Monday, March 30, 2009

OOO Baby, Baby

Sometimes you just have to take a moment to sit in a small amount of awe:
Not because you did something particularly great, but because something really lovely came out of something so simple.
This is a very simple garter stitch shawl and the yarn does all of the work with the vertical and horizontal shading.

Someone knows how to blend some yarn.

The shawl was made with two different colors of yarn. The second color is sandwiched in the middle between the first color on either end.
Now, I know this particular yarn company is not very nice when dealing with charitable groups, especially when you consider how much money those groups spend making shawls for their groups - but there is nothing else like it for the money. It is an incredibly soft yarn with those variations that just seem to appear. I didn't expect to see the colors there when I turned Kenya (the model) around. I also didn't expect to see vertical stripes though it does make sense. And the colors just pop and are even better in person.
Sometimes we are too close to something to see the true spectrum of colors that exist within it.
Thank goodness Mr. Eastman and Mr. Kodak changed all that.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't Save It All for Christmas Day

By all means, please drop snow at the end of March. It's in like a lion and out like a lamb. It tell you, this is one angry piece of mutton.

I have today off as far as work goes so no working on newsletters or trying to find an agent to represent my book, and no writing on the other book, no taking or retaking photos. None of that today.

And no walk, either. So I will have to content myself with an indoor workout and then have a relatively easy day. I do have on my list to clean the living room today and you all know how much of an adventure that's going to be. It could really count as my workout.

I am working on another shawl of beautifully variegated browns and golds. Almost done with it and of course I will show it to you. I may actually be in a shawl phase where I will make several of them. After all, prom is coming soon and the young ladies will need something light yet fashionable to place across their shoulders. This might be the time to whip some up for them to purchase.

It's the least I can do for the next generation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't Cha Love It

OK, so I went in search of a simple sock pattern. I just wanted to make a sock that looked like a sock because I shall not be defeated by the two sticks and some string that previously have been my partners and still remain a source of income. I could not possibly be out of sync with my passion. So I found a very simple pattern and started a sock before Joe and I had our date night. We went out, we ate, we came back and I finished the first sock....

Then I watched some T and V and worked on the shawl I have on my needles while watching some shows stored on the DVR....

and then about two in the morning I started the other sock. It is not unusual for me to stay up this late - in fact, I went to bed at about 4:30. But you don't care about that, do you? You just want to know what the socks look like.

Well, they look like this:

These socks are made for a 2 or 3 year old. They are very small and very cute. But I have not yet claimed victory because they were knitted flat and I don't like the seam so much because it's designed to be right on the bottom of the foot which means I would have to do some steaming to flatten it out a little and make it more comfortable. Other than that though, I'd say I've made some progress, wouldn't you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

OK, so the sock thing is bugging me.

Marilyn brought a book called Baby Feet to StitchCraft last night and there was a pattern for a pair of socks. You make seven pair and put them in a box and it's called Socks In a Box, one pair of socks for every day of the week. And the darn things were soooooo cute. It was then the sock started laughing at me though it was five miles away sitting on the sofa.

I don't think I've ever been the competitive sort. OK, that's not entirely true. I have been known to be competitive, but only with myself. I won't knock little old ladies down in a rush to get to the free samples in the drug store. (Unless it's chocolate then, sorry Granny, but youth has its perks.)

But I have been known to get an idea in my head and work towards it. The single sock is laughing at me. I will not put a photo of it laughing at me, but I have looked at it and it looks like it's having a giggle at me for not redoing it. Of course, I know I could unravel it and that would solve the problem, but I think it would come to me in a dream like I was Alison DuBois, the medium of all dead socks.

Death would be too good for the sock. I must make it swallow its own instep and shut up. I'm on the hunt for a simple sock pattern.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

Sue and Karen were so excited about me entering the world of sock knitting - even Chuck was supportive.

Alas, it is a world not meant for me.
Here's the sock.
It probably won't have a mate.
I will say I am glad to have made it. But after it was done I was really, well, underwhelmed. I tried it on and it can stand a little adjustment and it was very warm, heck, it was even comfortable. But I didn't have the same thrill I get when I finish a pair of mittens. And it looks nothing like the sock in the picture and I followed the directions (well, the third time I started over I finally understood them!)

It's like an anklet boot. Or a sock that forgot to take its vitamins. It looks nothing like any sock I've ever seen anywhere.

That's not why I won't make it's mate, though. I might be tempted again if I had the sock yarn or a thinner yarn and if I revised the pattern a little. But now that I've done this - the thrill is gone away.

Sorry Sue. Sorry Karen. I don't know what to tell you. We're still friends, eh? I won't even completely close the door on making another sock sometime in the future - but it's all done but the latching.

