Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

We are on the verge of a new year, anticipating good things with our list of hopes and goals in hand and ready to begin checking them off. I wanted to complete all current projects and ring in the new year fresh while already dreaming of new projects to conquer. But time has a way of taking over and we, meaning me, seldom accomplish everything we set our hearts to complete. I wanted to finish the yellow knitted baby blanket before tomorrow but I got sidetracked by quilting. But I'm pleased with what I did accomplish and after 12 hours of top stitching I'm almost done with four quilts. All I have left to do is the binding. There is still hope and plenty of daylight and we don't have plans for this evening so I just might finish the knitted blanket after all!

Tomorrow will be a day of fresh starts and new beginnings. However, I am thankful for all this year has brought. Family is being restored and God is blessing us with adult relationships once thought lost. I look forward to all that God has for us in 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The socks are finished!

I only have one Harry Potter movie to go but I did finish the socks. Do you know that socks play an important role in Harry Potter? Socks represent freedom from slavery and a life of servitude. At least they do for the house elf, Dobby. I was hoping to finish yesterday but my fingers weren't moving as quickly as my mind willed them and I ran out of time. Personally, I think there is a sense of freedom in knitting socks because most often when one is knitting handmade socks they are not from some serviceable yarn but rather something luxurious and luscious to the touch. This year I hope to knit more of them and find a really nice pair of shoes with which to wear them.

Today, I wrapped the warp on my new loom and did exactly what the instruction said NOT to do and nearly lost it all on the floor! I've watched videos, read instruction, practiced, and now I think I'm ready to go. All I'm waiting on is my 8 dent heddle that I ordered from KnitPicks because I didn't know you needed a bigger size for cotton yarn.

The next item to finish on my list is the infinity scarf I didn't complete before Christmas. I want to finish it before returning to school so I can wear it on the first day back. Tomorrow I may begin working with a Twilight marathon. The knitting seems appropriate - a sparkling silver gray scarf and blood red sweater!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


The house is clean and the Christmas decorations are put away. For many, December 26th is too early to put everything away but I need the time before returning to school to renew, refresh and at least pretend I have regained control of my world. For the next week I will eat leftovers, clean a few cabinets or closets and try to complete as many UFOs as possible. I'll post pictures as projects are completed. For today, I want to finish a pair of Basic Ribbed socks and maybe even the last of eight infinity scarves. However, let's be real, I also want to do some weaving on my new Kromski weaving loom so I may not complete as much as I think. We'll see. Of course, this is all while having a Harry Potter Marathon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

We are so blessed to spend the holidays with those we love. We had a wonderful weekend with my brother, Richard. We took a trip down to Yuma to spend time with Gerrie and Casi and Rick and Nana and Papa. I'm always so touched that Rick's boys come and visit. I took each of the girls towel sets with knit dishcloths and they seemed to genuinely like them. This year I hope to stockpile handmade gifts and give them freely to those I love.

Last night we were blessed with a fabulous service at Palm Valley Church and heard Mia's testimony in such a profound way. I truly enjoyed going to church to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We then had the privilege of going to Jocelyn's house for our annual Christmas Eve spinach dip and enchiladas! We opened gifts and took pictures and even played a few games of UNO.

This morning I've already made quiche for breakfast and have everything ready to start cooking lunch. My Christmas present, a new Keurig machine, is already heated and ready to go. Jason has had his hot chocolate and I'm sipping my peppermint mocha at this moment.

I know today will be a day blessed with family and love for all.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cup Cozies

Jason calls them cup sweaters and I gave fourteen away as gifts this week. I found this fabulous pattern on Pinterest and couldn't help myself. There is something about the texture or assortment of colors or immediate gratification that makes me want to make another even now. The angel ornaments are made with my embroidery machine. Each morning I would get up and shower and then set the machine up and get it ready to begin working on the angels. Depending on the morning and what I had going on I could often get two completed before leaving for work. The cup cozies required a little more of my attention but I love choosing the button to add the perfect amount of contrast and detail. Add Dollar Tree mugs, hot chocolate mix, homemade cookies and the gift is complete.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boot Cuffs and Scarves

I am ready for cooler weather! As I sit in my classroom listening to the refrigeration unit blow, I think, how can this be the beginning of December? I want to wear scarves and boots and warm weather garments. Have you noticed all the cute boot cuffs? On Ravelry there are some beautiful knit patterns but I wanted to work something up quickly for a friend who sent me a text with a picture and asked if I could make her a pair so I chose the crocheted set pictured here. I love that she wears them with such sass and excitement. People like Stephanie are the best people to make gifts for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The first paragraph in Huckleberry Finn basically tells us that everybody lies. Although that is a somewhat depressing idea, I've been exploring the concept with 11th grade students and you would be amazed at some of their ideas. We've discussed what constitutes a lie, if there is such a thing as a "white" lie and if anyone is ever totally truthful.

