Friday, June 29, 2012

FO friday!

...yep, fully deserving of an exclamation point! this week I finished a sweater and a hat (and all the preparation for tomorrow's double knitting workshop*).

first up the sweater. it's making waves by jamie thomas (aka "imagine knits"). I was thrilled to meet her at stitches south where she debuted the pattern...and get to try on her sample. honestly, if I hadn't tried it on, I doubt I would've knit it since it's very oversized (finished width is about 52"...for the small!). but I did, and I did. and I love it.
making waves
raveled here
making waves
thank you to my sister karen for the photos!
I knit it as written except that when I blocked it, I tried hard to add length and not width. I succeeded a little; my piece is about 23" long and 50" wide. It's still very oversized and cropped, but it works.

I wore it again today and katie admired it. (she said it would be cute over a bikini...yeah she's still in her 20's!)
lunch at bistro vg
katie & mary - lunch at bistro vg
I do, however, think it will be a great layering piece for spring, summer and fall. I chose a gray/green/tan colorway that should look good with more than the white I've paired it with. I picture black and brown and - of course! - jeans. once the temperature dips back below 100 degrees :-)
226:365 charity hats.
raveled here (love that these are holly-approved too!)
and the hat. this is the seventh for my fifty for 50 and the second one in this pattern. I have a third planned for july (in the lighter gray but with the double buttons). this is the perfect pattern for my suburban car knitting. simple design, easy to figure out where I am...and light worsted yarn on size 7 needles means even 50 stitches knit from home to the grocery store makes noticeable progress.

*thank you all for your kind comments on yesterday's post - I am happy to report that I now have 30 tiny balls of yarn wound and paired and color copies of all the handouts assembled. in other words, I'm ready!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

on procrastinating.

...I don't think of myself as a procrastinator. in the five plus years I've had this blog, I've never written "procrastinate" or "procrastination" and I've only used "procrastinating" once. I am a "plan it, then do it" kind of person.

225:365 double knitting.
the "good" sample, the "not-so-good" sample and my notes....
so when I found myself procrastinating about finishing the preparations for my upcoming double knitting workshop (it's this saturday and it's full with seven students signed up), I took notice. I've bumped the due dates for the various tasks (finishing a "good" sample, finalizing my notes and the class handouts, getting copies made, maybe making a "better" sample to entice signups for an advanced workshop later this summer) at least once, and on wednesday I started to panic. I called katie to say I couldn't spend the afternoon with her on friday; could she meet me up here for a quick lunch? ...and still, I didn't start those tasks. I started and finished the second hunger games book (spoiler alert!). I finished a sweater (and had my sister take photos). I took a few pilates classes. I worked on project life (still two weeks behind, but I'm making progress).  I finished the stockinette portion of bandit. I updated the shop's pinterest (yay! we now have knitting, crochet and needlepoint pins!) and twitter...and still I didn't start those tasks. 

until this afternoon. I cast on and got that good sample knitted in about an hour. I took notes as I went and have a complete picture in my head for what the class handout needs to be.

I'm now confident I can get the handout completed over my coffee in the morning. I'll get copies made in the afternoon (after my abbreviated lunch with katie :-) and I'll be ready for saturday afternoon. I like that my helpful hints are really fresh in my mind. and this makes me think maybe these were tasks that needed to happen last minute. but I'm not sure what I think about that.

what do you procrastinate about? (and is it a good thing or a bad thing?)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ten ways to feel like a kid again.

my brother, me, my sister - thanksgiving day, 1973
...carole's back with another fun topic!

1. bundle up, settle your seat on a flying saucer and sail down a snow covered hill (the one featured in the photo above was on a mountain - casper mountain, just south of casper, wyoming where we lived in the early 1970's).

2. swing.

3. sing silly songs.

4. play hide and seek.

5. eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (one thing I definitely don't miss about being a kid...I no longer like these sandwiches at all!)

6. scribble (I recently had a great time doing this).

7. go for a bike ride...especially on a bike without gears or hand-brakes where you can pedal along at a leisurely pace...no helmet required.

