Sunday, April 28, 2013

End of April

So the other day was my day off and I stayed home and puttered around (that means I knit most of the day).  It was overcast and rainy and there was no reason to be outside in the weather.  I looked outside around noon and this is what I saw...nap time in the meadow!
 About an hour later, this is the scene outside the window - thick fog. And it got even thicker as the afternoon wore on.  But by the time John got home from work around 5, there was absolutely no evidence that there had been fog...none! Clear skies and beautiful sunshine.
 Since then, we've had rain and cold....I see some blue sky peaking out of the clouds as I type this...almost enough to make a Dutch boy a pair of overalls so we might be clearing.

Yesterday John and I went out and bought some plants...some to put in the beds in front of the house and some to put in hanging planters for the porch...see that beautiful red rose there?  That's a Knock-Out Rose...they are supposed to be hardier and easier to grow that most other roses...we'll see.  It's a double red and just beautiful.  John is going to put it in a huge pot for now, till he gets the front section of the gardens done....then he will probably plant it permanently.
We also got several plants to put in hanging planters, some begonias, some coleus, and a huge fuchsia plant there in the far right of the picture...I love fuchsias....And he bought some bleeding heart seedlings the other day for my front beds....

Our oldest granddaughter is going to be 13 this Wednesday...I can't believe how the time has flown.  She was only 3 when Jill and John got married and now she's a teenager with 4 younger siblings.  And she's grown to be an amazing young woman....We are so very proud of the person she is becoming - caring, smart, pretty.  Just a lovely person to be around. Happy Birthday, our dear E....I'm really jealous that Papa is coming out there at the end of May to spend time with you and your family.  But I will get to see you at Christmas....can hardly wait.

Remember, folks, if you are ever near Springfield or Branson, Missouri, we have 2 guestrooms and you are welcome anytime!  Just give us a call!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Madness has Begun!

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again.  Sock Madness 7 started a few weeks ago. There are so many competitors this year that they made 7 teams....7 teams of 40 or 41 people!  Usually they have 4 teams of 50 people.  The word has gotten out that this is THE annual contest for knitters...I have no idea how many countries are represented this year.  The US, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, France, Australia, and New Zealand are the ones I know have someone competing. And there will be 7 rounds again this year.  My team is Team Mission Accomplished and we have 41 lovely ladies.

 I made it into Round 2 with this pair, the Sockdolager.  Can you see that the top sock is a slight bit bigger than the bottom one?  Let me explain.  When the pattern first came out, there was discussion that if one had 'fluffy' ankles, one should knit the larger size.  Obviously my self-esteem said that I needed the larger size since I'm a rather 'fluffy' person all over.  So I cast on the larger size and went to town knitting.  Everything was going along swimmingly and I was counting the ridges you see along the top of the sock.  We needed the sock to be a minimum of 13 ridges.  I counted....then I counted again....and counted a third time.  Yep, 13 ridges.  The sock seemed to be really long...I mean really long.  Even for my size 10 feet this sock was l-o-n-g.  I finished the sock and laid it out and, just for good measure, counted the ridges again.  It seems I not only have non-fluffy ankles, I also can not count to 13.  There are 14 ridges on that sock!!! I was not going to rip it out and start over.  The rules state you can knit more but not less.  I left the sock as it was.  Then I cast on for the 2nd sock, this time with the number of stitches for non-fluffy ankles and was careful to knit only 13 ridges.  Socks were completed, photographed, and email sent to get qualified for Round 2.  I have since ripped the first sock down to parade rest (military term meaning back to the beginning for you civilians) and will knit a companion for the bottom sock once the Madness has ended for me. 

Round 2 was the Flying Dutchman sock.  This was a different method of knitting than I am used to.  A wonderful learning experience, as all Sock Madness Patterns are meant to be.  This time, we used a method called intarsia-in-the-round.  Put simply, one knits two rounds and then turns the needles around to purl two rounds on the inside...all the while following a set number of stitches in each colour.  I guess that wasn't really simple, was it....anyway, that's what one does for intarsia-in-the-round using two colours. I loved this technique.  My pair are entitled  USNRet. in honor of Mr. Wonderful...they are my socks but named for him.  They were only taking 33 people from each team into the next round so I knit like the wind and finished this pair in 6 days (as well as working and spending time with Mr. Wonderful on my day off!) I was number 17 on my team to finish. 

We have received the specifications for Round 3 and are chomping at the bit for the pattern to be emailed to us.  They don't tell us exactly when the round will start, only that we can expect the pattern within 48 hours of the release of specs.  That was 6:30 yesterday morning so it could come out anytime up to 6:30 tomorrow morning.  Waiting is the worst part of any Madness. 

Weather in Southwest Missouri is more spring-like these days.  Temps got to the mid-70's yesterday and the same is expected today.  Thunderstorms are expected as well but I love the sound of thunderstorms!  John is spending the good weather days seeding and fertilizing the fields so we can get some good grass for the cows.     

While waiting for the Round 3 pattern release, I've been working on a quilt for my daughter-in-law.  I promised I'd make a quilt using her running t-shirts.  I promised a long while back.  And I'm finally getting around to it.  The hardest part is laying them all out.  They are all different sizes and laying them out so they look pleasing to the eye is really hard.  Once I finally am happy with the layout, the sewing is the easy part.  Then it's off to the quilter.  I'm trying out a new quilter...she and her husband are just starting out with a new machine and I am letting them use my tops as experimental pieces.  So far, the ones I've seen them do are quite lovely.  They have one right now for me and I will post it soon.

Well, I suppose I've rambled enough.  I'm off to work on the T-Shirt quilt some more.  Thanks for stopping by.