Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Invasion

I can't even tell you when it happened..but it has and I don't quite know what to feel about it.
Remember me? I was the acrylic yarn queen. You couldn't get me into a LYS without me making fun that LYS actually stood for something - something snooty. Local Yarn Shop? I never went into a local yarn store unless I was there to look. Expensive. That's what they were; bloody expensive and they turned their nose up at acrylic yarn unless it was acrylic yarn blended with some pure fiber and then priced like there was no acrylic yarn in them at all.

Hah. The workhorse yarns were good enough for me.
Gulp. When did this happen? This isn't even the entire stash of natural fiber. And I like it. I like having them here. I haven't made a thing with them yet, but that's not quite the point of having a stash of yarn, is it? And even in the midst of busting a stash, I know that eventually I will have to make something with 'the good yarn.'

This is no doubt the work of Yarndis. You all remember Yarndis, she is the goddess of fiber I talked about a few months back who comes in and gets her kicks out of making fiber fools out of us. She is turning me into a person who doesn't dislike natural fiber so much. I am not turned away from my loyal friend the acrylics, it's just that I don't turn my nose up at the naturals. And if I stay in the clearance sections of Chix With Stix and Loopy Yarns (which is going to become a favorite stop of mine, too.) then I can co-exist happily with the LYS or two - that are within reach of me.

This cannot end well. It is a beautiful mildly crisp day and I have the French door open and the screen pulled up to let in the fresh air. The house can be aired out of the stale winter (and the dog) that has been locked in for the past several months. I am not scheduled to work today so I am going to take my next project - acrylic yarn all the way - and go sit outside and work on it for a little while. I am going to appreciate how it was the acrylics that brought me to the dance of knitting. I will use the time to show it how I have not forgotten what it's done for me.

Because you should always dance with the one that brung ya.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Now I Know

Sunday morning I got up and went to the computer before I went to church. The truth is I had put some dishes cooking in Cafe World (don't ask; don't tell) and I wanted to get them to the serving platters. I thought it might be good to go over to Ravelry cuz I haven't been there in a while - as witnessed by the woefully out of date WIPs elsewhere in this blog page.
There was a note from my lovely Lynn saying that see and Jo Ann and a few others who went with us to St. Louis or came up to Chicago last year were coming back up to Loopy Yarns because they were going to learn to spin and she wanted to know if I could come.

Well. My first instinct was to say no. Because I had a meeting after church and then I would have to go downtown and I wasn't all that interested in spinning and so I replied that I just got that message that morning and oh, it gave me such a pain not to be able to go. I sent the note and then said to myself: why can't I go? The meeting is at 11 they won't be there until noon and will be there until 4. I can go hang out.

And I did.

And the truth was, I was somewhat interested in spinning. Not with a big old wheel, but with a hand spinner. That might be something I want to try.

No. It's not.

I went ( LOVED seeing my girls) and I watched very closely as they spun: hand spinning and wheel spinning. And as I watched it, I was fascinated that they did it - because it wasn't moving me at all. Nope. Loved watching it. Didn't have desire the first to take it up and give it a try. They even had folks there carding together beautiful colors, but that just seemed like a lot of work. They were making some lovely fiber and I admire their passion but I am not moved to join.

Someone has to be in the cheering section and I got a front row seat reserved. I had no idea how close Loopy Yarns was to the house. It's only 15 minutes from the church and the church is about 15 minutes from me. It was an easy drive and there was cheap parking ($7.50 for 3 hours) right in the front.

Loopy Yarns is a nice place, too. Friendly staff. Great yarn selection (though I limit myself to the basement right by the signs that say 25% and 50% off.) Found some nice wool blend for $3 a skein that will make a wonderful cranberry colored blanket - yeah, I know, but I busted some more skeins. I even got a great, roomy tee shirt with bling that says I'd rather be knitting.

All told, it was a great 3 hours sitting and chatting with Lynn and I even talked up the craft show a little and will hopefully see Robin there. This knitting thing has brought so much to my life. It never ceases to amaze me. So I can never cease to be grateful.

