March 10th, 2011
My current WIP, soon to be a nostalgic sweater pattern on Craftzine.
We’ve been re-watching (well, me re-watching; Ron watching for the first time) old episodes of Buffy. Right now we’re on Season 3 and I’m getting to see a lot of old eps I haven’t watched since they aired, which is great fun because I only remember the broad strokes. Ooh, that Xander makes me so mad in Season 3! And Wesley! Rgh! I like that the men of Buffy are most often the petty ones. (Or maybe it’s actually just equal and only feels lopsided because on TV it’s so often the other way round?)
So naturally, I had a Buffy dream last night. I’m kind of surprised it’s taken this long for them to kick in because I usually get television dreams a couple days into a marathon. Last night I had a dream about kissing Spike that made my heart pound so dramatically that it woke me up. We weren’t making out or anything, just kissing so softly we barely touching, but in my dream it was exhilarating and I woke up with a mad adrenaline surge and my heart racing so much I was practically gasping, which was a little embarrassing (even though at the moment, I was the only one who knew).
Did I mention I’m 40?
When I went back to sleep, my thrilling Buffy dreams didn’t resume. Instead I was balancing my checking account online and I had all these charges from my new ATM card that I’d forgotten to record, and as a result, had bounced several checks and was having to call around and explain. That dream was much more realistic, and also made me wake up a little mortified.
If you had asked me at 16 to describe the 40-year-old me’s dream life, I wouldn’t have expected this. Nor that the second dream just as apt to be, you know, my reality.
We’re barely into the new year (that is, we’re well into the new year, but it feels like it just started) and my grasp of time is as tenuous as ever. I’d been so glad for my open February, but it flew by before I knew what happened, and now we’re a third into March and it’s all a blur.
My February crafting was only marginally successful. I did manage to knock out my pound of handspun again, which was comprised of my Spinsters Club batt plus a bunch of Roving from Triple R Farm (Rhinebeck booty).
There was about twice as much of the first as the second, so alternated an ounce of red with half an ounce of mutli, then plied them from opposite ends of the progression, so the finished yarn should have roughly even stripes of red plied to itself and red plied to the stripey stuff. It’s a nice sturdy DK and will probably become a lightweight sweater.
I’m right now battling a breath-sucking tide of general anxiety. That’s the worst, the vague kind that’s difficult to diffuse because it’s so diffuse itself.
Freddy was really sick last week and had to go to the kitty hospital for the better part of the week. He seems to be doing well now, and now he’s on a very extravagant Rx food that makes Sugarfoot’s fancy prescription food look like a $4 generic from Target. But cats don’t eat much, so it’s not a terrific burden. (It’s funny how when your pet’s sick, money is no object, but as soon as they’re out of the woods, you start grousing about dollars. It’s like that Seinfeld joke about the check coming at the beginning of the meal.)
Anyway, for the next month, in addition to the special food, he’s supposed to get subcutaneous fluids twice a week to make sure his kidneys keep nice and clean.
The vet said to nuke the bag for a minute to get it to room temperature, but she’d already taken the plug out when she showed me the process, so when I nuked it, it flopped out of the bowl I’d propped it up in and two thirds of it spilled all over the microwave while I was facing the other way fiddling with the tubing. Yay! $20 all over my counter. Then trying to get it in was a comedy of errors, only comedy isn’t exactly the right word. More of Ron struggling with Freddy in a towel and me sticking the poor cat half a dozen times like a pincushion only to accidentally pull it right back out and squirt water all over the room. Again and again, and punctuated with me & Ron growling (him) and/or screeching (me) at each other. Finally, I had to give up and take a break, and I’m not psyched about replaying that little farce again later tonight.
Maybe because the strain of Pollyannaing had gotten to me, maybe because I’m disgusted with myself for my laziness and incompetence in general, maybe because I’m irritated I can’t afford to go to Berlin for a few days at the beginning of Ron’s next tour as I’d hoped, even with my mom’s cheapie tickets, because we closed our credit cards and can no longer pretend the imaginary money is real. Maybe I’m just cranky from the belly full of cheap grocery store Chinese food that’s turned me into a remorseless farting machine. But whatever the root cause, the fluids debacle dropped me in a pool of looming panic. It’s kind of suffocating me. I think I’ll go hula hoop a bit and see if my mood improves.
