Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Did ya miss me?

Once again I'm starting a blog post with "my poor neglected blog." But I have an excuse. Several in fact!

I have a pattern in the Winter 2014 issue of I did my "research" for this pattern on a Baltic  knitting cruise this past summer. This crossed off a big portion of my bucket list, and yes, I know how lucky I am. I'll set up an album with a few of the hundreds of photos I took.  

If you're not familiar with Stories in Stitches, you might want to check it out, and not just because my pattern is on the cover of the latest book. It's a knitted mandala and you can read about mandalas and Carl Jung in the essay that accompanies the pattern. Stories in Stitches is a wonderful labor of love by Donna Druchunas and Ava Coleman. There are so many beautiful stories and patterns, and I'm really honored to have been included.

So what's everyone knitting? I'm finishing grandchildren knitting and I'll post photos here and on Ravelry after the darling girls open their gifts in a few weeks. They probably have cell phones by now and I don't want them peeking.

Speaking of panic gift knitting, I'm hoping to get a quick but very cute free pattern onto Ravelry in the next day or two. Here's a peek.

Hang on until the weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

That's how I'd describe my kids.

My son, for instance, seems to have an unlimited capacity for patience. This is a good trait for the parent of an almost four year old. (Both my kids probably could have used more patience from me but I'm going with the 'no harm, no foul' defense.) He's turned out to be a great parent, as well as an amazing photographer, so apparently I didn't screw him up too badly. He also had the good sense to choose a great woman to have in his life, another thing I can't take any credit for, but benefit from.

My daughter graduated from college a couple of weekends ago. Her course load was heavy in math, and since her dad and I can barely add two plus two without resorting to a calculator, we are in awe of her brainiac self. Phi beta kappa, graduation with distinction, yada yada yada. Are your eyes rolling? Yes, I've become one of Those Parents, bragging about my kids to anyone who can't run away from me—sales clerks, phlebotomists, people duct taped to a chair.

But here's the thing with my kids: their genes seem to have been amplified by the square root of the distance to the sun and morphed them into a couple of humans who are light years beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. I claim no credit. It's like winning the kid lottery just because I bought a ticket. I have serious doubts that anything I did contributed much, because at times I felt like I didn't have all that much to contribute. I got lucky on this one, and for that I am greatly relieved and eternally grateful.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Oh honey, you knew it was coming: My advice on Mean Girls design critiques

I've never made a secret of my admiration for Ravelry—four million knitters, crocheters, weavers, and dyers, all in the same place sharing camaraderie and patterns, yada yada yada. How lovely.

But like anything internet-related, Ravelry brings out the snark in some of us. It's impossible to gather four million people into one place and expect everybody to play nice. Not gonna happen and I never presumed it would. I have seven sisters. I know what mob mentality can do.

There's a troubling aspect to Ravelry, though, that makes me wonder. It's the need to let all four million members know, in no uncertain terms, just how much you hate a designer's project. These people need to go right to the source and leave a comment—in some cases specifically addressed to the designer himself/herself—stating how much they hate the design. Sometime they'll leave a detailed account of exactly what they hate about the design and how the designer could "improve" it. Other times it's simply a "gawd this is hideous" kind of response.

Seriously. Who died and made you Tim Gunn?

Opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. I've seen some designs that set off my gag reflex but I never felt the need to tell the designer. I simply clicked to another page. No super hero effort was involved; I just moved on. As a designer, I can appreciate the fact that not everyone will like everything I put out there. That's cool. I get it. My feelings won't be hurt by a "I appreciate the effort but this isn't for me" kind of comment. It's the mean-spirited stuff I take exception to.

Don't like a design? Fine. That doesn't obligate you to publicly offer up snarky, negative thoughts about it. This helps no one and makes you look like you've watched Mean Girls one too many times. You might feel all smug and happy, now you've made the world a better place for having led the offending designer to the Promise Land of good taste and stuff you would actually knit or crochet. But all you've actually done is hurt some feeling and provoked the ire of people who really like the design and whose taste you've now de facto insulted. You also might have scared the crap out of a budding designer who is now thinking twice about publishing their designs.

