Monthly Archives

July 2017

Time to Brighten Your Day: July Cocktail Night! Moscow Mules with Fresh Berries!

Pst. Follow these links if you missed Cocktail-Knitting recipes for May’s Champagne Cherry Fizz or June’s Watermelon Margarita.

Here’s my question for you: are Moscow Mules supposed to have fresh mint, or not? I always thought mint was an ESSENTIAL ingredient in a mule, until a friend posted a photo of an alleged Moscow Mule on Facebook. With no mint.

Just imagine the debate the ensured on that one.

To be honest, it was Oprah who first turned me on to the Moscow Mule back when she went camping with Gayle in Yosemite. Remember that? I will say this: Oprah knows what’s up. This is one of my all-time favorites.

I love gingerale. I love lime. I love fresh mint.

And of course I always add fresh fruit.

I made these a while back with fresh raspberries, but decked out the most recent batch with fresh hand-picked blackberries.

Swoon.

I also love Moscow Mules because you can always whip one up when a friend drops by unexpectedly, provided you have a small mint patch on the premises (which of course I always do) and stock gingerale. (I have to hide the gingerale from myself or I sneak it when I am having a sugar craving…)

Cocktail-Knitting night with free Moscow Mule recipe.

In other news…

I know I am behind, but I finally got my veggie garden going again. Gardening is one of those things I just can’t help myself from pursuing. If I see dirt, I have to hurry up and stick a plant in it. (I think this is similar to the insatiable urge to hurry up and grab my knitting to fill every idle moment of sitting…)

I’m keeping the garden simple due to the late start and lack of time and energy. Plus I already have an abundance of flower beds that require maintenance and care. I threw in four giant pumpkin starts and hope they do well for a late October pumpkin party. I think Reed will really like that, and I suspect they will be hearty and self-sufficient enough to thrive on their own without much care from me.

I also brought home some peas, beans, spinach, and artichokes. I thought Reed would love to help me plant them, but I guess gardening has already lost its romance with him.

He said: you can do it, mom. 

He has, however, delighted in his responsibility as Chief Garden Waterer, which mostly entails squirting me with the hose as I shout various versions of NO, STOP, and WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME?!?!?!, all drowned out by his naughty little giggle of delight.

Mr. Big Shot.

Eventually I have to heard him into the shower to wash off all the mud (I seem to lose 3% of my topsoil per garden watering session…). Sometimes this is when I sneak in washing the dishes and other chores. Or, if I am good, I pick up my Lesley sweater and knock out a few rows.

July cocktail-knitting night with Andrea @ This Knitted Life: Moscow mule with fresh raspberries and mint.

I do truly hope you enjoy this recipe this weekend and are able to carve out a few minutes for yourself to sit with your knitting in a sunny spot and sip. Feet up. At peace.

It’s simply the only way to go.

Happy Sunday!!!

Moscow Mules with Fresh Raspberries

Ingredients:

2 oz. respectable Vodka (I use a brand from one of our several local distilleries.)

8 oz. gingerale

Fresh mint

1/2 fresh lime

Fresh raspberries (or blackberries…or any berry!)

To make:

Muddle lime, mint, and a few berries in the bottom of your glass. Add vodka. Fill glass with ice. Top with gingerale and stir a bit. Load the top of the glass with berries and a spring of mint.

*Disclaimer: This recipe is for adults that meet the legal drinking age requirements of their respective nations. Always drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Alcoholism is a very serious disease. Please seek support if you need it. Drinking is very likely to impact your stitch count and may generally result in extensive frogging, so go easy.

P.S. Do you already follow me on Instragram? If not, please do. I am here.

Dispatch: River Knitting

Rivers are my thing. Well, weather dependent, rivers are my thing.

While professionally, I work to restore rivers (you didn’t  think I just blogged and knit for a living, did you?), come summer, I lounge beside them.

I have a system for my river days. It goes like this: unpack cooler (with a cocktail, if feasible, and yummy treats), position shade tent just so, spread out my beach towel on chaise recliner, set Reed up with his various beach toys and buddies, slather on copious quantities of sunscreen, and unpack the knitting.

It’s my weekend routine.I’ve worked on all kinds of projects this summer, but my socks have seen a lot of the action and have now traveled to no less than five different rivers over the past couple of months. They travel well, and I can hold a conversation or keep my eyes on Reed without screwing them up.

When I get too hot, I can easily set the sock down and jump in the river.

Splish splash.

And if the sock gets a bit drippy on the return (it always does), well, it’s not the end of the world.I’ve brought other projects along too: my worsted weight sweater and a shawl or two. I’m not too discerning, although my white shawl is staying home for all eternity.

I usually think I will fit in WAY more knitting then I ever get to, especially if I am sans Reed. But, in reality, it never amounts to more than a few hours per trip. Not nearly enough.

