Monday, January 25, 2010

Tedious and boring

I'm not a swatcher. I'm one of those knitters that jumps right into projects on a wing and a prayer, hoping that the finished, washed and blocked object is what I originally wanted. And for the most part I end up with what I wanted. Not swatching, well it's probably that I don't have much patience. Now, don't get me wrong, I can sit and knit for hours. I can untangle the worst tangled up mess of yarn and not throw it away. I just want to start the project when I want to start it. And not knit a tension square, that needs to be washed and blocked.

But I have been doing a lot of ripping out lately and it is not because the project as finished is not what I want. Rather it is because I'm not liking what I am turning out on the needles. I think I have ripped out 4 sweaters recently. I knit and knit, and then look at the sweater and say, nope, not liking what I am seeing. Not this sweater in this yarn. Or not the feel that I was going for. A lot of dissatisfaction.

So, I'm doing some tension squares with different needles that I might use on some projects. And stick a needle in my eye, it's boring!!! Well, at least I'm not ripping.

Books read since December 15th:

3. The Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs
4. Swine Not? A Novel Pig Tale by Jimmy Buffett
5. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
6. One Day at a Time by Danielle Steel

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cinderella and Chili

I started reading when I was very young. Before I started school, I could read. I was enamored with books. I would ride my little blue bicycle to the library and check out books. As many as I was allowed to take home. I always participated in the summer reading program, usually finishing the required number of books in record time. You know the programs, read 5 books or ten books. I would read 20 or more. Books took me to places I had never been. And books taught me most of what I know about knitting.

I started knitting when I was 5 years old. I knew how to do the knit stitch, and I knit miles of garter stitch. Then my 3rd grade teacher taught me how to purl. We were allowed to bring hobbies to school on certain days to work on. And of course, I brought my knitting (by the way, my friend brought her crocheting and that's when I learned to crochet. She was making a ripple afghan.) Anyway, back to my story. Luckily for me, my teacher was a knitter too. She took the time and taught me how to purl and the door was opened. And I started checking out knitting books from the public library. I learned almost everything I know about knitting from those books I brought home. I poured over those books. I knit clothes for my dolls. If a store was going out of business, I would talk my parents into going in, and I would go look to see if there were any knitting needles on sale. I probably had a complete set of needles by the time I was ten years old in every size. Nothing scared me about knitting, because if I made a mistake, I ripped it out. I learned a lot of things by making mistakes and reading those books. You know, I never took a knitting class until I was 40 years old and went to Stitches West. And wow, who would have known they offered knitting classes?

Anyway, why am I thinking about this? My recent project reminded me of a book I checked out when I was a child. I would often check out books by the Brother's Grimm. And I loved Cinderella. In the book, Cinderella gets a blue dress from her fairy godmother. And that dress was trimmed in ermine. Oh, did I want a dress like that. And a floor length cape. Oh, a girl could dream....

So, in the past week, I cast on the Shawl of Cables from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2009. I had purchased some Alpaca with a Twist Highlander and in colorway 0096 Birch. And when I cast on the shawl, that's when I noticed it. I was knitting my cape, well shawl in yarn that looked like ermine. And it took me back. Back to my little blue bicycle, and checking out books, and Cinderella's blue dress trimmed in ermine, and imagining being a princess. Hmm...

I still love libraries. I'm sitting in one right now. With my sons. A great place to be.

Books read since my birthday:

#2. The Purrfect Murder, A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

And what does chili have to do with Cinderella? Well, nothing really, except I made white chili in the crock pot today. And it's at home finishing up. I really don't even like chili, but this is white chili. And I threw a half can of chopped jalapenos in it. The boys said it was good, but hot when I gave them a taste test before we left for the library. And, I'm thinking I might like this chili.

1 lb chicken, cut into small pieces Soy sauce (to coat chicken, about 2 TBSP)
48 oz jar Great Northern Beans
14-16 oz jar salsa (w/ corn & black beans works great)
8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese
8 oz Pepper Jack Cheese
1 soup-sized can of chicken broth 1-2 tsp cumin (to taste)
Directions: If you have time, coat chicken in soy sauce and bake at 350 until cooked through.

I would add the jalapenos.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


I heard an interview the other day that got me thinking. It was an interview of Barbara G. Walker. You know The Barbara Walker of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns fame? Or Knitting from the Top? An amazing woman, who sleeps 4 to 6 hours a night. And she is going to be 80 years old on July 2nd!

In her interview she stated that she didn't learn how to knit until I think she said 35. It was her practice to learn something new every winter. She would go to the library and basically give herself a course on a topic. For instance, she studied architecture. And one of the winters, she taught herself to knit.

And I was thinking, what a wonderful thing to do. Take the time, when the earth is taking a rest, and learn something new. For you see, I have been a bit of a procrastinator in the past few years. I think it started when I was beginning to get burned out at work, and it spilled into my personal life. Which is strange for me, because in the past when I wanted to do something, well, I just did it. I decided to go to grad school and get an MBA and I did. I thought I could pass the CPA exam, so I took classes while working full time and took the exam and passed. I decided to become an attorney, and went to law school at night for 4 years while I was working 50 hours or more a week, and I finished and passed the California bar, one of the 3 hardest bar exams. So I have a history of taking on challenges and meeting them.

But somewhere in the past few years, things have changed. It's not like I haven't wanted to do things, because that certainly is not the case. It's just that I have had ideas, with little or no follow through.

So, I am going to borrow a page from the formidable Ms. Walker, and take on a challenge. I have signed up for photography classes, both through the local community college, and through the camera store, and I am going to learn about photography and how to take pictures with the new camera this winter. I am also doing another project, one that will cause me to do research at the library, complete assignments and accept criticism. I am not going to say what this project is, because it's something I want to keep to myself for a while. But, I did go to the library today. And I did do some reading today for my project. I have some other things to do to get the ball rolling. I have a starting point. And I have taken the first step.

I have accepted the challenge. Let the adventure begin!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

10 in 2010

Happy 2010 everyone! A new decade. It's hard to believe it has been 10 years since the Millenium.

Like the new picture? DH and I were skiing on this trail at Steamboat Springs the past few days. It was so beautiful up there, lots of new powder and we all had a great time. The boys had fun in ski school, and DH and I had three days of uninterrupted skiing. Can I just say I love ski school?

I'm not setting any New Years resolutions, but I am setting some goals. And I like 10 in 2010. Finish at least 10 pairs of socks. Knit at least 10 rows on a sock a day. Put at least 1o things away when I pick things up when I see the house is getting messy (what am I saying - it is messy). Lose 10 pounds. Get rid of 10 old emails when I start deleting emails. 10 in 2010 is easy to remember.

I started my book reading project and have finished book #1 - The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs. I'm enjoying reading her series "The Tea Shop Mysteries." I need to start reading the Bible to accomplish reading it in a year. I have a One Year Bible, which gives you the date and what you are to read. I need to read 12 pages today to catch up since it wasn't with me at Steamboat, and then I should be on track.

Well, I have tons of laundry to do today and I'm thinking I'm going to bake some banana bread. And there is football, reading and knitting on the agenda for today.

Happy 2010!