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March 29, 2006

Noni Bags' Camellia Progress

NONICamellia.jpg

The camellia has been surprisingly fun and fast knitting. The only downside is the fact that I'll probably run out of yarn before I finish, which means it's definitely a 2-skein flower. However, I do think it will be worth it when it's assembled, felted and embellishing the bag.

Resurrected blog entry from two years ago . . .

I came across some cached blog entries from March 2004, and this is something I wrote two years ago yesterday:

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“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Self-Reliance

How long have you always done something a certain way? Why do you so easily accept that you cannot do something you’ve never done before?

It’s not always the big things . . . the big changes in life. BIG CHANGE is often forced upon us through circumstances beyond our control anyway. What about the small things you have control over, those things that if changed or tweaked just a bit, could empower you to handle bigger change, tougher challenges?

“With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Self-Reliance

I would never suggest inconsistency as a permanent way of life; it's not the antithesis to "foolish" consistency. Just re-examine some of what you continue to do merely because you've always done it. Dare to be random. Question everything. Accept nothing [at face value].

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The really odd thing is the quote above has been running through my mind NONSTOP for the past two days.

I wonder why.

March 28, 2006

Noni Bags' Unfelted Medium Carpet Bag

NoniBagUnfelted.jpg

I've finished the KNITTING of this bag but still need to (1) weave in the ends, (2) felt it, (3) shape it and (4) crease it. I also need to find handles and a closure that I like. Tonight I'm going to start knitting the red camellia to go with this bag. Yesterday I also started my "Yarn-ventory" spreadsheet (I hesitate to call it a "stash" inventory since it doesn't seem like I have enough to qualify as "stash" yet). In the process of creating the spreadsheet, I noticed that I really don't have impulse purchases of yarn. Every yarn purchase can be matched with its project (just need to start and finish them!) I also noticed that I'd organized my wool scraps by yarn company. I have enough Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride to make a striped hot pad (will felt it) and enough Cascade 220 to make a few coasters.

In going through my sock yarn to try to make a final decision on my Sockapaloooza socks, I decided on what I think will be PERFECT for my sock pal -- the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I bought in February. I'll get started on those QUITE soon as they need to be in the mail no later than early May 2006!

I've been SO inspired lately while making the rounds of my favorite blogs. I can't distill my feelings to pat phrases or bullet points, but it is just refreshing to see bloggers being authentic and real, writing with their own fresh voices. I've made a conscious effort to focus on reading encouraging blogs and stay away from the dogmatic, dry ones and it's changed me. I challenge you to read through the archives of your favorite blogs . . . take some time to really get to know the bloggers (some of you already do this, I know!). I have a local favorite that I've been reading since Hurricane Rita -- SciGuy - some very thought-provoking things and interesting things there. One of a handful of blogs I've never stopped reading is Keri Smith's Wish Jar Journal and one of my favorite NEWEST blog reads is Saunshine - there are some little gems in her blog that aren't solely related to knitting. For the latest in knitting, fashion and pop culture, check out And Knitting. I'll be sharing more blogs with you over the next few blog entries.

This past weekend, we went shopping for my son's birthday present - a new skateboard. I took some time to actually LOOK at some of the other items at Fast Forward and found a ton of cute things, including the flip flops I've been wanting. If I was about 30 years younger, this is where I'd shop for clothes. Needless to say, I don't think I have what it takes to be a skater girl - I'll just enjoy it vicariously.

Fast Forward - Decks Fast Forward Wall of Decks

March 24, 2006

Noni Bags' Embellishments - Flowers

I failed to publish the details regarding the Noni Bags' embellishments when I blogged about my Medium Carpet Bag yesterday. I'm going to knit a dark red camellia; here's a post I came across today where Be*Mused has photos of what the Unfurling Rose looks like pre- and post-felting. Two of my co-workers are knitting the Tube Baguette (in the recommended colors) along with the Spider Chrysanthemum. (The flower patterns are sold separately from the bag patterns). From what I understand, the Baguette is a little more "fiddly" as far as pattern instructions go (but the results will be smashing!) The carpet bag I am working on is similar to the Booga Bag in construction and ease of knitting (knitting round and round -- approx 64 rounds for the medium-size -- with no i-cord to knit). If you've ever knit a Sophie or a Booga, you'll have no problem knitting the Noni Bags' Carpet Bag. Another friend (and fellow knitter) ordered the pattern to make the Garden Party Bag (that's a LOT of camellias!)

