Monday, March 30, 2009

Booties and Bunnies

Here it is almost the last day of March, and would you believe we awoke yesterday to another dusting of snow? Was this an early April Fool's joke or what? The smart one in our family, our younger daughter, is back in Africa where the temps are nice and steamy. And from this far corner, came an email request for some girly booties. This was the push I needed to finish a set that was hibernating in my knitting bag. I tried something different on the hat, a new way of doing the design: following the heart chart in reverse stockinette and then weaving the multicolored yarn through the "bumps" to highlight it. I hope they're girly enough!
for Dani's little one
The local weather quirks don't seem to bother our resident rabbits. Yesterday they were out, mowing in tandem. We have the beginnings of our own version of Watership Down! No more tulips for us!
Muncha, Muncha!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What's Happening Here?

Just now as I glanced down at the keyboard, it started moving. I began to wonder whether I was seeing things, and then it moved again. Here is the culprit.
Maybe if I really concentrate, I'll understand?
Doesn't she look like she's trying to commune with the Internet? Both she and Ginger love to camp out on the register under the desk. Mocha prefers the end by the wires, and Ginger likes to have the other end. At the moment though Mocha, has moved so that she's covering the whole thing. How are we supposed to heat the house, Mocha?
Staying Warm
Moving keyboards fit right in with my latest knitting project. This is supposed to turn into a sweater. Stay tuned!
A Sweater? Surely you jest!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Road Trips East Looking for Big Birds

Over the past couple of days, we forgot about our normal schedules and took a couple of road trips over the mountains into eastern Washington. Lest you think that our snow is gone, Dick took this photo up at the pass. I would guess that lots of folks will go skiing over spring break this year!
Skiing Anyone?
On Sunday we decided to drive over to Ellensburg for lunch and for old time's sake as our older daughter graduated from Central Washington University. During a four year span, we made many trips there. Enroute, we took a few side roads and checked out Easton, Rosyln of Twin Peaks fame, Cle Elum, and a new resort called Suncadia. But we forgot the camera, and worse yet, when we got home we read about the Sandhill Crane festival in Othello. So, yesterday we again hopped in the car on a quest to find some sandhill cranes. Until now we'd only seen them before in Florida and Wisconsin. In Othello a very nice lady at City Hall directed us to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge with the warning that the road was rather "primitive." That it was and slow going also.
We knew we were in the right spot!
Well, we saw a few bits of wildlife, a bunny, a couple of magpies, some mystery ducks, but not one sandhill crane. We decided they must have all been resting up from the previous weekend's festivities.
Scenery
Just in case you think that all it ever does in our fair state is rain, Dick took this photo. East of the Cascades the geography and weather are both very different. It is farm country, thanks to an adequate supply of water for irrigation. This is where our famous apples are grown along with lots of other things including wheat and hops.
What are you doing here?
Much to our surprise, we saw lots of cattle grazing in the refuge, including this critter who was lounging beside the road until we stopped. Since the afternoon was almost gone, and our teeth had been jarred loose by the primitive road, we decided to take a different route back to Othello, a road that crossed on the north side of the refuge. We drove a short way in on another turnoff which was a much better gravel road and then headed down another road toward highway 26. Guess what?

Dick was the first to spot them! We saw a huge flock fly in and land in a farmer's field right off the road, so we stopped to watch. I would guess we saw at least 50 of these big birds in the field, and I counted about 38 in the sky. Our bird books says they have a 6-7 foot wingspan, so that will give you a feel for their size.

Dick caught a few photos before they figured out what he was doing and took off. Our quest was over, and we headed home. After having dinner in Ellensburg at the same table where we ate lunch on Sunday, we headed back over the pass and none too soon. It was snowing hard at the Pass and the radio said they expected a foot of new snow by morning. Thankfully, at the time the snow wasn't sticking and quit about 17 miles east of North Bend. Today it's back to our usual routine.
Finally!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Signs of Spring?

We've been seeing some interesting birds in our yard lately like this varied thrush. They are very shy and like to hide in the bushes, so Dick was lucky to get this shot.
Varied Thrush
Yesterday the bunnies were lined up, I think, waiting their turn to gnaw on the tulips. Today Dick put up a fence around the hostas which are just beginning to poke their heads out from beneath the dirt.
You're supposed to be decorating eggs, not eating tulips!
And then there was this guy (gal?) Beautiful they are, but oh so destructive! They can do amazing damage to your siding in no time at all. That beak must be two inches long. And yes, it's a member of the woodpecker family, a flicker.
Did you notice my feet?
On another note, Kris sent me these awards the other afternoon. Thanks so much. I enjoy following her blog, so you might want to check it out. I'm supposed to pass this on to 10 bloggers but find this a difficult task. So, if you're reading this consider yourself tagged, and pass it on if you wish.

Thanks again, Kris, you're a sweetie!

