Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

When my daughter was little and October 31st arrived, her clarion cry was "Happy Halloweenie"!!!!!!!!!!! It holds quite a bit less magic now that she is in her twenties, believe me!

No matter if you are out partying tonight, or celebrating a birthday (happy birthday Giuliano!), or handing out candy to the neighborhood kids---- enjoy it all!

And................ Happy Halloweenie!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Intarsia front to back

Intarsia (*for non-knitter blitters, is color work that is not carried across the work but picked up when you get to that motif) is a love it or hate it thing. And I find that this varies some. When I first started the Ravenna Satchels 60 rows of intarsia (and had to frog it in the early life) it was a hate relationship. Because it had been way too long since I'd done much color, I think it just took me some time to get into the groove. Or something. Now I am 30 rows in------ groovin' away, yet having let it sit for a few days while I try to get on track at the studio------ and finding that I have gone through a love phase. Now looking at it...........

sitting there in all of it's glory----- I think I love/hate it. I can't wait for this gorgeous Satchel to be done----- I think I'm past the process of being a process knitter. I just want it done, I want to move on to felting it. Felting will, please please, turn the relatively okay piece of large stitch big knitting into a tight and pretty ready to assemble satchel. Felting in my non agitator washing machine is a huge challenge and I am not wild about it so this next phase will be kind of scary. There is another reason I just want it DONE----

Yikes and double yikes. That lovely mess above is the back of the Ravenna Satchel. Normally I wind yarns on bobbins but I gave Marti's method a go. She suggests that you cut long strands of yarn and just let them hang from the back, pulling them free as you knit and purl along. I like the method just fine, and you really can pull things out of a terrible tangle. The problem (for me anyway) is that when you finish with a color you should probably be a good little knitter and weave those tails in and clean it up as you go. I have clearly not subscribed to this line of reason. Instead, I figure when I (finally) reach the end, I will start and the bottom and weave as I go up, one nasty little bit at a time.

It has gotten cold here, although it is 'milding' up as we speak and should be nice enough for the next week or so. My right hand is back to its old trick of getting wicked cold on me and I'm wishing for a pair of fingerless gloves so I can warm up the hands and still be able to keep working. We'll see how that goes, as ever there is just not enough time in the day.

No knitting bride from last weekend because she was............. focused. Yeah, that's it, focused. I now wish that I had gone ahead and taken the shot, you know, made her work for it! :) This Saturday's bride is a delight so I think it is game on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Harmony Finale

It's funny.............. I almost feel like I'm leaving New Harmony again because the road trip posts will finish up here. Bummer!

I will make this comment and never speak of it again, I only wish that I could PhotoShop my real life rear view to improve it! Bzzzzzzzzzzt, poof. I'd be a bazillionaire! Catch the NATURAL hair! :) It is finally in it's state of lovely lightness............. many people say blonde when they first see me and I think they have slipped a cog. It is a lovely light bright gray, almost white in the front, less so in the back. For months I grew out the color wanting to see ME, the gray I've been since 23.................. I hated the roots and the old faded color clinging stubbornly to the tips. Now that the color is gone, I find that I want the tips BACK. Something fun and a bit trendy I guess. I've made the appointment for later this week, no idea what color will zip the tips.......... brown? red? black? It might just be a surprise!

There is a cemetary in town, very small and OLD OLD OLD. I love antique resting places and always have. When I lived in Mississippi years ago my Mother would come to visit and we'd go out into the countryside and wander through old cemetaries, many from Civil War times. Don't you always get a kick when you see the husband or wife burred with words saying to the effect, oh darling I'll see you later? Yet there is no one buried next to their first departed? Cracks me up, never promise what you can't deliver I say!

Looks Halloweeny doesn't it?

This sign in cement is in a brick wall on a corner in town. I love the sentiment, "A culture that does not teach prayer soon runs mad with desire." I have wondered since seeing it what they meant? Desire like your kids will get all h*oochy mama crazy????? Or they will become ungrounded and want all sorts of things like toys and crap that will plant their sorry butts in front of the tv?

Another shot of town............... the fascades of the store fronts are all so beautifully painted and kept up, even the pizza parlor!

One of the local stores has this vignette set up, tons of soft drink bottles and old chairs. Loved it!

Above is the granary, and bummer but it was locked when we walked up. One of the things related to grinding is outside in the courtyard and all of the windows have candles in the window. Electric I suppose, a nod to the present day.

And with deep sadness, it is time to head back. 2.5 hours ahead and the day is failing. We stop in the local coffee shop and I shoot out the window towards town. With our last bit of neighborly gossip and a delicious homemade Chai we set out.

