Monday, July 28, 2014

Staying in

Oh, goodness.  There is a warning on my phone about the heat index.  Heat index near 110 degrees this afternoon.  Black flag conditions.  There will be no running outside for me today.  This is the hardest part of being a northerner temporarily transplanted to the south.  Summer up north means temperatures of around 80, and maybe a few days of 90s in August.  Summer up north is so short and fleeting that you were supposed to be outside as much as possible, soaking it in and taking advantage of it all.  The summer heat down here just flattens me.  Although I am much more acclimated than I was a few years ago (a few months ago, I was wearing long pants at 80 degrees), nothing-- and I mean nothing-- will ever get me used to a heat index of 110.  I don't think I'm the only one, though.  The streets are relatively quiet in our neighborhood today, despite the fact that kids are home from school.

So what am I doing to keep myself busy inside?  Aside from drinking buckets of iced tea (oh, Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage, you are delicious), I have finally started working on the Midsummer Morning sampler by Alicia Paulson.  I prepped the floss for this back in May, but only got around to starting it this past week.  It is lovely, but it is stitched on black linen.  The going is rather slow.  I don't think I'll be making anything else on black linen any time soon.

This looks grey, but it is really black.

I'm also working on two pair of socks, both of which were supposed to be gifts.  One pair, I think, is going to stay with me.  Not because I love it too much, but rather the opposite.  Although it will end up being fine, it certainly will not be gift-worthy.  The other pair will get to the recipient, rather later than I had hoped.  I'm losing my sock knitting mojo, though, and am really itching to start a bigger project.  But 110 degrees makes me feel like it will never be cool enough for wool, ever again.  Ever.  I guess I'll just work on some cotton pants for Camden.

Everything of Camden's has dogs on it, if at all possible.

Monday, June 2, 2014

On my nightstand

Woah.  I really thought I would be able to post more in the past month.  No school for me apparently meant not much computer for me.  I think I just needed a break from my laptop.  But I read a lot!  I actually, for the first time, worked my way completely through my nightstand from last month.  Well, at least the front stack.

What I read:
The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)
Maine (J. Courtney Sullivan)
Heads in Beds (Jacob Tomsky)
Eighteen Acres (Nicolle Wallace)
Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)

And I'm currently reading Going Clear.  That's it.  That's the stack!  Yay for me!

This month, I'm hoping to finish Going Clear.  Right now I'm stalled on it.  I read another book about Scientology a couple of years ago, so I'm waiting for this one to hook me in with some new information.  The new stack has Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.  This one was sent to me by my mother.  I like a good mystery.  We will see, since this one has a blurb by Gillian Flynn, who wrote Gone Girl, which I did not like at all.  The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht, Glock by Paul M. Barrett, and Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman. I've also moved Cloud Atlas from the back stack to the front stack.  Although I've been meaning to read this for years, the reason it gets moved up this month is because Ready Player One was amazing.

Ready Player One had been sitting on my nightstand for months, and I cannot believe people were not shaking me for not reading it sooner!  How can you be a movie geek raised in the 80s and not read this?  It was so unique and engrossing.  I stayed up way too late on several nights to finish it.  It has been a long time since a book has made me stay up reading past 2 am.  So, Cloud Atlas, there's a lot of pressure on you!  Are you as good as Ready Player One?  I've heard rumors...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Star Wars Day!

I have finished what could possibly be the geekiest thing I have ever made.  Star Wars cross stitch!

I finished them last night.  Well, not quite finished.  I need to add some French knots in a few places, but other than that, they are finished.  A long time coming, too.  I started them two years ago.  To be fair, I didn't even work on them at all in this house until yesterday.  They had been "lost" when we moved and I just found them.  (This is a polite way of saying I'm still unpacking boxes nine months after moving.  Eh, what can you do?  We actually moved boxes from North Carolina to here that had never been unpacked from our last move.)

A closer look:

And the back (because I always like to see the back):

The patterns are from weelittlestitches on Etsy.  They have some really fun patterns.  I would love to do the Ferris Bueller or Breakfast Club patterns.  Now, off to watch a movie.  Episode V, perhaps?

