Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Morning Cup: Dark Green Needle Style!

Good Morning, reader!

First things first: Never underestimate the incredible power of a morning cup of tea! It truly brightens your day, awakens your taste buds with a sweet sonnet of simplicity, and in the ritual of the process of making it, tea becomes a medium to distract oneself from the chaos of the present and allows you to relax and calm down.

The number of times making tea has helped my subconscious work through something that seemed impossibly frustrating mere seconds ago and boiled (tea pun! ;)) down to a simple solution.

So, dear reader, please make a pot of tea and relish in the simple ritual and motion of tea-brewing!

This cup of tea is one of my personal favorites. Dark Green Needle (from my local tea shop that has AMAZING prices and STUNNING teas! Check them out here: TeaSource! They ship anywhere in the US! Just let them know Josh sent ya! ;) )

The tea itself is a GREAT price for the quantity of tea you get! You may think 2 ounces of this tea is a little smidge of tea, but let me tell you: this tea is some sort of magical Gallifreyan product and just keeps replicating itself in the bag. Seriously. I've made this tea numerous times and STILL haven't made a dent in this bag! So now to put an end to this marketing ad (LOL!)

Dark Green Needle is a beautiful, simple, thought-provoking pure green tea with a powerfully understated tone. As it is a pure green tea, there are no fruity bits to cover the raw, earthy potency of the tea itself. But therein lies the enchanting quality of the tea. It has a raw, earthy smell with a rich, nutty flavor that makes your heart warm with a relaxing ahhh. It's just a beauty of a tea and your tastebuds will thank you for the utterly complex simplicity of this cup. And because it is a green tea, you can re-brew it over and over and each time you do so, the tea changes in complexity and slowly unfurls its inner enigmatic flavor. It's a gorgeous tea and I find myself struggling to do it justice. A beautiful, mysterious green tea with a deceitful air of simplicity.

Now that we have the tea covered in glorious prose, I have something to say: Designing is a constant struggle between imagination and mental imagery versus reality and actuality. I find myself stuck at the final finish on this shawl I'm designing due to my doubts on whether or not I executed the shape correctly from pen, paper, and imagination or whether I have just failed miserably.

And the thing is, I can't exactly take it off the needles to view it - unless I feel like picking up the eleventy-billion stitches this shawl has! I'm not even sure how many stitches there are! I know it started with 3 and exploded into physical form with lightning speed comparable to an atomic bomb. So I'm stuck in quandary of do I move forward and use the motto, C'est la vie as my mantra or do I take arms against a sea of knitting and by ripping the needles from the shawl, end it? I really don't feel like doing the latter, as I've knit about 750 yards of yarn into this burgeoning bulwark of shawl, but I find myself stuck - worse than a semi-truck in a ice dam.

Also, while having this incredibly fruitless personal battle raging in my head, I have to decide what to actually do for the border/finishing bit. Do I do clean lines of garter stitch for about 10-14 rows, add in a signature slipped stitch pattern, spice it up with an icord bind off, do an applied edging, or ____? It's quite frustrating right now. I attempted the sage advice from a friend to sleep on it, but I find that neither the act of sleeping nor the act of trying not to think about it has granted me some form of inner epiphany or an act of divine inspiration.

Some would argue that I should move onto a different project for a bit or knit on something non-design related. And they have a valid point. But I am about 10 rows from finishing this sucker and I want it done. Not because I hate the project or anything of that nature, but merely because I wish to accomplish something in my knitting sphere of life. I've been trucking on this shawl for over a week just to get it close enough for completion and I'm not ready to let 10 rows of knitting hold me down.

So basically this post boils down to Josh VS. Shawl and the shawl is being an evil, sadistic beast of an opponent and I do not appreciate it! LOL!

This is the reason why I have taken to airing my personal knitting problem to the world. Maybe I can shame my shawl into submission or force my brain to make a move out of deadlock. We shall see...

So, dear reader, you come to the end of this whiney, designer-y rant about the impossibleness of working with a shawl design and also to the end of my cup of tea. (or rather pot!)

With this last sentence, I wish you all the best and may your knitting kneel in submission to your needles and willpower!

Cheers and I raise the last swish of tea in my cup to you!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Morning Cup: Lounge Chair Lapsang Style!

Good Morning!!!

