3-fer Thursdays

A Look Back . . . At the Things I Knit in 2019

My one little word for 2019 was intention . . . and I decided early on in the process to bring intention to my knitting.  (You can read more about that here, if you're interested in the nitty-gritty.) Basically, I decided to: 

  • Only knit what I would actually wear or use.  
  • Stick with using yarn I already had.  
  • In colors I love.  
  • And styles that suit me.  
  • No KALs.  No mysteries. 

I wanted to avoid jumping on any knitting-bandwagons that weren't right for me . . . or committing to doing something in a given time limit . . . or chasing a shiny object that wouldn't work for me or my closet.  

I still wanted to have some fun with my knitting, though, should something unexpected and perfect show up.  I didn't want to set myself up to feel like I'd failed if some new yarn made its way into my stash.  I wanted to be intentional about my knitting -- but I also wanted to be flexible enough to be inspired!

Now, as I look back on my knitting in 2019, I declare it a success!  When I look back over my Ravelry projects for 2019, I see . . . no clunkers!  I see 6 sweaters that I love and wear (none of them ended up in the Goodwill pile, which is a big win for me).  I see a stack of dishcloths we use all the time.  I see gifts for babies and kids and curlers and dads.  And I see only 2 shawls (because, really, I have plenty of shawls and was trying to Look Away From the Shawls in 2019) -- but I use them both.  Not a dud in the bunch!  I call that a great knitting year!

(And, yeah.  I know.  There is no gray cardigan in there.  But I don't see that as a failure.  I see it as a casualty of my being "flexible enough to be inspired.")

What were my favorite knits of 2019?

My hands-down, #1 favorite project of the year was my Night Shift shawl.

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I used gorgeous yarn from Briar Rose -- and I had so much fun shifting those beautiful colors.  (I didn't use color-changing yarn, so all those shifts you see?  They're my doing!  My favorite projects are always the ones where I get to play with color.)  If you've been thinking about trying one of Andrea Mowry's "shifty" projects, I highly recommend you do it.  Fun.  (Like . . . really fun!)  Great instructions.  And a pretty fabulous result.

Next up, my Felix Pullover.

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There is a good reason so many people have knit this great sweater (or the companion Felix Cardigan).  It's quick to knit (once you get the eyelet increases straight), fits great, and works with everything in your closet.  I knit mine from (stashed) Brooklyn Tweed Shelter -- which makes it light AND warm.

And then, my Alanis sweater.

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This layering piece is so perfectly "my style" that I wear it constantly.  It's a quick knit from a well-written pattern by Elizabeth Smith.  I knit mine in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (again, from stash).  And . . . it has a sweet little pocket, too.

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What to look for from me (knitting-wise) in 2020?

Well.  First up, you'll finally see that gray cardigan.  But other than that?  Who knows!  My knitting plan for 2020 . . . is to have no knitting plan. There are a few things I'm thinking about knitting this year (each of those highlighted words is a separate link, by the way), but I don't do well when I box myself into any kind of "queue" or "make nine" kind of structure.  For me, knitting is about inspiration coupled with the whims of my moods.  I'll keep my "intention" goals (top of this post) at the forefront of my project decisions (because that worked well for me), but beyond that, I commit to nothing.   

I just know . . . there will be knitting in 2020.  And that's enough for me right now.

How about YOU?  Do you like to organize your knitting plans in a structured way . . . or do your prefer to just let inspiration guide you?  What would you love to knit in 2020?

 

 

 


Winter Interlude

I spent yesterday in Chicago with friends.  It was such a lovely winter interlude.  The sun was even shining!  (Which is a rare treat anywhere near the Great Lakes in winter.)

What did we do?

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1 -- We took in the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute.  It was just fascinating!  He was so, So, SO far ahead of his time (and so much more than soup cans and Marilyn Monroe).

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2 -- We ate lunch at Terzo Piano.  Fabulous food, a most excellent view, and a great atmosphere.

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3 -- We visited the Christkindlemarket set up in the Daley Center downtown.  Lots of fun!  We didn't buy much, but we did enjoy drinking hot, mulled wine (in souvenir boot cups!) while strolling around the market.  Very festive!

A great day -- and a wonderful way to celebrate the season with friends.

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Be sure to stop in at Carole's today to read other Three on Thursday posts.  (And . . . share you favorite aphorism!)

 


Thursdays are for Gratitude

(I'm grateful every day . . . but in November, I blog about it, too.)

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Today, as I was walking with JoJo through the leaf-piles in my neighborhood . . . watching a few snowflakes dance in the air . . . and trying not to think about my cold feet . . . 

I thought about what a wonderful day it is.  And how much I have to be grateful for!

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  • A safe and beautiful neighborhood to walk in.
  • An energetic pup to coax me into the leaves (where the crunching is best) (and apparently the smells, too).
  • Inside warmth and a hot cup of tea when I return home.

What are you grateful for today?


It's All In the Strategy

For most of my adult, Halloween-candy-giving life, I have struggled with . . . not eating the treats before the trick-or-treaters arrived.  Over the years, I tried all kinds of things to prevent myself from snacking on Snickers bars, but none of these strategies were terribly effective.  For example, I tried storing the candy in the freezer . . . only to discover that frozen Snickers bars are nearly as tasty as room-termperature Snickers bars.  I tried buying my candy at the last moment . . . only to discover that the pent-up desire for a snack-size Snickers bars is even stronger when I wait to the last moment.

Anyway.

After years and years of struggling, I have hit upon a Candy Strategy that Works!  
(A 3-part strategy, of course.)

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1 -- Buy ONLY as much candy as you will need to give out.  Don't buy extras-just-in-case.  And if you do run out?  Big win!  Turn out your lights and call it quits.

2 -- Have a plan for "donating" your leftover candy (your office candy jar?  an upcoming curling tournament?  your art class? so many possibilities. . . ).  Think about who might actually WANT it (or even just tolerate having it) and bag it up for them as soon as your trick-or-treaters call it a night - and then go put it in your car so you can deliver it the next day.  The key here is to get it out of your house!

The best strategy of all, though?

3 -- Step away from the Snickers bars!  Only buy candy you don't like and won't eat!  As you can see in the photo of my treat bowl - all ready for this evening - there is no chocolate.  None.  Only (sugar-bomb) Skittles, Nerds (what even ARE those?), (mouth-destroying) Sweet Tarts and Sour Patch Kids, (tasteless) Twizzlers, and the like.  NOT my candy!  Biggest WIN ever!

How about you?  What's your best strategy for avoiding Halloween candy?  (Or . . . is it your guilty pleasure???)

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Happy Halloween!  I hope your day is full of treats!

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(Tom and I dressed as "robbers" for a Halloween party last weekend.)


Fall Gardening

It's really easy to love a garden in the spring and summer - when everything is bursting with bloom.  Most folks don't find fall gardens quite so charming, though.  

But I do!  I love my garden all the time . . . and maybe especially in the fall.

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Sure.  

Everything is way past its prime in my fall garden.  Most die-hard gardeners I know rush to cut back dying perennials in the fall, ready to be done with garden-tending for another season.  And . . . well . . . I am, too.  But also . . . not.

Fall in my garden is really a wonderful time, and I relish these days in my garden.

Why?  (Besides knowing I need to get my fill of it before snow keeps me out of it?)  Well . . . let me count the ways:

1 - I love the muted colors and crispy textures of my fall garden.

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In fact, I find some of my favorite color combinations in my fall garden -- and in fall landscapes, generally.  I often go on to use these fall garden color inspirations when it comes to choosing colors for a knitting project . . . or putting together pieces in my closet to wear.

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2 - Late season seedheads are so interesting!

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The blooms are long gone, sure.  But I love seeing the puffs and tufts of the seed heads in the fall.  Besides . . . I get even more blooms later (albeit maybe not where I want them) when the seeds scatter in my garden beds.  But I've discovered that "volunteer plants" often bring an unplanned unity to my garden.  Plus . . . free plants!  (And I can always pull them if I'm not happy about where they land.)

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3 - The pressure is off!

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No time to weed?  Lose track of your deadheading?  Well . . . in the fall, no one cares.  No one expects your garden to look good in the fall.  Shoot -- it's just a delight to still find something blooming.  And finches love the seedheads.  And there's always springtime for cleaning up!  Besides . . . if you leave some stuff out there in the garden, it becomes "winter interest" and will light up the garden when it catches the snow as it falls.

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I really do love a garden in fall.  How about you???

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Be sure to head over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday fun.

