a girl and her boy

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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Cruisin'

On my way in to school today, I noticed this yellow fuzzy thing on my windshield. I had no idea what it was. It was staying really well so I thought, at first, it might be bird-poo, but I’d never seen yellow bird-poo before. I drove the whole two miles confused.

When I got to school, I immediately got out of the car grabbing my camera on the way in case of something interesting, and sure enough, it was! I had a little caterpillar take a ride to school with me today.

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Weekend Warriors

Little Abby

Little Abby

I’m so exhausted: the last three days have been busier than the last two weeks combined. It all started the day of my reception when I found out that my cousin Tracy’s baby was being baptized. I immediately went out and purchased yarn for a little cardigan that you’ve seen posts on the last few days. That little cardigan kicked my butt. It took so much longer than I ever expected. Saturday night I was up until 2 am trying to finish that thing. I got one button band done and decided to finish the rest on the hour and more car ride to Western Maine only to realize the next day that I picked up way too many stitches. The poor sweater was crinkled and bunched from it. I showed it to my cousin and let her know I’d fix it and mail it. At least she saw that I indeed had something for little Abigail. Tracy wasn’t worried. As a matter of fact, she loves the cardigan and can’t wait until I mail it out.

Allan enjoying the get-together, and the sun.

Allan enjoying the get-together, and the sun.

Spending time with my maternal extended family was cathartic. I distanced myself from them around 2003 when I began acknowledging the full extent of my childhood experiences and the truth of my parents’ actions because my only interactions with them to that point were through my parents – either going with them to visit or hearing about them from my parents. My need to heal emotionally led me to pull away from my family, and even some friends, to what felt like a safe, secluded space. And now, five years later, married, happier than I’ve ever been in my life, I was able to reconnect with them. And it was wonderful beyond measure.

My parents were unable to attend the baptism and following barbecue, which allowed me to interact with my family for the first time in my life without them. And further, I’m an adult with an adult perspective. I was able to fully be myself around my family because I tend to limit my emotional and verbal responses when my parents are around because of the pain and memories their presence evokes. For the first time since I was a child, I have an extended family.

We left western Maine mid-afternoon and promptly got lost in a very similar manner to Amy’s experience in the same region. It took us nearly two and a half hours to return from Andover. By the time we drove into the dooryard, I was tired, hungry and cranky. So, of course, we immediately left again to visit Allan’s parents in Vassalboro, another 35 minute drive away. It was worth it, though, as I had a long and leisurely swim in my MIL’s heated therapy pool (pool house built off the main house). It was a dream.

We got back from Sunday’s adventures around 11 pm. Monday’s adventures began at 10 am when we left to visit Grammie in Camden, about an hour and a half away. Earlier in our adventures, Allan’s only pair of sandals blew out and so we had to try and find another pair. We scoured three stores in Augusta only to find cheap, uncomfortable, and limited selections of sandals for far more than we would consider paying. This made us really cranky and made the additional car time a real joy.

We ended up arriving in Camden about 2 hours later than we estimated because of our delayed morning start (groggy) and searching for sandals.

Allan and his Grammie

Allan and his Grammie

From there our adventures started looking up. We went into Camden in search of lunch, intending on eating at this new wine bar, but they were closed. So, on our way to check out other place to eat, we ended up stopping into Sage as they just opened a shop in downtown Camden, and I fell in love. If I could live anywhere I wanted, I’d live in a coastal town similar to the Rockland/Rockport/Camden area. After ogling the spices and wine, we sallied forth and found a shoe shop where Allan finally found a pair of sandals that were comfortable, well made, and reasonably priced! Hallelujah! From there, we sought out a Japanese restaurant, but come to find out, they, too, were not open on Monday. We ended up eating at this great little Thai place. The food was to die for.

thai food - yum!

thai food - yum!

Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca Wool

After lunch, I brought Allan and Grammie to Unique One Sweater and Yarn where we were mesmerized and tantalized by the gorgeous stock. I walked out with three balls of Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca wool to make a Reversible Cable and Lace scarf. See, I told you I’m getting better, and braver! Two lace projects lined up!

Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca Wool

The adventures didn’t end there. We stopped by a market, grabbed stuff for kabobs, and went back to the cottage. We drank wine (Gnarly Head Cab), at cheese and crackers (rice crackers with a light honey glaze and blue cheese), and talked about old times. It was a great night.

