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.

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 ;)

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.

Don't Be A Bubble Head, Back It Up Baby

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (1)

February already!  It is an extremely cold and snowy day here in Germany, a perfect time to update my often neglected blog and website.

So, two weeks ago my husband had the boys for the day and I thought it would be a perfect Me day.  Take a soak, read, watch some television (something I rarely do!).  The idea of taking a long bath was too enticing and the thought of catching up on Downton Abbey while doing so seemed like a perfect combination, not to mention a time saver.  Our bathroom, literally, a room with a bathtub, shower and sink, is long.  On one end is the tub, the other is the shower.  Since I was to take a bath, I thought I would set up my laptop on the chair near the shower, that way I would not risk splashing my computer with bubbles or water.

Bath drawn. Check.

Towels near. Check.

Candles lit. Check.

Computer ready. Check.

Press play and soak!

I watched approximately 15 minutes when I decided the water could stand to be a bit hotter.  For some very strange reason, I pulled the plunger and turned on the water in one quick movement sending a spray of water directly onto my computer.  I jumped out of the tub, citing a few expletives, and flipped my computer upside down, hoping gravity would save me.  I then turned it off and again, flipped it upside down, grabbing the towel and drying off as much water as I could.  I thought I was safe... the water had only just touched the computer and I was quick to act.  I took the computer to my bed, placing it upside down and open a bit, looking somewhat like a teepee.  Then I realized I was naked, save for a few bubbles stuck to my skin, and dripping wet.  I grabbed a towel.

I brought my laptop downstairs to open the back, pull the battery and possibly the hard drive.  Damn, I could not find the appropriate tools!  In a situation where every second counts, I found myself growing frustrated.  After finally finding the right micro-tools, I pulled the items from my laptop, placing them all on the window sill near the heater.  Then I prayed to Steve Jobs that after a few days of drying out, all would be well.  Six days passed before I had the courage to reassemble my laptop and give it a try. 

Hard drive. Check.

Battery. Check.

Every tiny screw secure. Check.

Power button. Ummmm....  Power button! ... Nothing.

Perhaps overly optimistic, I did not get discouraged.  Realizing that the computer had not been charged for seven days, I thought I would simply plug, charge and try again. 

After one hour, it was plain that my beloved MacBook Pro (MBP) was dead. More trouble shooting and several Recovery program sessions later, my MBP was confirmed to be no longer working.

I have tried so very hard to stay positive and not be too upset but I keep thinking about All.The.Photos. in my MBP.  How I had been using my MBP almost exclusively for the past year and a half and though I had thought quite often of backing up my MBP to my nearly empty terabyte external hard drive, I never quite got around to it.  How I have been working on a book of 18 patterns for the past year and nearly Every.Single.Note. was in my MBP as I had resolved to use it instead of papers which I always lose and misplace.

So already February 2012 and I've already learned a valuable, if not painful, lesson.

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!

Still Crafting a Life

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (2)

Where do I start?  It's been too long since the last blog post.  This week I will try to get back my regular posting schedule (post on Monday, pics on Wednesday and reviews, projects, spy on Friday).


To explain the lapse:  At first simply a matter of life being far busier than usual and then sickness fell on our household.  Then, while not 100%, I still had errands to run and obligation to tend.  Simply not much time for the internet save for a random post via HootSuite (I love that tool!) or most days, just check a few messages here and there.  Finally, this past week, I don't think I had been online at all, except to check my email a few days.


What I've been up to this past month:


I always try to make time for knitting.  I've finished two pairs of socks for SKA's October challenge, finished my Quasi-Mystery Tam and have started a mystery shawl by Pat Shaw.  I am currently knitting a third pair of socks for the October challenge as well as a pair for the November challenge. (photos on Wednesday)


I found making time for sewing to be a tad more challenging.  The Monthly Adventures group was started at Christmas time and so, the Christmas/Holiday swap is a big one.  I had to make a GCD (Gift Containment Device) - last year was a stocking, this year I made basket.  I knew I needed something large (to contain the gifts!) but also wanted something on the utilitarian side.  Aside from some seams not matching up, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. (photos on Wednesday)


And of course, shopping must get done.  One of the items on my list of things to purchase was a pound of Lavender.  I became dizzy with the options out there and ultimately settled on ordering from a small farm based in Washington state, Scented Lavender Farm.  I am utterly shocked at how quickly my order arrived, less than a week - unheard of for military mail! (In my experiences, anyhow).  


