Monday, August 31, 2009

This Week's Chicago Top Ten Week of August 31

Yes, you want to know about the wedding and I want to tell you all about it. The first thing I will say is: I forgot my camera and the camera phone just wasn't hitting it. But my sister and sisters-in-law took lots of photos and they promised to post them on Facebook and in an email so I will have them shortly. It was a beautiful day and I am thrilled for Jeremy and Lily. So, we should have some pics soon to share!

But today is the day for the Chicago Top Ten (tell you what, I'll give little wedding details with each choice.)Here are the ten artisans who have managed to catch my eye with their goodies. In no particular order, here are the ten I'm drooling over this week:

Saks Fifth Avenue bag by Ninestories
This bag would have been great at the wedding. As it was, I was a fashion don't cause my purse didn't match my outfit.

Sterling Earrings by Dalkullen
I wore diamond earrings at the wedding but these would have been a great match as well.

The Versatile Shrug by verionicarileymarten
This is a shrug that can be worn in different ways. Of course, I brought knitting with me. But you will be happy to know, I did not knit at the wedding or the reception. I knit in the car on the way to the reception so part of the falling leaves afghan can claim to be a part of the wedding day. It can also claim to be part of a backyard bbq - the afghan gets around!

Blooms Tote Bag by Camillestar
This is another bag that would have gone with my outfit (I wore black) if I wanted a more casual but still classy look.

Suncatcher by Glass Cat
What a great idea! I love the idea of this suncatcher. I have to admit to adding it to my favorites list!

Welcome to the new followers we picked up over the last few days. I look forward to getting to know you and your blogs/shops. This week I want to give a shout out to Dianne at The High Plains Knitter. Not only does she knit very well, she also encourages and lifts up other artisans.
Take a moment to read her blog and see some of the artisans she features. Dianne has inspired and encouraged me on more than one occasion and I appreciate her willingness to share her faith and her craft - which all comes from the same place!

Black Citrus by Dirtybusinessbathco
It looks pretty and I bet it smells pretty, too. (Not a surprise, the wedding colors were blue and white. Lily saw the afghan and said I got the colors just right! Yeah, she's a keeper.)

Sans Partridge Earrings by leavesofglass
Get it? They look like pears but they don't have the partridge in the pear tree? Sans is French for without...I don't mind that they look like pears, but when I first saw them, they looked like two big kisses. Either way works for me.

Abacus earrings by The Bureaus
Her very first day on Etsy and she makes a favorite list. I don't care who you are, that's got be great karma!

Chicago by reneeleonestudio
Always interesting to see your city through the eyes of another. Even two Chicagoans will have a different perspective.

Pearl Neck Piece by Girlwithahook
It looks like a piece of knitted jewelry. People who crochet well make really beautiful items. I should really try and get better at it. Yeah, that's gonna go right on the to do list.

Aren't these great works of art? I think the theme is simple elegance. Kind of describes the wedding yesterday. It was done in Spanish and English and I cannot wait to show you all the diversity that comes in this branch of the family. I don't understand how there could be folks in the world that believe it isn't right. There cannot possibly be that much laughter and love in something wrong. God doesn't work that way.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wedding Day!

Today is the day my nephew is getting married. I was with my brothers and one of my sisters, two nephews and two sisters-in-law until about 12:30 this morning. Talk about synergy, they are staying in the hotel where I spent the night before and my wedding night. Things have come full circle.

The bags Mr. Honey brought home cannot be used as gift bags because they have big-ass GLAD written across them. So they make great storage bags, but not gift bags. I looked up the bags I wanted and found them at two stores - one close to the house, so I tooled over there yesterday to find they have them on line but not in the store. The place that has them in the store is down the street from the hotel where my family is staying so we will shoot over there before we meet up for brunch. Hopefully I will find them in stock or I am going to have tie up the wedding afghan with a pretty bow and stick it in a gift bag.

I don't have photos yet - but I am taking my camera with me and I am hoping to take photos - I have been given that order by my eldest sister who could not make the trip - she said to remember all the details but I'd rather have some pics or the blog - you should see the folks I've been talking about - including Mr. Honey.

Remember I said yesterday was going to be a good day? It was. I still think about the troubles but they are nothing compared to the joys and it should be the joys that run the river. It is a joy that there is a technology that brings family from Colorado, Arizona, Maryland and Illinois into one place in just a matter of hours.

It is a joy to find two people who are so excited about finding each other that they want to say to each other and the world: This is my beloved. This is the one that I choose to be with no matter how long my life lasts. No matter what paths open before me. No matter what my past has been. This is the way I will go and this is the one I trust my pain and my happiness to. This is the one who's happiness and pain I will take into my hands and treat them with care.

It is an special joy to understand those feelings because you feel them yourself and have someone who feels them with you and for you.

Let other people be ugly if they choose to be. That's not my problem.
Hope springs eternal.
It's going to be a great day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Choices We Have

This photo has nothing to do with what I am going to write about. Usually in cases such as these, there would be the 'this spot left blank' or whatever it is that I put there when I don't have a photo to go with the post.

