Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer of Yarn Love Swap

I'm going to participate in the Summer of Yarn Love Swap and part of the bargain is to post the questionnaire answers for my swap partner to read off my blog and then blogging during the duration of the swap. Should not have a problem with this. Here's the questionnaire.

  1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft? I do both. I prefer to knit and I have been knitting since childhood. I think I learned to knit and crochet when I was 8 or 9.
  2. Do you spin? What type of spinning? No, but I did try the drop spindle in 1976 in a Bicentennial Arts summer school class.
  3. What are your favorite yarns/fibers? What are your least favorite yarns/fibers? I really don’t dislike a particular fiber (yes I even like acrylic). I have yarns I don’t like and I have yarns I love. I love Tofutsie sock yarn. I don’t like Regia sock yarn. I don’t have any fiber allergies. I don’t like ladder yarn like Matrix. I like fun fur because I can be creative with it.
  4. What are your favorite colors? What are your least favorite colors? Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Pink, Brown are favorite colors. I don’t particularly like yellow as I don’t look good wearing it. I don’t like camouflage.
  5. Are there any yarns/brands that you are dying to work with but never have? Oh where to begin. I love yarn and trying new types of yarns and fiber.
  6. What is/are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet? I’m on a sock kick since I learned how to knit socks. I knit bags and sweaters and afghans and of course dish cloths. I like to try new things and learn new techniques.
  7. What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to work on this summer? I’m working on a pair of Nutkin socks, a cable bag, and kitchen items for a couple of swaps I’m in. I am also working on a sweater for my husband.
  8. What is your favorite FO? (Post a pic if you would like.) I tend to post the thing I’m most proud of on my blog. Take a look at my blog photos.
  9. What is your oldest UFO? The sweater I am knitting for my husband.
  10. Are there any techniques that you want to learn? Intarsia, Entralac, socks on two needles and sock on the magic loop.
  11. Are you on Ravlery? What's your ID? I’m on Ravelry and my Ravelry ID is Carbby64
  12. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes I’m a sock knitter. I have a pretty standard foot. 8” circumference and 10” from heel to toe
  13. Do you collect anything? All kinds of stuff: gnomes, squeeze (stress) balls, plates, coffee mugs, Douglas Coupland novels in First edition, wrist watches, souvenir buttons. (the tie tack kind), ink pens from trade shows,
  14. Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift? No…it’s on the wish list.
  15. Do you love sweets? What are your favorites? Not too sweet – chocolate the darker the better, I like Jelly Belly Jelly beans, Peanut M&Ms, salt water taffy.
  16. What are your favorite scents? Patchouli, Citrus, Herbs like Sage and Rosemary and Lavender
  17. Where do you keep your needles/hooks? In a tote bag my mom made. Need to work on that storage.
  18. Do you have a wishlist (Amazon, Etsy, etc?) I do have a Amazon wish list (clgentry)
  19. Having a birthday this summer? Nope…it’s in January
  20. Are you allergic to anything??? Please let your pal know! No allergies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I love quizes - I'm a Sunflower

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

My friend in Sweden (Carolia) who has this really cool blog called My Living Room, and who I met as part of a Ravelry swap had this quiz on her blog and I tried it and came up as a Sunflower.

I love Sunflowers. I know, I know, I live in Missouri and I'm not suppose to like anything about Kansas. Silly fact of history called the Kansas/Missouri border wars that in many ways are still being fought in unconscious ways in our local culture. Considering I'm not a native of this region I find the unconscious way that the Kansas/Missouri border wars continue to play themselves out in the local scene very interesting.

Well the Sunflower is the Kansas state flower and Sunflowers just make me happy.

