Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mavis and the Rainbow Connection

The Rainbow Connection that Kermit sang in The Muppet Movie is still one of my all time favorite songs. Even when I was a kid, the song would make me cry when I heard it because rainbows and all the hopes and dreams that they symbolize, hold a special, unexplained place in my heart.

On Saturday, I found myself singing this song to sweet Mavis, the wonder Corgi as I helped her over the rainbow bridge.

Dec. 22, 1992 - Dec. 8, 2007

We took her into the vet with the intention of scheduling surgery for a blown disc in her back and found by accident that she had huge cancerous tumors on her liver and lungs. Saying goodbye and having to make the decision to let her go is the hardest thing we've ever had to do. We spent a third of our lives with her. She was like the middle child. She vacationed with us, shared our food (even though we know she wasn't supposed to) and endured the brattiness of two kids. She loved the beach and the snow (and got to play in the first snowfall we had on Wed.), hated cameras and lightning and refused to fetch anything. She escaped from the yard anytime she was given a chance, chewed the buttons off of my handknit Annie Modesitt corset (yup, she ruined it), jumped on the furniture when she thought we wouldn't notice and rolled in yucky stuff everytime we gave her a bath. The daughter of champion AKC registered Corgis, she'd agressively herd you in the direction she wanted you to go in at a moments notice. She shed non-stop (I'll be vacuuming up her fur for many, many months), gave us big kisses with her Gene Simmons-like Corgi tongue and was the most fiercely loyal friend you could ever ask for.

Mavis wasn't with us nearly long enough but the time she shared with us will last a lifetime. We were so blessed to be owned by such a loving animal. Thank you for choosing us, sweet Mavi.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wrist Therapy Wraps

Thanks for your sweet comments on the Knitjas. I'm still tweaking the pattern and hope to have it up soon. As with Chichi and hopefully all future patterns, I'm going to give a portion of the proceeds to charity. Its not much but I certainly want to use my powers to do some good in the world if possible. I'm thinking that the Knitjas will help out Heifer's Kids 2 Kids program or perhaps investing through Kiva. Any other suggestions? I'm all ears.

I've made the Handmade Holiday pledge this year even though I haven't gotten around to putting the badge on my blog. However, after nearly killing myself the past few Christmases with pain inducing, frantic, last minute knitting, I'm going to use my crafting skills to primarily sew my gifts this year. So I've arranged my assembly schedule over the next couple of weeks and hope to give you some ideas for fun last minute handmade gifts.

First up, thanks to the crafty divas at SewMamaSew, wrist therapy wraps.
I used their idea for Rice therapy bags and tweaked the pattern so that I could make them into wrist wraps. I admit that I had a selfish motivation to make these because my wrists have been bothering me as of late from some very tedious knitting and its hard to keep something flat like the traditional cold packs wrapped around your wrist.
They have velcro to help them stay put and a homemade hot/cold herbal insert that was a blast to make. I'll update this post with a tutorial and more details when I have more time. I know some knitter friends of mine who will be getting these for holiday gifts (sorry to spoil the surprise). Perfect for crafters, seniors or anyone who has aching body parts.
Happy holiday crafting everyone!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Knit a Ninja (Knitja)

I planned to take a couple of shots of my poinsettas this morning when I spied something hiding in the leaves...

Ninja Family hiding in the poinsettas

Why, its a family of ninja! They hopped out of the flowers. Bowed graciously...

Ninja family bowing

And quickly retreated to the shadows...

Ninja family in the shadows

Coming SOON! Knit a Ninja pattern for Pink ninja, black ninja and little minja (mini ninja).

Ninja family

You know you want to knit one...

Black and Pink Ninja

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Haiku

Awoke feeling sick
Hosting Thanksgiving this year
Pray that I'll stay well.

Happy Turkey Day everyone! I'll have new patterns for you beginning next week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Birthday bounty

Thank you so very much for the many thoughtful birthday wishes. I tried in vain to quietly celebrate my 38th birthday at home last Wednesday which so happened to be Halloween. This was what my evening was like: knit, knit, knit. Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. Trick or treat!!! Candy, candy, candy. Sit down, get comfy, knit, knit, knit for 3 minutes. Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. You get the picture. Most would have given up on knitting but I had a last minute submission deadline I was trying to meet so I was VERY focused. Thing 1 refused to deal with the rugrats citing that he was going to enjoy his first Halloween at home by playing X-Box 360 with his friends. Needless to say, I was worn out by the end of the night.

My friends and family are incredibly generous and the birthday celebrations have continued since Wed. Just look at all of the goodies they've given me (not to mention the food I've been treated to).

