Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The dogs conspire against me.

I'm not going to bore you with tales of how my fiendish corgis conspired to prevent me from falling back asleep at 415 this morning. It is sufficient to say that I'm not terribly happy about it. At any rate, I thought I'd take a moment to update.

I'm within about five inches of having a complete set of sweater pieces. I should be finishing it off tonight. It's so boring that I'm not going to post another progress shot, just consider that it's more of the same and be done with it. I will definitely have enough yarn left over to do a crocheted edging on the sleeves and the hem, so I can get rid of the stockinette curl, which I much prefer to the look in the book, which leaves the curl and considers it a "design". I think this yarn is too bulky for that, and I know that I'm definitely too bulky for it.

Also, an Irish Hiking Scarf is on the needles for Bob, and I've started making Log Cabin chair covers for the dining room chairs. I have a pile of Lion Brand Homespun in three different colors that I can't imagine making a garment of any kind out of, but it is working up nicely as decorator fabric. I'm envisioning pillow covers for the living room and possibly a cover for the piano bench, if my hands don't revolt and leap off the ends of my arms in protest at working with so much unyielding acrylic. And who says having multiple projects is a bad thing? This way, I can reward myself for getting more of the log cabining done by going to the Eco Wool that is making the scarf. There are other rewards, the look of the fabric I'm creating is terrific-I'll get some photos up once I get one chair cover finished.

Incidentally, don't ever let anyone tell you that cables are hard. They're not.

I also spun up some Steelers Yarn over the weekend.
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Two skeins, about 115 yards each.
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I also made a hat out of the alpaca/merino blend that I spun up a while ago.
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It's WARM.

Yesterday, going from work to the bus stop, I learned something about wool. I knew this in theory, but it was my first concrete experience with it. I had my coat open (dummy that I am) because my hands were full and I was just trying to get to the mailbox. Once I'd arrived at my destination, I was able to do up my coat for the rest of the wait. My neck and shoulders, though, where my scarf was wrapped, were so cozy and warm that it was radiating warmth through my whole upper body. No wonder sheep look so contented.

Friday was my real birthday. I took the day off of work and did some spinning and some knitting. We watched the hockey game and drank some extremely good wine. (Bully Hill Vineyards, seriously delicious stuff.) Friday, Bob took me out to Mad Mex for my official Birthday Dinner. Ate WAY too much. Sunday was the family over for cake. Bob gave me a gift card from Burlington and a dozen roses. Lena gave me a Starbucks gift card. My mom gave me two hats that she made out of yarn I spun for her. I am not sure how I feel about that... it felt like a weird kind of regifting. She also gave me a gorgeous cross-stitched pillow and a box of brainteaser kind of things. It was a too-busy weekend but not a bad one.

I'm working on a concept called "Pronoia". Googling will tell you all you need to know about it. I got the book and am actively trying to apply the concepts to my life. Not easy.

Also, I interviewed for supervisor at work last week. I am unsure as to whether I'll accept if it's offered... I think my sanity is worth more than a one step level increase in pay.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Half a blog is better than none...

It's been over a week and no update. I started several times. Attempted to come up with something pithy and meaningful. No such luck.

So just a brief update, in the Flylady milieu of "work done imperfectly still blesses your family" or some such muck.

The sweater's trucking along. I'm down to the sleeves now. I started one by picking up and knitting along the armhole, but I am not crazy about how it looks. I'm going to rip it back, and follow the pattern as recommended this time. Perhaps not ideal, but better than having a funky looking sweater that I'll never wear. It's knitting up nicely, though.
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That's the back and part of the front.

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And that's a closeup of the yarn and the fabric. Pretty, huh?

Saturday was younger daughter's 21st birthday.
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We took her to Damon's for her first drink, where she managed to lose her wallet. No money in it, but a lot of inconvenience.
My family is pretty weird, sometimes.
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I leave you for now with flowers, and a cat. Here's to better cheer in the days ahead, and a long trip towards being well again that might just begin some time soon.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Happy Rebirthday to Me

If you look way down at the bottom of my page here, you'll see a thing called a "quitmeter". It shows you that one year ago today, I stopped smoking. So, today is my "rebirthday".

