Rhinebeck Bus Trip 2014

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday (even though it feels like some other day!)

I have no motivation to work today.

All I want to do is search for (knitting) patterns, buy all of the patterns I like and then search for the perfect yarn for those patterns and buy it.  All the patterns, all the yarn, all at once. Oh, and then I want to knit all of those patterns (all at once)!

You may have guessed the problem with this wonderful idea...my budget.  It's just after Christmas (although, really, it's the third day of Christmas...), so that means that I'm broke.  There is no large amount of money in my budget for patterns and yarn.  Sigh.

Maybe I should stick to finishing one of the projects I'm currently working on?

Here's a picture of me & my co-worker/friend.  We are both unmotivated today.  :-)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The second Monday

So, today feels like Monday.  Again.  And next week there will also be two days that feel like Monday.  Sigh.

I dislike holidays in the middle of the week.  I am not a teacher.  I don't work in a factory where the majority of the people celebrate deer season as a holiday.  So, a holiday in the middle of the week means that I work a few days, have off one, work a few more, have off two...and so on.  And with Christmas & New Year's, I get to do that twice. 

I may have mentioned that I don't have a good concept of time?  For instance, I don't know if I've been typing this post for 5 minutes or 20.  So all of these middle of the week holidays really mess with my head and I have NO idea what day it is.  Add to it that I'm currently doing work in November, December, and January (a whole different year!), and I'm really screwed up.  Sigh.

Christmas was good.  Thankfully, we didn't have to go anywhere.  There are, however, a ton of dirty dishes waiting for me (I just couldn't face them yesterday) and that thrills me to no end.

I am pleased that I got this bag.  I've been wanting one for a while now.  I managed to fit all of my purse items and my knitting in the bag.  I love the color!  It's called Poppy, but looks like a burnt orange (which is a color I'm really into right now).

What about you?  How was your Christmas?  Hopefully, you're not without power...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Breaking the Silence...

I had every intention of doing Ten on Tuesday this week.  But then it snowed.  And school was cancelled.  And I stayed home from work.  And I forgot what day it was.  And all day today, I've thought it's Monday.

I have, however, been knitting.  I now have a pile of hand-knit Christmas presents.  Here are the finished items:

This is a scarf that I knit for one of my co-workers last year.  Her birthday is December 30th, so this was a birthday gift.  This year, she has asked for a matching hat.  I decided to make one for her 2013 birthday gift.

When I called the yarn shop, to order more of the green yarn (I wasn't worried about dye lots because the hat and the scarf won't really be together), I found out that they no longer have that particular shade of green.  So I ordered the cream color and used up the two little (leftover) balls of green yarn that I had.  So, now the green is the same dye lot as the scarf.  The stitch pattern of the hat matches....
...these fingerless mitts.  Last year, I had the brilliant idea to knit a pair of these for each of my (then, three) co-workers.  I figured these mitts would go with the scarf I already knit for this particular co-worker.  Well, they didn't get finished.  I had two pairs finished (except for the thumbs), and one mitt from this pair started.  Christmas came & went.  I never finished all of the mitts...until this year, when I decided to finish them so that the co-worker can have a nice hand-knit set (the hat, scarf and mitts).  Here are the other mitts:
Here's one pair. I'm showing you the mitts turned this way because each side has a different patter.  So, you're not looking at two right hand mitts, you're looking at one right hand mitt and the palm of the left hand mitt.
And the second pair.  Each person is getting a pair of mitts in their favorite color.  However, since last Christmas, we have added another co-worker.  So now I have an additional pair of fingerless mitts to make.  I have one mitt finished (except for the thumb).  I have yet to cast on for the second mitt.  I plan to give these to everyone at our work Holiday Party next week.  I don't have a picture of the one mitt.
This knitting adventure reminded me of the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie".  Only, my story is called, "If You Knit a Gift for a Co-Worker".  It started as just a hat.  Then three pairs of fingerless mitts were added.  And then another pair of fingerless mitts was added to the list.
I also made a hat for another friend, who got a little huffy when he found out I was knitting a hat for a co-worker & not for him because he "likes that stuff too".  This hat, I cast on last Thursday.  My Mom was having surgery & I needed something mindless to knit while I waited at the hospital.  I finished this hat yesterday.
So, there's my Christmas knitting pile.  I'm pretty pleased with having finished these items and I can't wait to give them to their new owners!
Now, I just need to make the time to soak and block all of these items...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Being Thankful

I'm thankful all year long.  However, this topic always comes up this time of year.  Afterall, Thanksgiving is on Thursday. 

