Friday, July 31, 2009
I am really looking forward to seeing Liz, Lynn, Brian and Fred, it has been more than a year, I think. I am also looking forward to taking some photos in the gardens.
The last time Oscar and I visited the gardens, we were in the conservatory (that's where I took the photos on today's blog). This time I hope to explore outside a bit.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The SEVEN TO TEN POUNDS of yarn will be shipped out to me the first week of September, the items are to be received by Warm Woolies no later than December 14th. To give you a comparison, a large skein of worsted weight yarn (220 yards) weighs around 3.5 ounces. That is a LOT of yarn to knit into warmth in just under three months (to be certain of it arriving in time).
Thank goodness Warm Woolies likes the items sent in to be knit of double stranded worsted, or bulky yarn. And I have a feeling I can get some of the Ravelry Warm Woolies members to help out, if some live in the area.
I also think I need to get started on my Christmas/Yule knitting soon if I am going to fit it all in!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
One friend was stranded with her adult daughter in Colorado Springs, but through some fancy footwork with a credit card, a few things to sell on Ebay, and friends loaning money, we managed to get a bus ticket for them to come home tomorrow. And wonderful people in the Springs went out of their way to make sure they were safe and cared for, in the meantime.
Another friend is facing another battle with a recurring illness. After having had surgery in January, further, more intensive surgery is needed, and coming up on August 5th.
Yet another new but dear friend is battling a brain tumor. This will be her seventh session with chemo, and it will be interspersed with radiation therapy, I figure right now they are trying to give her as much time as they can. Her son is a gem. He is keeping us posted on how she is doing. I hope knowing we are listening is helping him, too.
She is a veteran, and had a bad series of war zones, and damn but she deserves better than this. Hell, don't we all deserve better than that?
Sometimes wise things come out of my fingers. At the time, my friend who was emailing me needed to hear it; today, I need to hear it again.
She honored me by posting it in her blog, smoothing it into something fine, and I quote her reworking of it here:
"...And Diana, on the receiving end of that email, with the wisdom of having been both participant and observer in such things, reminded me that it is harder to witness suffering than to live it. When it is ours, we deal with it and adjust, enjoying what we can do and getting through what we can’t."
Here's hoping we all get through it this time, too
Monday, July 27, 2009
A while back, I bought some yarn via a charity endeavor to raise money (I think for the Susan G. Komen Cancer fund). When I received the yarn, it also contained some stitch markers. I loved them. They fit up to size 10.5 US (6.5 mm) needles, and used a silky smooth ring without a join mark, unlike many markers which use standard jewelry jump rings. I HATE it when my stitch marker catches in my fiber. There are small jump rings connecting the charm to the big smooth ring, but they don't seem to catch in the yarn. At a good angle maybe?
At this point in time, all but one of them have fared off somewhere on their own, maybe in the bottom of my work drawers...
Anyway, I always intended to buy another set of them, so when I came across the card that came with them, I went to the website Crazy4Dying and found another set (this was Friday, I think).
They arrived today, and oh they are beautiful! They came in a sweet little organdy bag, and are even prettier in person than they were on the site, and are satisfyingly weighty.
My photograph doesn't show the words well, but there is one each with the words "hope", "love", "believe", "dream" and "laugh".
Oh, and they also sell hand dyed yarn.... Yummmmmmmiliscious.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I'll be doing a few while I figure out a pattern for a simple bag to carry a Mac Air notebook computer. Not for me, for a friend. I have my Dell, and it is still (mostly) working. Although every time I do a Windows update it puts my computer into a coma and I need to repair my 'start' mechanism. So no more Windows updates. Anyhoo.. back to the carry-bag.
I was going to felt it, but decided it will be a lot easier to size it if I just make a firm fabric.
And I love slip stitches, and there are still plenty in the Walker Treasury that haven't been done.
This first one isn't the winner, the loops on the front of the fabric are a bit flimsy for something that will get a bit of wear, although it DID knit up very quickly.
