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!



Friday, February 13, 2015

First quarter goals

Something that my Sunday afternoon knitting group does is the quarterly challenge: find a crafty list of challenges that you will strive to accomplish in 3 months. Historically speaking, it's been much easier said than done- at least for me. I decided to go a little more modest this time around. I pledged to finish 2 sweaters (didn't specify which), piece together the inside of portion of the quilt top I cut out Christmas Eve, repair an old pair of socks with worn out heels, finish a cross stitch project (again with the ambiguity) and lastly, not finish the quarter with more projects than I started with.

I feel like I've done well.  I finished this sweater I think I started about 5 years ago. I don't know the brand of yarn. I know it's not Manos or Malabrigo, but is single-ply merino from South America, so you know...it's pretty much Manos. I'm not sure I would have picked the same colorway if I started this project a week ago, but it's done. It's dense. It's cozy and it will be very nice to wear to Tall/Dark & Handsome's hockey games.

It's a top-down raglan which I think I had intended to make a cardigan at some point. I changed the decreases so there weren't quite so many- I have scrawny little chicken arms and don't need a ton of fabric there. I crocheted a scalloped edge around the neck, bottom, and sleeves. I'm very pleased with my delightfully simple sweater.
I also finished another baby sweater for a friend. Miss Madeline made sure it didn't run off  while I was blocking it last weekend, and yesterday it got buttons. Now I just need to see my buddy to give it to her! Yarn is Cascade Jewel, handpaints. I used 2 hanks, but could have probably used a third. It just came from stash, so I wasn't going to track down a third for an inch of sleeve. Simple top-down cardigan with twisted rib.

I also finished the second baby quilt of the year, and probably one of my favorite quilted projects yet. It's for our friends who are having 2 babies this year, the first coming next month (I'm so excited!). I absolutely love this baby quilt. It was a bit of a head scratcher to follow the "guidelines" from Pinterest on it, but I think it turned out well. I bought enough fabric to make another since I really like this combo. 
I will try to get better pictures when I'm not at work during every minute of daylight and there's an actual baby to put on the quilt. I'm especially proud that all the mushrooms and polka dots go in the same direction. That is something I will try not to worry about so much for the next baby quilt. I made the back with one of my favorite fabrics that also happened to be on sale the day I needed backing- Dr. Seuss! 

I bought the rest of the bolts on these two and then a yard of a couple other Dr. Seuss fabrics. I'll try to make a couple more Dr. Seuss quilts up and have them ready for future baby showers. I just love this fabric so much! 

I'm off to work on a little cross stitching for a bit. The extra 2.5 hours a day at the office for the past 3 weeks has made me a little brain-dead and I'm not sure I can put together more sentences to blog more tonight. Good evening, good weekend, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Dreaming in Dresses and Shawls

I've been chugging along on my baby quilt. Progress has been slow since I've been staying an extra 90 minutes late at work every night. I've also been much more diligent about getting to the gym, which is great since I got a little squishy last year when my favorite Zumba teacher quit and I didn't really care for the next one. Or pilates. And I am suddenly much more motivated (more later).

I finished the back of the baby quilt and have begun with the actual quilting part- the sewing together of the three layers as perfectly and wrinkle-free as possible. My process involves a few minutes of sewing and many more minutes of re-pinning to make sure the bottom doesn't bunch while I'm quilting. It's a slow process. This is the first time I'm using thread that's really obvious, so there's a lot more pressure to make it look nice. It's a slow process, but rewarding.  I'm very excited to see it finished, and I might get that this coming weekend since Tall/Dark & Handsome is out of town at a bike show.

I've also started in on another baby cardigan. I'm using Cascade Jewel Hand Dyed, a yarn I've had in the stash for a couple years that I occasionally bring out to pet and then put away again. It's day has finally come. I had 2 hanks, so enough for 2 hats, a good scarf or another baby sweater. Baby sweater it is. It's just a basic raglan but the thick and thin yarn is super cute and it's going to make a very warm sweater. I'm making this one in the 1 year size as well, and since it's going to be a gift to a buddy who already has a kid about this size, I'll try to finish this quickly so older brother and new baby can both wear it. I love it, and I've made her promise to give it back one day.

I'm a little obsessed with the baby sweaters right now. They're just so precious!


