More stress and a little crafting.

I can’t believe I would ever be sick of laying down, but it sure happened. There are very few things one can do while laying in weird positions on the couch, but crafting is not really one of them. I ended up watching (read: sleeping through) a bunch of boring tv, reading a book I’ve had on my shelf for a few years, and playing some gameboy. I got the all clear from the doctor early last week, so I don’t have to go back every few days – and thank goodness because that was getting a little expensive. The pain subsided a few days after the last visit enough to actually sit comfortably on my couch so I’ve been steadily working on my basket. It’s a little over 9″ in diameter now and I’m hoping to get to about 18″ before I start going up the sides. I ran out of the wrapping thread so I spent the last two nights working on that. I’ve got 7 or 8 grocery bags worth of new thread on my spindle so I’m ready to start wrapping again. It kind of blows my mind how much yardage I’m getting even from one bag, but I wish I would have kept track of how many bags I’m actually going through. I have a feeling I’ll be using up all that we’ve accumulated and then have to wait a while to finish this project.

In other less fun news, we woke up Sunday to learn that K’s cousin had died in a horrible crash Saturday night. It was just one of those freak accidents that you hear about on the news but never think it’ll happen to people you know. She was on a motorcycle ride with her husband and club, several of them crashed and she ended up passing away in the ambulance. K grew up with her son and knows what it’s like to suddenly lose a parent so we ended up rushing over there pretty early in the morning and spent the day with his family. There were already so many people there supporting the family and making sure that they weren’t alone. It was really nice to see everyone come together like that and I’m so glad to be a part of a family like this.

Anyways, I’m going to go enjoy this thunderstorm, be safe, and please watch out for motorcycles.

Stressful Week

Man, oh man. It’s been such a stressful week and a half for me. I don’t get sick very often, which I’m incredibly thankful for, but when I do it’s usually really bad.

I’m feeling much better now but if you’re not squeamish there’s more after the break.

 

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Looking for a bit of advice

I have maybe a weird question and need a bit of advice. The other day I got a Ravelry notification that someone making one of my designs had added a photo. I was super excited because it seems that a lot of the people purchasing my patterns don’t really use Ravelry to keep track of projects. I went to look at the photos, which show the lovely beginnings of a project but the knitting chart is clearly visible in two photos.

My heart immediately sank. My first thought was how to go about asking her to crop her photos or blur out the chart. But I’ve let it stew in my brain too long and now I’m not sure what to do. Knitting patterns are my primary income source, and I’d like to believe most people wouldn’t take her photos and try and use the chart, but I know some might – I probably would.

Is there a kind way to go about bringing this to her attention? It’s probably not an intentional thing, and they are lovely snapshots of her work. I would hate upset this person or lose business from people using her image in place of a purchased pattern. Or is this not a big deal at all?

WIP WEDNESDAY: Weaving and Depression

Depression man. It’s something that I don’t actually talk about as much as I probably could. It’s definitely gone unwritten in most of my posts, but without looking for it it could easily be forgotten about. I don’t really have anything new or insightful to say on the subject but man am I feeling it. I’ve been listening to a few podcasts that talk about depression and they were helping me, until they weren’t.

There are certain things I know make it worse and there are certain things I could do to make it seem less big. Those usually involve conscious decisions which are difficult to make in the throws of it.

I’m currently in a depressive episode – maybe, hopefully, on the tail end of it. It rained for two straight days. Dishes piled up as I refused K’s help with them and beat myself up over not being able to do them. Yesterday may have been the worst of it when I decided I just didn’t even want to be awake and crawled into bed in the middle of doing laundry.

932a9d45-7b73-432c-9bc2-2a83b451211dI did finally grab my tiny loom from my parent’s basement. It was already warped from a project I barely started so I decided to just play around to get a feel for how this loom weaves. I’ve used a handful of different looms over the years and I’ve noticed that they all have a kind of personality. Maybe each loom takes on a bit of every person who uses them over the years, or a bit of every project. My floor loom, which is still in my parent’s basement, is a cranky old bear of a loom. My school sold it to me at a very low price because no one liked to use it. In my first weaving class I started on a dainty 4 harness Schact loom. Every time I beat the weft the whole things scooted a little closer to the wall until I had backed myself into the corner. It was a beautiful loom, but not the right loom for me. We did a round robin type thing for one project where everyone threaded a warp and we all took turns weaving a bit on each loom. This is where I fell in love with my loom. It’s giant, it’s loud, it’s stubborn, but there was just something about it that I really liked. Long story short, I’ve hauled this thing around for a few years but it just doesn’t fit in my house right now and I’m starting to miss it.

