"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Navajo Spindle

How was your weekend? Mine was great!

Ruth came home for the weekend, but I was so busy I hardly saw her. She came home to raid our bank account for the supplies she needs for the geology field trip she'll be taking after school lets out (sis's graduation). She needed all kinds of fun stuff, like hiking boots "that will hold up to cactus spikes", compass, camping gear, paper that can be written on in the rain, pens that write in the rain, etc. Sounds like it's going to be a fun trip. Dear hubby took her shopping since I was unavailable. (Dear hubby LOVES to shop!)

On Saturday I did the second session of the choker-to-bracelet class. It went very very well. In fact, my student showed up with 2 to finish. She is enjoying the project immensely. By the end of the session she and I both were very confident she knows how to do the project just fine.

Gayle was there and we had a wonderful conversation on various subjects that would benefit her store. She's thinking about stocking polymer clay supplies. I would LOVE it if she decided to do that. I offered to teach classes should she decide to do so.

I'm going to be teaching a class on Saturday, May 26th, 2-4pm. The topic will be the Daisy Nepal bracelet I made. If you should live near Post Falls, Idaho and wish to take the class, contact Bead It at (208) 773-6423 for information.

Just before leaving for class I stopped and got the mail from my box. The new issue of Bead & Button was in it (cool!). Oh what a scrumptious issue. There are quite a few projects in it that I could teach classes on. I asked Gayle why she doesn't carry these magazines and she said she didn't want to get stuck with the leftovers. I can certainly understand that feeling, having felt the same way about some magazines I carried in my yarn shop. I told her if I taught classes using projects from the magazines, the students would be required to buy the magazine because I won't make copies of copyrighted material for hand outs. I suggested making models of the projects too. Models always sell magazines. I also suggested she contact the various publishers and see if they will take returns of unsold issues for credit. Some will. It never hurts to ask. Anyway, we had a good discussion on the subject of classes, and magazines.

On Sunday I packed my newly acquired Navajo Spindle, my Shetland roving, a lunch, and headed for the North Idaho fairgrounds. There was an Alpaca show going on (Pacific Northwest Alpaca Association I think) and they asked the guild if we'd send some spinners over to demonstrate during the show. I decided to go.

On the way to the fairgrounds I stopped at Black Sheep Sporting Goods and picked up one of those folding camping chairs that fit in the long tubular canvas bags. Try finding one without arms?! I couldn't have one with arms cos they'd get in the way of the spindle-which is leaned against the outside of the thigh and spun there. All of the chairs had arms. Not to worry--I found one that had arms that can be pushed back-with velcro straps to hold them in place so they stay out of the way. The chair is really comfortable too. I had to sacrifice the cup holder, but all in all a good buy at 15 bucks.

Now all I need is some kind of apron. Spinners wear aprons for some reason.

I'm glad I went because no one would have been there if I hadn't. At first, they seemed just a tad disappointed I didn't have a wheel. Then I told them I'd learned to spin just 2 weeks earlier. That made things worse. But when I showed them my spindle, they got very interested in it. Apparently, Navajo spindles are not well known.

They set me up in the market area, amongst the tables holding the silent auction items. A good place to be cos everyone was stopping by to see the tables. I had a wonderful time answering questions and chatting with folks (I am SO glad I read up on the subject of Navajo spindles before leaving that morning!). One little girl was absolutely fascinated by the spindle. She sat and watched me for a long time, but she didn't want to try it herself. A little too shy I think. I met a few really cool ladies too who were working the booths around me. All in all a very friendly bunch.

Best of all, one of the ladies gave me a 1 oz. roving of Alpaca. Oooooo....so soft! I'm going to have to come up with something special to make with it.

Have a good day!


Awesome Experience

What an Awesome experience for dear hubby and I, as parents. My jaw actually aches from all the grinning I did last night. Professors and students shook my hand and told me amazing things about my daughter Sarah. Wow! Hubby and I are floating on air. We feel so honored to be her parents.

One thing we found out is that since the University of Idaho opened in the late 1800's only 32 students have graduated with straight A's. There's a plaque in the Student Union building with their names engraved on it. Sarah Lynn Park's name will be the 33rd. She will be getting some kind of award for that accomplishment-date and time to be announced later. I'll be there, come hell or high water.

When parents bring that brand new baby home for the first time, there are so many fears that cross your mind. I had a lot of them.

I grew up in an abusive home with a control-freak mom, an alcoholic father, and both were members of a seriously bad religious cult. That's in addition to being very poor. My worries were "What if I abuse my children like my Mom did me?" "What if I'm a lousy Mom?" "I'm so screwed up myself. What if I totally screw up this tiny innocent human being?" "Can I do this???" As a parent, it takes 20 years before you find out if you're doing it right or not. That's a lot of time to screw things up.

As we drove home from Moscow last night I thought about all this. I thought about all the things we went through when Sarah was growing up. The good times and the bad. The fun and the sad. There was a lot more good and fun than bad and sad. Sarah truly was/is an amazing child.

I worked hard to overcome the abuse of my childhood so I wouldn't pass it on. It was, and still is, the biggest challenge of my life. Nothing matters more to me than to have my daughters be well balanced, mentally healthy, loving, kind, law abiding, contributing members of society.

My husband has the same goals. He is the best father you could possibly imagine for our daughters. It's one of the things I admire and love most about him.

But I have to say, even though hubby and I worked hard, the real credit goes to Sarah for what she has accomplished. She went above and beyond what we, her parents, ever expected of her, and for that we are truly grateful to her, and proud to be called "Sarah's parents."

Congratulations sweetie. You did it! You deserve it. I love you more than I could possibly put into words. My sunshine girl.

With much love and admiration,


Beam With Pride Day

Today hubby and I get to drive down to Moscow and attend the ceremony honoring our daughter, Sarah. I am SO excited, and she is SO nervous. She called last night to tell us what to wear. No jeans, she says. Well, her Dad and I were not planning on wearing jeans. We know what appropriate clothing is for something like this. But it was just so cute that she was worried about that. Here's a photo of our oldest genius. It's kind of old-high school graduation, but she still looks like this. Always the big bubbly smile on her face.

