21 November 2007

lost and found

I was cleaning up and filing the pile of papers one tends to accumulate on the corner of the desk over time...you know: newspaper clippings of recipes, reviews of a books, comics relevant to your life...when I came across this comic from July.

I thought of the upcoming holiday season, how we all have grandiose plans after the first of the year to knit (or sew or craft) that special something for that special someone for the next holiday season--after all, there are months to plan, purchase, and create. We don't start right away. It's too soon following the holidays. It seems silly to think of the next season so soon.

Then it happens. Life. Spring is full of activity cleaning up the yard, planting, going for those much-needed family walks and bike rides to "blow out the cobwebs", field trips to museums and the beach, and (for me) wrapping up the end of the school year as spring passes to the much-needed summer. All of a sudden, it's half way through June. We concede it's time to plan and possibly purchase the products for the "special something", but how can we create when the sun and water are beckoning? The aroma of sunscreen hints at better times outside with mint iced tea, sidewalk chalk art, weed "flower" collecting, and snacks of fresh-picked vegetables. Summer ends much too soon. School and lessons begin afresh for the new "year." The warmth of summer draws to a close. We prolong those last few warm weeks with dining alfresco on the patio, watching the last of the garden and flowers work their magic. Finally the leaves begin to change color and texture, falling and blanketing the ground. The air has a crispness in the early morning. Seemingly overnight, the sun's hours have been cut, and with it so has the time to leisurely work on the "something special". As with the change of the seasons, so changes our ambitions of accomplishing the many projects for the holiday giving. They don't all get completed. Maybe it's time to stop and call to mind why that "something special" was on your list.

Please remember it's the time together, not the gifts, that create memories of joy and love. A year from now, five years from now, what will be remembered dearly are the storytelling, the board game playing, the time spent in common gathered around the table or on the floor.

20 November 2007

mama and papa love you

Loving, warm memories:

  • It was raining the day you were born...you have always loved water.
  • Shelves of rocks...amassed throughout your life...collected from river beds, hikes (usually at the beginning), ocean beaches, blasting sites, classes.
  • An everlasting passion for books and reading.
  • A singer, an actress, and an athlete.
  • Zest for life, appetite for adventure.
  • Steadfast and true...in friendships, in beliefs, in focus.
Happy birthday, my daughter!

16 November 2007


As the bustling days of the upcoming holidays are fast approaching, I am reminded to stop and breathe. There are unexpected and remarkable moments each day to be celebrated. Embrace them.

15 November 2007

rush of caffeine and fiber

With new coffees to try and several fiber choices to knit from, I am ready to begin a new project or two (after the holidays). My package from Steph arrived (ok, a few days ago...but I've been a bit busy), and I am truly pleased.

Contents included:

  1. Interweave Knit's "Holiday Gifts" magazine, which I had been brooding about but hadn't been able to find.

  2. Handmade ladybug stitch markers that fit up to a US 10 needle. Surely I won't loose these.

  3. Coffee: Peruvian Fair Trade Organic (love fair trade coffees) and "Flying Monkey". I can't wait to try these. Steph says the Flying Monkey is Guatemalan with a hint of "mystery". These coffees are from a local roaster in PA who carries coffee originating from Bali, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda,...too many other countries to list them all.

  4. Fiber:
  • Louet Euroflax Aberdeen Heather linen yarn--chunky weight, "milkweed" (silver/grey) colorway.

  • Jaeger baby merino--DK weight, "charcoal grey" and "pearl" colorways.

  • 60 yards of her own (yes, you read that correct) hand spun yarn with bits of pink recycled silk.

As I sat gushing over the contents of the box, the cats were enjoying the box itself.

08 November 2007

par le siège de mon pantalon

The French are known for many wonderful things. Cheeses that caress one's taste buds. Seductive, full-body wines {there are 27 wine regions in France} that cleanse the palate and pair nicely with a group of friends. Designers who push the limits of fashion.

Let's talk about fashion: more specifically, about sewing patterns written in France. I've been sewing since I was twelve. Serious sewing: reading patterns, using a sewing machine, making my own patterns. I know my way around fabric shops. I know the language. I am well within my comfort zone. I am a native. I can sew "par le siège de mon pantalon" (by the seat of my pants).

Patterns are great. They are, for me, a jumping-off point, much like recipes are: a good structure, but meant to be tweaked as needed. I am blessed with the ability to take something that's an idea, a sketch, and be able to visualize it in three dimensions.

I knew I wanted to make a project bag but didn't want to stay with my "standard" design. I looked through the various pattern books at a local fabric store, finding nothing inspiring. Then I looked in a "specialty" fabric shop, where I found a pattern I loved. A French pattern. No, I don't speak or read French. It didn't stop me. There were translated instructions in English and Spanish. I must admit, I didn't pause in purchasing the pattern...it was only a bag, after all.

With the material spread out and correct pieces (2 and 3--4, it turns out was not needed unless one wanted to do embroidery work) ready to pin and cut, I sat down to glance at the directions--you know, just to see if I was on the right track. After half an hour of reading and re-reading the vague instructions, of studying the incomplete diagrams of how the pieces were to fit together, I started highlighting the needed steps. It turned out the first few steps were generic for all the bags, then I needed to skip down several steps to where my bag's instructions began. I brushed off the poorly written directions, and decided I would just look at the diagrams and "fly by the seat of my pants" through the creative process. A person with lesser experience would have given up. No, not me. I made adjustments, ripped out stitches, created new pieces, ripped out stitches, and forged forward (well, maybe a few more ripping of stitches here and there, along the way).

Following an afternoon of steaming my fingers with the iron and adjusting (re-writing) the pattern, I present to you a bag for knitting projects.

**This post was originally dated for October 26, but I didn't actually post it until now so that my HSKS partner would not see the bag until she received her package from me.