Rhinebeck Bus Trip 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Autumn!

It's Fall, and I'm so glad.  I love the lower humidity & cooler temps.  Fall also makes me want to knit.  Right now, I want to knit EVERYTHING.  At once!  I have the following projects on the needles:  4 shawls, 1 shawlette, 1 thrummed mitten, 1 cowl, 1 sock.  I also have 3 knit-alongs coming up this year, and a year-long knit-along next year (a block a month for an afghan).

Back in July, I resigned from my job.  I plan on having my own business - a virtual assistant business.  I'm in the process of setting that up.  In the meantime, I have been working at a produce stand at Roots (it's a local farmer's market that is open on Tuesdays).  It's a fun, low stress way to earn some money.  I also get to take home the produce I'll need for the week (I love this perk!).

So, right now, I do have a little more time to knit.  Although, there are days that my hands and arms let me know how much they dislike knitting for hours on end.

I feel like there are fo's that I need to share with you.  I'll have to go back through my posts, to see what they are.  Sadly, I do not yet have any pictures on this computer, so I can't show them to you today.  I did want to post while I was on the computer & thinking about it.  Since resigning, I find myself spending less time on the computer (which makes it hard for me to remember to blog).

What's on your needles right now?  Do you have more projects now that it's Fall?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More Thoughts on Fiber People...

I know I already talked about fiber people, and I'm sure you already know this.  But, seriously.  Fiber people are so nice and so willing to help people!  There are many examples of this...

As some of you may know, Stephanie aka The Yarn Harlot, rides in a bike rally each year (well, she has, for the past few years).  The ride is from Toronto to Montreal and is 600 km (that's over 372 miles!) long.  They raise money for people living with AIDS/HIV.  Her team, so far, has raised over $85,000.00!  This is, largely, due to fiber people donating $5, $10, whatever they can.  If you're interested in donating, go here.  If you do, be sure to email Steph and she'll enter your name into a drawing for a karmic balancing gift.  Last year I won a hand-woven scarf that was woven just for me (I got to pick out the colors and certain style elements)!  Check out the end of this post, which gives you instructions on entering for the karmic balancing gifts.

Last week, for the first time, I visited Flying Fibers yarn shop.  If you're in the Lancaster County area, visit it.  The staff are very friendly and helpful.  There's room to sit & knit (or spin).  They have some wonderful yarn and fiber.  Both of the owners raise fiber animals, so they have a lot of knowledge of fiber (how it works, best uses for certain types, etc), dyeing, spinning, knitting, crochet.  If you've never tried it, you have to try the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop Yarn (the company is in Yorkshire England).  This is a hard wearing yarn.  I'm currently knitting a swatch with it & I keep envisioning a jacket type sweater. 

Last night, I attended my first Red Rows Knitting Guild meeting.  The Guild members are fun, and welcoming and so helpful!  At each meeting, they ask if anyone needs any help with a project they're working on.  If someone does, they pair that person with a member who can help them.  Also at the meetings, they have speakers.  Last night, it was Jere, from Flying Fibers.  She talked about different fibers and their characteristics.  It was very informative.  She brought yarn along, for us to feel - everything from wool to corn yarn.

I'm always happy to find "my" people - fiber people.  People who think it's totally normal to always have some fiber & needles with you.  People who "get" the need to cast on several projects.  People who appreciate the time and the thought that go into hand-made items.

Finally, I leave you with a picture of my CSA share from last week.  Summer is here and the crops are becoming ripe.  This share included:  head lettuce, loose lettuce, kale, cucumbers (there are 2 green cukes and the brown thing is also a cuke - I forget the type), broccoli, summer squash, snow peas, blueberries, strawberries, scallions, and garlic scapes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fiber People

Last night I visited the Woolwrights.  This is a group that does rug hooking.  I went there to share information with them about the bus trip to Rhinebeck.  I left thinking that fiber people are the best.  I learned so much about rug hooking and the Woolwrights were very patient with my questions. 

I have met such wonderful people while promoting the bus trip.  I'm so excited to have a trip with people from different groups!  Knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, rug hookers!  Old friends, family, new friends, people I haven't met yet!

As many of you know, I'm an introvert.  So, small talk and being around a lot of people drains me of energy.  But I LOVE talking to fiber people!  These are my people.  I love talking about their craft and learning new things.  It's been my experience that fiber people are always willing to help someone - especially if it means bringing a beginner into their craft. Some would call this enabling - I call it helping.

One of the best parts about attending a sheep & wool festival is being around my people.  Being around others who love fiber.  People who walk around doing things with that fiber as if it's the norm, because, for us, it is.  It's also exciting to see "famous" fiber people - the people who design patterns and write books, or who have a famous blog.

I can't wait for October!  Also, we now have 1/4 of the bus filled!

MAKE it a great day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Solstice Weekend

Happy Summer!  Here, so far, we've had mild weather (aka low humidity).  I'm loving it.  I hope it continues.

This past weekend was fairly busy.  Friday night was a graduation/birthday party for my cousin's oldest daughter.  Elisabeth graduated from high school this year and will be attending Messiah College in the fall. 

In real life, Elisabeth is not blurry (she was also eating in this picture - I was trying for un-posed pictures).
I knit the Irene Adler shawl as her graduation gift.  A shawl is like a hug, right?  And I'm sure there will be times in college that she'll need a hug.  Or, maybe she'll just need a beautiful accessory to wear with a dress, or something to keep her warm on cool nights or in air conditioning.  Or, a pillow/blanket/wrap to use while traveling.
I finished Irene Adler 6/15/14, but couldn't share the pictures until I had given it to Elisabeth.  So, here is Irene Adler:
Blocking.  I blocked it outside and the sun was HOT that day.  The shawl was almost dry by the time I finished pinning it.  It was a little bigger than the pattern called for (I'm not big on swatching for shawls when I know that I have plenty of yarn & the yarn I was using has 950 yd/skein).
I ended up knitting the medium size.  It was Sunday, I knew that the upcoming week wouldn't allow much knitting time, and the party was the following Friday.  So I decided to stop with "medium".    It's still a good-sized shawl, it just doesn't have the extra fanciness at the edge.
I used Tosh Lace yarn in the Spectrum colorway.  This colorway has blues, purples, greens and some deep red.  It is beautiful!  The yarn is soft, and light, and warm.  I knit with size US 5 needles.
The pattern is well-written, and comes with both chart and written instructions.  I really enjoyed knitting this shawl.  It was a challenge for me (I had to make sure my mind didn't wander, and I couldn't knit this while interacting with people).
Here's a close-up:
Better lighting, you can see the yarn colors better.  Ignore the glare from my desk.
My cousin, Lori (Elisabeth's mom), agreed to model the shawl for me.  Elisabeth was in the pool with her friends.
Irene Adler makes you so happy that you have to dance around...
The weather Friday was beautiful.  Lori always has yummy food at parties she throws.  She even had vegetarian sloppy joe's for me (& her brother-in-law).  Elisabeth is smart and works hard and is such a wonderful young woman.  I can't wait to see what's next for her.
Saturday was a laid-back day, spent knitting and reading.  This came in the mail:
This is my June Yarnbox shipment.  It is 3 (!) skeins of Artyarns yarns.  The small skein on top is silk with sequins and glass beads.  It is beautiful!  The other two skeins are superwash merino.
I've been wanting to try the linen stitch.  Also, I've been reading past posts from Kirsten's blog.  I love her designs and her use of color.  When I saw these two skeins of yarn from Artyarns, I knew that they would become a linen stitch scarf.  I think I will add a fringe to the scarf, too.  I love how the multi-colored yarn and the semi-solid yarn look when put together.  Also, I needed a project that I could knit while interacting with people.  My other project is the TTL Mystery Shawl, which is a (beautiful!) lace shawl.  I cannot knit lace and talk to people.
How did you spend your Summer Solstice?  Did you have some extra knitting time?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Movie Watching

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Movies You Can Watch Over and Over Again and Never Tire Of.  I do this a lot, so I'm going to have a hard time sticking to only ten.  And I'm not going to include movies that I watched over and over when my daughter was young, such as Blue's Big Musical.

