Family


I know it’s been awhile. I wouldn’t say it’s the holidays that made me too busy to blog; there’s really no one reason to blame. Maybe it’s the working 50 hours (or more) a week thing. It’s been tough enough to keep on up blog reading. And in the spare time that I have, I’d much rather be actually knitting and spinning than writing about it.

This was Christmas at my parent’s house.

I got to hang out with my sisters, see my dear kitty, Merlin, and do holiday stuff like frosting cookies and wrapping presents. I hardly left the house except to see a few high school friends at night, and it was completely relaxing. Christmas day is always extremely low-key with my family; it takes us hours to open all the gifts because we take our time, and take breaks, and enjoy being around each other. I don’t have many gift-knitting pictures, but I’ll show the ones I do have in my next post.

I’m not really one to make New Year’s resolutions, goals, life changes, etc. Usually I tell people that my resolution is “to be more awesome than last year.” But, reading all these blogs the past few weeks on the subject has inspired me to at least lay out some *guidelines* for improving my life a little bit.

1. Meal planning. I received a few cookbooks for the holidays that I had been wanting, and I would really like to actually use them. I get it together and cook every now and then, but this post over at Obsession with Food has inspired me to plan out the meals for the week. This will hopefully a) make cooking at home more and more frequent, b) allow me to be more adventurous and creative with what I make, and c) solve the pesky problem I tend to have of leftover, unused ingredients spoiling and going to waste.

2. Eating more intuitively. Another interesting blog post inspired this. I want to take on a new attitude toward, and better habits about eating. It’s not about dieting, but it is about both enjoying what I’m eating, and giving my body what it needs to feel good. Too often I deprive myself of adequate food during the day, and then come home and eat terribly in the evening. The meal planning should help with my dinner dilemmas, and make those late-night Taco Bell runs less frequent. And if I’m planning out my meals, it should be easier to ensure I’m eating wholesome, quality food, rather than whatever happens to be lying around.

3. Making time. I tend to think that I “don’t have enough time” to do everything, from infrequent hobbies to cleaning the house. While everyone just needs to chill out and do nothing once in awhile, I really think that I can use my time at home better. The other night when I got home from work, rather than sitting down immediately and knitting for 4 hours (until I was tired and starving), I got my laundry going, cleaned the bathroom, and vacuumed right away. It didn’t take very long, and I still had plenty of time to work on several different projects. I felt productive, and I didn’t spend the evening thinking about how filthy the house was. I want to be the same way about my other hobbies too. I’ve been trying to spin every few days, and and I hope to make sewing more frequent as well. Also included in this should be picture-taking and blogging 🙂

I’ve already got a ton of projects either started or in the planning stages.  Lots of good ideas and inspiration have been coming my way lately.  Lots of nice yarn and fiber to see, too.  I promise pictures soon!

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Life has been busy since I started my new job.  I like it so far; it’s not the most thrilling work in the world (lots of menial clerk-type tasks…I am an inventory clerk after all), but it’s nice to be doing something other than answering phones at a front desk.  It’s also nice to know I won’t be leaving in a few weeks.  I’m working there just 4 days a week right now, so I have still been trying to figure out ways to make enough money without killing myself.  A coffee shop/roaster in Oakland, who first called me over 3 weeks ago, is still pursuing me even after we failed to have an interview and we end up playing phone tag most of the time.  I finally have an interview set up for this Saturday, so I’m pretty excited about that.  My German class also started last night.  I’m going to have a lot going on this fall.

I don’t mind, though.  I’ve still had time for knitting!  I haven’t really had time for taking pictures, though.  The other day I finally got around to briefly photographing my mom’s Wyvern socks, since she was in town and they were leaving my house.

Wyvern Socks
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, 2 skeins
Color: Laquer Red
Needles: 2.5mm KP dpns

I discussed earlier my issues with the short rows and the sherman heel solution.  The second sock went pretty quickly after I sorted all that out and decided how I wanted to do the cuff.  I didn’t like the look of simple 2×2 ribbing flowing up from the back, so I switched to plain stockinette for 12 rows and did an EZ sewn bind off.  The cuff rolls down if you like, and it stretches enough when worn that the cuff can be unrolled and stay flat, if desired.  I like it better.  My mom was thrilled with them.

Also, for the record, Panda Cotton stands up beautifully to machine washing and drying.  The failed sock got thrown in with my boyfriend’s laundry, so I don’t know if it was washed on hot or cold, but it came out looking perfect (aside from the ugly knitting).  The yarn is very splitty, but I would definitely make socks with it again.

