Friday, September 28, 2007

Imperfictly perfect

I just read Annie Modesitt's blog and she writes about some people who criticized her for some silly grammar mistakes she made (even though she made some on purpose to emphasize her point she was making). Believe me - thanks God for having a spelling-check on this blog because many times I touch the wrong key and I'd be in trouble without it. Though her today's blog posting made me think about how imperfection can lead to great things.

It is hard for me to admit, but I am born a perfectionist, and, as Annie correctly assessed, it does NOT make for a happy life: To keep being perfect takes a lot of energy out of you and many times things are out of your control and then you can drive yourself insane. I had to reassess this when I gave birth to my daughters and could not stand up to my unattainable standards. And giving up being perfect makes one happier. I first realized this when I was flying with my 2 then young daughters overseas by myself (first daughter was barely 2 years old and the second daughter was just about 6 months old - still breastfed at the time - an extra stress for me!?). I set my hopes really low for having a pleasant trip and it turned out to be better than expected. That was a lesson to me - do NOT try to be perfect - nobody really cares anyways. Here are few examples of how imperfect things can actually turn into great things.

My daughter made a dress!

My eldest daughter (8 1/2 yrs) has been working on improving her knitting skills. This past week she was learning how to purl and thus being able to transition from garter stitch to Stockinette Stitch. This was her first swatch - red rectangular (see below). She also wanted to learn how to decrease and so she did try on the same swatch and viola - here it is - we turned the swatch into a Barbie's red-carpet dress! Yes, it has few imperfections - see the enlarged stitches at the lower part of the dress, but it turned out to be a nice detail on the dress. I am very proud of her. She was so excited, that she even learned how to sew it together on the same piece! Had she was dwelling on the piece to be perfect, she would never have the finished dress today! She astound me how cleverly she added a piece of yarn that was leftover from sewing the dress for a belt. Very stylish I must say - not to be bias.

Imperfect apple:

Another example of imperfection turned good is my rotten apple. The other day I dug out of my apple bowl an apple that was getting rotten. Since I don't like to waste things (learned from my Grandma who lived through the starving years of the World War II and I was reminded of it growing up - doing the same thing to my kids, by the way), I cut the rotten pieces away and then looked at it and saw a very interesting picture - an apple within an apple. How imperfectly perfect! My husband made me take a picture of it and here it is:

So the lesson is, I guess, accept being imperfect and see what happens in your life. You never see what will come your way.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What did I do today?

Lots of things. Got all my laundry done (wait a minute, not just mine - it's the whole family's laundry) and cleaned up the house a little. Went to the doctor's with my daughter for pre-op check-up. Dropped off couple submissions for one publisher. And yes, I've done more swatching.

I am currently working on a few submissions for Knitter's magazine. It looks like a fun and colorful issue they are preparing for next summer. I have a few ideas of what I'd like to make, though, I have to choose only 2 - 3 and focus on that. Then more swatching for another 2 books. I really enjoy the process of designing and swatching, though I am NOT a fan of the paperwork some publishers require for submissions. Though I understand it's necessary.

Otherwise pretty uneventful day, which of course does not have to be a bad thing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Knit Simpe, Fall 2007

A new pattern of mine was published in Knit Simple magazine. This one is an easy and fast project for fall and a great addition to your wardrobed for the upcoming season. Here is a preview of the Striped Vest:


In past couple weeks all I have been doing is swatching and sketching for new design proposals for magazines and books, so I have not been posting as much as I would like. My living room and kitchen are a mess: tables full of skeins of yarns and pattern books.

Though, I have a new pattern almost finished (just have to proofread it) and it is ready to go for sale in my store. It is a pattern for a "Leaves Top". Here is a preview:

Again, I am making the pattern in a wide range of sizes: 4 - 12 yrs (chest sizes 22 - 30"). I offer this patter FREE of charge to someone who is willing to give me feedback on it (first come first served basis) . So if you'd like to make this top for your daughter and are able to complete the project within 3 weeks or so - it is knitted on size US#8 needles! - please let me know. You can leave me a comment here on the blog or you can reach me privately at my Etsy store Simona's Designs.

OK, that's all for right now. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I am BACK!

So it's been a while since I wrote my last post - something over 2 months. As you know, I was traveling, better said, I went to visit my family in the Czech Republic. In fact, I was not traveling that much. Most of the time I stayed in my home town - Brno. Though we took a few trips throughout Czech. We went to see few castles, took one trip abroad - to Slovakia; and made a few trips to see friends.

First castle we visited was castle Pernstejn, where I went with my cousin and her daughter. We took a historical train there. It was kind of neat, but it was very stinky! When we went home, we took a regular train back. One way was enough. It just shows how spoiled we are these days. I'm sure in the old time, people were happy they did not have to walk.

Then we went to the museum of Old Toys located in the Brno's castle Spilberk. Some toys on display were dated all the way to 1890's! On the flip side, it was interesting to see toys I used to play to be displayed in the museum! I played with them in the late 1970's and they made their way to the museum already!

Then we went to see castle near Prague - castle Karlstejn. Kids love seeing this one especially because they know it from a very well known Czech movie "Night at Karlstejn."

Then we took a trip to Slovakia. My grandmother was born in Laksar Nova Ves (near Malacky) and we took her there to see her native place and visit her mom's and dad's graveyards. I am glad we could have gone with her because she's getting older and we wanted to make sure she's able to visit the places before she becomes immobile. Then we continued to the capital of Slovakia - Bratislava and walked the streets for a little and then headed back home. So it was a nice one-day trip.

Then we went to visit one of my dearest friends Simona at her new house . It was nice to spend a weekend with her and her son. Her house is in Horni Cerekev (near town Pelhrimov) - half way between Brno and Prague. We took a train there and that was an adventure by itself for the kids especially, and me too - it reminded me of when I used to live there.

Lastly and not least, I went to visit my girlfriend Tana in her cottage in Petrovice (near Moravian Caves). It was a bitter-sweet visit because it was the last time we spend there; she sold the property to buy a new house closer to Brno. We spend a few good times there!

And if we were not traveling, I had my mom over for frequent visits. I enjoyed spending time with my sister and her boys.

And I had enjoyed spending time with my high-school girlfriend Zlatka and her daughter who just turned 1.

And not lastly, I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know some of my new neighbors.

And this is the view I enjoyed every night and miss now - a sunset over my hometown.

So before I went to Czech Republic, I thought how much of free time I will have on my hands. WRONG! I had not gotten a chance to start any new project or a design while I was there. I could not believe it; I had always something to do, somewhere to go, somebody to come over, or somebody to go to visit or to go out with. I am very fortunate to have that. It was hard to go back home, here to America. I consider both places homes. So when I leave from here for the trip to Czech Republic, I always say I am going home to visit my family. When I am coming back here (the USA), I always say it's time for me to go home. How strange and how great!

Copyright 2007, Simona Merchant-Dest