knitnana: February 2011

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Handmade Comforts

As many of you know, this is a crummy bug going around. On Friday night, I mentioned on Facebook that I had a sinus infection and antibiotics and was going off to knit. I received a number of replies that included most frequently, "Just finished my 10 days today (yesterday) or even (will finish tomorrow)." It gave me pause. It's so easy to narrow your focus to the point of saying, "me-me-me-me-me is sick, hurting, tired" and forget that everyone else is out there, too, with their own version of the same refrain.

I used to get these bugs frequently but in the past couple of years, partly I know due to quitting smoking 7 years ago (this month!), dropping 50 pounds (almost 1 year ago, now) and increasing my activity (yoga, tho' lately, I can't seem to either feel well enough or have the energy/time/funds available to get to class!), anyway, the point is all these things have conspired together in a happy way to help me avoid this crud...

But not this week. And over this weekend, the possibility of having the energy, or even the desire to do much more than toss a load of clothes in the wash/dryer and run quickly to the grocery for needed supplies (tea, tissues, honey, oranges, chicken for making soup) was totally non-existent. I did not sew. I did not work on anyone's books, not even my own taxes!

I spent a bit of time online, tho' I felt lousy enough that I didn't feel I could make decent small talk on FB, or even add positive thoughts to the Chronic Stitchers group on Ravelry, where I do try hard to participate. Folks with chronic illness have a very hard row to hoe in this world...

No, my world narrowed considerably - there's something going on in Libya, but unlike when Egypt went thru their peaceable revolution, I have not gotten myself glued to the news reports, so other than a brief headline, I know nothing - narrowed to a single focus...tea, crackers, chicken soup, lemon and honey, vaporizer, hot packs, and

handmade comforts. In that photo above, is a comfort shawl from handdyed yarn that I am knitting as a surprise for a friend, a handthrown mug made by a yoga classmate that spoke to me from the swirling lavender/gray with almost a shimmer of gold thru it, bamboo needles (ok, probably not handmade since they're Addis, but they feel natural and handcrafted), a stitch marker from Chronic Stitchers friend, Kim who also made the Treasure Tin the markers are kept in, a fake-leopard throw I made from a couple of remnants of fleece, and a space heater, as warmth is required right now.

It's comforting to know that even feeling this low, I can create something for someone else who is hurting, out of materials that are handcrafted Misty Mountain Blue Ridge Yarn, that the things I prize most of all are those that either have been crafted with me in mind, or by the hands of friends.

These days, filled with hurry, with angry, stressed voices, with hate-filled rhetoric, with crazy actions that shake us to the core, with just not enough time, these days we have to take patches of solace where we can find them, and we have to work to bring kindness and caring back into the world. I think knitters know this better than most. And while planning a big charity event, or sending off a check to support what you believe in, or even, heaven help me, changing your profile photo on FB for the latest craze ("just for one weekend, change your profile to show your support!") are not to be chastised, I think doing something personal with one someone or a few in mind, making it with your own hands, means so much more. It allows you to slow down, make a stitch, think of why you're doing this, breathe, rest, recover, heal...make another stitch...

I think our world needs a ton of healing right now. One of us can't do it alone, but many of us doing one thing, can...

What will you do?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Four! (And I'm Not Playing Golf!)

And yes, I know that's technically "Fore" if I'm golfing it (oh, wait, am I right? It's been a long long time since college golf class - which was hysterical as I'm just so not a sportswoman, but once again, I digress...)

Four. As in Hats. Warm Hats. Not Hot Heads.

Karen looks lovely in this spiffy vintage number I just whipped up the end of this week. That's an almost antique Lion Brand Wool Ease (at least 15 years old, and maybe more) in a colorway called Midnight - a black with white "tweedy bits" - and the old standby Seaman's Cap. I really have tried to do something else, but this style is classic and works up quickly. It also makes a good warm hat.

So now there are four ready to ship out on Monday:

Who's my fourth one for? We had almost total coverage of the Senate, so I volunteered to do one more for a senator from another state. In my case I was awarded Senator Enzi from Wyoming.

