Monday, November 03, 2014

Happy Halloween and Time Change Weekend

I hope your day was no tricks and all treats!  I also hope that the time change was not too taxing on you. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to get into the leftover (we had a grand total of two trick-or-treaters) Halloween candy.  I think I've earned it--those Boo the Bats are Christmas presents.  Yes, I just might avoid the horrible crushing pressure of finishing Christmas knitting on time this year.    

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Place for Everything

And everything in its place?  Well, it seems unlikely that I will ever be that organized, but I am making progress.  Today's proof is a new cabinet for my sewing machine.  Up until now, when I wanted to sew, I was using a tv tray as a table, and while I was able to make it work for some things, it was not ideal.  There is so much I like about this new piece.  It allows me to have a proper place to sew, it offers storage for various sewing tools and accessories, and it can close up and keep everything protected and out of sight.  

SewingCabinetOpen SewingCabinetClosed
It might take me a little time to organize everything in it, but I am already using it for sewing.  I finished Eva's birthday blanket, and I love it.  

I first saw this blanket pattern over at Grumperina's, and I bookmarked it immediately.  I read the tutorial and thought it might be something I could make, so I bought some fabric.  I washed, ironed, and assembled, and then it was time to pack and move, so it sat.  One day I decided I had better get going on it, so I even managed to do most of the sewing on my old tv tray setup, including making the binding.  I finished the blanket the other day after I assembled my table, and I love it.  I think it is cute, and can see more of these in my future.     

Friday, October 17, 2014

Avoiding Monkey Limbs...

MonkeyBodiesAndTails the form of battling start-itis.  Yeah, The good news is that I have the bodies and tails of a couple of monkeys for the babies finished, and that is nice progress.  However, for now, I am having trouble getting myself to sit down and work on the arms and legs.  Ah, it will be all right, just as long as I can stop myself from giving in to those start-itis urges.  

I do have wonderful justifications for each of the potential projects.      

  • Doorstop Chicken--We could really use one for the front door when Bruce wants to prop it open, and it is adorable
  • Tea Cozy--I do not have one, the weather is changing, and they are so pretty
  • French Press Cozy--Again, I do not have one, the changing weather, and the pretty
  • Bender/Nibbler, Guardian of the Bum Fodder--Really, I do not need more justification than that, but also, our home has two bathrooms, and neither has much for storage room 
  • Slippers--My current pair is in need of replacing, and while these would not be the slippers I would wear full time, (my annual new pair of slippers has returned to Costco, so I will probably buy them next month or get them for Christmas) these would still be great to have in the rotation and for snuggling up on the couch, or while weaving, or really, just whenever, because after all, the weather is changing.
I have the patterns for all of these projects, and I probably have the yarn for all of them, (maybe not for the tp cozies, but probably) and they are all totally practical, right?  Ah, but I am not casting on for any of them.  I will settle down to finish the monkeys soon.  I may just need to find the right Netflix marathon pairing.  Oooh, brilliant idea:  knitting-pattern-Netflix-marathon-pairing-algorithm.  You're welcome.  

There is no real need to worry that I will abandon the current monkeys, Celestarium (making very nice progress on that edging), or other gift projects in pursuit of any of the above right now.  I kind of got over it while I spent some time nurturing hurt feelings/grieving/processing a difficult situation.  While that is not a good pattern to get into, and I need to be careful about such things, occasionally, there is a time and place for it, and it might involve whiny music and circus peanuts.    

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Coming Out of the Dark

Well, Stacey certainly had it right when she commented on the darkness of the yarn for my Celestarium.  It is not a project I work on in low-light settings or when my eyes are tired, but I think it will all be worth it when I am done.  I am hoping to finish it by the end of the month, but that is not a deadline.  However, I do have some deadlines approaching, so I am trying to keep going on those projects.  I call myself over 50% done with the Christmas knitting, but I cannot rest on those accomplishments.  

