Sunday, March 10, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Money, money, money

I'm back from the first day of Stitches West! My friend Cathy and I spent four hours in the marketplace looking at yarn and patterns and stitch markers and project bags and so much more. It was wonderful and crowded and overwhelming, as it is every year.

On the drive there, Cathy and I agreed that we didn't want to blow spend as much money as we did last year, so we devised a plan to help each other out. Whenever she saw me losing my willpower, like when I almost bought twenty blown-glass stitch markers, she sang to me, "Money, money, money" from the Abba song of the same name. (Here is Meryl Streep singing it in Mama Mia!) I did the same for her, and it worked! I only bought one lonely skein of Fiesta Yarn Cottonista, two Lo-Lo Bars (gifts for friends) and a pair of scissors with a cute fob. Cathy did even better-- she bought nothing.

It's a little mouse!
The true test for me will be tomorrow when I go back alone for a morning class. I can't not stop in at the marketplace, and those little glass stitch markers might prove to be too cute to pass up without my singing buddy.

Thank you for all the kitty love and support when Apollo was sick a few weeks ago. He is doing great now-- eating, drinking, and finally back to wrestling with his brother. It's so good to see him healthy again.

Please don't ever get sick like that again, Apollo.
In addition to attending Stitches and the recovery of my kitty's health, there is one other special event going on this week. I was selected as the Knitting & Crochet Superstar on the crafty website Cut Out & Keep, and they are featuring one of my existing patterns every day this week as well as an interview with me.  If you have a moment, please check it out! Oh, but I must confess that the photo of me is outdated-- not long after it was taken I started putting on the pounds and stopped letting people take my photo. Anyway, a big thanks to Cat Morley at Cut Out & Keep for featuring my blog!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feeling Lucky

Hello! Did you have a happy Valentine's Day? I'm without a sweetie (unless you count my cats, which I sometimes do), but wanted to do something special for myself, so I made my favorite comfort food for dinner: bagels and cream cheese and lox. Not very romantic, but quite tasty.

I'm feeling very lucky these days. My local yarn shop, which was previously located in a congested area with limited parking, has moved. Can you guess where? Yup, right down the street from where I live. I could walk there if I wasn't so lazy.

I stopped in a couple days ago to check out the new digs and ended up buying the silk boucle in the top photo. Maybe I'm not so lucky after all; having my LYS so close may turn out to be very, very expensive.

I've been working on this feather and fan lap blanket for myself. The yarn is a soft acrylic from Caron that I bought at Michael's. I've been going back and forth trying to decide if I like the colors or not, and I think I do. There is something old-fashioned about it that appeals to me. Draped over the back of an arm chair, it will add a nice homemade touch to my living room.

Meanwhile, the little pink apron dress has been neglected for the past month. I have tomorrow off for President's Day, so maybe I'll get to it then.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Warm hands (warm heart)

Hello! I didn't mean to disappear for so long, but life has been a little crazy around here. First, I came down with a cold that left me completely wiped out and with no voice.  I remember a time when I could count on a cold lasting three days, with the second day being the worst. Now they last two or three weeks and just when you think you're getting better, boom! You're back in bed with a box of tissues and a cup of broth.

And then my cat Apollo got very sick. At first I wasn't too concerned-- I thought maybe he had the same bug that I did. Turns out cats can't catch colds from humans. After three days of watching him lay curled up in bed, barely eating or drinking or moving I took him to the vet. He had a fever of 105 and required many, many tests to diagnose the problem, which was a bacterial infection. He spent four days in the animal hospital with an IV in his leg, getting treatments and being force fed. He's home for good now and getting back to his perky old self. I think he  secretly likes that pink bandage on his leg-- it's his badge of honor.

I finished my hand warmers a couple weeks ago, but haven't had a chance to use them because the weather warmed up quite a bit. (Not complaining.) I keep forgetting to bring them with me to my day job where the office is always icy from the air conditioning. I love these mitts and would like to make a few more pairs to give as gifts.

Just a few last words on books. I mentioned a while ago that I was reading Gone Girl and really enjoying it. That was true until about 3/4 of the way into it. I don't recommend it at all. I don't want to ruin it for anyone, so if you want to know why, please go to Amazon and read the one and two star reviews. The problem with the latter section of the book is spelled out there, over and over.