Before we head down to Moscow later this afternoon I have a lunch date with 'The Tuesday Group'. This is a group of gals who met every Tuesday at my shop for lunch, knitting, and gossip. After the shop closed they decided to keep getting together for lunch, only it's once a month on Thursday now. I'll be giving Sally her daisy bracelet. I sure hope she likes it.

After that I will rush home, get dressed up, and go pick Doug up from work. I apologize in advance for the bright blinding light. When I beam with pride, I BEAM with pride!


Works In Progress

Lest someone should think I'm a fairly lazy knitter, todays blog will dispute that idea. By lazy, I mean quickly done, instant gratification projects. Actually, I prefer the very complicated challenging projects. That's probably why I end up designing my own stuff so much. I love the challenge of making a picture in my mind become reality in yarn. I do the smaller projects to rest from the larger project because they get intense. They also are not real portable cos I have to pay attention to what I'm doing. I can't gab and work on these items without frogging everything I've done when I get home. I have 2 going on right now-larger projects that is.

I didn't take photos of the sweater I'm making for Tommy. But I have a pic of Morgan in his. Lots of cables and whatnot. You'll find this pattern in Dogs In Knits by Judith L. Swartz. In fact, it's the sweater on the cover. I'm making one for Tommy in navy blue Gatto superwash wool from Lana Gatto yarns (Morgans is the same yarn, but red of course). I thought it would be fun for them to have semi-matching sweaters. The yarn is wonderfully soft to the touch, and knits like butter. As dog sweater books go, I love this book. Not only does it have awesome sweaters, but it has blankets, toys, and even dog biscuit recipes.

The second major project is in Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses. This book is out of print, but you can still get it on Amazon.com. This is one of those 'coffee table' knitting books I love to look at just cos the patterns are so awesome they inspire me to keep knitting.

This is the sweater I'm making. It's called Margaret Tudor in the book. It's a challenge, to say the least. Lots of cables, twists, bobbles, and even lace. On the current piece I'm working on, the pattern repeat is 44 rows-too long for my poor pitiful brain to memorize. I love it! It's made of several strips that will be sewn together when I get it done. It requires 56 pewter buttons too, which I am waiting to purchase when I get to near-finished on the sweater.

This is what I have done so far- 1 3/4 strips. The pattern calls for Alice's Scottish Fleet yarn, but I detested it so I didn't get any when it was still available. It's way too scratchy for me. Instead, I'm using Silke Tweed from Garn Studio yarns in a beige/taupe tweed. It's a lambs wool and silk blend that has a wonderful feel to it.

Here's a detail photo of the bobble part

Now it's confession time. I've bought some sock yarn. Arrgh..don't anyone tell dear hubby! The last thing I need is more sock yarn! I have 2 huge boxes of the stuff in my stash. It will take me the rest of my life to knit it all. But when you see it, you'll understand. It's in the most scrumptious shades of blackberry purple (let it be known now that PURPLE is my favorite color). I found it on Etsy, which is an evil place similar to Ebay, except every thing is Buy-it-now. No bidding wars. There are people selling hand painted, hand dyed yarns there. Like I said, it's EEEEEEvil! I also found a truly awesome unique lamp work pendant. I'll post a pic when these items arrive.

Have a great day.


The Weekend and Good News

The weekend was quite a nice one. Saturday I taught the first session of the 'Wretched Choker' class. I had one student, of course. The gal who requested the class. It went really well. She caught on very quickly to doing the ladder stitch basket weave. However, there is one little complaint I'd like to make. I found out the student did not want to make the choker. She wanted to make a bracelet using the basket weave pattern in the choker. This is NOT what I was told. So, I found out I'd learned to make something I didn't want to teach it to someone who also didn't want it. Somehow Murphy's law comes in there somewhere I'm sure. I changed mid-stream. We are now making a bracelet. Or, maybe I should say SHE is making a bracelet. I'm making something else-anything else!

I did a bit of knitting. I'm making another toy for Knitwits. I found a pattern on Knitty.com for a Nautiloid. A Nautiloid is a prehistoric creature related to the octopus. Sort of a cross between that and a snail. For almost 500 million years, Nautiloids were around. They ate trilobites, had shells in a variety of fantastical shapes, and ranged from bite-size to 12 feet long.You can see the pattern HERE. My daughters boyfriend, Frank, saw the pattern over the weekend and just about went nuts. I guess I'll have to make him one too.

On Sunday hubby and I went to Costco to stock up on various food supplies. Then we shopped a couple places to look at flooring. In June we are tearing up the old yucky carpet and putting in Bamboo. Light, natural colored, engineered vertical bamboo is absolutely gorgeous stuff-and way easier to clean up should the iggy boys do the dirty deed on the floor-which they seem to want to do often despite all the training I do. I can hardly wait. It's going to be so purty! I'm going to paint the living/dining room walls a forest green too, and get some drapes for the windows. Maybe I'll make the drapes and make use of that wonderful sewing machine hubby got me for Christmas 2 years ago.

When we got home, he got online and ordered a Mac laptop with a 17 inch screen. Can you tell we got our tax return??? He gave me his "old" windows laptop, which is a Toshiba that is nothing to sneer at. Sheesh! It's got a 100gb hard drive in it and makes my desktop look like a slug. As soon as he gets done setting it all up I'll be using it for blogging and such. It's got a wireless thingamajig in it so I can get online without having to attach a cord between it and the wall. I'll be able to sit in my leather hug (also known as the recliner) and surf all I want. Can't complain about that!

I managed to do a bit of beading. Last time Ruthie was home she'd gone rock hunting on the Parkarosa and left an odd selection of them on the windowsill in the bathroom. One of them was a nice little piece of coal. We're wondering how that coal got on the Parkarosa cos this is not coal country, but that's another story. I've decided to make a necklace with that coal for her. I made a cage sort of thing with some sterling silver wire and put the coal in it. Now I'm going to make the strap with crystals, silver bugles, and black seed beads.

This morning I went walking with Jean and Cindy. What a pack of pathetic old women we are. All three of us were hurting from the weekend (my hips are killing me from all the stair climbing I did in Moscow) so we were only able to do 1 1/2 miles. I guess some days are going to be worse than others.

