birthday knitting


If you heard an anguished scream and the sound of breaking glass sometime last week, that was me... the scream and then me slamming myself headfirst into my computer.  It's been a bad week.  The weekend proved perfect for jammies, though, and I swear I didn't get out of them until noon on Sunday.  I did nothing but read, watch football (Go Chargers!), eat football food and knit.  Neel's birthday is coming up this week, and I want to get a quick hat knitted up for his chilly pate. 

I love this row of hats from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.  One of my less appealing traits is how I love abundance, and it would please me very much to have a row of hats like this to choose from every morning.  This won't work for several reasons.  First of all, it just doesn't get that cold here.  And as much as I love hats, hair with bangs and hats don't really agree, so I'd wear them more on snowy days and we really don't have those here either.  Neel, however, does not have the hat-head problem.  So onward with a hat for Neel.  He wants ear-flaps, but I'm not sure that ear-flaps jive with the more sophisticated colors we're using here (black with some hints of deep red), so maybe two hats will be necessary.  Really aren't two hats necessary?

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The Vols won.

The Chargers won.

The Eagles didn't lose.  (Okay, they had a bye.)

I started my socks.


Okay, I hate, hate, hate the flash.  But it's dark and early here, and really, the flash gives you the best indication of the colors of the yarn I'm using.  Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Clay.  I'm trying to get as much autumn mojo as I can since it's going to be over 90 degrees today.  Icky, icky blech.  I want chili and soup simmering on the stove and scarves woven around my neck and Fetching on my wrists.  Instead it's short sleeves and swishy skirts and air conditioning and iced coffees for awhile longer yet.

But Socktoberfest is on and the Monkey is on my back.

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not another lament, really


I know you guys must think I'm the queen of the unfinished project around here.  But seriously, we've had a lot going on lately.


Remember this?  All in good time, my friends, all in good time.


But about Miss Josephine.  Oh, Miss Josephine.  I just dug back through the archives and I cast on for her way, way back in July.  Well, I finished the back at least, but it was hard fought, that's for sure.  And here comes the "not a lament" part.  Because sometime during the life of my own poor Miss Jo, we were blindsided with woe over here in the little gray house.  Enough woe to keep me up all night one night, knitting, knitting, knitting.  A fair amount of crying was done, but there was a lot of knitting too. You could argue that Josephine saved my life that long night, and she surely did, but it raises a question for me.  Do we knit our feelings into the work we do?  Our joy and our sorrow too?

I finished the back and got about a quarter of the way through the front before I saw the mistake.  I was almost relieved for an excuse.  As pretty as she was, she was pretty easy to put down too.  The mistake was not on the back part of the pattern, but I had poured a lot of sorrow into those stitches; had knit them through more than a tear or two.  The bottom line was that I couldn't imagine wearing all of that heartache on my back.  It was an easy pattern to memorize.  I was so glad to have it just when I needed it, but somehow even in July, I knew I'd never wear it.  And what a relief!  When I saw an article on about cutting your losses actually being a healthy thing, I knew that frogging the damn thing was all I needed to do.  It didn't annihilate the midsummer sadness by any stretch, but it certainly managed to mitigate it just the tiniest bit.


One little snip was all it took, and wind, wind, wind, of the ball-winder, and I'm so relieved.  On to better things.  We worked through the sorrow.  We're on the other side.  Fall is nearing (as near as a dry eighty degrees can be) and a Somewhat Cowl is calling. 

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October 1


Soctoberfest here I come. I applaud Lolly's efforts to minimize her efforts (!), so I have no more plans than to try to knit some socks this month while I work on some other things. Okay. I need to clarify a little.

1. I'm not sure which of these three yarns I'm going to use. I'll probably cast on for two pairs (although where the hell all of my small dpns have gotten to, I have no idea), One is destined to become my "Desk Drawer Sock." I need something to keep at work to give me a computer break now and again. The other I'll work on at home.

2. I only have a couple of goals in this whole process, and really, none of them is even to finish a pair. (Finishing would be an added side bonus to be sure, but A) I'm a slow knitter, B) I'm already working on some other projects, C) I'm easily distracted, D) I do my best knitting when it's not daylight savings and we hunker down in the evenings, E) I'm a slow knitter, F) have I mentioned that I get distracted easily? I do.)

