Saturday, October 31, 2009


i need help - when I came here to post today, my font was gone along with my photo button. I am one second away from ditching Blogger forever. Can anyone advise?
Thanks in advance!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Remember those Bed Socks that Patty made for my birthday?  Here is an image, and I just wish that you could reach in and touch these lovelies because they are THAT soft and delicious ... thank you Patty, you are the best.

Made from an alpaca and merino blend that she found at Sheep & Wool last year - really special and appreciated!  I love socks.  I really enjoy what you are all making out there in Sock Land.  My fantasy is to open my sock drawer on any given day to glimpse DOZENS of pairs of hand knitted socks.  It never happens.  Here is a pic of the last pair that I started ...

Fantastic fiber, exceptional design .... what the heck?

I need help.  Inspiration.  Buds to knit socks with.  I feel lonely!  Alone with my knitting - an island. Does anyone out there have advice - some kind of formula that will help me to move forward and beyond this sock block?  When I look at Miss Baa Baa Blacksheep's blog, I swoon.  She is THAT good.  I am not worthy ...

I have another piece of knitting that I am working on - it is Anne Hanson's 'Hillflowers' and I am knitting it in Briar Rose delicious-nessssss...

There are many many fibers out there to choose from, but I must say that Chris's fibers are really spectacular - in every way.  Not only are they incredible to work on, but the colors are dreamy and the fiber smells amazing!!!!  It really does - it is a total turn on.  You know what I'm talking about!  Non-commercial yarn is sensual.  Am I wrong?

This is what I have - what I will continue to strive toward - that, and making (completing) SOCKS!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Musquee de Provence, Long Island Cheese, Lumina, Rouge Vif d'Etampes, Atlantic Giant, Connecticut Field, Jack Be Little, Winter Luxury Pie, Kumi Kumi, Yokohama, Futtsu, Paw Paw .... the names are every bit as fascinating as the pumpkins and gourds that I adore.  It's a long love affair, I assure you, and one that never fades.  Ask the Can-Do-Guy about the year that I 'encouraged' him to roto-till half of the property to plant pumpkins!  Or about the time that I brought the last 'cinderella pumpkin' of the season in to grace the Thanksgiving table and it stayed on through April - never even hinting at rot or softening!  (we really MUST turn the thermostat up this winter!)

Pumpkins make me happy.  I love their dependable and robust growing habits - how they trail all around the garden, visiting the rhubarb, making their way over to see the cabbages ...  the way their leaf foliage stands at attention and holds the pose up until frost ... the unexpected pleasure of their orange skins, or the ghostly white luminas, shimmering under a harvest moon.

No small wonder that when I first laid eyes on this Moda fabric, I squeaked with happiness!  I held onto these panels for a long time.  Last year I started pulling my favorite fabrics for Chinese Coins and somehow the coins and the panels came together.

Some favorite reading with the favorite quilt ...

And because I NEED for you to understand what a truly exemplary machine quilter Linda Hibbert Silver Linings Originals is - I give you the flip side of this piece ...

Choosing which side to show is always a problem.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's clear that we have crossed over to autumn, without the obligatory Indian Summer.  There is a snap in the air which defines and sets the stage for that white stuff.  It's coming.  You know what I mean.  Harley and I sat outside for a long while this afternoon, just taking it all in.  (Until I saw a deer tick climbing on his head.  Lovely.)  It had rained all day and all night and this morning the leaves  had created a new blanket to cover the lawn.  Someone, quickly!  Hide the rakes!

 This is a knitting/quilting blog, but since I believe in the adage that knitting art truly imitates life, I feel justified in writing about anything that looks like, sounds like, tastes like and feels like life/knitting  - it is all fair game.  

I was thinking about how much has changed in my life these last six months.  At some point I realized that I was starting new projects in an almost frenzied manner - much like the events that have been occurring since April... unending, never anticipated, charging forward without reflection or pity.  Now, I am faced with a slew of knitting and quilting projects - all clamoring for closure.  It's overwhelming, daunting - depressing.  (not unlike all that leaf raking to come...)

