Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hodgepodging on Wednesday...

1.  When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.

The last time I faced an ocean was probably on our family vacation to Hawaii in 2008.  One word for how I felt: joyful.

2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?

Okay, I love my husband, but the first two sounds I hate to hear involve him.  He sneezes so loudly, it instantly enrages me when I hear it.  The kids feel the same.  We don't know why except that it is ear-splittingly loud and seems totally unnecessary.  I mean it sounds like he is screaming when he sneezes, even when we're in the car and the confined space makes it that much louder.  Makes my ears ring.  The other totally obnoxious noise we hear from him regularly: Snoring.  That man saws wood like you would not believe.  From the first moment I hear it begin to wind up, I am awake and mad.  It starts out faint, just the slightest change in his breathing, and then BAM it's full-blown, hear- it- from- the -next- neighborhood loud.  It's not unusual to hear the kids yelling from down the hall behind their closed bedroom doors for him to "STOP SNORING, DAD!!!"  The third sound I hate to hear is the smoke detector when I've burned something in the oven.

3. This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

I've done both over the years.  When I was younger I always tried things on.  Now if I'm pretty sure it will fit, I just bring it home.  If something looks like it might be a bit too big or small, or if the cut is not what I usually gravitate towards, I may try it on as long as I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere else.

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I love those little green buggers, fresh out of the shell, please.  I have never used them to cook or bake with, and I don't generally like "pistachio flavored" anything, especially ice-cream.

  5. When did you last have to compromise with someone?  Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary? 

Most of the compromises I make involve my children and while I'm usually happy that we can come to some arrangement that doesn't involve yelling, pouting, or sulking, I'm also usually irritated that they don't just do what I say in the first place, thus keeping me from yelling, pouting, and sulking. 

6.  Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

Yes, I've written several times to my elected officials.  I've always received a response, and it always just makes me angry or angrier as it has always been a blah-blah form letter thanking me for my opinion which they don't agree with and thus will be ignoring.  Politely worded, of course, and just dripping with condescension.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

My youngest rolls from basketball into the swim season this week, and the first swim meets begin in March.  I can't wait. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Oh, I had a good one earlier this week, but I've forgotten it...My gaze has just lighted on a pile of knitting WIPs that need to be finished, so that is my random thought for today, "Finish this pile, already."

Now I invite you to follow the link on the left sidebar and join the Hodgepodge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ten on Tuesday From California

Okay, so living in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, I have to confess to being spoiled when it comes to Winter.  Truly, the weather in this part of the country is mostly mild, with the occasional wind-and-rain storm to keep us on our toes.  We don't have to contend with snow, sleet, black ice, hail, you name it.  Nevertheless, speaking as someone who gets goose bumps when the temperature drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, I. Don't. Like. Winter.  The first rainstorm is nice, but after that, bring on the blue skies, please.  Which brings us to today's Ten on Tuesday topic, courtesy of Carole.  You can find Carole and join the fun by following the link in my sidebar.  And now, without further ado, I present:

