Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Novel!

The morning of October 25, 2009 dawned like just about any other Sunday morning. There was the usual groggy stumbling for the tea kettle, the quality time with Prayer Book and Bible, the rousting sleepy family members out of bed to get ready for church. Something was different that morning, though. That something was a thought. It started with "I wonder..." and ended with my signing up for NaNoWriMo and writing the first draft of a novel during the month of November. The stuff in between included some Dorothy Sayers mystery-inspired plotting, a lot of caffeine, and sore arms from typing so long at the computer. My family was amazingly supportive, most likely owing to the assurance that it was to be a short absence, this time of my body being in the room and my mind being in a little town somewhere where murder was being planned and a blackmailer was on the loose.

It was an astounding time for me. I learned that I could do it. I could take an idea and turn it into a story, with characters and dialog and some decidedly uneven prose. As I told Shannon, I emerged from November and my NaNoWriMo experience a different person--one who jots down scraps of conversations, interesting names and bizarre story ideas (and isn't afraid to use them).

Muchos thanks (in random order) to Jennessa, Shannon, Jani, daHubby, SuperCraftyDancerGirl, JuniorBravesFanatic, my writing buddies on NaNo, my local NaNo group, to Chris Baty for starting NaNoWriMo in the first place, and to all the people over the years who have encouraged me to keep writing, even when I didn't think I could do it (Leslie and Papa, especially!).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bath mat, or Bloggable Knitting


Recently finished, this bathmat is a cross between two patterns from the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book, kind of Absorba meets Tailgate. I knit it with two strands of Peaches & Creme (of course!) double-worsted held together--what a hand killer! But I love the squishiness of it and the fact that, well, I made it myself.


So have you heard about SwagBucks? Like many things I hear about via the internet, I approached SwagBucks with more than just a healthy dose of skepticism. As in, yeah right you can get free stuff just for using for your search engine. Sure, sure.

Well, I'm hear to tell ya, here's one thing you hear about on the internet that really is true.

If you don't believe me (and why should you, this is the internet after all), try it for yourself. Here's a handy link to get you started. Get 3 SwagBucks just for registering. Then use like you would any other search engine and rack up the free SwagBucks, which can be redeemed for prizes, including, but not limited to, gift cards, airline miles and comic books. Truly!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When was the last time you fell in love....

....with a pen? I had to get the kids their very own Sharpie pens because I don't want to share!


Seriously, I want to replace all my gel pens for this guy in many colors. It writes like a dream and inspires endless doodling. Love it!

Tropical jungle vacation photo? No, just some flowers in my backyard. Pretty, aren't they?


And some is SuperCraftyDancerGirl's Christmas present (from 2008!). Finally finished in time for blazing hot summer...


It's the Lace Sampler Throw from "Cast On" magazine (Ravelry link). It was fun to do and helped me realize that I need to do lace in bite-sized pieces, lest I lose my sanity. The most important thing is that SHE likes it and she also forgives the length of time it took to knit. Heirlooms don't just happen, after all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Well, ladies and gentleman, spring has sprung around here. And if you don't believe me, just look at my back porch:


Pretty new i-cord coasters! I had my doubts about my sewing up abilities, since the last time I tried to sew a length of i-cord into a flat circle, it wasn't well, flat. But I persevered and I'm happy with the results. They perfectly tie in the lime green chair cushions with the yellow and white throw rugs (not shown).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Very Own LOLcat


"Someone call UPS--I'm mailing myself to a tuna boat to get some lunch."
"Oh, so that's where kittens come from!"
"Yep, Amazon really does sell everything!"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twice as fast? Time will tell.

I just completed my first pair of socks from 2-at-a-Time Socks. Was it faster? I think so. Once I had figured out how to wrestle the 40" circular needle and keep the two balls of sock yarn untangled, I was able to get a knitting rhythm going that seemed to work. Finishing both socks at once is always good, too. While I know that knitting should be more about the process than about the finished product, I would really like to be able to crank out some pairs of socks. A goal for which knitting two at a time is a must. I felt like this was a more reliably portable method as well, since it was much easier to carry around one needle than 4--no worries about pulling out the knitting and have a needle fall out of the stitches, necessitating the picking up of tiny sock yarn stitches. Ugh.

After knitting 6 pairs of socks, I think I'm finally ready to deal with the subject of "negative ease". These socks are "The Classic Socks" from the book and following the pattern I came up with a larger sock than I would have preferred. No, I didn't swatch, so it probably serves me right, but these are just socks and I've done it before without a swatch. The discussion on Ravelry about sock patterns from this book pointed out that knitting with the magic loop method does give a different gauge than knitting with dpn's. Naturally, I didn't discover this until I was almost finished with the socks! While I am tempted to rip them out and start over with fewer stitches cast on, I don't think that's going to be possible. DaHubby strictly forbids frogging in his presence and now that they are off the needles, he won't let them out of his sight.
A disclaimer about the book, though. There are many and sundry errata which caused me to have to choose sides in a battle of loyalties. There are few people more loyal to the library and its collection than yours truly, such that I would never contemplate writing in a library book. And as they say---never say never. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I returned my copy to circulation without saving some future fellow knitter from the anguish of trying to turn the heel on sock B before sock A.