I'm working on a shoulder bag. I am busting two skeins of a yellow yarn to get it done. It will probably be done with only one, but here's hoping. I picked up two great books at Loopy as well - also 50% off and since this was the first time buying something at the store - I got a great FREE tote bag! Y'all know I was in heaven.

Great day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Instant Classic

I don't know how they did it. Back in the day when knitting and quilting wasn't done for fun - it was done because folks were cold and they needed something to keep them warm because there was no thermostat to turn up.

Back then, they did have granny squares and used them to make the necessary beautiful not just to make a beautiful piece. I
admire them as I made this for nothing but love.

I have some of the afghans Mr. Honey's mom made and I see simple patterns with a nice array of colors. She made hers for the recreation but there's something of a functionality to them as well. The one on his chair has the squares arranged randomly and it doesn't matter if two squares of the same color are next to each other.

I love the mosaic feel to this one and at the same time, I like that the next one uses only four colors and will not be quite so rustic. I also agree that using a dark color other than black for the background makes the colors pop in a more dynamic way. All of the M-I-L afghans have a black background and they are handsome
but the black makes a blend that doesn't happen with another dark color. Interesting the things you learn.

This afghan is huge. It is 9x9 and the squares are 7 inches each. That should go on a bed just fine. It's not going on my bed, we already have a hand crocheted cover from one of the M-I-L's best friends. This will go up for sale in the shop. Can't wait to see how this prices out: 3 skeins of one pound and about 15 different colors. This will be exciting. Believe it or not, I don't think it will price out to $100.

A nifty instant classic heirloom for someone.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Planned This Party?

Note to self: OK, the weather for the craft show was lousy. Great weather Friday, really good weather Sunday and Saturday, the day of your craft fair, Freaky snow storm.

Stop blaming yourself. People showed up. Just not the number that would have showed up if we had bad weather the day before. That's right. If folks weren't spoiled by the 60 degree weather the day before, if it had been a regular cold day, they would have come out. But the really bad day after the really good day caused a village wide funk.

You know this.

You know, it's the ultimate control freak that thinks they can control the weather. And how many storms did the weather folks say were coming our way that actually missed us? You didn't know.

You've done the right thing: you're contacting those folks and telling them the next show is on you. They get to come to the April show free of charge. It's great gesture and not one you really have to make. But it is the right thing to do. Now, you also have to go out and find some new vendors and you need to focus your energies on those things you can do and let go of that one thing you could not: control the weather.

You know you don't like pity parties. You don't like surprise pity parties, either. Time to leave this party. It's not serving you well. You have a great venue, and wonderful support. You're not going to invite them to this pity party so you have to party alone - and what fun is that? Pity isn't really pity unless someone is there to call you pitiful; - is that what you really want?

So go out and do what you do better - get right back on that horse and show defeat that you ain't the field he can plant in. Get going on that next show and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

That a girl.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just Like Jesse James

When you begin a project you make a promise - sometimes spoken, most times not - that you will take that project from start to finish and endeavor to faithfully execute the office of crafter.

I want to tell you before it hits In Touch magazine or at least Easy Knitting: I've cheated on the big granny square afghan.
Oh, I was pretty deceptive. I spent time with it over the past few days and even this morning I added another strip. I treated it tenderly but there was no denying that last night I was with another afghan.
I couldn't help it. I needed a bit of a fix. I was on edge - feeling a little depressed about the craft show and thinking of a way to make amends to the participants and the yarn I purchased to make another granny square afghan strolled in my view - someone it made it from the trunk of the car to the living room.
The other afghan wasn't looking at the moment and I gave in to the temptation of the making the granny square on a white background and crocheting them together as we went along.
Despite any promise I may have made to be faithful to the one project I'm working on - there was no resistance to the easy temptation just four colors and created joining gave to me.

