Friday, March 02, 2007


Catharsis - purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension (Merriam-Webster).

The students in the American Literature class I am observing happened to have "catharsis" as one of their vocabulary words today. Hearing that word made me realize how much I enjoy just the mere sound of that word rolling off someone's tongue. It's interesting to me how some words have a way of embodying their definition. The word "catharsis" just sounds relaxing to me with the way its letters and syllables come together in perfect harmony. The hard "k", the soothing "th" and the hiss of the "sis" .... by the time I'm done saying it, I already feel a bit more relaxed.

Knitting has definitely become a cathartic past-time for me, particularly now that my work and school schedules have become all-consuming. The project I'm working on right now is particularly relaxing to knit, and it has provided a nice diversion from the 12-page research paper that I have looming over my head this weekend. I just love the way the colors work perfectly with the entrelac pattern of Knitty's Danica scarf. I don't think I would have attempted this pattern based on the photo that comes with the pattern. However some fellow knitters over at the Craftster boards have been turning out beautiful scarves using this Patons SWS yarn, particularly in the Natural Earth colorway. Although the beautiful weather we're having today makes me think that winter just might be on its way out, I have no problem investing time into a scarf that I probably won't get to wear until next year. It's a fun project to knit no matter what time of year.

And if for some reason knitting ever fails me as a tension reliever, I know I can always count on these little guys to put me in a good mood. They're so darn cute, just looking at them makes me smile! Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

So much for my sustained productivity level! Not much knitting has been going on in these neck of the woods. Actually, while I haven't been very productive in terms of knitting, I have been very busy in all other aspects of life. It's the same old story, really. Work has been a real bear in regards to my project load. I think I have about six projects that I am designing all at once, and those are in addition to the other day-to-day administrative stuff that needs to be taken care of for each project. And then there's school and my crazy two-class workload plus three-day-a-week observation of a high school American Literature class. Working a busy full-time job and taking a heavy load of coursework has been doing quite a little number on my stress level, but at this point I realize that all of this is a necessary evil. If I want to earn my master's in secondary education and become a certified teacher, by golly this is what I have to be subjected to!

However ..... as a little diversion and a welcomed break, we have just finalized plans for an Easter vacation to Las Vegas!!!

Whohooo! It will be a first for me, and although I am not much of a gambler or drinker, I'm just looking forward to being there and taking a break from the daily grind! We're going with some close friends of ours, and tops on our list is getting out to the desert and taking in all that the western landscape has to offer. Hopefully having this trip marked on our calendar will give me the motivation I need to push through the next few weeks with a smile!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Day = Productivity

One of the best aspects of working on an academic schedule is that I get to hope and pray and wear my pajamas inside-out and backwards (that's what the kids do around here the night before a potential snow day!) in hopes of having a snow day whenever the weather looks slightly threatning. And here in Maryland, it doesn't take much to shut down the town and call it quits for a day. An inch or two of snow will cause a delay, and three inches? That day will go down in the record books as the Winter Blast of the Year! Growing up in Ohio, I got used to driving around in snowy, slippery, icy conditions most of the winter, and snow days were far and few between. But now that I've lived here in Maryland for almost five years, I find myself getting freaked out by all those weather people who encourage viewers to stock their shelves with toilet paper and food in fear of the two-inches of snow that's in the forecast about a week from now. And chances are, the snow never materializes anyways.

However, we actually did get a bout of bad weather this week, and it came in the form of snow, ice and wind. That freed up about a day and a half of my time and gave me the leisure I needed to finish Glampyre's Minisweater (or boobholder). I used Reynolds Cabana cotton and size 9 circulars. It was an easy knit, and my favorite part? The puffy sleeves! I LOVE puffy sleeves!


Monday, February 12, 2007

Breakfast with my Valentine

Hobbies: I enjoy knitting, reading, baking, traveling, learning, cleaning, walks in the park, playing with my dogs, and shopping.

Notice that "cooking" isn't at the top of my list? In fact, cooking in general just doesn't plain make the list AT ALL. While I count the Food Network as one of my favorite TV stations and emphatically love Giada DeLaurentis and the Barefoot Contessa, I really, really, really despise cooking. Love watching it on television, but hate doing it myself. I don't enjoy chopping; I get annoyed with having to shop for an endless list of ingredients; and I'm just plain awful at adding spices to anything. While I love the order and precision of baking, I don't enjoy the "little bit of this and little bit of that" aspect of cooking. It just never seems to work for me.

Thankfully, though, my husband absolutely loves to cook and is really great at coming up with delicious concoctions. In spite of having to work 10-12 hour days, he makes sure to leave me some sort of dinner almost every night. All I have to do when I come home is heat it up and chow down. Now THAT I can handle.

