Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crafting into the Holidays

So the Christmas Countdown is on!  I'm still in the "I can totally finish all my Christmas projects" phase of Holiday crafting.  The crazy part?  I keep adding more projects to my plate because I must be a total project masochist.

Here's the one project I've finished this week.  If I keep going at this rate, my Christmas presents will be done in time for Easter.

So here is my Christmas Knit List (and I think most of the items are crocheted)

Cupcake hat for an 18 month old (in progress)
Cupcake hat for a 3 year old
Quilted Christmas Stocking for Rob
Doily- for a wedding that was in October and I really need to get it done.
Doily- for Rob's parents.  His mom is a lover of doilies.
Quilt- have about 15 hours of hand sewing left on binding.  Tired of looking at raw batting hanging out.  Plus I think I'm getting a quilt rack for Christmas and I'd like to have something to put on it!
Doily- for my Aunt & new Uncle with his last name.  I thought Aunt Neany was making them a doily, Aunt Neany thought I was making them a doily, they never got a doily. There's no real deadline on this, I'd just like to get it off my list.
Doily?  This one is a maybe.  It's for someone who asks for (and gets) stuff I make quite frequently- most of her birthdays, Christmas, random things that she's asked for, baby blanket she didn't use, potholders she's taken out of my potholder drawer....but I have never ever gotten something in return.  I know that Christmas isn't about getting, it's about giving, and family, and Jesus and stuff, but I'm not really sure what to do here.

What do you do for people who are constantly asking for stuff but don't return the favor...ever?

Rant over...list resumes.

Mermaid- for my mom.  I started this back in June or July because I was going to give it to her for her birthday in October, and then there was the whole thing where she had my cat put down when I was on a work trip because my cat was peeing on the floor and then it turns out it was her cat and I was really mad.  And her birthday fell in to one of those days that I was too angry to call her.  Anyhow, I miss  my cat, her cat is now heavily medicated and not peeing on the floor (as much) and I am tired of seeing this Mer-WIP.  Here it is now.  The tail is being beaded so it's not exactly a fast project right now...
And another little dilemma... I seem to have quite a few of those right now.

The day before Thanksgiving I was thinking about what I'm thankful for...and it's a really long list.  Supportive parents that were able to give me the loan that started Good For Ewe, a really awesome boyfriend, friends, having a free place to live while Good For Ewe gets going, and (probably more than is acceptable) I am thankful for Madeline, my shelter kitty that I've had for almost 3 years now, and the 14 years I had with Tubby Custard- and lots of other things, like eBay and sock yarn.

And then I started thinking about all those animals in shelters that don't have homes this Holiday season. And while I can't adopt one right now (I can't get another animal until I move out of my parents' house) and I don't really have much money to donate, I can always make animal beds to drop off at the Humane Society, and so I made one.  I collected a bunch of oddballs of all colors and fibers and started crocheting.   It ended up looking like this... a little wonky but very thick and warm.  It's a little prettier than this- this was bad lighting.
I dropped it off at my vet's office yesterday in the Humane Society donation box.  Within 10 minutes, I got a phone call from the vet's office thanking me for the blanket and telling me that they vet saw it and thought it was too nice to give to the Humane Society where an animal might chew on it or pee on it.  I explained that I know what animals do to these blankets and I really don't mind- I'm just using leftovers and they don't take that long.  Anyhow, the vet tech explained that the vet wanted to use it when they're putting down animals.

I'm having mixed feelings about it.  I made it for the Humane Society.  It's an animal bed.  I should feel honored that it's been "saved" from this fate and is going to be a final comfort to an animal as he or she is put down.  But I'm a little mad that my blanket is now kind of an instrument of death.  I guess I'm not far enough removed from Tubby's death to be entirely okay with it.  At the end I told them that they're welcome to do as they pleased with it- I just don't want to personally think about animals being put down as it's still a pretty fresh pain for me.

But for now, I've started another one (because I totally need more projects before Christmas) to keep up with the stash cleansing and because I'm thankful for my shelter kitty and want to give some other shelter animal a nice warm blanket this winter.  (Mine's the gray one hiding under the tree skirt.  My mom's is the evil one trying to beat her up)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh What A Week!

I feel like I've been running non-stop all week, and things are finally starting to slow down a bit.

Firstly, Good For Ewe had it's BEST WEEK EVER!  October was not that great, but I'm definitely doing a lot better this month.  Plus I'm starting to get repeat orders, which to me is way cooler than opening an account- it's much easier to get a customer than it is to keep one.   Last week I drove through Ohio stopping at 2 shops, and then stopped at 2 shops in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh was big and scary and I got lost about 5 times, but I opened 2 new accounts so it was worth it. I hit up one more shop in Ohio on the way home, which didn't go as well (it's the first time I walked away without an order- it hurt pretty bad).

