Miss me?

May 16, 2010

Have you missed me?  I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve blogged  – I’ve never taken such a long break before and I was worried that I’d never get back to blogging.  But I’m in a break between busy and thought I’d check in and let you know that I’m still here, and that I’ll be back (that also means that I’ve been away from reading blogs too and I’ll be catching up on those too – promise!).

As I mentioned before, the last month has been really busy and crazy.   Dan moved out, we had painting, repairs and what seems like a million things going on at home.  But now the rooms are painted and the last of the inside repairs was just finished tonight and things are starting to calm down house-wise.  Isn’t it stressful when you get out of your routine and things are all over the house?  I hate it – I always feel better when everything is it its place, and my routines are kept.  Anyway, all is back to order for now – next month we are going to start painting again, but for now, its quiet.

We also have had a visitor for the last couple of weeks – my Mom has been visiting from California!  She stayed with me a week, and I took  some time off work, and we had a really nice visit.  Lots of talking, knitting, shopping, and a little cooking.  I have had a recipe book since I was a teenager and it contains all the favorite recipes that I’ve come across since that time.  My mother and I were looking through the book and came across two of her fudge recipes (maple cream and divinity).  I commented that I had never actually made the fudge but remembered it from childhood.   We decided to make both – and I have to say – yum!  I can’t show a picture of the maple cream since it went really fast, but I did get a picture of the divinity before everyone ate it.

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I must say – it’s a good thing that she was here when I made it.  When she gave me the recipe, she gave me the abbreviated version that she used – she had been making the fudge for years and just skipped over steps when she gave me the recipe to write down.    She hasn’t made either recipe in at least 20 years, and we muddled through the maple cream, but when we made the divinity it didn’t set – so we tossed it and tried again.  And then I wrote down the steps!  Both were very good, and it was so nice to spend the afternoon in the kitchen with her, bringing back some memories.    I’ll be making both again – so good!

Mom spent last week with my sister, and went up to Boston for my niece’s graduation.  And this week she comes back to me, and we are heading down Thursday to see Andrew.  He’ll be graduating from the University of Maryland, and we are very proud of him and I’m looking forward to watching him take the first step into the next phase of his life (I’m getting a little emotional about this!).   We are planning celebrations for him, and last night I finally came up with the perfect gift.  I don’t want to write what it is because sometimes he reads this, but I can’t wait to give it to him.   

There have been so many changes lately – house stuff, kids moving out, graduations – its been hectic and so busy.  I haven’t been knitting other than when my Mom was with me – work has been busy and between sleeping on the train and working on the train, I just haven’t had a lot of time.  And to be honest – I was missing a little knitting mojo.  I have been working on socks, but it just felt like a chore. 

But yesterday I got news that has totally given me back my mojo!

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My nephew and his wife are expecting their first baby – and I am so excited.  The minute I heard I just had to cast on for a cute pair of booties to say congrats with – and I’m planning a couple of other things to give them.  It’s so exciting and I love knitting these little things.  I’ll post more on this when I post the completed pair – I’m already on the second one, and just need to find some cute ribbon for it.  But they are so cute that I can’t wait to make more.    Next I need to find some nice yarn for some sweaters, more booties – maybe a blanket.  And maybe this.  I don’t want to get too crazy about this – but I have to say – knitting for babies is so much fun, and I think I’ll have a hard time resisting!  Do you have any favorite baby patterns that you think I should make?

OK, I’m off to get ready for the week.  I promise that I’ll be back soon, and hopefully will have picture of some finished socks.  I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to – I’ve missed my blog reading time. 

Have a great week!

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Starting Coraline

April 11, 2010

I haven’t knit a sweater in a very long time  – in fact, its been about a year and a half since I finished Cobblestone.  I can’t believe its been so long – I’ve wanted to make sweaters but they just seem to take forever, and to be honest, I don’t think they ever fit well, so I think that I avoided the whole issue by focusing on shawls and socks and little projects.    But in the last few months, I have felt the urge more and more and I decided that I’ll never learn how to make them if I never try – and so I picked a pattern, bought some yarn and started Coraline.

The first thing I had to do was learn a new provisional cast on – I’ve done them in the past for shawls but generally its just a couple of stitches and no big deal.  Coraline started by casting on over 200 stitches and I was very intimidated by it.  But the pattern recommended a very good site with a video and other than getting my counting right (which is always the issue regardless of cast on method), it wasn’t bad at all.  The only thing I need to do differently next time is to loosen up a bit when I do it – some of the stitches were a little tight.  Very nice cast on –  much easier than I expected.  Here is a shot of the sweater with the provisional cast on just waiting for me to pull it.

