Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas and other things

It's been a mad house around here.  Hardly anything is ready for Christmas, although I did take it easy on myself and only did a few knitted presents this year.  The ones I made were mostly by request - the rest of the gifts were bought.  I managed to find and make a few surprises, like these:

I found the pattern on The Purl Bee, and had to make one for each of my children.  Aren't they adorable?  One has a pink hair bow, one has a purple hair bow, and one has a red bow tie.  I kind of made up the bow pattern.  I'll share that later, after pictures.  I'm working on wrapping presents and I am finishing the last of the knitted ones.  I found I had extra time and yarn, and so I'm adding to what I already have.  It's actually rather nice to not be in a rush to get things done, feel a time crunch, and be in a panic.  I love Christmas, and little by little, I'm already starting to plan next year's.  I know that sounds insane, but if I can get organized now, and figure out what I need/want, then next year I can put in a game plan and start early enough so that it's not a hassle.  I'm also looking towards the new year, and thinking about how I need to work that as well.  There are a lot of changes that I really want to make, things I want to make progress on, projects I want to complete, and the like.  I'm trying to take some time to reflect on this past year and create a game plan for next year, to make it better.  Quite frankly, I had a rather crappy year.  I had a lovely new baby girl added to our family, but work had severe issues, money was a problem (try a HUGE bill from said new baby), and there was little to no progress in some other areas.  Next year, I'm going after it all.  It sounds like a lot, but there's that old Chinese proverb - "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  So, each day, you wake up and think about what you can do to take one step.  After a whole 365 days of stepping, you've made progress.  I don't anticipate completing everything this next year, but I want to make progress on it.  There are some things I definitely want to accomplish (some teaching tools, more crocheted items, a plan of attack for all holidays), and there are things that I want to make progress on (work, money issues, personal growth).  Getting a game plan is the best way to do that, and I'm getting there.  It's slow, and I really do have to actually sit down with a piece of paper and pencil (I'm seriously old-school with that - I need a pencil, not a pen, as I make a lot of mistakes and need to erase a lot).  I need to create categories and write down the goal for that category, and then steps to reach that goal.  The new year holds a lot of promise, and I want that promise to be fulfilled.  My theme for this next year is "Be Intentional."  Everything we do should be intentional - with a purpose and a goal in mind.  Even having fun should be intentional - we need to let off steam and create memories with our children.  Be in the moment, for once the moment is gone, it can never be regained.  Do you have plans for the new year already?  How's your holiday season shaping up?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Epic Sweater Fail

There was a time when I was invincible in the knitting world.  I had no fear, and I dove in head first for much of what I wanted to do.  These days, I’m not afraid, but I have very little brain power to spare.  I have attempted at least 3 times to knit myself a sweater, and I have failed.  Every.  Time.  This is failure of epic proportions for me. 

Failed Attempt #1

Failed Attempt #2

So, I’m going back to the basics.  I tried to knit the lovely Oatmeal Pullover, and the second time through (or was it the third?), realized the sweater and my body were not compatible.  This happens – you see something lovely in a store and think “I love that shirt/dress/sweater/skirt/whatever” only to go in and try it on and find that a potato sack would fit better.  I have to re-learn things that I thought I knew.  Maybe I still know them, but they are buried deep in the recesses of my mind.  This happens as you get older (so I am told).  So, I am going to embark on a journey.  I invite you to come along with me. 

I am starting on another bulky weight sweater for myself.  This will be a basic raglan sweater, knit from the top down.  I have my tape measure, my pencil (I need a pencil because I have to erase a lot), all the yarn I could possibly need for this sweater, needles, stitch markers, a calculator, and paper.  Hopefully I will re-learn a lot of fitting techniques, and maybe even a few new ones.  I hope to have this one done before the really cold weather sets in (although we’ve been having freakishly cold weather here already, and it’s super early for it!).  Will you come with me on my journey?  I know the next few weeks are filled with cooking, baking, cleaning, holidays, parties, concerts, shopping and all kinds of craziness (since now apparently shops have what my hubby calls “Hallogivingmas”), but I think taking some time out for myself (or ourselves) is important too.  I know that I will be the only one to give myself something handmade. 

