I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

day thirteen, actually

After I just posted, I realized that it's actually day 13 today.
Might as well give you a bonus picture of this rose that is blooming today, about a foot above my head.

day eleven and twelve

Thank you thank you everyone for your comments...they feel like virtual hugs...I appreciate them so much. Going back over that post, I was getting worried that it turned into a Whine Fest.
I was so in the dumps all weekend, the words "failure" and "loser" kept coming back into my head more than I wanted them to. I want everyone to know that I loved having that shop, and yet at the same time it was too stressful over time. And never really the prospect of everything eventually paying off.
I am still extremely grateful to all the people that worked there with me and helped me out, and to my family who supported me. I will never forget what you did.
I am grateful I met so many wonderful people, and I have to keep in mind that the difficult people, too provided me with some great learning experiences.

Moving forward, (a much used phrase these days, I am aware) I finished all the parts to the jacket at 1 pm today and am now out back on the picnic table assembling the pieces. I hope to get it all done before the light fades, but there are some pictures for you: back, two fronts, two sleeves.

I am using Nashua "julia" to seam it together. That's a worsted weight. you can see how bulky the wool for the jacket is!

And of course I can't help but get up every so often and take a look at the flowers. The bees are having a good time with these asters:

No, and no news from Amy Singer.
Back to the jacket. I have the shoulders sewn up and one sleeve in.
Tomorrow morning at 10 am, it goes to Decadent Fibers and with them, to Stitches East and the NYS sheep and wool fest. And my pattern will be for sale there! :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

no news, again

While there still is no news from Amy Singer, and I am getting a little antsy, I must talk about this day nevertheless.

One year ago today, I closed the doors of my yarn shop for the last time.

And yes I am a little choked up and teary eyed about this "anniversary". Funny how that happens...when I was the one wanting and needing to close the shop. It was a successful business, but it wore me out much much more than anybody will ever know. I think I am still recovering from it to this day.

Friends and former customers who I run into these days ask me how I'm doing, and I always say I'm good, I'm designing and getting published --- which I am very glad about, and proud of. It's something that comes easy to me, knitting and writing patterns, but I never had a minute to do any of it while I had the shop.

Yet I sit here and have days where I miss...something. I guess it's something I wasn't ready to have happen. I'm glad I'm able to be home for dinner every night, and even make that dinner for my family. I am glad I can pick my daughter up from school three times a week. I am glad I can do homework with her, I can be there when my son talks about his day AND I AM NOT DOG TIRED 100% of the time. I can go to soccer games on Saturdays, and I will never miss another one of my kids' birthdays again. I don't have to sit and pay bills on my days "off" or place orders. I don't have to think about the next promotion or the class schedule for the next three months. I go off to work part-time, and the other time I am a freelance designer working from home.

But. Believe it or not, I miss being...seen. I miss seeing knitters, talking to knitters, and seeing their projects. (I don't miss people who never entertain the thought of paying me for the lesson they received. I don't miss people who I've helped look for the perfect yarn for three hours and then they ask me if I have the same yarn, only cheaper. I don't miss people that blame me for not having their shade of blue in any yarn at all. I don't miss people who take advantage of me, period. I don't miss people who test me to see if I am a nice yarn shop owner or a bitchy one. I don't miss people who ask me to make photocopies out of knitting books. I don't miss the person who had the gall to buy a pattern on sale for two bucks and then had me help her knit her recycled sweater yarn sweater for a year and a half. I was a nice yarn shop owner, but I am not a saint.)

But I miss Sharon F., and Sharon R., and Noreen and Elise and Cathy and Vicki and Jess and Abi and Iryth and Susan and Kim and Ruth and Laura and Leah. And all the others, you know who you are and I wish we could sit and talk about your projects every once in a while. And life, of course, while we're together.

Otherwise, I'm OK.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

day ten

No news. Nil. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Nichts. Zero.

If only I can get through the weekend.

If I still don't have news on Monday, I'm going to email. The Submission Guidelines say that if I haven't heard after two weeks, to email.

