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19 posts from March 2012

30 March 2012

Mmmm, roasty!

It's no secret that I love stuff that's roasted.

I love Roast Beef Soup.

I love roasting the beef for Chili All Day.

I love roasting tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, herbs, etc., for Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I love roasting veggies for Roasted Vegetable Soup.

I love making Smashed Roasted Potatoes.

New favorite: Ina Garten's Roasted Asparagus. (God, I love that woman!) I have done this several times already this spring! It could not be simpler... preheat the oven to 400F; wash and prep as for any other method; I dry the spears off a little bit and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with just a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt; I shake and rattle the pan a little bit to distribute it evenly and so the spears are "coated" all around. Since it's often just two of us, I usually make only a pound at a time and decrease the cooking time a bit. But not too much, because OMG, the ROASTY YUM!! I just love how some of the smaller spears get kind of CRISPY -- and especially the tips -- and I even said to Rusty tonight, as I gobbled 'em up, that parts of them are almost like ASPARAGUS CHIPS!

Strange but true, and so delicious.

You're welcome.

Happy weekend, people!

 

29 March 2012

Here's what's happening

Blatantly stolen from, and with props to, Kym!

Watching... the weather. Daily. And the sky. Even more than usual.

Reading... Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. As of this morning, I have read 87% of it.

Knitting... A test knit -- my first-ever. I picked it up last week and I'm almost half-way; it's not due until May 1st. Also, still working M'gonigle. It's my portable project.

Listening to... the radio, mostly. Speaking of the radio... A local station has been airing an end-of-the-workday segment for a while now that they call "Five O'clock Funnies," featuring clips from stand-up comic routines -- it's SO WONDERFUL to laugh all by myself in the car on the way home from work. They've recently begun "Six O'clock Stand-up" and it's JUST AS GREAT to laugh all by myself in the car on the way to work!

Thinking about... England, Scotland, Wales. It was one year ago. Exactly. We were in Argyl Forest Park. Today.

image from www.flickr.com

Dreading... doing taxes. Yup. Yet to do. I had a good head of steam going a while back... pfffft.

Planning... the summer agenda. What gets done on the house, etc.

Excited about... a trip to Chicago this weekend with Katie & Ali.

Humming... Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys.

Drinking... coffee (still) and water.

Itching to... get some yarn up for sale and off to good homes.

Needing to... do my taxes. Also. Still.

Organizing.... well, I need to get organizing everything! Mom's agreed to be our host for the city-wide rummage sale in May and I need to sweep!

Inspired by... so many people & things right now.

Delighted by... my new Kindle Fire. I've had it for a little while, but it still feels new. Girlchild is the first electronic book I will have purchased and read entirely on the device. It took a while getting comfortable to not holding the book in my hands, to not "feeling" how much has passed and how much is yet to come (at least in number of pages), measuring how I feel about that. I love that I can easily take it anywhere, and that it's so much more. (I may or may not hold a record score in Mahjongg.)

(I would love to play real Mahjongg someday.)

Recording... everything! I hardly ever watch anything in real time anymore.

What's up w/you?

27 March 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Movin' on up

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Tips for Moving

We moved a lot when I was a kid -- like, at least once a year, and sometimes three. I was too young to be involved in the packing, but I do remember moving... actually being in the car, mostly at night. I loved to scan the landscape for airport beacons, watching them go around -- bright, dim, bright, dim, bright, dim -- sometimes we'd get close to the airports and sometimes we'd just skirt on by. I still get a special feeling when I see those beacons. Listening to the radio -- AM radio -- the stations fading out and twirling the knob in search of a new, clear signal. In my memory, moving time was pretty much the only time we'd eat out at a restaurant or cafe; my favorite thing was a grilled cheese sandwich and I loved ordering milk at a restaurant -- it was always Whole Milk, which we never had at home!

I'm sure that those frequent moves during my childhood is the biggest reason that Katie's lived in only three houses in almost 27 years (and, during her first week of life, one motel); Ali in two houses in almost 25; and Maddy, 21 next month, has always lived in the house we live in.

I have now lived almost half of my years in the house where we currently live.

It's not that I wouldn't move... I'm always looking at what's for sale in the area... I just haven't found anything that I like better. There are a million houses I love, but it's all about location. It really is: location, location, location!

Anyway, it's been a while since I've moved, though I've helped the girls in and out of college -- that's as close as it gets.

