Category Archives: Musings

The Key to the Mystery

Earlier this week I was looking around for a photo prop to go along with my article The Key to Keeping Your Free Membership Active at the Knit HeartStrings learn-and-knit-along site. A regular house or car key would not be very interesting. And photo’g one of those new-fangled hotel card keys that is loaded with advertisements would be too crass. Then I thought of  this old hotel key that is both interesting and mysterious to me.

central hotel glasglow key
Room key for Central Hotel Glasgow

Isn’t it’s design lovely? (at least I think so) They just don’t make keys like this anymore. I like it’s boldness. It’s strength. It’s manly, rustic look.

How did I come into possession of this key? It’s a mystery! The name plate identifies the Central Hotel Glasgow. A little Internet research reveals this hotel dates back to 1883 and was built at the site of Central Station, the main train hub of Glasgow. I’d love to go to Scotland one of these days, and  now this hotel is definitely on my list of places to see. But I still don’t know how I got the key to room 473. Something in my child- memory tells me my grandmother might have said my uncle had stayed there while on a tour of service duty and gave her this as a momento. But I might just be making this up as a fantasy.

Please help me start solving the mystery behind this key. Does this style of key look familiar to you and could you help date its time in history?

bouquet of colorful knitted lace maple leaves for Canada Day

The Maple tops my list of favorite leaves because of fond memories of Canada, its land and its people. In my younger years, I spent many wonderful summers in western Ontario where my grandparents had a log cabin home on a pristine spring-fed lake abounding with natural beauty and wonders. I’ve visited other areas of Canada many times since then, too, and met so many friendly people. A piece of my heart belongs there.

Happy Canada Day knitted lace maple leaves

And thus I want to salute my northern neighbors and friends on their July 1st holiday with this bouquet of colorful knitted lace maple leaves. Happy Canada Day!

Vickey Stamps: Knitting Storyteller

I met Vickey through my HeartStrings newsletter list. She is a 72 year old retired nurse, writer and crafter. And she is busy as ever in caring for people. She shared with me that she makes good size topsy turvy cloth dolls (girls and boys…82 given out so far) free to kids with devastating illnesses.

She also sent me the below story she wrote. It is so tender-hearted. I imagined it might be about her. But she just replied simply, “to the extent that I make and give away dolls to very sick children, and do some charity knitting and crocheting, plus write things to send out on the internet.” I asked her if I might share it with you, and she graciously agreed.



(C) Vickey Stamps 5-7-10 

The old woman sat down her knitting, having earlier picked up the house, making herself busy to pass the day away.  Other than some knitting to busy her mind and hands, there was nothing else to do.  There had been a new great grandbaby born in the family this week and she wondered if she might think

of something more to make for it.  While she had prepared clothing and thin blankets for the warmer season it would be born into already and had given

it to the new parents, she knew something was lacking.

She knew there was something needed doing.  What she didn’t know was what that something was.  She lowered her head over the yarn on her lap.  Perhaps the Lord could help her, even though it was just a tiny thing to be concerned over.  She said a short little prayer asking for guidance.  There was no

answer, but she didn’t doubt one moment that one would come any time now.  

Perhaps she should cast on some stitches and let her hands decide.  She could make squares of different colors and use up all those scraps of yarn she’d

hung onto greedily, not wanting to waste them by tossing them away, as if

their softness and color held no value. 

And so the old woman, grandmother of many, began to think about both of

the children now,  and about their growing up times.  She frowned slightly

at the difficult times they had gone through together, letting a smile lift

each side of her lips also remembering the good times that were more in number.  She’d make a square of green and even some brown for her remembering of her girls hazel eyes. 

The squares grew in number as the old woman devoted many hours to the

numerous squares in the days that followed.  There were the shades of

green that poked up from her garden, showing new life.  She had planted

a new one each year.  She lifted up a purple square, touching it gently. 

Its inspiration had come from the berry bushes east of the old farm house.  

In her mind, she remember the harvesting of last years garden.  There was

a square in red for the tasty tomatoes and radishes, and one of an off white color, for the cauliflower.  There would have to be a soft blue with a hint

of gray for her husbands eyes.  How she missed him.  It seemed just

yesterday he had passed on.  Perhaps she’d add in some pink for the roses

he’d planted beside the porch steps for her their first year of marriage. 

Yes, she would do that.  Perhaps another square could be a deeper blue for

the Marine son, who had never returned from the war. 

