08 October 2015

Reverse Seasons

I do a pretty decent job of knitting things on time if they are a gift for someone else.  I may be a teensy bit late, but no more than that.  I'm usually even on time.  I think it's because I want someone I'm gifting to know that I'm thinking of them, and conscious of noting the holiday/birthday/whatever.

Knitting for myself, though?  Well ... that usually takes a while, even if I *think* I'm knitting with a deadline.  You may remember my Halloween Socks.  I started them at the beginning of October last year, with the confidence that I would be able to wear them for Halloween later that month.

I finished them in January of this year.

Fortunately, Halloween comes around every 12 months.

Then, a week before Memorial Day, I started these socks, which I called "Watermelon, Anyone?"

I had every plan to wear them for the rest of the spring, into summer.

Fortunately, spring and summer come around every year, just like Halloween.

Because, I finally finished them last week.  You know, after watermelon season.

As a friend said when I mentioned how I seemed to complete things out of season, "You are Fashion Forward."  I'm gonna stick with that.

Project:  Watermelon, Anyone?

Pattern:  Classic Socks for the Family (my go-to pattern for a basic sock)

Yarn:  Abi Grasso Watermelon Self Striping Sock Yarn with Seeds (purchased here)

Needles:  US 1 1/2

Modifications:  I made the leg part longer, otherwise, just followed the pattern as written.

Comments:  I LOVE how these turned out!  They were such fun to knit, because I couldn't wait each time to see the next "watermelon" pattern turn out.  I put them down for a long time due to a) laziness, and b) a sore elbow that made it hard to knit, but I am really happy with the resulting socks.  And I'll be all set next spring/summer!

Also, when I was knitting these, one of my nieces was amazed that the yarn made the pattern.  When I showed her the resulting socks, she said, "I like how the yarn knows what to do."  That made me laugh!

I have quite a bit of yarn left over, so the remainder may become a watermelon hat for one of my great-nieces.  I think that would be really adorable.   (We'll see.  I always have a lot of great plans.  That remain plans - just that - in the end ...)

02 October 2015

Slow Fashion October

Hello there on a dreary, chilly, very rainy Friday at the beginning of October.  It was so windy today, my poor umbrella died.  Thank goodness I was on my way home, so I could get here, warm up, and put on dry clothes!

But it's all fine with me, because October is one of my favorite months.  To me, it means that fall is actually arriving, and is the beginning of the Anticipation Season, with Halloween at the end of the month.

For a year or so, I've been reading the Fringe Association blog.  I was made aware of it by Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley, who are friends of mine, but also the driving forces behind Kelbourne Woolens.  They mentioned it on their blog, and I've been reading along ever since.

As of yesterday, October 1, Karen (blog owner and mind behind it all) started Slow Fashion October.  The details are here, and the idea really appeals to me.  I like that it's an "official" thing, but there are no requirements to do x amount of things, but rather at a minimum to be conscious of our clothes, and where they come from, what they mean, and who makes them.  So I've decided to take part, and you might wish to as well.

The prompt for Week 1 is YOU, and participants are asked to talk about themselves.  So here is my contribution.

I have been knitting for about 20 years.  Prior to that, I did a small amount of sewing (and still do), and knew how to needlepoint and do counted cross-stitch.  I still love both of those things, but knitting is what I do most of all.  My mother was of the first generation where clothing was relatively affordable off-the-rack at stores, and she saw no reason to make her own clothes, or anyone else's.  So other than hemming and sewing on buttons, she didn't do anything else crafty to pass along.  Towards the end of her life, when she was confined to a wheelchair, her cousin taught her counted cross-stitch, and all of us have lovely things that she made for us.

My oldest sister taught me basic sewing after she learned in a Home Ec class in high school.  A couple of years ago, I learned how to quilt and I love that as well, but as I said, knitting is the constant activity for me.

I have already been considering my clothes, after reading articles about how/where things are made, and lamenting our desire for cheap products, since none of us has a lot of money to throw around.  I have also been reading Marie Kondo's book, and want to use some of her principles with my own closet.  I do believe from personal experience that well-made things are a good investment.  I often do not have the money to buy them, so I try to be more thoughtful now whenever I buy anything.

