Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a confession...

so i confess.  i did it.  i started a different project from the one i said i would.  i'm notorious for this.  i say i'm going to work on something in particular, then get distracted by that pretty ball of yarn or that interesting looking pattern. and then BAM! i'm knee deep in a project that i had no intention of starting...

this time, the culprit was lorna's laces solemate in christmas at downton:

(photo credit: craftsy)

i bought myself one single indulgent skein of this about a year ago, and i hadn't ever wound it up or done anything with it... i was waiting until opportunity presented itself.

then on an impulse i pulled it out of my stash and decided i was going to use it now.  to hell with waiting.  to hell with the wedding shawl that i know i need to start (that i haven't even found yarn for yet, but that's another story).  to hell with everything i know is best practice when starting a project.  i just decided.  i was going to make something out of this ball of deliciousness.  

enter tiger eyes:

it's a nifty little scarf, knitted in two halves and then grafted together in the middle.  that way the lace always points "down" toward the bottom of the scarf.  there is the option to do it all in one piece, so that one end has the lace pointing "down" and the other has it pointing "up," but i chose to do the two halves.  so i measured my skein and wound it into two balls of equal weight and got started.  

i'm not doing too badly... my problem is that i get bored with the repeat.  it's only a 16 row repeat on a 31 stitch wide scarf, so after two sets of lace my mind starts to wander.  i'm not sure how this will play into my lace shawl that will follow... we shall see.  

i'm  not sad about this yarn though.  it's soft and gorgeous.  and if the colorway repeat is a little much with the lace, i don't care.  i'm gonna keep on knitting on it because, well, i already split the skein.  and i want it next to my face where i can bury my nose in the softness.

so here's to distraction, friends.  i'll post more photos as we go...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

all the crafting...

so where did i leave you with the crafting?  hmmm....

i think the last thing i showed you all was the tiny baby sweaters and hats i made for my friend's new twins:

how stinking cute are they?
they finally got into the mail yesterday (so only about 3 months after i finished them...) and should be delivered well in time for the big arrival date.  the kicker?  my friend has moved since i made these... to florida... where there isn't really winter... so hopefully i'll get to see the twins in their matching cuteness when they come up for a visit... sigh...

so since then, i haven't done a super ton of crafting.  not had much time what with the house and the engagement and school being back in session and all of the reggie stuff... whoosh, it's been a weird couple of months... 

but here's a glimpse of what i've accomplished:

my future sister-in-law (eee!) had a birthday, and a big one at that.  so i thought in honor of her turning another decade older, i would make  her something special.  her mom had commented on my shawl one day, and said that she might wear something like it.  so i looked and looked for a pattern that i thought matched her style, and came up with this:

i really like it, and it's simple but still girly, which fits her, i think.  i could be wrong and she may have gotten it in the mail and gone "wtf, jen?  i'm never gonna wear this." in which case, i hope she can still see that i tried to do something nice... that's one of the hardest things about giving a gift of a handmade item... i know i would love it, and i know a lot of people appreciate it... but not everyone likes it or understands it... so it's kind of a difficult decision to make sometimes. but, i'll usually err on the side of doing something personal and handmade every time.  so get used to it, world!

after that, i had to take a detour back into cancer-land.  mom had a recurrence, which is terrible and scary and awful, and as soon as she got out of surgery and found out, the first thing she said was "can you make me another scarf?" so of course, i obliged.  when your mom is crying, you pretty much say yes.  at least that's how my world works.

