Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reveal: Serenity Bag

I may not have gotten my knitting act together for Sunday but I did get my new Sunday knitting bag done in time.   To recap, I found this tote bag at Marshall's last week for $5 with the intention of embroidering over the word Serenity.   After agonizing over what color thread to use, I got started.

Once I got going, though, I decided that rather than using one color, I would stitch them each in a different color.   I am so, so happy with the way it turned out.   The last Serenity was stitched late Friday night after which I stayed up long enough to move my church stuff (knitting, a note pad, and a file folder for each of the committees or focus groups that I am involved with).   It all fit beautifully (including my netbook).

It really is a little project but one with which I am very pleased.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Reveal: Simple Comforts Wrap

Yes, it is true.   My Simple Comforts Wrap is finished and the final pattern is available (at no cost) on Ravelry.   The actual knitting was done more than a week ago.  It has taken me this long to wash, block, and photograph it.   That bought of bronchitis I wrote about earlier, still has me dragging.   So even though the shawl is finally done, I did not get it to the intended recipient today as planned.    I am hoping to get better photos (hopefully at the beach), and I need to make a card, and buy a gift bag.   Next Sunday, for sure.

New on my needles is a Grande Citron  shawl made with some a lovely purple Filatura Di Crosa Centolavaggi  lace wt. merino yarn.   I already have the Citron that was in Knitty a few years ago and love it.   This is the same pattern just bigger and more detailed.   So far, I have found the extra detail to be confusing but I really do like having the increase row stitch counts for the extra repeats.   I will see about photos when I have gotten a bit further into it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Serenity Granted

While running an errand up at Jax Beach this morning I took the opportunity to stop in at my favorite Marshall's (this one just seems to get nicer stuff than some of the others and there is a Home Goods right next door).   While roaming about, looking for a pretty cosmetic case to help organize my knitting bag, I came across this jute tote.   I love all of these beautiful, positive words, but, for obvious reasons, am especially taken with "Serenity".

Once home with my treasure, T1 (who has a very good eye for color) helped me pick a contrasting but serene color so that I can embroider my word.   I am already planning to move my "church" knitting into this bag.   It seems like a perfect fit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Design: Yarn & Roses

The design process continues.   As you can see, the Sea Silk (Glacier) has arrived (ordered from here).  The color is not what I thought it was when I ordered it, it is even better.   Now that I have the yarn in hand, I am sure that I want to create an infinity scarf.  Since the purported calming effects of seaweed are what attracted me to this yarn in the first place, I am drawn to the idea of being able to wrap it around myself (like a seaweed wrap but sans the mess).

My search for the perfect stitch will likely begin with Principles of Knitting (in large part because I have the digital version on all of my devices), if nothing calls to me there, I will move on to Barbara Walker's Treasuries of Knitting Patterns, the Vogue Stitchionary, and finally the Harmony Guides.   I am looking for something that looks more complicated than it is (I am all about serene knitting), and is either reversible or just as attractive on one side as the other.   I will almost certainly focus my search on lace patterns.   However, the red old shale scarf shown here, while awesome straight from blocking, gets long and skinny very quickly. I may have to consider a stitch pattern with a little more structure in the hopes that it will hold it's shape better.

P.S.  I freely admit that Valentine's Day is a made-up "Hallmark" holiday, but that does not mean that I don't want to play.   The roses were a Valentine's Day gift from Hubby.  He is a keeper.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I told myself I wouldn't, but then I did....

I told myself I would not knit/crochet the requested throw for our caring committee.    Before I got involved in this Comfort Shawl group, I kept one prayer/comfort shawl on the needles at a time.   I only worked on it at church, and the movies.   Once finished, washed, blocked, and donated, I would start another to continue the process.   Lately, however, I feel like the knitting for this group is taking up a lot more of my time than I have to give.

I have a pattern waiting for edits, one finished and waiting photos, and another one swirling around in my brain.   If I am going to make a business of my designs than I have to behave as though it is a business (At least, that is what I tell myself).   With that in mind, when asked if we could produce a throw, I said that I would ask around (I did not immediately say "Sure, I will get right on that").   I did find a volunteer.  Another blogger's color sense provided a stripe sequence.  A combination of shopping and stash diving produced the yarn (read more about all of that here).   I even put it all in a pretty basket.  That is about when I found out that I had misunderstood my volunteer.   She would rather sew the blanket.   Then, her life went crazy (as does happen), and I have not had the heart to remind her that she owes me a blanket.  Poop!

