Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday | Yes, No and Maybe.

Happy Wednesday! I'm joining in with Kat and friends today to talk about knitting - specifically, an update on last week's next-up post.

I'll start with the Yes!
This is Edie, almost halfway through the body. The colors are most definitely outside my comfort zone, but it is fun to see how they play together in the knitting. Apparently, I'm also getting lazy a lot more relaxed about swatching. When I blocked the swatch (knit on 4's), it shrunk. So I cast on with 6's...fingers crossed!

The No! is True Colors
I love the pattern. I love the yarn. I do not like them together. The reality of the design in anything more than two colors is ends. and it's not just weaving them in. It's also making sure the tension at the beginning and end of each color is right. I've decided the pattern needs a sticky yarn and I'm playing around with my little stash of Kidsilk Haze to find a color combo I like. I've decided the yarn needs a multi-colored pattern that lets you carry the colors. Maybe Color Affection? stay tuned!

The Maybe! is Calyx
With Lydia's help, I did find a "goes with dark blue and white jeans" color of Berroco Remix in Beaufort (the actual color is little lighter than the almost-dry swatch on the right). This morning I swatched. First with 7's (right) and then with 6's (left).  One questionable gauge project is apparently as much excitement as I can handle! The pattern suggests 6-10" of positive ease, so I'm not too worried about stitch gauge. But Elizabeth has a whole paragraph about Row Gauge Considerations in the notes. I don't want to calculate a bunch of adjustments, so I'm hoping one of those swatches nails it. We'll see!

Balise is still in its project bag. Yes I'm going to knit it. No I haven't started yet. and Maybe it will be ready for Memorial Day πŸ˜‰.

What's a Yes! in your world right now?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


...for about 25 hours now. We had a wonderful weekend and I had all the best intentions of telling y'all about it today. Instead I finished the green cardigan.

All the seams, ends and buttons took way longer than I imagined (honestly, if I'd imagined how long ... I probably would've put it off for another day πŸ˜‰) and now all I want to do is pour a glass of wine and read about what all of you have been up to!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday | Next-up.

The pieces of the green cardigan are dry and ready to seam and I'm on the last 20 grams of Bateaux Mouches, but all my knitting thoughts have turned toward what to knit next.

clockwise from lower left: Balise, Edie, True Colors and Calyx.

I've been talking about Balise for months and I think I'm almost ready to start. The swatch is done and the the yarn and needles are in a project bag. soon....

Yesterday, I wound yarn for Edie (stash from one of my last visits to Sara's Madison LYS) and swatched.

I also wound yarn for True Colors. This project - one of the MDK Final Four and eligible for the March Mayhem KAL - has intrigued me for weeks. It's not at all what I usually knit (colors? stripes? ends??!!), but once I found gypsythedog's version (three colors, and not at all too bright), I couldn't get it out of my head. I had an idea to knit it out of linen and I ordered Sparrow last weekend. It arrived ... and I'm smitten.

The wildcard is Calyx. This is the latest design from Elizabeth Doherty and I was all set to pass (because I still have Archer in my queue) ... until multiple WIPs and FOs showed up in my Instagram feed this past weekend. The pattern calls for two Shibui yarns held together (I don't want to spend the money), but the result is DK. And it just so happens that the LYS in Beaufort carries Berroco Remix Light (which I love - I knit a cardigan with it last summer). Of course we're going to visit that LYS this weekend. and if I can find three skeins in a color that will go with white and dark denim, I'm in. and quickly - Elizabeth is hosting an "any sweater KAL" in her Ravelry group and it ends May 6. yep... πŸ˜€.

Here's what all those plans look like right this second.
left to right - Edie, True Colors, Balise
I hope to have a much different version to share with y'all next week!

Check out Kat's post to see what others are unraveling about. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Currents | April.

Saying Yes to "YES!". This beautiful reminder of my 2018 intention arrived in yesterday's mail, together with a sweet note from HonorΓ© 😘. I placed it front and center on my desk where I can see it every morning as I journal...reflecting on yesterday, grateful for today, and planning for tomorrow. 

Loving slower mornings and coffee with Marc during the week. Most mornings that means a second pot of coffee ... and just this week I've learned that is better as decaf!

