Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Radio Silence

I am sorry for the radio silence around here. I have to be honest, I have been completely swept away by the popularity of my Etsy shop. My list of commissions keeps growing (which I love) but the consequence of that is my free time shrinks.

I have some pretty amazing plans in the works. Next month I will be going to TNNA. I'm taking a few classes, some of which are how to better teach knitting classes. I have a class coming up in June where I'm teaching the magic loop technique.

It's interesting watching this unfold. By "this" I mean my life. There's a shift going on here that I'm thoroughly excited about. It's as if I'm finally moving towards my purpose, perhaps even moving towards a new career that I know I love. All of the creating I've been doing with the stuffed animals (wait until you see the latest) has shown me that I really do have some talent when it comes to this knitting thing and sharing that talent, teaching other people how or writing patterns so others can make them is really exciting. (I may be overusing the word "exciting" but there's just no better word!)

Unfortunately, the blog suffers from all these exciting things. I will try to post, but I can make no guarantees that it will be with any regularity. I still love reading all of your blogs even if I don't always have time to comment.

Without further ado, here's a couple of my latest creations:

Then, of course, someone saw this and wanted one... Just slightly different...

I'll leave you with a picture of my most favorite activity in my most favorite spot... This is how every day should be...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A trip and more toys

Last weekend Sam and I drove down to Washington, DC for Passover with his family. I've never been to a Seder before so this was going to be a totally new experience for me. I also hadn't met all of his family on his dad's side before either. As far as all that goes, we had a lovely time and his all of his family members were very nice!

Sam was gracious enough to drive both there and back, which gave me some prime knitting time that I was overjoyed to have. We also had some down time on Saturday and decided to head over to the National Zoo.

I grew up in Maryland, just outside DC so I have some pretty great memories of going to the National Zoo. Now I have one more...

We had so much fun! We we even able to meet up with Sam's good friend from college who works down in DC now.

I have to admit, I was just super excited to get out and have an adventure. Work has been a bit stressful and it's nice to get away sometimes!

In knitting news, I've been making stuffed animals like crazy! First, I was commissioned to make a pink elephant for a little girl who will be turning one. They wanted it as a keepsake so I was happy to make it and embellish it for them. It's my first Etsy sale!

I pretty much stuck to the Elijah pattern (rav link) for this one, though the embellishments were all mine. She's one lucky elephant too, because I decided to use some of my merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn to make her scarf!

This really is one of my favorite patterns to make because it just turns out so adorable and most people can't handle the cuteness!

Along that line, my coworker asked me to make a pig for her. I was more than happy to, but when I looked up pig patterns, there just weren't any that met my "cuteness standard." Seriously, it has to make you fall over with cuteness before I'm going to knit it!

So what did I do? I modified Elijah of course. Pretty heavily actually, but you can definitely tell that's where the inspiration came from!
I've decided to name her Annabelle. She even has a cute little curly Q tail that I added to her.

I modify the face slightly and the nose quite a bit to make it come up a little farther on the face. I made the ears up as I went along until they were perfect.

I'm quite proud of my little piggy. I hate to say it, but I think she's the cutest pig anyone's ever knit... if I do say so myself... :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

What I've been up to...

Just a quick post. I'm about to be off for the holiday weekend. Sam and I are traveling down to Washington, DC for a three day weekend. Before I go, I thought I'd check in and write a quick post (you know, to assure you all that I'm still alive!)

I've been busy working on a quite a few projects recently. One of which I was inspired to make to help take better pictures...

Yep, I made myself a lightbox. It took me all of about ten minutes and cost me three dollars. I bought some posterboard for the back drops in three different colors. So far, the white works the best, but with the right project black or blue might work.

I've also been working on some teddy bears that I'm super proud of. The pattern is loosely based on Otto by Ysolda Teague. I changed quite a few things though. The body is more like the elephant, the legs and arms are slightly different, but the ears I totally changed.

I wanted ears like a real teddy bears so I made them up as I went. My first attempt was just not right at all... but the second was perfect (at least I thought they were perfect!) I'm so proud of those ears. I get such a charge from creating something right out of my imagination! I was so excited that I couldn't wait to make something else up! We'll see what I come up with next.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and if you're traveling, have a safe trip!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When do I slow down?