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The reason for the provisional cast on is that you create a folded hem – it seemed to take forever for me to knit the hem but I finally got it done on Friday, and I’ve been clipping along on the sweater ever since. 

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Isn’t that hem nice?  I am really enjoying this project  – the yarn is just amazing to work with (Serena by Manos Del Uruguay) and its one of those projects where I stop ever little bit to just look at it and enjoy how it looks.  The colorway is slightly variegated – I’m not sure you can see it but its a very light blue with small bits of white.  Very pretty, very spring/summer. 

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My tension is a little uneven but I am hoping that blocking helps it even out.  I don’t know why its uneven – I think my knit tension is tighter than my purl.  I was thinking about why that is and I think it’s because I knit more than I purl – socks in the round have very little purling, and although the shawls I do have purling on the wrong side, I don’t think tension is important or apparent.  But for this it is – I think it will be ok – but I have to admit to a little worry about it.   But I’m enjoying the sweater, and I’m already thinking about the next one I’d like to make – maybe Featherweight Cardigan?

I took a spontaneous day off on Friday (well, it was spontaneous on Thursday when I decided that I had enough for the week), and had a really nice day off – and it was the start of a very nice weekend.    A little golf, a little shopping, a lot of eating out and a lot of down time too.   I’m going to be sorry when I’m out of vacation days in October, but sometimes you just have to play hookey, right?  The nicest thing is that I’m scheduled to take next Friday off too – Thursday is Larry’s birthday so we planned on taking Friday off to go play golf.  It may rain, so I’m not 100% sure, but the thought of two short weeks is sort of nice! 

OK  – I’m off – but before I go, I thought I’d share with you why I’ll be stalking the mailbox this week – I’m hoping these come in soon!

Have a good week!


Traveling Woman

April 4, 2010

I thought I’d start this post with a little sweet

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Doesn’t that look good?  Cieara and I made carrot cake cupcakes today (with cream cheese frosting of course!) and Cieara piped some carrots on them.  I have to admit – everyone in the house already sneaked one.  They are very good, and I’m looking forward to having another one later. 

Want to see something else sweet?

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I finished it last week, but finally got it blocked today.   And really – what a perfect shawl for spring! 

Pattern:  Traveling Woman
Yarn:  Top Cat by Wandering Cat Yarns, Aurora colorway
Started:  March 16, 2010
Finished:  March 30, 2010 (well, blocked on April 4, 2010)

This is a great pattern – very simple, very easy, very fast.  Just what I need sometimes in between bigger projects.  Another very easy, great as a first time lace project.   I like the stockinette portion, and I think the lace piece is a little different from other small shawlettes so it kept my interest, and I enjoyed working it.  This was commute knitting – so you know it wasn’t complicated. 

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The yarn is a cashmere/merino blend and I have to say – it was fantastic!  I loved working with it, and couldn’t wait to pick it up.  It is so soft that it would make wonderful baby clothes or blankets (if you think that a cashmere/merino blend would be good for a baby!).    I couldn’t resist this colorway when I saw it – it’s just perfect for this time of year – spring colors – a few different soft pinks with yellow.   Just so nice to see and use after such a long dark winter.    I’m struggling a little with wearing this – I don’t typically wear pastel colors, but I think I’m going to branch out a little and do it.  Because this colorway just is so beautiful that it will make me happy to wear it  – and make me remember that its nice outside when I’m stuck inside working.    I love this yarn too – I’ll be stalking the Wandering Cat shop for more  –  highly recommend!

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All in all, another succesful knit.    Fast, interesting pattern, wonderful yarn.  What’s not to like!

We have been really busy this last week – the room got painted, and we had a bit of a time cleaning up after the painter (he’s cheap but so sloppy – not sure we’ll use him again).  The room looks beautiful and we are starting to get things back in.    I’ll have some pictures to show you once we get it a little further along, but wow – there is nothing better than going to sleep in a room that makes you happy!     

We took the dogs for a walk today in a preserve right across the street from us (very convenient!).  They had such a great time – they are so happy that its nice again, and that we are back to fun walks.  There is a lake in the preserve and Penny ran right in up to her belly (we don’t think she realized how deep it was) – we had one dirty dog on our hands!    I didn’t care though – it was so good to be out in the sun and be moving.   Isn’t it amazing how good Spring feels?

