Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday.

Happily, most of this week's knitting progress has been "forward". There was a small setback Monday evening when I discovered I'd forgotten to make two buttonholes along the right edge. The sad part is that one of them was 27 rows back. The happy part is that the buttonholes are worked as yarn over/knit two together, so I could add them in without ripping everything back (whew!)
in process ... done!
Along with ten repeats of knitting, I also finished three books.

It feels like I'm off to a great Bingo start - I gave all three (Sea Change, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and My Name is Lucy Barton) four stars.

Now I'm still listening to - and completely loving - One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was reading it for the Read Harder challenge, so I set it aside last week. But after finishing the first three books, I picked it back up and decided it would fit on my card - a Re-read, a Translation or the free square. It's nice to have so many options!

I got to listen to almost three hours today (ugh. traffic.) when I drove to and from Charlie's house. More on our outing in another post, but I can't resist sharing just one photo.

and now I'm enjoying this.
Endeavour. Season Two.

Joining in with Kat and crew today. Can't wait to see what y'all are knitting and reading!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017.


The rest of our weekend went much like the photos I shared on Friday. Blue skies and sunshine made it great to be outside. We played non-stop through Friday and Saturday (although I did get an hour of quiet time with a book on the deck Friday afternoon while a crew went to the pool).

The house quieted down when the Tiemans left Sunday morning. We spent a very relaxing (honestly, almost a little too relaxing for me - I can't remember the last time I sat around for four hours without a book or knitting) afternoon cruising the lake with one of Lydia's co-workers. The lake is huge - over 19,000 acres - so we didn't even begin to see all of it. We got back to the house just in time to make snacks and find the soccer game (gotta love live streaming on the iPad). Our team won - which made Sunday evening more fun.

I got home just after noon yesterday; Marc was out golfing until mid-afternoon ... two hours of complete quiet (except for Holly's snores) was a nice way to unwind.

Here are two more photos I just couldn't fit into the collage -  Lydia and I on the lake. (thank you to my sister for taking it!)

And my brother-in-law Ron with Charlie. They had a great time together!

What was your favorite moment from the weekend? (and were you fortunate enough to get a photo of it?)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | At the Lake.

We are in the midst of our annual family gathering at Lake Oconee. Nine adults (one more to arrive today) and two little boys makes for a full house. ...and a lot of photo opportunities!
sunset Wednesday evening

Charlie and his dad looking for sticks and golf balls




the house across the street has a very cool roof line


I think everyone knows Book Bingo officially starts this weekend. Books you finish beginning tomorrow (Saturday, May 27) through Labor Day (Monday, September 4) count. Check out the sidebar to learn more about it and to generate a card.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | Queued.

Today I'm not sharing about works in progress - knitting (still the test knit, still going ok) or reading (listening to One Hundred Years of Solitude and loving it). Today is about the summer queues.

On the knitting front, I'm thinking about Alaska (I leave August 16). A summer trip to someplace chilly is a different experience for me and I need a few new pieces. Over the past weeks, I've played around a lot with my stash and my queue and have settled on this:

Items 6 and 7 (not shown) are cowls. Putting them in the Nice to Have category so as not to give myself too much pressure 😉. I have 11 weeks. It seems doable. So glad to have Kat's KAL to keep me focused!

On the reading front - it's Bingo!

I love planning out all the books almost as much as I enjoy the actual reading. Here's where I've ended up
link to my Summer Bingo 2017 shelf on Goodreads
I have books earmarked for all the squares except the middle one. Figure that gives me some flexibility - I'm sure some book is going to come along between now and Labor Day that I'll just have to read! 

As I'd hoped, I didn't have to s-t-r-e-t-c-h any of the squares to fit something I'd actually want to read. ...at least not much! I have Mill on the Floss for "Recommended by a librarian". That one came recommended by my friend Carole, who just happens to be a librarian. And A Conjuring of Light (the 3rd and concluding book in V.E. Schwab's Darker Shade of Magic series) is certainly "Set in a place I'd like to know more about" ... it just doesn't happen to be a real place! And finally there's Day Drinking (a recent gift from my sister) which is "50 cocktails for a mellow buzz". Surely y'all would agree that's "About food"?

With all the knitting I have planned, a lot of these are audiobooks (10 total), but nine are real books. That's probably more "real book" reading than I've done in a long time - and a whopping seven of those are books from my own shelf (two are re-reads). I'm only buying one, Jabbok. It comes highly recommended from a friend who lives in Alabama, where the author is from. I couldn't find it at the library, but I have a feeling this is a book I'll be happy to own.

