Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday | Travel Plans.

Sara and I had a two hour FaceTime on Saturday afternoon to nail down a few details for our trip next week. The weather forecast isn't great (rainy and chilly), but it is spring and hopefully the forecast is just plain wrong. Still, we don't have high hopes.

We have only two definite things planned to do:
1. see Claire Danes in Dry Powder Thursday evening (Sara managed to get tickets and that's really the reason for the whole trip); and
2. meet up with a friend of mine Saturday morning.

So we spent that two hours on Saturday talking about where we'd eat! Sara pulled it all into a map:

And I couldn't help thinking about how different all this is from our first trip back in April, 2008. I pored over blogs and probably even a guide book or two looking for recommendations. Apart from a quick trip (for a business lunch) in 2007, I hadn't been to New York since college and this was Sara's first time. We were definitely newbies. without iPhones, Yelp or Google Maps!

We landed at La Guardia with hotel reservations and The List.
(which I still have!)
A piece of paper - filled on the front with Places to see/Things to do and on the back with Food. We managed to have a great time and I don't remember being disappointed by anything. Although Sara was for sure disappointed by the carriage ride through Central Park (I do have to agree with her that the smell was...tough to handle!)

I compiled a day by day summary of what we did for our scrapbook.  Fun to see that three of the restaurants we tried back then are on this year's list too (Fig & Olive, Blue Ribbon Bakery and Isabella's).

We'll also see Central Park, plenty of the Village and maybe even a yarn shop or two. And we'll also ride the subway. I doubt we'll keep up the pace of that first visit, though; I'm amazed how much of the city - even Brooklyn! - we covered in just a few days.

But I'm sure we'll have fun. no matter what.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

With My Whole Heart.

I read Mary Oliver's beautiful poem "When Death Comes" this morning. The last few verses resonated so strongly with what I've been feeling lately - and seeing all around me - that I wanted to share them with you.

the red bud next door is just starting to leaf out ♥

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ten on Tuesday (ish) | Outside.

This week, Carole's asked us to share ten of our favorite things to do outside - you know, because one of the very best things about Spring! is getting outside...without so many layers you can't really move, and before the heat of summer makes you wish you had no layers at all. Here in Georgia, that can be a tricky window :-) 
today. the cherry trees have finally bloomed!
Of course today was a Charlie day and I had grand plans to spend a lot of it outside. It was chilly this morning, but forecasted (which for once came true) to get into the low 70's with blue sky sunshine this afternoon. I pictured a walk, the swings, a run in the grass, maybe even a fortune hunt through the big beds in the cul-de-sac to see if we could find pretty rocks, or an interesting stick.

But he arrived this morning with itchy eyes and a runny nose. Apparently, he's inherited his Poppa's allergies. We headed to Avalon* for an hour and that was all the outside time we had.

I hadn't pictured "crafts" as an outside activity, but turns out that was a highlight of the day.


It's been a month since my last lockscreen update and we tried a quick selfie on the way back to the car. not our best effort.

And maybe this one isn't either, but it was our best for today.

...still looking forward to walks, swings, picnics, treasure hunts, playing in the sand...and walking barefoot in the grass. Plenty of Tuesdays coming up. (and with the adults in my life, I can't wait for wine and knitting). Happy Spring!

If you're not already playing along, click here to join the Ten on Tuesday gang. And thank you to Carole for another week of fun!

*our second time at the outdoor mall's weekly toddler morning. This one was a lot calmer than the first; we will definitely be attending regularly...once the pollen is gone.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny had a lot of fun with Charlie yesterday... as did we!

He really got into finding the eggs.


and then opening them to see what was inside. Stickers were not his favorite; he really liked the yogurt covered raisins and bunny grahams.




Katie had her big camera out. Love this shot of his new "smile".

...but as much as he loved the eggs and the treats inside, we all agree - he liked the plastic grass the best!



Too quickly it was all over...and now it's Monday again. At least the sun is shining.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2016

FO Friday | Slope.

Turns out Quick Sand wasn't the quickest sweater. This is Slope, started on the car ride to Florida two weekends ago and finished this past Monday.

Thankfully Spring did return, so I was able to wear it Wednesday.

and yes, sandals already!

I took a few more photos this morning to show off a few of my favorite details.

First, the mid-row and sloped bind-offs for the underarms

and neck edges.

And Sunday short-rows for the shaped hem and shoulders. They really are invisible.

(all the details are on Ravelry here)

We have a beautiful spring weekend in the forecast and the Easter Bunny is making his first visit to Charlie's house. It should be fun!

Wishing all of you a warm, fun-filled weekend, too!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Knitting Sleeves as Swatches.

