Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lots of THINKING, Not Much Knitting

(I am REALLY bad at titles for posts. I am really bad, actually, at titles for anything... This is an odd thing for a story writer to be bad at, huh?)

I've been thinking and thinking about the problem of not finishing projects and the prospect of either locking down and knitting it all in the manner of a work deadline (Not fun at all, and knitting is supposed to be fun, right? Tell me it is supposed to be fun...didn't someone say it would be fun?) OR setting the projects aside indefinitely and just telling the recipients too bad, I just don't feel like knitting on that right now (this seems much, much worse, and potentially hurtful to some non-knitting audience members, who don't understand the organic nature of making knitting fun). And the more I thought about this problem, the more I felt like the Universe is really like the end of Dogma when God is asked the meaning of life and she smiles, pushes the nose of the main character and says, "Boop!"

So maybe I was being a teeeeeeeensy bit melodramatic there, but it bothers me sometimes, my non-completing nature, and it embarrasses me to post that I've spent all day on a bracelet for me when, say, there's a red shrug that's been on the needles for gosh, how long has it been my friend? Almost a year? A simple red SHRUG? That the recipient PURCHASED the yarn for? That is embarrassing. WAY embarrassing, and it makes me feel a bit like a schmuck. And that makes me feel bad for blogging, for sleeping, for eating, for going to work, for doing anything but knitting on the damn shrug. And this is not a good mood for knitting... not a good mood for anything at all...

BUT THEN, just now, on a fellow knitter's blog, I saw something. Go back, click on it, now look at the left side... Do you see it, the section marked "On Hold For Now"? Why, that is non-threatening! Look, there's even a little thing that shows how far she's gotten on each of them. Why, she is close to finishing some of them, LIKE ME! But does she stress? Oh no. Does she worry about the non-knitting public criticizing her for her lack of productivity? No. Does she feel like God is touching her nose and saying "Boop!"? Why, NO. (Actually I don't know this for sure, but it makes me feel better to think that way, so, that's how I'll think until I'm told otherwise. And, according to her blog she is working on stash projects, which makes my point a bit moot, but let's not get hung up on details in my moment of enlightenment.) What she does is file the little (big) projects away, not under "In Progress" which would give the false impression that they are under production, but under "On Hold For Now" where she is still thinking about them, they are still there, but they are being filed for a little while while they move from being not-really-in-the-mood-for-this to now-I'm-fun-again. I like it.

So, after that rant, I am adding a new little section (it's on the right over there now, go ahead and look), and proudly announcing that I have started a NEW PROJECT!!! I am making my first two-color-knitting thingies. They are Knitty's Manly Mitts and they are for the manly man whose black cable socks I still haven't finished even though his birthday was many many weeks ago (so maybe they count as knitting from the stash? Not sure... but I think it makes them more fun). SO I am embarking on this journey guilt-free (maybe) and fun-filled (double maybe).

And if you have a project that I am, ahem, supposed to be finishing that isn't on the "On Hold For Now" list and you are concerned, just let me know. I'll add it to the list and we'll just go along happy together until I decide to put away a few files. Boop!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wristlets, Shrugs, Blankets, and... beautiful collarbones?

I have been at work these last two weeks, but (here's the usual gripe) the camera isn't working again. It eats through batteries like I knit through sock yarn, and I can't photograph. It makes me very sad to post progress without pictures, but I miss writing, so I will.

I made Knitty's Perdita in the Bluebell variation yesterday, though. I used what I had, tan cotton crochet thread, instead of embroidery floss and made crocheted buttons to close it. I'm proud of myself - my first beaded project (and first successful crochet)! Plus, now I can wear it with my scrubs and not just be blase every day... I finally made myself something, too (also a first). I do plan to make several more in all three variations, though, and distribute them amongst friends. :-)

And I FINALLY got the package in the mail and received by my friend that I mentioned over a month ago. Here's what was inside, as modeled by its recipient (her camera WORKS):
(from the front)

(and from the side/back)

The back is folded under a bit, but you get the idea. It is "Shrug It Off," a pattern written by Carlyn at the LYS. Pretty easy knitting, but it wasn't mindless - I kept having to rip back because my yarn-overs didn't line up. I felt so silly. It is beautiful, though, even if a bit big on my friend. (Doesn't she have beautiful collar bones? I've never noticed, but with her head cropped off that way, the collarbones are fabulous! How do you complement someone on their collar bones?) Anyhow, I'm glad she liked it. She's away for the summer and I miss her dearly.

Perhaps soon I will be able to post more pictures of the bracelets and everything. I've been inspired by the little bit of crocheting that I've done, and I remember the joy I used to get (and still do) when we open up my mother's Christmas ornament box and find the delicately crocheted snowflake ornaments that someone made for her. They are so beautiful, and I was always so taken aback by the fact that someone made them. No one in my family crocheted or knitted (I'm changing this--hang in there Mom, you'll get it!). I want to make those ornaments, too, and send them to friends every year in Christmas cards. I've been searching for a pattern on-line and I found THIS. WOW!!! Every snowflake you could EVER want to create! So I'm off to explore the patterns, see if I can master crochet, and put in a few more rows on the baby blanket for one of my best friend's baby-boy-to-be-born, Milo. (The blanket is growing much slower than he is; keep praying with me that it'll be done by September!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knitty is Up!!!

Yay for Summer Knitty!!! I'm totally making these.

And now I'm headed back to work (lunchbreak post).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Call For Prayer Shawls

I got this e-mail from my dad today. He ran into a friend of his that needs help collecting a few prayer shawls.

If you read this and think you can help, please let ME know by commenting on this post, or directly contact Barbara as listed. (Though I really would like to see that you helped, too... so if you contact Barbara you could, you know, tell me anyhow...)

