Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Photo of the Month: Goodbye, Minnesota

That's St. Paul down below, and it was my last glimpse of Minnesota before the plane moved up above the clouds and headed west toward Seattle. This is a totally lucky shot. No dirty airplane window, perfect positioning of the wing, and the amazing layout of streets and snow below. This came straight out of my point-and-shoot camera, with no editing needed.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017: The Year of No Goals

It's January, and in every other year since I started writing this blog I've written a January post with my knitting/photographic/hiking/you-name-it goals. This year is going to be different. I don't really feel like setting goals for myself this year. Instead, I'm going to just live, knit, and be active (both physically and politically), and I'll use the blog to report on some of my knitting, hiking and other activities as they occur.

First up: pink hats! I know that just about any knitter in the United States has heard about the Pussyhat Project and the effort to knit hats for marchers in the Women's March in Washington DC, and sister marches elsewhere. I knit two hats, one for me, and one for another marcher at the Seattle Women's March, which happened on January 21.

Here is the first one, in progress, on the way to the gym in early January.

Here I am, wearing that same hat, at the conclusion of the Seattle March. I'm with two of my knitting friends, sisters Kate and Melissa. It was a great day!

I have, for the most part, tried to avoid being too political in this blog, but given the events of the past week-and-a-half, those days are at an end. I will promise not to talk about political issues in every blog post, but I can't promise to avoid politics completely.

This does not mean that I won't continue to write about my knitting. I plan to post photos of my projects, both in progress and completed, but there may be more of an emphasis on my charity knitting this year. In times of political craziness, it helps me to knit and/or do something to help others. I'll keep you up to date with those actions throughout the year.

I have also committed to doing another Project 365 photo-a-day challenge this year. Am I crazy? Perhaps, because I swore I would never do another one after I completed my first Project 365 in 2013. I have managed to get through January, so I'm one-twelfth done. I won't promise to post a photo every week, like I did for part of 2013, but I'll try to pick a favorite photo each month and share it here. Watch for the January photo later this week.

Every year, I promise to try to post to this blog more often, and in the last couple years I have failed miserably. I'm not making any promises, but I am going to try to write shorter posts more frequently. I really love having a blog—I see it as a creative outlet—and I don't want it to fall by the wayside. I hope that those of you who stop by to read it occasionally will let me know if anything I say resonates with you. That will do a lot to keep me writing. Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Peace on My Needles

This has been a tumultuous, and, in many ways, a pretty horrible year. Over the past month, I have been thinking about ways to recover from and counteract the negative aspects and events of 2016. I wasn't coming up with many positive ideas, and then along came Project Peace. The brainchild of The Healthy Knitter (Christina Campbell), it started on December 1 and is a 21-day knit along accompanied by daily blog posts focusing on ways to find inner peace and then spread that peace to others. Today, the Winter Solstice, is the culmination of the knit along, a day for knitters around the world to join together to knit peace into their stitches.

The Project Peace pattern is a cowl with an easy, meditative stitch pattern. It is perfect for focusing one's thoughts on ways to make our personal and larger worlds better and more peaceful places. I chose a recent gift yarn, Dream in Color Jilly, for my Project Peace Cowl. I am just past the halfway point, and even though the knit along ends today, I am happy to keep on knitting until it's completed. After all, I need peace in my life every day. Once the cowl is finished, I plan to chose another similar pattern and use it to take a few minutes each day to focus on ways to make a better, more peaceful world for myself and others.

Best wishes for peace and happiness during the holiday season and in the New Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Few Finishes

Where did November go? I certainly don't know, and here I am on the last day of the month, writing my lone November blog post.

Other than the two recent posts about charity knitting, I haven't written a knitting post since last May. To remedy that, I thought it might be a good idea to share some recent finished objects. I'll follow up in a few days with a post about what I'm knitting right now.

I'm going to start with two projects that have great FO photos, thanks to Mr. D.
The cowl above is my Northwestward Eastward (all links are to my Ravelry project pages), Bonnie Sennott's Eastward cowl. This was a really fun knit, and because it's knit in worsted weight, it will be nice and toasty when the weather turns really cold, which is supposed to happen next week. The yarn is Neighborhood Fiber Company's Studio Worsted in the Lauraville colorway.
Here is the Tea Cozy LYS Tour Poncho, which was Tea Cozy yarn store's free pattern for the Puget Sound LYS Tour in May. The yarn is Bumblebirch Glen, 600 yards of beautiful merino and silk, in the Eggplant colorway. I love the yarn, and I'm crazy about the finished poncho, but I have to admit, all that stockinette was a bit of a slog at times.
Some of you may know that I spent a big chunk of my life in Minnesota, and during that time, I attended and graduated from the University of Minnesota. I'm a proud alumna, and I have wanted to knit a hat in Minnesota's Maroon and Gold for quite a while. Thanks to Wendy Gaal of Knitters Brewing Company, and her superior dying skills, I got a kit of Sockaholic Brewski skeins in perfect Minnesota colors. The result is my Go Gophers!, which is Wendy's Tailgate Party Hat pattern. I decided to add a pompom to the hat, as you can see below. Goldy Gopher, the Minnesota mascot, approves!
Finally, no knitting post would be complete without a pair of socks. Here is my latest pair, Monkey with a Cat's Eye, the ever-popular Monkey Socks pattern. I knit the socks from Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the Cat's Eye colorway, which has been hanging out in my stash for five years. I'm so glad to have finally found a project for the yarn!
That's it for recent finishes. I'll be back soon to share what is currently on my needles.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Magical History Tour

