Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-bye 2010!

It's that time of year again! The time when I review my New Year's resolutions and see which ones I actually stuck to. Tomorrow I'll highlight my new New Year's resolutions (which I must admit I'm pretty excited about).

Overall 2010 wasn't anything to really scream about. I was talking with an old friend last night about 2011 and I remarked, "You know, nothing really changed this year. I'm exactly where I was when we started 2010." And it's pretty true. I'm not richer (in fact I might be slightly poorer), I didn't find the love of my life (in fact I went through a pretty disappointing break up this summer), I didn't nab my dream job, I didn't really go anywhere exciting or do anything life changing. 2010 just kind of was. The biggest event was my brother's wedding which took up the better part of the year. Maybe 2010 is just a place holder for the awesomeness that will be 2011. I suppose we'll see.

On to the resolutions!

1. Have 3 things on my needles at a time: something for myself, something for a friend or family member, and something for charity. I think I kind of did this one. Currently I have 1.5 projects for charity on the needles (a pair of half finished fingerless mitts and a pair of mittens that lack one thumb to be finished) and a pair of socks for myself. I did just finish that huge sweater for my mom so I haven't started anything for friends or family at the moment. I know I didn't hold to this hard and fast all year but I still like the spirit of it. I'd say this was half success. Bonus points for being a good idea.

2. Dedicate 2 nights a week to working on my shop(s). Oi, this was when I had the Etsy and the regular online shop. What a nightmare. I quickly abandoned the Etsy shop after about 3 months when I realized it was all a lot of trouble that wasn't really worth it since I had another perfectly nice shop already in place. Lesson here? KISS (keep it simple stupid). As for working 2 nights a week on the shop(s)...that didn't last. During the spring I was working on my brother's wedding, during the summer I was dating, during the fall I started grad school, during the winter was more grad school. I really do want to start carving out more time for the shop though. New Year's resolution take 2? Possibly? This one was a bust for 2010 though :(

3. Vend at 3 fiber festivals/fairs. Almost a success with this one. Stitches South fell through (another big fiasco in and of itself...just a note, if you decide not to do a show and someone else is supposed to be sharing a booth space with you it would be nice to let them know more than a month before hand, you know, common courtesy and such) but I did vend at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival and SAFF. One was blazing hot and the other freezing cold but it was a great experience and even though I proclaimed myself to be a dyer and not a Dyer I'm more excited about attacking the shows in 2011 and really growing the business. It helped that my friend Steph went along with me and is able to look at the festivals through a fresh set of eyes.

4. Do more local missions work. I'd say this was accomplished. Especially in the last 6 months. Sometimes it was uncomfortable but I stepped out and I've found some things I'd really like to be involved in. Plus it just makes you feel good.

5. To buy organic cleaners. Another accomplishment. I switched to almost 100% organic cleaners (as well as dishwashing and laundry detergent) and I've really enjoyed it. I think they work as well as non-organic and they don't smell like death in a bottle or melt my skin when I touch them. The best all purpose cleaner I found was the Green Works by Clorox all purpose cleaner. There are less than 10 ingredients in it and it smells pretty decent. It also cleaned the nasty ring around my tub with just a little elbow grease. A feat in and of itself. The other brand I use with great regularity is Seventh Generation which is the "bargain" brand of organic cleaners. I will say that the Seventh Generation all purpose wipes smell funky and leave my hands smelling funky after using them. Not skin melting and eye watering, just...odd. There are some things I haven't completely given up (like my toilet cleaner and Windex mirror wipes) but I'm working on it.

