Last Friday in May…

Last Friday in May…

…First weekend of summer!

Where has May gone? I mean really! Next week is June? What!?

Start your Knitting – Summer Knit-Along kicks off tomorrow! And, because rules are really not much fun – it is a go at your own pace, knit what you want to knit, make your own rules Knit-Along. And if you want to start today – go for it! If you started last week, good for you, if you are not starting until next week – perfect! No stress…really!

Hopefully, you have a good book queued up because if Book Bingo starts tomorrow – and books you are reading now count, as long as you don’t finish until tomorrow! I have Moby Dick in a hold pattern to finish tomorrow! Great way to start Book Bingo, right? If you don’t have a card, or you are not sure you want to have a planned summer of reading, I will borrow some sage advice from my dear friend Caroleit’s your bingo card, so your rules! And, you might want to add something from Bill Gates Summer Book List.

Now, my summer knit along always includes a cocktail on Friday’s so I will occasionally share one here (but I will always share one in the Ravelry group!) And, today seems like the perfect day to do that! And, what better to usher in summer than some gin! This Cucumber Basil Gin and Tonic looks so good (I have no elderflower liqueur in the house, so mine will be made without however if you have it, use it! And, my gin choice for this one – Hendrick’s!)

There you have the makings for the perfect start of summer weekend – knitting, reading, and a beverage!

Now, how about some links?

  • In the “not knitting category” but absolutely linkworthy:  Trump Snooze
  • This pattern will be released on Monday, and it looks very intriguing!
  • Lorilee Beltman has a new mitten pattern! Because, mittens and summer – right? LOL Well, perhaps you want to start your gift knitting!
  • Why don’t I have a little black shawl? Perhaps I am kicking something off my list to add this…
  • Mint Latte – shawl construction FTW!
  • In the Free, but wait, it’s cute too category: Hibiscus
  • Freer (wait what…lol – for some reason Grammar check did not like “More Free”) and even cuter: Spots & Stripes
  • In the “looking for another country” category for those of us on embarrassment overload here in the US – OH CANADA (and, wait for it… it’s free too!)
  • Saltmeadow – simple, but stunning. (And, Gale’s photos!!)
  • Now, this might be perfect if you want to knit new projects this summer – Happiness Make Along (it starts June 1st!)
  • And, finally: TUK which is so cute! Every grandchild needs one!

Now, have a fantastic weekend. I will see you back here on Monday!

What’s in the bag?

What’s in the bag?

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about the content of your purse. Are you a minimalist? Or do you carry around a knapsack? And say, what’s in there, anyway? Tell us what you’ve got in your purse and why!

A purse defines your life, doesn’t it? I have carried bags of all sizes and, it seems that the older I get the smaller my purse becomes! Am I working to the “Purse Free Age”? Perhaps, but not quite yet! I would say I am not quite a minimalist, but I don’t carry a knapsack either!

I prefer a “cross-body” bag… that is, I don’t like to have my purse dangling from my shoulder. I like to have it over my head and across my body – hands free, as it were. I really love the fabric on this Vera bag and it saddens me that it is “retired” or I would get a replacement bag.

Now, what’s inside?

I use a Midori Traveler’s Notebook (Passport size) for my wallet. I like the inserts they have available and the choices in notebooks which gives me a place to put cards, ID, coins and money. Plus I have a journal to write if I need to. (Goulet Pens has a special with the Passport Traveler right now!) I switched over to using it as my wallet about a year ago, and I am so happy with this change. I also have a little fountain pen with me as well. I like to write with a fountain pen and this Kaweco Aluminum pen is perfect.

I used to carry easily a half a dozen of different chapsticks, lip balms, and glosses. Now, I just carry one glossy gloss – downsizing has been great!

I have some business cards, and I am now carrying the latest LipSense catalog with me.

I also have a key ring with all those area discount cards on them.

One last thing… the area restaurant discount card that I got a couple of weeks ago from the Boy Scouts.

Oh! And, sometimes I even have a knitting project in my bag, generally a sock which is portable and easy to knit on the go!

There you have it… my bag and its contents!

What’s in your bag that you can’t live without?

If you want to see what everyone else has in their bag, head over here to see! If you want to sign up to join Carole and me on this crazy fun Think Write Thursday journey – you can do so here!

