It’s Never Too Late

I imagine I’ll be saying that frequently once we have a home and I begin trying my hand at new skills.  In the mean time, I’m racking up a list of things I want to learn/try/improve upon once I retire from the nomadic lifestyle.  When I realized in mid-winter of last year that we wouldn’t be hanging up our nomadic shoes anytime soon (and how right I was), I decided to begin one of the many things I’d been putting off until I had time.  Knitting.  And if you’ve seen me in the past ten months, you know that this has become a major part of my life.

I love when I try something new and it becomes a part of me.  I struggle to remember that there was a time not very long ago when I didn’t know a knit stitch from a purl stitch.  The fourth time was a charm (there were a few short-lived efforts in years past).  I began with dishcloths and a scarf that has since been frogged (unraveled) to make a much nicer scarf for Van.  I then took a class at Webs in Northampton during the six weeks we were house sitting.  It was fantastic!  As soon as we settle somewhere I’ll be looking for more classes.  When our instructor showed us what we’d be making over the course of the class, my eyes grew wide and I laughed to myself.  But I did it!  And then some.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though I’m currently in the midst of three knitting projects (a hat, a scarf, and a blanket) and have a few more projects waiting in the wings (more hats and a cowl), this doesn’t stop me finding new and great patterns to try.

In the spirit of “taking a class” without taking a class, I was excited to begin reading Knockout Knits by Laura Nelkin.  It is basically a class in three advanced techniques with patterns that progress in difficulty.  The sections are devoted to wrapped stitches, lace, and knitting with beads.  The patterns are beautiful, modern, and unique.  Each section begins with a cuff to master the basic technique and then works up in difficulty from there.  Because the patterns are all for accessories (no blankets or sweaters in this book), many of the patterns require a skein or less of yarn.

9780385345781

I plan to begin working my way through the section on wrapping stitches in November while we have a home for a month (we’ll be staying near Frederick, Maryland).  There is a gorgeous pair of mitts that are listed as advanced beginner, so I think that will be a good place to start once I knit the cuff.  To be completely honest though, the book sold itself when I turned to page 78 and saw a photo of the Loco Shawl.

Loco Shawl from Knockout Knits

Loco Shawl from Knockout Knits

Wow!  Breathtakingly beautiful.  I’m nowhere near ready to begin something that complicated and delicate at this point, but I am determined to get there.  I’m not even sure where I’d wear that shawl, but when I spend the time and energy to make it, I’ll probably wear it everywhere.  Lookout!

Do you knit?  I’m always looking to expand my small circle of knitting friends from whom I gather (and can hopefully provide) inspiration.  If you are, send me a message or leave a comment below.  Any favorite patterns?  If you’re not a knitter but have thought of starting, I can’t recommend the book Stitch ‘N Bitch more highly.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

August in New York, Minus the Humidity

The view from our home for two weeks.

Instead of crickets, horns. Instead of late-night revelers around a fire, late-night stumblers struggling to turn their key and escape into their box in the sky. Instead of hikes through lush woods or up mountains, walks on pavement through a canopy of skyscrapers. But the food and the friendships are so much easier to source here. After two weeks in Manhattan, I grew weary of the city life and was eager to spend much of September hiking through the early fall leaves of the Green Mountains. But I enjoyed every minute of being there (minus those ten minutes mistakenly walking through Times Square that I can’t get back), especially those spent with wonderful and dear friends. That those times were spent over delicious foods that are harder to find in other parts of this beautiful country made it even sweeter. I only had a few points on my agenda before we arrived – see several friends that I haven’t spent time with for way too long, visit the 9-11 Memorial, explore the High Line, listen to my favorite band in Central Park, and eat lots of ethnic food. Before long, our agenda filled up with all of that plus five live music shows in as many days, lots of time wandering the neighborhoods south of mid-town, watching the little guy get braver on the nearby playground, taking the boy on a boat, and using the gym like a normal person with a home and a routine.

DSC_0521 (2)

Van’s favorite playground in the city – Madison Square Park

As our two weeks drew to a close, I penned a few words of advice for those visiting Manhattan:

  • Unless you’ve never been to Times Square before, skip it.  I’m not a city person, but I absolutely love New York City.  However, if all of the city was like the area around Times Square and Rockefeller Center, it would be one of my least favorite places in the world.  Yuck!  It’s worth seeing once (maybe – it’s debatable), but make it a quick trip and then start exploring the rest of this city.  It can take lifetimes.
  • Whatever you do, don’t skip the High Line – it’s magical.  I spent much of my pregnancy taking long walks through Central Park to get my nature fix, but I really should have been up on the High Line.  The beautiful (and distinctly not city) smells are reason enough to spend an afternoon.
  •  If you visit the 9-11 Memorial, don’t skip a visit to St. Paul’s Chapel.  I’ve been half a dozen times in the last ten years and it never fails to make me cry.  It is a personal and beautiful testament to the best in people.
  •  Spend time in the city’s living rooms (and dining rooms, but hopefully not bathrooms) by enjoying at least one full day in one or more of the city’s great parks.  Central Park is an obvious choice, but there are so many.  I made my first trip out to Governor’s Island on this visit and can’t recommend it enough.  Especially with kids.  We took an early boat out (the first couple of boats out are free!) and spent several hours exploring with my dad before Van was beyond ready for a long nap.
  • Eat, eat, eat!  But not boring food.  Eat the kinds of food that are harder to find elsewhere.  Eat the kinds of food that satiate you and your sense of adventure.  After checking out many different eats around the city during our visit, Van proclaimed Korean food to be his favorite.  And I will admit, that was an amazing meal.  Thanks, Dad!
  • Put on your walking shoes and just wander.  I could write this advice for just about anywhere, but I think it’s particularly applicable to such a walkable and large city.  There is no better way to experience the city (other than living there) than walking through its various neighborhoods.  Though we didn’t conquer any epic walks (Alan’s longest pre-kid NYC walk in one day was about sixteen miles), we bypassed public transport a number of times and walked many, many miles to explore neighborhoods we hadn’t seen in a while.
Grandpa and Van enjoying a car-free Park Avenue for a day of strolling.

Grandpa and Van enjoying a car-free Park Avenue for a day of strolling.

I must mention that we lucked out when it came to the weather.  I wouldn’t normally recommend that a NYC visitor plan a trip in the middle of August, but I really wanted to spend some time there before we settle somewhere new and the timing worked well for us.  I could not believe how amazing the weather was – seventies with low humidity.  Where was I again?  It was bliss!

One more shot of the view - I can't resist!

One more shot of the view from the balcony – I can’t resist!