Friday, January 29, 2010


Project 365: Day 301

We are getting ready for a little winter weekend adventure!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still Life

Project 365: Day 300

We have a bowl on our kitchen counter for produce that doesn't go in the fridge. For a long, long, long time we've had the same bowl there. I like that bowl, however, it has been there for so long that I have become immune to its beauty. Over the weekend, I swapped the old bowl for a new bowl that I got at a pottery sale at Dock 6 Pottery. That little swap has cheered the kitchen up for me. See how I am constantly looking for ways to add color to these gray January days?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Got Better Music?

Project 365: Day 299

The place that I ate lunch at today offers this DIY version of a jukebox. I dig it.

Pop of Color

Project 365: Day 298
January 26, 2010

I like this little pop of color amidst the grey and white winter ground and sky and the grey and white manufacturing buildings. I see this building and its evolving patchwork, graffiti-covering paint on my walk to and from the train stop.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Project 365: Day 297

I like that most nights Paul gets home before I do because, on those nights, he turns the outside light on for me. It makes me feel like I am being greeted with a warm and welcoming home when the lights are glowing from the windows on a cold winter night.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day of Domesticity

Project 365: Day 296

I spent the day making peasant bread, baking Orange Almond Polenta Cake, prepping oatmeal for breakfasts this week, doing laundry, and cleaning. I accomplished everything I needed to so that I can now spend the rest of the night knitting and watching movies. Paul is out of the house watching football with friends, so I am going to watch a chick flick!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Summit Brewery Tour

Project 365: Day 295

As part of Paul's birthday present (from July!) he received a homemade gift certificate for lunch at Everest on Grand and a tour of the Summit Brewery. We spent the first part of the day doing just that. The tour was very informative and inclusive. And, after the tour, they let you drink lots of beer! At 2 in the afternoon! I am a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so I had a few tastes of the offerings and then stuck with my glass of Oatmeal Stout.

We had to keep our wits about us, though, because we needed to go home and prepare for Mike and Sally. The four of us enjoyed a dinner together at our place in honor of Sally's recent birthday. We managed to eat dinner, dessert AND fit in a game of Pass the Pigs and a game of Word Grab.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Project 365: Day 294

Plarn = plastic yarn. This crocheted bag is made out of plastic Target shopping bags. We had someone come in a do a little demo during the knitting group today. It is a fun concept, but I think it has really limited practical use. The best thing I can come up with is a bath mat or an entry way rug. Am I missing the appeal? Can you think of awesome uses for plarn?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Project 365: Day 293

I got hooked up with a free tooth whitening from my dentist. I am a B2 at the start. I have to be careful so that I don't over whiten and end up with glowing teeth like Ross. (There is knitting in that clip, too!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Public Transit / Public Art

Project 365: Day 292

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knitting Guild

Project 365: Day 291

Tonight was seaming night for all of the charity knitting blankets at the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. Also, have you seen the lineup for the Guild's Yarnover? Holy smokes! I am excited. Registration is still open, if you want to go.

2010 Resolutions

Now that I have reviewed how I did with my 2009 resolutions, it is time I formally declare the areas I would like to focus on for 2010.

My biggest focus during 2010 is resolving to Settle Down and Settle In.

I have learned over time that I have a serious aversion to letting things get stagnant in my life. I always feels like I have to be working towards some larger goal, be it a degree or a new job or a new place to live. In the past, this aversion has caused me to live while focusing all of my energy on one big goal right after the other. This wouldn't be a bad thing except for sometimes it results in glossing over what I have achieved and not appreciating what is happening right now. When I look back over the last 15 or so years of my life, there has always been some BIG things I had my eyes set on, some thing that required immediate sacrifice in order for bigger and better things to occur in the future. Some goal that I would look towards while thinking, "things will be so great when X is accomplished." Well, I think I have finally gotten to the point where I would like to see what it is like to coast for a little while.

Settle Down: Included in this resolution is accepting the things that I cannot change right now. I will consciously refrain from spending my time and energy getting stressed out about the economy, job security, and preparing myself for the many, many what-if scenarios that could occur. In short, I will make efforts to settle down and go with the flow a bit more. To let go of the many, many things that might happen, but that I have no control over. If I can't take any action, I will try to just release it from my worries. Releasing these worries will free up time and energy that I can use towards settling in.