it's bigger than the last one, and all one color (not cast off halfway in a different color because i ran out) and i made it out of sock yarn, which makes it cooler, since her treatment was to happen in summer.  the kicker here?  she didn't lose her hair this time.  so she doesn't really need it.  but she carries it around with her everywhere she goes, just in case that first clump falls out.  i'm considering it good juju... be prepared, and you'll never need it.  especially since she just finished her final treatment today!  now she can just wear it as a scarf with her hair still in place :)

and then... and then... and then not much.  i've made some socks... i'm not going to show them because they are presents, but i will tell you that each pair was made using a different technique that i hadn't used before.  so that's been some fun in experimenting.  one pair was made on double points, one was made using a 9"circular, one was made two at a time with magic loop, and one was a toe-up pair.  so i've been learning. and it's been fun to challenge myself.  and after they have gone to rightful owners, i might could share some photos :)

and another baby came along.  this one for a co-worker of mine, who was (i think) very ready for the baby to be born by the time he got here.  so i made her some booties and a hat, because i can't get over how stinking cute this stuff is, and i want all babies to have them!

so there you have it, folks... not much to show for it.  i've not even touched my cross stitch since before the move, so that's gone a great big nowhere. my next project was going to be my sweater for christmas day, but now i don't want to start that because of something even bigger that i need to do... i need to start on the things i'm going to make for my wedding... and if you think that's not going to be an adventure, you've got another think coming.

so here's what's next on my agenda:

that's the photo from the pattern page (copyright nina stein), and i'm going to make it in the accent color we've picked for the wedding... so i need to find the right shade of yarn to make it in before i can start it... and i need my bff for that, since i don't see color as well as she does.  she's kind of amazing.

so my next update will probably be about the fiddly-ness of lace or something along those lines.

until next time, friends, happy fall!

patterns from top:
fuss free baby cardigan by louise tilbrook  and my own hat pattern
ginkgo crescent by jade keaney
chemo do-rag (a.k.a. scarf) by rae b creedle
easiest & fastest baby booties ever by a la sascha and my own hat pattern 
beginner's wedding shawl by nina stein 

Friday, September 25, 2015

sadness hits

oh my blog-reading friends.  i can't tell you how sad i am.  so many big wonderful things happened this summer, and there should be so much to rejoice about, and i will get back to it, but this week has been marked by such sadness.

you all know how much i love my dog.  he's my best buddy, and the one creature who has gotten me through all the hard things these last 9 years.

my favorite little guy

last week he started acting funny.  didn't want to eat, seemed overly tired, all that jazz.  he was also moaning a little more than usual.  we took him to the vet, and she said it was time to think about how much we wanted to keep doing for him.  he was in pain, and tired.  

here he is about a week before he got sick
he had just woken up from a nap. 

it was hard to hear, but we took him home and started him on some painkillers.  and at first it seemed like they were going to work.  he rallied pretty hard on tuesday, wednesday, and thursday.  we even called the vet to let her know and she refilled his painkillers, and his insulin, and gave us some antibiotics for his uti.  
this was a while ago, but i just love that face.

then on friday, he had a seizure in the morning.  it was so scary.  he just fell over and started kicking his little legs and couldn't hear me.  i stayed home with him all day.  friends came over to sit with me because i was too sad.  and i didn't want it to be time. 
this is how i still think of him

by saturday it was clear.  he was tired.  he was done.  so we took the hard drive to the vet.  he didn't even lift his head to the wind on the drive down.  it was heartbreaking.  i know that this is what he was asking me to do, but even at the end, i couldn't leave him.  we probably sat there for 20 minutes just holding him after he was gone.  
he was always happiest in the car, with the music up and the windows down.

i know that i will always hold my bear in my heart.  he was the very best dog that i could have ever dreamed of.  he loved his people so much; i'm pretty sure he thought he was one of us.  i love him always.  i miss his little face, and the sound of his nails on the hardwood, and the way he would stand at my feet and look up when i had food.  he could tell from two rooms away when i was cutting a green pepper, and if pizza came to the door he knew he was getting some crust. 
this is how all meals were eaten at our house

the thing i will miss the most is  his company.  my  happiest moments were lazy sunday mornings when the three of us would lie in bed and snuggle until we just had to get up and eat something.  we were a family. he will always be our first family.  the amount of love he gave was incredible.  it's hard to understand how he fit all that love in there.  he was such a good, good dog.  my heart has a reggie-sized hole in it.  and that's really very big actually.  