1. Pack books in paper grocery bags. They're a good size for carrying, and almost impossible to overload.

2. Clean out and sort while packing -- stuff to toss, stuff to donate.

3. Keep like things together -- don't mix kitchen stuff with living room stuff.

4. Start early, if you can. Pack seldom used and out-of-season items first.

5. Nest. Pack things inside of other things whenever possible.

6. Label, label, label.

7. It's especially important to identify and label the boxes that contain the last items packed, so they can be quickly located, as they're likely to be the items needed first. Personal toiletries and care items; basic cooking staples, tools, dishes, and utensils; seasonal clothes and footwear; seasonal linens and bedding.

8. Use things like kitchen towels to wrap and cushion fragile kitchen items, etc.

9. Keep tools handy -- hammer, screwdriver, wrenches, baggies or containers for parts (screws and whatnot) (don't forget to mark what they're for), markers, scissors, tape and string or twine.

10. Stay on task, but take frequent breaks -- especially if feeling overwhelmed or easily distracted. Set the timer -- 25 minutes to get in there and work, work, work; then take a 5-minute break.

Good luck!!

* * * * *

Ding-Ding-Ding! We have winners!!

As determined by Random.org, Carol, delurking from Kentucky, is the winner in the Eight! It's cause for celebration! drawing.

The 19,000th comment was left on that post by Julia in Ontario -- with whom I've corresponded via comments before!

Congratulations! Prize packages will be shipped out tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for celebrating with me!

* * * * *

image from www.flickr.com
I stopped at the library on my way home last night to pick up a book they were holding, and thought it was funny that I'd notice this book on the new releases shelf at the very moment that Maddy was actually having somewhat literary tattoo made. And a turtle.

* * * * *

Finally, I drove up to Door County over the weekend with Katie, Mom, and my sister Ann. Annie had a job interview there... and the rest of us are always up for a trip to the Door. It's still pretty early in the season, so many of our favorite places were still closed. That's not always a bad thing, you know? We were forced to find a different place to eat and, boy, was it ever great!

image from www.flickr.com
I loved the artwork, too. These were printed on canvas of various size. We had a delicious salad that had goat cheese, walnuts and, of course, dried cherries, followed by a "Fun Guy" pizza -- five different mushrooms plus cheese, including cream cheese -- so delicious! Also dessert. We highly recommend Wild Tomato, if you're ever in the area.

Red Sock Yarns is just up the road and... Why, YES!! I was thrilled to find a ball of Hundertwasser, though I don't recall the colorway just now, and another ball of possibly coordinating yarn. It's the little things... and it was a very fun day!

 

25 March 2012

The Redbud buds are budding

Web-IMG_2287
(Say that three times fast!)

...in Mom's garden.

 

23 March 2012

Thursday sky

image from www.flickr.com
One of the things that's been so weird about our sudden and unseasonable hot & sunny weather is how different the light is -- the sun's still relatively low in the sky and there's no place to hide! Branches are bare so there is very little to filter that sunlight and there is no shade.

Trees have gone from barely budding to leafing out in a matter of days. It actually reminds me a lot of April 16-19, 1987, the weekend I was in the hospital giving birth to Alison, and I watched the leaves burst forth. But that was April, and crazy-weird for April, too... this is ever so much crazier-weirder for being March!

Whether it's truly spring or not, the message is getting through! I do so love the colors of spring.

* * * * *

A year ago today, we were leaving for our UK vacation -- and the weather outside was frightful, causing our local flight to be cancelled, so we drove through the blizzard to Chicago ourselves! Somewhat determined.

 

22 March 2012

The bullet list

  • Due to the sudden onset of "summer," there are turtlenecks, tank tops, and everything in between comingling in my closet-of-very-limited-space. It's all too soon, it's all a jumble and I don't really like it!
  • I'd joked about the possibility a week ago, then made an appointment on Tuesday that sealed it: I have/had a doctor/lab/screening appointment of some sort every day-off Wednesday in March.
  • The good news is that if the scales at these various offices are synchronized, I've dropped a few pounds in the last couple of weeks.
  • I'm picking up yarn and pattern tonight to do my first-ever test knitting. It's for a local designer I've known for a few years. I may have nudged her a while back about the sizing of her garments. I'm very excited to do this!

image from www.flickr.com

  • The loom is warped! The Brio loom is a little different than the Schacht Cricket Loom that I've watched Angela demonstrate in her Rigid Heddle Weaving (use that link for a discount on enrollment) class on Craftsy. I think I'm using the correct terminology when I say that the Cricket's detached rigid heddle is also used as the beater. The Brio's heddle is tied on to the loom frame and moves only up and down; the beater is a separate thing altogether, is permanently attached (stapled) to the frame, and moves only back and forth. I had to thread the warp through the beater as well as the heddle -- an extra step.
  • The Brio is a complicated toy.
  • I'm coveting the Cricket.
  • I'm sure, once the original warp was used up on the Brio, it was way too complicated for even a 10-year-old to start again. And her mother... the one with an 8- and 4-year-old to boot... was lucky to string together two sentences much less warp a loom using written directions and a few line drawings.
  • Have I mentioned how much I love technology? I love online tutorials and classes.
  • Also time that is mostly my own, even if it's never enough, and grown children. I love them, too.
  • Thanks for all the 'versary wishes! The 19,000th comment has been recorded! There's still 36+/- hours to leave a comment for the random prize drawing -- but you must leave it here.

