Friday, July 31, 2009

a Book meme

This is going around the blogasphere. How many "classics", as defined by the BBC, have I read? (in blue)

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien (part)
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
The Bible (at least most of it to count)
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four George Orwell
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Little Women Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit JRR Tolkien (part)
Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch George Eliot
Gone With The Wind Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald
Bleak House Charles Dickens
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis
Emma Jane Austen
Persuasion Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe CS Lewis
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh AA Milne
Animal Farm George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney John Irving
The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Atonement Ian McEwan
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Dune Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Dickens
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
On The Road Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick Herman Melville
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
Dracula Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island Bill Bryson
Ulysses James Joyce
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome
Germinal Emile Zola
Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
The Color Purple Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web EB White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Alborn
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory Iain Banks
Watership Down Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Les Miserables Victor Hugo

44 out of 100...not to bad. I don't understand why some of these the BBC considered "classics" though. BJD?

I didn't highlight the complete works of Shakespear but I have read more than Hamlet...Romeo & Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, his sonents (do they count?)

I did begin each of the Tolkien's, but I just couldn't get through them.

Where's the rest of Jane Austen? The Bronte's? And Louisa certainly had better than LW (that was good but her dark writing is much better) And Willa Cather?

Not a hit of Nora Roberts?

Here a bit of what I'd add if I made a top 100 list of books:

Out of Africa
A Year in Provence
How to Make an American Quilt
Mutant Message Down Under
These is My Words
The Knitters Book of Yarn

Rain rain....

It rained Monday night so puppy class was cancelled.

Instead Markers enjoyed a cup of coffee and knitting with Tidewater Markers at B&N

7/27 STSM B&N for coffee & knitting

That pretty blue is ArtsyFish's swatch for a shawl she wants to knit with her handspun. Now that's how to knit a swatch!

And yes, I will let you know when the Today show airs the segment on Guilding Eyes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last night...

... I met a woman who is blind. She came into The Knitting Corner for help with her knitting. A lace project. With her was Copper, her guide dog. He is her 5th dog. He's her independence. While Sue fixed her knitting we chatted about what makes a good guide dog. She shared that while "sit", "stay" and "let's go" were important, more important was "come". Copper is having trouble with that right now.

And from USAtoday this story "Blinded by Nazis; guided by a dog". Tobin was raised by a local family.

And allow me one more...Thursday on NBC's Today show will feature a story on the Yost Family who foster two of Guiding Eyes studs. Alex & Alfie. Should air between 8:30 -9:00. UPDATE: just learned that this has been postponed.

Alfie is Tobin's father.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I finally love computers!

I complain alot about computers. I don't understand how to fix it when it, gives me weird error messages that do not make sense. And all the connections you need to have just to get to the internet....

But I've finlly found a reason to put up with it.....take a look at what VogueKnitting has done

VogueKnitting 360

No more trying to quess what the sweater looks like in the back. No more wondering how the sleeve fits. No more wondering .....

I love you VK!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stitch Markers meet the Frances Land House

Meeting the at least 250 year old Sycamore. This beautiful tree was around long before the house was built between 1805 and 1810.

7/25 STSM in front of Sycamore

A few steps to the right a glimsp of the house itself. A little history: the porch and portico were added in 1955 when the house was purchased and used for "Rose Hall" an exclusive dress/bridal shop.

7/25 STSM front of home

After a tour of the house (no photo's allowed, it's a museum) a short break on one of the many benches on the grounds. The door leads into the dining room. The kitchen, as in many plantations, would have been outside.

7/25 STSM one the bench

This is new to me....


Not sure what is planted to grow. The Master Gardners of Va Beach take care of the plantings/gardens for the House and didn't leave info. Perhaps grape vines?

After this picture the camera battery died. But Markers will have the opportunity to see more of the FLH soon!

Tonight....puppy training!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stories of the Traveling Stitch Markers

Please let me introduce you to 5 beautiful stitch markers.

7/24 STSM they've arrived*****

They are traveling the state of Virginia living in differnet knitting projects while they tour one of the 13 original states.

They began their journey 4 months ago in Appomattox where they enjoyed time with handspun and dyed yarn from a sheep named Liza and were photographed on a cannon.

Easter Sunday they attended church service while their tour guide played the organ in Greenwood.

Then it was off to the Shenandoah Valley where they had many adventures including a trip to the dentist and a 4th of July Celebration!

What's next for them to experience? Stay tuned.

Check out "Stories of the Traveling Stitch Markers" Group on Ravelry to read the adventures of other Stitch markers traveling in other states.

**** sigh...this was the best of about 10 pictures. they are beautiful! delicate!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big ambitions

Jenni is going to knit 365 pairs of socks.