Have you ever felt you don't have an off button? That's me. I've just discovered that I don't have an off button. Here I've decided to take a long break from school because I was too stressed out over it, just to spend all the extra time developing patterns and trying to get an Etsy shop running where, if I'm successful, would mean almost all my knitting time would be taken up with projects knit for other people. Am I a glutton for punishment, or do I just not function well without self-imposed deadlines and pressures?

I have noticed a huge difference between this kind of pressure and the school pressure, though. This kind of pressure is exciting to me. I finally feel like I have my creative spark back, the spark that I lost when I went back to school in the first place. All I can think about is getting back home so I can work on my projects! It's been a long time since I've felt inspired by what I'm doing. I absolutely love the feeling. What I need now is time.

When I get inspired by something, I want ALL the time to be with it. Forget about this work to make a living thing, I want to dive into my craft. Unfortunately my craft doesn't earn me a living and I do so like to live.

I suppose I just have to take a breath and know that there is plenty of time. All things don't need to be done right now. It's a process.

 In all this craziness, I managed to finish the giraffe! The recipient loved it so much!

This project was such a challenge to me to keep my motivation up. Those spots went on forever. But, I prevailed and swore to myself that I would never make another giraffe if my life depended on it. So naturally, when a second co-worker asked me if I would make one for her I immediately responded: Of course!
 Perhaps I'll make the second one with less spots...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Playing Catch Up

This past week has been busy for me. So busy in fact, that I am woefully behind in catching up on my blog reading and obviously far too busy to even write a post myself! The reason I've been so busy is because this past week I had two dress rehearsals plus the two concerts for the choir I sing with. There was a lot of running around and not a lot of time for knitting.

The only thing I managed to have time for was to create an Etsy shop with an associated Facebook page. The Etsy shop has been in the back of my mind for awhile, I just didn't take the plunge until a coworker of mine (the one who I made all the baby things for) was asking me for a link to a page where he could show his friends because a lot of them are interested in the things I made. Not to mention I'm also in the process of making a lot of coaster sets. I only have one up for sale at the moment because that's all I had left over from last year. I made a ton of sets for friends and relatives for Christmas and they were a big hit. Here's to another crafty endeavor!

Hopefully this week won't be nearly as busy for me because I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blog posts!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seeing Spots...

It's official. I'm in duplicate stitch hell. Obviously I bit off more than I can chew with this silly giraffe. Don't get me wrong, he's cute. Some might even say crazy adorable... but the spots. Each spot is duplicate stitched on and you just don't realize how big an undertaking it is until you start it! There are times I feel like I'm getting somewhere with it, only to turn it over and see all the blank yellow sections mocking me with their lack of spots.

What's a girl to do when there is a task this daunting??? Work on a pair of mindless stripey socks of course! I'm nearly finished the second sock! Two of my friends and I plan on getting together to add the afterthought heels. There's a certain amount of moral support one needs when she's about to cut into knitted fabric. Let's hope the tears are few.

It seems wrong to delve into this small-talk subject, but we have had unseasonably warm and gorgeous weather here in Central New York these past few days. Yesterday was the St. Patrick's Day parade and the weather couldn't have been nicer. Sam was actually in the parade helping a dog rescue group with their pups. He managed to get a bit of sunburn on the back of his neck....in March. I feel I need to remind myself of the month because normally we have at least two feet of snow still on the ground at this point. This has been anything but a normal year.

Daisies in the grass (Instagram)
Crocuses and bees
Pippin enjoying the sun (Instagram)
However, there are some flowers and a certain cat who are quite happy with the weird yet amazing weather. There were even bees hanging around the crocuses (you can see her hanging out in one of the flowers in the foreground)! I don't know whether to enjoy the weather, or just be completely weirded out.  I suppose since I have no control over it, I might as well enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My first pattern (of many? Who knows?)

I just published my first pattern!

Around Christmas, Sam asked me to make a hat for him. I went searching for the type of hat he'd like, but I couldn't find a pattern that really suited him. What do we resourceful knitters do when we can't find exactly what we want? We make one up!

Sam's Brimmed Beanie (rav link)

I made it out of Hand Maiden Cashbah sock yarn, though any soft fingering weight will do. I just know how itchy some yarns can be when they're next to the forehead. There's nothing like a little cashmere to make the itch go away! I used size 1 US needles and surprisingly, it didn't take me very long to complete.

He loves his hat so much! He wears it all over the place, outside, inside (though thankfully he respects it enough not to wear it to bed!)

I'm very pleased with how it turned out. A few of my friends test knitted the pattern for me and they liked it as well!

