Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You Don't Have Time?

Knitting is fun, knitting is good - 
If you've never tried knitting, well, I think you should!

Lately, I've seen lots of links to articles, like this one and this one, about the health and mental benefits of knitting. For those of you who keep sharing them on Facebook, thank you. Also, have you not been listening to me and my knitting friends? We've been telling you these things for years, as you have said things like, "I don't want to knit," or "I can't knit," or "I don't have the time to knit." To these latter things, I say, "Phthhhbt!"

You can check out the links to the articles, or not. Either way, this is why I knit:

Colors playing together for the sole purpose of making me happy. I like that.

The stitches:
Sometimes cables...

Sometimes lace...

Sometimes I really have to think about what I'm doing, and sometimes I don't have to think about anything at all...just yarn over needles and drawn through loops until I have something pretty!

Love for  sweethearts, for children, for grandchildren...all right there, in the tangible form of stitches working together to make something soft and lovely (or fun!). Also, the love of creating runs through my veins, and that love of making something from almost nothing just seems to calm my is magical! Even during the knitting, before I have a finished sweater, watching the stitches emerge from my needles is simply mesmerizing!

Most of all, knitting calms my mind, heart and soul. The simple repetition, the same as it would have been for my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc., is meditative and helps to short circuit the worry I am so very prone to. After all, who can think about bills, or worry about health, or even fret about housework, when her hands and brain are busy creating beauty? Throw in a couple of very pretty buttons, and it's all good...

So, there you have it. This is why I knit. It's good for me! What are you doing that's good for you?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health (as soon as you have left your excuses behind)!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Photos...

A couple of posts ago, I told you that it was all about the babies...and it was. Still is many days, in my world of knitting anyway. But, somewhere in that post, I showed you a photo of a sweater that was less than stunning. Let me clarify...the PHOTO was less than stunning. The SWEATER was (and still is) GORGEOUS!!! And, may I just say how excited I am to knit a "Little Sister Dress" for an actual little sister? I am simply delighted!

It's just that I live in northeast Ohio, and it is fall, and I don't like to go out in the rain for all that perfect, natural light that makes for good photos. Since I don't have an indoor studio, that means that I sometimes settle for less-than-stunning is what it is. 

But last week, there was sunshine, and better photos followed, like this one...

...and this one, too. These buttons are just killing me with the cute!

In my Prettyanna kind of way, I hope to be able to catch a few more rays here and there (for my photos - I am well beyond my personal, sun-worshiping, golden-tanning days), even through our darkest of seasons. If I am unsuccessful, please forgive me...I'm working within the limitations of a northeast Ohio seasons-of-darkness, but I'll do what I can. 

How are you coping with the onset of the cold-and-dark where you live? Or is it turning summer for you, there in Australia? Whatever's going on in your weather, and in your world, I hope there is knitting.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Knitting with a Heavy Heart

Knitting a prayer shawl and mourning with a friend today. She has lost her son. I have no words, but I have knitting. I will knit for her, I will cry with her, and I will pray. It feels like so little, but it is what I must do. 

The blog will return with its usual knitting content on Saturday. Until then, hug your loved ones. We just do not know the hour or the day that will be their (or our) last.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health. 

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd;
--I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
--he leads me beside peaceful streams. 
--He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
--bringing honor to his name
Even when I walk 
--through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
--for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
--protect ans comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
--in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
--My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
--will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seven Silly, Stripey, Sets of Socks

You know me. I knit. I knit socks. I knit lacy socks. I knit funny socks. I knit stripey socks. I knit socks like it's my job...and I love it! I'm smitten with hand-knit socks...especially for Christmas...and these seven pair of stripey, Christmas socks are simply stupendous! (If I do say so myself...and I do!)

I was so excited to have them pair for every member of the Pretty Family*...that I headed right out to the front yard for a photo shoot! I took pictures of them neatly folded...

...and in the bushes, on sock blockers...

...and on the clothesline. 

As a matter of fact, I posed them several ways on the clothesline, and I used my fancy photo-editor to play with the images. Here's another shot...

It's possible that my neighbors are planning an intervention. Of course, if they cure me, who would entertain them? That's right. I am live entertainment, 24/7. No interventions necessary. Just get me some sock yarn...and lay it right over there, that's right. Now, walk away slowly, with your hands where I can see 'em, and nobody gets hurt. That's right...

Hmmm, maybe the neighbors are right. Maybe I'll knit a sweater next...maybe. 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

*Pictured are socks for Snake, Dollface, Mork, Mindy, Pop Pop, Pretty and Peanut!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

All About the Babies...

Last time, I told you how Connie is all about the beads lately. I have not fallen into my bead stash (yet), because I am currently all about the babies! Knitters, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout, right? Sometimes it's all about the babies, 'bout the babies (no kitties).

Cats: (Gasp!) What?!? I think it IS about the kitties!