3. So knowing that I only have a few goals, here they are. A) Avoid the vile ladder. I really struggle with these, especially when I use DPNs instead of circulars. B) Use some pattern, such as this, this, or this. And C)... (sound of crickets chirping)...huh. Okay. Maybe that's it. If I think of anymore, I'll let you know. Really, C is just to knit on the damn things consistently throughout the month. Shouldn't be too hard, should it? Happy Socktoberfest.

Now that I've said all this here...I'm gonna go say it all over here. I just got my invitation!

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the red velvet cake skirt


Otherwise known as don't look too close... I really struggled with this one for some reason. It's the layered version of Amy Butler's Barcelona skirt, and I'm perfectly willing to admit that it just may be beyond me. For now at least. I have no problem admitting that my sewing skills aren't all that just yet and that I have a long way to go. Heck, we all know that I'm making this stuff up as I go along. And seriously this skirt nearly kicked me in the butt. Let's face it. It did kick me in the butt...BUT. I persevered. I loved the fabric too much not to.


We were having dinner with some friends a few weeks ago, and I really wanted to wear this skirt. I sewed seams, I ripped out seams. I read and read and reread pattern notes. I sewed all damn day long in order to wear this skirt to dinner. I reminded myself of my friend Linda Wozniak's mother as she sewed her into her dress on prom night (Wasn't Bobbi doing that for you too, Sarah? Oh, man, that prom night is a whole other post isnt it?!) I'm not sure what made this so tricky for me, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around this pattern. Nothing seemed to add up. I feel like I have the plain old A-line down pat, and after finishing the layered version, I'm not sure I will try it again. With this fabric at least, I don't think that the layering really stood out they way I wanted it to. Maybe when it frays some more.


So nonetheless, here it is, the Red Velvet Cake Skirt, suited more to dimly-lit restaurants, like the one in which you see the actual red velvet cake, than flourescently-lit offices. I'll wear it again, for sure, but I'll probably save it for when there's some dessert in the offing. And the cake? Oh, the cake. Rolled in sugared walnuts, the only hint of sweetness were those and the carmelized sugar crisp on top. So lovely. Red-velvet lovely.

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barcelona a deux


We feel a little like this around here. Last week of summer vacay. A little sad, a little nervous, a little excited. Probably, what with me easing back into work and the whole end of summer bit, I should have taken a wee bit o' a blog break, but here I am and here we are.

In lieu of a real post, I'll show you Barcelona II, or "what I wore to lunch today." Elizabeth, it reminds me so much of the fabric of your Barcelona. I got a kick out of that. As I crank these out, I'm spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get some darker, perhaps slightly shorter versions to wear with tights this fall and winter. I'm really good without tights through October here in coastal VA, but I always struggle with foot and sock-wear at the start of fall. Clearly this year is no different. I'd appreciate any suggestions, if you have them.

Thanks much to all of you who commented on Callum's post of yesterday. He fairly glowed with excitement as each comment came in.

Ummm, well, okaaay...she said, scanning the room an idea of something to say. I guess that's it! 'Bye!

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I'm dribbling out the knitting FOs...slowly but surely. Inside that fun package are these:

A pair of socks for Callum's Second Grade Teacher. Second Grade. Can't even believe it. As my Grandma Charlotte wouldn say, "man o day."

And since I seem to be sitting through hours of faculty meetings (including a four hour CPR training), I'm working on these:

A pair of socks for baby Alex who made his appearance on Saturday. I'm banking on the fact that his mom (now of two!) won't have a ton of time to be tooling around in the Blue Rain Room!

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All my dad wanted for his birthday was an apron, and being the duitiful daughter that I am, I hurried up and complied. A month and a half late (don't worry, he still got hooked up on the actual day), here it is! And here also is Neel, bravely man-modeling it for me. I first said, cherrily, "Let's go in the front yard!" Yeah, that didn't go over too well, but wouldn't you know, as soon as we walked out into the backyard, our neighbor Tyler came over. Sorry Neel!

