Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Ability to Accessorize

Scarves are back in a big way! For lots of people like myself they never really left - I have scarves in my closet I've had for thirty years. I still wear a lot of the old ones and have added several new ones to my collection. They let me get away with a smaller wardrobe and still look like I've got lots of clothes.  I ran across this video showing some ways to wear the really big scarves that are all the rage now:

I was out & about in Chatham on Sunday and although I thought I took some really nice pictures I did not put the memory card back in my camera, so boo hoo. We visited the fish pier, the Chatham Light House and the public beach. All very nice and def worth a second and third trip before summer comes and I need to pay to park at the beach! We visited some of the gift shops and galleries on Main Street and picked up a cute decorative balance toy for the living room in the shape of a whale whose eyes roll and mouth opens and closes as it balances. There will be a picture of that when I feel like it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finished Guernsey Wrap

Last night I finished the knitting portion of the Guernsey Wrap that I was working on while I visited my mom in Denver. We just kind of hung out at her house, so I had plenty of quality knitting time and really got into the rhythm of it. I used seven skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes that I had purchased in 2007 with the intention of knitting a saddle shoulder pullover. Last year I started fooling around with some other possibilities, and when Jane W brought her wrap-in-progress to stitch & bitch I knew I had found the right pattern. I had looked at the pattern online just the day before and thought I might like it; seeing one in progress convinced me. I've seen her wearing hers and I know I will enjoy mine. The only thing is that we have used yarn in similar colors, but I doubt we will wear it (often) at the same time and I think hers is more golden and mine more reddish.

I fell asleep last night trying to remember how many blocking wires I had and trying to decide where to do the deed. This is an issue because The Amazing Roxanne loves nothing so much as the scent of damp wool. She has an insatiable desire to roll on it and chew it. I thought maybe I could get it blocked in time to wear it to stitch & bitch tonight. The first thing I did this morning was get the wrap into the sink while I had my breakfast. As soon as I was finished I started blocking it in Shana's Rumpus Room. I closed the door and immediately had a crying dog outside. I took pity on her for only a moment; the first thing she did was rush over and grab it with her teeth while trying to simultaneously roll on it. I pulled it up as soon as it was dry for beauty shots - I turned my back on  it draped over a chair to make myself presentable for the typical bathroom shot and Roxy jumped up to lay on it. The monster! Right now it's laying across my bed with the door firmly closed.

I may well use this pattern again. It's a really wearable garment that looks much more complicated than it was to knit, and the instructions were very clear.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Knitting Along

In addition to my recent trip which gave me some extra knitting time, I have been able to add some regular knitting time into my routine.  I have been happy to have some extra time to devote to the pure enjoyment of knitting, but I have also been motivated by living in a cooler climate. I just want more cozy knitted accessories to wear.

Jennifer and Logan sent me some beautiful alpaca (Jennifer paid, Logan selected!) for Christmas, and I went to work pretty quickly to make a comfy new cowl to keep my neck warm.  I made the ribbed cowl from the winter 2011 issue of Knit Simple. This is not a magazine I usually buy, but this particular issue featured loads of cute and wearable accessories, including the cover pattern for a simple and wearable lacey wrap. This cowl makes the most of the drapey nature of the alpaca yarn and is large enough to pull over my head for an impromptu hood when the wind is intense. I've already worn it several times and love it. Poor Roxy did not enjoy being the model but it makes a cuter picture than the usual bathroom mirror shot.

I've also been cranking out a few pairs of socks for myself. These are my simple 3x1 ribs 64 stitch socks - the perfect travel project because the pattern is in my head and doesn't take much attention. They are made of Kertzer's On Your Toes 4 ply with Aloe Vera, bought last year at The Yarn Basket in Mashpee. They are a little pinker in real life than they are in the picture.

I will finish Jared Flood's Guernsey Wrap this week. I'm hoping to wear it to Stitch & Bitch, if not tomorrow then maybe Sunday! I hope to get a hat and mitts out of the remaining yarn which will make a complete cool weather "system" for days when I need something warm but not a whole coat. I have another pair of socks on the needles, and loads of things brewing in my mind. I am depleting the stash at a noticeable (to me) rate, and enjoying using the yarns that have been marinating for a while.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back Home Again

After a week of visiting family I am back home on Cape Cod.

I started in Oklahoma City, where I saw Alex, Samantha and Vivian. I was staying at the ever so luxurious Motel 6, so our visits were in restaurants and (Vivian's favorite) Chuckie Cheese. Sam and I spent an easy day at Penn Square Mall, strolling around and doing a little shopping. I was also lucky enough to be able to visit with lots of my old friends at Chaparral Energy, and meet my friend Sharon Jean for a Mexican dinner and breakfast at the Classen Grill.

I was surprised to see how much the new Devon building has already changed to skyline, but aside from that not much about Oklahoma City looked different. What was different was me. I had expected to feel like I was coming home for a few days, but although I was sorry not to have more time to spend with family and friends I did not feel like I was leaving home when I left. I guess I have really settled in here on the Cape.