I wanted to decorate a room in my house in a sunflower motif, but it evolved into a western motif and we call the room the Santa Fe Room, which is fitting considering that the Santa Fe trail started in this area. The decor is so southwestern and incorporates bits and pieces from my family and dear husband's family. There is still space for Sunflowers when they are in season too!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Flaming Hot 40's Gift Bag

My niece Julie turned 40 on the 12th of May. Her friends in Grand Rapids and her husband tossed her surprise birthday party on the 9th, for which I received an invite but could not attend. I sent her a token of her turning forty, which started off with this nifty gift bag that I designed and made from some yarn in my stash. I filled the bag with my favorite chocolate (Dove filled with caramel) some vanilla body wash and gift card from Target. I hope she liked her gift and the card was not one of the DUMB over the hill cards, instead it was an invitation to her Flaming Hot 40's. I sure had fun putting this gift together and hope she enjoys it half as much as I enjoyed making it.

Gulity Pleasures - Good Karma Swap

I will be mailing my package to my swap partner in the morning and my contribution to Warm Wollies. I'm sending Warm Woolies this crocheted baby blanket. Part of the bargain on the Guilty Pleasures - Good Karma Swap was that we do something good for a charity and the organizer of this swap picked Warm Woolies as the charity. I've been so swamped lately that I haven't had a chance to knit something for them but had this lovely baby blanket my aunt crocheted and gave to me to give to someone or use for a gift. This was the perfect purpose for this baby blanket and I will be adding Warm Woolies to my list of charities I knit for. I did six hats during Lent for the Seaman's Church Institute which was part of a Ravelry group.

My swap partner for this swap lives in Singapore but is in the US for a month, so I'm sending my package (which is a surprise...but contains some lovely sock yarn, some knitpicks needles, and some Kansas City specialties like Russell Stovers and coffee from The Roasterie. ) to my swap partner.

In turn I received this lovely package of surprises from my swap partner Nikki. The yarns are just yummy. Debbie Bliss (three skeins - enough for a lovely project yet to be determined) some Bamboo yarn and some Fixation sock yarn. Oh am I going to have fun knitting. But even more wonderful are the knitting needles size seven bamboo and size 8 double pointed and the stitch markers. The coffee is decalf and delicious so I can drink coffee into the night without it affecting my sleep. This wasn't a problem until recently.

Well, thank you Nikki for making this a lovely swap.

Swap on a Budget

I've been involved with Ravelry since November. My name on Ravelry is Carbby64. Ravelry is like Facebook for knitters and crocheters. There are groups and many of those interest groups swap stuff. I've become addicted to swaps of sorts in that I like to buy and give gifts and I like to get surprises. One swap I was involved in was called Swap on a Budget. I sent my package off to a woman in Washington state and it arrived at a time when she was having a tough day and it made her day, which made me happy.

Here is the wonderful package I received from a knitter in Pennsylvania (llidle). I am now looking for the perfect one skein projects for the two skeins of yarn. The bamboo knitting needles are a wonderful and of course CHOCOLATE. I like the fact that they are miniatures because it works well for portion control. One should not be deprived but a whole Hershey bar is too much and two or three miniatures are just enough to satiate the sweet tooth. I just love the colors of the bulky yarn and there is probably just enough for a slouchy beret for the winter. The crocheted book mark that Lori made for me, makes me feel special. There really is nothing more touching than a hand crafted gift, especially in our high tech world. The Handkerchief is probably going to end up in a project I've been planning.

My mom had a huge pile of handkerchiefs and I am thinking of making a quilt top from them. There is a butterfuly motif that is made from handkercheifs, but I am thinking of expanding that a bit to other things. If all else fails, I could also use them for making pillow tops. Either way, I digress and I wanted to get this wonderful package posted for the world to see.

Thanks Lori for this wonderful swap.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We Ain't Ready

I’m relatively new to the blog world and blogging. I’m on that age cusp between Baby Boomer and Gen X. I’m fascinated with my Gen X colleagues and their use of technology. I read their blogs and I’m inspired by them.

I know there is an Age Wave that the Boomers are just starting to crest and we ain’t ready. This is **WHY** I went back to school to get the second degree in Social Gerontology. The Human life cycle has fascinated me an early age. I love exploring and understanding human development and very little has been done past childhood.