I'll see you soon New Harmony----- maybe we're meant to be!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Road Trip to New Harmony Part Deux

So as we left it was just about time for lunch and New Harmony has some delightful options! We chose the Red Geranium Restaurant, it is part of the large New Harmony center that houses all sorts of groups and I had read great things about it.

Walking toward the Red Geranium, there was incredible architecture everywhere. A feast for the eyes! You can't imagine the number of images captured that day, a mere fraction compared to the ones in my head!

I love split rail fences, they always remind me of trips to Gatlinburg or places in the Great Smokies or along the Blue Ridge. So evocative of a gentler time don't you think? This split rail fence ran near where there is half of an entire (small) street lined with very, very old log cabins. The cabins are locked and you can not enter unless you take the tour. Reasonably priced at $9.00 for adults, we didn't partake due to time constraints. I would LOVE to take it the next time we go.

It looks like we've arrived for lunch! The Red Geranium was a lovely establishmebnt, great smells and friendly people! When we got there we had to wait a bit while the hostess took a phone call from some of their 'regular ladies' who wanted to make sure they could stay and play cards in front of the fireplace after their scheduled meal. Sign me up!

The menu was really yummy sounding and I couldn't decide. I took our waitresses suggestion and ordered the meatloaf, fingerling potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Let's be serious, it looks good and tasted better! The meatloaf was about 5 inches high and redolent with a bit of rosemary and thyme. I couldn't finish half of it but it went home with me for dinner that evening, still a delicious treat!

Town Hall!!!! How great is that? I loved the sign, the clock and everything about this lovely community that had that homey feeling!

I stopped at a small gallery (one of many) along the way to purchase a pair of pewter earrings. They're french wires and the discs are about an inch in diameter----- of a labyrynth. Truly unique and wonderful! While there I purchased a copper labyrynth on a leather necklace for a gift.

I can't get enough of the weather, the leaves, the blue sky and the town itself, walking around is balm for the soul.

I have to stretch the trip out to one last day................... reliving it makes me want to go back right this minute!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Road Trip to New Harmony

When the weekends are free of brides with no work on the horizon, that means only one thing. Time for a restorative, relaxed, stress free, ROAD TRIP!!!

We were supposed to go to Nashville for the weekend but that pooped out through no fault of our own and we'd already rented the car so it seemed meant to be. With a full tank of gas and the day to enjoy, knitting in tow and a fresh cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte it was time to head out, about 2 hours and 15 minutes of driving, a splendid fall day and no work to be done!

My chart keeper did not fit anywhere on the dash but it did sit handily there, stuffed in a grabby spot. Why one needs a grabby spot there is a question for the auto designer, not me. There was no way I could handily accomplish any intarsia on Ravenna (although I am on row 19 thankyouverymuch) so I hauled out my travel bag scarf, The Prismatic Scarf. Only a few rows here and there, much of the time was spent enjoying the leaves, the road, the feeling of getting away.

Out on the boonies in the wilds of Illinois we stopped for a tinkle break and for a bag of something crunchy to hold us over until lunch. Road Ranger------ perfect! I'd never heard of this chain before but it told the tale that day.

The leaves are SPECTACULAR------ not quite peak, we're getting there though!

We have arrived, shortly (and I mean just over the bridge) lies our destination, New Harmony Indiana.

When many towns sort of disappoint from their Web presence, I was immediately enchanted, in love, and excited to explore this beautiful and charming community.

The sidewalks, homes --- well, everywhere--- were surrounded by gorgeous trees showing off for fall.

The visitor center, museum and gift shop lies out along the edge of town, the coolest juxtaposition of the modern and the antique. Being a rules girl I started the day here, not wanting to miss a thing that New Harmony had to offer.

This town is based on spirituality and that feeling of "harmony" still permeates today. I'm walking one of the two labyrynths above, the marble floored modern labyrynth. The boxwood more traditional labyrynth is just outside of the main district and is also completely fabulous. Although a small area in size, walking the maze took about 20 minutes of quiet contemplation. LOVELY! Once I reached the center of the labyrynth before taking the same journey back I stood for a moment in the peace. There was no one in eyeshot in any direction and I was surrounded by this enchanting place. The wind picked up, a soft soulful breeze and it felt as if it was surrounding me and lifting my spirits. New Harmony---- I'm in love!

