Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baby Barcroft

The first baby in our group of college friends is due next month! Kara, Chris' cousin, and her husband Daniel are having a baby boy.

We girls, Tiffany, Laura S. , Laura B., Ruth, Katey and myself gave Kara a surprise shower on Saturday. Toph, Austin, Tiffany and Laura S. went over to Kara and Daniel's house ostensibly to celebrate Austin's birthday, which is on Tuesday. Then they got Kara out of the house by telling her they were taking her clothes and antiques shopping. Meanwhile the rest of the girls were at the antique mall in the tea room where we had all of the presents.

Laura and Tiffany brought Kara in and she was very surprised to see all of us. We had planned a baby book theme, so everyone had bought baby books for the new baby. Our favorite was the one from Laura:

Kara loved all of the Little Golden, Good Dog Carl, and Pirate books. The baby got a lot of clothes including the outfit that I gave them. For those of you who do not know Kara and Daniel, Daniel is a goofball who loves cartoons and comics and is a cartoonist himself. He always wears Converse sneakers, including at his own wedding. So here is what I made for their baby; Converse booties, Blue jeans, and a baseball tee with Mac from Freshfish (Daniel's webcomic) on it.

Daniel loved the shirt so much that he took it to church the next morning to show off to everyone! It was really great being able to make something that they appreciated so much.

We did finally take Kara shopping so that she could get some new maternity tops and we could all hang out.

That night, Laura B., Katy, Tiffany, and I went Swing dancing at the Sammons center. It was so much fun. I hadn't been dancing in years. I felt five pounds lighter by the end of the night. That is the best way to exercise ever!

I spent the next day with Laura S. knitting on her couch and helping her untangle some beautiful alpaca/silk laceweight yarn that she had tangled when she tried to knit with it straight from the skein. :( Chris hung out with the guys and played the new expansion to Settlers (the best game ever!)

All in all it was a wonderful weekend, though a little long. I can't wait to see the baby when he comes!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Harmon's Quilt Pt. 2

Well, I went home for Harmon's graduation and birthday a couple of weeks ago and I gave him his quilt and another present. I have been busy and lazy and haven't posted yet.

I didn't take any pictures of Harmon with his quilt because other people there had better cameras than I did. So these pictures were taken by his girlfriend.

First, I gave him a personalized picture frame. (These pics by Melody)

Then, I gave him the quilt.
He loved it.

I am so proud of him. Here he is walking across the stage and getting his diploma. Notice the gold tassel which means that he is in the top 10 percent of his class and the NHS collar.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Graduation Quilt pt 1

Last Christmas my wonderful, darling husband bought me a new sewing/embroidery machine. I decided that to properly break it in, I should make a graduation quilt for my brother Harmon. Harmon runs Cross Country and the one and two-mile events in Track as well as plays soccer and basketball. In addition he is a very good student. I would love to have students(s) like him! I wanted to honor his activities in a quilt that allowed me to play with my embroidery machine, so I picked a quilt pattern that had large white blocks that I could embroider with motifs about his sports.With this in mind, I picked the Bear Tracks pattern in the Spring/Summer '07 "Quilt Sampler" by Better Homes and Gardens which my mother had given me for Christmas.
I used Harmon's school colors. The fact that the pattern has bear claws is fitting since his school mascot is the wildcat and they have paw prints on everything. (yes, I know that the bear claw has 4 toes and the cat paw print has only 3)
I just finished piecing it to night and have laid out the backing, batting, and quit top sandwich. I will start quilting tomorrow. I am very pleased with how it is turning out so far.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Other News and Knitting

Two weeks ago, the DH and I went to the D/FW area to hang out with some friends and I took the opportunity to do some yarn shopping at Yarns Ewenique in Fort Worth. I got some great yarn. First I bought some beautiful Classic Elite Miracle in the most gorgeous deep plum color I have ever seen. Alas, I have no pictures, as that yarn was purchased for my Swap on a Budget partner on Ravelry, and it has been sent off. I bought some other yarn for some secret baby knitting. And then I splurged and bought two balls of Jojoland Harmony in rust and green colorway to make my first lace project; the Pretty as a Peacock Shawl by Some Knitting Required. I am hoping to have this done by the middle of June so that I can wear it when I go out to California for my grandparents 50th anniversary.