It's been a LONG time since my last post and let me tell you, it's been a doozy!

First off, before we jump into the crazy catch up/review the last 8+ months of my life, I want to thank a reader for reminding me of this blog's existence and requesting me to write more. It was actually a slight shock to find out that someone read this blog and it made me happy! (So, side-note: if YOU read this blog, post below! It would provide feedback as well as encourage the creation of many more cups of tea! LOL!)

So thank you, fair reader, and to all readers, thank you!

This morning's post is brought to you by a lovely cup of tea, Lounge Chair Lapsang. This tea is one of the only times I actually put something into my tea: milk. I'm usually a straight/black/water-and-tea-leaves-only type of guy, but this tea is just one of those soothing and gorgeous teas that just needs a little bit more to really push it over the edge. It's a black tea and one that I enjoy making in the early morning or late evening as it's just a smooth, soothing cup of tea. The lapsang in this tea is mellowed out by the cornflowers, caramel, and a slight fruity note that creates a creamy, smooth flavor that is comparable to the quiet, stoic, beauty of a cello playing "The Swan" by Camille Saint-Saƫns while a slow mist falls over a gorgeous sylvan setting on a moody mountaintop morning. It's a truly stunning cup of tea and one that I would highly recommend!

Now onto the other bits and pieces that make up 8+ months of things and thoughts. I'm going to make this as short and sweet as a Josh story can be. (LOL!)

I've published 12 (yes 12!) patterns and designed X amount more. (I honestly have NO idea how many I've designed that aren't written yet. I believe last count put it at over 15... o.O That is a TON of design work and guess what? They all are knitted and just need to be written/tested... yep. I AM that crazy designer! ;)) That's 10 shawls and a pair of socks and a pair of fingerless mitts! So designing has been going crazy, needless to say. In fact, most of 2014 has been knitting my own designs, so expect MANY new pattern announcements in the future!

February brought the knitting Olympics and I, true to my over-achieving self, knit a colorwork sweater in 9 days due to my first sweater not working out. That was crazy. No joke. February also brought a new baby brother into my family and he's adorable!

Fast forward through March to April as nothing happened in March other than more designing and knitting. In April I went to the Yarn Over market here in MN. Yarn Over is an event hosted by the Knitting Guild and is an AWESOME event full of knitters local to me, vendors with STUNNING products, and amazing teachers. I've never had the opportunity to go to a class, (other than that time where... cough cough... someone smuggled me into a class... ;)) but the vendor market alone makes the event WORTH. IT. First off, you get to mingle with your people: knitters. Secondly, it makes a great event to meet your knitting friends at or make new ones. Thirdly, the yarn. HELLO?!?

Yarn Over is one of my favorite yarn events and I just can't wait to go again this coming year.

Moving onto June as May was uneventful, we come to the Zombie Knitpocalypse. This is a knitting retreat hosted by dear friends of mine here in MN and if you can, you SHOULD come! No joke, one of the BEST knitting retreats ever! I've been there for both years it's been running, and it is the BEST event in the summer for me! It's 4 days of knitting, good food, and yarn shopping as well as making a BUNCH of new friends and taking classes from the retreaters. It's like a massive knitting group that camps out in a conference hall for 4 days. I taught 2 classes and they were AWESOME! My students came prepared with questions and my nerves at teaching an actual class were so worth it. My class was VERY well received and I look forward to teaching another class sometime!

But before we move out of June, I left my job of 4 years to a new, MUCH better environment! My old job was utterly draining and the politics and nuances of that place still gives me nightmares. But my new job is MUCH better and even makes me excited to go to work. (If one can actually be actually happy/excited to go to work! ;) )

Shooting forward into July/August, I have been working on the first book/collection of geoknittrix shawls. The entire shawl collection is based off of William Shakespeare's tragedies and I LOVE the shawls in this collection! Two shawls to go and they are two of my favorites from the collection!

And that's that!

My cup of tea is almost done and before I leave, I leave you with this thought: Waking up to Ariana Grande's albums makes one incredibly happy and ready to face the day. Especially when you wake up to a classic "Piano" that has serenaded you throughout the dream world last night!

Cheers to you, readers, and I raise the dregs of tea leaves in my cup to you!


Monday, December 16, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Snowy, Contemplative, and Sherlockian style!