Finally, a public THANK YOU to Kaffe Fassett for contributing his genius to Regia sock yarn. I only wish I'd bought more of it when I found it. Beautiful stuff!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Renoir!

Happy Birthday to Pierre-Auguste Renoir, aka my favorite Impressionist painter, born on this day in 1841.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some recent knitting, vol. 2: A Tale of Two (Pairs of) Socks

Socks for DaHubby...Happy Feet by Plymouth Yarns...Basic Sock Pattern by Brooks Jones (Ravelry link).

Socks for me...Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett yarn...same pattern as above.

This is the first pair of socks (with a heel) that I've made for myself, and I gotta tell ya, there's something about wearing handknit socks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some recent knitting, vol. 1: A Tale of Two Scarves

This one I made for me...Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends...pattern courtesy of Crazy Aunt Purl...pom-poms courtesy of the cool pom-pom maker Santa put in my Christmas stocking. Photo courtesy of SuperCraftyDancerGirl who braved wind gusts of 40mph to go out and take pix of, well, knitting.

And this is the second in a series I'm making for my m-i-l from some Vanna's Choice yarn that she bought for just such an occasion. The pattern here is by Tina Yint, who describes herself as a compulsive knitter, among other things. NOT that I'd know what THAT is like!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Albert Schweitzer

Today's quote comes to us from Albert Schweitzer, born on this day in 1875. His list of accomplishments reads like someone made a typo and combined the lives of two men into one. He was a pastor, missionary, writer, surgeon, musician, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. I know I've left out much but suffice it to say he achieved much and was even mentioned in a Peanuts cartoon!

He said:
~~"A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day."

~~"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

~~"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."

Friday, January 09, 2009

Alternative Programming

I've been thinking lately about the guilt I sometimes feel whenever I start assuming that certain aspects of my life are being lived wrong. I don't think this is a case of my conscience doing its job to save me from a life of degradation and squalor, rather it's the "Not Good Enough" program that I've heard from childhood, now in syndicated re-runs in my brain. Most days it's what keeps me from being truly joyful and at peace, and it's been playing a marathon the last few days.

It starts out with the "if only" introduction: If only I were, consistent, holy, loving, pretty, well-dressed, organized, erudite, well-read, cheerful, outgoing, involved in outside activities, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound...then I'd be Good Enough. Or, if only I were less....stubborn, unforgiving, moody, solitary, inclined to prefer chocolate over other food, lazy, a homebody, opinionated, flippant, a teller of bad jokes, afraid of intarsia knitting...then I'd be Good Enough.

Then it kicks into a detailed account of one of the above "if only's" and makes a convincing case for any shred of truth it can find in its chosen topic.

So I've been thinking about all this and wondering how to preempt that programming with something a little more realistic and affirming. Something like the "Reality Check" show. Today it might go something like this:

"Not Good Enough" the longest-running program in this or any brain, brings you "You Need to Get Out More". Today we'll discuss the fact that you haven't really been anywhere of substance and you rarely do and when WAS the last time you had friends over or went to see friends, or do you have any friends left anyway????

It's "Reality Check" Time:

It's the first full week of January and we've just had 6 weeks of holiday activities, gatherings, and an out-of-town trip. On top of that, your daughter has a nasty cold and shouldn't be out and about breathing on people or taxing her strength. PLUS, you have plans to do multiple field trips with the kids and your friends and their kids for the rest of the month, as soon as your daughter is feeling better. So relax and pick up that knitting and remember, God loves you, just the way you are!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A New Year

Musings about 2009, or what I'm doing instead of taking down the Christmas tree.

**OK, has anyone else realized that next year is 2010?? And doesn't that sound freaky?
**I could try again to get my stash organized, that being a fairly common Knitter's New Year's Resolution. I just read an interesting article that sounds like what FlyLady would do with her stash if she were a knitter. It intrigues me to the point that I can actually see myself parting with yarn that doesn't make me happy--if only to be better able to get to the yarn that does.
**Something I definitely want to try in the New Year: knitting two socks at once on one circular needle. I've just returned from the library with "2-at-a-Time Socks" and I'm all for getting two socks done at once. My previous method of having 2 sets of dpns going does work, but only if I have 2 sets of the size I need--which makes for a lot of needles. And while the needles and knitting accessories DID manage to get organized in 2008, I think I'm allergic to buying twice as many dpns.
**My apologies to my friends in the frozen North, but it's just been plain hot here! I never thought I'd say this, but the temperatures in Charleston have made me think there might be something to "global warming" after all. I mean, really, does 77 degrees sound like an appropriate January temperature to you? Ugh. Perhaps I could resolve to complain less about the weather...
**All in all, I'm not big on resolutions--I don't really need more reasons to feel guilty a year from now. But if I had to make some general goals for 2009, they would sound something like this:
Pray more, gripe less. Learn some new knitting techniques. Be more thankful for the people in my life. Be a better blogger. Seek peace and pursue it.

Happy New Year, Everyone!