|Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:55 PM||comments (1)|
Just a short post to keep you updated. If you follow me in Facebook, you likely know that after living in our house for the past 7 weeks (yes, I made a mistake in Facebook and wrote 6) 'camp style', that is, on blow up mattresses and without seating and other comfortable items, our property will begin deliver tomorrow!
We have had quite a lot going on in the past 7 weeks to make the time go by, let me tell you: snakes, mice, ants, plumbing problems, window issues, job hunting, part time school, karate, kickboxing and of course, shlepping laundry for five people to the laundromat every week, spending $25 on said laundry and schlepping it home again. Busy? Meh.
So yes, to have our beds and personal belongings will be soooo comforting. Lest we not forget that my personal belongings also consist of a SABLEx2, spinning wheels, loom, knitting machine, books and my WINE! It may be quite possible that I lock myself in my house for a few days just for the sake of being reacquainted with my things. If you are in the area, don't mind messes and 4 boisterous kids, give me a call and bring a wine glass
What I'm working on this week:
Knitting/Design: Finishing up 1 of 4, shawl series due for release in Spring 2013
Crochet: One more spa cloth
Spinning: A Crazy Batt of unknown origins
A book review.
With any hope of finding my USB cord, Photos!
Spa cloth talk.
|Posted on August 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM||comments (9)|
If you are reading this, Thank you! Also, if you are reading this, you are likely an online friend and are aware of my recent hiatus and may skip the following few sentences. Mid-June we began our pack out and travel from Germany to the United States. It has been 9 1/2 years since we lived in the continental USA and we are more than excited about this new journey in our lives.
July 6, 2012 we signed a lease and are now renting a charming little house in my homestate of Rhode Island (RI). While our property is still not here, we are living 'camp style' on loaner furniture from our local Loan Locker. Hopefully our property arrives in the next week!
In the meantime, Potter Craft has been kind enough to send a new book for review/giveaway which I hope to have up for you soon. I have not had an awful amount of time to commit to knitting, crochet, sewing, designing or spinning but have indeed made time for each! Please keep checking the site for these updates in the coming weeks.
So, let's see who is still keeping up with me; Leave a comment please!
What I'm working on this week:
Knitting/Design: A shawl series due for release in Spring 2013
Crochet: New Spa Cloths for the new house!
Spinning: Corriedale Samples from Cary Smith's Corries.
Sewing: Mostly repairs
|Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM||comments (1)|
Like many of the wired world, I have been using Pintrest recently. A few months ago I signed up but hadn't gotten around to using it and, Evernote had been the answer to my online 'scrapbook'. Still, once your friends and family start using something on a regular basis, you are bound to at least try it out.
Before Evernote, I would simply save that information on my computer, wasting quite a lot of space and, lets be honest, those files are forgotten once 'Save' is pressed. The first clipping-type website I had signed up for was Skitch and then Polyvore. Sktich is more useful as a drawing tool than a clipping tool where Polyvore is centered around fashion. While I think Polyvore is a great site, I could never play dress up online and my life has very little to do with fashion.
"Growing Tomatoes 101" pinned to my 'Homestead' board
In the past two weeks I can see that Pintrest is ideal for all the clippings and ideas I find online. You can create 'Boards' to organize your clippings and best of all, nothing is permanent. For example, I had clipped a kitchen idea into my 'Organized' board. Later I moved it to the 'Clever!' board. Once I use the idea and either put it into practice or decide it is not for me, I can delete the clipping to make room for more.
Now I can see where some are 'pin happy', clipping and pinning hundreds of photos and video a day. It seems like a slippery slope, you start with four boards and before you know it, you have twenty-five. But, if you view Pintrest (or any of these sites) as a tool rather than a game or 'the next great thing', it could be very useful indeed.
|Posted on April 5, 2012 at 10:35 AM||comments (2)|
Of course it is now Spring and my garden for one is in screaming color. I have pleaded with the kids to not pick any of the flowers but this means I too must resist. Yet, I can not help but to acknowledge how lovely some of the Narcissus and Tulips would look on the dinning room table, but then they don't last as long once they've been cut ... what to do?
A few days ago I read this article via a Facebook friend and that very day this arrived in the mail:
The first time I had ever read (on a knit blog) of someone knitting flowers was several years back, Cookie A and her close knitting group were knitting a bouquet of Calla Lillies for a friend's wedding. At the time I remember thinking, "How lovely and special," and thought I might try knitting some flowers, too. Great intentions and all that...
With this book and the many, many flowers, projects and instructions I do believe I will be knitting myself some flower bouquets in the future. But first I have to start my moving list, move, find a new house and settle into it. This move represents so much to me and I can't wait to begin this new journey. I think flowers will certainly be in order!
|Posted on February 8, 2012 at 4:05 AM||comments (1)|
February already! It is an extremely cold and snowy day here in Germany, a perfect time to update my often neglected blog and website.
