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Posts Tagged ‘Lexington VA’

In case you were hoping for an end to Dor’s Shawl Saga, this is it folks.  This is it!

The first real shawl ever made with these two hands and nimble fingers is complete!  Hurrah!

The shawl pin has been added too.  Look closely and I promise you will see it.

And at the risk of scaring anyone who expected to see a star-like beauty, here is the poster child sporting her new shawl creation.  Don’t run off yet!  There is just a little bit more……….

Dor in First Hand Crocheted Shawl

The pin does  get lost in all that glowing prideful beauty and in the middle of all those holy holes though doesn’t it?

I therefore took the liberty of pinning it to another handmade item at The Stitchin’ Post, so you can see how lovely the pin really is.  I am calling this photo of the pin an “off-body experience.”  If you are interested, Shawl Pins and other magnificent silver jewelry can be found at Jen Letter, Silversmith.

A CloseUp of the Shawl Pin

Then I added the pin to another completed shawl (not mine), done by Pat Egan, an obvious knitting expert.  That shawl (not including the pin of course) is for sale at The Stitchin’ Post for $130.  There are often amazing things offered at this exciting little shop at 117 South Main Street in Downtown Lexington, Virginia.  There are one of a kind cerations that get genuine oooohs and aaaahs and disappear fast.   If you are interested in purchasing the shawl below, call Erin at 540 462-2931. Another Shawl with Dor's Pin

Handmade Shawl by Pat Egan - $130 - Not Including pin

Handmade Shawl by Pat Egan – $130 – Not Including pin

But I hope you like the rather primitive (holey) first shawl “made by Dor” – the one in the scary selfie.

I am inordinately proud of creating something pretty and usable out of a little bitty string.  And who knows, you may be seeing future “Dor Shawls” on the cover of Vogue!  And as I promised this is truly the place where everyone will live happily ever after.

~THE  END ~

 

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Sixteen Year Old Dor Plays Old Lady in On Borrowed Time

Sixteen Year Old Dor Plays Old Lady in On Borrowed Time

This is the story of an old-er lady who is learning to follow needlework patterns and to crochet (or knit) in curves.

Here’s me (Dor) 16 years old, acting in the role of a grandma.  It was a play we did in high school called On Borrowed Time.  They had to put chalk in my hair and painted in forehead lines to achieve a grandmotherly look (no need for all that now of course and I really am “on borrowed time!”).  But as you can see, I was trying to knit even then!

An Old Girl’s Stitching Saga

 It is much later but I can finally wield a crochet hook with professional verve.  The problem is I  only stitch in a straight line.  That means a whole lot of scarves.  Everybody I know has received a Handmade-by-Dor SCARF (or 2 or 3)!  The Oooohs and Ahhhhs are dwindling.

Hoping to finally conquer this Handiwork Handicap, I  recently took a Crochet Class at The Stitchin’ Post – in Lexington, Virginia.  It was a grandly happy experience!

My new group of young, crafty (no pun intended) knitting friends cheered for my progress on a market bag, and claimed, “You are intermediate material.”   As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty smug.

You can do anything now Dor.

 You are an “Intermediate.”

You could even make a shawl!

And the experts at The Stitchin’ Post found a pretty shawl pattern for me to try next.

But, even after

  • discussion,
  • re-instruction,
  • ripping,
  • reworking,
  • ripping,
  • reworking,
  • and finally ripping,   I never got past Row #4.
  • Translation: The pattern said “intermediate” but was really “advanced” – right?

HMMMMM.

MAYBE A DIFFERENT PATTERN WOULD HELP.

The ever helpful stitching gurus found a new pattern, this time for beginning intermediates.

And I went home again, still smugly thinking, “What a cinch this is gonna be!  They are in for such a surprise!”

The second shawl did grow.

It grew bigger -and bigger- into the upside down shape of a Superman CAPE!  Obviously there were some weird mistakes made somewhere.

The rather unfashionable cape was good for Halloween and a lot of  laughs from the girls, but o.k.,

I’m all for joy.

So my helpful friend, Dymph, ripped it all out, which left me guess where?  With two big balls of yarn.

The dedicated knitting gurus would not give up either, and insisted there would be a finished shawl “no matter what.”