And that's it - lots of plans ... and a whole summer to make them happen!

I've really enjoyed reading about what so many of you have planned for summer reading.  It's going to be fun to follow and cheer along! Same with the knitting. Thank you Kat, for bringing us all together!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unraveled Tuesday.

...apologies to Kat for not waiting until tomorrow to share an unraveling story, but it's the only one I have for today! Good news first, there hasn't actually been any literal unraveling (and I have a solid plan to move forward which will hopefully ensure a good result...without any ripping). But there has been a good bit of mental unraveling and even some math!

This is about A Twist to it, the test knit I'm doing for Melanie Berg. One of the reasons I fell for the pattern is that I had the yarn - almost exactly what she used in the quantity she called for - from a friend. The pattern is basically a big rectangle, knit from one short edge to the other. There is a very cool texture pattern that repeats 14 times per row and it's a 16 row repeat. The pattern has you do the 16 row repeat 23 times; for the last 14 repeats, the texture pattern repeats fewer and fewer times, so it almost disappears by the end. Long story short, it's important to the overall look of the piece to be able to finish all 14 of those final repeats.

I finished the first of my five skeins of one of the yarns yesterday afternoon - about 1/4 through the fifth (of those 23) repeat. Four repeats and four rows to be exact. uh oh. Four more skeins would mean 17 more repeats ... two less than I need to finish. uh oh. what to do?! I considered buying more yarn - one more skein should do it. But the yarn is several years old and I can't imagine the dye lots would match. I'm holding it with another yarn, so it might not be that noticeable. but still.

In the end, I decided to take the whole piece off the needles to block it. Maybe my gauge is just really off and there might be some way to make it all work.

Turns out my row gauge is big - about a half row per inch bigger. I know gauge matters. I did knit a swatch (and blocked it before I measured) - but sometimes swatches lie and the actual knitting simply behaves differently.

I did some more calculations and think I can get those 14 final repeats done if I eliminate one or two before that section begins. I asked Melanie about that and she said "sure" (boy I love test knitting for her!).

So I've wound and weighed the rest of the yarn; I'm going to have to measure carefully over the next few repeats. I'll have to make the decision about how many repeats to eliminate before I finish the 2nd skein and to have the finished piece be the right size, I need to get as many repeats in as possible. (that sounds like another math problem).
Thank you Bonny for recommending Endeavor! (and subtitles)
Good thing I've got Inspector Morse to inspire some hard thinking!

#swatcheslie #knitterproblems

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekending.

I have thirteen photos saved from the weekend (all with my phone ... must do better next weekend!) and to make it easy on y'all, I made two collages. Can you tell which part of the weekend (barely even three hours long) was my favorite part?


Yep, sandwiched in between a sunny, relaxed Friday and Saturday day and a rainy, somewhat hectic with a meeting at church and a dog who doesn't like to get wet Sunday ... was dinner at Katie's Saturday evening.

This was actually Marc's first visit to their new house, which also meant the first time seeing Charlie and Sam (in person anyway) in over a month. Charlie had a great time giving Poppa a house tour, but his favorite part was certainly the pre-dinner bubbles. and little Sam is still just happy to be part of all the fun.

Hope you got to part of something fun this weekend, too. Happy Monday!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | Camera Practice.

When I upgraded to the iPhone 7S last September, I pretty much put away my DSLR (an eight year old Canon Rebel XSi). But over the past few weeks, especially as I look forward to Alaska (just three months away), I started to reconsider. This might be the only time I ever go, and I would hate to regret a missed opportunity for the best photos I could take. I pulled my camera back out. Whoa, I was rusty! It took a lot of tries, but I was pretty happy with my first effort, Renie's finished wrap.

I realized I need a lot of practice (and a bit of new equipment - more to come on that front). which means the camera is still sitting out on the counter. and I'm going to make a focused (sorry, I couldn't resist!) effort to use it! So for the next bit of time, I'm going to devote my Friday posts to sharing the best image(s) I have from the week.

Tuesday afternoon, I took Charlie to the park near his house. and I brought my camera along. two firsts in one afternoon! I took about 75 photos - 25+ with my phone and the rest with the camera. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the one phone photo I saved.
at the top of the slide
Here are the other seven I saved from the camera. I used a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens (no zoom). Yes, I got a bit of exercise myself climbing up to be at eye-level and running around just as much as Charlie to stay close!