Funny side story for handmade items: one place that I worked, we always did a small birthday celebration for those in our group.  We had a cake, bought and signed a card, and usually gathered a little cash for a gift card for the person.  It was a small group, so this wasn’t a big deal financially, but it always was a nice gesture.  I, being the baker in the group, would usually bake a cake for whoever it was – I tried to find out their favorite and make sure we had that.  When it was my birthday, I got a store bought cake.  It was one from a local grocery store, and not even one that had a bakery in it – it was one of the bundt cakes that come on a truck already baked and packaged.  I still loved them, as it was more the gesture of thought than the cake itself, but it was just funny that I got a lowly pre-packaged bundt cake with strawberry gel on top, while everyone else got a lovely homemade fresh baked cake.  I still love those people.  And I'm still baking cakes, including my own.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

On the fence

I started this crocheted afghan over a year ago:

It's a free pattern I found through Ravelry; Sampler Afghan, by Marianne Forrestal. It's a lovely crocheted block style afghan, and then you whipstitch all the blocks together, and add a border.  My problem is that not all the blocks are as even as I'd like.  This means I have to redo several of them.  That's not really much of a problem, to be honest.  I like doing the blocks for the most part, and they go fairly quickly.  My biggest issue is that I've been distracted by the Neat Ripple Afghan, by Lucy of Attic 24.  Actually, it's just her use of color, and she's currently doing a Cosy Blanket CAL.  I have to admit that I am not normally inclined to her use of color, but it's been drawing me in recently.  I'm thinking of changing this one, undoing everything I've done, and putting it into some lovely crocheted stripes.  I have to "finish" the blanket, because I've been teaching a class.  I still need to whip at least 2 together, and work the border for a bit, so I can finish teaching.  What do you think?  Should I just redo the squares that need it, block them out and finish what I started, or rip it all out and start some lovely stripes?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I miss hearing from you.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Progression of a sock

Here is today's progress.  Not too shabby...I hope to be down to the toe decreases tomorrow.  I really want to be done with this one by the weekend.  I already have another sock that needs the toe grafted.  Then I need to complete the second sock for that pair.  Fortunately, those socks are for Princess #1, so they are small and go quickly.  How is your Christmas knitting coming?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Race to the finish

So, here is where I am on Christmas present number one.   There is another sock, and a really long story to tell.  That will hopefully be over the weekend.  My tablet is not the best medium to use for communication,  but it works for now.   And I can give more WIP updates.  That's all for now!

Thursday, October 09, 2014


I would have updated something sooner, but back pain sucks.  I was fine and then all of a sudden, my back tightened up and it's been a painful existence ever since.  I finally had to get a couple of prescriptions from the doctor - it was that bad.  I worked from home (not that the boss was happy about it, but that was all I could do) and didn't feel like knitting or crocheting.  At all.  You know it's bad when that happens.  But, I did get to wear my socks.  I started a new one.  This one is for my mother for Christmas.  She asked for them.

It's the Business Casual sock, with a picot cast on.  My mom saw them when I took her to the doctor's office, and said she liked them and wanted a pair.  I changed the cast on, and used a lovely yarn from Madeline Tosh in Fragrant that I had in my stash.  I've turned the heel and am working on the foot, but I have to get the length.  She's supposed to be measuring her foot this weekend for me.  I'm trying to do a handmade Christmas again this year, as much as possible, but I'm cramped for time.  I hope to get these socks done in the next couple of weeks, and then I have 3 more pairs to do.  I was going to try Wraptor, from Knitty, but that would take WAY longer than the 2 weeks I have for each pair.  I'd love to sew a couple of pillows for the children, but if not, I have a couple of other gifts up my sleeve that will take far less time to make.  

I'm working on a serious shoe-string budget this year.  I'm trying to get everything (or as much as I can) done on about $400.  I was going to use $300, but I don't think I can make it.  Have you started making Christmas plans yet?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Testing new things

I am attempting something new.

It may not be the greatest, but now I can hopefully post more pictures!  Here is the latest new project, a Flax for the baby to match her big sister.  The biggest problem right now is seeing as I type, so I have to carefully proofread before publishing.  Hope it all comes together!