Friday, March 26, 2010

A Transitional Scarf ~ for a Transitional Time

Thank you all for playing along and divulging your favorite teas in the last post! You sure are an eclectic group of tea drinkers. Congratulations to KnittySue the winner, compliments via a random number generator.

A Transitional Scarf

Times of transition and change can be difficult as we adjust to the new "normal." But some transitions are enjoyable and are easier to welcome. Such is the transition from Winter and it's darkness to Spring and it's longer days, burgeoning flora, and crisp blue skies. The transitional month of March takes us from Winter to Spring and is the perfect time to knit a transitional scarf to ease you into the warmer days ahead.

How do you go about choosing which transitional scarf to knit? Sometimes it just happens, as in my case. My choice began with a swap I joined back in December hosted by Theresa, of TDoesWool. It was my good fortune to be paired with Kim of Chronic Ennui, who, as you can see from the picture above, gifted me with the Cadillac version of a Magic Yarn Ball. Kim (on top of her skill as a world class shopper) has a great sense of humor, is a prolific knitter and following her knitting adventures is a pure delight.

The yarn she sent me needed to be transformed. But into what? For that I had to first transform it from a Magic Yarn Ball into a simple skein so that I could view it unadorned and in a natural state. The seawall in San Clemente was a perfect spot to study it.

After seeing it this way it was easy to decide, for I could see that this yarn needed to be a simple design allowing its natural hues and simple beauty take center stage. I settled on a design by Evelyn Clark that featured a garland of hearts along the trim. I know. Let's hear an "aww isn't that sweet." But that's one of the design features that I really like about Evelyn Clark. She has a knack for creating shapes in knitting. For example, her Pacific Northwest Shawl has fish, trees, and waves all clearly depicted.

I've decided this will be my "guest scarf." If you are like me, you will have had guests who forget to bring along something to pull on as the day turns chilly. This scarf with its neutral color will be the perfect accessory for that purpose and will transition from person to person with ease, sharing it's warm and beauty.

Particulars: Heart to Heart Lace Scarf by Evelyn Clark Designs; US 4 circular needle; 1 skein Casbah sock yarn by Handmaiden Yarns. As with all Evelyn Clarke's designs, this is a well written pattern and easy to knit. The only modification I made was to do one extra repeat (16 total) for the "fingerling" directions. Due to this yarn's high merino wool content (80%) it will not hold a block as well as other fibers. It has "relaxed" into the finished dimensions of 56" x 11." Other Evelyn Clark designs I've knit: Pacific Northwest Shawl; Flower Basket Lace Shawl; Shetland Triangle Lace Shawl; Swallowtail Shawl; Versatile Scarf (modeled by Mr Puffy).

A Transitional Time

And the biggest Transitional of all? The addition of Simcha ~ which means joy ~ to our lives. There will be more about Simcha after we all settle into our new routine. But, for now, I leave you with his picture. Until next time, be well, love well, and enjoy your transition into Spring!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy

This is The Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy, which is a simple and fun tea cozy that I designed to celebrate the memory of our little beagle, Mr. Puffy, who passed away several months ago. He loved tea time and I think he would approve.

It was several seemingly unrelated events colliding that culminated in my writing The Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy pattern. First, I asked my Mom if she would like me to knit her some bed socks. She replied "No, dear. What I really would like is for you to knit me a tea cozy for my morning pot of tea." Apparently she missed the rhetorical nature of my question.

Next, I received in the mail a lovely "care package" from Tracy of Pink Purl who was concerned about me after I lost Mr. Puffy. In her package she sent some lushes yarn (*pink* of course) that she thought I might use to make an accessory. But this yarn was too special for just an accessory that would lie about rarely used. Instead it needed to be enjoyed and somehow remind me of Mr. Puffy. Let me think. Mr. Puffy and I always enjoyed our tea time together. Maybe it should be a tea cozy? Yes, that's it. A tea cozy.

