Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Introducing: Trellis Socks

Well, it's back to life outside the 1%. No one dropped off breakfast at our door this morning. :( But, I think we'll live, even though we are having Arctic temperatures today. Some hardy friends got me out for a walk this morning. There's nothing like strolling through air that feels like 1 degree F to wake you up.

I can finally blog about these, seeing as they have been gifted to my mom.

They are not any old socks. I actually designed them! I wish I could remember exactly where I got the lace pattern. I think it's from one of the Barbara Walker books. I would have documented it if I had known it was going to come out so well!

It's really a very basic, top-down sock. The lace pattern isn't complicated but I find it a bit slow-going. Still, I really love the socks. They are very textury (that probably isn't a word but you know what I mean) and squishy. I'm not sure how much of that comes from the pattern and how much from the yarn, Trekking XXL, one of my faves.

Anyway, I'd like to put it out as a free pattern. Do I need to have it test knitted before doing so?

I can't believe it's already the second Tuesday of winter break. How come vacations weeks go so much faster than work weeks?

I'm linking up with Nicole and crafting on.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Snowshoe We Did

It was relatively warm yesterday -- in the 20's -- so we hit the trails. It was peaceful and beautiful.

Notice that I am wearing a hand knit hat. The yarn is Madtosh but I cannot remember the name of the pattern -- just that it has been pretty popular!
Judy asked if I have read Truck, which she says is set in Chetek. Shamefully, I have not read any of Michael Perry's books. I really need to get around to them!

It is going to be hard to leave our little cabin tomorrow. But a predicted high of 9 degrees, will help motivate us to head back south!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Literally in the Lap of Luxury

Keith and I have decided this is our honeymoon. We are holed up on a luxury cabin in northwest Wisconsin courtesy in part of a gift certificate my brothers gave us for our wedding back in February.
Canoe Bay is on the middle of nowhere, east of Chetek, which is north of Eau Claire, where I worked my first newspaper job. The cabin could not be cozier.
We had at least 2 inches of snow last night so I think we'll be able to snowshoe today. Breakfast was delivered to our door at 8 this morning!
It is the perfect place to spend time together, read and do some charity knitting:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Two Holidays in Three Days

The best thing about Hanukkah is having my two children and my parents at my house at the same time.  Seth looked so much better than he had during his vet school finals! I think he is also happy to have his sister home. We miss her!

I had a "Jewish Christmas Eve" with friends -- that's a movie followed by Chinese food.  We saw the movie "Wild" and really liked it. It's quite faithful to the book.

And Christmas dinner with my in-laws is always relaxing and fun. My mother-in-law has the most amazing Snow Village that is set up on every horizontal surface she can find.

I'm ready to do nothing for a few days -- no cooking, no cleaning, no planning!

I hope you also are having a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's All About the Color

I am loving this Clinton Cowl. It's one of those potato-chip knits where you just want to get to the next color change:

This project is helping me improve my speed on two-color knitting -- not that I'll ever be near fast. I have given up on the ideal two-handed style; I just can't knit with my left hand. Instead I've developed my own quirky style, which would surely disgust Alice Starmore. But it works for me and I'm OK with the speed.

The cowl seems like it's kind of a weird size, but I won't be able to tell until I finish and block it, so I'm not worrying about it yet!

Today is my family's official Hanukkah celebration. I loved having all eight days when my children lived at home, but now that isn't going to happen. They both had finals for the first few days, and Rachel was in Miami until hers were done. However, both of them, and my parents, will be here later today for latkes, candles, and gifts!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Great Way to Begin the Holiday Break

As the students poured into school Friday morning, this is what they were greeted by:

The guy on the right is our principal and some of our music teachers are joining him in a spirited holiday concert. I felt so lucky to be standing there, surrounded by my awesome team members and swinging to this trio.

It's a rough time for teachers, but I can't imagine another job that would have the same high points.

I'm enjoying my first day of break and I'm sure I'll enjoy every single day ... but I'll be happy to see my fellow teachers when we go back next year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not So Hard

I think I bought the pattern and yarn for the Clinton Cowl a few years ago. It's a Borroco pattern and the yarn is Berroco Vintage. When I bought it, I was worried it was too hard for me, which is probably why it sat around for so long, just languishing in my stash.

