Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mother Nature's Blessing


As I sit in my little nook,



working away at my spinning wheel,



it makes me smile to see the spider in my window....



quietly spinning her own masterpiece.


Look carefully in the window to see it...



Monday, May 30, 2011

May Book Report..The Junk Food Book Edition

I've been reading many fabulous books lately...but many of them have been rather emotionally fraught, leaving me a bit on the worn out side. So what's a reader to do? Try something completely different, of course!

And for me, something completely different meant catching up on two of my favorite series of junk food books.

1. Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris
2. Dead In The Family, Charlaine Harris
3. Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton
4. Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton

They were fun.

Don't judge.

I also tried some non-fiction.

5. The Tiger, John Vaillant had a great premise (who doesn't love man-eating tigers!) and came with strong recommendations...but I became so bogged down in Russian politics and yet another convoluted writing style that I gave up about 1/3 of the way through.
6. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand - a must read. I immediately downloaded it to Dad's kindle because it's just that kind of book.
7. Bossypants, Tina Fey - also a must read. I highly recommend the audio book, as it is performed by Fey herself. A lot of fun, and surprisingly insightful.

And yet....I cannot escape the fact that at heart I adore good fiction.

8. The Fox Woman, Kij Johnson (print) - This book came to my attention thanks to the Endicott group at Goodreads, and I'm quite happy to say that it's my favorite new book from that list. I could sum up the entire book in just one word....beautiful. The pacing is slow and poetic, and it is therefor a book to be savoured. I found myself left with many, many questions about Japanese cultural history and folklore....and I just may have to do some reading. Incidentally, I found this interesting Wikipedia entry on Fox Wives, which was very interesting as this particular mythology is so very foreign to my admittedly Western educational background.
9. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Nifenegger (audio)- I admit, I had some really bad preconceived notions about this book based upon its marketing and the fact that it was turned into a movie. When I asked for vacation book recommendations I was therefor shocked when one of my college friends - a very pragmatic man - suggested it to me. I trust his recommendations though, and when he further explained that the marketing and shelving powers that be had it completely wrong I decided to try it. When the vacation didn't happen, I reshelved my copy and proceeded to put it off for a while. I'm so glad I did. The book is told in two voices - Henry and Clare - and the producers wisely chose to use two actors to perform the different parts. It is going to be a long time before these characters - and all of the concepts the book brings up - leave me.
10. Island Beneath the Sea, Isabel Allende (audio) - It's been a very, very long time since I read Allende, and I honestly don't remember loving her work this much. I keep typing in descriptive phrases only to delete them and attempt the explanation again. So. Allende has created more characters who will be with me for a long time to come, and the relationships she built between the slaves and the masters in this book are so complex and ring so true that I felt I was there. Bravo. Perhaps I should reread Allende's other books.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lovely Lavender




Pattern by Stephanie van der Linden


Yarn is Pagewood Farm Denali in Lavender Fields

KnitPicks Needles, 2.25 mm Harmony DPNS

March 4 - May 18, 2011


Yes indeed, these were to be my March Socks for the 2011 Crazy Sock Plan*. This would be the pair that confirmed that yes, I do have second sock syndrome when it comes to patterned socks. (We'll discuss the fact that I've never had this with basic socks at a later date.) However, my lovely lavenders did also provide me with a very important opportunity for sock problem solving as well as the chance to finally learn how to spell 'lavender.'


Ahem.


The specific problem was one of gauge and fit. To solve it I simply added an additional yarn over, knit 2 together to the beginning of the chart for each repeat. The additional 8 stitches allowed me to knit the sock at a tighter gauge while actually producing socks that fit.


Yay me!


*Ok, we never named our year-long adventure in patterned sock knitting. This just sounded good for today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Buckets And Buckets Of Green Tea

This picture of baby Lila is apropos of nothing....

except that she's cute,





First, because it needs to be said:



  • There are very good reasons why I'm terrified of tornadoes.


  • I've become very good at hiding my fear as an adult so as not to frighten my children, but I can't deny that tornadoes are the direct cause of some of my greatest phobias.


  • With that in mind, the news out of Joplin this morning is both heartbreaking and terrifying. My prayers are with all of those who've been touched by this storm.


On to happier things....



Some crafting news:




  • I've been very focused on my Evenstar shawl, but I've hit a small snag.


  • I need to redo the edging so as to use up more of the yarn.....and I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out exactly what I want to do.


  • The problem? Balance.


  • A great lace shawl is designed so that all of the components are in perfect balance with each other. Evenstar already had that, and I don't want to throw it off.


  • I've made a shawl or two that proved to be unbalanced once blocked...and those don't live with me anymore.


  • I have finished spinning all of Willow's wool.


  • That's not as big of a job as it sounds as we lost a whole lot of wool in the horrible shearing experience.


  • It wasn't exactly pleasant to spin, and the finished singles are - well - 'rustic.'


  • Yesterday I spent a lot of time reorganizing and cleaning my corner of the basement. It wasn't horrible, and yet...


