Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day

I love a good snow day. Love Love Love! Having said that, a good snow day by my definition is one where you don't have to go outside. For any reason, even to shovel if you don't want to--- and I did not.

Only 4 inches on the ground, more powdery stuff coming so why in the world go out to shovel when you're just going to have to do it again. This is my motto and I'm sticking to it!

It's also lovely when you can work from home, have been to the grocery store and have M&M's in the house for medicinal purposes. I'm in the middle of an artsy fartsy project for the studio involving the website, a new blog background, and a totally new project so my mind is pudding. What do people do with pudding brains when they do not knit, quilt, or have creative pursuits that allow them time for unwinding?

And there is the sweater back in all of her cabley goodness. See, she does look somewhat like an afghan. This is the point at which the instructions say to bind off for the back and it isn't nearly long enough. So on I go. Just not today.

A couple of hours were spent working on the quilt---- and catching up on podcasts. Today I listened to the last two Cast On (love me some Brenda) and feeling totally away from the world. The block(s) above are in the blue tones, there are 4 blue blocks in the mix.

It's starting to snow again------------ so pretty when you're inside!

The red blocks are laid out and ready to pin together and stitch. Five red blocks and once they are done it will be time to lay out the quilt and bind.

Boy dog Prince seems to like the green blocks, I think he would like a quilt for himself! :)

When I'm in the sewing room especially I make lists for myself. The air is clearer in there or something, I can work out the problems of the world when I come back to it but I have to write down those errant thoughts or they'll be gone. Normally I have a cute little notepad that catches the mind dribbles but the last time I was in there on a mission, it was nowhere to be found. I did scribble on a loose piece of paper and today when I looked at what I was sure was going to be wonderful and inspirational I found two words. Skirt/Underpants. I'm still perplexed to say the least! I do not routinely USE the word underpants and why I was having a thought so earthshaking about them and a skirt as to write them down----- still escapes me.

I circled it in a red pen hoping that the creative muses might sneak in while I'm sleeping and jot a note as to what the great thought was in the first place.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Knitting, Quilting, Cookies, and Brides

Thanks to everyone who so sweetly popped out an email to send virtual hugs regarding my brother and his need for a liver transplant. Very sweet, and Very appreciated! He is still sort of in denial and the rest of the family continues to be in shock. We're a tough bunch, we will prevail.

It is Monday, pre-snow storm and post-wedding show. So in the aftermath of a crazy show (including the setting up-taking down-putting away) and my inability to string together words today, life seems to be a hodgepodge. We met a lot of brides yesterday and the calendar in the studio is starting to fill up with appointments. I am happy to say that most of the brides we met do not fall into the overly needy and/or psycho column. Hope springs eternal!

I've still (STILL!!) not bound off the back of the sweater and it is OKAY. Really. Even though I really really really want to cast on for "Armay" knit in Latitude from Berroco.

It is just crazy cute----- love the t-back, and oversized look, it would be really adorable over a summer t and some jeans.

The front is cute too, simple, like a favorite easy vest. LOVE this pattern---- and the yarn is pretty cool too!

Regardless------- the cabled cardi marches on. I'll knit the front next and then both sleeves before finishing with the back. I do have concerns about the boxyness---- the bigness. After my last three sweaters having some waist shaping, the back of this sort of looks like an afghan! :)

The joys of working from home (so I can stay off of the weathery roads and shovel for the most part) mean that in between handling work and brides I can knit a bit and quilt a bit and bake a bit.

Warm gooey traditional chocolate chip cookies and a cup of tea............. any takers?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bits and Pieces

It may always be the big things that get the attention of the world and garner acclaim but it remains the small things that define a life.

Around the studio (aka the daily grind of work and brides), things are busy as the great annual clean out and organize has almost been completed. Imagine cleaning out your closet at home times 12, and without the joy of finding a pair of cerulean peep-toe slingbacks you thought you had lost! Always a necessary evil that feels good when it is over and always brings about a huge flush of even greater creativity and accomplishment. It seems not only fair but wonderful that when moutains need to be moved to storage or taken out to the trash that the weather has been mild and delightful. Now, if I could really and truly find those pumps things would be splendid!

As one of those things that makes you remember what is important in life, and great or small causes reflection and a stir to some sort of action was my news on Wednesday. It seems my brother has had a crisis of health and will require a liver transplant. Big stuff indeed. He is six months away from even making the transplant list and I am terribly worried.My note to self remains that no matter what your plans are from planning a wedding to building a family, from running a business to punching the clock-- life is precious and short. Extremely precious and extraordinarily short. As always, count your blessings... and pass one on.

