Netflix Shawl…Patent Pending

It’s getting to be that time again…it’s knitting season!  Reading Shawl

A few weeks ago I woke up with a new knitting idea in my head, but it was only August. My brain must have been jumping the gun, but when I looked out to our backyard I saw that the maple tree had been dusted with with red leaves overnight.  My brain must now associate early Fall with essentially tying a million little knots in a row.

Despite having made a personalized scarf for almost everyone I know there is always more things to knit.  This year I have started off with a “Reading Shawl” for my mom, which is pretty much just a big scarf. I made one last year for my Mother-in-Law and I hope at some point it will cool down long enough for her to use it. I could have called it a “Netflix Shawl”, but it just doesn’t have the same imagery… But in the case of both ladies, I think it will be used for both reading and the occasional late night flick.

I grew up near the coast and during the winter I was always cold, so I wrapped a large blanket around me as I walked around the house.  It was terribly awkward, but wonderfully warm. Hopefully the Reading Shawl will provide the extra warmth and improved accessibility to such tasks as making that second cup of tea or finding the wayward remote.

I usually start my projects in September, working my way to the holidays and then maybe one last project in the new year.  It’s incredible the difference a few weeks make. Right now I am knitting at angles that keep the finished product off me, because it is way too warm to have wool on my legs.  In the next few weeks my knitted rows per hour (KPH) will increase exponentially because I will be trying to cover myself with my work.  Such was the case with Honey’s Christmas gift last year, after I hit the two foot mark the rest seem to form in only a week.

Knitting is one of those things that provides a lot of relaxation for me, but still scratches that urge to  be consistently productive.

Over the long weekend we went over to the farm and while the guys were making beer I taught, Viv, how to knit.  Well at least I thought I was going to, turns out someone had taught her how to do it when she was kid.  I showed her how to cast on and make the the first stitch and then her brain rebooted all of the things she had been taught.

In my experience, just doing a square patch on the first day takes incredible concentration and usually includes one or two mistakes.  She knitted the whole half ball of yarn I had brought in one sitting! I left the knitting needles that she had learned on because I knew she would be putting them to good use. I was right, now she is totally addicted-apparently she has been staying up late the last few nights knitting. It is only a matter of time before all of the goats have a winter scarf and the dogs festive sweaters.

I told her if this keeps up we are going to have to a Knit-ervention!  Haha (slow clap).  Yeah, I watched How I Met Your Mother last week.  Sorry.

But getting her interested in it really inspired me. I think I have to up my game a little, learn some new patterns, maybe make some new items, use all of the knitting books Honey got me for Christmas.  But first I have to finish the project I already started.  I hear knitters are  for having many projects going at once and hoarding yarn for potential projects.  I am trying my best to fight that urge, but there’s so many pretty colors!

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Tea Time

A few years ago when I wasn’t paying attention I became a tea person.  At first it was just a substitute for coffee, something that wouldn’t give me such a hard wake-up-jolt.  Then I started having a cup in the afternoon, something to sip on that would keep me out the naughty part of the pantry.  Then I started reading about the health benefits of Green Tea and I started drinking a cup of that like it was an everyday multivitamin.  When I considered starting to buy tea at Costco, I figured I couldn’t deny my love of tea anymore.

So obviously when I set out to make my office a place I could easily spend hours and hours in, I knew in some way it had to include tea.  My office is in the opposite corner of the house from the kitchen, so when I go to make another cup I can usually find one or eight other distractions along the way.  I can usually find a cute kitty that meows at me or rolls on its side so I can pet its stomach, there might be a laundry cycle finishing up that needs to be put away, and of course there is always the dishes staring at me as I wait for my kettle to boil.  It wasn’t helping with my attempts at a quick break, so I I tried to think of a non-fire hazard alternative that could work. I found one on Pinterest-because you know everything is on freaking Pinterest now.  It was under Ikea Hacks and it was a called a Råskog. It seems like it is one of the most versatile items in all of IKEA.  People use them in kitchens, bathrooms, kids rooms, on patios as cleaning stations, plant holders, bars, and even pet beds.  I figured I could use mine as a tea cart.

Tea Tray

And knitting project holder (which I could have really used this holiday season).

It works well because I can just fill up the pot before I begin to write and flip a switch whenever my cup needs a refill.  It has led to lower productivity in dish washing, but it has made it easier to write for longer periods of time, which I have enjoyed.

So what would you use a cart like that for?

Guest Room Revisited

Last weekend we had our friends Kudra and Porter stay over. We actually knew them back in San Diego, they had moved to North Carolina four months before we did.  In fact when they moved we had no idea that we were going to be living in the same state again so soon.  I would have taken better notes of Kudra’s moving methods if I had known.

