Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Santa sent me a new camera!!!


I'm really hoping that my blog can go to the next level now that I have a REAL digital camera. I've been knitting like crazy and have some shots of christmas presents that I finished. My fantasy knitting life and my real life hit a major road block the friday before christmas eve when I realized that I had only finished one present (my list included at least 15 projects). I have no discernment when it comes to the time it takes to make a nice knitted object for gifts. So instead of having 15 wrapped presents for my wonderful family I gave them each a card with an IOU.

My nephew and niece were the only ones who received finished projects:

Here is Sheldon the Turtle for Pipey:

This pattern is in the new issue at really fun to make!! and pipey loved it!!

I also made what I call the "Ringo Hat" for my nephew Farrell. He's 6 and his dad is a HUGE beatle fan so I crafted this version of the brimmed hat from the Knit.1 men's issue.

Here's some more shots of Piper and Farrell during their christmas romp at Nana's:

OK, I'm being kicked out of my favorite wireless coffee shop so I will devulge more about christmas knitting another time.

take care, sue

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl


Another holiday project: two Swallowtail shawls made with Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud: one in a teal color the other lilac. I've sent in a request to join the Swallowtail knitalong, which always helps me stay focused. This is really my first attempt at real lace so I hope it goes well. I know this is way too ambitious to pull off but I love to challenge myself.

My holiday WIPs are now: Swell hats for 2 nephews, Argyle socks for 1 brother, Pocket Shawl for mom, and two arm warmers for whoever ...

Other WIPs for me: Silkroad Cardigan, Vintage pullover and I need to alter my pattern for houndstooth and make another sweater. I'm really hoping to submit this pattern somewhere, somehow!

take care, Sue

Monday, October 23, 2006

Holiday Knitting


Ok, so the closer it gets to the holidays (or the f_in' holidays as my friends call it) the more I try to gauge how many presents I can knit in time. So far I have ZERO presents done. That leaves about 20 left. Right now I think I'm going to make all the guys the Swell hat on Knitty. I'm almost finished with one in blue and white stash yarn (Patons classic wool doubled on 8 needles).

Even though the gauge seemed right (4.5 per inch) the hat seemed small to me (I used the medium version for my nephew Frank's head). Plus the carry method of changing colors always makes the pattern area less stretchy. I also had to make it a little longer before I started the crown shaping. If all this fussing around makes a good hat, I'll make 4 more for the rest of the guys in different colors. I have some pumpkin and olive patons classic wool that I was going to make my Kurt Cobain sweater with, but opportunity knocks and I don't have any money to buy more stash.

I think the women are all getting arm warmers. There are piles of good patterns out there if you want to check them out. I made the first set for MB's birthday with Wool-Ease in a shiny white:

Mikado Fingerless Gloves

Snowball's Chance Armwarmers

Lion Cashmere Arm Cosies

Funky Punky Armwarmers

Supple Rib Knit Armwarmers (I like these)

Striped arm and leg warmers

Merino Stripes Gauntlets (that's a fancy medieval name for armwarmers!)

Patterned Armwarmers

Ribbed Armwarmer ($4 pattern)

Wacky Armwarmers

Faux Cable Armwarmers

ShitLoad of Armwarmers!!!

Everyone is getting these this year!!!!

take care, sue

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Working on a new look ...


I wanted to change the look of my site. It's still in progress but I think it has a cleaner, more cloudlike effect. Tune in for more soon.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Classic Argyles or Why Isn't there any solid colored sock yarn out there?


I have many vintage VK magazines and my oldest copy (from around 1945) has a classic argyle sock pattern, which those wartime wives made for their grey flannel-suited men when they came back from the war. My brother is a classic preppy and thought he would love a pair. So I went to a local yarn shop and darnit if I couldn't find any sock yarn with plain colors!! They were all the jacquard/fair isle/colorway stuff. I really wanted to get some tweedy fall colors. I ended up getting Rowan 4-ply soft in basic brown and 3 skeins of Rowan Cashsoft in light green, peach and blue. Since my socks needed five colors, I had a ball of Lanet in white that I used for the fifth color. Expensive, and I'm a little worried about the angora in the Cashsoft since my brother is allergic to furry animals.

So here is a horrid!!! cell phone picture of my progress so far which I mangled in photoshop to try and get the colors right. (i will try to get something better tomorrow). I'm using #1 double pointed needles but the argyle pattern is knit on two needles down to the instep. You start using five when you get to the heel and then later sew the back seam. I am also using self-made knotted bobbins of yarn for the color work. I found this technique in the Vogue Knitting Encyclopedia page 85.

I think I will post the directions for a free pdf download. The magazine was from the 40s so I hope that's not a copyright infringement. I'm not saying its my own work or asking for money. Is that OK?

take care, sue

Monday, September 11, 2006



I'm so proud to say I've finally finished Sonnet, made with Tahki Chelsea Silk, one of the nicest yarns in my vast stash. It is gauged at 4st per in, knitted with 10.5 needles, and trimmed with I-cord. I also bought some very beautiful shell buttons from my LYS that reflect the colors in the sweater beautifully. Check out the shots:

Sorry about the tampon dispenser in the background. I took this shot in the 4th floor women's bathroom of Willard Straight Hall, Cornell.

This photo shows a little more detail of the variations in the yarn and the i-cord edging. Also the shell buttons, which are very nice.