If I still feel shitty in a little while, I’m make two lists, one called Poor Me and one called Quit Being Such a Titty Baby. Poor Me will enumerate my woes and Titty Baby will count my blessings. Hopefully the second list will be much longer.
February 22nd, 2011
I have a lot to do. Under no circumstances should I deviate from this–SQUIRREL!
Last weekend’s To-Do list did not get to-done. Instead, I moved everything from my room out into the hall and scrubbed it all down and rearraged it so now I have two big roomish areas instead of one giant room. It turns out my hulking armoire and dresser make for pretty handy room dividers, and subdividing the room makes the proportions of the furniture (and giant as it is, no match for a former classroom) more pleasing and my space much more workable and pleasant!
Now I have a sort of bedroom area and a sort of craft/dining area. It’s marvelous! And inspiring! And clean!
But now the hallway outside of my room is laden with 5 big boxes and hampers of miscellaneous crap I pushed off of surfaces and piles. So I’m going to go on the record and vow to sort and put away/toss/donate everything therein by the end of the–SQUIRREL!
And I also finished my Spinsters Mittens, just in time for the return of winter. The first 2 pictures are very washed out in the fading winter light. They’re extra homely because they’re freshly-knit, not blocked or anything.
The detail shows of the component colors a bit better, though of course they’re more muddled as a whole. The pattern is Hello Yarn’s Tip-Down Mittens, an excellent free pattern that provides a very easy-to-use mitten recipe. I didn’t bother with the gauge calculation, so if math is a deal-breaker, skip it. I just started as directed with needles several sizes smaller than I normally would for this heavy aran yarn, and worked the increases until the width seemed right, then continued on as directed. I like a slim-fitting mitten with a long cuff–which keeps my hands warm and doesn’t hinder most of my barn chores–and this pattern was perfecto! The tip-down aspect allows for however much yarn you have on hand, and I knit them both at once with the magic loop.
Mitten School converted me to magic loop. I’m completely on board now (Adrian wasn’t proselytizing or anything; that was just my only non-DPN option in the size I needed, and it won me over.)
The fiber was chain-plyed handspun made from this year’s Spinsters Club batt. I did recard the batt for a more even fiber blend (which I kind of regret and kind of don’t–I think the more contrasty colors might have been prettier for mittens, but I wanted to blend in the silky kid mohair locks Laura brought for extra strength).
The batt was from January Spinsters. It’s wool and silk and tencel and bamboo and mohair! Each year when Spinsters meets here, we all bring 4oz of fiber, divvy it up evenly, and card up pot luck batts. Everyone’s yarn is so different depending on how we card and spin it.
I have no idea what I did with last year’s batt. Probably spun in and promptly forgot what it was and gave it away. The year before, I spun this:
out of this:
But I still haven’t made it into anything. There’s not all that much there–I think we each brought just 2 oz that first time. But there’s definitely enough for something smallish, so I really need to use it!
Ron’s back home (yay!), complete with a cold (boo!).
February 18th, 2011
Yesterday, I got so beguiled by the beauty of a 70° day in February that I decided to take the afternoon off. I didn’t even open my calendar, just grabbed a book and headed out into the sunshine. I read The Golden Compass and ate an apple and shared the core with the chickens, and watched the sheep graze the mostly-dead winter pasture and periodically bolt and flock together.
When it got dark, I went inside and made Fudgy a new jacket, pink with a little fancy red stitching around the neck just for fun.
Then, all hopped up on a sewing high, I went through this huge bin that contains years of to-be-mended clothing, looking for this week’s mending project. I was utterly astonished at how tiny everything was, and how short! I just re-joined Weight Watchers after years of packing on the pounds, and I’m finally feeling confident that I can edge back to my goal weight, so maybe I’ll actually be able to wear some of the less-tiny stuff again, though I think the really short dresses are definitely a thing of the past (hope springs eternal, though, apparently: I didn’t toss them out yet). I finally settled on some vintage pajamas to mend, and I think I’ll give them to Ron.
Later on, I caught up with some blogs I like and did a little knitting and read some more. What I didn’t do was open that calendar.
If I had opened my calendar, I would have realized I had a business-y dinner last night, and I completely spaced it! This is why I will never be a captain of industry. The siren song of freak gorgeous weather completely overrides any sense of responsibility.
My afternoon off was lovely, and we’ve got beautiful weather scheduled all weekend. I’m going to make sure I spend a couple hours a day outside, but I’ve also got a mountain of TCB.
