two down, four to go – weeks that is….

Two weeks and so far, holding my own, well not really. I have this “grumpy butler” (Sea) who tends to my needs .. . Well, he drives me to the grocery store where I have mastered the bulky electronic cart. He has managed to push me into several of our favorite lunch places. He will bring me my hot coffee if he is up in time, otherwise I manage to have less coffee.
I have mastered getting down three steps to the bed room and have learned to push the wheel chair which someone else is supposed to push, backwards into the bed room. I have left scratches on every door and piece of furniture in my way.
And I am counting the weeks…. two out of 6 the Dr said it would be. So- I have set myself an insane goal…. knit the purple sweater. I would pick yarn that requires a size 4 needle… but it is keeping me busy. I can push the sewing machine foot pedal with the left foot but I find when I sew, I need to get  up and about and that isn’t going to work. So I am knitting… I’ll keep you posted.IMG_2095

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We are not huge football fans, but since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, we seem to be caught up in the local frenzy. Needless to say it is mentioned all week on all TV stations before every game. A trip to the grocery store on game day had all the clerks, and a large number of others wearing Seahawks colors. I was even complimented on my Seahawks blue cast on my leg. Gotta go with the team!
There was a time many, many years ago, before TV, when my dad would listen to the games on the radio. He would be in the basement, in his shop doing, who knows. He always had something to keep him busy down there. I would go down and watch, and when I was young, I had no idea what he was charting until I grew  up and watched the games on TV with him many years later.
He would save shirt card board (do they exist any more?) and draw the yard lines with a ruler. He would chart each play, each team up and down the field- a visual representation of the game. Amazing.
When TV was available he would watch the games on TV and when it was meal time the TV was situated in such a way that a hall mirror could be set so the TV could be seen from the dining room…backwards. Nothing would interfere with dinner with the family around the table….game or not ! Hooray for the Patriots… (we lived outside of Boston).
And now, we are cheering for the Seahawks… go Seahawks.

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Lazy day after one little trip

Lazy day Monday

One of the cartoons called it lazy day. Stay at home, relax, rest. Well, I don’t go to work any more but I should have  treated it as a lazy day. I got up with the intention of finishing (at last) a quilt I started some 15 or 20 years ago. It is supposed to have 12 cat blocks. Eight are done. If I did just one more, it would be big enough!.…. except  I tripped and did something  to my right foot, the one that uses the sewing machine pedal….
I spent Lazy day with my foot wrapped in ice, up on my lounge chair watching very old TV shows and knitting a sock. Oh well, Sia really wants the socks and there was nothing else I could do. The cat quilt is obviously not in a hurry to be done. What does it matter.
Back to the socks. Might even get both done now.

PS – from oldest daughter, editor-in-chief
(then mom went to the doctor today to get that swollen ankle checked out and it is broken….one blue cast and a wheelchair…one lazy day after another now….for 6 weeks….
Anyone for a pair of socks?)

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A Slice of Yesteryears – Treasure

An addition to the sweater saga of last week’s entry….the story behind the story

My granny knit all of my sweaters when I was a child. I often did get the ones with stripes on the sleeves and the bottom, which were reworked from last years, or my sister’s outgrown ones.
This did entail a certain ceremony every summer. Granny would invite us down to her little cottage on Cape Cod. We would arrive and she would have a tape measure, pencil in hand and a piece of paper ready. I came to understand about the paper as I was older. It was always torn on the sides. Granny saved everything. The papers were the back sides of envelopes she had received in the mail.
Once there, the ritual began. She would trace around a hand, fingers together, fingers spread out. And always there was an extra line at the end of the thumb and the tallest finger.I might add I do recall this procedure tickled my fingers and I would be told to hold still.
Then the sweater measurements… the arm, the back, the waist. I find I have done this with all of my grandkids when I had a chance and somewhere in my piles of stuff I have the hand prints of the four older grandkids, now all grown up, and notations in my knitting book of what size sweater I have knit for Lucy and Phoebe.
The purple sweater was the first I have added on to. With the others I assume the sweaters were passed on to someone else. In fact, when my kids were small and I worked as an aide in the local school, I saw my children’s sweaters on neighbor’s kids as they moved along the street to the younger children.
Then there is the sweater I won. I was in high school when I won a gift certificate for a sweater at a local store. I have no recollection how or why. My mother took me into Worcester to the store and waited while I made my selection.
It took a long time and finally the clerk  asked my mom why it was taking so long.
“She has never owned a store bought sweater. She is comparing them to hand knit.”
Hand knit fit, perfectly.
It was then I realized what a treasure a hand knit sweater is.

