25 January 2010

Decorating 101

As I spent a few minutes this morning clearing off the mounds of paper and books from my desk (really just an old, long table) in my studio I took a good look around. It's a nice room. Actually it's the biggest bedroom in the house. Because it's located downstairs without a connected bathroom, no one minded when I claimed it as mine, mine, all mine. A tray ceiling, storage cubes like those in yarn shops, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase that offers no more space for knitting books so now they're piling up on the floor, and a view of the birds outside in the snow, snow, snow. Beautiful, except...those squares of cork that are supposed to stick to the wall with double-sided sticky tape are not living up to expectations. The tape does not stick and the cork is so thin that a thumbtack (push-pin to you Pittsburghers) pokes right through and into the wall. Quick trip to Target and wow, great, new, black-framed cork board. Just hang it and voila!

No attached hanger-thingies. That should have been my first warning of impending doom. The kind manufacturers did think of adding little hanger-thingies with matching mini-screws. I can do this. Carry the shiny new cork board to the workroom and situate it gently on the workbench. Find appropriately small Phillips head screwdriver. Ah, look - the kind manufacturers have even pre-drilled little holes for me. Easy-peasy.

Half way through turning the screws, they stop. Done. Not going any more. Okey-dokey...power tools. I spot Dave's battery operated drill/screw driver. (It's wonderful that's he's so organized.) Zrrrr! - and the battery's charged! Oh, and here are the drill bits, etc. in their locking, size-arranged plastic container. Life is good. Problem solved. I insert the screwdriver tip and tighten that ring-thing around it. I am woman! Set screwdriver bit to screw. Push down. Pull trigger. Zrrrr! Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Nope. Zero. The drill bit spins, but the little itty-bitty, almost-microscopic screw holds fast and doesn't budge. Rats!

At this point I should "Step away from the power tool, Ma'am." But, no, not me. This moment is followed by a quick progression (or maybe, regression) of going back to the hand screwdriver with bouts of power screwdriver, hammering (Jesse, the dog runs from room at this point), swearing, pouting,and finally concluding that it really won't matter that much if the screws aren't completely flush with the cork board.

Now off to measure the wall. The afore-mentioned screws hold little hook-things that will be held by nails to the wall. They appear to be even (-ish) so we'll just measure the distance between the hook-things. "33 inches and the middle of that 5." That 5, it appears, refers to 85 centimeters. This will work. With pencil, mark on wall the beginning and end of length "0 to 33 and the middle of that 5." It needs to be level? No prob. I just downloaded this cool handy level App on my phone.

So, wait a minute...isn't this suppposed to be a blog about knitting? Didn't someone hear me swear that I wasn't going to natter on about my life? Well, of course. This has oodles to do with knitting. Take, for instance s-w-a-t-c-h-i-n-g. I know. Most people want to gag at the mention of that word. But, thank goodness, I learned to do this swatching step, and to do it well. No guessing. No thinking that it will probably work. It has to be accurate or my sleeves will hang down to the floor. And what about lengthening or shortening a sweater? 16 inches plus most-of-my-hand length will get me an ill-fitting sweater.

As my favorite Norm says, "Measure twice, cut once."

I think I'll have Dave finish hanging my cork board.

22 January 2010

New Mexico and a Sundae

I'm back from a long weekend in Taos, New Mexico, where I enjoyed great food, great shopping, and fabulous friends. One of the highlights was going to Taos Clay where owner Logan Wannamaker, Max, and Alex led us through glazing pottery, and then (yikes) throwing our own clay. They were knowledgable, friendly, and most of all very patient!

Stephanie, Shelley, Eve, Alisa, Debbie, me (with our pottery, and various wine glasses)

Max and Alex - Thanks guys!

Then on to yarn...after all, we all met at Shelley and Eve's yarn shop just north of Houston, Twisted Yarns.

In Taos we bought yarn from New Mexico at The Yarn Shop. We then walked around the corner (it's so easy to get around Taos) to drool over the yarns and colors at La Lana Wools. A few years ago I picked out two of their Forever Random Fines to make the Dream Pillow, by Wendy Siera, for their One Skein Wonder kits.

My example

We then completed helping the local economy with a stop at Weaving Southwest, where I hear there is a weekly Knit Night. I wish I could have been there to sit and knit. The atmosphere in Taos is so relaxed. Any of your worries just fade into the starry nights.

Our one-day trip down to Santa Fe resulted in Native jewelry purchases and a "fiber feeding frenzy" (tri-F) at Tutto. They carry Isager (ea'-say-er) yarns and tempted me beyond all reason with this lace-weight alpaca:

Okay, you've been patient...here's our ultra-simple recipe for...

Friends-in-Taos Sundae

Start with ice cream in a bowl (flavor and size of bowl is your choice), and cover with hot fudge from The Shed in Santa Fe. Next top with crumbled oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies (thanks Stephanie), and finally top with a healthy dose of Baileys (original flavor), and dig in.

Serving size: 1 oz to 1/2 gallon

Calories - Get serious

12 January 2010


...not out loud, or you'll scare the kids and the neighbors will talk.
Bark is the name of of a free scarf pattern that has just been added to Ravelry under Nonsuch Knits.

The yarn I used is a lovely 60/40 alpaca/wool blend that is spun by DeSoto Bend Alpacas by a friend and her husband. I managed to grab 2 skeins (200 yards each) at a recent guild meeting. I opted for a very simple 2x2 pattern that produces great texture along with subtle vertical lines.

07 January 2010

That moment...

There's a special moment in knitting - when the pattern has been followed and has been set aside, all the tails have been woven in, and the object is just a little bit damp still from blocking - when you can drape the object on the back of your knitting chair and say, "There! It's finished!" I also love the moment when, after getting back to real life, you walk back into that room, maybe with an armful of laundry, and see that object as if for the first time. There's a slight intake of breath and a faint smile on your lips. Years have conditioned you not to go running through the house, waving your arms in the air (memories of Home Alone - "I made my family disappear!"), and generally making a fool of yourself.

Actually, maybe an occasional outburst wouldn't be such a bad idea. Just make sure that the dog has been put in another room, and the UPS man isn't standing at your door.

So, I felt a little like that when this was first displayed on my knitting chair. It's called Eighteen and will soon be available on Ravelry with the other Nonsuch Knits patterns.

04 January 2010

Summer Dreams

After a few weeks of this prairie winter, my mind is beginning to wander towards designing flowing summer skirts and cute little sleeveless tops. Maybe this is why clothing designers show next seasons fashions on the runways...too tired of the weather at hand.