On Fitness

I haven’t written about health and wellness in awhile.  It is not because I have been negligent rather, I wanted to collect some data to share and show that exercise continues to be alive and well in my retirement  life.

When I retired, I said there were three things I wanted to focus on.  They were and continue to be:  knitting [of course], running, and writing/reading.   In my knitting life, I knew I would be attacking the stash working up projects I had only wished/dreamed of finishing.  UPDATE:  I moved OUT a piece of furniture that was housing yarn as those bundled fibers are now finished objects!

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Granny Square or Flower Child

I think I have more questions than answers after finishing this project.  This will create lingering in my mind.  The topic is crochet.   This is definitely the most challenging project I have made in crochet as it involved gauge, fit, shaping, and color changing within a row, none of which I am sure I did correctly and none of which I’ve ever done, before.  Also, technique in sewing the crochet pieces together.  What I knew however is that this pattern would be a great way to use up some remnant stash with its offering of color possibilities.  I have plenty of remnants from past projects of small bits of color however I knew I did not have enough of one color for the main body.    Purchasing only three skeins and using those scraps,  I thought this a great way to stretch yardage.  I did go with the yarn used in the pattern for this main color (MC), a silver grey filatura-di-crosa- zarina-chine.

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WordPress Junkie

So, I received this yesterday from WordPress.

Said it was my fourth year anniversary.  How nice, I thought not remembering it was an anniversary of Hollyknits.   I paused for a moment to reflect.  You see,  I was in the middle of publishing my first post . . . on another WordPress site at the very moment this anniversary announcement popped up!  Yes, a first post on a new website!

When I hit the “publish” button for that post, this little beauty popped up!

Wow, I thought.  What a coincidence to be rewarded for a first post on the second website on the anniversary of the first!   Again, it caused me to pause.

Oh!  You want to know about the new website?  It is for The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo, a well-established community organization for yarn and knitting enthusiasts for the Greater Buffalo area,

We, members of the Guild, would love for you to check out our active goings-on right here!  We’ve deleted our outdated, difficult to navigate, not too attractive old site saving the meaningful ‘stuff”, moved it, and re-worked it right here on WordPress!  Let’s see how she goes keeping up TWO websites!  Yikes!

Me thinks I may be a WordPress junkie!

It Takes Time

It is supposed to snow in December
a Winter Wonderland to unfold
With winds expecting to blow
The air meaning to be chilly.

It is expected to honor the calendar
The decorations to go up
Lights to beautify and celebrate
cleaning and preparations to be well underway
During a holiday season.

It is Nature’s way geese flying South
Mallards wading softly
Cardinals singing
Patterns we identify in our neighborhood.

The heart has a rhythm
The couple has a plan
The knitted fabric supposing to grow.
It is what has come to us as natural.

But, when the world presents itself
with surprises,
Modern Earth planning differently,
and we are witness to things out of our control

The life beat interrupts
And, one has to cope with
a new reality

It takes time.

It’s Not Just About the Sweater

Part of why I write a journal is to reflect upon my knitting.  I find thinking about a finished project quite satisfying and informative.  It helps me to improve my knitting skills to think what went right as well as what went wrong with either the process and/or the finished project.  Viewing photographs of me in my knitting is also helpful to know what styles and designs look best on my shape and to compare what I see with how I feel about a particular garment.  This also drives future pattern decisions.  The reason why I write online is to share these thoughts thinking/hoping readers may learn from these experiences, as well.

Another reason why I write is to reflect upon the sites hubby and I travel to for our photo shoots.   There have been many.  I catalog these places on a page I call Fashionscape, here in The Blog.  Since this particular photo shoot also served as a trip down memory lane, I am writing about it here, too.  We continue to choose places that hold some kind of significance to us and this last photo shoot was no different.  Here we are at Chautauqua Institution, the furthest we have traveled yet for a photo shoot, officially closed for the season, however open for travelers who want to walk the grounds during the day.  Many of the cottages were covered in tarps, construction workers dotted the place doing off-season repairs, and you could see evidence of changes that are being made to the main structures of the institute.  In fact, you really needed to watch your step due to fallen debris of repair work.

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To blog or not to blog, that be the question

IMG_0393To blog or not to blog?
Is blogging work or leisure?
I love thought-provoking questions such as these, recently seen on WordPress, and I’ve been contemplating how I might respond.

I think the answer to both questions is surrounded by one’s purpose.  And, what I mean is there are as many reasons to write a blog as there are bloggers. And, likely many reasons not to write a blog. Each blogger probably began with an idea or a unique purpose for their writing.  I mean you gotta have an idea!  In some cases, to share or chat or find commonalities to others or make connections. Maybe, even to find answers! Example of that is retirementtransition.  The author is carefully and strategically reinventing herself with a new sense of identity with her new phase in life.  In some cases, blogs are written to teach or inform like Live to Write – Write to Live.  I love that blog and am learning a thing or two.  (who vs. that, a common mistake of mine)  I think my favorite are the learning blogs.  Then, there are those who utilize social networking aka WordPress that is then linked to their Linkedin and/or Twitter accounts for their business as in Kate Davies Designs.  How lucky to have this resource in which to do so.  Her blog in particular, is so beautiful with its photography and equally compelling writing, whether you like knitting or not, it’s a treat.  Actually those blogs are the person’s business where patterns are sold, the author advertises the books they’ve written and the like. Oh, and I can’t forget the poetry blogs like O at the Edges I love to read them, too but admittedly cannot always interpret what the author is intending.  (And, no, I do not beat myself up about that.)

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R.E.D.

