The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Friday, May 28, 2010

8 things, On Friday--Of Course

Improved Eating?  Uhm…how about improved lifestyle instead? 
I have to be very careful about diet and eating to begin with—I was anorexic and bulimic as a teen-ager.  No one ever tells you being anorexic and/or bulimic is like being a drug addict.  You can kick the habit—but it is always w you, sitting on your shoulder, waiting to jump back in and get you back on that train.
I also have low blood sugar issues and have to be sure I eat every so often…which I do not like to do at all. 
Technically, I am supposed to eat several small meals and several light snacks all day long.  I can’t do that.  Physically, I would probably be fine w it—but mentally—I just can’t do it.
I’m a grazer.  I pick and snack here and there.  I love food.  I do not like to eat.  Weird combo, huh?
If I get hungry, the first thing I do—after ignoring the sensation for about an hour or so—is drink a full glass of water.  Why?  Why do I ignore the sensation?  Because I prefer to be busy.  Why do I drink the water?  Statistics (somewhere out there) say that 9 times out of 10 when you think your body is hungry, it is actually thirsty.  I also know that supposedly (darn the scientists for figuring these things out) that hunger pains go away in about 20 minutes.  So you drink the water, you body thinks your belly is full…voila.
Having said all that…my ‘normal’ idea of a diet is milk for breakfast (ovaltine), milk for lunch (ovaltine again), and a big meal when R comes home.  I drink hot tea (w no sugar or lemon or milk or anything) and cold tea (not super sweet, a scant cup of sugar to one gallon of tea) all day.  I will drink fruit juices when I start to crave them, which is rare.  I will drink water.
My dad recently sent me an email about the best times to drink water.  You drink water first thing in the morning to get your system ready for the day.  You drink water before bed to …well…I don’t drink water right before bed…I want to sleep the whole night through and I don’t want to wet the bed (I have small children…first place my brain goes…)  There were other times when drinking a glass of water is supposedly more beneficial to your body…but the water first thing in the morning is the one I stick to and the only one I remember.  It makes me feel better anyway.   
I recently tried my only one meal a day diet plan recently.  If I could get up and do an hour’s worth of yoga first thing in the morning…I would not require as much food.  Strange, but true.  Problem:  I won’t do yoga at my boyfriend’s house.  Maybe I will once we have all the carpets removed and the floors redone…but right now…I am not sticking my face in a floor that smells of …dog…incontinent dog at that.  It totally breaks my concentration.
So, I am lucky to go to my own house in the afternoon and do yoga then.  Although it’s been the Bollywood dance of late.  But still—at least I am doing something…my boyfriend gets very upset w me if I don’t eat—I tend to get dizzy and woozy and off-balance, well, more so than usual anyway.  And even though I know the scientific facts behind it, my body gets upset when I don’t eat.  Note to others:  according to science, if you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode—it retains fat and liquid and whatever else it can hold on to…if you eat more, your body lets go of more.  How weird is that?

Enough babble yet?
What am I planning to do?
This is not really a diet.  This is more of a lifestyle plan.

