Monday, March 31, 2008

Recent knits...

I've been remiss about knitting-related posts lately, so here's an update on some recent projects...

A shrug I made for myself out of Sublime cashmere merino silk aran...

I snagged a bag of 10 balls of this yummy yarn at half off, which, at less than 100 yds. a ball, was not enough to make a full sweater for myself, but I was bound and determined to make something for me with it because it is so soft and lovely. I don't generally wear croppy things, because I do not have a crop-friendly body, but I had a vision in my mind of a shrug that I might not look so bad in. Thus, I knit this from my vision...and this looks pretty much nothing like my original vision. I made a calculation error in stitch numbers for my fronts, but I didn't realize it until I was too far in that ripping wasn't an option. So, I revised the design on the fly into this wrap-like look...and it's ok. I doubt I'll make another just because I'm not all that comfortable wearing something so short, even with a longer top underneath. Everyone at work seemed to like it, though, Whatever. I'm mostly happy with the design itself, even if it wasn't what I started out aiming for. I'm always happy with myself with I knit from a vision and not a pattern and it comes out wearable. LOL

My March charity hat...

A baby blanket for my daughter-in-law's sister's baby, who was just born last weekend...

They are doing a Penn State theme for the baby's room, thus the dark blue as opposed to baby blue. I have two crocheted chevron afghans -- one Kevin's aunt made us for our wedding, and one my grandmother made and I have fond memories of snuggling in when I was little. I love these blankets and have wanted to knit a chevron afghan for ages now. This has been a good practice project, small as it is.

The Lace Ribbon Scarf from the Spring 2008 Knitty patterns...

I'm not usually a big lace knitter...I don't have the attention span and charts make me crazy...but I've had this yarn for over a year now, and for most of that time it has been relegated to a bag on the back of a shelf in my yarn room, in the equivalent of Yarn Siberia. It is Ellyn Cooper Fine Merino, and it is bea-u-ti-ful. I bought three hanks of it. The first I wound into a ball, no problem. The second, however, appeared to have been wound into a hank by Ellyn Cooper's feral cat...good gawd, but it was a freakin' MESS inside, and it will probably never, ever be completely untangled. I lost a lot of momentum trying to untangle and wind it, and then I gave up. After enough time passed for the pain of that frustration to be a distant memory, I tried using it for several smaller projects than the one originally intended, but I have never been happy with any of them. It's a very densely spun yarn, smooth yarn and it has a lot of spring to it, which I find makes it tricky to work well with. However, inspired by Amy Singer's Liberate Your Laceweight campaign, I decided to give this yarn another try, this time in a (relatively) easy lace scarf. (Amy said fingering weight qualifies for this campaign, so go me!) And -- yeay! I like it! I've made probably a half dozen mistakes in the pattern already, and while I'm employing a life line, I will not be ripping back to it unless I muck it up so badly that it really looks like crap. And if I rip too much, I know I'll get frustrated and the yarn will just end up back in Siberia, and that would be sad.

Lastly, a sock...Trekking XXL yarn...absolutely gorgeous colorway...

I'm teaching my friend Peggy how to knit socks, so this is my teaching sock. Thus, I'm not moving on it as quickly as I usually do, because I'm letting her catch up so I can keep showing her the next step. She came over this afternoon and we successfully turned heels. She was indeed impressed with the sudden appearance of the heel (and really, who isn't? it's like magic every time!), but I don't think she is particularly enjoying the sock knitting process in general. Of course, I kind of remember wondering, "What do people see in this???" when I was doing my first sock too, so maybe it's just a first sock thing. :}

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I've been such a slacker with the pictures of late. Finally, though, I got some of Zach's graduation pictures edited. Thought I'd share some of my favorites...

First close up glimpse of my son in four months as he ran by during the motivational run on Family Day morning (he's the third guy behind the DI in the yellow shirt)...

My grandson getting to see his daddy for the first time in four months...

Seeing where his Marine adventure began...the yellow footprints...

