The Stitching Goes On (and on and on...)

There are many pieces to the Alabama Chanin market bag, but, I just realized, only the two largest need to be stitched. I've finished stitching and cutting one side and will soon (I hope) finished the second. There are a few more motifs to outline then I'll cut and reveal the red below. Seaming will be next, both the lining and the bag itself. When the project first arrived I was a little intimidated by the amount of work--so many pieces! Sewing it together seemed a very long term task (and a far distant), but after seaming my AC T-shirt, I am no longer worried. It will be a joy to watch the bag come together and be usable. Whether it's knitting or sewing, or any other creative pursuit, it is the process. 

You may or may not be a fan of Alabama Chanin and you may or may not be a fan of Rosanne Cash (really!?), but my guess is you're a fan of creativity, which leads me to suggest you read this post from the AC Journal. Natalie's interview with Rosanne is spot on, with her brilliant questions and Rosanne's thoughtful responses. It won't take long to read and I highly recommend you do so. Also, I think I'll add Rosanne's newest memoir, Composed, to my TBR.

Getting a Move On


There are hints in every direction I turn--the little bit of color in the willows or the maples, the pyracantha berries turning a vivid orange, not to mention the sun disappearing earlier and earlier. I've missed the morning light for over a month now and heard reports the leaves are turning in higher elevations. 

As another sign of fall, the first batch of Vicki's tomato sauce is in the freezer. There will be more, as the tomatoes have just started to ripen. As predicted, they are all coming all at one time and it will be hard to keep up. Summer taste in the dark of winter is my driver. 

As the days shorten I find it easier to pick up my knitting and park myself in one spot. It's time to get a move on, tomake some progress with my handwork projects. It's time to prove myself a knitter.  The latest project to meet my needles is Ropedance, but there's not much to see, as yet. 


It's taken me forever to get back to my Alabama Chanin T-shirt, but I spent an evening this week beading a few of the petals. I am in no small part inspired by Vicki's progress on yet another new AC skirt. I am slower than molasses , but determined to finish this year. 

AC T beads

This weekend were able to fit in a photo shoot of my latest FO, but you'll have to wait to see how it turned out. I'll give you a hint...I have worn no other shawl since the TTL mystery came off the blocking board. 

Happy Monday, friends! 

Oy. This Shawl

You'd think by now I'd have the hang of knitting, of reading a pattern, of double checking before I start a row--you'd think. But, as you've heard before, I still make (a ton of) mistakes. I will now be tinking back the last two rows of knitting because I did a row of k2tog instead of a row of ssk. I also did the purl row that came after...which adds up to two rows of tinking (as I said).


It's all, every bit of it, the forth-ing and backing, the good and the bad, it's all part of the process and I truly believe that. I may sit in a grump for awhile, but it doesn't last long. I realize the only way to go forward is to go back. It's only two rows, which will mean I'm 3 rows from finishing this section and moving onto the edging. That's all good, the journey will continue, even though it's a slow one. 

Things are not as they appear. The colors are COMPLETELY OFF. Maybe when it's finished I'll have better luck with photo shoot. 

A Little Alcohol*

Susan wanted to take an art class and asked (on FB) if anyone would like to join her. I signed up right away, as the art form looked like fun. Painting with alcohol paints has no form, no exactitude, no sketching, no drawing, just, movement of color.  (Just search for "alcohol ink painting" and you'll get the idea.)


Our teacher, Sarinda Jones, gave a demonstration of the medium, shared a few of her techniques, then set us free to work with our own creative juices. The class was a little fast and furious, fun to do, but too short, without much time to play, but, nonetheless, we had a good time. Eileen, Susan, and I want to try it again and we have plans to do just that.



Susan put a lot of thought into her piece, puzzling and planning what to do next. We each created a couple of pieces and had fun with the process. 


In the beginning I had no notion of where I was going or what I was doing and I now know I used too much of the blending solution. It made the colors run together and took away the texture.


After the pieces had time to dry (which doesn't take long) I went back for a second layer of tweaking and liked the results a little better. The class gave me a better idea of the medium, how the colors and elements work, and I look forward to more play time with this art form. 

*No alcohol was imbibed during this event. 

Delving Into Mystery

As of late, Vicki has been my hero. She not only helped me (inspired me, really) to change my banner, but  also dyed the yarn for my next project, Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015. I was thinking of the sea and sky and Vicki captured my vision perfectly. Since the project is a mystery, I'm cannot be sure what's in store and I'm curious to see how the colors work throughout.


You may or may not remember I started a sweater, but I've been dawdling and only work on it while at SnB. In fact, I haven't done much in the way of knitting or sewing, it's mostly been reading when I have any leisurely time. I've been waiting for this shawl in lieu of starting anything new and tomorrow it begins. 


But, I have reach the point where I'm cutting the petals of the design on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and I'm hoping to try beading and sequining this weekend. Even if I stitched this project non-stop it would be a month of Sundays before it was finish.

This is the proof I do my crafting for the process, not the finished project. I love every stitch I put into my knitting and sewing, and if I didn't it would all be for not. Enjoy the process, my friends!

The Day is Mine

Gray skies, warm temperatures, time on my side, I have a day to do as I wish. 

My heart says I can listen to the new book I just download, "A Prayer for Owen Meany", but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can go for a walk, despite the gray skies it is beautiful outdoors, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can put up the little white lights we use to brighten our home during the darkest days of winter, but my head says I should post to the blog.