6. Find a workout plan that works for me and stick to it. I know I said that I'd given up on my eating habits and I wanted to work out more but the reverse actually happened. In February or March I was seeing my doctor for the 2nd or 3rd bout of strep throat in just 2 months time and I found this great little pamphlet on 1500 calorie "dieting". I looked through it and the amazing thing was, it was do-able. I wasn't going to have to scour the black market or whole foods looking for a year round jaboticaba dealer just to make a salad. This diet recommended great portion sizes that left me full but not stuffed and dishes that incorporated common fruits and veggies I could find year round at Publix. It was great! I lost 15 pounds in 6 months! Disclaimer: I also switched some medicine that I was taking that I was pretty sure was making me pack on the pounds. I still credit at least 10 pounds to this diet though. I wish I could tell you a magical website to go to and get this plan but there's not one. However, it's distributed by Merck so maybe you could check their website. And the diet is basically 80% fruits and veggies with whole grains and a little meat. Oh, and I never did start exercising regularly.

So there it is, my 2010 New Year's resolution wrap up. Tomorrow I'll list my resolutions for 2011. I'm ready for a new year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Incredible Journey

This incredible journey doesn't involve Chance, Sassy, and Shadow. It involves yarn, needles, and a deadline. This is the story of my mom's Christmas sweater.

December 23 (Christmas Eve Eve)
11:20 a.m.: Start working on remainder of sweater (below is a picture of where I was when I started this epic adventure).
12:20 p.m.: Interrupted for pet break with cat.

Also, do the dishes, start laundry, and change from pajamas to sweats.
12:35 p.m.: Begin again.
12:58 p.m.: Fold laundry.
1:20 p.m.: Put in the third installment of The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King).
3:45 p.m.: First sleeve is finished! Celebrate with lunch.
4:19 p.m.: Start second part of the Return of the King. Pick up stitches for the second sleeve. Cat sleeps.

6:27 p.m.: Take a break for a progress photo. Also eat brownie with ice cream for "dinner".
6:42 p.m.: Back to work on sweater.
7:01 p.m.: Scheduled break to wrap all Christmas presents (this picture was taken the next day but shows the amount of wrapping I had to do).
8:50 p.m.: Back to work, though later than expected.
9:35 p.m.: Break for a bowl of chili.
9:40 p.m.: Back to the sweater...

December 24 (Christmas Eve)
12:17 a.m.: Second sleeve sans cuff is finished!
12:18 a.m.: Take shower.
1:14 a.m.: Start cuff, fatigue setting in, not sure I can knit 21 more rounds...
1:38 a.m.: Knit 10 rows on cuff. Call it a night.

11:00-ish a.m.: Start last 11 rows of second cuff (not totally sure on time, forgot to write it down).
11:34 a.m.: Cuff is finished! Pick up stitches for neckline.
1:00 p.m.: Finished for good!

The sweater was wrapped and then packed into the car before I left for the Christmas party at my aunt and uncle's at 2:30. And I also managed to bring all the supplies for wassail and a fully cooked mac and cheese (the cheese, beef, and crackers plate got forgotten, oops...). The sweater still needs to be blocked but I can do that at my parent's house sometime this week. Just have to get over there and do it...

Monday, December 27, 2010


I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and will continue the good times into the new year. I had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, food, fun, and a lot of laughter. All my secret Christmas knitting got finished in time. I'll share those projects with you tomorrow. There is one that is especially epic in nature that ended up being finished just in the nick of time.

I got a lot of wonderful gifts this year: a trashcan, some new slippers, a beautiful sweater, new shoes, several cozy blankets (including one that was made by my very talented sister-in-law), some home decorating items, a good book, and...
a photo box! This will really help in photographing finished objects and items for my store. I plan to begin taking pictures of the yarn that I have in stock tomorrow so that I can begin updates before the end of the week. I tested it on some socks that I (finally) finished.
The Ron Weasley Banana Holder socks (a.k.a. the Skew socks). I had to rip back to the heel on the right sock twice before I figured out where I was going wrong (the beginning of the round started on the back side instead of the front). Thankfully it no longer has the weird, sharp turn like they used to. I also took a picture of the mittens in progress.
The color is finally right in this picture! Almost ready to start the thumb gussets. These should be clipping along now even though I'm already wanting to start another pair of socks since I finished the Skew socks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Redneck Christmas

I'm about to admit something to you all, I did a terrible job with my outdoor illuminations.
When I first hung them up it was really cold out so I just kind of threw them up. Plus, I was lazy and didn't want to pull out a whole other pack of lights. So yeah, it looks like I should be out there with a PBR in hand spying on my neighbors.

