.the blues.

i got the blues. the madelinetosh blues. i’m trying to start the new year off right with the just right project. i chose hannah fettig’s effortless cardigan in madelinetosh’s dk. the colorway is stovepipe. while i haven’t spent too much time working on this it is still being worked up quite quickly. before i knew it i had twelve inches from the underarm. only an inch and a half to go before working the ribbing, sleeves, and neck. a finished object is in plain sight. finally.

Friday Fun

Back to School was yesterday. For Jem. Seventh grade. Middle school.

And Scout. Well, we’re preparing for Preschool. That starts next Wednesday. And since she needed new shoes, we thought we’d share her rockin’ new style.

{Too Cute.}

This is too, it’s what I’ve been using for my knitting notes.

{I used all of my Garden Fairy books so I ordered some Robots. You can get yours from Stephanie too.}

This morning I woke up early and started to work on a quilt when my rotary cutter blade broke. I put everything away and was disappointed that I hadn’t gotten very far at all.

{I’m using the Tina Given’s fabric I bought months ago. I still have a lot of squares to cut. Looks like I have to make a trip to the craft shop.}

So instead of sewing, I knit.

{Eyelet Row on back of Eastlake Sweater.}

I’ve been trying to stay busy with my extra time, but it had been such a long time since I had any that I think I forgot. I haven’t been able to focus on any one thing. Maybe my Fridays should be called Freedays. They are the only day I’ll have to myself once Scout starts school.


It’s not the word of the day, but it is how my life can be classified at the moment. A plethora of activity has been brewing at Casa de AJ.

It all started on Friday when I got really bored just sitting around watching summer reruns on the tube. I picked up some linen and wool and decided to make a sampler for the living room (it will go perfectly with my soon to be painted living room). I have to say that I’m really enjoying this freehand embroidery. I wish it hadn’t intimidated me so much before. Especially after I got a copy of Bags in Bloom. NowI have an itch to embroider everything.

Saturday I wasn’t so much bored as I was unoccupied for a while. So I decided that even though I’m still working on my Tea Leaves Cardigan and all I need is the second sleeve, I cast on for something new. (Part of the reason I stopped the sleeve is that my arthritis has been acting up when I work with DPN’s.)

So Norah Gaughan’s Eastlake Sweater it is.

{ Eastlake by Norah Gaughan in Woodland Gothic }

US 5 and 7 needles (smaller is for the ribbing)

Berroco Inca Gold in Azul Marina

And because I know how many of my dear blogging buddies love cookies I thought I’d share with you my new creation.

{ Triple Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies }

1/2 C. Margarine

1/2 C. Sweet Cream Butter

1/2 C. Granulated Sugar

3/4 C. Brown Sugar

1 Egg

3 tsp. Cocoa Powder

2 C. sifted Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 C. White Chocolate Chips

2 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Cream butters. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar until mixture is smooth (about two minutes on low if you use a Kitchen Aid mixer). Add cocoa powder and egg until both are incorporated. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips until the batter is thick.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes. Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies depending on how you spoon them. (I use a melon baller.)


As the dark clouds ominously rolled over the mountains we began our journey to the Country Fair Antique Shop. The boast 100 shops for all your shopping needs. I’ve gone there a few times and I’ve never left empty handed. Too many treasures to be found in the dusty corners of each booth.

Today was no different.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

This twin sized crocheted afghan was just sitting on top of a bureau. The booth was pretty empty, I assume they were either setting up or closing business.

And this is the kicker…

Yes, it really does say $3.00.

So Shawn bought it for me. And $3.29 I was a much happier woman. Especially walking out into the rain and thinking about what other treasures my day would bring.

Mainly it’s consisted of sitting on the couch under my blankets and knitting a new Minimalist Cardigan.

Two treasures in one day. I’m lucky.

A Remedy

Sage Remedy, that is.

I finished up my little sweater last night with less than desirable results. Don’t get me wrong, the sweater is absolutely gorgeous. It’s insanely soft. It’s lightweight, so it will be perfect for any type of weather Southern California can come up with. The color is both neutral and simple. But the fitting, well I found the pattern’s schematics to be a little off. Then again, I had problems with the pattern to begin with (I wasn’t sent the second, revised, pattern when I purchased it) so maybe I’m just a little disappointed with that to begin with.

