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.
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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.)

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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!
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(Oh yeah, and I dyed my hair purple.)

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!

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.
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  • 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”.

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  • 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.

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!

Good gravy, has it been that long?

Cuz wow. (I was about to call someone today to rant about how I WASNOTNUH-UHNUH-UH late on my training cuz it’d due DECEMBER 15 DUH, and then….Oh, right. Good thing I didn’t send that email.)
Well, feh, I went back to look at my last post and MY OWN BLOG is blocked from work for being “web and email spam”. I suspect somebody I used to know actually managed to do that to my little site here, but whatever. I can has mobile internet, yes I can has!
ANYWAYS. Yes, it has been that long. It has been more than a month, by gum. Since last I wrote, my middle son has become a five year old.

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I feel like that’s the official line into kid-hood. Five. I’m not sure I can deal with that particular reality.

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I have also finished a scarf. See?

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There were also red socks that I never managed to photograph (beyond being fetchingly draped over my garden gmoose) and half a black man-sock that might be the death of me.

There’s a baby who’s thinking he should just screw that whole crawling thing and just walk already

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and also, swords are fun, even if they’re hobbit-sized

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Given that I still have a man-sock and a half, and two quilts to finish before Sunday at noon, I do believe this will be the last time I post until the flip side.

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(Also, who is that giant kid on the right there, and where’s my Bubba?)

I won’t stand for it.

Is what I thought the first time I heard about the idea of standing up at your desk. Cuz, DUH, that sounds tiring and I’m already tired, yo. Plus my feet hurt, and my back aches, and and and.

But after a number of articles on the subject of how sitting greatly increases your chance of dying prematurely (even if you work out daily and accounting for lifestyle issues like smoking and eating habits), I started to wonder. A coworker hurt her back and needed to crank up her desk (we have height-adjustable surfaces in our cubes) and she seemed to like it. I got a wild hair one day and cranked up my desk.

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Yes, that is as high as it goes, and yes, it is always that messy. People do insist on leaving papers on my desk. ANYhoo.

The keyboard and mouse are on boxes to raise them a bit more (and I could stand another coupla inches when I’m wearing shoes with heels) and the monitor is tilted up. I read that it’s good to be looking down a little, but I’d still prefer to have this raised a bit more.

All in all, though, I’m happy with the whole thing. My feet do hurt a little more by the end of the day and I have discovered serious inadequacies in my shoe wardrobe from the point of view of sufficient support, but all in all I like it and have no plans to revert to the old way. I do still sit down to review paperwork and can in a pinch compute from a seated position, but I think I’m standing up for the foreseeable future. If you can manage it without too much expense, I’d recommend you try it.

Progress report!

Much progressing has progressed.

First! Happy Buddha-baby is happy. And round.

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Next! Silly Juniper-pup is silly. And round. (This picture belies that, but trust me.)

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Third! Mustard is very happy in my garden. I think I am going to pull some out/off and toss them in tomorrow’s salad.

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Fourth! Look! Christmas-present socks! (ZOMG these took forever.) Unblocked so still a bit ugly, being guarded by the Garden Gmoose. (Some people have garden gnomes, I have garden gmoose.)

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(Cascade sock yarn, basic bright red, 76st in 2×2 rib to fit a size 10.5 woman’s foot with extra length on the leg, and an afterthought star heel according to these instructions.)(Beware that link – Quicktime tried to play something but Chrome denied it and OH HOW I HATE WEBSITES WITH ANYTHING AUTOPLAY.)

Fifth! Look! Weaving another Christmas present! Loving the heck out of the weaving but MAN does it do a number on my back, particularly during the warping part. I direct warp, and I think next time I think about it I’ll take the loom off the stand and put it up higher. And possibly try to warp it right the first time so I don’t have two false starts.

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Sixth! Bubba and Smacky got their bikes out – finally cool enough to ride them – and those stupid bikes must have shrunk. Also, Smacky and Smallish Bear need (new) helmets so we can go a-riding. No pictures of this because…. well, because I forgot to take any.

Next time! Discussion of a standing desk and how it’s working for me.