I was successful in making mac and cheese for our family get together on Sunday.
Just like grandma used to make (until she commissioned me to make it instead). Our family get together was lots of fun. And my dad got a little exercise in.
It's very important to make exercising part of your Christmas wellness routine.
I have finished objects that I can't show you yet because they still need to be given as gifts but I started those crazy coral colored mittens.
Still can't get the color right in these pictures but they are bright! Looking forward to working on these after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just Missed It

My blogiversary that is. Which means I've missed it for three years in a row! Maybe that should be my way of celebrating. Just miss it completely!

I always get a little nostalgic this time of year. I enjoy joking about random traditions and how we should get rid of them but never do (and would never actually do it anyways). I enjoy being a kid again and sleeping at my parent's house on Christmas Eve with my brother and my aunt (and now my sister-in-law) then waking up on Christmas Day to see what Santa brought us (and yes, he still visits me). Being in a nostalgic mood and all I started reading my very first blog posts.

Back then I seemed to blog a lot more. And I felt like my writing, in some ways, was better. My technique, as far as knitting goes, has vastly improved but I enjoy reading those early posts and seeing what I was making. I haven't felt like my blogging this year has been particularly inspiring. So I reflected on why...

1. I used to actually chronicle a knitted garment's journey. I've really gotten out of that habit lately. I can't tell you how many projects this year were mentioned once on the blog then never seen from again. Or were never posted on Ravelry. Or worse, were never mentioned here and never posted on Ravelry. This must be remedied. I need to start pulling out my camera more. Then, even if it doesn't get to the blog right away at least I have documentation.

2. A knitting blog should be about knitting. Duh. But over the years I've thrown in stuff about dyeing and, most recently, my charity. It's ok to link to those websites and give a shout out every once in awhile but this blog should be about my knitting. When I have the time I plan on starting a blog for the charity. "When I have the time" being the operative, of course.

3. I need to stop being a Negative Nancy. Maybe it's just my perception of my writing but this blog isn't for me to throw my pity parties or go on about how much life sucks. Back in the day (when I knit to school, up hill, both ways, in the snow) I talked about ways I was challenging myself through knitting, what good I was doing with my knitting, what I was learning, and sharing antidotes. I need to get back more to that. Save the therapy session for a girl's night out.

So, my early New Year's resolution for the blog is to get back to the good ol' days. It may take awhile and I'll probably fall off the wagon a few times (as I always do with resolutions) but hopefully 2011 will be a better blogging year than 2010.

In the meantime I'll be reading my early Christmas present...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Naughty List

I'm trying to not to get myself on the naughty list but...

I know I should be knitting on Christmas stuff but I have an overwhelming desire to make a bunch of little mittens out of this:
I realize it's Red Heart.
I realize it's acrylic.
I realize it's bright (brighter in real life if you can believe it).

I don't care.

For now, though, I'm staying on the nice list...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flurries Don't Count