I’ve been working on Coraline – I’m still working on the hem, but I should be finished with that shortly and then onto the body of the sweater.  I needed some commute knitting so I started a project today with the silk/cashmere that I picked up visiting my mother.    I’m having a hard time putting it away in my knitting bag  and saving it for my commute – amazing yarn!

OK, I’m off – have a wonderful week and enjoy Spring!


Sometimes you just need cupcakes

April 24, 2009

I had a week that made me bring home these as a good way to finish…

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Aren’t those amazing?  Cupcakes from Crumbs (brought home at great peril through the crowds of tourists, the overcrowded train, and the start and stop traffic during my drive home).    Yes, I know that I’m part of Spring into Summer (and I’ve been doing pretty well) but this week just called for cupcakes.  I can’t decide between the two in the middle – Hostess or Devil Dog?

I found out on Tuesday that I’ll be having surgery on May 7; its same day surgery, and I’ll be off work until May 18.  I’m actually glad that this is finally scheduled, and that it will be over.  I’m tired of doctors and tests.    And I’m hopeful that it will resolve all the issues I’ve been having.  And I’m sort of happy to have some enforced knitting time.  🙂

I found out yesterday that I made it through the reorg, and that my job is ok (as much as any job is ok).  I was really relieved to get this over with – this has been coming for a year.   I’m really busy at work, and it sounds like I’ll be busier – which is always a good thing.   Not so good when I know I’m going to be out – and when there are less people there to cover for me. 

I’ve been working slowly but steadily on the Aeolian shawl – except for Tuesday.  Tuesday I forgot what row I was on, and knit, tinked, knit, tinked, knit, tinked…until I realized I was on the wrong row.  After that, things got better and I’ve finished the third chart.  I am really enjoying this one – and I hope that I can finish it in time to send to my Mother for Mother’s Day.

I also started some new commute knitting…

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This is my April/May sock of the month – Socks That Rock and Monkeys.  Perfect.   I’m finishing up the first sock – I can’t believe how fast Monkeys knit up.  And as always – loving the STR.

This weekend is supposed to be beautiful in the Northeast US; temps in the 80’s and sun!  I’m so tired of cold and rainy weather, and I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying the warm temps.     Not sure what I’m doing completely, but I have knitting group tomorrow, and then who knows? 

OK, time for dinner and a cupcake…have a great weekend!


Contradictory

March 27, 2009

Its that time of year here ….the days are getting warmer, I’m wearing a light raincoat to work, and thoughts are turning to knitting summer sweaters and shawls, and bailing on more winter focused projects (which looks pretty much the same as it did in that picture).    It is also that time of year when people think about shorts, tanks and bathing suits.  And diets.  So when I saw this over on Kim’s blog, I had to join.

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This just seemed like a good idea – 12 weeks, and I can do whatever I want to try to get a little healther, a little lighter.  I can do that.  Just not tonight – homemade pizza.  But I’m going to the gym tomorrow, so I’ll just make it up then.   It is always nice to have some company on the path to being healthy, and I’m looking forward to doing this.   I’m trying to eat healther, and go to the gym more often – and get ouside and move.   Maybe that’s yarn shopping, maybe golfing – but its not just sitting around eating M&M’s.

But before I go completely heatlhy, and not to be contrary, I thought I’d share a recipe with you.  We made it last weekend, and it was amazing.  Completely unhealthy, and so so good.  Cieara had a piece and promptly told me it was her favorite dessert  – ever!  No pictures (we really ate it that fast!)..but how about a link – English Sticky Toffee Pudding.  Its not really a pudding (as Americans know it), – it is cake – with toffee sauce.  And really amazing – and pretty easy to make.  Just not on any diet that I know of since it has so much butter.  I really recommend it – and then I recommend you feel sort of guilty and go to the gym (just like I did!).  And now I’m trying to resist making it again. 

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I took a break this week from my lace scarf  (I can’t believe how long it is taking to make this – damn!  I’m so bored with it!).  This is a Waffle Knit dishcloth – and it was a nice, fast knit.  And in very spring-like colors.   And it satisfied my need (for now) to start something new – so back to the knitting basket projects for now.  I’ve been distracted from knitting by Facebook, and I need to stop logging into it and get some projects done…especially the lace scarf.

