Saturday, February 27, 2010

FO: Pink Hat

A few days before the ravelympics started I cast on for this hat that I have had my eye on for a while. Ever since I saw the Side slip cloche hat I knew I had to make it for my self!

And I had just enough Rose Quartz Twisted left over from my FLS to make it. Or so I hoped. After I knit the band around the base, then picked up the stitches around the edge and did the increase row I started to worry that I wasn't going to make it.



The little ball of yarn I had was getting smaller and smaller.... and while I was fairly sure I had enough I just wasn't POSITIVE because I really had no idea how much yarn I had left. So I increased the needle size from the suggested size US 5 up to a US 7 and got back to work. Of course I ended up with loads of yarn left over! (Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with a baseball size ball of yarn)



This is the first hat I have ever had that wasn't fitted at the top but is instead a little loose. I really like it! It's also the first time I knit a hat by knitting the band around the base then picking up the stitches along the edge and knitting the rest. I like this technique and it isn't nearly as hard as I always feared. I'm just not a big fan of picking up stitches but I'm realizing that it isn't nearly as hard as I always tell my self it is.... and it's totally worth it.

It came out perfectly and really I can't even tell that I upped the needle size by two! Of course I just love the ruffles on the side (I just might be on a ruffle kick here) and I love the softness of this pink.


So here are the specs:

Pattern: Side slip cloche by Laura Irwin
Yarn: Twisted from BMFA in Rose Quartz
Needles: Size US 5, 7
Mods: I used size 7 needles after I picked up the stitches around the boarder and did the first row of increases. This was to stretch the yarn as far as it would go!

At the airport….

…. Again.
This seems to be a running theme in our lives right now. I calculated and I think we have each flown over 15,000 miles (for a combined total of 30,000) in a month’s time. We are seriously tired of flying. Especially because we have to lug around all of our luggage with us as well. But that is the beauty of moving… remind me why I thought that was such a good idea?
The good part is we’re going home (well my home at least) and I am so looking forward to being in Portland again. Even if it will be for a short period of time before we board another flight on to a new adventure (more later – gotta save something to write about for another day).
The other upside is that we are getting way better at this flying stuff. We’re organized and prepared. Ready for whatever the airline can throw at us. Want more money for extra baggage? You got it. Where’s our ID’s? Right here buddy. Extra security check? Bring it on! We know who is in charge of what bags. The best restaurants in the airport and that we habitually plan for three hours in the airport even though it has never taken us more than a half hour to get from the curb to the gate. We are SET. Unless it snows can’t cope with the snow. NO MORE SNOW!
Another fun thing about the airport is the people watching. I tell you it’s about as entertaining as the Thursday Night Line Up back when Friends and Will & Grace were still on. People are so interesting! I saw one lady wearing all pink and with a pink suitcase and I thought to my self “Wow coordinating for the flight. Ummm ok?” But then I saw her in the rest room and she was re-packing her bag and I tell you EVERYTHING in her bag was pink too!!!!! Her husband was even wearing a pink shirt! Their whole lives are coordinated!
Another girl was walking around in her tank top with her scarf on even though it is FREEZING out side. Have I mentioned the snow?
Oh and we even saw a guy from Heat (the movie) I don’t know which one to be honest cause it was my husband that made the ID. But still!
I keep hoping to see a fellow knitter working on her ravelympic project waiting for a flight but I seem to be the only one. Sigh. It’s ok though I am not shy about KIP (kitting in public) or PDK (Public displays of knitting) as I prefer.



Yup. That’s a new secret project. Tell you about it when it’s done.

Friday, February 26, 2010

FO: Ruffly Ravelympic Gloves!

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been working on a project for the Ravolymipics. The Ravelympics is where you start a knitting challenge on the first day of the olympic and try to cast off by the last.

I was worried a few times that I wouldn't make it. I mean moving across the world, traveling across the country and living out of a suit case just make it more difficult to get my knitting done. But as my husband likes to remind me when something gets in my head well then I just have to get it done! and get it done I did!

I love the way they came out and have worn them already!


