Sunday, October 26, 2008

All in a Weekend's Play

October is without a doubt my favorite month. Perfect temperatures and beautiful, cloudless skies. We made good use of the time this weekend. We are blessed to live 3 miles from this trail that runs parallel with the Natchez Trace and have been walking on it almost every day from 2 to 4 miles.

Today, I found this bodark "apple" though I never did see the tree. The squirrels love this "fruit" and usually make a big mess with them. I brought it home as it reminded me so much of my childhood. My paternal grandma had one of these on the hill in front of her house. As children, we loved putting them under the wheels of the car. Daddy would always pretend he didn't know what was going on and would accelerate to reverse. The crunch would set us laughing. As many thorns as are on the tree, I'm surprised that Daddy or one of his brothers didn't have flat tires.

I have needed to organize my circular knitting needles for a long time and have been scouting for something that would hold all but the Denise interchangeable. Everything I have seen up until now would not have held them all or been portable and were somewhat pricey. I ran across this zip-up binder at Office Depot this weekend and am tickled with the results. There are 13 sections, enough space for all needles up to size 13. I enclosed each needle in a sandwich ziplock marked with the size and length. The front has a zip-up mesh pocket in which I placed a tape measure, stitch holder and ruler/needle sizer. There's room for other items too. I think I will really enjoy this.

Originally, I had planned to include white lights on this grapevine arbor but in hindsight, I should have wound the lights around the ironwork. The grapevine is almost impossible to wind the lights in so, we will enjoy it like it is and wind the lights around a plant or grapevine wreath. It was fun to do.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am preparing to part with an old friend in order to buy a Macomber and thought I would post here in the event any of you are looking for a special loom. Here are the details:

Norwood 40" 8-shaft cherry floor loom - Solid, super-size cloth and warp beams, a ratchet brake system that needs no adjustment, an excellent shed and extra long weaving space. The floating lamms, jacks and harness tracks are constructed of wood, allowing for quiet operation. Sectional warping rails. Beautiful craftsmanship and top grade cherry wood. One reed and lease sticks included. Weaving width 40"; number of shafts 8; number of treadles 12; number of heddles 2000 (1000 more than new); overall width 47"; depth open 42"; depth folded 31-1/2"; height open 39"; height folded 45-1/2"; depth between reed and breast beam16-1/2". Weight approximately 175 lbs. (New birch looms are 150 lbs.). Excellent condition. Email with questions at or leave message at (601) 956-1478.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spinach Chicken Parmesan

Here's a recipe I tried a few nights ago that we both enjoyed and Don is not crazy about chicken. I will be making this every few weeks. The original recipe came from but I followed every variation. Here's my take on it.

Spinach Chicken Parmesan

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/4 t. Italian seasoning
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 T. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. nonfat sour cream
1/3 c. milk (I used 1%.)
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 c. chopped roasted red peppers
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine cheese, bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. Roll chicken pieces in bread crumbs and cheese mixture to coat lightly. Reserve remaining cheese mixture for topping. Arrange chicken pieces in an 8x8x2 inch prepared (Pam) baking dish. Mix milk, sour cream and red pepper flakes; set aside. In a large, non-stick skillet, saute' onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter until tender. Stir in flour. Add sour cream mixture and simmer, stirring until bubbly. Stir in drained spinach and roasted red peppers and mix together. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper. Spoon spinach mixture over chicken and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs and cheese mixture. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until tender and chicken juices run clear.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sea Cruise 8/2 Tencel

I never cease to be amazed at how the same colorway can look so different on a different fiber. I painted Sea Cruise this week and, though I have painted it in Serenity (out of stock for a while), I decided to give it a whirl on tencel. I love this yarn and the saturation of color that it gives. I also dyed Blueberry Hill this week and am now champing at the bit to combine the two closely related colorways.Forgot to add... that Blueberry Hill is shown on top and Sea Cruise on bottom. I do think I'm going to have to try this.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Color on a Gray Day

What to do when we're rained out of our trip to the coast? Knit, take pictures and make the best of it.

These mitten ornaments were knitted with a free pattern from the knitlist and Kollage Luscious cotton sock yarn. Our guild is decorating a Christmas tree for the Craftsmen's Guild of MS in appreciation for their providing us with a place to meet.
I had fun knitting these Dolly Faroese Shawls. The first one was knit with Jojoland Melody Superwash in color MS26. I love the way the color travels in this yarn. It is a marled yarn of variegated yarns with long repeats as opposed to a marled yarn of solids that would give a barber pole effect.
The second and third were knitted in hand painted Serenity; first colorway is Gulf Breeze Sunrise and second is Sagebrush.

