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May 30, 2006

Tempting Progress

It's a frog and re-start:

Knitty Tempting Progress of the Reknitting

Pattern: Knitty Tempting, Jenna Adorno
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Color #611
Needles: Clover Bamboo Size 7 (US)

I frogged this 2004 project the weekend before last and restarted it on smaller (circular) needles. I am SO much happier with the ribbing and my error-free knitting this time around. It's clear that when I abandon my knitting for long stretches of time (this unfinished project really DID have dust on it), there's something unresolved that I'm not dealing with. Lesson learned. It's going to be a veritable finishing year for me, I've decided. Did you read the self-discipline blog entries yet? You should! I almost got stuck on acceptance, but managed to push through to the rest (in reality and also in my thought processes). Remember: Don't think about what you don't want.

May 28, 2006

Orange & Blue

I've noticed a trend in the colors that appeal to me these days; particularly vibrant orange paired with an understated blue:

Orange & Blue

I looked up information regarding the 2007 color forecast and found this: Pantone 2007 Color Forecast - MSN Article. Apparently, my favorite palette is Melange. I realized that some things that appealed to me at Paper Source were from this color palette and my long wish list there includes paper products in Papaya, Poppy, Bluebell and Sky. I use a huge orange Russell-Hazel 3-ring binder for my knitting notebook and my favorite Beverly Hills yarn store is decorated in these colors. My birthday color is "pumpkin." And it turns out it's a popular color scheme on my Flickr as well:

Irish Hiking Scarf

I'm beginning to think I like this color combination.

May 25, 2006

Assembled Noni Medium Carpet Bag

The Noni . . . she is assembled

If you're knitting a Noni, pay close attention to the finished dimensions. I was prepared to knit the large carpet bag until I decided to actually read the instructions and see what the size was going to be. Even though I chose the medium, it is quite large in proportion to my barely-over-five-feet-tall frame.

If you click below, you can see the finished size as I am holding it:

Noni Medium Carpet Bag - Outdoors

Next up is finishing (or frogging and restarting) this:

Knitty Tempting Sweater
click the photo above for additional notes

And if you're reading this far, I am going to share something with you that I realized yesterday. I've been taking things too easy. It's partly because I need to. I am dealing with some significant and stressful family issues right now. However, I've noticed that over the past several years, I've failed to challenge myself like I used to when I was working outside the home. Back then, I knew that at least 40 hours a week were spoken for and I owed my employers my full attention on the job. With the added demands of family, single parenthood, school and more, I still managed to find time to make and achieve my goals. I've never lacked passion or desire to do or be more, but the significant thing I had back then that I don't have now is self-discipline. I didn't wake up yesterday missing it all of a sudden -- I simply haven't had to have it. And I also haven't found myself lacking because of it -- I just noticed that I've developed a rhythm that comes from having more time in which to do things. (An activity will expand to fill the time available for it).

So now it's almost summer. School's out on Friday and I will have even more open-ended, unscheduled time. The idea here for me is not to fill it with endless and sometimes mindless activity (gosh, I hate it when people do that -- they actually think they are getting somewhere) but to be totally conscious of what I hope to achieve. It means reconnecting with my values, my mission, and my goals and consciously applying self-discipline to that. When I've done that in the past, I've achieved EVERY goal I've set.

I'm not sharing my goals yet, because I don't want there to be a perception that I am benchmarking myself against anybody else -- I'm only trying to be my own personal best. And, really, until now, I was focused on what has been important to me: relationships and doing first things first.

Now it's 'out there' since I've written it down. It's not really important whether anybody see or read this, but it's important to me and therefore, might also speak to somebody else who happens upon this blog. I believe that if we are seeing and listening, we will find the tools and ideas we need precisely when we need them.

May 23, 2006

Felted Camellia - Cascade 220

Noni Felted Camellia

Pattern: Noni Bags Camellia
Yarn: Cascade 220 (held double) Color 8414
Needle: US 11
Purchased at Twisted Yarns

If you're knitting a Noni Bag, you should definitely try one of her felted flower patterns to go with it. This camellia was deceptively simple and fun to knit and the pattern instructions are terrific. I think the outcome is striking and I love the texture and dimension of the camellia. You can knit this in an evening (not the month that it took me). I think the only thing I would do differently for my next camellia is make the outer petals the same size as the inner petals (which would also make it a one-skein pattern). To knit this with two strands held together, I used both ends of the skein held together instead of 1 strand each from two skeins. So, to those of you who asked, it definitely IS possible to knit a camellia with one skein of Cascade 220 as long as it is not a "large" camellia. I only had to use my second skein for the bobble in the center.

