Friday, December 31, 2010


Another year that Santa came to visit. Always seems such a whirlwind and then before I know it, he's waving 'bye for another year.

I love this little candle and have had him for years. (My old friend, Betty would have said "donkey's years" I miss Betty.)

Do you have some ornament or decoration from childhood that is special to you? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Now that most of the hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind me, I found the time to pull out the Lacy Leaves stole and study the errata. There is only one change in one row, but with all the thoughts and to-do lists floating around in my head pre-Christmas, I was unable to work out just what was to be done and how it all fit.

A cup of coffee and a few minutes of solitude is all it took and I am now back on track.

I am not doing as well with the mammoth crossword published in the paper, but I haven't really spent all that much time at it. The solution isn't published until Jan. 1 so I may put it aside and work on it all along and see how much I can get done. Sadly the main obstacle to it is the tiny type. Type size that didn't seem tiny a few years ago. sigh

I received a couple of knitting book treasures for Christmas. More on them in weeks to come. In the front of one of them is a section on dealing with problems and mistakes and the first issue addressed is poor quality circular needles. The knitting above is on a Clover bamboo circular. I wouldn't necessarily describe them as poor quality, but they are not ideal for this project for sure. There are many, many yarnovers in this pattern and each and every one has to be coaxed over the join between cable and needle. None of the knitting flows. This is a DRAG in every sense of the word. But with no other size 7 circular in the house, I am just dragging along.

I once overheard a yarn shop employee who was showing a pricey addi Turbo needle to a shopper explain that there are so few tools to knitting and they are so important to the task that it is really worth the knitter's time to have the correct tools. Amen.

Hope your post-holiday knitting or puzzle-solving proves relaxing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Z is for

Zion Baptist Church

from the Church website:
"Prior to 1866, Blacks, most of whom were former slaves, were members of the First Baptist Church of Marietta. From the early 1860's several attempts were made to provide for separate worship services such as a separate conference and a separate place of worship. However, in each case, a white representative was to be present.

In 1866, letters of dismissal were granted to eighty-eight black members for the purpose of constituting a separate Baptist Church; thus, Zion Baptist Church was organized April 8, 1866 with Reverend Ephraim B. Rucker as Pastor.

Two weeks later, the first Sunday school was organized.

Zion Baptist Church traces its history back to Dicey, the first slave who was allowed to attend services at First Baptist Church of Marietta in 1836. The group saved and collected $70 to buy the 40-by-60-foot property at the corner of Lemon and Haynes streets in downtown Marietta.
The first wooden structure was destroyed in a fire. The brick sanctuary was completed in 1888.

Here's a picture of the congregation outside that building in 1935.

The original structure is one of the oldest buildings in Marietta. In 1990 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was restored in 1997 and in 2003 it opened as the Old Zion Heritage Museum.

Earlier this year on Sunday, October 31, an historical marker was placed outside the original structure.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


A quiet day around the cul-de-sac. After my walk, I took a twig and scratched a 35 into the snow on the stump of storm-damaged tree we had to have removed earlier this month. Today's our anniversary.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


All is calm,
all is bright,
some is white!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Secret of Christmas

It's not the glow you feel, when snow appears
It's not the Christmas card, you've sent for years
Not the joyful sound, when sleigh bells ring
Or the merry songs, children sing

The little gift you send, on Christmas day
Will not bring back the friend, you turned away

So may I suggest, the secret of Christmas
It's not the things you do, at Christmas time
But the Christmas things you do all year through

"The Secret of Christmas" was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen for Bing Crosby, and first performed by Crosby in the 1959 film "Say One for Me". Crosby recorded the song again in 1964, for the album 12 Songs of Christmas.

If you have 3+ minutes on this busy day, click that link above to view and hear Bing sing it himself and be overcome with nostalgia - but in a good way.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buttons and bows...and glue...and scissors....

Saturday was the lace club's Christmas party. Did I let the fact that I had missed several whole years of regular meetings keep me away from the fun and food? Do you even need to ask?

As has been the case for many, many years, Kay (to-busy-to-blog Kay) was Party Guru and in charge of coming up with and overseeing the group's craft activity, always a highlight of the holiday party.

As soon as we finished eating all the goodies we all got right down to play. This year we decorated journals and the tables were groaning under the supplies of lace, trims, sequins, buttons, bells, and all. We had old wallpaper sample books to use as covers that were the blank canvases for our choice of further decoration.

What fun! After pawing through all the materials and dithering a bit over just what to use, we settled in and before too long they were done. Here you can see several of them.

Time surely does fly when you are having this much fun. For a true stringplayer it is better than a trip to a spa.