2007 Birthday Bounty

The Things gave me some Burberry Brit (Thing 1 wants to "un-hippie" me and says this will help me get started) and most everyone else gave me something fiber related: a beautiful needle felted ornament, handcrafted Tibetan prayer flags, Dave Simpson's yummy fiber, Burts Bees hand salve (oh so needed right now), Knit Picks Harmony Needles, many skeins of Karaoke Soy Silk, Lavendar candle by Diptyque and birthday moola from the Rents and MIL. But most of all, I have been blessed with the love of so many friends and family. While all of these goodies are appreciated, their love is the bounty that I speak of. It means more to me than any other gift I could receive. Thanks everyone!!!! (((Big hugs)))

News Flash!!! Yes, I have been knitting and spinning. I finally finished my Hokie socks that I started at MS&W (yeah, I know that was like 6 months ago).

Hokie Socks

The facts - yarn: Regia Silk colors, needles- stretchy circulars (I LOVE them) size 3, pattern: toe up recipe using figure 8 cast on, 64 sts for the foot, short row heel and 62 sts for the twisted 2x2 ribbing.

And just so you know especially the sock knitters among you, there will be nothing more than "plain vanilla" toe up ankle socks here if I'm knitting them for myself. I don't like ridges across my toes, I don't like anything past my ankles and I don't like patterns that can leave imprints on my feet. I'm uber picky about socks and have been since I was a kid. Therefore, exhibit B - another ankle sock.

Handspun Sock

This sock is made from handspun Finnsheep and Creatively Dyed Yarns handspun roving. One down, one to go.

Speaking of handspun, I've been spinning like a fiend since I came back from the Fall Fiber Festival.

Spinning Fall 2007
(from left to right) I finally finished spinning the merino/tencel so that I can finish the second half of my Morning Glory Wrap . I also finished spinning the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mulberry Silk/Merino to finish my Sahara. I've spun several 50 yard sample skeins with my fiber finds from Fall Fiber Festival 2007. (two colored yarns - one is my first successful attempt at Navajo plying - and ball in back) Creatively dyed yarns Corriedale roving, CVM/Gulf Coast from My Favorite Yarn Shop, "Krinkle" Fall Fiber Fest Rambouilet fleece, Stony Mountain Fibers Cormo (last two) Misty Mountain Farm dyed Finnsheep and Finnsheep/cashmere. I have a pretty good sized collection of handspun skeins that I need to set free into projects. I'm having a hard time letting go of my babies though.

Finally in the crazy crafter department, I had some apples that were going bad and decided to make apple head dolls out of them something I haven't done in probably 30 years.

Apple Head dolls

The Things are grossed out by the "ageing" process which pleases me to no end. Dare I say that the busy-ness of life seems to be slowing down. If it continues, I'll be posting more often than not.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stuffie butts and such

You asked for it. Here's a butt shot:

Pink Puppy Butt
Stuffie Butt

Still can't guess what it is? Well, its supposed to be a puppy. Yeah, I know. It DOES kinda look like a pig and a bunnie. Thanks Grace and Renee for figuring out that its a puppy dog. (((sigh))) The original Japanese pattern offered a couple of options to make it a bunny or a cat. But I wanted a dog. If I had made the ears bigger, they would have flopped better and it MIGHT have looked more like a dog. I'm still learning. Trust me, there have been numerous failed attempts. Like this cute mouse pattern from Sewing Stars and my not so cute mouselike creature. A word of advice - don't drink and embroider.

Sewing Stars Mouse
Exhibit A - Sad Purple Mousie (I'm really really mad because she stitched my eyes on all wonky)

Go figure. I'm not even going to show you some of the others. They are true misfit toys. I have had some successes since I posted the puppy. I'll post them soon so you can see that I HAVE learned something about sewing toys.

So what else have I been up to lately? Plenty. I've been...

Felting stuff for a book that I can't show you yet.

Tickled pink because two of my patterns made it into the 2008 Knitting Pattern-A-Day calendar.

My patterns are in 2008 Knitting Pattern-A-Day Calendar

Finished a store sample for the Trinity class that I taught last week at SereKnity.

Trinity (Autumnal version for SereKnity)
Finished Autumnal Trinity

Attended VA's 2007 Dustbowl err Fall Fiber Festival. Saw Robin and her sweet hubby and sucked a friend into spinning at the same fiber festival (Waves at Heather sheepishly).

Fall Fiber Festival 2007
H and the sheepies

Kickin' it at Monticello
H and me kickin' it at Monticello

Watched my "baby" go to his first Homecoming dance and play in drumline in marching band just like his momma did a bazillion years ago.

Thing 1 - First Homecoming dance

Thing 1 - Homecoming 2007

Thing 1 - First band competition
How is this kid almost 15?

Baked cupcakes for a special friend's birthday. YUM!

Lemon poppyseed Butterfly cupcakes
From the book "Cupcakes!". Thanks for the book TE!