10 Reasons Why I Am Ready for Winter To Be OVER.

  1. Waking up to a cold house every morning --Hubby wakes first at an ungodly hour, but doesn't turn on the heat, since the rest of us are snug in our beds for another 2 hours or so after he leaves the house.  That means I'm the next to rise, and it falls to me to turn the thermostat up to warm up the house for my offspring.  Call me an indulgent mom, but I like my children to be able to enjoy their breakfast without seeing their breath condense in the air...
  2. My electric/gas bill.  Enough already. What I spend on this I could be using on car payments for the brand new electric car we so desperately need...
  3. Grey skies make me down-spirited.  I need light, preferably sunlight.
  4. Scraping ice off the windshield.  I'm so over that right about now.
  5. Waking up and having to get out of bed when it's dark outside.  Darkness in the morning is for sleeping through. Period.
  6. Having to leave the doors and windows closed to keep the house warm.  I love to keep the front and back doors open, with just the screen between me and the outside world.  It airs out the house, lets me know I'm part of the world around me as I listen to the sounds from the neighborhood, and allows the soothing sound of the fountain in the front courtyard to reach my ears.
  7. Winter equals tax season for those of us with "kids" in college.  I hate that.  And I hate all that FAFSA nonsense.
  8. My college-age kid commutes to school every day and I worry more when the weather is bad and he is on the road.  He's only had his license for 6 months, and bay area traffic is aggressive.  My favorite sound of the day is his key in the front door, letting me know he's home safe and sound.
  9. It gets dark too early in the Winter.  I get so much of my energy from sunlight, that I find myself not able to summon the will to do much of anything but hibernate once darkness falls.  My house suffers with me because of this, as household chores don't get done around here by anyone but me, and when it's dark outside, I'M NOT CLEANING MY HOUSE!  You'll find me curled up in front of the boob tube knitting.
  10. Baseball, baby!!!!  I want Winter to be over so I can watch my beloved SF Giants on the big screen and feel my heart swell as Buster Posey takes the field.  I love that kid. 
Now your turn.  Why are you ready for Winter to be OVER?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge from California

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

Literally would have to be on our annual camping trip to Yosemite Valley.  A group of families  from our childrens' elementary and middle-school get together every Labor Day weekend to camp by the river there.  We started it when my youngest was in 7th grade as a way for the families and children (who've been together since they were in Kindergarten) to stay connected with each other as many of the kids would be attending different high schools and thus would be apart for the first time in their academic careers.  We have grown so close as a community over the years, they are my extended family, so in a certain sense it feels like a big ole family reunion.  We love it, the kids love it.  We even see bears up close and personal.  Well, not close enough to terrify, but definitely close enough to thrill...

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

I am in charge of the budget creation around here, but I confess that I don't do a bang-up job in keeping the family within its limits.  Often, it ends up being a "suggestion" rather than a budget.  It's great for keeping us aware of where we're overspending though, so we do implement changes from time to time that keep us more fiscally responsible.  The piece of financial advice I would offer is, "Stay away from credit cards."

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one.

Cherries, definitely yay.  In fact, they are my favorite fruit.  Every year, we take a cherry-picking trip with the kiddos and pick to our hearts content.  I love them for that reason too, the family tradition that they have inspired.  I would have to pick cherry pie from the above list.

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

I would definitely not lead with either topic with people I don't know.  They are both so complex and emotion-riddled, I think the chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding is just too big a risk to make it wise to introduce either subject with people you don't know.

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?

I'd prefer to be the passenger without a doubt.  I love the freedom to look out the window of the car and daydream or do double-takes (can't do that when you're driving.)  And there's always the chance to sleep from time to time.  Our last road trip was last Fall when we made the trip I referred to in question number one, the lovely and majestic Yosemite National Park in California. 

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent? 

Perhaps black, but not by very much.  I love color, so my closet has a riot of color in it, especially jewel-tones and earth tones.  There's a fair amount of black as well, just because it goes so well with all the others and is suitable for so many important occasions, when a bit of subdued fashion is in order.  I am a knitter, so my closet also contains a large portion of my yarn "stash" which, again, abounds in color.

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

I can't pick just one, since both of my parents qualify.  As to why they're special, I haven't the words to begin to describe their loveliness.  Let's just say, if I only measured up to be a fraction of the fine human beings they both are, I would die happy.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Why is this one always the hardest?  Goodness knows there's a lot of random in my head at any given time.  Here goes: I'm listening to the pounding, steady rain on the roof from  the cozy comfort of my kitchen table and both lamenting the cold, grey sky and rejoicing that my garden is getting a good soaking, especially the orange tree...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Inspired by Knitnana

In the absence of 10 on Tuesday this week, I think I'll take a page from Knitnana's book and do my own Random Tuesday list.  You can follow the link to the right if you would like to see her list.  I recommend it.

