Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: knitting (Page 2 of 5)

The Difference Between Sewing and Knitting.

As I was upstairs in the (very messy) (unorganized) craft room this afternoon, I let my mind wander while I fixed two pairs of JWo’s pants and sewed up the curtains for his classroom. Fortunately, I didn’t let it wander too far, otherwise I would most likely have made half the curtain panels with the ducks upside-down. One of those moments where you realize it before you even start sewing? And are OH so grateful.

It wasn’t a hard project – he had a long swath of fabric, and wanted it quartered, hemmed, and a tube at the top for a tension rod. His windows create a glare & with all they do on the projector/computer, it was a simple solution.

As I (didn’t pin anything) (didn’t iron anything) sewed the hems, I realized, “There is a big difference between knitting and sewing!” Now at this point, I know you are saying, “Well, DUH, Jennifer. Thread vs. yarn, machine vs. needles…” The process is completely different. But where I am a process knitter, I am NOT a process seamstress. All the steps up to the sewing machine equate to endless swatching in my mind. I’m not overly precise, shocker, and sewing really requires an element of precision. Unless you’re going for that wonky ragged look.

With knitting, I enjoy the process. The yarn runs through my fingers, I see the progress, if it doesn’t work or look right, I serenely rip it out and begin again. Don’t get me wrong, I like things to turn out, and turn out well. They should fit, be the right length, be of the right “hand” (drape/tension). All of this parallels sewing. So I think it’s my lack of sewing experience, and a less-than-enthusiastic appreciation for all the steps that precede the moment one sits down at the machine.

And, I probably should slow down a little. You’d think I was training for NASCAR with that little rev pedal under my foot. After the turnkey projects this afternoon, I decided to work a little harder on my sewing patience and skill set. Next up, I’m going to replace a jeans zipper, and then I’m going to try my hand at making a simple sunglasses case. With a pattern I’ve made up. I live on the edge. But all of that will happen…later.

Right now? I wanna knit.

Pick A Pecka Purple Peppahs?

As promised, here’s the photo of all the peppers I procured last Saturday.
(Grown by JWo, of course.) (I’m going to label the individual pepper varieties on Flickr.)
Bountiful Peppers from the Garden

And here’s the scarf I started over the weekend – Gigi, with Tilli Thomas Disco Lights.


Whoah Nelly.

Today has begun at a full-on gallop, and I don’t expect it to subside any time soon.

I would be remiss if I didn’t start at the beginning, though – JWo’s birthday was on Saturday. We made plans to go down to Truman Lake, and do some fishing. We planned to find a motel or cabin, spend the night, fish Sunday morning, and then get home mid-afternoon. Didn’t quite work out that way, but we still had an enjoyable day. It was more…boating. And trolling, and attempting to catch fish, and bait, but really, all we ended up catching was a drum and two channel catfish. Over 8 hours. Lemme tell you, my butt was SORE. We did go ashore around lunch, and just anchored the boat while we fixed sandwiches & ate Twizzlers – in the water, mind you. Swimming was lovely, the day was bright & there was a breeze. I have the faintest of pink on me, because I slathered myself in 50 SPF sunscreen and wore a hat (hey! Check out the big brain on Jen!). But we just could not succeed in the fishing department. (Many fisherman blame the full moon, fwiw.)

We did, however, see some really awesome wildlife, since there’s a state park on the water; we saw oodles of deer, and lots of wild turkeys, and loads of buzzards. (I was not enamored with the buzzards, as I associate buzzards with death, they’re hideous, and in general, they just kinda freak me out.) At one point, I looked at the bank and squinted, asking James, “What IS that over there?” He looked (in a different direction) and said “Buzzards.” I said, “With a WHITE HEAD?” Nope! Turned out to be a bald eagle with an immature bald eagle, most likely a momma guiding her baby around the coves and teaching the finer points of fishing. So that was really nifty, and I must say, bald eagles walking are about the same height as small children. They’re huge!  I definitely would not want one diving in at me every day & ripping out my liver.

I like to work in my highly under-utilized knowledge of Greek Mythology whenever I can. It’s really a service we provide here at PlazaJen Enterprises.

In other news, I’m jetting back to NYC to meet with the folks at CR, and I am finally, really, truly, bona-fide excited about it. I realized last week that I was caught in the undertow of grief, all of which can be intellectually understood, but, unfortunately, not reasoned out of by logic. Because winning the Consumer Reports account is a huge, huge personal and professional accomplishment – and the one person whose approval I worked for all my life, the one person who would have been really impressed, would finally have something awesome to tell people about his kid who works in advertising – well, that person is gone. Broke my fucking heart. Brings tears to my eyes now just to acknowledge it so openly. But hey. I imagine parents who have kids and watch the milestones pass after their parents are gone have a similar row to hoe.  I’m not special or alone in this quagmire, and the mantra of time always comes back around to haunt. At least enough time has passed already.

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The Cobbler’s Children Have the Worst Shoes.


I put a banner ad up on Ravelry, the big internet site for fiber-holics, and have generated a few sales of the Knitter decals…but of course, now that I’m the client, I’m a nightmare. To myself.

