Friday, November 19, 2010

I always keep meaning to...

I keep meaning to write all of the exciting things that have been happening in my life, but it seems like I am always too busy to sit down for even a few minutes!

This week has been a trying one, and after what I would like to say was a lot of soul searching and heartache filled hours of debate except that it was really rather impulsive and liberating, I have decided to remove certain things from my life that had been causing me nothing but trouble and taking over my sanity.  Consequently I now find myself feeling much more in control of my own time and my own path in life.

In the mean time, my pattern writing has been going very well.  Excitingly, I got an e-mail for yarn support from Cascade yarns yesterday for a pattern set, and have proposals in with a few other companies.  I am so excited to realize that I can do this on my own, and that I'm not dependent on anyone else to be as successful as I may or may not want to be.  I have a handful of projects that I need to finish up for other people, and when that is finished I will begin the process of planning and writing my book.  I've decided that I don't care if nobody ever wants to publish my book.  It is something that I consider important and am passionate about, and if nothing else it will be of value to me.

In celebration of the realization that I am free to get rid of things that are pains in my...  backside, I bought myself a .7 ct Tanzanite ring today.  I've decided I heartily agree that the new 'Bondi Blue' Tanzanite is just a way to sell the less pretty second hand stones for a higher price, though there may be those who would rather have a blue-green stone instead of a blue-lavender stone.  For myself, I chose the traditional shade.  Yes, I bought it online, so it may be a disappointment (is there such a thing as disappointing Tanzanite?), but the earrings that John bought for me are not deep dark rich saturated color and they still have something so beautiful about them that every time I see them they take my breath away, and I feel all special and remember all over again the day that he bought them for me.  I am hoping to wear this as a replacement wedding ring until mine is repaired, or even beyond, given our mutual growth into the dislike for diamonds.  Anyway, even though I know my sweetheart doesn't read my blog, I hope he knows how much I love him and how complete my life is with him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Being Squishy Makes Getting Things Done Hard...

Today, was the long awaited arrival of our foam mattress topper.  I was very pleased to discover, after getting it out of its impossibly small box, that it wasn't very stinky at all and would be quite fine for sleeping on tonight.  What I hadn't anticipated was how difficult it would be to maneuver around once it expanded again!

I built the frame for my rectangle loom today, but then discovered that I cannot find my teeny tiny drill bit (I should have just bought one when I was at Home Depot like I told myself I should).  Since there are 400 pins to be nailed in, I think I will wait until I get one to predrill the holes and save myself from wanting to stab myself  with a pitchfork!   The building of it went well though, given my meager carpentry skills.  It's not as pretty as the $400 oak ones, but it's functional and only cost me $15.   ($17 when I get the new drill bits!)

I did have  momentary episode with a crow that was confused and thought he was a chicken.  He's been practicing different imitations all month, and today's subject was chicken.  He was sitting outside going "Baawwk?"  "Bawwk?!" .... "Bawwk!!" for almost half an hour.   I didn't have the heart to tell him that I firmly believe that God only put chickens on the planet to be eaten!

The rest of my day was spent pretending that I was going to accomplish something and doing very little other than knitting three lace repeats on the sweater I am working on.  The upside is that it's nothing but knit rows from here out, so the rest of it should fly by!

John has to work tomorrow, which makes me have a /sad, but at least I am staying home from knitting tonight so we will have that time together.  Hopefully we can have some reading time.  It's been a while since we read a chapter in the Lord of the Rings, and I do love listening to him read.

I do apologize for my lack of pictorial evidence lately.  I suppose I could say that it's because I've been too busy, but I guess that doesn't fly so well after a blog post about how lazy I was today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Places To Go and People To See

Today is a very exciting day.  Yes, it's 10:50 and I'm just getting home, but what could be better than spending nearly the entire day knitting with close friends, and then knitting with a community of more than a hundred women (and men) who share a passion for knitting?

Tonight was the first time in a billion years I was able to get to the Atlanta Knitting Guild meeting.  The speaker was Sivia Harding, which was extra special because I happened to knit the sample Aquataine Gauntlets that she will be using to teach one of the classes this meeting.  I even managed to part with some of my pennies to get a few of her patterns, the Rosalind and the Shetland Garden Faroese.  Maybe sometime in this lifetime I will finish with the pattern writing that I have on my plate right now to be able to knit them!  For now they are going to be taped on the wall-o-wishing that has my Jeanie pattern waiting wishfully on it.