The movement shots are really tricky. I used the "sports" mode for this one.





Charlie loves to find sticks. He asked if he could bring them home with him and I'm glad he forgot about that by the time we left. This is the farthest away shot I have.

Clearly, I'm a lot more comfortable up close.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. These images are all straight off the camera. I guess it's a testament to the power of natural sunshine that the colors look true (at least on my laptop screen). ...and to dumb luck that they're pretty straight and don't look like they need much cropping.

If you've read this far thank you! I'd welcome any and all feedback, criticism and suggestions.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear Me.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about the advice we'd give our past and current selves.  Sadly, past me's will never benefit from any advice I might share based on 54 years of experience. (I'm not sure those past me's would've paid much attention anyway 😉.) But current me loves stuff like this. Here's my advice to me. right now.

from yesterday's morning walk - downtown Alpharetta
Dear Me:

You're in a good place right now. You have a loving family, friends, good health and financial security. You get to spend most days doing things you enjoy.

Keep investing in those important relationships. It's ok to say "no". Be sure you exercise your mind, body and spirit every day. Spend wisely. Stay curious. Make memories. Share your stories. Take photos.

And always, be true to yourself.

xo - M.

Thank you Kat and Carole for another inspiring week! If you'd like to join in, click here to sign up.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Test Knitting.

I know I said I'd never do another test knit. yeah, never say never.

When Melanie Berg shared her latest design on Instagram last week, saying she'd be putting out a call "soon" for testers, I immediately started stalking her Ravelry group. My mom will tell you - I checked every couple of hours ... but no call. Until shortly before I got home Monday afternoon. It was perfect timing and I was the 10th one to reply.

When I got home last night*, I was surprised and completely delighted to see that I'd been selected!

Today I printed the pattern, wound the first two skeins of yarn

and swatched.

This test knit is going to be a lot different from the other testing I've done because we get (in fact, we're encouraged!) to share about the project on-line.  The other testers include a few of my current Ravelry friends and I'm looking forward to adding some more.

You might still be wondering what made me change my tune about testing? A couple things.  I love Melanie's designs and patterns. I think this piece will work great for Alaska. and I had the yarn - Shibui Pebble + Linen in the Ivory colorway (thanks to a very generous friend and former student who decided she didn't want it anymore). I'd been planning to use the yarn to knit a wrap for the trip so it was really perfect timing.

*I spent yesterday afternoon with my favorite toddler and then stayed for dinner. Lots of photo opportunities, but this one - hands down! - is my favorite!

I figured we all needed something fun today. Thank heavens for knitting and little boys!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More Blooms.

...from Florida. 

I walked by this house a few times before I noticed what was blooming in the front bed. Yes indeed - amaryllis! in May!

Of course I knew y'all would want to see, too. One evening, the gentleman who owned the house was outside watering so I could ask if it would be ok to get up close for a few photos. He smiled and said sure (and I'll bet he was thinking "crazy").

It was hard to capture the red, but you get the idea.

The two-toned ones were easier to photograph and simply stunning.


Once I knew to look for them, I saw amaryllis growing in many yards. I guess it's not as uncommon as it seemed at first (or at least not uncommon in central Florida).






Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day.

Holly and I arrived safely home this afternoon; we did not travel the newly-reopened I-85, but the traffic on the other highways seemed to be responding favorably to having that thoroughfare back in business!

I have a few more stories to tell about the rest of our time in Florida, but for today, how about a quick re-cap of Mother's Day. At this point in my life, it is especially dear to me that I got to spend the day with my mom. We finished up the last to-do on her List (2016 taxes!) yesterday morning and celebrated that accomplishment with lunch out at one of our favorite places. Of course we had to "cheers" 

and then I'm so glad I remembered to ask the hostess to take our photo!

The only downside to being in Florida yesterday was that I did not get to see my favorite little guys in person. Katie made it a little better - she FaceTimed twice - first with Sam

and then with Charlie.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching sports (bowling, baseball and golf ) and working the Sunday crossword (which we finished). Along the way, I also managed to finish all of Clue #4 on Thistle Rambles! One of Mother's friends joined us for happy hour and the day ended with more Yahtzee - and Mother's third time rolling a Yahtzee of ones!

I lost track of how many Yahtzee she rolled overall. We played every night I was there - maybe 20 games total? and I'm guessing she had about that many Yahtzees!! (Happy Mother's Day, right?!)

It was a wonderful day. Happy (belated) Mother's Day to each of you!