Settle In: I won't make goals towards any major life changes during 2010. I will instead spend my energy enjoying the things in my life that deserve to be recognized and appreciated like my relationships with people, playing with my furry family members, creating things, taking care of myself, gardening, making good food, reading, exploring the area in which I live, etc. I will allow myself to be what I would have formerly called "stagnant" this year and I will see how it feels.

The caveat: I am planning on opening an Etsy store this year. Opening an Etsy store is a goal that will challenge me, but I feel like it is not a goal that is at odds with my resolution to Settle Down and Settle In. I have been thinking through my motivation for opening the store and what it would both take from me and provide for me. The conclusion I reached is that it would be a fun way to expand upon what I enjoy doing already: creating things and sharing them with others.

So, there you have it. My resolutions this year are not easily measured, but rather, they provide me with a mindset I will strive to adopt this year.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Project 365: Day 290

The buttons are sewn on! I have a ton of finished projects that have not yet made it on to the blog because I have yet to photograph them. I hope to remedy that soon.

2009 Resolutions Recap

In 2009, I made the following resolutions:
1. To Knit
2. To Learn
3. To Be

Here is a link to the full explanation of my 2009 resolutions.

So, how did I do? Truth time.

1. My explanation of the resolution To Knit, included designing and knitting a cabled blanket. This part of the resolution did not happen for a very good reason. Shortly after I made the resolution, I had a resurgence of moth issues in my stash. With all of that work to battle the moths, the last thing I wanted to do was knit this huge, woolen labor of love and then have it get attacked by moths. I eventually did challenge myself when I made Oblique and I used the yarn that I wanted to use for the blanket. And, I definitely knitted a lot in 2009. So, even though the resolution didn't work out exactly as I had originally envisioned, I don't feel like I missed out.

2. To Learn was explained in terms of technology. I tasked myself with learning how to be independently capable of operating our computer/TV, watching a DVD, burning/ripping CDs, managing my music files and processing photos. I'd say I kicked ass on this resolution. And, I barely needed Paul's help to do it! It helps that he hasn't made any major changes to our set-up in a while. I can now rip, burn, compile and backup our music. I now know how to power cycle our wireless internet and can troubleshoot problems with our entertainment system, wireless internet and laptop. I now back-up photos on a regular basis and can make adjustments in photoshop without my shortcuts/macro keys. I even took a photo workshop class that was fun AND taught me more photo processing skills. Yay!

3. To Be was a more vague resolution, but a very necessary one considering how mired I was in job searching and the challenges of settling into life in a new/old city. This resolution involved being mindful of my needs and my choices this year in regards to nutrition, exercise and stress.

Let's break this third resolution down further:
NUTRITION: Damn, I like sweets! I like to bake. I like to finish off a meal with something sweet. So, sugar is still a part of my diet. Maybe it is a little more limited than before. Maybe not. It probably depends on the week. As far as other nutritional considerations, I feel like I eat a pretty balanced vegetarian diet, with a majority of my meals being homemade. I still have the occasional pre-packaged meal when circumstances warrant it. I have been totally dedicated to taking my vitamins and supplements throughout 2009 and feel like they have really helped me fight off most of the bugs my co-workers pass around.

EXERCISE: I learned something valuable about myself through this resolution. I learned that I will stick with exercise that is fun. That I will likely practice avoidance if I do not get enjoyment from exercise. Part of what makes exercise fun for me is variety. This year I took a bunch of classes from Minneapolis Community Education, including African Dance, Belly Dance, Hoop Dance, Cardio Kickboxing and Toning Aerobics. Through my new gym, I take Zumba and Bosu Ball classes. I also tried my hand at the Couch to 5K, but by week 7 it started to get cold and I started to find it to be VERY repetitive and slightly torturous. Luckily, through my new job, I was able to join a gym that allows me to fit in the occasional lunch break workout and go to the gym straight from work. Hopefully I have set myself up for keeping the momentum going through 2010.

STRESS: The past year has brought some stress in relation to both good and bad things. Let's talk about the good. I have a job! Hooray! Also, we bought a house! I feel proud of how well I handled the stress of all of the life changes Paul and I encountered in 2009 and proud that we have accomplished some really major goals. Of course, not everything is perfect. Overall we are very fortunate and I have chosen to recognize that as often as possible, which has really helped with managing stress and keeping a healthy perspective throughout the year.