The Sock Summit "is making an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “The Most Number of People Knitting Simultaneously”. 1600 seat ballroom.

Me? I'm knitting my 12th puppy blanket for Chesapeake Humane Society.

Need to go find yarn and cast on for one to take with me tomorrow to knit while watching the new Harry Potter movie. #12 is being knit in dark yarn and it would be hard to see when to change from knit to purl and from purl to knit in the dark.

Hmmm, I do have a lighted crochet hook......

Movie week

I like romantic movies, Paris, New York, Julia Child, blogging, food, Meryl Streep.

Bobbie received 14 free tickets to a preview of the movie "Julie & Julia". She shared them with 14 of her knitting friends.

It was wonderful.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The other afternoon, a thunderstorm blew in and power was knocked out. I knit for about an hour and then became restless. I tried to read, but the book light I have just doesn't do it for me. So I pulled out a deck of cards and played Solitaire until the power came back on 3 1/2 hours later.

After the power was restored, I thought...gee, I haven't played online Solitaire in a long time. I remembered that the Lifetime network had a games page so off I went. Played a few of the cards games and then went looking to see what else was offered.

And there it favorite game even before online games were invented!


Don't go there or you to will have to play over and over and over until you become smug and know you've beat the game and throws in a new item to find and your confindence is shattered and you have to play again and again because that damn white cat is hiding somewhere and you can't find it....

I have to go now. Um, dishes need to be washed, yeah, dishes....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time traveler

Received my 19th century dress which is appropriate for the time of the Frances Land House.

Here's a close up of the print

FLH print up close

A pretty blue flower with pale olive stems/leaves on a dark natural background. Cotton.

Here is a picture of the dress hanging on the closet door.

FLH dress first order

The front touches the top of my foot while the back of the dress goes into a small train. There are ties that will pull the gathers on the empire waist closed. I didn't do that before taking this picture.

There are problems though. I can get both of my arms through one sleeve. The edge of the neck sits on my shoulders which then makes the sleeves come way past my elbows. And lets not talk about how low and wide the front is.

At first I thought that my weird body shape had caused this. But no, the other Docent who ordered the same fabric dress was the same way. We have a feeling the seamstress used the wrong pattern for the top, (is that called the bodice?)

So, back they go to be fixed.

I will say that the cotton is very nice, the bodice lined and it's not as heavy as it looks.

But of course after what I'm wearing now (shift, pockets, petticoat, apron, vest, modesty scarf & mob cap one layer is going to feel light.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Harbinger Lavender Farm

ArtsyFish and I celebrate our birthdays a week apart. Our friend, Macadoodle, took us on a field trip to Harbinger Lavender Farm celebrate.

Harbinger Farm store
Harbinger Lavender Farm Gift Shop

The lavender was harvested in June, so we didn't get to cut our own.

drying lavender
Lavender drying in the barn

lavender fields
One of the lavender fields

eucalyptis tree
Eucalyptis Tree

What I brought home.

I'm enjoying the Lavender/Goat milk soap. I plan to purchase a few bars at the Chesapeake Heritage Arts Festival in September.

One the way home, we stopped at The Weeping Radish. The BEST barbeque sandwhich I've ever eaten! And stops at 2 farmers markets for
farm stand purchases
Cherries, peaches, honey, cookies, cantelopes, and fudge!

It was a fantastic day spent with some great friends!

Fourh of July

Let's do some catching up....

ArtsyFish invited me to her neighborhood Fourth of July picnic. After taking this picture

Fourth of July

The batteries on my camera died. But imagine a lovely lake right in the middle of a large neighborhood where people were swimming, boating and floating around. DJ was playing music and children and adults were encouraged to play tug of war, hula hoop, and other assorted games. Food was tasty: barbecue, hot dogs, burgers, and the assorted sides. And there was a nice breeze so flys and other buggy things were not hanging around.

The Fourth is also ArtsyFish's birthday, so we went back to her house and had birthday cupcakes and key lime ice cream.

Later, we went back down to the lakefront to watch the firewords. All around the lake neighbors were setting of some pretty good ones. And in the distance we could see the professional setting off the ones over Mt Trashmore.

It was a very nice day.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Why I like summer....

Sure I like summer because it's warm, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and all the other stuff poets write about.

But for me summer begins when CBS begins to air "Big Brother". Eleven seasons watching the hampsters. I love it!

And this year I joined a Ravelry Big Brother 11 Group Pool. My player is Natalie. She's 24, Tae Kwon Do champion and plays poker. She sounds like she could be a contender.