Okay, unfortunately it's early and I'm sketchy on the details, but this fabric is an Egyptian motif that I got...somewhere, I need to dig up my receipt. My dad digs the pyramids, so I thought this was a good choice, plus the colors and subtle lotusy-patchwork print seemed right up his alley.

Like Callum's, only man-sized, this apron reverses to a basic chambray blue.

I ordered two different Egyptian prints, but they didn't really feel comfortable together, so I cut out some of the pattern from the second print (again, from the source to be named later) to do an inset on our blue side.

Here, looking a bit rumpled (much like me at the moment, I suppose), it is.

So obviously, it's a basic bib apron. The pattern is mine, and I seem...seem to be getting the hang of this thing. Happy birthday, Dad! Here's to many batches of Alfie's Famous Cooked All Day Spaghetti Sauce.

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viva barcelona and some necklace love

Yeah, I made a skirt. Can't even believe it. It required lots of skills that I've never tested before, but look how pretty!

This is the Barcelona skirt from Amy Butler, and my first chance to do lots of things, like install a zipper, finish my seams with a zig-zag stitch (which meant changing the foot on my machine for the first time ever...I'm such a baby), even work with her fabric, which was delightful. The whole process was delightful, actually. The instructions were clear, even for a beginner like me (I've found some of her handbag instructions a bit muddy, but then skirts are easier, for sure), and I'm thrilled with the end-result. My only complaint is that I did the size for my measurments and it's a bit big. (I know, I shouldn't complain about that.) It sits really low on my hips, and fairly loose. I may just make one size down, next time.

Callum got a bit pissy when I kept coming downstairs with things for myself or other people. And deservedly so. I've had fabric for an apron for him for weeks. So here it is, a beagle apron for a boy who loves beagles. It reverses to the fabric on the neck and ties, red with black paw prints. I fully expect him to take over dinner at least one night a week now.

As far as the necklace love goes, check this out, from Lisa Leonard Designs.
One for my family.

And one for this little spot that has become so important to me. (And I swear to God I'm gonna put up a "donate to Lauren's new camera fund" button somewhere on this blog.)

I love the way the family necklace clinks together as I move around. I've been wearing it all weekend. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to wear the bluerainroom necklace. (Although I was brave enough to make a skirt!) That whole wearing your heart outside your body thing. Oh, but love. It's hanging in the bluerainroom right now, and I love having it there. My own little shingle. Thank you Lisa, they're perfect. I love them. Can you tell?

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charming handbag, back-to-school edition


Man, getting those shelves up in the Blue Rain Room made a bigger difference than I anticipated. I spent most of Tuesday tooling around in there and managed to crank out my two favorite projects so far. One I can't show you, so for today, I present only The Charming Handbag from Bend the Rules Sewing. Since kids across the land are getting their backpacks and lunch boxes ready to head back to school, I figured I needed a back-to-school bag too.


The outside is a super-soft fine whale courdoury and the lining is an Asian print by Alexander Henry. I didn't add the ribbon Amy Karol calls for on the outside of the tote. I really like the ribbon and probably will put one on future totes, but for this I just loved the simplicity of the fabric alone. This reminds me of when I was in Home Ec. in 7th grade and our sewing project was to make a pillow. Do they still teach Home Ec? They should. Anyway, I tend to be a pretty minimal person. I like clean lines and not a lot of fiddly bits, so when I made my sailboat pillow, I didn't include the button. I didn't like the button embellishment and I didn't want it on my pillow. But boy, was I proud of that pillow. I loved the fabric I'd picked out and how I'd put patterns and soids together. When we got our grades, I got a "B". It was a crushing blow. I felt so proud of that sailboat...I knew I had taken my time and done a really good job on it. The light dawned when I realized that my "B" was all about that damn button. I'd even asked our teaacher if I could leave it off, but still she gave me a "B". My first thought was, "She should have just said something, I would have sewn her a stupid button." It wasn't that I couldn't do it. I didn't want to. That was the bigger lesson, really. Tastes differ and I didn't like hers. So no ribbon on this particular edition of the charming Hadbag. And oh how I love it. Definitely takes the sting of the school year looming.