On the other hand: I like the way the spa cloths came out:

I will redo the photos for the site but I can't wait to steam these. They will be uber soft. I am tempted to keep them for myself - but I can make some for myself. I can't wait to try them out to see if they live up to the reputation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Deep Into It

I don't even want to put up the photo of this work in progress because I think I would also have to add a photo of me eating humble pie, or crow, or whatever it is one eats when to phrase it?

Changes one's mind.

I swore up and down, in and out, that I would never, I mean never
make a sock.

I am knitting a sock.

I do not know how this happened. I was looking for another project to start and I was rifling through a little box of patterns and there was a pair of socks. I don't have sock yarn (and I'm not too concerned about breaking that promise because the stuff is pricey.) I am using regular, worsted weight yarn - the pattern even calls for it. I looked through the pattern (I've owned it for years and never read it) and I said, it doesn't seem that hard. Then I had a conversation with myself where I talked myself into giving it a shot. This must be a residual effect of the 101 fever that ravaged me for three days last week. The portion of my immune system adverse to sock making has been severely compromised.

I also recently saw the episode of Knitty-Gritty with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee where she said the thing that made not want to make socks (they are the only knitted item that if used the way it should will wear out. So the only reason to knit socks for someone is because you love them.) She then preceded to knit a pair on television.

I still hold true to the philosophy. I am knitting them to sell them at the craft sale or on line. I also happen to like socks under certain circumstances as going barefoot outside of my house is a complete no-no.

And darn it (forgive the pun) if the thing isn't turning out like it's supposed to. And I'm even enjoying it. I've even thought about making the other one when this one is done and having a pair of socks.

What' s the world coming to when you can't even stick relentlessly to a poorly thought out principle?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On The Coast of Some Place Beautiful

There is just no denying we love our craft. We all have family members who shake their heads because just about every time they see us, we have needles in our hands. And on those rare occasions when we don't have needles, we have catalogs in our hands that have needles in them. We love our craft.

But, boy, we can get sick of a project.

Every project starts out with hope and gleeful anticipation. We see something in a picture, we grab those sticks and that string and we are going to make that picture come to full dimension reality. We start and race toward that finish line.

And sometimes it just gets boring.

We love it when we get to master a new pattern and it comes out looking just as it ought - and sometimes even better - we love it.

Except when we do it over and over

and over.

But we keep going because we know it's the destination and not just the journey. Because we know that if it's just boredom we should keep going because it's a phase we knitters get to when we're about done. It's an interesting phenomenon that happens. We just want it over.

But the only way it's truly over is when it gets done.
And when it's done we end up:

On the coast of some place beautiful.
Worth the trip.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Generation Knext

So I wrote Quin's Mom and asked if Quin was interested in learning how to knit and I was upfront saying I had no knitting heir to keep the tradition going. She wrote back saying she did not know how to knit and her Mom knew how to knit but didn't do it a great deal.

Then she said Quin was awed by taking on the responsibility of being the knitting heir and he was willing to learn how to knit. His grandmother (who lives in the area) will show him the basics and then the next time I see him later this year, I can show him more advanced techniques.

Of course this warms my heart and I know my little nephew. He will want to get this down just right and do the best job he can of it and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he were to be very good at it. I am controlling myself and not getting ahead of the game - it's just he is a rather creative soul and he likes sports. I consider knitting to be a creative sport so I am hoping for the best.

I won't see him for a while but I will let you know how this all pans out.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Say A Little Prayer

Sending out prayers to Natasha Richardson, Liam Neeson and all their family.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We'll Sing In The Sunshine

This is a very pretty sarong. It's made of cotton - I think it's the first time I've used it on a garment. I would show you a photo of Joe trying it on for me, but he's threatened me with divorce or death, whichever one he can manage.
Don't tell anyone, but I like working with yarn that is not acrylic. (I don't think I will ever get over acrylic yarn because I'm so...thrifty...yes, thrifty.) But I have these novelty yarns because I was on a novelty yarn kick and now I'm knitting stuff up. It's a new arena and I'm having fun.

I'm actually sick. I started feeling achy and congested a few days ago and now I'm freezing, even though it's nearly 70 here today. I got the thermometer and as I placed it in my mouth, Joe said: "It's gonna be normal."

100 degrees is not normal.

I told him that. And what do you think he said?

"Take it again." Like I'm a pair of dice. What keep rolling until I get the number you think I should have? Males. I tell you, it's because of the Y Chromosome. It's supposed to be an X and somehow it broke. That's why they are the way they are.