I think my goals for Slow Fashion October will be somewhat modest, but hopefully attainable:  I would like to finish one item already underway to wear by the end of the month, and I would like to complete a hat (which one has not been decided) by the end of the month.

Right now, I have a couple of in-progress choices, and haven't chosen a particular one, but I have narrowed it down between two things: a shawl and a sweater.  I want to get an idea of what else is going on for me this month before committing, so I don't frustrate myself on something that I am doing because I want to enjoy it.

What about you?  Have you ever participated before?  Are you thinking of participating this year?  Let me know!


Just a quick peek at something I *finally* finished earlier this week, which took way longer than they should have.  They will have their own post soon, but here's the first look:

Have a lovely weekend, and for those of us either in Hurricane Joaquin's path or who will feel the tail end of his wrath, stay safe and dry!

28 September 2015

Pope-a-palooza Weekend

Today is the end of my long Pope weekend.  It was so nice to have four days off, especially when the four-day weekend for Thanksgiving is still on its way!  It was nice to have the streets to walk and bicycle without cars.  It was nice that people who stayed in town were enjoying all of it, and that you would run into areas where it was like a street fair.

Dug had one of his best weekends ever.  First of all, there were National Guard soldiers stationed at every single corner within the restricted area known as the "Traffic Box."  As you can imagine (and thankfully), they did not have much to do, so they were always happy to see Dug, and he of course to see them.  He would leave the house and pull the leash to visit each corner nearby.  And on Sunday, one of them had dog treats!  Also, since so many people, kids, and dogs were out and about, he got plenty of attention.  Saturday, we took a walk through Rittenhouse Square, and there were a group of high school girls who were in town with their school to see the Pope, and they all wanted selfies with him!  (Though the squealing when they saw him was ear-splitting, I have to say.)   Then on our way home, we stopped at a local boutique to say hi to the women who work there, and are always asking me where he is.  They gave him a little Pope charm for his collar, and posted this picture on their Facebook page:

(Needless to say, he is very sad today that his friends on the corner are all gone.)


I am what is known as a cafeteria Catholic.  This is largely a result of my innate cynicism, my upbringing, and my education.  I am a very spiritual person, but not incredibly religious.  I could go on and on about this, but I don't really feel that most of you want to know *that* much about it.  :-)  

The first pope I remember was John XXIII, from when I was a little girl.  I always felt looking at him that he was a good guy, and as an adult have learned that he actually was.  I did not like Paul VI very much at all.  I felt that John Paul I had possibilities, but he did not live long enough for us to find out.  I am quite possibly the only person in the world who strongly disliked John Paul II (I know, heresy!), and to give you an idea how much I disliked Pope Benedict, I always called him "Pope Adolf."

But Pope Francis seems like a genuine, good guy.  (It also helps with me that he is a Jesuit, since that is part of my education.)  As a result, I was actually excited that he was coming to Philadelphia.

And he did not disappoint.  It was really wonderful to see him interact with people.  He smiles - a true smile - A LOT.  And though the Secret Service was hoping to just get him from Point A to Point B without stopping, he would have none of it.  One of my favorite things is when he met the Pope Baby.

I also loved it when he visited a local prison and met with both the inmates, and some families who were victims of those inmates.  It was very moving and so amazing to see how he was received.  So many of the inmates asked to hug him, and would receive a genuine hug.  Families would give him group hugs, and he would bless each one of them.

There was also this on Sunday:

Apparently the World Meeting of Families (the reason he was in Philadelphia) gave tickets to each cultural institution along the Parkway, where the Mass was going to be, since they had to be closed for security reasons.  At my work, they had a raffle, and I actually won!  Due to a long and annoying story involving changes to the entrances and extreme security, The Tim and I only made it to 1/2 block away from getting in to the Mass before they stopped admitting people.  That was disappointing, but a) we were still there, b) it was as close as we're ever likely to get to the Pope, and c) the people in the crowd were all so joyous, kind, and friendly, that it was an amazing experience nonetheless, and could easily be its own blog post.  :-)

Neither of us are much for crowds, but we were ready to give it a try.  And if you had to be around a ton of people, this was the kind of crowd to be around.  No pushing, shoving, complaining, etc.  When we arrived to get in line, here was the sight in front of us:

Do you see the "white line" going across, beyond the traffic lights?  That was the security checkpoint!  At least 1/2 of those people should have been in another line, which is why we never got to where we should have (like I said, long story).
As The Tim pointed out though - in the end, at least on the way home we were entertained by seeing this guy:

Sometimes, that's the best you can do, I guess ...


