Sunday, January 30, 2011

a weekend away

We slipped off after work on Friday night - driving straight to Albany where we met Scott's oldest daughter and her boyfriend.  We had sushi.  There are no images available at this time to illuminate the magnificence of the meal and how it was devoured enjoyed.  We then drove to Saratoga Springs, home to legendary horse racing.  
 Clearly, this is better than being at home!  Room service!
There is something so enchanting about being under cover at the pool while the snow gently falls outside of the windows.
I spent a lot of time luxuriating under the covers of the huge king-sized bed - coming up for knitting and coffee.  This is Anne Hanson's Cradle Me in my BMFA Woobu.  A perfect yarn, a perfect design to take away for the weekend.  Of course, there was the obligatory dress up and race to the lobby in time to see -
The loveliest winter bride in her ermine cape being whisked off into the evening -
Vows were exchanged at the Hall of Springs and a reception followed in this gorgeous landmark building.  We had an exceptionally good time. . .Scott with his cousin Albert - a lot of laughter follows these two characters around!
Unfortunately, my new camera and I were at odds.  I struggled all evening with the shutter speed and because I am such a novice, most of my photos were oddly blurred - as if the entire evening was running in place.  I've learned my lesson . . . STUDY the manual!  dammit.  Oh - did you want another look at my 'Cradle Me'?  I thought so.

The Woolbu yarn is from the 'Spirit' colorway - and it is quietly saturated in the most astonishing way.  I cannot describe the fragile beauty of the color effectively - you'll  have to get some of your own.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

love is in the air

It was too cold to venture outside this morning, except to feed the birds and exercise the dogs (briefly!).  We are frozen into place with temps in the single digits.  I won't show the icicle colony that has appeared around the roof line.  It's crystalline beauty is captivating and terrifying, all in the same breath.  Think Dr. Zhivago Ice Palace scenes.  
So - it was a very very good day to sew and stay in one's warmups.  
This is my scraps Bear container which gets emptied after each project!  Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it seems to have flavored the direction of my work this morning -
I need a sensational Valentine runner for my dining room table.  It seems as though Valentine's Day is the only real 'holiday' that I don't have anything to decorate for.  Strange, because it is a favorite of mine and I look forward to its arrival each year.  While it comes in the dead of winter when the world is white and cold - the burst of brilliant red and pink inspires hearts and flowers, cards and candies.   When we were small, my sister and I always received something special from our mom on that day - a day for expressing love.  It might be a box of chocolates or a perfume.  It could be a scarf or a book.  But mom never allowed February 15th to pass without small gifts for her girls.  
Honestly, I don't know where this runner is headed.  I'm just happily piecing and allowing the fabric and paper to lead the way.  I've never been one for charts or graphs, instead, I throw caution to the wind and trust my instincts.  Sometimes this means that I 'waste' a lot of fabric.  Exercises like this one reduce the stash!
Did I mention that I am on a self-imposed fiber diet?  There will be NO NEW FABRIC PURCHASES in the month of January.  Oh, except for this one -
C'mon people.  It was 40% off.  And it features ELEPHANTS.  It made me weak in the knees.  In my defense, there were at least 8 coordinating fabrics.  And I left each and every one of those bolts of fabric alone.  Until tomorrow, when I return with my coupons! next time ...

This is what I am currently reading.  I can report, early in, that this is a book worth poking one's nose into. 

JoAnn Fabrics was having a sale on their batting and I needed some Warm & Natural for the boat baby quilt.  This is the way to purchase 90" batting - right off the roll, when it is drastically reduced!  
This post originally ended here last evening because BLOGGER SAID SO.  Everything froze and I had no access to my dashboard or photos or anything else associated with Blogger.  I had just purchased more space because this so-called 'free' service demanded that I do, so I wasn't feeling very charitable about the drop in service to begin with.  My mission today is to explore the other sites out there - Wordpress, Typecast, etc.  I'd welcome any and all input.  I'm ready to pay for the privilege of blogging in exchange for reliable service.  

Back upstairs, I found that there were a few more Christmas items that needed to be put away -
How did I overlook Andrew's stocking?  He went through an intense Eyore phase - to the extent of having a tattoo added to his arm.  I was not happy, especially when friends would ask why my son was sporting a purple ass on his upper arm.  Still, there is something very tender and sweet about a 6'4" young man with a fondness for a Disney donkey.  And no, you cannot see it when he has his firefighter uniform on!

Each year Scott brings home the exquisite hand blown glass Christmas ornaments from the Audubon Society in Connecticut.  I always save the tissue paper - how beautiful it is for rewrapping the ornaments -
I have to leave you with this photograph which keeps me company in my sewing room.  It always makes me smile and because the frame is red, we'll call it an early Valentine kiss!  Hilary - my beauty!