What does Middle Adult development look like. Gail Sheehy looked at this in her books Passages and New Passages. I read Passages in High School – yeah I know I’m a freak just like my friend Shelly calls me. Older Adult development is pretty much only mentioned, until just recently, by Erik Erickson.

Well the impact on the aging population on the church – especially the PCUSA has been of interest to me for about a decade. Presbyterian really means THE CHURCH OF ELDERS. Elders are how govern ourselves, but I like the play on words, considering the average Presbyterian is now reaching close to 60 years of age.

Well I stumbled upon a blog this morning that had a post that asked important questions and the post is titled Boomer Retirement Wave. Carol Howard Merritt is a PCUSA colleague, author, and a Gen X pastor. She is asking important questions.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Caffeine Lovers Yarn Swap

I have an ‘addiction’ of sort and it is swaps on Ravelry. The basics of a swap are the following:

You sign up and are assigned a spoilee (the person you send a swap package to) and you receive back in the mail a package from a spoiler (the person who has been assigned to send you a package).

The swap has a price range and depending on the theme of the swap you also exchange items related to them, but the basic item is yarn.

My latest swap was the Caffeine Lovers Swap and here is a picture of what I received from my spoiler, Katie.

Coffee (3 kinds), candles (Citrus-Sage tea lites), Patchouli soap (I love this scent because it reminds me of the health food store and hippies and the counterculture of the 60's that is so vividly imprinted on my mind from my early childhood), a beautiful mug and most importantly YARN. This yarn is particularly nice Cotton blend from Uruguay.

Swaps are particularly meaningful to me because they allow me to practice generosity and giving proper gifts. I grew up with a poor model of gifting and proper gifts and it is important to know how to give gifts (share) and receive graciously gifts. There is an element of embarrassment as I look back over my life to some of the gifts that I have given because I gave gifts out of the wrong motivation or just didn't have a good model for giving. These yarn swaps give me the opportunity to practice giving and to practice receiving.

All of this goes along with a book I just finished during this past Lenten season by Miraslov Volf entitled: Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace. I preached a Lenten sermon series using this book as the model and I found the book, which was sent to me because I am a member of the Company of Pastors.

I'ts a good book and I recommend it for reading by anyone wanting to explore on a deeper level the concepts of giving and forgiveness. I know I my sermon series was a success because one of my parishioners asked to borrow the book. I look at yarn swaps in a similar way. They give me the opportunity to give of myself to another person that I don't know and to allow another person to give to me. That's the hard part because I have been so self-reliant due to my background that it is hard for me to receive.

The Company of Pastors helps keep me grounded and focused on ministry and knitting helps me express my creativity and is a great outlet for the frustrations of ministry in that I can turn the agitation into loops of yarn that then become something beautiful.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Marketing Call at Church - Glad to Be Presbyterian

Today was a rather rough day on a number of levels. The icing on the cake was this phone call from some no name organization that is in business to market to churches on how to market the church.

Marketing is huge business in our society and how the marketing culture has infiltrated the church just makes me mad. I really get steamed with how small churches get marketed to and how gullible these marketers think small churches and their pastors are. I see through their pitch and I ain’t buying.

Today I received yet another cold call from yet another ‘outreach’ marketer telling me how they can help me grow my church. HELLO….isn’t it God and the Holy Spirit that grows the Church of Jesus Christ? Well I listened to the guy’s spiel which started off something like this:

Me: Hello [I don’t have the luxury of a secretary to screen my calls during the day…I have a great secretary she works part-time and in the evenings after her day job…the church would not function without her…I answer my own phone during the day when I’m in the office.]