1.       Increase grainage.  Brown, red, black rices…not all together…but the stranger the color and texture, for some reason the more the 9yo girl wants to eat it.  Actually, all this is for me is whole grain/multi-grain toast, 2 slices, for breakfast.  With rose hip jam on them—not butter and jam.  Just the jam.  I do as much whole grain as I can, or at least grain stuff as I can.  I always throw a handful of barley or something into soups and stews.
2.      Increase fresh fruit and veg intake.  Yee haw farmer’s markets and the patio gardens we have.  I tend to eat lighter during the hotter weather—mostly because the last thing I want is a heavy stomach—even if all I am eating is toast.  I tend to crave salads anyway.  I prefer spinach to lettuce…which is good from a nutrient level…
3.      I still do not eat 3 meals a day.  I eat breakfast—that’s my new rule—must eat breakfast.  I eat dinner; I love having dinner w my family.  I do not over-eat.  My mother trained me to clean my plate.  Some days it is harder than others to make myself leave something on the plate, but I do try.  I have also tried making sure I put less on the plate, so if I do finish it, I don’t feel as bad.
4.      R and I normally cook together.  He does one part and I do the other.  Cooking together makes us more involved in the food we’re having.  We plan our meals better.  It’s not nearly so haphazard.  The food actually has more value…not just nutritionally…but emotionally.  I am an emotional eater.  Appetite suppressants have no affect on me whatsoever.  My 9yo daughter shows the same aptitude.  If she gets upset at all, her stomach hurts and she can’t eat.  Cooking as a family brings us closer together.  We are also not allowed to discuss things that will cause upset—so no talk of E’s schoolwork, or anything stressful for any of us.
5.      Growing our own veg and herbs.  Not just buying local produce in season, but growing our own.  Ok, so we have a potted garden on our back patio…and we fertilize daily w whatever we sweep out of the rabbit cages (we have to keep them separated until after we get them fixed—they are still healing from their fight—I wanted them totally healed before I drive them the 30+ minutes to the vet for surgery…).  This year we have 5 times more tomatoes than we had last year.  Of course, this year I chose to grow Romano tomatoes…but, boy, are they growing well.  The turnip greens are a hit w the rabbits.  I can’t drench my spinach w soap much more to save it from the bugs…if I do, I fear we will hiccup soap bubbles whenever we eat the spinach.
6.      I do take supplements to increase the rate of my metabolism.  Hey, I am close to 40 yo and I am under no illusions about how the body changes.  I can drink a tablespoon of vinegar a day…or I can take apple cider vinegar tablets…at which point I am ingesting 4 or more equivalent tablespoons of vinegar—without the vile taste and the gulping of raw honey (which is INSANELY difficult to find…I must have raw, unprocessed, unpasteurized honey…local if possible—but I haven’t found any local) followed by whatever I have on hand to drink that isn’t water or milk.  Water doesn’t do much to kill the vinegar taste—and for some reason the milk seems to make it worse, and causes upset tummy…).  Cayenne mint combined is one supplement.  The mint counteracts the upset tummy over that big hit of cayenne.  Ginger supplement.  I rotate others, like garlic (odorless and tasteless), lavender, alfalfa…I have also started to drink a capful (maybe 3-4 tablespoons?) of aloe vera juice in the morning.  Be careful and do the research on aloe vera juice.  It can be quite the purgative if you take more than a little bit of it at a time.
7.      I am increasing yogurts, kefirs, and anything semi-probiotic-like.  I need the calcium…that’s where it started.  There is research out there that says calcium helps you lose weight.  I don’t like to take the vitamins anymore…the supplements I take are herbal in nature…so not manufactured vitamins or minerals.  I keep everything skim, no fat, low fat, as much as possible.  We only drink skim milk here.
8.      Believe it or not, talking w R about what I am eating and how I am eating has done wonders for me.  He keeps me on an even keel, helps me out, and is working w me on the types of food I want to eat more of and so on.
Now, I do have an extra one…we don’t eat out as much.  We normally eat out a couple times a week.  We always eat out on the week-end when we have both kids…we normally take E and N to lunch, and sometimes supper, before we take N back to his dad’s house.  That usually means McDonald’s playground…neither kid cares where they eat, so long as there is a playground.  So, we are cutting back on our eating out –and we are going to better places, or rather healthier places, when we do go out. 

My other caveat is I try to do something, anything, dance, yoga, basic stretching, ride my stationary bike, something for at least 15 minutes a day.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it does a great deal towards making me feel better, which actually makes me feel thinner…and my scale may not be in total agreement, but my skinny girl jeans are fitting better…so that says something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Full Bloom

            I needed this month’s dreamboard.  More than I have needed any dreamboard of late.  I needed that push in one direction or another to help me get on track, or to at least figure out what track I am on.  Once I know where I am going, I can get there.  Sometimes it is the knowing that makes all the difference.
            Jamie is such a huge and powerful Inspirer…I love those times when I catch her posts on facebook or on her website/blog where she puts into words the feelings and emotions that are pulsing through me…she is that added little extra push that gets me going and allows me to figure out whatever it is that I am in need of figuring out at the time.
            This is the Full Flower Moon…and when I set my intention along the New Moon, I was asking for guidance to show me where I needed to be blooming …what avenues I needed to pursue more…which direction in which I needed to focus my often times very splintered attention…this month I was highly rewarded. 
            Now, I’ve been cleaning out my house…which has caused a HUGE shortage in available magazines and whatnot from which to garner pictures.  I’ve been really lucky to find some strange and wonderful things of late.  I found several local magazines that had perfect pictures for what I needed.  I am personally astounded by quite a bit of the imagery used.

            The central image is of Alice in Wonderland…she was the first image I laid down.  She sat there on the board alone, as I found her at the New Moon…but more pieces began to come together…the board began to take shape…and voila…
            All I can say is WOW! 
            There is so much wonderful movement in this piece.

