Thursday, September 29, 2011


I have tried to set myself up a little schedule for how I want my day to day activities to go. Some days I have planned to work on stuff for the charity, some days are for schoolwork, some days are for the online shop, and sometimes I have to clean the house and wash clothes. Despite my best efforts this does not seem to be working. My schedule should be something more like the following:

10:30-Wake up (later than intended because stayed up too late the night before).
10:45-Make "breakfast" from whatever is in the fridge and/or pantry (typical breakfast foods include: spaghetti, leftover casserole, grilled cheese, or cereal).
11:00-Make a list of what I intend to accomplish while drinking hot tea.
11:15-Check email, receive a phone call, or open mail. Continue drinking tea (second cup may be needed).
11:16-Change entire plans for the day based on said email, call, or piece of mail. Never finish drinking hot tea.
Spend the rest of the day doing other stuff than what was planned.
2:00 a.m. (the following day)-Pass out in bed.

Don't get me wrong. I like being busy. I just wish I could plan a little better for it.

Anyways, that was my day yesterday. Today I'm trying to take it easy because I had a pretty busy weekend (vended at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, VA which meant a 9.5 hour drive there and back), Tuesday I was with a friend at a speaking engagement, and yesterday I helped my sister-in-law and brother clean their old apartment. Today I have the windows open, a cup of hot tea, incense burning, and my lap top at the ready. I'll probably do a little laundry and run the dishwasher and tonight I do have a meeting to go to but I'm planning on spending most of the day parked in the chaise lounge finishing paperwork, knitting, and maybe reading some blogs. It will be a productive day just not as crazy and unexpected as a usual day. I hope. Just to be safe I'm not going to read any emails, open any mail, or answer the phone for the rest of the day.

Scarf knitting for a peaceful work day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I am a chronic list maker. I have to-do lists for the year, the month, the week, the day, the hour, the next 30 minutes, and sometimes the next 5 minutes. My desk and kitchen table are littered with notebooks,  post it notes, and scraps of paper sometimes bearing the exact same list. I even have a notepad and pen in my bedside table so that I can (and frequently will) write notes to myself just before I doze off to sleep.

Just a typical view of my kitchen table.

The other day I had such a list made and I actually completed much of what was on it: I went grocery shopping, got my oil changed, re-skeined and labelled yarn, completed the remainder of my paperwork for my next trip to Romania, vacuumed, unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded the dishwasher, updated my blog, and put the kitchen back together after a previous day of dyeing. I was up at 9:30 and spent two hours on the computer before I even got dressed answering emails and updating my charity website. And yet, at 7:30 when I was all finished with the above mentioned tasks and was setting out for my evening walk I felt like I had been unproductive. I felt like I should have done more, like I should have worked on my CV or my support letter for my trip. Or I should have loaded the car for the festival (even though there are only two boxes to load and it will take all of 10 minutes in the morning). The problem, as I see it, is that my gauge of productivity is off.

When I used to teach I was always going 150 miles an hour. At one point when I was teaching band I was up at 5:30, at the high school by 7:20 to teach a class, over to the middle school by 8:30, taught all day until 4:30, then a brief break and back to the high school by 6 for rehearsal. And I was in the church orchestra and hand-bell choir, teaching private lessons, and spending my Saturdays at band competitions. Then, when I started teaching 1st grade I was also running my charity and my dye company in my "spare time" after work. And still teaching private lessons, serving on leadership at my church, and, for a brief time, dating. I was used to going full out but at the same time it was killing me. That's why I decided to go into business for myself. But now, when I don't have a day where I feel like every moment is jam packed and I end the day feeling accomplished and not dead tired, I feel like something is wrong.

This was what I was pondering over on my walk tonight and I've decided it's time to retrain myself. Just like I had to literally reteach myself how to breathe after my sinus surgery (because I had such a badly deviated septum and horrid sinus cavities) I'm going to reteach myself what normal productivity is. This means that if I accomplish a lot on the to-do list I'm not going to be too hard on myself if there is one or two non-critical things that are still on there. I'm going to allow myself to see answering emails as important (because they are). I'm going to start viewing a clean load of laundry as an accomplishment and not as just something extra that needed to be done. In short, I'm going to enjoy my self-employment for all the reasons I originally intended to.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I'm beginning to think I'm not destined to finish this mitered squares blanket. I'm seriously considering throwing in the towel for at least another 2 years while this thing sorts itself out. I believe that after tonight it deserves a time out. Why? Well...