Meanwhile, I finished the right front of the cardigan.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

day nine

Still no news from knitty/Amy Singer.
By now, I just want to know, either way.

my gauge swatch lied!

As Emma is my witness, I am trying to just look at this as a bloggable moment.
My gauge swatch lied to me. I was supposed to have 2.25 sts/in on this cardi. Yesterday I made the entire back and because I am in such a hurry, I didn't bother to stop and measure. I kinda sorta measured, but not for real...and here I am, paying the price. As you can see, I am almost done with the right front today too, and I really needed to have it match the front, you know? So I did some real measuring (in several places) and what do you know, my gauge is off by a quarter inch. I am getting 2 inches per inch.
Some of you may think that this is not a big deal.
But it is.
I am writing this pattern up for publication, and everything has to be just right. No, it has to be perfect. Since I am on a deadline, ripping out is not an option. I simply cannot re-knit the whole thing. It is too durn hot today, and besides I cannot be swatching all over again to find the needle size I need to get the gauge I am specifying in my pattern. Besides, I like the fabric I am getting, so I am leaving well enough alone.
What I am doing instead is changing the size range. Ha! Being the author of a pattern entitles you to all kinds of liberties (freedoms? I am having another Vocab Moment). It also makes me wonder if a debbie bliss or a Norah Gaughan ever goes through this, but we are none the wiser because we don't get to see them go through the Process.
So off I go to change the size range in my pattern, in fact I am adding another size. It will now have 5 sizes ranging from a 36 to a 52, with 4 inch increments. Should cover a range of folks.
And as far as lying gauge swatches, I refer you to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules, pg. 100, where you'll find her list of Eight Things to Know about Swatches.
Items one and eight: Swatches lie.
Well, I am glad I am in good company.
And yes, Emma wears a size 40.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

what day are we on?

Still no news as of today.

I locked myself in the house today and got the following done:

(one) entire cardigan back. We won't talk about the fact that it's on size 15 needles and there's a deadline looming and I have to have a whole cardigan done now. It took me three hours.

I also made dinner (soup, and breadpudding); answered many emails, set up extra violin lessons with violin teacher for Tall Son, drove everyone to and from school, went to PT, drove a car full of kids to orchestra practice, and keep editing the pattern for said cardigan all day long.

I am hot. Are you hot? Is it me or is it unseasonally hot? And am I having to knit a superbulky cardigan during all this? Yup. (Am I also looking forward to the check I can put in the bank after it's done? You bet!)

This one is for Decadent Fibers and they want it for Stitches East and then Rhinebeck. Yes I will get pictures up here once it's done. If you're going to either one of those fiber shows, make sure you stop by and say hello to my cardi!

'Til tomorrow! ( I have to go now because "House" is on...)

day six & seven

I am still waiting to hear.

Thanks for waiting with me.

I hope you brought lots of knitting?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

day five

Well, it's that time of day again where I get to tell you whether there was any news.

No news yet.

Meanwhile, I'm going to hop on over to the knitty blog and see what Miss Amy herself is up to!


I'm back. Never a dull moment over there! :)

'Til tomorrow!!

PS: I am working extra hours tomorrow so might be a little later in my update.

Friday, September 21, 2007

day four

No news from Amy Singer / knitty.

Here's what we did last Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, and we went to an apple orchard outside of Albany.

We go apple picking there every year, and I have never seen the apples quite like this:

Then we went over to the farm compound, where they had a fall festival with all local folks displaying their wares, food, and animals:

Their owner also had some lovely alpaca yarn, but I resisted. I asked her and she said she will be at the NYS sheep and wool fest next month.

Here's just a few more shots of the bounty on display:

It was really cool to see so many local vendors, some of them promoting the 100 mile diet, some of them supporting sustainable living.
Before you we go back to our regularly scheduled knitting, I would like to encourage you to go to this site: http://www.climatecrisiscoalition.org/
and subscribe to their newsletter.
'Til tomorrow!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

while we're waiting...

....we might as well take a look at Emma. She loves to guard my knitting. I am very lucky in that she always makes sure she has some body part on it, not her entire self, and she has never made off with it or chewed needles.
Good kitty.

