Friday, August 31, 2012

30 Before 30: August 2012 Update & Look Ahead

August is drawing to a close, which means that summer is coming to it's last days.  I haven't progress very much on my 30 before 30, but I'm still plugging away.  I am still trying to learn to duck dive, but soon that will have to wait till we travel to Oz.  There is a huge possibility that I will have health insurance soon.  Our apartment is becoming less and less cluttered at we purge the things we don't needs and find better solutions to storing what we do have.  I have been canning all summer and plan on continuing into the fall with tomatoes, peach butter, and apple butter.  My summer adventures will draw to a close with one last bang, a Bruce Springsteen concert in Philly.  

What I find truly exciting isn't accomplishing my list or even my first summer in Philly; tt is my return to working in theatre.  Has is been easy, no.  Has it been busy, yes.  Is it what I've been missing, yes.  In looking to the fall I expect to be busy, I expect to have long days, but I expect to be in my element and happy about those long hours.  This fall will be my trial by fire, a test I intend to pass.  It only took six years out of college for me to realize that I had made the right decision at 18 picking Theatre Arts as my major.  This is where I should be, and I expect there to be even more, even better things to come.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Adventures: The Finger Lakes

Simon and I spent last week up at my parents place.  The ride up to New York was rainy, but the week was great and was just what the Hubs needed to recharge and prepare for his students to return to lessons. 

No Trip to the Finger Lakes is complete with out a trip to the falls and a walk up the Glen Trail in Watkins Glen.  It's one of our favorite places to visit while we are up seeing my parents. 

We have so many pictures of us at the Glen, one more couldn't hurt. 

After walking up the glen we turn around and walk back down the total trip is 3 miles and it is a beautiful hike up and back.  On the way down Simon and I play Pooh Sticks in the rapids.  Simon was the undefeated champion this year.  I was hopeful when our sticks got stuck together, but Simon still won. 

My Dad took a few days off from work to hang out with us.  On Thursday we went to the Corning Museum of Glass.  I've been there before, but it was Simon's first time.  They have changed the museum a bit since the last time I had been there, but it only made it better.  

This piece is all hand beaded with glass beads! 

You can't go to the glass museum with out seeing a glass blowing demo. 

This was my favorite piece in the contemporary gallery.  

After the Museum we went to Watkins Glen for lunch at the Wildflower Cafe.  Mom and I did a beer tasting there for a brewery called Rooster Fish.  (If you are ever in Watkins Glen NY the Wildflower Cafe is a must the food is amazing!)

My Parents. 

Our Rooster Fish Beers.

The next day we went wine tasting on Keuka Lake.  Our first stop was the winery my mom works at, Rooster Hill Vinyards.  They were bottling and mom and Barry let us take a look at the process. 

Vats full of delicious Rooster Hill wine. 

We also had a beer tasting at the Finger Lakes Beer Co.  They had some yummy brews, and even root beer. 

Hops drying in the sun. 

This is the entrance to what may be my new favorite Keuka Lake Winery, Keuka Lake Vineyards

We did a wine and chocolate tasting that was amazing!  They have some great whites and a Lomor Merlot Reserve that is to die for. 

Bottles lined up waiting to be purchased. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My New Lovely

While at my parents last week I went to my favorite yarn shop in the Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes Fibers.  It's on the main street of a little town called Watkins Glen, which is located at the southern end of Seneca Lake.  This shop has some really beautiful items and I could spend hours looking at everything they've got, but I usually have an impatient Hubs with me so I look for the yarn that my LYS doesn't carry to find something special.

What I found was some lovely Malabrigo Lace.  I've heard many a knitter rave over how wonderful this yarn is, and while I can't say anything for the Lace weight (yet!) I do love their worsted weight single ply merino.  This is like the worsted weight's little sibling, it has the softest hand I've felt on a wool that isn't a cashmere blend and the dying is to dye for.  (Horrible pun intended!)

The color is right up my all with soft sea blues and greens some sandy taupe and drift wood brown.  I may be falling in love, and am starting to hatch a plan for my newest little lovely.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stitch Guide: Feather and Fan II

There are many was to knit Feather and fan as well as many different variations on this lace stitch.  The one we will be discussing today has a purl ridge in the stitch pattern.  One small change can have a big impact on the look of the stitch and can gives that pattern a whole different feel.  Unlike the plain ol' feather and fan stitch this one has texture.  The purl ridge is accomplished by changing one row in the pattern.  The lace row is the same, it's the third row that changes.  

