Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

What a gorgeous Sunday it is here. The weather is clear and crisp enough to put on socks and sweaters; just the kind of weather I love. I'm feeling broody today, in the sense that I'm doing all kinds of nesting things, like clearing out clutter and dust, making soup, washing the flannel sheets and blanket, putting the fall tablecloth on the table, and knitting socks.

I'm also a little broody in the melancholy sense, but not really sure why, so just working around it. The soup I'm making is a Bob's Red Mill mix from Trader Joe's that I've had awhile. It should help me out with dinner a night or two this week too.

Steve and I went to one of our favorite coffee shops this morning where I had my usual Florentine panini and I treated myself to a rare cappuccino. Since I had my stomach ulcers last spring, I have really cut coffee out of my diet, but I decided that one a week will probably be okay, and oh, it was delicious.

While we were there, I finished my Noro sock.

It's been on the needles a long time but I've only knit on it when I'm between projects or needed airplane knitting. Now that I've finished one and the weather is turning cool, I may finish the second sock fairly quickly, despite the very small gauge. I'm at a tricky point in the Tulip sweater, which is why I worked on the sock at all, but I'm glad I did.

I spent all day yesterday in a graduate class, and while I wasn't looking forward to spending my Saturday that way, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really do love the learning environment and I love learning more about teaching and how to improve on what I do in the classroom. It's also so good for me to remember how easy it is to procrastinate course work, which is why I spent three hours Friday night preparing for Saturday's class, despite having had three weeks when I could have done the work and not stressed myself out so much. Oh well, all's well that ends well.

Looking forward to the little trick-or-treaters showing up this evening. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Great Day

Gratuitous cupcake shot, from Linds' birthday in September. Photo credit: Stef!

I had a fabulous day today, but unfortunately I don't have any photos of it to share. Another science teacher at my school brought in some dry ice and I was able to do a couple of really cool demos for my students with it. So much fun! I can't believe how much fun I'm having this year!!

Steve is out of town for a Muse concert and won't be back until the wee hours, so it was just me for dinner. Normally I would eat out, but I went to the grocery store and got motivated to roast some zucchini, onion, and mushrooms, then add the leftover sauted spinach to it at the end, and then mixed it all with some orzo. A glass of red wine on the side, and I had a delicious dinner. No pictures of it either, cause I ate it all up! Wished for some parmesan cheese, but really, it was good without it.

Going to go sit on the couch and watch some mindless but fun television and work on the Tulip cardigan cause I love it so much! Wow, since this photo on Sunday, I've already added the two blue sections and the purple one and I'm on the edging! Turns out I get to try my hand at applied I-cord on this, something I want/need to learn. I've also been browsing the KnitPicks website for yarn to make my mother a sweater. It'll be for Christmas, and even if I don't finish it by then, I can wrap it up for Christmas as is, then finish it by her birthday in February. But I can't make up my mind which yarn to buy!! And I can't believe the paradigm shift I've undergone about the way I view my knitting skills! Thinking an adult sweater is doable!

Thanks to a link at A Caffeinated Yarn, I read this article and want to share it with you.

This looks like a fabulous costume! Not sure I'll have time to make it, but who knows? I didn't think I'd have time to make those cookie mixes either, but I did.

Hope your fall days are filled with joy. (Even though it was over 80 degrees today, it's still autumn, right?) I want some sweater weather!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Goodness

Wow, what a gorgeous fall weekend it was around here. We had Stef home on fall break, so we had Linds & Jon over for dinner last night. We bought two roast chickens and I made baked macaroni and cheese, sauteed spinach and garlic, yeast rolls, and pumpkin cupcakes for dessert. I think I ate too much, but it was so yummy.

Today, in between getting a LOT of school work done, I was able to put together five jars of cookie mix, from a tutorial over at The Crafty Nest. They look so pretty.

I didn't make it to the beach, which was a shame, but I did spend a little time knitting on the deck. I am loving this sweater! I'm on the fifth color already! So much fun, this one is.

This week is shaping up to be another crazy, meeting-filled week, with the added bonus of completing my presentation for Saturday's class. Oh well, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. Or so I've heard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yarn Acquisitions

I really hope to find time to make these this week, but I'm not sure how I can fit them in my schedule. Things are so busy right now. A little too busy.

My new teaching plan of having "Lab Friday" every week is loads of fun, but also, loads of crazy. Yesterday we made Gak out of cornstarch and water, to supplement our unit on matter. Four bells in a row. (I wiped out the cornstarch shelf at the store, by the way.) And we used pink water, to show participation in the breast cancer awareness day at our school. Lots of noise, but as you can see, total involvement by the students. I wish I could post their faces and a sound byte or two of their enthusiasm. Yeah, that's what the noise was, enthusiasm.

Stef is home for fall break and I feel like I'm missing too much of it. I had a baby shower to attend after school yesterday, and today I have to spend 2 hours with a classmate planning a presentation for next Saturday's class.

The Owl Baby Vest and Owl Babies book were a hit at the baby shower.

As a matter of fact, I read the story to my homeroom Friday morning; they loved it too, although probably not as much as I do.

