Friday, May 30, 2008
While the dogs ate, I enjoyed a glass of wine on the back porch...............ahhhhhhh.
I literally forced myself to pick up the gusset stitches on "Twilight" so my socks are now ready to work the gusset decreases and then sail on down the foot to the toe. Woo Hoo. They should be done by Christmas. (2009). Actually, I'm very excited that even with my willful dragging of my feet, these socks are bathed in the glow of the light at the end of the tunnel.
The sewing room called, a wonderful project beckoned. Something simple, beautifully colored, a happy near immediate gratification quilted table runner.
The fabrics are all by Sandy Gervais, the "Fresh Squeezed" collection. LOVE the colors, you can't get happier! And the mix of florals and stripes, polka dots and prints, delish. In a runner project simple enough for anyone, I cut 2 inch strips from my collection of fat quarters.
I cut a runner, sized for my table plus a bit of width and length to trim later, and topped that with a cut to match layer of thin, cotton batting. Marking a line in the center, I'm working my way out from center, alternating sides, strip by strip. When finished, it will be already quilted!
Normally, for a larger quilt I'd just reach down into a bag filled with 'tossed strips' and put them together in happy circumstance. For this runner, I'm auditioning each strip as I go. Since it is a runner I want to have a little more control of the final outcome.
It's coming along and I can't wait to get it on the table! Thankfully, with a huge wedding on the schedule tomorrow I can take the afternoon off, throw open the windows and listen to my favorite sound- that of my sewing machine stitching away!
After yesterday's post with the photo taken from the wedding last week, the KEEP OUT sign for quilters, my knitter friend Yo-El told me she really got a kick out of it........... and I know by comments and emails, many of you did. Well Yo-El (in a great burst of procrastinating creativity) actually MADE custom post-it notes! Her plan is to plaster them in strategic locations. Fabulous idea!!! Check her blog out today, she has the note below featured along with another hilarious post-it!
And she is sharing with me! Is that the cutest little sticky ever???? I love it and can't wait to get mine! Thanks Yo-El!
My only fear is that I will soon run out of their sticky goodness, I'd be tempted to put them all over the house!!!!!!!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Cracked me up................................
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Is that "Twilight" in her hands? Could it be????
Turned heels even!
Quite mean of me to ask you to notice the socks a la Melissa and Two at a Time Socks but there you have it.
The bride was sweet as pie too, wasn't she? It was a blessing to have had a military wedding (of sorts) on Memorial Day weekend, the groom was in the Air Force and had just come back from a tour in Iraq bless his heart! This bride was the last in a long line of children from a family that we've done all of their weddings. We knew two things going in, we'd see a lot of former brides and grooms all in one place, and that there would be loads of handmade bridal goodness.
Erica and her family made almost everything, and auntie even did the alterations on the wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses, in other words they fit--- always nice and unbelievably rare. The cake was made with love (and delicious), even the bridal bouquet and much of the rehearsal decorations. It made us all smile to see that much familial love all joined together for such a lovely cause!
Now, "Twilight"............... yes I do still have to pick up the gusset and get on with it and no I haven't done so. I've made progress, lets not go crazy now!
Summer Mindless Knitting has begun in earnest with a gloriously lovely cast on------ Pi Are Square by Elizabeth Zimmerman. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. What can you say for miles of glorious garter punctuated by the occasional lacey holes of yo's? Delightful! It is wonderful having such a project to tote around in the craziness of the season. The yarn is from KnitPicks, Campfire in Shadow--- a lovely laceweight. I'm knitting the shawl on Denise 9's, lacey and airy but not overly so.
Garden and planters have been finally filled with blossomy good stuff, I absolutely refused to let the chilly wet spring find me with holes in the garden bed when June came around! The squirrels, whom I hate with mad abandon, have taken to snacking on the lovely orange and red marigold blossoms. Other than spray them with a mixture of soap and hot sauce I really don't know what to do to discourage the evil brats!
"Made by Hand" by James Howard Kuntzler is about half read, thanks to the recommendation by Mrs. Runcible. LOVE this book, although a bit grim and even depressing in spots I am having a hard time putting it down. How I would love to be able to borrow Kelley Petkun's trick of reading a novel while knitting, it just doesn't happen for me and I didn't want to go the route of the book on tape. There are just some stories that need to come through the eye gates and be held in the hand, words formed in the mind and savored, this is such a book for me.
The camera will get drug out very soon for a bit of a show of the new shawl, the socks, the garden and the little quilted project that makes me smile.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I'll be wrangling a bride today, a smaller wedding for the studio but they came to us from a family that we've done everyone across the board so it was a must do. The weather should be great, the bride is very sweet and it should all fit nicely into the 'all good' category when it is said and done. With any luck there will the knitting bride photos!