It's hard for me to say this, but I'm losing my faith in swatches. Yes - that's crazy talk coming from me! especially because my favorite thing to knit is sweaters and I really (really!) like them to fit. I need to know my stitch and row gauges so my finished piece turns out to be the size I  expect.

Case in point. Meridian. That cute cardigan from the latest Shibui collection that I'm knitting in black. I faithfully knit my swatch - not a huge one, but still a decent 5" square. I wet blocked it, let it dry flat and then hung it for a day to let the row gauge settle before I measured. It seemed spot on. But I wanted to double check. So I started with a sleeve. I finished it and soaked it...and realized it was way too small (smaller even than the schematic for the next size down). So small Marc wondered if I was knitting a sweater for Charlie (it's the sleeve in the upper right).

I went up a needle size (which put me at the US8 the pattern suggested - a little surprising since I feel like my knitting has loosened up a bit since last year's elbow injury) and started my second sleeve. A few rows in, I measured and the width seemed good, but the length was too long. I did some quick calculations and subtracted about 7 rows from the pattern to get everything to work out ok. I finished it and soaked it. The width was fine, but it was short (upper left). yeah, ugh. Turns out my blocked row gauge was smaller than my working gauge.

At this point I decided to take a break from swatching knitting sleeves. I bought yarn and cast on for a new project...without swatching!

This morning, I knit that sleeve again. This time, exactly as written. The piece is still drying, but I'm hopeful (bottom center). I do have the pattern memorized now, so the 4th sleeve should go quickly... and I can only hope that it - and the two fronts and the back! - are on gauge!

Two of my students in yesterday's class were ready to start Meridian. One had swatched on a size 7, and just like me, her gauge looked spot on. Nonetheless, I suggested they both start with a sleeve as a swatch. on an 8. following the pattern as written. Promise I'll report back on the results...for all three of us!

I'm sure you've anticipated my question - how do you swatch for a sweater?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday with Charlie | On the Move.

Marc called a few minutes ago. In response to his usual "what are you doing?" I replied simply "sitting down".

Toddlers aren't for sissies, that's for sure! The only time Charlie stops moving is when he eats
lunch time - "hi, Mommy"
or sleeps.
nap time. and yep, that's the floor (on the quilt his Aunt Lydia made)
Thankfully he did both of those things today, otherwise there would be no photos to share! It's hard to take photos when you're in on the action!

Like playing ball. His favorite game today was with the tennis ball. Yeah, I know it sounds dangerous but I don't think he knows that it can bounce. really high. he's  still delighted when it bounces lightly off the baseboard when I roll it...and then he brings it back to do it again.

or walking. First with Holly around the block. "c'mon" he says. (she doesn't listen, but then she doesn't really listen to me either.)

Then at church up and down stairs and a bonus "run" in the multi-purpose room to put the new shawls away.

And finally at Avalon. I wanted to visit Whole Foods to check out the magazines* and we picked up dinner. We walked back to the car the v.e.r.y long way and I had to carry him the last little bit.

I hope he sleeps well tonight. I think I will!

*I used to love magazines. Now the only one I get - thanks to Mother - is Southern Living. I have fond memories of Living, InStyle, Women's Health, Real Simple, Garden & Gun, Bon Appetit... but today, none of these grabbed my attention. Does anyone still read magazines?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Shaking Things Up.

I've been thinking a good bit lately about routines. Familiar paths that were once comfortable are now seeming worn and restrictive. I remember seeing the wagon wheels ruts in the Oregon Trail; they were as deep as I was tall! I couldn't imagine how the wheels could even turn...let alone drive the wagons forward. Fitting metaphor.

Or maybe it's just a good dose of Spring Fever!
it's not really warm enough for bare feet, but I couldn't resist!
I got a pedicure today. and so much for shaking things up - this is OPI's Dutch Tulips, a warm weather color I've been wearing for years. 

There are some routines I'm not looking to change. I'm an early riser. I love my morning quiet time with coffee and my journal. I'm addicted to my FitBit and 10,000 steps a day.

But I'd like to get more variety in my workouts, our diet ... and quite simply my days. I need some fresh inspiration! 

So - question for y'all - where do you look for inspiration when you feel stuck?

Thank you! I can't wait to see what you have to share! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

FO Friday | Quick Sand.

raveled here
This might be the quickest sweater I've ever knit for myself.

Granted it was on size 10-1/2 needles.

But still, two weeks - with a couple other projects thrown into the mix.

Maybe I should've called this Bang out a (Spring) Sweater :-)

I really love the back detail with the lifted increases. Honestly, I'm super happy with everything about it*.

