I simply wish everyone near and far a fabulous 2011!
Dec 29, 2010
I am having such an awful time getting my knitting back on track. It's really just a lack of energy and focus. The intent and desire to finish stuff is still there, especially since there are things I want to start.
Here's a quick peek at some of the things that I really want to start. The first is for me. I bought 12 skeins of Noro in the colorway below to make myself a Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole. I have wanted to make this for-freakin'-evah and for many reasons, not limited to the nasty wind that has been whipping through DC, now is the perfect time for me to cast on. I plan to start it while I watch the Rose Parade.
The second thing that I look forward to casting on is a new pair of socks for my grandfather. He's the kind of person who neither needs, nor wants anything except to hear from us often. There is nothing at all that you can give him but who can't use a pair of handknit socks?
So when I made a pair for him 2 years ago I called them "Socks He Can't Refuse" and he didn't. My grandfather loved the socks and every time I've visited him since then, he pulls them out and tells me again about how much he loves them. He loves the colors and how they feel and he wears them every night to bed.
It always makes me smile except the last time when we were visiting over Thanksgiving. That's when I noticed something disturbing. There are holes developing in odd places. I don't know why or how althought I suspect that they got caught on something or weren't washed as gently as they should've been.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the socks aren't holding up as I'd hoped they would so I need to make another pair. These will be Lorna's Laces in Safari which has similar colors to the Claudia that I used for the first pair but has a bit of nylon.
What ar you itching to cast on?
Posted by hillary at 8:51 AM
Dec 28, 2010
I am full of intent for the New Year, so much so that it's a little overwhelming right now. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this. Let's hope this list adds a bit of clarity and focus to the year ahead because I'll certainly need it.
- Stay in the moment - I will never, ever, be in exactly this place in my life again and I really want to enjoy it.
- Spin more - I really love to spin but somehow once my wheels get put away it's really hard for me to find the time to pull them out and get all set up to spin. A fibre room where my wheels would always be out and available would be really nice but not likely anytime soon.
- Walk - exercise in general would be good but you have to start somewhere and walking would be perfect right now.
- Not let things get to me so much - focus on the happy and let the rest work itself out.
- Read some of the books I own - it seems like the best way to guarantee that I'll never read a book is to buy it but the only books I buy are those that I really, really want to read. I need to stop saving them for a day when there's nothing else to read because that day is never gonna come.
- Spend more family time - something tells me that this will take care of itself a bit but I still want to make sure that we spend the right kind of family time. Game nights are good.
- Knit for me
- Try to reduce my girls stress - remind them to enjoy the moment and not to worry so much. Wonder where they get that from.
- Get a bit more organized - I'll feel better if the chaos is tamed.
- Cook more - I used to cook a lot. I'd make interesting dinners and try new things but then the girls got older and I got busier and I got into the kitchen less and less. I miss it.
Dec 26, 2010
Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people... my grandfather! I am thrilled to be able to wish him a happy 92nd birthday.
Here are my grandfather and grandmother. Aren't they cute? One of the things I love most about my grandfather is that he is as devoted to my grandmother today as he was when he married her nearly 70 years ago. All my grandfather wants is to take care of my grandmother.
He's sitting still in this picture but I can guarantee you that immediately prior to and following it he was on the move. He loves to take long walks and he is constantly busy with something. I bet that he could give many men 20 years his junior a run for their money. It's the way he's always been.
When I was little he was the person I always wanted to please. I learned how to swim because I wanted to show him that I could. I also remember practicing my bike riding so that I would be good enough to ride with him.
I still love to call and tell him about things and bask in the glow of his approval... and so do my girls. They love to go visit my grandfather and tell him all about school or their accomplishments or discuss current events.
One of my favorite recent memories is of an evening a few years ago that puts it all together perfectly for me. We were in Canada for my cousin's wedding and after the festivities we all headed back to the same hotel. Most of us went by car but my grandfather decided to walk it, and DQ elected to join him. I watched them walk off together deep in conversation and it was the best part of the night.
