Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bag of Bones

So there the bag sits, in bones as it were. Waiting for the next decision to be made, and quite frankly I don't seem in any hurry to make it!

I've always had a love of garment and accessory construction as well as design. When I was in college I majored in Apparel Design (with a minor in FOOD of course!) and to my sadness never did anything with it professionally. Over the years my ability to sew and eye for design has been what has kept me clothed in the lean years, and what made me smile throughout.

Designing bags, totes and carry-alls has always been a joy and my approach has been akin to draping garments. In garment draping, on a mannequin you use the actual fabric (or a muslin) to drape the style onto the dress form. The pattern stage actually comes after the draping. When I create a bag I generally use this technique albeit tweaked for practicality. I sketch, and cut a paper pattern. The paper pattern is pinned or glued together and things like size, form, proportion and the like are checked. The next step is to go to the 'bones', or in the case of the bag I'm currently working on (and many of my bags) the bag is cut out of a very stiff interfacing.
That is the stage the bag is at now. I've tweaked it a bit, removing some of the top of the bag (folded over in the photo) so the proportions are better and access to the bag is easier. From here it will be a matter of re-drawing the paper pattern, cutting two layers of interfacing, the padding, and the fabric and lining. The construction will follow in a haze of furrowed brows, pins adorning my clothing and a pencil in my hair. What will be born on the other end will hopefully be a smashing bag for knitting, one that is chic and yet able to carry even a bulky sweater in progress. I keep thinking Etsy, and never get there!

My Cable Luxe is about 2 inches short of finishing the front and moving on to the sleeves so I will NEED this bag! As it is knit all in one piece, it has passed the easily portable phase some time ago.

Fabric choice is the last decision actually and I really can't decide. I've been through quite a few contenders and think I have it narrowed down to two choices--- both VERY different.

This reflects my love of leopard. I would use 75 percent leopard and the vintage inspired floral for the bottom 25%.

The second, and quite opposite in feeling, combination is a Japanese themed fabric mixed with one that has the look of French handwriting on a mottled background--- with a bit of metallic.

Opinions always appreciated!

We're expecting snow here, and quite a lot of it by the sound of the ever droning voices of the weatherfolk. Perhaps 8 inches. This Florida/Hawaii girl is less than enchanted with a great deal of snow. I love to look at it but I am the Snow Removal Personnel. I'd be a lousy Canadian. Thankfully I'll be working from home until tomorrow afternoon when we'll be photographing our engaged couples having snowball fights. Easy enough. By the time I get to bride wrangling on Saturday, hopefully the snow will have cleared a bit.

Here comes the snow, I'll put the kettle on..............

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love Makes a Day?

I don't know if it is knowing that February is around the corner bringing with it Cupid, hearts and flowers and all things red and pink or something else fluttering around but love continues to be on my mind. Interesting comments were posted and I received some really thought provoking emails on the subject as well. I love the thought that love and relationships are all about the comfort and warmth with a bit of the razzle dazzle, and that we can't keep expecting love to be the thing that stands our hair on end for years at a time, certainly without working at it. You know what I think? I think it is about both what we WANT and what we SETTLE for. We want fireworks and passion, but the practical side of us knows full well that this level of intensity requires a heckuva lot of work.... maybe more than we have the energy for. And let's face it, when you are just flat out puredee pooped, passion and romance are fairly low on the list! There is one thing I know for sure---- what you put in comes back. Try to make a favorite dish for dinner and deliver something unexpected with a smile and see what returns to you. Sometimes I think you can even bring in a cup of coffee with a giant smile that has not bee asked for and see the reflected smile and pleasure from your sig-other. By the same token if you are busy, rushed or pressured and don't put in the extra effort, you're likely to be without any of the love perks.

Maybe we need to accept that love is what we make it. So what are you making today?

I spent the majority of married life (past life I add) being the quintessential wife. I cooked, I cleaned, I raised kids, and I did it all pretty much solo for 2/3 of the month. I was Mom, I was Dad and I smiled about it. I was quite good at it. When I was called upon to be wife, I dropped everything else, and I mean everything. I still believe that in a relationship SOMEBODY has to be the one that keeps the home fires burning. I realize that this is a very Donna Reed or June Cleaver concept, but I hold it to be the very core of truth. One of two people need to be the one running the vacuum, keeping the house neat and tidy, the refrigerator stocked and meals prepared. Laundry? Done! Ironing? Taken care of. Bits and pieces of domesticity need to be done, and be done well and consistently. It really doesn't matter who does them, and roles can change if need be as long as the final product is a place where creativity can flourish, and life can be all things cozy. I know in my own life that when the laundry is piled up, the fridge is bare and the lawn needs to be mowed, there is no space in my life to find comfort, happiness, or be creative. Now? I still believe that when the house isn't clean, there is minimal functionality (at least for me) and I do try to make time for relationship, to create the happy. It does seem that past the initial flush and quiver of love that you do reap what you sow.

Do you think that is an antiquated notion? Is your best functionality and happiness when you are enjoying domestic bliss----- not the love as much as the comfort? Something of course that you can do for yourself, depending not on someone else at all.

On the subject of happiness ==== Thank you SO much Jenny Girl for the very sweet comment on the blog. I've seen the "Make My Day Award" around the blogosphere lately and it was enormously kind of you to extend it to me! Your'e right, it did make my day! It is another one of those things we as human beings, and creative people need--- we need to feel appreciated and as if the work of our hands matters to other kindred spirits.

There are apparently some rules to adhere to. If nothing else lambchop, I am a Rules Girl! “Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

10 blogs that bring me happiness???? That is very hard to do! As most creative sorts, time is a treasured and yet limited quantity so the blogs I read are usually those that are thought provoking, bring pleasure, are creative, and make my day more enjoyable. After a bit of consideration I'd have to say that I'd award a "Make My Day Award" (in no particular order at all) to:

Jenni's blog is warm and sunny atAlum Creek
Dana at New Leaf Design makes me smile with her creativity and love of all things artistic
Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage is funny, warm, generous and did I say funny?
The Runcible Bin is a slice of joyful domestic bliss, thanks Mrs. Lear!
Berroco Design Studio--Norah Gaughan, what can you say? Sheer inspiration!
Sheri at the Loopy Ewe, shopping therapy, real life warmth and more always make me smile!
Bari J.--- as advertised, a journal of creative inspiration! And the handbags...... ahhhhhhh.....
Pam Kitty Morning is the quilter I'd love to spend time with over coffee
Cream Puffs in Venice--- wow talk about domestic bliss! Beautiful, gorgeous FOOD!
Lolly Knitting Around, how can you not just adore the wonderful Lolly?
Holly Holderman and Lakehouse Fabric holds court at the Holly Blog, love it!

Now----- create a slice of love today!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Socks Off- Cupcakes On

Yay----- they are off the needles! Soaked (and they bled a rusty red for quite a bit---) and blocked. Super soft now too!

Nothing elaborate but the final bit of take it and go knitting. Simple socks done on DPN's. Easy as pie and quite comforting to knit. I wish I remembered what the yarn is!

The furry leg in the upper left is not human. Really. Prince sees a camera and thinks that it must be time to record his handsomeness! I did shave my legs today and they looked ALMOST as bad as Prince's. I could not remember the last time I took care of that little detail and when it gets to that point, it must be past time. I used to shave my legs EVERY DAY. Now I think of all the time I have saved up! If you say that shaving your legs every day is ten minutes---- think of the accumulation of time down the drain! Literally! I can save over an hour a week!!!! HA!

Because I no longer live with a man (which is working out quite well actually)--- I find that I get pretty lazy about the whole hair removal thing. Except my armpits and well, furry pits are just sort of gross to me. Legs? During the winter I almost don't know they're there so it occurs to me less. Push had met shove and it was time to mow them. The funny thing is that I think I have forgotten how because I took a couple of nips out of my ankles. Maybe the razor was just rusty, that is entirely possible. I gave up todays ration of ten minutes and cut my ankles to boot!