Flurries don't count as real snowfall unless they stick. 11 days ago we were having tornadoes and now we have the first snow-type activity of the year. But it's not sticking. It's just making everything wet. And now it's even colder than it was when I woke up this morning. Maybe we'll have a white Christmas! It makes me want to start vacation today. Only one more week of work though! 40 hours....5 days...3 tests...1 winter party....1 pajama day....and a partridge in a pear tree. Then I'm free for two weeks! And my grad school classes will finish for the quarter this Friday as well and won't start for another few weeks either so I will truly have a break. Then I can catch up on all the things that need doing. Hopefully I will get the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project webpage updated. I've tried 3 times now without success. No idea what's going wrong but I will conquer it yet! One of our group members just took over 250 items of clothing to Romania to hand out to orphans and Gypsies. She should be arriving back in the U.S. shortly and, hopefully, she will have pictures to share (which I would love to post on the website if it will cooperate). What a wonderful out pouring of generosity from our group members to help make this possible! I did finally send out the last of the prizes for the EEROP/Project Hope Christmas clothing drive that we held over the summer. I custom dyed some yarn for the "winner" of the contest who knit a ridiculous amount of stuff (42 items) for the drive (for which we are all extremely thankful). This is a picture of her custom yarn:
Also been working on Christmas knitting but I can't show you that. I did finish one project that I'm incredibly stoked about and really want to show you but can't. I feel so clever having finished it. It's down to crunch time though so knitting has become an Olympic sport around here with a motto of "Go all the way or get tendonitis trying."

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My writers block has kicked in and the more I try and fight it the worse it's getting. I have an 8-10 page case study paper due tomorrow by midnight and I can't get the wording right. It will be finished in time for sure but it needs some more tweaking. Until I can find my voice I'm trying hard not to pull out my hair and scream. It's incredibly frustrating to have the first half of your paper written and feel brilliant about it and then to be working on the second half and be utterly annoyed with every word I write. Just thinking about it is making me want to lie in the fetal position until everything works itself out. I want to be done and hate to have the feeling of something hanging over my head (especially when I don't want to turn in an assignment at the last minute) but I just can't make this happen. I think sleeping on it tonight and just allowing my brain some time to work it out will do me good. On to happier things!

This morning I sent off several large boxes of goodies for EEROP.
This box of hats and vests will go to H2H International for orphans in Romania. Included in the box is the November mystery knit along that I hosted on Ravelry.
I love how it turned out and I had the perfect little blue buttons for it (the pink string at the bottom is a tag explaining how to care for the item).
The next box is going to Helpful Hearts (when I get mailing address from them).
14 pairs of socks for children in Siberia! As I said, I don't have a mailing address for them yet but I hope they will answer my email soon.

The final box is going to Knit for Kids.
Two thick coats for children in Azerbaijan.
Penelope helped make sure everything was ready for packing/shipping.

She is so very helpful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December: Day 1

One of students proclaimed today, "It's the first day of Christmas!" It certainly feels like that. Winter arrived last night with a bang, literally. Yesterday we had a tornado touch down less than 2 miles from my apartment. Luckily I was in Atlanta with my brother and sister-in-law and even more luckily no damage was done to my apartment complex. The cat was really glad to see me though. Speaking of which... I got her shaved the other week when I was off work.
I guess I should have done this a month ago because she's kind of chilly now. She spends every night trying to get as close as possible to me while I sleep. I wake up every morning contorted because she's wedged herself between my legs or between my stomach and my body pillow. Or she's sitting right beside my pillow sniffing my head. Yes, my cat is beyond weird. When I'm awake it's not much better. Whenever I sit on the couch she has to sit in my lap. This includes while I try to knit or use the computer. It adds a level of difficulty to every activity. And speaking of knitting...Christmas knitting is coming along. But you can't see it. It's all secret stuff. With the arrival of the "winter tornado" we also got near freezing temperatures. This morning it was 34 F/1 C with a wind chill of 26 F/-3 C. I'm constantly fighting off the desire to cast on for a cowl and ear flap hat for myself. Must finish Christmas presents first. Speaking of Christmas... I put up my tree on Sunday.
It's not decorated yet. I thought I would get to that today but I have an 8-10 page case study paper due on Sunday and I really need to crack down on it. So, the tree might get decorated tomorrow. We'll see. It could have happened today if I didn't take a nap but I'm running on fumes right now so I needed to rest. Speaking of's a picture of my parent's dog.
This really doesn't have anything to do with this blog post. Except that he's resting. On the couch. Where he shouldn't be.