Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ready for the test

So, for Christmas in July, I decided to work on a new approach to pattern writing.  Instead of making it up as I go along, and then trying to frantically remember what I did and write it down, I did all the math first.  I spent probably a good 3 hours working on this one on the fore-front, and I'm hoping the work will pay off.

Courtesy of The Whole Nine Yarns

I'm going to start working up one size tomorrow night, and see if I need to adjust anything.  I will also be trying it on the main subject, Princess, as I go.  She loves new clothes, and a skirt from Mommy will definitely fill the bill.  I'll have to check on some fabric to line the skirt from the local fabric store, and then it should be complete.

Courtesy of Sew Main Street

I think I left enough room for the fabric, but I hope I didn't leave too much ease.  This is the testing concern.

I still have to figure out what to do with my Dragonfly Rib sock.  It wouldn't fit over my heel.  So, I ripped back to the decreases in the gusset.  I'm going to try that on, and see if it will fit.  If so, then I know I just need to decrease less, so I have more stitches.  I can change out the top part for the large size, and leave the foot the medium size.  Not hard, but I just want to make sure it'll fit before getting started.  My other sock, the Hermione's Everyday Sock for my MIL, is moving along nicely.

Madeline Tosh Sock in Home
I'm almost done with the heel flap, then I just have to turn it, decrease the gusset, move down the foot, do the toe decreases, and graft up the toe.  All in all, I should be about halfway done with it.  Elijah is moving a little slower, so there's only a part of one leg done.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In Stitches

I think I figured out the key for me - I need to focus on me for a bit.  Not be self-centered, but truly take care of myself.  So, I'm still working on my skirt for the A-line class from Craftsy.

I finally took all my measurements and started drafting the pattern.  I have to go back and re-watch that part, but it's coming along.  It's a good first draft.  

I am still plugging away on Elijah and Christmas socks, as well as the Christmas in July pattern.  I did spend time on that this weekend, and have about half the math done on it.  I just have to finish it up and then start working on the sample.  It should come together fairly quickly and easily.  I hope. :)  

It was a hard weekend for me, and honestly, I didn't get a whole lot of crafting done.  But, I got some rest, re-focused a bit, and I think I can finally get back on track for a lot of things.  One step at a time, it's coming together.  It's not easy, and it's not fast, but there's progress.  And that's what crafting is really all about isn't it?  Progress.  Keep making progress, and moving forward, and all will be well.

Friday, June 21, 2013

More to come

I always have lots of plans.  Some people think that's a type A personality trait - I think it's more of being prepared.

Remember this?

It really wasn't quite what I was hoping for as a skirt, so I decided to go with this:

Craftsy rocks.  I should have just been patient, and the plan would work out.  That's the joy of at least having a plan - you have a direction to go in and can change it.  I guess that's what separates me from the true type A personalities.  Changing the plan doesn't bother me.  For instance, this skirt was easy to take out.  The seams didn't take me long at all.  I think I'll like the length of the new skirt.  I had a friend at work measure me and I'm hoping to work on the A-line skirt a little bit here and there, and then I am going to use this pattern for a top:

I just have to find fabric for it.  You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a matching solid.  I'm also going to give these a try soon:

Little Man chose a lovely red poplin for his.  I'm really looking forward to sewing his pants.  This is my plan - work a little on each one (and knitting and crochet projects) and soon they will be done.  The hard part is finding time to work on all of them!  I've still got a Christmas in July pattern in the making, and should be able to whip that out in the next couple of weeks (I hope).  If all goes well, it shouldn't take too long.  I hope.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And I guess that's why they call it the blues

For some reason, for the past day or so, I've had that Elton John song stuck in my head.  Uncharacteristic of what I normally listen to, I know, but fitting.  I think I was a bit overwhelmed when I posted last.  That happens.  You start thinking about all the things you want to accomplish, and all the things you need to accomplish, and then all this other stuff starts swirling around and well, life gets to be a bit much.  It gives you the blues.  Today is much better though.

Sorry the picture is kind of dark - that happens when you take them at night in the house without a light box.  Yes, I know I need to make one.  It can take a ticket and get in line with everything else.  Back to the picture: do you know what all that is?  That's Christmas in a bowl.  Here's a breakdown for you:

This one is Madeline Tosh in Home.  It's going to be a pair Hermione's Everyday Socks for my MIL. These have already been started, but I may have to rip back a little.  I started them without the pattern, and I'm not sure if I got enough ribbing.

This is also Madeline Tosh but in Fathom.  Hubby found this at Stitches South and wanted some socks.  I can't remember if I found a pattern for these or not, but I'm sure to think of something.

This is Shibui Knits in graphite.  Lovely, isn't it?  These are going to be a pair of Earl Grey socks for my brother.  (And if you're reading this, please promptly forget what you just read).