Of course then I begin thinking about the weight on my driver's license and question if I have a moral obligation to change it. I also think about those awkward questions like, "Who do you like best?" or "How do you like my new outfit?" But I also wonder if I put anyone in a position where they have to lie to avoid hurting my feelings. I especially think about this around Christmas time when I am making gifts for people I work with, family members and girlfriends.

Truthfully, however, I can't imagine them not liking what I make. I like the items I'm creating and giving them or I wouldn't have made them in the first place. In the midst of all this creating and giving there is always one person I can count on to tell me the truth (or not say anything which is in itself telling) and that is Jocelyn. But I try to not give her too much of a hard time because there is a long list of knitted items she does like and I'm not going to hold it against her even if she didn't like the spiral scarf I was working on!

For now, however, I will continue discussing Huckleberry Finn with my students while knitting Christmas washcloths. They make great gifts, the students are enthralled and mesmerized by the movement and I don't have to look at my needles while I knit them.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I have several works in progress but somehow can't say no to a test knit (as pictured on the right) or starting a new project. There is something about free yarn that consumes me and leaves me helpless to saying no or establishing boundaries. This morning I started a new project with 5 minutes left before I needed to go to work and last night I started two more before going to bed. The crazy thing is I think I will finish each of these within the allotted deadline I have set for myself. Not only that, I still have more I want to begin. I think about the ladies in the office who would love a mug cozy and the girls I work with and wanting to make them something special for our department Christmas party and family who would really appreciate a handmade gift. But then, of course, I begin thinking about the ladies in my knitting group and how I would really love to make them something but do you really knit something for the ladies who spend their evenings knitting? I don't know. Additionally, I can't help but thinking about the babies about to be born that I must knit for because I love their moms and grandmothers so much. Heaven forbid I should check Pinterest and see boards that are haunting me with the things I want to make my sister-in-law or my daughter. If all I did was knit, there still wouldn't be enough time but I also want to quilt and read and sew. Have you ever read the essay, "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady? It's a great editorial on how much we all need someone to manage our appointments and chores so that we can take care of the things we want to do instead of what we have to do. I don't really want a wife - I hear they are pretty high maintenance - but a great quote written on a mug from my daughter comes to mind when I think of what I want to do and what I need to do; My job is interfering with my knitting. Yes, it is!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Knitting on the Road

I'm preparing to see my family and that means a road trip. My first thought was Jack Kerouac's book On the Road but I think this trip will be less dramatic. Oh, wait. Did I say less dramatic? Probably not, but it is okay. We love our families because they are family and we accept their idiosyncrasies because they are family. I have to take my camera and I'm sure I will irritate everyone with too many pictures but they will be happy at some point that I captured this visit!

Here's the bottom line. I'm planning the packing for my trip based on the amount of knitting I will need to take. I'm taking projects that are somewhat easily memorized and don't require much thought. I've decided to knit a spiral scarf from a video I watched on YouTube this morning - I've been up since 3:00am - but I think it will be great for the trip. I've also packed a large ball of cotton yarn so that I can make Christmas washcloths if I need something mindless and that will take care of some of my Christmas knitting. I've also brought a few knitted gifts in case I want to give a present. It's always a little awkward since we don't see each other very often and you never know who will be there and what exactly will happen but I like to be prepared.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blue Lace

Prioritizing my time is essential to keeping up with all that I want to accomplish. It's not that I have more than anyone else to do, it's just that I feel it is vital to include the crafts, knitting and sewing, that I want to create. One of the thing I like to do with my time is complete test knits for Woolgirl. It's one of those activities that make me smile and feel a sense of accomplishment. I like the connection to the knitting community and the challenge and time deadlines to do certain knits that I normally wouldn't attempt. My latest is a lovely blue scarf/wrap that was a fairly quick knit but has a beautiful lace design to add a little challenge. Actually, the challenge is in paying attention and not the difficulty of the stitches.