1.  The Sound of Music.  It's a musical, a love story, and a good vs. evil story.  What's not to like?
2.  The Wizard of Oz.  This one also has music, good vs. evil and fantasy.
3.  Grease.  I was in 2nd grade when this movie came out.  I was already an Olivia Newton John fan, so my mom took me to the theater to see this movie.  This had to have been one of the first movies I saw in a theater (if not the first).  I have seen it many, many, many times since then.  I owned the album (2-record set), I had the bubblegum cards, and I have owned this movie in various forms (VHS, dvd, special edition dvd, etc.).
4.  Wayne's World.  This movie cracks me up.  I work in an emotionally draining field, so I love movies that make me laugh.
5.  Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  I have seen this movie many, many times.
6.  Sixteen Candles.  I'm a child of the 80's, although, I don't think I saw any of the "80's" movies during the 80's.  My favorite part is when Jake Ryan is waiting outside the church, by his car for Sam.  I also like other Molly Ringwald movies: The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink.
7.  Legally Blond.  I like Reese Witherspoon, and her character, Elle.  I also like Sweet Home Alabama (another Reese Witherspoon movie).
8.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  And The Hobbit.  These are good knitting movies for me.  Also, I have a crush on Aragorn.
9.  Drew Barrymore movies: 50 First Dates, Never Been Kissed, The Wedding Singer...I can't think of others, but I'm sure there are others.  Drew and Adam Sandler?  I love them together!
10.  Miss Congeniality.  Love Sandra Bullock.

Here are some others I've watched many times:  SWAT, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, other Kate Hudson & Matthew McConaughey movies, The Hangover, Thor, The Hunger Games, Hitch, the Harry Potter movies.

What are some movies that you never tire of?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Weekend

This past weekend was...too short.  It was a good weekend, but I think there should have been at least one more day to it.

Mainly, I knit.  I was on a deadline to finish the Irene Adler shawl.  I did finish it - Sunday morning (yay!!).  I decided to make the medium size since I wouldn't have a lot of knitting time this coming week.  I soaked and blocked it Sunday afternoon.  It is beautiful!  I think it may be the most beautiful thing I've knit.  I'll post pictures later this week.

As soon as Irene Adler was blocking, I cast on for the Mystery Shawl.  Clue #3 came out this weekend, so I'm a little behind.  The yarn I'm using is a Pebble Sock gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibres.  This yarn is so soft and squishy.  I love it.  And, after knitting the 2 million Irene Adler stitches in lace weight yarn, the Pebble Sock yarn & the Mystery Shawl pattern seem like a piece of cake.  I hope to be well into Clue #2 tonight.  The only reason I haven't been working on the Mystery Shawl all day is that I had to go to work.

So, I knit and I talked to a few people about the Rhinebeck bus trip. 

What was your weekend like?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Knitter's Ego

Most of the time, I consider myself to be a good knitter.  When I first started knitting, I had no idea that some techniques were "hard" or that a beginner "couldn't" do them, so I just did them.  I've never really felt as if there's something in knitting that I cannot do.

And then lace knitting happens.  I enjoy knitting lace.  It's beautiful, and it's interesting.  But there are always some rows I mess up, have to rip out & re-do.  Always.  I'll knit and knit and the project will be going smoothly and then a "problem" row happens.  I don't know if I get cocky, or if I'm just unable to read properly when I get to certain rows, or if I suddenly forget how to count, but there are always several rows that I mess up.  And they frustrate me.

I think the mistakes happen when I allow my mind to think about other things while I'm knitting (like I can do with most projects).  I really need to be in a room by myself, and to keep my mind focused on the pattern when I'm knitting lace.

The lace shawl, Irene Adler, will soon be finished (I don't have any current pictures - it kind of looks like a blob).  I "only" have about 40 more rows (300+ stitches each row) to knit.  I need to have it finished by the 18th or the 19th so that I can soak & block it.  It needs to be totally finished by the 20th.  Plenty of time, right?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's Tuesday, But I Don't Have 10...

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is: 10 Favorite Summer Beverages

Well, I'm a pretty boring person.  I mainly drink water.  I love Dr. Pepper, so I "allow" myself to have one (or two) Dr. Peppers a day.  When it's really hot out and/or I'm really hot, Dr. Pepper just doesn't do it, so I stick to water (with lots of ice).  I used to drink a lot more sweet drinks (and not much plain water), but over the past few years, I've been making myself drink more water & now I do it without thinking about it.  When it's really hot out, I'll also drink coconut water (to help to replenish electrolytes).

Over the weekend, I decided to organize a bus trip to Rhinebeck in October.  I requested quotes from several local tour bus companies and one of them got back to me first thing Monday morning.  My contact person, Tim, sent me the quote yesterday and I accepted it today.  Within minutes of our phone conversation this morning, he sent me a confirmation email of my acceptance, along with the supporting documents.  The main reason I accepted this company's offer (without seeing any quotes from the other companies) is because of Tim's quick response time.  I appreciate good customer service.  He also answered all of my questions (this is my first time organizing a bus trip).

I am SO excited about this trip!!!  I'm a little nervous, because I need to find 38 other people who want to take this trip, but I'm going with the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy.  Go big or go home, right?? 

Having said that, if you're in the Lancaster, PA area, and are interested in the trip, you'll find the details on the "Rhinebeck Bus Trip - 2014" page on this blog (the cost is cheaper the earlier you register for the trip).  Oh!  That's the other new thing I did!  I added a page to my blog AND I added a "buy now" Paypal button.  I feel so technically savvy. 

A bus trip - with my people!  Going to the Mecca for my people, the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival!  If I read the info right, each of us can have 50lb of "luggage".  That, my friends, is a lot of yarn/fiber per person!

So....what are you looking forward to and/or what are your favorite summer beverages?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chemo Hats, Quinoa Salad and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Last night was knit night with a group at the church that one of my Mom's cousins attends.  This group, KFC (Knitting For Cancer), knits prayer shawls for people with cancer.

There was a guest speaker - Danielle, from Bo Peep's Bonnets.  Bo Peep's Bonnets gives knit hats to women who are undergoing chemotherapy.  She also has an Etsy shop (sorry, I don't have the shop link), where she sells hand-knit items.  I believe she also sells some of her patterns.  Danielle brought along kits to make one of the chemo hats.  Here's the hat I finished:

It's an easy knit.  The swirl pattern keeps it interesting.  The yarn is...well, I can't seem to find the ball band.  The pattern calls for Hometown USA yarn, so maybe that's what this yarn is.  Anyway, it's a super bulky yarn, knit on US 13 needles.  

Most of the women in the knitting group are new knitters.  There were a few who learned to purl last night.  So, they learned some new skills last night (knitting in the round, increasing, decreasing, purling). 