  • I've been feeling a bit stale in my creative life lately. When that happens a good, thorough cleaning usually helps to infuse some life into my work.


  • Interesting conundrum: In the spring and summer I prefer to wear skirts and dresses. I don't at all like how I look in capris or shorts. Unfortunately this is a problem as I am now hopelessly enamored of my drop spindles. It's just not ladylike to use a drop spindle in a skirt. What to do...what to do...

    Family:



  • We are getting a new dishwasher on Thursday.


  • You've no idea how happy I am about that!


  • There is some relief in the fact that school is winding down.

  • Normally, I look forward to the summer break with a sense of dread. This year, I am excited about some of the plans we've made for the summer!

  • Don't get excited - our plans largely include such interesting things as start menu planning, make the girls do set chores, clean out the garage, paint the bedroom....

  • Yep, I live a lifestyle to be envied.


One last thing:



  • I'm working to develop a new blog to deal specifically with my food allergies.

  • Why?

  • For starters, I really don't want to discuss my health issues in this blog anymore. This just isn't the place for it...and yet I really feel like I need an outlet somewhere.

  • I'm hoping to build this into a bit more than just a personal allergy blog. Who knows...down the road I could have guest bloggers....medical info links....recipes....

  • It is possible that I will by tying my new allergy blog into the Yeast Allergy Support Group I'm going to be building with the help of my allergist.

  • I will be sure to announce the new blog when it launches...but please don't feel like you have to read it. Honestly, it's for a completely different audience, and is likely to have a very different tone.

  • Why the seperation?

  • Because of some comments that were left on my Facebook page after a Green Woman post in which I was honest (but not upset) about some allergy-related problems I had had that week, I have felt for a long while that I needed to sugar-coat (no pun intended) my reality here on at Chez Green Woman. Not only has this sometimes translated into false cheeriness, but it has also been part of the reason why I haven't been blogging much for the last month.

  • I need to be able to be honest - no matter how angry or ugly the honesty may be at that particular moment - without having that honesty misconstrued or misunderstood.

  • Besides, the Green Woman is completely bored with the whole mess and would like to get back to the fun of making creative messes!


Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Sheepy Weekend

My Willow's baby, Lila. She's the prettiest of the bunch...and as a singleton is almost as big as the two who are a month older than she.
The eldest ram...with horns only two months along! Can you imagine?!

This is the smallest of the bunch, and as you can see even he is almost too big for the girls to snuggle anymore.

Four horns! Both little girls have four while the boys only have two each. As neat as those big curly horns can be, we're all rather pleased with the spikey four!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5











Happy Birthday Baby!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Celaeno










Pattern by Rosemary Hill in 7 Small Shawls

1 skein Malabrigo Sock in Avril

70 grams size 6/0 seed beads

Addi Turbo, US 8 (5mm)

April 9-25, 2011


Notes:



  • Thank You to The Bead Browsery in Liberty, who came to my rescue with one last bag of the beads. Apparently this color has been discontinued, and it was a lucky thing that they had one bag left.


  • I would actually have finished the shawl in less than a week had I not had to wait for the beads, though. It killed me to have to wait so long when I really only had a couple of rows left.


  • I used a random number generator to place the beads in the garter section. I just don't do random on my own. You know this.


  • My camera has always had trouble with purples...but surprisingly enough the color is fairly accurate in these photos.


  • I love the color combination, but when it was done I knew I would never wear it because it just wasn't me.


  • When I finally got around to washing it I had a lot of trouble with the dye bleeding. While this isn't that shocking for such a bold color, it was a surprise for this particular yarn. I've now made multiple items with Malabrigo Sock - all in dark colors - and this is the first time I've had trouble with bleeding. It took me six rinses before the water ran clear.


  • And as soon as I had the shawl blocked out on my bed, I knew where it belonged! I don't think she reads my blog...but just in case...


  • All in all, I had a lot of fun working this shawl, and that's what matters!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Because He Understands

My Mother's Day present from my husband.


It's so very perfect that I felt it deserved a public Thank You...especially as it came with the following words, "I know the kids don't appreciate you right now, but I do."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Passages

1. On April 18th we threw a retirement party for the Pixie's beloved Tigger. We'd been talking to our girl about it for about a month....aided by my mother, who finally told the Pixie that Tigger was so fragile she could no longer repair any holes. (And thank you Mom, for working your magic on him so many times!) I'd brought up the topic of retirement about a month prior to that day. It helped that both of her grandfathers are retired and so she had a basic understanding of the concept. When Tig developed a wee tiny hole that she found on the morning of the 18th I pounced. I suggested retirement, she agreed, and by the end of the day I had pulled together a party. We had pizza, cake, ice cream, and balloons, and the family I babysit for stayed to help us celebrate. We told stories about Tigger and then sang "Happy Retirement To You." I then moved him to a place of honor on the mantle so that the Pixie could see him. Every few days she does talk about him, wishing she could sleep with him again, but by and large my girl is ok. I am rather glad we were able to retire Tigger before he fell apart, which I'm sure would have been extremely traumatic. In a few more weeks I'll quietly take him from the mantle, wash him one last time and tuck him away into the Pixie's special treasures box.