 

20 March 2012

Eight! It's cause for celebration!

As of today, the First Day of Spring, I'm celebrating eight years of blogging! I've written nearly 2,200 posts and read almost 19,000 comments during that time! I wish I could say that I replied to all those comments, but I know I did not. Every comment is important, of course (sometimes they literally provide fuel for the fire), and I hope that I've at least replied to all of the comments most in need of reply -- those in search of an answer, an opinion, even advice!

Also, as of last weekend I'm celebrating seven years quit! It's likely that I'd have quit smoking, anyway, at some point and for one reason or another, but it sure was more "fun" to do it with my fellow blogger/quitter Ann, her friend Claire and my sister Karen, and with the encouragement offered by bloggers, not the least of whom was Cara! We did good. I don't get those anniversary emails anymore, but 7 years x 365 days = 2,555 x 1 pack/day @ $5 ea. = $12,775.00 saved and 51,100 cigarettes not smoked -- and that's a rather conservative cost average.

o.O

It's been a fun ride!

* * * * *

In March 2008, I wrote about my 4-year blogiversary and posted mosaics representing four years of blogging People, Places, Things, and Knitting Things and asked, "Four more years???"

Welp, yeah.

image from www.flickr.com

PEOPLE: 1. Creme Brulee Smile, 2. Peek-a-boo on the train, 3. Cuteness personified, 4. M is for Maddy, 5. Partial evidence, 6. Everybody jump?, 7. Happy Birthday, Maddy!, 8. Sisters jumping for joy, 9. Three out of four, 10. My sisters, 11. Katie's Malabrigo Scarf, 12. Flat Stanley (focus on Ali), 13. Tattoo 2, 14. Laugh, 15. Sweetness and light, 16. Slip of the tongue, 17. See my shell?, 18. R at the tip of the Door, 19. Maddy -- 6-3-09, 20. Looking to the right, 21. Boys in the house!, 22. Li'l Rascal, 23. Oh! That's funny!, 24. Fits like a dream, 25. Farmers' Market: Week 2: Fun, 26. Kids...lake...take 2, 27. Birthday sisters, 28. Sisters in summer, 29. Not so imaginary anymore, 30. Happy Birthday!, 31. Millennium Bridge, 32. Our tour guide, 33. Plume poppy gets a hug, 34. 070-of-366 / Twist, 35. With Annie, 36. 077-of-366

image from www.flickr.com

PLACES: 1. Farmers Market, 2. Ringside at the rollercoaster, 3. Rows of Shingles, 4. Makin Hay, 5. Beach at Montauk, 6. Stone steps, 7. Art - You Are Here, 8. At the beach - tiltshift, 9. The charming old sign, 10. Dried weeds on the right, 11. Him again, 12. Wisconsin's Eastern Lakeshore, 13. Reflection, 14. Into the woods, 15. Kate & Mads, 16. Osh Vegas Palms Resort, 17. Morning has broken, 18. KC&T, 19. Inspiration, 20. Tippy canoe!, 21. Glorious, 22. Milwaukee lakeshore, 23. Cable car, 24. Seafood Department, 25. On a not-so-clear day, 26. Geocache I, 27. The South-side from the North-, 28. Westminster Abbey, 29. Portencross Castle, 30. Highlands, 31. Drive, 32. Redbud in Mom's wildflower garden, 33. Kate in the middle of the road, 34. Our tour guide, 35. Iowa sky, 36. Silver Lake

image from www.flickr.com

THINGS: 1. Ali's back, 2. Tools of the trade, 3. Spring.3, 4. 365.102, 5. Measuring cups with reamer, 6. Artisan Bread!, 7. Rock collector, 8. 6-point Buck, 9. Life jacket, 10. Christmas Reading, 11. New, 12. Heart in sun and shadow, 13. Veggies & Cream Cheese, 14. What time is it?, 15. Pin cushion, 16. WSD, 17. Ollie, 18. Oh, so good, 19. Growth, 20. Ruth Asawa knitted sculpture, 21. Fruit, 22. Breakfast is served, 23. Chickens, 24. Adorable, 25. Elvir, 26. Strawberries, 27. Eggs in shades of green (mostly), 28. Dragonfly, 29. Sunflower, 30. It rained, 31. 023-of-366, 32. 032-of-366, 33. 035-of-366, 34. 040-of-366, 35. 042-of-366, 36. 078-of-366

