by Kerrie James


What's That They Say About Good Intentions?

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I think of this blog, the website and my faithful friends so very often, thank you for sticking with me despite my being negligent!

Does it even have to be noted that life is crazy busy?

Once it was set that all four kiddos would be in school full time I had had enrolled myself in four courses for the past Fall Semester. Things went so well - you know how I seem to thrive in chaos - I decided to enroll in a few more courses for the Spring semester. Despite having fewer courses this semester, the workload is much heavier. I am beginning to wonder what I was thinking!

Honestly, being busy is always best for me and I wouldn't have it any other way - EXCEPT FOR ONE THING - liesure time seems to have fallen to the wayside and that includes kntting and crafting in general. Not that I have the time to sit and knit, but I decided (out of guilt and longful yearning) to cast on for a pair of socks this evening and you know what? It felt so good! I have rediscovered the theraputic wonder in knitting! I have three exams next week and only an hour ago I was stressed about them. Now I feel a bit more at ease - until I start to feel wound up again - at which time I will have to knit a few relaxing rounds. I see a pattern emerging...

Can I Get a Collective "Yay!"?

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (1)

Just a short post to keep you updated. If you follow me in Facebook, you likely know that after living in our house for the past 7 weeks (yes, I made a mistake in Facebook and wrote 6) 'camp style', that is, on blow up mattresses and without seating and other comfortable items, our property will begin deliver tomorrow!


Again, Yay!

We have had quite a lot going on in the past 7 weeks to make the time go by, let me tell you: snakes, mice, ants, plumbing problems, window issues, job hunting, part time school, karate, kickboxing and of course, shlepping laundry for five people to the laundromat every week, spending $25 on said laundry and schlepping it home again. Busy? Meh.

So yes, to have our beds and personal belongings will be soooo comforting. Lest we not forget that my personal belongings also consist of a SABLEx2, spinning wheels, loom, knitting machine, books and my WINE! It may be quite possible that I lock myself in my house for a few days just for the sake of being reacquainted with my things. If you are in the area, don't mind messes and 4 boisterous kids,  give me a call and bring a wine glass ;)


What I'm working on this week:

Knitting/Design: Finishing up 1 of 4,  shawl series due for release in Spring 2013

Crochet: One more spa cloth

Spinning: A Crazy Batt of unknown origins

Sewing: Nothing

Coming Up:

A book review.

With any hope of finding my USB cord, Photos!

Spa cloth talk.

Back in the U.S.A.

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (9)

If you are reading this, Thank you! Also, if you are reading this, you are likely an online friend and are aware of my recent hiatus and may skip the following few sentences. Mid-June we began our pack out and travel from Germany to the United States. It has been 9 1/2 years since we lived in the continental USA and we are more than excited about this new journey in our lives.

July 6, 2012 we signed a lease and are now renting a charming little house in my homestate of Rhode Island (RI). While our property is still not here, we are living 'camp style' on loaner furniture from our local Loan Locker. Hopefully our property arrives in the next week!

In the meantime, Potter Craft has been kind enough to send a new book for review/giveaway which I hope to have up for you soon. I have not had an awful amount of time to commit to knitting, crochet, sewing, designing or spinning but have indeed made time for each! Please keep checking the site for these updates in the coming weeks.

So, let's see who is still keeping up with me; Leave a comment please!

What I'm working on this week: 

Knitting/Design: A shawl series due for release in Spring 2013

Crochet: New Spa Cloths for the new house!

Spinning: Corriedale Samples from Cary Smith's Corries.

Sewing: Mostly repairs ;)

So long my 2011, Hello 2012!

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (3)

It really is quite amazing to me that we are now in the year 2012.  2011 went by quickly, don't you think?  Like most, I do have what might be called 'resolutions' for 2012 but not without appreciating what 2011 brought me, both good and not so great.

First and foremost, my children.  They are both a source of constant joy and constant worry.  I love each of their personalities and think myself fortunate to be their mother.  Some days are certainly more trying than the day before, but it helps to think of the fleeting moments I have with them before they will be adults, making their own marks on the world.

