Monday, February 2, 2015

January Crafting Recap

I can't believe it's February already, so I guess you get the last 3 weeks of January crammed into one post.  Not that there's all that much to tell really.

So far the "no goals" thing is going well, although as I mentioned before, you'd be surprised how hard it is NOT to set goals.  It's made me realize how often I set little goals and make bargains with myself..."if I do X, then I can do Y".

On the knitting & spinning front, I've enjoyed just working on whatever I feel like in the moment.  It means that I didn't finish a lot in January and I have a lot of works in progress (WIPS), but that's o.k.  The flip side is it means that I'm actually enjoying working on whatever I'm working on at that moment, and not feeling like I just "need" to work on it because I haven't in a while, or I have to finish it for a deadline, or some other reason.

I did finish knitting this pair of socks for me.  I also did a little weaving and wove a scarf. My edges are still really bad and uneven, but I haven't practiced much.  I'm taking a couple of weaving classes at Carolina Fiber Frolic in March, so hopefully I'll get better.
I've cast on a couple of new things, and I won't show you all of them, but one item is a reknit of the Water for the Elephants socks in the exact same yarn & colors as I knit them before.  I wrote here about the laundry tragedy that killed my last pair, so I won't repeat it now, but fortunately I have more of the same yarn, so they can be recreated!  Ann, one of the Carolina Fiber Girls recently started knitting herself a pair, and it inspired me to get started remaking mine.  So far I have a little of one leg done.
In spinning news, I finished my Sweets Off the Wheel group  "Squatch" SAL.  This was 3 different colorways of 2 ounces each of fiber from Three Waters Farm.  I ended up just spinning all 3 into singles and then plying the together as a 3 ply.  I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out, although I had no idea what to expect. 

I also practiced my woolen spinning a little with some mystery fiber from last year's Carolina Fiber Frolic.  I plied some of it with some other random fiber I had on hand, and then when I ran out of that, I just chain plied the rest.  The result is just evidence that I should probably practice my woolen spinning more.  Or maybe not, I can't decide.  I really like the smoothness of worsted spun yarn, so that's kind of my preference.  On the other hand, woolen spun is much lighter, so would make a lighter sweater, etc.

I have no idea what I'll do with either of these.  They're only 87 yards combined.  I'm thinking about knitting them up into some squares and then felting them for coasters, although the blue/green I added to the one has some silk in it, but I think I don't think it's enough to keep it from felting enough to be dense.

That's about all my crafting since my last post.  I spent the weekend sick, and didn't knit a stitch or spin at all.  I still didn't feel 100% this morning, so I took the day off in the hopes that a little more rest, Vitamin C and ibuprofen would get rid of the last of the icks.  I felt a lot better by this afternoon so I did one productive thing and washed the pile of handspun that has been accumulating since sometime in October. It's a crappy picture, but you can see I'm not kidding when I say PILE of handspun.
I feel like I should have some sort of ending statement here, but I don't, so until next time....

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spin Stitch Knit Festival 2015

I've enjoyed having a few days off, but it's back to work tomorrow.  I got most of what I wanted to accomplished this weekend, not that it was an overly ambitious list to begin with, and I feel a little more organized at home heading into the start of a busy few months at work.

Saturday I went to a small new event in Stedman, NC called Spin Stitch Knit Festival 2015.  It was indeed a small event, but there were several nice vendors there and I came home with a few pretties.

The blue & yellow yarns on the left are both Whisper Fingering from Unplanned Peacock, an alpaca, silk, cashmere base that is sooooo soft.  They will probably be used together in a two-colored shawl.  The green/yellow yarn is also Unplanned Peacock in her Lustral Shawl, which is a fingering weight yarn in a 600 yard put up.  The yarn on the right is the event colorway, called Oceans 11, and it's from That Hooker Chick.

Also there was The Clay Sheep and I picked up a diz and some adorable stitch markers from her.

Until my friends Michiele and Roxie became bad influences I never bought buttons until I needed them for a specific project.  A couple of years ago they turned me to the dark side and my button stash has been slowly growing as well.  I added 4 of these gorgeous antique dragonfly buttons to my collection Saturday.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but it's hard to capture with all the shiny going on.

My friend Colleen went with me, and even though she's not a knitter or spinner she is a quilter, so she was both tolerant of my shopping and properly inquisitive about the various offerings and their purpose.  She even bought herself an Origami Owl bracelet, which is not spinning or knitting related, but I was glad she found something there she liked.

The event, though small, was worth the trip for me because I live only an hour away.  There were 9 or 10 vendors, and I figured if Unplanned Peacock was there it wouldn't be a total wasted trip.  They did have some food there, although we didn't actually eat anything there. They did offer some classes, but they didn't do a very good job of providing information ahead of time on what was and/or when those were being offered and I was only able to determine the exact classes and schedule the day before the event, at which point I had already made my plans.

Overall, if they do it again next year and it falls on a weekend I don't have other plans I might go again, but I'm not going to plan my weekend around being able to go.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cotton Candy

This is what I made today.  I actually had most of the singles spun before today, so I just had to finish the last bit of the singles and then ply it.  That's not always a quick process for me, so this is my major accomplishment for the day and I'm fine with that.

Other than spinning I goofed around on the computer for a while and then spent the late afternoon sitting on the couch in the silence, reading a cheesy romance novel, wrapped in a blanket (because it's f**ing cold) with feline leg warmers.  It looked something like this....
Tomorrow will be less lazy and more productive, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day, including the take out sushi we had for dinner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Calm Before the Storm

I got my 2014 Reading List up to date on here today and started my list for 2015. I can tell from the last few books I've read that I'm entering my mindless reading phase.  When my life gets busy and stressful my reading tends to be mostly Harlequin type romance.  They're escapism at its finest, coupled with guaranteed happy endings, and they give my brain a rest for a while from all the other stuff going on. 

