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Friday, August 29, 2014

Choosing Peace.

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
~ Romans 12:18

... I'm having a much different journey with my one little word this year. It seems quiet for days and then in the span of just 24 hours, I see it over and over again. Yesterday's devotion talked about peace.

...peace is more than quiet tranquility. True peace is the result of my intentional efforts...

It's a choice. I can dwell in chaos or trouble, or I can be calm, even if it's just in my heart.

Seeing this tree on our* morning walk prompted me to share these thoughts (instead of the way less serious post I had planned!).  Wishing all of you peace, especially as we begin a new season.

*yes, Holly & I walked this morning! I really appreciate all your kind words and good wishes. She's on the mend - from who knows what, but the vet didn't make me feel silly for bringing her in!) He gave her fluids and antibiotics and I'm happy to report she's eating, wagging her tail, growling (mostly only when appropriate) and generally starting to seem like herself.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Daisies.

...a sweet bouquet from Virginia for Monday night's shower.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Totally Random.

...Holly isn't herself. She's not eating and she's a bit lethargic. PSA - do not think about googling these symptoms unless you plan to pour a glass of wine, remove yourself and your dog to the knit.  I'll be taking her to the vet first thing tomorrow, so today, a random list* is the best I can do.

1. The weather seems to be thinking about fall. It was almost chilly this morning and the humidity is noticeably lower. The sun, however, isn't quite yet on board. It was 88 degrees this afternoon.

2. Nonetheless, I am planning my fall/winter knitting queue...and starting to think about holiday knitting.

3. I am not thinking about holiday menus.

4. Sara is going to be here for both Thanksgiving and Christmas - a total of three days of vacation and 10 days here. (yeah, I'm kind of kidding about #3).

5. When did the Emmy's start being on a Monday?! (and why didn't Sara alert me to at least DVR the red carpet?)

6. I finished my Bingo card reading (you have until bedtime on Monday, September 1 to finish yours) and I find myself missing it. Hoping I can keep up the reading pace, or at least the variety.

7. Slowly coming to grips with the reality that all those knitting WIPs are not going to get finished this week.

8. Enjoyed a long lunch with the woman who's agreed to co-lead my women's circle at church this year. She kept saying how what she'd agreed to do didn't seem like much...and yet it's going to make my job so much easier.

9. And then I had a delightful gathering with our Prayer Shawl Ministry. We had a new member today - she's been visiting the church with her husband this summer - and she said the meeting was "just what I hoped it would be". It pretty much made my day...

10. I'm caught up on all my podcasts (including one that was just released today!) and I'd love to have a few new recommendations. My current subscriptions are all knitting and reading related. I could expand my horizons!

So - we all have plenty of random thoughts circling around in our all-too-busy brains. Would love to have you share one of yours!

*Carole is enjoying time away from the internet; stay tuned for a "real" topic next week!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Different Kind of WIP.

...Y'all were so kind to indulge me five days in a row of knitting WIPs. I am happy to report that one of them is off the needles and blocked and hopefully I'll have another one (or two?!) to share before FO Friday. But today, I have a completely different kind of WIP to share. This one is about my grandson to be ...due in *just* 17 days.
The wonderful girls in my Monday night class threw a Grandma Shower for me and the other "expectant" Grandma (this one will be her second grandchild, but her first granddaughter). So. very. special. 

Several of them are already Grandmas (a few several times over) - and one of them is a cake decorator! - but they are all supportive and have practical advice about high chairs and swings and toy boxes. And they are all genuinely happy for us. also cupcakes. and popcorn. and wine. and gifts. Cute. fun. maybe just a little tear-provoking...  and all very special. 
I am so excited to meet this little one. He and I will be two WIPs together ... along with his parents and Marc and everyone else growing into having a new generation in our family. This is one project I don't want to ever finish.


Friday, August 22, 2014

WIP Week | Ravello.

...oh my I am loving all the comments and encouragement from y'all. Thank You! I'm just about to the bottom of the pile. After today, I've got three more of which I've decided to set aside for now, one that's a gift for the very special someone I hope to meet in just a few weeks (so no sharing yet), and one that I do want to keep knitting...and share! (not that I'm trying to wiggle out of eight posts in a row :-)

And now, without further ado - Ravello. I started this project way back on June 24 and blogged about it the next day. And a few more times over the next two weeks as I worked through the jogless stripes on the yoke (which - due to several stupid mistakes on my part - required several attempts to perfect) and then...nothing. 