On the knit front, I have to laugh at myself (again). As I approached what I thought was the very last row of the back of the cardigan and giddy with glee prepared to bind off--- thank heavens I checked the instructions again. I have absolutely no idea why I decided it was time to bind off or where the number stuck in my head came from. The ugly truth is that I still have about 3 1/2 inches to go before that back is done and I can move on. I've finished the first big fat yarn cake of Cascade Eco and have to say that I am very impressed with the yarn itself! In all of the yardage (a considerable 478 yards!!) there was not one knot, thin spot, ugly spun-bit, and only one tiny almost not worth mentioning piece of vegetation hung in the fiber. I continue to love to knit the sheepy goodness of Eco all the while wishing the back of the sweater was done!

Speaking of the back of the sweater, a funny story from a new knit group this past Tuesday evening. There I sat knitting away with my cable needle in my mouth as usual and darling Yoel innocently asked a question. I will preface the comment by telling you that Yoel is not only incredibly prolific in her knitting but very petite. She looked across the table at my cardi on the needles and asked if I was knitting the back AND SIDES of the cardigan. ACK!!!! No dearest, this is the back only, the back of a sweater for a woman of size enough not to now (or ever) be called petite! The entire (quite funny) exchange does point up the main reason why dear Yoel manages to knit a darling fair isle cardigan in two weeks. Your Barbie could wear it, really! :)

Instead of brides and knitting this weekend in the traditional sense I'll be working a wedding show. It's always fun to meet tons of people but there is absolutely no knitting or creating of any sort that takes place and by the time it is all over I'm just too worn out to do much but sit in peace and quiet and drool on myself.

Instead, I should Get Knittin'................ those 3 1/2 inches of the back of the sweater are not going to knit themselves!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can

Like many Americans and much of the world the TV at the studio was tuned to the mornings events as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America. No email was answered, no phone calls taken, it was not work as usual but time to revel in the feeling that this is indeed Day One, that the world has moved on and that we are a nation that is fully embued with hope and ready to get to the work of love. Wasn't it inspiring and wonderful to hear the word "love" used during the day to mean that we can move past those who have said in the past the word "can't" much more than can and that love is impossible to create as a nation. It is not to be said that the work ahead is easy, or that love will come easily, nor will it conquer all. Hard work lies ahead for us all but it begins with love.

And you know as a gathering of creative and intelligent people we know full well, it IS all about the LOVE------ let's celebrate it. Dance in it, revel in the day and party together.

Yes, we can! And what better a time to say count your blessings and pass one on.


As President Obama said, "We have chosen hope".


Monday, January 19, 2009

TV Knitting-----

I've pretty much decided that I need to watch more TV. And it is the kind of tv that I need to give some attention to........... not zone out while I cable, or seed, or knit in any manner if the truth be told. I need more hours in the day if I am to work and knit/quilt! Like 24 hours a day to catch up and keep caught up. And the funny thing is that normally I am not a TV head at all!!! Good grief there is a busy studio to run and brides to take extraordinarily good care of----- is there no sense of decency that Jack is back? After almost two years 2*4 is back with a vengeance and I'm hooked! Or that Miss A*merica is this Friday night (brownies and beer, here I come)---- or even that I am three weeks behind on On*e Life to L*ive? It is not a secret that I have loved the Red C*arpet shows from the big award shows since the days my daughter and I held court in the king sized with popcorn to throw and fun to be had. I believe I had a cocktail or two but that is beside the point. Lately we've had the G*olden G*lobes which were great (and what WAS R*enee Zell*weiger wearing???) and others to follow rapidly on their heels. Another poorly kept secret is my love for A*merican I*dol (Love me some almost local boy David C*ook!)------ and this year promises to be a great season!

New to love is F*ringe, and then there is Big*gest L*oser, shall we add A*mazing R*ace, or C*elebrity A*pprentice? Puh-leeze! Gray's and Private and N*ip T*uck........... sigh. What is a girl to do??????? I haven't mentioned my deep love for Ina and Nigella------ and that the Housewives and Brother*s and Sisters are must see's.

Up next------ woo hoo the C*ardinal's are heading to the S*uperbowl, and may B*altimore fans forgive me I'm glad they aren't making the trip. I must confess as much as it is sometimes fun to meet new brides and their families at the plethora of wedding shows on the schedule this time of year, I am very glad that there is not a wedding show coming up this Sunday so I can watch the game with family and friends. And eat wings. Oh, and drink beer. I will probably KNIT too!


