Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TED Knits

Simple Comforts Wrap
Paton's Grace

What do you do while knitting?   Do you ponder the universe?   Let your mind wander freely?  Watch TV?   Listen to a good book?  Chat with friends?  Probably, like me, you do all of those things.  

One of my favorite knitting companions is TED.   TED bills itself as "Ideas worth spreading".     TED brings us 18 minute long "riveting talks by remarkable people".     Today, I am listening to a group of talks by artists talking about what it means to each of them to create.   Tomorrow, I might be in the mood for science, or humor, or social justice.   I don't know about you but my mind needs to be fed.   TED is yummy brain food.

Recently, TI & I hit a local Starbucks for sustenance (aka caffeine).   While waiting for our drinks we were happily discussing TED's upcoming visit to Jacksonville.   Our barista joined the discussion.  He loves TED too.   It took a few minutes to sort out the fact that we were having two different conversations.   We were talking about TED (Technology Education Design) he was talking about "Ted" (the R rated movie with the rude teddy bear).    If that were not goofy enough, there was another patron enjoying the heck out of our exchange.   It seems she quickly picked up our differing perspectives on what "ted" meant to each of us.    TED & Ted, Jacksonville in a nutshell.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


"Are you sure?" asked the nice man at the Sprint store.   I then proceeded to assure him that I was absolutely, positively certain that I had done a recent back up of my iPhone and yes, he really could reset it to factory settings in order to complete T2's upgrade (I gave him my upgrade since I took his a couple of months ago).   Turns out that I had not done a back up EVER which means that I lost all of the photos on my phone, including those destined for the blog.   OOPS

Contrary to the lack of photographic evidence, there has been quite a bit going on at Chez Serenity.   We are in the process of getting back into our home.   The construction, painting, carpets, etc. are done.   It looks wonderful.   Tomorrow the appliances arrive.   The furniture is due a the beginning of August and we are planning to buy beds this weekend.    If everything goes according to plan, we should be in by the second week of August.

Things are moving along on the knitting front too.   Test knitting of the new shawl is going well, and I replacement samples of the Simple Comfort Wrap and Simple Joys Shawl are looking good.   I've been so busy at the house that I have not gotten new pics of them but I will try to remember to get that done soon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Test Knitting

Pearlescent Stroll & Flowers
@ Chez Serenity

Yesterday was one of those days.  One of those fun days that we hold near and dear to our hearts.   Not for the first time, Kerri, Michelle, and I met Kerri's MIL (Faye) half way between our homes and hers for lunch, laughter and knitting.   It was, as it always is, an absolute blast.  

This time, though, had a bit more purpose than our usual meet ups.   These lovely ladies, are test knitting my Simply Exquisite Shawl (working title).   I am so grateful for their help.   With three knitters, of varying abilities, working on it, I feel like it should be ready for anyone when it goes up for sale.

I am actually knitting two of them at the same time.   One destined to be a store sample for my local yarn shop, and one just to wear and show off.   I've already gotten some interest in a weekend KAL at a west coast (of FL) shop.   I will write more about that when the details are firmed up.

Do you like this yarn?   As a self-professed yarn snob, I am resistant to even little bits of man-made fibers but Kerri, inspired me to give Knit-Picks Stroll Tonal a try.    I love this color (pearlescent) , it is a mix of ivories and greys that sounds boring but is really quite elegant in person.   It is not terribly rough but perhaps not as soft as I would like.  Obviously, I not put off by it, since I have already ordered more to make that Old Glory Shawl I showed you a couple of weeks ago.  

Our house is coming along nicely.   We are in a holding pattern now as the county inspector is waiting for the electric to be turned on and the electric company is waiting for the county inspection.    I feel like this stand-off is our fault.   We have been telling anyone who will listen how impressed we are with  the way things have been coming together so smoothly.  Obviously, we jinxed it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Up and Running...

Chez Serenity
As you can see, things are looking up at Chez Serenity.   While there is still a dumpster in our driveway, we have been power washed and now have a spiffy new garage door.   I am stunned at how fast the work has gone.  When I spoke to our contractor earlier this week, he said that he was pretty surprised himself.   He says that he has never worked on a project that has gone this smoothly before (while assuring me that all of his jobs go well, it is just that this one has gone especially well).   The carpeting is going in today.   If all continues to go well, we will be ready to start putting in furniture, appliances, etc. by the end of next week.   How cool is that?

