August Break - Week 4

Where did the month go? August and this project is almost over with only 2 more days before September. 

I’ve really enjoyed taking daily photos and completely ignoring all of the suggested prompts. Spending August getting reacquainted with photography was wonderful. Taking daily photos has become a fun log of my days even if they just capture a little slice of everything that’s going on. I’d like to keep the project going but mix it up a little bit so I don’t get bored. Maybe a theme for next month?

Follow the remaining days as they happen on Twitter

Or check out the last few weeks. Week 1. Week 2. Week 3.

From the ride home.

From the ride home.

The beach is the perfect place to rest my legs in the middle of a long bike ride.

The beach is the perfect place to rest my legs in the middle of a long bike ride.

I have a penchant for finding the knitting books first in any library I visit. Handy skill.

I have a penchant for finding the knitting books first in any library I visit. Handy skill.

I took tons of photos yesterday (August 27th) but forgot to post one for August Break. Time to fix that.

I took tons of photos yesterday (August 27th) but forgot to post one for August Break. Time to fix that.

Gummi bears are an appropriate afternoon snack right?

Gummi bears are an appropriate afternoon snack right?

August Break - Week 3

Week 3 complete! I’m happy and just a little surprised that I’ve kept up with the August Break Project so far. I’ve really started to enjoy this project, not just because it makes me keep my photographic eye open, but also because it’s a mini journal of my days. Looking back, I’m reminded that I did those things and explored those places and watched those waves. Taking daily photographs is starting to become something precious. 

For the daily feed, follow me on Twitter

Wondering what I got up to the past few weeks? Check out Week 1 and Week 2.

Writing a lot in analog tech these days.

Writing a lot in analog tech these days.

My bike and I are going places today. 

My bike and I are going places today. 

Love the feel of this yarn, Cool Wool.

Love the feel of this yarn, Cool Wool.

Skipping the digital version and writing my lists down on paper.

Skipping the digital version and writing my lists down on paper.

My Stripe Study Shawl gets a little bigger every week.

My Stripe Study Shawl gets a little bigger every week.

Walking on the beach might be my new favorite hobby.

Walking on the beach might be my new favorite hobby.

I love walking on the beach during low tide.

I love walking on the beach during low tide.

August Break - Week 2

My attempt at August Break 2013, or telling stories through photos, continues. I thought I was going pretty well until I compiled the last week’s photos and thought I’d missed a day. Turns out that I just misspelled the hashtag. 

Check out week 1 of August Break, here, or get the daily feed by following along on Twitter.

 

It was melting faster than I could eat it!

It was melting faster than I could eat it!

Finally walked along the Santa Monica Pier.

Finally walked along the Santa Monica Pier.

Sometimes, you just need a sweet treat. 

Sometimes, you just need a sweet treat. 

Decisions, decisions. Which skein should I choose?

Decisions, decisions. Which skein should I choose?

There are always colorful things to find on afternoon walks.

There are always colorful things to find on afternoon walks.

The “ca-chink” of the row counter makes me feel all accomplished.

The “ca-chink” of the row counter makes me feel all accomplished.

The start of something new on the needles.

The start of something new on the needles.

August Break, Not

No worries. I’m not taking a break for the month of August. I already had enough of a blogging break during May and June. August Break is a photo-a-day prompt by Susannah Conway. The idea is that for the month of August, you skip the words and let a photo do all the talking. I liked the idea but skipping posting for a month didn’t sound like a great idea. So, I took the photos to Twitter instead. It’s been a nice change. For the last week, I’ve ignored the prompts but went on the look out for interesting details to document from my day. Things that I would ordinarily pass by with a smile, got a little more recognition.

For daily updates, follow me on Twitter

 

My favorite spot for summer knitting.

My favorite spot for summer knitting.

Doing a different kind of spinning today.

Doing a different kind of spinning today.

Sometimes, this is what designing knitting patterns looks like. 

Sometimes, this is what designing knitting patterns looks like. 

Making tiny, adorable mini skeins!

Making tiny, adorable mini skeins!

So far, reading subtitles while spinning singles has not been a bad idea.