In that first picture above you may have spotted some pompoms. The morning of the party as I surfed around blogs during breakfast (isn't that what you do??), I spotted some easy directions for making some. So as soon as I finished eating, I washed my fork, pulled out the cheap acrylic I had thrown into my bag before leaving for the party and got a stack made. I didn't intend to use any for the journal cover, but I have been having fun using them on packages and this Red Heart Sport works a treat for them. I might have a hard time chopping up really good yarn.

speaking of lace, see some lovely examples here used in a church in Budapest.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flower bowl

Things are topsy-turvy in Stringplay land this year. Usually I have a hard and fast rule to stop all gift needlework by Thanksgiving, but it almost seems like this year I waited until then to get started.

I did complete a couple of gifts way back in the spring. Summer came and I think the hot weather got to me.

Home yesterday, a rarity, I decided to use some extra yarn from my mini mittens project to try out this free felted flower bowl pattern.

I used sport weight yarn (KnitPicks Telemark in Poppy) and size 9 needles to make a slightly smaller bowl and I just felted it by hand since it seemed awfully wasteful to get the washer going for such a small item. FUN to make, but I hope my wrists don't rebel tomorrow. Once again I neglected to read the pattern through before beginning. There are several K3togs in there. Maybe all that hot water during the hand felting helped.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Y is for

YWCA - celebrating 93 years of serving our community.

There was no date given for this archival photo but judging from the autos I'd say it was taken in the 40s. I don't remember when it was located directly on the square.

The current facility on Henderson Street was built in 1965 and once housed an indoor swimming pool and offered childcare services.

The summer I turned sixteen I drove myself down to this Y to take a beginner swimming class. I planned on going to the lake a lot that summer and mother wanted to be sure I could swim. The indoor pool was just behind those glass blocks.

The class was composed of about eleven 4-year-olds and myself! I was only the student who drove to class on their own! The first class was to get to feeling comfortable in the pool and we had to spend it lowering our faces into the water. I had to get on my knees to get my face close enough!

The building was closed in 2007 and is being renovated to create a free domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, which is the only shelter of its type in Cobb County.

Monday, December 13, 2010


It may be almost Christmas but for some reason I'm humming an old Peaches and & Herb
... Reunited!

Even though I had looked all in my car and under the seats - not once, but twice - somehow today while stopped at a traffic light, I just leaned down, reached under, and there it was! So happy.

Came home and, of course, then couldn't immediately find the un-missing one. The drama.

It was so cold here this morning that I needed a FULL mitten with fingertips anyway. It was snowing as I drove to work! I don't usually get that many chances to wear my Selbu mittens.

Speaking of snowflakes, here's a pattern with helpful photos for knitting one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life is just a bowl of sweaters

I tell you, those little bitty sweaters are So Much Fun. I wish I could lay my hands on the leftovers from these socks and I'd try to make some even smaller! I know I had a good bit left over. So WHERE is it? I don't have time to toss the SDC* around looking for it. I'll just have to wait. Maybe it will magically appear.

*SDC = Sensory Deprivation Chamber a/k/a the stringplay den

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lo, a FO no mo

This is a rather sad story - at least for ME. Got your tissues handy?

I finished my Cabled Mitts a couple of days before Thanksgiving and they came out just right, fitting perfectly and very warm these past cold days. Never even managed to get a good FO photo.

These are the ones I adapted from a glove pattern in Veronik Avery's "Knitting 24/7" using her St. Denis Nordique yarn.

Somehow - and it is still a complete mystery to me - I managed to lose one Friday afternoon. I'm almost certain both made it to the car with me after work. I saw them and my sunglasses case slide off the center console onto the floor of the car. I made a couple of stops on the way home and when I went to collect things before coming into the house I had only one.

Well, this was SAD news. My new wonderful and warm mitts. And no yarn to make a mate.

But I can't leave you with this unhappy ending. See the tin under the lone mitt? That is my vintage Hallmark tin (c. 1987). In our house that means only one thing: 7-Layer Cookie Bar!
Nothing helps you get over the loss of a handknit like a thousand-calorie treat.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quickie Hat

There are a couple of office grandbabies coming in January. I know one is expected to be a boy, but I think (I think) one is expected to be a girl.

I had seen the Lion Brand Baby Wool at Joann's so the other day I used my coupon and bought a ball.

It is superwash and felt pretty good in the ball.
I chose the Alpine Meadow colorway which is mostly yellow with a bit of green and blue.

I am not really getting home before dark now and my photos are suffering, but this gives you an idea.

It did not feel overly soft once I got it knitted, and after a soak, it was fairly lifeless. While still damp I tossed it into the dryer for a bit and that seemed to work out just fine.