I did re-word my ad, and JWo has pointed out as people actually see the clings for themselves, they become far more engaged than they do from a picture on a website.

But today? I had a little stroke of brilliance, and did a search for various car enthusiasts on Ravelry, because seriously, there is a group for everyone on that site. And sure enough – there are MINI Cooper knitters, VW knitters, Volvo knitters and Hybrid knitters.  Not that it’ll guarantee more people will click & buy? But since the most logical place for these clings is your car, might as well TARGET my message to … people with cars!

Duh. I was happy and sneering at myself for taking four days to come up with that one. Good thing I’m sharper with my clients – but I do know that when you’re close to something, it’s a lot harder to get perspective!

Now, go be a dear and buy 10 or 14.

It’s Just A Start…

But the first “KNITTER” car/window clings are available in my store. Yep. My store.  I’ve been working on the clings since the beginning of the year, and scrambling on all this website stuff and store-finding stuff since. I tried Etsy, and god love ’em, but they do not make listing products or items very easy, especially if you’ve got a bunch of similar items (ala my DPN holders, which will also head to the store, in time. Gotta whip up a bunch for the Loopy Ewe first! I plan to put the ones she doesn’t stock in my shop.)

For the skull-lovers out there, there will be a wicked cool knitter-themed skull, in a couple color variations. And then another general knitter-type one, too. I just had to start someplace, and see if these can succeed before I spend oodles of investment cash on printing more styles.  One of which will involve skulls for my skull-lovin’ peeps!

So, here goes nothin’…. 🙂

My ISE Angel….

I’ve been a little stressed – but it’s no excuse. I need to give a big shout-out to my Int’l Scarf Exchange angel, Christine, who knit me up a yummy ribbed scarf in Jo Sharp Silk Tweed. Of course, she didn’t stop there, and packed along lots of other goodies from her home country of Australia.

Wrapped Packages!

Oh, I just love when everything comes all wrapped up! If I were doing another swap, I would remember to do this. But as I say every time, I’m not doing another swap. Christine sent some de-lish gummy animals (I can honestly say I had never eaten a gummy platypus before in my life), some chocolate (and chocolate espresso beans!), a cool knitting magazine, another skein of the Jo Sharp yarn, and then a skein of wool from the Knittery. Super duper cool!!!

ISE Angel Package

Thanks again, Christine. It really says something when a person knits two scarves & sends out two packages, and you truly are an angel!

Umm, Yeah.

So, I was hand-wringing and worrying and making myself nauseous over my little Devil Duckies and Cutie Monsters that had gone off to The Loopy Ewe as DPN holders, hoping fervently that they’d eventually go on to sock knitters everywhere. Mostly because of that last part, “going off to other knitters”, because WHAT IF NOBODY BUYS THEM.

I even posted as much (more diplomatically and hopefully exuding a :little: less angst) in the Loopy Ewe group on Ravelry, and some kind soul pointed out there were only 6 left. Out of 40. In one day. There are only 3 left today. Day two.

Uh, ok.

I let myself spend five minutes worrying that people are going to hate them when they get them. And then I slapped myself. And ordered some more ducks.


Is a Knitting Hangover a YarnOver?

Wowza, what a weekend!

Saturday was the Sunflower Knitting Guild’s Kansas yarn crawl. Laura volunteered to drive us, and Carmen, Jen & I gallivanted together. Carmen is the (self-proclaimed) Ghetto GPS, and at some point, I had to point out she didn’t have an “off” button. She retorted it done broke off and you gotta get the pliers out if you wanna change it! Well served comeback, my friend. There was a lot of laughing, needless to say, in between our shopping.

We went to Knit Wit, where I bought two skeins of beyootiful laceweight yarn. (You get so much yarn for the moneh, oo oo, oo ooo) It’s in BlueBlood Red.
Lacey Lamb

Then we went to the Needle Nest, and I didn’t find any yarn there that had to come home with me. I picked up a couple of Amy Butler patterns, and admired some fabric, but it was getting pretty crowded inside, I was starting to overheat and it seemed like a good idea to get outside and out of the way. Laura took this pic of us under the vine-covered arbor in front of the shop:

(Nobody was outside with us, so we couldn’t get a foursome shot. And my picture? Did not turn out. My little Kodak gets fussy if you don’t let it whir and think for at least 15 seconds after you take a picture. Grrrr. But, at least the Canon behaves & all the rest of the pics were taken with that.)

Back to the narration! After Louisburg, we zipped off to Lawrence, and were 45 minutes early for our visit to Tracy Bunker’s studio, so we trekked over to the DQ, and had us a snack. I love the DQ. We arrived back at her studio at the same time everyone else on the crawl got there, so we all descended at once. I bought some Rayon Ruffles in Dragonfly – the colors are atypical for me, and it was really reasonably priced. The only downside is that I noticed her sweet dog Ruby had a bunch of little black bugs on her tummy, so I’m quarantining the yarn until I’m sure I didn’t bring home anything unwanted visitors for our dogs. (We use Advantix on them, but still. It’s a battle I don’t need!)