And closure is what I'm after - I have to believe this.  The mind wants silence and success - hard to come by when every basket in the house is stuffed with fiber.  If I were to complete each project, one at a time, I would have enough subject matter to keep this blog active through the new year.  Instead of fussing and fixating, I made a promise to myself today - that I would work on what I have here, in this house, in these baskets, on these shelves.  (gulp)  I can do this.  And perhaps, if I complete this lofty aspiration, perhaps THEN I will feel less swept away by these strange winds of change.  (and maybe I'll actually go out and use the rake!)

This is the Halloween banner that I made several years ago when we grew and sold cinderella pumpkins and gourds.  Now it spends the season hanging in a doorway where I can admire all of that handwork!  

Many years ago I made this quilt, using the Pierre Deux cottons that I had hoarded for the better part of a decade!  Of course i didn't have enough to fashion an entire quilt, so this became a combo of french and american cottons.  It makes me smile to see it - I had not learned the technique of making snugly crisp bindings yet, and my piecing left a lot to be desired.  But it was a testimony to my unsurpassable partner, and there was nothing contrived about those feelings.  

Unless I'm mistaken, this was the beginning of my Gwen Marston period.  Her book, 'Liberated Quiltmaking' had a profound effect upon me and how I came to view quilt making.  It not only freed me, it gave me permission to throw caution to the wind, while keeping tradition in my sights.  And, most importantly, it brought joy and newly discovered delight to the process for me.

I leave you with my front door ornamentation - if you look closely you will see actual cat hairs on this beauty as Bella-the-Ingrate knows no boundaries.  

Friday, October 23, 2009


These are mitts for Patty - I had tried to finish them before Sheep and Wool, but ran short on time.  They are Anne Hanson's clever 'Zig Zag' pattern, knitted from Wooly Wonka cormo - my photo does not do the yarn any justice whatsoever - the color, Nantucket, is dreamy.  

I have been longing for a new camera with more pixels - I wander around the internet and admire blogs which boast really intense, saturated images - places where one feels one can reach in and lick touch the yarn!  Maybe Santa will hear my wish if I close my eyes and concentrate on sending this out into the universe!  Santa, think Canon G9.   

As we get closer to Halloween, I am getting ready to pull out the best of my decorations - I have saved the best for last.  Here's a sneaky peek-

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today I am older than dirt.   But it's all good.  I'm hearing that there will be sushi.  There was pumpkin cake from Trader Vic's at work.  And my BFF Patty - she is an ANGEL.  She made bed socks for me.  BED. SOCKS.  Socks that are never meant to be worn in one's shoes, but rather placed upon one's feet while reading or watching 'House'.  They are scrumptious and I need to take a pic, but I've lost the light.  Tomorrow, when I am one day older than dirt.

But my BFF Patty?  She didn't stop at that.

Monday, October 19, 2009


There isn't more than a year separating my cousin from myself.  We grew up differently and mostly apart, but there was a connection between us from the beginning.  In later years, when we would sit and count our similarities, one thing seemed crystal clear - we had garnered the lion's share of talent that was bestowed upon our clan, and we both suffered (silently) from ADD.  Fifty years ago kids like us got whacked for twisting in our seats and deviling our classmates.  We were considered disruptive and problematic and sooner or later we were either ignored or dismissed as having nothing significant to contribute.  We both excelled in our art classes.  We could paint, we could draw, we could sculpt - but forget about anything like calculus or chemistry.  We inhaled literature - our noses always stuck in some obscure volume, or the back of the cereal box in a pinch!  We watched our classmates wave their excellent SAT scores over their heads and we watched them trot off to college.  My cousin ran away to join the hippies while I skulked off (reluctantly) to junior college.

But I digress.  

When we were young, our mothers-who-were-sisters, would put us together for a few days during our summer vacations.  My cousin was tender and easily given to tears.  For some unspeakable reason, this vulnerability of hers brought out the bully in me.  This is a confession, people.  I used to take my cousin for a walk past the dirt road that led to the creek.  I  would fill her head with ghoulish stories of hatchets and murders and then I would LEAVE HER THERE and run like hell for home.  Looking back, over my despicable shoulder, I would see her standing, frozen in place, fists balled into her eyes, crying for all she was worth.

