Thursday, August 31, 2006

In which I attempt to teach my friend to knit and also spend my entire grocery budget on needles

Yesterday was an outing to my favorite LYS. My friend Kathy and I went with the express purpose of getting her set up with supplies so she could join this marvelous group of people called knitters. Since I am a new teacher, I made several errors in judgment, but they weren't fatal. We had her knitting pretty quickly, and she's doing a fine job. Can't wait to see how project number one turns out! I made the mistake of looking at the new Lantern Moon needles, and I made the executive decision that my kids and I don't need to eat this week. Not when there are needles like this in the world. Besides, we have plenty of evaporated milk, mandarin oranges and garbanzo beans in the pantry. I don't want to hear any complaining (or asking why I have those three things in my pantry). Kathy of Knitche told me her booth at Stitches was directly across from that mecca of sock knitters--Blue Mountain Fiber Arts. Socks that Rock, be still my beating heart. She said she's thinking of trying to get their yarn in her shop. I assured her people would be beating a path to her door, since I knew of only one other place in Illinois that sells STR. Wouldn't that be sweet?

"Dear George,

Remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings! Love Clarence." Most if not all of you know those lines as well as I do, having watched them Christmas after Christmas in the BEST MOVIE EVER. And that's exactly how I feel. Another package on my doorstep from the amazingly talented Sarah of the blog I read first every day. For some reason that delights me in the extreme, the KnitSisters and I have struck up a cyber friendship (they had me at TIMBER!). Both Sarah and Ellen are talented knitters, and Sarah wows me with her lovely designs. She also dyes and spins. And she sent me some of her own yarn. Now I know how Ellen feels when she sees a package with Sarah's writing on the outside. Ecstasy (and not the drug)! She also included the light-as-air Merino Frappe by Crystal Palace. Any suggestions for a pattern? Thanks so much, Sarah. You've given me wings (does that mean I don't need to knit Icarus now?).

Lace Swap Goodies

I shall now call August my favorite month--the wonderful thoughtfulness of new friends keeps rolling in! I received a package from the Netherlands, and I thought, "Hey, I haven't ordered from Astrid (MUST have her new Opal Hundertwasser), what's this?" It was a lovely package from the generous and wonderful ZhiWen. Three lace patterns, beautiful green Opal, Artisan NZ Merino Laceweight in Ocean color. Everything in the package was color-coordinated. Dutch candies--triple yummy goodness, fresh loose tea (must find my tea strainer), cute soap that smells good, a sweet handmade card and stitchmarkers that she made. Does this girl's talent know no bounds? I was so excited to see the Artisan NZ yarn. I just found it for the first time when I went to Massachusetts and bought myself a skein. I love it. I'm looking forward to finishing my current projects and starting something for me. Do you find you end up knitting for everyone else? Lately I have. And I'm glad to, but I'm looking forward to this special treat. I love everything, ZhiWen. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better! And you have a standing invitation to Chicago!

KSKS is a Success!

Another surprise waiting for me when I got home from Maine was the package from Michigan from my KSKS pal, Dawn. I am so touched by all the wonderful things she managed to squeeze into one box. First, she sent a beautiful hand knit sock bag in my fwaybit (how ABC used to say favorite) color. It's too cute! Then she included a lovely handwritten letter telling me where in Northern Michigan she had purchased each and every treat. It made me feel close to my beloved UP (Upper Peninsula). As you can see, she showered me with goodies--Trekking (yum); not one but FIVE sock patterns, a very cool accessory kit with stitch markers (YAY!), highlighters, a Chibi, emery boards, scissor and handmade fob (LOVE IT!). She gave me needles and a needle sizer thingy and a crochet hook, soap for me and my knits, M&Ms and the piece de resistance--MACKINAC ISLAND FUDGE!!! Read it and weep folks--it's mine. I have it hidden in the freezer with a sign that says "Rat Poison." And it's the best fudge I've ever had, and I make pretty good fudge. Dawn, you are a wonderful pal. Thanks for making me feel so special.

OSSP Revealed

The secret's out. THE best OSSP has made herself known, and she is Wendy of Intertwinement! What serendipity! Long have I drooled over her Katydid yarn. She sent the final OSSP package with a darling handknit purse (lined even! zipper too!), some of her wonderful yarn (Portrait of a Man--scroll to the bottom of screen), some more of her wonderful earrings, lip balm, soap that smells good, good, good, and a beautiful zebra print scarf. Wendy, you have made my summer beautiful; I'm so glad for the OSSP swap because it means I got to know you!