Here are my plans for the weekend. Hm. I went back and slapped a time guess on each one and I clearly can’t do all this this weekend, unless, you know, I don’t sleep or even pause at all.
- Hang up lighter curtains and decide which I prefer (1 hour)
- Fold up losing curtains and get them ready to return (30 minutes)
- Put up bubble wrap (hour/room?–10 hours?)
- Flyer (2 hours)
- Finish and pack up Color Source Book orders (4-6 hours?)
- Swatch my sweater options and make a yarn decision (3-4 hours)
- Catch up on the building scarf (Hm. 10 hours?)
- Spin my Spinsters Club batt (2 hours)
- Spend a couple hours cleaning (3 hours)
- Do some laundry (1 hour)
- Pick a template! (2 hours)
- Replace rotten or broken planks on the palettes in the hay shack; toss out all the leftovers (2 hours)
- Hang some tarp on the east side of the hay shack (1 hour)
- Make a rack for all the tools I like to keep in there (2 hours)
- Examine Agnes’ front hoof that looked like it might be cracked (30 minutes)
- Repair Fudgy’s old coat and put on Hokey Pokey (1 hour)
- Make a new coat for Mr. Shivers. (1 hour)
- Catch up on my stuff elimination (1 hour)
- Try 2 new recipes! (2 hours)
- Finish destash cardigan (4-6 hours)
- Remove, pack and return defective screen (1 hour)
I have 3 candidates to swatch for the sweater I’m working on for the March Craftzine. Just in the ball, the Sheffield is my favorite. It’s 70% merino, with 15% silk and 15% angora. It’s fluffy and super soft, with a gentle halo. Plus, I love the icy pale blue.
My monstrous rolls of bubble wrap arrived today. I’m planning to put it up this weekend, while it’s still warm. Hopefully we’ll get a little greenhouse action going with the afternoon sunshine. Hm. I just checked the forecast again and now they’re predicting thunderstorms Saturday and clouds Sunday. Boo. Well, at least I’ll get the bubble wrap up before winter kicks back in on Monday.
February 16th, 2011
I’m super-awesome because I just resisted a very tempting elann.com update. Naturally Natural Wool 200g hanks under $5 in both aran and DK. And you know how much I love the natural browns.
And earlier this week, I resisted this very cute tablecloth on clearance at Target even though I was dying to buy it for a circle skirt. But I’m prohibited from buying any clothing this year, and that includes tablecloths! But I could hear the cogs creaking in my brain trying to rationalize that one. Instead, I’ll see if I have a cute vintage tablecloth in my stash I can use for a circle skirt.
(ETA: Extra credit because I still denied it when I found it again last night for 75% off. It was very hard to convince myself that the same arguments applied when it was $3.76. But cheating is cheating and a busy print still makes my ass look bigger, even when it costs less than a case of Diet Coke.)
As if I have any business draping a busy print over these hips! (It was actually that thought, and not my slavish devotion to my Überlist, that made me put down the tablecloth. That and lately my poor checkbook sobs a little every time it opens. I’ll be glad when we can shut down the boiler for the season. Did I mention how grateful I am for this warm spell?)
Today one of the Kansas Day organizers sent me this great pic of me tandem spinning (me drafting; someone else treadling) with some cute random kid. I’ll bet I did this with 50 different kids that day, including a couple who were so little they had to hold onto their parents’ knees and run in place on the treadles.
Yes, that is my ghetto tin can cupholder. I totally covet one of these (with the slotted option for my coffee cup, natch), but my birthday is not til September, so it’s all travel mugs and Diet Coke cans for me right now.
February 15th, 2011
A while back, I decided to go through all my old patterns and clean them up and make nice, tidy pdfs to sell. The free patterns will stay right where they are, but if you want to shell out a few bucks can get a nice, printer-friendly pdf that can live in your ravelry library.
I wanted to make Ron a new Critter for Valentine’s day, so I decided to take the opportunity to revamp the pattern and design some new clothes for the little guy! The paid version of the pattern includes my new critter designs as a free bonus. In addition to the 2 scarves and wizard hat already available free online, the pdf includes a new toque and cowl, a sweater vest or cardigan and a Hemmingway sweater (cabled aran turtleneck)! I have to admit I sort of want my own Hemmingway sweater now.