TRIAL NUMBER THREE

This time we added a pointed bottom to the second pattern.  Ellie crocheted the first five rows to get it started, and off I went again, thankful for the patience of lovely people, and with only slightly lower personal expectations.

The new piece grew exponentially (I have been looking for a place to use that word),  and admittedly, it almost looked like a shawl.  Well, almost.

And the Almost-Shawl could only be described as “grossly misshapen.”

Thankfully, my friends at the Stitchin’ Post have never seen this one. (I’m rather sorry I saw it too.)

SELF ANALYSIS AND MUTTERING:

“Maybe it will look better with blocking if I knew how to block.”

“No, it’s too long in back and too short in front.”

“Take a picture of this third attempted shawl for your blog.”

“No, it’s too embarrassing.”

So I ripped it all out and was down once again to the original two balls of yarn (now looking a bit on the tattered side).

UNDAUNTED

TRIAL NUMBER FOUR

Yes, I am still  grimly determined to crochet a shawl  and now on Row #5 of a new pattern.  That is called “one-row-progress”

The goal now is to use up all that stretched, frayed, ripped out yarn.  Forget preserving the Intermediate Status.

Happily, the new pattern is for a straight and narrow scarf,

but I will just keep stitching until it looks like a shawl.

I am ashamed, forlorn, and embarrassed, but I will return to the Stitchin’ crowd later to show them the final frayed creation.  For now though, I am sticking to the straight and narrow.

Dor on Right - Old Lady Knitting in Play, On Borrowed Time

Dor on Right – Old Lady Knitting in Play, On Borrowed Time

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Babe n Pete

Babe is “in the pink” halter. Pete’s is green.

 

This morning I went strolling around the little town of Lexington, Virginia and was pleasantly surprised to meet up with Pete and Babe.

They were getting a bath!

Normally I would not wish to intrude upon such a private activity, but horses are always irresistible and they did not seem to mind.

These two are part of The Lexington Carriage Company who carry tourists around town and offer their services for weddings and other splendid events.

Hay Pete - Are you o.k. with this Bath thing?

Hay Pete – Are you o.k. with this Bath thing?

From their website:

 The Lexington Carriage Company offers an intriguing way to explore the rich history of this 19th century college town, slowed to the pace and rhythm of hoof-beats.   During this fully narrated tour, your horse-drawn carriage will take you past many historic places of interest including:

  • The Stonewall Jackson House
  • Lee Chapel
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • The Lee house 
  • Historic residential district dating from the 1820’s to the 1880’s
  • Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery and Jackson’s Tomb 

Next time you are in my “neck o the woods” be sure to pay a visit to Pete and Babe, and let them take you for a ride!

Lexington Carriage Co

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Stonewall Jackson House Lexington, Virginia

Stonewall Jackson House
Lexington, Virginia en.wikipedia.org

There is a scarecrow at the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, Virginia.    Thomas Johnathan Jackson was a Confederate general in the American Civil War.  But, before the war he lived in a nice little house in downtown Lexington, Virginia and he had a productive garden “out back”.

This is an old fashioned scarecrow (made with a potato).  It is hanging in the Jackson House garden now.

I could do that!  Easier than crocheting.

 

Old Time Scarecrow

 

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City folks often ask if I get bored living out here in “no-man’s” land.  Little do they know the pressures, pleasures and sweet surprises inherent in country life! We are not all relegated to the kitchen baking pies and putting up jars of things.  Some of us crochet!  And some of us meet fascinating people!

Here it is!  The finished crochet project!

D's Market Bag Flat

Dor's Market Bag

It looks like a bag.  It holds things.  It must be a bag. Actually it is a bag!  It’s a “Market Bag” that might get saggy-er with veggies and fruits inside.   That’s why the photo is of the empty bag.

It’s pretty saggy empty but I like it because it is the first crochet project I have ever done that is not a scarf.

After completing the market bag I did start another project – a shawl.  I failed miserably, ripped it out and made a SCARF!   It’s really light because it’s holy (having lots of holes). It has no warmth of course, but I like it anyway because it is well, airy.

Hopefully the crochet teachers, Ellie and Dymph, who had such high hopes for a beginner’s progress to  an intermediate level will not be too disappointed.