This one is Sweet Georgia Superwash Sock in Charcoal.  They are destined to be for my dad.

This is Cup of Joe, by Numma Numma in Panna Sock, which is 100% merino.  I love the slight twist on this single ply - it makes it look almost rustic.  They will be for my FIL.

Ah yes, the red.  Colinette, Jitterbug, in Morello Mash.  It looks darker in person.  I scored this one in New Orleans, at The Quarter Stitch in the French Quarter.  It's a lovely little shop.  Lovely people. This one is going to be for my kids.  I figure I can get two small pairs of socks out of it.

This picture threw me for a second - the yarn looks slightly purple, but in reality, it's not that purple-y.  This is Tanis Fiber Arts, blue label fingering weight, in chestnut.  I think this one was headed for my uncle, but to be honest, I can't remember at the moment.

This is Squoosh, in Cowboy Dreams.  My husband's aunt will appreciate this one I think.  She's not an overly girly girl, and likes Native American and Western themed items, so I thought the name was appropriate.  The colorway is brown and blue, in muted tones.  It's a lovely subtle variegated yarn, and it looked like her.

This is Malabrigo Sock in Abril.  When I bought this, to be honest, I really wanted it for myself.  However, hubby was with me at the time, and he asked if it was for Christmas.  Knowing that he'd frown on the purchase if it wasn't, I said it was.  Deceitful, I know.  However, after thinking about it, and realizing that I didn't have anything for my aunt, I think this one would work for her perfectly.

This is more Numma Numma, but in Cupcakes!  No, really cupcakes! is the name, with the exclamation point.  That one I think is going to my mother.  Or my grandmother.  I haven't completely decided yet.

So there you have it, my Christmas "to knit" list.  I'm still missing a skein or three (I had plans to knit up plain socks for spare pairs, because occasionally we have people "drop" in for Christmas.)  I'm missing a skein for either my mother or grandmother, depending on who gets the Numma Numma.  Any thoughts on which one should get it?  Any thoughts on what to get for the other one?  What about you?  Do you have knitting plans for the holidays?

Monday, June 17, 2013


I'm still tired.  I took a day off, slept in, and I'm still tired.  Ever just lose all your steam?  I'm there.  Nothing seems to work right for me.  I'm still trying to get one swatch done, and I'm not happy with it.  So, part of it came out (the pattern part - the swatch was a sc and pattern swatch and the pattern part has been ripped back).  I'm out of steam, no motivation, tired, lacking in get up and go.  My socks are slow-going, and I had so many ideas but I can't get going.

I took a nap every day when I was off, and I'm still tired.  I feel okay, but just not quite there.  I ate fairly well too; nothing super salty or bad for me.  I think part of it is that I can't get my back to stop hurting.

When you live in pain, it's hard to feel normal.  The problem is that it's not horrible, excruciating pain, so I function pretty well.  Most people don't know.  It doesn't really show.  But I know it's there.  It's like having shin splints - it doesn't hurt through everything, and there's not a whole lot that you can do about it, so you just have to live with it and not run.  Only it's not running that makes me hurt - it's bending over.  I've found I tense my shoulders when knitting as well.  I feel almost like a big bundle of tension.  But I can't get rid of it.  I don't know if it's just leftover from my last job, or if it's just my life now.  I try to get as much rest as possible, but it's like it's never enough, and I can only stay in bed so long before it's just not comfortable any more.  Maybe I just need a massage.  Maybe I should drink more water.  Maybe I just need a vacation.

I think everyone's going through something like this: the Yarn Harlot, Truly Myrtle, Luvinthemommyhood, and I'm sure others are as well.  Maybe we're all just tired; maybe life is just getting overwhelming.  Maybe we're all expounding so much energy, and it's catching up to us now.  In any case, I may change my diet a bit, and see if that will help.  It's just hard to get started some days.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Work with what you’ve got

I've been putting myself under the gun recently, and so I have to take stock of what I want to do in light of how much time I have.  Work puts a damper on how much time you can spend knitting (for some odd reason, they don’t approve of knitting at your desk).  So while I was going to do a Summer Sweater Knit-a-long, I think I’m going to have to re-think that. 

Cancelled/Postponed until...maybe next year?

So, I’m having a mid-year adjustment.  I have lots of socks lined up, and if I can knit one pair every two weeks, I should be fine for Christmas.  Now, that being said, there are 10 pairs left to knit, if I don’t include the extras for those who may drop in, and we have 27 weeks until Christmas.  Yes, I did just count that out on a calendar.  That gives me a little bit of free time, in theory.  Those 10 pairs also include 2 pairs for my children, and those usually take less time (and yarn). 