            Now, I will admit that I worked on this board between the New Moon and the Full Moon…I will admit I have had this piece up on my wall in my kitchen for over a week now.  I will also admit that I have already started to put some of this poetry into motion.
            The first thing I did was get some dance dvds…not just belly dancing, since I have actually had those for awhile, but Bollywood dancing.  It started out as a fluke.  One of my favorite yoga dvds is by Hemalayaa Behl.  I like her energy.  I like the way she speaks.  I like her philosophy as it is presented in this video.  My original plan was to see about buying more of her yoga dvds.  I never made it that far.  But, I did buy several of her Bollywood dance dvds.  One reason I bought them was all the reviews that said she goes slowly and explains things, so it’s easy to get into the movement—without getting lost.  Cardio and I are not friends…which is why I have long loved yoga…I can move slowly for hours at a time, but make me move fast and I’ll be done in 15 minutes, if I last that long.  My favorite dvd by far as yet is the dance of the Kama Sutra…and for most people it is not what you think…because my 9yo and I will do it together—which is another reason I went for slow—but fun—which these dvds are.
            I had not realized how much I would love the dance, how much I would love dancing.  If yoga frees my soul and my mind, the dance frees my body in ways yoga never has.  I used to love to dance…then…well…I got married.  I have spent the last year, realizing exactly what the ex-husband “saved” me from…what I allowed him to take away from me.  It’s not sad; it’s a new beginning.  Finding these pieces of me I had nearly forgotten, or had forgotten completely.
            We can also say it was my daughter’s birthday requests that had to be knitted…or my weird jag of wanting to knit myself some tank tops and halter tops for the summer, but I have gone more into my knitting lately.  I signed up to take Level 1 and Level 2 of the Craft Yarn Council Of America’s certified knitting instructor program.  I had thought of doing the crochet program as well…but after reading over things, I don’t think my crochet skills are up to the test yet…I have been thinking for a couple years about taking the Knitting Guild Of America’s Master Knitter program.  I probably will, in a year or so.  For right now, the courses I have signed up for are what I need.  I know I can pass the Level 1 of the Master Knitter program w TKGA, but after that, I am not so sure.  I think it is worth it to build up my confidence w this first sojourn rather than to allow myself to knowingly walk in where I will fail.  Which is strange in and of itself, since the stuff on the Level 2 is the stuff I want to learn.
            Yes, I know what that says about me.  I don’t like to fail and I mean to be prepared before I even start a new endeavor.  I know.  Maybe that is why I am so slow about doing other things as well.
            My one giggle w this board is the ladies in the white bikinis on the beach.  My boyfriend loves the beach…loves the sun.  I love the beach…at night.  I am all for moon bathing.  I do it now.  I am the pale chick, the vampire in the sun…I can deal with some sun…but the beach?  Laying out, in the sun, to crisp my skin?  That’s not me…but I know I am willing to do things for R…and I do know he has been talking about us going to the beach for awhile now.  So I will not say no.
            I have also been pushing back into my more artistic endeavors.  My drawing, thanks to a tree at my local yarn store.  Really.  Just this one tree.  A tree that has always been there in the parking lot, looking like it always does.  But for some reason, over a month ago, this tree caught my attention.  It demanded my attention.  I sketched it that first day—very VERY rough draft.  I had to go back the next week, w my camera.  So, I used it as an excuse to buy more yarn.  Big deal.  But I took over a dozen pictures of this tree.  I draw it over and over…even just in my mind…but I am back in the saddle, even if I am not whipping the horse to get full throttle…Funny thing is now I am more interested in photography as well…

            I actually needle felted for the first time the other night.  My fingers are healing nicely, thank you.  I ordered a Waldorf doll making kit…and am going to start that today.  I bought a small beginner’s set of wood working tools…hand carving.  R and I are really into the ‘-cello’ market…as in limoncello….we have lime-oncello steeping…the blood cordial (raspberry) was addictive…it went over very well.  We now have plum cordial and apricot cordial steeping.  

            On the cordials, I think we are going to cut down the sugar content…and let them steep longer than the recipe required three weeks.  But oh gosh, do we have a new enterprise here!

            R and I have been getting so many compliments…and requests and orders…for our jerky and lately for our fried potatoes…that people are suggesting we open our own restaurant…which pushes us back into our bed and breakfast idea…It’s warm weather…and that means…my weird bizarre upside down clock wants to BAKE…my kids want breads and cookies and scones and you name it…which is why I bought the convection oven in the first place…although I have not run it through its paces of late. 
            Things are really moving forward.
            A couple things do surprise me about this board.  The St Louis picture and the American flag picture.  I have ideas about those, but I’ll wait. 
            I am very interested to see where the coming month leads.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thing One and Thing two, Knitting Style

            All right then.  Let’s get started today.  I am on a knitting roll.  I finished my first modified ribby halter tank top, see my project details here. (you do have to be a ravelry member to see that…but it’s not that hard to join…anymore.)
 picture taken by my 9yo daughter...