You can probably guess what happened next.   Last night, while watching Downton Abby (Did you see it?  Holy Moly!  Who saw that coming?), I started a giant granny square blanket.    Hopefully, it will go fast.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Knitters are an odd lot

Well, we survived the deposition.   T1's that is.   We got so lost in downtown Jax (Dear heaven, can I go back to NYC now?) that we were too late to observe the plaintiff's.   Then it turned out that the address in the letter was wrong.    The really frustrating piece is that the correct location is in one of the few places in town that we know how to get to (grrr).   So, the deposition is over and, according to our attorney, T1 did very well (I knew he would).    Next up is mediation, scheduled for May.   The saga continues.

Last night, firmly entrenched in freak out mode, I did what any self-respecting knitter would do.   I obsessed over focused on what knitting to bring.   While Mr.Google had much to say on the related topics of "What should I wear to my deposition?" (business casual), and "What should I say at my deposition?" (The absolute truth without elaboration), nothing came up when asked "What should I knit at my son's deposition?" (go figure).   With no guidance, and me stressing to the max, I had to make this important decision all on my own.

Should I bring the ever-nearing completion Simple Comforts Wrap?   No, not only would it require a tote bag sized handbag, but with only five inches left to go, I would likely end up, at some point, with nothing to knit (horrors!).   The fingering weight Simple Joys Shawl?   No, it would require a book on tape (or TV, or a movie, or conversation) to keep me engaged and Mr. Google suggests not bringing electronics or chatting anyone up.   Finally I decided on a three-fold strategy of socks, needlepoint and (gasp!) a "real" book.  

In the end, I had very little time on my own.   I worked on Hubby's sock at lunch and my needlepoint while T1 was being deposed.   I never even took the book out of my bag (which means I carried around the heaviest thing in my bag, all day, for nothing.).   I really do love my Kindle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Scales of Justice

A happier day :-)

I interrupt this blog to bring you the latest bit of drama from Chez Serenity.   Long time readers may (or may not) remember that our oldest was in a car accident a couple of years ago.   The circumstances were thus:   he ran a stop sign while leaving an inner city school where (as an English education major) he was supposed to be observing a class.    A compact car driving through the intersection hit him hard enough to drag his full sized 1995 Buick Park Avenue across the intersection and over a couple of street signs.  His car was a total loss.  I don't think we know what the final state of the other driver's.   There is no question that the other driver had to have been speeding when she hit him.  Regardless, she would not have hit him if he had seen had seen, and stopped at, the stop sign.

We were told on that very day, that he could expect to be sued and sued he has been.   The driver and passenger sued.   The driver settled.   The passenger is still plugging away.    She is not even claiming any serious injuries but still she has turned down every offer our insurance carrier has made.   Tomorrow we head into Jax for the depositions.   He is nervous.   I am nervous.    I wish this whole thing would just go away.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ups, Downs, and a Reprieve

Knit Picks CotLin DK:  Surf & Clementine

Chez Serenity has been beset by the plague.  T2 caught a nasty upper respiratory infection and, of course, he shared  (Caring is sharing, my *ss).   If there is an up(ish) side to these days of tissues, tea, & misery, it is that there was just no way we were making it to services this Sunday.   Hence, a reprieve in the rush to have the Simple Comforts Wrap done.   To be honest, I have barely touched it since my last post.   Shocking though it might be, I have been too sick to knit.

As I mentioned in my last post, my mind is definitely moving on to the next things on my needles.  In addition to whatever I am working on for Serenity-Knits, I  am almost always knitting something of someone else's design as well.   For my OP (other people's) knitting I placed an order with KnitPicks and, as always I was thrilled to see the KP box by my door.    In said thrilling box were 12 balls each of KP Simply Cotton Organic sport & worsted yarns (I have no definite plans for these but what are the chances they won't end up as summer shawls someday?) and two colors of KP CotLin destined for a gorgeous shawlette that I recently spotted on Pinterest.

