The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Day For Pleasantries

What a pleasant and lovely surprise, to find myself awarded not once, but twice, with the coveted and greatly sought "You Make My Day Award"! I want to thank my good blog friends Susan and Claudia both for nominating me and for being the sort of folks who make my day as well. And also to you, my new readers -- you know who you are -- who have visited from both Susan and Claudia's blog and have done me the kindness of adding Pumpkinknitter to your reading lists.

And so, with no further ado, I give you my list of ten nominees (I could add more than ten, easily, but you know how these things work...):

Annie of Annie Knits, for her way with words;

Dipsy at DipsyDoodle, for great knits and her pretty kitties;

Kelly at The Gabby Knitter, for the beautiful handspun and rovings she posts about;

Kathy at IrishEyes, especially for her pre-Christmas poetry;

Abigail at 1870Pearl, churning out all those socks;

Janine at Knitting on an Island, for so frequently making me laugh, not to mention a gallery of impressive knits;

Cyndy at Riverrim, for pictures of her corner of the world that are beautiful and evocative;

Roxie at Sanna's Bag, for some of the best humorous writing in Blogland;

Judy at Smatterings, for a weekly treat with Walk With Me Wednesdays;

and Laura at Sugar Bunny Boulevard, for pictures of her children that always bring a smile.

Now I have to confess that I forgot to post my nominees for the "Nice Matters" award. I was going to wait until after Christmas and here we are coming up on Valentine's Day. But this will have to wait for another post. The arm is improving, but too much typing is not good for it, yet. It seems that a lot of computer time at work last week probably did more to aggravate the arm than the knitting did. But now we have gotten another office computer, and therefore the data entry duties should be divided up a lot better. No overload on just one person!

Finally today, since Susan was so kind as to link to me with her Sock'ret scarf pattern, I give you a picture of the current progress. (I hoped to have it finished before this, but all that typing at work threw that plan out the window real quick.) For those of you who haven't been reading regularly, the yarn is sock weight merino hand dyed by Sugar Bunny Boulevard. Very soft and very perfect for this pattern.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WWMW - Shopping, Anyone?

I know that I promised to show some knitting -- actually, I wanted to show some FO's, but I've been knitting so much that I made my right arm quite sore and so I have backed way, way off, hoping that the pain would go away soon. Well, it has been greatly improving, but I don't have the items to show yet. I did get the Christmas stuff put away, however...

It would seem that this is my 300th post! Thank you all for coming on this trip with me, and here's to another hundred posts! And in a party spirit, let's go walk through the farmer's market in old Mazatlan...


Thursday, January 17, 2008

A is for...

hiker daughter Annie in Arizona.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WWMW - Fog and Flowers and the End of the Rainbow

I seldom allow the weather to dampen any vacation or activity plans that I have undertaken. I enjoy all types of weather unless it becomes impossibly or dangerously extreme. We have been lucky in that all of our recent cruises have had fair weather; this time our first two days were marked by on and off again showers. This certainly did not stop me from heading out into the sunshine or rain as the time passed. But I was lucky enough to catch sight of a rainbow that only appeared for a minute or so. The end of the rainbow was very near the ship and actually travelled closer as I watched. It came within a matter of less than a hundred feet by the time it simply melted away and disappeared. It's the first time I've actually seen the rainbow's end.

On our return sea days, Friday and Saturday, the wind was very strong and kept the temperatures rather bitter. On Saturday things were very damp and hazy; very few passengers were out on deck. Even I didn't stay out as long as I would have wished. On Saturday night, after sunset, we sailed into a huge, dense fogbank. The pictures I took do not do justice to the sight; you could't see from one end of the ship to the other, even though the deck lights were on. We went up to the bow to watch the prow of the ship plowing into the solid wall of fog; a totally creepy sight. We were cruising at a very fast speed as well. The ship was blowing the big horn every three minutes; one could hear other ships in the distance. I know that they all use radar and GPS, but it was quite chilling to think of all these huge ships out there in what was truly an impenetrable fog. We fell asleep to the sound of the foghorn; I knew during the night that we were out of the fog when I could no longer hear the horn. I got up to look out the balcony and all was clear. We were nearly in to Los Angeles.

Finally today, for all you folks socked in with snow and general January dreariness, I give you pictures of flowers in Mazatlan.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kicking Back. Really.