Lex Carriage

Dianna and MotorMan are in the back seat!

I met another blogger friend in person! 

Dianna of These Days of Mine, and her MotorMan, came for a surprise visit yesterday!  We met at the Lexington Carriage Company loading zone.  That means they were unloaded from a sweet carriage drawn by two sweet horses. This was a fitting beginning since Dianna loves horses.   Bill and I waited for them in a gazebo at a downtown herb garden.

Dianna and MM are really nice!  They are not axe murderers or anything like C and M, some other scary bloggers I met.  Seriously we are all now great friends and C’s wonderful blog is called Photos from the Loony Bin!  Anyway, we went with Dianna and MM to lunch at the Sheridan Livery Inn, which used to be a parking lot for stabling horses.  Really.   That was before cars and no parking zones of course. I think I might remember those days.

We stopped to mosey around Stonewall Jackson’s back yard.  He had this garden which now features antique vegetables and plants.  Stonewall, whose real name was Thomas Johnathan Jackson was a quirky Confederate general in the Civil War.

Dianna's Crochet Treasure

Dianna Finding Antique Treasures No, Dor Did Not Crochet This Beautiful Piece

And then we went to two big antique malls!Duke's Antiques

I tend to go blank when there are too many options, but Dianna is an antique expert and has great ideas for converting seemingly useless objects into arty decorating accents.  I am so envious.

I loved meeting Dianna and MotorMan in person!   Who’s next?

Other random events of the week included a book club discussion of Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson, a cooking class I walked out on since I had to cook, and a mad effort to stay away from bread, crackers, and sweets.

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Interior of The Stitching Post,  Lexington, VA

” Interior of The Stitching Post, Lexington, VA

Today was the first day of Beginner’s Crochet Class!

I realize I may be too old to be a “beginner” at anything, but trying something new may stave off brain freeze.

Oh, maybe sky diving would be more daring, but meeting new people and learning new things are more than enough to stir up my somewhat sluggish metabolism and might even stimulate the  close to dead imagination.

With growing excitement this afternoon I made my way to The Stitching Post in  downtown Lexington, Virginia. There I met five ladies who were all dedicated to conquering a single hooked needle and a skein of yarn (note how I am already into the “lingo”).

We are all making the same thing with the same weight yarn.  And we are all novices in one way or another.

I was reminded of the ladies in olden days who sat in a sewing circle of peaceful contemplation while their men were out hunting and gathering.  It was not long before I realized this totally relaxed group was making me smile.

We were all struggling in different ways:

“My hand keeps cramping up!” said one sweet lady.  And no matter how our teachers tried to tell her different ways to relax her hand, she kept saying, “My pinkie is cramped and I can’t un-cramp it.”

“Can you see which hole to put this in?”

“Litle V’s?”

“I don’t see any little V’s.”

“A half double croche huh?  Ha!”

“Make it looser?”

“I have to count the V’s?  How many?”

“Every time I count it I get a different number.”

We were all beginning to giggle a little and then talked of homey things like what to make for dinner and a husband’s sprained ankle, and where the knitting club meets.

I have been invited to sit in on knitting club sessions even though I can’t knit.  Talk about a diversified unprejudiced group!

I do feel so very welcomed by these strangers, and for over an hour they were delightful company.  We are all making a market bag.  The end results should be as varied as their makers.  But what our completed bags will reflect is the coming together of sweetly pleasant people engaged in creatively pleasant activity on a delightfully pleasant Sunday afternoon.

 

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Christmas Tree ReflectionsRandom 5 Friday

I maintained my “up” attitude this week.  This may be the longest stretch of joy since nineteen hundred and fifty nine.  By this time in the holiday season I am ordinarily “snarky,” as my friend, MJ says, and it all began with a Christmas tree.