Besides Christmas knitting, I have decided to take on making things for a couple of birthdays.  I have almost completed sewing a blanket for Eva's first birthday next month, and I am weaving a blanket for Katie's birthday in December.  As it has been National Spinning and Weaving Week, it seemed the perfect time to get the yarn on the loom for her blanket.  
I didn't quite need sunglasses for this, but almost.  I think it should turn out to be interesting and something she will really love.  The blanket will be two woven panels sewn together, so it should be a nice size for her.  I have some ideas for adding some visual and textural interest beyond the bumpity yarn, but I have not decided anything just yet.  For now, I am just glad to have the loom set up and ready to weave.  

It is so nice to have a room for crafting, especially when it comes to weaving.  I could get started on it without worrying about being in the way of anything else, and being able to stop and come back to it if needed and it not being an issue.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Stars in My Eyes

That sounds a lot nicer than saying I see the charts for Celestarium in my sleep, doesn't it?  It is also a better topic than my recent navel-gazing.  I've been trying to figure out what I want to do about blogging.  Short answer--I want the experience to be better, so I am going to work to do better.  That starts with being more active, and if that means shorter posts and more in-progress photos, so be it.  You can also look forward to the return of my reading and commenting.  I have checked in here and there and keep everyone in my thoughts and prayers.  

Anyway, we were talking about Celestarium, right?  Well, that is something nice to talk about, because I have finished the body of shawl.  That's right, I have beaded my last bead.  I got out a pile of lace books and looked at edgings until I found the one I think I want to use.  It is from Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller, and Wave Lace seems like it should be nice.     CelestariumAndProspectiveEdging

Monday, September 01, 2014

Sorrry, I Was Looking at Sweater Patterns

Lately, I have heard many complaints about the weather.  For some, it has been an early return of autumn, and for others, the burning resurgence of summer.  Whatever your weather whine, I think we can all agree it is because I have been looking at sweater patterns, cardigans, actually.  I have also been making decent progress on knitting Christmas presents, and we all know that does not help things.  

However, since the damage is already done, I am opening the floor to suggestions for lightweight cardigan patterns, even down to laceweight.  In fact, I think I might want to focus mostly on laceweight.  I think maybe nothing in the negative ease department because I want a looser feel and do not like things stuck in my armpits.  

I do not have any pictures of the current knitting, so we'll close out the unofficial end of summer with two pictures from the 4th of July.  Hope you have been having a lovely long weekend if it was available to you, or have been watching EverySimpsonsEver whenever possible.  


Monday, August 18, 2014

Remedying a Lack of Refrigerator Magnets

Because what else is there to do while you have too many caregivers for one patient?  A tonsillectomy etc for the son really did not require for so many of us to spend so much time at his home, but we did.  There really was a limit to how much Shark Week and Headline News and accompanying commentary I could stand while the boy slept.  Did I mention that he is thirty-two, and completely capable of caring for himself?  We could tell he was ready for some time to himself by the time we all left.  

In addition to Taki's surgical adventure, we have had a great deal of other life stuff in the mix.  From babies to big kids, and from animals to other mostly routine medical stuff, we have been more than a little busy and preoccupied.  Of course, that is the stuff of life, and we are all hanging in there. 

That has not left much time or concentration for Celestarium, so I knit these tiny refrigerator magnets for Taki.  I liked knitting them, they were a nice distraction, and were not too demanding.  When I was able to knit the last three in one day, I knew it was time to be home.  That being said, we will be back to help him a bit this week, but really, only as much as he needs.  We will see how well he does with a ride in the car and a trip to the store and take things from there.  

This week looks to be another big one, and I am going to do my best to take it a day at a time at most.  I hope everyone else has a good week.  What are you all up to these days?                

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tour Time

Well, the Tour de Fleece has been great for helping me get back to my spinning.  I finished spinning the green fluff I started last year.  The spinning went well, and the dye that transferred to my fingers and hands as I spun let me know that finishing the yarn was going to take eleventy-bazillion rinse cycles.  Actually, it took a few more than that, but I like the finished yarn, so it was worth it.  This is a three-ply, and the fiber is superwash merino.  I know superwash can be a bit of a coin toss, but I like this.    
At a certain point I felt like I was never going to finish, and my Celestarium was sitting at about 33% completion.  So, I decided to get something tiny on the needles, and now I have a little fat cat and ice cream cone magnets for the refrigerator.  