Fiona, given to me by my friend Sandi, is modeling the Sagebrush shawl.
I recently knit HeartStrings Lace Leaves in Kollage Luscious cotton in cherry. This yarn has a wonderful hand and there is sufficient yardage on one skein to complete the scarf.

Our guild has adopted MS Heart Scarves as a permanent service project. Our goal is to gift every woman in MS experiencing a heart procedure with a hand knit or handwoven red scarf. The project was established here in MS by our dear friend, Tina Bradford, who passed away on May 1 with heart disease, the number one killer of women.
This is HeartStrings Maple Leaves Scarf that I completed last year. It is knit with Jaggerspun Zephyr 2/18 in Garnet. I love this yarn! it is 50% merino/50% silk and is absolutely wonderful to the touch, very warm and light.
Another HeartStrings pattern. Any surprise? (-: The pattern is Peggy's Shawl. The yarns are one end of hand painted Peacock Iridescence 8/2 Tencel and one end of Jaggerspun Zephyr 2/18 in Ebony. Love, love, love this pattern and the hand of this shawl. This just might be my favorite thing to wear.

Apart from the stormy weather, it has been a good Labor Day. Now, I think I'll take Don up on his offer of a game of Monopoly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Knitting finally blocked!

This is a close-up of the Scotch Thistle Lace Stole. I knitted it with Jojoland Melody Superwash in MS08. This makes me long for cool weather.

Second object finished that I can remove from the UFO list is the Reversible Lace Ladders. The good news is that I can wear it right away as it is knitted in Lace Sensation Raw Silk.

Studio/Home Restoration Update

Every day, we make a little progress in restoring damage from the storm and are grateful for each step. The studio is now completed. We only need add a few chairs, a small table and a plant or two to enjoy sitting out there more. I couldn't include a picture of the studio without including a picture of the live oak that my mama planted in 1964. It has survived Hurricane Camille, Katrina and the most recent tornado.

The stepping stones to the patio and the stepping stones within the patio are ones my daddy and I made in the sixties. The patio is our favorite thing thus far. We love having reminders of my parents around.

And the patio would not be complete without a reminder of our dear Lady. She spent a lot of time in the studio.

Every sign of progress in the neighborhood is uplifting to us. We are so happy for our next-door neighbors on either side. Both are going to have very nice houses. This one is the house that was hit by one of our trees and belongs to Tony and Sheila. They are making some beautiful improvements. Our other neighbor has just started rebuilding. We're glad they have decided to stay. They have been our neighbors for 10 and 34 years respectively.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ground Improvements

The lot has been graded and the next step is building the patio in front of the studio and planting grass. The patio was begun today. Grass is being delivered tonight and put down tomorrow. We're thanking the Lord for the rain this afternoon so that the grass can be put down on wet soil with more rain expected for the next 9 days. What a blessing at the end of June.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Restoration Progress

We are moving right along with the restoration project. Den furniture has been moved back in from the living room/dining room so that we got three rooms back! Yarn is back in place in the studio and I am in the process of organizing books and magazines that were packed in haste. And, I was glad to see that there was damage to only one book - my favorite weaving pattern book. (And, that is incredible considering everything around us.) But, it is still usable if a little musty and mildewed. Possibly, it will be more treasured as it made it through the storm.

We've begun work on the yard with 3 dump trucks full of sand. I'm beginning to like the beach look. (0: A patio will be put in shortly in front of the studio so that we may sit and talk about knitting and weaving projects and maybe even knit and weave and share a beverage or two. The patio will be made up of old brick scattered around the back of the lot with highlights of large stepping stones that my daddy and I made in the sixties of concrete and river stones we collected on family property.

The hardest part has been saying goodbye to the dogwoods my mama planted. I'm so glad we took this picture a couple of evenings before the storm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let Freedom Ring

Prompted by Kimberly's neat cell phone pouches that she wove from a colorway I offered after 9/11, Let Freedom Ring, I dyed a skein for myself. I'm looking forward to winding it into a ball and winding a warp. Or maybe I will knit it. So many possibilities, so little time. It's available by special order now through June 21.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sandi's Cole Slaw

Oo-la-la is the best description for the cole slaw Sandi brought to us last night. That's not all she brought that was delicious but this was so good that I was instructed not to run out of it! When I asked for the recipe, I thought it might be complicated but oh, so easy. Here is the recipe:

Sandi's Cole Slaw

1-1# package cole slaw mix from Fresh Market or
1# coarsely chopped mix of cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots
1 to 1-1/2 oz. toasted almonds (She used slivered; I used sliced as it's what I had on hand.)
Equal amount of raisins
1/4 c. + Ken's Steak House Sweet Vidalia Lite salad dressing

Mix thoroughly, chill and enjoy.