Unraveled Wednesday, May 24

Unraveled Wednesday, May 24

Hello Dear Unravelers!

This is it, the post where I reveal the list of what I hope to accomplish this summer. Get ready, because it is long!

In the finish category… (as in I have started and I need to finish)

  1. My Air Soft Shawl (AKA Brambling Shawl)
  2. Montadale Socks
  3. Daelyn pullover
  4. Steve’s Socks
  5. Spring Dream KAL (for Rachel)
  6. Test Mouse (because I have never knit stuffed animals and practice makes perfect – or at least allows you to work out the problems?)
  7. TTL MKAL Socks (I have less than a half a sock to go)
  8. Rock the Lobster (1/2 a sleeve to go and the body of the sweater, so a good bit of knitting)
  9. February Lady Sweater, perhaps (this is iffy, but maybe)

Yes, there is LOTS of knitting here, I am not sure I even need a second category, but go big or go home, amirite?

In the Start and finish Category:

  1. I have the yarn to knit a lopapeysa or two. But, having knit 2 of them, I know they are quick knits! So, I am kind of excited about this! But if these bump a little into the fall, that would be fine by me. After all I am not wearing them until then!
  2. Calliopsis with Sheepspot Yarn
  3. Kraemer Yarns Cowl
  4. Bijou Basin Mitts
  5. Genevieve’s Mouse
  6. TTL Summer Shawl MKAL

Yes, these are daunting lists. Good thing I have an entire summer to work on all that.

The basket is packed full!

And, speaking of the mouse – I have the head done! The cotton yarn is really lovely. It is not harsh on my hands, and knits up beautifully. I have started the body.

Now, how about a bit of a book review.

The Lake by Lotte and Soren Hammer. This is Book 4 in the Konrad Simonsen series and this book is my second book from NetGalley. If you like Scandinavian Noir, you will love this book! I liked it so much that I added Book 1 The Hanging to my summer reading list. It is well written and very captivating. The story unfolds with a crime and then it is off and running. The writers weave through the story the police working on figuring out the crime and the criminals and their corruption. It is gritty, and at times unsettling, but these things are not unwelcome in the story at all. I found in Konrad Simonsen another detective that I believe I will love as much as Karl Morck and Armand Gamache. Konrad is brilliantly intelligent and wonderfully human. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am giving it 4 stars on Goodreads.

I started a new book from the library last night, Tana French The Likeness. No thoughts yet, as I have just started reading. I hope to get further into this today if time allows! Summer Book Bingo starts this weekend, are you ready? What’s on your list this summer?

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My World, Currently

My World, Currently

Reading: After being on the wait list for eons at the library for the second Tana French book, I got the loveliest email late yesterday that it is now available. So, I downloaded it this morning and will start reading it today! I also was stunned to get an email this morning that a book suggestion from Mary for my Book Bingo list came in also. Gah! I have not downloaded it yet… But I did add a few more books to my summer book bingo list. I basically have mapped out my summer reading and I could not be happier. I shared Book Bingo with some friends at church on Sunday and I was thrilled to get an email yesterday filled with excitement about book choices!

Watching: Not much, really. I finally caught up with Call the Midwife and Homefires on PBS. There are things I want to watch, but have no burning desire to sit down and watch them. I had been an avid watcher of The Leftovers on HBO, but this final season has been a huge disappointment. So much so, I am not certain I will finish watching it. Perhaps a plan of 60 minutes in the morning riding the stationary bike and watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime will accomplish two things at once? Stay tuned!

Listening: My audible book library is chocked full of good things to listen to and all of them are on my summer reading list. I am slowing down on Moby Dick to finish it on Memorial Weekend (and thus giving me my first square!)

Knitting: It seems like every year about this time, Knitting Ennui strikes. I am restless and not much interested in any of the projects I have going. It is indeed a sad state of affairs. However, last night I might have found the cure…I got some yarn to sample from Love Knitting – a lovely cotton from Sweden “MillaMia” and they sent three colors. Hmmm, a method to their madness? I have never knit any creatures so I was unsure how much I would like it. But, I cast on Alex the Mouse to test out the yarn and the pattern last night. So far, so good! I also have finally (almost) finished half of a pair of socks for Steve. I will be finalizing my summer knitting projects today and will share my list tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Eating: All the asparagus, really – all of it! Janoski’s shared yesterday that this is about the end of it. Will there be more next week? I do not know, but they can keep these amazing strawberries coming, please! They also had the most gorgeous Swiss Chard yesterday. The eating is so good in my neighborhood right now!

Loving: So many things!

  • To start out – the weather, although we had a couple of days in the 90’s, for the most part it has been the perfect spring.
  • Next up, the variety in my garden this year – we have 10 different varieties of tomatoes, 3 varieties of peppers, beans, some kind of squash (thanks to no plant labeling but they are either zucchini or summer squash) cucumbers (thanks to a happy accident at the greenhouse) and we added in a new variety of rhubarb this year! In the perennial beds, we added in some new plants this year as well; all of the deer resistant variety. So far, so good! Although the bunnies are making quick work of the cone flowers and they also love the leaves on the lilies! All this gardening makes me so happy!
  • Last, but certainly not least: my stitching! I could not be happier than I am in the few moments I spend each day stitching. I have also been watching Vicki and Kym stitch such beautiful Alabama Chanin garments. I am absolutely intrigued. Perhaps over the summer I will stitch up one of these and see how it turns out and I bet Steve has an old tee shirt I can use!

And, finally: Selling LipSense… and loving it. If there is something you’d like, message me and I will be glad to help you! (Also, I have been using their skin care for over a month now and if you want to hear about the changes it has made, I would be thrilled to share with you!)

That is what is currently my world. What’s in your world right now?

Monday Rewind

Monday Rewind

I would love to be able to push a button and go back to Friday. This weekend was one of those weekends that you just don’t want to end. The weather was perfect, including the slow, soaking rains on Sunday! The only “gardening” I have left to do is to fill the containers for the porches and the patio. It would have been nice to get that done over the weekend, but time ran out.

By Saturday morning, the poppies were in full bloom. Their cheery red catches my eye every time I go to the kitchen, and stopping to look at them is the best detour of the day. And, the perfect contrast of petals and the purple center is so stunningly beautiful. As Kym says, flowers are indeed magical.

I worked more on my Book Bingo list, invited a couple more people to join, and then began to work on my “Summer Knitting List” of things I need to finish, and things I want to knit. Both lists will take some dedication to make headway on so, I spent some time looking for audio book options on my Bingo list. I was quite successful at the library which I hope means that my summer knitting and reading will be successful!

I did hit a bump in the road on the KAL knitting project. Pro-tip… dropping a stitch with super slippery yarn (read not wool) is a very bad thing. Not noticing the dropped stitch for half a dozen rows is devastating to the knitting. I tried, unsuccessfully, to pick the stitch up but in the grey light of Sunday afternoon reality spoke clearly in my ear – rip back and start over. Reality is right – this is gift knitting and so I ripped back and will start again today. For the record, I am blaming this incident entirely on the fog that is brought on by allergy medicine. Thanks, Zyrtek… NOT!

I know this should be an “unraveled” story for Wednesday, but I am hoping by Wednesday I am as far as I was pre-mistake-discovery. So, if I could rewind this, I would have not knit this on Saturday and worked on simpler projects with wooly yarn!

And that is all I have for today! How was your weekend?

A Summer Count Down Friday

A Summer Count Down Friday

Hullo, Friday!!

Who else besides me, looked at the calendar and got excited that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend?

This weekend is the kick off to so many good things!

  1. Summer
  2. Book Bingo
  3. My Summer Knit Along

In preparation for Book Bingo I spent a good bit of time yesterday on Goodreads and on my library website looking for books for my squares and I have most of them plotted out. One book has a mile-long waiting list – so that moves to the “purchase” category. Two books have a short waiting list and I got on the list now so I know I will be able to get it before Labor Day! All the others, I am golden on and this is a very good start, don’t you think? I still am pondering a few categories: A Banned Book (outside of the US), a Biography of a royal (which royal will I pick?), About art/artist(s), and recommended by a family member (I am hoping my Blogging Family will chime in and give me a recommendation!!)

Today, the real prep work for Summer Knit-Along begins. I will be going through my projects I want to get done and put them in some kind of order. Unlike last year, where I had lots of things with little bits to finish, this year I have things that are either barely begun or not begun at all to finish! I am hoping that the pairing of knitting with Audiobooks will help kick the knitting into overdrive! And, as you can see above, the KAL knitting is moving along smoothly – I love the fabric this stitch pattern is making! This is not my usual yarns to knit with either, but I love them all stranded together and I am ready to wind another ball of the bamboo yarn.

And, that brings us to summer. We got the rest of the vegetable garden planted yesterday and we had a few surprises…we thought we got zucchini and summer squash, but we got an “unknown squash” and bush cucumbers. Yeah, bravo on my reading skills…NOT! Our neighbor gave us a dozen tomato plants – some of which got in the “deer proof garden” and a few will be testers in a couple of new beds that are not deer proof. This will either be wildly successful (okay, I know I am fooling myself here!) or the deer will get some treats of heirloom tomatoes, but can they possibly eat them all? Perhaps a bit of sharing is an okay thing to do…amirite?

I also have some perennials to add to the bed we did last year. Some things did not make it over the winter, but as you can see – the Foxglove certainly did! It is just loaded with blooms! I probably should have divided it earlier this spring…but, I can’t wait. I also moved a yarrow plant from the front beds that was just not thriving at all. I am hoping this move will be good for it and it is happy in its new home!

So, with lots of things to do today, I think it is time for some links:

That is all I have for this week! See you back here on Monday – have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. Please don’t forget to share your book recommendations! XOXO

Letters to Myself

Letters to Myself

This week’s topic for Think Write Thursday is: what piece of advice would you give to the five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Twenty-one-year-old you? Right now?

This topic was my idea and as I began to write this post, I was amazed by the range of emotions I had. I expected this to be an easy post to write, but it turns out this is more challenging than I thought. So, here is the advice (and encouragement) I have written to myself:

Me at age 5 (really, my fifth birthday)

Dear Five-Year-Old Me,

You have the best imagination! It’s really okay to pretend, no matter what anyone says to you. Sometimes life is scary, and it is perfectly okay to pretend it is not! And, sometimes the best thing ever is going to work with your grandpa and learning how to hammer nails into scraps of lumber. These times will be some of your best memories.

Okay, not quite sixteen – I counted the candles and I think this was 15…

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me,

It’s totally okay to feel awkward at times – unsure of whether you want to be on your own and making your own decisions or wishing someone would just tell you what to do! It is also okay to try ideas on and see how they feel and then change your mind! But, the reading… don’t ever stop reading!

Dear Twenty-one-year-old Me,

Bravo to you for getting through this year. It was not easy. And learning that being “grown up” and making “grown up decisions” are not the same thing. However, even though right now it does not feel like you made the right decision – I promise you that you did. What you learned is that you can trust yourself to make the right decision even if it hurts. And, what you hoped for did come true – sometimes good things do come to those who wait!

Me… yesterday.

Dear Kat,

It is far too easy to be critical of oneself, and incredibly difficult to love oneself exactly as you are. Today, I would like to remind you of things past and show you how much of the younger you still is a part of you now. You have learned how to direct your imagination into creative pursuits. You are comfortable with being awkward now and you no longer wish to be told what to do. And, your love of reading is still a vital part of you. You know that sometimes the best decisions are also the hardest to make and that while those decisions can be unbelievably painful – you know that you can survive – and more importantly, thrive! So, dear Kat – I would like you to spend more time loving yourself and less time being so critical. You really are worth it.

If you would like to see what others had to say about this week’s Think Write Thursday topic, you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursday, you can sign up here! We would love to have you!

Unraveled Wednesday, May 17

Unraveled Wednesday, May 17

Summer has abruptly arrived here in the Pittsburgh area. Temps climbed into the 80’s yesterday and are slated to climb into the 90’s today. This has created a sense of urgency for the garden, but I won’t be transplanting young plants in that heat. They can wait shaded on the porch until later in the week when the temperatures are more moderate.

On the reading front, I finished The Lake and I loved it! Look for a full review next week! I am back to The Girl in Green by Derek Miller and I am enjoying it. I also have printed out my Summer Book Bingo Card. If you want to join in, you can get all the details here from Mary.