So here's my advice. The next time you feel the need to vomit in the comment section of a designer's pattern, try this instead: Just. Shut. Up. Trust me, it's not that hard. Text or PM your knitting bestie and get all "OMG, did you see that hideous shawl that XYZ just put on Ravelry?" Trash the design in private if you really, really have to, then pick up your knitting or crochet and create something positive. The sun will rise tomorrow and you'll come across designs that are more to your taste and will make you gush all happy and ecstatic. And at the same time, somebody is going to hit their Disagree button on your comment. To quote Earth, Wind and Fire: that's the way of the world. I just think the world can be a little bit nicer, that's all. Feel free to disagree.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Weekend Comedy: Yep, it's THAT day.

I always say--any day you wake up with a pulse is a good day. Happy birthday to me!

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekend Comedy: It's the Squirrel Song! And Other Stuff to Get Excited About

This completely cracks me up. We should all get this excited about something!

Speaking of excited, I'm pretty stoked about the class Donna Druchunas and I have on Ruzuku. If you want to take your lace knitting to another level with lessons, tips, photos, and lots of lace patterns for a great price, check it out.

Some housekeeping—Someone mentioned in an email to me that they're having an issue leaving comments here. I have no clue why. I'm still nosing around Blogger trying to find an answer. It may be a hint from the Universe that I go ahead and get a real website. But for now, I'll keep trying to figure out what the issue is, and keep you posted.

Last but not least, here's a sneak peek of the pattern I'm designing for Donna Druchunas' Stories in Stitches 4. This is a photo taken with my iPhone, which apparently can't tell the difference between yellow and cream, and orange and pink. But you'll be seeing more of this later on, hopefully with photos taken with a better camera. The yarn is Cascade 128 super wash, by the way.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Comedy

Llamas are funny! Be sure to watch this with the sound on.



And last but not least, some funny stuff from

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adiós, Gabriel García Márquez

I've walked my dog Sophie along this trail many times. We don't usually stop, since there are a gazillion prairie dogs that live on either side of the path. They look cute, but are actually kind of nasty—they can carry diseases such as plague and monkey pox. (Trust me. Don't google that.)

But today we stopped for a few minutes. We sat on a bench, enjoyed the view, and I sent out a note of gratitude to the universe. Thank you, Gabriel García Márquez, for sharing the gift of your words with the world. RIP.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Excuses, Excuses...

I'll just list the highlight (and lowlights) regarding my prolooooonged absence, which may or may not get expounded on in later blogposts.

  • Minor knee surgery
  • Blood clot following above mentioned minor knee surgery
  • Bad attitude regarding above mentioned blood clot
  • Bad attitude regarding weight gain from meds for above mentioned blood clot
  • Work on this extraordinary collection of patterns and essays
  • Shock of realizing DD graduates from college in less than a month
  • Birth of DH's first grandchild
  • A problem tooth that has stumped three (soon to be four) dentists
  • Multiple viewings of Downton Abbey
  • A new JelliDonut Facebook page (see sidebar)
  • Reading too many political posts while working on above mentioned Facebook page
I'm also in the process of adding lots of my patterns to Ravelry and Craftsy, launching a Ruzuku class with Donna Druchunas, and I will be contributing an essay and a pattern to the 4th edition of Stories in Stitches, a publication I have been fortunate enough to help with.

You'll notice some minor changes in my blog, and there will be more to come. Unfortunately, some of the changes require the expertise of people who actually know what they're doing, not to mention a little money, which is good because a little is exactly what  I have.

So please forgive my neglect of you and my blog. And know that while I might have been a slacker, many of you have been in my thoughts. Until the next post, please enjoy this gratuitous photo of my new granddog Mattie.