This topic also comes up in my professional life.  I work with people with addictions.  Every month, we have a Life Skills Workshop for our clients.  One hour of the workshop is a seminar - on life skills, parenting, or drug & alcohol topics.  The November workshop is always entitled, Gratitude.  Being thankful, having gratitude is a huge part of recovery.

I believe it's also huge for people who are not addicts. 

Gratitude keeps us centered and wards off jealousy and negativity.  Grateful people not only count and take joy in their blessings, they also influence others with words and deeds by deliberately displaying their pleasure and appreciation to those who should receive it.

Here are 10 things I'm thankful for:

1.  My daughter.  She is smart, and kind, and she has a wicked sense of humor.  I am thankful for her every day.  I have become a better person because of her.  This is a teenager who saw a girl standing on the road leading out of Wal Mart, asking for money.  Kyra was with my Mom, and she wanted to give the girl money - all of the money that she had at home, that she had been saving for something else.  My Mom told Kyra to wait until I got home from work.  When Kyra & I went back to Wal Mart, the girl was gone.  Kyra cried and was so upset the rest of the night.  She's a very special person.

2.  My family.  And by family, I mean my parents and my daughter.  My family is always there for me.  I appreciate that.  My parents help me out with raising Kyra.  I know that, if Kyra's school closes early (usually due to weather), my Dad will pick her up (he works nights), so that I don't have to take off work.

3.  I'm thankful for my job.

4.  I'm thankful for music - and that I'm able to hear.  I love music.  Music is a part of my life.  Songs express how I'm feeling.  Some songs remind me of places I've lived, or of people I've known.  Some songs remind me of people who are still in my life.  I love music - but don't play any instruments and I don't read music.  I went to public school in Southern California in the 80's, when arts were being cut out of the schools.  I often wonder if things would have been different if I had been exposed to music (education) in elementary school.

5.  I'm thankful for my daughter's education.  In her school, she is taught art and music.  She is also taught about caring for others.

6.  I'm thankful for books.  I really cannot understand how people can go through life without reading.  I read everything!  Cereal boxes, stuff on the internet, books, magazines, signs, I've even been known to read the important information in the front of a phone book.  But, books!  Books take you places you (may never) go!  There are times that I'm reading a book, and am surprised when I stop reading and realize that I'm not actually in the place I was reading about (or that the weather's different).  I could totally do without TV, as long as I have books to read.

7.  I'm thankful for knitting.  What do non-knitters do while they wait?!?  And how do they stay focused in meetings???  Also, I kind of look forward to winter.  One, because I can wear my hand-knit items.  Two, because there's always the possibility of a blizzard - that means that I'll be able to stay home & knit (& read)!!!

8.  I'm thankful that I was born in this country.  While I feel that we have many problems here, I feel that I am very lucky to have been born here.  I am a US citizen, not because I did anything special, but because I was born here.  And I benefit every single day from living here.

9.  I'm thankful that I lived all over the US as a kid.  My Dad is retired Navy.  I'm thankful for the people I met, and also because my horizons were expanded by having lived different places.  I feel that I'm more open to different kinds of people than I would have been if I had lived in Lancaster County all of my life.

10.  I'm thankful for my friends.  I'm an introvert, so I don't have a lot of friends, but the ones I have are there for me.  I know that I can count on them, and that's important to me.

Being thankful, having gratitude is something I think about all year long.  I especially think about it this time of year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I often refer to Christmas as The Fourth-Quarter Earnings Holiday.  I feel that it has become all about retailers having a good 4th Quarter (take, for example, the fact that many stores are opening on Thanksgiving day).  Also, retailers have taken the 12 days of Christmas (which start Christmas day & go into the New Year) and have made it the 60 Days Before Christmas.  But that's another rant.  Today, I want to talk about introverts and this Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Once it's November, I feel like we're all on a roller coaster.  There are parties - Christmas parties and Holiday parties - from every aspect of your life (work! school! church! youth group! Girl Scouts! sports!).  There are gifts to buy and food to buy (and prepare).  There are people telling you it's the MOST Wonderful time of the Year and that you should be happy and loving and jolly.  And all of this makes introverts...exhausted.

