I live by the sentiment that I will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Ninety-nine percent of the time I live in peace with past and present. But that one percent can be a thorn. It deals with my decision in college and grad school not to follow my love of drawing and painting.

At the age of seven I knew what I wanted to be: a writer. I commandeered my mother’s old manual typewriter from the 1930s (I still have it!) and pounded out story after story at my little desk in our basement. I was writer, editor, printer, and illustrator of my own little books. One of the most prominent memories from that time was that darn typewriter and how I literally had to hammer each key to get it to print, with mom upstairs calling “You better not break that typewriter.” When the black ribbon that ran from spool to spool would come to an end, I had to rewind it. Usually I could almost get three rewinds off the ribbon before I had to beg a new one off my mother.

“What are you writing down there”, she’d ask while handing over yet another fresh black ribbon.

“Nothing.” I’d say. The classic kid response to everything.

In addition to the typewriter on my little desk, what once was a tin can of peas was now a holder for pens, drawing pencils, editing pencils, and a pink eraser. Stored in the desk cubby hole was paper for the typewriter, carbon paper, paper for drawing, and the old standard black and white cardboard covered notebooks used for school, but which I used for journaling all my ideas both written and drawn. I was a conservationist’s nightmare when it came to paper products. I also had, prominently displayed next to a  large old fashioned industrial counting machine, a pink message pad with the words While You Were Out printed boldly across the top.

In high school, I dropped story writing for poetry. I call those four years my Lord Byron period. I also drew a lot and discovered painting and art class. I was drawn to poets like Silvia Plath and other writers and artists who had tragic endings. I could understand why she put her head in an oven. I comprehended why Hemingway shot himself. Mom and the school counselor introduced me to psychology via the school psychologist. The upshot of which was I stopped writing so they had nothing to read. I withdrew into my world of drawings and paintings most of which had to do with what would be called fantasy art: a world of fairies and elves. I had found Tolkein, Beowulf, King Arthur, Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight. My art teacher and I formally parted ways in that I took no further classes with him. He wasn’t into fantasy art. So on my free periods I would sit in the school hallway and draw.

When college time came my parents and grandparents all agreed that unless I was going to study something that had relevance (translation: that led to a J-O-B) they would not be funding my education. And so I studied journalism, Literature and creative writing. I took no art classes, but for one where I honed my focus to drawing broken things. The art teacher just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t studying art. I had the talent but I needed the formal knowledge. I almost switched. But the family financial aid would go away and so I didn’t step foot in another art class.

But I guess it all worked out as it should. Perhaps I was not ready to study art. I don’t think I would have made it to here because I was in a period of my life in which I was shutting down. I have found that  I can’t make art and be shut down; apart from my emotions. Everything I create requires me to be emotionally involved with it. Even the knitted garments I create engage my emotions. I really have to feel when making art.

Lots of things are going on. Regarding knitted things: 2 shawls, a pair of socks that are so close to finished I need to be ashamed I haven’t completed them yet, the new baby sweater with the new collar worked out, the baby boy sweater needs to move into sketching mode, and Ming Blue needs revisiting as it is haunting me.

Instead last night was a very late night for me. I didn’t hit the sack until 4 am. Mr. Nocturnal, Yarn Rascal, delights in these late nights, but they just sap the heck out of my energy and I walk around all day in a fog. I sketched, drew, laid out, designed, on my logo last night. I am trying to pin myself down to workable designs that can effectively convey the feeling and mood as well as clearly and easily let people know what I do. In short, I’m branding. I have hired a graphic designer, she is such a lovely person, and I fear I might be driving her crazy.

Last night I came up with a wonderful design I just loved. The only problem is it would perfectly fit as a book cover for a cozy mystery along the lines of Maisey Dobbs or the Ian Rutledge series. Alas, it works less well as branding my technical editing and knitwear design business. The Skipper thought it a book cover and that I was writing and printing my own books now.

Today I am on the search for something to bonsai. It’s lovely out and I’ve wanted a miniature landscape with rocks, moss, and a tree to set nicely in a bowl on our large farm table. The question is begin one from scratch or purchase one already in progress and hope I don’t kill it. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

On Friday, I had said I was expecting more packages of yarn and wondered how to get them inside the house without The Skipper noticing. The comment Notewords wrote is right: it’s smuggling. I hadn’t thought of it that way before so I  pondered it a bit and I decided I’m okay with smuggling yarn into the house. No sneaky tendrils of guilt hid anywhere in my being over this.

Also in the comments on Friday was a great one from Jennifer suggesting I stash the yarn package in the trunk until The Skipper fell asleep then joyfully bring it into the house and immediately secure it in the yarn vault. I thought this a brilliant idea and so I went with it, even though I don’t have a trunk in my car.

