Monday, October 17, 2016

finished objects and my new obsession

i know, i went forever without a post and now i'm a glutton, but i've got so much news to discuss!

first, a frolic through some finished objects of late:

first, a sweater for a not-so-new-anymore baby:

and another little dress for a not-quite-ready-to-be-born-yet baby (she'll wear it when she's older):

a couple of crobots for a lovely couple getting married this month:

and another pair of socks for my auntie who had unexpected heart surgery (everyone knows the key to a quick recovery is stylish and warm feet):

rounding out the fo show is this adorable happy hippo for another expected bundle of joy:
i had forgotten how much i love making these little stuffed toys.  so much fun and so happy and so gratifying to finish in one day.  <3

and now for my new obsession - a very selfish project that i've been waiting (im)patiently to start for over a year now.

after the disaster that was the ball winding (see this post for the carnage), i knit up a couple little swatches.  the pattern called for size 6 needles to get an 18 stitch to 4 inch gauge, and i ended up with a 17 stitch gauge, so i decided to call it good enough:

 i cast on last monday while sitting vigil at my auntie's surgery, and by the time i left the hospital it looked like this:

i took a break midweek from knitting for two things: 1, to crochet up the happy hippo seen above, and 2, to deal with visiting auntie in the hospital and, oh yeah, taking j for stitches after he sliced his thumb on a can lid.  it was a rough week.  i would not  like to repeat it please.

but, by some crazy miracle, this past weekend was a knitter's paradise for me.  i got all the grass cut and leaves up by 11:30 on saturday, and then had two full days with nothing else on the calendar. and they were absolutely perfect fall days.  so by the end of saturday i had this:

and by the end of sunday i had completely finished the lace section on the bottom half of the sweater:

so here i am, ready to get into some seed stitch for the underbust, and i can't wait.  i'm hoping to have it off the needles and ready to wear by thanksgiving!  it will only be my second attempt at creating a garment for myself, and i'm kind of nervous at how it will turn out.  but i'm loving making it!  i'm also participating in a kal for fall, which is my very first one, and hosted by the lovely andi over at my sister's knitter. she's great, and i love reading her blog, so i'm super pumped to be part of her knitting universe, even if it is only vicariously.

happy monday, friends. i'm off to sit on my deck some more and tackle that seed stitch!

patterns from top:
child's placket neck pullover by joelle hoverson
tuxita baby tunic by vickie howell
zombiebot and girliebot by nelly pailloux
my cup of tea socks by robin lynn
hippo by tammie oldridge
lacey tunic by beautia dew

Thursday, October 13, 2016

festival season!

i love fall festival season!  it's my favorite.  while everyone else is getting jazzed about football (which i call sportball just to make j mad) and pumpkin (really nutmeg) flavored everything, i go to my happy place - wool festivals.

my two favorite festivals in particular: the wool gathering at young's jersey dairy in yellow springs and kentucky woolfest in falmouth.

oh my did we have good ones this year.

the wool gathering, as it has done in previous years, landed on the same day as the ovarian cancer walk that we do for my super awesome mama:

it was a blustery day, but it was another great walk!  so then, it was off to yellow springs, where i promptly forgot to take any photos whatsoever.

but it was a great day.  there was SO MUCH yarn to look at and feel and fall in love with, and i wanted to spend every single dollar in my savings account buying it all up.  in the end though, i only had two things in my bag.  a skein of rainbow yarn from turtlemade, which will become socks for my bestie, and a gorgeous skein from destination yarn in the colorway "helsinki," which i'm selfishly keeping for my own:

i also got a cute little set of stitch markers, which i'm using currently and love.. you can never have too many stitch markers!

but the day was too short and the booths were so many and, as always, we left wanting more.

so last weekend we tried to get some more by spending a perfect fall day at kentucky woolfest.  there is less in terms of yarn here, but still a selection big enough to make us wish we had won the lottery lately.  making decisions is really hard under any circumstances, but when it comes to soft and lovely yarn in incredible colors, well... it was a tough day.

again, i ended up coming home with two items - one for bestie, and one for me.  both come from rock and string creations, the owner of which is probably the coolest.  we stood in her booth FOREVER trying to decide on which color we each would get, and she didn't threaten to throw us out even once.  bestie ended up with (predictably) the colorway roy g. biv:

she's a little bit obsessed with rainbows.  i decided on a fall colorway, which i think was a special for the festival, called carmel apple, and i cannot wait to turn it into something - i'm thinking a cowl for fall.

the rest of the day was spent wandering, looking, and eating.  here are some more images from the day:

this is a brisket sundae - mashed potatoes, brisket, gravy, cheese (randomly) and a cherry tomato.  yum.

one of the things we get every year here - a mess of taters and onions.  so. good.

another must is the homemade root beer. 

and no fall festival is complete without a caramel apple!

and some cute piglets that almost came home in our purses... but we refrained.

so that's a wrap on this year's festival season.  i am already looking forward to next year... and all the new gorgeous yarns i can buy and then let sit around until i decide i have a pattern worthy of them.