And while I know that some people scoff at cute things, this was just too adorable not to purchase - it is FUN and FUNCTIONAL:

Ladybug Measuring Tape

This tape measure travels with me in my handbag. I have two other tape measures, less elegant, but equally (they ALL measure things!) functional that usually end up in the bottom of my knitting bag or basket. Having a few means that no matter where I am, I have my tape measure! True knitters will understand -- a tape measure is your friend:

Measure2.jpg Measure3.jpg


March 23, 2006

In Progress - Noni Bags Medium Carpet Bag

NoniBlack.jpg

I am enjoying knitting this bag -- it's a nice break from sock-knitting but I am anxious to get back to them. However, as I type this, I am vaguely aware of a litlte voice in my head telling me that knitting and blogging at this moment is not a good use of my time. The house is a mess and there are toys everywhere along with the ever-present piles of school papers and clean laundry. Meanwhile, I'm learning that much of what I want to share and spill here is better handwritten in a private journal even when it's the knitting that helps me work out things going on in my mind. There's nothing huge and earth-shattering swirling around in my head, but I am listening to and trusting my intuition more than I have in a long time.

After all the activities going on this weekend are behind me, I'm going to be helping to "test-knit" the Fake-a-Gamo bag. Be sure and check out the actual bag. Should be fun and interesting to try.

The past two days, it's been unseasonably cool cold here and I've had to run the heater and wear long-sleeved tops. I actually ENJOY this weather -- I just wasn't prepared for it!

March 19, 2006

I'm an intrepid knitter

Apparently, according to Noni Bags, I'm an intrepid knitter. However, I'm also a scatterbrained one. I left my knitting basket at work yesterday and since the store won't be open again till Tuesday, I am without all my supplies, stitch markers and counters. I was sad until I realized this meant I could start a new project with the yarn and pattern I'd purchased yesterday -- that along with my Denise needle set and I was good to go. I cast on last night for a Noni Bags' "Felted Carpet Bag" in the medium size. Clicking on the link to the brochure will open a pdf, but it has a great photo of Nora Bellows' Fall/Winter 05-06 bags. I've also got the pattern for the camellia flowers and all the yarn I need to make everything: Cascade 220 in 4002, 8555, and 9404.

With the "Jelly" Kidsilk Haze I bought on my trip, I'm going to knit another lace capelet and actually KEEP and wear this one myself.

Have I mentioned the HEMP yarn I knit with last weekend? I ended up really enjoying knitting with it; I bought the Get to Know Hemp Kit and so far, our relationship's gone well. I knit a washcloth last week and have since cast on for a scarf.

HempKitMed.jpg

March 18, 2006

Knitting in circles

Knitting in the round, knitting in circles, knitting around . . . I think I've figured out what most appeals to me to knit and why. Unlike lace knitting or other "patterned" knitting, knitting in the round quiets my mind -- when it's a particularly mentally "noisy" time for me, I can start a new sock (or capelet, or felted bag . . . anything knit in the round) and it calms me.

I just returned from a quick trip back to see family members we missed seeing on our last trip "home" during the holidays. Because it's where we both grew up and it's where both our families still live, it's difficult to fit in seeing everybody and we've accepted that there are those who will feel perpetually short-changed NO MATTER WHAT WE DO. At least one person has confirmed what I suspect several familiy members feel -- their behavior is a subtle form of "punishment" for our choice to move away from where we grew up. This dynamic is what had me craving some meditative knitting in the round. It's interesting that those who most wanted us to stay and never leave are also the ones who've had the most unresolved personal issues of their own -- unrelated to our choices. Even if we moved back, it wouldn't fix anybody. I did, however, enjoy this trip! I enjoyed seeing the people who wanted to see us, who enjoy our company and are delighted to see us -- no strings attached. I also fit in a quick trip to a yarn store and scored a ball of Kidsilk Haze in a
color I've been wanting
.

