Thursday, August 30, 2007

Smudged Lens: Nevermore


Little Man took a long ( overdue ) nap yesterday afternoon and I was able to stitch up a case for my new camera.

I needed a protective bag so the drippy sippy cups and loose crayons in my purse wouldn't mar the pretty new camera my sweetie bought for me.

A quick search in the craft closet ( yes that is how ultra geeky I am) and voila! My quilted camera case with raven * button was born.

I used two scraps leftover from a table runner I made last year, batting, and burgundy corduroy. The corduroy will also hopefully appear here soon as a skirt for fall.

My new Canon SD750 rests snug and safe in her wee sleeping bag. I love the satisfaction of a quick project.

I have company coming in for the holiday weekend so I will see you all here again next week.

* technically, this button is probably not a raven but a starling. But, I love the poem and well, no body's poefect. Get it? Ha Ha. OK, I'll stop.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bloody Mary Socks

My Bloody Mary Socks are complete. (See previous post for picture not taken at night with horrible flash sparkles). I enjoyed the pattern and the Felici yarn is quite nice. Very soft. My only complaint is that one skein had a lighter gray stripe than the other. This is no big deal to me, but if I were knitting these as a gift I'd be concerned. The dye lots matched, but clearly one ball didn't sit long enough in the pot o' charcoal gray. Quality Control issues I guess.
See the difference ? I'd like to thank Hubby for be willing to get down on the kitchen floor to photograph the bottom of my heels. My loving man.



I am very happy with these socks. I'll be even happier when it is cool enough to wear them outside. I cast on 64 stitches on #1 DPN's, knit twisted rib for an inch and then increased one stitch to continue on in the slip stitch rib pattern Sandra posted. The yarn is KnitPicks Felici in the colorway Firefighter.

Speaking of firefighters...


We went to the firehouse for a tour. The firemen opened the trucks for our group and the kids had a blast crawling around in them pretending to be on a rescue mission.
Miss A was cool with it but Little Man was over the moon. He didn't want to leave. My little hero.
This blurry picture is spot on the colorway of my socks (even the two grays on LM):
Notice how he stands with his hand in his pocket. He was thrilled to discover them and almost always adopts the catalog model pose now. Joe Cool.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's hot.

















And by hot I mean hot. This steady temp of 102 degrees in my city for three weeks now is getting old. I have taken to leaving a saucer of water out for the frog that has taken up residence on my porch. I am afraid if he leaves the shade to search for water I will find only a charred frog outline on the walkway. It's that hot. Frogs bursting into flames hot. Enough already.

So I am combating the heat by knitting woolen socks.

I completed one of my Bloody Mary socks. I'm halfway through the leg on the second pair, but my hopes of finishing it this weekend are dimming because of this:

Yes, I cast on for the Fad Classic.
(photo from Knit and Tonic)

I am using Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in indigo. Boy, I like this pattern, but the top takes some focus before you join to knit in the round and I admit I cursed at it a few times. I look forward to wearing this with everything this fall. When small creatures are frolicking in the cool autumn air instead of bursting into flames.





Lovely handmade clothing is popping up on the blogs these days and I am becoming obsessed with making a skirt and possibly more for myself. Or giving up and waiting for the clearance sales at Old Navy. I used to wear black suits to work and totter on heels every day. Now I wear the mom uniform. Comfortable and cheap.

In my mind I am actually very chic. My hair is always just so and my waist is impossibly tiny. I wear dresses and pedal my cruiser to the market stand down the road to collect my daily bread and fresh veggies . The fender of my beloved bicycle is beginning to rust because I lean it against the wall beneath the window with potted geraniums. I own wellies to match each of my fabulous yet simple ensembles so I always look fresh even in my potager.


And then I wake up.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Inspiration Friday


Simple talents can lead to the most beautiful things. My source of inspiration today comes from all of you. Knitting, sewing, stitching, and cooking are not in themselves very difficult to do. I mean, really, anything you do with your hands is a matter of practice and coordination.

But what makes the product of our labors stand apart and become infinitely more than the sum of it's parts is the imagination behind it. The thought ( deliberate or not) that this string and needles, this fabric and thread, this bowl of flour, eggs, and butter can be made into something useful and good is hope that things will turn out as we dream or at least be happy accidents.

Sometimes things don't work like we had planned. This is where humility lands squarely on our heads and after awhile we can recognize the lesson we needed to learn. These are men and women I have learned from and been inspired by this week:

Franklin Habit's simple and lovely altar cloth.

Elliphantom Knits gift for knitters ( Happy Birthday!) : I will use these like crazy.

These ABC blocks from One More Moore.

This quote sums up my bloggy existence:

"Images also help me find and realise ideas. I look at hundreds of very different, contrasting images and I pinch details from them, rather like people who eat from other people’s plates."

Francis Bacon

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Days like these


Had one of those mornings that started way too early and didn't get better until later.

I did one of those mom explosions where the whining and fussing reached such an intolerable level I roared and stomped and huffed. That is one of the cats hiding from me.