However, I digress. I will wear this sweater. And if it doesn’t fit quite the way I want it to, well who cares? Really. And in the end I can always lose weight to make it fit, right? There’s looking at the sunny side of things!


{The back lace panel.}


{The front.}


{The Fan and Feather lace panel on the bodice.}

Would I knit this again? Absolutely. Would I make changes? You betchya. I would most definitely lengthen the sweater by at least two inches. (I’m 5’8″ and for me I like my sweaters to cover the waistbands on my pants/jeans.)  I would have picked up more stitches for a larger sleeve as well. I would probably knit this on larger needles, should I use the same yarn. I would most definitely use the Invernal again. Mmm, angora and merino wool. You can’t go wrong.

Nope, you can’t go wrong.

One Of Those Days

Today was just one of those days.

Where I woke up earlier than I desired, after a night of restless sleep. Where the weather was a little chillier than anticipated, yet not cold in the sense of the word. Where making lunch seemed quite futile and taxing.

Yes, it was one of those days.

But also a day where I can say I accomplished something.

Being ahead of schedule.

Being able to pat myself on the back.

Being able to get at least one thing done.


Just One Button Cardigan by Elinor Brown*

Yarn: Red Heart Eco Ways in Aquarium, approximately 1.75 skeins.

A very quick and easy knit. Something that I can see Scout wearing on her birthday, two months from tomorrow. When I was knitting this, I imagined her twirling around in a little white cotton dress. I imagine her being three. Two months and one day can make such a difference.

Now if I could just figure out what button to sew onto this little gem. Maybe choosing a button would make today not one of those days.

* Be sure to check errata on Elinor’s pattern page, I “accidentally” stumbled upon an error with the buttonhole. Nothing that you couldn’t figure out for yourselves.)

30 Days of Happiness: Knitting

I’m happy to be resuming my “30 Days of Happiness”. I’m just counting down each day. And even though it’s only, technically, been one day, I have to say that I am happy. At least, happier. In every sense of the word. I think it might have to do with this new book I’m reading, too. And it most definitely has to do with this:


I cast on for the Vine Yoke Cardigan yesterday. I cast aside the scarf that needs a hood and the colorful Chevron scarf with the never ending yarn. I put off knitting a dozen mini hats with pom-poms, all twenty four hats and mittens which need to be embroidered and hung to a very long i-cord. I set aside the four very different cabled socks with varying charts. There’s another sock, waiting for it’s mate. Patiently. I hope. I think.

The thing is, it made me happy. There’s something about newness. It’s very zen. I highly recommend it.

30 Days of Happiness

Over at Erin’s blog she started a Thirty Days of Happiness theme. I wanted to follow suit because the past few days, and I’m sure the days to come, have been and will be emotionally rough.

Inside I’ve felt anger, hopelessness, sadness, guilt and fear. Dalton’s death is still too new. Sometimes I coast through the day and I don’t give him a thought. But then I look under the coffee table as I sit on the couch to knit. He isn’t under there swatting his tail, left, right, left, right. I expect him to be sitting on the balcony soaking in the setting sun. But then I open the door and there’s nothing there but stucco and an empty herbal pot.

I need to dig down and find some happiness. I can not let his death consume me. I know that he wouldn’t want it that way. So I’m going to buckle down. I’m going to live 30 days of happiness.

The pictures all represent some type of happiness I have in my life, this minute.

It’s the end of the Summer.

I’ve been sketching and drawing in my spare time. Shawn bought me a new book and Derwent pencils, (my absolute fave).

I’ve been knitting the Rhiannon socks, but truth be told it will be slow knitting. (How hard does a sock have to be? Try knitting four charts at the same time. Mind you, they don’t all have the same row count.)

I also picked up a copy of Ysolda Teague’s new pattern from Twist Collective: the beautiful Vine Yoke Cardigan. I’m using some Cascade Ecological Wool that I had in my stash and already I’m quite pleased. I am thinking I might have someone make me some special buttons to compliment my new sweater.

And I have to say I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I think it’s suffice to say that it will be keeping me quite busy next week. The low down: I was born with club foot and had corrective surgery when I was a day old. Then when I was sixteen I jumped down off a fence and landed so hard on my right foot that it broke. Then I broke it again, playing softball, in 2003. The second time it didn’t heal and for the past six years I’ve had a lot of swelling, numbness and pain. I found a Dr. who can reconstruct my ankle and foot. It’s going to require a 3-5 hour surgery. A few days in the hospital. Crutches. And a lot of books. A whole lot of books to get me through 5 months in a cast/walking boot.