As has been the case in past years, my resolutions really helped me direct my energy and stay on track towards my goals. I am definitely on board for making more resolutions in 2010. Tune in tomorrow to find out about my 2010 resolutions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bit by Bit Blanket

Project 365: Day 289

As is the case with many knitters, I have accumulated quite the backlog of partial skeins of yarn. I recently sorted these leftovers into colors and have started working on a blanket for our couch. I am calling this the Bit by Bit Blanket because it will use up my extra bits of yarn and because the only way I plan to work on it is bit by bit.

Hunt & Gather

January 16, 2010
Project 365: Day 288

I recently drove past a store that caught my eye. I made a mental note to go back and check it out sometime because I was on my way elsewhere and didn't have the time to pull over. Missy recently reminded me of the store and suggested that I might find buttons for my vest there. I went there yesterday. Holy cow! I am completely in love with Hunt & Gather. This store is filled with my favorite aesthetics. So, so, so much chipping paint, rusty metal and aged wood is to be found in this store. I had an awesome time browsing the booths and came away with the buttons I had been looking for and a few other treasures. And, next time I go, I am bringing Paul so we can pick out some things for our house.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Drunken Knit Night

Project 365: Day 287

A portion of the crowd from Drunken Knit Night at Merlin's Rest Pub.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Project 365: Day 286

Now that my vest is done, I am on to the next project. This will become a Placed Cable Aran in due time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Needs Buttons

Project 365: Day 285

My Olivine vest is done and blocked and is just waiting for buttons. I plan to go button shopping ASAP (this weekend?), because I am eager to wear the vest. I expect that it is going to be warm and snuggly soft in the same way that my Malabrigo sweater is. Malabrigo is an amazing yarn.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

7:49 am - 4:54 pm

Project 365: Day 284

The sunrise and sunset hours have finally shifted enough that I get to see a wee bit of light before and after work. Phew! It is amazing how much those few minutes of light increases my energy levels.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Community Knit

Project 365: Day 283

Missy and I went to Anodyne tonight to knit with a knitting group. It must have been a bad week for the group because no one from the group showed up. It was great that Missy and I had gone together so we could keep each other company. We had a good time catching up on the recent goings on and we both got a chance to knit on the Community Knit scarf. Today is the two week anniversary of Missy becoming a knitter. She has taken to it quite quickly, as she is nearly finished with 2 scarves and has the yarn for her next project already. I think it is safe to say she is a born knitter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

R & R

Project 365: Day 280
January 8, 2010

I am not sure if this was the case for you, but in my circle, it seems like this past week was a really rough one. I think part of it is that a lot of people that I know are dealing with death, illnesses, lay-offs, money issues and other big stresses. When you combine that with cold weather, short days and the post-holidays doldrums, you get a pretty unhappy result. Nothing bad has happened to me directly, in fact, we got the good news that our little dog Jack does not have cancer and is back to his usual activities (hooray!), but I have been taking on a bit of the stress and sadness that many of my loved ones are experiencing.

Project 365: Day 281
January 9, 2010

I had plans for this weekend, but what ended up happening was that shortly after I got up on Saturday morning, I was putting away laundry, washing dishes and taking care of miscellaneous to-do list items. Before long, I found myself back in bed, with dogs warming my legs, trashy TV on and knitting in hand. And, that was how I stayed for pretty much the entire day. It was blissful. I wore my pajamas all day, Paul cooked me food, I got a ton of knitting done and I got the time I needed to retreat from the world, from worrying, from talking, from thinking and from participating. I didn't know that was what I needed until I got it.

Project 365: Day 282
January 10, 2010

On Sunday, I had to do a bit of making up for my day of being checked out of the world. I had to run errands, prep some food for the week and get some other things done. While I was out in the world, I had my eyes peeled for something interesting to photograph. Let me tell you, the city is really cold and covered in snow. People are not really out in the world except for to get from here to there. Everything is covered in a few feet of snow and what isn't covered in snow is likely covered in ice. No wonder I am so content staying at home these days! 'Tis the season to hibernate.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jamie's Curling Cap and Cowl

Jamie is a curler, as in she spends time on the ice with a broom and a stone. For Christmas she desired a hat to wear for curling games. When we were at Rhinebeck, she chose this yarn, I bought it and promised to knit her a hat for her Christmas present.