Yesterday I woke up about 5:30 a.m. and needed to take some pain meds. As I waited for the meds to kick in I found the pattern, and finished half of it in about an hour, the remainder when I got up again for the day.
I'm working on a different swatch right now, and so far I like it better. I'll post about it too when I'm done.
Oh. The photo is of the "Triple Slip Tweed, Three-Color Variation" from the The Third Treasury of Knitting (although my older copy is called "Charted Knitting Designs").
Friday, July 24, 2009
That's Oscar way up ahead of me on the right. I'd stopped to take a photo and he got away from me. Besides, I like any excuse to let the chair rip at it's highest speed :-}
Even along our very urban area, we have little bits of wild. We saw a ground hog today (not in the photo, he moved his rump too fast and I missed him)
I love how these photos of chicory turned out. Chicory is one of my favorite flowers. It's so very tough, yet so beautiful. One of the tenderest shades of blue-violet.
Some else's hibiscus is blooming in the neighborhood, too.
I loved this morning glory, but it wouldn't stop dancing in the wind long enough to take a sharp photo. Still pretty though.
We plan to walk once or twice a week. We have a good time :-}
Thursday, July 23, 2009
But the yarn I chose was too thin for the needles I chose, and the socks would have worn out within a few weeks, I think.
I am pretty sure I will make a pair from this pattern, but I will use slightly more robust yarn, and the 2.5 mm needles advised. With the 2.5 mm I was spot on for gauge, and the stitch pattern was stretchy enough that I think it would be fine even with my difficult-to-fit feets, it was just the see-through nature of the 3 ply superwash wool stockinette that was the problem.
so the wool will become a shawl, probably.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
There is this terrific website, especially good for visual learners called:
knittinghelp.com. The creator of the site has provided free videos of (so far) every technique I have needed to see, ranging from basic cast ons, knits and purls to intricate increases and decreases.
I have found it extremely useful, and even now, after I have been knitting almost every day for several years I still find myself going to it to learn a new technique.
I adore the internet.
Here's the page all about Cast ons.
And never hesitate to ask a question, knitters are friendly folk, for the most part :-}
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I spent today knitting on a pair of summer socks for myself, and enjoying it a great deal.
the pattern is available if you follow the link in the post day before yesterday.
The yarn is crazy4color's 100% super wash merino (3 ply) in 'Growan'
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I check the newest patterns there all the time. I'm not just looking for new things to make, but wanting to see what ideas people have come up with (check out the Ogre my Ogre Hat), and, when I am lucky, being able to read a lovely story behind a pattern.
Today, a beautiful sock pattern was posted by Jana Falls, called Grandma's Cable and Lace Socks. (link is to Jana's site)
With her permission, I am sharing her story here (she also gave me permission to post the photo) :
My grandmother was an avid knitter. I remember receiving handmade sweaters for birthdays and Christmas when I was little. More than anything else though, I remember her knitting socks. The same socks every time. So many that there are family stories about entire garbage bags full of homemade socks.
My grandmother passed away when I was 17. I only learned how to knit a year and a half ago, and am a little bummed that I never learned from her while I had the chance. Sadly, when she passed away we didn’t keep any of her knitting supplies (although it was really just a few pairs of needles). She had been knitting her socks for so long that she no longer needed a pattern, so when she died the sock pattern died with her. In fact, we’re not even sure if there was ever a pattern to begin with!
This past year as a Christmas gift for my mom I found someone locally who was able to reverse engineer some of my surviving pairs of grandma’s socks into a written pattern. I wanted to post it online so that other people can enjoy these socks as well. And if other people knit them, a little part of my grandmother stays in the world.
I think I will cast on a pair of these. My own ankles and feet are hard to fit, but I think the lace and cable pattern look very forgiving, and perfect for summer.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
1st: Woot! the pattern is now live at Patternfish! Kiva at Patternfish.
They now have the bits in place that let their designers upload all their own stuff, so all we need it Julia's ok clicky. :-}
Between that and being able to link my patterns directly to me on Ravelry, the pattern-selling process just got a WHOLE lot more streamlined.