But this project was not with out its challenges. First I realized that I had packed all of my buttons away in the knitting box to be shipped and as you'll notice these gloves call for an exceptional number of buttons. Buttons I didn't have. Fortunately I knew of the perfect little shop,
Purl SoHo, that could help me out.



Then when I got home and finished up my knitting I realized that my darning needles were nowhere in sight. Who knew what box or suit case I packed them in as I was rushing to get everything together in the days before we left Abu Dhabi. So I found a closer knitting shop (hey it's snowing I'm not about to go across town for needles!) and got the much needed needles to sew on the buttons. Let's not mention that I found my other needles the next morning. Nope don't need to go there.

Anyhow here are the specs:
Pattern:
Plain Talk Ruffled Mittens by Laura Irwin
Yarn: Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3 ply in a wine and carmel color - Love love love this color! I don't know if I have ever loved a yarn's coloring as much as I love this one.
Needles: US 4, 5, 6
Project Mods: None needed. Works perfectly just the way it is. Although I did knit these in Magic Loop instead of on DPNs

Did I mention the ruffles on the gloves go great with my
Silky Ruffly Scarf!

Monday, February 22, 2010

WIP Update

As most knitters know the Ravelympics are in full swing. This time around I decided to join in the fun and see if I could meet my Ravelumpic goals!

What was my goal you ask? Well it was to knit the
Plain Talk Ruffled Mittens by Laura Irwin

I thought they would look super cute with the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf I knit


I'm almost done with one and making good progress on the second and am confident that I'll finish the knitting portion of the project on time. The part I'm worried about the most is the buttons... where am I going to get buttons by Sunday?



Before the Ravelympics began I started knitting this hat as well


It's the Side Slip Cloche also by Laura Irwin (I love her stuff!) I am really loving the way it's coming out but I'm a little worried that I'll run out of yarn before I reach the top!



Ok ok enough chatting I have a knitting deadline to meet!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Back to the Sun

We heard it was suppose to snow in New York again so we hopped the next flight out of town to a sunnier land, Los Angeles. Ok ok perhaps we had some other business but getting away from the snow was a definite bonus. Not that I don't love the snow but once every three or so years is PLENTY!

So while we have been here we have made sure to get in a few favorites.

Like the Santa Monica Pier


And look look there's PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) It runs along the Pacific Coast all the way from the top of Washington to the bottom of California (right through Oregon) and is one of the most beautiful Highways in the US.


We headed over to UCLA to check out the campus...


... where we went to one of my all time favorite burger chains - In n Out Burger!!!


Just look at these fresh cut fries!!! Even Husband agreed that these were some of the best fries he's ever had.


As we were wandering around UCLA we walked past a place with a line (A LINE!!!) out the door and down the block! We obviously we had to see what this was all about. Turns out it's Diddy Riese and they make homemade cookies and then make them into ice cream sandwiches with your choice of cookies and ice cream.

Let me tell you I can understand why people are willing to stand in a line around the block for these things. They are AMAZING!!!!

We'll be heading back to the cold wintery NYC shortly so gotta run and soak up the sun while I can!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...


... don't know when I'll be back again.

But hopefully this isn't goodbye forever. I love it here
too much to think that I won't drive down Sheikh Zayed Road again or walk along the Abu Dhabi Cornice. I know I have to come back to my favorite lebanese restaurant and go watch another movie in my favorite theater.

Is it weird that I'm freaking just a little? This is it! It's my very last night in what has been my home for the past three and half years. Ironically I am staying just down the road from American University in Dubai - where I spent my first night.

I am full of emotions. Sad to say goodbye to my friends, my mentors, my favorite places, my life here. Yet excited for the new adventure. Excited to be closer to our families again, to be home where I am use to "things", where people know where Oregon is (usually).

But I'm sure we'll be back. There are too many memories here.




p.s. It might be a few days before I get back online again. Hold tight I'm sure there'll be a big update shortly!!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Things I learned from living abroad

Patience – I learned to be much more patient in dealing with others. There are just too many cultural differences out here to assume that everyone will do what you expect. Or that when they say something (like “I’ll have it done in an hour”) that it’ll mean the same thing (like they’ll be here in an hour)

Charades – Sometimes the best way to get past a language barrier is to act it out. I (point to self) want (smile and nod) some binders (open and close hands like a book) (more nodding and smiling). In fact this has become such a big part of the way I talk that I find myself acting things out even when whomever I am talking to understands what I am saying perfectly.

