May 2009

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The blogging does seem to come in fits and spurts lately, doesn’t it.  The last few days were busy but largely unremarkable.  Progress toward putting the house on the market continues, albeit slowly.  It seems we’re creeping towards it.  We held a tag sale yesterday, unloading a lot of stuff.  It amazing how much less I seem to “need” when faced with the prospect of moving it and storing it in a smaller space.  This was especially true for household stuff – kitchen and holiday items in particular.  I got rid of box upon box of it.  And what didn’t go to the tag sale or was picked up by the freecyclers afterwards is going to Goodwill and/or the dump, as appropriate.  Its not coming back into the house.  Next thing to tackle is the yarn and fiber stash.  There will be destashing over the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, I need to go make another pass with a box of garbage bags – there’s still plenty that feels like it could just be cleaned out.  After a thorough scrubbing, I’m hoping we can list it late next week or early the week after.

What this weekend did bring was some unexpected knitting time.  Someone had to “mind the store” during yesterday’s tag sale, so I parked it in a chair in the driveway all day.  After the initial rush of “early birds”, it turned into a day in the sun, knitting.  I added a solid inch to Allegoro.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.   After more cleaning and some house-related errands today, it was time for a break and some quiet time.  For me, that meant a couple of DVDs and more knitting time – I happily finished the first panel of Blankie while watching Last Chance Harvey (meh) and Doubt (excellent).   Good to wrap up the weekend with some fiber…

With another busy week on tap, I’m not sure how much I’ll blog – we’ll see.  I do plan on sneaking in a dye day (well, evening) on Thursday.  After realizing just how low I am on my BFL rovings, I placed a last minute order and will dye up a couple of pounds before Guild on Saturday.  Pictures and details to come.

Enjoy the rest of weekend!

PS – the summer edition of Twist Collective is up a day early – its fantastic!  Go now – you know that Ravelry queue needs more…

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New projects!  I’ll admit it – sometimes my favorite part of an FO is diving into the stash and finding something new to cast on.   The Woodland Shawl was no different.  No sooner was it laid out on the blocking board to dry than I was on to my next project – make that projects.   I fell hard this time – I started two new things within hours on Monday.

The afghan came first.  No, I haven’t lost my mind, starting an afghan on Memorial Day weekend.  For one, its done in pieces (4 of them).  Secondly, I realized I needed to do this afghan.  While I was cleaning stuff out this weekend, in preparation for putting the house up for sale, I found my huge stash of Mission Falls 1824 Wool.   There’s 44 skeins in Putty, all for one long ago frogged project (not going into details of that one, trust me).   When I pulled it out this weekend, it hit me – it needs to be afghan for me.  Not just for me, but for my apartment.  The one I’ll have post-house, post-divorce.  The one in the new life that I can envision in my better moments.  Those moments have been hard to come by lately.  I’ve said before that I won’t go into details about my divorce but I will share this – my soon to be ex is living in my house again (in the upstairs bedroom, mind you).  Its a perfectly crappy arrangement that works for some reasons and doesn’t work for others.   Unfortunately, it will remain this way until the house sells and we go our seperate ways – and I will deal with it.  But I need a little hope right now.  So I’m knitting myself a Blankie.  Something beautiful and comforting and symbolic of the hope that I have for my new life.  Blankie will grow as the decisions I’ve made about my life come to fruition, the ones that are painful and happy at the same time.

Here’s the start: Blankie The pattern is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket.  On a very practical level, it serves 2 great purposes – it is the perfect mindless knit that I need on my shitty-est days and it will use up a significant chunk of that 1824 Wool.  I’m triple-stranding the yarn and using size 17 needles, so I will have a big, comfy afghan for when I’m struggling to afford heat on my own ;)    This project, although odd to start an afghan in summer, is perfect right now.

The other project I started was Allegoro, as promised.  Talk about opposites – Allegoro is on size 4 needles, in cotton and started with 336 stitches.  Eeek!  I had to learn the Channel Island cast on to start it.  Turns out that this cast on will become a new favorite, especially for socks.  It makes this lovely, picot-like stretchy edge: Allegoro cast on So pretty!

I will likely alternate between these two projects, along with my 2nd Malabrigo sock, over the next few weeks.  Lots going on, personally of course, at work and with The Painted Sheep.  Having a few things to pick from, depending on the moment and my mood, is just what I need.  The knitting will, once again, keep me sane.

Goals for this week – finish the first piece of Blankie, breathe.

Happy Wednesday!

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So easy, its like a gift – I could go on and on, though I won’t.