But I digress, the socks are finished and I am ready to cast on for my new socks a la "2 at a time Socks". I just need to find a bit of quiet time to hunker down and get it done. You know, the whole thing is a matter of befuddlement to me and I think it will go better if I relax into it a bit. I'm looking forward to it! Melissa I hope you get home from Disney World soon just in case the whole thing sends me over the edge!

When I came in from the studio this evening I was compelled to bake. Not just anything but CUPCAKES. At the bridal show I worked yesterday our booth was in between a dj (can you say headache?) and my very favorite wedding cake bakery in town. They have a shop not far from the studio that sells cupcakes. Big, fat, moist, thickly frosted mountains of heavenly splendor. I looked at those cupcakes all day yesterday. I smelled them, I lusted after them. By the end of the day I wanted nothing other that to fall face down into one, preferably chocolate with smooshy vanilla cream cheese frosting. Imagine my deep sorrow when they were OUT of them and I was forced to go home empty handed! All I could think about was those cupcakes, heck I had a dream about them last night. So I did bake chocolate cupcakes from a Nigella Lawson recipe using cocoa and sour cream, and the frosting was pretty much powdered sugar and cream cheese with a little vanilla and cream thrown into the mix. I am not suffering under any illusion that eating one means an extra half hour on the treadmill tomorrow. I ate two. Ack!

In the wee hours last night I was on a tear to find my vintage palazzo pants pattern. This means some serious digging through the pattern boxes on the tip top of the closet. I am pleased to report that I did find the pattern, well aged but now fully back in style and I can't wait to make a couple of pairs. (When, I have no idea but for the moment I am operating as if I can make them up at the drop of a hat!) Going through the pattern boxes I had a hoot! There were so many really old patterns! Many were vintage, classic, timeless and wonderful! There is a pattern for a really classic Chanel style jacket that makes me smile everytime I see it. I will keep them and maybe someday use them again. But there were a few that about had me falling off my chair as I rooted through the box. Above are exhibit a and b from the Can You Believe This category. I mean it is a well known fact, this ain't my first rodeo and I've seen a few styles or two. It is not a secret that my uniform in college was a long empire waist dress made from an Indian bedspread. Really. But the patterns in the photo above???? HILARIOUS! Very thankfully I report that while I was insane enough to find them attractive enough to purchase at some time in the past I DID NOT EVER SEW THEM. What shocks me is that these patterns are still in print.

I should probably hold on to them. They might come back!!!!!!!!

Or not............................

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Faster----- Faster!!

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............. I'm knitting as fast as I can. Surrounded by innumerable interruptions (the nerve) and getting ready to go on a bride scouting expedition tomorrow (aka a bridal show)---- I'm knitting. The bridal show is thankfully only 4 hours long punctuated by packing up today, setting up tomorrow and the inevitable grab it down when the last bride has sauntered through. Dinner will be served this evening and I might even try to smile about it, but tomorrow? No, the evening meal will come after a well timed phone call is placed or something comes through the window.

As Melissa (author of Two at a Time Socks) and I keep bantering back and forth about, I am trying to get that last sock on the doubles done. She thinks I should just cast on and full steam ahead. At this point it is the principle of the thing, you know? I have about another inch and a half before starting the toe decreases so I do have every expectation that in spite of a full weekend of work they will get done. I do so love that feeling of a finished object, really when you think about it not many things feel better!

I've been thinking about love and relationships lately. I think it must be sparked by a comment at knit group last Sunday and the knowledge that I'll be toiling away while they knit bravely forward tomorrow. It could also be the fact that hearts and cupids are springing up everywhere from the cover of the Walgreen's Easy Saver Catalog to the delicious looking chocolate Valentine's Day treat on the Cover of the King Arthur's Bakers Catalog. In any case it is a well accepted fact that as you get older, you (hopefully) get wiser and with that comes a wealth of relationship experience. We've seen (and lived) love that works and love that doesn't.

Does love change to the point that it can't rebound? Is a resurrection of sorts possible when love has mutated to the place where it really doesn't have much resemblance to what it used to be? And perhaps the most important question of all is at what point do you have to see the symptoms to be able to schedule the fix? What are you willing to call love? How do you define it?

As a case in point, my ex best friend--- before she kicked me to the curb only to be run over by a bus--- had a marriage that was viewed by all as this perfect bastion of happiness. Only when you were on the inside track did you know that there was just a generally pleasant friendship there, two people that sort of respected each other living in the same house. There was not one ounce of passion, she was the worst housekeeper I've ever known and he was a bit of a blowhard who pretended he was far more successful than he was. They played hard at making things look great, that the love was to be envied. I mean, they probably slept together twice a year and for her it was duty bound. That love was, for her anyway, perfectly acceptable. I'm sure it drifted off many years ago, yet there was never any real effort to get it back on track. For her this new incarnation of love is perfectly fine, there is nothing to fix.

I have been one of those women who when faced with infidelity, the love is over. Done. And yet, there are plenty of women out there (and men) who are able to put the past behind them and move ahead to find love anew. Love for me needs to have a bit of the pitter patter, it should be as warm as a favorite sweater and yet still fresh and crisp with wow.

What do you think? Can you keep love as sharp and fresh as ever? It the fact that it mellows a bit something that happens in every case?

Enough of the sentiments of love------ in bits and pieces dibs and dabs, I knit.

Get knittin'!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Secret of Life. Today.

Today I know what the secret of life is. It might only be the secret today, this very minute in time----- it could change!!!!! But for the moment I have it in my grasp and suggest you follow suit immediately.

Second sock on the dpn's is approaching the heel flap. Almost! I had a meeting yesterday that lasted from 10:30 a.m. until after 3. It was horrifically long and thankfully I brought my knitting and no one tossed a hissy. I had 5 pointy ends I think frankly that it was futile. So I did get quite a bit done, even though they are simple as can be. You remember that I have the new Melissa Morgan-Oakes book and am dying to cast on for new socks using her method. Knowing myself as I do (and I'm old, I have had some time towards this considerable end) I know that I need to finish this last sock or it will just lay around taunting me. Perhaps and most likely for a very long time. I did however require new sock yarn, I had none for the new knitterous undertaking. It has been the only portion of my stash acquisition that has remained in control and I really don't know why.

When I got out of my meeting I headed immediately for the new yarn shop in town, I'd missed their big opening and because my friend RMS was working there yesterday it was a perfect time for my first foray to Knitty Couture. Easy to get to---- check, metered parking right out front--check, great and trendy location--- check------ so far so good! Once inside it was a soothing and inspiring mix of yarn, books, accessories and more all combined to fuel the fire to cast on. I had my socks with me and had every intention to sit and knit for a bit there on their wonderful couch or chairs but I apparently still carried some 'meeting agitation' and just couldn't. But I definitely will have to drop in and knit there for sure! Thi----- can I bring treats the next time I come in???? I was quite impressed by their selection. It's amazing that in a town such as St. Louis that there are so many great knit spots, each with their own flair and flavor and Knitty Couture is no different. I wish you well Thi, it is a great shop! I LOVE the sweater in the window, the Carrie B. Smashing!

Lovely yarn was purchased for new socks, in a wonderful colorway. I actually passed by the yarn--- but seeing a pair of socks for the shop in that particular shade changed my mind. It's funny how something can look funkitated in the skein and marvelously fab in the knit of it! Creatively Dyed Yarn, Exotic Flowers in #29---- pinks and reds and blues, I can't wait to see how it knits up. First----- the old socks OFF the needles. No, really.

Hand Dyed Splendor!

It looks MUCH pinkier in the skein than in the finished sock.

See what I mean? The sock above resides at Knitty Couture. I think my sock pattern of choice in "2 at a Time Socks" is Sugar Maple, a simple bit of a narrow twisty rib. We'll see how that goes when I cast on, anything could happen!

The last bit magic that happens when you stir it in to the Secret of Life has nothing to do with the treadmill, the eliptical, or the gym. Nothing at all. It has everything to do with smiling and nestling in, at least for me!

