Sunday, January 31, 2010


My BFF and I were having a conversation about life and knitting.  She owns a yarn shop and Jared Flood was there, teaching a workshop on seamless something.  She had left the shop to steal a few precious 'down time' moments for herself, knowing that everything was fine in the capable hands of Mr. Flood.  She called me and we started talking about time management and how difficult it is to find and/or make time for knitting.  For instance, I had good intentions to attend the workshop, but decided against it as it would cut into my weekend too drastically.  Staying home meant that I would nearly complete a small quilt top AND work on some knitted projects AND create a great dinner AND help my daughter move into her new house.

This morning, in hindsight, I am wishing that I'd gone and participated in the knitting event!  Because, as Patty pointed out, we NEVER have enough time for knitting.  In the deep of the steamy humid month of July we will be fanning ourselves and wishing January back.  And knitting.

My daughter wants me to make some of these:
Being the good and dutiful mother that I am, I just clammed up and started digging around for a stray skein of Cascade - my knitterly version of muslin - the perfect yarn to "try out" something new.  You're probably wondering, as am I, what in the hell heck she wants these for.  We'll wonder together, in silence.  This is not a prudent family, given to great circumspection, so I will now go into hyper-watchfulness.  Sooner or later, my vigilance will pay off.  It always does.

See this -

It's not a great image and I apologize.  Santa forgot to bring me that Nikon that I yearn for.  This is the button band of a sweater that I cannot seem to finish.  These bands are slow going tortuous things.  But they will enhance the sweater so very much that I know I HAVE to go forward, no matter how many hours are required.
It's coming along nicely - I LOVE the picot edges.  There's just a wishful part of me that keeps hoping the knitting fairies will come in the night and finish those bands!  Does anyone else out there suffer from this malady?  Here's another view -
You can see that my guard dogs are at the ready - just in case someone tries to break into my sewing room and steal the snacks fabric.  I used to think that they liked hanging out with me, but it's probably the snacks.  I had the use of a wonderful flat screen TV for the year that Hilary was away, but we had to take it over to her this morning for the new digs.  I'm hating life without that TV.  It kept good company and I loved the NatGeo station.  And those House reruns.  Oh well.

Scott's cousin wants to learn how to make mittens, so I am starting her out with this very basic pattern.  I've instructed her NOT to look at Ravelry until she finishes the first mitt.  Once she sees the Fiddlehead mittens that I covet, she'll want help with those too.  Remember that earlier theme - 'never enough time for knitting'?  Teaching doesn't count because you don't get to work on your OWN stuff!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Annie is the angel who helps to care for my father at the Lutheran Home.  She is the most remarkable young woman.  On any given day you can walk into the facility to find Annie 'decorating' for a holiday or singing vintage songs or doing some kind of wild jig or painting someone's nails or handing out hugs.  She is all heart, that girl, and we love her.  And that is an understatement.

So for this special young woman - a gift.  One from the heart to someone who is ALL heart.
Yes - Linda Hibbert's signature quilting is all over this quilt - once again her thread play elevated my piece from 'nice' to Extraordinary.  She used at least four different colors and her design work is playful and beautiful - just like our Annie.
I finished the binding yesterday and am working on a special label.  I'm planning to present this to Annie next week. I hope that it will express how important she is to this family -  how much we value the work that she does, how much we cherish her and how grateful we are to have her looking after our father.

The binding is nice too - a fossil fern with that dreamy watery quality that my camera cannot quite capture...
In case you were wondering - I've got the quilt snuggled in a black plastic garbage bag - pulling out only the area that I need to work on.  This method goes a long way toward preventing Harley hair from attaching itself to the quilt!  

We are currently caught in a cold snap with snow squalls and frigid wind whistling down through the cracks of this old house.  I know that for some being 'marooned' at home is a sentence of sorts, but for me - it is pure grace.  I like nothing better than to be cut off from the hustle and bustle of obligations and work and traffic.  Give me a snow day and throw in some cabin fever and I'm a happy camper.  You can be sure that I'll find myself in the kitchen at some point, concocting a large pot of soup.  Today's special was green pea soup - made from scratch with a ham bone and generous ham bits.
There were toasted buttered croutons to accompany this dish.  We may not always have what we want, but we have enough today.  More than enough to be grateful for.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My meeting with Prof Russell went exceedingly well, even though I had to ask for directions.  A long climb to the top of Sanders building empties into a small reception area and his warmly-lit cavernous office.  It only takes a few moments to discover that he is a gardener - and no, I didn't ask if he knits, but I will tell you that he is the most charming and inquisitive man!   And generous.  He has agreed to work with me on an independent basis - and I have a reading assignment.  Independent Study.  How lucky am I?

Wash cloths - that's all I've got.