10 Celebrities I’m Tired Of, in no particular order:

  1. Paris Hilton
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Spencer and Heidi something – you know who it is, since they’re everywhere
  5. Miss California
  6. Jon and Kate – I actually wish people would leave them alone.
  7. Rush Limbaugh – is he considered a celebrity?  Doesn’t matter, he’s just obnoxious.
  8. Elizabeth Hasselbach.  On 2nd thought, the whole bunch at The View.
  9. Paula Abdul
  10. Miley Cyrus

Please, just go away!  That would make my Tuesday much happier!

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Woodland Shawl flower border border detail

Woodland Shawl – finished this morning :)

I love it.  Its a perfect little something to throw over my shoulders when its chilly.  I’m taking it to the office with me, to grace the back of my desk chair.  I suspect I’ll use it regularly come fall, as I work next to my drafty office windows.

For a first crochet project, it was a good choice.  I learned a bit about following a crochet pattern (step by step when I don’t know what I’m doing, no different from knitting).  The half double crochet body was very simple and mindless, though I still can’t count crochet stitches worth a darn.  The flower edging was a challenge – each step took a few tries to figure it out.  I eventually got the hang of it and they too became simple to do.  I had fun with this one, all the way through.

I’ve already cast on a new project – a knitted afghan (knit in pieces – I’m haven’t lost it to the point of doing a full size afghan in the summer).  I also plan on casting on the Allegoro Top this afternoon.  I’ll share details on Wednesday.

Enjoy the day!

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On Saturday, I spent a wonderful day with the girls – Paula, Audrey and Amy – at Mass. Sheep and Wool Festival.  Two of their sweet wee ones came along with us for a great day away.  We headed for Cummington first, a bit west of Northampton.  Its such a pretty ride up through the small Massachusetts towns.  This is a really nice festival – perfectly sized to have lots of variety but small enough to see everything easily in a couple of hours.  There were some great vendors, including some that I don’t see often.  Spunky Eclectic was one such -I picked up some South African Fine wool roving from her in a fun blend of blues, browns and peach called Pie.  And best, I got a sneak peek at her new book, Spin Control.  What a gift for us spinners!  It looks fabulous.  It comes out next month.  In addition to the Spunky Roving, I treated myself to this: 100_3292 Cashmere yarn and pattern for a beautiful shawl – true to the name, the color and pattern evoke thoughts of days at the beach.  Too gorgeous to resist!

After the festival, it was off to Packards for lunch and then we hit Webs.  Bonus – we ran into Karen, Rachel and Jenny while we were there. What a treat!  Webs’ anniversary sale was still on.  I picked up Reynold’s Soft Sea Wool (thanks Audrey for the recommendation!) in raspberry, at a great price.  Its for Olivia’s Christmas sweater – the Helena cardigan from Knitty.  (Take note – I started my Christmas shopping in May.  Remember that when I’m still knitting gifts on Christmas Eve.)

I was a bad blogger and took few pictures during the festival – and not a single sheep or display.  Oops!  I think I was too focused on just enjoying a much needed day away.  It was fabulous to spend a day with my friends, amongst the sheep and the yarn and the fiber.  And the wee ones – so much fun to hang out with!  They made the day even better.  What a perfect start to the holiday weekend!

And a note – as I write this post, the Woodland Shawl is soaking in a warm bath.  I finished the last of the flower border this morning.  I’ll be putting it out on the deck to dry on the blocking board.  FO pictures to come!

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Box Bag!

I treated myself to a little something this weekend – a box bag from Stitched by Jessalu.  My new pretty arrived yesterday.  box bag (Thumper included for scale because he’s cute because he refused to move and I’ve lost control of the felines)  I love my new little bag.  Its pretty – so feminine!  The fabric is Amy Butler Poppies in Fuschia.  Inside, there’s a bonus: dots! More pink!  Isn’t that fun?  And the finishing touch, Jess’ signature 100_3283 – a coordinating bee pull tab.  The girly-girl in me needed a little bit of pretty in pink and this fit the bill perfectly.  My bag is now filled with my Malabrigo sock in progress, which fits beautifully in it, with room for essentials (crochet hook, tape measure, scissors).  I’m thinking when this is done, I’ll cast on a pair of socks in STR Watermelon Tourmaline from the stash – just ’cause they’ll match perfectly.

Have a great day!

