Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chili, Blues, Van Gogh, Frenchmen, and Secret Projects

You're probably asking yourself what these seemingly random things have in common, right? Well, me of course! I’ve been busy this week. So in no particular order, here’s what I’ve been up to. I started a new project called Favorite Scarf Ever. You can link to pattern information here: Ravelry. 

Here’s a picture of my WIP - notice the scalloped edge.

Did I mention the pattern is free? It’s knit using sock yarn in two pieces and joined in the middle. This way each end will have a wonderful scalloped edge (see above) due to the chevron pattern. I found this yarn at my local yarn shop. The colors are inspired by the colors in paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. When an art lover who’s a knitter or a knitter who’s an art lover stumbles upon such a find, well, someone like that couldn’t possibly be expected to resist.

Here's a picture of the yarn from Opal's website. Click here to link.

And, now a helpful hint when you need to split your skein:

To divide yarn for a project like this, use a food scale. Wind yarn until it's half the total weight, then cut.

On Thursday, who can believe my luck, I stumbled upon beads that match this yarn in another yarn store, and I didn’t even have the yarn with me. So, I’m going to add some beaded fringe. I can’t wait to finish this project.
Can you believe how perfectly these beads go with the yarn?
Friday night I curled up with the classic, Frenchman’s Creek, by Daphne Du Maurier. I’m just getting into it, but I loved her book, Rebecca, so I know I’ll love this one too. This is the first paper book I’ve read in about a year and a half since getting my Kindle. Holding the book and turning the pages came right back to me, just like riding a bike! Although I do miss reading hands free with my Kindle propped up on a pillow. Not to worry though, I’m sure I’ll persevere.
Here's a picture of my library book
Saturday we went to a local chili cook-off with friends that features blues music. The name of this event is appropriately: Chilly Blues. The contest is held at a restaurant on the channel that leads to Lake Michigan. Gotta love West Michigan; you just pitch a tent and bring in some heaters and you can have events like this all year long. The weather was sunny so it was a gorgeous albeit chilly day

Here we are in the tent. The tall thing behind us is a heater.
Finally, I was invited to the baby shower of a dear friend. The shower’s in a couple of weeks. So... I began a knitting project that I can’t really talk about yet or it will ruin the surprise. I’m about halfway through the first item, and I think it’s about the cutest little thing I’ve ever knit. And, the yarn is Sublime! Really, that’s what it’s called: Sublime. Check out the composition: 75% extra fine merino, 20% silk, and 5% cashmere. Let’s just say it’s a good thing what I’m making would never work for an adult or I’d be tempted... scratch that, I’m sure I can find something to make for myself with this yarn ;)

Well, I better get back to clicking my needles so I can make some progress on these projects and still have time to read before hitting the sack. As always, I’d love to hear about your projects and latest reads. Thanks for following along! ~ Christina

Sunday, April 15, 2012

¡Mexico, mi amor!

Huatulco, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love your semi-tropical climate with eternal warm winds and hot days.
I love your nine bays home to turquoise water and tropical fish.
I love your coarse sandy beaches where seashells roll to and fro with the rhythm of each wave.
I love your majestically brown mountains.
I love your spiked cacti reaching up to greet an azul sky.
I love your musical language and sensual food.
I love your beautiful people.
Mostly, I love your ¡hay no problema! way of life.
I’ve been on vacation and so have not blogged. I took a vacation from the US, my smart phone, and knitting. Yes, even knitting. I needed to rekindle an earlier love - reading. For 6 days I sat by an Infinity pool nestled between the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and just read. (See picture above.) Well, in between aquarobics, snorkeling, and walking the beach, I read. I finished Dr. Zhivago - a Russian classic I’ve longed to read. Not much to say about the book: it’s Russian and it’s a classic. Two qualities I love in a book and well worth the challenging read. I also consumed a book called The Yellow House, written by Patricia Falvey. This historical fiction novel takes place in Ireland before, during, and after World War I. As I followed the life and loves of the main character, Eileen, I learned about the history of the violence between Protestants and Catholics on that island nation and its struggle for freedom from the British. To say I was sucked in is an understatement. If you love historical fiction and a strong female character who is flawed but lovable, you must read this book!
Now on to the other aspects of my vacation. We stayed at a resort called Dreams in Huatulco, Mexico. 

Dreams Resort

Huatulco is a region in the state of Oaxaca (near Guatemala) developed by the Mexican government to be a tourist destination. This was our second trip to the resort and I highly recommend it. Not many Americans have yet discovered this region. The staff speaks little English, but knows enough to meet your needs and is endlessly patient as you recall and practice your high school Spanish. The tourists at the resort are largely Mexicans, with Canadians and Americans comprising just about half. The sound of Spanish fills the pool areas and restaurants and the general attitude regarding anything you should need: it’s no problem. I think I could live there!

 Here's a picture of our room at the resort.

Lastly on to knitting, since I’ve been home, I finished my Ericka Scarf. Pattern details can be found here: Ravelry. 
Here's a picture of my scarf before blocking.

I’ll leave you with just a few pictures of beautiful Hautulco. Adios mi amigos ~ Christina

 The girls at one of the Infinity pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The ruins at Copalita, about 2000 years old!

 Shelby and me all snorkeled out!
 Tropical fish - underwater cameras are a blast!