And now, here I am, Tuesday, exhausted. Any wonder why? 🙂

Cardigan Progress

(Don’t forget to scroll down for the contest!)

I’m getting there. I have to sit down and crank out the stiches today, but I can certainly get it done. This little cardigan is taking longer than I expected but not as long as I feared.

I’ve had to make some changes along the way, no major ones, but ones I wouldn’t have been brave enough to make even 8 months ago. It’s amazing how the learning curve works in knitting: fearing a process, getting through it, and then realizing it wasn’t so bad and that it allows you to do so many more things than you thought possible.

That’s one of the great things about this cardigan: I’m realizing how much I’ve grown as a knitter and how fearless and competent I’m becoming. I feel like I can go off the beaten path and solve my own problems now. A year ago I would have set the project aside worried that I’d make a terrible mess of it. Now, I know that it will be wonderful. Isn’t this great? I love knitting confidence!

(Don’t forget to scroll down for the contest!)

A Contest with Multiple Opportunities to Win!

My dear online friend and virtual running companion, Fibreholic, is hosting a second blogiversary contest. She’s offering up two prizes: (1) some sock yarn that I can only imagine the beauty of, and (2) mohair. Who doesn’t love mohair? (Alright, I know some don’t, but I’m not one of them!)

How can you help me have a better chance of winning, you ask? It’s simple, really. All you have to do is one of two things: (1) leave her a comment on the blogiversary contest post, or (2) send her an email (listed on her blog). It’s really easy. And you know you want to because if you help me win, I just might put the socks or mohair dream, when done, on it’s merry way to you!

So, I offer up a second contest in compliment to hers: help me win, and if I do I’ll knit the prize up into a gift for the winner of my drawing.

How do you qualify for my drawing? Leave me a comment here, or email me (brokensnowpea@gmail.com) letting me know that you emailed or left a comment for Fibreholic and I’ll put you into a drawing. I’ll draw name(s) after Fibreholic’s winners are chosen and posted in the event that I’m a winner.

And naturally, you’ll need to provide your name and address to me to get the item to you should we both win.

Fibreholic’s Contest Rules:

In light of the fact that things are strangely exciting around Chez Fibreholic on a daily basis, I wanted to offer you a contest that is nice and easy for all of us. You need only do three things to enter this blogiversary contest (and one of those things will result in you getting a double (or more) entry in the draw basket):

  • First, send me a comment saying ‘hello’ (or an email in case you’re not interested in setting up on blogger to post a comment. See the right sidebar for my email address). This will earn you one entry;
  • Secondly, post about this contest on your blog (or tell your friends if you do not have your own blog) and encourage others to enter;
  • Finally, make sure people use your name/blog name when they drop me a note so that I can enter you again! For each mention, you win another entry.

The contest will run from today and right up until midnight on my blogiversary date (August 21, 2008). I/we will draw two names from the prize basket when we are up and at’em the next day (baring strangely exciting disasters, etc.).

Teaberry Tea

image courtesy of Stonewall Kitchens site

image courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen's site

I haven’t posted about tea in a while, mostly because I haven’t tried any new ones for quite some time. But, I’m glad to say, that I have a new tea to share! My inlaws found Stonewall Kitchen Maine Teaberry Tea in a local shop and bought a few tins and graciously gave one of them to me. This tea not only tastes refreshing and fruity, it also smells divine and is beautiful as dried potpourri when the leaves are done with steeping.

Unfortunately, it’s a limited-edition seasonal tea. If you happen to spot it, grab it!

The tea contains teaberry leaves, birch bark, rose hips, cranberries, blueberries, hibiscus, roasted chicory root, and wintergreen oil. Before I run out, I’m going to gather these ingredients and see what I can do about blending my own. When I get there, I’ll post my trial runs and results.

Holy Progress, Batman!

I cast on for Abby’s cardi last night and am making major progress. I’m loving this cardi! I’m keeping this pattern around for future projects for sure.

One thing I failed to take into consideration until after I got past the lace-bit is that I’m knitting with a cotton-blend and not wool as the pattern calls for. I nearly panicked, but then remembered the vast and wonderful resources available through Ravelry. Within two minutes I had my problem resolved!