No, YOU'RE an Angel!

One of my favorite parts of this summer has been participating in swaps. And Lynne knows how to host a great one! She asked for an angel to help out one sad swapper whose pal pooped out, so I said yes. Trust me, I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. Lynne said she'd send me a "little" package as a thank you. And look what was waiting for me when I got home from Maine! Lynne filled a box with yarny goodness and treats. I love the bag, the great cotton yarn, the cute necklace and the fun shoes (which I forgot to include in the picture). Thanks, Lynne. You are a sweetie! I'm so glad you hosted this swap so I had a chance to get to know you. And I'll be your swap pal partner any time!

Yarn!

Look what arrived on my doorstep from Susie. Sock yarn called "Picnic," and it looks just like a watermelon! Love it Snooze.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blast from the Past--yep, yep

Yep yep - Sesame Street Martians Thanks to Eve for the link.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More Genius from CCC

Here's this weekend's video from my church. I copied it from the Creative Arts Director's blog. Puppet Tears

Thought for Today

I've been thinking today about a quote from the modern-day martyr Jim Elliot. He once said, "Wherever you are, be 100% there."* It sounds almost cheesy in its simplicity, but it's for me. So often I'm present physically but absent mentally or spiritually--stewing or planning or imagining. I pay half attention to my life and wonder why it's passing me by. Just for today then, moment by moment, I will strive to be 100% present. I may find that I like it. Doubtful, but I'll try anyway. *As I looked for this quote on the internet, I found this article. It fits perfectly with Elliot's thoughts. Who am I? Why am I here? If I know that, then it's easier to be present in my life.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Back in Action

There is knitting going on Chez Bluey. I have one prayer shawl done and another about halfway finished. I have to weave in ends and wash the first one, and it will be packed off to someone near and dear just diagnosed with breast cancer. The next one will go to my church's prayer shawl ministry. And there will be pictures! My camera arrived today, thanks to my lovely and organized cousin Sha. She's wonderful. She even used snack food instead of popcorn to protect the camera. You gotta love a woman like that. And I do. Here's one picture from the vacay. I knit a felted bag for the family silent auction, and my cousin Janet the knitter is the one who ended up winning it. I used a combo of Lite Lopi and Galway. It felted nicely, but that Lite Lopi is super hairy!

Is it just me?

Or was Pirates of the Caribbean part 2 a dud? I took the kids to see it yesterday, and I remember at one point feeling as though I had been conscripted to serve Davy Jones forever--devolving one barnacle (ew, ew, ew) at a time into nothing. I had to watch through half-closed eyes most of the time not to see the disgusting crewmates on the Flying Dutchman (gag, retch). I thought the plot lagged, the characters didn't connect, and the twists seemed contrived. The redeeming qualities were the goofy pirate duo (is that Gareth from BBC's The Office with the glass eye that keeps popping loose?), the voodoo priestess, Geoffrey Rush (even though on screen for only one second--LOVE that man), the three-way sword fight, and last, and most--Commodore Norrington. Even drunk and filthy, he's hot. It's cleary a segue movie to part three, and I suppose that I'll have to see it because I can't resist a man in uniform--even if it's dirty (the uniform, not the movie).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cats

Here's a fun blog: Cats me if you can And here's the cat age/years chart. 8 months =13 years 1 year=10 years 2 years=24 years 3 years=28 years 4 years=32 years 6 years=40 years 8 years=48 years 10 years =56 years 12 years =64 years 14 years =72 years 16 years =80 years 18 years =88 years 20 years =96 years 21 years =100 years 22 years =104 years Velvet (aka Mr. Kitty) is now older than I am; he's 50ish.

November, the fairest month

Your Birth Month is November
Tolerant and inspirational, you are wise beyond your years. You are universally sympathetic and a great humanitarian. Your soul reflects: Compassion, friendship, and secret love Your gemstone: Citrine Your flower: Chrysanthemum Your colors: Dark blue, red, and yellow
I figured it was going to say I was a bitch. Isn't that what most Scorpios are?

