Rhinebeck Bus Trip 2014

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!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'm not sure how it happens, but time seems to speed up once it becomes December.  Before you know it, you're in a new year.  And then, for me, before I know it, it's my mom's birthday (1/14).  Remember when you were a kid and time went by slower??

Anyway.  Happy New Year!  How's 2014 treating you, so far?  Do you make resolutions, or goals for the new year?  I don't.  I have things that I work on all year long.  Those things don't change just because the year did. 

Having said that, I did make a mental note to knit more this year.  Summer always seems to be the death of my knitting.  We have no central air or air conditioners in my house, so it gets very hot in the summertime.  With the heat (& humidity), I can't even look at fiber, let alone touch it!

Fall & Winter always excite me because they are seasons where I feel like knitting.  I long to be snowed in for a few days so that I can just knit, and read.  I also love wearing my hand-knit items.  They were really put to use at the beginning of this week when the temperature felt like it was -35 degrees.  I was so thankful for them, because they kept me comfortable in that bitter cold weather.

Here are some of my recent finished items:

A thrummed mitten.  No.  Not a pair.  Just the one.  I was wishing I had the other one finished when it was so cold because regular gloves/mittens were not very effective in the extreme cold.
Here's the inside of the mitten.  That fiber is merino.  I bought it last year, intending to spin it.  When I decided to make the thrummed mittens, I thought that the colors would go well with the brown yarn I already had (Paton's Classic Merino).
I also made two of these mini watchcaps.  You knit them, attach a tag to them, and leave them in a public place.  They raise awareness for the mariners.  Check out Seamen's Church website to learn more.
Here's a Mobius scarf that I finished last night.  It's knit in Capra yarn, from KnitPicks.  I bought the yarn a while ago, when it was on clearance.  At the time, I had no plan for it.  This scarf is a gift for someone.  I have to tell you, last night, I tried it on...it is so soft and cushy and warm!  I'm going to have a hard time letting go of it.  Thankfully, I have several more balls of this yarn.  Sorry for the crappy iPhone/desk/sideways picture. 
Here's a close-up picture of the scarf:
The scarf was no particular pattern - just me, playing around with different stitches.  I did add ribbing to the outer edge & I really like that.  I did k1, p2.  I would probably reverse it: p1, k2.  Overall, I'm very happy with this scarf. 
That's all I have, for now.  I still have a sweater to finish (only the sleeves are left), a thrummed mitten, and last night I cast on for the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat.
Make it a great day!