Monday, March 02, 2015

shrug in progress

This week I screwed up my courage and cast on for my Indigo cones. And got as far as this:
DSCN4479 Do you see it as white? Maybe blue?

Not because it is hard, or because I hate the pattern or the yarn, just because that is a LOT of stitches. In fact I love the yarn. It is a cotton linen blend that I think smells really fresh and springy.

I also started my annual volunteer stint at the local butterfly house. The first day is always a day with no visitors--and really just butterfly care. Because I knew it would be boring (no people, 12 butterflies--as many had not emerged) I wanted to bring my knitting in case I got bored. Because there is a strict no plant material rule, I opted not to bring my Indigo cones. Instead I decided to start a sock in bright colors that would match the dayglo fluorescent green volunteer shirt. I don't know how much I'll work on it--as I am loving the shrug and honestly I'll never be that bored volunteering again (people + more butterflies= more work). We'll see. I may bring it to get a picture today. In the meantime, I did manage to photograph one of the few butterflies.

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My goal between now and the end of butterflies is to figure out how to upload pictures from my desktop computer (where my good camera downloads) to my Instagram account. And honestly right now I'm adding many many things on my treatise on why flickr is better than instagram.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Indigo cones

I had set as my goal this year to write at least once a week, mainly so I could keep things updated and moving along. February has been a real struggle for me this year. I'm not sure if it was SAD, full on depression, the super cold winter, or some combination. I wasn't really feeling right with no energy not really wanting to get out of bed, not really wanting to move much after that and feeling like every day I was pushing myself really hard just for the basics. I know that I have a very supportive network of friends and family who would do so much for me to help. But honestly, I didn't know what help to ask for, so I just pushed on telling myself that if I still felt this bad in March, I'd go see someone. I'm gradually feeling better. Every day I feel a tiny bit more like myself, which is good.

We also had a huge chunk of time where for one reason or another (PD day, President's day wind chill day and wind chill delay) where the children were home and yet I had to work. This is so rare, the children did not even know how to deal with it--so the feeling like running through quicksand got ramped up 10 notches.

Because I really suspect that a huge part of this was the unseasonable cold we are having (really--the average high for today is 27F, the record low (set in 2003--how did I not remember that--I was hugely pregnant) was -4F and today is forecasted to be 14F Also side note, I mentioned this was the coldest February I could remember and someone tried to argue that LAST February was even colder. Whatever. We are 6 heating degree days higher than we were at this point last year so pbbbbt.), I decided to start knitting for spring. Specifically, I started knitting Indigo Cones in white Creative focus linen. Although I bought it at a much higher price before it was discontinued. The goal is to have this done by April so I can wear one of my springier dresses to my husband's annual work dinner. Because every year about a week before I think--MAN if I only had a shrug or something I could wear this sleeveless dress but it is WAY too cold to go without.

It may actually take that long to make it.

I started with a swatch, which is a good way to start with anything you'd like to actually fit. The gauge section says that the suggested needle size (which is where I usually start on my swatch) is a US 9 for the stockinet and pattern, and a US 6 for the rib. So, I did a big swatch and washed it and I'm really close on the stockinette and a little loose on the pattern but WAY off on the rib.

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So I redid a smaller swatch on a US size 4 and it was STILLL too big. Then I swatched it on a US 3 and I am STILL too loose. However, I'm pretty close. Close enough that I feel like it will work. So, I have cast on, and started the first row (and then miscounted, ripped out and started again). Hopefully it can start to move along from here and I'll have more pictures to show off later.

Monday, February 09, 2015

meh

I'm just going to come out and say it--I'm still struggling here. For the last few weeks I feel as if I am treading water. There is no energy for anything but keeping my head above water.

It sounds melodramatic. I don't think it is anything really to worry about because I think this time of year (the late January through February) is hard on many people in the northern Hemisphere. It is dark, and cold, and here in Michigan, snowy. We don't have enough to compare to Boston (oh poor Boston), but we had enough last week to give us a snow day and to totally throw all my routines out of whack. I hurt my back shoveling, I didn't sleep well, and as a consequence I feel like I totally lost last week. I didn't run, I barely knit, and every day just feeding my family felt like a monumental effort.

My knitting project has been singularly unexciting. So many little pieces, so many little mistakes that get ripped, re-knit, ripped again, and re-knit. Add many spaces between the steps, as every mistake seems to make me skip any knitting for an evening. Also little mistakes on a simple TOY (which was to be a gift, but now may not even get finished) make me lose confidence to try a bigger project. And then I sit here with yarn for three sweaterish/shrugish projects and a brand new knitting magazine (with a sweater I adore!) and I feel like starting all of them and none of them at the same time.

