Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This is what our dining room table looked like after I got home from the Eastside Knitting Guild meeting on Monday. Bags and bags of stockings and goodies for stuffing the stockings.

The first thing we had to do was stretch out the table to hold the stockings that are going to be coming in.

Then I started going through the bags and finding these lovely stockings ...

made with love and prayer for the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Each stocking has it's own personality, a little story of support.

These stockings come with good cheer and a holiday wish from those of us here at home.

I could feel the love as I was opening up each bag, love for a soldier away from their family over the holidays.

I love knitters. I love the fact that they are so giving. Crocheters and seamstresses are the same way. They love to give of their time and talents.

We've got a good start. Right now we have 163 stockings waiting to be filled up with goodies and sent on their way to a war zone.

We've got a way to go. We need more to fill up this table.

In the others sacks were candy canes, gum, shampoo and lotion samples from hotels, hotel soaps, games, puzzles, drinks, candy, and other personal care items. We also got a lot of dental care items. Our soldiers are going to have very clean teeth!

I know this looks disorganized, but it's not. Each box contains a type of item, and they are stacked on the hearth to keep them out of the way of Edgar and his buddies.

In my next posting I will share the yarn story for OHS 2008.
We may have a sinking economy, but we have a real abundance of love going around right now.



Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Overwhelmed!

I went to the monthly Eastside Knitting Guild meeting this evening. Claudia Davidson, from A New Yarn, was our guest speaker. We were all invited to bring in yarn to donate for the shop. Knitters are kind and generous folk.

We had to load all of the yarn into a shopping cart for Claudia.

It was time for a group photo, a photo shot of very generous souls.

Then I was told there were stockings and items to stuff into the stockings for me to take home tonight. It filled up the trunk of my car.

The love on my dining room table is overwhelming. I was speechless when I saw all of this. I'll sort through it all tomorrow and will post pictures so you all can see what we have. Amazing.

David went down to the Family Services Center at Fort Lewis, and it looks like there about 3000 soldiers that need to receive our stockings this year. We've done a brigade before, so I think we can reach this goal. Well?????

On his way to Fort Lewis today, David saw our house on the freeway. He was heading south on I-5, and heading north on I-5 was three pieces of a new house. What are the odds of that happening. The house left Stayton, Oregon at 2:30 a.m., and arrived at Edgar's Acres around 3:00 p.m. Leslie sent pictures.

Pretty cool, huh?

Today has been a nice day. Now to go to bed and think about the love and generosity of knitters, and on having good neighbors.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

We're Making Progress

Stockings and stocking stuffers are staring to come in.

Our dentist, Jeff Johnson made a donation again this year and sent over toothbrushes, toothpast, and dental floss. Need to make sure our troops take good care of those teeth.

Cynthia, the owner of Lake Union Hair Salon, donated shampoos, body lotions and body soap. These will be a real treat for the soldiers.

Bonnie in Sequim sent in some stockings she got at the after Christmas sales last year.

Ginny in Wisconsin sent in these, which we will be able to use for the family party at Fort Lewis for the families of the troops of the Striker Brigade in Iraq.

We got some more for the family party from Maryanne in Wisconsin. Thank you ladies. Did you ladies leave any stockings left at Walmart? These are great.

We've got knitters, crocheters, and seamstresses working on stockings, and some youth groups are busy decorating stockings.

All of you are so wonderful, and you will be blessed for caring about these soldiers.

A few months ago I referred to a "big" project that David and I were doing. Well, here is a progress report.

When we bought Edgar's Acres five years ago, we bought it knowing that this little house would have to be replaced. It was a old manufactured home, very small, with NO INSULATION. It's been a wonderful little house that has provided us with lots of warm memories of gatherings with family and friends. This has been the little house where we ladies have had our knitting retreats.

Last winter it was evident that this little house was bearly surviving the harsh weather, and we had to finalize our plans for a new house. Last month David and I moved everything out and said good bye to the little house. We thanked it for sheltering us from the elements, and for providing us with loving care.

It has been removed and has moved on to provide another family with shelter for a while. In the meantime, we are in the middle of moving the new home in.

First the porch and sun room had to be removed and all of the debris hauled away. The "pit" had to be excavated to make room for the slab foundation.

The form had to be built and readied for the concrete to be poured.

The slab has been done for five days now and is set and ready for the house.

The house is coming in tomorrow, but we won't get to see it until this coming weekend when we go over to check out the garden.