M&M's of course! My car absolutely drove itself into the Walgreen's on the way home yesterday and I picked up two bags of these babies. The pink/red/white ones are the Valentine peanut variety and the green ones? They were from a bag (green) that said "the new color of LOVE". Green, okey dokey. I thought the mix of colors would look great in the candy dish (before I shoved them down my face) so I didn't think twice about it. When pouring the green (plain) M&M's into the dish with their fat rosey colored friends I saw that the bag said "honey it is all true". Hmmmmmm again. Call me slow. My partner had me on the floor when she reminded me the old adage about green M&M's. You know...................... that the GREEN ones make you a bit, well amorous. Wildly amorous????? I had a big laugh and continued munching away. I will report back if the green M&M's deliver as advertised. I hate to be lied to after all and that cute green M&M on the front of the bag certainly did look sincere enough.

I fully expect that the secret of life might change a bit going forward. And yes, I know that it eschews all spiritual and theological schools of thought----- all of which I fully embrace. But for the moment I can tell you without a doubt that a new skein of really bitchin' yarn, a bowl of plain and peanut M&M's, and a smile is worth repeating on your end of the screen!

Oh---- and let me know how the green M&M's are working for you! PLEASE check out the link, it will make your day!!!! Go on------ click it, no matter what your mood is you will be enchanted! Cute as, well chocolate!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Politics and hygiene

Cable Luxe just looks pretty odd at this stage. The back is finished and the front is into the third center cable repeat.

I have to say that if the whole thing just didn't work out, it would still have been a wonderfully happy knit!

A weekly knitting group is not only time to sit and relax with your knitting, have a cup of joe, gossip and chat, learn a new stitch or polish your skills apparently. It's also time to learn something about yourself-----whether you really want to or not. I'd not been able to sit on Sundays for some time because of that whole pesky working thing. (Yet again I do wonder why it is not possible to be a trust fund child.) Weekend bridal shows had kept me away from the pleasure of yarn joy and reading blogs, while wonderful, did lack the human touch! So last Sunday armed with the tail end of a sock, and the beginnings of Cable Luxe /Redux I ventured out.

RMS has drawn a lovely group of knitters into the circle, yin and yang with yarn! In fact I'd ridden with her to Borders and Kate Jacob's reading the week before. On her blog she'd discussed her mani being less than perfect when in fact I thought it looked quite nice when I'd seen her. See--- I'd fallen into a bit of a nail care funk. Basic personal hygiene was (thankfully) accomplished but my fingernails were a wreck! I generally wear a nude polish so the fact that there is considerable chipping, wear and peeling is not as in your face as a darker shade would be. When I stopped to consider the last time I had my toes done dated back to my last pedicure. At Thanksgiving! It was kind of embarrassing to tell the truth! While I can to some degree blame it on the fact that my toes have been encased in socks since then, the excuse really doesn't fly. We will not discuss my easy rationalization of leg shaving where winter is concerned, I mean there are just some places we won't go. With ratty nails, I did attend group. I frequently feel like the grande dame of the group. Doesn't that sound better than the old broad? Hmmm, I thought so. No one mentioned my horrid fingernails and we discussed knitting, love, "Friday Night Knitting Club", the state of health care in America and more. Where else can you get so fed? Where else can you discuss politics and hygiene and do it with such respect and kindness? No surprise, but knitters should rule the world.

I do have to mention that since then, I have performed home nail care. My nails are (for the moment) mostly lovely and my toes are once again upstanding citizens. Please don't ask about the legs, I'd hate to have to lie.

The finished oh so plain sock is modeled abover by my rooster lamp. Nothing says French Country like Mr. Chicken in the kitchen! All other obvious jokes will be left alone. Please feel free to enjoy whatever humor you would interject.

Prince would like to know why I can't just stay home all of the time and hang out with him. The thought is more than tempting I must admit.

Hana on the other hand really doesn't care. "Can I have a Greenie please?"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bliss of the Domestic Variety

Almost the very last thing we spoke about was how much I hated the gym. As in, getting in the car to go spend an hour on the treadmill (ack) and the eliptical just puts me in the worst sort of funk. Not to mention that my favored (not only) branch of the YMCA has 5 'eliptical' machines, all of which I have discovered were not created equally. The two StarTac are against the wall and despite the welcome addition of a little fan in the front ride horribly. The two machines next to the aisle are some sort of off the track invention that probably burn enough calories to make you instantly thin but are extremely difficult. Then there is my chosen implement of torture the EFX which I have decided stands for extra-f'ing-exacerbating. Or something. So in light of that, you would think that a blessed weekend of domestic bliss would not include things of maximum calories. And then some. But it did, oh yes it did.

I took the weekend off. As in OFF. I'm one of those odd women who find true creative pleasure and an optimum working (relaxing and creative) environment when my home is clean so I started Saturday by cleaning the house when I got home from the gym and got to the bottom of the laundry basket. Wonderful! Once set to rights I was ready to sink into bliss. It was a very short and simple direction to rationalize the fact that knitting would be even more comforting when the smells of home baking wafted from the freshly clean house. Baking----- ah baking!! A pan of "Perfectly Peppermint Brownies" were created and too many were consumed. I discovered a bag of York Mini Peppermint Patties in the pantry, leftover from the holidays when I was going to use them for something or other and didn't. On the side of the bag was the recipe and it was completely delicious. Just in case they rotate the recipes on the bag, I'll pass it along for your next bout of domesticity.

Perfectly Peppermint Brownies

1 package of York Mini Peppermint Patties
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup melted butter, divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. good quality vanilla extract

heat oven to 350 degrees and grease well a 13x9 baking pan

stir together the cocoa and baking soda in large bowl. Stir i 1/3 cup of the melted butter. Add boiling water and stir
until the mixture thickens, then add sugar eggs and remaining 1/3 cup of butter. Add in the flour, salt
and vanilla blending completely. Stir in the mini peppermint patties making sure you eat at least five
of them for the purpose of quality control. Spread in prepared baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
Watch carefully the last 8 minutes or so, you don't want the edges to get too done.

Cool completely and cut into squares. Nice big squares.

Yum-my. Does life get better???? Why yes, it does!!

Day off. Clean house. Peppermint brownies. Good mail day! Check out that wonderful inscription----- a lovely personalized autographed copy of a much yearned for book=====

"2 - at - a - time - Socks" by Melissa Morgan Oakes. GREAT book and well worth waiting for. I love the lay flat spiral binding, that makes big points! It is well thought out, seemingly quite simple to follow, well photographed, lots of good 'tips' and the socks within the book are really CUTE! I am into the cuff of my sock on DPN's, the super simple haul it around sock----- so I'm looking forward to doing some Loopy Ewe damage this week to lay in some fresh smelling sock yarn to go with my ready to roll long circ. Melissa----- in case I get befuddled, which as we know is extremely likely to happen, I'll be cyber knocking on your door with socks in hand! The great part is that I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be there to answer, you are the best!

On the great mail day theme, this next item filled my heart with nearly inexpressible joy!!! Woo Hoo---- and thank heavens it arrived early in the day, before the cleaning frenzy....

My new vacuum cleaner! But not just ANY mere vacuum cleaner, oh nosireejimbob!!!! An Oreck XL, and REDDDDDDDDDDDDD to boot. I have coveted an Oreck since I lost mine in the divorce. (There is nothing like a man scorned, one evil and hateful enough to steal a woman's vacuum cleaner!) My old vacuum cleaner was a piece of total crap, and I was tired of buying a new vacuum every year or so. Hence my new love, Miz Oreck. As my blitters know there ain't a lot of anything sucking around here besides my vacuum cleaner :) and this one is wonderful. Light as a feather, will clean the basement from the second floor I'm telling you, and did I mention red?????

My cup I tell you is running over. Clean house, peppermint brownies, new book, new vacuum cleaner, one sock PAU (done) and the back of Cable Luxe completed. Retirement (come quickly please!) is going to be heaven!!

