Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving time off.

The beautiful thing about having a "normal" job is holiday time off. I have three whole days off and I don't really have any specific plans for them (aside from Thanksgiving dinner, of course.) How does one spend their time? So far, I've spent it doing various fibery things.

I finished a pair of socks for my grandmom for Christmas.
These are the Embossed Leaves socks from the Interweave knits Favorite Socks book. I've been wanting to make a pair of these for a long time. The pattern is great. The only thing I'd change next time would be the toe. Other than that, I loved it.

Yesterday morning I spent a good bit of time spinning. I've had a bit of a spinning itch recently, but I just didn't have the time to get into doing some. I bought some merino/tencel roving at Rhinebeck this year that I've been meaning to spin up. I really wanted to try navajo plying. I've tried it before, but I just never got the hang of it... until now.
I love, love, love how this turned out. I only have 74 yards so I'm not totally sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Busy Little Bee

Ever since I finished my brother's socks that seemed to drag on and on forever, I've been churning out projects left and right.

I started and finished a pair of socks in a week. I bought the yarn at Rhinebeck and once it's was wound into a ball, I just couldn't resist starting it. They're made out of Socks that Rock in the colorway Fire on the Mountain.Of course, as is always the case with me, I have not sewn in the ends yet... They will get done as soon as I decide to wear them! A lot of my friends have made the observation that these socks aren't my typical color choice. They're a little too flashy, a little too bright. Well, they caught my eye. Perhaps I'm changing into someone a little more flashy and bright! And, let's face it, they're socks, it's not like I'm making a sweater out of these colors!

Then I cast on for an Odessa hat. I started and finished it in 24 hours.All this knitting suggests one of two things. Either I'm a very fast knitter, or I just have a whole lot of time on my hands...

I like to think it's because I'm fast.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What I've been knitting and other various things

I truly have been knitting in my hiatus. Mostly I've been working on Christmas presents. I decided I didn't want to be caught off guard this year. I've never really been one who likes deadline pressure, and Christmas knitting deadlines are among some of the worst.

I think I started my Christmas knitting back in August and now I'm nearly finished. Of course, it's only October, who knows, I may decided there are more people to knit for than I thought!

First off, I started and finished a pair of Monkey Socks for my mom.
My brother's fiance (who is, by nature, always freezing cold) also was on my list. I had started and nearly finished a pair of fair isle mittens awhile back. I realized that they are far too small for my hands, but my brother's fiance has tiny hands. They must have always been meant for her and I just didn't know it.I know she's going to love them. She's also going to love the socks I knit for her. They're the undulating rib pattern out of the Favorite Socks book.Then, of course, I had to start a pair of socks for my brother. Why is it that men's socks feel like they go on and on forever? Aside from the fact that they're huge, I think in this case it also has something to do with the fact that I had to alternate yarns every other row. Why? Well, I was sent two balls of yarn, the same dye lot and everything, only to find out that they look totally different. They're kettle dyed which I imagine has something to do with it, but really? They're completely different. Luckily I'm nearing the end now. I just need to finish the toe.
So it's that time of year folks. It's that time when I pull out my hand knit socks and wash them...I truly hope I'm not the only one who finds that hand knit socks need to be washed far less than regular cotton socks. Either my nose just doesn't work right, or wool socks don't trap foot odor like other socks can. It's one of those mysteries of the universe I suppose...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rhinebeck Recap

What a fun weekend I had. The weather was gorgeous, though it was a bit on the chilly side. Normally this would not have been a problem, but my friends and I were camping. There's just nothing like waking up in the morning to see your breath fog in front of you....

For the most part we stayed warm, after all we had all sorts of fiber insulation to warm us!

Here's the highlights in pictures...
Like I said, these are just highlights. The full set can been seen on my flickr page!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where I've been...

Wow... I can't believe I haven't written a post in well over a month. A friend reminded me that this blog was worth keeping up on. So, as I'm sure you can imagine, I have been busy. Life has been full, not too full, but definitely full.

Lists are wonderful things, don't you think? I think I'll list what's been going on in my life...