I was like Eve in the apple orchard - I was taking little bites all over the place. That was last night. This morning, as I gave thought to heading back to the new flame, the old flame touched my heart and I placed the sixth strip onto the other five and counted how many more squares I would need to make one more complete strip and if that would be all I needed. I came back home contrite and humble and ready to make amends with the afghan I had abandoned so close to the finish line.
I know the secret is out about the other granny but so far there has been no talk of a separation - they even seem to be getting along but better not to risk it. The new flame will just have to simmer while I go the distance with my first afghan love.

It's the right thing to do - a promise is a promise.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Friday - Spring came a day early to Chicago. It was sunny, it was warm and Mr. Honey and I went up to church to set up the room for the Craft Cafe on Saturday.

The weather was wonderful and even though Mr. Honey and Char said the weather was changing I was looking only towards a good turnout on Saturday.

So, what was the weather like on Saturday? Snow. Not only snow but rain. Snow and rain. And not just snow and rain. Cold. Snow, rain, cold and not only that. Cloudy.

It was cold, rainy. snowy and cloudy. There were some wonderful vendors and we hardly had anyone come because the weather was so miserable. We did have someone who did well.
Alane makes the most gorgeous scented soaps. I just wanted to live in her corner - bought a bar, too. The entire show did about $200 in sales and the church's sandwich bar made over $400.

So the day was not a total wash out but I cannot explain how I feel. I didn't expect the weather to do what it did. I was especially bummed when I came out of church Sunday afternoon and the sun was out again. I looked up to the Heavens to the spot where I thought God might be sitting and went, "Dude?"
I'm not taking it personally and Heaven knows I've sat in craft shows and sold nothing but this feels a little different. I'm not even bothered by the woman who declared this the worse show she's ever been in because I had nothing to do with the weather. But to be fair, we also had an African drum class going on and she didn't appreciate the music. If we had a crowd going through the cafe no one would have noticed, they woudn't have, Melissa!

I feel worse for the vendors that had no sales than I felt for myself when I was a craft show and had no sales. No sales and no traffic and it was an outdoor show in August. I could tell by the traffic we did get that if the weather had been nicer, we would have gotten them in.

But, we did sit afterward and made some new decisions that will hopefully make things better for the next one. (Move the drummers away from the hall for one - though, I liked them more than not..) but we could do nothing about the weather.

Cosmic bitch slap. Sigh.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stash Buster Update

Another chance. Everyday is another chance to get it right. To try and get it right. So it is today that I have another chance to do the things I know I need to do and to do them the way I know I need to do them.

My resolution was to bust the stash and I am glad to say there are two skeins that are gone and another that is about to disappear. But as I have previously stated, I am really surprised at how little yarn has disappeared in the making of a granny square afghan.

After all, they say crochet takes up more yarn than knitting so I expected the yarn to vanish
into thin air, or at least into thin squares. When that wasn't happening, at least to my expectations, I decided to use just a few colors over and over. That didn't work either, so I narrowed it down to just one skein. I would do this one skein at a time. I choose a white skein of Red Heart (I have a very limited supply of Red Heart from the beginning of my knitting resurgence.) I used this skein in every square until it ran out. That one little skein, not even a complete skein had to make it into at least a dozen squares. That's a lot. This stash busting thing is going to take a bit of work.
In the meantime, I started another stash
busting afghan, this one a ribbed afghan and I used the white yarn in that one, too. 2 x4 rib for more than 40 rows and I still have gotten rid of it completely. There is still a small bit of that white yarn left. Today I am back to working on the afghan so I should be able to finish it off and select another color to kill.

Let me say this - the afghan is only half done. What you see in the photo is 9x5. It looks full but it isn't. There are 4 more strips to go. I want to make it a square 9x9. Only fitting to make squares square - I mean, come on.

Let me say this, too. Taking a photo of an item you're working on, gives you a different perspective. There are things I like about the eclectic look of the afghan and things I'd rather not repeat and won't repeat for the next one I have in mind but each square is a jewel; a little splash of color and I like them. I like making the squares, too. They are fast, can be modified in subtle and bold ways and look like an instant classic. No wonder they are back in fashion.

