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!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Babies

Two stars made for my nieces, one crocheted, one knit
My coworker's fiance is pregnant and I just recently received an invitation to the baby shower. It seems I cannot escape the babies, no matter how hard I try (I'll admit, not trying very hard.) The shower is only two weeks away and I decided to make a toy as my gift. I figured I'll be able to finish it in time. Hopefully those won't be famous last words.

I made this pattern for my nieces and, according to my sister-in-law, it was a hit. The pattern is Celestine. The only thing I did differently than the pattern (or plan on doing) is to include bells on the inside while I'm stuffing it. The best one's I've found are cat toys. I can fit about three of them in there and it sounds just like any other child's toy with bells!

Star in progress
My sister-in-law did mention that the girls liked the knitted star better because they could grasp it easier than the crocheted star. She also said that she thinks I could make some serious money on these since there are always mom's on etsy looking for handmade and unique toys for their babies. If only I had all the time in the world to devote to knitting.

I promise you, I'm working on things other than knits for babies. I have a hat started which I haven't felt too motivated to work on for reasons unknown. I'm working on a pair of Malabrigo socks. I have a shawl I started out of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga which is luscious. Not to mention my ongoing spinning project. I'm just so easily sidetracked these days! I've also been hugely sidetracked because Sam bought me the box set of the Game of Thrones series and I haven't wanted to put the books down. It's extremely difficult to get myself motivated to go to work or get up to do anything because I'm in the middle of a chapter I can't stop reading.

If I could wish for anything at all, it would be more time to do the things I love. I sometimes feel like I have too many interests for my own good!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Seeing Double

Just over a year ago, my brother and his wife expanded their family by two and as ecstatic as I was to have twin nieces, I don't think I know what I'm in for in the knitting department. Two pairs of tiny little infant socks is no problem at all. Two little sweaters that only seemed big enough to fit a doll was also a breeze. In fact, it's really not been that big a deal to make double of everything I make for the girls. The problem might come later when they're bigger! Right now I'm just smitten by how tiny every thing is, which may be entirely due to my baby fever. I'm just happy Sam, my boyfriend, hasn't gone running for the hills every time I gush over the babies and the clothes I make them! Pretty much every time one of them does something ridiculously cute I turn to him with those big doe eyes and say "Don't you want one?", or "How is this not killing you with cuteness right now???" and my personal favorite "They're making my uterus hurt, they're so cute!"

My brother and his wife just moved back to the US about a month ago. They had been living in England for the past two years for my sister-in-law's job. The transfer wasn't all it was cracked up to be, not to mention the addition of twin girls with no family around to help raise them brought them back to the States and I couldn't be happier. They now have an instant babysitter and I'll get some baby-raising practice. Sam has never really been around babies so doesn't quite know how to interact with them. I'm hoping time, and exposure might cure that!

I would love to post pictures of the girls, but I'd need permission from their parents first. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it that they are so cute they could sell baby things! Maybe that's just me being a biased aunt, but seriously, these girls are adorable.

Mittens for twins
Recently, my brother and sister-in-law requested mittens with thumbs for them. Up until this point, they've been wearing the thumbless mittens because that's what fit them. The poor girls are getting very frustrated now that they are getting extremely good at grasping things. It never ceases to amaze me how much more coordinated they get each time I see them.

Though I will say, even though these girls are good-natured, I do not wants twins when I finally start having babies of my own. Seeing my brother and his wife be extremely exhausted, it seems to me one baby at a time is a breeze (I'm sure the truth is that one can be just as exhausting.) I realize this is not a choice and as luck would have it there are now two sets of girl twins in the family, how that happened no one really knows. I suppose we'll see if I dodge the bullet, because honestly, how often does lightning strike three times? If I don't, I'm sure I'll find a way to make it work and be just as happy as if they came one at a time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And the spinning continues...

