Marled Birthday Magic

At the end of October I will be planting my feet firmly into another decade and with each passing year I want to declutter more and live life more in the ‘minimalist’ fashion.  I no longer watch television as much as I once did and I find myself listening to podcasts and audio books as the needles click.  One podcaster I particularly enjoy listening to is co-hosting a shawl knit along using one of Stephen West’s patterns, MARLED MAGIC. 

Marled Mesh

The marling of yarns seems to be the current knitting craze along with ‘finding your fade.’  Although I’m not crazy about some of the wild colors Stephen West uses I have found that I learn some new technique every time I knit one of his patterns.  So, when Voolenvine announced that the knit along would be the MARLED MAGIC shawl I knew it would be right up my alley! Marled Mesh

MARLED MAGIC was designed to be a stash busting pattern using all kinds of colors from the knitters yarn collection and boy do I have some stash to reduce.  So how perfect is that?  I will hit another birthday with less stash (minimalist thinking, right?) and I will have a crazy wild WEST KNITS shawl but in all the colors in my wardrobe palette.  It will be a creative effort in combining colors kind of like fair isle knitting or painting.  My ultimate goal would be that it would make any shirt in my wardrobe ‘pop’ because it will have all the colors in my wardrobe.  And knitting this shawl will also be a walk down memory lane as I use bits of leftover yarn from loved projects I have already knit.  I’m pretty pumped.

I cast on yesterday and woke up in the middle of the night thinking about color combinations and wanting to knit so yep, I got up and did just that.  The first section of MARLED MAGIC is a mesh pattern.  I chose to knit a classic marl using a neutral rose beige in my color palette held together with another variegated yarn.  The variegated yarn has blues-periwinkles-amethyst-violets-plums-purples in it.  Lovely!  The classic marl is done by holding two colors together to as you knit creating a ‘marled’ effect.

Marled Section 1

I used the rose beige years ago in my COLORADO SUNRISE HAT.  That hat was a fun project I did with a couple friends.  We each had a time of day that we took a picture of the Colorado sky.  We ran the picture through a color generator to get the colors.  I got sunrise forgetting how early the sun rises in the mountain in the wintertime and how cold it was.  I knit a fair isle hat with my colors.  The photographs I used are on my Ravelry project page here. Marled - Section 1

The variegated Malabrigo yarn was used in the Linken shawl, one of Rosemary Hill’s  Seven Small Shawls.  I played yarn chicken and fretted about it on the group board.  Another participant was using the exact same color and had bought two skeins and had leftovers.  She offered to send the leftovers to me and I took her up on her offer.  The dye lot was quite different hers being much more brilliant than the one I had but it worked.  That is when I learned that different pots of dye do not always come out the same even if you are a professional like Malabrigo Yarns.

Marled Mesh

So that is all I have for you on Section 1 of the shawl.  I’m pretty much obsessed with so I foresee putting aside some other things so I can have some monogamous knitting. My mind is spinning with ideas for the next section which is knit in seed stitch.  Hmmmm…..spinning…..that is a thought, maybe I will use some of the fiber I have spun on my spinning wheel.  This is going to be fun indeed!


Grunge Line Up

The colors in daughter’s quilt are playing nicely together.  Being me, I have worked in fifteen minute chunks of time here and there and in no time at all the blocks have been pieced together.  Being her, the extrovert, the pattern I have chosen is called Party Mix by Elizabeth Hartman.

Grunge Cut Out

Now my daughter is not a ‘party girl’ in the sense that most think of when they hear someone likes to ‘party.’  She is instead, someone who is energized by being around other people and likes to have her calendar busy going from one fun event to the next.  Her mom, the introvert, is quite the opposite and does not like ‘mixing it up’ as much as she does.  I’m not one to go see a movie at 10:00 pm or run out for yogurt.  Party Mix is an appropriate quilt for daughter.



My little extrovert grew up in a family of introverts.  We used to farm her out to friends for overnighters when we had the need to pull back in and recharge our own batteries.  She was the child that, when tucked into bed at night, wanted to know what ‘fun’ things were on the next day’s agenda.   It was a very good thing for out introverted family when she became a bookworm because she got caught up in the characters and plot of her book and would read for hours on end — it was the next best thing to having a real life adventure.

Block B

The last two years daughter has said, ‘Mom, do you know what I really, really, want for Christmas?’  I really want you to make me a quilt.”  A decade earlier she had taken a quilt to college to remind her of home and it was now too worn.  I don’t know how you are but when someone tells me they ‘really’ want me to make them something I can hardly resist.  You know that item will be appreciated and cherished, right?

