Thursday, June 16, 2016

Balls, Bags, Babies and Blessings

I think knitting has taken over my life!  It's a bad addiction but luckily my OCD doesn't allow me to knit until my chores have been done :) haha... note: only a little bit of this blog post is about knitting

Recently I signed up for a six month subscription of shawl patterns; one being sent each month to my Ravelry account.  There was so much anticipation for the first pattern to be released on June 9th.  I untied my 447 yard skein, put it in a safekeeping place since I could not wind it at the moment, only to come home, pick it up and drop it!  Needless to say, it was a tangled mess! Three hours later, it was wound in a ball.  It got me thinking about a swift and ball winder.  But, they are pricey and do I really  need them?

Instead, I googled ball winder and found out about an unusual item called a  nostepinne.  Then I watched a you tube video and found it I could use a wooden spoon.  I carefully untied my second skein of yarn and started.  It worked great!  You can see my perfectly wound skein of yarn which allows me to pull the yarn from the center in the photo below.

This past week I received such a nice gift in the mail.  I've gotten hooked on reading Life After Money.  Ilona is the very creative lady behind this blog and she is so talented.  She can make something out of nothing!  She recently made up these shopping bags and had a contest on her blog.  I was the lucky winner of one of them.  It's so special that I think I'll use it as a knitting bag.

Speaking of bags, travel fever is taking over our family.  We found we needed some new suitcases and this time we bought super light ones!  With a 50 pound limit per bag, my bag easily gets overweight.  Do you remember the days of 70 pound bags?  Maybe I'm telling you my age...

 My dear daughter is a wonderful Mom to her two children.  But, sometimes I think she forgets that I too raised two children without all the new fangled stuff/ideas that are out there today.  She told me about a blog she read the other day about moms from the 70's.  It perked my curiosity so I found it here.  And, I read it and I really didn't think it was so bad.  No, I didn't smoke, and I didn't make fried bologna sandwiches, but I did use a play pen and swing for the baby.  And, my own childhood summers in the 60's always included red kool aid made with lots of sugar!  And, I never limited the sugar intake with my children.  And, guess what?  They came out just fine.  My, how times have changed.  The other day I was going to give my little grandson a summer drink of sharbat (rose water syrup diluted with water).  He said, "Grandma, I think it has red 40 in it"?  How did he know that?  Sure enough, I read the label and it did!  He drank some milk instead. . .

We had an earthquake last week.  It only registered 5.2 but I felt it!  It's the second one I've experienced since moving to California almost six years ago.  A funny sound woke me up just after 1:00AM.  I popped up in bed and felt the bed swaying to and fro.  I woke up my husband and he told me I was dreaming so I got up, checked the local news on my phone and found nothing. I went back to sleep and the next morning there was the headline showing the 5.2 quake! I'm just thankful it wasn't the big one and that everything was OK.  It seemed surreal. 
Image result for earthquake logo
That's about all that has been happening around here this week.  We're suppose to be in for a heat wave this weekend with highs reaching the 100 degree mark!  I'm not a fan or hot weather but my tomato plants will probably enjoy the heat units.  Have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for stopping by.

With my best wishes,

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Life is Too Short to Knit with Cheap Yarn

I can't thank you enough dear readers for the extremely kind comments that you left on my last blog post.  It made me realize that I should have shared things like this a long time ago since it made me see I'm not the only one who can feel this way.  Thank you again!

I'm back today with a knitting post.  Sorry to exclude those who don't knit but maybe this post may encourage you to do so.  I taught myself to knit.  It doesn't take a ton of supplies; just patience.

Awhile back my friend Christine shared her raspberry and apple shawl. When I saw the pattern and the gradient yarn, I knew I had to knit one of these shawls.  The pattern is called Wild Poppies by Charlotte Walford.  At first I was hesitant knitting the lace, but Charlotte writes out the lace pattern along with also providing a chart.  This worked great for me, as I need to read the written pattern versus knitting from a chart.  I bought the pattern on Ravelry.

Gradient yarn was a new concept to me since I had never knitted with this type of yarn before.  A popular yarn is The Wool Kitchen.  However, I wanted to make a larger shawl and I found some gradient yarn on etsy.  I love the way the yarn gradually changes colors; it's fascinating to see the change take place.

On Etsy, I found the perfect yarn.  The color is called Romance.  It comes in different lengths, and I bought the 600 meter length.  (I should have bought the 800 meter length if I wanted a larger size shawl).  This yarn is a blend of merino and silk and it was heavenly to knit with it.  I highly recommend this yarn from Wollelfe.  Wollelfe also sells seed beads (size 6/0) which I bought to add to the edging.  And, although it is shipped from Austria, the shipping was very reasonable.

