Tuesday, February 27, 2018

California Knitting

This past weekend was Stitches West, and I didn't go.  (I missed it a little when I looked at Instagram to see my yarn friends there but all in all, I'm glad I didn't make the trip this year)  Husband the Engineer, Tia and I were in California though, just the other end.  We were visiting Gavin's aunt in her nursing home who has been placed on hospice care.  My MIL was relentlessly insistent that she take Tia out to CA to meet her sister.  Gavin and I were not comfortable with her taking our baby to CA (she's almost 80 and to be honest, I wouldn't trust anyone to take my baby across the country without me) so we all went to Mission Viejo this past weekend.  It was fairly uneventful.  Lots of time in a nursing home with his aunt and mom (some of it knitting, when Tia permitted).  Very wiggly baby on 4 flights over 3 days (we missed our connection in Houston and ended up making it 3 days of flying instead of 2), and Gavin did ask if I wanted to go to a yarn shop or quilt shop while I was out there- and you don't have to ask me twice!

I got on my phone and found Orange Quilt Bee, which is in Orange and not Mission Viejo, but very worth the 30 minute drive.  I totally lucked out on some projects including a vintage travel baby quilt (which someone has commissioned and I've been struggling to find fabric) and lots of rainbow colors- bright color but low volume.  I plan on making a big gay wedding quilt for Gavin's cousin Lillian (his aunt's daughter) who introduced us to her lovely fiancee while we were out there.  I'll probably just do a simple half-square-triangle pattern because it's quick but extremely versatile.  I still have 2 more baby quilts that are now late because my sewing machine had to go in for repair, so after I finish those 2 quilts, I can start working on the vintage travel and big gay wedding quilt.

So I seem to be stuck here at my desk for a bit because the cat has crawled into my lap and has no intention of moving.  So here are my knitting projects:

Rachel's Getting Married Shawl:  Pattern is High Desert by Romi Hill, yarn is Mirrorball by me! I dyed I think 10 skeins of darker blues before Rachel liked this color (which totally isn't a big deal at all since I will just sell the other attempts at festivals this Spring).  There are 6 charts in this semi-circular shawl and since it starts at the smallest point and goes out, each chart is exponentially more work than the previous one.  I am on the biggest (5th) part of the shawl, and the pattern calls for 2 repeats of this chart for a medium size, and 4 repeats for a tall size.  My gauge is small and the bride is tall, so I am shooting for 3 repeats- the math doesn't change so it doesn't matter if there's an even number of repeats. My goal was to finish the first of the the 3 repeats on the trip and I made that by the skin of my teeth- I finished the WS row literally after landing but before we got to the gate.
The unfortunate thing about lace is that the whole time you're working on it, it doesn't look like anything.  Well, maybe wadded up panties.  The magic is in the blocking, and I'm probably 30 more hours of work away from that. It is coming along very well though.  I am thinking that I can maybe just maybe do 1 chart a week (which is bold) and possibly be done in 3 weeks and move on to the next wedding or baby shower project.  It's just one of those years- the brides and moms are keeping me busy.

Le Socks. 
The yarn is French, the pattern is plain.  It is perfect knitting to stash in your purse.  I put in a couple inches at the nursing home this weekend.  The socks have these really weird creases in them which are quite impossible to photograph.  I don't know if it's because the yarn is weird, or because it was maybe wet while I knitted it? (Baby drool).  Hoping they come out with a washing.  The yarn ball surely is getting smaller but it doesn't appear to have shrunken at all since the cast on of the first sock. So the plan is to finish these, wash them and wear them a couple times, and if I like them, knit a little pair of socks for Tia with the extra and put a little puffy paint on the bottom so they have little grippy bits.  She's not walking quite yet and we have hardwood floors, and I feel like it would just be evil to put her in non-grippy socks at this stage.

And since the cat is still not moving, here's a couple pictures of my office/sewing room.  It's kind of the "dump it" room of the house, and I would like to change that.  What that means is when we're about to have company and have things on the kitchen counter that we're working on, it gets dumped in the office.  So essentially every piece of clutter is part of a massive to-do list.  There's paperwork to switch my Roth IRA over to a new firm.  There's a pattern that needs edited and published, and 2 pieces of paper with email addresses for people waiting on that pattern.  There's yarn festival stuff that really should be in the basement but isn't.  There's fabric that people have given me that is slowly being worked into tote bags to be given away at these yarn festivals. There's things that need listed on eBay or Craigslist. There's shirts that developed a hole 2 years ago and have been waiting very patiently for a patch.  Checkbooks waiting to be balanced, memo boards to be hung...you get the point.  I'm hoping that posting these pictures will shame me into getting this room sorted out.