Of course I love men and I think they're terrific. But every once in a while...
You all have a great week!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friendship Friday - Sundaez Child

As some of you know, and all of you will soon know, I have a shop on (designbcb) One of the features on the site is called 'Favorites' where someone can look on your site and make it a favorite site of theirs. I have no idea what this is supposed to accomplish. I have favorites because I like what they make or because their shop is fun. That could be why everyone else does it, too.

I have decided to do a regular feature of those folks who have made my shop one of their favorites. It's a thank you to them for thinking that much of me. Visit these shops to get some gifts for friends or for yourself.
Gay runs Sundaez Child, a store featuring beaded and silver jewelry. She was the first person to select my store as a favorite so I thought it would be nice to start this new feature with her. In the future folks will be featured as they respond to my request to feature them on the blog.

How long have you been making jewelry?
Well, in one form or another over 20 years.

What was the first piece you ever made?
Normally that might be tricky to remember but because I still have the scars to prove it, a cuff bracelet hand sawed and pierced from 16 gauge sterling sheet.

Where's the most unusual place your jewelry has been showcased or worn?
Unusual hmmmm, I don’t know about unusual but I was privileged enough to create pieces for an entire wedding party including the bride, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom. Sure made for some nice photos.

What inspires you to make certain pieces?
I would say I’m lucky because inspiration can come from almost anything but music is my muse. Certain music can set a mood and it just goes from there.

When did you decide to go into the business of selling jewelry?
I’d been making it for some time and giving it as gifts. It was when people started to ask me to make them something the light bulb went on.

What other jobs did you have before?
For years I worked in accounting, primarily for the motion picture industry.

What's the most difficult thing about your craft?
Like any craft I would guess learning and practicing the skills you need. That and mistakes can be expensive.

What is the most rewarding?
Nothing beats seeing a piece of my work on someone. It stops me in my tracks every time.

What advice do you have for aspiring artisans?
If you love it, do it and if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crazy Bout That La La La

You don't really want a picture of what I am about to describe. Joe and I were upstairs with Duke. Duke heard someone at the door and he does what his DNA dictates; he went downstairs and started barking like a maniac. (Remind me to tell you a story about the word 'maniac.') Joe went downstairs and let Duke out and then came back upstairs.

I came downstairs later to clean the kitchen. I washed the walls, the floor and started putting some dishes in the dishwasher. I walked over to this very laptop because it was playing the music when I noticed it on the floor.

That which cannot be photographed.

But it came from the dog.

From the tail end of the dog.

And there was a lot of it.

Over my yarn.
Do you need a moment?

I called Joe downstairs and he looked at it and said, "Oh. I wonder if that's because I've been feeding him rice."


So, my first thought, of course, was can I save this yarn? The answer was no even though the yarn was wrapped in plastic and that plastic was in another plastic bag. It was just one huge skein of Caron By the Pound, but I would have been a little freaked out - so out it went. Duke was in the backyard when I went to throw it out. I showed it to him and asked what was up with that? But he refused to answer - though he did look somewhat contrite.

There's just no way to close this out so I'll just move on...and yes, I know. There is no longer any yarn on the floor.
oh, yeah...the dog is fine.

Know what this is? It could be a sleeve...and it would make a smoking sleeve for a sweater. (Note to self - design a sweater using this as a sleeve.) (Second note to self - forget that first note - cuz she's crazy)

It is, however, not a sleeve. It is the making of a wrap. That when finished will have tapered ends and I will either place a buckle or pin on the ends to complete it.
I also completed a beach bag I was working on. This bag expands like you wouldn't believe. It's made with acrylic yarn (I thought it should have been made with cotton, but nope, it's acrylic.) It's the second one I've made. The first one was my one and only sale on Etsy and it occurred to me I should probably make another since the first one did sell.

Well, at least the kitchen is clean.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finding the Heir(ess)

I don't have an heir. Oh, we have one for our money (hahahahahaha - whew, that was funny) But I don't have a knitting heir. And it breaks my heart. I am the only one in my family who knits. Not a sister or brother. Not a niece or nephew - not even a cousin or cousine.

Nope. It's just me.

This hits me as something of a tragedy because I am looking backward. My mother-in-law was a crafter (this you know) of her daughter and daughters-in-law, I am the only one who knit and we didn't have much of a chance to craft together. I did not come into my crafting passion until she had almost given it up. However, I am her crafting heir. Joe walked in with some of her crafting goods and placed them in my office and one of the items was a long tin box. I opened it to find an assortment of crochet hooks. Jo-Jo was a crocheter. She knew how to knit, but crocheting was easier for her to handle in the later years. There were also some knitting needles.