I have gotten about halfway through the second chart and am really enjoying this knit. The colors are gorgeous and the pattern is really interesting. I love getting far enough into a chart to see what picture this portion creates. I also love the moment when I "get" the pattern and what is going on, how the row I am knitting now relates to the previous row. That is a really great feeling. (I also am less likely to mess up because at this point I understand what I am doing and not just blindly following the steps, trusting that they will get me to the desired end product. I wish that my students could get what we are doing in class the same way. It is the best moment in the world when it does happen. Those are the moments that remind me why I am teaching.)

Anyway, here are some pictures, because that is why you are here, right? You want to SEE what I am making.

Here is where I was on April 27th. At this point, I had completed the first chart.
Here is where I am now. You can see the change of colors that is happening and the change in pattern from the little tiny feathers at the center to the bigger feathers that overlap like scales at the outer edge where it is green. You can also see the yarn I am using. I love it. It is really soft and having the colors change has been a lot of fun to watch.
If you look closely, you can also see the 17 stitch markers that I made so that I can separate each pattern repeat. They don't all match because I made the big pink ones first and used up all of those beads (Yes mom, they are the leftover beads from the bracelet I made you for the wedding). But then I got to the next chart and it repeats 15 times so I had to make 10 more markers and so I used some plastic pearl beads that I have had for ages and ages along with some purple seed beads left over from when I made my sister's prom dress a few years back.

Completed Fifi!

I have completed Fifi finally! I have been holding off on posting because I have had difficulty obtaining a decent picture. I finally decided I should post and show you the pics I have and then come back and add the gorgeous pictures that Emerald is going to take for me.

First we have a picture of it in its finished glory while blocking. Yes, it really is THAT orange while wet.

This picture was taken on Monday, when I thought that I was going to wear it, but then I turned on the news and it was 37 degrees outside. 37! in Abilene on April 28th. So I changed into something else and then wore Fifi on Tuesday. I wore it again on Friday night. I really, really, really love this pattern/top! It is super comfortable and super cute. Don't you think so?
I want to make another one soon, probably in a plum or dark teal for some variation. The color on this one is really interesting. Thus the varying colors in posts. The color makes me think of a Creamsicle. It is just about that color of a soft orange.

Even though I made mine in the size medium and made it 3-4 inches longer than the cropped length in the pattern I still used only 5 balls of Rowan Calmer instead of the recommended 7. That means that since I bought it as a bag of 10 balls, I have enough left over for another one. I am hoping to be able to either trade or sell what I have left over to obtain yarn for a new one. The only thing that I am not completely sold on with this pattern is the dip in the center front and back. Before I make my next one, I want to experiment with changing the center section so that it doesn't end up so much longer than the rest of the top. I am thinking about continuing the three center cables, keeping the outer ones as staggered cables. This is based on my theory that the diagonal ribbing is what is causing the "V" shape in the center and that the cables won't do that. We'll see.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Multitasking, Progress, and Cats that Get in the Way.

I mentioned the other day that I had been knitting while watching my embroidery machine and listening to an audio book. Well here is what that looks like...
I have been working steadily on my Fifi and it shows:I only have about 6 inches to go! and then finishing up the sleeves. I am really excited about getting this done.

In other news: it is difficult to knit when the very friendly cat decides that she wants to sit right next to you and lays down on your yarn. You don't have room to move your elbows without disturbing and waking her up (and then she would try to play with the yarn...) and it is harder to pull the yarn with all of that extra tension on it.

Notice that Emma does not care at all that she is being a nuisance.