But I don't want to feel blank because I'm feeling really numb. Have you ever had those moments when really joyous feelings collide with really awful feelings and you're not quite sure which one to feel at what time? I've been like that for the past several weeks.

Now, the laptop went kablooey and it will cost $250 to get it fixed because the warranty, of course, just expired - the three year warranty. I swear they have timers in them. ('Just a few more hours and I can launch the mother of all viruses and she's got no coverage!)

I hate pity parties and there is a part of me that wants to throw a big one but there's another part of me resisting it because they have very little productive value - which just adds to the conflicting emotions.

But the good thing through all this: there's always knitting and the knitting community. Thank the Lord knitting and you guys are around. It's the support that never fails. It's the craft that gives and then shows its gratefulness by becoming an object. We can have together and commiserate with each other. We encourage each other and we tell each other that even though mistakes have been made, corrections can also be made or design around the flaw and keep going. The lessons we give each other through knitting are lessons we can take around with us in other avenues of our lives.

That comes in handy when one has to decide what to do next because it reminds us we have choices about what we do - we can make choices about almost everything that happens. We can plot revenge. We can let things go. We can plow right through. We can redirect around the flaws and keep going. We can even throw ourselves a (small) pity party.

My choice is to work on the computer in my office - I haven't been in here for a while. It's nice to return to it. I am going to work on the new afghan I started last night and finish watching 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.' Mr Honey brought home some storage bags which I can use for the wedding afghan and then I am going to hang out with my brothers and sister who are in for the wedding tomorrow. It's going to be a good day. And tomorrow I will make a new set of choices that make me more appreciative than I will be today.

We have choices. Isn't that good to know?


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Wedding Afghan

Yes, yes, I snuck the photo in a posting a few days ago and the wedding is a few days away - but I am quite comfortable showing the world the big view of the wedding afghan. Because last night, I had the pleasure of speaking for the first time with my future niece, Lily.

The happy couple arrived in town and they picked up my brother (Jeremy's father) and they all called me from someone's car and I spoke with Lily and told her all about her afghan and she was appropriately excited about getting a handmade gift from someone she has never met before who could potentially load her down with weird looking knitted stuff. ("Oh look dear, another box arrived from Aunt Bev. You open it - outside.")

Actually, she sounded excited about the wedding and all that it means. I can understand the excitement - I happen to think my nephew is quite a catch. He's tall, he's handsome, he's funny and he has a host of wonderful aunts (yeah his parents are OK, too.)

They just moved into their new place and though I did not ask if I could show the afghan, I don't think they'll mind - and this gives them the chance to consider if they need to repaint to match the afghan.

I'm kidding.
I think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back on the Block - Stitch #20

The large bobble stitch was the last stitch and block I made for the wedding afghan. I wanted to end with something fun and I think this block really does that.
I cannot tell you how much fun the afghan is - now that it's done. I am looking for the proper 'container' for it. I would love to put it in one of those zippered plastic things sheet sets come in but I would need it to be slightly bigger and I have The Container store site coming up on another window so I can see what they have there. I want to make it easy for them to ship back home or carry with them. However they are getting all their loot home after the big day this Saturday.
Anyway, the bobble stitch was fun to do and that little block takes up a lot of yarn because of all the stitches that go into the making of a single bobble. Let's see: kf,b,f in one stitch (that's 3) turn knit 3 (6) turn purl 3 (9) turn knit 3 (12) turn sk2tog psso (13). Thirteen stitches in one bobble and there's a sml army of bobbles on that little square.
Here's a hint, crocheting blocks and strips together is sooooo much easier than getting out the needle. It makes a stronger edge, can be a decorative feature and just goes faster. I highly recommend it.

So, what's next? There's a wedding in October, but I am going to give myself a few days before I start getting into that so I am now halfway through with making a pillow. It uses wooden beads and it's going to be tres cute. I bought the pillow form today (yes, a pillow form. I am not doing my usual fiberfill.) I also purchased Vogue's Shawls, Too. It was on my Christmas List, but I don't think Mr. Honey got it for me. I can't find it on the shelves anyway, but I have a sneaky feeling that I do own it. (I mean, I now own two of them) I'll have to go back and check the post about the books I got for my birthday and Christmas. I hope I don't have it - except for the one I bought today - of course. I used my 40% coupon for it so I hope it's the only copy I have cuz then that would be quite a good deal!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicago Top Ten for the Week of August 24, 2009

Yes, it's late in the day, but hey, this list is good for a week and after because it will be archived! That being said, I'm in a strange kinda mood and that may be reflected by what you see on the list this week. The good news is the quality, creativity and uniqueness of the artisans remain intact - it's just me that may be a little different. So here, in no particular order, is this week's Top Ten list of Chicago Artisans.

Tkraft keychain
by tkcraft
The cute factor on this one is through the roof!

bow me over
by bonniegoldingpurses
The description says everyone loves this purse. I don't know everyone, but I know me and I love it!

River Drifter by beesbureau
These are unique and made to order - these original issue are lovely. I bet the others will be too.

