Friday, March 30, 2012

hissy fit over

I have gotten over the big fit - my apologies.  Thanks to my blogger friends who tried to pat me back into place!  I really appreciate your concern!  I'm still not happy with this new format.  Clearly, change is not a strong suit and I could work on that.  Anyway, I've been busy.  Occupy the mind and hands ...
These colors paired together make me happy.   This is the Granny Square quilt block from blue elephant stitches.
Her tutorial is very good.
More bags - still haven't grown tired of these!  
I have a lot of fabric and it feels good to finally dig in and USE it for small instant gratification type projects.  These make such great gifts!  
 I believe that this 'vessel' will stay here, with me!  But you never know ...
There's been a request for a little wristlet - or two.  Finding zany brilliant zippers will be the challenge - I've got visions of magenta and orange, and of course lime!  Does anyone have a good source?  Company popped in -
Despicable!  STINK BUG!  They are coming out of the woodwork!  I am a confirmed naturalist, but this particular onslaught is freaking me out!  I am finding these bugs everywhere!  I talked to a local exterminator who services the college and he said that they have no natural predators, that they have imported in from China and that they are here to stay ... dear God, my cat won't even go near them!  My keyboard needs a good rub down - how embarrassing!
How about this image for an enigma - cold enough for a wooly headband, yet the grape hyacinths have bloomed.  Snow in the forecast tonight.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

this is the last straw, blogger

Did everyone like what they found on blogger today?  I am very angry - angry enough to say, that's IT.  I've had it, I'm switching over to Wordpress.
Meanwhile, can anyone tell me HOW to access my now-vanished dashboard?  Seeing and hearing what YOU all are doing is one of the main reasons WHY I continue to blog.  Dashboard is gone.  Blogger must be feeling quite smug and grown-up and all shiny new.  Guess what, blogger?  Your new and unexplained format SUCKS.  Morons.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

beaded knitted bag

When I posted the start of this project on my Ravelry page, I realized that I have knitted at least eight of these unquestionably beautiful bags.
And they all left home - not a one stayed behind.  So this little bag will never go to market!  I'm keeping it here with me, tucked away safely where no one can see and ask to 'borrow' it.  That's how it begins - with the innocent gasp of pleasure, followed by the cooing and petting and eye-rolling.  I'm a sucker for it every time.  This bag begins with beads - 660 of them, to be precise.
The #6 beads are strung on your skeined Koigu or other sturdy light fingering weight fiber.
It really helps to have a pretty yarn bowl as you will be sliding beads back and forth between your rows.  I have not found this to be a portable knit!
But it is, hands down, truly satisfying.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry - it hails from Holly Webb and she calls it  "Exploring Stripes". Nice job, Holly - as much fun today as it was the first time, back in '03!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

paper piecing redux

There was a time when I approached paper piecing with the devotion of a madwoman.  The more intricate the pattern the better I liked it!  
Paper piecing is much like puzzle making.  The end, which is always in clear sight, is very predictable.  I always liked the safety in this practice.  There's a lot to be said about a precise clean finish.  But lately I find myself shying away from all of this dependability.  I want some simplicity and I long for disorder.

Something has come over me.   I can hear in my mom's voice on the other end of the phone that she is worried.  She likes 'dependable' so much that she made certain to pass that lesson along to her children.  And now this youngest one, what will come next!  Advocating that housework is a waste of precious time and that we should all drink as much coffee as we like!  And if it keeps us awake at night, then we should get up and do something!  Plenty of time to sleep when we're dead.  Poor mom.  I have to stop tormenting her with my newly developing visions of freedom.

You live your life a certain way and then suddenly some slant of light reveals that you've missed, well, LOTS.  What does this have to do with paper piecing?  Maybe nothing, or maybe everything.  I found some freedom today in the complete destruction of my work room -  
And I left it just like this when I was finished.  Then I came downstairs and made a cake.  And God help me, ate some of it with coffee.  And yes, it's late and yes, I am wide awake.  
I'm paring down the paper piecing -
You can never have too much coffee.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

These colors.  These foamy sea-whipped colors!
Close your eyes and listen ... do you hear the ocean calling?  No?  Pity.  I hear and see the ocean so many times in the course of an ordinary day.  It pulls and tugs at me - beckoning.  My daydreams have me living in a cottage by the sea.

But for today, there are leaves to rake and statuary to uncover, and no pounding surf in sight.
I've never started these chores in March, but the "winter" seems to be over, and the earth's bounty is beginning to unfold.  Tulips crocus and allium are stretching, yawning and shaking off the ground cover.
I've pulled out my best spring knitting - I'll stop complaining about the non-winter of 2012 now and get busy.  Life on life's terms. 
It's impossible to find anything to complain about here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


-belief in the basic goodness of Nature, including human nature. . . named for a heretic of the fifth century named Pelagius.