What is it that they say about best laid plans and/or those made in haste?   It seems that I was so excited at the prospect of this new addition to my hand-knitted wardrobe that I did not pin the photo.    I did follow the link and downloaded the pattern (I remember checking the yardage before placing the order), but there are literally hundreds of patterns in my Google Docs and even narrowing down the download by date and color (it was the combination of burnt orange and teal that caught my interest), I am still not quite certain.

I am hoping for more clarity when this cold/flu/sinus fog lifts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Almost, but not quite...

Simple Comforts Wrap
When last we left the Simple Comforts Wrap, it had 23 inches to go.   My plans to take my mother shopping on Monday changed (T1 took her, that awesome child), so I decided to use the found time to finish the wrap.  I knitted while watching The View and an entire afternoon of HGTV (fun stuff).   Certainly that would bring me to the end, or nearly so.   Then again, maybe not.   As you can see, I still have 11 inches to go before I can wash, block, photograph &  present it to the intended recipient on Sunday.  Wish me luck :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Design: The Start of Something Wonderful

Sometimes my design process begins with something I want for myself or someone else.   Unable to find just the right thing, I come up with something on my own.    This time, I am letting myself be inspired by a particular yarn.

So, what do you know about seaweed?  According to my research, it is believed that seaweeds offer a wide range of internal an external health benefits.   Dietary seaweeds can offer all essential minerals the most important of which is iodine.  If dietary seaweed does not excite you, then you may be happy to note that iodine passes readily through the skin and into the body.  Seaweed wraps are said to help with arthritis, eczema, sore muscles, as well as bringing a feeling of peace and tranquility to the wrapee.  Not excited by eating or wrapping?   How about knitting?

I was first introduced to seaweed as a knitting fiber a few years ago when a friend sent me a hank of Handmaidens Yarn Sea Silk.   This luscious yarn (composed of silk and SeaCell, a fiber containing seaweed) called to both my love of odd knitting fibers (remind me to tell you about my crab socks sometime) and my ongoing search for peace and calm.

Theoretically, those knitting and/or wearing a garment with SeaCell in it experience that same feelings of peace and tranquility as the seaweed spa devotee.  Having knit with it, I can tell you that it sure brought me those peaceful feelings.   Was that the seaweed, the knitting, the rich color (sangria), the lovely sheen, the luscious feel, or the good wishes of the friend who sent the gift, I could not tell you.

In any case, I have ordered a single hank in Glacier (the 437yd put-up goes a long way).   Right now I am thinking of a lace (of course) cowl or scarf but reserve the right to go somewhere else with it once I start playing with it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The End is Near(ish)

Simple Comforts Wrap

I was so excited when I laid out the Simple Comforts Wrap out to measure.   I just knew the end was near but it isn't as near as I had hoped.   With 23.5 inches to go, I am just a bit more than 2/3 of the way done.  The lace pattern really is lovely and am happily surprised by the "snuggliness" of the yarn (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton/Vintage Quilt), but it has to be finished, blocked, photographed and ready to give by next Sunday and like the week before vacation, I just want this last bit to be over.      

What will you be knitting during the Super Bowl tonight?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Knitting Soothes ...

My current "Sunday" knitting project is this black triangle shawl.   The fingering weight yarn and the fact that I only work on it one day a week makes it pretty slow going but I am pleased with it all the same.

Last Sunday I arrived at church looking forward to hearing this week's speaker give a talk on "Sustainable Change".    What I was not prepared for, however, was how much our guest speaker resembles the ex-husband.    Now, I have long since learned to manage the trauma of my first marriage (thank heavens for a strong support system and lots of therapy).    The nightmares and panic attacks are, mostly, a thing of the past.   But, for whatever reason, this guy threw me for a loop.   My head and heart started to pound and I could not breath well enough to sing.    I was going to step outside but my legs were shaky.   Then I hit on an idea I read about in Priscilla Warner's "Learning to Breath".    I closed my eyes and focused on the parts to of me that were literally grounded.    I could feel my bottom on my seat and my feet on the ground.  The shaking stopped and the pounding receded    Then, I added my own twist and started knitting with my eyes closed which requires feeling each stitch (usually a cool party trick but now a practical skill).  The pounding stopped completely and I could take slow deep breaths.    I tried opening my eyes but as soon as I looked at that poor man at the podium, the whole thing started again.   In the end, I spent the entire talk with my eyes shut and my hands busy.   It really worked for me.