I own a Subaru Forester. It has a cargo area visible to all who walk by but it is not a trunk. True, it has a fabric covering I can pull out to hide whatever I have in the back, but doing that would be like raising a red flag. The Skipper’s interest would be peaked and he would surely look to see what I was hiding.

The closest I get to having a trunk like enclosure is the front end of my ‘Buru, under the hood. Admittedly, a lot of things are already under the hood, not least of which is the engine, but I thought perhaps I could sneak in one more thing. To keep the yarn clean I took  a large plastic bag with me and drove down to the mailbox. Yarn Rascal hates riding in cars so he was fit to be tied  stood sentinel in the picture window as I vanished down the hill.

Open the mailbox, sure enough out pops the large yarn package that contains a sweater-to-be for me. Needless to say, I just couldn’t put it in the plastic bag without first opening it to squeeze and bury my face in the new yarn. When I was done loving it, I put the package in the plastic bag and drove back up the hill. The idea was to stash the yarn under the hood until The Skipper went to bed and then bring it into the house. It would be safe out of sight under the hood because we were finished with the car for the day.

I got out and tried to open the hood. How hard can it be to open the hood of my car? Quite a bit, since I don’t ever remember doing so. Hoods don’t simply open. They need to be unlatched. I came up with that brilliant piece of deduction after repeatedly trying to pull up the hood while standing on the bumper for better leverage.

Locating the latch was done by feel. I gingerly ran my fingers around the dark, grimy underside of the hood three times before I found it.  Although the latch was located I somehow failed to understand how it unlatched. Push, pull, swipe right, swipe left, no matter what I did it remained latched. My growing anxiety told me I was taking too long to open the hood to pop in the yarn. I was at risk of raising the interest of The Skipper. Also of no help whatsoever, Yarn Rascal was in the window jumping up and down yelping because he knew what was in the package and he wanted his share of the yarn. So I frantically pushed, pulled, swiped, banged, grabbed at the latch even faster because time was running out. The Skipper was bound to come out to see what was going on.

I gave one last tug and the hood popped opened. I stuffed the package on top of the least dirtiest item under the hood: a large round thing and slammed the hood shut. Just then the door opened and The Skipper stuck his head out to ask if something was wrong. I waved his mail at him and inside the house I went.

After dinner, while I was loading the dishwasher, I thought I heard the car start up. Impossible. For a brief second I was paralyzed, frozen to the spot with a fork in one hand and a pan in the other. I looked out the kitchen window and saw the car glide down the driveway. This is not happening, I kept saying while I ran full tilt and banged open the screen door sending it off its hinges. A quick stumble down the stairs and there I stood in the middle of the driveway watching the tail lights disappear around the corner. Nooooooooo, I screamed. But it was too late. The car with The Skipper at the wheel and the yarn on top of some engine part was gone.

My mind began to race. How long would it take the plastic bag and yarn to catch fire? Plastic doesn’t burn, does it? No it melts. The yarn won’t burn either; it’s wool. No it will smolder and singe. Sh#@$&%t. The yarn had been on sale and the color was discontinued. In short, it was the last of its kind. The magnitude of the extinction I just witnessed hit me like a rogue ocean wave.

What could I do? I turned to go back inside. There was Yarn Rascal standing in the picture window with a skein of yarn in his mouth that looked an awful amount like the yarn I thought went down the drive. Needless to say the chase was on. True to form, Yarn Rascal led me right back to the initial scene of the crime. On the bed in the bedroom was my ripped open bag of yarn. The yarn I thought had just sailed down the road with The Skipper was here and almost safe.

After I tackled Yarn Rascal and pried the yarn from his little jaws, I took the entire bag and put it in the yarn vault. The Skipper returned with some ice cream and the three of us sat quietly enjoying our bowlfuls. The yarn was never mentioned.

The next package due to arrive is only one skein. It’s coming from abroad. It will be small, hardly noticeable at all. I’m thinking I’ll take a small basket with me and say I am going to collect some rocks for a bonsai project. I’ll stash the package underneath them. Then I’m on a yarn diet for awhile.

Here are some of the pictures I found interesting as I sailed around the Web this week.

Wollow Scarf by Nancy Marchant in one of many brioche stitches.

Willow Scarf by Nancy Marchant in Rowan’s Kid Silk Haze. From her book Knitting Fresh Brioche–Creating Two Color Twists and Turns.

Lace socks found on Knitty

Lace socks found on Knitty


Source: Chloe. Colorful left over yarn can add a pop to a sweater knit in neutral colors.

Twisted Yarn's Cottage Bag worked in Crochet. Love it!

Twisted Yarn’s Cottage Bag worked in Crochet. Love it!

source bontheuishouden

source bontheuishouden

I don't know. I thought I had the gauge right.

I don’t know what happened. I thought I had gauge. Only kidding! Trending this year on the runways are structural knits and clothing.

Okay, it's embroidery not knitting. But I love the 3-D artistry.