Note: Like previously mentioned all Feather and Fan stitch patterns are written for a multiple of 18 stitches

Feather and Fan with a Purl Ridge
Worked Flat
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Purl All Stitches
R3: Purl All Stitches
R4: Purl All Stitches

Worked in the Round
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Knit All Stitches
R3: Purl All Stitches
R4: Knit All Stitches

Other Feather and Fan posts:
Stitch Guide: Feather and Fan

Monday, August 20, 2012

Life as an Intern: Theatre Exile & The Edge of Our Bodies

In my plan to get back to what I love I took a position as an intern at Theatre Exile.  What I find exciting about working for Exile is that it is a small company that packs a punch.  The show they are producing for the Philly Fringe is and interesting piece written by Adam Rapp titled The Edge of Our Bodies.  I'm not going to try and describe the show or tell you about its significance to society or how if you are in Philly you should see it.  (You should see it if you are in Philly though.)  I will tell you that it deals with some sticky issues.  If you want to read more about the show you can check it out on Exile's Website.  

My involvement in this production is as the production intern.  What does that mean?  Well I'm the one who is working with the production manager to get the theater space ready for the show.  That entails loading in set pieces and hanging lights, building a booth and audience seating, helping Mel the SM tape out the set for rehearsals and all that jazz.  I also attend production meetings and other bits here and there.

Getting my hands dirty and working with new people has been a great change of pace; I am psyched to get back to something I love so much and haven't done in awhile.  I haven't been this busy, this happy and this sleepy at night in a long time.  Piecing my schedule together has been a bit crazy, but I love where I am right now, and I can handle biking all over Philly and staying up late to build audience seating.  I am so glad to be back doing what I love for an amazing company.

P.S.  With all the heavy lifting my arms and shoulders are starting to look jacked and I am perfectly happy with this result of hard work.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Holiday Knitting: Pattern Favorites

Getting a jump on your holiday knitting can be satisfying and practical.  Part of the fun is looking for new and interesting patterns that would make the recipient of your gift ooh and ahh at there new hand knit item.  I've scoured Ravelry and my list of favorites and I've come up with a list of great patterns that are all free either as Ravelry downloads or hosted on other blogs.  What a perfect excuse to go yarn shopping and start a new project

Favorite Free Patterns 
doublepointed, River Run

Scarves and Shawls
Wingspan, Maylin Tri'Coterie Designs
Purl Ridge Scarf, Stephen West
Prim's Scarf, Julia Carlis
Riverrun, Erin McNellis
Boneyard Shawl, Stephen West
Maluka, Bea Schmidt

Brainfork Blog, Crenellated Hat

Turn a Square, Jared Flood
Crenellated Hat, J. Wilson
Regina, Carina Spencer

The Purl Bee, Color Block Hand Warmers

Hands and Legs
Cimidar, Melanie Berg
Urban Rustic Gloves, Sarah Sutherland
Dashing, Cheryl Niamath

Brooklyn Tweed, Hemlock Ring Blanket 

Larger Projects
Abalone, Beata Jezek
Hemlock Ring Blanket, Jared Flood

Just Crafty Enough, Grumpasaurus

Wee Projects
Saarjte's Bootees, Saarjte de Bruijn
Garter Stitch Baby Kimono, Joji Locatelli
Grumpasaurus, Kat Lewinski

Blue Betty Blog, Lace Legs

Free Blue Betty Patterns

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Adventures: Summer Storms

I love a good rainy day, but a thunderstorm is even better.  There have been some amazing storms this summer and I really enjoy watching them and taking pictured of the clouds.

This storm rolled in while Simon and I were biking to our softball game. 

Lets just say our game was cancelled. 

And we turned back just in time.  Thankfully we did not get caught in the down pour.  We did sit on our stoop and watch the storm roll over Philly.  

This storm rolled in over Ocean City while we were surfing on Monday.  It was sprinkling while we were surfing, but then when the storm started to make it's way over the shore point the life guards called everyone out of the water and shut the beach down.  

Our day at the beach was cut short and we were stuck on the board walk for a bit.  When there was a break in the storm we made a dash for the car and got there right when the sky opened up again.  

It was really beautiful to watch while we waited the first part of the storm out. 

On our way out of Ocean City we had some flood waters to contend with. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Looking to the Fall

It's still summer, but have you been noticing all the "back to school" items and sales and commercials that have started popping up now that it's August?  This means that fall is right around the corner.  I find fall an exciting time of year, I always have.  Growing up fall meant the start to a new school year, fresh notebooks, new jeans, and sweaters.  Now my adult self sees fall as the start the theatre season, new jobs, fresh apples, and of course sweaters.

Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite season is I usually can't decided, but in growing older I think I have come to favor fall.  Not only is my birthday in October but I see fall as a time of newness.  My theory is  because we start a new school year in the fall I have been conditioned in my 16 years of schooling to think that fall is exactly the right time of year to start something fresh.  I am all for this.  I feel that sweater weather is the perfect time to pull on your favorite pullover and start a new project; that could be a new knitting project, a new job, a new skill you want to acquire, really anything that gets you excited.

I maybe getting ahead of myself.  It is only half way through August; there is still plenty of nice warm summery weather still left in the next few weeks.  But I love looking ahead to the fall.  I do every year.  In the spirit of "back to school" and all that junk I am planing some new sewing projects for the fall and maybe a new sweater or two.  

I have been obsessed with lace, especially in the form of a dress and in bright jewel tones.
Green Dress and White Dress, Burda Style
Teal Dress, ModCloth

I found this awesome lace for just such a project:

Anda Burda Style

Lately I've been looking at the Anda again, and thinking that I want to make one or two in a more flowing fabric than the lavender one I made this spring.

This beautiful gold rayon blend that I found in the dollar bin at my favorite fabric store will make a gorgeous Anda, or even this deep red rayon blend that is in my stash.  Maybe I will make two.

Anita Jeans
I want to make another pair of jeans for the fall, maybe in a darker wash.  These jeans fit so well I can't justify buying any unless it's from the thrift store and they are to wear while building or painting.

I am also planing another two sorbettos. One in white with a high low hemline and one in a sheer tomato red.  Thankfully a lot of the fabric I need for these sewing projects is in my fabric stash.

Now on to the knitting.
Carnaby Skirt, 

I know, I know I've sworn off skirts, but I just have to knit this warm wool skirt.  Something is compelling me to knit this.  I plan on knitting it in a dark heather grey so that I can get a lot of use out of it.  It will be perfect for the fall and the winter and the early spring, so I will have no real excuse not to wear the darn thing.  

I am also considering this cute cable and elbow patch cardigan.  I think it would be a great piece to have for the winter along with my knit hoddie that is in progress as I type.  

I've also had my eye on this sweater for awhile, but I'm not sure I want to commit to a project like this until all of my gift knitting is completed.  It is however knit with bulky yarn on size US 10 1/2 needles.  This could be a quick knit.  

If anything elas I will knit myself another abalone out of some yummy wool blend yarn to wear all winter.  Ambitious plans for someone who will have less time to sew than usual, but I think I'll be able to make what I want.  I still have my Sundays to myself.  The perfect sewing project day.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stitch Guide: Feather and Fan

Feather and Fan, it’s one of those old stand by knitting stitches, a great introduction to lace knitting, and it looks impressive with out making a knitters eyes go crosswise looking at charts.  Why is it that this lace stitch is the gate way drug of lace knitting?  Is it because of the easy to remember row repeat, or the simplicity of the decrease and increase, or is it because it only has one lace row and three “easy” rows?  Could it be that the increase and decreases are set up in such a manner that you can easily grasp the concept of how a lace stitch moves and is built?  Yes, it’s all of these reasons.  This stitch pattern is one of the first lace stitches that many knitters learn, because of its ease.  You can be a beginner and pick up this stitch with just a few projects under your belt and it will make your scarves, hats and anything else you make look like you labored for hours and hours with a difficult lace pattern.  (And lets be honest who doesn’t want their friends, family and perfect strangers oogling their hand knit items.)

In the next few installments of Stitch Guide here on Blue Betty we will be looking at Feather and Fan along with some of its variations.  Lets start with the skills a knitter needs to accomplish this stitch.  First off you need to know how to knit and purl, check.  Secondly you need to know how to decrease by knitting two stitches together (K2tog), knitting two together is as easy as it sounds instead of knitting one stitch you knit to at the same time decreasing from two stitches down to one.  Thirdly, you need to know how to increase with either a yarn over (YO) or by making one (M1). Yarn overs are accomplished by wrapping your yarn over your right hand needle.  That’s it, done, complete, you just increased one stitch.  Yarn overs make pretty eyelets in your knitting and are very feminine.  We will get back to make one (M1) in a few weeks.  

Feather and fan and all its variations are knit with a multiple of 18 stitches.  The feather and fan pattern can be worked in different multiples to fit your needs though, and makes this pattern vary versatile.  For example you could use a multiple of 12, your pattern row would have 4 decreases and 4 increases, but for the sake of simplicity all the stitch patterns written out here for the feather and fan stitch pattern family will be written for a multiple of 18. 

Good Ol’ Feather and Fan
Worked Flat
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Purl All Stitches
R3: Knit All Stitches
R4: Purl All Stitches

Worked in the Round
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Knit All Stitches
R3: Knit All Stitches
R4: Knit All Stitches