My 18 Pearls Wrap is also going places and meeting people.  Farmhouse Yarns has decided to carry the pattern after I knit a sample in one of their yarns, and my original shawl has gone to visit Only Ewe and Cotton Too in Alpharetta, GA.  This makes me doubly excited because Elyse Anderson, the owner, happens to be one of the nicest people I think I've ever met, and because this shop is one of my favorites in the area. (Even if it is on the other side of the world for me, which makes me sad because I can't get there very often).  Elyse also carries Ester Bitran's Olmue, the yarn my original design was knit from, which was the catalyst for my new focus on designing and writing patterns.  I liked this yarn for this pattern so much, I bought a skein from Elyse to knit another!  It is also super-lovely out of most sock yarns, including long color change yarns like Noro's Kureyon Sock, which Elyse also carries! Please feel free to stop by her wonderful shop to meet a really special lady and have a chance to see my wrap in person. If you can't get by the shop, you can follow the happenings at Only Ewe and Cotton Too on Facebook.

Other exciting news for the day include the fact that I am now DONE knitting the gull lace on my February Lady Sweater, thanks to an extra long guild meeting, and can start the sleeves tomorrow.  After this sweater is done there is just one more sweater of doom to repair, and a vest to knit before I can focus on my designs again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Being Unemployed Is Hard Work.

I don't understand how I can have no job, and be constantly so busy I could pull my hair out.  My poor husband used to suffer through, "I'm too tired from work." as an excuse for not having the housework done, and now he has to abide by my decrees that, "My knee hurts too much still to clean well." and "I had to knit all day long." or the ever popular, "But honey, I was dyeing wool!"

Today's escapades involved photographing a second version of my mermaid scarf for Farmhouse Yarns, who will graciously be carrying my pattern across the country, along with working on finishing up a February Lady Sweater with dubious 'fitting' ability.  Nothing like knitting a sweater for someone for someone else with dubious measurements and no way to have them try it on mid-knit!

All is happy in my world though, Farmhouse Yarns has also agreed to carry my 18 Pearls shawl, which is exciting (even if it does mean I have to knit it a THIRD time out of their yarn /gag).  Fall has come, the dreaded heat and humidity have moved off for the year, and it's time to have the snuggly blanket out.   For those who don't know what the snuggly blanket is  yet, it's my electric blanket that got renamed because when it is on both of my animals snuggle up to me like the little heat-leeches that they are!  See the following picture of my cat shamelessly sleeping between two layers of blanket and leeching heat.  You would think that eventually she would start to bake in there, but all I ever get is 'purrr.'

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sometimes you have to take a step backwards, to take a step forwards.

It's been one of those weeks.  I swear for every thing I've finished, I have picked up 4 more to do.

My major accomplishments of the week:   I got Farmhouse Yarns to agree to carry one of my patterns, yay!  Did a photo-shoot in my front yard of my shawl and scarf in preparation of publishing both of the patterns.  I e-mailed two proposals to Knit Picks for consideration into the IDP program.  I started and finished knitting the shop's sample of the 18 Pearls Shawl, I knit the cutest little pair of green baby socks, blocked my sister's birthday present before it was a whole month late, and I've gotten my knee to bend as close to 90 degrees as it's going to get before I see the doctor tomorrow.    And Tuesday isn't even over yet!

9 Pearls Scarf
9 Pearls Scarf

8 Pearls Shawl

18 Pearls Shawl

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which side of the projects I'm on), I've picked up yarn to write patterns for and knit fingerless gloves, bulky slippers, upon receipt of some yarn support I have to knit another sample of the said Farmhouse Yarns pattern to send to the company for photographing after I tweak the pattern, and insanely tiny laceweight yarn to write my very first large shawl pattern out of.    I have to give the Shetland Shawl ladies credit - there is something to be said for having a plain center and saving all the hooplah for the trim!

Nancy's Birthday Present
Nancy's Birthday Present

We'll leave today's blog with a picture of the adorable baby booties, because....  I can.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happiness is....finishing two projects in one day!

Sometimes the world works in mysteriously clockwork ways.  On days like that, works in progress (WIP's) are completed.  The heavens seemed to move on Friday, and I finished not only one, but two projects in the same day.  And yet I'm just posting about it today?   There's a story behind that, but that's for later. And just in case you're wondering, blocking is not required for a project to be considered 'finished.'  It's true - check a knitting handbook if you don't believe me!

Finished project #1:
Clown Vomit

Ghastly yellow tank top sample for the shop. The yarn is Online Tequila in yellow. It's a stranded cotton that's bound with a multicolored thread that makes it look pretty much like clown vomit. It's ok, I can say I hate the yarn because Kay (the shop owner) does too. That's why it's done in a size extra-teeny-tiny-I-couldn't-fit-a-leg-in-there. Neither of us want to wear it when the yarn is sold out!

Finished project #2:

Beaded Not-A-Drop shawl.  I had completed one of these for my mother in law as a thank you gift for her coming to take care of me the week after surgery.  She isn't wearing it of course.  Instead she made it into some kind of quasi-shrine in her office by draping it over a statue that her other son bought for her.  I love her dearly, but sometimes, she's just odd.   I'm trying not to be hurt by her not dying to wear it, though.