A few days ago, I was sorting through one of my knitting needle holders culling the duplicates and those I don't really use. I decided to leave one pair of each size in the holder. Starting with two and going to thirteen, I had every set except for six and nine. (Let me explain these are aluminum needles. Not the rosewood - of which I two complete sets of long and short; nor the bamboo which I don't have a complete set, but I have enough - for now.)

I don't use aluminum needles that often so I wasn't too worried about not having the pairs that were missing. But I went through the needles in the tin box and there were two pairs. One size six and one ten and a half.

Ah. But for a moment you were hoping they were nines, weren't you?
Yeah, me too.

I need to find my heir. That someone within generation next who can take on the legacy started by my mother-in-law's mother or grandmother, which I now keep. I have the funniest feeling it will be my nephew Quin who has the soul of a knitter. He's about ten years old so he's old enough to start. He lives in Colorado, and I don't get to see him that often.

But that's not a great divide when one is cultivating passion. I'll ask him what he thinks.
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

When Karma Taps You On the Shoulder

I can't go downstairs to get the camera because when I came upstairs, I told Joe I was coming upstairs to clean my office (which is a serious clutter bomb) and I was cleaning the office. I started in the corner that has the upstairs stash (that is no longer a stash.) These boxes here:
Well, oddly enough, I decided to go through the boxes to see what could be consolidated now that it wasn't a stash and therefore didn't need to be organized I am more willing to take a look at it.
You see in the photograph five garment boxes and a big storage box. If I had a camera upstairs (note to self, stick a digital camera upstairs) and if I took a photo and placed it here - you would see only three garment boxes and a big storage box.

The stash that is not a stash has shrunk!

I have comfortably consolidated yarn that it left me with two empty boxes! This is the cosmos taking immense pity on me and saying: "Dear child, we know you are trying your best so we will give you a hand here."

I know what you're thinking, but no, I am not going to fill these boxes with new yarn procurements. There are enough loose skeins on the other floor that can fill them, but I am not going to fill them with yarn at all. These boxes are going to find themselves over at Marilyn's house where I am certain she can use them (and I don't really care if she can't cuz they'll be out of my house!)

Now wasn't that worth stopping the work and telling you about?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ahhhh - Baseball is Back!

Baseball is back on the menu here at The Knitter's Restaurant and with it comes a conundrum.

I love the Cubs (which right away means no matter what sins I commit on earth, my place in Heaven is secure.)

I love knitting.

I love knitting while watching the Cubs.

So far so good.
But my team is not part of the Stitch and Pitch program that goes on across the country. Instead the teams that participate are the Brewers and...sigh...the White Sox.

I could:
Participate with Stitch and Pitch in Milwaukee, but they are playing the Nationals that day and as much as I like knitting, Milwaukee, and baseball - who would I root for if I went? Part of the fun of going to a game is to get into a friendly interaction with opposing team fans while sharing the joy with like minded strangers. There'd be no other Cubs fans there - except Joe - and I see him all the time.

I could:
Knit at Wrigley - I've been known to do that. I don't know if you're supposed to or not but when they've checked my bag, no one has discovered the knitting needles and the yarn. But I would not be officially participating in Stitch and Pitch.

I could:
leave my knitting at home for the games (6) that we will attend at Wrigley this season.
Hahahahahahahahaha - Y'all know I'm kidding. I can't go to the corner without my knitting.

Personally, I'm a bit put off that my team doesn't have participate. We have a huge knitting group in Chicago that has over 500 members and most of them are under 30 - a perfect Cubs demographic - though I will never see 30 again on this side of creation. Perhaps with the sale of the club this is something that will change. I don't know if they've ever been approached to participate, but I certainly don't mind asking them to consider it.

Really, all I want is my sports team to acknowledge my sport - and I am willing to pay the ticket price (and the vendor prices) for them to do it. Is it too much to ask? I'm not even asking for a World Series Championship. (Which I am certain would signal the four horsemen to mount up.)

Perhaps I should not victimize myself. If this is something I believe, I should find Chicago area knitters who feel the same as I and we can storm the castle de Wrigley and try and get them to participate.

Yes, that's it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Don't Have A Stash

Imagine my utter amazement to discover I no longer have a yarn stash. I mean, if you've followed me even for a little bit, you know I have yarn bombs all over the house. There's yarn, in some degree, in every room of the house. I wouldn't be surprised to find yarn in the garage - I mean everything else but a car is in there.

However, this afternoon, I have it on good authority that I don't have a yarn stash.

A 'stash' according to is something put away or hidden.

This - and the other twelve boxes or containers are neither hidden or put away. Therefore, not a stash.

No stash. Nothing to organize.

My work here is done.


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