Cat 2 – Elizabeth

Continuing with posts as part of The Cat Quilt-Along, my purple kitties are pieced and I will be introducing Cat 2 momentarily.  
But first I must solicit name suggestions for the pink kitties.  I have a very special name reserved for the first one thanks to Jen who did a bit of sleuthing but my other pinkie needs a name.  Any suggestions?

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The obvious female name of royalty is Elizabeth and the current English queen, Elizabeth II, has been listening to her people say, ‘Long live the Queen’ for a very long time now and has taken it to heart.  When her grandfather George V died, her uncle succeeded but abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee thus making her father, George VI King.  It was a great shock for the family and Elizabeth realized she might one day be Queen.  George VI was the king in the popular movie a few years ago called The King’s Speech.  Elizabeth II was reluctantly thrust into the spotlight at the young age of 25 after her father George VI died.  She had already married her cousin, Philip and she had already given birth to Prince Charles.  She has seen much in her lifetime as monarch.

Changing of the Gaurd

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When we were in London last spring we saw a bit of the pomp and circumstance surrounding her.  We lined the street to see the changing of the guard.  New ambassadors from foreign countries call at the palace. When they come they are escorted in a carriage and wear special attire.  Other people come to receive medals and awards. It is a special honour to be made a Knight or Dame, when the Queen touches people on the shoulders with a sword.  So it is with special fondness that I dub my second kitty the name of ELIZABETH.

Today I welcome Cat 2, the royal Elizabeth!

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Busy Summer Days

The Summer days of 2014 have been busy ones for me. No sooner had I returned from my travels at the end of May when I met the young owner of a new knitting store in town. We forged an immediate friendship and I offered to help her in any way she needed. I’ve knit some store samples for her and taught a class on knitting socks from the toe up. It has been a great adventure.

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There are two socks pictured here, the cuff down sock is in the front and the toe-up in the back. The yarn is Crazy Zauberball in a color that has me-me-me written all over it.

In the Toe Up class my goal was to offer everyone a custom-fit sock template that they could knit over and over again. We started with a gauge swatch using several needle sizes (I can hear your groans) and then measured our feet and did lots of calculations using the gauge swatch. I also offered a couple different toe options that they were able to try on before starting their socks.

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We thought we would have a class on this unusual hat that I knit called Tayberry but it didn’t generate much interest.

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I finished a Baby Surprise Jacket this morning, one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s iconic designs. This pattern is so much fun to knit and it will be the next class on the agenda. This BSJ was knit with two skeins of Ambiente sportweight yarn.

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After reading EZ’s description of English style knitting, I took the opportunity to practice some Continental knitting. I believe the bursitis in my shoulder appreciated this and I am beginning to conclude that it may even be faster.

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I need a little help deciding on button colors. What do you think? Red? White? Some other color?

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QT Chili Pepper Thoughts

imageSeveral years ago I combined several sock patterns working through the anatomy of a sock and picking my favorite aspect of each pattern to come up with the Chili Pepper socks.  Socks knit with this pattern are a favorite in my family and are the socks we always GO-TO when our feet are cold.  I couldn’t even begin to guess how many socks I’ve knit using this pattern and I rarely speak of them here on the blog.  But recently I realized that they serve another purpose in my life.

As you know, I like to knit all kinds of things covering all sorts of knitting techniques but plain socks are what my family hankers for.  I would be a selfish knitter if I did not keep them in supply since they so patiently endure my knitting habits which follow me wherever we go.  As the good Book says in its beautiful description of an excellent wife, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  And my favorite, “She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.”  So I found another purpose for the Chili Pepper Socks, I keep a pair on my needles always as I work my way through the Bible listening to it in my daily quiet times.  That is why they are called QT (quiet time) Chili Pepper Socks.  They are a fairly mindless knit which allows my mind to concentrate and meditate of the Word of God as I listen.

Since I am the one who is suddenly developing holes in her well loved socks, this pair is for me.  I started it as I began listening to the book of Hebrews so I guess I could even call them my Hebrew Socks and start naming them all.  If you bear with me I would like to share some ‘QT Chili Pepper Thoughts’ this morning on my readings (or listenings).

I stood in awe this week as I heard the recounting of the Heroes of Faith in chapter 11.   I feel like I am a woman of solid faith but as I read through the list and remember their stories I find myself wondering if I would have responded as they did.  Would I have had Noah’s faith and built an ark as God had instructed when there had not yet been rain upon the earth?  (and before you ask, I believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible)  Would I have left my home and everyone I knew and go out to an unknown place as Abraham did with faith when he was called to do so and live as an alien?  If I had been Sarah, would I have had faith to believe I would conceive when I was well beyond the proper time of life when that happens…….after years and years of longing for a child and being disappointed time and again when I did not conceive?  And then the unthinkable measure of faith – would I have offered that child up on an altar of sacrifice as Abraham did when his faith was tested?  Would I have had the faith of Joseph who understood that the betrayal of his brothers was God’s plan of provision in later years?  Would I have wanted to be buried with those same brothers who betrayed me as he did?  The Bible says Joseph did so in faith.