Remember my plan to make big mitered squares to flank the sets of four multi-colored mitered squares? I cast on one night not too long ago for the first one:
Big mitered square #1. US size 9 needles.
The first time I tried on the size 9 needles I realized after about 7 rows that it was coming out too short. So, I ripped and cast on again with more stitches. Then I realized after a few rows that this was going to take FOREVER on size 9s. I ripped again. Then I pulled out some size 13 (or were they 15? who knows...) needles, did a cheater gauge "swatch" (10 stitches, 10 rows), and cast on a third time. This time it seemed, things would work out.
Attempt on large needles.
And, lo and behold, it did. For the most part.
The large square laying on top of the four multi squares. Seems like it will work!
So, then a little time passed and I knit on some other stuff and then I decided I needed a carry around project so I cast on for the next solid colored square. I knit away happily following my directions and finished just minutes ago. And this is what I had:
Second large mitered square (top) compared to first large mitered square (bottom).
!^%&$#% It's too big. Seems I never corrected my notes about the number to cast on and I cast on the number needed for the size 9 needles and not the larger ones. Which means not only did it come out too big but I knit way more stitches than I needed to thus eating up more time. And now my options are: rip it out and re-knit; knit the other large squares then rip and re-knit this one; cry, scream, and act totally undignified, then rip and re-knit this square; or send this blanket to time out, cast on for different blanket, rediscover the mitered squares in 2-3 years, rip out the offending square, re-knit it, and finish the project. Right now I'm leaning very strongly towards this last option.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recent Aquistions

As of late I have finally begun to cash in my birthday gift cards to various craft stores. For those interested, my birthday was back in June. I know it has taken awhile to get around to using them but I'm one of those types who puts their gift cards in random places and then happens upon them months later. It's like second birthday! Anyways, I had gift cards to Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Jo-Ann's (I call this the craft store trifecta). I used my Jo-Ann's card awhile back to purchase The Big Book of Quick Knitted Afghans, some US size 17 circulars (for said afghan projects), and some paint that I needed for a sign I was making.
The book with my first project from it on the needles.
The pattern I was making.
I have actually finished the afghan I started from this book.
Did not intentionally drape this exactly like the picture from the book. Ok, maybe I did a little.
So, that was one gift card well spent. The Hobby Lobby one was next. I snagged some yarn for the Square, Not a Circle blanket and the newest issue of the Debbie Bliss knitting magazine.
Yarn for the blanket.

British knitting magazine.
I still have not decided how to spend the Michael's gift card yet. I was really hoping that one of the stores would carry a pair of US 10.5 circulars with a 60" cable but apparently Addi is the only company that makes circulars that long. I will probably be needing more yarn to complete my mitered squares blanket but I may use some white I have in my stash instead of the purple and "berry" colors I have. In addition to using the gift cards I also treated myself to some goodies a few weeks ago when I visited the Whole Nine Yarns in Woodstock. I got a skein of Ella Rae and a skein of Nature Spun. I was thinking a hat would be made out of these fun, bright colors.
The Ella Rae was a natural choice. See where it's from?
I'm a Romanian at heart!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have the good fortune of calling a very talented and lovely woman both my friend and mentor. From time to time Deanna will invite me to do cool things with her which is really a super nice gesture since she has lots of much cooler friends and a husband and three children she could easily pick over me. Thursday night I got to spend some great time with her at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta watching Wicked.
As a former music education major it shames me a little to admit that I have never seen this musical and as an avid reader is shames me further to admit I haven't read the book either. After having seen the musical I really want to read the book. And the songs were fantastic; the girl playing Elphaba had an amazing set of pipes!

But hanging with Deanna is more than just getting to see a critically acclaimed musical. There's usually some good food and always some good conversation and last night I even got a surprise.

About a month ago Deanna was off in Germany doing a series of really big speaking engagements. Deanna and her husband were missionaries in Germany and know people in pretty much every European country (as far as I am convinced) so Deanna knows her way around the continent. For part of her trip she was visiting friends in Norway and look what she brought me:
Real live Norwegian knitting patterns!
Oh, but the goodies don't stop there.
You know, just an authentic Austrian knitting book.
A wonderful Austrian knitting book picked up in, you guessed it, Austria. So very, very cool. This book is a classic.
And it's all about cables. Cable charts, pictures of cables, cables on sweaters, cables on socks.
A sweater pattern full of cables. Can't read a word of it but just look at the craftsmanship!
Deanna had no prior knowledge but I harbor a deep love of cabled things. I might even consider tackling one of the majorly complex looking cabled knee sock patterns (with detailed instructions on how to shape the calf) in this book because....
She also bought me sock yarn. From Austria. With which to make socks like Austrians do. I'm one lucky gal and Deanna's one heck of a friend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to School*

*The pictures in this post have absolutely nothing to do with the post.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go back to my former place of employment and help one of my friends who still teaches there. She has a bit of a wild class (not unlike the class I had my second year teaching) and needed another set of hands to help control the chaos. Since I have the time now I decided to go help her out. I know how these things can be.

