Reading Harder

One of the books on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is a Non-Super Hero comic book. Since comic books are not my forte, I consulted a friend who knows the genre well. She lead me in the direction of Kaoru Mori, and in particular, A Bride's Story.

I picked up a copy from my local library last night (yay, libraries!) and had read it, start to finished, within the hour. The story is told with illustrations, often a dozen per page, and each drawing is beautifully detailed,  the story well told. Since it is Manga, the book is read back to front and each page is read "backwards".  The story has been serialized and there are 8 books, I'm told. I have the next one on order at the library, as I am now a comic book/manga fan.

That's Plain Ol' Gray in the background of the picture above. She's coming along without there being any banging. I'm slow, but steady, and POG will see the light of day as a full blown sweater some day soon. I'm very pleased with the way she looks and plan to keep up a pace, maybe, see her finished by months end. 

Perfect Process

When I use my hands to create it is the act of creation that speaks to me. I love the process. Yes, the finished product is nice (usually) and I like using and wearing what I make, but it is the in and out of the needle, whether knitting needle or threaded needle, I enjoy most of all.

I work slowly, not by choice, necessarily, but it is the way I work in this moment. Once upon a time, I could whip through a sweater in a month, but those days are behind me -- partly because my hands and arms need a slower pace, and the occasional rest, and partly because I have found other shiny objects to draw my attention. 


This past year I found one of the processes I have enjoyed most has been the sewing of Alabama Chanin projects. I buy kits from Alabama Chanin because I do not have the desire to own all the stuff needed to do my own stenciling, nor do I have the space. The fact I can buy a ready to stitch project is a big part of the draw. I need only thread a needle to be ready to go.


The Market Bag was one of the most process heavy projects, of any sort, I have ever made. The point was to learn the different techniques used in the Alabama Chanin process and I certainly have learned that over the course of the two projects I've completed. I've also learned just how much I like it.


The first thing I did was stitch the motifs on the two larger main pieces (the front/back) of the bag.  For one side I outlined the designs using a running stitch and on the other side I used a back stitch. The back stitch took 5 times longer, and more than twice the amount of thread, than the rest of the project. After outline, the inside of the motif was cut away to reveal the color below. Joy filled my heart, as the spots of color brought the whole project to life. However, there was much more to do once the main pieces were complete. The bag had two narrow side sections, a bottom, and two handles, plus all the pieces of the lining to sew into place. Don't forget, the cute little inside pocket with the AC label, which is the icing on the cake!

To keep the bag stable I decided to only do the stitching of the bottom and side pieces and not cut them to reveal color. Three layers of fabric should give the bag the ability, as well as the stability, to carry heavier objects, like books or a computer. 

As with any long-term project I am going through a bit of a mourning period. I miss stitching my Market Bag. I started this project over Labor Day weekend of 2014, so we've been together a long time. It's now time to enjoy the next part of the journey with my Market Bag on my arm, full of my favorite things. I'm stoked.

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.