by Kerrie James


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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.

Spring Flowers

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (2)

Of course it is now Spring and my garden for one is in screaming color.  I have pleaded with the kids to not pick any of the flowers but this means I too must resist.  Yet, I can not help but to acknowledge how lovely some of the Narcissus and Tulips would look on the dinning room table, but then they don't last as long once they've been cut ... what to do?

A few days ago I read this article via a Facebook friend and that very day this arrived in the mail:

Noni Flowers: 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers

The first time I had ever read (on a knit blog) of someone knitting flowers was several years back, Cookie A and her close knitting group were knitting a bouquet of Calla Lillies for a friend's wedding.  At the time I remember thinking, "How lovely and special," and thought I might try knitting some flowers, too.  Great intentions and all that...

With this book and the many, many flowers, projects and instructions I do believe I will be knitting myself some flower bouquets in the future.  But first I have to start my moving list, move, find a new house and settle into it.  This move represents so much to me and I can't wait to begin this new journey.  I think flowers will certainly be in order!

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!

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!



Focus Friday

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

A little behind but posting nonetheless!  For this Focus Friday I'd like to remind you all that the Quasi-Mystery Tam KAL is ongoing until the end of November.  Don't forget to post your FO in the finishers thread to be inlcuded in a prize drawing December 1st.  All details can be found here.

And now for a little review:

60 More Quick Knits

ISBN: 978-1936096213

2011 Sixth & Spring Books

As the title suggests, 60 quick knits designed for use with Cascade 220 Sport.  A fantastic collection of hats, mittens and scarf projects featuring bobbles, cables, colorwork and some easy lace,  ranging from beginner to experienced.  With the holiday season fast approaching, this book will get great use!

#10 Bobble Gauntlet Mittensby Cheryl Murray photo © Jack Deutschsearch

#29 Cabled Beanieby Nichole Reese photo © Jack Deutschsearch

#51 Nordic Tube Scarfby Cheryl Murray photo © Jack Deutschsearch

#51 Lace Stoleby Faina Goberstein photo © Jack Deutschsearch

Ravlery, Amazon and even Sixth & Spring do not provide photos for all the projects in the book, which is unfortunate becuase some of my favorite projects in this book are not listed (yet).  Below are some of my favorites, please excuse the iSight shots.

The very first project, #1 Bobbles & Lace Slouchy Hat, is beautiful and would be a great quick gift knit.

#36 Cabled Block Scarf is comprised of several blocks, knit on the bias, and then seamed together.  This would be a great gift for either a man or a woman.

#43 Fringed Scarf is another great unisex choice.  A simple, handsome design.

#47 Fair Isle Tam provides just enough challenge for Intermediate knitters new to colorwork and not quite ready for multi-colored fair isle.


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