Pretty: No, it's all about the babies, 'bout the BABIES!

Cats: No, the KITTIES!

Pretty: NOOOO!!! It's all about the BAAA-BYYYYYS! 'Bout the babies...

Cats: Pretty, you have two cats and no babies...

Pretty: I know, but I am knitting for babies...unless you'd like me to knit YOU a sweater...

Cats: Nope. Nevermind. Step away from the cat! I guess it IS all about the babies, 'bout the babies...

Pretty: That's what I thought.

Thanks for stopping by friends! And remember, no matter what the cats say, it really is all about the babies in my current knitting season!

Knit in Good Health!

Projects pictured above include the following:
It's All About the Babies, Baby's Snuggle-y Friend, Christmas Baby Hat (I'm working on writing up the button-on, or off, bow!), Gender-neutral Baby Blocks, and Neopolitan Baby. It IS all about the babies!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Random Stuff on Saturday

Ready? Here we go!

Remember Connie? Yeah, she hasn't blogged much recently...or knitted...
Because, you know, she's all about the beads, 'bout the beads, no knitting.
She's all about the beads, 'bout the beads, no knitting.
She's all about the beads, 'bout the beads, no knitting.
She's all about the beads. (shake tube of super-duos here)

Yeah, it's pretty clear, she ain't working with yarn,
But she can bead it, bead it...all around her arm - 
'Cause she got that fireline that all the beaders chase,
And all the right beads in all the right places...

But seriously...Connie has the bead bug, and she (and others in my knitting group) are making some lovely things lately. I'm thinking that I will soon delve into my own craft closet to make some pretties for Pretty's arm!

::Wow! That was random, Pretty!::

Yes, yes it was, but it was fun! Hiya, Connie, sweetie! Now, for more random:

Spooky Stripey Sockies, finished at knit night on Thursday!

Snake's birthday afghan (which was sadly not finished last January, for his birthday...), which I also worked on this past Thursday.

You know, it feels good to finish things. It's also nice to work on a project that has been languishing for months...but you know what's best? That's right! New projects!

Yep, finally casting on the Little Sister's Dress I bought buttons for back in August! I am pretty excited to see it grow on these needles, and I am twice as excited to meet our newest little Princess Pants when she is born!

Oh, one more bit of random is a little giftie I received, for no particular reason, from an anonymous giver...thank you, whoever you are! The mug is lovely, and the coffee was delish!

So, there's your random for the day! Thanks for stopping by to see what's going on in the world of Pretty...and if you go read the first couple paragraphs again, you'll have an earworm, too! You're welcome. :)

Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Peace Like a River

Have you ever looked for peace in your life? I went in search of peace this past weekend, at a ladies retreat. It was a last minute plan, and I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but I even paid the late-registration fee, because look what they offered me...Peace Like a River!

At first, it was hard to believe that I could find peace among more than a hundred ladies in one room (or 11, from one church, in one dorm room, sleeping on squeaky bunk beds), but it was there. After all, we were in a beautiful setting, 

with friends, new and old,

and I did bring some knitting. :) Along the way, I found prayer and quiet times, in praise and worship, and in this sock!

I actually finished the entire sock, plus the ribbing on the second, before the end of the return trip. Yes, I knitted, and I found more peace than I have known in quite awhile. Of course, then I came home...where there was NO peace from the cats. lol!

But, I kept knitting, and now I have a-sock-and-a-half to go along with my peace like a river. :)

So, let's talk about peace. Those of you who know me know that I love Jesus. (Now, if you think the rest of this blog isn't your thing, you don't have to keep reading, but you can if you want to. I promise not to tell anyone. ;o)

You know what I found to be the best part of this peaceful retreat? The speaker, Tammy Nischan, shared a verse that promises "those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy." (Psalms 126:5-6) As a woman in the middle of life, one with lots of tears to spare, I am claiming this promise. I am fairly emotional (ask my family!), and I have occasionally hit some bumps in the road. Haven't we all? Sometimes peace is hard to come by.

As Tammy talked about the GIANT hurdles she has faced, I felt a little silly about all of the tears I've shed over things that are far less than what others have faithfully overcome. However, God made me this way, and he has seen all of my tears. He created me as an emotional woman, and he loves me. He knows each tear that I have "planted," and he has a plan to use those tears to write songs of joy in my life. And even though I have cried a lot, I also have much to sing about in my harvest... 

I have a husband who loves God, and loves me, even when I am unloveable. 
I have two children, who are all grown up, and God has provided them with spouses, jobs and the good sense to keep going, even when life gets tough. 
I have a three-year-old granddaughter who adores me and Pop-Pop, and she is healthy and strong.
I have a job that I (mostly) love, a place to lay my head at night, more than enough to eat, and friends who care deeply for me.
Most of all, I have Jesus's saving grace, grace that assures my place in Heaven when the trials of this life are over...even though I make many mistakes. Every. Single. Day.