Oh - and Jack Russell popped in for a cameo.  He doesn't think that he gets enough air play.  In all fairness, this is true.  The problem is his mercurial nature.  He is almost impossible to photograph because he never sits still.  He's looking pretty good for a 13 year old, yes?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Ever since I started working at a liberal arts college - one that is saturated in the arts, I've wanted to attend classes to complete my degree program.  After all, this is one of the few perks of working for an institution that barely pays a living wage!  It used to be fairly easy to sign up and attend classes for credits, but the college has established new rules, some of which are ridiculous.  For instance, it's perfectly ok for me to work with our students in the office setting, but in order to sit next to them in class, I have to have updated vaccinations!  Really?  So I opted for the 'easy plan' - I hope to audit a class, and if I'm really really REALLY lucky, the professor will allow me to slip in.

You see, he's famous.  And his classes are always packed to the rafters.  Standing room only.

And he's been out of the country, so I have not heard back from his office about the possibility of attending the coveted class.  But this morning I woke up to find an email from him!  Yay!  And he wants me to stop by his office this afternoon.  Gulp.  Wish me luck.

Here's what I've been reading lately -

I wonder if there will be a quiz.
There's been some knitting and some reading about knitting - Amazon delivered this over the weekend.

I don't suppose Professor Russell would be too impressed, that is, of course, unless he's a Knitter!  Stranger things have been known to happen!  I could invite him to the Jared Flood workshop next weekend.  I think I'm getting ahead of myself.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Business is slow for Scott, (alias Can-Do-Guy) which makes him uneasy.  It's hard to recall the last time his crew wasn't working on the construction or renovation of at least two or three jobs.  The building industry has taken a substantial hit by this wretched recession - not unlike many others.  But when Scott disappears into the Man Cave barn for a few days, something is brewing.  I'm guilty of winging a few barbed remarks his way - something to the effect of 'beating the bushes since the Jobs weren't knocking at the barn door' - mean spirited stuff like that, which I regret.  Here's why -

He wasn't sitting around twiddling his thumbs - and now I need to apologize for being such a miserable harpy.

There's a curious little post-script to this entry which just proves that sometimes the universe bends in and listens and delivers its own brand of sentencing.  As I was leaving the barn, having relieved myself of those small minded remarks, I hit an inconspicuous patch of black ice and landed firmly on my arse.  HARD.  Tears-stinging-the-eyes hard. And it was clear to me, at that very moment, that justice had been served.  So Scott, I am sorry for unloading my frustration on you - in my defense, I'd been working w/o a break for too many days.  I adore your furniture, your style, the color you chose for me.  You always get it right.

P.S. He's taking orders for this splendid I-can-get-some-of-my-stash-in-it cabinetry.  


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Have worked twelve days in a row, stopping yesterday for a mental health break.  We had a family party to attend last evening, so my creative time has been non existent.  I did manage a few 'H' blocks in the morning and decided that the quilt needed a little push - remembering that Wanda had added beautifully effective star blocks gave me the courage to go out on THIS limb . . .

What can I say - both Hilary and I adore flamingos... I mean really, what's NOT to love!

Spent some time reorganizing my knitting patterns - I am getting ready to 'publish' my first original and you will see it here first.  But I cannot predict when that will actually occur!  Work has been insane, life has been messy.  Knitting on this little project is mindless and perfect for a chaotic mind.  Blue Sky Alpaca cotton always delivers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Life has been chaotic and wonderful with the Bean back.  I've decided to cast off these pseudonyms in favor of the names that my loved ones go by - my daughter is Hilary -lovely, yes?  And now you know why the 'H' quilt is such a fun and addictive project for me.

I find myself cutting out H blocks whenever and however I can!  Last night we had a dinner party, and I was in the sewing room piecing a few rows together right up until the last moment - I had to hustle downstairs in order to get the food going!  Luckily for me, Hilary's main squeeze 'Carson' is a real help in the kitchen.  He has spent the last year working in the food industry.  So, while he prepared my fruit salad, I cut a few more blocks out ...

I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a quilt as much as this one.  It's so vivacious - so full of itself ...

My workplace is somewhat dismal - a "garden" level which translates into basement-no windows-poor lighting.  It's especially hard for me, being the gardener that I am - and used to feeling the sun on my face, to spend 7.5 hours in that environment each day.   Walking into the space, casting off one's coat and plopping down in front of the computer always requires a grim effort - and a quick shot of gratitude for at least HAVING a job when so many others are without.  WHY am I talking about this?  Well, I decided that instead of bitching complaining about it, I would DO something about it!!!

You remember that little sojourn to the quilt shop last week?  Something crept into my bag whilst I was wandering the aisles..

and this:

And of course these:

This is a hilarious panel called 'Attitude Girls' and it absolutely defines my office mates.  Later in the week I hope to have something fun to post here that will chase away the winter ho-hums and brighten our work space.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I've noticed a curious little trend on Facebook - one is supposed to post the color of their undergarments - huh?  Here is my response:

This is a little wall hanging that I made for my daughter, who happens to have the most astonishing array of bras!  I'm not remembering where I found the pattern for it - but it was fun to create.

