Thursday, March 26, 2015

March TUSAL and a touch of ennui

So here  we are, nearing the end of march, and i'm late in upolading my TUSAL photo.  so without further ado, here's what i've got for this month:

it's not much, as you can see.  i haven't been doing a lot of crafting lately. i don't know what's got into me, but i just can't get motivated to work on anything.  i did manage to finish a project that's been on my knitting needles forever,

how cute are those dinosaur buttons?!?!

and whip out a couple one day projects,

but when it comes to stitching, i've barely gotten through a column on my next page. 

maybe it's the weather.  it's been pretty gloomy here most of the time.

maybe it's work. since coming back from spring break last week i've been a bit overwhelmed.

maybe it's just me.

whatever it is, i hope it passes soon.

until next time, friends. 

patterns are, from the top:
garter stitch hooded jacket by bernat design studio
autumn in garrison by kate gagnon osborn
fisher cable hat by lindsey felice
stirrup socks by lion brand 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

shawl fatigue

so i wanted to write today about a phenomenon that i call shawl fatigue.  it happens to me, pretty inevitably, when i'm about halfway through a shawl.

see, shawls usually start with a small number of stitches on the needles.  in the case of the lovely shawl i'm making for j's mom, it started with a garter tab that ended up with 11 stitches on the needles for the first row.  then, because it's a shawl and it's growing from the top down , every 2-4 rows you add a few stitches.  in this case, it was 4 stitches every other row.

it started off great.

i felt like i was flying.

i finished 50 rows the first day without even trying that hard.  and it wasn't that hard, because at row 50, there were only 111 stitches on the needles.  the short rows and the fun pattern made the time fly.  at the end of that first session, i went to bed excited about how much i got done, and confident that this project was going to be done so quickly that i could probably adjust my timeline and get it done way sooner than i thought.

the second section was almost as good.  i got through the next repeat of the pattern, which amounted to about 35 more rows, and it was starting to take a little longer.  it took me about as long to do those 35 rows as the first 50.  but i was still in good spirits, and confident that i was going to get the thing done way ahead of schedule.  i even took a picture to commemorate my fast as lightning progress:

it was pretty, and fun, and i was loving the combination of simple lace pattern and easy, mindless stockinette.  it was the perfect project for a winter's day.

then, the fatigue started to set in.  long around the time i hit 200 stitches on the needles, i started to get bored.  i started to get tired of it, and my fingers itched for something different to do.  i missed my cross stitch, sorely neglected for a couple weeks, and felt like the end was nowhere in sight.

this is what i call shawl fatigue.  it happens to me every time.  it's the feeling like each row is taking way too long to complete, and i'll never be done, and why did i even start this thing in the first place?  and this one has relatively fewer stitches than other shawls.  why does this happen during projects like this?  i love knitting, and i love making shawls.  there is something elegant and lovely about a shawl, and there are so many permutations to make truly beautiful works of art.  so why do i get shawl fatigue so consistently?  anyone else suffer from this?

the story has a happy ending, though.  i did finish the shawl and bind off the 303 stitches (it took me 2 sittings to finish it... 11pm and russian bind-off do not mix well for me) in time to give it to her yesterday.  i think she liked it too :)

 if you're interested, the pattern is
old shale shawl by amanda clark

Friday, February 27, 2015

make all the hats

last week we were housebound around here, with snow coming down and temps in the negatives before windchill and just general miserableness associated with winter.  here's how my week went:

monday: we were off school for the holiday.  yay!  one extra day of weekend.  i graded my requisite number of papers for the day and j and i had a lovely day of netflix and nothing.  excellent.

