Friday, February 25, 2005


This morning at 5:30 we got the call that schools were delayed 2 hours. God bless the woman who made the calls! It's lovely here - snow everywhere and the streets are clear - but it's supposed to be VERY cold this weekend.

My first class last night was cancelled in the Spring Session of my Beginning Knitting Class at the Adult School in South Orange. It was a prudent measure, and I was happy to have the time to take care of Gerry (who seems to be coming down with this muck, too!) and get some design work done. I've decided that whenever I have a windfall of time (something I was expecting to do falls through) I will use that time for designing. I'm working on a new series of crocheted hats that will mimic the knit millinery that I've been doing for the past few years. Crochet lends itself to this more beautifully.

I'm also spending a great deal of time these days reworking images and text for my Knitting Millinery book as it's being distributed this Spring through Unicorn Press - that reminds me that I need to take down the version that I'm selling at CafePress (the beta version) when the improved one is finished!

I'm taking a few days off from the calendar while I await comments from Accord on the first three months. No sense in continuing to do something they'd prefer I didn't in the future months, and I can use the time for tweaking images for KM.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Neverending Gory
I swear, whatever this thing - this la grippe, viris, flu, bad cold, bad attitude - whatever - is, it has the staying power of Hal the computer.

I live well for a bit, eating right, walking and doing yoga, then this thing comes back and I'm flattened for a week. My joints ache, my head hurts, I'm feverish and constantly, physically exhausted. Then it abates and the yoga cd goes back in the player, I'm out for walks again, and WHAMMO! Return of the evil fever.

Speaking with other moms from my kid's school, this seems to be the pattern in a lot of families in our area this winter. This is a nasty, recurring, funky thing that will hit one family member, then the other, through the whole goya beanery and then start all over again. Mom, however, seems to be the constant (constant hacking cough, constant wheezing, constant stuffy nose, constant aches...)

Aren't you glad you tuned into the blog today? Nothing like some whining to start the day right, huh?

This new venue's working nicely for our Monday evening knitting group - and last evening as three of us were working away several folks dropped by asking if we (I) had a card - which I did - and they seemed geniunely impressed by the work our little group was doing. This week I start my new beginning class with the Adult School in South Orange. It's been filled for a few weeks, which is nice, but a large class is VERY labor intensive. I think if I teach in this venue again I'll rewrite my contract so I have a sliding scale of pay depending on how many students have signed up.

Still no signs of the little girl. The good news is that we've been vigilant in checking with local shelters and animal control - no cats even remotely answering Pixie's description have turned up. I feel certain in my heart that she's found a new home somewhere (and that she's making some other family VERY happy) I realized that I'd become resigned to this when I found myself giving Butkis (our older cat) 1/3 of the can of cat food this morning instead of his customary 1/4. Upping his portion is a way that my subconscious is coming to terms with Pixie's absence. We are all very sad.
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Sunday, February 20, 2005

March 7

I've heard that March 7th is the date for my Knitty Gritty appearance. I'm terrified - don't relish seeing myself on the small screen (but I don't have cable so it won't be a problem) but I'm also very excited!

I woke this morning pondering why in this go-round as a knit designer I'm so much happier and - dare I jinx myself - more successful than I was in the 80's when I had my first attempt. Much of it is age, wisdom, actually having something to SAY about knitting - all that helps.

But I think the main reason is that I have less of my personal happiness riding on my success. My knitting fills me with joy - as does my designing. If others like it, that's great (more joy) but if they don't, it's sad but it doesn't affect the deeper part of that satisfaction. My definition of success has changed, too. In fact, it changes constantly.

There's a danger (and fear) in speaking about this so bluntly. There's so much more that I want to do, so many things I want to design (and knit!) At times expressing a feeling can kill it, but that's why I have a blog!

I only wish I had more time in the day!
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Friday, February 18, 2005

Rounding 2nd
I'm not in sight of home base, but I can feel that I'm getting closer with the calendar. Hooah!

Fun Knitting for ME!
I mentioned that I'm working on a boy's sweater - and I'm also doing a matching girl's sweater. The most exciting part is that they're going to be for my own two little darlings, Max & Hannah. And, even better, I'm doing it for IK so the kids will get to model the sweaters. I'm using Garn's Karisma for the set, and I'm really enjoying how it's working up. The colors for the fair isle portion are clear and pure - it would be nice if this encourages folks to try their hand at cables and fair isle who might otherwise feel that it's beyond them.

If you can knit and purl, you can do ANYTHING! If you have a passion to do a certain technique that you haven't yet mastered/mistressed, you CAN do it in the right frame of mind. Be forgiving of yourself as you practice, admire the skill that you're learning, and work on a swatch (or several) first so you can SEE your learning curve. THAT'S very exciting!