I have an unnatural attachment to polka dots.  I cannot resist any fabric that begins or ends with them.  Truth be told, I have no resistance to fabric, period (there's that DOT again!).  It's snowing heavily this morning, but I am already planning a  trip to the quilt shop at lunch.  Do I need anything?  What does THAT have to do with it?  I also 'need' to run by the yarn shop.  Better hit the bank first.  

Sunday, January 3, 2010


'Follow your desire while you live.

Place myrrh upon your head,
Clothe yourself in fine linen,
Anointed with real wonders
of God's own stores.

Increase your beauty,
And let not your mind tire
Follow your desire and what is good :
Acquire your possessions on earth.'

My dearest friend is following her bliss and going back for her doctorate - I am so glad for her.  2010 is going to be HER year - my dear Lally - can you hear me?  Lally, your spirit does not age.  Rather, it gets better with age!  I carry you around with me as I have from our beginnings.  You laugh at my ridiculous moments and grieve over my losses. You share my adventures.  You give me hope.  We live so far apart, but are never apart.  Now, it is YOUR turn to take us into the wild blue yonder, that's me, riding on your shoulder.   Talk to me  about a Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan.  Tell me about what gets in the way of our knowing ourselves ... remind me of the courage we all possess that strengthens and doubles when we go out on our native limb. 

 Congratulations - can't WAIT to call you DR.

What did I do today?  Well, I have to admit, I've been fussing.  I'm on overload at work and feeling remorseful about the time I DON'T spend at my father's nursing facility.  It snowed all day long and I was housebound with these feelings SOOOO ... I did what any good fiber addict would do:  I rummaged around for awhile ...

and then pressed a few things -

moving right along ...

See, this is an interesting project because it could be for any number of people!  Thank you dear Wanda, for getting me started on this 'H' quilt.  Could it be for Hilary?  Hadley?  Hack?  Horton?  Hermonine? (I made that one up)  Well, it has grown very quickly today, thanks to Wanda's good instructions - each cut provides for two blocks.  I feel as though I am creating two quilts at one time, with very little leftover.  (what do you do with your scraps?)

Can-Do-Guy came upstairs to say that we should hop in his truck and go to the diner -that we needed to shake ourselves out of our lazy at-home day.  I don't know about He-Who-Spent-the-Day-on-the-Sofa, but I accomplished quite a lot!   I wasn't really enthusiastic about stopping, but I did.  I was hankering after food that I did not have to prepare myself - something easy and light - a swiss and spinach omelet?

This is so much fun - I have a wicked big stash that I rarely visit and now, finally, I am digging in with a recklessness that is contagious.  Very little planning here - Big Fun.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

HAPPY 2010

Happy New Decade to us all.  How did you begin your first day of this new year?  I briefly considered some vigorous housework, but decided to go into the sewing cave, shovel a path to the machine tidy up a bit, and get busy!  

Good progress made on the Christmas Tree quilt - I am nearly ready to begin the first border.  I vowed not to put this piece away unfinished as I do each season.   This is a GOOD resolution that I won't regret, one that I can actually achieve!  I stopped to take a few images of a small banner I made for my daughter last year.     

This is a seriously cute panel-

There was a package from Williams Sonoma that I forgot to open - it arrived after Christmas and was hidden by some of the holiday clutter.

 I cannot bring myself to open this delight - I've seen blogs featuring homemade marshmallows, but never had the opportunity to sample any .... I just want to LOOK at this bewitching treat!

Mary Anne, if you're reading, won't you PLEASE send me a recipe?  Home. Made. Marshmallows.  Yum.  I've been thinking a lot about food lately as another resolution is directed at my waistline, my poor disappearing waistline.  My ideal diet would consist of what I consider to be the four basic food groups:  King Crab, avocado, coconut and creme brulee.  Oh - I almost forgot - brie.  Softened to room temperature.  And artichokes.  In oil.

I've also been considering a new pieced quilt - the inspiration comes from Wanda over at Exuberant Color.  She is so brave and creative with color - she just knocks my quilting socks off.  And she was nice enough to send me her personal calculations, which I appreciate so much.  Have I ever mentioned that math is not my strong suit?  Or how many years it took me to 'grasp' Algebra?  Fugly stuff - you don't want to know.

And, believe it or not, there has been knitting.  I am galloping toward the end stretch of two sweaters, neither of which I have photographed today.  This quiet evening spent knitting gives one pause - and time and space for reflection.  2009 was a turbulent year.  Not my favorite year.  But much good managed to show its face in this past year.  

Beginning this blog was an achievement - a high clear sign that when you love something, things develop.  It's helped me to chronicle my creative life and it's connected me to people who are as passionate about fiber as I am. When I bring up little details or small photographic slices, you all GET it.  The inner truth of this wonderful huge sprawling addiction to fiber brings us together - allows us to sit with our figurative knees pressed together as we push forward with our knitting, our quilting, our families, our lives.  Thank you all for being an important part of my extended family.  I wish you all a happy, healthy, joy-filled new year.