Thursday, December 22, 2011

Art fun

I'm still knitting, but I have been swept up on an obsession to draw better. This has led to intensive research on art projects and a drive to get the kids involved. This is totally self serving. The more they want to draw, the more I will have time to draw. It also gives me an excuse to buy fancy art supplies so we can all "try' them.

My research recently turned up this site:

With 12 ideas to try over the holidays. I'm going to try several, if not all and will post pictures here to prove it!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Swimming fun

I love summer - no snow! no ice! no need for heavy winter coats! no need for socks! I love being able to run out of the house with just shorts, shirt and flip flops.

These are a couple of my favorite pictures from the summer. They fully capture the feeling of freedom and pure joy in just being.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monkey Fun

I decided to be my own genie and give myself 20 wishes. One of them is to draw more for no other reason than I like to draw. I got away from it because I didn't think I was very good and I am always pressed for time. But now I don't really care if I'm good or bad - I just feel like I need to do something creative, to put my head in a different place every now and then, to play and have fun. I work a lot - and that's okay, I don't mind, but I want to make sure I have balance. Drawing to me is a way of playing.

The thing that has really surprised me is how much I actually like what's been coming off my pencil. It may not be technically great, but it's not bad.

The monkey's were inspired by an exercise out of Carla Sonheim's book: Drawing Lab I can't say enough great things about this book - fun exercises, delightful artwork, great insights. If you want to try drawing or know someone who does, this is a must.

Try it and I can just about guarantee that you will be surprised and delighted with what comes off your pencil too.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Random Recipe

How to take perfectly healthy snack and turn into a delicious but decidedly not so healthy snack:

Veggie Dip!

1 cup sour cream
1 cut mayo
2 tablespoons (or so) Rice vinegar
2 tablespoons (or so) finely chopped red onion (could probably use green or other onion)
2 teaspoons dill weed (DO NOT use dill seed)

Chill if you have time or just serve.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Ice cream no calories

Perhaps it's not unusual to find ice cream in an ice cream shop... but check out who these are made - they're crocheted! Now that's what I call high art.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A little vistitor

Look who flew off my needles to spend some time with me...
It's a sweet little bird with a whole lot of attitude. The pattern is from one of my favorite designers, a great knitter of all things small and creative: Anna of Mochimochiland. From tiny princesses to tiny toilets, she has got a delightfully off kilter approach to knitting. This little fellow can be knit in the span of a movie -- and the best part is no messy bird droppings!

I am thrilled to report that there will be some sewing going on by the junior set as we have just won a contest by wewilsons for a copy of a new book: Kids Crafternoon Sewing. This is great because my dds have recently begun to get interested in sewing and are looking for projects. I learned to sew as a kid and though I got away from it for awhile, I'm so glad I knew the basics when I wanted to get started again as an adult. The book is on a blog tour so there are more chances to win. The details are on the wewilson's blog and while, you are there make sure to check out her new inchworm!

Monday, July 25, 2011

20 wishes

I've been thinking a lot lately about taking care of "me." It's something that gets lost in the shuffle. There is always so much to do for everyone else and in taking care of them I am taking care of me. It feels selfish to think about taking care of me - as if I run the risk of neglecting everyone else. But I'd be the first one to tell my friends that they should be taking care of themselves (in fact I'd be the first one to take care of them LOL). With this as background, I was intrigued by another blogger's post that I randomly came across about making 20 wishes for herself and herself alone.
She's got some great pictures of the beautiful tags that she made to go with her wishes.

I'm thinking I will do this -but not all at once.

My first wish is to draw better. I've always loved to draw and I think I do okay but I've never quite been satisfied and then I stopped drawing because I have so much else going on.

Come to think of it, a lot of my immediate wishes are about doing things better. While that's good on one hand, it's also my subtle way of putting myself down. So I'm adding one rule - nothing about "getting better."

I wish to fill a sketchbook with fun drawings
I wish to get a sweet camera and lens
I wish to travel to Mexico to see ancient ruins
I wish to travel to Kenya to see where my husband was in the Peace Corp
I wish to take my younger daughters to Paris (and my older ones if they're interested)

There's more, but I want to move a little slowly to think these through thoroughly.

I wish for you that all your wishes could come true.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

yarn choices

You have just 20 minutes in a new yarn shop and a tight budget - it's sweet torture! If you had big funds, you could just grab and run and sort it out later. But with little money to spend, you need to shop carefully, only there's no time for that!

I had decided ahead of time on fingering weight but that only helped somewhat. I finally settled on Schaefer Anne - but even then with so many colors I could have taken twice as long as I had. I settled on one that matched the dress I was wearing.

