Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Today's post may shock you...don't read if stories about little kids being told they can't do something makes you angry, mad, sad, etc., and that's not an emotion you can handle.

When I was younger my mom crocheted.  She made these awesome footies with all these loops sticking out all over.  We each got a pair for Christmas.  My grandfather Thornton was all arave about them and actually got two pairs because he wore them out.  she would crochet them holding two strands of yarn together so we got fun colors in there too.

Us kids LOVED them the best because when you took off running you could skid all the way across the kitchen and it was amazing fun.  We had holes in our footies by spring but that was ok because we'd just throw on a pair of socks under them and keep wearing them.

My mom's mom was also a big crocheter.  She made all the grandbabies and great grandbabies (until mine were born) layette sets of amazing beauty and complexity.  She worked with tiny tiny threads and made doilies and Christmas ornaments.

And with two such important women crocheting around me, I was bound to pick up a hook and give it a I did.  And I made bunches of granny squares (I still wonder what happened to them).  One day when I was at Grandma M's house I showed her my crochet and told her that I was going to be just like her when I grew up and she looked at my granny square and told me it was terrible. That she'd never seen anything so poorly done.  She pointed out where I'd messed up and showed me how I'd left some loop open and that it would unravel eventually.

She said I was a "hopeless crocheter" and would never be as good as she was.

I don't remember feeling sad or crying or anything.  I just remember looking at the granny square that I was so proud of 5 minutes earlier and seeing all the errors she pointed out.  It was wonky, mismatched and there were loops hanging out.  I didn't ask for help from her to fix it...she was so beyond me and she'd already shown me that I was terrible.

So I put down my crochet hook and never picked it up again.

Until yesterday.  And yesterday I made a very wonky looking washcltoh and this start to a granny square.  I'm hooked :)


Daddy's story:  Well, this one is a bit about me, but it does show how funny he was.  At the funeral the preacher described my dad as the simplest of simple men.  And he really was.  He loved his few things and the rest he didn't bother with.  He wore blue jeans and t-shirts almost every day, had a routine, and was simply a genuine person.  He was therefore, the most difficult person in the world to buy gifts for.  As a teenager, I  saved my money for several months to get Christmas gifts for people and came upon the best one for Daddy.  It was an indoor/outdoor thermometer with barometer and a few other weather gadgets on it.  It was in a really pretty wooden case and had brass fittings on it.  Quite fancy.  (Daddy was also a major weather lover).

On that Christmas Daddy opened the box, looked at it, exclaimed over how neat it was and then put it next to the back door where he was going to put it up.  And it stayed there for a year.  At Christmas the next year I told mom I just didn't know what to get him and was tempted to get him the thermometer thing I'd gotten him the year before.  She said, "do it."  So I did.

Daddy's face upon opening his present a second time was priceless!

The indoor/outdoor thermometer was hanging up by the end of Christmas day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When life give you lemons...

...or when a cat destroys your yarn....

Make scarves!

I have the first of 2 scarves finished from the salvaged kitty terror incident.  I'll have finished pics to show later this week, but I did want to tease you with the first one on the loom:

I'm not sure why the pic is turned sideways, but anyway, the warp is actually running right to left...I used a silver and pale green tencel (two strands, one of each color) for the warp and the Cephalopod yarn is the weft.  The pattern is a simple twill and was a perfect first project for getting back on the loom.  I completely finished this project yesterday, minus the fringe twisting.  I think I'll have a fringe twisting "party" later this week as I have another scarf in there that needs fringe twisted, the one I'll make today, and then I need to get Liz's birthday scarf finished (yes, that's from her January 2nd birthday).


Daddy's story:  My daddy would always say to me, "how much do you love me?"  We had this little routine where I would respond "this much" and hold my fingers a tiny bit apart.  He would pout and pretend to cry and say "Is that all...say you love me more."  And I would then hold my hands about a foot apart and say, "I love you this much daddy." At this point he would "tune up and cry" and say "How much do you love me?" and I would throw my arms wide and say "I love you this much Daddy" and I'd run and give him a big-old-hug.

One time I threw him for a loop, though.  He asked me how much I loved him and I held up my right hand and said, "I love you this much."  He looked puzzled and said..."what does that mean."  I looked at him and pointed at my right hand and said, "my love starts here and goes on and on and arms aren't big enough to show you!"    I got an extra big hug for that one.  I was probably 4 or 5 at the time. (and think I was pretty precocious, to be honest!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Carrying on

My father passed away on Tuesday of last week; we buried him on Thursday.  It's been a very difficult that as I think back on it feels more like a month.  But it was only a week...and a very difficult one at that, as I said.

