Wednesday, February 27, 2013

finished and frogged.

...yes, I had two knitting projects move off my works in progress page (and not to hibernation) this week.

First up, the one I finished. Shibui Mix No. 9. 850+ yards of Shibui Staccato knit together with Silk Cloud. it's big and warm (Holly is going to miss taking naps under the work-in-progress blanket that it was) and the subtle pattern of the "dot stitch" (which is really a seed stitch on the wrong-side rows separated by plain stockinette on the right-side rows) shows off the shine of the silk. It's lovely. and it might be the only reason I'm glad we're having a cold spell this weekend.
doesn't that red leash with the pink bag go great with my outfit?
The pattern is a long rectangle, joined with a single twist and a 3-needle bindoff to make a cowl. The twist makes it easy to wear doubled (and quite Audrey-like you can pull one layer up over your head - it's not that cold here so I haven't tried it), but I think I like it long. What do you think?

and now, the one I frogged. Dresden.
before the frogging
I was nearly to the armhole (and it's a vest...I was closer to the end than the beginning)...but the fabric just wasn't right. My stitch gauge was good, but I just couldn't see it draping like it should. And my row gauge was off, but I'd adjusted... I don't know. It just. wasn't. right. So I made the decision to rip it and find a better yarn match for the pattern. That's always a tough decision (although it's one I've now made three times in nearly as many months so maybe it's getting a little easier?!) but Ysolda's Perfect Sweater Class starts next week and the gauge I had with the Savannah...dead on! so I've already got yarn I love to knit a pattern I'm excited about.

I am still excited about Dresden and definitely intend to knit it. I spent a chunk* of yesterday afternoon knitting swatches with my leftover Staccato, then washing them, measuring them. and letting them dry.

Good thing about the letting them dry part. The measurements changed quite a bit. and I think the size 4 swatch (the one top center) is going to be perfect.  Still-damp, I would've cast-on with size 2's (lower right). and likely been frogging again! Funny isn't it, where patience comes to play in knitting. We spend hours over days, weeks, even months creating the piece, hoping it will last for years. and yet it's hard to make ourselves myself spend the few hours it takes to ensure all that time is going to be well-spent. Yep, it made me feel like a grown-up (about my knitting).

What have you learned lately about yourself and/or your knitting (that you could share)? Please...tell your stories!

*I also spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon and evening casting on...but that's another post. for another day. and not only because it made me feel quite child-like (about my knitting).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

just go already, will ya.

...yep, it started out great back in december with the warm glow of twinkle lights and thoughts of family time. but nearly three months later, it's over. winter and I, we definitely have a love/hate relationship. on the love side is cozy fun for the holidays, handknit sweaters and cowls, cracking fires. and on the hate side is this.
the view from my screened porch at 7:00am
a cold, wet, dark tuesday morning in late february. I'm calling it quits. what a great prompt, Carole! here are my top ten reasons I'm over winter:

1. see above. cold, wet, ugh.

2. ready for longer days and lighter mornings (I hate that daylight savings time starts in two weeks and takes us back to the dark early).

3. spring. and easter. and sun.

4. I want to see color! there are bits of pink and yellow popping up and I love that, but green and red and purple and blue would be good too. (basically, I'm tired of brown and gray.)

5. I run better in shorts. outside.

6. the house next door is under construction. it's supposed to close in early march. I can't wait for the mud and the noise to be over.

7. I want to enjoy our screened in porch. it faces east and I'm looking forward to early morning coffee with my sunrise.

8. I'm done with "cozy" food and ready for "light".

9. skirts and cropped pants with flats instead of boots. ...and a bright pink pedicure!

10. an open sunroof.

yes, this is really a list of what I'm looking forward to for spring. and I don't even have to list real winter things like snowbanks melting, and ice thawing. (I do live in atlanta!)

what about winter will you be happy to say goodbye to?

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Friday, February 22, 2013

five things.

from instagram - 22. making me smile (colorful ruffles on my ella coat and holly #alwaysholly)

...inspired by today's fmsphotoaday prompt, five things that are making me smile. my response to the prompt (above) was really spur-of-the-moment (and likely much influenced by the gray 40 degree drizzle that has been most of our weather of late) but it got me thinking about the bigger picture. and yes, there are many things making me smile. here are my five favorites right now.