So, two weeks ago my husband had the boys for the day and I thought it would be a perfect Me day. Take a soak, read, watch some television (something I rarely do!). The idea of taking a long bath was too enticing and the thought of catching up on Downton Abbey while doing so seemed like a perfect combination, not to mention a time saver. Our bathroom, literally, a room with a bathtub, shower and sink, is long. On one end is the tub, the other is the shower. Since I was to take a bath, I thought I would set up my laptop on the chair near the shower, that way I would not risk splashing my computer with bubbles or water.
Bath drawn. Check.
Towels near. Check.
Candles lit. Check.
Computer ready. Check.
Press play and soak!
I watched approximately 15 minutes when I decided the water could stand to be a bit hotter. For some very strange reason, I pulled the plunger and turned on the water in one quick movement sending a spray of water directly onto my computer. I jumped out of the tub, citing a few expletives, and flipped my computer upside down, hoping gravity would save me. I then turned it off and again, flipped it upside down, grabbing the towel and drying off as much water as I could. I thought I was safe... the water had only just touched the computer and I was quick to act. I took the computer to my bed, placing it upside down and open a bit, looking somewhat like a teepee. Then I realized I was naked, save for a few bubbles stuck to my skin, and dripping wet. I grabbed a towel.
I brought my laptop downstairs to open the back, pull the battery and possibly the hard drive. Damn, I could not find the appropriate tools! In a situation where every second counts, I found myself growing frustrated. After finally finding the right micro-tools, I pulled the items from my laptop, placing them all on the window sill near the heater. Then I prayed to Steve Jobs that after a few days of drying out, all would be well. Six days passed before I had the courage to reassemble my laptop and give it a try.
Hard drive. Check.
Every tiny screw secure. Check.
Power button. Ummmm.... Power button! ... Nothing.
Perhaps overly optimistic, I did not get discouraged. Realizing that the computer had not been charged for seven days, I thought I would simply plug, charge and try again.
After one hour, it was plain that my beloved MacBook Pro (MBP) was dead. More trouble shooting and several Recovery program sessions later, my MBP was confirmed to be no longer working.
I have tried so very hard to stay positive and not be too upset but I keep thinking about All.The.Photos. in my MBP. How I had been using my MBP almost exclusively for the past year and a half and though I had thought quite often of backing up my MBP to my nearly empty terabyte external hard drive, I never quite got around to it. How I have been working on a book of 18 patterns for the past year and nearly Every.Single.Note. was in my MBP as I had resolved to use it instead of papers which I always lose and misplace.
So already February 2012 and I've already learned a valuable, if not painful, lesson.
|Posted on January 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM||comments (3)|
It really is quite amazing to me that we are now in the year 2012. 2011 went by quickly, don't you think? Like most, I do have what might be called 'resolutions' for 2012 but not without appreciating what 2011 brought me, both good and not so great.
First and foremost, my children. They are both a source of constant joy and constant worry. I love each of their personalities and think myself fortunate to be their mother. Some days are certainly more trying than the day before, but it helps to think of the fleeting moments I have with them before they will be adults, making their own marks on the world.
Design-wise, I felt a surge at the start of 2011, receiving great encouragement from the Fiber, Needle and Textile Arts communities. By mid-year I felt a sense of validation after receiving actual income for my efforts. What resulted was something I had not experienced in a very long time, a sense of self worth, other than that of being a mother.
Summer was to be an adventure, I had a few fiber-related trips planned, family vacations, as well as some heavy design work to accomplish. I had also planned several KALs and CALs and began drafting tutorials for the public. However, my Summer dreams were put off by un-supportive persons in my life. And so, I accepted that we would simply stay busy and kid-friendly creative for the summer.
Shortly thereafter, I received news that my Grandmother was gravely ill and I began planning a trip to see her before she passed. My visit was too late, however, as she passed before I could see her again, hug her again. I took 3 days to head back home for the services and return to my family.
During this time, I grasped just how short our time on this Earth is. And, how truly sad it is to not live the life you mean to. This realization came directly from my Grandmother. An extremely hard worker and joyful person, who always put others before herself. Additionally, my Grandmother lived a secret life of a lesbian. She and her partner Dot had lived as 'friends' for more than 40 years, never publicly acknowledging their relationship until Grandma's death. While the obituary was nice, I found it sad that there, for the first time in their relationship, Dot and Shirley were mentioned as a couple.
The event of my Grandmother's passing was a complete turning point for myself. It did not occur at once but gradually over the summer, I found the inner strength to fight back ... for myself.
Like my Grandmother, I tend to put others before myself. I slowly began to consider myself, reflecting on how I feel about certain things in my life. And despite living comfortably, I acknowledged for the first time in 9 years, that I was not happy and, not for lack of trying.
