Quote from D. Gackenbach

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye January

Well, it is the last day of January.  I am excited to begin a new month of my sweater challenge, and I am glad I made it to the end of the January Sweater today.  I have a few last minute changes I will be adding to the pattern tonight.  Little things, like the buttons seemed too small at 5/8" so I think I will list 7/8" as an option, and I think 6-7 buttons may be a better choice than 5.  But all in all, I am very happy with my pattern and my three samples.  I do regret getting behind on sample number three, the size small, because I lost my model yesterday and didn't complete the sweater until this evening, but c'est la vie.  It is done and I've learned a lot.

I want to thank my gorgeous friend Joell for posing for these lovely pics of my sample the other day.  I am so lucky to know such beautiful and generous people! 

The sweater knits up beautifully in a size small, medium, or large.  Sadly my mannequin can't vamp, but here is a photo of the small sample.  I am still looking for more test knitters, so let me know if you would like to make this free pattern.

Now on to February!  I am thinking hearts and lace...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Just a quick follow up to my earlier post.  I bought a pair of matching chairs for $30 at the local St. V's.  I love them, and they are just right for me, a little bit worn, a little bit orange, and slightly tacky!  The other one went into our breakfast nook, but it isn't tidy enough for a photo-op and I have real chores to do.

Was It Worth It?

Today I hurt, a lot.  I had one of my manic days yesterday and moved all of my living room, dining room and office furniture around.  I needed to vacuum, and do the laundry, then suddenly- moving day!  I hate it when I do this because I always get hurt, which is inevitable when you move your antique roll top desk by yourself, but I do it anyway.  The morning after I am wondering if it was worth it.  Now I just  want new furniture.

Correspondence Corner
Office Space

I need (okay want vary badly) a new dining table, I have for years.  My husband and I were given a "lovely" antique table.  It is one of the ugliest tables known to man and I hate it passionately.  My husband spent week lovingly refinishing the top, I still hate it.  The table is not only ugly, but very inconvenient.  It doesn't fit in my space, you run into it with your thighs and/or knees when you sit down,  and it is on casters- so half the time my kids are pushing it around while you try to eat!  Did I mention I hate it?  I finally found the perfect replacement, it is from Ikea, but I still like it.

I want two of these, I want to place them side by side in front of my pew, yeah, did I mention I have an antique pew.  They are skinny and perfect for the space.  I will have just the right space for family dinners and the ability to expand to seat 12.  Ooooh as we speak, er type, the hubby just said, "you should get those, I like them."  Sweet!   How I love that man, and not just for the money... no really.

I also want a chair for this little corner.  I need a nice comfy one that is good for reading and knitting.  See the heater vent?  This is a really warm little corner that would be perfect on cold days, if it just had a place to sit!  Any suggestions?  I am thinking club chair, if I can thrift something cute, but I would settle for an Ikea chair if I am going by there anyway.  Oooh, and maybe a new rug to compliment my insanely ugly vintage sofa too.  Such a slippery slope.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Hop...

Hmmmm, I have never heard of such a thing, but it is clever.  I like clever things, and I like making new friends so I will play too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Rose Colored Glasses

I am in my head today, I should get out.  I have been feeling a little irritable, you know screaming, "what the F!@#$ is wrong with everybody????" at the top of my lungs, sleeping late, and punching pillows.  I hate to feed into any evil stereotype, but I am pretty sure it is just PMS.


I thought looking at a few photos from the past year would cheer me up, remind me I actually like my life.  So here are a few that tickled my fancy, I hope you like them too.  The world is full of beauty, I feel lucky to be a witness.  Too bad I am not a better photographer!

life is better in rose

Friday, January 20, 2012

F!@#* Cancer

I have some really great friends.  I am truly blessed in this department.  It took me a long time to cultivate these friendships and sadly these days most of them are long distance.  I still make an effort to remain in contact on a regular basis because friendships take time and commitment, just like a marriage, or a family.  I need these people and these people need me.  Thank goodness for the telephone and the internet!