When I find my peace, that's usually where I find it...with Jesus

I also find peace in the process of knitting. The quiet, repetition of stitch after stitch is meditative, and I love to knit where it is very quiet. Oh, don't get me wrong...I'll knit anywhere, man. I'll knit anywhere, man. But I prefer the quiet of the early morning, before any of the clutter of the day has started, for my knitting. There I can knit, and talk to God, creating something from almost nothing and finding the peace that will carry me through my day. And if I stumble along the way, you will often see me reach for God and yarn again, to bring myself back to the peace that transcends all understanding, and helps me to just keep going. Thank you to the ladies who put together a simple retreat that reminded to look for God's peace every day. 

Where do you find peace? 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Stripey Stash-turday

Last weekend, I spent some time knitting with friends (and a baby) at our favorite farm, That'll Do Farm in Grafton, OH. It was a blast!
FYI, not my baby, or my grandbaby...but so dang cute!
Side Note: We were offered honey, DIRECTLY FROM THE HONEYCOMB!, and I have never tasted such yummy honey in my life! Maybe that's because it was literally the freshest honey I have ever tasted (there were still bees on the honeycomb we sampled cool...why didn't I take a photo?), and I currently get all my honey from That'll Do. If you have not checked them out, you should do that right now! Honey, handmade soap, yarn, fiber and so many other goodies! Seriously. Go! Christmas is coming, and they have a great assortment of stocking stuffers, as well!

OK, commercial* over. Anyway, we were sitting there knitting, most of us using self-striping sock yarn of one kind or another...I was working on the seventh pair of Christmas socks (which are finished, by the way...more about that in a future post). Some of the yarn was Knit Picks discontinued line, Felici, which I came across just about the time they were putting it on sale, and clearance-ing it out. :( Still, I've managed to get my hands on my fair share...and I LOVE the stuff!!!

"How many do you have, Pretty?," they asked.

"Not that many," I answered. Then I went home and counted...and realized that I had lied. I actually own at least two skeins each of 8 colorways (3 or more skeins of some), and I've also already knit one pair in Foxglove, two pair in Lighthouse, seven pair in Jingle, and a small pair in Jellybean! So, yeah. I lied. 

At least I've got lots of fun, stripey sock-knitting ahead of me, even if I am a fibber. lol! So, what have I done? Yep. I've cast on a pair of Spooky Stripey Sockies!

Of course I did...and I've finished up the crochet butterflies, because I really NEEDED to finish just one more thing! I've got the "finishing bug," apparently...but the prettiest bugs around here are these:

Now, onto the rest of this weekend! What are you knitting/crocheting/crafting?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

*As usual, I'm not being compensated for any of that. The farmers are friends, the farm is a wonderful place to be and everything I have ever brought home from the farm (from honey, to fiber and yarn, to soap) has been fabulous. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recipe for Crisp, Fall Yumminess

I've fallen for apples! No, really! I have! So much so that Mr. Pretty and I went apple picking on Sunday. Dorky Pretty did not remember her camera, but we picked two baskets full, and then I came home and promptly made my first apple crisp...ever! It was so very good that I have to share! I mean, just look at the picture...

Are you drooling? I'm drooling again, even though I've indulged for the past three nights in a row! (Good thing we walked 7 miles on Sunday, too!) The recipe is bits and bobs of several recipes (pies, cobblers, crisps) I've used and/or looked at over the years, and here it is!

Apple-Pie Crisp
For the Apple-Pie part: 
     Peel and slice up enough apples to cover the bottom of a 9"x 13" pan (I did 6 or 7 medium apples)
     2-3 T lemon juice
     3/4 c sugar
     1 tsp. ground cinnamon (more or less, to taste)
     1 T cold butter (use butter, the real stuff, trust me)

For the Crisp part:
     1/2 c oatmeal, uncooked
     1/2 c flour
     3/4 c brown sugar
     1 tsp ground cinnamon
     1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
     6 T cold butter (again, use the real stuff!)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Using extra butter, or non-stick cooking spray (I'd always use butter, it's better!) grease the bottom and sides of your pan well.

3. Peel and slice enough apples to cover the bottom of your pan. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice, then with sugar and cinnamon, until all are evenly coated. Pour into greased pan. Cut up 1 T butter, and place evenly on top of apples.

4. Mix together oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, then cut in butter with a pastry blender (or two knives) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Evenly sprinkle over apples.

5. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes (watch closely at the end, so as not to burn your crisp)

6. Scoop into serving bowls as soon as you can get it out of the pan without burning yourself, and add a generous scoop of premium vanilla ice cream (if you're into that kindof thing), and enjoy!

Oh, and because this is a knitting blog, here's a little tease of another secret project!

Thanks for stopping by, friends! I hope that you are enjoying some cooler weather, and maybe doing a little baking, too! 

Knit in Good Health (as soon as you have some of that apple crisp)!