You see, introverts are drained of energy when they're with other people.  If there are a lot of social events close together (say, something every night, or a few times throughout the week), our energy reserves become depleted and we're exhausted - and, most of us get a little (or a lot) grumpy when our energy reserves are low.  It's hard to be jolly and happy and loving when you're exhausted and drained of energy. 

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you may be an extrovert.  Extroverts have their energy reserves filled up by being around people.  If extroverts spend too much time by themselves, they feel tired and bored and sad.  So, having a lot of social events is exciting and energizing for extroverts.

But, for me, this time of the year is so draining. 

I have a small family and I spend time with them all year long.  So, "the holidays" is not some special time where I see people I only see once a year (or so). 

I didn't realize, when I had my daughter, that kids add to the holiday social events.  Now there's not just my events (work, friends, church), but also hers (school, friends, youth group).

I start feeling the dread in October, when retailers start pushing Christmas stuff.  By November, when people can barely wait for Thanksgiving to be over with so that they can get ALL THE GREAT DEALS on BLACK FRIDAY, I'm feeling dread and tiredness.  By December, I'm just hoping to be able to hold it together til January.

My ideal Christmas goes like this:

Christmas Eve - We attend the candlelight service at church.  We sing the Christmas hymns (not songs about Santa or Rudolph or Frosty or mommy kissing someone, or a hippo).  By the time we get home, it's after midnight - Merry Christmas! 

We go to sleep and then wake up in the morning to exchange gifts.  This consists of me, my daughter, and my parents.  My Mom usually cooks.  Christmas day is spent relaxing and eating and playing with our gifts (which, for me & my daughter, often include books). 

No traveling.  No rushing.  No having to go to 68 different houses.  Just a quiet, relaxing, un-rushed day.  We don't spend a ton of money (or go into debt) for Christmas.  We get each other gifts we really want.  We are thankful for what we have.

Now, I need to get back to planning what food item I'm going to take to which gathering, and, also, how many gifts do I need to buy & to knit.  Also, the sweater knitting has been suspended because I am currently doing birthday/Christmas knitting.  It started out as NO deadline knitting, moved to knitting a hat, and has escalated into knitting a hat, finishing one whole fingerless mitt, the thumbs for three pairs of fingerless mitts, and a pair of fingerless mitts (it's kind of like, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"). 

Are you doing any gift knitting this year?

Monday, November 18, 2013


Weeks have been flying by for me.  I think about blog posts, but don't manage to do them, and then it's Tuesday (& time for Ten on Tuesday).

Part of the problem is that some of the posts I have in my head involve pictures that are on a digital camera.  I'm unable to save those pictures with my work computer & I don't actually have a computer at home.  My daughter has one, and I can borrow it, but it usually needs charged and just ends up seeming like a lot of work.

Another part of the problem is that I've been sick since the end of September (sinus infections(s), ear infection, bronchitis, strep throat).  I also had an unfortunate side effect from one of the medicines I was prescribed.  A lot of my free time has been spent resting/trying to get well.

My blue, Custom Fit sweater should have been done by now.  It has been such a quick knit!  But I found myself not spending much time knitting while I was sick.  Last night, I finished the front (the back was already finished), and I sewed the shoulder seams together.  All that's left is to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and knit them in the round.  That will be a quick knit, too.  The sleeves are only 3/4 length, and they're all stockinette stitch (which is all knit stitch when knitting in the round). I tend to speed-knit when I'm knitting in the round - which is why I've always loved knitting hats.

I love the Custom Fit pattern - it's so simple!  I feel like I could knit hundreds of this pattern (so that I have my favorite sweater in all of my favorite colors).  The only drawback is the yarn.  I just don't have an endless supply of Miss Babs Yowza - Whatta Skein yarn (I know, I feel it's very unfair, too!).  My Christmas list this year may consist of yarn/yarn gift certificates.  Who knew I would love knitting sweaters so much?!?

That's all I have for today.  :-)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is: 10 Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes.  Well.  I'm vegetarian, so Thanksgiving, for me, is all about the side dishes!

1.  Mashed potatoes.  I love mashed potatoes any time of year, however, we always have them on Thanksgiving.  I'm talking real potatoes - not instant.  I like them with butter and some seasoned salt.

2.  Candied sweet potatoes.  We always have these on Thanksgiving, too.  I like them cut in half and cooked with brown sugar and butter.  I'm not a fan of the marshmallow sweet potato dishes.  A sauce made from brown sugar and butter is perfect to me.