Have you checked out the Bend the Rules pool over on Flickr? Some amazing stuff going on over there. I'm in awe of all the things these women (I think they're all women) have cranked out so quickly. I was thrilled to find this book waiting for me when we got back from Greece, and I had to wander around with it for weeks before I could finally settle on what I wanted to do. This project was so satisfying. Fun, quick (about 2 hours including a dinner break) and easy, even for a sewing novice like me.

It's bloody hot here in Chickentown. What do you do when the Heat Index is 94 at six a.m.? What do you do when the high for the day was 102 and it felt like 115? What do you do when it's so humid that the traffic helicopter can barely see through the haze?


Have ice cream for dinner and rope Papa into reading some Tin Tin while you eat it. That's what we did yesterday. Today we're off to the beach...early...before it gets too too hot. And then it's back to the sewing machine. I want to make a million of those bags.

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hermes and hestia and some studio love

I've been hanging out with this book a lot lately (see the sidebar for info). I bought it right after we moved into the little gray house, which is actually a bigger-than-we-need gray house, because after over ten years of apartment and condo living, Neel and I were moving into our first honest-to-god house together. On our drive across the country to a land both foreign and familiar to us, I spent a lot of time thinking about framing our new life in this new space.

I still think about these things, oh, almost daily, and I love books like this. I tried for a long time with this book and books like Denise Linn's Sacred Space, or Karen Kingston's to work hard at really creating the kinds of spaces that they talk about. A lot of it doesn't quite feel like the right fit for me. Too much bell-ringing and energy-clearing. Oh, I tried it all, but boy did I feel self-conscious doing it. Still, books like this are so inspiring and... well, comforting. They tell me it's okay to spend time (way too much time, actually) thinking about stuff like, so, if I do get some brown curtains for the bedroom, what will that do to the gray and red quilt I want to make us? I still haven't decided about that one, but what I find works best for me is to simply be mindful of the space I'm living in. Really, being mindful is the way I want to try to live every aspect of my life, but it comes out more clearly in my home.

Jane Alexander talks about bringing Hestia, the goddess of the hearth back into our homes. Our lives, Alexander argues, are Hermes-driven, hectic and over-full. Over-full to the point that we have lost the essential order and sense of haven that our homes should give us. And I love this: Alexander points out that the word "focus" is a Latin word for hearth, and the hearth is Hestia's domain. You honor Hestia when you lay your table with attention and care, or when you light a fire to sit by on a cool autumn evening.

When I think about the rooms in my home, the idea of intention is what comes most to my mind. I like rooms with intention. Rooms that have a clear use and are clearly used. That's where Hestia seems to sing most for me. I offends my sense of order and focus when rooms are a hodge-podge of items and intents. "Let's put the CD case in here because there's room on that one wall, and it doesn't really go anywhere else," kinds of rooms. I'm never successful, but boy I'm trying. Our kitchen is our family room and home office, but really it's meant to be all of those things. Do I think a comfy sectional with a wall-mounted flat screen for tv watching and XBOX playing would give it more intention, well sure. But the sofa that's here now is serving it's purpose just fine. The tv too, I suppose. And what else is funny is that my same sense of order isn't offended in other homes. Just my own. In other people's houses, I tend to find myself thinking things like, "what a great idea to put the CD cabinet there. I wonder if ours would work in a different spot." Go figure.

All this thought about intention brings me right around to the Blue Rain Room. Of all our rooms, this room has had the least intention of any. For awhile, at least. When we moved in, the previous owners were finishing up a master bedroom/kitchen (don't get me started on that one...) addition, and what was once just a smallish bedroom became a walk-through room to the master. It's hard to know what to do with a walk-through bedroom with no lighting, only one outlet and a really small closet. If we'd had another baby, it would have made a great nursery, for awhile at least, but since we didn't, it just became a room we walked through to get to our bedroom. We plunked some bookshelves in there because that was a good place for them. We talked about ordering a closet system from IKEA and turing it into a closet space while using our current closet to expand our master bath. Somewhere along the way, as we were just walking through, I painted it this lovely shade of gray blue (Rain Washed, by Behr), and the color alone made me happier to be in there.

