Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Simply Perfect

So if you are an Instagram follower (I'm knitpurldrop on there too), then you'll know I've been a little obsessed with this simple patchwork quilt. 

As I (think) I mentioned last post, it's just a little destash project- a charm pack I've had for a couple years, the leftovers from the backing of my brother's quilt- I even sewed together batting scraps to fill it! I'd never done that before but the pile of scraps was taking up entirely too much space in the storage ottoman, and I was able to make a dent in that wad with this quilt.  For some reason I was thinking it was going to be hard to piece together batting scraps, but it took about 10 minutes and some zig-zag stitching.  Not a big deal at all.

So here's the quilt, as simple as it gets.  Just simple patchwork.  Simple diagonal quilting (I drew the lines on in pencil and just sewed over it).  Then I just pulled the backing forward and bound it like that- the whole quilt took about 3 hours and I'm ridiculously happy with it.  It's been added to the gift stash for future baby girls.  There is one tiny change I would make if I had to do again, and I'd adjust my machine so the stitches were longer in the actual quilting part.  I normally do that, and I'm a bit rusty and I just forgot. This might be the first actual quilt I've finished in 2017. 

I also had quite a bit of knitting time today at the Dr.'s office.  I'll spare you the gory details, but I've been having some girly problems since I had Tia and then went back on birth control. (One and done for me)  Anyhow, after about 45 minutes of Feather & Fan with some Posie by Good For Ewe, I found out that there's a mass in my uterus.  We were unable to tell exactly from the ultrasound if it's a fibroid, a polyp or something else, so I'll be having a D&C as soon as there's an open OR- probably the first of the year.  It's totally not a big deal, just an outpatient surgery.  The worst part is the anesthesia, which always takes a couple days for me to shake off. It's probably nothing bad, but I have a family history of uterine cancer on my mom's side, and I'm BRCA2 positive, so it's better to be safe than sorry. Years ago, I came to terms with the fact that my uterus would try to kill me at some point, so I've been staying on top of my reproductive health as best I can.
I also wanted to say thank you for all the kind words on my post a couple weeks ago about my PPD.  There's such a stigma about mental health and disorders, and it's been really good for me to talk about it and let it out a bit, and I've had a couple people open to me about their own issues. so it's worth it to know that I'm not suffering through this alone- and there is some sort of comfort in this miserable company.  There are starting to be more okay days than bad days, which is a very slow step, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Great Destash

Over the past year, I have been on a serious yarn diet (only bought 2 skeins of yarn- seriously!) and sold a ton of old stash in sweater quantities on eBay.  Did well on some, not so well on others, but trading old stash for cash is always nice.  My tastes have changed in yarn, so it's natural to have some from old phases that can go to a new home.

I've also been on a destash group on Ravelry, that makes you fess up to yarn coming in to the stash and yarn leaving, and it's all done by grams.  So you check in at the end of each month, say "Hi, I purchased 250 grams of yarn/fiber, and I knitted 745 grams".  Stash sold or gifted doesn't count, but whatever.  It counts to my checking account!

But that system has been keeping me honest about my stash in and stash out, and tracking it has been really great when facing a somewhat intimidating stash.  It felt like I hadn't knitted or crocheted very much this year- and I haven't compared to some people in the group- but it's nice to go back month by month and see progress.  And holes starting to form in the stash.  I dream of one day fitting ALL of my personal stash in a smallish chest which currently holds my sock yarn. And thanks to finishing some old projects, that dream might come true in a couple years.  I'll keep you posted.

But here's my most recent finished project- the Uglysweater.  Or Mrs. Weasley Sweater, depends on the day.

Here it is in it's unblocked beauty, about 30 seconds after weaving in the last end.  I started this sweater with my BFF Rachel (you'll be hearing a lot more about her, she's my other-other half) back in February at a Superbowl party. She asked me to teach her to knit last year, and we've been doing this by starting projects together that teach her different techniques.  She's the fastest learner I've ever seen, and she'll probably publish a fair-isle knitting book by the end of next year.  Anyhow, she wanted to knit a sweater, we picked out a pattern, and we casted on together at a Superbowl party.  We'd work to the the next part of the pattern, stop, and get together so I could show her how to separate the sleeves from the body, how to pick up stitches, etc.  When she got close to finishing the first sleeve, I figured she was good to go on her own, plus I wanted to have that sweater out of my knitting bag.  So here it is, unblocked.  I wore it on Thanksgiving, unblocked.  And it's sitting next to my laundry basket, still unblocked.  I'll get to it someday. It will be fantastic for a Christmas Sweater party.