I made it to the the first sleeve before I left for Madison in July, when I decided little stripes and sleeves (and a sweater's worth of yarn) was too much for that trip. I set it aside...and promptly got distracted by a new pair of socks, a shawl, three projects inspired by the shop (and who knows what else).

Happy to report that I had an easy time this morning figuring out where I was and made quick progress  on that first sleeve. I've got just a few more inches to finish it and then one more sleeve, a few ends to weave in...and done. I'm still really happy with the project - and it fits my dress form beautifully, doesn't it?

(I smiled when I read that June 25 blog post and remembered the reason I started this was because I wanted to knit a different striped cardigan - Babycocktails' Shaken or Stirred. Two months later my queue has changed. Surprise!?! I'll definitely be sharing more about what's coming next...soon!)

Stay tuned for WIP #6 - and again, thank you for all the positive feedback!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

WIP Week | Cepa. #4 of WIP Week. Today I'm sharing Cepa. Because this is the only project I've worked on today - I added a few rows when I volunteered at the nursing home this afternoon. And it's the only other project of the five I haven't shared that's seen any daylight this week.

I'm also back to the iPad, so there aren't any links (y'all know me on Ravelry). I called this one Fall Color Scarf because my real inspiration to even cast on came from the shop newsletter two weeks ago. Y'all know that working in a yarn shop can be dangerous for your stash and your queue and your WIPs, but writing the bi-weekly newsletter "Inspiration delivered to your inbox" and the blog...has been lethal for mine. (so I'm happy in a weird way that I managed to resist the temptation for today's newsletter about another cool yarn and two of my favorite patterns... I probably have this week's blog posts to thank for that!)

Yep, two week ago we were going to feature a pattern called Cepa. It's a lovely chevron wrap that suggested Fibre Company Meadow, one of my favorite not-Shibui yarns. Searching around for other yarn/color combos we decided to use Pantone's Fall 2014 Colors for inspiration. We featured three color suggestions, but I succombed to the Canopy Fingering.

I brought the skeins home to photograph, then wound them and promptly cast on. The little triangles were kind of fiddle-y to knit, but that part was done in a few hours and then it was on to Chevron heaven. Where you play lots of Yahtzee, watch sports on TV, drink wine, laugh with your friends. Yes, you do have lots of ends to weave in (later) and a bit of pattern to keep up with (garter stitch edges, mirrored increases and double decreases on every right side row - yeah, I've ripped back a few times :-), but otherwise it's perfect for summer knitting. and hopefully fall wearing.

As written, the pattern calls for 3 skiens (545 yds each) of a heavy laceweight yarn and the resulting piece is 24" x 70". I'm using Canopy Fingering - a fingering weight with 200 yds per skein; I have 2 skiens of each color. I wanted a luxurious scarf, not a wrap, so my piece is just three chevrons wide (about 18"); I'm hoping the finished piece will be a little over 70" long.
This is the yarn I have left to knit. Just over half of it and the piece measures 36". Like I said, I'm hopeful.

...Marc's plane just landed so I'm sure there will be sports on TV and hopefully a bit of wine shared. I'm off to add a few mores rows to my Cepa!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIP Week | One Sock.

...and a watercolor (of course!)

Happy to report that the "pressure" to have something to share prompted me to knit most of the foot (and even graft the toe!!) of the first sock. My go-to vanilla sock these days is the Churchmouse basic pattern combined with Carole's Picot Edge. Love it!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WIP Week | Insouciant.

...the first of two sweaters and another project inspired by my "day job" for the shop. The pattern came out three years the height of my "I'm never going to sew another seam again" thing. And I didn't seriously consider knitting it until last month when we featured the pattern in a newsletter. Yep, fast forward three years and I've lost my fear of seams (some might say I'm loving them with all the fervor of the newly converted...but I digress)...and this simple silk tee stole my heart*.

So I swatched and got gauge (had to go down a needle size), cast on and made swift progress through the back and started the front ... before I took the project to Florida two weeks ago. I made it to the front neck decreases and stopped. Still not believing I'd actually be able to knit the whole sweater in just three cones, I wasn't prepared to deal with knitting with two strands of the silk when I had just a single cone (cone #3) and what appeared to be a very little bit of the second cone left.  I set the project aside and wondered how to tackle it.