One of the first thing we came upon was the Roofless Church! It is a brick walled area with lovely trees, lawn, sky and the feeling of peace and beauty everywhere. The sculptures were incredible, both traditional and very modern. They were getting ready to host a wedding and it was set up beautifully, I would love to work here!

Is that just about the most awesome sculpture? Amazing! And definitely not something you would expect on a church courtyard!

This statue, more traditional, was out around the back on the way to the extensive trails for walking and biking. It's a bit of homage to Thomas Merton who I have enjoyed reading for years.

The 'altar' in the Roofless Church............. isn't it fabulous??????

One of the many incredible quotes from Merton, near the statue honoring him. Thoughts like this definitely add to the feeling of the town as a whole.

The sculpture above is underneath the 'altar' area of the Roofless Church........ interesting, enchanting, lovely. I understand that they have a wedding here almost every weekend with multiple weddings on peak weekends. I think I hear the call!

At this point I'm ready to become a resident, very few places have inspired me to know that I could easily live and work here. The locals were warm and friendly and as it is a walking town, the residents gather in the mornings and evenings at one of the local restaurants and especially the coffee house where they cuss and discuss and gather like communities of old.

Part II must be lunch because you know I'm always hungry!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

National Make a Difference Day

It is National Make a Difference Day so get out there and make one. It's not hard, there are about a zillion different things you can do to get involved and contribute. While it may sound contrite, it is nonetheless true------- we are all connected and what we do for one another we do for ourselves and humanity at large.

I received the following last week and found it wonderful as well as inspiring. In no way do I mean it to be a commercial or an endorsement, just something to make our collective wheels turn.

As I always say (and generally believe)----------

count your blessings and pass one on.

In that way we all make a difference!

Every Monday Matters

It all started with a piece of trash...

Matthew Emerzian, a successful music industry executive in Los Angeles, was walking back to his office with a co-worker one afternoon in 2004 when he stopped to pick up a plastic fountain drink cover from the sidewalk and put it in a nearby garbage bin.

“My co-worker quickly asked me what I was doing,” Emerzian recalled. “I explained what I thought to be the obvious, but apparently I was wrong.” To the co-worker, litter simple belonged to the litterer, not to the population as a whole.

“I explained to him that litter and pollution are everyone's problem not just the person who couldn't find the trash can for their cup lid. He profoundly responded with 'Dude, you're weird.'”

Emerzian, now 38, walked back to his office both angry and sad.

“I couldn't believe that someone could remove themselves so far from the greater good of our world.”

Matt began to think, 'what if everyone in the country picked up one piece of litter on the same day.' Or 10 pieces! The math was easy, yet so powerful. He then began to think of a few other easy things that 300 million Americans could do to make a difference.

From this, a great idea was born. He called his friend, Kelly Bozza, and told her that he wanted to write a book about how all of us can make a difference with our lives. Within a week, they had over 100 items on their list and were ready to start writing.

Their book, titled Every Monday Matters...52 Ways to Make a Difference, has sold 120,000 copies. It is both powerful and thought-provoking. The ideas are simple - small acts that collectively add up to an enormous impact for the greater good. It's 144 pages with lots of illustrations - chocked full of big ideas.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Everyone has the power of greatness; not for fame, but greatness. Because greatness is determined by service.”

Also, today, I am pleased to offer you a way to get started with making every Monday matter, in honor of National Make a Difference Day, Sunday, October 25. The tip for week 41 is to use a re-usable shopping bag.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Long Awaited Boogie Photos

Y'know that old (verrrrrry old) joke about how to make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it? Ack. Well, every single time I think of this vest and its name (Boogie), I think of that joke.

Nevertheless, here are the very long awaited photos of this vest. As usual, the color navy is one of the hardest to true up on screen. In PhotoShop one can adjust the color balance and run any assortment of actions but the color still (for me anyway) is not the rich true navy that is my Boogie.
The knit was a blazing fast one, partly due to the vest shape itself, partly due to one one cable element on the center front, and partly due to the chunky wool used. (I used KnitPicks Navy Wool of the Andes Chunky). The yarn was nice to knit with and while it is not uber soft like a cashmere or even cashmerino (or any number of elite yarns) it is soft and has nice stitch definition. Boogie washed well, in a nice wet soak---- but the yarn bled like crazy requiring 4 changes of water until it was relatively clear. My only real 'hmmmmmmmm' with the vest is the neck. The shoulders are finished with a 3 needle bind off (one of my favorites) and they look very nice. The "v" of the vest neckline just kind of flops about making this (for me) a wear with a collared shirt option only. All in all, it has a clean and classic look that I know will get a lot of wear. Won't this Boogie look great with jeans?