In typical fashion, I will envision finishing a sweater, two shawls, and a sock in a single day, only to come home with two inches of stockinette on a sock.

When will I ever learn?Of course my new skill this summer has been floaty knitting, which I truly cannot recommend highly enough. It’s gotta be right up there with living in an apartment directly upstairs from a superb yarn store (with great big windows for fantastic light).

I’ve figured out how to anchor the little hole by my feet on a rock so I float in place and don’t drift away, only to end up in Fiji or somewhere. It’s delightful.River season is really in it’s prime now. The water is a bit lower and warmer. Better for swimming. There are so many relativily pristine rivers close to us. We are truly lucky in this regard, and it’s one of the main reasons I have chosen to live where I do. Making a routine of weekend river knitting has also helped me cope with the summer coastal fog and cooler temperatures in my new home.

I have my spots, but I always have my ears open for new oases. (I like that the plural of oasis is oases.)

My mission this summer is to see how many water bodies I can take the floaty out on before it pops. So far, I am up to three.Where’s your most decadent place to knit?

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

A Knitter’s Non-Knitting Bucket List of Lifetime Adventures

I have a vague recollection of being in my early 20s and feeling incredibly overwhelmed by everything that was piled onto my bucket list at the time. I was young and full of zest, ready to set out and conquer the world. I hadn’t yet encountered much in the way of constraints or failure, and I suspect, at the time, the world felt limitless.

My bucket list must have been mighty long.

While I only can recall a few specific items that were on that particular 20-year-old Younger Me version of my bucket list, I do have a very clear memory of deciding to separate my bucket list into two distinct halves: the half I would do when I was young and limber and the half that could wait until I was “old.” I referred to the half of the list destined for my older self as my “Old Lady bucket list.”

It seemed cute at the time.

I don’t really recollect what threshold my younger self established as having reached “old age,” but I remember reasoning there were some things I should do when I was young and didn’t mind sleeping on the ground and other characteristics that can generally be described as “roughing it.”

Honestly I don’t remember what was on my bucket list for Young Me. Perhaps if I were to search through my old journals from that era, deeply buried who knows where, I would uncover such a list. I can only hope I have made good progress and crossed off all that I hoped for myself, long ago.

I have a hunch, in many ways, I have.

I do hazily recollect lumping “learning to play the banjo” and “knitting” onto my Old Lady bucket list, rationalizing those activities could wait until later in life when I was tired and lazy and no longer had a tolerance for cheap hotel rooms in third world countries.

Young Me will be happy to know Old Me can now cross “knitting” off the bucket list. Or, at least, it’s an ongoing work in progress.

While I have always been a list maker, I do admit I have lost track of my bucket list and felt it was time to transition the list from the deep, inner recesses of my brain to an actual piece of paper. I paused for a while, wound a bunch of yarn (that always helps me think and generally reflect on the promise of The Future), and made a list. It’s likely not the same list I would have made 20 years ago, although I know at least several items have transferred forward, still remaining for that unknown (windy, twisty, beautiful, difficult, bountiful) path that lay ahead.

My bucket list is not a list of things to accomplish (raise a good kid, save for retirement, start a business) but more a list of experiences to behold–before I, you know, kick the bucket. At present, it’s actually a rather short list. I think I became overwhelmed when I saw all the traveling related items and started calculating the cumulative expensive of checking off all these trips, quickly determining a cost/year over the next fifty years.

It wasn’t a laughable sum.

That’s the kind of thing Young Me would have disregarded 20 years ago. Now I am very well aware of how much airfare for two costs from San Francisco to Thailand.

Bummer.

All the same, here’s my list. I wrote it down in an old, re-purposed journal, and I hope I will add to it from time to time. And even, with fortitude, cross off an item now and again.

(If you follow my blog, you know I regularly develop annual and seasonal bucket lists for projects I hope to knit. This particular bucket list is (mostly) a non-knitting bucket list, but you can find my most recent bucket list of summer knits here and my 2017 bucket list here, should you prefer or generally be curious.)

My Non-Knitting Old Lady Bucket List

(In no particular order…)

  1. Raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. That’s the wilderness run with hot springs, and I do recall this was on my Young Me bucket list as well.
  2. Learn to play the banjo. (Or the fiddle?!?!) Decide: why not learn both!
  3. Go to Italy. Walk or bike from vineyard to vineyard. Village to village. Drink wine each night with dinner. Have someone else carry my luggage.
  4. Southeast Asia trip.
  5. Corsica.
  6. Borneo.
  7. Live in Hawaii (or similar tropical island locale) for at least a while.
  8. Ride a horse in a beautiful place (trail riding or similar) more than once.
  9. Knit my way around the world (or at least some of it).
  10. Take Reed to Glacier National Park–road trip!
  11. Show Reed where I went to college. New York trip!
  12. Find new amazing swimming holes. Take the floaty. (Maybe knit too.)

