Sunday, December 7, 2008

Knitting and Books

I did a lot of knitting this weekend while listening to an audiobook.  The book was The Mistress' Daughter. I first heard about this book some time ago and was really interested in the story. It is a memoir of the author's life and deal with finding out that her birth mother was the mistress of a married man.  The book starts off very good but just past the middle of the book she starts repeating things as it's five to seven years later and her character is flashing back to things that happened in the beginning of the book. If I were reading the book rather than listening to it, I may not have been so annoyed with it but when you are dealing with audio you tend to remember more and not need to be reminded of the past that just happened two hours ago.  Part of the book discusses people she found during the search of her genealogy. It got really bad as she was discussing dead people that really didn't add any interest or purpose to the story.  And some of these dead people weren't even related to her.  She just wanted someone to remember them so she threw them in.  Towards the end of the book, she lists a bunch of questions that she would ask her father if she had him sitting down for a deposition.  Those questions went on for more than half an hour.  Just question after question.  No conversation.  Just questions.  I fast forwarded through this as once again as this added nothing to the story and repeated things in question form that had happened in the book.  Sadly, I would not recommend this book to anyone.  If you read it, the first and last bits are lovely.  The bit in the middle, not so much.  I considered reading more books from the author (A. M. Homes) when I was enjoying the book but I'll have to really think about that considering the outcome.

Okay, on to the knitting.  


Using some leftover wool yarn, I made the coaster that I need for my bedside table.  I had a little bit of three colors left so I striped them.  I very happy with how it turned out.  Now I can set a glass of ice by the bed at night and not have to worry about a puddle forming during the night.  And since I still have some of the purple yarn left (this stuff refuses to die!), I will probably do a smaller one for my desk.

I managed to finish another one of the burp cloths for my friend Ching Sia.  I still need to get the applique sewn on.  So this makes six of the seven.  I will cast the last on some time this week and hopefully be ready to mail this weekend.  It took over a month to finish this one.  Let this be a sign to all of you.  If you think it's a good idea to knit a whole week of something, it's not. You will get bored long before you finish.

The procrastination scarf is finished.  I decided not to do a super long scarf because I think this is the perfect scarf for wearing with a blazer.  I'm not entirely happy with this as that means I'm left with one ball of the gray Geode and quite a bit left of the red Cascade 220 which may become another coaster.  For close up pictures of the scarf, check out my Ravely project page or my Flickr pictures.

I saw some really miserable looking people out Christmas shopping in Kohls this weekend.  The holiday season has barely started and already the unhappiness is surfacing.  I'm wishing all of you a very happy holiday season.  I don't want to see you looking unhappy walking through the mall spending way too much money for a bunch of people that may not appreciate it anyway.  Just my thought.  Be blessed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inside Outside Procrastination

When I am stressed and need to get things done, I tend to procrastinate.  And I'm talking really bad procrastination.  I am so behind on a project at work and this thing is not going away.  It refuses to leave my desk.  I even brought it home tonight to work on it and what have I been doing?  Washing dishes, folding laundry, watching television and knitting.  And don't forget blogging.  But this is my last act of rebellion--okay, next to last.  I'm going to walk on the treadmill before giving in to working.


For the most part, today's procrastination is brought to you by the Inside Outside Scarf which was introduced to me during Stitches East 2008. 

It is a free patten that XRX is giving away to promote the new Knit One Below book.  If you have not yet seen this book, check it out.  It is amazing!  The technique takes a little thought but once you get it, it's super easy.  For this first project I've decided to use two completely contrasting yarns as it's a little difficult to see the pattern with just the gray yarn pulled from the inside and outside of the ball.  Here's a close up of the pattern.

 It makes a really nice and impressive looking color-work fabric.  the back also looks nice.

Okay, I'm off to the treadmill now.  Good night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nanowrimo

No, I didn't finish or win Nanowrimo by writing a 50,000 word novel, but I made a good stab at it.  It was my first year participating and between the business travel, Stitiches, and Thanksgiving, I was lucky to get out as many words as I did.  I finished with a total of 14,443 words.  I didn't do the standard novel.  Instead I decided to do a memoir and it was the best thing I could have done for myself.  It really does help to write things out even if you never intend anyone to read it.  And who knows, my secrets just may become public one day.  But the experience has gotten me off to a good start on my writing and I hope to get some personal, fictional and professional writing published in the next year.

