A much needed break

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written this post in my head or tried to log into my blog to actually do it. I’m flat burned out.  I need a break from a bunch of things and a 6 week blog silence proves this.  I have lots to show but don’t feel motivated to say it. I want to focus on my designs and regroups, so I will be lengthening this blogging break to 6 months.  I hope to pick up again in August, refreshed and ready to share all that has been bestowed upon me. If you want to keep up with me, check ravelry or...

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Peace: Shalom to you!

A few days ago I mentioned that the Hebrew greeting, Shalom.   Shalom has its roots in wholeness and completeness plus it tends to be tied to perfection.  For now we won’t focus on the perfection because perfection doesn’t usually get attained when we are aiming at it.  Its one of those things that sneaks up on you and then you realize things are “just perfect” and you hadn’t even tried or realized how good things were. Shalom is a blessing (divine blessing and grace), a state of affairs and so much more.  Its one of those powerful words that seem simple but in reality is this huge iceberg submerged below the initial glance.  One who is experiencing shalom should be living in  harmony, tranquility, and prosperity.   Through this place of being flows the ability to overcomes discord and hatred in family, community, national life, and the prevention of war.  But all this peace first has to flow through these things before it ends at prevention of war.  If you can’t be at peace with your family, community or national life then how do you expect war to end.  It starts at home within our hearts and souls.  This is my main reason for focusing on the relational interpersonal side of peace.  Some times we think PEACE and that its this huge unattainable thing that can’t be budged.  It can if we focus on our inner selves. As soon as I started thinking Peace/Shalom, I stumbled across this pattern called the Shalom Cardigan(pdf).  It has slowly grown on me to the point that I intend to join a knit-a-long being lead by my friend Tricia (SFCorgi). This is a bulky weight knit so it will be speedy which should give me some resolve since the rest of my projects are currently being knit on small needles.  The Shalom KAL is part of Malabrigo March Madness over on the Malabrigo Junkie group on ravelry.  Just over a year ago, I stumbled across the group and now I have the honor of being an admin in the group.  I love this group of gals and gents.  Our love of yarn has spread to a love and acceptance of each other.  A peace within our differences.  Even through a rather stressful and emotionally charged election season, we continued to encourage each other even if that other person was campaigning for the other side than you were.  It was/is an awesome group to be part of.  They are where I go when things are hard.  I can spill my troubles and they listen, give hugs and if needed hand out advise or offer to shoot the person who offended you.  Plus we share our laughs and talk about how malabrigo may or may not be better than sex. Look forward to a bright orange cardigan OTN after March 1st.  I will be at Stitches West (thursday – sunday) leading a group of gals in Malabrigo March Mass cast-on.  Look for me there or follow me on twitter (FYI I’m very careful of who I add over there so if I deny you, PM me on ravelry and let me know you want to follow...

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A week in review:

Mondays are all about peace: I’ve been super busy with so many things that completely forgot plus I wasn’t even home on Monday so that doesn’t help the routine. Peace an etymology: A simple definition that is two fold.  Harmonious relationships and the absence of stress or anxiety. How many of us struggle with those around us?  Maybe there is that one person that just rubs you the wrong way time and time again.  I know I have a few people like that and I know that I have been that person for other people.  Its just human nature to have conflict in one way or another.  We don’t strive for it; it just happens. Also our modern culture seems to encourage and breed stress and anxiety.  We are rushing here, there and every where in between.  We never have enough time to just sit and be.  Maybe that’s why so many of us who read this blog enjoy sitting and knitting.  It allows us to just be and pulls that stress away from us. In some of the older languages, peace is a greeting.  Like in Hebrew or Arabic, Shalom or “salaam” respectively, has multiple meanings: safety, welfare, prosperity, security, fortune, friendliness.  Most people use it for many different purposes.  Growing up in that part of the world, I’ve always understood it as “Hello, I hope you are at peace today”.  This might not be how native speakers are meaning it, but I think is like a shortened for of the American greeting, “Hi how are you today?”  A question that rarely gets an honest answer.  Normally just a “fine, thanks”  We like to put on an appearance of being ok.  Being peaceful.  Being happy with where we are in life.  But in reality we are far from this inner peace. Peace is a sense of balance between it all.  Its not really an easy thing to balance out. People that experience inner peace say that the feeling is not dependent on time, people, place, or any external object or situation, asserting that an individual may experience inner peace even in the midst of war. Maybe you don’t think you feel peace.  Have you every used one of the following words to describe yourself or a situation? Calm, calmness Placidity, placidness Quiet Serenity Tranquillity Hush Lull Stillness Untroubled But then maybe you yearn for those feelings, words, attitudes, sense of being. Preview of next weeks peace focus: Malabrigo March is starting and I’m knitting something “peaceful” Wednesdays are for WIPs: There are three items actively on my needles. Tapestry Cowl In yellow soxs I box my Gox & a new design with a macro preview Fridays are for FOs and Pattern Releases: For several months I’ve been mentioning a secret squirrel project of which I had also roped the ever talented knittymuggins into testing for me.  She is stunningly fabulous in her abilities to help me clean up a pattern for release to the general public. Let me introduce the Pearl Drop Sock. She has been a lovely labor of time and energy to get my vision and her (the sock’s) vision into a cohesive clearly understood manner. Each step of the way I knew a bit of what was to happen. From a lovely toe-up start to...

