The Cushy Pillow

This is Amare and he is looking at my cushion. I don’t think I’ve made a pillow quite this big and I must say I like it a great deal.

It’s hard to believe we are about to leave this year and go into another one. I have lost friends and family this year and I have met new friends as well. Such is the cycle of life and we must all experience it.

The surprise of the year for me is how doing something like knitting can be a solitary and social thing. I hardly knit anything for myself and yet, make sure I knit every day because it has redemptive value for my soul. Through knitting I have made new friends in person and online (thanks to you all) and I have discovered a new way to serve my community and humanity.

I have also turned my house into a yarn barn…but that’s a whole other entry.

So, I am looking forward to the new year with anticipation of where this craft/blessing/calling will take me. And I am curious to see where it will take you. There’s inspiration out there and you have provided me with some. Knitting is art, music and sculpture all in one. We’re lucky – you and I – to be possessed by it.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

This message appeared in my Ravelry mailbox:

“1:23 PM
Request to feature your photo: Very Thick – Not So Quick Afghan
Sent at 8:20 AM Yesterday

We’d like to feature your photo on the Ravelry page for Triple Wave Afghan by Martingale & Company.”

I’m so farklemt. That would be ‘choked up’ for those who do not speak Yiddish. One of my favorite afghans will be the poster child for the Triple Wave afghan on Ravelry. This is enough to make one proud and humble all at the same time. I don’t know if it’s really a big deal but it feels like a big deal. I went over to Ravelry and did a search on Triple Wave and there she is…my baby!

Excuse me while I get a little misty…

Move Over Aristotle

So, there I was, playing on Sweet Knittalicious’ blog when I found the quiz. Not one to pass up a quiz when she sees it; I decided to see what role I did play and whether or not it rang true of me.


You Are the Philosopher


You love thinking things over and developing theories.
Learning is very important to you, and you pursue knowledge relentlessly.
You love to talk about the things you know, often in more detail than people would like to hear.
And you know a lot! You’re always taking on new subjects, interests, and hobbies.
You are at your best when you are left alone to ponder your newest ideas and experiments.
You tend to withdraw from environments that are loud, contentious, or passionate.

I’m sure I do talk with greater details than some folks want to know (have you read some of my posts?!) Not sure I withdraw from loud, contentious or passionate environments – I’m more likely to get a bag of popcorn and watch the show!

Well, Merry Christmas


Whew! The Christmas Eve service is over and it was very nice. I didn’t get to the sound engineer quickly enough to grab the CD last night, so I will try and get it Sunday. Music is always an important part of the services, but even more so at Christmas. We sang a lot. ‘O Holy Night’ went well. Even my choir director said it was quite lovely! I’m somewhere in the back row. This was from last year’s service and I don’t think it was Christmas Eve, but it was around that time.

Dinner and the family was fun. This was the HB’s year to play Santa and he did a very nice job of it.
And the Christmas gifts were cool: a new necklace and a shawl, gift certificates for dinners, a jar of marmalade (reminded me of my mother-in-law), theatre tickets (from Marilyn), Irish Creme – which I told the HB we should add to coffee because that’s the only way I will drink coffee
a John Legend (cute!) CD and five books from the HB:
Cables – Mittens, Hats and Scarves
How to Select Color Palettes for knitting
Knit to be Square
Picture Perfect Knits
Knitted Afghans and Pillows

The habit is enabled for at least another year! We’re off to church to help serve lunch. I hope your Christmas Day is blessed and restful and will begin your renewal for the New Year!

Steamed!

I’ve been staying up all night – literally going to bed later than my normal 2am; I’ve been going at 3 to 4 in the morning because I am excited about the new venture in my head where writing and knitting can combine and I can branch off into another area where passion lies and earn a living without ever walking back into corporate America.

This lead me to venture outside in the snowy, cold weather to purchase something I would never have purchased if it wasn’t for the dream.

I bought this:
It is a steamer. A portable steamer, to be exact. A Sharper Image portable steamer because I’m classy! Now understand, I don’t block. I never liked to block. Marilyn blocks. She says the least I should do is block seams. Marilyn blocks everything. I think she blocks yarn labels. But not me. I avoid it like a cheap plague. But something came inside my head and said. “If you are going to sell homemade goods, you should make sure they are homemade and not handmade.”

Sigh.

That would mean getting out the iron and the ironing board and trying to figure out how the iron makes steam (cuz I don’t iron, either) and then it hit me this morning: get a portable steamer and you won’t need the ironing board or the iron. You can pin down blocks on the press board you have and the bigger items on the huge beach towels, steam those puppies, let em dry and call it a good day. It also automatically disinfects and makes em smell cleaner. It’s a trifecta!

