Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
So for now, let's just leave it at this....I had a rough week - mostly due to several smaller issues which for some reason just hit me really wrong. Nothing is wrong with the family or with myself, but I did need to go away and be cranky for a few days. So what does one do when one needs to fight a bit of cranky melancholy? Well, you start a vibrant new knitting projects in colors so bright that they can't help but put a smile on your face. Even better...you use materials you already have on hand!
I spent a fair amount of time on Ravelry yesterday, browsing projects made from various fingering weight yarns. In the end, I chose a simple shawl - Stephen West's Akimbo - that I had fallen for some time ago. (The fact that two of my guild friends are also making it makes me smile a bit more!) The trick was finding two yarns in my stash that went well together. Inspired by some of the bright combinations I found on Ravelry, I decided to use this purple Pagewood Farms yarn - called Passion - with some Dragonfly Fibers in a color called Terrapin. I think both were simply too pretty to use for socks!*
I'm choosing to move on in a better mood, and I think this was just the extra little bit of help I needed to get me there!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
And so, the Princess now has a new scarf! Pattern: Tudor Grace by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Dream In Color Classy - 1 skein, Cool Fire
Needles: Addi Turbo, 24 inch, US8/5.0mm
Time: January 8-10, 2010
Mods: I increased the needle size quite a bit and then reduced the pattern repeats to just three for what turned out to be the perfect sized scarf for a 7-year-old. I had intended to knit until I ran out of yarn, but the Princess got impatient and told me when to stop!
Further note: She took it as soon as it was off of the needles, and I didn't see it again for well over a week. Thus, it wasn't washed and blocked until two days ago....and now she loves it even more because she can see the pattern!
On a side note...I happen to really like this picture of my daughter!
Monday, January 25, 2010
I have lots to say this morning, so I'd best get to:
- What a difference a needle makes! Yesterday afternoon I went and bought a new 2.0mm needle for my bird shawl. The old one - which I can return today as they have a lifetime guarantee - had a rough join, and pushing almost 600 wee stitches over that join had been driving me nuts. I transferred the shawl to the new needle last night, and now it's smooth sailing!
- I'm feeling much better about my knitting now that I have fewer projects on the needle - and now that all of them can be considered 'active projects' as they are all getting a bit of attention every day.
- I'm feeling so much better that I'm considering doing one more project for that designer. (This is the point where a friend of mine calls and starts yelling at me...)
- I got my hair cut today. I had my stylist take a good 2-3 inches off of it. Much as I wish for a return to the glory days of my hair (high school - long and thick) it's never going to be that way again. I have thin, fine hair and it looks best when cut short.
- The reason why I got a haircut is that my husband and I have a fancy party to attend this weekend. (His employer's employee appreciation party.) I debated for a long time about buying a new dress...but in the end frugality is winning out. I just can't stomach buying something that will only be worn once or twice because if everything goes according to plain it wouldn't fit for long.
- Don't worry...I do still have a nice black skirt and a pink cashmere sweater that will look nice. I'm not completely destitute....although the closet is getting a bit sparse.
- I did find a dress on sale (and we had a gift card to that store) but it was too boring of a dress. I'm realizing that one of the things I want to do is to start developing my own sense of style. I'm tired of wearing only things that blend in.
- I made it to the Hula class yesterday, and it was a lot of fun! AND, it was a surprisingly good workout - as in most of us were drenched by the end, and my thighs and hips were burning. Mostly, though, it was just fun. The teacher complimented me for jumping right in and letting go. Apparently most people are shy their first time. I didn't even hesitate when I found out that we all got to do a solo at the end.
- Incidentally, the teacher is Polynesian, and she was gorgeous. She has one of the most beautiful, healthy bodies I've ever seen, and when she danced you could see joy coming through her. Hula is definitely her passion.
- And I've never seen hula close up. It's very different than I had thought, and I think I may now be more than a tad obsessed.
- Did I ever tell you that I took 15 years of dance when I was young? The dumbest thing I ever did was to give it up when I started college.
- I think we're going to have to discuss creativity this week. I had a talk with my acupuncturist this week that's left me contemplating a few things.
- My Golding will be going in for repairs later this week. I'm sad because I will miss it!
- I ordered my own Mother's Day gift this week - a beautiful, personalized necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs.
- I think I need a brief nap.
- I have a giant box of leftovers from my knitting projects, and I'm a bit at a loss as to what to do with them.
- Do you know what I hate to do more than almost anything in the world? Call and ask people for money. (It's why I was in charge of grant writing when I was a fundraiser.) I had to make calls about PEO dues today, and it stunk.
- My yarn shipped from England today. Yipee! Now I need to get to work to double check my swatches. I think if I cast on as soon as it arrives I will be better off. If I let it sit at all it might never happen.
