Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not So Hard

I think I bought the pattern and yarn for the Clinton Cowl a few years ago. It's a Borroco pattern and the yarn is Berroco Vintage. When I bought it, I was worried it was too hard for me, which is probably why it sat around for so long, just languishing in my stash.

Something -- I don't know what -- inspired me to dig it out (which wasn't all that easy as I have my stash stowed away all over the house). I started knitting and -- it's not so hard after all!
It's a simple Fair Isle pattern, with stripes that spiral. There are 8 colors in all, so it shouldn't be a boring knit.

I've started the third season of the Killing, so I can see this cowl just flying off the needles.

And the week is flying by -- just two more days until winter break! I can't wait to do nothing but read and knit! And make cookies, of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Almost FO

I am enchanted with the Babies & Bear Sweater. It is done except for the buttons:

And here is the back:
Do you think it would work for a boy or a girl? I don't have a recipient in mind; I knit it for the practice of making a sweater, so I tried to find yarn that would feel right for either gender. I'm sure a special baby will come along one of these days.

It's a quiet weekend here, which is nice before the holidays. I went for a walk and lunch with friends this morning, then came home and cooked a Mushroom Marsala recipe from Fine Cooking. It was good, but not great. I haven't decided if I'll keep the recipe. I love chicken Marsala, so it would be nice to have some other uses for a bottle of that wine.

I hope you are having a peaceful pre-holiday weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You Probably Don't Remember This

I started this sock back in August when I went Up North with my friend Joni. It's the first of the Wishbone Socks.

It's a Nancy Bush design, so it is very well written. I am terrible at memorizing patterns, but this is at least easy to keep track of without a counter. (Sorry for fuzzy photo -- weak winter sun -- at least that's what I'm blaming!)

At this point you may be wondering, how many WIPs does Caffeine Girl have going now? Well, I don't know if I can count that high. I've realized there is a pronounced chaos to my knitting. I like to have lots of choices when I have some time to knit.

But there are also categories that I like to have WIPs in: easy knitting for socializing or watching TV; moderately challenging for listening to the radio or podcasts; and challenging projects that take my full attention. Still, that would only require me to have 3 WIPs at any time ... and I have a large multiple of that number sitting patiently in project bags.

I seem to have a weakness for starting projects. It's sort of like how I feel about buying books. Buying a book is a commitment to read a book -- and I like that feeling. I get the same satisfaction from casting on.

Oh well, there are worse vices!

I'm linking up with Keep Calm and Craft On here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Knitting Virally

If you read MereKnits -- and who doesn't? -- you know all about the Almost Forgotten Dishcloth. While Meredith didn't design it, she has inspired knitters all over to jump on the bandwagon and start spitting out these darling cloths. I knew I'd jump on sooner or later and now my first one is ready to sew up.

Very sweet, huh? I knit this out of Lily Sugar'n Cream but I didn't realize until I started that this skein is part of the scented line. The scent is quite nice -- like freshly washed laundry -- but the label says that it washes out. I'm thinking these will be perfect little gifts for thank-you's and other small occasions.

It's downright hot here -- 35 degrees F, a little above freezing, so I want to squeeze in a walk. I have a hard time exercising during the school year -- and I know I should make it a priority! After that I have to clean the house because I'm hosting my meditation group this evening. There is something not-quite-right about hurrying to get ready for meditation -- but I don't know how to get around that!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis the Season for Cowls

And I'm not just saying that. It has been cold here. I can hardly wait to wear this:
It has been another crazy week. Our secretary pointed out that crazy weeks have become the norm, and there's a lot of truth to that!
I've been playing catch-up most of the week because I took off Monday to go to Chicago for the funeral of a close friend's mother. I knew Fran, the mom, a bit and I had really liked her. Still, I was unprepared for how emotional the funeral was for me. It wasn't my mom, after all, but I found myself deeply saddened by the thought of a world without Fran. And I was struck by how primal this feeling was, how inescapable, how deeply universal it felt.
I am as guilty as anyone of being wrapped up in getting through each day, completing the tasks, making the phone calls, handling the problems, figuring out what to make for dinner and when I'll have time to clean the bathrooms. Going to this funeral really disrupted my usual monkey mind. It is so easy to forget the things that really matter. Since Monday, I have been thinking a lot about how I spend my time and how I want my life to be.
There's a lot of think about.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Because of the Packer game...

...foot traffic is way down this afternoon at my art fair!
The place was pretty crowded this morning but things slowed down quite a bit about an hour before kick-off.

I don't mind just hanging out. A lot of people I haven't seen in ages show up. A few minutes ago, a former student happened by, which is always fun. Plus I have been working on this:

Last year I did very well at this show. This year I'm just glad that I am not losing money!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shop with a Blogger

Earlier this year, I was lucky to receive a sampling of lotion bars in the beta stage. Maker and blogger Alicia Landi of Woolen Diversions was looking for feedback on three different samples she had made. I was not a very helpful sampler, though, as I loved them all!

Thankfully, other testers had some preferences and, with their help, Alicia went on to launch Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bars:

This is great stuff. At the risk of sounding like a paid ad (which this is not!), I can say that it's not even December and the air here is cold and dry. My Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bar is keeping my hands from being painfully dry!

The bars are handmade from all-natural ingredients, like cocoa butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, meadowfoam oil, and vitamin E oil as well as lanolin. And the scents are amazing! I pulled a Turkish Mocha-scented bar out of my purse recently when I was at a restaurant with friends and everyone at the table was seduced by the scent. They all wanted to know how they could get one of these.

I bought enough for all the women in my family for Hanukkah (none of them knit, so I don't think I'm giving away anything).

By now, I'm sure that you want to know how you can get your dry, chapped hands on one of these. It's easy because Alicia has an Etsy shop here.

The only problem you'll have is deciding which one of the amazing scents you want. I do highly recommend the Turkish Mocha, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

And speaking of shops, I have my one craft fair of the year tomorrow. It's a great show that benefits Madison's Arboretum and the show features only local producers. You can get everything there from clothing to organic honey to jewelry. I have been taking it easy this weekend but I'm going to have to get going today.

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely. I am always happy if I can have both my children at the table at the same time. Seth lives here in Madison, but he's in vet school so I don't see a lot of him. Rachel is in grad school at the University of Miami and she did not enjoy the wintery weather here. Still, it was great to have her home. She flew back yesterday and the house is too quiet without her.