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Posts Tagged ‘projects’

‘Tis the season to knit accessories – well, for some people it’s always that season. But for me, knitting tends to ebb and flow with the temperatures, and after my summer binge of hats for Sanctuary Home (total: 10), I took a break. And then I started my Christmas knitting in October. (I know. But since I usually get all kinds of great ideas at the last minute and have no time to knit them, this was a step in the right direction.)

Anyway. I’ve knit three Christmas gifts and a baby gift, which I can’t show you yet, but I did finally do some knitting for me – a Rustling Leaves Beret (Ravelry link), from the gorgeous new book Coastal Knits:

It came in handy when our Veterans’ Day excursion to Amherst proved a bit windy:

Handknits and apple cider. Mmmm.

Jane Richmond came out with a cute new cowl pattern, chunky and cozy and quite satisfying. It’s not meant for frigid weather, as it lets the breezes in, but it’s a fun fall accessory and I love these big braided cables:

Then my hubs asked for a long black scarf – not too exciting, but I’m always thrilled when he asks me to knit for him. So I’ve been working on that as we watch Castle (and on the T, when I can get a seat). I love the squooshy Mistake Rib pattern, and it’ll keep him warm this winter. (I also knit him a pair of ribbed charcoal mitts, since he lost one of the black ones I knit him last year.)

And – since my sister announced her pregnancy about a month ago – I am drooling over baby knits and wondering: what shall I knit the little one first? (She’s not due until spring, but of COURSE I need to start knitting!)

What are you making these days?

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1. A vivid green Parisienne shawl, knitted in Madelinetosh sock yarn.
2. The “Zenning” of my closet, a la Serenity.
3. Several book reviews for Shelf Awareness. (Have you subscribed? You really should – it’s a twice-weekly dose of great book news!)
4. Alumni news for the summer issue of ACU Today. Obituaries, weddings and babies – oh my!
5. A reread of the Harry Potter series.
6. Clearing out the guest room (slowly but surely – it’s amazing how long junk tends to linger).
7. Dishes and laundry. Always, always, always.
8. Some hats for the good folks at Sanctuary Home.
9. A steady stream of visits from friends and family.

What’s in progress in your life?

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So far in my knitting career, I’ve stuck mostly to accessories – first scarves (because they were easy), then hats (because they’re a lot more fun), then fingerless gloves (because I finally could), then felted slippers, cowls, etc. I attempted my first sweater for the 2010 Ravelympics. It was a success in that it looked like a sweater, but it never fit quite right. I was elated to knit a wearable short-sleeve cardi this summer, but it didn’t get a lot of wear before fall.

Since I now live in an area where sweater weather lasts for months, I decided to attempt a Vine Yoke Cardigan this winter. I splurged on Madelinetosh DK yarn in a gorgeous raspberry color (Tart). I loved knitting the vine lace pattern and was so excited to make a sweater I’d actually wear.

Well…I finished it and tried it on. And it flared out oddly at the sides, and felt too short in the sleeves and body. I blocked it aggressively (read: tried to stretch it out); it grew a lot, but I still didn’t like the way it looked when I put it on. However, it was a pretty sweater and I hated the idea of ripping it out, undoing all that work.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when I realized that if I frogged it, I could use that three skeins’ worth of scrumptious Tart yarn for something else. So I snipped off the buttons, painstakingly undid the underarm seams, and ripped. And cut and ripped, and cut and ripped, again and again. I had about ten balls of yarn, of varying sizes, when I was done.

Then Jill (Knitterella) released her first pattern – the adorable Smocked Slouch. And a couple of weeks later, about a skein’s worth of that frogged, rewound Tart yarn became this:

Ahhhh. Much better. (It’s already getting lots of wear on these changeable spring days, with my new plaid coat, also pictured.)

Anyone else have ripping/undoing/reclaiming stories to share, knitting-related or otherwise? (It’s so satisfying to turn a failure into a fabulous new project, isn’t it?)