And we made it not only to Boston Public Radio (On Point), but also to Minnesota CBS television - congrats go to Twinset Ellen for winning a surprise Making A Difference segment (and $500!).

You know what? For anyone still shaking their heads and thinking this is a less than productive way to go? I give you that as evidence that it is, indeed, a productive and positive action to take. We are indeed making a difference, and it's got to be very validating to both Alison and Ellen who dreamed this up to see that the knitters have stepped up and done more than their share of this, and that folks who do this every day find it worthy of "Making a Difference."

And I can't think of better gals to have this happen to. I'm so glad they allowed me along for the ride!

(btw...I've spent several days with a lousy sinus infection - and learned yesterday that Big Sis has the same thing, and we both blame WMATA for it! might as well, we can't blame each other, and it is surely someone's fault! - yesterday and today have been spent quietly and with needles today as laryngitis has struck. There are people reading this with a smile on their faces, as yes, once in awhile I do have to shut up.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday ALREADY?

Ok...this is a rare question from me: Where the HECK did the workweek go?

{I'll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor, okay?}

I know where mine went, actually: Monday was a holiday and I spent most of it driving home from DC; Tuesday I was felled by the sinus infection from H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks and spent the entire day in bed (and yes, WMATA, I'm blaming you for that, too!); Wednesday I worked out of the office (again being on the road a good bit of the day) then came home and crashed with knitting; today? My office saw me for the first time all week! Wow! (ok, they weren't all that exuberant but I can pretend, now, can't I? Not to worry, since they know I'll be doing payroll tomorrow, they'll be really happy when I walk thru the door!)
*wink*
Fortunately yesterday, I wasn't the driver for most of the trip, so I was able to knit...on the Senator Mark Warner hat for Warm Hats Not Hot Heads:

I finished it tonight!

Thank you, Karen, for your lovely modeling of the item in question. So that makes three hats for the cause - and all of my immediate representatives covered.

But we're so close to having enough hats to give every single Senator, that a new call went out amongst the Knitters for Civility in Government (as I've come to think of us) that I made a mental note to come home and check my stash. IF there was something suitable for another worsted weight hat, I'd volunteer for one more.

I found a nice skein of vintage Lion Brand Wool Ease in a nice tweed: black and white. I adore this yarn, and have a wonderful K1P1 ribbed scarf (with fringe, no less) that I made myself in the late 1990s. Yes, it's that vintage.

And I'm about 1/3 of the way through the hat tonight...

If I feel as rough tomorrow night as I do tonight? I'll get quite a bit done. My brain is beginning to think this Seaman's Cap pattern is second nature now...and since k1p2 is about the most my brain fog can comprehend, that's a good thing!

Won't you join us? I'll bet there's a Congressional representative who'd love a hat knit by you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm Back! And Have Pictures!

Oh! Did you realize I was gone? Well, I was...I left Friday to wend my way to Washington DC (or rather nearby, in Alexandria, Virginia) to visit my Big Sis and spend a day doing something I've wanted to do for months. (Please forgive me this is photo-heavy)

Saturday morning we boarded the Metro (which, btw, thanks very much, WMATA, for scheduling maintenance on the track for the VERY weekend I was there!) and rode to the Metro Center stop, then found the Shuttle they were running (free, but that's the least they could have done) and after a bit of a misstep - yes, WMATA, you'll hear about this from us - finally made it to the Federal Triangle stop by way of the L'Enfant Plaza stop (don't ask, those of you familiar know that the stops don't work quite that way)...and then, braving 50 mph wind gusts, we scurried down the street and around the corner and into - oh, wait, I forgot lunch in the basement of the Old Post Office and the neatest little Indian stall...oh it was wonderful, dal curry and rice...yum!! - but I digress. We scurried into The Smithsonian Natural History Museum for The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef show:

The main display is huge...

and colorful...

with "Please Do Not Touch" signs all around it (do you have any idea how hard it was NOT to reach in and touch?)
Then surrounding the main reef were several cases with smaller reefs...

Including this totally amazing one, of all heavily beaded coral (I love the ones down in front, all purples, blues, and forest greens)

It's so hard to describe all of this, and the photos first of all, don't do near the justice the exhibit deserves...

