Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas is over!

So it turns out the holidays are a lot more stressful when you're not a kid! (Who knew!)

But Christmas with my family was great, Christmas with Tall/Dark & Handsome's family was great, the gifts were all finished in time and I only had to re-wrap a few due to the cat chewing all the corners off the gifts. 

I made quite a few gifts this year, but only one really big one. I made quite a few fancy dish cloths and wrapped those up with some artisan soaps, I made hats for T/D&H and my dad, but the masterpiece of the year was a cashmere lace scarf for T/D&H's mom.

His mom is a little obsessed with cashmere. She reminds me every time we see her that she wants me to make her cashmere sweaters. It's not going to happen. I haven't finished a sweater for myself (that wasn't to promote Good For Ewe yarns) in years- I'm not going to start making sweaters for other people that cost more than my mortgage payment. This particular 50g hank of cashmere came from a trip to Scotland about 5 years ago. It's a hand dyed hank of Mongolian cashmere that was dyed in Wales by a very fancy dyer.  It was a little out of my price range but still...I had to have it. And I got it home and put it up on some pedestal where whatever I made had to be perfect and wonderful and use every inch of it! 

So it had been sitting in the stash for 5 years. It was getting to be a burden every time I went down to the stash to do some digging. And November 1st, it told me what it wanted to be. It's a very simple stitch pattern on a small hook, so while it's technically lace, it's very dense and darn it, used all but .5 yards. It blocked out beautifully and was well received.  It's not a sweater...but it's probably the nicest thing I've made this year. All 38 hours of it. 

I've got a couple new-ish WIPs to also show you today. I'm trying really hard to design a pattern a month for Good For Ewe. Some months it happens, some months it doesn't. I have a feeling this will be a 2-monther. It's a cabled & lace boat neck pullover to promote the lace yarn, which I am holding doubled so it doesn't take quite so long. I really like it, it's just not growing very quickly. I'd like to have it done for a yarn show (knitting camp) the first week of February, but I absolutely need it done by TNNA in June. I have a couple other patterns I would like to have done by then too.
And lastly, the quilts.

Last week our office offered a few incentives for people to work on Christmas Eve. They had me at "low call volume" and I took in a couple movies, knitting projects, ironing board, rotary cutting mat, loads of fabric and my new Kaffe Fasset Scandinavian Quilting book (and a cornhole board and bean bags- you never know). I felt like a dirty cheater for cutting out 2 quilts (a baby quilt and a Queen sized quilt all in Batiks- I'm so excited!!!) without my helpful Miss Madeline jumping in the middle and attacking the rotary cutter, but I'm amazed that during my long shift I managed to cut out all the pieces for 2 quilts. That would normally take me weeks in real life but with few interruptions and the knowledge that I had to stay in my cube all day, it went down pretty easily. The pink one that's already 3 rows in is for a baby who is due on January 15th but I really doubt that the wee one will stay put that long. The mom has a last ultrasound Wednesday so I need to get cooking on putting this one together. I have tons of fabric scraps going into it and a yard of this pretty, barely patterned pink. The bottom will be periwinkle paisley flannel which I've had stashed for a few years and recently unearthed. I don't think it will take that long once I actually sit down and work on it (sewing machine is too loud to bring to work, regardless of low call volume).
And here is my Batik quilt! Well...sort of. The picture of it in the book I thought was really kind of ugly, tons of blue and orange patterned fabrics that were all really busy. You couldn't even see the individual pieces that went into it- just looked like a heavily patterned mess. I decided to go with mostly pastel batiks and I think they should be simple and different enough to make a really cool but not overwhelming quilt top. We'll see- I have to finish a couple other things first. 

I'll keep you posted- this baby quilt needs to go down and quickly. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


So it's been a while since I blogged. Life gets a little crazy sometimes, and it's been a good kind of crazy. I get behind with things like blogging and then realize there's so much to say that I don't know where to start, so many projects, so many things to say and it's just...overwhelming. So if there's anyone still out there reading, here's the 2014 Cliff Notes of Paige's life.

1. It's been a bad year for legs in our house. In February, Madeline had an accident of some kind (we still have no idea what happened) but she lost the use of her front left leg. Structurally, it's fine, but there is nerve damage and since she can't feel it, she won't use it. Due to her heart condition, I am very hesitant to amputate because it's very likely that she won't come out of the anesthesia. She carries her dead paw around and kind of does this wounded soldier crawl on the bed and the couch. It only slowed her down for a couple weeks and she's back into all the same shenanigans that she was before her accident.

