Sunday, July 24, 2016

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I decide if I should gift it to someone or if I'm keeping it for myself.  I think I want to make another one of these shawls (pattern is called Nostalgia Shawl on Ravelry).  While it was an easy pattern, the lacy part required some attention and I think ripped back those sections quite a few times before I actually got it right.   

I started working on a crocheted poncho.  Ugh!  I know you are thinking, "Poncho? Not a good look".  I plan to change your mind!  The colors are very nice and the crochet is very....holey?  Is that even a word?  I should have the first panel done very soon and will post a picture.  

Lately, my knitting/crochet projects are picking me, instead vice versa.  They appear on my radar, and I am lucky enough to find or have the perfect yarn for it.  Of course, nothing I make is perfect but I'm good at ripping back, starting over or just moving forward with the pattern, depending on how the pattern will best be served.  

A bit of this has spilled over into my life.  I never had an confidence in my work, so I worked extra hard to prove...what?  I'm not sure.  I only succeeded in making myself sick with worry and stress.   I decided that it was finally time for me to leave my job, which I hated anyway,   I started doing contract work and, for the first several weeks, I was loving life.  The change of scenery, the new workload, it was all working out for me.  

And then, suddenly, it was not working.  And I realized that it was never the work I hated, it was the atmosphere of the job.  But I was good at what I did simply because I am good at what I know.  Once I realized that, which I could have never done while still at my original job, I was ready to go back.   Try explaining that to your ex-employer.  "I had to break up with you in order to see how much I needed you."  It's a bit like dating.  Only I treasure someone wanting me for my mind so much more than for my body (as if that would ever happen....).  

I have to run to finish the first panel of my poncho - meeting a friend for coffee and knitting tomorrow and I want to be able to show off some of my project.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Diets Are Challenging

I feel remarkably calm.  Of course, I take this as a sign that all hell is going to break loose.  I live my life constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But somehow, this does not paralyze me; instead, I see moving on with my life, such as it is, as a challenge.  And it turns out that I like challenges.

Wait, that doesn't mean that I am ready to rock climb or sky dive, so don't go getting any crazy thoughts about that!  I meant that I made a decision to leave a steady job that I had held for six years, and try something new.  While the new job is not a huge leap from my experience, it is with a major company and I stepped into a corporate world that is foreign to me.  I'm working on a contract basis, and so the end result remains to be seen.   There are benefits to having a short term assignment (less stress, less ownership) and I'm not panicking (yet) about what I might do when the assignment ends.  I can't say a whole bunch about it on here, only because I have stuff in the works.

And I'm back to purchasing more yarn.  No more yarn diet, which lasted a few months. I actually made several projects with existing yarn so I don't feel like a total failure.  Of course, it's not a real failure because I get to play with such nice yarn.

Projects that I'm working on currently:  Summer Shawl (using Cascade Sunseeker yarn in blues and purples and a bit of sparkle), Poncho (using Lion Brand cotton in teal, mint, brown, silver and blue), and my stash project, Sea Turtle Blanket (using acrylic scraps).  

I know I can do better on my projects if I was better organized.  I bought a yarn winder and swift and it's my goal to have everything organized by the end of the month.  The other goal is to fix up my foyer and re-hang the pictures to create a better focal point for when people come over.  Also, it would probably help to remove the empty boxes strewn about, which are there merely for the cats' enjoyment and playtime.

Next post will include pictures of how my projects are coming along.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Take My Hat, Please

Adopt Me

Free to a good home. 
This beanie.  
Made with Holiday Lights Yarn (Acrylic, Wool, Polyester) 
in Christmas Green colorway.  
Just send me an email.

First day of daylight savings time, felt like a million bucks.  To have even a few minutes of sunlight at the end of the workday is an amazing feeling.  My motivation propelled me into going into the garage, cleaning off the bike, putting air in the (deflated, I'm sorry to say) tires, and taking a spin around the neighborhood.  It's a very small step, but at least it is in the right direction.