Note: This could be made with bagged cole slaw mix but I don't think the texture would be as nice. Nor would it be as pretty without the purple cabbage. The coarse mix is very good. Amount of almonds, raisins and dressing is guesswork. If you like more or less, adjust the recipe to your own taste.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Greek Spinach Rice Casserole

I adapted this recipe from two recipes and added a few things as I tasted. Guess what's for supper!

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Recipe yield: large casserole
Number of servings: 10

Spinach, rice, cheese and Greek seasoning. What's not to like? Good side dish for grilled fish or chicken. Serve with a salad and hot, crusty bread with dipping oil. Bread recipe to follow in a few days.

1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt-free butter
4-1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
3 (10-3/4 oz.) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach
1 egg
1 (5 oz.) can low-fat evaporated milk
1/2 teaspooon Greek seasoning
1/8 t. white pepper
1/2 c. seasoned, crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, saute’ chopped onion and minced garlic in oil and butter until tender. Add rice and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add spinach; cook until wilted. Beat egg and milk and add to spinach and rice mixture; stir constantly until thickened. Add Greek seasoning, pepper and feta cheese. Pour into a 2-quart casserole that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and paprika on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until hot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Home and Studio Restoration Update

It has been an eventful week with completion of repair to our home and studio. We spent the day Monday moving back into the studio. Not everything has been unpacked as I am taking time to organize. It feels great to find things! One day soon, we will paint the new shutters. It's nice to have new steps and fence on the back as well.

The patio looks exactly as it was. The carpenters and brick mason did a wonderful job. Our next door neighbor, whose house you see in this picture, will be taking down his house soon in order to rebuild.

Our neighbor (a custom home builder who lives on the opposite corner) has almost finished with demolition of his house. We look forward to seeing what he will build in its place.

Work on the yard will begin next and we can hardly wait! We loved the trees but look forward to a lawn and small patio around the studio.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Salad of Black Beans and Rice

This is a love it or hate it dish at my house. I love it. (-: So, this will be my lunch for a week or I may share some with a neighbor.

3 c. cooked rice, 1 c. raw (I use white but you can use brown, if you prefer.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-16 oz. can black beans, rinsed (If I feel industrious, I cook dried beans.)
1 c. chopped sweet pepper (Red and green mixed are good.)
1/4 c. chopped parsley (Can use dry. This evening, I chopped a bunch in the food processor and dried the remainder for later use in a 200 degree oven.)


1/3 c. salad oil
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 t. ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste


Chopped parsley

Cure for the Rainy Day Blues

This would have been a good day to finish the ceramic tile inside since it is raining cats & dogs outside. Hoping the flooring contractor comes next week so that we can move furniture back into place.

While we wait for a normal pace of life amidst home, studio & yard restoration & remodeling, interactions of color help with the rainy day blues. I am washing out Moonlight Stroll (pictured), Atlantic Moonglow & Peacock Iridescence 8/2 tencel today.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Feeling a Need for Cool Colors

Although the temps have been delightful the last several days, I'm feeling a need for cool, soothing colors. It's probably the rest I feel when surrounded by cool colors. It's been a while since I dyed Blue Bayou in a tencel skein so, I thought it would be a nice break.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tornado Pictures

We're finally coming up for a breather after two months of trials beginning with the loss of our sweet Labrador, Lady, on March 18, followed by the loss of an aunt, two dear friends, Jerry Tucker & Tina Bradford, & a tornado that struck our house & studio on April 4. God has shown us His faithfulness in countless ways through all of this & we are so thankful. We appreciate all of your kind emails & your patience while we were without power, telephone & internet access.

Fortunately, there was very little damage from the tornado compared to many around us whose homes were totaled. The studio sustained roof damage but not a drop of water. There was hardly any damage in the first photograph. The tree you see in the first picture was caught by a double tree in front of the studio (now cut, stump shown in this photo) & it appeared there would be no more damage. However, the tree services were in high demand & gravity further damaged the roof so that we moved out on tree-cutting day a week later. I am currently working from a POD while repairs & improvements are being made.

Trees & branches have been picked up at the street so that our house is visible again.
Very visible! Our once shady, low-canopied yard is a sunny yard. I always wanted to grow tomatoes! LOL. The three houses on that side of our house are vacant. Two will be rebuilt. The fountain & stumps are gone as are the dogwoods. The live oak, 7 water oaks & magnolia came through the storm. The Bobcat & other tree removal equipment took care of what little grass we had. So, we get to start with a brand new yard & fence.