Crafting corner

My heart says I can stitch on my AC project and/or pick up my knitting, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can make a pot of tea, kick back and enjoy my day off, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

But then, when it comes right down to it, my heart says I can do all of the above, including post to the blog, and my day will be full of joy, embracing all that I love. 

Happy Craft Friday!

Craft Friday Declaration

When Beverly first blogged about Craft Friday I loved the idea, but didn't think I would participate, as I do not craft for Holiday gift giving. I am a selfish crafter.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could craft on Friday even though I'm not making gifts. The important thing is I will not shop on Black Friday. I will be spending my day crafting, perhaps enjoying being outdoors if the weather permits, staying away from the maddening crowd.


My first memory of crafting involved learning to embroider, the project on yellow fabric was the outline of a puppy dog bib. Once I had the outline finished moved on to his eyes and nose. I'm not sure what happened the project, but I know it wasn't my last piece of embroidery as I went on to pillow cases, table clothes, and samplers. My first sampler still exists, buried in my unused table linens.

One thing lead to another and I learned many other crafts from my mother's, and my grandmother's hands. I am ever grateful for the passion they instilled in me to use my hands to create. 


My crafting time will be spent stitching on my Alabama Chanin project and knitting my current shawl, Duane Park Triangle. The next row of the shawl starts the striped section, of New England Red and Godiva brown, two of my favorite The Woolen Rabbit colors. 

Are you planning to work on your knitting, or other crafting project, or are you deep in the throes of Thanksgiving preperations?  Have you intentions of being a part of Craft Friday? 

The WIP Goes On

And on and on. A while ago Kim said she felt the border of Cactus Flower was never ending and it made me realized how much I had yet to knit. At this point I am 11 or 12 repeats into an 18 repeat border and, I must say, it is starting to feel endless. It wasn't until I'd reached the halfway point that my attitude changed to the "endless" feeling. 


Why had my attitude changed when I was now, actually, on the downhill side? Had I forgotten that I am all about the process? Oh yes, I love a finished project, but I also love being mindful of knitting while I knit. There is entertainment in each loop of the yarn over a needles and being conscious of the action of creating lace. Each nupp brings me joy (after it's completed) and each 38 row repeat gives pleasure, along with a feeling of accomplishment. The process of knitting is all about just that, the process.

By changing my perception, my new perspective has yielded much happier knitting time. Completing each row takes me closer to wearing this beautiful shawl over my shoulders and the advantage is I am enjoying each row as it happens. I no longer look at how far I have to go, but at how much I've accomplished.  It is the process that brings joy.


WIPing Wednesday

This post is about something that, as of late, has been a little foreign to my blog. Every week I spend Tuesday night and Sunday afternoon knitting with friends. Some weeks it's the only time I have to knit, but it still adds up to 4 hours of time. Plus, this past week, I knit all weekend at the Alta Knitter's Retreat and spent yet more time knitting with Kym.  I'mI feeling like good progress that's been made and hopeful the momentum will carry on. 

Of course, there has been my usual problem of repeating the same mistakes (over and over and over), which has slowed down progress, but it is the process, and I have shouldered through. In the all of it, Cactus Flower has  grown more quickly than I'd anticipated and you can count me thrilled. 


The main body was easy and fun to knit, although the nupps slowed me down a bit. Nupps aren't that hard to do, but I certainly had to pay attention. It was the two color section that gave me the most trouble, even though it's a very easy section to knit. I made it much (much!) harder than it should have been and take complete responsibility for being ditzy and not paying attention. 

The sideways knit lace border looked complicated and intimidating, but that is far from the case. The chart has been easy to read and the lace has proved very readable, too. Do you read your lace as you knit, checking your progress to see if your stitches make sense? Learning to see how the lace works from row to row has saved me through many a complicated lace shawl. I'm thrilled with the textures in Cactus Flower and the way the design sections flow together, which means it may end up another favorite shawl.

Gale's posting about her WIPs on Wednesday, so I thought I'd join her. I love the interesting and colorful projects she does.

Get Over It

It isn't as though I live my life in fear of failure. I am a knitter after all, and as a knitter, there has been many a project that once made will never see the light of day. In almost any craft I've tried there have been triumphs and failures. Many of you may remember my attempts at fiber felting and toe up sucks socks.


Some of the other fun things I've tried were sewing (made a skirt and a pair of pj pants), card making, and spinning. I learned to spin on a spindle and wheel and enjoyed the process very much. But the fever waned and I haven't touched a drop of fiber in several years. Fear of getting my wheel back in shape (will I remember how to put it together?), and getting it tuned properly, and/or making a mess of anything I try to spin, has stopped me in my tracks. This is a fear I hope to overcome.

I put many years into the study of embroidery and became quite accomplished, but it's an art I've left by the wayside to languish. I fear getting back on the horse, as I'm not sure how much of my ability has been lost. The drive to spin, or to stitch, is not as strong as it once was and I wonder if there is something lacking in me that I have lost this desire. Am I lazy? Have I, why have I, lost confidence in myself. Were they passing fancies? Being fickle is a little frightening, too.

So what would I do today if my fear was overcome?  The biggest fear is monetary expenses, as several of the crafts I'd like to try involve an investment in supplies. The investment could be lost due to poor quality of workmanship or the fickleness specter. 


The top of my list of projects to try is an Alabama Chanin inspired by Vicki!  Alabama Chanin means an investment in cash and time, which strikes the fear chord big time! BUT, then Vicki inspires again, as she suggested I use recycled cotton knits. Guess what I have?  I pile of old t-shirts! I'm going to set fear aside, figure out what direction I want to take, and jump in and find my way.

Stay tuned!