  1. I hate to shop at Malls, so it delights me to no end when the shops I have to visit in person at the dreaded Mall are located right next to/across from each other so as to make the time I have to spend there as short as possible.  And when one of the stores is "See's Candies", that eases the pain even more.
  2. Writing knitting patterns is hard.  It's hard because I don't notice that I'm leaving out important steps simply because they come so automatically, I don't think to write them down.
  3.  I haven't read a book in several weeks.  I think it's time for a cozy mystery.  Now if I can just remember what I did with the one I was in the middle of, that would be super.
  4. I hate doing taxes, even though we don't have the most complex financial situation, so they are very straightforward.  It's the time investment I think I resent the most.
  5. I am enjoying Downton Abby way more than I should be.  I mean, it's just TV.  But I spend a significant amount of time thinking about it after I've watched it.  I think I need to get a grip.
  6. Having started a new sock, this time from the toe up, I realize that I prefer any number of cast-ons to the short row cast-on.   I think it's because I dislike having to use too many tools and having transitions from one thing to another when I knit.  With the short row cast-on, first there's finding a crochet hook.  Then finding a suitable waste yarn.  Then unzipping chain and placing stitches on the needles.  Not to mention all that wrapping, double-wrapping, and turning.
  7. Another guilty TV viewing pleasure: Mob Wives.  There's just something about those mobbed up gals that I can't resist.  Perhaps it's the train wreck syndrome.  The language is very offensive, despite the bleeps, but I still watch.  They certainly know how to express themselves in the most direct fashion.  And I'm fascinated by the fact that they all have enormous fake boobs.  I mean over the top enormous...What possesses a group of women to do that? 
  8. I'm really looking forward to the high school swim season.  I thoroughly enjoyed the basketball season, but there's something about watching the youngest glide powerfully through the water that transports me.  He is one talented little fish.
  9. Speaking of swimming, why is it that the first in-pool practice is nearly always the coldest/rainiest day of the season?  And why does it almost invariably follow a week of gorgeous Spring-like weather?
  10. Giving up coffee for Lent already hurts.  I miss it so much.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Most Romantic Character Ever...

Thought I'd join the Tuesday Coffee chat (see button on right sidebar, if you're interested.)  The first character that popped in to my head was Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, so I'll stick with it.  I don't read romances these days, gave those up in high school, and most romantic movies I find so dull and sappy I'd rather gouge my eyes out than watch one.  Romantic comedies are okay, however.  So, you can see that my choices are rather limited.  Anyway, that's about all I have to say on the subject.  Better luck next time, maybe.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mending Fences

A few weeks ago, a portion of our backyard fence blew down.  It was on its last legs and all it took was a sudden gust, I guess.  In any event, we didn't pay it much attention for a day or so.  We no longer have a dog to have to worry about getting out of the yard, and we don't much care if we get a visit from a neighborhood dog.  We knew we would fix it, just weren't in any hurry to start the process.  What with money being tight around here, and all.  Anyway, for the sake of the next door neighbor, we finally got around to the repairs.  They have been completed without incident.  I didn't think to get a "before" shot (well, to be honest I was too ashamed of the state of the yard to take one and expose the neglect), but I did manage to get an "after" shot. 

And while I was out there talking to the guys before they started the work, here's what I saw:

 I was delighted to see that the daffodils K and I planted so many years ago are still blooming.  They are always the first flowers to bloom in our garden, and I hadn't noticed that they had already come up this year.  It's only mid way through winter, but we do live in California, so Spring is usually early for us.  Can't tell you how grateful I am for that, because I have a hard time with Winter.

And for a couple of close-ups, even though the lighting is bad for photography right now:

Honk if you love daffodils.  In the comments, that is.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Am I Blue?

Okay, so day one of the Lenten fast from coffee and I already almost blew it!  I'm such a creature of habit.  I started a big ole pot of coffee and had the milk poured ready to be warmed in the microwave when it hit me, "Wait, I gave up coffee for Lent."  Insert head smack.

Well, the oldest son likes a cup for his morning commute, so it won't go to waste. 

On the knitting front, have cast on and started mom's birthday socks.  This time I'm going with garter rib (simple 2-row repeat pattern) and same old sock formula.  The below picture was from 2 days ago, so the sock has actually grown somewhat.  It's almost time to start the heel flap.