Meanwhile, I'm still knitting hats and socks. I've knit five more hats and three more stockings for OHS 2008. I also got Ann's fingerless gloves done and she loves them.
No more cold hands for Anne.

This week I'm finishing up the sweater for Eva Rose. I got expert advice from four expert knitters and now know how to fix the sleeves so they will be long enough for the sweater. I'll make a full report later.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Travel Knitting

I made the comment a couple of weeks ago to someone that I hadn't spent an entire weekend at home since the middle of July. After David and I got back from our vacation back East, we started on the Big Project. We have been going back and forth between our house "in the city" to Edgar's Acres. We are replacing the house at Edgar's Acres and have had a lot of prep work to get done on weekends.

The trip each way is about 2-3 hours, depending on how long we have to wait for the ferry. So what does one do when one is the passenger on these forays? Well, if one is a knitter, one knits. Because this one is also a navigator, backseat driver, conversationalist, and listener, this one has to have knitting that is easy to do and easy to get interrupted and started up again. This is travel knitting.

I've been knitting stockings for OHS 2008, hats for Madrona, hats for Friends of Francois, and now fingerless mittens for me, and other cold-handed people I know.

I’ve knit 13 stockings so far for OHS 2008. Eight of these stockings are from Red Heart® Fiesta® Yarn,
which has 316 yards per skein (green stockings). I got this yarn at A New Yarn for $2.50. This works out to about 40 yards to stocking. Not a bad investment at all. The other stockings are made from left over yarn from other projects.

I’ve have finished 8 hats, 3 for Friends of Francois, and 5 for Madrona. I’ve been digging through the stash for the left over skeins from other projects, and using some yarn donated by Coats & Clark to Madrona.

The blue hats done in the 2x2 rib is a pattern Susan came up with and I love it. The 2x2 rib makes a great hat and you can just knit, knit, and knit.

The fingerless mittens are from the latest issue of Creative Knitting Magazine and is done with a 2x2 rib variation, with the knit stitches being done in a mock cable. I made a pair for me to see how the pattern works, and was extremely proud of myself. I am now knitting up a pair for Anne, our barista at Ellen's Coffee, because her hands get really, really cold this time of year.

Well, Johny, our baby bichon, is telling me he wants attention, and Louie is in my lap with his head on my wrist, so I guess I'll sign off.



Sunday, October 5, 2008


I was asked to write down how we got started on Operation Holiday Stockings, so I’ll do my best, hoping not to bore you.

Our oldest son, Dave, was deployed to Iraq in 2005. He left on April 12th, and it was a dark day for me. Before he left I asked him if I could knit him something and his response was “Thanks Mom, but I won’t need anything, the Army will supply me with everything I’ll need.”

When Dave was home on leave in October I again asked if I could knit something for him, and he again told me he had everything he needed.
I went along praying for his safety, and the safety of the troops he was responsible for.

While Dave was in Iraq I would get up early and be at my computer at 5:00 a.m. If he was going to be able to email me, it would be between 5:00-6:00 p.m. his time. It may have been early, but well worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning. It was my connection to know he was alright.

In the middle of November I had to get a thorn removed from the index finger on my right hand. That was on a Wednesday. On Thursday, a friend, Susan, met up with me during my lunch hour to show me how to do circular knitting. When she walked into my office and saw this huge bandage on my finger, she put down the double point needles and handed me the circular needle and said let’s get started. By Friday night, I had knit a baby hat, and I was feeling real proud of myself. (In case you are wondering I taught myself to knit with the bandaged finger in a matter of seconds, just used another finger.).

That weekend David and I went over to Edgar’s Acres in Sequim. On Saturday morning at 4:30 I got up to make my coffee, and turn on the computer for the 5-6 hour, hoping to hear from Dave. It was November 19th. I did hear from Dave. He sent an email with this message:

“Hey mom, I have a huge favor to ask. I was wondering if you could knit about 230 small stockings for our Christmas “celebration.” That or send some Christmas decorations over. Our commander has asked us officers to come up with something that we can use to decorate our company areas for the Christmas season. They don’t have to be elaborate, just simple stockings. I figured you would know enough people that knit so that it wouldn’t be that hard, and I know that all of the soldiers would really appreciate it.”

I got up from the couch, picked up my coffee, got the dogs and we went outside for our walkabout. It was pitch black, and all of the stars were at my fingertips. I looked up and ask God “did you read what he just sent?” God’s reply was on point. “Mom, when your son is in Iraq, you don’t say no.”

I went back in and emailed back “just 230?”