May the Fourth be with you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

{this moment}

Joining Amanda in celebrating a single moment of the week, a moment to remember.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

On my nightstand

Whoo hoo!  Finished with spring semester, 2014.  That was a hard slog.  Three classes, one of which was pathophysiology.  Ugh.

So what are my educational plans for the summer?  This:

Only recreational reading.  That's right, I'm not taking classes at all this summer!  Ohmygosh, I'm so very excited to not have to be on a deadline for the next four months.

Right now, I'm reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion on my Kindle.  Not great, but good.  On the stack are:  Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (bought at a Barnes & Noble 3 for 2 table), Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky (insiders view of hotel service), Going Clear by Lawrence Wright (about Scientology), Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (this has been on my to-read list since it came out), and Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace (given to me by my mother, and sounds kind of like the television program Scandal).

The books in the second stack have been hanging out quite a while.  There are a couple of feeding babies and toddlers, one one parenting, Cloud Atlas (which has been on the table for at least a year, and I refuse to watch the movie before reading the book, which means that I've been telling my DVR not to delete it for months now, too), Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (re-reading this one, so not in a hurry to finish), and The Winter Palace (ordered in a fit of Russian interest during the Winter Olymics, about Catherine the Great).

I'm also planning some knitting, of course, but no pictures of yarn yet.  And I'm starting a sampler.  The floss is wound.

And, of course, hanging out with these two.

Please note the dog (Charlie) photo bombing the picture.  Snouts everywhere, I tell you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another check in the box

Birthday gift finished, washed, and sent--check!  I suppose it doesn't really matter that said birthday was in October and the recipient has already seen the (mostly) completed item.  It is a gift!  Be glad!  [I say this with tongue in cheek.  The giftee loves these, loves me, and doesn't mind that they are late.]

These are the Hedgerow Mitts (Rav link).  The pattern is really easy to figure out and memorize, and looks really complicated, but isn't.
From a distance it almost looks like a cable pattern, but there isn't any cabling involved.
It is really just moving the knit and purl stitches around.  Which, if you think about it, is what most of knitting is about.  Just figuring out a new or fun or interesting way to do two different stitches.  Manipulating them until we like the effect.
I made them rather long.  They come up about two-thirds of the way to my elbow.  I'm from the UP, so I know from cold.  Gloves were never long enough.  Between your gloves and your coat there was always a little bit of skin exposed to the cold, especially when you reached for something.  There are few things colder than wind on the inside of your wrist.  However, I would probably wear them like this:
Gotta scrunch them down a bit.  But, like I mentioned, these were a gift, and they have been sent away to their recipient.  Down here, it was in the 80s today.  Up there, they got about eight inches of snow.  I think she'll wear these now, for a few weeks anyway.

It feels really good to get these off the Knitting To Do list.  These have been finished for a while now, and have only been needing a bath.  I kind of forgot about them for a bit, and then found them under a pile in my craft room.  That can happen.  I wish I wasn't like this--and trust me, I'm working on it-- but I am the type of knitter that starts off with my needles on fire with a new project, only to get to the final lap.  Then I lose steam.  My Tiny Tea Leaves sat for almost three months without sleeves.  Sleeves!  The easiest part of that pattern!  Must. Finish.  The.  Knits.

Last weekend we went to the Savannah Quilt Show.  I didn't take my camera, so all my pictures are on Mike's phone (which I think has a better camera [at least pixel-wise] than my point-and-shoot).  As soon as I figure out how to make that transfer happen, I'll post a few here.  Just gorgeous.

Of course, there was a Marketplace.  I've been wanting those lovely Ghana bolga baskets for a long time, and there was a vendor at the quilt show.
Did you know there was a baby basket?  I didn't!  I almost didn't get it, and now I think I should have bought at least two more.  I'm not sure if the big one is going to be yarn storage or the farmer's market basket (this thing is huge!), but the little one is perfect for a sock in progress.
How cute, right?  Oh my gosh, I'm loving that cute little basket!