8. play dress-up.

9. lie down on the grass and watch the clouds float by.

10. stay up way past your bedtime and sleep til noon the next day (honestly, I don't think I did this even as a kid...but it feels young, doesn't it?!)
click here to join the ten on tuesday fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

currently.

216:365 crepe myrtle.
...loving:

♥the crepe myrtle blooms in our yard (hot pink and pale purple so far). ♥ late evening light. ♥ la croix orange. ♥ big hoop earrings (with curly hair). ♥ katie & rob living close enough to come for dinner (and go home after). ♥ sara's blog posts. and flickr feed. ♥ milton pilates (pilates, barre and zumba!). ♥ running my 3.6 mile route in 38 minutes (5 less than it took when I started running again back in april). ♥ lululemon (katie warned I'd get addicted. she was right. as usual). ♥ kirkland cotes du rhone ($6.99 a bottle is hard to beat). ♥ full knitting classes on sunday afternoon and monday evening. ♥ craftlit podcast. ♥ getting back to needlepoint.

what are you loving lately?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

one little word. june.

...it's mostly been a good thing that this is my second year doing ali's one little word class. I'm comfortable with the process and know that the end result will be more than worth the effort. but I wasn't looking forward to june. june is the "get creative and get messy prompt". the one I opted out of last year. I've actually been dreading it. but a few weeks ago, I saw julie balzer's watercolor cards and thought those might be very cool for illustrating my word shine. that simmered for a bit and I found myself starting to get excited about watercolor. and my word. and getting messy.

so this morning, I made time to watch the videos. the first ten minutes was a great introduction. ali closed with a parting thought to "take a creative risk and step outside [my] comfort zone". (well duh, anything that involves paint is outside my comfort zone!)

I finished the second video at 5:15 this evening - parting comment from my journal "I'm going to DO THIS NOW!"

...and I did. I chose yellow as my color, along with white, and cream and a very pretty pearl white (one of several happy surprises in the bins and boxes that comprise my "scrapbook stash").

I cut nine 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inch squares.

and painted. and gesso'd. with stamps. just like ali showed. and about 30 minutes later I had nine little canvasses ready to dry.

while they dried, I practiced watercolor on the pages of my journal. and realized I had no idea how to make those cool drips. or really anything that remotely resembled those cool julie balzer cards. I embarked on plan B. do like ali.

I added ink. and white rub-ons. and words. and embellishments. all stuff I'd been hoarding (it was very fun to use it!).

and then I had a happy accident. I boo-boo'd one of the cards. what the heck, it was ruined already, so I scribbled on it with my watercolor marker. and then stepped over to the sink to spray it with water. oh my. I had drips. and lovely soft colors. I then scribbled with intent - as in layering colors.
using stampin up watercolor markers in the bold brights  - yellow, orange and hot pink
spray. drip. dry.
love how the texture from the paint shows through
the cards are still propped up to dry completely and I plan to stamp them tomorrow when they're dry. simple words to add another plane of dimension. grace, giving, peace, sharing.
214:365 one little word - june.

...to my one little word. shine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

strawberry love.

...carole's prompt for today is about favorite ways to eat strawberries, but I can't resist starting my list with two favorite ways to drink strawberries.
181/365 - breaking in the blender
breaking in the blender at katie's nyc apartment - summer 2009
1. strawberry kiwi margaritas. the kiwi is optional.

2. strawberry basil gin & tonics. coordinating knitting is optional.

...and now to the eating!

3. simply sliced, or maybe topped with yogurt or cottage cheese.

4. with fresh spinach, sliced orange, some nuts and a balsamic vinaigrette; this is one of my favorite salads.

5. with rhubarb, baked into a crumble and topped with frozen yogurt.

6. baked into muffins.

7. or scones.

8. with shortcake.

9. pureed and frozen into gelato or sorbet.

10. on top of new york cheesecake.

what's your favorite way to enjoy strawberries?

click here to join the ten on tuesday fun!

