Saturday, June 30, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July to All! It's all about family and fireworks at our house. We're headed to Connecticut for a big two-week long party.

But, at the heart is a celebration of freedom - freedom that we can hardly truly appreciate since we've lived with it all our lives. The bombs discovered in London are a grim reminder of how valuable and important our freedom is. People all over this world are fighting to get it or to take it away. I wish it weren't so. I wish we could all appreciate each other and work together to make life better for all of us. Though it is unlikely given history and the internal drive to look out for ourselves and our own, still I hope to see it in this life time. (Actually, I'd really be happy just to see it in my own household LOL )

And on a much lighter note: the progress on the shawl made from my husband's yarn, which is from Honduras via Mexico. I finally figured out the lace pattern and have since gotten into the rhythm of it. There are a few holes here and there from my having done something wrong, but I'm hoping that I can fix them later or won't notice them. I figured out that I am not going to have enough to make the shawl as the pattern is written. So here is what I am thinking: instead of making it a triangle, I will make it a rectangle with colorful triangles at either end. I'll switch to black now and knit half way and then make another piece just like that and connect them in the middle. I'm not sure yet if I'll continue in pattern for the black or switch to something else. I'm also not sure how I'll join the two.
I'm getting the "when are we going to go" whine, so I better get ready to go!
Oh say can you see?...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A momma's love

How cool is this - I love yarn and my mom loves me so she goes all over the world and gets me yarn!

This is from Tibet. She found on a whirlwind two week trip through China. My mom, who doesn't speach Chinese, went out to the market place far from the hotel on a rickshaw pulled by a very elderly gentlemen. She'd had a guide write down what she was looking for. At the market, someone found someone who led her all around and finally up the stairs of one of the buildings where she found this yarn. They threw in two sets of long double point needles that may or may not match with the yarn. After all that she managed to get back to the hotel and eventually back to Wisconsin.

I'm not sure what it's made of. I'm not sure what needles to use. I'm not even sure how much I have. I am sure I will have fun figuring it all out. I'm thinking of something lacey to accentuate the yarn.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bonjour mes amis

In one of my favorite cartoons, Rose is a Rose, the mother character has an alter ego - a motorcycle maniac that fills her dreams when she tires of the mundane. My alter ego is a globe trotting adventurer. When the house is a total mess and the kids are driving me crazy, I warn my husband to get ready because one of these days I'm just going to up and fly to Paris for the weekend. Of course, I was mostly joking.

So, you can imagine my surprise when on Mother's Day he hands me a book by Gertrude Stein, travel guide to Paris and a passport application. It took me a few moments to realize that there was also a ticket to Paris for ten days! TEN DAYS! He knew that I'd never really buy it for myself and yet he really wanted me to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream. He is staying behind to take care of our many children.

I'm still working through my emotions. I am, of course, tremendously excited. I studied French in college with the intention of going to France and just got too busy. I don't want to leave my children for ten days, but then I know in the big picture, that's really just a short time.

My itinerary is yet to be determined. Husband didn't book the hotel because he didn't know if I'd want to stay in the city or travel around. We'll see... Now I just have to relearn my French.

Anyone know of any good lyss in Paris?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Family Ties

We were off to Michigan over the weekend for a fabulous family reunion. Lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and great food. This is where I spent time every summer growing up so it was nice to touch base again. I'm sort of jealous of the dishcloths that got to stay in this peaceful place.

But how to repay an aunt who opens her home to my large family, borrows a trailer to help house us, loans us her car and does the cooking and cleaning? A couple of knitted disch cloths and some good old fashioned New England coffee doesn't begin to cover it, but that's what I've got to give.
They are a ballband from the Mason Dixon book and the bluebell rib: It was much easier and faster this time around because I understood the pattern and I knew what to expect.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

MacKenzie's design

This is the dress MacKenzie designed. What you can't see is the cute black bow in the back.

It wasn't an easy. With knitting, you know what yarns the designer used to get the look. No such guidance with sewing. Even if you follow the guidelines, the fabric doesn't always react well to the pattern. The first version of the dress was "too poofy." At first, I thought the whole project was the disaster I feared it would be.

But, sewing, like life, is about getting creative and taking risks. I took a chance that we could convert the gathered skirt to an A-line. I didn't have much to lose at that point anyway. It would have been much easier if I were better at math, but we managed anyway. The best part is that the 14yo was thrilled, absolutely thrilled with the results. The dress turned out to be everything she'd hoped it would be. Let's hope the dance is as well.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A mysterious box

A wonderfully mysterious box arrived in the mail today from Illinois? Who do I know in Illinois? Hmmm... I'm not sure yet. It's still a secret.

In the box was a wonderful turquoise alpalca silk yarn - so soft and so pretty. And right in line with my goal to knit with as many different fibers as possible. Except that it's (almost) too pretty to knit!

Accompanying the yarn was the book, Knitting in the Old Way:

What I like about this book is that it's not about patterns - it's about learning to create by instinct. I think I'm going to really enjoy reading through this one. I've already started - and got just about as far as one could in a small back yard surrounded by a nearly-2-yo, 5 yo and an English Springer Spaniel with a tennis ball problem.

So a very big THANK YOU to my mysterious secret pal.

Thank you

I have a friend who is an incredible professional designer: She created a fantastic logo, business card and stationary for my budding communications business. She wouldn't take my money, but at least she'll take my knitting. These bowls from the One Skein book are knit in her company's colors. I hope she likes them as much as I like my new business identity!

My friend is also a fabulous artist. You can see her work in her portfolio under gallery, the last button on the list. There are also pictures of great boxes that she makes by hand.

The larger two bowls are in the book. For the smaller one, I cast on 35 stitches.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sew What?

I have a been given a tough commission - my 14 yo wants me to make her a dress for her moving on dance (an 8th grade graduation of sorts). She's even willing to babysit for me to give me the time to do it.

I thought for sure it would be all over before we even got out of the fabric store. But she was reasonable, patient and even thoughtful. She picked out a pattern I thought would be simple enough and material that seemed easy enough to work with. The best part is everything she chose was on sale.

We're making the black and white dress only hers is maroon with a black contrasting waist and bottom band.

Well, the fabric is nice, but this pattern is not so simple as the pattern marketers would have us believe. I've already had to frog a couple of times. (I haven't heard of that word being used in sewing, but you do use a ripper).

I think it will come out alright, but I'm afraid after all this she'll hate it.