Good Morning, friends!!!

It is a wonderfully romantic snowy morning this morning and silence reigns supreme over the slow Monday morning start. The kettle has yet to whistle, so whilst the water warms up its vocal cords to sing its alluring, enchanting song, I sit to write.

And what should I write today? I could write about how crazily Christmas preparations are buzzing about, review the latest movie I've watched, compose a piece on the state of my bedroom, author a work on the weather of Minnesota, talk about my latest knitting projects, discuss the dichotomy of my current life works/projects/ambitions and my ideal state of being, lecture you on the HUGE difference blocking a shawl can make to your finished object, or even tell you how superficial all of the above is.

I want to talk about me. After all, I am the best version of myself out there and I am pretty much the only one (wearing a tinfoil hat does help prevent Big Brother from accessing this head of mine, FYI) who can convey my thoughts, feelings, and mental state at this moment.

But at the same time I feel the oppressive egoism of that. I feel that no one would wish to hear me talk about me and rather than devoting my time to myself, I should talk about world crises, about love, and pretty much anything that doesn't have anything to do with me.

Yet, even if I accept that I am basically full of myself and can't escape it, I turn to my facade, choosing to talk about what I'm working on, writing, eating, sleeping, drinking, planning on, and pretty much anything but letting my guard down and being real with people. I have a fear of being truly open with people and I've become quite agile at donning a mask while wearing a full suit of armor. I hide behind the superficial and protect myself from the emotional, personal details of my life due to the fear of being invisible, irrelevant, and ignored.

Rather than talking about my fear of failure and conveying my deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings on the issues plaguing my brain, I would much rather discuss the latest trends and projects in the knitting world.


Because I don't have to tell you how I really feel. I don't have to share myself with you. I don't have to be open to a closed listener who may not care about how I feel. I don't have to be unprotected.

Deep down I am a deeply sensitive, emotional, and scared kid trying not to let the world know that even though he's twenty-one and officially an adult, that he still feels the age of 11 and very much afraid that others see him as immature. Even though he is a senior in college and projected to graduate in May or June, that he feels like a failure due to being unsuccessful in life. Even though he's working hard to not go into debt during college and succeeding at it, he still feels as though he's a waste of a person. Even though he VERY much enjoys designing knitwear and making creative things, he still feels unaccomplished and unknown and is very concerned about how the public views him.

All of this is in my heart at the moment. I have a fear of being seen as immature, due to the feeling of being judged for living at home with my parents and siblings. I have a fear of failure due to the fact I never receive validation for what I do. I don't get handed a compliment on what I do, nor do I feel that people tell me what they really think about my patterns, designs, projects, compositions, and inventions. But this is more than likely due to my paranoia about what others think of me, my work, or my creations. Rather than take the time to enjoy my artistic endeavors and creations and truly admire my work, I worry over the small failures in the piece or the public's reaction. I fret over whether people will like my things, whether I did enough to get them to even look at it. I rarely take the time to actually admire my creation due to the feeling of being an arrogant, vain prat who is full of himself.

So what does this boil down to? (oh, and in case you were wondering, the kettle has sung its siren's song and I have been steadily consuming hot liquids...)

I care WAAAY too much about how others view me. This is why I have a mask to hide behind. Why I fret and worry and fret some more over my latest creation. Why one slightly negative remark throws all the 100 compliments and positive reviews out the window. Why I stress over the stupid little details of life as though a vengeful higher being is watching the minutia of my life and noting the failures in the moment to moment things. Why I am full of fear.

But today I am taking the time to reflect on the good things in my life and why I have no need to fear what others think and how others feel about me.

First off, I am an artist. I love to take ordinary things in the world's eye and add color, life, vivacity, joy, and light into them. I also love to do the opposite, depending on my feelings toward the piece.

I am an avid tea drinker and lover who will tell you that the Sherlock Holmes tea blend (an enticing blend of lapsang souchong, assam medley, and oriental spice that invokes the ghost of the world's greatest detective) is a beautiful cup of tea for a snowy, contemplative morning. It has deep hues of smokey parlors, mind palaces, and is such a deep, thoughtful blend of tea that one feels lost in the depths of rich mahogany tones. (link to this fabulous blend)

I am a great lover of Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Verdi, Bach, and Handel.

