Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Door Opens

We spent last night doing one of the most remarkable things a parent can do...we watched our oldest defend her architecture project in her FINAL REVIEW!!! She will be graduating from Carnegie-Mellon University next Tuesday and we are the proudest parents.

Caty has always been an amazing kid, certainly to us, but what an awe inspiring thing to watch your little girl shine like the professional, polished young woman you know she is. I can say with all objectivity, she really is amazing. For the uninitiated, working toward an architecture degree is a grueling process. Many sleepless nights, 5 years of agonizing over the smallest detail, mind numbing boredom followed by flat out panic, development of artistic, engineering and verbal skills, and criticism that would eviscerate a lesser mortal. Every project is reviewed by a panel of professors and professional architects. It often seems the whole point of the review is to destroy the student.

Caty has been through dozens of reviews and she handled this last one with grace and humor. She defended her design so well. In the end the architects were very happy, her professors were complimentary and her mom and dad were ecstatic. Shouting and gesticulating were not allowed but I know we both wanted to jump on our chairs and hand pump. Tom Cruise has nothing on us.

And why is she so amazing you may ask, well, aside from the fact that she is my daughter and therefore everything she does is amazing, she finished her 5 year degree in 4 1/2 years and she is still considered one of the "sweetest girls" you ever could meet. (That's what others say about her, not just her mom.) If she weren't my daughter I would still want to be her friend, she is that incredible.

Congratulations Catydid, well done!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hey Guys!! Look what my little baby did last weekend. She ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon!!!!

Mayor Nutter was there to start the race. He had a great time slapping hands with all the runners who filed by before the start of the race.

This was Mace's first race ever and there was a little trepidation (especially since she really doesn't like crowds and there were 18,000 runners, all waiting to start).

And the finish. A good friend and his son also ran the race. (My camera died because of the cold and we begged this shot from our friend's wife, the only one of the finish.)

She did very well finishing at 1 hour and 54 minutes, beating her goal of 2 hours. Not bad for a girl who has never run a race not even a 5 K and who has asthma. It was a really cold start in the 20's so of course I was a nervous wreck but she came through like a trouper. and is now talking about training for a full marathon. I am one proud momma.

And because this is a knitting blog I thought you might like to see the finished stockings of doom... I am so done with these. I charged an arm and a leg to knit these for an acquaintance, partially in the hopes that she never asks me to knit any again. She has asked every year for the last 5 and I am so done with them and their acrylic yarn. Done, Done, Done.

There has been some really wonderful knitting happening but I can't share as it would be a spoiler for Christmas. Check out Ravelry they should be uploaded there soon.

I also recently took a class with Cat Bordhi at Knit One in Pittsburgh. It was an amazing class. I learned lots about new pathways in sock knitting. She is a lovely, gentle woman and everyone should take a class from her if the opportunity presents itself. Her brain works differently than the rest of us and it is a wonder. And like Obama she inspires confidence with her calmness. Great lady.

She also was wearing a gorgeous shawl knit for her by Sivia Harding out of Handmaiden Seasilk, her Norwegian woods pattern. It was intensely distracting from the required sock knitting. Totally petable. I actually ordered the yarn in the same colorway from Colorsong as soon as I got home and have started it for myself. But must finish Christmas knitting first so it waits for me. But oh is it a beauty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple Picking Time

I like to start my posts with a picture but today Caty told us a great story I want to share.

Caty has ridden horses since she was a tiny little girl. The farm where she rides is very social with lots of warm, loving people coming and going. Last Saturday she rode with a woman who told the best story.

A week ago she noticed a Dalmatian standing outside her door. She opened the door and made friends with him. He came back the next day and she let him in. He curled up in a ball and went fast to sleep. Two hours later he woke up, went to the door and she let him out. He left and didn't return until the same time the next day. When she let him inside he again curled in a ball and fell sound to sleep for two hours. Then he woke and asked to go outside. This continued for a week. He became more and more comfortable and was eventually curling up on the sofa, under a blanket, but still only staying two hours. Finally the woman was so curious she wrote a note and tucked it in his collar. She wrote that he visited her home every afternoon and wondered if anyone was concerned about him. The very next day when she let him in she noticed he had a note tucked into his collar. It said, "This is my Dalmatian. He lives with a family of six children all under the age of 7. Obviously he needs the peace and quiet you are offering. Ccan I join him tomorrow???"