Windy Day by Inglesart
There's more than one painting in the gallery that could have made the list. Hopefully, we will all be around long enough for another work to make the list.

Funky String by sweetlifepaper
I purchased personalized stationery almost ten years ago - and I still have a lot of it. I won't run out any time soon - and I use it pretty regularly - but when I do, its nice to know there's a place I can go to.

Half why through! I picked up some new followers and I am grateful. I want to give a shout out to Madison House Designs. I've been searching for your site and blog. There's a lot of Madison House Designs in Google. If you give me your blog - I'll link folks to it!

Back to the list!

doodle art collage by discordelia
This is cute and funky - and the cord is a nice length.

bustle gown by countessa
I really admire folks who can sew - I flunked Clothing in High School. This gown is wonderful and she does custom work on any size body!

Classic gown by rohm
Yes, two wedding gowns made the list. And it has nothing to do with the weddings coming up in the family! This gown is exquisite!

Fire Creatures by Horse drawn Carriage

Baby Shoes by JunieBJersey
If you didn't go 'awwww' when you saw these, then you don't have a mouth!

You got through this whole list and had only one set of earrings and no tote bags to go through! Told you I was feeling a little different. It's that and it's also how the ball bounced. If I had look in another place first, we could have a different list. But I am glad of this list. I love it when it gets shaken up!

As usual, click on a link (or ten) and show some love by looking around and giving these artisans some views - perhaps even make something a favorite. The hard working folks will appreciate it (so will the ones that don't work as hard!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It is Fini - shed!

There is nothing like a self argument to show yourself just how mature/immature you really are.
The Conflict:
The wedding afghan is finished. The wedding afghan is a present for my nephew and his fiancee who will be united in what I hope is wedded bliss next Saturday.

So far, nothing to argue about.

They should really be the one to 'open' the present. Therefore, I should not post a photo of the afghan here until after the wedding. Which means you guys would just have to wait until Saturday morning to see it.

But my niece to be and current nephew don't read my blog so they won't see it before they get to open it.

But still they should be the one to open it first.

They're registered at Target and some other place and everyone
on the planet can pull up their Club Wed list and see what they want so it won't be such a big surprise cuz they know what they're getting, so why not post the photo here cuz they still get to open it in person and it always looks different in person than in the photo - and it always looks better in person.

But they should be the one to open it first.

Oh shut up.
No, You shut up.

Instant war.
What's the reason I want to post it now?
Cuz I want the instant gratification of seeing it on the blog and letting you see it!

Yea, that's mature.

It would be really nice if the photo was of Jeremy and Lily together with the afghan.

But then that depends on Jeremy and Lily taking a photo and getting it on line and getting it to me so I can get it on the blog. That's too many what if's for a couple that's getting married, going on a honeymoon then coming back straight to work. That's a lot to expect.

Gees, I wish I'd stop.

So, I do what I always do when I can't decide. It's one of the reason you marry - to have somebody to give you an opinion you can always ignore. Mr. Honey is sitting in his chair eating ice cream waiting for the Cubs (sigh) game to start and I ask him: should I post a photo of the afghan on the blog before they get it?

He shrugged. "Why not?"



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #4

So there I was cleaning out some of the emails in my in box. (There's over 700 unread and hardly any of it is spam) when I came across a Knitting Daily issue from February (yes, the oldest unread email is from February, but I am confident I will at least get to March before I'm through.)

Anyway, I was reading the issue that has the question was raised: What do you do to keep your knitting fresh and fun?
I'd be interested in hearing from you
all what you do to keep it fresh. For me, freshness is key because I have an attention span as short as a....

what was I saying?

This afghan is helping me to keep it fun and fresh. I have one more square on the needles and it's a bobbin stitch and it's turning out to be great fun. My mind has been engaged and though I am feeling the time (it's almost a month in the making) there are tools that can be used on on other projects. That's always a great benefit with knitting: that stitch I learned for the afghan can be used in a hat.
Stitch 4 is a lattice weave and it's the first time I've completed the whole thing. I've tried it a few times and got myself lost in the pattern. (Tip, use a post it note to mark where you are my placing the edge of it underneath the line of the pattern you're working)

Just one more square to get off the needles and I can put this whole thing together. And if I do say so myself, it's looking pretty cute.

The question in the issue made me think I should come right over here and let you know what I do to keep the knitting mojo from up and leaving. So, come on and share. Let 's here from each other on what we do to keep our knitting funky, fresh and fun!

I've got to get back to cleaning out the mailbox...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #10

The house looks like a clutter bomb again. I have promised myself and Mr. Honey that I will make like Donna Reed or June Cleaver, wait, that won't do, I would have to put on pearls and heels just to do dinner. I have to make like Hazel and clean - at least that way, I can still be sassy. (For those of you under 40 this is a prime Google opportunity to find out who these three women are.)

The wedding is a week from tomorrow! I have three more blocks to make. I started doing a bobble stitch block last night but the yarn was really dark and I don't think it did it justice. I will probably end up doing another stockinette because I know it will go fast, but I really want to do that bobble stitch because I think it will add some nice texture and a fun feature. The yarn just has to be lighter.

