God's Canvas

God's Canvas
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.~~John 15:13

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer's here, I'm knitting socks, and there's a pattern here for a baby hat!

It is so hard to realize just how quickly time passes...that is, until I check my blog and see how long it's been since I last updated a post.  Yikes!  One might think that retirement would lend more time for keeping a blog post current, but oh no.  Not this "one" anyway!  Of course, I spend a lot of time being sedentary because my body betrays me, but my mind is as active as always!

One of the things that has kept me extremely busy for the past eight months is the injury of my parrot, Quillie.  He lost the toes from his right leg on November 13th, 2010, finally came home and then suffered a severe infection in his "good" leg about 12 weeks later.  This involved countless trips to the vet's office, which was 100 miles round-trip, sometimes for several consecutive days.  It was not only exhausting, but took its toll physically most of the time rendering me too tired to sit at the computer for the long period of time I need to adequately blog as I wish.  I am thrilled to report that Quillie has made a complete recovery and is fully back up to baseline.  He has adjusted beautifully to the loss of his little toes and is happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

Undoubtedly, summer is here with a vengeance!  The heat index at our house today was 105 degrees.  Yesterday, a trip to the grocery store at around three o'clock left me wilted into a puddle (and I NEVER sweat!) and totally exhausted.  There's something about this kind of heat and humidity, coupled with being in my 50's, that completely depletes whatever energy I might have left at that hour of any given day.

Whatever the summer heat steals from me is beautifully replenished by the loveliness of my garden and the birds of spring whose families are growing and showing new adult plumage daily.  Baby feathers are now replaced with the full regalia on the Cardinals, their big eyes now surrounded by brilliant red feathers and black masks.  There is a young family of four visiting our feeders every day, nearly all day.  So precious.  I even have a purple finch this year who is enjoying the syrup from the hummingbird feeder just as much as the hummers are!  They are so cute and sweet, and such a splended reminder of how good God is to me in the unexpected as well as the "norm."

This summer, I broke down and replaced a beloved Hibiscus I'd lost three summers ago with a new braided Hibiscus this year--a sort of tropicana color, rich in orange/red hues.  When it first landed in my garden, I thought my former misfortune would be repeated because the leaves began to turn yellow and dropped like confetti almost immediately.  I was apparently over-watering it.  So, I backed off with the watering and fed it Miracle Grow...it is gorgeous, having celebrated its beauty yesterday with four blooms at once!

It is full of budding promise and I am enjoying its beauty immensely! 

I always enjoy a hanging basket in the flower bed in front of our house and it's full of pink petunias and fuschia-colored verbena--so sweet and soft in its presentation.  Every day, I enjoy the process of dead-heading the petunias and other plants, affording me a piece of gardening in lieu of what I'd really love to spend hours doing if only my body would comply.  Any amount still brings me peace.

Each year, it seems the winter reduces my 15-year-old Peace Lily to a nub, so I routinely must attempt to resuscitate it in a new pot with new potting soil with great results.  This year was no exception, but the difference is that I covered the "nubs" of peace lily with Vinca and Celosia....beautiful!  I fight to keep the Peace Lily alive because it was given to me by a dear friend when my grandfather transitioned into Heaven and I do cherish it so.  The Peace Lily is alive under the flowers you see below.

I also have a Bleeding Heart (cuttings from my friend, Faye) that are on the south side of my house (no photo).  My trusty front porch planter maintains its spot with Vinca and Marigolds.

I haven't been spending ALL of my time on a sofa.  I've found a wonderful lady, Carol,  a sister in Christ who knits, quilts, sews and crochets.  She is teaching me to knit socks, and it's so exciting to think that I could possibly learn such a feat (no pun intended, regardless of the spelling).  This project has been on my "bucket list" for years.   Thus far, I have learned how to do a provisional cast on and knit the socks from the toe up on two circular needles (no DPN's), which affords me the opportunity of sizing the sock as I go.  This is especially helpful because of the swelling in one foot over the other.  I will soon have a pair of custom made socks by none other than myself.  Exciting...at least to me!  As the socks progress, I will post more photos and current updates.  If my friend, Carol, permits me to, I will post her pattern for you upon my completion of the socks.

I had a lot of graduates this year, so I made purses for the females.  I really enjoyed making these very simple yet cute little clutches!

The above, bluish-colored bag was made out of Raffia, flower and all.  I made the flowers so that they are detachable via a pin on the back of them.  This is easier for laundering and having the option of wearing the flower on a garment.  I lined the bags with 100% cotton fabric and put a pocket in some of them.  It was a lot of fun, and I will definitely keep that pattern near my sewing table!

I have dear friends in Lake Junaluska, NC and his mother broke her hip recently.  She just now was able to return home, so I made a walker caddy for her to tie to her walker for the convenience of carrying her things wherever she goes.  This was made with denim fabric and lined with a nice floral print, and the flowers were made from Raffia with pins on the back for easy removal and laundering.

My above-mentioned friend, Carol, recently began a knitting and crocheting group called "Chicks with Sticks," and we gather together every Tuesday night for the sole purpose of making items for charities.  We are making hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves and mittens for the local homeless shelter in Kingsland with plans to reach out to other organizations in the future.  On July 5th, Carol shared a precious knitted baby hat which she was given from a lady at her church.  It was so sweet and yet simple, and left such an impression on me.  My mission for last weekend was to learn how she did this, so with the collaboration of other patterns on line, I figured out how to knit the hat.  Now, don't faint, but I am including the pattern (finally after over a year of promises) for the hat.  I truly hope you enjoy making it and, if you have questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Straight needle baby hat with garter stitch cuff

Size: 10” circumference
Sport Weight (or baby) yarn, ¾ oz.
Size 8 knitting needles (or size required for gauge)
Darning needle to sew seam
Gauge: 20 sts = 4” in Stockinette St

Cuff: Cast on 48 stitches. Work one inch in garter stitch.
Row 1 (right side): Knit
Row 2 (wrong side): Purl
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 5” from cast on edge, ending with a wrong side (purl) row.
To Shape Top:
Row 1: *K2tog, K2; rep from * across: 36 stitches
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: *K2tog, K2; rep from * across: 27 stitches
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: *K2tog, K1; rep from * across: 18 stitches
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: K2tog across: 9 stitches.

Finishing: Cut yarn leaving long end.  Thread yarn into darning needle and draw through remaining stitches on needle at top of hat. Draw up tightly and fasten off securely, tucking in ends.  Sew side seam of hat. Turn up cuff if desired.

I know I've shared health issues in the past, but I don't enjoy dwelling on that subject.  However, I feel it important that you know I am having foot and ankle surgery on July 21st and may be incapacitated for a while.  A complete recovery takes 18 months and I must be non-weight bearing and in a cast for a minimum of four months.  I know the Lord will see me through this and I look forward to feeling better at the end of the recovery and able to do more things in my daily life and ministry for Jesus.

Until next time, be blessed and to God be the glory!

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  I Thessalonians 4:11-12