Once again I went to the Children's Cotton Hats pattern from "Last-Minute Knitted Gifts". I find that pattern to work up super quickly without a lot of fuss. The top decreases do create a bit of a point, but I'm going with the idea that it just makes it more elfin and adorable.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

X is for

X-mas. It is Christmastime on the Square. Here's the tree in Glover Park. I love when the lights and decorations go up. All the shops have their special window displays.

I'm not a big fan of abbreviations in general, but there aren't any other Xs around and the timing was perfect!.

The abbreviation XMAS for Christmas dates back to the sixteenth century. X is the Greek letter for Chi, the initial in the word Christos or Christ.

As knitters we are familiar with Xs, too, in lovely textured cables.

XOXO! And Merry Christmas.

Brrrr! It was so chilly when I went out to take this picture I completely forgot to turn around and get a shot of the wreath and garland-draped gazebo!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

W is for

Welcome Center.
e've hung a wreath on the door for you.
We'd love to have you visit.
Won't you come in and sit a spell?

The Marietta Welcome Center is housed in the 1898 train depot, is staffed by volunteers, and is open seven days a week.

It isn't a large place, but it is friendly and if you come to visit it would be a good place to start. (Well maybe the second place.....the coffee shop is just across the courtyard!)

Inside are brochures for self-guided walking/driving tours of the city, menus from nearby restaurants, leaflets from local merchants, and just a few souvenirs.

This time of year, they are selling tickets to The Marietta Pilgrimage; the Christmas tour of homes happening this weekend. [Photos here of the homes on this year's tour. None of the older, larger homes on Church Street are included in the tour this year.]

It was cold and windy when I walked across to take the above photo and a few others. Here's a shot, taken back in the summer, showing the courtyard and a bit more of the surrounding pedestrian area.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Facing Lilies Stole

Pattern: Facing Lilies Stole
by Nancy Bush
Interweave Knits - Spring 2010

21" x 58"

Yarn: Old Maiden Aunt handpainted yarn
80% merino / 20% silk 2-ply laceweight
1300 yd/100 gr.
won from Podcaster Paula at Knitting Pipeline

Needles: Size 3 addi Turbo
24" for body / 32" for edging done in round

I am over-the-moon satisfied with this FO. It is always easy to love the latest, greatest FO the best, but this one may very well turn out to be my most favorite knit ever. The pattern, combining two traditional Estonian motifs, by Nancy Bush is just perfect. The body was a very relaxing and enjoyable knit. You may recall that I had a little problem getting that edging started. Stitches are picked up all around the four sides and the garter-stitch edging is knit in the round. The problem was entirely my own fault. The instructions specifically call for wooden or bamboo needles but I went with the slick addi Turbo ones. Lesson learned: Listen to Nancy.

I took a number of photos of the finished shawl but this one seemed to show the pattern the best. It has been quite overcast and dreary these past few days and this photo was taken indoors without natural light so you don't really get to see all the subtle shadings in this yarn.

The yarn was a dream to knit and the finished hand is heavenly. I was fortunate to win this yarn from Paula's podcast, Knitting Pipeline. I enjoy her podcasts so much! I listen to quite a few podcasts with the majority concerning knitting. Paula's quickly became a favorite.

So thank you Nancy and thank you Paula; two-part harmony.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I finally knitted a sweater!

The Facing Lilies stole came off the needles this past Saturday and sat in a crumpled heap until Sunday afternoon when I took the time to soak and block it.

I just couldn't face up to the blocking wires, but this one was easy enough to just pin out each point of the edging.

With the time change and massive amount of leaf raking, I haven't had available daylight time to give it a proper photo shoot. And it most certainly deserves a good FO shot.

This yarn is a DREAM and I'm really pleased with the final outcome.

In the meantime, I decided to knit a sweater. [Yes, I know I don't knit sweaters.] But this one was a top-down and really didn't take that long.

I used some more of that Moda-Dea Sassy Stripes acrylic that Kay bought me a good while back. I'm really bummed that it is discontinued as it is just perfect for these miniature creations.

Do you have folks on your Christmas knitting list that would like a hand-knit sweater? Well, here's the free pattern. Whip them up one!

Pattern is by Cheryl Niamath, the same talented person who did the Fetching Fingerless Gloves; another fabulous free pattern as well as Dashing, that is slightly longer and suitable for guys, too.

I'm so happy that I finally knitted a sweater.

Monday, November 22, 2010

V is for

Vintage clothes. We have at least two places to shop for vintage clothing on the square. Long time Square merchant, Vintage by Judith,
has been a fixture on the square for over 20 years.