Ah the sense of accomplishment. But then on the other hand, there is this gaping hole feeling of what to work on next? I guess I better finish my Jaywalkers. Then I have to make a list of presents to make for the holidays. Felted hats are high on my list.

Take care, Sue

PS. I would also like to acknowledge the 5th Anniversary of the Terror Attacks on 9/11/01. I am honoring the day, not re-living it like some of the news stations want us to do. I think living through one day like that is more than enough. May God's light shine upon them. Amen.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Update on Life With Just Me & Bluey


I realized the other day that I'm living alone for the first time in my life. I lived with my parents and brothers and sisters till I was 19 and then lived with Joe for 28 years. Thank God for my kitten Bluey. Or I would really be depressed!!

This is not a bad thing I am finding out. I can do whatever I want as long as i don't spend a lot of money. The actual legal process has not started yet so I'm trying to be frugal so I can keep my house.

I realized yesterday I'm going to way too many meetings (i'm in recovery 9 yrs, 10 months). Hiding in the rooms is not a good way to deal with life. Also staying in bed all day when I'm home is not good either. My friends in the program are priceless to me. A wonderful group of women who are all my sisters. Oh yes and then there is my real sister, Mary Beth, who calls me every day. I really love her.

What's keeping me stable these days is trying to stay balanced. To check my balance every day I start with an I Ching reading. Today was 5:Waiting, line 4&5 changing to 34: Taming Power of the Great. I read it to mean wait and save your power until the time arrives to act. The best reminder to myself is to be kind and not put too much pressure on myself to take action through fear of failure. This is a rough time on the psyche, almost like a death, so I have to sit in waiting and heal. I think I can do that.

So I started reading up on Narcissism. This has been an interesting psychological diagnosis that was often lodged on my missing father. So I started reading this BLOG, What Makes Narcissists Tick? (see my blog list below to check it out.) I also
downloaded this person's book that goes with her blog. She is a free lance writer and not a psychologist but it seems like she has the experience of living with such a person. The traits also really fit my husband (soon to be ex). I think reading this stuff is only helping me in one way. It helps me to realize why it was so impossible to reach him emotionally. It was the same way with my father. In time I think it will help me move on from the thought that things could have been different if only I acted a different way. Acceptance is key ...

thanks for listening, sue

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Progress on Sonnet


I finished the body of Sonnet today (finally!) I'm thinking about doing the sleeves simultaneously to get finished quicker (or is that just an illusion?!) Here is a shot of the front with Bluey in the way. She's been supervising progress all week, trying to compete with the yarn for my lap. (she's getting bigger)

I'm starting to think about presents. September is a huge month for birthdays in my family and I'm thinking socks. I also want to finish the Jaywalkers before the end of August, but I don't know if I can give them up since they were so expensive (selfish) and are also so beautiful. This is my problem with giving knitting away as gifts. I want to keep everything I make. But I really want to save money this year and I have SO MUCH in my stash. Have I shown you my stash lately? (this is a picture from the spring but the only thing that's changed is about 30 more skeins of yarn!!!)

I'm still perusing the new Fall VK with a section on cool sock patterns (I like the thigh highs!) Also, the little scarf booklet that came with the new Interweave knits. I really want to make the Pam Allen scarf that looks like a tree branch. Looks fun.

Well, I'm still internetless at home so I'm sitting in the Ithaca Bakery with what seems like many parents bringing their freshman to Cornell (it's orientation weekend). The summer is officially over! :-(

take care, sue

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finished Vest and Martha's Vineyard

I was so antsy to finish something that I whipped up this Twinkle Vest (from HolidayVK 2004) with some kitchen cotton from my stash. I like it, it's funky!

It's basically a long chunky cable attached to a seed stitch back with some twisted fringe. I think I finished it in 3 hours.

This weekend my dear friend Liz invited me to visit her at her cottage on Martha's Vineyard. I'm so blessed with good friends who are rallying around me in my time of need. It was my first time on MV and I enjoyed riding the ferry over and seeing all the sites (especially the beautiful houses). We rode bikes and hung out on south beach. We went to Edgartown one night and it was filled with happy, preppy people!!! :-) The weather was beautiful. Check out my crappy cell phone shots of our visit to the Gay Head Cliffs and Lighthouse (and one of the harbor from the ferry).

I hunted down one yarn store in Vineyard Haven called the Heath Hen. They had a lot of summer yarn on sale but I was good and stuck to my Stashalong promise. I did get the new Interweave Knits with the Scarf leaflet. Good stuff in there.

Take care, sue

Monday, August 07, 2006

My New Friend!


Since my breakup I've been thinking about getting a cat. Then I decided I wanted a siamese cat, so I saw that there was a siamese mix at the SPCA but when I got there it was like an inmate insurrection!! The cat attendent had this crazed calico scratching her face (a lot of bleeding) and the other cats were hissing at each other. The siamese I wanted to look at was cowering in the corner and as she wiped the blood from her face the attendent said, "I wouldn't pet her, she bites!" As I left even the kittens were fighting! Bad day in the lock-up!!!