I started sewing only shortly before starting blogging, so have only recently needed a space. Knitting, which I've been doing for awhile, can be done anywhere... in the car, in front of the tv, on the front porch. Stuff your yarn and needles somewhere and you're good to go.

Sewing's different. With sewing, you need to be somewhere. Knitting you can pick up and take along. Knitting you can realize halfway through Top Chef that you have an unfinished sock or Josephine next to you and work your way through a few rows. Sewing you have to intend to do. It requires intention. Perhaps that's why I'm falling in love with it.

So I carved out a little space. Moved a table, squeezed in my machine, bought an ironing board. Tried to hang a shelf (it fell). Cleared a bookcase for some fabric. Bought some lights. Dragged in about a mile of extension cords. I did some research too. Spent a lot of time looking enviously at other crafter's studios. Some of my favorites can be found here and here or here or here. And did you know there's a whole craftroom pool over at Flickr? I could spend days digging around all those photos. Those spaces, and many others too numerous to name, all sing the same song to me. They are ordered and deliberate and intentional. They are as much about inspiration as they are about utilzation. Intention, as I well know, can be beautiful, and I want the Blue Rain Room to be filled with order and intention and inspiration too.

We've been working hard in here over the past few weeks. Really hung some shelves. Paid attention to what went on them. Oh the luxury of more than enough space. It's a dream really. I already felt lucky to have a room here that I could carve out just for me and my endeavours. Now, walking through here, I feel extra-blessed.

Many of the things that inspire me are here, from the baby blanket my great-grandmother made me to some pottery of Callum's to a photo of Neel as a young child...even the range of colors on the spools of thread hanging on the wall. There's still work to do, I need a better table to cut fabric on and definitely some better lighting. And one day I'll get my act together and get over to flickr to put some notes on these photos, but right now I can't wait to get to work!

Sometimes being mindful is about nothing more than putting my daily (or three) sparkling water in my grandmother's glass with a slice of lemon instead of just drinking it from the can. Sometimes it involves measuring and painting and many trips to the hardware store and pilot holes like a dotted line across the wall. Sometimes it's as much about how you got the room this way as it is about what you do in it once that space is ordered to your liking. All I know is that I smile when I walk through here now. That it's hard to walk through without stopping and grabbing a piece of fabric or digging out a matching bobbin. That I seem to settle into myself when I'm in there. And that my brain is about to explode with all the stuff I want to do, starting with every single project first and doing them all right now.

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30 is the new 20

Yesterday was my friend Rebecca's thirtieth birthday. (She's a baby.) I've said before that our neighborhood was tight, and Rebecca's mom invited all of us to her house for a surprise-ish birthday dinner. I say surprise-ish because even though we staggered our departures, Tyler gave her the hairy eyeball when she pulled out of her driveway before he did and she was instantly suspicious. Smart cookie, our Rebecca.

It's fascinating to me that people who grow up here don't tend to leave. I've lived in four different states since leaving home for college (and I have friends here who have nearly doubled that), but most of the folks we know in our neighborhood live just a matter of a couple of miles from the home where they grew up. While it's hard for me to imagine living in my old hometown, part of me envies being able to breeze into my parents' home, as comfortable there as I ever was.

Rebecca's parents' house is a real stunner. It's a gracious old Southern house in a gracious old Southern neighborhood. There's a beautiful formality to it that doesn't at all feel stuffy. A lot of these houses make it hard for me to imagine propping open the door with my butt while I flip through the mail and drop my keys on the counter. Hard to imagine my own day to day in such rich surroundings. This house is elegant, yes. But mostly warm and welcoming.

Her dad is an architect, and her mom has a great eye for design and color. Marry that with this uncanny ability to find the most gorgeous things at TJ Maxx and the Dollar Store and you have Jan's house. Sky-high ceilings don't hurt.

Dinner table, set for many.



They have this great wall where dozens and dozens of friends and family, cousins, brothers, aunts, neighbors and dogs have their height measured. Here's Callum showing how he's grown since the last time he was there. This is something else that I have trouble wrapping my head around. Staying in one place long enough to make a mark like this. I'm used to moving every 5-6 years, and when we were childless, I kind of liked it. I feel the tiniest bit itchy even now, just four years in. Will we stay in the little gray house forever? I don't know. Do I want to? Not sure of that either. It's like I have to adapt to long-term thinking. And that feels odd.