Need something from the Victorian era, need to vamp like you lived in the 20s, or perhaps a vinyl go-go suit, then you might want to give her shop a visit.

A much newer shop, Mint Julep, is just across the street from the office and I enjoy seeing their creative window displays. I have (obviously!) a hard time taking photos of windows without getting reflections. I loved their holiday dresses display.

A few days earlier when they were changing out the display, I popped over to get a photo of this visually-arresting dress they had outside. It looked almost like lace from a distance.

Mint Julep is next door to Vintage-ology. You can see the holidays and seasons are overlapping around the square already. These lovely mums are still showing their warm autumn colors even as the window of the shop is decorated for Christmas. Oh, and it was a very warm 77 degrees when I took the picture. What time of year is it again?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

All thumbs

With the Estonian stole off the needles, it was time to think of a new project. But before I could, in good conscience, start a new project [especially with the dark green leaf stole in progress! eeep!] I thought it best to finish up the Nordique mitts. Everything was finished except for the thumb on the second of the pair.

How hard could that be? In fact, these had been in a project bag in the backseat of my car for a week or so. I was sure I'd be somewhere long enough with enough time on my hands to finish up one measly thumb. Apparently not. So into the house they came to get finished.

This has been a fun project. I have no idea why I postponed finishing so long.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Almost there


The Great Bind Off commenced last night at knit night. Only two of us there, so it was a relaxing start on a long task.

It continues this morning, but should definitely be done today and ready to block.

Bind off is done with a double strand of yarn and makes such a nice edge. That Nancy Bush sure writes a nice pattern.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a bit of a mystery

Do you like mysteries? I do.

I've really been enjoying the new Sherlock series on Masterpiece Mystery! I love this very 21st century adaptation.
You can watch online until Dec. 7.

Here's another mystery. Why do I have so much yarn left?

I knit and knit and purl and that wodge of shawl scrunched up on the circular gets heavier and yet seemingly No Yarn Is Used.

I'm already contemplating what I can make with the leftovers. Two more? Four?

I'm glad (boy! am I ever glad!) to say that the edging is moving forward. I'm halfway through it now. I was quite gleeful really until I had this sudden realization.....I'm going to have bind off all those stitches. I put that little thought right out of my head.

Monday, November 15, 2010

U is for

USPS - the post office (it was either that or the undertaker!)

The main post office, just east of the square opened in 1963. Doesn't that architecture scream 60s? It is an unusually busy place most of the time as we've almost outgrown it.

Until 1963 it was in a building that we've seen before, a building that became the library after the post office move in 1963 and later, in 1990, the Marietta Museum of Art.

Here are four upstanding young ladies standing on the steps of that new post office in 1910 just after it opened.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I love leaves

Knitted ones at least. NOT the ones I have to rake. Sadly it is prime leaf-raking time around the cul-de-sac.

Since the Estonian stole is a being uncooperative, I've turned to a more soothing evening knit.

I bought two skeins of Brooks Farm Acero while I was at SAFF. I walked through the booth and looked at it twice before caving. It was, after all, in my most favorite deep, dark green.

I wanted a rectangular shawl and definitely something with leaves, so I came up with this one called Lacy Leaves Shawl. Name pretty much says it all, don't you think? The pattern shows it in 5 shades of Blue Sky Alpaca. That is a sportweight and Acero is listed as fingering weight. I'm using a size 7 needle which is what I used the last time I knit with Acero.

Pattern is from the book "Knit Ponchos, Wraps & Scarves" and there is not one single project listed in Ravelry. No one likes but me??

This is my first time knitting anything lengthwise. I have NO feel for what the finished size might be. However, the knitting is just so relaxing I figure if it doesn't work out, I'll rip it all out, reball the yarn, and have just as much fun knitting something else.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a mess of greens

Growing up in the South, I often heard the phrase "a mess of greens". Even Martha Stewart has a recipe.

I managed to avoid pretty much all green vegetables while growing up and when I did start eating more vegetables, collards or mustard greens still did not make the cut. (I pretty much saved green for M&Ms.)

Now "a mess of greens" mostly brings to mind my poor Estonian Stole. Oh, dear. It is currently in Extended Time Out.

I did get the 800+ stitches around the entire edge picked up AND I got that first all purl row done. Whew. The edging chart is not that bad, but I am having a devil of a time with it. You can see I have numerous markers. I even went out and bought needle tip protectors so I can put it down with stitches crawling off the end when my back is turned.