The yarn is Creatively Dyed Woodbrook yarn in the color Dan. In the skein it looked very speckled. I was pleasantly surprised when that quality of the dying was distributed over the knitted fabric. It served to break-up any potential pooling and spread the colors of the skein out nicely over the stitch pattern.

The hat pattern is the Groovy Cable Tuque from The Loop Craft Cafe. Because I had plenty of yardage, I also knit up a cowl in the same stitch pattern.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Naked Tree

Project 365: Day 279

Christmas is officially over at my house. The tree is now sans ornaments and propped in the alley waiting for the city to take it away.

Becky's Belated Birthday Mitts

Lucky for me, Becky doesn't mind getting her birthday gifts a little belatedly. I snooped on her Ravelry favorites and found the Nereid Fingerless Mittens pattern. After discussing colors with her, we settled on red. I had just the right yarn in my stash: the red sock yarn (Red Sox Nation) that Susan and Erin of the farm formerly known as Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm and now known as Juniper Moon Farm surprised me with when I was in the midst of my post-move moth drama.

This red is hard to photograph. It is a very pure red, semi-solid yarn, not the nearly glowing, electric red that it looks like in these photos. The yarn and pattern combination resulted in a really crisp looking fabric. The pattern was fun to knit although a bit tedious at times with the twisted stitch ribbing. But, I think it will be durable as a fingerless mitten with the twisted stitches preserving the elasticity of the ribbing after many time of being taken on and off the hands.

Happy Belated Birthday, Becky!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Warm Woolens

Project 365: Day 278

I am very glad that I finally got around to felting my mittens. They'll get a full post later, but in this stretch of cold, cold days, I thought they deserved a little shout out. In conjunction with my liner mittens, they have been keeping my hands warm in the sub-zero weather.

Scrappy Toy

I usually think that us opening our Christmas gifts is a gift to Fanny because she then gets to play in the paper and boxes. But, this year she also got a new toy just for her.

This toy started out as a scarf based on the Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf pattern. Somehow a little bit into it, I decided that I wasn't going to like the result as a scarf, so I bound off and turned it into a cat toy. I made each end a little differently to see which appealed to her more.

When setting it down to take a photo, Fanny wasted no time coming to check it out.

And, pounce!

I wonder how many other cats have toys made of fancy yarn?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cone of Shame

Project 365: Day 277

Jack had his surgery today. Turns out that he didn't just have to have the growth removed, he also had to have a tooth extracted. One of his pre-molars had broken at the gum line and needed to be removed. This was a surprise to us. We had no idea he had broken his tooth! And, as long as he was knocked out and getting dental work done, we went ahead and had his teeth scaled, too.

He had a rough day. And, now he has to wear the cone of shame for 10 long days. If you are a dog person who has not seen the movie Up, I highly recommend seeing it. If only to be amused by how great the dogs are in that movie. The cone of shame is a term used in the movie. Here is a clip:

As soon as we eat dinner, I plan to spend the rest of the evening knitting and hanging out with him on the coveted cuddle (our bed). He deserves some snuggle time after the day he has had. We hope to hear (good news) back soon from the pathologist on Jack's biopsy.

A Treasury Christmas

In October, before going on my Rhinebeck trip, I stocked up on 2nd Time Cotton, stitch patterns from the Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and a few patterns from Mason-Dixon Knitting. These items and my standard tool kit were my knitting companions for the trip.

Throughout the trip and for a while afterwards, I knitted a small arsenal of washcloths for my co-workers' Christmas presents. I bundled these washcloths with soaps from my Simpler Thyme soap sampler.

Ballband washcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Hexagon stitch pattern from the Treasury

Linoleum Dishcloth by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting

Navajo Basket stitch pattern from the Treasury

3-Color Basket Weave stitch pattern from the Treasury

2-Color Twisted Ladder stitch pattern from the Treasury

I really enjoyed exploring new stitch patterns from the Treasury book and resulting cute little gift bundles.

I highly recommend this yarn. I was a little concerned about how it would perform as a dishcloth considering that the fiber content is 25% acrylic. The acrylic did not prevent the cloth from absorbing water and, in fact, I think it performs much better than the mercerized cotton I have used on some dishcloths in the past. A great bonus with this yarn is knowing that the 75% cotton content comes from textile waste from the garment industry. Additionally, the colors are beautiful and the dye didn't bleeding when I used the dishcloth. If you are willing to spend a little more on your dishcloth yarn than the usual Peaches and Cream prices, this yarn would be a great option.
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