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Nina Simone knew what she was singing about

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the Sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me.
It’s a new world for me
And I’m feeling Good.

The rain waters have receded and the sun is out.  I have just awaken from an afternoon nap, refreshed and as I blink my eyes to get them back to focus I realize a wonderful beautiful fact: I am off from my job until August. My job doesn’t pay very much, actually I suspect I’m the lowest paid out of all my girlfriends but the bonus of my time off is gold.

There are many jobs that allow for nice long stretches of time off.  Us school teachers/administrators thank God everyday for these hours not in the class room.  Sure what we do brings education to the masses, but we share the same sentiments with parents who are just as thankful to Send Their Kids to school. There’s only so much you can take of 14 to 17 year olds.  They have the power to Drain you of Every Particle of Energy you have.

Although I know I will try to stop the clock with my fingers like Evie from Out of This World, it’s going to go so fast that before I know it I’ll be powering back up my PC and practicing my school presentations ready to recruit a new set of would-be Angels.

Until then, my time will be used for the betterment of Life as we know it.  In other words: I will just make sure I don’t sleep in too many mornings.  I have a bridal shower to plan, plus a British brother to visit, and a LBI beach house to occupy for a week.  In between, middle and end of all that I have my knitting.

I am piss poor broke these days so there’s no more buying yarn the way I would like to.  Having Cara just flashing her Log Cabin this way and that it’s got me thinking.  I know I wouldn’t have the patience for a blanket this summer, but what about a nice tote bag?? I could make two unique front and backs as well as line it with cute fabric in the middle with a log cabin pocket stitched in.  I need to sketch it out… but that is calling me.

I also have tons of yarns with no place to go.

Yarns

Calmer which is waiting for a NBTS.
Some nice fine yarn Oro for Eunny’s Print o’ the Wave Stole.
Sundara’s Red Silk, still trying to find a pattern to go with it
Socks that Rock, you know what I’ll be doing with those, but not in the sock mood right now

I am in the "Almost Done" stages of Birch.  I’m searching the internets for anyone else who’s come across my plateau problem, but I’m beginning to think it’s in my head rather than on the stitches.  Maybe I’m just getting bored.  I’ve memorized the pattern and every other row is purl.  Yaaaawn.  It’s beautiful though so it is pullling me through.  But I cannot wait to be done!!!

Speaking of Cara – go over there and donate to Heifer International!! We’re almost to the goal and the best part is that the prizes haven’t been given out you.  Give a cow. Or a chicken.  Or a bee!  That can be your "make the world a better place" thing for the day.

General

Did I say downhill?

I meant plateau.

I don’t know what it is.  I thought starting out with 299 stitches and ending with 3 would make the process seem so much faster.  That I would be a breezin’ my way to the bind off.  Perhaps it’s because I have this distinct fear that this final 3rd ball just isn’t enough. Or perhaps it’s just not finishing fast enough for me.  The other thing could be that I just haven’t been knitting a lot lately.   Or I have and just feel like I’m not getting anywhere…. dude, I need a sign I’m almost done… these 10 decreases per pattern repeat aren’t doing it for me!

Despite all my whining it is coming out beautiful, more beautiful than I could have imagined.  And to top that off I gave it the Teenager Test.  I went on a trip with a group of high school girls this weekend to North Carolina.  We traveled together in a nice luxury liner bus for 9 hours. (yes, that’s 18 hrs. total with a group of 15 to 17 year olds… yes I am OK.) There was plenty of time to knit and so I whipped lovely Birch out.  No more than 2 seconds in the public view was there a girl yelling out from the back of the bus, "Yo, Ms. P, what’s that in your hands?"  I proudly showed them my "plateau" Birch and instead of giving me that teenage indifference or laugh the girls actually were impressed and "oohed and ahhhed" when I gave them a preview. 

I am triumphant!!  I am 25 years old and work at an all-girls catholic HS.  There’s a short time before I will be seen as "totally un-cool" and not a hip Twenty Something – so I was pretty happy at the fact that they’re still considering me on the very Cool side with my beautiful knitting.  But let’s be honest – I got some style **cough**, I would never be caught knitting with Fun Fur. Ewe.  Sorry I am such a yarn snob in that respect.  I am still eager to finish birch and with just a few more repeats I’m sure the rest will be cake… I’m just in a stalemate right now.

As far as my other "obsessions"… just received some sewing books and have to schedule time with my mom to get her to teach me how to make the Singer purr.  I’m all about log cabins and am eager to grab some fabric at Purl Patchwork once I get the chance.  I am thinking a pillow as a first project… Nice and SIMPLE.

Beyond that I am a week away from saying Bye-Bye to my job for a month and a half.  Vacaciones here I come!

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Suma-Suma-Summertime

A day like today makes me want to turn up that Will Smith song and sing it loud! I definitely scared my boyfriend the other night by reciting it word for word.  I was 11, this song was a hit and all I wanted to do was lock myself in my room dance and memorize the lyrics. Those memories remind me of Paula, too.  I loved Ms. Adbul! Oh why did you go so sour with Idol??