My next projects
  • baby hats for God's Angels Gone Early
  • Christmas gifts - I have some great ideas but we will have to show pictures after the holidays :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where have I been?

I've been stressing about posting more regularly because it is something I really want to do. However, as with anyone's life, there has been a lot going on. In order to cut myself some slack, I've established some new rules.
1. Sometimes it is okay if a post does not have a picture.
2. Who is this for anyway? I need to be okay with whatever I want to post and whenever I want to post.
3. I teach high school full time and three college classes. Time is a little scarce.
4. I knit, a lot!
5. Do I remember to write down everything I complete, no. Is that okay? Yes.
6. Can I do better next year? Yes :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sometimes there are just kind people in the world who share of themselves and their goods. I'm thankful for these people in my life, and especially in my knitting group, specifically Connie. I was gifted with enough wool for a cardigan and I can't wait to knit it. I'm pretty sure I've decided on a pattern (the Woolen Cashmere Twinset cardigan from Knitting Classic Style) and need to psych myself up for the challenge of knitting such a large project on size 3 needles with sock weight yarn. Something really neat about this yarn is the yarn band that doesn't give the yardage but does give the date and it is from 1973. It's like I will have a vintage sweater even before I knit it!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gypsy Wools in Boulder

Okay, I'm fairly certain that I am obsessive about my knitting. I challenged myself at the beginning of this year to abstain from buying yarn as a New Year's resolution. Clearly, that didn't happen. So, I've resigned myself to failure and have accepted defeat in this situation. Recently, I had a fabulous opportunity to study Japanese Internment Camps at the University of Colorado in Boulder with TEA/NCTA which is a great chance to learn about an interesting topic and then share that knowledge with my students. One of the side benefits is that I also got to do a little shopping in the evening. But, let's be real. The only shop that I went to was Gypsy Wools on Pearl Street. This is a lovely shop with a fabulous selection of hand-dyed yarns. One of my favorite is Kona Sport and I took advantage of this shopping opportunity! I've justified my expedition in some ways by choosing yarn that I will knit into Christmas gifts - not that I don't have enough already. Anyway, I love this yarn and I've already started a project with it. As I was talking to the owner, she mentioned she was finishing some dying and I asked if I could take a picture. Isn't it lovely? I fight the urge to spin or dye my own yarn. I can only handle so many addictions so I will just have to support others in their endeavors! And trust me, I did :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I am suspicious of anyone who says they are a knitter and goes on a week long training without yarn or needles. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I just found out that one of my best friends, Kim, is going to be a grandmother. Not only is she going to be a grandmother but she already knows that she will be cuddling a precious little girl. I can already imagine the fun she will have with her planning tea parties, playing with dolls, dressing her in pretty pink bows. To some of you, my description may sound a little sexist. Why can't she play with trucks? Why does she have to wear pink? All I can say is, calm down. Of course she can do all those things. I believe girls have the ability and should have the rights to do anything that any boy has the right to do. But, isn't it also okay that she wear pink proudly? I love pink and all things that are stereotypically girly. That's okay, too. Right? Kim will be one of my first close friends to have a grandchild and I want to knit and sew thoughtful items that will make both baby and grandma feel special. I can already envision the Ysolda Teague Tiny Shoes I want to knit and for which to find the perfect buttons. There is a little dress, Clara, that I've been wanting to knit but really didn't have anyone in mind and now I can knit it for someone special. I love to knit, but I really love to knit for babies!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I love spending time with family and can't imagine not living close to my children. We all get busy and lead very separate lives but still manage to intertwine ourselves in a way that makes us supportive and inseparable while still being able to stand on our own. It is an interesting paradox. In many ways we are stronger alone because we are never alone. I took this picture a few months ago when I drove up to Prescott with a friend and it makes me think about growing up in a small town. Yuma seemed like a small town when I was there but you certainly wouldn't know that now. However, even though we live in a large city now, I think we make small towns out of our communities - church groups, knitting groups, co-workers, etc. I pray that I always live close to my children and am able to provide them with a sense of community and small town feelings. I hope they always know there is a place to come "home" and will never feel lost or alone. I wish, however, at this "home" that I had a porch on which I could sit in a rocker and knit. Not the old lady kind of mindless rocking but a place where you can enjoy the outdoors and still produce a beautiful piece of art - with a lovely view, of course. I suppose that I am dreaming a little bit. The weather is currently 113 for a high and the low is 93. Definitely not the weather for rocking on the porch and knitting, so for now, I will sit in my air conditioned sewing room and create! It's really a beautiful room.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I have mentioned many times that I love knitting baby items. I don't know what it is that draws me to these pieces. My friend, Stacy, asked why I like little things so much and I didn't really have an answer for her. But as I begin to contemplate some of the things I have recently made, it might be the immediate gratifications as small items knit up more quickly or it could be the the sheer tininess of the item that causes me to smile.