Design-wise, I felt a surge at the start of 2011, receiving great encouragement from the Fiber, Needle and Textile Arts communities.  By mid-year I felt a sense of validation after receiving actual income for my efforts.  What resulted was something I had not experienced in a very long time, a sense of self worth, other than that of being a mother.

Summer was to be an adventure, I had a few fiber-related trips planned, family vacations, as well as some heavy design work to accomplish.  I had also planned several KALs and CALs and began drafting tutorials for the public.  However, my Summer dreams were put off by un-supportive persons in my life.  And so, I accepted that we would simply stay busy and kid-friendly creative for the summer. 

Shortly thereafter, I received news that my Grandmother was gravely ill and I began planning a trip to see her before she passed.  My visit was too late, however, as she passed before I could see her again, hug her again.  I took 3 days to head back home for the services and return to my family. 

During this time, I grasped just how short our time on this Earth is.  And, how truly sad it is to not live the life you mean to.  This realization came directly from my Grandmother.  An extremely hard worker and joyful person, who always put others before herself.  Additionally, my Grandmother lived a secret life of a lesbian.  She and her partner Dot had lived as 'friends' for more than 40 years, never publicly acknowledging their relationship until Grandma's death.  While the obituary was nice, I found it sad that there, for the first time in their relationship, Dot and Shirley were mentioned as a couple.

The event of my Grandmother's passing was a complete turning point for myself.  It did not occur at once but gradually over the summer, I found the inner strength to fight back ... for myself.

Like my Grandmother, I tend to put others before myself.  I slowly began to consider myself, reflecting on how I feel about certain things in my life.  And despite living comfortably, I acknowledged for the first time in 9 years, that I was not happy and, not for lack of trying. 

Which brings me to appreciation of Self.  Knowing that I am a person who deserves to be happy by her own design and not by trying to please another.  Appreciation of the realization that I should stop trying to earn love and adoration from those who should be giving freely.  Appreciation, again, of my children, who are my greatest loves.  Appreciation of people, such as yourself, who reach out to me time and time again. 

After a very unhappy, tumultuous second half of 2011, I found that what I thought would be a very hard decision, to be easy. The end of 2011 seemed like the right time to take the step to close this chapter of my life.

And so, Hello 2012!  I look forward to an amazing year!

Make It Monday: Mending

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

In a full house of six, there is always something in need of mending, but this past week seemed to be the week of Mending!  In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos of all the items before repair because frankly, I am quite impressed in some of the repairs, if I do say so myself! (all finished pics on Wednesday)


For a few weeks now, I knew that our favorite knitted blanket (gifted by friends in the Monthly Adventures Group) was once again in need of repair.  The last time it was simply a matter of re-sewing blocks to blocks.  This time, however, I had to repair some of the blocks, re-knitting in some cases.  It really was quite an undertaking but by starting early in the morning and taking as many moments as I could throughout the day and into the evening, I was able to finish by bedtime.


Before heading to work the next day, my husband presented me his leather jacket.  He read my puzzled face and promptly turned the jacket inside-out, showing the satin lined sleeve completely torn, frayed and quite a mess.  In his ever constant desire to be helpful , he suggested I simply tuck the frayed parts and sew the rip closed.  I only nodded and he was on his way.  Once he left I examined the tear carefully.  I had no intention of taking his suggestion as it would only create a larger mess later down the road.  


It seemed that I had a few options: (1) tear out the sleeve and replace it, (2) patch the sleeve or (3) re-weave or darn the sleeve.  Since I did not have any satin on hand for either replacing the sleeve or patching the sleeve, I opted to re-weave the torn section of the sleeve.  It truly seemed rather hopeless at first but in the end it looked great, considering.


That very evening, I noticed that my eldest son had torn yet another pair of pants - and new pants no less!  I don't know how he does it but he manages to tear the knees of nearly every pair of pants he owns.  And so, my evening - which was to be set aside for knitting - was now to spent mending pants … again.


