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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

this just in

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to let you know that I will be teaching a workshop in conjunction with a meditation teacher at the end of January. Here are the details; and I want to add that I am expecting this to be a wonderfully relaxing weekend...the food at the lodge is outstanding and lovingly prepared.
Can you imagine a weekend of meditation and knitting, good company and good food in the snowy Catskill Mountains?

I hope to see you there.

Contemplative Knitting
at Sky Lake Lodge

"Knitting as a Peaceful Act"

Elaine Yuen: Shambhala Meditation Instructor
Karin Maag-Tanchak: knitting teacher and designer

January 30 through February 1, 2009
Fri, Jan 30 evening; Sat, Jan 31, 9am-9pm; Sun, Feb 1, 9am-2pm

Part of what makes knitting so appealing is the way it enables us to slow down. By focusing our mind on the yarn and needles we find ourselves more relaxed and at the same time more present.
This program will serve as an exploration and deepening of the natural mindfulness inherent in knitting. Instruction will also be given in simple yet profound mindfulness/awareness meditation technique, suitable for beginning meditators.

The last few months have been an upsetting time, whether we were directly affected by current events, or not. This workshop is designed to help us slow down and let go of some of the anxiety or stress we may have felt; to help us become accepting and grateful for what we have; and through the act of peaceful, mindful knitting, look beyond our own lives, towards others.

Our project will be making afghan squares using a variety of stitch patterns; some of these will be assembled into a blanket to be donated to a local shelter. Please bring a great variety of leftover yarns and needles! Each participant will receive a specially prepared booklet of patterns and instructions to use and take home.

Light yoga and various sensory appreciation exercises will be offered, plus ample periods of knitting time.

$200 Commuter Rate (includes program, lunches on Sat & Sun, dinner on Sat)
$250 Lodging Rate (includes above, Fri & Sat lodging and night lodging and breakfasts)

Click Here to Register

Sky Lake is just 2 hours north of Manhattan in the Mid-Hudson River Valley
and easily accessible by regional bus.

Sky Lake, 22 Hillcrest Lane, Rosendale, NY 12474, 845 658-8556

Friday, December 26, 2008

happy holidays

Yesterday, as we were going over the river and through the woods by New York State thruway, to Syracuse, I kept pondering what I might say to you here, about this holiday. I sat in the back seat with Crafty Girl, Tall Son was driving, DH co-piloted. I was knitting (a gift that still needed to be finished on the way). We were hollering chistmas songs and carols, from "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" to "Frosty the Snowman" to "Jingle Bells Rock" and "So this is Christmas". (Dear Husband had made this crazy compilation CD.)

I took pictures all day, of snowy roads and my sister-in-law's cozy home. All of us together. None of which I will post right now, except for the one above, because I am getting this feeling that none of them really captured what the day felt like...especially since there was so much sincere gratefulness. It was apparent when some jaws dropped over an unexpected gift; it was obvious when the kids, who are growing up so fast, reached over with open arms and gave hugs of thanks. Food was abundant, as were the cookies.

Kids, grandparents, good food, christmas distilled. I could say it was one of those really good ones, that I want to remember for a long time, and I will. But there is something else I am trying to get at. It wasn't just that we managed to get the right gifts. This past year, we had all gotten together more often than usual, and had celebrated other milestones. My parents had been here (let's not talk about my homesickness at this point); we had a graduation and then a son sent to college; my niece turned 16 right after she got her appendix out - she is well; and a fine young lady. My other sister-in-law lived through a hurricane that blew through Houston. My mother-in-law also had had a little surgery to take care of some things, and she is fine. All this passed and we were there for each other, calling and making sure; getting together when possible. Getting together for this holiday was a coming together and an appreciation of each other.

Maybe it's always been like that, and I am just now waking up to it. Hopefully you had somewhere to be, or you had folks over to your house, and you got that hug, and someone looking at you with sparkle in their eye and saying "Thank you!!"
To all of my family and relatives in Europe, I miss you terribly and I do wish I could be in two places at once.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snow storm - take (2)

The second snowstorm in three days hit today, and I'd say we have about 16 to 18 inches now.

