Friday, September 30, 2005

When You Think About Running Away....

I received this link from a friend yesterday:

Wanted: Knitters for a Fair Isle

Take a listen and you can dream too! Apparently the National Trust of Scotland is looking for renters for two croft houses on Fair Isle. The rent is 300 pounds for a year! Here's some information on the property to let.

While the cheap rent and beautiful location would stir ideas of escape on most days, the real kicker is this line; "Although the Trust cannot offer any direct employment there are skill shortages in several areas but particularly in the building trades and knitting." You can be employed in knitting? Really?

I looked at the Arts & Crafts links and not only was impressed with the knitting business, but saw that there is a boat-building business as well. You might remember that my husband is obsessed with wooden boats. Put the wooden boats together with knitting, and the dream of relocation gets better. I do love the idea of crafting for a living. Ah, my dreams.

And here is my latest project--Naturwolle. More on Monday!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Debut of Coquette

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Welcome to Coquette! After months in the knitting bag, false starts on the lace bits, and serious thought about dumping the project due to heat, she is finished!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

This pattern is from Knitter's Magazine, Fall 04 (I believe). I used the suggested Stampato Merino in Black but chose the Rowan homespun for the lace. The merino is just SOOO soft. Here's the back.

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

The longish sleeves and boxy fit ensure this will feel like a comfy, everyday sweater. If it ever gets cool (104 during the photoshoot), I will be wearing this one a lot!

Here's a close up of the neck. I like the edging that you embroider along the neckline.

Coquette Neck
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

And the ruffly underlay bit:

Coquette Ruffle
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hurricane Rita

We lucked out--Hurricane Rita blew around us. Here is the worst part of our storm:

Hurricaqne Rita
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

We had nothing--a bit of wind and no rain at all (which we really could have used...). I feel really badly for those on the Louisiana/Texas border who did have a much more difficult time. But I think that, regardless of the horrendous traffic problems, the evacuation was smart and timely given what would have happened had the storm blow our way. The shelters were emptying out on Sunday and people are heading home. Gas is fairly difficult to come by, so some people are stuck.

Since we were trying to make our daughter feel less frightened, we were promising a storm party. No storm--what do you do? You make your own rain!

Rita missed us
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I think she had a good time.

I love rain
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita--Friday

It is looking a little better today, since the storm is dropping force. It shifted away from Galveston/Houston which is better for us, but worse for Beaumont/Port Arthur. Thanks for all of your emails and comments--it means a lot.

Email from hubby to friends/family at 9 am:

Appreciate all the emails and calls of concern. We are t minus 18 hours or so from landfall.

The anticipated impact of Rita in Bryan/College Station has dramatically improved in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, predicted path of the eye of the hurricane was about 30 miles to the west of BCS, with anticipated winds up to 110 mph, rain of up to 15 inches and probable tornadoes (the worst part). Now, predicted landfall is along the Texas-Louisiana border, with BCS now under a tropical storm warning (winds about 50 mph and rain). Now everyone is thinking this will water the dry grass. The key to watch for us is the point of landfall and whether we are on the east (very bad) or west (much better) side of the projected path.

I am sure that you have heard about the horrible mess the roads continue to be due to the nearly 2 million people on the roads. The major problem has been the lack of gas. BCS ran out of gas (the entire town of nearly 200k!) yesterday after everyone in town filled up just before the first wave of Houston evacuees hit town.

My friend in Oklahoma, Pete, offered to house us but I am not sure we could have made it. Reports are that all hotels north of Houston all the way to Norman Oklahoma are filled. The news just reported that a bus of nursing home evacuees exploded on I-45 outside Dallas, completely blocking northbound traffic.

BCS has mobilized in a way that makes one proud. We have taken in roughly 10-20k people in shelters and private homes. Students from TAMU were mobilized to man the shelters and are doing a good job. We have a plan to take care of animals - I read up to 3000 dogs and cats. Horses were also being sheltered (on a baseball field?). The major problem has been gas. We opened 30 shelters, not including motels. BCS is now full and new evacuees are being sent on to Austin. I can imagine how they feel. Most of those people would have been on the road up to 20 hours to go the 73 miles between Houston and BCS.

Anyway, I have to go clean out the garage, so we can park the cars inside. Then I have some tree limbs to take down and red, blue, yellow or green plastic toys to pick up - they seem to be everywhere. Where does that crap come from?

And another from hubby at 10

Things are going well in BCS at 9 AM. Several observations:

The wind just picked up; noticeable increase in speed. Could be due to local heating due to the sun (it is expected to be 103 degrees today) or first effects of Rita. Satellite images ( have the outer clouds now over Central Texas.