The next day I realized I had a project which deadline was drawing near.  My son's piano instructor and wife are expecting twins in December.  Initially I had planned to knit booties, caps and cocoons but found out that their very close friend is a knitter and realized these items may be 'covered'.  I then opted to simply create a care package of spa cloths, organic soap, lotion and Mom-stuff.  So I spent the day stash diving and made several cotton spa cloths to gift and a few to keep.


That evening I did knit a bit but learned that my favorite DPN case is no longer adequate for all my DPNs.  I sorted the DPNs, separating by size and length.  The most used DPNs (0-2.5) were stored in my case, leaving the remaining DPNs homeless.  I went to my Fat Quarter stash, turned on the sewing machine and made a quick DPN case for the longer needles.  It isn't perfect but it does the job!


Sunday night, after my daughter's all-day dress rehearsal for Drama Club, I spent the evening repairing her costume.  The borrowed costume has certainly seen better days, the chiffon sleeves had been torn from cuff to elbow.  It took a few hours but I was able to finish the repair and while not perfect, I did try to make it pretty - though no one from the audience will see it.


Which takes us to Monday, when my youngest showed me his blankie.  The store-bought cotton blanket has thinned terribly over the last few years and the thin binding had come undone.  I spent about an hour ripping the seams to remove the binding completely, and then seamed the edges of the blanket to prevent it from fraying.  I am not sure just yet as to the binding, I think I will let him choose the fabric for it.  In the meantime, I think I need to teach the older kids and the husband how to sew!



Wordless Wednesday

Posted on September 21, 2011 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Abalone in KnitPicks Gloss.

Abalone in KnitPicks Andean Treasure.

DD and Quasi-Mystery knit.

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (1)

Lego Mini Figure Crayons, made at home.

One of Seven WIP baskets.

Abalone #5 knitted in KnitPicks Gloss.

A Non-Crafty Post

Posted on July 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM Comments comments (8)

Three weeks ago I wrote a fantastic blog entry with anecdote, beaucoup photos and even a book review.  Sadly, I had some technical issues with my server and the entry was lost just after hitting the 'publish' button.  Needless to say, I was upset. 

That same week I was preparing prizes to be mailed to the four people who commented on my blog.  Then I received some terrible news, my Grandmother had suffered a massive heart attack and was admitted to ICU.  Suddenly everything around me stopped, my main concern became to find out the details with as little drama as possible because, unfortunately, my family is gossip-y and engulfed with drama.  Another reason I was so very concerned is that I knew my Grandmother was dying.

Over the years of her life, my Grandmother had battled Breast and Cervical Cancer and has also had a lifetime battle with Diabetes.  She underwent a partial double mastectomy as well as a hysterectomy.  But if you didn't know this, you would never have known it for my Grandmother was a humble, hard working, good spirited woman.  Earlier this year I was able to talk to my Grandmother via Skype.  Even then she never let on that she was once again ill.  My Aunt revealed that not only was the Breast Cancer back but it had spread to her lungs and her liver, the doctors gave her no more than a year.  Again, Grandma would never have let on and she, in fact, didn't. 

So hearing the news of the heart attack made the reality ... well ... real.  I had this feeling that this was it, she was not going to recover from this.  I wanted to so badly to hop on a plane right then and there.  Instead, I was able to talk to her, once again via Skype, she could not speak to me but could hear me and responded to my words and also see me and my kids.  I told her how much she meant to me, that she was  a very important person in my life and had influenced me more than she realized.  A few days later, while I was calling the hospital, I noticed a message from my sister - Grandma had passed.

I had a very hard time the first day, trying so hard to keep myself together.  That night I told my husband that I had to go to the funeral, two days later I was on a plane to RI.  I could never have imagined that a reunion with my brother and sisters would be so bittersweet, we had not been together for nearly 8 years.  We each shared stories about our childhood, specifically those related to time spent with Grandma and her long-time companion, Dot.  Oh, didn't I mention?  My Grandmother was also a lesbian.  We noted how, for so many years, they had tried to shelter us and, I suppose, the community from the truth and it wasn't until Grandma's death that the world finally knew, Shirley and Dot loved each other very much, as the official obituary listed Dot as Grandma's partner.  This made me so happy to see in black and white but also sad, that they were never able to express this, so openly,  during her lifetime.