Every once in awhile it is a fine idea to take the weekend off and fill the creative tanks, and that is exactly what I feel like! Rested, relaxed and ready to hit this week running. Yesterday afternoon was Knit Group, and how wonderful was that????? A perfect end to a great weekend! It does bring musings that are for another time---- after I've spent all this time blathering on about my new vacuum cleaner it is time to hit Monday running!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blankets for Angels

Friday, it is Friday! No wedding tomorrow, no bridal show on Sunday. Woo Hoo! What shall transpire, what waits in the wings is the almost never seen, seldom experienced weekend off. It has made the very long week that just passed pretty much worth it. Add to that the fact that it is just unbelievably cold (the high is 19 tomorrow) it is a perfect weekend to stay inside and putter. I tell myself that I will go to the gym tomorrow morning but you and I both know that it is a big fat lie. I baked a batch of Perfect Peppermint Brownies yesterday so showing up for some aerobic activity is actually a very good idea.

The mailman brought a package to the studio yesterday that contained the sweetness above. I should have tucked something alongside the photo so you could get an idea of scale. Carrie made several small blankets for Wee Angels! Beautiful and tiny little blankets for the babies we are contacted to photograph for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a nationwide program that offers a very needful service. "For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives." We are called far more often than we would like to photograph these Angel Sessions. Within the last few weeks there has been an explosion of phone calls from a tearful mother or father facing the loss of their baby and wanting to capture a memory. I have to say that I've been truly shocked by the number of families that are going through this! It is amazing to me that for what ever reason----- this happens at all, much less as often as it does. Carrie's lovely blankets are 12x12, soft and beautiful pieces of a white napped fabric, beautifully bound with white satin ribbon and they will be so appreciated. Along with the tiny bonnets and booties they'll join the collection of items that go along when these sweet angels are photographed for their families. Frequently parents don't think to bring along beautiful items of clothing to the hospital, for families who have no advance warning that their child won't live these little bits of love are imperative. I'm honored and humbled to receive all such items. Thank you Carrie!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gym Dandy

I love my walks, love them! I solve the problems of the world, keep current on my favorite knitting podcasts and walk 6 miles with an celeb walker in my ear spurring me to move faster and get in shape. What I do not like is cold weather! Too many years living in Hawaii I'm afraid, not to mention calling Orlando Florida home, weather below 50 is just nearly unbearable. I know, that makes me sound like a really big poop but it is what it is. Since Thanksgiving, which was my last great walk, weight has crept back in and I'm not very vigilant about any of the health stuff.

I joined the YMCA shortly after Christmas. I have been there three times. Three. Why??? Well, the short answer is that I hate it. I hate having to drive 15 minutes to get there (and 15 home), I hate having to sign up for the treadmill or the elliptical, I hate being surrounded at very close range by too many people. This ridiculous hatred has led me to shun the Y, and the only person it hurts of course is ME! (Refer back to creeping weight). It took me months of really hard work to peel back 60 pounds and it is making me really cranky to see the scale moving in the wrong direction and my pants getting tight due in no small part to the sport of knitting being such a sedentary sport.

So I'm off to the Y. I will return miffed at some buffoon who coughs all over those assembled, irritated at traffic, hot and sweaty and wishing that half my day wasn't gone but I'll go, I'll go. I wish I didn't have to but in lieu of that I wish I knew the secret to being happy--- or even pleasant-- about it!

Every step of the treadmilled way I'll yearn for the day I can just roll out of bed and hit the streets and I'll never complain about the heat of the summer walk again. Maybe. When I finally squeeze some knitting into the schedule today I'll feel better about the whole sitting thing, and there will be no cookies or little treats by my side.

That is the part I'll hate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Clawing My Way Back

I feel as if I'm clawing my way out of an empty echoing drum. Steep sides, cold, dark. You know the feeling if you've been slamwhammied by a bug recently. It sort of came out of nowhere, I'd had a great evening and was feeling pretty good when the next morning it was as if I'd been tossed under the tires of a Mack truck and then gored by knitting needles. While there was really no time to call in to life quite sick and go back to bed that is exactly what I did. Until 11 anyway, which by almost any account is a good long wallow. I rolled out and worked from home not stopping until 7---- so really when you think about it, almost a complete day of work was accomplished. It was slow and plodding, punctuated by gritching and groaning but then so are select days anyway!

I'd been SO looking forward to a knitterly gathering at the local Borders on Monday night. Kate Jacobs brought her first novel, "The Friday Night Knitting Club" to town with a knit theme and it was sponsored by a wonderful local LYS, Kirkwood Knittery, announced on Ravelry and at the local guild. While I was not expecting the wild crowd of THE traveling knitter/authors I thought the turnout was a tiddle on the small side. I'd estimate it at 30-40, which by most accounts is a respectable showing. It was great fun to see such a wonderful assembly sitting in those hard little chairs somewhere between the help desk and the childrens' department knitting on socks and scarves and baby items. Our group of 5 made instant friends with Mary Kay sitting in front of us partially because of that instant Knitter Click. (The other contributing factor was of course that we are just super nice people!) We all sat, knitted, talked and networked until Kate arrived. The reading of her book was lovely, personable and warm and she chatted a bit about her background and her upcoming novel. I'd read that the book had been picked up for development into a movie with Julia Roberts and Kate confirmed this. All things considered it was a really nice evening, and I left with my book tucked into my bag along with a pair of size 6 wooden needles as a bonus from Kirkwood Knittery. If the truth is told, I started to read the book before Thanksgiving. I'd borrowed a copy from the library and I just couldn't get it going at all. There was just too much on my plate at the time and reading took a back seat to life in general. Yesterday morning in between little naps and laying in bed wishing someone would pull the truck away I read the first five chapters and have to say it was a very enjoyable read. Thanks Kate! There is even a sister website for the book using the name of the fictional bookstore, Walker and Daughter.

Thankfully because I was able to perform (albeit poorly) on the work front yesterday I am not greeted today by a doubly piled high desk. With the thoughtful application of chicken noodle soup and a mid-day break for a little rest I think I just might make it.

Cable Luxe is creeping along, I was only able to crank out about 6 rows in total yesterday. At this rate I will get around to spring and summer knitting sometime in October. This of course leads me to the realization that my next project needs to be something for my home. I have no idea exactly what that might be but I'm interviewing candidates as we speak. While trying to work as lightly as possible (for medical reasons of course) I found this on YouTube---- amazing! I wonder if it does cable?

It is 30 degrees F. I am not feeling 100%. There is laundry to do and work calls. I can't even tell you how much I want to go back to bed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


After a really great evening last night I woke up bright and early with a Do Me List about a mile long---- sick. I never get sick, ever. So I'm icky and cranky and just well and truly outside the perky curve. I'm heading back to bed, at least for a few hours. Until push meets shove and I have to actually be productive (which at this moment seems impossible!!!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crazy Weekend-- Mad Monday

For the life of me I don't really know what to start with. I can tell you this, the weekend was a blur and my coping tools are shown above. Caffeine free diet Coke, and a really nice red wine. Not necessarily in that order.

The Cliff notes go something like this:
  • It is COLD
  • wedding show weekend
  • my cards are done
  • Cable Luxe perking along
  • socks not so much
  • I met my new plastic surgeon

In a liddatiddle more detail, it is dipdog cold! 32 F is not necessarily super cold but when you factor in that it was SEVENTY last weekend I think I just forgot momentarily that it was winter. When the winter weather came back I was caught unprepared. I am happy to be able to wear my Mitered Square sweater that generates such heat to run you out of its' woolly splendor into your skivvies in no time! Because of the cut of the sweater, it does not do a very good job hiding my post holidays less than flat belly.

My belly has not been flat since 1971, but we won't go there.

