Tag Archives: knitting

Dates & storms (of the snow kind and knitting kind!)

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Last night my husband and I went on a date to the movies. We went to see the hunger games: catching fire. It was great. I won’t be revealing any big plot moments here, so no worries. The movies, the books are all great. Often, I am disappointed by movie adaptations of books, as well, the images on the silver screen pale in comparison to the way the story plays out in my head. I am partial to books that discuss dystopian societies, but the hunger games trilogy is special. The stories transcend time, in my opinion. All great books do. In the movie adaptations of the first two books, the actors have a definitive way of pulling at the heart strings. Jennifer Lawrence was beautifully cast as Katniss, the heroine of the stories. I love that she is a role model for young girls. Thrust into the spotlight after the success of the first film, she has shown herself time and time again in interviews as being a girl with a strong personality, a great sense of humor, who is also humble – not at all afraid to talk about having a positive self-image in spite of being flawed ( because really, we all are) and allowing people to poke fun at her. She seems to be incredibly real,down-to-earth. I’m no longer a young girl, but I do consider her a role model. I am proud to have her as one.

We thought going to the movies would be quiet as it was calling for a winter storm warning for our area. We were surprised to see that the theater we were in was mostly full. In many of our recent movie experiences, someone ends up talking through the movie, and it is a pet peeve of ours, especially when the person talking is of an age to know better (not a child). The crowd was actually pretty well behaved, and it’s always fun when the audience is engaged in the movie. We ate all too much candy and iced coffee, and walked home in the beginning of the storm that was being called for. It usually isn’t as cold as it was last night, with the windchill it felt like -32degrees Celsius. Crazy. The kind of cold that freezes the little hairs inside your nose. It didn’t actually feel terribly cold until the wind blew. And then each of the snow flurries felt a bit more like tiny shards of ice, but it still looked pretty. Like fields of white glittering sand.

When we got home, I resumed knitting and then forgot all about blogging. Oops. I am closer to being done my Christmas knitting, but not finished yet. I need to get back at it, though, although I am having a hard time moving at the moment because on of my cats is using the outside of my thigh as a pillow, and he doesn’t do this very often. Till tomorrow!

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Reminiscing about old favorites

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Tonight, we watched big top pee wee, which was a childhood favorite movie of mine. The other day I was telling someone about childhood holiday gatherings that included me and a bunch of my cousins piling onto a couch meant for three and watching Rudolph, Charlie Brown’s Christmas and home alone. Another of my favorite movies I enjoyed during my childhood was Pete’s dragon. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, and as I finish up my holiday knitting this weekend, I will be having a movie marathon, and that is top on my list.

I spent a good portion of my day today in our local shopping mall looking for Christmas gifts for my husband and dad. I find shopping for both of them difficult, as they will both tell you they have everything they need. Part of the magic of Christmas to me, is having something fun to open on Christmas and transports you back to feeling like a kid again. I went with a list of not-so-boring gift ideas for each of them, went into store after store and came up empty. I finally found a few things for my dad, and the gift I settled on for my hubby was not on my list at all for him, because I was having no luck on any of the items on my list. I think he will Iike what I found.

Alright, time to get my knit on!

Piles of wool before I sleep!

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There is a small mountain of yarn I need to knit through. I won’t be able to do it all tonight, but I’m hoping to have most of it done by Friday. I’m feeling kind of lazy right now, plus there isn’t really that much to show, but I will post a picture when I am closer to getting through my project stack. What (if any) handmade projects are you working on?

9 ways (I like) to Take time to relax

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In my adult life, I was surprised to find that of the people who participate in the holiday season (Christmas & New Years, namely) people tend to fall into one of two groups – those who love the holidays and those who don’t. I am, and always have been a fan of christmas time. it is very much a part of my personality to deeply value time spent with family and friends, cozy sweaters, the smell of evergreens, and the smiles, hugs and kisses exchanged in gratitude for wishes fulfilled. I love it all. Rosy cheeks, the smell of wood fires, the stacks of presents wrapped up and pushed under the tree, hanging ornaments, drinking eggnog and spiked coffee. It reminds me of being a part of something bigger. That love is complicated, but atleast for a short while each year, we push our differences aside, and embrace joy and the positive side of love.