Okay, it’s embroidery not knitting. But I love the 3-D artistry. And no weaving in of the ends!

Thought I’d share a laugh with you and found this picture on the web:

knitting bag

The reality is, it’s getting a little dicey here, my creative friends. Since March Madness has ceased, The Skipper has been way too attentive to the packages and packages of yarn entering the house via the mail each day. Ah, if only March Madness could easily stretch itself like stockinette stitch into April. Yesterday, The Skipper asked me what I planned to do with “all this” yarn. I don’t know what he means.

Truly, I don’t understand the question. What does he mean what do I plan to do??? Is he speaking specifically, asking what the plan is for a specific ball of yarn? Or is he speaking generally and including all the new yarn? So I looked at him like he was a foreign object that just happened to plummet to earth and land in front of me. The bad thing is more packages are on the way. I keep thinking if only I could score a copy of Season 2 of House of Cards from the library he’d be as happy and pliable as a baby with a pacifier. Unfortunately, were number 21 on the waiting list.

In the mean time, all the incoming yarn has excited Yarn Rascal from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. He virtually runs down the hill to the mailbox dragging me behind him. I’ve found the return trip back up the hill goes easier for me if I give Yarn Rascal a ball of yarn to carry in his mouth.

I haven’t quite figured out how to get the next package of yarn into the house unnoticed. But I am working on it.

Spring has sprung and everything is, as usual, happening all at once.

1) My allergies are ramping up nicely. Each day more sneezes, itchy eyes and nose. Can Summer, the height of allergy season for me, be far behind?

2) Frogs. Yes, my friends, all the frogs that wintered over are coming out. I am so happy to see them. Last night Yarn Rascal “caught” a Peeper. I have heard the peepers sing every year of my life but until last night I’d never seen one. He was a cute little fellow and appreciated being rescued. Yarn Rascal, it is clear, knows no bounds lately. I put a call into the emergency vet because some frogs / toads can be toxic and we had already had one brush with toxicity earlier. (See below).

Tulips on windowsill

3) Speaking of toxic, I bought some pink and yellow tulips to brighten up the kitchen yesterday. Even though I am extremely careful never to drop anything on the floor because Yarn Rascal is a vacuum that’s always on, I must have let slip one tulip cutting, and dang if that dog didn’t grab it and run into the living room with it. While at the same time, The Skipper’ children and grand kids arrived and the Poland Spring water delivery guy came up the drive. Tulips, daffodils are all toxic to pets. So I put a call into the vet. He suggested I give Yarn Rascal a time out and if he started showing signs of sickness rush him to the hospital. With the grand kids here, Yarn Rascal was having no part of a time out. Instead, I gave myself one and used it to meditate.

4) My mammogram came back A-Okay yesterday! I love my doctors. I love my life.

5) I joined Claire’s Lace Leaf KAL. I’ve never done a KAL before. But I like the people who have joined this one and, like the child I can be, wanted to be included. Suffice it to say, everyone has way more done than I do and their projects look lovely. Mine looks like the nest of a small mouse.

6) Speaking of mice, Yarn Rascal has been hunting something in the house. I fear it is one of the small field mice so I’ve set the Have-A-Heart-Traps. When I catch the little imp I’ll move it to the barn where it can frolic and play till its tuckered out.

7) I bought more yarn. This time for a sweater for me. I am officially on a no new yarn diet.

8) I started back working out with Tai Chi. There is nothing like trying to perform controlled, fluid, slow, relaxed movements to highlight just how crazy, tense, and hyper I am. Two years ago my breast cancer interrupted my Tai Chi. Two years later and I am back at it. I am doing my best to walk away from cancer and not let it affect me emotionally, mentally or spiritually anymore.

9) I’ll say it again. I love my life.

Tulips on table

Busy is the word here. I’ve got five projects in the works, four of which are on needles, one of which is a shawl KAL. Little can compare to the delight I experience when Webs Yarn Store has a yarn and needle sale. The thrill that ripples through my being is way out of proportion to a normal response and tells me that I am, despite all my protestations to the contrary, addicted to yarn.

The goodies I ordered arrived this weekend. Half-way down the hill on our little walk to the mail box, Yarn Rascal started crying and screeching. That’s when I knew the yarn order had arrived. Trotting down hill is so much easier that running up it. We arrived at the mail box where Yarn Rascal jumped and tore at the cardboard box holding the goodies. While I walked back up the hill, my little Bichon sprang up and down like a Jack Russell Terrier. I keep telling him he has no terrier in him.

Back in the house and this happened:

yarn rascal greets yarn 2

yarn rascal greets yarn 1

yarn rascal greets yarn 3

Yarn Rascal is the self-appointed greeter and inspector of all things knitting. He greeted and inspected his way right into exhaustion. A pleasant evening was had by all.

The Contented Crafter

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Knitting Yarn and Life


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