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Sunday, February 28, 2010

one done and another begun.

...marc spent the last week in asia. I spent it knitting (with just a few breaks to walk, work and eat).

happy to have my february lady sweater done.

and loving my newest project - the wood hollow vest from through the loops.

it is a very fun departure from the lace of my last two sweaters. I've converted it to work in the round (vs a front and back that have to be seamed) and will work short-row shoulder shaping so I can do a three-needle bind off. the only finishing will be neck and arm bands. at least there's not a button band!

I still haven't figured out the right approach to knitting polygamy. but I do think one sweater at a time works best (ok, maybe two - I did buy yarn for two more sweaters this week and I'm kind of curious myself to know when I'll decide to start one of them!). combined maybe with socks, and an accessory project? or maybe I'll become a knitting monogamist... the pace of progress when all my knitting time goes into just one project. it's amazing!!


Friday, February 26, 2010

for katie.

...the first week on a new job + the olympics = a crazy schedule. so katie missed having lunch with us. bistro vg of course. although we think this is our first visit in many many months, it is still our absolute favorite lunch spot.

it's pretty inside.

and the food is fabulous!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

teaching. first section of beginner classes* ended last night. it was a relatively small class - just three ladies (although we did pick up a student from sunday's class - she's working on extra credit! - and the eleven month old son of one student audited last night's class). but really, the perfect size to start. I was able to spend time with everyone individually. and we got to know each other pretty well. and even though two of the students were mother and daughter (so knowing each other "pretty well" to start), I think you learn new things about yourself - and others - when you learn something new.

me included. I had planned all along to teach classes - the february lady sweater, liesl (and after that socks, another sweater, and hopefully even a skirt) - but these classes aren't for beginners. I wasn't sure I wanted to teach anyone to knit - from scratch. I've done it before, but only with friends. I was, honestly, a little afraid of beginners. like what if they just. don't. get. it. or hate it. or (worse!) hate me.

but - as with so many of the best things in our lives - it just happened. the original monday class was overbooked and theresa asked me if I'd be willing to take the overflow. I agreed. then brushed up on the basics and that, as they say, was it. after that first night I was completely hooked.

turns out I LOVE the beginners. I'm sure some of this is because this first group of students, they "got it". All three graduated to real projects by the third week. A baby sweater, a cowl and an ascot (pattern shown here). wow!

I've been trying to figure out just what it is that changed my mind. and I think maybe, it's simply the opportunity to share my passion for this craft. creating new knitters. one at a time.

one of those new knitters gave me this thank you card last night. yep, it's pretty awesome.

*cast-on cottage runs beginner classes a month at a time, four classes each month. my "section" is monday evenings, from 6-8pm.

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Monday, February 22, 2010


...finished on saturday, photographed on sunday (thank you sara!).
I love love love this sweater - it fits perfectly and it's pretty. unusual for me for a sweater, but I can actually see myself knitting this again (maybe a shorter version, with the picot edging).

especially pleased with the finishing.
(this is the insde of the button band)

and planning to use this same technique for the february lady sweater. which will (hopefully!) be finished by this time next week.
...time to cast on something new!


Friday, February 19, 2010

bookclub at shari's.

...we discussed the help (kay's pick from last month - the one I missed to go to hunt valley). the overwhelming consensus was first - we loved the book - and second - sadly, like so many others we've read with themes of racism - it's still too much with us - not only here in the south, but everywhere.

we used this discussion guide and I think it did a great job to surface the bad, the ugly, the good and the really funny. none of us thought hilly was a great mother (question #2). you can't be a bad person and be a good mother. and almost all of us admitted to something funny/stupid (question #8), mostly about hair!

we had a lot of fun posing for the photo
and kudos to shari for the food - and the tribute to minny's cooking!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

liesl progress.

...finally photos!
these were taken after I bound off the body, just before starting the sleeves. I am especially inspired to finish now that I've found the perfect buttons - same designer as the ones I chose for the february lady sweater. serious button love for sure!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

knitting a-d-d. really not my style - not that I'm a monogamous knitter by any stretch, but in my old life, the multiple projects were for knitting in different situations. like a sweater for home, a sock to travel, a scarf for conference calls, and something lace just for fun. I would work those projects simultaneously, in their "assigned" situations, and when I finished one, I'd start another. simple.

in my new life, I have a good bit of home time, no conference calls, no travel to speak of, many "coffee knitting with a friend" times. and classes to prepare for. and constant yarn and pattern inspiration.

I've stopped myself from casting on something new more than once in the past few days. (and from buying something new). but there is so much I want to knit.

I took stock this morning. two sweaters in process for class - the february lady sweater and liesl. really want to finish liesl before sunday's class (to drum up interest in sign-ups). and need to get through the body and one sleeve started on the other to show the class how it comes together. these mitts - just 1-1/2 thumbs from being finished. more socks than I care to count. and my last conference call scarf. no lace. and my mental queue is growing. [and I realize I've gotten very behind with photo'ing projects - the sweaters and the scarf - they really are all in process!]
so I finished the mitts - 45 minutes, including the photo. and it is amazing how much better I feel!
I think this means I need to change my approach to knitting. not only what I knit, but how I tackle the projects. balancing the "just for me" ones with the "work" for classes. the sweaters with the accessories and the socks. the yarn I already have with the yarn I want to buy. another thing about retirement that's surprised me. I knew the cast-on cottage work would keep me busy, but I had no idea it would change how I knit!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

monday diversions.

