And woodja lookit that?

It’s three months later. Man, you blink ’round these parts…

Anyway, I have nothing to tell. It’s blasted hot and I’m busy as a busy thing. Boys are back in school, and this year Smacky joins the ranks of the elementary chillens in kindergarten. (Yes, we start stupid early but we get out before Memorial Day.)
So I have no knitting. I have no quilting. No crafting of any kind to speak of. It’s too freaking hot. I had some other stuff going on in real life that I will not be sharing here, but it is kicking my proverbial behind. Things are abating slightly, though, and I was tired of spending my evenings staring at my phone playing Tetris, so I got out that Rosetta Stone I bought over the summer, and lo, I have been learning some German. I have only had a few lessons and can say only a short series of utterly random things, but I’m still enjoying the hell out of wandering around the house and telling the boys, “Der Apfel ist grün.” You might think they would be rote, but all my Äpfel are grüne.

True to form, the monsoons seem to be over and the dry heat is returning a bit, and it feels like fall to me. (You northern people undoubtedly chuckle at my idea of fall, but it’s all I got right now.) Fall means restlessness. Fall means dissatisfaction and frustration and tearing apart the house and thinking about exercise and … Fall is when I stop hibernating and start thinking about being outside, about fall cleaning and opening windows and airing out cabinets. Fall is when I look in that box and think, “When the hell did I ever think I’d use these purses again?” Fall is when it’s hardest to be patient. When I start thinking about planting flowers and gardens (and finding a taller Juniper Diversion Device). When I wish I owned my house so I could paint walls and rip out cabinets and replace windows. Note that even when I did own a house, I almost never did these things, I just felt the stirring in my blood to make changes. If ever I manage to move from this miserable hot dust bowl, it will happen in the fall.

Posted in random kvetching | Leave a comment

Done but not finished.

With a few things.
Most importantly, I am done with the Big Nasty Chemo.

Untitled

This is Last Chemo Selfie – you might even be able to see the peach fuzz a-growin’ on my pate.

Treatments are not over, nor have I worked through all the side effects of this last infusion, but I believe the worst of it is over.

Also over: the knitting of Morning Glories.

This ignominious picture does no justice to anything, but it is two halves of Morning Glories, awaiting grafting, ends-weaving, and blocking. These items require more brain power than is left to me during chemo brain, so I will be waiting a bit to finish this project. In the meantime, I will attempt to remember what size needle I was using for Smallish Bear’s blanket – apparently I never wrote it down…

Posted in health, jj's blankie, morning glories | 9 Comments

Two freaking months?

Really, it’s been that long?

Wow.

Apologies if this is news you’ve heard, either from Facebook or through the grapevine, but hey, my blog.
I have been a busy little bee these days, though not of my own design. In January of this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in February I was told that it had spread a bit. Later that month I started chemo and have been dealing with that lovely thing every three weeks, along with working and family and a brief bit of travel last weekend. I have been very lucky in the side-effects department; most of the nasties like pain and nausea are handled by additional medication and I’ve only had to deal with a recurring cold (along with the standard hair loss and the exhaustion and what have you). After a while it all becomes a bit routine and I’m looking forward to the beginning of June, which means the likely end of my chemo (must be confirmed with MRI) and the beginning of the next phase, which is surgery and radiation. My cancer is responding quite well to the chemo and that is a good thing.

Early on I was obsessed with the knitting, and made it through probably 80% of Morning Glories. (And I reknit the mesh section of the second half because I’d swapped the purse stitch for Turkish stitch, not faggoting like I’d thought.) I’ve kinda given up on knitting these days, though – my mental state of late could predominantly be described as “I can’t even” and I mostly sit around and mess with my phone or listen to an audiobook when I have free time. I did manage about an inch of sock (still the Cryptic Notes toe-ups) on the plane last weekend but that was about it.

A couple of nights ago I got out the honeymoon quilt and have started working on that – it requires almost no thought at all so it’s easy to just sit there and stitch along. I still have the boys’ “Christmas” quilts to do, too – Bubba’s train top and backing are finished, but Smacky’s Batman top still needs the bat symbol and I need to piece the backing. The fact is that I never have enough time to get them out when the boys are either gone or asleep, before I crash myself.

I have plans for sweaters and socks and wraps and things later on, but right now I’m just relaxing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Moving on.