The only photo today is one that just shouldn't have any pictorial competition in any way! The solo peony bush with one lonely bloom----- this is the first year of it's glory and it is quite simply the most spectacular peony I've ever seen!
There she is, peeking out of a rose bush that she is sort of entangled with. (I'll be transplanting her sweet self to a more private and sunnier venue soon).
GORGEOUS! The outer petals close at night, and in the morning when she opens there is the inner ruffle of soft cream, almost like a carnation. The very center is a deep pink softer ruffle.
I confess, I'm in love. Of course I don't remember her name and will have to research it. Next year I hope she puts out more of these glorious blossoms!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The pink ones are ruffled and not ruffled, the 'flat' ones are shown here. The color is incredible!
If it stops raining I can plant yesterday's nursery haul, a hosta, an azalea, some coleus, variegated marigolds and a couple annuals of some sort of lovely gold spiky-ness! Yes, more rain. If April showers bring May flowers, what do all of these May showers bring?
I don't know what is better, what could possibly EVER be better than playing hooky from the studio (well, pushing back the work a bit), knitting with the time off, or having a knit-friend over! A knitter play date as it were! All combined is best of course so that is what I did.
rms, great local knitter to us all---- came by at around 11 for what I like to think of as a good knitterly kick in the pants, delivered to me for Twilight, my long languishing Two at a Time Socks. I was such a wussy girl I actually laid in a lifeline when it came time to do heel flaps. Why I have no idea, they are heel flaps after all and no real big deal. But I felt better doing so. Now I know I am just a really big dork. So we managed to knit a bit (I am almost done with my heel flap actually, who knows what fear will be inspired when it is time to turn them!), eat a grilled cheese sandwich (about all I could scare up), gossip a tad and talk a bit of Ravelry. I love me some Ravelry but just don't get on as much as I would like and knew I didn't know all the tricks. Who better to show me? Lessons taken! Thanks R! I had a really great afternoon, next time better than grilled cheese for sure!
I just have to get these bloody socks off the needles------------- better take my own advise and get knittin!
My cousin (the 'other' cousin) in Wichita and I had lunch on my way out of town last week. Because she is on the other side of gastric bypass and quite skinny now, I always call her a skinny 'b' and she enjoys the compliment. Her gift to me over lunch was this book, more as she says for the laugh factor than the book itself although she thought it looked funny. Okay, so I gave it a quick read. First off, it is a 'diet' book, but one which eschews all things un-vegan, un-healthy, and does so in a rather off-putting manner. I could be a vegan I think with plenty of cash to spend on fresh lovely groceries, and might be able to ignore the call of the hamburger as well if there were other good options. What was shocking was the language in the book. Mind you, I can cuss like a sailor if called upon or if it is absolutely necessary, but the text in the book was beyond shock value, it was just way over the top. The title IS great.......... and being a skinny 'b' would be delightful. It would more than likely start with a good book and a kinder and gentler approach! Do I have to give up all good things to do so? Yeah, probably.
Monday, May 19, 2008
"Comfort Food"----- by Kate Jacobs----- finished finito pau done. The "pithy" down and dirty? I liked it-- a lot!As always, Kate Jacobs not only writes well, but her characters are inviting, interesting, entertaining and her sense of humor shines through. I have to say that I found her latest character Gus especially appealing because she is facing the big 5-0. Gulp. Add to that the fact that I adore cooking shows (and food!!!) and admit that I'm hopelessly addicted to the food shows that have those wonderfully entertaining challenges and competitions. The only problem of course is that a girl gets mighty hungry knitting while viewing them! The cast of characters in "Comfort Food" is funny, bright and enjoyable as well, the pages flew by. "Comfort Food" is a wonderfully addicting read in just the same way---- two big chocolate covered thumbs up!
Recently I had the opportunity not only to review "Comfort Food" but to ask the author some questions. Having met Kate last year while she was on tour for "The Friday Night Knitting Club" I found it easy to ask questions imagining her quick smile and easy laugh. NOT, mind you, that I'm saying you are easy Kate! That just flat falls outside the area of my jurisdiction!
Hopefully you will enjoy hearing a bit from Kate and run out and pick up "Comfort Food"---- it may not have my first prerequisite (a shiny red cover) for a great summer read, but getting past that it fits the bill perfectly!!
On the wonderful marketing front, Kate has a great website that mirrors the "Cooking Channel" in "Comfort Food", plus recipes for Cake of the Month.