To that end, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Year (www.wriye.co.nr).  Since it started, they have dropped the national as it is more like international and also dropped the novel since people are interested in writing all sorts of things.  So, you set a goal and work on it throughout the year.  I will be working on a series of short stories and engineering/project management papers.  I have no idea just yet what my word count goal will be for the year, but I will not be waiting until next year to start as I've already got plenty of ideas.

And just to give you a bit of visual stimulation, I am including a picture of my niece and nephew who I adore greatly when they are not being bratty as both are prone to being at times. :)  She is 17 and he is 1.  Also by different siblings.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Hello all.  I know it's been quite some time (a month!) since I've blogged.  November was a very busy month.  I was on business travel in the Pittsburgh area for the first half of the month and I attended Stitches East in Baltimore and I participated in Nanowrimo and I hosted the family at my home for Thanksgiving.  That was a lot people!

Stitches East was fabulous but I didn't take any pictures so I can't show you any of the greatness.  I took two classes--one on I-cord edging and one on color/texture combining of yarns.  I enjoyed them a lot.  I went with my friend Mandy and we have already reserved our hotel room for Stitches South 2009 in Atlanta.  And because I have so many points from all the business travel I've been doing, I was able to get our room free so we have more budget for classes and yarn, although I'm looking to spend on the classes.  I bought way too much yarn during Stitches, but most of it was spent at 2 of the local shops rather than at Stitches itself.  But there was one vendor at Stitches that had a $15 bag special.  You are given a paper bag of good size--it was by no means a small bag.  You could fill the bag up with as much yarn as you wanted and it was only $15.  I got so much yarn in that bag!  And nothing was single skeins.  I was on a mission to get 2+ skeins of anything I purchased and for the most part I stuck with that.  I did buy single skeins of two colors of Valley Yarns Northhampton from Webs but that was just because there is so much yardage in a ball.


A lot of the knitting I've been doing during November was swatches of stuff I learned during Stitches but I did manage to get some felted boxes done.  They are more bowl shaped because I left them in the washer for a full cycle and just threw them in the dryer to dry.  I didn't bother trying to shape them.  And actually I like them better this way.  The fabric is much more stiff than if I had shaped it like I did a box I made some time back.


I did a three box/bowl set and will take two to work to contain all my paper and binder clips. The goal was to get rid of the 100% felting wool in my stash.  For the most part I achieved that.  I still have a little bit left from which I'll probably knit and felt a coaster for my bed side table.  I hate putting a glass of ice next to my bed at night and waking up to a puddle of water under the glass.


Before the family arrived, I spent some time knitting up some chenille hand towels.  Mandy had given me four skeins of Lion Brand Chenille and having no idea what to do with it, I went on a search in Ravelry and found a pattern for washcloths that I
thought would work well since I had two contrasting colors.  I've done three of them so far and I'm working on the fourth but I still have enough yarn left over to do at least 1 to 2 more.  



Upon seeing the felted boxes/bowls, hand towels and all the burp and wash cloths I knitted up for my friend Ching Sia's baby, my mother decided she wanted to re-learn to knit.  Now she is the one that taught me to knit so it was a bit of an adjustment to teach the teacher.  I gave her a set of needles and some cotton and walked her through the pattern and she picked it up rather quickly, finishing two wash cloths before leaving.  I'm so proud as I've been pushing her to pick back up a hobby in her old age (okay she's not that old but I want her to have something better to do in her free time than shopping).  She's off to a running start.  

I sent her home with another skein of cotton and some 100% Vintage Fisherman's wool all of which I got at Stitches East.  She is going to do more wash cloths and also the Felted Boxes from the first Mason Dixon book.  She wrote the pattern down but I went and bought her a copy of it at the fabulous Thanksgiving sale at Krazy Knitz in Dalton, GA.  I just need to get the book in the mail to her.  Okay more to come later.  This post is already long enough.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Need A New MakeUp Bag

I needed a new makeup bag. I bought new makeup from MaryKay and unfortunately they have changed their compacts. I had to change because the new pressed powders conveniently don't fit into the old compacts. I was not happy about this. I was even more unhappy when the new compact wouldn't fit into my zippered makeup bag. So, I made a new one.



