They're retro cool!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Amazing Grace

I was in class over the weekend - I should have been in class the last two weekends, but frankly, though the class was on my schedule, I paid no attention to it and missed the first class. The class is Methodist Heritage and history and is a required class for me to keep my standing as a Certified Lay Speaker.

(A Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church is someone who can serve beyond their local church. They are trained to lead in teaching, discussions and the like and can run a worship service - including delivering the sermon, in the absence of the pastor.)

I missed the first class with the homework assignment - but lucky me - the teacher of the class is my pastor. So, I was able to pick up my homework assignment and I went to the second class armed and ready.

As awed as I am by the talented artisans who are in the area: those folks who know how to use yarn, string, beads and metal and turn them into beautiful works of art, I am even more awed by people who live their faith. That is a thing of beauty. Folks who speak of God and their faith and you know they aren't faking it. I spent a day surrounded by a lot of folks like that and in my class of 30 people, it was so clear that those folks visited with God on a daily basis.
It's the kind of thing that will inspire you and humble you at the same time.

What did I learn about the History and Heritage of the UMC? Much more than I can put into one post. My pastor has been prepping me in my position as a Certified Lay Speaker by telling me to being thinking more theologically, which is to say, start thinking in sermon. A Certified Lay Speaker - or a Lay Speaker - for that matter - should always have a sermon in their pocket. This class has given me a slew of possible sermons and my mind has been blazing with those and with the lessons I'm taking away from the class.

The base lesson? Being saved by grace both grounds you and frees you. That believing in something centers you more than believing in nothing. That grace is both a gift and a choice and leaving it unwrapped is safer but there is safety in the gift itself and that cannot be accessed when the package of grace is closed.

I wish you could have been there, in the class and in the service after all the classes, when a child of about 12 announced he knew he was supposed to be a pastor because he loved preaching. Or the when class on prayer went into the congregation and prayed over folks.
It was incredibly touching and it can do so much.

It's making me think...and that's something.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Making God Laugh

The plan was to restock the Etsy store today. To use the new bookkeeping software I have and place items in inventory, take (or retake) their photograph to place in the shop and in the inventory in the new software and get a fresh start...
I got up (before 7am, I might add), dressed went downstairs, read a passage from the Bible (the passage where two of the disciples wanted Jesus to save them the choice seats in Heaven with Jesus giving the Jack Nicholas equivalent of 'You can't handle the truth!') and after turning on the PC and doing my Cafe World and Farmville thing (don't
ask, cousins and old friends got me caught up in that!) I went to take a peek outside to see the weather and I heard God laugh..

Rain. No complaints because it could be snow and I would like to think Spring is early and the snow is done. And it's not that being overcast is bad because an overcast day can sometimes be
better for photos than a sunny day depending on what or who you're taking pictures of.

But rain means wet and I usually drape my items on the chair Mr. Honey's brother made us for Christmas years ago - yes, that Adirondack chair was handmade by Mr. Honey's brother, Mr. Sweet. So, I have to come up with a back up plan because today the heavens had a different plan for the earth than I did and I have to be the one to adapt.

I'm thinking I'll roll a chair out to the porch and drape items over it and get the best of the world: natural mood lighting, a covered porch so I would protection and slightly different look to the photos.

God still laughs but maybe not so much at me as with me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

No Excuses

I can't even begin to justify it - but I can explain what happened.
I was in a meeting at church and I came out of the meeting feeling somewhat stressed. I felt stressed because..well, never mind, suffice it to say I left feeling more tense than I should have. I needed to relax and I had the knitting bag Mr. Honey gave me for Christmas and I was near the street where the shop is where he bought it.

And I needed to relax...I know I said it before - I really did.

Then I remembered the $20 gift certificate I got from the store and I said to myself: 'Self, you can blow that one something. Maybe a nice set of Addi Turbo because if there's one thing you need to do is knit faster.'