Alone

There is the quiet of getting up first in the morning. Your family is still sleeping, and so is the sun, and you feel like you have a secret. There is special anticipation and promise. Then there's the quiet of evening, when the world is again asleep, but you can peacefully unwind the day and look at it piece by piece. And then there's the quiet of being alone for the first time because your kids are at your ex-husband's house for their visit. The silence is not as friendly and welcoming; it feels heavier, aloner. I have decided to sit here alone and face the quiet. I will not run to Barnes & Noble in search of a book and the random company of strangers or to the LYS to buy more yarn and meet with knitting friends or to my imagination to meet with one of my Harlequinesque heroes. I will feel the pain of missing my kids (newly gone) and my marriage (long gone). I might even cry, even though I haven't done that for a long time. But I will feel and not hide. I think of the words of Rich Mullins, "It's okay to be lonely as long as you're free." I want to be free--of anger and guilt and obsession and regret. So I'm alone, because I have to be, and I need to be, and I even a little bit want to be. And I'm lonely, but it's okay.

Swap Update

Now that I'm back from vacay, I need to get my swap packages sent out. But let me tell you what a treat it was to come home from Maine and have not one, not two, but THREE packages waiting for me! BIG thanks to my OSSP for her final package which rocks. And thanks to Lynne for sending me a Colorswap package as a thank you for playing angel to someone whose pal couldn't follow through. And last, but certainly not least, a package from my KSKS pal. Awesome. Lots of pics coming soon. My camera is on its way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More Maine-age

For you, Tammany, because you are a Mainiac.

Today's Challenge

How's this for a challenge? "If we pray for anything according to the will of God, we already have what we pray for the moment we ask it. We do not know exactly when it will arrive; but we have learned to know God through the Spirit of God, and have learned to leave this in His hands, and to live just as happily whether the answer arrives immediately or later." O. Hallesby . . . to live just as happily whether the answer arrives immediately or later . . . wow.

Sale!!!

As anyone with Bloglines knows, when you get behind, you might as well give up--it's swimming upstream, baby, and I ain't a swimmer. But I dutifully am reading headlines at least, out of some misdirected sense of guilt. I could mark them "all read," and no one would ever know. Granted, I'd miss out on the forty-eight contests that Chris has managed to find and win before I ever got there, but I'm just sayin'. I didn't cheat, though, and here's my prize (and yours too.) Counting Mermaids is having a sale! Poor dear has lost her job and is lowering her Etsy shop prices to move her merch. Stop by her blog and give her encouragement and buy some of her fun yarn. She's incredibly creative. I love the superhero/villian themes in her yarn. Best wishes to you as you plan your next steps Miss Mermaid!

Giving Me Fits

Thanks to all you nice folks who are leaving comments. I'm trying to respond, but if I don't already have your email address, Blogger is not letting me back into my posts to retrieve your info. Feel free to drop me an email, and that way I can respond. I'm not ignoring you, I promise! I lurv getting comments; it's like Christmas every time I check my email. Love you guys and gals.

Art With a Message

I can't get out of my head a quote from my pastor's blog (scroll down to August 12th posting). He attended Willow Creek's Leadership Summit (hosted in part at our church) and heard Bono of U2 interviewed. I am so blown away by this thought: "Duality is the mark of really great art and it's what is missing in Christian art. It's missing the tension that is missing...the attempt to wrestle truth to the ground is often absent." There's not much to say after that, only that we are drawn to art--in all its forms--that deals with our struggle between light and dark. I would say that art that contains only darkness is just as lopsided as art that contains only light. If we present only the happy ending to the story, no one can relate. Most of us haven't reached that yet. We dwell in the midst of life with sorrow and joy, and our art must reflect that. Look at the Bible; it's the least squeaky clean book there is. God doesn't sugar coat the darkness and the struggle of man; he lays it out for all to see and then gives hope. Christian art--to be truly art as Bono said--must follow that lead. The ugly coexists with the beautiful, the broken with the healed, and we know at the core of our selves that walking in darkness is what draws us to the light

What I Did on My Summer Vacation part 2

Watched the sunrise on Cape Porpoise, Maine. And renewed my habit of getting up early, which I plan to continue. I love the quiet alone time of early morning. It's different than the quiet alone time of night--it holds so much promise.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I thought very seriously about buying this. You wouldn't believe how many Addis I bought half price. And yarn . . . pictures to come.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

and I am not that something. I love the walls in New England. If I stopped to take a picture of every one I saw and loved, I'd never get anywhere and cause untold numbers of accidents. In keeping with the theme of neutrals for Project Spectrum August, may I present my wall montage . . .