My husband is wonderful. He says--just make yourself a simple sock with some fun yarn. But even socks make me feel meh. I have so many socks. Socks that need to be darned. I even gave up on TWO pairs. These: birthday socks

and another pair I don't think I ever photographed! Heck that means they aren't done right? Anyway pictured pair has been darned many times, and keeps sprouting new holes in different places. If I fix the current holes, I will have replaced pretty much the entire sole. The other pair--I've blown out both heels. I could fix them, but realized I don't like them that much (see--no picture, how could I possibly have liked them). And having given up on two pairs means that I still have enough socks to wear a new pair every day and still not run out by laundry day. Maybe I'll do a sock census.

I do know that for me there is only one thing that pulls me out of these moods. Just keep plugging until spring gets here. Just run, and knit and take care of the family. Just let people take care of me. A saving grace for me is that in the middle of all the February-ness there are bright spots: valentine's day, butterfly volunteering, my birthday and my lovely daughters' birthday. So hopefully next time, I'll have pictures and maybe a brighter outlook.

In the meantime, if you too are feeling meh: hang on, it will get better.

Monday, January 26, 2015

not much to report


Since it has been a while since I updated, I figured I might have some new project to report.  Alas not.  I'm having a really hard time getting things done lately, I'm not sure exactly why.  The last two weeks have found me with nearly uncompleted weekly to do lists.  Last week was an obvious one, my kids had two days off and my husband had a different day off.  So I only had two days in which I did not have other people distracting me.  (Clearly, I want to be distracted).
And my kids, well they just sucked the energy right out of me.  I don't even know why except that as nearly 12 year olds, they've reverted back to some of their toddler like ways--except this time around I can't put them down for naps (even when I know they are tired). It means that when my knitting time rolls around, Im just too tired.  Plus, they've started this thing they never did as little bitties and get out of bed like 10-15 times a night (usually between 9 and 11) and they neeeed something. It makes it really hard to knit, when you are constantly getting up and saying--go back to bed, stay there.
I did start a small project that I know would be done by now in the hands of a more dedicated knitter. It is a gift though, so I don't want to say too much about it.  It is from a book I managed to score for majorly cheap ($1 at the Friends of the Library Amigurumi Knits ). So basically now I want to knit a bunch of vegetables for all my friends.
Even this small project has me stalled.  Because seriously, how long should it take to knit something small like that?  I've been working for over a week--except not really because too many nights I just fall into this exhausted despair.
This week, I have set some craft goals though and will push through them by golly. I've got 3 pairs of pj pants up . (PJs are fast becoming a never ending project--I recently discovered one child claims that she doesn't have enough to go all week and she hates re-wearing) One pair is for me, and is cut out.  The other two need to get done--the fabric is washed.  (The fabric was clearanced out at Joann--so score!) and just need to get done.  As I have proved other times, none of these will take me longer than an hour.  I should just get them done.
Other goals--swatch for one project--maybe during the day so I have focus.  It doesn't matter which of the THREE things I want to make I swatch for--just SOMETHING. So that when my Amigurumi gift is done, I can get going on something else. And get whichever patter I pick read through, and set so it can be knit in between the "mom--what if no one else wears pajamas at pajama day!" crises that happen at 10pm, as I am TRYING to knit.

Monday, January 12, 2015

decisions


Last week despite the fact that I decided I detest doing a sewn bind off (but love the stretchy-ness of Jenny's Surprisingly stretchy bind off) I managed to finish the shorty socks. Again like her sister, she chose to have "fraternal twin" socks.
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Those are all my feet because I could not get her to try them on.  But they fit me, they will probably fit her. Hopefully their feet will stop growing soon and I can make them a whole week's worth of socks!
The yarn here is Regia Fluormania in the neon ocean colorway.  I used size 1.5 and just a basic toe up pattern.  
Of course guess what is on tap for this week?  More sewn bind off!  I decided to widen the cowl I finished in December and give it a sewn bind off to make it stretchier.  I'm almost done with the widening part.  I'm really dreading the bindoff.  
After that, well I'm kinda stuck.  I'm not sure what project to do next. It isn't that I don't have yarn.  Oh my I have yarn for two sweaters that I wanted to do.  That infamous Dollar and a half cardigan AND Indigo Cones.  Do you know what those two have in common?  I had trouble making my gauge swatches. In the dollar and a half, I had trouble FOLLOWING the stitch pattern.  That never ever happens to me. I think I even tried charting it to help. Hmmm maybe time to look at it again.  The Indigo cones one?  Gauge. I have the yarn it calls for (which hello both are linen!) and I can't get even close.  Well I did get close on the lace pattern, but on the broken rib, not even close. Hmmm maybe I should try THAT again.  Both would certainly make nice spring sweaters (roughly the timeline it would take me I think).  I also have this pair of socks I want to try.
Here's the thing, if I do the socks, I'll do them in my Mode sock and I'll probably have to do a swatch AND I'll have to decide  which size to make.  My foot is 8 inches around. the pattern is 7.5 and 8.5.  I mean you know if my gauge is off I could probably math it a bit. but I would HATE HATE HATE to make such pretty socks in such squishy yarn that are too big. (I HATE too big socks).
All of these are complex patterns that I'd have to focus on, and the reality of my life is that my knitting time is almost all in front of the tv. And done as a relaxation thing at night when I feel like I am just DONE.  So about the last thing I want is to have a scream in frustration about patterns I can't follow or gauge being off. I guess the other alternative is to have two projects going--a daytime project that I might be able to sneak in a few minutes on here and there and a night project that is zone out knitting.
So many decisions!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Post holidays