After lots of winter, we suddenly got a fake spring a couple days ago. It’s been in the 50s, and it’s supposed to be 70 on Thursday. Of course, this comes right after I buy thermal curtains and order a shitload of bubble wrap to try out this trick. It’s not like we’re going to quit having winters–or even that this current winter has run its course–but it’s vexing to spend money at just the wrong time.
February 11th, 2011
There was a long-range (450 ft, longer than the 300ft remote weather station I use successfully in the chicken coop) video baby monitor on sale as Amazon’s deal of the day today. Is it wrong that I briefly coveted one for the barn?
(And by “briefly,” I mean that I am still coveting it, but know that I should be appalled with myself.)
February 10th, 2011
I started this sweater while waiting on some yarn to swatch for another sweater I’ll be knitting this month. It’s worked by using 5 different yarns and alternating yarn every row. It’s super fun to knit, but managing 5 balls of yarn is a little annoying. But I’m happy to solider on because I do like the notion of having a unified use for all those random odd balls that always seem to hang around. If I were clever, I would have knit a trial version in a single color.
I need to quit getting distracted and finish cranking it out so I can start my next sweater! And the next one after that! Yes, I have more 2 sweaters already planned out. I actually have one more planned out, but it’s almost an art project, so I may end up saving it for the summertime, when I’m free again. February is a short month, and I have an awful lot of catching up to do already.
I also want a new shawl, something nice and warm, and that will stay on my person without constant adjustment while I TCB. After refining my search several times on ravelry, I finally decided on Sarah Howard’s Super-Simple Scandinavian-Style Shawl, and not just because of the alliteration, though that didn’t hurt. I haven’t yet decided on the yarn, or whether I’m allowed to start it before I finish my destash cardi. It really seems like I shouldn’t, considering I have a whole other sweater that’s been on the needles for a year now, and February is supposed to be catchup month, not get-farther-behind month.
It’s funny how much better I feel getting a little bit more daylight these days. It’s only about 30 extra minutes so far, but it’s luxurious! Something about utter darkness by 5:30 was just so defeating. Oddly, I never seem to completely wake up until after dark, though. Something about winter makes me sleepy all day. Maybe it’s the blue light?
February 8th, 2011
We’ve got another Winter Weather Advisory underway. With all my friends in the real snow territories getting blanketed repeatedly, and without any pressing need to leave the building, these little snow events are starting to seem kind of cute. (Hm. I think the weather heard me. The wind just kicked up and the snow is completely horizontal now. Hey! Cute is a good thing! I love cute weather!)
Ron and the boys are all flying in this evening, so I’m hoping the weather stays fairly mild, if snowy, and that they don’t run into anything nasty on the way home. Luckily, it’s super cold, so ice shouldn’t be an issue (nothing worse than a snowstorm right at the brink of freezing), but the wind is always a brutal question mark out here. It’s rough driving on a road that’s just a swirling witches’ brew of ghostly white ripples. You can’t tell where the road ends and the ditch begins.
This cold weather really seems to be putting the hurt on my hay supply. Last winter, they were eating only half a bale or less a day, and doing a lot of winter grazing. This winter, we’re going through a full bale on many days. Between the hay and the gas bill, I’m starting to think this winter is as bad as last winter. Although this one had the good manners to start almost a month later, which I deeply appreciate.
Before I forget, I have 2 free, fast hat patterns up on ravelry. These were from the quick hats class at Jen’s shop last month.
First Hat includes a detailed photo tutorial for absolute beginners. It’s knit completely on 16″ circulars, so you can avoid dpns entirely, which makes it crazy fast (takes me about an hour). It’s also dandy for handspun, because it’s nice and plain.
Quickie is a 48-stitch, 32-row cabled hat knit of doubled chunky yarn or lighter superbulky (the gauge of storebought superbulky is all over the map, so swatch!). It also works up in about an hour if you’re fast. The pattern includes a little photo tutorial on cables and both charted and written instructions.
As a result of all my pattern testing and timing, I have a nice little stack of wool hats. Maybe I’ll sell the handspun ones and bring all the others to the store in town and make a little FREE WARM HATS basket. I should probably make a really big stack of them. I could do some mad destashing tonight…
I’d better go hay the sheep. I’ve been holding out for that 8° high, but it looks like they’ve revised the forecast down and the current 6° is as high as we’ll get. Boo.