Friday, September 28, 2012

The Story of a Shawl

As a Knitter, there are 2 types of projects I work on, as do most Knitters with a capital K. There are the quick and dirty projects, like a hat, or mittens, or even a sweater you may knit because, well you want to be warm. This is thought of as the "product" knit. Then, there are the projects you embark on because of the experience, or enjoyment, knowledge building exercise or zen-like feeling you may get from just knitting. There is also more often than not, the combination of these two. The story of this shawl is  the biggest process knit I've completed, so I'll share the whole story with you which may be a little long winded, but, this piece has it has a lot more meaning in the stitches to me than most of my handknits. 

 I should probably start with the yarn itself. Last November, the Tall Guy took a trip to Denver to see friends. He went hiking, checked out local breweries and did other such things while I, at pregnant enough-to-not-feel-up-for-a-trip-to-Denver stayed home and relaxed. In addition to these activities, he took time to stop at a few yarn stores and brought me home a few skeins (yes, he's mine and I'm keeping him!) as a consolation gift. Neither of us truly had any inkling that less than a year later, these yarn shops he wandered into would now be my local yarn shops. The burnt orange yarn in this shawl came from Fancy Tiger here in Denver. (Madtosh sock, saffron). The brown is the same colorway on a different base I used for knitting my Best Friend's wedding shawl (rav. link) last year 
(Madtosh sock, twig). 
The yarn sat in my stash while I waited for just-the-right-pattern to come along.  About midway through my pregnancy, the entire knitting community was talking about the Stripe Study Pattern. Knowing, as any slightly crazy pregnant knitter does one must have a project when heading into labor and this is what I settled on and it came with us to the hospital.  When the time came, however Silas had other plans and there was no time for knitting.  

The day we came home from the hospital, I cast on and as we struggled to figure out the basics of being a family, the rows of garter stitch were soothing to my somewhat addled new-mom brain,  most often at 3am. 

 Little by little, I added to the shawl. Our parents came to visit, my best friend was in town, my step sister came and countless friends brought food, gifts and love.

Quickly my days were filled up with Silas and I was knitting a lot less.

In June, a trip to New Hampshire, with plenty of family wanting to hold a wee one allowed me to add a few inches.  This same week, my Tall Guy got a call and we were suddenly starting to think about a possible move.

A few weeks later, the  shawl stayed in my carry on bag the entire time we were in Denver, scoping out our potential new state.

As I returned to work in July, I rode the Metro once again and added a few more inches during what was a short six weeks back at work until I resigned and we loaded up and headed west.

I was packed tightly into the backseat of the Jeep with Silas (it's a long story) and I trudged through the border with it's incredibly long rows as rolled across the country.

Finally, we made it to Colorado and a day or so later I finished the shawl.

It was only about a week and a half later that we were boarding a plane for New Hampshire for our close friends, Rob and Meghan's wedding.  My goal, which in March seemed like a hilariously easy deadline was completed with just ten days to spare. I had a full size shawl for our friends wedding and damn, New England didn't let me down I needed that shawl!

(photo cred- Nick Polt) 

 Those ignorant to the world of handknits say time and again "Why do you do that?" or "Why waste your time when you can just buy such things in a store?" and this shawl is my answer. It is so much more than the wool on my shoulders. It will always take me straight back to the early days of Silas, our move across country and one hell of a dance-party wedding on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Planes, trains and home inspections

Since we last spoke, the Tall Guy, Silas and I walked into about 35 properties for sale, the Tall Guy went to Florida for work for a few days, we found and put an offer in on a house, flew to New Hampshire for an awesome wedding and family/friend visit and had the house inspection on the above mentioned house.
It looks like we'll be settling in Lakewood, in the Green Mountain neighborhood for those that know the area. Basically, 20 minutes west of Denver proper, less than 10 minutes to Golden and for those interested in how far we are to skiing- an hour and a half to Breckenridge, an hour and 45 to Vail.