Tough about the bus in Dallas that exploded. Heard 24 people died, mainly because of the oxygen tanks on board.

Amy called to see if we could help in the shelters. They wanted folks to stay locked in the shelters from 6 PM Friday to midday Saturday. Since we could not take Anna, only I could go and Amy would be alone when the storm hit (if it really does). Amy put the cabash on that idea pretty quick.

How do you know that there will no looting in Texas? The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that there were major run on three items in Houston: gas, water and guns. People cited the need to defend home and family. The culture differences between Texas and Louisiana are like those between France and Germany. If you have visited the two countries, you know what I mean.

Experts are citing a major worry that the storm will stall over Northeast Texas/OK/Arkansas/Louisiana and dump huge amount of rain. Notice that the maps of the 3 day Cones and 5 day cones of Rita's path are almost the exact same ( It would be ironic if Gretsch was more impacted in Oklahoma City that us.

I finished taking down the dead limbs over the house and moved the stuff outside. We are now going to store Amy's car in a parking garage. Then I have to clean the garage. Oh joy.

And at 2 pm


Been a busy day. Winds have definitely picked up with gusts to 30 mph. I took a nice photo of the edge of the hurricane clouds which I will send. It is cloudy outside and hot.

It looks like Rita will make landfall right over Port Arthur Texas (on the border) around 2 AM Saturday. As you probably know, it has been downgraded to a Category 3, with a strong possibility of strengthening just before it hits land. There are reports of strong waves along the Texas coast and rain in Beaumont, near Port Arthur. Picture of the Galveston sea wall (6 or 8 ft high) below.

About an hour ago, the Govenor asked everyone to stay where they were and ride the storm out. The biggest problem remaining in Texas are the hundreds of cars stalled or trapped in traffic jams on roads leading out of Houston. Most of them have run out of gas and they are waiting for National Guard tankers to come and fill them up. Many of the stalled cars are in East Texas, not far from where the storm will come ashore. I wouldn't want to be in that situation - far too powerless. There are a number of reports of people and animals dying in the traffic jams from carbon monoxide poisoning (

Heard a story this morning that just tugs at the strings: an extended family traveling in a 5 car caravan stopped at a gas station. When they left, they left behind a 10 year old boy. The Police had no way to find the family. Can you imagine the panic once the boy was discovered missing.....Ok, I just checked the Houston paper web site and the Police were able to find the boy's father in Dallas (

Finished putting all our outside stuff in the barn. Got to clean the garage a bit more and then put the truck away. That first beer is going to taste mighty good.

Talk to you in two hours or so.

Since these emails we have taken my car to the parking garage and made a space--everyone else had the same idea. We moved all the deck items to the barn and garage, the garbage cans in the barn, and chopped down any remaining limbs.

I posted a few pictures from yesterday. The shelters are full--Anna's school is housing 130 people and more are coming--but nowhere to go, no supplies, no gas.

I'll try to take pictures over the next day or so. Maybe it won't be as bad as we initially thought, though the poor people in Louisiana and east Texas.

Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rita is coming

This just isn't good. We are trying to get ready for hurricane Rita. We are inland (1.5 hours from Houston), but we will get lots of wind and rain and will have lots of the evacuees. The University has cancelled classes on Friday, asked students to be prepared to stay in their dorms all day Saturday, and set up shelters and temporary hospitals. My students are either heading home to their families, preparing for family members who are evacuated, or buying food and water to prepare for the storm. A few are planning their mud football games--craziness, but they don't quite know what is coming. Galveston, Houston, and other coastal areas look like they are going to have a difficult time and are being evacuated. Our cell phones aren't working because so many people are trying to use the phones.

Our house has lots of big trees around it, which we expect to be a problem. A few are older and will probably come down--but hopefully not in the direction of our house. We will put plywood over the windows on the back of the house that might get hit by branches. Tomorrow will be the day to clean up everything outside--no potted plants, branches, lawn furniture or anything else. The lines at the gas pump are really long, but it looks like we still have gas (for less than $3 a gallon too!).

I took my camera into the grocery store last night but the battery died. I have to go to the store today so I will try to get some pictures of the empty shelves. Rumor has it that some stores are to get deliveries today, so we might be able to find a few more things. We bought bottled water, bread, canned goods, and other quick and easy foods. We have our barbeque grill and a camp stove, so that might help. It is really hot here (102 today), so losing electric isn't going to be fun.