I can't believe how grown up he looks in that uniform...geez... :}

Finally, his platoon on graduation day...seriously, I had the hardest time picking him out in this group. They were lined up just like this the day before during their liberty ceremony, and I took about a half dozen pictures of some other kid I thought was him. Feel like a bad mother much? LOL

(For the record, not that you can see much, he's in the fourth row back, fifth from the left. :})

I keep thinking about what a significant day this was for him, what a significant experience for him in general, this training to become a United States Marine. It's a big thing, you know? I keep wondering how he'll remember it all in the years to come...what will stand out for him, what will seem most meaningful. I hope he'll share that with me some day.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Five Minute Friday: Movies

Here we are, Friday again. I swear I've been wanting to post something all week, but I just haven't gotten here. I'm definitely in a bloggy slump. But it is Friday, and since I invented FMF a while back (and haven't always remembered to do it!), I have a built-in blog topic at least once a week, right?

This week's topic will be movies. Rather than simply list movies I'm fond of, I thought I'd partake in a movie meme I saw on Wendy Knits' blog this week. Here are the rules:

1. Pick 10 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. Looking them up is cheating, please don’t.

I'm only doing eight, because two of the movies I picked don't have quotes listed on IMDb and I don't want to assume I'm recalling them verbatim. So, eight. :} So, here we 8 movie quotes. If you'd like to guess where they came from, leave a comment! :)

Edited 4/7/08: Since it's been a few weeks and the rest of these have gone unguessed, I thought I'd provide the answers, just because the lack of closure on this exercise is bugging me. LOL

1. "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. " Tomzgrrl guessed this one correctly: The Blues Brothers. :)

2. "Ah, good morning. Can I interest you in some nipples of Venus?" Question posed by Vianne in Chocolat. I thought for sure there'd be a Johnny Depp fan out there who might recognize this line, even if Johnny's character didn't say it. ;)

3. "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while." Amy guessed this one correctly (I'd have been disappointed in her if she didn't! LOL) : The Princess Bride.

4. "Certainty of death, small chance of success...what are we waiting for?" Oh, come on people! Gimli, from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King?? How could no one guess this. I'm shocked!

5. "With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." Spoken by Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind. (Sorry, but "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" would have been way too much of a gimme.)

6. "Don't worry. Nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos." Ok...I can't fault anyone for not getting this, but it does make me laugh - the line and the movie! Spoken by the narrator in George of the Jungle. You have to admit, Brendan Frazier looks rather hot in that flick.

7. "My Morse is so rusty, I could be sending him dimensions on playmate of the month." Kim guessed this one correctly, as I thought she might, it being one of her favorite movies: Hunt for Red October.

8. "That is the sound of a thousand terrible things headed this way." Kim also identified this one correctly, even down to the correct episode! Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Five Minute Friday: Why I am Looking Forward to Spring

Despite the fact that the calendar says that yesterday was officially the first day of spring, it hasn't exactly been springy here this week. But there are hints...a little green popping up in my front flower beds from the remnants of the bulbs that I basically massacred a few years ago (they are tenacious little buggers)...the morning sunlight casting shadows just differently enough to know that the seasons are changing...and robins -- of course! On March 1, I saw my first entire flock of them, actually. If that doesn't speak to the imminence of spring, I don't know what does.

So, today, for the next five minutes, I will list my reasons why I cannot wait for spring to actually get here and stay!

1. Winters here in Pittsburgh are long and gray and cold, even if they've been light on the snow as has been the case this year.

2. Anticipation of seeing the fresh green leaves as they start to cover the watching the hillsides go from barren to full day by day.

3. Being able to leave the coats at home.

4. Longer days.

5. More walks.

6. Knowing we're nearing the end of our school year.

7. Getting the urge to spring clean, and then enjoying the product of those efforts.

8. Hubby and the kids cleaning off the back porch so I can begin to enjoy my happy place on warmer spring mornings.

9. No more dirt-creating woodstove!

10. Lower electric bills from the furnace running less.

11. Visions of gardening...even though they often remain visions for me, I also harbor hope that this will be the year I actually get my little salad/herb garden planted and have it grow successfully. Maybe it will happen this year!

