2012 – Ten New Things

As you may have seen on my other blog, I do ten new things a year.  Here are my Ten New Things of 2012.

1. Travel to Spain (April) – Dave and I visited Europe for 16 days in spring.  Our first stop was Spain, we went to Barcelona, Girona and Figueres.  Barcelona was a great city to walk around and see some beautiful architecture and a relaxed way of life.  Girona (in the picture to the left) was one of our favourite stops on the trip.  It has the oldest Jewish quarter in Europe and it was a postcard perfect place filled with stairs leading everywhere and cobblestone streets.

2. Run an international marathon (Paris – April)

 – The reason we went to Europe was to run the Paris Marathon.  The route was wonderful.  We saw so much of the city that we had not seen before.  However, Dave was really sick during the race (and for the week after) and it made for a slow painful run.  We are proud to have finished the race in 5hrs, but both of us are determined to crush our next one.

3. Travel to Luxembourg (April) – Luxembourg was a great city to stop at on our way back to Germany to stay at my sister’s place.  The town centre was lovely and it is all built up on a high protective wall that dips into a deep valley that has a walking trail and parks.  We visited an amazing chocolate house while we were there and it was heaven.

4. Travel to the Okanagan, BC (May) – I don’t know why it took so long to get to the Okanagan.  It is one of the most beautiful areas in BC, and there are a lot.  We went up and visited about 15 wineries in the three days we were gone and camped with friends.  This is definitely on our list of places to return to soon.  Geesh, that list just keeps getting longer!

5. Took a pastry cooking class (July) – I have always wanted to take a pastry course or any type of cooking class, so I finally signed up for one.  This one was all about strawberries.  We made a sponge cake, merengue, a tart and another dish which I have forgotten.  The one thing that I learned the most was that I need a stand mixer. : )

6. Attended a wedding on a boat (July) – Our friends Jin and Jenn got married in the summer and their reception was on a boat on the North Shore.  It was so much fun to be dancing outside with the lights of the city in the distance.  What a great venue.

7. Complete food vacation (Portland – September) – Dave and I love Portland and decided to do a specific eating tour of the city.  I’ve never been so intent on hitting up restaurants, cafes and brew pubs on any vacation before.  In total we went to 22 food establishments and tried 22 different beers.  Part of this included a food tour from Fork Town Tours of Mississippi Street which was awesome.  It was a great way to learn about a different part of the city and taste so many different foods.  I definitely recommend this company. 

8. Baked my first pie (October) – Can you believe I had never baked a pie before?  I had a silly fear of making pie crust, but once I gave it a try, it was so simple.  I did a raspberry pie up and it was delicioius.  The raspberries were from the farmer’s market that I had frozen and raspberry is my favourite flavour of pie, so it just made sense.  Add a little vanilla ice cream and, presto!, awesome pie.

9. Started a knitting blog (November) – This has been a large undertaking and included taking a pattern making course with Liz Abinante of Feministy at the Knit City Fibre event in October.  Since then I have launched the blog, had a logo created and started blogging.  And as you will see in my tenth new thing, I created my first pattern.

10. Designed my first knitting pattern (November) – I have actually created two new patterns, the first I finished in November and the second in December.  They were both cowls and definitely took a lot of work to figure out.  I decided to start simple, understanding that it would be a learning curve and I’m glad I did it that way.  More to come on that later.

Other new things: driving on the Autobahn in Germany, eating blood sausage, taking a cheese making class, filleting a fish (tip: just buy it done) and I have tried lots of new vegetables from the farmer’s market including different varieties of tomatoes, apples, and garlic.

2012 was a great year and I know with the things that are planned for 2013 life is going to continue to get even better!


Odds & Ends

I came across this picture from another knitter’s blog and thought I would share it with you.  How brilliant is this?  I’m laying on the couch, completely taken by the stomach bug that has been going around and I hardly have any energy, but I wanted to pass this on because it made me smile…and because if I stand up I might fall over, so I’m couch bound.  I’ll be sharing many more oddities in knitting as the blog progresses.  This seems a fitting start since we have lots of snow in Southwestern Ontario where I’m spending Christmas.

Hope you get a couple more days in of family and relaxation.

* Image from Knitting before Knitting was Cool.


Image courtesy of West Coast Wools.
Image courtesy of West Coast Wools.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll get in over the holidays as I plan to go home to Ontario, so I want to pass on a wonderful knit that put a smile on my face.  

Image from West Coast Wools, a great new Vancouver yarn shop.

Rules of Knitting for Men

Dave wearing the Cerus Scarf by Hilary Smith Callis.  Knit with Aslan Trends yarn.
Dave wearing the Cerus Scarf by Hilary Smith Callis.  Knit with Aslan Trends yarn.