Now the good news. When I got home Sarah called. She has been chosen as Outstanding Senior by the Computer Science department. They're having a ceremony Thursday evening, so Doug and I will be motoring on down to Moscow again. Oh boy! Another chance to sit and beam with pride. Life is good right now.

Have a good day.


Honors Convocation

Yesterday dear hubby and I drove down to Moscow, Idaho to attend the annual Honors Convocation at the University of Idaho. This is a little event to honor the students who are doing excellent. This year, for the first, and sadly last, time BOTH my daughters are on the list. Sarah has straight A's, graduating in 3 weeks, Ruth is on the Deans list. I am so proud of both my daughters. The event consists of speeches (always interesting, I might add), music, and much applause in honor of the students, followed by cookies and punch (Yum! White chocolate and Macadamia Nuts!). This is the 3rd time we've attended. Missed last year because something more important came up.

The Honors Convocation, should you ever get the chance to go, is worth the 2 hour drive just to hear the music. The university Jazz Choir performs and it is an awesome thing to watch/listen/experience. You can not listen to this group and walk away feeling sad, bad, angry, or negative in any way shape or form. I can't help myself. Whenever I'm watching them perform, I have this great big huge ridiculous grin on my face, and tears are running down my cheeks. Joy radiates from every pore of my body. Their music moves me in ways no other has.

This year they performed 2 pieces, one a truly unique and inspiring piece called How Sweet the Sound. It was, in fact, an awesome version of the old hymn Amazing Grace. Listening to it made me want to get religion. Considering how anti-religion I am right now, that is truly "amazing".

Ruth has a huge responsibility. She has to remain on the Deans list until she graduates so I can go see the University of Idaho Jazz Choir perform at least a couple more times. Hmmm..I wonder if I could still attend after the kids have all graduated?


Suuuuweeeee... Piggy Piggy Piggy

I put piggy together last night. Is this not a face to love?

Look at that cute little rump!

Here's the whole piggy.

The pattern is in Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss. You know, the whole thing is done in garter stitch. I wonder what would happen if I did this up as a beaded knit-perle 8 cotton, beads, and good ol' little 0000's? I bet that would be cool!

This is my Basic pattern for the book. Doesn't get any easier than this one. Now, to write it up in knitter usable form.

I'm doing laundry today, and cleaning house when I get done with this. One feels the need to run a vacuum over the carpet every so often.

This morning, when I let the dogs out for their first pee, I saw a coyote just in the edge of the trees at the bottom of the hill. This is the second time I've seen it in a week. This is cause for concern. Last year, in March, my little Tommy was attacked by a coyote and is very lucky to be alive. He had so many stitches all over him we started calling him Frankendog. I don't want that to happen again. It was way too traumatic for me, not to mention the checking account when we got the vet bill. I wonder what a b-b-gun would cost? I thought about a super soaker, but somehow I don't think a coyote would respect it.

Here's another great knitting blog I found.

Knitting on Impulse

This gal has the most beautiful photos. She's very good with color, and even has the most wonderful tutorials on color matching. If you get anxiety attacks every time you need to pick colors for a project-visit this gals blog. You will LEARN, guaranteed.

There will be no blogging tomorrow. Sweet hubby and I are heading to college to attend the annual Honors Convocation-which is an event honoring the brainy students. This will be Sarah's last one (straight A's!), and it's Ruth's first one (Dean's list-way to go Ruth!). So, as good parents, we're attending to support our girls. I get to spend the afternoon beaming with pride. How sweet is that!

Have a great day.


I Hate Ebay

Sorry about that title, but that's the way I'm feeling right now. I don't know why I even bother with Ebay. Let me explain.

I was browsing around the web looking at lampwork beads a few days ago. I thought I'd take a gander at what's on Ebay and I found the most beautiful borosilicate lampwork pendant up for auction. It looked like an ocean wave at night-extremely stunning. So I bid on it. I was winning the auction. I really WANTED to win the auction. It ended earlier today. I thought I had it--but 7 seconds before the end some lowlife slipped in another $1.00 and I didn't have enough time to outbid them. I had the money--just no way to up it up. I lost--by one lousy buck and seven seconds!!!

I don't like how I feel right now. Sigh. I've had too many bad auction experiences. I'm not bidding on there anymore. It's just not worth the stress. If I can't "Buy It Now", I'm not buying it.

I've been browsing knitting blogs too. There are some really cool blogs out there by knitters. I'm starting a list of blogs I like to read. Here's two I'd like to make note of:

January One She uses Color in her knitting. Love it!

The Knitting Doctor You can get wonderful bread recipes, as well as knitting fun, here.

If you're reading this, I know Sarah's b-day is coming up and you're probably wondering what to get her. I thought I'd make a suggestion or two. There's a new bead store in Coeur d'Alene called Creative Beading (or is it Creative Beads?). It's on the west side of Government way between Kathleen and Neider. There's a local lampwork artist who sells their focal pendants there (ask the sales clerk-she'll be glad to help). They're very reasonably priced, and whatever you pick out I can guarantee Sarah will LOVE!

Or, hop on over to Borders and get her a beading book.

Or go to Harmony yarns. It's on 3rd street, 3 blocks south of Pilgrims Foods, east side, next to Joann's Fabric and Craft and purchase 10 or 12 skeins worth of a nice yarn-any yarn, beautiful yarn-all the same dye lot. That'll give her enough to make something nice.

Love ya kiddo.

Have a great day.


Entry #35

Couldn't think of a decent title, so this will have to do. Went to bead group this morning, as usual. Just me, Cindy, and Bill this time. I have so much fun with those two. As people go, they are a couple of the very best this earth has to offer. I'm honored to be able to count them as friends.

I've more or less finished the basic bag. I say more or less cos I'm debating if I want to embellish it or not. It's very plain, but then, that was the whole point. On the other hand, I don't like plain. Not when there are SO MANY embellishment options out there. I'm seriously thinking about putting a snap in the middle of it and making a bunch of cool gizmo's to snap to it. Fringes, buttons, cool focal beads....it would be fun to see how many I could come up with. Heh heh..... nah, lets keep to the point.