I am feeling the effects of two weeks hard slog.
At first, when I finished Kiva, I felt elated, like this accomplishment may mean I might consider looking for at least a part time job.
Since then, I have:
1: dealt with extreme fuzzy head, like my intellect dropped huge percentage points, and lost ability to focus except in burst of less than a minute.
2: feel as though I had an anvil on my stomach, from sitting up too much
3. had a discussion with Oscar on how my focus the past two weeks has effected me in ways he noticed, but I had not. (no divorce looming, but he has been VERY patient with me.)
I am still very happy that I can make some contribution to the household via selling patterns, but have seen sense about the limits of my abilities (again). I guess it's a lesson I just need to keep learning over and over, as I push in different directions.
And trying to exceed limits once in a while is still a good thing, as long as I don't exceed physical (and mental) limits every day. How else will I know those limits?
And the patterns will keep selling, the percentage of income from the patterns has kept growing steadily. Once I have finished a pattern, the only other obligation is to be available to any purchaser for questions, and that has been a dawdle. It's all good.
I now have 5 patterns for sale (and 9 for free).
Maybe the next thing to do is to get a pattern published again. The last time was in Magknits, before they went dark (the owner is working in another part of the online knitting industry).
I am hooked up with info about calls for submissions, again through Ravelry. That place is such a gift to fiber folks (at least the knitting/crocheting/tatting groups)
I will need to be selective there, too. I will be submitting completed patterns for which I already have samples, no sketches on spec. It's the way that makes sense when health is precarious.
That may leave out Vogue Knitting (and others) but still leaves wide open places like Knit Circus and other smaller magazines. And multitudes of online magazines :-}. Knitty, here I come?
Yesterday, my computer had a bit of a problem, and I ended up having to reinstall the operating system. NOT fun. Oscar, bless him, was able to get the wireless internet working again, and things are all good. But it was a reality check on how much of my life is tied up on this thing.
I am grateful to have it, but it would be good to have more live interaction. In the meantime, I need to find my adobe photoshop disk. It's like missing a finger.
(Image is of another pattern in progress)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Something called a Crochet Hamburger Dress on a site called Buzzfeed.
Right now the front page of Buzzfeed has articles on:
How to Bake Cookies in your Car
Scarlet Johansson as the Black Widow (Iron Man 2)
The Weird Wacky World of the Platypus.
I like the Crochet Hamburger Dress best.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
On July 2nd, exactly two weeks ago I set myself a challenge, to complete a pattern and have it ready for submission by July 16th to Patternfish.
This would allow them plenty of time to put the pattern up on their site, which needed to happen before I could list it for sale on Ravelry. I have an ad spot I bought and I need to have all that in place before I can submit my ad copy by July 22nd.
EDITED TO ADD: Today I discovered how to link my patterns in Ravelry to 'myself' , so I did that with this pattern.
Here it is, all ready for sale KIVA LINK ON RAVELRY
I am very proud of meeting that challenge. These days health stuff gets in the way all too often.
When I first nabbed the ad, I decided to use it for this year's charity pattern.
I chose Kiva as my pattern charity for 2009. $1.oo from each pattern sold will go toward a Kiva loan. The more I sell, the more loans I can initiate there.
Because the pattern will be advertised in summer, I decided a felted purse would make a good all-season project. I have a hunch big bulky sweaters are not a popular summer knitting choice.
I started with a Google image search on the word 'kiva' and collected any image that seemed to spark/speak to me.
I spent a few days playing around with colored pencils, notebook and knitters graph paper. There were several design ideas that just didn't seem happy about being graphed, and more that were too intricate to make a good felted design.
I let the images 'cook' while I went yarn shopping on line. This was one of the biggest challenges. It is difficult to truly know what color a yarn is from a computer image, but by sticking to a popular yarn (Cascade 220) I was able to do another Google image search and get a pretty good idea before placing my order.