Just look at these lovely ladies. Color-coordinated no less. And in heels! Wow. This is something I'm not very good at yet. Dressing for dinner the way the Southern gals do. I wore a skirt, for sure, but with a plain white tee shirt. It's my uniform for summer. Not at all dressy, just cool and comfortable. I suppose I should have put on some lipstick. I wouldn't mind at all pulling on a dress or two. The heels, I'm not to sure about though.

Our hostesses' shoes. She matched the napkins too.

Unveiling, The Rebecca. (Oh my gosh, so flattered that she put it on right away!). Thank you, thank you to Jan and Bill for including us, and thank you, thank you to all of our wonderful friends who make me so happy just by being near. And to you dear Rebecca? Many, many happy returns of the day, my friend.

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she makes one pavlova and suddenly she's a baker

First off, before we start baking cakes or knitting sweaters, let me say a ginormous THANK YOU for your comments on Callum's post. He was a smiling blur of happiness after each and every one. I wish I could show you...

It was too hot for the beach and there was not enough time for a movie, so we turned on some Dan Zanes and broke out some cookbooks.

We picked the Upside Down Pear Cake from Eat, Drink, Live. The more I play around with this cookbook, the more I like it. I don't really like cooked fruit...seriously, the only reason to eat cobbler is for the crust, but I was intrugued by the twist of using pears instead of pineapple. The recipe also said it was a good one to make with kids, so I was sold. We weren't disappointed.


We used red bartlet pears, and since Callum's idea of baking involves knives, after he greased the pans, he halved, cored and sliced them for me.

What amazes me about this picture is that those hands look so, so big. They could be my hands. Big kid.

Things always get dicey at this stage of baking in our house. Callum is allergic to raw eggs. It was a disasterous introduction to raw cookie dough (isn't that just a shame?) and then the aforementioned Grandma Mercedes thumbprint cookies, namely the egg wash, that clued us into this particular quirk of his. so I have to do all of the egg-y parts alone. Could be why we don't bake much around here. Callum sits across the kitchen. Waiting. Worried. He was fine.

After creaming together sugar, butter and eggs, you fold in flour and milk.

You pour the batter over the pears and bake for about 45 minutes.

It comes out looking like this. Smells like heaven, too.

We had to get to karate, so we put a lid on it and headed out. I thought the cake was pretty cool when I put it on the cake plate, but see how steamed up it is? It's been hot here, no question.

I had a late meeting last night, so we bypassed dessert in favor of breakfast. It may not have been a photographic success, but it was definitely a baking success. Not terribly sweet which pleased Neel (his lack of a sweet tooth may be another reason why not much baking is done around here), and not too much mushy fruit, which pleased me. And I loved the delicate flavor of the pears. The sweetest part was the sweetened whipped cream on the side. The recipe calls for 3T of milk, and I almost wonder how it would be to subsitute some pear liquer...just to enhance that pear-y flavor.

Not a bad way to start the day! New plate love too...pear green despite our red bartlets.

It's a new day, washed clean with some seriously huge storms (that I had to drive through after my meeting) last night. The hood comes tonight for Greek Night, and Callum and I have a lot to do to get ready.


In knitterly news, I got my KnitPicks Shine Sport yesterday, cast on last night and worked the first row this morning. I have some reservations about the Shine Sport. I don't mind working with it, but in the projects I've used it on in the past, it just feels, I don't know, ropey. I think I'll like the stitch definition though. Elizabeth's over at amingledyarn is just lovely. Go check it out. She's the one who inspired me in the first place and she has some links to other Jos. This is only adult-sized sweater #2 for me, so it's not going to be nearly as nice, I'm sure. Can't help myself though! I'll keep you posted.

That, the Somewhat Cowl from The Garter Belt and some supersecret sewing projects ought to keep me busy for awhile.