The funny thing is that with the TV I do love and watch (even when I have to fly through on TiVo), I don't watch many of the crazy bride shows. They've gotten ridiculous and too far over the top to be anything but wildly annoying to me. I get enough of that crap at work.... y'know? :)

Now where is my remote?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So what comes even close to taking off an afternoon on the spur of the moment on a Tuesday for heaven's sake in order to go to the movies and have a leisurely stroll through a shishi mall? Not much. We saw "M*ilk" and if you haven't seen it run don't walk---- it was nothing short of outstanding!! Afterward while doing the aforementioned stroll, the windows of P*ottery Barn called my name. They were bathed in the yummiest and sunniest yellow, it looked so fresh and warm and happy---------- wonderful really. I have the urge to paint something in the house that very same yellow. I won't................ but that does not mean that the yearning is not there!

Onward I knit............... more I work................... and brides, have I mentioned that they are driving me nearly to distraction? Surely a more needy bunch has yet to be created! While I am (if I don't mind saying so) quite good at the care of this special breed, it is a good thing that pointy objects are nowhere in sight lately.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hot Chai and a Straight Backed Chair

I think I've consumed enough Chai tea to be spicy from the inside out, and have given up both the sofa and my beloved chaise for a straight backed dining room chair with no arms. Not as comfortable as either of the aforementioned to be sure but ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...... the relief. I can get up and down without incredible pain and can actually sit for longer than 10 minutes without needing to shift position. Much better! I'm off any sort of drugs from simple to wahoo and can even get out of the bathtub without assistance. (It is the little things in life I'm telling you!!!)

It's been helpful knit-wise for sure--- IF the sweater in progress HAD armholes, that is where I am now. I have a photo of the wip ages ago............. it seems sort of silly to post the old thing. Has been y'know. I've decided with the help of many great sages that visit the blog that some sort of repair must be done to the errant cables and I think that I'll choose (thanks Francis) Yarn Harlot's cheater fix which involves a bit of yarn wrangling and 'painting' sort of dupe stitch wise. Should be just fine but not something I'll try just yet. Still LOVING this sweater, such a satisfying blend of cables and seed and diamonds, just yummy. And the Cascade Eco? I'm still madly in love with it too!

But, while I have not been doing the sit and knit thing, I have been able to stand and maneuver in the sewing room. (Sigh with delight inserted here!)

I shamefully admit that the quilt in progress (above) has been two and a half years in the making. And it isn't like it is hard or anything geez. I bought a fab kit when I went to Paducah that many years ago and it sort of putters along a block at a time here and there. I'm on the home stretch fueled by my mad desire to have this quilt ON my bed by spring. That includes time to have that bad boy sent off for machine quilting of course, if left to my own devices it will still be only a quilt top when I'm in the home. The fabrics are great, the colorway goes from red to green to blue, starry of sorts (see the pattern in the background?) While I do love hand applique, this is done by machine using the invisible method--- freezer paper, fabric glue, invisible thread and a snip along the way.

And on the quilt front I'm clearly as bad as I am on the knit front because I have already added project number three in back of the quilt on the table right now. (Number two is Jelly Stars from Fig Tree). I was going through the second chest of drawers making room for company and came across this fabric bundle. Serendipity, I'd completely forgotten about it too! Gorgeous, wonderful colors and the spirit is so happy without being too cutesy.

Work putters along, two new brides on the books in the past two weeks--- definitely a good thing. Neither of them knit, OR quilt................ what are these young women coming to anyway?? I need the normally slow season to hit a higher gear, having just replaced the ignitors on my V*iking to the tune of $400.00 (gulp), my yarn and fabric budget just hit empty.

Maybe I should go make some very expensive cupcakes in my 'new' oven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Conundrum and The Knitting Bride

So it was a decision made of agony. The biggest lesson learned is not to knit under the influence of supah-drugs. Not worth it! :) While I chipped away during my back pain on my sweater, a row here a row there, apparently I didn't look at it in progress. Or saw it through glazed eyes of madness. Or something. Because Sunday, lo and behold there it was............rows back, the simple cables had reversed direction. The cables look great below, as well as above. But there in the past was the cable that was the culprit. Damn and double damn. The second cable above the ribbing. Now mind you, I knit the ribbing (never my favorite) three times until it pleased me, and then I knit to the second cable once and frogged back to knit a size smaller as it was huge, really huger than huge. I was 29 rows in. Decision time. Agony time. I took the sweater to knit group and dear RMS said in part that you'd really never notice it. I mean a KNITTER would, but really, most people wouldn't. It was on the back. If it would make me crazy rip it out. Would it? Hmmmmm. Leonora of perfectionist fame said you'd be crazy not to frog the sweater to the ribbing and begin again. Just as I decided to rip back, a calm came over me and I decided to soldier on.

