Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The greatest moments of your life

There is a moral to this story so I'll start with that:

Live Without Fear Moral #1:

If there is something that you want to do or try, never be afraid to do it on your own. You may miss out on one of the greatest moments of your life because you were to scared to go somewhere by yourself.

This weekend I experienced one of the greatest moments of my life.

It's no big secret that Mint Condition is my favorite group and that their song "So Fine" is my all time favorite song. So it should also be no surprise that when I found out they were coming to Raleigh that I dropped everything and bought a ticket. Of course I asked friends if they wanted to go but no one was interested. Would that stop me? Of course not! I love them more than cooked food. If you asked me to make a choice between Mint Condition and eating I would say, "I guess I needed to lose some weight anyway." Nothing could stop me from seeing them.

Let me also add that seeing MC play my favorite song live was at the top of my "Things to Do in this Lifetime" list. They don't tour very often so I didn't think it was a possibility of seeing them, let alone having them play my favorite song. On Saturday night I was able to cross that thing off my list. The very first song they sang was my song! Words could not explain my joy.

Yes my friends, if I had been too scared to go to a concert by myself I would have never experienced one of my all time greatest moments.

So now I'll ask you.....What is at the top of your "Things to Do" list and would you be willing to do it alone?

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Friday, January 26, 2007

OCD Moment #1,384,956

As I deal with another OCD episode I come to you, my knitting friends, for help.

Does anyone know how to get their hands on some RichMore Japanese knitting magazines?

We don't have any shops in the area that carry any japanese knitting magazines and YesAsia only carries the Let's Knit Series.

Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thank ya kindly!

And in my best fake southern accent....

Thank ya kindly for all the nice words and well wishes in the comments over the last few days.

I can't respond to everyone individually but I wanted to thank each and every one of you!

Random things

Julia hit me up with the "5 Random Things About Me" Meme.

Here we go.

1. I will not eat anything past it's expiration date. Not even by 1 day. I have no desire to test the theory of exactly when food goes bad. The expiration date is a good enough indicator for me.

2. I am quite anal about being on time. Growing up, my father had a great habit of being everywhere 15-30mins late. To offset that, I always told him things started 30 mins before they really did. I hate being late. HATE.IT. I am always on time or early.

3. (This one my parents are going to love.)I'm a little creative and sneaky. I learned in my high school years that if you were the "good kid", no one ever would believe that you would do bad things. In high school I had the most creative ways of cutting class. My favorite was stuffing my purse in my backpack and then telling the teacher I thought I left it in the cafeteria. That way I got to hang out in the cafeteria and if I was questioned I could say that I had my teacher's permission. I won't even tell you how this skill manifests itself in my adult life. I don't want to taint your image of me ;)

4. I like to plan parties and would like to do some event planning as a side business. I was the dance committee kid in school. Winter formals, proms, you name it, I planned it. Parties in college and after college. It's just a lot of fun, plus it was always a great way to get into the best parties for free.

5. I once spent a whole day backstage on a Mary J. Blige tour but I never got to meet Mary J.

One Saturday while living in Atlanta I went to the fabric store. I noticed that the woman in front of me in the line had an outfit with Swarvoski rhinestones and I asked her about them. Her name was Sonia and she told me it was an outfit for Mary J. Blige and that she was just doing some alterations. We talked for a few minutes (she was Mary's seamstress/stylist and had done some work for Luther Vandross), she checked out, and left the store. As I was getting in my car I heard a loud crash. The men that were driving her around somehow crashed into the light pole in the middle of an empty parking lot. When I asked if she needed any help, she asked me to drive her down to the theatre and then maybe to the hospital. I said sure.

We went to the theatre, where I met the tour manager and the other stylists. We all convinced her to go to the hospital and I took her. The wait was too long and the show started in 3 hours so I took her back to the theatre and helped her set up Mary's outfit changes. I met most of the crew and the dancers. Then another tour manager offered me some tickets for being so helpful. I wasn't going to take them but they insisted that I come back for the show and then come backstage after the concert to maybe meet Mary. I went to the show by myself (none of my friends answered their phones when I called) and then went backstage. I met some other folks including Mary J's sister who thanked me for helping them out. I never got to meet Mary because she was talking to other folks and I offered to take Sonia back to the hospital. By 2am, Sonia had been seen by the doctor and was on the tour bus headed for the next stop. I waved good-bye to everyone and went home.

I'm the biggest Mary J. fan and was slightly disappointed that I didn't get to meet her but I was glad that I could help Sonia out.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Secrets uncovered (and on the cover too!)

