Friday, October 30, 2009

The Wooly Hugger

I just finished a fun knit. It's a short sleeve tunic vest I designed with three leftover skeins of Bartlett Wool.

People often complain about "real" wool. You know, the rough, good stuff. But I love it. Real wool is extremely warm and comfortable. It often lasts longer than the over processed wool. When I am knitting with real wool I feel like I am getting back to the roots of knitting - the historic, time-honored way of knitting.

I always wash my Bartlett wool before I knit with it. When you receive it in the mail it still has some of the spinning oil on it, making it hard and scratchy. Once you throw it in the sink with a good capful of Eucalan wool wash it feels as soft as sheepsdown and is as welcoming as a good cup of tea.

I have named this little vest, The Wooly Hugger because it is so warm and comfortable. I.e. so very "sheepy." No, it's not a pattern ... yet. I've just been having fun knitting!

Speaking of real wool. I love what Rowan has done - offer sheep-breed-specific yarn. The sheep breeds are mainly British breeds such as Bluefaced Leiceister, Black Welsh, Brown Jacob, Suffolk and Shetland but they are wonderful.

I wish more companies would offer sheep-breed-specific yarn. Perhaps Clara Parkes new book "The Knitter's Book of Wool," will spur them on and more real, wooly goodness will be at our fingertips.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The View

This is the view out my studio window. No wonder I'm inspired to knit with orange, I've been gazing at it every day.

Have you ever had the thought, "I wish fall would last forever?" Perhaps it is me. But I do. I love fall, the crisp air, the smell of the leaves, cinnamon spicing up the kitchen, mugs of steaming tea and platefuls of molasses cookies.

I've begun to see more bare trees amongst the glorious ones. Ahh... time is passing too fast. It was just yesterday I was bring home my 5 lb, 4oz baby. Today I was dancing to "It's a Wonderful World," with my 10 lb, 5 oz baby. In just two months he is nearly doubled. Where does the time go?

You know, it takes time to knit a beautiful garment. But that is also what is so precious about that garment. In a hand knit sweater you have captured a bit of time. Many of my sweaters hold memories of what was happening to me around the time I knit them. The memories make the sweaters sweeter and dearer to me.

Capture and savor some time today, if you can.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Orange Project

I realized that every autumn for the past three years I have cast on an orange project at some point during the autumn. I know the vivid orange leaves must stir up some innate "orange desire," within me because I have no other way of explaining it.

Three years ago there was a horrid orange vest that end up being felted to use for kids projects. Two years ago there was another orange mess that didn't make it to the "finished" section of my studio. One year ago there was beautiful alpaca/merino roving that got spun up and then knitted up into my Cozy Cable Jacket. Somehow I am missing that sweater. I have not been able to find it in my sweater bin. And then this year there is this new design on my needles.

I am really enjoying it. The design is, again, top down. I just love seamless construction. The design starts out with a k1, p1 stitch and then flows into a ....... well, you'll just have to stay tuned for the finished object and the pattern.

But it's going to be fun! I can promise that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Apples

One weekend in October JK, baby John and I dressed in our wooliest handknits and went apple picking. Handknits are definitely made for apple picking days.

JK enjoyed carrying baby John in the snuggly.

I enjoyed having my hands free to pick apples.

We made a stop in the orchard store for apple slushes at the end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Wedding

Baby John and I did make it to the wedding but I have no picture to show that I was actually there. One the other hand, was I really there? I seemed to be always tucked away somewhere nursing or running to change a dirty diaper! =)

Baby John and JK looked so sweet together. Baby John fit into his little gray vest I had made him back in the summer. I was so pleased.

The candelabra arrangements Mom made on Friday afternoon looked stunning.

The groomsmen looked handsome in their boutonnieres.

The bridesmaids looked beautiful with their bouquets.

And the bride was simply radiant with her bouquet. It was a beautiful wedding and reception. And now it is Tuesday morning and I am still in my PJs and I still have the flower arranging room to clean up! Ah, but life is good!

Wedding Flowers - Saturday Morning

Saturday morning was crunch time. We had to get all the flowers finished and ready to go at 9 AM. Pictures started at 10:30 and the church was in Noblesville - at least 45 minutes away. We had never had such an early delivery time that far away. It was a test of our skill.

I couldn't get any pictures in the dark, but we did actually start working on finishing the flowers in the dark. It was brutally cold out on the porch. The flowers were in heaven but we were miserably cold. JK kept passing hot tea out to us to warm us up.

Bobby desperately wanted to be out there with us. He guarded the bridesmaids' bouquets once they had been wrapped and tied with ribbon.

Mom worked on the bridal bouquet until it was a glorious bouquet.