Something else I learned about myself recently is that I'm not really fond of pop culture cartoon characters. Mostly, I prefer ideas or concepts that are more enduring rather than trendy items that are simply a passing fad and quickly fade from our cultural minds. I tend to be drawn to classics like Teddy Bears, flowers, hearts, farm animals and such. Maybe you think that's weird but have you ever thought about what causes some of our likes and dislikes? I'm sure our upbringing has a lot to do with the choices we make, along with our likes and dislikes, but there has to be outside influences that help us make these determinations.

Perhaps this is just too much contemplation. I've been knitting a lot lately and the themes seem to be Teddy Bears and Flowers. I like them :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fear can be paralyzing. That statement may seem like a weird way to begin my blog but I'm feeling a little nervous and apprehensive right now about school beginning in just a few weeks. During the summer I become quite optimistic about what I can accomplish and get into a routine of knitting and sewing all day. I stay in my pajamas if I want and stay up late without fear of early morning consequences. My Etsy shop is benefitting greatly from my time of leisure but today I feel my heart beating at a quicker pace. I worry that I won't be able to finish everything I have set out to accomplish and that once school begins all of my creativity will cease. Do I feel this way every year? I don't know, but I think so. For tonight, I will try not to think about the upcoming end to my summer break. I will continue to knit and quilt with a optimism and hope that the creativity will not stop just because summer break has come to an end!

Monday, June 25, 2012

I teach high school English, but let's be real. I mention the word "booty" and uncontrollable laughter and embarrassed giggles break out. I try to discuss the prizes or bounty of battle by using an appropriate word to describe these treasures but all my students envision is modern day lyrics and music videos of "booty" that have a clearly different connotation. So, as I have been knitting baby booties and deciding ways to embellish them before putting them in my Etsy shop, I find myself giggling a little and missing those students at whom I would offer a stern look if they were to do the same!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The name of this shawl is Phenomenal Woman based on the Maya Angelou poem that talks about the amazing aspects of being a woman. I finally finished knitting it after months of it being on hold and I'm really pleased with the outcome. There is something beautiful about combining my love of knitting with my love of literature. I can't wait for it to cool off so that I can wear it. Of course, I live in Arizona and it is 118 degrees today so the shawl won't be draped over my shoulders any time soon!

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me. 
Maya Angelou

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One of the knits I enjoy the most is socks. I really only learned how to use the double pointed needles a few years ago but I appreciate the complexity of the work. Last summer I gave myself a challenge to knit each of the socks in the Master Class Sock Knitting book which tests a variety of skills and techniques but I have come quite short in my endeavor. I realized that there are a few of the socks that I don't really like and there are some that just take longer than I anticipated. However, one of them that I do like is called Almondine by Anne Hanson. I decided to give them to my good friend, Stacy. I used a gorgeous yarn that I purchased in Boulder, Colorado, when I was taking a class last year. The shop is called Gypsy Wools like the yarn. As I was knitting them, I thought I would run short of yarn. I read in Ann Budd's blog that she ran short and I was fearful the same thing was going to happen to me. I even contemplated ripping them out and discussed my options with Connie. We thought about how it could be taken out from the cuff or perhaps even use a different yarn for the toe if necessary but none of these ideas were appealing to me. Thankfully, I didn't rip the socks out and kept knitting which could have been an exercise in futility had the outcome been different. Let's just say that everything worked out perfectly. The socks were completed with only a few inches to spare. I've given them to Stacy and I hope she likes them as much as I do! Through this situation, I learned that sometimes I need to have more faith and trust that things will work out they way God intended them. I know He cares about things that are important to me and, everyone knows, my knitting is important!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Knitting Sooths