KnittingContessa: Kate, how has your life changed since you are on the doorstep of having your second novel on the shelves of bookstores everywhere? Allow me a vicarious thrill!
I have finished reading “Comfort Food” and I love it! Your characters are so compelling! As I read "Friday Night Knitting Club" I thought much more about custom knitting---- personalized patterns because of the storyline. Now in "Comfort Food" I find myself thinking more about, well food and cooking and how they meld with a busy life, one with meaning! Do you take on the lifestyle/hobbies of your characters?
KJ: I love that! I don’t know if it’s a trick but I’m in love with herbes de
We all know that being an author is exercising creativity in the written word. In addition to being creative with your writing, what else do you do to express yourself creatively?
As a busy and successful woman about to go out on another crazy book tour, if you could design your perfect day, what would it look like?
Congrats as well as "The Friday Night Knitting Club" is number one on the New York Times Bestseller List----- woo hoo! How exciting!
Kate's tour schedule and other goodies are online at www.KateJacobs.com where you can also read the first chapter of "Comfort Food".
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The family run revolved around my Mom's brother's family. My cousin is about my age, we grew up together and because of distance more than anything else sort of drifted apart a bit. Which is sad because we love to be together--- which we will do more often.....we promised ourselves. She has in the last year become my hero, plain and simple. Paula lost her Mom about a year ago, right out of the blue ---kerblam, breast cancer and gone. After a couple months she found a house that made her heart sing across town, and she bought it, cash---- smart girl! Nothing wildly elaborate but full of love and she has worked so hard to make it wonderful with plans for more. The porch on the back is an absolute dream. Her husband is a heckuva nice guy, an over the road truck driver. Dave knows every mile marker, every great restaurant and truck stop, and everything in between. He was making a delivery and got suddenly very ill, being the stubborn man with an incredible work ethic, he made his stop and got his truck unloaded before collapsing. They found out that he has cancer. So dear David is not driving anymore and getting disability was like pushing an elephant up a very steep slope, but they did. Paula made the 9 hour treks to his hospital bed several times (and back home when absolutely necessary), kept her family of grown children and a pile of grandbabies in order, kept up on work and always made payroll for her employer. She never bitched, not one time------ just kept it going. I'm not telling stories behind her back when I tell you that she is one mean old gal, she has played this role in the family since I can remember, and she does it well. She is the epitome of a strong woman, she doesn't make excuses and she doesn't complain. Stuff just flat out gets done. Well.
Dave was given 6-8 months to live and he just passed out of the 6 month zone. He's fighting with every breath against all odds. Chemo and doctor appointments, more chemo and lots of drugs he goes on.
As if that was not enough, my Uncle (probably the most stubborn man that every lived) finally got to the point at 84 years and fighting a lung disease said, I'm done, I can't live alone anymore. When these strong pillars of masculinity get to this point it gets your attention. So, her dad moved in with her and her dying husband. And on she goes. I can't even imagine. I asked her how she does it and she very honestly answered that she does it because she has no choice. Wow I said. Wow I say.
I spent a very quick couple of days with her and loved every second. I can't tell you how much I wish she were closer. She made me smile and made me laugh and made me know that no matter what I have to face in my life is in no way anything even close to the battles she is facing. And because she is facing them with such courage, style and laughter I know I can too.
I can too.
I rushed home for shoots the afternoon as well as tomorrow's wedding of Jill and Stephen, it promises to be lots of fun and we're looking forward to it. I discovered along the way home that younger folks have nothing on me, I can drive 85 miles an hour in a 2008 Ford Taurus and send text messages. So there.
But I'm going to hold close the knowledge that life is a blessing no matter what, and that the most important thing is to hold your loved ones close and fight like everything to support them and tell them that they make a difference.
Here's to you Paula, you are my hero. Especially today I'm counting my blessings and passing them along.
I do love me some Kate Jacobs and she's coming up next!
Monday, May 12, 2008
I'm taking a little road trip for a Life Happens Moment, otherwise known as a Family Thang.
My cousin lives in Wichita and I'm heading out tomorrow in my little rental car stocked with iced tea, my iPod/car player, "Whitethorn Woods" on audio, a couple changes of clothes, a redwork block and some knitting----and will be there through Thursday. (As much as I would love to stay longer, I have to be back to wrangle a bride this weekend.) She is a great person and I love her dearly. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live almost 7 months ago and just as her life couldn't get more complicated her Dad (dear Uncle Bill) decided that it was time to throw in the towel, he couldn't live alone any longer. So there she is----- in the soup of life. Remarkably this woman keeps laughing, keeps cheerful, keeps her head out of her beer and isn't awash in sniffles, tears or pity. I quite frankly don't know how she does it. THAT will keep you humble.