The ah ha! moment on the Woodland Shawl came this morning.  Since Sunday, I’ve been trying to figure out the 2nd row of the border – following the directions, step by step was no problem.  Figuring out where to insert the hook to get the correct petal placement was the problem.  I crocheted, I frogged, crocheted, frogged, rinse, repeat.  Frustrating.  This morning, I took this picture of row one of the border, just for blog fodder: border row 1

Looking at this picture, with row 1 of the border flat in front of me, helped me see exactly what I needed to do – the ah ha! moment.  Love that!  I left the picture up so that I could see it, grabbed my hook and a couple of minutes later, I had this: Flower Border Row 2 (you might notice how I turned it around – this was key to working it correctly)  Now I’m off and running on row 2.

My goal for the week?  Finish this thing!

Happy Wednesday!

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10 Favorite Cities:

  1. Boston – haven’t been there in years but it remains a favorite
  2. Syracuse – dumpy, economically challenged and so freakin’ snowy but I still have a soft spot for my former home.  Downtown, especially Armory Square, has a certain charm.  And of course, there’s the Dinosaur.  And Wegmans.
  3. New York – so much to see and do and I just don’t get to go there enough, in spite of the easy access and proximity.
  4. Seattle – fell in love with it when I was there for a conference years ago
  5. Washington, DC – again, only been once but so want to go back
  6. San Francisco -  The one day I was there a few years ago gave me just a taste – can’t wait to see more of it.  (I’m starting to feel like I need to get out a bit more – reality is, I usually vacation closer to home and someplace quiet)
  7. Northampton, MA – so small I’m not sure if it counts as an actual city, but still one of my favorite places.
  8. Keene, NH – see Northampton
  9. Paris – no, I’ve never been there but its my dream destination city.  I want to spend my Bastille Day birthday there some day.
  10. New Britain, CT – I never thought I’d say this but I’ve fallen in love with the city I initially refused to consider living in.  Once the house sells, I hope to find an apartment here.

Happy Tuesday!

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Just popping in to say “hi”.  I feel like I don’t post much lately.  The last couple of weeks have been pretty chaotic.  I’ve had a whole lot going on personally, much of it sort of divorce related.  Its been a stressful time.  I’m trying to take it day by day and remind myself that things will be better when its all over.   Just need to make the best of a somewhat messy situation until then, whenever “then” is.

On a positive note, I have made time for myself here and there and that usually means playing with something fibery or cooking up something wonderful.  I am definitely going for what comforts me – food and fiber do the trick.  Today I made up my second batch of 5 minute bread dough and tried making a loaf on my new pizza stone.  It came out great and was perfect with the big pot of soup I made.   One of the great things I have found in my “single” life is the joy of cooking on Sundays – one big meal gets me several lunches and dinners during the week and makes for less rushed evenings.  And I can spend my Sunday evenings doing something I love, while feeling very productive.  As for the fiber, I’ve got half the border done on the Woodland Shawl.  I thought I’d finish it tonight – right up until I tried row 2 of the border.  Again, the directions baffle me.  Trial and error, this one.  Hoping the 4th time’s the charm.   I finally cast on the 2nd Malabrigo sock, to have something to work on when I just need a mindless knit.  I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow that is guaranteed to come with a long wait in the oh-so-comfy paper gown – that sock if definitely coming with me. Sanity in yarn.

Its those short moments of me time that sustain me.  I have a lot going on in the next several weeks, that I trying to prepare myself for.  In June, I start out with the Nutmeg Spinners Guild, the following weekend is the RI Guild workshop I’m teaching, then I head to San Francisco for 5 days for a conference.  There will be a lot happening at work between now and July 1 as well.   And by early June, our house will likely go on the market.  That’s the tough one, even though I knew it was an inevitable part of the divorce.  I treasure my little house and don’t want to part with it.  And frankly, there is a whole lot of just plain crap that needs to be cleaned out/cleaned up before it can be listed.  The whole prospect is  daunting.  So the fiber, the cooking, the get-togethers with friends, the quiet moments, even for a short time, help.  Keeps me going when all else around me is chaotic.

Life rolls on.

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Body of Woodland Shawl: check!

Never have I been so happy to run out of yarn.  I only had enough to do 16 repeats instead of 18.  I suspect my guage loosened as I got more comfortable, so I used more yarn than I should have.  This was fine with me since I was ready to be done with it.  I did add a reverse single crochet border to the top – I wanted it to look more finished.  The RSC added a pretty touch that made it look neater. I only have the flower border to go now.

My goal for the week – finish the shawl.  Once I actually figure out the instructions for the flower border, it’ll be fun to do.  Next on the list – start my 2nd Malabrigo sock and then cast on for the Allegoro tank.

Pictures of the finished shawl to come later this week.  Happy Wednesday!

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