Saturday, February 5, 2011

A real weekend, at last!

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I really appreciate weekends that don't start off already filled up with plans.  There's something about knowing that I will have time to do the laundry, start to finish (rather than ending up with heaps of clean laundry, unfolded, on top of the dryer; surely I'm not the only one who does this?), clean up a little bit, knit quietly in the sun (as opposed to at night when I'm so tired I can hardly count stitches), walk the dog, drink that second cup of coffee.  As much as I enjoy the linguistic documentation work I do, it's hard to have to get up at 5 on a Saturday morning, knowing that I won't get home until Sunday night, with Monday morning staring me in the face.  This weekend is one of the quiet ones, hooray!

It's a nice end to a series of birthday celebrations.  My birthday itself was made so much nicer by many little things.  I woke up to a lovely birthday and happy Imbolc email from Mary Lou.  And right next to that in my inbox was a new pattern from KnitNana; another sweater that I'm dying to knit!  And Lori wrote me a birthday blog post (thank you!).  Then, three of my fellow committee members, at the first meeting of my day, sang me the Mexican birthday song (really, a seranade), which I'd never heard before - it's really lovely, and much more romantic than "Happy Birthday".  Talk about a wonderful way to kick things off; those five hours of meetings didn't hurt nearly so much after such a nice morning.  Everyone's thoughtful, funny, wise, and cheerful birthday wishes here made my day, too - more evidence that there's a lot to be said for getting older.  You all gave me a lot to look forward to!

I spent much of the day in anticipation of Rick's surprise plans for the evening.  He threw me surprise parties for both my 20th and 30th birthdays, but I'd told him this year - no surprise party, in no small part because most of my friends were taking me out to lunch on Friday, and overkill is, after all, overkill.  But he went one better.  He drove us out to a new restaurant for dinner - a place with absolutely delicious gumbo (mmm...gumbo), and then we headed over to the California Center for the Performing Arts in Escondido, where their free first Wednesday concert was a zydeco band!  Go, Rick.  Starting a new decade with great food and live music is absolutely the way to go.  And when I got home, there, waiting for me, were flowers from my parents, and a little package from Stella, with a beautiful bottle (literally - the bottle is quite lovely; I don't have a picture of it, but you've got to trust me on this one) of gorgeous saddle brown fountain pen ink.  I don't know how she knew, but I'd just cleaned out my favorite fountain pen (the one Rick gave me for my 30th), so I promptly filled it up, and now I spend my time trying to think of excuses to write things instead of typing them.  All in all, I felt very spoiled!

I also wore my new pair of socks.
These are my second pair of the Kimono socks; my first pair (after years of wearing) finally got thrown into the dryer (I think) and are shrunken shadows of their former glory.  I really do love these socks, though; they're very elegant in their simplicity.  These are knitted out of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga - my first pair of socks out of this yarn (although I have used it to knit socks for Rick), and man, is it nice.  Not every yarn about which the knit world makes a fuss is worth the hype, but this stuff is.  The yarn itself is lovely (a bit of cashmere is a good thing) and the colors are rich and saturated.  And, judging by Rick's pair, it wears astonishingly well, given that cashmere content.  I have a lot left over, too; I need to weigh it and see whether another pair of socks might be eeked out of the skein (hooray for small feet!).
The original pattern calls for two little ties at the side; in both this version and my other pair, I only knitted one tie.  It seems better to me that way.  Aren't the little eyelet lines nice?
I have been working on other things, too.  I finished my third pair of Noro socks, and promptly wore them.  (I finished them while in Tehachapi on Saturday, and on Sunday it was cold enough that it was snowing at the higher elevations, so I was glad to put them straight on.)  But I don't have pictures of those.  I also finished the Lune shawl that I was knitting out of my handspun.  It's a bit smaller than I'd hoped, but I think that blocking will make it a nice little bit of warmth for the back of the neck.

