knitting &

I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

it's a wrap

My whole knitterly year is contained in a 4x4x6 inch tote.

I collected my yarn labels here as faithfully as I could. While took some pictures and also uploaded some of my projects to ravelry, this tiny tote is the best proof I have that I did knit something this year:

70 skeins of yarn, adding up to 10,119 yards knitted up. There were one or two skeins in there that I ended up using for tying off my hand dyed yarn. They are included in the yardage because they are gone from the stash, and that is a good thing.

All in all I also dyed approximately 2000 skeins, which explains the rather small number of yards knitted up...the new challenge for 2010 will be to knit up 2010 yards from stash per month. We'll see how I do, because I've accumulated a bit of roving too and it begs to be spun up...

What are your knitterly plans for the new year?

I wish you all a wonderful New Year. May you enjoy your craft in good health.

This is the last post on this blog. You will still be able to go back and read what's here, but from now on I will be focusing on The Periwinkle Sheep blog.

Thank you so much for being here with me this whole time. I hope to see you on the other side -- *

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Emma donning an elf hat made by Crafty Girl

As my dear knitting friend Cathy pointed out in the comments, this blog has been very quiet. I've been very quiet.

I could say there has been a lot going on, and you could say that that is true -- but who doesn't have a lot going on, especially this time of year?

Tall Son came down with mono at the end of his semester but is now home and on the road to recovery. Thank you for your well wishes. Dyeing has slowed down a bit, since I rely on warmer weather to help me out with it. I am doing quite a bit of knitting, or was, until a major case of tendonitis had me leave the needles idle. No, Christmas knitting was not finished in time. I am taking any and all anti-inflammatory available, icing my elbow, etc. Nonetheless, baking and wrapping some gifts had me nauseous from the pain yesterday so I think I need to re-group a little. Anybody got a new, pain-free knitting style to teach me? Obviously the one I've been trusting for 38 years is not working any more....

Another reason for my relative quiet is that I have come to the conclusion that I can't keep up two blogs anymore. As of the new year, I will focus on the "other" blog, and let this one go idle. I have the sneaking suspicion that I've lost readership in the process of trying to have two blogs - and who can blame you? It's not like I'm offering you one riveting story or project after another over here!

There were a whole bunch of things that I meant to report on but simply didn't have to time to report on. Yes I took pictures and composed blog posts - in my head. Whole lot of good that does you! It's like buying a new knitting book, yarn, and needles, and then not making anything. Can't call myself a blogger if I don't blog.

For now, I would like to wish everyone who celebrates, a very Merry Christmas. If you're traveling, stay safe. We'll be home, taking it easy. I'll try to catch you up on a few things before the year is out, and before I'll move on over to the new digs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

consider this

All weekend -- and I hope it was a good one for you, this Thanksgiving, with seeing family and friends!! -- I was trying to avoid even noticing the shopping frenzy that everyone was trying to talk us consumers into. Every time I turned on the news it was more stats about how many shoppers went out and shopped and how much they spent.

Stores opening at 5 am, 3 am, midnight even. Trying to lure us with rockbottom prices, on stuff that we really don't NEED. Then I heard about the Story of Stuff. It takes less than a trip to the mall to watch it.

I might be preaching to the choir here, because knitters already know that Giving means Making Something.

Or if you can't make something, consider buying something handmade.

Or if you're already done with making something, bless your heart, maybe you could find half an hour here and there to make some good warm mittens? To give to your local rescue mission?

I also just found this very worthy cause. The deadline isn't until January.

You bet your sweet skein of Lamb's Pride I'll be making some mittens. Thank you Bonnie for bringing my attention to it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

save the dates!

I am taking the liberty to post this on both my blogs. Need to spread the word about Hand Made!

The holiday season is upon us!! Once again, I am participating in a couple of Holiday open house/art fair events.Mark your calendars -- there are a great many wonderful handmade gifts available at these. And some handdyed yarn, of course...