This next week I will have to make several sachets for storing my yarns and fibers and other stored items in need of protection of moths and carpet beetles.  How do you store your valuable yarns, fibers and made items for long term storage?


Another item in need of attention this past week was to order a new piece for one of my ball winders.  I am embarrassed to say that I have more than one but my favorite one is a U-nitt Jumbo Ball winder.  I am able to wind nearly 500 gr of yarn into one cake! (sometimes joining is required)  Of all my winders, this is the only winder able to handle the 300 gr Wollmeise Lace in one winding. (ok, I may need to take break from time to time)  The pigtail or yarn guide had been broken by my youngest son.  Try as I might, I was not able to repair it myself and so, wrote the U-nitt company, asking if I would be able to purchase the piece.  What excellent customer service! Within 24 hours a message was sent, asking for my mailing address so that  a new piece can be sent!  


There really has been so much going on here and this post is already quite long.  I will leave you with some great titles I've perused this past month:


Sew the Perfect Gift: 25 Handmade Projects from Top Designers

 Just in time for the holidays!  This book is filled with sewing ideas for gifting, ranging in Easy to Intermediate projects.  I've already marked two items - time to whip out the sewing machine (again)!


Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In

A great idea for a book if ever there was one!  Focused on the crafting community and the transition from DIY to Craftivism - the act of crafting from the heart to better the community and/or make a statement.  Yarn bombing, sewn grocery bags, charity crafting, crafting for the sake of the Three R's (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) and crafting to raise awareness are all covered subjects with included projects.  


Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters

If there is one thing many knitters shy away from, it would be finishing.  I myself recall the first pair of socks I knitted in worsted weight yarn.  I had no idea how to Kitchener and let the socks sit for weeks before finally attempting the task.  This book covers all aspects of finishing and would be a useful addition to your library.


The Knitter's Book of Socks

Less of a focus on design and more on sock knitting with a purpose.  Clara breaks down sock yarns and to an almost scientific detail, educating knitters as to how certain yarns behave due to fiber content and ply.  Several patterns accompany this book by well known designers such as Cookie A, Nancy Bush, Cat Bordhi and others.





Pick Four: Easy Fabric Choices for Great Quilts

I really love the concept of this particular book.  Picking colors and fabrics can sometimes be overwhelming.  This book shows you how to keep it simple: select four fabrics and go!  


Quilting Those Flirty 30's

The quilts in this book are nostalgic, gorgeous and inspiring.  I've never been one for applique work but this book certainly has me considering it!


Another Bite of Schnibbles

A great collection of traditional quilts made of 10" blocks, with clear instructions for piecing and layout.  


Urban Country Quilts: 15 Projects for the Home

A nice collection of quilts and pillows of modern, oversized design.  As with all Martingale quilting books, instructions for piecing and layout are very clear.


Slash Your Stash: Scrap Quilts from McCall's Quilting

Fun, traditional and seasonal quilting projects all created with your scrap stash! 






Focus Friday

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This week the focus has been not only on some deadlines, both knitwise and pattern writting, but also on the giveaway, attempted crochet-along (CAL) and upcoming Quasi-Mystery Tam knit-along (KAL).  I've also been reviewing several books and products but won't get to those until next week.

The giveaway winners were announced on Wednesday; I've been gathering prizes suitable while I wait for mailing addresses. 

As for the CAL, I would really like to get this off the ground again and will.  I do have many, many deadlines knit-wise and so, I am planning to (re)start this CAL just after the holidays.  I do apologize once again to the few who have shown interest in the CAL.  Please hang in there! 

And finally, the Quasi-Mystery Tam KAL will officially begin tomorrow.  The pattern will be free for the months of October and November, after which the name will change, the file re-formatted and then up for sale.  Anyone who actively participates in the KAL will receive the finished file in December; for this reason, email addresses may be asked and will be kept in confidence.

Wow, I know I've been swamped but after writting this brief update, it seems like nothing!  Dontcha hate that?

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