Posted by hillary at 8:08 PM
Dec 24, 2010
Dec 23, 2010
As the year winds down it seems like the perfect time to start taking stock, starting with a look back at 2010 in words and pictures. The words consist of the first sentence from the first post of each month. The pictures will be favorite blog photos from each month (not necessarily related to the words they accompany).
January - Happy New Year to You all and Happy Blogiversary to me. As of last Friday this blog is 4 years old.
February - This past weekend was cleared long ago so that I could help out with Tech Weekend for the middle school musical which DQ will be in.
March - For those of you who have not yet seen them on Ravelry, here are my finished Ruba'iyat Mittens. Words cannot adequately express how pleased I am with them - mostly because I expected that they'd be an epic fail.
April - Lately I've experienced a bit of rare focus. I've been considering a bunch of WIP's and how I can turn them into finished obects.
May - On Sunday afternoon I relaxed in the garden.
June - It's incredibly convenient that I'm making my return to the real world on a Tuesday because my weekend was so packed that I'll need a day or so to recover.
July - Yesterday was glorious. The heat finally broke and, more importantly, the humidity disappeared - at least for a little while.
August - This was the last weekend before my girls come home.
September - Way back at the beginning of the summer our little friend Miss B got a Baby brother.
October - I took a few pictures around the Indian Museum last Saturday. It is an incredibly beautiful building and it's grounds invite visitors to wander around and around and appreciate it from all angles.
November - It was another softball weekend. One in which I had the pleasure (or misfortune) of watching Stinkerbelle's team warm up as the sun rose both days.
December - Have you ever had a package that, despite your best intentions, kept eluding the mail?
Sometimes it is just so hard to choose just one picture for each month.
Posted by hillary at 7:07 AM
Dec 22, 2010
I actually finished a little something recently. This was one of the test knits that I didn't finish on time. The less we say about that the better. I feel like a huge failure.
Happily while I failed, the shawlette is a win from start to finish. I'll start with the yarn which is Pagewood Farm Denali. I really loved working with this yarn. The feel of it is lovely and the dye job is just perfect. The color is called Violet Fusion and mostly it's a soft grey-violet as you'd expect but there are shots of a brighter, truer, purple and some that are a wonderful sage green and all together it balances perfectly.
The pattern is Wavebird by Christiane Burkhard. Most of the knitting is simple garter stitch which makes it perfect for TV knitting and that's where I did quite a lot of it. Then there are 2 bands of lace. The second, wider, one is nice but not terribly unusual. It's just the type of thing that fits in so well with so many patterns.
The other, narrower, band of lace is new to me and it makes me smile. It looks like a series of Cheerio's or grommets and I think that it's really neat.
You can't really tell from these pictures (and my lousy blocking job) but this is actually not a standard triangle. It's more of a set of curved wings and it get's that shape in part from the yarnovers at the start of each row. While it imparts a lovely shape to the piece I also love the finished effect of having a delicate, lacey, edge.
Love, love, love!
Dec 21, 2010
I was so happy last night when I heard the telltale horns and sirens and realized that I was wrong in thinking that I had missed Santa on the fire truck last week. My husband is sure he saw him but maybe it was just a trial run. Maybe it was just too cold and they cut it short. Whatever the story, he was out there last night and I was so happy that I got to see him. It kind of makes the holiday season complete.
So, on to this week's list. My holidays are past so the pressure is off me now but a few weeks ago I was feeling it. I remember dashing through the mall with Stinkette and feeling so relieved each time we found something that was "perfect."
But what about those people we forget? Or the late additions to our gift list? Well, theres always this list of last minute gifts.
- Gift cards - nothing says I almost forgot you like a gift card.
- Fingerless gloves - when you've got just a little bit of time and want to go the handmade route.