What I did is instead of ripping out my work and starting over, I simply switched over to US size 4 needles after the lace which was done in US size 6. The fabric is more firmly knit which will decrease the cotton-droop. Speaking of the cotton, I’m really enjoying working with the Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. When I began knitting “real” projects and made the commitment to only knit with good yarns, I mentally crossed Lion Brand, and most stuff found at chain craft stores, off the list. Out of the feeling of urgency I went to Michaels and purchased the Cotton-Ease. And well, I actually like it, so far. We’ll see if this holds true after washing and blocking the sweater.

Further, this sweater represents my first successful lace knitting! My previous attempts were during the days of twisting my purl stitches and not doing yarn overs correctly. I now feel brave enough to tackle a few lace projects that I’ve attempted but put aside in the last few years.

Specifically, about four years ago I attempted the Lace Watch Cap and Scarf designed by Karen Braun found in Handspun Handknit Caps, Socks, Mittens & Gloves. I tried and tried for months to get it to come out right. Now I understand that it was simply because of the twisted purls and incorrect YOs. I pulled the book out, read the pattern over, and I now know that I am ready to revisit this project.

In celebration, I took some of the wedding gift money, with Allan’s permission of course, and ordered some yarn to knit it with. I ordered Elegance Yarn in Raisin. I can’t wait to cast on for this again!

But, this project will have to wait as I have a backlog of projects. Let’s list it to see how deep it is (as of now, I’m not sure until I write it down…).

These are all things that are on the needles or need some finishing:

  1. Abby’s cardigan
  2. Abby’s socks (will cast on after cardi)
  3. Abby’s hat (will cast on after cardi)
  4. Ken’s Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern
  5. Cabled Cowl-Neck Vest
  6. Grammie’s Cowl (needs to be frogged and reknit with more stitches)
  7. Oak Ribbed Sock (set aside to make Ken’s socks)
  8. Justin’s scarf and hat set

Okay, not too bad. Now for the things that I purchased yarn for that I either started or put off:

  1. Sheldon the Turtle for Justin
  2. Lacy Shrug (had intended it for my wedding… oh well)
  3. and probably others…

And now for the yarn that I’ve purchased with intentions of using hopefully before this coming spring:

  1. Opal sock yarn (for me)
  2. Austermann sock yarn (for Allan)
  3. Knit Picks Palette for Allan-socks
  4. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Allan-socks
  5. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Jen-socks
  6. plus other things I can’t think of because they’re buried so deep in the stash…

I have a lot of knitting to do this fall and winter! Yay! I’m going to create a page on my blog to keep this list and update it.

So, I’m off to knit!

Knitting News

At my reception, I found out that my cousin Tracy’s baby is being baptized on Sunday. You know what that means, baby knitting!

I scoured Ravelry for patterns, and found a bajillion I love. The winners for this project are:

From Woolly Butts: The Chiara Cardigan (rav link)

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

This cardigan will be knit in Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in colorway 149 Stone and, for accents, colorway 112 Berry. The edgings and the stripe in the middle will be in the berry color.

I’m also going to knit up some Better-than-Booties Baby Socks by Ann Budd.

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Beyond knitting for baby, I’ve been making progress on the Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern for my father-in-law. I had to rip them out and start over because I goofed on the lozenge pattern during graduation – I thought I had the pattern memorized. Oh well. It’s coming along well.

Gentlemans Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Gentleman's Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I’m also making progress on my cowl-neck vest. In a few more centimeters I’ll be ready to graft the shoulders together and start on the cowl. After I get knitting for baby done, I’ll finish up the socks and vest. Maybe another 2-3 weeks on these?

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I also have a bunch of projects I can’t wait to start. And I also have a ton that have been on the back burner for a while. Such is the way of knitting, though. Too many interesting projects and not enough time to get them all done.

For one, I can’t wait to get going on some Cap’n Crunches. I’m going to use my Mission Falls wool to make some of these (the striped socks just were not working – this is a much better use of the wool!).

photo from Ravelrys Cap Crunch pattern information page

photo from Ravelry's Cap' Crunch pattern information page

I better get knitting…

Married!

I’ve been a married woman for 3 days now and I have to tell you, I love it! Granted, nothing significant changed other than being able to file taxes jointly, being able to consolidate our student loans jointly, and having a new last name that will confuse my students for the academic year to come.