The Shrine

Blocked Swatch
The second one, the one I finished on Friday, is a birthday gift for my sister, Nancy.  I decided to take the pattern and add beading to it.  Someone else in one of the Ravelry groups that I belong to had suggested wanting to try the idea, and I'm in a bit of a beading phase lately, so I decided to try it before her.  I ended up not liking the yarn I'd chosen.  Something happened when I dyed it the color my sister wanted that made it seem a bit more bumpy than it was before hand, but it ended up looking nice.  It was just not as nice to work with.   I ended up adding two beads to every beaded stitch in the middle of the leaves, because the shawl is reversible and I wanted the beads to be seen from both sides.  This was a bit tedious, and between that and the yarn I ended up struggling to want to work on it.  It's done now though, and I still love the pattern.  I'm toying with two ideas.  One is to make another using a smoother yarn and beading it and seeing if it's more enjoyable.  The second is to alter the pattern to make it into a skirt. It would need to be lined, but adding increases would be simple enough.  Ideas....

As to the reason I haven't mentioned my momentous day yet... 

Reason #1:

I had to completely frog a shawl I had been knitting after getting half way through the yarn and deciding there just wouldn't be enough.  I knew when I started it that there wouldn't be enough, but I didn't listen to myself.  I distinctly remember picking the skein of yarn and thinking, "Hmm... this is 50 yards less yardage, but it will still be enough!"  This was a completely silly thought, because I used all but 5 yards of the skein for the first sample.  It's an OK thing though, because it has in turn lead me to write a sister pattern to the shawl pattern that is a thinner scarf, has more beading and smaller panels of alternating pattern.

Second sample shawl, before the frog

First sample shawl.
It's turning out quite lovely, and I'm completely stoked that there are at least 3 people who are sitting and waiting for me to finish it so they can test knit it because they like the pattern so much.    It contains 3 techniques that are not common, though.  I need to take "how to" pictures to illustrate my pattern with.  I must confess that this is part of what's keeping me from actually finishing writing up the pattern.  If I was smart, I would take pictures of them while I'm working on this sample.  The problem is that knitting takes two hands, and I forgot where I put my third and fourth to take the pictures with!    Maybe John will help me out this weekend.

Reason #2:

When I got in the car to take my swap packages to the post office and then head to Chamblee to pick up John, the car wouldn't start.  This in itself, beyond the annoyance and cost, isn't really that big a deal.  When I was on the phone with the wrecker, though, a mammoth turtle decided to cross my driveway.  It was at least 2 feet long!  I managed to pick up my chin and get my wits back quickly enough to nab a picture of it just before it disappeaered.  I can't even imagine how old a turtle that size must be, surely older than my mother!   I feel very special that it chose to visit us, and rather much like I nabbed a picture of Bigfoot.   I do hope that I have another opportunity to see it again before it moves on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do you smell something?

I seem to always be looking for something new, to see or try.  I had been seeing people raving about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for a long time, but really had no clue what it was.  Maybe it's because I'm stuck at home and can't do much, or maybe it's because I had a little extra money burning a hole in my pocket, but I decided to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.

I went to the website and became immediately confused.  They have about a hundred million different scents that they create, and the descriptions are extremely long winded.  Not to mention that if you don't know what "spiced amber" smells like, having it and half a dozen other things that you don't know what they smell like in the mix doesn't help you decide very much.

I decided I needed an expert.  I joined the BPAL group on Ravelry and got connected with someone who must be independantly wealthy in order to be able to afford as much BPAL as she owns.  After several conversations a deal was struck and 8 'imps' or small vials of scented oil were merrily winging their way towards me.   I used the USPS's completely useless package tracker, and was able to discern that they arrived yesterday.  I managed to convince my husband to trek to the mailbox to get them for me by telling him I had ordered "presents" and implying that some might be for him.  It wasn't a lie!  They were presents..... for me!

He was very disgruntled when I opened the package, and said there was no way perfume was for him, then backpedaled and said, "Unless my present is having you smell nice, which is good." Sometimes his internal censor is a bit slow. Much to my surprise when I opened it, there were 12 vials, instead of 8, and my sniffer was quite excited.   Along with the vials a tootsie pop was included.  I haven't been brave enough to eat it yet though, as it smells like perfume.

After trying in vain to not get any on my fingers, I believe I managed to get an accurate-as-can-be smell of each of the 12 vials.  The smells were definitely contaminated by each other, but I was able to weed out only 4 of them that my nose did not agree to.  Now to spend the next exciting few weeks trying on smells and combinations of smells.  The good thing is that because I am home alone most of the time, if a smell is bad on me, the only person's nose that I have to worry about offending is my own.  I have decided that my favorite of this bunch is Eat Me.  I am going to have to save my pennies so I can order a whole bottle, and a bottle of it's sister Drink Me.  These are both of the "Mad Tea Party" set.  I find it totally ironic that my favorite scent is named after something in my favorite tale.