            When I started knitting, the first thing I learned was just because a pattern says use *this* particular yarn does not mean you *MUST* use that yarn.  I am also one of those people who almost always knits (or crochets or sews or paints or everything else you can think of) in a different color than the pattern suggests.
            Please keep in mind, the pattern is a guide, not a rule.  You can change any and everything you want to change.
            Having said that, it did take me a bit to catch on to the fact that different yarns drape in different manners and just because I like *this* yarn for *that* pattern, that doesn’t mean the yarn I like is going to do the pattern any justice.  Maybe the yarn I picked will improve things, but when I first started out—this was sadly, more often than not, not the case.   Four years it took me to catch that…really…I knot mostly for the kids when I first started to knit.
            When I first started knitting, I used what I could afford and what people gave me, which was a BUNCH of acrylic.  Most of the gifted, and I use that term lightly, yarn was what I call grandma’s attic stash.  That acrylic garbage that has been kept in basement, attic, and/or garage for any number of years.  Either Gran got tired of hauling the yarn around, or someone else got tired of doing it for her, or, my apologies, she died…and her stash outlived her (the mythic ‘SABLE’= stash acquisition beyond life expectancy).  So, I wasn’t exactly working with the best stuff to begin with…and my yarn tended to be whatever Wal-Mart was carrying at the time, because that was the only ‘yarn store’ in town. 
            Now the only yarn I buy at Wal-mart is what I am using to make things for kids, which is nearly always acrylic.  I now understand those people who call themselves ‘yarn snobs’ when they gripe and moan and complain about how terrible it is to work w red heart super saver yarns.  After I worked up the first ribby halter: my project results here…I made E’s birthday gifts:  Little Black Riding Hood, Pink Horse, Blue Cat, Purple Slippers, Pink And Blue Braided Hat…everything she asked for…except, of course, her fairy doll…because I just could not in good faith make her a doll when I still owe A her Cheerleader doll from who knows how long ago now…
            The first rib is done in what I consider a cheap alpaca blend…but it is at least soft and pliable and gentle on my hands.  There were times working on E’s stuff—and for the most part—she is the one who picked out the yarn—that I literally had to put my work down and do anything else—sometimes just read—until the skin on my hands stopped aching and tingling bitterly.
            I’ve been more keen on caron simply soft yarns for awhile.  They are much much softer.  I like Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn series as well.  I’ve tried the acrylic, cotton and wool versions.  I have been more than happy w all of them.  I get the caron simply soft when I need a light worsted yarn.  The I Love This Yarn, at least the worsted acrylic, is thicker and the yarn itself does not split on me as much as the caron simply soft is wont to do.  I recently discovered that Michaels has its own version as well, called loops and threads.  I’ve only used the impeccable so far, but it’s nice and soft.  My own personal preference is for the Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn myself, if we have to go through acrylic, but that’s just me.
            I am developing into quite the yarn snob myself anyway of late.  Hey—I just made two halter tops for summer…and both were alpaca blend yarns!  That should say something!  Alpaca is an extremely *WARM* fiber.  A small amount goes a long way towards the heating and insulating qualities of any garment.  And here I am, currently wearing my latest creation, which is a cotton/alpaca blend.  I have been huffy of late because I am really getting into knitting sweaters that require very little finishing…and here I am, more than willing at the moment to attempt a full on winter wardrobe long sleeves and everything sweater…and of course, the warm weather is only starting this week…it’s in the high 80s to low 90s (F) during the day this week.    So I am sticking to summer wardrobe knitting only…which means I am probably going to have to really work my stash over to find yarns that are more…appropriate.  I have a ton of DK weight cotton and cotton blend yarns …I am daft enough to be thinking, 4 strands of DK weight yarn is darn near the equivalent of one bulky yarn.  Why not try it?  *Sigh*
            Here’s what I wanted to talk about today.  Ribby halter tank top number one, done in blue Bernat naturals alpaca blend.  Ribby halter tank top redone for number two in, of course, the cream colored cascade bulky leisure.  I used the exact same needles for both … as soon as I cast off one, I pretty much cast on the other, literally.  Did I knit a gauge swatch for either?  No.  Why?  I don’t care for swatching.  Yes, I would prefer to knit something, find it too big or two small and then have to find someone to whom to give it…I am that person.  Normally, things I put that much time into that look good go to the local women’s shelter.  If they look horrible, I have been known to frog them—or give them to my daughter, who loves them regardless.   However, after knitting both tanks, the stockinette stitch on both is spot on on gauge for the pattern w both.
the unfinished #2 tank side by side w the finished #1 tank
see the difference?