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Things to mess with your Peace and WIPs on Wednesday

Needless to say when I announced my focus word this year,  I didn’t expect it to be tested so soon.  Over a week and a half ago, I was in the shower doing my normal routine of waiting for the dishwasher to finish its cycle, starting the washer, hopping into the shower between the fill and the rinse cycle (it makes me be faster) and something horrible happened.  At first I just thought it was the toilet starting to act up again so I poked my head out of the shower and glared at it.  Like that was going to be of any use, but once I stuck my head back into the shower, I noticed that something wasn’t so right with the bottom of the shower.  Let me remind you, I’m blind like a bat and might be able to distinguish color blobs when without my sight enhancers.  So I quickly wrapped up my shower and stepped out to a slightly soggy bathmat and a toilet that was refusing to behave.  Off I ran to the main bathroom, which is still in shambles (ok maybe not that bad, but I would rather be showering in there than the utility room) with the unfinished tub surround and noticed the throw rugs in there were wet.  I suddenly realized that THAT THING we had been warned about by the neighbors was happening.  Our SEWER was dead.  We are one of the few remaining homes on our street and in our area with the old pipes.  Now you wonder how can a SEWER go bad in a 50 year old house when it should be built with metal, clay pipes or concrete.  Well lovely folks, this is a paper town.  You know what that means.  Of course not, but basically it means they try to use paper for everything.  Our pipe from the house to the street was made of thick cardboard coated in tar.  Not really a material built to last, but it was a depression era invention.  Use what you have right? Normally I would be freaking out about the cost, the time, the lack of usage.  Oddly I was at PEACE.  Yes I was.  A weird errie peace.  I normally can’t stand things to be torn up, out of place and not clean.  Plus I tend freak out that we will be broke and completely in debt at any moment.  Thankfully I don’t do the bills any more so I actually haven’t had those …. um …. manic paranoid freak-outs about money lately.  I love math but actually working with money that’s mine is a bit rough on me.  We actually are in a great place financially, which is a huge blessing.  On top of that 2 checks arrived in the mail.  One came right after the plumber came out to confirm our diagnosis of sewer failure for exactly the amount we paid and the second was a bonus from churchable’s company for meeting safety goals and turning a profit in the last year, which is amazing with all the downsizing of his mill and the economic climate at the moment.  I was shocked.  Everything was paid for by blessings in the forms of little tiny checks.  Ya’ll might call this providence or happy chance, but I say...

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Protected: Make It Fit February 6th & 7th

Hi Ladies – I’ve updated the typos here and will post updates when needed for ya’ll.  It was a pleasure to teach each of ya’ll and I look forward to seeing each of your sweaters. Chris Measurements List What size to choose? Vertical Shaping (corrected version) Short Row Bust Darts (remember these can be used for Buddha Bellies, Bubble Butts and pregnant...

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WIP Wednesday – actually on time nay a bit early

Let’s review all the still OTN projects before I show you the new cast-on in celebration of sending the secret squirrel project off to its home.  FYI the secret squirrel project will be revealed the weekend after Valentines Day, so look forward to what I’ve been hiding from ya’ll. First up, the Wheat-ear Re-Mix. I cast off the hem on Monday night while siting in a lectural hall learning about financial peace.  Its ever so interesting that I’m realizing that churchable and I are actually really good with our finances, we just need a bit more savings to really experience the peace of it all.  Upon returning home,  I quickly stripped off my sweater to try on wheat-ear.  Oh I’m in love and the feel of the silk/wool on my skin is lovely.  I now can’t wait to finish it, but the sleeve islands await me.  Maybe I should try it on every once in a while to encourage myself to finish. The tapestry cowl actually saw quite a bit of action this weekend. I’m about ready to start round 20. I love this pattern but its not a fast knit. It will all be worth it in the end. This has been in my stash since June or July during Project Spectrum: Air.  I really don’t do yellows all that much so I think I spent most of my time acquiring whites, greys and yellows.  Of those three colors, grey is the only one to occasionally appear in my closet or knitting, but normally in the dark metal earthy greys not the light floaty greys.  I knit the Grey skies Bubble Pullover to symbolize that color and idea.  Well this skein of yellow yarn sat, kicking its feet against the boot box tub it lives in.  I knew it needed to have a purpose but what purpose. After gifting BIL with his annual Christmas socks, Si (my oldest SIL) pulled me aside and asked if I could knit him some yellow socks.  Um yellow for the man who snubbed my choclate brown nicely striped shirt because it had a robin egg blue stripe every so often.  So I quized her about why he would want YELLOW socks.  I love that my brother in law wears my socks all the time, but I wasn’t so sure about this yellow thing.  Its a nice color but he’s not so adventurous in the color wheel.   Si proceeded to say that he had been asking for yellow socks to wear while he held a box with a gox.  Yes BIL has been slowly turned by the sweet poetry of Dr. Suess.  I can imagine with 3 little kids he will spend many hours reading One Fish Blue Fish and wearing these darn yellow socks.  They will be basic stockinette socks with some ribbing.  I love knitting for him because he’s so simple in his sock needs that I can knit them while waiting at a stop light or in the movie theator with all the lights...

