Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Slip-Stitch Cats Preview


"Enlightenment must come little by little -- otherwise it would overwhelm."
-- Idries Shah

Here are my Halloween slip-stitch cats. They took a good portion of Sunday and three hours yesterday to graph. If you know about slip-stitch, then you know that there must be a stitch to slip in order for the pattern to work. And since you carry only one yarn across a row and slip the other, it varies every two rows. Thus round things and curves are very difficult.



But all in all, I love this pattern. It is all mine and I worked very hard to get the tails in the center to curve in a neat way. I also think they look kinda spooky and if you look at them long enough you see other things...or is that because is is 5 am?

Now hopefully the rest of the sweater will design itself. *grin*

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Cats Were Tagged...

Meezer from knitnana.blogspot.com was nice enough to tag my cats so here they are...

Five Weird things / habits about me Meme

1O. Obsidian here, I love to be brushed. You know how other cats can hear a food dish being filled from a mile away?...well, I can hear a cat brush. I love it when my little buddy brushes out my long silky fur…it is such a purrfect feeling!




1W. That's truly silly. Widdershins here, I do not have weird habits but I do like to burrow. My big pet says I am part ferret to which I answer by nibbling on his toes. I like mystery. I love to be in dark burrows and wait for the chance to pounce on some unsuspecting victim.

2O. I love grass…the green kind outside on the lawn. It is soooo tasty. But we have leash laws and it's been sooo hot that I haven't gotten in my nice safe cage in a while. I try and sneak out the door and get some yummy grass every chance I get!

2W. I like everyone to look when I am eating. I'm a girl who likes a crowd of one. But I need to be in the limelight or what's the point?

3O. Wow, I have to do five of these? I'm a big cat who needs lots of sleep. In fact you keep on waking me up for this survey….oh okay…I am not a fighter. I have no front claws and even the squirrels in the backyard can beat me up.

3W. I on the other hand train constantly. I am a sleek white and black ninja that sneaks up on milk rings, fuzzy mice and unsuspecting toes.







4O. I understand human speak and am constantly talking. When the phone rings I always add a word or two. I am the only one who can wake my little buddy up. He loves having me sleep next to him and then gently sing him to consciousness in the morning.

4W. Bah, any cat knows human speak…*sigh*…see what I have to deal with? But back to me... I love to flop in front of my pets so they can adore me and see how sleek and lean I am. They always stoop to fawn and adulate me so I know they love this little ritual of ours.

5O. Yawn…I love when my person starts knitting. She is always so relaxed unless the yarn is misbehaving. I curl up next to her and provide support. It is my favorite time we spend together.

5W. My person is an IT dude and I am always getting my head in there reading up on what's new in the world. No matter how busy he is I can always worm my way in front of the screen. He absolutely adores me.

There, done. Should any furry purries want to answer this Meme...feel free to do so. I'm going back to sleep...

Happy napping,

Obsidian and Widdershins
>^..^<

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tension

“You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension and discipline are taken out of your life.”
--James G. Bilkey

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
-- Neale Donald Walsch

Sometimes when I start a project I leave my brain somewhere else…my Mom likes to say it goes off to Hawaii…ah, Hawaii…

See, like that.

First of all this project is Halloween themed, so my main color is black. As a punk in the 80’s (now they would call what I was Goth) I loved black. As a knitter in 2006, I really dislike it. I can’t see my stitches as clearly and I can’t knit in a dark room. So, only bright cheery days for knitting on this cowl… *cue the thunder clap*

Secondly, when I started on the cowl yesterday, I accounted for the fact that 2X2 ribbing should be in multiples of 4 + 2. I checked my gauge and cast on 182 stitches…the problem is that I’m knitting in the round so that means that one round counts as a knit row and the next as a purl…which basically made a HUGE mess. :(

So I ripped out and recast on 180 stitches and now I have wonderful, beautiful ribbing. *yeah* :)

I am really pushing to get this sweater done but I realize that I probably have a lot more woes coming my way…my Aries self has been talking to my yarn again…

Aries self: “Hey why don’t we change the design at the last minute because one cat over and over is pretty boring don’t you think?”

Yarn colored a shade of Halloween spice answers, “Cccccould there be pumpkins?”

Aries self: “Sure; pumpkins, bats, cats, ghosts and whatever you want. I’ll get busy graphing all of them so Ruinwen can swatch them while she’s stopped at lights in traffic.”