But honestly?  This room is too messy for Tia to come in and that really bothers me the most.  I like her hanging out with me when I'm working on something.  I just can't have her finding scissors on the floor and putting cords in her mouth.

And very lastly....seeds!
I had someone coming in and watering them every day while we were gone and turning the grow light on in the morning and off at night, but a bunch of them dried out and died.  Damn. But we have hot peppers, columbine, cherry tomatoes, bleeding hearts that refuse to germinate, sunset flowers, and campanulas.  I really want to add a ton of perennial flowers to the yard this year, but they're so expensive to buy in bulk so seeds it is! Wish me luck! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day

This past weekend was my very favorite yarn event of the year- Winter Wooly Weekend in Ferdinand, IN.  It was my 5th year attending and first year co-organizing and I think it went really well.  I certainly enjoyed myself and I had several people make a point to tell me that they enjoyed it.  So, a win.  A great weekend with old friends and some new, lots of knitting, a little drinking, but a great break from life.

So the downside to getting out of the house and going to a retreat and working and being needed, is that you have to come home eventually.  And I've been a special sort of hell since I got back. I know that the path of recovery from PPD isn't always linear, but I really felt that I've been better.  And overall I have.  There have been fewer days of just crying for hours, there's been a sharp decrease on the bourbon intake, and I've been making things again, and I felt like things were getting better.  But this week has thrown me right back to where I was before I had my D&C and that rotten piece of placenta removed. 

I have been so lonely since I got back and feeling so positively worthless. I've been sad and so irrationally angry.  I slipped in baby puke yesterday and broke my favorite tea cup on the way down and I sobbed for 3 hours.  Then my mom posted some Obama-hate on Facebook over his new portrait and I just freaking lost it.  I didn't even like Obama that much, I just really hate the new guy and every time I see his smug expression as he dictates who gets disaster relief or takes away from food stamps, I just want to throat punch someone.  And this has been every day since the inauguration.

Sorry, I try not to get political, but the news has been a major source of my rage. The fact that my family (with exception of my husband) is entirely Pro-Trump makes it incredibly difficult because every time I try to talk about my feelings I'm told how irritating I am and then my cousin shows up wearing a "Don't be a snowflake" shirt to Christmas and going on about those fucking liberals. I seriously don't even want to go to family events anymore.  It's just not worth the anger that I feel the entire time I'm there. Luckily nobody in my family reads this blog, and if they do, it's nothing new. 

Anyhow.  I've been dealing with a lot of hatred issues lately.  And I'm trying to do all the things we talk about in group therapy like letting things go and being kinder to ourselves but I can see that I was getting better and now I'm slipping into a downward spiral and I can see it happening but I can't do anything about it.  I used to be a loving person and I just hate who I am now.  It's days like this that make me feel like the world would genuinely be better off without me, but then I wonder what would happen to my daughter and my cat and my houseplants, and I know that I just have to grin and bear it and hope that someday I won't feel like this.

I bought some yarn this weekend to make a sweater, but my computer is having issues and isn't talking to my phone (where the pictures are).  So hopefully I'll remember to tell you about breaking my 3 year yarn diet in the next post. Until then, here's a song called "I Hate" by Passenger and it makes me smile a bit on days like this.It has some language, but nothing worse than I already say.  Link

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Power of Rainbows

I kept on with the rainbow theme and made a headband.  I wouldn't normally make a steeked headband but it's actually the perfect size for a steeking sample. I should also be able to put together kits really easily for classes, so that's a plus.  I'll do another one soon in 2 colors for the more traditional crowd.  It's drying now, and it needs buttons but it should be ready to go to Greenwood in time for Roving Indiana as a shop sample.  Huzzah!  I also had a shop in Ohio contact me about a trunk show and a Fair Isle class because I had posted this on Instagram in several stages of completion- so Huzzah again!
Below the rainbow headband you might recognize....another sock. I did finish the second highly ribbed sock and have already worn it several times.  It's in the wash now with it's friends.  I assure, it looks just like a sock.  This particular sock yarn is more of the stash that's growing vintage. The brand is called Cheval Blanc and it's 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon.  It is a lovely melange of blues and I picked it up on my most recent trip to Paris, which wasn't recent at all (Maybe 5 years? 6?).  Anyhow, it's working up a lot like Regia and I look forward to my new blue workhorse socks. I mostly casted them on because I needed a small project for....