When I started off as a knitwear designer I had my share of doubts. Would people take me seriously? Would people like what I had to offer? I started by publishing on my blog and then moved onto bigger goals. I've since had the opportunity to work with some great people for online and book publications.

Of course with any endeavor, there is your ultimate goal. The dream of all dreams. My dream of all dreams is to be published in a major knitting magazine.

The first time I submitted ideas to Soho Publishing, they turned down all of them. It was a slight blow, but it helped me recognize where I faultered and where I needed to improve. I went back to the drawing board, literally, and then entered new things in the next round of submissions.

Then the email of all emails came. They wanted three of my designs.

One each for the Spring and Summer issues of Knit.1 and the other for the Spring Knit Simple.

I held onto this little secret until the check cleared and I knew for sure that things were going to get published. It took all the strength in the world not to tell you all.

But that's not even the biggest news. The greatest news I received a week or so ago. Want to know what it is?

On March 7*, my little ditty will be gracing the cover of.....

When I found out, I screamed and danced for about 10 mins, fell out on the floor, and then called my parents.

I have to thank all my bloggy friends for helping me reach this goal. Without all the encouragement it may have taken me years to get up the courage to reach this goal.

(*day it hits the newstands)

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Be good to your sheep

Forget Hitchcock's The Birds. This movie will make you see knitting in a whole new light.

Watch the trailer here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The natives are so entertaining

As you might be able to tell...It snowed yesterday.

It didn't snow much but this little bit is the reason that living in the south is so entertaining. It was all of a half inch (1.5cm for you metric folks) and the city was in peril. No ice, just snow and a little sleet. Every news broadcast was saying "Winter Storm Watch" and pre-empting morning shows to bring you coverage of the half inch that was bringing the city to a stand-still. FUN-NY! The children had a snow day which was ridiculous. In Ohio it has to be more than a foot before they even consider shutting down a school.

And the funniest part is that it was all melted by noon.

With all the secret knitting going on, I've started to miss my "Me" projects. Everything that I have made in the last two months has been shipped off somewhere. I thought my knits might be lonely so I gave them some friends to play until I can get back to them.

This last set of submission has me in a whirlwind but after they are done I'm taking a break. I need some "me" time and that means some "me" knitting.

And in some breaking news...I can finally reveal some of my secret knitting. I'm going to wait until Monday to tell you the good news though. What I will say is that it is exciting.

See ya Monday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Anyone up for a little sweater weather!?!

It was 70 degrees on Monday so this is a slight shocker but we are definitely overdue.

Lately I've been trying to find ways to cut down on my spending and save more money. Here is one of my newest little money saving tips. Enjoy!

The "Starbucks-Isn't-Getting-My-$4.65-No-More" Chai Latte


2 Chai tea bags
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (or regular milk)
3 tsp cane sugar (or 2tsp Splenda)
cinnamon & nutmeg for garnish

Boil water and then steep the teabags in the water for 5 minutes. Add your sugar & stir to dissolve. (You are making a tea concentrate). At the same time, heat the milk to a slight boil. Pour the milk into the tea. Stir, garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and enjoy.

I know they sell chai latte mix at the store but I don't believe in tea that comes from something that looks like a big juice box or a powder. This is also more cost-effective. Teabags have a longer shelf life than an opened juice-box of latte mix.

Monday, January 15, 2007

VK saves the day/ The new blogger?

VK is graciously sending me a replacement magazine. Hopefully the post office doesn't mangle this one.


Have any of you that use blogger switched over to the new blogger? Was it easy? Did you lose any of your posts?

Blogger is now giving me the option of switching over but I fear losing all of my old posts. For a person that spends her days in front of a computer, I have very little faith in the technology sometimes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

No Mr. Postman, I don't believe you

Please read the little love letter that Mr.Postman left me.

Do you care Mr. Postman? Do you really care?
I don't think you do because if you did you wouldn't leave me gifts like this.....

My poor little Vogue Knitting magazine shredded to bits.

If you really cared you would have slipped $7 in the bag with my shredded magazine so I could replace it.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yarn Review: The Truth about Knitpicks Swish

Disclaimer: This is an informative review. It is in no way meant to disparage or endorse the product or the creater/company associated with the product. The sole intent is to share information about the practical characteristics of the product that may not be found at any other information source/website.

This is KnitpicksSwish Superwash yarn.
110% Superwash Wool
110 yds/50gms
Suggested gauge: 4.5-5sts/1" on #6-9 needles

This yarn is intended to be used for machine washable knits and if you intend to use it as such there are certain characteristics that you must know and prepare for.

