Second Monday in January

Good morning, lovelies! Hopefully the new year is still treating you well and you’re making progress on the things that matter most to your heart. This week I’ll be (hopefully) finishing the Cat Lady quilt. The quilting is finished, and it’s trimmed; I just need to get going on the binding and label. I’m thinking I’m going to use the loads of C+S Bluebird scraps I have on-hand from when Denise made a dress for Em out of that fabric, which means I’ll be doing a scrappy binding construction because the scraps are very weird shapes–there’s very little yardage that will work for WOF cutting. BUT…it’s C+S fabric, and I have loads of it that I’ve been trying to sew through for years, so this will make a significant dent.

I had hoped to finish the Cat Lady quilt last week, but geez, what a week! Washington got a lot of snow and ice and rain and it just threw everything off kilter all week long. My kids had a two-hour late start for school four days out of five, the roads were flooding over…you don’t realize how stressed you’re feeling about stuff until you get past it and realize that you’ve been holding your shoulders up to your ears for days. And now we have to deal with rescheduling all the stuff that got cancelled, and adding it on top of all the regularly-scheduled stuff…I just wish that people would let things go when they get cancelled? Like, it’s too bad it didn’t happen, but let’s try again next year, rather than trying to fit it into the next couple of weeks that are already booked? Please? But alas…that’s a rare outcome.

Once the Cat Lady quilt is complete, I’m hoping to start work on Rachel’s birthday gift, and I can’t show you anything about it or she’ll figure out what it is. Which also means I have to clean it up everyday and not leave it lying around on the cutting table or the ironing board. Let’s see if I can actually remember to do that everyday…who else thinks that I’ll forget and Rachel will know what her gift is before it’s even finished? It also just occurred to me that I can’t work on this over the weekend days because she’s somewhat of a constant fixture in my craft room on the days that she’s home. So I guess it will take twice as long to stitch this up because I really will only have two days a week that I can work on this. Awesome.

I’m still working on the Nereid Fingerless Mitts for my bestie, and hopefully will have good news to report on them soon. This “tell people you were making them a gift if you didn’t finish it before Christmas” idea has been the perfect motivation to keep me working on those gifts. It might add extra incentive to get things done before Christmas in future years, too: I’m going to lose that special moment of surprise if it’s not done before Christmas because I’ll have to announce it on the blog. I don’t like doing that. But I do like finishing stuff, and so here we are.

Scrappy Thursday this week is for working on the Clementine Quilt. I don’t know if anyone remembers that I was one of the quilters in the original Clementine Quilters group, but I had to quit because we were moving. I hated quitting, but it was definitely the right call at the time because here we are, four years later, and it’s only now that I have the feasible time to work on it again. Fat Quarter Shop supplied me with the fabric to make the quilt, and I don’t feel right accepting fabric from people and then not using it, so it’s been on my mind ever since that I definitely need to get this completed so I can fulfill the obligation that I signed up for originally.

Update on Marshmallow: He’s doing better than he was. It looked like his hind legs were permanently paralyzed for many days, but in the last three or so days he’s started using them again, somewhat regularly. We changed up his meds the day before that development, so it looks like we’ve hit on a combo that works well for him. Pretty sure he’s gone blind though–he seems to only be responding to sounds, and he runs face first into things a lot. He got pushed down the stairs by Charlotte the other day because he walked near her, which is not a thing he used to do because she’ll bat any cat in the face that gets that close to her. (She’s such a GRUMP.) I feel like I need to set something up that will keep her away from him while I’m gone from the house because I’m afraid I’m going to come home to a murder scene or the like. Sigh.

So yeah, bad weather and geriatric cats…last week was intense. Hopefully things are a lot calmer this week!

Progress: Nereid Fingerless Gloves

In my last post I pondered the idea of publicly sharing any handmade Christmas gifts that weren’t done yet, in a last-ditch effort to follow through on their completion because publicly talking about said unfinished gifts will keep them at the forefront of my crafty brain. And then…ugh, I made a really, really silly mistake on these mitts and every fiber in my being wants to throw them atop the hibernation pile and ignore them for another year, and NO THAT WILL NOT BE HAPPENING.

So here we are: I was hoping to finish up a pair of fingerless gloves for my bestie for Christmas this year, but I got sick for most of December and didn’t make the deadline and darn it, these are getting finished NOW. There will be weekly progress posts on these things until they are done because I started making them in August of 2012, people! It’s been almost TEN YEARS! They are beautiful and they deserve to be out in the world making my friend happy.

