in the grip

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are you keeping warm? we are having some incredibly cold weather here, although i hear that it’s going to break and “warm up” by later today. meaning that temperatures are going to climb all the way back into the 20s!!
(and i hear that by the weekend, they could reach 50 degrees; how crazy is that?). david pointed out the other day that it hasn’t ever been this cold since we moved to ohio eleven years ago. when i thought about it, i can’t even remember the last time we experienced this kind of cold anywhere we’ve lived.

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the old windows of our home are entirely criss-crossed with thick fingers of frost most of the day and an impenetrable layer of it at night—we can’t even see out. haha, our heat has been running nearly nonstop for several days and we don’t even keep the thermostat set very high—we prefer to burrow under piles of woolens whenever we can. lap blankets are a popular item in our house this week.

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in addition to that, i’ve been jonesing for a new cap to pull on for the outdoors; somehow i don’t seem to have just the right thing (i haven’t needed much more than an earband most years lately). i’ve started a cozy new hat in stone soup DK—the perfect weight and combination of fiber for extra warmth without too much heat. i found a nearly full ball of the slate shade in our grab bag of leftovers and cast on a stocking cap inspired by my waffle creams socks, one of my favorite designs (and i’ve yet to knit myself a pair, so the hat will be very welcome).

so—what’s been shaken’ since my last post? well for one thing, i can’t believe it is already eight days into the new year; 2014 is already flying by. we had a wonderful new year’s eve party, which turned out a little bigger than we planned, but that was good because nan and i cooked for all of mankind, haha.

we really enjoyed using the new kitchen throughout the holidays—we cooked every day and spent most of that time exclaiming over the new space. it’s not just that it’s all spiffy and clean with lots of counter space—it really feels good to cook in there. the lighting, the atmosphere, and the openness make it a great workspace with a good feel.

i made some appetizers but the nan cooked all kinds of thai food including my favorite dessert, sticky rice and mangoes

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it was AWESOME. we used this black rice, which cooks up with a gorgeous purple color and a lovely sweet taste, mmm. i need to make some more of that this weekend. the only thing i’m sad about is that we were both so busy working that i didn’t get to watch closely enough to see how my other favorite dishes are made—penang, coconut soup, ginger salad, a delicious, clear soup with stuffed cucumber, and several others that i can’t even name. i want her to come and live here, haha.

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we provided the food, while the boys and our friends provided the good company. several people came to settle in for the evening and then our neighbors all stopped by for brief visits as well (they’ve been anxiously awaiting a peek at our big house project). our living space is still a bit spare because we haven’t gotten all the furniture we need yet, but they filled it with good conversation, laughter, and music.

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i have SO missed the parties we used to have frequently when we lived in NYC. there, we had a good-sized group of oddly-assorted friends that gravitated to our place on holidays and random weekends and i was always happy to cook and provide a place to have a party. since we moved here, it has taken more time than i expected to establish a group connection for socializing (most of our friends have big families that they celebrate with), but now it feels like we are on our way.

our neighbor norma brought us an absolutely enchanting handmade gift, constructed from a discarded furnace filter and natural materials found in and around our little corner of the neighborhood.

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i just love it and have totally hogged it for myself, hanging it in one of my three office windows where i can look at it all the time. i have half a notion to make one of these as a full-sized window screen for the back workroom, if i can find an old furnace filter. a seriously cool gift, thank you, norma!

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when all the food was out and everyone had made themselves comfortable, nan and i joined the guests to enjoy the later part of the evening. once seated with a nice glass of wine, i pulled out my knitting and worked on the last of the bocce fingerless mitts that i knit in studio june springy sport yarn, colorways here comes trouble (left) and midnight teal (right). the pattern for these should be ready soon; i got a little behind at the the end of holiday week, but i’m catching up now.

after our guests left, david, nan, and i cleaned up and toasted in the new year when the fireworks went off at midnight. big hugs all around; we are so grateful to be a family together and to have everyone under one roof for a little while.

the next morning, everyone else slept in but it was race day for me—the first run of 2014. there are actually several in our city but i like the one that is held up the street at our college.

it was cold and snowy that morning, but actually, the almost identical weather we had on 1 january, 2013. i ran a lot faster than last year, though and came home with a prize, yay. when i got in, amad was up to greet me and take my picture. the boys love accumulating my race shirts, so he was eager to see what this one would look like.

another of their favorite things—fighting with uncle david, who for days at a time, had to fend off multiple nefarious villains

my very favorite moment was overhearing this conversation near the end of a particularly rough match:

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david (laughing): micah are you falling asleep??
micah: no, i’m shutting down.

(as if we’d be so lucky, haha). i thought you’d appreciate seeing the broad smile that response brought to david’s face; micah is endlessly entertaining.

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nan and the boys went home at the end of last week (just missing a blizzard) and the house was thrown rather abruptly into extreme quiet—way too quiet for me those first couple of days. i miss them SO much; how i wish they lived closer (like right across the street).

now it’s time to reorganizes and get back to a regular schedule. in about a week’s time i’ll be heading for NYC to teach at vogue knitting live!, so i need to buckle down and get a lot done before then. i have several patterns to write or finalize, some WIPs to finish up, and some new projects to get started. i like to get my paperwork squared away before travel so i can use any free time while away on knitting.

we also have more patterns in the queue for release, one of them the anxiously-awaited kit for bay leaf and lime.