It is fair to say that we are tired. Also? I have no plans to travel for awhile now and I'm okay with that.

Silas agrees with me on that one.
As all homeowners know, it's never a done deal until the keys are in your hand, so send us good home-buying thoughts!!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Things I Have Learned

In the short time we've been here, we have learned some interesting, weird and useful things. I'll share a few random insights here and potentially in the future expand other things I've learned into longer posts if I see fit.

  • Altitude issues are a real thing. I had been here twice before moving here. Both times, I had a mild headache, but nothing major. This time, both Aaron and I had a several hour bout (at different times) with what felt like the flu. It was not fun and as quickly as it hit, it left. We are drinking tons of water, but still, adjustment is hard and locals weren't kidding when the best way to describe the feeling is like having a nasty hangover. 
  • People really are friendlier here. Small talk seems to be a given instead of a rarity and I'm finding myself starting to tell perfect strangers all about how I just moved here and have them be genuinely excited to talk. Some cynics have tried to tell me it's a "fake nice", but frankly, I think I'm okay with that. 

(one of our neighbors a few blocks from our current house)
  • We seem to have replaced City Rats with Prairie Dogs. It didn't occur to me  that "rodent life" would be different until I actually saw the little guys when we were out looking at houses on our first day here. They are all over! I pretty much had a giggling fit when I had to brake for one of these little guys who was not only in the middle of  the road, but was up on his hind legs staring at the car. If you get close enough to their colonies (burrows? dens?) you can hear them chirping. For some reason, I find them much more charming than squirrels, chipmunks or ground hogs. I also learned today that they have fleas and carry the bubonic plague. Bleck! 
  • Beer is a funny thing in these parts. If you buy it a a normal grocery store, it will only be a maximum of 3.2% alcohol. (Which for non-beer drinkers means this is NOT strong beer). If you go to a liquor store, it will be the "normal" ranges. Apparently this has to do with some old blue laws, which I hadn't dealt with since leaving Boston! We only found this all out when we brought beer to a friends house for dinner and I mentioned having purchased it at Safeway. After a good laugh, The Tall Guy and I also concluded we figured something was up when we didn't see many micro-brews at the store in a state known for their small breweries! Such breweries will often not make special batches for the grocery stores. 
I'm sure I'll come up with more as we go, I suspect that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Is this a knitting blog?

I suppose it used to be. I am indeed knitting, though not to the extent that I used to!
During our long cross country drive, I did manage to finish knitting a sweater for our new nephew

This is the Sunny Side Cardigan which I knit using Claudia's Handpainted in Celadon Dream. I ended up making it short sleeved because this newest addition to the family lives in North Carolina and it would be a good layering piece for the Fall. This was completed while we were in Michigan so, I've been most recently slogging (yes, I say slogging) away on Stripe Study. This is a great knit, seriously, but I cast it on the week Silas was born in March and have been working on it in fits and starts. As a result, I feel like I've been knitting on it for an eternity. I expect to bind off in the next day or so!
It still feels a little strange bringing this blog back from the dead, but it's nice to see others are doing the same. What are you working on? 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Settling in

Since we last spoke, we drove from Michigan to Chicago where we had a great family visit with the Tall Guy's aunts, uncles and cousins (and all the photos are on his phone!). From there, we made it to Omaha for the night and then made the sprint to Denver in time for dinner last Monday night.
In the last week, we have looked at A LOT of houses. Figuring out where you want to live when you're new to the area is always a challenge and we're slowly finding our way around and narrowing our search scope.
Lest you think we aren't having any fun, we have made the time to go on a family hike and today Silas had his first swim. He thought he was pretty hot stuff in his loaner swim trunks (Thanks Ava Bean!) and T shirt from Auntie Amy!

 We've only been here a week but, I think we've come to the conclusion that while we miss our friends in D.C. dearly, we are quickly falling in love with Colorado.

Please send good house-hunting ju-ju!