Monday, June 11, 2012

pimento cheese.

pimento cheese
...I've talked a lot about it, but apparently not here. except for one very tangential reference a few mondays ago. but now I'm ready to tell it all!

over memorial day weekend, I participated in a four-(wo)man throwdown. battle pimento cheese [apologies to sara for mixing my food network metaphors :-)] my mom, sister and I hatched the contest idea back in april, in beaufort, the night I had that delicious pimento-cheese filled biscuit. my mom shared that my dad is a huge fan of pimento cheese (who knew?!) and we agreed it would be fun to try a savory recipe after last year's sweet one.

I had hoped to make my grandmother's recipe, but turns out hers was the kind of recipe that wasn't written down. so we all started from scratch. for me, that meant something (sort of - I mean, it is cheese!) healthy. hopefully without mayonnaise.

my knitting friends helped a lot - that's where I found out about using cottage cheese (thanks kathy and helen!) and hot sauce (thanks liza!). and of course sara sent a few links - one in particular used greek yogurt and suggested grated apple. I took it from there...of course with my dad as the judge, everyone was a winner that weekend.

and today, after making it for the second time - and still thinking it's delicious, I'm proud to share my own recipe. it's creamy. it's savory, with just a hint of sweet. and really good with celery (my sister showed me this and it's now my favorite way to eat pimento cheese!)

208:365 pimento cheese.
pimento cheese
makes about 1 cup

3 tablespoons greek yogurt (I use non-fat)
3 tablespoons cottage cheese (I use non-fat)
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
3-4 dashes of tabasco (I didn't use this for the throwdown version, but do think it adds a nice zing)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 roasted red pepper (pimento is fine :-), coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2# white cheddar cheese, the sharper the better, coarsely grated (I use my box grater)
3/4 of a medium apple, peeled and coarsely grated (about 2/3 cup)
salt and pepper to taste - I didn't add any the second time... the cheese seemed to be salty enough and the tabasco was pepper-y enough

blend the yogurt and cottage cheese so there aren't noticeable lumps. I think is really an optional step, depending on how you feel about cottage cheese. add the worcestershire, lemon juice, tabasco, garlic and chopped pepper. stir to blend. fold in the grated cheese and apple. chill a few hours before serving. it hasn't lasted more than a day, but I imagine it would keep fine for a few days.
pimento cheese

Sunday, June 10, 2012

from where I sit.

... (or rather "sat") yesterday evening. the new deck is finished and I am really enjoying being outside again. especially glad since we woke up to rain today.
from where I sit
of course holly is right by my side
from where I sit
my knitting basket, complete with camera (which I didn't end up using)
from where I sit
directly behind the deck...stairs leading to the upper level
from where I sit
back to the left (note that we swapped the chairs - I'm sitting close to where holly was standing in this photo)
from where I sit
of course there's knitting...and wine! working on the swatch for laresca

Saturday, June 9, 2012

FO friday.

...yeah, on a saturday. I had good intentions of writing this post last night, but I had 30%* left to finish night circus. and I couldn't put my kindle down. highly recommend the book - unless you have other things to do, because this one sucks you in hard. now looking back at my week, I'm not sure now how I managed to get anything else done. but I did - three knitting classes, a full day at the shop, a trip to the airport, lunch out, four classes at the pilates studio, 16 miles...and a finished sweater.
trace finished.
raveled here
trace finished.

this is trace. my second project from shibui's heichi book. the gauge for this one is 4-1/2 stitches to the inch, which I think is too dense for the suggested heichi yarn. so I substituted maggiknits maggie's linen and I love the way it turned out. this is a close fitting tank with a bit of slipped rib stitch to accent the sides.

it knit up quickly except for the finishing which took me - it seems! - nearly as long as all the knitting. the maggie's linen is three strands, so that's triple the number of ends to weave in (my least favorite part). and the pattern suggested using the slipped rib for the neck with a sewn bindoff. in this yarn, the edge just looked sloppy. so I ripped that out and simply worked a round of knit, and then bound off purlwise on the next round. just enough so the edge lays flat and it blends nicely with the slipped stitch edge on the armholes.

