Friday, January 30, 2009

Pretty Things Save The World

This delicate bracelet arrived in the mail today. Look closely. You probably had one of these in your wallet at some point. Vanessa Weber, clever cat she is, makes lovely jewelry from recycled Starbucks gift cards. By treating my self (oh, Hubby, I bought a bracelet by the way), I have done my part in stimulating the economy, being green, and supporting small business. Plus the sweetness makes me smile and that is always a good thing. Check out Vanessa's work here. While your over on Etsy, look for my Mom's purses and children's totes here.
Thank you for the well wishes. I appreciate you all so much. Even though I am not on the other side of this particular sadness yet, your kind thoughts will definitely help me get there. I may be quiet for a few days, but I'll be back, with socks and musings in hand.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Simple Gifts


Being a knitter, particularly a knitter who knits mostly socks, I tend to immediately think of gifting a pair to anyone who has:
1) done me a big favor
2) been a reliable friend
3) is kind and loving
5) accepts my eccentricities
6) jumps and says 'woo-hoo!' when I mention making them socks.

The above socks are being made for Nicole who has met all 6 criterion and more. She is the kind of friend one is lucky to have. So of course I am making her socks. And of course I wasted two days fretting over the perfect pattern. I thought of doing something intricate and challenging because she deserves the time I would invest in such work. But she wouldn't get those socks until next winter. The reason why I value our friendship is that it is neither intricate or challenging. It is simple and comforting. Simple stockinette fit the bill which is my favorite kind anyway. I've had a strange sad week and the in-around-off rythm has been a huge comfort. See, a true friend can help even when she isn't at hand. Finished pair coming soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scissors+Paper+Glue

I had sudden urge to make some silhouettes yesterday. Rummaging around the kid's craft cabinet, I found one piece of black construction paper, one white pencil, and one pair of safety scissors. Add to the mix some Anna Griffin scrapbook paper I bought about 6 years, traced pics from magazines, and a hefty dose of Modge Podge. I love my sloppy first attempts! I will frame them in black. I have traced many more pictures to cut out but will have to buy black card stock and an x-acto knife. Go here, here and here for more paper cutting inspiration.


Irene from Mushroom Villagers asked why I favor Knit Picks yarns. I do seem to be knitting quite a bit with their yarns lately. The many Essential kettle dyed socks are due to my having been requested to make a pair of socks for my mom in the jay colorway, but at the time they were sold out unless you bought the sampler. I purchased the sampler which included enough wool for 6 pairs of socks and six patterns as well. In fact, I've just cast on with the wine colorway for my friend Nicole. Another reason is economy; they are affordable and durable yarns. I am not by any means monogamous to Knit Picks, the lure of a tryst with luxury yarns is too strong, but for the familiar lunch date, KP is on my speed dial.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ivy Charade Socks

Pattern: Charade by Sandra Park
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed 'ivy'
Needles: US#1 dpn's

Productivity prevailed this weekend. I finished these lovely socks and am well into the waist shaping of the owl sweater. Both are wonderfully written patterns that have guaranteed smooth knitting.

I'm going to watch the Inaugural events today. I find this historic day a bit like looking under the covers and watching crackling blue static electricity racing up my legs; simultaneously exciting and a bit frightening. I am sending positive vibes to the new President who faces a difficult job burdened by the weight of incredibly high expectations. I'm also thinking of the millions braving the freezing weather in D.C. to witness this transition. Peace to them all.







Friday, January 16, 2009

Change In Plans

Yesterday I had grand knitting plans. I was going to finish the last 3 inches of the Charade socks and after winding 9 hanks of Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light, cast on for Baby Cables and Big Ones Too (rav link). This morning I woke up to 9 pretty cakes all in a row and 2.75 inches left on the sock. Instead of finishing that last bit of sock after breakfast, I decided to check my blogs first. Mercy. Owls is available for download. I haven't dropped a sock so fast in my life. I ran to the stash closet, precariously carried 2 huge hanks of Cascade Ecological wool, winder, swift, cup of coffee, cell phone, printed pattern, and the this close to being completed sock down the stairs. Looks like I'll be busy this weekend. My assistants will take my calls as soon as they drag a chair to the counter to reach the phone. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wax On Wax Off

There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." Being mindful of your work, present in the actions of your labors, can cause them to seem lighter. It is easy to be at peace in the moments of praying or meditating, but continuing this mindful clarity once you have risen from your knees is difficult. Add daily chores to the mix and my patience goes out the window.