So I looked at the local internet classifieds and a woman in Penn Yann was selling pure siamese kittens for a reasonable price. So I drove the almost 2 hours (through gorgeous farmland and lakeviews) to Penn Yann and found her farm. When I walked into her small house there were two kids, five dogs, and two cats each with their own litter. (oh yes and the horses and cows in the back yard). I picked out one of the three girls. Here she is, my new pal, Joyous Blue:

I call her Joy or Bluey, whichever works. I was amazed at how small she is, she's only 8 weeks old. She is not even 24 hours at the house and she's using her litter box and exploring all the hiding places in the living room. I sneezed a little bit, but overall I'm not allergic to her (not that bad).

When I left her to go to work today I left on the new age channel on my xmradio and she snuggled right up to the speaker! I now take back everything I said about people going on and on about their cats on their knitting blogs!

take care, sue

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I have one Jaywalker sock and I'm almost finished with the back of Sonnet. Today is the 29th so I have the weekend and Monday to finish. It's funny how life goes. I'm thinking about this knitting project because it's so much less stressful than the fact that my 27 year marriage is ending. :-( I always thought of knitting as therapy but this may be something not even knitting can help with!! I am reminded of Brenda Dayne's podcast where she talked about the Memory Muse (if any of you listen to her fabulous podcast "CastOn") Knitted garments take you right back to where you were when you were knitting them. I'm hoping my Jaywalkers remind me of the beautiful vacation I had down at Topsail Island and my blue sonnet sweater will always remind me of being so sad while listening to Joni Mitchell sing "Hejira."

There's comfort in melancholy
when there's no need to expain,
it's just as natural as the weather
in this moody sky today

take care, Sue

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm at the Beach!!


I'm on vacation with my family down at Topsail Island, NC. What a blast!! The weather is perfect and we have 15 Tierneys in two cottages. The median age here is about 19, so we have a lot of carousing going on. :-)

On the knitting front, I brought Sonnet and the Jaywalkers and I'm in the process of finishing the first sock.

I've adjusted my July Challenge on Stashalong so I can finish Sonnet and Jaywalkers by the end of the month. I don't think I'll have a problem with the Jaywalkers, but when I get home next week I'm really going to have to concentrate on Sonnet.

Back to my routine of swimming, sleeping and eating!! (and knitting of course)


Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Design In Progress: A Fringed Tank

I'm on vacation (YEAH) and I started designing a new sweater. About two years ago my sister, MB, gave me a cone of cotton chenille that she bought on ebay that looks very suede (color called champagne). I started a couple of projects with it but frogged all of them because they didn't fit the "suede look." Being an old hippy, when I think suede, I think fringe. So I decided on a boatneck tank with fringe. I have started experimenting with drawings in Illustrator, and here is my sketch of the tank:

I'm still deciding just how much fringe I want, front and back every three inches and at the botton edge and collar edge or just up to the bust in the front and along the bottom edge and plain on the back. I'll see how it goes. All over fringe might look like a flapper shirt (although that might be cute). I'm using an eyelet pattern every three inches on front and back which will either attach the fringe or just be a pattern if I decide not to fringe all over.

The eyelet pattern goes like this:
Row 1: K, Row 2: K, Row 3: K1, *K2tog, YO* end K1, Row 4: K. Row 5: Repeat Row 3, Row 6: K.

Here is my progress on the knitting so far:

I added fringe to the botton edge to see if a three-inch hang would work. I like it. I'm using size 5 needles at 5.5 st per inch. It will be size L (40 in bust).

This is going to be one of two projects (including Sonnet) that I will try to finish by the end of July for the Stashalong July Challenge.

Wish me luck!! One more day till I go to the beach!!!! YEAH!!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's time to get back to Stashalong


I had a successful two months on Stashalong, and then took June off. My buying of yarn came back uncontrollably and as I hit "BID" today on 10 skeins of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed I realized again that I was manic about buying yarn. I've had this yarn on my ebay search list for a couple of months because I really want to make this Jo Sharp design from Interweave Knits: Silkroad Cardigan. Does anyone know if this sweater has a Knitalong? If not, I might start one this fall to make this sweater. I got 10 balls of brindle and I'm looking for two skeins of Silkroad DK tweed in pulp.
This sweater is so beautiful and I can't wait to start it. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to Sonnet this week and join Stashalong for another 2 months tomorrow.

Keep the faith!!!! Sue

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I've joined the Sonnet Knitalong


I discovered a Sonnet Knitalong so I joined today. Looks like some innovative knitters are on this KAL, with ideas about shaping in short rows and I-cord trim. I've been on several blogs where people are knitting Sonnet and it seems like most people, like me, are thinking BLUE! If I can stop picking up my new sock project, I'll make some progress this week and will post another pic.

take care, sue

Monday, June 26, 2006

Good Nautie, Bad Tutu or My Trip to NYC


Just got back from an exiting trip to the Big Apple. I love jumping in my car and going on excursions like this. I had several "dates" set up for this journey. On Friday night I attended the Cornell LGBT Alumni Pride Celebration on the 60th floor solarium penthouse near Wall St. Although I was an hour late because of mind-numbing traffic, I arrived and was thrilled to see so many former students. It was a blast. Kent and his wife Sue were there, too (Sue is a fab knitter!) Although a little rainy on Friday night the view from the terrace was amazing.

Second date on my journey was to visit my brother Tom and his wife Miriam in Brooklyn Heights. I brought Farrell his 6th birthday present, the Nautie!, and HE LOVED IT!! He even brought it to bed with him when he said goodnight. I call that a major success. He loved the fact it was a fossil, and showed us the other present he got for his birthday, a T-Rex model which my brother told me came in a brick and he had to excavate it and put it together just like a real paleantologist (with Dad's help). So cute!

