Sunday, October 27, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different

As an Aries I am easily distracted by new and shiny things.  I've been looking at those Rainbow Loom band bracelets for a while now.  I thought they would be fun to make for our booth and apparently my son was thinking the same thing.  So we ordered the loom and bands and got to work.

You have to pay attention to what you are doing to make sure all your loops are secure is of course the first rule that I learned.   The second thing I learned is these bracelets are fun and easy to make if you are patient and I'm kinda addicted.

Being around Halloween they had a lot of glow-in-the-dark colors so I'm a happy camper.  There is something that always makes me smile when I see something glow.

When I first saw them I fell in love with the Starburst pattern.  I have wanted one of these for a while now. When my son and I watched the video it didn't seem to hard even though it was marked advanced.  But we had a good teacher.  I like Ashley's videos because she clearly shows how to lay out the bands and she is really easy to follow.  Hopefully I will have one of these to show you next week.

I'm looking forward to conquering new patterns with my son; it is nice to have a project that we can share together.  He is looking forward to making bracelets for his friends with his mad new skills.  It is a win/win deal.

The only thing bad about this hobby is the bands are little and we have a little white terror who wants to save us from the evil snapping rubber bands.  I ordered a case for the bands but it is running a little late so my son volunteered one of his Lego sorting boxes and it is perfect to keep the bands away from Frost.

Frost is an amazing kitten.  He has been pushing his limits a little more each day by jumping, climbing and winning every game of Cat Fishing.  Yes, my little kitten loves to play on the iPad.  He is ferocious as he hunts down the fish and he has learned to restart the game as well.  I think hubby found him eyeing Candy Crush the other day.  Frost really gives credence to the dog that ordered stuff on amazon; so we are watching his computer time closely.  lol

Frost hates napkins.  They are evil and he hunts them down and rips them to shreds.  You will hear this growl and suddenly Frost will appear with a napkin trailing behind him.  I keep taking them away and he keeps finding new ones.  I gave him a white towel that he couldn't rend and he seems happy to hunt that as well.

Shadow seems to be adjusting and they have started to play now and then which makes me really happy.

No knitting has taken place at home due to the fact that needles move and it is hard to make stitches with a kitten lunging at you every few stitches; but that is okay.  I knit Friday night at our meet-up and it was refreshing and nice to pick up my project again.

While I have not been knitting much; I have been working on a gift design for my secret Yule person.  I'm having a lot of fun with it and I think it will be a cool thing to knit.  But that is really all I can say right now.  I hope to be able to give you a peek later.

I also jotted down an idea for a Widdershins memorial pattern.  I always liked the way her contrasting fur made her beauty shine and I want to design something to highlight those aspects.

Lots of ideas gelling in my head.  Hopefully this weekend I will get some time to chart them out a bit.  Maybe I can sneak in some swatching while Frost is sleeping?

Happy crafting,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Love is Infinite You Can Always Make More

"Love doesn't end with death."
a blurb taken from my Hospice newsletter

It has taken months for my mind to really believe this.  A loss of someone important in your life is devastating.  In the first few months after they pass you feel a hole that can't be filled.  And hopefully, other things slowly close that hole up a bit as time goes on.  You may not think of them as often and when you do it might be because of good memories that make you smile.  You will always miss them but the underlying truth is, "love doesn't end with death."

The moments you shared with your loved one are yours.  Your love for them is eternal.  Death does not change that.  When a I hear a bird call that I know, I smile and remember Dad teaching me how to "talk" to them at the cabin.  When I watched Lethal Weapon this weekend, Mom was right there enjoying every minute with me.  I find myself still looking under blankets for Widdershins since she loved to hide under them. These are all precious memories that are dear to me and allow my loved ones to still be with me.

Do I still have moments of tears and sadness that bubble up from within me and rent me in two?  Yes, of course.  But the good memories and the love that I have for them outweigh the sadness more often then not.

Do you believe in Fate or Karma?  Widdershins loved my husband with her every breath.  I believe that she reached into the soul of the Universe and made a wish that her "person" would find someone new to take care of him.  She knew her passing would be so hard but she also knew that it was her time to go.

The day she passed there was a kitten that had been brought in that morning.  His Mom had been hit by a car and he was all alone.  He was sweet and white and tiny as kittens are.  But my husband couldn't even think of a another cat, especially when he was losing his beloved little Widdershins.  He told me later that he had to take a peek though before he left the Doctor's Office to see who was mewing back there.

A week later I came to get Widdershins' memorial box and the Doctor put the little white kitten in my arms. It is hard to know what to do.  It is easy to say that one isn't ready for a new kitten so soon; but it is almost impossible not to fall in love with a sweet little face and big blue eyes.

So I went home and talked it over with the family and the next day everyone went to hold the little white fluff ball.  And he has enchanted us all.  So, please welcome the newest member of our family who has yet to be named but has already won our hearts.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moving Forward

"Learning to be aware of feelings, how they arise and how to use them creatively so they guide us to happiness, is an essential lifetime skill."
-- Joan Borysenko

I've been feeling out of sorts as of late so my sister suggested turning back to something that I had put on the back burner; Linemen.

Usually when I create a new pattern there is a meaning to why and who it is being made to honor. This time it is my family members who are part of the phone company. I have always seen them as helpers to Hermes the God of Communications. Communication is so essential in any relationship. We take the ability to press a button and hear someone's voice for granted since it is something that we do every day but the minute we can't...we notice.

