Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
We are glad to put 2007 behind us and forge ahead to whatever 2008 will bring. Looking back, we recognize the burdens we had to carry but also realize how very blessed we have been. True friendship was never failing, faith grew even stronger, healing was at its very best.

Gordon will have surgery on January 7 to determine what is happening in his abdomen. We will deal with it, no matter what it is, but of course we are praying for a benign insignificance.

Lucas will have a CT scan soon to check out a curiosity that has appeared on his recent chest xrays.

Sonja begins her chemotherapy treatments on Friday, 1/4.

I hope to post more news about knitting and quilting very soon. And did you know?? My son David gave me a Dell for Christmas! I had forgotten how fast computing can be! Maybe I can post more often now that I have some memory and speed.

How was your Christmas? What are you doing for the New Year? Any resolutions? Fill me in.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Longest Day

It has been a very long 24 hours for us. Gordon went to the urologist yesterday morning for a recheck of his bladder. Dr. said everything looked good, no visible recurrence of any of the bladder cancer. They took blood to run a PSA test and urine to send to pathology. Dr. said they would run a preliminary 'quick test' in their office first and would call with those results, but he didn't expect to find anything. Pathology tests would take longer. When we got home the nurse called to tell Gordon the preliminary result of the urine specimen showed "abnormal" cells in his urine. I called her right back to find out more, but she really couldn't tell me anything at the time, stating that the doctor didn't want us to worry about it. ???!! And she said we might not get pathology results until next week! I asked her to tell the doctor that we wanted to talk to him asap. I couldn't believe he would ask her to call us with that kind of information knowing our history. Of course Gordon was upset and I knew he would stress out over it until he had a definitive answer one way or the other. With everything he has experienced this year, he naturally jumped right to the conclusion that his cancer had returned. When the doctor called we were both gone; Gordon was picking up Lucas and some other boys at school and delivering our guinea pigs to their new home, and I was with Sonja at her follow-up appointment with her surgeon. His message was that he wasn't surprised at the abnormal cells since Gordon had "a couple of cancers" in that area (bladder and prostate) this year and the radiation seed implants might also cause an abnormal reading in the test they ran. This didn't do much to calm Gordon's fears, so he didn't sleep last night and has continued to obsess today. Finally, this evening the nurse called back to say the pathology report showed NORMAL results on his urine test. What a relief! Praise God! I think Gordon will sleep like a baby tonight and have a much calmer weekend.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and/or friends, safe travels, and good weather--we need rain. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The scariest thing you'll ever hear

is, "you have cancer."

It makes your heart stop beating. Life comes to a standstill. You can't breathe. Nothing will ever seem "normal" again.

We have been touched by cancer this year in a most intimate way. The great love of my life, my dear husband was diagnosed with 3 kinds of cancer earlier this year. Life, as we knew it, changed forevermore. He is doing very well, excellent, in fact. He has had 3 surgeries and several 'procedures' that have not just treated his diseases, but have cured them. One of his cancers is still being treated, but we have every reason to believe it will disappear. But, we don't give credit for his good fortune to the medical industry alone. PRAYER is the medicine that worked best. We praise God for His wisdom and mercy and know in our hearts that He alone is responsible for the healing of Gordon's body.

Once again we have been touched by cancer. My good friend, Sonja, has breast cancer. She will enter the hospital tomorrow for a mastectomy, to be followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by 6 or 7 weeks of radiation treatments, and finally she will receive 5 years of hormone therapy. At first, of course, she was devastated, as were all the friends who love and depend on her so very much. But now as she stands at the threshold of surgery and treatment she is courageous, confident, even feisty! PRAYER is the medicine that works best! I am asking everyone I know to pray for Sonja's complete healing. We can see and feel the Holy Spirit working.

Of course the Lake Norman Piecemakers had a very special Prayer Quilt for Sonja. While the quilt was on the altar there were crowds of people waiting to pray and tie knots in her Prayer Quilt. No one seemed to notice the quilt was covered with very bare, pudgy bikini-clad women! She does, of course, love the quilt!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Marathon Men and Woman

Just when I start to brag about one grandchild, I realize I have to brag on them all--they are all so good! Following in the footsteps of her dad and brother a few weeks ago, Jessica entered her first half-marathon race on Sunday in Raleigh and we were able to go there and cheer her on. The weather was perfect which made for a beautiful day. We caught up with her just before the race started at 7:00 a.m. near the Wolfpack football stadium in Raleigh.