I also told Miriam about Piper's Tutu that I was making and learned some very important information: NO PINK. Miriam makes a point of never putting pink on Piper. I'm not sure what the rationale is for that but I was very happy to hear that!! No biggie. I'll go look up another cute pattern for a sundress for her and I'm sure I'll be able to find another toddler cutie who likes pink. What's the point in making something that won't be worn, I say! That means I can start another project! :-)

Date 3: I met up with my daughter Kate and took the subway to SoHo where she works at NikeID. She designed me some cool sister spirit soccer sneakers and then I had to say goodbye, but I asked her how far away purl soho knit shop was. It turned out it was only 3 blocks away!! I've been to purl's website many times and Kate bought me some purple skeins of Cascade 220 there for Christmas last year. It was POURING rain and all I had was my distrato poncho so I cut under the awnings till I got to sullivan street. The shop was adorable! I was probably there for a little under an hour perusing sock yarn and patterns. I also wanted to look at Alchemy's Synchronicity for the Rock Star pattern but I was underwhelmed. For $24 a skein it already looked a little pilly so I passed it by. I did end up buying some outrageously expensive sock yarn: two skeins of Koigu KPPN for 11.50 each and a set of #2.5 bamboo double pointed needles (I thought 2.5 was a funny size!). I started a Jaywalker sock while I was in Brooklyn and the yarn is luscious! (Although I pulled it out because the size was too big). Here is a shot of the yarn.

I'm sorry I don't have more pictures of the weekend but as I was driving into NYC I was on the phone with Kate getting directions to her Nike shop and my phone went dead! Bummer!! I really need to get a digital camera bad. I would love to show you more shots of the streets of New York in the rain. I really had a lot of fun. Freewheeling!

This week's project is Sonnet. I was thinking about starting a halter top but I want to behave and keep going with the finish project.

Have a great day, sue

Friday, June 23, 2006

Progress this week on Piper's Tutu


I thought since I'm working on UFOs week to week I would give Friday updates. I had given myself a deadline of this Friday to finish the tutu so I could bring it down to Brooklyn this weekend when I visit my brother and his family. Well I finished the back. Progress is progress and really Piper's birthday isn't until July 8 so I still have time. That's another problem I have with not finishing projects, especially if I'm making them for a special occasion. I get disgusted with myself if I don't meet a specific deadline (e.g. Christmas presents) so I just chuck the UFO deep into my stash closet and it gets forgotten. I think that if I control myself I could say "ok I missed my deadline, but this could still be a really cute Valentine's day present or a "It's just a Monday" present. Who cares? Just give!

Ok, so here is the back of the tutu finished:

Speaking of giving, yesterday while I was knitting I was reminiscing about my brother Tom (Piper's Dad) when he was 2. He was such a cute baby and I was 10 years older than him so I remember a lot about when he was that age. He clung to a blanket and sucked his thumb just like Linus from Peanuts. We actually loved Peanuts at that time and at Christmas time I would paint our back sliding glass doors with the ice skating scenes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I googled Linus blanket to see if any savvy knitter had created a pattern, and came to the Project Linus website. I think I remember Brenda Dayne talking about this charity on her podcast. I thought about designing a pattern that would be just like the classic wool satin-trimmed green blanket that my baby brother carried around religiously when he was a toddler. Well, if I pursue this idea, I will keep you posted. Now I have to plug along with the tutu on the off chance I can finish it before I get to Brooklyn tomorrow!

Have a great day!!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Finished Objects and Another Sweater!


I've created a finished object section so you can see what I've been working on for 2006. It was actually a satisfying task creating that section because I realized I did get a couple of things done this year. In the meantime, I started another sweater ...

I went out with my mom on Saturday to go to see the DaVinci Code and have lunch. I had to take her over to the new location for my LYS "Knitting Etc" because she lives very close. We had a lot of fun checking out yarn and Hickory had a sale basket with seven skeins of Elsbeth Lavold Silky Tweed in purple (favorite textile:silk, favorite color: purple). $4 a skein. Had to have it, and my mommy bought it for me (i love my mommy).

When I got home I pulled out one of my Vintage VKs from Spring 1964 for a lacey shell I was hoping to make some day. The yarn is taking to the pattern beautifully, so I guess I'm going to have to adjust my "Project Finish Knit" goal list and add another sweater. Here is my progress so far:

I had to rip this out twice because the lace pattern, although fairly easy, needed more attention than I was giving it. It turns out that I really have to count along with the stitches so I don't start day dreaming. the pattern is

Row 1: k2, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1* yo,k2
Row 2&4: p
Row 3: k3, *yo, sl k2tog psso, yo, k3* k3

If I count in sixes, I keep to the right pattern. Mind control at its best.

take care, sue

Friday, June 09, 2006

Progress on my Vass Sweater


So I mentioned the other day that I joined the Finish Knit-a-long, which is another knitting self-help site in which you contract to stick with 3-4 projects until they are FINISHED! What a concept. So of course I'm on a sweater that I started this week (instead of keeping to the four sweaters I started earlier in the month!) which is kind of like a drunk who knows she's going to rehab tanking it up before the white coats arrive. :-)

