Friday, January 19, 2018

Finished Object Round-Up!

So I got very lazy with my updates at the end of the year, and never shared all of my finishes for Christmas!  So here they all are, plus my first two (yes, TWO) finishes for 2018.

First, a project requested by my mother.  She wanted to hand down the Christmas stockings my grandmother had knit for her and my dad - giving them to my husband and my sister's wife.  So she asked me to make new tags with their initials on them, to show that they belong to the next generation now.

I totally made up the pattern, and added the initials using overstitching. I think they turned out alright.

Then, I quickly knit up a couple pair of slipper socks for my sister and sister-in-law, to go along with their Christmas prezzies

And after that, I made a couple of little Star Wars dudes for friends who love the movies so much

These are from the "Star Wars Crochet Kit" by Lucy Collins.  They are super cute!

And finally, I decided my bestie needed some mittens, so... 
It's my favorite basic mitten pattern, Basic Children's Mittens by Elizabeth Durand, and they work up so quickly I don't know why I don't have 96 pair of them...

For myself, I made a hat.  Because I needed a new hat.
Picacho Peak by Alyssa Latuchie, and I used the leftover Cascade from my Mendel Sweater

And my bestie and I used New Year's Eve to finish the Santa I stitched last year into a pillow for a friend as well

The picture's a bit dark, but he turned out so lovely.

And that was December. I started 2018 with a clean slate, and started a new blanket on New Year's Eve... it's finished now.  
It's a basic ripple pattern, and worked up beautifully, I think.

And we had some snow so I had a day where I ran out of yarn for the red and white blanket so I decided to start on this baby blanket for a friend at work.  It didn't take very long...
It's a giant granny square worked up in the Sweet Roll cake from Joann Fabric - the color is "Melon Pop"

So that's what I've been up to... it feels a lot better than last year when I was over a month into the year with nothing to show for it.  I'm thinking 2018 will be a very good year for crafting :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January TUSAL - On Time and Everything

Hello dear friends!

I have once again joined the "Totally Useless Stitch-Along" over on It's Daffycat's blog.  She's awesome and does amazing work, and this stitch along is one of my favorite things.  Basically, throughout the year on each new moon, stitchers across the blog-verse post pictures of their ORT jars and share stitchy progress with each other.  I love seeing what other stitchers are up to and the progress everyone is making on their projects.

Want to learn more?  Click here :)

Last year, I only participated sporadically, with a giant fizzle out right around when I left for Ireland...

My one and only finish of  2017 - and my last TUSAL post - from June. Sad.

But this year, I will be better.  I will post each month, whether progress has been made or no.  I will give the game a post of its own each month, and not smoosh it in with other updates.  I will continue to enjoy watching the progress of others, because isn't it all really about a community of people who love doing what we do?

So in that spirit, and somehow, miraculously, on time, here is my first TUSAL post for 2018.

I keep all the ORTs for one project in a jar, so that at the end I can see all the beautiful colors that went into it, and turn them into an ornament for my Christmas tree.

This jar is full of the ends for the ginormous project I'm working on...

I'm hoping to finish it this year, but I don't know if that's reasonable.  Who knows though... I'm not getting married this year, so I should have more time and brain space available for stitching (rather than making 200 paper flowers). 

Happy first TUSAL of 2018!  I hope it is the first of 12 that I actually participate in :)

Monday, January 8, 2018

My Goals for 2018

I'm not one to set resolutions at the New Year.  It seems to me that when the calendar was developed, some old guys kind of randomly chose a point to "start" it and then that became January 1.  So really, the year could start any time... my life has always been attached to academic calendars, so January feels a lot like the midpoint of the year for me... but my philosophy of time is very boring and no one cares.

I do, however live in the civilized world, and the majority of the world recognizes a new start in January, and I am not immune to the draw of a fresh wall calendar, empty of things and ready to start again.  Particularly in crafting.  Winter is when I want to make all the warm things and plan for all the projects I want to finish in the year ahead.  It helps me to look forward to summer, when I know I will have time to sit on my deck and knit in the sunshine... Just sixteen weeks from now...