This picture was taken on our patio on April 2, 2 days prior to the tornado. Getting ready to enjoy a cool evening.

Taken on the patio minutes after the tornado on April 4.

This should be entitled, "A Close Call!" This picture was taken looking the other direction toward the street. The brick fountain was torn down in order to have enough brick to replace the masonry around the patio. The tree that is standing is the other half of the one on the ground. It has since been cut. The house seen in the background has been been torn down as 5 trees fell on it. He is a building contractor & has begun construction on a new house. Check out the flower pot & grinding stone sitting on the masonry ledge of the patio & the makeshift bird feeder sitting on the fountain. Vibration from the falling tree did not move them...

Hopefully, we have rounded the corner to "normal." Last week marked the first week of dyeing to include Summer Haze, Blue Bayou & Tallahatchee Bridge. Look for these in 8/2 tencel first of next week.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I tried this on a Sunday afternoon for play time. It's really quite fun! I think I'll try to go back and beat my spped.

76 words


Monday, February 25, 2008

Braised Collard Greens

My friend, Sandi, gave me this recipe. We had it for supper tonight and it is very good. It came from Cook Right 4 Your Type.

3 T. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large bunch fresh collard grens, washed well, tips of stems removed
2 T. soy sauce or tamari sauce
Small amount of water, as needed

Heat oil in a very large skillet or saucepan. Add onion anc cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice colalrds by rolling them into 1 large bunch, then butting across the leaves in 1-inch intervals. Wash them and with water on their leaves, add all the collards to the pot at once, cover and reduce heat. After 5 minutes, turn the collards so the wilted greens are on top. Add soy sauce or tamari, if using, and replace cover. Cook another 40 minutes, turning collards occasionally to make sure they cook evenly. Add a tablespoon or two of water at a time, as needed. Unlike other greens, collards are tastier if allowed to cook longer.

Serves 4

Sandi's Modifications and a few of my own:

>>We both used a large bag of collard greens and pulled out the large stems.

>>Put in a bit of minced garlic with the onion. (Garlic in a jar works just fine.)

>>Like a good southern girl, Sandi added the collards in small batches, turning after each addition. I rinsed the collards off in a large colander and dumped them all in at once. It does require a very large skillet.

>>Sandi uses up to 1/4 c. soy sauce (low sodium) for a plastic bag of greens. I goofed and bought regular soy sauce and used 3 T. They were a bit salty but both of us agreed, good regardless.

>>Sandi's note: "And for crying out loud, any GRITS (that's Girls Raised in the South (-;) knows it takes longer than 40 minutes!" Actually, I didn't find that it did but I also cooked them on higher heat until they stuck. In a Calphelon skillet and adding water, that wasn't a problem. It only helped to caramelize the onions a little more.

>>At the end, add about 1/2 t. sugar (raw is great!) and some red pepper in some form or other. (We've got every variety so, I threw in some flakes.) Yum!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to me - yesterday

My, oh, my... how did I ever get to this date? The watch date shows that I have made it another decade by 14 minutes! Well, I certainly don't feel any older in my mind and not much in my body. Though, occasionally my mind tends to write checks that my body can't cash. Sometimes, it happens when it's been a while since I did a particular thing (like paint cabinets) and remember suddenly that I was much younger when I did that before. It was a pleasant day overall with calls, cards, emails and gifts from family and friends. Thank you all for a lovely day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Elegantly Simple Triangle Shawl Option

Donna asked to see optional ways in which the Elegantly Simple Triangle Shawl can be worn. This view is shown with the point used as a collar. It is particularly effective with a larger shawl. The model shown here was knitted in Bird of Paradise Cloud 9 available in a kit.

Worn as an accessory in both of these views. Really, you can wear this shawl in a multitude of ways.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Finished Weaving Project

This is a warp I painted for the fun of it in Gulf Breeze Sunrise. The warp yarn is Serenity; the weft is 5/2 perle cotton in Dark Turquoise. I sett it at 12 epi for plain weave as 5/2 cotton is a little finer than Serenity. This definitely would work on a rigid heddle. Just don't overbeat or sett at 10 epi and use 3/2 perle for weft as 3/2 is about the same grist as Serenity. I used the warp as a demonstration of warping a loom back-to-front on my website.