I've been admiring this pattern for a while. It's a ribbon yarn sweater designed by Joan Vass from the Spring VK 1996 issue. Last year when I discover the Yarn by the Bag site, I bought a bag of Patons Fresco for 12 bucks. (that's 10 skeins!) I've started at least 3 different projects with this yarn and ripped out each of them. I really like the feel of the yarn. It's almost like cut up strands of tie-dyed t-shirt! As I mapped out the yardage I discovered I was probably going to be about 3 skeins short (and of course this yarn is discontinued). Off to ebay where I posted a "want it now" message. In a couple of hours, I had ordered my three skeins!! (love ebay) So I like the way the varigated colors are mixing in the pattern (like a wavy diamond intarsia pattern), and I think at this point I have no excuse as to why I wouldn't be able to finish this sweater! Famous last words!

The other three projects I've committed to finishing are Piper's Tutu, the Spring Scarf, and the Sonnet Cardigan. We'll see if I can stay out of the bar!! :-)

take care, sue

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thanks for your comments!


I am very happy that people have been visiting Cloud Heights and leaving comments! I love receiving the support for my knitting projects and even one person who liked my tonka poem! What is most exciting is hearing from other bloggers so I can visit their sites, too. Michele wrote me about her new blog Project Finish Knit which is like a heavenly gift for me. I just finished two months of Stashalong and this project, to limit the number of projects on the needles, could really help me to break out of my unfocused obsession with starting yet another knitting project. GREAT!

I hope this helps me to start my Finished Objects page! :-)

take care, sue

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I can't stop starting!

I know you know this. For the past week I can't stop starting. I've been jonesing to start something new although I have, let's count them, 8 projects on needles. I know it's because of the summer weather that has just descended on Ithaca, and my idea that I need summer camisoles knitted for every day of the week before I go on vacation. It's hard to be a seasonal knitter because if I think of a nice summer sweater in mid-June, I'm lucky if I finish it by Christmas. Same thing if I get the fall issue of VK in August and then I have a back and a front of my Aran cardigan by May. (i made that up - I never got past the first 10 inches of my Aran cardigan that I've been planning since the mid-90s).

So I've started and ripped out 3 different starts this week, so now I'm going to try and temper my obsession by giving you an update of the Sonnet sweater:

This sweater is coming out great! I enjoy the pattern and the silk/wool yarn is gorgeous. What's my problem? Stick with this one Sue so you can wear it at the beach at night!!! Yikes.

Another part of my mania this week is that I saw an ad in the new InterweaveKnits of a sweater from Alchemy called Rock Star. I had to have it so I went to the alchemy site and they referred me to to buy the pattern. In a rush to buybuybuy I ordered the pattern for 6.50 + .54 tax + 6.50 shipping!!! As I browsed around later I found the same exact pattern at Webs for 5.00. See what compulsion can do to a person (and a pocket book!) Arrgh.

Well, I feel better now. Back to Sonnet. I really need to finish a couple of pieces so I can start my Finished Projects page. :-)

have a great day!! sue

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tonka Poem


As I walked across the Fall Creek footbridge the other day on my way to work, I saw something that conjured this poem. I wanted it to be a haiku, but I had too many syllables. Thanks to Joe, my favorite poet, who said that it could be a tonka (5-7-5-7-5):


With Plathian oven mitts
She lowered the fishing line
into the abyss
With love notes for the missing
attached to the hook

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Merrill Presidential Scholars is over (or now I can have a life!)


I don't talk about my job much because this is my space to explore the other half of me that gets ignored while I'm running one of the busiest offices at Cornell University. I am the assistant to the Dean of Students and besides being sole support for the Dean (who is a great guy called Kent Hubbell, professor of architecture) and working with some of the most brilliant and fun students in the world (from all over the world, too) I have to coordinate this monster program called "Merrill Presidential Scholars Convocation." It's a two-day event which honors the top 1% of the graduating class of Cornell (36 scholars) who invite their favorite high school teacher and favorite Cornell faculty member to celebrate with them at three events hosted by the President of Cornell. This event dominates my life from early February till it's over the last week of May. By the time it's over I'm a brain dead wet rag of a person who needs to sleep for at least a week. When I'm able to come to consciousness the Thursday after the last event (which is today) all I can think about is what I am going to do with the amazing amount of time I now have back to live my life. Knitting of course comes immediately to mind!!

So I started another sweater. :-)

Why do I set up these percentage bars when they never move because I'm continually starting other projects? I guess that's for another post but since I am still working the Stashalong for the month of May, I saw this sweater in Knitty and decided it was perfect for this beautiful blue Chelsea Silk yarn I bought on ebay last year.

I will post my progress later in the week but this sweater seems to be going very quickly because it's a side by side design in garter stitch (I love garter stitch!!) I think my biggest problem will be deciding what buttons to put on it since this design lends itself to very funky buttons, which I'm excited about.

Stay tuned! sue

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yang-May Ooi's Lit Blog: Fusion View

A while back I received an email from Yang-May Ooi, a writer from England, who wanted to use one of my cell phone pictures for her essay on knitting. Wow! Another great internet connection! You can read her essay here: Knitting Blogs Yang-May's blog has so many wonderful stories usually about writing but also about any subject you can think of and she also invites guest writers, too. Check it out! I am getting a better appreciation of writerly blogs thanks to Brenda Dayne's podcast and all the wonderful writers she invites to read essays on Cast-on (not to mention her own beautiful essays). Thanks for finding me Yang-May!!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Finished a Nautie!

