Bear(s)

It began with wanting to knit my daughter a Christmas present.  Not being a fan of surprises, I did not want to present my daughter a knitted garment she hadn’t seen. Having to start somewhere in the investigation of what to knit for her, we began with patterns I had saved over the years.  Our tastes are different as are our lifestyles, so I did not think she would actually choose any one of these yet I did think these patterns would lend some inspiration.  Well, I was wrong.  The bear sweater by Tiny Owl Knits stopped her dead.  In my queue for a few years, she fell in love with it and visualized hers to be in the colors that are seen in the pattern.  I found a great visual to help with the face.

The knitting of it was quick and easy; sending it off to her was another matter.  She promised me a photo shoot (one day, maybe) so these are the only pics I have of it now.

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A DC Opportunity Leads to a Knitter’s Reflective Moment

As Grandmother, I was recently invited to the DC area to babysit grandchildren while very intent parents set up house for their temporary move.  (no photos because I never knew how to take care of young ones and be a photographer at the same time)

As Mother, I found myself adding a day to that DC trip to hang out with my daughter before the gig of babysitting and before she was to leave on her trip.  We didn’t have any real plan, maybe some sightseeing, a dinner in the evening with friends, and lots of chatting and laughing about this and that.

sitting on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial

No worries. This girl knows how to relax; here along the Potomac River.

her DC place

If you look carefully, you can see a cable and maybe, the window cleaner’s foot.

view from deck

As Knitter, I became reflective.  Leisure is as leisure does, after a day of sightseeing, we were setting up our bedding.  Scurrying about for blankets here, sheets there, and rummaging through her ‘stuff’, we came across a gift I had made for her years, ago!

There is something about running across one of your projects.  Especially if you forgot about it and especially if you made it for someone else.  There is the moment you try to recall the making of it, where did the pattern come from, what was the motivation behind it?  What worked, what didn’t work, and why didn’t that effort remain in your memory?  It’s kind of like visiting life after your death.  What tangibles of your personal touch remain on Earth?  What can be identified as evidence of your passion and what you thought so important?  What artifact(s) did you leave behind?  Why did they remain?  Did it/they change anyone or anything?

Excited to revisit that drawstring bag, pattern from Vogue Knitting Crochet 1994 and when my daughter was otherwise occupied in her ever-so-busy life, I stepped back into that era when I crocheted that bag and gave it the photo shoot it deserved.  Here it is in all its whimsy as I happened upon it, hanging in her collection of ‘catch-all’.

Of course, there is always the other’s point of view.  I can’t help but wonder what she thinks every time she looks upon this now tattered, certainly stretched, but otherwise heartfelt hand made item that was gifted to her those many years ago.

How lucky am I to have the kids in the same location (well, at least for one year.)

Little Red Wagon

I recently heard someone say of her house, “This is not a house of yarn.”  She and I were looking to repair a knitted hat and she was fearing she did not have yarn or supplies we could use.  With that criteria one would say that this home is a house of yarn.  And, I am always looking for new, functional, and creative ways in which to store it.  And, the projects.  And, the works-in-progress.  And, the knitting tools.  My goal:  convenience, cleanliness, free of dog destruction, least amount of space, variety, and attractive.  I love perusing yarn rooms and often talk to knitters about their space.  When you google yarn rooms or craft rooms, you see oodles of shelving either lining walls or mounted on walls.  I do think shelving is handy however, I was recently in a local yarn shop, Raveloe Fibers and quickly became inspired by how the yarn shop owner displays her new yarns.  She uses antique suitcases, here and there, some opened, some stacked, some vertical, some horizontal.  Something about the juxtaposition of old (antique) and new was very appealing to me and I felt added an artistic appeal to her shop as well as variety in storage.   The suitcases drew me in to want to investigate further their contents, I would think the goal of her shop, any shop.  I’ve written about organizing yarn and supplies before here, here, and here and being a kind of organizational geek, I continue to tweak a ‘system’ that works for me.  Here is what is working along with some added features, ideas that may work for you.  Hang tight, this is a three room tour!

Knitting Tools to Enhance Knitting Space (aka Our Living Room)  

My shelving bin is working beautifully for my works-in-progress.  We have found an out-of-the-way spot, away from sunlight, near where I knit for easy reach and my projects are free from dirt, dust, and dog.  I’ve added a few things to make this space even better.

Likely, you’ve thought of sewing caddies for knitting supplies.  But, did you ever think to ‘borrow’ from your hubby’s fishing supplies . . . those little boxes for holding lures are working perfectly for all my little knitting tools such as row markers, stitch markers, and the like.

Purchased from an office supplies store, a 3 ” binder is ideal for me to store round needles and is easily placed on a book case, an inconspicuous spot.   From the kitchen, I’ve pulled a ceramic pitcher as it makes a nice, decorative holder for my straights.

Another kitchen item I find useful are trays.  I think I purchased these from Joann Fabrics a few years, back.  I use a tray for each project to hold the tools I need specific to each project.  There is no running around losing time and adding frustration.  If I have more than one project going at once, which happens now on occasion, there are multiple trays.  They also make for easy, quick pick-up and fit easily into the shelving bin.

