Thursday, January 31, 2013

Contest and Congratulations

Yay me!  I have a new job!  Or will have, by the end of February.  So, in case you missed my explanation, I really am not suited for my current position, but have a new one coming up, and all will be well!  Yay!  Praise the Lord - all in His time!

Now, to that contest...I posted it, and only one person has commented.  Really?  Maybe it was too buried in the post, and it wasn't labeled as a giveaway, so now it is!  Leave me a comment on this post, and you'll be entered to win!  It's that simple.  You're now thinking, what could I possibly win?  A skein of yarn and pattern, or a handmade hat!  It's your choice, and it's that simple.  I have been extremely blessed this year so far (yes, I know it's only January, but it's been a great January!) and I want to share.  Please let me share with you.  On Valentine's Day, because we could all use a little more love, I'll randomly pick a winner, and send it off!  Really - I promise - no strings attached.  Just comment and you're done.  You can tell me what you love, what you hate, what your goals are this year, whether you prefer to dunk Oreos before you eat them or open them up and scrape out the middle, whatever.  Just please be sure to leave an email address, or a way to contact you, so I can let you know if you win!

Oh, and I will have pictures soon.  My goal for the month of February is to take a picture every day. It's going to be a month of photos.  I would also like to post them daily, but with the new job coming up and wrapping up the old one, I don't know that I'll get to post daily.  That being said, I can try.  This year is all about attempting something new, and being blessed.  So, I'm going to try.  That would be 28 posts for February, all with a new picture.  I hope to learn a lot about my camera and editing photos during the next month.

In crafting, I'm close to being done with the body of my Gemini, and I only have to hem my simple skirt!  The problem with hemming is that I really need someone else to help, so I think I may run by the fabric shop soon (or wait until Knit Night) and get some help.  It was a super simple and easy skirt, and I look forward to wearing it.  Or at least trying to! :)  It's a plain simple gathered waist skirt.  I may even get my mom to help on Saturday.  She's coming over to watch the kids for a bit, and after I get back, I might be able to talk her into helping me.

Have a great weekend!  What are your plans?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What To Do Next

I have an issue with my Oatmeal sweater.  See this?

It was marked as "Wool-Ease Chunky."  If it is, it's the loosest spun Wool-Ease Chunky I've ever seen.  It also had a brownish tint.  I started to mix it, alternating rows to use it.  I gave up after 3.

I took it out, and started with the new ball I bought.  I needed at least one extra one, as I was making it slightly larger than the pattern calls for, slightly longer than the pattern calls for, and I also wanted long sleeves, instead of bracelet length.  Does anyone say that any more?  Does anyone else even know what that means?  Bracelet length sleeves?  Just in case you weren't aware, it's that odd length between a 3/4 length and full length sleeve, right about where a bracelet would hit.  Hence the name. It was popular decades ago, probably in the 40's and 50's, when women dressed for dinner and wore hats and gloves in public regularly.  You weren't considered dressed without a hat and gloves.  I try to wear bracelets nowadays, but they get pilfered.   Princess loves them.  The other skein?  Well, I'm still in debate about that.  I'm thinking of making it into a hat.  It would be wonderful as a chunky cabled hat.  I don't know who would like to have it - do you?  How about a give away?  Leave a comment about something: what you're doing, what you like, what you don't like, if you prefer Cookie Monster or Rowlf, whatever, and I'll use a random number generator on Valentine's Day, and pick a winner.  Sound like a plan?  I've been very blessed recently, winning 3 contests within a month, and I'd like to share the blessings.  I'll let you pick - I can either send you the skein with a pattern, or I can send you the knitted hat.  No one is excluded; any country eligible!  Yay!

In other crafting, I wanted to make a simple skirt this month.  I know, it's sitting here almost at the end of the month, and I haven't even touched it.  Well, that's not completely true:

I brought it from the drawer it was stored in out to the table, and took this picture.  Isn't it lovely?  It's a gorgeous blue, with dragonflies in a lighter teal and surrounded with gold.  It's going to be a great looking skirt.  I also bought some blank canvases, and am coordinating with my SIL to use those for Little Man's room.  He needs a real boy's room, rather than a toddler room.  He needs a new bed, and he's getting a pirate theme.  It should be really cool once I'm done.  I'll show you pictures as it progresses.  In the meantime, I'm working slowly on cleaning the house, and organizing, and getting stuff to actually look like a home, rather than a house shaped storage facility.  It takes time, and that's scarce.  I know I'm not alone - everyone has their one room, or house, or place that just needs a little more work.  With 2 small kids, it's hard to have time to do what you need to do.  Someone always wants to play.  Playtime is always more important than cleaning with children.  I have painting, sewing, and more knitting to do.  Back to the sweater: it's not really working for me.  I tried it on last night, and it's too tight.  So, back out it goes.  I have some reading and planning to do, and see what I can do to modify the pattern a bit, and then move forward.  So much for having a warm big sweater soon.  I was hoping to just whip it out and be done.  Not so much now.  *sigh*  Oh well - more knitting to do, and that much I like.