Midwestern Tour?
I've been asked to teach at a new retreat in the midwest in November, but in order to make the trip financially feasable I'm trying to set up teaching gigs on the way out to Wisconsin and back again. If you're in the midwest, sort of in a direct line between NYC and Chicago, and know of a shop that would like to have me teach in late Fall - please email me with the information and I'll try to get it set up. I think I'll be driving to save $$ (and also because I like to avoid planes whenever possible) so this makes the most sense in terms of trying to break even on the trip!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Indian Spring

I was up at 6:00 this morning - Gerry had long gone (he leaves for work at 3:30am) so I sat up for a bit, listening to The Twelve Caesers and working up a swatch for a brother/sister fair isle & cable set that I'm doing for IK. I let the dog out for a romp in the back yard and it was like Spring - the air was clear, the sun was rising and there was a liveliness to the world that I hadn't felt in a few months. Beautiful.

Walking the kids to the bus we saw not one, not two, but three cardinals gathering under a tree before they flew away. Three male cardinals, red and gorgeous. It made me wonder if they were electing a new pope.

Then a walk with Atticus in the chilly new Spring. This may not last long, but it's a wonderful thing while it's here! Tomorrow the kids don't have school, so I'll be taking them into the city to see The Gates in the park, and perhaps a little museum hopping. Gerry gets off work at noon (the benefit of going in at 3:30) so he'll meet us and take the kids home. I'll wander a bit on my own in the city - something I don't get to do much these days, and perhaps take in some yarn shopping. I love NY so much.

My mom has been on my mind very strong these days - it was a dream with her in it that woke me up, but I can't remember it. I do miss her so much. And I miss my brother big time.

The calendar continues apace. Finishing January was a real milestone - now I feel that I can move off of the calendar project for bits at a time to work on other stuff without guilt, and I owe folks some projects so I'd better get cracking!

Last night I had a large group in for class - two new folks and all of the regulars except one (I need to email her and see if she's okay!) A large group takes more energy, but it's a lot more fun, and I think the students learn more because there's bound to be at least one person who has struggled in the battle they're currently fighting.

Each time I teach I realize again that knitting's greatest gift is knowing that attitude is everything. Accepting imperfection, yet striving to learn new things is key to growth. A need to be perfect is the largest stumbling block we face when taking on a new task. We know so much more than we allow ourselves to believe. Yoga for our fingers.
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Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Yarn Love!

Sorry I've been incommunicado - it's been hell weekend for the calendar! Last week both kids were sick one day, Hannah was sick 3 days and I was sick right along with her. Therefore not much calendar work got done. But...


I have finished January!*

King Midas Syndrome

I wrote a piece about this 20 years ago - but this is that odd condition that affects many of us who earn our living doing what we love. I wouldn't change what I do for anything, but sometimes I get so caught up with the mechanics of knitting (teaching, writing a pattern, designing, working up a calendar or a book) that I can't let myself have time to just sit and KNIT! I love it, I miss it, and my Valentine's gift to myself will be an evening of knitting. Wooohoo!

*[Caution - non-knitting computer database geek-speak follows] Not only that, but having worked through one month I'm feeling very comfortable with the rest of the year! I have all of the patterns in a database (about 80% of them are edited) which is related to other databases which contain specific yarn information, hook size info, etc. By creating a calculation field bringing all of this information together, along with text formatting which I apply in the calcuation, I can create an exportable file. I slap this info into my Quark template, do a little futzing with each date so that the styles are correct, add the image, and voila! All of the info I need - designer, web link, manufacturer of yarn, web link for that, pattern, hook sizes & mm equivs, photo credit is right there.

The time consuming part is that all of these images - hundreds of them - are slowing me down, man! As soon as I am able I edit them, prep them for output and store them on a CD - but I need to have many, many of them on my separate hard drive at any given time, and this tends to make my Quark act wonky. I'm asking a lot of it.

So all of this non-knitting geek speak is my way of celebrating!!!
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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sick & Sicker...

This week we've had everyone in the house with some variation on this fever/headache/sore throat thing that is ripping through the schools in South Orange/ Maplewood.

Max was ill, then he was better. The he was ill again. As he was getting better, Hannah came down with it. Max is well enough to go to school today, but Hannah's sicker than ever. And I woke up with a killer sore throat (but no other symptoms). Ah, parenting school aged children!

The kids teachers have been out repeatedly, which is VERY odd. Once this thing strikes, it just keeps coming back. Welcome to early Spring in NJ!

I'm the cookie mom again. Hooray.