At the memorial service on Thursday people offered condolences and I remember saying "I don't know how we'll carry on without Daddy."  It's still difficult to understand, but I know we will because other people have.  It'll be hard, but it'll happen.


And in the spirit of carrying on, I had to "rescue" a skein of yarn last night.  The kitties don't always have full access to my studio.  They like to sleep in the baskets of yarn and I don't like knitting with kitty hair flying in my face.

But yesterday, the level of activity with the yarn went to a different became mean.  One of the little furry critters went in there and mutilated a brand new skein of my Cephalopod yarn:

If you're counting, that's 29 separate balls of yarn I wound off this morning.  29!  Whichever one it was (I suspect Zora because Pearl's level of play is less destructive, but I could be wrong) decided to kill this skein of yarn and did a pretty good job at it.

I'm going to make a scarf out of it.  There are still too many weak spots in the longer strands of yarn to use the yarn as warp, so it'll be weft yarn only with a lovely maroon cotton for the warp.  Or maybe green.  Haven't decided yet.


Daddy's Story:  One of the things my daddy always did was take some silly thing we said as children and tell it back to us over and over and over again.  When I was younger he told me about being found under the telephone pole and that I was naked in that princess telephone box.  I told him "uh-uh...I was born with a diaper on."  And for the rest of his life, he told me that I was born with a diaper on...unlike every other kid in the world!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Yesterday the hospice nurse told my mom that my father is in the final stages before death.  He isn't lucid most of the time, can't communicate but is, on occasion, awake.  He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain and they are managing that the best they can.

It's heartbreaking, though, and when I think about it I just don't know how to say goodbye to such a wonderful man.  He has been the pillar of our family all his life and to see him so weak and sick is the most difficult thing I've ever dealt with.

And, while for some, 72 is "elderly"...for my family it is most definitely not.  Most of my family live well into their 90s.  I feel as if I've been robbed of 20 years of my daddy's life.  I so looked forward to him loving and teasing my grandbabies should I ever have any.   He always told outrageous stories, rewrote the fairy tales, and had shocking endings to any event he experienced. And now he will "only" be stories for them.

And I do know that those stories will be told, that the next generation will love my daddy because I loved my daddy.  I also know that those stories will grow taller and broader as the years pass and that he would love that beyond everything.

So, folks, I'm off for a few days.  I'm going to go have myself a good cry right now and then get packed up to travel to my parents' house.  It's a day's drive from here and we will leave in the morning.


But before I go thought I would start the archive of my daddy's stories by letting you know the first one I ever remember hearing...and heard it for so long that I knew it to be truth until I got old enough to know that it couldn't be true (though I think I hung onto the hope that it was true when I was a teenager and convinced I was adopted as most teenagers do).

My daddy found me under a telephone pole.  He'd gone to work that day thinking that he'd love to have a little girl and there I was, all wrapped up in a Princess Telephone box.  He brought me home to mama and they loved me ever after.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I'm not sure where you seek your inspiration.  Magazines, books, nature, the weather...the yarn itself...other knitters...

I tend to be inspired by geometric patterns.  I'm strongly attracted to the modern clean lines of art-deco and cubist art.  I like images that suggest rather than represent...though I'm always impressed when people can represent something.

For my home, I want furniture that is sturdy, well-made and comfortable.

I also love color and am inspired by color.  Sometimes that simply from looking outside and seeing a gorgeous blue sky...and sometimes it's by looking in the basket as I pass by the door of my studio and the yarn pops out.

I've only been knitting since June 2011, so I still feel very new and "beginnery" in a way.  I don't know all the kinds of yarn I like knitting or the kinds of projects, so am still discovering things to look at and try and experiment with.

One thing that has captivated me recently has been home decor.  I want to make pillows and afghans and upholstery.  I want to have towels and dish cloths and area rugs.  And I want all of them to be made by my hands--either through my loom of my knitting needles.

Since I still haven't gotten onto my loom (I'm really hoping this summer will afford me opportunities since I'll have Fridays off again), all of the ideas are going right onto my knitting needles.

And this weekend I had a yarn scream at me to be knitted.  It's been hiding in the back basket under one of the shelves in my studio so I don't know how I remembered that it was there, but it and its mate hollered at me when I went into hang some clothes to dry and low-and-behold it was cast onto my needles and a giant pink fluffy mitered square was born.  Behold, Pearl even wanted to eat it.