More than the new year, more than my birthday, today I've really been thinking about what I'm going to do to improve my life now that I've got the first year done.

It was not easy. In fact, it was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done. Nicotine is a bastard, one of the most (if not THE most) addictive substances there is. Throw in the additives that the tobacco companies put in to make it even more addictive, and the strongest person is screwed. I am far from being the strongest person, but I was sick of being sick. And it was going to kill me. I've been free of cigarettes for one year, and I am one week shy of being free of nicotine for a year, as I chewed nicotine gum for the first week of my quit.

To celebrate, I cast on a sweater. I've finally got enough of this.
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Just a very basic stockinette sweater with a rolled collar. The sleeve length will be determined by how much yarn I have when the body's done. I can spin about 200 more yards if need be. Photos soon. It's knitting up very nicely on size tens. It is time I moved past socks and scarves!

Happy Rebirthday to Me!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Finally, back to fun stuff

Well, other than the ten-hour day grind, that is.

It was a nice two week stretch of not going in for my regular 9.5 hour shifts. You see, when there's a holiday in the week, I work from 8:30 to 5, and I can take the bus in from Penn Hills. (For now-that's apparently going to change, but that's another rant for another day.)

I finished some projects that made me happy, and have picked up some more unfinished ones. All the Dread Holiday Knitting was completed, happily, and everyone liked what they got. I think. I don't know what my Aunt Ginny thought of her scarf, and my mother's reaction to her shawl was distinctly underwhelming.

I finished the scarf for myself that I was working on over the holidays. It's made of that lovely blue superwash merino that I posted about a couple of months ago. It's a bit over seven feet long, and about a foot wide. It's easily wide enough to be a head wrapping if need be, which is how I wanted it.
I tried several different stitch patterns before settling on a plain checkerboard pattern that showed off the yarn to its best advantage. To me, it looks like rain in an impressionist painting.
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Here's the whole thing...
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...and here's a closeup of the stitch pattern.
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I just love it. It's my favorite thing that I've knitted so far.

I've also been working on socks for myself...
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(knitpicks memories-100% merino on size 1 needles)

and for Bob, finally.
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(Brown Sheep Wildfoote in a blue/white speckle. I do NOT like this yarn, it's very stringy and splitty-perhaps it will bloom well in washing, I certainly hope so.)

I've started work on the entrelac scarf again, but with a mind toward making it a jacket collar instead of yet another scarf... how many scarves do I need? We'll see. I'm almost through the second ball of yarn and will see how it shakes out.
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I like how the two different colorways worked out. I'll continue with the darker blue-ish colorway and finish with the same one I started with, if that makes any sense at all.

Got some spinning in over the weekend, too. Gads, I really missed spinning. This is alpaca/merino blend.
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And this is some roving I've had for a long time-I've done three other skeins of yarn from it, and have maybe enough for one more.
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I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it's enough to do something "real" with. I'd like to also get back to the roving for my sweater plan, if I can actually get it spun any time before next winter.

I hope to write something substantive soon. For now, pictures will have to tell the story.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome, 2007

I'm happy to see the backside of 2006.

It wasn't all bad. I learned to spin, and to knit. I quit smoking. I started blogging, and hope that this will spark me to more serious writing in time.

I've been sick, but many have been sicker. I'll get better. I'm going to try very hard to get better, in 2007.

Resolutions are not my cup of tea. I have a firm belief that making them is setting yourself up for failure. But I can continue to try to heal. I can try to grow as a person ,as an artist, and as a writer. I can be a good mother to my children as they reach adulthood. I can keep going to work and find ways to make it bearable until something better comes along, knowing all the while that something better probably isn't going to come along. I can continue to try to reduce my footprint, to recycle, to buy less, to clutter less, to keep a cleaner, more organized home. I can love my husband as much as he loves me. (that part is easy-peasy.)

Try is the operative word.

Tomorrow brings relatives over for the annual kraut and pork fest. I've got cooking to do and a cake to decorate. I have a present to wrap for my mother. I think it's bed-time.

Happy 2007, world.