Two months ago, Mr. D and I spent five wonderful days in Berlin. What a lively and fascinating city! German history, both the good and the very bad, is everywhere. Come join me, through my photos, in the amazing city of Berlin!

The sacred and the profane: the Berliner Dom and the Fernsehturm.

In the Chocolate Department of KaDeWe, an amazing department store with two floors of nothing but food.

One of the very few remaining segments of the Berlin Wall, at Bernauer Strasse, and a portion of the memorial to those who were killed trying to escape over the Wall.

The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Art was everywhere, even on a bridge.

Mirrors and walkways in the Reichstag Dome.

That's me, reflected in the central column of the Reichstag Dome.

Gingerbread architecture.

Gelato that's almost too pretty to eat.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Finished Bear, and Lots and Lots of Hats

I want to let you know that the faceless, armless, skirtless, unstuffed Mother Bear that you saw in the last post did get finished and has already been sent off to the Mother Bear Project in Minnesota. Soon she will be heading around the world to meet her forever friend.

Here she is, hanging out with the "house bears" before she left. I named her Ibby—short for Elizabeth—in honor and memory of my wonderful Aunt Ibby.

This is not the only charity knitting that has been going on around here. This is my third year of knitting purple baby hats for the Click for Babies program, which distributes the hats along with information about "the period of purple crying" that many infants experience in the first months of life. The program is affiliated with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. You can find out more about the program here.

I learned about Click for Babies a couple years ago and told my knitting group about it, but we got a late start, so I only sent in four hats, two knit by me and two knit by my friend, Tessa. Last year, I knit nine hats, and knitting group members contributed several more to bring our total to 14. This year was even better. My total of seven hats was down a bit from last year, but my knitting group friends (and the sister of one of them), plus two other knitting friends of mine knit a bumper crop of purple hats! Today I sent off 26 hats to the Washington State Click for Babies Program at Seattle Children's Hospital. I think it may be hard to top this number next year...

Here are my seven hats:

And here is an amazing pile of purple-ness: all 26 hats!

In my last post, I talked about the Knit 15 Challenge. Knitting hats for Click for Babies would be a good way to accomplish your 15 minutes (just sayin'). I will be sharing some other ways to #knit15 in the coming months.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Knit 15 Challenge

Here I am at the end of July, and I am finally paying some attention to the blog! Oh well, at least I managed to post once this month.

My main reason for writing this post is to show you what I have been knitting during the past couple of weeks, and to perhaps inspire you to think about knitting for a good cause.

This is my current in-progress Mother Bear, Mother Bear #7 (link is to my Ravelry project page). As you can see, she still needs some work; another arm, a face, a skirt, some stuffing. I'm knitting her for a wonderful charity effort, the Mother Bear Project, that brings comfort—in the form of bears—to children in developing nations who are affected by AIDS.

I've been knitting Mother Bears off and on for several years, and the biggest reward for me is seeing the faces of the children when they receive my bears. Here is my latest bear to find her forever friend; so sweet!

If you want to see more examples of the happiness that a bear can bring, check out the photos on the Mother Bear Project's Flickr photostream. I guarantee that those kids will put a smile on your face.

My most recent bear knitting was inspired by my friend, Jill, who is Jillsknit on Ravelry. She has started what she is calling the Knit 15 Challenge. The idea is to spend 15 minutes a day knitting for charity. She saw it as a way to rediscover your knitting mojo if it has gone missing, but even if you have mojo to spare, knitting to help others is also a great way to help yourself, too.

I'd love to see other knitters pick up the challenge. Even if you don't do charity knitting for 15 minutes every day, give it a try when you can. If you post a photo of your charity knitting on Instagram, use the hashtags #knit15 and #knit15challenge.

I have been doing some other charity knitting lately, and I'll be back with more information—and inspiration, too, I hope—soon.