Sunday, October 10, 2010

Holy Yarn Crawl!

I just completed my first official yarn crawl! Nine yarn stores in two days! I am overwhelmed to say the least! Along with the gifts skeins we received at each location, I purchased more on my own. I tried to resist, but I couldn't. But as one very wise knitter said after she transferred more money to her account, yarn is our jewelry.

I don't even know where to begin about what a wonderful experience the yarn crawl was - I can't wait to do it again next year! Stacy and I had fun on the bus and made new knitting friends. I saw and purchased spectacular yarn. We appreciated small towns and dreamed about moving to one.

At one store I was introduced to an old craft: rug hooking. Stacy and I were both intrigued as the women of Stonehill Spinning in Fredricksburg demonstrated the art on a piece in progress. Rug hooking involves pulling strips of wool up through linen or burlap in small looped increments to create beautiful rugs. It looks to me what would be the predecessor to latch hooking. Stacy bought some tools; I think I will wait and see if I can find a reasonably priced starter kit. I was telling Clint and my dad about it and my dad said that his mother used to do rug hooking in the 60s and 70s! She even had her own fabric cutter which cuts five or six strips at once. So fiber arts are truly in my blood!

I can't imagine how long it's going to take me to photograph and catalog all of my yarn spoils, but I'm looking forward to the task!

Friday, September 24, 2010

All this time...

All this time, I thought I knew how to pick up stitches. I mean, I've been picking them up, but unsuccessfully. I knew all along that something didn't look right, but I continued on with my absurd picking up technique anyway. I would look at knitting books and stare at the instructions for picking up stitches and think, that's what I'm doing - why do my projects look so...bad? On a whim, I watched a video on YouTube and finally learned the error of my ways!

All this time, I have been picking up a stitch with my left needle and then knitting it with my right. The result was this twisted-looking line of stitches that pulled very far away from the edge they had been picked up from. What I didn't understand until now is that your left needle is not involved at all in the process: it's just the right needle, the stitch and the working yarn!

The funniest thing is that all this time, I thought I was right! This makes me want to go back and reknit things so that I can pick up the stitches correctly. Well, not really. But from here on out, I will.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Knitting and Learning

I'm working on the body of the top-down raglan. I really love the Spud & Chloe yarn; I'm glad I gave it a second chance. The more I think about it, the more I realize the sock yarn I am alluding to is really not responsible for my dislike. I'm pretty sure the culprit was the size 1 needles I was insisting on using even though it felt terrible. Note to self: frog the socks that have sat untouched for who knows how long and use it, but not on size 1's! When I started the body, I thought I was a 0 ease kind of gal, but as I'm trying it on every couple of inches I am realizing that I am indeed a negative ease gal. How much negative ease? That is yet to be determined. I guess I will just have to make another sweater to find out! For now I am accepting this sweater for what it is and enjoying the learning process : )

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Recent Knitting Epiphanies

I am trucking along on my top-down raglan and loving it. I finished my first skein and it's time to start a new one. I decided that instead of joining my yarn in one of the two ways I have made up, that maybe it's about time that I learn the proper way. So I searched YouTube for a knitting tutorial and found one. What I learned was beyond simple and I actually already knew it, I just wasn't applying what I knew at the right time. The secret to joining the yarn is to do so at the beginning of the row (or round in this case), then you just weave in the ends when you're done! Duh! Why did this take me so long to figure out?

My other epiphany came when I magically realized how to do a yarn over at the beginning of a row: you wrap the yarn before the first stitch! Duh! I have actually avoided patterns and stitches because I didn't understand how to do this!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeling unsatisfied by all your current projects? Start another!

For me, having six knitting projects at once is pretty normal. So it's no surprise then, that I felt the need to cast on for the top-down raglan knit-along that Susan B. Anderson is sponsoring here. I am so excited to be working on this sweater; it's the first cold weather item of the season. I picked a beautiful burnt orange for the fall (and for UT) and just knitting it makes fall seem a little closer, despite the fact that my car thermometer said 107 when I got in after lunch.

I love knit-alongs because they make an otherwise daunting knitting project feel doable. The parts are doled out weekly and I feel like a kid in school again! I looked at the blog yesterday because I was so excited and Susan had already posted the first steps - yea! I finished my whole assignment last night and I can't wait for the next part!

In other knitting news, I saw Barbara W. up at school today. She is a retired teacher and was up at school visiting all of us. She is very special to me because she taught me how to read a pattern and make booties. Once I learned that, my knitting life really took off. And when I say "took off", that's an understatement. Learning how to read a pattern was life-changing for me. I didn't even know I wanted to learn, so I'm glad Barbara took a chance on such an ambivalent person! Anyway, we're going to try to arrange a regular knitting night which is great because Stacy and I had already been talking about this AND Stacy was in Barbara's class in middle school! I can't wait to tell her (Stacy).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Knitting Update and other things

After finishing one washcloth, I am hooked. I must make more washcloths! I usually don't care to knit with cotton, but I have a newfound respect for the fiber. I am on #2 and cannot wait to start #3!