I finished the bag-strap and all-before heading to bead group, so I loaded up the case with intent to start another one, a much fancier one. I'm looking at 5 colors of beads, and lots of fringy loops. (The spell checker is having a problem with fringy-muahahahaha.........) I'd say more, but I have no idea how to put it in words at the moment. Think 1920's flapper girl? I picked 5 shades of teal, and a light silvery gray thread. It's gonna look really pretty--assuming it comes out looking like the picture in my head. I calculated the bead needs, and got about 1/3 of it strung. It's hard to yak, laugh, and count beads at the same time. I'd count 16, then burst out laughing and have to start all over again. Bill is gonna kill me from making me laugh. Just imagine the headstone.

"Here lies our Mom. Obsessed knitter, beader, stitcher. Died laughing." That's not a bad way to go.

Back to the subject. I'm finding out there's going to be a little problem with writing this book. I've already come up with so many ideas for patterns there will have to be a volume 2. Arrrgh! Dear hubby said that would happen. Does he know me? or Does he know me? I will have to cull them a bit. I'll keep chanting to myself "save some for later...." Hmmm...there's no reason why the extras can't be individual patterns I could publish for purchase, or magazines maybe?

Sarah called this afternoon. 4 weeks left of school. It's starting to 'weird her out' as she put it. When you're 21, and you've been going to school for 17 years, the thought of NOT going to school can be a bit daunting. Things are progressing with the job. She knows her salary (none of your business!), her benefits, and when she starts, and she's filled out all the necessary forms required by the IRS. What an adventure for her! Brings back memories of when I left college and started working. I didn't graduate though, and she's getting a much better job than I got. So she's got one up on me.

Or is that two?

Have a great day.


The Book Has Begun

I did not sew that piggy together last night. I decided I can sew piggy together some other day, and I started the first model for the book. Just a nice, easy, basic pattern to use as a foundation for the rest of the designs. Took me 10 minutes to figure out what needed to be done (God, I'm smart-hee hee!). Knitted it up in just 3 hours. Now I need to sew the side seams, slap on a strap, and it's done.

Writing it up won't take long. Maybe a whole paragraph of instructions. But I need to do some research to find out what is considered 'standard' notation for bead knitting patterns in the publishing industry. It will mean a quick trip to a dangerous place for me to go--(begin spooky music here) Barnes and Noble. My bank account always takes a large hit when I go into that store. I just LOVE books so much!

Something else I need is test knitters. It's all fine and dandy to write up patterns, but I need folks to test them for me and make sure I haven't missed anything in the proofreading. Where on earth am I going to find test knitters?????? Some of the patterns will be easy-peasy. But some are gonna be bloodcurdling-difficult, so I need knitters who know what they're doing. Hmmm....I will have to think on this problem.

Our tax refund arrived. Hurray!!!! I logged onto Amazon today and transfered the wish list to the shopping cart. Woo Hoo! Gonna love getting that box. It'll be like Christmas. Ordered a few books, couple dvds, and a drill press for my dremel. I'm working on some lovely disc shaped beads in polymer clay (learning how to do swirly patterns) and it occured to me that getting a straight hole through it without mashing it is gonna be near impossible for me. I will bake them holess and drill holes in later-with the drill press.

Learned an important lesson in blogging. Don't use urls for pics on here. Last Fridays blog I used pics in my Yahoo Groups album. Suddenly, they disappeared from the blog. Don't know what is going on, but I'm never doing that again. I place the pic in my blog files, or I don't post it. Yeesh!

Went walking with Jean and Cindy this morning. I was still feeling pretty tough from the bug I caught over the weekend, but decided to brave it anyway. I'm so glad I did. By the end of the two miles my tummy was feeling so good. We saw 3 Marmots. They're living in the rocks along one part of the trail we're walking (bike trail between the river and the freeway). They're so cute! Like giant gerbils. Ah yes...gerbils. Now there's a walk down memory lane, which I'll share some other time.

Have a good day!


More Bead Knitting

Yesterday I got nothing done because I was SICK! I spent the whole day in my jammies, watching DVD's, feeling wretched and being waited on hand-and-foot by sweet hubby. Got a stomach bug of some kind. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Glad to be feeling human again! Not 100% yet cos eating is still a touchy business, but I can function and that's what's important.

Sharing more pics of my bead knitting.

This first one is called Dragon Banner. It's a bead knitted pendant. I made the pale yellow first, for my daughter Sarah, and like it so much I made the purple one for me. This is my own design. The pattern is available for purchase for $5.95 plus shipping should you so desire. Just email me at thebeadknitter@yahoo.com and we'll make some arrangements.

This little bag is also my design. I know, it's similar to the elegant one in Fridays blog, but it is knit quite differently. It's not even the same size when done. That makes it my design. Not published though. Thinking about putting it in my book.

This little pink gem is a Cindy Hulsey design. She calls it the Purple Vessel. Clearly, mine isn't purple. This bag has been sold.

This is the first larger purse I've made. I started out knitting something from an old Interweave Knits magazine, but ended up modifying and altering the pattern so much I ended up with something different. I entered it in the fair and got a blue ribbon, so I'm especially proud of it.

This is another FiberSpace pattern. (Yes, I own all of their bead knitting patterns.) It is also very easy to make, like the triangle pattern. This bag has been sold.

I finished knitting all the pieces to the dark teal pig this morning. I'm anxious to get it put together cos I wanna see how cute it is. That's part of the fun of knitting--seeing what you've created with string. After I get the pig put together I'm going to get busy knitting the models for my book. Some of the designs will be a piece of cake for me, others won't. I expect the pleated one to give me the hardest time. Pleats are somewhat a mystery to me. I'll have to dig out my Vogue sewing book and refresh the ol' noggin on the subject.

Have a great day!


Some Bead Knitting I've Done

Don't have a lot of news today, 'cept I had my very first spinning lesson this morning on a Navajo Spindle. Jean gave me some wool roving to work with that is so soft. Cindy gave me the actual lesson. It took awhile for me to understand just exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but eventually the light bulb came on in the ol' noggin. Then it got really exciting.