Finished Knitted Project

Well, actually, the blocking was finished a while back but I am just now getting around to a photograph. (Anybody got a round tuit?) This is the shawl I knitted during the Elegantly Simple Triangle Shawl Knitalong. The yarn is some of my hand painted 8/2 Tencel in the Blue Bayou colorway. (Yes, I hope to get "a-round-tu" dyeing it soon.) I only used about 3 ounces of yarn. If I were a faster knitter, I think I would see how large I could make it. This one is a good size for me and in the summer, I think it will be nice worn with the tip of the triangle used as a collar and tied bolero-style. Love those empire waists!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Look what arrived today

I've been waiting a couple of weeks on these new colors of Kollage Luscious cotton sock yarn. It's no surprise that I recognized the sound of the Fed Ex truck! These colors were dyed to coordinate and will be lovely in HeartStrings Peek-A-Boo Flowery Lace Anklets.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Peacock Iridescence

Mary Hunt asked if I would consider adding Peacock Iridescence as a yarn rather than limiting availability to painted warps. This is the result. Thanks for a super idea, Mary!

New Colorway

This is the colorway I dyed last week and the name of it is Sunrise Serenade. It's not dry just yet but will be ready once it dries and Libba works her magic to it by twisting and adding a label. She is the greatest and I don't know what I would do without her help.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ring of Lace Wrap

The New HeartStrings patterns arrived yesterday afternoon. I am testing a new colorway on silk bombyx and plan to use it to knit the Ring of Lace Wrap shown here. Wonder how fast it will dry?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Project(s) Along

One of the members of Christian Artisans, Deborah Lofink, suggested we all knit or weave something for ourselves after Christmas with the starting date of February 18. Since I was without a current project on the needles, I knew there was no way for me to wait that long. I plan to knit Jackie E-S's new Ring of Lace Wrap but the pattern was not here yesterday; it was a rainy night in Mississippi and no knitting project. What's a girl to do? (-: So, I waded to the studio and selected some yarns for the Troika Wrap-Around, another of Jackie's patterns, as I enjoyed the making of the first one so much and, even more, I enjoy wrapping up in it on the couch and occasionally wearing it as the drama queen. lol. It is a bit longer than the pattern!

The pattern calls for a worsted weight but, since I had successful results the first time, I decided on one of the same yarns this time, Serenity, and added River for its exceptional sheen, texture and saturation of color and Jojoland Melody Superwash Wool for a little warmth. A lot of warmth is not often necessary here in Mississippi. The differences in the yarns won't be as dramatic as is called for in the pattern but I plan to wear this a lot. The main colorway in Serenity and River, Tallahatchee Bridge, are easy to wear with almost everything including gray, black, beige, brown, blue, taupe and green. It should look equally good for dress-up or with a pair of jeans.

Now, you know that I will have to knit a row of this and a row of the Ring of Lace Wrap and hopefully, there is not a quick deadline to this project as the gals from Christian Artisans are fast knitters!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cocoon Solution

Shortly after I went to bed, a solution came, not an immediate solution, but praise the Lord, a solution other than weaving another panel and "pitching" the longer panel. Beginning at the beaded, fringed end (the hardest end!), I will match the pattern by pinning the panels together and hem-stitch, off the loom, the longer panel to match the shorter panel, remove the first hem-stitching, retwist the fringe on that end and trim it to match the shorter panel. Pictures coming soon after a little healing time for the thumbs. So many times, weaving requires adaptations.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

sometimes go awry... The cocoon fabric has been beaded, fringed and wet-finished and one panel is shorter than the other. After all these years of pattern weaving, you would think I would have remembered to count the repeats. I generally have a pretty even beat and I measured precisely. I think part of the problem is that it stayed on the loom too long. Even with tension removed when I wasn't weaving, I suspect the warp stretched as the rayon content is heavy. Surely there is a way to salvage the fabric for a jacket of some type but not the cocoon jacket I envisioned and not one for the guild show. (Sorry, Sharon.) I do have one red scarf to pull out of the hat so that at least there will be another item for our show. And the remaining warp on the loom? I will consider whether to cut it off as it has become a "dog on the loom." Or maybe I shouldn't... it would give me additional fabric and extra options for constructing a jacket. In fact, now that I think about it, there are 3 extra meters of warp and I could actually weave another panel. This time, I think I'll count the repeats and try to be a little faster about weaving it. Oh, but will the "stretch" be the same? All in a year's work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Three Sides Down and One to Go

Just one more side to fringe-twist and bead. This is the bead detail that will be the "lapel" of the jacket. I should be able to bead and twist the remaining fringe tonight with help of the braid-twister, Lord and thumbs willing.