I'm now reading a wonderful memoir called May I Be Happy by Cyndi Lee, a world renowned yoga teacher. She writes about her lifelong struggle with her body image, which is a bit shocking for a woman who does yoga every single day of the year. Her book has me thinking about my relationship with my own body, something I have never given much thought to.
Whatcha doin' this weekend? Saturday I'm going to try and continue to get some rest, which I will need when my niece Lily comes over on Sunday. Have I mentioned she says my name now? "Shay-shee." It's too cute.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama .

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Knitting & Reading & Watching (on teevee)


I'm almost done knitting my WORK + SHELTER hand warmers. The pattern is perfect if you are looking for simple, nice-looking mitts that are knit flat, plus the $2.00 for the pattern helps an organization that provides a fresh start to women living in the slums of New Delhi.

I'm using Valley Yarns Goshen yarn, which I bought a ton of at Stitches West two or three years ago. I'm so excited to have finally found a project for a couple of the skeins (eight more to go). And it's a nice coincidence that I'm using it up now, because .... STITCHES WEST 2013 IS COMING!!!! Not that I'm excited or anything.

  It's the first time I've had a chance to use my owl stitch markers!
I love Sunday nights. Downton Abbey is so good this season. I think I may watch my season one DVD's to get an extra dose during the week.

I started reading Gone Girl a few days ago and can hardly put it down. I try to avoid bestselling fiction because it usually isn't to my taste (how snotty does that sound?), but this novel is well-written and has a gripping story line.  I might want to read the author's other books when I'm done.

What are you knitting, reading, and watching?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wash Cloths on Parade

Lots of crafting has been going on here. I'm still working on the pink apron dress, and I'm also knitting a pair of hand warmers for my chilly home and chilly office. I've also been doing lots of baking and cooking-- my skills are continuing to improve and I'm actually starting to enjoy it.

I thought I would show you some of the wash cloths in that stack on my dresser I mentioned a few weeks ago. 

This one is my favorite. The stitch is called  bee stitch and it is very, very addictive, although I had to watch three different videos to learn how to knit one below. I can't remember the name of this yarn, but I love it and want to buy more. I think it would be perfect for a lap blanket. Fortunately I do remember where I bought it, so I should be able to find it again.

The above wash cloth is feather and fan. The pattern for this is located HERE.

Double Bump Washcloth. I was hooked on this pattern until I discovered the bee stitch. It looks good in self-striping yarn.

This last one is a classic wash cloth knit on the bias. It is definitely not addictive; in fact, it's extremely boring in my opinion. But it turns out beautiful.

Tomorrow I have the whole day to myself, so hopefully I'll make good progress on my WIPs.  Have a happy Sunday.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's Official: Knits for Weddings Are In!

This is a guest post from writer Eve Bennett, who resides in the UK.

Who would have thought that you could get away with knitwear as part of your wedding outfit? If current fashion trends are anything to go by, it’s all the rage and whilst some of the ideas may prove more popular than others, its proof that as part of your big day, it is possible to include beautiful knitted garments that are stylish and fashionable too.

It started with a Royal Wedding

Perhaps one of the main trendsetters for this particular fashion theme is the Duchess of Cambridge, seen sporting a white angora bolero for the evening of her wedding reception. It was teamed with an expensive Alexander McQueen gown, but it just shows how something so lovingly crafted can have just as stunning an effect as the gown itself.

Chunky cable knits

In contrast to the Duchess of Cambridge, many other brides are choosing to be more daring in their choice of knit. The cover of the Winter 2012 edition of New York Weddings magazine shows the model teaming a wedding dress with a white chunky knit cable sweater. The jury is, for some, out on this particular look, but for the more fashion-forward a solid, neutral colored aran cardigan might be just the contrast for you with the soft lines of a wedding dress.

However, a perhaps more wearable look is that of teaming a wedding gown with a button cardigan or knitted jumper in white or a pastel color.

A story was reported in the British press of a young woman who was inventive enough to knit her own wedding dress, saving herself an immense sum of money in the process and actually creating a gown that was individual, unique and quite beautiful.

Save money, keep everything safe.

For many people these days, the mounting cost of a wedding and making sure everything from the venue to the wedding gifts are protected with a good insurance policy can be something that poses many additional worries. For this reason, many brides are choosing to turn to handicrafts and making their own accessories for their impending nuptials  as it is considerably less costly to insure a lovingly handmade knitted garment than it is an expensive wedding gown that will only ever be worn once and put away! The added benefits of making your own clothes and accessories also mean that they can be passed down to subsequent generations, who will each have their own stories to tell about the items.