I considered knitting a third Color Affection using whatever would be left of cone #4 - it would coordinate great with my sweater :-)  I should've trusted Julie (the designer) and wound cone #3 into two balls before I left.
today's photo prompt was a great inspiration!
Because this morning when I finally got back to it, it worked out fine. I finished that first side of the front with about a yard of cone #2 left. I split cone #3 into 2 balls (easy when you have a scale - I wound the cone into a ball and weighed it - 41 grams - and then wound 20 grams of that ball into another can see them in the photo below).

Then - with the wonderful company of Last Tango in Halifax - I finished the front and knit the first sleeve. I typically knit the sleeves together so I can be sure they match, but that would mean four tiny balls of yarn and really, that was too much! (it's also just 68 rows and I plan to knit sleeve #2 tomorrow...before I forget anything).

So... much pleased with today's progress. And feeling like this one is nearly finished!

*but not my wallet. Habu's Tsumugi Silk isn't expensive, and the smallest size takes just three cones. That means a hand-knit short sleeved silk tee for less than $55 - and most of the other sizes would be under $70. I think that's a bargain!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

WIP Week | Shallows.

...I finally counted my WIPs. There are eight.

I guess that explains why I keep forgetting how many there are (I'm not a monogamous knitter by any stretch, but eight!!??)

And why I haven't finished a project since July 25th (remember Katie did the bind-off on the lap robe I posted about last week!). My Ravelry pages are dreadfully out of date - I hadn't even shared photos of that last July project. It's Carthamus, that I knit for the Summer Shawl KAL in Kirsten's group using yarn I bought in Madison (that cute little yarn shop across the street from Sara's apartment). Here's a peek (there are more photos and notes on Ravelry).

And now I'm tackling the rest. I figure I can update one project a day with photos, notes, etc. I want to have time to knit, too, so I'm going to spread all these updates into a whole week of blog posts. Wish me luck on that - I don't think I've posted eight days in a row...ever!

First up is Shallows. This is the shop's summer knit-along. The pattern calls for about 340 yards of fingering weight on a size 4 needle to make a finished piece 7" wide and 52" long.

I wanted something a little heavier and bigger, so I treated myself to a Shibui Mix - Cima (laceweight alpaca/merino blend) and Silk Cloud (laceweight silk/mohair blend - similar to Rowan's Kidsilk Haze, but IMHO, much nicer). Holding them together makes a sport or light DK weight...that is a dream to knit.

I went up to a size 6 needle and cast on 14 extra stitches to make the garter stitch edges one stitch wider and the lace panels one repeat wider. I've just started the 4th (of the last one!) vertical repeats and think my finished piece is going to be about 10" wide and 60" long. Hopefully it works!

I've just joined the second skein of Cima. So I'm going to have a good bit of yarn leftover. My plan is to add a skein of Pebble (in the same color way) to get a light worsted fabric and knit mittens to match. The lace pattern seems like it would be perfect for a pretty little cuff and the Pebble would add silk, cashmere and a little more merino...nice for warm hands, no?

Have you ever gotten so far behind on something it seems daunting to catch up? Do you have any tricks for staying on track?

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Currents | August 2014.

(dew-covered lantana ... in my front yard this morning)

choosing simplicity and more free space on my calendar.

looking forward to the baby - he's due in less than four weeks!

planning newsletters and a new KAL for the shop. Fall is coming quickly (holiday knitting, too!)

enjoying Marc's instagram feed while he's traveling in Asia.

needing to visit the eye doctor (and I'm bummed about it!)

wanting a new makeup look. I've been wearing the same beige palette for months.

knitting ... a lot! (promise a full post on everything on the needles next week!)

watching nothing. I haven't even turned on the TV since Marc left Thursday morning. I do want to see Outlander, and I have hours of Masterpiece (I can't even remember all the shows) recorded.

reading Life after Life (on Audible; it's absolutely wonderful) and The Proposal (by Mary Balogh - this will be my last Bingo book!)

listening to Max Richter. Thank you to Sara for the recommendation. I LOVE it! His Recomposed Vivaldi's Four Seasons has been on repeat (when I haven't been listening to Life after Life).

eating bookclub leftovers. I hosted Thursday evening and way over-estimated how much vegetables & dip and cheese & crackers eight women could eat. I've invited friends over for knitting this afternoon, so hopefully I won't have too much left after that.

drinking stovetop coffee from the Bialetti. With hot frothed milk, this is my special treat when I'm by myself since the pot really only makes enough for one.

wearing a skirt and camisole with an orange scarf (one of my before and after scarves). and sandals.

what's current with you?