Here's Crafty Girl and a friend having loads of fun in the white stuff. They were out there for hours and hours.

We're supposed to get arctic cold and strong winds tomorrow, and I expect this dainty pattern on my rose trellis to be gone:

I always leave the dried sedum in the fall, because I look forward to the little snow hoods in the winter:

Our neighbors' bushes have snow blankets on.

We're all home safe and sound. Tall Son is off visiting with friends, of course.
We baked another batch of cookies today and I knitted a few rounds on a sock. I can't show you most of my knitting until after Christmas, though. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

instant winter

Just dropping in to say that we got instant winter yesterday, 10 inches in as many hours, measured in our back yard. It wasn't blowing or drifting snow, just the nice white fluffy stuff, coming down constantly and heavily.

Between the baking, picking up the house and cleaning and a girl's soccer game (indoor!) thrown in, no time for pictures. And just a little bit of knitting.

They're saying more snow tomorrow, which is good, it gave Dear Husband the day today to go retrieve Tall Son from college 220 miles away. I'll be glad when they walk in the door tonight, then it can snow all it wants. We're on Christmas break!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I am posting today because I truly need you to help me understand something.

Do you remember this felted bag I made in September?

I brought it to this past weekend's craft fair, thinking that someone might like it and buy it. In the end, it didn't sell, which did not break my heart. But I also didn't want to take it back home, so I decided to give it to my craft fair neighbors. (Earlier in the day, I had also given away some kid's hats and a little girl's scarf to another fellow crafter who has two children. Everyone there was happy.)

So I'm walking to the next table, holding up the bag, and asking the young couple if they'd like a free felted bag. They took a look and told me, "No thank you, we're vegans." They had been selling vegan wallets made from recycled feed bags and part of their proceeds were going to an animal rescue place. I proceeded to tell them that no sheep or alpaca had died in the making of this bag, indeed all the animals simply get a haircut once or twice a year and then they are on their merry way.

The vegans said, "Yeah, but they die eventually." I suppose they meant that they will not support anyone who will use animals for human gain. They eyed the bag and me with a mixture of revulsion and an 'I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole' kind of look.

I guess in all the years of sort of knowing about veganism, it never occurred to me that it is possible to turn down human kindness over the supposed suffering of a sheep. If you can't be humane and kind to your craftfair neighbors, how can you be humane and kind towards animals? I realized later that almost everyone at the fair had stopped by my table and commented positively about the yarn and the knitted items. My vegan neighbors had barely said hello.

I was a bit stunned -- and trust me I work with vegans, I am familiar with the philosophy of it all. I am not naive, nor ignorant. Heck, I'm a vegetarian. But I was stunned nonetheless. I managed to turn around and ask another crafter if she would have any use for the bag; and she said, with a smile, that she would not but today was her mother's birthday and if it was OK...? I said, "Yes, of course! And Happy Birthday to her!"

So it was all good in the end.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ice storm

tree in our back yard on 12/12/08
We had a major storm coming through yesterday and overnight, resulting in a snow day for the kids (and hubby, as he is a teacher).

Ice storms are a little eerie to me. First, it rains and rains for hours, and wherever the rain falls, it forms ice. Every surface, stair, car, sidewalk, tree, grass blade is covered in ice. It is eerily quiet during all this. The trees' branches are bowing lower and lower under the weight of the ice.

Then the rain stops, and the wind starts.

The ice is starting to snap off of the power and telephone lines, unless they have already come down...there is a line down on our street right now, and a police car has blocked access to the street from one side. Wind and icemelt are working together in loosening the built up ice, and every once in a while we hear chunks of it falling off the roof or a tree. I am hoping that the old crabapple tree in the back yard will live through this one, too.

We are very lucky in our neighborhood because we haven't lost power. I am staying in today to re-organize my yarn and finished projects for this weekend's craft fairs. And knitting until my hands fall off.