Katie's "bach" girls
1. much of my recent absence here is because I spent the long holiday weekend in the North Carolina mountains, tagging along (with a few of my own friends) with Katie's bachelorette party. that's a story I'm still figuring out how to tell. but for now, every time I think of any part of it (except the 2 4+ hours I spent mourning the end of downton abbey season 3)...I smile.  and if I'm being honest with myself, I'm almost able to smile about those 2 4+ hours too.

yesterday's run
2. running with Katie. we've done our last three "long" training runs together at the greenway that's about midway between us. running for me has always been a solitary thing. me and the road. only very recently even me and the road and some music. and only in the last three weeks has it been me and the road and ... another person. she's a pace-master for sure and she has the equipment that makes me believe I really did run 8 miles at a 9:08 pace yesterday. I wish I were a few years younger so I could keep up without all the panting, but then I wouldn't have the absolute joy of sharing it with my daughter. so I smile.  (I'm also smiling this week because we paid attention to the weather forecast and the weather forecast was right and we ran our run yesterday. this morning was cold.wet.rain.with wind.)

3. a new friend (the wife of one of Marc's golfing buddies...I met her just a few months ago) and I started a joint board on Pinterest today. Ireland. I've never been, but it's green. and not hot. and full of history. and books. and knitting. and...golf. it's still early, but I have good feelings that this could be the BIG trip.

4. I spent a few hours online looking at dresses. I know! dresses! mother-of-the-bride dresses no less! but what's making me smile is that I found a LOT I liked (and in multiple email exchanges with Katie she approves) and I have a "date" with Kathie for next week to look in person. Katie has done such a great job with all the wedding stuff - really, it's done except for the little details that are always left for the last 12 weeks - and I hated that she was getting nervous about MY dress. more to come. I hope I'm not being unrealistic to think I can walk into Nordstrom's at 10am and walk out with a few dresses a few hours later!

5. the shop KAL's. not just the knitting time (we regularly meet on Friday afternoons and yes, part of this blog's happy attitude is that I finalized this list of 5 on my way home today), but the quality - and, being honest here, the quantity - of the projects. I was amazed this morning when I figured out we've done TWENTY ONE projects together. it's certainly not all because of me, but I've been the driver to keep it moving and I am.simply.astonished. at the breadth and depth of what we've done. Every single one of those KALs was a project that inspired multiple knitters to buy yarn, cast-on, and - hopefully - create something wonderful. and maybe learn a new skill. and likely make a new friend. I've completed 14 of the 21 and those projects are some of my most-favorite FO's. knitting with others is one of my favorite things about knitting. and being so proud of what we've accomplished makes me smile.

...yep, begging the question! what's making you smile right now? (if nothing else, I hope it's a weekend, looking forward to something FUN!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

currents.

instagrammed yesterday. on our morning walk
celebrating marc's return this evening, just in time for valentine's day.

hoping the rain is done for a few days. the blue sky we saw on yesterday's walk lasted only about an hour. feels like 2013 has been one long slog of wet.

planning major grocery shopping lists for a girls' weekend away.

practicing grace with a daily lenten devotional (starting today).

training (still) for a half marathon on march 17. diligently following the training plan I started in december.

enjoying fat mum slim's photo a day challenge. it's inspiring me to try some new things with my photos and I'm "meeting" lots of new friends on instagram.

reading the immortal life of henrietta lacks (on my kindle) and wolf hall (on audible). oh my. they're both excellent! I have just an hour left (of 24) of wolf hall. can't wait to see how it ends. [and should bring up the bodies be my next audible download? recommendations please!]

knitting dresden (just joined the third of seven skeins) and shibui mix no. 9 and the sallah cowl. and planning to cast on a pair of slippers for a charity project.

watching DOWNTON ABBEY! can't believe the season finale is this weekend. it's over way too soon.

listening to pandora. I started a new station this morning with the lumineers, mumford & sons, the killers, death cab for cutie and phillip phillips. just gave a thumbs up to adele and I think I might've finally gotten it right.

eating greek yogurt with dried cranberries, almonds and walnuts.

drinking hot tea. especially enjoying constant comment and yogi chai in teabags and bellocq chai in my brown betty.

wearing sweats...but planning on jeans and a sweater after my run.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

project life 2013 | weeks 5 & 6.