Then we drove all around the city to make our way back to the 7 mile (approx.) mark so we could cheer her on. That's when Gordon ("Pappaw to Jessica") decided to join in the race with her for a few yards.

We made our way around town again to find her at about the 11 mile marker, thanks to our trusty and knowledgeable guides, David and Jim.

Seeing her cross the finish line was a treat for us all!

But I doubt any of us was as thrilled as she was.
Congratulations, Jessica! Well done, indeed!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Keeping up

Whew! What a week! It's been hard to keep up with everything I HAVE to do this week, let alone everything I WANT to do this week! Did you see Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night? What happened? Can you believe Sabrina was kicked off? I thought for sure she'd be in the grand finale. Oh well, my favorite is Marie Osmond--maybe it's because we're the same age. Who is your favorite?
I designed and knitted these last night, finished assembling them this morning. Aren't they cute? I WANT to make 5 more pairs before my class on Saturday, but I HAVE to catch up with the laundry... I also WANT to design some earrings using Size #6 beads, but I HAVE so many other things to do that I may not get to that for several more days. Also, I want to work more on my Maple Tree Shawl with the new Tencel yarn and beads, the Forest Path Stole with lace mohair, and I'm very excited about making the Modern Quilt Wrap by Interweave Press. If you click on the blue text you can download the pattern for FREE. I'm using a collection of Kid Mohair for mine.
Have you been to the new knit shop in Hickory yet? A Strand of Purls is on north Center Street, which is really Hwy 127. A quiet shop with a nice atmosphere. She has a knitting group on Tuesday evenings, but that's the only night she is open. The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. She will be offering classes soon. Hickory is one big puzzle to me; one-way streets, avenues, boulevards, and roads with the same numbers--were they trying to conserve numbers when they laid out that city? Anyway, Laura at A Strand of Purls told me about a new quilt shop there--it's on 2nd street off of Center (don't ask me if it's northwest, southeast, avenue, road, or parkway), and it's a one-way street going east! So you have to turn west on 3rd off of Center and overshoot it to come back east on 2nd to find it. I think it's called "Sew a Fine Seam." No other info available yet. Let me know if you find it and what you think.
Week Two of our Mystery Quilt class was yesterday. Sandy is doing a great job of teaching, and we aren't the best class. Experienced and accomplished quilters make the worst students. We are grateful to her nevertheless.
More soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What a weekend!

It was 3 of the busiest days of the year. Diane and I left very early Friday morning to get to Asheville in time for her first class at SAFF . Diane made the "Madeline Hat" with Chad Alice Hagen (and it was the cutest!) all day on Friday.
I took a Beginning Spinning class in the afternoon. I can now declare, "I can spin." But I also know that I am NOT a "spinner."It was a great class with great instruction and some individual attention by the teacher and her helpers. It took the class and some real soul searching for me to realize that I will never be a spinner. I would rather use the time to knit than spin. Oh well, in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a huge disappointment. I know now that I just cannot do EVERYTHING--as much as I try.

Diane and I took a class together on Saturday afternoon, "Beaded Bag", which was a beautiful evening bag. It was knitted and had Size 6 beads all over it. But the coolest thing about it was the beads were not pre-strung! We learned a really neat technique from Judy Pascale that allows the knitter to add beads as the project is knitted. It's really great not having to slide beads across the yarn for yards and yards and yards.

Our last class was Sunday afternoon, "Airy Fairy Scarf", taught by Chad Alice Hagen, a wet-felted scarf made with wool roving, lots of water, and an equal amount of elbow grease. We had so much fun making these that we ran right out after the class to purchase more wool roving so we can make a few more scarves for our friends.