 I realize that there is an overabundance of exclamation points in this post, but it's all very new and exciting! I'm beginning to wonder what else I can come up with!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

25 things about me... Maybe 24.

I came across a blog that had a list of 25 things about the author. I've done these lists before, only the last one I did was 100 things. 100 things was a pain in my ass, mostly because it's surprisingly difficult to come up with 100 things about yourself that other people would find interesting. 25 sounds much more reasonable so here goes:

1. When I'm in an extremely happy mood, I will dance all over the house and sing my head off. Of course, I have to be alone to do this, otherwise the crazy might show and my "normal person" cover will be blown.

Indian Rhino and me
2. My second degree was in Animal Management (aka zookeeper school) and I got to live my dream of working with exotic animals; rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans among others. It turns out that wasn't a dream I wanted to live long term. I loved it, but ultimately it wasn't for me.

3. In high school I was best known for being a singer (I won some awards... yeah, I guess I'll toot my own horn. ) Now I'm best known for being a knitter and I'm cool with that.

4. I know I've mentioned how reading is a passion of mine. Sometimes I can't put a book down because if I do, I'll miss the characters too much. Don't even get me started on how I feel at the end of a series...

5. I have to admit it... I love young adult fantasy novels. There I said it. Not so much the Twilight series, but books like the Alchemist, Eon/Eona, Harry Potter, etc. Kinda can't get enough of those.

6. Tea is, by far, the most satisfying drink I could ever have. If I do not have a cup of tea in the morning, I'm lost. There's nothing in the world that sitting down and having a cup of tea won't fix, except, perhaps a broken leg, it won't do a damn thing for that. English Breakfast and Chai are my favorites.

7. There is no finer color in all the world than green. At least not to me. My favorite shades are probably hunter green and green with hints of blue. I guess purple and blue aren't so bad either, and certain shades of red (ok, so, I like a lot of colors). Least favorite color: pink.

My favorite spot in Ithaca, NY
8. I'm happiest when I'm outdoors on a warm summer day, with the sun shining and me sitting in the shade of a tree. It wouldn't hurt to have a bit of water around too. This picture just about sums it up...

9. I have an unnatural love of office supplies. New pens, fresh notebooks, blank paper... love. I think I love pens so much because I used to practice my handwriting constantly when I was younger and different pens either made my handwriting better or worse. I had to try them all!

10. I've written in a journal since I was in the 8th grade. That's seventeen years worth of journaling. I've gone back and read some of the ones I wrote when I was 13...wow. 13 year old me was a silly, silly girl.

11. The least enjoyable situation I can think of is being at a party where I don't know anyone. I am a timid wallflower and that's all there is to it. (Of course, my friends know better, but that's  because I don't show just anyone my outgoing side!)

Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu
12. I'm a vegetarian. People always ask me why and it's a combination of reasons. I suppose it's because I believe too much meat isn't healthy for your body or for the environment, not to mention the system doesn't generally take the animal's welfare into consideration. Of course, I'm also the last person to judge anyone on their lifestyle, so if you're a meat-eater, more power to you! My best friend thinks that bacon is godly which is why she sent me this as a joke:

13. Aside from an occasional Rum and Coke in college, I haven't drank soda of any kind since I was a junior in high school. Don't get me wrong, I'm no health nut, I can down a pint of Haagen Dazs with the best of them, but soda upsets my stomach.

14. I don't have any cavities in my teeth. See #13, I think it's directly related. (Not to mention all the cavities I've ever had fell out with my baby teeth. Oddly enough, my last baby tooth fell out when I was in the 9th grade... While we're on the subject of teeth, I've never had braces, but I did need all of my wisdom teeth to be taken out. I suppose my mouth wasn't as big as my mother was always telling me it was, go figure.)

15. I'm often mistaken for being much younger than I am, sometimes as much as five to ten years younger. There are worse things in life I suppose. Though trying to convince me of that when I was in college was a difficult task indeed.

16. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at both colleges I graduated from. Yeah, I'm one smart cookie, but smarts don't mean a damn thing when you don't know what you want to do with your life. I envy those who are sure of what they want from the start. The only thing I've even known I've wanted is to someday be a mother. Someday seems a lot closer than it used to, but it takes two to tango and we both have to be ready.

17. I can't stand shower curtains touching me while I'm showering. I don't care if it's as clean as the day it was made, that horrible, wet plastic sheet clinging to me in the shower makes my skin crawl. I have a claw foot tub, so the curtains goes 360 degrees around me. I've come up with some pretty innovative ways to keep it off me, one of which backfired and spilled water all over the floor, but that's a story for another time.