But, there’s something special about being married to my best friend.

Those of you who have been following the planning saga since last summer know that getting this organized has been a long and tumultuous process of trying to strike a balance between what we wanted, what family wanted, and what others have done. I think we ultimately went the way that was best for us – simple, elegant, and down-to-earth.

Our vow exchange took place in our home, in our dining room, over tea. Our vows were strikingly similar to the ones previously posted, with a few ad libbed changes. I had to write the gist of what I wanted to say down 20 minutes before people showed up because, despite what I wrote earlier in the day, I was getting nervous. I got really nervous when our friends, Amy and Jared, showed up. And I got even more nervous when the notary arrived. I realized, and voiced to Amy, that I was nervous because although I’ve kissed Allan with people around, I’ve never kissed him in front of others, you know, with people watching!

Sitting here, three days later, I’m so glad that we did the vow exchange the way we did – it is something I’ll remember fondly from that day forward. It’s a very non-traditional approach that satisfied my needs.

The next day was our reception. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! Our wedding day saw rain (very lucky!) and our reception saw a blue sky and big fluffy clouds.

Our closest family and friends arrived in due fashion and we socialized for a bit before we arranged our plates at the brunch buffet. The whole reception was casual and elegant: people were dressed up and felt free to float around the room to talk to others. Many of our guests told me that they appreciated how simple and casual we made the day because it allowed them to really enjoy it.

After brunch, the toast, and photographs outside in the beautiful scenery, we went back in for cake. And what a delicious, scrumptious cake it was! Chocolate cake on the bottom, carrot cake on the top, and cream cheese frosting over the whole thing. And, of course, sheep cake toppers.

I asked Allan tonight what his favorite part of being married is, and his answer was, “having a ring.” Mine, I’d have to say, as I’ve said before, is the continuation of a good thing!

For more photos, view my Picasa Album.

(The images need some serious color correction – I’ll get around to it soon!)

Today's the Day.

Tonight, at 8 pm, I am officially going to be Mrs. Jennifer L. Taylor. I’m not nervous at all. Should I be? I’m going to be marrying the man I love more than apple pie with ice cream, more than chocolate chip pancakes, and get this, more than knitting or reading.

We met with the Notary who will be marrying us last night and we went over some non-traditional vows to pull inspiration. We looked at them and, well, they weren’t for us. Ours go along the lines of:

Him: I promise I’ll take real good care of you, and feed you yummy food, and snuggle real close, and take you on little adventures. I love you the bestest.

Me: I promise to take care of you and to keep your winter basket full of fuzzy things. I promise to snuggle real close. I love you the bestest. Can I keep you?

Him: You can keep me forever. So I can keep you?

Me: Yep. You can keep me forever.

After being together for four years, tonight is more of a continuation of a good thing, not a beginning of a new life. And I like that.

Here’s to marrying my best friend!

Light the Fire

Those were the words we woke up saying to each other this morning. And no, it had nothing to do with our passionate interchanges. It was probably 50 degrees in our house when we woke up. It’s been chilly the last few days and will continue to have a high of about 67 degrees and rainy. So, we broke down and lit a smudge fire in the wood stove. The stove is in the parlor of the house, the same room as my desk, fortunately.

Allan went out to the wood pile by the garage and brought in an armful, set it in the stove, and lit the fire. I can hear the low roar of it as I type. There’s nothing quite as comforting and memorable as a wood stove and fire.

The smell of the smoke instantly brought me back to Byron, Maine at my grandfather’s house. Byron is a very small town in western Maine on top of a mountain. From his house, we could see down Cous Canyon to the Swift River where we all learned how to swim. The neighborhood children and I would play all over that mountain, up and down the logging roads, and to the cliff edge and back. There are few memories I cherish more than my relatively flawless time there. That’s not to say there are not dark memories there, because there are, but the golden moments of waking up to a full spread of breakfast, playing tag in the late-1600’s cemetery next door, and riding bikes all over the mountain blind me from most of those memories.

And now, here I am in adulthood, twenty-some-odd years later, with a wood stove again and able to make my own memories. What a way to start a new life! I live in close to my dream spot without having to own it and pay for repairs. And I have a wood stove. How lucky am I?