Yarn: “Er, didn’t she want the slip-stitch done by the time she got to the LYS.”

Aries self: “Do you want pumpkins or not?!?”

Yarn: “A swatching we will go…”

So, I’ve been working with a scene that could be on the front and back and…what was the lesson of the day again…oh yeah, tension…causing tension to me and my knitting. Graphing a ghost is much harder then it seems…but everything that pushes me (not to the point of insanity) actually makes me a better knitter.

I have found the projects I enjoyed making the most are the ones that I learned something new while making them. I’m hoping this cowl will be one of those projects…since I get to remake it for each and every month of the year (what was I thinking?!?...must have let an Aries self moment slip by again)...

Well, I must get a move on there are only so many hours of light in the day ya’know!

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Meme

I usually don't do these...but I'm in a giving mood. ;)

The ones in bold are the things I have done.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with
them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cd's
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand (Who actually admits to this stuff?)

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone
was looking

103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair

147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Holiday Slippers



"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
-- Albert Einstein

Here is a new pattern that I will be teaching at the LYS. It is fun and easy and beginners will be able to make this project with a few challenges.

I used Feza Zarone 100% wool in dark green.

Now, I need to graph some Halloween critters for my Holiday cowled sweater. The idea is that each holiday I can change the border and the color scheme to fit the season. The color changes are done in slip stitch so I have to remember to graph the yarn so it carries to the following row. *what she said...*

I wanted to make a decorative border but I think I will forgo it because the cats, bats, cauldrons...or whatever I decide on, should be the focus of the piece.

Sorry no great earth shattering insight today. I'm just happy to get the slippers done. *sigh* I'm even happier they liked them at the LYS! *happy dance*

And finally I'm super happy I got the PDFs done and the pattern is being approved as we speak. I feel like I actually got something major done. *yeah me*

Now I go sleep... *zzzzz*

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Rhythm of the Needles

"The soul requires duration of time -- rich, thick, deep, velvety time -- and it thrives on rhythm. Soul can’t be hurried or harried.... We may go through many events in the day and experience nothing because the soul has not had the opportunity to feel them from many different points of view."
-Robert Sardello

The heart will follow a beat if it is sustained long enough. When I find myself worrying these days I listen to the ocean. My heart finds peace in the gentle rhythm of the waves and slows down to match nature’s pulse. I wish I lived by the ocean. I don’t live anywhere near water; but I do knit.

Knitting provides that same sense of peace for me. The weaving of fibers harmonized by the gentle clicking of needles offers me tranquility that reaches into my soul. I read yesterday how they are recommending knitting (or any repetitive craft) for insomniacs. The beat that is created by doing something over and over causes the mind to relax and unwind. There is a chance if your pattern behaves to even loose track of time and experience that moment of knitting euphoria when your project and you become one.

They’ve also found that by turning off the part of the brain that counts the seconds you add years to your brain power. Just five minutes a day of shutting off the part of the brain that controls time can make you feel totally refreshed. How often do we immerse ourselves so deeply in something that we stop watching the clock; or better still, forget the clock even exists?

My DH is great at it. I think that is why he is so laid back and calm all the time. He loves IT stuff and as long as I’ve known him, he’s been able to work on the computer and forget anything else exists. I admit it takes me a while to reach that state of no-time. All the stuff I should be doing runs back and forth across the screen of my mind until I attend to it or it goes away. But then the reward is so sweet. Suddenly it’s all about the knitting (or writing) and I can immerse myself so deeply that everything else disappears. And for a moment my life becomes timeless; an endless now-of-thought…a flash of pure unadulterated bliss.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm Open to Change


“Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk.”

-- Leo Buscaglia

True story: My popcorn caught on fire this week. I nuked it for the required time and it was smoking. When I mistook the smoke for steam and shook it up a bit like I always do, it burst into flames. I threw the mess in the sink and ran water on it until the steam stopped.

I find it totally out of character that my popcorn would catch on fire after years of not doing so. I mean what changed in the Universe to create such a phenomena?

Life changes on a dime all the time; emotions, schedules, lifestyles and preferences all are subject to the whims of change. But there are certain rules to the Universe like gravity and such that never change right? When something as simple as your popcorn catching on fire happens, it can shake your core beliefs pretty badly.