So this week I've been doing lots of Good For Ewe work and a little bit of gift knitting, but haven't really touched any personal projects.  So my sweater looks like this...
And I really don't think I'll be wearing it on Thanksgiving, especially since my mom's cat peed on it today and it's soaking in wool wash.  Anyone want a free little cheetah cat?  Because it's taking everything I have to not take her out to the farm.

I finished the doily, framed it myself and took it to a wedding.  Let's hope they like it!  I have 5 more to make before Christmas.  Ugh.

I've resumed working on my mother's Mermaid for which she's been asking for over a year.  It's a little scary looking right now, so I'm really hoping that it improves.

I wasn't really sure how to approach knitting a body- it's not something I've ever done before and there weren't any patterns that fit what my mother wanted in her mermaid.  I'm not keeping track of my numbers or anything, but I will share my process in case you're curious.

I started my making a hat from the top down.  (I recently deleted that picture in my phone because the beady eyed head was freaking me out when I looked through my pictures) I just made a long hat and then decreased really quickly (I think I did k2togs around for the whole round) and made the neck a tube.  After a couple inches of that, I began raglan increases and got to working on her shoulders, which I separated and then put on some arms.  I made little mittens for her hands, and I'll stuff them a bit and then go sew in some fingers.

And here she is as of right now...
And some pretty things that aren't knitting related....

Paperwhite Blooms- I bought these bulbs the day Tubby Custard died and they're going to be so beautiful for Thanksgiving.

And my single red rose from Rob- it even came with a little teddy bear.  I really lucked out with Rob- there's hardly a day that I don't have fresh flowers in the kitchen.  (I thought guys only brought you flowers when they forgot your birthday!) And he's the nicest guy in the world too.  Minor details.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Obsession Continued

This week I have been almost completely monogamous and absolutely completely obsessed with the orange sweater. I'm having to bribe myself with it in order to get other things done (I can start the sleeve after I finish the Miller doily, I can work on it for an hour after my run).

I have been going to anxiety/OCD tendencies therapy every couple weeks for a few months now. I went last Tuesday, with the first 7 inches of the sweater I had started the day before.  I know that I have a highly addictive personality (I get hooked on stuff easily and don't stop until I have finished it or completely exhausted myself) and I was talking to my therapist about my knitting and how when I'm stressed like I have been, stopping is just really hard to do. The fact that I'm really loving this sweater and it's going super quickly is just making me want to spend more time on it, and it was really worrying me how obsessed I was getting with this orange sweater.  I kind of feel like I'm wasting time in therapy talking about knitting and the way it makes me feel because I can do that on my blog and I don't have to pay a co-pay for that, but it was good to hear her out.

She believes (we didn't use any machines or anything to medically confirm or deny her hypothesis) that my knitting is more of a self-hypnotizing coping mechanism for anxiety than a symptom of OCD.  She continued to describe what happens physically (slower heartbeat and deeper breathing) and emotionally (calmness/elimination of fight-or-flight mentality) during self-hypnotization and I think that's she's right.  I've known for a really long time that I do knit more when I'm stressed out (ie I'm a really nervous flyer.  I flew to Beijing and had a pair of socks by the time I landed and there's the entire sweater I made during finals week my last semester at Purdue) and during calmer periods I don't feel incomplete or stressed out if I don't knit that day.  I could go weeks without knitting and not have a breakdown, and I could knit all day and it wouldn't be a self-destructive habit, sore index fingers excluded.  I also don't like to be without a knitting project in my purse, but I can go out and have a nice time if I don't bring it.  It's like a security blanket in that aspect, comforting to have around but I'm a perfectly functional person without it.

So for the first couple days of orange sweater obsession, I beat myself up over it and kept thinking of all of the other, more important things I could be doing (working out and cleaning).  And after talking it over with my therapist, I've accepted that it's okay to get obsessed every once in a while, especially if I do feel better after spending some time with my yarn (and I absolutely do).

So here is the sweater as it stands after today's knitting group...
And here it is getting the Wonder Possum seal of approval and gray hair.
A doily I need to finish before Saturday... (It's Miller, so I'm almost there plus border)
And finally, my booth at the craft fair!  It goes until next Saturday so hopefully I'll just be picking up the table.  I doubt that will happen, but I would like there to be significantly less when I return.  I did walk in with my tub of baby blankets and hats and some woman shrieked to her friend "THE CUPCAKES ARE BACK!!!!" and I sold one before I even unloaded it, so I have a good feeling for this year. I'm hoping to get a few orders from it and perhaps a few people who would like to take lessons as well this year, but we'll see! Que sera sera!