To Finish Divine

To Finish Divine

or the state of my knitting and quilting UFOs and other unfinished business...

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A busy week...

leading into a busy month! Happy Groundhog Day (or as I like to refer to it Hedgehog Day!) It's been a fairly busy week with classes, work, meetings and a concert. I think Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow, so it will be six more weeks of knitting, uh, I mean winter, for us here in New England. It is also Super Bowl Sunday, but as the New England Patriots did not make it to the big game, I will probably only watch the half time show and the commercials.

The biggest event for me this week was attending the Acoustically Irish concert given by Celtic Thunder members Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne in Boston on Tuesday night. I took my two daughters with me to this event, even though they are not the biggest fans of the group or the singers, but they enjoy them. It was a small venue next door to an Irish pub that I had eaten at prior to the Celtic Thunder concert last fall. Even though our seats were not the greatest (it was general admission seating and they opened the doors almost an hour earlier than they had posted due to the cold weather), we sat with some other fans who had a large booth that they were willing to share with us. It turned out that we had a great conversation and I will be seeing another concert with one of the women that I met that night later this month. All in all, it was a fun night and after the show, the performers signed autographs and took photos with the fans. Here is a not so great photo taken with my phone, as I had forgotten to replace my flash card into my camera before the show.

It was fun having dinner at B. Good and seeing the show with my girls. I hope to do it again sometime!

I managed to finish the pillowcase I was making as a Christmas gift for my daughter's boyfriend last week. It's just a tad late, and unfortunately I forgot to bring it with me when I saw her this week for the concert. Maybe I should just hang onto it for his birthday in August? I also started, and almost finished, a table runner that I am making for a friend who has given me theater tickets to fabulous shows several times this past year. I hope to finish that and give it to her within the month. It is a simple one hour table runner pattern, so it shouldn't be too difficult to complete.

I renewed The Circle on my Kindle to finish reading as well. I have just discovered the wonders of e-books from the library. I think I am addicted! Although I have waaaay too much reading to do for my classes, I am really enjoying the free books available for download from the library. Hopefully I won't be too distracted from my schoolwork by the temptation to read for fun. I am also still working on my Monday Morning Cardigan. The button bands are almost finished and the collar area still requires completion, but I am determined to be wearing it before the end of the month.

Okay..enough procrastination for one afternoon. Schoolwork awaits!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The month is nearly over...

and I have managed to work towards finishing a thing or two in the last week or so. If I can manage to finish up at least one thing per month, either quilty or knitty or reading or life related, I will feel a sense of accomplishment. But, the year is young...

Last weekend was the Knitter's Weekend at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI. It was my sixth year of attending and, once again, it was a great event. I attended the Friday evening opening night which was wonderful. It included wine and cheese and trunk shows from the two instructors for the weekend, Ellen Mason and Thea Colman. It was lovely to see their work in "real life", as I have been a big fan of Baby Cocktail's designs (Thea Colman's) for quite sometime. I was new to Ellen Mason's work, but after hearing the rave reviews from people who took her workshops and seeing her work in person, I would definitely take part in one of her classes in the future. There were also book signings by Barbara Parry (Adventures in Yarn Farming) and  Gudrun Johnston (The Shetland Trader), who also gave a wonderful lecture about the Shetland Islands, where she was born. Additionally, prior to the event, the Slater Mill had the Brown House open for people to enjoy with warm and cold beverages of all types, both modern and traditional, and more crackers and cheese, etc. available. Each of the historic rooms had a roaring fire in the fireplace and there was music and warm and cozy locations to sit, chat, and even knit if one so desired. It was a lovely evening and I look forward to next year!

On Saturday, I took a workshop with Thea Colman on design. We learned to look at yarn through a designer's eye, and make appropriate choices for pattern and design to use with that yarn to make a cowl. In the four hour course, I barely got to the swatching of my pattern design choice, while others were well on their way to working on their finished cowls. It wasn't about the product in this class as it was about the process, and I learned so much. I will never look at my yarn stash and project choices the same way again. If Thea returns again, I would not hesitate to take a class with her! She stated that our Saturday morning class was her first "official" workshop given outside of her home. I was so lucky to be a part of her initiation! She is a wonderful teacher and her work is inspiring!

