Today's blogging topic is all about what skills you want to learn to enhance your crafting. I'm just going to leave you with a short list of things I'd like to try, plain and simple.

-toe-up socks (I will be starting my first pair this weekend, hopefully!) I hear they are "better" than cuff-down, so we shall see!
-colorwork (this rocking pattern has inspired me to learn someday)
-cables (I just haven't gotten around to them yet)
-completing a sweater, and all that goes with that (seaming, blocking, buttonholes, etc.)

These are my ambitions for now. I'd better get crackin'!


One Great Knitter

OK, OK, I couldn't narrow it down to just 1 great knitter whom I admire. I will focus on 2: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (AKA the Yarn Harlot) and Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed).

The Yarn Harlot is one of the best bloggers I follow. She is humorous, light-hearted, and above all, dedicated to her craft. She is the most prolific knitter I know about, and her love for other knitters is obvious in her enthusiasm for her readers as well as those she interacts with at her various speaking/knitting engagements. And, I love the way she doesn't *just* write about knitting. She puts a fair bit in there about her family and friends, which helps the reader get to "know" her on a little more personal letter. I strive to do something similar with my blog, but I don't pull it off nearly as well.

Another knitting blogger I greatly admire is Jared Flood. Mostly I love his photographs. They capture the beauty of knitted objects so perfectly, and the projects seem to just grab me and say "knit me!". His designs are just gorgeous. Here is some eye candy from his blog for you to enjoy:


An Inspirational Pattern

Today's topic for Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

One project in my Ravelry favorites that I aspire to knit one day is the Myrtle Cardigan.

I LOVE the lace pattern in this sweater. I love how feminine it is, even though I'm not usually a girly-girl and I definitely don't dress like one. I WILL knit this someday (hopefully not too far in the future). I have never knit a sweater, which is one of the reasons that this pattern intimidates me somewhat. Plus the fact that it will probably take me forever to knit, and I will be SO AFRAID to mess it up. I will overcome my fears, however. How could I not, when the finished object will be so beautiful and well-loved?


Knit & Crochet Blog Week

Hey everyone! Today marks the beginning of Knit & Crochet Blog Week 2010! My friend biomaj5 encouraged me to blog about my experience with knitting, so here I am!

Today's topic is how you got started knitting. "Was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?"

The first time I learned to knit was at the end of the fall semester of 2007 (I honestly can't remember). My friend Lindsey was teaching several of our friends at the time (very beginner techniques), so I decided to give it a try. I chose some size US13 acrylic needles and a skein of light green Red Heart Super Saver yarn and started on a scarf. I knit for a while, and then got bored. I picked it up again on a whim in the spring of 2008, and finished that scarf. I obviously added several stitches somewhere in the process, and while I still have that scarf, I never use it. Here is a picture of that fateful first scarf:
Hideous, no??
...and then fell off the knitting wagon again. It's been a very 'on-again, off-again' kind of relationship for us. Finally, in the fall/winter of 2008 I got serious about knitting. I knit a kerchief, and then moved on to a tote bag. This tote bag took me nearly a year to complete, mostly because I didn't have a lot of time for knitting (I started massage therapy school in early 2009), and I just had other things on my mind. I also began knitting a lovely lace scarf, which is still OTN (on the needles, for you non-knitters). Since then, I've moved on to more advanced projects, working on double pointed needles, and using nicer yarns. I have made a great e-friend in the process (that'd be biomaj5 again), and have become a part of a larger online knitting community, as well as a face-to-face knitting group which meets on Wednesday nights.
Until tomorrow,
viva la knit! :-D


Flower garden!

This weekend's main project has been completing our flower garden in the front of the house. We started by digging out the grass where we wanted the garden to go, and added plastic edging to keep the shape. Then we filled in what we removed with flower and vegetable topsoil. We did all of this on Saturday. Today we decided to go pick out our plants and get them in the ground. We ended up with 2 yew bushes, 3 Chattahoochee phlox, a bunch of french marigolds, impatiens, and dwarf oyster plants, as well as 1 coral bell. I'm a bit worried that the marigolds won't get enough sun, since our garden faces north, but we will see how they do.
Here is a photo of what the yard/front of house looked like last summer:

And here is a picture of the new improved garden area!
I will have to take a picture soon when the sun is on the garden so you can see more details. :)


The Husband makes his blog debut!

Hey there, all my faithful readers! Recently Tyler (aka The Husband) sent me an email after he got to work one morning. This is not unusual by any means, but this was slightly different than the typical 'hope you have a great day, I have XYZ meeting this morning, etc. etc.' emails I usually get. (Don't get me wrong, I love the emails he normally sends me, I just needed to mention that this was something else altogether.) He said that he had a blog-worthy experience on his drive to work that morning, but since he didn't have a blog, he would just share it with me.

I am always looking for new ways to freshen up the blog and bring you stories or information that are important or meaningful to me, so I asked Tyler if I could share his experience with you. I hope you find as much encouragement from it as I did.