It's a simple and useful little bag perfect for packing and throwing into the purse. I was so happy with it that I made 5 more and will be listing them in my new Etsy shop.

Stop on by and pick up a little gift for yourself!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome To My Etsy Shop

http://aldorris.etsy.com

Check out my Etsy shop. I have started it with four needle cases but more should be added by the end of the week. I brought my sewing machine on location with me so I have no excuse. Check out what I have and keep an eye out for possible Christmas gifts for yourself and all your crafting friends.
I'm cutting this post short as I have more sewing to do. Thank you to all of you that have given me comments and encouragements and I would appreciate any comments you have on the shop.
I haven't added my banner and all the prettyness yet so right now it's just the basics but I'm open to any suggestions you all may have. Now get to shopping!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crafting Overload

I have been doing a lot of knitting and sewing the past few weeks. My friends Ching Sia and Andrew are having a little boy. His name will be Alexander Grahm and I'm so excited and hope I get to see him at some point during his first year. They live in Malaysia so it will be a push. But to welcome little Alex, I have been knitting and sewing and embroidering and this is what I have for him so far.

Burp Cloths hand knitted with a iron on decal which I attached by sewing. Made with Sugar N Cream cotton. I am doing a full week of these. I have five done, two to go.





Wash cloths made out of the left over cotton from the burp cloths. All seven are done.







Hats! The weather in Malaysia is mostly tropical but babies still need hats for the cooler indoor climate. These are also made in cotton.



These burp cloths were sewn with a cotton collegiate fabric (Ole Miss) on one side and terry cloth on the other. The shape lends itself well to being draped over the shoulder. Both mom and dad of the new baby were my classmates at Ole Miss.



This fleece blanket and pillow combo are also made from Ole Miss collegiate series fabric. The back is solid red.







I am still working on these. I bought two sizes of onesies and will be embroidering them with different pictures and sayings just for baby Alex. I'm really excited about these so you'll be seeing more on these in the weeks to come.




My goal is to finish all of these projects up in the next couple of weeks so I can box them up and ship them off to Malaysia. I've sent letters and postcards over there, but I'm not sure how long it will take a box to get to them. Alex is due in January.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Too Much Going On

There has been a lot going on in my world the last couple of weeks. The main thing is that I am gearing up for Nanowrimo 2008. I will be attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It's going to be a push considering I'm starting the month off with Stitches 2008 and ending with hosting the family for Thanksgiving. But I will be writing and I will be striving for that goal. You'll see additional changes to the blog as we approach the start so check back often.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Needle Storage

During my time away from home, I found out just how impractical my knitting needle cases were. I was traveling with two suitcases and fitting the rolled knitting needle case or the book style case for circulars did not work. I spent more time worried that something would get crushed and my needles would get damaged. When packing needles, the best thing for them is to be as flat as possible.

Which led to last weeks' sewing project. As you know from my previous post, I have a lot of zippers to use so I knew my new cases would need to incorporate the zippers. Not to mention I like having the zipper as a closure to ensure I don't loose needles as I sometimes would in my jelly roll case.

So, what would the ideal travel case for my needles look like...



Just like this. And as you can see I made a case for straight needles, sock needles, circular needles and even a small pouch for accessories. I love them and have gone crazy sewing them up.






I've been toying with the idea of starting an Etsy shop so I will be making a bunch to list and we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I am willing to share! The first five people that post a comment and send me your mailing address, you will get your very own straight needle case. Please send your address to my email at aldorris@bellsouth.net to protect your privacy. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back Home and Loving It

I've been back home for two weeks now and it still feels like I just got here yesterday. But I am back to my old habits...knitting and sewing that is. I'll leave it at that for now as I'm not ready to talk about my new projects, but they do involve a purchase I made before leaving. I got tired of heading to the store for zippers for each of the handbangs I was making so when I saw these listed in an Etsy shop, I jumped at them. Well, half of them. The seller was kind enough to split the order into two and sell me half. Now I almost wish I had gotten all of them.