The list moves from the Old Testament to the New and speaks of the ones who through faith experienced mocking, scourging, chains, imprisonment.  They were stoned, sawn in two, put to death with sword …….. and just when you are overwhelmed feeling like you could never possibly compare to these faithful ones the Bible says,

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

So, YES I can do as those faithful ones did.  I can do this because I do not look within myself for strength and assurance to do these acts of faith, instead I turn my eyes away from myself and look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.  It is what Jesus is, not what am, or what I do that gives rest to my soul.  I will keep my eyes simply on Him and let His death, sufferings, merits, glories and intercession be fresh upon my mind.  I will follow hard after Him and He will never fail me.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  

So the amazing characters listed in the Hall of Faith gained approval not for what they did but for the faith they had.  They were not placed within the pages of sacred writ to intimidate us but to remind us that we can do the same.  They are the “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us” and cheering us on.  I believe FAITH is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions.  Other religions are based on works and what one can achieve for the sake of that religion, ours is based on the Christ’s blood and merits.

A hymn I’ve sung my whole life through –

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

So, gentle reader, I hope I have not worn your tender patience out.  I’m a canary, you know, and must chirp-chirp-chirp to whomever will listen. My faith is so intwined with my whole being that it should not surprise some of you that it works its way into my knitting.

If You Want to Gather Honey…..


This morning, as I was waiting for a book to download from Audible, I decided to revisit a classic that I had downloaded and listened to ten years ago.  So inspiring was this book then, that I had purposed to listen to it yearly but somehow forgot.  Today I was reminded that it was one of those golden books that must be savored slowly.  The book is called How to Win Friends and Influence Others written by Dale Carnegie, first published in 1936.  His purpose was to help engineers in their social skills.  Now if you know an engineer you are most likely smiling at this point.

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The first chapter is called “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive.”  Don’t you love that title?  The chapter deals with criticism, condemning and complaining and what that does to the lives around you.  “Criticisms are like homing pidgeons, they always find their way home.”

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One reason I especially like this book is because Mr. Carnegie sites many stories from the great corridors of history.  My favorite in this chapter was about Abraham Lincoln who we all know was extremely successful in dealing with men.  It surprised me to hear that as a young man in Indiana this wonderful man indulged in criticism.  He not only criticized but he wrote letters and poems ridiculing people. In 1842 he was challenged to a duel by an Irish politician named James Shields over an anonymous letter published in the paper in which Lincoln had literally lampooned him.  This incident in Lincoln’s life taught him something important about dealing with people.  His lesson wan invaluable and molded his character.  He never again wrote insulting letters and he almost never criticized anybody for anything ever again.

Case in point – at Gettysburg when General Meade defied his direct order to not hold a council of war but to attack Lee immediately which would have surely won the war that day.  Lincoln was furious and sat down and wrote Meade a letter expressing his displeasure.  This letter in no way resembled the critical letters of his youth.  His words were restrained and conservative and carefully chosen.  But the most amazing thing of all was that Lincoln never mailed the letter.  Meade never saw it.  He knew it would only arouse hard feelings and maybe even cause Meade to resign which Lincoln did not want.

Lincoln had learned what I hope to learn – ‘sharp criticisms and rebukes almost invariably end in futility.’

Joy Dare: Week 13

Unwavering thanks? Thirteen weeks into the Joy Dare I am no longer seeing this opportunity of remembering and giving thanks as simply a daily task of spiritual discipline. Now I see it as an essential fabric of my being. This discovery was made during the past week when I skipped a couple days because life got ‘too busy’ and I forgot to slow down and e-u-c-h-a-r-i-s-t-e-o. I quickly digressed to spiritual sluggishness, me-centeredness and was not altogether kind towards my husband. When I slowed down enough to see what was going on I realized that, regardless of how busy life becomes I can never let my thanksgiving waver. Each day I must take deep breaths of e-u-c-h-a-r-i-s-t-e-o.

Gifts #189-208 20120402-114412.jpg Almost gone – birdseed for all the little birdies stopping by for snacks, so thankful for their visits.

Almost gone – snow in the shade of trees, thankful spring is approaching.

Almost gone – my bronchitis,  thankful-so very, very thankful.

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 A song, Mercies Anew, budding the inspiration for a topic to teach on.

Words written by Spurgeon about the woman who asked for the crumbs beneath the table – the crumbs were enough because she understood who He was and had unwavering faith. More clarity for teaching.

A painting of that woman giving full birth to the theme and the study’s introduction.

20120402-114916.jpgThankful He, the Savior-Redeemer, stood silent in the presence of His accusers.

Thankful that God does not unfold His mysteries to the wicked, including Caiaphas.  The crucifixion would not be a circus show.

Thankful for that blessed silence as he stood being falsely accused, that silence lay at the heart of our redemption!

Thankful that the Redeemer, when under oath, proclaimed who He was.