We also had food!  We had a veggie pizza, cookies, little cream puffs (!!), fruit, and I took a quinoa salad with lemon-tahini dressing and roasted sweet potatoes.  It was all very yummy.  The quinoa salad was a throw-together kind of dish for me.  It was good, so I'll definitely be making it again.  The sweet potatoes were SO amazing!  They may be my new favorite.  The lemon tahini sauce was from Oh She Glows.  It may have been from her cookbook. If you don't have it, get it - there are a ton of great recipes in it.   She makes dishes that are simple and use basic ingredients (well, basic for a vegetarian or vegan; some may be a little strange if you're a meat eater) and taste really good.  The link is to her website. 

Sadly, I did not get any knitting done on Irene Adler last night.  That means that I will have to do a lot of knitting this weekend, in order to keep to my schedule (I have 12-13 days to finish it).

That's all I have for today.  The weather here has been beautiful (it reminds me of San Diego weather) and it's (finally) Friday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Looking Forward

I am so excited today (in my low key, Introvert way).

My Mom recently discovered that one of her cousins is a knitter.  This cousin is part of a knitting group that meets twice a month.  Tonight is one of the meeting nights, so my Mom & I are going.  They have food at this knit group, so I made a quinoa vegetable "salad" with a lemon tahini dressing to take.  As a vegetarian in a meat eating county, it's always good to take a dish that will fill you up, and will provide you with adequate nutrition (in case there's nothing else at the event that you'll eat).  I've been to too many events where I end up eating potato chips, cookies, and maybe a cheese sandwich (American cheese on a roll or bread).  Don't get me wrong, I love potato chips and cookies (and sometimes American cheese sandwiches), but, nutritionally, they aren't the best. 

The past few months, I've been more intentional about eating well - eating food that packs a lot of nutrition & that has simple ingredients.  I feel much better when I do this (go figure!).  When I am eating well, I don't crave junk.  I have even found myself not interested in processed food lately.  Some of the food related things that I read (on facebook, or on the internet in general) talk about "recipes" using processed food and I find myself wondering "why?"  Why use that store-bought salad dressing (that contains ingredients you can't pronounce) when dressing is so simple to make?  Throw a few ingredients in the blender & you have an amazing tasting dressing.  So many processed foods are marketed as being time-savers, when, in reality, preparing real food does not take that much more time.  Take guacamole.  I've bought guacamole that was so-so.  But the guacamole I make?  It tastes amazing!  And it's not much harder to make it than it is to open that package of prepared guacamole.

The other thing I'm excited about/looking forward to has to do with eating better.  It's the CSA I signed up for.  Spring here had a slow start, so the first CSA pick up is next Thursday (instead of today).  I am SO ready for it!  I'm excited about having fresh vegetables.  I'm excited about trying new veggies & about learning different ways to prepare them.  I'm excited about having a healthy lunch every day.  Also, the CSA is already paid for, so I don't have to budget for it every pay.  I just show up at the farm each week and pick up my share of produce.

I'm also excited about finishing the Irene Adler shawl.  No, it's not done yet, but I'm getting closer.  It is SO beautiful!  I can't wait to take a picture of the blocked shawl.  I'm going to take it along to knit-night tonight.  Hopefully I will be able to get some knitting done.  I have doubts about my ability to knit a lace shawl while interacting with people.  But I have a schedule to keep, so I need to meet my stitch quota for today!

What are you looking forward to today (or this week, or this month)?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - the Concert Edition

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is: 10 Bands or Individuals You Have Seen in Concert.  I really haven't been to a lot of concerts in my lifetime.  I went to more when I lived in San Diego than I do now that I live in PA.  To attend a concert here, I'd have to drive to Philly or to Hershey or Baltimore.  It's rare that I want to see someone bad enough to do that. 

I was thinking about the people I saw in concert & I realized that I attended quite a few because someone else wanted to see them.  I know I'm forgetting some (because they weren't concerts I wanted to see).  When I was in junior high & the first year of high school, my family had a membership to the San Diego Zoo (which included the Wild Animal Park).  The Zoo & the Wild Animal Park often offered concerts & we would go see them.

Here's my list:

1.  Olivia Newton John.  This was my first concert.  It was the "Physical" tour, but I had been an ONJ fan for years before Physical came out.

2.  Timex Social Club.  They had one hit - "Rumors".  Then the group broke up and some of the group formed Club Nouveau.

3.  LL Cool J.  This was back in the day, when his first album was out and he was a skinny boy.  He only had one hit at the time I saw him in concert.

4.  Whodini.  This was when "Funky Beat" was out.

5.  Run DMC.  This concert was the Fresh Fest concert and #2-5 were all in the same concert.  Run DMC was the last group, and the most famous (at that time).

6.  The Jets.  I saw them in concert twice - in the same summer.  The first time was at the Del Mar Fair in San Diego.  The second, at Hershey Park, in Hershey, PA.  This was the summer that we moved from San Diego to Lancaster, PA.

7.  Jermaine Jackson.  This concert was also at the Del Mar Fair.  The same summer I saw the Jets there.  Jermaine had a hit that summer.

8.  Color Me Badd.  A friend of mine won tickets to this concert.  It was at the York Fair (York, PA).  I know they only had a few hits.  But I liked their songs. 

9.  Vanilla Ice.  This is a concert that I went to because a friend of mine asked me to go with her.  I'm not a big Vanilla Ice fan.

10.  Little Richard.  This is a concert I saw at the Wild Animal Park (San Diego) and was one I went to because my parents wanted to go to it.  We saw many other concerts at the Wild Animal Park, but I don't remember them.  We also saw the Fifth Dimension at the San Diego Zoo.

The concert I'd LOVE to see is Prince.  Prince is my all-time favorite artist.  If I had to pick just one artist to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be him.  He has SO many songs.  I know that most people know of "Purple Rain", but he has so many more, and is still making music.  And let's not even get into the hits he wrote that other people sang!

There's my list.  Who have you seen in concert?

Monday, June 2, 2014

It's June, and Time for a Mystery!

Happy June!  In 2 1/2 weeks, it'll be summer.  Yes.  I know that many people consider Memorial Day weekend to be the start of summer.  I don't.

My daughter has 3 1/2 days of school left.  The last day was supposed to be 5/30, but this past winter happened, and that's all we'll say about winter.  Because I'm OVER. THE. ICE!

So, I signed up for a Mystery Shawl.  I love mystery patterns!  This is where the pattern is sent to you in installments.  You are told what your gauge should be, and given a yarn suggestion, but you don't know what the end result looks like.  I enjoy the not knowing exactly what the end result will be.  Yeah, I live on the edge like that.

I ordered the yarn that the pattern designer used.  It's a gradient kit.  Is it just me?  I love gradient kits!  The colorway is called "Pine".

This yarn is so soft!  I can't wait to start the shawl!  Because I'm still working on the Irene Adler shawl (& because I have a deadline for that), I haven't even knit the swatch for the Mystery Shawl yet.  I looked at, and petted this yarn most of the weekend.  The yarn is from Black Trillium Fibres & is the Pebble Sock yarn.  I can tell that I will love working with this yarn.  The service was excellent - my yarn was shipped the same day I ordered it.  I only have two of the hanks wound into balls because I made myself leave that yarn alone and work on the Irene Adler shawl.  I am still loving Irene Adler, it's just that I kind of have ADD when it comes to knitting.

This past weekend, there was an almost one-year old, a two year-old, 2 three year-olds, and a four year-old at my house (not all at the same time).  Yes, 5 children from between Friday & Sunday.  We spent most of the weekend in the backyard, under the canopy.  The kids had a ball.  My daughter & I (well, mostly my daughter) are getting pretty good at wearing kids out in the backyard.  We keep them running.  And then they sleep really well for their parents.

