I Think This May Stick

I decided to straighten out my office…pause while you laugh and try to get out “What..again?” without disrupting your respiratory system too much…done? I actually made some progress…pause while you pick yourself up off the floor.

I moved all the yarn bags, boxes and totes to one side of the room. They literally almost reach the ceiling. You know I am not going to show you that. But when I look at the other side of the room, I can actually see the carpeting. (This is not necessarily a blessing.) There were boxes that did not hold yarn, that I remember, and I decided that each morning from now until Doomsday I would go in and take care of just one thing. This morning was a box and I didn’t think it had much in it so I went in the office with the idea of just picking up the box and taking it to the trash.

I should have taken a picture of what was in there: besides the copies of three movie DVDs I didn’t even know were not sitting with the rest of the DVDs were some knitted items: a child’s poncho, an adult sweater (small), a baby sweater (thought I sold it) a scarf – garter stitch, must have made that one a long time ago – and a book with patterns I didn’t realize was missing from my shelf.

You know you are really into something when you have stuff you didn’t know you should be missing. As it turns out, it was a good thing I went through the box and just didn’t throw it out. One day I would have remembered something – probably the book – and would have made myself crazier wondering where it was. So, i guess I’m really into this knitting/crochet thing if I have so much stuff I’m surprised to see some of it.

I completed another square and it looks nothing like the photo – I mean nothing. The designer would have me drawn and quartered for wrecking their design. I do not have a sense of – whatever sense you need to be able to make flower petals in chain stitch. I do not have that kind of talent. It took me most of the day to learn how to chain stitch let alone try and get it to make flower petals. The square is cute in a ‘this has no meaning or resemblance to anything that has a meaning ‘ kind of way.

It’s not a flaw – it’s a design feature.

Whew!

I did a count of the blocks I’ve made for the afghan I am producing and I was a little astonished that the number is ten! Ten blocks have been made already. That means the afghan is nearly 1/3 done, right? I did say thirty blocks didn’t I? Don’t make me go back and look. I am having a somewhat lazy day.

We had some fun over the weekend – but let me not talk for the fabulous Melissa, the wonderful April, the charming Chantal, the lovely Laeh and the beautiful Pilvi. I had a great time hanging out with them on Sunday and as it turned out, we hung out all day with nary a man in sight.

We met up at my church to head out to the Morton Arboretum to participate in ‘Lichen It’ which is part of the Arboretum’s Unframed Art display. We gathered (with a couple dozen other crocheters) in a room and created lichens (pronounced likens.)Lichens are fungi and algae that live closely together and help each other survive.(Per the website.) We made ours from crochet rope in purple, yellow and red and they will be sewn together and then artist Carol Hummel will dress a tree from trunk to branch tip with them. The installation will be in May and will stay up until November. That was a fun two hours and I have a pang of guilt which I am trying to rid myself of because we were supposed to stay there at knit together but we called an audible to go visit a new yarn shop. Now going off to a yarn shop is nothing new for us – we’ve done that before as an impulse – but Pilvi couldn’t go because she lived very close to the arboretum so she hung out there to knit and I feel guilty that we left her.

But we did.

We traveled from Lisle to Chicago – not a bad trip but not a short one – to visit Windy Knitty – a very spacious, light filled shop. It was very comfortable and welcoming, the yarn was deemed reasonably priced and the fabulous Melissa said she found fiber there that she had not seen at other shops. It’s a place we want to go back to and we are hoping to add it to our Sunday afternoon outings so that would be another area of the city where StitchCraft can rule!

From there, we headed back to my place so we could get the yarn I packaged up for the charming Chantal but forgot to put in the van and we went to eat – for some strange reason, none of us had sufficiently nourished ourselves that morning. At Elmwood we ate and looked at the books Melissa, April and I purchased. (Melissa got her via mail and April and I purchased ours at the shop!)

After that, we were ready to for bed – all before 7pm – we’re rockers for sure!

To top it off, I received some good news from one of my buyers: the hat I made and sent three weeks ago finally arrived and she loves it!

Perfect ending.