- I bought Kumquats on a whim today. Turns out we don't really like them...which is a shame. I'll eat a few more before I give up on them.
- Oooh.....I'm so happy! Today I went to look at the library's downloadable audio selection to see if there was anything new. (Having long ago exhausted everything that looked good.) To my great delight, they've added a whole bunch of new books - mostly classics - and I am now in heaven! First up...the Woman in White and Little Dorrit.
I guess that's all.....I thought there would be more, but I've been staring at the screen for about five minutes now. Hmmm..
At any rate, have a great week everyone!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I, on the other hand, seem to have to opposite illness. We'll call it, "Finishitis."
It began with the red socks earlier this week, and continues with a bunch of other projects which I am desperate to finish so that I can work on other things with a clean conscience. I can't be bothered with other projects until these are finished, and neither my stash or the yarn shop holds any attraction right now. This is my WIP basket. It's not bad, but it could be better. Let's look inside.
Friday, January 22, 2010
My Princess shawl came up again at my last guild meeting. Fortunately, I had pulled my swatches out a few days earlier to reclaim one of the needles, and so had recently laid eyes on them. As we discussed the whole mess, and as I started to list the reasons why I was leaning towards one of the yarns, my friend Shelda said, "You sound like a woman who's already made up her mind." I thought about it, and realized she was right. After a quick perusal of Princesses on Ravelry, I made my decision.
This afternoon I ordered five wee skeins of Heirloom Knitting's Gossamer Merino. Why the Merino and not the CashSilk? I do have some good reasons.
- The Merino was actually the more pleasant yarn to work with during the swatching. The Cashsilk had a dreadful tendency to split.....as well as the fact that it pushed the envelope on what was too fine for me.
- When I pulled the swatches out, the Merino swatch was the one that I was actually drawn to. It's quite fetching!
- Likewise, there are now several completed Princess Shawls in the Merino on Ravelry, and they were GORGEOUS! In fact, of all the finished Princesses, I thought they were the best.
- Merino - being a nice wool - is kin to the original yarn that would have been used for this type of shawl.
- Likewise, wool is most likely going to hold up better for the long haul than a cashmere/silk blend.
- The only thing the CashSilk really had going for it was the sheen, and I don't really NEED shiny.
- The Cashsilk is soooo very fine that you must add two extra repeats of the feathers in order to make the full sized shawl. This is a problem for the following two reasons.
- It makes an already huge project that much bigger (and more daunting) and
- It throws the balance of the design way out of whack as it makes the center panel much bigger as well. I've seen pictures of one of these on Ravelry, and was very turned off by it. One of the things that attracts me so well to lace patterns is the overall sense of balance, and I think the Princess completely looses that with the extra feathers.
- Finally, the Merino was less expensive, and by choosing it I was also able to order Heirloom's most recent limited edition pattern! (Because I'm flippin nuts....)
SO, now my job is to get back to swatching with the merino on hand so that I'm ready to begin just as soon as the yarn gets here. I would like to actually be able to show my guild friends progress at the next meeting! Having said that, however, don't go expecting a finished shawl anytime soon. This is DEFINITELY a long-term project.
PS. I found a group on Ravelry a month or so ago called Knitting Everest 2010...and I joined for this project. Felt appropriate!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Even though I've completed a half marathon before (Louis & Clark in 2008, 2 hours and 58 minutes as a walker...in much worse shape than I'm in now, I might add), I find myself inexplicably nervous.
However, one can't be in bed all day without SOMETHING to keep one busy....
It would have been impossible to work on something detailed with the Pixie next to me. She did want to chat, after all, and also required periodic books/drinks/etc. I needed something small which I could pick up and put down with ease. Thus, her sister's latest pair of socks.
And we were in bed for so long yesterday that I was easily able to finish the pair. (To give you an idea of how much time we are talking about....Sock #1 was done, Sock #1 had a completed heel flap, but I hadn't turned the heel yet.) I won't bore you with the details of this project - other than to say the yarn is The Unique Sheep's Leili, purchased back when it was Liisu yarns. The Princess picked the yarn from my stash last fall when we were planning her socks.
The Princess was delighted with her new socks, and as she happily pulled them on she decided they were the,"warmest socks EVER!"
The Pixie's fever is gone today, but as we are stuck at home until she's been fever-free for 24 hours, I imagine there will be another afternoon in bed. Today's project to finish up?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Last week my parents had to put to sleep my Dad's beloved boxer, Jill. On an errand of mercy and grandchild cheer, the girls and I decided to come for a weekend visit. The plan was to be back home by noon yesterday.
The plan failed.