...roasted butternut squash salad for lunch.

and a completed crossword over dinner. the highlight was sara getting "aldous huxley" (53 across - the author of "brave new world") I didn't know that, but she did. love working these puzzles with her - we complement each other in a lot of ways and she never ceases to surprise me with what she knows.
so satisfying to start the week with a completed crossword, jumble and sudoku. (even if they are the really easy ones!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


it started falling about 2:00 yesterday afternoon.
I'm not sure when it stopped, but it was still coming down around 10:00 pm,
just before the US olympic team entered the stadium for the opening ceremonies.
(this is what I'm knitting with the lush yarn that I played with on thursday - colorway 4468, it's a deep burnt orange in real life)
today it's a winter wonderland.

...perfect for lots of coffee and knitting.


Friday, February 12, 2010

not complaining.

...nope, not even about the cold, because there was sunshine, and I got to the park with my camera (thinking about my photo for this week's ride).
and later, after another very inspirational meeting with linda at it's the journey involving google doc forms and other fun stuff, I spent over an hour in this chair drinking a venti latte (found a free drink coupon when I cleaned out the center console in my car), listening to back episodes of cast-on, knitting.
click the photo to see more details

finally, I went to work for a few hours and spent time with these two pretty yarns.

nope, I'm not complaining!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

atlanta rotation.

yep! her next assignment is a lot closer to home! (and this is really about all we know right now, but to say I am excited...that would be a HUGE understatement!)


and another blog.

...yep, this makes three (and I'm hoping I can keep my blogger dashboard in order and not mess up what gets posted where!)

today, we launched the new blog at cast-on cottage. I am really excited about the opportunity to create more of an "on-line community" there. theresa and I have been brainstorming about this for a few months (meaning I've been cluttering her email in-box at all hours with ideas and inspirations) and now that I'm "retired" (or as I like to say "knitting professionally"), it's time to make it happen.

...and in the spirit of that "no blog post without a photo" thing, here's a bit more yarn p*rn to brighten your day!
this is the koigu kpppm - it's a fingering weight (aka "sock yarn") and has the prettiest colors. ever. really.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


...there have been lots of learnings these past 11 days, but one of the most surprising is about sleep. way back when I first started imagining post-retirement life, I knew I needed more sleep and looked forward to an extra half hour each day. later, I told everyone there was no way I'd be getting up "dark early" (i.e., a time before 5 a.m.) 

and the reality so far - I'm still getting up at the same time [during the week - weekends have always been for marc to wake up first and make the coffee] - but staying up much later. like I'm getting less sleep now. and - here's the good part! - feeling better!

I just realized this today. and I've got a few theories about the reduced stress=better sleep time=less "real" sleep required for the same result. or maybe it's just that I get into a neatly made bed each night. with a freshly ironed pillowcase* on my pillow.
to be honest, once I hit that pillow, I do fall asleep straightaway. which means that pile of books on the chair isn't getting any smaller. but - really - I am loving the extra time I have while I'm awake!!

*only on the days I wash the sheets!


Monday, February 8, 2010

a few bright spots.

...yes! the sun did finally appear and I took full advantage to get my latest knitting photographed.

first up, my february lady sweater (knitting along with my class - and trying to stay just far enough ahead to have any "issues" fresh in my head before they encounter them)
and the buttons I found at cast-on cottage - I am really excited about them (these are really the kind of buttons you want to knit sweaters to show off!)

then jane eyre. after more knitting yesterday, it's nearly done (and on my list to finish today).

and three new projects - liesl for my march class, a black shrug (which I'm pretty sure I can finish before the library book is due) and a bright spring-is-just-around-the-corner scarf.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

no sun.

...intermittent rain that even turned to snow for a few minutes. chilly winds. mud. our february weather is the worst. I know we aren't getting snow like the folks who live in the northeast. but we live in georgia, the "sunny south". except in february.
I felt a bit foolish walking at the park (I really did think I saw a break in the clouds and maybe a hint of sun before I set out), getting wet, and pretty cold, my camera tucked into my jacket to keep it dry. I passed another woman walking her dog and we looked sheepishly at each other as we murmured our quick "hello".

I cannot wail til spring.


Saturday, February 6, 2010


...a few people asked if friday still felt like friday, even now. and the answer is "oh yes!" maybe because marc goes to the office monday through friday and sara's in school monday through friday - we still celebrate the weekends around here. (begging the question if once sara's moved out and marc retires, then the weekend thing might change? guess we'll see then).

taking stock of this past week, I can't believe how ... busy ... it was. I was really only home on thursday (I cleaned) and I didn't have nearly as much time to knit as I thought I would. and TGIF still matters.

celebrated in style with a few of my favorite ladies.
(click the photo to see who's who)

and a few bites of oreo cheesecake (shared with lisa - a happy end to our lunch at northpoint diner).

happy weekend!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

and finally, there was knitting.

...I didn't actually realize until monday was nearly over - the only knitting I'd done was to prepare for my beginner class (casting on, knitting and purling - the most basic of basics - wanting my technique to be, you know, copy-able) - I didn't really knit at all on my first day of retirement. I did get to sell a bit of yarn, and wind a very long skein, and put out some new yarn (the really fun part was deciding how to arrange the twelve colors onto the three allotted shelves), and straighten some pretty yarn that had seen too much fun on the weekend.

and do a load of laundry, enjoy two laps around the park, cook dinner, teach that beginner class (the highlight for sure) and start the very long list of thank you notes from all the wonderful-ness that was last week.

but no knitting.

until this morning.

when I dropped off my car for service and drove that loaner right to starbucks for 45 minutes of uninterrupted, completely enjoyable (especially with the starbucks - topic for another post, but I'm having trouble weaning myself off that daily dose!), who cares if I take out my camera for a self-portrait, KNITTING time.

and then repeated the yarn, the laundry, the park, (sara cooked dinner while I did treasurer stuff), and MORE knitting.

I like this.