image from www.flickr.com

KNITTING THINGS: 1. Juno Regina II, 2. Cables on the heel, 3. Heel-Toe Two, 4. Kevin's Hat, 5. Hat/Vintage Button II, 6. Afghani cap, 7. Hat, 8. Circles in wool and cotton, 9. Cat Bordhi, 10. Kari-Bak Scarf, 11. Noro Entrelac Scarf, 12. Front, 13. Fiddlehead finito, 14. Back view, 15. Diaper Cover, 16. Lap blanket, 17. Finished!, 18. Seaman's Square Cap I, 19. Hat's Not Another Noro Scarf, 20. Tempest, 21. Ragtop 1+2, 22. Green squares on blue chair, 23. Cerasifera on the trellis, 24. Asymmetrical, 25. Coconut buttons, 26. Closure, 27. Christmas booties, 28. 008-of-366, 29. 014-of-366, 30. Hug me in the snow, 31. 026-of-366, 32. 029-of-366, 33. 035-of-366, 34. web-IMG_1709, 35. Color Affection, 36. 069-of-366

* * * * *

I have made some of the most amazing friendships, had exciting adventures, did some travelling, received a shower or two of love and support as a result of blogging -- I'd never have experienced some of those things to such an extent had it not been for this near-daily ramble. Sometimes a slog, after the pros and cons are measured and considered, it is still very much worth it.

It wouldn't be a celebration without presents, would it? I invite you to join my party by leaving a comment to this post by midnight (CST) Friday to tell me what blogging has done for you, whether you're a writer or a reader.

A random winner will be drawn for a woolly hand-dyed prize. It's likely that the 19,000th comment will be made during that time, too, and I think that's probably a good enough reason for another!!

As always, thank you so very much for reading, and for your comments and emails.

Four more years?

 

19 March 2012

Where do I begin?

It was a pretty fab weekend.

image from www.flickr.com

We celebrated my brother's milestone birthday with a surprise party -- outside (on March 17th!) -- and it was a lot of fun. As he was unwrapping my present(s), he and his wife both commented on how much it reminded them of a gift from her friends when she celebrated same. They'd re-gifted all of that wonderful stuff -- hemorrhoid cream, denture adhesive, etc., etc. -- to me on my 50th; I saved it, added a few things, re-bagged it (in a cool black & silver Superman gift bag), and re-re-gifted it right back!!

image from www.flickr.com

I'm trying real hard not to freak out about the weather -- over 80F in mid-March is just not normal. There's nothing I can do about it, though, so I may as well enjoy it in the moment. I've been hanging out laundry, knitting on the deck, biking and walking, etc. I think it's the light that's weirding me out -- we're just not usually outside so much when the sun is still so low and there are no leaves on the trees; shade is in short supply. Some leaves are just starting to come out... fruit and flower blossoms may not be far behind... I'll try not to worry about snow and ice. It's been a weird winter, so why not spring?

Meanwhile, have I mentioned WEAVING?

image from www.flickr.com

Santa Claus brought this little toy BRIO loom down the chimney for Katie many years ago. I recall that it was already warped and perhaps a little something started, but I don't know whatever happened to any of it and it was never really used, as far as I know. I rescued it a few years ago from the rummage sale/donation pile and it's been sitting ever since.

Have you signed up for Craftsy yet? I've been a member for several months and have signed up for a couple of classes. I was very excited to see a new class in Rigid Heddle Weaving by Angela Tong! I've "known" Angela for quite a while, and wrote to her about my little toy loom -- she said that she thought most of the instruction in her class would translate, and asked if I'd give it a go and review the class.

image from www.flickr.com

Here's my set-up yesterday to direct-warp the BRIO. I am having to improvise. The apron rods were missing, so I raided the dowel stash in the basement. If there ever was a warping peg, it's long gone now, so I employed an unused lightstand, weighted with some books, in place of that. I used a T-pin in place of a threading hook and, while T-edious, it was effective. Shuttles? Haha. Maybe it/they got mixed up with the LEGOS or Barbies or American Girl stuff that was so much a part of our lives -- I don't have any now and will make some out of cardboard, I guess.

image from www.flickr.com

I'm not quite finished but, WOW, LOOKIT WHAT I MADE! Angela's instructions are clear and easy to follow! I watched this part twice before attempting on my own. Rusty helped as I wound it all up -- I'm thinking that perhaps a small crochet hook will fit when I start pulling threads through the holes. Think good thoughts for me. And I'll keep you posted as things progress!