  • My boyfriend and I broke up. (this actually happened around the same time I stopped writing on the blog) It wasn't that anything bad happened, it's just that the feelings weren't there anymore.
  • I got a new job at my vet's office. Completely by chance (though I don't believe in accidents) I was down at my vet's office having the cats checked out and he asked me for my resume. A week later I had an interview and a week after that I had a new job. They started me off in reception so I could be comfortable with that since everyone is expected to help out when needed. Once I was comfortable with that, they moved me to the back where I've been doing actual animal work. They even have me doing blood draws (which I never in my life thought I'd be comfortable with) This job is everything I've been lacking in my old job: wonderful, understanding people, meaningful work, flexible schedule. They actually realize that you have a life. Go figure!
  • My social life has really taken off. It's been a long time since I've had a normal schedule where I can actually hang out with people. I'm finally feeling like I have the life I've been wanting. Good friends, good job, time to enjoy life. It's really nice.
  • My cousin is cancer free, though he's still going through chemo just to be sure. We are all very, very happy and relieved to hear this.
  • I have to give up Lily, the new cat. She and Ludo are not getting along at all. She pretty much terrorizes him and it kills me. I hate to play favorites, but he comes first and if they can't get along, I have to find a new home for her. This has not been an easy decision, but it's been a necessary one. I think I've found her a home, it's going to be on a trial basis, that way if it doesn't work out, I can have her back to keep looking for a home for her.
  • My brother and his girlfriend are now engaged! I can't even tell you how exciting this is. She's a wonderful girl and she is going to be an awesome addition to the family.
  • And of course, there's been knitting which I'm afraid to say I haven't been taking pictures of. Shame on me... I plan on going to Rhinebeck next weekend as well. A bunch of my friends and I are camping so it's going to be a bit of an adventure.
So those are the highlights I can think of. Hopefully it won't be another two months before I write again! Maybe I'll even have some pictures to share...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Cuteness overload

I know that I am highly overdue for a post. Most of what I can say is that things have started looking up. Lily's kitten has been a constant source of entertainment and fascination. Watching her grow up, seeing all the new developments and skills she keeps getting better at has been so much fun. I know the kitten is a 'she', by the way, because I had to take her to the vet for a urinary tract infection. The poor baby was very uncomfortable but once those antibiotics got in her it was like night and day.Here in this picture her eyes had only just opened a couple days before. (I have to admit I thought she looked a bit like an alien...) But every day her cuteness factor keeps multiplying.She's now mastered walking, though running is still a bit of a challenge. I'm sure it will only be a matter of days before she's got that down.

I haven't named her because I don't plan on keeping her. I feel like three cats might just put me on the road to becoming one of those "crazy cat ladies." Though I will admit, she might be hard to let go of. I already know several people who'd like to take her, so I'm sure she will go to a very good home (One of which is the neighbor who lives across the hall... I may get to watch her grow up after all!) If you'd like to die from a bit of cuteness overload, please feel free to watch this little video I took of her.
video

As far as my cousin goes, the last I heard he's doing well. After his first chemo treatment he went out and played softball. Did I not say he was a strong guy?

And there's been knitting... and some crochet.

I started a granny square blanket out of all of the leftover sock yarn I had.I took this picture a while ago and now there are quite a few more, though not enough to be anywhere close to finishing size. I think I need to make several more pairs of socks before I have enough yarn for squares.

I'm going away next week for a much needed vacation with the family. The last time I had more than two days off in a row was New Year's so I'm thinking it's about time I took a little break (not to mention that's far too long to go without a break if I want to stay mentally sane!) I still haven't even decided what I'm bringing with me to work on, and as we all know, that's the most important part of packing!

Monday, July 14, 2008

One of those weeks.

I've had one of those weeks that Life sometimes throws at you. One where you can't possibly imagine handling another major event, and yet, somehow you do because you have to. You either deal with it, or you don't, but either way, it's happened and there's nothing you can do to change the situation. The only thing you can change is how you feel about it.

First and foremost, we found out last Monday that my cousin (who is younger than I am by a couple of years) has cancer, an aggressive form of lymphoma. Because it's so aggressive, they've started chemo treatments earlier than planned. The good news is that the treatments already seem to be taking affect. We're all hoping that since he is young, strong and healthy (aside from the cancer) that he will pull through this. It's such a large shock that, for me, it hasn't totally sunk in quite yet. It seems impossible that this person who is such a strong guy (he's been a firefighter and a lifeguard, just to name a few of the things he's done) has cancer. All we can really do right now is hope for the best.

Not a few days later, my mom called me at work to tell me that our family dog, Shelby, who's been with us since I was in high school was not doing so well and that she was going to take her to the vet and have her put down. While I know that it was her time, it still seemed far too early. Her spirit was still young, but her body was failing her and had been for some time. I know in this situation I'm sad for my loss, I'm sad that I won't see her physically anymore, but a part of me should be happy because she's no longer bound by a old and breaking body.