Which brings me to appreciation of Self. Knowing that I am a person who deserves to be happy by her own design and not by trying to please another. Appreciation of the realization that I should stop trying to earn love and adoration from those who should be giving freely. Appreciation, again, of my children, who are my greatest loves. Appreciation of people, such as yourself, who reach out to me time and time again.
After a very unhappy, tumultuous second half of 2011, I found that what I thought would be a very hard decision, to be easy. The end of 2011 seemed like the right time to take the step to close this chapter of my life.
And so, Hello 2012! I look forward to an amazing year!
|Posted on November 22, 2011 at 4:20 AM||comments (0)|
In a full house of six, there is always something in need of mending, but this past week seemed to be the week of Mending! In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos of all the items before repair because frankly, I am quite impressed in some of the repairs, if I do say so myself! (all finished pics on Wednesday)
For a few weeks now, I knew that our favorite knitted blanket (gifted by friends in the Monthly Adventures Group) was once again in need of repair. The last time it was simply a matter of re-sewing blocks to blocks. This time, however, I had to repair some of the blocks, re-knitting in some cases. It really was quite an undertaking but by starting early in the morning and taking as many moments as I could throughout the day and into the evening, I was able to finish by bedtime.
Before heading to work the next day, my husband presented me his leather jacket. He read my puzzled face and promptly turned the jacket inside-out, showing the satin lined sleeve completely torn, frayed and quite a mess. In his ever constant desire to be helpful , he suggested I simply tuck the frayed parts and sew the rip closed. I only nodded and he was on his way. Once he left I examined the tear carefully. I had no intention of taking his suggestion as it would only create a larger mess later down the road.
It seemed that I had a few options: (1) tear out the sleeve and replace it, (2) patch the sleeve or (3) re-weave or darn the sleeve. Since I did not have any satin on hand for either replacing the sleeve or patching the sleeve, I opted to re-weave the torn section of the sleeve. It truly seemed rather hopeless at first but in the end it looked great, considering.
That very evening, I noticed that my eldest son had torn yet another pair of pants - and new pants no less! I don't know how he does it but he manages to tear the knees of nearly every pair of pants he owns. And so, my evening - which was to be set aside for knitting - was now to spent mending pants … again.
The next day I realized I had a project which deadline was drawing near. My son's piano instructor and wife are expecting twins in December. Initially I had planned to knit booties, caps and cocoons but found out that their very close friend is a knitter and realized these items may be 'covered'. I then opted to simply create a care package of spa cloths, organic soap, lotion and Mom-stuff. So I spent the day stash diving and made several cotton spa cloths to gift and a few to keep.
That evening I did knit a bit but learned that my favorite DPN case is no longer adequate for all my DPNs. I sorted the DPNs, separating by size and length. The most used DPNs (0-2.5) were stored in my case, leaving the remaining DPNs homeless. I went to my Fat Quarter stash, turned on the sewing machine and made a quick DPN case for the longer needles. It isn't perfect but it does the job!
Sunday night, after my daughter's all-day dress rehearsal for Drama Club, I spent the evening repairing her costume. The borrowed costume has certainly seen better days, the chiffon sleeves had been torn from cuff to elbow. It took a few hours but I was able to finish the repair and while not perfect, I did try to make it pretty - though no one from the audience will see it.
Which takes us to Monday, when my youngest showed me his blankie. The store-bought cotton blanket has thinned terribly over the last few years and the thin binding had come undone. I spent about an hour ripping the seams to remove the binding completely, and then seamed the edges of the blanket to prevent it from fraying. I am not sure just yet as to the binding, I think I will let him choose the fabric for it. In the meantime, I think I need to teach the older kids and the husband how to sew!
|Posted on November 20, 2011 at 4:20 AM||comments (0)|
A little behind but posting nonetheless! For this Focus Friday I'd like to remind you all that the Quasi-Mystery Tam KAL is ongoing until the end of November. Don't forget to post your FO in the finishers thread to be inlcuded in a prize drawing December 1st. All details can be found here.
And now for a little review:
2011 Sixth & Spring Books
As the title suggests, 60 quick knits designed for use with Cascade 220 Sport. A fantastic collection of hats, mittens and scarf projects featuring bobbles, cables, colorwork and some easy lace, ranging from beginner to experienced. With the holiday season fast approaching, this book will get great use!
#10 Bobble Gauntlet Mittensby Cheryl Murray photo © Jack Deutschsearch
#29 Cabled Beanieby Nichole Reese photo © Jack Deutschsearch
#51 Nordic Tube Scarfby Cheryl Murray photo © Jack Deutschsearch
#51 Lace Stoleby Faina Goberstein photo © Jack Deutschsearch
Ravlery, Amazon and even Sixth & Spring do not provide photos for all the projects in the book, which is unfortunate becuase some of my favorite projects in this book are not listed (yet). Below are some of my favorites, please excuse the iSight shots.
