Monday, October 31, 2011

currents.

holly at the park this morning - 39 degrees is purple coat weather!
...wow time flies - I can't believe it's been over three months since I posted one of these (and how much has changed in just that short time!)

listening - classical music from my itunes library, on shuffle. love all of it, but vivaldi's four seasons is a special favorite. something about fall always makes me want to hear vivaldi!

eating - oatmeal, with dried cranberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon and splenda.

drinking - decaf tazo chai tea with skim milk.

wearing - jeans and clogs (and handknit socks); will put on my creature comforts when I leave the house later this afternoon.

reading - writing down the bones by natalie goldberg...serious inspiration for my journal!

weather - chilly, but dry. it's warmed up to the 50's since our walk this morning.

wanting - the new kindle. loving the idea of having a stack of books on one small device instead of toppling over on my nightstand. (and would welcome input on whether or not I need the 3G or just wi-fi?)

needing - to get my eyes checked. my last appointment was in 2008 - yikes! - and I'm pretty sure I need a stronger prescription in my reading glasses.

enjoying - my knitting classes. I have a great group of students across the four classes. they're fun to teach and inspiring my knitting!

looking forward - to celebrating sara's 20th birthday this weekend.

wondering - about my one little word for 2012.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

a pink rosebud.

pink rosebud
modeled on me and raveled here
...an email landed in my inbox last thursday - my friend shari's sister has breast cancer and she starts chemo tomorrow. could I recommend some hat patterns?

well of course I could (and I did) - and I quickly grabbed one for myself.

I had fave'd rosebud as soon as it was released (I have a "few" skeins of stash yarn that would work perfectly for the pattern) and I loved having a great reason to buy the pattern and excuse a few of my other knitting goals to make room for a hat.

jared flood does not disappoint. the pattern is beautifully laid out, clearly written, and results in a lovely finished hat. (check out my ravelry project page to see the few changes I made).

I'm bummed that the hat doesn't really look pink in any of the photos. but trust me, it is!

I'm looking forward to knitting it again (for me :-)
in process - through the first repeat of the chart

lovely decrease detail...

Friday, October 28, 2011

focus friday. a finished project.

...knitting has been good to me this week. as in I finished a project, have another done except for 38 stitches to graft (coffee work tomorrow morning!) and we got a gorgeous shipment of madelinetosh, including madtosh light, in the shop today. and I got to spend nearly all day yesterday and today knitting with friends (and even captured one of those times with a photo - thanks, karen!)

the finished project is creature comforts, the current project crush at the shop (or maybe it was really a knit along, I'm not sure). several of my students are knitting it, too; and really, the knitting along was one of my favorite parts of this project. until I finished it, and put it on, and peeked at the back in my bathroom mirror. truly, the best part about this one is wearing it!
creature comforts cardi. finished.
thank you, sharon, for taking the photo - and the suggestion to hold my arms out :-)
now that it's done and I've worn it, I'll admit I was a bit worried about a few things. the seams, having it fall off my shoulders, or just plain fit weird. but really, none of those worries came to be. and I love the finished piece. I did make a few modifications and they're documented on my ravelry project page.
creature comforts cardi. finished.
a view from the front (note to self, next time smile at the camera!)
more on the nearly finished project and what I'm going to knit with the madtosh light later this weekend...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

halloween decorations.

...I'll say it up front - I'm not a fan of halloween. I think it goes back to my girls' younger days when I was balancing a full-time job, day care, homework, housework, yikes! ... and costumes, candy and trick or treating was just.too.much. really, I am not at all creative in the costume department, I don't really care for candy bars (except the really good stuff that should be adults only)...and now I have holly who barks like a much bigger dog whenever the doorbell rings! like I said, not a fan....

but my neighborhood seems to be really getting into the whole thing. not that we have decorations anything like what anne hanson shares with us (I doubt many of us have that much to share!)

vanessa and I were out dark early for a walk this morning and saw huge skeleton faces in windows, plenty of orange lights and a very creepy strobe-lit bonus room. once it was light, holly and I went to check out those "scary" scenes.

um, yeah, not nearly so scary in daylight! and I was relieved to see that the creepy shadow in the strobe-lit bonus room window was actually some sort of black-robed ghost, hanging outside (it was breezy when vanessa and I walked).

but the best part for me were these blooms in the front yard of a house that didn't have anything orange or scary or pumpkin. just lovely.

Monday, October 24, 2011

thoughts on inspiration.

from ann taylor's november ad, featuring demi moore
...should I be embarrassed to admit I admire demi moore? oh well I do. I think she's strong and committed and smart. and wow, I knew we were about the same age, but when I looked up the wikipedia link, I see she's actually six days older than I am. huh - so add to that list "aging well" :-)

she was featured in the latest ann taylor ad campaign, which arrived in print in my mailbox last week. I always love looking at fashion ads, and this one didn't disappoint. the words on one of the inside pages spoke right to me.