The week away was all that one could hope for. The weather, on the whole, was pretty good, and didn't interfere with any of our planned activities. Although Joe claimed it was cold in Mazatlan. I didn't think so, but then I'm the hot-blooded member of the family. But you knew that, didn't you. This was a repeat of the cruise we took in October 2006, when it was much too hot and humid to really enjoy any activities. The temperatures this time were far more congenial for scenic pursuits, and since January in Arizona is rather photographically dull compared to the rest of the year, I will have some material for Walk With Me Wednesdays for a couple weeks.

Of course we enjoyed all the normal cruise activities. The rum punches were superb, of course. I was very good about eating (less) and exercising (more) and only gained two pounds, so I am pleased with the results. I would be mortified, though, to tell you how much Joe gained, since he indulged himself to the max. He will lose it all soon enough, I am sure, now that he is back to his usual active work week. And he was always light on his feet dancing.

I thoroughly enjoyed my favorite activities. Walking the top deck for an hour a day. Photographing sunrises and sunsets. Rum punch. Knitting. Reading. Watching for whales. Yes, we did see some! There was only one night - Friday - when the bouncing of the ship started to really affect me. So I just used my universal cure for motion sickness. Crawl into bed and sleep until it's over! I didn't knit as much as I meant to, but then we met some fun new friends and had a great time laughing and talking together. Meeting people is still one of my best parts of a cruise. And coincidentally we met up with an old acquaintance. The cabin steward we had on the October 2006 cruise was also our steward on this one. We all remembered each other and did some catching up on what we have been doing in between then and now. And I rediscovered the sheer joy of reading! I brought along "Pride and Prejudice", which I had never read; I didn't open it for several days but then I was hooked. It really got me out of myself and into another place and time, and did a great deal towards helping me relax and let go of all the stress I'd been experiencing between work and Nana in the care center and everything in general. I'd pick up the knitting for a while but then I would have to go immerse myself in the book again. And since I can only do garter stitch while I read, the Friendship Scarf suffered as a result. But I imagine I will be making real progress on it again now that I am going to use it for my at-work project.

Now that the trip is over, and I've gotten the laundry, the bills, and the grocery shopping out of the way once again, it's time to look at my New Year's resolution to spend more time relaxing and being creative. I think this vacation has put me well on my way. A lot of the tension I was feeling is gone, and I hope to keep it that way. One sure sign? The Christmas decorations are all still up, and it isn't bothering me! I know that I have frequently driven myself crazy with high expectations for home and work and creative pursuits, and I really want to relax the pressures I put on myself and make life much more realistic and pleasant. The end result should hopefully be a happier, more content me and more time to devote to artistic and fibery projects. So far it's working. I may leave the Christmas trees up until February, just to remind myself of my resolutions, and to prove to myself that a common sense lowering of expectations won't kill me or anyone else. Really!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Extremely Eager,...

...Eager for many things to be underway.

On the first I cast on for my new scarf project. I decided that I could do nothing better than knit a Friendship Scarf celebrating my blog friends. So I picked out Laura's hand dyed Sugar Bunny Boulevard merino sock yarn, that has been marinating for a good time waiting for the perfect project. Laura is one of my longest blog pals, so it is more than appropriate to use her yarn for the scarf. Then the pattern is the Sockret Scarf by one of my newest blog friends, Susan. It is a really nice pattern, just lacey enough for me and requiring just enough attention to make it interesting and relaxing. I knit up this much during and after New Year's dinner fixings, and now it is waiting for me to take on our winter vacation next week. Perfect cruise and airport knitting! I know that I will really treasure this scarf as a reminder of all my knitting friendships!

Since I wanted to reserve this scarf for cruise knitting, I turned my attention the last few days to the Natalya gauntlets. In what time I could carve out at work, I finished the first one and almost got to cast on the second. I decided that I didn't want the arms quite so long, so I shortened the length before the thumb gusset by half. The Prairie Silk is very thick and comfy. This gauntlet took almost one full 88 yard hank. I really like this yarn; too bad it's been discontinued.

Since I had to work most of the day, Maria took the Apres Sock Swap box to the post office for me and sent it on it's way. So once I get back home I will finally be able to post pictures of the Mystery socks and the other goodies that went along with them. Plus I get to look forward to having a surprise swap box waiting for me when I get back. In the meantime, I am Extremely Eager to sail to warm, sunny climes and lots of blue water and sea air. Especially for No Work, No Alarms and No Cell Phones. Very Especially for time to read, knit, and savor rum punch. Hoping to see dolphins and whales in between reading, knitting, and rum punching. See you all in about ten days!