And apparently, she loves to have her picture taken; here she's getting all comfy.

Then she gets more comfy! Too bad I couldn't capture the purring. And no I didn't need my glasses right at the moment.

Turns out, she loves rowan all seasons cotton, and the Charlene Schurch book "More Sensational Socks" from which I took the stitch pattern for this cardi...

day three

No news. Looks like I am still in queue for consideration.

I will announce it as soon as I am in, yes of course. (That issue of knitty will not be coming out until December.)

And I'd be careful with promises to make them...:) they are a bit...different...:)


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

day two

No news is good news. :)

Thank you ALL for your support.

I promise you, as soon as I get rejected, the pattern and about 10 pictures are going to be right here.

Till tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day One

I just have to tell you about this one.

I finally submitted a design to http://www.knitty.com/.

I know you all know what knitty is and that it's their 5th anniversary and all that. It's a huge deal.

I consider it a small personal victory that I actually made a deadline this time.

Ever since I closed my yarnshop one year ago (can't believe how time flies...), I have wanted to submit to knitty. Three deadlines have passed and I couldn't get the project off the ground, but this time I really did it. Mind you this is not the same project I've attempted to submit. It's been a different one every time, according to the season.

So at the end of August, I was struck with yet another one of my brilliant ideas and was hellbent on actually making the deadline this time.

For one week, from Sept. 8 through Sept. 15th, which was the day I had to send everything off, I was writing and charting and knitting like a madwoman. Saturday afternoon, we grabbed Crafty Girl and her friend, headed off to a nature preserve nearby, and had ourselves a photoshoot. By 7 pm that night I had put my little email package together: pattern written according to guidelines, check. Chart, triple checked, check. 6 pictures adding up to less than 1 MB, check.

I said a little prayer before I hit the send button. Off it went. Yes my heart was beating hard.

Over I go to my other mailbox, and what do I find but a friendly note from Amy Singer to the knitty contributors list, saying that she had to go and buy extra storage for her overflowing mailbox because of the sheer number of submissions. And that I shouldn't worry if the submission was bouncing back to me, and to just resend it, and that I had until September 17th.

I ran back to my other mailbox and already had an autoresponse assuring me that everything had arrived safely.

Today is the 18th, and I haven't received a rejection email yet.

Every day that it takes for her to get back to me, is a GOOD sign, (just go read the submissioin guidelines!), as it means I have not been rejected outright but am in the queue for consideration.

So now I'm counting the days. Today is Day One of not getting rejected by knitty.

Someone come hold my hands?

Oh, and I am NOT supposed to blog about the design at all. Which I haven't done, right? But I can tell you that it's a pair of socks.

catching up

There will most likely be a pile of unrelated-to-each-other posts here today and tomorrow. Though it's been quiet on this blog, there's been lots going on.
For example, we went to the Scottish Games on Saturday, Sept.1st.
We saw lots of this:

While I enjoyed the music tremendously, I was mysteriously drawn to everyone's kilt hose. Tartans are one thing, but to see such a great variety of calves clad in cables blew me away.

Of course these guys accused me of trying to get under their kilts, but after I assured them that I was only interested in the knitting pattern, they told me that one woman made all of the band's 42 members' socks. She came and measured their legs and feet, and custom made their kilt hose.
At $ 400 a pair.
I need to find me a Scottish band somewhere.

This guy very proudly showed me the stockings his wife knitted for him. I should have taken notes. Because he knew the name of the yarn, fiber content, needle size, name of pattern, and name of edging.

I don't believe there ever was a prouder wearer of a wife's knitterly efforts.

September sky

This is how blue the sky was here yesterday afternoon.

But the shadows are getting longer.

This rose is blooming for the third time this year...it now has to contend with less afternoon light. I think this is its last hurrah.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Homegrown tomatoes I was gifted with....yum.

Friday, September 7, 2007

that picture

I am not sure if anyone has noticed the new picture I put in the upper right corner?

That is my maternal grandmother with her three girls.

The one on the left is my mother, the baby is my Tante Gudrun, and the girl on the right is my late Tante Carola.