Yarn is Crazy Yarn Mill Ends by Stonehenge Fiber.  Each skein is unique, but I found skeins that all had the same Kelly green in them. I used just over 5 skeins.  I'm still a little heavy from having a baby, so I hope it gets more flattering as time goes on. 
I've also been trying to sew lately, since I was really in a quilting groove before Tia was born, and the chair in front of my sewing machine is one of my happiest places, but it's hard to get there with a 6 month old.  I've also been on a fabric destash, since BFF Rachel brought me 2 enormous bags of fabric that someone had gifted to her and I had a bit of a growing stash of my own.  I've been making tote bags at an alarming rate with the fabric from Rachel, which I'll give to people who buy lots of yarn from me at fiber festivals.  2 birds with one stone!  But yesterday I dug into my stash for a quick project and found an old charm pack that was a door prize at a show years ago.

I put this little quilt top together in about 40 minutes, and then I found a backing fabric that is the absolute perfect size- leftover from a quilt I made my brother last Christmas.  I'm even sewing together batting scraps to stuff it with- how thrifty am I? (I mean, how cheap?)

I have it shown here on top of the backing fabric so you can kind of see what it will look like when it's done.  It's definitely a girl baby quilt, but it's not super girly, and I like that.  It's also on the small side, which I used to hate but now that I have a baby, I love this size for strollers and car seats. But that's the entire charm pack, so that's what size it is.  I'll quilt it on my Janome machine, so it will just be diagonal stitching, nothing fancy.  I'm not paying someone with a long-arm to finish this destash quilt for me.  The only question that remains is....what do I do with it?  Tia doesn't need another blanket, as much as I like it.  I have a quilt in progress for her, which I'll show off when I get back to it.  But I'm torn between putting it in the gift stash for future baby girls, and giving it to Project Linus- because I haven't donated any baby blankets for a year or two.  Decisions, Decisions.

And lastly, Madeline sends her love and requests more treats.  She's spoiled rotten and still my little baby.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


I highly doubt anyone is reading this anymore, and that might be for the better.

It's been a long time since I wrote.  Bike Boy and I finally got married.  We moved to a bigger house.  Good For Ewe grew.  I got pregnant and cut my hours at the software company.  We did a bunch of work on the house.  I had that baby (Tia, girl, now 6 months old). I quit my job at the software company and took Good For Ewe full time.   Good For Ewe stopped growing.  I started going to therapy for postpartum depression. I began looking for part-time work and didn't find any. I started drinking a lot more bourbon.  So now you're caught up.

I'm sure I'll raise some eyebrows for putting this in words, but motherhood isn't what I expected.  Some things are better, and some things aren't.  I love my little girl so much, but I'm not as enamored with being a mom. I go to group therapy weekly, and we talk about transitions in our roles.  I went from artist/department coordinator to just mom. All day every day. I know keeping a teacup human alive is a thing, I just struggle feeling satisfied with my life when I'm crying at noon, in sweats that I've been wearing for 3 days with hair that hasn't been washed in a week. And that's just life now.  And I feel like a complete jerk for not feeling all glowy and motherly.  I'm just not that kind of person.  I wish I'd known that sooner.

So here is my old/new journal of my life.  There will be some knitting.  There will be some quilting.  Gardening.  Baking.  But I'm also going to get real with you about what it's like to be stuck at the bottom of a hole, trying to claw your way out, holding a baby.

See you around.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

End of Summer Posting

Summer is quickly winding down and the leaves are starting to change. The garden has been taken over by volunteer pumpkins from last year's compost heap and the tomatoes are slowing down for the year. I've been so busy with both jobs lately, I didn't bother planting a row of radishes or turnips for my fall garden.

Our next door neighbor is a very nice man, but doesn't take care of his lawn. His back yard is some kind of invasive plant sanctuary- thistles 20 feet high, poke weed, poison oak and honeysuckle and it's all coming over the fence and into my garden. It's a losing battle I just don't have the time for, so after I pull the sweet potatoes we'll be laying out some flagstone to create a buffer for a few feet that will hopefully slow the weeds down. I wish he would move out and someone would come and take care of that poor house and yard. But he isn't, so I need to do what I can to protect my garden from his mess. I'm also worried about how it could hurt our home's value when we try to sell our house (not in the foreseeable future, but it's a small house and we might need something bigger someday).