The yarn looks much different in a ball - the color actually chnages ever inch or so. That means it will blend together into a truly verigated item. Or, I might be able to try a pooling effect, as in this shawl.

What do you do when you have to shop fast?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Halibut Point

Sometimes we just have to get away. DH packed us in the car and drove us north to Rockport - Halibut point specifically. It was sunny but not nearly as warm as it looks. We had a great time until CJ slipped in a tide pool and got soaked. She recovered. Not sure my ears will.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Summer fun fun fun

There have been many days in recent weeks when it seemed that Spring would never come and we were destined to live in a cold, gray world forever. But, as it always has, the sun finally poked through the clouds. We had a grand and mostly sunny Memorial Day weekend! What is truly significant about these pictures is the lack of hand knits - no hats, no gloves, no scarves, not even a light shawl necessary. Up until the weekend started, I was still wearing half mitts on the morning dog walks!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sewing Lessons

DD 9 wanted to take sewing lessons at school. Lessons that I would have to pay for. I figured that's a little like a vegetable farmer buying salad fixings at the store. I sew! I have a sewing machine! I teach kids! So, we took the money, along with a friend who also wanted to learn to sew, to the store instead and bought material. I realized right then and there that maybe handing this job off to someone else wouldn't have been such a bad idea. I love DD and her friend, I really do. They are wonderful big dream sort of girls who don't let reality stand in their way. They were crushed when I had to explain that our first project was not going to be a nineteenth century ball gown with a hoop skirt or an extravagant silk pillow with four layers of fringe. How about a skirt? Elastic waist. We could even put lace around the bottom. Oh no, that's not enough - how about this one with three ruffles and ribbon around the edge? Fine.
The pillow compromise went more smoothly - one fabric for the back and one for the front with fringe on the side.

The good and the challenging is that they want to do everything themselves. They are mostly (but just barely) ready. So the cut isn't quite straight and the pins are a little crooked and the seam wobbles. If they're happy, I should be too!

Then there is the challenge of keeping them interested. If they had done the class, it would have been steady with an assigned time every week. Instead, we are subject to the whim of their emotions. A nice day? Lets stay at the playground longer. Sewing? Nah, lets play Barbies. Sewing now? Snack time.

So it's been going slowly, but we're making progress.

The purse from Heck

About two years ago, I fell in love with some fabric at the store - it was an elegant looking pinkish brownish upholstery sort of fabric that screamed it wanted to be a purse. And right nearby was the perfect pink lining. Conveniently, I found the perfect pattern on the rack next to the fabric. That was the end of the serendipity of this project!

It has been nothing but one problem after another. First of all, this pattern is way more complicated than it has to be. Of course I didn't realize that until I had all the pieces cut out! I bought all of the supplies I needed but then proceeded to lose them during the project and had to repurchase.

In the midst of all of this, I was renovating my studio and tossing out (sharing) unloved, unwanted projects that were never going to be completed - at least by me. So why didn't this one go? Pure pigheadedness on my part. I am determined, for some reason, to not be defeated by this one. I want this purse! I want this purse if it takes me five years to complete. It's not so much that I want the purse but that I want to finish it. It's like a mountain I want to climb - I don't even care about getting to the top any more - I just want to say I did it. It sits there taunting me, laughing at my sewing ineptitude. I also believe, perhaps somewhat irratioanally, that it is the key to finally getting my room organized. It's the one hold over project from the old room. I feel somehow if I can complete this project, everything else will fall into place. Silly? Maybe, maybe not. I guess I will just have to finish it and find out!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sock Madness

Knitting furiously on Sock Madness socks - what is this? A crazy contest on Ravelry where knitters try to knit the fastest sock. The first challenge is to knit a sock in two weeks. Everyone is knitting the same pattern with whatever colors they want. If you can do it, you get on a team. Then we're off to the races. I've got one done and I'm past the heel on the second. Love the pattern even though it gave me a giant sock. I can go back later to make it smaller.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Must BUY yarn

At the end of a very stressful week, I had an overwhelming urge to buy yarn. Forget drinks, forget going out dancing, forget chowing a tub of ice cream. I just wanted to buy yarn. Worsted weight, verigated for a hat or mittens. Nevermind that I have projects on the needles and more wool in the wings. I managed to resist, in part because by the time we finally got the kids to bed all the yarn shops were closed. I could have gone online, but I didn't want to wait for delivery. I also recognized at some level that what I really wanted was the burst of pleasure of buying yarn whether or not I "needed" it. Alas, that is a temporary thrill and then I'm left with yarn that I may or may not really want in the morning!