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list #1: the soups

I loved doing a list a week so much last year that I’ve decided to give it another try this year. We’ll see if I run out of ideas – but here’s the first list of 2011. Appropriate for a cold, cold week.

My Favorite Soup Recipes
1. Cream of jalapeno soup. So easy, and a great mix of creamy/spicy. Good for colds, too (it’ll clear out your sinuses).
2. My grandfather’s chili. Ground beef, tomatoes, beans and spices. YUM.
3. Rachel’s tomato soup, which I made for the umpteenth time this week. So savory and delicious.
4. Butternut squash-apple soup, courtesy of Julie. The nutmeg adds the perfect touch.
5. Chicken-cheese soup, an old family favorite. Hearty and warming, and it lasts for days.
6. Speedy Gonzales – a cross between chili and Frito pie, courtesy of Abi.
7. Chicken Chipotle soup – courtesy of Katie, this is deliciously spicy.

Anyone else? Favorite soup recipes to share?

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Many of you know I’m a knitter – and that I’ve become more and more addicted to knitting over the last few years. Since my friend Joy taught me to knit in college, I’ve knitted dozens of scarves and hats, a few cowls/neckwarmers, a few pairs of fingerless gloves, some baby items and some novelty items such as Jo’s Welsh tea cozy and a handbag for myself. But until this year, I had never attempted a sweater.

I’m an avid user of Ravelry, so I joined their “Ravelympics” challenge during the 2010 Winter Olympics, knitting a whole sweater (an open-front cardigan) out of soft, bulky yarn in just under a week. It came out looking like a sweater, and fit OK, but honestly, it’s a bit small and hangs a bit funny, and I haven’t worn it much. So at the end of March, I started another sweater.

After THREE MONTHS of knitting, measuring, counting stitches, working shaping along with a lace motif (which translates to lots of counting, pulling your hair out, ripping back and counting again), then LOTS of seaming and weaving in ends and I don’t know what all, I have a new cardigan. And, I might add, it fits perfectly.

Here I am wearing it – and below is the sweater itself, complete with handmade pewter buttons from Roosterick.

This was such a satisfying project to finish – so much fun to see it all come together. What projects are you working on this summer?

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I posted recently about how I’ve been converted to yoga, thanks to a wonderful class in New York and then finding a fabulous local instructor. (My after-work yoga class is yet another reason to love Tuesdays, which are already pretty wonderful because of coffee night.)

Then I discovered Marianne Elliott’s blog, and signed up for her 30 days of yoga class, which starts this weekend and comes with a personalized yoga video (aptly named “Exactly What You Need”). And then, I found (via Marianne) a link to Bindu Wiles’ site, and her 21.5.800 challenge – for 21 days, you commit to do yoga 5 days a week and write 800 words a day. (It started Tuesday.)

This is all dovetailing beautifully. One of the items on my 26 things list was to start exercising regularly – and I’m thrilled to have discovered a form of exercise that works on both the body and spirit. I need accountability to keep me writing; 800 words a day seems like a fairly manageable word-count goal. And I’m so excited to begin with my own video from Marianne.

I’m not sure yet what form my 800 words will take; some of them will be blog posts, some will be journal entries. I hope to make a start on a larger project as well; we’ll see. (And, of course, some of them will be letters or emails to friends.) There are no rules on what the words can be – which is so freeing – but there’s still a goal to work toward.

There are nearly 400 of us participating across the blogosphere; I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. And since I spend my workdays sitting at a desk, I’m especially excited about doing all this yoga. I hope, somehow, that moving and bending and stretching my body will have some of the same effect on my words.

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To balance my post about Selfish Knitting Month (see below), I thought I’d share some highlights from the Christmas-knitting frenzy. I know it was all over a month ago, but I’m still proud of these projects and wanted to share them with you.

First up is the cowl I knitted from the Manos Silk Blend yarn I bought in Fredericksburg, which went to Amanda. I love the greens and browns in this cowl, and the pattern is a lovely one.