I finished my shawl.  Well, it's off the needles. I want to block it but it's acrylic but I was told that you can steam block acrylic.  I would prefer to use a handheld steamer but those things are $150 on Amazon.  I guess I will have to try it with my steam iron.

I've got to get to work early tomorrow for a staff meeting and I have lunch plans with a former co-worker.  And then I really want to try to make it to Tuesday night Sit and Knit.  My job gets in the way sometimes of the more important things.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Projects Are My Life

I have the strangest anxiety.  I get anxious that I will never be able to knit/crochet all of the yarn I have in my stash.  The tiny little part of me that is an optimist, well, she's sure that we can use up all of the bits and pieces with a stash-busting project.  However, in the interim, I want to start some real projects - as in sweaters - and you know, that means MORE yarn.  The additional yarn is 100% mandatory because you cannot use big box retail store yarn (i.e. acrylic) for your first sweater.  Nope.  It must be soft, luscious and a natural fiber (maybe wool and cotton?  something appropriate for Florida).  I have to temper my anxiety of my ever-increasing stash with my desire to push my knitting into new projects.

On the weeknights, I've been knitting dishcloths to use up my cotton yarn stash; I had a former co-worker text me and ask me to send her a few.  I hope to have at least four of them to her by the end of the week.

I'm so very close to finishing my latest shawl.  I really love the pattern, but unsure if the yarn really works with it.  The yarn looks so fun in the skein but knitted into the pattern, I feel like it loses some spark.  Plus, it's an acrylic yarn so I don't know if I will be able to block it.

I've got two other WIPs ongoing (my gay pride party bunting and my short row scarf).  However, after the gray metallic shawl is complete, I must start a new shawl that I saw at a local yarn store.  I bought super gorgeous yarn for the shawl. The cake on the right is the official colorway from the 2016 Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl.

Lovely posing by two of my four feline roommates means you get to admire their beauty.  Monkey is our gorgeous tabby cat who turned 3 years old in February.  Monkey loves to be petted and rubbed and she's a good pal to Flower, our newest cat.    Macy is our tortie and we adopted her in 2010.  She's the solitary cat and normally you can find her in her cat bed, which is under the computer desk in the craft room.  She hangs out with Mr. Grumpbump while he watches tv in the craft room.


My completed projects (mostly hats) are overflowing from my dresser floor.  I am going to use this blog to start giving away some of the completed projects and some of my old/extra pattern books.  Maybe help increase the traffic to the website and/or clean out my collection.  

Not happy to be losing an hour today (Daylight Savings starts) but I will put up with it because now the days will start to get really long.  It will no longer be pitch black when I get home from work.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016


It's 61°F in Florida.  I am trying to wear my hand knits, but now I'm burning up.  But my hat is so cute.

I'm currently obsessed with knitting hats.  Crochet is okay, too.  But I found that my gauge in crochet is so way off and I have a better feel for my knitting gauge.  Ha!  I love how I type that as if I really know what my gauge is.  The only thing I know for sure is that I knit loosely and I typically have to go down several needle sizes.

I am also working on a scarf, a Missoni blanket, and finishing my cruise shawl.  My next project is to make party bunting for gay pride.  That's a commissioned work for which I will receive no pay.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flower Power

My latest project is a crochet ripple (wave) pattern from Jan Eaton's book, 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns.  The book lists this as one of the easiest of the crochet patterns, so it's perfect for after work or at knitting group.  My projects all come down to the level of ease for me.

About halfway complete
I think it's very pretty.  While I did not choose the colors, and I am using a random stripe generator for the colorway, I am really pleased about how it is progressing.

Since we adopted the new kitten, Flower, I have been super vigilant about keeping my projects out of her reach.  She chews, and possibly eats, anything she finds on the floor.  I've never had that problem with the other three cats.  They are disinterested in my yarn, which causes me to question if they are really cats.  Flower, or La Fleur as Mr. Grumpbump has started calling her, is all kitten, all the time.  She is constantly baiting the Monkey Cat to play with her.  She can entertain herself for hours with the cat toys scattered throughout the house.  And I have been awoken by a kitten biting me, first without the teeth and, when I don't respond, with teeth.

