Friday, April 24, 2009

The Little Pink House

I went for my walk today and came across an amazing sight, a pink house. What first caught my attention though, wasn't the pinkness, (The very same as the shawl I am currently knitting.) I had my sunglasses on, so the color wasn’t initially apparent. It was all the charms dangling from the rafters of the front porch. Wind chimes, all of them unique and delightful. I thought to myself, this person has hung chimes like I do. One was made of frosted glass bells in the colors of sherbet. I raised my sun glasses to get a better look, and took in the full pinkness of it. The charms twisted and danced in the wind, caught up in their own tethers, they were oddly silent. I followed them along the roof line where they hung. They directed my eyes to a little patch of garden in a miniscule front yard. I couldn’t say which I noticed first, because the magic of the place carried my eye from object to object as the artist intended. Of the three icons planted there, the first was the Mother Mary. Her dress sky blue, arms beckoning with open palms. Though she faced west, she lilted like the Tower of Pisa, giving a nod to the east. Next on a pillar to the rear of the Virgin and forming the apex of the triangle made by these three icons, perched a golden Indian elephant. Trunk upraised, symbolizing good fortune, and also I might add, pointing to the east. The saddle and bridle were opulent with jewels. The third icon, while less obvious than the others, spoke to a more personal reverence of the owner, a well worn work boot or maybe a traveling boot. (I have a hunch this is the case.) Resplendently honored in it’s resting place with a shiny coat of gold. The sole curled up toward the sky so that it bent over the sprung open toe as if frozen in a bow, aimed, you guessed it, toward the east.


I was delighted. It was as if this were all arranged for my eye, just waiting for me to discover. Like a puzzle and an invitation all at once. As I made my way home, I amused myself with the idea of the gift I could give in return. There should be three things I think, in keeping with the symbolism. First I thought of one of my keys, I collect old keys, maybe with a pink ribbon looped through the eyelet. For the second gift, a packet of daisy seeds. I really fancy daisies, they’re one of my favorite flowers, they’re so welcoming and they look good with pink. Once I received a bouquet of baby pink carnations together with daisies, so simple and pleasing that I have never forgotten them and it warms my heart still. So that’s two gifts, now for the third. Think, think, think. I have a chime fashioned from flattened silver spoons made to look like happy little fish. I think it’s perfect and what’s more, I think the owner will grasp the double meaning.


Lastly, the note:


Hello to you little pink house.

Today you have charmed my walk.

Though I roam all over,

I must never have walked exactly this way before,

Because I would, most certainly have noticed you.

You stand out like a jewel among the ordinary.

Please accept these gifts.


OK, everyone, enjoy your walking adventures in this beautiful spring sunshine! Live in a world where the ordinary can also be the extraordinary! Please keep your eye out for everyday miracles!

Blessings Friends!

Melissa

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mix And Match Shawl


I wanted to make a shawl for my Mom with some beautiful pink mohair I bought especially to knit something for her but while it was mostly soft, it needed just a little bit of help, which came in the form of another strand of super soft mohair carried along with it as I knitted. I saw a version of this particular scarf, which must have been knitted wider too, it was very elegant looking. I actually widened this pattern (Originally Airy Scarf) by increasing it to 48 stitches cast on, and since I am knitting with two strands of mohair, I increased the needle size to 15 which was the desired amount of "airiness" for me. After I had worked the repeat for a few rows, I decided to add a more detailed lace pattern to the center. This was my first time knitting with lace weight yarn and I had chosen a very simple pattern for that reason. The mohair was helpful too, not so slick for a beginner. I was encouraged by an interview awhile back on the Knitpicks podcast, with the author of the book, I Can’t Believe I’m Lace Knitting, written by Kay Meadords. She was really down to earth with her advise, explaining that you can start lace knitting with something a simple as yarn-overs and build on it. That got me thinking about the Airy Scarf, which I fell in love with the moment one of my friends, Kathryn, “Faved” it and it popped up on my Ravelry, friends activity page, thank you, KG! Could it be the pink fluffiness that won me over so instantly? As I mentioned once I worked a few yo rows and found that I was comfortable with the skinny yarn, I began looking for a more intricate pattern for the center of the shawl.


The Optic Waves pattern, by Sheila January, from The Knitters Book of Yarn, worked out quite nicely for this, as it's a 12 stitch repeat and I had cast on 48 for the original enlarged Airy Scarf pattern. I had worked 80 rows, which worked out to be two narrow yo rows and six wide yo rows from the Airy Scarf pattern. Now I'm incorporating three of the optic wave pattern repeats per row, each row begins and ends with K6. I was proud of myself for figuring out what was wrong the other night when I messed up by starting the pattern row on the ws row when I should have been purling…it was way past my bed time…anyway I messed up the first 12 stitches of this row about 12 ways from Sunday. I was moving stitches backward, forward and every which way backing them off then trying to fix it. It’s a miracle I didn’t drop any! Thank you mohair yarn and knitting angels! When I counted…10 stitches, but no dropped stitches, it was a real head scratcher for a minute, then I realized I had inadvertently missed picking up a couple of the yo’s as I was noodling around with the stitches! I found them, got them back on the needle, did my purl row like a good girl and because I enjoy the pattern so well, knitted a few more rows!