With this concept in mind, I poured myself and strong cup of tea and painstakingly unraveled a very tangled skein. The process was long, challenging, and absolutely worth the effort. But, I knew it would be. I enjoyed the work because I knew there was a reward at the end. Yesterday when I realized my floor needed hands and knees mopping since I had neglected it for so long, I was not so spiritually present in the face of the task. I was trying to think of an excuse to call in sick. Generally you can't call in sick to your own house, so I sucked it up and got to work. The next thing I knew, I was on a roll, cleaning everything I tend to ignore, and by the end of a couple of hours, I felt good. I had accomplished something I didn't want to do at all. When I was fully present, aware of each action, taking the time to pay attention to details, I can't say I enjoyed myself, but I felt better for focusing rather than dispersing my energies. Chop wood, carry water, life happens.

The Lady Knits sent me this tangled skein of Pigeonroof Studios yarn to sort out and love. She is spreading more fiber love on her podcast, Stitches in Time with a give-away. Carry your bucket of water over to her site and enter to win.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In Progress

I am currently knitting a pair of Charade socks for myself. I've used this pattern before and love the fact that I don't need to keep track of rows since it is easy to read the stitches. I'm listening to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events brilliantly narrated by Tim Curry on cd from my library. You have got to borrow or buy an audio copy for yourself, it is fabulously entertaining. I am selling Girl Scout cookies for the first time. I'm dreaming of sketching again. I'm hoping to get tickets to Wicked for my birthday. I am smitten with this site. I am not so patiently waiting for a large order of yarn. I am wondering what other things I can get myself into.

"Entertaining a notion, like entertaining a baby cousin or entertaining a pack of hyenas, is a dangerous thing to refuse to do. If you refuse to entertain a baby cousin, the baby cousin may get bored and entertain itself by wandering off and falling down a well. If you refuse to entertain a pack of hyenas, they may become restless and entertain themselves by devouring you. But if you refuse to entertain a notion - which is just a fancy way of saying that you refuse to think about a certain idea - you have to be much braver than someone who is merely facing some blood-thirsty animals, or some parents who are upset to find their little darling at the bottom of a well, because nobody knows what an idea will do when it goes off to entertain itself."
Lemony Snicket

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Transience


Transience is defined as the state or quality of passing with time or being ephemeral or fleeting. On one of my autumn rambles, I picked up an acorn and stuck it in my pocket. When I got home I planted the little nut in one of my succulent pots. I completely forgot about it until I saw this poking out of the soil. The first tiny leaf of what will be a tremendous oak. The fuzzy texture and blush of color have gone now, they only lasted a few days. The seedling is larger with bright green curvy leaves. I am so blessed to have caught this fleeting moment of beauty. I think I'll pass my time today counting all of my blessings. I'd wager they are a great many. How has life blessed you?



Saturday, January 3, 2009

Handmade is Awesome

Here is a selection of handmade gifts I received this year. Sorry for the dark photos, but the weather isn't cooperating. I love the quality, aesthetic, and individual nature of each item. The note cards are on the heaviest, creamiest of papers from Silhouette Blue. The ultra soft printed leather cuff is from HollyHawk. The lovely wooden disc earring and pendant are from Fashion Refined. Lastly, the resin pendant is from Tami Fulford. I cannot recommend these artisans highly enough! Beautiful, affordable, perfect gifts. Thanks, Mom!

Handmade artists need our help. I could go into a rant wrapped in conspiracy theories, but I will simply say this law is a bunch of junk. If this is not modified, not only will independent toy makers be put out of business, but anyone who makes and sells children's clothing and accessories will not be allowed to legally sell their items. Do you like to buy second-hand clothing, items, and toys? Do you donate your hand-me-downs to charities? Well, if passed as is, this legislation will effectively put all that to an end, fill landfills with perfectly reusable items, and render Mattel and Hasbro the only option for buying a child's toy. The point of the bill is to protect us from the lead in toys. We need that, however, European and cottage industry toys have been operating under the strictest standards for safety, while the problem has been from the exact manufacturers who will be protected in this case. "The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered."

Please, sign this petition to help save the artists, small businesses, hobby shops, charities, thrift stores, and your freedom to choose to buy or donate products as you see fit. I know Bush and Congress are busy and all with bailing out billionaires and packing up files, but it would be nice to think they read more than the first page of every bill that they pass. Maybe we should demand Cliff notes for Congress?