One mitt is done, and the silly mistake was that I didn’t start the thumb increases during the third repeat on the second mitt, so I have to unpick half a repeat and do it all over again and I was so close to being done but now I’m not and it was a very low moment for me. BUT…public pressure to continue on and persevere…hopefully I can show you much progress next Wednesday!

And, then…there’s another project that didn’t get finished for Christmas, and I’ll tell you all about it when these gloves are done! The anticipation builds!

The First Monday in January

CW: Injured cat

I am perpetually in love with new beginnings, and January is the month of new beginnings. Whether you do resolutions or not, there is something motivating and optimistic about the first week of the new year. There’s usually something motivating and optimistic about Mondays as well: What will this new week hold for me? What projects will I make progress on this week? Will I improve this week? Monday is the great big beginning. So the first Monday of the year…very pregnant with possibility.

Em & Nathaniel decided to dye their hair on NYE.

My kids head back to school today, and I head back to normal crafty hours. There’s so much that is great about December and all the Christmas festivities, BUT…they deviate from the normal schedule, and man, have I missed my normal, quiet schedule. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the craft room uninterrupted.

I shared my plans for January in my last post, and today sees me jump into that plan with all my first-Monday-of-the-year enthusiasm. I’ll be dragging out Em’s Cat Lady quilt that I pieced for their sixteenth birthday and then never got around to quilting. My plan is to finish this up before their birthday at the beginning of February, but not give it as a present because you can’t give something as a birthday present twice. My kid is going to be a legal adult in a month. How did we get here? I’ll wax poetic about that closer to their birthday. Hopefully I can get this quilt completely done this week? That’d be great.

This week marks the re-introduction of Scrappy Thursdays into my routine, and I’m excited to finally start working on my #brickhousequilt blocks. I’m aiming to make up the first four of sixteen blocks. I’m really optimistic about my Scrappy Thursdays plan and this pattern; hopefully I can do some epic scrapbusting this year–the situation is getting dire!

As far as handstitching projects go, I’m still slogging away on past due Christmas gifts I didn’t finish up and still can’t show you. (Side note: I’m thinking that if one misses the Christmas deadline for making a gift, that perhaps one should post about said items because secret crafting gets old after a while, and if one posts about the items, there’s a little more peer pressure to finish…but that may just be my thinking…)

I did, however, get a lot of work done on my “car knitting” project because one of my cats, Marshmallow, went to stand up last week and I’m guessing he pinched a nerve in his hips or something, because his back legs suddenly slumped out from beneath him and he started yelling. It was a long day at the curbside emergency veterinarian, and I alternated holding his head in my hand so he’d stay calm, and knitting while he slept or was inside the vet’s office. He was given a diagnosis of severe arthritis, which is very common for the Scottish Fold breed, but I think I’m going to get a second opinion because I don’t think partially-paralyzed hind legs are something you just treat with anti-inflammatories. (I had a partially paralyzed leg for about a week before my back surgery–it’s horrifically painful.) He’s really struggling, and I think he’s going blind, too. He’s a grandpa of a cat, probably about fifteen years old or so, so it’s getting to be that time where we might need to make some sad plans for him.

Nathaniel is pretty upset, and has taken on the role of permanent cat whisperer; he carries Marsh around and helps reset his legs into a standing position so he doesn’t have to drag them behind him. Sigh. Loving another creature sure is painful when it gets near the end of their life. One would almost be tempted to not engage in the practice, were it not for all the funny little memories and cute moments we’ve had over the years.

Not the most uplifting end to a “motivating & optimistic” Monday post, but it’s what’s going on around here and I try to document the whole story. I’ve got a lot of work to do this week, and also try to find a vet that can squeeze Marsh in for a consult. Wish me luck! And I wish you luck with your week and your goals, and I hope all your pets are in splendid health.

Why, Hello, Week of Christmas

Good morning, lovelies! How was your week last week? I’m so glad I took a little break from the online world, it was definitely needed to get things somewhat put back together ’round these parts.

Is it me or does it seem like the blogging community is waking up a bit these days? It seems like no one has blogged in years, and suddenly there’s all of these “coming out of hibernation” posts popping up and oh my goodness, it makes me so happy! My heart loves blogging, first and foremost. Instagram is great and all, but reading through people’s thoughts and decision processes, accompanied by good photography…that is my jam. Give me thought-out content that’s worth my time, not some silly little reel stitched together in fifteen seconds.

