Chirp Chirp!

So I guess the title of this post could have two meanings. The first being Yay! Spring is here! The birds are back! The flowers are blooming! The second being the *chirp-chirp* of crickets as this blog has been very very quiet lately! Well, as for the latter, the past few months have been filled with ups! And downs. One big “up” (and my main timesuck the past couple of months) has been the planning and implementation of a yarn bombing in downtown Hattiesburg that we successfully pulled off this past weekend for the Spring Art Walk. The yarn bombing deserves its own blog post so stay tuned for that! It ate up a lot of yarn and I drank up a lot of coffee!

A big “down” happened in February as an F-4 tornado came through Hattiesburg and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings (on my 36th birthday, no less!). Thankfully, no one was killed.

Taken Feb. 12, 2013 – two days after the tornado hit. This is at our local Red Cross (just 1/3 of a mile from our house). It was completely destroyed.

These were taken April 11, 2013 – two months after the tornado hit. Still a lot of clean-up and rebuilding left to do.

I think I went into a bit of a funk after the tornado. I didn’t really want to do anything! I didn’t knit. I didn’t crochet. I had gone out the morning of for a”birthday run” but didn’t lace up my shoes again until more than a week later. I wanted to limit my exposure to all of the devastation. It had wiped out most of the old beautiful trees in front of the university. It changed our city. But, life is really starting to move forward here in Hattiesburg. We are busying ourselves with outdoor concerts, art walks, festivals. Yarn bombings! Spring is definitely bringing new life to our city!

And of course, once I started running regularly again, my mood started to lift! Go figure! That, coupled with the warmer temps, made me long for my knitting needles and crochet hooks. It even made me crave a bit of sewing!

So I decided to embrace this newly awakened sewing urge and finish some quilt blocks I had been slacking on for a quilting bee (before really buckling down for all of my yarn bombing projects).

Spring also gifted me with a nice surprise this week! I received Patternfish’s April newsletter and was shocked to see that my Flower Market Shawl pattern made the Prime Minister’s list of favorite patterns for 2012! She narrowed her original three page list down to only 18 patterns! Her kind words about my pattern were the icing on the cake (and a bit of a “pinch me” moment)! It was definitely a great start to my week!

I hope that Spring has brought you a few lovelies as well! And maybe inspired you to pull out your sewing machine, knitting needles, crochet hooks, or that project that’s been languishing. It is definitely my most favorite season of the year. I just wish it lasted longer down here! It’s starting to feel like summer already!


End of Summer

The summer ends and we wonder who we are… ~Dar Williams

So, yesterday was Labor Day and I guess that marks the end of summer (although the weather here in south Mississippi did not get the memo).

I would say that out of all of the seasons, summer may be my least favorite. I love the longer days but I hate the heat! (Like seriously, I have NO LOVE for the heat of a southern summer.) I feel like I go into hibernation during the summer (I’d never make it as a bear). I slow way down (probably because movement will just make it feel hotter). My creative juices dry up. And my motivation takes its own summer vacation. But once I start to notice tiny glimpses of Fall, I start to stretch and slowly wake from my slumber.

So what have I been up to this summer? Well, let’s see… I’m still running! You may remember I hired a running coach in January and he’s been a fixture in my life ever since (whether I like it or not!). No really, it’s been a great experience and I’m actually feeling like a “real” runner. I still haven’t actually run a race yet (I’m waiting for the cooler weather to arrive) but I’m definitely logging some miles. This week I’ve got 18 miles of running on the schedule! In the high heat and humidity! Good times! Again, if any of you are on dailymile please add me as a friend so we can cheer each other on! I swear it’s the words of encouragement from my dailymile friends that keep me going some days!

Have I been knitting? Crocheting? Yes. A little. If it weren’t for Knit Nite every week at my local cafe/record store, I definitely would have gotten a LOT less done. (Again, I blame the summer heat!) Have I actually finished anything? Yes. I did finish my Aidez sweater just in time for the hot weather so I don’t have a finished pic of it yet. And I’m this close to finishing my Ruffle Rose Pillow. I just need to do a few more rows and find a pillow form. And of course, with Fall coming, I’ve got a bad case of startitis. I want to make ALL THE THINGS. I can’t look through a knit/crochet magazine without at least five projects jumping into my queue. I also have a couple of new design ideas floating around in my big head that need to be put down on paper.