            When I first started knitting, I would never have thought something like this was possible.  Knit the same pattern, using two different yarns, and get *VASTLY* different results.  I love the tighter ribbing on the blue halter, but I’d worked w the bulky leisure before and knew it wouldn’t hold onto the ribbing the same way.  I am fine w that.  Both pieces have completely different drape, and not just because I altered the pattern so much for the second one.  It’s the way the yarn moves and breathes as it develops into a fabric.  The blue tank is all about sucking in and holding things upright.  I thought I might have to work a row or two of single crochet around the cups when I first cast the blue off the needles.  Once I tried the tank on, I saw there was very clearly no need to do that.  Here I am wearing the rebuilt version.  If I hadn’t sewn the straps to the back of this tank, I would have had to have done a couple rows of single crochet across the back to stabilize it.  Not that I don’t think I might not have a go at that in a bit anyway.  The cups, as I sit here looking at them, would do well with a few rows of single crochet themselves.  They are folding in at the tops, curling under as stockinette stitch does.  Now, the cups for both tops are exactly the same—except that the blue tank ties and I can crank it up or down, depending upon how I tie the ties.  That might have helped the second tank’s cup issue as well, but since I don’t really care much for ties, I did it my way.
 picture taken by my then 8yo daughter--she's too proud of herself--please ignore the baby powder on my chest though
            Now, being a female, let me say, though I would have preferred the blue tank be longer, it fits better.  It makes me look …slimmer.  The cream colored tank…is rather saggy and baggy in places I so wish it weren’t.  It makes me look rather chunky.  Now, if I can find the happy medium in between those two looks, I’ll be happy.

again, before #2 was finished, just before i started working the cups--we see the big difference in how the ribbing reacts w the different yarns

            Now, I am absolutely planning to knit this pattern again.  Why?  Because I like it.  Period.  It is a fast knit…even with my modifications.  But I am having too much fun exploring yarns and the way they drape and flow.  I am ___this___ close to going to the yarn shop up the road and just buying a bulky weight cotton to see how it knits up…but…I made that promise about having to stash dive first.  Does it not count that I have dived into my stash twice now, once for each top? 
            For my next version, I am sticking with the 12 inches of ribbing and at least 6 inches of stockinette stitch.  I may actually switch that up…6 inches of ribbing and 12 inches of stockinette….hmm…that may eliminate the bulging issue I have at the top of the ribbing where it meets the stockinette.  Ones of these attempts will end up w me crocheting around the edges up top…mark my words.  I still prefer the straps to the ties…although, depending on the stretchiness of the yarn, next time I will work 12-13 inches of i-cord and not the current 15 I have w the second tank. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Discoveries--And The Path That Got Me There