I am now on Ravelry. If you want to find me on there, I am Knitterleigh.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Irises and Other Flowers

The other day I called my mom to tell her that I had decided that none of the irises in my yard were dark purple or white. I had reached this conclusion because as I drove around town, I had noticed that all of the dark purple and white irises were blooming and mine were not. Mine had not even put up stalks yet!

However this morning, as I walked around the yard and peeked into the very narrow space between the side of our house and the fence I saw this:
and this:
Notice that those are both dark purple and white! OOps!

I don't know what is up with the white flowers though. The stem on that plant is really that curved. It doesn't look as though it has ever been straight. I am wondering if it has anything to do with the snow we had earlier....

While I was writing this post, our neighbors came over and asked if we would like to have some flowers. They had been planting flowers in their front yard and had some left over so, they gave us the rest. Here they are:
We got Marigolds,
Lamb's Ear,
and Ageratum.
Yeah Flowers!!!!

WIP: Fifi

I have been working steadily on Fifi. I have to say that I love this pattern and the yarn!

I had very smooth knitting for the upper bodice. However, when I switched to the lower bodice section which is mostly a 2x2 rib, my gauge got really off. All of a sudden my stitches were really loose. I could see it all over, but it was most noticeable in the center cable. It had clearly gotten wider when I had moved into the lower section. At first I thought that it would be ok, but as I kept knitting and paid more attention to my knitting and made sure that I wasn't making my stitches to loosely, my gauge got tighter again. Now it really was noticeable that there was a loose section in the middle, so I had to rip it out. We're talking almost 3 8-row repeats! Like 2.5 inches. It hurt a lot. So I took pictures before hand to prove to myself later that I had made the right choice.

Here it is before I frogged it. It's a little hard to see here what I am talking about.

But when you look at this picture you should be able to see what I mean about the size of the cable changing. All of the cables at the top are evenly the same size and the bottom one is the same size as well. However, the two at the bottom before the very last repeat are ( to me ) noticeably bigger. Since this is the portion over my bust and this is a pattern with negative ease, a loose gauge seemed a very bad idea. I had picked this pattern because it could be worn to work without either an undershirt or a jacket. If knitted too loosely however the chemise would be necessary.

After about 4 days of reknitting, I am finally just past where I had been when I frogged the piece. While this is a horrible picture, you should be able to tell that the cable is now even and the shirt does not appear see through.

Since this picture, I have added another cable repeat while watching my embroidery machine and listening to the Librivox recording of "The Scarlet Pimpernel". Now that is what I call multi tasking!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The knitting bug has bitten!!

When my new interchangeable knitting needles showed up last week I had to play around with the smaller sizes that I had never used before so I made these with some size ten crochet thread that I had around that house. The first one got lost for a while so I haven't woven in it's ends yet. I think it will have fringe at the top. The pattern for this one is free online.

I like this one a little better, though I had to start it multiple times because I kept losing stitches. I modified it from this pattern. I decided that I didn't want it rectangular, so after 12 repeats I started decreasing by keeping the pattern stitches on the sides and keeping stockinette in the center. I actually think that mine is prettier than the one on the pattern page.

Then, last night I started a pair of socks. I keep seeing all of these socks on other knitting blogs, and the people are soooo excited about them. But I don't wear socks unless I have to ( meaning I am working out) and then I can get 12 pairs at wal-mart for $3. But then I saw this pattern , and I thought, I would wear those. Those would make great trouser socks to wear to work and they're pretty enough I could even wear them with a skirt. gasp! So I decided to make complicated socks for the first pair of sock I will ever knit. But I don't like boring knits and I don't see any point in knitting something that I will never wear.
So yesterday, while I was still waiting for my Calmer to arrive so that I can make Fifi, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some dpns and this DMC linen cotton crochet thread (I don't have a yarn store with in 3 hours of me). I am really happy with how it is coming out. I am a bit worried about how they will fit, since they seem a bit tight. I'm going to give it a few more inches and then we'll see.