I then emailed everyone I could think of. I emailed the Ample Knitters, Small Paws Rescue, yarn shops, all of my friends and family, and by 6:00 started knitting. Mind you I had NEVER knit a sock in my life. I fortunately had the Miracle Loop knitting book, 40” size 7 needles, and yarn, and knit up the class sock. It took all day.

I started getting responses by 7:30 that morning and we were on our way.
When I went into work on Monday and told Susan about this she told me “no worry, knitters won’t let you down, you will probably get over a 1000 stockings.”
In two weeks we ended up with over a 1,000 knit, crocheted, sewn, and decorated stockings for Dave’s company, and for a couple of others. A miracle happened.

We heard back from all of the soldiers and they were so thrilled we remembered them, and many cherished their stockings.

When Dave finally came home in March 2006, he had his stocking with him. He also had me promise to continue doing Operation Holiday Stockings until all of the troops returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The next year I asked Dave to find me some troops to send the stockings to, and he came back with a full brigade. When he spoke to the commanding officer about this project he asked “does your mother know how many are in a brigade?” Well, I didn’t until Dave told me it was about a 1000 soldiers. Dave’s response to the commanding officer was “she does, and it won’t be a problem for these ladies.”

In 2006 we ended up with over 1600 stockings.

In 2007, the enthusiasm and involvement was less, but we were still able to send out around 1200 stockings.

We sent one box of stockings to Major Rick, who is an officer in Special Forces, and was deployed to a very dangerous area in Afghanistan. One night Rick woke up his soldiers and told them they were moving out of their camp, which was next to the mail tent of the makeshift base. They were leaving for a mission, and he decided they needed to leave early. When they came back in three days, the area where their tent had been had been bombed, and the mail tent, and several others were destroyed as well. In this attack they lost 6 soldiers, and morale hit rock bottom. Two weeks before Christmas and no mail to be had.

They moved the camp, and the next week a box was delivered to Rick and in the box wre the stockings we had sent him. The soldiers were speechless, and so grateful. The box of stockings was all they had for the holidays last year. I saw Rick this summer and he told me that I will never know how much those stockings meant to the soldiers. They were feeling hopeless and forgotten. With the stockings they knew there were people back home who cared, loved them, and wished them well.

We are doing this project again. We have to. I have a promise to keep.

We would love to have you join us. I have attached the pattern I created so everyone can knit if they want (remember I had never knit a sock before November 19, 2005), together with a wish list for stocking stuffers. We also accept cash donations for postage. The postage has been around $900-1000 each year.

My contact information is below.

Thank you for helping to spread the word for this project.



Worsted Weight Yarn
Size 7 Needles

Skill Level: Advanced BeginnerRating: Easy

Cast on 28 stitchesKnit 6 rows (garter stitch)
Starting with right side, work 24 rows in Stockinette Stitch (SS)

Work short rows as follows:
Knit 18, turn
Purl 9, turn
Knit 10, turn
Purl 11, turn
Knit 12, turn
Purl 13, turn
Knit 14, turn
Purl 15, turn
Knit 16, turn
Purl 17, turn
Knit 18, turn
Purl 19, turn
Knit 20, turn
Purl 21, turn
Knit 22, turn
Purl 23, turn
Knit 24, turn
Purl 25, turn
Knit 26, turn
Purl 27, turn
Knit 28, turn
Purl one row even
Knit 6 rows even in Stockinette Stitch
Shape toe:
Row 1: *Knit 1, Knit 2 together, repeat from *, last stitch knit 1.
Row 2: *Purl 1, Purl 2 together, repeat from * , last stitch purl 1.
Row 3: Knit 2 together to end of row, with last stitch knit 1.
Row 4: Purl 2 together to end of row, with last stitch purl 1.
Cut yarn about 12 inches and draw through remaining stitches and fasten off.
Sew seam with 12 inches of yarn.

Chap stick®
Shampoo samples
Hand soaps
Baby wipes
a personal note would be nice too!

From Lt. Dave:
Here's a list of things that soldiers will like to get in the stockings. In addition to the list that Sue (my mom) put up, these are some things that I liked getting while in Iraq:
Hard candy
Beef jerky
Decks of cards
Puzzle books
Small toiletries
shaving cream
Tooth brushes
Drink powders
Kool-aid® (sugar added)
Crystal Clear®
Iced tea mix
Mixed nuts
Candy Canes
Anything that will last for a while because I'm sure that they will be getting more than one care package.