Instead, I picked up the long neglected never ending scarf that is being made in a "simple" feather and fan in a gently variegated fluffy mohair yarn my mom brought back from Scandinavia. Just four row to this pattern - 2 of them are knits and 1 in a purl so how the heck do I manage to mess up every tenth row or so!? The think about this scarf is that every four rows is about a half an inch and yet I've been knitting on it all winter and it seems that I am no closer to finishing it than when I started!

I also realized today as I am still feeling that "must by yarn" vibe that part of the problem is that the yarn and projects waiting in the wings are all in fingering weight. I do love, love, love fingering weight - good for shawls, good for socks, good for gloves. But it's the deep of winter here. It's cold. I'm cold. I want to wrap myself in thick luscious wools. Only, I've knit all the thick wools in my stash that I liked. I'm left with odd balls of yarn that don't really motivate me. deep sigh.

It will warm up again. These piles of snow grown dirty from the rain and road will melt. I will once again want to knit light. Meanwhile....maybe a stop at an lys isn't such a bad idea after all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Nash baby

My grandmother Celia Nash, was a wonderful, loving, funny, kind woman who could bake like nobody's business. She had seven children and consequently, a slew of grandchildren. She lived in Michigan and we lived in Wisconsin, so we didn't get to see her much. But when we did, it was a full house of fun of laughter. The slew of grandchildren have scattered across the country from coast to coast, so we don't get to see each other too often. But luckily for me, my oldest cousin landed just a state away so I've been able to spend some time with him and his sweet wife and son. Now, I'm excited to say they've added one more to our family. A baby girl. I'm excited not just because there's one more Nash descendant but also because it's an opportunity to knit for a baby, which is always fun. I chose this vintage pattern because it reminded me of my aunts and my grandmother. It seems so classic baby. It's the "five hour" sweater. It might actually have been a five hour sweater except for the fact that there are two ways to do the increase and I chose the wrong one.

If you care to learn from my mistake: a common and nifty increase is to lift the yarn in between two stitches, put it on the needle and knit it. When knitting socks or gloves, you typically knit through the back loop, twisting the stitch so there is no hole. (There is also a bit about which way you put it on the needle, creating a left leaning or right leaning increase, but that's not relevant here). With this sweater, however, you want a hole! If you knit through the back loop, as I did on my first go around, you get a tighter weave and no pretty bobble. I figured this out deep into the top rows. I thought about just leaving it, it looked okay even though it wasn't what I wanted. But, it wasn't what I wanted. I'm hoping this sweater lasts a long time, so what's a few more hours - especially since it's a fun knit and it's great yarn - a washable cashmere blend!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Yes I am a little...

I'm not quite sure what has possessed me, but I have just signed up for Sock Madness Forever on Ravelry. What is this, you ask? It is an International Sock Knitting competition. From what I gather, we're all divided on to four teams. A sock pattern is released and everyone knits furiously. The first ones done advance to the next round. I am not expecting to win or even to come close to the top. I'm just not that fast and I don't have that much time. But, if I can make it for a few (or even one) round, well that's good. There are new patterns and there's the challenge of trying something I might not otherwise. So, I'm off to check my sock yarn pile. hmmm...looks a little low. hehehe

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The hat

Ribbed, folded brim, squared at the top. Two stripes near the bottom. Finished the hat and the snow turned to rain!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Man Hat

I have completed a finger! This is very exciting. Now, I'm just hoping I have enough yarn for the others (deep sigh)

I have briefly paused to search patterns because DH has for the first time ever sort of kind of requested a knitted item! I mentioned that I needed to make him a pair of socks that fit Ithe first pair are large enough to fit over his shoe!) and he said what he really needs is a hat.

A hat!? I can do that. I can do that with my eyes clothes in my sleep while reading a book and watching tv. Amazingly, I even have the perfect yarn in my stash - a gorgeous mohair merino blend. So now, all we need is a pattern.

Me: What sort of hat would you like, darling?
He: Uh, you know a hat. One that covers my ears.
Me: Yes, but stripes, beanie, cables, rolled brim, folded brim, one color, two color, three?
He: I don't know. Not red, he says noticing that I'm reaching for a skein of burgundy.

I've been able to get him to rule out anything that looks like a seed pod. Beyond that, can you believe that he just doesn't seem interested in spending hours on Ravelry paging through patterns and projects and comparing and contrasting hundreds (or thousands) of options. Huh.

He says he's a little nervous about how excited I am getting about this project. He simply doesn't understand how it makes a knitter's pulse beat faster to have a project requested. Although he did let slip today that he had contemplated buying me Yak yarn for Christmas. What in the world made him hold back that impulse! I told him that was a worthy idea that could certainly be revisted for an upcoming gift giving occasion.