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the long slow march of the WIP


Here's what I should be doing:

~the dishes (sorry Neel)
~folding laundry
~transplanting our hibiscus plants
~sorting through my 5,000+ (yes, more than 5,000) photos in iphoto, naming, deleting them, etc.
~moving the feather bed (and a few Christmas ornaments we found lying around) up to the attic since I've decided that it'll be more special to only have it on in the winter.
~writing a few over-due e-mails

Here's what I did today instead:

~watered the grass (using our Pirates kiddie sprinkler)
~chatted with some neighbors on the front porch while I watched the grass being watered
~paid the bills for the month (all of them! on time!)
~made lunch
~cleaned (almost) the sunporch
~checked in on some blogs
~sent and read some e-mails
~researched new digital cameras
~listened to Callum play 2001..."open the pod bay doors, Hal."
~tracked my dad's birthday presents. (I love the internet)
~marinated some fish for dinner
~hit the dog on the head with a hammer (no, really) (it's a toy that makes the sound of breaking glass)
~started today's post to bluerainroom

Here's what I'd like to be doing: (I'll leave out things like "reading a book by the beach.")

~flipping through this
~or this
~ordering a new digital camera
~starting a new sewing project
~what the hell, reading a book by the beach
~ordering some tags from
~playing in photoshop

sunporch, before

sunporch, after

Not too shabby, huh? Man, that was hot cranky work. I want to throw so much of that crap away, but truthfully, Callum plays with a lot of it. We're going to turn this spot, designed to fit a twin mattress, into a reading nook for the rest of the summer. Frankly, I just didn't have the energy to get to it today.

As I worked, I kept trying to come up with a way to combine the words "knit" and "apathy." It was going to be the title of this post, but the best I could come up with was "knitathy" or maybe "knipathy." Both sounded like they could as easily be combining "sympathy" as "apathy." And that feels oddly appropriate. I need some knitting sympathy. Because, frankly, someone who is thinking about knitting as much as I am is not apathetic. I'm doing a lot of thinking, I'm just not...well, knitting. I have several WIPs on the sticks right now (including the scarf at the top of the post), enough so that I feel I should finish something among them before starting anything new. I have interest in knitting, I just can't seem to muster the interest in those projects.

So do I start something totally new...abandon the things I started and still love (at least from afar). I have the sense that I want to work on something that has some meat to it, a fairly intricate pattern, for a sweater, perhaps. Of course this is a rationalization, but maybe it'll get me interested in doing more than thinking. So I've ordered some Knitpicks Shine Sport in aquamarine to make this:
The Josephine Top, from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007.

In the meantime I'll try to make some progress on that scarf, and maybe do some reading to boot!

P.S. Sarah, if you're out there, I'm thinking of you kiddo! Yours is one of the e-mails that I need, no want to send! XOXO, Lauren

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Yeah, sometimes I make things...just not lately! Will you look at that...what a dump. I didn't do a lot of knitting on the trip, some embroidery, and (shamefaced) a good bit of sudoku. I sank right down into the laziness of island life with no drive stronger than to relax and have fun. To enjoy every moment.


So I'd stuff my knitting in my bag when we headed out to the beach or pool each morning, but I'd never do more than a round or two. I'd read some or simply laze around. I've never been very good at sitting still. I think that's why I like knitting so much. I can watch tv, keep an eye on dinner and hang out with my family, all while plowing my way through a few repeats of a scarf or pair of socks. I got a lot better at sitting still while we were in Greece.

Knossos Beach Hotel, Crete. With a view like this, it's hard not to get distracted and simply gaze away.

Now that I'm home, my fingers are as restless as the rest of me. I'd love to get my hands in some projects, but I just can't do it with this mess looming.

I can't even find my sewing machine in all that.

I don't have a huge stash, really. Not compared to some I've heard about, but I do feel overwhelmed, and I'd like to spend the summer reducing my footprint. I'm gonna try really, really hard to work from my yarn and fabric stash this summer. Really, I promise.

I have plenty to work with, just look at that little baby pile of fabric. And yarn too. So be patient with me a little longer, let me get cleaned up and organized, and then I might have something to show for it.

I did do some cleaning in the sewing room this afternoon. A little, at least. But my inner Greek slithered out and I came back down to make one of these:

It's a frappe'. I had a daily does of this loveliness while we were on our trip. I have mine metrios me gala (medium {sweet} with milk) and they're super easy to make. Pour two teaspoons of instant coffee into a cocktail shaker with a teaspoon of sugar and 4-5 teaspoons of water. Shake until really foamy. Pour into a glass and add milk and more water to taste. Relax and enjoy. That's what I did.

