Thursday, January 25, 2007

Road to California

And Other Stuff

So, what have I been doing?

I won a blue ribbon in the Abstract Art Quilt category at Road to California for Grotto - yippeee!

(Always hard to believe I've really won until I see the ribbon.)

I read two books - Darcy's Story and The Other Boleyn Girl. Darcy's Story was OK. I read The Other Boleyn Girl for book club. (If anyone in my book club sees that I hope they haven't fallen over from shock. My rep is that I wait until 24 hours before the meeting, scramble to find the book, then read really fast. It works for me.) Normally I don't have much opportunity to spend large chunks of time reading, but I enjoyed the book enough to carve out some time for this one.

I've walked or used the elliptical trainer for 30 miles worth of exercise. I'm unofficially tagging along with the runagogo along.

I went on a big date with my husband to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin at the Kennedy Center. My sister-in-law gave me tickets for Christmas and the seats were great. I haven't been to a grown up theater production in ages, and the performance was absolutely wonderful. Another enchanting part of the day was driving through Rock Creek Park on the way to the play just as the snow started to fall. The woods were stunning, and I wish I'd had my camera and time to take some pictures.

Knitting - almost none. Apparently knitting nearly non stop for over six hours in a hospital waiting room can dampen my enthusiasm. We did, however, have the photo shoot for my completed Ribby Cardi.

Ribby Cardi designed by the lovely Bonne Marie Burns

Size 36/37 - I really should have gone with the next smaller size - the sweater is slightly boxy on me (but I still love it). This is the first sweater I started, nearly two years ago, and I didn't realize that if I knit the smaller size the ribbing would accommodate the difference between my waist and hips.

Yarn Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool . I found the yarn easy to work with, and slightly itchy when the sweater was complete. Washing the sweater with some (hair) conditioner in the water softened it right up, and I wear it all the time.

Started about February, 2005, knitting completed February, 2006 (with very long breaks), finishing done in December, 2006 with zipper inserted over Christmas. If I had knit continuously on it I'm sure I could've finished it within a month or so. Major props to Sarah - if I hadn't seen her seaming up her sister's Ribby I don't know that I would've gotten around to the finishing yet.

I think this is a great first sweater project, and, as everyone knows, Bonne Marie does a great job writing an easy to follow and accurate pattern. I wouldn't hesitate to make it again!

Friday, January 05, 2007

All's Well

... that ends well. My husband is doing great (well, he's a little sore). He had a radiofrequency ablation for a variety of cardiac arrhythmias that had become increasingly stressful. We're knocking on wood that they're all gone, and we can start the New Year right. Thanks for the notes of concern!

During the 6.5 hour procedure I had lots of time to knit. I must say that I was very thankful to have a meditative and relaxing pursuit to pass the time. I dabbled with some socks, worked on a scarf, and started and finished a Calorimetry.

I used Patons SWS, inspired by Coleen and Laura (though I haven't seen their creations in person, I trust their judgment).

The other thing that kept me occupied was listening to Cast On. I unexpectedly received an Ipod Nano for Christmas, but didn't have time to load it up before our travels. I hurriedly downloaded two episodes of Cast On and wished I'd loaded more - it was simply wonderful and made the wait time pass much more quickly.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas on the Bayou

Choo Choo Bayou (I'm not making that name up).

After first having Santa arrive early (on the 23rd), then going over to my sister's house, we traveled to Lake Charles, Louisiana via Houston on Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law's house, which flooded and had extensive tree damage during hurricane Rita, is still being repaired, so we stayed at a house next to Choo Choo Bayou (I just like to type that). The bayou is just beyond the palmetto in the picture below (you'll need to click on it to actually see the palmetto).

I've been to Lake Charles, my husband's hometown, dozens of times, but there are still aspects of it that charm me every time. One is the drive through daiquiri places, another is the possibility of seeing alligators.
If you're from Florida, South Texas, or Louisiana you're probably laughing at me, but for a girl from Maryland they never lose their exotic flair.
We visited my mother-in-law's house to check out the progress of the repairs. They're almost complete! I was concerned that all the trees behind her house were knocked down, but some small ones were still standing. The dead cypresses that I photographed many times in the past (and were the design source for Bayou Reflections) were knocked over, but still looked interesting to me in repose.

Obviously, no quilting got done, but I did manage to put a zipper in my Ribby Cardi and knit on My So Called Scarf. I'll have to wait until this weekend to get good photos of the Cardi.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments after my last post - things were terribly hectic before the trip so I haven't gotten to email all of you, but I really appreciated it.

On a very personal note, tomorrow my husband is having a "procedure" at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We're hoping and assuming that everything will go well and he'll be feeling much more himself afterwards, but any positive thoughts and prayers are welcome!

Next time hopefully I'll have some actual fiber content. Happy New Year!