20120402-115418.jpgEntwined – yarn fluid through gifted fingers giving way to products of beauty.

Entwined – my husband’s fingers in mine, still reaching for my hand every time we pray, 29 years of fingers being entwined.

Entwined – a mother’s heart entwined to her child’s heart throughout a lifetime.


A gift heard – Being reminded in a sermon of Lois, the grandmother of Timothy who taught him truth; hearing other supporting verses showing the importance of godly grandparents.

Holding the ‘crown of thorns’ from the Remembrance Table in my hands, being aware of its thorns, placing it with care in a box for storing all the while remembering the One who wore it for me.

Hoped for ….. His imminent return.

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His promise. That those who die in the Lord “sleep in Jesus” until the fulness of time shall bring the fulness of redemption – remembering & giving thanks for a grandmother that spoke to me of God. ( 1 Thessalonians 4:14)

His promise. That when I am anxious and turn to Him through prayer, supplication and with THANKSGIVING the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and my mind. (Philippians 4:6-7)

His promise. That when I am weary He will give me rest. (Matthew 11:28-29)

His promise. That He supplies my every need. (Philippians 4:19)

His promise. That if I have faith nothing will be impossible. (Matthew 17:20)

The Smell of Spices in the Air

My home smells of culinary delights this afternoon.  Cinnamon and honey waft from the dehydrator combined with the smell of curry from some lunchtime lentils and  fresh baked bread in the oven.  When I saw that I wasn’t going to finish my socks for St. Patrick’s Day I decided to raid my pantry, that is in a good way.  As much as I love keeping a well stocked pantry and shopping in bulk there comes that time when you either pass an expiration date or see it quickly approaching.
Making Bread

With that in mind, I put some wheat berries in a pan to soak for three hours to make some Honey Wheat Berry Bread using a 40 pound bag of wheat I’ve had for a couple years.  For my husband of the discerning tastebuds, I mixed up a batch of Basic White Honey Bread in a futile attempt to use of the forty pound bag of bread flour from Costco.  What was I thinking when I bought that bag?

Granola
I then mixed up a batch of granola (using this recipe) to go in the dehydrator for three hours finishing off a canister of oats, a container of salt and several opened but half-used bags of almonds.

Do you have a favorite granola recipe?  I’m always on the lookout for great recipes.  What about bread recipes?  Have any?

Joy

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130. Rejoicing in the miracle of life and the birth of our first grandchild.
131. Thankful for a quick delivery free of complications.
131. My heart singing as I hear the joy in my daughter’s description of her firstborn.

The Eternity Scarf

An Eternity Scarf that only takes a couple days?  Really?  Well, this was indeed a fast knit and a great stash busting project.

This scarf is really an exaggerated cowl.  I’ve recently become quite enamored with cowls for a couple reasons.  First, they are knit in the round and easier to tote around because of that.  Second, they are pulled over the head and can either be worn long or doubled up around the neck.  Because they are a loop, they stay put around your neck unlike straight scarves and so you are less likely to loose them!

Michele Wang used three different stitch patterns giving different options on how it’s thrown on.  Unfortunately, my third section (stockinette stitch) is much shorter than it should have been because I ran out of yarn.  Since this was an effort to knit up stash I didn’t think it prudent to go buy more yarn so I just knit until I was close to running out.

I would rate this Eternity Scarf as a beginner skill level.  It was easy, has a dramatic appearance and is a great way to bust your worsted weight stash!  I knit mine using Patons Classic Wool worsted weight.

Received with a Big Smile

On Christmas Eve I made my husband stop the movie we were watching just so that I could interject some advice to my loved ones.  You see, instead of paying attention to the movie my eyes were instead roaming around the room wondering if each person there would like  love what I had knit them for Christmas.  Then I remembered the Yarn Harlot’s post written to non-knitters on how they should receive the presents knit for them.   I quickly found post, ordered  requested my husband to halt the movie and read it to them.  They politely smiled and then we resumed watching the movie.  I wasn’t sure if it had sunk in.

Christmas Morning 2011

The Proper Way to Receive a Knitted Gift…..as the Yarn Harlot advises 

1. They each opened their gifts and immediately said some praiseworthy comment.

2. They each held up the item and smiled broadly.

3.  After admiring their present they each RUBBED IT ON THEIR FACE and then cuddled it against their neck and all said “Mmmmmm”.  My reaction was predictable and just what the Yarn Harlot said it would be – I LOVED it!

Brittany rubbing Wurm on her face.

Allison rubbing Courtyard on her face.

Hubby rubbing his Lichen Rib Socks on his face.

4. Don pronounced his socks the best fitting ones I had ever made him.

5. Brittany said she would place her Wurm Hat in a place of honor continuing to admire it at intervals.

6.  Allison kissed and hugged the knitter, her Memo.

I hope your hand-knit lovelies were received the proper way on Christmas morning.  If they weren’t, well, you just might print the Yarn Harlots advice column off and read it to your family on the night before Christmas!