I’ve recently started the second half of the morning glories stole, so I’m dreaming of what comes next. (Because just past the halfway mark of a six-and-a-half foot long stole is “almost done”.) Awhile ago I purchased yarn to make Darrowby, but have been scared away a bit by both the number of errors in the pattern, and by the gauge of the project. Worsted-weight on size 3 needles didn’t sound fun. (I did a hat like that once and hated every stitch.) I happened to noticed Bonne Marie Burns’ Tauriel, though, and I think the shape is similar (and perhaps even more flattering) and also knit at a looser gauge. Plus, it seems to me that Bonne Marie has a good reputation for clearly written patterns. I still love the Darrowby cables, so I’ll be working them into the panels on Tauriel instead of the diamond cable on there. (Bonus, Tauriel calls for only half the yarn that Darrowby’s denser fabric required, so I’ll have leftovers.)
Still, it’s starting to get hot here, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll want a sweater. (I already use the fan in my cube more often than not.) So, I decided I’d get out that Knitpicks Shine I bought a million years ago. I poked around on the Drops website and found a few basic, plain tops/shells that I liked. I managed to find one that may be flattering (WHY do they make their models stand so weird?) and had some finished projects on Rav, and I’m reasonably confident that if I have enough yarn, I can make it work. The underarms are a little funny but some have added sleeves or a little panel to the underarm part of the scye so I think it will be a good work top. I imagine I’ll start my altered Tauriel a bit later in the summer, in the hope that it would be ready to wear next winter. Or maybe I should start it now so I can finish it for Air Conditioning Season? AUGH. So many choices.
Additional choices? I recently decided I needed a summer hat, and searched Drops. I found FIVE that I covet. I will not make them all this summer, but I do need at least one. I’ll have to narrow that down and start working on it soon too. And there are still the boys’ quilts and the honeymoon quilt! Clearly I do not have time to have a job.
And furthermore, I lost one of my second-favorite-ever stitch markers (both pairs of my faves were free gifts for buying something else, natch) and one of the few I own that’s sized big enough to fit on the size 9s I’m using for Morning Glories. I HAD to make new ones.
Untitled
Untitled

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Epic!

I use that word a lot these days. It’s turning into a year like that, methinks. Doing things in a big way, making some big strides, getting some big things done!
Speaking of which, I embiggened our garden. Last time I had a 4X4 kit from Home Depot. I got another one, and opened up one of the sides of the original kit, and used it and the new one to create one big Frankengarden, that’s 12×4. (I know you northern gardeners are chuckling at my idea of “big”. Lemme alone – I gotta water this sucker all summer.)

Untitled

I miscalculated how much new soil I’d need and will have to get more, but this time T reminded me that we have fertilizer and I’ll be prepping the soil prior to sowing any seeds – adding the second half of the soil will be the perfect time. I also discovered that Juniper is a digger and she LOVES to rearrange the dirt from the raised bed to the patio, and then lay in it, or in the sun-warmed garden bed itself. We have attempted a Juniper Diversion Device – four foot tall chicken wire around the whole thing. I wish I’d been able to wait til I planted to put it up, but most of my dirt would have been on the basketball court or the patio if I’d waited. I’m planning on some more lettuce, a bunch of tomatoes and some bell peppers, but that leaves me quite a bit of space left to fill up. Maybe I’ll try a pumpkin – the boys would get such a kick out of that.

Morning Glories continues apace – I have just finished the first skein of yarn with about two repeats of the morning glories section to go. The wrong-side patterning has gotten a little easier, and so long as I remember to read the chart from the correct edge I do pretty well and have not been quite so frustrated with it. I have started the second skein (I had three total), so I have more than enough yarn – I can’t decide if I want to shorten the wrap a touch and have enough yarn left for a hat, or lengthen it and use all the yarn up, or just knit as writ. I’ll do it as written for the first half and see what I have left when I approach the finish line on the second half, but this yarn is so yummy I’ll need to come up with some plan to use every last inch.
> In the meantime I’ve been thinking of other projects to do. Ages ago I bought some Shine in a pretty terra cotta color. I believe I planned to use it for Bombshell. I may still in fact do that, only raising the neckline a bit. I want to have something slightly nicer than a t-shirt for work, and while the deep neckline is decently flattering, I don’t like to show too much cleavage at the office. There are just too many tall guys around. Bombshell is designed to be somewhat fitted, though, and if my shape changes anytime soon I’ll want something that will still flatter. I may have to design something basic if I can’t find what I want. (ooo, epic!)
I still have socks on the go and owe my FIL a pair from Christmas, but I just need to find another yarn. No black socks. Just…no.

