Thursday, May 31, 2007


Today is my last day of work, after 30 years with the same organization. Whew! It's been fun and rewarding. But it's time for something else, whatever that is. Knitting, of course. More time in the garden and at the library. Travel in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Who knows what else is in store?

And what better way to start my retirement than with beautiful handmade gifts! My friend Debbie made this gorgeous quilt hanging. Yes, the flower is 3-D.

She also gave me this intricate and lovely pine-needle basket made by an Oregon artist. It's about 7 inches long and very tightly woven.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring, Tra-la

The flowers that bloom in the spring in the Northwest are fabulous. Early bloomers include daffodils, tulips, lilacs, camellias and rhododendrons, plus the flowering fruit trees. The color riot in our garden begins in earnest in May and June.

Columbines and pansies. The pansies survived our cold winter and the columbines take care of re-seeding themselves every year.

Pink jasmine. You really need to smell this one for its full effect. This is a new addition to the garden this spring, replacing a clematis that succumbed to winter.

Roses. This one is Double Delight. If you want a beautiful, fragrant rose for cutting, this should be at the top of your list.

And, surprisingly, a Christmas cactus. I have no idea what I did to prompt a May bloom, but there it is.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I love thrift stores and used books stores. Not every visit results in a big score, but one did — two 1985 "Knitters" magazines. I especially enjoy reading the articles by or about some knitting legends: Barbara Walker, Lizbeth Upitis, Mary Walker Phillips and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, for example. The articles are still relevant and most of the patterns are as wearable today as they were 22 years ago.

I wonder whether knitters in 2029 will say the same about today's knitting magazines?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A New Visitor

This guy showed up at the bird feeder today. Black-headed grosbeak, maybe? Haven't seen one like this before at the feeder.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Two New Yarn Stores

Two new yarn stores in nearby Lakewood opened in recent weeks: Yorkshire Yarns and Shibori Dragon Knits. Based on my first scouting, both shops are spacious, well-stocked with space for more and with space for knitting groups or classes. And the people at each seem interested in stocking what knitters want. Each carries basic, all-purpose yarn (Cascade 220, Encore, for example) plus some of the more luxurious yarns (Luisa Harding, Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Artyarns, for example). Yorkshire Yarns has a lot — a lot — of sock yarn. Shibori Dragon carries Mountain Colors.

My only complaint is that I can't find my way around Lakewood easily.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Heartland Shawl

This is Evelyn Clark's Heartland Shawl, published in the winter 2007 issue of "Wild Fibers" magazine. It was the winner in a contest for Buffalo Gold fiber. Written instructions are in the magazine and you can e-mail Buffalo Gold for the charts.

I'm a big fan of Evelyn Clark, and I normally don't riff on her patterns. But I did on this one.
  • I didn't have any Buffalo Gold but I had a pile of this unidentified wool (maybe washable wool) from a thrift store. I used US7 needles with it.
  • I knit seven (maybe eight, I lost count) repeats of the Bison Tracks pattern; the original called for four. One of the beauties of recent Evelyn Clark shawls is the ability to add or reduce the number of repeats and still come out with a great shawl. The shawl is 45 inches long from the center neck to the center point.
  • All of the double decreases specified are left-leaning, which I think detracted from the pattern. So I changed some of them to right-leaning decreases. In the River of Life border, I changed the left-leaning double decreases to centered double decreases. To accommodate all of this, I recharted the pattern.
  • I made the second half a mirror image of the first half instead of a straight repeat of the first half. It made a difference in only a few places but felt more symmetrical to me.
  • I added a small bead at the points of the border, borrowing the idea from other Evelyn Clark shawls. I think it helps the point stay pointed a little better. And I like beads. The bead color is black diamond luster, which I think complements the turquoise (turquoise is a hard color to match, so I went for complement instead of match).
And I think the turquoise shawl and red lace-leaf maple complement nicely.