Calm before the storm
Flower will be spayed in October.  The vet discovered that she has a umbilical hernia so that will be repaired at the same time as the spay.  Flower is still so thin, even though she eats like a horse, and I hoping that she will start to bulk up after the spay.

My washer is broken. I am super pissed off about it. Repair guy will be here on Monday and I just know it will cost too much.  All because I washed a bathroom rug.  The rug was not super shaggy but all the discards and threads clogged up the machine and I think it broke the drain pump.  I really hate this washer and I am pissed that I have to pay to fix it.

I am also pissed off about my life.  Very few good things about it right now.  Holding onto those good things like a crazy woman because I feel myself thisclose to going nuts.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Outnumbered Two to One

Two weeks ago, we welcomed cat number four to our house.  For whoever is keeping score, that's felines 4, humans 2.  And Mr. Grumpbump did not have a choice, or a chance.

Number Four is a black and white tuxedo female kitten, approximately 2 months old. That makes Mr. Grumpbump outnumbered Five to One in the females vs. males demographic.

Mr. Grumpbump was fairly annoyed with me, and he essentially did not want to deal with the kitten. But this story has a good ending.

First, let's see how adorable this kitten is:

Her name is Flower, after the skunk from Bambi.

Also because the white tips of her front paws remind me of petals on flowers.

After two weeks, she's got the hang of our schedule and she is allowed to roam the house with the other cats.  Delilah and Macy stay away from her because they are either too old or too shy to deal with scampy kitten.

Monkey, who is only two years old, was at first so mean to Flower.  She hissed and growled when Flower tried to play or get anywhere near her.  I was super bummed about that because I was sure that Flower and Monkey would be great playmates.  I should have just relaxed because within a week, Monkey had a breakthrough and these two chase each other around the house, although it is usually really really late at night.  They are destined to be great friends.

As for Mr. Grumpbump, he has been bitten by the love bug.  I know he likes her because he's given her a nickname, La Fleur.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Virtual Cat Collecting

There's  an app for the iPad, it's a Japanese game called Neko Atsume.  And the goal is to collect cats by feeding them and buying them treats, toys and furniture.  Oh, and the whole game is in Japanese.  So you have to rely on the pictures to figure out what to do.  

Mindless, but so cute.  Yes even Japanese internet cats make me happy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's Next Time!

Whew!  That was a very looooooong break.  I'll just say "I'm sorry" and move on to the latest and greatest.

Most importantly, let's catch up on the cats!  My trio of gatos: Delilah, Monkey (a/k/a Pepper), and Macy.

Delilah - still grouchy, much more lazy and possibly going deaf.  Still the head of household

Monkey is a fierce hunter at night and a lovebug in the morning.  She's a real talker too.

Macy is just too sweet for words.  Also begs to be let "out" into our garage.

I've not totally abandoned my crafting.  During the holidays, I knitted a bunch of hats, based on a super easy (and free!) but oh so cute knit pattern (Slouched Tuva Hat).   Easily one of my all time favorite patterns and definitely a go-to for gift giving.

I also started focusing on crochet.  I made a granny square project bag, which I use to cart around my current crochet project (African flower blanket - more later).  I love the completed bag so much, even with all of its flaws (my lining/sewing skills are less than average).  I started a second bag, but it's been abandoned for now.

Granny Square Project Bag
I have moved onto the African flower motif (to be sewn together as a blanket).  Why do I choose colors that I think are fabulous in the store, only to start working on them and find that they are pedestrian and retro (not in the good way) together.  The project is coming together nicely and I should be able to finish it within the next month.

African flowers

The only thing in my way of needlecrafting is my job.  My life is consumed by work.  I am miserable.  I am doing the worst thing possible, catching myself saying things like "if I can just make it through this month" and "if I can just get through this next deal, then..."  I am always putting off living my life.  I'm not doing anything proactive to change things. I'm a negotiator and a procrastinator, so in my mind, I'm working on the solution, while still getting through my day.  However, when I really examine what my life is and how things actually are, you know, in the real world, then I cannot' really argue with that truth.

