Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Surprise! This is it! Isn't it wonderful? Although it was a fairly quick knit (it took me about a week to complete), and I am an experienced toy maker, this kitty stands as one of the most complicated patterns I've ever worked. I had some anxiety about whether it would actually turn out, and then when it did, I had this wonderful sense of having just pulled off a magic trick. The pattern is actually very clever, and despite what some frustrated knitters have said about it on Ravelry, there are no errors in it. You just have to be extremely attentive to each round and remember to pick up your short row wraps (the head and neck shaping get pretty wild).
 

The pattern is Sleepy Kitty, by  Kerin Dimeler-Laurence and is available through Knit Picks. I used the recommended yarn (Comfy Sport), but chose to do yellow stripes, because I love yellow cats, and, well, because I love yellow. ♥  This one was for Amy, so now I need to make one for Emmeline. That kitty will be gray and white, I think. 

Last night I started making a colorful Wurm, and I have the super cute Diana's Hat to show you tomorrow. It seems that I am in a hat-making mood at the moment

I'm on number seven in M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin Mystery series. Unfortunately, this story is my least favorite so far. I hope that my interest isn't beginning to wane, as I haven't enjoyed a series this much since I gobbled up all of the Trixie Belden books when I was twelve years old. In book six, the story was set in northern Cypress, where Agatha went on holiday. It was such an interesting location, and there was such a fascinating cast of characters, that things seem a little boring to me back in Agatha's little Cotswold village. I kind of liked going on holiday! I will say that M.C. Beaton is a deceptively good writer. At first, I thought this series was just cheesy commercial fiction, but the characters are well-drawn, fully-flawed humans, and there is plenty of social commentary to get you thinking about more than whodunnit.

Joining Ginny at Small Things today for her weekly Yarn Along. : )

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello! Has it really been three weeks since my last post? Summer is such a brief, glorious season in New England, that I savor every blessed second of it. In recent days, we've gone to the beach and toured a grand, old estate (I will share more about that excursion on Firday); hosted six of our relatives for the Fourth of July weekend and had a hurricane party complete with a lobster and steak dinner, salt potatoes, sweet corn, and homemade blueberry cake; watched two seasons of Downton Abbey and started the third; visited flea markets and yarn shops; swam; observed insects, turtles, and birds; tended our flower and veggie patches; knit; and read lots of books. (I am hooked on M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin Mystery series, which is about a middle-aged business woman who has retired to the English Cotswolds and repeatedly finds herself at the center of a murder mystery. There are twenty-five books in all--in two and a half weeks I've gotten up to number seven!)

   

 
In other news, my garden is flourishing. It's been a good season for roses. I adore the pink tinged golden hue of my new grandiflora 'strike it rich'.

And, I've finished the 'surprise' knit I was working on! It's not socks or a hot water bottle cover or a backpack or market bag, although those were all good guesses. : ) I can't wait to show you what it really is during this week's knit along. I've also finished knitting 'Diana's Hat' from the Green Gables Knits book. It is a lovely, simple pattern that I plan to make again very soon. Photographs and post coming later this week.


Oh, yes, Elvis says, "Hi". : )

So, I thought when summer came it would be an easy thing to shed a few pounds, what with walking and swimming and running around, but I'm getting fatter! I can't stop myself from baking pies and cakes. Last week, I made a peach pie that was absolutely scrumptious warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Do you know what this is? It's a 1950's 'head vase'. My son found it for me at an open air flea market up in Rowley. I love it and hope it will be the first in a collection.

I'll be back on Wednesday with more to share. See you then!

Friday, June 20, 2014

 


   



We went to Old Sturbridge Village today. The admission gates were a time portal that took us back nearly two hundred years to a New England farm village in 1830. I do love this sort of thing! All of the homes and buildings are authentic historical structures that were relocated to the museum's site. We explored two churches (or meeting houses), a little one room school, a general mercantile, a blacksmith, tinsmith, cooper, cobbler, and three different mills (a carding mill [for wool], a sawmill, and a grist mill), a bank, a lawyer's office, a parsonage, three working farms, and several homes.

The photos above are of the finest home in the village: the Salem Towne House. It is an elegant-two story Federal Style house built in 1796 that belonged to the Towne family of Salem, Massachusetts, who owned a three hundred acre farm (the typical farm in Massachusetts was about eighty acres.) The Townes were descendants of the three Towne sisters who were accused as witches in the infamous Salem Witch Trials (of whom two--Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty--were executed).

But what fascinates me most about history is not the major events and those who were involved in them, but rather the everyday lives of ordinary people. Today I learned that a typical New England farm wife spent the first half of her day preparing breakfast and dinner while tackling tough and messy chores like laundry and cheese making. Dinner was the biggest meal of the day and was served at noon. In the afternoon, she worked on lighter tasks like gardening, sewing and knitting. In the evening was supper, a simple meal of cold left-overs.

One of my favorite houses was a tiny two-room cottage built in the 18th century. It had a rustic, story-book quality that I loved. We were told that throughout its history it had been inhabited by two to ten people at a time. A double bed provided room for two-plus sleepers. When my mother was growing up on a dairy farm in upstate New York, she shared a bed with her two sisters. She said that it was a common practice years ago. Times have certainly changed. Isn't it strange that we spend our childhoods learning to sleep alone, only to have to figure out how to share a bed with someone when we're grown?


It was a glorious day of white, painterly clouds sailing across a dazzling, blue sky, and of sheep grazing in daisy-studded pastures.