This Week’s Top Ten List

There’s some funky stuff going on in Etsy land. I intended to find shops in Denmark but the site is having some bugs – instead, I just went searching through the treasuries to find ten things that got me going:

Hey Necklace by pianobenchdesigns. It’s just cute and if you’re stuck on a train, you should have something interesting to read.
Peacock by Onike8 – Unicorns are still my favorite but peacocks are right up there!
Messenger bag by Rustic Leather Co. The ULTIMATE knitting bag!
Knitted Necklace by hogen birk knitwear – I saw this made on Knit and Crochet (Now, Today, Whenever.) Looks good here, too.
Map Letters by Little White Dog I’m amazed at how people can recycle or repurpose things and making decorative letters our of old maps is unique and fun!

NOTE TO ALL BOOK PUBLISHERS: CRAFT BOOKS SHOULD, BY RULE, BE SPIRAL BOUND! Part of the reason this square beat my butt was because the book was little hard to manage. I couldn’t put it on the scanner to copy the page and the book is too thick for the clip on the light so I had to count the stitches on each row. If the book was spiral bound, I would have had other options. I really had to trust the pattern would come out looking as it was supposed to because I used a post-it to track the rows. It’s only in taking the photo that I see it did come out almost right. I did some improvising on the top, bottom and sides so I wouldn’t drive myself intarsia insane. I really like it!

Back to the list!

Washcloth and Soap Sack
by indulgent creations – These simple things can be so cute!
Crochet Brooch by Nothing But String – Gotta love it when someone in your field can do something that has ‘wow’ impact!
Stoneware by mudpie2 We received a piece of handmade pottery as a wedding present and I would have loved to receive this!
Antiqued earrings by pinkingedgedesigns I was actually looking at something else in the shop to add to the list when I saw these – drooling!
Funny Cowl by NonnaLia Funny, yes, but you must love the creativity and her other items are lovely as well!

There you have it! This was a really diverse list – and that’s because it came from the treasury listings on Etsy which are created by individual buyers and sellers – so it’s the best of what others consider the best! No matter how it came to be – this list is a great sample of the artistry out! Go support it!!

Decisions, Decisions

I spent the morning languishing in bed. i woke up at my usual time and I was still tired so I lay in bed and thought about stuff. Stuff I wasn’t doing with my days that I could be and stuff I could be doing and just about stuff. I am not sure I reached any conclusions but I do know that while spending time with the core folks of my knitting group that I had a good time last night. Being with people who mutually enjoy each other is a great gift and it was during that conversation listening to the fabulous Melissa explain how she has a plan to get herself moving again that I found the inspiration to continue moving myself.

I would take a photo of the item on the blocking board but it’s really quite nondescript. We are getting new members in our church and the pastor wanted to know if I would make some spa cloths to be part of a welcome gift. I put this before my knitting group on Sunday and they thought book covers and book marks would be a good idea. I put that option to the pastor and she wanted the spa cloths.

So I made the book cover. I already have spa cloths made. I thought it would be a fun thing for them to have both. They take only a few hours to make and it does help go through the stash so as far as I’m concerned they can have the spa cloths with the book cover and everyone can be happy. I can even attach a bookmark to the book and make a trifecta!

The next square in the afghan is something of a challenge. It is intarsia and has some detail in it. I admit to being somewhat scared of it but I am going to go through with it. The block with the cables and beads is about to come off the blocking board and it does look better blocked – but we knew it would.

So, just to be clear I am working on:

2 book covers – 1 already made (just needs seaming)
4 spa cloths – 3 already made
an intarsia square

I have no idea what I’m going to do Saturday.

Progress

I’m not quite sure what to make of this: I received some sales lit in the mail to switch my cellphone company to one called Credo because they are a progressive phone company and because my old cell phone company may have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to tea party and other candidates…

who knew owning a cell phone could be a social statement?

In any case, my real concern is that AT&T is set to buy T Mobile and I really liked T Mobile and have had it from the days they were Voice Stream so I am a little concerned because I used to work for AT&T – that came out wrong. My working for them made them a better company and I left it in better shape than when I came in.

I finished knitting the cable block without cable needles and I am not sure I will use one again – except when doing big ass cables a needle may come in handy. I am in the process of sewing in the beads – can you see them? Of course, blocking is going to make this look a heck of a lot better.

My next decision is whether or not to add some simple stockinette blocks to break up the pattern blocks. The 42 Square afghan uses a common color around each square to break up the patterns while the nanny square afghan uses the granny square as a common block to break up the other patterns. It gives them a different look – one more artsy and the other more rustic. I suppose if I combined them it would make the piece rusty – which I’m
pre
tty sure I don’t want, either. You know, both of those afghans are really pretty. I have an idea of which style I am going to choose – if you’d like to voice your opinion or guess which one I’m going to take, please feel free to comment.

