So much Yarn - How do I choose - What's on my needles?

Looking at my collection of yarn and what's on my needles. I have to plan ahead for nearly 3 weeks, as we'll be traveling. I know I'll have some knitting time this trip, so how do you plan creative time when you don't know what you'll feel like making in advance.

What's on my needles is a gift, so I can't talk about it.

I've pretty much decided which bag I'll be submitting to the bags 2 riches indy contest.

Back to packing, yarn, toiletries and clothes.


Butterflies, Port-a-showers, and Attitudes

I feel it coming on, my impatience is flaring, drying out the tent, wiping dew from everything, and trying to find a place to hang sleeping bags to get them dry, packing up camp is irritating, in that everything either gets packed wet, or has to come out as soon as we're home and get dried and at home - repacked in storage bags.

If I were in a hotel I could just grab a towel, take a real shower, pack my things and walk out the door, but camping includes set-up, cooking, tear-down and the elements. This is a challenge for me now, whereas it was going with the flow even 10 years ago. But at least I have access to showers for that sticky, sweaty I've had it feeling.

Now butterflies and I have a thing going. It seems like every time I get an "attitude" one shows up, whether it's living or a photograph or something on TV, butterflies always have a way of reminding me of "New Life." Shedding that old attitude.

Just before my mother-in-law died she had found a photograph of a butterfly we had given her years before. We took the pic at Macinaw Island in the Butterfly House, it was sitting on a beautiful flower, wings full-spread. She told me of her love for this picture and her love and fascination of butterflies. When she passed a few days later, our thank you cards were easy to select, she had made the selection for us in that conversation. Now I see butterflies. No I'm not superstitious, I do believe in the supernatural, and I have many things that remind me of situations.

Like today for example. All of the sudden my mind went right back to the first day in our new home in Southport Indiana when I was in junior high. What was weird about it was an odor reminded me of that day. I was a city girl until 13, then we moved to the suburbs. They blacktopped surfaces, streets and driveways in the suburbs. Streets in the city were cement. Today, I stepped out of the vehicle I was in right out onto a blacktop resurfaced parking lot. Instant memories of 13. WOW.

So why wouldn't seeing a butterfly remind me of FLO? Trouble with this is it's always timely. I mean about the time I start really missing her - usually when I have a new craft creation I want her to see and touch, I feel the emptiness of losing her companionship, then I'm lifted by some reference to a butterfly.

Back to camping. Disgusting port-a-showers. When it's high 80's outside, and someone leaves the doors open to the portable shower semi-truck, to enter you need to walk a long narrow shoulder width hall, turn into a stall with a dewy wet plastic shower curtain, undress - leaving everything you have on hanging from one hook, step into another stall to shower, step out into the 95 degree changing area, and attempt to dry off in 100 % humidity. The only difference between the hot sweaty stinky body going in is the hot sweaty smelling like soap body going out.

Only when I stepped out this time there was butterfly - on the wall of this rediculous apparatus called a portable shower, and this one was like no other. It had wings of lace, pink at that. I wanted to touch it because it didn't look real. But it was, and I didn't. I just had a moment thinking of FLO and wishing I could call her on the phone and tell her I was thinking of her and missed her.

Well so much for venting. Maybe sometime I'll talk about how I remember to pray for friends like Cathy when I see my Britta Pitcher, and Peggy when I'm ironing.

Here's a pic of my Woven Scarf - I love it!!



The Vogue Knitting Magazine had a Fedora Knit Felt hat last winter. My sis gave it a try and she's going to town on these.

Here's my first attempt - it isn't shaped or dried yet. I think it may turn out really nice.

Now it's shaped. Ok - I like making hats!!

More knit felt purses ... to be listed in August on Etsy

I'm hoping to take better pictures of my purses:

Here are a few taken in natural light - a few days

Check out www.bags2richesindy.org they have a great contest ending next month.

These are my design, and I may be entering one into the contest Bags 2 Riches Indy.



The purse is not a hat, but the hat may be a purse.

Over the last year I've made more than 30 purses out of the knit felt process. It has been so much fun to create, and wait for the end results, as the knit purse is huge and misshapen, yet when it is washed in hot water it becomes a fine piece of thick woolen fabric - like a tapestry taking on the pre-planned shape of a purse. Many of my "unfinished" pieces have been placed on heads, looking somewhat like misshapen hats.