I've started putting together the third strip and it's all coming together nicely. I decided to crochet them together with the wrong side facing so there is a crochet band that will go in between the squares making a nice feature that will pull all the squares together. It will definitely need to be reblocked, though.
Am I a total knit geek to admit I'm looking forward to that part? Me! The person that didn't want to block anything before! If I didn't know better, I could claim this as a sign of the Apocalypse!

This stitch is a
alternating lace stitch and it's number 10 in the Sampler Afghan book. Now, I think it is probably a natural thing that if you have a book of 60 patterns, you aren't going to like all of them. Some of them will escape your affection for various reasons. Now looking at this, albeit, not so good photo, this is a cute little square and it fits nicely into the whole scheme (as they all do) but this had to be the most boring square to make and I don't know why. I finished it before doing the last couple of rows because it was torture! It looks innocent enough and it's only a foot before blocking, but I thought those last few inches would have me taking a drill and putting a whole in my head just to relieve the pain.

I can't explain it - but there it is. But once it was over there was relief and as I said, it's cute.
But I won't be making it again.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #7

The wedding is nine days away! This really is a blue color. I know it looks green and it's a green color, too. I think the official name is Cape Cod Blue. I don't know what they do in Cape Cod to make their blue look like a mixture of blue and green but there's obviously enough of it done that it warrants its own color.

The stitch is called Cable Check - I should say the stitch in the book is called Cable Check. I took the liberty of adding my own style to the stitch. The pattern calls for the cable to be a cable back stitch (where you place the designated number of stitches on the cable needle and put those stitches in the back of the work until needed.)

I thought it would be infinitely more interesting to alternate - one row would be cable back, one row would be cable front.

It is more interesting. I was rather happy with the result. Not just because the pattern is more interesting, but because I followed the thought to action. I would be a little bummed if it didn't work out, but I would still be pleased that I gave the effort.
I am going to put together the third (out of four) strips. That should be motivation to get the last three (four?) squares done. I would like to reblock the entire thing when it's done just to resize it and make it softer.

This nephew of mine. I remember the day he was born. I remember the day I was told he was coming. I used to change his diapers and baby sit him and now he's getting married. He's grown into quite a kind, caring young man and from what I've seen about his fiancee, she's a great match for him. I'm glad they're getting married here, but I would have traveled the world for this day. I am thankful to have a skill that I can use to express my happiness and love for this couple as they start a new path that interweaves their lives. May God bless them both through eternity.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #14

"I was in the hospital. I was in the ICU." Annie was talking to Mrs. Carson. "Rev. Bleecker came to see me."
"I told you he was fabulous. I don't know why you can't get along with him."
Annie shook her head. "He wasn't there to pray for me. He was there to tell me that I failed to get out the newsletter."
Mrs. Carson shook her head. "You know you're the only one who doesn't like him."
The Church on Peyton Place Corner

afghan is moving along. One strip is already crocheted together and the next one has three of five blocks on it. There are two more blocks on the blocking board just waiting to be added to the pile. There are nine strips on the pile which would be about two more strips. This looks like it's the most complicated stitch in the bunch but it's the one that move along quite easily. I think I got it done in a matter of hours. That's because it's mostly k and p with some togs and yo's thrown in, but not very many. It's called the Tree Bud Stitch and it is the centerpiece of the afghan. There are only four strips so it can't be directly in the center, so it will be the third block on the strip. It's really quite lovely in person. It's a royal blue and very soft.

It's ten days to the wedding. The countdown is on. How many days (or even hours) will I have to spare?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #3

This is called Hunter Stitch. Don't ask me why cuz it looks like embossed ribbing to me. I wonder if there are any new stitches in the world or just old stitches with different names. In any case, this is the 3rd stitch out of 60 in Sampler Afghans.

Wow, you know what? It looks pretty in the picture. It looks pretty in three dimensions, too, but what you don't see is how soft this whole thing is. While watching 'Pride and Prejudice' last night with Keira what's her name and Matthew Macfayden. (Yes, I know it's Knightley) I decided to start putting strips together. It's less than two weeks before the wedding and I need to get moving on it. I crocheted them together with wrong side facing so to add a nice trim all around and then April in my knitting group gave me the idea of going around the entire afghan with a couple of different color strands. I'm going to take her up on that advice. But the steaming of the squares makes the whole afghan so soft. It's nice to touch. I hope they like it. Or at least put it out when I come for a visit.

I have about six squares to go and half of those may end up being stockinette. I've already done one and was about to start another when I saw a simple square in the book and decided on that. If I work at it, perhaps I can knock that one out today. Off to work!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicago Top Ten for the Week of August 17, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same. For us that means top Top Ten list will change but the quality and creativity of Chicago artisans remains top notch! Glad to report my 13th sale! I sold an afghan this week. It came at a time that I could use the lift. I'm also thrilled to report StitchCraft now has over 90 members! I'm hoping to pull together a meeting where we can all gather and gab (and knit of course!) But that's another post. This post is about other Chicago artisans. So, in no particular order, are this week's Top Ten:

Victoria Telephone
by retroology
I used to dream about having a phone like this. Now, not only can I dream it, I can achieve it!