Not to mention that my camera batteries were dying...I was shutting the camera off...letting the juice settle, then turning it on to photo again...whether that affected the reds/yellows/oranges or whether it would have done that anyway (the colors don't do well on camera, that I know), please forgive that the true colors aren't all here...

Then there was the white, dying reef...

with this incredible starfish...

And my sister had to take a photo of me, you know...in front of the reef:

My very favorite reef, tho' was this little one

set down in the bottom corner of one of the cases. I am very sorry this didn't come out as clearly as I'd have liked it to but the batteries were almost dead, and after this shot, gave out completely.

After the show, we found our way back to the Metro Center stop, ran into Macy's and spent a little money on some clothing my local Macy's doesn't carry...and then off we went to Old Town Alexandria, for dinner at La Madeleine's...

On Sunday we shopped fabric stores galore and then ran by Fiber Space which is totally new to me. I was devastated when I learned that Knit Happens had closed, but I'll be delighted to stop by Fiber Space whenever I'm in town - what fun, and thank you Leslie for showing us around. Oh, by the way, they have Jared's Shelter Yarn which is just yummy, and many more yarns that called out my name...I was good, and only bought one skein of sock yarn (yes).

My sister and I had a delightful weekend and I left mid-day today (after shopping a few more places for fabric)...as I drove down the George Washington Parkway headed towards Mount Vernon (which I'll rethink if I'm ever there on President's Day again!) I stopped long enough to snap a shot (new batteries!) of the skyline over the Potomac River:
a front moving in, bringing snow to them tonight, colder temps to us in the morning tomorrow...

OH! I almost forgot:

I finished the Meeting St. Mittens last night, just in time to warm my hands in the chilly damp weather today! YAY!

If you have the chance and can get to the Smithsonian? Go see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. It's there into April.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another of the 111 in 2011 Becomes Senator Webb's Hat

I believe this is my 16th (or maybe 17th) item of my 111 in 2011 made from stash. It's the Seaman's Cap I knitted for Senator Webb and got off the needles tonight. I slipped it on Karen's head and set her down on the floor (the cream-colored door is the best backdrop up here in the den for taking decent photos). The Tonk came over to investigate...

and a split second after that shot, he slapped Karen on the nose! I don't think he was being hurtful, he just couldn't figure out what to make of a woman's head down on the floor...

(but he likes this hat, I can tell you that, so it's going right in a plastic bag till I can mail it off to Senator Webb's office)
:)
I'm trying to figure out if I can count my sister's bathroom curtains in my 111 things. It's not MY stash I made them from, it's hers. She bought a shower curtain she liked (two actually, and the one is hanging in her shower, of course), but she finally decided that she wanted cafe curtains out of the other one. So I've sliced it to make a valence and hemmed that, then split the lower section (don't you know this curtain had a top and middle-to-bottom border print?) in half vertically, hemmed the sides, and then the new "top" and made a rod pocket. Hopefully she'll be happy with the results. I'm off to make the tie-backs out of the remaining fabric and we'll see how things look this weekend.

Maybe it's fair to count it? What do you think? Hmm...I used my stash of thread, does that count?
:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

I don't often participate in this, but I saw Carole posted this morning, and thought, "Well, I can do that!"

She suggested we share 10 blogs that aren't knitting related. I have a huge interest in the environment and then there's the romantic in me. So most of these have to do with those influences:

1. I love Suzanne Duda's blog because it speaks to the pink-roses, lace, and romance part of me. I sigh a little every time I visit...

2. And the White Bench is much the same, from the perspective of chippy white paint, white roses, and vintage style (especially those vintage teddy bears)

3. There's a part of me that can totally relate to the sudden loss of a job and trying to put your life back together, even if I can't relate to it when one has more than one home to live in, but I enjoy Dominique's writing and she's developing themes of environmental action that appeal to me.

4. I've mentioned Jude's blog before, and I still go for the eye candy. Her slow cloths are fascinating to watch as they are developed. I also enjoy her gray cat, Was.

5. On a "green" or environmental front, Crafting a Green World is a thought-provoking spot with tons of ideas on reusing items in our crafting. Sometimes there are knitting projects, but far more frequently, it's something out of the ordinary!