Yeah, I'm the grownup in the room.

We rushed and fought and fussed and finally made it to the play date only to find the place didn't open until for another 45 minutes. I then laughed because that is all you can do sometimes. And promptly apologized to my kids for being loud mommy all morning.

But, day saved and new friends made. I really enjoy this group I joined. I have never been a joiner until this year. Mom's group, blog, Ravelry. I have 10,984 knitters ahead of me in line for Ravelry by the way. That is about 500 shy of the population of my small town. Knitters are a special breed I tell ya.
kpixie emailed me today: A Loop d Loop pattern book with this in a nice blue:
LOVE it. Wait, doesn't this remind you of: Knit and Tonic's Fad Classic. Hmmm. Maybe I'll knit both.
Oh, and my Bloody Mary socks are coming along. These are really going to be nice. The ribs are all smooshed together in the pic, but they open nicely when worn. And that one side isn't wonky; it just looks that way here.

Purty.




Monday, August 13, 2007

Socks!

Oh mail man you made me so happy on Saturday:

I ordered sock yarn from Knit Picks. The skeins are Felici in 'Firefighter' and 'Pebble'. The hanks are Memories 'Cape Cod'.

In January of 2006, I decided to knit socks for the first time. By Christmas I had knit 26 pair. Yup.

I hadn't had it in me to face the tiny needles and tiny yarn this year as I was burnt out. Until I saw this post from Sandra and well you know how it goes.

I cast on Sunday night and here is my progress:

I really am enjoying the pattern. The twisted rib cuff is brilliant, feminine but not fussy, and the slipped rib is easy enough to remember but not boring. Thanks to Sandra for creating this sock pattern.

I am knitting it in the Firefighter colorway. This is a self striping yarn so I won't get the same cool effects as her Sock Pal version, but I think it will be nice anyway. So far I like the Felici. It is very soft.

Mom came to visit this weekend and we had a great time. She baby sat while I went to the baby shower. Hubby was in Chicago on business, but he and I did get a date night Friday which was fabulous. Thanks, sweetie! Mexican food and good conversation are my idea of a great time. I had so much fun with the ladies at the shower. I needed a night of uninterrupted chat. Being interrupted, especially by my children, is absolutely my biggest peeve. My eyelids curl back I get so mad about it. Miss A does it every time I try to have a conversation with anyone other than her. Arrgh. Needless to say, the party was very good for me indeed.

Little Man just ran by in nothing but an Elmo vest. Gotta go.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What inspires me?


Courtney of Two Straight Lines is posting once a week on the things that inspire her. I like this idea. When I am at my worst, most burnt out, cursing under my breath, sick.of.it.all, I know I have neglected the most important need in my life. Silence.



Silence always inspires me to think, daydream, wonder, awe. Magically when I have emptied my ears, the ideas rush in like a river in flood. Being the mom to a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old is as far from silent as I can get. So I drink coffee too late in the afternoon and stay up way past every one's bedtime and listen to the nothing. The void.

I once read a Buddhist book of thought in which I found this nugget ( wildly paraphrased do not sue me) : If you want to find God, simply sit, and stare at the wall.

Hmmm.
So, we are on the cusp of a very exciting event. Earth is orbiting very closely to a big ol cosmic dust bunny. Seriously. The Perseid Meteor Showers are at their peak this Sunday late night/ Monday early morning. We are revolving closely to the dust and debris left behind from a Comet that passes by every 130 years. Wow. That's a long time. Makes me feel small.

I remember watching for meteor showers and lunar eclipses with my brothers. We would lie on the grass in the side yard and just stare. I can't tell you how long it has been since I plopped down on my back right on actual grass and dirt and roly polies. I am inspired to do this again soon.

Stargazing has always been big in my family. My Dad did an excellent job of sharing his enthusiasm for knowledge of all things in and of the Universe with us. His curiosity and deeply contemplative charisma hooked us young. He was to my child self the Pied Piper of learning ( his favorite thing to say was, "Look it up!" ) and to my adult self, the guy I want on my trivia team. My brothers and I are peas in a pod when it comes to wanting to know everything about anything. If you don't like to read info plaques, don't ever go to a museum with us.

So, I will be inspired by the shooting stars on Sunday and thinking of the men I love the most.








Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gull Stitch Baby Sweater






The little cardigan is complete. The buttons are from a box full my husband's Grandmother Gwen sent. The pattern is loosely based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Sweater. The vintage hanger is from my maternal Grandma - this was hers when she was a baby.
Now I just need to package the sweater up for the Mom to be.

I am glad to be a knitter. We have a tremendous amount of faith in the universe to be able to complete sweaters on 102 degree days. Hello, heatwave. I imagine we are all going to be at the forefront of reversing global warming. Do your part people, I can't live in a world without woolen socks. Can you?

The pics I took of the mashed potato incident did not look appetizing at all. Food Stylists have a hard job. However, they were delicious, or as Miss A says, " Muy delicioso."




