Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"Lift Off!!"

Even though we are 100 miles south from the Kennedy Space Center, we were able to view today's launch of the Falcon Heavy Space X rocket this afternoon from the comfort of our clubhouse. 

"From the same pad where NASA launched rockets that carried astronauts to the moon, a big, new American rocket arced into space on Tuesday. But this time, NASA was not involved. The rocket, the Falcon Heavy, was built by SpaceX, the company founded and run by the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk."  NYTimes. Read the article in its entirety here: Falcon Heavy, In A Roar Of Thunder, Carries SpaceX's Ambition Into Orbit.

I had followed the launch delays most of the afternoon, and when it looked as though it was a go, Bruce and I and many of our condominium residents, made our way to the water by our pier. It was quite a festive gathering!

We were able to see it - until we couldn't....

The last thing remaining, and actually the prettiest, was the tendril left behind. Quite exciting!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

“Art is a process of delivering or arranging elements that appeal to the emotions of a person looking at it. It's what you feel.” ~ Shaquille O'Neal

Every trip to the beach requires a rearranging of my collections! There are far fewer shelling opportunities on this side (the Atlantic side) of Florida as opposed to the gulf side, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try! I always manage to come home with new treasures and then set about trying to find a place for them. For my most recent display, I went with “like” and “size”, hence the neat row of “olives” from largest to smallest. Other times, I will have them willy-nilly over a surface as it suits my fancy. Grown up toys! I love each and every one of them.

As I have mentioned before, I am finding it challenging to continue my blog in Blogger and have looked at migrating to WordPress. Well, I am encountering some problems with that as well, most significantly being able to keep the name “My Retiring Life”. It seems that someone began a blog of the same name in WordPress back in 2014, three years after I began mine in Blogger. This individual has not posted since 2015, but the name remains hers. In looking at my choices, I can start a new blog in WordPress under a new title, or I can continue to work in Blogger for the time being. Any of the names that I have considered are also taken, and I kind of like the one I’m using. I have found a way around some of the Blogger challenges, so for now, I will continue as I have.

The time has come for some changes however. Awhile back, I cut back from posting twice a week to just once, on Wednesday’s. That has been fine, but I am finding that sticking to a certain day of the week has it’s limitations. I will sometimes find something interesting to blog about on Wednesday evening, or perhaps sometime on Thursday, and by the time a week has rolled around, it has lost its timeliness. From this point forward, I will post when I have something to write about. It may be once a week, or every other week, or twice a week! This will be much more enjoyable for me. I am also trying to do more on Instagram, and can be found there under the same name. At some point I will put a link on this page to that account. 

So, until next time - I wish you well!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

“A lot of stitches, but a labor of love!”


This past weekend was my son Alex’s 30th birthday. I can hardly believe that it has been 30 years since he was born!  I had been giving some thought as to what might be a unique gift for him when I saw a picture on Instagram of a pullover sweater in a Nordic-style that integrated Storm Troopers as part of the yoke. Stop right there - decision made. I went to the website of the woman who had written the pattern, purchased, and downloaded it. I was a bit surprised to find that it was but two brief pages, but having done color-work and a couple of Icelandic cardigans,  I felt confident enough to forge a head. All of this was shortly before we made our trip to Cape Cod in October, and I knew that I would be stopping at WEBS on the way to purchase yarn. 
In searching for the yarn that the designer used, I discovered that it had since been discontinued. This is a very new pattern, so that surprised me a bit. So, searched to find something that would be equivalent. This really did take a bit of time, since I felt that I needed to match the gauge that she got with the yarn that she had used. I concluded that Cascade 220 Sport Superwash would give me the gauge that I needed. I was able to pick up all of the appropriate colors, and once we got to the Cape, I set about beginning the pullover in earnest. 

The few cardigans and pullovers that I have done in recent years have all started from the top and worked downward, and I have come to find this  construction preferable to bottom up. Unfortunately this pullover was written as a bottom-up construction. If I had felt confident enough, I would have tried to re-write it a bit and do it from the top down, but at that point in time, knowing that his birthday was soon approaching, I needed go with the way the pattern was written. 

Once home I was able to settle in, and after having done the ribbing and color-work at the bottom, I continued with the body, which went quite quickly because it was simply straight knitting in the round. Color work is always an amazing thing to see grow under your fingers! To me it’s one of the things that makes it so enchanting to do. 

 As the final week approached (I had set a deadline in my mind of when I wanted to get this in the mail) I realized that things like doing the collar and weaving in the bazillion ends etc. were going to take a fair amount of time. I’m willing to bet that that last week I spent probably 40+ hours finishing all of those tasks. I'm always saying that I like to learn new things, but two days before I was getting ready to send this in the mail, as I was trimming up a piece of yarn that I had woven in underneath one of the arms, I snipped a hole right in the sleeve. I sat there with it in my lap, mouth agape, and just stared. I’ve then proceeded to poke at it with my finger for a bit, almost not believing that it had happened. I simply made it worse. At that point, I set the entire thing aside and decided that I was going to deal with it in the morning with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. 

The next morning I spent quite a bit of time on YouTube and looked at a variety of ways to patch holes. Well, I have in my own mind that there might be a better method, and that may be something that I explore down the road, but I did not have the luxury of time if I wanted Alex to have the sweater by his birthday. So, I followed the directions that seemed best for the situation and knit a patch over the hole. The final result didn’t looked terrible, but also didn’t look great. I made the kind of kooky decision to stitch around the outside of the patch in a darker color. That might seem a bit odd, but it helped to set the definition of an otherwise awkward edge around the outside of the patch. It is on the underside of the sleeve and while I wish it hadn’t happened  it’s not the end of the world. I said to Bruce “I’m learning something new that I never wanted to learn!“ I think probably many things in life come about that way! 

 You can see from the pictures above that he looks great in his Storm Trooper pullover. You can also see that it is a tad big, but there’s nothing wrong with that for Vermont and a winter that requires multiple layers. He loves it, and I love him. It was a lot of stitches and a labor of love! Happy birthday Alex!