It was another wedding show weekend and I have to tell you I'm tired. Schlepping and packing is one thing but 99.9% uber high end brides is another! I love my brides but they do make me a winkie weary around the edges. The everpresent bridal fashion show was incredible at this event (as were the deserts. Refer back to less than flat belly). It's a wonderful treat to see gowns from Vera Wang, Reem Acra (my favorite) the always chic Carolina Herrera, Amsale, Kenneth Pool, Christo's, Monique Lhuillier, and Ulla-Maija. I wish you could have seen the beautiful details and superior workmanship, what lovely gowns! My favorite gown was almost mermaid shaped in its construction of allover lace and a tank inspired bodice. There was what looked much like a deep flounce around the bottom of the gown, around knee level. This flounce is detachable and the dress underneath is just puredee chic. I have seen a couple of these dresses around but I can tell that this style is getting ready to come into its' own. Soooooooo--- Cable Luxe (above) took a back seat to brides/work, and frankly, by the time I got home I was just too tired to wield needles and needled to just putter and decompress a bit.

But Cable Luxe IS coming along. I'm just working straight in pattern for a good stretch. I have to admit that even with the two cable patterns, there is an enormous amount of knitting in rows that don't cable! I guess that is one of my favorite things about cables--- they always look much more tedious than they actually are!

The socks are coming. Very slowly, which is surprising owing to their simpler than simple style. Maybe it is that they are boringly simple---- not a lot of inspiration to pick them up? It is for me a dance---- a dance between the need to have something that is packable and small, and totally mindless to whip out a row or two and not have to remember where you were or why----- but then it is dullsville. Oh well, c'est la vie! I am beginning to have the dreaded second sock fear that perhaps just maybe I should have split and weighed the yarn so I can be sure that I will have enough mileage for the other sock.

Work started bright and early this cold Monday morning with a meeting at 8 a.m. I didn't even have time for a cup of tea and a nice cup of Twinings Irish Breakfast is what keeps me running. After the meeting wrapped I was super excited to get to the lab for pickup because in the midst of the orders of the day were my new logo CARDS! Cute as pie, woo hoo. If you see me around, ask for one!

And while we're having that cup of tea together I'll dish for a minute about meeting my new plastic surgeon! HA! Remember, weekend at a chichi bridal show------- so the high end vendors there were not just for the brides but some for the MOTHERS! So it was with my new doctor. We talked neck over a quick 10 minute sandwich grab--- actually I talked with his wife. She is young and does not have neck issues believe me, but that lucky *B* never will! I just loved her. We started talking about my mother's neck which I have inherited and hate. Yeah, like I never talk about that. We talked about where my Mom had her work done, you know the place on television that is the in and out lovely neck emporium? The place that has her neck pretty much back to square one? Well I didn't know that they were not board certified, and really to expect much but a temporary high dollar job is asking too much. So we got down to the knitty gritty of necks. And more. I really think I need to go in JUST to find out the $$$. If for no other reason than the responsible reporting of aging knitters and their options! Right? I'm sure it is huge bucks---- but I want to know. I need to know.

I finished the show thinking that hey---- for a new neck and maybe even a mini lift I can drive this car for awhile longer! I'm not a car freak anyway, my needs are small------ good yarn, great needles, the occasional Starbucks---- and a wonderful neck! :) So I get into the car and would you NOT know it? The sucker will not start. Nothing. Nada. Friends were graceful and kind enough to collect me, jump the car and point me to the battery store but that was a stretch as it was almost 5 on a Sunday afternoon! The end of the story is that once again, I dearly HATE to be a woman alone in any sort of car joint. They see me coming and I don't know enough to argue knowlegeably. I can only follow my gut. And I think these particular men were trying to lie to me and make an extra buck or two. Time will tell. I did leave with a new battery wondering if the old buggy would hang in there long enough for me to trade in this old model for a new one----- at least the neck!

Ack! What's a girl to do?

I'll be joining knitters this evening for Kate Jacob's reading and signing "The Friday Night Knitting Club" and I'm really looking forward to it. Knitters, chit chat, coffee, knitting projects to oogle all add up to a great evening.

A great way to close a mad Monday and a wild weekend!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Love me some Wedding Cake

A dear friend of mine recently asked about my wedding cake.Or more accurately, the recipe for it. The wedding cake I baked for myself over 25 years ago! She remembered that it was a carrot cake and that it was pretty much the best carrot cake EVER! It made me think of again of that wedding cake from many moons ago.I believe the last time I baked that cake was about 6 years ago, for no reason other than as I said, it is a remarkable recipe--- even if you don't particularly like carrot cake! I initially used this recipe when I baked my own cake (and it would have made Martha proud!) for my home wedding for 75 people. Getting married at home I discovered is a great idea because it is smaller in scale, you don't have to deal with a lot of big scary details, and it is more intimate. It is also so much work you wonder on more than one occasion why you didn't go somewhere else and get on with it! I think it is kind of like having a birthday party for your kids in your living room after you have discovered the joy of taking their happy selves off to Chuck E Cheese or something! It took me two days to make that cake! We won't even discuss the time cleaning the house, decorating or the general catering. Regardless, it was really quite pretty, the cake itself was a carrot cake from a recipe that has remained one of my favorites over the years. It was frosted with a traditional sour cream frosting and piped simply with a frou frou tip of some sort and decorated with lovely fresh pink roses and ferns. I had purchased a kit to make the cake three tiered and carefully set to work installing platforms and dowels, a feat of engineering. Well, there is a reason that I am not an engineer because by the end of the evening that cake was beginning to list to the right! It still makes me smile that I baked my own cake and that everyone enjoyed it so much.

So with the bit of reminiscing over with, I set about to look for the recipe. I knew exactly where it was--- in my trusty old wooden recipe box, I can still see it; handwritten on a froofy old recipe card that was stained and dog eared. Filed under CAKES. Well, it wasn't there. Anywhere. I looked and re-looked because I am pretty famous for the inability to find something that is flat right under my nose! It seems that my ex-husband (whom I have discussed here before in all his mean glory) had removed my recipe marked "Wedding Carrot Cake"!!!! I suppose his tiny little pin brain could not think of me ever preparing that yummy cake recipe again. I knew he had pawed through my recipe collection before he returned it to mewith a set of boxes I paid dearly to ship. It arrived after my marital departure together with an opened box of tampons, outdated coupons, a collection of hotel shower caps and miscellaneous crap that he should be ashamed he had me pay for the freight company to handle. I knew that he had pilfered by recipes because not long after it arrived I was looking for another recipe and found it missing, it was my favorite shrimp curry recipe to be exact. At the time I thought him ridiculous but NOW I find his antics rude and idiotic. I can guarandangtee you that he did not prepare that recipe! Ack! Lucky for me I was able to ask my Aunt for the recipe, and bless her heart she still had her copy in even worse condition than mine had been. It gave me great, huge, humongous pleasure to write it down and file it away. Now, I'm sharing it with you dear Blitters!

Wedding Carrot Cake

2 1/2 cups finely grated carrot (I use the fine shredding attachment of the Cuisinart)
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces (don't buy the whole ones for this recipe)
1 cup canned shredded pineapple (drained with the excess liquid blotted off)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (I use the store brand, it is dryer than the premium brand)
2 cups all purpose flour (measure carefully)
2 teaspoons good quality cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oil (I use canola)

4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare two 10 inch cake pans by lining with parchment paper, butter well and use powdered sugar to coat. Tap out excess sugar.

In the preheated oven, gently toast the pecans for about 5 or 6 minutes. Don't over-toast. Let them cool and then coarsely chop. Using a large mixing bowl combine the carrots, drained pineapple, and In a large mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, pecans, pineapple, and coconut with 1/2 cup of the flour. Make sure that everything is nicely coated with the flour.

Sift together the spices, salt, soda and last 1 ½ cups of flour in a sifter or through a mesh strainer.

If you have a stand mixer, use the whip attachment. Otherwise, try not to over-beat the dry ingredients. Mix the eggs and sugar until light yellow and fluffy and slowly add the oil. Fold in the combined dry ingredients. Add to the bowl with the carrot and pineapple mixture. Very gently combine and pour the batter evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake the cakes about 1 to 1 ¼ hours, rotating once in the oven. Cool on a rack, turn out of the pans and remove the parchment paper.

Sour Cream Frosting:

  • 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Beat all ingredients on low until combined and then at high speed until light and fluffy.