So far, reading subtitles while spinning singles has not been a bad idea.

Another day, another walk on the beach.

Another day, another walk on the beach.

Found a beautiful shell at low tide. 

Found a beautiful shell at low tide. 

Tips for Spinning Yarn on the Beach

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One of my goals for Tour de Fleece was spinning in public. I knit in public all the time but hadn’t worked up the courage to spin in public until last week. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d actually do it which is what finally made me suck it up and get it over with. If I was going to spin beyond my front door, I was going to enjoy my surroundings. So, spindle in hand, I headed to the beach. There was all the sun, sand, and waves that I enjoyed on my daily walks. A spot was found and the only thing left to do was actually spin. I started spinning reluctantly but lost any thought of nervousness once I found my rhythm. People stared but it wasn’t the end of the world. It was actually pretty nice and I’m looking forward to spinning on the beach (and in public) again. If you want to try spinning on the beach too, here are a few things I learned:   

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  1. Sand is everywhere, so bring a towel. It’s the beach and sand will end up in places you didn’t know existed. A big, oversized towel will provide some (relatively) sand free space to spin. If the spindle drops, the towel will be there to catch it and spare your yarn from the sand.
  2. Use the wind to your advantage. Part of the reason to visit the beach is to enjoy the sea air. Make it work for you. Stand at an angle that will keep your fiber or singles blowing away from you and your work. Not having to hold your fiber out of the way might make drafting easier too. 
  3. Use the sky and the sand! The sky and the sand are great, uninterrupted backdrops to inspect your spinning. Analyze your plying or just admire your handiwork.
  4. Mind the tide. Waves are great to listen to but they like to travel. If you start spinning near the waves at low tide, they could be at your feet before you know it. Don’t forget about the spray either. Wet wool is hard to work with.
  5. Be prepared for stares. Yes, stares. Seeing someone zoned out with their phone is far more common than seeing someone spin yarn. It’s only natural that people will be curious. Don’t get nervous. Instead, smile and maybe even say hello. 

As always, bring along all the regular beach necessities; like sunscreen, a hat, and a snack, too. Spinning is fun but sunburn is not.

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Zen in the Fog

 6 days out of 7, the weather along the coast of Los Angeles is gorgeous with perfect temps, cool breezes, and clear skies. That seventh day, though, makes me feel like I’m on another planet. The fog rolls in off the Pacific and covers everything in a fine mist. You can barely see the sun in the sky let alone 100 feet ahead. I love walking the beach in this kind of weather. The grey mist, the sound of the waves, and wet sand under my bare feet combine in the perfect moment of zen. Still, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Cthulian monsters walked out of the depths or zombies slowly shambled into view. 

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Visiting: Wild Fiber

I haven’t regretted moving to California. The weather is lovely, the beach is close, and my neighborhood is walkable. That’s not to say that I don’t miss my old hometown, family, friends, and favorite haunts. I also miss my favorite yarn shop. In The Making absolutely spoiled me with a large selection of wonderful yarn and fabric, great staff, and friendly knit nights. I’m not ashamed to say that one of the very first things I did once we decided to move was to look for yarn shops (and spinning guilds) in LA. Priorities, you know?

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I finally got to visit one of the local shops, Wild Fiber, last weekend. Once I walked through the door, I was quite smitten. They have a large selection of yarns from wool to cashmere, tons of books and patterns, needles, notions, and adorable project bags. There was also hand dyed, luxury, and by the ounce roving. Can’t forget the spindles either. It made my knitting and spinning heart happy. The staff was friendly too.

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 I’m looking forward to returning and browsing around for my next project and a bit of stash enhancement. Wild Fiber definitely worth a visit if you’re in town and have never been. 

