Saturday, September 26, 2009

There, That's Better

Remember the baby blanket in the last post that was 3/4 done? Well, I got to the end and cast off. Then I tried to pick up the stitches on the sides to do a border and ended up with loops and pulled stitches. I looked at my earlier knitting once again and decided it all had to come out. Even though this isn't perfect, I'm getting much better with the tension and my work is much more even. Maybe the 15th or 16th time is the charm.

This picture is dark because I'm not home much during daylight hours these days. I leave to take my daughter to school and then go on to work about the time the sky is beginning to lighten up. I've been staying at work to get paperwork and plans together until I have to pick up my daughter at 5:15. This spares her a bus ride home and gains her some time to shower and eat before she goes out to a trumpet lesson or work on some evenings. We eat a quick dinner when we get home and then my husband and I walk for half an hour. It's usually getting dark by the time we get back.

Then it's the usual evening routine--trying to catch up on the mail, newspaper, wash/ironing, school paperwork until around 9 when I call it quits and sit down to stitch. Except that's been interrupted twice in the last week or so by having to attend the Open House at my daughter's high school (our last one and I danced on the way out of the building; 18 years of back-to-school nights for three kids, often in three different schools has come to an end and I deserved a celebration) and the Open House at my school. There were also two cross-country meets, a big, formal wedding at a hotel in Philadelphia, and a book discussion group during the past ten days. Typical fall for us.
This is a three-day weekend for me and I am enjoying. Miami vs. Virginia Tech and some stitching on Petit Sampler Etui this afternoon, finishing the piecing for a quilt tomorrow, and hopefully a new quilt start on Monday. Pictures and updates to follow!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I've Been Knitting

Every now and then I get the urge to knit. What I actually produce is only a reasonable fascimile of knitting. (Notice all those holes?) But that doesn't stop me from trying. This is a baby blanket that has been started and ripped out, oh, about 14 times. I started this the first time because I wanted a larger project than a scarf. And now I keep trying to knit it because I'm stubborn.
I do see improvement, but this piece isn't going to win any prizes. If I actually finish it. Actually, a finish is looking good this time since the pattern repeats 12 times and I'm on the 10th repeat. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Challenge

I found out about this reading challenge from Anna. I've always been a reader, like my mother, aunt and grandmother before me. I'm sure that all my kids will remember about their childhoods is me saying "Just a minute until I finish this page." I got hooked on audio books a number of years ago and that has broadened my horizons since I don't have nearly as much time to read as I'd like. And I really, really like to make lists. So this challenge is a natural for me.
My next 10 books will probably be:
1. Ocean Waves-Terri Thayer (a quilting mystery)
2. Rabbit at Rest-John Updike
3. Under Orders-Dick Francis
4. Shoot the Moon-Billy Letts
5. Understanding Poverty-Ruby Payne
6. The Weight of Silence
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
8. A murder mystery to be determined
9. ?
10. ?
All but 2 of these will be from my shelves, so I'll also be accomplishing my goal of reading some of the books I own.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Still Alice

My mother had Alzheimer's. This is a horrible disease that took her away from us bit by bit and made us mourn her well before she passed away two years ago.
So it was with both curiosity and fear that I got the audiobook, Still Alice by Lisa Genovese, from my library. It's a novel about Alice, a Harvard professor of psychology, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 50. It is perhaps the saddest, and oddly, the most hopeful book, I've ever read. It's sad because of the way the disease progresses and because of the way it changes her relationship with her husband (although I couldn't decide if it just highlights what was already lacking in their marriage). I found it hopeful and reassuring that some of what made Alice unique was still there and cherished by her family even when she began to forget them. The fear in getting the book is probably something that every child of a person with Alzheimer's has--does forgetting some trivial detail or someone's name mean I have the disease? (Thankfully, I can still do all of the neurological tasks described in the book, so I can put that fear to rest for awhile, I think.) I hope you'll take the time to read this wonderful book and get to know Alice too.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Let the Games Begin

I am so not a sports fan. I think baseball is boring, and don't even get me started on the salaries of professional football and basketball players. But I grew up in Nebraska in the late 60's and early 70's when the University of Nebraska had powerhouse football teams. In fact, they won the national championship during my senior year of high school. Richard Nixon came to Lincoln to present the trophy. The entire student body of the high school in my very small town gathered in the gym to watch the live broadcast of this event. (Do you think this was educational or was it just because the male teachers wanted to see it?) President Nixon came to the podium but his opening remarks were drowned out by nearly everyone in the high school pointing and saying "There's Mark ___." when we spotted a former student in the band seated right behind Nixon.
OK, so I've always been a closet college football fan and haphazardly followed Big Red over the years. Then my oldest son went to the U, as the Hurricanes call themselves. He's a big sports fan (mostly baseball--go figure) and worked as a sports announcer for the University of Miami radio station. He broadcast several football games over his four years and thanks to the miracle of live streaming, we were able to listen to his broadcasts. I became a Miami fan. When we had our family room renovated, we (OK, my husband) put in a flat screen TV. The project was taking way too long and finally, I gave an ultimatum to the contractor. The UM/Boston College game was being played on Thanksgiving that year and I told him I wanted to sit on that couch and watch the game on that TV. We watched the game in the family room (and UM won).
Another season begins tonight with Miami playing Florida State. I'll be working on the borders of my Keep Me Sampler and cheering the team on. GO CANES!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Almost Caught Up

Two or three years ago, I joined the Delaware Valley Historical Sampler Guild which is a fantastic group of people. We're doing Petit Sampler Etui as an SAL with a goal of doing the finishing at our meeting in January, 2010. The panel with the house gave me all kinds of problems and I had put it aside in the spring. In June, I began to panic after talking about the project with another member who reminded me about how far I was supposed to have been at that time. So I've been stitching on this very steadily since then. I continued to have problems with the house panel and I'm sure I have stitched it three times. I also had to do some "reverse stitching" on the panel with the two ladies, but the third panel seems to be the charm and I am moving right along on it. I completed the over-one lettering last night after I took the picture. The suggested guideline for the SAL is to finish the third panel by the September meeting on the 12th. I'm pretty sure I'll be caught up by then and I think I'll just keep going until all of the panels are completed. The last three have much less stitching and I'm really a one-at-a-time girl at heart. I'll keep you posted!