So, the car, with me in it, headed over to Chix With Stix and I walked in and walked to the back of the store where they keep the needles..and I saw it:
It was in the clearance bin - 40% off Noro Kureyon. I know what you're saying, that was a nice little find those 3 skeins. And you're right those 3 were a nice little find..

along with the their 9 other brothers and's the Duggar family of yarn. It's Octoyarn plus 4.

Two different color lots, but they would blend very nicely together. 100% wool but soft as anything and the colors are rich and lovely. Think of the scarves and shawls that could come of it. I am.

And all that loveliness cost $40 and I relax just looking at it.

But I do know that wasn't the way to deal with a stressful situation nor does it move me closer to my goal and does move me further from my resolve. That's a bad thing. I have faltered but if I want to make something good of it (outside of whatever I make with the yarn) it's that it was a planned falter and not an impulsive one. So, it more like one step back instead of two. So there is that - though it is no excuse nor am I pretending it is one. I need to do better.

But the yarn is sooo pretty!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent

Nuthin'. I ain't got nuthin...I haven't purchased any new yarn (well, except for the stuff I got mebbe a week ago, but I'm not talking about that.)

The granny squares are still going strong. I decided to pick five colors (plus the unifying color so I guess that's six) and make squares and will then fill in a new color when one runs out. That should help me with the stash bust. I am also going to try and make the squares from a pattern in a book as opposed to the freelance ones I've been making...I know kinda exciting.

Please send good wishes my way as the Craft Cafe gets closer. I always think I haven't done enough. I sent the press releases and I have to send another notice to all the churches and school and libraries and the banner, of course. I am hoping already for good weather and Mr. Honey and I are going to go over the seating arrangements and then I will have to get on to the business of promoting the April show before i see the results of the March sale.

Tell me again why I got into this?

On another kinda quirky note - I have a Chinese reader - or someone who sends me messages in Chinese. It's always a quote of some kind and it doesn't always fit the post. I checked out the blog of the writer (it's in Chinese, of course, so I can't read it - but thank God for Google Translate..)

I really can use your good wishes and prayers. I want this to be successful for me (sure) but for those who have invested money and time to start this off on a nice foot. And the church has been supportive as well. Two weeks from tomorrow..that's the day!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Here's Where The Mind Has Gone

Here's the sign Char put up at the church! I cannot thank her enough for doing it. I was going to ask permission to put up a banner and I was going to design it, get it printed then hang it when Char suggested the church had a reusable banner and she just needed to know what I wanted on it - and then she went to work! It's been hanging up for a little more than a week and I appreciate not having to go to the expense of having it made.

The support from the church has been amazing and I don't even want to go into the comparison because I could but it wouldn't be productive and it diminishes the good stuff coming from the new place. Suffice it to sa
y I want things to go well because it would be good for the church, the community - and it wouldn't do me any harm either.

I sincerely thank Char for her support in making this happen!

On the knit/crochet front, things are continuing with the granny squares. I have started sewing them together in strips of nine squares and I have made enough to complete one strip and half way through the second and there's enough of them sitting in a bag to finish off the second strip and make a third - in other words, there's a ton of them. Brett Bara claims you can make a square in
about 5 minutes - well, I find I'm almost as fast crocheting as I am knitting and I can't get one of these squares off the hook in less than 30 so she must be a crochet whiz. I am having a lot of fun with these and I am already thinking of how to make a granny square afghan changing the design just a little bit and not doing a stash buster but having a controlled color palette.

I've discovered an interesting thing about trying to stash bust using granny squares...they don't take that much yarn. I have made about twenty-five squares and I haven't run out of one color yet - not even the main dark purple. I might be half way through that. So, this might turn out to be a minor stash buster because I am using so many different colors - if I decide to do another one with say, just five colors, I imagine that will use up the colors I choose. Then again, I am just on the second of at least six strips so it could become a snow ball effect. At some point, one of these balls will run out and then that will start them all running out and I will have to add another ball until it's all finished. Hmmm..the theory is set and now we have nothing to do but continue on with the project and see if skeins of yarn are used up.

It's always good to have a little bit of science in needlework.


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