Here are some pictures we took with one of the three year-olds.  These are CJ's first selfies (he had to "push" the button to take the pictures):

Some of the pictures were...interesting.
Some were so cute.
Some were silly.
It was a good weekend!
How was your weekend?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

Memorial Day weekend.  It was nice to have a day off of work, and, since I'm now full-time, that day was a paid day off.  Yay!  The weekend felt like it had two Saturdays (which are my favorite day of the week), so that was great.  Here's what I did this past weekend:

1.  Slept in.  Sleeping in, for me, means waking up when I'm ready to wake up.  With no alarm.  I usually wake up around the same time I normally do, but I'm much happier about waking when I don't have an alarm telling me to get up.

2.  Ate.  I ate fairly well this weekend.  I'm vegetarian, so I don't look forward to holiday weekends because of grilled meat.  But, I had good breakfasts, and managed to eat several times each day (time tends to slip away from me and I kind of forget to eat). 

3.  Watermelon and cantaloupe.  Yes, I know these are food.  But because these were the first of the season for us, they are their own category.  I love cantaloupe.  Watermelon, I like if it's ripe and not mushy.  We actually had two watermelons this weekend.  The first one was so good that we finished it the day it was cut.  So we got another one, which was also really good.  The cantaloupe was also excellent.  We're spoiled by living in Lancaster County.  There are so many places around here to get good, perfectly ripe cantaloupe, that I just can't tolerate cantaloupe that's not perfectly ripe.

4.  New canopy.  We have a new canopy that we put up for the first time.  It's a Coleman 10x10 sun shade/canopy thing.  I love it.  My daughter & I spent most of Monday out in the back yard, under the canopy.

5.  Read.  When the weekend started, I was close to the beginning of Beautiful Wreck, by Larissa Brown.  I finished that book this weekend.  It is SO good!  It's about a woman who time travels back a 1,000 years, to a Viking community.  It's really good.  The author describes things in so much detail that you feel like you're there, in that Viking community.  Whenever I would stop reading it, I was a little surprised to find that I was not living among Vikings.

6.  Knit.  I'm knitting the Irene Adler shawl and I have a deadline.  I did a good bit of knitting on that shawl this weekend (although Beautiful Wreck distracted me a lot).  I am loving this shawl!  Every row or two, I have to stop and look at, and marvel at, the pattern.  I love the pattern, love the yarn, love the colors.  Knitting outside was helpful because of the natural light  (43-year old eyes, lace weight yarn, and somewhat dark colors aren't a good combination in indoor lighting).

Here's a picture of part of it (shawls-in-progress really are not easy to photograph).

7.  Movie night.  I had a movie night with my bff.  We used to go out to movies pretty frequently, but he now has a toddler (and we're both pretty broke), so we have movie night at his house.  I bring the popcorn, he supplies the movies.  It's a win-win situation.

8.  Selfie Sunday.  My daughter & I were out in the yard Sunday afternoon/evening (knitting, reading, etc) and we decided to take selfies.  We took 100.  Some were crazy, some were just smiling.  It was fun.  I posted some of them to facebook.

Hmm...I don't think I have a 9 & 10.  It was a very low-key type of weekend (which I love).  I thought it was wonderful - but it's not very exciting to talk about. 

Oh, I do always spend some time remembering our service personnel who lost their lives.  I guess that's my number 9.

What was your weekend like?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Use Your Words

A while ago, I purchased two hanks of Madeleine Tosh lace yarn.  This yarn is beautiful!  It's soft (merino), the colors are amazing, it's in 950 yard hanks.  I didn't have any real plans for the yarn, except a vague thought that I'd try knitting a lace shawl.  I have knit lace in small bits, but never with lace weight yarn and never in the form of a full-sized shawl.

A week ago, I decided to knit a lace shawl as a gift.  It needs to be finished in five weeks. Plenty of time, right?  So I ordered this pattern (I love it!).  I am in love with quite a few of Kirsten Kapur's patterns.  I did a half-assed swatch, and cast on for the shawl.  I still love this shawl and I love knitting it.  It's a challenge, for sure.  That fine fine (weight) yarn, the lace pattern, all of those stitches.  I feel like a knitting challenge is just what I need right now.  Lately I've been knitting "safe" items like cowls and scarves and things like that.  Things that I really don't have a pattern for.  And they're kind of...boring.

The yarn.  I took this picture indoors, with the flash on my phone, so it's not the best.  This yarn is mainly blue, but also has green, purple and some red in it.

Yes.  I know that lace looks like a blob until it's blocked.  And, again, I have a picture taken indoors.  This shawl & the yarn are much prettier in real life.

What I realized is that I need to have a pattern that's written out.  The Irene Adler pattern comes with written instructions as well as charted instructions.  I love that.  I am symbol-challenged.  I just don't do well with symbols.  I prefer words.  Take elevators.  If the buttons only show symbols for "door open" and "door close", I have no idea which I need to press.  Or the email on my phone.  I can never remember which symbol means to "archive" the email and which means to "file" it.  I understand a trashcan for "delete", but on my phone email, there is no trashcan.  Knitting charts?  I can never remember what the symbols stand for, so I have to look them up on the key.  Every. Time.  That takes me so much longer than if I just have the pattern written out.  I totally understand k2, p2, ssk, yo, psso, etc.

There seem to be different schools of thought on the whole written out vs. chart topic.  What are your thoughts?  Which do you prefer?  Am I the only one who cannot understand/remember symbols?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things I'd Like to Know

Today's Ten on Tuesday post is 10 Things You Wish You Knew More About.  Wow.  I love learning, I love knowledge.  And I feel that there are so many things I don't know.  Here are a few:

1.  Addiction.  I work in the addiction field (as an Administrative Assistant) and when I started at the job 7 years ago, I knew next to nothing about addiction.  Yes, I had thoughts about it, but have learned that most of them were not truths and/or were/are stereotypes.  I have learned a lot the past seven years, but feel that there's still so much more to learn.

2.  People.  Psychology.  Sociology.  I love observing people and trying to figure out why they did or didn't do something.  Or, why they think what they think, or say what they say.

3.  Computers.  I really wish I knew coding and the ins and outs of computers.  I think that some parts of my life would be made easier by this knowledge.  Plus, I love the idea of being a computer geek.  The truth is, I don't have a burning desire to actually act on this wish and learn more about computers.

4.  Photography.  I am, at heart, an artist.  When I see beautiful things, I see them as a photograph or a painting.  Colors.  Shapes.  Beauty.  Composition.  They all intrigue me.  I am thrilled to learn that there are now camera lenses for cell phone cameras.  Check out Vicki's post to learn more.

5.  Art.  I grew up in Southern California, in the 80's.  This was a time when art and music were taken out of public schools.  In high school (in PA), I finally had some art classes.  One of my teachers suggested that I go to Art School after high school.  So, I had/have the potential.  I wonder what it might have been if I had been exposed to art at an earlier age - in a formal setting, like a class, not just my Dad telling me arty stuff.

6.  Music.  I LOVE music.  I often think of song lyrics based on a current situation.  I enjoy singing and love to sing in the car while I'm driving (if I'm happy).  If I have a lot of things on my mind and/or am not happy, I don't sing.  But, again with the SoCal public schools in the 80's - no music instruction.  I cannot read music.  This can make it hard in church.  I can usually pick up a tune once I've heard it, but never by reading the music.  With this, too, I wonder what might have been if I had been exposed to musical  instruction at a young age.

