Saturday, December 29, 2007


The day is starting well. Even though it's raining and gloomy it's warm like April rather than late December. Got some coffee, warm boots (yes I'm wearing them in the house--they've changed my cold-footed life!) and a little knitting. What more could I ask for? But I feel the need to pass on a little inspiration, lest I should become cloudy like the weather.

Whenever my ankle hurts and I have to take a break from running (like right now) I think about the 3 men who were profiled on the news for running the Richmond marathon for the past 30 years! Never missed a year, all 3 of them and now they're well beyond qualifying for AARP. They're 60 and over, one even in his early 70's. Man I hope my body will do that. Where there's a will there's a way, right?

I also try to remember this quote I came across in one of my favorite little shops:

"Whether you think you can, or think you can not, you are probably right" --Henry Ford

Friday, December 28, 2007

Introducing...the chicken sweater!

In keeping with all published work, virtual or otherwise, I must post an error when one has occurred. Note: error in submission dated Dec. 23, 2007. Insert Belize where Bali is mentioned. And yes, he does know where it is.

Now that that's taken care of, on to the knitting. I've dubbed my latest creation "the chicken sweater". As in, I'm throwing this on to go out and feed the chickens! (or perhaps it's in reference to my being chicken to make it, you decide) It is going to be jacket-like and realllly warm, probably a bit itchy and definitely rugged. Those folks in Nebraska that make Lamb's Pride sure do know how to make a warm and earthy yarn. I'm using the chestnut color which I love. It felts wonderfully and I love to make bags with it--I tell you this is my loophole if the sweater doesn't work out. One more caveat: we don't have any chickens! In answer to the age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the sweater? I have to say the sweater! Chickens are forthcoming.

So here's how it looked yesterday:

Of course I messed up a little due to too much late night knitting and counting, but somehow managed to correct it and get back on track with the pattern. You won't even notice! I'm holding out hope that blocking is going to work miracles and it will drape beautifully.

And now that I'm so far along I shift gears in true amy fashion and have the overwhelming urge to make myself some fingerless gloves. I'm really basking in this knitting for self moment. On a self-proclaimed hiatus from frantic knitting for the shop I'm seeing all the wonderful possibilities leftover yarn provides. That and the school holiday somehow gives me permission to knit all day while the kids revel in Christmas loot.

I hope your day includes something you WANT to do, not just what you HAVE to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Well it's about time

Here's what it looks like outside:

And here's what it looks like inside:

So here I sit, crouched by the fire finally beginning my first sweater project for MYSELF! I have knit oodles of sweaters, hats and other goodies for the shop and many gifts, but never the sweater that's just for me. Part of my procrastination is that I think it's got to be the end all be all sweater. Perfect yarn, perfect pattern, you get the idea. But I took the advice of a friend who reminded me it doesn't have to be the very LAST sweater I knit for myself. The lightbulb went off, I bit the bullet and for about the 5th time got started.

So I'm actually following a pattern (I never follow patterns except my own, that whole copywright issue) from Debbie Bliss "Home". It's the "diagonal-front jacket". And it's not for sale! Of course I'm using the wrong yarn and so it will have a completely different look than the one in the book. I'm just hoping it looks how I want it too after blocking cause right now it's a little lumpy!

But I always say, I learn more from my mistakes than I do from my successes so if it doesn't turn out so great I've got alot of yarn to make some awesome felted bags with!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


My husband loves a good purge, and today it was the TV's turn. We are a hand-me-down kind of family, complete with clothes, computers, furniture, kitchen cabinets, appliances and TV's to name a few. So the used TV in our bedroom that likes to turn itself off randomly without warning has been evoking alot of negative energy in a room that's supposed to be restful. Today he nabbed his chance to get rid of it. The TV the kids watch (the only other one in the house) also turns itself on and then immediately off. So out it went and in it's place the one from our bedroom. If he has his way they'll all be gone when the last one finally breaks.

This prompted a complete upheaval of our already dismantled and disorganized bedroom. I sit here now with the computer on my lap, the second hand ancient one out in the hallway hopefully for the kids to use, the printer's on the floor, the ugly, old computer table is blocking the bedroom door, stuff for Goodwill piled in a corner, weights, stacks of paper and magazines along with random knitting stuff here there and everywhere. A real Martha Stewart nightmare!

In the midst of it all he started his usual rant about moving to Bali and living in a shack and fishing 24 hrs a day. Simplify! He says. But I'm not so sure he knows where Bali is.

I just smile and go along. Following behind him with a paper towel or dustrag, happy to scoop up all the old dust bunnies that lurk under heavy objects that never get moved. The change will be nice, refreshing even. Music perhaps a more enjoyable alternative.

I feel like we've rearranged a surprising number of times in our 9 1/2 years in this house. It is an old farmhouse built in the 1930's that needed a huge amount of work done. We gutted it (and I do mean WE) and renovated for a year and a half while living in one bedroom that moved around alot. We then restored it with only minor cosmetic changes, keeping it's original character but bringing it up to date in terms of water, heat/air, useable kitchen, CLOSETS, etc. It looks big, with big rooms but there is little to no extra storage, with 3 bedrooms and 5 people and a cat. We love it and use every square inch of it with no room to grow. Perfect for my "get rid of this junk" husband--if you don't include his 90 foot pole barn where he conveniently stashes every leftover bit and gadget he finds. I love you, honey!

The real treat to this old place is the 7 acres it sits on. A true luxury in my mind. Room to play, room to dream, room to run. So while Bali may sound nice, I think I'll stay right here and watch the fields grow, the deer graze and the groundhogs dash under the house, even though they aggravate the skunk that wanders under there too, but THAT is another story!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Simple Gifts

The flurry of activity is in full swing this season with filling knitting orders, making gifts, shopping, wrapping, hosting birthday parties, going to more, baking, class parties, church activities and more, along with the regular-ness of everyday life. Amidst all this one would wonder, why would I decide now is the time to begin a blog?

I'm all for simplifying and removing myself from as much of the craziness as possible, so I suppose this is my way of staying true to that and centering myself and my thoughts. I've also realized suddenly that my Christmas has already come and the way to honor it is to record the gifts I've been given.

First is the gift of encouragement from my wonderful husband who recognizes my need to have a little world all to my own and so has given me the time, prompting and means with which to write it all down.

Next is my 7 year old son with his daily gifts of enthusiasm. I well up with warmth and admiration as I watch him fly across the fields and through the woods on his too-small bike, making go-cart noises and letting fly the occasional "waaahhoooooo" thrilled with the freedom peddaling without training wheels offers.

The other day my 5 1/2 year old daughter handed me a book she had penned just for me.

title: "My Mama"

by: Lauren

pg. 1 I love my Mama.

pg. 2 My Mama hogs (hugs) me alot.

pg. 3 She loves me alot.

The End (I keep it in my inside coat pocket in case of emergencies)

My four year old daughter gives the gift of silliness which I desperately need. Watching her dance, wiggle her hind end and get "funkadilly" can turn any mood around.

Hope came from Patience just when I needed it the most. With it I can keep slogging through even the muddiest of days.

Handmade gifts from friends and understanding from my in-laws as I struggle yet another Christmas season reminds me that sometimes just who I am is enough.

And as I pray for friends, one whose young daughter passed away earlier this year, another who fights for her life on a ventilator in an ICU in Texas, and another who is still growing back hair from surgery for brain cancer, I wrestle with the bitter and the sweet, utterly confused as to what to do with it all. So it finds its way here, spilling out on the pages to be read...or not.