Monday, October 10, 2016

why i need a swift...

so last week, i got sick.  like stay home from work, lay on the couch all day, eat nothing but broth and crackers kind of sick.  it wasn't much fun, but at least i had a cute nurse to take care of me:

she was so sweet the whole day.  she stayed pretty calm, and gave me snuggles when i needed them, and let me drift in and out of sleep.  she's such a good girl, and can totally tell when something's up.

by the evening, i felt well enough to sit upright for a while and i thought that maybe i could do a little knitting to aid in my recovery.  i've been waiting over a year to have a good opening in my crafting cycle to start on a selfish project for myself, the lacey tunic that i've been looking at and keeping in my queue on ravelry.  i even moved it to my wip list so that i wouldn't forget that as soon as i could, i would cast it on and be on the way.  also, i thought it would be great for the all about fall kal/cal hosted by my sister's knitter.  nothing says fall to me quite like a nice tunic over jeans with some cute boots.  perfect, right?

so i thought i would start with a swatch.  what's easier than a quick little swatch?  doesn't take much concentration, and it's a small enough thing that if it turned out that sitting upright needed to be temporary i wouldn't be as frustrated.

first though, to turn my lovely cascade ultra pima into a ball.

i have a ball winder, but no swift.  it's never been a huge problem before, so i laid out the skein very carefully and slowly started pulling from the ellipse into the ball winder.  that's when the fun started.  

an hour later, i had this:

the rest of it is hanging over the couch and down the back.  

fast forward another 2 1/2 hours, and i was here:

and finally, at 1:15 am, after staying home from work sick and still not feeling awesome, i had a finished ball:

the swatch would have to wait until the next day. 

lesson learned:  i definitely need a swift. or at least a better plan before trying to ball up the rest of these skeins for the sweater.  


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

some days...

dear friends,

i am having a crisis.

not a big huge crisis where i wonder if i've made good choices in my life.  no, i'm pretty psyched to have the awesome life i have.

mostly it's a crisis of confidence.  the last few weeks i have felt, increasingly each day, that i am just not as good or as smart or as qualified as i need to be in order to do good work.

like, maybe i'm just kind of fine at things.... but not actually good at them.

in my darkest points, i believe that i'm the kind of person that people talk about when i'm not in the room and say how dumb i am and wonder how i could have gotten to where i am because i'm really just bad at everything.

i feel like i'm bad at everything.

i don't like this feeling.

and i have no way of knowing if it's actually real or just something the demons in my head are telling me.

it is making me sad
and scared
and tired.
oh, so tired.

hopefully, it will pass and i will start to feel confident again.

until then, this is one of those days.

and to anyone out there who is having one of those days and feeling a bit low, you are amazing and wonderful, and you'll get to feeling awesome again soon :)

Monday, August 29, 2016

back to school!

i am going to tell you all a secret.  i still get nervous the night before the first day of school.  crazy i know, and you would think that it would have gone away by now, this being my 29th "first day of school*," but all the same, i still get nervous.

and last night was no different.  except it was worse.  because there was a giant storm and we lost power.  and didn't get to eat dinner.  well, dinner was half cooked, but we didn't get to finish cooking it, so instead of homemade pasta sauce and garlic bread and salad, we had pb&j.  that's right, my last meal before back to school was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple.  not a very strong start.

and then i spent half the night worrying that i would have to get ready in the dark this morning.  but at least our water heater is gas, so i would have had a hot shower.  luckily the power kicked back on at 4:30, but it was a rough night.

all the same, i survived the first day, as i always do, and now i just get to be nervous about my first day of class tomorrow... but more on that later.

meanwhile, i had a great last few weeks before school started, and crossed a few big things off my to-do list!

first, and most proudly, i finished ALL 5 BRIDESMAID SHAWLS!  that makes 6 shawls since thanksgiving that i've finished, and i feel super accomplished.  i love the yarn that i found with the help of the awesome folks at silk road textiles.  i'm not even sick of looking at it after 6 shawls!

here they are in order of completion:

i started with my own, because selfishness. it is called the beginner's wedding shawl, but don't let the simplicity of the name lead you to believe that it is not intricate and delicate to work.  and beautiful to behold.  i love it.  

the first to speak to me was for casey.  it's called cameo flower, which seemed appropriate because she has moved far away since high school and now only gets to make cameos in my life.  but she is an indelible part of the fabric of who i am, so this shawl symbolizes that. 
next came amanda, j's sister.  this one is called rilsdale, and i chose it because the design made me think of her.  both edgy and classic at the same time, which to me is a lot like amanda. 
the hardest one to pick, by far, was for my bestie, helen.  (also you'll note that i'm not so great at blocking right away after finishing... none of the rest have been blocked from here out).  this shawl is called the darwin shawl, and once i had locked onto it, it was perfect.  it symbolizes a simple beginning that grows and evolves into something intricate and lovely, but the evolution is natural and easy.  this is how our friendship has been.  i can't tell you the moment she became my best friend; it happened so naturally, but she is such an intricate part of my life now that there is no reason to even question how we got here.  also, darwin = science, and we share a healthy respect for that particular discipline.
for my cousin katie, the natural choice was traveling woman.  she is an amazing, adventurous spirit, and she will conquer the world someday.  her hope is to simply travel and experience the world, and i want that for her so very much. 
last, but not least, is j's friend katie, who has become one of my favorite people since she arrived in my life.  this shawl is the making tracks shawl for dog lovers, which may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out.  firstly, we bonded over our shared love of dogs (because dogs), and she told me her heart just goes out to dogs and kids (a shawl of kids seemed a little creepy, so i zeroed in on the dogs).  then, there's her personality.  she loves with her whole heart, and is fiercely loyal and protective of the people she chooses to let into it.  so, in a way, there is no other homage i could give her than this shawl with puppy prints all over it. 