3.  Cranberry relish.  I make this with whole cranberries, some orange zest, Grand Manier, sugar and walnuts.  Sometimes I add apple, too.  It depends on my mood.

4.  Green veggies.  I love most green veggies.  For Thanksgiving, we usually have green beans, broccoli, or brussel sprouts.  Since most of the other dishes are carbs, this dish is a must.

5.  Filling.  You may know it as stuffing or dressing.  I believe there are subtle differences between each of these terms.  But here in Lancaster, we call it filling.  Again, I'm vegetarian, so I only eat filling that has not been cooked in the bird (I never eat filling at a restaurant).  I love filling how my Mom makes it - bread cubes, egg, onion, celery, salt & pepper.  It then gets baked.  It is SO yummy!

6.  Baked pineapple.  This is kind of like bread pudding with pineapple added to it.  I'm not a fan of bread pudding, but I love baked pineapple.  It's crispy on the outside (and kind of buttery), the inside is soft, but not slimey. 

7.  Fruit salad.  We make fruit salad with yummy fruit - grapes (usually green and red), oranges, apples, bananas, cherries, kiwi, fresh pineapple, and whatever else we're hungry for.

8.  Pecan pie.  This may be my all-time favorite pie.  Lancaster County has many bakeries that make baked goods that taste as good as homemade, so even if there's no time to bake a pie, we are still able to have (good) pie.

9.  Sweet potato pie.  My friend's mom makes these every year and they're so good!

10.  Pumpkin roll.  This is a dessert that's really standard in Lancaster County.  It's basically a pumpkin cake (baked on a large, flat pan, so that it's thin), spread with a sugar/cream cheese mixture, and then rolled up and sliced - like  a jelly roll.  This is another item that is easy to bake, but if you don't have time, there are many local bakeries that make it.

So, yeah...Thanksgiving is all about the carb side dishes here in Lancaster County.  We also often have pineapple upside down cake (which I love), and baked corn (which I don't love) for our Thanksgiving meal.  There are also snack type foods:  celery, carrots, olives, pickles, dates stuffed with peanut butter.  Oh!  And rolls.  Warm rolls.  With butter (not margarine).  Lancaster County has many dairy farms, so most of the people who grew up here eat real butter.

That's my list.  I know that I included desserts with the side dishes, but to me, they're the same thing.  :-)

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes??

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ten Thoughts on Daylight Savings Time

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is Ten Thoughts on Daylight Savings Time.  Here are mine:

1.  YAY!!!!  An extra hour of sleep!  I look forward to this day the rest of the year.  When we "spring forward" & lose an hour of sleep, I am messed up for several weeks.  I'm tired, I feel off.  It's horrible.  And the "extra" daylight doesn't make me feel any better about losing an hour - especially an hour of sleep! 

Apparently "losing" time is very hard for me.  Whenever I travel from PA to CA, I'm fine going to California & "gaining" 3 hours.  But when I have to come back to Pennsylvania & "lose" 3 hours?  It messes me up.  Every. Time.

2.  I have a hard time remembering which devices automatically change the time & which I have to change.  I "think" I know that my cell phone changes automatically, but then I always worry that I'm wrong and that I'll show up somewhere the next day at the wrong time.

I used to have this clock radio that I bought in the 90's.  It automatically changed the time when it needed to.  That was great until the Powers That Be changed when we change our clocks.  After that, the clock radio would change whenever it was programmed to, and I'd have to correct it, only to change it manually weeks later when it was (the new) time to change clocks.  I ended up getting rid of that clock radio.  It was too confusing.

3.  Generally, I love the start of Fall & even the thought of Winter.  I live in South Central Pennsylvania and we just don't get hard winters.  We have (maybe) two snow storms per Winter.  As a child, I live in North Chicago for three years.  North Chicago has some Winter weather!

Fall, and Winter, for me, are cozy times.  I love sitting in my house, cozy (usually wrapped in blankets because our house is on the chilly side), knitting or reading.  Maybe drinking a cup of hot tea.  Relaxing.  I love to watch the Lord of the Rings movies and knit (all day).  I don't have a big need to be out around a lot of people, so staying home, with my family, is great.  I always hope for a really good snow storm that shuts the county down, so that my daughter is off of school and I'm off of work and we can spend a cozy day at home.