Inspiration comes in many forms

My family has the coolest reunions. One thing we did this year at the reunion is have a museum of family things. Here's a picture of the quilt my great-grandmother (Grammy Golding) made as a wedding gift for the first child in the family to marry (my Grampy Otis). Then he and my Nana gave it to their first child to marry (Aunt Eunice and her husband Chuck), who then in turn gave it to their first child to marry (cousin Sharon and her husband Terry). Aside from being used as a paint drop cloth at some point, it's still in wonderful shape. I'm inspired to knit a log cabin quilt following the fade from light to dark in this quilt. It isn't as obvious in person, but the flash made the light colors pop. In front of the quilt is my great-aunt Blanche's wedding dress. It is more than seventy-five years old, and still in beautiful condition. Lillian and Burn's daughter Sharon (the other Sharon) brought the dress and her mom's wedding shoes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back. Safe. Home. Again.

I was in Maine, and when I get my camera back that I left there, I'll prove it. I do have some photos from my memory card (I managed to fill up two) which I'll share. It was a great vacation filled with beauty and family--not an oxymoron, I promise.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Do I know

how to pick my vacation days or what? My Dad just called to tell me he heard NO carryons. What will I do if I can't knit? I'm stressed out already.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On the Down Side

I'm not blogging much because August has hit with a vengeance. We are making sure backpacks are adequately filled with well-labeled school supplies, that jeans and shirts aren't too stained or too holey or too short, that forms are filled out and returned. The season of school is upon us. Add to that the season of football and a quickly approaching trip back East for a family reunion and the busyness never ends. And biggest of all, the news that my husband is moving out next week. It's been a long time coming, but my kids were completely blindsided. The reality hits like a tsunami, even when I've been steeling myself for years. Crazy Aunt Purl's words sound familiar. Why haven't I mentioned it before? Pick a reason: I come from New England stock (enough said); it's humiliating; I've tried to treat him the way I'd like to be treated. Next steps? Only God knows, but I'm watching out for my kids, trying to get some time to think, and praying--lots of that. On the up side? There's been lots of knitting. I just haven't taken any pictures of it. Oh, and lots of frogging. Even fewer pictures of that. All that to say this: blogging will be spotty to partly nonexistant in August as we travel (not sure if I'll have internet), start school and I learn to live on a much tighter budget. I'll be back though. You can't keep a redhead down.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Project Spectrum Inspiration

My brother was in Milwaukee for a business trip, so I sped up the road to meet him for dinner. Even though it was officially a million degrees outside, we decided to walk to Lake Michigan which was only a few blocks from his hotel. There's some crazy beautiful architecture in downtown Millywaukay. And we were the only people enjoying it. Either it was too hot, or those Wisconsinites roll up their sidewalks at 5 p.m. There was nothing open. Weird. I got some great inspiration from the buildings, though. And my brother, as ever, is funny, smart and charming. Love you, Nature Jay.

Stitches Midwest Update

Thanks to Marji for reminding me. Only those signed up to take classes at Stitches can shop in the Marketplace on Thursday. I thought about taking the Lace class they have on Thursday--sounds wonderful. But we leave for Maine at six o'clock the next morning, and I know I'd be crazy to try to. So it looks like I'll have to save Stitches for next year. Boo hoo. Have fun those of you who are going! And fondle Socks That Rock for me, will you?

Project Spectrum for August

The theme this month is Neutrals. I love what Marji said--"red is the new black and pink is the new beige." With that in mind, I think that anything goes. What defines neutral? Is it my ambivalence toward a color? Does that make it neutral? I shall have to do some research. Here's a definition I found here: The neutral colors of black, white, silver, gray, and brown make good backgrounds, serve to unify diverse color palettes, and also often stand alone as the only or primary focus of a design. Neutral colors help to put the focus on other colors or serve to tone down colors that might otherwise be overpowering on their own. To some extent blacks, browns, tans, golds, and beige colors are considered warm. While white, ivory, silver, and gray are somewhat cooler colors. Yet these warm and cool attributes are flexible and more subtle than that of reds or blues. I like that--the colors of unity. Nice way to end Project Spectrum.

Finishing up Project Spectrum July

Here is the big purple project I managed to finish in July. It's for my KSKS pal. I have purple yarn, but it isn't my favorite color. I was going to dye the yarn, but I wanted to jump in and start knitting. So I decided to KoolAid dye it when I was finished knitting. I'm happy with how it turned out--sort of a tie-dye, splatter paint effect. I will definitely try it again. Amanda has great instructions on her website for microwave KoolAid dyeing. The pattern is the Small Bucket Bag purchased at Fringe. Here are some photos of the process and the product: