A day of rest (and play).

A surprising day off, today. I love days like this, when it feels as if there are more hours in the day than usual. I can give Purl all the attention she can handle, I can tidy my home a bit more carefully, I can make some great headway on my sister's Christmas gift (Yep, that's right. I'm still working on Christmas gifts...), which is shaping up to be so very beautiful. It's a modified and personalized take on this gorgeous wrap on the cover, knit in a luxurious baby alpaca. I shall post photos when I finish, which will be soon.
I've been craving this Persian dish (edited a bit to suit my vegetarianism), and it will make the perfect dinner tonight. I love the sour cherries against the crispy, buttery potatoes.
This day's accomplishments will have to last me a while; I don't see such concentrated time "off" again in my near future. It's so easy to let both jobs take over my days. A day like today is such a treat. I'm feeling well-rested, full of good thoughts, good friends, good food, and I have a cozy night in planned with B and Purl, knitting and watching The Dark Knight. A perfect combination in our little household.



This weekend, I fell in love. Purl is her name, adorable is her game. She was found by a friend all alone out in the cold, but she lives with us now and is showered with love, food, and warmth. She's a wee month old, and I'm pretty excited to watch her grow. (Though, I wouldn't mind it one bit if she stayed this tiny forever.)
As with any new love, there's an obsession stage, and I'm smack in the middle of it. It feels so comfortable and natural to take care of her; my heart swells at the mere thought of her. Oh how she must have suffered before coming here! But she's a tough little girl, and has adapted well to life with a knitter. I found her this morning curled up in one of my knitting baskets, her head nestled into some yarn.
Adorable, my little Purl.


And so it begins

2012, I welcome you with open arms.
365 days ago, I was at an Urgent Care clinic, suffering from strep throat. It was a pretty miserable way to begin 2011.
Today I woke slowly to an uncommonly warm, sunny day, and I sneaked out to get bagels and coffee for B and I. We lounged and read the paper, luxuries we rarely afford ourselves together. It was a pretty perfect way to begin 2012.
The clouds have now rolled in, and the wind has its usual winter chill again. The afternoon for me holds a little baking at the restaurant, a little housework, and hopefully time to make this cozy treat.
A good year is to come.


Doing away with the "f" word.

A little peek at the project I'm working on. It's slow, careful, purposeful knitting. I resisted at first, it was daunting and frustrating (and it surely will continue to be), but I've slowly come to depend on the challenge. To crave it. Seeing the small details take shape keeps the momentum moving forward. Looking back on the hurdle, I can say I always knew I could jump it. But while it still lay ahead, the tall road-block becomes a symbol for the doubt and fear that keep me from moving forward.
Elide Endreson's wise words here have been on my mind a bit lately. I have a large bin full of knitting projects that are unfinished. Some I've lost interest in, put down to move on to new, more exciting ventures. Some haven't worked the way I intended, and need a little re-assessment. Some are even projects that are fully knit and I just have to sew a few seams and weave in the tails. Whatever the reason, their fate is the same. Buried in a closet to be forgotten.
In physics, the ideal work output is that which is greater than the energy used to create the work. But in a creative endeavor, can we reasonably expect the same ideal? So much of our energy goes into the creation, from inception to completion, the ideal work output seems unlikely, however great our product is.
I've always loved knitting more than I love the knitted object, and I think that's an important distinction, one I need to remind myself of sometimes. The finished product is not why I knit, so I don't need it to be greater than the energy I used to create it. But when thinking of the bin in my closet, I see only products that were never finished. I need to shift the focus a little. Maybe it will help if I see not the sweater that's only half-made, but how bored I was while making it. Not the one sock that will never have a mate, but how I changed the pattern a bit without taking notes, and I'll never achieve a matching result. If my enjoyment comes in the process, then my failures are also in the process. The forgotten bin can stop being a burdening symbol of failure, and simply be a collection of processes I didn't enjoy, and therefore a large stock of yarn that I can re-purpose.
Now, off, not to the bin, that will come later, but to the charcoal lace. The process is still quite alluring to me right now.


The full swing of summer.