Anyhow, there is an abundance of pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers now. BFF Rachel and I are going to be making a big batch of pepper jelly next week and I'll start pulling up the plants, spreading this summer's compost and tilling under for the fall in the week or so after that. I'd love to get a bunch of it done over Labor Day weekend, but Tall/Dark & Handsome is set on boating in KY, which is also nice, just not overly helpful for taking care of the to-do list.

I've been knitting on two projects lately, a purple baby cardigan called "Wee Liesl"- a Ysolda pattern for a pregnant friend at work. I used an Opal handpainted sock yarn I've had stashed for a few years. It's superwash, so I figured I'd save it for gift knitting. I've had the pattern and yarn picked out for a while, I've just been waiting for someone to have a girl. I don't know that this friend is having a girl yet, I just had a feeling so I cast on. It's finished now with exception of the buttons, but I'll wait until it's finished blocking before I put those on. I found silvery-gray shell buttons that bring out the plum color.  As you can see, Madeline the wool snob is a big fan.

I'm still chugging along (with a lot less momentum) on the green fitted February Lady Sweater. I think I'll need to find another hank of this yarn for it, and I'm dreading that and that's probably the anchor in the progress. That and I've been working on wedding things instead. I never actually knit at home anymore and progress on bigger projects (that don't fit in my purse) is slow-going. I also realized that Christmas is only a few months away now, and I should probably start with Christmas crafting. I've been working on a smaller quilt for Gavin's parents as a gift at some point- I was hoping to give it to them at the wedding as a thank you for paying for the rehearsal dinner. I had a really good weekend on it and thought I could give it to them for Christmas but now I'm not as sure. But I do want to knit a pair of socks for a friend, a couple hats or scarves for co-workers and a couple potholder/dried herb sets for a few foodie-friends as well. Extended family will probably have another year of jellies and dried herbs from the garden. So far I have 2 jars of dried peppers and a Rastafarian potholder.

I have also been working on a baby quilt for a friend due on the 14th. I meant to finish it and give it to her a couple months ago, but I didn't even turn on my sewing machine all through July and August. I made another blue and yellow quilt like I made for Mary Jane, but I ran out of fabric and had to go a tiny bit smaller on one side. I had some really cool Dr. Seuss fabric that I used on the back- it's such an awesome print and I didn't want to cut any of it and risk beheading some of my favorite characters, so I just made the entire quilt back all one Dr. Seuss print.  I managed to get the top done last night and quilt it, but it still needs bound. Madeline is very involved in the quilting process and I can't seem to get any pictures without her flopping down in the middle of "her" quilt. I'll make her one soon with scraps for her window seat.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ovary Woevaries

My last few months (since mid-May) haven't really been the most pleasant. Somewhere between helping to renovate an old Midas building that became the new bike shop, TNNA and a summer full of shows with Good For Ewe (hurrah!), I started feeling a little...off.  I assumed it was stress and lack of rest and I pushed through. Then the nausea started...but only in the mornings. Then mood swings and finally a really odd cramp in my left ovary. (Catholics and squeamish people, turn away now) I have an IUD and being the worry-wart that I am, my brain went right to ectopic pregnancy. I called my doctor immediately and went in for an ultrasound. The good news is, it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy, or a pregnancy at all. I know how that sounds, and I do love and want babies, I was just really hoping to work on that AFTER my wedding next June and when Good For Ewe was a little bigger. The not so great news was that there was a nearly 4 inch cyst in my left ovary causing pain and first trimester pregnancy symptoms. They diagnosed it as a simple cyst- meaning that it was fluid filled, and provided that my ovary did not twist onto itself and cut off blood flow, it would eventually slowly osmose or burst, releasing those fluids back into my bloodstream.

That didn't happen. Instead I grew an even bigger cyst on the right side. By this point I stopped being able to eat breakfast or keep any dinner down. I've eaten my weight in crystallized ginger root in the past 3 months. I've lost 10 pounds and have no interest in eating anything anytime. With the next check up, there were 2 additional growths- not simple cysts, and we took out the IUD a year early and went to a hormonal therapy to help shrink the cysts. This treatment didn't stop the vomiting, only made me cry while puking. I've had my 5th Dr's appointment about these cysts today and we've decided to stop hormonal birth control altogether for a couple months to let my system reset. Since we are 10 months out from the wedding, I'm more than a little leary of this but I can't continue to throw up on the way to work most mornings. If this were happening a year from now, it would simplify my birth control decisions greatly, but it's not, so I just knit in waiting rooms trying to figure out what the next step is.