Ok, so I had to do it. I jumped on the nautie bandwagon (see the nautie knitty button below to go to the pattern). This thing is so cute and my nephew Farrell loves squids and make it a dinosaur squid and we have kindergarten nirvana. I decided to make it so I can send down a gift box to Tom and the fam for all the May birthdays: that would include a present for Miriam (not going to tell unless she reads this) and also the Piper Tutu and Nautie for Farrell. FUN! The colors of the nautie turned out to be a little gross but that gives the little guy even more boy-appeal. I love the dreadlock/tentacles.

Well I had a tooth pulled today so I'm feeling a little under the weather. This week I will post about playing Joni songs at the Recovery Center benefit on Saturday night!! A good time was had by all!!

take care, sue

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Piper's Tutu Dress

Here is the progress so far on the tutu dress. The bottom skirt is in Moda Dea Tutu color petal pink. I use a double strand with 11 needles to get the gauge. The bodice is in Royale Crochet yarn in white used single strand on 8 needles. I guess it's hard to see in this picture but both the Tutu and the crochet cotton has shiny rayon strands throughout the yarn which brings out the fairy princess details!! I want to get her white ballerina slippers and possibly a wand to complete the outfit. (although giving a 2-year-old a wand could quickly turn into a weapon against her over-active 6-yr-old brother!!)

Have a great day!! sue

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My Percentage Bars are working!!!

I pride myself on being pretty html savvy but these babies were bugging me. It took leaving them alone for about 3 weeks for me to attempt it again. This time I concentrated while reading Matt Harvey's instructions on his blog Unlikely Words. Look to the left were it says: Offerings - semi-sweet html morsels. After concentrating and following his instructions obediently I was able to make them work. The red is a little intense so I may change it to another color.

In my Stashalong site, people are really finishing things left and right. Me, on the other hand, realize that, OK, I figured out how to get percentage bars on my blog but I've started two new projects and really haven't finished anything. Maybe I should just pull out the Joni Wig and finish it for God's sake. It would be just in time for the Recovery Center benefit I will be playing at next Saturday. Joe and I were practicing some songs this morning including Amelia, Cactus Tree and Comes Love. He is also thinking about doing Ode to Big Blue (gordon lightfoot) and Boots of Spanish Leather (dylan) for the event. It all sounded very fine!

Here is a pic of the ballerina dress I started this morning for my almost 2-yr-old niece, Piper. She's such a sweety!

take care, Sue

PS This picture is from the Berroco free pattern site. I'll post a picture of my progress once I charge up my cellphone. Also, I've already changed the color on my percentage bars to melon!! :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cloud Heights is on the Knitting Blogs Web ring!

Wow, I'm so jazzed about this. I love reading the knitting blogs and this brings me closer to being part of the global knitting family! The internet is such an amazing thing.

I listen to Cast-on, Brenda Dayne's podcast, and she is such an amazing writer. She is doing a "muse" series, where she talks about the Muses in each episode and relates it to creativity and knitting. When she was talking about the muse of memory she touched a deep chord in me when she described picking up a piece of knitting and being brought back to the memory of what you were doing the last time you worked on that piece. This happens to me all the time!! I have so many UFOs in my stash that I can even pick up a piece of knitting and remember something mundane like a bad tv show I was watching or something profound like sitting with my daughter when she was 10 (she's now almost 24-how did that happen!)

But the emotion I felt most from listening to Brenda was the feeling that I've found a group of people who know how I feel. I've only found this in one other place in my life and that was when I walked into my first AA meeting. There is something about finding people who are so much like you that you almost feel like you've come home to something you've never known before. The emotions I feel when I'm with these friends is like my heart gets cracked like an egg and everything I've been holding inside comes out with a rush of release. How can talking about knitting be such an important experience? I think because it's a true art, and art and creativity are healing, safe ways to discover who you are. This is how I feel and it felt so great to know that at least Brenda knew how I felt too, and I'm sure a lot more of you out there feel the same way. I also feel this way about music and my other group of friends, the Joniphiles!! Life is connecting.

take care, sue

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My first felted hat


Here is a very small, crappy cell phone picture of my new felted bucket hat. I'm pretty happy with the way it came out although the color of the yarn is not as bright as I thought it would be. I had to run it through the washer in hot water about 4 times before I got the right size. Now I have a great wool hat for rainy days this spring! :-)

So now my next project is what I'm calling my Kurt Percentage Sweater. I named it after Kurt Cobain who was quite a sweater afficianado. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Knitting Blogs, in general


As you can see I've added the knitting blogs ring to my buttons. I'm on the list to be added to the ring but I haven't been approved yet. Every day I've been surfing, looking at other knitting blogs, trying to get ideas about what I personally like about knitting blogs. There are some beautiful writers out there, also some amazing knitters, but the thing I love about going to other knitting blogs is just to look at what other people are knitting. Maybe it's the way the random ring works but I can't believe how many people knit socks! I've knit at least two pairs of socks but they are not my favorite thing to knit. I enjoy sites where people have FREE patterns, but I'm also willing to buy a pattern now and again if I like it. For instance, I love the Chic Knits site because she has great free patterns but also very simple classic designs that you can download for about 5 bucks. This week I downloaded the Felted Bucket Hat pattern. I have a load of scratchy burnt orange wool in my stash and I thought this would be a good first felting project for me. I can't see myself wearing a sweater of this yarn (even though I have pounds of it) so I was willing to buy this pattern to get the step by step process down.