6. Of course, there's still this part of me that would love to pull up stakes, shed pounds of stuff and live life in a Vintage Cottage Camper...ah, the stuff of living small dreams...

7. Which brings to mind the Tiny House Blog. Some of the neatest places to live and truly, a blog after mine own heart...now if I can figure a way to have a tiny house, on wheels, all in pink roses and lace? I'm outta here...!

8. Of course, that sort of life would be more compatible with a green lifestyle (ok, except for the gasoline to pull the camper) that's in keeping with the philosophy of the gals behind The Green Phone Booth.

9. And I'm still looking, all the time, at reducing expenses, and one of my biggest discretionary spending category is food. As such, I stop by Cheap Healthy Good for ideas.

10. But my absolute favorite food blog is Fat Free Vegan. I'm not a vegan, nor do I live completely fat free, but I have to tell you, these recipes? They are GOOD!

So there's my list of non-knitting blogs...what are YOURS?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A RAK! On Valentines' Day!

I'm in a group on Ravelry, an extra special group of mostly gals who do fiber arts and have chronic illnesses. We keep each other's spirits up, share tons of information about various treatments and experiences with the medical community and we do RAKs for each other (Random Acts of Kindness) and every so often a swap.

We did a Valentines Swap this month, paring up and sending along things we thought each other would like. Well, I received mine today and thought I'd share it with you:

Two of my very favorite things in the whole world are Dark Chocolate and Raspberry and my swap partner was able to find them in Dove's truffles! Oh they are good, let me tell you. She found them in a neat heart shaped tin that I'll use in my sewing room once it's empty. She also added in my favorite tea (Tazo's Organic Chai), but most special of all is the spoon she created just for me:

I'm putting that in my sewing room, next to the Bernina. There will be times in the next few months when that spoon will come in handy.

Why a spoon? Well, take a look at The Spoon Theory and I think you'll understand.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And Another Week Rolls Around

Here we are, Sunday night again and I still have no idea where the time goes...

Well, some of it was devoted to this:

That's the midpoint of the Needle Beetle Seaman's Cap that I've made so many of before. I'm making it for Senator Webb (D) VA as part of the Warm Hats Not Hot Heads project. I had some leftover Wool-Ease worsted and decided to use it up. Discovered I have a couple of skeins of Encore DK in a cranberry/black marl that will work for the third one I'm making for Senator Warner (D) VA, and with that one, I can add black stripes from the Goodlatte hat leftovers!

So both of these will count towards my 111 items in 2011, as well, because I've had all this yarn in stash since 2005 when I made my first lace shawl from the Wool-Ease - and if you click on that link, don't fall over - yes, that's what I looked like from the back way back then (sigh)...no I don't miss that mop of curls, except that I never had to worry about making it look decent! Just shampoo, scrunch, and go!

Oh, and the cranberry/black marl I've had since the same time...I made an Aibhlinn and my first pair of mitts, VooDoo (both those links are from Knitty). I think I've also made a Seaman's Cap in this yarn, I had so much of it! So wow, I'm busting stash all over the place here, aren't I?
:)
Anyway, this week is going to be busy, my "to-do list" is already long and it's only Sunday night. One of the things I have on my list is to sit down and find out just how many of the 111 things in 2011 I've completed so far.

And then start putting together the list of bags and needle cases I need to get made for the Olde Liberty Fiber Faire...and the rest of my upcoming shows!

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow - hope you get roses, chocolate, and lots of
(((hugs)))

Friday, February 11, 2011

TGIF! You Betcha!

Thanks for all the well-wishes from yesterday's post. We'll be fine (she says over and over again, trying to reassure herself!) No, really, we will!
:)
We'll just be busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger for the next 7 months!

Anyway, as if that's not enough to keep me going, I finished the Goodlatte hat for Warm Hats for Hot Heads...

That's the Marsan Watchcap that I've now made three of (the first two were for Shanti's Navy crew at Christmastime...I've pretty much got this one down pat, but...you know what?