7.  Different cultures.  I'm so intrigued by customs and clothing and food of people from around the world.  One of the reasons I love to read is that I can be immersed in different cultures.

8.  Languages.  I wish I knew more than just English and un poco espanol.  I wish I was fluent in multiple languages like Annie Walker from Covert Affairs

9.  The "why" and "how" of everything.  I don't just want to be told to take all of my antibiotic, I want to know why it's important for me to do so (I do know this - this is just an example).  Again, I read a lot, so my head is pretty full of this kind of information.  But there's always room for more.

10.  The history of fiber arts.  I know that there are things written about the history of fiber arts - and I've read some of them.  But I feel like there's so much that just wasn't documented.  I feel that there's information that's missing.

What are some things you'd like to know more about?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Things I Like to Do Outside

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is: 10 Things You Like to Do Outside.  Here's my list:

1.  Read.
2.  Knit.
3.  Mommy/Baby Adventure with my daughter.  This often consists of reading and/or knitting, but not always.  Sometimes it involves photography.  Sometimes we see things like hot air balloons landing.  Sometimes we just walk and talk.  The "adventure" part is our little joke, because we're not all that adventurous (by most people's standards).

4.  Camp.  I enjoy camping.  Last year, I discovered Assateague, which is beach camping, and now I dream of Assateague.  I grew up in San Diego, so beach camping was the norm (when I was in Girl Scouts).  Sure, I also camped in the mountains and in the high desert, but I love beach camping!  Especially now that I live in PA (I miss being close to an ocean!).  Sadly, we are unable to go to Assateague this year, so I'll have to wait til 2015 for my Assateague fix.
5.  Sit.  I love to sit outside.  Preferably, near water (a stream, creek, river, pond, whatever).  It's very peaceful for me.
6.  Hike.  Ok, by "hike", I mean walk on a fairly level, well established trail.  Like this one.
7.  Playground.  When my daughter was young, I would take her to one of the playgrounds nearby.  I love watching kids have fun.
8.  Garden.  I'm more of a planter than a person who actually takes care of the garden.  Part of that is that I hate the heat/humidity that is Spring/Summer in South Central PA.  When my eyelids stick and I feel like I'm sweating just because I'm exerting myself by breathing, I have no desire to be outside, picking crops and watering things and pulling weeds.
9.  Swim.  By "swim", I mean play in water.  The ocean, or a lake is fine by me.  I don't spend time in the rivers around here (snakes), but there is a man-made lake close to us that's nice to go to.  I also like pools.
10.  Baseball.  We have a minor league baseball team in Lancaster (the Barnstormers).  I enjoy going to games.  I'm not really into sports, so I only go to games occasionally.

What do you like to do outside?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring = Fresh Produce!

One thing I love about Lancaster County is the availability of fresh produce.  In Spring and Summer (and into Fall), you can buy fresh, local produce all over the county.  There are numerous road-side stands, there are farmers markets, there are farm stores, and even the grocery stores carry local produce.  Fresh, local produce is a dream come true for vegetarians.

I love being able to support local farms.  I love eating produce that was picked when it was ripe (instead of ripening while it's being transported somewhere).  I love being able to talk to the farmers, and find out about the pesticides they use.  And the flavor!  There is nothing better than produce that's been picked when it's ready to be picked.  The flavor is amazing.

I often feel bad for people in big cities.  I've seen the produce there and it just doesn't compare.  I can understand why so many people don't like vegetables.  I believe it's simply because they haven't had good vegetables. 

Spring always excites me because I know that local produce will soon be here.  This year, I'm joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture).  You pay a certain amount, up front, and then you get produce every week during the growing season (my CSA's growing season is June-mid November - that's almost 6 months of fresh, local produce!).  My CSA also has pick your own flowers, herbs, hot peppers, strawberries and blueberries that are included in the "share".  I am SO excited!

Participating in a CSA forces you to eat produce that's in season (where you are).  I believe that this is the best way to eat.  It's good for your body, it's good for your local economy.  It also encourages you to try new things and to be creative (you know, come up with 30 different ways to prepare tomatoes).  I believe the benefits outweigh the struggles.

The CSA I'm joining doesn't use pesticides.  They practice good soil management (rotating crops, growing cover crops).  They also work with Goodwill Industries and provide jobs for people with disabilities.  Jobs for local people, supporting local businesses, and fresh produce?!?  It's a win-win situation!

I recently purchased a new cookbook:  The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon. 

It's a vegan cookbook.  I'm not vegan (vegans don't eat dairy or eggs or honey), but I'm not opposed to eating vegan.  This cookbook is based on Angela's popular blog.  Her recipes are great for anyone with dietary concerns.  Many of her recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free.  She also includes adaptations to make the recipe (gluten, nut, grain free).  One of the things I love about this cookbook is that Angela doesn't rely on commercially prepared meat substitutes.  She also tells you how to make things for yourself - like almond milk, or vegan mayonnaise. 

The first thing I made, and my snack for today, is the Roasted Chickpeas.  The preparation is so simple, and they are very yummy!  One of my co-workers is allergic to peanuts.  She tried the roasted chickpeas and said that they are a good peanut substitute (she misses eating peanuts).

In summary, I'm so excited about Spring because of good food and new recipes! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some knitting...

I haven't been doing a lot of knitting.  I still have a few things on the needles - the Custom Fit sweater that only needs the sleeves knit (in the round), the Paper Lanterns shawlette from the January Rockin' Sock Club shipment, and now, a cowl:

I started it Wednesday night, while watching some episodes of season two of Covert Affairs.  I got a Kindle (Fire HDX) for Christmas & have recently discovered how much I love watching shows on it.  I discovered this in March, when I got hooked on House of Cards (and ended up watching both seasons in a two-week span).  Now I'm getting caught up with Covert Affairs.  This is a show that I've watched sporadically over the years.  I decided to start over, with the pilot, and then move through the seasons, so that I don't miss anything.  Plus, I like to watch shows (and read books) in order.

So, last night I cast on for this cowl.  The yarn is from Phydeaux.  *That's pronounced like Fido.  It is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend.  This is a super  soft, strong yarn.  It would show cables beautifully.  I'm loving this yarn!  I got it in a Yarnbox shipment.  The pattern?  Well, it's just one I made up.  I cast on enough stitches so that I could easily join the stitches to knit in the round (I could only find one needle cable, and it's a little longer than I'd like).  I k2,p2 until I was tired of doing ribbing, and then I switched to all knit.  I did do some decreases, because I feel there were too many stitches.  I'll knit until I'm close to running out of yarn (I have two skeins of that yarn), do some more ribbing, and then bind off.

I'm looking forward to some knitting/Covert Affairs watching time this weekend.  Sadly, it's Spring, which means that weekends are now BUSY.  People in PA don't plan many events for weekends in the Winter.  But Spring?  EVERYTHING happens on the same weekend!  I just want to knit and watch Covert Affairs...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Foods That Belong Together

Here are my top 10 foods that belong together...

