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Sunday, August 27, 2006
One More Tribute to the Incomparable Granny

The lovely Strange Little Mama left a comment requesting pictures of the knitted wedding dress I spoke of in my previous post, but I felt sure I wouldn't be able to produce said pictures assuming they would surely never be available in digital format.

Well, wonders never cease! My ever-gracious and ever-generous Aunt Molly read that comment and moments later sent me the following pictures. I just LOVE the instantaneous picture sharing that is possible nowadays. I also love my Aunt Molly. Did I tell you all that I was named after her? lucky me.

HERE is the astonishing dress -- and the fabulous 1975 wedding pictures - enjoy:

Guess who the flower girl was. Yes. That's me. A fabulous day that lives large in my memory.

Now that I see the pictures, I realize that the dress was knit of lace weight yarn. In the message she sent with the pictures, Molly points out that these pictures do not sufficiently convey the beauty of the dress. You have to look closely to get a sense of the amazing delicacy of the lace (click the first picture to get a good detail) and you have to imagine the way it moved thanks to it's flowing cut. It's truly a dazzling dress and one day perhaps one of Molly's two beautiful daughters will don it on her wedding day...
Thanks for the good memories.
Granny Delivers More Really Good Stuff

Granny sews by feel.

Granny knits booties for baby Ciera (now 13)

Granny holds my Leo

My Granny Olive is a wonder. Not only did she birth nine (yes, NINE!) babies, and raise them all to be pretty great people (with lots of help from kind, humble, patient Grandpa Saul), but she managed to knit (multiple) sweaters for all of them. She also knitted several sweaters, pants and baby bathing suits for her (many) grandchildren. Now she is 90 years old and macular degeneration has taken her sight. She doesn't knit anymore, but the last project she completed was a phenomenal Doubleknit (that is: both sides knit simultaneously, fully reversible and different on each side thankyouverymuch) multi-colored sweater for my dad - someday I'll post a picture. She did more than half of it without any sight. That is how amazing she is.

She is also very pragmatic and speaks frankly about her life being near it's end... Nobody who knows her would be surprised if she lived to be 115. She is systematically shedding her MANY possesions and in a recent windfall, I was the lucky recipient of this wonderful big brown box.

What's inside? Wait until you see...

Granny is an innovator and a real think-outside-the-box kind of gal. She is a big fan of all things new-fangled and gimmicky, so she was always buying the latest knitting notions and tools. These are just a few of the many knitting / crocheting goodies she's given me over the past several years.

In another recent trip to her house on the hill I was thrilled (and my husband, horrified) to receive her knitting machine. Yes. It is HUGE and very heavy and she bought it sometime in the early seventies. It's designed to knit very fine gauge projects and she used it to knit my aunt Molly's (stunning) wedding dress out of fingering weight ivory yarn. I have yet to explore it, but someday I'll knit something spectacular with it.
The best knitting books in my collection came from her. She also saved every knitting pattern she ever used, complete with little notes written in the margin in 1945.
Another thing about Granny, she knows everything. truly. I'm lucky to have her. And I'm happy to be carrying on the knitting tradition she began so long ago. Thanks for the loot Granny!
Friday, August 25, 2006
Sunflowers in my kitchen

It is difficult for me to decide how to write in my new blog. How much do I really want to share here? How mundane will I allow my blog to become? In the beginning, I pictured myself writing feverishly about all the knitting projects I have planned and ALL the projects I'm finishing (HA!).

In the absense of all that, a little about my week:
Today my room smells like a giant, wet St. Bernard because I washed the wool mattress pad from our bed. I don't like the smell of wet dogs. The baby has discovered how to open the lid of the trash can and takes exuberant joy in distributing trash all over the kitchen floor. He is so cute. He has also managed to remove the door of our little pantry (yes. from it's hinges)and has been removing baking chocolate, little marshmallows and big bags of flour.

See some of the destruction here -- With unfolded laundry in background.

Behold: new boots. Another distraction.

I have worked very hard on Tulip, but she is bringing me more frustration lately than bliss. What you see here represents the third time I've knit this far and ripped out and knit it again. Part of my frustration is with the pattern itself. I won't go into details now...Aside from that, there are other issues. Either my gauge is way off, or i'm losing more weight than i realized lately. Both are possible, as I'm nursing a baby A LOT and I don't always have time to pay attention to my own nutrition --life is busy. Anyway, Tulip is BIG. I suspect it's my gauge, but I like pretending that I've miraculously reclaimed my 23 year-old body without trying at all. It's hard to feel motivated to complete it when I'm not sure i'll really love it in the end.
BUT, I shall persevere.

The completion of Dad's birthday scarf is next on my list of things to do. Dad's birthday was in May. If you're reading this Dad, consider this proof that you will have your scarf before the first cold day...(you are patient and good).
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Crochet isn't as stupid as it once seemed!