I have since finished one 9 to 5 sock in Knit Picks Essential, but the pictures I took came out blurry.  I also felt motivated enough to start a new sweater.  It’s Mrs. Darcy, and I’m *this close* to finishing the back.  I’m using my Beaverslide Fisherman’s Weight wool in Mountain Mahogany that I initially bought for a second Ester.  This is my first seamed sweater, and I’m pretty excited about it.  This is a quick knit because of the larger gauge, and I sort of like the idea of “finishing” a piece; smaller accomplishments on the way to the final one.  Hopefully I can keep motivated on this cardigan because it will be just perfect for fall.  Maybe next time I’ll have some pictures.

I’m known to be indecisive, but never have I changed my mind so many time after starting something. At the very least, I typically persevere, and try to let whatever it is I have fallen out of love with organically grow and change and improve. But something about this idea just couldn’t be like that.

Months ago I decided to make my Grandma a shawl. A lace shawl. Inspired by Victorian Lace Today, I knew there had to be a pattern in there that was perfect. I thought I found it. More than once. I pored over the pictures and changed my mind a dozen times while working on Victorian Ruby. I thought Alpine Lace was “it”. But just before it was time to cast on, I found a hidden gem: Victoria. I cast on and worked a few repeats while on vacation in April. It languished a little. I wasn’t loving it.

And then, I saw Ene’s scarf in my new copy of Scarf Style. Love at first sight. I wanted to drop everything and make this for myself. But I refuse to have two lace shawls happening at the same time (unlike sweaters…). But wait! This could be Grandma’s shawl. And then I will see how beautiful it truly is and make for myself in a few months.

I cast on and worked my way through a few of the first long rows. Maybe if I had made it through chart 1, I would have stuck with it. But I put that project down for a few weeks in favor of other things. I felt a little guilty, but told myself “after I finish ____”, I’ll get back to it. I looked forward to it. I knew I had time to spare, because it’s the beginning of summer, and who needs a lace shawl in the middle of summer?

Having finished the knitting on Hot Lava, I thought it was time to get back to it. But then, along came Ravelry. While browsing patterns at work last week, I came across the Clementine Shawlette, from IK Spring 2007. I had liked this pattern, but never thought too much of it. I saw some nice ones on Ravelry. It looked so pretty in other colors. Wouldn’t that make a nice shawl for Grandma?

So I frogged my humble beginnings of Ene. Clementine is easy to get into, because that first little handle goes so quickly. I got halfway through the chart B increases on the first night. After last night, I’m establishing the main body. I’m already to a nice, memorized rhythm that doesn’t require constant chart consultations. I could tuck it in my bag and take it with me. I could stop and start in the middle of a row. It’s both interesting and mundane. It’s perfect. And this time, I really mean it.

so xmas knitting is over! well, not quite. i am still working on amy’s purse. it’s going a little slower than i thought, partially because i haven’t been able to resist starting some things for myself already. the knitting part is almost done, but i’m going to be lining it, and i still have to figure out what i want to do for the handles. so i think i am going to have to tell her that it’s not done when we do gift-exchanging in the next few days. she will love it when it’s done, though.xmas itself was AWESOME, especially in the knitting/crafting arena. i got my ball winder and swift! here is a picture of my sister working it. she is winding some of the lovely yarn i got for xmas.

on the left is some manos de uraguay that i got from my sister. the colors are so awesome. i can see it being a few different scarves, but i want to wait and see if i think of something else. next is the massive quantity of tweedy wool that my mom got me in ireland. each color was one huge skein (probably around 200g). when we were winding it i thought it would never end! i love this yarn but i’m not sure what to make from it. i have two other 100g skeins from ireland (one’s a darker blue, one’s limey green). i don’t know how well all those colors would go together, but i can’t decide what to do with any of it! and finally, on the bottom is some handpainted mohair and wool from montana. it was given to me by my cousin who had my name this year, but i know my aunt picked it out. it’s super pretty and i’m thinking of making a really simple garter stitch scarf, switching between the two yarns for a cool textured look.

i was really impressed with all the yarn i got. my family knows how to pick yarn! this was their first test. yessss!

in addition to all that, i got a sewing machine as well! the reason i was so blessed is because my mom bought the sewing machine off of her friend who was getting rid of it. it’s been cleaned and tuned up and looks almost new. i haven’t used it yet, but today i bought myself some fabric to make a DPN case. so that will be my first sewing project, when i am feeling really ambitious.