So that's what's going on with my reproductive parts and why I look positively haggard if you've seen me lately. Here's some better things:

I've been dyeing tons of yarn lately for Good For Ewe. I sell it faster than I can make it, which is a pretty awesome problem to have. Finding time to make it is proving to be tricky though. I look lovingly forward to a day when I only have one job and can spend several days hunched over a steaming dye pot prodding boiling wool blends. Okay maybe not that particular part of the process but I do really enjoy the gratification of looking at the day's work and seeing my favorite colors and knowing they will be loved.

So far I'm just dyeing lace and sock yarn but so far it's gone really really well!

I've been wedding planning and it's going pretty well- which probably means I'm missing something huge. I did have my caterer bail on me which I was pretty mad about, especially since I had to contact him to find out he'd changed his mind. Thank goodness I'd emailed him to ask if he wanted a Save the Date otherwise I could have gone several more months before finding out he'd changed his mind.  I was supposed to meet with another caterer last night and drove out to Zionsville in rush hour with my MOH and my parents coming in from the NE side only to find the caterer had gotten the day wrong and wasn't there and didn't have any food ready. Oy vey. So we'll try again in a few weeks when 4 people's schedules align again.

Wedding knitting is going really well so far. I had a totally masochistic notion that all of my bridesmaids needed lace shawls (in lace weight of course) and they would all be ecru but all different patterns. I got the first 2 done really fast (thank goodness there's only 4 bridesmaids) but I kind of petered out halfway through the third. I just need a break from ecru lace. I also decided to knit Tall/Dark & Handsome a pair of socks for a wedding gift, lovingly wrapped with a note that says "in case of cold feet".

*Gavin, if you're reading this, act really surprised when you get these socks, touched that I would knit socks at that gauge for your giant feet and for the love of all things wooly, make sure your toenails are short before wearing them*

I'm *done* with the first sock- kind of. I still need to kitchener to toe closed and weave in the ends, but considering we are still 10 months out, I feel like I'm doing okay. I just can't work on them when Gavin is around but as much as he's at the bike shop, that's really not that hard.

I am knitting a totally selfish project because I needed something that wasn't a giant blue ribbed sock or ecru lace, and I dug some Cascade 220 Heathers out of my stash from about 6 years ago and am making another Fitted February Lady Sweater. I made one about 3 years ago and it felt like it flew by- there's just something about gull lace that soothes my soul when I have a lot on my mind. According to my yarn, I'm about 30% finished but have a road trip coming up this weekend. I'll probably be incoherent after taking a bunch of dramamine, but a girl can dream about 12 hours of knitting time, right?

And the garden is going strong this year. I should have planted my fall veggies like my carrots and turnips but I had some volunteer pumpkins that sprouted and I didn't have the heart to pull them. So I have tons of tomatoes and the pumpkins are taking over the yard. They're growing up the fence and I've got pumpkins hanging 8 feet in the air which I think is pretty cool since I'm one of those weird permaculture enthusiasts.

But until those pumpkins are ready to pick and the fall tilling needs to be done, can I interest you in some tomatoes?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Life after TNNA

You know how you have that one event coming up and life is going to be so much easier after that...

I'm going to have so much time when this trade show is over....I'm going to have so much time once we are finished renovating the bike shop...I'll finally be able to get back to running when this class is over... oh the lies I tell myself.

I got back from TNNA in Columbus, OH on Monday night. It was a horrible, expensive bust. You spend tons of money on a booth and a hotel, you spend a couple months working on patterns to debut and yarns to show and packets for the Sampling event. And sometimes the show goes so horribly, you just don't know what to do. Except unpack. The basement is still full of suitcases and containers of yarn needing organized. This year it was so dominated by the big companies like Rowan, Berocco and Plymouth, the little companies like mine just don't have a chance.  I'll try Stitches in August.

Tall/Dark & Handsome has a grand opening of his bike shop's new location tomorrow. Which is awesome, because it will mean months of repairing an old building and making it a bike shop will be over. His parents are even coming up, which is nice, but it also means a lot of cleaning since they are allergic to cats and I have a very fluffy cat. TD/H promised to help with this...and then disappeared to the bike shop. So I've been unpacking a lot of yarn and scrubbing a house and working a full time job and I'm just over it. I'm exhausted.

So here's a few garden pictures, a quilt I finally bound, and a lace shawl for my Maid of Honor. And I'll try to get some sleep before my next post.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bike Shop Bridezilla

Oops- I dropped off the blogosphere again.