Before any of these major, upsetting things happened, I took in a stray cat. For a little while now, I've been meaning to get another cat to keep Ludo company and here, literally on my doorstep, comes the most laidback, affectionate cat. She's super lovable and was starved for affection (and starved for food as well.) I took her to the vet and she only weighed 6 pounds. I named her Lily.

A few days after I took her in a neighbor came to me because they had found her kittens. The vet and I assumed her kittens either died or were all grown up because her milk had gone dry. So my neighbors and I hand fed the kittens for a little while and luckily because Lily was now getting adequate food, she started producing milk again. Despite our best efforts though, only one of the three kittens that were found is still alive. It seems to be doing well, but I'm hesitant to get my hopes up too high.

Here's a picture of Lily.You can see in this picture how much her hip bones stick out. Also, it's obvious that she's barely more than a kitten herself. The vet thinks she may only be about a year old and for her to have already had a litter of kittens is just sad.

This is the one surviving kitten, who seems to be getting bigger by the day which to me is a very good sign.
As long as there's hope in life, things will turn out ok.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Unfortunately it won't feel much like the 4th for me since I have to work all day today. I have been looking for a new job and even went on an interview, but it just didn't seem like the right fit. (I'm beginning to wonder if I'm being too picky!) I have faith that the right thing will come along at the right moment.

Anyway, last time I checked this was a knitting blog and there's been very little of that going on here recently. Well here's what I've been working on.I finished up this pair of Sprial Boot Socks a week or two ago. They just need the ends sewn it. In general, most of my finished objects won't get the ends sewn in until I'm ready to wear it. This pattern called for the spiral to go in the same direction for both socks. I really didn't want them like that so I consulted the internet and found someone else who changed the direction of the spiral for their socks too. (I had unsuccessfully tried to reverse the spiral myself with not luck, apparently my brain couldn't wrap itself around the problem!) I'm very please with the results here and I'm sure they're going to become some of my favorite socks.

I've also started a pair of Monkey socks.I was at a BBQ with a fellow knitter who inspired me to try the pattern. I had some sock yarn lying around (let's face it, most knitters have sock yarn lying around) so I decided to try it. I already have plans to gift them for Christmas. Chirstmas knitting??? Oh yes, it's never too early to Christmas knit.

I was also inspired to knit the Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty. I'm so close to being finished.Instead of using ribbon for the handles, I'm knitting my own. I also decided to make the pattern a bit shorter than it called for so it won't stretch as much. Maybe I'll even finish it before I go to the Farmers market tomorrow!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meme

I've come across this meme a couple of times. You search flickr for the answer to the question and pick a photo then put it in a mosaic. Click on the mosaic to learn more about each answer.


Game

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where have I been?

I don't really have a good answer to that question. For one, I've been settling into my new place. I've been here a month and a half and it still feels like I'm getting to know my apartment. Isn't it funny how we feel like we need to make an emotional attachment to the place in which we live? I feel that's especially true for me now since I'm living here alone. This is the first time in my life where I'm living somewhere without family or friends.

I can't say I'm lonely, because that's not the case. What I have found is that I need to rely on myself for entertainment. I'm the cruise director so to speak. There is no one else playing music, watching a movie or just hanging out, there is only me. I have to decide to play music or watch a movie or just hang out. It is somewhat of an adjustment because I'm usually the one who will go along, add my two cents here and there, but I'm not usually the decision maker.

I will say that I love waking up in the mornings, making my cup of tea and sitting in my knitting room listening to NPR. I love those early morning moments. I also love that when a mess is made, I know it's my own. I don't have to clean up after anyone (aside from the cat who leaves ungodly sized hair tumbleweeds in every corner of the apartment... and of course the occasional hairball) I love that everything is exactly how I want it. Call me anal retentive, but I like things to be tidy and in their places; a trait I'm sure I inherited from my mother though I rebelled against it as a teen.

Aside from the apartment, I've also been doing a lot of life thinking recently. I know my job is going nowhere because there's really nowhere for it to go (waitressing... is there even a career ladder for that?) I feel like it's time to start looking elsewhere. The problem is, I'm making money doing this and I know that if I do what I want to, I won't be able to afford the life I'm living now. So those sorts of things have been on my mind recently.

A couple of weeks ago my best friend moved away. And when I say away, I mean moved to as far away from here as you can get and still be in the same country. She's now on the west coast with a three hour time difference. That has made me have to make some adjustments and has forced me to start actively building my social life again. May I just say, thank god for Ravelry. I've met so many awesome people through our local group on there. This adjustment would be ten times harder without my weekly stitch and bitch.