Baby hat by suzannedobbertin
Cuz a girl's gotta style at any age!

Sterling earrings by ueburkunst
I mean, look at them, duh.

Mrs. Parker's earrings
by leavesofglass
I don't know who Mrs. Parker is, but I'm about to take her ear bling!

Tangerine Dream by julrebox
Oh, this is nice. Hey, at least it's not a pair of earrings!

While we have a pause in the action, I want to give a shout out to Two Happy Stampers.
1. Cuz the name is cute. 2. Cuz they're a Mom/Daughter duo. I love it when I see Moms and daughters together. The one thing in my life I miss constantly is having a parent. 3. Cuz they're in AZ where Mr. Honey says he wants to go to. 4. They're fellow Etsians (they just their latest sale, too!) 5. Their blog is a good read.

I could go on, but I'm already in the middle of a top ten list - getting back to it...

Chicago El by Rebecca Plotnick
Wouldn't be nearly as nice if it were in color and the circles that go throughout the whole photograph. Love it!

gyoza dinner by gobuggy
This is just too cute. It looks great as an art piece.

Crystal red drop earrings by lenmar
habbba..habba...habba and they have a matching necklace. I almost licked the screen.

Hobo bag by retrofied
I need something to hold the earrings and necklaces.

giraffe stationery by sweetlife paper
love giraffes. love stationery. This is very cute. I'd write folks with this!

That's it for the week. Yes, I know -jewelry - but it's not my fault, indeed it's a blessing, to have so many jewelry artisans so close by. I'm looking forward to my birthday and Christmas!
Once again, click on one or two if you don't have time to click on all ten. Trust me, those of us with shops look to see how many views are items are getting and how many hearts they have. It shows us what's popular and what may be sold sometime in the future. We love what we do even if no one buys it, but when you tell us what you will buy, then we love making what you love - it's a win-win for everybody.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Church on Peyton Place Corner

Annie was quite happy when she walked into the office. She was about to begin her new permanent position after passing the trial period. It was going to be good, she thought to herself, working for a church.

The door to the office opened and Reverend Bleecker walked in. He hadn't been at the church very long and it was he who announced to the congregation that Annie was going to be in the office for what they all hoped was a very long and happy employment.

"Good morning, Reverend." Annie smiled at him.
"I don't like having you as an employee. I think you should quit."
Chapter One - Church on Peyton Place Corner

Today is a recovery day after we went to a boy party. What's a boy party? Mr. Honey used to work for Xerox (he retired after 30+ years - who works that long for a company anymore?) Bruce just retired himself and invited a bunch of the 'retired boys' and a couple who were still working, over to his house. They have a ginormous and beautiful backyard. And oh, the guys could bring their wives or girlfriends if they had them.

So, off we went and the girls were at one table and the guys were at the other and we all had a good time. We girls chatted about everything from how we and our hubs were handling retirement to politics, the economy and kids. When we checked in on the fellas, they were talking about work and sports and work and cars and work and work. There were several times they wanted to know what we were talking about because we went from the giggles to guffaws on many occasions but we wouldn't tell them. (They set up the tables and the way we sat so that's what they got.)

I brought my Falling Leaves afghan and made a couple of leaves while sitting at the table chatting. I handed out a couple of business cards, gave some knitting tips, showed someone how to knit, and discussed the knitting business. If I had paid for anything, I could write it off as a business meeting.

The food was great. (We brought some home - I ain't cooking dinner today.) The company was even better. I met some new folks. Saw some old friends and did some knitting and the weather was beautiful. I also got two new Facebook friends. How perfect is all of that?

Ain't the Lord alright?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #58

I learned a lesson a long time ago about being truthful. I hurt some people when I wasn't. And now when I see how hurtful other folks are being by not telling the truth, I am amazed at how we willingly decide to lie to other folks about other folks. I am amazed at how some people can get other people to lie for them. They don't care what they have to ruin to make the goal of bringing someone down. And especially in an environment that is supposed to be supportive. God don't like ugly - cute ain't high on his list either. He'll get around to you in his time. Luckily, he'll forgive you.

This is the double moss stitch. I was so lazy I didn't want to take the camera outside and take a more decent picture. Will you let me lazy just this once (OK, I've been lazy before but I've never asked forgiveness for it. Have I?)

Anyway, this yarn is one of the first I purchased when I started this knitting thing and it's hung around for a long time. I found it when I was doing a blues search through the stash and thought I'd knit it up. It's blue with silver running through it. I still have some of it left, probably enough to do another square. I think I should make another square with it - after all, I don't want it to be lonely and pull focus because it's the only snazzy square like it in the bunch. It would make a lovely stockinette square. Yes, I know stockinette isn't in the book, but that's OK. The idea is that I am going to make all the squares in the book, but I also have to make it all work together. There's enough squares left to do for a long time. Would you believe I'm thinking of the next book to do the Start to Finish on?

I'm such a dweeb.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #60

We're moving right along. With the afghan and with other things. I know things will turn out the way they are supposed to and sometimes you have to live with the fact that backstabbers don't always get what's coming to them.