Be Inspired. yep, I cut that out and pasted it in my journal and thought about inspiration. about being inspired. I started a list of things that inspire me. and I realized that - at least for me - being inspired is very different from other "be's", like be optimistic, or be grateful, or be healthy, or be beautiful. those things can exist on their own, but being inspired seems to be a path to someplace else. I need to be inspired to {something}. like pretty yarn or a new pattern collection inspire me to knit (or rearrange my project queue). a brilliant sunrise inspires me to say a prayer of thanksgiving and grab my camera. the latest november magazines arriving in my mailbox inspire me to start planning holiday menus (and cook!!).

I wasn't expecting the list to go like that when I started it. I was expecting a long list of things that would leave me inspired. plain and simple. no object required. things like sunshine, crisp morning walks, time with friends. what inspires you (no object required)?

Friday, October 21, 2011

focus friday. photographs.

Superhero Photo E-Course
...I've made reference here a few times to the superhero photo workshop. it started september 19 and ends next week. I've been a bit irritated with myself because I don't feel like I've been taking full advantage of everything the course has to offer. truly, as of yesterday, I'd only uploaded four photos. yep, only four!! I'd hoped for more like 100.
I was even more mad at myself about my lack of participation because ali's prompt for october is photos. a re-run of the february prompt, we're capturing nine 2-1/8 x 3-1/8 images that tell the story of our word right now.

but then I spent several hours yesterday afternoon updating my photo album. I had over 120 photos to add, all taken since the beginning of august. and as I worked through the pile (I use the kolo catalina albums - 4x6 prints and I write a short description of who/where/when for each), I revisited so many happy memories. knitting, celebrating with friends, holly's birthday, lunches out, dinner out, the beach, fall at the park, 30 miles walking through atlanta with my sister... some of the photos aren't that great, a few are really spectacular...but all come together to tell my story. one for which I am incredibly grateful.

so (for now, anyway!) no more regrets about the photos. I'm going to work through the class at my own pace and enjoy it.

I did grab my camera this morning for our walk and added three more to the four. and I found nine images to reflect focus for me right now.
1. rainbow in the fountain at the park - it always makes me smile when I see it; 2. on the trail with holly and sure signs of the changing season; 3. our pear tree - I LOVE the way the leaves glow from the light; 4. my latest lace shawl; 5. knitting with friends; 6. a favorite scripture (I've had the bible for years, but only started highlighting passages recently); 7. sunset at the beach; 8. framing the new with the old (I love the metaphor!); 9. remembering to look up

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the handoff.

the handoff
karen, sharon (and the bag), lisa (and the quilt), mary (and holly)
...karen and I met up with the lucky winners of our 2-day drawings this week. we feel so fortunate that, like last year, the winners live close enough that we can meet in person to handoff the prizes...and enjoy dinner.

the weather wasn't great, and I had holly (which means sitting outside), so we met at mirko for italian food on their covered patio.

sharon and lisa hit it off great. we enjoyed a delicious dinner, two carafes of house wine and plenty of laughter!
lisa met holly for the first time (love at first sight!)

lisa and her new quilt - again, many thanks to our sister-in-law lydia and her quilt club for donating it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

happy birthday!

...to my dad.
one of the sad things about living 350+ miles away from my parents is that I don't get to celebrate birthdays in person with them very often. and almost never on the actual birthday. so I treasure this photo - taken on my dad's birthday back in 2002 - and the memories of a birthday, shared.

he and my mom were up for a visit and we surprised him with lunch out at the macaroni grill. I had to tell some sort of story to get them to the restaurant located by my sister's office (instead of the one - now closed - by my house) so she could meet us. I'm pretty sure we shared fried calamari, a few glasses of the house chianti and something for dessert (my dad and I love dessert when we're out!). and maybe they even sang happy birthday to him in italian. the smiles on our faces suggest we had a very good time!

happy birthday, daddy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 things I did this weekend.

(see #4)
1. had an inspiring, but way too short!, discussion with lydia and virginia about our last six weeks of daily reading.

2. worked my one saturday for october.

3. added a few inches to sara's birthday gift and worked a few rows on my creature comforts cardi.

4. swatched for the rocky coast cardigan. the yarn is juniper moon farm's chadwick, a single-ply worsted blend of merino and alpaca. I think it's a great match for the pattern (since we don't carry the suggested organik).

5. made super healthy hummus (with basil instead of parsley) to accompany a huge platter of vegetables - standard game day dinner for us this fall!

6. walked two laps at the park with holly.

7. attended church (and yay, it's finally cool enough to wear long sleeves and a lace shawl)

8. bought three new patterns (smooth edge, driven and slow line) at veera's birthday sale. (and then spent way too much time on ravelry, thinking about my queue!)