I'll add more about this weekend after I watch "Dancing with the Stars."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let me introduce you to the Lake Norman Piecemakers

Lake Norman Piecemakers are among my favorite people in the world! Primarily they are a chapter of Prayers & Squares which is an organization formed for the purpose of making prayer quilts for people in need of prayer. People need prayer for a multitude of reasons: sickness, death of a loved one, impending surgery, marital problems, child-rearing issues, just to name a few. This group of quilters donates their time, talents and often their own fabric and other materials to fill that need. They tirelessly devote Wednesdays (and often more days every week) to this special ministry, to offer up prayers for those of us who need them. The finished quilts are 'tacked' with perle cotton and the threads are left long. They are placed on the altar of one of the community churches where the congregation is invited to pray over the quilt and tie a knot with the threads. Each knot represents a single prayer for that person. Some threads have multiple knots in them. The quilts are really never finished, because each person who comes into contact with the owner of the quilt can be invited to pray and tie another knot. Often the recipients of these special gifts are strangers to the group, yet as much love and prayer goes into those gifts as for quilts that end up with friends.
They meet at Denver United Methodist Church each week for quilting, fellowship, and lunch. Yesterday was the day to celebrate the birthday of one of the founding members of the group, Elizabeth. One of the many nice gifts she received in celebration and honor of her special day was this quilt, "Bamboo Dance", from me. She watched as I made it, gushing over every piece of fabric in it, and it finally became evident to me that it had to be her quilt! I finished it in record time to be able to give it to her for her birthday.

Here she is admiring the backside of her quilt.

Here is the prayer quilt made for a friend of ours who recently found out she has breast cancer. She always makes us laugh with her infectious sense of humor and positive attitude. This quilt seemed to have her name all over it:
Isn't it fun? I hope it makes her smile.

I'll be thinking of you while I'm at SAFF this weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lookout SAFF, here we come!

Very early on Friday morning I will be traveling with my friend Diane to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival in Asheville, NC. This will be my second year, and I'm so excited! I'm hoping to meet some fellow Ravelry'ers, spend time with some fiber friends, learn something new, and pet a few of the animals. We're taking a few classes, and we'll be exploring all the vendors and exhibitors to see the latest in fibers, colors, and patterns. I'm sure we'll come home so inspired we won't have time to make all the new projects on our 'wish lists'. We'll be in classes all 3 days of the festival, so we won't be home until Sunday evening. I'll post a followup on our return.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Prayer Shawl

As I promised, here are photos of the prayer shawl and gift tote bag made for me by Angela. Aren't they beautiful?

It's raining! Right here in Catawba on Lake Norman! Beautiful, loud, large raindrops since very early this morning. It fills my senses with its quenching moisture, fresh smell, musical percussion as it falls. God is good indeed!

What are you doing today? I'm planning to knit on my Structured Jacket and sandwich a quilt, "Bamboo Dance", to prepare it for machine quilting. It's a perfect rainy day to be creative indoors.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is my face red?

Yesterday I told you I was going to see "Dancing with the Stars" with Robbin. Well, after numerous discussions AND emails about this AND riding all the way to Charlotte AND parking AND walking to the Bobcats Arena AND buying my ticket (!) I found out I wasn't seeing "Dancing with the Stars" at all, but instead was seeing "So You Think You Can Dance"! For those of you who are fans of either show, you definitely will know the difference. And so do I, but I was so ready to hear Robbin say, "Dancing with the Stars" that my mind just shut down and actually did hear that instead of the truth--have you ever had a conversation with a teenager? It's kind of like that. Anyway, the night was delightful. Uptown Charlotte was delightful. The weather was delightful. And the show was terrific! (See there? I do know a few more adjectives.) The dancers were amazing--where do they get all that energy? I think my favorite would have to be Dominic, the break dancer. And it was great fun spending an evening with Robbin. We made a game out of counting the people in the crowd who might have been older than we were.....

DH Gordon has a CT scan today to follow those little radiation seed implants that he received on 9/19.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And on another note:

After our Northside Strippers meeting on Monday evening, my good friend Angela pulled me aside to give me a prayer shawl she had knitted for me--just for me! I can't even describe how special it is. That's Angela on the left in the photo. She is a fellow quilter and knitter and part of the Prayer Shawl Ministry group in her church at Davidson United Methodist Church in Davidson, NC. She prayed the words "faith, hope and love" as she knitted, and she wrapped up the shawl in a special tote bag that she embellished with beautiful batik fabrics and included a luggage tag that she had designed especially for my shawl. She said that she wanted me to know that she was still praying for me even though she couldn't be with me every day to help out. What a special gift! I will always treasure the shawl, but more than that, I will always treasure my friendship with Angela--that's the best gift of all!