I'm going to paste what she said here, since she has so elequently described what exactly she needs:

From: Dunlap-Berg, Barbara
Sent: Wed 6/6/2007 11:28 AM
To: Nashville
Subject: Love to knit, crochet, do a not-so-random act of kindness?

If you knit or crochet, I would love to draft you for a prayer-shawl project related to the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal! The Gulf Coast annual conferences will host a celebration Sept. 6-7 in New Orleans. As part of this event, Mississippi Area Bishop Hope Morgan Ward wants to present prayer shawls to 200 of the top post-hurricane volunteers. Several of us at United Methodist Communications are working with the conferences to prepare for the observance.

One of my tasks is to get 200 prayer shawls. I contacted United Methodist churches featured in a Tennessean article about prayer-shawl ministries, plus several other churches recommended to me, and I put an article on the Tennessee Annual Conference Web site (that article will be repeated). I currently have commitments for about 125 prayer shawls.

A few UMCom staff—Jackie Vaughan, Tracy Wood and Bridget Worden—are involved in the project, knitting or crocheting as quickly as their little fingers will fly, and I am inviting others to participate as well.

My deadline is Aug. 1. I will attach a fact sheet that answers 99 percent of the questions.

Please let me know if you can help! Thanks so much.

--Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Creative Resources Editor, Connectional Giving Team

And here's that fact sheet:

Fact Sheet: Prayer Shawls for Katrina Volunteer Celebration
1. Why is United Methodist Communications involved in this effort?
Ever since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast nearly two years ago, United Methodist Communications has worked with the conferences in that region to raise funds, recruit volunteers and share stories of the church in action and response.
2. Why are prayer shawls needed?
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Area wants to honor approximately 200 special volunteers from across the connection—persons who have given greatly of their time and talents to the recovery effort. Reflecting on the Isaiah 61:3 reference to “mantles of praise,” she—and her colleague bishops—would like to present each volunteer with a prayer shawl.
3. When and where will the prayer shawls be presented?
A celebration is slated for Sept. 6-7 in New Orleans to mark the second anniversary of the hurricanes and—more importantly—to thank volunteers who sacrificed time and money to make a difference; recruit additional volunteers, particularly skilled laborers; establish partnerships between Gulf Coast churches and congregations across the United Methodist connection; and raise funds for the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal.
4. Who will provide the prayer shawls?
The challenge now is to find individuals and church groups willing to knit or crochet prayer shawls for this celebration. Barbara Dunlap-Berg, creative resources editor for United Methodist Communications’ Connectional Giving Team, is spearheading the prayer-shawl drive. If you can provide prayer shawls for this celebration, Barbara would love to hear from you.
5. Are the prayer shawls for men or for women? Should they be knitted or crocheted? Are they to be one color or multi-colored? Are patterns available?
Katrina volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and are men, women and youth. That means the prayer shawls can be varied sizes. Both knitted and crocheted prayer shawls will be appreciated. No specific color is requested, so if you are part of a prayer-shawl ministry that already has completed shawls, they will be perfect! If you are purchasing yarn for this project, green for new life and blue for water are symbolic. Multi-colored prayer shawls are fine as well. They may have fringe, but that is not essential. Several patterns may be found online. [Shannah says: Our church's prayer shawl ministry uses the pattern found at and there is also lots of great information about the Prayer Shawl Ministry there as well.] Prayer shawls should be at least 50 inches long.
6. How many prayer shawls do you want from one individual or church?
Two hundred shawls are needed, so donations of one, 25, 50 or more will be warmly received. If you can commit to a certain quantity, it would be very helpful if you would contact Barbara in advance, (615) 742-5489, to tell her how many you think you can contribute.
7. What is the deadline for completing the prayer shawls?
The prayer shawls are needed by Aug. 1. However, you can deliver or send them before that date, if you wish.
8. Must I deliver the prayer shawls to you or can you pick them up?
Barbara will be happy to pick up prayer shawls within a 50-mile radius of Nashville. Prayer shawls also may be brought or shipped to her at United Methodist Communications, 810 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203-4744.
9. Can we tell the recipient a little about our prayer-shawl ministry?
Of course! Perhaps you already have an enclosure to include with your prayer shawls. If not, please pin a note to each prayer shawl to let the recipient know about you and your ministry.

If you have questions that weren’t addressed here, please contact Barbara Dunlap-Berg. She will gladly respond. Thank you very much! For more information about the Bishops’ Katrina Church Recovery Appeal, please go online to

Medical Receptionist

And so I return to the same company that I left a year ago, but this time in a job that actually involves insurance. Bleh. But it's a job, and I need to eat, and so... if you live near me and are having surgery, look forward to a call about your insurance co-payment and my cheery little voice on the other end.

I refuse to let my arts suffer in the face of this new job. I am not in school so that I can do my art; I am NOT going to give up art for a little job.

This is my resolution. (But how many writers are medical receptionists? Not many...)

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Fine Line

There are many fine lines, as we all know, many of which are encompassed in my life: the fine line between being completely insane and only being a bit off your rocker, the fine line between enjoying time with someone and obsessively calling them, the fine line between loving your dog and actually beginning to take on the qualities OF your dog...

It's that last one that's given me pause today. I see myself becoming more animalistic the longer I have a dog, the more time that we spend together. And then, today:

Roxie was sitting on the couch, on her butt, like a human. I begin to worry about scary Animal Farm tendencies arrising in our home. The cats have been friendlier than usual today, the rats more intent at breaking out of their aquarium with the assistance of their water bottle. And Roxie, sitting, looking at me like I am the dog.

(Note the knitting around her... the moment she picks up those needles I'm outta here.)