2. In what can only be described as "Kristin's Allergies Strike Again" I have decided that I'm going to have to give up my Mommy's Night Off. My weekly Oasis began almost 8 years ago - a small spot of quiet time to myself that was negotiated when our eldest was about 5 months old and the realities of stay-at-home motherhood had begun to truly sink in. As you might suspect, I typically spend my night off holed up in a coffee shop with my knitting and either an audiobook or some podcasts. (Used to spend it at the book store until they started closing too early for me.) This leads directly to the problem. It's hard enough to find a coffee shop that carries very plain green tea or white tea - the only hot drinks I'm allowed. Finding decaf is asking for a miracle akin to the Wedding at Cana. After only 3ish hours of fitful dozing at best last night I have to face facts. I just can't handle that kind of caffeine that late in the day, and so I'm going to have to come up with Plan B for my alone time.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today, I Followed My Muse

When I woke, she whispered into my ear, "You should spin."
And so I did.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who heard her call.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Luxury

Any artist or craftsman will tell you that materials make a difference. Silk long ago became my personal favorite. It's always a treat to work with it, and in many ways I find the end results to be magical. Of course, if you add to that a circular shawl pattern - circles being another favorite of mine, and Susan Pandorf's Evenstar having been in my queue for quite some time - you get a project which sings.

Imagine, hours and hours of happiness devoted to this project. What could be better?

Ah yes...use a Gradiance kit from The Unique Sheep, and you also add the thrill of color on top of it all. Here you can see the first color transition...and my oh my is it wonderful.

Would you believe that it gets even better? There are beads to add to the edging.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Comfort Knitting

My friend Paula recently initiated a fascinating discussion through her podcast, Knitting Pipeline, about comfort knitting. It has become abundantly clear in the last two weeks that for me comfort knitting is best defined by two things - beauty and intricacy. When I am a bit lost or in need, I require a difficult project which absorbs all of my attention and forces me to focus on the act of creation. I feel driven to make something beautiful to combat any and all darkness in the world.






So what do you do to nourish your soul?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Recalled To Life

Umm....poor thing?

While part of me feels compelled to issue a long statement which explains why I've not been blogging very much lately in great detail, I think instead I'll just keep it simple.


Life has been busy, and I've needed to focus my energy elsewhere. I've missed my blog, though, and am hoping to be back to more frequent posts as of now.


As it's been a while, here's some random!


Handwork:



  • There is a finished shawl in my bathroom, waiting to be washed and blocked.


  • I don't particularly like knitting the uber-famous Monkey socks.


  • I also am done knitting socks on 2.0 mm needles.


  • I've been knitting a lot of lace lately. It's been necessary for my own peace of mind.


  • Funny, that. I'm a person who needs massively complicated in order to find sanity.


Family:



  • We've had some important firsts in the last month.


  • The Princess was baptized on the 10th of April.


  • She took her first communion today.


  • Princess also performed in her first piano recital today, doing extraordinarily well for someone who's only been taking lessons for about 5 months.


  • It's clear that she has an aptitude and/or the talent that her mother most certainly does NOT have when it comes to music.


  • My husband landscaped our front yard. I did not help. It would have ruined our marriage if I had tried. (Trust me.)


  • I am very proud of him!


  • I don't have much news of the Pixie....when I think of something I'll be sure to share.


The Royal Wedding (bet you weren't expecting that one, were you?!):



  • I seriously could have done without the weeks and weeks of build up.


  • I had no intention to get up at 3 AM to watch the whole shebang. I had planned on maybe getting up at 5 for the ceremony....but it was more likely that I would have watched any of the gazillion recaps.


  • However, I had a massive bout of insomnia that night. When I found myself still awake at 2:45, I decided I might as well get up.


  • I'm glad I did!


  • It was a lot of fun, and I did wake the Princess for about 30 minutes so that she could see the important parts.


  • While The Duchess certainly looked beautiful, I still think my wedding dress is the most beautiful dress ever made.


  • I will say that I have enjoyed greatly all of the articles about the embroidery and lace work done on the dress. It's good to know that there are still master artists creating beautiful, magical things.


  • By the way, I think I missed my calling. I perhaps should have been a British milliner.


  • I want a fascinator....


Miscellaneous:



  • My running career - indeed my entire exercise career - is currently on hold.


  • I will perhaps be helping to organize a support group for adults with food allergies sometime in the near future. I've also volunteered my writing skills to my allergist, and there are several possibilities there.


  • Incidentally, I've discovered over the last few weeks just how wonderful my allergy drops are. I'm not sick at all, and the pollen and mold counts have been off the charts this spring.

  • Having made fun of my mother's cat for years because the poor thing has "Starvation Syndrome" (Yes, it's real...at some point the cat has been seriously deprived and when food is then made available they can't stop themselves from eating.) which has turned her into the roundest cat I've ever seen, I find myself having to eat my hat because....


  • Opal has the same problem.


Have a wonderful week everyone!