My Mom Went to Japan and I Didn’t Get a Crappy T-Shirt

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So my mom came to visit this past weekend, which was also her birthday. We gave her a few small gifts (paints, sketch book, etc) and then mom got to shop my stash. The conversation went something like this:

Mom: Wow, look at all that beautiful, colorful yarn!

KT: Oh that is the Blue Moon yarn I have been telling you about, Socks That Rock. You should take some home with you!

Mom: Why? I am never, ever, EVER going to knit socks. I just don’t do that. (not an exact quote but you get the idea-imagine I suggested she tatoo a barcode on her forehead.)

KT: Mom, you can make a bunch of things other than socks with this stuff. (I whip out the mitres, the snake scarf for Duncan, the sweater, the baby blanket)

Mom: But because it is sock yarn, you must use a really tiny needle, right? (Tiny for me is size one, tiny for Mom is a six.)

Then she felt all the squooshy loveliness and I suggested that the Blue Moonstone would be perfect for her and I saw it. That little spark in her eyes that she didn’t think I saw/wanted me to see. Four skeins of STR heavyweight in Bluemoonstone (and some other things) later she was on her way! Our plan is that she get in touch with the BMFA gals and order the same color in a fiber that she can carry along with it so it can be knit on an 8 or 9.

Oh my goodness Lookie!!!! My folks went to Japan and look what they brought me back! It was so kind and generous of them- Thanks Mom & Jerome! This particular set of parents (yes there is more than one- I should org chart it for the blog-HA!) have some very good friends that are Australian, lived in Hong Kong for a good long while and have travelled to Japan frequently over a great number of years. Off the four of them went with a wee request from me… If at all possible could they score me some Japanese fabric? John & Judy took time out of the trip to show my folks fabric shops and I think markets and what they found was enchanting! Some of these are available here (shhhhhh! don’t tell) and I couldn’t care less as they are fabrics I never would have picked for the stash and that is good! It is always wonderful to find uses for things that you might not normally pick. Expanding horizons and all that.

First there is some Kaufman fabric. This falls into the category of something I would not pick and will love to find a use for. Very exciting as the fabric will always be special to me and the funny part is my maiden name is, indeed Kaufman! No relation as far as I know, though my grand father used to own textile mills.

The next lot I thought were fat quarters but upon unpacking them I saw all the edges are sewn down. Placemats ? Japanese doilies? Panels? Don’t know and I will certainly find a use for these too. Jan (or anybody else who knows about all this)- if you are reading and have any insight into any of these Japanese mysteries- we would love to hear them!

There are two more lots and I am not certain which I find more wonderful. The first is several squares that feel like Bark Cloth but are most certainly synthetic- maybe rayon? I love these so much and may have to incorporate them into some sort of clothing….Appliques on a T-shirt maybe? Who knows! I love these to bits.

The last lot has a charm all its own. Look at how these bundles are put together! Sewn though the middle. I find this so practical and basic and lovely and decadent (piercing the fabric? oh I adore it!). Never have I seen this before, it is such a contrast from all the prettily tied fat quarter packs I have seen in my local shops. I think my preference is this way….

The pieces seem to be completely irregular in size. There is a LOT of bunny fabric, which I find perfect. These little bundles came from this shop:


Have a great day everybody! Love you all. Oh, and my mom will probably kill me for this but here she is being her cute self with her grandbabies & her husband:

rain drops on roses

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(this was written Wednesday night but posted Thursday . Again the internet.)

If those folks do not fix this problem soon, I am going to have kittens. The internet is out again. Lord only knows when this will post. Tomorrow is supposed to be the day they lay the new (temporary) pipe, we shall see.

Today was a pretty neat day for all of us. (The following may not seem like a big deal, and for us it is. We weigh each gram of food that our son eats and strive to make sure that his diet [as it pertains to Type One Diabetes] is in check. ) Each month Angus and his class take a field trip to the big library in town. As it was the last trip of the year today, they got to have smoothies on the way back from the Library. So I popped into the juice joint, put some insulin in him and off I went. He got to hang out with his friends, be a cool kid and I had a pretty big exercise in letting go. While I am at it, I would like to give a big, HUGE, public shout out to Jamba Juice! I do not know much about this company and what I do know impressed this mother of a diabetic. All and I mean all of the nutritional info for all of the smoothies and other goodies they sell is available online and in the store. This means that we were able to go online, read the info, Angus got to pick what he wanted and I knew ahead of time what the correct dose of insulin to give him was. Because this company took the time and effort to do this, my kid got to take part, we as parents felt confident and I commend them 100%. We really wish that more folks took the resources to do this. Jamba Juice will now be a special treat in our family.