Now I'm able to work on my new favorite knitting, Dream in Color's Tulip Cardigan. I love this pattern and yarn, and am already looking forward to making another using my own color choices. The best thing about this project is that I wanted to buy it last year, but felt it was out of my comfort zone. This year however, I snapped it right up with nary a qualm. Since I was wearing my handknit sweater, I knew this would be do-able.

Now for the rest of the yarn purchases. I bought two skeins of Shelter, one in blue (Almanac) and one in green (Sap). I'll probably make a Noro-style scarf (shocker) out of it.

I also bought one little skein of Habu Natural Cover Cotton because it's so unusual. I'll probably make a dish cloth or a little coaster out of it.

At La Casasita, I bought two skeins of Louisa Harding Merletto, in a rich red. I may try a small shawlette pattern for this one, to wear during the Christmas holiday season.

I picked up two skeins of Plymouth Yarn Boku at a yarn shop in Westport that I think will work well for a slouch hat or a Turn A Square hat. It looks like it may be a Noro-knockoff, but I wanted to try it because I liked the colors.

I bought a luscious skein of something at Rhinebeck, but I'm not even sure what it is. Hopefully Mere will remember. It's grey and purple and I don't know what I want to make out of it (who am I kidding, it'll be a scarf) but I loved the colors together. I think it has mohair or maybe angora in it.

Note to self: Do NOT take more than one project on the Rhinebeck trip or you will have to have stuff mailed back because it won't fit in the suitcase. What was I thinking taking enough yarn for four projects? When I was going YARN shopping??

I also picked up some soaps and buttons, just because they were pretty, but I'll show those another day. I have to get ready to head out for my meeting.

Even with the four day weekend, including festival food, I lost weight this week. My total loss is an even 30 lbs!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rhinebeck, Baby!

I had a wonderful trip to see my daughter this past weekend! The weather was absolutely gorgeous; exactly what I think of when I think about autumn in New York.

It still amazes me how much color there is on the streets, even in a big city. So many fall displays outside of the markets along every street. Mere gave me a welcome gift as soon as I arrived: these lovely colorwork handmitts she had made for me. I love them! The waves are a nod to the ocean I love so much.
We went to see Purl's new location. It was amazing to see all the samples from the latest book on display. I was also able to buy two skeins of Jared Flood's new yarn, although photos of my acquisitions will have to wait until the weekend, so I can photograph them in daylight.

After Purl, we took the subway over to Brooklyn and visited La Casita Yarn Shop Cafe. It was so nice! I wish a yarn shop around here kept the hours they do; they stay open until 10:00 p.m.!

I relaxed with an iced tea, soaking up the hospitality. They were very welcoming; I bought some fancy looking red yarn, perfect for a holiday lace scarf to wear with my grey wool coat. Don't you love the glass? I bought a set last year from Ravelry to gift to Mere.

And on Saturday, we went to Rhinebeck. The weather was just cool enough that I got to show off my new sweater, my new mitts, and the scarf I made from Rudee's handspun gift yarn! That's a new basket beside me, by the way. And of course, we ate more artichoke french, along with fried pickles and roasted garlic. Delicious!

Here's a photo of Mere and Ryan, along with the gorgeous fall color in the background.

I think I've seen this shot on every Rhinebeck post I've read this week!

For now I'm trying to dig out from under the pile of papers I knew I'd have to grade upon my return and finishing up the Owl Baby Vest, as the shower is Friday afternoon.

And I've also started a new project, one of the last Rhinebeck purchases I made this year. Can't wait to show you, but for now, it's back to work!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prep Work

I know no one feels sorry for me, going on a lovely trip to see my daughter, but it feels like I've had to work really hard this week to get ready for it (substitute plans, laundry, etc.) and I know I'll have to work really hard next week to catch up (a million papers to grade, graduate class deadlines, etc.)

Regardless of all the extra work, I'm so excited about this trip! Cool, crisp weather up there, sweaters and knits packed, Rhinebeck, trains, planes, knitting, a magazine to read; I love traveling, especially when I'm headed to see one of my daughters.

I'm hoping to fix this soup when I return (you have to scroll down for it), hoping the cool, crisp weather follows me back home.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Owls & Pumpkins

I blocked the Hokie scarf Saturday. Actually, I put it in to soak, forgot about it, spent eight hours in a graduate class, came home, and freaked out when I saw how much dye had leached into the water. But luckily, there's not a noticeable color loss in the finished scarf. Whew! I'm really glad I washed it before I gifted it; can you imagine wearing it, sweating a little, and finding your neck and whatever else you had on being covered with red dye??

I started an Owl Baby Vest for an upcoming baby shower, out of yarn I already owned (yay!). I'm using Rowan Wool Cotton in cream for the body and Rowan PureLife in a tweedy cream and brown color for the ribbing. I think it will look so sweet when it's finished.