I took along my one and only fleece to see if it was worth spinning. It is, thankfully. I've been saving this fleece for 12 years. Back then I had sheep, and my brother-in-law had sheep too. He had a barn, we don't, so we kept our sheep with his sheep. Dan had a ram named Rambo. Rambo was part Ramboulette and part mongrel, and he was the meanest nastiest ram a person could ever meet. He was Rambo for a reason. That idiot loved to knock things around with his empty, none-the-less hard as a rock head. He broke fingers holding onto the fence, he literally tore one side of the barn down--broke right through it. Once he got me right in the stomach and threw me up and back over five feet. I had a dinner plate sized bruise for weeks. Anyone and everyone who got within shouting distance got thumped by Rambo.

Rambo was also mean to the lambs. I had a nice crop of lambs the last year we had sheep. One was a purebred Suffolk ram lamb, another was a pure Columbian ram lamb. They were absolutely gorgeous animals. Rambo broke both their necks (they were 2 of the 4 lamb necks he broke that spring). Broke my heart too. But--he got his just desserts a few days later.

There was a rope hanging from the rafters in the barn. One night Rambo got out of his stall. He got his neck caught in that rope and literally hung himself. Dan buried him (we figured he'd be to darn tough to eat). I danced on that animals grave--literally. I was SO relieved to have him gone. Shortly after that, when the lambs were old enough, I sold off all my sheep. I decided I would wait until I have my own barn near my house so I can take proper care of them. I'm still waiting for that barn.

My fleece comes from Rambo. I think it would be very sweet justice to wear him-either on my back, or better yet--felted slippers for my feet so I can 'walk all over him'. Heh heh...I know, I'm a little touched in the head.

But enough about Rambo. He's been gone a long long time. I thought I'd share some more pics of my bead knitted treasures.

These are fish. The designs are from FiberSpace Patterns. They were SO much fun to make. Very easy too. I'm quite impressed with these folks patterns. They're very well written. These fish are also available as kits. You see here the Fantasy Fish, the Clown fish, and the Yellow Tang. I put a quarter and a penny in the pic so you can get a feel for the size. I hang them on the Christmas tree each year.

This is the Triangle Bag, also by FiberSpace. It's very very easy to make.

This is my own design. I'm still trying to think of a catchy name for it. For now, I call it the 3-strip bugle bag because the beads are size 1 Bugles. I made a dog collar that goes with it too. The bag is now in my sister-in-laws possession (last years Christmas gift from me), the collar is still around here somewhere.

This is a pic of the dog collar.

This is my Tommy wearing the collar. He's so handsome.

This is one of my favorite pendant bags. The pattern is not available, nor can I share it. Suffice it to say, a business deal between me and a then friend went very very sour, so it got taken off the market before it got very far. I was so upset at the time I even tore up my own copy of the pattern, which in retrospect was kind of dumb. I could still make them for me, but I was pretty hurt at the time. No matter. I have this one. I think Woodland Woolworks might have a couple still available (they were our first, and last, wholesale order). It's still one of my favorites though. It's so...elegant.

That's all for now. I'll post more pics another day.

I did start actually writing my book last night. When I'm going to start a big project, I like to think about it for awhile before I actually do anything. That's what I've been doing since I announced here I'm writing a book. A person has to have a PLAN! You can't just go off whillynilly or the thing will never get done.

Last night, Doug and I went out to dinner, and while waiting for our order--the plan came together, just like that. Just "BOOM" and it was there. I know what I'm going to do. I got so excited! I pulled an old envelope out of the purse and started writing like crazy. Got the whole outline done before my enchilada showed up. Worked up over 30 new designs-most of which I guarantee you will have never seen before. Now I need to start knitting up those designs. This is going to be great fun!

Have a nice day.


WOO HOO!!!!!

Let me say that again....

The Wretched Choker is done!!! (insert photo of me dancing a jig here -if there were such a thing.)
Here's a photo. Please excuse the weird neck. I turned a vase upside down, covered it with a towel, then a pillow case. Not your average human neck--it lacks shoulders so this isn't a true representation of what it will look like worn, but it's all I had for a neck model.

Gramma's slippers have been felted too (I'm on a role!). Here they are cuff up. Aren't they pretty? They are SO comfortable too. Fit the foot perfectly, even has a bit of an arch in it. In case you missed it, this is the Felted Alpine Slipper Boot from Fibertrends.

Here they are on my feet. So snuggle wuggly.

Here they are cuff folded down. Very sheik. My Gramma will have the coolest looking warm feet in town.

One more thing to Woo Hoo about...Sarah got a job. YES!!!! She has been hired by Chief Architect, the place where her daddy, uncle, and boyfriend all work. She will be a new member of the programming group working on their Home Design software. She is so excited, she called me three times after she received the offer. She said it's a great relief to know what she'll be doing after graduation. Congratulations sweetie! We are SO proud of you!

Before posting this I took the boys for a walk on the Parkarosa. Saw lots of Buttercups, and a few wild strawberries in bloom on the south slope below the big field. No violets yet. The boys just love walking out there. Tommy literally leaps with joy the whole way there and back. There are so many wonderful things to explore and smell. He dashes ahead of me, looks back, dashes behind me, dashes in front ahead...back and forth, by the time I've done a mile he's done 2 or 3 miles. It's a lot of fun watching his joy. Morgan is a bit more dignified about the whole thing-but then, he's a fancy schmancy retired champion best-of-show dog too. So there!


Makin' Progress

I've been working on what I've come to think of as the "Wretched Choker" project all day long, along with a couple loads of laundry, cooking meals, and waiting on the boys hand and foot. I will probably be seeing black iris twisted bugle beads in my sleep. Here's a scan of the photo from the Firemountain Gems catalogue of what I'm trying to reproduce, more or less.

I got the hardest part done, all that basket weave checkerboard pattern with the bugles.


I have learned that I detest using Fireline. It's very hard to work with, compared to Nymo thread. I'm using it, though, because it's stronger and less likely to be cut by the bugle bead edges-of which there are hundreds in this thing.

I have just a little bit left to do. I will be SO glad to get this thing finished. I've loathed it from the start. Aside from using it as the example for the class I'm teaching, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it after the class is over with. I'd love to sell it, but I didn't use anything gold plated in the findings. It's all cheap metal-what little metal there is. Maybe I'll take a pair of scissors to it and use the beads for something else down the road.

The thing that's really bothering me is that I know not enough people will be taking the class to have made all this hassle worth it. Oh well, it's the bummer days that make me appreciate the really good ones I suppose. In the meantime, I will persevere and promise myself some really fun knitting after this is done.

