Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sometimes It Sneaks Up On You ...

Last fall my son moved from the burrow to the dorm - it's only 20 minutes from the house, and I knew he would be returning to the burrow for some weekends, holidays, breaks. But at Christmas he moved from the burrow to his father's condo which is a stone's throw from the university. This move felt different. Now I doubt he'll be coming back to the burrow to live for breaks, holidays, etc. In a way it's sad. In another way it's just very strange. And the realization of this change kinda snuck up on me. There was no fanfare - no day that it suddenly happened - it was a gradual thing and it's taken a while for me to realize it.

As much as I have complained about how sloppy he is and how much I enjoy coming home to a clean and tidy burrow, it is a very weird feeling to know I'm the only one in the burrow (well, except for the critters). Last night after cleaning up the supper dishes I was just chilling on the sofa looking through a catalog when the quietness hit me - it made me feel very small and almost unimportant.

Things are working out very well for him, though, and that makes me happy.

You know, our kids sometimes do things to make us proud even when they don't realize it. Like the day 4 years ago when I was cleaning up my son's filthy dirty bedroom and came across a stack of magazines ... hidden under a bed ... and my heart just sank through my toes. So I slowly and carefully pulled the stack of magazines out and let out such a loud sigh of relief when I saw they were hunting magazines! I was so proud of him at that moment, or maybe I was just so relieved that I mistook the feeling of relief as that of feeling proud.

But he does make me proud. He has a great sense of humor. He's taking college seriously and his grades prove it. He sensible (about most things). He's a fun person to be with. He's a good friend to his friends. He's still a slob though but if my brain cells will let me remember correctly, I was also a slob at that age ...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Design Wall Monday 1-10-11

Make sure to check out Patchwork Times today for Design Wall Monday - always so much inspiration there.

I actually have something in my design/work area other than knitted socks. Well, okay, there is one pair of knitted socks that I finished this week, but I also have fabrics laid out for 3 sets of pillowcases, and I have pulled out the origami quilt to work on - all that's left to do on the origami quilt is sewing on the beads and finishing the binding.

Besides being totally hooked on knitting socks, I'm also totally hooked on making pillowcases - they are so fast to make and the fabric combinations are endless. Yesterday I had the delightful pleasure of helping my friend Lori in her quilt shop, Cotton Fields. It's like being in a candy shop and I selected fabrics with pillowcases in mind. I love talking quilts with the customers. She has a lot of customers that aren't quilters but know the value of using quality fabrics in their handmade items, like handbags, potholders, aprons, pillowcases, etc.

I just cringe when I hear that someone is investing their precious time to make something, especially something big like a quilt, but are using inexpensive big-chain store fabrics. The same holds true for beading.

Whenever possible I try to support local businesses, so I feel especially thankful to have a beautiful quilt shop so close to my house. Usually I can find what I need there but Lori is always willing to special order items, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Knitting Needle Carrier & Simplifying!

I selected a word to live by for 2011 - that word is "simplify". That means that I will try to reduce clutter in my life by using what I already have on hand, being creative about finding substitutions rather than buying new, and changing what I eat to more simplistic (not processed) fare. There are other things I plan to do to simplify but those are the biggies.

Some changes I've already made include using a clothesline instead of my dryer most of the time. Sometimes the weather makes the decision for me, but most items I dry on the outside or inside clothesline. Since it's just me at the burrow, I hand wash my dishes. I have not used my dishwasher since my son left for college in August. I don't miss it one bit.

This philosophy also extends into my crafting life. Yesterday I decided to make a carrying case for my knitting needles and knitting supplies. I should have taken a before photo - they were all in their original packaging but then just tossed haphazardly into a plastic bag. I found a large piece of yellow fabric leftover from a quilt backing, made a rectangle, sewed up some channels, and viola! A knitting needle case is born. I made the channels different sizes to accommodate supplies and circular needles - there's even room to expand my needle collection ;-). I also made some fun and blingy stitch markers with beads and jewelry making supplies I already had on hand.

Now if I could just figure out how to neatly store my yarn stash ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Design Wall Monday 1-3-11

Happy New Year! I'm still working on socks. My goal was to get two pair finished while riding to/from Texas for Christmas - a 21 hour drive. But Sweet Pooch Charleston had other ideas that consisted of riding in my arms the whole way there and back. Needless to say, zero knitting was accomplished so I finished two pair of socks when we returned. The dark pair on the left are the first pair I made several weeks ago - they're okay. There are lots of mistakes in them but they are my "learning pair" and are fine for wearing around my burrow. The other two completed pair still have a mistake or two in them but I love them. They fit great and feel great and I love the colors. I've started another pair doing my version of two-at-a-time. (I'm using Patons sock yarn and a free basic sock pattern from the Paton web site.) In the close-up, I don't know if you'll be able to see it, but there is a bling-y stitch marker. A story goes along with this stitch marker ... when I hosted the earring-making party in December my friend Laura, also a knitter, brought some beaded stitch markers she had bought. They look like beautiful earrings only without the earwire - instead they are on a jump ring. So while folks at the earring making party were making earrings, Laura, Lori and I were making stitch markers and planning ways to make more. What a great gift for a knitter and, of course, knitting in progress looks so good with a little bling hanging from it.

The holidays are over ... traces of Christmas are put away until next year ... so tomorrow I'll get my sewing machine out. I'm still knitting socks, but I also have 3 sets of pillowcases I plan to make. Then it's back to quilting ... while knitting socks.

Take a few moment to check out Judy's blog at Patchwork Times. Her blog is always either a learning experience for me, or it motivates me.