Marketer Dude: My I speak with the pastor

Me: I am the pastor. [It does not cease to amaze me how many of these marketer types are still surprised when a woman is the pastor…but that is fodder for another blog entry]

Marketer Dude: Yattles on about how they can me grow the church and gee wouldn’t I want to grow the church [all the while I’m thinking … I don’t grow the church …in fact it isn’t my job to grow the church…church growth happens through the work of the Holy Spirit ] and that they have already done some research [asks me to verify the zip code of the church] and was I aware that x number of new families move into the zip code each month and wouldn’t I like to have those new families visit my church and that they can help me by providing mailing labels for these new families. [I’m thinking are you are that the zip code where this church is located has the highest foreclosure rate in the United States! HELLO…that’s why there are x number of new families moving in to the neighborhood each month…it’s a transitional neighborhood]

He then asked me if we have a brochure, postcard or if send out a weekly mailing.

Me: No we don’t do a weekly mailing but we have a bulletin we hand out each Sunday at worship.

Marketer Dude: You could print up some extras and mail those out each week. Could I verify some information so we could sign you up for our program. We will do this for you for four months and if after four months and you are happy with the new families that have come to your church then you can decide to continue. [I’m seeing a cash register and hearing cha ching in my head the whole time this guy is talking]

Me: I really can’t make that decision right now. I have to run it through my Session and our next Session meeting will be

Marketer Dude: You mean you can’t make that decision now? A lot of pastors I talk to can make that decision on their own.

Me: Well I need to run this through my Session, they make the decisions for the church.

Marketer Dude: Of course they would be on board with wanting to grow the church

Me: Most likely, but we would want to see a written proposal and if there are any financial implications we would need to see those too. I would need seven copies for my meeting.

Marketer Dude: Well I think I could send you something. Do you have a fax machine?

Me: No

Marketer Dude: You don’t. We have a nice electronic brochure I could send.

Me: Only a couple of my Session members have computers and we really need to see a proposal in hard copy.

Marketer Dude: {sounding a bit disappointed} I will send something out to you and we say goodbye.

I’m glad to be a Presbyterian because of the process of making decisions. I can’t make decisions with financial implications sight unseen without the Session making the decision to authorize the expenditures. It makes my life easier in that I can shut down these marketing ploys by just a simple application of polity. It also protects me from getting caught up in the latest trend without having the Session consider if it something good for their congregation. In the process of the Session looking at something they get to think about the mission and ministry of the church and if the latest trend is actually good for the congregation and its ministry. Having the Session make the decisions makes the Session accountable to making good decisions and deciding how they are going to lead the congregation. Having a strong Session and encouraging them to make decisions about the mission and ministry of the congregation keeps me from becoming a lone ranger pastor that is building a cult of personality rather than discerning the will of Christ and the ministry that needs to take place through the ministry of the congregation…Lord knows there are enough lone ranger pastors who seek to build a cult of personality out there. I got wind of a crazy idea of one of them today before this phone call [ but that too is fodder for another blog entry in the future]

So that was part of my day. The other part of my day I don’t want to blog about yet. I will say I came home and knitted on my second flutter-by sock and got through the heel turn. I think my knitting is therapeutic, especially after a day like today.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


They are tedious and they are a small project that packs away well and is portable. They are tedious because they are knit on such tiny needles (size 1 is just 2.5 mm in circumference). I just finished the first sock of my second pair and I am really liking everything about knitting the Flutter-by sock. I started these on April 2nd. Of course with everything I had going in April I didn’t get to knit much. I am going to cast on the second sock, before I go to bed tonight (this morning) I think the second sock will go much faster than #1 since I got the kinks worked out of the pattern. I like the yarn Tofutsie by Southwest Trading Company. I received this skein in a yarn swap and just loved the colors. I have another skein of Tofutsie that is less green and more purple which will be another pair of socks – pattern to yet be determined.

My goal is to have the pair done so I can wear at least one pair of socks I made to General Assembly in June. Of course I’m going to take my knitting with me. I’m just trying to figure out what small project(s) to take with bamboo needles so I can get through airline security.