i also got victorian lace today from my mom. the patterns in there are so amazing. last night i couldn’t stand it anymore and i started the “victorian ruby” scarf on pg. 92. it was slow going because of my blunt-tipped bamboo needles, but i got some pointier ones today so hopefully that will make those k2togs a little easier. i’ll take some pictures of that when i’m a bit farther along.

inspired by the patterns from the book, and my mother’s delight in the lace shawl i made for her, i decided i should make my grandmother something from the book as well. so i went to article pract and picked up three skeins of misti alpaca lace the lightest blue. it’s like the color of fog burning off as the blue sky starts to hint through the mist. i haven’t settled on which one to make yet, because there are so many to choose from! at the yarn store i also couldn’t resist one skein of trendsetter yarns tonalita. the colors were crazy amazing, and it screamed, “make calorimetry!” at me. and so i shall.

that’s a lot of plans for the new year! and this is in addition to all the other stuff i’ve got in the back of my head to make.

***

all of my knitted gifts went over well. unfortunately in all the chaos i forgot to get pictures of finished things before i gifted them, and then on the recipient. some of the stuff is in the finished objects photo gallery, and if i get pictures of the other stuff in the future i will add it there.

i am not completing things as quickly as i would like, but i am still completing things. last week i finished the first of the cabled footies for j’s dad. after that i started an armwarmer (undisclosed recipient) and i finally finished it yesterday. so that’s halves on two projects. i’m ready to start the next footie but i realized i need to get cracking on mom’s cozy, which has sort of been on hold for the last month since we came back from our trip, in favor of smaller and more exciting projects. however, after i did the finishing on the armwarmer last night i did a few rows on it, finishing the third skein and starting the fourth. it is just long enough to wrap to my shoulders. i know i’ll need to go into the 5th skein but maybe not need to finish it to get the length right. my mom is shorter than me too so i don’t want her swimming in it. i can’t be finishing it at the last minute because this is one project i’ll actually be blocking!

i found out who my family gift recipient is: drake, my baby second cousin whom i’ve never met. he’s around 3, and he lives in arizona. at first i thought i could make him a quick little baby hat, but since he lives in a warmer climate, i want something that will get a little more use. so i think i’ll be making him a dinosaur toy! i think i will make him mr. stegs, and i just showed them to james and he wants trice. trice will probably not happen until after xmas (that after-xmas list is starting to get really long too).

my pre-xmas list also continues to grow, but i think it’s still managable. i’m still waiting for my knitpicks yarn but i’m in no rush for it because i need to complete at least one project that i’m in the middle of before i start amy’s purse. i currently have five gifts (armwarmers, hat, cozy, chain, footies) on the needles right now. and i have…dinosaur, purse…oh good, that’s only two, that have to be done before xmas that i haven’t started. there’s a few other things, like james’ convertible mittens and zissou hat, that can wait until after. having counted that up…i think i can actually do all that in time! four weeks from yesterday. i can do this.

it has suddenly been awhile since i’ve posted. i have been knitting, but this month has been incredibly hectic. i was also on ‘vacation’ for a week…with very limited internet access.

while i was in montana visiting my extended family on my mother’s side, my 14 year old cousin passed away. that’s why it’s ‘vacation’, not vacation. the last week and a half have been incredibly difficult.

but i’ve still been knitting. while i was there all i had to work on was my feather & fan lace scarf.

this picture is from a few days before the trip when i had first started. i haven’t taken another picture yet, but i’ve finished one skein of andean treasure in the orange color and another in a heathered grey. originally i was only going to do it in those colors, but since the gauge is small, i’m adding in some andean treasure in lavender as well. but now that i’m back, that’s on hold for other things.

as soon as i saw knucks on the new knitty, i knew i had to make some for james, even if they are without the embroidery. he had requested gloves like that quite some time ago and i never got around to looking for a good pattern but this is perfect!

i had yarn waiting for me at ups, but i couldn’t get it over the weekend, so i decided to go to the yarn store and start on the knucks. i was good and only bought the yarn and needles i needed for that. i am almost done with the first one!

and on monday i went to ups and got my halcyon yarn order, which contained big kureyon and some fuzzy mohair called fusion for my shrug from interweave. i cast that on monday when i got home from work. working with giant size 15 dpns was…difficult…at first, but it got a bit better. now i’m onto straights so it’s going easier.

i am also on the search for yarn for my mom’s clapotis that i’m going to make her for xmas. i am hoping to bring that along to europe to work on during my travels.