We were planning to do an IKEA run this weekend but have put that off in the wake of incoming Zimmerman verdict.    We are hearing from friends in the area that violence is expected regardless of the verdict.   That there should even be a question of his guilt is disturbing (an armed adult, confronted and killed an unarmed child!).   Violence from either side would only add to the horror of the already horrific circumstances.

Okay, off my soapbox, and on to happier thoughts.   Do you like our front door?   When we picked the color, we did not expect it to be quite so....vibrant (?).    Do you watch Dr. Who?   It looks like a TARDIS.   At first we thought no one but us would notice.   That thought was a goner when  our friends started congratulating us on our really cool TARDIS blue door.   Then we figured we would just repaint it a deeper blue, but after some thought we have decided to leave it for now.   It is starting for grow on us.  We are Whovians, after all.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Damn Knitting

For some time before the fire, I was working on a new shawl pattern.   Something more complicated than the ones that had come before.    One that required charts, and attention, and patience.   We took the finished sample to the beach to take lovely pictures.   I showed the pictures to a LYS owner.   She called it "exquisite".   Exquisite, I thought, maybe that is what I should name it.    All I had left to do was to turn my notes and charts into a marketable pattern.   That, of course, being my weak spot, it took me months to get the pattern written up and formatted nicely.

Then, the fire happened.   The sample was ruined with smoke & soot.  I tried cleaning it but the process made the fibers fuzzy (okay for casual wear but out of the question for submission or a shop sample).   Even the fuzzy version is lost since I left it drying at the hotel we stayed at those first couple of nights (Yes, I called.  No one turned it in).   Damn.

Oddly enough, losing the sample made me that much more determined to recreate the shawl (and yes, thank you, I think I will call it the Simply Exquisite Shawl!).   The only problem is that both of my computers died in the fire and I never printed a copy.   Damn.

On the up side, though, my notes survived (in one of the totes I rescued the night of the fire).   I know what and how much yarn I used.   I know what size needle I used and I have a printed copy of the main lace chart.   Unfortunately, I did not see fit to make notes on how I began the shawl, nor how/what I did to set the stitches up for the lace chart.  Damn.

Using pictures (thank heavens I back-up all of my photos to Picasa), I was able to recreate the first part of the shawl.   I am on a roll.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Knitting

Happy 4th of July!

Free Baby Cashmerino US Flag
by Debbie Bliss

In honor of the day, and because I have nothing new of my own to show you, I want to point you to two really cool red, white, and blue projects.

The first is this free Baby Cashmerino US Flag pattern from Knitting Fever.  If I had come across this sooner I might have been tempted to give it a go.   I remember in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it was impossible to find a US flag so I knit up my own (burned now).   I like this one better and I love how the "flag pole" is a knitting needle.

Old Glory Cladonia Shawl
by Kristen Kapur
The second is this Old Glory Cladonia Shawl.   I actually already have this pattern in my que, with the yarn already purchased (a lovely periwinkle blue).    In general I am not a flag waver, preferring to show my love of country in other ways (see exception above), but WOW this is almost too spectacular to pass up.  I love it and am considering knitting it just this way for my mother (who is a flag waver).

Will you be seeing fireworks tonight?

Stay safe and enjoy the day :-)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Reading & Knitting

It's all Kerri's fault really.  I am sure I would be able to focus on one project at a time if she would just stop inspiring me.    A couple of weeks ago she started a string bag for her beach knitting.   I loved the colors and the idea but did not care for the construction of the pattern she choose (No, I am not going to name it.).    A bit of Ravelry sleuthing and I came up with this one that I like quite a bit better.

This is the Girlfriend Market Bag.   It is simple (as all beach/pool knitting should be), and requires no seaming up at the end.   It is so simple, in fact, that I can read while I knit.  I love that, it's fun and non-knitters are just so impressed.  If you decide to check the pattern out, be sure to read the story of how the pattern came to be.   It is sweet.

Given that this is a casual project meant for casual use, I went with Sugar & Cream cotton in this muted colorway.   The contrast color I choose for the handle is not a color I would normally be drawn to but it really sets off the main colorway nicely (or, at least, I think it will.  Time will tell.).