This is a design from Heidi Kirrmaier for Quince & Co's Kestrel, a linen tape yarn. The shop does carry it and I've used it, and liked it, but I really wanted to try the new Rowan Cotton Lustre. Great substitute since it knits up at a similar stitch gauge (my row gauge was slightly bigger, but I like the result) but the fabric seems a lot lighter. Which is also good since the construction is top-down seamless; no seams can end up really sloppy and droopy.

Heidi's also written a similar pattern for sport/DK weight (Fine Sand) and I'm almost 100% certain I'll knit that one too. Maybe in Juniper Moon Farm's Zooey. Have any of y'all used that yarn? Thoughts?

Happy Friday! or more likely Happy Weekend by the time y'all read this!

*Except the driveways, cars and open garages in these photos...at least there's Spring!  and a big thank you to my sister for the photos. She did a pretty good job with my iPhone!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Currents | March 2016.

the cherry tree in our cul-de-sac is nearly ready to explode!
Remembering just how much I love spring, especially when it's a little early.

Loving longer days. Yesterday we finally hit a 12 hour and one minute day. Having it light until nearly 8:00 is making up for having it dark until 7:30 in the morning.

Planning meals and activities for our upcoming family celebration weekend in Beaufort, SC. We're having all of Daddy's favorite foods and drinks ... plenty of nostalgia and good eats to go around.

Eating salads - power greens, tomato, cucumber, avocado and oranges with a sprinkle of queso fresco and a little fruit balsamic. Tastes like spring!

Drinking white wine. Karen and I celebrated our first spring Wednesday at my house last night with a bottle of my favorite Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay. Today I'm picking up Picpoul de Pinet and a few pinot grigios.

Knitting Slope, pretty much monogamously, which might explain why I'm making quick progress. I'm just a few rounds from the armhole shaping.

Reading Oryx and Crake (kindle) and The Tsar of Love and Techno (audible). Both wonderful.

Listening to construction sounds at the golf course behind us. They're redoing the club house and have a hard April 1 date to finish.

Watching ... nothing much, although I expect I'll see a little college basketball this weekend and I have seen Jeopardy pretty regularly. I'd committed to catching up on Game of Thrones to start watching this next season, but I haven't managed a single episode...I'm not even sure where I left off (and I really don't want to start it over again!)

Enjoying Charlie at eighteen months. He's pretty much non-stop motion and chatter...except when he's asleep.

Looking forward to New York...and seeing Sara.

Needing to book my annual physical and mammogram appointments (much overdue...like from last fall!)

Wanting a few pretty tops for spring and summer. Something a little more interesting than my boring wardrobe of linen t-shirts.

Letting go - very happily! - of the shop's newsletter, blog and Instagram feed. I am still consulting on project ideas, knitting samples and taking photos, but it's no longer "newsletter Thursdays" for me!

Wondering if it might be time to make some changes to my workout routine. ...and as I type the word "routine", I'm wondering if that's what bugging me about it. more to come, for sure.

How about you? what's current in your world?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Weekending with Gram.

We had a wonderful (it seemed too short!) visit with my mom. The weather was beautiful Sunday morning for a stroll through the Art Show downtown.

I even found two more #blueskyblooms for my collection.


The afternoon was not quite as sunny, but perfect for bubbles.

Monday morning the sun was out again...pool time! I did put on a swimsuit, but there's no photographic proof. For Katie & Charlie, however, there's a movie!
Needless to say - he LOVES the water!!

Yesterday was a long, hot and cranky drive home.

Not my favorite way to spend Tuesday with Charlie, but it was worth it for the time we got to spend together...and to catch up with Mother.

Hope your weekend was full of good things, too!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Look Who's Ready.

...for his first trip to visit Gram (my mom).



Katie, Charlie, Holly and I are headed to Florida dark early tomorrow. Hope to share a few quick updates while we're there. Swimsuits in March is something I haven't done ... maybe ever!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Throwback Thursday | NYC.

lunch at Del Posto
This is from June, 2010. The last two of us (Sara and me) photo from our last trip to NYC.

We visited first in April 2008. Sara was a sophomore in high school, considering NYU.  We had a really encouraging tour, but then we went to breakfast one day and it snowed. in April*. She never even applied.

We visited again in April 2009. Just for fun. And with no idea that I'd be back in June and July to help Katie move there for a year**. Sara and I visited again that Christmas and then one last time over Memorial Day 2010, just after she graduated high school.

Fast forward a few years (yikes, quite a few!) and we're planning another early April trip. Sara texted me last week about joining her for a spur-of-the-moment-I-really-need-a-break-from-work trip and I jumped at the chance.

We'll be there April 6-9. Needless to say, I'm excited!