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PEACE is the answer

Peace is largely referred to as WORLD peace, but I want to focus on personal peace because once personal peace is attained, all other forms of relational peace will follow.   Peace has many definitions and I hope to crack open the last on the list.  Inner peace, tranquility, serenity.  These things seem so hard to attain even in our daily life if we block out our nation or even the world.   We rarely feel truly at peace.  Well follow me through my journey of finding peace.  And then see how I express this piece using fiber.  The yarn that screamed, I AM PEACE is what made the picture above.  Its Habu a-60 Linen Paper.  I’ve lusted after this yarn since I was in art school thinking its just too pricey, so maybe I should cut my washi paper into strips and create yarn.  Well as I wandered around an LYS with Sheepie in Seattle, this yarn practically threw itself at me.  I mean come on, I had 100% yak in my hands and it refused to come home with me because the Paper was being an excellent orator of why it was better for my budget and my next project. In addition, today while I got the girls their 3 month check up since their mammogram in November,  I stopped at Uwajimaya today because I was in NEED of an awesome Japanese stitch dictionary.  I was limiting myself to a stitch dictionary and possibly a cool pattern drafting book if I could find it.  I was sorely tempted to purchase this book but realized I love the pattern but probably won’t  ever knit stuff from it, so I put it back on the shelf.  I did get lucky and find a copy of the pattern drafting book that I wanted.  I used extreme restrain and only bought volume 1 (volume 2 is just as fabu) because it had something that would work to complete a bit of my idea for PEACE.  This outfit is starting to be very japanese, which is no suprise since I adore Issey Miyake (check out the FETE collection). Contest Winners:  Please comment which prize you are interested in.  It will be first come first serve. CDaniele Hilary of the Yarniad – I will deliver your prize in person Jess of Knit One Blog Too Jackie of Jackie’s Stitches Jodi of A caffeinated Yarn Cici of 2 sistahs knit together Knittymuggins Monica who is blogless but had the great pleasure of slipping in right before I closed comments. If you will be at Stitches West, please let me know and I will hand deliver your package.   Otherwise, I will email you back and ask for your snail mail...

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FO Weekend?: My Bark to your Fall

Pattern:  Favorite Cardigan by Wendy Bernard in Custom Knits Raveled Here Yarn:  Madelinetosh Tosh Worsted – 5 skeins of colorway Bark Needles:  Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeables US 7 (4.5mm) Mods:   I was one of the first people to cast on this sweater but probably the slowest to blog about it.  I didn’t really make many mods except my usual Horizontal Bust Dart (short rows) adjustments.  Sadly I messed up my calculations alot with this sweater, plus the difference between knitting the body while on vacation and the sleeves after coming home.  This probably isn’t the best representation of my skills. Facts to Remember:  At first my reluctance to blog was the above picture.  The button band ripped like no bodies business.  I ripped it out and redid it on smaller needles, sadly it still ripples so I’ve come to wearing it unbuttoned at the top and bottom.  I love it and get compliments.  I just prefer my sweaters to button all the way or not at all.  I should also be slow to praise myself and my ablity to do bust shaping with new yarn and no math calculations.  I used my usual Malabrigo Worsted bust dart formula since they have the same stitch count.  Hah the row count is so totally different that I made too deep of a bust dart.  Next time I will take my time.  The first edition of this book also has errata for the sleeve decreases which I helped a friend diagnois.  A simple reason why I don’t make a good test knitter is because I rewrite pattern instructions in my head to make them easier for me to understand.  Basically I translate into Chris knitting language from which ever knitting language I’m currently knitting from. Things I love:  THE YARN.  I can’t stress how much I adore this yarn.  I actually love it so much that I already had this color in sock yarn and I’m tempted to get it in the pastoral base (a 50/50 silk/wool single spun worsted yarn) available through Woolgirl.com.  In addition to loving the color, I adore all the yarn dyed by Amy of Madelinetosh.  So much so that I joined the Magnolia Society yarn club and dropped all my other yarn clubs.  My love for Amy’s yarns competes with my love for Malabrigo.  The worsted was released days before I headed to Hawaii on vacation where I knit this sweater and I couldn’t wait to take it with me.  Its a super soft superwash wool that washes beautifully.  It felts up on the inside of the sweater in such a way that post blocking/washing frogging is a bit difficult, but still possible since I did it when re-doing the button band.  It also looks very thin till after its washed where it blooms to its full potential.  Someone on ravelry commented that she didn’t think this was a true worsted.  I beg to differ, it turns out nicely at a worsted gauge.  It will never stand in for an Aran, but its a beautiful worsted. My second love was the book.  If you don’t have Custom Knits, Run.  Don’t walk to your nearest bookstore.  This is an instant classic with tons of information for the casual user and the up and coming...

