happy New Year and hoped that all was well. He went on to say, "Listen everyone, students are you all listening? I need to tell you all that there are parasites in the water. DON'T drink the water! There are 80 people sick in town." My fellow teacher tried to say that she didn't think so, that she hadn't heard anything about it, that our water was from a different plant. All of this was to no avail, the parent was adamant, "The water had parasites in it."

At recess one VERY impressionable student was telling me about the parasites in the water. My first thought was that this young man would never drink water again! I tried to assure him that the water was safe to drink but in a louder voice he again explained to me about the parasites as though I hadn't understood because he had talked to softly the first time.  So I put on my best game face and began telling him how the men at the water plant tested the water every 24 hours. No, they test the water every 12 hours - NO, NO they test the water every 6 hours, and when they find anything unusual in the water the officials have just the right parasite killing chemicals that the little critters are instantly annihilated.

He sadly shook his head and as he was walking off down the hall he turned and said over his shoulder, "Believe what you want."

3. I returned from my Hawaii trip feeling rested, relaxed and tan - basically ten years younger. After lunch the first day back one of the little girls came up close to me and kept staring at my face. I finally asked if something was wrong and she replied, "You look like you have makeup gopped all over your face." My tan instantly became slightly tarnished.

4. Mr. B., our principal, celebrated his birthday not long ago. The secretary made an announcement on the intercom, students made cards and expressed best wishes at lunch.

The Oreo cookie celebrated its "birthday" the same week. No one knows who originally made the cookies or how they got the name. The class had some extra time.  I thought it might be an interesting creative writing assignment for the kids to write about who made the first cookie and why they are named Oreos.

To introduce the assignment I asked,"Do you know who celebrated their 100th birthday this week?"

The answer came from the class in unison: "Mr. B's!!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Socks, socks and more socks!

Even though I've been under the weather, I've finished some more socks. Knitting always soothes the savage beast - or sick teacher!
Pattern: "No Pattern" Socks
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX
Colorway: Clover Colors
Needle size: Size 2
Pattern: "No Pattern" Socks
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX
Colorway: Cascade Colors
Needle size:Sixe 2

My thinking on sock knitting has totally changed. These "No Pattern" vanilla socks are the perfect emergency knitting project. I carry an in progress pair with me everywhere. My dentist, doctor, and beautician are all used to seeing me knittinng on a pair in the waiting room. I try never to be late for my appointments but really dislike having to wait to be seen for MY appointment, so knitting until I can be seen is a great solution.

Now, I'm always glad to finish a pair of socks and happy to start another.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has sprung and love is in the air!

Even with several inches of snow on the ground, a pair of Tom Turkeys were eagerly awaiting the sunrise and the start of spring!
 "Okay son, Montana law states: No hunting for chicks until official sunrise - that's precisely 7:13 am!"
I'm sure the good old boys prefer to scrape their wings along in the dirt to intimidate the other males. This morning as I went to work I could hear them scraping their wings along the top of the frozen snow. A guy will do anything to get the gal.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

Today is the 100th birthday of Girls Scouts.
I was a Girl Scout for six years. Five of the years Mom was our scout leader. The troop would gather at our house each Tuesday. Dues were a dime and treat duty was rotated from one girl to the next. Mom was wonderful with all the Girl Scouts who over the years became my best friends. They loved Mom and thought she was the greatest.
Once the troop learned to knit squares that were to become a baby blanket for charity. The yarn was in pale yellow and mint green to signify the Scouting colors. I'm not sure the blanket ended up donated or even finished. I remember Mom painstakingly trying to piece the strangely angled pieces together for several afternoons.

Often the group would get together in the summer time informally. We loved being together, having fun together. 
In this photo the group was together playing dress up and acting out a drama one summer afternoon. Tina Smith, the next door neighbor had provided us with the "beautiful" dresses. Gail Hebert, the gal kneeling encouraging the pouter, was the aspiring actress among us. Arlene Strong, in the upper left, always the clown. Yvonne, next to Arlene, came to the United States from Holland in the fourth grade not speaking a word of English.

We had several great camp outs over the years on Vashon Island at the Odemark's summer home. Happy times!

