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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Today.

... this started as a crazy idea to share the day in watercolor, but turns was kind of weird and creepy that way. except for this.

This tree at the front of Katie's neighborhood is the only one I've seen around here showing any signs of fall color. We haven't been to the park since before Charlie was born; I hope we don't miss the show! Holly and I saw this on our evening walk. and it's the last photo I have to share. So I'm going to tell the story in reverse.

Before the walk was an awesome nap. Charlie slept in his bassinet. His mama napped on the couch. I knitted ... and Holly napped by me. Pretty sure we were all completely enchanted by the baby noise soundtrack.

and a bath. Charlie's second but my first. Freshly bathed baby!

And many hours before...a cappuccino. My favorite way to start any day.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

FO Friday | The Last Two Projects.

...way back in August (does it seem like that was months, instead of weeks, to anyone else?) I wrote a week of posts about my knitting works-in-progress. I started the week with eight WIPs and ended up not sharing all of them. Happy to report that two of those "secret WIPs" are now finished (the third one, which honestly took me a few minutes to recall is now deep in hibernation!)

Here's the first. It's the Bunkie Baby Blanket that I knit for Charlie. Finished in a mad rush last week...just three days before he was born. I still hope to get some artful photos - goodness knows both he and the blanket are photogenic - but for now, this one makes me smile (and I'm glad Katie had the idea to run back down and then back up the stairs to retrieve it for this photo).

And the second. Shibui Mix No 34. I've wanted to blog about this for weeks because this was my first knit for the Shibui SPARK program. I first heard about Shibui SPARK on July 4 when the owner of my LYS asked me if I'd like to be considered. She said my name was the first she thought of when she read the criteria:

A SPARK member is someone who is excited about all aspects of knitting--the process, the finished product, and the community. If she (or he!) knits something, everyone wants to knit it.

(I almost cried.)

Fast forward about two weeks and the package was waiting for me when I arrived home from the Moving Sara to Madison trip. (I did cry.)

I cast on a week later and knit a few rounds, but then the project languished. I admit (and I told Shibui) the pattern didn't thrill me. But the yarn mix is yummy and I picked it back up once I finished Cepa over Labor Day weekend. Back when I started the pattern, I modified the M1s to be yarn overs and then knit through the back loop on the following round. The resulting texture wasn't nearly as cool as what I saw in the other FOs so I spent the first part of that Labor Day restarting... much happier simply following the pattern. And then I finished the blanket (and started Lindsay) and welcomed Charlie. This project was perfect hospital knitting. I'm not gonna lie - I messed it up a few times, but I'm pretty good at dropping down and picking up to fix my boo-boo's. I finished the knitting and wove in and buried the ends at knitting today.

All that's left is the blocking. For sure it needs a steam. And I came *this close* to dumping it into a wet soak to soften the texture. But then I took these photos and I think, maybe I like it as is. We'll see.

So... all that's left from that week is a second sock. Which I am determined to finish. and then it's all Cast-on City. I'm not sure I have five projects to share so it won't be all week...but it's gonna be close!

Have you been surprised by an FO? or maybe simply delighted by one? Wishing everyone a happy weekend full of fallish goodness. and knitting!

P.S. Book Bingo is done. Gather your thoughts and your blog-writing mojo. I'm going to ask for final submissions (via blog posts) next week. Tally up your Bingos! - books finished between May 24 and Sept 1 count. There are prizes ;-)


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Early Morning Time.'s photo prompt is "key" and my first response was seeing the sunrise. I think rising before the sun is the key to every good day. But today's sunrise just ... wasn't that great. It's ok. Because the real key for me is simply being up "dark early". I am a morning person and have been for years. Getting up in daylight is just weird. I remember a morning in New York when I was helping Katie move for her first post-college job - we'd been up til after 2am (but we'd slept on a made bed); I woke up to the sun streaming in and couldn't believe it was so late...of course it wasn't. Dawn comes well before 6 am in Manhattan in June.

These past few days have been so different - and not only sleep-wise! it's really hard to be up in the dark when you go to bed just a few hours before. (or not at all - new parents are a miracle along with their new babies) In any event, I was happy this morning to be back with my journal and my coffee before the light came.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Settling In.

...Carole had a great prompt today about all the things we do to get our homes ready for fall. Swapping out pillows and candles and other "decor", planting pansies and chyrsanthemums in place of the very tired petunias in the front pots, putting the comforter back on the bed, stocking the pantry with split peas, pumpkin, chicken broth and oatmeal. Yep all of that. But not yet. I'm glad fall doesn't really arrive around here for another few weeks (at least). I have plenty of time to help Katie & Rob settle in at home with little Charlie.