                    yep, it's my picture...all rights reserved

I now own my own copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 10.  I played w it a bit, trained it up a bit.  Bless R’s heart, he fixed the reverberation issue w the headset the evening it came in.
 Can you imagine it?  Being able to ‘write’ and to knit at the same time?  If I could manage to write, read and knit at the same time…I’d be in heaven.  Alas, I’m lucky to be able to knit and talk at the same time—add in any sort of conversation and I am doomed.  Not to mention, the headset would pick up the other conversation and DNS would attempt to translate it as my speech.
R has some qualms about DNS being faster than my typing…I still type over 90 wpm—and I’m faster when I am on a roll.  However, I found the difference…when I am talking, using my ‘best newscaster voice’(yes, I do have one), my inner editor drops out of the picture…the only editor present is the one trying to make sure that DNS is keeping up on its side of the conversation.  Everything else says after the speaking, after the computer translation, editing is inevitable, so just go w the flow…
I randomly do morning pages.  I know—it should be an every day occurrence, but, I do it more when I am stuck, when I am sticking.  The things that bother me are things I would never want R to see.  I usually get up w him in the mornings…well, not this past week…the weather alone has been taking too much out of me—but I am awake w him in the mornings, even if I don’t get out of bed.  I won’t write my morning pages while he’s here.  I’m more focused on him … if I started my morning pages while he was still here, I would want to finish them before I moved.  Then I miss talking to him and showering w him—that would be bad. It is those simple little things that I dearly love and that keep us close.  This also means that first thing in the morning before the mind has a chance to clear aspect is gone for me anyway.
I sat down the day after I got DNS and I talked my way through my morning pages.  It was slow…I could have written it by hand, which is one reason I love my iogear mobile digital scribe and been …more slow, more careful, and still have been aware of the whole need to edit afterward.  But—DNS is far faster than my writing by hand—somewhere in the right realm of time, adding in the inner editor that is omni-present when my fingers hit the keyboard—and … so many things that I already knew, but hadn’t really had enough …faith?  Fortitude?  Foresight?  To voice -- I mean to really voice, to really take notice of…came up—came up and came out…
R told me last night it was the first time he’d seen me bubbly in awhile.  I was sort of hurt by this—not because he said it—but because it is true.  I’ve been depressed and worried and off my rocker lately.
I took thirty, maybe forty minutes, and I dictated.  Not yesterday, but the day before.  Then I offered up my little prayer…and things began to fall into place.
The Universe does answer your prayers.  The Universe truly does reach out to show you the way.  You can call it God, or Goddess, or Great Spirit, or Creator, or the Great Unknown, or the Universe…or whatever you want to call it.  It is all the same thing in the end.  If you let go of yourself and listen to the Universe…amazing things can and will happen.
How long have I spent asking, what do I do now, how do I get where I want to go, how to I manage this, how do I accomplish this?
Every time I get stuck in a big way, the Universe helps me out.  Not always in ways I would like, but in ways that affect the changes that need to be made.  A truck hits an icy spot and flips over—w my daughter and me inside it.  Not that R and I were not already discussing the way things might go between us at that point—but without all the help he gave us at that time…I would never have made it.  Plus, we would never have been together.  Nearly dying is a miracle…one I would never ask for, but one that started the ripple in the grand pond and brought some amazing things to the forefront. 
If the old house had not been broken into, I would not have moved so quickly.  R would not have taken that first step and gotten into real
estate investment as quickly as he did.  It broke through many barriers that both R and I had and pushed us forward, as a couple, as a company, as friends. 
      Though he won’t admit it, I am seeing some amazing changes in E from spending so much time w R.  She’s gaining weight, in a good way.  Now, she’s always been thin and tiny and delicate…I can see her putting on weight so I am not able to count every vertebrae in her back when she leans over anymore.  I see her more relaxed, happier—more neurotic about wanting to make sure she is loved and wanted.  She is getting more out of the discussions she and R have about how much she is loved, if she is actually loved—even if those discussions have R and me at the end of our ropes (the girl knows how to push buttons—she will start by saying I have hated her since her brother was born, that I love N more and I love him better, blah blah blah.  I caught her—she sucks up and gets the attention and the petting more after one of these discussions.  If we can give her that attention now—she’s not going to end up like me, always searching for approval from not just some guy, but from others…if I weren’t seeking approval of a High Priestess, I would not have gotten involved w the biological donor in question…if I can heal my own wounds, heal her wounds in the process, we can save her so much pain when she’s older…)
      Ok—back to the program at hand here…the Universe has been hinting, those soft gentle nudges that tend to be ignored in the grand scheme of things…until they become the boot to the head that gets my attention.  My dictated morning pages gave me some really astounding insights.  Even when I tried to back away from them, I found myself circling back and repeating the same message, over and over…in different words, in different manners, but always leading to the same thing…and strangely enough, none of it was unknown to me…I had simply not taken the steps necessary to follow through.
      In my role as Priest (I so dislike the term ‘minister’, sorry, it brings up too much of my own stuff), I find myself doing a lot of creative counseling along w my spiritual counseling…Hey, if you are depressed and unsure of yourself and/or where you want to go/what you want to do—dreamboards and SoulCollage cards ® and any other number of collage work helps loosen the detritus in the brain and set it free, so you can see it and touch it and name it—and follow it.  I have become so instrumental of late to certain people…and I am struck by a sense of jealousy at times…that I can encourage other people who put in the effort and make the changes and get the results—while I feel stuck and uncertain…
      But, I keep returning to my roots, the gentle pressure from Above encouraging me to, ya know, take my own advice now and then.  Cindy Rushton has been a huge influence on me since I first discovered her ages ago (2005? Maybe) in one homeschooling circle or another.  It was because of her I grew more certain about homeschooling my children.  It was because of her I repaired my relationship w Christ (not his followers—just the man himself).  It’s because of her I actually own a bible and I actually read it.  I cannot find a good transliteration of the bible—not a translation—I am still holding on to that desire from my childhood to want to become one of the Jesuit priests who works on translating the remaining books of the bible…I want a transliteration—not someone’s interpretation, which is what a translation is.  Remember, I am the girl who compared the KJV and the NIV versions of the bible together side by side one summer just to prove a point.  I have a good side by side transliteration of the Koran.  I am still looking for a good, unedited copy of the Talmud (if anyone has any recommendations)—everything I find for the Talmud is pieces, edited or …not what I want.  Judaism is the only religion I ever genuinely contemplated converting to…but now, the tattooed lady cannot do so…as tattoos are frowned upon in the Jewish faith—and I am ok w that.  I do not study one religion; I study them all.  Christians are not the only ‘followers’ I prefer not to …join…but I love Cindy Rushton.  I love her voice.  I love her faith.  I love her energy. Lately, I have taken to listening to her previous podcasts on BTR:The Writer’s Radio Show.  There’s nothing that current—but I downloaded all the previous podcasts that I could and I listen to them every chance I get.  I am loving that.  I get so much out of listening to her.  Even though I do get the strangest looks from the people who love me when I curl up on the couch to read Deuteronomy these past few days.
      I am working, in my slow roundabout way, towards goals that have been my goals for so long.  I am taking concrete steps toward things now.  Not just listening to the writer’s radio show…podcasts have become a big fascination of late…knitting podcasts and crafty podcasts and, this past week, the writing podcasts…
      I am in the process of signing up to take a certification class via the Craft Yarn Council…for knitting.  I am not sure my crochet is good enough to go that route at the moment…although I’ve been thinking of taking the crochet course to improve my crochet work.  This is more like one step towards my certification as a teacher as well…at least I am w a man who will support me, whatever training I wish to do and wherever that training takes me…but at least I am actively seeking information on study programs along those lines again…wow…I also didn’t realize I need to do some more research.  I was thinking full time classes and I am discovering I can go for a week here and a couple weeks there…
      I also finally took the plunge, thanks to a needle felting kit I bought at one trip to the Myers House, when we went through Helen’s Hen House.  We go through because we love the felted fabric and the roving on the wall…as well as the patterns for sale (Amy Butler anyone?) and the fabrics…plus the sewing/quilting tools they have.  The needle felting kit was a fluke…and one of those small gentle nudges I get from the Universe.  Now, this kit has sat on top my fridge for weeks and weeks now…I opened it last night and discovered we need a few more things in order to properly make anything out of it…so I went online and looked…I not only ended up buying the little foam mat that goes under the felting, but a needle punch thing…a wet felting doll
kit, and a Waldorf Doll kit… Weir Dolls is an amazing store and is a place I have long watched w glee…I love them.  This is the first time I actually completed an order w them though.
      Long have I had the books on how to make a Waldorf doll…I have just never done it.  I have also never sat down and learned properly how to make a doll wig…now I am ordering the kit…and am planning to do every bit of it by hand…and that will be my first real step into becoming a professional doll maker.  Not just my spirit dolls…but actual dolls for kids.  Or grown-ups in need of a larger, more spiritual doll. 
      It is all about actually taking the steps to move forward, to move towards my goals. 
      I also pulled the books I was working w before the break-in at the old house happened.  I completely stopped drawing after that.  I am getting back into it again.  Full force.  I have been taking pictures for weeks now…it’s time to press on again.
      So, again I am the student, studying the path of life before me.  And I am glad of these things. 
      All DNS did for me was bring it to the forefront, the forebrain, where I could no longer ignore the calling within my own heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two 8Things In One