I’m friggin’ brilliant.

I have a block afghan wip. I have three strips of five blocks each already sewn together. I am thinking of undoing them and blocking the squares. I am also thinking of blocking the strips themselves and then blocking the rest of the squares as they are made. I think I will opt for that – excited I am, but I’m not totally insane.

I brought my steamer home and showed the HB – he does ironing every week even though he’s retired. I thought he would be totally underwhelmed. He looked at it and said, “Hey, I wonder if I can use that on my cotton shirts?”

I flipped the box over and showed him the picture of someone doing a shirt. “Nice.” he said.

I do believe somewhere an angel got his wings.

It’s Christmas Week

Ok, so there won’t be hats for everyone this Christmas. I forgot just what a hectic schedule I have this week. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t hats made.
I did manage to get a few knit up, but since they aren’t going to anyone in particular, I actually started playing with the idea of doing an Esty shop.
I went onto the site and looked it up, and by cracky, I think I will do it. I’ve set up another blog to load up some product (of which these two hats will be part) and I’ve registered my shop on the site. I talked to God about it and other than reminding me of how I get these ideas and then lose my attention, He seemed to think this was something I could do if I managed to deal with the aforementioned attention problem. And I think I can do that since I’m always knitting and I head up the sales we do and since it requires writing, it pulls all my stuff into one place. But hats aren’t the only things that will be in store. There will be afghans, blankets, pillows, etc. like this feather an fan afghan I just finished.

Other than that, getting ready for Christmas meant singing rehearsals. I’ve done a solo on Christmas Eve every year for the past six years. This year I will be returning to my mother’s favorite, ‘O Holy Night’ I’m a first soprano and that means hitting the B flat. It’s a really beautiful song and our music director, Michael, plays it wonderfully. It’s very majestic. If I can remember to grab the recording, I’ll try and put it up – cuz, of course, you’ll all want to hear it!!

I’ll be spending Christmas morning in bed while the HB goes to his church for his service, then he’ll come back home and we will open presents (He bought me five knitting related books and 1 CD. I bought him some baguette pans and a stand mixer – well, it’s what he wanted!) and then we are heading off to my church to help serve lunch to some of the homeless.

In case I don’t get to the computer – let me say to you all how happy I am to know you. It is a blessing to share the love of our craft with you and I enjoy reading your blogs as well. I wish you all a safe, blessed and fulfilling Christmas season and a wonderful New Year.

702-496-1472

This number has been appearing on the Caller ID for the past several days. We know people in Las Vegas, but certainly not well enough for them to call us but still we answered the phone just in case.

It was that annoying company that calls to tell you that you have a $500 credit for a trip to Florida you’ve never taken and they would like to book the trip so that money doesn’t go to waste. They have called under several different numbers and each time I have asked them to take me off their call list. They take me off the list for that particular number and just send me to a different number. I hung up on them and they called back again today. The conversation went something like this:

“May I speak to the HB?”
“You can speak to me.”
“Are you Mrs. HB?”
“Yes.”
“My name is Lashandra and I am calling because you have a $500 credit on a Florida vacation you never took and we’d like to book a trip so you can use it.”
“We’ve taken all the Florida vacations we’ve booked. I’m pretty sure we didn’t book one.”
“We show you have the $500 credit for the trip and the only way you can have it is if you booked a vacation or time share and you never took the trip.”
“I see.”
“So, would you like to use the credit?”
“No, send me my money back.”
Pause. “I’m sorry?”
“Send me my money back. We’re not interested in booking a trip, so we would like to have our money back.”
“You said you never booked the trip.”
“But you said I did. You said the only way I would have a credit is if I booked a trip or time share and didn’t take it. So since you say I have the credit, I must be wrong in saying we’ve taken all our trips. So send me my money back.”
“You can only get the money if you take the trip.”
“Says who? It’s my money so give it back.”
“Would you like to forfeit the $500?”
“In this economy? I want my money. Hello?”

It’s five minutes I’ll never get back. But it sure was fun.

Mad Hatting – Part 2

So, I’ve already done the first hat and I have another one on the needles when I told the HB what I was up to. “I’m not really into hats.”

Like that matters.

He said he’d rather have a scarf. I gave him a scarf a few weeks ago and now he has put a cramp in my knitting mojo. Should I make a combination of hats and scarves? Could it be that others of the male persuasion will not be into hats? Could it be some females might not want a hat because it doesn’t match the coat, dress, hair style?

Who really cares? It’s a a gift, dangit. It’s the start of a tradition. A hat is something you don’t have to wear to the office or the movies. You can pull that sucker out on a day like today where the weather is cold and your car needs to be cleaned off. A nice warm hat can come in handy for something like that. It can come in handy when you need to go to the store and you don’t want to comb out that mob that some folks call hair and it will hide it nicely.