It's for a little baby boy (apparently that's the only gender the faculty at my school produces) and Steve thinks it's appropriately "boy-like". I started it Saturday morning, knitted some during class, and worked on it last night and now I'm almost done with the owl cable section, so it's working up fairly quickly. Plus, Steve and I bought the book Owl Babies (one of the sweetest books ever) to go with it, which should make an adorable gift. It may even be my new go-to baby boy gift combo. (Truly, the book is so beautiful; I used to tear up every time I read it to my girls, it's that sweet.)

Speaking of the graduate class, even though there are things about being in class that are annoying (the person who has to have everything repeated, the people who never shut up, etc.) I actually enjoy much about the process. It would have been easier if it hadn't been such a beautiful day I was missing, but it really was a good experience. I have four more Saturdays to give up for this class, then three more classes to take in order to add another endorsement to my teaching license. I'm lucky in that my school district is still able to pay for continuing education, and my kids aren't at home anyway, so I figured I'd take advantage of the opportunity. Each class has an $800 price tag, and that's nothing to sneeze at, is it? Plus it's a good thing for teachers to remember what it's like to be a student once in a while.

I lost another 2.4 pounds this week, bringing the total to 26. More "new" clothes out of the attic and in the closet!! No money spent, either!! Since today begins College Week at my school, I made Steve take a photograph of me this morning in some of my "new" clothes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Handknit Love

Boy, wet alpaca smells a lot like wet dog, doesn't it?

Here is my sweater in the final stage of drying. It spent Tuesday night and all day Wednesday on towels on top of the dryer, then Wednesday night draped across the shower rod in the bathroom. This morning I placed it on Melissa's bed to finish flat. You can see the damp line at the bottom edge if you look closely.

I got home tonight and it was dry enough to try on!! Can you tell I'm happy? (Thank goodness I've lost 25 pounds or I wouldn't be smiling here.) Other than that line around my middle, I love the fit and the neckline and really, everything else about this sweater!

I feel as if I've taken another leap forward, knitting-wise, with the completion of my first adult sweater! I loved the ChicKnits pattern, it was so easy to understand. I'm ready to start my next sweater just as soon as I get the right yarn for it. I'm planning on making the Eyelet Cardi, also by ChicKnits, but I feel as if I should finish up a "few" things that are still languishing. Then again, maybe I'll just do what I feel like doing!

Of course, I'm not done admiring this one. Here is a closeup of the sleeve modification. I prefered the k1p1 edge over the k5p1 the pattern suggested.
I love the neck edging exactly as it is written: it's so neat and pretty.
And I'm glad I kept the k5p1 edging on the bottom of the body so it wouldn't cling to me anymore than it already does.

I am so happy that I finished it in time for Rhinebeck and I'm hoping for weather cool enough to enjoy the warmth of my own handknit. Pure joy, I think.

Mere and I are still working on the agenda for my trip. I told her the last time I visited that the next trip would find me going straight to her place and spending the day relaxing with her, instead of hauling my suitcase around NYC trying to see everything, then ending up exhausted. But as this trip draws nearer, I'm wavering. I'll get into LaGuardia around 9 a.m. on Friday and I don't leave until 8:30 p.m. on Monday, so I have some time. And even though I'll be there the weekend after the NYC Yarn Crawl, we do our own crawl each time I visit. This time I want to visit the new Purl location and I want to go back to Brooklyn General . I also want to visit a new place, La Casita Yarn Shop , that's also in Brooklyn. And of course we're heading to Rhinebeck on Saturday!

Oh and here's the finished Hokie scarf for my friend battling lung cancer. It's not as long as I would have liked, more of a scarf-let really, but she'll appreciate it. I just have to wash and block it.
I'm thinking I should pin this one so the lace opens up, but I'm not sure. Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I finished the Mondo Cable Pullover!!! SO EXCITED!! All it needs is a bath and a photo session! My very first sweater (not counting baby sweaters). Details and photos coming soon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Wow. I just cannot get over how well this school year is going. I am enjoying every day so much. I stay so busy during the week that I haven't had much time to blog, other than the weekends, but that's okay too.

I've been working on my mondo cable sweater, so I can wear it to Rhinebeck. I finished one sleeve and am half way through the other, so I tried it on last night. The "finished" sleeve is too short, so I'm going to lengthen it after I finish the second one. The bottom edge of the body curls up more than I like, but I'm hoping blocking will fix it. Anyone have any ideas about that plan?

I forgot to show this cute pincushion that Mere made for me. Isn't it adorable?

Even though we had the equivalent of a monsoon for two days this past week, with a total of 7 inches of rainfall in 24 hours, today is a gorgeous, fall Saturday. Steve and I went out for breakfast and ran a few errands, and now he's off to the garden store for soil and I'm going to do a little housekeeping. The windows are open, the music is on, and life is good here by the bay.

Wanted to share an updated photo of my "nature table", the ledge under my kitchen window where I like to display my beach finds.

Exciting weigh-in news! I lost 4 pounds this week, which brings me to a grand total of 23.6 lbs in 8 weeks. I'm really enjoying the experience of wearing "new" clothes that have been packed away. And I just noticed this morning that my hips and joints haven't been hurting much lately either, which was one of my reasons for losing weight. Yippee!!