My feet are humongous! See how far I have to go still? Any way I am really happy with how they are turning out. And last but most definitely not least. My gorgeous Rowan Calmer in the discontinued shade of Tangerine that will make me a beautiful Fifi. I am already in love with this yarn and I haven't even started knitting with it yet.

Thankfully it is Spring Break so I should be able to get lots of knitting done.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Here are pictures of the Daffodils and Hyacinth in my front yard. I love spontaneous flowers. I didn't plant these and didn't even know that they were there until they started coming up. We just bought this house so this is our first spring here.

This is the one bunch of Hyacinth that came up and they are pink. Hyacinth are normally blue or white so this is weird.

The reason my Daffodils are leaning over so much is because it snowed! Abilene didn't get much snow, a little less than an inch, but Cisco (where I work) got over 5 inches. It was crazy. I don't have any pictures of this snow fall but I did just find pictures of when it snowed at Thanksgiving and my family was here. I'll put those pictures up next.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Great Mail Day.

Yesterday was a great mail day for me. My sister finally returned my favorite dress that I had let her borrow for Christmas parties. And I received my French Girl Fifi pattern!! I am really excited to start on this pattern. Now, I just have to wait for my yarn and needles to arrive. Until then I will be busy sewing costumes for our school's One Act production of Blithe Spirit. Then I can knit, knit, knit and have a cute top to wear soon.

Friday, February 29, 2008


I just won an eBay Auction for 10 balls of Tangerine color Rowan Calmer yarn. The total price with shipping came out to under 7 dollars per ball. This is a yarn that retails for 11 to 13 dollars a yard. I am going to make a really cute summer top out of it. All of the knitting blogs that I have been stalking seem to love this yarn, so I am really excited about working with it. This will be my most ambitious knitting project to date, but I think it will be really good. I actually like working cables...I know, I'm weird.

In other news, I have daffodils blooming in my front yard. They make me happy every time I see them. I am hoping to plant some flowers soon. I am just waiting until it quits freezing at night so that I can put out the seeds. I bought delphinium, lupine, phlox, and sweet william. I think it will be really pretty when they are all up and blooming. Our house definitely needs the curb appeal.

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Recording Setup pt. 2

I think I may have found the magic combination for recording. I turned off Chris's computer and moved the mike closer to my mouth. I also put the mike on a "pillow" of bubble wrap because we have a pier and beam foundation and the mike was picking up vibrations from cars passing our house. This may mean that I will rerecord the first 9 chapters of Agnes Grey because I want them to have a consistent sound quality.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New recording setup

Today I figured out that I need to change my recording setup and/or my editing method. For the first time ever, I listened to a book for which I had read a chapter. After listening to the other sections, especially the ones by Katie Gibboney, my recording didn't sound too great. It had some background noise still and the sound seemed muffled. I am going to experiment with moving the mike and turning off Chris's computer while I record ( If I can...) I may also post asking for help on how to improve my editing method so that my sound quality is better. I really do want to create quality recordings.

Early out for the Students

Today we had an early out of sorts. The students all got to leave at 2 pm. (And no we did not make all of the classes shorter so that all of the classes could meet... we just skipped study hall and cut off 7th period in the middle. Which means that once again I have lost my 8th period class.) Notice that I say that the STUDENTS got to leave at 2. The teachers had a massive meeting for TAKS training. The English Language Arts TAKS Test is in two weeks so we had to go over the new procedures for the test administrators. All of the rest of the tests are in April.

In other news, meaning Librivox, I am making progress on my solo project, Agnes Grey. Three orphaned sections opened up in Les Miserables and I claimed them and have them turned in. I also claimed the last chapter of Edison, His Life and Inventions by Thomas Cummerford Martin and Frank Lewis Dyer. This is a very interesting biography of a very interesting person and I wanted to see it finished, so that I can listen to it.