Planning my next few knitting projects. I wound yarn today for two and swatched for one. I also did a major organize/purge of my stash and it feels really good!

Eating salads with lean protein (gah, still!) ... and popcorn.

Drinking red wine (gah, still!).

Watching Bosch. and Homeland. and hoping to start Howard's End and the latest season of Call the Midwife soon.

Needing to find a Vice Moderator to join our women's ministry leadership team. This year I'm the Vice Moderator, and next year I move into the Moderator role; I need someone to take my current role. We've approached half a dozen women so far ... the conversations aren't easy for this introvert ...  and I'm getting discouraged.

Wanting SPRING! I know many of y'all are seeing snow and much colder temperatures than we have here. But this is Georgia. in late April. it's supposed to be Spring!

Enjoying wearing make-up again. I went to Bobbi Brown last Thursday and replaced what I had to throw away (thanks to pink eye). It was freeing to go make-up free for so long, but I do like myself better with at least a touch of mascara.

Hoping the upcoming election season doesn't get as nasty as I think it might.

Wishing for a round trip ticket to NYC this summer. Sara's contract in Atlanta ended last week and I'm not sure when she'll be back here. Seems like I need to go there.

Saying Thank You for all of you (and especially those of you who take the time to comment). This space is a very special part of my life and I'm glad you're part of it ... and that you've let me be part of yours.

Looking forward to Beaufort 2018! We leave Thursday and return Monday. I look forward to a real weekending post, for sure!

I hope you have something good to look forward to this week ... please share!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sometimes Mondays.

...bring a much-welcome win!

I rearranged a few things today to make time to seam the shoulders and knit the neckband. When I weighed the yarn I had left and compared it to the sleeve I still needed to finish, I actually thought I was going to win by a lot. That little ball weighs just over 3 grams. But adding in the few other scraps, there's plenty to seam the sleeves and underarms and sew on 7 buttons. whew!

Hope your week is off to a winning start, too!

Friday, April 13, 2018

FO Friday | Quick Sand.

Sunday afternoon - in addition to coloring (and showing off my spring pedicure) - we took finished photos of Quick Sand.

I'm not sure holding a toddler really shows off the sweater details, but this is the fourth time I've knit the pattern. Y'all know what it looks like, right?

My gauge was a little tighter than what the pattern called for, so I knit the next up size. It worked perfectly. I followed Heidi's excellent instructions as written except for the hems. On the body, I worked two rows of garter before binding off; and on the sleeves, I went down a needle size to work those two rows of garter and bind off. I'm really happy with how it turned out! (project on Ravelry here)

...and yay for Friday - have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Three on Thursday | A Reading Update.

If you read the title of this post, I'm sure you're wondering how I could possibly share a reading update - even just a little over three months into the year - with only three things. Well - I'm only going to share three images πŸ˜‰.

Image one - tracking the only reading goal I made for the year - to buy fewer books.

That 13% is just five books - three were definitely impulse (must keep reading) purchases, but two were for Lent - one for my daily devotion and one for my small group (I always buy those books). I'd like to see the blue "pie" get a little bigger - likely at the expense of the red, but honestly, I'm ok with where I'm at.

Image two - tracking the book format.

When I shared my January update, the Audio percent was the same (yeah, I know, that does seem weird, but I think it's right!) but the real book percent was higher (17%). Since then, I finished 28 more books and only four were real books. I'm tracking this because I'm curious ... I'm not surprised I read more with my ears than my eyes, but now I'm wondering about what kind of books are better to listen vs. read (I'd love to hear what you think!) ... and how about the segue into 

Image three - my year-to-date favorites.
shelved here
I curate this shelf pretty closely because I like to keep it to no more than 12-14 titles (that's about 15% of what I read). It's not just 5-star books. and a book that I shelve here early on might not make the cut come December. Only two of those books are audio (the first two in the Scarlett Women series I talked about in January) and I rated both of them four stars (in other words they weren't great, but I enjoyed them immensely). Eleanor's biography (blogged here) and Interrupting Silence were real books I read with my small group. and the others I read on my Kindle (four borrowed, one bought this year - Gentleman in Moscow, which I bought last year on audio and wanted to read this time).