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Finished Projects Space (aka Guest Bedroom)   

Moving to the second room, the space and shelving that holds my finished projects is nothing more than industrial shelving.  Sounds awful but is working so ideally, I’ve doubled it in size replacing an old shelving unit.  Together these utility shelves offer these qualities:  keeps hand knits clean from dust and sun, can see all garments, easy access, piles of sweaters not falling over, and tucks behind door.  The flatter bins can store those speciality projects such as my Hoodie Glam providing the air and space they need to keep their shape and elegance.  I keep just one project or two in them.

Hoodie Glam as seen on Ravelry

That space can fit about 100 projects from super bulky to the finest of yarns due to those bin sizes and the room is not altered at all for its other multi-functional purposes.  Yeah!  Oh, and by the way the shelving is lightweight, easily movable, can be folded up and stored away (I’m talking about the shelving) and was put together in about five minutes by me only and the entire idea including all of the plastic bins and their covers came in under $200.00!

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Yarn Stash Space and Yarn Room Space (aka office/yarn room)   

And, the third room on this tour is my piece of heaven.  Of course, I am no different and utilize book cases for office supplies and yarn bundles of remnants put together and projects I could not get to during employment.

Yarn room tools ~  Sweater racks lean against the wall in storage, come out for thorough drying after blocking, and of course, what yarn room wouldn’t be complete without a yarn winder and swift? Having ample table space allows creative energies to flow.

Sewing supplies  (a must for knitters) ~  I’ve asked for the closet door to be removed for quick, easy access.  That’s a fabric shoe holder hanging from the clothes pole.  It makes perfect storage for all kinds of sewing supplies.  A thankless job is to sort those buttons.  I’ve worked through about half of them.  The container below the tray has dividers separating size, color, style, etc.

Your more typical yarn containers are here.  Those Guild bags are ideal for sorting and holding projects.

Hubby was so thrilled when his Brooks Professional saddle arrived and I was so thrilled with its box!  Perfect for yarn scraps!

I had in the back of my head that inspiration of antique suitcases.  Not an easy combination, creativity and function, however when I was in Dick’s Sporting Goods recently, I saw this wagon.  It stopped me dead.  Yes, a wagon meant for hauling sports equipment or camping supplies, my mind went immediately to THIS!

I love the concept of the traditional red wagon.  I love the concept of its sports-like nature.  Somehow  its attitude brings my interest of health and wellness into this space and I appreciate it even more.  Just look how this newest addition fits in against the wall!  Keeping open to using containers not necessarily meant for knitting has given my space a unique feel unto itself.

I do enjoy organizing and am always interested in new and improved solutions in the handling of this knitting ‘obsession’.  I work hard to capture the beauty of the process but at the same time want to  be respectful to the space of others.  Share and share alike if you have any ideas that are working particularly well for you!

 

 

 

Spring version of Renaissance Tunic

Well, I do keep my word.  Today, we had a redo photo shoot of my Renaissance Tunic, designed by Teva Durham.  Now, make no mistake as to how much I love this sweater as evidenced by its wearing this winter.  My love of this tunic is probably why I wanted to bring it to you, again as I wasn’t sure the first photo shoot did it justice.  However, this idea does add pressure to an already stressful activity.  That is how I feel with these photo sessions, pure stress.  Many reasons.  You see, hubby, who wants so desperately to please is not quite as flexible and energetic as he once was and the model is getting older.  Both get cranky and both want these photo shoots to be successful, at least in our eyes.  Also, a redo moment takes twice the energy to ready our ‘get-up-and-go’ and we (or at least, I) have high hopes of capturing some good looking shots.

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The Winter of Wind (and no snow)

Howling in the morning
blowing in the afternoon
Winter of blustery wind
I will remember you

I listen for the rhythm of breathing
as it informs a runner’s endurance
unable to grasp its contents
as Mother Nature has taken over

Her noise becomes the norm
tree tops dancing, daring to snap
unsuspecting and
interrupting the family’s every move

Howling in the morning
blowing in the afternoon
Winter of blustery wind
I will remember you

The dog lifts her head,
tense body on alert
jumps at what is enveloping her
to catch the invisible play

Layers are a must
double here and vested there
Don’t forget to zip up
Frost bite is ever near

You say you cannot sleep?
When will the blasts of cold air stop?
At least it is not snowing
dumping two feet at the stair.

Howling in the morning
blowing in the afternoon
Winter of blustery wind
I will remember you

Mitts Update

“Mikey Likes it!” You may remember a slogan from a commercial some years back where kids push off the then-new cereal, Life to Mikey, who was too young to realize the product was being touted as healthy.   Ends up that Mikey’s happy so the older boys accept that the cereal might have good flavor as well as nutritional value.  As the boys were in anticipation of reaction, I was in anticipation of feedback whether my daughter liked her hand knitted Hedgehog Mitts.  And, I indeed heard word that ‘Mikey likes them!’  I believe the exact words were, “They are perfect!”  (Keep in mind we are serious animal lovers, here.)  And, in fact, she is seizing the opportunity with her now retired Mother requesting that every gift from this point on (from me) be hand-knitted.  Smart girl.  And, by the looks of things she is not the only one finding some bit of humor and joy in them.

ok, now I am getting silly . . .

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