1. This yarn does shrink when washed.

Using a US 7 (4.5mm) needle, here is the gauge I obtained for a 4in/10cm square:

Unwashed: 18 sts/ 28 rows
Wet blocked: 18sts/ 28 rows
Washed: 18sts/32 rows

This is current as of today. I am not aware of whether Knitpicks will make changes to the yarn such that it does not shrink in future yarn lots.

2. Not all washing machines and water are created equal

This is probably the most unexpected and most important thing to know. I started a project here in North Carolina and was washing the pieces in my Hotpoint washing machine. A very basic machine with three wash cycles. It took 1 warm water cycle to obtain the proper shrinkage and gauge.

I finished some pieces and washed them in my parent's Kenmore machine in Ohio. A machine with a gazillion wash options. I attempted to use the cycle that was most similar to my machine. It took 3 warm water cycles to obtain the proper shrinkage and gauge.

This picture shows (from left to right): Unwashed, Hotpoint/NC washed, and Kenmore/OH washed pieces.

Any form of washing will make the yarn fuzz. This is a common characteristic of most superwash yarn. But notice that the piece (3rd) that required 3 washing is really fuzzy and has a slightly felted look.

Here is a closer look at the difference between the two washings.

I do believe that the regional differences in the water did have an effect on how much the yarn fuzzed and how fast it shrunk, not just the machine I used.

3. Do NOT allow yarn joins/knots in the middle of a row.

This is for those that make yarn joins in the middle of a row. Do not do it.
This yarn does have joins in the middle of the skein. When the yarn is washed and shrinks, these joins will come undone, leaving holes. Most likely you will have to undo/frog the whole piece to fix it. Once a piece is frogged, you will have to redo the whole piece, and possibly the whole garment. This is because once washed, the yarn has been shrunken, and the 32 row gauge no longer holds true when you re-knit. You will now have to knit with the 28 row gauge. This may require a pattern/needle adjustment.

The simplest way to avoid all this:
If you find one in the middle of the row, undo the row, and start the row after the knot.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Family photo time

Heeeeyyy Everybody! I'm baaaaack.

I know it's been a while but it's taken me a little while to get readjusted to my life of solitude. I love my family but they wore me out. So much to do, so little time.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures. I don't usually post family pics due to their protest but they'll just have to get over it.

Here are the long since promised pics of my godson, EJ, "Incredible Bionic Baby Boy" as I like to call him. I need to call now and see if he's walking yet.

This is G-ma, who I gifted some Lorna's Laces Socks for Christmas.

We had an interesting conversation where she tells me about her trips to Tuskegee when she was younger. In a matter of fact statement she says, "I remember meeting that Carver man and him showing us all his little inventions". You gotta love those older generations. Talk to them long enough and you'll learn something new every time.

Every holiday Mamacita organizes craft time. It's been different things over the years like ornaments, magnets, jewelry, and candles.

This year it was chocolate dipped pretzels and marshmallow on popsicle sticks covered in sprinkles.

These are a few of the newest family members that I got to see when I was in Detroit.

It's funny how a simple scarf can entertain a child for hours. This is our invisibility scarf. No one can see us when we're under it.

And watch out for this one. She'll be on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 in about 14 years asking for her own island. Her Christmas gifts included an Elmo TMX, a fur coat, drum set, keyboard, and a flat screen tv. Did I forget to add that she is only 2 years old.

(I just love the face she's making.)

And last, here is Mili, Bill, and I celebrating New Years Eve in Chicago. It was a fun time had by all.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Live without fear

I'm not really big on the concept of resolutions but this year I have decided to make one.**

Live without fear!

Over the past two years, I've been on a quest to rediscover who am I and what I want out of this life. The one thing that I have learned over the past year is that I have been a bit inhibited. I think its a side effect of the corporate world. So in the interest of being true to myself I am doing away with the obstacles.

What does it mean to "live without fear"...

-Live life with reckless abandon and spontaneaity

Some of the best fun comes at the spur of the moment

-Live life like it's an adventure
Explore new and exciting things. Don't wait on others to make things happen. Take that trip if you want to. Learn to do things on your own.

-Live your dream
If you want it, make it happen. Dreams without ambition will leave you with regret.

-Speak the truth in all things
Sparing someone else's feelings isn't always what's best for you or them.

-Express yourself freely & seek the opinions of only those that are important

Dance if you want to dance, drink if you want to drink, flirt if you want to flirt. What others think is not really as important as you think. If they know and love you, then they'll accept you unconditionally.

-Live life to the fullest
You are not guaranteed this day or the next. The job and money can be gone tomorrow. Make sure you appreciate what is in front of you at this moment, right now.

I wish you all a very happy,blessed,safe, and fruitful New Year!

**(I'm actually writing this on Thanksgiving but figured I save it for January 1 in the spirit of resolutions and such.)