We’re also starting to make strides in finishing the addition to the back of our house (that’s been going on now for THREE YEARS, people). One of the pieces to that puzzle has been put into place. The landscaping! Our poor backyard had been forgotten during this whole construction process and it turned into a bit of a jungle. But now it is a beautiful oasis!

You can click here to see an entire album of before, during, and after photos. We are so happy to have a great outdoor space in which to relax and entertain! And the pieces are falling into place for the completion of the addition itself so that will be a welcome project for the Fall. (This blog may turn into a home renovation blog for a little while.) Will I finally be able to unpack all of our moving boxes? Stay tuned!

Well, wherever you are (in the northern hemisphere) I hope that your summer was wonderful and that you’re getting ready for Fall. I know I am!

A blog post! It’s a Leap Day miracle!

Would you believe that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more often? Heh.

So what’s been happening the past several months? My Flower Market Shawl pattern is now available on Ravelry, Patternfish and Craftsy and has been a great success! I am thrilled with the feedback I’ve gotten on it. I even got an email from Patternfish congratulating me on its success and telling me to “DESIGN MORE!” OK, OK, OK! I’m workin’ on it!

Of course, I’ve been knitting and crocheting (and not finishing) about a gazillion projects. Well, I did finish one sweater but I haven’t a) sewn it together or b) found buttons for it. Maybe I’m a “process knitter.” Someone who enjoys the actual knitting and not the actual finishing. Ahem…

Three of my current (constant) works in progress are:

Aidez Cardigan

The popular Aidez cardigan! I was watching everyone (and their brother) knitting this sweater and I had to get in on the fun. I’m a sucker for anything with cables. I have a cabled cardigan that I bought at Target years ago that I wear all the time and people always ask me if I made it and I sheepishly (ha!) answer “no.” So I wanted to find a pattern that had that “comfy cabled cardi” feel to it so I could retire the store-bought sweater and proudly answer “YES!” to that question. Aidez fit the bill perfectly. I am just two sleeves away from finishing it! Just in time for warm weather! My timing is truly impeccable.

Marigold Socks
My second go-to project (and the one that serves as my small, portable project) is Marigold Socks. Some of you may recognize this stripey goodness from a Chevron Scarf I was making for myself. Well, my heart was definitely not in it and it never seemed to get any longer! The Scarf That Never Grows became a big joke in my knitting group so I rrrrrripped it out and decided on a fun stripey pair of socks instead! I do not consider myself a sock knitter but I do have a pair of Pomatomus socks that I made years ago. I wore them a few weeks ago and was reminded of how incredibly comfortable handknit socks are. They’re like a hug for your feet! So I may become a sock knitter after all!

Ruffle Rose Pillow

The Ruffle Rose Pillow is one of my current crochet projects. I never thought I needed a ruffly crocheted pillow until Allyson over at The Sweatshop of Love convinced me that indeed I do. My bed needs one (or more?) of these! This is my current “mindless” project that I usually pull out at knit night when gossiping intellectual conversation starts to take up most of my attention.

Another project I’ve been working on is ME! I’ve been trying to get into running for years. I would start running, injure myself, stop running, rinse, repeat. Since 2012 is my 35th year on this planet I decided THIS IS THE YEAR I BECOME A RUNNER. So I put my money where my mouth is and hired a running coach. He has me running three days a week and cross training three days a week. So I’m now doing an hour of some form of exercise six days a week. Sometimes I feel like exercising is all I do. Whew! It is exhausting but so rewarding! If any of you are on dailymile please add me as a friend! Lord knows I could use all the encouragement I can get.

This post is becoming super-sized so I’m going to end it here. I do have more things to share but I’ll save them for another post! I promise I’m going to start blogging more! Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I’ll call it a Leap Year’s Resolution! Yeah!