Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Never Say Die

I know I showed you the scarf a few days back and said the hat was coming. And then it seems I dropped off the blogging face of the earth after telling you about the Sit & Knit. But I haven't forgotten about the hat - here it is. Nor have I forgotten about the blog.

The truth is, I've been playing on Helium, a site for writers. I've been having a lot of fun writing articles and participating in contests. Well, one contest, and it appears that right now, I am in fourth place. If you land in the first three places, you get a cash prize. Not a great deal of money, but certainly enough for a yarn shopping spree - which I would not take because I had a ton of yarn - I'm just saying this as a way to compare. Of course, I could just say first prize is $60, second is $40 and third is $30 and not mention the yarn at all. Maybe next time.
In any case, the hat has been waiting to be photographed and placed in the shop.

This hat is so darn cute! It goes down over Calvin's head (yes, he's wearing a girl's hat. He's quite comfortable in his maleness) it's sized for a small head which means it would probably be at the ears of a human.
What I like about the hat is the star in the back. I didn't even know it was forming until I was done with the whole thing. It's one of those nice knitting surprises that happens every once in a while.

I should also go ahead and confess I've signed up for Facebook. I haven't made the pages live yet because I haven't completed the setup. I am going to have to embrace the technology. Not that I am against it - used to make my living installing hardware and software and troubleshooting PCs and if I didn't embrace technology, who would I be talking to right now? As soon as I've launched, I'll let you know. It is strictly a business decision - though I will probably manage to have some fun - I mean, I have fun with my work - or why do it?

I'm almost finished with a pair of legwarmers and they will go up in a few days - then, frankly, I have no idea what I'm gonna make next. I can't wait to find out!
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Conviction of the Heart

The Sit & Knit or SNK as Knitting Knoobie coined it, was a success. Not everyone who RSVP'd showed, but there were a couple of dozen knitters who came and sat on the Veranda of Pleasant Home - Mills Park and did some stitching for Compassionate Care Hospice.

Lisa, on the left, was the first to arrive and she did not know how to knit. She has a friend who does high end doggy sweaters and that friend gave her acrylic needles and merino yarn. I was assigned to teach newbies to knit and I tested my new teaching theory which is to teach people how to do a knit cast on because it's almost the same as teaching them the knit stitch. I am glad to say Lisa, Georgia and Aida were all knitting within a half hour! Lisa picked it up within minutes - this girl is going to be a knitting fiend. Georgia is going to be great, too, she has beautiful hand rhythm. I moved my registration table to the porch because I was stuck inside all last year and didn't want a repeat of that. The day started out rainy, cleared up long enough for some of our knitters to take a tour of the mansion (you can't take photos of the inside or you would have them here) and then stormed off and on and we stayed dry on the veranda throughout the whole thing.

You've heard me talk about Marilyn. Here she is already starting to put the squares together for the hospice afghan. I made my squares earlier - I made about twenty of them to get us started. She loves the challenge of getting all these different squares and making them somehow cohesive and she manages to do a great job of it.

Can I also tell you the food was great? Oh, my gosh. The grapes, cheese, goat cheese stuff tomatoes, chips, crackers, bagels and Georgia made her addictive sun teas and lemonade. Our thanks again to our corporate sponsor P.J. Clarkes.
Our youngest knitter was a teenager and our oldest is older than Marilyn (and Marilyn taught Mary how to knit - you know, that Mary.)

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Friday, April 24, 2009


It's 80 degrees today, so imagine how it felt going out and photographing a winter scarf. Ah but what a scarf. I must admit I like how it came out. It is a very generous 80 inches so it will keep someone toasty when summer and fall are through this year. It wanted to be made and so I just had to comply.

I did make the matching hat, but I have to redo the photos using one of the girls/boys so it looks like a hat. I liked how it came out as well.