So I'm heading out because I need to. Because we need each other, and because that is what you do.
I'll be back at the end of the week with a FABULOUS little interview with Kate Jacobs, author of the newly released "Comfort Food"..................
until then---- send good juju and get knittin' and quiltin'!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
While I was at the garden center I picked up some gerbera daisies, some pink and red geraniums, some spikes and springerle and some wildflower seeds. I'll upload pics when they have settled into their new digs. Pun thoroughly intended.
Other than knitting away on that last sleeve of Cable Luxe and about 5 inches done on it, I've puttered a teensy bit on the log cabin whateveritwillbe. I took the afternoon yesterday to spend some time in the sewing room. I finished a 'mockup' pair of my vintage palazzo pants pattern. With a tiny tweak it works very well as today's wide leg pants. The first pair was made in a black background fabric with large coral and taupe flowers (I bought it in Hawaii some time ago, it is well aged stash). The fabric had a narrow border on it that I cut as the pants hem. Anyway, the pants actually turned out well enough that I think with a coral top I might wear them! Another pair is in the works and almost done in a chocolate brown with a turquoise polka dot. Very cute. Photos to come!
I need a good day of sun to catch up on the yard and garden, doggone grass needs to be mowed again (sigh) and the plants need to be tucked into the ground. And I'd like to finish up in the sewing room and actually move onto the machine quilting on the quilt that has been languishing forever there.
I need more time!!!!!!!! What I really need is to be a trust fund baby!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Wrangling a bride on Saturday------ out of town engagement session on Sunday---- commercial shoots yesterday and today, plus a looming deadline on a bride-y article I'm finishing--today equates to crazy busy. I do want to share my knitting bride from last weekend---- she was a 'fierce' bride------ we have shots where she took a turn on some kids skateboard out on location, truly great!
She was lovely and her dress was solid drapey lace with a lacey, overembroidered and jeweled sash, very pretty and loads of fun! Kelly was more than happy to pose with my knitting, she said that she would rock it! I think she did that admirably!
The knitting in the photo is my mindless travel knitting, I had started it en route on Saturday morning. I loved my recent yarn acquisition, I was delighted when it arrived. But knowing my schedule for the foreseeable future made it perfectly clear that the darling cap, wrist warmers, bag and lacey mat from the enclosed pattern were not going to become happenin' thangs. Basically, I did a quick cannibalization of the yarn collection, wound it all up on my Dirter and tucked it into a travel bag to take on the run. A fast down and dirty, beautifully mindless log cabin style knit. I love the yellow at the center, very sunny and happy. I'm not sure how big it will be when it is all said and done, or the grand finale, for now the knitting is the pure pleasure of it. Rows of garter stitch paradise, in and out of cars and dealing with badoodles of details.
The yarn is lovely isn't it?????? It is the "Georgian Sampler" from KnitPicks. You will also notice a fresh spankin' new size one 40 inch circ. This of course means that while my Two at a Time socks are currently in hiatus, I have hope, HOPE that this method will not be given up! Whatcha think Melissa?
The only yarn I'm really not crazy about is the blue boucle----- although I love the color and it is great in the mix of things. If you listen to Kathy from Webs each week on the podcast from Webs then you know her pronounciation as BOO-KUL. I shamefully admit that it is my pronounciation as well. Great cottony yarns, the bookul? Not so much.
I'm zen knitting, staying calm and taking it all a second at a time! Am I the only one who takes on a project not as much for the finished product but for the pleasure of the sticks?
Friday, May 2, 2008
All promises of a sunny morning flew right out the window at first light----- more rain today and it won't wait for the afternoon. Walking shoes will have to wait, I'm disappointed so what to do????? I know------ Waffles! I haven't made belgian waffles in forever!
Check out that rather nasty waffle iron. My ex, Mr. Snarky withheld or destroyed a LOT, but apparently deemed this waffle iron fit to come live with me. She isn't very pretty but can turn out a nice product. It looks especially appealing overflowing with batter. Ack. A new recipe uses buttermilk (which I did not have and had to substitute vinegar soured milk) and baking soda along with baking powder to leaven the waffles. I guess I'm not only out of waffle practice but didn't count on the new recipe to have quite as much lift as it did..................... like molten lava over the edge it was!
Waiting on a sprinkline of berries or a puddle of syrup............................ waffles on a weekday, a bit of a splurge!