It has otherwise been a crazy week. Weather has caused us to have another snow day (our second) which will make for tons of fun in June when we have to make them up. It is the last week for my oldest to be under this roof..she has found her own apartment and will be moving out next Saturday. I obviously have mixed emotions, as contrary to what others believe, I will miss her. But it is time. She is only moving a short distance away, and as we work in the same place, although differing programs and buildings, we will be seeing quite a lot of each other I am sure. It is time. The spousal unit has also receive his first work offer in over 6 months of unemployment, which is wonderful news. I believe he will be accepting the offer, which will make life a bit easier financially around here. This has been the longest stretch of unemployment for him..although it has been several months in the past as well. For all of our sakes and sanity, thank goodness something has finally turned up.

I am almost finished with my Rhinebeck sweater that I started last summer which was supposed to be done in time to wear it to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival last October. I am hoping to have it done in time for this week's Knitting Guild meeting on Wednesday. But with school work being of more importance (the new semester started this week as well), it is not a top priority. Maybe tonight while watching Downton Abbey and Sherlock I will make some progress.

This Tuesday I will be bring the girls to a concert in Boston. It is the Acoustically Irish concert with Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne from Celtic Thunder. It is at a little restaurant/club venue and should be fun. It will be good to see my youngest as well. I'll let you know how it all goes. Later...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Almost a week later...

So I'm not doing too bad so far this year keeping up with regular posting. But the year is young.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening with family celebrating my cousin's and her husband's 25th wedding anniversary. Her daughter, and his daughter, combined forces and put a wonderful surprise party for their parents. It was a great night getting to see extended family members that I don't get to see that often, unless it is a wedding, graduation or funeral. I was happy that my sister was able to make it down from New Hampshire to attend the party as well. It is always good seeing her.

Over this past week or so, I became obsessed with starting new projects that I know will be a challenge for me to work on, let alone finish. But they were all so intriguing that I just couldn't resist. Two of them are Follow Your Own Ending type mystery shawls, while the other is a pair of mystery socks. One of the shawls is a Downton Abbey MKAL, which I am very excited to be joining. However, the yarn that I ordered from Jimmy Beans Wool in the Bated Breath colorway has not arrived yet, so I am already a bit behind in that project already.Episode 2 is on tonight and certain elements of the show are used to provide clues in the knitting project. I will have to DVR the episode so I will be able to focus and do the clues when my yarn arrives. The other project is a Ysolda Teague mystery KAL for which I am using 2 skeins of Malabrigo Sock yarn in Impressionist Sky, which is a lovely, semi-solid blue. I haven't swatched, but other folks in the group who are using the same yarn were able to come close to gauge using size 6 needles, which is the recommended size, so that is what I am going with. That KAL starts tomorrow, but I haven't wound my yarn yet, as I was hoping to have a marathon winding session with my Bated Breath yarn as well. It is on it's way, so maybe it will be here tomorrow and I can at least start one of the KALs if not both.

A new discovery for me this week was downloading E-books from my local library. I knew it was possible, but I had never explored the actual options and titles available until now. I downloaded "The Circle" by Dave Eggers. I am enjoying it so far, and hopefully I will be able to finish it before my 21 days of downloaded time are up. That is the only drawback to not buying the E-book, is the fact that I am under a deadline to finish it. I wonder what the renewal options are for E-book borrowing? hmmmm...

I am hurrying to finish my Rhinebeck Sweater (aka Monday Morning Cardigan) before this weekend's Knitter's Weekend, which is an annual event that is held at the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI. The knitting guild that I belong to holds their meetings at Slater Mill, and we are also having a bake sale table as a fundraiser that weekend as well. I am taking a class with Thea Coleman which I need to prepare for this week some time, as well as attending the opening night reception/trunk show on this coming Friday night. It is a wonderful event and I am very excited to be participating in it again this year. Last year I took a steeking class with Ragga von Ericksdotter, which was great. This year will be wonderful as well, I am sure!

I have several quilting type gifts that I need to make very soon as well. I want to make a table runner for a friend who has kindly gifted me her extra seat at a recent performance of "Phantom of the Opera". It was the most amazing piece of theater I have ever seen (and as a theater major, I have seen a lot) Her seats were 4th row center orchestra..amazing! For the last time she brought me, I gave her a gift certificate to Joann Fabrics, as her daughter was making costumes for a play she was directing and could use the money, and also my friend with the tickets does card making and scrap booking, so I thought she might be able to use it for that as well. Now I want to make her a quilted gift to show my appreciation for her generosity. I just have to find the right fabrics to match her dining room.

