Saturday, June 26

Dancing Stars Stole

Dancing Stars is a filet crochet stole. Playful stars dance across the surface of the stole that ends with a ribbon border. Worked only in simple double crochet and chain stitches, this 115 row stole works up quickly with about 900 yards of fingering/sock yarn and a size G (4 mm) hook. The pictured stole was made with less than 4 balls of Knit Picks Palette in Calypso Heather. Yarn cost for this project is under $9!

The blocked size of this stole is 25” x 63”. It's an intermediate pattern that requires a basic knowledge of filet crochet and filet charts. There are no row-by-row instructions with this pattern. Filet crochet is easily worked from charts.

This 4 page pattern includes basic written instructions and a filet crochet chart. Print the pattern out on the front and back of two letter sized sheets of paper and fold it in half to make a booklet that's easy to tuck into your project bag.

The pattern can be found in my Ravelry pattern store.

For more information, visit my Ravelry pattern store to see all my available designs, current pricing information, and purchase pattern downloads.

Sunday, June 20

This kind of excitement I don't need!

June has been a wild month so far. I can do without this kind of excitement.

The night of June 11th, I didn’t get much sleep. I was up late working on a new crocheted shawl. I had finally figured out what I wanted to do for the border and was looking forward to working on it without any distractions.

That's when I heard sirens coming from all directions and the number of police cars in the neighborhood. Two were parked at the intersection near my house. Another was parked with their lights shining across the yards several house south of mine. At this point, I'm wondering what the heck is going on?

I see lights everywhere, men on foot with flashlights and dogs walking around my house and my neighbors yards. It’s really weird to have cops crawling all over your backyard in the middle of the night. I cracked the window and softly asked the officers what was going on. They said they were searching for suspects who had bailed out of their vehicle. Yikes! Now I was totally freaked out! What kind of suspects were they dealing with? Did they have guns? Was I scared? Yes!

Unable to sit down, I peeked out of darkened windows to see what was going on. They searched my yard several times looking under, behind, and in every nook and cranny. Over an hour later, the searchers and dogs on foot left. The police car blocking the road at the corner remained and the one parked south of us still had it's headlights shining across the back of our neighbors yard to the south. The lights were to see if the suspects tried to flee the area. I sat down and tried to concentrate enough to work on the shawl border. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to sleep if I went to bed.

Sometime after 3 am, the last police car left with its lights flashing but no siren.

I finished the shawl before I crawled into bed about 4 am.

I checked the local news websites the next day for information about what happened. Two men driving a Cadillac were reported for breaking into cars parked at a local motels. These men fled in their car with the police in pursuit. They ditched their car a couple of houses away from mine and headed off on foot. The news story stated that they caught one of the suspects hiding behind a neighbor's house. Not mine but nearby. The other suspect was still at large.

Then this past Friday night, June 18, we had a very strong storm system move through. The forecast was for storms. Our temp hit about 90 degrees and thunderstorm watches were put out early in the afternoon. When I saw the big bow echo on the radar bearing down on Chicago and heading in our direction, I knew it was going to be a wild evening.

Hubby came home early because it was so hot. I’m glad he did. The local weather forecasters said we could get hammered with hurricane force winds as the storm front passed through our area. For once they were right. Wind gusts in the area were clocked at up to 90 mph.

The storm reached us at 6:45 pm EDT. As the skies darkened, the wind picked up, and the rain came down in sheets sideways. Trees twisted in the wind. We heard/felt a loud thud. What was that? I retreated to the basement.

Our electricity bounced on and off for about 5 minutes as the first blast of the storm rolled through. Not a good sign. I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn't stay off. Watching our thermometer, I saw the temperature drop from 85 degrees to 69 in 10 minutes. After the winds settled down, the thunder and lighting began and it continued to rain for another hour.

After the first wave went through, hubby and I went outside to check the damage. Lots of small branches down in our yard. The big tree behind our garden that was struck by lightning several years ago took a beating. About half the tree came down in the wind. We heard/felt the thud when it hit the ground. The branches shattered when they hit the ground. Here are some pictures I took right after the storm when it was getting dark.