Every year our troop finds a group that we send cookies to as a donation. This year we decided to donate cookies to our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. No matter how one feels about the war (and our school tends to be on the liberal side) everyone wants the troops to be loved, comforted and remembered. I've been sending letters and knitting stuff to soldiers through - a wonderful website - and decided that this might be a good venue to send some cases of girl scout cookies.

If you'd like to donate a box, click here You'll have to order the cookies one box at a time (I can't figure out how to change the donation button, and I'm just too head-achy to stress over it...) We will use any profit we make from the cookies (our troop makes $.60 on each box we sell) to pay for shipping overseas.
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Monday, February 07, 2005

Pixie Update
Still no Pixie. As the weather warms in our part of the country and our deep snow melts, Gerry and I hold our breaths. I so hope that Pixie is safe and warm and making some other family happy right now!

Design Update
I'm sending a bunch of stuff to IK today for the crochet issue - some good stuff (if I do say so myself...) and it's so freeing to work in crochet! I'm always amazed at how knit and crochet complement each other - like two good friends who present two sides of a good personality. One is reliable, constant, even tempered and dependable. The other is freer, less inhibited and sometimes can be a bit 'too much' - but you love them so it doesn't matter. Perhaps that's why I love both of them so much - I see (in a positive sense) two sides of my own personality. Obviously I flatter myself.

Calendar Update
I've begun the process of 'quarkizing' the patterns - my database is making this much easier than it might be otherwise (allowing me to create a uniformity in text, and to gather information from other databases - yarn info, contact info - without continually re-looking it up) As I work through each pattern I'm very excited - these are amazing designs! I also hear that awful voice in my head, rather like my 5th grade teacher, warning me that not everyone is going to be happy with design choices. "You know, you should change that!" Oy. Shut up, Mrs. Patterson.

Class Update
This isn't specifically a class, but we've decided to start having our Monday meetups at Panera in the hopes that there will be more room for knitting. A new Sunday knitting meetup will be starting at the Dancing Goat, and I'm really glad! I stopped going there for various reasons, and I don't want to be in charge of a group that meets there, but it's a wonderful space and I'm glad that Sue is starting a new meeting there. Good choice!

My Saturday class was great - except the 1978 folks didn't show up to open the studio. Oops. We retreated to my home and had class here. I believe the confusion was due to my inexperience with how 1978 does things (I'm still a little clueless as to what else I was supposed to do to get a key, or to get someone to open the building) and I also sort of have the feeling that 1978 wasn't totally into the concept of a knitting class. Oh, well! We'll see how this transpires, I could be wrong about the whole thing. In the mean time, we'll continue meeting in my home through the month of Feb on Saturday mornings at 10:00. If anyone would like to join us, please email me and I'll get you fixed up!

Birthday Update
I'm a dreadful wife. Saturday was Gerry's birthday, and I totally blew it off. Being busy is no excuse. I did make him a sort of big biscuit/cake/fruit thing (it wasn't good) and bought him a giant apple (you'd have to see it) but most of my weekend was devoted to Max's bowling birthday party on Sunday. Max's party went beautifully - all the kids had a great time, and Max was VERY happy. We almost had as many of Hannah's friends as Max's friends (they share a lot of friends), but that's good because Max is just so darned easy to get along with - he loves having ANYONE there! When it came time to make a wish, Max took a bit of time. It seems there was nothing he could think of that he really wanted, but he finally closed his eyes and blew out the candles.

At the end of the day he and I were talking and somehow the subject of being a 'good person' came up. I told him that as long as he tried to be a good person I'd always be proud of him. He said, "I'd like to tell you what I wished for, but then it won't come true..." I told him to whisper it to me, and he crawled onto the sofa and breathed in my earn, "I wished that I would be a good person." Then he whispered it to Atticus too, who seemed as impressed as I was. Good wish.
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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Silence of Tiny Bells

Pixie has run away.

She's the little cat that we got last Thanksgiving when she was just a tiny kitten, and has become a constant companion for Hannah. For over a year Hannah's gone to bed with Pixie in her bed, near her bed or in Pixie's own tiny little bed next to Hannah.

Monday, when we went out for Max's birthday, I couldn't find Pixie to give her dinner before we left. I didn't think much of it, she's late for dinner sometimes, but when we got home she wasn't waiting for us on the back porch as she usually is.

Today Gerry and the kids are taking posters around the neighborhood to give to people. I walked all over the neighborhood yesterday and saw no sign of her (which is kind of a blessing, in some ways...) Gerry and I both think that she wandered off to one of our neighbors who feed their cats outside and had dinner, then probably got herself temporarily adopted into their home. She's such a friendly and precious little cat.

She had a purple collar on, but her tag had fallen off and we hadn't replaced it. We're crossing our fingers that we'll get a chance to.
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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


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