As promised, here's my latest spinning project. This alpaca/merino blend is to die for. I plan on a bulky weight yarn so that I can make the Owls sweater (ravelry link.) I've made this sweater before out of Cascade EcoWool and I absolutely loved how it fit.

I bought this fiber in Rhinebeck years ago. I can't remember which year since I've been going for the past 6 years or so. I bought two pounds of it, which might be overkill, but I think I planned on making a sweater out of it right from the start!

 If any of you have been following the Yarn Harlot, you'll know she's recently been talking about startitis. For whatever reason, I can absolutely relate. Perhaps it's the feeling of freedom now that the holiday knitting is complete, but I've started about 10 different things, not all of them knitting.

This past year, I taught myself how to make coasters. It's something that I've wanted to try for a long time since there was a decided lack of coasters in my life. Now that I'm 30, there's a certain desire to have nice things and keep the things I have nice. Somehow, a folded up piece of paper just wasn't cutting it in furniture protection area.

I gathered all the supplies and through trial and error, I came up with a product I'm really excited about. I made so may sets of coasters that nearly everyone on my Christmas list got one this year. They were such a hit that I decided I might try to sell some of them. I plan on an etsy shop sometime in the Fall of this year. I wish it could be sooner, but there's one step in the process that requires a well-ventilated area where the temperature is between 70-90 degrees. If you've ever been to Central New York, you know there isn't such a space in January.

There's still plenty to be done with them though. As you can see, I'm busy getting the designs put on.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back into the Spin

My latest crafty endeavor was some polworth fiber that I decided to spin up. I bought 4 oz of dyed fiber from Into The Whirled while I was at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this past year. I dare you to go to their site and not drool over the fibers! The colorway I purchased is called Brandywine and it took all my willpower to hold off on spinning it until after the holiday crafting was finished.

I don't actually have anything in mind for it at the moment. It's heavy worsted or even bulky weight yarn, but it's luscious and beautiful and destined for something warm and soft.

I hadn't spun anything for over a year and this was just the kick-start I needed to get myself back into it. Once I was finished I immediately dove into my fiber stash and found some Merino/Alpaca blend in a nice heather gray color that I bought years ago. I actually have a project in mind for that one. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Welcome Is In Order

Welcome to my blog. I warn you, this is not my first blog. My first blog was named Skein Street and still seems to exist on the internet, though it's dusty and neglected. There are posts going as far back as 2004-2008. I felt I needed a fresh start, so here it is.

How about an introduction? My name is Erin. I'm 30, living in Central New York with my boyfriend, Sam, of two and a half years. We live in a cozy apartment with three cats and a dog and I vacuum enough fur off the rugs to make a fifth pet. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Me and Otis, and yes, he really is twice my size.
I've been working as a veterinary assistant for the past three years and it's an exciting, uplifting, depressing, fun, stressful, happy, boring, hectic job.
No two days are the same. I'm actually quite happy about that. I had a job once that was the same everyday. I came to work, waited for the work to arrive at 9:15am, was finished by 10:30am and spent the rest of the day surfing the internet to keep myself from going insane. I don't know if you realize this, but there is an end to the internet and I found it. That's how much time I had on my hands. I'm much happier having a job that keeps me busy, sometimes to a fault, but it's worth it.

My real passion happens outside of work. I'm a knitter. I've been knitting for about 14 years. I spin my own yarn. I've started dabbling in designing patterns. My idea of a perfect day is spending time sitting outside on a warm day in the shade of the sun with a cup of tea, some knitting and a good book. As far as I'm concerned, life doesn't get much sweeter. (Suddenly I get the feeling I'm writing as if I'm introducing myself on a dating site. "What's you're idea of a perfect evening?" Yikes, must re-direct this post)

So here we are, I have time on my hands again to do the things I love to, namely, be creative. I consider blogging a form of creativity and I obviously loved doing it back in the day. Why not start up again? Here's to many more post! I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I enjoy creating it.