Now, I make my first hat. It was also my first FLOP!! We've all laughed so hard at this piece, which is now in pieces, as I cut it up to use for embellishments in the future. But at first the hat I made almost looked more like a purse. Now I get it.

Learning to laugh at myself and my work.


A Day of Memories. Happy Birthday Carter - Happy Birthday America

So much has changed in my life the last 10 years. Our whole existence was our immediate family and our church family. Now we travel so much we seldom see either.

Today was a birthday party for my friend's 3 year old grandson. My prayer partner/friend and I have shared every stage of marriage, raising kids, growing families, growing churches, heartaches and victories. Today we looked on as her grandson turned 3. He is such a gentle giant. In his first 3 years he's lost his grandmother (my dear friend Nona), he's traveled to Haiti with family members on mission trips and has watched his family dynamic change as his grandpa remarried. When I think about how fast the last 3 years have gone, and look around the room at the adults, who used to be my 3 year olds in Sunday School, I am so challenged to make the best of every hour. Carter will be 13 and 23 and 33 before I blink, it seems.

Without days like today I could easily get depressed, but having a man in his mid-20's sit with me and tell me what God is doing in his life, how he has made lifetime decisions this very week, and how the foundation laid when he was one of those little guys in church had impact on these decisions. He talked about heading in the wrong direction for a season, and how thankful he is that God is patient. He's getting a daughter in a few weeks, and wants to be in the right frame of mind for raising a girl. Just knowing I'm someone he can confide in, someone he trusts with this hearfelt conversation is an incredible honor. Love you Mr.

Others of my now "adult church kids" were there introducing me to their babies, some were expecting, little ones were toddling around the room, related, unrelated, all connected by one commonality. Their parents were a part of a community called church, they grew up together. Little do they know, we (the older adults in the room) grew up together too. We were raising kids when we were all learning the ropes of parenting, building a church and searching for purpose, finding our way in this world. Today, watching the families, seeing these kids as parents, encouraging them and honoring them was such a blessing.

Occasionally, I so long for those days. Everyone of these adult kids have either sat on my lap at one time, maybe a bumped knee, or a tragic loss of a stolen toy from one of the other kids, or they've come along side me with serious concerns about issues in their world, classmates, or a time to pray for a situation that had them worried. I loved on them as babies, prayed over them when they started school, held their hands taking them to retreats and seminars, and now they're doing all of this with their own kids.

Hindsight is better ... I know. Looking back , I really wondered if I was having any impact on these kids I had in Sunday School, Children's Church, Youth Group, Girl's Purity Seminars, retreats, camp, conventions ... wow, they are fine young adults, providing for their families, raising adorable children, and so loving and kind - and so close to each other. Their parents were faithful to love God, raise the children with boundaries, and are still loving on their kids and grandkids today.

One of my friends there today is a great-grandma - whoa!! Blink Blink that will be me. I'm not ready for that, but when God is ready it'll be my turn. Sharon you're a trooper for sure, remember "coping skills."

Becky - thank you for including us, we feel like family - because we are.

My knit felt hat flopped.

I used a pattern, but I used a series of wool yarn scraps to know a hat that started at the brim and worked towards the crown. It look pretty good before I felted it.

It turned into a wool flying saucer, the crown shrunk A LOT and the brim didn't roll up like it was supposed to, and the hat itself didn't round out, so it looks like a woolen chip serving bowl with fringe. Actually if I fold it in half, then fold it again, I come up with a cone shape bag with three pockets, hmmm. Well, after about 30 bags one has to fail. Everyone seems tempted to throw my purses on their heads and pretend they are hats, so I make a hat that will probably become a purse, my life seems a little upside down right now.

Anywho, I bought extra yarn from my WEAVING adventure, and I think I'll be making a small purse out of that same yarn, to match the woven scarf maybe a bag to store it in when not being worn, or a clutch for a few items, i.d., lipstick, etc..

Woven Scarves are EXPENSIVE - and now I know why. Half the time it takes to make a scarf is in preparation of the loom ... It's no different though from any handmade piece. It is such a joy to create it.

I'm usually so far from the pattern by the time I finish a piece, because, I want it to be unique, so staying with the pattern, but using a variety of yarns kept me true to my nature - I'm a maverick knitter!!



Bloomington Indiana - Culture Magnified. Culture within a culture, or blended cultures (not yogurt).