So here are some goals I've set for myself in 2018... in no particular order.  I want to...

1. Learn to knit continental style.
I'm a pretty dead set English style knitter, and I hold my yarn differently even in that method.  I really want to teach myself a new skill and see if I like the Continental style, and whether it really is faster.

2. Make at least one Fair Isle project. 
I think Fair Isle is beautiful, and it has always intimidated me.  Hopefully the continental knitting will help with that.

3. Make at least one Aran sweater in the traditional style.
I got a boatload of fisherman's wool for Christmas, too! 

4. Do more cross stitching.
Preferably without a dog on my lap.  I love stitching, and I don't do enough of it. 

5. Make something for charity. It's the way I can give back to the world.  No one should be cold.

6. Make things for myself.  And don't feel guilty.

7. Give all baby and wedding gifts on time.  I currently have two pregnant friends and a recently engaged cousin.  My goal is to give all of these gifts at the actual time of the events they celebrate.

8.  Treat myself.  I'm going to buy nice yarn and make pretty things just because I want to.  And not feel guilty.

So that's my list of crafting goals.  I know I won't meet all of them (particularly the bits about not feeling guilty, since that's my default position), but it gives me some things to work toward. So happy random resetting of the arbitrary time markers that we as a society have agreed upon so that we can all actually get things done. 

**All photos have been used solely for illustration purposes and copyrights revert back to the original image source.**

Friday, December 15, 2017

Made It.

Here it is, the last day of the (academic) semester.  I still have to come in on Monday and Tuesday next week to do some student advising and wrapping up before the college closes for the break, but essentially, we've made it.  We are here.  Kicking, screaming, crying, and exhausted, we made it to the finish line. 

So here's how this week went:

Monday, December 11 (5 days left)
We had an event at school that kept me here until 9:30 at night.  I did end up getting a lot of work done, but man was it a hard 12.5 hour day.

Tuesday, December 12 (4 days left)
I finished a pair of socks!
The pattern is Pillars by Lisa Stichweh.  
I modified a bit and only did the lace on one side of each sock.
The yarn is from Maria Larkang in Sweden, in the gorgeous colorway Lavastream.  Her Etsy shop is here, and I kind of want to buy all the colors.

Wednesday, December 13 (3 days left)
I came home in a fairly ill temper, and had to go back out immediately to get containers for the treats I was handing out at school the next day.  My wonderful hubby decided that I should come back to a lovely fire in the fireplace, and then we had dinner.  It ended up being a relaxing evening, but I couldn't shake the grump.  

Thursday, December 14 (2 days left)
Work was, well, work.  I made it home at a normal-ish time, and spent the evening quick-knitting a Christmas present.  I can't show you yet. 

Friday, December 15 (1 day left - also known as today, right now)
I'm basically just counting down the hours until I get to go home.  I had a struggle-bus morning and was late getting in, but I'm out at 3:30, heading to the doc, and then I'm free for the weekend!  Home is my favorite place right now. 

I did  hear on the radio this morning about a way to remember why the holidays are so important.  It's more than just gifts and trees and all that.  And sometimes they can be stressful, so it helps to start sentences with "I like..." and go from there. So here are a few from me:

I like the lights that shine to keep the darkness away.
I like the way that people show they care.
I like spending time with my family, both my little family and my bigger one.
I like good holiday food, full of the love that makes it so much more delicious.
I like traditions, and keeping them going for a new generation.
I like taking a break and just being in the moment.
I like not setting my alarm clock :)

Happy holidays, everyone.  I hope you have lots of things you like, and that you get to spend time with the people you love.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Counting Down

Today is December 9th, and I am here to admit that I have spent the last week and a half counting down to the end of the semester.  It has been a hard semester.  I think I took on too much and taught one too many classes and now my functionality is in "just survive" mode.  I know I wasn't the best version of myself this term, and I hate it.