- A candle - Go with a pretty universal scent like vanilla or citrus but if it's for me then make it Satsuma. I love that smell.
- Baked goods - Love on a plate that's best made the night before.
- A Knit Hat - Much like fingerless gloves, a hat is usually pretty quick.
- A Coupon Book - the standby of many a kid. "What, you mean I was supposed to give mom and dad a gift too?"
- Flowers - This would be the "I didn't want to give you more stuff you don't need" option. Cuz we all need flowers.
- A book - Let's hear it for Amazon!
- A sweater - You're not going to buy your best buddy pants but you can probably guess their shirt size pretty reliably. Just make sure that you include a gift receipt incase it that particular shade of green makes them nauseous.
- Something from your closet - when all esle fails - re-gift! Just make sure that you don't give it back to the person who gave it to you in the first place. It happened to us this year and it was AWKWARD!
Dec 20, 2010
It snowed late last week and we're expecting more this week. All this cold, snowy weather is really good for inspiring us to stay in and drink hot chocolate while we dream of warmer places. It also has other, less obvious benefits. For example, a snow covered table on the deck is a great place to take picture of yarn that just got added to the stash.
That was pretty lame but there's not a lot to say when your weekend is filled with chaperoning opportunities. I spent the weekend taking my girls here and there and in between I hosted a sleepover for Stinkette on Saturday night. They baked cookies and I think that my kitchen is still in recovery mode but I got off easy. On Sunday our GS troop had their holiday party and the 12 girls cooked their own lunch before finishing their meal with make your own sundaes. At least hat party was hosted by someone else. Have you ever seen 12 girls cook? It's really something.
Any it doesn't end there. My girls seem to have an endless number of events this week that they are required to contribute baked goods to. Fire up the oven!
Posted by hillary at 12:27 PM
Dec 17, 2010
Dec 16, 2010
No Gingerbread House update today. It seems that Stinkette has reached a creative fork in the road and she's considering what direction to take her creation in. She's got plenty of candy that she had initially planned to install but now she's enjoying the simplicity of the design. Decisions, decisions!
I don't think that I ever mentioned it but I got a Nook for Hanukkah. I really like it and I look forward to using it more but not right now because ironically, the holds I placed at our library long ago are starting to come in. Yesterday I finally got my hands on The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 by Jennifer Jordan. Can't wait to read it.
My knitty mojo seems to finally be returning after a hiatus that started around Halloween. I finished a shawlette last week and a pair of socks ought to be complete by the end of the weekend. Once again this will be a knitting blog with actual knitting content. Imagine that!
Snow is in the forecast a few times over the next week or so. I am so excited because I love snow but it worries me a little bit too.
I am really looking forward to a low key holiday season full of long weekends. For the first time in a really long time we've scheduled some family time for our little quartet and I think that we're all very excited about it.
Dec 15, 2010
I missed it again last night. I was ready and I was waiting but when Santa came through our neighborhood on the firetruck it was just too darn cold out. I had my camera all set up with the flash and everything. I guess there's always next year.
And here is the current state of the gingerbread house. Stinkerbelle is taking her time considering the aesthetics of her creation. She started by adding a porch with colorful columns and Andes doors and fences. My girl is really focused on snow this year and has added a liberal coating of white icing all over to represent it.
Posted by hillary at 9:45 AM
Dec 13, 2010
Well,we have a completed structure with a roof now. It was really hard for Stinkerbelle to wait patiently for it to dry but her patience paid off and now she's got a cute (and sweet smelling) house to decorate.
On to the Ten on Tuesday list for this week - 10 things on my to-do list. Is that all? My to-do list is way longer than 10 items. Here we go:
- Get a new couch - This has been on my list forever and I'm getting desperate. I need to find the time to get serious about our seating situation. That nasty old couch must go now!
- Make sense of the stash - for real this time. Over the past day or 2 I've been searching for something that must be in there but I can't find it at all.
