Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekending.

The last weekend of October really felt more like early September here, but it certainly looked like fall.

I had fun seeing my Saturday and Sunday morning walks through a Prisma filter. These first two are Kathakali


and this one is Mosaic. (and yep, the camellias are starting to bloom!)

There was also a little bit of cooking, which provided me the perfect opportunity to drop in on my favorite little family Friday evening

and again on Sunday morning (when I also got baby snuggles).


There was even some knitting.

One sleeve done! I need to kick Sigla back into full gear - because this next weekend promises to feel like November!

Did it feel like fall where you were this past weekend?

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 28, 2016

FO Friday | Baby (Knits).

Katie's little family is settling in at home; they even managed a bit of sleep last night! I visited this morning and had a chance to chat with Katie (has it really been just four days since we took that last walk in the park?!) ... and - finally! - to really meet little Sam.

He's a sweetheart for sure.

Katie was a great sport about having him model the little hats. I'm sure it helped that he slept soundly through the whole thing! We tried one on and I'm happy they are a little big, but not so big they won't work just as soon as she feels ready to take him outside.

He napped peacefully in my arms for well over an hour. 

And when it was time for his next feeding, I handed him back and snuck upstairs to take a few photos of his nursery. It will be a few weeks before he sleeps here, but it's certainly ready. Cozy, but bright. and already full of (handmade) love.



Wishing you all a cozy, bright weekend full of love, too!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Glimpses of Fall | Bookends.

This week's Think Write Thursday topic invites us to write about the view from our window, focusing on a fall theme. I'm finding words a little to come by today, but I did keep my eyes open and my camera ready.

This morning, Holly and I enjoyed a long walk in the park. The entire two miles of trail is just about picture perfect right now.


This evening, I'm enjoying the porch with a glass of wine and a book,

then a little album of baby photos to share with my girls at bookclub tonight,

and finally this blog post. The sun has gone to bed, but there are still a few birds and crickets awake. It sounds like summer, but looking back at the photos, it's clearly fall.

Thank you Carole and Kat for prompting me to look outside and pay attention!



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Welcome Sam!

If you follow me on Instagram this isn't new news, but hey! Katie had her baby yesterday! Little Sam came easy (especially compared to his brother) into the world and has - of course - already stolen our hearts.

I have seen him...but haven't yet held him... because I've been making sure his older brother doesn't feel neglected :-)
Credits also to his Poppa and Great Aunt Karen... it does take a family!

Sadly, my Sigla hasn't felt that same love.

(although those dpn's do mean I've started the sleeves... two rounds even!) So yep, it's not going to be this week's featured FO. (but maybe next week?)

I'm reminded that interruptions are sometimes good things. Have you had any this week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesdays with Charlie | A Full Lap and Some Knitting.

I shared this photo on Instagram, but the caption ("full lap ... full heart") doesn't tell the whole story.

First off - it's huge that Holly and Charlie are both snuggled in the same chair (even with Marmie wedged in between). And the book we're reading is new (we also read this one) - the latest in the crayon series from Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. I bought these (actually pre-ordered, way back in August; they were delivered last week) for Charlie to give to his little brother; it's only fair - right?! - that he gets to read them first (we still need to wrap them). 

They're board books, so I think they'll be sturdy - and I'll bet Charlie will be able to "read" them out loud soon...just like I did today. Also - note the afghan. Yep, snuggle weather!

Naptime proceeded much as usual. Milk, two stories and then two plus hours of sleep for Charlie...and knitting for me. This photo (which I also shared on Instagram) pretty much sums up that part of the day.

But I didn't share this one. after finishing round 51, and putting all the stitches on waste yarn for a try-on.

Decided it's long enough - and I've now started the 2" of ribbing at the bottom of the body. Tomorrow there will be sleeves!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Perfect Timing.

Before I start - nope, no baby! ...and now onto today's actual topic.

Summer seems to have (finally?!) given way to fall
from Friday morning's walk
or maybe it's just Indian Summer (it was nearly 80 here this afternoon).