My new header is forsythia that I brought in the house and forced to bloom....spring, one way or another!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booties and a Block

Even though the calendar says "March," we decided on a recent walk that it seems more like a late October with long days. With that in mind, I find stitching on a Christmas-themed BOM fits right in! I finished the first of
Gail Pan's designs. They are fun to do and all one size, so I shouldn't have to fight with them later to put together, or at least I sure hope not.
Gail Pan BOM #1
Just last night I sewed the ends in on these little booties, a fun project called Magic Slippers that I found on the SockPixie site. They were designed to use up what she calls "walnuts" left from making socks. I, however, used just a tiny bit of yarn left from making that recent baby sweater. Now I want to figure out a way to make them bigger.......
Magic Slippers

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top o' the Mornin' to Ye!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! And thank goodness that April is drawing closer each day. Maybe it won't snow in April? We've had a bit of light snow for the past THREE mornings. It's crazy. However, we have seen a few signs of spring on our walks. The heather up on my header is in full bloom in a variety of colors throughout the neighborhood, and the witch hazel is going to seed. I did this stitchery a long time ago, and it's in our hallway for a daily reminder.
Blessings
On our last walk we noticed these beauties. Once a few little twigs and now a tall tree that has survived several moves in our backyard, this pussy willow signals quietly that spring is indeed on its way. Hurrah!
I know Spring is coming!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saving Noah~

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I've been working on Lynette Anderson's free Noah BOM for the past year. To my horror, when I went to assemble the finished blocks, the top half did not fit as they should. Those patterns did not print off correctly or something; it never occurred to me to check. So, I was left to figure out a way to make them work and "save Noah." What a challenge! The lady at the fabric shop said, "You need coping strips." Yeah, right!
Coping with Noah
Well, many strips later, it is put together and sashed with the whole thing bordered like each small piece. What's the next step? A trip to the quilt shop..... Oh, darn.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here, Scottie, Good Dog!

Yesterday and today I've been trying to finish up some of the things that have been on my "list" for a while. This Scottie block is one of them. Our quilt group is making several group Ronald McDonald quilts. This is going to be a cute quilt, don't you think?
Scottie block
This reminds me, I have another partially finished RMD quilt in my stack....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunshine! Hurrah!

Today was a beautiful day, cold but clear. We went for our normal walk, and Dick took the camera along because I'd seen some heather blooming and wanted a photo for a new header for the blog. (See above!) At the top of Somerset hill, we had a great view of the snowy Cascades to the north.
The Cascades
After we got home, I wove in the ends on this baby sweater and sewed on the buttons that I found on a shopping expedition earlier today. This was such an interesting pattern to make because you start at the sleeve, make the two halves and then graft the whole thing together. The hood is also grafted with the final result being no seams! The pattern says the size can be varied by varying the yarn weight and needle size.
Front
The back has a repeat of the Gansey design, and the actual grafting of the two pieces occurs along this edge. The pattern is by Cottage Creations and is called Babies & Bears Sweater. Thanks to Janine for helping me to find a source for this pattern which I'd seen on her blog!
Back
One down, two more to go!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blogger Gremlins

Yesterday afternoon the strangest thing happened. All the content of my blog disappeared. I wasn't dreaming because Dee noticed my blank page as well. This morning I decided to try a new post, having tried everything else I could thing of and voila!
Everything was back. How strange is that? More gremlins besides weather ones must be out there in cyberspace. Yes, it snowed again yesterday, and the temperature was 26 degrees this morning which is very odd for this time of year. I repeat, "Spring, where be ye?"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring, Where Be Ye?

Something's wrong here. Yesterday was the day we turned our clocks ahead, and this is what we saw when we woke up. Then last night, there was hail and lightning!
Is this really March?
We slipped and slid on the way to church this morning, but by the time we finished singing for both services, everything was beginning to melt. But after a nice walk this afternoon, we'd barely stepped inside when it began to hail like crazy again. At this rate I'll never get the roses pruned!
At least it's not SNOW!
However, this kind of weather makes for good stitching time. I started a couple of new projects, finished a couple more, and finally got around to doing this block. One of my quilting friends brought a number of partially finished blocks done by hand by her deceased sister. Our group has decided to finish the blocks and use them for a Ronald McDonald quilt in her honor. (A few years ago our group did a similar quilt for a member's daughter, and we all learned an easy way of preparing the "plates" for appliquing. We stitch the plate to a piece of very light-weight stabilizer right sides together, remove most of the stabilizer, turn it right side out and stitch onto the background. This technique works well on other shapes also.) Next comes the scottie block! Stay tuned.
Dresden Plate

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dino is Done!

Flying on airplanes and riding in cars provide lots of time for knitting, and that's exactly what I did on our recent vacation. I worked on several projects, an unfinished pair of socks (still not finished), a baby sweater (coming along), and David's dinosaur sweater.
Dino
I've had this pattern since the nineties when I fell in love with it. Finally, I was able to knit it. This was the first time I've done duplicate stitch and also the first time that I've embroidered on a knit that wasn't going to be felted. Now to send Dino off to Chicago! I also spent some time consulting my sister on what to do with my Noah blocks that aren't fitting together as they should....the jury's still out on that issue.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Memories

Today as we went walking in the rain, I couldn't help reminiscing about last week's trip. I'm not sure I will ever get over my amazement at the variety of flora and fauna that seem to be routine in Florida. Today we felt fortunate to see a lone robin! Last week we saw egrets, ibis, alligators, and anhingas to name just a few.Reflections
Many of the birds were in their mating plumage and looked extra fancy. This anhinga is trying to get warm after a swim.
Drying out
We saw several kinds of herons. My favorite is the stately great blue heron which we also see here in Bellevue.
Among the other types of smaller herons that we saw was this little fellow.
Little blue heron
In Shark Valley alligators are everywhere. They appear to be quite lazy, but they can move surprising fast after prey or if provoked. Our guide said that they can swim 29 MPH!
Smile!
As you can see in this photo, the other animals seem rather nonchalant toward the gators. We did, however,on another occasion see an alligator chase down a turtle like this one.
Coexisting?
We were just a little early to see many spring flowers, but we did spot this beauty tucked in the woods.Hibiscus
And no trip to Florida is complete without a sunset photo.
Goodbye to another day.
In addition to spending lots of time outdoors, we also did a little bit of shopping. I found an intriguing yarn shop called Needles and Knobs. Can you guess what the knobs were? I didn't buy any, but I did find some yarn! Surprise, surprise.