Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Break and Fast Breaking

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen
This is the first yarn I bought for myself in some time.  The dress I bought  is its backdrop. 

For many people in my area of the country spring break is a time for vacations to places such as Myrtle Beach or Orlando or for visiting relatives back home (usually up north for the many transplanted families living in North Carolina).  But for working mothers like me a week off is time to catch up.  With three medical appointments for my children (and a subsequent guilty conscience as I learned my older son has been walking around for months with a dislocated shoulder) as well as haircuts and shoe shopping trips along with and hours and hours of cooking, doing laundry, and purging ancient spices and canned food from a messy pantry, “break” isn’t exactly an appropriate term for my week-long hiatus from teaching school. 

 
However, some of the “work” I did this past week was not truly necessary. Knitting and sewing used to be considered practical skills women needed to possess in order to properly take care of their families, but they are now more akin to expensive leisure time hobbies. I spent many hours this week sewing an almost finished jacket and also knitting several projects. Finally, I was also able to make a few unhurried trips to yarn shops, as the beginning of last week was Easter—a holiday which marked the end of my Lenten yarn fast. I had decided not to buy any yarn for myself during the 40 days prelude to the holiday. 

This shrug, with worsted weight wool, knit up very quickly.


This finished shrug would look much nicer modeled on a person . . . I'll try to include a picture with my next post.



I also completed this baby sweater for my niece's son Lucas during break.  It's made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn.  I had fun trying the argyle pattern found in Cascade's 60 More Quick Baby Knits.
 

I didn’t have definite plans about which day to go yarn shopping, but on Tuesday morning, while browsing in a shop, I spotted a reasonably priced long cotton summer dress in a batik pattern.  I bought the dress and then traveled to Rainy Day Creations in Pineville and purchased some wonderfully soft cotton Cascade Luna yarn to make a shrug to pick up the purple and lavender colors in the dress.  On Wednesday, I visited Cottage Yarn.  Its former owner Sara had just retired, and the shop had been closed for a few days for the changeover.  I met the new owner and spent too much time perusing the new stock of fresh springtime yarn.  Wanting to support my local shop and still not yet sated in marking the end of my fast, I splurged on some Rowan yarn to make another lacy summer shrug or maybe a vest. 




I am going to make a vest with this yarn, using a pattern found in
this  Louisa Harding pattern book. 


On Friday, several women and I had plans to meet for lunch, but a series of complications led to just two of us getting together.  While I missed catching up with the former co-workers who could not go that day, fortuitously for me, my lunch companion ended up being Tonya, my novice-knitter co-worker who’d traveled to New York with me in January to visit Vogue Knitting Live.  We had lunch in a Chinese restaurant, and then decided to drive uptown to visit Charlotte Yarn in the quaint Dilworth area.  While I had to refrain from buying anymore yarn—the previous day’s Rowan purchase was pricey—I did find a Louisa Harding pattern book that includes a pattern for a lacy vest that’s just perfect for the yarn I’d indulged in the day before.  (Note:  If you go to website for Charlotte Yarn, there's a cute free pattern posted for a springtime cardigan.)
 



I finished knitting  this capelet using Debbie Bliss's Como yarn many months ago, but the item never fit correctly--plus it is way too warm for Carolina winters, so I used my spring break time to frog it. 
 


My ball winder came in handy. 
 
I think I'll make some smaller items with the yarn. 

Break ended yesterday, but now it’s the countdown to the end of the school year.  I could happily keep myself busy at home with all of my projects but for now I'll sustain myself with plans for creative endeavors to pursue during summer vacation.  I'll also keep myself busy with the stacks and stacks of student papers that rested cozily and happily in my briefcase during my week off. 

Here are a few more pictures from break:



I made significant progress on a jacket I am sewing, but still have a ways to go. I want to finish it so that I can take it on a
trip to England this summer.  (I know this is a knitting blog, but I had to share.)

 One of the things I also enjoy about time off is being able to do some baking. 



I make my crust with real butter, using Martha Stewart's recipe.  Click here to access it.  The trip to not ending up with very tough crust, is to only process the mixture for the time that Stewart gives.  Too much mixing, and the crust is a glutenous mess and is very hard when it comes out of the oven. 





I scooped out a bit of this blueberry pie (on the left side) and tasted it before
remembering I wanted to take a picture.


I didn't find the time to work on these two projects--a jacket and dress. 

2 comments:

  1. Glad your yarn-fast has come to an end and that you have been enjoying some happy fast-breaking! The yarns you've chosen are beautiful. And you knit things up so quickly! Your rose-coloured jacket is just gorgeous. What fabric did you use? Your break sounds perfect to me - busy but in a therapeutically different kind of way. Hope your son's shoulder recovers quickly and that being back at work doesn't feel too much of a come-down this week. E x

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  2. You have packed an amazing amount into one short week! I've been taking your lead and putting myself on a yarn fast too until I get some of my backlog of UFOs completed, but I too have been using the Easter holidays to do some sewing rather than knitting. I always feel in the holidays that I get back to my 'real' job of being a mum - cooking a decent dinner every evening rather than just chucking things in the oven to heat up and attending to all of those little jobs that have been piling up over the term. Thankfully the summer term is always more relaxed, and with the longer days and sunshine there seems to be more time to get on with all of those crafty projects. I love you pink jacket by the way - I've never been brave enough to attempt a jacket yet so I am very impressed. Love Judy.

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