My mom and aunt Carola are wearing matching handmade sweater cardigans. We have several more pictures of the family with all three girls wearing matching handmade outfits. My grandfather loved photographing all his girls, and we are lucky to have most of the photographs.

Those sweaters were made by my grandmother, who was a handcrafter extraordinaire. She knew how to knit, crochet, did rughooking, and made tapestries (I think that's what it's called -- large needlepoint wallhangings). She had 7 grandchildren, and with the 3 sets of parents of those kids, there were lots of people to knit for! I remember many Christmases where we all got a pair of socks, or slipper socks.
She also canned and preserved, and helped run my grandfather's business.

All three of her daughters inherited her talent for all things hand made; aunt Carola was an avid knitter, as is my mother, who also sewed us girls' outfits throughout our childhood. My mother has done knitting, crocheting, basketweaving, and silk painting, which she is still doing to this day. Hand her an armful of yarn and she can make a sweater without a pattern. One Christmas she made 15 pairs of socks. My aunt Gudrun is the one who knows how to draw and knows all kinds of papercrafts. My own sister has an amzing eye for design and also knows how to knit!

I learned how to knit and crochet in second grade, and I still have some of the barbie doll clothes I attempted. (By the way, I have an entire little doll suitcase full of doll clothes that my grandmother made. I believe she made them for all of her 4 granddaughters. Some day I will pull them out and take pictures for you.)

Soon, I'll have some pictures of sweaters I made when I was a lot younger...also made without a pattern. 'Cause it seems I must have learned how to knit by osmosis...I do not remember following a pattern when I made my first pair of socks at age 16. Ditto for mittens.

I will admit to you now that I never followed a sock pattern until I opened my yarn shop in 2002, and folks started asking for them...somehow just telling them "Oh, all you do is this, and this..." wasn't enough...:)

And now here I am, writing patterns for people to follow.

I wish I could just sit with you all and we could learn from each other's needles, like I did from my Oma and mom.

PS: 9/9/07
Asking my sister for help here...I think Tante Carola's name is spelled with a K. Karola. Ever since I was a kid, I've never gotten it right. :(

Thursday, September 6, 2007

new job

Tall son's trip to Europe with the Empire State Youth Orchestra in April 2008: $ 3,000.-

Crafty Girl's new braces: $4,000.-

Mom's new job: priceless.

Yes, it's true. Almost one year after I closed my yarn shop, I am officially employed again.

I joined the Honest Weight Food co-op here in Albany last December. It felt good to be out in the community. Then they had a rare job opening, and they hired me for two days a week. Every Wednesday and Thursday I help make vegetarian fare. It is probably the most benign work one can be doing. Being part of a long-standing co-operative venture is interesting to say the least. So far I love it. This job helps pay the bills at home and yet it leaves me enough time for design work, knitting, spinning, and dyeing.

It is very refreshing to be going to work and most everyone I meet is full of good will and a can-do attitude. There is a full fledged recycling program in place, the 100 mile diet is being promoted and local producers are preferred. You can discuss ways to reduce carbon emissions and nobody looks at you like you have two heads.

I will miss being able to go to some poetry readings because of work. The knitting group that meets every first Thursday of the month at Tea and Tattered Pages in Glenmont might have to do without me this month. :( But I am there in spirit with you!! I get out of work just as you get started, and next month I hope to be able to join you, albeit a little late.

Knit on everyone, knit on!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Last Monday, we went to the Grafton Peace Pagoda on the way to the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Mass.
It was a gorgeous day.
Very peaceful, with no rushing to get somewhere. We spent some time in the Buddhist temple (no photo), and also walked around this stupa.

There is a pond nearby.

The place was supremely peaceful, we could only hear the birds sing and some crickets. Frogs splashing in the pond.

And it occured to me that we all should really make sure that we incorporate some peaceful moments into our lives.

Even as I am trying to draw your attention to a major struggle that is happening to save the planet from overheating further,




I would like you to remember, as hard as it is, that it is important to make room for peace in your life; to balance the struggle, and to be able to go on.

So I didn't want to wait for Christmas :) to wish you "Peace".

Enjoy the holiday weekend!