Meanwhile, Angela sent me a discount link to share with readers who may be interested in taking the class. Click the image below!

RigidHeddle_titleCard

I may or may not have already looked on Craigslist to see if there are any non-toy looms listed in my area. I'm really not sure whether I'll love it enough to buy a loom -- and then there's the question of time, plus I'm eventually going to learn to spin and while I don't foresee myself falling too far down that rabbit hole, one just never really knows, does one? I do know that my available time is quite limited and right now I'm very happy to spend it knitting and dyeing, occasionally taking photographs, cooking sometimes, spending time with my family, doing laundry (mostly) as needed, and occasionally swishing something around the toilet bowl.

Anyhoo, check it out if you're inclined. There's a free preview, I think. I love the Craftsy platform because it's always available, and once you buy a class it's yours forever -- and you can watch a lesson (or rewind a certain section) as many times as you need to in order for it to sink in. Yes, you can!

 

16 March 2012

Knitting out

The weather outside's delightful! I can't believe it's mid-March and we literally "knit out" last night -- outside, on the deck, watching the sun set, listening to the sounds of spring. There was a definite chill in the air after sunset, but most of us stayed put on the deck 'til the very end.

My "knitting" consisted of ripping out the start of a pullover and re-winding the yarn. I'd cast on the night before using a tubular cast on (thank you, Theresa Vinson Stenersen and knitty!) for the first time ever.

Wow! Cool.

Unfortunately, I then carried on in 1x1 rib instead of 2x2 and that's what lead to last night's frogging. Ann mentioned recently using Ysolda's technique, so I tried that last night after I got home... with the TV off and no distraction whatsoever!

Wow! Super freaky cool. I'll be looking for reasons to go tubular!!

image from www.flickr.com

I worked on M'gonigle for the rest of knit night on the deck... it's coming along, and I'm loving it!

 

15 March 2012

Chop-chop!

Not only was it a most glorious and refreshing mojito, it was my first-ever mojito! Can you believe that?

image from www.flickr.com

After the Knit-In and my cat nap in the car, I drove into The Square to meet my sister Annie and our friends (and Sharon's former co-workers) Bill and Aimee for tapas at The Icon. I'd never had tapas before, either. Everything was delicious, and those mojitos just glowed in the sunlight!

Also, doesn't the sun illustrate very well and without question the shape of my face?!

And, Happy Birthday(s) this week to both Aimee and Bill!!

After dinner we all went to see my nephew, Dylan, as the lead in a play called The Foreigner -- his first time ever in any type of theatrical production -- and he was fabulous! He is so animated and expressive in real life, the casting was perfect!

* * * * *

I was checked on a couple of times and then sweetly awakened by Addy & Mack on Sunday morning. We had breakfast and the just hung out most of the morning. I sat on the front porch and did some knitting while the boys played outside.

Then I made my way south to Monticello and The Dining Room at 209 Main for a Knife Skills class. (I've been there once before.) I learned how to chop an onion from Wave & Jimmy -- using a slightly different technique than demonstrated here, but the end result was pretty much the same:

We chopped all sorts of stuff that Wave & Jimmy then cooked up for us, and Jane served drinks after the knives were safely put away. I have a lovely new (and very sharp) Messermeister Santoku knife, which I've used a few times since! Practice, practice, practice.

* * * * *

Back to the here and now:

image from www.flickr.com

I went on my first outdoor bike ride on Tuesday night. Eight-point-seven miles is to the doctor's office and back. Due to a scheduling snafu, I needed to be there twice yesterday (or book another day and, basically, have a doc appt on every single Wednesday in March - no thanks) and, since it was going to be SO NICE outside, I figured I'd ride at least once (which I did). The first appt was at 8:10 for a blood draw and I'd been fasting, so I drove. I had an email by 8:45 to say the results were in! Some of my numbers (cholesterol, glucose) are starting to creep up... darn it! I rode back out in the early afternoon (into the wind most of the way) for my mammogram.

image from www.flickr.com

I also, very happily, hung stuff out on the clothesline yesterday! Some laundry, a little shopping, some dyeing, coffee with Mom -- that pretty much took care of my day!

It's absolutely gorgeous again today. Knitting out tonight -- and by "out," I mean it's very likely we'll be out on the freshly painted deck for a while!! Come on over...