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I find I am writing often about “the little girls” – and they are hardly little any more at ages 9 and 11 – tall and slim and full of energy. But my other “grands” are between 26 and 30…. all grown up. We do see some of them now and then, but not as often as the little girls. In fact we have learned that my first great-grands will be arriving in the fall… twin girls. Can’t wait to see them.
Lucy, the 11 year old is growing so fast that a sweater I knit her a year ago has “shrunk”, according to Lucy. Mom washed it in the machine, and suddenly it was small. Fortunately I had more of the same yarn and spent a little time extending the length of the sleeves and the bottom. Lucy is getting taller and her arms are getting longer but she is as slim as ever.
She arrived from her new island home last week and I mentioned the purple sweater awaiting her. She ran to get it and put it on. “Perfect”, she says, “and it’s just like the other one!”
“It is the other one,” I said and I showed her where it was lengthened, and of course had to tell her about my Granny who would take a too small sweater and do the same thing. If she ran out of the proper yarn, we got stripes, until it was hopeless. And being the younger of two, I usually got the stripes.IMG_0290


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oh say say playmate, come out and play with me…

The two little girls come for visit when they can fit it into their busy days. They aren’t so little any more either, one having just turned nine and the other days away from turning eleven. They are moving farther away as well, so I treasure the visits I get.
They are still in the doll playing stage. I love this age. They go down to my basement where it is doll  and beanie baby heaven . They used to pull out all the dolls and strip them. The beanie babies would be tossed everywhere but as they have gotten older the routine is a bit different.
We had some work done in the basement and while that was going on, the girls were moved away from the main room and I let them set up their “houses” by the bookcase behind the couch, and with each needing their own space, I let them into my fabric storage closet. They have traded spaces once. I am not sure which is the favored spot but when I went down last week I noticed Phoebe’s house was in the closet. The big Mama doll was sitting in a windsor type chair and a book was perched on her lap. The dog (there is always a dog in Phoebe’s house) was on its own rug, and the little girl was tipped over, probably by me. I set her in the chair to hear the story being read and went to examine the other house. At Lucy’s house it was bed time, and pretty neat as we had given the girls time to straighten their houses before that had to leave.
They will come again soon and things will change…  I even kept their houses in tact during their two month long visit to New Zealand. I will miss their houses as they get older and have other interests. I wonder what the next phase will be.

phoebe 1  phoebe 2  lucy 1  lucy 2


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all because…..

I wasn’t going to buy more fabric (for a while). I turned down an invitation to visit a new fabric source. Instead, I visited my stash in the basement and in the drawers in my sewing room. I put together a lap size quilt, and then another, and then another. They were nice, but not ones I wanted to finish and hang in my living room. So I donated them to the quilt guild that finishes quilts for the kidney center. I hauled out a kit I bought many years ago and began sewing that. The pieces are piled on the sewing table unfinished.
All because a friend came to the Otterbees with a pile of fabric she had bought. We all drooled over her choices. I had seen that fabric in a sample quilt at the store. Nice… but… not for me, until I got out mirrors and tested how it would stack and whack. (This is a plan where the fabric is carefully stacked so the design is laid one on top of another six layers deep, or 8, then carefully cut so you have 6 or 8 identical pieces. (see Bethany Reynolds for ideas)….
One of the fabrics looked like I would love to try it. I raced to the store. I bought six repeats… of course this was a 24 inch repeat so I had to buy four yards! I bought three other fabric to go with it. So much for my plan not to buy more fabric… for a while. I began cutting and stacking and testing my plan…………

Amelia took one look. Not the right green, says she. So we took a day to cruise other fabric shops, finding two greens that would work.

1-photo  2-photo-001

End result…. I now have more fabric in my stash. I will finish this one and may even hang it in my living room, or let Amelia have it…. and return to making kidney quilts until my stash is a little smaller…. maybe…. and please don’t show my any new fabrics for a while.

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