And while we are in the same state, we are in different regions so we actually had not seen them since San Diego.  We had an excellent time with them last weekend; taking them to some of our favorite restaurants, one good brewery, one okay one, and lots of talks.  I didn’t get in the walk I wanted to take with Kudra (former Walking Buddy) but hopefully we will see them again soon (next time at their place!).  I found it telling that they gravitated to the front room downstairs, that we refer to as the library (though now I’m calling it the Books & Booze Room, since we ended up putting the bar in there too).  Most people like to be in the back room next to the kitchen that has the TV and stereo.  I liked getting to spend time with friends in the B&B room, no distractions from conversation except the occasional pouncing kitty.  Hitch made incredible strides in bravery the weekend by actually coming downstairs and visiting with “strangers” in the house.  In the past he just hides until they fall asleep and then sneaks into our room.  Hopefully his bravery will continue for future guests and visitors.   I swear if I didn’t have so much photographic evidence of him, our friends would think we’re making him up.

Of course this visit was a wonderful excuse to fix up the guest room, a project that had been bugging me for some time.   When Firefly stayed here last summer the room wasn’t actually ready for her, but she came three days after we moved in so there wasn’t much we could do before hand.  A few weeks back, in a random 48-hour period of warm days I finally painted over the dull, mute blue walls and dark blue molding with a light gray and white.   Then I said good-bye to our old mattress, that had been retired into the guest room,  so we got a new one that didn’t require a chiropractic appointment after use.  With a sale and membership enrollment we got a pretty good deal on it, as a bonus the delivery guys took away the old mattress for free. Which is good because the large pick up service here sucks and I didn’t want to be the neighbors with a bright pink mattress on the lawn for a week. We got a night stand and some mirrors for the wall  but all the rest we already had. 

I had painted the artwork above the bed last Spring when I discovered the show “House of Cards” and had to find something to do while I watched.

GuestRoom1

I am not a knickknack person, so when I have to decorate new spaces it is usually a challenge.  I don’t want to go out and get something just to fill an empty spot, I want it to be pretty or mean something; so I had to get creative to fill some of the blank spots in the bookcase.

GuestRoom2I got some California flowers for our California friends and knitted them each a scarf (that’s what the dark things are on the bottom shelf).  It was kind of like a belated Christmas gift, though as a joke I did consider telling them the scarves were there because the heater in their room was broken.  I got the yellow lantern and the white frame from Ikea when we got the night stand, all the other knickknacks were repurposed from other rooms.

GuestRoom4I put in magazines that I knew Kudra might want to browse through (they are settling into a new house as well).  But honestly I wanted to read them too, I just gave them first dibs.

GuestRoom3Since there was still room on the bookshelf and I was out of vases, I put a selection of books from our library that they might enjoy.  They garden but like us they have had to adapt to the new climate.  Then I put a light-hearted book by a Southern writer and a semi-haunting book by a known author that takes place in a North Carolina amusement park.  There was a theme I swear!

And then since I always seem to forget something when we travel I put out a basket with things they might need.

GuestRoom5

 

I think they enjoyed the trip and hopefully they will become frequent visitors.

 

 

 

The 12 Stitch Program

It was my goal to knit a scarf for every East Coast family member by Christmas this year.  I am proud to say I achieved this goal and then some…

2013 Scarves

You might not be able to tell but there are 16 scarves there, several more were not pictured.  Two were in the mail, one in production, and three others had not been made when I took this picture on December 3rd.

As I knitted my way down the list of people out here (12+1/2) my quality improved and I became much faster.  I found myself getting towards the end of my list with practically all of December free and that just didn’t seem right.  So I added my parents and my sister, then a few friends, then my mother-in-law, then John asked for another, and I wanted another…so yeah, two dozen scarves later and I am wondering if I can fit in a few more before the last ship date before Christmas.  This is bad right?

I mean it’s not like I have a drawer just dedicated to holding yarn that I haven’t used yet…

Yarn

Damnit!