18. I almost never listen to music on the radio. Pop lyrics with no substance just doesn't do it for me. Give me Death Cab for Cutie or any number of singer/songwriter, indie folk bands any day.

19. I've never been a religious person. I believe there are as many ways to connect with God as there are people in this world. I'm still discovering my path, but I don't like people telling me it's wrong because it isn't like theirs.

20. I've been to lots of different countries: Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, France, China, Bermuda.. and still I haven't seen enough of the world. I'd love to visiting New Zealand (secretly it's because I want to visit Hobbiton, don't judge me!)

21. I've never dyed my hair. I can't guarantee that this will always be the case seeing as how I've spotted a few grays in the last year to two...

22. I go days without watching any TV. I don't have cable, I barely have any local stations and I'm perfectly content with that. Netflix is my friend. I just can't stand commercials. Ever since college (when I learned to critically think about things) I've noticed most commercials are ridiculous and if they are to be believed then men don't care about anything but beer, sex, sports and pizza and women only care about keeping a clean home, raising children and nagging men. (Stepping off my soapbox now...)

23. When I'm thinking deeply about something, I rub the tops of my fingernails. It's a habit I picked up when I was a little kid. Half the time, I don't even realize I'm doing it!

24. I don't have any tattoos. It's not that I think anything bad about them, a lot of them can be extremely beautiful. I just have a healthy aversion to pain and I can't think of anything I'd want permanently embedded into my skin.

25. I'm having a hard time coming up with the 25th one! I guess we'll just have to leave it at that.

There you have it. That paints quite the picture of me. I hope you all have enjoyed it! Back to our regularly scheduled knitting program next time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A whole lot of knitting over here!

Though I haven't been busy writing on my blog, I have been busy in life and knitting. I've been working like a madwoman on the baby toys.

It turns out I finished the elephant just in time for the baby to be born. As luck would have it, he was born on leap day (after 32 hours of labor, yowza!) Everyone is doing fine and if the pictures are to be believed, he's adorable.  I can't wait to meet the little guy. The elephant is pretty excited to meet him too!

I started the giraffe almost immediately after finishing the elephant. Let me tell you something, giraffes are much more fiddly than elephants to knit. Still adorable, just fiddly. You would think I would have known they would be, what with their long necks and spots... I admit, it's the spots that seem the most daunting to me. Ah well. It's a challenge I accepted!

The giraffe doesn't look like much now (in fact, I have one more leg than what the picture shows) but he's getting there.  Though it seems I've run into a little problem. I've come down with a case of startitis.  

Maybe that's not entirely accurate. I finished a pair of socks so that I could use the needles to start a new pair. That wasn't really my plan, but somehow it happened. I had a half-day of work on Friday and I sat down on the couch to relax for a bit. I didn't have anything in mind to watch when I came across the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix. Six episodes (and hours) later, I had a completed pair of socks and a very numb butt! I just couldn't stop myself, I had to know what happens in the next epidsode!

The socks are made out of Malabrigo sock yarn in Solis and the pattern is Hermione's Everyday socks (rav link). I had to finish them because I couldn't get another pair off my mind. A friend of mine started a pair of toe-up socks in KnitPicks Felici sock yarn and they just looked awesome. I had a couple of skeins of it in my stash and they've been calling my name ever since I got them.

Last night I finally got around to starting them! I've knit toe-up socks many times before, usually by using the provisional cast-on method and knitting a short-row toe. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but last night I branched out a bit and tried something new with this pair. I have been a die-hard short row heel and toe sock knitter for years, but last night I tried Judy's Magic Cast on for the toe... my mind is official blown! What an awesome technique, I can't believe I didn't learn it sooner! I've just been too stuck in my ways. 

Not any more, look at how awesome it is! There is no seam on the inside when you're finished! It looks like, and essentially is, one continuous piece of knitted fabric. Some people are just too clever for words!

Discovering this method was a happy accident. What I really started these socks for was to try my hand at an afterthought heel. I had heard of this method before, but something about it piqued my interest now. It seems so wrong to cut into knitted fabric, but I'm going to throw caution to the wind and do it!

I have two skeins of this yarn and since I'm starting toe-up, I'm just going to knit one whole skein per sock and add the heel in later. There's nothing like learning a new technique that gets me all excited about knitting again! 