I have one amazing guy who I knit most consistently for:  my boyfriend Dave.  He is a superstar when it comes to supporting my habit.  He never gets in my way when there is a good deal going down at a yarn shop, he has attended at least 3 fibre festivals with me and he is okay with letting me knit instead of making out…well some of the time.

So, of course, he is the man that I knit for the most and I have learned a couple things about knitting for men that all you lady knitters need to know.

Rule 1:  Let him pick the pattern

Rule 2: Let him pick the yarn

Rule 3: Let him pay for the yarn

Okay, I’ll admit that last rule is mine.  But Dave is always up for buying yarn if I’m going to spend hours knitting him something.  Sometimes he just sees a colour at a store or festival that he loves and he buys it without prompting, knowing we can figure out something to make with it later. The latest thing we are planning to get on the needles is Collison by Tora Frøseth Design. He said he wanted another hat, so I went on Ravelry, picked out some patterns that fit the gauge of the yarn he bought, interested me and of course ones I thought would look great on him.  (The girl has to have some control over what they are knitting.)

If you are looking for some great men’s designs I recommend the following:

Windschief by Stephen West (Dave’s current knit hat)

Men’s Striped Cardigan by Josh Bennett (this is just sexy, Dave needs one stat!)

Men’s Felted Moc Slippers by Lavender Hill Knits (Dave’s loved these, minus the red stitching)

Baby Sophisticate

Another little Christmas gift for one of my nieces and nephews.  Could you believe that I ran out of yarn as I was casting off!  It took me an additional 6 weeks to order, receive and finish that last little bit, but I think it is worth it and my newest little nephew, Trent, will be able to fit into it better.  This is going to be a great, little, warm jacket for him to lay around in this winter.

Pattern: Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down

Yarn:  Sweetgeorgia Yarn – Superwash Chunky

Colour: Espresso

Needles: US 4 or 3.5mm on a 16″ Circular

Knit for: Trent Kramer (nephew)

A Serious Day of Catching Up

Yes, this is what getting serious looks like.  An Americano Misto and an Eggnog Snowball Lucky’s Doughnut from 49th Parallel on Main Street.  

I have been feeling severely sleep deprived for the past couple weeks and any attempts to catch up have failed this weekend, hence the little caffeine and sugar boost.  I forgot to remind my co-workers that I would be out today and because I’m one of the earliest starters on my team (6:30am), people text me from 5:30am onwards to let me know they are not coming in.  Since I forgot to notify people i would be away, I still felt it was my responsibility to pass these messages on so meetings with clients could be rebooked or handled by another colleague.  So from 5:30am on, I woke up several times to pass along messages of people being sick or just to check that I wasn’t missing anything.  The brain can not stay quiet while responsibility beckons.

In other news, I finished all my Christmas shopping today and managed to get to the gym, finish a book and complete some errands before settling down with my Misto to blog to all of you.  

You may have noticed something on the needles in the picture above.  This is a glimpse of my first pattern in the making.  I’m working on the test sample right now and hope to finish it today.  Now I know you are all itching to get your hands on this beautiful project in the works, but you will just have to hold your collective breathes a little longer.  This still nameless beauty won’t be released until the New Year, but it will come in the nick of time, when you are finally finished knitting all those Christmas gifts and it is time to cast on a little project for yourself.  I promise it will be a cozy, fun knit that will keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose.  

Hmmm, doughnut is done.  Seconds?

Yummy for My Tummy

I’m a foodie, a gastonomist.  I can’t get enough of a new restaurant or trying new food, so along with knitting, I want to share some of this passion on the blog.  I find that many knitters also enjoy quality meals and new recipes or trips to the local farmer’s market.  I’m not an expert cook and I’m sure most of you aren’t either, so let’s share in some simple recipes and good advice.

I’m a pretty big proponent of quality, whole food.  Meaning, I stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store, I shop my local farmer’s market as often as I can.  I buy my groceries fresh several times a week and I try to find organic or local food when possible.  

I have learned that food tastes so much better when it is in season and it is so much more filling when it isn’t full of salt, sugar and words I can’t pronounce.

The past couple years, as part of my Ten New Things, i have opened myself up to trying and getting to like many new foods.  Things I would have picked off my plate a couple years ago are now some of the treats or regular items I enjoy in my diet and they have made eating fun again.  Some of my favourite new items include:

La Boqueria, the open market in Barcelona.
La Boqueria, the open market in Barcelona.
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • dates
  • figs
  • Greek yogurt
  • quinoa
  • almond milk
  • tofu
  • lentils
  • artichokes
  • kale

Adding these items to my diet has helped me drop weight and add variety to my meals.  I love adding dates to my salads and my breakfast doesn’t feel right without Greek yogurt in it.  

Here are a couple recipes that I have added to my collection and I hope that you will add to yours:

Snobby Joes – Eating Bird Food’s Brittany Mullins

Rockin’ Moroccan Stew – The Looneyspoons Collection book

Kale-Gruyere Gratin – Oregon Live website