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March 30, 2008

Noro Kureyon Felted Scraps Tote Bag

Noro Kureyon Felted Scraps Tote Bag with Leather Handles
See more details regarding the tote on Ravelry

Noro Kureyon Felted Scraps Tote Bag with Leather Handles

Almost four years ago, I knit this tote bag with my Noro Kureyon leftovers -- I'd knit three Booga Bags and had a smallish amount of leftover Kureyon and then scored a bargain on a couple more skeins. I had this idea to knit a tote in order to have a good project to take to Tuesday night Sit & Knits. When I finally finished knitting the bag, I felted it and had plans to sew handles on it and use it as a knitting bag. I purchased an inexpensive handle but ended up feeling indifferent and uninspired about it -- I was not at all excited about attaching it the bag, so I kept the tote in a pile of finished knits in my closet. A few months ago, Twisted Yarns received a shipment of Grayson E handbag accessories and leather handles in assorted sizes and colors. The 25" handles were exactly what I wanted, so I bought them. They have pre-punched holes and handles were easily attached to the bag by backstitching a double strand of DMC Perle Cotton (Col 9038) and now I love this bag! There are some great Grayson E handbag patterns available now also.

Click here to download my pattern.

March 25, 2008

Feeling in control again

Malabrigo :: Ankara Green Silky Merino
Vacation + Relief from tooth pain + Momentum from finishing things = Accomplishment

There were these little tasks -- knitting i-cord, sewing on leather straps, washing and blocking some finished knits, evaluating unfinished objects -- those tasks are now complete and updated in Ravelry. The last time you saw the soft drawstring pouch I knit with Malabrigo Silky Merino, it was unwashed and had a brown silk ribbon woven through and tied in a bow. Although I love the ribbon and will use it to wrap the final package, I really wanted to use the remaining blue-green silky merino yarn to knit a thick i-cord drawstring - so I did. I just love the color and the softness. The recipient can certainly have both along with a choice of which one to use. It had a nice Soak "Citrus" bath and a few rinses before I blocked and dried it overnight. It is amazingly soft now and still Tiffany Blue.

Last Minute Knitted Gifts (Joelle Hoverson) Drawstring Bag

The silver heart necklace was a Valentine's Day gift from a family member. It made me smile to see the "Ankara Green" Silky Merino next to the signature Tiffany box. What a perfect color.


I had this long diatribe planned in my head while I was on vacation about why I don't rely on luck to take me where I want to go -- it's so much more satisfying to work hard for my achievements. However, to the casual observer or the drive-by reader of this blog, I'd be hard-pressed to convince you that I'm not "lucky." In short: I'm blessed. I'm prepared. I'm well-informed. I'm a voracious blog reader. I'm well-connected in a small but tight network of knitters. I'm willing to invest in others. I'm aware that genetics (and orthodontia) has played a huge role in my physical appearance . . . but I refuse to credit luck. Please know that I don't dismiss any compliment - I'm grateful for all of them; but I'm not lucky.

It's easy to be dismissive of people who appear to do things effortlessly (although internally I do not count myself among those who experience life effortlessly), and it's so easy to form a wrong impression based on what little I share here. Do I shamelessly stash? Am I showing off? Am I boasting? Am I a spendthrift? You know, the bottom line is that I can't be responsible for what others think, so I fully enjoy the freedom I have here to express whatever I want to express -- and that is part of what I was alluding to in an earlier post. What prompted this? I've just been observing from a distance the tendency that some seem to have (expressed in forum postings, offhand and under-the-breath comments, message boards) to be unkind and presumptive. I value frugality, minimalism and austerity, but I also want to share the things I discover along this path I'm traveling.

I'm blessed.

March 23, 2008

Easing back in

Flora ii

We're back from vacation and I'm easing back into my familiar and much-missed routines. I had a bit of a dental emergency that threw me off the planned drawing for the Manos Silk Blend -- results of the drawing are at the end of the post.

If you visit my Flickr you already know that I scored a skein of the Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn in Vincent's Apron. It's the coveted and hard-to-find semi-solid yellow. I considered buying a skein of the Elephant's Dream as well, but I'm glad I didn't -- it's now in stock at Twisted Yarns. Is it just me, or are other sock knitters looking for deeply-saturated solid colored sock yarn?

So the one yarn shop open on a Monday was The Black Sheep in Encinitas, California. It was a great little shop, with the largest stock of Colinette I've ever seen under one roof:

Colinette Wall @ The Black Sheep
The Black Sheep

Okay, I have to admit that I'm a little freaked out by some unfinished business (not just knitting) in my life right now. I plan to take care of (that is, FINISH) at least one thing today before I go to bed. It's not often that I feel this overwhelmed by the undone, but I kept putting things off while I prepared for our trip to California. So, I'm declaring it a "no excuses" day for myself. I'll be scarce today.

I used the Random Number Generator and "drew" the number 35; so the winner of my contest is Kenyetta! Kenyetta, I'll be emailing you for your address! Congratulations!

Thank you all for participating -- I really enjoyed (and am still enjoying) reading all the comments!

More contest results coming soon - I have extra copies of two knitting magazines that two more readers will receive.

March 19, 2008

300 :: Changes

For my 300th blog entry here, the only profound thing I am doing is changing my blog header to celebrate the inspiration I've found this week. I'll share more details in a few days -- suffice it to say that getting out of a routine is mind-expanding.

If you read through a feed reader, here's the new header:

new blog header

I can honestly say that after having had a few blogs, this is the one I am happiest with. After agonizing over previous blogs, I knew when I began this one, it would have to be something I did for myself. I like that it's not all of me, but honest parts of some of me -- mostly the parts of my life related to knitting. The family history and glimpses in to my ancestry have crept in and I am keeping them here for now.