I only have-- I don't know-- miles to go before I get to try it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Elephant Emerges

Finally, the hats are finished!!! Not only finished, but given to their recipients! They seemed quite happy to see them, especially since we finally had some decent snowy weather that tends to require thick, warm winter hats.

 As you can imagine, I was so excited to be finished with them that I immediately cast on for Elijah the elephant. I started him (or her) on Saturday and before I knew it the head was finished...

Then, next thing I knew the body had somehow materialized by Sunday morning.

I did my normal Sunday routine of laundry, house cleaning and grocery shopping. Sam and I even managed to catch a movie which we rarely do. Even with all that, by Sunday afternoon Elijah could walk.

Currently, one arm is finished and the second arm is close to finished, but I didn't get good pictures of it before I went to bed. Before I know it, there will be ears and it'll be finished!!! I don't know what's making this project go so fast. I'm thinking it's because it's not another winter hat!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Change up

Sorry to change the look around here, but green's my favorite color so it only seemed right to have a green blog! I can't guarantee that this is the end of my tinkering, but we'll see!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's here!

I love when new yarn arrives. There's something special about opening up that package and getting excited about the prospect of new projects.

I mentioned that I have more knits that I've been commissioned to make and I've finally gotten around to buying the yarn needed for them. First is some Knitpicks Comfy Sport yarn in gray to make Elijah.

I've made this pattern several times before (who could resist, especially when I had twin nieces on the way?). It really is a lot of fun to knit and the finished project always turns out nice no matter what yarn I'm using.

I chose the Comfy yarn because it's a cotton and acrylic blend which I feel would wear better. Not to mention I just don't like knitting with straight up acrylic.

The next project is George the Giraffe. I've never made it before, but I can see myself making some changes on it already. I think the legs would be better if they were more like Elijah's legs, so I think I'll alter the pattern that way, but other than that, I'll probably keep it the same.

I'll be using that same Comfy yarn as Elijah. It is soft and I'm sure it will be wonderful as a toy. Cotton does tend to hurt my hands a bit, but I'm hoping the tiny bit of acrylic with give it a bit more stretch than normal.

Now all I have to do is finish the last hat I was commissioned for. (I'm more than halfway finished! HALLELUIAH!!) I didn't think I'd get sick of knitting that hat pattern, but I tell you, after about the fifth one it's been making me a little squirrely. It takes all my willpower not to pick up another project just for some variety!

This Saturday starts the beginner sock class I'm teaching at one of the LYSs in the area. From what I've been told there will be about 6 people! I plan on teaching a basic sock pattern using DPNs with a heel flap, turned heel and normal decreased toe with Kitchener stitch at the end. Truth be told, I haven't knit a sock like that in a long time! I much prefer the Magic Loop method with short-row heels and toes. I modify all the sock patterns I use to have short rows. They just fit my foot better, plus I don't have to mess with picking up stitches. What's your favorite type of sock to knit?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The tale of my (somewhat) green thumb.

I've never considered myself a "green-thumb." Most of the time I kept plants alive, but they never really thrived. I'm not sure why. I watered them, put them in places I thought they'd like, but they always just sort of hung out. They rarely bloomed or sprouted new leaves. I didn't take much time trying to figure it out. They weren't dying, that was about all I cared about. My apartments just weren't right for them I supposed.

My tiny orchid
I've never bought plants except for an African Violet here or there (which, I must admit, I never did well with even though I'd heard they were impossible to screw up...) Most of the plants are ones I've acquired from friends or family who've moved out of town, or in my brother's case, out of country! Others were gifts from my mother, like a tiny little orchid that was absolutely adorable.

Since Sam and I moved into the apartment we're now living in, I've noticed quite a change. All my plants love it here, which has stirred a kind of love in me of watching the plants do well. I have a spider plant which my cat, Ludo, decimated several years back. Ludo is the kind of cat who loves to chew on grass. Spider plants are definitely grass-like and if it was in his reach, he was chewing on it. In this apartment, that spider plant has taken off, it's grown about ten shoots with baby spider plants on the ends.

My african violet finally started blooming and hasn't stopped for a good two or three months! I even got an orchid that I've had since my brother moved away grow new leaves, tons of roots and finally flowers! I can't tell you how excited that made me! And that tiny little orchid my mom got for me bloomed as well. 

I truly never thought I'd get so much enjoyment from watching plants thrive, but I suppose we have more sides to ourselves than even we're aware of.