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | White and Gold.

Daddy with the laprobe, standing in front of his "Georgia Tech" shelves; it's quite a White and Gold collection!
... my dad's favorite color combination! and therefore the perfect ones to choose for this special laprobe. My sister-in-law Lydia cast-on and knit the first six inches or so. Then she handed it off to me. Next Sara had a turn, and my niece Jillian, my sister Karen and then it came back to me. I added a little more and Katie finished it. It takes a project like this - big stockinette stitches (we held Berroco Vintage double) on size 11 needles - to work across so many knitters. Different gauges, different skill was all fine once I gave it wash and laid it flat to dry.

He says he can feel the warmth and love knit into each stitch. Knitting is wonderful that way, isn't it?! 

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Hugo's.

...from Sunday brunch. None of us had oysters, but the fried green tomatoes (and the bread pudding) were delicious. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Waiting.

...Carole's prompt this week has us thinking about waiting rooms...and how to pass the time. I've had a good bit of experience with that in the past few years so I'm happy to share, but also, wow, I hope it's a long time before I have to put much of this into practice ... except for the upcoming Baby T (less than six weeks?! oh my!!)

1. knitting. one of the big reasons I am not a monogamous knitter is that I love to knit all the time. and different situations call for different types of knitting. waiting room knitting needs to be almost mindless...but not quite. flat stockinette (knitting and purling), or garter with an easy pattern or even a vanilla sock (tiny needles?) all fit the bill.

2. reading. preferably on the iPad so when you finish the book that you thought would take two more days, you have another one at your fingertips.

3. crossword puzzles. I am not a fan, but wow, my mom is. and the iPad app for the NYTimes puzzle is really fun. This might be a good one to share with someone else ... who regularly works crosswords.

4. journaling. spend five minutes making a list of things you love. things that make you laugh. things that ...

5. postcards. or letters. catch up with your pen pals.

6. the waiting room magazines. I'm not even going to wait to list this last. because you need to do this. it's fun to see what the office/hospital/other patients leave behind. and sometimes you can get really up-to-date on the latest whatever...or the best place to buy a retirement home in Florida.

7.  people-watching. hum. only made #7. note that I don't even have "talk to the person next to you" on my list.

8. podcasts/audiobooks. low down on my list because I think you need to be present. and earbuds just aren't that. but for the long-haul, especially in a crowded room, this could be a lifesaver.

and if your waiting room has wifi,

9. blogs. it's especially fun to just click all the links and see where you end up (I dare you not to end up subscribing to at least a few!)

10. ravelry. suddenly the black hole doesn't seem quite so black!

click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Looking Back | July.

...a quick look back at the month of July through the lens of my daily photos (again with fatmumslim's daily prompts).
::yay for colors!
::for getting out and about ... a little more. Seven of the photos are from Madison (or en route), there's a dinner out with friends (Saturday the 5th), wine with my sister (Wednesday the 23rd) and a run (Monday the 7th). There are still 11 photos from inside my house (food & wine, Holly and knitting) and another eight from the neighborhood (yay for walking Holly!)
::and selfies - my hands, feet and even the back of my head (which was a challenging shot, but a must for the prompt "curly" on Saturday the 19th) show up seven times.

Taking a closer look:
::Knitting ("only" 5 photos) - the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl is the only FO; in progress (still...) are Ravello, a laceweight Panoramic Stole, a pair of socks (featuring Carole's picot edge) and Insouciant.
::From Where I Stand (3 photos) - I enjoy these; they do show seasons (flip flops and shorts), but not much about place this month.
::Holly (4 photos) - and a continuing focus; I have a special Instagram hashtag #HollyadayforSara to be sure Sara gets an occasional view of her favorite dog.
::Food & Drink (7 photos) - mostly drink! love that there's coffee, wine and water along with some gorgeous grape tomatoes and a bit of dark chocolate.
::Sky (4 photos) - all clouds. I looked down more than I looked up last month.
::Porch Views (1 photo) - it's been hot, but we did have a nice break last week and it was lovely to sit outside.

I'm playing along again this month and getting more comfortable interpreting the prompts to fit something I'd like to remember for the day. I'm also looking forward to incorporating some of the Phone Photography workshop learnings (assuming I actually make it to the classroom! Regardless, I know the photos will tell a story and it's up to me to make it a great one!

Happy Monday everyone!