Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life's a Beach

Here in Athens, the beaches are a popular place to hang out. We can take the tram from our house and be at a nearby beach in about 20 minutes. We shoehorn our Costco chairs into a tight little sandy spot and try to accomplish our seaside goal: soak up some sunshine as we stare out over the Aegean Sea seeking a few hours of calm respite from the metropoliton bustle of the city. Apparently, many other Athenians also share this vision, because the beaches are jammed and there's no quiet calmness to be had. Recently we went on a journey to try to find our idea of the perfect Greek beach weekend. We took the 30 minute ferry ride to the Greek Island of Evia, and made the short drive to the city of Rovies.

The beach was a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Uncrowded and calm - families sat in the shade of trees just off the beach, reading and chatting. A short strip of pebbles sloped down to the crystal clear water.

Several Tavernas had outdoor seating along the beach, with plenty of inviting little tables where you could sit in your suit and sip a frappe in a tall glass.

We spent two days in Beachy heaven: wondering at the origin and destination of the various boats, listening to lapping waves, bobbing in the water and taking our salt crusted selves around the little town to explore.

We could hardly bring ourselves to leave, but when it was time, we took some peace from this place along and faced the bustling city with wider smiles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What I saw on my morning run

greekrun 029 a video by grammajewel08 on Flickr.

A quick look at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece. I was attempting a photo with my new ipod touch, but since I was without my reading glasses, made a video instead. :-)

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thinking of You...

Crocheting with cotton never fails to give me a nostalgic reminder of my Grandma's kitchen. She and her sisters had stacks of crocheted potholders and embroidered tea towels edged with handmade lace. I spent so many happy hours in their kitchens, chatting, nibbling on cookies and eavesdropping on delicious gossip that it's no wonder I'm drawn to patterns that remind me of old fashioned kitchens. Crocheted flowers and lace just make me happy.
This Wednesday finds me in the midst of various scrap busting crochet projects. I'm not quite sure what they'll ultimately become, but the simple act of creating them has been enough to bring a smile and a happy heart.

Thinking of you Grandma!

Check out more Work In Progress Wednesday's at
Tami's Amis

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Shameful Admission

What does it say about me that having had the opportunity to spend the past year in a beautiful foreign country full of interesting archeological sites, gorgeous beaches, delicious healthful food and colorful people, the happiest moment I've experienced has been a temporary homecoming to my own bed, my old Cuisinart coffee pot and some sorely missed American pop culture? I may have even hummed a few bars of God Bless America with the touch down on American soil. And what's American Pop Culture without a nice shiny and new materialistic acquisition? These things cost double overseas, people.

My Words With Friends I.D. is JuleeQue

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Summer 5K

I'm training for a 5K, but I'm looking to burn up lengths of yarn rather than distance on the track. I'm participating in the Knit Girllls Stash Dash 2011, a summer long project to knock 5000 yards of yarn out of my stash.
I started last night, after midnight, by sewing the tail on a little kitty knit for my four year old Granddaughter.
My daughter bought this yarn from an indie dyer online when she was pregnant with said Granddaughter, hoping I would knit a soaker for the baby. The soaker never came to be, but the yarn was destined for little Ivy ever since. Ivy Kitty will become her new playmate.

My second Stash Dash project is the Caribbean Waters Shawl I've had on the needles for the past two months.
Progress was slow. I enjoyed working with the Malabrigo Sock. Who wouldn't?, but was lost in lace doldrums. Row upon row of boring lace repeats. Not very compelling in my opinion. The result is quite nice, though.

And that is the value of these kinds of contests.
They inspire me to knock those longer projects that I've lost the excitement for, off the needles, where I can appreciate them. And who can't appreciate a great FO?