Seussing? I am almost done. I've begged and pleaded until a computerly techie friend will see if there is a way to finalize the Outlook work to be done. I'm ready to move on to other projects. This whole thing has exhausted me and made me lose my sunny disposition for sure!

No knitting has happened, again----- and although my head is spinning I do have hopes that I'll reacquaint myself with needles later this evening. Because I have acquired some distance from Cable Luxe, I'm suddenly a bit worried about my decision to leave out that single column of knit stitches among the sea of purls between the cables. I thought it was simpler/dressier without that element and yet....... I hate it when I second guess myself but it does leave me with the choice of forging ahead with my first plan or frogging the whole thing back and starting again, this time inserting that knit stitch. I know I could drop the stitch down all the way to the beginning and hook it back up as a knit stitch but that sounds less than exciting at the moment.

Next Monday evening finds me at the local B&N for Kate Jacob's "Friday Night Knitting Club" book reading. I do love to hang around a flock of knitters and am looking forward to it. That of course means to get together a new bunch of biz cards with my new banner/logo! The new ones are not Moo's----although I do love their tiny sweetness----- these are just regularly sized biz cards. I can't wait to pick them up from the lab, Starbucks is on the way and as we know it is pretty much impossible to drive right on by!

No wedding to work tomorrow, no brides to wrangle. I'll just have to make a wedding cake right here in my very own kitchen and have a slice in my jammies. Good thing I have a great recipe!

Happy Friday! Now---- anybody have a recipe for Shrimp Curry?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Knitting Fitly

I don't feel very fit, knitting or otherwise. In the category listed as Super Frustrating is that some pounds have crept back on and I have no one to blame but myself!
The photo above? The skinny little back? Not me, not me, not me! I have to tell you.............. the book "Fitted Knits"by Stephanie Japel just never appealed to me based on title alone. I am not a thin wispy thing by any stretch so I thought why in the world would I want to knit one of those close little things that shows it all? Well, I am here to tell you that I was wrong. Dead Wrong. I am now the proud owner of "Fitted Knits" and I love the book to pieces. Fitted yes, but about proper fit! AND the patterns in there are just really attractive! I am just crazy for several of them. The "Spicy Fitted v-neck tee" is just flat out wearable...the "Two Tone ribbed shrug" is dear and how can you not love the "Bold and Bulky mini cardi"? Nothing uber fussy, just really wearable knits with sharp detailing. I know that the author is getting ready to have a baby---- hugs to you Stephanie if you're out there! I'm sure you will have a beautiful little baby girl in your arms on January 14th! And for the record you skinny little thing? It is kind of nice to see photos of you with that baby bump! :)

So the computer moving (aka seussing) is almost complete and I'd be 1000% happy if I could figure out how in the world to suck the file sitting on my desktop INTO outlook. It is the backup file that I have made of the .pst goodies from the old laptop. I consider myself fairly technically akamai but this whole Outlook seussing is making me positively nuts. I have all the goods in a file but I can't make my new (empty) Outlook look like my old one. And manually inputting it will make me wild. I've already given up an entire day of knitting. More than this and I can't guarantee any civility. Worse I'll be a total *B*. Once again, if anyone out there has a trick up their sleeves to make me happy I'd love to hear it! I'm working 90% of the time on the new laptop. PhotoShop is still in bones and doesn't have all of the actions, brushes and the like re-installed but I'll get there.

No knitting, no sewing, no quilting, no nothing has happened. I need a clone or something. Applicants apply here.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Last of the Seussing

I put on a skirt yesterday, it was a great one, maroon and a pineyish green with some wonderful embellishments on it. There was no real need to 'dress up' you understand, it was a bit of shaking my fist at the gray and rainy skies that had been so pervasive of late. I wanted to wear it with a black ribbed turtleneck and tights and my knitted scarf in the same tones. Well dang if that skirt didn't just fall to the floor, the elastic gave up the ghost and just totally lost it. I picked up my skirt from somewhere around my ankles and noticed that the elastic within the casing had pretty much no elasticity to it whatsoever, it just sat in there with no effort at all towards doing its' job. It was a sort of giggly moment of epiphany as I thought-------- hey that is what has happened to my neck for pete's sake!!!!!!!!! I hate my neck and I think possibly a week or two have gone by since I've mentioned (grouched) about that!

A year ago at Christmastime, my dear Mother (who is quite young having popped me into the world at the ripe old age of 14) left on the 27th. We thought it was kind of weird at the time, and discovered later that she had run home for an appointment to have one of those neck jobs you see on tv. You know, the kind that they say takes an hour and the photos look quite fabulous on the after side of the street. She looked a bit better after the procedure was done but I have to say, by Thanksgiving the next year things had started heading south again. It kind of made me crazy as, to be perfectly honest, I'd been chucking away loose change in the jar marked "I Hate My Neck". Now I'm kind of bummed out, if it doesn't restore a perfect swanlike neck in the first place, and what gains you make very quickly slide away and your saggy old neck begins to slip south like a velvet skirt---- what IS there to do???? Other than live life in a turtleneck (which is just a little bit impractical) I don't know. There is always a MAJOR lift, but that takes you from the category of 'hey, a little work is not a bad thing' to the camp of 'I've lost touch with real life and have gone over to the way too vain side". Ack.

Cable Luxe is coming along. I'm working even down the back now, the cables marching along prettily in their sea of purls. It's enjoyable now that I've found my groove but I do have to say that I miss the immediate gratification of a small project.

Microsoft has sent my replacement disk so that I can finish seussing the laptops. With any luck by this time tomorrow I will be able to wipe the hard drive on the old one and send it back to you know who. Speaking of the computer company who has a name that rhymes with the hot place with gnashing teeth (where they belong, by the way)---- I had requested an extension to return the old laptop because my schedule was too packed to complete the changeover in their ridiculous 5 days. Extension was granted and I even have it in writing. Knowing these idiotic buffoons I saved the email! Yesterday in the mix of mail was a letter from D#L# saying that something or other had been terminated because I had not returned the old laptop when they in their gracious goodness had sent me the new one. Morons! My day today is swamped but you can bet I'll spend time on the phone trying to make them remember the promises they have made to me. The unfortunate thing about the whole thing in total is that there will be precious little time to knit.

Never, ever a good thing!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Technically Pooped!

Sent: Monday, January 07, 2008 6:54 PM
Subject: forgetful knitter
When I read today's entry, I saw myself. If it makes you feel better, I cleaned the house for Thanksgiving guests. I had a pattern that my LYS had ordered for me. I put it somewhere but not with my patterns. I even remember when I put it up thinking I should be putting it where it belonged. Now I may have to get them to order it again. How embarasing.
Knitting when I should be cleaning,

Oh Francis! How lovely to email me and make me feel better about being such a dork! ?

I think we might have the same thing in common--- we need to clean in order to function with life but we have our minds on about a zillion other things. Then when you get back to it---- well, you know the rest. I’ve decided I need to just divide my focus. You know----- live fully in the present moment. If I could do that all the time, it would indeed solve my problems. Unfortunately I already forgot half of the whole focus thing! ?

It’s all good honey!!!!!!!!!!



Great email, yes? It made me smile! Being forgetful (at any age) is such a universal thing and happens to us far more often than we would like, or truly--- are very comfortable with. Personally I think that women forget a lot more than men because we are generally multi-tasking about a quadzizillion things and just pretty tired around the edges! Have you heard that story about how women and men are different in how they think? A man and a woman sit in the front seat of a car driving somewhere and the woman is thinking about the cupcakes she has to bake for the sale, gifts to buy, what is for dinner, oooooh she has to stop at the grocery, her father needs his medication, and the dog has to go to the vet, her project for work needs to be on the boss's desk in the morning and she has no pantyhose left. She takes a deep breath knowing that it will somehow all get done and asks her husband "what are you thinking about honey"? The gentleman answers "I was just thinking that I need to change the oil". See what I mean? No offense to menfolk of course. We forget things because we pretty much have every brain cell operating on some level---at EVERY stage of life. It is a divided focus thing to be sure, to be able to separate out and hunker down with mindfulness and concentration. Therein is the answer as well as the rub!