They were discharged yesterday evening (turns out the insurance companies are actually serious about "48 hours" for the baby; I'm really grateful Charlie wasn't born at 2 am!) and their first night home wasn't very restful. I stopped by at lunchtime - this was Holly's first visit and I know "inquiring minds want to know." She didn't bark at him once. Nope, not even a growl. She's certainly curious about what all he's up to, but she's not jealous...more protective I think.

We came back a few hours later for dinner (I cooked-ish! taco salads...definitely need to up my game in the meal department). Holly was still on her best behavior and Charlie napped like a pro. The arm up is a thing with Katie, and with Marc... it must be genetic, right?

I left as he was waking up for his evening meal. I hope he rests this peacefully for at least an hour or two tonight. I know they could use some sleep!

p.s. blond hair!



Monday, September 15, 2014

Introducing Little Charlie

Charles Clay Tieman | born September 13 at 10:22 pm | 7 pounds, 7 ounces | 20 inches

...and everyone is doing fine. They're expecting to go home today, a little nervous, but ready to start being a family on their own.

Saturday was a long day. Thank goodness for college football, coffee and knitting. Marc and I finally got to meet little Charlie just before midnight. Love at first sight for sure!

Then Marc came home (someone needed to take care of Holly and I'm grateful he did!) while I helped Katie get settled into her room. And finally, I got to hold him.


Charlie slept most of yesterday in spite of Katie's best attempts to wake him to nurse (I smile thinking how she's going to look back on that afternoon when he peacefully napped away the hours) and a parade of visiting family.

He did open his eyes a few times

but mostly he peacefully slept.

I've been delighted with all the wonderful good wishes in response to Instagram and emails. Thank you!
Two questions have popped up over and over. First, his name. He's named after Rob's grandfather (Charles is also Rob's middle name) and my dad (his middle name is Clay, after his grandfather Clay Sheffield). I love the family tradition and it's wonderful to see that he really is a Charlie!
Second, I hope to be called Marmie - a play off my name and the mama in Little Women; she's one of my favorite mama characters, especially as portrayed by Susan Sarandon! We'll see how Charlie handles it. His other grandma is Nana; Charlie is her third grandchild, so I expect that will "stick".

Oh, and yes, I did finish the blanket. We had planned to take photos on Saturday morning in the nursery. I kind of love that he'll get to be in those photos now. A beautiful, perfect FO!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11.

...the long-awaited due date has arrived, but so far, no signs of the baby actually arriving. We're ready and waiting. and trying to be patient.

It's weird having a joyful event to (potentially) celebrate on this day. There's still so much sadness and loss fresh on our minds. Certainly those feelings won't fade for anyone who remembers that terrible day 13 years ago. For me, the words "nine-eleven" evoke those memories.

When I started sharing Katie's due date, I purposely said "September 11th". A few people commented about that being unfortunate timing. I replied that I thought it was wonderful to add some happiness and joy to the world on that day (I'm not sure any of those commenters were actually fact I'm pretty sure they couldn't have been, right?!)

And now, after eight or so months of practicing "September 11th", it's a habit. It appears we won't be celebrating a birthday today, but I'm still going to keep saying the date that way. To me, it's an acknowledgement that there is much to celebrate about our country, on this day and every day. This morning, I shared the photo above on Instagram with the caption "11. how I feel today #proud #hopeful #grateful #American".

On a somewhat lighter note, and I hope Katie won't feel too "out in the open" if I share, here's a snippet of the text message exchange we had early this morning.

She was headed into the office for a meeting; thankfully, much of her work has been from home these past few weeks. And with a little more luck, this will be her last in-person appearance until next year!


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Colors. of my favorite things about finishing knitting projects is starting new ones.

With all the finishing in my recent past, you can bet there will be a lot of starting in my near future! One of the projects I hemmed and hawed about was the next Rowan KAL. I dove head-first into the last one (designed by Martin Storey) and still have 17 balls of yarn and 47 squares to go. To say I hesitated about another one would be an understatement. For about a week. And then I saw the colorways and watched the video. and today I bought the yarn. Note that this time I'm only in for the "small pillow". It's still 2,000 yards of yarn to make a 22" square pillow.