Which reminds me--I still need to finish Gramma's slippers.


Today's Bead Group

Didn't do much yesterday. Went walking in the morning with Cindy and Jean. Did 2 miles at the Spokane Valley Mall, collapsed when I got home and turned into an eggplant until bedtime. Didn't even cook dinner (hubby fended for himself). Walking 2 miles on my mashed knee took more out of me than I thought it would.

I did start my HTML lessons. In order to do anything more with this blog in the way of customization, I'm going to have to learn the language. My daughter got me a book, which so far I'm liking very very much. It's called Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML by Elisabeth and Eric Freeman. If you're totally ignorant of the ways of computer languages, this is the book for you. It's written specifically for the computer naive. I'm barely into chapter 1 and already feel light bulbs going on in my head.

Today I went to bead group. I forgot a friends birthday last month. I'll be seeing her again in the near future, so I made a very dainty bracelet for her as a gift. The pattern for this bracelet can be found here: Spring Flower Necklace. It's a variation on the Nepal chain stitch. I used size 11 Japanese seed beads and a sterling silver magnetic clasp. I like it so much I want to make one for me now, with maybe a matching necklace. Hmmm....

Have a good day!


Whew! Step One a Success

Update 1:07 pm PDT:
Okay, I got rid of the nauseating pink background color that was here. Replaced it with a pretty image.


Okay, everyone, breath a HUGE sigh of relief. The first thing I had to do to begin the customization of my blog was to change it to the Classic Blog template. This is the biggest change that needed to be made. Talk about anxiety! Is everything going to transfer properly? Yes, it did.

HURRAAY!! Whoo Hoo!

Don't know where the nauseating pink came from. But I can live with it for now. Now, how to change the background, title, fonts, colors, hmmm.........

Have a wonderful Easter weekend.


Words of Warning

Don't panic. I'm not gonna rant again. Heh heh. I've decided I'm tired of the canned-pre-packaged blog template I've been using here. No offense to it's designer, but I want to learn how to do my own thing. That will require MUCH learning on my part, and lots of screwed up experiments because I know nothing about this kind of thing. Consequently, there will be times when something isn't gonna work on here. Please be patient. Eventually I will have it all figured out, and will be a much happier person in the end.

I will begin next week.

For now, and for me, the weekend has begun, and what a weekend it will be! The weather is going to be phenomenal. Sunshine, blue sky, and warmth! Take THAT winter! Muhwahahahahah......

My sister-in-law, Sue (who is married to my hubby's twin brother) just called a bit ago. Kayaking tomorrow! YES!!!!!! Of course, that's if we can get our stick-in-the-mud sweetie hubbies talked into it. Gonna find a nice smooth lake. No rivers at this time of year. Way too dangerous.

Made some headway on the choker. Sat out on the deck for a couple hours in the SUN working on it. My boys baked themselves next to me on a blanket. They were in pure heaven. Iggies, like me, are sun worshipers.

Knit the first piece of the teal pig too. Coming out nicely, though I find myself slightly stressed at the contemplation of sewing garter stitch pieces together. It's been awhile since I've done that. May have to look it up in one of my resource books.

One more thing... I'm starting to get Comments. Woo-Hoo! Anyway, someone has kindly pointed out that my orchids are not Dendrobias, but are Phalaenopsis. The tags said otherwise, but I've looked it up and the comment is correct. Now--to get my hands on the jerk who switched tags at Home Depot.

Have a fantastic Easter weekend!


A Busy Wednesday

Before I talk about Wednesday, I just thought I'd share my most favorite painting in all the universe. It's called "A Special Moment" by Emile Munier. The little girl looks so much like my Sarah did at that age. I have an original sized framed print of this hanging up in my home.

Yesterday was a lot of fun. At 10am I showed up at my first meeting as a returning member of the Log Cabin Spinners. The topic of discussion was the results of last months Spin-In. I worked on the cursed hat-actually finished it. Sue was working on a gorgeous purple vest with cables down the front in Lopi.

Jennifer brought an electric carder and spent the time carding wool. After I finished the hat I asked her to let me help. She showed me how to pick wool. No--it was not a lesson on picking the best wool for a project. In this case, picking was getting it ready for the carder. Freshly shorn wool is not nice and fluffy. It's matted and kind of lumpy. Picking is pulling and picking at the lumps to fluff them out. We used our hands. There are devices that can be used to do it too.

After spinning, I dashed to Burger King for a quick lunch (yum!), then it was off to Knit Wits. Betty was there, and her friend Darlene-who is a prize grade A nut! She kept me laughing the whole time. It felt so good to be with other knitters laughing and knitting.

I turned in the hat I finished earlier that morning. Decided not to wait a month just so I could put a photo of it here. Sort of silly to do that. I also turned in the other hat I'd made, the afghan, and my precious little Egg. The egg was a hit, naturally.

Someone brought the must scrumptious cookies. They had chocolate chips and dried cranberries in them, but there was a definite butterscotch flavor to them too. Wish I could have the recipe.

I took along my book called Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss. Picked out a lovely dark teal colored yarn to make a pig and started working on it. The yarn is a 100% acrylic made by Caron that is so incredibly soft it's almost like working with cashmere. A stuffed toy should be soft and cuddly, so I'm quite pleased with it. I picked out a couple skeins of peach to use for doll faces, and some lavender and white variegated to make a second pig when this one is done-or maybe a sheep.

The pig pattern is fun. It's done entirely in garter stitch. The pattern calls for DK and size 3 needles. I'm using worsted weight and size 5. I wanted it to be bigger than the pattern size, and this is the easiest way to do that. I'm using size 5 with worsted weight because it's a good idea to knit the fabric a little tighter than normal. Toys need a firmer fabric so you can stuff them firmly without the stuffing showing through the stitches.

After Knit Wits I went shopping. I visited Joann's Fabric and Craft and Creative Beads looking for items needed to do the choker necklace I'm making for the class. I found the perfect bail at Joann's-as well as some cool hairy yarn on clearance to use for Knit Wit projects, and a beading book. I was unable to find a gold colored box clasp though. I want it gold colored, and square. Struck out on both counts. I have a round gold one in my stash. I might just go ahead and use it.