It’s the thing one gets and compares it with the ones the others got and then you start to trade for the color you want all the while knowing it’s going to wind up in the bottom of a dresser drawer until that cold snap hits and then you don’t care if someone see you in an orange and green hat with a big, old pom-pom on it cuz you will be warm! And maybe Aunt Bev wasn’t all that crazy when she made you all hats.

That’s what the giving spirit is all about.

No, the mojo is getting a little of his own back. He will not be second-guessed. The hat making will continue and we might not get them all done by Christmas and no one will get anything, but it will be a good start to the hat project or maybe I will open a store on Etsy.

But the madness goes on.

Mad Hatting

I took a peek at the calendar. Christmas is next week. It is next Thursday. We celebrate with HB’s familia on Christmas Eve. I go to my own church and join them at about 9:30pm. They’ve already eaten and they are waiting for me to come. I will arrive and I will eat a quick dinner and then Santa will arrive and we will pass out presents.

My mother-in-law was a knitter and crocheter and she made booties. At the Thanksgiving dinner at my B-I-L’s house, he said I should pick up the tradition of making booties for everyone.

That is so not going to happen. I don’t knit booties or socks. Haven’t tried them. Have no urge to try them. Never been tempted to review a pattern. I don’t even think long enough about making them to reject the idea of making them.

However, one week out of the family get together, I have the urge to make hats for everyone…and get this; I’m thinking of color-coding:
Purple for Joe & me (2)
Green for his sister and her family (8 – doesn’t include the grandchildren)
Blue for his brother and his family (9 – doesn’t include the grandchildren)
Yes, I am thinking I will actually begin to knit 20 hats and have them done by next week.

I am thinking a quick pattern with a simple stitch. I am actually thinking of reviewing hat patterns and getting started this evening and working on nothing else until they are all done so I can wrap them and the HB can take them to the gathering.

I’m not currently on medication, but I’m thinking I should start taking…something.
Mad-Hatting…it’s a new disease and I fear I may have it. Go ask Alice.
Talk me out of this!

Sold!

During the year, StitchCraft has three sales. The spring and fall Pancake Breakfast and Bazaar and the Pleasant Home Holiday Sale. These are the fundraisers for our group. Monday was the last day for the Pleasant Home sale and I thought it would be fun to see what items I’ve made in 2008 that sold.

There’s this friendly competition that goes on. We are curious to see what gets sold. We all have something we think people will punch each other out to get and we are anxious to see when it goes. For me, certain afghans are like children: I raise them to send them out in the world, and when they walk off in the arms of someone else, I want to cry. And when they hang around home too long, I wonder why they’re still there.

The funny thing is: you never know what will sell. Last year, we ran out of prayer shawls, this year we’ve sold only a few. Hats and scarves went like pancakes in May and this winter, a bunch of them are sitting on the table lonely and waiting. At the Pleasant Home Sale, the first thing we sold was the doggy sweater and right after someone bought it, someone else came in asking for one.

We don’t have rules about what to make in our group. People make whatever they feel like making. After all, the group was made for people to get together and knit. We didn’t start out with the intent of selling anything. (That’s also why we don’t charge for labor.) I will put out a call when we’ve run low on things or when someone makes a request for the group to make hats for preemies, but other than that, the women of the group knit what they feel like knitting. I think that might be one of the reasons for our success (and we are successful) – our inventory changes with a planned randomness.

We’ve made some new connections! one of the things we look to do is connect with community organizations and use our craft as a way of helping locally. One of the other vendors at the sale is a Senior Citizen organization looking for knitters. It seems they have this over flowing stash of yarn ( you know I had to stop myself from drooling, right?) and they are looking for folks to come in and knit with their members and use it up. How could I possibly refuse such a need? It will provide the chance for the seniors to use their stash to either sell at one of our markets with the money going back to them and also to donate to the other connection we made.

The Infant Welfare Society was doing their annual meet with Santa. The Executive Director stopped by my table and mentioned they worked with a knit group in Michigan who gave all the kids hats last year. The group disbanded and the children were really disappointed not to get hats. I made an executive decision on my own and linked us to the group to get hats to the kids for the 2009 Christmas season. I seeing a bit of synergy..if we can get the seniors to make hats for the babies and children, I’m seeing a full circle.

I’m not quite sure how long this latest knitting craze thing will last, but I don’t think we’re a part of that anyway. It wasn’t until we formed the group and I started looking into things that I found out knitting was so hot. My guess, is that it probably was also warm but more people know about it. It doesn’t really matter – we do what we do because we love doing it and we’ve found a way to make that work for the transformation of the world. That’s always hot!