If it looks truly awful on Saturday early am, we will pack up the child, pets, food and water and come to our offices at the University. If I can, I will be posting and showing pictures during the storm. Think positively for those on the coast in particular!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Coquette in Repose, Reading

Coquette in Repose, Reading
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Coquette is finished but you will have to look at her nicely folded and sitting on my dresser. {Notice she is reading the Yarn Harlot's new book? }

Coquette is awaiting her runway debut, but a bit concerned about the consistent 100 degree F temperatures. Therefore, she begs your pardon, but she will wait until tropical storm Rita destroys the Gulf Coast and cools the temperature. Perhaps then she will deem it cool enough for her pleasure. Come to think of it, it might be wise to head to the store and buy white bread and milk and fill the gas tank up as well...

Hope for a gentler storm than predicted for the already battered coast....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Opal Socks--Check

Another finished object--really. This is my third pair of socks and, I must say, my least favorite to date. I still don't like the short row heel. They just don't fit as nicely as the heel flap. But, I think they will be nice to wear with clogs this fall. And, my first self striping yarn trial was a big plus--I like it!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

When I stopped at my LYS the other day, I did pick up two new books: The new Nancy Bush Knitting Vintage Socks and the new Lucinda Guy Handknits for Kids. I just think Nancy Bush's sock patterns are wonderful and look forward to giving one of them a try.

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Who could resist the new Lucinda Guy book. Here's what Anna has picked out:

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Weekend, Weekend, Weekend

We had this kind of a weekend:

Kolache Festival
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

This weekend was the annual Kolache Festival in Caldwell, Texas. It is always really hot for the festival, but we decided it might be fun to brave the heat and drive down the road to this Czech celebration. Caldwell was a Czech settlement, speaking Czech until very recently. In fact, many small towns in Texas still identify with those initial immigrants, whether from Mexico, Germany, Czechoslovakia. This one is all about food--Kolaches are a Czech wedding pastry.

The celebrated Kolache:

Kolache Festival
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

It wouldn't be a festival without a Kolache Eating Contest:

Kolache Eating Contest
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

And a Czech Band:

Kolache Festival Czech Band
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

With a little beer, the accordian players are having a great time:

Kolache Festival Band
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

There's dancing:

Kolache Festival Dancing
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Anna took a horse ride:

Kolache Festival
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

We looked at antique tractors:

Kolache Festival Antique Tractor
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Knitting? Oh, yeah. Here's Coquette after her bath:

Blocking Coquette
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Knitting Guild Night

Last Thursday night was our local Knitting Guild meeting. I have been away so much this summer that I missed the last 3 or 4 meetings. It was good to see everyone at this meeting and to catch up on the knitting progress. It was bring a friend night, and we ended up with a decent crowd:

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Various knitters volunteered to demonstrate techniques. Buffie is working on this lovely cable sweater from Rowan. I asked her lots of questions about cables, since that is on my list for the fall.

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

This is Barbara. She's been knitting for over 40 years. The gorgeous cabled sweater she is holding is made of Irish yarn for her granddaughter who is starting college in the North this fall. It needs some buttons, and it will be done. Beautiful!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Here's Paul's Kumo Kimono from Knitty. It looks great--notice the opened arms?

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

And Rowena's first sock! Yeah! Looks great!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Here is another set of socks in yummy Opal. The BVKG is doing a sock knit along to get everyone hooked on sock knitting. I took my last sock with the funky heel and got a few tips. I turned the second sock and it looks much better!

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.


There was also a silent auction. I took a bunch of old Interweave Knit magazines that I had doubles and Nancy of the Hook and Needle scooped them up. Look at us bidding.

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I had a great night. I won the lion brand skein as a door prize and the Opal sock yarn in the silent auction. I'm thinking of a cute little hat for Anna out of the Lion Brand. The opal heads into the stash until I think of what comes next....

Knitting Guild Loot
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Evacuees/Yarn

First, the important stuff:

Texas has been taking in thousands of evacuees from the hurricane. In fact, we have been adding students to our University, housing folks in the local arena, giving displaced professors office space and library priviledges, and more. Our University sent bus drivers to move people, is publishing a newspaper in town for those who were evacuated, and sending students and townspeople to volunteer. There is daycare, food and clothing donations, and students who are moving real beds into the shelters for people to sleep on. I'm so happy to see that our town and university are making an effort to support those who are displaced. Here is the latest information: TAMU News. I don't mean for this to be a rah, rah we are great posting. But I do want to spread the word about what some regular folks are doing to help those in need.

The Knitting (less important) stuff:

Yesterday my daughter and I headed to Target to pick up a new chair for the kitchen:

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Isn't it cute? It has little steps that pull out so that she can walk up the chair and kneel to help me cook. I remember having a very similar chair when I was little--but it was that 70s brown...