This baby blanket has been a really interesting knit. Garter stitch log cabin, interesting? Why yes, you nay sayers! The most challenging part of it has been thinking outside of my colorway box. As I have said before, it is not that I do not like these colors, I just do not think in these colors. For the colors I see and think and dream in, look at my last post. So, in a way this blanket has also been an exercise in letting go. Trusting you about jewel tones has been a big achievement for me. There have been several times that I have really, really wanted to abandon this project and reclaim the yarn. Then I realized it didn’t matter all that much. Yes, I want to make a beautiful gift for a baby girl whose mother teaches my son everyday. Yes, I want this to be treasured and used and loved. And it will be, almost regardless of what I make it look like. Alice in the Heartland (would you get a freaking blog already?), whom I met at camp, advised me of the most wonderful thing….that I think too much. This comment was taken to heart and yes, I have heard it before. So, I chose to just go with it. Add a color, switch when I want to, more of this and less that. More of the spirit and less of the letter. Oh and did you know that Iowa has 2 coasts? When I assemble my knitting posse for the underground bunker, Alice is SO on the list. You are too, don’t worry!

One more thing. Today before the juice joint, I stopped by an old haunt of mine, Ben Franklin Crafts. Years ago (on a planet far, far away) I used to shop there. Sure it was not the toniest of places and yet they always had something that was fun, new or new to me. So, I went back today and holy cow! The yarn selection used to be very, very limited and in a dark back corner of the store. Now it is almost one whole wing and the selection was pretty darned good, not perfect and much better than expected. One of the reasons I like this place is that they are locally owned and have been there for 32 years. Yes, BF is a franchise operation and not a one-off but at least the dollars stay mostly in the community. It was a really pleasant surprise.

Have a great day!

fun!

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This was so much fun to make. The colors make me so, so happy.

This was my inspiration:

The main color is Lemongrass and the contrast is Backstabber. (Love that name and it is perfect for the color!) Both are STR Heavyweight. Knit on size 4 needles, 6 sts to the inch-unblocked. Please ignore the seaming, I am going to unpick the seams, block this and give the seaming another go. The Backstabber started as a full skein and after I was done, I weighed it and it was 6oz. (having started at approximately 7 oz.). The entire square weighs 3 oz, so I figure that from one skein of heavy weight I can get 3.5 finished squares, or 14 mitres in the main color and 28 mitres in the contrast. The 4 mitres sewn together are roughly 11 inches square. Mainly I am telling you this so that I can have a record of it that I will be able to find later, ha! Btw, I have not seen the Backstabber on the site- I bought it at camp and wish I had bought more. Oh which reminds me of something that I was really happy to hear and I suspect that you will be too. All the colors of STR are available, even if they are not on the site. Just call em and if they have it already fini, then you can have it right away and if not once enough people have requested it, they will dye more. I think I got that right. So if you thought your favorite colorway went bye-bye, call ‘em- I bet they will have it!

I will make more of these for sure. In all honesty, I tried making some last year and I kept making them so the stitch count was off at the end. And I was WAY too embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t knit a mitre correctly, so I clammed up about it. So, Emily to answer your question- that afghan didn’t happen. It might be really interesting to make something (a blanket*cough*) where the main color was the same throughout and the contrasting color changed from square to square. Hmmm. Now I am not saying this will turn into anything, proclamations are always the death of me, it was just really fun to make. I may have a few other color combinations kicking around in my head…

ps: This will get posted IF the internet ever comes back on. It has been going out pretty regularly at about this time each day- you know- the time I have the whole post laid out in my head.

eta: the square was unpicked and steam blocked. It looks beautiful! Even if the square unblocks itself (it is superwash afterall ), it will have been worth it to make the seaming easier. Let’s see if I can get that badboy seamed and photographed before the internet makes a return.

eta: This post was written Tuesday and not posted till now because we had zero internet for over 10 hours! I will post a picture of the blocked and seamed square later today- I just want to get this post up before the internet goes out again!

thinking big

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We can hardly believe that the move was over a month ago. Time really does abstract when you move. Requests that were made of me that I SWEAR were made last week, were actually made a month ago. There has been no routine, only very loose scheduling and general mayhem as we muck through the backside of this move. Plus we have had three different house guests since we moved in. Plus Duncan has been home with me because there was no room in the new school until Fall. Great news! A spot in his age group opened up and he started last week! Yay for Duncan! Yay for me! Then Duncan got his “Welcome to your new school” gift. Pink Eye has kept Duncan home from school on what was to be the first full week at the new school. The good news is that he can go tomorrow if Mama got the drops in his eyes soon enough (if he had the drops by 10 he could go Tuesday). Call the Pediatrician to just call in the prescription (with a visit to the doctor) so I can make the deadline, rush to the pharmacy, put the drops in Dunc’s eyes before even leaving the parking lot. Phew! Made it with a minute to spare. Anyhow- my point was not to talk to you about the Goop Du Jour (now there is a stellar idea for the sidebar…Goop Du Jour featuring the Goop Cam! And believe me there is no shortage of Goop in this house. You have no idea how many, many Goop Stories I spare all of you. You are welcome.) Wow, does the above sound whiney? Yep? Is it true? Yep?