The very first project, #1 Bobbles & Lace Slouchy Hat, is beautiful and would be a great quick gift knit.
#36 Cabled Block Scarf is comprised of several blocks, knit on the bias, and then seamed together. This would be a great gift for either a man or a woman.
#43 Fringed Scarf is another great unisex choice. A simple, handsome design.
#47 Fair Isle Tam provides just enough challenge for Intermediate knitters new to colorwork and not quite ready for multi-colored fair isle.
|Posted on November 16, 2011 at 3:55 PM||comments (1)|
Minecrafter's Socks I
Minecrafter's Socks II
Minecrafter's Socks III
Quasi Mystery Tam II
Mystery Shawl by Pat Shaw
Hex by Cookie A
300 gr Wollmeise Lace
|Posted on November 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM||comments (2)|
Where do I start? It's been too long since the last blog post. This week I will try to get back my regular posting schedule (post on Monday, pics on Wednesday and reviews, projects, spy on Friday).
To explain the lapse: At first simply a matter of life being far busier than usual and then sickness fell on our household. Then, while not 100%, I still had errands to run and obligation to tend. Simply not much time for the internet save for a random post via HootSuite (I love that tool!) or most days, just check a few messages here and there. Finally, this past week, I don't think I had been online at all, except to check my email a few days.
What I've been up to this past month:
I always try to make time for knitting. I've finished two pairs of socks for SKA's October challenge, finished my Quasi-Mystery Tam and have started a mystery shawl by Pat Shaw. I am currently knitting a third pair of socks for the October challenge as well as a pair for the November challenge. (photos on Wednesday)
I found making time for sewing to be a tad more challenging. The Monthly Adventures group was started at Christmas time and so, the Christmas/Holiday swap is a big one. I had to make a GCD (Gift Containment Device) - last year was a stocking, this year I made basket. I knew I needed something large (to contain the gifts!) but also wanted something on the utilitarian side. Aside from some seams not matching up, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. (photos on Wednesday)
And of course, shopping must get done. One of the items on my list of things to purchase was a pound of Lavender. I became dizzy with the options out there and ultimately settled on ordering from a small farm based in Washington state, Scented Lavender Farm. I am utterly shocked at how quickly my order arrived, less than a week - unheard of for military mail! (In my experiences, anyhow).
This next week I will have to make several sachets for storing my yarns and fibers and other stored items in need of protection of moths and carpet beetles. How do you store your valuable yarns, fibers and made items for long term storage?
Another item in need of attention this past week was to order a new piece for one of my ball winders. I am embarrassed to say that I have more than one but my favorite one is a U-nitt Jumbo Ball winder. I am able to wind nearly 500 gr of yarn into one cake! (sometimes joining is required) Of all my winders, this is the only winder able to handle the 300 gr Wollmeise Lace in one winding. (ok, I may need to take break from time to time) The pigtail or yarn guide had been broken by my youngest son. Try as I might, I was not able to repair it myself and so, wrote the U-nitt company, asking if I would be able to purchase the piece. What excellent customer service! Within 24 hours a message was sent, asking for my mailing address so that a new piece can be sent!
There really has been so much going on here and this post is already quite long. I will leave you with some great titles I've perused this past month:
Just in time for the holidays! This book is filled with sewing ideas for gifting, ranging in Easy to Intermediate projects. I've already marked two items - time to whip out the sewing machine (again)!
A great idea for a book if ever there was one! Focused on the crafting community and the transition from DIY to Craftivism - the act of crafting from the heart to better the community and/or make a statement. Yarn bombing, sewn grocery bags, charity crafting, crafting for the sake of the Three R's (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) and crafting to raise awareness are all covered subjects with included projects.
If there is one thing many knitters shy away from, it would be finishing. I myself recall the first pair of socks I knitted in worsted weight yarn. I had no idea how to Kitchener and let the socks sit for weeks before finally attempting the task. This book covers all aspects of finishing and would be a useful addition to your library.
Less of a focus on design and more on sock knitting with a purpose. Clara breaks down sock yarns and to an almost scientific detail, educating knitters as to how certain yarns behave due to fiber content and ply. Several patterns accompany this book by well known designers such as Cookie A, Nancy Bush, Cat Bordhi and others.
I really love the concept of this particular book. Picking colors and fabrics can sometimes be overwhelming. This book shows you how to keep it simple: select four fabrics and go!
The quilts in this book are nostalgic, gorgeous and inspiring. I've never been one for applique work but this book certainly has me considering it!
A great collection of traditional quilts made of 10" blocks, with clear instructions for piecing and layout.
A nice collection of quilts and pillows of modern, oversized design. As with all Martingale quilting books, instructions for piecing and layout are very clear.
Fun, traditional and seasonal quilting projects all created with your scrap stash!