In the meantime, I graphed out a design I thought mght work and used some similar yarn I had on hand to cast on for a trial bag, estimating number of stitches and rounds, and deciding width of strap and length of flap as I went. When it came out of the washer, I made notes on what I wanted to keep, and what I wanted to change.
A big thing to change was the graph for the central design. Despite 'going large' the details were still lost in a fuzz after felting.
I got out a new sheet of graph paper, and using the finalized stitch and row counts, drew my own design and charted it out using an excel-type spreadsheet.
Then I made trial bag number 2, using some Cascade 220 I had on hand. That ended up becoming the 'moonlight' colorway (bottom photo, below)
As I knit, I refined and polished the instructions for the pattern, looking up standard purse strap lengths, listing the skills needed and abbreviations I would use, etc.
By this time, my new yarn had come. One of the colors was not exactly as I would have wished, but hey, it was here, and there was no time to order more.
After it was felted, I decided I liked it after all. , and got out the camera. That was yesterday.
Because I took notes as I worked, my pattern was pretty close to written. All I needed to do yesterday and today was tighten up my verbage, make the photos look pretty, and write out the charted instructions for those who prefer not to use charts. And double check my math after I had a cup of coffee.
Now that it is finished, I can step back and appreciate how it all came together.
My favorite part is that the design I drew and charted out of my own head has so many commonalities with images from many cultures, which to me makes it a perfect design for raising money for Kiva, when someone from one place is reaching out to help someone very far away, from a very different background.
Take a look below.
From top to bottom: A Native American woven rug, a pillow made from African Kuba cloth, a traditional Faire Isle knitting design, an ancient Anasazi pottery mug and my moonlight Kiva bag.
They bloom every two years, and I have yet to gather more seed to fill in the alternate summers.
This is one of their on years, and they have survived my benign neglect one more time :-}
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It's what I like to call 'serendipity-doodah'. (Anyone else old enough to remember that sparkling pink or bluish green gel used to make wondrously long-lasting curls in front of your ears with the use of bobby pins? But I digress.)
On to the quote:
"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach." Clarissa Pinkola-Estes
P.S. I did a little research, and you can still buy Dippity Do. Guess I'm not that old after all!
Monday, July 13, 2009
This time, it led me to the site of Rockpool Candy where she writes about a movement she launched July 6th, 2009 called 'Let Me Ease Your Day'.
It's about Random Acts of Kindness, and fiberlisciousness, and putting a little of yourself into giving. It's about branching off from yarn grafffiti and fiber bombing and leaving useful and charming gifts behind you as you go about your day.
Her words are better than mine:
"In times of financial worry, charities suffer. The public pull in their purse strings and stop giving. When the living is easy, our money is often given to charity to ease our consciences, to allow us to carry on our day to day lives without having to interact with needy causes and to feel like we're doing something.
But I want society to be different.
As crafters we have skills that we can put to use and make a difference that is not dependent on the free change we have in our pockets.
6th July sees my LET ME EASE YOUR DAY project launch in Belfast. A movement that takes what can often been seen as a middle-class pass time, yarn bombing, and purposes it for the good by providing knitted, crocheted and sewn textiles to the people in our society who might just need a random act of kindness to ease their day.
It could be you.
You may be having a bad day.
You could be sleeping rough.
Your job may be in jeopardy.
You could be worried about your mortgage.
You could have lost your cat/your friend/your child.
All these things leave us feeling vunerable.
What if, during your day, you found a small item left for you by a stranger specifically to nurture you. It won't solve all your problems, but it may just put a glimmer of warmth in your chest.Now, you may argue that LET ME EASE YOUR DAY is still a middle class reaction to human loneliness, but surely, as makers, it's a way that we can make a difference with textiles.
If you have the time to open your heart and fibre stash. If you have a piece of fabric that could be turned into napkins or a tablecloth for a pensioners' drop in centre, an old sleeping bag or tent that could be the warmth needed by a rough sleeper, a cushion that could provide comfort to someone on their commute, some yarn that could make socks or a hat to keep out the cold, then commit a random act of kindness. Be different."
