This Week’s Chicago Top Ten Week of August 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Choices We Have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Wedding Afghan

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

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

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

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

I’m kidding.
I think.

Back on the Block – Stitch #20

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

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

Chicago Top Ten for the Week of August 24, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the list!

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

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

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

Fire Creatures by Horse drawn Carriage

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

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

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

It is Fini – shed!

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

So far, nothing to argue about.

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

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

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

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

But they should be the one to open it first.

Oh shut up.
No, You shut up.

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

Yea, that’s mature.

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

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

Gees, I wish I’d stop.

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

He shrugged. “Why not?”



Back on the Block – Simple Stitch #4

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

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

what was I saying?

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

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

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

I’ve got to get back to cleaning out the mailbox…

Back on the Block – Simple Stitch #10

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

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

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

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

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


Back on the Block – Simple Stitch #7

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

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

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

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

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