Okay, before my whining is over there are a few more things I want to mention:

a) When the icemaker (yes I am grateful to have one) is about to make ice, it sings like a Humpback Whale for about 45 seconds beforehand.

b) The microwave (yes I am grateful to have one) is a bit of a relic, I call it Hanford.

c) The gas stove (yes I am grateful to have one) lights only when it wants to.

*WHINGE OVER*

d) All of these are easily replaced and we DO love this house (Really, Annette- we do!!!!!).

e) The tree peonies are blooming and knocking my socks off! Holy cow!

f) The boys are outback counting tadpoles in the pond.

g) The tooth fairy comes tonight for Angus.

The point was to talk about how easy it is to not think big, to get pigeon holed or in a rut and too caught up to realize that you are not thinking big that you are indeed thinking about your microwave. And I find myself not thinking big of late and I do not like it at all. It hurts. I was watching Duncan play the other morning and asked myself: “Do I lift him up? Do I help him to dream, to be creative? Or do I reprimand too much?” Then I asked the same questions of myself, about myself. The answer was a resounding “Yes!!”

The cure? Dream a little dream and sing along to the song of the Humpback Whale.

color hangover

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Thank you to everybody for your ideas for the blanket. Just to set the record straight- it is not that I do not want to please the recipient – it is that I have a difficult time telling what is a muted/subtle color. (Right Erin? Remember the color angst I went through knitting socks?) My color sense is what some may call *ahem* unique. Know that over here we love unique and I must say that one this one my drum beats pretty loud. If I did not want to knit something that the family would like, then I would not. If I wanted to give something that *I* wanted to give, with zero thought to the recipient it would be something goofy like a paper shredder or a blender. (Not, but you get my point.)

I will knit a pinwheel blankie (Thanks Cece!)and I will do one like we did at camp, Carla (who is blog free-not blog-less. Carla, for the record I will continue to use center pull yarn cakes from the outside. Chin up in the face of ridicule, I say! <snort>). But not for this project, I think.

Yesterday I was in a complete color frenzy. After reading Cara’s method that she adapted from Ruth, I spent about a zillion hours mucking about in photoshop. This was the initial inspiration…


There is no photo of the photoshop-ed stained glass. Sorry. This vase is amazing and has a backstory. My parents (one set of them- my family needs an org chart) sold our house of 30 years. It is where Craig & I got married, it is where my heart is. It was sold to some very good people who will take excellent care of it and still the selling of Seabluff (our house’s name) is like a death in the family. When my folks sold, they very generously gave us a bunch of the antiques they had purchased when they initially furnished the house ( in about 1976- the antiques generally are from 1830-1890). This little vase somehow made it from California to Virginia tucked inside a hutch. It is so worn and so beautiful that I can barely stand it. The bottom is stamped “Sterling Silver” with a royal crown and the number 20 next to it. I do not dare polish it as it would lose much of the charm it exudes.


Look at all the variation. It makes me so happy both from a familial and color standpoint. yes, I am waxing about a very old (most likely) vase that means nothing to anyone but me. The patina makes me NUTS in a great way. So this vase appreciation moment brought forth some stash diving. This is what I found…


So, I did take the suggestions of Jewel tones. From left to right (all are STR Heavyweight): Bronze, Boysenberry, Jade, and Amethyst. There was much fussing and himming and hawing. Here is another combo, omitting the Amethyst (which is not nearly this blue, must learn to use the camera correctly).


There were a few more additions and subtractions, but on the whole I really like these three colors. And then I saw this and it all went to hell in a hand bucket.


Subtle colors

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Color for me is such a turn on, so intoxicating. It makes me so happy. Truly there is not a color I do not like. That said, I may not like a color for a particular purpose (me wearing dusty rose- ACK!) and at the same time, I know that each color is beautiful and has a place. Some might need a wing-man for them to perk up and be gorgeous but the potential is there for all color. I seriously believe this. Fervently.