So every year for Valentine's Day, I try to make my husband a scrumptious breakfast as a way of showing him how much I love him and all that he does for me. Ok, so I actually try to do it a couple times a year, but ALWAYS on Valentine's Day. For some reason I can handle breakfast, and it seems to work out well. Since Valentine's Day falls right smack in the middle of the week this year, I decided to do breakfast this past weekend. Here was the scene on Sunday morning:

Vday Breakfast

I made a Breakfast Strata (layers of Italian Bread, turkey sausage, mushrooms, onions, cheese and egg), a colorful fruit salad with yogurt and granola topping, Banana Crunch Muffins (thanks Barefoot Contessa!) and we washed it all down with mimosas. The food was delish, and I have to say, the muffins were my fave! Here's a closeup to salivate over.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Banana Crunch Muffins

Friday, February 09, 2007

Felted Glory

So here it is, my first felted project .... a totebag knitted with Lopi that follows a pattern (and class) offered by my LYS. I'm pretty happy with the end result, but I have to say, I was surprised at what a fuzzy, wooly mess of a thing it looked like when I took it out of the washing machine! I hadn't prepared myself for the super fuzzed object that would eventually become this totebag. But, after painstakingly plucking all the little lint balls off the bag, and after giving it a much-needed haircut, this little felted number is ready to go (where to, though, I have no idea!).

Felted Lopi Totebag

Oh, and on a "clappy" note (Clapotis, that is), I'm not sure this project was meant to be, particularly with the Brooks Farms yarn. The original pattern calls for about 600 yds of yarn, and as I have been reading on the Internet, it typically requires even more than the pattern states. The problem is, my yummy Brooks Farms yarn is only about 500 yds of yarny goodness, and that, my friends, is causing the problem. I just don't have enough yarn to do the Clapotis any justice, and Brooks Farms doesn't seem to carry this particular colorway anymore (although a wonderful employee of Brooks Farms is currently on a mission to see if they may have it in stock as an orphan. Fingers crossed!). I totally should have considered this BEFORE I spent an entire week on this project (when I SHOULD have been reading my Psych of Education books), but that's just how I roll sometimes. So on the Clapotis front, it's a "to be continued ..." kind of day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Blues

Yeah, it wouldn't be uncharacteristic of me to be one of THE last people to attempt Knitty's Clapotis pattern, being that the pattern has been out for almost two years now. I'm just one of those people who tends to watch from the sidelines, particularly when it comes to knitting. I like the idea of learning from every one else's mistakes, so now that half a gazillion people have made their own "clap", I figure the launch of Project Spectrum 2.0 was my opportunity to use up some yummy Brooks Farms yarn in the first month's colorway (blue, gray and white) and jump headfirst into the clapotis pattern.

Here's what it looks like so far (and notice the stitch markers ... I made them this weekend, and they were super easy and fast!):


The pattern itself is pretty easy and mindless, except for the times when I forget to purl into the front and back of the last stitch on each purl row. But I think I have recovered from each of those bumps along the way, and I am making fairly good progress. I'm just about to start my first drop stitch sequence, and I'm a bit nervous about how that's going to work out!

I also thought I would share a tote bag project I have been working on for quite some time now. My LYS offered a great tote bag knitting class this fall, and below is what the final product looks like BEFORE felting.


Post-felting pictures to follow soon! It's drying at the moment, and I am amazed at how cool this whole felting process is. It was my first felting project, and it definitely wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. The felted tote bag is so sturdy and structured now ... and, and .... so much smaller! I can't wait to attach the straps and put it to good use

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gift Appropriate

While Maryland has had a very, very mild winter this year (with the exception of the chilly temps we've been having the past few days!), my hometown in northeast Ohio has been getting hit hard with snow, day after day. We finally got to enjoy some of the white stuff this weekend as we trekked home (puppies and all! And they HATE snow!)) to attend my grandma's surprise 75th birthday party. The area was blanketed with about five inches of snow when we arrived, and it was such a pretty setting to come home to! And the knitted gifts that I was bearing were completely appropriate for the wintry weather my family has been dealing with lately.

For my sister's 13th birthday, I knitted her a pair of mittens, which were my first-ever. Since I am still afraid of using DPNs, I followed a two-needle pattern to finish these babies, and they were actually a quick and breezy knit! The yarn is Patons Merino Wool from a local craft store, and the yardage is perfect for a pair of mittens. My favorite part ... making the thumb!

Tara's Mittens

And in other knitting gift progress, I finally finished my dad's Irish Hiking Scarf, which was my first cable project. This scarf took me FOREVER (I think I started it back in September), but I think it was well worth the wait. I used Tahki Tweed, and after blocking, the yarn softened up and shaped up soo nicely. I love! This is my favorite piece I have knitted so far. I'm now working on one for my husband, which he requested. Hopefully this one won't take me quite as long!

Irish Hiking Scarf