The shawl pattern is originally written for 400 meters with six repeats on the spine of the shawl.  My plan was to do 9 repeats on the spine but unfortunately, I only had enough yarn to complete 8 repeats.  It was great fun doing the lace border.  If you choose to do this pattern, it's a good idea to leave markers on either side of the middle "fan" so that your stitch pattern will stay even.  I added beads to the last fan design.  I also changed spacing of the picot edging and added a picot in the middle of each pattern section, adding one bead as I went along.  The shawl blocked beautiful and it's now going to be given to a dear family friend in Greece.

One last thing, you can find my notes on this shawl on my Ravelry page.  Recently, I realized that the links I leave for Ravelry only work if you have a Ravelry account.  Sorry about that....I will try and add additional links from now on if I can.  Finally, I just had to share this picture of Lilly.  We had a mini heat wave during the day and Lilly insisted to sleep in her padded bed!  She has ignored this bed for months and now, during the warmest time of day, she wanted to sleep there.  Cats are such amazing little creatures!

Oops, almost forgot about my title to this post.  I've so enjoyed discovering new, fancy yarns.  Gone are my days of knitting with Grandma's Red Heart (which I still have), but it is so glorious to knit or crochet with a fine fiber.  Since I'm always on the lookout for a great bargain, I've found many online websites that sell fine yarn at great prices.  Lately, I have as much fun "looking" for the yarn as I do knitting with it!

It's going to be a busy time here at Lilly My Cat.  Hopefully, I can share some fun times with you in the coming weeks.  Thank you again dear friends for visiting Lilly My Cat!

My best wishes to you,

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do You Ever Get Your Feelings Hurt?

Hello dear friends.  Originally, when  I started this blog,  I only shared items I would make or bake or cook but one day my dear daughter told me that my posts should be more personal.  Oh, that took me for a loop since I'm not very good at publicly sharing my feelings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an aloof person - just the opposite. My feelings get hurt lots of times.  I've always been that way since childhood.  During adulthood, I went through a long spell where my feelings didn't get hurt. That changed when I moved to California and found myself "lost" so to speak at church and meeting new friends.  I've always been the person who wants to be happy and cheerful all the time and if something goes wrong, fix it, forget it and move on.  I don't have time to be sad or melancholy.

What brought up this subject was a blog post I read the other day  here. A similar thing happened to me when I was in 8th grade.  My group of friends stopped talking to me.  I felt sad but that was life.  The next year our family moved out to the country where I attended the local high school.  I had a wonderful time in high school that totally wiped out all those 8th grade memories.  Fast forward to my late 50's and it happened all over again with a group of church women.  It took me awhile to realize what was happening as none of us were in junior high!  My hurt is scabbed over for now and the only way it was going to stay that way was for me to find a different place of worship.  But, it makes me sad that people can be hurtful to one another.  Why?  In our big, wide, international world of today, we still want to huddle in our little circles and exclude others.  Very sad indeed.

Recently, I participated in a blog exchange where I had the chance to meet some ladies whereby we could talk about about mutual interests.  Somehow, and don't ask me how, it didn't work.  The exchange worked but that was it. bothered me and it still bothers me.  It made me a bit hesitant to even comment on Ravelry for instance as to whether the other person would respond.  But, the new friends I've met on Ravelry do respond and are very gracious indeed! 

Sometimes, I think we judge others by their outward appearance.  In blog land, we can judge others by the looks of their blogs.  I have tried to make my blog interesting to all people and at the same time still share in what is me.  It's sometimes a fine line as to not offend a reader i.e., discussing politics, religion or other touchy subjects.  Like most people, I have my opinions but I'm not going to voice them in an inappropriate setting.

I've learned a few things in my later years.  Here's what I have come up with:
1.  I'm not going to waste my time with people who I don't like
2.  I'm not fond of pious people
3.  I'm not going to judge someone by how they look or speak
4.  I'm going to treat others as how I would like to be treated
5.  I'm going to avoid situations where I can get my feelings hurt

Maybe the above sounds a bit too harsh.  But, honestly, why should I waste my time in chit chatting with someone who I have no desire to know?  And, as for pious people, I feel bad for them as they think they are the only enlightened ones.  This totally goes against all that their faith teaches. 

Which brings me to judging others as to how they look or speak.  Sometimes I have felt that I would like to wear a sign that says "I don't speak your language but I do know such and such and how to do such and such...."  Do you see what I'm trying to say?  I'm judged by how I look and speak.  

One of our nearest and dearest friends are a couple who immigrated to America in the 60's.  They don't share my faith but what we do share in friendship goes beyond any of that.  They are such good hearted people who would do anything for anyone in need. And, they are not judgmental. This is what real friendship is about.  Not being judgmental as to what faith you have or how you look or what language you speak.

Years ago my good friend told me a story about cookie baking.  She was an expert and she said "do you think God will care if my cookies are perfectly baked?"  I had to laugh as I feel the same way when I bake something; I want it to be perfect.  But, in reality I'm far from perfect and will never be perfect.  But, it would be nice to be remembered for being kind to others.

All is well in my world and I have so many things to be thankful for.  I feel the lessons I learned at a later age will somehow help me to help others.  Just be kind to one another.

With my best wishes,

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