I hope you are warm and safe wherever you are!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Short Time Out

Jackie asked where the yarn will be for sale.
I had it at the events I posted before the last time, and will have it again this weeked at the Winter WonderLARK event in downtown Albany, at the Trinity Church at 235 Lark Street.

We had a wonderful time at the Farmer's Market, and also at the Victorian Stroll, both in Troy. I saw many friendly faces and the community of crafters is something I am very proud to be a part of.

However, I have been sideswiped by the most ridiculous headcold I've had in years, and most of the time in Troy was spent in a fog. Sitting upright was quite an accomplishment. Today, I am still achy all over and definitely staying home from work.

I refer you to my friend Leah's blog for a further report on the events.

Please forgive me while I am taking a time-out for a few days, and I hope to see you on Saturday or Sunday at the fair! Lark Street, December 13th, noon to 5 pm. I still have plenty enough yarn for everyone. :)

PS: Thank you Dear Husband and Crafty Girl for your help and support!

Friday, December 5, 2008

dinner is served!

Yarn. It's what's for dinner.

Would you like some mixed greens with that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

give handmade!

I must tell you, I am mighty sick of the statistics. Numbers that track our every move to what store and how much money we spend this holiday season. The burden is laid upon the consumer to put the economy back on track, and I for one am sick and tired of having numbers thrown at me. Evidently we must go to the nearest (or farthest!) department store at 4 am on Black Friday and shop, only to continue shopping on Cyber Monday.
I finally saw the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" for the first time the other night. That movie was made in 1947, and Kris Kringle laments the commercialization of Christmas...so what we are dealing with here goes way back, of course, and I am not going to be able to change it -- by much.
This year, I asked my family and relatives early on what they would like for Christmas, and warned them: if they don't tell me exactly what they want, they will have to put up with my handknits. Guess what happened. They requested handknit socks.
Little do they know that this is not a burden to me, on the contrary, I rejoiced. You mean I get to spend the entire gift giving season doing what I like best?? Seems the gift was given to me, instead. You mean I don't have to run around, go to the mall and try to find a parking spot, only to have to stand in line, while I am being bombarded with holiday music from a thousand loudspeakers? While I have to watch little children being dragged around, getting crankier all the time, and hassled parents are trying to figure out how many gifts they can afford...
I always try to make at least a few handmade gifts, but this year I re-doubled my efforts. I took the handmade pledge (see button in sidebar; click on it and you, too, can participate!).
To help spread the handmade idea, a local arts organization put together 4 craft fairs in conjunction with existing traditional events here in the NYS capital region, and I will be participating. I do realize that it involves a retail situation and crafters trying to sell things, but I like to see it as an expansion of what we do in our homes all the time: make things by hand in a thoughtful and skilled way. Crafters at the venues will have such an enormous impact...the sheer number of us showing that it's OK to know how to make things ourselves, and give the consumer the opportunity to purchase something handmade from a real person rather than run to a soul-less store and buy items that were made in some far away country, by underpaid workers (oh the irony of the "Christmas Tree Shop").
If you are local, please consider coming to one of the four opportunities:
Saturday, December 6th :
Uncle Sam Atrium (upstairs from the Troy Indoor Farmer's Market)
Broadway at 3rd & 4th Street, Troy NY
Event Time:10am-4pm

Sunday, December 7th:
this is during the Victorian Stroll!
21 First Street, Troy NY
Event Time:11am-5pm

Saturday, December 13th:
during Winter WonderLARK!
Trinity Church
235 Lark Street, Albany NY
Event Time: 12pm-5pm

Sunday, December 14th:
Trinity Church
235 Lark Street, Albany NY
Event Time: 12pm-5pm

I will be selling my handdyed yarn, handdyed silk scarves, and a variety of warm winter knits for those folks who like to buy ready made. I even think that the handdyed yarn would make a nice gift for any knitter. :)
Hope to see you then, and please don't hesitate to spread the word to everyone you know.
We thank you for your support!
PS: I have just tried about 7 times to put actual paragraphs into this post, but blogger isn't letting me do it. My apologies for a crunched together post. If it works now, it'll be the miracle on Harris Ave in Albany.