Happy Friday, everyone. Tomorrow is the big day for Sit & Knit as dozens of knitters will gather to make squares that will be used to make lap blankets for Compassionate Care Hospice. We found out a few weeks ago that this hospice is not a central place. Each of the shawls, lapghans, etc. will go into a home with a client. That's good because then it can stay with the family as a keepsake. I still have to pick up the postcards and pull together the goodie bags. We are giving a reusable paper bag with a 10% off dinner coupon and menu from our corporate sponsor, PJ Clarke's restaurant, a bottle of hand lotion from Compassionate Care, a brochure from Pleasant Home and a card from StitchCraft which has a stitch pattern on the front and whom we've donated goods or cash on the back. PJ Clarke's is also providing veggie trays, goat cheese stuff tomatoes and some other eats. And we should have good weather so we can all be on the porch.

There are over 40 people expected which would be up from the number we had last year. I do hope they show. It's a great time and we get to share with each other face to face and not just byte to byte.

I hope to see you all on Monday - and if you're in Chicago, drop on by the Sit & Knit. It's in Oak Park north of the Eisenhower.

Have a great weekend!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sugar, Sugar

Seriously, any cuter and we'd have to put a warning label to diabetics on it. I don't think the plan was to make one so small, but it was just so cute I let it go through. Sometimes you have to take the path in front of you not the one you made.

This would make such a cute bag for a little girl with the bracelet handles and the fun fur edge. I have the thought of a grown up version that would incorporate the fur and it can be a Mommy and Me purse set.

I will have to take it upstairs to do the glam shots for the shop but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

In the meantime, the scarf that must be made is coming along quite nicely. I was telling it I thought it would be nice as a neck warmer, small and cozy and it told me it was going to be a long scarf with fu-fu fur on both ends. in 80 inches total. Well, I guess it told me. It is well on the way to becoming 80 inches long. I suppose the silver lining is that it will use up the Caron by the Pound. It's always good to be able to show the hubby that not only can I buy yarn but I can actually use it up. Hard point to make when I still have some of the yarn from my very first yarn buy still in the house. Hey, I'll use it eventually.

Our Second Annual Sit and Knit is this Saturday and I will be putting together the goody bags and I have to design a brochure, get it to and from the printers by this weekend - but there's no pressure! We have about 40 folks who have RSVP'd and that will be about a 20% increase over the folks who came last year so I am feeling grateful and excited that we might actually have something started. I will post photos as I don't expect to be saddled behind a registration table this year. I'm looking forward to it!!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cross The Line

I had to go to Joann today. I needed a snap for the new purse I made (pic is coming) and I needed fabric to do some linings of other purses I have in mind. I also have my big 40% off coupon.

Now, we know Hobby Lobby is my place for yarn - like I need more yarn - but Joann has the bigger book collection so I decided I would treat myself to a new pattern book. I had some books in mind - and lo and behold - if both of them weren't sitting there on the shelf just looking at me.

I wasn't going to get both. I didn't want to appear greedy. Besides, I have a 50% off coupon that's good next week so I can come back and get the other one if I am so inclined. So there they were:

A book on learning to knit socks
A book that's a bible of knitted bags.

What to do? What to do?

We know I had that socks jones going on for a while and the book would certainly get me going in that direction and I would have a huge amount of patterns that go from really easy to challenging.

And I have obviously been on a purse jag for the past few weeks because I've done most bags - I threw in a scarflette just to mix it up. And I love doing the bags because they are quick, creative and don't cost a lot of money.

Good reasons to go for either book - so which one did I choose?
It wasn't that I didn't want the book on socks. I touched it and talked to it. It's just that I love bags more than I love socks and I've been looking at that book for a longer period of time.

It's earned entry into the inner sanctum. Besides, it has a very short and simple guide to lining bags and I actually followed the instructions this evening and created a lining for a bag that doesn't really need it.
I won't use the lining in the bag (I also made it a little small) but I was pleased with how it came out so when I do line a bag, I will be all ready to go.

I'll do another sock one day. I am almost certain of it, Just not today. And wait until you see the cute little bag I made. I would show it to you now, but that would mean pulling out the camera, taking the photo, uploading and all that jazz and I have to get to be because I didn't go to bed until...get this..8 this morning. I stayed up all night making the little bag...and I have an meeting at 8 tomorrow morning. So, I am off to take a shower and get into bed so I can sleep quick and wake up early!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conviction of the Heart

Yes, the little voice inside my head won out. The little scarf voice that kept saying "Make me, make me!" and I was resistant because it isn't the right season for a scarf. It was very insistent and I finally gave in and put it one the needles.