My trip to Florida!!! Tomorrow afternoon Bike Boy, the Spawn and I are jumping on an airplane here and debarking in warmer weather. My parents live in Sarasota so it's a wonderfully low-key trip and the only real planning is the plane ticket purchase. Hubster is actually coming back a few days earlier than I am since I work remotely and he doesn't, but the baby will stay with me in FL for the extra time where she will be spoiled rotten by my parents.

My other Florida project is this!  The picture isn't ideal.  It's a handpainted (by me) navy blue lace yarn and the pattern is called High Desert or something- it's a Romi Hill design.  My bestie picked it out as her wedding gift, which is in October but I'd feel better finishing the shawl closer to April. I have several other big wedding gifts to do this year, and probably several big baby shower gifts to do next year since that seems to be the pattern lately.

I really don't have a lot else going on.  I'm working a lot.  Bike Boy is working a lot.  Tia is drooling excessively and has started pulling up on the storage ottoman and kind of walking around it a bit.  I dread the day that she discovers that it opens, and I will find my good quilting fabrics all over the living room.  Oh well, as long as it's fabric and not bleach or something, it's really not that bad.

Oh! Part of my "working a lot" is finishing up some old patterns that are stuck somewhere in the editing and documentation process.  The first is Tormund, named after one of my very favorite Game of Thrones characters since he's redheaded and always covered in snowflakes. Here it is!

And if you want more information or would like the pattern, you can find that here.

I have a cowl and hat kit that was designed for Wooly Workshop, and that will be available after Wooly Workshop is finished (the week of Feb 12th).  I have a shawl in 2 colors that's in the final stages of test-knitting, and I'm extremely excited about that one, and I have a colorwork baby cardigan called Wee Celt that needs a tiny bit of tweaking on the yoke math and then a nice photo session, but that should be available too sometime soonish.  It will be so nice to have these off my desk and out in the world!

Ciao for now! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Dawning of the Gauge of Aquarius

Ask, and you shall receive. 

Two days ago I had a minor heart flutter as I realized I was about 2 inches of sock away from having 1 knitting project.  I have so much respect for monogamous knitters (only one project at a time), but guys- I just can't do it myself.  I need to feel needed by the masses. 

Okay, it's more like having a project for every situation.  There's a purse project.  A low light project.  A brain tickling project.  Those back burner projects. And I'm down to 1 back burner sweater and a nearly finished second sock.  But there's nothing I love enough to start right now.

So I asked the interwebz what I should make.  I had several legitimate suggestions, but still no inspiration.  

The next day I got a call from a yarn shop here in town asking if I would teach another fair isle + steeking class.  And that got the wheels turning.

I won't give too many specifics, but I swatched.  I've had this concept bumping around in my brain for about a year now, but I always envisioned it as a sweater.  Last night, it spoke to me in a shawl form.  Well, a very small swatch, but if the shop owner is on board, then I'll make it a shawl.

If she's not on board, I'll make a shawl anyway but not teach in her shop. I think it would be super fun to have as a kit for sale at yarn shows.

At this point in time, it is called the Gauge Of Aquarius and it is rainbow fabulous.

And socks.... nearly there!

I took today's Tia nap opportunity to finally weave in those whopping 3 ends on Brooke's shawl and take it outside for some glamour shots.  It's not -10 like it was all last week, but I wasn't hanging out too long, so there's only a couple decent pictures.  But it's done, and I will give it to her tomorrow or Thursday and have it off my plate forever. 

Do you remember those stretchy bands that came in potholder kits?  I believe those were my very first craft obsession and they paved the way for life as a capital K Knitter. I was at a yarn show last year or the year before- I think it was somewhere in Texas- and they were selling the metal potholder frames and wool bands that had been dyed by hand.  I must have been feeling nostalgic, because I bought enough to make 5 potholders. I made 1 right away and was kind of over it- the wool bands are much thicker than the acrylic ones and it was a bit of a struggle to get those last few rows in there. But I made one.  And then Gavin made one when he was in the hospital for ACL surgery. And then the other 3 kits got thrown in with the sock stash for some reason.

Then I was snooping around on Ravelry and I saw someone making potholders with the Sugar & Cream cotton on a potholder frame.  And then I remembered that I now own a nice metal frame.  And then those 3 kits were hanging out with it...and I made a potholder.  And then I made a second potholder, but the yellow bands keep breaking and I'm highly annoyed with the second.  There is one more kit, but I'm just really annoyed that I paid $8 for a potholder's worth of wool bands and they keep breaking. Argh! But here's the one I made the other day before things started snapping mid-weave.  Kind of cute, huh?