Something -- I don't know what -- inspired me to dig it out (which wasn't all that easy as I have my stash stowed away all over the house). I started knitting and -- it's not so hard after all!
It's a simple Fair Isle pattern, with stripes that spiral. There are 8 colors in all, so it shouldn't be a boring knit.

I've started the third season of the Killing, so I can see this cowl just flying off the needles.

And the week is flying by -- just two more days until winter break! I can't wait to do nothing but read and knit! And make cookies, of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Almost FO

I am enchanted with the Babies & Bear Sweater. It is done except for the buttons:

And here is the back:
Do you think it would work for a boy or a girl? I don't have a recipient in mind; I knit it for the practice of making a sweater, so I tried to find yarn that would feel right for either gender. I'm sure a special baby will come along one of these days.

It's a quiet weekend here, which is nice before the holidays. I went for a walk and lunch with friends this morning, then came home and cooked a Mushroom Marsala recipe from Fine Cooking. It was good, but not great. I haven't decided if I'll keep the recipe. I love chicken Marsala, so it would be nice to have some other uses for a bottle of that wine.

I hope you are having a peaceful pre-holiday weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You Probably Don't Remember This

I started this sock back in August when I went Up North with my friend Joni. It's the first of the Wishbone Socks.

It's a Nancy Bush design, so it is very well written. I am terrible at memorizing patterns, but this is at least easy to keep track of without a counter. (Sorry for fuzzy photo -- weak winter sun -- at least that's what I'm blaming!)

At this point you may be wondering, how many WIPs does Caffeine Girl have going now? Well, I don't know if I can count that high. I've realized there is a pronounced chaos to my knitting. I like to have lots of choices when I have some time to knit.

But there are also categories that I like to have WIPs in: easy knitting for socializing or watching TV; moderately challenging for listening to the radio or podcasts; and challenging projects that take my full attention. Still, that would only require me to have 3 WIPs at any time ... and I have a large multiple of that number sitting patiently in project bags.

I seem to have a weakness for starting projects. It's sort of like how I feel about buying books. Buying a book is a commitment to read a book -- and I like that feeling. I get the same satisfaction from casting on.

Oh well, there are worse vices!

I'm linking up with Keep Calm and Craft On here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Knitting Virally

If you read MereKnits -- and who doesn't? -- you know all about the Almost Forgotten Dishcloth. While Meredith didn't design it, she has inspired knitters all over to jump on the bandwagon and start spitting out these darling cloths. I knew I'd jump on sooner or later and now my first one is ready to sew up.

Very sweet, huh? I knit this out of Lily Sugar'n Cream but I didn't realize until I started that this skein is part of the scented line. The scent is quite nice -- like freshly washed laundry -- but the label says that it washes out. I'm thinking these will be perfect little gifts for thank-you's and other small occasions.

It's downright hot here -- 35 degrees F, a little above freezing, so I want to squeeze in a walk. I have a hard time exercising during the school year -- and I know I should make it a priority! After that I have to clean the house because I'm hosting my meditation group this evening. There is something not-quite-right about hurrying to get ready for meditation -- but I don't know how to get around that!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis the Season for Cowls

And I'm not just saying that. It has been cold here. I can hardly wait to wear this:
It has been another crazy week. Our secretary pointed out that crazy weeks have become the norm, and there's a lot of truth to that!
I've been playing catch-up most of the week because I took off Monday to go to Chicago for the funeral of a close friend's mother. I knew Fran, the mom, a bit and I had really liked her. Still, I was unprepared for how emotional the funeral was for me. It wasn't my mom, after all, but I found myself deeply saddened by the thought of a world without Fran. And I was struck by how primal this feeling was, how inescapable, how deeply universal it felt.
I am as guilty as anyone of being wrapped up in getting through each day, completing the tasks, making the phone calls, handling the problems, figuring out what to make for dinner and when I'll have time to clean the bathrooms. Going to this funeral really disrupted my usual monkey mind. It is so easy to forget the things that really matter. Since Monday, I have been thinking a lot about how I spend my time and how I want my life to be.
There's a lot of think about.