Because I value friends very highly I am picky about who I give my time and energy to.  I believe I have chosen some of the most wonderful people on this planet to be friends with.  I hope to make new friends in this lifetime, but they will be in addition to the friends I have, not instead of...  I plan to keep these friends until, well, until forever!  Which is why the health and well being of my close friends is really important to me.  That being said, the sole goal of this post is to let you know that one of my best friends has cancer and no way to pay for the quality treatment she needs and deserves, but you can help.

I met Janice in grad school.  She had just picked up her entire life, career, husband, children, everything and moved from Minneapolis to Northern California.  I was in awe of her bravery.  We were taking an Art History seminar together.  There must have been good relationship vibes in the room, we became friends and two other attendees started dating and later married  I am so glad I took that course, the reading was a bear, but my new friend was worth it.

Janice is an exceptional woman.  She is talented, creative, intelligent, funny, and so generous, she is the kind of person that I strive to be.  She is an artist, an illustrator of beautiful children's books, and a teacher.  Her three sons are some of the sweetest, smartest, most wonderful young men I have ever met, and that means she is an excellent mother.  I struggle to take my cues from her as I raise my own little boy.  I could go on, but you get the picture, she is rad, and I love her.

Cancer treatment is expensive and Janice could use a little monetary help right now.  If you can help please follow this link: for janice and give whatever you can.  Thank you for reading this, thankyou even if you can't help, but thank you more if you can.  Now go hug a friend, or call a friend, or text a friend, or whatever you do to stay in touch, because life is short and friends need each other.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow Day!

I knew it, no school today, it is officially a snow day here in Everett, WA.  I was awakened at 5:45 am to the automated phone call alerting me to the fact that I could sleep in, oh wait they woke me up. **sigh**  But being the sleep hungry girl I am I managed to go back to sleep after only an hour of staring at the ceiling.

Fast forward to 8:45 am when my panic stricken child comes bolting into the room with a look of utter horror on his little face.  He thought he missed the bus and it was the end of the world.  Luckily those four little words (it's a snow day) reassured him and bought me another 30 minutes in bed while my husband brewed the coffee.  Beautiful.  Just in case you think I am lucky to sleep so late I should mention I didn't get to bed until 2 am, so I am very happy with my interrupted 8 hours.

It is still snowing steadily.  We are looking forward to building a snowman if it ever let's up.  I thought we should buy a snow shovel the other day, but then I forgot when we went to Lowe's.  I guess we will have to make due with the tools on hand.  I am thinking there could be some frost bitten fingers by the time Frosty is born.  Oh well, live and learn, this is only my second winter living in snow country.  At least we bought an ice scraper this year.

I started back to work on my January Sweater yesterday.  The changes I made in my pattern are looking good, and I am double checking the grading for size medium as I go.  I went with a nice golden yellow, I think this one will be for me.  I still need test knitters so I have joined a local group on Ravelry.  Hopefully I will be able to find some willing knitter's in my area so I can see the results in person.  If you want to get a cute (free) pattern feel free to comment here or over @ Ravelry I would love to know you!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Time Management?

Well, it has been a beautiful snow filled weekend here in my neck of the woods.  I love the looks of joy on my boys' faces as they chuck snowballs at each other, and at the dog.  This is one of the giant dog's favorite things in the whole wide world, because he can try to catch and eat them.  For some reason he thinks snow is delicious and he spends snowy days chomping on piles of fresh snow.  I wonder if he ever gets a brain freeze.

Here we are on Monday and my house is a wreck, my dishes are dirty, and there isn't a clean towel in sight.  Where did the time go?  I always say I need to work on my time management, I even have a monthly chore chart on my fridge, but I can't seem to get a handle on things.  To make things worse this is a 3-day weekend, so I have company today, and knowing our school district tomorrow will be a snow day, and I will still have company.  But I am going to whip this house into shape around the feet of my child if it kills me (or more likely him) in the process.  And yes, I see the irony of blogging about it first instead of just doing it, but I had other, more important things to talk about too.