Chris calls me an orphan snatcher, because I watch the orphans thread very closely and snatch them up. I like recording orphans, because I want to see books finished and sometimes those orphans are for projects that I had wanted to work on and couldn't because it was full...and now it's not. The orphans also give me some flexability. I don't sign up for a lot of chapters at one time because my recording time is so limited (Friday nights and early Saturday and Sunday), but if a chapter is still orphaned close to the weekend I will take it and there is not a long commitment.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Day Off

I took this last Wednesday off because I really needed a day to myself when I could get some stuff done and relax. The week before had been really stressful and I had had to work the last two Saturdays, so I hadn't even had my weekends. As I hadn't taken a single day off since the beginning of the school year, I don't feel guilty at all. I was able to finally get my massage that I had had to reschedule twice due to a UIL practice meet and a meeting after school. I bought embroidery thread so that I could start working on embroidering the blocks of the graduation quilt that I am making for my little brother. I got some recording for Librivox done; a chapter of Rinkitink in Oz and a chapter of Agnes Grey. They still need to be edited. I also embroidered 4 designs for the quilt. It was a wonderful day! It was so nice having to only go to school for two days at a time!

Monday, February 11, 2008

These are pictures of Chris and me and Emma Rose that my sister-in-law, Emerald Lemmons, took for us at Christmas. She is amazing. All of the pictures she takes are beautiful.

This one is at the Jacob's Dream at ACU.

This is our Emma Rose. Isn't she adorable?

Here is all three of us together at home.

Can you tell I've been busy?

I can't believe that it has been over a year since I have posted. I will try to do better about that this year. ... We'll see...

O.K., What has happened in the last year since I posted.

1) I graduated.

2) I got a job teaching Algebra 1 and Math Models and other Math Labs at Cisco High School.

3) We got a cat. Emma Rose makes our lives very interesting.

4) We bought a house. Chris and I and Emma now live in a very nice 4 bedroom, 2 bath house. It is sooo nice having a real house and not having to deal with landlords and loud neighbors fighting every night outside beneath your window. I

5) We bought a new car after Chris's car imploded. As he puts it: his car got in a wreck with itself. The engine block became loose and shook around under the hood while he was driving, thus tearing up everything underneath the hood. I now drive a Toyota Corolla while he drives my old Concorde because the Corolla gets ten more miles to the gallon. That makes a difference when you are putting 500 miles + on your car each week.

6) I found and joined Librivox.org. Librivox is a site run by volunteers that creates free public domain audiobooks by having volunteers read chapters of public domain books. I am totally addicted. I listen to audiobooks frequently due to my long (1 hour both ways) commute. And recording chapters gives me a sense of accomplishment. Something is done! Also, I love the feeling that I am contributing to other people being exposed to literature. As most of my friends know, I love books. If you ask for books for Christmas/Birthdays, you will get books. Chris and I claim that we are single-handedly keeping the Books-A-Million in business.
I am currently working on a number of collaborative projects , where various volunteers read one or two chapters (or more ) chapters each. I am also doing a solo project of Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. This means that I am the only one recording on this project. I am hoping to have it finished by the end of May.
When I figure out how to do it, I will keep a list here of the projects that I have contributed to.

7) I got a wonderful, brand new, embroidery sewing machine for Christmas! I have been wanting a new machine for years and years now. As the maiden project on the new machine, I made personalized Christmas stockings for Chris and myself and for my brother and sister in-law and their dog. I am currently working on a graduation quilt for my brother, who is graduating from High School in May. I am doing the quilt in this school colors; Red and Blue. To honor all of the sports that he participates in, I am embroidering soccer, basketball, cross-country, and track designs on the quilt along with his name and best times. I am very excited. I have not done a full-size quilt before and this should be a lot of fun. ( I hope so, because I have four more siblings who need graduation quilts after him...)

I think that pretty much gets me caught up.