My crafty thoughts for this week:

  • I’m really hoping to get the Patchwork Forest quilt done.
  • I don’t think Sew Many Stars will get finished this year, and that’s OK.
  • The “Fair Isle” knitting project won’t get even get started this year.
  • “Stripes” and “Pattern I Don’t Like” are more than halfway done each; I think I can only finish one before Christmas, and I’m paralyzed regarding which one to pick.
  • I am going to bake some Christmas cookies this year, darn it. I had a day set aside last week, but the Universe really conspired against it happening, and by the time I could finally embark upon said baking, I was way too tired to even start. I do have a whole day set aside this week to bake with the kids, though…fingers crossed!
  • I had THE BEST IDEA while I was laying around in my sick bed this month, and I’m excited to share it with you later this week!

I hope you have a fantastic week, friends. Opt for the more restful options and just enjoy this season without taking on the things that stress you out. You’re amazing and strong, and I hope you find some beautiful crafty time to fill your soul.

#craftygoals: December 2021

A new month means some new goals!

I’m hoping to finish the Holiday Patchwork Forest quilt, the Christmas Sew Many Stars quilt, and three secret knitting projects this month, which I will lovingly refer to as “Secret Knitting No. 2: Stripes,” “Secret Knitting No. 3: The Pattern I Don’t Like,” and “Secret Knitting No. 4: Fair Isle.” I probably can’t even show you the yarn for Nos. 2 and 3 because the intended recipients would probably figure them out, but I think I can get away with showing you mystery shots of No. 4 once I get going on it.

November’s #craftygoals were a success! I finished the Fresh Cut Pines quilt for Nathaniel’s bed, finished the Yuletide Botanica orange peel quilt for Emms’ bed (but haven’t done the photo shoot yet, so no finished pictures just yet), and finished up Secret Knitting No. 1: “Rainbow Ombre”.

Whew! Christmas season is always a whirlwind of projects, and I’m thankful for the focus they’re giving me this year while things still feel a little unsettled. It’s good to have projects and it’s good to have goals. I hope you have great success with your goals this month!

Quilting the Fresh Cut Pines quilt

Alright, then, crafty friends, we’re at the end of the first week of reinstituting crafty goals and WOW did I get stuff done this week. All hail the power of setting goals!

I had to rip and re-sew on the top border of the Fresh Cut Pines quilt because I originally sewed it on upside down, and then it needed one more solid border all the way around. I basted the quilt sandwich on Tuesday, and would have started quilting it too, but the power went out at my kids’ school and I had to go pick them up and deal with the aftermath of all that.

So I started quilting it Thursday while my kids baked and giggled downstairs, and it was a great, warm and fuzzy kind of day. I’m shaking my head over how fast this quilting is going now that I finally just started doing it. You ever just psych yourself out about even starting a task? Quilting is one of those things for me. Sewing in sleeves is another. And then one day you just start doing the work and voila, you’re done in a fraction of the time that you thought it was going to take to do it all. Sigh. Oh, Anxiety, you relentless liar.

Nathaniel is really excited about his Christmas quilt! Despite telling him quite a few times that I’m making it for him, he keeps forgetting that it’s for him, so I’ve been able to witness him go through “initial” excitement over this quilt a number of times, which is very heartwarming. It’s going to look so great in his room during the Christmas season!

The secret knitting is coming along nicely as well. (I totally want to keep this project for myself.) I finished up the first half of the project and am starting work on the second half today. This project/gift should be done by the middle of next week, easy. Yay!

I’ve got more secret knitting to do after that, and I’m trying to decide if I use a stash yarn that…will suffice, or order new yarn that will elicit feelings of perfection. I’m leaning towards sufficing because I’m apparently super jazzed over finishing UFOs and using up stash right now, and it’s probably best to capitalize on that feeling. The new yarn I want to order will probably happen eventually anyway (like for next year’s version of this project), so it’s not like I’d miss out on that yarn in the long run. I’m strung out on the feeling of being responsible, y’all…it’s been a long time since I felt like I was on top of things and it’s nice to experience this again!

How are your holiday crafting goals coming along?

A Snowstorm Can’t Even Halt This Sweater’s Progress

During my post-surgery bedrest in November and December, I found myself with no project to work on, so I whipped up a couple of Fair Isle hats for two of my kids as last-minute Christmas presents, but that only took three days and then I was once again project-less.  After a little stash-diving, I came across a sweater’s worth of purple yarn that spoke to me.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of done with purple.  I really, really loved it for a long time–my wedding colors were periwinkle and amethyst, I almost named my first daughter Amethyst because that’s her birthstone and I thought I could call her “Amy” for short, and I’ve painted my great room a beautiful shade of periwinkle.  But about six months ago, I just started to dislike the color.