 

14 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday

image from www.flickr.com

 

13 March 2012

Ten on Tuesday: C'mon, Get Happy!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Songs That Put You In A Great Mood

There are so many more than 10. It's unseasonably warm here right now, it feels like SPRING! These are (some of) the songs that make me want to roll down the windows, turn up the volume, and step on the gas!

1. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley

2. Celebrate - Kool & The Gang

3. We Are Family - Sister Sledge

4. Working for the Weekend - Loverboy

5. Love Shack - B52s

6. Tighter & Tighter - Alive & Kicking

7. Tainted Love - Soft Cell

8. Call Me - Blondie

9. Every Little Kiss - Bruce Hornsby & The Range

10. Barbara Ann - The Beach Boys

11. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show - Neil Diamond

12. Daydream Believer - The Monkees

13. Come On Get Happy - The Partridge Family

14. The Rain, The Park, and Other Things - The Cowsills

15. King of The Road - Roger Miller

 

12 March 2012

Twist and shout!

My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Let's take a look at Demne while that sinks in.

image from www.flickr.com


4:30 a.m. in the morning... Saturday... way early morning.

image from www.flickr.com


We hadn't sprung forward with our clocks yet, so, thankfully, the sky was getting light and the sun was rising by the time I left the house. I made good time and my phone GPS truthfully guided me; the only thing bugging me was that I wished I'd thought earlier about calling my cousin Rae to join me (as in days earlier, not hours). I think she'd have enjoyed it, so next time for sure!

Many of the classes were already full by the time I registered for the Knit-In, though I don't think I'd have chosen differently; I signed up "Print Ready! Prepare for Self-Publishing" by Jaala Spiro, editor of Knitcircus. (No, I don't have any plans at the moment.) We were the inaugural class and it was terrific, she was terrific! It was a good general knowledge class (if that's the kind of thing you want to know) and for me, in some ways, refresher course. I enjoyed it very much and would never have guessed that it was the first time Jaala presented the material; she was well prepared, stayed on-track, allowed/welcomed discussion but didn't wildly deviate or go off on tangents, and was sure to answer/address all of our questions. I would take another class from her, on any subject, without hesitation -- highly recommended.

A big priority was seeing Kate and Marnie from Twist Collective. I've known Kate forever (in blog years) -- she was still living in France when we "met" -- no husband, no adorable daughter, no Clapotis! It was having a voice but no face (at the time, my mug was nowhere) and being able to develop relationships with people such as Kate, Cara, Wendy -- so many people (young, old, it didn't matter) -- as a knitter first, woman second, woman maybe old enough to be their mother way down the list, that really solidified blogging for me. I'd already bought into blogging, the community with blurry lines sold me the farm. And I actually did meet Kate and her family a few Rhinebecks ago. Marnie lives in Oregon and often visits the beach near where I got married, had a baby, and used to live... so I get to "visit" once in a while, too!

image from www.flickr.com


There was a fashion show of garments from the Winter 2011 issue (Kate, on the right, is wearing Midtown) and oh.my.god, there is just nothing like seeing them all in person! In addition to learning more about the magazine in general, it was great to hear commentary about each specific item, and to actually see (or hunt for) the construction techniques and details that make them Twist-worthy. I want to cast on for just about everything I saw! We also had a bonus preview of the Spring issue (Marnie, on the left), and I'm far enough away with my less-than-stellar camera phone pic that I'm not giving any secrets. There's a pink cardigan ahead -- details are on the way!

I caught up with my local friend Ann, lunched with Angie, met Nora, and spotted both Amy Detjen and Franklin in the wild. I did a little shopping... a hank of merino and bamboo in a color that just wouldn't let me go, and buttons for Demne. I have to wait for one of the buttons to be mailed.

Then I went out to my car, cracked the windows, pushed my seat down, and closed my eyes for a while, waiting for my sister to call about dinner plans prior to the play...

 

09 March 2012

Happy Friday!

Well, that was fun -- and successful! Both Maddy and I found the things on our shopping lists and had a nice lunch together. Our last stop before home was Goodwill (for a little treasure hunting) where we found the most adorable 4-place espresso set -- cups, saucers and spoons, all on a cute display stand -- and for $3.99 we just had to get it for Ali. Someone may have mismarked that one. Ooopsie.