Due to an unusually large layer of snow on the ground, the temperature and a lack of any other weather to speak of, a rather impressive fog has settled over this part of the country. We drove into it on the way to my grandmother's house Friday night, and after a rather tense (and extremely surreal) drive from there to my parents' home we decided we weren't going anywhere until the fog lifted.
The problem is that it hasn't yet lifted. I've never in my life seen such fog...especially surrounding Mom and Dad's home, which is literally on one of the highest points in the county. It's downright eerie. We've not been able to see the road at all...and in fact can barely see across the drive in front of the house. When you go out in this mess, you quickly get dancing spots of light in your vision as your brain tries to wrap itself around the incredible brightness and inability to see anything. Honestly, it was interesting for the first day....but now I'm just ready for it to burn off or blow away so that I can go home!
I do have some pictures to share when I get home...but until then we'll just settle for some words. Wait until you see the frozen fog, though. It's fascinating!
- The daily spinning plan is going really well thanks to my drop spindle. I've spent anywhere from ten minutes to an hour on it every day for the last week, spinning whenever and wherever I have the time. It's making me incredibly happy, and I'm starting to understand why drop spindlers are so convinced that their tools are better than wheels...and more productive.
- Much as I love my wheel, I've NEVER been able to do a daily spinning thing with it because I just can't spin with it in the type of small increments that make a daily spinning habit possible. When I sit at my wheel, I'm committing myself to a fairly long process (I'm guessing 30 min. is my minimum with the wheel.)....but I find that I can spin with my spindle for just 5 minutes and be happy.
- I am going to have to call the Golding people, though. I've been working with my first spindle as it was perfect for the type of yarn I wanted to make, and I've found that it has indeed taken some damage from my early days with it. In fact, the whorl came loose on me the other day. It deserves better, and I am hoping they will fix it for me.
- Also, I need a better method for transporting my spinning. The Ziploc in my knitting bag is not only ugly, but has the potential for damaging the fiber and/or the spindle. I'm thinking of something with hard sides. Ideas?
- My knitting is taking a rather relaxed, meandering sort of path right now. I work on whatever strikes the mood...which means I'm not getting a whole lot done right now. That's ok.
- I packed the perfect amount of stuff to keep me busy for my extended trip home. What would have been too much had the plan worked as it was supposed to is now just right.
- The big fail of our trip is actually in my exercise plan. I wanted to go running outdoors on Saturday, but the combo of bad fog and snow-filled ditches/snow-covered shoulders made the roads too dangerous. SO, I didn't do anything all weekend.
- Feeling gross about the weekend, and not knowing when we'd be able to leave, I did ride my dad's exercise bike for about an hour this morning. I got a great workout, and enjoyed the program he suggested.
- It was funny, though, that Dad kept checking on me. As much as he's seen the results of my efforts over the last six months, it was like he didn't quite believe I could do it.....
- By the way...three days w/o exercise makes for one grumpy Kristin.
- Also, I'm still annoyed that I missed the hula class yesterday.
- On another health-related topic, I have to call my acupuncturist this week. For the first time in well over a year, I've had some very serious PMS issues over the last week - at times making things almost unbearable. Fortunately, the symptoms I'm having are all physical. I am relieved that the emotional symptoms haven't arisen at all.
- I started a new journal two days ago, and am VERY happy with it. As it's been a big topic around here, I'll tell you more about it later this week.
- I miss my husband!
I think that's enough for now. I need to go pack so that we can be ready to go as soon as the fog clears. (I'm being optimistic...we have school and training tomorrow!)
Have a great week everyone!
PS. After a somewhat-hairy drive, we did make it home this afternoon.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Anyway, she was telling me how happy she was about the card, showing me the details in the Fancy Nancy design while considering the possibilities of what she could buy with said card. I glanced over at her and thought to myself, "Wow, I wish I had a Barnes & Noble gift card. They are a lot of fun!" I shook my head, somewhat amused to be a touch jealous of my daughter, and moved on. The kids eventually made it to school, I went off to see my trainer, and I forgot all about that little voice in my head.
Fast forward to later in the afternoon.
On my way to pick up the Princess, I stopped at our mailbox for the mail. (I generally like to open it in the parent pick up line because it does pass the time.) Anyway, there was an envelope from Barnes & Noble. "How odd," I thought.
Then I opened it...and found a gift card for me! I have to admit to laughing out loud as my earlier little conversation with myself came back to me.
The card is a thank you gift from my friend Shelda, and it certainly did help to lift my spirits in what had become a stressful afternoon.
I imagine it will probably be used for a knitting book....
Monday, January 11, 2010
This one is known as, "The Party."
- Ordinarily, it's the kiss of death for one of my knitting projects to be put on hold. If I'm not actively working on it - or if it's been sitting for more than a few months - chances are it's not ever going to get finished. Having said that, I officially put the monkeys on hold last week. I am sick to death of the wee creatures, for a whole lot of reasons. Give me a week or so and I promise I'll go back with a happy attitude.