I have to say too that I skim the writing in most blogs and am not interested in reading travelogues, kidologues or petolouges, not to say that those things are not good it's just that I'm only interested in the knitting. And I also bypass blogs that take way too long to download (still on dialup here). I'm hoping I'm able to set up my blog as a site that is a place where I personally would stay for at least one read through.

Hope you have a great day! sue

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spring Scarf!!

A quick post because I have to go to work. I was surfing the knitting blogs this morning and found the pattern for my scarf! The crocheting was going badly, mostly because the hook was too small and the boucle cotton kept on splitting, so when I saw this simple knit scarf I thought, voila! this will work perfectly (and it's very cute).

I found it at the Blog "The Whole Ball of Yarn(s)" by Allison Campbell. I started the first pattern repeat this morning and like how it looks:

To get the pattern, go here: Spring Scarf

have a great day! sue

Thursday, April 20, 2006

my mission statement

OK, I promised a mission statement to help me with my yarn diet. Here we go:

Cloudheights Knits is a creative endeavor devoted to developing my potential as a knit designer. My mission is to apply innovative ideas and informed choices to improve my knowledge and enjoyment of knitwear design and be economical with time and resources. My motivation is based on spiritual goals and a healthy lifestyle. I also strive to encourage others to achieve their own personal and creative fulfillment. My motto is: Beautiful knitwear comes from inspiration combined with good planning and the right yarn.

Whoa is that pompous enough for you? Ok, so the translation is: learn how to knit first, plan a sweater before I buy yarn, and try not to work on more than 10 projects at a time!!! :-)

So much for my start as a knitwear entrepreneur. Now back to Picovoli.

Still haven't bought any yarn!! YEAH!


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stashalong is bringing out the worst in me!

Happy Easter for those who celebrate. I'm in my eighth year of being an ambivalent catholic, but I'll talk about that some other time. It's a long story. :-)

So when you do something different you usually get an emotional snapshot of who you are. I know I'm fanatical about my knitting but I didn't realize how much until I joined this Stashalong. I've been good, I haven't bought any yarn, although I still spend too much time looking at yarn in stores and online that I covet. But the actual knitting is going badly. I was on a roll finishing pieces that made me feel like I was kicking the "let's start a sweater" jones. This problem goes like this, and you all know it: Wow, that yarn is on sale, let's buy a pile: uh oh, i don't know what to make with it, let's look for a pattern: this one looks like it might work, if I re-gauge it and change the neckline and do a different pattern stitch: OK, let's start knitting, Oh God it looks horrible and I'm getting bored - then I throw it on the stash pile and start something else.

Since I started Stashalong, I've been working on nine different sweaters and a scarf with no progress on any of them. It's almost like I have to do my homework and I'm not playing. Each of these projects excited me when I started them, but the idea that I can't start anything new until I finish something old that's on the pile is getting me cranky!! :-) Is this the knitting version of detox? I have experience detoxing from an addictive substance and it feels the same! So although we joke about "12-step programs for compulsive knitters" maybe there is something to it. It's not so much that you are depriving yourself of the substance that gives you a high, it's more that there are compulsive behaviors that rear their ugly head and impede our ability to carry creative thinking to a natural conclusion.

I don't want to mimic a recovery system and say you need to work "steps" to break these bad habits but I think a good start is a mission statement.

Ok, since I'm writing this as I think, I'm going to work a little bit of research and then post later about how to write a "Knitting Mission Statement."

stay tuned, sue

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Happy April!!

We are having gorgeous weather here in Ithaca today. It brings hope that the long winter is over but you have to be cautious. Sometimes it still snows in April in Ithaca!!

I've decided to join the Stashalong. I am a yarn addict. I admit it. I have not been able to control myself in buying yarn even though I am completely poor and in debt after putting my brilliant daughter through college. I don't regret one penny but I realize continually buying yarn on credit is so stupid I need a program. Stashalongs should be categorized under other 12-step programs, in my opinon. :-)

So I have this boucle cotton yarn that I bought on sale at Michael's and I want a lineny look scarf to wear this spring. I found a pattern but it's in CROCHET!! You have no idea how long it's been since I crocheted anything (has to be since the late 80s) but when I did a swatch I realized I basically remember how to do it and this is a fairly simple pattern. It's from the VK Spring 2005.

So my goal is to not buy yarn till at least May 1. Believe me I have more than enough backed up projects to keep me busy.

Hope you are enjoying a nice day today. Later I'll tell you about the Joni wig I'm making for Only Joni Open Mic on Wed.

seeya, sue

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Finished Today: Houndstooth


Hope you all had a wonderful St. Patty's Day. Although I had a great day watching the Dragon at Cornell, I'd have to say my daughter Kate had a better day going to see The Pogues in NYC. That must have been a great hangover!!! :-)

Christmas 2004 Joe got me a $100 gift certificate to JoAnns fabrics so I could buy yarn. I'm ashamed to say the first thought I had was "oh no, not JoAnns!" No offense but there are two great yarn shops in Ithaca that would have made me much happier. Never mind, yarn is yarn, so I went and bought 12 balls of this kool wool yarn I had been eyeing (10 grass, 2 charcoal). I wanted to do a sweater in this houndstooth pattern from a sweater in VK Fall 1984.