4.  Last night I left work around 6:00 and it was so dark!  I felt like I was going home at midnight or something.  The darkness does make it  seem much later than it really is.  This is a little unnerving for me, mainly because I don't have a very good concept of time anyway.  For instance, I have no idea (unless I'm specifically looking at a clock) if 5 minutes have passed, or if an hour has passed.  So, early darkness makes it even harder for me to know what time it is.

5.  Every year, I wonder why do we change the time?!?  I don't think we should.  I think the time should be the time, and should never be changed. 

On facebook the other day, I saw a saying that went something like this:  only the government could cut off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and say that the blanket is now longer.

6.  The day after the time changes, when I get in my car, I realize I have to change the clock in my car.  Then I wonder if I remember how to do it.  I spend a few minutes thinking about this, then I realize that I do know how to change the time and that it isn't as difficult as I thought.  I go through this every time we change the time. 

7.  When I get to work, I realize I have to change the time on the office phones and on the wall clock.  The wall clock is simple.  I need the manual to change the time on the office phones.  It's annoying.

8.  Worry.  I always worry that I have the wrong day.  You know, do I change the time Saturday night or Sunday night.  Am I sure I have the right night? 

9.  Sometimes I stay awake, watching my cell phone, so that I can see the time change (so that I know for sure that it changes itself, and that I have the right day).

10.  Despite all of the worries that come along with changing time, I like Daylight Savings Time. Extra sleep, a perfect time of year for knitting.  Those things really cancel out any negative thoughts I have about changing time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Knitting

When I was at Rhinebeck, I bought some of Miss Babs' Yowza - Whatta Skein! yarn.  This yarn is soft, it's hand-dyed, the stitches look great.  I love it!  Here's a picture of the yarn:

It was really hard to choose the color because Miss Babs has SO many beautiful colorways.  In the end, I went with my all-time favorite color: blue.  I love the range of blues in this colorway.  It has everything from a very dark (almost black) blue to a bright turquoise.  It's exciting to see which shade shows up next, as I'm knitting.  I also love the hand-dyed yarn because my sweater is mostly stockinette stitch, so the color variations add some visual interest to it.
Here's a picture of my sweater, so far:
Neither of these pictures were taken outside, so they are relying on crappy indoor lighting (and my crappy iPhone 3GS camera), so the colors in these two pictures look way different.  The actual in-person colors are so much prettier.  Sigh.

But from this second picture, you can see how beautiful the stitches look.  This yarn would show cables (or lace) well.  I may add a cable to my sleeves.  I haven't decided yet.  Also, each skein of this yarn is 560 yards long.  That is a lot of yarn!  I have knit over 7" to the body (front & back - over 200 stitches per round) of this sweater and I am still on the first skein! 

Here are the sweater details:
Pattern - the one created for me by the Custom Fit website
Size - mine!
Yarn - Miss Babs' Yowza - Whatta Skein!, in the Blue Ridge colorway
Needles - KnitPicks Harmony (inter-changeable circulars), size US4 - the cable length is fairly long

I am knitting this mostly seamlessly.  I will knit the body in the round, up to the armhole shaping.  I do the armhole shaping flat, and then stitch the shoulder seams together.  Then I pick up arm stitches and knit the sleeves in the round, from the top down.  The sweater hem, neck, and sleeve edges are all seed stitch.  The rest of the sweater is stockinette (unless I decide to add a cable up the side of the sleeves).

This sweater has been a quick knit for me, so far.  I'm very excited to finish my second (ever!) sweater.  I can see using this pattern as my "everyday" sweater, and making several more, in different colors.

What are you knitting??

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

This week's Ten on Tuesday was a hard one for me.  I'm just not a very exciting person.  The topic is:  10 Things You Love To Do On An Extra Day Off (such as a holiday, or a personal day, or a snow day).  Here are mine...

1.  Sleep in.  Sleeping in, to me, simply means that I can wake up whenever I want, without an alarm.  I hate alarms!  Having said this, if it's a day that I have off but my daughter has school, I don't get to sleep in - the joy of being a single parent.  This happens several times throughout the year with holidays.  My job has off on Federal holidays.  My daughter's school does not close for Columbus Day, or Veteran's Day.  But then, there are many days that she has off that I don't.

2.  Knit.  Unless it's summer.  We have no air conditioning in our house.  The last thing I want to do in 90+ degree (with 70%+ humidity) weather is touch fiber.