I am about to start square 13! The home stretch is right in front of me. I finished a square last night that is still on the blocking board waiting to be steamed and I tell you, it's the most boring thing I've ever done. Maybe the author doesn't want to hear that. But who am I kidding? The authorwon't know. In any case, it's not the square pictured here today. The cloverleaf eyelet wasn't boring at all and it went rather quickly. This may be the first square I made for the wedding afghan.
Now this is really one of those things were I am going to call a design feature element. I got lost in the pattern and couldn't figure out where I was so I started over on the row count which is why there's that strange pattern in a pattern near the top (which is really the bottom) of the square. I kinda liked it, so I left it - and I would have had to go way back to get it right and with the
yo's and stuff, man that would have been a pain. So, in it stays. Cuz that's the way love goes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #57

It is a terrible thing to have to end a relationship - even if you knew it wasn't the relationship you thought you had. But then, it's a wonderful thing to discover support where you never thought you'd find it. Everything has a trade off.

So, here's the next stitch...well, not the next next stitch. It's the next stitch that I photographed and posted. OK, let me just take back the earlier gripe I made about the stitches not being easy. This one was easy too. But seriously, there are some stitches that are more complicated than others. I am sure there are. I haven't run into them yet - I was just blowing off because the one stitch I was working on was giving me trouble...wait....see? I told you! Some were more complicated! But I still take back the gripe because I could have been tired or not paying attention or something. The block I finished yesterday was one I started before for another project and gave up on it. This time, I paid attention and it came out looking just fine. Have I even told you
about the zigzag stitch yet? I said it was easy and it was. There are YO's and k2togs and that's about as complicated as it gets. You will have to follow the directions cause you need to get the lace in the right order, but if you do that, you get a nice square. The yarn is a little darker than the photo shows and it's really soft after it was steam blocked.

One thing I noticed about the pile of blocks that I have amassed, they are soft and they are cool to look at. I haven't really paid attention to how they would fit together, but since I'm using the same color palette, the yarns and are the same weight and size and since they are (mostly) coming from the same source, I am letting the synergy take care of that but I admit to being pleased with what I saw. Stitch block 12 is about to go on the needles and I see the end of the tunnel. I think we'll be fine for the wedding!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #51

I wonder if God starts out speaking to me gently and then as I go on and don't listen, He speaks a little louder and then a little louder still, until at last I've left Him little choice but to crash and burn and then turn to Him and say, "You talking to me?"
I am planning a book called 'The Church on Peyton Place Corner.'

I am on square 11 of the 20 square afghan. I have decided it is going to be 20 squares because I will need time to agonize over the square placement and sew it together then agonize some more that they won't like it because I didn't put the right shades of blue - even though I'm not sure there's a shade of blue that's not in it.

I had intentions of going from square 1 to square 2 and so on, but you know what they say about making God laugh. I didn't even start with square 1, I just wrote about that one first, and square 2
ain't on the needles, either. I pulled the first square off the pile and it was this one - square 51. It's called the Reversible Garter Stitch Rib stitch though I've seen it in other books as something else. I really like this stitch pattern because it's only two rows but also because it's a very pretty stitch if you use the right color.

This stitch would make a lovely scarf or shawl, even a hat pattern if you make it smaller because there will be some stretch given it's a combo garter stitch and rib pattern. OK, I know I said none of the squares were that easy, but this one is. It's a beginning stitch and a good intro into patterns and ribbing for a beginner. I enjoyed it very much. The square that is on the needles now requires concentration because almost every row is different. I can listen to the T and V rather than watch it and I am going to earn some bragging rights - but as I am still in the throes of God's lesson, I shall remain humble.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicago Top Ten for the Week of August 10, 2009

Well, things are certainly looking up from where they were last week. I had three sales (one customer) last week. Sold some of the kettle dyed yarn! And this week's Chicago Top Ten is filled with fun, fresh and funky items from the Windy City's best. Here, in no particular order, is a sampling of the fun holiday shopping that just a few week in the making!

Squamodo by getintimidnation
Hard to select which little critter was my favorite, but since this one was so bold as to invade the backyard, he was my choice!

Indian Princess Green
by daisypetals
Love the color, the boldness of it (bold again, could this be a trend?) and then there are unusual details.

Gingerbread Latte Upcycle Tote by Greeniebeanrecycle
Oh yeah, like you didn't know a tote bag was going to make the list...

Dewdrop Earrings by evasdesign
..Or a pair of earrings....

Big, Bold Amber by BeauFemme
...or two. These are by a new shop owner with no sales yet. (That could change very soon!)

Here we are, halfway through this week's list already! Where does the time go? I want to give a shout to Heather at Heart On Sleeve Art. She does her own feature on different artists - a habit I would like to see more folks do. But if you take a look at her blog, you will see she has fun with an eclectic group of folks who seem to enjoy each other's company. Gotta love a girl like that! Thanks for following my blog, Heather. I appreciate the support.

