Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Bit Late to the Party:

I feel flattered to have received this award from two bloggers who really do make my day: Cathy and Bonnie. (I specifically linked to Bonnie's current post because of the contemplation it inspires.)

So, in the spirit of "You Make My Day" Award, I would like to link you to some additional blogs that make my day. There are a lot of them (my Bloglines account says there are 113 of them!...thank goodness most of them don't post everyday!) Several of them have already received this award at least once, so I'll try to avoid those. Here are the ones I'd like to point you to, in no particular order:

  1. Sharon at In Stitches because she makes great fulled bags, reads good books, and brings a sense of love and humor to her blog.
  2. Lee at When She Was Knitting because she writes interesting, reflective posts that makes me wonder about when she's not knitting. And like Sharon, she is a librarian. There's some affinity for fiber loving librarians going on here.
  3. Wanda at Fiberjoy has a very entertaining current post and this link will take you right to it!. She is also the home of Jenkins Woodworking for lovely fiber tools.
  4. Jackie at One Thread Two Thread is always up to a new adventure. She inspires fiber students and her readers, sells her fiber work at local venues, all while raising a creative family.
  5. Cassie at Too Much Wool was the first to send me to Iceland websites. She could currently use some condolences over a postal SNAFU.
  6. Ellen at Sheepwreck is anything but (a wreck of any sort). There's always some learning or inspiration to be gained there.
  7. Take a look over at Little Berry Knits for inspiration in spinning and knitting lace.
  8. Miss Alice Faye is currently the "Princess" of knitting.
  9. Stef at Distracted Muse is multitalented. And who among us fiber people cannot be described as distracted? Some of us may even be a bit distracting! (as in sitting here reading your blogs all day...or perhaps wearing just a bit too many handknit items at one time in these winter temps.)
  10. And finally there's Jared at brooklyntweed. If you haven't been to his site, you should. I'm sure others have tagged him with this award but I haven't seen it. His knitting and photography are truly inspirational.
That's where I have to stop, with the hopes that the recipients can feel appreciated and not burdened by the award. Thanks for showing up on a regular basis to share your work and your thoughts.

January is usually such a grim, grey, nothing month. Not so for me this year. It's been a very contemplative, fruitful, and inspiring month. Perhaps I'll have time to tell you about that tomorrow, or the next day. Provided I don't see my shadow and duck back to my underground lair. (If you don't understand that reference, click here)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Iridescence:

Another day with sunshine in SE Michigan! Will wonders never cease?

While up to my elbows in soapy water at the kitchen sink, a bit of sparkle caught my eye:


I keep 6 African Violets on the kitchen window sill, above the sink. I do not recall having a violet this color, but it's blooming and here it is. What is truly magic is the iridescence of each of the petals. Even more amazing is that the digital camera could capture it this well.

This is a real flower, and tiny as it is, it takes my breath away.

And while we're on iridescence, I started Ice Queen last night. The yarn is Filatura Di Crosa Superior, a luscious blend of cashmere and silk. I bought this one ball (at $24!? gasp!) for myself for my birthday (before I knew how well indulged I would be on this birthday).

I just happened to have some beads that go with. Then there was Cyndy's inspiration. And now we have temperatures to create demand for the finished object:


I'm knitting Version B, not because I like to purl, but because I like the garter version pf feather and fan pattern.

Stay warm and enjoy the sparkle.....

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bitter Cold, Bright Sun:


And yet, I will take this any day over 40 degrees and dark skies. The cold has arrived in time for this, as long as the cold snap holds. Notice that those blades of grass are GREEN!! How can that be?

I do like cold weather, but am always aware that I'm loving it from the shelter of a warm home, a luxury that not everyone shares. This week I happened to be in the church office on the morning after our weather changed. A man came in to request help with shelter after spending the night outside. He had a story which isn't relevant to this post, but he wasn't the tv stereotypical image of a street person. You could have passed him on any street in any midwestern community.

A couple years ago while at a weavers conference in Holland, Mi. I was introduced to Letterboxing by my suite mate at the conference. She was an avid Letterboxer and outdoors person with directions to two different letterboxes. Being a backpacker and familiar with compass bearings, I tagged along. It was great fun, but sobering to me when our search led us to the shelter and possessions of someone who was living under a bridge.

Since then I'm always alert, watching for places where someone might be sheltering.

There are so many layers of society to which we are often oblivious.

