While I’m at it….

January 26th, 2010

The Winter 2010 edition of Interweave Crochet devoted several articles and projects to Tunisian Crochet.  My grandmother made several beautiful afghans using this technique so I decided to try it myself.  Grandma had taught me this stitch and somehow once I played with with for a few minutes it came back to me.  This type of crochet, also know by the name afghan stitch, is really fun to do.  It is worked on a long needle and the stitches are “cast on” like knitting, but cast off the hook on the return row.  I’m working with three yarns to create a beautiful tweedy effect.  Each pass changes color so as I end a row, I pickup the next color and work in the opposite direction, complete that row and pickup the third color.  This repeats and creates the effect in the pictures below.  For those of you who know us well, you will see that Don did not take these pictures… ;-).  The multicolored thread inspired this piece and I purchased it when we were vacationing in Oregon at Tu Tu Ton Lodge several years ago.  I only have 4 balls of this wonderful thread so to make a shawl I needed some complimentary thread.  The “orange” thread is really a “heather” blend of a subdued orange and light purple (sorry the photo doesn’t to it justice) and a hand spun variegated merino wool in shades of purple.  All the threads are a joy to work with.    Keep an eye here to see my progress.



I just can’t seem to stop

January 26th, 2010

Making the twisted scarves has been a lot of fun.  They really are mindless and oh so easy; great for watching TV or riding in the car.  I’ve just finished a pink scarf and it has found a home with my physical therapist, Michelle.  She had fun playing with my black scarf one morning in PT and I decided to make one for her.  I used the eyelash, a cotton candy type fluffy yarn and a bamboo in a slightly darker shade.  The scarf is heavy like the black one but has such a different life to it.  I have to admit that I bought enough thread to make another black one for our groomer, Kathleen, who is always so wonderful in taking care of Molly and Sophie. I also bought red eyelash and red wool and will play with that combination.  I’m also going to try alternating the color on the rows and make a striped scarf.  I’ll try a sample swatch with the black and pick leftovers and see.  These are just like popcorn, I just can’t seem to stop!  The added benefit is they make people smile when they see them and equally so when they try one on.



Everything old is new again

January 18th, 2010

As I’ve healed from my shoulder surgery, I have many things to be grateful for; a husband who has taken unparalleled care of me, a son who came home from school on winter break to take over in Don’s absence while he made a quick trip to Egypt to a client, a holiday full of family and love, a great doctor and physical therapists and a rebirth of interest in an old form of handwork; crochet.

With one shoulder in a sling, I was unable to knit or quilt.  Hmmmm, what to do now?  I could needlepoint but only small canvases since I had to hold them in my left hand.  I needed more variety.  While fondling my stash of yarn, wanting so much to pick up needles and knit, I came across my stash of crochet hooks.  When I was a girl, my maternal grandmother taught me the basic stitches and I created scarves and hats and the like.  Four years ago while on a business trip to Iowa and totally bored one night, I set off for Michael’s in search of something new.  I found a book on crochet stitches, bought some yarn and a hook and went back to the hotel and practiced.  Nothing much materialized in the way of final outcome, but fun just the same.  Now fast forward to December.   Crochet?  Hmmmmm, I could hold the hook in my right hand and only use the left for the feeding of the yarn.  A few bits of practice and I was off.  I’d found a great website from Lion yarn and a twirly scarf with only 4 rows of double crochet.  What could be easier.  So I set off with yarn from the stash, a quick trip to Joann’s for a size P hook (rather large) and in just two sittings, I had my first completed scarf.  Wow, what a sense of accomplishment.   So on Christmas day, with my red twirly scarf over my red sweater, I looked very festive.  Here are two pictures, twisted and untwisted of my first scarf.



I so enjoyed the first one that I dug through my stash and found some lovely soft brown yarn, a complimentary fleck yarn and some brown wool and started a second scarf.  I had no idea what I was going to do with another one of these, but what the heck, they were fun to stitch (more on that later).

Jo liked the red scarf and I seized on the idea that I could make yet another so I asked “Would you like one too?”.  Why yes she would.  Oh goodie, another one to make.   So off to San Francisco the day after Christmas, to Britex for yarn.  I came home, put down the brown scarf and immediately started on Jo’s.  It was pink, soft and fuzzy and a joy to work on.  I finished it the next morning just in time for their drive up to Davis to visit friends.  With that one done, I was back to the brown.  Well, I got within 5 inches of the end of the 4th row and what do you know, I ran out of yarn.  So I ripped it back and made it three  rows.  All the while I worked on it, I knew in my soul who this scarf belonged to…..Dode!  Yep, so off in the mail went completed scarf number 3.