9. taught the sunday seamless sweater workshop.

10. watched ali's video for the october one little word prompt.

...turns out I did more than I thought - and definitely enjoyed it more than I remembered. thanks, carole, for another great prompt!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

the second lap.

...thank you, fall, for cooler mornings (even if daylight doesn't come til nearly 7:45 am!), because I now have my walking partner back! yes, for two whole laps, holly is energetic and curious and great company. I snapped these photos at the beginning of our third lap yesterday...not that I intend to make three a habit, but it's nice to think we could do it!

Friday, October 7, 2011

focus friday. finished.

...as in the nantucket vest. which I really finished on tuesday. and wore on wednesday (and thursday :-) but saved to blog til today (so I could write one of those very cool alliterative blog titles).

when I wrote last weekend about having a day's more work to do on this piece, I thought I might be over-estimating a bit. turns out, not so much. I finished the back piece - 60 stitches wide x 13 inches long of straight stockinette - sunday evening, but one look at the body and all those ends to weave in... I put it into timeout. it sat there all day monday while I started my creature comfort cardi, feeling no guilt because both those projects were on my october list. and then tuesday morning I had a burst of energy and decided to start the finishing.

it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I took my time getting the pieces pinned together. and even stopped for a try-on (and a photo :-) before I put my crochet hook to work.


turns out seaming with a crochet hook is pretty painless. I had the two seams done and nearly all the ends finished in about two hours. one more hour that evening and it was ready to block.

I followed my usual routine - soak for 20 minutes (holly enjoyed her walk!) and then lay out to dry. taking a photo at this point helped me get the oval more-or-less even. I turned the fan on high and left it til morning.
I pulled out the points just a tiny bit and evened up the edges along the back

wow! I knew it fit from the try-ons while I was knitting, but the finished piece is fabulous! I'm going to get a lot of wear from this one... tomorrow I'm planning those same cropped jeans and a dark gray long-sleeved t-shirt (the weather is finally turning a bit cooler).

nantucket vest finished
many thanks to martha for the photos (and the fresh flowers :-)

nantucket vest finished


project notes - raveled here - I followed shelley's pattern as written except for the yarn substitution (and the do-over :-). this was my first time knitting with maggi's linen and I think it's perfect for the pattern. love that it shows off all the stitch detail, while maintaining the integrity of her suggested 100% cotton yarn (maggi's is a 48/52 linen/cotton blend).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

charmed.

...the weather in atlanta has been beautiful this week (we're very short on rain, but long on highs in the 70's and low 80's with low humidity and a breeze - the kind of weather I imagine san diego has all the time. yes, that beautiful).

so when my plans for the afternoon got cancelled mid-morning, I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than sit outside. and knit. with a friend. (daily list #9 & #10 :-)

joanna and I spent two lovely hours outside at starbucks. and she obliged #8, even helping to "pose" holly. obviously, holly didn't want any posing!
at starbucks

we chatted and we knitted and we chatted. I asked if she was planning to meet susie gibbs next week. and that got me chatting about her fabulous yarns, and the lovely laceweight traveling woman I saw on hoxton's blog last week. her shawl is one of the prettiest knitted things I've seen - ever. and once I saw it I knew my plan to re-purpose my breezy cardigan was right. I even have a size 6 lace needle ready for action!

of course mine is orange. and it's for me. but it's the third time I've knit the pattern. it's got to be charmed.
just begun. raveled here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 things I love about a wedding.

maike wedding
from a wedding sara & I attended last fall
...ooohhhh I love weddings - thanks, carole!

1. sharing in the couple's love and commitment, especially when I know them personally (as opposed to knowing their parents :-)

2. the dress.

3. the flowers.

4. the food.

5. the cake.

6. toasts.

7. meeting their family and friends. watching everyone mingle and interact. and have fun.

8. shopping for a gift. I love how versatile bridal registries are these days. I try to pick something fun and long-lasting (an ice cream maker, bar-ware, serving pieces...not guest bathroom towels!)

9. dressing up (I do this so seldom now, it's fun)

10. looking back at the photographs and remembering what a fun time everyone had.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

talking in class.

creature comforts, barely begun
...I love many things about teaching knitting. sharing inspiration, seeing that light go off on a new technique, finished projects, "firsts" of any kind. and the conversation. there is something about a group of knitters sitting around a table, even when they're concentrating on their work (and hopefully learning something new), there's non-stop chatter. about knitting of course (patterns, yarn, who's doing what, what we love - and hate, new crushes), but also about cooking and books and movies and tv and life.