"I was driving to work this morning, and I needed to have a talk with God. Recent events have left me feeling a little vulnerable, so I needed His help. We were talking, and He was just listening and letting me say everything I was going thru. I’ve had discussions where he wants me to listen, but there was nothing to listen to today. But He wasn’t exactly being silent.

I looked up to see the sun start to rise thru the clouds in the midst of morning rain. What I saw was a vision no painter could duplicate. There were gray clouds as far as I could see... everywhere except for one line running across the sky from left to right. It was like a giant cleft in the clouds. You could look as far left and as far right as the air would let you see, and it didn’t seem to budge an inch. The sun was behind the clouds, but this cleft opened up as the only source of sunlight in the sky. The rays of light shot in every direction, both shadowed and reflected by clouds in a color that didn’t even seem natural. Just when I thought the scene couldn’t be any more majestic, the sun broke thru the clouds in a brilliant light that amplified the good of around me. I could hardly keep my eyes off the scene that seemed to personify the power of the God who was listening to my story this morning. I felt touched, lifted, soothed, and overpowered all at once.

Now that He had my attention, he started to speak. Not thru quiet thoughts like I’m used to, but He spoke in a way that I haven’t heard in years. I had my radio turned on, and song after song spoke to me in a very personal way. They were all songs I’ve heard dozens of times. Songs that have caused me to meditate on the meaning. But this time, there was no question of the message of these songs. One was a song that brought me back to running during sunrise and showed me the experience of being in nature, away from the negative influences of the sleeping world around me, and feeling close to Him without having to even think about Him. Another seemed to speak for me, detailing how much I need His intervention in my life. It caused me to reflect on how little control I have and how necessary His hand is in each and every decision I make. Thinking back, I don’t even remember every song, but remembering them wasn’t the point. The songs gave me a message that is more powerful than any I have heard in a very long time.

As I drove to work this morning, thanks to the “words” of my God, I had no doubt of the power, the providence, and the majesty of the God I serve. And my prayer as I sit here today is that I won’t forget it anytime soon."


Monday Update

Not a lot to report this week so far! I got my haircut and a massage on Friday, both of which were desperately needed. The haircut turned out a lot better than the massage, unfortunately, but I can't complain too much, since the massage was free and I did feel better afterward.

The rest of the weekend was spent running (8 miles), running errands (bank, library, post office, oil change/car inspection), and relaxing around the house, due to the rain we got. Very little yard work got done, although Tyler started digging out where our flowerbed will be. We also went to a cool little garden/farm store this weekend that we will be visiting again once we need flowers.

This week we are going to try a few new things in our daily routine to get back on track to lose some more weight. We are going to start dividing our daily food intake into 6-7 mini-meals, which is healthier for your blood sugar and energy levels. We will also be trying to make sure we eat balanced meals with more fruits and vegetables. We are also going to start working out in the mornings before work, because I have zero energy left by the time I get home from working on my feet every night. This morning we went for a 2 mile walk with the dogs starting at about 5:30. Tuesdays and Fridays we will go to the gym to lift weights, and normally Mondays and Thursdays will be dedicated to running (we walked today simply because we had a hard run on Saturday). Saturdays we will continue to do longer distance runs, and Wednesdays and Sundays are for resting/recovery. Hopefully we will be able to stick to all of these changes!

I am still knitting away on Tyler's socks, and I'm hoping to be done with the 2nd one by this weekend. I'm really looking forward to starting on a new project for myself, and possibly finishing up a scarf I've been working on since before Christmas. I also need to start researching patterns for Christmas gifts. :)

I will update more later this week! Hope everyone has a great Monday. :)


Wonderful weekend!

This weekend my friend biomaj5 came to visit me and we went to the DFW Fiber Fest and a local yarn shop, The Woolie Ewe. We perused the various yarns and came out with some pretty good finds. Bio also brought me a little giftie: a beautiful 3AM Enchantments Petite KIP (knitting in progress) bag. Here are some photo highlights of our weekend!
Here we are on Friday night after Laura arrived. She brought me this:
The next morning we headed out to conquer the yarn world...
At DFW Fiber Fest 2010 (thanks nice employee of Shabby Sheep for taking our picture!)

I got some good loot while we were there: Brooks Farm Solo Silk (unknown colorway) and Malabrigo Sock in Impressionist Sky

In other knitting news, I also got my KnitPicks Options interchangeable circular needle set in the mail on Friday, in addition to some other notions, a yarn swift, and 1 skein of Comfy Fingering weight yarn in Lilac. I totally meant to order 2, so I'll be placing another order shortly.
I can't wait to start some new knitting projects with my new stash and tools, but I still need to finish Tyler's socks, and I should really finish my Ripened Scarf at some point, too.


A sock!

Last night I finished knitting my first-ever sock. It turned out really well, I think, for my first attempt. Tyler is pretty excited about it, too. I'm going to cast on sock #2 this morning to avoid the dreaded SSS (Second Sock Syndrome). Here's a pic of sock #1:

In other excellent news, I received my massage therapy license in the mail yesterday! It feels good to be "official" after so long!


A Poem for Your Monday

Litany - Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.