And I've been getting set up for several projects; I think I'm ready to go in just about any knit-friendly circumstance.
Am I the only one who does this?  When I've finished a few projects, I find myself getting things set up for the next several projects, with the yarn wound up, and put into a knit bag of the right size with needles, a copy of the pattern, and whatever notions I need to get through it.  I try to have a range of projects.  For example, the small purple bag contains my second Babushka (this one in blue), the small blue bag has the yarn, pattern, and needles for my hat for Warm Hats Not Hot Heads (to be cast on as soon as I hit "publish post"), the big purple bag has my mom's birthday sweater in it, and the gray bag has the start of my new project with the RSC yarn.

My mom's birthday is coming up at the beginning of March, and I am knitting her this sweater.  As soon as I saw a picture of that sweater, I thought, that's mom's sweater.  It's more her than I can possibly tell you.  I am using Gaea, in the colorway that's pictured (her choice - this isn't really a surprise present, which is why it's safe to post about it).
I cast on last night for the right front, and made good progress. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous - so very soft and easy to work with - this is going to be a pleasure to knit.  I have high hopes of finishing this for an on-time birthday present, but I hestitate to make a 100% firm statement, as we all know how the knitting gods are about hubris.  So we'll just say that it's looking good, and I'll go and pour a libation to alleviate the potential for a giant knitting smack-down.

Happy weekend!


Jane said...

Enjoy your weekend, after being so busy there is nothing better than doing normal things in your own home. Your mum's sweater is a lovely colour, it should knit up quickly if you are enjoying it

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful birthday. I think birthdays are there so we each get to feel really special, and get to know how much we mean to people in our lives. It sounds like yours was great (zydeco!! i love zydeco!!).

enjoy your wonderful no-plans weekend, they're very rare!

twinsetellen said...

Yes, we are having a quiet weekend here, too, giving time for blog posts and coffee and, of course, laundry.

The socks are adorable - no wonder you needed a new pair. And that sweater, wow. That is going to be dynamite. Of course, I know I like your hat before it is even cast on!

Gwen said...

Happy Weekend! And you just reminded me I need to get that load of laundry in the wash. Another load.

Alwen said...

There is nothing like a weekend where you just stay home and do home stuff, with maybe one little fun sidetrip.

We even skipped swimming today - but the 14-ish morning temperature had a little to do with that decision.

Mary Lou said...

Downtime is good. I remembered you birthday because we talked about Groundhog Day cards. Glad it was fun. I celebrated 40 for weeks. I called it Forty Fest - hope your celebrations continue.

EGunn said...

A real weekend is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I'm glad you're getting to enjoy one, and I'm glad you had a good birthday, too!

I love the sweater; I'm partial to the shawl collar style, though I don't tend to wear it much (I have no idea why, and now that I'm thinking about it, I may have to change that). It's going to look great in that yarn, too.

I wish I were as prepared with my knitting plans. Unfortunately, I tend to put things together only as one project knits down to the dregs. If things are busy, it sometimes means a couple of days with no active knitting (the horror!). It's good to be prepared. =)

scienceprincess said...

Sounds like an excellent weekend, and an excellent birthday :-) I had a few enforced quiet days with the Snowpocalyse storm that hit Chicago this past week, so I got to drink some extra tea and catch up on laundry myself.

The socks look pretty, and there's nothing more exciting than a bunch of projects ready to go :-)

And for the record, I stack my clean laundry on top of my dresser . . .

Kim said...

Love the pic of the project bags. So cozy and inviting.

Laurie said...

Glad you had such a wonderful birthday - so many happy surprises!

I love "blank" weekends...never seem to have them, though. There's always something, knitting group, church, singing engagement, band gig for hubby.

LOVE those socks!!

Nana Sadie said...

So glad you had a happy birthday! It's sounds just delightful...

And I can totally appreciate a "free" weekend. They are few and far between.

Amanda said...

Great socks. I love the tie on the side :)

Bea said...

Love the shawl and the socks. (orange!) Sounds like your birthday was really fabulous. Its wonderful that he took you at your word with no surprise party.

Rachael said...

I'm glad you had such a lovely birthday, it sounds delightful!

You are absolutely not the only one who arranges everything for the next few projects. I usually swatch, wind yarn, copy patterns, and put everything with the needles in a project bag well before I am done with whatever is OTN. It's fun to think ahead. :-)