There are perfectionists out there and I have decided that I am not one of them. Will the twisty spot bother me to the point that I will hate the sweater? Nope. Does this mean that I am a lazy or sloppy knitter? Nope again.

What I have learned is twofold during this calamity. First is that it is not a calamity at all. It is knitting and I knit for peace and sanity and the joy of it. Soldiering on, in THIS instance anyway is okey dokey. For me---------- maybe not for you. And that is the bigger okay of it all.

Remember it has not been that long since I have determined to be a calmer knitter this year, a calmer creative soul in all endeavors. That includes not getting crazy if I don't crank out a sweater in 3 weeks, or a quilt in 4. I'm trying to be kinder to myself in not only this part of my life but in others as well. So far so good I think.

I've also decided that I still love Alexi----- it is a lovely sweater knit of wonderful yarn and I am enjoying the process (even drugged apparently). And I am more than likely not going to get it finished in any sort of record time nor will I probably get to enjoy it much this season, if at all. And that is OKAY. It is the process, the relaxing sit with whatever time I have to spend growing a cardigan I will hopefully own for many many years.

Even with a small faux pas, to mark the time and remember the Christmas when my back decided to go on a brief and painful hiatus............ I will revel in the knit of it.

Above is last Saturday's bride, strapless in downright cold weather, sandals too! She's rockin' the sweater.

I've also picked up a book again, and won't feel guilty about just reading it with a cup of tea, not kick myself that I am reading when I should be knitting, that the sweater will not get done not get done noooooot get done. It's okay. And should you suggest that I read while I knit I will smile and gently tell you that it just simply ain't my thang.

It's all good, and with the conundrum solved I can be peaceful about it.

Until next time that is!

Adorable bride of knitting tells me that she knits. Personally I think no self respecting knitter would not wield the circs like that but that is just my opinion! I adored this bride and her husband, I'm hoping that they set the trend for '09 brides! She was mighty cold in that little dress and it could just be that she was wishing she could wrap up in that bit of woolly goodness!

My back is pretty good and feel as if I am actually back on top of things both work and domestic. It's been hard fought I'm telling you! All things Christmas are put neatly away in their appropriate place, and the house is even clean. Most happily of all I find that I am able to get work done and remember what I was doing and when......... well for the most part anyway. I'm still pacing myself just because. I might even get some knitting done later, or not!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Up and (almost) running!

Whew............. I made it through a long day of work yesterday, we started with our bride at 10:30 a.m. and rolled in at 11:15 p.m. With much care and more than a few Aleve it was all good. Don't get me wrong, I definitely did not have the flexibility that I should have, and didn't push anything. Getting down on the ground to fluff a dress or smooth a veil was kind of dicey. No one seemed to have known that I've been down for the count so I count that as a victory.

It's a bit overwhelming to know that today is the 4th of January and the Christmas decorations are still up, depressing really. Never in my life have I had anything up past the first. That task looms large but I have guests coming tomorrow evening so in all reality getting things completely down is not going to happen. (Remember, I'm on the pace yourself plan!) No doubt I can get everything down outside and with luck can pull down the rest of it-- minus the tree-- by tomorrow afternoon.

Have you ever noticed that when all of the Christmas comes down there seems to be more cleaning to do behind it all? Me too, kind of depressing if you ask me!

The backstory is that as I get things set to right there won't be much accomplished on the quilt in progress or the sweater for that matter. I'm learning that it is not a race! Although it feels like one, I'm not going to let the uber productiveness of knitters and quilters around me to make me feel like a slug nor am I going to let it stress me out. I refuse to call it a resolution of any sort, I mean why set yourself up for failure and frustration! Instead I'll try a very laid back approach when it comes to creative pursuits.

In the meantime as I finally give some thought to fresh starts and watch the new year begin to unfold I thought a new look for the blog might give me a little perk.

I'll be venturing out to knit with the ladies today for the first time in what seems like forever. Hopefully I can sit and enjoy for more than half an hour before having to change positions. If not, it'll be okay, no stress, right?

So far.............................................. so good.