- Clean the storage area downstairs - this is a huge job but I've got to start somewhere and it seems a little more urgent right now.
- Start planning our new kitchen - another thing that we've put off for a while but I need to get moving on it.
- Clean my room - There is stuff in there that I never wear and never will. It must go.
- Finish a few WIPs - it always feels better to finish stuff.
- Catch up on the laundry - Totally do-able. I just need to focus on it.
- Firm up our New Year's plans - it's going to be a good new year and I need to start it the right way.
- Finish my gift shopping - not holiday stuff. There are 2 birthday's coming up before the end of the year and one right after it and I'd really like to be prepared for a change.
- Do a little baking - I feel the urge to bake bread or gingerbread or a nice, simple, cake.
What's on your to-do list?
It's that time of year again. Stinkerbelle is creating yet another work of art. As you can see, she hasn't gotten too far with it yet, but you've got to lay a good solid foundation or it all falls apart so we're going slow. I'll keep you posted.
I have been knitting but I really don't feel like I'm accomplishing much so there isn't much to share. Mostly my time lately is full of errands and running my girls here and there.
The most interesting thing about my weekend was a trip to the mall... to make a return. Back on September I saw a winter coat that was so cute, so perfect for me, that I bought it even though it was totally not on sale at the time. I was so excited because I haven't had a proper, sophisticated, adult winter coat in ages.
I had the sleeves altered for my short self and then I waited impatiently for the weather to get cold enough to justify wearing my wool coat. Around Thanksgiving I finally broke it out and it was all good until last Thursday when a grommet, one of the design details that really make the coat, popped off. Looking at the other grommets I saw that they were headed for the same trouble. Such a bummer!
This is where the story gets interesting though because the receipt was lost so I brought it back to Nordy with crossed fingers and, as it turns out, not much else. I had changed handbags the night before and forgot to transfer the checkbook I used to pay for it and my license. Ooops!
But Nordy customer service is legendary for a reason and the 2 people assisting me wouldn't give up until they found a way to get the defective coat returns and all my money refunded. We're all so quick to complain about things that go wrong that I thought it worth sharing service gone very right. I may not have my coat of epic cuteness but I do have my money back and that's very good.
Posted by hillary at 9:17 AM
Dec 10, 2010
Dec 9, 2010
This year I only gave 2 knitted gifts for the holidays. One was a pair of socks and this is the other - a new hat for my B-I-L who loves to hunt. This is Matt's Fucking Deer Hat.
It's actually based on the fornicating deer chart but I like my name better. And it's more practical too. How? Well, let's say that my sister and her family go apple picking next fall and... no, wait, too many kids there, wrong scenario.
Try this instead. Maybe later this winter my B-I-L goes out hunting with the guys and when he comes home he comments on how cold it was. My sister could turn to him and say "well if you were wearing your fucking deer hat, then the cold wouldn't bother you." Perfect, right?
Anyway, the yarn I used is Shepherd's Wool and it's so soft. Thankfully I had plenty of it too because the floats on this were ridiculous. They were so bad that I elected to knit a full lining to hide them completely. Did I mention this sucker is warm?
The only issue that I have with this is the fair isle itself. When I did the mittens last winter my floats were fine and it all looked nice and even without much real difficulty. This had to be ripped once and even now it's not quite as perfect as I'd like it to be. I'm still happy with it though and I hope that Matt will be too.
Dec 8, 2010
I haven't been using my camera quite as much lately but it's still gotten quite a bit of use. Especially when we were in NY. There, on Thanksgiving, my niece Ashley had a lot of fun with it. It turns on that a DSLR is pretty high on her wish list so I let her play with mine.
She started out with a basic lens and then, when she told me that she really wanted a macro lens I pulled mine out. Things got really interesting then. There were lots of pictures of soda, candy dishes, fingers flying over the keys of the piano, and adult beverages.