So the idea behind the "pool" is each Ravelry Player is randomly assigned one of the 12 BB Houseguests. If the Houseguest you are assigned wins BB, then you win a knitterly type gift from each of the other Ravelry players. Rumer has it a 13th person will join the Houseguests at some point, if that Houseguest wins, then the 12 Ravelry names will be but in a hat and a winner drawn.

It's not to late to join. Group 5 sign ups are being accepted now!

I can't wait until tomorrow night! And no, I don't follow the feeds. I like to see the edited version.

And since we're talking about summer, these are from my friend Macadoodle's garden!

Some of her cucumbers are shaped like squash. Anyone know what causes this?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm a planner

Background: Coco and I communicate by email. This mornings discussion.

Wallis: I think I'll plan my funeral at Scope. Not as big as Staples Ctr, but large enough to hold my family and friends. And I should increase my life insurance so y'all can buy that $25,000 gold plated casket for me. And I'd like Paul McCartney to sing a tribute.

Coco: OMG – I busted out laughing! I needed that! If you go before me I’ll to a “Tap” number after Paul sings a few songs. Maybe “Putting on the Ritz”!! And I’ll carry a Coco Channel purse and wear my Jackie O sun glasses!

If you would like to participate let me know. I'll add you to the program.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dryer Balls

I finally found the directions for the dryer balls. I hear they work really well.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4th

In most cities in the US, Independence Day, July 4th, is celebrated on July 4th with music and fireworks in the city park. Not so in the city where I live. I enjoyed music and fireworks last night, July 3rd. The City Park is about a mile from my home, so I hear the music and can see the fireworks that go above the trees. So today I might celebrate again in another city or two.

Now let me introduce you to another niece....Becky. A gardner, knitter, baker, cook, former school teacher, day care provider, sewer, wife, and a mother...where does she find the time. And if you want movie reviews, check out Becky's husband's blog.

To answer Katie's question about the Guiding Eyes dogs, the ones that are currently in this area for raising/training are Labs. I'm told occasionally a Golden is sent. And German Shepherds are rarely used any longer. The public see Shepherds as police or protection dogs and are afraid of them.

Puppies are named at birth and keep the name for life. And they are not neutered/spayed until they complete their training at the Center. This is so dogs with good temperment, etc. can be selected for broods or sires.

If the dog is not cut out for Guiding, another career may be in their future. A service dog for autistic, deaf or other needs, search & rescue, or bomb/drug finding. If they just are not able to make it, the original raiser is offered the chance to adopt. There is a dog in our group, she's 7 now, that would become so depressed when she couldn't complete a task that she was deemed not usable. She lives with her raiser now and comes out to classes to visit the puppies.

Here's a link to the May 09 graduates.

And please let me add, that I am not an expert about Guiding Eyes. I've asked lots of questions and read quite a bit. I'll share what I learn as I continue in this process.

A random picture because I haven't taken any in a while and what's a blog without pictures!

snow 3
The Snow of Winter '09

Friday, July 03, 2009

June 2009

Many years ago, on some newsy type tv show, I saw a story about seeing eye dogs and the people who raise/train them. I added that to my list of things to do one day. Wasn't quite sure when that day would be. The last 20 years at Big Bank my job entailed to much traveling to join clubs, or organizations or even take a class at a university.

There was a break about 16 years before I retired, one year and three months to be exact, that I only left the city 3 or 4 day a month. So I bought my first house, signed up for dance lessons and brought Bailey home, and thought....this is what it feels like to stay still.

But that changed when Bank bought another Bank and became at Big Bank that in 15 years would be Really Big Bank. I was on the "transition team" which meant I had to be where the transitioning was going on. Check out Ravelry to see the states I visited/lived in during those years.

So Bailey adjusted to week days at Four Paws Inn, I adjusted to weekends at home and life went on.

When I retired, I thought about those seeing eye dogs, but Bailey was adjusted to being an only dog and really liked having me to himself.

In late May I called the local rep for
Guiding Eyes. She invited me to attend their mid-June training session for puppies.

I begin MY training to raise a puppy in August. I can't wait. Hope I pass.....

May 2009

May is
Maryland Sheep & Wool. I did watch my spending and came home with 5 skeins (1 lace wt cashmere, 4 lace wt wool) of yarn and 2 patterns. Not bad at all.

I was very excited about one of the patterns. A shape for a shawl that I had not knit. Started right away and found so so so many problems with the pattern. Designer posted corrections that made it even worse. I rewrote it. It works. It's the start for my next WallisKnits pattern.

The month of May was spent learning about life in Princess Anne County from 1636 to 1810 on the Plantation of the Frances Land family. Two of my friends were roped into "volunteering" for my first tour. It's been lots of fun. My "Jane Austen" costume hasn't arrived so I'm wearing a 1750 style.