I also need to make a get well soon quilt for a teacher that I work with who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was riding his bike on the Sunday before Christmas when he hit a pothole and was thrown from his bike. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet, but he was knocked unconscious and was in a coma for several days after. He spent several weeks in the hospital and has now been moved to a rehabilitation hospital near Boston to further his recovery. So I want to make him something that will remind him that I am thinking of him while he works to get back home. According to the doctors, it is going to be a long journey, but he should be able to return to most, if not all, of his life before the accident.

Okay..enough jabbering for this week..I am off to work on my sweater and watch a DVD, Cloud Atlas, on the new blue ray/dvd player I got last week. My old one died several months ago, which hindered my dvd playing significantly. And considering I have had this particular netflix dvd for several months now, I think it is time that I watched it and send it on it's way.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Happy 2014 and other stuff much for my actively and regularly updating this blog. It is now three days into the new year, 2014, and this is my first post in well over a year. I managed to skip right over 2013 entirely. To say that I was busy last year would be an understatement.

 Last year was the year that I decided to tackle one of the biggest, and longest, unfinished projects of my life. Back in the mid '70s, I started my college career pursuing a bachelor's degree in theater. After the fall term of 1978, I left college without a degree, and it has been one of the only major regrets that I have had throughout my life. So, during the fall of 2012, I decided to finally apply to, and got re-accepted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to finish what I started nearly 40 years ago. I began classes, completely online, in January of 2013 and I have now completed six classes, maintaining a 4.0 average. It has been a ton of work, all being done while working full time and continuing to design costumes for all of the school productions where I work. And I tried to simultaneously have a life.

 Right now I am taking a well deserved, in my opinion, winter break from classes, although they do start up again on January 21. Until then, I am trying to catch up on knitting, reading and mindless television watching. And, in my usual manner for the new year, I am trying to organize my life in some ways. I spent a good part of an afternoon organizing computer files on my school laptop. I got as far as buying a couple of plastic bins to try to manage the yarn monster that is my stash. (Once again, both myself and my yarn purchasing are on a strict diet for the foreseeable future). I have been trying to finish up a Rhinebeck sweater that is on the needles which was started in September but was obviously not finished in time to wear to this year's New York Sheep and Wool Festival this past October. I am aiming for the Knitter's Weekend which is scheduled for January 17. I think I will make it. I also have several KAL's which I have insanely signed up to do, which will probably be additional UFO's, but I am motivated to at least start them before my classes begin. I have managed to finally finish the summer reading book, Defending Jacob, only three months late. And I have only a little bit left to read in Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children which was started last spring. So, am I making progress? I think so.

 This year is going to be another crazy one, with a full plate of classes and work and a huge costume musical, Wonka, to attack by April. But hopefully, it will all work out..fingers crossed. And once again, I hope to faithfully chronicle some of it here in this blog. No one may be reading it..but that is ok. I think the act of writing it is helping me to remain accountable, and that's a good thing (sorry Martha).

 Happy New Year!

Monday, February 13, 2012

oops...sorry about that...

It's been two weeks since my last posting and these are my sins. Sorry..couldn't resist. Let's see..what's been happening since my last post:

Reading...zilch. I'm still plugging away at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and on the novel that my friend has written. I've been getting printed chapters as I need them and progress has been slow. Not that I haven't wanted to read, but I just haven't had the time and when I do, it seems like I fall asleep reading. And I am really enjoying the book too. The P,P and Z I've only been reading in school during our SSR period..which means not much progress without constant interruptions. I think I need to pick up a quick, light read to make some headway in my Off the Shelf and 52 books in 52 weeks challenges.

Knitting...pretty good. I have managed to keep up with the Mystery Shawl KAL that I am working on and even won last weeks prize for finishing the clue and posting it before noon on Sunday. This weekend was our knitting guild's and local historical site's knitting weekend. It was a lot of fun. I took a class by Deborah Newton on finishing (ironically) and it was wonderful. I also purchased her book,Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters , and had it signed. It is definitely one of those go to reference type books that every knitter's library should have. The rest of the weekend was spent with knitterly friends and shopping at the various vendors that were there. Several unnecessary yarn acquisitions were made and I look forward to putting them to good use in various projects.

I had a baby shower to attend on Friday and here is a photo of the baby Cupcake Hat that I made for the occasion:



And here is the photo of progress on my Mystery Shawl:


Made a couple of new recipes which I will post soon..both were found on Pinterest..another major time sucking addiction which I love. I almost finished two pillowcases for my local quilt guild's charity collection, but they are not quite done. Hopefully soon with photos as well.