Always Leave Room in the Car for Yarn

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I’m always on the lookout for yarn. It’s just a subprocess that’s always running in my brain and I don’t bother trying to shut it down anymore. Just means that I find yarn in all the right and sometimes unexpected places, like on the way to the Grand Canyon. During our visit, the Bearded One and I took the slightly longer route to the Canyon through The Painted Dessert, The Kaibab National Forest, and the Navajo Nation. The national parks were desolate but once we entered the Nation, houses and road side shops and stands popped up frequently. At the Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise there was a wall full of Brown Sheep yarn. They had just about every color you could think of in wool/mohair single and I was not immune. I blame yarn fumes and several cramped days in the car. We found space in the back seat and headed on our way several skeins heavier. I’m still not sure what I’ll make with yarn but it’ll tell me eventually. 

Moral of the Story: Always leave room for yarn in the car. You never know where you’ll find a few skeins to take home with you.

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The Grand Canyon

When driving across the Southwestern United States, you can’t just drive past the Grand Canyon. If you are anywhere in the state of Arizona, you visit the Grand Canyon. Detours be damned. The Bearded One and I followed this rule to the letter and were not disappointed. We were only able to spend a few short hours exploring the canyon rim but it was still a breath taking experience.  Yes, it was hot and, yes, it was bright but the majesty of this place cannot be denied. I want to go back to explore, hike, camp, and maybe even ride a mule. I want to lose myself in the power of that place.

I took quite a few photos while we were there but even amazing photographs can’t do the Grand Canyon justice. You have to go, stand on the edge and look into crags and valleys before finally casting your eyes on the horizon to really appreciate this place. When I stood on the edge I became aware of my place in the universe. I was and am very small but surrounded by wondrous things.   

My only advice: Go. Experience the Grand Canyon. You won’t be disappointed. Also, don’t forget the sun screen.

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Crossing the Country

In the first week of June, The Bearded One and I shoved as much stuff into our car as possible and set out on a cross country drive for Los Angeles. We covered over 2,100 miles in 4 days through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California . It was eye opening to watch the countryside change from forests to plains to scrub and finally to desert. The thought that 150 years ago people managed to cross this land with wagons and oxen not just to survive but to prosper amazes me. The knowledge that people lived off these plains and deserts hundreds and thousands of years ago is completely mind blowing. It’s one thing to learn these facts in  school and something completely different when the truth, land, air, and storms swirl together around you.

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2,000+ Miles Later

Turns out that planning a wedding and getting married while also prepping to move cross country takes up all of one’s time and energy. Then after driving 2,000+ miles to the Pacific Coast, finding an apartment in a weekend, finally moving in, and setting up said apartment there isn’t much energy leftover or internet for blogging. The good news is that I once again have internet and most of the heavy work is behind me. I’m back to having a daily routine that involves washing dishes and going for walks on the beach instead of checking out of hotels. I’ll take dishes over uncertainty any day.  I’m also getting to know my new home base of Los Angeles. Last Saturday was part of World Wide Knit in Public Day so I took the opportunity to explore before settling down on Venice Beach to knit.

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Visiting LA

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As I’m typing up this little entry I’m sitting in an airplane at 35,000 feet above Indiana, hooked up to the net, and scrolling through the photos I took while in Los Angeles. I love living in the future. Would be nice to have some more elbow room though.

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Right now I’m on my way back from Los Angeles which will be my new home a few weeks from now. This trip was my first time visiting the city and also the first time I’ve been in California and on the West Cost. My previous record was Nevada. Los Angeles was definitely interesting. There were oil derricks next to parks next to strip malls next to apartments next to more strip malls. It was also very flat. There were billboards for new movies everywhere which really isn’t surprising. Just different from home. The weather was wonderful after coming from a city with 80°+ temps and high humidity. I pretended the interstates/parking lots didn’t exist which made the traffic a lot more bearable. 

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One night The Bearded One and I headed down to Venice Beach. I couldn’t resist getting my feet wet in the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t as cold as I was expecting nor did it smell quite the same as the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. The sunset though was more beautiful than I imagined.

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The next few weeks of packing, moving, and getting married are going to be crazy and stressful but I’m still really excited. Can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life.

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May is for Writing: Week 3

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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I’m going to be honest here. My writing goals went out the window last week. My daily word count was 0 and I didn’t even read any books. Why the sudden lack of progress? Life turned wonderfully sideways. In two weeks I’m getting married and moving cross country. In the mean time, I have to DO ALL THE THINGS! that come with planning a wedding and prepping to move over 2,000 miles west. Any farther and I’ll end up in the Pacific Ocean. 