In reading Annie Dillard today, this one small bit of phrasing struck me:

"The obverse of this freedom, of course, is that your work is so meaningless, so fully for yourself alone, and so worthless to the world, that no one except you cares whether you do it well, or ever."

Even in its negativity, her statement is incredibly positive. To write and create for yourself alone is also freedom. Freedom is what I finally feel with this blog.

March 14, 2008

I'm Random and I'm Lazy

I'm random and I'm lazy, but I hope I make up for it with generosity. Read on.

of Spritely Goods was nice enough to tag me for a meme. I've done this meme twice (here and here) and I'm sure there are some really weird things y'all don't know about me yet, but I always think I end up sounding bitchy and picky in my posts on this subject. So, instead of doing another one, I thought I would offer to let YOU share YOURS (if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged). Up for grabs is THIS skein of Manos Silk Blend (Color 3055), approx 150 yds / 135 m. All you have to do is share your seven random/weird things in the comments or leave a link for me if you've already blogged your seven. I'd much rather read yours than mine.

Manos Silk Blend

Manos Silk Blend

I'll draw names on March 21, 2008. There may be more than one winner, but only one lucky knitter will get this gorgeous skein of Manos Silk Blend.

Thank you all for the valuable advice and feedback you shared regarding your PC / Mac experiences! It's been very helpful. I won't be making my purchase till April or May, but I will certainly share here when I do! Thanks again.

March 08, 2008

Places I don't go

NYC skyline - photo taken from the Affinia Hotel in Manhattan

My husband has to travel a lot for his job and I stay here and run things. Somebody asked me once if I was envious of his business travel and I'm really not -- traveling WITH my family is a lot more appealing to me than traveling without them. I know my husband was sincere when he said that he wished I could have been at the Waldorf Astoria when Martha Stewart was being honored at the "Go Red for Women" luncheon. And while I do have a list of yarn shops I would have visited if I'd been in NYC, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if I'd been alone.

That's not to say that I don't have travel in my future. I'm making a list of places I would like to go and hope to update our passports soon.

These past few weeks, I've really felt the loss of my laptop but I've deferred the purchase of its replacement for a few more months. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from other knitters about Macs vs. PCs. If you used the one and are now using the other, I'm curious to hear your thoughts. I'm most concerned with portability, battery life, ease of wireless connection and your experiences using a Mac with Flickr and Ravelry (i.e. the browser). I won't be using Photoshop or graphics software -- I'll be using it for long-term writing projects, blogging, Flickr and Ravelry. I like to knit while I read blogs and obviously prefer something very lightweight.

I've been working on some gift knitting and am almost finished with the simple knitted shell with the RYC Cashcotton DK (Ravelry link here, but no updated project info yet). On Thursday, I got to meet up with another local knitter at Starbucks and knit for a while on my take-along sock. Earlier in the week, I stopped by Twisted Yarns and bought the leather straps for the Noro bag. I chose the longer (large, rolled 25") leather straps in dark brown. I might have also bought another skein of Online Supersocke 100.

I've continued to work on some of the genealogy research I started a few weeks ago. One of my aunts has helped fill in a lot of missing information and another aunt and a cousin have gotten in touch with me after my not having talked to them in over 34 years. This time last year, Sallie found most of my American family's ancestry information and I wouldn't have had such a good start without her. Lisa and one of her good friends has been helping me with the Japanese side. Of course, I now wish I had learned to speak and write Japanese (and no, it's not too late) as that would have helped immensely!

Here's another photo of my sisters and me that I don't think I ever saw before last week:


It was taken the same day as this one.

March 01, 2008

Off-course, of course

This weekend, I had that unsettled feeling of having veered off-course. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I have to stop and remind myself of my mission and goals.

There's been knitting, but nothing much to show yet (it's a shop sample) - lots of stockinette in the round and you saw a preview a few entries ago. The knitting sets the stage for the thoughts that are the true undercurrent of my writing and blogging here. Knitting helps me think -- it's mind- and heart-expanding. I couldn't write if I didn't knit.

I'm still organizing all the data regarding my family ancestry -- both the Japanese side and the Irish/Scottish/German side. I have two stacks on my desk and they're separated: the "H" side (my maiden name) and the "F" side (my mother's maiden name). I work best from stacks rather than files, so I'm doing what works for me, but if you were to visit right now, I'm sure it would look like clutter to you.

The most overwhelming part was sensing all the stories that want to be told -- I can pick something out of either stack and tell a compelling story based on what I know or what I've learned - hence, that off-course feeling. To get back on course is to focus on my OWN story. I'm the only one who can tell it. I'm the only one who can share my own experiences - the people I've met, the places I 've visited and loved. We four sisters grew up with very different experiences due to our age differences and having lived all over the world. My younger sister and I are only 22 months apart so some of our memories are shared, but we don't often share the same point of view. I don't think that's uncommon, but it's part of what made me realize that I need to focus on my own unique perspective.

The Patons Merino hat that I blogged about last week was finished that same day.I used to think it was so odd that others could knit a plain (or fancy!) hat in less than 24 hours, but now I can too. When did that happen? (And oddly enough, it's almost cold enough here today to NEED a hat).

Patons Merino FO :: Basic Hat

Finally, to wrap up this post, I finally figured out the handles I want to use for the Noro Kureyon Scraps Bag I knit in 2004. (Ravelry link here). I used the leftover Kureyon from the Booga Bags I knit that year plus some additional single skeins I had acquired to knit a large project bag.

Felted Noro Scraps Bag

So it's back to the knitting for a while.