There's a baby sweater, Demne, drying on my Block & Roll mat as we speak. I've had the pattern printed out for a long time -- a one-skein project that I've been wanting to try with the DK-weight Blue-Faced Leicester yarn I've been dyeing. Saturday was the day. A baby sweater, free pattern, quick to knit -- so quick that there hasn't been a decent photo op -- and truly a one-skein project. I've a little yarn left over and was never worried that I'd run out. It's interesting to knit -- not knit all in one piece, but in pieces that are then joined by knitting them together; the only sewing up is the two sleeve seams. There's a lot of provisional casting on going on, but it was sort of fun and I'm all for knitting pieces together. This is the yarn I used:

image from www.flickr.com

It's a somewhat sophisticated baby sweater. Heh. J'adore this color, if I may say so. I cast on on Saturday, sewed up the sleeve seams on Wednesday, and threw it all in the Eucalan drink last night. All I need are buttons! FO photo soon.

image from www.flickr.com

Yesterday, my friend Sandy posted a photo to FB of a lovely finished M'gonigle and... well, I've had my eye out for a project to knit with the squooshy sport-weight superwash merino I've been dyeing (above). Also, I was in need of a portable project to take to my first-ever Madison Knitters' Guild Knit-In where the featured speaker is none other than Twist Collective's Kate Gilbert! It just seemed right. I'll be taking a class in the morning, meeting up with some friends, and generally having a good ol' time... even though I'll be on the road early enough to watch the sunrise tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow night, I'll be going to see one of my nephews in a play -- the first play he's ever been in, the lead in The Foreigner. It's perfect, and I can't wait!

Also, little boys -- it seems like ages since I've seen them -- and hamster sweater (on the hamster)!

Sunday... a number of things on my plate, we'll just have to wait and see.

It'll be a busy weekend, but HELLO FUN! I'm not complainin'.

 

07 March 2012

Shopping with Madeleine

I'm going shopping with Maddy this morning. And, yes, it's worthy of a blog post. I can't remember the last time we went shopping together. She always hated shopping -- never even liked going to the grocery store. If she knew we were going to the grocery store, though, she'd never fail to put in her request demand for a Little Debbie Zebra Cake. She shops more now but usually at thrift stores, where it's more "treasure hunt" than "shopping trip." There's a difference.

So, anyway, shopping and maybe lunch! It'll be good to spend some time with her. She's living under our roof, but I probably see her the least.

I have a doctor appointment this afternoon (just a long-overdue visit) and book club this evening.

There's my day off!

 

06 March 2012

Ten on Tuesday: What's in the bag?

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things In Your Purse

image from www.flickr.com


1. My Samsung Smart Phone -- not pictured because it's taking the picture! I also carry the USB cable/charger in my purse.

2. Wallet -- checkbook, coin purse, lots of pockets inside and out. If it fit in my pocket, I'd be a happy girl.

3. Eyeglass case for prescription bifocal sunglasses.

4. A book of matches for no reason -- a recent, mindless addition, methinks.

5. In the drug store aisle: Airborne, Advil, Eucerin Calming Creme, eyeglass wipes & bandages, tiny disposable toothbrushes. The toothbrushes are also new, after realizing one day at work that I'd somehow forgotten to brush my teeth that morning. Isn't happening again (and I can't remember when it happened before, but must Be Prepared!).

6. Pens and Sharpie.

7. Scissors. I don't usually carry scissors around with me, but they're pretty handy. A small folding pair, or blunt-tip, would probably be better.

8. Keys. A bunch for work on a not-always-working (and, really, too-small) mini calculator keychain -- it was a gift from my insurance company on the 1st anniversary of the quit (7th anniversary is quickly approaching!). My car "key" isn't even a key -- I just have to have it on me when I push the "Start" button -- and the front-door house key is on the chain with Sharon's copper heart.

9. Shell, rocks, and shards from England-Scotland-Wales, and "I {heart} London" keychain/bottle opener, all of which I've been needlessly carrying around for almost a year.

10. A small notebook and two USB drives. My favorite is the tiny LEGO-shaped drive. Love.

11. Kleenex. A brand new pack in the cute sock-yarn tissue holder that kmkat gave me a few years ago.

12. One of my two pairs of Ragtop Mitts.

13. A small Omanhene dark chocolate bar. I buy one nearly every morning at the coffee shop to have at lunchtime.

14. Lavishea "The Yarn Bar" lotion bar -- not my favorite scent, but love the small size for my purse.

There are a few other miscellaneous little things, but that's the bulk of it. For a long time I didn't carry a purse because of shoulder, neck and back pain, and I think I'm going to be moving in that direction again.

* * * * *

I was reminded of this photo from a few years ago:

image from www.flickr.com

Knitting tools... exact same scissors!