Still, I'm left with the hat dilemma! I've basically discerned there are a limited number of options for men, the most common being:


ribbed for 1 to 3 inches and then stockingnet with any variety of stripes. The top is squared, rounded or swirly

ribbed all the way to the top - usually k1p1 or k2p2, but occassionally with a variation such as k2,p2,k4,p1 - again with a variety of striping options.

As for the stripes - thick, thin, even spaced, one, two, three or all the way up.

Giving these parameters, it shouldn't be too hard, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rookie Mistake Number 2

I was well past the cuff and into the thumb gusset of the Bobbie mittens by the very talented Julie Muehler when the nagging feeling that something wasn't right finally moved from the back of my brain to the front.

The text didn't match the chart. I had ignored that problem for many rows figuring it was my inability to read a chart. Then I completely lost track of which row I was on. After spending way too long trying to figure it out and wondering even more why what I was doing didn't seem to follow the chart, I decided to frog back.

Since I was back to the beginning of the gusset, I decided to think harder about this text chart mismatch. I concluded the chart had to be wrong. I was about to see if I could email the designer for clarification. This is how it would have gone:

Me: Hi, I'm working on this lovely pattern that you so painstakingly wrote and likely had vetted by several experienced knitters, but I think there's a problem with it.

Her: Oh? What would that be.

Me: Well, the text says to start with line two of the stitch pattern, but that's not what the chart shows.

Her: Really? Let me take a look. Okay, the chart shows that on row 34, you start with row two of the stitch pattern, just like the text says.

Me: No, the chart starts with Row 4.

Her: No, it doesn't. It very clearly shows that you start with a slip 1 with yarn in front.

Me: Yes, but that's row 4 of the stitch pattern

Her: Lady, I think you need to take some knitting lessons - maybe next time you should pay more attention to the stitch pattern.

Yes, there on the front page, it clearly says that row 2 of the stitch pattern is slip 1 with yarn in front. Row 4 is the reverse.

Thankfully, I did not make this call.

In fairness to me, the first part of the glove didn't follow the stitch pattern exactly. Still one of the basic rules of reading patterns is that if the text and chart don't match it is much more likely to be a user error than a pattern problem!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Total bummer

Plant owner: 81 jobs at risk

Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing selling assets, will likely close

Plant owner: 81 jobs at risk

Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing was founded 40 years ago by Harold Lonon Sr. (Photo by Mike Conley/

Within the next few months, Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing will effectively shut down its operations in Old Fort.Show all

Jack Lonon Jr., president of the family-owned company, told The McDowell News on Thursday that the company’s assets will be sold to Spinrite Yarns of Canada. The sale will become final on Feb. 25. After that, the future of the business will be uncertain.

“There’s too many things up in the air,” he said. “I am not sure what is going to transpire.”

Full Story

Rookie Mistakes

I have finally decided to tackle the challenge of knitting a pair of gloves. I've been sort of kinda thinking about it for more than a year but there were always so many other things in my knitting bag. Then someone sent me some gorgeous Koigu hand painted yarn in a color called carnival. Since it's handwash only, I figured its better for gloves which I would (hopefully) need to wash less. And I found these really cute patterns by Julia Mueller.

Last night, I eagerly cast on for Bobbie, a delightful pattern that shows off handpainted yarns. The yarn is a delight to work with. The colors are amazing. The pattern is easy enough - if you don't do something totally idiotic like ignore the first thing everyone tells you about reading patterns, which is to highlight the instructions for your size so that you don't get 28 rows into it and realize you are eight stitches short.

The bright side, I suppose is that I also realized before frogging that I'd missed a stitch several rows back and in this pattern it's really obvious. I might have been able to fix it, but it would have been pretty complicated.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bella Fun

It's cold. I need mittens. Thick, warm mittins. Here they are - the Bella Mittens from the Twighlight movie, which I haven't seen. I haven't even read the book. But I love the mittens. Except they are very long. Notice the model in the picture isn't wearing a coat. How could it be cold enough to need mittens but not a coat? The problem is that my coat has cuffs. If I have to take the mitten off to say eat a piece of chocolate (it happens sometimes) then it's a pain in the bum to put it back on again! I actually thought about that before I started, but I thought maybe it wouldn't bother me quite as much as it does. But I love the color and the mittens are super soft. Maybe I should buy a new coat with looser sleeves.......
Now I'm working on a matching hat with the left over skein. I feel like I'm in a Goldilocks story - the time I cast on, it was too tight. I've added stitches and now it's too loose! At least I think it is - it's hard to tell because I'm only a couple of inches into it. I don't want to keep going if I'm right about it being too big, but I don't want to frog if I'm wrong. I just want a new hat. Now. Please.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow coming

The weather reports are calling for upwards of 17 inches of snow tonight into tomorrow -

I'm ready - I just went out and bought a new sled. It's a very pretty shade of purple.