There are a myriad of reasons as to why people may not like the holidays. I can understand when this time of year brings up mixed emotions when if you feel like you are obliged to spend time with people you’d rather not, or you find yourself deeply missing someone who is no longer walking among us, or just when you bog yourself down with the stress of over committing to parties and entertaining, getting dressed up or being worried about over indulging in food or alcohol, not to mention woes about finances or where you will find the time to go gift shopping. I wish I had answers to solve all of these problems. That everyone could experience the magic of Christmas. The solutions are not always black and white and what works for some people, may not work for others.

Even though I love Christmas, I am not immune to feeling stressed this time of year. I find there is certain nervous energy in the air, especially as we count down the days to Christmas Eve and day. Stress does all kinds of terrible things to our bodies, including making us more prone to illness and disease, causing hormonal disruptions or imbalances and disturbances in our sleep patterns. My stress this time of year comes from this ” negative energy” I feel around me, and also because of rules I place upon myself. Since I live so far away from my family in New York City, Christmas time has come to mean either I travel, or need to get my home ready for guests to spend with us, which usually means a deep clean, and some shuffling of furniture/large items to better accomodate guests.

In between my list of things to do – shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, packing, gift wrapping, etc, I try to make time for myself. Here is a list of ways that I try to reduce stress so I can better enjoy the holidays (or anytime of year, really)

1. Get the bulk of my gift shopping done before dec. 1st. Failing that, avoiding shopping in malls and big box stores on weekends. shopping later in the day (after 5pm, when people are likely eating dinner or putting small children to bed), the stores are usually less crowded.
2. Having a list for any type of shopping I need to do, organized according to store layout. I avoid spending extra time in the store that I’d rather spend at home, and avoid potentially over-spending because I am buying duplicates, or spending outside of my budget.
3. Taking atleast an hour for myself every day to do something special for myself or to do nothing at all.
4. Taking a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts & 6 drops of lavender essential oil (almost) every night just before bed. I soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. It’s enough time to read for a while and get sleepy. I do the rest of my getting ready for bed routine before I get in the bath, so that I can go right to sleep when I’m done.
5. Having a cup of tea or other hot drink (no caffeine after 4 pm for me) and either knitting, or reading while enjoying the warm drink.
6. Doing a breathing exercise any time I feel stressed throughout the day, and right before I go to sleep. Inhale through my mouth for a count of 5, and exhale through my nose for a count of 7 or 8.
7. meditation or sun salutations for 10-15 minutes, ideally done first thing in the morning.
8. Take a nap ( no more than 1 hour)
9. Listen to some music.

What is your favorite way to relax or unwind after a stressful day?

today i feel. . . .

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accomplished. I did a lot of cooking and cleaning and still managed time for me to lay on my couch and knit and listen to the ice and snow melt outside of my window. drip, drip, drip is the conversation between the icicles and the flashing on my windows. at first, it drove me crazy, but after a while I came to find it soothing. drip, drip, drip and the rhythymic clicking of my knitting needles as I blaze through my Christmas gift giving list.

thinking about gifts from the heart, and how handmade should really be called heartmade. stitching in intentions, hopes, dreams and well wishes. I love that about handmade gifts.

what is the most memorable handmade gift you have ever received?

better late. . . . .

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than never, right? I assembled this picture the day after my last blog post, intending to post about it. Then, we lost internet again. boo. hiss.

Then there was life. and nanowrimo, and time passes. Has it been a month? I’ve been off to a rocky start with this whole blogging thing. I thought surely I could commit to blogging once a week. And yesterday I signed up for Nanoblomo which has me promising to post everyday. everyday? yeah. I’m going to try my best.

This post about the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival 2013, is well past long overdue, but better late than never right? The sheep and wool festival was amazing. I remember it like it was yesterday. The day was bright and sunny and I got to spend it with my mom. Spending time with my mom is truly special as she lives in NYC, where I was raised, and I call Ottawa home. We are both creative types. I feel very strongly that I owe my passion for art ad being creative to my mom and my father’s mother. I have great memories with both of them, making all sorts of projects, often when I was home sick from school. I was sick a lot as a kid, too, so there were many many days home from school. My mom much prefers going to quilt shows, fabric being her preferred form of fiber. She learned how to knit as a kid, but didn’t pursue it much, so it was actually me who taught her how to knit again as an adult. I didn’t learn to knit from my grandmother either. My grandmother was an amazing seamstress. She made clothes, often without a pattern, and for a time, even repaired lace for a living. Sewing was a big part of her life, even as a senior. I looked on as a child as she pain-stakingly sewed projects by hand, her vision mostly impaired by her cataracts. I guess it isn’t much of a surprise that I came to love the world of fiber as much as I do now.