3.  Read.  I always enjoy reading!  I have the Kindle app for my phone, so I often read books on it.

4.  Sit in Lancaster County Central Park.  This is not a playground-type park (although there are a few playgrounds in it), but a woods-type park.  There are plenty of spots to park.  There's a river that runs through part of the park.  One can almost always find a quiet spot that's free of other people.  I like to read and/or knit in the park.  Sometimes my daughter & I go & have lunch (and read).  She's a reader too.

5.  In the summertime, I try to find a place with A/C that I can spend a few hours in.  This may be the movie theater, or a store, or a friend's house, or a restaurant.

6.  Draw.  I like to draw mandalas.  Sometime I'll post pictures of some of the ones I've drawn.

7.  Dye yarn.  I haven't dyed any yarn in a long time, but it's something I enjoy doing.

8.  Get things ready for an upcoming vacation (if we have an upcoming vacation). 

9.  My other reasons for days off are usually because someone (me or my daughter) is sick, or someone's having surgery (usually my mom), or there's a funeral or something like that.  So, not really fun things, but they are things that I use my paid time off for.

10.  I really don't have a 10th thing.  Mainly, I like to knit and read, and relax by myself. 

What things do you love to do on days off?

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Busy Weekend

When I was 19 or 20, I took the Myers Briggs personality assessment as part of an intensive training at work (I worked for a bank).  I scored pretty extreme in the Introvert category (I am an INFP, for those of you who are interested).  This means that I get energized by spending time alone.  Extroverts are energized when they spend time with lots of people.  An example of this is going to clubs or parties.  An extrovert will feel energized and excited and ready to do more things after these events.  An introvert will feel drained of energy - ready to sleep.  That's me - too much social interaction leaves me exhausted.

So, and ideal weekend for me is one where I have lots of time to myself.  I love it when I can "sleep in" on a Saturday.  By sleep in, I mean, wake up whenever I am ready to wake up, without an alarm clock.  Once I wake up, I read and/or knit.  Maybe, eventually, I'll take a shower and get dressed, but not always.  And my ideal Saturday usually doesn't involve going anywhere - except maybe to the park with my daughter (to read & knit).

When I have a weekend with a lot of  (social-type) things going on, I think about it all week.  And I think about how tired it'll make me.  I try to figure out when I'll get some alone time in order to re-charge.

This past weekend was a very busy weekend and I woke up this morning feeling tired and like I needed a vacation.  Overall, it was a pretty good weekend, but it was tiring for me. 

My daughter was at a sleepover Friday night, so I had to pick her up Saturday morning.  Saturday evening, she had a Halloween party to attend, so I took her there (spent some time talking to the other parents of kids who were at the party - these were people I had never met), and picked her up.  In the few hours that she was at the party, my Mom & I went out to eat (another event around lots of people).  Sunday was church.  My daughter was confirmed & there was a "coffee social" after the service (which required social interaction).  We went out for lunch, came home & had about an hour & a half before we had to be back at church for Youth Group.  I took an hour-long nap (which helped a little).  Then we get to Youth Group and have to do "fun" social things like talk about ourselves and pray (out loud) for others.

All of this is to say that, while my weekend wasn't bad, it was tiring.  I woke up this morning feeling like I needed 6 more hours of sleep (and I had already had 8).  I also woke up wishing that I didn't have to go to work; that I could just stay home and knit.

Speaking of knitting!  I have about 7" knit of the body of my sweater.  So, I'm more than half-way through the body!  I'm knitting it in the round up to the armhole shaping.  Then the armhole shaping will be knit flat, for the front and the back.  Once that's finished, I'll sew the shoulder seams together and then knit the sleeves (top down) in the round.  I'm so excited to (soon) have a second hand-knit sweater!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A New Sweater

Tuesday night, I finished the swatch I made with the Miss Babs Yowza yarn I bought at Rhinebeck.  I soaked it and blocked it.  Yesterday (Wednesday) it was ready to measure.  So I measured and weighed it.  Then I entered all that information into the Custom Fits website & created a sweater pattern.  This is the second pattern I've created using Custom Fits.  I LOVE it!

Custom Fits is free to use.  You can save profiles with body measurements (the site tells you what & how to measure).  You can also save swatch data (weight of the swatch, yarn used, needle used, stitches per inch, rows per inch, etc.).  When you're ready, you can create a pattern.  You decide things about the sweater type (pullover, cardigan, vest), the sweater length, the sleeve length, the neck style, how the sweater fits (average, close, loose) and more.  Once you're satisfied with your sweater, you can purchase the pattern.  The pattern price is $9.99.  The pattern will save to your account on the Custom Fit site, and I believe you can also save it to Ravelry.  The site generates a pattern that will fit you, exactly.  It does all of the math for shaping and lengths.  All you do is follow the instructions, and knit your perfect sweater.  It's very exciting!