Is there a 12 Stitch…I mean Step Program for this? They weren’t kidding when they said it was addictive, but thankfully for my hands and sanity were are  near the deadline and I can start giving more time to my other hobbies.  It has been fun, but let’s just say I’m not planning on making matching hats for everyone next year 😉

Flannel

Flannel seems to be a theme right now.  It first began with a candle at Bath & Bodyworks called Flannel.  It was only the beginning of September when we found it but I liked it so much I insisted we get then.  We already went through that one and another called Leaves, already I have bought a second Flannel candle and I don’t think it will last through November.  It smells so good…

FlannelA few weeks ago when the nights started to get cooler I picked up our first pair of flannel sheets.  Oddly enough Honey and I have both had flannel sheets at different parts of our lives but between the two purges we made of items with memories and things that just wouldn’t fit, both of our sets of flannels never made it to the beginning of our cohabitation.  I kept on putting off making up the bed with the new sheets. “Next week, if it gets cooler” I would tell him, but I just kept on cleaning the lighter sheets and putting them back on the bed.  The lows were only going in high 40s and I wanted us to acclimate to the change rather than forcing a fake heat.  Finally over the weekend fate (aka a hairball) gave me cause to change the sheets immediately.  I am really happy I did because last night we had our first snow of the season.

It was only a light snow, but it still got us excited.   When we moved here last January and were greeted a few weeks later with a good snow, we were warned by other residents that what we experienced was rare.  Some winters it doesn’t snow at all, but Honey and I hoped in the back of our minds that we would get to see snow again this year…and what do you know-we did and even unseasonably early.  Once again we were the only crazy people outside in the snow, with the exception of an idiotic, dark-clothed bicyclist.  It was nothing like the snow we had last February but it was comforting to know that we will get to experience at least little snow here from time to time.  The temperatures will be going back up into their Fall pleasantness tomorrow but in the mean time it is kind of fun to get bundled up.  While I was doing some errands this morning I realized it was the first time I had ever looked at Christmas cards in a coat and scarf.  It was good R&D for the knit scarves I have been making for family members.  I stayed nice a toasty and the darn thing didn’t fall apart (win!).

I know this may seem silly to those who grew up with defined seasons, but for me it is so amazing to see things that the calendar pictures I saw growing up depicted around me.  I just looked up the weather in our old town the last week has been in the 80s and 90s.  That seems warmer than I remember for this time of year, but the high 70s low 80s would not be considered unusual.  Here we will only get up into the mid 40s today, so we’ll be enjoying our various flannels tonight I’m sure.

Knitters Knit

I am not much of a hobby person.  Every once in a while I will dabble in painting, but it is usually because I have gone to a museum and have become inspired.  It occurred to me that since we will actually have ugly days that I will not want to go out into, that I should pick up a practical hobby to keep my hands and mind busy.  I picked knitting.  I began in mid-September with a book and while it helped me to a point I had to use YouTube a few times to figure out what the author was conveying in her step by step pictures.  YouTube, I am sad to say did help a lot and like many I have become a bit of an addict.  As the saying goes whenever I’ve been sitting, I’ve been knitting.  I even knit in the car when I drive in with John, only when I am the passenger of course.  I have tried and failed at a few projects but I have kept on going.  I still don’t like the way my purl looks but I have been keeping it simple because I have project and a deadline.

Since there are over a dozen relatives out here and Christmas is just around the corner, I figured I would knit a scarf for each of them.  So far I have completed almost of seven of them, with many having been pulled down to their last stitch because of an egregious mistake or awkward width. With practice, my mistakes have been less frequent. That number includes my first one which John claimed.

One of these days I will knit one for myself too.

I think I will make my Christmas deadline with time to spare so I might start knitting some more light weight scarves for the SoCal family too, if I don’t loose feeling in my hands by then.  I really enjoy knitting but unfortunately it has cut into the other past times I enjoy like reading and writing, but I am getting better.  I am not binge knitting all day and I have been starting to read at night again instead of getting a few more inches in before bedtime.  Oh my, that unintentionally sounded naughty.  Oops!

Of course occasionally I do question my sanity for picking up this hobby just a few weeks after adopting a kitten.  Every so often we have an incident but for the most part that cats are pretty well behaved considering the amount of yarn that’s been around.

Hitch & StitchMy problem is that they are more interested in chewing on the needles than running off with the yarn.  My cats are weird.

My grandma was in town recently and enjoyed watching me knit stitch to my heart’s content.   She also was a knitter, it used to be you knew you were a member of the family when Grandma knitted you an afghan.  She made close to 50 over the years.  Grandma was happy to see that at least one of her Baker’s Dozen grandkids was picking it up.  I will make her a scarf, even if I can’t get to everyone out on the West Coast.

It’s been fun choosing certain colors for certain people, with my limited knowledge of them.  I have started a new thing where I walk to my nearest yarn store and pick up only one ball at a time.  It is a three mile round trip walk so I figure it counteracts the time I will be sitting on my ass knitting with the thing.  So far this process has slowed me down a bit, but I don’t feel like such a slug so I am going to keep on doing it.  I’ll let you know about my progress and of course show you the pile of finished scarves when I’m done.