So, we’re scheduled to re-paint the great room this summer, and I needed a way to use up that sweater’s worth of purple yarn in such a way that would result in me NOT wearing it.  I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted me to knit her a purple sweater, and she enthusiastically accepted the offer.

So I’m knitting her a purple colorwork-yoked sweater, which is also a little nod to our Icelandic heritage.  The timing has been spectacular; I’ve had some bad back days, and I have now caught the cold that kept my son home from school this entire last week.  I am flying through the knitting because I’m stuck in bed with nothing to do and the cold medicine makes my brain all fuzzy, so planning, letter-writing, managing finances, and the like are out.  Knit, knit, knit.

I finally got through all the mindless purple knitting and started on THE BEST PART: the colorwork yoke.  I originally got into knitting for the Fair Isle sweaters–colorwork is my FAVORITE thing about knitting.  Mmmm, colorwork.  Love, love, love it.

201701211957782402Row #3 of my colorwork chart introduced green.  I started knitting with a green yarn from my stash, and wasn’t really loving it, but hey, stash-busting!  I kept knitting.

Row #4…I’m not sure if this green is a good idea.  Nah, it’ll be fine.

Middle of Row #4…you know, I’m starting to actively dislike this green.

3/4 of Row #4:  No.  I am not putting all of this effort into a HANDKNIT sweater only to regret the color of yarn I used because I was trying to “make do.”  This is 2017, I don’t live in a little house on the prairie, I don’t knit with yarn I made from my own sheep flock, I am allowed to JUST ORDER THE COLOR OF YARN THAT I WANT TO USE.

What I was using was a forest green yarn from my stash, but when I colored my colorwork charts, I didn’t have a forest green-colored pencil crayon, so I used an emerald-colored pencil crayon…and man, did I like my colorwork chart with the emerald-colored squares.

chart-a

Also, the forest green yarn just simply lacked contrast with the purple yarn it was paired with, which does make for a good colorwork design.  So I ordered some emerald-colored yarn.  (Well, I ordered two skeins of different emerald-colored yarns…just to be sure I had what I wanted.)

And three days later I still had not received a shipping confirmation email.  The sweater sits in its little IKEA rolling cart next to my bed, staring at me in its incomplete state while I resign myself to yet another day of mindless NetFlix viewing without the bonus of being productive because I can’t knit on the sweater because I don’t have the right green yarn.  Yes, I’m recuperating, but it feels like a completely waste of precious time that you get so much of before you die.  (For those of you who are new around here, I HATE, yes, hate, wasting time.  I don’t “do nothing,” even if I’m sick or injured.  It just feels…wrong.  Hence my love of handwork…even if you’re sick or injured you can be productive.  And also reading, reading is good, but only if you’re not taking cold medicine that makes you all fuzzy in the brain.)

I force myself to get out of bed once an hour and walk around the house so I can hopefully avoid back spasms from too much laying in bed while I’m sick.  I talk to my family, take medicine, get a drink of water…you know, break up the monotony a little bit.

Apparently I’ve been worrying out loud whilst strolling about my home; worrying out loud about my green yarn not being right, and then worrying out loud that my “right” green yarn hasn’t shipped.  I vaguely realize that this is a not a big problem in comparison to keeping our home running while I’m once again stuck in bed, but it’s on my mind and the cold medicine lowers my inhibitions, so I ramble about the things that flit around in my brain.

My husband got a phone call from work this Saturday morning–the facilities manager needed to use the snow plow to deal with the snowstorm that rolled in this morning (a SNOWSTORM, people!  PERFECT knitting weather!), but the keys to the snowplow were in a different building across town, and no one had keys to get into that building except my husband.  So he set out to solve the problem.

An hour later he phoned, presumably to let me know that he was coming home (I’m an anxious soul that likes to know where my people are and what they’re doing), but instead of telling me he was heading home, he asked if I needed him to run any errands while he was already in town.  I said that I didn’t need anything, and to drive safe because the roads were pretty bad with the ongoing snowfall.

“You sure about that?” he said, “Because I’m already in town, and the yarn shop is nearby…”

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My husband is a sexy, sexy man who voluntarily does yarn runs for me in a snowstorm.  Mmm.

And now for undoing two rows of three hundred stitches and starting over with the right green…

…and I’ll need to figure out what to do with those two skeins of emerald-colored yarn that will be making their way to me shortly.  Thoughts?

 

Randomly in November

  1. I saw the sign-ups for the Bee Hive Swap in time this year, and got in!  :::happy dance:::  So excited!
  2. My own swap group that I’m running liked it so much that a bunch want to do it again next year!  So, busy with setting that up at the moment.
  3. Yeah, two year-long swaps…talk to me at the end of next year.  🙂
  4. I wrote up an exhaustive inventory of the many works-in-progress taking up space in my craft room, and then hammered out a plan to plough through almost all of them in the next year.
  5. The first WIP that will reach completion as a result of my awesome new plan is probably a pair of socks that I started back in Australia.