Here's a super abridged version of life since my last post.

We (I) are (am) wedding planning. We have booked our venue, our date, our caterer, our photographer and our bartender. We are having a very Broad Ripple wedding at the art center near our house and using local services and as many of our friends' small businesses as we can. Our wedding color is lavender and it's a garden wedding and not overly formal. I have an idea of the style of dress I like and the Maid of Honor and I have picked out a fabric for bridesmaid dresses. We both have pretty big families so a small wedding isn't happening, but we do want something as intimate/small/inexpensive as possible. We have already managed to anger several relatives with lack of engagement pictures and the invite list (you aren't inviting my second cousin?!) but are putting off the real planning until....

We finish fixing up Tall/Dark & Handsome's new bike shop, get him moved in, disappear for 4 days for a trade show with Good For Ewe and then come back and have the bike shop's grand re-opening event while moving the Good For Ewe warehouse. We are already swamped and stressed and are holding off on any more wedding planning until that's all over and we are home and put back together. We've got the big stuff booked, the rest doesn't seem that urgent, especially since we are getting married next June.

So that's that.

I've been taking a ceramics class at the Indianapolis Art Center. It was a 7 week course that actually ended a couple days ago but I have an open studio pass that's good for another week and a half which I plan to use as much as possible as I finish up a few more pieces and get them glazed and fired.  I haven't seen any of my finished, glazed pieces yet, but here's a picture of some stoneware I glazed and set back for the kiln two days ago...
Ceramics was definitely not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I absolutely love hand-thrown bowls and mugs and vases and I have entirely too many pieces around my house that I've collected at art fairs and shops from my travels. It turns out that just because you have an appreciation for such pieces does not mean you will have a knack for throwing. That being said I love my silly little misshapen and poorly balanced bowls and mugs I've thrown over the past 7 weeks and I'm very excited to see them once they're all fired and finished. I'll round up all my finished goodies and show them all off once I have them all back- it will be a few more weeks before they are all back from the kiln.

I finished a quilt top that I cut out on Christmas Eve during a quiet and very long shift at work. The pattern is from a Kaffee Fassett book called Quilts in Sweden. The original shown in the book looked like this: 

I liked the idea and the structure, but felt like it was too busy and the colors didn't match a darn thing in my house. Plus I didn't want to spend that much money on Rowan fabrics for a quilt for my guest room. Instead I used a stash of batiks I've been collecting for a while. I really loved it until I did the final teal/lime border. I'm not as sure about it now. I dropped it off last week at the quilter's house and I''ll be adding a binding when it comes home here in a few weeks. 

I also made another baby boy quilt for a baby shower coming up this weekend. I have also been collecting off bits of Dr. Seuss fabrics every time I see them and finally had enough for a baby quilt. That's a lie. I have enough for 8 baby quilts, but that's not the point. I have been on a baby boy crafting spree for a couple months and am finally seeing the light at the end of a very blue tunnel. I put together this Dr. Seuss quilt for a good friend's second baby in 4 months (it's a long story) and then have 1 more boy quilt to do. I'm hoping to just make quilt tops until  I run out of Dr. Seuss fabric and have them stashed for future showers. 
The fabrics used in this quilt are from Oh the Places You'll Go! and The Cat in the Hat with borders from Green Eggs and Ham. It's perfectly silly and bright, and it really didn't take all that long. Since the Dr. Seuss fabrics aren't exactly the cheapest, I backed and bound it in royal blue with polka dots from the clearance rack ($3.50/yard- woot woot!)

As you can see from the picture, something is missing. Madeline had an accident last February and ended up with nerve damage and subsequently a dead arm. She had been really rough with it and knocked it on everything and it was constantly alternating between bleeding or scabbing over. We finally decided to amputate her dead arm at the shoulder. She was very cranky for a few days and didn't poop for a week and a half, but she's back to her normal self now and moving around really well.  She does have a bald patch but it doesn't seem to bother her much. She is still perfectly able to do all that she loves, like nap on baby quilts, nap on couches, nap on beds, nap under beds,flop down in the middle of your quilting project and whatever knitwear is blocking, help in the garden, and chatter at the birds from the back of the couch.

As far as knitting goes I have two projects: never ending samples for Good For Ewe (actually have part of a mitten left and I should be good to go) and a lace shawl for my wedding. Unfortunately, I really don't have that many pictures of any of those things, so more later.

And since it's Spring, here's what I've been up to outside.

Have a great day and I'll work on this regular blogging thing!