This is also the first time I have knitted using a chart. Can I say, I ADORE IT!!! I have friends that use them all the time. I once saw my friend Kathryn jot down the chart for a pattern and I asked, you can get the whole pattern from that? I thought, How handy, would that be….if you knew what it all meant. Then one day another friend at our knitting group, Rosalyn, was learning to read and knit from a chart and she was really excited about it, so she gave me a mini tutorial. She told me that when reading the chart you start in the bottom right and read to the left. Good information! Thank you! The chart is set up very nicely, showing you which way to read the next row, by numbering them on alternating sides if you are working in rows or the same side if you are working in rounds. All you chart knitters are saying, “no kidding, this is not news.” But I never really got this information looking at the charts in my stitchonary, I’m sure it’s there, I just didn’t notice. Friends, this was the fastest I’ve ever memorized a pattern, I loved not having to refer to the pattern repeatedly, which is so fussy when all you really want to do is knit and listen to NPR or watch TV.


The shawl will be finished on either end with a border from Crocheting Over The Edge, it’s a darling little pattern with butterflies dangling on the diagonal. (say that 10 times fast) My Mom will love it. It wont be long now, I’m almost done!!!


So it makes sense that I’m referring to it as the Mix and Match Shawl, all these great inspiring ideas, from those wonderful authors and from friends, who planted little seeds of knowledge along the way, and you can see why I’m so excited to see it complete! I hope my Mom gets as much enjoyment out of wearing it as I have making it!


Blessings Friends!

Melissa



Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Been A Productive Week

There have been so many things to post about this week, I had a hard time deciding. I had originally planned on showing you the shawl I’m working on for my Mom, which is progressing quite well, but I think I’ll just show you a little peek for now and share more about it when it’s complete.



This is the beginning of my very first scrumble, another name for free form crochet and/or knitting. It's a work in progress. I'd love for it to turn into a cool purse or something, but it seems to me those scrumbles have a mind of their own sometimes!



I’ve been spinning up a storm. It’s so fun to be spinning on my wheel! I bought it in September at the Michigan Fiber Fair and for some reason (I put it off until my craft room got organized) I did not do any full fledged spinning until recently. I was really inspired by some beautiful blue dyed alpaca fiber my friend Kim sent me awhile back, that got me twitchin to spin , so I popped a fresh bobbin on and it spun up super nice. Kim also sent me a huge box of white alpaca, which I just had processed. It was such a beautiful day when I went to pick it up from Pufpaff’s. Sue gave me the nickel tour and I learned a lot about how the fiber is processed on a larger scale. Check out the little cutie She’s holding, there were two little lambs, both black born about a week earlier.



Now I have a beautiful stash of white alpaca to play with. I’m excited to dye some of it! And I’ll be spinning to my hearts content! Thanks again, Kim! Oh yea…Of course I had to buy this beautiful blue and white roving I saw at Pufpaff’s, it looks just like a blue sky with an occasional fluffy white cloud. I love Clouds against a blue sky!!! It’s a mohair and fine wool blend, nice.



As I mentioned earlier, I have been spinning a lot this week. After I finished the blue alpaca, I went back to the fiber I had been spinning, a blend of Natural Romney, kid mohair and Tussah silk. I filled a couple of fat bobbins and will have enough to fill two more bobbins! Now I have a nice chubby skein, soon to be two, waiting for a project.



Those are just some of the highlights, I’m happy being busy with all that I love to do! I heard from a few old friends this week and made new friends too, what more can I ask for? It’s a good life!

Happy Easter, Blessings Friends!

Melissa



Friday, April 3, 2009

I Wish You'd Sit Still!

I needed a new photo for my homepage, I’ve been putting off changing it…seems so silly asking someone to take a picture of me, right? So the other day I thought I’d see if my mom wouldn’t mind taking a picture of me…


Standing up to take the photo was a no-go, she’s 85 and a little unsteady on her feet…I wish now I hadn’t deleted those photos, but I’m sure you can imagine. So we got her settled in a chair and tried again.


Now I thought it would be easy for her because the viewfinder is this big screen covering the whole back of the camera, and because she loves figuring out gadgets. But she was trying to find me in there, and I was ALL over the place!!!

“I wish you’d sit still!” she scolded me. Then I teased her as if I were her, scolding ME too, what’s a matter with you? Did you eat jumping beans or something? Come on now, for peets sake…what? Are you sitting on a feather? Sit still!!! And it was like an earthquake erupted on the view finder as we both giggled…and she continued to laugh and scold me for moving! “Can you just sit still please?”


Here are some of the photo’s.



I sort of like this one the best, it’s like there’s a space for someone to come and sit next to me.



Blessings Friends!
Melissa

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I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!