Tuesday, October 26, 2010


As a knitter, I have acquired a small collection of crochet hooks.  Not that I actually crocheted with them.  But they're indispensable for certain cast-ons and fixing ladders and the like.  I always admired other people's crochet (all that deliriously cute amigurumi!) but felt that I had so much to learn in knitting (this is still true).

One day when I was recovering from the flu, I had little energy for anything too physically taxing.   My body ached but my mind was tired of TV, books and my current knitting projects (rare but has been known to happen) so I finally sat down and attempted to decode the intricacies of the one needle loop-de-loop.

Susan Bates Pamphlet circa 1970 - still relevant today

After a few yarn messes and a couple of choice curse words, I think I got the hang of it.

My practice swatches.

And thus I decided to embark on my first crochet project: a bookmark

Pattern: Fan Bookmark by Crochetroo

Yarn: Royale Classic Crochet Thread

Crochet hook: 2.0 mm

 After I puzzled out the crochet lingo and realized that I was actually supposed to crochet inside the ring and not in a specific loop of the initial chain,  I was amazed to see something take shape.  A little row of delicate Queen Anne's lace blossoms stacked up on one another.

 bonus points if you recognize the text

Was it hard?  Yes, it was hard for this crochet neophyte and by the end of the project, my fingers and wrists ached from the unfamiliar motions.  But it was satisfying to have a finished product and to know that I had learned something new.

This got me thinking: there's always a small part of me that balks at the unknown and unfamiliar, no matter how exciting or potentially rewarding it may seem.  What if I appear foolish, what if I get totally lost, what if I just plain suck.  But when I push those doubts aside and manage to get the hell out of my own way, it's always a valuable experience, no matter the outcome.  I've been thinking a lot about this fear of newness - learning how to crochet is just a small example.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stitch Markers

Recently, my friend Caryn showed me how to make stitch markers.

I got a little obsessed and made a lot.


They're rather addictive.

I even made some as gifts.  These are for my buddy Gwen (bugheart) in honor of her cats Spot and Bear.

Word on the street is that she likes them.  Hopefully Spot and Bear approve too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


In Nashville, we went to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium (Opryland was closed for renovations due to flooding).  A few of the acts were worth the price of admission but overall, it was kind of a big yawn.  I guess I was expecting something more from an American institution.

Jamie O'Neal

It was kind of like going to church. Hard wooden pews and all.

But one of the highlights of our trip was the Americana Music Festival.  We were lucky enough to attend the Music City Roots at the Loveless Cafe (really good biscuits too) to see some fine musicians play.

Chuck Mead and friends

Madison Violet - they just about stole the show

Corb Lund - cowboy from Canada

The headliners: The Steeldrivers

Check out the Steeldrivers.  It don't get much better'en some Good Corn Liquor.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The rest of our time in Tennessee was split between Memphis and Nashville where we ate BBQ and listened to music.  In Memphis, we caught some great live acts at the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival.

We visited Beale Street.

and Graceland (of course) to pay homage to the King.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All roads lead to yarn

I was good.  I limited myself to one yarn shop on this trip.

Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg, TN is a quaint shop in a quaint town.  It's crammed full with all sorts of fibery type stuff suited for spinners, weavers and knitters alike.

It's a cheerful, well-lit space with a wide selection of yarn for the knitters,

roving for the spinners,

and looms for the weavers.

On the day I visited, the proprietor was out of town for a family event and the owner of the fly fishing shop next door let me in so I could poke around.  (If you go, the Spinnery and the Angler share the second floor of a building located a few minutes' drive from the main drag in Gatlinburg.  There's plenty of parking which can be at a premium in this touristy town).

A very nice place to while away an afternoon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Country Road...

I consider myself a Southern girl at heart.  After all, I grew up south of the Mason-Dixon line and there's nothing I like better than bacon and grits for breakfast unless it's smoky barbecued ribs for dinner.  Can't get much more Southern than that.  Mmmmm, ribs.

Yarn Widower rolls his eyes at this. Bethesda, Maryland is hardly considered the South.  So then I have to point out that I was born in SOUTH Korea and that trumps his South Jersey provenance any day.  And while you're puzzling that one out, let me tell you about our trip to Tennessee.

First we spent a week in the Smoky Mountains.  We rented a cabin built into a hillside overlooking the mountains. It was quite lovely.

We watched the sun rise every morning....

and the boys serenaded the mountains every evening.

Bennan joined us on a hike.

Up to his usual antics

Here he discovers that mountain streams are a heck of a lot colder than South Florida beaches.

More to come....
spoiler alert: there's yarn in them hills!