Do you see the new fu-fu slubby yarn I got from Hobby Lobby? It's called Artistic and it's named after...artists - go figure. I have some Van Gogh and I have some Raphael. This is Mondrian. I must admit I love it! I would see it in the store and I would finger it and talk to it and tell it I would love to bring it home so it could live with the rest of my yarn. But then I would have to explain to it that my home would be different than what it was used to. My yarn stash consisted of little street urchins not upscale princes and princesses who were somehow displaced. And I would leave it on the shelf and sigh.

I would never have purchased it when it was $9.85 but all of it was in the clearance racks at $1.99. So here it is in my yarn stash - yes, I know it can feel humiliated but the other yarns have made it feel right at home. They know what is among them as do I. The Mondrian has no problem being seen with the Caron by the Pound and they (along with my beloved rosewood needles) are making a very lovely scarf.

If I say so myself.

Thanks to Susie for making a comment on my striped bag from yesterday saying it looks like it could hold a Kindle! I will have to put that suggestion in the shop description!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I'm telling ya, this doing your own business thing can really get you going. Between Twitter, Etsy, Elance and all the things I have to check, it's a wonder I can remember to blog and sometimes even knit.

I have no pending projects.
Did you hear me?
No, pending projects..and the next thing on my schedule?
Start new project.

Believe it or not, I'm not complaining. I'm actually having fun. There's a reason I don't have pending projects: I finished them both last night.
It took all of a day to do the eyelash bangle. My bracelets arrived from eBay and off I went. I got involved with it, I forgot I blocked out the stripe bag and needed to do the strap. The eyelash bag is holding three CD cases and is holding up like a champ. The striped bag has a book and small portfolio in it and it stretched a very little bit.
I'm wondering myself when I will be out of this bag phase.
Truth is, there is this little pattern playing over and over in my head saying: "Make me, make me!" and I keep replying: "You're a scarf. You're a winter scarf. I can't make you yet!" But I see it in my head. I see the yarn, I see the completed image.

Well, I have to start two projects because I have to - I am thinking I may relent and give in to the voice.

One must trust oneself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tumbling Dice

We have those moments; don't we? All over Twitter knitters were tweeting about not knowing what project they want to work on. It was like a world wide brain freeze for knitters.

I was in that group. I was dissatisfied with what was on my needles, but I didn't know what else to start. Thought I'd start a shawl, got into a few rows and decided the yarn (worsted weight) was too heavy. I don't use anything less than worsted weight so I moved on. Thought I'd try another bag. That just didn't feel right. There was a bag I had on the needles and put away so I pulled that out. That felt somewhat better and the bag should be finished sometime today but that wasn't enough.

It just happens to us every once in a while. We stall out. We begin to panic because we wonder if we the knitting mojo has decided to go somewhere north, south, east or west of our knitting border into an unknown land and spend his time with folks who are not us who will appreciate him more than we.

But that is just not possible.

Remember I have all that novelty yarn from Hobby Lobby? It's all in the big stash box in the living room. I bought it with the idea of making bags with them but the bracelets haven't arrived yet and I wanted to get into it. So last night during the exciting Cubs game. I cast on and a scant hour or so later, I had this:
It's a scarflette or a muffler and it's all glitzy and soft (even though it is eyelash) and it can be worn like a long scarf or coiled like this.

It was fun to knit and because I used big old size 11 needles, it didn't take that long to knit and do you know my first thought after I was done?

"That was quick. Now what?"
As Linda Ellerby used to say: And so it goes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Amazing Grace

Thursday I went to Cora's Life Celebration. And what a celebration it was. The chapel in the funeral home was packed with people of all different ages and races and everyone had nothing but the kindest words to say about a woman I called my Mom. (For the record, she wasn't really old enough to be my Mom unless she was really naughty at a really young age.)

I remember giving Cora knitting lessons. I spent a few hours with her and we knew it wasn't something she would pick up, but she had a lot of fun trying and that was the material point. That's one of the things about this knitting thing: it's not the easiest thing in the world to master. We are part of a unique group. Not only am I missing Cora today; I am missing my Mom and my mother-in-law. However, it is gratifying to know the three of them have probably met up briefly in Heaven just to look down and agree that I am in need of constant prayer.