I just have this strange relationship with Bloomington, Indiana. It has memories - good and bad, from the 60's and 70's. As a High School student I would visit with friends who were looking at Indiana University as a college pick. We'd walk campus and grab lunch on the square. Then the years we spent in the area as the hubbie went to school there (several stints).

And our little sub-culture within a culture, during the 70's, took us to "town," off the farm for several years. We went to town for "supplies," to run errands, and for Back to the Land farming and survival technique workshops in the Library basement, and sometimes a free lecture or two on the "meaning of life."

Now, I'm taking weaving classes at a yarn shop in Bloomington. I also carried a few of my Knit felted bags to show the shop owner, and she actually told me she would sell my patterns, and that I needed to patent one of my newest designs (which I have not photographed yet, as it is unique enough I want to have the pattern in writing and a copyright done before I post a pic.).

WOW - I was so honored. (Still have that resolution to be published this year - I'm close.)

Back to the culture. I worked in Bloomington years ago, I was a college drop-out, so my inferiority was on my sleeve in a college town. I was a clerk in a high-end educational media production business, answered phones and typed original error free letters to the 12 Board members. My personal lifestyle was so opposite my superiors, that they took it upon themselves to discriminate against me miserably. Why I kept the job is more than I want to go into today. One day I was called on the carpet for my opinion I had expressed in the break room. (I hate gossip.)

I was told that I had, "No culture."

The damage from that confrontation has stayed with me for decades. When I enter Bloomington's city limits I remember the humiliation. When I step into the building that holds my favorite yarn store, I'm battling something inside me that lies to me and tells me I'm going to fail again, then I see my weaving on the loom and tell myself - wow, you're really cultured now, girl.

Yesterday the hubbie stopped in the shop to see my weaving for the first time, and actually started researching plans for building a weaving loom for me - NOW I'M really honored!

I had other visitors as I sat and progressed on my woven scarf - my sister came to the shop, saw my weaving, and discussed all of our joint projects with the shop owner. We had a great time, sipping cokes, learning new knitting methods in a little deli and catching up on a lifetime of being apart.

A man stopped in to tell me all the unique methods of weaving internationally, we discussed weaving methods and tribal colors from Guatemala, weaving sweat shops in Indonesia, the meaning of symbols woven in Tibet, China, Mexican, and the Navajo weaving "a way out" of each of their pieces, to name a few. He was very learned in hieroglyphics and spent a great deal of my weaving time giving me suggestions for design on MY work. He was terribly disappointed in my piece when he discovered I hadn't dyed my own yarn, but had bought the different colors and was changing colors as I wove, instead of "tie-dying" the yarn ahead of time. My old fear of failure was rising up within me, that stinking thing just won't let up.

THEN I made this decision:

Golly, I ain't cultured enough yet, but cha know what - this time I don't give a hoot!



No Way!! I never expected this.

This is the yarn - three colors tied into one continuous piece, removed from the warping board and tied into a large crochet chain to keep each string of yarn in order - looks frightful for keeping things straight, but it works!!

I'm weaving.

OK - I have a great teacher, very patient.

I have a loom to use when I'm in class and now that I'm "weaving" it's mine to use between classes - hooray!

These are the threaded yarn actually on the loom - wow.

The first class was design and pattern, and picking yarn, and then - tying the yarn together at intervals to make color changes lengthwise on the loom, called warping the loom, the twisted knotted looking piece laying on the cross bar of the loom is one continuous piece of colors of yarn tied together at exact intervals where you want color change.

This is the step before "Tying one on" the teacher calls it - meaning, placing each string through the loom - "Dressing the Loom" and keeping everything in order while doing it. No major errors here - just looks sloppy.

After the first class, I bought graph paper and colored pencils and drew what I imagined my first piece would look like. Wow, I guessed pretty good.

The second class was "dressing the loom" The way you put the yarn on the loom (one continuous piece) is maintained in order of the wrapped pieces by a "cross in the yarn" You wrap in a figure 8 then tie all 4 pieces of the figure 8 until you have it on the loom completely. This was time consuming, so I went to the 3rd class early to catch up with the other students.

Class 3 I'm weaving.

Can you tell I'm excited? This will be an 8" by 72" scarf, with fringe. Too fun.

Uh, oh! Don't tell Russ, it is a pretty expensive hobby, the YARN and the LOOM. In the 3 classes so far I've learned why handwoven items are so expensive.

You can buy this poster.