Last night I cast on for my new sweater!  I am making a pullover sweater.  When you create a pullover pattern, you have the option of knitting the sweater in pieces (back, front, 2 sleeves), or you can knit it "Mostly Seemlessly" - which means that you knit in the round to the armholes, knit the armhole shaping flat, sew the two shoulder seams, and then knit the sleeves (top-down) in the round.  I have decided to knit my sweater mostly seamlessly.  I did take a picture last night of my cast on, but that's a pretty boring picture, so I'm not posting it today.  Just know that the yarn is SO beautiful and is so soft!  I'm excited about a new sweater!

Maybe I'll have some pictures tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is about food:  10 Foods I Eat Regularly Now That Were Exotic (or unheard of) When I Was a Kid.

First, let me say that my current way of eating was considered "exotic" when I was a kid.  I'm vegetarian.  I eat no meat, poultry, sea creatures.  I do sometimes consume eggs and dairy.  Both of my parents were born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Meals consisted of meat & potatoes.  So, vegetarian eating wasn't even on my radar when I was a kid.

Having said all of that, here are my 10 things:

1.  Garlic.  I don't think my Mom ever used fresh garlic in any food she prepared.  Onions, of course.  But garlic?  No.  She may have used garlic salt to make garlic bread, but never fresh garlic.  *She does use fresh garlic now.

2.  Raw Honey.  We had the honey that comes in a plastic bear container, but no raw honey.  In fact, I don't even think that the plastic bear honey was a staple in my house.

3.  Chia Seeds.  I eat these every day now, but never knew about them when I was a kid.  Eventually, the 80's happened and the Chia Pets became famous.  But even then, I didn't know you could eat chia seeds.

4.  Hummus.  This is such a go-to food for me.  I like it as a dip for raw veggies, and also as a spread for sandwiches.

5.  Coconut milk.  I use this for my morning Green Monster smoothies.  I prefer it to cow's milk.

6.  Kale.  I know that I never heard of kale as a child.  We didn't even eat rutabagas or parsnips or turnips when I was growing up, let alone something as green as kale.  Green veggies consisted of green beans, lima beans, peas, and iceburg lettuce.  Sometimes we'd have broccoli (cooked til it's mushy).  My Dad would eat spinach (again, cooked to death), but no other green veggies.

7.  Sushi.  Again, my parents grew up eating meat & potatoes.  We had fish sticks for fish.  There was no sushi in Lancaster County.

8.  Amaranth.  We definitely didn't eat a lot of whole grains (or pseudo-grains). 

9.  Falafel.  Never heard of it until I was an adult.  I (sadly) didn't try any of the falafel at Rhinebeck (I just couldn't wait in another hour-long line).  I plan on getting some next year, though.

10.  Indian food.  Yeah...another food type that didn't exist in Lancaster County way-back-when.  Today, I LOVE it.  Indian food offers SO many vegetarian dishes!

Well, that's my 10.  What foods were considered exotic (or were unheard of) when you were a kid??

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rhinebeck 2013

This was my first time attending the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY (known simply as, Rhinebeck).  I have attended the MD Sheep & Wool Festival (which occurs in May), but never Rhinebeck.

This year, we decided to make a weekend trip of Rhinebeck.  My mom, daughter & I stayed at a hotel in Mahwah, NJ Friday night & Saturday night, and we attended the sheep & wool festival Saturday. 

There were a ton of people (I've heard that there were 42,000 there on Saturday):

Rhinebeck occurs in the Fall (which I love), so there were pretty trees:
And lots of leaves:
My daughter (who is not into fiber arts), said that she had fun.  I suspect it was because she had some spending money & could buy whatever she wanted to buy.
In this picture, she has on the karmic balancing gift I won this past summer from the Yarn Harlot.  It was woven just for me by Rowan Martindale.  It is a blend of merino, bamboo and silk.  It's beautiful!  It kept Kyra warm (she didn't pack enough cool weather clothing).
I found beautiful yarn at the Miss Babs stand.  I will create a sweater pattern on the Custom Fit website & knit a sweater from the yarn.  I waited in line for this yarn for an hour.  The upside to the wait?  I had a chance to talk with and get to know the people in line around me, and Miss Babs staff walked along the line offering Hershey's Kisses to people waiting.  Thankfully, my Mom & daughter learned of this line while I was still in the booth selecting yarn.  My mom got in line for me, and my daughter waited at the entrance to the booth to tell me that my mom was in line.
And finally, this is a picture that I took as we were on our way out of the fairgrounds:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Getting a Little Wild