To see more Finished Objects, check out Tami's Ami's FO Friday page.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Loveliness of Handspun

I'd never knit with handspun yarn until I won this skein from PirateRed on Ravelry. It looked pretty in photo's, but once I actually held it in my hands, I was lost. The delicately plied colors, the light lofty squishiness stole my heart and fired up my creative juices. I had to start knitting this loveliness right away.
A quick Rav pattern search, a quick poll amongst friends to narrow down pattern choice, and Becca's lovely handspun practically stitched itself into Leila Raabe's New New Shale Cowl pattern. Becca's yarn and spinning services can be found at A Song To Spin etsy shop. Her spinning wisdom can be found on her blog. The knitting of this brought a song to my heart and I'm now ruined for less. :sigh:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Delphi at Easter

Delphi is a wonderful place to be at Easter time. The town is small, making exploring on foot the way to go. We heard the chanting of the Easter services wafting through the windows of the beautiful old church: There were so many charming little walkways and squares to explore: The tavernas served up delicious local specialties: The ancient ruins of Delphi?

On Easter's Eve, we were lucky enough to experience the annual procession behind the Body of Christ. A festive and colorful end to a perfect day in Delpi:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Here's a new Spring/Summer wardrobe addition that I plan to take along to Knit Nation in London this July. It's the Scarborough scarf by Jennifer Wood. I'm knitting it with Berrocco Linen Jeans in olive. I love the drapeyness of this yarn and pattern combination. The scarf stretches wide to become a stole, (to throw over the shoulders when the air conditioning is chilly), or knots into a long, light and breezy summer scarf.

Don't you just have to love it when such a good thing comes together?
Goodbye too long held stash yarn!
Hello perfect summer scarf!

Life is good.

Here's more Wednesday WIP's from Tami's Amis

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stripey Grandma Love

I'm going to be a Grandmother again! Actually, once a Grandma always a Grandma, I'm thinking. It's probably more accurate to say that another Grandchild is joining my brood and I'm very happy about it.
In the grand tradition of Grandmothers in waiting, I'm taking to needlework to welcome the new little one. In my state of happy anticipation I pulled out some bright and soft cottons and started an ambitious project that will likely take months. Just a little Stripey Grandma Love to wrap up a much welcomed child.

The little chubby chirps, sent to me by a talented swap partner, Susan will keep me company while I'm waiting.
They're my new armchair companions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sock Yarn Bonanza!

I received some lovely self striping sock yarn from my friend Bobbi over at MyBootee Boutique in order to knit up some sample socks for marketing purposes. I happen to adore her sock yarn. It's nicely twisted, (reminds me of Koigu!), for smooth, effortless knitting and excellent wear. I made my Mother a pair for Mother's Day last year and although she wears them frequently, they look like new. Granted, Mom is a knitter who hand washes her socks, but after a year of use, they haven't even pilled!

Doesn't every knitter love self striping sock yarn? One can happily knit away, watching the colors change between your fingers and transform the project, inch by inch. Bobbi's colorways are so vivid and well put together. The Margo colorway reminds me of a dried nosegay of violets. Something you might find preserved in a cedar chest in the attic. I called the sample sock Antiqued Violets.

I'm pulling out the Rainbow colorway next for more hypnotic, self-striping stitching fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Re: Your Hat

My Dear Niece Tanya,

I finally finished knitting your hat, just as I'd promised I would! I thought you'd be happy about that, since you've been waiting and waiting. However, I haven't had a chance to send it yet. Your hat was ready to go....all nestled in pretty tissue paper in a priority mailing box, just waiting to actually be posted. The thing is - John and I were about to leave on a trip to Budapest when John checked the weather online. It was going to be ear-nippingly cold there and I, unfortunately, did not have a proper hat. Nothing to cover my ears at all, as a matter of fact!

I know you'll remember the hat I had at our last visit in January. That pretty cabled one? Well, Carli stole that one, or not really stole it, but just sort of claimed it, as daughter's are prone to do. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining though, because I was really glad that she loved the hat, it frankly looked better on her than on me, and it was pink.
Enough said.