This rationalization is the way I convince myself that things are fine; I compare it to looking in the mirror.  I look in the mirror every day, while I brush my teeth, put on makeup, do my hair.  I see myself but I am never looking that closely or with a critical eye.  So I can tell you superfluous items about how I look (maybe I'm wearing lip gloss, maybe I'm wearing my tortoiseshell glasses, etc.) but I will not tell you or admit to you that my clothes are fitting too tight or my makeup line is visible.  That's too much information; too much to process or control or fix in whatever time I have.  I just ignore and persevere.  This is a stupid way to live.  I think I'm fooling myself.  But I'm really heading for a crash.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Until Next Time

Summertime is in full effect here, and I would like to go swimming but I have to wait out the afternoon thunderstorm that is headed our way.  I managed not be a total lazy bum this weekend - I got up and went to the grocery store, did the laundry and cleaned out the cat litter boxes.  

We're are still a family of five, two cat guardians (me and Mr. Grump) and the three feline overlords, Delilah, Macy Gray, and The Monkey.

Macy likes to lounge with us in the living room

Yes, I posed them but Monkey and Delilah lay like this for a while

The most gorgeous face in the cat world
Delilah has some health issues that we are mostly attributing to get up in years (she's maybe 11 or 12?) - her weight dropped off dramatically and we had to start her on medicine to regulate her thyroid.  She put the weight back on and we are trying to monitor her more closely.  She's not as active as she used to be, more lethargic but not in a scary way.  Just an overall lazier way.  She takes after me, or I take after her.  It's hard to get a picture of her sitting upright, she does a lot of laying down.

Macy is a robust cat, who rarely has any issues, and The Monkey, well, she's still a kitten so she's all over the place, not to mention a really effective huntress.  

I'm working on a ripple (baby) blanket right now, as well crochet place mats.  I don't have any big projects ongoing.  I have a Missoni-style blanket on the needles, but it's been sitting untouched for a while.  It's hard to knit a blanket when it's ridiculously humid outside.

Stash-buster baby blanket
place mat made from t-shirt yarn (fun project; I've made two; have two left to finish)

My sister-in-law visited the UK this month and promised to send me some yarn from Ireland.  I have to wait and see if I actually get it.  I found the most beautiful cowl pattern and I hope I can use that yarn for this project. 

Not my project - this is from the pattern page - it is simply beautiful
I will find the right yarn and the knit the hell out of this

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chaos Postponed for the Weekend

It's a Saturday evening.  I am outside on the porch, listening to music, drinking some wine and crocheting.  Delilah is fast asleep in the chair next to me, while Monkey is running around hunting geckos.  

It's deceptively relaxing.  I have a huge week at work coming up that I am not prepared for and that I forecast may be partially disastrous.  If I could just calm myself by realizing that it is not the end of the world, that (any) failure is just that..and not the end of the world.  I have never been able to self-manage myself, and I am not sure why I think I could start now.  Is it just the lies that I tell myself to get through the day without melting down, so I can struggle internally to stay in control of my emotions?   Yes.  Yes it is.

I finished my basic ripple socks.  They are cute and I think I did a good job with knitting them to a good size (instead of my normal baggy oversized socks).  The only issue I had (and had nothing to do with me) is that the two skeins didn't match!  They were The same dye lot and I started each sock from the middle pull.  On one sock, they tied the yarn together, so there must have been a break but they didn't match up the color way.  It's not that bad because it was at the end of the sock (I knit cuff down so the color mismatch is near the toes).

I think I will be digging through my closet to locate an old project...a ripple scarf or shawl.  I put it aside early last year to work on my various ripple afghans.  It's time to get that thing off the needles.  

There will never be enough time to get to all the projects I want to do.  Stupid work for interfering with the important stuff.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...