Of course it's inevitable that a camera with a macro lens attached is going to be drawn to flowers. she took a few nice shots of the flowers that night.
Tomorrow I hope to post pictures of a finished object. It's one of the few gifts I knit this year for the holidays and I'm hoping that it's arrived at it's destination by now. Warning, it's not exactly family friendly.
Posted by hillary at 9:20 AM
Dec 7, 2010
I have always loved holiday shows. I really looked forward to them as a kid and now I like to watch them with my kids.
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas - can (and do) watch this every single year. I love it so much that years ago Bruce bought a copy for me. Sadly it's a VHS so I guess I need it on dvd now.
- A Rugrats Chanukah - the Rugrats were annoying in general but this special was kind of fun and more appropriate for us.
- The Santa Clause - Sooo funny
- It's a Wonderful Life - Great movie but I'm glad that they've cut back on how often they play it now. I appreciate it more now that it's not so ever present.
- Miracle on 34th Street - I have a special place in my heart for all things connected to Macy's Herald Square
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Shrek the Halls - we just saw this and it was really cute.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer - I always loved this as a kid.
- A Christmas Story - You'll shoot your eye out, kid. I remember seeing this in the theatre. The movie I remember well - the guy, not so much.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas - This is actually one of my girls favorites.
Dec 6, 2010
It was another insanely busy weekend. DQ had a birthday party at our house on Friday night and I took no pictures at all. No pictures of the cake, no pictures of the Chinese food, no pictures of the kids playing Twister... nothing.
Saturday Stinkaroonie and I did a bunch of shopping and then we attended a Hanukkah party as a family. So many good friends, so much good food... no pictures at all.
Sunday I took Stinkette's Girl Scout Troop to visit a veterinarian and the girls had a great time. Then, we went to another party and ate more good food and... wait for it... didn't take a single picture.
Oh, my poor neglected camera.
Dec 3, 2010
Anyone who's been around this blog for a while knows that she's one of my favorite subjects and I have lots of pictures of her but this one is a little special. It's one of many that we took on homecoming and last week I heard her tell my grandparents that it was her favorite one from that series... because we're looking at each other.
Dec 2, 2010
There were so many good things about my holiday in NY and one of them was a little side trip that Bruce, the girls, and I took the day after Thanksgiving.
We headed up to Huntington to wander around a bit. We started at the harbor where I got my water fix. It's no secret that the thing I miss most about Long Island itself is the easy access to the water. So many of my childhood memories are tied to a beach or a harbor or some other body of water.
DQ wasn't feeling the pull of the water and elected to stay in the car with a book but Stinkette happily joined Bruce and I walking around. She even brought her camera out and took a few pictures. I love watching her with her camera.
It was an over cast day but we had a lovely time anyway.
After a while the cold got to us so we got back in the car and headed to downtown Huntington, where Bruce and I met there 18 years ago. We window shopped, and had a lovely lunch. I really need to work more little side trips to the I loved as a kid into our NY visits.
Dec 1, 2010
Have you ever had a package that, despite your best intentions, kept eluding the mail? I can't be alone in this. It's the bill that you put on the dash board of your car - where it can't be missed - and forget to put a stamp on it. It's the gift in a box that never quite get's sealed. It's the letter that sit's waiting for a key element of the address. Tell me it's happened to you too!
Anyway, this is the potholder that was finished over a month before it had to be sent out and yet, it was sent over a week late and only then because I happened to be passing a post office in NY and decided that even without an accompanying note, it had to go out right at that moment.
On one side this is a simple square with a progression of warm tones in bands of varying thickness.
On the other side its a warmer version of the Patriotic Sunburst from Jan Eaton's book, 200 Crochet Blocks. The yarns were once again a combination of Tahki Cotton Classic and Elann Sonata. Future potholders should be even more colorful because I recently enhanced my stash of Cotton Classic by quite a bit.
Now I need to start the next potholder. Who knows when that will get mailed out.