Do not mistake my angst as described below with my love of this project.  I love the rich color of the French Red Egyptian cotton and the quality of the fabric that was created with this unique diagonal cable stitch.  It was indeed this wonderful feel, drape, and body of the fabric that singlehandedly motivated me to continue on when I began stumbling with the directions.

cotton

I have nicknamed this project RED aka. R.E.D.  This stands for Redo Every Direction.  Yes.  This was a perfect project if ever I contemplate design work.  You shall soon see.  Whether it was my misinterpretation or the directions were incorrect, it was as if the directions had been thrown up into the air and one had to figure out where to use which step.

I mean LOOK at this schematic!! (Good thing there was one!)

So, where to begin… The first thing to realize is that this design is meant to be asymmetrical.   I mean look at that crazy schematic!  Then, I had to orient myself as to where the slit was (on the left side).  Of course,  I could see it plainly in the photograph below (from the magazine), but it was much more difficult to ‘see’ in the schematic, oddly enough.  Then, you need to remind yourself about increases and decreases.  Really.

~ as seen in VK Spring/Summer 2000.

And, that is why and when the confusion began.  When the directions said to increase, the schematic displayed otherwise.  Same with the decreases.  After I realized the written directions were not matching the schematic, I had to decide which was correct.  So I made a life size paper pattern that I could actually hold  up to me.  By doing that I could see that the schematic was correct in that it would give me the shape of the piece I needed to get the final product, so I went ahead and knitted the fabric to match wondering how in the world the written directions came to be.

figuring out the angles

figuring out the angles

maybe...

maybe…

ok, so the back pattern can be used for the front...

ok, so the back pattern can be used for the front…

Well, let’s give her a go.

These are the directions I wrote and followed:

BACK

As written until:
Right edge shaping ~
Bind off (at beg of RS rows), 5 sts once, 4 sts once, and increase 1 st at same edge every 6th row 9 times and when armhole measures 8 1/2“, bind off from this edge 4 sts 25 times, 1 st once.
NOTE: I totally ignored the direction of bind off from this edge 2 st 7 times and 1 st 20 times and chose the bind off as written for the left edge. Also, changed decrease to increase.
AT THE SAME TIME
Left edge shaping ~
When piece measures 8” from marker, work left edge shaping by binding off (at beg of WS rows) 3 sts 3 times then decrease 1 st 27 times at beg of every WS row (left edge, still) until no stitches are remaining.
NOTE: So, basically I changed increase to decrease and followed all other directions in this section.

FRONT
As written until:
Right Side Shaping ~
Followed directions including v-neck shaping.
Left Side Shaping ~
From neck edge, bind off from this edge 2 st 7 times and 1 st 20 times. (I utilized the direction that I ignored, above.)
NOTE: This time, I ignored the dec 1 st every 6th row until no sts rem at neck edge and from armhole edge bind off 4 sts until no sts rem at armhole edge.

Aside from all of that, here are some other notes I took.

  1. The pattern is one size.
  2. The fabric is quite elastic so keep that in mind with your gauge and size.
  3. I did all the increase and decrease shaping by casting on and binding off to keep the diagonal cable pattern all the way to the edge of the knitted pieces.
  4. I used a double pointed needle rather than a cable needle when working the cables.  It is what I am used to as I have never used a cable needle.
  5. The diagonal effect is made via cables.
  6. I did not block as it wasn’t needed.

red

Another mishap I had was assuming the yardage in the skein of yarn I purchased was THE SAME as the yardage in the skein that the designer used some years, ago.  Well, no!  And, well into the knitting did I realize this!  Frantically, I searched the internet and by a very lucky chance, made contact with someone on Ravelry who was kind enough to sell me a skein.  Not the same dye lot, (yikes) so I knitted with the mismatch here and there to make it blend in.

A MINOR DESIGN CHANGE:  The pattern is from Vogue Knitting 2000.  To modernize the look, I did a lovely picot crochet edge around the neck and sleeves and eliminated the edging around the bottom.  When you add edging to a stretchy fabric, the fabric immediately becomes stiff and board-like.  I just love the way this hangs naturally around my shape and did not want to hamper that flow with an edging just because it was in the pattern.

So, here is my take on Jacqueline van Dillen‘s Spring/Summer Vogue Knitting 2000 pattern seen in today’s photo shoot in a local Japanese garden as well as for my retirement reception back in late June.

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IMG_0346

IMG_0373

 

garden

retirees

OH!  RED… for a red letter day!  Thanks, Beth for that idea!

lessons learned:

  • Check the yardage on YOUR label against the yardage in the pattern even if it is the same yarn!
  • Don’t give up when directions become confusing.  There are many ways to skin a cat!

Knitting is Part of the Plan

As I begin this journey (retirement) into the unknown, I am allowing myself to meander freely around and about the house going here, then there, not with any great decisive purpose (just yet) and am secretly eavesdropping on my movements and feelings.  So, between you and me, these are few of my observations on myself:

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Happenings

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A few updates …
  • “Imbalance 2” has turned into “Delight” regarding blog theme.  And, who knows what else I might find between this post and the next?  If you’re looking for familiarity when stopping by to visit this blog, I guess the only solace I have for you is that the content and message will be a constant.

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imbalance 2

I’m sure happy finding a house in which to live was not as painstaking a process (for me) as finding a theme for my blog here on WordPress.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I couldn’t find a theme I liked, rather I have found too many that are beautiful that I could easily settle on.  The search to look for another theme (as I had been happy with the theme I had been using) really came from a debacle (yikes, look at its date) from another site and some formatting issue.  At any rate, it’s been a search causing me to ask myself some questions.  You may have questions, too.

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To: WordPress.com

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Thank you WordPress, for the myriad of beautiful themes you offer on your site, for purchase or otherwise.  I have taken advantage of the previewing option with and without my specific content, in considering the look and feel I want to represent who I am and what I want to say.

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