Sadly I have had little time to sew on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt. The bag with the T-shirt pieces, the beads, needles, and all other needed accoutrement, sits beside my chair in a neglected state. My evening hours have been taken up with other activities and any leisure time has been taken by reading and/or knitting. There is the Mystery shawl to solve, as you know.


But, Saturday, while running errands, I stopped by a big office supply store and picked up a few helpful organizational tools. Vicki gave me a tip on some cool boxes she found to hold the eleventy-gazillion beads that come in an Alabama Chanin packet.  

All my beads, all my needles, all of my thread bobbins, the AC notebook, plus all the other supplies needed to work on a project, are now kept together in a storage box and the beads are safely stowed inside clear tiny boxes. Now to find more time!

In the Pink

CrabappleIs it possible to get sick of seeing spring flowers, pretty pink blossoms, or for that matter, any flowering plant?

This week I'm trying to keep many balls in the air, and sadly, I'm not a very good juggler. When I have a few minutes I head out into nature, either Red Butte Garden, or into our own little garden where the garlic and peas seem to be doing well. 

The other thing that helped me disappear was a book (I just finished it last night), The World Before Us, where the ghosts held me fast. Beautifully written, part ghost story, part mystery, and certainly a story of searching--searching for answers, searching for memories, and searching for self. This is a book I recommend, as it captivated me, although I have a hard time saying exactly what it was that hooked me. Perhaps, it was just the all of it. 


There has been a bit of knitting, a little beading (which I'm totally in love with) and, well, as I said, a whole lot of balls to be kept in the air. When I learn to be a better juggler, I'll be back. 

I'm So Excited!

And I just can't hide it...


Woohoo! The newest member of my Alabama Chanin library arrived in the mail! I'm brimming over with ideas and building desires. The package was lovely, as inside was an Alabama Chanin notebook, pencil, and tape measure, as well as the new book bursting with patterns. However, I first must work on the two projects I've already have in process.


You may remember the market bag I started ages ago and abandon when the T-shirt arrived? While I know this T-shirt is going to take many, many hours to complete, I will be happy to return to the market bag, which will be pure fun to carry. I predict it will take me many more hours to complete than the T-shirt.

With each petal I cut I hold my breath, hoping to do a good job and not cut through to the layer below or more of the petal than I should. I have been very careful, taking great care to do it well. The flowers on the front piece of the T-shirt are ready for beading and I only have eleventy-gazillion beads for the job.


Time is the only factor in this equation, but tonight I have all to myself and the plan is to start the process of sewing on the beads. How many per petal and how should they be spaced? Should I bead the outside as well as the inside? Many questions and possibilities bounce around my head and I don't think the answers will come until I start. I'll keep all the Alabama Chanin books by my side as reference, but try  to not become distracted by the beauty of the projects inside.  The trick is to stick to my own work and the process in front of me. 

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!

There's a Popular Song About This

Happiness comes from within. No one else, nothing else, only you, can bring happiness into your life. Carole asked for 10 Things That Make (Me) Happy Right Now. 


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At the top of the list is the one day of beautiful blue sky we enjoyed this weekend. You know how happy blue skies make me. 


2. The stunning red amaryllis that has brightened my kitchen for the last month while it has slowly brought forth its glorious blossoms. It deserves a post of its own.


3. Recommended by Brainpicklings, and picked up at my local library. this wonderful book brought delight to my weekend with its charming story and accompanying illustrations. A good book is happiness and this is only one of the three I read over the weekend. 

4. Happiness is spending two days IN A ROW with Smith. We walked in the sun, went to our favorite tea shop, spent time in the garden working on a green house, fixed some fun meals, had breakfast at a place we love, and even, fit in time to relax. 

5. Happiness is a project, that's been knit mostly under the radar, nearing the finish line. You know how slowly I knit, but sooner than later I'll be sharing an FO post. There is also a cecret project on the needles and there could be a row or two of a sweater in the works.