Which is why I relaxed with some knitting. But as I knitted my stitches I realized as a knitter, I have to be open to change. What happens when the yarn you are using is the wrong one and you know the gauge is so far off that it will never become the chosen project? You change something.

When I change yarns or projects and someone asks where is the sweater I was working on is, me saying, "I frogged it," really requires no other explanation. Knitters know that yarn they loved in the store may not want to be the perfect scarf even if it is the right gauge. Colors don't always look the same when you wear them as they do on the skein.

Knitting is all about changing your mind, your texture, and your preference and altering a pattern on a whim. I've been focusing on the later.

The picture above shows the three yarns I've been playing with to make the tank top in. Evita in Spring which, is a lovely cotton blend that really shows definition and has a lovely drape. Linie 12 Clip in 199 which, is Egyptian cotton and also has spectacular definition and loves to hold its shape (good for busts). And last but not least Vixen in Magenta which, is a breathtaking ribbon that is more tube shaped so it acts more like a yarn then a ribbon.

I love them all and maybe none of them will be the tank, but who knows what will happen in a world where popcorn can catch on fire?

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Courage to Try



"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage -- pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically -- to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside."
-- Stephen Covey

When I began knitting seriously and looked at lace my inner critic told me, “There is no way you can do this.”

I didn’t start with something simple either: I began my lace journey with charting. In the beginning, I couldn’t read a chart to save my life. It just didn’t click. I called on the Yahoo knitting gurus to help me and I still didn’t get it.

But I never gave up. I kept failing and somehow I had this extra stitch that wouldn’t disappear (even when I K2tog) but I never lost hope that one day I would make lace.

So I tucked away my project and went on to other things.

After a year went by I was making lace with line by line instructions and wanted to learn charting. So I sat down with a chart and meditated on it like a Mandela and suddenly it all made sense. I wondered why I’d even made it so hard for myself.

When I designed my first class project I wanted it to be lace and I wanted it to be charted. The scarf was a success and people found it easy to use the charts I created.

This month I realized that ball of yarn in the corner of my bedroom shelf was that same project I had put away so long ago. The cycle had come full circle and this is the WIP I have been working on this week. I love the simplicity of the design and I really enjoy this pattern. It is a World Lit Only By Fire in Lavish Lace.

The moral: After I finish this scarf which I am raffling for Women’s Heart Awareness at the fair, I’m going to take out my tank again and meditate with it. I know that this time it will make sense and this time I have the courage to create it.

Happy Crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In the Heat of Summer

"Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you."
-- Shakti Gawain

I realize that I’ve been away from the blog for a while but I just needed a breather to work out how to fit all the important things in my life into my life…and it has been so darn hot that I've been lazing about.

I’ve been knitting and working on WIPs and trying to create something new and wonderful that no one has made in quite the same way before. Creating something new is exhausting but exhilarating at the same time.

I’ve been working on my idea of the perfect tank…which may not be your idea or anyone else’s idea…which may in fact, make it a bad idea…but I’m still working on it.

I still believe I will find a way to knit in a bra thingy or create a really tight, supportive fabric that will hold everything in place. But it has been slow coming and nothing is working quite right. Everything is kinda wonky and I’ve put it away for a while.

That is why I am working on the WIPs…because they are there and they need to be done. But it has been so hot that I find it hard to do anything and stay focused on it.

Truthfully as soon as that first day when the trees start to turn and I can feel the tendrils of winter reaching through like icy fingers into my soul; my creative fire is stuck on low. I’ve always found my best ideas come in the winter when I am in my bear cave of inspiration.

The way I work is, in the fall I start stockpiling yarns and ideas; like a squirrel. And in the winter I take these treasures and create until about May when it starts getting hot again and then my creative juices wane and I find it hard to do anything without effort.

In the colder weather everything seems so effortless that I get spoiled. The funny thing is I really dislike the cold yet it is always so good to me (except when I spun out on that black ice on Christmas morning). Conversely I love being warm yet my mind shuts off like a heat pump covered in ice. I just don’t get it.

Anyway, I’m trying to strike a balance between all the things in my life; hot or cold. This blog is one of the things I really enjoy because I get to meet wonderful people like you.

So give me a chance to get caught up on the blogs I read on the side bar and I will (hopefully) get some pictures up later on in the week of my WIP.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)