Well, that's Representative Goodlatte's hat, and in light of some rather negative comments I've gotten about this project being a tad on the ... hmmm ... idealistic (that was the nice word used) side, well, I got a mite "exercised" and volunteered to make hats for both Senators Webb and Warner!

Yes, I did.

Because you know what? This project isn't idealistic in the sense that was meant when it was hurled at me. It's not wrong-headed (oops, that's kind of an unintentional pun). It's idealistic in exactly the same manner that being idealistic created this country. Heck, in exactly the same manner that idealism caused the overthrow of the Egyptian president today.

Idealism about democracy and what that involves. And the one thing it doesn't involve? Shouldn't involve ever?

Intolerance.

Right now, we've got about three "political leanings" in this country, maybe four, okay five: We've got far left/progressive, moderate liberals, moderates, moderate conservatives, and far right/Tea Party-ers...okay we've also got the Greens, so that's six.

I've not heard that too many of these six groups seem to think any of the other groups has a clue. And that belief fosters intolerance. And it also tends to generate nastiness.

And it's that nastiness we don't need. That's what breeds hatred and dangerous behaviors towards others.

We really, really do need to figure out about compromise again (yes, we used to know how to do it). Remember when you were playing in the sandbox with your toys and the kid next door arrived and for about 5 minutes you got along? Then he grabbed something of yours and you screamed "Momma, he took my ___" (you can fill in the blank if you want, but it's not really necessary) and Momma came out on the porch and said, "you need to learn to share little _____" (fill in your name, please) and you said, "NO!" and he said, "MINE" and you screamed "NO NO NO NO MINE!" and grabbed the toy back...and he went *SMACK* and you screamed "MOMMA HE HIT ME!"

Do you remember?

Now a few years later, what did you do? You learned that the kid next door wasn't such a bad looking thing and you'd better play nice or he wouldn't take you to the prom...so you shared. And you listened to him pontificate on whatever topic it was that he thought he understood (which almost always included politics).

But you knew better. So you gently and quietly (you did want to go to the prom, right?) explained some of what he didn't get. Except that he did get more than you realized, and he had a few insights of his own to share with you...

So. He suggested that you get all gussied up and he would, too, and off you'd both go to the prom, and the next thing you knew you were both in grad school getting advanced degrees in politics. You didn't fully agree with him, and he didn't fully agree with you, but you had excellent discussions, along with a few other, more interesting things, and eventually you walked down the aisle and you both said "I do," and "but I agree to disagree on his/her politics."

Remember?

Okay...maybe not (or maybe you grew up to be Mary Matalin and James Carville?).

Still. It's the way it works. We have to agree to disagree intelligently, sensitively, knowing full well that there's not a single one of us that wants to hurt this country. And we have got to find a way to live in it together.

So that's why I'm making two more hats. And why I don't give a fig if someone calls me idealistic. I am. I fully believe in this democracy thing that started right here in my state all those many years ago. You know, that old, "Give me Liberty or Give me Death?" Yup. My high school was named after that fella...I'm idealistic to the core and proud of it. I do believe "a small group of thoughtful people (can) change the world." And that "indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Thank you, Margaret Mead.

And I'm proud to be in Ellen's small group of thoughtful people. And I'm hopeful we might have just a tiny part of changing the world. As of this evening, we have 100 hats promised - every one of those hats, once handed to the Representative or Senator it's designated for, we will encourage to have donated to a shelter to warm the head of a person in need. I don't think any of us is expecting our representative to wear the hat. We're expecting them, however, to *get* the purpose behind the hat. And to start to use their inside voices and work together for the good of us all...

Ok...climbing down off my soapbox now...

In the rest of the week I've had time to do a few interesting things:

I made this lovely Grand Mera in a fabric that just plain knocked my socks off...

And also realized that I never showed you a photo of the booth at the Star City Cat Show last month, so here ya go:

(I'm wearing the little Sidekick bag there, with my sock in progress...)

Then this week, I got a bunch of interesting stuff in the mail to read. And yes, there's another idealist there in that photo - one I've had a crush on for years, and the fact that Robert Redford is 75 makes not a whit of difference to me. He's just as sexy and gorgeous as ever...and I love his politics, too!