Sharing the experience with my mom was lovely. She and I have both been told that we have an eye for color, and she asked me loads of questions about how diferent things in the wool-world are used. I am no expert, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve learned a lot, from many great teachers along the way. I realized in our conversations, that I am as much fascinated by the science behind why wool ad fiber works the way it does, as in the beauty of it all. Chatting with her and sharing my knowledge with someone who could appreciate it, made standing in the long lines for almost everything a little more tolerable. There were lines to pay for things, lines for the washroom, lines for food, and lots of crowds. I’m not a big fan of big crowds. It was nice to sit and chat too and take breaks. Having such a beautiful autumn day made the experience that much nicer.

We didn’t get to see everything. There was more yarn and vendors than any one person, or two people, as the case may be, to see in one day. I had read before we went that it was the biggest wool festival in the northeastern united states, and they weren’t kidding!

In the summer, the barns are filled with animals. During the Dutchess County Fair which is on the same grounds every August, you can go in the stables and pet animals, sometimes feed them and see the ones who have won prizes. Those same stables were filled with vendors selling their wares. Booth after booth of mostly yarn. Maybe it was in the areas I didn’t see, I did expect more novelties like ditty bags to hold knitting projects, buttons, shawl pins and things like that. From what I did see, and I feel like it was well over half of the show, there weren’t very many vendors selling these things.

Now, it may be that I am hard to please, that the yarn all starts to look the same, and it is hard to find something new and different and truly special when you can spin your own yarn, dye your own yarn, and also when you have worked in your lys (local yarn store), and also that I found a lot of the yarn expensive (I saw nothing under $20 in the way of yarn), so it took me a long time to find some pretties to bring home. But I did find them.

Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool 2013

(from left to right, top to bottom)

1. Canvas ditty bag (sold by the festival)

2. A pound of silk hankies/mawatas from New England Felting Supply & two Kumihimo discs (I can’t remember the vendor I bought them from, she was a nice lady who used the wheels to make jewellery) – my plan is to dye the silk hankies and knit them into silk mitts without spinning them first, a la the Yarn Harlot. The Kumihimo discs I bought to use to make jewellery and also to do another version of making an I-cord for more interest in knitting projects.

3. The book Feltlicious, by Kari Chapin – because I love needle-felting, miniatures and fake food.

4. I made this! It’s a zafu (a meditation cushion). the top and bottom are potato printed with pebeo fabric paints, and then I made the zafu and matching zabuton using my mom’s awesome sewing machine while I was staying in New York.

5. A hitchhiker spinning wheel from the Merlin Tree. I’ve been looking for a 2nd wheel for some time to compliment my ashford joy. I chose this one because of the design. I fell in love. It was love at first sight, actually. After talking with the owner, I learned that the wheels were designed to be compatible with the bobbins and flyers for the joy which meant I was sold twice over. The price is significantly less expensive than other wheels on the market, which was another selling point for me. Both wheels also have folding/removable parts to make them more compact, but truth be told, I leave mine assembled. I find them pretty to look at.

6. Also pretty to look at? and touch, and squeeze, and pet? Yarn! All of the yarn pictured except for the natural coloured yarn is from Brooks Farm, in Texas. The natural colored yarn is from Bijou Basin Farm, and is really special because it is 100% yak. I’ve been looking for yak yarn for over a year and found it at the sheep and wool festival. finally. at last, my love has come along. . . . . you get the idea. it was expensive, but in my very humble opinion worth every penny.

I took more pictures at the festival, many many pictures of sheep. When I came home and put the photos on my computer I was really disappointed. Most (or maybe, all) of the photos are overexposed. I’m not sure what happened, because my camera settings were all where they should’ve been, and it was overcast while I was taking photos. I decided they were better off not being shared. I usually take much better photos. that’s fine though, because it’s just one more reason to go back next year. . .