so that's one big accomplishment for the summer.  
i've also finished a couple socks, and i'm working on a baby sweater.  and we got our save the dates ordered so we can send them out in a couple weeks, and we took down three of the thirteen (13!) bushes in the front yard.  so, to say that the last weeks leading up to school were productive is an understatement. 

now, i'm ready to take on the fall (sort of) and be back at work full time (maybe) secure in the knowlege that i have fewer projects hanging over my head (gifts for suit-wearing members of the bridal party, mothers, grandmothers, readers; making all the flowers; coordinating with the venue about decorations, dinner options, wine selection; finding invitations; figuring out seating charts; booking hotel rooms... the list goes on) and i can settle in for the school year (screaming in my head!)

happy first day of school, ya'll!

Friday, July 22, 2016

some musings on how time goes by

apparently i have no sense of time elapsing... perhaps it's further proof that i am in fact part dog and time has no meaning for me.  some days seem to stretch on endlessly and i go to bed at 9 because i just can't be awake anymore, and then *poof* it's the end of july and where did my summer go?

the answer?

it went to vacation with my bestie.

it went to wedding planning.
it went to days spent not speaking to anyone but j and bella.

it went to hours of uninterrupted crafting.
it went, not as much as it should have, to pulling weeds from the front garden... because they had grown too tall and we could no longer distinguish them from the bushes we meant to rip out.
it went to working when i had to and ignoring work when i could.
it went to finally, finally, getting the basement organized and resembling a working space.
it went to sleep, at least some of it did.

it went to sadness, at least some of it did.
it went to family and friends.

and what,  you may ask, what do i have to show for this?
two and a half pairs of socks

two completed bridesmaid shawls

a finished baby blanket

a completed super secret cross stitch... shhhhhh!!
a started bridesmaid shawl

a wedding dress chosen and ordered


my sanity, which was sorely missing at the beginning of things.

and then i realized that on saturday we celebrate one year of living in our home.  and i am again shocked by how time elapses.  one year ago, we packed everything we own and embarked on the adventure of sharing our lives with each other.

and then he asked me to marry him, on that same day one year ago.

it has been just the craziest year, and sometimes i look around and wonder how we got here.  to be so incredibly lucky to have the home and the family and the life we have.  some days i pull into my driveway and think to myself "i get to live here, with my favorite person in the whole world, and our insane and loving pup.  wow. just wow."  and it doesn't matter that the garden isn't well tended and that the fence is missing a cross beam and that the deck needs restaining and the bathroom needs cleaned, because it is our house and our life and we live it the best way we know how.  our house, our life, our family, is full of love, and that's all that matters.

but time is funny.  it marches on.  and soon it will be fall, and the summer reverie will be over and i'll start to go a bit crazy with wedding plans.  it's crazy, but i'm actually looking forward to the planning.  i'm trying really hard not to be that girl who just gushes about wedding stuff, but it's going to be great, and i'm really excited.  so there.

here is a photo of my dog on the day she learned to swim.  she's super cute.

life is good, even if i don't know how it keeps slipping by unnoticed.

cheers, friends!

patterns, from top:
echo beach by raquel gaskell
an anklet a day... by jessica marks
hermione's everyday socks by erica lueder
darwin shawl by verybusymonkey
rilsdale by libby johnson
ripple baby blanket by cuddles-uk

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

it's may... it's may...

the ridiculously stressful and overfull month of may, in which i very nearly have a nervous breakdown and feel like it is a wise decision to go to bed early and sleep in late in order to avoid all of previously mentioned stress.

in all seriousness, it's been a rough few weeks.  i've been thoroughly incapable of turning my brain off for any length of time, and it's resulted in a lot of not sleeping, barely eating, and generally being in a crappy mood. it's been pretty terrible.

so it's kind of a miracle that i've been able to do anything other than stare at the tv.  but here's a finished afghan:

it's getting shipped to sunny florida this week as a late wedding present for an old friend.  i already made baby gifts for the twins he and his wife are expecting, so i'm only doing things slightly out of order.

i also finished a pair of socks:

which bella was very interested in sniffing. 

and because i am quite daft, i've started a new super secret cross stitch project, which i cannot share here, but i'm taking in progress photos and will someday be able to share them in the form of a time lapse video... if i can figure out how to make one.  

but there is hope.  summer semester is here and in theory that means i will have time off to relax and turn off work for a moment.  i have a long list of things to do this summer - some wedding related and some crafting related and some house related - maybe i'll share that with you next time... as a way to keep myself honest.

in the mean time, toodle-oo!!