Ironically, the combined craziness of wedding planning and moving cross country seems like the perfect thing to write about. I feel that that I should be judiciously documenting the next few weeks but I need all the sleep I can get. Ah well. This is what memoirs are for, after all. I do feel slightly guilty about not writing but I am getting ready for a marvelous adventure with my best friend. The writing can wait.

March is for Photography: Week 3

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Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Taking a photo a day - especially, a photo I want to show off - is hard. There, I said it. I didn’t start out thinking this project would be a cake walk but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. A few days into March, I started following the daily prompts from Fat Mum Slim. Some days were easy and some I’m still haven’t figured out. No surprise, I fell behind. I was determined to catch up on Friday so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. The original plan was to take photos to match each of the prompts. They weren’t any easier. Thankfully, I was in the right time and place for the 15th’s prompt - explore. I took it and ran. Those other prompts? What other prompts?

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Magnolia Cemetary

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Last Saturday morning, my mom decided it was time for an impromptu road trip down to Mobile, AL. It only took an hour of frenzied packing and primping to get out the door. The drive was easy and the weather glorious. Nothing like a 4 hour drive south to breezy 74° weather to lift your spirits. 

Part of the reason for our trip was to visit the historic Magnolia Cemetery. The cemetery was originally established in 1836 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. At its founding, Magnolia Cemetery sat on the outskirts of town but is now near downtown Mobile. It was quite the paradigm shift to be standing between graves more than a hundred and fifty years old and seeing shining skyscrapers off in the distance. I walked past the graves of Confederate soldiers, infant children, state governors, veterans, and entire families. Some of the stones were were still as easy to read as the day they were carved. Other markers were cracked, broken, and worn. The names, dates and epithets almost lost to the world. A humbling experience to walk among the reminders of the dead.

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Historical information cited from magnoliacemetery.com

2013

Hello, my fellow time travelers, and welcome to 2013! I’m quite happy to have seen 2012 out the door and I’m looking forward to kicking off the new year right. Last year, I had a few resolutions which, to be completely honest, I’ve completely forgotten about. Haven’t even bothered to look them up but they’re probably a mixed bag of success and failure. Instead of a long, blown out list of resolutions, I’m going with a theme this year all thanks to a lowly fortune cookie. Normally, I don’t put much stock into the prophetic power of fortune cookies. It’s much more fun to go around the table reading their innards aloud and tacking “between the sheets” on the end. More laughs that way. A few weeks ago at lunch, my fortune cookie’s advice was:

Approach all areas of life with a bold enthusiasm this year. 

After the reading and the necessary wink, I slipped the fortune into my pocket where it somehow survived the trip back home to my desk. I found it while cleaning out the drawers on December 30th and decided 2013 could use a bit of bold enthusiasm. 

I still have a few goals in mind - toning up, practicing yoga, designing more knitting patterns, saving up for a spinning wheel, etc - all of which could benefit from a bit of enthusiasm but I’m more interested in changing my mindset for the better rather than solely focusing on a disjointed set of resolutions. If I do it right, my goals will fall in nicely no matter the amount of work.  Time for me to hit the ground running. 

Anyone else running with a theme this year or a few resolutions? Good luck!

Exploring Denver

It’s only been two days since the Bearded One and I flew out of Denver for more familiar turf and I’m already coming up with reasons to go back. One, the most I saw of the Rockies was driving into and out of the city. Must explore the mountains. Two, there are actual seasons. Three, Denver was such a fun, vibrant, and walkable city. Four, I just want to experience more of Colorado. 

On the first full day in city after breakfast, I just wandered around, walking from interesting building to interesting building. Eventually, I bought a sketchbook and a map so I could plan and record the trip. I carried it all over the city to tasty restaurants, on the bus, through the aquarium, and in search of yarn. I wrote down directions, bus schedules, souvenirs, and places to visit. It was my daily log that I updated in my hotel room and while sipping tea at the Tattered Cover Bookshop (awesome indie bookshop, by the way). That book is my trip in lists and I’m duplicating a few here.