(this is the one from this week)

1.      R—even before we became lovers, he was always (and still is) my very best friend, my support, my cheerleader, my sounding board…and so much more…
2.      E—she makes me love and appreciate the day…and through her I realize how much I put my parents through—and pray her kids do the same to her some day.
3.      N—he’s my little ray of sunshine…seeing things through his perspective gives me a whole new dimensional view on the world.
4.      Tracy—some friends really are forever.
5.      Kerry—for all the inspiration, support and giggles…not to mention, pretty pretty things that she makes…
6.      Sean—he does my heart good, makes me smile, makes me laugh…makes me remember I am alive some days.
7.      Sarah—for all her inspiration, coaching, cajoling and firm belief in my own creativity—Gods bless you, woman.  Honestly.
8.      Alice—a slight curve ball here…my dear Alice, much like my beloved Belle, reminds me every day that perspective is in the eye of the beholder, and strange things are not always unwelcome…believe w your heart and all your dreams can come true…looking past what is visible on the surface yields most amazing results…

(this is from last week--I looked on Thursday and had it all ready to type up--and got side-tracked and I thought of it Friday morning...and as you see...didn't get there til now!)

1.      standing in the doorway holding one bunny or the other—while they sniff and stare away, I get to pet and stroke them…
2.      waking up entangled in R’s body every morning—which is also the way we fall asleep every night as well—you cannot beat that …
3.      Hemalayaa Behl’s dvds…not only do I appreciate the way she teaches Yoga, I am in love w her dance workouts…I love her style.
4.      The first cuddle and hug w E every morning the moment she wakes up and comes to find me…
5.      After R leaves for work, if I am still in bed, being scrunched between two dogs while still lying in bed, one dog on each side…
6.      Bird song, at any time in the day, even at 4 in the morning…
7.      Watching the wild rabbits scamper all over the place…
8.      The smell of flowers, any flowers, any time we are out…lovely…and at times so unexpected…

More Gratitudes Not Included With The Above, But Heartfelt Anyway

1.      Magpie Girl
2.      Jamie Ridler
3.      Cindy Rushton
So many more, I cannot even begin to thank everyone:  Suzie the Foodie, Hybrid J, Alexa Ispas…so many numerous others…

All rights reserved on the photos.  They do belong to me.  Thanks!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Bit of Fibery Goodness