Any suggestions?

In One Moment

… you can write a grocery list.

… you can download five songs onto iTunes.

… you can forgive someone.

… you can change your clothes three times, shoes twice.

… you can eat a cup of Tiramisu from Porto’s.

… you can walk to the mailbox and remember the smells of spring mixed in with the scent of night.

… you can imagine what a skein of yarn may become.

… you can finish a knit sweater that’s been awaiting a good wash and warm blocking.

… you can tell three people and one cat “good night”.

… you can collect all the cups and trash around the house.

… you can make extensive plans for the next couple of weeks. *


February Lady Sweater

Dream In Color Classy: Chinatown Apples

Needles: 7’s

Mods: I was working with three lighter skeins and two darker ones so I worked the darker skeins into the yoke and bands. Ended up with about a 1/2 skein. Knit only two button holes, (still looking for the perfect buttons).

* I will be away from this space for at least two weeks. My Dr. has decided I’m a good candidate for ECT and I will be staying at Cedars-Sinai while participating in their inpatient treatment. While I know this is a very controversial treatment I also know that this is something I must do. Prozac, Lithium, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Klonopin, Ativan, Depakote, Seroquel, Geodon, Effexor, Abilify, Navane, Zoloft, Paxil, Remeron… I have tried them all. This is truly my last option. And with the research I have done, there is one thing I have now.


Take care of yourselves until I get back. And thank you, for giving me hope.


It seems forever ago but I still remember my first memory like it was yesterday. When we still lived in Chicago my mom worked as a typesetter at a magazine and at a pharmecutical company. My dad on the other hand didn’t do much of anything. He never worked a day in his life. So my mom would bundle me up in the Winters and dress me down in the Summers. I spent most of my days with my MoMo. She was the neighborhood babysitter. The cheapest my mom could find and, yet, she was the best around.

Houses are built a bit differently in the Midwest as compared to the West. Back home you had a door that led you through the kitchen. The porch and patio was usually on the side or in the back of the house. I used to sit on the dirty stoop while MoMo made me breakfast. I wasn’t more than two years old at the time. I’d sweep up all the paperclips on the patio. I never figured out why there were so many. And as horrible as it sounds I’d sit there picking off the scabs on my scraped up knees. I would sit on the stoop, all alone, for it seems that I don’t remember any of the other children that must have been there, waiting for breakfast.

I never liked eggs. To this day I can only barely tolerate the rubbery texture. But MoMo was smart. She would put a little food coloring in my eggs. Surely I’d eat pink, baby blue and minty green eggs. And I did.

I don’t know why this memory is so near and dear to me. Analyzing it a little further is a little disturbing. And yet MoMo did all she could to make sure my little tummy was full and that I was happy. She succeeded.

And now I look on today. I don’t color Scout’s eggs. Mainly because she loves scrambled eggs or a Toad In The Hole. I don’t have to color coat things. She knows what things are and takes them as they are. Children are so smart. She sings her “Scooby Doo”, she jumps in the pool on three, she slips her feet in her Crocs, she tells you if she wants milk or juice, she asks me if daddy is at work or if daddy is in the car. She’s just so smart.

I wish that I could have that outlook on life. Never thinking of what meals to prepare for this weeks dinners, not writing out a check for the utility company because it’s that time again, not worrying about locking your doors at night, not staying up til 2 a.m. to wash out the oven. I thought I had a pretty simple life. A life where things will get done and where I don’t need an overly extensive “to do” list: go to the post office, wash the bed linens, clean the cat box, wash the dishes, thaw chicken, cut 10 lbs of apples, give the baby a bath, return the library books, return the DVD’s, make the bed, fold the laundry…

Sometimes all I want to do is sit. And think. Just inhale and exhale. I don’t want to be in a frenzy to get all done because tomorrow is another day and I’ll have the exact same things to do then, too. Sometimes I feel so rushed to get it all done. I want to be done. I want to sit on the couch and vegetate. I want to think up some stories to write on paper. I want to sew til my hearts content. I want to read all those books that I’ve yet to discover. I want to knit until I have knit years worth of cardigans and socks.

Simplicity isn’t so easy though is it?

And yet, it is.


The simplicity of garter stitch.


The simplicity of a Granny Smith apple.


The simplicity of a child learning shapes and colors.