God’s Sense of Humor

Saturday was a great day. I made out my schedule and did just about everything on it. I was really psyched about it and looking forward to the next day…but God made me humble.

i haven’t been on schedule since. Church. Knitting in Evanston – all enjoyable and fun but they took time from the schedule. No problem. It was time well spent. There was Monday.

Monday. When Mr. Honey walked in the door and announced we needed to do our taxes. ‘Doing our taxes’ is a euphemism for ‘sit and the computer and put in the numbers I tell you.’ It usually takes about an hour or so but this year there’s a bug in the tax software and it took nearly all day. Mr. Honey also expressed surprise at the amount of money I made last year. He said he saw me working but he didn’t know I made that much. Now, this would be something if it weren’t for the fact that I made less than I made last year and he didn’t seem at all surprised then. I am wary he may be trying to pull a Scott Walker on me and use this as a means to take away my collective bargaining on the amount I get every month.

The hat in the picture sold (YEA!)but I didn’t write down the pattern. It looks pretty straightforward so I hope I can recreate it. I search books and notes for the pattern and can’t find it. However, I did ship it off but I can’t relist it until I know I can do it again. I actually sold two hats because my friend Victoria’s mother insisted on paying me for the second hat I made her daughter. I was protesting until she explained she didn’t want her daughter thinking everything would just come to her without cost. That’s a smart mama.

So today – finally – I got myself back on track at about 9 this evening. I worked out for the first time in three days. I was going to do it earlier but the routine I wanted to do is On Demand on cable and the service went out for about three hours (yes, I paid the bill – I checked) it went out because of the storm.

I got some knitting done and I am working on another square from the Block by Block book. I was knitting it while watching an episode of Knitting Daily and Eunny Jang showed how to cable without a needle (How the heck does she hold her yarn like that?) and I am working on a cable block so I tried it and I really like it. It does speed up the knitting! Now see, taping those episodes have some merit!

I will be with my group tomorrow night at the mall and it should be a great time. I have to figure out what I want to take to work on and I have a funny feeling it should be the welcome gifts I need for the new members joining the church: bookmarks, cup cozies and spa cloths to go with the baby blanket for the baby being baptized – at least that’s done!

Block Head

That bobble lace block on the needles was giving me fits last night. I was coming up short on stitches even though I was certain I had the stitch count right. It took me three tries before I figured out I was reading the pattern incorrectly and not doing one of the stitches in the bobble. Once I had that figured out (which didn’t involved too much swearing, I swear!) it has been pretty smooth sailing. The project is coming along nicely. There’s a block missing – it’s on the blocking pad. It takes about 5 minutes to do the right side row of the block – the private side is purl across (except I am knitting the first and last stitches because I’m a rebel.) It’s 16 rows and has to be repeated four times. I am two rows from finishing the second repeat so I should be able to get this done during the free time I have today.

I wanted to have six squares done before I start the put together phase – there’s no real logic behind my logic it’s just what I decided. I am going to frame each square in green then slip stitch them together. The final size should be about 60×72.

I am also looking for ideas on what to make with my Nuro Kureyon. I have maybe a dozen balls in two colors that would work together. I want to be able to do small projects because I want portions of the proceeds to go to an agency helping on the ground in Japan. I am thinking fingerless gloves. I’ve never used the fiber before but it looks beautiful in the skein which means it probably knits us beautifully as well. If anyone has any ideas on small projects that can be used, I’d love to hear them!

Fiber Fill

I am designing a simple baby blanket. It is so far in its infancy (get it? baby blanket – infancy?) it is not yet worth taking a picture of. It involves stockinette and bamboo stitches and some embellishments to be added when the blanket is complete.

I am also working with another square from Block by Block. It would be square number six and it’s going to be a little lacy. The living room is becoming filled with finished objects and I am in the midst of cataloging all the items from this year and previous years. Some things are being held out because they will be placed aside to be donated, So far, it’s two scarves.