There's no place like home -- THIS home.

March 08, 2006

Stitching Store & More

Yesterday I met a friend at 3 Stitches in Spring, Texas - our first trip there to check out what they carry and also an opportunity for me to buy embroidery floss to complete a cross-stitch project I started over decade ago. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of what they carry for stitchers! In addition to what one would normally find in a fine stitchery shop, they had a great selection of buttons, beads and charms of all kinds. It was almost overwhelming taking it all in - I've just never seen a store that seemed to carry EVERYTHING and anything for the stitcher. I don't know how often I'll find myself needing to go there, but I will definitely send people to this one-stop shop. With so many craft mega-stores around, it's refreshing to be able to find small stores with an excellent selection and a knowledgeable and passionate staff. I much prefer to take my money and my business to places like 3 Stitches. It's not always about saving a few pennies, but supporting small local businesses.

We also visited the The Hen House a few miles down the street from 3 Stitches. The Hen House is a quilting store and home decor and gift shop that also specializes in felting and novelty yarns. I've purchased Crystal Palace yarn and needles there (in addition to candles and a small stitching project), but I just can't figure out why it doesn't seem a warm and friendly place. I'm sure they're delightful people and perhaps they're suspicious of a competitor's employee coming in, but I do NOT go in there as anything more than a customer. If anybody asks me about Crystal Palace yarns (which we don't carry), The Hen House is where I send them! I'm intrigued by their extensive quilting fabric supply and notions and accessories and it would be neat if they offered quilting classes for beginners. Perhaps there are just local businesses like The Hen House who feel they have all the customers they need. I may never know.

The day was not a loss, however, as the weather was great and I got to spend time with a good friend! And, in the evening at Sit & Knit, we presented our fellow knitter and co-worker with a Friendship Blanket to honor the upcoming birth of her first granchild. This was the secret project I alluded to a couple of weeks ago:

Friendship Blanket

March 05, 2006

Finally facing facts

I had to finally give in yesterday to the fact that I have had a cold . . . nothing serious, just a lot of congestion, sneezing, sinus discomfort and low energy. I've been trying to rest, but resting makes me think of all the things I should be doing instead of . . . resting.

With my husband's help, I think I am finally to the point where I can organize my small yarn stash a bit better. I'm going through Phase 1 today and matching yarn with projects and will be ruthless about prioritizing. I love using my Outlook Calendar and Tasks for this. It works well for me, but I also have a spreadsheet that I've not updated in several months. I don't want or need to use both -- I'll have to choose!

I taught a beginner's sock knitting class yesterday and really enjoyed it in spite of not feeling well. I learn a lot from teaching and it's fascinating for me to hear how people talk to themselves while they're learning. If you believe you can learn something new, you will. If you're convinced you can't, you won't. I love teaching knitting, but haven't found a way yet to instill confidence in people who are trying new skills. Food for thought.

March 02, 2006

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock - Pinstripe

I'm getting better at swatching my projects before I commit to a stitch pattern or an idea:

Lorna's Laces Pinstripe

I actually like plain ribbing (K2P2) for this variegated and somewhat self-striping colorway. Because I have so many projects either on the needle or in the queue, I'm putting this one away for a while. Since having decided on a "sock-knitting focus" for 2006, I've learned so much and have figured out some sock-knitting mysteries and secrets.

Some recent knitblog reads:

Margene started her Project Spectrum sweater. There's an interesting book meme at Annie's blog. I might actually have to do that one! Fluffa!'s finished Fluffy Bolero is adorable and unique. Go see Lana's snow!

Back to the socks - they're calling me! I have heels to turn.