I don't get out and about much. I am lucky if I leave the house once a week (except for brief jaunts in the motorized chair around my immediate neighborhood when the weather is good); but I DO travel the web every day, sometimes for hours. This blog is a great part of my interaction with the rest of the world, and as such, I use it to encourage you to follow Rockpool Candy's idea, in your own way, and as it fits into your life.
If you don't create within the craft world, how about addressing a humorous card "To the first person to pick me up" and leaving it behind in a taxi or bus?
Or perhaps leaving a nice book mark in a library book you are returning?
Maybe you could bring in a bowl of peaches to the lunchroom at work.
I am certain there are as many ways to be kind as there are ways to be impatient and brusque.
Find your own, act on it, and maybe; pass on the idea however you can.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Yesterday I saw a link about half way down their page to an art form I've been interested in for awhile, but never really looked into.
Chain saw sculpting. (link is to "Masters of the Chainsaw")
I think what I love most about it is not the finished sculptures (although they are in fact way cool) but watching the artists at work. One of the elements of chain saw sculpting contests is speed.
I am mesmerized by the three-partnered dance of artist, wood and chain saw, the changing song of the engine as the precise bites of wood fly off the log, bringing into reality the sculptor's vision.
If you want an idea of how difficult it can be, grab yourself a jug of water and do a few jumping jacks (and try not to hit yourself in the head with it).
The chainsaw preferred by many competitors weighs 7.5 pounds. And it's got a lot more teeth than a jug of water.
Last night Oscar and I attended the Crossroads Music Festival in Ypsilanti. (held every Friday night through the summer).
We were able to talk with friends Annie Capps, Michael Hough and David Tamulevich, and listen to some fantastic music. We also learned about an internet radio station, A3Radio right here in Ypsi that I didn't know about, where I can listen to many Michgan groups on the saved podcasts, as well as live shows. They also have in-house concerts during the off season that are free! Winter is looking up!
I will blog more about the individual groups another time, but for now this photo shows (from left to right):
Rod Capps on electric guitar, Michael Hough on djembe, Annie Capps on acoustic guitar, Jason Dennie on mandolin and David Tamulevich on harmonica.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Thanks to the people who have bought my "Cloud On Her Shoulders" pattern so far this year, I am able to donate $31 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It is small, I know. But I have to believe that every little bit helps. The $31 when combined with last year's amount comes to $46 of difference, anyway. And as the pattern sells for the rest of my working life, that total will continue to rise, I hope.
I liked doing this so much that I plan to release one new pattern each year that will have $1.00 of it's purchase price going to charity. I am working on the pattern for 2009 this week, and will be releasing it by the 22nd of this month. I will be using the $1.00 from each pattern sold to add to a Kiva loan.
That way I can just keep reinvesting it, and the money can keep helping.
Friday, July 03, 2009
I chose three blocks to make this time #s 100, 112 and 115. (photos below).
I have a deep affection for Barbara G. Walker's books. I first encountered her writing as a Pagan. She has written such books as The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, Feminist Fairy Tales, and many more.
Imagine my delight when, as a newish knitter, I discovered the Treasury of Knitting volumes and realized they were by the same author. :-} In fact, one reason I am eager to help with the knitting of the mosaic patterns is many of them draw from sacred symbols. What an afghan that will make!
Thursday, July 02, 2009
This means I have given myself a deadline of completing the brand new pattern by July 16th. It first needs to be listed with Patternfish, then on Ravelry before I can submit my ad for approval. The submission deadline is July 22nd.
I have been having a ball collecting images, drawing, coloring, and trying out different outlines for the project. As usual, I enjoy letting the details be secret seeds until they have flowered into the pattern for me. It often mutates beyond the original concept by the time I am done, anyway. :-}
I have narrow the shapes to three choices, and have determined on two different colorways.
Now I am trying to translate my sketches into a stranded pattern.... Which has already mutated the sketch three times this morning LOL.