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November 2010
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January 2011

December 2010

Toast

When it's cold outside like this morning, I always think of waking up at my grandparents' house in the winter when we lived with them for a while. They always kept it freezing in their house because Jimmy Carter told them to and so I'd sleep in the bed piled high with scratchy wool blankets and quilts so heavy I could barely move.

We got up before the sun rose and the first thing I'd do is stumble sleepily to the kitchen in my flannel nightgown and stand by the stove. The oven door was cracked open and there'd be a cookie sheet inside with slices of white bread dotted with pats of butter. It was the warmest spot in the house so I'd stand there and shiver until the toast was done.

I only ever got the last sip of coffee, but it was served in some seriously retro mugs, which of course weren't retro at the time. The ones I remember most were brown and orange striped. Sweet coffee, lightened with evaporated milk. Swiss Miss with those hard little marshmallows was in my mug.

When the toast was done, we'd sit down and eat, still shivering. The toast! There's not a slice of Wonder bread in my house today but I can still remember the taste - crispy on top, except for five spots of buttery deliciousness. And the bottom of the toast was still Wonder bread doughy, nice and warm. The combination of textures - mmmm. Add some Bama apple jelly and I can't think of anything finer.

These days, I make my whole wheat toast in a toaster and, even though I keep the heat at 66°, it's almost always warm when I wake up in the morning. It surely makes it easier to get up in the morning, but I don't know - I miss the old way.


Snowy (& feeling a little lazy)

I've had practically a week off and I'm having a hard time getting started today.

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The snow was a good excuse to put off work just a little bit longer this morning. And then the hot cocoa & oatmeal with apples, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, flaxseed, and walnuts, of course.

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It's so cold outside! Look at that little frosty nose!

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I want to keep playing, but it's back to the dyepots for me. I have a few custom orders to work on, fiber club, and my Something New that I'm hoping to have all ready to go in the shop next Monday. I'm so excited, I can't wait!

Wish me luck!


Merry Christmas!

This morning, R took V to the mall to see Santa.

V & Santa 1

We rehearsed what she wanted to say to him before they left (& I went out to do the last-minute shopping). She planned to tell him that she wants:

  • A bag of cats (stuffed are all right, but real would be better)
  • Catnip to give to the cats
  • Cat treats for the cats
  • Cat toys so she can play with the cats
  • A book on cat anatomy so she can be a vet

V & Santa 2

This afternoon, I asked her what Santa said to her when she told him she wanted a bag of cats. She said he only laughed.

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!


Yarn all around

I'm so very ready for 2011. I feel like I'm done with this year and I'm impatient for it to be over. I have 3 new projects I want to work on next year. New avenues for my business, photography, and family. That may be too much for me to accomplish in one year. If so, it'll be the photography project that gets pushed aside, as it has for the last 2 years.

I just now spun this yarn here. It's going to be called Moshi, similar to this roving, but in Corriedale X instead of superwash.

v moshi 002

A little while ago I had an epiphany about my business and since then I've been overwhelmed by all the possibilities and choices I have to make and the new things I have to learn. Sometimes I wish there were someone who would just tell me what to do and in what order to do it. I'd like to be able to press the EASY button, please. Pretty please?

This is the active single. You spin the yarn, wind it on the niddy noddy, tie it up, take it off and this is what bounces out at you. That's my favorite part. With the ties in place, it's a controlled chaos.

v moshi 008

I'm not someone who can just relax and know that the answers will come to me. It's in my head every waking moment, driving me a little crazy, until I can figure it out, get my process down, know that it's going to succeed. It's not a headache, it's personal growth really, but my head feels full. And I expect I'll have that feeling for the next several months, if not longer.

I took that controlled chaos of yarn and wound it into a hank - the simplest form for the yarn to take. Then I'll set the twist so it'll stick.

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Now I just need to do the same inside my head. Control the chaos, find the simplest form for this to take, then set the twist. On to 2011...


