"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Friday, July 17, 2015

In Gauge In July

So far in July I have had some wonderful celebrations with family and friends and I hope you have too.  I celebrated the freedom I have where I live. As part of the celebration on July 4th I made  fruit kabobs that we whirled around in canning jars full of homemade raspberry-lemonade spritzers...fun to make and yummy to drink and munch on.

Admiring flowers and the moon and having a tea/chocolate almond milk party with my granddaughters have occupied some of my time during the unusual stretch of very hot weather we have had so far in July.  Also,  water has figured prominently in my activities. I have continued to swim frequently at the gym pool, and I've watched others swim or play in kiddie pools, and my oldest granddaughter asked her pastor to baptize her as a Christian in the river by his house which I got to witness. [a bit of swimming and boating happened afterwards].

For those of you who crochet and or knit, do you crochet or knit a swatch to determine your gauge before you start a project like most patterns suggest you should?

I don't....or haven't....I know, but don't judge please :)

Monday night I joined a group of ladies at the church that I have been attending who gather to crochet or knit baby blankets for babies who arrive at a local neonatal unit. Before I came I had been told that we were asked to make blankets 16x22, or 22x28, or 28x34 inches in a non-lacy pattern, and if knitting use size 8 knitting needles with worsted weight, soft acrylic yarn.

Since I had appropriate yarn, I dug out my Knit Picks size  8 circular needles and attached them to a size 24" cord figuring that would be enough room for a small blanket. Then I cast on stitches until it looked like it would be big enough and started knitting.  I knit and knit and knit and knit...

I know :)

I completed very few rows before arriving.

When I showed the leader of the group what I had started she kindly told me that the blanket might be big enough to fit a twin size bed.  Really?

I started to frog my work, but before I had finished frogging she said, "Wait a minute.   Let's figure out your gauge." [I at least knew enough about "gauge" that I had brought my little ruler-knitting-needle-sizer-thingy with me so I efficiently whipped it out] [ahhh pride]

My new friend-teacher said, "See.  You have four stitches per inch so all you have to do is multiply the number of inches you want the width to be by four and you will know how many stitches to cast on."

See my enlightened mind?

In my over 44 years of knitting I am certain I have figured out how to figure out gauge before, but I am hopeful that this guided hands on experience will help me internalize the information forever and put it to use in a timely fashion in the future :)

So far July has had many exciting events, including the first awesome close up views of the dwarf planet,  Pluto, and devastating losses of life and property around the world, so my mind has not only been trying to wrap itself around stitching in gauge but also  thinking and feeling in gauge about life in and around me.

Life is engaging to me!  Is it to you?

Wishing you life engaged in love,

Gracie  xx

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about.  Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it."  Psalm 139:13-14 TLB

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just a Bit More Stitching In June

Little Rosie tries to keep up with her older sisters, but running through the sprinkler takes some careful consideration... 
although my great niece, Laura, who was visiting from Nebraska, Rosie's mom, Mary Kathrine, and I were there to cheer her on.  Before we took Laura to the airport to fly to visit her G'ma [my oldest sister] in California we had to get a picture of Laura with some of our clan at one of our favorite local sight-seeing sites :) :) :)
 Jonsrud Overlook, to admire Mt. Hood, and imagine how Native Americans and Pioneers traversed the terrain to establish homes for their families.

I am so pleased that the pretty primroses that were blooming in February when my good friend Fran gave them to me for my birthday are blooming again in June!  I did not know they could do that.