- I have picked my Town and Country Cardigan up again now that we are post-holiday, and I do need to make some decisions about how to do the sleeves. Good thing I'm going to my guild meeting tomorrow night!
- My gym put out it's new schedule last week. I'm VERY happy because the yoga class on Saturday mornings got pushed back to 9:30. I know it's just an hour later than it used to be, but that hour makes it possible for me to go...and still get a bit of necessary extra time in bed. (Saturdays still being my sleep-in day.) I went last Saturday, and had a lot of fun.
- The only problem is that it is definitely 'fitness' yoga, which I define as a type of yoga where you repeat basically the same poses every week with no individual attention and/or adjustment/correction/assistance from the teacher. Before kids, I took Iyengar yoga at a local studio, and I have to admit that I really miss the variety, the instruction style and the props. Ah well. This is what I've got, and so I'm going to try to just relax and enjoy it.
- Also new on the fitness schedule - Belly dancing at the North location and Polynesian/Hula at my favorite location. I'm so there!
- Tried out my new running shoes today. Sooooo much better! I've never worn out running shoes before, but now that I know I'll definitely plan better next time. (All of my shoes have to be ordered because of my square feet.)
- I'm officially training for a half marathon in April.
- My daily spinning routine begins...tomorrow! Yay! The possibilities are so much fun to ponder....wheel or spindle? which fiber? with intent or intuitive?
- I'm calming down about the search for a new journal. Why? Well I think I'm going to get a simple Moleskine and dress it up somehow. It might be fun! I've been poking around today on Etsy for ideas, and think this might be what I need to break myself out of the new journal dread.
- Not that I've been writing much lately. My journal has truly become just a record of my dreams - which are infinitely interesting and always worth exploring. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to why I dream so much about needing to go to the bathroom, but not being able to find an appropriate toilet?
- No, that's not the most frequent of my recurring dream themes....but it's up there. Also on the list: the family farmhouse in Atherton, Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, flooded roadways, hidden rooms, needing to pack but not being able to get everything done, specific people from my past who have gained symbolic status, desperation over change and tornadoes.
- I really need some warm slippers.
Enough for now....I need to go find a way to warm up in our chilly house!
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
However, I did in fact lock myself into my room last night when my husband came home so that I could pull those 20 rows off of the needle and start over again.
When I got that bit of knitting free from the needles I started to laugh. Why?
Unblocked, that first attempt was a whopping 92 inches long! So big that I had to get the girls involved in a photo this morning for perspective.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
But still, sigh, why do my kids have to be so crazy on snow days? It's only two in the afternoon, and I'm ready to ship them both off with the nearest caravan of gypsies.
As our normal schedule has been tossed out the window, we've found some different things to do. For example:
- Without access to the gym (the playroom is closed when the schools are closed) I decided to work out by shoveling the driveway. 40 min. of solid cardio - done! I would also be doing my favorite workout DVD if I could find it....
- Now that I have an awesome new iPod (Thank you to my husband...it was my birthday gift last month!), with enough memory to hold my podcasts AND music, I can actually import all of my musicals into iTunes so that I can listen to them. My husband had already converted much of our music collection, but I'm afraid musicals just aren't his thing. No matter, a couple of snow days should take care of it. I have to admit that it's been a lot of fun to go down my own musical memory lane.
- Another computer project - My Daily Plate, the website I use to track my food, is in the process of changing their format. The good news is that the recipe function is now MUCH better, and so I may be entering in recipes this afternoon.
- I'm in a weird mood, and so I'm sorting and cleaning like crazy. If I could guarantee the girls would stay busy and give me time, I'd even hit our storage area.
- I managed to find my old bird feeder in the basement, and so I rigged the hook so that if it falls again it will fall onto the deck instead of to the ground below. We're having fun watching the birds again! (and so are the cats...)
- I'm letting the girls have some latitude that I normally wouldn't.....extra computer time, cartoons, movies...that sort of thing. They are happy for now.
- Oh, and I'm the, "BEST Mom in the WORLD!" again because I unearthed about 10 more books for my eldest when sorting a couple of boxes earlier today. She's trying to figure out how to get to the library despite the weather.
- I did let the Princess go outside for a while. She was very well bundled, but only lasted about 15 minutes. Mommy did well keeping her, "I told you so," inside.
- There will, of course, be some knitting going on at some point today. Tonight was supposed to be Mommy's Night Off, but given the weather I don't think I'm going anywhere. I suspect I'll lock myself in my bedroom as soon as my husband comes home from work. He did apologize this morning for leaving me with the crazy kids.....