...it feels pretty good to have the week that ended just two days ago already done. too soon to say for sure, but printing everything myself might be the way to go.

First, though, week 5, which ran January 27 - February 2 (with photos I printed at Costco). It was a full and busy week, with plenty of "stuff" in addition to the photos.

I smiled when I saw that weather snap; that was the week I smugly blogged about no winter blahs. When it's 60-some degrees in January, no blahs allowed.

The requisite Downton Abbey "photo".

And the start of Month of Letters (along with a piece of the CABi catalog from the "party" I attended Saturday afternoon.

And then on to week 6, February 3 - 9. The big story about this week is the knitting (which I shared in two blog posts last week).

And a little Superbowl story. Love that Rob put together a game so we'd pay attention to THE game (I still fell asleep...) and then Katie made a spreadsheet to track the scores. And I have to laugh at how poorly I did.
I snagged a screen shot of the spreadsheet, pulled it into PSE to resize and print on a 4x6 index card; added the orange date, journaling and stamp to the printed card.
This postcard from my mom arrived early in the week. Love that she responded to our Ten on Tuesday about what's in our cars (how different her list is from mine!)

...and there you have it. I'm still not using those Core Kit journaling cards like I wanted to. But otherwise, I'm good with it. I'm really seeing a difference in the amount of time it takes (week 6 was under four hours) without sacrificing much on the content and overall "feel". because that leaves more time to live the stories, not just tell them!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Market Jacket.

...yes, friends, I hinted it would be coming. and indeed, it's here. my first sweater of 2013.

to say I am immensely pleased would be an understatement.

Tanis Gray designed a beauty and wrote a pattern that was a dream to knit. really. it was fun -  a little bit of thinking wrapped inside a lot of straight stockinette (my favorite recipe right now!). top down means easy to customize and I did. (just a little - modifications are on my ravelry page)

I wore it yesterday with skinny black pants and a black turtleneck...and pearls (of course!)
the whole outfit...

thanks to Kathie for the sweater photos!

...but I think it will be just as nice with jeans or a skirt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

how quickly things change.

...oh yeah. y'all know this all too well. but it kind of slapped me in the face (in that only-for-fun way, promise!) and made me pay attention in the last 24 hours.

If you follow me on instagram, you saw this late yesterday afternoon.
raveled here
Yes, that is a sweater. for me. and it will be a true finished object as soon as it dries and I can sew on the buttons. tomorrow I hope because I have plans to wear it on Friday.

and then this morning, you saw this.
raveled here
Like Martha said, I'm cranking out the projects.

...and planning new ones. at a rapid rate. Here's my queue on Ravelry:
my current queue on ravelry

Yep, I bought three patterns yesterday. and today I bought yarn. and swatched and cast on for that first one.
#1 - Dresden, using Fibre Co Savannah DK
and took nice glamour shots of the three next-up ones in my queue.
#2 - Garance, using the suggested yarns - fiber and color ways!
#3 - Silk Cloud Pullover, using Kidsilk Haze from (deep 2007) stash
#4 - Eternity Scarf, using Shibui Heichi (what I'll have left once I finish Garance)
It was only three short weeks ago that I wrote about feeling different about my knitting. and I do still feel different about my knitting. there's only one "all new" (new yarn and new pattern) project (Dresden) in that short list of next-ups. I did have to buy three skeins of silk cloud for the Garance and of course those three patterns... but still. I know I can really use all of these pieces. and I specifically chose the color for Dresden to pair well with tops and bottoms I already own. (yes, that's a new thing for me!)

I'm curious to see if/how this sticks. will it last? or will I be frogging projects in favor of new patterns by this time next month? we'll see. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

ten on tuesday. remembering the good times.