I've been caught in a whirlwind of summer. Sunny day road trips, picking fresh strawberries, a lovely grey houseguest for the week, bread-baking and baklava lessons with a friend I see far too little, long walks through this small city with the recently-returned B. It is, indeed, summer.

A new project is on the needles, something completely different from the mindless dishcloths. I'm swatching up a storm with lace. It's a different way of knitting, one I'm struggling to find the pleasure in. But, I'm persevering in the hopes that it will soon become natural and less cumbersome and riddled with mistakes. I love the results too much to give up just yet. I dream in vintage lace motifs, and charts, and all the possibilities of a simple YO here and a SSK there. 

This new concentration on knitting brings balance just when I need it; I'd likely float away on one of our walks without it.


Cozy and sweet.

My presence in the world has been a bit sparse lately. It was a long winter that had a heavier than usual affect on me. But, spring is finally in full swing, and the sun is out. I couldn't help but steal a few bunches of lilacs from a bush in my building's courtyard to bring a bit of that lovely sweet scent inside.  It's intoxicating.
B has gone to Israel again for a few weeks. I find myself, I hesitate to admit, getting used to his long absences. It feels nice to have the break from routine; I'm inspired to make all kinds of little changes while he's gone. I've taken this time to rearrange the apartment, to paint old furniture and frames. To nest. 
I've lately been knitting easy, small things. I've been latching on to color, obsessed with variegated yarns, loving how watching the color change makes me knit faster and for longer. Dishcloths made from Lily's Sugar 'n Cream line have been the perfect outlet for my color-love lately. They're fast, mindless, and easy to giveaway to wanton friends and family.
I've also been working on knitting covers for my tattered old throw pillows, something that's been on my project list for far too long. It's slow-going, but gratifying, mixing classic cabled pillows with some with bolder geometric designs.
I have Salted Pistachio Brownies baking in the oven, and Oatmeal Cherry Cookies on a rack cooling.
I'd say things are going at a just about perfect pace.


In with the new.

The start has always been a point of struggle for me. Where's the best place for my first step down a path? What will be the most concise? The most efficient? The least burdensome on others? The most enjoyable? The BEST? These questions, and more, plague me. From deciding what to do when I first wake up in the morning, to trying to begin an over-due blog post, to wondering how to rekindle lost friendships, to deciding what to make for dinner, to figuring out what I want to do this year, and where I want to do it. The insecurity of the outcome makes starting damn near impossible. But, as it seems, the beginning of this new calendar year provides a good time to do away with all that and just simply start.
Start letting go more, acknowledging my own limitations and others' abilities. Start cooking dinner more often (instead of eating food in the evening and calling it dinner). Start believing that it's okay that I don't know what will happen this year; no one else does either. Start maintaining my empty-for-years etsy shop. Start (and finish) knitting a pair of socks. And a sweater. Start entertaining friends more; parties are great. Start treating my body like the amazing, balanced, delicate machine it is instead of taking it for granted.
Start starting more.
I've never been one for such specific, documented resolutions. But, it seems right to me now.
And in that direction, I will go.
Happy New Year.


Another show comes to a close.

After a few days' rest and recuperation, I'm still reeling from another wonderful Second Storie weekend. Even though my annual post-Thanksgiving cold had settled in a little harder then usual, and I was a bit achy and fuzzy during the market, I had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones.
I had the pleasure of sharing a table with the darling Elide of Previously. The detail and thought that goes into each vintage-inspired garter and hair pin she makes is awesome and humbling. And getting to chat with her throughout the day, that was pretty awesome, too.
I never seem to get around to take as many pictures as I'd like, and as usual, the weekend was over in a flash. I ran around quickly during some downtime on Sunday taking some shots of the market from afar, and luckily, others have been much better than me at capturing some more detail. Go here, here, here and here for some really great photos and some really, really kind words.

I have a little more recovering to do, and I'm enjoying the lack of urgency. The only things bearing down on me are my eagerness to bake some cookies using the delightful new addition to my kitchen (thank you, Shanna), and the need package up and send off my contributions to the 2010 Holiday Ornament Swap.
Both are enjoyable and just the right pace for a sick, tired gal.