Romanian chocolate time! (with rum!) on Twitpic
The Romanian chocolate I ate the other night. It had rum in it. The rum may have fermented. I got drunk just opening the package.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I still enjoyed being around wild and crazy children. I was afraid that I was just going to be turned off to the whole teaching/being around kids thing after my experience the last 3 years. But I wasn't. In fact it was nice to be able to help her and I remembered why I love kids in the 1st place. On the other hand, it was nice to be able to leave after an hour or so and go home and eat decent (non-cafeteria) food and take a nap.

Coolest 6 year old's birthday cake ever.  on Twitpic
A cake. In the shape of a Storm Troopers head. Full of awesome.

The good thing was I proved to myself that I could handle a "real" job (I was a little afraid that self-employment would make me never want to go back into the "real" workforce again) but that it seems I enjoy it most on my own terms (getting to show up when I want, wear what I want, set my own hours). So, I guess I better find a really flexible boss or a job I really love and wouldn't mind compromising on (I'm thinking the latter will probably win out).

Interested kitteh is interested.  on Twitpic
Mai cat. She iz watchin you park yur carz.
After a rather productive day yesterday (there was also a trip to the hospital to sort out a bill, some birthday yarn buying (from my own b-day back in June), picking up my contact lenses, and fixing/making discussion postings for grad school) I feel completely unmotivated. I think knitting might solve this. Then I am making something. And that's productive, right?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Dabor Day!

Happy Labor Dabor Day! Today I plan on taking it easy, which for the single, self-employed gal means laundry, reskeining and listing yarn, doing the dishes, reading for school, and sending emails. Pretty much like a normal day. Except at some point I plan to watch a movie and knit. Which is not an everyday occurrence but does happen pretty frequently. So...pretty much status quo around here. I hope the rest of you are doing something cool too for Labor Day; the day when we celebrate work by not working!

I have been under the delusion that I might be nearing some sort of finishing point on a few of the blankets so I thought I would confirm or deny that this morning.

The Square-Not-A-Circle Blanket
The Square-Not-A-Circle Blanket feels like it should be close to being done. I'm running out of bulky scraps to use on this thing. Measuring from the corner to the center it's about 23.5".
Sorry for crappy, blurry picture.
If I double that I get a diagonal of 47. I think that means the sides are about 33". I need the sides to be at least 42" so that means I still have a ways to go. Close, but not to finishing yet.

Obsession Blanket
I've decided to call this the Obsession Blanket since I'm obsessed with making it! It's getting quite big and unwieldy. It measures about 32" down the side.
See, 32" down the side.
The directions say to knit until it's 61" from the cast on edge. Over half way there! But still, not ready for finishing.

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket of Doom
Finally we have the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket (of Doom) that will continue to plague me in my dreams even after I have cast off (for the final time, since each block has to be cast off). It's huge, it's got tiny stitches, and I'm never promising anyone an afghan again. Even if they get married underwater and have their first baby in space. Sorry Space Baby, no blanket for you! I really love my friends so I'm sticking with this one but I really want it finished before Christmas. Thankfully proper etiquette says you can send a wedding present up to 6 months after the wedding. Christmas would be just over that line but I think I can push it and they'd still be ok. Oh, and I only just started block 4 of 10. So, yeah. But I knew this one was nowhere close to being done and I wasn't even trying to convince myself otherwise.

So, none of my current projects are to a point where I can think about them being done. But today it's a holiday and it's raining so there will be knitting. I'm very excited about the rain because it's been over 35 days since it's rained. Yes, you read that right, over 35. I couldn't get data back further than August but I bet it's closer to 40 or 45 days without any rain. Which means it's been miserably hot. Since last night (when it started raining) the temperature has dropped over 20 degrees. That calls for a celebration in and of itself. I'm going to go sit on my cooler by the stick and say stuff to people (not really but I will knit and try to pretend like there isn't laundry sitting in the hallway).