My Grandpa, Pop Pop and my BIL all work(ed) for the phone company and kept (keep) communication flowing. I wanted to design something to honor them.

I usually turn to KnitPicks when I am designing; they have a beautiful choice of yarns and colors that really hold true to gauge. Their Swish is soft and vibrant with 220 yards to play with.

I haven't worked a lot with cables but now I feel my understanding of how they work is much broader. I took a cable I liked that had four legs and charted where each of the legs was going with different colors and then I took out the 4th leg and cleaned up the chart so the cable was balanced. I worked a few swatches and I'm pretty happy with the result.

When I dreamed about this cable originally, it had different colors. So I have been playing around with intarsia cables. After looking at the cable in a few different places, I think I really like the colored one to be the one in the middle. As you can see from the swatch the middle cable is the one that touches each of the others. I like that. I think this would look really neat with any combo that someone desires. I'm going to make a black and red one, a blue and white one and then one to keep for the shop in purple and green which have nothing to do with the phone company but I really like them.

This scarf could be used for teams or other things that have two colors like Hogwarts' Houses. I really like it.

Of course, the whole thing is starting to curl and that is an issue that I hope (pray) will block out.

I bought a book that was filled with things I could only hope to knit in 1996. It was my one day I hope to be good enough to make this book. I bought the book because of this sweater.  It is the Cromarty by Alice Starmore.  She is a goddess of cables and all things knitting.

I really think I could make this now.  I have come such a long way since the 90s.  lol  :)

Cables are very daunting when you look at some of them; all those legs can be very intimidating.  But if you break each cable down and treat each leg one at a time, they become so much easier to manage.

Linemen is just three cables but I really learned so much from cleaning up my cable legs.

Say you have this pattern:
Row 1: P6, K2, P6
Row 2: K6, P2, K6

The middle two stitches are your cable.  If you want to move those two stitches to the right it would look like this:

Row 3: P5, T3B, P6
Row 4:  K7, P2, K5

(Twist 3 Back- slip the next stitch onto a cable needle and hold at the back of your work, knit the next two stitches from the left-hand needle, then purl the stitch from the cable needle)

The (b) back or (f) front instruction tells you where you will be holding your cable needle.  The number tells you how many stitches are in the cable.

This cable moved the stitch over to the right by one stitch. It takes the purl stitch on the right and swaps it with the two knit stitches of your work.

If you want to move those two stitches back to the left again, it would look like this.

Row 5:  P5, T3F, P6
Row 6:  K6, P2, K6

(Twist 3 Front- slip the next two stitches onto a cable needle and hold it at the front of your work, purl the next stitch off of your left-hand needle, and then knit the next two stitches from the cable needle)

This cable moved the stitch over to the left by one stitch.  It takes the purl stitch on the left and swaps it with the two knit stitches on your cable.

If you wanted to take two cables and cross them you could do this:

Row 1:  P4, K4, P4
Row 2:  K4, P4, K4
Row 3:  P4, C4F, P4
Row 4:  K4, P4, K4

(Cable 4 front - slip the next two stitches onto a cable needle and hold them in the front of your work, knit the next two stitches off of your left-hand needle, and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle)  In this cable the right-hand cable leg goes over the left-hand cable leg.

A C4B, where the two cable stitches are held in the back, would do the opposite and the left-hand cable leg would go over the right-hand cable leg.

You can use these three cables to do this:

(the example is worked over 16 stitches, all of the abbreviations are listed above)

Row 1: P6, K4, P6
Row 2: K6, P4, K6
Row 3: P6, K4, P6
Row 4: K6, P4, K6
Row 5: P6, C4F, P6
Row 6: K6, P4, K6
Row 7: P5, T3B, T3F, P5
Row 8: K5, P2, K2, P2, K5
Row 9: P4, T3B, P2, T3F, P4
Row 10: K4, P2, K4, P2, K4
Row 11: P4, T3F, P2, T3B, P4
Row 12: K5, P2, K2, P2, K5
Row 13: P5, T3F, T3B, P5
Row 14: K6, P4, K6
Row 15: P6, C4F, P6
Row 16: K6, P4, K6
Row 17: P6, K4, P6
Row 18: K6, P4, K6

And there is a simple little pattern you can use to embellish hats and such.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Green Scales Feel Like Rain :(

Our sweet little girl is journeying the Rainbow Bridge.  She is free of pain and running and causing havoc on the other side.  I'm sure she is happy to see her brother Obsidian too.

Widdershins, who was named after the way she chased her tail counter-clockwise, was our little huntress. When she was a kitten she would zoom around the house, climb the curtains and pounce on unsuspecting feet.  She would position a toy mouse just so and then proceed to stalk and hunt it.  She loved curling up on her Daddy's lap, keyboard or anything that was between her and him.

I loved her tuxedo markings; little white paws and the white on her ruff and face.  She had the most beautiful expressive green eyes that could really look into your soul.

She loved to sleep with me and would pin me to the bed even though she was a tiny little thing.  She started doing it more after Dad died; I think she didn't want me to feel alone.

She always faced adversity with tenacity and determination.  Her arthritis made it hard to walk but did that stop her?  Nope, if she wanted something she would go after it with all her heart.  There is a lesson in that for all of us I think.

Farewell our little Widdershins; you blessed our lives in so many ways.  We will miss our beautiful little girl. Thank you for taking such good care of Daddy and sharing your life with us.

We will always love you!