(The Tonk, however seems a lot more interested in the article in Cast On about Brioche stitch, and the other one in Interweave Knits on Fair Isle. Frankly, I think I'd best stick with those, myself...it's more my speed. Robert Redford is on a playing field way above me.)

Tho' you know? I'd like to think that maybe since Weight Watchers, he just might look twice if I walked by...
(*wink*)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gulp. It's Official!

Nana Sadie Rose is taking this show on the road to the TKGA Greensboro Conference in September.

(I know I've had that ticker up there for awhile, but I just got confirmation that we're IN!)

Um...that knot in the pit of my stomach? Just got huge and clenched tighter than I ever thought possible...I'll be sewing for months! Pray we can fit everything into the three vehicles we plan to take with us...Why yes, I said THREE!
:)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Saturday Night! Thank Goodness It's NOT Sunday Yet!

Because today surely went by quickly, and I'd hate to think that's all there was to the weekend!

I've been busy, as usual. After a fast trip to neighboring Lynchburg last evening with Sis-in-law, today was spent washing fabrics (oh my! FOUR loads!) and finishing up a large order from the cat show two weeks ago. In that order was an Oressa you've seen some of in that post down below that shows three lying one on top of the other, but there was also a Rose straight needle case. I don't do many of these, as I think most folks are using circulars, but there are still some of us who knit with the straights and this case will hold both the 14-inch as well as the 10 & 7-inch sizes:

Opened there's a nice fold-over that keeps everything secure, and a nice little pocket just to hold whatever you might need.

There's a larger pocket behind the buttoned one for the odd circular (just in case!)

The fabric on this is an out of print called Kitty City, and I enjoyed using a bit of a leopard flannel for the needle pocklets.

The full order is a series of different prints - that blue Oressa is also an out of print fabric with kitties and yarn balls, then the cats on the bookshelves is a new print found just recently!

What a neat set, eh?

I also managed this week to craft a few things to put in my Etsy Shop for Valentines Day:

Just a few items. I raided the out-of-print stash for these, too!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Log Cabins, Patchwork Knits, Parcheesi...(sigh)

In monitoring my Facebook account, I saw a status update from Jared yesterday, linking to the most gorgeous blanket I think I've ever seen. It reminded me of a patchwork quilt, and I immediately shared it with everyone I know on Facebook, and went off to comment on the post to the creator of the blanket (who happens to be a quilter, too). Then I doodled around Ravelry for a bit, reminding myself of how lovely Vicki's Parcheesi was and how much I enjoyed watching her create it. And how taken I was with Hila's Magic Ball Log Cabin made of Noro. I was suddenly reminded that, of course, I also had a Log Cabin on the needles. LONG on the needles...Since March of 2008 to be exact.

Well. It's finished:

As I sat on the heat the past two days, a bit tipsy from muscle relaxers and pain meds, I ripped back the two logs I'd begun to increase the size of it, and wove in all the ends. The reality is, Mission Falls 1824 has been discontinued (sob!) and while I have some of the colors, finding enough to do what I need to do to make this one larger is going to be hard, especially when I've tried to commit to not spending money on yarn.

(Ahem. Well, mostly not. I have bought the black yarn for the Warm Hats Not Hot Heads hat, and there are those two skeins of CTH Supersocke that were on sale that are winging their way to me as we speak...not to mention the mittens...oh my, three pairs of mittens worth of yarn. Oh Yeah. Sure. I'm trying not to buy! HA!)

But I realized, too, that the lap-ghan is the perfect size for my overstuffed chair in the knitting room...(which is the one it's completely covering in that photo up there)
Folded, it makes a perfect TM perch to warm her precious toes.

What do you mean Mommie? It's mine. ALL mine. The Tonk can't have it and neither can you.

Well, we'll see how long it takes for The Tonk to discover that it's 100% wool, one of his favorite things in the whole world to EAT. I'm hoping it will stay out. But if it's even slightly chewed in the next few hours, back into a protective plastic casing it goes.

Namaste

I honor the place in you,

which is of love, truth, light, and peace.

When you are centered in that place in you,

and I am centered in that place in me,

we are one.

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