I still think I need more baby baskets.  Right now I have four socks-in-progress.  So at lease three more baskets, right?  Can you imagine them all lined up on the table next to the davenport?  I would love it!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tiny Tosh Tea Leaves

I've graduated from the Baby Tea Leave and made it into the Tiny Tea Leaves.  And oh, is it so sweet.  The color is Molly Ringwald by MadelineTosh.  I just love this yarn, and the color is so sweet and perfect for a darling five year old girl.
Of course, no photo shoot would be complete without a little assistance.
My fault, really, for trying to put something on the floor.  If it is on the floor, it is fair game for a snouting.  And while I was taking these pictures, something else was happening on the floor behind me.
Oh, Frosty.  He's never very far from Camden.  He's been very protective right from the beginning.  Frosty is our first fluff, and he's getting old.  He's a little guy, so he hopefully has a bunch more years left in him, but we notice him getting slower.  He doesn't always go upstairs with us until he is pretty sure we are staying up there.  He sleeps a lot more now.  He's on some medicine (which we call "Frosty's Little Blue Pills"; no sense in not having a sense of humor about it).  Our F-er.  We love our sweet Doodlebug.  He loves Camden.  All is good.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Unexpected Free Moment

Mike had to go back to work for something tonight, so I have an unexpected evening to myself.  I'm watching Moonstruck on cable and knitting Terra.  And stopping in here to say hello.

Things have been pretty hectic this spring.  Without thinking too much about it, I enrolled in three classes.  None of these classes alone are too bad, but together I'm a bit overwhelmed.  If everything went nice and smooth, it would be no problem, but there are all these little hiccups that threaten my equilibrium.  Every assignment finished is a check in the box, though, and I'm slowly getting to the end.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

There has been knitting.  When I was looking for a picture of the Shelter yarn I am using for my current project (Terra shawl, Rav link), I found this picture of new yarn:
A LYS in Savannah was going out of business this last month, so all this was purchased on sale.  I have plans for some (the cadet blue Spud and Chloe Sweater is going to be a toddler sweater for Camden) and some was just too pretty to pass up (the burgundy Anzula in the bottom left).  Even though I only visited the store about three times before they announced their closing, I'm really going to miss them.  I had high hopes that they would become my favorite LYS.  (The first time I was there, the manager was telling me about their knit night.  "We have wine!" she said.  How could I not love them?)

But that isn't really knitting.  Some more non-knitting.  This:
is now this:
That is the Garter Stitch Kimono (Rav link).  I started this the day we got our pack-up at this house, in August.  I raced through the body, but it became really clear that I wouldn't have enough yarn for two long sleeves.  Since a cap sleeve baby kimono didn't interest me, it sat and sat.  Now it's frogged and no longer an unfinished sweater.  Now it is back to be potential.  Now I can ponder it and figure out what it really wants to be.  I'm thinking a little vest type thing, or possibly a striped cardigan.  Both for Camden, obviously, since one skein with even the most generous yardage would not make a garment to cover this body.  What color would stripe well with that blue-green?  Cream?  Orange?

But that is still not knitting to show.  It seems that most of my knitting progress photos have been taken with my phone and are on my Instagram account.

So how about cute baby pictures instead?
Look at that hair!  Yikes!  I'm not cutting it, though.  Not yet.  Maybe after his first birthday.  I'm sure that third picture down will be familiar to anyone with a pet (especially little fluffy dogs).  As soon as I get on the floor, the dogs think it is playtime.  There is a snout in the face, in the camera, in Camden's face.  Good thing we all love dogs here!  Camden laughs at them and has started to try and grab wagging tails.  So far he's slow and the dogs are quick.  They love him, and usually give him a few kisses to make up for it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A new skill

Over the holidays, I decided I was going to learn how to crochet.  I had known how to crochet once upon a time (third grade maybe?) but as far as doing it now, no.  Well, I can crochet the little bit that is needed to knit--for a provisional cast on, to tighten up an edge--but not really Crochet with a capital C skill crochet.  I really want to make granny square blankets.  That is my only reason, honestly.  I've loved Granny Square blankets since I was in first grade.  My friend Andi had a Granny Square blanket in her living room.  I loved that blanket, with the multi-color flowers surrounded by black fronds.  I'm sure it was acrylic.  Everything was in the 80s.  I've wanted a Granny Square blanket ever since.