I took a break from my sweater project this weekend.  I have made good progress on the pattern writing and started the grading so I wanted to get on with another project I have been meaning to undertake.   The folks over at Storey Publishing are have solicited one skein lace projects for an upcoming book, and I wanted to get something in to them before the due date.  If you are interested in pattern design check out the link Storey's One Skein Lace .  I decided to design a purse knit with super bulky yarn.  My sample is very cute, and it knits up in a hurry so it would make a great last minute present.  Here is a teaser pic, but I am going to hold on to the rest for my Ravelry, perhaps they will be my first free download over there...

Now it must be time to clean!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My January Sweater

I have completed the first January sweater.  I didn't block it yet, so I suppose it isn't technically complete, but it is really close.  I am still waiting for my book to arrive so I can get the promised tricks that make blocking worth it.  I am really lazy about finishing projects so I never block them, but I am going to start. 

It is freezing today, literally, there is ice in all the outdoor water bowls.  Don't worry my dog likes to eat the ice so he won't go thirsty.  But I digress, the cold made it hard to get any decent pictures of the sweater.  I was impatient and my feet were freezing!  So here are some crappy pictures instead. Yay!

Now I need to type up the pattern and make two more samples.  I have one minor change to make in the cable pattern, but other than that it is all pretty good.  I like it.  If this were actually my size I would keep it.  I will photograph the next size down when I complete it, that one will be mine.  I need to decide on a color...  Maybe red, I don't have a red cardigan.  

Please let me know what you think about the sweater, or what color I need, or cold feet, whatever.  And remember this is my first attempt at writing a sweater pattern, so be gentle with me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coming Out Even

One of my all time favorite children's books is Bread and Jam for Frances written by Russell Hoban with pictures by Lillian Hoban.  I loved it when I was a child, and I have loved reading it to both of my children as they grew.  I have one picky eater, and one gastronome, one Frances, and one Gloria as it were.  When my eldest was little I read her this book hoping she would be inspired to eat more adventurously, she wasn't.  When my son came along seven years later he ate everything in sight, so we read this just for fun.

When I read this as a kid I liked all the foods served to Frances at home, and I loved the sound of the lunches packed for Albert and Frances to enjoy at school.  I usually packed my own lunch, or ate the dreaded hot lunch.  My mom was really busy.  A lunch complete with a doily and a vase of flowers was a fairytale as far as I was concerned.  The food sounded great, but what actually stuck with me, became a compulsion really, was the way they ate it.  

The simple act of eating your food so that it all comes out even...

I have done this with my meals for as long as I can remember.  It only dawned on me that it came from this book while I was reading it to my own kids.  I know it is a little odd, but it is very satisfying.  I hate it when you reach the last few bites and realize it isn't going to come out even.  I have been known to get second helpings of some foods before I finish my first because I need to even it out.  My husband thinks it is hilarious.  But I am not alone in the realm of compulsive eating quirks.

My hubby eats whatever he likes least first, and fast, so he can enjoy the rest of his dinner.  And I have one friend who takes apart her sandwiches, then rearranges the ingredients in the proper order.  She doesn't remove anything, she just likes it stacked a certain way.

Books with food were an obsession of mine as a kid, and this is the first of many posts about my favorites.  What kind of books did you favor as a kid?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have been making beautiful new things, and then leaving them to languish in obscurity because I lack the drive to finish and photograph them.  Pathetic, I know.  But today was the official re-opening of my Etsy shop, so I had to get it together and start posting some of these new items. 

It didn't hurt that the sun came out so I could snap a couple decent shots outdoors.