 I think that I always relented and went back for her.  But she was so trusting, so gullible, that I could turn around and pull the same nasty trick on her the following day!  I was a bad child.  She was always a sweet forgiving soul, luckily for me.  And so, we have this history between us which makes us fast and firm friends and we will be, for life.  No matter what.  I would do anything for her.   

SO...... I walked down into the cramped room the other day that was once the servants quarters in this old house.   It's a little bit creepy, that space, with its low ceilings and the smell of disappointment clinging to its walls.  For the most part, I avoid that room altogether, using it for storage of seasonal decorations, etc.  There is no light until one actually climbs down the stairs into the room and flicks a switch.  As I was reaching for the switch in the dim light, I saw something move.  It scared the beJesus out of me.  It was unworldly, unholy.

It had a friend - 

Cousin - you did it.  You scared the ever-loving sheeeit out of me!  Are we even?  HELL, NO!  We are just getting started!  My cousin made these frightful dolls from the gourds that I grow.  She and I share a love for Halloween and all things ghoulish!  I think that she is way more Tim Burton-ish in her discipline than I, but we do savor and celebrate the macabre in our own special ways.  

Bella is thinking about what she wants to be for Halloween.  

Harley is more concerned about a nap, taken in a pool of October sunlight.

And I have been thinking about that orange project - it involves another interpretation of 'Storm at Sea', which I can never seem to get enough of.  Now it's time to say goodnight.  

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The weather held - what a delight.  We had a perfect day for the festival - cold and crisp, brilliant.  The highlight of my day was meeting Anne Hanson in person and her lovely friend, Kim.  No, I didn't take pictures - it seemed too common a request and besides, it was a fleeting moment - best savored and turned over in the mind's eye.  I was lucky enough to attend this show with my BFF Patty, and we really had a wonderful day.  Autumn had painted the sugar maples just in time for the knitters -

Lots of food vendors to choose from, but we were anxious to peruse the aisles and make our selections and head over to see the livestock - really, what is Sheep and Wool without the creatures who provide the fiber?

Isn't she sweet?  I am absolutely smitten with these animals - 

This one didn't share the sentiment.  In fact, he was one downright scary dude!

That's Tulip.  She's cashmere - a mere slip of a creature.  Patty tried to purchase her.  I wondered out loud where Patty (a) planned on keeping her, and (b) what part of livestock/barn works with person/house?  Too much.  We left without her.  

This guy was just downright majestic, and a kind soul to boot.  He tolerated his grooming like a good sport and had leftover good cheer for his audience.  Him, I'D take home!  Imagine the great butting contests he and the Harley dog would have!

There were bunnies galore and a pair of these gorgeous guys -

There were exotic animals that were fascinating - tortoise and kangeroos and striped lemurs.  Are you wondering about fiber?  There was an abundance.  I found some incredible merino and alpaca blend - it was a wonderful bargain, so I stocked up.  Do you love those buttons?  Love at first sight - I'll build a sweater around them!

On the way home I had to make a quick stop at the local quilt shop - my head has been buzzing with a new quilt idea that incorporates orange (what a surprise!) white and gray.

Got home, tired and happy - there was one fellow who was a bit annoyed that he had missed his walk.  We'll take care of that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


 What do you think of my Halloween candle?  Lally gave it to me when she picked up her quilt the other day.  The packaging is gorgeous and the fragrance of the candle indescribably beautiful.

Just sitting around knitting with my buddies.  Harley has a new toy, courtesy of my son.  He loves it, even when he shakes the devil out of it and gets hit simultaneously on each side of his head.  He also trips when he runs with it.  He is a very funny fellow, and so good-natured.  

oh,oh, here comes trouble.  That cat is always trying to steal Harley's thunder, as well as his people.  Never mind that the cat was here first.  Bella has given this dog a wide berth from day one.  She taunts him whenever my back is turned, but I like to think that they have established an agreeable living arrangement. 

Maybe not.

I've been watching the weather channel pretty anxiously.  Sheep and Wool is going to be 'enjoyed' with a good old fashioned nor'easter in town.  This means wet, cold, windy soaking conditions all weekend long.  The sheep will have their coats on, and the knitters had best do the same!  Time to pull out the sweaters and hats.