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  6. A newly-finished pair of socks right now is kind of perfect, given that the snow has started.  I was actually thinking the socks would be a Christmas present for someone dear to me, but my feet are freakin’ freezing, so I’m going to keep them.  Mwa ha ha.
  7. The second WIP that will probably get finished is a baby boy quilt I started almost eight years ago.

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    The kid in this photo is Penguin, who is now nine years old.  She’s drinking from the mug I received after giving birth to Junebug, who is now seven-and-a-half years old…

  8. It’s funny how you can start a project with so much excitement, but with each passing year of not completing said project how much that excitement turns into resentment and shame.  So much so that I definitely don’t want to keep the quilt when I’m done, but fear the repercussions of giving a new life an item infused with so many negative feelings from myself.  The act of giving wipes off all the bad juju, right?  Right?

  9. I’ve also fleshed out a “Baby Gift Flowchart” to help me decide what to make for tiny humans on my radar.  In this age of social media, I find that I’m inundated with the awareness of many a pregnancy, and the baby-lovin’ crafter part of me really wants to make something for every one of them.  However, given the physical limitations of time, I can’t.  So I came up with a way to shrink the pool a bit and ease my conscience.  A line had to be drawn somewhere, or I’d never be done with making baby gifts.

    Baby Gift Flowchart

  10. I’m currently aware of nine pregnancies, and of three women trying to get pregnant.  That’s twelve impending births in the next year.  My flowchart narrows the gifts down to five recipients, which is still a lot, but gives me back a bunch of time.  I am raising four children of my own…
  11. My son broke the teeth off of the zipper of his winter parka the first day he wore it.  Of course.  Even better, he broke off enough teeth that the actual zipper pull fell off, too.  So, instead of working on WIPs, my time is needed to repair a zipper in a parka.
  12. Once again, making plans is a dumb idea.

The Strutting Will Happen Later

Peacock Feathers Stole in-progress, knit by Cara Brooke (That Crafty Cara)
It’s interesting how much my mood changes based upon whether or not I’m sticking to the schedule I’ve laid out for myself in regards to making progress on creative projects.  Falling behind equals feeling gloomy, and checking every step off on the day they’re supposed to be checked off equals a little bit of swagger.  “Oh yeah, I am owning this spreadsheet!”

I’ve struggled to stay on track with the Peacock Stole since we’ve returned home, so I decided to slow down on its creation, opting to shoot for twelve rows a week instead of twenty.  Perhaps it will stay at this rate until it’s done; or maybe I’ll find a little bit of internal kindling in the future to step up the progress to its former level.

Close-up of Peacock Feathers Stole, knit by Cara Brooke @ www.thatcraftycara.com

I’m recovering from a new bout  of back pain which has me laid out on the couch for large portions of the day.  It’s been three weeks since it started up again, and I probably have three to nine more weeks of taking it easy and letting the discs heal.  It’s very frustrating, but I am thankful that I have projects that can move ahead  while I’m stuck on my back.

So, while I can’t literally strut over the progress I’m making on the Peacock Stole, I’m feeling rather proud of how well I’m doing in moving ahead on it.  Progress is inhibited by the necessity of taking some medications that make it hard to concentrate on reading and executing lace knitting, but I’ve been playing it safe and not knitting when I’m taking those medicines.  (Good news: Haven’t taken any medicines in that category in over a week.)  There was an evening where I was thinking I could probably handle knitting “under the influence,” but then I walked into a wall and thought that maybe I’d just play it safe instead.  Patience, patience.

Peacock Feathers Stole, Chart #6, knit by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

To date:  Row #100 on the second half.  At the new rate of 12 rows per week, I’m expecting a completion date in July.

Knitting Cannibalism

Last week I treated you to a shot of a pumpkin hat-in-progress.  I finished it shortly thereafter, and loved it immensely.  Unfortunately, it was majorly too small for its intended recipient.  What you see is presented to you only as photographic evidence that the too-small first version of this hat did indeed exist in its entirety at some point.

I dutifully cast on for a second try, and I’ve been churning away on Pumpkin Hat #2 ever since.  However, it got serious last night:  I ran out of orange yarn.

I had to decide between buying another skein, or sacrificing the petite version to feed the gluttonous beast that is the\second hat.

I opted to commit Knitting Cannibalism.

 I’m not sorry at all.