Eco Brown Tote by Mojospastyle
It's not my fault! They're out there; they're cool, they make the list. Simple as that.

Tangle Tango by CuteJewels
These are tooooo cute. (What really amazes me is that there are still shops that haven't been placed on my favorites list!)

Leaf Earrings by Chinacherie
I know the shop has made the list before. They just make nice things. Kinda like Meryl Streep.

Pizza by laineyspawtique
Pizza for the pooch! And she donates a huge chunk of what she makes to animal organizations.

Bitch Friend by puck55
Well, because this is the mildest one in the bunch and it certainly embodies bold.

This week's selection went by quicker than last week's and I thought that went pretty fast. I love finding these things and I love sharing them. Wherever you live, there are local artisans who make fantastic things. Consider scoping them first before you shop at the big name stores and the Internet - not that I am knocking them; I'm not. Lots of folks are employed by them and if they don't have a bunch of tax breaks then they contribute to keeping taxes down for the rest of us. But it's just the idea of something made by hand so it will be automatically unique even if the artist makes another one that's supposed to be just like it.

Visit these shops to show your support and visit local shops in your area. We're in it together!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back on the Block - Simple Stitch #1

I said when the light comes the first block would come and here it is. I bought this book at Joann and I don't regret it. There are some stitches that I've done that I am proud of. A quick review of this book is that it has a variety of stitches some with just knits and purls, some with cables and lace and some with great texture. You will need to have a fair amount of confidence in order to get through all of them - gees, I think I just set myself up.

They say that every knitter's project has a flaw. I don't know who 'they' are, but I think they are the wisest group of theys I've ever not met.
This is the 3rd time I've made this pattern and though it comes out nearly as it should, it never quite gets to as it should. Something
always goes a little off.

I ain't a perfectionist.
I think these are great, homemade touches.
I don't go back and change them unless they really, I mean really bothers me. And that hardly ever happens - though it does happen more than it used to.

This particular pattern is a butterfly stitch and it the big features are the yo's and the dropped yo's, the pulling the loose dropped yo's into the butterfly wing and the making of stitches by adding on in the middle of the row.

Believe it or not, this is an incredibly fast knit. I think it took only a few hours to complete. It was done during the duration of a Cubs game. I've made it in ivory the other times and it's stunning in that color. The color in the photo here doesn't do it justice. It's a nice square though I do remember the first time I did it, I found it a little scary.

It's an impressive block and it will lend elegance to whatever afghan it finds itself on. I wouldn't make an entire afghan out of it but it will certainly catch attention - even if it is a little off kilter.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Start to Finish - 60 Easy Pattern Stitches - Sampler Afghans

It hit me.
I was working on another square in the wedding afghan when I realized I was working the squares from one book. (OK, I threw in a straight stockinette square and another kind of square because I was bored.) But for the most part, the squares have all come from this book.

This afghan is going to be at least 20 squares big. That's a potential twenty posts because, I tell ya, each square has it own challenges. There hasn't been one yet that I would call beginner simple - no matter the title says easy to knit, they don't say easy for whom. So, now I feel compelled to share them with you. And I feel compelled to make all 60 - call it my homage to Julie/Julia.

I have nine squares made already so I am a little ahead of the game (but remember a few of the squares are not from the book so I won't be telling you about those) but I will tell you the trials and tribulations of each of these squares because while some have been an easier knit than others, they each have a story to tell. And since I am the closest ear they have - they are telling those stories to me and I will tell them to you. I would have started with one this post, but it is dark out and I don't want to take the picture at this time of night so I am waiting for the daylight. When the sun comes, the story will come.

I know you're all just waiting to see and hear.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mission Name: Operation Stash Bust

This has been under the dining room table for - heck, I don't how long. Yes, I have too much yarn. There, I've said it again. I have too much yarn. I am also itching to try Epais Yarn and it's on sale at Hobby Lobby this week but I am not even going to get behind the wheel of the car in case some yarn spirit takes over and forces the car to go to the Hobby Lobby where it will be met by the fiber fairy who will then force me to purchase aforementioned Epais Yarn and I couldn't very well use the excuse that the devil made me to do since it would be spirits and angels.

So, for some strange reason instead of just putting the box down in the basement with the rest of the stash, I decided I needed to start yet another project and thus Operation Stashbust is now in effect. I say again, Operation Stashbust is now in effect.
Now, I am still working on the wedding present afghan (8 squares down!) and the time crunch is on. I don't want to start sewing the squares together because I don't yet know what the other squares will look like or what color, or rather shade of blue, they will be. But I am compelled to get some of the yarn into something marketable. (It occurs to me, I could put together those mystery bags of yarn and sell them - nah!)

I decided to look in my Ravelry queue and the first thing there was the
Falling Leaves afghan
Perfecto! This definitely a stash buster and since I can pull off one those puppies in about 20 mins. I can start off each knitting season with two leaves and then start on the blue afghan. Which is just what I did. There are six leaves pinned onto the press board (if I don't tell you the two big squares are two of the blue afghan, then you won't know it's part of the wedding present afghan, will you? I'm not saying they are, mind you, I'm just asking a question.)