Shakespeare and I have a "thing". So much so that I was recently asked to give an analysis of a sonnet by a coworker who was struggling with deciphering the complex nature of a sonnet by the Bard. (which is a LOVELY exclamation to use, when you need a new exclamatory remark. For example: "By the Bard! It is the twelfth winter's night and I am fairly certain that even two men from Verona would be partying in such sweet sorrow! (which is also a Shakespearean pun of epic and magnanimous proportions, the like of which the very stars dance and sing for thy radiant pleasure))

I am an avid reader and I dabble in the dark arts of poetry and writing occasionally.

I am a knitwear designer. I enjoy taking a concept from paper and converting it into a three-dimensional, functional (or not!) piece of fabric that makes or breaks an outfit, gathering, or even your personal living space. As a knitwear designer, I am truly OBSESSED with shawls and design them constantly. (For example: I was at a coffee shop with my fellow knitting friends recently and whilst talking about our lives and knitting and all of that, I designed a shawl in my mind, grabbed a piece of paper and pen and due to my random thoughts and processes that are going on in my head simultaneously, I was able to keep talking and figure out the maths for the shawl and the concept as well as the colors. This act, rather unfortunately made the conversation stop due to the other knitters' fascination with what I was doing with my paper and pen. Fear not, though, the conversation only paused a moment and continued on. That shawl is now on my needles and is currently 1/4 of the way done)

I am many, many more things than what I've listed above, but the list is good enough for now. It is a step in the right direction. A step taken with positive energy and not focused on the possibility of judgement or failure.

But no matter what I'm going through at the moment, I truly am grateful for a family that supports and cares for me, a group of friends to encourage my endeavors and life my spirits, and finally, a lovely cup of tea with which to take a break from the chaos of life and think on the things that make me and take a moment of relaxation and silence to watch the snow falling down and thinking deeply.

Thank you for drinking this spot of tea with me and may your cup be full of many, many good and positive things today!


Raising my cup of tea to ya!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Grapefruit Oolong Style!

Good morning, friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the sedate calm of mornings in the summer and the cool upper 60s. It is fabulously cool here - albeit slightly chilly compared to our former temperatures - and I am warming up with a cup of tea!

Tea of choice this morning is Grapefruit Oolong! When I opened the envelope, a delightful grapefruit-y aroma wafted out and invigorated my senses this morning. The tea brewed up dark and contemplatively brown and the tea smells slightly of fresh citrus. It reminds me of cooking with a lemon or lime and being able to catch a hint of it an hour or two after. The flavor is relatively weak, but the tea leaves themselves come into play and tingle the senses with a bit of zest from the grapefruit. I personally can't taste the grapefruit, but I do detect the slight zing of the citrus.

So overall, not a bad cup, but nothing stunning.

It receives a 4/5 for aromatic quality, 4/5 for flavor, and a 4/5 for the Josh Factor.

Now on to life.

Today I plan on recording, studying, and knitting as well as cleaning. Unfortunately I have to limit my knitting time slightly to allow my hands to heal. They are feeling sore, but I have figured out why. I cast on a new lace shawl on Monday and I was tensing up over the small needles, beads, and lace weight yarn and not relaxing. I paid for it yesterday with a hand cramp that lasted all day and now I am taking things slowly and stretching and massaging my hands.

Moral of the story: be careful, don't stress out, and whatever you do, don't pout! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a toast to you as I raise my cup of tea!

Much Love!


P.S. DON'T forget to vote for my essay!!! I'm in the lead now, thanks to all my lovely friends yesterday, and need you all to KEEP VOTING! Check out my ESSAY!!!! Thanks!!! :D

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Citron Green Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the smell of fresh rain, the breath of fresh are blowing through my window, and the beautiful, warm cup of tea I'm consuming at the moment!

Today's cup of tea is green... err... yellow, deep golden yellow. It is the Citron Green Tea and it brews up into a delightful, bright yellow and tastes as if it descended from the orchard this morning! The tea is a delightful blend of green tea, lemon, and lime. It is simply beautiful. I love the crisp, citrus flavor and the light touch of earthiness from the tea. The citrus note plays bold, brass, deep, wonderful, and light. It smells like Pinesol and reminds me of cleaning products, but the taste is delightful!

I give this cup a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor!

