I grew up attending “the largest small town Independence Day celebration in America”. We would get up in the Morning, go to the parade, then join the rest of the county in going to the carnival, buying treats from the vendors on the court house lawn, listening to the music, visiting, and just having a grand time. Once we got to a certain age, we were just kind of let loose. It was a different time, we didn’t worry about not being able to find our parents, they were there, somewhere. When we got tired of town, we would go to Grandmas. We’d go back to town in the evening, and watch the fireworks. It was magical, and it was one of my favorite times of the year. It seemed like the entire 4th of July week was a huge celebration, with the carnival in town, the flea market, the arts and crafts show.

Things are a little different here in OK, a little slower, a little more laid back. It is not a week long party, anyway. I was a little sad to be missing it. Then I talked to mom and she said that she had sent me a package, that it would probably get here on the Saturday before the 4th. I was excited! I like almost nothing better than getting a package from mom! Aren’t packages from your mom the best? You know there is going to be something you are going to love in there, and this one was no exception…

I opened the box and the first thing I saw was the beautiful greens and browns of a quilt that my “Aunt” Pam Braden had sent me. My Grandma Braden, who was kind of like a foster mother to my dad, but a true grandma to us kids, had quilted it. She passed away recently, and Pam had given me this quilt. I didn’t think I would see it before we got home in November, so I was really tickled that mom had gone ahead and sent it. It is just breath taking!
Grandma's Flower Garden by Betty Braden
I have always wanted a Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt, and can’t quite believe I actually have one! I love it so much. At the moment, it is living across the foot of our bed, but I would really like to find some way to hang it up. All three of my grandmother’s quilted, and I have a quilt from each of them. Now my twin sister Jodi quilts, and I’m really glad she does. I quilted a few things, but it never had the place in my heart that knitting does.

That wasn’t all, though!! Because wrapped up in the center of the quilt was another treasure!

hand carved crochet hooks

Some where, Mom had found a man who had hand whittled these absolutely wonderful crochet hooks! They are so beautiful! I don’t crochet as much as I knit, but I will have to find some things to crochet so that I can use these. I won’t even tell you the ridiculously low price she paid for each of these. They were such a wonderful gift, along with a beautiful wooden spoon that I don’t want to use because I don’t want it to get all stained and yucky. It was like I had my own little arts and crafts fair in my living room.

All of my kids will be teenagers this year. It hasn’t been an easy adjustment. There are times when I just want to cry, because teenagers are hard. In the space of a day they can go from thinking I am the most wonderful mother in the world, to thinking that I would forget to breathe if they didn’t tell me to. I can go from wanting to be sweet and loving to them, to wanting to send them to live with the wolves in the space of mere seconds. I have hope though. Hope that someday, when they look at me or talk to me, they will feel the same way about me that I do about my mom. I love you, Mom! Thanks for the presents, but thanks even more for making me feel included when I am so many miles away!

Now for knitting content….

I have been knitting up a storm! Why you ask? Because it is too hot to do anything except sit in front of the air conditioner and knit!
I have done a lot of swatching with KnitPicks Telemark yarn. When I first ordered this yarn, it felt kind of cold and cottony to me, but when swatching with it now, it definitely feels more like wool, and it’s soft and really a lot of fun to knit with. The stitch definition is just amazing in cables, and Stockinette produces a soft, smooth fabric. The swatches are for a secret project, so I can’t show them, but I’m loving it!

I am also working on a pair of Turkish Bed Socks. I finally had to admit that while I love, love, love looking at all the beautiful sock patterns on Ravelry, I am probably not going to knit a lot of them. These little slipper-like socks will be more likely to get finished, because I can work them up quickly. Besides, I hate the feel of cuffs on my legs. I can add a decorative stitch to the instep of these if I feel the need for a little more decoration. These are my practice pair before I start using some of my nicer sock yarns.
I like the pattern, but recommend you read through the project pages on Ravelry before you start knitting them, they are full of helpful hints and tips that you might want to take into account before you start your project.