So I started a countdown to the end of the semester.

December 1 - 16 days left

It was a Friday night, and j was working, and I was determined to get the Christmas tree put together.  Because a little cheer goes a very long way. 

Bella was very helpful.

December 2 - 15 days left

J was actually off work on a Saturday, so we seized the opportunity to have our annual tree trimming evening.  We put out a spread of wine and cheese, and turn on a non-Christmas Christmas movie (this year it was Batman Returns), and take our time opening the boxes of ornaments and making the tree look lovely. This year we even had a cheery fire in the fireplace!

December 3 - 14 days left

Sunday funday!  Mom came over and helped me to decorate my mantel.  We also put up the lights around the front door since it was not freezing out :)  

Later that night, I went to my bestie's house to hang out and made a hat. I really believed that I could make 6 hats in 3 days so that I could donate them with our adopt-a-family gifts.  This hat turned out to be the only one I made.  

December 4 - 13 days left
I actually left work at a decent hour!  So to celebrate being home while it was still light out, I put up the lights on the back deck. I always love how bright they make our backyard.  

December 5 - 12 days left
Work was pretty awful, and I ended up not leaving until almost 6:30.  I mostly came home and crashed and talked to my mom on the phone and drank some tea.  It was a hard day.  

December 6 - 11 days left
One of my favorite work traditions.  Every year for the last 4 years, our office has participated in the adopt-a-family program at our local Freestore Foodbank.  We get a family to buy presents for, and we each get a few things, bring them into the office to wrap them all together and then deliver them to the Freestore so they can give them to the family.  Last year we decided to also include lunch as part of the day, so we have our own little Christmas celebration as team.  We had a lovely time, and it was a great way to spend a day with my co-workers.  

Then I got home and j and I basically just turned into mush on the couch.  I was invited to go to a stitching event, but missed the fact that I had to register ahead of time (because I super suck) and so I had to work on my own to try and get my knitting mojo back.  I started the second sock in my orange and black pair, and got a fair amount done before sleep o'ertook me.

December 7 - 10 days left
I decided I was basically done with work for the week, and so knocked off early to play Santa to my bestie.  I brought her some coffee and part of her Christmas present.  I decided she needed it early so she could wear them to school for the last week (she is also a teacher).  

Then I went home to watch "Psych The Movie," which I have been looking forward to for a few weeks.  And since j was home, I did some not-so-subtle suggesting for what I might like for Christmas:
December 8 - 9 days left
Not fun.  Furnace fan died.  It was cold.  I fell asleep on the couch with the dog on top of me. Stupid furnace.  

Which brings us to today.  I had to work for a bit, but later I'm going home to spend ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT WITH MY HUSBAND!!  The countdown is still on... there are 7 more days before classes are done, and anything can happen, so help me keep an optimistic mindset, yeah?  

Also, there are only 16 days to Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Aaaaaaand... November

Mid-November, actually.  October went by so fast, I almost missed it, and the first half of November has been much the same.  It's been a fairly stressful last month and a half, so I'll ignore all of those stressful things and just share some happy yumminess.

Knitting on the deck with a glass of wine

A finished pair of Doctor Who themed gloves

A freshly wound cake of Halloween colored yarn

A birthday spent with my love that included no television (and lots of good food and drink)

A very pathetic and sleepy puppy

A couple of finished Christmas presents

And most excitingly....

A finished Thanksgiving Sweater!!

So here's hoping that life slows down just a little bit, and that I can limp along for the next 4 weeks at work before the holiday break without having a massive breakdown. 

Happy November!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Haiku

Keeping it Together?

October has come.
Sanity hangs by a thread.
Life in Higher Ed.

This is my ode to the season.  I'm so tired I can barely see straight today, and it feels like the challenges just keep coming at me.  But that's ok.  It's just October.  It'll get better once we are past midterm, right?  

In the mean time, here is a cute dog:

Have a great day!