  • I can breath easily. Take that, altitude.
  • The subprocesses of my brain related to Architecture and City Planning are now main processes. Must sketch everything. 
  • I can order tea with almond milk? Yes, please.
  • Did I really walk 10 miles today? Yep.
  • At the aquarium, “Cool fish, big fish, pretty fish, colorful fish, TIGERS?!”
  • Whoo! Local Yarn!
  • Wish I could see more of the mountains from the city. 
  • Just the Denver Art Museum alone is worth the trip. I could have spent days just exploring its treasures and the amazing Van Gogh exhibit. 
  • I could live here.
The Colorado State Capital Building

The Colorado State Capital Building

An interesting building because it's surrounded by a parking lot in the middle of the city. Definitely not the norm.

An interesting building because it's surrounded by a parking lot in the middle of the city. Definitely not the norm.

Heran, I think, a Sumatran tiger at the Downtown Aquarium

Heran, I think, a Sumatran tiger at the Downtown Aquarium

Denver's streetlamps

Denver's streetlamps

Moon Jellyfish at the Downtown Aquarium

Moon Jellyfish at the Downtown Aquarium

Incremental 5K: The Denver Edition

Last week was a great adventure. On Wednesday the Bearded One and I took a plane to Denver, CO and spent 4 days exploring the city. There was an aquarium, awesome buildings, shopping, tea, great bookshops, yarn (more on that later), and walking. So much walking. The first real day I had in the city, I covered 10 miles on foot. The next day, I figured out the bus schedule. All totaled in Google Maps, I walked about 20 miles wandering the city. My legs hated me at the time but now we’re back on friendly terms.

Now that I’m back on my home turf, it’s time to start 5K training again. My ankle feels great, my legs are cooperating, and I’m back to my normal oxygen levels. I could do without the ever present humidity though. Walking 20 miles around Denver, even if I was just shuffling down the sidewalk, let me know what just what I’m capable of and that my ankle is back in working order. Time to stop making excuses, feeling sorry for myself, and just starting running.

Flying West

Transient

Hopefully, by the time you read this, by the magic of time zones, and if the SquareSpace servers hold out against Hurricane Sandy, my flight will be landing in Denver, Colorado. I cast on for a new pair of green ribbed socks just to keep me company on the plane. To keep the socks and their needles company in the bag, I printed out a sheet of paper from the TSA website that declares knitting needles permitted on aircraft. Otherwise, I’m going to be really sad I didn’t pick out a book to read on the plane. I’ll let you know how that goes.

If you’re on the East Coast, I wish you the best of luck in fending of Hurricane Sandy’s last hurrah.

Oh, and Happy Halloween.

Adventure Socks

Transient

I started these socks last month to keep me occupied while The Bearded One and I drove around Atlanta. They came with me on a road trip to Mississippi. They hung out in my purse while I ran errands and wandered around town. They showed up at knit night. Now, in a great bit of timing, the pair is bound off and ready to be worn on my next big trip to Denver, CO. From henceforth, these socks shall be known as The Adventure Socks.  The Driving Atlanta title just isn’t cutting it anymore.

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Adventure Socks

Yarn: Cascade Sassy Stripes - 714 (discontinued)

Needles: 2.25mm circulars

Dates: Aug 31 - October 23, 2012

@ravelry

These socks were such great company during my travels because the pattern was so simple: toe-up, 3x1 rib, a few calf increases, and an afterthought heel. As a true testament to the simplicity, I finished knitting the last rows on the second sock, bound off, put the heel stitches pack on the needles, cut open the heel, and started the decreases all while walking around the mall. It helped that the mall wasn’t crowded that day, but still, simplicity rocks. Self striping sock yarn is good stuff too and I’m glad I’ve got several more pairs worth in the stash.

Now that these socks are going to be on my feet and off the needles, I need some new travel knitting. Another pair of simple socks might be just the thing. Also, anyone have recommendations for fun stuff to do in Denver?