Saturated color just about puts me around the bend. Full strength color is an elixir to me. Tonal color ways may make me completely giddy. Primary colors? Sometimes and not together. Tertiary colors turn me into a puddle of goo.

Angus’ new teacher Miss Nicole (sic) is a knitter! Yay! (How often to you get to ask your child’s teacher if she knows the Harlot?) And almost any minute Miss Nicole (sic) is expecting a baby girl! Baby knitting! And baby girl knitting? That n-e-v-e-r happens around here. A very exciting opportunity. At first, I thought I would make baby socks, having just taken Cat’s class… that is what the class was about- socks! (Still my experience of Cat eclipsed what the class was about- though I will say I learned some AMAZING things that I had a hard time understanding and Cat let me noodle it out and now the knowledge is MINE and in my` little lizard hind-brain forever. Freaking love Cat. She is the Feynman of knitting.)

Now I am looking at my recent Camp Purchases and thinking that a blanket might be in order. A blanket out of STR Heavy Weight

So in the Conga-Line of pick up (not hook-up which sounds way, way more provocative), I asked Miss Nicole if she knew the colors of her new daughter’s room. No, they have not picked yet. So I asked the next logical question: What colors do you like? Bright? Subtle? Primary? Not Primary?

This was my downfall. I should never have asked. Really, we all know that I am going to knit whatever the heck I want regardless of what she tells me. Her answer was Muted and not Primary. I stink at Muted. (But if you call it Tonal, I’m all in. Weird, I know.) One of my cousins is married to a wonderful gal who was born in the UK and they now live in Atlanta. We bought one of their daughters a dress that I thought was extremely Muted and to them it was Neon. Sigh. Cousin’s wife does genteel and I do WAAAAAAAAAA!!!! and yet I fool myself that I do genteel.

So what colors do I use? I am thinking of doing mitres or maybe a log cabin. I thought about the curlicue and realized I do not have the energy for it.

A healthy discussion is welcome. What do you do when you love brights and the recipient loves muted? HELP?

whirling

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What a few weeks this has been. Moving out west again, new house, camp, two sets of houseguests, Duncan’s 4 year check up, Angus’ first Diabetes check up. When you are diabetic (at least a kid with type one), you get a check up quarterly. He did GREAT and everybody was really in praise of the job our family is doing managing his blood sugars. Honestly, I did not sleep at all the night before and finally I figured out why- I was afraid we were going to get another bombshell. (There are many things that Angus is now prone to, which are scary and awful and I am just going to ignore in the moment.)

In other Angus news- he did great on his “trial day” for the elementary program and is now in school as a rising first grader! In the fall he will be in the same class as an official first grader. In our old school he was a kindergartener and the oldest in his class (Montessori does mixed age class rooms). Now he is the one of the youngest and the change has been phenomenal and overnight. He is showing a maturity and poise that blows us away. They went to the library yesterday (on a field trip) and upon returning home, Angus grabbed his book and announced that he was off to do research. Research! Imagine!

Onto the knitting. Yes, really.

This color is a bear and a half to photograph. STR Heavyweight in Lover’s Leap. Did two at once sleeves and they are fini! Yay! Doing both fronts and the back at the same time. Making good progress, I’d say. The color in the middle (the back & the fronts) is probably the most true.


And dude, who ever stole the refrigerator out of our house in Virginia? Shame on you. The rest of you? Love you like crazy!

Sock Camp

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Dude. Sock Camp was seriously b-e-y-o-n-d. I’ve been Bordhi-ed. I’ve been Harlotted. And man, oh man, have I been Blue Mooned.

The classes were perfect. Color theory with Tina? It was all I could do to keep from weeping tears of joy. Grok the Sock with Stephanie? Holy crap. Plus she gave a brief tutorial on intarsia in the round- a problem I have been trying to solve for YEARS. My brain is a happier place for learning this. Cat’s class? Don’t even remember what is was called, and honestly it doesn’t matter- “Cat’s class” says it all. Freaking love Cat.

My fellow campers were perfect. There is really no way to describe something as experiential as our few days together on Orcas. This week will be in my heart for a long time. Here are just a few pictures (I took about 800. 839 to be precise).



Hi Chappy!



Hi Stephen!



Look- it is the Harlot & Cat doing yoga, while competeing to see which is faster- circs or dpn’s. Right after this, Cat stood on the table while continuing to knit.


Oh and I got Cara-ed at least by her blanket. I flipped out when I saw it- like meeting Pete Freakin’ Townsend, or in this case Bruce. Chica- this is for you!




Whomever took this picture of Tina, Cat and me- THANK YOU. I love it. Shout out!






More to come, I promise. Love y’all.

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