1.  Peanut butter and jelly (sandwich).  I took this to school for lunch every day in 2nd grade.  I still love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Black raspberry jelly is usually what I use, but I like most flavors of jelly.
2.  Rice & beans.  I love arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), but I will eat rice with most kinds of beans.
3.  Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. 
4.  Swiss cheese and mustard.
5.  Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.  This is the New Year's Day "good luck" food here in Lancaster County (along with a pork roast).  Since I don't eat meat, I just eat the sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
6.  Buttered bread and apple butter.  Yes, I know that's really three things.  In Lancaster County, it's common to have buttered bread (we usually say, "butter bread") with supper.  Apple butter absolutely should be added to that buttered bread.
7.  Soup and crackers.  Some soups require saltines (tomato soup) and some require Ritz crackers (vegetable soup).
8.  Peanut butter and marshmallow (cream) - this combo can be on crackers (Ritz), or on bread, as a sandwich.
9.  Honey and lemon.  I drink this in tea, or just in hot water.  I use raw honey.
10.  Cream cheese and pepper jelly.  Around here, you can get pepper jelly made out of sweet (Bell) peppers, or out of hot peppers.  It's sweet and somewhat tangy.  Spread the cream cheese on a saltine type cracker, add the jelly, and it's so yummy!

There's my list.  What are some foods you like to eat together?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Reveal

This week's Ten on Tuesday was fun for me.  I've done this type of thing (tell 2 truths and 1 lie about yourself) many times as an "ice breaker" or "get to know you" type exercise (in trainings, staff meetings, etc.).  I usually dislike ice breaker-type activities, but this one I like.  I think it's because I have control over what I let others know.  Anyway, here are the answers to my April Fools Ten on Tuesday:

1.  I was born in Key West - at Key West Naval Hospital.
2.  I did go to three schools (in two states) for third grade.  It was the year that my family was moving from Great Lakes, IL to California.  My Mom & I stayed in PA, with her parents, while my Dad went to CA and got us a house and car & started work.  Then we joined him.  So, I started third grade in PA, then we moved to Long Beach, CA, where we lived for 6 months while my Dad's ship was in dry dock.  After that, we moved to Imperial Beach (San Diego County), CA.  We lived there until I was in high school.
3.  I do not love steak.  I don't eat meat at all.
4.  Summer is not my favorite month - especially in PA.  I hate the heat and I hate the humidity.  I love Fall.
5.  I am an only child.
6.  Neither of my grandmothers knit.  A great-aunt tried to teach me when I was 17 or 18.  She is right-handed and had a really hard time teaching me (I am left-handed).  I have since learned that many right-handed people think that left-handed people need to knit differently.  The fact is that everyone holds one needle in their left hand and one in their right.  So left-handed knitters don't have to knit any differently than right-handed knitters.  Then, when I was in my 30's, I read Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street books, was enchanted, and decided to learn to knit.  I learned by watching an episode of Knitty Gritty that Vickie Square was on.  I knew of Vickie because I had this book.
7.  Like Jack Reacher, the hardest question for me to answer is "where are you from?"  I was born in FL, and grew up all over the country.  We moved every three years or so.  I don't know how to determine where I'm from.
8.  Pink is not my favorite color.  In fact, I very much dislike it.  And don't even get me started on how all things marketed towards girls and women have to be pink!  Blue is my favorite color, although, as I get older I select greens a lot.  The fact is, it's hard for me to pick "favorite" things.  Especially colors.  I like so many colors!
9.  I do not like to talk on the phone.  I am so glad I live in a time where there's email and texting!  I talk on the phone for work, but rarely outside of work.  I believe it's part of being an introvert.
10.  I am so not a project knitter!  I never only have one project on the needles and have many UFO's.  I am a total process knitter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - The April Fool's Version

Since today is April Fool's Day, Carole came up with a special Ten on Tuesday.  Today, I will tell you 10 things.  Some of them are true, some are not.  Can you guess which are which (or what) ? 

1.  I was born in Key West, FL.

2.  I went to three schools for 3rd grade (in 2 states).

3.  I love a good steak.

4.  Summer is my favorite season.

5.  I am an only child.

6.  My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a child.

7.  One of the hardest questions for me to answer is, "Where are you from?"

8.  Pink is my favorite color.

9.  I love to talk on the phone.

10.  I am a "project" knitter - meaning that my knitting enjoyment comes from finishing a project (before I move on to a new project).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday post was created just for me.  Well, not really, but it could have been.  I LOVE to read and today's post is "The Ten Last Books You Have Read."  See what I mean?  It could have been created just for me.  Here's my list:

1.  Pack Up the Moon, by Rachael Herron - aka Yarnagogo.  I pre-ordered this book last year.  It came out the week of my birthday, so I consider it a birthday present.  Many of Rachael's stories take place in the quaint (knitter friendly) town of Cypress Hollow.  For the record, Cypress Hollow is where I want to live.  But this book does not take place there.  In fact, it is a totally different kind of story for Rachael.  One of the things I love about Rachael's stories is that she develops the characters until you feel like you know them - or, you want to know them.  This story is no different.  The characters are so real.  Rachael shows us their flaws and we fall in love with them anyway.  This story is sweet, and heart breaking, all at the same time.  It will make you laugh and cry and feel angry.  I finished it in a day or two.

2.  The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - aka The Yarn Harlot.  I also pre-ordered this book, and it also came out in my birthday week.  Two presents!  This is not a book about knitting, but is (funny) stories from Stephanie's life.  So, knitters and non-knitters will enjoy it.  If you read the Yarn Harlot's blog, you already know how entertaining she is.  I read this book straight through, too.

3.  Anne of Green Gables Stories, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I read these books in (maybe) elementary school.  I don't have a clear memory of the year, but it was a long time ago, and I always think of them fondly.  I decided to re-read them.  It turns out, I still love Anne!  And, there's lots of knitting in the books!

4.  The Secrets of Mary Bowser, by Lois Leveen.  I loved this story! 
Much of the story was made up, because there isn't a lot of documentation available, but it's a great story that really made me think.  It's about a slave, who was freed.  She was educated in Philadelphia.  During the Civil War, she returned to her hometown in Virginia, as a spy for the Union soldiers.  This story made me want to learn more about the Civil War.

5.  The Scavenger's Daughter, by Kay Bratt.  This story takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China.  I loved this story, and it made me want to learn more about the Cultural Revolution.  It's about a couple who takes in the infant/child girls who have been abandoned by their birth families.  The couple is poor, but they keep adopting these cast-off girls and consider all of the girls to be their daughters.

6.  The Taliban Cricket Club, by Timeri N. Murari.  This story tells about how women's lives change as the Taliban take over Afghanistan.  Again, this was a topic I didn't know much about and the book really made me think.  One of my first thoughts was that some of the things going on in this country, today, are so similar to how the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

7.  UR, by Stephen King.  A short story, but one that makes you wonder about things, as only Stephen King can.

8.  Mile 81, Stephen King.  Yes.  I love Stephen King, and was on a Stephen King book kick.  Really, I haven't read one of his books that I wouldn't recommend.  He writes stories so well, and he writes more than just horror stories.  When I read his stories, I feel like I'm in them.

9.  The Shining, by Stephen King.  I read this book many years ago (again, I want to say in elementary school).  I re-read it so that I could then read....

10.  Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King.  If you've read The Shining, you should read this, so that you can find out what happened to the characters from The Shining.  This book also touches on the disease of addiction.  Since I work in the field, this always interests me.

I now have a Kindle, as well as having the Kindle app on my phone.  So, I'm never without books.  I do still read actual books, but the Kindle is very convenient.  :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Feel...

Today's Ten on Tuesday post is another writing prompt:  I feel.  So, here we go...

1.  I feel happy to be in my 40's.  It's such a freeing age.
2.  I feel blessed to have a daughter who is so intelligent, empathetic, and kind hearted.  She "gets" things that a lot of adults don't get.  She speaks her mind, and she speaks out against injustice.