It is amazing how much a little sunshine helps get the juices going.  I am terrible about getting up in the morning.  I will literally get my son out the door to school and climb back under the covers until 10 or 11 o'clock if I can get away with it.  When the sun doesn't come out, which happens fairly regularly here in the Pacific Northwest I am even worse.  I have been known to stay in my PJs all damn day when it rains.  I need an early morning hobby to motivate me.  What do you do to get yourself motivated in the morning?

Monday, January 9, 2012

365, 52, 12, hmmmmm...

It is the beginning of a new year and many of us are considering some sort of daily, weekly, or monthly project.  I have been trying to decide on something that isn't insane, which is hard for me, since I tend toward the crazy.  I am pretty sure I want a knit/crochet project.  Obviously a 365 wouldn't work well, I knit a lot, but a project a day would be impossible since I do not use a knitting machine, and I do not make small projects.  That leaves me a choice between a 52 weeks project, or a 12 months project... tough choice.

A 52 sweater project is really tempting, but as I said I am trying to steer away from insane, and this is borderline.  I know I could complete a sweater every week, but I may not be able to get anything else done, and my family might suffer.  Not to mention the expense of the yarn involved in this one, oh wait, I mentioned it.  I could easily do a 12 sweater project, but that doesn't seem inspiring enough to keep me interested. 

The sweater I am currently working on is my own design, and I want to do more of that in the future.  If I am going to design some sweaters I need to learn how to grade a pattern and get myself some test knitters.  If I do 12 months of sweater design I will force myself to get those two things done.  It sounds logical, right?  So that is the project: 12 months of sweaters, designed by me, graded to at least S, M, and L, and test knit if possible (I will be flexible on this part since I can't control anybody else).

My sweater for January is a 3/4 sleeve cropped cardigan with cables down the front.  I am half way through the pattern, knitting as I go.  Today I will complete the ribbed hem and neckline, then it is on to the sleeves.  Wish me luck, and let me know if you want to test knit anything!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stupid Frogs

A note for those of you who do not knit, or crochet: to frog is to rip out your work. 

Yesterday I frogged a sweater that I had just finished knitting right before Christmas.  I knew I was going to do it, I planned to do it, I was prepared to do it, but it still sucked!  The sweater wasn't right, I had to put it down, but I still can't help mourning all the hours I spent on it. 

I think the worst part is knowing it was all my fault!  Really, I have to own this one.  I hate swatching.  I swatch for gauge only, and rarely.  I skipped doing a swatch on this one and the lace pattern was so subtle as to be non-existent.  On top of that, I knew I hated it long before it was done, but I kept going.  I kept thinking it would shape up in blocking.  I was wrong.  There I said it, my husband would be so pleased.

Don't worry, there is a good part to this story.  I started fresh on the sweater last night.  I am replacing the lace border with bold cables down the front.  I swatched the pattern this time, I really like it.  I love the anticipation that comes with making something new.  So much so that I have a hard time finishing anything without starting something else.  I ordered a book that I am hoping will help me with that. 

I can't wait for this to arrive, then maybe I will complete the giant box of nearly finished projects I have waiting for me, and they will be put up for sale in my shop.  They all want to go to good homes where somebody will wear them, life in a box is no fun!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Moving Into the Neighborhood

I wanted to find some interesting blogs to follow today.  Holy crap!  There are a million interesting blogs to follow.  I need help.  If you write an interesting blog, or you read an interesting blog, or you know somebody interesting who has a blog that you have never bothered to read, but you are pretty confident it is interesting... let me know.  Thanks, and if you ever need to borrow a cup of sugar, knock on my door.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another New Year

Today is my birthday.  Happy birthday to me.  I am celebrating with this new blog.  I don't know what I will be writing about in the coming days, but I think it will be nice to have a place to put it.  I am looking for a new direction in my life.  I am hoping for more creativity, and more fun.  I want to document my progress toward those goals.  If you want you can read along.