I was so excited to learn that my local Knit Night group is no longer meeting at the world’s worst knitting shop! The shop owner for unknown reasons has cancelled knit night at the shop so they are now meeting at my favorite library on Tuesday nights. Last night was my first night back at the new location. I am still working away on the Air Soft Shawl but I am at the point of repeating rows and staggered increases – it is not a “mindless knit” right now. So, knitting it seemed like an exercise in futility (or frogging…) so I knit on the KAL since my kit arrived on Monday. I was unsure how I’d like knitting with such big needles (you cast on with a US17 and then knit with a US15 for a good bit) but it seems okay, if albeit a bit awkward managing those needles until the fabric grows a bit. However, I love the texture of the knitting and I learned a new stitch K1-rb (Knit 1, row below) This stitch creates an elongated stitch and has a lovely texture. I have a bit more to go until I switch to a smaller needle.

That is all I have for this Wednesday. What are you making and reading?

Weekending, May 15

Weekending, May 15

Weekends are over just too darn fast, aren’t they?

Anyways, here we are and it is Monday and I was not ready to say goodbye to the weekend!

Saturday, we headed down to Mt. Lebanon for the return of the Farmer’s Market. New vendors this year meant that we had a bit of a Whiskey Tasting with Wiggle Whiskey (yes, before 10AM) and we also had a Maple Syrup tasting. Okay, stop the presses – that maple syrup was so good we bought a gallon of the stuff. Because, you know, we might want to bathe in it or something. Now, I am by no means a maple syrup connoisseur, but I know that I do not like any of the mass produced, high fructose corn syrup varieties available at the super market. This is made locally and it has a slightly smoky taste due to the fact that it is cooked over a wood fire. It is so good. Really. And, they ship, hint hint! Oh, and the wonderful gentleman who was there let me know that his mom is a knitter, so really can it get more perfect? Perhaps if they had sheep, and maple syrup, and knit…but 2 out of three is not bad!

We did a good bit of walking after taking our spoils to the car. The rhododendrons were all in bloom and even though it was an overcast day, the riot of color everywhere was stunning.

We also did a good bit of garden prep work. All the “deer netting” has been replaced and I will be transplanting my young plants out to their new beds over the course of the week. I am a bit worried about planting so close to our “safe time” (which is Mother’s Day) but the forecast is calling for a super warm week, so maybe I am okay. (Says the person who has been burned by this every single year since moving here…)

Mother’s Day was quiet, which was fine by me! I am almost caught up on Call the Midwife and am in the semi-mindless repeats on the Brambles Shawl. And, I made my favorite dinner – fresh asparagus, wrapped in Speck and roasted in the oven – topped with a couple of poached eggs.

Also, a blogging note…no post tomorrow but I will see you back here on Unraveled Wednesday!

How was your weekend?

Oh, YAY! Friday!!

Oh, YAY! Friday!!

It has been a long week at Casa del KatKnits and I am so happy that Friday is here!

This week saw the completion of several lists, the completion of a project, and (if you read yesterday’s blog) the confidence that I really can’t remember shit! And, beyond that, I am so confident in my ability to not remember correctly that I believe myself! Yep, no second doubting here! Anyways, good thing I pointed out so clearly how imperfect I am! Now, in the ideal day category? Why – my ideal day is any day I can do whatever I want, whatever that might be! Those days are few and far between, sadly. Which I think directly correlates to the can remember shit problem.

Coming soon?

 

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Who is up for another round of Summer Knit Along-ing? I could use a good dose of knit what’s in the basket! And, I have some incentive – I want to knit another Lopi sweater for the fall/winter! There are some projects I need to get moving on – from cast on to finishing, so it is not all “old projects”! And, for me the Through the Loops Summer MKAL is the best part of summer, so I will be knitting along with that as well! Anyways, if you are interested in joining again, there is a Ravelry Group and I will share a weekly recipe for a delicious libation. If you are not a knitter – you are still welcome to join us, we are a multi-craft friendly group! Same rules as last summer, which is no rules. It is a “go at your own pace group” and I like it just that way the best, don’t you? Summer Knit-Along kick off on May 27th (Memorial Day weekend) and run through September 4th (Labor Day). Feel free to grab a button for your blog, if you so desire!

Not a knitter, or a crafter, but you are a reader? Well, then I hope you will join Mary’s Summer Book Bingo, which I think will be so much fun! I will be printing out my book bingo sheet soon and begin plotting my summer reading!

Now, how about some links?

That is all I have for today. Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Monday!

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