Hummmm.... in years past, I know I've listened to plenty of 5-star books. This year, I'm enjoying reading them. and I LOVE to read on Kindle because it's easy to highlight, easy to read and eat (or knit ... since no hands required and only one finger to turn the page) and easy to navigate (x-ray! dictionary!). like I said ... hummmmm....

All that said - and especially considering that favorites shelf, I think the year is off to an OK start. I'd like to improve the quality (year-to-date, I'm averaging just over 3.5 stars and I'd like that to be closer to 4) and keep an eye on those top two charts. 

Summer Bingo will be starting next month (!!) and that always adds a bit of spice - and FUN! - to the mix. 

If you read this far, thank you! I would love to hear your thoughts on reading with your eyes vs. ears. or maybe what book you think should turn up next on my favorites shelf.

Carole does an awesome job hosting Three on Thursday. Check out her blog to see what she and others have shared!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

Hello and Happy Almost Thursday!

I am making slow but steady progress on my second Quintessential Cardigan. But - I'm worried I won't have enough yarn. I have no idea why I just assumed I would, but ... I did! After I knit that first sleeve, and was a little into the back - maybe when I joined the 2nd or 3rd ball? - I noticed that I didn't have a lot of balls left. I weighed the sleeve, weighed all the yarn I had left, looked at my notes from last time and realized I was going to be close. Worst case, I can knit short sleeves - which will mean unraveling the one I already knit - and best case, I'll be ok.

This morning, I finished the first front and got the scale out again.

On the left are the first sleeve and first front. On the right is the yarn I have left. That yarn needs to knit a second sleeve, a second front and a neckband. I'm cautiously optimistic.

I've started the second front and I'll do the neckband next. Stay tuned!

On the reading front, I just started listening to The Signature of All Things ... and when I grabbed that link I saw that a few of y'all didn't care for it. I'm just two hours in (with 20+ more to go), but so far, I'm enjoying it. We'll see! (cautiously optimistic again.)

Check out Kat's to see what everyone else is knitting and reading - hopefully all good stuff!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Tiny Moment from the Weekend.

With a nod to Juliann, who introduced this Tuesday topic and often fed our blog readers with tiny moments spent with her grandson - thank you, friend!

My mom and I spent a few hours with our two favorite little boys (and their parents) on Sunday afternoon. We timed the visit so the boys were just finishing their naps when we arrived. The afternoon was then full of snacks, drinks, toys, puzzles, potty breaks, trips upstairs for more toys and puzzles. and coloring.

This is a 10 foot long coloring roll (maybe this one?) and the boys actually colored for about 30 minutes. (so did Katie. so did I - except when I was taking photos and video 😊).

I love so much about this photo - those two light brown heads, so focused. how they're sitting on the paper. playing together. Charlie showing Sam. Sam just wanting to do whatever his brother is doing. (my pretty spring pedicure πŸ˜‰.)

But this moment, five minutes later, really steals my heart.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sometimes Mondays.

... begin unexpectedly damp, gray and chilly. But this afternoon I spent two lovely hours knitting with friends, and made a quick stop at Trader Joe's for a $4 bouquet and a $5 bottle of wine (with a beautiful spring label). There is nothing like time with friends and a little TJ's to brighten things up πŸ˜€.

Hope your week is off to a bright start, too!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Eye Candy Friday.

Partly in response to all the favorable comments about yesterday's blue sky blooms and partly because I know many of y'all are expecting snow in the next couple of days, I thought I'd share some more April Eye Candy.

I'm pretty sure the photo I shared yesterday is a wild azalea. Here's that same tree with its neighbor

and a portrait shot of those orange blooms.

These are the azaleas at the front of our neighborhood. I took these photos yesterday morning, anticipating that Masters-focused post.

From this morning's walk, here's the snowball viburnum I shared in Tuesday's March recap (this is what the "green hydrangea" turned into!)

and last - but by no means least - cherry blossoms. These blooms are showing up everywhere right now ... and our church grounds are covered in pink! When I left my small group meeting this morning, the light was just right for the pink

and one more #blueskybloom!