Rayon Ruffles

The last stop was the Lawrence mecca, The Yarn Barn. I wasn’t going to get anything, actually, until I saw a shop sample of a cute cotton tote bag. They didn’t have the pattern, but I got some cotton yarn, and it’s a crochet pattern, so I figure, why not, I can single stitch crochet like a mad woman, maybe I could crank something out super fast?! Who knows. It looked like a relatively simple shell stitch, and it’s for their learn-to-crochet class. Famous last words, I know – but it shouldn’t be :that: hard?

Saucy Cotton

We went back to our carpool meet-up spot, and then Carmen and I went on to Joann’s, because I had to get more candy melts for the next day’s activity! Yup. We had a Ravelry meet-up at The Studio, Sunday afternoon. And because cupcakes are practically the official dessert of Ravelry, we had a cupcake contest. Boy, did we get a lot of cupcakes! It was awesome! Mine were simple – white cake, chocolate frosting, edible glitter, and then the toppers were the Studio’s daisy, made out of colored candy. I was inspired!

Daisy close-up

Studio Logo Daisy on Cupcakes

Then, since I was on a roll with the candy-making, I made dipped and molded pretzels as well. (Those did not go to the event. The Wo loves ’em.)
Pretzels in chocolate

We had a GREAT turnout, with around 45 knitters & crocheters & spinners showing up!

It was a sunny day, and everyone pretty much clung to the shade.

Ravelry Meet Up at The Studio
Everyone Clings to Shade

There were all sorts of cupcakes:
Cindy, Laura & Angela

My cupcakes won for Manager’s Choice, and I got a fabulous “Ripped” shot glass. I also won a Studio goody sack, and then my name got drawn AGAIN, but they picked another person, because seriously, it would have looked rigged at that point. (It wasn’t! I swear!)

The best part about yesterday is this:

Successful Food Drive for Harvesters

We got an entire table full of food donations for Harvesters. Knitters are good, generous folks! And they can bake like fiends, too….

Now I need a weekend, to recover from my weekend. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a posthumous shout-out to George Carlin. He was just here a minute ago! Man, what a funny, funny dude. He will be missed, and I can only aspire to swear as much as he did.

Whizzing By….

I knew the Studio was taking a bunch of my DPN holders to Knitting in the Heartland – and while I was buoyed by the fact they bought my entire inventory, I was stricken on Saturday by the thought, “What if nobody buys them?” So, it was very exciting on Sunday to come home and have a message from Carmen on the answering machine, telling me that THE celebrity-author KitH teacher, Stephanie Japel herself, had just bought all my devil duckies because all her friends at home were knitting socks!!!! Woohoo! And then James spent half the weekend outside in the greenhouse, tutoring people on the finer points of gardening and growing tomatoes, and he sold quite a few plants.

Now I’m nursing a headache that I woke up with this morning, and wrangling snakes. Metaphorically speaking, of course. It’s definitely a Monday!

Whirl Wind!

OK, there’s been a lot going on…. let’s start at the beginning, rather than the middle, mmmkay?

Friday Night Fish Fry. Well, this was a bit of a bust. We went back to St. Thomas More’s, where it all began for us, and they’ve changed their fish this year. The baked fish was pretty good, though rather bland, and the fried fish was resoundingly over-battered. And it wasn’t “battered” but rather “triangular-shaped fish object” and my first bite pulled away an empty corner of…batter/crust. No fish. Argh. Sides? Ok – your standard green beans, corn, and french fries, plus slaw & buttered boiled potatoes (which I do so love.) Desserts were once again run by the girl scouts, and I must say, the girl from last year who delightedly applied whipped cream decided to get industrious, and created a tray that she took from table to table, upselling people who perhaps weren’t going to mosey over to their table to choose a dessert. I had seen pecan pie, and she dutifully went back to get some. Pretty cute. But not worth a return trip, sadly. $8.50 per adult.

Sunday Blogger Meet Up. Well, is it really a meet-up if it’s just two of us, and we’ve already met before? Emma Liar is back in Kansas City, and had a hankering for Hooter’s chicken wings. So we got some.

100 Wings

I must say, the 3-Mile Island? Not hot enough. Dammit. It’s pretty sad when Pizza Hut’s “Blazin’ Hot” pack more punch than wings named for a nuclear disaster.

And after we got home, I busted my hump to finish the wristwarmers. I knit on them all throughout The Kingdom, which is a very stressful movie, I think, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand the jarring disconnect to turn that movie off & immediately see Jason Bateman introducing the Foo Fighters on the Grammys.

I knit so much, and so devotedly, that all my tiny little fine-motor-skills muscles ached. Even my ear ached, and I blamed the knitting. But I got up this morning & wove in the ends, and Bravissimo, here they are!

Toasty Arms & Hands

Even without my hands they cling to coffee

I can’t wait to knit another pair, but in finer-gauge yarn and smaller needles. Hello, have you met the Masochist who lives on CandyCane Lane? Yep, that’s me!

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