Of course, I haven't tried the bead shops in Spokane, WA. Might want to do that before I give up. Well, I better get busy on that necklace. I want to have it done in a few days so I can put it on display at the shop.

Have a good day!


Getting Up on a Soap Box

I had an interesting experience last night. Before bed I just thought I'd check my email and found the following message from Diane Fitzgerald, the famous bead work designer.

"Dear LJ...

A friend just wrote to tell me you are teaching a class from my website...the Chevron Chain. It is published in my booklet, "A Dozen Beadwork Chains." If it is true that you are teaching this, I would very much appreciate it if you would give me credit for documenting this chain as I think it was not previously published. I assume you are writing your own instructions since the material is copyrighted and you may not reproduce my instructions without my written permission.

Please get in touch if you have questions

I find this to be extremely offensive and insulting. The implication and assumption is that I am teaching this technique using illegal copies of her precious published work and claiming it as mine.

I did no such thing. I gave her FULL credit. In fact, I call it the Diane Fitzgerald Chevron chain. In addition, I did not make copies of anyone else's stuff to use as a handout. I didn't even have a handout. If I am teaching a particular project that is published in a copyrighted manner, and that material is necessary, I require my students to purchase a legal copy of said copyrighted material. I don't make illegal copies and hand them out, nor do I allow my students to use illegally obtained copies of patterns in class. I am a PROFESSIONAL when it comes to my teaching. I resent that she, or anyone else, would assume that I would be otherwise!

I have talked to others who have had this experience with her and other designers of bead work patterns. What a shame.

The email immediately brought to mind an experience I had with another 'famous' bead work designer last fall. This person has a wonderful design that she is selling kits for. If you buy the kit, you get the pattern, beads, and everything else needed to make the project. I don't buy kits, as a rule. I like to buy the pattern and use my own choice of beads. In this particular case, her kits did not come in a colorway that I found pleasing anyway. So using beads from my stash, or purchasing my own, was even more desirable. So I emailed her and asked if she would sell the pattern minus the beads. Her reply was no, I was encouraged to take one of her classes, and I quote:

"We do not sell patterns individually in order to maintain the integrity of our designs."

Maintain the integrity of our designs--talk about a slap in the face!!! In other words, I am not capable of picking the proper beads to do her designs. Only she can do that. Anything else would ruin her reputation. What I find ironic is that I could buy the whole kit, discard the beads, use my own, and that would be perfectly acceptable. Needless to say, I did not purchase the kit. I decided I don't want to make that particular necklace after all. Not from someone who is insulting. I wonder how much income she's missing out on because of all the other beaders like me who loath buying kits, but would love to buy the pattern? Hmmm....

What is with these people? Is it they have an enormously blown up perception of their own self importance? Or complete paranoia due to severe lack of self esteem? Are there that many folks out there 'stealing' from these ladies? (Are there that many inept beaders out there making hideous recreations of their designs?) My experience has been no! The majority of people are honest and do the right thing.

This is a phenomenon I have come across since joining the beading world that is disturbing. Designers so protective of their precious creations that they are downright oppressive toward the public who, supposedly, they create their designs for. They assume the worst in all of us, not giving us the benefit of the doubt. We all are trying to steal from them. I've even seen articles in bead magazines that say it's unethical to learn a technique from a designer and then go teach it to others because you may be depriving teaching income from that designer. Huh? Since when did learning and then teaching what you learn become unethical? If that's the case, then there are thousands of college professors out there who are being extremely unethical, aren't there? I feel sorry for these designers. They can't be happy if they're spending all their time worrying and policing about this stuff.

If I teach a class and my students go out and teach what they've learned from me to others, that is an enormous compliment to my teaching ability. If they go out and teach others one of my designs, Wow! Now that's a compliment. Nothing makes me feel more proud than someone doing that.

When I teach a class of my own design or anyone else's, I do not require that all students must make the project in the exact same colors I chose for my project. I encourage creativity. Let them pick colors they like, instead of being restricted to my choices. This is what teaching is all about. Expanding someones ability to do an art.

For me, teaching is not just passing on knowledge, but also helping the beading designers, publishers, suppliers, and retailers in their business. From that single Diane Fitzgerald Chevron stitch class , someone learned about this fabulous designer. I gave her information to find Diane's web site so they can see her kits, books, and patterns available for purchase. This may lead to a sale for Diane. In addition, the owner of the shop I teach at benefits because the materials for the class were bought from her.

I suspect, though, that most of the designers with such a suspicious attitude see it only as a way to make money. That's really sad. They're missing out on the whole point of designing and publishing patterns.


A 5-Minute Weather Day

Spring is definitely here. We had one of those famous north Idaho 5-Minute Weather days yesterday. On this kind of day you will hear folks say things like:

Person 1: "Man, look at that hail come down!"
Person 2: "Just wait five minutes."

1: "Darn, it's raining so hard I'll get soaked before I get to my car."
2: "Just wait five minutes."

1: "Man, that sun is gorgeous!"
2: "Enjoy it now cos in five minutes it'll be gone."

1: "Hey! This is spring. Snow is NOT allowed!"
2: "Don't like it? Wait five minutes."

Yes, the weather changes every 5 minutes. We get the whole gamut on a day like that. Rain, snow, hail, wind, sun. It can be raining in the front yard, and the sun will be shining in the back yard.

Yesterday I went out to drag the garbage can to the end of the driveway. When I grabbed the can and started hauling, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the birds were twittering. It was gorgeous out. Half way back from the end of the driveway I was being beat to death by a snow blizzard.

I like these kind of days. They're never boring. They're an adventure, and frequently I'll get to see rainbows. Wouldn't like it all the time though.

Now, about my WIP (that's work in progress for you newbies). I started that hat for the KnitWits, as planned. It was going really good, and the yarns I picked look awesome together. However---arrrrgh! I ran out of the Twister one stripe short. Surely 47 yards should have been enough for 6 stripes. There's supposed to be 18 stripes (6 each of 3 colors). I had to stop at 15, which is fine size wise (as it turns out, my gauge was a little loose). But in order for the alternating purl and knit stripes to work, there has to be an even number of stripes. I pouted for awhile, weighed the pros and cons of frogging and starting over with some other pattern, tried to think of some clever solution, other than desperately trying to buy another ball of Twister in that color-FAT CHANCE! This is a charity project, not a fair entry. I'm not willing to go to that kind of trouble, or stress. So I just put two knit stripes together. You know, it doesn't look half bad. Only the truly anal will even notice.