When she was young (maybe 6 or 7?), we were leaving the convenience store close to our house.  It's in a little strip mall.  I'm waiting for the light to turn green when I hear, "That's not right!  That's not fair to say no-one Chinese!"  She was very offended.  I was trying to figure out where this outburst came from, when I saw the sign:  No. 1 Chinese.  As in, Number 1 Chinese (restaurant).  I quickly explained to her that, sometimes, No (period) is used to abbreviate the word number, and that the sign wasn't really stating that no Chinese people were allowed.

3.  I feel like there's never enough knitting time.
4.  I feel tired.
5.  I feel stressed (most days).
6.  I feel especially stressed when I realize that my daughter will be able to drive in a year (increased car insurance), and that she'll soon be old enough for college (again, money).
7.  I feel extremely thankful for what I have: my family & friends, a home, food, a car, a job.
8.  I also feel thankful for knitting and for yarn.
9.  I feel happy to have so many hand knit items to wear.  I can't stress enough how COLD this winter has been!
10.  I feel happy, too, that I have people who read this blog, even though I post sporadically and tend to ramble.  :-) 

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Winter

I don't normally mind Winter in PA.  I really dislike the heat & humidity of Summer, so Winter is ok to me.  I don't love snow.  When I was in Kindergarten - 2nd grade, my family lived in North Chicago and I saw/experienced enough snow to last my lifetime.  But I can tolerate Winter.  The cold temps (that have been especially cold this year) are great for knitting and for wearing hand knits.

But this Winter...this Winter has broken everyone.  Including me.  Last week was the first full week of school my daughter has had this (calendar) year.  EVERY week, we have gotten a snow storm.  Or an ice storm.  EVERY week her school has cancelled at least one day.  My work schedule has been crazy (either I take off, or arrive late).  And the ice.  I am SO. OVER. The ice!!  I look at ice and just want to cry - rather than attempt to walk across it one more time.  I feel like every place I go, I have to walk on ice.  I fell once this season - and my body hurt for at least a week afterwards.  And I know so many people who have broken bones from falling on ice this year.

My sense of time this year is all out of whack - and it's not that good to begin with.  This is what happens when you have 2 days at work, one home, 2 more at work, then off for 2 days...you get the idea.

So, I thought I'd share some pictures, showing what's been going on in my life:

That's our back yard.  The bird bath farthest from the shed sits in a garden.  This picture was taken from the bathroom window - I had very little interest in actually going out in the snow this year.

This is the start of one of the patterns in the January 2014 Rockin Sock Club shipment.  It's the Paper Lanterns Shawlette.  The 'paper lanterns' in the edging will lay flat when the shawlette is blocked.  I am LOVING this pattern and this colorway!
We were babysitting my friend's little boy this past weekend.  Here, Kyra made a "hammock" for him, using a blanket & her legs. 
What have you been doing this Winter, to keep yourself occupied?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday post is a little different.  It's a writing prompt.  So, here it goes...

1.  I am feeling accomplished and well-organized because I cleaned out my filing cabinet & made files for my current needs (expenses and such).  Now, when I have a receipt or a bill (or pay stub, or report card for my daughter), I just walk over to the filing cabinet, pull out the drawer, and drop the item in the appropriate file.

2.  I am excited that my 1st Rockin' Sock Club shipment of 2014 arrived.  The Sock Club is one of my Christmas gifts and I love it (because I get 6 shipments throughout the year!). 

3.  I am super excited that one of the patterns in the January Sock Club shipment is a shawlette.  I love shawlettes and think everyone should have at least one - they're so versatile! 

4.  I am proud of myself for going through my yarn stash and rearranging some of it (so that it's better organized).

5.  I am on a mission to knit scarves to leave around Downtown Lancaster, for anyone who needs them.  This was not my idea - I saw a picture on facebook, of someone in Canada who is doing this.  I think this is a wonderful idea, though.  I have some Paton's Classic Merino in my stash - that I bought for one thing or another - that makes soft, warm scarves.  I'm making them wide, so that people can use them as a head and/or face covering, too.

6.  I am looking forward to the changes I am making in 2014.  That's another post - I just need to add links to it.

7.  I am also nervous about 2014 because there have been some major financial changes for me, and I'm not sure how things are going to work out.

8.  I am SO sick of ice!  The cold, I can handle, but the ice?  I'm done with it!

9.  I am glad football is over, so that my facebook newsfeed isn't clogged with football posts.

10.  I am feeling like winter will soon be gone and then it'll be hot & humid and I hate being hot and in humidity.  This also makes me feel like I have to knit everything really fast, because I'm running out of knitting time (since I rarely knit in the summer).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm So Excited!

I am so excited!  I received two packages, containing yarn, in the mail this week!

The first was from Eat. Sleep. Knit.  I joined their Yarnathon (go Team Octopurls!).  This is my first purchase from the company.  I got my yarn and my Welcome Packet (which contained all kinds of fun stuff).  Here's what I bought:

Madeline Tosh ASAP.  Have you ever touched this yarn?!?  It is so soft!  It's going to become a hat.  I made a deal with one of my cousins.  He bakes.  He offered to bake me a cheesecake if I would knit him a hat (he saw a picture on facebook, of the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat that I knit & he liked it).  I think it's a good deal.

The other yarn that I bought is this:

Two skeins of Madeline Tosh Lace yarn.  This yarn is very yummy, too!  And the yardage!  Over 900 yards per skein!  I don't have a plan yet for these two skeins.  Any suggestions?  I'm thinking a lace stole/shawlette or shawl.  The colors are Spectrum (the blue/green/purple skein on top) and Worn Denim.  I love them!  Sometimes, I just put those skeins on my shoulders and "wear" them.

The other yarn I received this week is this:

Have you heard of Yarnbox??  If not, check out their site.  You answer a few questions about your yarn and color preferences, and whether you knit or crochet (or both), choose your subscription length, and then you get a box of yarn each month (for however many months you want).  Each box contains at least two skeins of yarn and two patterns.  It's very exciting!  Here's what was in this month's shipment:
The yarn is from Knit Collage.  The skein on top is Stargazer Silk & Sequins (and yes, it's silk, with brass sequins strung on it).  The multi-colored skein is Pixie Dust.  I'm thinking that this yarn will either be a cowl or a scarf.
So, now I'm kind of hoping that the cold weather will last for a while, so that I can knit all of the items I have on the waiting list in my head!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's Talk About Winter

Today's Ten on Tuesday post is: 10 Things You Like About Winter.  I know, I know.  If you live on the East Coast, or in the Mid-West, you're sick of the cold.

I am a pretty warm person, so the cold doesn't bother me as much as it bothers some most people.  While I can't say that I love winter, I am enjoying it this year.  Having said that, I have to tell you that I don't enjoy all of the aspects of winter - ice, I'm looking at you.  I am SO over ice!  I hate walking (and falling!) on it, and I hate driving on it.  But we're not here to talk about my dislike of ice.  Here are the 10 things I like about winter:

1.  The cold weather makes me want to knit!  And, really, this could be all 10 of answers.  I don't feel like touching fiber when it's hot.  So the cold weather is a nice change for me.  It makes me want to knit EVERYTHING!

2.  Being 'snowed in'.  I have to admit that I took some time off work this year, to be 'snowed in' with my daughter, when I really could have made it to work.

