Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Shoes

Sometimes it's the small things in life that make a difference. This morning I put on two shoes for the first time since March 21st! I know that my foot is way more interesting to me that it is to the rest of the world so I've been waiting for good news. This is good news.

I saw the doctor yesterday. The x-rays weren't quite as good as she'd hoped, but things are moving along. I have what is called a Jones Fracture. As it turns out, they can be kind of tricky and often take longer to heal than some other kinds of breaks because they are in a part of the foot that doesn't have a strong blood supply.

She wants me to wear my running shoes with some special insoles for two more weeks. Then we'll talk about running again, starting off very slowly. I wish running shoes were a tad more stylish. I guess I shouldn't complain, at least I'm out of the boot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guilt Free Sweets!

I am constantly amazed and humbled by the creative things people do. Because I work with yarn and love to eat, most of the things I notice have something to do with yarn. Or food. Sometimes even both.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Marlon van Peijpe-Metzelaar in Amsterdam. She's been knitting away at these guilt-free pastries since November and has just opened a "bakery" on etsy.

Her original inspiration came from a book by Susan Penny but she's taken it to a whole new level. It makes my mouth water just looking at her creations.

With swimsuit season just around the corner, this is the only kind of cake that should be crossing my hips lips.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Longest Row

I'm finished through the rounds of 12 with the OpArt blanket I started for my brother's baby a couple of weeks ago. Depending on how far the yarn goes, I will do through at least rounds of 20. Maybe 24.

Right now the rows have 432 stitches. Not so bad. If I persevere and make it to the rounds of 24, there will be 888 stitches. That's more than double where I am now. Dude. That's a long row.

I think this may have to be the last photo of this until it's finished and blocked. Because of the increasing number of stitches and the finite length of the needles, it's just going to be looking more and more like a blob.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Backwards and Forwards

Not too long ago I mentioned that I'd decanted and bottled some sweet blackberry wine. I have to admit that I'm not sure whether it was here or on Twitter or Facebook. (Methinks there are too many places for me to share my thoughts these days.)

Anyway, I got the wine decanted and bottled and it found a nice spot to nestle in among the newly planted flowers. The flowers are doing very well so far. It's only been a couple of weeks, but the weather here in Chicago has been extraordinarily fickle this spring so I'm grateful that we haven't had a late frost.

This weekend, I got the chance to give my first "Pay it Forward" gift. One of the winners, Christine, was coming to the studio for one of the tours we give for the Windy City Knitting Guildand was able to pick it up personally. It was fun to get to meet her.
There were several of us standing around and chatting and I was amazed at the range of agricultural DIY things that people engage in right in the city. One woman raises chickens, another one told me about her beekeeping, someone else grows asparagus and yellow (!) raspberries. I am inspired to see what other things I could do with the limited space and light I have at my apartment. I don't think there are any chickens in my future, but I'm sure I can come up with some new ideas.

Of course while we were talking, Pay it Forward was part of the conversation. Someone asked what I'd received and I explained that I hadn't seen Jennie the Potter's post in time to be one of the lucky five, but I thought it was such a good idea that I started another thread of it anyway. Well, lo and behold, guess what showed up at the studio a little while later?

That's right, homemade pickles! Christine brought them back for me so I got a gift too. How cool is that? And there are two kinds, dill and garlic. We got them right home, chilled them up and have been chomping away. I have a sandwich every day for lunch and I'm looking forward to having a pickle on the side for as long as I can.

So, I have four more Pay it Forward gifts to go. I have one or two in mind and am looking forward to coming up with more as time passes. I have until the end of the year to send them, so we'll see where inspiration takes me over the course of the next several months.

BTW, I only have mailing info for four of the five winners. I've heard from Anna, Annie, Colleen and of course the lovely Christine. I'm still waiting to hear from Jenny. Jenny? Are you out there? If you are, please send email to yarn at lornaslaces dot net. Thanks!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

WendyKnits Sunrise

I've been away from the blog for longer than I'd like. I hope you'll agree that this was a pretty good reason.

Not, too long ago I contacted Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits and Socks from the Toe Up fame and asked her if she'd consider working with us on a Color Commentary colorway. Well, not only is girl amazingly talented, she's amazingly gracious as well.