Knitting sooths my soul and brings peace to situations filled with turmoil or busyness. When I’m most stressed I feel the greatest need to sit down and create which comforts and applies purpose to situations that seem too chaotic and “twirly,” as one of my dear friends suggests. But what also happens during these crazy times is that I begin several projects in order to satisfy that need. Currently, I have a shawl to finish that I’ve virtually ignored for months. I also have a pair of socks that are quite pretty and stem back to August when I decided to complete all the socks in the Master Sock Knitting book. I’ve only completed one pair and this is the second. So much for that personal challenge! I also have started two summer sweaters. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but I hope it actually works. I’m knitting them in cotton and linen blends, neither of which I really use all that often. I also have a beautiful skein of Madelintosh that was given to me as a gift that I want to do something special with but can’t quite figure out what. The wonderful thing is – I can take my time or set a deadline to finish these projects – whichever sooths my soul at the time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I’ve decided that if I die, I want to make sure my house is clean and that I don’t have any unfinished projects. Or, at least nothing that would be too crazy to finish. A few days ago, I sewed the seams on a sweater that I started and perhaps even finished the knitting on 5-6 years ago. There are many things wrong with it - the stitches are too loose and I’m pretty sure the sleeves are too short for any real child. However, it may fit an especially chunky child. When I started knitting the sweater I was learning how to do Intarsia and Fair Isle and was practicing on sweaters for teddy bears but this one was for one of my nephews, who are now 10 and 13. So now I have a few options: I can save it for when I have grand children or I can give it to charity. My daughter has clear guidelines on the types of knitted projects her future children will wear and I’m pretty sure this doesn’t meet the specific criteria she has dictated. So, if you ever see this sweater on an especially chunky child with short arms (or long arms hanging out of the sweater), you will know its origins.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The End of Spring Break

I am so sad when spring break comes to an end. It's not because I sleep in late or shop all day. Rather, I am sad because my productivity diminishes greatly when I have
to go back to work. Shocker, right! But, I will be thankful for this time and look forward to the next time I have an entire week of uninterrupted crafting. This week I
  • knit 3 pairs of booties and 1 baby hat
  • knit 2 coffee cup cozies
  • started, ripped and started knitting again a baby sweater
  • almost finished with my It's a Wrap KAL
  • made a quilt for a baby gift
  • completed the top of a T-shirt quilt
  • have 15 baby quilts in various stages of completion - 5 just need binding, 5 need to be quilted and 5 have the appliqué complete
  • made 3 meals from Pinterest
all while watching the entire 2005-20011 series of Doctor Who! Don't you see why I am sad to go back to work :(

Thursday, March 1, 2012


As a knitter, I feel as if I am ripping projects out more than I am completing them sometimes. The perfectionist in me can take over and handicap my ability to accept less than my very best. Most of the time I don't mind that part of my personality because I still produce quite a bit as a crafter. However, when the rest of my world is uncertain or lacking consistency or predictability, I get worse and strive for my knitting or quilting or whatever else I am doing at the time to be at its best because that is what I can control. This morning, I just ripped out about 35 rows in a wrap that I am doing for a KAL. I am sad but know that the imperfection would have prevented me from ultimately enjoying it. So, today I need a reminder that I produce beautiful things. Thus, the Semele.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heirloom Knitting

Sometimes you make something that just has to be saved for when that extra special little one enters your world.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Something Special

I love sharing my crafting with people of like minds. I don't want to have to convince others that knitting has value or that quilting is not a lost art. In many ways our current economy is helping to revitalize the crafting industry and consumers are recognizing the value in handmade and homegrown items.

Another way I have noticed the trend toward handmade items is through social media. Have you been on Pinterest? There are so many people pinning items to make - or have others make for them (Jocelyn). Looking at other people's boards is a great way to find ideas or get the creative juices flowing and I don't have enough time for everything scurrying around in my brain.

However, sometimes you just want to make dishcloths. I have 10 out of the 12 for my 12 for 12 in 2012 resolution! Thank you, Stacy, for reminding me of the simple things.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Today my son, Justin, ran his first ½ marathon and I was a crazy proud mom who cheered and took pictures at several of the mile markers. I wanted him to know that regardless of how old he is that I will always be his biggest cheerleader because no matter what you do in life you need people who believe in you and cheer you on!

Tomorrow I will tell you about my marathon knitting.