The services were both brief and cordial.  I don't know how she did it without shedding a tear but Dot kept her jovial self intact as she gave the eulogy.  Could you imagine, spending more than 40 years with the love of your life and losing them?  Dot is an amazing, hysterically funny woman and for someone in her mid-70's full of as much spunk as she was in her 40's.

So I am back home now, spending the time with my brother and sisters definitely helped me heal.  I now see my Grandmother in just about everything... like right now, she would get me off my butt to do something like cook, clean or eat her amazing food.  In the coming weeks I will back on track and will do my best to recreate the lost post.  Until then!


Posted on June 14, 2011 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Sunday I posted a 'newsletter', summing up my week, did you like this or would you rather see daily small entries?  Please leave a comment to let me know!

Monday was an early day, not that I woke any earlier than usual, but DS3 sure did.  DS2 is 'Student Star of the Week' and as such, a parent is to read the child's favorite book to the class and participate in a Q & A.  DS2 selected this book, a favorite in this household.  It seemed as though it is a favorite of the class as well!  Once we finished up there, DS3 and I had planned to do some shopping out in town but soon found out we could not!  It was a German holiday and so all businesses, save for McDonald's and gas stations, were closed for the day, bummer! 

Instead we went home and took our time in everything.  One task I had been meaning to tend was to cut a ripped pair of jeans and seam them to be worn as shorts for DS1.  I got as far as the cutting and thought, 'What am I going to do with these pants bottoms?  Immediately after I envisioned little jean catch-alls and go to work.  I knew I wanted more than denim as a design element and grabbed a remnant to add on to the cuff and bottom but something was missing.   I then recalled a wool sweater which DD has shrunk (unintentionally) and I had stored away.  I got out the seam ripper and went at it.  From a sleeve, I cut a circle to add to the bottom of the catch-all.. that was it!  I really like how it turned out and have plans to do something similar to the second leg.  If anyone is interested, I can see about getting a tutorial up.  Leave a comment and let me know!

Once finished with the catch-all, I should have finished seaming the jean shorts.  Instead, I made another pouch. (no photo just yet)

Once the kids were finished with dinner and bathed, I checked some messages and learned that a dear web-friend, Rebecca from the WIP podcast, is hosting a learn to spin session for her knitting group in France.  Rebecca had purchased a spindle kit from me when she was interested in spinning (was that last year of the year before Rebecca?) and asked if I still had them. 

It had been awhile since I maintained a store online, all my inventory has been stored away since we moved here to Germany.  I found the box of spindles and the huge Rubbermaid chest of natural and hand dyed fibers and began hand combing and blending 2 oz batches.  I thought that even if Rebecca's group didn't purchase from me, I can sell a few at the Craft Fair in July and possibly on consignment at our local craft shop.  It took 2 1/2 hours to comb and blend these two whips:

The top is an Autumnal blend of Orange, Tangerine, Earth and Natural, a 50/50 BFL/Corridale blend.  The bottom reminds me of clouds on a spring day and so Cumulus, a 80/20 blend of natural BFL and Hyacynth corriedale.  I think each night this week I will try to do two more whips, for a total of 10 spindle kits.  If you are interested in a spindle kit, message me info{at}dyodstudio.com.

Days of the Week

Posted on June 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (4)

Warning: A lengthy post follows. 

As I sit here looking back on this week, I feel as though several weeks were somehow lived in seven days.  Busy?  Sort of.  Crazy?  Always.

I began Monday by recuperating from Sunday's events and resisting to take the pain medication which had been prescribed.  Since my original plans of running errands was put on hold, I took advantage of the free schedule and decided to practice my sewing skills by making a few items.