Knitpicks Stroll Fingering weight yarn

Blue Yonder socks commence
The sock mojo is back with a vengeance.  My goal for this year is to knit two pairs a month.  They will all be destined for family members. 
I received more yarn in the mail today and will probably cast on for a cushy cowl knit in soft bulky weight yarn.  It will be my own pattern and I will write it up and post it when I've completed it.  Maybe this time I'll be smart and write it as I knit instead of waiting until I'm done and scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what I did.
Started watching a new PBS series (well, new for me, anyway) yesterday.  It's another in the International Mystery series.  This one is about a Finnish private eye.  I like it so far.   That Finnish is the most unusual language I've ever heard.   Fascinating.  I can usually pick out a word or phrase in other languages, even Swedish, but not so with Finnish.    The opening shots of Finland are gorgeous. 
I guess that's enough prattle for today.  More tomorrow?  God willing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - My Debut Post

Thanks to Joyce for hosting this fun series.  Now, here goes.

1.  This week marks the beginning of Lent...will you be giving something up or adding anything to your life during this season of the year?

Yes and yes.  I will be giving up coffee/mochas as I do every year.  This is truly a sacrifice for me that requires a great act of will.  It may seem small to others, but this is so much a part of my routine that it is extremely difficult for me, thus very meaningful.  I will be adding more time in Scripture and devotions.  Our family is also going to be taking part in a parish effort this year called "Small Christian Communities" to journey together spiritually with a small group building faith and community ties at the same time. 

 2. The day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday... tradition states you eat pancakes on this day. In some parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is actually known as 'pancake day'. How do you like your pancakes? Or don't you?

 I prefer potato pancakes or latkes.  Sourcream, yes.  Applesauce, a little.  Lots of salt. 

3.  I'm sure there are many, but what's one love song you really love?

I've always thought the lyrics to "Bargain" by the Who were pretty intense.

 4.  What are some things you do to let others know you love them?

I tell them all the time.  Also, hugs and kisses are a staple around here.  I'm pretty sure my kids know from all the ways I take care of things for them, and listen to what they have to say.  My kids are athletes, so I'm always there in the stands, taking pictures and cheering for them.   I know this makes them feel loved and special.

 5., pink, or do you prefer another color? Can you recall the last time someone gave you flowers? Given your choice would you like to open the door and see a dozen red roses, a dozen purple tulips, or a dozen pink peonies?

Roses - pink.  The last time I received flowers was from friends when I was battling breast cancer.  They truly were cherished, because I knew that prayers and love abounded.  As to flower delivery, I think I'd prefer the dozen pink peonies.  Peonies are fabulous.  Roses have never been my thing, but they remind me of my mother, so I am fond of them for that reason. 

 6.  President's Day will be celebrated in America next Monday. Does US Presidential history and trivia interest you?  Many Presidential homes are open to the public and offer guided tours...Monticello (Jefferson's home), Mount Vernon (Washington's home), Montpelier (James Madison's home), Hyde Park (FD Roosevelt's home) and The White House (home to the sitting President) to name just a few. Of those listed which would you be most interested in touring?  Why?

Some US Presidential history fascinates me.  Particularly regarding Abraham Lincoln, whom I esteem highly.  I think he was a wonderful and remarkable man, and the tragedy of his life tugs at me as though I knew him personally.  I think he was a man of deep faith and compassion, and to see the way that grief etched his face as his presidency unfolded hurts my heart.  Of the presidential homes, I'd probably like to visit Mount Vernon the most, as George Washington is my second favorite president.