In case you don't know me or my family, here is the some history (so you'll understand why Angela knitted a prayer shawl for me): My husband, Gordon, was diagnosed with three different kinds of cancer in March of this year. It has been a challenging, even difficult, year for us. He has undergone surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy treatments. Now we believe he is cancer free, thanks be to God and the wisdom and capabilities He gave to Gordon's medical caregivers. I probably don't have to tell you how many times we have prayed for his complete healing and recovery, but I should tell you that we have so many friends who have prayed for us that we couldn't begin to count them all. I should also tell you that Gordon received a Prayer Quilt from our local Prayers & Squares group when he was first diagnosed with cancer. I will be posting photos soon so you can see the shawl and the quilt for yourself.

And if you haven't done this, do it now--count your friends. I've heard it said, "you have to be a friend to have a friend." Isn't this true?

Now I'm on my way to meet another friend, Robbin, to go see "Dancing with the Stars" in Charlotte tonight. I'll give a full review later. I hope you're dancing!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Are we having fun yet?

If this wasn't so darned much fun, I'd be getting a lot more knitting and quilting done. As it is, I'm spending hours and hours on and here on my new blog. My learning curve is not what it used to be, so it takes me longer and a few more tries to get everything looking "just so."
Northside Strippers met last night to celebrate our anniversary. Not sure which anniversary it really is, but we're a great group of quilters who get together monthly to share, swap, and eat. Here are some of the things we looked at last night: Aren't they beautiful?

That's Ronni holding up her 'Ruler Bag' for quilting rulers. Incidentally, "Northside Strippers" are named for those who live on the north side of Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. We have a lot of fun with our name, especially around those who are not familiar with our passion, quilting.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What will you do this weekend?

Since my knitting class for Saturday was cancelled, I think I'll go see the Barnful of Quilts in Waxhaw, NC, tomorrow. Check it out for yourself! Looks like a great place to take the whole family for a day of relaxation and fun--and you'll get to see some beautiful creations, too. Click on the title above to take a peek at the website.
And a trip to Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC, is in store for me today--yippee! It's a quilters' paradise, that one. I'm going with my good friend, Elizabeth (who also happens to be a quilter). Don't you just love a good 'field trip'?
I thought you might enjoy looking at one of my 'works in progress' (don't you like that term better than UFO?), from the Mossy Radiation class at the Myrtle Beach Quilt Party in January. It's so much fun to look at , I may never finish it.
I do hope you have a blessed day and weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Welcome to my playground!

Welcome to my playground! Designs in the MAKing is a play on words. You see, my monogram is MAK and my last name is KING, so there you are! There are so many different things I love to create it's hard to call myself a 'knitter' or a 'quilter' or a 'designer'. Titles just seem so limiting, don't they? I love to play with textiles: fabric, yarn, fleece, jewels, glass--well, you see my dilemma. Maybe you'll be able to help me identify just who I am.

I recently was fortunate to go on a week-long quilting retreat with 5 of my quilting friends. This was our second annual retreat, and this time we went to North Myrtle Beach, SC. As it turned out, it was also 'Bike Week' for motorcycling enthusiasts. Six quiet, mild-mannered quilters in the middle of roaring engines, defective mufflers, multiple tattoos and body piercings we didn't even want to see. It was a hoot! Here are some of our creations: the first photo is Elizabeth's "Fractured Crystals" and the 2nd photo is my rendition of "Bamboo Dance."

We created our own version of a 'sweatshop', sewing for 12 hours most days, breaking for meals and walks on the beach. We took a couple of shopping trips to the nearest quilt shop and t-shirt vendor, but most of our time was spent doing what we love most--being together and making quilts. Truly, there aren't very many things I'd rather do.

My "Convent Quilt", though it will be king-sized when it's finished. I will add many more blocks and some borders. I love making this quilt almost as much as I love collecting the fabrics for it.
This scrappy pattern has given me a way to use lots of my fabric stash and still collect more colors. I stopped counting the half-square triangles I would have to make when I was reminded that I want to put these little blocks in the border, too!