tuesday: it snowed!  another day off!  hooray!  another day of nothing, and the roads were fine in the afternoon so we went to the library and i got books and we went to target and walked around and got stuff and it was awesome.  i found out that the next jasper fforde book is out already!  i didn't think it was coming out until summer, so when i saw it in the library, i gave a little squeal:

wednesday: it snowed again!  every school in the city is closed!  except us.  we are open at 10.  wtf?  i have to drive into work in this?  maybe it's not as bad as everyone says.  nope. it's as bad.  there are no students here.  i had 4 students in class.  what a waste of a day.  i'm seriously grumpy.  and j went back to his place after work, so no one to eat dinner with.  which is fine.  i'm seriously good with being home alone and all that.  guess i'll go to bed early.

thursday: too cold.  school closed.  do nothing.  i'm a bum.  i don't even think i showered on thursday.  i think i worked on my cross stitch, but mostly just bummed around.

friday: cold again.  school closed again.  starting to wonder if there is an outside world.  oh wait. i have a doc appt.  good. i'll get out of the house for a minute at least.  and i can stop by the grocery on the way home for all the things i've run out of this week.  wait, it's supposed to snow tomorrow again?  the grocery store sucks.  oh well. gotta have food.  home again.  more stitching.  oh look, a page finish!!!

saturday:  snow.  everything is closed again.  it's actually bad snow and i can't even think about trying to get out of my street... another day in hermitville.

at this point i was so so bored, and i couldn't concentrate enough to work on the cross stitch, so i switched over to knitting.  and it was glorious.  i had been eyeing this hat pattern forever, autumn in garrison by kate gagnon osborn, and i decided i should make it for myself.  7-ish hours later, and i had a hat.

it was cute, and fun to make.  and i thought i would love the way it looked on me.  but i didn't.  so i gave it to a friend when we got back to work this week.

she went crazy over it and showed it off to a few other people at school, and this resulted in two more requests for it.  so i made those this week after work:

 it felt really nice to actually finish something.  it had been a while. and to finish three things in the same week, well that was icing on the cake.  i think i'm done with that pattern for a while now though.  three in a row is plenty for the same pattern.

now it's back to my big projects.  i hope i can stay motivated.  i also have a new start i need to get to, and i just ordered my very first super selfish kit from craftsy.  more on that later.

now i'm off to enjoy endure some more winter weather.

how many days til spring?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February TUSAL Time!

wow so i can't believe all the craziness that's been going on lately.  so much nonsense, and nothing much to report.  this entry is all about the February edition of the TUSAL i joined.

here's my jar:

in it are the orts from my current cross stitch project which i was going to keep secret, but i just can't do it.  here's the row finish from the bottom of the piece:

i am really happy with how it is working up so far, and it's going pretty quickly!! my goal is to finish it by christmas.  it should be doable... in theory. 

anyway next to my jar my current literary companion: pride and prejudice and zombies.  i've been wanting to read it for a while, and so far it is pretty silly.  i wish i had more time to craft and read, and that i could do both at the same time.  but work has been crazy, and the two snow days/holidays we just had were spent with j, so i knitted to allow for better conversation.

that's all i got for now. i need to go and decide what to do on this cold winter's night.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TUSAL January 2015

as i was perusing the blogosphere yesterday, i happened upon a reference to something called TUSAL.  now, of course i had to find out what it was and see if it was something fun.  and it is. and now i've joined, so i get to play along :)

basically, it's a way for stitchers to track their progress through their ORT jars throughout the year.  and it seems like a silly, goofy way to connect to the stitching community through a fun game.  

i'm not explaining it well, but if you are interested in what exactly a TUSAL is, check out this post for more information!  

anyway, here is my contribution to the January TUSAL.  i'm a few days after the new moon, but still in january, so it counts, right?  

i've been doing some decent stitching the last few nights, since i've not really been able to sleep thanks to the steroids.  i'm doing better at concentrating, but have made some mistakes along the way.  nothing i've had to frog back, thank goodness, but stupid things like finishing off a color leaving one stitch undone.  frustrating.  