Wishing everyone a bloom-filled blue sky kind of weekend, with light, bright Spring-like thoughts (especially all of you who might see snow instead).

And a special shout-out to Carole who is running for Selectman in her town; tomorrow is election day and I know she appreciates all our support!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Three on Thursday | April Loves.

Hello April, Hello Thursday, Hello (finally!?!) starting to feel like myself again.

I'm in the habit of sharing a "hello" post when it's the first Thursday of the month, but when Marc came into the kitchen this morning with a 2 inch pile of photos from his visits to Augusta (seriously, y'all, Marc does not get excited about much, but he loves The Masters) I thought about "things I love about The Masters" ($1.50 pimiento cheese sandwiches? azaleas as pretty as they must be in heaven? no cellphones?)

But as the day unfolded, I decided to stick with my original plan. Here are three things I love about April:

1. The Masters. I was honestly surprised this morning to learn that Marc made his first visit to Augusta in 1979 (i.e., before I even knew him). The Masters wasn't even on my radar that year. But in the intervening 40 years ... I've become a fan (see above).
Marc - circa 1985? - at the Masters
2. #blueskyblooms.
this morning, when I arrived for my Circle meeting
at the park this afternoon
3. Beaufort. This will be our 10th year (we started in 2007 and had to skip two years). Cleaning up that Beaufort link ... has taken me a while this afternoon. I loved seeing the photos - - even those really tiny ones from my early blog years - - but they are quite the reminder that times have changed. and yes, I cried... which makes me even more grateful to have this tradition with the good women in my life.

April, even with all the pollen, I love you!

xo - M.

See all the other Three on Thursday posts over at Carole's!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

I wrote last week about the Coffeehouse Mysteries. Just now I finished the fifth one, something like 50 hours of audio since I started listening to the first back on March 18. I'm a dedicated serial listener, and #6 is on hold, so now I'll be taking a break.

But not from coffee! Clare Cosi, the main character and manager of the coffeehouse, is a huge fan of the stovetop espresso machine. I pulled mine out and was reminded how much I love that strong brew. and that I need to get some fresh coffee. I'm pretty sure grind in the cupboard was from Marc's last Asia trip ... in early 2017! (Clare would be appalled, I'm sure.)

and (of course!) not from knitting. That 5th book was great company for the sleeves on the latest Quick Sand.

Now I've got ends to weave in (not too many) ... and a new audiobook for company. My library is participating in the Big Library Read and I downloaded Flat Broke with Two Goats. I have no idea what it's about ... but I'm hoping it won't be set in a coffeehouse πŸ˜‰.

Check out Kat's to see what others are unraveling this week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Looking Back | March.

March sure looks better through the lens of my daily photos than what I remember!

Full on Spring, for sure, including some fun with the portrait feature on my iPhone camera
in our neighborhood, March 29
outside our North Carolina cottage, March 20
and the last, faded bloom on the amaryllis.
March 16
There was also a lot of knitting, two great TV shows (Longmire and the new Queer Eye), a few more self portraits (thanks to Michelle's challenge at the beginning of the month) and a few other faces, including one very shaggy one on March 30.

I know y'all are ready to see Spring, too - hopefully she'll make an appearance for everyone this month!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sometimes Mondays.

...begin with a few quiet moments and a heart full of gratitude.

Wishing y'all a wonderful week!

Friday, March 30, 2018

FO Friday | Comfort Fade Cardi.

When I cast on (way back on March 4), I thought this might be just the project to convince Spring to come ... and stay. Turns out she wasn't that easily tempted. I bound off the stitches while we were in North Carolina and finished it up late last week. I've already had two chances to wear it - and thankfully, Sara was around for one of them take photos.
Raveled here 

I'm a newbie to the whole "fade" thing, and it was only when Tanis (from my favorite indie dyer TanisFiberArts) released kits that I succumbed. The pattern itself is a very (very) basic topdown seamless raglan - easy to knit ... and easy to fit. The fade works because the body of the piece is reverse stockinette - the purl bumps really blend the colors.
The cuffs and collar are knit in garter stitch ... time-consuming, but effective. The bulk of the tight row gauge helps the edges lay flat - way more than reverse stockinette would.