Three things convinced me to join:

  1. Kaffe Fassett. colorwork. (new thing for me. from the master.)
  2. Recent success with colorwork finishing. My least favorite part about knitting is finishing; and weaving in ends is second only to seaming in my that unfavored spot. But three of my last four projects have involved a lot of ends...and it hasn't been that bad.
  3. I can make 2015 the Year of the Afghan and finish my Martin Storey taking a square a week plus the finishing (stay tuned. it's a big goal!)

So I'm in. Along with Vicki. How about you?!

p.s. this is the Brown colorway; Kaffe has four suggested colorways including Brown, Red, Pastel and Turquoise. I chose this one because I love it...and it's also the best match for my family room.

p.p.s. the blanket is blocked...and there's no more news!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Super-quick Drive By.

...I "found" this photo when I opened my photostream; I must've taken it Sunday evening when Holly and I managed a quick walk in between "severe thunderstorms". A definite happy accident because I certainly don't remember spinning around like that!

Katie and I walked this morning, starting from my house instead of the park, which afforded us this lovely view of the lake just about 7:30. Tomorrow we'll be back at the park and I can only hope we see something watercolor-worthy. (or the baby comes... actually, I think I probably hope the baby comes!)

...because I am now only six rows from finishing his blanket (plus a few ends and blocking). I'll share photos once it's done but I have to's been a lot more knitting than I thought it would be (and I thought it would be a lot!) I've been on a monogamous infatuation with this project since Friday. Thank goodness for my DVR; I'm now caught up on Outlander and The Honorable Woman. Completely loving both (and sorry they're both nearly over).

That's it! back to knitting!

(I did have a great list for Ten on Tuesday today...maybe another day when I don't have much to share, but time for a real post!)


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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Finished | Colors of Fall.

...that week of WIPs back in mid-August really helped me focus on finishing. Since I posted about those five projects, I've finished four! The socks are still sitting where I left them (one done and the second not started). I braved the heat on Thursday and, with Katie's very capable help behind the camera, modeled the three I knit for myself.

First up, Insouciant. I finished this one Tuesday and I've already worn it twice.

It fits great and I'm glad I followed my own advice and knit it in pieces, with seams. Even though it's really lightweight, it's 100% silk and those seams are going to help it keep its shape. The only modification I made to the pattern was on the bind-off for the neck trim. I did the *K2tog through the back loop, put the stitch back on the left needle* bind-off instead of a sewn bind-off (I figured that, with all those seams, I'd held a sewing needle in my hand enough already!) The edge still has a nice roll.

Next up, Ravello. It was getting hot. I was getting silly!

It's hard to tell in the photo, but my jeans are dark blue. I chose the brown color for the body of the sweater on purpose so I could wear it with blue and black jeans. Now that it's done, I think it's going to work fine with my winter white ones, too.

Katie had fun playing fashion photographer! I must admit, the boots are pretty cute with the messily-cuffed jeans!

And finally, Cepa. This piece was my serendipity project for the summer. I hadn't planned to knit anything like it (in fact I'm pretty sure I thought I'd never knit anything like it! chevron stripes? all those ends to weave in?) but the newsletter I wrote about Fall Colors in early August sold me. I chose the colors specifically from the Pantone Fall 2014 swatch as Sangria/Cognac/Cypress.

The finished piece is really beautiful. This is the first time I've used Canopy Fingering. It's great to knit with, but oh my,'s stunning. I gave it a good soak and then just spread it out. It got a little longer (finished it's about 80" long) and stayed about 18" wide. So it's great to wear as a wrap

or a scarf.

The garter/stockinette stitch combination adds texture (and made it not quite so boring to knit!)

...ditto the chevron increases and decreases.

The only not-fun part of the project was the finishing. Each stripe and triangle made two ends, and after I wove in each of those ends, I split the yarn into its three plies and buried them. Yeah, you can imagine.

I've already bought yarn to knit another one. This time I chose Shibui Silk Cloud. It will still be lots of ends, but it's a single ply and very sticky, so at least I won't have that burying the ends step!

I'm going to enter Ravello and Cepa in The Yarniacs' Colors of Fall KAL. You have to submit your FO photos "styled for fall" and I must say, I had fun with the outfits. And the photos. Thank you so much, Katie!

...also, thank you very much for all the thoughtful and helpful advice about my Twitter/Pinterest quandry. I've decided to abandon my personal accounts (I deleted those links in my sidebar; if you do follow me there, don't expect to see anything new!). For the shop, we'll look into cross-posting from Facebook to Twitter, and otherwise keeping our Twitter feed like it is. But I'm going to devote some time and energy to our Pinterest boards. I think it would be a good fit with our community to share more about what we're knitting, what's inspiring us, new yarns, etc. We'll see.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Twitter? Pinterest? (why?)