And, not forgotten, the honeymoon quilt! T and I just celebrated our second anniversary, so I should prolly get on the finishing of this pretty thing.

And lo, more flowers for you cold types!
UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled
(Oh yeah, and I dyed my hair purple.)

Posted in friends, fun things, garden, morning glories, new starts | 4 Comments

The best revenge is living well

And I am. :D
I actually believe that I have actually gotten tired of hating people. Oh, there are still things that really frustrate me (Republican leadership and people who believe anything they hear on Fox “news” for example) but I didn’t realize I’d gotten in the habit of all the hateyness until I got rid of some baggage. It’s really not me, and it’s really the low-hanging fruit of behavior anyway. That being the case, prepare for some sunshine – here comes the living well part!

LOTS of sunshine, in fact! It’s nearly planting time here for the spring garden and I do want some flowers, so I have reclaimed a few of my planters from the veggies (they didn’t do so great in the planters anyway) and I’ve ordered received another raised bed. Since they’re interchangeable, I have two 4×4 foot kits, which I can link together for a 4×12 foot garden.
I can’t possibly imagine needing anything more than this for a while, but I will be planting some tomatoes, some bell peppers, and a boatload of other things (more lettuce please!). I’ll also need to figure out some way to keep a chicken wire fence around the garden that I can take down when I need, but that keeps that rambunctious mutt out of my beautiful dirt.

For Kym and Joan and Cheryl and Angie and Margene and whoever else might need it… look, flowers!

Untitled

Also, it’s time to get back into the running and the yoga. I did so well with it for such a long time, and the valley fever and strep and broken toe really threw me off. I want to get back in the habit of the exercise while the afternoons are still nice, so I will feel better about it when it’s hot and I have to get up before dawn to do it. I have a new nose-lead for Crazy Dog so I hope that will help her learn to walk politely on the leash so she and I can have a little exercising together. I also have plans to get away from as much meat in my diet, but I’m still trying to figure out how to make a “balanced meal” that doesn’t have meat as the main dish – that is so ingrained!)

I was thinking about starting some epic sweater – Milkweed (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milkweed) has been on my list, along with Sabbatical http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sabbatical
and Darrowby http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/darrowby, essentially since either they were published or I was made aware of them. I covet all of them, and plan to knit them all (a touch shorter than any of them are written – I do not need the eye drawn to my hips thankyouverymuch). However, if I am planning to begin exercise again, and if I think I will be changing my eating habits, I expect my body will be changing a bit. And so will the seasons! As a result, I needed something epic that wasn’t
fitted – no sense knitting the largest size if, by the time you finish said sweater 18 months later, the largest size isn’t what you are anymore…

Enter Morning Glories.
When this pattern was released in 2007, I bought it and the yarn to immediately, so much did I covet it. And then I decided I didn’t love the proportions of the mesh to the morning glories, and I didn’t really like the mesh stitch at all, and… to the bottom of the stash bin it fell. Last weekend I decided it was just the “epic” I was looking for. I was able to put my hands on the pattern (after I bought another copy, natch), yarn and needles in record time, and a few minutes later I had cast on. Epic indeed! The side borders are so unintuitive (to me) that they might as well be random. I did replace the purse mesh with faggoting, which I like better, and burned through that section. Then I started the morning glories.
Oh.
My.
Gee.

Patterning on both sides AND trying to watch the Super Bowl and I will tell you, “epic” doesn’t begin to cover it. I still love it, and the yarn, and I will slog through, but goodness, am I glad I have a basic sock on the go. In the course of the knitting, I have determined that the wrong side patterning stitches don’t properly match the right side versions (you can tell me all day that the reverse of sl1, k2tog, psso is p3tog tbl but IT DOESN’T MATCH) and the ones that actually DO match are actually nicer to work, so I’m settling in to the pattern a bit.

Untitled

This color is *almost* accurate, but it is more purple than this.

Posted in garden, health, morning glories | 9 Comments

Baa Baa

Yesterday, just after noon, I finished my little baby sweater for my little, as yet unborn, baby nephew. I’d been telling my SIL, who was a few days past her due date, that, “Baby’s not coming, I haven’t finished the sweater yet.” When I finished it, I posted on my SIL’s facebook, “Sweater’s done, labor starts in 12 hours or less.” Now, I dunno when her labor actually started, but my little nephew was born just shy of 5am today. I may be a little drunk with my own power.