I'd actually like to knit it again as a Christmas gift------ super fast, classic and fun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Dragon.........Draggin

Monday is behind me, you would think that I'd be caught up. Not so. Further behind if that is even a possibility.

While we sort through the images from the wedding last weekend I'll share one of the high (or low?) points................ the bride was, shall we say, detailed. Her cake was in the thousands and thousands of dollars and featured embellishments, crystals to be precise, from France. As in the country not the bakery. After we had arrived at the reception, inexplicably in a tent without heaters on a very cold October evening------ it was discovered that the cake had been in a car accident. Thank heavens the delivery drivers were not hurt, however the cake was not so lucky. By the time the cake miraculously arrived at the reception very late in the evening it was in critical care. To be honest the best thing to do should have been to go to the local grocery store and buy a freakin' sheet cake, but noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, no says the bride. The cake that arrived looked like it had been patted back together from a million fragments with spackle and frosting. Obviously no one actually ATE it, although it was served.

My dogs are sick (again)............ this time we seem to have the puppy flu that comes along with very loose.......... well you know. I'm so tired of cleaning up dog mess I could scream. The carpet shampooer that was purchased when I returned from Phoenix has not only paid for itself and then some but has taken up permanent residence lately. Sheesh.

On the knitting front, I frogged the 9 rows of intarsia from the Ravenna Satchel. I think I was too distracted and it went rather badly off course. I don't find a way to nicely and neatly frog back intarsia in a way that has a saving grace at the end so I just destroyed the whole thing and have now cast on again and completed the first purl row. I'm kind of bummed to be honest.

Regardless----------- we all forge ahead, does it seem that forging is what we do best?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Laughter is the very best medicine

I'm certainly no different than anyone else, too much on my plate, not enough hours in the day, and certainly not enough knitting (or creativity of any kind) to feed the soul going on.

A friend who happens to be a Police Officer sent me this email today, and I have to admit it made me laugh in a way that felt pretty good.

I pass it on here for your pleasure, your new name in all of its wonderful and juvenile glory:

Here is your dose of humor...
A. Follow the instructions to find your new name.

And don't go all adult - a senior manager is now known far & wide as Dorky Gizzardsniffer!

The following is excerpted from a children's book, "Captain Underpants And the Perilous Plot Professor Poopypants", by Dave Pilkey, in which the evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...


1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your New first name:

a = snickle
b = doombah
c = goober
d = cheesy

e = crusty
f = greasy
g = dumbo
h = farcus
i = dorky
j = doofus
k = funky
l = boobie
m = sleezy
n = sloopy
o = fluffy
p = stinky
q = slimy
r = dorfus
s = snooty
t = tootsie
u = dipsy
v = sneezy
w = liver
x = skippy
y = dinky
z = zippy

2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

a = dippin
b = feather
c = b atty
d = burger
e = chicken
f = barffy
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = farkle
j = monkey
k = flippin
l = fricken
m = bubble
n = rhino
o = potty
p = hamster
q = buckle
r = gizzard
s = lickin
t = snickle
u = chuckle
v = pickle
w = hubble
x = dingle
y = gorilla
z = girdle

3. Use t he third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:
a = butt
b = boob
c = face
d = nose
e = hump
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = head
l = tush
m = chunks
n = dunkin
o = brains
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = doodle
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u 3D sprinkles
v = frack
w = squirt
x = humperdinck
y = hiney
z = juice

Thus, for example, Barack Obama's new name is: Snickle Featherbutt.

I can't wait to hear YOUR new name........ mine is Sloopy Farkle Chunks.

C'mon....... that is some funny stuff! I know that somebody out there is Boobie Dingle Butt!

For those of you heading to Rhinebeck this weekend, have the very best of times, live large and make sure you stimulate the economy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another bride in the knitterly way

That is Kelly----- one of my very sweetest knitting brides this season! And get this, (drum roll please) Kelly actually KNITS!!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!

She is working Boogie, and doesn't she work it well? Drat that navy blue, it doesn't show nearly as well as it could!

Speaking of Boogie, it is finished and blocking as we speak. That navy wool took about 4 rinses to get all of the bleeding color out of the water. I hope that when it is worn the color leak will not be a problem! Just to be sure I will recommend that it not be worn the first time over a white shirt of any kind!

Currently the project is the Ravenna Satchel and I'm STILL knitting the black sections. With any luck I'll have them finished today. (That sounded dreadfully optimistic even to my own ears!)