She thought of the loving young wife and of the children left behind, and

found colors of yarn to use for each of them.  All these years later, she,

in her mind, saw him as if even now, he stood before her in his ‘parade

dress uniform.  He’d been tall and stood so straight.  She thought upon

the colors of life, perhaps she would stitch them all together with a black

yarn to match the darker crossroads they’d all had to jump over as

they continued down the road of life.

Before she knew it, there were enough squares to put together for a blanket that covered her lap and came almost to her neck.  It would keep her warm,

it would cover the grandchildren that came to spend nights with her from

time to time.  She’d tell them the story each square had made her think of

as she worked.  A smile again lifted her mouth.  She felt a glow of

happiness.  Perhaps that glow was her answer from the Lord, as to the

prayer she’d sent.  It had turned out not to be another gift for the baby,

but a gift all her family could share in this home of love.  She was as sure

of that as she was of anything.  It would soon be Mother’ day. 

A wonderful day.  ……..Yes, indeed, it was true…


This story also brought to my mind that the making of the story-colored squares was a gift from God to the Grandmother, too. i.e. reviving those life-precious memories.

I hope you enjoyed reading Vickey’s story. Did it bring memories to your mind, too?

If you’d like to thank her or ask her to add you to the list to get her writings, you may send her an email at with your thanks and request.  She will send it her friend Ann Forrest, who maintains a list of those who like to read her writings.

I also wanted to pass along this request from Vickey:

“I do some small charity knitting, like tiny sweaters, socks  for a relay for life for the American cancer Society Christmas tree each July.  Folks take an ornament and leave a donation, plus some chemo caps as needed, and socks for new babies through a pregnancy care center…stuff like that.  I have made some simple socks for myself and my grown with grandkids daughters.  I teach a basics class weekly to a tiny group of knit and crochet students.  I’m a senior age 72 with  some large health problems.  I sew 22 inch girl and boy cloth dolls and give them away to children with cancer and other devestating disease’s.  (82 so far)  I am wondering if you have anyone of your customers who would like to donate a washable 16 by 48 inch (in the round) knitted bit of a simple pattern, I could use for a skirt to make a really different doll.  I’m sending a picture of me with the dolls, if anyone would be interested.  If I were not  so busy and handicapped, and with all that I already do, I’d do one myself.  When I’m not sewing and doing knitting etc and teaching, I’m writing short stories for the internet, etc etc etc.  No big deal on a skirt, but was just thinking that it would be nice to have a knit thing for a child.  Nice and soft.  Nicer yet if I had one for the dress part of the doll and one for the white part of the nightgown.  They are topsy turvy dolls.  I embroider simple faces…with a sleepy face to go with the nightgown side and a smile face for the dress side.  I never put on hair because the kids with cancer lose theirs.”

Why is it called Dollar Weed?

Living in a swamp (basically), one of our most hideous unwanted plants is Dollar Weed. Now why do they call it that? I guess it is because of its silver- dollar-shaped leaves. But I really think it is  because of all the dollars I have spent trying to control this stuff!

Dollar Weed

Spring in these Southern Louisiana parts has come even earlier than usual (in fact, some days have been like summer!). The Dollar Weed infestation is already rearing its mighty head. And so I will be heading out soon to the store to get the spring dose of Weed and Feed fertilizer for the lawn.

But look — Here’s something I came across on the internet. Have you ever heard of using sugar like this to get rid of lawn weed infestations? Like he says, I’d be really concerned about switching out the problem to an ant infestation, though?

If Dollar Weed weren’t so prolific in taking over why lawn and gardens, I could maybe enjoy its plump round leaves of bright green that look like miniature lily pads. (which, by the way, I want to wish you luck of the Irish on this green St. Patrick’s Day).

But getting back to the Dollar Weed, it tries to strangle my grass. And spreads at an astounding rate everywhere I see around here. Oh well. Another year fighting this. If you have any ideas, let me know.


Thursday Thoughts: Luck is what happens when …

I started following Scott McCain this year. He has so many motivating ideas in his One Thought A Day – Project Distinct 2012. Although there’s nothing specific to the yarn industry, there are a lot of good points that have really challenged my thinking in new ways. I love these kinds of things.

Beaded ShamrockFor example, I especially like this recent article that included the quotation “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

I must admit that I too often want to take the easy way out and just let luck find me. This reminds me that we make our own luck, so to speak.

I promise myself to take a more proactive part toward that end. After all, if I don’t envision what “luck” will look like, I might miss that it has happened!

Hope your week is going well and that you get lucky, too.