 7.  Are you good at keeping secrets?
Yes, when they are important.  Trivial secrets, I may spill the beans.  I can't keep surprises secret very well.  But if we're talking secrets that involve deep confidences, I keep them in my heart and prayers but don't divulge to anyone.  There are secrets I've been keeping for decades.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Wow, where to start?  Well, how about this...My youngest tugged on my heartstrings the other day as we were strolling thru the mall with his dad in search of  basketball gear.  His gaze followed a very young child walking with his mother.  Wistfully, he said, "I wish I was still little like that.  Everything is fun all the time and you don't have to worry about anything."  Indeed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time to start a new sock

From this...
to this

Finished my dad's socks that I posted about previously.  Gave them to him last night.  Handknits hand-delivered.  Can't beat that.  Even if they are about one year later than promised.  Sigh. 
Time to cast on for my mom's socks now.  (You probably thought I was going to say "sweater" since I posted about that a couple of days ago, but seeing as how it hasn't been started yet, or even completely designed, I wasn't quite sure I could pull it off - no pun intended - in time for her birthday.)  Her birthday is early March, so a pair of blue (her favorite color) socks is do-able.  She's been aching for a new pair, so there's always that.  The lighting isn't right at the moment, so no picture.  I'll try and take one later this afternoon. 
If you haven't done so already, check out my free pattern page.  I finally got the link to Ravelry up for the Shadow scarf.  I'll be writing the pattern for "Fly Away"  this week and posting as well, so stay tuned.
That's about it on the knitting front for the moment.  Time to go clean the kitchen.  Insert lip curl...

10 on Tuesday - 10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Uh-oh.   I'm in trouble with this topic.  I've pretty much loathed the whole concept of Valentine's Day since entering adulthood.  Now, when I was a child, it was a different story.  I have lots of fond memories of childhood Valentine's Day.  But once I entered high school, it was pretty much over, at least as far as the romantic idea is concerned.   Since we don't "do" Valentine's Day in a romantic sense chez nous, I think I'll concentrate more on how to celebrate this day with the kids, with maybe a tiny romance thrown in here and there.

  1. Wake them up for school singing a sweet sappy song like "I love you a bushel and a peck"...High schoolers really appreciate this one.
  2. Pull out the scrapbooking supplies and scrap it up
  3. Make a home-made card for all your loved ones (okay, this can be romantic, too)
  4. Date Night.  Need I say more?
  5. Go for a walk with your beloved somewhere beautiful and quiet.  Hold hands.
  6. Buy big heart-shaped boxes of candy for your dear ones.  The good stuff, please.
  7. Play your favorite ballads - All. Day. Long.
  8. Candlelight dinner, anyone?
  9. Indulge in a viewing of your favorite romantic comedy.  Mine?  Just Friends.  Ryan Reynolds at his best.  Gotta love the little brother.
  10. Barbara Cartland marathon read?

Well, I may not have done a very good job with this one, but why don't you hop on over to Carole Knits and try it yourself?

Friday, February 8, 2013

You Can Post, Too, You Know

I've been having so much fun reading other's blogs that I have neglected my own...So sad.  Time to end the neglect right here, right now.  Since this is a knitting blog, I thought I should start actually putting some knitting content up.  Let's start with some pics of the current sock project on the needles.

First, a little background; Ever since I knit my first sock, I have been passionately in love with knitting socks.  For years, I never went anywhere without a sock project in hand.  This usually involved sitting in bleachers at youth baseball games, swim meets, basketball games, etc.  where everyone got used to the familiar sight of me knitting socks.  Then, for some reason, I stopped.  Well, actually, I think the reason is that I dipped my toe in the design process, and was kept so busy designing and knitting sweaters, that I lost sight of socks.  Sigh.   I have now re-discovered my love of sock knitting and am knitting like a demon every evening while watching my favorite pre-recorded TV shows. 

This little guy is for my dad.  Basic 2x2 rib in self-striping knitpicks yarn.  Knit using my basic top down formula, which is my preferred method.  Every now and then I explore a new technique, but I always go back to my beloved in the end, because I think they fit the best and are least fiddly.  I rarely try complex stitch patterns or constructions with socks because I like the freedom of just knitting anywhere, anytime, without having to concentrate.  I save the complex patterns for shawls, sweaters, or other items that I knit exclusively at home.  My mind tends to wander a lot when I knit, and my sock knitting lends itself to auto-pilot, thus saving me from the frustration of having to rip out whole sections of knitting where I totally  blew it while daydreaming.  Also, I'm usually very distracted when I knit outside of the house, so simplicity is best.