I was like an addict, looking for my next fix.  Not driving much yet, I had Don take me to Joann’s in search of more yarn.  These were like popcorn, something I just couldn’t stop making.  So I decided to make myself a black fuzzy scarf to match my coat.  With eyelash, boucle and plain soft worsted, I began the creation of scarf number 5.  Again, I got to the last 7 inches and again I ran out of one of the yarns….but this time I was quick to go back to the store and get another skein.  But wait, see that pretty blue yarn over there……I can’t stop myself.  Two coordinated yarns and off I went again, this time another for Jo to match the LLBean vest from Christmas.  Oh, and some pretty pink silky yarn and a matching fuzzy.  What’s one more.

I came home and in less than an hour, had the black fuzzy scarf done.  I wear it nonstop with my quilted black vest and feel very chic.untwisted-black-scarf


Now off to Jo’s second scarf.   The nubby yarn was a pain in the butt but the final product is very fun.  Since the kids live in Southern California, lightweight is better than heavy.  I finished it in a jiffy, took its picture and am ready to mail it.



I’ve peeked into the bag of pink yarn, but another project has caught my eye and while I will start it soon, I’ve rediscovered another stitch my grandmother taught me.  The afghan stitch or Tunisian Crochet.

Epilogue…… this crochet extravaganza has been fun, creative and very satisfying.  Churning out so many scarves so quickly to the delight of myself and my family.  But a side benefit happened; I felt a closeness to my grandmother that I hadn’t had in a very long time.  She died in 1978 at the age of 75 and as the years have passed, her memory, while still present had lost its vibrancy.  I found that again and what a gift it was.

School has started again so I’m knee deep in research papers and group discussions.  My crochet time is being eaten by things more pressing.  But I see the light at the end of the school tunnel, with graduation in June.  I also see more time for stitching….  I do have to admit, that I have tried crocheting and reading at the same time.  Not too successfully, but hey, why not try?

So, from a ripped up shoulder and subsequent surgery I’ve received many gifts.  My glass is more than 1/2 full, it is overflowing.

Two down, eight to go

June 15th, 2009

Spring Quarter at CSU Eastbay  is done.  Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning gave me an overview of the process and our professor, Dr. Anne Guptill, made me long for more.  I remember my first few days in class thinking “What am I doing here?”  Then as time went on, I really fell in love with the learning experience.  I now understand how this media can offer as rich or maybe an even richer environment for learning if its done right.  The second class on online teaching models was less fulfilling.  The instructor was disorganized, lacked clarity in assignments and everyone in the cohort had to work harder than need be.  They say that adversity can be the greatest teacher.  If that’s true, then I know how not to run an online classroom from this experience.  The greatest gift of the second class was the bonding of our cohort.  The support and encouragement we gave to each other.  My next class starting in a week is Technology Tools in the Online Environment.  I’m home.

Something to think about

June 15th, 2009

I received this from a friend in email.  I hope you enjoy it too.

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee 
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle; 
when 24 hours in a day are not enough; 
 remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee…
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. 
When the class began, 
he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar 
and proceeded to fill it with golf balls
He then asked the students if the jar was full. 
They agreed that it was. 

 The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. 
He shook the jar lightly. 
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. 
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. 
They agreed it was. 
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. 
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. 
 He asked once more if the jar was full. 
The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’ 
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and 
poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. 
 The students laughed. 
‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, 
‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. 
 The golf balls are the important things 
–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions— 
and if everything else was lost and only they remained; 
your life would still be full. 

The pebbles are the other things that matter; like your job, your house and your car. 
 The sand is everything else—the small stuff. 

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ’there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. 

The same goes for life. 

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, 
 you will never have room for the things that are important to you. 

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness 

Play with your children. 
Take time to get medical checkups. 
Take your spouse out to dinner. 
Play another 18. 

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first –the things that really matter– 

Set your priorities. 
‘The rest is just sand.’ 

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. 

The professor smiled. 
‘I’m glad you asked.’ 
 ‘It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem;
There’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’ 

Playing with wool

May 5th, 2009

This year I took on the challenge of Program Chair and Vice President of the local Embroiderer’s Guild (EGA), Valley Quail.  As part of my responsibilities, I am responsible for planning the program at the monthly meeting.  In search of one hour sessions for our monthly meeting, I decided to try my hand at teaching Wool Applique. I’ve dabbled at this for years, making pillows and ornaments but have never tried to teach a class.   As anyone who teaches knows, you can choose to skim the surface or you can take a deeper dive and give your students a rich and rewarding experience.  I went down the “rabbit hole” and surfaced with a new, profound appreciation of a form of needlework that has always given me pleasure.    I’ve worked practice pieces, tried new threads and experimented both with hand and machine methods.  While the class is still in development, some lively experimentation has turned into gifts of love for two very special women in my life.

