archives: life

X marks the spot!

string quilt

Last weekend, my knitting best friends and I got together for another weekend away. This was the tenth time we’ve done it! It’s only the fifth time we’ve swapped something—and this round, a crafter’s choice, I got to make for JulieFrick! Because it was our tenth meetup, I chose to make a big “X” mini quilt, in colors that I thought she would like. Well, I thought she would like them after we created a spreadsheet to note favorite colors, and she specified “I like most all colors when they’re a bit “off” of their standard rainbow-bright versions.” This required some serious stash-digging, because when I stopped to think about it, I like colors specifically when they are bright!

It’s just a basic string quilt, but I did it as a quilt as you go, using wavy quilting lines (I neglected to take a close-up shot). This was the first time I’d made an actual quilt using QAYG, so the backing part was a stumbling block. (Every other QAYG I’ve done was a pillow top.) I decided to do a whole cloth backing and stitch in the ditch along the “X” to hold it all together. We liked its flatness so opted not to wash it. The binding is a slightly darker shade of the stone color I used for the X (both Kona cottons, from fat quarter packs, so I have no idea what the color names are).

string quilt

I decided the piece needed a really great label to commemorate the occasion. I designed this in Photoshop using various fonts, which I then traced onto some Kona and stitched using embroidery floss. “Celebrate” probably could have used a bit of a different treatment, but it feels pretty festive! It was fun to stitch it up. When I have the time to devote to the label, I am always happy with the results. I should start planning the labels first!

embroidered quilt label

I love that I got to give this to Julie in person. She’s one of the most interesting and passionate people I know—I learn so much about how to be a better person from Julie. She makes amazing jams and other preserves, can knit and crochet anything she wants, and works tirelessly in service for the good of the world. How lucky am I to be her friend! I feel that way about every one of these women, actually: They’re my people. I learn from them, maybe I help them learn some things, and I trust them implicitly. We spend these weekends eating amazing meals, knitting/crocheting/stitching, and sharing deep—and truly shallow—conversations (this time, while bobbing in the pool). We are already planning our 11th weekend away, and I cannot wait.

knitting circle

diptych

delicious dinner

farm pano

IMG_0730

IMG_0627

bonfire

 

reuning

It’s hard to believe I just attended my 15th college reunion. Fifteen years?! How can I possibly have been out of college for so long. In so many ways it feels like just yesterday—but going back I realized just how long ago it was.

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

Campus is gorgeous year-round, but particularly in the spring, and boy did it put on a good show for those of us reuning. It was magical to be back. I felt so lucky to have been able to live there for four years and to be part of the legacy that it maintains. But I’ll admit it: it was incredibly weird to be there. I discovered that I had but a few close friends in undergrad (and all but one did not attend). Everyone tells you that one of the best things about going to a reunion is interacting with people you never knew as an undergrad, and that is absolutely true. But it was still weird, you know?

I dragged the friends I attended with (who have become close since graduation!) over campus to visit each of the four dorms I lived in. Back when I was there, it wasn’t very common to change dorms every year—you’d find your “home” and work to stay there (the circumstances of Room Draw playing a factor, of course). But I jumped around. It’s amazing how these 100 year-old buildings smell exactly the same—a decades of mustiness sort of thing, with each dorm having its own distinct smell. The bottom picture above is the entrance to my freshman dorm. We wandered in and found my freshman room. We went into that room you can see on the ground floor on the right: the architecture studio, which I essentially lived in my junior year. And later in the weekend we hung out with some friends whose room assignment that weekend was in this dorm, in the exact room that I saw on my tour while in high school. That room was such a huge factor in my choice to go to Bryn Mawr, and I’d never once stepped foot in it after seeing it that first time. And that was weird too.

The structure of reunion is loose: attend some sessions or don’t, as you please. We mostly did not attend things. We went on a horticulture tour of campus, which was a highlight, and we joined in the singing in Greek. We skinny dipped in the fountain, and we of course made sure to be up in time for the Parade of Classes Sunday morning. I opted to watch it from the sidelines rather than walk in it. I’m glad I did. What I love about being an alumna of this place is the amazing women who came before me (and those who have followed). One woman from the class of 1944 came; I hope to show up for my 70th too!

And just look at this place. I want to go back immediately.

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

bryn mawr college

in training

In the same way that I haven’t been to the gym in ages… I haven’t been keeping up with my hand exercises.

grip strengthener

When I saw the hand doctor in September, he “prescribed” a simple solution: get a hand grip strengthener and do some exercises 3x a day for six months. He wasn’t specific about what exercises to do, but he did insist that I stretch before and after. That was it! I did the exercises diligently for, oh, about a month, and noticed improvements in even that short a time. I could knit for short stretches without excruciating pain. The tingling that I got in my hands (a result of forearm inflammation) after washing my face each night subsided. So…

I

got

lazy.

And then I started knitting again like I wasn’t just recently off the DL. And… it aches. My hands tingle again. So here’s my re-commitment to my exercises! I selected a handful of exercises from this site (you can go through any portal—the moves are the same—but I thought the musician one was more interesting to read!) and I’m back to doing them. I swear. Perhaps I’ll take a little video to show off my moves someday. ACCOUNTABILITY.

from city to the country

Last post was about my visit to Seattle—a thoroughly urban experience, with friends who are best described as urban. The next day, I took the water taxi across the Sound to Vashon Island, which is decidedly the country. Friends recently moved there and we had a lovely, relaxing day on their new island.

rocky beach on Vashon Islandview from Vashon IslandVashon IslandVashon Islandtrees on Vashon Islandcow on Vashon Islandameraucana chickenchickensVashon Island

I mean look at all that nature. And animals? What is going on. The skies were a leaden gray, as befitting a trip to the area, and the water was super still. I almost think I preferred it to a boisterous sky full of puffy white clouds. But I would still love to see it in that state, too. I guess I’ll be back!

my first visit to seattle

I have only a short mental list of cities in the US that I’ve never been to but want to visit, and Seattle is one of them. (I think the lone other is Austin, Texas.) I’ve been to Portland several times and like it there, but Seattle was yet to be explored. The weather decided to show me a good time on the one day I had for sightseeing, giving me some blue skies and puffy clouds! I did all the typical stuff, with my friend Jeff as my guide while his wife, Holly was at work (we met up with her in the afternoon).

space needle

view of puget sound

view of downtown

chihuly museum and garden

chihuly museum and garden

chihuly museum and garden

monorail

starbucks

pike place market

fremont troll

I was wholly satisfied with just a photo of the outside of the first Starbucks (coffee is coffee), but I’ll admit I was bummed that the fish throwers didn’t budge when we lingered at first and launched one when we were on our way back, too far for a good picture! Still, I got to see all the sights and eat some really delicious food. Dinners at Staple and Fancy (the tasting menu) and Kickin’ Boot, and a lunch with a view at Sky City Restaurant, the rotating restaurant at the top of the Needle! (Pricey, but a reservation gets you automatic access to the top of the Needle instead of waiting in line.)