Block C


So here I am in warm Texas and there she is in cool Colorado and the time is ripe to make her that quilt she wants.  With summer quickly approaching cotton sitting on my lap as I quilt will feel a whole lot better than wool sitting in my lap.  There is a season for everything…….. summer is for knitting socks, silk shawls and quilting.

Block D

Block E


All blocks are pieced and the fabric for the sashing has been ordered and will arrive in a few days.  I should have the whole quilt pieced before my introvert arrives in a few weeks for a visit.

Block Line Up

It has been nice working with my sewing machine and fabric  for a change of pace, not that I’m neglecting the knitting.  In fact, I’ve had a bad case of start-itis as of late and have cast an inordinate amount of knitting projects but more about that in my next post.

Happy Quilting (or Knitting)!

Mom’s Best Dress

When asked to describe my mother’s best dress in a journal prompt I was hard pressed to remember the last time I had even seen my mother wearing a dress.  How could I describe her ‘best’ dress when I could not even picture her wearing one?  The best I could come up with was at my wedding thirty five years ago.  Thinking all the way back through my childhood I could only picture her in pedal pushers, the Jackie-O stretch pants and later on, blue jeans.  I recalled that we had worn dresses to church on Sundays but I think she might have given those up long ago.

I headed on over to her house yesterday on a dress quest.  I first asked dad if he could remember the last time he saw mom in a dress and he couldn’t.  Then I asked mom and she said, “Hmmmmmm….” so we looked through her photo albums to see if we could find  a photo of her wearing a dress because she insisted she once wore them a lot.  Not only did we hit the jackpot in that regard but mom enjoyed describing the dresses we found to me- both the colors and fabric – in great detail just as if it were yesterday.  Because the photographs were in black and white, I found myself surprised when she told me what color the dress was.  Being an excellent seamstress, my grandmother had made all her dresses for her.


Here is a cute shot of mom taken from behind as she is getting in the car.  She said this dress was a light BLUE.  We both liked the way the sleeves were not set into a bodice but was all one piece with the bodice.


Mom is sporting a PURPLE sundress in this photo.  She said, “I really liked how I felt when I wore this dress, I felt pretty.”


I was most surprised by the description of this ensemble mom wore posed on the steps.  She said the pleated skirt was a sparkly silver graphite that reflected light.  I imagined it to be like some of the Kaffe Fasset fabric I’m using in a quilt, awesome fabric because depending on how the light hits the color is different.  Mom said she thought the sweater was probably fuchsia.


But Mom’s best dress, the one that was her favorite of all time was the one in the above photo.  The under skirt was a pink pencil skirt.  The overlaying skirt was a gauzy brown sheer fabric and the bodice and bowtie were also brown, probably satin.  By the way, that is yours truly that she is holding and I forgot to ask her what color I am in.

I enjoyed the time spent with mom reminiscing and splashing these black and white photos with color.  Had I not gone on a mission to find a photo of mom in a dress these photographs would have been forever etched in my mind as just black, white and gray.  Mom says she thinks she stopped wearing dresses because my dad told her she looked better in pants but I’m not so sure about that.  I think she stopped wearing them because she loves the comfort that pants provide.  She is just a casual kind of gal, my blue jean mama.

The Teal Mission Gate

I drove my mother down to visit our cousins in the Texas hill country a few days ago. The highways were lined with bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and Indian Blanket.  People were about everywhere plopping their friends and family down in fields of flowers for portraits.   The land was as so green that it reminded me of the first time I saw Ireland.


My cousin is an artist and her home reflects her artistic flair.  Her home is not the only thing that reflects her ability to touch something and make it beautiful, her back yard is a haven.  There are things to look at tucked here and there throughout her yard but the one thing I really noticed on this visit is that TEAL seems to be her signature color.  She splashes TEAL everywhere.

Kim's Teal Chair

A TEAL chair is tucked in a corner by the fireplace.

Kim's Teal Garden Signs

TEAL garden signs painted and just about ready to go outside in the garden.

Kim's Teal Garden House

A few boards painted TEAL in the greenhouse.

Kim's TEAL Hens

A TEAL chicken tucked under some monkey grass.

Kim's Teal St. Francis

A TEAL St. Francis of Assisi tucked amongst clay pots from Mexico.

But my absolute favorite is a TEAL mission gate  surrounded by Austin stone that my cousin had made alongside her hubby.  What talent!

Kim's Teal Gate

They used wooden floor boards and salvaged the iron grate from another fence.  The bell once belonged to her husband’s grandmother.  The ability to create something like this amazes me.

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

When I left to go home, as always, I felt inspired and creative. The first thing I did when I got back home was to pull out some yarn and start on a cowl using this lovely Malabrigo Arroyo that is pretty tealish.  