Our garden took a beating. Plants and wire cages blown down. One hill of squash flattened. I walked through the garden setting things up. The ground squished under my feet. It was saturated with water. We could use a good week without any rain. They forecasting more on Monday. A second line of not-as-strong storms passed through about 11 pm dropping more rain on us.

Power was knocked out to about 80,000 in our area and is still out. In one small town nearby, the entire town lost their electricity. We consider ourselves lucky to still have power. About 300 repair crews have been called in to repair downed lines and poles.

On Saturday morning, we went to help a friend move. On the way to her house we saw several uprooted trees and lots of big branches and leaves down everywhere. We stopped at a filling station for gas. They only had no regular left, only premium. They were the only gas station in that area that had power. They were swamped with customers. As we came back through in the afternoon, they had were out of gas.

Several of our friends helping with the move were told they probably won’t get their power back on until Monday (or even late Tuesday night). Since we have an extra freezer in our basement, we offered freezer space to our friends whose power was out. Two took us up on the offer. I'm glad we could help. We've lost our electricity enough to know how difficult it is and worrying about the cost of losing a freezer full of food doesn't help.

My wish is for clear skies, no more rain for a week, and power being restored to everyone faster than the estimates. Oh, and a little boredom might be nice. :)

Thursday, June 10

Bad blogger!

Sorry everyone, I know I've been MIA. I keep meaning to blog.

My mom is doing ok. She's going through physical therapy for her right arm and hand. Her PT session have already been extended twice, which tells you that it's not going as well as it could. Her hand is still swollen but looks much better than it did several weeks ago. I'm not having to go over to their house as often to help with things. That's good!

The fiber frolic at my house for my knitting group on May 1st was a lot of fun. I didn't get much time to sit down. Everyone wanted to see my design studio and drool over my wall of yarn. :) Next time I want more time to sit down to talk and play with everyone. Sorry there are no pictures. Everyone was having such a good time that nobody, including me, remembered to take any pictures. LOL!

In April, my niece had a birthday party to celebrate her son's first birthday. Her grandmother Lydia was there. She had been suffering from cancer for several years and had just gotten out of the hospital. Down to about 80 pounds, she was a shadow of her former self. She told me she was waiting for more biopsy results, admitted she was tired of fighting, and that it didn’t matter what the test results were. Sigh...I knew she wouldn’t be with us much longer. Even as bad as Lydia felt, she still asked about my mom. She knew about my mom’s fall and surgery. She told me that the cards my mom had sent her over the years had helped. "Your mom has a good heart." :) She asked when my mom's birthday was in May so that she could send her a birthday card. (She didn't live long enough to do this.) That day I was wearing my recently complted Painted Mountain shawl. Lydia admired it so I took it off, placed it around her shoulders, and told her it was hers. She smiled and said “Really?” I was happy that this small gift made her smile and feel better for a while. She was still thanking me as I left the party. Lydia died on May 6, 2010. Her funeral was a hard one to attend. Her daughter told me how touched she was that I had gifted the shawl to her mom and asked if I wanted it back. "No," I said, "keep it for the memories." She said she would send me a picture of her mom wearing the shawl. I hope she does.
Hubby was on vacation for two weeks. We got most of our vegetable garden planted. It's been a real struggle between hot temps and lots of rain. One day we had over 3.5" of rain! I've put some mulch down but the weeds are starting to come up big time. Need to get some cages and protection around somethings to keep the critters out. I've already seen deer tracks in the garden.

Here's a picture of a pair of Mallard ducks that have been visiting our yard. I cleaned out the small pond in our backyard and they've been swimming in it. Boo and Pookie keep watch when they're around and try to stalk them. Those geese are too smart to let a cat near them. I laugh when their prey flies off to safety. (Thanks Angie for letting me know these are ducks not geese. Hubby is always telling me they are geese. :) )

Lots of new projects in the works. Some knit and some crochet. A crocheted stole is out for testing. My testers should be done with it by June 19th. There are several more that need testing, others that need written up (including a round star and leaf shawl I translated from a pattern in Weldon's Practical Needlework from 1895). There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I have to do and things I want to do.

BTW, I'm moderating all comments for the moments. A spammer keeps trying to post unwanted stuff on my blog. You can still post comments though it may be awhile before I approve them and they show up.