I think the dark to light fade on the collar is my favorite design detail.

Not that Holly appreciates it!

and in keeping with tradition - a favorite outtake - it was really windy!

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend - and a Happy Easter or Passover if you're celebrating.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Three on Thursday | Three of Us Throwbacks.

In the end, I wasn't able to join the girls for dinner last night ... so I don't have the recap post I'd planned (things we talked about/things I learned, creative cocktails, food p*rn) or the requisite three of us photo. Instead, how about revisiting three of my favorite meals with my two favorite girls.

1. Lunch at Gallo Nero in NYC. December 19, 2009. (blogged here)

Katie lived in NYC that year and Sara and I flew up the evening before for a before-Christmas break. Sara was a senior in high school and had just been accepted to Georgia Tech. I was winding down my real job, preparing to retire in January. We were in big celebration mode. I don't recall how Katie knew about Gallo Nero, but she'd been there before and suggested it for the long, leisurely lunch we had in mind. It was perfect (I've been back several times, including last September and I'd still recommend it). While we were there, it started to snow ... the city got quiet ... we might've gotten a little louder (I'm pretty sure there was a bottle of wine).

2. Lunch at Bistro VG. August 8, 2007. (blogged here ... barely!)

Wow, we ALL look young ... and sun kissed! Sara and I had just returned from a week at the beach and Katie'd spent the summer abroad (trivia note - she met Rob on that trip!) I don't recall this particular photo, but this one, taken at that same lunch

is still one of my favorites. Bistro VG has been one of our favorite restaurants for years and the site of many of a lunch out (not so many dinners). Sadly, it was sold last fall (too soon to tell what that means ... I've only been twice since the sale and both experiences were fine).

3. Dinner at ECCO. November 10, 2012. (apparently not blogged!)

This dinner was to celebrate Sara's 21st birthday. We also had a family celebration at our house (and I did blog about that one), but this was the special girls night out. Sara lived right around the corner from the restaurant, but Rob drove Katie and me (and found something "fun" to do while we had dinner ... better than Uber for sure). We had cocktails - always a favorite with this trio - and shared food (ditto).  It was, quite simply, fun!

I'm not sure when the three of us will be together again ... and have the opportunity to slip away for a meal, but hope it won't be too long.

Check in with Carole to see what others are sharing for Three on Thursday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

Not everything has been going my way lately, but thank goodness, the knitting and reading are not letting me down. Since last Thursday, I've started two of those spring cardigans. The sleeve-as-swatch has dried and I think it's going to work out fine. and the purple Quick Sand has really kept me entertained.

I'm a huge fan of the design, which Heidi has published for two gauges - Fine Sand (lightweight) and Quick Sand (heavier weight). This is my 4th time knitting it (1, 2, 3, 4), so it feels really comfortable - and rather than put all the stitches onto waste yarn to try it on before separating the sleeves, I simply measured it against its three cousins. It looked good ... but this morning I was thinking the gauge was maybe big?! ... so I put all the stitches on waste yarn and tried it on.

whew, right?! There is even a little part of me that thinks a new sweater is a reasonable tradeoff for laying low this week. (a very little part!)

On the reading front, I've finished a lot of books. I have a reading update planned for early April and I'll share more then, but for now,

The Great Alone - too much domestic violence to justify finishing
Winter - so good!
The Power - amazing!! recommending to any and everyone, especially the fierce young women
The Coffeehouse Mysteries - I picked this series up through Overdrive because it was available - I just finished listening to #2. Perfect ear candy for me right now. a little sex, a little mystery (I didn't figure out the murderer in either book - but that's not saying much) and a LOT of coffee (which is a very good thing for me). I also love that it's set in NYC.

Joining in with Kat and friends ... and hoping nothing important has unraveled for you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Tuesday Haiku.

another day home
quiet, but not alone with
Holly by my side

Thank you for all your get better wishes (more than once!)  I have high hopes to leave the house tomorrow for a dinner out with Katie and Sara and I'm even hoping I can wear makeup! It doesn't hurt to dream big πŸ˜‰.