Watching the Autumn sky whilst enjoying the Indian Summer weather (wish it would never end) and wondering where the time goes every single day.

Autumn morning sky October 2007
Autumn sky pic taken by my surprisingly observant Thing 1 at 7 am.
Come to think of it, perhaps he missed the bus because he was taking this picture...

Monday, October 01, 2007

What does this look like to you?

Pink Softie

Every attempt I've made at sewing softies for the past week have been met with "what's that supposed to be?" by my loving Things. So sensitive and thoughtful, they all are. So tell me, what do YOU think it looks like? Just wondering if my sewing is that awful that you can't tell what the finished product is. (((Sigh))) Maybe I should stick with knitting and spinning...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sew what?

Shhhhh. Can you keep a secret? Of course you can. Come closer so I can whisper in your ear because if the knitting police get wind of this, they'll revoke my license. I've. Been. Sewing. Shhhhhhhhh. I've been trying to resist the siren's call for ages. I haven't sewn anything major in almost 15 years. I even learned how to walk through JoAnns and only buy buttons and notions. But after all of those years of rehab, I. Fell. Hard.

I blame Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner for their deliciously beautiful fabrics. And Chef Messy for introducing these to me several months ago. And Amy Butler for coming out with her Rowan Sweet Life Bags

especially this one, the Ashbury

And I blame my Grandma for teaching me to sew at age 4. And I blame these cute books for luring me into plushie toys. And I blame these owls

And these cute baby shoes

Yeah, I know my lack of willpower is to blame but I can at least pretend to put it on someone else. I need to stage a photo shoot of all of the above patterns that have been sewn over the last couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's a quick shot of the monster I'm making my nephew...

I'll post about him another time because he's a special feature I want to show you.

Peeps, sewing is near instant gratification. And I love instant gratification. If it wasn't sew darn (ha ha - I crack myself up) painful - ouch, needle pricks hurt, ALOT - I'd go back to the darkside big time.

Yes, I have been knitting as some of you who have seen me in person can attest to. Here's a quick pic of what came off my needles a week or so ago...

Baby Pinwheel Jacket

More details on the mods are on Ravelry. I'll try to copy them over here in the near future.
Baby Pinwheel Jacket

Front of Baby Pinwheel Jacket

Back of Baby Pinwheel Jacket

Pretend all of those unwoven ends are gone and its sorta a FO. Me no likey weaving in ends. And I finished some Saartje Booties but haven't posted pictures yet. No bun in the oven at la casita de Muse. Just lots of new babies from friend's ovens.

I'm slammed these days with a grant from work, new school routine with the Things, a book submission and some patterns I want to post soon so I'll be around sporadically. But I've been reading your blogs and try to comment when time permits. Wishing many happy fiber adventures to everyone.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Birthday Boy

On this day, eleven years ago, after two miscarriages, lots of tears and angst and going two weeks past my due date, Thing 2 was born to the Muse family. What a wondrous gift, my boys are. I certainly shouldn't take them for granted though I know I'm guilty of doing so. This year, my "baby" enters middle school. Where has the time flown to? He is my little chef, artist, naturalist, quasi-vegetarian. Happy birthday, sweet boy. I hope they keep getting better and better every year.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm published

Edited to add: Sereknity is located in the Crystal Springs area of Roanoke (sandwiched between Famous Anthony's and the Post Office in the old Flappers location).

Trinity (the log cabin triangle) made it into the Summer issue of For the Love of Yarn. I'm so excited!

If you're local, I'm teaching a Trinity class this fall at Sereknity. Stop by the store during the grand opening this Friday and Saturday for more information.

Got two original patterns fresh off the needles (if you've seen them, please don't spoil the surprise). After some test knitting (Anyone? Bueller?), I'll have them available here. The creativity is flowing like hot lava these days. Yippie!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hump Day hrumph

Its cold and rainy again and dagnabit its July. Where's my sunshine? I blame the lack of sun on my current blah state of mind. If you want to skip the rant, there's knitting content at the end of my post.

Guess who was the first one to say I'm bored? ME! The kids have plenty to keep them busy, namely, driving me bat shit crazy. I was told by Thing 2 while we were at the pool on Sunday that I take stuff too seriously and that I needed to "lighten up." How can I lighten up when I'm trying to work, corral them into doing chores and other meaningful activities, cook meals and clean all day long? If I'm not breaking up a squabble, I'm constantly being summoned or questioned - "WHY can't I?" is heard a lot round these parts. What I need is a "real" vacation where none of those aforementioned things are involved for a couple of days. Though we been to beach bunches of times this summer (I know you're saying cry me a river), I haven't had a break from being mom/wife/housekeeper. I HAVE mastered superbitch. Just ask anyone who lives with me. Why is the job of being Mom so hard and when did I become such a fun sucker?