Pain or no pain, Tuesday was an errand, appointment, bill paying day.  Once the kids were home, I began dinner, one of the kids' favorite meals: Chicken-Spinach Parmesan.  Once the kids went to bed, I spent the evening sewing my half-square triangle blocks together and then cutting and pressing them.  I am really enjoying this project and love that I re-purposed an old maternity shirt (the brown portions) for this project.

Wednesday was a day home, catching up on chores and always laundry.  I started the day as usual, sending the bigger ones off to school, and then walked our yard in search of any outside chores in need of attention.  Our yard isn't as large as my childhood home but is much larger than our previous home.  The owner's of this house are true Gardeners, I am not.  Still, I do appreciate the flowers, bushes, trees and especially, the fruits. 

We have a few raspberry bushes, a grape vine and a kiwi vine.  The kiwi has not produced any fruit since we have lived here, I can't say whether it had before.  The grapes were glorious to see last year but we left them on the vines too long, thinking they were not yet ripe as they were so small.  The sun, ants and birds enjoyed them instead of us.  As for the raspberries, those we did enjoy, in small quantities, every few days.  I noticed on this day that the grapes were beginning to grow and that some raspberries were ready to be picked and so were plucked ever so gently and later enjoyed with Greek yogurt.

After chores, DS3 decided to give me a small break by taking a nap.  I was so tempted to join him but the idea of uninterrupted crafting time was far more enticing.  I managed to finish an apron/art smock I had drafted and started sewing the week before.  This apron was also meant to refresh my sewing skills but also to be part of a gift for DS2's Kindergarten teacher.  I was going for a vintage feeling in this design and so, chose a small floral print from my stash.  I do like the outcome, especially the darts, and will definitely be making one for myself.  The only regret I have is that I did not add any pockets, a true must!

Thursday was a pretty big day for me.  A run to the bank, post office, signed the kids up for summer activities, a stop at the craft shop and a trip to the grocery store occupied my morning.  Once home I began to prep for dinner, Stuffed Shells and broccoli florets.  I was pretty drained at this point and made some carrot-orange juice, a favorite pick me up.  I had some time left for crafting and played catch up on my Crochet Lace Afghan CAL, making about 20 flower motifs.  Once finished with that, I started making cakes, one for my daughter's Drama Club party and one for my DS2's Kindergarten end of year ceremony. And finally, prepared and made mochi ice cream, also for DS2's Kindergarten ceremony. 

Friday morning the entire house scuttled out to school, DH, DS3 and I heading to the Kindergarten event.  If you follow me on FaceBook you already know, I cried like a baby.  The moving up ceremony (or Kindergarten graduation) was beautiful and thoughtful.  I was glad to have put effort into a special gift for the teacher, a phenomenal women with an abundance of patience.  Once home, I felt like curling up with my little ones and watching television.  Unfortunately, they simply wanted to play.  OK, I'll sew instead!

I decided to pull out the half-square triangles I had prepped for my quilted sewing machine cover.  Alhtough I had sewn and pressed these, I still had not decided exactly how I wanted the blocks to be placed.  So, I took lots of pictures:










These are not all the possibilities but the only ones I could come up with before feeling as though I had leaked some brain out of my ear.  After all this, I still don't know which way I want my blocks to go.  Any thoughts?  Really, I want your input!  Leave a comment to this post, telling me which layout you like best.  On Father's Day (19th) I will use Random.org to draw a number for a crafty-type prize.  I am not yet sure what the prize will be but most likely a book or craft supplies of some sort.

And now, Sunday again, we celebrate Father's Day a week early, as DH will be traveling for work next week.  We had a nice dinner of Prime Rib and Marinated Chicken and finished with one of our favorite cakes.  I made the cake early in the morning and had plenty of pudding and gelatin left over, so made small dessert cups as well.

DH didn't want any gifts but we managed to find something we just knew he would enjoy, a 21 year old Glenlivet Scotch.  It smells lovely and tastes even better. 

So here's to another week!  I hope to get all my flower motifs finished this week and, with your help, decide on block placement for my sewing machine cover.  I also plan to get some knitting finished and learn Sashiko from this book.

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