I think my brain cells are too pooped to ping! :) Now that is a sad state!

Right off the bat you can see that I'm having camera issues. Bad camera issues. The 'good' equipment is at the studio and apparently the old workhorse that I'm left with is having wee problems. There is a techie name for all of this woe going down that I am not savvy enough to navigate around. The short is that the camera is getting old and doesn't want to work. It's okay, I can relate totally!

Yesterday was one of those different directions days. Errands (I stayed out of the LYS, applause please! And yes, I know they're all closed on Monday, I did not forget!), and layout work on a new promo piece for the studio. The creation of such pieces is always fun and on this one at least, the execution will be satisfying as well. Sprinkled throughout the day in bits and pieces, I did manage to get a bit of knitting from Mindless Category A done. The super simple straight ahead socks on dpn's are coming along.

Please do not ask me what the yarn is. I FORGOT!!!!!!!! HAAAAA! Seriously, I usually tuck the ball band into the yarn somewhere to jog my memory, and if it is gone--- well it is gone. Ahem, it's okay. It's wool, it's sockyarn, it's great. Because it is such an outstanding photo (snork) I don't think I'll have any hands raised with suggestions as to the mystery yarn. It's been a delicious thing to be able to just reach out and grab these socks and knit away for a little bit of time. At the moment I'm working on the heel flap.

My greatest happiness was getting into a groove with Cable Luxe!! Woo Hoo! Again, that outstanding photo doesn't show you much does it? If you look carefully on the right side of the photo, next to the cable needle you will see this befuddled knitters secret weapon for this sweater. DOUBLE row counters strung on a stitch holder. While this sweater is really lovely, I have to say (and can only speak for myself you understand) the instructions absolutely blow. I had to rip back and sit down and pretty much think it through on paper, cut out the pattern stitches sections and tape them together and generally knit in absolute silence until I got it going for a few rows. Once you get into a rhythm (as with all knitting not from the mindless category) it seems fine----- as long as you keep those two row counters spinning and don't forget to check where you are on the two types of cables. It is definitely not a mindless knit! To be honest, up to this point because it has been a struggle--- well it's pooped me out! It has on several occasions made me wonder just why I listened to the family when they decided what the next-to-knit project should be. What do these people know anyway!

I feel the need to close with the Today Show this morning. Not the serious news, not the voting in New Hampshire, not even the local problems with overturned trailers or the very heavy rain. Nope, I'm talking about Richard Simmons! You love him, or hate him there doesn't seem to be much neutral ground. Personally, I love me some Richard---- cute as pie.

I wonder if he knits????

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fearless requires Courage!

Do you justs love the new "Fearless Knitter" blog badge from Knitting Daily? I can't imagine that they won't be all over the web very soon, I just LOVE it, too cute! If you want one and don't have it, hop on over and scoop it up! It really kind of makes me smile, the whole blog button thing.

I worked all weekend, two days of a huge wedding show at the convention center. It was, well, it was something! I talked until I couldn't work up a bit of spit and my tongue was just stuck to the roof of my mouth, not to mention that the words had a hard time coming out anything other than blah---blah---blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah by the end of both days. We met some wonderful people and I have to tell you that the people watching was just exceptional!!! You would not even imagine some of the things you see people wearing. My favorite and I don't have a photo of it so you'll have to imagine--- was a tall somewhat less than attractive man. He was walking with a woman wearing unfashionably torn jeans and a too tight sweater. His t-shirt had the graphic of a large candy cane on it and said "I have something you can lick". Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Classy guy eh? As my mother used to say, it takes all kinds to make the world go around. That might be but I knew right off the bat that I didn't want to have these two as part of our bridal family!

I am so sick and tired of losing things I could just scream, really! If you are one of those super young and never forgetful sorts you might want to just stop reading right now and move on to one of the hot young bloggers sites! :) If however you join me (at any age) in the uber forgetful state of mind and feel kind of like a big ole bozo at times, I'm your girl!!!! We got the SUV loaded after the show wrapped Sunday evening and on the way back to the the studio I had that feeling. You know the one I mean..................the feeling that is usually marked by the fear that something has been forgotten. The studio is only about 1o minutes away from the convention center but all the way I just had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. That feeling was confirmed as soon as I opened the trunk and began to unload. I had forgotten the two black easel stands. Our dolly had hit a cord and the contents tumbled off so in the process of reloading I set them down and then promptly forgot about them. Just trotted my happy self off towards the car with M&M's on my mind. I blame it all on the unkind aging process to be sure! Basically I think that I should really just live alone------- not in a cave or anything---- but geez! I just hate to let other people down, hate to have others think I'm a moron. And if the truth be told I hate to feel like one as well! I'm a deeply spiritual person but it does always get my attention when stuff like this happens and I find that spirituality and prayer peak at times of supreme stupid-ness??????? I know I'm not alone in that! The end of the story is that we drove back to the show and thank heavens-- found the missing stands. I would have jumped off the roof if they had been missing.

The moral of the story is that focus is fleeting at best for us all! And that fearless living--- to include fearless knitting---- requires strength and courage, especially as we begin that wonderful journey of aging. Dig in! Be tough!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Classic Review: Sweater 101

Shortly before the end of the holidays, when I was up to my ears in my own preparations as well as Knitting Contrisstmas, I received an email from Cheryl Brunette. Cheryl is the author of "Sweater 101", a classic knitting resource now available as an instantly downloadable e-book. She told me that "I recently reissued it as an eBook with a Foreword by Linda Skolnik and we're designing a hardcover version with a very cool lie flat binding for release in the spring. The book is something of an oldie but goodie, but then so am I."

Well I was first endeared by her statement that this classic book as well as she was an oldie but a goodie! Blitters, we ALL age, and as we do advance a bit----- let's hope we all become oldies but goodies!!!!

"Sweater 101" is an excellent resource for knitters....chapters on basic sweater styles, a couple of math skills, gauge, fit, and measurements--- and most importantly how to fit it all together to come up with exactly what YOU want! Wonderful! The last chapter of taking it all beyond the basics is no only freeing to the knitter but very encouraging.

How to Make Sweaters that fit . . .
& Organize Your Knitting Life at the Same Time

Make any sweater . . .
with any yarn . . .
for any person . . . and have it fit

The book is like a wonderful workshop---- an entertaining and educational study of making the best fitting sweater you've ever owned.

After studying Sweater 101 the student (that would be you) will be able to:

  • make a proper gauge swatch and measure it with an accuracy worthy of NASA.
  • know the three sources of measurements for sizing a sweater.
  • create a simple-to-follow “Picture Pattern.”
  • easily chart a set-in sleeve cap.
  • have the tools to organize your knitting information.
  • use two simple math skills to save time.
  • adapt a pattern to your yarn, gauge and body size.
  • change necklines and collars on any sweater.
  • fall in love with any yarn and buy it knowing you can make your own pattern for it.

I loved the book---------- and am looking forward to the hard copy with that wonderful lie flat binding! It's no secret that I (and many of you) hate the gauge swatch thing, so knowing that I will be able to make one and measure it to make NASA proud is pretty exciting! It's also a sample of the warmth and humor that Cheryl brings to this classic volume for knitters.

Cheryl has a great downloadable gift, a copy of Afghan 101 just for visiting the website so check it out!

Today kicks off a huge wedding show weekend. Remember, as one who wrangles brides for a living, being in the presence of a gaggle of brides and their entourages is part of what I do. Setup is today and by far the easiest part of the weekend. By the time Sunday evening comes I will be exhausted, talked out, and ready to dissolve into a puddle of spit. If I had any spit left after talking to a zillion people that is. The good thing is that the time goes relatively quickly.