goodnight my darling bear.  i will love you always.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

where have i been, you ask?

oh my goodness what a summer it has been.  pretty major things happened, and i couldn't get to the blog because it was all so huge!

first, we bought a house.  this was a nerve-wrecking, nail-biting, frustrating experience, but it was all totally worth it in the end.  we started back in march looking at houses, and we were pretty aggressive.  we would go out with our realtor, who was amazing, and look at anywhere from 5-10 houses a day, all over the city.  it was tough; between our work schedules there were only 1-2 days per week we could go.  so we looked.  and looked.  and looked. and looked.

and we kept finding houses that were almost perfect, but...

and we found some that were just a giant no way...

and we found one that we loved, but we were too slow to put in the offer...

and i started getting really depressed.  i thought we'd never find our home.  i was sad and moody and a little difficult to be around.  poor j.  he was so sweet and supportive during it all.  even when i said i just needed a break from looking for a minute.  he was right there for me.  i pretty much have the best one.

and then we found it.  the one.  the most perfect, made for us house we had seen yet.  it was charming and old but not a fixer upper, and big and light, and it had a sunroom and a great deck and patio, and i was in love.  and after a lot of talking, and with the help of my amazing uncle, who stepped up and went with us to look for all the homeownery things that we didn't know to look for, we put in the offer...

and after much negotiating...

we got it!!  our dream home!

we got the keys... 
and celebrated our purchase...
and about a week later, we moved all our stuff in...
and the very night we moved into the house, something else HUGE happened...
he designed the ring, picked it out, and carried it around with him all day during the move without me ever knowing!! i was so far from expecting it that, even as he put the ring on my finger i still wasn't quite sure what was happening.  

i was in my sweats. it had been a long day.  we were both cranky (as only moving day can make you).  and he asked me, with all that going on, and with me at (arguably) my least attractive both physically and emotionally, if i would spend the rest of my life with him.  and i couldn't even process it. i think i asked him if he was really sure about 50 times, and yelled at him for proposing while i was in my sweats, and called him crazy, and said yes of course.  it wasn't until the next day that i even really cried... it was too shocking.  

and perfect.  it was just the way it should have happened.  just the two of us, in our new home, with a bottle of champagne, and the bear at our feet.  he didn't understand what was happening either. he was just tired.
crafting has happened too in the last few months... quite a bit less than usual, but still some.  

and i went on vacation with my sister. 

but maybe this is enough for one post, my friends.  i'll catch back up with you in a little bit. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

i was going to say...

this post was going to be about  how lazy i've been lately and how little has happened... but in looking back through recent photos and activity on ravelry, i realized that i've been a lot more productive than i thought.

maybe it's because i've been spending a great deal of time sitting on my porch listening to audiobooks and knitting... the time just flies when i do that.

anyway, since my last post i have finished:
a pair of socks:

this may be my new favorite sock pattern.  i much prefer ankle socks to full ones, and this pattern is quick and easy and pretty mindless, and they fit great.  i think the next ones i make i'll do a teensy bit more on the ankle before starting the heel flap, but i love them lots.

a pretty kerchief for a far away friend:
love love love the way this turned out.  the color is perfect for her, and it worked up really quickly.  also, i've fallen in love with cascade ultra pima cotton yarn.  i have already ordered enough to make my next sweater for myself. (selfish, maybe.  but i don't care.)

a cowl:
  i know it only looks half done in the photo, but the picture of the finished product is not very well done and i like this one.  plus, it lets me show off my favorite new piece of pretty - my set of penguin stitch markers!
ordered on etsy from jill's handmade stuff, they are simply delightful, and overall happy-making.  to tell the truth, i picked the cowl pattern so that i would have an excuse to use them as soon as they came in the mail.  anyway, don't ask me what that gorgeous yarn is - i lost the ball  band a while ago, and i know that i bought this at a festival a couple years ago.  that's all i know.  i don't even know what shop it is from... sad.  but penguins.  happy.  i digress. 