Can't you just imagine this poor dog trying to be a good sport with all those little ones and finally just saying enough.

Now onto the pretty pictures.

Too beautiful to pick

Macy picking the last of the Red Romes. We don't use the romantic apple picking ladders at our farm. The bucket on the tractor fills in just fine. Although Mace wasn't sooo sure when her dad told her to just stay in there and he would drive to another part of the tree so she could reach more apples. Glad I wasn't there to see.

This is how we keep our kids entertained on the farm.

Crates of just picked apples and a cider press. The press takes a fair amount of elbow grease so it is all hands on deck when Dad says it is time to make cider!!!

This is the dangerous time when fingers may accidentally be ground with the apples. Mace is tossing apples into the hopper and Caty is grinding away. Caty is more buff and was a super grinder when she spelled her dad. Mace is a wimp in the grinding department. I am docking her pay.

Grind baby, grind.

Caty, aka, The Cruise Director, and quiet the fashinista, don't you agree? (Koigu scarf from at least 6 years ago. Apparently. the classics never go out of style.)

The Pressing.

Sneaking bites when she thinks no one is looking. (Did you notice the knits? Central Park Hoodie and a Nordic hat from her childhood that she still grabs in a pinch. Another woman on the cutting edge of fashion. Seventh Ave has nothing on Latrobe.)

We had a banner year for apples. We've made 44 gallons of cider, at least a dozen apple pies, various apple crisps, apple sauce and even caramel apples last weekend. I know just how Mrs. Johny Appleseed felt.

How cute is he? Sorry, had to add gratuitous puppy pictures when he is this cute.

Awwww, the payoff, sweet nectar of the gods.

26th Anniversary

The best part of being an empty-nester...we can vacation in the Fall, our favorite time of year. (Really, we do miss you girls, but not the school schedule that dictated our lives for so many years.)

Smith Point Beach, Nantucket, MA

I love this "Big Sky" shot. We live in the woods of PA most of the year so this expanse of blue sky is breathtaking.

The little harbor in front of our cottage.

And this is how old married folks celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary. Scalloping for Nantucket Bay scallops (the best in the world), shucking scallops and eating scallops. We were told it was an awful year for family scalloping which is done with a push rake in shallow water. But my intrepid husband would not be deterred and scouted until he found the goods and we were able to make our limit for the week. We ate plenty while on the island and brought enough back to share with the girls and some friends.

There was knitting, lots of knitting.

Wait for it...the magic that is lace. Ta da!!!!

This is Fleece Artist Merino, don't know the color. I gave the ball band to Chris at Sheep to Shore when I was on the island. Maybe Fleece Artist will be showing up on their shelves in the near future. This is a little something I made up using Medium Stitch 21 from Knitting Stitches by Mary Webb. This is a great stitch dictionary I picked up at Michell's Book Corner on the island
300 stitch patterns, all graphed ina small book so easy to carry when traveling. Love it.

Another lace scarf.

Socks that Rock Lightweight, color Tidal Pool. I played for a long time trying to find a stitch pattern that wasn't obscured by the stripping of this variegated yarn. I just gave up and went with a simple stockinette stitch sock and am thrilled with the results. DD#2 has already called dibs on these and I thought I was making a pair for myself. Oh well, such is the life of their personal knitter.

Caty's Vest is nearing completion but I am not happy. This vest has been the bane of my knitting existence for a few months and now when I am so close to finishing ... the neckline looks too high. I was going to rip it out and cut the opening further down into the body of the vest but I think I will weave in all the ends and block it first and see if I can't open it up a little bit that way. If it is still too dorky looking I will rip the ribbing back then. Will this every be done?