Allison's TEAL cowl

And, it was no wonder that today, when I went to my local quilt shop, The Needle Niche, to pick fabric for a quilt that a certain someone has been begging me to make that
I just happened to be drawn to TEALs so I splashed neutrals throughout.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

My creative juices are definitely flowing again and I’m ready to get going on a Lisa Hartman modern quilt.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

What can I say? TEAL.

How to Use Bobbles to Stand Out

How to use bobbles to stand out in a crowd? Put them on the back of a baby sweater! Yesterday Michelle Hunter revealed an absolutely adorable ewe on the back of the mystery baby sweater I have been knitting.

Finished are the two sleeves, such tiny little arms … only 6-1/2 inches.

Adorable Ewe Sleeves

And out come the bobbles with the second mystery clue, lots and lots of bobbles to round out a great big ewe on the back of the sweater.  I’m about half way through the back and thought it time to take a bobble break to encourage you to jump right in to this fun mystery knit-a-long.  We are not only learning how to knit bobbles but we are also tackling.

Adorable Ewe Back

My tip for knitting bobbles:  The nature of a bobble produces a hole right under the bobble.  It will usually be diminished by blocking but I like to put a little bit of insurance in my knitting in case it doesn’t.  Whilst knitting the backside, tighten up the stitch on either side of the bobble.


The April KAL Adorable Ewe Baby Sweater is free and Michelle, as always, does an excellent job teaching.


What to Do With Sixty Four Acres

It was just about a year ago that it dawned on us that we were probably going to have to move down to Texas and take care of the sixty four acres we inherited.  After trying to sell it for three years we had no other option, it needed maintenance.  What I didn’t know then was that I had flowing in my veins an inheritance that was rooted in the soil.  My grandfather was a farmer as the generations before him and my grandmother planted flowers on any bare patch of grass she could find. Zinnias

The first inkling that I had this love of dirt inside of me was when, after throwing out zinnia seeds there were suddenly zinnias popping up out of the earth.  Something was unearthed in me that day.

Pear Tree

Today is the first day of spring and it has most certainly arrived in East Texas.  My pear trees are blooming and my dad tells me that with the amount of blossoms on each I will have an abundant crop.  I will harvest those pears and make some pear preserves as my grandmother used to make.  And, I will spread those preserves on biscuits using my grandfather’s recipe.  He made the best biscuits ever.


I thought about my grandmother today and her love of planting flowers.  I looked out over the many acres out there at my disposal.  A blank slate so to speak.  I thought about that first packet of zinnia seed I threw in the ground last September and I had an idea flicker through my mind.  What if I planted rows and rows of zinnias out there with my garden.  I pictured it something like this:


Zinnias are supposedly easy to grow.  Growing zinnias is something I can do with part of this sixty-four acres.  A blank slate painted beautiful with colorful zinnias.

farmersmarketflowers5-of-6I will fill blue mason jars with zinnias and they will adorn my tables.  They will adorn the tables of my friends, too.  The idea is growing on me and I like it more and more.8287372143691bc10659717a6bb872c0

Yes, I like this idea and I think it would have made my grandmother smile.

Sleepy Little Texas Town

A courthouse in the middle of a sleepy southern town, not unlike many other town squares in the south, but this one is in my sleepy town.  This is where we are for the time being, at least until we get my father-in-law’s house sold. I walked around the square this morning on well worn brick sidewalks and tried to take it all in with my camera. We don’t know how long we will be down here but enjoying our stay in this small community in East Texas.

My Little Town

I felt a little like I had stepped back into an Andy Griffith from the sixties, the episode where you transition from black-and-white to color.
My Little Town

There was no sign of Andy socializing with male friends in the Main Street barber shop but I half expected barber Floyd Lawson to step out for a smoke.
My Little Town

When I saw this bicycle I remembered Opie’s bicycle. I always pictured that bike painted red. Do you remember how he tested his father’s parenting skills episode after episode?

Antique stores lining the square made me think of the service station attendants and cousins Gomer Pyle and Goober Pyle, what names! I even flashed back to seeing these kind of signs when I was a young girl.
My Little TownDo you remember back this far?  Prince Albert in a can? Anyone?

My Little TownThere was the fu-fu side of the square, you know, the sidewalk with the cute little boutique shops?
My Little Town

with cutesy decorated birdhouse entrances …
My Little Town

And then there was the artsy ghetto down a side street that popped me right back into present time color, no polaroids here.
My Little Town My Little Town
Art matters, yes it does, doesn’t it?

My Little Town//
My Little Town
Coming off the side street I bounced between time zones..
I didn’t see the local Maybury drunkard, Otis Campbell, but I’m pretty sure he will be attending the Haunted House at the Athen’s Brewery on Halloween.