I got all the boutonnieres and corsages tagged and boxed up. It was a bit of a flurry at the end but Mom and JK left the house at 9:20 and arrived up in Noblesville a little after 10. Once the flowers were done I had to scurry and get Baby John and I ready!

Wedding Flowers - Friday

Friday morning I had no floral help except Bobby. I think he was happy to have some "mommy and me" time at last. JK stayed home from work and took care of Baby John so that I could work.
And work I did. I had a little over 30 boutonnieres and corsages to make by myself and before 1:30.
I barely made it by 2 pm.

I thought the mini boutonnieres were the cutest.

Wedding Flowers - Thursday 2

Once we got all the flowers prepared we had to begin to make six bridesmaids' bouquets. Thursday I didn't have anyone to watch Baby John. So when he was awake and not feeding, I bundled him up and put him in the snugly. He is learning how to be "mommy's little helper."

Emily was a dear. I couldn't have done the flowers without her.

We thought they were beautiful.

Here is the picture of the roses arriving. Aren't they beautiful all packed in their box?

Wedding Flowers - Thursday

The flowers arrived Thursday morning from Welch. When my sister picked them up the ladies at Welch declared the flowers to be an absolutely beautiful combination and that the wedding was going to be gorgeous. It certainly gave us confidence!

Emily had gone straight from an early morning test to picking up the flowers so she was starved.

The rust colored freesia smelled divine -- absolutely divine!

The orchids were exotic and perfect.

This funny flower Welch said we really should throw in to the mix. We had no idea what it was!

Gorgeous white lilies filled the sun room with their fragrance!

The button mums and cremon moms were at their peak! We also had rust colored roses and white roses to work with and spray roses -- I guess I forgot to take a picture of that!

Once the flowers arrived there was a lot of floral prep before we could start. And then the flowers had to soak for at least 30 minutes in their solution before we could work with them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet Sleep

Baby John slept 7 1/2 hours on Friday night AND last night he slept 9! Well, after 9 hours I decided to wake him up -- I was worried something was wrong with him! It felt so good to get that much sleep! I'm in total bliss!

I'll update you all on how the flowers went in just a little bit! It was a fun weekend and a beautiful wedding!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wedding Flowers

My two sisters, my mom and I each have our separate and distinct creative crafts. The one creative thing that we do together is wedding flowers. My mom originally taught us how to do them and now when we are asked to do flowers, we each have our little jobs that we do to pull off the big event.

This Saturday my sister-in-law is getting married and we are doing the flowers. To do flowers properly there is a lot of prep involved. Usually I don't get ready until the evening before. But now that I have a 7-week-old baby I decided to prepare two days in advance to actually receiving the flowers -- I just knew I'd be extra slow.

The sun room was cleared out this morning by my mom. I laid down the tarps and sorted out the glue guns, corsage pins, floral tape, wire, wire cutters and all the paraphernalia that goes along with floral arranging.

I even got out the buckets in preparation for Thursday afternoon when we will strip and prep the flowers before we start.

I got the "to-do" list retyped and hung. There can be some dizzy moments in the floral prep where you just don't know which end is up. So it always helps to have the "to-dos" up at easy access.
The one nice thing about using the sun porch for the floral arranging is some of the sun room flowers were moved to the kitchen nook. Now we have some beauty indoors too!

I'll give you all some picture updates of how the flowers are going on Thursday & Friday.

Next week I'll update you all on my knitting! I've been having fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Knitting

We are finally resuming our Saturday traditions! It is good to find you can still do some of the things you loved doing before baby with baby!

This past Saturday we set off for our traditional walk to Starbucks. It was quite cold, so we bundled Baby John in a bunch of knitted garments.

There are just a few fallen leaves on the ground ... soon it will be full of color!

Baby John slept all the way there and for quite some time at Starbucks.

I was able to sneak in some knitting time while JK and I talked. I was working on the next pair of socks of Baby John.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sunday Autumn Walk

This past Sunday, after a yummy dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and peasant bread, my mom, my sister Emily and our dear friend Suze jumped in the car and drove to Trader's Point Creamery for an autumn walk. Baby John came along and debuted his pumpkin hat.
Emily is in grad school now, but she recently got a job for "fun" at the Creamery's restaurant on Tuesday and Thursday nights. She says the food is excellent -- I believe her an am eager to try it out!
You know -- there is nothing like a sister. I have the best two sisters in the world! Love you H & Em!
The colors were just beginning to show -- I always find fall colors inspiring. I think this time of year is when I get most of my "design" ideas. The shapes and colors of fall are just incredible!

Had to pose with mom for a quick shot in front of the cows! I have the best mom ever too!

Wasn't it a beautiful day? It was one of those golden afternoons you just wish would last forever! Life goes by too fast -- enjoy EVERY moment, even that bad ones, folks. Life is just too precious.

Happy Knitting! These are the joyful days for knitters!