I guess I will take a dive into the fiber bins and see what wants to be spun next.  I suppose it would be helpful if I found my little scale so I can better divide the fluff, but I won't let that hold me back from getting something on the wheel.  I haven't really given much thought to what I will spin next, but I know the stash holds many wonderful possibilities.  

I hope you are all having a joyful July and your time on the Tour has been smooth.    

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Remember It Like It Was Interesting

Sure, there are plenty of stories I could tell about our recent adventures, and while they were full of drama and emotion over here, they would likely be very boring to read.  So, how about we go for a quick recap?  Sprinkle emotional/physical strain/drain/breakdowns throughout, and we have:  look at lots of houses, offers and counteroffers, mortgage stuff, boxes, real estate peoples, final steps, packing, gonna happen/not gonna happen, plumbing, final-final steps, lawyers, not gonna happen/gonna happen, closing, trucks, moving, plumbers, cable/phone/internet/contractors, air conditioning, house-sitting, babysitting, plumbing, unpacking, setting up, organizing, the crud, and life.  Yep, it really happened, and we are now in our new (to us) house.  Really, that is what is important.  Sometimes the difficulties did their best to overshadow the goodness of getting this place.  We have lots to do to settle in and make this house our home, and of course, there are always home maintenance and repair tasks to attend to, but it is good.  

It comes as no surprise that this process offers many opportunities to evaluate many areas of life--finances, what kind of home we want to have, the value of "stuff" and all of that, wants vs needs, etc.  It also showed me a lot about people and relationships.  I discovered some people who are more in our corner than I knew, and a greater closeness in our family than one might guess.  That has been wonderful, and it continues to warm my heart, encourage me, and steady me when I am feeling shaky.  Of course, it has not been all rainbows and unicorns and hugs.  Although these small amounts of somewhat negative feelings ranged from unpleasant to sad to alternately annoyed and chuckling bemusement, they cannot compare to the good.  I discovered some people who I thought were ready to be there for us are not in that place.  I discovered a few people do not hold us in much esteem, and that has caused me to consider why these relationships exist.  Let me see if I can explain.  The typical response to learning someone has become a new homeowner would be to congratulate and if you see the house to say something complimentary, right?  That is mostly what we encountered, but then there were those few others.  The ones with their backhanded compliments, who said they were surprised the house wasn't as bad as they imagined, or said that if we could get a house they are going to get a nicer one or maybe buy a couple and flip them, or wondered aloud just how we were able to get a house, or asked for the nickel tour and spent it pointing out any flaw or maintenance needed.  Then there were the comments and looks that saddened me, but more for them than me.  Apparently, we have some people in our life who, well, it would be grandiose to say they keep us around to feel better about themselves, but clearly, they feel at least a twinge of discomfort for us to experience this sort of improvement in our circumstances.  Oh, well, that sort of thing is just so odd to me.  

Speaking of people and relationships, I have been poking in here and there keeping up with you all as best as I could.  I know many of you have had a lot going on--major life changes, death and loss, illness and injury, sadnesses and worries, and I have kept you all in thought and prayer.  I have also cheered for the successes, and oohed and aahed over the things you have been making and growing.  I have also missed out on a lot, and I hope to get back into the swing of reading and commenting, emailing, and blogging.  There is a lot of new in my life, and it is challenging for me to establish a new routine, but I am working on it.  I have missed everyone.  Thank you for hanging in there with me.               

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't Choose the Colors for Your Doorstop Chickens Before Closing

Yes, it is true; we are engaged in a quest for different housing.  I won't pretend that we are so unique and special to be the only people to ever do this and find the process a bit stressful.  That being said, we have had some adventures, and it has not even been three months.  