          Our local library, the one closest to the house, the one I know how to get to, has a nice wealth of knitting books…and more.
          They even get a subscription to Vogue Knitting magazine…among other things  . And unlike the WV/OH libraries we are so used to, we can take the magazines home, just like the books.  Woo hoo.  I currently have Vogue Knitting winter 2009/2010 sitting here beside me.  You cannot take out the current issue, but all the rest are yours to borrow.
          I forget which knitting books I got last week, except for one.  Speed Knitting by Kris Percival.  I liked this one so much that I ordered myself a copy before I had even knitted one pattern.  The first pattern I knit was the ribby tank.  There is one mistake in this pattern…I forget what it is now.  I can’t find my notes, but it is something that, if you are not a brand new knitter, you will see it and say oh, I get I need to do this too.  The pattern missed on stitch, one step, on the cup.  
          I really like this pattern.  I love how fast and simple it is.  I don’t think there is any way I can start the sweater in the morning and have it done by lunch, as the little blurb in the book says, but I can surely get it done very quickly.
          I bought this book outright because it is very rare these days, what w my own massive library of knitting books, because there were at least five patterns as I flipped through that I thought, yes, I am going to knit this.  I do that a lot, but the difference is I immediately began to run my stash through my head – having just organized the whole thing really helped.  As soon as we made it home that day, within minutes of having been to the library, I pulled out not one yarn, but three, for three different projects.  As soon as I am finished knitting for E’s birthday, I am planning to cast on for either the scoop neck vest or the cap-sleeved summer shift.  Not to mention, I am planning to do the ribby tank again as well.
          I am absolutely determined to knit my own summer wardrobe, the tanks and the halter tops especially.
          I borrowed two other knitting books yesterday—and they can go back today as well. 
          The first is Classic Knits by Erika Knight.  To me, it has some cute patterns in it.  I really like the wraparound jacket.  I have plenty of other coats and jackets and cardigans on my knit this first list, so even if it is made w super bulky yarn and would be a fairly quick knit, I won’t be making it.
          I like the tank top, also made in super bulky yarn.  I always read through the pattern before I start to knit.  This is not to catch errata—I rarely catch those mistakes during the read through.  I read through the patterns to be sure I understand what is being done, to see if I comprehend the pattern itself, to see if there are any techniques I need to research and/or learn.  I decided a long time ago I will not work any pattern that says “reverse all shaping” for the second side.  If you cannot write the whole thing out, so that beginner’s and for people like me who don’t want to try to remember to reverse everything can just blindly go along, don’t bother writing the pattern for me.  I won’t bother to even consider buying it or knitting it.
          The Bardot sweater is darling.  But I never thought, oh wow, I have to knit this.  Over all, I find the patterns nice, but not anything I would want to knit myself.  I love Erika Knight.  I have several of her other books.  This is simply not a book I need in my library.
          Please keep in mind I am about to go through all my fiber books (knit and crochet and whatever else I have there) and sell the ones that are simply taking up space.  As I am working through my closets and getting rid of all these clothes that no longer, if they ever, represent me, I am also turning to things like my books that no longer serve my purpose.  Lots more stuff is about to go.
          The next book is Never Too Old To Knit edited  by Karin Strom.  It is a beginner’s book.  I always like to look at different books, so I have some good things to recommend to people when they ask me, whether they are starting to knit, or re-learning, or whatever.   Sometimes these books do have some good information I can use for my own knitting.  Sometimes there are terrific patterns. 
          This book is very nice for new knitters.  There is a great deal of simple information.  I did not read through the entire book, but what I read was written clearly, is clearly accessible, and is open and friendly.  Which is what I like.  All the patterns are very simple.  This is a great book for a beginner knitter.  There are scarves, but there are also sweaters, grown-up sweaters, not just for babies.  I think the simplicity of these patterns will be terrific for new knitters and their self-esteem. 

          Now, you know I am in the process of learning to spin.  Mostly it’s all cerebral at this point…as in I have yet to make the time to do more than watch the dvds I have…and I did order myself a couple more for Mother’s Day—that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.
          The one dvd that I have watched all the way through is Start Spinning: The Video by Maggie Casey w Eunny Jang. 
           I really like the dvd.  I did learn quite a bit from this dvd.  But, my one issue is the camera isn’t really held close to what is going on.  We never really get to see what is going on in either woman’s hands.  When Maggie showed us where to oil our wheels, there were times I had absolutely no idea where she was w the oil or what she was doing.  That is the real issue.  There was so much good information, but so much of it was missed due to the camera angles.  It was a terrific video.  Maggie and Eunny were both great.  I simply could not see so much of what I wanted and needed to see in order to really figure out what is going on. 
          The other dvds that I have are Drafting:  The Long and the Short of It and Respect the Spindle The Video, both by Abby Franquemont.  I have only watched a bit of one of them—I forget which—it’s been a bit—but I do love Abby’s style…I love the way she speaks and the stories she has.  We’ll see how the rest of the dvds go. 
          As soon as the BOOM of birthday is over, I am planning to re-educate myself and my knitting.  I have been practicing the continental knit stitch.  I am currently a thrower, knitting English style.  Continental knitting is picking.  I want to learn to do the Norwegian purl.  I don’t know why that all of a sudden caught me one day, but for some reason it has.
          Just do a search for Norwegian purl on youtube…lots of stuff comes up.