I've also been working in spurts on this crazy sweater I started maybe 5 years ago. I bought it because it was a new company I'd never seen before and quickly realized I liked it much better in the hank. Fast forward 4 years and I'm organizing my stash room, preparing to move out of my parents' house. I find half a yoke of a top-down sweater and throw it in the car. I'll finish it someday. I got really into it for a while and then after starting the first sleeve, got bored with it again. That was last February. It's been hanging out in my African market basket since then, taunting. I had another quick fling with it while I ignored the baby cardigan for a few days, and finished the first sleeve/started the second at knitting group last Sunday. I was really determined to finish it Monday and that would have really worked well...if T/D & H hadn't torn up his knee playing hockey Sunday night and required a day of driving around to different Dr's offices on Monday.

He also did something kind of crazy Sunday night. Almost a year ago, he broke his leg in 2 places and torn a bunch of tendons. He's not back to where he was, but he's finally getting closer. We went to urgent care but they were no help, so we went home, iced and propped and were sitting in bed going "are we really doing this again?". His knee on his good leg was swelling by the hour and starting to change colors. Our plans for our trip to Tahoe next month for snowboarding were laughing at us. He was in pain. I was worried. We weren't going to get any sleep. He hobbles down to the basement and come back up, slowly gets down on the good knee, and opens a box.
Well of course I said yes! The guy designed the ring back in October but it was just finished last week. It's set really low so I won't knock it in the garden or dye studio or get it tangled up in my yarn. So thoughtful!

*In case you were wondering, his knee will be fine. He tore his MCL, and not completely. We originally thought he had torn his ACL. He just needs to keep a brace on and ice it and try not to fall for around 6 weeks*

We aren't officially wedding planning yet. He is in the process of moving his bike shop, I'm getting ready for my dye class next week and the trade show after that, and I think it's a little bonkers to try to add venue shopping to that. I want to have as much DIY stuff as possible...ish. I'm thinking about making the dress but also thinking that could be really stressful and REALLY time consuming. But cheaper. And would fit perfectly. But then I'd miss out on shopping with the bridesmaids! See- it's quite the dilemma. To knit or not to knit. Whether it is a noble cause to sew a bodice and tack on crochet lace that could easily take me all year. I think I'll make a wedding shawl and just buy a dress. I'd also like to do my own flowers. And by do my own flowers, I mean call a friend with flower arranging experience, giving them lace, ribbon and pruners and sending them out in the yard. I've worked my ass off in that garden, I'm making it work for me. Flowers aren't cheap.

So that's this week in my crazy life. I'll hopefully be able to squeeze in a post before I leave for knitting camp next Friday, but if not, wish my 80 students and me luck!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Ode to Weekends

I just love being able to go to bed Sunday night knowing that the house is clean(ish) and I am down one or more project.

Saturday I got up and got my bangs trimmed and ran some errands around Broad Ripple, and went to go work on my quilt for the first of 4 babies coming this Spring/Summer. I'm sure there will be more, but there's 4 that I'm preparing for now. I was just not having the best day quilting. I sewed a couple pieces on upside down and had to rip them out. I burned my middle finger on the iron. I sliced open my other middle finger on the rotary cutter, and then I decided I was done. Madeline was fast asleep on some of the toadstool fabric in a sunbeam so all was good in her world.  I put everything away for a couple days and got ready to have a couple friends over to dye yarn. Here is the baby quilt as it stands now. I still need one more row and then I can get to the next steps. 

I also realized that the quilt top is bigger than I anticipated and I needed new fabric for the backing. I could have probably just bought more of the batik I was going to use originally and sewn the two together, but then I saw this Dr. Seuss fabric and it was 40% off....so the batik will go elsewhere. No regrets.
Sunday was a little better. I got to sleep in a little more and then went to knitting group where I finished knitting a little sweater I started a couple weeks ago for the first arrival in Spring.  The pattern is kind of Baby Sophisticate, which I altered because my gauge was nowhere close and I really just needs to know how big the chest of a 6-12 month old baby is and how long to make the arms. It looks like the picture did, so all is good. I made the sweater in a mostly acrylic but a little wool blend and while it was really cute, I was over it. I've made several things with this yarn before and I'm glad to be done with it. It's totally cute so that's good. I've already moved on to the next sweater, which might go to baby 1,3, or 4. Or not go to anyone because it's so cute and I might want it in the extremely distant future.


Anyhow, I finished the knitting at knitting group, I came home and ran it through the dryer with some clothes for a few minutes to soften things up, and then sewed on the buttons while the Colts were massacred by the Patriots. F'ing Tom Brady. 

And then Madeline and I jumped right into the next one.
Have a great week! Stay crafty my friends!

OH! And if you are super bored, you should check out my first Youtube tutorial on how to make pepper jelly with my co-host/ co-worker/ crafty buddy, Rachel. Tiny Kitchen Cooking & Craft Show