Friday, January 21, 2011

sick day

For reasons that I cannot post, the night became day without a single moment of shut eye.  That's right, I pulled an all-nighter.  So, after I called in sick and took care of animal breakfasts, it was time to spend coveted quiet time in the sewing room.  There was discontent among the four-legged crew -
You see, Momma-staying-home = walks, treats and play!  (that comes from THEM, not me!)
And they ALL get in the act!  That act being - let us see how guilty we can make her feel with our large liquid follow-her-around-the-room eyes!  Oh pleaseohpleaseohplease!
But it didn't work - their ploy fell short because earlier in the day something came from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, something much anticipated!  Everyone else took a back seat to this delicious parcel -
It's WOOBU.  It's the spirit shade 'Lauma' and I am in the midst of some serious infatuation.  Sometimes a particular color will move me to the point of obsession.  It can take months or even years to work through all of the projects that I envision creating in these shades.  Take orange.  I'm JUST coming off a 9 year obsession with the color orange.  And it seems that it has been replaced with ballet slipper pink.  Take a peek at this tiny room - 
Ten years ago, when we came to 'Cloudwalk' we thought that Scott's daughters would spend many sleepovers in this house.  So we invited his youngest, Brenna, to pick out her favorite shade with which we would paint this room - HER room.  It is the most garish brilliant shade of yellow that you could ever imagine.  Even after ten years, one needs sunglasses to enter that space!  Why am I showing you this room?  Because the next time that you see it - it will have had a makeover.  In the palest pink.  In a shade that my cousin discovered called 'Ethereal Pink'.  LOVE. IT.  I love and miss my cousin, too.  She lives upstate and fosters many animals, horses and dogs and really anything that someone has neglected and/or discarded.  She has a magnificent heart and many responsibilities so I have not seen her in some time - she just cannot walk away from all of her creatures who depend upon her so entirely.  I think of you Lor, more than you can know.  You walk through so many days with me, in spirit.  I keep close, always.  xoxox

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

batik state of mind

Can you see the trouble that's developed behind my New Dawn rose?
No?  Look closely - do you see a greedy bright eye?
This guy was caught between the window and the thorny reaches of the climbing rose.  He had no business being there other than greed.  I always scatter a handful of hulled sunflower hearts behind the rose where the large jays and pigeons and doves will not go.  My tiny birds are able to feast in peace there, safe from the clutches of the red tailed hawk and such.  This squirrel was hogging the goods when someone startled him and he ran up the canes.  He found out, the hard way, that squirrels and roses do not mix.  The acrobatic jumps that these animals are so famous for came in handy -  it was jump or risk impalement!  I felt sorry for him because I have felt the sting of these thorns myself.

I'm working on a batik quilt.  And I'm not alone - as I surf around my favorite blogs I find that at least two other quilters are doing the batik shuffle!  
The pre-dawn lighting does nothing to enhance these images!  Sorry about that.  Don't look at the christmas tree piece - pretend that it isn't there!  I really will finish it this year - before Valentine's Day!  (maybe)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

patty, how do you do it?

Earlier this week my BFF Patty came over in the middle of The Snowstorm.  She was on a mission that a foot and a half of snow could not compete with (plus, she has a great big SUV with good tires and traction).  Patty is a very focused and intense woman, especially when it comes to her knitting.  She needed a bit of help with a very precious project, and snowdrifts were a minor inconvenience - hardly worth mentioning!
This is a bonnet for Patty's youngest granddaughter.  It is knitted with Art Yarn- beaded and sequined and to die for.  Let's see if I can do this fiber justice - wait for the close up ...
Patty did all of the hard work - she just needed a break and someone to tease those little beads and sequins through the final loops.  That's where I come in... me and my trusty hemostats.  What a pleasure to be appointed to this lovely fiber!  I'd really like to purchase some of this.  But I'm on a fiber diet.
I have a friend who I turn to in dieting times.  I love her wise little expression-
Doesn't she just seem to be saying - now really, do you NEED to place another yarn order today?  Didn't you purchase some sale items from WEBS yesterday as well as some merino from Blue Moon Fiber Arts last week?
She should mind her own business.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow day

The snow started falling around midnight and by dawn we had over a foot.  But it didn't stop there - it snowed all morning and the natural world became quietly muffled.  Harley and I fed the birds repeatedly.  He loves the snow so much that he hardly noticed the avalanche that his heavy coat contained.
He followed me around the house, trailing snow puddles.  They made for good entertainment - he amused himself for the longest time, nibbling on his icy confections.  I tried to assist, but he was having none of it.