Tall/Dark & Handsome broke his leg and tore a bunch of tendons in early March. He had surgery and got a large plate in his leg and a few screws and pins and spent the next three months on the couch. It was a difficult time for both of us. He's doing much better now but not moving quite as quickly as he used to.

2. After a 9 month mortgage hell, we finally closed on the house in May. We began the real work on it the next day and even though it started a little late, we had a great (if somewhat unorganized) garden and more veggies than we knew what to do with. I bought a dehydrator, cooked a bunch and froze it, and learned to can. It was quite the undertaking and I loved every minute. I have expanded the original garden area and will have twice the space next year. We also dug up what remained of the shrubs and replaced them with flowers, mostly started from other people's lilies and my dumpster diving adventures at a local nursery. We saved hundreds and the beds *should* be amazing next summer.

3. I found real (not temp) employment at a software company in Carmel. I'm not rolling in cash by any means, but it was enough that I could quit working at the nursery every weekend and I now have some really awesome insurance, which is always a good thing. They also know about Good For Ewe and are not only okay with it, but super encouraging. It's a great place to work and I couldn't be happier with both of my jobs.

4. Good For Ewe is still around and having a fantastic season. We've expanded into AZ and CA (finally!) and are growing every month. I'm still trying to design a new pattern every month. Some months it happens, some months it doesn't.

In short, it's been a great year. Busy, but really interesting. I've made several new and good friends, and finally been able to return to Sunday afternoon knitting group. The holidays are upon us, and I've been knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing, quilting and canning for gifts. I need to get back into the habit of blogging but I'll work on that.

For today I'll just leave photographic evidence that I have actually worked on something this year, and wish you all Happy Holidays, I'll be back- I promise!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Just when I thought life couldn't get any more different...

It did.  I just finished my second week in a temp job in HR, and was offered to stay on after my temp period is over.  Since they prefer to hire HR people through the temp service, I'll have to wait a few months before that contract is up before I can be a real employee. But the people are nice, the job is steady, the money is better and paying the credit card bill isn't quite as scary anymore. Being somewhere by 8 every day is getting a little better but it's still pretty rough.  And I've already put on  a little weight from sitting at a cubicle and not walking around a nursery all day, I'm still at the nursery on weekends- I promised them I'd at least stay on through the busy Spring season and I'd like to stay on through the Fall so I can get my yard all planted/landscaped and keep the discount for my shrubs I'm putting in this year. 

I'm really excited for gardening this year, so if you are anti-plants, you may want to tune out until the first frost of the Fall. My little seedlings are still going pretty well.  One of the trays got pulled down by Madeline and I suffered a few cucumber casualties, but we probably didn't need that many cucumbers anyway,  We still don't own the house since TD & H is taking his sweet time with his taxes, which he needs to have done and back before we start the mortgage process for the 4th time (ARGH!!!! $%)*^(#$% BANKERS!!!!) so I don't know if any of these seedlings can actually go in the ground this year as we can't dig a garden.  Or we'll have veggies in the flower beds.
Our neighbor with whom I've chatted over the fence suggested we tear down the fence separating our yards and make a community garden. He says he maintains a garden and then anyone is welcome to the veggies he grows.  Which is honorable and I applaud him, but I have a strong feeling I'd never see any of my own veggies on my plate if that happened, and I have already put in way too much effort to have that happen.  I'll contribute plants to his garden and even help weed it, but I just don't feel comfortable with people I don't know coming into my yard (I'm very concerned for Madeline, who is afraid of everything) and taking my veggies. Plus I have canning equipment coming and I wanted our leftovers to go to family and friends and neighbors if I want them to, but the rest would be going into cans to get us through the winter. 

Here are some pics of the veggies as of this morning...
(I'm not giving them wine, I just don't have a nice watering can and so I've been letting the water sit for a day or two in wine bottles before I use it on the plants- they much prefer water that's been sitting.)  I've had them in the window but have started shining he Ott light on them for a few hours each night, it seems to be helping.  At least with the artichokes.
And here is my goldfish plant, which I've propagated from a broken piece I found at work. It's got tons of new growth and I love it.  Plus my mom found this wee planter, which was her great Aunt's and is at least 100 years old.  It fit my plant perfectly. 