And of course, there's been knitting... and a wee bit of cross stitch. Who has time to post when you'd rather be crafting?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

All settled.... almost

I'm all moved in and it only took three weeks! The actual move took two days, but the settling in has taken quite a bit longer. Everything is pretty much where I want it to be now. I'm almost totally settled in. There are a few things here and there that I'm missing, but I'm sure, with time, I'll take care of it. The important thing is that I start making it my home.

For one thing, I think I need larger wall coverings... my tiny Monet poster is almost comical on my huge empty wall.

My knitting room is only missing a small side table that I think would be perfect next to the chair.After all, notions need to be placed somewhere while you're working. Come to think of it, so does a cup of tea!

As surprising as it may seem, I've actually done some knitting through all this. For one thing, I've finished more dishcloth's than I can possibly count. I made myself some, and then my old roommate wanted some, so I made her about a bazillion.

I also finished up a pair of socks that have been on the needles for an eternity. Ok, not an eternity...only since last October, but for me, that's a long time.

I made them toe-up so that I could have knee socks. I absolutely love them. They're out of Lorna's Laces sock yarn and they're divine!

I also started some boot socks out of some yarn I picked up at Rhinebeck last year. They're the Spiral Boot Socks out of Interweave Knits.The true color of these socks is much less washed out looking than this picture. I really can't begin to tell you how in love with this pattern I am. I just want to go out and buy a mini skirt just so I can show them off when they're done!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Movin'

Ok folks, I'm moving tomorrow. I have no idea how long it's going to take to get internet, etc. so it may be quiet around here for a bit of time.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Milestones...

This is post number 300! Wow... and it certainly took me long enough.

I know I've been absent for... oh, a couple weeks now, but I have very good reasons for that. My life has changed dramatically in those two weeks. I have become completely obsessed with voluntary simplicity. I have borrowed just about every book the library has on the subject and have been obsessively reading through them (the best of which has been Affluenza, it's humorous and poignant all at the same time.) It's become obvious to me that environmental degradation stems from this rampant consumer lifestyle that is characteristic of Americans. The more I research this subject, the more I feel like I'm taking control of my life. I think it's stated best with the phrase 'the best things in life aren't things.'

On top of that, I've had another major life event... I've found an apartment. Up until this point in my life, I've always lived with family or roommates. I've always known that living on my own was something I had to do at least once in my life. As things generally go for me, the perfect apartment, in the perfect location practically fell into my lap. It is minutes from my mom, my brother, the food co-op and my all-time favorite mexican restaurant. I could bike anywhere I need to go except work (though, at this point, I don't have a bike.) It's closer to work so I won't have to drive as far. On top of all that... it's in my price range. I put a deposit on it and will be moving in in the next week or so.

When I was there putting down the deposit I took some pictures...This is a picture of the living room into the dining room (I never thought I'd be lucky enough to afford a dining room too!)

This is the bedroom where the windows all look out onto the street.

This is a picture of the study that's off of the bedroom. Guess what I'm using that for? Knitting/spinning room, anyone? I wonder to myself how I got this lucky. Right place at the right time I suppose.

So planning and packing for this move have been taking up my time a bit. I'm just so excited.

These last couple of weeks have had some gorgeous weather also. The monthly meeting of my knitting group two weekends ago was just about the most beautiful day.
One week later, even more trees were in bloom.

With so many things going on, it's no wonder I've had no time to blog...

Happy Spring everyone.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I've been very inspired recently to become less of a consumer (this is all a part of my quest to be more environmentally conscious.) It's an interesting journey I've taken so far. Starting with the animals then moving to the environment and now it seems I've come to the root of the problem. Endlessly consuming stuff is really taking it's toll on our planet and those living on it (including humans.)

So, reduce, reuse, recycle it is! I've stopped using plastic bags, not only at the grocery store, but also other stores (which I have to admit, I haven't been to any in awhile.) I always bring my travel mug with me to the coffee shop. I've started using all natural cleaners for my apartment, ie. baking soda, vinegar, etc (I'm amazed at how well it works!) I use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.

I have been on a major kick of knitting dishcloths. Not only do I want to stop my use of paper towels, but I don't really want to buy sponges anymore. I was inspired the other day to reuse something you wouldn't normally think of....

Those old shower puffs. I had one just lying around.
What's a girl to do but cut it up into one long strip...
And knit it into a dishcloth....
As dishcloths go, they don't take very long to knit (though it can be a bit more time consuming wrangling the puff strip) so I finished it very quickly.I don't care what's stuck on my pans, this thing is sure to get it off!

I also started a ballband dishcloth. So far, so good...

Monday, March 31, 2008

All things baby...