Work is going to start getting busy again next week, so I'm taking the next two days off to have a 4 day weekend and try to combine a last couple of days of relaxation with getting a couple of things done.

Tomorrow is "relax day".  I'm going to spin, knit, read, weave, sleep, whatever I feel like doing at any given moment and not feel guilty about it or think about anything I "should" be doing.  At some point I will figure out what we're having for dinner, but it will most likely involve take out.

Friday is the day to get a few things done.  The pile of donations that have been sitting in first the floor of the guest room and then my craft room for over 3 months need to be listed, bagged, and dropped off at the Salvation Army.  If the weather report remains accurate and we don't get any rain, I will finally get the outside Christmas lights and wreath down and put away.  And finally, the largest project, I will get my craft room cleaned up and organized because right now it looks like everything exploded in there.

Saturday morning early Rob & I are heading to buy some wood so he can start the master bedroom closet built-ins.  When we get back from doing that I'm going to drive down to Stedman and check out the Spin Stitch Knit Festival.  It's new this year and probably small, but I figure I'll give it a chance.  I know that one of my favorite vendors Unplanned Peacock will be there, so that alone will make it worth the drive.

Sunday will be my normal routine, which mainly involves doing laundry and a trip to the grocery store, and gearing myself up to go back to work on Monday.  Hopefully by then I will feel ready for the months to come.

2015 Reading List

Books I've Read in 2015

I include audio books I listen to on my daily commute. (A) indicates it was an audio book, (K) indicates it was read on the Kindle app, and no designation means it was a traditional paper book.

Long Tall Texans Vol. II: Tyler & Sutton by Diana Palmer
Long Tall Texans Vol. III: Ethan & Connal by Diana Palmer

Saturday, January 3, 2015

(Lack of) Planning for 2015

I've been thinking about goals for 2015, and I've essentially decided not to set any really specific goals for this year. 

My broad categories are still the same as healthier/exercise more/lose weight, and write more... things that I haven't made much progress on the past few years despite my yearly goal declarations.  I usually set some very specific goals within those categories and then I don't meet them and I feel bad about myself, or guilty, and that's just not productive.

So this year, no specific goals, at least not in a long range way.  I still want to eat healthier/exercise more/lose weight, but I know what I need to do to do that, and setting specific goals such as exercise 3 times per week apparently doesn't help me do it.  I still want to write more, but obligating myself to write here a certain number of days or work on my ever languishing novel a certain amount doesn't appear to work either.

I'm not even setting any knitting or spinning goals this year.  I usually start off the year with some goals such as "knit a pair of socks per month" or "knit 2 sweaters", etc., but this year I've declared that I'm going to knit or spin what I want, when I want with no obligations or deadlines, not even self-imposed ones.  That doesn't mean I don't currently have some thoughts on what I might want to knit this year, or that I won't knit for others.  I just started a baby blanket for a baby due in 3 months, but you know what, if it's not done until after the baby is born then so what?

The fact of the matter is, I'm already very stressed about how the next 7-8 months of work are going to go, and I just don't need any other reason to feel guilty about not getting something done.  I'm not giving up, I'm not depressed, I'm just trying to give myself permission to take things as they come and do what I can do and not beat myself up for those things I can't.

A New Year's Day Walk

We had some good friends staying with us for New Year's Eve, and he's into photography, so New Year's Day we got out of the house and went to a local park that's centered around an old mill.  Our friend is a much better photographer than I am, but I snapped a few pictures with my phone.
It's hard to read, but it says Ole Gilliam Mill Park
They actually crank the mill up twice a year, and when they do they have others out at the park demonstrating other skills such as blacksmithing, making lye soap, and weaving.

There's a small lake you can walk around and see some of the other buildings they've restored and/or built. And in general, it's a nice little walk.

This building always makes me think of old western movies.
Across the street where you actually park is a restored covered bridge.  I'm not positive, but I think that this actually used to be the bridge across the river.
The sight of one of these always makes me think of my PaPaw Hayes.

All in all it was a relaxing thing to do on the first really sunny day we'd had in over a week.

In case you're wondering, I decided not to officially sign up for NaBloPoMo this month, so I won't be posting every single day, but I am going to try to post more often.  I'll talk more about my goals for 2015 (or actually my lack of them) in my next post.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015


Yes, I know, it's been a while, although my husband may be the only one that's noticed.  I'm toying with the idea of doing NaBloPoMo again for the month of January so I wanted to get a post up today, although I haven't decided for sure that I'm doing it.  We have house guests until tomorrow, so this is just a quick one.  Even if I don't do NaBloPoMo this month, I will be back again soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A New Minnow in the Pond

I have a new nephew!!

Please welcome Miller Hayes Hartstein (formerly known as Minnow) into this crazy pond we live in.  He arrived Tuesday, August 5, 2014, so he's 1 week old today.

I'm thrilled for my sister and her husband, and know they'll be great parents.  I don't get to meet him in person until Christmas, but hopefully they'll share lots of pictures between now & then.

Now I've just got to get my act together & pack up all those knits I showed you in this post and get them mailed.
Well hello there!

P.S. I've been dying to post this all week, it was all I could think to post about, but I had to wait until my sister decided it was time to share him with the internets.  He's her child after all.