I still don't know where this square is going after I've finished it.  It will depend largely on how much of this skein I use in making this square.  I have another skein that I can use to make another square or to finish this one off depending on how things go.  I've pulled some crazy yarns from my stash and will use them to finish off a blanket, or a pillow, or a rug or something.  But for now it's coming along as a lovely mitered square and I'm really enjoying the knitting of it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Up close and personal

This morning I want to show you a few close-ups of my work. I love taking close ups because I love seeing the individual stitches.  It also affords one the opportunity to notice specific details about a project that you might have otherwise missed.

First up for inspection is the Woodlands Shawl:

Now that my rows are pretty long, I'm not getting one full color on each row.  So, what you're seeing here are the two ends and how the colors are interacting with each other.  I think it looks pretty amazing, especially with that little shot of blue on the end at the bottom half.

Next I want to show you the needlepoint section I'm working on right now.  I LOVE stitching these flowers.  They have been very absorbing--to the point that I stayed up too late and stitched too long on Saturday night.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kitten Adorableness

On this Monday, I thought I'd share some of the kitty adorableness that happened over the weekend.

Pearl hiding in a bag.

Zora showing me just how hungry she is.

And the two cuddled up having a nap.

(this pic gives a good size comparison between the two, too...that Pearl is practically laying on top of Zora should say something!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

It happens every time

Sometimes when I'm down I think, "this is it, I'll never be able to be truly happy again" and then I wallow in self-pity and go on being miserable.

But, I force myself each night (and sometimes during the day if the down is really bad) to think of things that make me happy--please me, keep me going.

And I've been sad a lot lately--I have a lot to be sad about and sometimes it really is overwhelming.  The biggie is, of course, my dad's illness.  But, my girls are moving to Florida in a month, I'm not terribly happy at my work, I don't know what they'll have me doing at work come July (this is potentially good, potentially not, and therefore, VERY stressful), and David's been gone for almost 3 weeks.

As you know, though, the gratefulness and the forced thinking of happy things is necessary to remind me that things really aren't bad.  I'm focusing on the bad, but there are so many other things that are amazing and wonderful.

I've lost weight, I have wonderful kitties in my life, the sun has been shining for a week (or most of it), I can knit.  I rediscovered needlepoint and have had a GREAT time doing it.  I am no longer obsessed with eating food and can eat just to maintain health and well-being.  All of these, when I think about them, make me happy.  They keep me going and allow me to see the other good things in life.

Like that my daddy had a wonderful life and was able to retire in his early 50s and enjoy 20 years of retirement.  My mom is able to be home with him during his last days and keep and make him happy and comfortable.  They've been smart with their money and she will be able to live comfortably for the rest of her life.

I am also super-excited about my daughters' opportunity.  They are getting to move to take on their "dream job"'s an awesome and wonderful opportunity for them.  I will miss them, but this is the right thing for them.  And that's terrific.

I also remind myself that through my blog and through reading the blogs of others, I've been able to develop friends...a different kind of friends than I've had in the past, but friends nonetheless.  It's wonderful reading about the antics of different people, their knitting, their families, their happiness and sadness.  I enjoy being able to write here and share things that are going on in my life, or in my head, or through my hands.

And once I"m able to get myself out of the sad feeling by remembering and focusing on the good feelings wonderful things start to happen.  Case in point:  2 times this week I have won yarn giveaways!  Ellen sent me some green yarn and Jimmy Beans Wool is sending me a sweater's worth of wool as one of their giveaways on FaceBook this week.

And a couple of weeks ago, when David was on his first trip, he met Mary and she gave him a giftie for me:  A Tiny Happy bag and a sweet little bunny to keep me company during all of this change and frustration and fear.  Thank you Mary.  You're very sweet.  And because I think of you when I think of Vesper Yarn, I'm keeping my Vesper projects in this Tiny Happy present the 3S Shawl which is growing by leaps and bounds!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy Things in Life

When times are difficult I try to focus myself on the positive things.  The happy things.  The things in life that make it worth grabbing ahold of and keep going.

Crafting definitely does that for me.  Without it I'd be bonkers, nuts and potentially dangerous to other people.

My family and friend relationships are also important to me...

You know what else?  The thing that will make me smile every time?  The cats.  I love having pets and missed them the few years that it wasn't safe to have cats around the babies...(for the cats, not the babies, please don't think I didn't have cats because I was fearful of what they'd do to my girls...they could definitely fend for themselves).

I've had some very special cats throughout my lifetime.  Oliver was sweet and funny and it was very sad when he passed away.  Lochi was my "baby" and sat with me and snuggled all the time.  She was the ultimate lap-cat.

But when I got Pearl, I knew I'd stumbled onto a special animal.  She's hilarious, vivacious, sweet, snuggly and just about the most interesting cat I've ever know.

