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...

Easing Back In

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello! How have you been?

As you most likely know, I haven't been around for awhile now - just over a year in fact. Rest assured, I have not retired my DPNs nor have I ceased to be creative! In fact, it is in the gentle art of knitting that I have found solace this past year. New designs have been conceived and sketched but, as most of us know, time is often limited and I am not a speedy knitter. So, those sketches and drafts are added to my binders with the hope that one day, most likely in my retirement years and should I not suffer from stiffened joints, my growing number of sketches be realized to actual knitted items.

What knitting has been completed you ask? Mostly of the obligatory type, a hat for each child and two pair of mitts. The knitting is slow going and I don't expect to finish until Thanksgiving. When time permits, the re-working of some already knitted designs as well as further writing and editing is attempted. The pattern writing, which I use to complete within a week of blocking the knitted item, is now the longest process in designing - at least as of late. In the past year I have lost 3 - yes T-H-R-E-E - laptop computers; discouraging to say the least.

My online presence has diminished quite a bit over the year as well. I rarely use social media and truly have communicated via email only in these past months. Boy, could I use a few more hours a day! A part of me misses checking in on everyone through FaceBook and reading a few sentences on Twitter but I can admit, it is also nice to be free from that sort of time suck. Not that I am free of time sucks! FaceBook has been replaced with lots of reading and Twitter with headlines and bylines. I had forgotten how much I love academia, it is nice to be in the world of books again.

So there you have it, a little catching up and some promise of new design in somewhere down the road! The best way to keep up with me would be messaging and this blog. I will make a point to update once a month, I don't think I could commit to much more than that!

Stay busy, Be happy!

What I'm working on this month:

Knitting/Design: 4 hats, 2 pair mitts / creating charts

Crochet: pram blanket

Spinning: spindle spinning some silk hankies

Sewing: patching pants!






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.

Gettin' Clippy With It

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Like many of the wired world, I have been using Pintrest recently.  A few months ago I signed up but hadn't gotten around to using it and, Evernote had been the answer to my online 'scrapbook'.  Still, once your friends and family start using something on a regular basis, you are bound to at least try it out.

Before Evernote, I would simply save that information on my computer, wasting quite a lot of space and, lets be honest, those files are forgotten once 'Save' is pressed.  The first clipping-type website I had signed up for was Skitch and then Polyvore.  Sktich is more useful as a drawing tool than a clipping tool where Polyvore is centered around fashion.  While I think Polyvore is a great site, I could never play dress up online and my life has very little to do with fashion.

"Growing Tomatoes 101" pinned to my 'Homestead' board



In the past two weeks I can see that Pintrest is ideal for all the clippings and ideas I find online.  You can create 'Boards' to organize your clippings and best of all, nothing is permanent.  For example, I had clipped a kitchen idea into my 'Organized' board.  Later I moved it to the 'Clever!' board.  Once I use the idea and either put it into practice or decide it is not for me, I can delete the clipping to make room for more.

Now I can see where some are 'pin happy', clipping and pinning hundreds of photos and video a day.  It seems like a slippery slope, you start with four boards and before you know it, you have twenty-five.  But, if you view Pintrest (or any of these sites) as a tool rather than a game or 'the next great thing', it could be very useful indeed.

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!

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.

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