I noticed that folks were pulling out notepads to jot down things to check out later. that's a bit distracting when you're trying to concentrate. so I started taking notes, and then I'd compile the notes from all four of my classes into an email and send it out weekly. I got great feedback ... but the students really deserve the credit - they're the ones who come up with all the material!

and I thought it might be fun to share the notes here - we'll see how it works!

knitting projects

  • creature comforts and vodka gimlet are the top two projects this month - if I count correctly (and remember counting is not one of my strengths!), ten of us (plus me - I'm knitting both) are working on one of these two projects. the photo above is my creature comforts, started today, and about 2/3 through the first cable repeat.
  • I'm hoping someone will want to knit a beret sometime soon. the selbu modern is a favorite of mine and I'd love to knit along. it's colorwork. the suggested yarn is canopy fingering (remember that from the westknits knitalong?)
  • the next saturday shawl class is silver and gold (aka crocus and sunflower - you can knit one or the other or both). and the one after that will be stephen west's new pattern gyllis - it's lace! (and not a triangle!!)
  • rosamund's cardigan - this is a kind of oldie (interweave fall 2009) but definitely a goodie. it's in my mental queue (I have stash yarn to knit it) and think it would be a fun project. seamless to boot!
  • a few folks asked about my holiday knitting plans and the sweater that I'm going to knit for katie. it's heidi kirrmaier's vitamin D. she chose a warm spicy orange/red colorway of my favorite nuna yarn. this is a re-knit I'm excited about!


books



and last but not least, cooking

  • we're hoping to get becca's mom's lemon fruitcake recipe (with all the right instructions :-)
  • here's the recipe for the delicious granola that sandy makes (from the barefoot contessa)
  • and here's the recipe for my white sangria (thanks to thea!)


white sangria
makes about 3 quarts

1.5 liters inexpensive pinot grigio (in other words, use one that comes in the big bottle)
1 cup cointreau
1 cup vodka (citron is great if you have it)
12 oz frozen fruit - I like a mixture of peaches, melon and berries, but really, I think anything would do
2 liters sprite zero (or diet or 7UP)

combine the alcohol and the frozen fruit in a pitcher and let sit overnight. when ready to serve, pour the mixture over lots of ice in a punchbowl and then add soda to taste (I find about 1-1.5 liters is all it takes).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

the battle rages on.

...surrendering isn't supposed to be hard, right? or maybe it depends on the battle. or the personality of the fighter.

my bet is on both.

I chose to surrender a battle that has been beating me since I retired and started knitting "professionally" (please excuse the quotation marks - my husband thinks it's a hobby, but it pays for my yarn, so I think it's more than that). key point here is that knitting is now the only thing I really do. yes, I still meet friends for coffee, I keep house, I walk my dog, I teach, I read, I study, ... but really... most of that takes a back seat to the knitting. it's certainly the only thing I do - besides blogging and photography - that creates something that lasts outside of me. so I take it seriously. and that's my personality.

I like to take things seriously. I like to set stretch goals and meet them (I taught a seminar once in my former life that "exceeding" stretch goals meant you hadn't set the goals right ... simply meeting a stretch goal is a victory).

so there we have the perfect storm to setup this battle.

and in my first month, I've been defeated.

but I've learned.

I almost hate to revisit the campaign, but maybe I'll learn more from it if I do!

remember september 2? a few days before a 3-day weekend (when I wasn't working or teaching), a week before my planned beach trip, and a month off from teaching two of my classes. knitting time seemed abundant. I was excited about the projects. I could do anything!

funny, when I posted on september 16 about my surrender, I didn't actually surrender any of those earlier deadlines. in my head I was still planning to finish a shawl and two sweaters and maybe let the vest slide to october. really?!

yes really?! what was I thinking! I was setting myself up to fail. and I don't like that. that's why I'm surrendering the battle. I said it. and I wrote it. but I didn't do it.

crocus. modeled.I worked like crazy to finish the crocus shawl so I could share it with my students (that worked, they're excited about the pattern and two of them have started it).

getting closenow I'm working like crazy to finish the nantucket vest (so I can start the next sweater). I'm close, but really, I have at least a day's more work to do.

and now I have birthday and holiday knitting to start. I refuse to let those projects become part of my battle this year. over the last few days, I've been re-working the "deadlines" in my head. trying to be realistic about how much knitting time I really have and how much knitting I get done.

my new rule of thumb is about 75 yds of yarn a day. more if it's straight stockinette or heavier yarn. and less is if it's not. that means I can knit about 2,250 yards a month.
so for october, I'm going to:
  1. finish nantucket - this is mostly finishing now, not knitting, but say 200 yds
  2. start & finish sara's birthday gift - TBD
  3. start & finish creature comforts - 1,000 yds
  4. start & finish the sunflower shawl - 450 yds
  5. start katie's birthday gift - TBD
 I think these goals are realistic, and depending on the gifts, maybe even a stretch. not that I'm looking for stretch this month. I'm just hoping to get back to a saner place.

do you set time goals for your knitting? if so, does it work?