When I assemble and complete and begin using this bag, I think this will be the last felted bag I make for a while. Although I loved it, I want to challenge myself to finish some incomplete projects and also work on some more challenging knits. Granted, it's hard to keep my resolve when new Noni patterns arrive:

Noni Felted Bag Pattern - Bobbles Bobbles Noni Felted Bag Pattern - In the Sculpture Garden Noni Felted Bag Pattern - Night Garden

My Sockapaloooza Sock Pal received the socks I knit for her (Trekking XXL #107)! I'm delighted she loves them and wears them. I enjoyed the Sockapaloooza experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. Alison and my sock sister did a wonderful job - I salute you!

sockapaloooza2006

What I got from this experience: I learned that I love knitting socks for others.

May 20, 2006

Claudia's Handpainted Yarn - Anklets

I just couldn't leave the yarn alone, so I cast on for the anklets while I was at the doctor's office the other day:

Sherbet Anklets with Claudia's Handpainted Yarn

The brilliant idea for anklets was inpsired by Pixiestikz's blog entry about her bright, cheery anklets. And, honestly, why didn't I think of anklets before? Lolly's also knitting anklets and they're a beautiful shade of green.

I was delighted when this arrived yesterday:

Knit Cafe

When I was in L.A. last year, this was the yarn store I nearly decided not to visit - it turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most! The book contains everything I enjoyed about actually being in the store, finding a must-knit pattern (and then knitting it 4 times), and exceptionally helpful employees. The photos in the book are unbelievable - there are some WOW patterns (I really need to do the math on the La Luz evening gown - it's beautiful) and new twists on basic knits (scarves and hats). Julia and Mary-Heather both have patterns in the book. I also love the WeHo vibe of the book:

WeHo

But for now, instead of curling up with this wonderful book, I must get ready to go to the best little yarn store in Texas, my happy place.

May 19, 2006

Interruptions are okay

While I intened to fill my time yesterday with finishing the pinstripe sock and assembling my Noni bag, my day instead consisted of a doctor visit, breathing treatments, a chest x-ray, nebulizer rental and medication for one of my boys who has bronchiolitis. While I was at the doctor's office, I cast on for the anklet socks I want to make with the "sherbet" Claudia's Handpainted Yarn. However, I don't feel the need to make excuses for what I didn't do knitting-wise yesterday -- I handled what was most important at the time. Knitting is just something that fills in spaces of time here and there and I don't feel guilty about what I don't finish or when I don't get to blog about what I intended to blog about.

When our doctor walked in to the exam room, I noticed he'd lost some weight -- and he mentioned that he's lost 55 pounds. He looks great. He shared that it was important to him and his family to be fit and healthy and he said, "If anybody has excuses for not exercising, it's me - but instead of making excuses, I made the time." Everybody has the same number of hours in the day, right? How you spend your time is a personal choice and people MAKE time (and not excuses) for what is important to them. So those of you tsk-ing at my incomplete and ambitious knitting projects, those things will be finished when the important things have gotten the focus and attention they deserve.

And since I'll be quite busy this weekend and throughout the week next week, I thought I would share what I got for an early birthday present:

TREO650.jpg
Treo 650

My husband got this for me and taught me how to use it (he has one already). The Treo uses a Palm OS, so I can use applications written for Palm PDA's. I've already put knitting patterns on this and it's proved quite handy to have to carry with me. I love it because I'm such a gadget girl anyway (but y'all knew that, right?)

Today - do something you enjoy and silence your inner critic. Monkey
says, "Have a wonderful weekend!"

May 18, 2006

Lornas Laces Sock

Lornas Laces Pinstripe - 1 sock almost finished

STILL loving this yarn and this sock!

I've already swatched (and then frogged) some additional sock yarn I purchased on Tuesday and it's delicious to knit with as well. I think it wants to be little anklet socks for me someday:

Claudias Handpainted Yarn - Fingering Weight - Sherbet
Claudia's Handpainted Yarn - Fingering Weight - Sherbet

And more sock yarn I couldn't pass up:

Bearfoot_Wilderness.jpg
Mountain Colors "Bearfoot" in Wilderness

(All new yarns purchased at Twisted Yarns in Spring, Texas)

If you're reading through Bloglines, this is just a heads-up that I've added a few new blogs to my sidebar along with a cute button and link to Christine's "Pointy Sticks" Podcast. Remember - no iPod is required to listen to a podcast - just right-click and save the file to your hard drive and listen! Christine does a good job covering the local knitting scene (Houston area) as well as the zeitgeist of the entire knitting blogosphere.