Last weekend Sam and I were getting ready to head out for our weekly grocery store run when we heard a crash in the kitchen. Ludo had gotten on the counter where the orchids are so he could better reach the spider plant babies. In the process, he knocked over my tiny orchid which fell on the floor. The flower stem broke off and one of the leaves, but the rest was intact. I nearly started crying. I was heartbroken.

I was angry at Ludo (though it wasn't like he was trying to knock over the orchid, but he was trying to kill the spider plant again!) and I was just sad that all those days I spent watching the plant grow and the buds get bigger and bloom only to see it damaged...

My new orchid
Needless to say, Sam and I rearranged some things to get the spider plant out of Ludo's reach so this won't happen again. And because Sam is the most awesome boyfriend ever, I came home to this on Valentine's Day:

He knew how sad I was about the tiny orchid, so he went out and bought me a new one. It's not tiny, but it is awesome! I've never seen one like it before and I don't know the first thing about all the different kinds of orchids there are. All I know is that I like them and I can finally grow them!

I'm beginning to see a bit of green on my thumb....

As for knitting, I haven't been doing too much of it except for the hats I was commissioned to make. I've finished two of the three so far. They are quick knits and I'd probably be finished with all three of them if I hadn't gotten caught up in the book I'm reading. I finished the their Game of Thrones book: A Storm of Swords. Woah, that man can write. I certainly got caught up in it and couldn't put it down. Poor Sam hasn't seen much of me this week except for sitting on the couch devouring my book! Thankfully, I finished it, which just makes me want to pick up the next in the series, but I'll hold off. (The house won't clean itself and I'd prefer to have clean clothes to wear) If only I could be a hermit who reads and knits and grows plants all day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When things go missing...

I have been very busy this past week, but the good part is it was mostly fun busy like getting together with friends and family. A lot of my knitting time is being taken up with things I've been commissioned to knit. Three of my coworkers have asked for hats and baby toys so I've been working on those almost exclusively. Unfortunately that means putting the Beekeeper's Quilt on hold for a bit. That makes me a bit sad since those hexipuffs are so much fun to knit.

The other morning Sam took our dog, Knox, to work with him (Sam manages a doggy day care so that's really not such a strange thing to do) About a half hour after he left, I got a call from him. This was a little weird since I never really get calls from him once he's gone to work unless it's something really important. He called to tell me when Knox went to the bathroom something unusual came out. Knox was never really one to get into things he shouldn't unless it was somehow related to food so when Sam told me he ate something I was a little bit shocked. I was more shocked when Sam told me he ate a hexipuff!!!
Knox and me. He's all innocence, isn't he?

After getting over the shock, then the relief that it didn't get stuck in him somewhere (I've helped pull stranger things out of dog's stomachs!) I was then immediately struck with the thought: 'Oh dear, I hope it wasn't one of the good ones!" Turns out it was Malabrigo... that stings a little.

The hexipuffs have now been assigned a high shelf on the bookcase so wandering mouths don't inhale them. You would think it would be the three cats that would get into my yarn and projects. Apparently that's just not the case in my house!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Since my last post, I've been writing in my journal pretty faithfully every day. It's only been a few days, but the more I write, the easier it is. It's not so hard to come up with what the most meaningful part of my day was, nor is it hard to discover three things I'm grateful for that day. I may even need to increase that number. I really do enjoy focusing more on the positive things and letting the negative things go. Sure negative things still happen, but dwelling on them makes them worse.

I did some major cleaning/organizing this past weekend. It seems to me that organizing is another way to feel happier. When everything is disorganized and thrown all over the place with no order, it seems that my thinking is the same way. Once everything is back in it's place, I feel calm inside.

One of my organizing tasks was to go through some yarn I have, mostly ends and leftovers. I have a lot of left over sock yarn, mostly because I've made a lot of socks. It's funny, I don't consider myself a huge sock knitter, but it seems I always have a pair on the needles. It's a portable project and for me, that's important. I'm always running around so having a small project to work on is key.

A few years ago (that's right, I said years) I decided to start a project made entirely out of leftover sock yarn. It's a simple granny square blanket where I lined each square with a black border. In all those years, this picture shows how far I've gotten. I'm not even much of a crocheter, but occasionally I feel like doing something different.