These green teas are quickly becoming my favorite teas of choice and they make everything fresh, vibrant, and bright!

Now onto the thoughts of the morning.

I woke up to the delightful sound of tip-tapping rain as it gently fell upon the earth and it was such a sound and smell of beauty that I lay in the sweet rapture of bliss, filling my soul with the clean, fresh feeling of rain.

After enjoying this simple beauty, I got up and started to work on an idea I had worked through while sleeping. My friend Lisa and I are going to be doing a KAL together of Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl and I wanted to alter the pattern to be smaller. So I pounded numbers out while the rain covered the land with mist. I computed the numbers I needed, altered the stitch counts, and added beads into the picture.

Yes, all of this was worked through in my head while I was sleeping and I knew exactly how I wanted to alter it. I just had to do the physical number crunching and math when I woke up.

For the shawl, I will be using Malabrigo (My FAVORITE :D ) Lace in the color ways VAA and Cypress. I'm using two colors due to yardage requirements and because I LOVE colors! ;)

I have to find the beads to pair with the yarn, but I'm thinking something along the lines of emerald or hematite. Something equally striking and subtle at the same time. After doing all of this thinking on the project, I REALLY want to knit it, but I need to finish my sweater and some other things first. Plus I don't have my beads yet, which I need to start the shawl. So I will be knitting on my sweater and perhaps something else, but more then likely just my sweater...

Speaking of which, my sweater's body is ALMOST done! I have 10 rows left to do on the body, then the fun bits begin! I really am enjoying this sweater and I can't wait to show it off and wear it!

Finally, I leave you with this simple request: Please take a moment and VOTE for my essay! You can VOTE every day on every device, in every internet browser! So please VOTE! Thanks!! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a huge toast to you! I raise my cup to you!

Much Love!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Peach Oolong Style!

Good Morning!!!

I am currently enjoying a FABULOUS cup of oolong tea! It is called Peach Oolong and it is smashing!

The brew is deep medium amber and is a scrumptious blend of tea that is amazing! It brews up a fragrant blend of peachy keenness and tastes as though one walked into one's private peach orchard early this morning and picked a couple of these lush, golden beauties...

Overall, a FANTABULOUS cup of tea and I give it a 5/5 for aromatic qualities, 5/5 for flavor, and 5/5 for Josh Factor!

I am going to ply my single this morning, followed by a recording session. I am looking forward to it and can't wait to see what the yarn looks like! :D

Yesterday I made quite a bit of progress on my sweater design and it is currently sitting at the halfway mark and I'm excited to get this far in one week! :D

So now to finish my cup and go spin! :D

Cheers and I raise my cup to you! :D

Josh :D

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: White Blueberry Style!

Good Morning!!

First off, you may notice that the blog looks different this morning. No, my friends, it is NOT a carry over from your dreams last night nor your groggy morning eyes that deceive you.

I changed my template due to the previous template giving you all problems leaving comments and the layout kept going HEY-HO CASABLANCA VOLCANO every once in awhile. So I chose a different layout and template and here is the new blog! :D

So now onto other things. Yesterday I finished my ounce of polworth/silk I've been spinning and it is going to be beautiful!!! I also got a 10 rows done on my sweater design (which is looking STUNNING, if I might say so myself! ;) )

I also had my essay for a scholarship contest I am in, approved and it is up on the website. If you would be so kind as to take a moment to vote for me, I'd appreciate it! :D You can vote here! :D

Onto the tea, which has just finished brewing! This morning is brought to you by the lovely White Blueberry, a delightful pale amber brew of white tea from the Fujian Provence in China and blueberries. She is a golden little lady with the fragrance of the summer. I am reminded of the delightful smell of blueberry pie in the dead of winter, which, while it cooks, takes you from the frozen, harsh, cold winter back to the sweet summer days of berry delight.

The taste of it is as the growth of a plant: you taste the rich, earthy quality of the tea, which the sprout pushes through, bringing sunshine to its leaves and grows up into a floral, fruity, fragrant flower of a fruit and the aroma wafts across the land with a sweet, simple symphony of ethereal, even, ecstatic exposition that gives one's heart a beautiful, blossoming, burgeoning bouquet of bliss.

I give it a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor.

Cheers, friends! and Till the morrow breaks, I raise my cup to you and give you all much LOVE!