 


C'mon Along

. . . as I drive around this morning!

First stop -- the gym.  It's an early morning workout with my trainer.

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Next stop -- the library.  Three books are on hold for me!

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And finally . . . the KIA.  My drawing class is about to begin.

1C0D293D-8B64-4E1C-877E-015C1CF763F5Where have you been today?

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Hop on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts.


Hello, October!

October is here . . . and I have a new monthly bucket list.

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Oh, sure . . . you might notice that some of the things on my October list are leftovers from previous monthly bucket lists (looking at you "clean fridge"), but mostly my list is full of new things I want to do this month.

Three items that might need a bit more explanation:

Sew four pairs of leggings.  (What?????)  Last fall, I made a pair of leggings (Pants No. 2 from Sonya Phillips), and I love them.  I wore them all the time last winter, and decided I wanted more.  So I bought fabric for four more pairs . . . and then never made them.  Now that cooler weather is coming, I've decided to have myself a Leggings Marathon!  I'm going to cut out and sew all four pairs "factory style" for maximum efficiency.  

Finish my 3/4-finished Alabama Chanin tunic.  Last year, I sewed nearly all of an Alabama Chanin wrap dress in the tunic length (and with long sleeves).  I got so very close to the finish line . . . and just stopped.  (I think I realized that I had forgotten to cut out the neck binding and was too lazy to do it.  Or something equally lame.)  It's time to finish!  All I have left are the ties, the facing, and the neck binding (which I cut out last weekend, so no excuses).

Solstice party timeline.  Yeah.  I know the party isn't until December.  But we've been having this party long enough now . . . that I know the sooner I get the timeline and master to-do lists ready, the easier the whole thing comes together.  And in December, it's all about ease and advance planning, y'know?

How about YOU?  What's on your "bucket list" for October?

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Be sure to visit Carole today for more Three on Thursday posts.


Zinnia Magic 1-2-3

One of my favorite flowers in my fall garden is the hard-working zinnia.  It's just lovely . . . and magical at every stage of bloom. 

First, as a bud . . . 

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Then, as it opens . . . 

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And, finally, in full bloom. . .

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Flowers are magical, aren't they?

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Be sure to visit Carole today -- for more Three on Thursday posts.

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And don't forget to check out my stash giveaway for the this month!  The deadline for comments is next Tuesday, October 1 at 5:00 pm Eastern.


Way More Than Three on a Thursday

Well, folks.  It's that time of year. . . We're getting near the end of gardening season, and my garden is looking Very Tired.  Here's a view of a portion of my back border, as seen from my patio door:

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I see a whole lotta brown out there in the foliage.  Some plants are dying back and preparing for the winter.  Other plants are screaming out for some pruning and cutting back.  It's time for me to assess and make plans for next year, plant some bulbs (but not until it gets closer to a freeze), and button it all up for winter.

But not quite yet!

Because some of my very favorite plants are (finally) making their blooming appearance in my garden -- and the bees and butterflies are going mad with joy.

I had planned to share my three favorite fall flowering plants in the garden, but I just couldn't limit it to three.  So today for Three on Thursday, you get Five on Thursday!

Hit it . . . 

Goldenrod

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Sweet autumn clematis

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Toad lily

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So many kinds of sedum

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Beauty berry

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There are so many wonderful things blooming in my garden right now!  (And I didn't even include the hydrangeas.)  (Maybe next week?)  I love having flowers in bloom from the start of the growing season . . . right through to the bitter end!

What's your favorite fall bloom?

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Be sure to check out all the other Three on Thursday posts over at Carole's today.  (And while you're there, be sure to tell Carole CONGRATULATIONS!)


Three . . . New T-shirts

I love a good t-shirt, and I picked up a few great ones this summer.

How about . . . I show you THREE?

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First up, my shirt from Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer, Michigan.  (Their very cool logo is in what would be Lake Michigan, pointing to their location on the map).  This shirt shows all 83 Michigan counties in a great graphic format.  (Kalamazoo County is in the 2nd row from the bottom, third county from the left.)  (Our cabin is in Lake County -- 6th row from the bottom, second county from the left.)

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Next -- a new workout shirt.  Telling it like it is!

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And, finally, my wish for all of you!

What's YOUR favorite t-shirt say?

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Be sure to check out other Three on Thursday posts today over at Carole's!