But I finished the baby hats
full disclosure - the pompom wasn't attached in that photo...bit it is now!
and the yarn for Sigla arrived.

Perfect timing. 
earlier this afternoon when my friend Pat was over - and could help me check the length before splitting the sleeves
I'm glad AsKatKnits is knitting this, too - she tweaked the neckline and shared her modifications with me. So far, so good - I'm a couple inches past the sleeve split now.

Let's see if I can do this - my plan is to share daily updates here... and an FO on Friday!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Finished Two-fer | Bradway and Portis.

That's right, y'all - I have not one but two finished projects to share today. Because it's finally cool enough to wear wool and long pants and long sleeves outside. and I was able to get Katie (a huge thank you as always!) to take photos.

I did think about saving one for later (because whoa, I've got 30 blog posts in a row to fill up next month), but it's a lot more fun to share them both now (and I could use a short break from knitting baby hats and watching Call the Midwife).

First up is Bradway. I started this way back in August mostly because I had nearly a full skein of Shelter leftover from the baby blanket and I didn't want to waste it (so buying five more skeins made perfect sense, right?!) In any event, the knitting was a lot of fun and went as fast as you might expect on size 8 needles. This is the project that watched the Little League World Series and sat through a few knitting classes. I finished the knitting and bound off on September 1st. and then waited for a reason to weave in the ends and block it.

That reason finally arrived last week and about 20 minutes later* it was on the blocking board.

...but then it got hot again. until today. It was a really nice layer.

What made the project so much fun to knit was the changing colors and stitch patterns.  I think it's going to be a fun piece to wear, too. I should note that the pattern was perfect - not single issue - so I could focus my attention on those fun parts.

Next up is Portis.

This project had it's time-out at the beginning. I was gung-ho to get started, but then got side-tracked to finish the Blue Blanket. Once I started knitting on this one in earnest, it went fast. I finished the big stockinette tube in about two weeks (while watching nearly all of Inspector Morse).  My first steek was surprisingly easy (maybe three hours from beginning to end).

then a three-needle bind off, an i-cord neck, 3" of 2x2 ribbing

and a few more ends* (along with the last season of Mad Men)... and done.

I'm super happy with the finished piece.

This time I didn't quite knit it as written and I've suggested a few changes for my students - those notes are documented on my Ravelry project page.

But I did knit the piece to the schematic measurements and that seems perfect. Note that it's a smidge bigger than the Churchmouse Easy Folded Poncho.

So yay! for cooler temperatures. October 21 seems like a perfectly fine date to start wearing long pants, long sleeves...and wool!

*Weaving in ends with Shelter and Loft is a piece of cake. When wet-blocked, they grab on like nobody's business so the ends hold firm with minimal effort. They're also spit-splice-able, so there aren't as many ends. But as others have commented, those traits make them not-so-great for seaming.(of course neither of these projects required that.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Making Room.

I shared a very vague post a few months back about making room for new priorities. After more thought and many difficult conversations, including some hard goodbyes, today marked the end of what I now see as a months-long journey to be home on Thursdays.

It started back in May, when I moved my knitting class from Monday nights to Thursdays.

The change was good, like I shared in July:
Beginning last month, I moved my Monday evening class to Thursday evenings. Thankfully, all my students save one were able to make the change and most were just as happy about it as I am. It's nice to be home on Monday evenings - the golf course is closed on Mondays, so if Marc's in town, he's home; and I get to bed at a more reasonable hour, which makes Tuesdays with Charlie easier. So now my Thursdays are a little longer, but that seems to be working ok, since the next day is Friday and then the weekend!
But then I started thinking about how nice it might be if I were simply home. I could cook dinner (??!!) and  I could be the one to turn the porch light on. Once I thought about it for more than a second, it was an easy decision. It was harder to tell my students. But happily many of them have the flexibility to join me on Wednesday afternoons, so I might end up with one VERY full class in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week...and that's wonderful!

We had our last Thursday evening class last week. The girls were great - we drank wine and had snacks and talked about knitting and life ... which is what we always do (well, except for the wine). I thought to take another photo in the parking lot as I left. Marking another milestone.