3.  Soup.  Cold weather makes me want to make soup.  And I made an amazing quinoa vegetable soup (twice) this winter!

4.  Reading.  I love to read.  The cold weather gives me an excuse to spend more time reading.

5.  I get to wear my hand knits!  I LOVE being able to wear things I've made.  I love that I have these items (I feel so clever, and well-prepared).  And I often wonder what non-knitters do in the winter.  Maybe they would enjoy the cold weather more if they had hand knit items?  I have a cashmere Mobius scarf that keeps me so warm and is so very soft...I love being able to wear it.  And when the temps get really cold - like they are today -  I just pile on more hand knit items (the Mobius scarf, a shawlette around my face, a hat, thrummed mittens).

6.  Hot tea.  I love drinking hot tea made from loose leaf tea.  I love shopping for tea, and picking out the types and flavors that I want.  Hot tea and a book!

7.  The cold weather gives me an excuse.  If I really don't want to go somewhere or do something, the cold weather is a good "reason" not to go (or do it).

8.  The beauty of nature.  Snow on trees - beautiful!  And going outside while it's snowing (or just after it's stopped), and the world seems so quiet and peaceful.  Or, those cold days with sunny blue skies.

9.  Ice.  Ok.  I know I said I dislike ice.  But when you see ice covered trees, they're so pretty.  And around downtown Lancaster, there are interesting icicle "sculptures" on things like lights and street signs.  Ice can be beautiful (as long as I don't have to try to walk on it!).

10.  The cold weather reminds me of how lucky I am, and of how thankful I am for the things that I have (a home with heat, a car with heat, an indoor job, hand knits, food, water).  I know that there are many people who don't have these things and the cold weather is very dangerous for them.

What do you like about winter?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ten on ...Wednesday?

Ok, so I missed posting my Ten on Tuesday post on Tuesday.  I was "snowed in" yesterday.  Schools were closed, I decided to stay home from work, so my daughter & I had a snow day together.  What that means is that I read and knit and ate.  I didn't even think about blogging.

So, here's my Ten on Tuesday.  My 10 Favorite Breakfast Foods:

1. Green Monster.  It's a smoothie.  You can find the recipe here.  But really, you can tweak that recipe and add or delete items to your taste.  No matter what I add or delete, I keep the protein powder, the chia seeds, and the spinach.  One of these days, I'll try kale in my Green Monster.  Green Monsters are my favorite breakfast.  They're quick and simple and the benefits are so amazing.  I feel full.  My blood sugar is very good (in fact, it often goes low with these) when I have this for breakfast, and I don't crave junk when I have a Green Monster.  I make better food choices for the rest of the day.  I use an unflavored rice protein powder, vanilla almond milk, frozen berries (so I don't have to add any ice) and banana (along with the chia and spinach).  Sometimes, I also add vanilla extract and some coconut palm sugar.  *These are also great after you've been outside, shoveling snow.

2.  Oatmeal.  I use rolled oats.  I heat the water, add the hot water to the oats, cover the bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  I like to add brown sugar, dried fruit, nuts, and a little milk to my oatmeal.

3.  Cereal.  Kashi Go Lean Crunch is my favorite cereal, but I also like Frosted Mini Wheats.

4.  Protein bar.  I use this one.  It also has fiber & other nutrients.  I have only tried the chocolate.  I've been an Arbonne consultant for more than 10 years.  I love & use the products, so it only made sense for me to become a consultant in order to get a discount on the products.

5.  Cream of Wheat.  I generally buy the instant kind.  Sometimes I get the flavors, but there are always too many packets of the Maple & Brown Sugar flavor (which I don't like).  I usually just get the "original" flavor and add brown sugar & milk to it.

6.  If I'm going out for breakfast, I usually get either pancakes or French toast.  And home fries or hash browns (whichever the restaurant has).  This is not a great meal for me - too much sugar.  But I'm picky about eggs (& I have to be in the mood for them), and I don't eat meat.

7.  Scrambled eggs.  Or a biscuit/egg/cheese sandwich.  Again, I really have to be in the mood for eggs.  I'll make this myself, or get one from McDonalds (this is really the only thing I ever eat from McDonalds - I'm just not a fan of that place).

8.  Bagel with cream cheese.  My favorite bagel flavors are sesame or egg.  Cream cheese, it depends on my mood that day: fruit, plain or vegetable.

9.  Toast with peanut butter (and butter).  Simple and quick.

10.  Greek yogurt with chia seeds.  I try to consume 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds per day. 

That's my list.  Those of you on the East Coast - today is a perfect day to wear (all of) your hand knits!  Make it a great day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Feeling Like a Grown Up

The Ten on Tuesday topic this week is:  Ten Things That Make You Feel Like A Grown Up.  Here's my list:

1.  My job.  Going to a job every day  - in bad weather, in the summer, between Christmas and New Year's Day, and when I don't want to. 
2.  Planning a trip.  The whole process of planning (& paying for) a trip makes me feel grown up.  I really felt this way this past summer, when I decided to take my daughter & two of her friends camping at Assateague.  I had to plan the food, make sure we had everything we would (or might) need, make sure I knew what to do in emergencies, make judgment calls about the weather. 
3.  Having a child.  The responsibility of it, and the decisions that one needs to make.  I'm a single parent, so my decisions are mine (good or bad).  It can be a little overwhelming sometimes.
4.  Being able to go where I want, when I want.  For the most part I can do this.  Of course I have places I need to be (like work) at a certain time.  But in my free time, I get to decide where I go.
5.  Making life decisions - career, where to live, to have a child or not, how to spend my money, etc.
6.  Having a car.  And car insurance.  And repair costs.  And gas costs.
7.  Buying food.  I decide what I'm going to eat.
8.  My self-awareness.  I know myself and am so much more comfortable with myself than I was as a child and teen.
9.  Saying 'no' to some people/things/events.
10.  Doing things because they need to be done - even when I don't want to do them.

What are some things that make you feel like a grown up?

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Hat!

Ever since Fall started, I've been feeling like Super Knitter.  I feel like I'm knitting fast, and knitting well, and that there isn't anything I can't handle. 

Maybe Super Knitter should be a thing?  You know, a comic book, and an action figure.  I'm not saying that it should be me, but that someone should create Super Knitter.  She could save knitters all over the world.  What do you think her Super Power would be?  Would she wear a cape?  Maybe a cashmere one?

Ok, well, if you're into that kind of thing and create a Super Knitter comic, please let me know so that I can read it!

Last week I started a hat - the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat.  It looked like this:

I think the yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Art's Leticia, since that's what the pattern called for (& at that time, I often used the yarn a pattern called for).  Apparently, it's no longer available.  I'm not sure which colorway that is, either.
I initially bought this yarn in order to make the hat for my cousin, who was going to be spending a few years in Albania (the colors are her favorite colors).  I never made the hat.  I think I started it, but didn't finish it.  At that time, I didn't know how to knit cables without a cable needle & all of those cable rows were tedious.
Years have gone by.  I am a much better knitter than I was back then, and, I know how to knit cables without a cable needle.  So, this hat was a quick knit for me.  It's 16 rows twice, and then you do the decreases.  Because I couldn't find any of my needles in the size the pattern calls for, I knit the hat on size US10.  I added one repeat to the total number of stitches (I think each repeat is 14 sts).  I'm happy with the end result:
I think this hat could be knit in one day.  It took me a few days because I started it, then didn't work on it for a day or two, then did one of the 16-row repeats (late at night).  I finished the hat yesterday.
I had a good bit of yarn left over.  I'll need to weigh it & the hat, but I'm thinking there may be enough for a second hat.  It's interesting to me that, in this picture, there appears to be a pattern to the colors.  You can't really see that when you look at the hat in real life.  Also, this is the hat before it's been blocked.
Now I need to figure out what I'm going to knit next...
Make it a great day!