There's so much bubbling beneath the surface that I can't write about here. However, in spite of this being a difficult time of year for me, I'm very hopeful about the future. I'm willing to adapt and be flexible -- I'm good at that, but I still feel that I need to be alert and vigilant. Although trouble does come and always will -- the biggest blessings I've ever received have come disguised as distress and tragedy. In light of this, I was reading a wonderful blog entry about self-absorption a few weeks ago (I followed a link from Molly's blog). It was such a timely read then and I found myself wandering back to re-read it this morning (and I dare you to read the whole thing all the way through).

May 16, 2006

Traveling Knitting

Last night while I was on the phone, I started my traveling sock -- i.e. the sock(s) I knit while I wait in line to pick up the kids at school:

LornasLacesBlog.jpg
(You can see larger photos at Flickr)

This is the "Pinstripe" colorway in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock purchased (special order) at Twisted Yarns. Unlike the Trekking XXL, which I adore, the Shepherd Sock is a smoother , faster knit -- something that I can knit with in low light and not worry about the splitting (different knitting for different purposes). While Trekking XXL creates a "WOW" sock, knitting with Lorna's Laces gives the sock-knitter a classic, trustworthy experience. The only downside to knitting with variegated Shepherd Sock is the occasional surprise you get with pooling.

I've neglected to do a photo shoot and post regarding the Noni Felted Carpet Bag, but I'll definitely do that this week. I had high hopes of sewing a lining in this fabulous bag, but let's be realistic -- I won't! I'm also still enjoying knitting with hemp and want to make it a staple in my yarn stash. I love the stuff! I specifically want to make this.

May 15, 2006

Sock Focus

Ann of Mason-Dixon Knitting is now knitting socks. (The only thing that would surprise me more is if Becky started knitting socks). Ann's first socks are Trekking XXL socks - they're beautiful!

Industrious Margene and her pal, Norma, have started Trek Along With Me, a blog for Trekking XXL sock knitters (you have to "take a hike" with your sock). I first read about it on Liz's blog. By the way, Liz also has a Flickr group for Trekking XXL sock knitters.

We're almost halfway through the year and it has been a sock-focused year for me. I've had to adapt to having a really busy school year (with three kids in school now) and learn to be flexible with my projects so that spare minutes are "enough." However, summer means larger blocks of time in which to knit, so I do expect to be able to finish some of the knitting projects that have languished in my basket this year; so many things are "this close" to being finished.

I hope my sock pal loves her socks:

blogsock.jpg

She should receive it this week, along with a few small goodies I included. I love the Trekking XXL colorway so much (#107) that I've since ordered some for myself.

blogsock2.jpg

May 05, 2006

I didn't forget how to knit

I didn't forget how to knit, but I was afraid I had! I've been gone several days. I got home on Wednesday after dealing with family medical issues. Thank you to my friends here for the support and prayers and my employers for the understanding. Knitters are such warm and thoughtful people.

Now I am wanting to knit socks for everybody who helped me while I was at home. Everybody needs socks, right? I just can't begin to describe how incredibly calming and soothing it was to pick up my knitting for the first time in almost a week and JUST.KNIT.

TWO things to share about human behavior during crisis situations and family illness:

1. People will always behave in a way that is consistent with their TRUE nature
2. It is healthier to focus on the kindnesses than it is to focus on the insensitivity (not easier, just healthier)

I am grateful for help from good friends, but am also surprised at the total silence from those at home I thought I could count on to at least offer encouragement . . . to let me know that they were thinking of us.

Three words that have come to mean the world to me: "Have you eaten?"

What can you do when you don't think you can do anything? Remind me to breathe and sleep and allow me to cry, to yell, to curse. And of course, you can always listen. Just LISTEN.

So much kindness (again, the focus on this) came from unexpected places. From complete strangers.

For those I haven't had a chance to call or email yet, my mom is still in the hospital and my dad, who suffers from dementia, remains home for now. Finally, I couldn't have left for a week unless I had incredible support from my husband. I know that at any time, he can take over all my duties and run everything (in addition to doing his job) -- and do it well!