Its going to be a rainy weekend here – and I don’t have many plans but Larry and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night.  Today is the anniversary of the day we met – 14 years ago.  I forgot, he remembered (oops!).   Seems like so long ago – and like just yesterday. 

OK, pizza is ready – have a great weekend!


Saturday

March 14, 2009

I don’t have any knitting today – I’m just about done with one of the Retro Rib socks, but I don’t think you want to see yet another picture of that…so I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been up to non-knitting wise.

Andrew came home yesterday for spring break – and today it was finally nice enough to golf, so we went today with Dan and Andrew.  Just for a quick game, but it was so nice to spend time with them and be outside for a change.

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I did pretty well considering that we haven’t golfed in months – and in fact, I even beat Larry.  Total fluke, and I don’t necessarily count things the same way he does, but still..!

Andrew brought us home some beer from Franklins

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We ate there the last time we visited him, and I loved the Twisted Turtle beer so I asked him to pick me up some.  (It is a whole new relationship when you ask your kids to buy you beer!).     And tonight Larry made the perfect dinner to go with it.

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Twisted Turtle and home-made calzones.  Perfect way to end a very nice day!

I’ve decided that I’m only going to do my sock club every other month – I don’t seem to be knitting as much as I used to, or I’m knitting slower…but things are taking me longer (I think its sleeping on the train, blogging, Ravelry and Facebook…) and I want to work on other things and not just the socks.    I have so many projects I want to work on – did you see the new Knitty?  Or how about this shawl?   I really need to either knit more, or knit faster!

It looks like I’m going to have a little extra knitting time soon – I found out that I need to have surgery  – I dont think its major, but I go this Friday for a MRI to find out the whole scope of it.    At a minimum, I think I’ll be off work for a week or two, so I’m hoping to get some projects done.    See?  knitting is the silver lining in any situation! 

Well, hopefully I’ll have some finished socks to show you next time – or maybe a new project if I just can’t resist…but have a great week!


Mmmm…banana….

May 8, 2008

I worked from home today – I started at 6:00 this morning and finally logged off at 5:40.  I work at my kitchen table, and all day I found myself looking at the fruit bowl.  I’d be on a call, look up – and look at the 4 bananas there that were just too ripe.  I’d look up from the document I was writing – and those stupid bananas were there .  So at 5:45, I took care of it…

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Banana cupcakes – the recipe was from Fannie Farmer Baking and it is a really good banana cupcake recipe.  I’ve had this cookbook for years and years, and I’ve never made anything that wasn’t great.  I wasn’t quite sure on the frosting – I had planned on cream cheese – and then realized that we didn’t have any.  I thought about chocolate but Cieara doesn’t like chocolate.  I finally found the perfect frosting – Honey Cinnamon from Serious Eats.  These are so good – the frosting really compliments the banana.    If you’d like the cupcake recipe, let me know – I’ll email it (or post it).

So I’m off tomorrow, and just in time.  What a crazy week!  My organization is re-organizing, and we’ve been waiting for a while to hear the announcement.  Rumors are getting out of hand (rumor has given me at least 100 new managers in the last few months), and people are just getting more and more worried about their jobs.  That kind of thing just doesn’t make the best working environment.  The word finally came down this afternoon that they would be making the announcements tomorrow.  So I guess I’ll find out on Monday – I think I’ll be ok, but its just hard to have to deal with all this.  On top of that – it was the week for all my clients to be crazy.  Simply crazy.  So it was good to shut the laptop off, put it in my briefcase and hide it in the closet until Monday. 

I bought a little yarn last night…not saying what, but I may have bought some laceweight that I’ve been looking at for a while.  And I know there is no way that it could be in my mailbox today – but I have to admit I was a tiny bit disappointed it wasn’t. 

I have also managed to make suggestions for three totally different plans next weekend – I have knitting group on Saturday.  But I also suggested to some friends that we should go to the Webs tent sale.  And that we should go see the Yarn Harlot in Philadelphia on Sunday (side trip to Loop?).    It may sound like all three things are possible – but Webs is 220 miles from here – 4 hours each way.  I don’t think I’d want to then drive another 75 miles (each way) the next day.  I hate when too many things happen on the same weekend, don’t you?  And I also realize that I have stated over and over that I’m not buying yarn right now – that I’m knitting out of the stash.  Sigh.

OK, off to knit Icarus – hoping to get to the lace part this weekend – and I need to look up how to put in a lifeline. 

Have a great Friday!