Next stop Denver. When I arrived Mom was trying to pick me up at the west terminal and I was waiting for her at the east terminal. After an hour we each gave up. She went home and I went to Budget to rent a car thinking she was taken ill and needed me to pick her up off the floor. She couldn't call me to figure out what was wrong and I could not call her because under no circumstances will she turn on her cell phone except to call the police. Once she got home to her land line she called me and after threatening to beat her unused cell phone to death with a hammer I told her where I was and we could start our visit. We took it easy for the duration of our visit. Except for visits to my brother we pretty much just hung out around the house. I've finished a pair of socks for myself and I'm almost done with my guernsey wrap. With a little luck I might have it finished to wear to the next meeting of my stitch & bitch. I had originally intended the yarn for a sweater, so I should have plenty left over for mittens and a hat to match.

The weather was perfect while I was gone, but I came home to a foot of snow. Naturally I had not assembled my fancy snow shovel before I left so I put it together yesterday morning and got enough snow off the driveway to make it passable before I had to leave. Later in the day the rain started, so today all of the snow is gone. Still like the snow shovel!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Books on Cape

One of the things that's rare on Cape Cod is the chain book store. There is one Barnes &  Noble in Hyannis, but otherwise if you want to buy a book you can shop at your grocery/drugstore or choose an independent bookseller. There are quite a few book stores here which are not only independent, but also downright eccentric. If you have a taste for rare or used books there are a lot of places to enjoy them. I make regular visits to the Isaiah Thomas Bookstore which is practically around the corner from me. They have a fabulous selection of art books and local history books, plus large swathes of books of literary criticism. Craft books there are heavy on quilting. If you are looking for rare sets of vintage books this is the place to go.

Today I paid a visit to Parnassus Book Service in Yarmouthport. They have been in a 19th century building that used to be a general store since 1960. When you go inside you see books all the way to the pressed tin ceiling. Their stock is all used books as far as I can tell, with a very good stock of novels and loads of sailing and biography titles. As I browsed around I saw a lot of the titles I used to have. I've had major reductions in my book inventory several times in my life and I think all of my culls fetched up here! This may prove to be a good thing because several books I read many years ago but would like to see again are out of print and were never formatted for the Kindle. The organization of titles can be a  bit surprising - craft books were just a few shelves above Mysteries of Humanity and just around the corner from poetry, which follows cooking and wine.  The craft book selection here was very heavy on needlepoint. My selection was a  1971 printing of the Good Housekeeping New Compete Book of Needlecraft. (first copyright 1959) It's in pristine condition except for having no dust cover and chock full of timeless instruction and crazy illustrations. Click on the picture of the illustration to see the snorkel mask on the model in the dark sweater. Whose idea was that? (esc will bring you back!) Parnassus is particularly well known for having an outdoor book room where you can shop at all hours and slide your payment under the door. In case you have a reading emergency!

I've had time to knit every afternoon and have been making progress on several items. Jennifer sent me some beautiful alpaca for Christmas which has already turned into a lovely cozy cowl and in addition to two pair of socks I have two more and a wrap on the needles. No pictures - too lazy! I've been working my way through my stash - now that it is exposed and Shana can see how much I have I'd like to keep it down to one bin. Although she's quite tolerant of my need to amass and keep quantities of craft supplies she does not quite understand the concept of having great piles of the woolly stuff around "just in case".

Monday, January 09, 2012

What Books Do When Nobody is Looking

I ran across this charming video today and had to share:

I'll get another post up tomorrow - I have new finished knitted objects to share but I have not photographed them yet.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Wild Woman of Cotuit Road

Typical of our status as certified Wild Women we skipped "Amateurs' Night" and did our wild partying at home. Shana watched sports and fell asleep by nine. I stayed up switching between CNN and New Years Rockin' Eve on TV while working on knitting up my Christmas yarn and playing five matches in Words With Friends. I ran upstairs at midnight because I thought the storm door was banging loose, but it was only fireworks and gunfire announcing the New Year.

We actually had three days in a row off together, which is a really nice treat. We've done wild things like walking on Old Silver Beach and having breakfast at Cafe Chew in Sandwich. We went to Home Depot in Hyannis for an additional shelving unit to bring in the china and silver from the shed. We went to the Super Stop & Shop in Hyannis to get the makings for our North & South New Years Dinner. I tried to get an inspection sticker for my car but failed because one taillight has a broken tail light lens, a remainder from the hail storm in Oklahoma City last year. We also stopped by the Mashpee Ballet (aka Zachary's Pub, the only strip club on the Cape) to get a picture of their holiday decorations before they are taken down. Rudolph has been standing up until this weekend, but all things considered I guess laying across the hood of the truck is about right.

We sat down last night to start catching up with last season's episodes of Homeland. I checked out one episode out of curiosity and we were both hooked. It's so nice that we can watch all the back episodes and catch up together. Hooray for On Demand!