Over the course of the last few weeks, we've emailed stories and pictures back and forth. We EVEN talked on the telephone! It was so nice to hear her voice. These days, we often know what people look like and a quite a bit about their personality from their web presence long before we ever actually speak to them.

But, I digress. Here's the WendyKnits Sunrise story, brought to you by Wendy herself:

As my buddies on Plurk know, I get to my office insanely early every day — by 6:00 a.m. This is not because I’m a morning person (not by any stretch of the imagination) but to lessen commuting issues and stress.

I’m the first person to arrive at my office so it’s nice and quiet. Because my office has a wall o’ windows that faces east, I will often take a photo of the sunrise. I’ll often post these photos on Plurk, and then place them in my Flickr group of sunrise photos, here. My favorite sunrises are the dramatic ones, like this:

A few months ago, Beth at Lorna’s Laces contacted me to see if I’d like to develop a “Color Commentary” yarn with them. Would I? Heck, yes!

She asked me for my thoughts on what I’d like for a WendyKnits colorway. Rather than go with my usual greens and browns, I thought “wouldn’t it be great to have a sunrise colorway?”

Several months and some spectacular dyeing later, Lorna’s Laces came up with this:

WendyKnits Sunrise!

In celebration of this gorgeous yarn, I worked up a simple sock pattern that showcases it to its best advantage.

Here's a close-up:

I love the way the pattern makes the color sing. It's available for free on her website. And it's really simple. I like simple patterns. I have a few that I've made so many times that I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. I have a feeling this may be the next one that fits that description.

We did good work together, don't you think?

Thanks Wendy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bedtime stories

We had an almost perfect spring weekend. It was warm and sunny both days. It was the sort of weekend that makes you believe that spring is actually here and that it wouldn't be unreasonable to put the winter coat and boots away for the season.

I went a step farther than that. Michael and I went down to the local garden center and purchased plants for our window boxes. I hope I am not tempting fate too much. I'd hate to get a nasty storm and have the temps drop to freezing and kill everything.

We did things a little differently this year. Most everything we bought are perennials. We picked up Columbine, Anenomes, Lilies, Johnny Jump-Ups and a bunch of other things I can't remember. We saved the labels to help with that.

I hope at least some of these plants will flower at different times over the course of the summer. I figured we would need to fill in a little bit with annuals to keep color going all season long, but I'd like to keep that to a minimum.

We even got a little silly and bought a "Topsy Turvy". It's the upside down tomato planter that's been all over TV lately. One of the staff at the garden center said that their tomato supplier told them that they were a good idea. I've got my fingers crossed. My hope is that it will make it harder for the squirrels to reach the fruit. The first squirrel I catch with one of my tomatoes in his grubby little fists is going to be one sorry little rodent.

The deck looks pretty inviting doesn't it?

We thought so too and once everything planted, we called a couple of friends and asked them to swing by for a bit.

We got to talking and somehow bedtime routines came up. I was surprised to learn that I was the only one of the group that reads every night before bed.

I can't remember a time when a book wasn't part of the drill. Even before I could read, one of my parents tucked me in and read to me for awhile. Once I started school and didn't need someone to do it for me, I picked up the habit for myself.

Now, if I don't have a book or magazine, it's really hard for me to get to sleep. I need something to help me transistion from all the excitement of the day. And if I find myself awake in the middle of the night, all it usually takes is a few minutes or reading to send me back to the land of nod.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Paying it Forward (AKA Free Stuff)

What's a good way to start May? How's about doing something nice in the world? I can't cure cancer and there are much finer minds than mine working on world peace. So, let's spread some good juju.

I found this on Jennie the Potter's blog, she got it from Dawn, who got it from.....You get the picture. I'm not a big fan of the chain letter, but somehow this seemed like fun. Please forgive me if this is old hat to all of you, I don't get out much.

The first five (cinq) (cinco) (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.**

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. (No refunds... no exchanges!!!!)
2. What I create will be just for you, with love from me.
3. It'll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. I may even create something totally unbelievable and surprise you!! Who knows?
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange...or awesome...or lovely...
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note/post of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to it. (Please don't skip this part. I'm not going to check up on you, but it would be in bad form.)
7. I'll need a mailing address. Please email it to yarn at lornaslaces dot net.

Now, I need to start dreaming up some fun stuff.....

**Just because you aren't one of the lucky 5 here doesn't mean you can't just start your own. That's what I did. The more the merrier!