On a lighter note:
Yesterday was Michigan Weaver's meeting with Kathy Zasuwa providing the program on creativity. It was exactly what I needed to reinforce those plans for more weaving in '08 mentioned in my previous post.

A few years (10?!) I took an Artist's Way class at the Ann Arbor Art Association. It was a worthwhile program, but not a something that I wanted to revisit. So I stopped at the library and picked up a couple of the books from Kathy's suggested list on my way home.

Bit by bit, I'm shaking things loose and getting back to my threads.

Meanwhile, here's a little artist's date for you. The inspiration to share this with you comes from Stef's latest creative project combined with just having indulged in my daily allotment of 2 dark chocolate Dove's Promises. Enjoy!


Love 2008 -

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This is what I want to do when I grow up!

Run away and join a tapestry weaver!! Much more suitable to my INFJ personality type than running away to joining the circus (which did cross my mind when reading Water for Elephants!)

Meanwhile, I think this is the last of the birthday presents.....


The book is beautifully done with good images of the samples and comprehensive documentation. It doesn't replace Marguerite Davidson's Handweaver's Pattern Book, but it's a wonderful companion to it! Anne Dixon has done a wonderful job in this work.

I have been setting the stage to make room for more weaving in my life. That means stepping back from a leadership position at church and a few other things. It will take a few months for the transition to occur. Meanwhile, I've sent in my deposit for a Jason Collingwood workshop in April. All three of the harness looms and the tapestry loom have warps on them which need to be woven off during this "latent" stage.

Now to stay focused and not get sucked into some other volunteer activity.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Birthday Goodness...

If you have a birthday shortly after Christmas, you know that birthday goodies continue to trickle in after the day. Some of it is because shipping slows down after the Dec. 25 madness. Some of it is because stores are out of inventory and don't restock until they close out their books for the year. And then of course there's the fact that we are all broke. Nevertheless, here's the rest of the story:

This amazing book arrived bringing with it new vigor for sock knitting. There are some amazing ideas in Cat's latest book that can apply to just about any fitted tubular knitting:


You can look more here.

Lucky for me, another birthday present arrived which allowed me to prop Cat's book in my lap to follow along while knitting:


This cozy little book pillow can be found here.
Sure it can rest on a table as shown in the photo, but it's true value to the knitter is the ability to prop a book in your lap and hold the page while you read. Now you can read knitting instructions, but if you're on a stretch of garter or stockinette stitch, why not read from the top of the book pile on your night stand? There's a little weighted string book mark and the bolster like shaping keeps the pages from flipping.

It took a couple evenings of 'training' the cat to leave the string alone. We are still negotiating whether she gets to sit in front of the book (blocking my view) or on my legs behind the book rest.

But back to the book which begins with tutorials for two infant socks to help you get the concepts. Here are my test socks:


This is the "Little Sky Sock" which is knit from the cuff down and has unusual arch increase shaping which starts at the center front of the ankle, with the increased stitches flowing over the instep. Below is the front view:

There are number of sock patterns with innovations on this method of shaping to provide hours of interesting knitting and even more interesting looking socks.

The "Little Coriolis" sock below is knit from the toe with the interesting spiral band traveling across the instep. The opposite sock is knit mirror image.



Think of the possibilities! In an adult sock with more stitches, a cable can travel with the spiral. Or how about lace patterning? But before I strike off on my own, I plan to try a few of the luscious patterns that Cat has provided in the book. Then beyond socks, the same principles can apply to sleeves, mittens, hats, collars....

Excuse me, I must go knit.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

The birthday is over but not forgotten. Below is a gift that came in yesterday's mail:



It's ~10 oz. of natural colored Polwarth pencil roving from my shepherd friend, Carole (blogless), who lives in the thumb portion of Michigan. My wheels have been quiet lately, but this may be Just the thing to jump start my spinning in '08. I'm thinking gloves and maybe a scarf. I wore out one pair of my handknit gloves last year and haven't replaced them yet.


This is what arrived in SE Michigan with the New Year:

It took dh most of the day to get us dug out with his trusty snow blower.

At I type, the New Year's Pork and Sauerkraut is in the oven. Both dh and I are from Pa. from where this traditions hails. Click on the link to learn more. There's still carrot cake left over from the birthday, and perhaps a few ounces of dessert port to finish off this first day of the year.

Wishing each of you all the very best for 2008. Happy New Year!