Anyway, there’s all this hullabalu about the blogs being quiet… shhh shhh.   Well I just got here and I’m planning on sticking (that is when I don’t go on full month blog hiatuses).  I certainly have blogs to thank for making me a more confident knitter.  I would be No Where Near as good a knitter as I am now without the "knitterhood" I discovered online.  All the beautiful pictures of people’s knits (and other crafts for that matter) is what gets me excited to do my own.  Speaking of…

Birch1_1

Beautiful Birch.  I’m on my last ball of yarn and there must be at least 100 stitches still on my needles.  I’m not so sure it’s going to make it to it’s last leaf! I’m not however going out to get that security ball because perhaps some sort of miracle will happen.

Birch2

The pre-blocked birch reminds me of  the surface of water.  When you hold Kid Silk Haze to the light the silk in it gives off the hint of a shimmery glow. I want to swim in the leaves…

Birch

I love you more today than Yesterday

But not as much as tomorrow…

Ahh Birch, I’m worried.  I’ve finished two balls of kid silk haze and I’ve only done 9 repeats. I keep dividing the stitches in my head, subtracting the leaves and knowing that with each repeat there are 10 less stitches, but something is just irking me.  I just don’t think I’m going to make it… 

When I first started Birch I had two false starts. I tried my best to salvage the yarn used but it came to a point where this stuff was soo damn sticky that I just broke it off and started again.  It couldn’t have made too much of a difference however since I only did a cast on and one knit row.  I also didn’t make a gauge swatch (i know… i know…) but I thought since this was a shawl it didn’t matter what size it was. Not to mention Everyone and their Mother who has made this has said they’ve only used 3 balls of the Rowan Yarn.

It’s simply beautiful though.  I find myself just staring at it sometimes.  Holding it up to the light so that I can see all it’s leafy goodness.  I just can’t wait to get it off the needles.  I also found it go so much smoother minus the stitch markers.  I’ve now memorized the pattern and use the YOs as my check point.

On a more personal note –

Today is my anniversary with my boyfriend.  He’s this fabulously sexy, blue eyed man that I have had the pleasure of spending 8 years of my life with.  I guess you could label us "high school sweethearts" but we were never the type to gush over such things.  Of course there were the girls who got necklaces that said "together forever" or "So-and-So’s Future Wife", but Jim and I just kinda went with the flow.  Never truly recognizing (but perhaps hoping) the gold mine we discovered together.  Today represents the first time we kissed.  I threw a party (thanks Mom and Dad) and he arrived and I’d like to think that It was ALL ME 😉 I was a pretty forward kind of girl and didn’t really hesitate landing one on him.

Going through college was a challenge.  So many different factors pulling at you and vying for your attention.  I have him to Thank for being so patient with me.  For never stopping his belief and love for me.  For understanding my fears and helping me to overcome them.

8 years… 8 wonderful years.  It was hard, easy, fun, frustrating, exciting, never boring time.

Thank you Jim.  I know I will love you always and forever.

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Bandwagon

You wouldn’t believe what I heard on the radio this morning.  In the "news" section no less. 

Knitting is the ‘new popular’ trend now. (And amonst the younger folk and no Grandma-ma).  This was taken from an article from Marie Claire magazine saying that more and more women are taking up this craft.  It even says that knitting is scientifically proven to lower your heart rate and helps you de-stress and relax.  Yes, that is if you’re not working on some super-duper-complicated-lace-directions-in-three-lanugages piece.

It’s true though, I’m in the zone when I’m knitting.  It’s not something that I can do while holding a deep thoughtful conversation.  Just at my boyfriend, I can forget whole conversations while knitting.  It’s as if they never happen. (I also have what my mother calls "selective hearing", but that’s usually what happens when I’m watching my favorite TV shows, ahem 24/Grey’s Anatomy, or anything on HBO).

So what of this new bandwagon?? I’m inclined to say that I’m a part of the explosion.  I got into knitting two/three years ago. It was just something I wanted to pick up.  I saw this great knitting book and I thought Why Not?  My mother taught me how to crochet when I was younger and I was familiar with the basic ins and outs.  The first thing I finished knitting was a scarf for my boyfriend which he still wears.  Since then i’ve made hats, shawls, little bags… thank you SnB! And I’ve even taught a few girls here at my school…

Then I stumbled on to the blogging phenominom and I haven’t looked back since.  It’s SO great to have a place where you can share ideas, become inspired and gloat a bit on FOs.  There’s really no other place like that…  I’d like to think that knitting will keep growing popular but even if this wave goes away that I’ll still have multiple knits on the needles.

Birch is moving along… more pics tomorrow, it’s so dismal out… gosh when will it stop raining??

General Knitting

A little Glimpse

Wow two posts in one day… who am I?

