Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flowering Gifts and Expansive Thinking

Today is the last day to comment for this year's giveaway. To participate go to the previous post and leave a comment. Then come back and check out these flowers that are gifting me with joy and inspiration.

These coral-red gladioli were given to me by a friend a few days ago. They sit by my desk in a blossoming fever and encourage me, just like my favorite quote by Collette, to be willing to do foolish things and to make mistakes with relish and enthusiasm.

Mistakes measure our willingness to explore and experiment. They are a sure way to learn, and we should all aim to make some daily.

My friends, the monsterrific orchids, are back.

When I first bought them two years ago, the blossoms were not so huge. Last year, I got two different sprays of these beauties, with the largest flower at 10 inches in height. This year, one is 11 inches tall:

They remind me to be wildly expansive in my thinking, to let go, and to stretch beyond what I think is my full potential.

You may remember the wild flowers I showed just a few weeks ago. Be prepared for a shock:

This photo is from the very same patch along our driveway. It's simply packed with flowers. Right now there are mostly these pretty-in- (various shades of) pink flowers. This patch reminds me to take an idea and go further with it. They tell me to ask "What else could I add or change about this idea or situation?"

Here's a close-up. Does anyone know what they are? I could literally make about 30-50 big bouquets right now. If you live nearby and want some, let me know. Oh, and see that strange pod thing in the upper left corner?

Before it was a pod, it was a flower much like this one. It comes in an almost cornflower blue and in this white version. The foliage is feathery. At times the blossom almost resembles a passion flower. It's usually 1-2 inches in diameter. Anybody recognize it? I'm clueless.

This flower reminds me that sometimes an ugly pod becomes a beautiful flower and sometimes the pretty blossom turns into a pod. It goes both ways.

All this wildness and beauty makes me want to take chances and try new things. How about you? What inspires you to stop playing it safe?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Annual Blog Giveaway

Here it is--another year of blogging has passed. Tempis fugit, for sure. Continuing in the "tradition" started last year, it's time for another annual giveaway to celebrate.

Here are four items I have for you this year:

1. A Scarf

This scarf is just like one currently in my store. It's a perfect flirty scarf for mild weather, and it's fun to wear because the elongated stitches give it great drape.

The scarf is crocheted from multiple strands of threads in different textures. One fat strand is rayon in a pretty silvery blue. The second two strands are pink raw silk. One is teeny and one is thicker with luscious pink slubs. A final two-ply strand with half cotton and half rayon in a dark and a medium blue, adds visual depth of color.

4" wide by 58" long. Hand wash in cool water with a silk-friendly product and dry flat or dry clean.

2. Some Hand-spun Color Twist Yarn

This yarn was handspun by me out of 100% wool. Firmly spun and good for knitters or crocheters. The base color runs between teal and peacock blue and is highlighted with colors of the rainbow. Approximately 115 yards measuring 12-14 wpi. (DK to worsted weight)

3. A Knitter's Pint Glass

This is the perfect vessel for your beverage of choice. Use it while you knit and feel more official, or playful, or giddy, depending on what you're drinking. Can also be used by crocheters.
This engraved pint glass is the creation of Amanda and Sean of Bread and Badger.  I got some of their glasses at the Show of Awesome last month, but you can find their wares on Etsy by following the link.

4. A Book of Inspiration

Annie Modesitt's book has ten winning hat patterns and photos of 990 other hats! It's a great coffee table book. Crocheters could also get inspired by these photos. The book contains two of my hat designs for which patterns are in development: A Simple Pillbox Confection and Darky, Seedy & Twisted. After test knitting and tech editing is done, I'll put them on Ravelry for sale.

The Giveaway Rules
To be in the drawing, leave a comment on this post by midnight PST July 31, 2010.

You do not need to be a follower to enter or win; however, if you are a follower you will receive a second entry in the drawing if you comment on this post.

If you write a blog post linking back to this giveaway you will receive an additional entry.

If you tweet with a link back here you will receive an extra entry.

Follow me on Twitter and let me know here to receive another entry.