This past Saturday was the baby shower for one of my college roommates. Besides the three hour car ride there and back, it was actually a lot of fun. I know baby showers can sometimes be tedious (especially when the mother-to-be opens a million and one presents and everyone has to ooo and aahh over them) but this one was really nice.

We only played one game in which I did terrible. I think I got the least answers correct out of everyone. I'm actually pretty happy about that and let me tell you why. The game was to name as many children from certain TV shows as you can (ie, the Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, etc) and I could barely name any. I don't watch TV and even as a kid when these shows were on I obviously didn't pay too much attention to them!

We did have to sit through the present opening but luckily there weren't too many presents. Mine was the first to illicit the "aaaaaawwww" out of everyone!I think mine was the first handmade present she opened. There were a couple of other things that were handmade, mainly blankets that were sewn. I swear that baby is going to overheat with all the blankets that were made for it (I think somewhere in the vicinity of 5 or 6 blankets) The funny thing is they live in Virginia!

I think the thing I liked best about the shower was reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in awhile. After all, it's the connections with people that matter most, right?Me and the mommy-to-be

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We have bread!

So after about a month and a half of thinking about baking some bread, I finally got around to doing it today. I used a really simple, easy recipe for whole wheat bread.

Let me put this into perspective here. I did try one other time to bake some bread, but my yeast was dead. I tried proofing it and nothing happened, no foaming, nothing but a bad yeasty smell. Poo. So I gave up for a little while.

I finally realized today that I have a day off and nothing planned, why not bake some bread? I got some new (alive) yeast and I started my first ever loaf of bread. I'm sure some people wouldn't appreciate hand kneading the bread, but I was so excited that the dough actually looked right that I was all about kneading it!

Then there was the rising. I can't believe how much bigger it gets! I knew it was suppose to, but actually seeing it was another thing entirely.

So I'm gonna skip right to the part where I took it out of the oven.It looks gorgeous right? The picture doesn't, however, show the fact that it weighs about 20 pounds! It's just about the densest bread I've ever come across. Sure, it tastes fine, but this one reminds me of the movie "About a Boy" where the kid throws this loaf of bread in a duck pond and kills a duck. Yeah, it's that heavy!

I'm thinking I'm going to modify the recipe next time. Maybe mix the whole wheat flour with some lighter flour. Who knows, I know with bread, the possibilities are endless and it takes a certain amount of practice right?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Niagara Falls

I actually don't have any knitting projects to show at the moment. I started a baby hat (which looks more like a hat that could easily fit my head) but I think I have to re-knit it and the deadline is looming. I have a week. No big deal right? Well, there's work thrown in there, not to mention the cotton/acrylic that I picked out makes my arms hurt if I knit on it too long. I'll get it done though.

A week ago, my friends and I went to Niagara Falls for the day, just as a lets-get-off-our-butts-and-have-a-road-trip sort of thing. It was a gorgeous day, and by gorgeous I mean the sun was out and we hadn't seen it in a long, long time. It was still cold, but the sun totally made up for that.

I've never seen Niagara Falls in the winter. It's actually really beautiful.The mist coming up made this thin, icy layer over everything... including us after awhile! We really didn't wear very appropriate clothes for being "rained" on. So we took a few pictures and headed out.Here's the boy and I (totally blinded by that thing known as the sun.)

We all decided to be complete tourists and went over to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch....Where we sat by Elton John's Pharaoh suit and Madonna's tasseled bustier. They really set the mood!

On our way home we stopped by RockVentures in Rochester. It's the largest rock climbing gym in the Northeast, and let me just say, I've totally missed rock climbing!Though a gym is nothing like real rock, it's still a lot of fun.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day, but it was worth it. Winter seems to get us stuck it a rut of always wanting to stay in and avoid the cold (at least it does for me) but it's good to get out there and enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More FO's

Guess what folks? I have another couple of finished projects to show you. There's the socks for the boy for his birthday, all finished (and when I say finished, I mean the knitted part is done, I never seem to sew in the ends until right before I gift them.)I'm glad I finished these early because, it turns out I now have a baby shower to go to at the end of the month that I'd like to knit something for. Apparently I've entered the part of my life where my friends from college start having babies. Funny how life sneaks up on you like that!

Just this morning I finished up the yoga mat bag. It's perfect timing too since I have my yoga class this afternoon.This pattern was really fun. There were some design features that I really liked. For instance, the I-cord bind off on the bottom of the bag...It makes such a clean edge for the bottom. There's also the folded edge at the top which is pretty...It's funny, but I'm really excited to go to yoga tonight just so I can use my bag!