Each square is about 3.5" x 3.5" I estimate the total blanket size so far is about 3' x 4'

Given how long it's taken me to get this far, I imagine it's still going to be another couple of years before I finish this thing. I haven't even decided at this point how big I want the finished project to be. I'll probably settle for a nice lap-sized blanket because it seems my attention is being diverted to another project that uses up old sock yarn leftovers...

Meet the Beekeeper's Quilt. This is my version as it stands. Another project that will probably take years to complete. I suppose that's alright as long as I have more people to knit socks for. Actually, at this point, I've been knitting socks for so long that some of my first socks need replacing because they are wearing through. (I've been knitting for about 14 years, so yeah... even nylon won't stand up to that kind of wear!)

Friday, February 3, 2012


I came across a video today that completely inspired me. For awhile now I've been interested in positive psychology and how it relates to happiness because, let's face it, it's just more pleasant to be happy. This is absolutely up my alley because there's just something fascinating about the mind (says the girl who majored in psychology.)

If you've never heard of TED talks, I highly recommend them. They are wildly inspiring and as it says, ideas worth spreading. This particular talk I came across from a man named Shawn Achor and it's truly amazing. If you have 12 minutes to kill, it's worth watching, even if you're not interested in this stuff, he's pretty humorous:

If you don't have time to watch it here's the jist: There are things you can do to re-train your mind and by doing so have a brighter outlook on life which leads to better performance and ultimately happiness. The research showed it makes a difference when done every day for three weeks.

1. Write down three things you're most grateful for.
2. Exercise
3. Journal about the most meaningful thing that happened to you in the last 24 hours.
4. Meditate
5. Write something positive to someone in your social support network.

I've always been one to write in a journal, but never really with much of a purpose other than to keep track of what happened in my life, bad or good. I think it would be great to try this with a goal in mind.

So as not to leave you with absolutely no knitting, or fiber related anything, I'll show you some progress I've made on the merino/alpaca spinning I've been doing.

It's so luscious, I can't wait to knit with it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getting Distracted

Ever since sometime around Christmas, I've been feeling a bit like I have ADHD. I'm like that dog in 'UP' only I don't get distracted by squires, instead I'm yelling "FIBER!" or "YARN!" I can't focus on any one project because I have a million projects I'd like to work on and I now have more free time to work on them.

The free time came about because I made a choice. About a year and a half ago, my employers offered to send me back to school to get my veterinary technician's license. While I was honored by the offer, I didn't realize how time consuming and stressful it would be. It was wonderful to not worry about paying for any of it, but I was still expected to work full time and devote my free time at home to school work. I managed only a year and a half before I faced the fact that the stress was becoming detrimental. And the worst part was, because I could only take a couple of classes at a time, I was still looking at about four more years of this school/stress/work situation.

Around Christmas, while I was on a break from school, I made a decision. I'm taking a break. For my mental and physical well-being, it was the only choice I had. My employers were wonderfully understanding. They realize that they ask us for 100% on the job and if school is making it so I can't do that, then now is not the right time. I cannot tell you the weight that was lifted off my shoulders that day.

For some reason, I have this insane thought that now that I'm not taking classes, I have tons of free time which I can choose to do anything I want. It's like I've bottled up a million and one projects, books to read, and things to do in the last year and a half and I've decided to start them all right now. The problem with this is that I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with any of them because I'm not spending much time on any one project.

 Most of my time has been devoted to the Game of Throne series. I'm on the third book now and they're near impossible to put down. It's been a long time since I've had the time to read the way I want to (without feeling guilty that I'm not reading a school book that is!) that I've gone a little crazy. Even when I'm so tired my eyes are crossing, I can't put them down. For me, putting down a good book is like stopping a good movie midway through. It's so hard!

Me with my hat and my favorite mirror
I have managed to finish one project recently. It's the Hat Most Likely To Succeed pattern (rav link).  I made about four of these for various people for Christmas and I liked it so much that I wanted to make one for myself. I used so good, sturdy  KnitPicks Swish 100% Merino yarn. Nice and toasty for a hat. I did alter the decreases slightly by adding a couple of plain rows in between the last decrease rows. My sister-in-law's hat keeps riding up and uncovering her ears, so I'm hoping the extra rows might help keep it down. So far, so good.