The end of the month was a very happy time indeed. My niece Katie married her David in a beautiful ceremony on a beautiful day. Here's her Blog where she discusses her new life of a wife & step mom. Check out her chickens, her lovable dog Scooter, her new puppy Elmer, gardening and her felted items..check out her etsy store...

April 2009

The first weekend in April, the weekend Bailey was acting like a 5 year old, the Frances Land House (link on the right) held their annual "Gathering of the Guilds".

This is an event the Knitting Guild has participated in for many years. Smockers, quilters, sewers, basket makers, hand carvers, bee keepers, potters, spinners, blacks smiths and so many many more demonstrate their craft. I've attended this event since 2001, when I joined TKGV aka The Guild. So much to see that I never really stopped to talk to the "workers" at the House.

This weekend I commented to a "worker" on her dress (think Jane Austen). She replied "you can wear one too". I learned that the majority of the workers are volunteers. I signed up!

2009 The First 3 1/2 Months

January '09: My calendar says I was at Ewe Knit Kits quite a bit working and teaching.

February '09: In February there was the "Super Sale" on the 1st. You know the day of the big football game but you can't name your sale after it or you risk receiving a nasty letter from a lawyer representing a big corporation.

Bailey had his annual check up.

Melissa Leapman stopped by to teach 4 classes for
The Guild. Cables!

The Guild held our annual Charity Knit In. Lots of fun and blankets for St. Mary's Children's Home and Chesapeake Humane Society.

And I got my hair cut.

March '09: KnittaPalooza was fun. Not sure if it will be the final one. No word from Bobbie. I released the last 2 George Family Patterns, RosaBelle and Marguerite.

Bailey & Nixon March 19 2009
Nixon visited for a week. He and Bailey slept while I folded clothes.

And a group of 20 or so knitters got together to duck tape ourselves. T shirt, duck tape wrapped around the body several times, cut up the back...
Me Me

Bobbie closed Ewe Knit Kits & Yarn brick & mortar store. (First time since I was 12 I do not have a job. Began with babysitting most weekends) Website is still open and has been updated. You can find all of my patterns there for PDF download.

April '09:


On April 8th, Bailey's kidneys failed and I had to make the decision to euthanize. He died 15 years to the week he had come to live with me as a 12 week old puppy. The Friday before he wasn't well. His regular vet wasn't available and his partner diagnosed arthritis and gave him an injection for pain. Bailey a new dog. We walked for 2 days like we hadn't in the last few years. 2 miles plus each day. But by Monday he was showing signs of distress so back to the vets office. Wednesday the results of Monday' tests were in and I made the decision.

They say when one door closes others open....and they did.

An update

It's been just over a year since I blogged. An update on the highlights from my calendar:

July '08: Celebrated my birthday. Had my annual checkup.

August '08: Had my hair cut and car inspected.

September '08: Coco flew in from Atlanta for a mutual friends 70th birthday celebration weekend. We all worked at Big Bank together. Caught up on all of the Big Bank gossip...nothing changed. And we celebrated Coco's birthday. Knitting Pure & Simple knit in Plymouth Baby Grande Alpaca.

Coco gift & Bailey
Bailey guarding Coco's Birthday Gift

Later in the month I helped "man the booth" at the Chesapeake Heritage Fiber Arts festival for Tidewater Knitting Guild of Virginia. A last minute decision to enter my knitting resulted in Best In Show cup, First Place and 2 Second Place ribbons.

CHAF 2008. AND an alpaca vendor asked me to knit a few display pieces for her in exchange for yarn after seeing these.

October '08: Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier was fun. Purchased 1 skein of yarn..alpaca, black, 600 yds.

Stepped down as President of the Guild, 3 years is looong time. I'll work on the Community Committee...a committee of one.

Took a Tatting class...don't ask. I made lots of knots.

Began training to work as an Election Official in November.

Clara Parks, Knitters Review & The Knitters Book of Yarn presented a fantastic talk on fiber. It was fun catching up with her.

Had my teeth cleaned. No cavities.

November '08:

Worked the elections. Very long day.

Started a knit-a-long at Ewe Knit Kits for a top down sweater with a different stitch pattern every few inches. Still have a sleeve and the button bands to finish.

J, K and I went to KnitXperience at Graves Mtn. Fun weekend meeting new knitters. And of course Graves Mountain Lodge is always fun.

And I was re-elected to BOD of my homeowners association. Not a big one else voluneered. It'll be my second time. I took a year off.

December '08: Quiet month. Christmas Day with my mother. Working at Ewe Knits.

So that was the last few months of 2008....