Now it's blocked, got the center back seam put together, started the cuff-with white. Oh wait, do I have enough white for that? No, I don't. But didn't think about it until I'd knitted more than an inch. I will have to take it out and do it over with the terracotta.

Please notice I am now a member of the Knitting Blogs web ring. Hooray! I've been looking at the other blogs in the ring. I've found some really cool things. Discovered Knitty.com this morning doing this. It's a knitting E-zine. Their target is definitely the much younger crowd than I (20 somethings), but the patterns are still wonderful. I found a sock pattern to die for, and a pattern for a stuffed Dragon and a Turtle. How cool is that?!! I'm definitely getting into this Blog thing.

I have bead group this morning. I will work on the dreaded collar necklace, and maybe take my little peyote box I'm making too.

Today is Sarah's interview at Chief Architect. Keep your fingers crossed, and have a good day!


Another Hat

I did not go walking with Cindy and Jean this morning. My knee and ankle are still swollen from falling down the steps on Friday. It hurts too much to walk 2 miles. So I'm gonna give these two body parts some tender loving care. Ice Packs, Neosporin, painkillers, and later this evening a nice dose of Southern Comfort.

In the meantime, I am in a definite knitting mood. Don't feel like beading much at all, though I've got to finish a project I'll talk about in a bit. So I started another swirl hat for Knitwits. I'm using the leftovers of the terracotta yarn (this will be the 3rd project-from one 3.5 oz skein. I'm impressed!), some white, and a ball of Patons Twister, which is a novelty yarn. Didn't have enough of the terr and the white to make a whole hat, so added this for fun. This particular one has a strand of pink chenille with a strand of multicolored feather yarn wrapped around it. It's a little thick for size 8 needles, but I'm managing okay. The stripes are only 6 rows.

What I SHOULD be working on is my Alice Starmore sweater. If the sun comes out later, I'll take it out on the deck and work on it. For now, it's the hat.

My headache is slowly fading. That's a good thing. Of course, there's always the possibility that it's the same as it has been, but I'm not noticing it as much because of the throbbing ankle and knee. Ha ha.

About the beading project. Argh. I got a call from Gayle last week. Could I teach a class on the "Hearts in Swarovski" necklace? I had NO idea what she was talking about. Apparently one of my earlier students told her I'd said I'd teach a class on this if she could talk Gayle into it. Really had to sift the ol' brain cells for this one. Eventually, as Gayle kept talking, I remembered.

One of the students had a Firemountain Gems catalogue with a picture of this necklace collar done in a sort of basketweave stitch with twisted bugles. She's asked me if I knew how to do it. I distinctly remember telling her I'd never done the stitch before, but I could probably figure it out given enough time. From this she gets "I''d be glad to teach a class on it." Argh....what is the matter with people?

I dug out my Firemountain catalogue, found the picture she'd shown me, and I'm now in the process of figuring out how to make the darn thing. I've got the basketweave figured out. It's actually quite easy. I am having trouble motivating myself to finish it though. This is not something I would ever wear, or make for someone I know. In addition, I'm unable to find some of the necessary beads I need to make it. I will have to mail order them I suppose. The class is April 21, so I have some time.

My biggest question is: How does Gayle expect me to teach this when she doesn't carry the supplies needed for it? I've left her a message. She'll have to get the supplies in stock, or I'll be sending her customers to my friend Cindy's bead shop for them.

I'm going to go knit my hat now. I'll deal with the beads tomorrow, when I go to bead group.


Eggs and Orchids

Yesterdays class went okay. I was expecting 5 students. When I got there I had 1 left. 3 had rescheduled for a class I'm teaching in April, and 1 cancelled after arriving for the class. She said she wasn't aware it was a seed bead class. Huh? The sample on display, the photo in the newsletter, and the list of supplies needed should have given her a clue. Anyway, I ended up with just one student, but I got paid for two. So I can't really complain.

Having just one made it a lot easier. It was someone I know. A frequent customer to my knit shop, Marge has apparently got into beading too. So it was like spending the afternoon with an old friend.

We got the income taxes done this morning. We're getting a refund (hardwood flooring in my future-hurray!), and I can now officially say, we are done with the store.

I have finished a project for the KnitWits. I've knit an egg. Seemed appropriate with Easter coming up and all. This is my own design, though I must admit to using a Jean Greenhowe pattern as my starting point. However, as usual, when I'm in a creative mood, the finished product barely resembles the original design. By the way, my egg has been in the south for the winter (lucky little gal), so she is sporting a nice tropical tan.

These next pics have a story. In 2002 I bought a Dendrobium orchid. It was in bloom, of course, and was white with purple in the center. Eventually, the flowers died, and my orchid did not bloom for awhile. The fact it survived at all, with me as it's caregiver, is a miracle. My thumb is more yellow than green. However, summer of 2005-lo and behold, a miracle- it bloomed! It had been long enough that I could not remember what it was going to look like. All I did remember was purple was involved. I was very excited about the whole thing.

Imagine my surprise when the bud opened and it was all white. No purple. Period. I scratched my head over that for months. The blooms were beautiful, and I enjoyed them a lot, but still. I could not remember getting a white orchid.

Last Fall it bloomed again. WHAT??? The flowers are white with purple. Now wait just one darn minute! Just a few months ago it was all white. I have witnesses who can corroborate that!

By Christmas the blooms faded and died. However, in January TWO flower stems sprouted. They are now in bloom. I am NOT going crazy. Please note-one branch is white, and the other is purple and white. There must be two plants in the pot. They're just so close together they look like one plant. I've taken photos so I can prove my story. The first is the plant.

The Purple and White flowers.

The White flowers.

Last but not least, this is a new member to the family. Just got her today when we went to Home Depot to get parts for the drippy shower. (Hubby is fixing it as I write this. Such a sweety.) I've never seen a Dendrobium colored like this before.