I am also making progress on the shop front.  I have patterns that I need to revise and post.  It's going to take a little while, because although the patterns are written, I have pictures to take and I have some other techie type issues to figure out, and then they'll go up.  I'll keep you posted on that as well.

I'm also trying to take better and more pictures.  As a matter of fact, during the month of February, I'm going to take at least one picture every day and post it.  I may post those pictures only once a week, but expect more camera play time that month.  I'm finding the joy of manual focus.  You can do a lot with that, and I'm going to explore.  Lots of stuff going on here - how about you?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my Little Man.  Today is your sixth birthday.  I love you more now than the day you were born.  You have been my joy; I love watching you grow up.  You have learned so much in the few short years you have been on this earth.  God truly blessed us with a special gift - more precious than words can describe.  You are the brightest, handsomest, sweetest little boy I have ever known.  I love you more and more each day.  You are a true blessing, and I thank God for you daily.  You make me happy when I'm sad, laugh when I want to cry, surprise me when I least expect it, and love purely.  I am so proud of you and the young man you are becoming.  I hope one day you are able to realize the true joy you bring to me and your father.  I love you so much and wish the world and more for you.  Happy Birthday Little Man, and may you have many, many more.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Then there was trouble...

It's been wet and rainy all week.  And then, yesterday, it got super cold.  Today, it's cold and there are patches of black ice out.  We're all going to take it easy and slow today.  I really would love to try this for today:

French Onion Soup Sandwiches
I bet they smell as wonderful as they look.  Currently, there is a cacophony of birds outside.  I'm not sure what they're chatting about, but I'd guess it has something to do with the cold and the end of the rain, and now the trouble getting to the worms in the ground.

Little Man wasn't exactly thrilled with his sweater at first, but he warmed up to it (no pun intended).  I haven't gotten him in it yet, but then, he's at home and warm enough.

I was trying to finish Gemini, but with the turn of cold weather, I want something big and warm and I want it now.  So, I cast on this last night:

I'm not abandoning Gemini, just setting it aside temporarily so I can be warm.  I think Gemini will be a good transition sweater (from fall to winter and from winter to spring).  So it can wait a few more days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I have a few secrets I want to share with you.  There are a couple of ones that are minor, and others that I've alluded to over the past few months.  Here's the first one:

Child's Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond

Little Man's birthday sweater is done.  It's had all its ends woven in, it's been washed and blocked, and it's ready to wear.  Here's my next project: Gemini.

I'm ALMOST done with the body.  I have about 24 rows (in my estimation) to finish on the bottom, and then on to the sleeves!  The pattern doesn't actually call for sleeves, but since I'm making it out of merino, instead of a linen blend, sleeves would be more fitting.  Besides, I still have a LOT of skeins left, and I hate having unused yarn.

So, here's more secrets for you: the major ones.  For those of you who actually know me personally, you know about my day job - not exactly my favorite.  Well, over the course of the past year, not only have I suffered from depression (now on anti-depressants and in counseling to combat it) but my hubby and I have discussed starting a business.  Now, here's where it gets good: specifically, we've talked about a yarn shop.   We know where we want to open, what we want to carry (within certain limitations - some of our favorites, some local yarn and fiber, and some things that we're not fond of but think will sell well), and about how much we think it will cost.  The only thing stopping us from packing up and moving and starting it (it would be a couple of hours from where we currently live) is the money.  No, I'm not asking you to send us anything (although we wouldn't say NO :D ) but I'm just sort of "letting the cat out of the bag."  We're starting slow, getting all our ducks in a row.  We're gathering some more information, getting some of the hard work on the back-end lined up (web presence in particular) and slowly working on it.  This is one of those "need to finish" items on our list.

This was not a path we would have chosen.  In my last job, a supervisor told me I should start my own business, which I adamantly refused.  I didn't want that responsibility.  Now, I think it's something I'm willing to take on.  God has His own timing, and it's not ours.  There is always something to do, no matter how dark it gets or how many doors seem to close.  I will keep you posted on the progress of things regarding this.  We will let you know when things finally settle and come together.

This year holds a lot of promises and plans for us.  How about you?

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Traditions

I think we're going to have a new tradition for the children.  I'm going to knit them a sweater for Christmas and their birthdays.  I'm almost done with Little Man's birthday sweater, and he got his Big Blue Sweater for Christmas.  Princess will get a sweater for her birthday as well (it's not until September) and I have a cardigan to reknit for her as well.