Important: in your comment, tell me what would be your first choice if you win, and also give your second choice.  Let me know if you are a follower of this blog or a follower on Twitter. Also let me know in your comment whether you blogged or tweeted about the giveaway.

(You do not need to go see my Etsy store for the giveaway, but I would of course love it if you went there anyway.)

Selection of the Winners

If she is so inclined, Samba will be helping with the drawing again this year. If not, the names will be drawn out of a hat by Mr. Cha Cha. The winners names and what they won, will be announced by a post here on the blog on Sunday, August 1, no later than 9 p.m. PST. 
If you have a blog, I'll leave you a comment that you've won, and if you have an Etsy shop, I'll convo you there. I'll do my best to reach you. 

You will have two weeks in which to contact me (my name is in the sidebar) [at] to tell me where to send your prize. If you don't contact me by August 15, another name will be drawn for the prize.

Best Wishes, Good Luck, and Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Walk Along the Willamette

During the day I work by the river. Somedays, when it's not too hot or too rainy, we co-workers walk in the late afternoon. Today was one such day.

Our path begins at spot where you can look south to see the Sellwood bridge, and you can spy a houseboat moorage on the right bank.

Head north and very soon another houseboat community is directly across the channel. It's a lovely thing to see and a wonderful way to live. (See previous posts on Floating Homes.)

We are on a path shared by walkers, bicyclists, and Canadian geese. The geese mostly hang out in this part of the park later in the summer. They squawk a lot and leave evidence of their presence all over the concrete path. Be careful where you step!

Soon you can see the buildings of the newly developed South Waterfront area of Portland.

As the path continues North in a lazy curve along the river bank, passing trees and then open areas, this new district, with high real estate hopes, looms closer.

Along the way are several boat moorages. We always wish we knew someone with a boat nearby who would come and take us for a cruise.

There are lots of lovely wildflowers and blackberry bushes with plumb ripening berries. Are they safe to eat or are they sprayed with some bad chemicals? We don't know. Some days we are brave and try a few.

Along the river there are cool buildings in which to work.

This last place has it's own lovely veranda for employees and guests. Imagine sitting out with your brown-bag lunch and a good book at this relaxing spot. 

And there are wilder spots. Like this area in which we saw a homeless person on a sleeping bag and a nearby shopping cart of belongings in the shade today. It is a lovely place for a respite and the sweet peaceful dreams that only a river can bring.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Finished! Blue & Grey Accessories

Finally, a new batch of goods is finished--my little fingers have been busy!

The two purses have been unfinished objects for a long while now. It seems like purses always languish the longest in WIP (work in progress) because they require so much hand finishing work.

The denim blue hued Shag Bag is so named because it reminded me of all those ugly carpets back in the day. The purse is not ugly, though. It is super fun and has a sturdy padded lining of blue cotton batik. It feels like you're carrying a purse pet. The beaded-bead embellishments on the strap were crocheted around the hand-made cord to finish off the place where the cord ends were joined.

The silver Press Play Purse is crocheted from a double strand of thin cotton/viscose cordé. This close-up shows the cool button that looks like a stylized play symbol.  It was a perfect find for this bag. This bag has a silver lining. (Okay, it's really dark grey.)

How about a lovely bracelet to complement your new purse?

This bracelet has beautiful steel blue beads and a spiral of sterling silver beads for an accent. The magnetic closure is a very strong super magnet that make the bracelet secure, yet easy to put on and take off.

To top everything off, add a flirty scarf:

This drapey scarf was crocheted out of multiple strands. One fat strand is rayon in a pretty silvery blue. The second two strands are pink raw silk. One is teeny and one is thicker with luscious pink slubs. A final strand, half cotton and half rayon in a darker blue, add to the visual depth of color. Here's a close up:

There is so much more in queue to be completed. I'd better get busy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Craft at the Water Cooler

Yesterday's big hit at the day job was this incredible tie made for a co-worker as a Father's Day gift from his son. We all gave him kudos for wearing it to the office, while laughing uproariously.

This amazing snake tie is created by stuffing a regular tie with polyfill until it's almost busting at the seams and then sewing the ends closed. Googley eyes, a felt tongue, and decorative foam spots are added for good measure. I bet some teacher had a good laugh over the idea of sending all those kids home with these projects.