 This is the entry where I probably ought to list some resolutions, but.  Well, I'm sure some people say--I don't make resolutions, I just change when I want to.  What I say is this, I do make resolutions, but I usually don't really have them gel in my head until the middle of January.  The new year is often an introspective time, which is I guess why people resolve things, but I usually need to get back into my routine to fully develop my thoughts.  So far nothing is leaping out at me expect for trying to make some running goals happen.
But on to the good stuff, the holiday wrap up!.
This is where I would generally put any gift knitting I had done. The fact is though, that I did no gift knitting. None. I did knit on holiday though, and have nearly finished a pair of socks for my panda girl.
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Before we left for our post Christmas trip I had the first sock done.  Mostly because she wanted "short socks". Alrighty then.  Now I am ready to bind off the second sock (sorry the picture is from Saturday when I thought I might be writing this post.) I don't think I've even had time to get these on my ravelry page.  
And of course there was yarn as gifts for me!
My mother in law got me six skeins of a yarn she saw in a yarn shop that she liked. If it did not have mohair in it, I'd probably make her a scarf out of it.  I know the mohair would bother her though.  She also got my girls several pairs of socks (these bamboo socks they like, and some smart wool for puppy girl who loves it) and each of them a skein of sock yarn. And then my mom took me shopping at knit stop, which is really a nice shop even if it is pricey! I snagged this mini skein set, a swift and a pattern.
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This is sock/fingering weight and is all wool.  I was initially thinking socks, then bemoaned the lack of nylon, then thought gloves, then thought oh heck, I'll just look at it and pet it every day or something.  
I'm really excited about the swift.  I have had a ball winder for ages, and usually when a yarn is in a skein, I roll it into a ball then wind it on the ball winder (so I get a pretty cake), but often that's a huge exercise in frustration. I can't wait to set up my swift and try it out.  I haven't yet because winding yarn while everyone is home is like inviting disaster. Also inviting people to exclaim that they really need a new scarf or cowl or something. Also, I'd have to go through the stash and find something that needs winding. So maybe it will wait until I finish the socks AND fix the cowl.
After discussing the matter with several knitting friends, I've decided to add a few more rows and do a sewn bindoff to make that end more stretchy.  My friend who just happens to work at my local LYS (and has a blog she never updates...... HINT) suggested that, and I never would have considered it, but I think she's right and it will add to my liking for the project.  After that... I have no idea.  More socks maybe?  Another scarf? A sweater?  I'm cold so who even knows what sort of project will present itself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

baking

So last week--let's just say that perhaps maybe I neglected to put the things I was really going to do--actually needed to do on this list. Which made it very unfulfilling to spend a day doing them and having nothing to cross off. What am I talking about? Baking of course.
Last week I made, two batches of hard candy--one strawberry, one watermelon and a batch of marshmallows. The candy was supposed to be red and green. I made the strawberry first and colored it red. Then I made the watermelon and the flavor oil turned the candy pink! Which of course meant that my green turned it grayish brown. So lovely and so festive! I'm making two batches of spiced pecans today. So at the end of last week, my kitchen was full of this: DSCN4102
and this:
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And of course this morning, I'm doing the first batch of pecans (I need to buy pecans for the second batch --eeek) so this is making my house smell all good: DSCN4108
That's a long way of saying there were still items left on the list. Mostly dealing with wrapping presents--a task I despise. However, wrapping of the girls' presents must must must get done this week--this is the last week of school. I also broke out bigger tasks I want to accomplish this week, so my list for this week looks really really long.but it is so so satisfying to cross things off--so there is that.
Hopefully though, even if I don't get all the way through my list, I'll be ready for everyone to have their winter vacations and just chill in my messy messy house. And knit--oh yes knit. DSCN4107