Stay tuned for apple pictures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Caty's Scarf

Caty's scarf is finally finished.I love this wool from Sanguine Gryphon. The only down side to this project is there just isn't enough. The color is amazing and the fiber feels wonderful next to your skin. But there isn't enough in the skein to make a nice long scarf. She said she loved it anyway and declared it perfect.

Doesn't it look pretty on her?

This last one is the most correct color wise.

And this... (remember from the last post)
has become this...

a cabled chemo cap for one of Catydid's professors.

I am happy with the design but not sure about the yarn. It maybe a little too scratchy for her delicate skin. I think I will put a note in letting her know I am not happy with the yarn and will knit her something softer if this doesn't work.

Almost finished with a pair of Noro Sock yarn socks. Just a simple k3,p1 pattern. Didn't want anything too crazy as the yarn is sooo patterned. I haven't washed the first finished sock so I am counting on all of you who said this yarn softens up when washed, because it is incredibly scratchy and stiff right now. But I love the colors and am working on a design for the second skein which has more blues, greens, purples and pinks. Caty is already calling dibs on this pair.

I have been working on her Fair Isle vest and zeroing in on the shoulders. One more pattern repeat and bob's your uncle.

Then I have two Christmas stockings I agreed to knit by November. What was I thinking? I don't like knitting these things. No, that's too mild, I despise knitting these things. They are intarsia and with acrylic yarn. Need I say more?. I have to learn how to say no. This also brings up the question of what my work is worth. I would love to charge her $90 a piece so I won't ever have to make them again. (She has asked every year for the last 4years, right before Christmas, so I guess we are making progress that she got them to mein September). But I am sure she will choke at this price. I do think my effort is worth this much. I spend the whole time knitting them thinking about all the fun knitting I could be doing. Not too many happy thoughts knit into these suckers.

I am getting too old and life is too short to spend anytime knitting things I don't love.

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morning Glories

What an amazing shade of blue...and look how the light seems to shine from the center of the bloom.

I love morning glories. They are one of the few flowers that has an absolutely true blue color to it's blossoms.

This is also a shot of my gorgeous new Walpole Woodworks arbor, which was a Mother's Day gift last year. I have planted New Dawn roses on either side and two dark blue, purply clematis. My husband insisted I only plant morning glories because he doesn't want to obscure the beauty of the arbor under rose bushes. I planted the morning glories to appease him this year and I have to admit we have been enjoying them. I hope the roses do well here though because I love roses over an arbor.

There has been jerky knitting as I careen from one idea to another. I love the thought of snuggling in for the Fall with a few big projects so I am hoping to finish up some little ones first.

DD#1 has a young professor who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. When they returned to school in August Catydid was shocked when she walked into studio. She had started chemo and had lost all her hair. Catydid called and asked me to knit her a hat as she didn't seem to have anything to keep her head warm. I found 3 skeins of Plymouth Suri Merino and have begun the following panel of twisted knitting. When this strip is 20" long I will sew the two short ends together and pick up stitches along one long edge for the top of the hat. I am very happy with the design so far. The twisted stitches are laying flat just the way I envisioned them. My only concern now is that the yarn is scratchier than I wanted. I hope it is not too irritating to her delicate skin.

This is a scarf I am making for Catydid out of a wonderful sock yarn from Sanguine Gryphon. Wonderful greens and browns, she loves the colors. I am a little worried that I won't be able to make a long enough scarf as I don't have much yardage left. Will hope for lots of growth in the blocking. and that it will bloom into the lovely lace I am imaging.

Also working on a pair of Noro sock yarn socks, don't know who the recipient will be but they look very nice right now. There is lots of yardage in these skeins which is wonderful for a change.

I am also trying to finish up Catydid's v-neck Fair Isle vest. I have reached the underarms so things should fly soon. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Selma Ensemble

Thought you might like to see the whole Selma Ensemble all finished and ready for mailing. Now I just have to find more Sweet Tarts to gift her mom and dad. Can't keep those things in the house.

Have a great weekend everyone!