Knowing that I would need some very, very mindless knitting available when I came limping home from the wedding show (definitely not Cable Luxe) I cast on for the most rudimentary and satisfying thing there is----- simple socks on dpn's. While I am anxiously awaiting Melissa Morgan-Oakes' book "2 at a Time Socks", and will enjoy it immensely----- it will require a couple of brain cells pinging together to bring any of it to fruition. Hence------- simple socks------- a set of dpn's--- and a mindless knit. I'm almost done with the 2x2 ribbing on the first sock and will tuck it into my bag hoping for a chance to knit off a few stitches over the weekend. It will most definitely keep me company in the evenings when I'm too tired to do anything at all!

Off we go! Have a great weekend and Get Knittin'!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fox and the rest of it

Dear Diane, WOW---- I am madly in love with you and would in fact marry you except that I’m already married and that’d open up a bag of dookie so I should just move on with it and say in all sincerity THANKS for the suggestion of Foxmarks! I love Firefox and run it as my browser of choice, eschewing Bill’s fine product with glee. To find software, and free software to manage bookmarks, to quote Naomi Judd, “slap the dog and spit in the fire”. I have already spent the best part of two days moving ‘stuff’ assorted and otherwise, in the Seussing of the computers. Yesterday, the highlights were two wonderful phone calls from (of all places) Microsoft and Adobe. Both companies did the right thing, were lovely to deal with and it was a slam dunk success. Mind you, I waited for MS for 27 minutes on hold but there is always that lovely speaker phone feature that allows one to move on with life while on eternal hold. I should be able to do the worst of it and move all of my Outlook files to the new laptop, with 5 email accounts that I manage it will be a trip. So, should anyone know just how to save the guts of Outlook so I can smush it onto the external hard drive and get to Seussing, please let me know. I’m all ears.

Otherwise yesterday was a pretty fine day. I got back to the gym and the pain in my butt is quite real. It’s okay I could actually feel weeks of naughtiness go away! :) That is of course a wild exaggeration but I cling to it. I will continue clinging until it is true.

Knitting is quite a dim memory---- at least for the past couple of days but getting most organized is a good thing as well. Not, mind you a good substitute but it’s okay. (Did that sound convincing because I’m really trying!) I need to have a down and dirty project cast on, an alternate to a big ole' sweater, I have no idea at the moment what that will be-- just that it will be.

Today will find me in the sewing room working on the large knitting bag though. These fits and bursts of ten minutes at a time are not leading to a quickly concluded project. Ack!

In the mail was the January Anthropologie catalog. I wish I were young and uber trendy I would SO dress like that! Cute sweater:And decorate like that! As it is, I do have a few of their wonderful home accessories (do you just LOVE to wander through???) and little trinkets. One of the things I think I am all over is the wide leg denim pants on the front cover, super cute.

I had discovered in the first incarnation of palazzo pants that those babies make you look GOOD----- and own a couple pair of them now. But denim---- you betcha. During the past season I have seen them around, usually with a fairly hefty price tag so I waited. Upstairs, well and fully aged is a pattern for wide leg pants and I think I could actually make these! With a higher waist to be sure, no hangin' out belly for me please! (You know the rules, just because I think I could make them does not mean in any way that I actually will. Or when. Just so you know!)

Just when you think you’ve gone and been a twit (speaking personally of course) I have to admit that I’ve written the date quite a few times in the past few days and have nailed it on the head each and every time. This is worth mentioning because I can’t tell you how many years I have been writing the wrong year on a check or something well into June. I have no illusions that this moment of date clarity shall rise up and make me forgetful about something else!!!!!

Work calls (via the gym), out of my jammies I answer!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


This is how I ended my day yesterday. A nice fat S'more, right before bed. Personally I think any weight gained was because of marshmallows! It stands to reason------ they puff up, are roundish, and surely this quality gets inside anyone who consumes its' melty goodness. The square of chocolate and the graham crackers are obviously beside the point.

There is a certain computer manufacturer who is on my list. You know the list I mean. This company has a name that rhymes with that dark place where they should go due in part to their abysmal technical support. I am not ruining any resolutions for peace and cheer by saying that I hate them because I do. It started months ago when a cd burning software installed by THEM just up and quit working. After waiting forever and a day for tech support because I really and truly needed to burn a CD, I was greeted (again) by non-English speaking personnel. Please, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against those of other nationalities that speak their native tongue. My point is that this is a company based in the USA and their customers are for the most part folks who parted with their hard earned money and require good language skills to get them past the fact that they waited 20 minutes to be helped in the first place. So this dweeb asks if he can have remote access to my computer, while a bit daunting I have done that before so I agreed. The very short story is that he mucked up my laptop BAD BAD BAD. At the end of the tale I had requested, firmly, that his supervisor call me back and fix the problem. He told me that a. he had no supervisor and b. someone would call me back but they were quite busy. I about stroked out by this point. I called again the next day and got the same story. I waited patiently. And waited. Finally after more calls to tech support found the same resolution I ended up calling sales and explaining that I owned FIVE of their dipdog computers and as a salesperson I pretty much expected him to find me a fix or keep calling up the chain of command until we arrived at a happy ending. I’d been in the loop for over two months! By the end of that day I had promises for a new laptop. This (as I explained to them) fixed the problem that my computer was now a piece of crap and ready to brick at any given moment but who was going to take all the info from theeeeeeeeeeere and put it heeeeeeeeeeeeere. I felt like a Dr. Seuss character explaining that, without the funny clothes of course. Too Bad So Sad was the answer and so I was expected to sweetly deal with it. The new laptop arrived about 5 minutes before I walked out of the house for Phoenix around Thanksgiving. Between then and now my schedule was crammed to bursting with things that were not only immovable but I wasn’t going to give up any of the joy of the season by Seussing my laptop!!!

Yesterday, instead of knitting, reading, eating or napping (okay I ate) I Seussed. I sat for hours with the old and new laptops side by side and Seussed. And Seussed. I took it off there, and put it on here! Files had to be cleaned up, new folders made, a portable hard drive cleaned off for the moving and futzing. It was A Job. Plus. Remember, I have fairly heavy photo software from the studio, plus pretty much not only my entire personal life but business life as well. I lost count of the programs that had to be reloaded and all of the auxiliary files put back in place. Damn those computer people anyway! My child who shall remain nameless, lost my copy of MS Office so I can’t get any of the .doc files moved and taken care of until I have installed Word, and I haven’t even begun the sorting of the mountain of email addresses, contacts and the like from Outlook. That will be a monumental job in and of itself.

Two computers side by side. The one on the right is the new one that needs to have the stuff there. Computer on the left is the one where the stuff is here. The portable hard drive and iPod reside between them. You will notice a beer on the right side of the frame (in front of neglected knitting) purely for medicinal reasons.

While Seussing ensued I ate chocolate. I ate cookies. I ate queso. I munched chips. A few toasted ravioli for good measure followed by a nice bowl of creamy potato soup. Because I was cranky I thought that grated cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and a crumble of bacon would be a good idea. It was -----but it is far past time to pay the piper. I hate that piper!

Without an iTunes guru to update all of my music libraries (I am still lost), I did manage to get pod casts updated and loaded onto Tinkerbelle (my red Nano) so I’m ready. Oh good grief and all that I may have to grease the doggone doors but I am ready to get back to working out. It’s been too long and I know it will hurt. I’ve not been out walking my daily 6 so I’m way behind on my faves not to mention how they all inspire me and give my creativity a boost.

This last day of prep for the real world was spent for the most part in jammies (with full makeup on though, c’mon-- a girls’ gotta ease back to work) and football droned in the background.

Not a stitch was knit, but it is waiting. The back is seamed and looks great----- and the back while knit on is just not a happening thing right now. The new jumbo knitting bag is in its’ “shell” form and I really can’t wait to spend some more time with it!

The yoke of Cable Luxe laid out

And being marked---- then seamed and so on.

All things considered it was a good productive start to 2008. I even productively added to tuckus dimples-----okay, so that is not really a good part.

The year ahead looks bright, and busy----- and I dearly hope one heckuva lot thinner! Remember, the correct answer to “can I have remote access to your computer” would be a firm but wonderfully kind “NO”.