anyway, i'm hoping for a page finish this weekend, which will also be a row finish on my new super secret project.  it's coming along well, and much faster than the last one, mostly because there are no cobblestones.  can't wait to be able to unveil it, but since it's a gift for someone who may actually read this, i'm keeping it close to the vest for now. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


yesterday, i was looking at my dashboard and i noticed something strange.

i suddenly had a day where i had 115 hits on my blog.  since my normal readership is about 5 people, this was new to say the least.

i saw that the traffic was coming from this site, and was curious as to why.

turns out that nicole over at knitting for charity really liked my pattern for the cables and ripples afghan, and posted the link as a "bucket list" item in her entry.

i have never felt so humbled by anything.  i am mostly self-taught, and an amateur by every sense of the word.  i "design" by trying something and seeing if it matches the picture i have in my head.  there is a lot of luck and trial and error involved.  so to have someone see what i have done and want to create it, and then recommend it to others... just wow.

thank you to everyone who has visited the page, either here on my blog or over on ravelry.

really, it's truly humbling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

stupid sickness

dear small band of readers, what can i say?  i'm sick.  and i hate it.

it all started back in december.  early december.  i remember because mom had an appointment at the pulmonologist and i came back with a cough.  i thought it was funny at the time.  i also thought it was just a little cough and it would go away. little did i know that i was hunkering down for the longest-running sickness award and that even at the end of january i still wouldn't feel like myself...

after christmas, i got really sick for a couple of days and was down for the count.  it was bad, but after it was over i was feeling mostly alright again.  not really up to fighting weight, but i was itching so hard to do things and go places that i kind of ignored the sick and went to the festival of lights:

j was there too, but he doesn't like his picture being out in the world, so i'll refrain.  it was a perfect night... not super cold, but cold enough to feel like the holidays and the crowd was lovely and we just had a very nice night together.  we also had tacos for dinner at bakersfield, and they were delicious.

then it was time for friendmas/new year's eve, and we had a grand old time hanging out and eating all the food and playing killer bunnies, which is a really fun game:

and then, bam!  down i went again.  good thing i didn't have to go back to work until the next week, right?

but ever since then i've been hacking and coughing and just generally feeling run down and awful.  my coworkers ordered me to the doctor... i think more for their own sanity than out of concern for my health...i was making quite a racket and none of them wanted to take something nasty home to their families.

so to the doctor i went.  i won't go into details, but i was put on steroids and an inhaler and i'm still taking otc cough stuff... and still sick.  i feel like a zombie on fast forward... my brain is going a million miles an hour but i can't concentrate on any one thing long enough to do it...

i try to read and i read the same page over and over:

book count is at 4 for the year so far, by the way.  since my last post i started and finished The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde (a book by an author i love but haven't read yet).  He may be the only author out there right now whose books i actively look forward to being published.  i know i'm responsible for at least one person becoming addicted to his stuff, and i won't stop until i convert everyone i know.  he's great.

anyway... see how i lose concentration?
i try and stitch and get really glazy when i look at the chart and try and figure out what color goes where.  i even tried putting just the tiny section i'm working on into the hoop so i wouldn't get distracted by the other parts of the row:

then i tried picking up my knitting, and that didn't work... i'm making another one of mom's hoods in a better color this time, and with the opening on the actual right shoulder instead of the left shoulder that pretends to be the right in the pattern.  anyway, i can't even concentrate on that because my eyes get all fuzzy and i end up trying to put the needle in the wrong part of the stitch.  it's easier than the cross stitch, but still:

even my class yesterday knew something was up... after the third time in a row that i just spouted out the completely wrong word i just let them ask questions and then go home... my one student wanted to know what kind of drugs i was on and why i wasn't sharing.   i like my class this semester so far.  they are vocal and engaged and they seem to be getting along as a class.  hopefully they'll stay that way, because a good class makes the difference between a good semester and a "i really hope i survive to may" semester.

so yeah.  i'm sick.  and i'm hoping it'll go away soon.  for now though, it's more tea and cough syrup for this gal.