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (If you are like me and don't keep buttermilk, use 2 tbs. vinegar in your milk and let it sit a couple of minutes)
2 extra large eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil (I know, it does sound awful but just take the plunge)
1 tsp. good quality vanilla
1 'full' tbs. sugar and a big squeeze of honey (another tbs. give or take)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
just shy of 1 tbs. baking powder
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
Mix the wet ingredients well and add the dry ingredients that have been stirred together. Mix just until combined.
Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes, preheat the waffle iron.
Use cooking spray to spritz a hot waffle iron and add batter per your irons requirements. *This batter has a lot of oooomph to it because of the double leaveners.
Cook in the waffle iron until nicely browned. Serve with berries or syrup. Yum!
Now.......... speaking of Cable Luxe, I have actually taken it OUT of hibernation!!!!! I'm pretty tickled to tell the truth! The first sleeve is an inch from being done, a mere inch. I've promised myself no new 'big' projects until I finish Cable Luxe and Twilight.
It had been awhile since Cable Luxe has seen the light of day! She's been napping in the fabulous Japanese print bag, too long if the truth be told. It took a few minutes last night to get back into the zone with this sweater, a couple shakes to remember that I'm not using the double row counters any more but just Ms. Blue (my oldest little counter). My first thought was that I had cannabalized the red counter for another project and would never be able to sync them back up together. But no............. while a younger brain would have no doubt been able to remember this sooner :) I moved on. Woo Hoo---------- let Cable Luxe get back on track please!!!!! Basically one sleeve to go, that should provide adequate motivation! (Not that it did before, but we will just ignore that and happily sail onward).
I'll be casting on a mindless project later on today just for wedding knitting this weekend. I'm hopeful that the mailman will drop off a package at the studio today or plans will have to change a bit. Plans are for something simple because I don't want to fluff anything else during a weekend of distracted knitting! Lots of travel time this weekend as the wedding tomorrow is out of town an hour and a half and Sunday has us at Mizzou for engagement sessions. I'll be missing knit group for work again, ack.
Hope your weekend is completely fabulous!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I actually like this photo almost better because you can see my dogs' reflection in the glass of the garage at the back of the lot where this photo was taken. Lambe is hanging on my Moon Trellis, covered to the top with ready to bloom mini clematis. The dogs want to know why we have to go back in the house and get some work done. Why can't we stay out and play??? HUH HUH? No matter that it is a work from home day, it should be a gonna be 80 degrees outside play day!
One of the modifications I made to Lambe was to line it. I do love a lined purse and it seems to do a very good job of stabilizing the knitted fabric and keep it in the shape I blocked it. Very curvy---- what a great waist! The lining fabric is an old feedsack from stash. I loved the red and taupe retro print, there is a dash of a turquoise as well that makes a very pretty interior. One side has a nice deep pocket for 'stuff'.
Instead of the handles with the attached bar that were called for in the pattern, I knit a few more rows on the top of the bag so that I could enclose a skinny dowel cut to the proper length. Using a tapestry needle I securely stitched up a casing and slid the dowel in both sides, stitching the ends closed on all 4 sides of the bag.
The handle is made from braided yarn on my cord maker. It turned out great and I can't wait to use this particular gadget with some other materials! It is heftier and more complex that a knit or crocheted cord and it has more style than a simple I-Cord, although that would work too.
Now, the bow. I alluded to the fact in my last post that I had to insert a design element on the front of the bag, a cute red bow. This happened because I am a big old dork and made an error on the big wide cable pattern. Because I am not savvy enough to know how to go back and fix it, something needed to be done. I thought of the bow, and actually, after it is all said and done I really, really love it! The bow is a simple piece of garter on an 11 needle so it is not too stiff, the center piece is about 8 stitches worked in stockinette until it was long enough to cinch up the bow and make it look good. I then tacked down the bow and the center piece to the purse.
On a quick aside, this does bring up a conversation we had last Sunday in knit group. If you could have a little gathering of friends with a nice skill set, and you all offered just little mini classes in something you find lacking in your own know-how, what would your request be? As apparent, I would love to learn how to go back and re-do a cable pattern that has been fluffed. I can ladder down and knit (or purl, or even pattern) up a misplaced knit stitch, but a cable pattern? Forget it. I'd also love to see lots of different cast on's. I'm telling you, we're going to have to do a get together like that someday soon!
Anyway, Lambe is finished and I do really like it. I have some natural 'fisheman' style yarn that I want to use for another bag, and don't know if I will cast on for another Lambe, or something else.
And from the back flower bed, where the Moon Trellis lives, comes a solo mini clematis blossom. There is always one that wants to be the first show-off, the over achiever as it was! She is spectacularly pretty, I can't wait for the entire trellis to be full of these lovely white blossoms!