... I've been thinking about a "so really, what is twitter? (and why should I care about it)" post all week because yes, for real, item #12 on this week's to do list is "check in on Twitter." (and yes, I have underlined and capitalized it on said list). I could have (and maybe should have) also listed Pinterest. I have accounts on both - as does the shop (and I get paid to check in on those two accounts!) but I just can't seem to get into any sort of ... habit with either. I think I'm missing the boat.

Or maybe it's a boat I just don't need to be on.

I am a huge fan of Instagram - both personally and for the shop (it was an accomplishment to get that account setup this summer and I like what we're doing there). But I can't see myself ever having to write a "check in on Instagram" to-do. So what's different?

Please share - because I really do need to get into a good Twitter/Pinterest least for the shop.

And since I'm asking, it might help y'all to know that I have totally disavowed facebook. I did have an account to support the shop a few years back, but we now have someone who "does" facebook and I deleted my account. And I have no interest in starting it back up.

p.s. I got totally fed up with the Blogger app on my iPad - this post is coming to you from Blogsy. I can only hope the fonts don't switch on you mid-stream.

p.p.s. first experience with Blogsy not going so great. I cannot figure out how to add a photo. in any event, if I can get this to post, I would welcome any and all feedback. do you use Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook? am I missing out? (thank you!)


Watercolor Wednesday | On our Morning Walk.

...Katie and I have been enjoying near-daily early morning walks in Webb Bridge Park. There's a backdoor entrance to the walking trail from her neighborhood, so it's really convenient. We're just starting to see signs of fall in the colors and the (maybe, slightly?) cooler temperatures . These yellow flowers seemed to sprout up overnight and she was sweet to hold Holly's leash while I stooped to take the photo (well, multiple photos :-) Gotta love a daughter who helps out with "watercolor Wednesday"!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello September.'s very good to see you. My friend Honore says this is her favorite month, and now that I'm past all the drama and stress that accompanies "back to school", I think it could be mine, too. I do love the promise of cooler temperatures, knitting with wool, red wine (especially on the porch), not worrying quite so much about pedicures (or frizzy hair) and most of all, fresh starts.
(these are the roses in our front yard... in the spirit of embracing a new season, I'm seeing the beauty in the faded blooms. and in the afterlight app that made sunshine where we had none today!)

I was surprised, when I looked back at my blog archives, to see that I've not written a Hello September post before. Hello Fall, yes, but specifically September, no. So starting this month, I'm going to make it a habit to welcome each month. In addition to that short list above, here are a few more things I'm looking forward to this month: 

Becoming a grandmother (the baby is due next Thursday!)  Jeans and ankle boots and sweaters (honestly, this is probably pushing it - the forecast still doesn't show any day below 90 degrees). Apples. and pears. and oatmeal. Gin cocktails with rosemary simple syrup. Saturdays full of football (and knitting). Casting on a few holiday knitting projects (once I figure out what they are!) Changing colors in the landscape...I'm not quite ready for the leaves to fall, but for them to turn brilliant orange and red, oh yes!

How about you? what are most looking forward to this month?

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Looking Back | August.

...a quick look back at the month of August through the lens of my daily photos (again with fatmumslim's daily prompts).

::another yay for colors!
::good food and drink - eight photos, including salads, fruits and vegetables, a dessert shared with friends, coffee, wine (and no popcorn!)
::and Holly - she was the center of attention five times.

Taking a closer look:
::Knitting (6 photos) - five progress shots of Cepa, Ravello and Insouciant and one FO (Shallows from Friday, the 29th.)
::From Where I Stand (2 photos) - one from home and one from the park (extra credit for getting Katie in that last one, too)
::Sky (only 2 photos) - both clouds. I looked around more than I looked up (or down) last month.
::Porch Views (1 photo) - another hot month, and I am so looking forward to being out this month (well, maybe next week? highs are forecasted in the 90's until then).
::Books (4 photos) - yay for Book Bingo!
::Selfies (2 photos) - and both of my head.

Also note the first hint of fall and shorter days. The photo from two Mondays ago was taken on my way home from class; just before 8:30 pm and it's dark. Sunrise is now after 7am. It will be interesting to see how the season change shows up this month.

Happy Monday everyone!