They've grown since.  Gusset has been completed.
 These started out as "Sailor Rib" because my father is a Navy veteran, but the rib was too fussy for me, so I reverted back to simple 2x2.  He won't mind.  I'll give them a nautical name.

I've started a new sweater design.  This one is for my mother.  Her favorite sweater is starting to get pretty shabby, so she asked me if I could knit her a new one in black (the old one is violet).  She wants something very similar to her current sweater, very basic and simple.  I'll post about this as it progresses.  Right now, I've got some quick sketches and measurements and have purchased the yarn.  Bernat's Comfort Soft. 

Have some other ideas fomenting.  I'll post about them in the future as well.

I submitted my first free pattern to Ravelry the other day.  Hope some knitters find it and enjoy it.  Must remember to add my Ravelry details on my home page.  I have another free scarf pattern to write up and submit.  Will probably work on that early next week.

Another basketball game tonight.  Can't wait to watch youngest son on the court.  I do truly love to watch my boys.  Can't get enough.

Double Zero, you play fearsome "D"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 on Tuesday - 10 Things You Miss from Your Childhood

I have very fond memories of my childhood.  I was born in the sixties and looking back I am struck at how much innocence was still present in our culture.  An innocence which, regrettably, seems to be wholly gone from American culture in this present age.  I came on the scene when people still had milk delivered in glass bottles before the sun came up.  Hard to believe, that.  Here are some of the things I miss the most:
  1. Playing with the neighborhood kids outside during every daylight hour.  I still remember that dreaded hour when you would hear your mom's voice from your house calling you in because it was dinnertime.  No one wanted to be the first one called in.
  2. Addam's sour fruit gum.  I particularly liked apple.
  3. Walking to school in the morning and home again in the afternoon.  It was fun because so many kids walked, it was more time you got to spend with your friends from school that didn't live close enough to play with after school.
  4. Roller skating for hours with my younger sister
  5. The excitement every fall when the new TV shows were previewed.  This was back before cable had a gazillion channels and there was a new show spawned every minute.
  6. Hanging out with my family and attending my older brothers' baseball and football games.
  7. All the pets we had growing up.  I still remember each of them and hope to see them in the afterlife.
  8. Not having to wear a seatbelt in the car
  9. Halloween wax candy harmonicas
  10. Hearing the ice cream truck in the neighborhood and giving chase.  Back then, you could get a large ice cream for five cents.  There was one in our neighborhood that was the "bomb".  Totally decked out like a red New York trolley car from the turn of the century.  That thing was gorgeous and even had  a soft-serve ice cream dispenser.
Ah, memories.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ode to a Crock Pot

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

I just started the evening's meal, and it should be ready when we get home from tonight's high school basketball game.  For a family that always has kids in athletic programs from baseball to swimming, the crockpot is a life saver.  My dilemma has always been the timing of dinner.  There is just not enough time to cook before a sporting event, and afterwards is just too darn late.  I've debated cooking the meal early and re-heating when we get home, but then food dries out and it just doesn't taste as good as it does when it is newly cooked.  Enter the crockpot, which can do the cooking while we do the watching and cheering.  And coming home to a house filled with fragrant cooking aromas when our athletes are famished is one of life's finer things.  Tonight's fare: Asian style barbecued beef ribs.  I'll do the rice just before I set out for the game.

 And now for some knitting pics.  This is a scarf I designed for my lovely sister who greatly appreciates the handknits.  She picked the yarn, Cascade Eco Duo, both for it's softness and beautiful shade.  It's sort of a brownish grey that subtly stripes in wide bands.  The pattern has garter stitch border followed by two stitch patterns that evoke birds in flight.  The texture is perfect for a cozy scarf and the pattern is interesting to knit without requiring intense concentration.  I will probably submit this as a free pattern on Ravelry within the next two weeks.


Close up of the texture at either end 
 and the main portion of the scarf
I'll give it to her tonight at the basketball game.  She's a great aunt.  Always comes out to watch her nephews play and actually enjoys it as much as we do.  Tomorrow I'll try to photograph the yarn haul from my birthday and post.