This fat snake points down toward the family jewels in a not-so-subliminal message to Mommy that a happy Father's Day follows a happy father's night.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wrapping up some WIP

There is a lot of work-in-progress around here. It's that ADD thing. Plus, I think with my hands and have a big stash of raw materials.

Unfortunately, WIP doesn't translate into dollars until it becomes finished goods.

For the month of July Amelie & I have made a deal that an item in WIP would be completed for every new item started.

Lined up to be finished is a slew of OOAK purses in various stages of production. They get hung up at the finish line because I really hate hand sewing, and my linings are almost always hand sewn for knit and crochet bags. In addition there are other dreaded hand-work features: interfacing, padding, clasps, etc.

Later this week I'll show some finished goods ready for my Etsy shop.  The above item is a lovely cotton wrap for when the evenings start getting cooler.

Monday, July 12, 2010


In the early evening I picked some of our wildflowers yesterday

and took a camera along

to share some with you this morning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Biz Blog Reading on a Friday Morning

 Man with Book Sitting in Chair at George Eastman House on Flickr

We no longer have to rely on the slow reading of yesterday to find business advice because there are so many sources online. Here are some reads for this morning that I found starting out with Sister Diane, then by following her Twitter links, and then clicking the rounds of some favorite places:
Happy Friday and happy reading!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design by Shannon Okey

Shannon Okey (Knitgrrl) has published a wonderful guide for anyone serious about becoming a knitting or crochet designer. Earlier this week Sister Diane over at Crafty Pod wrote a great review of Shannon Okey's wonderful new self-published book. There is a giveaway involved if you get over there before the drawing, which will be tomorrow.  Sister Diane's thorough review made me want to get the book immediately so I ordered the download in PDF format and have been so glad that I did. I cannot recommend this book about the business of knitwear design enough.

You can order the digital format (and also a hard copy) here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dark, Seedy & Twisted Hat

This is the second of my hats in Annie Modesitt's new 1000 Fabulous Knit Hats book. It's totally knit with twisted stitches, even the seed stitch section.

I'm not happy with the fiber that was used for the project, though, and will be scouting for a new choice. This pattern is in progress and needs test knitters. Let me know if you are interested.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Print! Simple Pillbox Confection

Good News! Two of my accessory designs can now be seen in a print publication! There are two of my hats in the newly published 1000 Fabulous Knit Hats by Annie Modesitt. Annie is a knitwear designer extraordinaire and a fantabulous teacher of knitting cables without a needle. What I really like about her, in addition to her infectious humor in the classroom, is that she has validated the "wrong" way I often prefer to knit.

This post shows photos of the first design of mine in the book, and the next post will show the second hat.  I will be seeking test knitters for both patterns soon, so if you are interested in being a test knitter for either hat design, let me know in the comments.

This simple pillbox confection was a joy to design and knit up. It uses my favorite twisted stitches and a combination of textures layered and edged in a way to resemble a sweet tasty cake. It's just as much fun to wear as it is to knit, and you could easily add your favorite knit, crochet, or silk flower to it for added pizazz.

It's also fun to display it like a dessert. Sure fooled Mr. Cha Cha at first!

It's amazingly exciting to see your work in print, even if only in a minor way. My past publishing experience was related only to a written collaboration on a boring college textbook and the publication of a couple of sappy poems in a local dance magazine. Having an accessory design finally in print feels so stellar!

I'd like to get in a plug for Annie's Book which is in a really cool format and is published by Quarry Books.

This inspiring book has patterns for the wonderful top ten winning hats, but beyond that it is an amazing coffee table book for knitters. It's a picture book of hats of all kinds, arranged by style. If you need help choosing this year's gift project ideas, this book will be a super resource. I could spend hours pouring over all the beautiful photos. The list of contributors is in the back of the book--that's where you'll find my name. Sweet!

By the way, a copy of this book just might be included in my annual blog anniversary giveaway. Yep, it's almost time to celebrate two years of blogging. Watch for details this month.