The new year is proving to be interesting.  I am attempting to finish things, and so far, not too bad.  I'm not perfect, just like anyone else, and things fall by the wayside.  But, there's a few things I do want to finish this month:

1) Gemini

My Purple Gemini

2) A Simple Skirt

I have a lovely length of a dark blue dragonfly cotton print, and I want it for me, and I think I want a skirt.  I'm trying to branch out of my comfort zone in sewing, and the best way I can do that is to try to tackle one project a month.  Yes, I know I still have 2 quilts, actually 3, still waiting for me.  I know I said I was going to finish what I start.  However, I've had this fabric for a couple of years, and so I am completing what I started.  I just started this WAY back.  Well, sort of.  At least I'm using what I have instead of running out and buying more.  I have also had the brilliant idea of how to expand my wardrobe on the cheap.  It's called Goodwill.  But not in the way you expect.  How many people go there looking for flat sheets to make into skirts?  Or for sweaters to rip out and knit new ones?  I'm exploring the concept of reusing old things.  Making things from what's already there.  Consuming less by consuming old things others don't want.  Recycling into handmade items.  I'm reaching back into the depression era mentality and going with either what we have or what we can reuse.  What about you?  Are you interested in recycling old clothing, or just buying new?  Can you not imagine wearing something re-purposed, or does the thought of something new off the rack drive you to tears?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Distaff Day

Saturday was Distaff Day for the Peachtree Spinning Guild.  They sweetly invited us to go, since my hubby went into the Antique Spinning Wheel group on Ravelry to purchase this for me.

The Original Wheel
Now, she looks like this:

You might not be able to tell much difference, other than the lack of a Christmas tree behind her.  She's been oiled, cleaned a little more, and she's been spinning.  She told both of us her name: Betty. Since she's from Eastern Europe, we decided to call her Bettina.  She spins fast, but true, and she's light and easy to work with.

As you can see, I've already been spinning on her.  I bought about 8-10 ounces of Corriedale last year.

It's far from perfect, but I'm a spinner now.  :)  I've been bitten by the spinning bug.  I also promised a picture of this:

You can't see the color really well for some reason, but it's a fuschia color.  It's actually quite lovely.  Now on to some projects.

Natural Alpaca

Fiddler's Mitts by Ysolda Teague

Classic Raglan by Jane Richmond
I forgot that while we were at the Distaff Day, Gale Evans from Gale's Art was there, with LOADS of fiber.  She had a great deal on all natural alpaca, and I couldn't resist the lovely icy grey.  Below that, is my attempt at the Fiddler's Mitts.  I started these several months ago, and when I tried them on, they were too tight.  So, I started them over.  They are giving me tension issues: part of this one is tight, while the other part is loose.  Like spinning, it's going to take some getting used to, so I'm going to take this one out, and let it sit for a while.  Maybe I can work on it later.  So, to the frog pond it goes.  The last picture up there is Little Man's birthday sweater.  He loves red (it's his favorite color, as he likes to remind us several times a day).  It's a plain basic sweater and I think he'll get a lot of use out of it.  As for the selfish knitting, Gemini is close to the increase rounds.

We learned a lot at Distaff Day, and we were invited back for another guild meeting.  It would be lovely to go, and we might in February.  We're going to build a basic tool kit for it, and hubby is looking forward to adding to our collection.

I still have to work on my simple skirt, and the kids' quilts.  Sewing has been put on the back burner, as I have to clear the table and move the sewing machine back to the dining room table so I can use it.  Now, if you'll excuse, Bettina would like some attention.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Follow Through

One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is follow through.  I know it sounds childish in some ways, but as crafters, we sometimes have a tendency to get sidetracked, and have lots of UFOs hanging around.
My very own Mallory
I finished a Mallory for myself, just a couple of days after Christmas.  I really wanted one, after making 2 for gifts, and although it's a bit wider than those, I love it.  I made it wider on purpose.

Gemini - In Progress

Lacy Back - or Front!
Here's my TV knitting - my Gemini.  I started this before the holidays, in November.  I'm about 12 inches into the body, and when I try it on, it fits nicely.  Of course, it's a long way from being done.  I realized as I started pulling out the yarn for this sweater that I have A LOT of it.  So, I think I'm going to make it long-sleeved.  Or at least 3/4 length.  It makes more sense when it's cold to have a nice sweater.  I actually don't have that many of them.

In keeping with the theme this year of "following through," I hope to post more pictures of finished objects.  I'm trying not to procrastinate on finishing things.  I have a bad tendency, like most people, of putting undesirable tasks off, lamenting how horrible it is, or how long it will take, when in reality, it won't take very long, and if I'd stop complaining about it, I could be done with it already.  In the words of Lewis Caroll in Alice in Wonderland, "She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)."  So, it's time I take my own advice, and changed the way I thought about things.

Trying to be better than you are is hard work.  It's always an uphill battle, although it's an admirable goal.  Anything worth anything is worth fighting for, and being a better person is always a fight.  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." James 1:2-3.  These are my verses for the year.  Words to live by - I am trying to find the joy in my trials, and get the promised steadfastness.  It's sure to make for an interesting journey - would you like to come along?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

People have a lot of traditions for New Year's Day - like eating black eyed peas and collard greens (for money) and doing what you want to do on that day throughout the year.  Growing up, I had those traditions as well.  If today is any indication of what I'm going to be doing throughout the year, then here's what it'll look like: eating good food, playing with my children, working, and taking a nap.  It's not all bad - most of it is good.  I probably should have planned more things like more knitting time, although I did fit some in, working with my new spinning wheel, and some other things.  I should probably have taken down my Christmas decorations and cleaned, and undertaken other domestic activities to be productive.  It was rainy here all day, so outside activities were out of the question.

Yum!  Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

How was your New Year's Day?  Did you have great plans, or did you just lie around the house?