Yesterday was StitchCraft and we had a great time. We met a new member named Jen who brought a baby blanket to work on. There were varied projects going on and Elissa brought cookies - be proud of me, I did not have any!

Last night, was our Good Friday service, The Dubois Seven Last Words of Christ. It's very dramatic. We had a combined choir and three professional soloists. We've done it three years in a row. Frankly - ready for a change and we can go back to the Service of Darkness and start alternating the two. Just to mix it up a bit.

But here's the highlight of the day. StitchCraft went from noon to 3 and I had to be back at church at 5:30 for rehearsal for the cantata. It made no sense to me to go back home and then just drive back. It was a perfect opportunity for me to go Hobby know...just to look around. There was nothing in particular I wanted. I had gone to the one in Westmont recently (looking for my sequins) so I decided to go to the one in Lombard.

They must be doing something to their yarn section because, like the other store, they had a whole big section of clearance yarn. I got some eyelash, and gilt, and I wiped them out of eight skeins of slubby yarn that normally costs $9.84. Total 18 skeins of yarn for less than $40.
I also ordered 12 gold bracelets off of eBay. 12 of them for about $15. I will use them as purse handles when I make little purses with the eyelash and gilt yarn I bought.

Hold the applause.
It was my pleasure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gracias a la Vida

Sometimes you just have to go by faith. I know God has a sense of humor. I know he knows my thoughts and has said: "I knew you were gonna think that a thousand years ago...still funny!"

I have a new goal. Sorry to say the sock phase has moved from my life. However, I will not just casually flip over a sock pattern in the future. I will now look at it can consider it the way I do other patterns and decide if I wish to do them or not. I believe this to be progress.

No, this new goal is something which will please me, please my hubby and provide me with increased efficiency and peace of mind.

I am going to clean my office. I mean really clean my office. Someone in one of the Etsy forums was so proud of their cleaning their space they posted a picture of it on line - for the entire world to see.

I want some of that madness. (No, I'm not competitive - what a thing to suggest.)

She asked to see what our spaces looked like - hear that, God is laughing again. I would like to be able to comply with her request but in order to do so, I need to get busy. So this is my new goal - and your job, dear friends, is to hold me to it. It is for my own good and the good of the community.

Monday, April 6, 2009

This Love of Mine

Didn't I say I was a purse knitting fool? I also told you I was making a purse and I knew her name was Carly. And here she is!

Goodness gracious, I love knitting
. It kind of snuck up on me when I wasn't looking. I mean I remember why we started the group and I am sure I've told the story somewhere in here before, but who knew it would turn into this great and wonderful thing?

Do you know, there were times when I was constantly thinking about knitting? And it was very specific. I remember sitting in the choir loft at church, thinking about knitting with Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn - in the Pumpkin color. I can see it in my head clear as day. Finally I did knit with it and so that part is gone, but I still think a great deal about knitting. I've been known to obsess about something and then it disappears off my radar screen but this has stuck with me - so much so that I have now incorporated it into trying to make a living. And not just on the shop. (I love that yarn, by the way. It takes a great deal of arm strength to knit an afghan with it because it's so thick and heavy. It could harm a small child should they run into it.)

I do three things with some degree of skill: I write, I knit and I sing. And it has taken me this long to realize I can and should use these skills for the enrichment of
body and soul. (This is yet another reason why youth is wasted on the young.)

Well, I don't know what to do. I don't have any pending projects. Everything has been completed; the needles are empty. I do have an idea for another purse. This one a little bigger than the last three. A tote bag with different kinds of handles and I'm thinking of buttons. I am also ruminating on a purse with a flap with a beaded band. I also have some writing to do for a couple of clients. So, I guess I do have stuff to do.

And to top it all off: It's the Cubs season opener today!

It's a wonderful life.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Feel Pretty!