And so it was. Need met inspiration, and The Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy positively flew off my needles.

I added the contrasting flowers to give the cozy a sense of whimsy and fun. That's really what I remember the most about Mr Puffy. How happy he was and the pleasure he took in the little treats in life such as his daily walks, naps, and our tea times.

Particulars: The Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy -  free pdf pattern download - designed by yours truly; US 8 needles (main body) US 4 needles (flower embellishment); two contrasting colored aran to worsted weight yarn and scrap yarn for the flower embellishment; blocked finished dimensions 8"(across the base) x 6" (high) and should fit most round three (3) cup (24 ounce) teapots. The pattern is easy to adjust for width and height to fit a larger or smaller round teapot. Pattern link: if you are a Ravelry user click here for free pdf pattern.  If you are not a Ravelry user you can either send me an email and I'll send you the pattern as a pdf attachment; I've explained the "Bramble Stitch" on the Ravelry pattern notes.

Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy Giveaway ~

Would like a Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy? The dark green one goes to my Mom (to match her boudoir) . The light blue/pink one goes to Tracy of Pink Purl along with a big hug and thank you! I'm keeping the dark blue/pink one for myself. That leaves the teal cozy (pictured below) for one of you! It will fit most round three (3) cup (24 ounces) teapots and is knit with a Shetland wool (base) and Malabrigo wool (top) so should keep your teapot warm and happy. If you would like this little tea cozy simply leave a comment on this post telling me what is your favorite tea to drink before I update next (generally I update every two weeks) at which time I'll randomly draw and announce a winner. Please feel free to enter even if you are outside the United States.

Until next time, be well and love well and ~ add a little whimsy to your life ~ with a Mr. Puffy Tea Cozy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gift of Jewels

Gifts of Jewels.....

We have a choice in this life of turning towards people, or turning away. That sounds like a simple statement and generally it's an easy choice. However, if you have ever been hurt you know that turning towards people, especially the person that hurt you, can take a heroic act of the will.

It's all about participation in life's experiences that makes the journey fulfilling and memorable. For that reason, I try to chose to turn towards people, and the Internet provides a mind boggling number of opportunities for doing so.

Recently, I participated in the Gift of Jewels hosted by Se'Lah, a woman with a wonderful heart and a passion for celebrating life as well as reflecting on quiet moments of solace. Her blog, Necessary Room is an inspiring and caring place to visit.

I think the metaphor for the Gift of Jewels is that we all gave the gift of ourselves. Therefore we were the jewels sparkling and bringing light into the world. It was purely about letting someone know that they were special, for no particular reason. Just because. My Gift of Jewels arrived around the time we lost Mr Puffy, and I received a beautiful caring note of condolence from Carol who happens to be a talented artist. The note card (pictured below) is of her artwork and her words of sympathy were heartfelt; it's now kept in my "keep forever" file. You can see more of Carol's beautiful artwork on her blog, My Painting Room.

It was my pleasure in the Gift of Jewels to be assigned to Elizabeth, a woman in Denmark who, be still my heart, is a skilled embroiderer and a pure delight. She too was going through a difficult time with a serious eye condition at the time and my note arrived when she also appreciated some kind words. Her blog is a lovely place to visit filled with beautiful inspiration for drawing, sewing, and writing. Go see Elizabeth at Landanna and enjoy.

Not everyone reading this has the time or inclination to write a blog. But blogging and reading blogs has been a very positive influence in my life and is an example of how you can turn towards people. The picture below illustrates what I mean. In this picture (taken this past weekend) you will see a scarf I knit (originally blogged here) that was made with yarn I won on Theresa's blog T Does Wool and a vest I knit (originally blogged here) that is embellished with buttons I received from Kim of Chronic Ennui as part of our Magic Yarn Ball swap. These woman, and others I have met on-line, have become wonderful friends and I would not be the knitter I am but for my participation in the on-line knit community.

Until next time, be well and love well and, perhaps, think about ways in your life that you turn towards or away from people.