The fuschia starts we planted in Spring are showing more and more ballerina blossoms dancing down to delight us.
One day after Laura left for California, I headed off to my favorite park, but when I saw this view, I knew I had made a wrong turn.  Mt. Hood and the foxglove and daisies were all very pretty to see, but I was lost.  There was NO traffic, so I stopped at the top of a hill and asked the 
"Google Map Girl" to tell me how to get to the park.
I managed to follow her directions and found my way to the peaceful Sandy River.  One day I want to set a chair in the shallow water and enjoy the cool rushing water running over my feet ~ ~ ~ 
Then my good friend, Teresa, invited me on an adventure, to cruise on the mighty Columbia River with her and some of her family members. As you can see, to get to the sternwheeler we had to bravely pass the wooden carving of Big Foot, a giant hairy beast who reportedly roams the forests of the Northwest!  Have you heard of him?
Isn't the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler beautiful?
I admired the paddle wheel made to resemble those used on paddle wheel ships of the 1800's .
Teresa had me stand at this angle for an interesting view as we floated further from the dock.
Teresa, Travis, Dayle, Hayden, and Caleb all helped me feel most welcome to enjoy adventuring with them.
For more details about what we saw up and down the river, check Teresa's beautiful and interesting post.
We are trying to grow a hydrangea bush at home like this gorgeous blue one we saw when we got off the ship. 
Then while driving through  beautiful Cascade Locks Park, Teresa stopped and took this photo with my camera of the bronze statues of Sacagawea her baby on her back and her dog who were made to commemorate the valuable help they gave Lewis and Clarke in the early 1800's on their journey to explore what is now the northwest USA;
and Teresa took this photo too of this statue made to remind folks of one of the very real dangers the expedition faced.
As we left the park, we enjoyed a parting view of the sternwheeler headed to the West, so that other passengers could enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and natural beauty  like we did.  The memory of which will surely linger for them and for us, beckoning us all to come back as often as possible.
The next day I could not bear to stay inside, so my oldest daughter, Mary Kathrine, and her girls [Rosie and Molly in this photo] and I headed to another nearby favorite park.
Hayley enjoyed playing with two girls just her age.
I was thrilled to snap a photo of Joy smiling while she jumped for joy on the wonderful wobbly bridge!
We loved seeing the friendly tree roots reaching out to greet one another,
as we followed a path by the clear running creek over smooth brown rocks by the sturdy bridge on the way back to the car.
The next day I attended Vespers at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland.  With all my galavanting around and car troubles it had been many weeks since I had visited there.  It was good to worship with folks I have been missing,  but the next day found me homebound and unwell with some sort of achey flu [?] that I am praying I don't pass on to anyone.

Now several days later I finally have felt well enough to read, and hone my posting skills.  I signed up for PicMonkey.com and made my first collage!  So far I am still blogging not as means to earn an income, but because for me it is a creative pursuit that combines many of my artistic interests.  When I link to a site it is not because I am seeking income or favor with anyone, I'm just sharing my interests with others who have similar interests, and trying to give credit where credit is due.

In the process, I am building cyber friendships that have amazingly sometimes become face to face friendships!  I feel that God is blessing me tremendously in the process, and I am praying my interaction with others is a blessing for them as well.

Currently I am working on a red headband for Molly using Sue's pattern and using Stylecraft acrylic yarn from my Lucy [Attic 24] pack stash that I still want to make a blanket and bag from ........someday.......sigh.  Many of you Makers inspire me to not give up on my To Make List.
Thank you!

I have nearly finished reading "No Place of My Own" by Christine Laennec and am enjoying it on many levels.  The general locations mentioned in the book are places I have been near and my imagination is fired by May's [Christine's Great Granny's] description of living in those locations mentioned in her diary entries in the early 1920s, mainly in northern California.  Her life story is unvarnished [except for the pages that were never printed because she ripped them out!]  She was a physically hard worker with a poetic streak.   Her account of working on a river boat for a time and then on a mining camp make for adventure driven reading! Her wrestling with her sense of her place as a woman in her part of society worried and or frustrated me; but her appreciation for beauty and her humor are lively and propel her story forward, and I don't want the book to end.  In fact I have already re-read parts of it to savor her viewpoint or puzzle over her choices.
The author, Christine, lived in Portland, Oregon, and taught in several schools in the USA before she and her husband moved to Scotland to teach.  You can [and I hope you will] read more of Christine's writing on her blog Writing From Scotland.  

As I finish typing to you I hear "ka-thunking" on the roof above me!  Ripe wild cherries are falling from our massive tree!  So far various family members have climbed on ladders and up on the roof to try to gather ripe cherries; but maybe now the cherries are ready to fall into waiting buckets below... 

What do you think?