Today's goodbye was, in a sense, harder.  Holly and I have co-hosted the weekly knitting group at the nursing home since 2011. There are now three of us (four, including Holly) co-hosting and the group of "knitters" mostly crochet. Also it's only three to four ladies most weeks, so it doesn't feel like I'm leaving a huge gap. When we (Holly is really the more popular :-) said good bye today the ladies gave us hugs and I promised we'd keep in touch.

It was really nice to get home today before it got dark. I didn't even need to turn on the porch light.

So now my Thursdays are "home days". just in time to welcome a new baby into the family! If all goes well, I'll be having Thursdays with him when Katie goes back to work next February.  Tuesdays with Charlie have been such a blessing I'm not sure how my heart can possibly hold that and another day with his brother. but of course it will. there's plenty of room!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WIP Wednesday | Newborn Hats.

One down,

two more to go.

and thank you for all the wonderful TV recommendations. I'm on the 4th episode (1st season still :-) of Call the Midwife and loving it. It's definitely the perfect accompaniment for this knitting project.

p.s. details about the pattern and the yarn are here on Ravelry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesdays with Charlie | Pumpkins.

Charlie's been asking (I'm pretty sure at his mama's nudging) to get pumpkins. and today we did. I planned a morning outing to a somewhat local (16 miles and a 40 minute drive - is that "local"?) pumpkin patch, but when we arrived, they said it was only open at 9:30 am for "reserved groups". We could come back at 3:30 pm when they opened to the public. well ugh. 

Instead we went to a playground with a big slide
"all by myself" he said once we'd climbed together to the top. I raced down the stairs and got to the bottom just in time. and then he did it again. and again. and then the swing.

and then Home Depot. Five pumpkins and two "big flowers" later we made it home. I'm sure the photos from the pumpkin patch would've been great. but I'm guessing there wouldn't be butterflies. because no flowers, right? 

and these two photos are my favorites ... in a very long time!

We also had two FaceTimes with Poppa ... turns out the 13 hour time difference (and perhaps a bit of jet lag on the Korea side) works pretty good on Tuesdays. Both boys were just waking up at 3:30 pm ET :-)

...and a quick report on my solo week - the poncho is done, Mad Men is done and I'll have a baby hat done in another few hours. I've heard really good things about Call the Midwife - and I can't imagine I'll blow through all those episodes in a day - so I'm going to watch that next. Other suggestions welcome (watching, reading, knitting, food, drink ... I'm open!)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello Monday!


Marc is in Korea this week - he left yesterday morning and won't be home until Sunday night. This is his first trip to Asia since early January; I hope a week out of the office cheers him up. The house seems oddly silent and empty without him. I guess we are both out of the habit of international travel.

But a week on my own (in the comfort of home) is certainly appealing. I have knitting projects to finish (Portis is nearly done) and start (I'm going to cast on the little baby hats today and thanks to AsKatKnits, I snagged yarn for Sigla - on major sale at Craftsy - and should be ready to cast on as soon as it arrives), plans to meet up with friends and watch (finally!!) the last season of Mad Men, a much-needed hair appointment ... and not much else.

Unless the baby decides to come early.

What's on your list this week?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

An Altar in the World.

I hadn't intended to be away from here on Friday, but the day got away from me almost as soon as it started. First, I finished reading this book. Then I met with a wonderful group of women to talk about it. Then I went to a meditation class and then, well then I decided the blog could get by without me for a day or two. I very rarely write much about the books I read, but I took a bit of time on Goodreads this morning to write a little about this one. I know many of you follow my reviews there, so you might see this anyway. But in case you don't - and for myself - I wanted to share my thoughts here, too. Happy Sunday!

An Altar in the World: A Geography of FaithAn Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this with my small group (six women, including two widows in their 70's/80's and four "empty nesters" in their 50's and 60's) over the last six weeks; each week, the six of us would meet to discuss two chapters. This is the second book we've read together, so we knew a little about each other before we started. The conversations we had over this book have made a deep and lasting impression on me.