Three times so far we have encountered law enforcement pursuing/investigating on the same street where we were looking at a house.  Not only that, but at least three other times we have seen stories on the news of violent crimes on streets where we had been looking.  We try to keep our sense of humor about us, so if you need to borrow a cup of stabbing, well, just follow us.  Oh, but try not to follow too closely; we have already been rear-ended.    

We have been very close to purchasing a home more than once.  We have wondered sometimes whether some people really want to sell their houses. We have witnessed the power of photography in listings.  We have discovered that you can sell what you cannot give away.  We have seen some very nice houses in some very bad neighborhoods.  We have been fortunate to discover some things about potential neighbors that assured us that was not where we wanted to live.  Flying that flag, plastering your car with those bumper stickers, and the extension cords you have running to get electricity from empty homes?  Yeah, we probably should not be neighbors.  

We have also been through the gamut of emotions.  While there are many great things about a bigger place, it also feels weird to think that we would be more than about three steps away from each other.   We have lived here for about sixteen years, and I am feeling the anxiety of the change.  The move from being in a somewhat rural spot to living in the city will be a bit of a difference.  Although, really, we are probably talking about a less than twenty-mile move.  

Anyway, this process is likely to continue to keep me away, but I am trying to pop in to lurk here and there when I can.  I suppose there will be a spot of time when you will not be able to reach me as we do the actual moving and the transferring of services and all that, but I will try to keep you updated.  If things continue as they have been going, we really are much closer to really doing this than I can think about right now.              

Friday, February 28, 2014

Marvelous Miters

The timing of the winter games worked for me.  I used the event to help motivate me and as a general guide for a progress and completion timetable.  If you recall, I was knitting a baby blanket, and I finished it.  Final assembly and edging took place on Monday, and I was finally able to get photos yesterday.  Now I just have to write a note, wrap, package, and get it in the post.  
The pattern is Mitered Crosses, and it is a simple, lovely design.  I hardly had to pay attention to what I was doing.  Row after row of garter stitch kept my hands busy and productive whether my mind was empty and incapable of thought or full of all the things.  Knowing that this was just a baby blanket and that I only had to complete nine blocks allowed me to see the progress and keep going.  

Knitting this also reminded me of how nice project monogamy can be.  That isn't to say that I have changed and will only knit one project at a time from now on, but it can be the right way to go sometimes.    

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

POP! The Final Chapter

Well, it took a little over a year, but now I have a new blanket.  Now that it is finished, I am able to look back and reflect a bit.  I remember the many places I worked on squares.  Given the length of time I took from start to end, most places in my 2013 probably have a square tied to them.  I can even point to a few of them and recall what was happening at that moment in my life as I knit those particular squares.  

Of course, knitting each block was only the first part of the adventure.  I had a few moments of feeling stuck as I contemplated the sorting and joining.  As I did not want to allow the opportunity for dread or over-thinking to set in, I spread a sheet out on the living room floor and just started playing.  First, I sorted by colors and considered math.  Then there were color questions, and possibilities of deliberate patterns or designs.  Finally, I settled on an arrangement that I liked, and I rolled up the whole thing and set it aside for the day, as the process had been exhausting for me.  Over the course of the next few days, I crocheted the squares together.  I clipped together chains of blocks with my Clover locking stitch markers, joined that strip to the previous, unclipped the stitch markers, lather, rinse, repeat.  Once all of the squares were together, I blocked again and considered the edging.  I briefly bumped up against the idea of i-cord, but decided upon crocheting around instead.  I had just a little bit left of the Universal Yarns Classic Shades in Rainforest, and most of it was quite similar in color, (with the exception of a section of bright green that I cut out) so I used it, and quite like the effect. 

As soon as I finished, I curled up under it and took a nap.  The only thing left after that was to wait for the right weather and take some pictures, so that is what I did yesterday.  If anyone is feeling jealousy or ill will toward me for having the weather for a blanket photo shoot, you can take comfort in the fact that there was much mosquito harassment.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

They Doubted His Powers

Maybe people will make a bigger deal out of Groundhog Day next year, eh?  I sure wish I had been able to celebrate it more, but a small celebration can be good, too.  The weather shutting things down for a few days can be good, too.  It reminded me to watch out for being ruled by busyness and to look for the difference between the urgent and the important.  