I was, however, bewildered by the abundant number of choices. Eco-friendly, saucer style, tobaggan, one-person, two-person, blue, orange, green, $10, $15 or $20. Is the $15 one really better than the $10 one? It does come with the rope attached. Do I need one? Two? I have two kids of sledding age, but we already had one working sled.

Thankfully, mine are not the type to argue over who should have the new sled, so though I was tempted to buy one of each type just 'cause it would be fun to try them all, I settled on one that can carry two people - the one that comes with a rope. Not that I couldn't supply one, but that's one that doesn't even have to get on my to-do list, which is worth at least $5!

(the sled in the photo is not ours)
Must knit mittens fast (hahahahaha)

Monday, January 10, 2011


This is the knitting that did happen over the weekend. I loved knitting this pattern - Brambles from

It's charted but the chart is so easy to follow that I now really get how to read cable charts!

I love the yarn - a verigated wool I picked up at an LYS last winter. (I think the nifty pattern would show up better with a lighter, non-verigated yarn)

But the hat itself ... that I'm not so certain about. It's quite a bit of hat and I'm not sure it's the best style on me. Still, my 8 yo says it looks great.

The head band part was very sretchy. I think I've fixed that with fleece band sewn in.

I've finished this just in time - we're supposed to get slammed with a storm tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Work interferes

DH wonderfully took the little ones off on a winter hike so that I could have the afternoon. First, had to get work done. Now they're were back and I've been tagged to take over as parent. Not a stitch knit. Not a seam sewn. NOT FAIR. (not that I don't love my children and not that I'm not absolutely thrilled to take care of them, of course)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Add ImageThis is an old fo - the Calorimetry from Knitty.
I had it on and I had a camera in hand so I decided to post it all over again. It's still loose. I don't know how I think it would have changed since the last time I had it out! Still, it works okay because there are extra holes. It's perfect for a warmer cool day. It's also fun because it's a quick knit. For this one I used glittery yarn for the first and last three rows. You can't tell but We are both wearing Wisconsin sweatshirts. This makes my dad, who gave them to us, very happy.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Header photo

The photo from the header is of the fireworks on New Years Eve in Boston. That's what you get without a tripod!

The dog shots are of New Year's Day. Perfect hiking winter hiking weather - just warm enough without too much mud.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Secret Pal

I've gone and done it again - signed up for Secret Pal. I'm addicted. I love "meeting" new people and it's fun to put together surprise packages (and to receive them). Anyway, here's my profile:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like? I love natural fibers – wools, cottons, etc. I love to try new and exotic yarns. I use novely yarns sporadically.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a couple of different cases with zippers for the interchangeables and a vase for the long ones.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I taught myself when my 8 yo was little. I’ve had a few classes since then and taught others. I would say I’m closer to advanced, although there is so much more to learn.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? no
5. What’s your favorite scent? Lavender is my favorite – none that I don’t like.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I like Kit Kats, malted milk balls and dark chocolate. I'm a coffee drinker and sometimes tea.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I sew and do lots of crafts with the kids. I don’t yet spin, although I have all the supplies waiting in the wings.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes on mp3s – popular music, Blues, classical, celtic, bagpipes – I like a wide range.
9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand? Pinks, purples, browns and blues – not pastels, but muted. I’m not keen on bold or bright colors or jewel tones.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? DH; Five kids ranging in age from 5 to 18; two delightful Springer Spaniels
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves, hats and mittens. Not so much on the ponchos.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Usually smaller things because I like FOs, this includes socks, mittens and hats. I also like shawls and have made two sweaters.
13. What are you knitting right now? A scarf, mittens and a shawl for DD
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Definitely
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Primarily interchangeable – I have a Denise set and a Knit picks metal and bamboo
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes to both
17. How old is your oldest UFO? A scarf with yarn my parents bought in Scandinavia. It’s been on the needles for a few weeks. I tend to have several running at once, but I’m actually caught up for the most part.
18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe? Christmas for both.
19. Is there anything that you collect? Knitting supplies – measuring tapes especially also pens. I have an affinity for penguins
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? No knitting magazines subscriptions at the moment – books - sock techniques, Knitters Book of Wool, One-Skein with Sock Yarn
21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn? I’d like to do more with cables and intarsia and more with designing
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I am; size 7
23. When is your birthday? June 24th
24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID? yarnscribe