As has this book. It is beautifully written, with just the right mix of Taylor's own thoughts - wow, this woman can write a sentence - illustrations from others (she includes poetry, prayers and other meaningful quotations from a host of "wise" people across centuries) and warm hearted humor.

She says in the introduction "...my hope is that reading [this] will help you recognize some of the altars in this world -- ordinary-looking places where human beings have met and may continue to meet up with the divine More that they sometimes call God."

For me, she certainly succeeded.

I read this with a pencil; most pages show at least a few underlinings, stars, hearts and other marginalia. Looking back over all those pages, I'm struck anew by the power of Taylor's writing. I started reading the book a few pages each day, but soon found I wanted to keep going and had to make myself stop when I'd finished the reading for the week. But when I reached the last two chapters - on prayer and blessing - I didn't want to finish. I read that last chapter just before heading off to my meeting. I loved it most of all. (While I was reading, I also ordered two of the poetry books she cited on those pages - gotta love Amazon on your phone.)

Two days later, the passages I marked on those last pages still evoke the emotion, clarity of understanding and simple grace I felt when I first read them:
"I could argue with myself on this, but I am not sure that you have to believe in God to pronounce a blessing. It may be enough to see the thing for what it is and pronounce it good. For most of us, that is as close to God as we will ever get anyway."
"God has no hands but ours, no bread but the bread we bake, no prayers but the ones we make, whether we know what we are doing or not."
"That we are willing to bless one another is miracle enough to stagger the very stars."
and finally - from the very last page:
"I hope you can think of [at least a dozen] more ways to celebrate your own priesthood, practiced at the altar of your own life. As the love poet of all time reminds us both,

Today like every other day we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
(that last bit is from Rumi and that's one of the books I ordered.)

I'm confident I'll feel the same way two weeks, months and years from now. All of this might be a little much for some, but it was just what I (and the other women in my small group) needed. If it sounds remotely interesting to you, please read it. I think you'll love it, too.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Throwback Thursday | Kathryn Windham Tucker Museum.


A year ago, we had a little family reunion in my dad's hometown (funny, I titled that post "Time Flies" and that would also be an apt title for this post - how was that trip 12 months ago?!). 


One of the very cool things we did was visit the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum. Kathryn Tucker Windham and my grandmother (my dad's mother) were cousins (Grandmother was a Tucker, too, before she got married). I've heard stories about Miz Windham practically my whole life. But really, she was the story teller. I own many of her books and added her last one to my collection when I was there.

The museum is a really wonderful tribute to Miz Windham's life and storytelling legacy. 

Its director (whose name I've forgotten) is a real fan, too. She was thrilled to meet "family" (she took the photo at the top of this post and shared it on the museum's Facebook page) and gave us a personal tour. 

This story quilt (made by Dorothy Williams Shepard) is one of my favorite pieces in the museum's extensive collection.

...and of course this
(I wish I'd written this post sooner or taken better notes because now I can't remember the details - all I have are these photos!)

That's a sculpture of Miz Windham. It reminds me that she told stories with words and photographs. I have her book Encounters, which includes some of her best work. The museum has many of the photographs from that book on display along with their stories. It's impressive.

Two of Miz Windham's children - Ben Windham and Dilcy Windham Hilley - have created a wonderful home for her work on-line. The website even includes voice recordings from Miz Windham's radio broadcasts. I couldn't figure out how to link directly to that page, but there's a "Listen to Kathryn Tell Stories Here" link at the bottom of the homepage that will take you there. The one called Naps is especially delightful.
"It is highly unusual for a talented wordsmith also to be a gifted photographer, but Kathryn Tucker Windham has long used both media to communicate memorably about Southern culture. Whether telling stories, commenting on Southern customs, passing along cherished recipes, or capturing Alabama life in photographs, her work has a unity that centers on her powers of observation and memory and her love for the South, its people and its lifeways."
(from the museum's flyer, reprinted from the Encyclopedia of Alabama)
This is one cousin I'm certainly proud to claim!