Wishing you Happy Summer Days and hoping you'll share some of your news with me, too :)

Gracie xx

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Finding the Former Wool Capital of the World

In my last post I typed that I wasn't planning to head out on any more trips until August, but I forgot I had scheduled a week of camping on the east side of Mt. Hood with some of my adult children!  I gathered some survival equipment on my wool blanket on my bed as I was packing.  [This is the first blanket I knit, somewhere between when I was 16-18.  I used jumbo plastic needles and used four strands of yarn, knitting 4, then purling 4 for 4 rows then reversing that for 4 rows, forming the basketweave pattern.  When I was first married I washed the blanket and dried it in the dryer, forgetting it was made of wool....uh oh.  It became more of a lap robe than a blanket, but I still enjoy using it nearly 50 years later!]
In the Mt. Hood National Forrest we set up a pretty nifty tent village.
I loved my comfy quarters.
I brought all kinds of projects to do, but just crocheted three headbands, shown on the towel in the lower part of the photo, and I nearly finished the novel The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo.  During the thundershowers we had we had fun playing a game of Scrabble and Pegs and Jokers, too.
This was the glorious sunrise I photographed from my tent doorway one morning.
One day we drove to the nearby Rock Creek Reservoir and the menfolk came back several days later to fish.  While they did not catch any fish they were very excited to report that they were amazed to watch a Bald Eagle swoop down in front of them and snatch a fish from the water!
One evening we drove back to Rock Creek Reservoir to witness the sunset glowing over Mt. Hood in the distance.
Around the campfire we enjoyed roasting hot dogs and marshmellows,  reading the Orthodox Scripture readings for Pentecost Sunday, and daily Scripture readings and thoughts from Heidi and Rolland Bakkers' book, Reckless Devotion.  The Bakkers have lived and shared their faith in God for over 27 years in Mozambique and we were challenged as we read their thoughts, and discussed them with each other and God.  

The mysterious moon offered our camp village comforting illumination at night, but one night when it was rising it frightened us.  It had a shimmering red-gold glow that looked like a distant fire in the woods as it rose!
Often during the week we thanked God for the beauty around us!
We took a lot of photos!
The sound of rushing water and birds singing provided a wonderful melodic concert  for us and several times the percussion of thunder added some dramatic notes to the composition :)
Trying to identify the wildflowers I took photos of through Google Searches  has not been successful thus far.
But I am in awe looking at all the varieties of wildflowers!
One afternoon while my youngest son and son in law played golf, my youngest daughter and I drove around the nearby area, especially to go see the former Wool Capital of the World which is now nearly a ghost town.  Along the way we saw Smock Prairie School House 1906-1956, in Wamic, Oregon.
We drove through Maupin, Oregon. The town of Maupin along the Deschutes River has a pioneer heritage that includes mining and is currently the mailing address for the Imperial Stock Ranch where cattle and sheep are raised.  Wool from the sheep at the ranch was used to make the sweaters for the last USA Olympic Team.

My youngest daughter has enjoyed going rafting on the Deschutes River several times with some of her co-worker [nurse] friends. 

Now it is hard to imagine that Shaniko was once known as the "Wool Capitol of the World," but it was once on a railway line that made it the perfect location for gathering and shipping wool.
Since the railroad was relocated Shaniko is now just a tiny cluster of buildings such as the wedding chapel,
one of the museums
and another museum area of the "ghost town."
My youngest daughter, Elisabeth and I visited one of the few stores, open for business, Antiques & Things Hwy218 & 4th St. Shaniko, Oregon.
I loved the sheep print over the antique bed,
and in one part of the store was this little soda fountain where I drank some refreshing root beer. 
On the way back to our camp in the Mt. Hood National forrest I appreciated the setting of this abandoned home on the prairie with magnificent Mt. Hood to the west of it.
Nowadays along the former prairie schooner tracks are signs to beware of tractors,
and just in case one needs to know more about one's location there is this sign :)
The fields in the area were full of pretty purple-blue cornflowers,
but after a fabulous week of camping, we reluctantly aimed our vehicles back to our big brown cabin in the farm land on the west side of Mt. Hood.
Now I hope to catch up on what is happening in your neck of the woods!  Do tell me, please :)

Wishing you happy days,

Gracie xx