A hand crafted button, fashioned from vintage kimono silk, appliqued, beaded and stuffed - looking for a new home.
The cotton Ipad case, quilted and lined, where the button now resides.  
A little linen vessel, waiting for its filling ... Koigu will do nicely, yes?
My dear friend Becky once called me 'Johnny Appleseed'.  She was attempting to soothe me as I was moving, again, and had to leave my beloved gardens behind. She reminded me that I created gardens wherever I went - a purpose that I needed to value, to embrace.  This old fabric came to me a long time ago and asked to be utilized -
The selvage says that it is a Waverly print from the 50's.  It probably came from my Aunt Josephine's collection.
Now that fabric bags are sprouting throughout the house, I find that I cannot stop adding to the collection!  It is a joy to work through my formidable stash, reacquainting myself with pieces long hidden away.  I am in the midst of a great Un-Cluttering!  (The garbage receptacles are groaning at the end of the driveway!)  

Monday, March 12, 2012


My daughter and I went up on the railroad bridge -
Below, the water had taken on a new appearance - blue and green and grey and teeming with life.  
The air had that fine clear edge of spring - 
My daughter is the best company!  And yes, she is wearing the headband that I made for her.   
This old river has a life force that rises and falls with the tides.  It is home to a vast array of creatures, both mammal and aquatic.  I feel lucky to be included in that mix.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

maiden voyage for the madtosh

Finish this last hot water bottle sweater and then you can reward yourself with something delicious - something egg yolk yellow, to match the tulips and the Saturday sunshine that is streaming through the glass doors.
If you could read my mind this morning, you would have heard me bargaining with myself!  I am trying so hard to adhere to my newly appointed rule, which is: to finish one project before rewarding myself with a new one! Can you see why I've wavered?
These skeins are opulently saturated beauties.  The colors are so dreamy that I cannot wait for one more hot water bottle sweater moment!  
I actually hid them from myself when they arrived over a month ago.  

It was one of those days where you find yourself flitting among your Stuff ... dust a little here, piece a little there, skein some yarn, wash some dishes, give the dog his pills.
Don't ask me why he has dragged a tissue out to the bay plant.  Maybe he's saving it until I walk away.  And then he'll inhale it.  The pills make him extra goofy - I wonder if he is experiencing dog hallucinations.
 My thoughts have been drifting toward the stack of seed catalogs that threaten to take over the countertops. It's too early to plant, but I've consoled myself by bringing out the botanical plates.  Now I can see why I need to put the dark dinnerware away!  Oppressive!
There's another little bag - they keep popping up all over the place!
As fast as I make them, they disappear.  Everyone loves bags.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Should I explain?  I just NEEDED them.
The promise of Spring, wading in a glass jar.
A new hat for a dear friend, because she NEEDS one.
Weekly reading material ...
I'd be lost without it.  The love, warmth and companionship of this One - I so need!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

in the sewing room

Many beloved photos surround me in the place where I create.  My parents were younger in this image than I am today.
My babies -
They both had the most beautifully round and apple-like heads!  No cones in this gene pool!

Have you ever used a contractor's trash bag?  They are huge and super strong and I filled four of them to capacity this weekend.  I finally found the courage and the energy to THROW OUT items that I no longer use/need.  And yes, this included fabric.  Hard to believe.  My resolve wavered when I came across these bags -
This collection of snippets and bits represents nearly 12 years of quilt making.  I used to save every scrap and after a quilt was completed I would bag up the remnants.
I really wish that a collage/portrait/mosaic fiber artist would step forward and claim all of this fiber-y fortune.  I am attached to it and unable to toss it, although I know that I will never use it.  And believe me, it's taking up my precious space!
Many bloggers like to post images of glamorous newly-stacked fabric.  I admire those shots, but here is what happens when I get busy...
Nothing ordered or pretty about it!
My mind likes linear patterns.  My heart seeks the circular.  And everything gets very confusing when I attempt to clean up, to put to order, my sewing space so that I might choose ONE SINGULAR project to work on.  There are too many UFO's calling from every corner.  I finally found something that I could get behind-
Kaleidoscope.  A quilt that will be composed of EVERY piece of fabric that I own.  Those that I don't find agreeable for this piece will be tossed.  I'm quilting heeere!!  (said in my best Ratso Rizzo nasally tone!)
Kaleidoscope is a quilt that will bear my stamp.  It appeals to me enormously in its infancy - a very good sign as we will be spending many hours together.  I can close my eyes and imagine snuggling under its great weight one day.  Will I be able to remember the stories behind some of my fabric selections ... 
A little Oliver and Co balloon dress which is waiting for a sweater - will this be the year?!!
I'm going to do something that I've never done before - I'm going to post a little gift before I send it off tomorrow.  I won't make excuses for myself or my maddening impatient nature.  I will say, however, that you should go away, Suz.  (You know who you are).  Come back on, say, Friday!
I love this so much.
and here -
This was pure joy.  It reminded me, with each knitting session, of why I return to my needles, time and again.