...this week Carole has us looking back at our childhood. writing about the things we miss. Here's my list:

Grandma, me, Grandpa | August, 1976
1. my grandparents. I could've made a whole list about just this. my dad's parents lived in southern Alabama and my mom's lived in northern California. We never lived close to either of them, so it was always a trip to visit. and a very special trip if I got to stay by myself. There is nothing like being the center of attention at your grandparents' house! In the summer of 1976, I flew to California by myself and spent several weeks with Grandma and Grandpa. They took me to San Francisco, and Napa Valley. We saw an opera and had picnics. Grandma helped me with my sewing (guess I wasn't much of a knitter then, but she could've helped me with that too).

me and Granddaddy | August, 1977
The following summer, I stayed with my other grandparents in Alabama. They tried (unsuccessfully) to teach me to play bridge. Grandmother taught me to tat (again, not sure why we weren't knitting!) and Granddaddy let me drive his car (on a very deserted country road).
Grandmother and me | August, 1977 (that dress I'm wearing, I think I sewed it the previous summer)
I kept up a close relationship with all my grandparents into adulthood. We wrote letters, made an occasional phone call and visited. Katie was the first great-grandchild on both sides of the family and I think it's pretty special that she got to meet all four of my grandparents (I'm not sure she remembers much beyond all the photos!) Sara also got to meet Grandma (she was called GG by then) and Granddaddy (who was called Grandpa Blinn by then).

2. summer vacation. I'm sure there must've been parts that weren't fun, but all I remember is a seemingly endless stream of warm sunny days. riding my bike to the pool. or to a friends house. popsicles. cookouts. you get the idea.

3. looking forward to new albums (the kind you played on a turntable) from the likes of Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Chicago.

4. The Carol Burnett Show.

5. playing. My family took three-week long camping trips the summers we lived in Wyoming (1971 - 1976) and my brother and sister and I usually had only ourselves for playmates. We made up wild games, full of imagination and fun (and likely a bit of competition!)

6. Little House on the Prairie. the books. the TV series. I loved all of it. (I'm sure the Wyoming connection had something to do with this!)

7. Nancy Drew. I "discovered" her in the school library when I was in the 4th grade. The Clue of the Dancing Puppet. I proceeded to devour the entire series (and I remember my mom would re-read them...took her about 45 minutes to finish one. me, it took a few days!)

8. ice cream. I remember having several scoops for dessert most nights. we always had a few flavors in the freezer. mint chocolate chip stands out as a special favorite.

9. my mom's vegetable garden. She grew tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and I'm sure a lot of other things. We enjoyed fresh vegetables during the summer and home-canned sauce during the winter. sadly, I have no talents in this area....

10. sledding. those Wyoming years again. sledding was a big thing. and after that, we moved to New Jersey and there was a park across the street from our house with big hills. even through college I loved bundling up and flying down the hill. (I wonder if I'd like it so much now?)

So - there you have it, a little trip down memory lane. remembering the good times.

click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!

Friday, February 1, 2013

five things.

...fun things I found/learned on twitter this week.

copyright Blue Sky
1. blue sky alpaca's latest patterns, inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald. He's been one of my favorite authors since high school and those little patterns from blue sky are A-Dorable. Rose Beck's Zelda Wrap (shown left) is the perfect embodiment of that Jazz Age soul...and it's kind of "epic". [I've already checked in with Theresa and we'll be getting the patterns and - hopefully - the new Metalico colors in at the shop soon.]

2. only four spots left in Ysolda's on-line Your Perfect Sweater class....and I grabbed one of them!

3. the Lizzie Bennet diaries. seriously fun!

4. the Commuter Knitter podcast. lots of knitting wrapped into a cute "driving" motif. from the 27 years I spent commuting, I love how she's making such productive use of the time...and her style and knitting stories are delightfully engaging. (also, she lives in Newtown, CT...and those stories are heart-wrenching. and real.)

5. ftw means "for the win". who knew...and now I do!

I'm still very much on the sidelines - really just consuming - with twitter...but there is much to learn and plenty to keep me busy just watching from the sidelines. and hopefully if I get a bit more time on the sidelines I'll feel more comfortable...to step out onto the field and play.