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making things


So, yeah, there's a lot going on these days what with the end of school and A REALLY BIG TRIP looming, so it seemed like a good idea to show those of you who do lurk around the place that I DO make things. As I've said before, I haven't been good at all about documenting the things I've knit or sewn. Part of the reason I started this whole blog thing wsa to document not just the sundries of my daily life (oh so interesting...), but my crafting life as well.


I started knitting about three falls ago when I wanted to make scarves for Callum's teachers. They were awful, but the process clearly wasn't. My friend Sarah had been knitting for years, and I'd never understood the appeal. I'm not entirely sure what turned me onto it in the first place, but after those three miserable scarves (you know, dropped stitches, uneven tension, odd increases and decreases, crappy yarn) I was hooked. Or...what? Stuck?


I really thought I would be content to knit scarves forever (and I do still love having lots of scarves...), until Megan bullied me into knitting socks (thanks, Megan!). Suddenly a whole new world opened up. Projects...graphs...patterns. A sock here and there (and how satisfying to actually wear something that you made), some sweater ornaments and some mittens, a beaded bracelet and some wristlets. Oh, and hats and washcloths and bags. But I still wasn't brave enough to try an actual article of a sweater.


Then my whole neighborhood started turning up pregnant. I love these women, and felt that they needed and deserved more than my requisite baby hat and booties. So perhaps, just perhaps I could manage a sweater if it was on a newborn scale. Ahhh...another obsession born. (So to speak.)


Eliott first (he got the green with the seed-stitch heart), then Mackenzie. A little girl needs some pink and brown, don't you think? I swear, if I could, I'd have one of these swingy little sweater coats just for me. What loveliness. Even if I do say so myself. I get it now, the desire for something a bit more complex. The desire to dig deep into a pattern and come out wearing something. Stuck, that's me.

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sometimes I make things


I am woefully behind the times. I think the first blog I discovered may have been dooce, and it was this entry that had me hooked. Around the same time, I was making the shift from dabbler-knitter, to "knitter" and googling all sorts of things like "short rows" and "kitchener stitch." It was through those internet rambles that I started to discover knitting blogs. I think Elizabeth's may have been one of the first. (It's fun to backtrack a little, because I think Knitty got me there in the first place.) For a long time I used Elizabeth's page of links to navigate (Hi Elizabeth, if you've dropped by! I'm still coveting that Weekender Bag, but there's no way I'm going to have enough time to make it before we leave.), then I got brave enough to venture out on my own. I found Alicia and Jane (see how we're all on a first name basis!) and oh my gosh how inspiring have Amy's aprons been? I really will get brave enough for Tie One On, soon, I promise! It was the way these women (and many others, really) wrote about their lives and crafting and (in some cases) raising kids that inspired me. So how can I have been doing this blog thing of my own for almost a month now and not talk about the things I'm making?

Shy, maybe? A big part probably. Woefully miserbale photography skills? Well, you knew that already. Really woefully miserable documenting skills. (I have tons of stuff out there that never got photographed or documented.) But yes, sometimes I make things. The photo at the top of the post is the wee start to a pair of Fetching fingerless mits. Wrong time of year (I gave a lot of these as Christmas gifts), but a good gift for Callum's 1st grade teacher. I'm hoping she'll wear them on the playground next year and think of what fun she had.

Necklace Roll

This necklace roll is a gift for my jewelry-artist friend Marianne on her 40th birthday. I own so many beautiful things that she has made, I wanted her to have something that I made that shows how much I appreciate her gifts. Here's a look at the inside:


I've been making some handbags too:

I'm in the "learn as you go" school of sewing. Hoping to get more proficient and well, faster as I go along. I'd like to truck out a bunch of these little bags and try some new designs too.

So yes, sometimes I make things. I hope to get some work time in this weekend (Callum asked today if sewing or knitting was a "chore." Most definitely not! But I'll get better in the documentation and the photography, and hope to have a gallery of photos somewhere around here.

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