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WIPs: Several dollars short of a big mac

I’ve been scurring around with my head buried in a pattern trying to meet a deadline that arrives Saturday.  Thankfully its all done and I’m sighing with relief that I can enjoy my weekend at the beach without four footed creatures without a care. As predicted, I’ve grown bored with the Wheat-ear pullover now that I’ve reached the waist. To my brain its all downhill from here. I probably can power through and get the body done for my class that I will be teaching in about a week on sweater fit. I’m loving the sweater but its time for more challenging things. So I’ve powered through several rounds of the Tapestry, that was till Tuesday afternoon when I accidentally broke off my thumbnail to the quick while sorting the stash. Since then I really haven’t been up to much knitting. I think I can remove the bandage in the morning and enjoy a weekend of knits. Because of my thumb injury and a conversation with BFF CareBear, I decided to bite the bullet and finally warp up my loom that’s been sitting around the house since before Churchable and I got married. The warp has been hanging out since December so that bits not so tardy. Well I’m totally thrilled to be doing my weaving, I’m not as far as I would like but then I did have this pattern to complete. Maybe I can assign one day a week to weaving something akin to the Yarn Harlot’s tuesdays are for spinning. Don’t forget about the blog...

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What does the future hold prizes?

Last week I opened up my bloggy contest without prizes.  Below you will see some lovely prizes of things I love and want to share with others.  To enter please leave a comment on the original post.  Contest now closed. I’m sure many of ya’ll have heard the buzz about Handknit Heroes.  I’m here to say its worth the lovely buzz its getting. The comic is well written and drawn.  The story line flowed and lead you to continue turning each page wondering what is up.  The characters seem to grow with the story.  The pattern is a simple scarf with a twist (rav link), which will draw the intended audience into the knitting world.  I look forward to seeing how the comic and its storyline continue.  I want to thank the publishers for allowing me to have a pre-release copy of the Handknit Heroes and for letting me give it away to you my lucky readers. I know the ravelympics is either months away or months past.  I was proud to be one of the moderators and bobicii for the Ravelympics.  It was a whirlwind of fun and I made a few friends through it all.  I happened to recieve two pins as a thank you for a job well done from the rav crew and Kimberli, the brain child of the Ravelympics success.  Ya’ll get to have one. Going to live with Knittymuggins My next love is Malabrigo. Tis a sad state of affairs. I’ve fallen for this temptress and its soft merino ways. Whether you already love it or are mal curious, I’ve got 2 skeins of Malabrigo lace in Continental. You can knit practically any size shawl with two skeins. There are many projects that only take one skein. Going to live with CDaniele My next love is knitting sweaters. Oh yes. I adore being able to curl up in a perfectly fit sweater. Right here I have 1,000 yds of rustic heavy worsted weight yarn that would make a nice outdoors sweater in a rich red. Its an older discontinued yarn that was spun by Harrisville Designs, which is located in the town adjacent to my High School in New Hampshire. One summer, I drove up back from my college in South Carolina to attend the Harrisville Summer school so that I could learn to spin. I went a bit hog wild buying fiber and the cotton fiber in the bag is from that shopping spree through the LYSes of New Hampshire. The other little bag is handpainted fiber locks from Blue Moon Fiber Arts before Tina became so well known. I’ve packaged them together as one prize since they were part of my attempt to fall in love with spinning and felting. Alas I love handspun, but not the process. Going to live with Jess in the snowy white. This lovely 4 oz bump of autumnal colored wool was given to me by a swap pal before I realized I probably would never spin again. I might give spinning the good old boy scout try but I just get so bored so easily that I would much rather be knitting away furious.y. The color is one of my favorite color mixtures and I so want to keep it and hoard it for that...

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