I can't believe I'm this close and yet may be beaten by another 12 rows. Hopefully sometime I can find the time, the LIGHT, the patience (ha!), and the fortitude to pick it up, count it out, fix whatever train wreck I left, and move forward. The body of the stole is lovely. The yarn, a dream. I hope to wear it one day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

T is for

Trolley! In 1905 our first streetcar connected the square to Atlanta. A couple of years ago the Historic Marietta Trolley Company reintroduced a trolley to our Square and christened it Uncle Ruban after that first car.

I love seeing it around town when I am out and about during the day. And whenever I wave at Charlie, the driver, he'll kindly clang the bell in a return greeting. Always makes me smile.

Charlie regularly takes visitors on tours around town. And this is the time of year for the Scary-etta Tours that seek out the Ghosts of Marietta.

The trolley was a convenient way to travel from Marietta to Atlanta until service was ended in 1946.

Here's a photo of its last run in 1946.

And one last photo - the First Baptist Church of Marietta Sunday School classes head to Grant Park in Atlanta for a picnic; 1942.

T is also for Tommy's, my favorite sandwich shop. Not trendy, not touristy, just great tasty sandwiches, quickly made and friendly service.

Just be sure to get there early before the jurors trod over there!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nordique knitting

There are a number of patterns that I really like in Veronik Avery's "Knitting 24/7" book, but the fact that we are finally getting some cooler weather is what prompted my choice of second project.

The pair of fingerless mitts that I have worn for my winter walks for the past couple of years are ones I made before I felt comfortable with a few knitting techniques - ones like thumb gussets and holding stitches off on waste yarn. Consequently they only had an opening for the thumb and my poor thumbs were left out in the cold.

When it would be really cold, I'd end up tucking them inside and holding them next to my palm. What kind of walking advertisement for knitting is that?

Her pattern for cabled gloves has the cabling end at the knuckles and seemed just perfect to me to be adapted to fingerless mitts. In fact, I saw another Raveler do just that. Also it gave me an excuse to use her new yarn, St-Denis Nordique. I would have preferred the lovely red shown in the book, but it wasn't available at the yarn shop. Somehow I came home with what must be the dullest color in the line! A color named Elephant. Maybe this means I won't forget them.

I'm knitting this sport weight yarn on size 2 needles into a nice firm fabric that I think will be a good shield against the cold. The pattern is very nice to work. There's a four-row cable repeat. Six cables across the back of the hand and the three on one side mirror the other three (as long as I remember to do so!). On the palm side, the cables are at the bottom cuff only and the palm is plain stockinette.

I'm using my Patented Hatch-Mark System to keep track of rows, gusset increases, thumb length, and to make sure both are knit the same.

Monday, November 1, 2010

S is for

Strand Theater, on the northeast corner of the square since 1935, "A Monument Devoted To the Best In Photoplays and Theatrical Arts" so the carving above the marquee proclaims.

It was dormant for several years, but was recently renovated and reopened in 2008.

In September 1935 Mariettans watched Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance cheek to cheek in "Top Hat" and then returned the next September for the 1st year anniversary to see them dance again in "Swing Time".

A slogan contest had been announced earlier that summer with the winning entry naming it The House of Smart Attractions.

I love this archival photo from the 60s advertising "The Apartment" with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. One of my all-time

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Candy Day!

Happy Halloween!

What's not to love about a holiday that celebrates CANDY
and encourages decorating with cobwebs?!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Holiday lace NFO

Color is not just right on this picture. It was wet and overcast, but I wanted to give you an idea of the pattern and the resulting size. It hasn't been properly blocked either, but I did iron it out a bit. I used size 1 needles and J&P Coats size 10 Royale in Forest Green.

I saw another blogger use the acronym NFO for nearly finished object and I've adopted it. Obviously the knitting is complete, but I haven't added the beads/berries or bow.

As I said, I'm quite in love with this little wreath even though I haven't really a use for it. This pattern has a 1995 copyright date and only uses k2tog decreases. As I was knitting I wondered if perhaps some should be changed to SSKs but I was too inexperienced to tell which ones. Now that it is complete, I still cannot tell. All in all a fun diversion.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Holiday lace

Oftentimes things - patterns, projects, materials - have to marinate for some time before bubbling up to the surface to be used.

I bought this Diane Willet pattern way back in April 2009 but have always found something else to do instead. [I bought pattern from Lacy Susan, but don't see it listed there now, and find no other good links for you.]

When the latest stole got put on hold awaiting a new, longer circular needle, I looked around for some project that I could make with string on hand and, hopefully, one that would not take too long. This seemed like a good possibility. We shall see.

ETA: The knitting finished up quickly and I quite like the little wreath. Directions have you whip the center to a bangle and stiffen the wreath before adding beads and bow. I'm not sure yet if or how I'm going to use it but the knitting sure was fun.