What’s on your bucket list?

If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

The Endless Pursuit of Perfection: Updating the Twist Shawl

Perfection is an exhaustive pursuit.

As always, what was supposed to be easy-peasy design tweak didn’t exactly go as planned.

Because what ever goes as planned?

Yep.

Nada.

My carefully devised design release/knit production schedule?

Well.  I tried.

Note to self: don’t forget to update The Schedule. Two-month delay.

My quick and simple Twist Shawl update was fairly quick (six-ish weeks of hard core knitting), but missed the mark of perfection.

Of course.

I am trying to alter the shape a bit so it is more crescent-y and less triangular-y, although I think a lot of that is influenced by yarn choice (superwash vs. non-superwash) and blocking. All the same, perfect it must be!

While there was improvement, I still fell short of perfection.

Why: subtle adjustments result in subtle changes. Too subtle.

You want big results? Whelp, I guess you (I) have to go big!

There’s a lesson there: don’t hold back in life. Your shawls will end up the wrong shape. Although, as a consolation, they will drape well when worn (imperfect shape hardly evident).

I worked this baby up in The Fibre Company’s Cumbria (Cowberry) colorway. It’s going to be a gift for my mom. I think she’ll like the color, but I can’t say she’s much of a shawl person. Fashionable, she is not. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I have more fingering yarn ready to cake, ready for Try 2. I ended up with speckles On Accident, but I think everything will work out just fine in the end. (The universe acts in mysterious ways.)

I may be many things (fabulous, snarky, nonathletic), but a quitter I am NOT. Count down to Cast On.

There’s a pot of gold at the end of this Twist Shawl rainbow. I just know it.

P.S. Have you discovered my Facebook page, in case you need minor injections of snark between blog posts. Just saying.

Ten Reasons Why Counting Stitches Should be a Solitary Exercise

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  1. After having Hannah Fettig’s Lesley pullover on bucket list for EONS, cast on. Joy!
  2. Make pledge to self: will only work on leisure knitting (this project) one night per week. For night-off knitting only!
  3. Start with neck ribbing. All is going well. Complete short rows. Check. Start on increases for sleeves, front, and back. Double check. All seems in order. The world is still spinning in the correct direction.
  4. Become overconfident. Neglect to check stitch count.
  5. Go to (first!!!) monthly knitting group after work. ONE Bloody Mary! Don’t judge. It was AFTER work.
  6. Knit. Talk. Imbibe. Notice seam along increases appear a little non-linear. Hhm. Figure body is also non-linear, so they would probably wiggle anyway. Denial.
  7. Next day: go to river. Take Lesley. Yes, one night/day week quota exceeded, but all other projects were blocking or the color white. No, white yarn CANNOT go to the river. And yes, one can knit aran weight pullovers when it is HOT out as long as one frequently remains wet. Count stitches. WAY OFF!!! Spend an hour tinking back four rows in an attempt to “even it all out.” Ignore wobbly seams. Chat with friends concurrent with “counting” stitches. Get up a bunch to swim. Distracted. Distracted. Distracted. But surely, count must be fixed after an entire afternoon reworking.
  8. Week later: go camping. Grab pullover from knitting bag. Note pattern has been left behind. Hundreds of miles away. Panic. Further note yarn label with stitch counts scribbled has not been left behind. Good enough. Panic resolved. Count stitches. Worst than the first time they were “fixed.” Panic Phase 2. Ponder. Swat mosquitoes. Ponder some more (Mosquito swatting does not help concentration.) Decide to frog. Rip back to beginning of increases. Try 2. No tears shed. Take it all in stride.
  9. Knit a bunch. Vow never to do increases in the presence of another (non-sleeping) person again! Make little chart with row and required stitch count to better track increases. Count religiously. Track religiously. PRAY A LOT. TOTAL SILENCE. (No Bloody Mary…) Back on track soon enough. Aran weight yarn has its merits. Rejoice after separating for the sleeves. The torso is straight in-the-round knitting! What a pleasant surprise! Yep, knitter neglected to read pattern in advance before starting, as recommended. Sometimes avoiding prim and proper has its benefits.
  10. Unable to put down pullover. Just want to knit and knit and knit. One night per week quota exceeded. All other projects require counting, thinking and general brain engagement. Once again, knitter is ready for cocktail and knit-chatting. Phew.

Now, will the darn thing fit?!?!?

*Note this is me in my camp chair, near sunset, right before I realized how screwed I really was. Reed was sleeping in the tent.

**Hey all, you know I have a Facebook page, right? If not, head over and check it out.

***I hope everyone enjoyed fantastic Canada Days and Fourth of July’s for their respective North American nations. Now summer’s REALLY here! Knit on!

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