 

04 March 2012

Kitty on Parcheesi on the bed

image from www.flickr.com


I forgot to mention the other email I received on Friday -- actually, it's the one that sort of triggered the "HELP!" post -- from my long-time friend TJ (she was witness at my wedding).

Subject: Important knitting question

I so love that it was important. It still makes me smile.

TJ had given someone a "knitting starter" set -- needles, yarn, a book -- and that person was having a hard time understanding the directions for casting on. Distance was a factor, so she couldn't just run over and cozy up on the couch next to her friend for a demonstration. She'd been trying to find a video to share and -- I love how she put it: 

I've gone online to see if there are some videos out there that are any good. The ones I saw were... oh... so... boring. Do you know of anything out there that would be clear and somewhat captivating?

I've really only watched knitting videos a few times, when I needed help with a special technique. There are some really bad ones, aren't there?

Based on general knowledge and without actually watching, I recommended the KnittingHelp channel on YouTube, and the KnittingHelp website; the VeryPink Knits channel on YouTube (slightly different technique there); and general KnittingDaily and InterweaveVideos.

What about you? Do you have a favorite site... one that's "somewhat captivating?"... or one that you recommend more often than another?

 

03 March 2012

Help!

Our babysitter took me with her to see HELP! when I was in second grade and, as you might suspect, it went completely over my head.

Beatleshelp

At least I was familiar with the music. There was no escaping it, and I loved it. Even though I was pretty young, I was still pretty swept up by Beatlemania!

This week, I was reminded of HELP! (and a few other things) when I was asked to give some.

The thing about blogging -- mostly about knitting -- for nearly eight years and being a member of Ravelry for five -- if not an active participant in all its arenas, at least actively documenting my projects -- is that I've knit a lot of things, even a few epic things.

I had a message on Ravelry from a knitter with a question about the increases and decreases in the cable chart for St. Brigid. I thought, "Wow, it's been a few years since I looked at that chart!" Being the first sweater I ever worked from a chart, it was a HUMONGOUS chart -- the one where I copied and taped a mock-up of the ENTIRE SWEATER on some matboard. It's a lovely tri-fold thing (and did I mention HUGE?) that sort of resembles something Moses carried down from Mount Sinai, though this written not by God but charted by the goddess Alice Starmore.

So, I looked up on Ravelry and saw that I finished St. Brigid SEVEN YEARS ago!

And, can I just say, THANK GOD & ALICE STARMORE that Aran Knitting has been republished because for so long all I'd get were requests and pleas for the pattern from an out-of-print book that I didn't even own; that I'd had to track down through our statewide interlibrary loan system, myself, way back when.

Anyway, once I looked at the chart, it was easy to see where the knitter was likely having a problem. I was surprised at how quickly I remembered actually making those stitches! I messaged/emailed back with just a bit more explanation of what should be happening over those few rows.

Then on Thursday at Knit Night, I was able to help someone work and understand short rows for the first time.

And this morning I met a friend at the coffee shop to help figure out what was going on with her knitting -- also with a bonus brief explanation of short rows! She won't be doing short rows for a while yet, but I thought perhaps it would help down the road to have a memory.

I really love doing that... helping people figure stuff out. It's so rewarding when they get it. I love a happy knitter, don't you?

 

01 March 2012

February in pictures

image from www.flickr.com 

1. 032-of-366, 2. 033-of-366, 3. 034-of-366, 4. 035-of-366, 5. 036-of-366, 6. 037-of-366, 7. 038-of-366, 8. 039-of-366, 9. 040-of-366, 10. 041-of-366, 11. 042-of-366, 12. 043-of-366, 13. 044-of-366, 14. 045-of-366, 15. 046-of-366, 16. 047-of-366, 17. 048-of-366, 18. 049-of-366, 19. 050-of-366, 20. 051-of-366, 21. 052-of-366, 22. Cool Blue, 23. 054-of-366, 24. 055-of-366, 25. 056-of-366, 26. 057-of-366, 27. 058-of-366, 28. 059-of-366, 29. 060-of-366

 

Month #2/February of Project 366 (2012) is over! A few times I waited way too long in the day, and a couple of times I plain forgot or just didn't do it... whatever.

My favorite thing this month is seeing the progression of Color Affection! From hank o' freshly dyed yarn, to yarn cake line-up, to WIP, to FO, to amazing "red" FO photo op.

Red is the predominant color of the month, with gold/yellow coming in second, and blue (skies!) third.

The #1 subjects seems to be, um, yarn in various states.  ; )

February snapshot -- I love the monthly mosaic! (With props to FDs Flickr Toys at BigHugeLabs.)

Happy March!!

 

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