My first gift was created for Amy Anderson’s birthday.  She’s my friend Karen’s Mom and joy in my life.  The bag is quilted and has a wool appliqued pink Gerber daisy, on black wool attached to the front.  I’m also happy to report that I drew the daisy myself and will be able to use the pattern in future course offereings.

Amy's bag

The second bag was created for Dode Walker.    Dode is an amazing woman; teacher, former needlework shop owner and constant cheerleader in my life.  I wanted something as classy as she is so the harlequin bag was born.  It has a rib-less corduroy bottom, red satin lining, red and gold clematis wool applique, and button embelishment.

Dode's bag

Linda Applies to Grad School

February 26th, 2009

Yikes, I did it!  For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to Grad School but every time I think about it, something gets in the way.  This year I will be 53.  Sitting here one night, the question came to me, “if not now, then when?”  I love to teach.  I come alive in the classroom and have a natural aptitude for it.  Then along came online learning and WHAM! all the things I do so well in the classroom became difficult in the virtual world.  The hardest is I can’t see the student’s faces.  When that look of confusion crosses their face, I try a new tact, explain it a different way, draw picture on the whiteboard.  How would I know when they don’t get it?  Asking people to own their confusion only goes so far.  The direction of the responsibility changes and for some students, that’s a deal breaker….It’s OK if the instructor notices, but they don’t want to admit they don’t know something.  So my journey for more information about online learning lead me to a unique program at California State, East Bay.  They offer a M.S. in Education, Option in Online Teaching & Learning.  The program fit me like a glove!  I filled out the application online, paid the application fee, had my transcripts sent from Purdue and mailed off my letter of intent to the program chair.  Good advise, “if not now, then when?”

David Family Cousin Network

February 17th, 2009


The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you. 

 ~Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact

Hi Everyone,


Time has a way of ticking away quietly and quickly and before we know it, we’ve grown up, moved away, married, had children, divorced, become grandparents, grown businesses, achieved success in various forms, retired.    For me, the David family is intimately woven into my childhood memories of vacations in Wisconsin and North Dakota, and family dinners all over Chicago.  Wedding and Funerals, Holidays and reunions, we gathered together, drawn by our connection of family.  Last spring, my husband Don and I travelled to Europe and spent some time in the Czech Republic.  The stories of our grandma David came alive for me as we travelled, and a tugging at my heartstrings for reconnection with people who were such an important part of my life growing up. 


If you feel anything like me and would like to reconnect, please let me know.  Don and I have a personal website and I’ll post this letter on the blog there.  I know I’m missing some contact information, email addresses or street addresses, for some of the cousins, so I’ll attach list of who this is going to.   Please forward this on to missing or incorrect addresses and also send me contact information so I can get the list updated.    For a large noisy family who so loved to get together, maybe it’s time again. 


Linda David Casey    lindajcasey@comcast.net

Lookee What Linda Did for XMAS!

January 3rd, 2009



Christmas Delight!

First of all, let me say that I am blessed with four wonderful children.  In ascending order of age, is Kris, 21,  mine by birth, Sean, 23 and  Jo, 25, by choice when I married their Dad and the newest edition, Brad, 26 by marriage to Jo two years ago.  Quilting is a gift of more than fabric and thread and supplies.  For me, it is a gift of my time, my creativity and most of all, my love for the recipient.   Last year I decided to surprise the kids with cuddle quilts.  I started last February and made Brad’s first.  Being the “fabricaholic” I am, I knew exactly where to start from my stash.  The quilt uses several rows of flying geese and the quilting has lots of movement.  Appropriate for Brad as he works toward his PhD in Genetics at USC.  A quilt of movement with a direction.   Next came Jo’s.  I had purchased the nurse blocks in Chicago several years ago, knowing that someday I would make something for Jo with the fabric. Jo entered a Masters of Nursing program at Cal State, LA in 2007.  After completing her first 4 quarters of study, she received her RN and passed her boards. A quilt using the nurse fabric was the perfect fit!.  Her quilt like Brad’s uses the flying geese blocks blended with the nurse graphics.  She too is constant in her direction toward completion of her Master’s degree in Nursing.   Sean’s quilt was next.  I’ve been saving pieces of black and white fabric for this quilt for years.  I always knew his quilt would be black and white.  But Sean has a quick wit and vast reservoir of creativity, so the quilt needed something to add a liveliness to it to match him, so a pop of aqua did the trick.  Kris’s quilt was the last to start.  He was still at home when the project started so was the only one of the kids that knew what was going on.  He wanted “input” into his quilt so we collaborated on the design and the colors.   This was as much of a blessing as it was a curse.  The freedom of design and color I had enjoyed with the other quilts was now being tempered.  Hmmmm, this was going to be harder.  Kris is a wonderful blend of Science and Artistry.  The central medallion pointing out in all directions captures his energy; many interests, many different directions, all coming from a central core. 

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