finally, i have a friend having twins, so i made tiny baby things:
i only realized after i had finished the yellow one that i accidentally made them look like firemen's jackets.  oh well, they are ridiculously cute.  

so, what i thought was going to be a post about how little i've gotten done has actually turned into a celebration of finished objects!  i worked on some stitching all day yesterday, so i'll have some progress to show on that front soon, i hope.  i love summer.  

patterns from top:
an anklet a day... by jessica marks
the age of brass and steam by orange flower yarns
dragon's scale cowl by alesha whitehouse
fuss free baby cardigan by louise tilbrook

the tiny hats i made up the pattern for - it's a pretty standard hat pattern:
using 3 weight yarn and size 6 needles, co 77 sts in color A, join to work in round
work 2x1 rib for 75 sts, k1, p1 (1 round complete)
repeat above for 5 more rows (6 rows total)
switch to color B and work 16 rounds in stockinette
begin decreases:
k 9, k2tog around
knit one round
k8, k2tog around
knit one round
k7, k2tog around
knit one round 
...repeat as established until...
k1, k2tog around
knit one round
k2tog around - 7 sts left on needles
break yarn, leaving a long tail - weave tail through live stitches to remove from needles and pull tight. weave in ends.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

so i'm an introvert

which means that i don't like big crowds or small talk or networking.  it means that i would rather sit on my couch with my knitting and a couple friends and a bottle of wine than go out to a cool place and be seen.  it means that if i have to shout to be heard, i don't want to go there.  it means that i will probably stand awkwardly in the corner while a party is going on.  it means that i am generally quiet and reserved around people i don't know.  and it means that if i do have to attend events that are not introvert - friendly, i want to do so sparingly, and will need recovery time after.

so this weekend i have to do a lot of extrovert type stuff.  i am presenting at a conference on friday, which will entail networking and talking to a lot of people i've never met before.  since i'm presenting, i have something to focus on, which is great, but what i'm going to do for the hours that i'm not presenting i don't know.  is it kosher to sit in the back and knit while sessions are going on?  no?  ok... i'll take notes i guess.  then on saturday the theater group i've been involved with for the last ten years or so is having a kickoff party for their new space.  this is super exciting for them, and i want to support them, but it is exactly the kind of big party that makes me want to hide my head under my pillows and pretend i don't exist.  i really really suck at this kind of thing, which is why i usually avoid all forms of "launch party" at all costs.  but it's a good cause. and it's easy to ghost out of those events because there are so many people.

and then sunday i will recharge my battery and recover.  i will need it.

i just wish i could make people understand what it is like for me in these situations.  i have many extroverted friends, and it is hard to explain to them the effect that big events have on me.  i also have a bit of anxiety that goes along with my introversion, which means that i not only don't know what to say when small talk is important, but i am so worried that i will make a fool of myself that it compounds the problem. the older i get, the more i like to just stay home more than anything.  it's not because i'm "not fun" or "boring" - it's just that my idea of fun is different.  it's more intimate, and it takes fewer people to make happen.  once in a great while i really want to go out and do something, or host a big party, but mostly i'd rather stay home.  it's just who i am.  and it's taken me a long time to be cool with that.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

TUSAL Page finish!

it's that time again - when i get to play along with all the fun stitchers out there and post my orts for the month.

the last few months i've been dealing with some stitching ennui and focusing more on my knitting, which i've done a lot of for sure.  but it has meant that i didnt' do a lot of stitching.  i started a page in february, and it took me until, well today to finish it.

the upside is that along with my orts this month, i get to share a page finish!  very exciting for me.  and i think my mojo may be back a little bit because as soon as i hit post i'm going to start the next page and keep going.

happy stitching everyone!