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when sarah was away over christmas our photography got behind, but now that she’s back, we are moving forward with a photo shoot this weekend.

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and we plan to release it near the end of next week, once i’m off. there will be options for single or double dip with this kit.

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i’m swatching and starting a few new things—with this little scrap i am testing out a fingering weight version of our december club special edition yarn, festivus. the mill spun up our initial test batch at the wrong weight and rather than let it wallow in a storeroom somewhere, we thought it would be a terrific, limited edition valentine’s day kit—maybe something with which to kick off some red scarf knitting for next year. details to come . . .

when the weather is like this, it’s far too tempting (and safer, for the most part) to stay inside and knit, but i get stir-crazy, you know? i’ll be glad when it warms up enough to go for a run outdoors (and it looks like this afternoon might be a winner). on sunday, i took advantage of the warmer (i.e., anything over 15 degrees) afternoon weather to go for a long run and boy, did that feel good. i’m anxious to keep up my fitness over the winter. it was hard work, learning to run longer distances and i don’t want to lose it now—i’ve already signed up for a couple of long races in april that i want to be ready for.

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that said, in the middle of winter, i still feel the pull of my beloved wools and needles and feel no shame in enjoying the comfort of my knitting chair at night. what could be better than ousting on a book, settling in amongst a cheery pile of yarns with a blanket pulled over my lap and knitting into the wee hours?

isn’t that what selfish knitting month is all about?

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speaking of which, we still have spots available for our 2014 bare naked knitspot club, which begins shipping in february, with a whole new palette of earthy wools and luxury exotics from near and far. i hope you’ll join us and tell a friend; our wonderful membership provides the perfect camaraderie for  adventurous, fun, loving knitters like you!

16 Responses to “in the grip”

  1. nana nancy says:

    mmmmm bay leaf and lime
    and mmmm sticky rice and mango! it looks like you had a great holiday.
    and of course we new yorkers are suffering right along with you in this frigid weather.

  2. Bobbie in AK says:

    Looks like you all had a wonderful New Years. I love the photos of David and the boys and the frost on the window is so pretty. I bet by now you are wishing for a heat wave. Stay warm!

  3. I found you, again!
    I used to follow you, but then lost you :-(
    Don’t know how but alas – I have found you once again!

    I have a new knitting blog. I used to follow you with either my personal blog or my book blog.
    I will check in from time to time.
    Its so good to see you again!

  4. Ruth Anne says:

    Malone is my alma mater! Looks like the gym and part of the library behind you in the first picture?

  5. josiekitten says:

    So glad to hear that your celebrations were filled with such fun family times. I have never heard of black rice before, I’ll have to see if I can track some down. With the weather you have been experiencing, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to hunker down with your knitting under a blanket! Love the last photo of the frosted window. And the gift from Norma is beautiful!

  6. alhbooks says:

    There you are! I was beginning to worry that you folks were snowed in without power when it was so long between posts. Good to know it was because of all the fun activities and not weather-related!

  7. majordomo says:

    oh anne, i love seeing pictures of friends and family gathering and hints of your newly remodeled home. i can’t wait to see it in person!

    i am WAY TOO EXCITED about a waffle creams inspired hat. can’t wait for the pattern release! i love that sock design.

  8. Crafteamama says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday! I love all the sneak peeks and really look forward to seeing more. Stay warm!

  9. Kat Jorgensen says:

    What a fun holiday celebration you all had, Anne. I’m so glad you had a great time.

    Anxiously awaiting Lime and Bay Leaf. I might have to double dip. Must.snag.a.kit. Must.

    David looks so joyous. Does my heart good to see you both so happy and enjoying yourselves.

  10. Love all the photos but the best one is definitely of David smiling :)

    Looks like cooking in the new kitchen is a blast!
    Can’t wait for Bay Leaf and Lime – so pretty!

  11. Josee says:

    Looks like a great start to the new year.

  12. Jo Morgan says:

    Selfish knitting month–a wonderful new national holiday! Getting a prize in a run in that weather–you rock!

  13. Hattie says:

    it’s been SUPER cold here too, makes me sick to my stomach going out in it some days lol, i’ll be thrilled if it goes back up to 50!

  14. Karen says:

    Looks like a great Holiday!! And look at David’s smile – gorgeous. That window reminds me of Fernfrost which I need to make.

    Family and friends, food, wrestling, and knitting what more could a girl ask for?

  15. Patti says:

    My husband and I with our son spent Christmas holiday in thailand. We even rode an elephant at “humane” camp. (some rides use hooks and pikes to prod the elephants to walk). The elephants we rode responded to voice command. And then we bought 2 baskets of bananas to feed and reward them. the Thai food is delicious, a bit to spicy for me but everyone else loved it. We went on a food tour and we ate though 2 foods markets. Our favorite was morning glory. beautiful country, especially Phuket and we would love to go back.

  16. Kim says:

    Waiting waiting waiting for that beautiful lime ricky kit!! What a great time you guys must’ve had with Nan and the boys. . . . So glad you all had that time together.