All for now.  I have a knitter in England who keeps e-mailing me asking about an unpublished pattern.  So I should probably work on that....



Monday, January 1, 2018

2018: I made it!

Hello and happy 2018.  I hope yours is happy, healthy, and prosperous. I hope the same for mine.

Our Christmas was excellent.  Both of the knitted gifts were well received.  This is somehow the only photograph I got though...
It is a Red Wings hat that my hubby doodled in my scribble book a couple years ago and even named the yarns and colors he wanted, and then totally forgot about.  So, drawing short on cash and ideas, I knitted him this hat while I was in London in October. Totally stealth.  He loved it.  It's something I made up and those damn charts were nearly the death of me- at least they finished off my sanity. But after 4 false starts it turned out really well and he and I are both happy with it.  He immediately asked if I would make another for Tia. No. Never again.

My mom seemed to like her feather and fan scarf I made her, but I didn't get any pictures of it.  I really didn't take that many pictures, I spent most of the day trying not to let Tia eat the wrapping paper.  We all had a very merry Christmas and woke up 2 days later with a nasty cold. All of us.

So the past few days we've quarantined ourselves at home to be kind to the not sick people out there, and because it has been extremely cold and I just don't feel like leaving the house. Which has been really awesome for my finished project count!  I'm starting 2018 with the lowest project count I've had in years.  I actually feel a little naked.

So there's been....

A quilt for Project Linus. It's a bunch of 4" square scraps that are mostly leftover from my king sized quilt on my bed, but there's a few other random project scraps in there too.  I had no idea what to back it with, so I found some fabric that looks like it belongs in a comic book, and I bought the whole bolt.  It was on sale, and I'll use it to back several other baby boy quilts.  No regrets.  I've contacted the lady who organized drop-offs for Project Linus in my county, but it's been several days and I can't get her to return my calls.  I have another, smaller quilt to go to Linus too.

The Noah quilt. I've been slacking on this one- I think Noah is  like 4 months old now. It's a bunch of random Dr. Seuss fabrics.  No measuring (though I probably should have), just quick piecing.  I put the top together during a long Tia-nap, and then pieced together a bunch of scrap batting to fill it with.  Then I got side tracked and put it to the side for a couple weeks, but I finished the binding yesterday, threw it in the wash today (because I had lots of feline assistance) and will mail it to Noah's mom tomorrow.  Done!  I keep Dr. Seuss fabric on hand and buy a little every time I see it (which hasn't been in a while come to think of it) because it's so fun for little boy quilts.  I need to make 3 more for upcoming baby boys, and a little girl quilt too.  If I haven't lost steam by then, I'll try to make one or two for the gift stash pile.  I even added Noah's name in the upper right corner on this one- one of the perks of crafting for babies that are already here and named!

I finished the red wedding shawl!!! Okay I still need to weave in the ends, but I'm thrilled to have this beast done with. I ended up adding triple the border than I originally intended, but I'm glad I did, it looked too small after the first border section and I had tons of yarn left- it felt sinful to waste yarn I paid retail for.  It's blocking on my crazy guest room quilt right now, but I'll try to get outside and get some pictures of it in the snow before I give it to the bride.  Wedding is in March- so I'm golden. Now on to the other 4 wedding gifts for this year...oyyyyy.

And lastly, I finished a cowl that I'm designing for Winter Wooly Weekend next month.  I made the hat a few months ago but I felt like it should be part of a set, and I'm hoping to sell twice as much yarn since there's a matching cowl to go with it (fingers crossed!). I have the pattern written on paper, but need to get it in a document and then test-knitted and have the cowl photographed before the workshop, which is February 9-11.  By the way, if you're interested in attending Winter Wooly Weekend- holler! It's in southern Indiana and there's a few spaces left.  It's $250 for the weekend if you're staying on site, or $180 if you're staying elsewhere at night.  It's really fun, and it's a really great deal for all the food, lodging, classes and supplies you get. Definitely my favorite knitting event of the year. Bags are little stitch marker kits that go with the hat pattern. Need to make 40 more of those soon. 

So with all the finished projects of the past few weeks, my current projects list includes...

1.  Knitted sock (part 2)
2.  Gramps cardigan (need to figure out where I left off)- also knitting
3.  Kraken cross stitching
4.  Tia's baby quilt that keeps getting bigger

I think that's it actually.  I have a couple projects in deep hibernation, but they'll probably stay that way until I get all the wedding and baby gifts done.  I can't remember the last time I could count ALL my projects on one hand.  Frankly it's unnerving.