Earl Grey one of the patterns I'm using
I recently left my current sock at my in-laws.  This was mildly frustrating because I really didn't want to work on anything else.  It was a nice escape.  It is also MY sock.  It was toe-up, and a skein that I received from a swap.  It called to me, and it wanted to be a lovely pair of socks, for me.  It’s completely selfish, but I think every now and again, we need to do a bit for us. 

Dragonfly Rib Socks for me
I will probably be knitting mostly socks for the rest of the year, but trying to toss in a few other projects as well.  I do want to get Princess a birthday sweater done (hers is in September, and I already have the yarn).  I’d like to get both children a sweater made for Christmas, but I don’t think that will happen this year.  I think instead, I’m going to sew for them for Christmas.  I have a couple of quilt tops to be made; if I can set aside the time and space to cut them out and sew them up.  I have two that need the sashing between the blocks and then just to put them together.  I have two more waiting to be cut, but one needs a pattern decision.  The more I get into sewing, the more I want to explore.  I have plans for a skirt for myself, two purses, and at least one more skirt.  I still have plans for sweaters.  I think I’m going to take a cue from Truly Myrtle, and next year, work on outfits for me.  I think this may be the last year I decide to make a bunch of gifts for Christmas, with the exception of my children.  I love making them things, and since they are small, any clothing goes quickly. 

My precious two
The next major project that I’m tackling: the house.  We have a lot of small projects to do around the house and it’s mostly a matter of time.  Some of it is money, but if we use what we have and carefully plan, we will be able to afford what we need when we need it.  Right now, it’s about cleaning and getting rid of stuff we don’t use or want (read: junk) and also painting.  We have paint for 3 rooms, and we haven’t even started yet!  It’s time.  We've been here for six years, and it’s still not us.  The time has come.  The time is now.  I know this will cut into my knitting time, but that’s okay.  Remember the extra time I had built in?  It’s a matter of wisely using it.  I can paint when my kids go down, or on the weekends, and if I take the time to spread out the prep work, the actual painting won’t take long.  Each project has several steps, and even if those steps get spread out over several days, there are no decorating police (at least I hope not – if so, we’re in deep trouble).  I also think if you take your time about it, you can really make it look good.  I have found if you slow down, you make fewer mistakes usually.  Not everything is a race, and sometimes taking your time is helpful.  You catch things you might otherwise miss.  

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

New Orleans

I spent a mini vacation in New Orleans, visiting my brother and sister-in-law.  Other than the extreme heat (the sun was blaring hot, and with the humidity, we were all pouring sweat within 30 seconds of being in the sun), it was terrific.  You know, sometimes you don't realize how much you miss someone until you see them again.  It was like that with my brother.  He's lived in NOLA for 6 years, and although he comes home for Christmas each year, I don't see him often.  This was the first time we went to visit him, and we really enjoyed it.  Okay, so here are some pictures for you:

Spanish Moss in almost all the trees

A visitor in City Park!

City Park held all kinds of treasures...

On one side of the French Quarter - The Mighty Mississippi

The New Orleans Bridge

All kinds of traffic...

Tug boats abound!

See the fun you can find - even in NOLA!

Surprises are everywhere!
I managed to visit 2 of the 5 yarn shops in town...The Quarter Stitch and Needle Arts Studio.  Both have a lot of needlepoint kits, but that's not why I went.  I did purchase some yarn at Needle Arts Studio - a sweater's worth in fact!  Sorry I don't have pictures of that yet, but it's going to become a Kiama I think.  It was perfect, and there were 9 skeins.  It should be more than enough.  In other news:

Here's a sneak peek at the Miss Babs yarn knit up into the test knit I did.  What do you think?  Not too shabby, huh?  It turned out beautifully.  I also finished the Hermione's socks (I haven't taken pictures of those yet either), and I started another pair.  This one is for me.  The pattern?

The Dragonfly Rib Sock pattern.  I received it as part of my Outlander Swap, and a lovely skein of Malabrigo sock yarn.  I've also been adding to my favorites right and left, since I've found the pattern highlights function in Ravelry.  Have you discovered that yet?  Go to the patterns page after you sign in, and over on the right hand side, just down a bit, is the "pattern highlights."  It makes me want to knit forever.  Well, I already do want to knit forever, but knit specific patterns forever.  It gives me all the projects to make.  The other cool feature I've been enjoying recently is the "recently added" under the patterns too.

Other than the socks, I did start another project (finish two, start two - keeps things even).  I started an Elijah.

I want to make one for each of the children for Christmas.  I hope I can get all the socks done for Christmas, plus the toys for the children, then the quilts (although if those are a little late, it's okay).  I also have a couple of patterns to create, which will be available at Christmas in July at The Whole Nine Yarns.  I believe it's July 21st, and it should be fun.  It usually is.

I think I need a cup of tea.  It's been a long week, and I'm tired.  Maybe I'll knit a bit on my socks, and just relax.