Anyways this little loom was given to me buy a woman who was running a gallery I showed some work at. It was just sitting in a pile of junk and probably had been for a few decades. If it was in better shape I would call it an antique, but it’s kind of just old. It was probably a children’s toy originally, but it still functions as a basic loom. When I got it most of the parts needed replacing, which I did as best I could. The heddles were made of cotton string and were pretty much disintegrated. I made new ones similar to the original – they’re functional but not exactly to my liking. I put in new lead sticks, but they might need to be readjusted. They reed is currently being held on by one random nail and a bobby pin, so that’ll need to be fixed. The whole thing could use a good sanding and some wax but for now it’ll get the job done.

I made a little weaving last night. Nothing special. I was just playing around with the warp that was already there and some wool that was already on a bobbin from a previous project. I don’t see a usefulness for this little weaving, aside from play and familiarizing myself with the process again. I’m trying to find the brain space that thinks play is use enough. I’m not really sure what I want make with this loom. I’m so used to doing giant projects that I feel pretty restricted by it’s size. It also only has two harnesses so plain-weave is all it can do unless I want to hand pick everything. My instinct for play and experimentation is out of practice, but I’m having trouble envisioning a useful object coming off this loom. Only time will tell.

 

Tired of being cold

We’ve officially reached the point in winter that I’m sick of hibernating and desperately want to be outside. I considered buying a full body snow suit just to lay in the sun for a few hours. I no longer care how beautiful snow is – I’m ready for spring.

Here in Illinois we got over a foot of snow last weekend. I don’t think I’ve seen that much snow all at once since I was a kid – when snow meant hours of fun not hours of extra work. I just finished clearing the bottom of my driveway when the plow guy came barreling through piling on another foot of snow. I either looked pissed or pathetic because he backed up and tried to scoop as much as he could back off my driveway. It probably took him two minutes to do what would have taken me another twenty. Sometimes such a small kindness can be so big.

K got a snow day from work so we had a nice long weekend basically being trapped in the house. We were at least smart enough to go grocery shopping before all the snow started so I made a giant pot of gumbo that we ate all weekend. We basically just played video games all weekend and huddled under three blankets and a cat on the couch.

I’ve been trying to take break from knitting (hence the video games). Not knitting makes me really anxious. It’s become so integrated into my life that choosing not to knit is really, really difficult. Having finished the last of my projects helps a little, but my brain is itching to start something new. I’ve been thinking about lace or something summery and light because it will get warm again, right?

 

Sleepless & Slightly Miserable

Sometimes I wonder if all I have to write about is whining about sleeping and being in pain, but those are the things that have been consuming me lately. K and I have stayed up during the day for the last two weekends due to social things/needing sunlight and I just haven’t been able to switch back to save my life. I’m back to getting four hour chunks of fitful, unintentional sleep. I can make it until about 4am but then I pass out on the couch or in bed covered in laundry I was intending to fold. This leads to not being tired enough to fall asleep at our usual bedtime so I end up staying up for a few hours and then maybe getting in a little nap before K gets up. Caffeine has almost no effect on me (unless I don’t have any, and then it’s Migraine Town for the rest of the day). I can pretty much have two giant cups of coffee and then fall asleep an hour later. It seems like a pretty mundane problem but ya girl needs her sleep.

I haven’t been knitting much, even though I’ve got two projects cooking in my brain. My wrists have been taking turns bothering me. There’s something pinching in my left wrist that makes my hand go all tingly. I tried heat and ice to no avail. My right wrist is actually burning as I type, so that’s cool. Not really sure what’s going on with either of them but I’ve been trying to rest them as much as I can. I have a toddler sweater to make in the next couple of days though so I might need to just push through it and hope I don’t make everything worse.