Christmas mantle

I am most definitely not the best home decorator. I know what I like when I see it, I just don't seem to be able to recreate it in my own home as well as I think I should be able to. But it's hard to go wrong decorating your mantle for Christmas.

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My Da & his wife brought back this Celtic cross on their trip from Ireland. Love it.

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And these little bottle brush trees remind me of the Christmas village set we had when I was a kid. It was made of heavy cardboard and glitter, as I remember it.

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At Thanksgiving, my mom told me she'd found the village and did I want it? Oh yes! I definitely do! I can't wait to see it again.


Chilly cats

It's finally gotten cold here! There have even been snow flurries the past two days, though none of it stuck. Our TV/Internet went out last night. Whoo hoo! It's Wintertime!

Ha.

My favorite part of winter? The cats. They get plumper, more plush, more snuggly. This one right here in breadloaf position?

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She comes and sleeps on my shoulder every morning while I check my email. Nothing's sweeter.

(On a side note, I'm on the lookout for a nice piece of plexiglass. I have visions of taking hovercat-like photographs one day.)

Cats also seem to sleep deeper in the winter. And they don't at all mind if you ring them with your Beanie Baby cat collection.

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Right now I'm knitting a cat sock for the Beanie Baby cats. Or a cat cocoon. Whatever you want to call it.

And growing a little cat grass to bring some springtime inside for the kitties. They deserve it.

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They work so hard in the winter.

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Knitting needle storage

I don't know how I managed it (ha), but I have amassed a big old bunch of knitting needles. And they're all over the house - in my closet, in my fiber room, in a box or two, on my dresser.

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For my birthday, my dear friend Kim gave me the double pointed needles you see above. I wrapped each set in a rubber band and put them in my grandmother's Depression Glass vase (made by Anchor Hocking in the 1930s-60s).

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My longer set gets the Jittery Joe's coffee can treatment.

Kim also found this pattern to make a circular needle holder that looks like fun. I've been thinking about making it next year - I love knitting cables and it'd be great to hang in the fiber room. Hmmm...


Newborns love handknits :)

Back in October, photographer Kari Smith contacted me about a pretty, fall-inspired superwash Merino roving I had in my Etsy shop. She wanted to know if I'd spin it up for her in a super bulky thick and thin style.

Normally, I don't use reds in my thick and thins. It's not a popular color for newborn photography props because it can bring out the red in baby's skin. But Kari wanted to make a small prop blanket, not a hat, and I was more than happy to spin it for her. Superwash Merino takes color really, really well and spinning this wool made for a gorgeous, super soft color-saturated skein of yarn that you just can't get with regular Merino (wonderful as it is).

Take a peek.

KSP-02370 for web Springtree Road Yarns

Kari says she used size 15 needles and just a basic stockinette stitch to knit a rectangle of soft and squishy blanket.

KSP-02576 for Springtree Road Yarns

I think it's perfect and a great use of fall/winter colors!

Kari Smith is a family photographer based in Freetown, Indiana.


How we decorate our tree

So here's how we decorate our tree.

Of course there are the usual ornaments, plus a few I've gotten from my grandmother & mom. Blah blah blah, super boring whatever.

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But then there are also the things that appear at V's discretion. Like the stitch markers.

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What? No stitch markers on your tree? Well, how about a cat?

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And another...

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...and another.

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Picture perfect! (they should be anyway - V asked me to sharpen their eyes in Photoshop) I say if there are no cats on your tree, you are missing out on one of the finer things in life & you should rectify your situation immediately.

Tee hee.


V's Aran

My dad & his wife went to visit family in Ireland recently and they brought back an Aran for V.

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I had a similar one when I was a kid so it makes me happy to see this one on her.

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I would love to knit one myself. I love knitting cables.

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Though I might want to make one for an 8-year-old because that's probably how long it would take me to knit it.

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She runs like the wind!