I am, for the moment, a purse knitting machine. You all saw the one from last week. Well, there's another one that was done on Friday.
Her name is Bling. Can you guess why? At first I thought I would put the pailettes on one side only (and I will probably make a version like that) but for this first one, I thought I'd just go pailettes crazy. And you would never expect this to be a soft little bag,
but it is! And it manages to be soft and also strong - which is why I know she's a she.
I have another purse on the needles and she should be done some time today. The next one is bling free but cute nonetheless. Her name is Carly. Don't ask me why - that 's the name that came to me. I think it has to do with
Carly Simon, but I haven't even heard a Carly Simon tune in...since the last time I heard one.
Bling has been placed in her protective bag until someone decides they want to take her home. She's in with Blanche, the purse I made the other day that has the iridescent pailettes. OK, I think I may be done with sequins on the purse, though I do have some ideas for scarves and wraps that have them.

On another, sadder note, I went to church this morning and learned one of my favorite people had passed. Cora was like a Mom to me, in fact, I called her Mom and she called me her daughter. You don't know Cora, but trust me when I say there's a new angel walking the streets of Heaven. But she left her husband Jon here on earth and this isn't going to be easy for him and he has not been in the best of health. So please say a prayer for Cora's Jon that he may be brought peace and comfort and that he stays wrapped in the love of the spirit.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We're In This Love Together

Let me say how much I appreciate all you guys. I woke up this morning and went to my email and Twitter box and there were such lovely private tweets and emails that it just me smile with tears of joy. Earlier, I was talking with one of my very best friends on this planet and he said to me he was in the dumps and talking to me lifted him up.

You have no idea how much you've lifted my spirits especially after yesterday when someone tried to bring them down. (Don't worry, they didn't succeed too much.)

These forums have been such a great way to get to know some truly splendid people and I'm so honored you are part of my life.

Want to see what I've finished?

I'm in love with this bag! I searched and searched for the paillettes and finally found them at Hobby Lobby (that is going to be my new #1 craft store.) Come on, admit it, it's cute.
And I
blocked out the cable afghan. I love my little steamer, I think I gave myself a facial when I was steaming the afghan. If someone can tell me how to make the deep purple photograph true in digital photography, I'd appreciate it.

This afghan is so soft and it blocked out to a very generous 54x64. That's a nice size afghan for anybody. It isn't something I would be placing in the shop now
because it's more of a fall thing, but I'm thinking it might make a nice present for a graduate going off to school in the fall. And who doesn't love purple?

These will be both go on sale in the shop.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

At Last

Read my lastest article on Squidoo!

I don't even remember when I started this afghan. I am certain it was some time this year and if I go looking through the blog I will find some reference to it. But I put it aside because - frankly - it was getting a little tedious doing all the cables. I didn't think too much about the design, I just started making cable strips and I'd say to myself "Oh, I know, I make this one with three cables, and the another strip with just one...oh, then I'll need one with two..and..."

You get the idea. My knitting eye is sometimes way bigger than my knitting stomach.

I was getting a little whacked out and so I put it in a trusty tote bag and put it aside while I worked on other things.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to cleaning the living room.
I was organizing boxes of yarn and placing some project filled and some empty tote bags in the boxes all to be carted down to the great yarn stash in the basement when I ran across this one and said. "I should really finish this." So I picked up the needles and started working on it.

Yes, some would say I was stalling in finishing the living room and if I had a good argument that disputed this claim I would use it now - but I was stalling. But then I did put down the project and move the boxes downstairs.

Here's the thing about putting away an project that's getting on your nerves: your nerves will get over it and then one day you will be able to pick it up - finish the last strip, sew it all together and try and take pictures of it before you hurry out the door to choir rehearsal. (OK, that last part was just me.)

It is now hanging on the blocking wires in the bathroom where it has been steamed. It will be incredibly soft because of the steaming and it will be cuddly because of the yarn and the cables. I have to take outdoor pictures of it because it will go on sale in the shop.

While I was going through the boxes, I ran across another wip. It was going to be a bag. It still is going to be a bag, but I'm going to change it up a little - a lot. It should turn out cute and if it does, you will be the first to know!

Today blogout! - Have you seen The Gift Hutch on Etsy? There are some very lovely pillows on her site. If you have a couple of minutes, go pay a visit.


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