I knitted three other cowls, including one for Lisa out of a Malabrigo colorway called Paris Night. (I love the name!) The pattern name – La-La-Love-You – is also a favorite phrase of Lisa’s, and I loved this cowl so much I’m making one for myself:

I also knitted several hats – and hit upon a brilliant matched set of presents for my sister and brother-in-law. Here they are in their matching His & Hers hats, in Texas Tech colors (Stephen is a Tech grad):

Next are the French Press Slippers – Melynda’s wonderful pattern, which has taken the knitting world by storm. I knitted four pairs – for Mom, Lizzie, Julie and Dawne. This pair is Dawne’s – I love the two-tone look, and I’m thinking I really need to make some for myself.

And finally, a pair of very simple mitts for my very favorite husband. I LOVE this photo of him on Christmas morn, wearing his new penguin pj pants, a llama hat Drew brought him from Peru, and the mitts I made him (also in Malabrigo Paris Night – from Leslie‘s pattern):

It’s COLD here in Abilene – so we’re planning a cozy weekend with soup, books, Friends episodes and lots of tea. Hope your weekend is just as cozy!

(P.S. If you’re reading this and you’re a knitter, I highly recommend Ravelry as a pattern source and helpful community. I’m katieleigh on Ravelry and am always excited to make new friends!)

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Inspired by Ali’s post a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d do a little capture of where I am right now. I guess I’m still in list mode with the blog posts, but today, instead of a list of books or photos, you get a list about me.

1. I am really loving the Mondo Beyondo e-course, which started Monday, hosted by Jen Lemen and Andrea Scher. It’s a five-week class about dreaming, and so far the exercises and stories shared have been powerful. There are some things I will probably share here later, but for now, let’s just say I’m SO glad to be in the course.

2. I am working through a meaty to-do list while Ron (my boss) is on a much-needed vacation. The list isn’t long, but each task on it involves time, focus and other people. I’m trying to tackle one or two projects a day; so far, so good.

3. I am enjoying the early onset of autumn – baking pumpkin-chocolate-chip squares, burning fall candles, wearing scarves and long-sleeved tops and boots. However, I am not enjoying the headaches that come with wildly fluctuating weather, and the chilliness of our house in the morning and at night. (It’s not cold enough to turn the heat on, but it’s still chilly.)

4. I am one week into Ali’s Yesterday and Today class, and loving that, too. We’ve been talking about the stories we want to tell through our scrapbooks; I’m excited to start making some actual layouts this week. Ali is such an inspiration to me, in scrapbooking and in life.

5. I am (well, Jeremiah and I are) trying to plan meals and grocery shop at the beginning of each week. We’re on Week 3 of this and doing pretty well – realizing that we can adapt and switch around meals as we go. We’re trying for variety, health and yumminess in our meals. (Last night’s main course was twice-baked potatoes – mmmm.)

6. I am only getting enough sleep about half the time. It’s hard for me to put down the pen/computer/knitting needles and just go to bed. By the same token, it’s been hard to get up in the morning. I need to get into a better rhythm here.

7. I am rejoicing with Lee and Stephanie, our neighbors, about the birth of their new baby, Liam Pierce Fletcher. (Photos here.) I knitted him a little hat and bib, and they were a hit – with his mama, anyway!

8. I am deep into gift knitting – for babies, Christmas presents, and a just-because scarf for Mom, per her request. I love making gifts for others with my hands, and the way it forces me to look outside myself. (Sometimes I get too wrapped up in knitting pretty things just for me – though that has a place, too.)

9. I am loving my community – or communities. Good talk with the ladies at coffee night on Tuesdays; laughter and prayer with the Lifeteam on Sundays; long talks with Bethany; and all the fun and informative stuff in the blogosphere and on Twitter.

10. I am looking forward to spending some time with family soon – my sister is coming in next weekend (and maybe bringing my mom); we’re going down to Kerrville soon to visit my grandparents; and we’re planning to go visit my dad’s family for Thanksgiving. The older I get and the longer I’m married, the more precious I find my family to be.

That’s it for the moment. Where are you right now?

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