I know I’ll never be a daily poster but I’m do want to keep things interesting.  I’ve read so many blogs who are the same – long droughts and then daily posts… so I don’t feel SO bad, but I do feel like if I’m gonna do this I’m gonna do it right… no halvsies!  anyway, on to the pics…

Clapotis2

don’t you just LOVE the reds and dark purples and greens!

oh and a little glimpse of the next project

Birch

I thought I would hate working with Kid Silk Haze but it’s proven to be OK to knit with.  It does have a tendency to stick to itself though so even when you need to tinker back a few stitches it can be annoying.  However seeing those cute leaves emerge with every repeat is worth the sticky stitches.  Besides Birch on the needles is the 2nd sock to the 1st jaywalker pair – remember those?  I finished a pink pair in between and then went back to the original pair for finishing… it’s at the heel and just needs to be turned. 

On a completely different rant, let me Tell You what I saw on my drive home today…  I take local roads to and from the school I work at.  It’s a very direct drive down River Road (through Edgewater, Weehawken and then into Hoboken).  I always pick up speed through the Imperial Ferry area but today traffic was moving a bit slower than  usual.  I stop at the set of lights by Arthur’s Landing, where those new townhouses are being built (which on a whole other rant i could express multiple reasons on why you wouldn’t choose to live there and only one which you would… i mean 1,000,000 for the view? No thank you) 

ANYWAY, at the stop light going in the opposite direction was a black SUV pulled over with the cop car  backed a bit away from the car.  I had my music up but I could tell that there was some loud speaker on somewhere.  As the light turned green I noticed about 3 more police cars lights on SPEEEEDING towards this black SUV that I was about 5 feet from.  I lowered my music to get a better listen and I hear loud and clear from the cop car, "Turn off your engine and Throw your keys out the window!".  To this I began to pick speed up but nearly veered off the road to prevent myself from crashing with one of the police vehicles racing to the scene. 

There were two guys that I could see sitting in the front seat of the SUV and there were about 8 police cars I could count by the time I had hit my gas and drove away.  Holy crap what the hell was going on!?  I mean 8 police cars? really?  for two – maybe 4 if there were people in the backseat – people? Perhaps OJ was in the back seat of the car… 

Boy do I feel talkitive today… But i’ll rest your eyes… next time ask me to tell you the story about my boyfriend’s roommate’s encounter with a very angry Jamaican woman.

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Updates!

So what was I knitting you ask during my May blog-haitus??

Why none other than the Clapotis

During my venture through the city several weeks ago I bought 5 skeins of Noro Silk Garden in Color 84 without knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it. I just loved the variations of color and the splash of green in the deep reds.  I browsed the internets for patterns and noticed that I seriously missed the Clapotis bandwagon (it was beyond the Jaywalker craze)… but loved the pattern so much I thought – there goes my Noro!  But alas I didn’t think I had enough. (And boy did I not!) 

So that fateful last post night (the one with the margaritas from Rio Grande, 37th and 3rd NYC) I bought 3 more skeins to make it 8… yup thad’ be enough…

I didn’t block it yet, because I’m not so sure it really needs it. Also,  it was hot as hell today so no model shots.

I loved the project because of it’s design… so genius! I can see why so many people took to it.

It seems I’m all about mainstream knits because next up is the Birch shawl from Rowan.  I first tried to cast it on a circular but it was a HORRIBLE experience that I wish never to relive.  I hated it. I wanted to burn the yarn.  So I put it down for a few weeks did other things but saw it sitting there and I knew I had to get back up on that horse and try it again.   With regular straight 8s this time… I’m so happy I did!! I’m two pattern repeats in and I’m loving it!!!!!  I also love the psychology behind this shawl… it’s like knitting downhill ;-)… the more you knit the less you have to knit… which makes you want to knit faster!

I’m not forgetting either my new bug to sew… I went on the McCalls website to browse some patterns and saw two that caught my eye:

Dress1_1
V7848

The first was what caught my attention first at Amelia Raitte’s and then at A Dress A Day… the second it just a simple pattern that I can totally manipulate to anything.  I’m also checking out a few bag patterns like the one over at Whispering Pine… I am fully obsessed now!

Where am I going to learn how to sew you ask?

My mother was a master seamstress (learning from her mom) and used to make ALL her own clothes when she was younger.  She was so good in fact that she spent two years at FIT learning the ins and outs of design.  After that she started her family and turned to interior design as a side business.  She doesn’t get to sew that much any more and now with my obsession with learning is also starting to pick up her old passion.

I have this fabulous picture of my mother seaming together a dress in her curlers.   She has the mesuring tape around her neck and was in the process of pinning her dress together.  I like to think she was just whipping something up for the date she had that night. 

Now all I have to do is get some fabric to begin this venture!

ETA: I don’t know about you but this whole thing about today being 6-6-06 is just rubbish.  Those people who care about it can See Me In Hell.  Then again I wouldn’t be caught dead watching Seven, The Omen or any other scary movie for that matter today.