In two weeks my daughter and I will be attending SPA in Freeport Maine again. It was a lot of fun last year and I am sure it will be again. As long as the weather holds out and there isn't any snow like last year. to check on my chili and get ready for quilt guild. Later!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's hard to believe it's the end of the month...

and that I've yet to finish reading one book. Grrrr. I did manage to get a bit of reading done yesterday while I was proctoring the SATs. It is a good chunk of time in which to do a quiet activity such as reading. However, I spent it reading several chapters of a book that a friend of mine has written. And I am still plugging away at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I really need to pick up the pace if I am ever to get on with my 52 books in 52 weeks.

I managaged to turn in 3 scarves this week for the collection for the Rhode Island Special Olympics. I have a bit more to do on the last scarf..weaving in ends and such and if I manage to finish it I will send it off myself before the deadline. I may selfishly keep it however, as it is appropriate Patriots colors and I may need to accessorize myself for the Super Bowl game next Sunday.

I did join in on the Mystery Shawl KAL from Helen Bingham Designs that is on Ravelry. It took me most of the week to decide on my yarn choices, and even after I started it, I still keep changing my mind. I think I have finally decided on the final combination. It will be an eight part mystery with a new clue released every Monday. Here is the finished first clue.

My apolgies for the lousy quality of the taken-with-my-cell-phone photo.

We went to see "Hugo" today. I am hoping to see at least half of the nominated films before the Academy Awards at the end of February. I really enjoyed it, but I especially enjoyed all of the knitwear in it.Sandy Powell is an amazing costume designer. My daughter Caitlin even started a "Hugo Knitwear" group on Ravelry. She plans to make the beret worn by Lisette. I love several of the items including Hugo's sweater from the movie. There is also a lot of wonderful knitted accessories worn by the character Emma Swan in the ABC series "Once Upon a Time". I need to do a bit of research to see who the designers are and if patterns are available.

Off to watch my next installment of "Downton Abbey" and later the SAG awards. A new semester is about to begin at school this week..and I get to have the fun of a mammogram tomorrow. What a week!

In addition, here is the recipe that I made today to bring to school tomorrow. It's Eggnog Spicecake.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Taking a break from knitting...

to write this post. I just finished watching the AFC playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. It was an extremely tough game with one team scoring and then the other, but in the end, the New England Patriots won the nail biter and are heading to the Super Bowl. I am not normally a football fan, definitely more the fair weather type. I may not watch consistently, but I do pay attention to the season and the standings and am thrilled that the Pats will once again be heading to a Super Bowl. I just hope the game isn't as stressful as this week's game was.

I'm still plugging away at the no new updates on my reading status. My attempt at 52 books in 52 weeks is not off to a very good start. Hopefully that will change.

Knitting wise, I've managed to finish 3 of the 4 Special Olympics scarves that I am knitting for the Rhode Island Special Olympics teams. They are due by February 11, but my knitting guild is collecting them as part of our winter charity drive. As our meeting is this Wednesday, I will be bringing them in at that time. I think I will manage to get the fourth one finished, but we'll see. Here's a not so great taken-with-my-cell-phone photo of the three finished scarves:

IMAG0197 by n_tella
IMAG0197, a photo by n_tella on Flickr.

I did start a new project which I hadn't planned to do until I had finished a few more WIPs. But my resistence was low and the power of a new project was strong..and I succumbed. I am making "Cloos" from Berocco. It is knit in Berocco Vintage DK and I am making it in the colorway Chana Dal..which is a heathery golden brown. I am hoping to finish it for the Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill on February 10, but if not then, perhaps I will finish it for Spa weekend in Maine later in February.

We finally got some winter weather over the past few days. There is snow on the ground..only about 4 inches, but still, it's snow. That is why I live in New England..I like all four seasons. However, I prefer when it snows during the week and not on the weekends..what are snowdays for after all? But it is only January and there is still the potential for more snowdays before spring.

In addition to starting a new project, I also decided to join a Mystery Shawl KAL that Helen Bingham from Fresh Purls is hosting. She is the designer and it was hard to resist the appeal. I will be using strictly stash yarns so that should work towards my goal of stash busting and making 12 projects from stash this year. KALs help to keep me focused, all that pressure from fellow knitters, and when it comes to projects, I really need the extra I believe there are prizes involved.

Alrighty then, I am off to watch the third installment of Downton Abbey..I lurves it!