Archive for December, 2012

Throughout the year I see the most wonderful knitted garments….I take lots of photos…and only get a fraction posted. So….to end this year this will be a blast of photos. I invite those of you featured to make comment on your garments. Guess what….I only got half way through the year….so more tomorrow to celebrate the New Year!

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Yesterday there was one more photo I wanted to post re: Dorothy and I couldn’t figure out how to improve the grainy image…well with a little more patience this morning I played around with my simple photo program…success!

Once again….Dorothy and one of her FHA groups.

P.S. Seated from right to left….me, one of my best friends Chris (she was at the birthday celebration yesterday), my cousin Diane (also one of my best friends), and Vickie (Chris’s sister). A couple more names…standing left to right…Dorothy and second student from left is Beverly (cousin-in-law and also life-long friend).

From our yearbook.

From Stratton High yearbook (62-63)

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Invitation to celebrate Dorothy's 100th birthday!

Invitation to celebrate Dorothy’s 100th birthday!

Dorothy Cross Smith Brown is celebrating her 100th birthday today.

I spoke with her a couple of days before Christmas as I chose not to attend because we have family illness here in the Bay Area of California. So many of my school friends and family will be there. Dorothy said, ” I understand. Come in the spring and spend a weekend with me.” I will.

I love and admire Dorothy!

Dorothy Smith - photo from early 60's yearbook.

Dorothy Smith – photo from early 60’s yearbook.

Who is Dorothy? In the spring of my 12th year my family (parents, sister and I)  moved to my dad’s hometown – Stratton, CO. It soon became one of my home towns….I have three – Stratton, CO; The Bay Area of Northern California and Geelong, Australia. I met Dorothy at church but it was  later in the fall when I actually turned 12 and entered junior high school that I “really” met her. It was the start of 6 years of study in the field of Home Economics with her. Throughout my life I have been grateful that she was a mentor through my school years and then we became  life-long friends. There are so many things to share about her…and of course these are my personal perspective. Here’s a few of the things that we have shared over the years.

  • One of my first lessons in my 7th grade home economics class that “tea is drunk without milk here in Stratton”.  In Australia we only had tea with milk! I don’t know why that made such a lasting impression but it did.
  • Dorothy encouraged leadership. It was through her mentoring and sometimes gentle prodding that I undertook leadership roles in F.H.A. (Future Homemakers of America)…an organization founded in the late 40’s and introduced to Stratton High School in the early 60’s I believe.
  • Dorothy’s home economics class was just that…..a study of the economics of running home and life. We did learn to sew and cook…we also learned money management, nursing care, family care, creativity……a multitude of things. Her teaching and leadership created a foundation for many of us.
  • A love of family….she and her husband Oscar (Superintendent of Stratton High School) raised 4 children – 3 sons and 1 daughter. My dad came from a very large family (12) and I found that I had cousins or aunts in almost every grade of the 12 grades of school. I believe Dorothy has probably attended every Fred Pugh family wedding and funeral held in Stratton.
  • Easter always evokes the memory of Dorothy singing in the church choir at Sunrise Services.
  • It was with Dorothy’s mentorship and sponsorhip that I was selected as one of the two delegates from Colorado to attend the National Conference on Smoking and Youth. Ugh…I was one of those smoking young people. It took me 14 years to see the error of my choice. In 1983 I graduated from college (15 years later than intended)….my thesis paper, dedicated to Dorothy, was “Smoking in the Workplace”.
  • Most times that I traveled to Colorado to visit family or attend reunions included a visit with Dorothy. We kept abreast of the friends, family…. stuff.
  • Several years ago Dorothy and her family were written up in the Rocky Mountain News. She had 57 of her family….children, grandchildren, great grandchildren home for Thanksgiving. Her daughter Jean described her mother as the “original” Martha Stewart!
  • In 2004 Dorothy won a Star Stitcher Award at  TNNA – the National Needlework Association. As owner of Skein Lane I  entered Dorothy as a candidate and was delighted that she was one of the chosen. Her daughter Jean traveled with her to this event held in San Diego, CA. It was special. You can read more about this at Dorothy Brown Star Stitcher Award.
  • We talk throughout the year….not enough…but we stay connected. We talked after I finished listening to the The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Dorothy shared her experience of the dirt storms of the 30’s. Her first child Gordon was born then…she and Oscar did not know if their baby would survive. He did!

There is really so much to share and enjoy about Dorothy. Happy 100th birthday! I know she will have an extraordinary celebration this afternoon. I can’t wait to hear about and to see her in the Spring.

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Suanne - Dec 2012

Suanne – Dec 2012

Susanne sent the most wonderful email last week…all about knitting and friendship…a theme that I’ve “shouted out” several times during this year. Many of you send similar messages and I am forever grateful for our Skein Lane community……the friendships! I think often think about my grandmother Alta ..she was so involved in her quilting friendship circles..she is actually my inspiration for creating the Skein Lane knitting workshops.

Merry Christmas and ’tis the Season greetings to all!


Here’s what Susanne actually had to say ……

Just got back from a walk with the dogs in my Maurie hat, Janie earrings and my knitted gloves thinking about a book Diane lent me. Carolyn thanks for bringing 
us all together.
Love to you all, you make my life brighter....Suzanne

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Shari and John

Shari and John

Shari squeezes in knitting between her dancing (and work of course). She and her husband John have been dancing for about 16 years and are part of the Dunsmuir Scottish Dance Ensemble.  Shari often knits her accessories for their costumes….not long ago she knit a Shetland shawl for one of these dance events…..what we see here today is John wearing his Toirneach (pronounced teer-nacht) kilt hose….of course knit by Shari in O-Wool – 100% organic merino. The pattern is from Knitty.

These dance/event photos were taken last Sunday, Dec 16 at The Dunsmuir House Estate in Oakland.

Be sure to scroll down to not only see the details of the socks….but a group photo as well.

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Jean looks charming in her new sweater!

Jean looks charming in her new sweater!

Jean knits and knits….the beauty of it is that she has the greatest looking knit garments. This time her beauty is the Raindrop Cardigan…pattern from “Textured Stitches” by Connie Chang Chnichio. Jean chose yarn from her stash – DK Wool Tweed by Jo Sharp.

The cardigan was designed to have a front opening but Jean, as many of us do, embellished/changed the pattern so that it had a zipper front. She bought the zipper and had our local cleaners – Norge – sew it in for about $25. Her husband picked it up and he was astounded at the price and Jean’s response…”It was worthy very penny!”

I am in awe of how much Jean knits….she not only starts but she finishes! I do know a secret….there was one time some years ago where she was really unhappy about the performance of a yarn she was knitting (which shall remain unnamed) and she threw it in the fire…an action that does seem unrelated to Jean!

The sweater details….


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Our last post found us looking through our yarn stashes getting ready for our annual ’tis the Season celebration. We ate, we shared, we exchanged.

We brunched –  cheese, crackers, potato chips and clam dip, fruit salad platter, chocolate cake, bread, cookies, baked pears wrapped in proscuitto, champagne, margaritas….a great way to start a day!! We did manage to knit as well as eat!!

Oh darn….I captured the chatter on my iPhone video but it won’t upload here…just imagine the chatter of magpies and you have it!



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