The entrance way in our Target has a little area that has rapidly changing merchandise that is priced at 1.00--sort of Target's answer to the Dollar General stores, I guess. I always look to see what's there and here is what I saw yesterday:

Target Yarn
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Look at that yarn! I'm sure people thought I was absolutely nuts to be taking pictures of Target's yarn, but, hey, I needed blog worthy proof. There is a bunch of novelty yarn and acrylic, including acrylic sock yarn. I didn't buy any, since I'm having issues with both novelty and acrylic lately, but it is great to see knitting making inroads!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Multiple Musings

I don't want to use this blog to rant, but I do have to register my utter disgust with the way in which the government has responded to the disaster along the Gulf Coast. Like many, I think that the fact that this is the South, with poor, African-American citizens, has a lot to do with the way in which the response was given. Watching the images made me think that there looked to be no difference between what was happening with New Orleans and the images of crisis in third world countries. It highlights the inequities in our society. New Orleans always struck me as a completely divided city: those that have and those that have not. And that is often divided by race lines. Of course, it doesn't help that FEMA's budget has been drastically cut over the last three years. And then there is the fact that the head of FEMA (appointed by Bush) has this experience: Former commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. Check this story: FEMA head.

I can only hope that this is the proverbial wake up call. By way of Matthew Kirschenbaum's blog, is Mark Bernstein's "What Ended."

The other thing that makes me think that there might be hope is the way in which Texas has responded. I've been reading various stories at the Houston Chronicle, and it looks like those who have been evacuated to Texas are getting necessary support. Even our town has been taking people, housing them in shelters, churches, the sports arena... I'm particularly interested in the Dome Blog that is recording the responses and needs of those at the Reliant Astrodome and Convention Center. I'm sure that there is much more to do, but at least some help is coming.

Ok. Enough of the politics. I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest. On to the knitting.

I was just about finished the back of Arabella when I discovered this:

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

If you look very carefully you will see that I am one stitch off with the ribbing in the top few inches. Argh. So, I got out my little, tiny crochet hook and tried to fix it. I'm usually not that great in such repairs, but this one worked!

Arabella Back
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

It is a little tighter than the rest of the stitches, but at least it is properly aligned! Anna had this response:

Tank Back
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

When I was at the grocery store this weekend I found some lovely organic Braeburn apples. These are the kind of apples my grandmother swears by--the best for apple pie. I'm Pennsylvania Dutch/Mennonite by heritage, and our pies are an art. So, it was time to teach Anna. She loved making the crumbs for the top of the pie.

Pie girl!
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

The pie came out nicely. The apples are a big improvement over Granny Smith. Yummy. At least the pie can act as some sort of comfort during this crazy time.

Apple Pie
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Current Projects

While I keep hoping for the fall, there is still one more summer project on the needles--Arabella, a Rowan tank. I am close to finishing the back panel:

Arabella Back
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I haven't completed many large fine gauge projects (ok. It's a tank, so how large is it, really....), but this one is knitting up nicely. It is proving to be my easy, no thinking knit. Perhaps I will finish it up before the summer disappears entirely--It is still ungodly hot (high of 98 today).

I also decided to scrap the beginnings of the Colinette jacket that I was working on. I will stick the yarn in my stash and come back to it next summer. But, the ribbon yarn was fiddly and slippy, and really not what I want to be working with at this moment. I'm leaning toward fall woolens.

Of course, by dumping the jacket, a project that has been lingering on the needles for the entire summer came back into view--Coquette. I know. What project is that? Well, it has been hanging around forever--I posted about buying the yarn last December! Here's a picture of the sweater. I managed to finish all of the body parts, but became stuck on the lace bits that go under the bottom edge and the sleeves. I think that I was having a lace rebellion after the struggle to complete my Flower Basket Shawl, because this time around, things are going better. I cast on and worked through one of the larger bottom edges:

Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I remember hating the rowanspun dk yarn the last time I tried the lace, but I am liking it this time around. Perhaps my knitting abilities have improved a tiny bit? Hard to say. But, I'm going to try to knit up the 3 additional pieces and get this sweater finished before it gets cold and I want to start some other Christmas/cold weather knits

Gallery of Finished Objects

Gallery 2007
Gallery 2006
Gallery 2005
Gallery 2004

On the Needles

Cable Cardigan

Faroe Island Sweater

Rowan Denim Seahorse


Future Knits

Lisette from Rowan

Lorna's Laces Socks

Backyard Leaves Scarf

Eloise from Jane Ellison


The WeatherPixie


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