The enormous list of projects I wish I had time to make grows longer. A recent visit to my local library rekindled a desire to learn to crochet. Also, my granny recently gave me about 200 crochet hooks in all sorts of ridiculous sizes.

I used to think crochet was fussy and dowdy. Granny squares still do nothing for me, but how about that Erika Knight?! Boy has she turned me around. Not only am I toying with the idea of someday crocheting a pretty table runner, and making several storage boxes (pictured above) out of string, but I have consuming, can't-think-about-anything-else plans to crochet a new bathroom rug out of an old, red bedsheet.

I LOVE the idea of making old things into brand-new, prettier things.
Also, These pretty rugs are crocheted from Blue Sky alpaca (but alpaca is way too expensive to sit adjacent to my toilet). Still, they're nice.

This project seems feasible since my bathroom is so small and small room = small rug. Being such a small room, it has never been given the same love as the other rooms.

I might also need to make some little turkish shoes.
Sunday, August 13, 2006

On a lighter note
The baby is learning about Nascar racing from his grandpa. Somebody's gotta do it, and i'm not qualified to teach the boys such lessons. This is one of the many good reasons we enjoy our visits to grandma and grandpa's house. More reasons: There is always cake. There is sports watching and New Yorker reading for my husband. And, most important reason: LOADS of knitting time for me. It's like a fabulous resort with the best babysitters in the world. We are lucky.

Preschool Looms.

My precious boy goes off to preschool this week. It's a new school. I am having a hard time with this. As a gesture of smothering mommy love, I made him this super cool skateboard totebag out of a pillowcase he wasn't using. It was used to transport important supplies to his classroom (3 pairs of clean, dry underpants, a change of clothes, a pillow for resting time, etc.) The pillow was also crafted by me, as they requested that we send a "very small pillow because space is limited". It was adorable. just the right size for his sweet little head, and complete with iron-on letters of his entire name (first, middle and last)--his idea.

I am looking for comfort in these little gifts. It's only working a little. I am glad that he'll have these pretty things to remind him that he's loved all day long and to give him courage, but it will still be difficult to see the look on his face as I walk away. Maybe he'll surprise me by being far more ready for this than I am. He surprises me all the time.
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Summer nears an end. Tulip top almost done.
Thanks to Elann, I'm whippin' up a guilt-free summer top for roughly $12. I bought the Elann brand Sonata (100% mercerized cotton) for only $1.98 a 115 yard ball. Someday soon, it will be another version of Lisa Shobhana Mason's fabulous Tulip pattern. I have had trouble in the past making sweaters for myself that fit really well. Which is why I have completed hundreds of baby sweaters, hats, scarves, toys and mittens for my entire family, but finished few beautiful things to indulge myself. My hope is that this little top flatters my current (post baby#2, breastfeeding) figure.

Flatters = features big boobs, draws eye away from lack of waist.

This is one of about 5 projects I have currently on needles...

I also recently learned that another friend who i ADORE is pregnant. Joyous news, and my mind swims with irresistible ideas - but this makes 3 of my dearest friends and a cousin simultaneously growing a little baby. holy cow. Luckily, sewing is quick and i have big plans. The bigger my plans the better. I will never have the time to accomplish them all, but if i plan big, something always gets done. I want to make wide-legged, striped corduroy baby trousers. among other things...
Sunday, August 06, 2006

Molly gleefully joins the land of Blogs

I have spent some of my happiest hours roaming around and reading the blogs of fabulous knitters/sewers/crafters everywhere. It's more thrilling than I can say to FINALLY have a blog of my own. I will relish hearing from people like me who love all things fiber and dream endlessly of all the possibilities.

My husband is anxious he will see even less of me than before. I think his anxiety may be justified. You will often hear me thoughfully bitching about all the things there are to DO in life and my continuous pursuit for balance. Complaining helps me cope.

I have been sewing since I was a very small child (thanks mom, thanks Aunt Molly), and I learned to knit from my Granny when I was little, but picked it back up as an adult and have hardly gone a week without knitting since 1997. There have been some exceptionally busy weeks of course (giving birth, nursing every hour, giving birth again, juggling the new circus of two kiddos). But I always find my way back to knitting --or making things--before too long. It's a matter of sanity and true bliss.

We lived in Seattle for 10 years and recently returned for a fabulous visit. Sadly, I did not make it to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas (the prettiest and best of all yarn shops). I did, however, visit the Fiber Gallery in Greenwood, Hilltop yarns in Queen Anne and during our sidetrip to Victoria, BC, I had a lovely escape (BY MYSELF) to the Beehive Wool shop. ooooh. Canadian yarns are pretty and hard to find in the states. I love finding regional yarns in far-off locales.

Pictured above are my lovely vacation purchases. I think I showed great restraint - spending only slightly more than I could afford. I have two very dear friends who are pregnant. Much of this yarn is intended for their beautiful little offspring. Will i get to it? Will there ever be enough time? Stay tuned to find out.
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