Oh look at what the Sew, Mama, Sew blog theme for the month of September is! I love sewing little clothes. My favorite is pajama pants. I look forward to see what wonderful wee items are stitched up. I may even participate!




One last thing to share. Have you seen the beautiful sleeveless cardi by Elizabeth of A Mingled Yarn ? I think this is so pretty and she is kind enough to share it for free. The pattern is called Ophelia. Photo by Angela Duron.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Connections

I am amazed how this whole blogging thing works. I had left a comment on Blair's wonderful blog, Wise Craft, never expecting her to read my blog and comment back- but she did! I feel a bit star struck . I have to remind myself these women and men that let us peek into their lives are real. And kind. And generous. Thank you to everyone who stops by. Please visit Wise Craft
; Blair can rock a craft. Big time.

And the blogging worlds collide at times. Sandra was mentioned on another of my favorite blogs, Knit and Tonic. Seems Wendy will be knitting Sandra's sock pattern "Bloody Mary". The socks are very cool and you should check them out. Maybe a Bloody Mary-A-Long?

I am realizing I need to add many more of the blogs I frequent to my sidebar. Some day.









Ok, I am thinking I will frog the Shetland Shawl Turned Vest and make this sweater from Interweave Summer 2007. I have enough Reynold's Whiskey in the dark purple/grey and skeins in a lighter color for the lace. But then again, fall patterns are coming soon. Decisions, Decisions. Although now that I look at that neckline I have a feeling it would bother me. I am decidedly not swan necked like the model and I fear the high neck might be more 'mock turtle gone awry ' than 'graceful kiss of a collar'.


Next up: how deciding to finally lose these extra 5 pounds turned into cooking up mashed potatoes drowned in butter AND gravy.



Friday, August 3, 2007

One of my favorite things


I love school supplies. I mean I am obsessed with them. I have never had a legitimate reason to shop the back to school aisles until now. Miss A will be attending a preK this Fall and I am giddy. I am beside myself to troll the aisles with list in hand, fondling and caressing packs fresh packs of pencils, breathing in the intoxicating aroma of scotch tape, and nonchalantly tossing them into my basket so the other slightly annoyed looking moms don't notice my euphoria.

I woke up with the idea that this would be The Day.

Me: Want to go today to get your supplies?

A: Can I put them in my pink backpack?

Me: Yes!

A: Can I get markers, pencils, and glue?

Me: (rapturously): Yes!

A: Not today.


I died a little. Do you remember the movie You've Got Mail ? Tom Hanks' character emails a love letter to Fall in New York to Meg Ryan's character. He writes he would give her a " bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils" if she would reveal her name. Yeah, I'd have given him my name in a heartbeat. There is a shady, breezy spot to escape the oppressive never ending heat of August: the school supply aisle.


One reason for my passion may be that Back to School is the harbinger of Fall. Fall brings with her all of my other favorite things. Cooler weather, light sweaters, corduroy, crunchy leaves, wine and cassoulet, gourds and mums piled high on Market stands. I'll have to wait 'cause Fall hits the South in December.


O, little pencil

How your point so sharp and fine

Softly draws my line



Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Progress

I did a bit of sewing yesterday. Tea mats and coasters:



I was gifted a huge tote full of fabric from my Aunt Shelley. She had been sewing beautiful purses, but called it quits. I am making so many items with her fabrics. What fun! I wouldn't have been able to do all of this sewing without this treasure to mix with my scraps because I am poor. Not in determination, ingenuity, or moxy, but poor in capital. Oh well, in my next life I'll be golden.

Tissue holders: the University of Georgia fabric is from Shelley's stash. Just a disclaimer if my Dad reads this. He went to Georgia Tech.

Progress on the Gull Stitch Baby Sweater: hope it's a girl.

I am enjoying this knit. I decided to knit the yoke in stockinette rather than garter like E.Z.'s version simply because I really don't like garter stitch. I am doing a simple top down raglan cardigan with buttons construction but using the gull wing stitch for the bottom portion of the body and the arms.

I am knitting this in the Lion Brand Vanna's Choice yarn. I couldn't resist buying Vanna White's yarn. I don't know why, but this cracks me up. I have the urge to stand up and turn things 180 degrees all around the house. I always knit baby sweaters in acrylic due to the spit up and washing factors. I am not a big fan of acrylic; especially when it feels plastic and squeaky. This yarn is a little of both, but the end fabric is surprisingly nice and soft after a washing. Hopefully the baby isn't a yarn snob.

Received news of the death of my Great Great? Uncle Roy. He has been mostly dead for some weeks now and decided to take leave of us this morning. Roy was the kind of man you tell tales about. Funny, eccentric, bold stories that will eventually be upgraded to legend and lore as they are passed down through the family lines. I hope I live and die so no one forgets me too.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my Grandparents, and my Uncle Tom, who took care of Roy when Roy would have none of it, you have earned your place I am sure.