Untitled

Posted in baby knitting | 6 Comments

Oops, I forgot a title.

Sometimes it’s so hard to be a grown-up and not poke the crazy.  I am so glad I showed that particular drama llama the door (gate?) – life is so much better.

Instead, I have sweater adorableness.

Untitled

This little cutie is now at the stranded knitting point, so it is no longer portable.  (Actually, since that picture was taken, the sheepies were knit, the sweater was blocked, and the sheepies puckered badly and were hence ripped out again and restarted.  At this time, I have one row of sheep feet, and that is all.)

Thus, I have dug out an old project.

Untitled

Cryptic notes socks. I finished the first sock ages ago, but unless I’d originally planned to knit these for my ginormo-footed husband (note: NOT) I’ll need to shorten them by an inch at least. P’raps I will pick out the cast on edge and add length to the leg, cuz I have TONS of yarn available.

Added later: as it turns out, I wasn’t thinking too much when I started the second sock, so I cast on, figured out my gauge, and started knitting a 64-st ribbed sock.  The first sock was a 72-st cabled sock.  This does not bode so well for the matching, but I do dislike a sock that’s too loose and so the 64 st sock will stay and the 72 st sock will be reknit.

Posted in baby knitting, cryptic notes socks, welcome to the flock | 6 Comments

I hear tell

that 2014 is the year of mindful living. Hasn’t it been that for a long time? Slow food, slow life, slow hobbies, taking time, paying attention? Hands free, back to nature, all those tasks of drudgery that our mothers and fathers escaped with inventions and packaged foods? Knitting as pastime instead of industry, cooking as meditation instead of, you know, making food, vegetable gardening as a subtle FU to big ag…

Forgive me if I am feeling a little cynical – I do like doing all these things, but I find myself rolling my eyes at “the new yoga”, or “the year of” whatever. People change, things change, the only thing you can count on is death and taxes. Do we really need so many websites, so many “news” organizations, so many channels, that we have to fill hours and airwaves and electrons with endless analysis on what we should all be doing now? Why can’t we do what we like, what makes us happy and what feels the most worthwhile to us, and if it isn’t whatever the trend is (and so long as we aren’t hurting others) who cares? I’ll be carrying on with my knitting, and my tiny garden, and forcing myself to cook (though after the meal T made last night I’m thinking he needs to do more of that – yum) and maybe doing some other things I enjoy. Trying to burn through those quilts before Christmas reminded me that I liked sewing and quilting, but not so much on a deadline. Weaving that scarf was great fun – I loved watching the colors line up – but doing so with hustle made it less fun. Feeling guilty about not working on Christmas socks took the joy out of the socks themselves (and that one nearly-done sock has since been ripped to be restarted later). This year I’m going to continue doing what brings joy, I’m going to stop worrying about how it should be done already, or how I wasted this time or that money or this fabric or that yarn or this opportunity. I’ll make progress in the way that feels natural and try to not compare with others or worry about the voices in my head telling me it isn’t good enough.

That being said, I do have a few goals for 2014.

  • This year, I would like to make myself a sweater, and I would like it to fit well and look nice on me. This may require combining one sweater pattern (Darrowby) with that custom-fit thing that all the cool kids are doing, but I’ll be researching that at a later time.
  • Untitled

  • This year I would like to expand my little garden. One more 4×4 gardening kit would give me another 8×4 feet of garden. I’ll also make myself a little fence of chicken wire so as to keep the pup from “helping”.

Untitled

  • This year I would like to continue to declutter my house and organize my living spaces. I will not berate myself for not having done it sooner, and I will not put it off “in case we move”. T and I (and the boys) will be taking some time to do this, a little each week or month.
  • This year I would like to sew a garment, either for myself or one of the family. I have ideas on some Craftsy classes.
  • This year I need to start moving some more and loosen up my joints. Smallish Bear did a number on my body, and then I hit 40 and all the warranties expired. I want to feel good in my skin again.
Posted in darrowby, family goodness, garden | 4 Comments

clean-up

I will write a sorta New Year’s post soonish, but after comparing notes with a lovely friend, I should point out that I do not now have, nor have I ever had*, an account on MSN.com. If you have seen emails purportedly from me using an MSN account, they are fake. (if you haven’t, kindly ignore this post and carry on. Xo)

* that I can remember, and certainly not with the current incarnation of my internet name, which I have been using now for more than ten years.

And with that, on to the new year, my lovelies!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments