Remembering Dorothy

Over the years many of you have heard me talk about Dorothy Smith Brown who was my Home Economics teacher for 6 years – Jr High through High School and a life-long friend. Her life of 107 years was celebrated last month. My cousin Delmar and my friend Chris were able to last visit with her in September 2019.

I have felt forever blessed that I met Dorothy at the age of 12 when our family moved to my dad’s hometown Stratton. She was a wonderful mentor to so many of us….she imparted much knowledge from her Home Ec. classes and I still draw on that knowledge today and share with those around me. We had a life long friendship which I treasure. It was Dorothy I called after I read “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan….I wanted to hear and learn more about the Dust Bowl in Eastern Colorado. It was great to visit with Dorothy over the years and hear more about her and her ever-growing family of which she was so proud.

I would like to share her obituary with you as it is a beautiful tribute to her life.

Erma Dorothy Cross Smith Brown was born on January 15, 1913 in her family home near Union, Nebraska to parents Carl Cedric Cross and Erma Blanche Mougey Cross. She was the eldest of three sisters (Dorothy 1913, Ruth 1915-2013 and baby Margaret 1918-1922). In 1922 the family was stricken with scarlet fever and baby Margaret died as a result. In 1920 Carl moved the family to Eastern Colorado to a piece of land 13 miles straight north of present-day Arriba near the Arikaree River. In the fall of 1920, Dorothy started 3rd grade in a one room sod house called Mount Lookout. After completing 9th grade at age 13, Dorothy went to Arriba to live with a family to attend High School. In 1929 at age 16, armed with a scholastic scholarship earned by being Valedictorian of her graduating class, she enrolled at Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University). Economic hard times during the “Great Depression” forced Dorothy to put her education on hold after three years. In 1932, Dorothy married John Oscar Smith whose family lived about 8 miles west of Dorothy’s home. Dorothy and Oscar’s first home was a very small house, about 5 miles from the school where Oscar had obtained a rural teaching position. Dorothy and Oscar were able to lease several acres of land to farm and raise a few head of cattle and hogs along with turkeys and chickens. Oscar taught school at day and farmed at night. Dorothy and Oscar were blessed with four children, Gordon Cross (1933), Margaret Jean (1936), John Robert (1938) and Richard Carl (1940). Dorothy raised her family, tended to livestock and helped Oscar farm when possible. In 1944, during the worst part of World War II, the Arriba Public School System Superintendent asked both Oscar and Dorothy to join the Staff. Dorothy was to teach English, establish a school library, and teach other subjects as needed. Neither Dorothy nor Oscar had completed their college degrees, so they immediately began taking correspondence courses and enrolled in summer school back at Colorado A&M. Dorothy earned her BS Degree in Education majoring in Home Economics in 1945. Dorothy and Oscar continued to go to summer school each year for many summers thereafter. They both went on to earn their Master of Education degrees in 1959. This was the start of Dorothy’s long career as teacher and mentor to so many in Eastern Colorado. She went on to teach for the next 31 years. In 1950, Dorothy and Oscar moved to Stratton to join the Stratton High School faculty. Dorothy was to rebuild the Home Economics program and teach English Literature. In 1955 Oscar became Superintendent of the Stratton Public Schools. It was in 1957 that Oscar and Dorothy began discussing the feasibility of building a new state of the art Junior and Senior High School facility. Dorothy had a special ability in developing the necessary elements of the plan to accomplish this undertaking. Of course, Dorothy was influential in developing “her” specification for the modern Home Economics classroom and the Library. In 1973, Dorothy was recognized for her teaching talents and overall contribution to education by being chosen as the Colorado Mother of the Year. After retiring from teaching she did not remain idle. She and Oscar enjoyed restoring their farm outside Arriba, planting and harvesting a huge garden both at their farm in Arriba and in Stratton and playing golf at the Stratton Golf club. Dorothy took great pride in preparing nutritious meals and was a wonderful homemaker. Sadly, Oscar passed much too early in April of 1983. In addition to time spent on projects with Oscar, Dorothy, along with two others, spent many hours writing and editing the History of Kit Carson County, capturing stories of its people, its communities, and its memorable events. She was a leading force in establishing Stratton’s Public Library and Stratton’s affordable housing project. Dorothy was instrumental in the effort that became the Kit Carson Carousel Restoration project and later she was one of the leaders in the formation of the Kit Carson Carousel Association. She also grew a beautiful yard and garden. As a Master Gardener, she was active in the local gardening club and until recently wrote a gardening column for the local paper. In 1988, Dorothy married UGene Brown. UGene and Dorothy were able to enjoy a motor trip to Virginia to visit several of UGene’s family and take an awesome 1989 Summer Alaskan Cruise before his death. In 2016, Dorothy moved to the Legacy, an assisted living facility in Burlington. She enjoyed living at The Legacy and interacting with the other residents and the staff. She had many visitors and made many new friends. Dorothy was a lifelong Methodist. Her life was deeply rooted in the Methodist Doctrine of “Grace and Accountability”. Dorothy and Oscar attended the First United Methodist Church of Stratton singing in the choir and being faithfully active. Dorothy enjoyed working with the Methodist Women and always participated in church wide conferences and meetings. Her unfailing faith was recognized when the Rocky Mountain Peaks and Plains Women chose her as a “Quiet Disciple”. Participating in church activities and taking time for Daily Worship has always been a way of life for Dorothy. Dorothy reveled in the fact that all her kids married their childhood friend and that all the marriages were so successful. She doted on her multitude of grand kids, great grand kids and several great-great grand kids. Dorothy had a lifelong love of needlework and made sure to craft at least one special needlework project for each of her sixteen grandchildren. Dorothy in her own words: Persevere- don’t give up; Inspire- you can do it; Collaborate- we can do it; Always here if you need me- A Life Well Lived. Dorothy, at 107 years old, is preceded in death by her husbands, John Oscar Smith and UGene Brown, her daughter Margaret Jean Mason McGriff, her son in laws Max Mason and Willie McGriff, her daughter in law Judy Conarty Smith, and her granddaughter Linda Leah Mason Poulin. She is survived by her son Gordon and his wife Eleanor, her son John Robert, her son Richard and his wife Margene, her step daughter LuAnn and her husband Jerry Lucas and a multitude of grand kids, great grand kids and several great-great grand kids.

Blogging (on my mind), knitting (Canyon River Poncho with out the fringe) sewing (masks – appx 375, quilted table runner, pillow covers, quilt repair) and cooking as well as cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning have been all consuming during this last 15 months of the Pandemic. Today I saw this interesting post from Interweave Press: Three Must-Know Gansey Cast Ons and thought it would be my entry way back to blogging and sharing.

Our knitting groups have moved from ZOOM and back to in-person meetups which are outdoors for now. So good to see knitting folks and friends.


It has been an upside down year for sure – this 2020….but I find myself driven today to share the photos from our last FMK (Friday Morning Knitting Group) celebration in December 2019.  Our dear friend Jean is ill and I want to share these photos.

Stone Point – Done!

I finished this lovely piece a little over a week ago and have worn it. I love the drape and style of this knitted fabric. We all know I do not need one more knitted garment … or for that matter any garment … in my closet but that does not stop me from casting on again and again for new projects. My version of Stone Point came about simply because I saw a model on display at my favorite LYS – Avenue Yarns.

You all know that once the last stitch of the knitted garment is completed, there are a few more things that need to happen.

  • Weave in all the loose yarns created when a new ball of yarn is attached.
  • Try on for final fitting and then measure piece.
  • Block it. I prefer the wet block method. I load my top loading washer with lukewarm water and add Eucalon according to instructions. Next drop garment in water to soak for 20-30 mins. DO NOT RUN THE WASH CYCLE or RINSE CYYLE. Move the setting to SPIN. I then let the SPIN run until almost done. I do this so the garment is not spun out so much as to create wrinkles. I then take the garment to The multipurpose table in my studio and lay it out to measurements in a towel in table. After I have smoothed /pressed the garment with my hands, I cover the garment with another towel. It is ready to wear (or use) when dry.

I am very happy with this latest…I know i will wear it a lot….it will be one of my favorite go to’s to wear.

Tip: I find it much easier to stay on track with multiple stitch repeats in the pattern to use markers, i.e there were 12 stitches per pattern over 24 rows. I placed markers every 12 stitches and then I would count when I completed a set to be sure I was on track. Of course, after a bit of knitting of a pattern it becomes imprinted in my knitting fingers and brain.

Stone Point

Lovely day for knitting and reading while enjoying time on deck. This lovely cape throw (Stone Point) will be complete this weekend. Stay tuned for final viewing and details of the project.

This shawl pattern caught my eye ….

“Mucha”, in reference to the artist Alfons Mucha, is a half-moon shawl, knitted from top to bottom. Most of the pattern is very easy to knit. The body of the shawl is in stocking stitch, interspersed by a few lines of garter stitch to give a rhythm to the
— Read on www.kitterly.com/nadia-cretin-lechenne-mucha-shawl-pattern-7475.html

Jeopardy and Knitting

As Bill and I were watching Jeopardy this past Monday I was struck by the beauty of the scarf/shawl that contestant Leslie was wearing. I checked my Ravelry library and I did not have this pattern. As Thursday night knitting rolled around I was still thinking about this shawl. No sooner than having just mentioned it fellow knitter Helen found conversation on google about it. I looked at design….yep that was it…….the Vintage Fremont Shawl  designed by Jami Byrnildson. I didn’t delay … I ordered. At Friday morning knitting I told the story of Jeopardy, the contestant wearing the beautiful shawl and Helen’s Google find. Now it was Shari’s turn to google….this shawl has generated so much interest that the pattern has been offered at 50% with coupon code “Jeopardy” through June 10. I contacted the seller re my enthusiasm for shawl and the coupon code. I received a credit of 50% back from my purchase. How much fun that this pattern has generated so much conversation in our knitting communities. You too can buy it on Ravelry.

Guess what I will be knitting soon?

Kids Crafting

Not only have I have been knitting and sewing but have just added kids crafting to my list. How did that happen? As many of you know I started working part-time at JoAnn Fabrics about 8 months ago and recently have been added to the teaching roster. I was asked a couple weeks ago if I could sub for the Kids Crafting session on this past Saturday. There were a few delightful young people who stopped by to make Mother’s Day cards for their moms. For me…..a whole new world of Washi tape designs has opened up. I have to laugh at myself because many of my crafty knitting friends have been using Washi tape for designs for a long time….I held off….but watch out now. And I think I have a new project for my 2 1/2 year grand niece. She is a very busy young child…..this will be so fun!

By the way…..Kids Crafting at JoAnn’s in El Cerrito is every second Saturday. You can check it out here.

Marsha was one happy knitter as she finished her cowl. She  creatively figured out how to add the yarn from her cast on tail to the cast off yarn. Without that cast on tail, she would have needed to unknit one round to have enough yarn for the cast off. Like many of us Marsha is on a mission to use the yarn in her stash….she was successful….all used and only 3 inches left.

Now she has unearthed knitting that is to be felted slipper socks. I helped her get reacquainted with her pattern and now she is knitting the gusset. Go Marsha!



All but two (my personal work aprons for JoAnn’s) of these reversible aprons were gifts. I loved combining the fabrics and more in the works.

My great grandniece….


Aprons for Bill’s great granddaughters….


My work aprons…..




Gift for my niece Chloe…..


Gift for my niece Honara…