So I started with a booklet (possibly the one Andi's mom used--look at how dated that is!).
And I ended up with that little squiggle of blue yarn.  Believe it or not, that is a foundation chain of thirty stitches.  Clearly this booklet wasn't going to cut it for me, so I turned to the internet.  How did I learn anything before YouTube?
I had a few problems.  These weren't supposed to be bell-shaped, but for washcloths they will definitely work.  I have a whole bin of Peaches and Cream cotton to work through, and I need a whole bunch of dish cloths.  My sister has already put in a request for some, too.  I've got a good start.
I understand why people prefer crochet to knitting.  It is so much faster.  When you're in a desperate need of a finished object, crochet to the rescue!  I got a little addicted to making these cloths for a while.  Seriously, my wrist was starting to hurt.

Of course, I've also been hanging out with this little one.
Oh my gosh, I love that little face!  He's finally sitting up well enough to sit in one of those jumper toy things.  But he is still such a little nugget that his little feet don't touch the ground at all, even on the lowest setting.
See those feet just dangling?  A lot of times I've got a little pillow or blanket under there so he gets used to putting weight on his legs (it's something we are working on with him in PT), but sometimes I just let him stretch.  Either way he's happy.

Oh yes, classes started again.  I'm trying to figure out how to balance everything.  I think I've got all the assignments written on three different calendars--desk, phone, and wall.  I do love the act of checking things off a list!

Friday, January 10, 2014

{this moment}

Joining Amanda today in the Friday ritual.  Sharing a moment from the week to pause, savor, and remember.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter hits the south

Well, it did get cold here.  When I woke up this morning, it was about 10 degrees, which around these parts is Really Cold.  I think the news said this is coldest it has been in about twenty years.  After having a really hot and humid December (humidity in December.  sigh.  I will never get used to it.) I was ready for a break in the weather.  I truly love the brisk air.  It makes me miss where I'm from.

Cold weather is also a fashion opportunity!  I got to pull this:
out of the closet!  I haven't worn this in years.  I love this sweater.  I bought it almost twenty years ago.  I was a waitress in a tourist town (skiing during the winter, boating in the summer) and this sweater was in a shop downtown.  I have no idea why I went into that shop in the first place.  It wasn't somewhere I would have normally shopped.  I certainly couldn't afford anything in there.  I actually visited this sweater several times before I bought it.  When I finally did by it and wore it to the bar where I worked, we all did a toast to my sweater.  

This sweater, more than anything else, is why I started knitting.  The owner of the bar was a knitter, or rather, knew how to knit.  She made two pair of slippers every year, one for her and one for her husband.  Nothing else.  The leftover (acrylic) yarn from that year's slippers and a pair of needles in a zipper top bag were taped to my locker one day with a note to "just start."  Another waitress gave me an old how to knit pamphlet.  It took me about two hours to knit the yarn equivalent of an eyebrow.

Of course, I can't put anything yarn-y out without Fred getting into it.
We call this "Fredding."  He does it to new laundry, old laundry, stacks of blankets, piles of yarn, the baby.  Anything that doesn't smell enough like Fred to suit him.  

Otherwise, we spent the day hanging out and keeping out of the cold.

I was even inspired to dig out the Big Brown Blanket I started in 2010.  That is about two inches of knitting there.  As of this writing, I've doubled that amount, but there is no way that a 4' x 5' blanket belongs in a book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts.  It took me a couple of hours to get four inches.  Well, three years and a couple of hours.  At this rate, Camden will take this college.  For his Master's.  Should I set a goal?  Throw down the gauntlet?  By the end of the month?  Hmmmm.... Let's see where I get to by the end of this weekend.

Off to snuggle under a big quilt and flannel sheets!  Ah, the coziness of flannel.  Delicious.