Today, I am remembering to take a moment to take joy in the little things in life.  Things remain rather rough around here, but life is like that sometimes.  I think the stress of it all is reflected in a flurry of little online purchases I have made over the past week.  I have a couple of sewing machine feet, some knitting needles, and about 1500 beads on their way to me.  As far as stress-shopping goes, that really is not too bad, and I have some plans for most of what I bought.  I even intend to use most of it soon.  Well, soon-ish, and the sewing bits might be more telling on where I am on the lunacy end of things, but it is not as bad as it could be.  

One of the things I plan to make soon from the recent purchases is either Celestarium or Southern Skies.  They are the reason for the bead purchases, and yes, I did order enough beads to make them both, but I do not know that I will.  I still have not bought either pattern, and have not decided whether to knit with or without the YOs.  I ordered a set of faceted ab beads, and a set of clear silver lined seed beads, and am not sure which I will use.  If I wait for both sets of beads to arrive, I should have plenty of time to decide, as one set is projected to be delivered some time in March.  Then again, the tracking for one package showed it out for delivery yesterday, 100 miles away ten hours later, and then showed up today, so whatever happens could be a mega-mystery.  While we wait, I am entertaining thoughts, opinions, and advice on which shawl to knit, which beads to use, and the YO/noYO issue.

In the meantime, I am knitting.  This time it is a baby blanket, and I am making nice progress with it.  Garter stitch is good, and the size of the squares is just right for me.  They do not get too big as to be in the way, but they are large enough that each block completed means substantial progress on the overall piece.  I have a plan that could put completion within a week, but this is a no-pressure, no-stress, and no deadline project, so if it takes a bit longer than that, it is fine.          

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dispatch from the Patch

Just when it seemed we were out of the danger from the cold, a leftover piece of it jumped up and bit me.  Actually, it was a patch of ice I was not even thinking of watching out for because the danger of ice seemed like it should have been gone.  Yeah, I fell, but it could have been much worse.  I was carrying my nephew (he's 20 months) at the time, and I am just glad that he was unhurt.  I was carrying him on the left and I managed to fall to the right.  Now I have a somewhat sad elbow and shoulder, but it is not too bad.  I am doing the resting and icing and that is helping.  It has limited me from doing much beyond Netflixing, but there are worse ways to pass time.  Anyway, somehow I have found a comfortable position on the couch and gotten some real sleep in acceptable quantities for three nights in a row, even.  Yeah, I'm surprised, too, but quite pleased.  

So, you ask yourselves, and quite rightly, "Why is she bothering to blog if she's just lying about on the couch not doing anything?"  Well, you see, before the fall, my sister found a picture of something and gave a not-so-subtle hint that she would like me to make it for my niece.  Since it is unbearably cute, super easy, and takes almost no time, I made one.  I think I will make more.    


Monday, January 06, 2014

Sweet Three-Toed Sloth of Ice Planet Hoth

Ah, it is another of those weather-induced opportunities to dig through your bin of handknits and wear them all.  Some of us are so bundled up in handknits that we could make those fiber festival goers look like their special ensembles of everything they've made in the past year is really just the secret wink to other knitters that they think it is.  

We are staying warm and doing our best to take it easy here.  The cold temperatures are probably helping us take a break from things since the best choice is just to stay home and wait for the weather to change.  

Life has continued to be full.  We traveled a bit last month on a journey that was too long and too short all at once.  Being home is good.  I am finding myself a bit unsettled with what to knit, so I am working on different things here and there in hopes of completing something soon.  

Anyway, I did manage to finish a number of knits and weaves for gifts, (don't want to steal credit--the purple blanket under baby Eva was knit by my grandma, not me) on time, even.  You can spy some of them here amongst my photo collage of some bits of life from the past six weeks or so.