November 22, 11-2
Holiday Open House
29 Burhans Place, Delmar
(jewelry, art prints, chocolate, handdyed yarn, and more!)

November 27, 5-10 pm
as part of Troy Night Out , with Tight Knit!
Historic Frear Building : 3 floors of vendors!
Corner of Third Ave and Fulton in Troy, NY.

December 12, 12-5
Winter WonderLARK

edited to add: the craft fair is in the giant church basement of Trinity Church. Watch for signs on Lark Street!

Thank you so much for passing this along to all your friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Now they tell me!

Just when I decide to make a turkey for Thanksgiving this year after 20 years of not, I find THIS.
The recipes sound enticing....but I like having a table with food grown near us (Northeastern US).

What do you think? What are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes?
Do you include ethnic foods, family favorites?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Memoriam Betty Smith 1909-2009

In October, I had the great fortune to be invited to a get together for one of my customers, Betty Smith of Voorheesville, NY. She had passed away earlier in the summer at the age of 99, barely missing her 100th birthday and the hot air balloon ride she wanted to go on. Betty's family and friends, quilters and knitters were invited to celebrate Betty. She had been living with her granddaughter, Linda, for the last few years. Linda put together a wonderful party and an exhibit of some of Betty's work.

I knew that Betty had been a prolific knitter since she was taught to knit at an early age, during WW I, when everybody was encouraged to knit socks for the soldiers. I had also heard that Betty was a quilter. But oh boy, I had no idea. None.

I remember her coming to my shop at the time, when a book called Knitted Babes came out. Betty was not only supersmart (a double major and then teacher of both math and art), creative, alert, and all around wonderful soul, she also had a great sense of humor. She literally made everyone she came in contact with smile.

She delighted in making these knitted dolls, including their clothes and flip-flops.

Betty made innumerable pairs of socks during her lifetime.

If I ever live to be over 90 years old, I hope to be able to knit fun things for my grandkids and greatgrand kids!

A series of felted purses.

a sampling of Betty's handwork

And then there was the quilt exhibit. Linda gave me permission to take pictures.

Gotcha! Not a quilt, but a tray of cookies!

The little Flying Geese are 1 inch across.

From a movie being shown that day. Her quilters group had made it.
I have a feeling that Betty Smith made a lot more quilts than that even. Knowing her, she had probably made them for all her kids and their kids and their kids, too.
The exuberance expressed in her work seems to say to all of us: Go forth and craft with abandon!
Thank you Betty, it was an utter privilege to know you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dear Thanksgiving Turkey

Dear Thanksgiving Turkey.

I know it's not Thanksgiving here in the US for a couple of weeks yet, but I wanted to catch you while you still had some time left on this earth. Give you time to digest this news I am about to deliver to you.

O this is going to be hard.

You see, I've been a vegetarian for twenty years, but I think ducks to avoid flying rotten eggs that I am going back to eating....meat. Meat as in chicken and turkey. (The thought of bacon has always grossed me out.)

Please hear me out. I think that avoiding eating 20 Thanksgiving turkeys, and I am not even going to count the Christmas ones at my sister-in-law's house, should at least count for something, and buy me twenty minutes of your time...thank you.

Twenty years of being a vegetarian for political, animal rights, and dietary reasons is a tough thing to leave behind. Repeated reports of meat recalls and E. coli horror had me glad to be avoiding meat entirely. We raised our kids vegetarian too, even though we never "forbid" them to eat meat: if they wanted to try it, they could. When they had questions about the meat and seafood departments in the grocery store, we stood there and visited steaks, hot dogs, and lobster. But they never ended up trying it, until Tall Son went to college. He does have an occasional burger now.

Twenty years of having to explain to one's relatives the reasons why, and why I was doing that to my kids, we felt like oddballs for a very long time. We were labeled as birdfood eating crunchy granola types by some. We were told that we were going to be iron-deficient, emaciated, protein-lacking, miserable people. Honestly I have no idea how Tall Son got to be 6'2" and Crafty Girl at age 12 has caught up with me in height? There were years where we only saw the pediatrician at the annual check-up. Twenty years, and we were never miserable because of our diet. Never.