For those living in the U.S., the last Presidential Debate is tonight---------- of course I will be watching but quite frankly, I will be so glad when it is all over. It seems we have larger battles to contend with both globally and here at home and the endless bickering is wearing me plumb to a nub!

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Bride of the Knit

Yes, in the first installment of the Knitting Bride series this week I bring you Kristin. She was a lovely bride, and a little sassy as you can see by the pics.

At the time I had knitting to haul to her wedding shoot, Wisteria was not yet quite done and there was no way I could sling out an entire sweater minus a bit of the last sleeve. What went along was the Pi Are Square Shawl=== certainly not a lot further along than the last time you saw it. But, does it not look quite fabulous with the fall colorings? Yummy that rusty tone!

Kristin's dress was sort of a cross between a tulip shape and a mermaid shape. Very heavy with the beads and spanglies along the hem of the tulle layers. Her veil was quite plain and drove her crazy so it was ditched after the ceremony.

Pi Are has gone back into semi-hibernation while I finish the usual zillion things on my desk and try my hardest to get Boogie OFF my needles. (This I believe will happen this evening but that depends on the relative solace I can find to do my three needle bind off on the shoulder seams).

The bottom of the Ravenna Satchel has been completed and the back is cast on and sitting for the happy end of Boogie to give it adequate attention. I'm already bored pretty crazy of black stockinette in it's pre-felted condition for the back and bottom of this great bag. Thankfully with doubled worsted weight and size 15's it zooms along nicely.

Get knittin!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Knit on a Happy Face

We're lucky as knitters, as quilters or as creative people. Without a doubt we do put on a happy (or happier) and more peaceful face when we are in the process of creating. For me the process of knitting is even more important in these crazy times.

I've always been a process knitter, how about you? "They" say that knitters (and I believe it translates to other creative endeavors) are either driven by the process or the product, that is to say the creation or the final outcome. Because I usually have something in a knitting bag somewhere that speaks to the mindless knit (like the miles of knit stitches in my eternally in progress Pi Are Square), the desire to just be able to pick up a project and enter Zen with very little effort. Knitters and creators of personal art everywhere are saying that they NEED to enter this zone of peace and creativity. The act of this creation, for me the KNIT, is not only satisfying to create 'something' but the act itself is bliss. That bliss space is much needed as the world seems to be spinning out of our control.

On a really great front, gas prices are falling, yay!

Unleaded Gasoline Average Prices
St. Louis USA Trend
One Week Ago
One Month Ago
One Year Ago

Less spent on gas = More spent on KNIT!

The lovely navy blue knitted happy that is the Boogie vest is nearly ready for the armhole decreases on the front. I have every hope to have it finished by the close of Monday, Columbus Day (known to me as No, I'm Really Not Working Today). This simple vest is really cute, super easy, and as close to mindless as a single cable column can be. Don't get me wrong, I'll be glad to get it done because the next project in the queue is intarsia! It's a bit hard, my advance copy of the sequel to "Friday Night Knitting Club", "Knit Two" has arrived and it calls me to sit and have a good read. So far it is quite good and promises to be a wonderfully satisfying read.

Big wedding today, hopefully there will be a knitting bride. I have cheated you of the knitting bride from last week---- it has been a crazy few days. Maybe this week will be a double-header!

Remember now more than ever to count your blessings and pass one on......................... and GET KNITTIN'!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wanted: More Chaise Time

So who doesn't want more chaise lounge time? Please! A slam dunk if ever there was one. My chaise is above, I've been spending every non-working moment there (although there are never enough!) In progress is the super down and dirty knitted vest pattern from the archives of "Boogie". The blue is picking up a lighter cast due to the flash, it is in reality a true and deep navy blue. The back is almost done in this chunky yarn with the front hopefully to cast on tonight. I left the front for last as the miles of plain old stockinette knit would have driven me crazy after knitting the cable pattern on the front.

I promised I'd get that out of the way before beginning the Ravenna Satchel that I'm so anxious to get started. My colors are below MINUS a pop of orange that I can't find just the right shade of. A trip to my LYS will happen this week to find the perfect thing.

The back, bottom and sides of the bag are the 'coal' (bottom), in clockwise fashion the 'cloud' (cream) is the front, the 'jalapeno' will be the leaves, 'blackberry' are the smaller flowers, and 'cranberry' is the large center flower motif. As I said, accents will be the orange soon to come. As always the camera does a less than perfect job of displaying the colors accurately. I'm pleased with the colors, overall I think it will 'read' in the berry tones.

Back to work for me, with a bit of push there should be time on the chaise later this evening!