Girl Scout cookie sales were a blast...and quite a competition among the troop. Back in the "good old days" on the appointed Saturday - not before 9:00am - the house to house door knocking contest would begin. If you were going to attempt to become the designated "Cookie Queen," the walking shoes were on, a good breakfast had been eaten and at the chiming of the clock off you went! Some customers would try to engage us in conversation. We were always polite but undue conversation slowed down the process. Ring the door, give the pitch, get the money!

Troop 492 was disbanded when we moved to Butte. Mom tried to get a troop started but the seventh grade girls there just weren't excited about embarking on a new adventure, so my scouting days came to a end but I must say that living in Butte, Montana WAS an adventure in itself!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My traveling knitting

The last few weeks I've been working on this years sock stash.

I've finished four pair of socks that will probably keep my handmade sock assortment intact for another year. In fact, I threw the last store bought socks (except athletic) away.  I bought the yarnand planned to take it all with me on vacation. There was enough yarn for three pair, sure that would certainly suffice, especially when I'm the one that has said loud and clear at the yarn shop, "You might as well knit a sweater for as much work as a pair of socks are."

I used the “No Pattern Socks” from The Knit Girllls. But from the top down this time. I love this pattern because it is so easy and since I was traveling I didn’t want to have anything unnecessary - like a pattern- with me.

As I finished the first pair I realized I'd bought themed yarn! I present to you my vacation in socks...

Sand Socks:
Pattern: "No Pattern Socks"
Yarn: Paton Stretch Sock Yarn, 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13% nylon, 7% elastic
Colorway: Pumpkin Spice
Needle size: US 2
Lava Socks:
Pattern: "No Pattern Socks"
Yarn: Paton Stretch Sock Yarn, 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13&% nylon, 7% elastic
Colorway: Spumoni Stripes
Needle Size: US 2
Ocean Socks:
The Pacific Ocean was stunningly beautiful when we arrived and I couldn’t wait to get these socks knit to represent water. Why I waited to knit them last, I’ll never know - guess I thought the weather/sun wouldn’t change the entire visit! It was about this time that things began to "run amuck."
Pattern:"No Pattern Socks"
Yarn: Paton Stretch Sock Yarn, 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13&% nylon, 7% elastic
Colorway: Spearmint Jacquard
Needles: US 2
Stranded in Hawaii Socks:
I'd finished all my socks and there isn't a yarn shop or a skein of yarn to be had on the Kona side of the island! But during our stay I spent quite a lot of time listening to podcasts. I'm forever grateful for the podcaster that mentioned the sock pattern,  Stashbuster Spirals.  These socks use leftover sock yarn and with some modifications I was able to start another pair of socks which came in handy while we were stranded on the runway before taking off.
Pattern:"No Pattern Socks" with a twist "Stashbuster Spirals"
Yarn: Paton Stretch Yarn
Colorway: Pumpkin Spice, Spumoni Stripes, Spearmint Jacquard
Needles: US 2

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My "favorite toy"

"Did you have a favorite toy?'

Before I started school my mother made my two brothers and I a stuffed animal. Mrs. Ivers, a lady that lived two houses down from us (when we lived on the beach) had a pattern for a Teddy Bear. Mrs. Ivers went to the Salvation Army and bought coats, then cut the bears out using the fur lining. Probably my bear was made with material from the same source. When the bear was completed Mom made sure that we understood that the bear was for ALL THREE of us.
It soon became a problem for me - the little brothers just threw him in the toybox! I can remember crying at night until Mom or Dad found Teddy and placed him next to me in bed. HE WAS MINE THROUGH AND THROUGH! For a long time I thought that if anything bad was about to happen to me at night (a burglar or a fire in the house perhaps) Teddy would become REAL and save me!

I slept with Teddy for years and years, long after I should have. In my teen years I could prop him right under my great big rollers and then be able to have a good nights sleep - once again Teddy to the rescue!
Lori Maloney and me in Butte
When I had my daughters, I thought that Teddy would probably be okay with giving up his life for three new Teddys for the girls. I told Mom I thought maybe we could tear him apart and use him for a pattern. She talked me out of it and made a valiant attempt to make a Teddy for each of the little girls.