12. Warmer evenings/nights for going outside to star-gaze.

13. This year, taking a late spring trip (hopefully in May) to my mom's in Florida...all by myself. No kids! Just me and the beach and my mom. :) (Trying not to feel guilty about wanting to do this.)

14. Seeing the goldfinches return to my bird feeders.

15. The scent of thawing earth. Mmmmm. :)

16. A general feeling of hope and optimism. Maybe it's the increased sunlight each day, or the warmer temperatures, or the new growth, or the tradition of hope borne of Easter as we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, but spring makes me feel hopeful, like anything is possible. Like I can change the things about myself that I don't like and I can be a new person. Kind of the way animals shed their heavy winter fur and leave it behind to enjoy a shiny new self. :)

What does spring do for you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Not in the mood... blog lately. Don't know what's with me. Just not feeling bloggy. I need blog breaks from time to time, so maybe this is a needed time of blog rest for me.

It's sure not been a time of knitting rest. Just finished a pair of socks for the oldest son. Started a new pair for me, but I'm having to pace myself because I'm teaching a friend to knit socks so I'm trying not to get too far ahead of her in order to demonstrate each step as it comes along. And I started a shrug for myself out of the most yummy, luxurious, sublime-feeling yarn, which is appropriately named "Sublime" (cashmere and silk and a hint of God, I believe). I'm not usually a shrug wearer, but I had a yen to try one, had a vision of what I wanted it to look like and how it will hopefully fit me perfectly. I only had about 900 yards of the yarn to work with, so a shrug seemed a most likely project. We'll see how it goes. I'm winging the pattern as I knit it.

I've also been reading a lot lately. Finished "Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality" by Donald Miller a while back and loved it. Devoured "Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion," by Sara Miles, a wonderful, gritty spiritual memoir, and loved it too. Neither of these were light, fluffy reads, so reading was accompanied by much underlining and ruminating on the messages within. Am now reading "The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy" by Calvin Miller (not related to the aforementioned Donald that I know of). Going through a discombobulated spiritual time as I've been recently, this book has been one of a few things that has crossed my path at the right time to bring my spiritual life back onto a calmer path. It's been good. More underlining, more ruminating. Have also been reading through the Psalms for the past week or so of Lent, as encouraged by a church I've attended a couple times now. I love the Psalms. I've been out of the habit of reading my Bible with any regularity lately, so this has been a good practice, one of familiarity and security and peace.

So, that's what I've been up to about you?

Have yourselves a happy vernal equinox tomorrow and hopeful Easter on Sunday, and whatever other holidays you might be celebrating at this time of year, may they be lovely and meaningful too. I'll be back eventually! Maybe even with pictures! Ooooo... ;)

Monday, March 10, 2008

So many thoughts...

Do you ever have periods in life when you feel bombarded by thoughts and feelings about some really important thing? Like you're being faced with some cosmic crossroad that a million individual things feed into? No? Yes?

Well, that's where I've been lately. There's been this Big Issue in life that I've been dealing with (or, at times, avoiding dealing with) for the past couple of years. It's nothing anyone else would know about unless I've shared it with them, so any random person looking at me probably would not see that there is a Big Issue dogging me. The close friends I've shared it with are, by now, probably tired of hearing me talk about it but are too kind to say anything. They listen, but they really cannot give me the answers I need. I have to find them on my own. Somehow, talking about it, verbalizing it all, has been therapeutic for me...or so I tell myself. Frankly though, at this point, I'm tired of hearing me talk about it.

I've largely opted to take the "ignore it and it might go away" tactic with it, but that really hasn't worked with this Big Issue. The Big Issue has always been just under the surface, poking me on a regular basis to remind me that it is still there, awaiting my attention. And because I haven't dealt with it -- because I really haven't known what to do -- I have been very unhappy in this one area of my life. And it is starting to affect other areas of my life more and more.

So suddenly, I find myself taking pro-active steps in dealing with my Big Issue. Mostly small, tentative pro-active steps, if there are such things, because I'm still not sure where it all might lead and it is, well, scary. I'm stepping out into the unknown, because it is the only place left to go.