*and isn't it ironic that she now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. where a trip to NYC in early April is likely going to be a breath of warmer air!

**Katie's first job after college was with NBC/Universal. She spent a year in New York and then two years in Los Angeles before (happily, finally) moving back to Atlanta to get married...and have a family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday | WIPs and White Wine.

Yes, it's March 9th and it's warm enough for white wine. and bright enough outside after 6 pm to take a kitchen table photo without any extra light. Spring is wonderful!

...more on my WIP later. I'm well into sleeve #2, but there's still a bit of finishing once I bind off.

Hope your week is going well... any other warm weather white wine drinkers out there?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ten on Tuesday (ish) | Wooden Favorites.

Carole's prompt this week is about favorite things we have made out of wood.  I can't wait to see what this one surfaces (I don't ever let myself read any of the posts until after mine is done - do you do the same?!). I'm picturing furniture, antique woodworking, maybe a spinning wheel, kitchen tools, garden benches....

I'm not sharing a full ten - just two - one for Charlie and one for me. He gets to go first.
15 second after I snapped this photo, the tower toppled...he said "whoa....."
Yep, blocks. this is a set we bought when the girls were small and it was one of our "Christmas tree toys" while they were growing up. I brought it out again last Christmas ... and never put it away. It lives quietly in a corner of our living room...except on Tuesdays. It's Charlie's second stop once he arrives in the morning (the first stop is the kitchen drawer where all his dishes, cups, bibs, etc., live). Today we built a few towers. and then he ad libbed. This is "ring ring". 
yep, phones in both ears!
And now it's my turn. Probably no surprise for the knitters out there, it's needles.  And it's a toss-up between the size 4 nicely sharp ones I'm using on my Hoping for Spring
these are knitter's pride
and the not-so-sharp (ugh) ones I hope to use soon to finish the sleeves on my first (for this year anyway!) summer cardigan.

It's hard to believe Charlie is almost 18 months old. I shared this photo on Instagram earlier today. Forget about wood, this is full on plastic and he's loving it!

Our local outdoor mall hosts a "toddler play" event every Tuesday morning. He was too young last year...but I think he's going to love it this time around. This is the kind of thing I never did (hated it!) as a mom..but as a Marmie...well, it makes all the difference! 

Huge thank you to Carole for giving us another week of inspiration! Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun.

Monday, March 7, 2016

In My Happy Place.

Saturday afternoon, the shop hosted Sandy Barnes of (my favorite) Shibui Knits for two yarn tasting workshops. There wasn't really any yarn "tasting", but there was plenty of oohhhing and aahhhing and quite a bit of purchasing.
from the shop's Instagram feed - that's me on the end of the sofa closest to Sandy
Sandy reviewed each of the yarns and then shared samples from the latest SS16 collection. I love trunk shows. The opportunity to see the pieces - knit as the designer intended - in real life and try them on... it's the best way to "shop" an upcoming project. or two. This one convinced me to knit two pieces I wasn't sure about. one that wasn't even on my radar!

First up - Slope - a sleeveless top from last year's collection. That collection debuted just about the time my elbow started to act up and I didn't knit a single piece. It's knit in Twig, a sport-weight blend of linen, silk and merino. This is the one I hadn't planned to knit. But when Sandy talked about Twig and how perfect it was for this piece. and the three Slopes she'd knit for herself... I was convinced.

...sadly I'm using a US 2.5 (3.0mm) needle to get gauge, but like I tell my students, it's really no more stitches... The only modification I'm planning is to shorten the armholes by an inch. I shared the yarn on Instagram Saturday evening and incorrectly identified the colorway as Ash. um duh?!? it's really Mineral. one of my favorite Shibui colorways. and the fourth time I've knit it...but the first time it's for me!

Next is Meridian. This is my favorite piece from the SS16 collection and not only because I could really use a cardigan like this to dress up all the plain linen t-shirts in my closet. But a few of the FOs that were showing up on Ravelry looked sloppy and there was a comment in one of the projects about the gauge being impossible. So I was waiting for the real sample to decide. Sandy was wearing the piece and it looked great (not to mention that she said it was the 8th time she'd worn it..and it still looked just-blocked...that's definitely my kind of piece!) I had the opportunity to measure the gauge and it was spot on. The big surprise here isn't that I decided to knit the piece...but the color I chose.

Yep, that's black. I don't knit black. ...until now! Hopefully the simple lines and limited shaping will make it ok. I do have an Ott light and that very well might come out, especially for the seaming. Or maybe this will simply be my ode to more sunshine and longer days.

...and hopefully I'll still be in my Happy Place once these two projects - one on tiny needles and one in a color I can't really see - are done!