Defensive driving – Need a crash course in defensive driving? Come drive here for a week and you’ll be set for life. It is you against the world out here and add to that that everyone is driving close to (or way over) 100mph and you learn real quick how to keep your eyes open and get out of the way. I also learned how to cut off taxis. But they started it.

Equality – We (Americans) might have a long way to go when it comes to equality and treating people fairly but oooh boy have we sure made some progress. It’s not the locals I refer to but just about everyone putting everyone else into a box.

Friends - There are people out there living in the world with the same interests as you and the same likes and dislikes. They talk similarly and just seem to "get" you. I have realized that you can find friends just about anywhere. I know I did! Of course I found the very best ones that could have been found.

Same same but different – We all basically have the same agenda same goals in life. There are things that cross all cultures and all religions. Loving family and food on the table come to mind.

Stereotypes – These are hard to over come and it’s amazing how quickly people decide things about someone else based on very little knowledge -like nationality. I have had to work hard not to give in to this as I think it’s human nature when meeting people from so many cultural backgrounds to want to figure them out before you know them. But I refuse to let a few decide (whether good or bad) how I feel about or treat many.

Passport – When abroad this thing is more valuable than it’s weight in gold. Guard it accordingly and know your rights. It is unlawful for someone to hold your passport so that you don’t have access to it. If you have any doubts or concerns call your embassy. Trust me it works.

Healthcare – Dang it’s good to have healthcare and it’s even better to have affordable medication. If you ever want to know what that feels like then head on over.

Coke is better – I heard it was because of the sugar they use or maybe it’s that you can buy it in glass bottles but it is so good here and just what you want on a hot day.

Acclimating – People are adaptive. I had no idea just how adaptive I could be until I moved here. Take for example that really 110° just isn’t that big a deal to me anymore. Yeah I don’t look forward to it but really I don’t notice it much when out weather gets that hot. Now 30° is just plain scary! I have no idea what that feels like anymore and when I was back home last winter I practically froze! I was cold ALL THE TIME!

Self respect – Like I talked about in my previous post I gained a lot of self respect here and I am a better person for it. Looks don’t last forever but respecting your self does.

Ambiance – One thing I may never have again is a view of the aqua blue sea with swaying palm trees, a nice breeze and a beach spread out before me as I eat my dinner. There is definitely beauty in this desert.



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

reflections

So we’re down to our final week in the UAE. Everything is coming together and we are getting things set-to-go. Of course there is a never-ending list of things to do that just WON’T STOP getting longer but I know we’ll get there. And if not, well then, I guess it won’t get done cause we are running out of days.
It’s kind of hard to believe that we only have a week left. I always knew this day would come but it was like getting married or graduating college. I just can’t believe it’s finally here. After all the planning, waiting, complaining we are going home.
It’s turning out to be harder than I thought. Saying goodbye to friends and saying goodbye to a pretty incredible place is just plain hard. As I sit, looking over the sea with my coffee and knitting as a nice cool breeze comes through I’m having a hard time understanding why I wanted to get away so badly.
I have been reflecting on my time in the UAE and have realized that living here has been amazing for me. So much of my life has happened in the last three years. I finally became a grown up and started living on my own taking care of my self, I also met the man of my dreams and married him. I got my first “grown-up” job with steady hours and health insurance as well as having to figure out life abroad.
I would never trade this experience for anything and I feel blessed to have lived in the Middle East during a time where this culture is so misunderstood. I know that when I go home I can break people’s stereotypes and misconceptions of how the world lives over here.
Believe it or not but observing the women here has taught me how to be a stronger, more confident woman. They have taught me, through their actions, how to value my self and how to show that, as women, we are more than looks. We don't need to use our bodies to be noticed because we are more than just our bodies. We are just as intellectual, just as strong, and just as capable as any man.
Perhaps instead of looking at being conservative as being oppressive we could view it as a woman’s right to be more than her body but to be her mind.