normally when I finish something, I cast on something new right away. but on wednesday, after trace was laid out to dry, there wasn't any new project calling my name. I even considered swatching for mix no. 2 which I'm planning to knit in kidsilk haze. those who know me and my knitting well were shocked. I always knit in season, and there is no way I'd be wearing a mohair sweater anytime soon! (no worries, the yarn and the needles are now back in the cupboard, safely stowed away for the fall!) in the end I decided to keep working on what I'd already started. another charity hat and making waves.

and this morning, I got the call. corrina posted about laresca. I bought the pattern weeks ago when it was first published. I've wanted to use panama - it seems like a perfect yarn for our hot humid summer. and that lace detail. oh my. love.

thank goodness I'm working today. because I'm buying the yarn!

*isn't it funny how we kindle readers no longer have any concept of page numbers and page counts? it's all percents now!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

katie's back*.

204:365 lunch at portofino.
 
...well...almost. technically, she's on her way to st simon's for the weekend. but after I picked her up from the airport, we had time for a quick lunch with her girlfriend sammar at one of our favorite buckhead restaurants, portofino.

we sat outside and enjoyed a leisurely meal... six small plates, mussels, wine and coffee. it was fun to listen to the girls talk about their weddings (sammar's is next month!) and honeymoons and study abroad and moving (sadly, just as katie is getting back to atlanta, sammar is moving to charlottesville - tomorrow!) and just stuff.
lunch at portofino
the small plates - apple & grape salad, tomatoes & mozzarella, corn & edamame, pototo chips, roasted eggplant & orzo, shrimp & avocado...yes, we ordered all the salads!
I look forward to more lunches. and happy hours. and dinners. and spending time together. talking about stuff. and having someone take our photo!
lunch at portofino
katie & mary
*katie has a bachelorette party (for another girlfriend who's getting married in august) in st simons this weekend. in early may, she bought a round trip ticket, planning to arrive this afternoon, have time for lunch with me, then meet up with her friends to drive down tonight, return on sunday and fly back to LA on monday (whew!) but two weeks ago, her fiance's transfer came through and they quickly made plans to move. back to atlanta. and katie's round trip turned into a one-way ticket. so while she's not quite back in atlanta, she is in the eastern time zone and that's huge!  they've found a condo in town for the short term. and next week, until they can move in, she'll be here with me and holly (while marc makes a quick trip to germany). lots of changes. but all good. yes, to say I'm delighted would be the understatement of the year!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

rock my run.

accompanying last friday's run
...a slight deviation from carole's "ten favorite workout songs" prompt, because I don't have ten favorite workout songs right now. I am in desperate need of new running inspiration, though, so I'm excited to see what everyone shares.

for the past few years, my "workout" has consisted almost entirely of walks in the park, and I prefer those with only nature's accompaniment (like holly barking at the squirrels) or good conversation with a friend. but I started running again in april and I love having upbeat music playing in my ears, especially to coax me up the hills. something hip hop or pop-y, with a quick beat, a catchy tune and lyrics that won't make me blush. yeah, I don't have that in my itunes library.

a few months ago I googled "running music mixes" and found rock my run. I've downloaded three mixes - all free (they give you one credit each month and the 30-60 minute mixes are just one credit; you can also purchase credits but I haven't) - and I'm loving it! itunes thinks each mix is one long song, so I can't skip around, but I'm hearing a lot of new songs...and it's so easy! each mix has a target beats per minute and that helps me keep my pace...especially up the hills.

my three mixes are for the thrill of it, crush it and wanna be runnin' something (which is all 80's, but some is still new to me!). all very different. all very motivating. highly recommend.

if you're a fan, too, I'd love to know your favorite mixes!




Saturday, June 2, 2012

pressing the pause button.

...I just read liz's post today where she talks about needing the pause button.

and I think about the lovely hour plus holly and I spent on the deck early last evening. the humidity was gone. the air was cool. there was a breeze. I had a book. and holly...had the whole world to see.
198:365 looking out.
this is our version of kym's jennie being nosy

it was a pause button time for sure.