A snow day is perfect in all ways, but mostly because it is a gift - pure grace.  What could be better than to be paid to stay home and indulge in one's fiber-y creations?  A knitted baby blanket came off the needles -
It was not my best effort.  My BFF Patty is going to crochet an edge or two in color around this blanket which will make it sing (I hope) and a good soaking and blocking should do the trick.  I had some issues with this project because, from the start, the maritime theme was not to my liking.  Boats?  Boats for babies.  There is no accounting for other people's tastes.  So, just to be on the safe side, I went to my sewing room and did some boat-er-ly paper piecing -
Boats are in order and boats they shall have!
I found a great piece of flannel for the backing of this little quilt - in fact, it was this very fabric which informed the color choices for the individual blocks.  I like to use flannel for baby quilts whenever I can.  Soft = Baby.
The Baby that we are preparing for will be called James.  Sweet Baby James.  His momma was my daughter's closest friend for many years.  I really felt the need to pull out all of the stops for this important arrival.  
Here are the completed bibs and flannel receiving blankets that I made last week.  To them I added this handsome fellow and the juiciest sleeper imaginable.

 This little sleeper is made from the softest cotton knit that I've ever found - baby garments like this one hold an appeal for me that is almost unspeakable.  When I saw this set I almost wept!  I have to get a damn grip!
I love the little attached mitts to prevent scratching from sharp baby nails.  I have to say that preparing for James brought back many precious memories - flooding my sewing room with images that I'd not visited in some time.  Because Hilary was also a Christmas baby, the memories were poignant and vivid.  I remembered what her tiny head smelled like, and how she fit into the crook of my arm - like two pieces of a puzzle finding one other.  Christmas lights never seemed brighter than that year when I brought my first child home.  The exquisite happiness - the astonishing joy.  The memories never pale or diminish.  

Friday, January 7, 2011


Of course we have snow - this is the Northeast.  It's January.  Snow is what has us scurrying home early, what propels us into crowded markets, what accompanies us to our sidewalks where we disappear inside our homes, to bake.  To cook.  To sit quietly and knit.  To watch old movies.
It's glorious.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Back to work, although we DID pull a lot of overtime hours last week - going into the office in slippers and sweats and calling out for lunch delivery.  There is a mountain of applications waiting to be processed.  My trusty knitting bag will be called into action because one NEEDS to stop and shift one's attention during the day.
I finished a hat and it's drying over a can of coffee.  It was fun, but not what I had envisioned at all.
The Mission Falls 1824 was perfect for this knit and I have enough left over for mitts.  I cast on almost as soon as this one hit the soak, still trying to recreate the Holly Hunter hat.
I'm getting closer.  I've decided that 2011 will see a lot of red fiber.  I have to finish my Anne Hanson 'Hilflowers' and I want to knit a Christmas sweater - one that I can actually wear next year!  Fair isle in red and grey ... nordic theme ... oversized and warm.
These mitts finally dried!  It took the better part of three days for them to be mail- worthy.  I hate to see them go, but they need to be worn - our weather has changed overnight from unseasonably warm to brrrrrrr!  I could hear the snow crunching under the dog's paws this morning as they made their rounds in the dark.  Bring it on!  I love the snow, but save me from the ice.

Here's a peek at what I worked on this weekend -
Flannel receiving blankets and terry-backed bibs -
The sewing mojo is returning!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


We vowed to take the Christmas tree down on New Year's Day.  But you know what happens when you are busy making plans - inevitably, something else captures your attention.  In this case, a new electronic gadget.  More on that another time.  It's hard to strip the tree, knowing that the treasured ornaments will spend another year wrapped up and tucked away in a darkened closet.  (It isn't to my credit that I become attached to inanimate objects.  I'm sentimental - to a fault.)  I DID manage to groom and walk the dog yesterday and work on a baby shower gift and make a New England clam chowder, from scratch.  But the tree - it's still waiting.

I'm noticing that ALL of my seed catalogs arrived the day before New Year's Eve.  Tempting.  But the tree is still waiting...

I walk around the house, touching my favorite ornament here, rearranging a small stack of holiday gifts there.  
Why is it so especially hard THIS year to dismantle Christmas?   I'm thinking about mortality a lot, and fussing.  I wonder where we will be this time next year, or even if there will BE a next year.  Holding onto Christmas is not going to drive the Grim Reaper from the door.  I'm sick of suffering and worrying about this stuff.  I need a new attitude.  And a weight loss!  And to drink more water.  And to tackle that damnable tree!

It's still waiting ...
Someone else is waiting as well - I ask you, which would YOU choose?  Or even, COULD you choose?!!!