Today, the city is back to the usual, the Pope is back in Vatican City, and tomorrow, my routine is back to normal.  But this weekend will be memorable for a long time to come, not just for us and the City of Philadelphia, but also for one happy but very tired Doodle Dog ...

25 September 2015

Ghost Town Friday

Well, I didn't mean for it to be so long between posts - I'm surprised to be honest, I didn't realize I hadn't been here for a while!  Oh well.

Today and Monday are days off for me, and for a lot of other people.  My work and my home are right in the spaces where the Pope will be starting tomorrow.  As a result, there are a lot of intense security restrictions (thanks, ISIS) and also a lot of people left town, both due to expected crowds and because they had to get their cars off most of the streets.

This morning I took a walk, and it was AMAZING to see the city so empty, and best of all NO CARS.  A lot of people in our neighborhood have cars, but don't use them daily.  But of course many people commute by driving, and living in the city, there are cars, trucks, vans, etc. all of the time.

Anyway, here are scenes from today.

"Hello ... hello ... hello (echo)"


That white sign on the tree in front of this house says "No Parking."  People knew that they would be towed, so for once they actually paid attention, rather than paying the fines!

Emergency vehicles parked in a row, ready for anything, and the National Guard on each corner.

And then this blackboard sign, next to the Episcopal church up the street.  I am highly amused that someone wrote "Cubs World Series," and then someone crossed out "Cubs" and wrote "Phillies."  If only that was the biggest world problem, right?

So this is the calm before the storm.  Pope Francis arrives tomorrow, and something tells me that these empty streets will not even have an inch of space available!

But for today, it was glorious.  You could walk around and never have to wait for the light to change to cross the street, and bicyclists were not in danger of being run off the road.  It was a beautiful day weather-wise, and the hardy souls* who stayed in town were walking around, eating in outdoor cafes, many walking their dogs, and enjoying having the place to themselves.

Sometimes, even for just a day, the world works in your favor.  :-)

*I say "hardy souls" because so many people were freaked out by security plans that they could not wait to leave town.  It was like we were getting 20 feet of snow, and they had to escape or would be condemned to a certain death.  Wimps.

13 September 2015

NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival

It's been a nice fall weekend, here - particularly today, when it's been cool and breezy and makes you believe that fall may actually be on its way.

Yesterday, The Tim and I headed one state over to go to the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival.  I've been wanting to go for a few years, but would never remember the date until it just wasn't possible to plan.  This year, I missed the last time I would be able to take the Rosie's bus to Maryland Sheep and Wool, so I was anxious to get to at least one fiber festival.  And when my friend Mindy said she was going to have a booth there, The Tim actually offered to go, since he only knows her through Facebook and wanted to meet in person.

It only took about an hour to get there, and though it was overcast, it was not too hot, and very pleasant for walking around.  And what a lovely event!  It's small enough that you can take your time and still have plenty of the day left, and large enough that there is a lot to see, and wish you could win the lottery to buy it all.

Here is a selection of pictures I took (I won't make you look at the many many photos of sheep, sheep - just a few!):

Create your own caption ... (I told him I was gonna call it 
"The Old Goat goes to the fiber festival")

All of the sheep were friendly

This is blurry, because it was when the sheep were moving during the herding dog demo.  These are hair sheep, which I had never known about until yesterday.

The alpacas had just been sheared and were rather blase about the whole thing.

This sweet bunny LOVED being petted and wanted all the attention.

Then there was this guy - I decided I if I lived anywhere near him, I would always try to stay on his good side ...

Me, Mindy, and her two sons and assistants in the booth, Eric and Owen.  They are two of the nicest kids I've ever met.

Last picture of the day - wildflowers next to the parking lot.  A good way to end, right?

I didn't buy anything, because I forgot to take any more than about $5.00 with me!  I just was not organized about it at all, and didn't want to use a credit card, even where they were OK, since I currently have lots on my credit card due to vet visits.  But you know what?  It's fine, because I have plenty of yarn, and I'm already planning for next year.

It was still an amazing day, just getting see animals, yarn, and other beautiful things.  You can't ask for more than that.