Thursday, April 23, 2015

April TUSAL

so i can't believe it's the end of april already.  i mean, i can, because all of the end of april stuff is happening, but it just seems to have gotten here all of a sudden.  especially the work stuff.  it feels like one minute we were dragging along, enduring the snow days, thinking of how we could rearrange our syllabuses to accommodate the missing days (ps, there is a major debate in my head about whether it's syllabuses or syllabi, and i can't seem to find any kind of consensus on the subject.  suffice it to say that i use them interchangeably, and the one i choose depends on my mood for the day.)

anyway, now all of a sudden it's the end of the semester, everyone is edgy and frazzled in a way that only the end of spring semester at a community college can produce in people, and i'm exhausted.

so many things happen at the end of april/beginning of may too, outside of school, that my head is spinning.  i've got, in the next few weeks, a concert, a meeting with my replacement for the house, a production meeting, a commencement ceremony, and auditions.  plus, the next few weeks include my sister's birthday, our anniversary, mother's day, and j's birthday.

and on top of all of that, j and i are house hunting.

to say that i've had little time for any sanity-building experiences like stitching is an understatement.  most days i get to the end of the work day wondering if i ever remembered to eat lunch (today the answer is no, which is sort of set off by the fact that i didn't actually get to finish my breakfast biscuits until almost 2:00) and then i get home and zone out for a couple hours before simply collapsing into bed.

but, silver lining, it will all calm down soon (i hope).

anyway, here is my meager addition to my ORT jar this month:

that's the page i started in february.. remember when i had high hopes that this piece would be done by christmas?  i think that bird has flown.

and here's where the piece stands as of now - i've done almost 2 whole 10x10 grids since my last post... whew (if there were a sarcasm font i would be using it right now):

but that's how life goes sometimes, right?  some days you get to stitch, and some days you don't.  i think the days when you just can't make the ones when you can all that much brighter.  

and now i must return to my regularly scheduled insanity.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

on finishing a project at 1 am...

a little while ago, i decided that i should treat myself to something lovely and very selfish. i had been looking at my ravelry project page and realized that out of 80 some-odd projects over the last few years, only 4 of them had been things that i kept.

now i know that this is probably the norm for crafters, since if we kept everything that we ever made we would have overflowing baskets of things we couldn't possibly wear as often as they should be worn.

but nonetheless, i took that as a sign that i should do something nice for myself.  and since craftsy was having a sale on their kits at the time, i decided that the nice thing i would do would be to make myself a shawl that is lovely and spring-weight rather than warm enough to wear in fall.

luckily, trufa by corrina ferguson was on sale as a kit from craftsy:

isn't it pretty?

 the kit included two skeins of manos del uruguay serena yarn:



which is lovely and of a much higher quality than i usually buy.  plus, this is a company that employs women artisans in rural uruguay and promotes identity and is pretty much just awesome (read their story here - you'll need to translate the page, but it's a very cool story)

so i chose my color: green tea.  doesn't that sound lovely?  and then two days later, it came.  yay!

the problem with buying nice yarn for me is that i don't own a swift or ball winder, so the first thing i had to do was improvise:

yes, my living room is a mess. and yes, i was watching sleepy hollow - what of it? 

once i got it all balled up, i started, and it was fun!  such a fun pattern to work on and i had already gotten to the start of the short rows when i started reading the comments on ravelry - everyone ran out of yarn!  oh no!  so i ripped back and started again on a size smaller needles, confident that it would fix the problem.  i got through the short rows and started on the lace section, and i was about halfway through the second ball when i panicked and decided that i should order another one just to be safe.  so i did.  and i decided i wasn't going to do any more on the shawl until i had it, since i didn't want to run out mid row and have to remember where in the pattern repeat i was... so i didn't work on it again until saturday, and i was convinced i could get it finished in time to wear on sunday to easter brunch.

i may  have overestimated my speed a bit. 

and underestimated how far the ball of yarn would go. i never ended up needing the third ball of yarn. sigh. so now i have a ball of green tea that i need to do something with... i'm thinking fingerless gloves... 

i finished the shawl at 1 am on saturday morning. go me! crochet bind off and all!

brunch wasn't until 11:30 on sunday - in my sleep deprived and slightly addled brain, this was plenty of time to give it a wash and block and have it dry. so i soaked it and pinned it out all pretty:

even if i was a little bit lazy with pinning all the lace:

and i went to bed excited to show it off the next day.  of course, shock of all shocks, it wasn't dry (who saw that coming?)

so i committed the cardinal sin and threw it in the (gasp!) dryer... let the admonishing begin... but i wasn't about to forgo the wearing of something that i had stayed up until 1 am to finish - no way man!





















it didn't get ruined - just kind of reverted back to what it would have looked like if i hadn't blocked it at all.

i still got lots of compliments on it on sunday, and i will certainly be re blocking it soon.  next time though, i'll be more careful to finish early... maybe... probably not...

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.