I just finished it yesterday and I wore it to my dad's birthday get together. It seemed to stay down the whole time, so I'm pretty happy with it. Before I started it, I contemplated adding a stiff brim, but I don't think it's going to work given the nature of the pattern. If I'd done another cable repeat, perhaps. But I'm happy with it. It's warm and the folded up brim keeps my ears warm nicely! now all we need is the snow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Just the other day I had the urge to look back at my old blog and see what I spent my days writing about. There's so much in there. It seems like a different life. The majority of it was when I was in school getting a second degree, this one in Animal Management (which is a glorified way of saying zookeeper school.) Most of my days were new adventures filled with different experiences, or so it seems by looking back at the blog. I also had a lot of emotional ups and downs when it came to relationships. I didn't hold back, I wrote about it all. Ever-present was the knitting and the spinning and crafting. It seems that is my rock throughout my life. It's brought me joy, connection, and warmth. Everywhere I've gone, I've never been without my knitting and I never dreamed I'd meet so many amazing people through it.

Why did I stop writing in my old blog? It's hard to say exactly why, but I have a feeling it has everything to do with my parents separating. I was 25 or so. At the time, I thought I was old enough to handle that kind of situation, after all, I was a grown up. What they did with there life was their choice. The reality is it shook me to the core. All my beliefs about relationships were shattered. It didn't help that at the time (or very close to it) I went through a break up of my own. The kind where you're certain you're going to spend the rest of your life with this person you fell for only to discover they don't feel the same way you do. I was completely side swiped.

I don't know if that's the true reason I stopped writing, but it seems like it. I suppose the reality was too difficult to put into words and share with the world. What I'm discovering is that bottling it up inside and pretending everything was fine and dandy wasn't the smartest idea I've ever had. I realize now, it's important to let those things out. Confiding in someone helps release those energies. Even though it's been so long now, I still recognize that there are still some things I need to let out. There are still some old hurts rattling around inside.

Though I will say, I've come a long way. Just about three years ago I started a job at a local vet clinic, which has had it's ups and downs, but ultimately I enjoy it. Around that same time I met someone. He was funny, sweet, had the same interests I did. The first time we met we spent the entire time talking until 2 in the morning! I knew I'd like to get to know him better from the first moment I met him. In fact, I knew I wanted to be in a relationship with him. He wasn't ready for that, having just come out of a hard relationship himself. So we decided to just be friends. We spent the better part of a year "just being friends." I was in and out of another relationship in the mean time (again, not one of my better ideas.) It seems after that relationship ended, Sam started realizing that I had the right of it from the beginning! We've been together ever since.

Up to this point, I've been keeping this new blog pretty light. Nothing too personal, nothing too important. Amazingly, I've found it's really hard to write that way. Or I should say, it's really hard to write anything important or interesting that way. When I sat down to write this post, I didn't even know what I wanted to write at first, then it's like my fingers couldn't keep up with my brain. It all just flowed out.  I reminded me of how I used to write and that I still have that spark inside me. For awhile there, I thought it was gone. I suppose I just had to uncover it.

Life can be messy, it can show up in ways we never expected. There are major ups and downs, but throughout it all, it always helps to have people to share it with.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The last baby-related post... until the next one that is.

Today at lunch, a coworker was talking about a conversation she overheard in the ladies room at a Target between a woman and her 3 year old son.

Son: "Why are we here"
Mom: "Because I have to buy something."
Son: "What?"
Mom: Pause... "I have to buy feminine products."
Son: "What are femini-nin-ine products."
Mom: "Well, they're for girls."
Son: "Oh, can we get some for Amanda?" (I assume here Amanda is his sister.)
Mom: "Well no, honey, they're for grown-up girls."
Son: "Oooh." Pause..."Can I play with them?"
Mom: "No."
Son: "Why not, are they sharp?"

It's hilarious what kids will say.

Speaking of kids, I've finished the Celestine star for the baby shower. That's quite the story. So I ran to the pet store to get some cat toys, basically the balls with bells in them and I stuffed the star full of fiber-fil and bells.

The next step is to pick up stitches along each side. As I did this, I was getting a very sneaky suspicion that I wasn't going to have enough yarn left to finish the last point of the star. I hate that feeling. It feels like I'm racing against the clock, my heart is pounding, the anticipation is killing me. I notice I'm knitting a lot faster than I normally do, possibly because I just can't handle the suspense. I didn't have to wait forever...

I ran out of yarn. I couldn't believe it. Lucky for me, I have an extensive stash of leftover sock yarn. So extensive, in fact, that I found almost an exact match for the green that I was using. I'm hoping it's close enough that no one will notice it's tonal instead of solid. Can you tell?

I'm sure the baby won't mind!

I promise my next post won't having anything baby related. I hope so, at least!