6. My favorite project, of the moment, is an Alabama Chanin project you have not been privy to. More will be revealed shortly, do not fret. Believe me, it brings happiness. 

7. Happiness a delicious meal, made with care and love, and four hands working to  make it happen. 

8. Happiness is having dinner with a girlfriend;  good conversation, good food, good wine, and a good time. 

9. Three beautiful days off work! That is what made me SO happy this weekend. 

10. Happiness is everything in my world. My life is full, there is a roof over my head, I am safe, and I have a good job, I have a car (even though old and ugly), and I have a boat load of friends, a wonderful family, and a darling husband. 

Happiness is being grateful. 

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? 

State of The WIP

The state of my life is CRAZY! At least that's how things are in the office. Good crazy! Taking on a new job and trying to post every day may not have been a smart move and, as it is today, I have a beautiful FO to share with you and no time to write a proper post. Instead I'll show my current WIP, the beautiful Alabama Chanin market bag.


Sewing goes slowly, but I love the time I spend outlining each petal or stem. The plan is to fill the center flower with beads and add a little BLING to spice things up.
You will see bankers clips holding the edges of together. The idea came from Vicki and it was a superb plan. They're much nicer to my hands than pins and I like the weight on the edge as I sew. Excellent idea, Vicki!

You may be hearing rumors of a sweater swatch, which you should not discount. More details on all of the above when time allows.


WIPing Right Along

Every once in awhile the desire to stitch comes over me and I set my knitting aside, and the Alabama Chanin project comes out to play. Stitching this piece has taken a little longer than I anticipated, but finally I'm finished with the running stitch outlines on the front of the market bag.


Truthfully, I became a little too enamored of the knots on top feature and may have  overdone it, but once again, I am reminded of the lesson that less is more. Next time I'll work to be a little more discretionary with my knots.

The feeling of excitement I felt was quite electric, as I started to cut away the fabric of the petals. I took a calming breath and cut into the first shape, watching as the gray fell away and the color behind came into view. I felt a bit of pride, as well as relief, because I can tell this finished bag is going to be grand.


When my hands grow tired of holding tiny, sharp scissors, I stitch on another piece of the bag. I have changed techniques and instead of running stitch with knots showing, I'm using the back stitch without visible knots. Thoughts of beaded petals are running through my mind, as I think of the amazing work of Mason-Dixon's Ann Shayne. Check out this blog post where Ann tells of her trips to India and Alabama, which were truly amazing in all aspects. Her resulting AC shawl is something to behold.

My stitching time is short, although I am now committed to find more time to work on this project. It would be nice if the market bag could be finished by the end of the year. There's a whole lot of hand sewing to do between now and then if it is to happen.  I hope you'll be watching my progress, as I need a little encouragement!

It IS the Process

While working on my projects, both knitting and sewing, I am aware at how much I love the slow process that is crafting. There is no reason to rush to the end and every reason to enjoy the process. I love to become lost in the flow of of the process and to let the love of the art take over. 


When sewing my Alabama Chanin market bag I have had times of being completely unaware of what is happening around me. It started with pinning the two pieces of fabric together, working from the center out. The next step is to cut the thread and to "love the thread",  and then, needle the thread. After my needle is loaded with a properly loved thread, I start stitching from the inside of the design to the outer edges.  You might be able to tell by this photo, I am almost through this part of the process. The next step will be to cut the fabric to allow a red layer to show in the petals. If you would like to know more about the Alabama Chanin process I recommend looking through the AC Journal. Here's a video on "loving your thread".


Every step of this process is "fun", enjoyable, and each step is part of the journey of creating my market bag. By purchasing a kit, I gave over part of the process to the AC factory. They stenciled the design, cut the fabric, and labeled each piece of the bag. I was happy to have them simplify my process and allow me to do what I thought would be most enjoyable. Even though, I'm not very far into my first AC project, I'm dreaming about what my next project will be.

After reading Ann Shayne's post about her adventure with AC (and a trip to India), I may add a few beads just to see what that process is like. Besides, every life can use a little "bling", right Vicki?