I’m probably going to rip a lot of this sweater out. I decided to do a bottom up raglan, which I’ve never actually done before. I wanted to avoid the annoying-ness of setting up the neck and shoulders, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Somehow my sleeves and chest/back pieces are all the same number of stitches as I’m decreasing, which I know is incorrect. I do like the ease of this style though. Starting from the top I always get kind of bored working the body, and then don’t want to knit the sleeves so having all of that done already is kind of nice. I want to get it in the mail by Monday I think so I’d better get to work on it.

 

Pain is just a reminder that we all die eventually.

This weekend turned into quite a hibernation. Friday we accidentally slept twice as long as we had intended and ended up waking up around 10 pm. So going out to dinner or socializing at all was off the table. Saturday I woke up in so much pain I considered going to the ER. I couldn’t move my neck without pain shooting down my spine and arm. After I spent some time laying on the floor crying K dug out the ice packs from when he had back problems last year. Cold seemed to make things a little worse and the three blankets I was swaddled in weren’t helping so I switched to heat packs. Thankfully those helped enough that I got some movement back. (The three whiskey’s I had sure loosened things up…) We ended up just ordering take-out and spent another night on the couch. I’m feeling much better today, just some stiffness leftover.

img_2656I started working on a shawl today. I’ll probably end up gifting it to my mom since it’s pinkish and I’m not a huge shawl wearer anyways. It’s In the Pines by Kristina Kephart who’s I believe is a new designer. It’s got a lovely texture created by slipped stitches and the pattern is easy enough to memorize that I don’t need to look at the pattern until I get to the decreases. After spending a few hours on it I’m already noticing my wrists hurting again, but I need something to keep my hands busy before I go crazy.

I’m also currently looking for test knitters for my Marka Mittens (featured at the top of the post) if anyone is inclined. Feel free to comment here for more details or drop by my group to join in.

 

Homebody Extraordinaire

It’s been so cold the last week or so that K and I have barely left the house to run errands. We’ve stayed snuggled up under blankets switching between Netflix and video games. Since we’ve been couch dwelling, I’ve managed to make a lot of progress on my shawl. I’ve got about 5 more pattern repeats to go before I have to cut the steek and figure out what kind of edging I want to add. I was considering doing more colorwork as and edging but I would have to work each side of the triangle back and fourth separately instead of in the round since it’ll be too large for my needles to handle. I’m thinking a basic icord edge or a rolled hem might be simple enough since the shawl body is already quite a lot. We shall see.

Another perk of freezing temperatures and not leaving the house is spending more time baking. I made a loaf of bread and some homemade butter in my kitchenaid mixer. I remember making butter in a baby food jar when I was a girl scout. Making it in the mixer is a lot messier but much easier. I’m honestly surprised at how different it tastes, it might just be worth the extra effort. I need to find a better way to remove all the water from the finished butter, but buying a butter press seems a little extravagant at this point. I have enough cream to make another batch, so I think maybe some honey butter or herbed butter (or both) is in order. I also saved the buttermilk to make waffles one of these days.

The biggest and most exciting thing this week was getting a washing machine! Our house is fairly small and does not have laundry hook ups, but we really hate going to the laundromat every week (okay, when neither of us have clean underwear left). We found a portable washing machine online and decided that instead of big gifts for christmas we would buy one. It arrived this afternoon and it’s already occupying most of the bathroom. So far, I’m super impressed with it. It’s a lot smaller than a normal machine, but I was able to get a few loads done before I ran out of room on the drying rack. It might have to live in the kitchen from now on since there’s barely enough room in the bathroom to close the door, but this thing is going to get a lot of use.

Updates and Planning

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s fucking cold here. I’m one of those people who generally like the cold but the last few days have been kind of ridiculous. There’s ice crystals on the inside of the car windows, the heat’s been running constantly, just now the cat pulled a blanket down from the arm of the couch to lay under. I’m grateful that the sun is shining through the windows and I’m actually awake in the day time to see it, but it’s too damn cold.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday, I know ours got to be a little stressful this year.