And here's the list of design projects that I would LOVE to finish by the end of January to get them off my desk...

1.  Tormund- fair isle baby sweater. Needs oodles of resizing math.
2.  Wee Celt- fair isle baby sweater.  Needs something, can't put my finger on it.
3.  Vicissitude Shawlette- needs math on part 4 and total reformatting. I designed it for a knit-along organized by some local yarn shops.  They NEEDED it done a year ago.  So it's done...and has been...but they won't return my calls or e-mails on when this knit-along might be happening.  If I can't get an answer by March, I'm putting together kits and going rogue.
4. Cable Me That Cowl- the reddish cowl above.  Hat pattern is done and proofed and good to go.

I might be escaping the cold for a bit towards the end of January and visiting my parents in Sarasota.  In which case I will have to finish a bunch of designs and Wooly workshop projects BEFORE I go (not unreasonable) and then start a fresh project! Because hey- vacay knitting means I get to play with something new.

Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What the sock?

Behold! I made a sock!
It's a Christmas Miracle.

Okay, it's not at all.  It's the first of a pair I started back in June when I was still attached to my breast pump for 5-7 hours a day. It's some of the oldest sock yarn in my stash, some Three Irish Girls I bought maybe 8 years ago and have fallen out of love with.  But I've been attacking my sock stash from the oldest side this year, and this yarn was next.

I did a picot hem, which I like, and Farrow ribbing, which I like.  At least I like the look of it- the construction is another story. It's just very slow.  But I've been working on this sock lately because I (a) have finished most of my other knitting projects and (b) don't love the other projects I have going- and they're the wrong size to travel with.  So yesterday, with a glass of nice whiskey and the company of good friends, I finished the first sock. And somehow I was 3 stitches off on my decreases on needles 1 & 3. And the toe just didn't look right.  I knitted on.

It had been so long since I made a pair of patterned socks that I'd forgotten to stop working in the pattern and switch to plain stockinette, and I wasn't smart/sober enough to think about why it looked funny.  I also realized that in order for the pattern to work with my gauge, needles 1 & 3  had 15 stitches each, and needles 2 & 4 had 18 stitches each. Oyyy.....

So this morning, I took the cat to the vet (she's as fine as an 8 y/o tripod can be- just her annual check-up and vaccines), poured a strong cup of tea, and sat down under my good light and ripped back the woven in ends.  I ripped back the perfect kitchener graft.  And then I ripped back the entire toe that took me most of last evening.  So I'll try it again tonight, plain, with the right amount of decreases.  And then someday I might think about making that second sock. 

I do have 2 other projects on the needles at the moment, but I don't really care for either of them. The first is a cardigan that hasn't been touched since February.  It's red, it's lovely and it has soooo many cables.  Which I'm just not digging right now.  It's also not going to fit until I lose about 10 more pounds, so there's very little motivation to work on it other than freeing up that basket.

The second is a lovely burgundy shawl that my dear friend Brooke will be wearing in her wedding in March.  The pattern is Rock Island by Jared Flood, and I hate it passionately. I started it and frogged the first part at least 8 times before moving on to the second part and deciding to replace the cursed border with one that I like.  I have found a new border to put in but there exists one more roadblock to this shawl that is needed for a wedding that is getting closer and closer...

I can't freaking see it. 

My vision got a little blurry when I was pregnant for Tia, which I've heard is a totally normal thing, and I kept waiting for my normal vision to return.  But that baby is 7 months old now and I can't see a thing.  So my next project is to get glasses, then pick up eleventy billion border stitches in a very fine deep red yarn, and make a very elaborate border.  I'm sure it will be no big deal, once I can see what I'm doing. 

I've been working on a few quilt tops too, for new babies and project Linus and even one for Tia.  I have 3 tops made and need to sandwich them and quilt them, which isn't my favorite part.  So that's just kind of a theme with all my projects right now.  Everything is just a little bit blehhhhhh.

I'll keep chugging along just to get them done, and someday I'll find a project that excites me again.  Hopefully.  If not, I'll get my butt back to ceramics class.  Unbalanced tea cups, anyone?

In case you are interested in the outcome of the D&C, the results were pretty gross but totally not cancerous.  Let's just say "complications from childbirth that could have gotten really bad, but luckily hadn't done so yet."  If you're curious from a medical standpoint, let me know and I can elaborate privately, but it's a bit gross for the general public.

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.