I have to make the blue afghan the priority because of the time crunch so the Falling Leaves will keep me from getting A.A.D.D. (Afghan Attention Deficit Disorder.) I have to make 276 of the full leaves and 30 something of the half leaves. That stash should be well and truly busted.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What A Feeling!

I so badly want to put the picture there. I almost pulled out the camera to take some shots of what it is I want to show you and then I remembered:

It's a secret.

Well, not really, it's not a secret; it's a gift and I suppose you could announce the gift for all the world to see before you give it to the recipients; especially since it is still in the creating stage. But then that kind of messes it up for the receiver. Doesn't it? I mean, they still get it and they could check back here to see how it progresses. Anticipation could build.

Not likely.

Nope, while I can make an argument for why it would be fine to share, it boils down to this: the people who receive the gift should be the ones to open it.

Right? Oh dear.

OK, I'll tell you this much because this isn't a surprise to anyone in the family who knows I knit and I am part of the handmade movement: it's the afghan I'm making for my nephew, Jeremy, and his soon to be bride, Lily. Remember I told you Lily says her favorite color is blue - but not a baby blue a bright, bold blue? Or something like that. Well, I found a blue and bought skeins of it and then I had a brain drizzle (brain storms are just too taxing) and pulled out all the blues I could find in the stash. So the back of the love seat is lined with all these different skeins (including a baby blue) and I am making squares of different blues into an afghan for their wedding present.

The squares are turning out to be 16x12 and the only decision left to make is whether it will be a 20 or 25 square afghan. (Did I mention the wedding is in three weeks?) There are seven squares done - but I'm not panicking (much). Cool as a cuke. That's me.

Hopefully they will at least like the afghan and will send me a photo with them both snuggled in it. Then you can all see it. It will be big enough, right? You see how I worry?


Monday, August 3, 2009

The Chicago Ten for the week August 3, 2009

This has been a trying week for me. (No need to go into details other than to say, I've put a great deal of it behind me as for the rest, I am going to gather up some courage and deal with it - I hope.) What has helped to brighten my spirit is the love of true friends and friends I can be true to and gathering this week's Chicago Top Ten. Nothing like a little mind shopping to lift the spirit! So here, in no particular order, the top ten Chicago artisans! (If you have someone in Chicago who has an online shop, I'd be more than happy to look them over, just contact me!)

1. Blue Polka Dot ruffle by Besu
Nothing makes me feel better than a tote bag! So this was the first thing that caught my eye this week. And it's soooooo cuuuute!

2.Recycled Yarn by Craftyyarn
The yarn is recycled and beautiful! The color you'll see is burgundy from an old sweater. Love the recycle, love the color!

3. Sterling Silver tiny Teardrop Earrings by lpjewelry
I was strolling through and when I saw these I said "Ooh!" Which is always a good sign that something will end up on this list!

4. Moonriver by Beesbureau
I stopped and stared and wished I had more money. Cuz if I did, these wouldn't be available to make the list.

5. Crazy Quilt by Time2cr8
It's a quilt for the wrist and it gave me an idea for some knitting! Gotta give a shout out to that which causes your brain to move!

While we're halfway through, I'd like to pause and give a shout out to my buddy Susie and her blog Knitty Knoobie. First, she's a knoobie no more, she's knitting up a storm! Second, she buys more yarn than I do - and that's saying something. Third, and most important, you just get a feeling about folks and if we were in the same vicinity - I'd be hanging around her cuz she's a great friend. I'm so glad you entered my life!

6. Purple Hair Bow by punkynmunky
Sometimes it's those simple things that touch you. This little hair bow is one of those things!

7. Prehnite earrings by designs by suzyn
I'm not purposely selecting earrings! It's just that when they look like this - they belong on the list!

8. One Dollar Sketch 3 by onedollarsketch
I actually like the concept of the shop and the sketches, too. Check it out!

9. Adorable Silver Elephant Earrings by Angeldamico
Honestly, I was looking at the clothing on the site when I saw these.

10. Zipper Bag by Elizabeth Wren
Start with a tote bag, end with a tote bag, that's my motto.

I have to say this was the quickest list I've put together. What that says to me was there was a great deal of creativity going on and it was out there just waiting to be found. Though I don't get many comments on the list, I'm hoping it does have some impact for these artisans in terms of visits to the shop and potential sales. Just doing for others what I hope someone would do for me!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Who Is It?

I was supposed to announce the winners of the contest yesterday.
I have no excuse.
I had a brain fart.
Which is no excuse.

OK, I remember telling you there was a clear cut winner and there was


I craft to stay sane

Without it, step back, watch out!
Scary girl I'd be!

Funny and true!
The bad thing is people voted via email or on my ravelry group so the votes are all over the place. So here's the big decision:

Everyone who entered will get a set of four of the stitchmarkers because there was no real second place winner! And because Turtle's was a clear vote getter, she will get six instead of four.

So, if you entered send me an email at with your shipping info and with the word you want your personalized stitchmarker to say. (Remember, one of your stitchmarkers will say whatever you like up to five letters) the others will come from my stock.



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