If all that isn’t for you...

Then why not think about opting for something along the lines of a delicate knitted or crocheted cloche hat to accompany what you’re wearing. With the imminent release of the remake of The Great Gatsby coming just in time for many spring and summer weddings, this kind of headwear, made famous during the 1920s can be a complete change from a head-dress, tiara or fascinator and can really ring the changes and set you apart from all the other brides this year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I know, I know. I have no right to complain. I live in an area of California where you can pretty much wear a long sleeve sweater all winter long and never get too terribly chilly. But ... it's cold today! In my apartment, anyway. It might be warmer outside than it is in here. I closed off the rooms I'm not using, turned on the expensive wall heater, and I have a heating pad on my back and a cat on my feet, but dang it's cold. Brrrr.

Wow, you can really see how uneven my stitches are in this pic. Shouldn't I be better by now? I'm going to blame it on poor lighting.

Now that I've complained about the chill, I'll admit it does make me want to sit and knit. I'm making good progress on the pink apron dress, which I'm knitting with Katia Degrade. I love the long color segments and gradation of tone.
The abrupt change from dark to light at the top is where I added a new ball. The contrast is intentional. 

Would you like to win an iPad Mini? I sure would. Cooperative Press, a publisher of knitting books (and other types of books), is giving one away along with several other prizes. You can find out more about the contest HERE.

If you are having trouble uploading photos in your Blogger, I found a workaround by clicking on the HTML tab while composing the blog post. It is located just above the box where you enter the post text. There are two tabs-- one says "Compose" and the other says "HTML." If you click on HTML you will see your post in HTML code, but you can then click on the image icon and upload a photo from your computer. Then you can click on "Compose" and finish writing it without viewing the HTML.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday. Have a great week! I'm off to make deviled eggs and maybe turn up that wall heater. Downton Abbey tonight. Woo hoo!

Friday, January 11, 2013

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Makin' Stuff

When I started blogging three years ago, the only craft I was involved with was knitting. My plan for this blog was to share simple, original knitting patterns, but it didn't take long before I was inspired by other people's blogs to start making mixed media collages, handmade books, and artist trading cards. It was exciting to learn how to work with new mediums and to express the creative energy that had been bottled up inside of me for so long.

Miniature Mixed Media Collage ~ 2009

 And then, about a year and a half ago, I pretty much stopped doing all crafts except knitting. I don't know why. I have drawers and bags and boxes full of supplies, plenty of space and time, but I just stopped. It didn't take long to start believing that I'd forgotten how to make all those things and to lose confidence in my ability to collage and stamp and paint and invent.
Artist Trading Card ~ 2009
Lately I've missed those crafts. Knitting is still my number one love, but I feel ready to expand my creative world once again. I'm not making any official resolutions this year, but I am hoping to be more open to learning and experimenting and revisiting different types of crafts. 

 Domino pendant with resin finish ~ 2013
In that spirit, earlier this week I took a class at the Work of Heart art studio, which is located a few miles from where I live. I was the only student in the class, which was nice because I'm not very comfortable in group situations. Within an hour the instructor Lexi led me through the steps of making three projects: a domino pendant, greeting card, and embossed travel journal.
Handmade greeting card ~ 2013
I learned new skills and refreshed old ones, but most importantly, it reminded me how fun it is to just sit and make stuff. Especially stuff you can finish in one sitting.
Hopefully I'll  keep my non-resolution and take more classes throughout the year and open up those drawers and bags and boxes of art supplies and put them to use. I recently started using Pinterest and it seems like a good way to find ideas and inspiration ... if I can stop pinning stuff!

Friday, January 4, 2013

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nineteen Hundred House Dish Cloth

I love knitting small cloths-- dish cloths, wash cloths, face cloths, scrubby cloths, whatever. I knit them all the time and I'm starting to wonder if I have some sort of weird hoarding issue with them. There is a stack of knit cloths on my dresser, each one a different color, none of them matching, and I can't bear to use them or part with them.

This pattern is called Nineteen Hundred House Dish Cloth and it is sooo addictive. Wouldn't several of these in different colors make a cute housewarming gift?  If you could bear to part with them, that is. This yellow one is in the stack on my dresser.

I'm finally working on something other than a small cloth. This pink project will eventually be an apron dress for Lily. The yarn is 100% cotton, so it kinda feels like I'm knitting a wash cloth ...

Happy New Year!!! Wishing you peace and blessings and joy in 2013.

Stacy xoxo