Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!  May your remembering be bright, breezy, and as colorful as this beautiful Monday.  It never ceases to stir me to see the new flag placed by a veteran next to my father's grave and as I look out over the cemetery to see others flying, marking other graves of those who also served.  I am proud of you, Dad, for this and for so many other reasons.  And I still miss you...every, every day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Spring cleaning the attic unearthed a box of old jars that once sat on shelves lining a back wall of our old country home kitchen, from a time that now seems another life.  Not quite done looking at this luminescent blue Mason jar (dated 1848), I filled it with some yard sale vintage buttons and perched it on the window sill next to my sewing machine.  I really do love buttons, and this jar adds to an ever-growing stash.  Lately, I have been attaching vintage buttons to my knitting, like these white ones that went on this lovely little baby sweater, I made for a silent auction at church

The quirky, big, bright, unique ones have landed on a stack of button headbands I have been knitting for Christmas giving.  I bought some discounted Plymouth yarn (Sin City and Europa Tweed) and used a free online pattern to knit my way through the yarn and my button tins and jars.

The pattern is pretty simple:   You simply cast on 64 stitches, choose to knit in a k2 p2 rib or seed stitch, knit in the round for 3 inches and bind off. The little band that goes around the head band is a 5 inch strip of 8 stitches (garter or seed stitch) which you secure around the head band to crimp it a bit.
I used a 10.5, 16 inch circular needle.

And then the fun continues--you secure the band with a button!

And oh my, I have such wonderful ones to choose from!  I just read that one way to tie a quilt for binding is to attach a button.  Well, that certainly seems like a good idea to me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Disappearing 9-Patch Holiday Quilt

The quilts our sewing group sew for Lutheran World Relief are constructed within a few prescribed perimeters--they must be 60 X 80" and not contain any materials that suggest either religious or patriotic messages.  Our group interprets that to mean no fabric with Christmas or Fourth of July type images or design.  We do, however, get donated fabric that is clearly Christmas and other holiday themed and most recently, some kind parishioner even cut 11" squares (which we delight to receive) out of fabrics that while lovely were definitely Christmas and patriotic.


A while ago, I saw this pattern, A Disappearing 9-Patch technique that seemed like an easy-to-do, fun thing to try; hese patches presented the perfect time to experiment.  Since we can't use this quilt for Lutheran World Relief and since we are asked each Fall to give a Silent Auction item for the CROP Walk Silent Auction, using these squares for a quilt top for that purpose seemed like a good use of that fabric and my time.  So here it is...

The patches above (and more--a total of 5 group of 9 or 45 squares) were sewn together.

Then, each large square of 9 patches is cut in the middle, both ways (see above link for a good description of that) and arranged in any way you like.   This is a great method and quick way to make a different pattern from groupings of patches!

I may just have to make another one now for us or someone else.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


 May brings flowers of varied hue, fresh green grass, and outdoor fun of all kinds.

After the winter just passed, this Spring and this May seem especially beautiful and especially welcome.  It has been a Nana intensive spell for me.  We spent almost a week in NC caring for our grandsons, while their mother and father took a well deserved break for some couple time on the West coast.  Both Jim and I have renewed appreciation for the juggling act and stamina required to raise children.  We managed to hold down the fort (although not always with energy or aplomb), making memories for us all; our boys are magnificent.

Yesterday, I made the trek to spend a day with our magical granddaughter, which made it a three for three grandchild week, truly a rare treat (why can't we just all live in the same town the way it is supposed to be!).  We did a lot of drawing, one of her favorite pastimes of late.

This weekend is graduation day here at Penn State, and our town bustles and bursts. Tomorrow, of course, is Mother's Day.  Rarely does a day go by, that I don't think of and miss my mother.  During times like last week, when I am immersed in my role as Nana, I recall Mom at the same time in her life (and my Grandma Herman) and wish for a conversation about those days when she was doing what I am doing now.  A different lens offers one a different perspective.

Today, I am off to a baby shower celebrating a new mom-to-be.   Life begins anew in more ways than one this May.

Happy May!  Happy Mother's Day!