So, there I was, without a hat and about to leave on a journey to a cold place where I'd be outdoors much of the time. I really didn't have a choice, sweetie. Your hat had to go along.

You'll be glad to know that your hat performed its' functions perfectly. As you can see, it perched on my head quite cheerily, looking cute and perky even under dreary skies. It kept me very warm and cozied up my ears quite nicely. It gets excellent ratings in both fashion and function.
Since it accompanied me on several educational outings, your hat knows some things about Budapest also, such as the proper way to pronounce Budapest. Bud-ah-pesht is the proper way. And how Hungarian goulash, (goo-Yash without the L if you can believe it), is actually a soup rather than a stew.

Interesting, right?

Speaking of goulash, I picked up some Hungarian paprika that I'll include in the package along with your hat, which I'll send out directly. Please tell your sister, Trisha that I've started working on her hat today.

Oh! One more thing:

You might want to warn her - we're experiencing a bit of cold snap right now, and I'm scheduled to travel to a nursing conference in Istanbul next week.

Her hat may just have to tag along.

Much Love,
Your Auntie Jul xxxooo

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Shouldn't I?

Remember I told you about my super cool, 3 month Secret Pal? Check out package numero dos:
Why yes! That is Madeline Tosh Sock in the Tart colorway. And yes, the box was filled with delicious chocolate Valentine's Candy. And yes, Dear Reader - that is a lovely, squishy, infinitely soft hand knit scarf. The note says, "Why shouldn't you have two Valentine's Days?"

Well! Why shouldn't I indeed?

And so, given that, I did.

The pattern is xeriscape. It brings out my inner Calamity Jane, don't you think?

Thank you Secret Pal for one - giving me a second Valentine's Day and two - making it so decadent and delicious.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

C A R N I V A L !

Easter is a major holiday here in Greece, something like our American Christmas. The hoopla leading up to Easter lasts about 6 weeks. Carnival is the last hurrah before the fasting of lent just before Easter. We spent the weekend before Clean Monday in Patras, Greece. The streets were crowded with people in festive gear - masks, feather boas, silly hats. Balloon vendors weilded giant colorful balloon bouquets. Street vendors lined the streets, as well as street performers and craft booths. The cobblestones were littered with scraps of confetti from the parties of the night before.

The atmosphere was festive and light and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local Taverna. Our waitresses were costumed as Dashing Pirates and Glittery Dancing Girls. We spoke to a knowledgable local Greek citizen who told us that the Carnival here in Patras, though one of the best in Greece - didn't compare at all to those in Northern Brazil. Could be - but we were suitably impressed anyway.
Happy Carnival!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Three Little Owl Pals

Ana Clerc really hit the jackpot when she came up with this pattern. It's easy, is a great way to use up yarny leftovers and lends itself well to personalization. It's the
Owls Two Ways pattern, (free on Ravelry) and on her Ocean of Stitches Blog.

I had so much fun making these guys. I decided mine needed wings, so I made them like so:

co 12 sts
join in round
knit 2 rows
(kfb, k2) around
k 6 rows
k6,(k2tog) around for 2 rows
k 1 row
k4, (k2tog) around
k3, (k2tog) around
cut yarn and pull through stitches
You can stuff wings if you like, or just fold them appropriately and stitch to body

I also weighted them with dried beans before stuffing.
What more could a knitter ask for?
More Owl Pals!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Knitting by Sea

Ahhhhhh: Mykonos! Such a beautiful Greek Island. Truly picturesque. It's a bit chilly there in February. Windy too, but beautiful nonetheless.

In many ways, a visit to Mykonos is like going back in time. There's windmills:
and wandering sheep cross the roads:
The hotels are quaint:
The views are stunning:

There are still treasures to be found:
And the knitting - Well, the knitting my friends, is fine!
Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarn and Teas, knit in Colinette Jitterbug, Colorway: Jewel