Don't you want to know what I'm doing with them???? More soon...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bad Service Will Not Be Tolerated

I've been having trouble with my cell phone for weeks now.I called the company (HELIO) several times and their fix everytime was to reset the phone. This means I have lost all of my pictures, all of my ringtones and I had to reload my numbers and emails everytime. Yesterday was the last straw. I had to reset yet again and after telling the company I would switch my service if this was not handled, I got put on hold for over 15 minutes. No one ever came back to the phone. After leaving the office, I drove directly to the Verizon store and switched my service. I'm not going to continue giving you money if you don't take my concerns seriously.

There's also a yarn store that's been bothering me. More on that later...

If you don't get the service you expect, take you money somewhere else.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I'm still in Pittsburgh. There's been some beautiful weather here but the stress of work and training classes have kept me from really enjoying it. And the hotel living is starting to wear on me. Hope to see you all soon. I'll be back in Chattanooga mid September. Can't wait to reconnect with me knitting group.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Had Such Plans


When I left work this evening, I just knew I was going to get a lot done before bed time. Shortly after getting home and putting dinner in the oven to cook, the power went out. And it didn't come back on until more than 4 hours later. So here I am, after midnight, cooking the dinner I should have had hours ago. (I'll have it for lunch tomorrow)

As the house grew darker and darker with the setting sun, I had only one thing to keep me company....my new toy, the kindle. I was able to download today's New York Times which I read by the light of a candle.

Because it downloads wirelessly, no electricity is needed to read for hours in a power outage (provided it's charged and you have a light source). I downloaded free first chapters of a few other books and for now I am in love with my little kindle. I'll post more about it in the coming days as I learn all the ins and outs.



In other news, I finished the socks! I just need to weave in the ends and they are good to go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Frenchy Sock


My latest knitting. I hope to be done by the end of the week so i can wear them next week.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just For Me











I think this may be my favorite. It's the Amy Butler Sling Bag. It's big and it's absolutely cushy!! The fusing I used added some softness to it and the pattern also calls for some fusible fleece so the finished bag turns out really soft and luscious. I also made a matching zippered pouch from the Stash Bags Pattern. See my flickr page for more photos.

All of the sewing I've been doing lately has got me thinking about my connection with my mother and grandmother and with the women that I have met since being out on my own. The following statement most likely won't apply to any of the people reading this blog, but I get so disappointed when I meet people (especially women) that don't do anything. They have no product to show their existence (other than the babies they've made of course). But why is it that our ability to 'craft' is being pushed aside? I love the women and men that I have met through knitting and blogging. Some of you are out there doing some fantastic and beautiful things and I love seeing that and being able in some part to be a part of your legacy. But for those that have no hobbies and show no interest in anything in particular....what is their legacy?

The Matching Bag

Here is the bag that my grandmother requested. It's the Amy Butler Chelsea Bag and it's reversible and very cute. I think this is a really nice little set.



I'm off to sew something for myself now. I am knitting by the way. More on the current project later.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Quickie

I put together this little coin purse from the Amy Butler Stash and Dash pattern. This is for my grandmother to match another AB bag that I will be sewing up for this weekend.






Saturday, July 5, 2008

Yeah That's ME




What April Means




You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.



You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people.

Generally, you use your powers for good. You excel at solving other people's problems.

Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.



You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.



You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.



You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

The Nellie Toiletry Bag

I hope all of you in the land of 0's and 1's had a great 4th of July. I had a ball. Some of my mother's family came up including my mom and grandma and some cousins and we had a great time. But they are gone now and I am recovering.

During our time together, I gave my grandma a demonstration of my new sewing machine. It was her fault that I got such an expensive machine. She is an avid quilter and I think she likes finally having someone in the family that is as excited about sewing machines as she is. So here I am. After demonstrating the embroidery capabilities of my machine, she said "Okay, make me a bag". What a challenge! But I did it. In a couple of hours, I whipped up this little ditty. I put a handle on it so she could use it as a toiletry bag. I made a boo boo on the lining of it but when you make up something off the top of your head you just don't know what will happen.










Pictures of the family will be uploaded to my flickr page.