When I was 11, I found out that I needed to wear glasses.  I cried.  I wanted braces, not glasses!  I hated having to wear glasses.  In junior high, I only put them on when I needed to see the board in class.  When I was 16 or 17, my parents allowed me to get contacts.  I loved contacts (they aren't glasses!).  So, for many years, I wore contacts (and just kept an old pair of glasses as a back up).  After I had my daughter, I wore my glasses more often, or, at least as often as I wore contacts.  Through all these years, whenever I have picked out glasses, I have chosen frames that don't stand out & aren't very noticeable.  I guess I figured that if I have to wear glasses, then at least they won't be the first thing people notice when they look at me.

Last week I ordered new glasses.  They arrived today.  These glasses are unlike any glasses I have ever had.  They're wild (for me)!  They're kind of cat eye shaped, and the frames are black.  They stand out.  I'm still getting used to how they look,  but I feel so wild & trendy when I have them on.  Another wild & crazy thing?  These glasses do not have transition lenses.  They are clear.  I also bought a second pair of glasses - prescription sunglasses!  SO wild and crazy!  Two pairs of glasses!  My new sunglasses are big and dark.  I call them my movie star sunglasses.  They cover my  whole eye (and will protect my eyes!).  I'm so exicted!  This is the first time (I've been wearing glasses for 31 years now) I've ever had prescription sunglasses!

Tomorrow I'm off to Rhinebeck (my first time!) with my wild & crazy glasses & with a completed hand-knit sweater (the first sweater I ever made!)!  I'm SO excited!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fifteen on Friday

I know that the post is usually "Ten on Tuesday", but it's Friday, and I feel like doing a list-type post.  So we have Fifteen on Friday.  The fifteen will be fifteen things I carry in my purse.  I'll group some things that are similar because, well, I have way more than 15 items in my purse at any given time.  Here are things I always have in my purse:

1. Wallet.  I carry a Vera Bradley purse (they have lots of pockets, so you're able to organize your items).  My wallet matches my purse.  I am currently using the Glenna bag, in the Heather pattern.
2.  Water bottle.  I always carry my water bottle with me.  It easily fits into my purse.  I use the Brita hard sided water bottle (in purple).
3.  Knitting.  Duh! 
4.  Medical things:  Advil, Tylenol, glucose tablets, prescription meds (I keep a fews day's worth in a mini Altiods tin), essential fatty acid supplement (in another mini Altoids tin), a Ziplock bag with cough drops.
5.  Keys:  my personal keys, my work keys, a key card to get into work, and my work ID badge.
6.  A mini eyeglass tool kit.
7.  A piece of a chop stick with some duct tape wrapped around it (you never know when you'll need some duct tape).
8.  A tape measure.
9.  Several pens and highlighters.
10.  Health & Beauty Aids:  Q-Tips, solid lotion bar, Everything Balm, floss picks, eye drops, lip balm, compact, hair ties, tweezers, lip gloss.
11.  Blue Tooth hands-free earpiece.
12.  my phone & it's charger cord
13.  a Ziplock bag with chia seeds and one with facial tissues
14.  mints and candy
15.  a spandex wrist support

These are the things I always have in my purse.  Sometimes I have more things (papers, pay stubs, toys, extra paper), depending on where I'm going & who I'm going with.

What do you carry in your purse??

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Change is a part of life...

First, there was Angelia's Knitting.  That blog died, so I created the Knitting the Fabric of Life blog.  For some reason, I can no longer sign in to post to that blog.  So here we are with Dreams of Cashmere.  I guess I'm ok with that.  Afterall, cashmere is, well, cashmere (and it's SO dreamy). 

Some things have changed since I was Knitting the Fabric of Life.  My daughter is now in high school.  I am no longer a college student, but I am now working full-time (which is a good thing).

Next week, I will be going to Rhinebeck for the first time ever...I'm so excited!  I've been knitting for 8 years, have lived in Pennsylvania all of those 8 years, and this is my first trip to Rhinebeck.