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.)

hedge + hog

A visit to two adorable babies requires an equally adorable gift, does it not?

babies love hedgehogs!

On my Pacific Northwest tour, I got to stay a night with Julie, Andy, and their twins, Emmett and Malcolm. They’re nearly a year and a half old and walking around like gangbusters. They’re also into hugging things, so a pair of squishy, soft hedgehogs knit from a pattern by the Purl Bee blog were just the thing!

knit hedgehogs

I used a silk blend from Brooks Farm (I think it’s “4 Play”?) in blue for the faces and bellies, and then Plymouth Yarn’s Baby Alpaca Grande Tweed (leftover from this YMN cover!) for the bodies. US 5 for the DK weight yarn, US 8 for the big stuff. These were such a cinch to make and completely satisfying, with their lack of seaming and thus instant gratification.

hedgehogs

Plus the babies took to them immediately, hugging them and discovering that they bounce quite nicely when tossed to the floor! Julie and I tried to think up names for the hedgehogs and realized that our naming skills are of the most bland variety, leaving us with a set of “white hedgehog” and “brown hedgehog” or, perhaps, if we’re feeling saucy, “hedgie” and “hoggie.” The kids don’t seem to mind their namelessness, though. There’s really nothing better than giving someone a gift and watching them immediately incorporate it into their life, you know? The boys adopted the toys right away!

crocheted neon cowl

Every time I wear this cowl when around people who know me, I get a surprised reaction. People say things like “It’s just not very . . . you.” When strangers see me in it, however, they go out of their way to compliment me and say they love the colors! I stepped far out of my comfort zone with these colors, and it’s been pretty rewarding.

neon cowl

Neon has been a trend lately, and though I’m not one to clamor to follow trends (my trend-following is mostly subconscious, which yeah, I know), for the magazine we highlighted neons recently. And we put some Manos—to me, a traditionally rustic, wooly yarn—in screaming neons on the cover. Which meant I had a skein each of a bunch of highlighter shades. Last summer when I was in Wisconsin, I threw the yarn and a crochet hook in my bag and started on a long chevron scarf. I finished it soon after the trip and started wearing it this past fall, but never got any pictures of it.

neon cowl and chihuly

I confess I now have no idea what I did exactly but it was nothing special or outlandish as far as chevrons go. I wanted a pretty shallow zig zag, and I worked it in the round. I rotated through the three colors until it seemed tall enough. I might have made it taller. It’s long enough to double up, but it’s not snug to my neck so it’s best worn on transitional weather days, like I’m having while on a trip to the Pacific Northwest. I wore it while sightseeing in Seattle this week—and I have loads of pictures to share with you of all I’ve seen here!