I'm bored. I can't start or even finish any major knitting projects because I'm constantly interrupted. Can't afford to go anywhere. Don't have much free time and when I do it goes way too fast. Most days, I can't even get a moment to myself in the bathroom. King Thing says I should be flattered to have the attention of three males. Um, wha? Maybe I'm just looking at the situation the wrong way. Or maybe its the hormones. Don't get me wrong. I love my family. And I'd do anything for them. I guess I'm just worn ragged right now.

Okay, nuff kvetching. Ravelry has me by the short and curlies. I never imagined such a neat tool could exist on the internets. I admit, I pooh poohed it (to myself) not knowing what it was all about until I got my invite. It has so many awesome capabilities. Just don't knock it until you've had a chance to explore it. It is truly worth the wait.

If any of you subscribe to my Flickr feed, you've seen me adding pictures for Ravelry. While I might not be blogging regularly, you can at least see some of the stuff that I'm working on regardless of whether you're on Rav or not. Here are a few shots of stuff that's come off the needles in recent weeks:

Yarn for Sahara neckline and sleeves
Handspun Blue Moon Fiber Arts mulberry silk/merino roving. Used in the diamond rib sections of Sahara

Sahara in progress
Sahara is still a WIP. Knit with Louisa Harding Grace that I hand dyed this shade of blue using Jacquard dyes. The diamond rib sections are knit with my handspun Blue Moon Fiber mulberry silk/merino roving. I'm still spinning the yarn to finish the sleeves and the bottom sections.

Knit n' Tonic Dream Swatch Headwraps
The best beach knitting ever! Not to mention, they're great to wear at the beach. I made mods to pattern to taper them and included garter stitch rows so that they'd lay flatter. The blue is my handspun and dyed tussah silk, salmon is Louisa Harding, the third one is my handspun and dyed merino/tencel and the tropical colored one is Laines du Nord Mulberry silk. Kinda like Pringles - you can't make just one.

Dream swatch wrap on my head Another Dream Swatch shot
Dream Swatch Headwrap on my head

Cheeky Monkey Socks
Cheeky Monkey Socks made from Amy Boogie's Cheeky Monkey roving

Morning Glory Wrap - 1st half

First half of Knitspot's gorgeous Morning Glory Wrap/Stole still in its unblocked state. Made from my own handspun and dyed merino/tencel in the colorway I named "Hydrangea"

Morning Glory at the beach
Morning Glory at the beach (Thing 2 and my nephew are playing in the background)

Hydrangea Colorway Handspun
"Hydrangea" colorway

There's much, much more. Some designs are in the works and I owe everyone some serious updates. I promise more soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In the grips of Ravelry

Shhhh, go away boys, you bother me. Mom just got a Ravelry invite and she's trying to get her stuff uploaded to Ravelry. No, I'm not cooking dinner. No, I won't look at your high score on your blah, blah, blah game. Yes, I'm going to spend the next few weeks working on this until they pry the keyboard from my cold dead hands. So many things to do, so little time...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Skool's Out 4 Summer

Everybody, sing the song with me. Yippie! Thing 1 and 2 are out of school for the summer. They actually got out on Thursday but today is the first day that I've gotten to enjoy the full effect of sleeping in. Ahhhhh. Snuggling up in the sheets while the faint murmur of the Today Show lulls me back to sleep. On the one hand, I won't have to drive two plus hours each day schelepping them to and from school and to misc. activities. I REALLY get to flex-time with my job so the reward is if I get up early, I get to knock off mid-day and go to the pool and work on my tan - ha ha ha! And I won't have to make lunch, pry the boys out of the bed with a crowbar and yell like a pit crew chief to go, go, go so we're not late to school. On the other hand, I turn into slave driver and entertainment director for the next three months. Anyone want to take bets on when the words "I'm bored" are first uttered in this house? I'm hell bent on not letting them turn into couch potatoes and glaze over in front of the tv or video games. And yet again, I want them to have fun. Which means, I have to come up with lots of chores for them in the coming weeks. It won't be all business around here but I do have a paying job to do and I don't want to hear bickering, cartoons or video games all freakin' day. We'll see how good parenting skills rate in a couple of weeks. Don't place any bets on how good those are, Peeps.

I have some serious catching up to do and this is the one week in many where I'm not out of town for work and can do just that. Yes, I've been knitting. And I've also been spinning and workin' the dyepot and even dabbling with some designs. I've got many FO's to show you and lots of life stuff to share, too. The winds, they are a changin' round these parts so I have some adjusting to do but I'm up for the challenge.
In the meantime, I leave you with a random picture I took while visiting Raleigh last month. They were selling these sock monkeys at The Gap. I got bored while Thing 1 tried on the millionth pair of jeans so I snapped their picture. I should have bought all of them because looking at their picture makes me laugh every. single. time.