  • Bill  agreed to purchase a real Christmas tree EARLY this year since our weather here is so tricky! The idea of searching  in a downpour did it.  In Bill’s family the tradition was to find and decorate a tree on Xmas Eve.  But my family liked to get it all together quickly in order to extend the suspense.  Well, the weather worked in my favor this year.   We not only found the perfect tree but brought it inside yesterday (because the forecast was for cold rain!) and last night we put on the lights and I finished adding all the memory infused ornaments.  Hurrah for bad weather!
Mondo Cookies

MJ’s Mondo Cookies

  • Today I made MJ’s Mondo cookies!  MJ is one of my favorite bloggers.  She calls her cookies “The Un-Christmas Cookies, but they are scrumptious and beautiful and perfect for any holiday.  You can visit her at Emjayandthem’s Blog.  Hurrah for MJ!
  • This week I also found a pair of skinny jeans with sparkles on the butt!  I may be a bit ancient for a sparkly rear, but hey, why not?  I am fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) to be blessed with skinny legs and a flat bottom. The rest is indescribable.  But these wondrous jeans fit!  Hurrah for holiday miracles!
Skinny Jeans with Rear End Sparklers

Skinny Jeans with Rear End Sparklers

  • Friend Joan and I had lunch in downtown Lexington, Virginia. Our lunches last for hours since we have so much to talk about, catch up on and share.  We dined at the newly restored Robert E. Lee Hotel in their restaurant called Rocca’s!  Downtown was buzzing too but I managed to squeeze in a haircut.
  • Then Bill and I had dinner with other great friends, Pete and Phebe.  Our favorite “haunt” is Frank’s Pizza because that’s where all the action is.  At our age it doesn’t really take much action, but there is something about Franks’ or maybe something in their sauce that reduces us all to uncontrollable laughter.  Hurrah for ageless hilarity.Franks-sign-320-x-200

Well, in spite of being deeply enthralled with my latest Doomsday book, Year of Wonders, (about the Plague) I am in a holiday sort of mood.  Hurrah for jingling bells and Christmas cards in the mail, and a home that looks like a Norman Rockwell painting.  And hurrah for a great family and good friends!

And although I cannot believe it myself, I am saying, “Hurrah for bad weather!”

Oh Christmas Tree2

 

 

 

 

 

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There is a comparatively small old house in Lexington, Virginia that belonged to Thomas Jonathan Jackson from 1859 to 1861.   He was “Stonewall” Jackson, a confederate general in the American Civil War who was Robert E. Lee’s right hand.  It was the only house Jackson ever owned.  He died in the war when he was only 39 years old.

I was a volunteer docent for six years, showing The Jackson House to visitors and lecturing in 30 minute tours through the kitchen with its wood cooking stove, the entryway and parlor with a lot of his original furniture, and his bedroom with its rope bed.  Did you know the saying, “Sleep tight,” came from the use of rope beds?  The ropes holding a mattress firm would eventually begin to sag and would have to be tightened.

The Stonewall Jackson House
Lexington, Virginia

Each group passing through the house had its own unique characteristics.  Like there was a contingent of third grade children who came down from the mountains.  They had never been to a city before.

At one time in recent history, the house was converted into a hospital and was the only hospital for the entire county.  A friend of ours had his broken leg set there when he was a teenager.  And many people who come through in the groups were actually  born in the Stonewall Jackson House.

A GHOSTLY APPARITION

Oddly enough, Stonewall Jackson returned while I was a tour guide.   And he wanted to go through the house!   He was a ghostly apparition, but a real live, flesh and blood fellow, in full confederate dress with a long sword at his waist, and looking very smart indeed.

“HELLO,” he boomed in a very commanding voice.  “I’m Thomas Jonathan Jackson, come to visit my old home.” 

“That’s nice,” said our receptionist.  “But you will have to pay the usual admission fee.”

“Absolutely NOT,” boomed Stonewall.  “It’s MY house and I should not have to pay to see it!”

“I’m sorry sir, but I am under orders not to allow anyone in without paying for an admission ticket.”

“Can’t you see how I am dressed?  I am Stonewall Jackson returned and this is MY house!”

This was a serious conversation indeed and though the receptionist was quite flustered, she stood her ground.  The rest of us stood around too, but in stunned silence.  We were imagining Stonewall really had returned in ghostlike fashion.  And what right did we have to charge him for visiting his own home?

The-Ghost-of-Stonewall Jackson eventually gave up and returned to his regiment.  It turned out he was a modern day Civil War Reenactor, who looked exactly like the real thing, complete with beard and fully dressed for the part.  We never did find out why he made such a scene, and as far as I know, he never came back to pay his fee or to see his old house.

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