I'm out of blogging time for today- I burnt a few fingers at Black Smithing class yesterday and typing is taking much longer than expected.  More on non-plant projects soon! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Greetings from Sobro!

So life is a little different now than from my last post.

Tall, Dark & Handsome and I started renting a house together and we'll start the mortgage process again once his taxes are done. Until then we are trying to tolerate the landlords who drop by randomly, yell at my cat, take pictures of our personal belongings and take no responsibility for the crap rehab that was done on the house (for example- instead of replacing a rusty bathtub, they painted over it).  But we still love the house, still love the area, and we know it's not our forever home.  So we'll gradually be fixing things properly so that when we found ourselves needing something bigger then we won't have any problems moving it.  In the meantime, it's small, it works, and it's getting cuter every day.

Our house is a little South of Broad Ripple- a super artsy area where I can be with my own kind.  It also happened to be somewhere in the middle of where we both lived- literally meeting each other halfway in a part of town we both love.  We are close enough that we can ride bikes to dinner if this winter ever goes away, but far enough away that we won't wake up with passed out people in our yard.

I'm still at the nursery but am looking for something a little more regular that pays a little better.  So if you know of any openings in HR or Marketing somewhere in Indy- let me know! I do love working at the nursery, and I'll try to stay on for weekends- at least until our yard is adorably landscaped. I'm so excited to have a real in-the-ground garden this year!  I might even try to do some canning this year!

Since our house still isn't "ours" we are stuck with brown walls on brown floors in a brown brick house.  The house and floors are staying but the walls are covered the paint chips as we try to determine their next color. Here's a few pictures of my favorite places, more to come as we get into the fun parts once we close on the house.

My quilt! Turns out that being shut in the house for a week during these awful snow storms was really good for the quilt.  The top is finished, and I've purchased the backing fabric (10.5 yards- ouch!).  My friend who has the long arm quilting machine is currently having it worked on so it may be a few more weeks before I can get it done done. But I love it. It's absolutely huge.
Madeline's favorite spot- her red blankie at the front window.  I've got a few birdfeeders set up outside her window because I felt so bad moving her to a tiny house and then spending most of my time at work.  I set up a few more at a different window today so she can sit on the guest bed and watch the birds there too.
 My "greenhouse".  Okay, some of my plants went to friends or didn't make the move, but these are my favorites.  I had to temporarily relocate my Meyer lemon and African violet so this year's garden seedlings have a chance- someone was eating all the starts when I was at work.
 My spinning wheel finally got to move to the living room!  And my mom got me something I have been wanting for years- an Ott light!  It's amazing and I love it!  I spend entirely too much time curled up in the corner of the couch with an audiobok, my light and a knitting project.
My corner.  It has my quilt rack (quilt just moved to the guest room) and a chest that my dad made for his mom when he was in high school.  She kept her yarn in it for years.  It moved internationally with us a few times and a few years ago, I found it broken and waiting for the trash man.  I found someone to repair it and she charged me a pair of socks.  Now it holds my yarn and sometimes a glass of wine.
 The guest room!  So if you're ever in Sobro (or in Indy from out of town) you're welcome here! It has 4 of my favorite sheep (including Baaahbara McFleece) that now have a lovely handmade home. TD & H stuck a project of mine on there so he could watch the US v Russia hockey game on there and Madeline has claimed it for her own.  She's about to get her own blankie though so I can have that one back, wash it and give it to someone special.
 The house is still coming together and I'll show you more as we change/fix/update more of it.  But for now here's 2 projects that I desperately need to finish and make designs for. Like the Main Squeeze Hat.  It's been sitting on my desk untouched since we moved in.
The Snowbunny Pullover.  This is supposed to by my Olympic knitting challenge.  I worked on it during the opening ceremonies and didn't touch it until the other day but have found some momentum.  I'd really love to have it done by the end of the closing ceremonies.  And I'd really really like for the pattern to get fabulously famous and sell lots of Chord.  But let's just take it one stitch at a time for now.

So that's my new life.  I'll try to be much better about regular posting.  TD & H worked on my computer a bit and it's now muuuuch easier to blog so I don't have that excuse anymore. So I think I'm going to start dinner since I'm a domestic diva now and he's wanting to see Robocop tonight.  I think I'll take my knitting.