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!