My neighbor returned my stuff. I gave her two bags of my items from 2010 and before saying she could take two or three things and I got back one bag with stuff and an empty bag. Not quite sure what all was taken but the preliminary count is : a pillow, two shawls, a baby blanket and at least one afghan. I won’t know for sure until I do the new inventory and there are some things still in the van. Even with all that gone, I have a lot of stuff left. I need this stuff these treasures to find loving homes and that means I will have to go the donation route. That sounds like it’s something I don’t want to do and that’s not true. I want to do it and I am going to do something like the Red Scarf project except I don’t want to be stuck to a certain color.

How do we do it all? I guess what I really want to know is how we do it all well? I have no idea but continue to plug away – I suppose there’s room for more prayer and faith – if I can remember it.

I hope your weekend is great. I will be with my knitting group on Sunday in Evanston. We have a couple of new members in the group and I look forward to meeting them soon. We’ve had a third day of nice weather…Spring officially comes this weekend. I’m breaking out the grill!!

The Never Ending

I never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day much…wear green, say ‘Top of the Morning’ that type of thing. But fourteen years ago whatever celebration I had for that day really ended because I lost my mother on St. Patrick’s day.

Since that time, I have moved from the day being one of sadness to going back to my traditional non-celebration of the day – though I am not wearing green today. I don’t have a lot of green clothes and I am just lazy enough not to go looking for them. But I have a Celtic Sun Catcher so I’m feeling pretty Erin Go Bragh.
Instead, this day has come to symbolize the beginning of that never ending circle that is the relationship with my mother. At her death, we were close so we always be close.

She will always be that mother insisted we not change our plans to pay homage to her illness but keep on doing what we needed to do to pay homage to our faith that everything would happen that was supposed to happen when it was supposed to happen. So as I continue on I’m not really without her – she’s behind me and because I am a woman of faith – she’s ahead of me. This relationship has changed but it has not ended.

One of the pleasures and joys I have is watching my friends with their mothers and their daughters – I love it when Betty, Julie, Hannah and Maddie are in the same place at the same time. And when Gayle, Cindy and Rachel are sitting at the same table (Rachel doesn’t sit very long) it’s a thrill for me. MY sister-in-law still has her mother so when she’s up here it’s her mother, MaryKay, Katie, Erin, Abby, Ella and Grace. In my own family: Carole, Kate, Kayla, Jasmine; Vel and Nic.

I am not envious at all of those relationships. The one I have with my mother is full and complete and my prayer is that they are all like that or become that. It’s not until you have no choice about how the mother/daughter relationship works that you understand what you held or what you let go.

I miss my mother everyday but especially today because I haven’t quite navigated this new phase of not having her dimensionally here but I am working on it because there are really no good alternatives to getting on with it and because there is so much she would have me do. She was really a woman of powerful faith. And I am her daughter.

Top of the morning!

Shake My Bootie(s)

Come on now. Give it up for the cuteness. Not a bad first, second, third attempt. I found these to be something of a challenge and the lifeline saved me. There was an instruction that’s akin to a turning row where you knit the stitch on the needle with a stitch several rows below and that was kind of awkward until I decided to place a lifeline at the beginning of the turning section. That made it easier to find the place to pick up that second stitch – yes, I know, once again I am a frickin‘ genius!

This might be interesting to do again in a more stable fabric. Even though this Cuddle Muffin is supposed to be DK weight and the booties were designed to be done in sport weight, the DK still seems kind of ‘soft’. I think it might be worth doing in a cotton or a light worsted just to make them a little more solid. On the other hand, they are booties and not boots so maybe it’s just me.

I am also on square number four of the book and I am still having fun. Photos of those will be coming when there is a more substantial number to be shown – just for the effect of it all – you know.

I saw some old friends last night (old in the sense we’ve been friends for a long time not that they are long in the tooth – though some of them certainly are that but far be it for me to say. It was a Lenten supper and it was held at our church. There will be one each Tuesday until Easter. It’s soup, dessert and a program. This year, we will focus attention on the new country of South Sudan and study a book called, A New Way of Seeing by Gregory Pierce. He was there last night and gave a talk regarding the book and it’s premise that the Kingdom of God is here and now and we can plug into the eternity of it today. I found him to be very funny and insightful and it’s a small book so there should be no problem getting through it. I am only going to attend four of the seven suppers but I’m thinking I won’t be left behind.

He presented the Lord’s Prayer in a way I had never thought of before and it has gotten me to thinking about how we do relate to God and Heaven as if they are both far off instead of closer. It should, I think, make me change my behaviors if I thought the Kingdom was a lot closer than I think it is now.

Food for thought.