However. Things started to change for me a couple of years ago, when I found out that I have IBS (probably since childhood) and also a gluten sensitivity. There are 4 celiacs in my immediate family, so the odds are pretty good that I would have an issue there, too. 2006 was a very high stress year for me. Autoimmune disorders are sometimes triggered by stress.

Now my diet excluded wheat, rye, barley, oats, and cow's milk dairy. And still no meat and no seafood. I love my nut butters, and am OK with gluten free foods, and am just fine with goat's milk cheese. (Most of them I cannot afford, but that's another story.)

This spring, I was having more than the usual seasonal allergies, and I finally figured out that eating peanuts in any form makes my chest constrict. Not a fun experience. But I am happy to not eat peanuts. Being able to breathe is more important to me. Switching to almond butter or cashew butter is not an option, as they are made on the same equipment as the one used for peanutbutter.

After several months now of not eating meat, seafood, dairy, grains, and nuts, I started to gain weight in the weirdest way. Was it all the rice? Rice bread, rice crackers, rice cereal. While I was grateful to be eating something that didn't make me sick, I was getting sick of it.

Oh, and did I mention that if I have a full serving of carrot salad, or butternut squash, pumpkin pie, or any other deep yellow vegetabe, I get diarrhea? Did I tell you that eating most legumes has me blowing up like a hot air balloon, but without the exhilarating feeling of floating high in the air? I do love potatoes in all their myriad ways of preparation. I am fond of millet and quinoa. Corn, I am OK with, but it doesn't thrill me too much. I am never quite sure of its nutritional value, either.

I considered being a vegan, but that was an impossibility due to me being restricted in the nut department. I have since found some dry roasted almonds which are like manna to me, which cause no adverse reaction. I need to go purchase some good dairy free, non-grain sweetened dark chocolate to coat them in. A girl does deserve a treat every once in a while.

Always thankful for any kind of food that doesn't make me sick to my stomach, content with my choices, happy to have any food at all in the face of so many millions on this earth who never have enough...I had another piece of rice bread toast the other day with imitation cream cheese, and it suddenly hit me:


I am so so sorry. I realized that I was spending so incredibly much time thinking about what to eat that didn't make me ill or nauseous or bloated or kept me from breathing. I realized I was sick and tired of tofu and simply could not think of yet another way to prepare it. Already pouring soy milk (thank goodness for SILK!) over my corn chex, I knew I could easily overdo it with the soy protein and then where would I be. Trust me, I had explored many of the glutenfree, allergy free, vegan, vegetarian cookbooks. I knew what my options were.

I was also in the middle of reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, so that may have had something to do with my sudden change in attitude. Yes, I was supremely grateful for the food I had, but all that scrounging for protein was doing something to my psyche. I am glad I can literally just go to the store and find something to eat. (It means spending twice as much time there because I have to read labels all the time, but I've always been ready to do whatever it takes.) I know there are people right around me who have deadly deadly allergies to some of the most common foods. I can truly appreciate what they have to go through each and every day.

But I hit my very own personal wall. I started to fantasize about bratwurst. I know. 20 years. Wiped out. To take the edge off, I went to the market and got a 1/4 pound of all natural turkey breast, sliced thin, and it lasted me for two lunches. That was two weeks ago, and I have since had some tuna salad. (Dear husband and I actually put the occasional fish on the grill over the summer, but that was going to be it. Didn't want to bring that smell into the house.)

The biggest decision I made was that I want a Thanksgiving Turkey. I am going to find a free range one, because I refuse to eat something that had endured torture. Now I need to find a recipe, because I have no idea how to cook a turkey. I do want to do it justice and want it to come out right.

I guess basically I want to make sure that I can be grateful and mindful again of whatever I'm eating, and not spend all my time worrying, because that just seems wrong and serves nobody.

Dear Thanksgiving Turkey. Thanks for hearing me out. Now go live out your life with wild abandon.