Not only does she fetch (which is beyond charming in a cat) but I swear she understands what I'm saying and responds appropriately.  We have a ritual in the mornings where she gets on the table that has the drawers with her toys in it, she looks at me and I open a drawer, she picks out her toy and I throw it and she runs after it and we have a grand old time waking up in the mornings.

But today...this is what I found...

Three...three...glittery fuzzy balls (they are her favorites).  I usually try to pick them up when we're done playing because they have a nasty habit of getting under the stove or the refrigerator...but if I don't, she will put them in her food bowl.  Apparently she went hunting last night.

And apparently Zora doesn't like the balls in her bowl because she has knocked the food all over the floor.

They are definitely good therapy those kitties!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Things are happening all the time...sometimes we like it, sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we notice it and sometimes we're completely oblivious.

Sometimes we love it and sometimes we're super-sad.

And sometimes there are things that we have no control over and sitting back and watching things unfold is the only thing we can do.

I'm in the latter position and it's one that I hate.  Being helpless to your's frustrating and sad and unbelievably stressful.

My response when I get in a situation like this is to want to run and hide...or to play as much as I possibly can.  Unfortunately David is still on his 3 weeks of traveling, so running and hiding has pretty much been my mode...sorry for the absence from the blog.  It if makes you feel any better I also had to take 2 days off of work, and I'm sorry to report that they didn't do much to improve my outlook.

However, they did a TON to improve my knitting production.  Finished projects and new ones started...and an old craft revisited and totally loving it.

Welted Toque Hat in Dragonfly Fibers's Damsel Yarn, colorway Love Your Mother (Earth)
Elm Socks in Lorna Lace's Solemate, colorway Circus

Sampler afghan of my own design using mini skeins and leftover sock yarn
3S Shawl in Vesper Sock Yarn, colorway Woodlands.

A needlepoint canvas revisited with sleeping cat behind.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

All I need is a toe!

...and another sock, but the toe is all that's left of this puppy.  Isn't it turning out pretty?

I really love how hand-dyed yarns look so different when knitted in different stitch counts.  If you go back a few days and look at the first attempt at the spring sock KAL, I was making a sock with 72 stitches...the stripes were super-fat.  And on this sock they are so much skinnier.

I love how at the ankle and gusset area where you get all the extra stitches, the pooling creates a swirl.  It's fun, and sweet, and unique.

And each sock is, therefore, different, which I think is really truly fun.

Pattern:  Elm by Cookie A in Knitters Book of Socks
Yarn:  Solemate by Lorna's Laces in colorway Circus (I believe...hard to read the band).

Preview:  Yarn clubs are in the mail or will be soon.  I so excited to go home each day and have been disappointed when I'm not seeing any new bags on the porch!  Today maybe...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The difference a stitch makes

A couple of posts ago (on Saturday) I decided to leave off one sock project for another.  I was making a gorgeous "Celebrate Spring" sock that had a pretty chevron lace type pattern that required a double decrease.  I have a tetchy relationship with's gorgeous, I love it, I want it, but I don't always like knitting it.

I find that when knitting lace I have to concentrate, which isn't always a bad thing, but lately concentration isn't easy to come by.  With the Celebrate Spring socks, concentration wasn't the issue.  I was easily able to get into a rhythm with the pattern...or the stitches that I needed to do...the executing of the stitches was something else.

And it's funny because I was doing the exact same double decrease on a shawl at the same time I was doing the double decrease on the sock, but the sock just didn't feel right.

So, I put the sock down, as I mentioned at the end of last week, thought on it over night, and then ripped it out Saturday morning to cast on for a new pattern.  I'm now doing Elm by Cookie A and my what a difference a pattern makes.

And it's funny because:

  • I really dislike purling through the back loop
  • I have to concentrate on the pattern every other round, just like I would with a lace pattern
  • I absolutely adore knitting this sock.
I wish I could make sense of what it is I like about this sock, even though there are some stitches that I don't like, and what I disliked about the Celebrate Spring sock because I would like to be able to better choose patterns that are going to get along with me.  I want to know before I get started that I'm going to be able to finish a pattern...not that I'm going to be avoiding it because I'm frustrated with one little bit of it or another.

Maybe I just need to get over the concept that not finishing a project and deciding to rip it out is part of the process of knitting...that it's ok because the yarn is still usable and pretty and the finished result is going to be wonderful and nice.  But it's so hard when I feel like I've wasted time on a project that didn't get finished...I need to learn to redefine that "wasting"...

Today's picture is of the kitties sun bathing a couple of days ago.  We had a brief day of sunshine--it's rainy and cloudy again today--but on Saturday it was glorious!