So here is my new design: a conglomerate of a couple of vintage patterns from the ‘80s. I created this sweater with the idea of keeping the spirit of big block prints without the boxy silhouettes of the yuppie age. I also loved the ribbed boatnet with drop shoulder sleeves. So I ran out of the grass on the first sleeve and had to go on a search for three more skeins. thank you ebay!!

I will work on pattern instructions for this for the first pdf on my free patterns link.

seeya, sue

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My Blue Shrug

I finished my shrug today and have taken some crappy cell phone pictures to let you see the results.

Whoa, I'm getting serious love handles!! You know why? Because I don't exercise AT ALL!!! I'm going to try and remedy this next week when I start my Wellness program at Cornell. I'm going to start by swimming laps and doing an elliptical (whatever that is). I also want to take some Yoga and Jazzercize classes. This is something I really don't want to do but every one I know says it's a good idea. I'll let you know if it works. I realize it's hard to just diet because I love to EAT! My friend took me to lunch today and I had this scrumptious peach berry tart with whipped cream for dessert. MMmmmmmmm!@ Oh well. I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

take care, sue

Friday, March 03, 2006

No medals for me


I know it's been a while since I posted. To make a long story short I bolted out of Ithaca on my birthday (feb 16) to visit my brother Jimmy in Raleigh. We had so much fun for four days. While I was there my nephew Brendan was coughing like he had the black lung and I knew I was going to get sick. The first day back into Ithaca my throat starting hurting bad and I ended up with a horrible cold that lasted a week. Needless to say my olympic knitting project was waylayed. Here is how much I finished by Feb 26:

Since I'm out of the running, I went back to another UFO (unfinished object) that was close to completion - an Angel Hair Shrug (in almost the exact same color as the zen sweater). Angel Hair from Sensations was on sale at JoAnn fabrics a while back and I loved the softness of this yarn. It might pill like a bitch but I think it will look nice.

I used a free pattern off the lion brand site. You can download it here:

Fringed Shrug

I changed the pattern a bit by placing the increases in a garter stitch edging and making the body stockinette. Also, I'm not adding the fringe. I wanted to highlight the softness of the yarn.

Well I'm looking forward to the first weekend in 3 weeks where I can just relax and knit. I'm really close to finishing the shrug so I can wear it next week. It's FREEZING here (we got 9 inches of snow yesterday).

thanks for reading. take care, sue

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dense Clouds, No Rain

It's Sunday so I want to get back to the conversation of creativity and spirituality which is part of the theme of this blog. I practice I Ching as a philosophy that focuses my spiritual meditation. One of the aspects of I Ching that is attractive to me is its foundation in taoist philosophy of yin-yang, action/non-action. In trying to be spiritually healthy, I try to strive for balance. I have a tendancy in my personality to feel as if any problem I come up against I need to act on immediately. The I Ching readings give me a perspective that shows the wisdom in waiting, contemplating, listening (especially to my inner voice), and also when to act and when not to act. The main idea is to follow the good, and disclose the workings of EGO, which sometimes acts as The Wizard of Oz and can be shown through practice as not the most important aspect of my personality (like when Toto pulled back the curtain).

Today, I asked the I Ching about my path to creativity and what the image of my path in that direction is. I received Hex 9: The Taming Power of the Small with no lines. For more information about the I Ching and how it works you can check out this website: Online Clarity. This is the second time this week I received Hex 9 without lines.

The hexagram image is a gentle wind above heaven, the creative. the judgment says: The taming power of the small has success. Dense clouds, no rain from our western region. The image description is: The wind drives across heaven: the image of the taming power of the small. Thus the superior man refines the outward aspect of his nature. (wilhelm translation: pg. 40-41)

To comprehend the meaning I refer to two more books. I use R. L. Wing's I Ching Notebook, especially when I get a hexagram with no lines. Getting no lines usually means the situation is static and will stay unchanged for a period of time. Wing says: Strength is restrained in the lower trigram of human affairs and can create only small and gentle effects. The hexagram in its unchanging form suggests that the object of your inquiry is blocked by a small yet permanent influence. Nothing can be done externally. Salvation, if it exists, lies in work on the Self. Refine your impulses and desires.

Sounds harsh, huh. Let's check another book I refer to, Carol Anthony's Guide to the I Ching. She says: One more step in the process of correcting the situation has been completed. The temptation always exist to abandon self-discipline. Particularly after small victories our inferiors (those small voices inside you that whine about not getting their way) ask: "May I relax now? When am I going to be able to enjoy myself?" Anthony interprets that not only is final victory impossible now, but ambition would exert a negative pressure.

So I sit back and think about this and I see that even though I'm excited about the prospect of getting back to painting and designing sweaters, I need to do the work to get any significant results. But the good news is, it's not a process that means you have to whip yourself, it is gentle like a cool breeze against your back that helps you to walk through the process. The key is to stay in the moment and enjoy the creative work, the first step, the first stitch, the first brush stroke. The salvation comes when I get into that zone of creativity where there is no time and the work nourishes me. I've been in that place before and I love it.

happy sunday!! sue