I actually managed to finish all the things I set out to make this year as gifts. I ended up making two pairs of socks, a cowl, a pair of pajama pants, and some little stockings were extra and just for fun. Everyone seemed really happy with their gifts which always makes me happy. My sister put her cowl on as soon as she opened it and aside from going to work or the grocery store, K hasn’t taken the pajama pants off.

I think those were the first garment that I actually completely finished sewing. I’ve made a few quilts and little pouches but I’ve never actually completely finished a garment before. He split his favorite pajama pants right up the back seam this fall and we never got around to buying him a new pair so I figured I could make him some new ones for christmas. I ended up cutting the old pair at the seams to draft a pattern. They turned out so well, I’m a little jealous I haven’t made a pair for myself. The hardest part was probably the dang button fly. Since I wasn’t using an actual pattern with instructions I ended up watching a handful of youtube videos trying to figure out the best way to do it. I eventually figured it out, but it turns out he doesn’t even use the fly. I don’t even have a picture of the pants for you, but he wore them on christmas and everyone seemed quite impressed with them.

I’m not working on anything specific right now, just the shawl I’ve had sitting around since summer. It takes about half and hour per row now so I’ll probably finish it sometime in the next twenty years. A friend has asked me if I would knit her pet rabbit a little sweater (and offered to pay in the same sentence!) so I’ve been thinking about the best way to do that. K has also noticed the lack of hand-knit items in his wardrobe so I’m gonna work on that for him. He needs gloves – he’s been wearing big work gloves to drive because that’s all he has – and I know he wants a bunch of socks. I’ll probably start with a bunch of basic socks and then make some really cool gloves for him in the next week or so, we just have to go buy more yarn.

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 11.48.15 AM.pngThis one got pretty long, but one more thing! Currently, all of my patterns are on sale for 25% off through the end of the year! I know lots of people knit a special project for themselves after all the gift knitting they did so check ’em out if anything catches your fancy.

Thanks for sticking around on this blogging adventure with me.

Professional Procrastinator

Turns out I’m really not good at keeping up with blogging when I don’t have a set topic to write about each day. Something I’d like to get better at, though there really wasn’t much to talk about this weekend besides massively fucking up my sleep schedule again. Since K is on third shift I switched over to his schedule. Mostly I like it. Nights are quiet and I get a reasonable amount of stuff done while he’s at work and I don’t have to worry about waking him up. Plus we get to spend more than two grumpy hours at a time together which is nice. The downside is that on the weekends it’s nice to do things during the day, and, you know, see the actual sun for a few hours. He’s been doing this a lot longer than I have and has a much easier time switching back and forth. I, on the other hand, am struggling with it. Staying up for 24 hours straight kills me. I usually fall asleep on the couch around five or six on Friday evening and then any kind of plans are cancelled (we ended up blowing our friends off twice this weekend because I couldn’t stay awake) which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to switch over in the first place. I have an even harder time switching back to sleeping during the day. I get about 4 hours at a time and feel miserable. Unfortunately with the holidays coming up there will be at least two more weekends of switching back and forth but after than we’ve agreed to stick to pretty much the week day schedule after that.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve procrastinated my holiday baking and making so hard that now I’m in a little bit of a panic. I’ve got one knit item to finish up and two things to sew – they’re two of the same thing so hopefully I can make it go fast, and a bunch of cookies to make. I haven’t done a lot of baking since we moved, mostly because it took some time to slowly buy the things I needed a few at a time. I also needed to clear off some counter space, and in order to do that I needed to fix the shelf in the cabinet. One side of the shelf wasn’t properly supported, but I was using it anyways, and it finally let go when I was putting dishes away. So I got all that done this morning and pulled out the stand mixer I got for Christmas last year that I hadn’t even used yet! I feel so fancy using it. It’s so pretty, and made baking sooooo much easier. I made 4 dozen peanut butter blossoms this morning. I have a habit every year of baking enough cookies for a small village. A few years ago I made 12 different types of cookies and candies and didn’t start halving the recipes until about half way through. This year I think I’m only making 4 or 5 types and I have at least three houses to bring them to so I won’t end up eating all of them myself. I have a busy few nights ahead of me, but it’s all things I actually enjoy doing.

Do you guys do a lot of baking for the holidays? What are your favorite recipes?

Kristina McGrath, Knitting Tech Editor

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