I am slogging away at Abalone. I know I am going to love it when it's done, but right now I'm drowning in stockinette. I want to get it finished up until seaming by August 28 because on that day there is a finishing class at Gauge and I would really like to go.

Finley's monster has stalled out for a little while, but that's okay, it's already belated, but I need to start on Cash's because I know October will be here before we know it. I also realize that Lora is one of my two followers, and this may ruin the surprise, but oh well. Maybe she won't read this post.

The brown charades are slow going. I'm almost to the 2nd heel and if I can get past that, I'm in the home stretch!

I survived job-alike today. I don't know why I was so nervous. I ended up having two co-presenters and a class of 15 teachers; no sweat. Tomorrow we don't report to school until 11:00! Yea! One more morning of sleeping in and knitting!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Delicious Minutiae

I survived the first two days of staff development and am excited to start the weekend. I am terrified about presenting at my district's curriculum day next week, but I guess I'll worry about that next week. There are going to be a lot of changes this year and I'm trying to take things one day at a time, which is great until you notice there are plenty of teachers trying to pack 48 hours into one day; that's hard to compete with.

Tomorrow Nancy and I will be doing a mini yarn crawl. On the tour for sure are: Gauge and Hill Country Weavers. We are also thinking about checking out Yarnbow in Lakeway and the Knitting Nest, which I did not realize until last night, is at a new location on South Congress! I am out to purchase some yarn, but I'm mostly excited to be around yarn with the woman that started it all for me. It should be a great day.

Then Chris and Rodney will be making there way to Austin for a visit. I'm hoping we can plan an elaborate Greek meal and then go on a fun shopping excursion to either Whole Foods or Central Market.


Why can I forgive everyone (so easily) but myself?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New School Year; New Names

I go back to work tomorrow - yech.

I've had this blog for over a year and it's never really become what I wanted it to be. But then again, I don't really know what I want it to be, so I guess that all makes sense. I changed the name today. I chose this new name because it is true; I do ❤ minutiae. Like when everyone complains about the crap people write on their FaceBook statuses I can't relate because I ❤ the stuff people right there. The more minute and unimportant the better! I don't know why I like it, I just do. {Last Christmas we were watching old home movies at Clint's parents' house. There was this one that their friend Robert had made. It was minutiae at it's finest: suck random clips from his own family, Clint's family, etc. I think about that video all the time.} It (this blog) has had three different names since its inception. First it was "Spacegoat Knits" but then I was doing other things that I wanted to include in the blog, so I changed it to "Spacegoat Creates", but now I'm just sick of that spacegoat stuff. It was a really funny memory, but I think I'm over it. I'm also ready to not be anonymous. Which means I guess I'll be changing my name on Good Reads and Ravelry. I wonder what will happen when I do? I wonder if I can...

This summer I had a radical idea: what if instead of keeping my separate blogs, I just wrote one? It hasn't officially happened, but I think I'm moving toward it, slowly.

Earlier this summer Stacy and I went to outdoor yoga at Barton Springs. It was was really enjoyable, except for the end when I put my arm in an ant pile right before savasana. After that we went to eat brunch at a place on South Lamar. The food we ordered sounded good and mostly tasted good, but later made us both sick. We had gazapacho, but it was warm because they had just made it. It didn't really hit the spot after sweaty poses in the great outdoors. And our sandwich, a tuna and dill havarti, was acceptable. I decided today that I would relive this sandwich experience and right the wrong I had endured. So I made that sandwich for lunch, but now my stomach kind of hurts. I can't tell if it's real or in my head.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's Try This on For Size

One of the blogs I read and enjoy very much, occasionally puts up a post in the following format. Personally when I see posts like this, I usually skim them at best. I don't know, reading that format does not appeal to me. But I thought I'd try it for myself and I have to admit, I REALLY liked writing using the format. A lot of times I go weeks without posting because I feel like I don't have anything worthy enough to write about (I know stupid, but always occurring) or I think that when I started this blog it was the for the purpose of logging what I was creating at the time. I don't know why I box myself into corners like this; it's my blog, I can do whatever I want with it. Anyway, I liked this format because it helped write about things I never thought to write about here, original intent of the blog be damned!

The only thing I'm wrestling with is, I want to go back through and add links to things I've mentioned, but I am telling myself no because if I do, it will take forever and this post will never be published.


Outside my window... the shades are closed in the office today.

I am thinking... of writing a letter to Katie thanking her for a unique gift.

I am thankful for... yoga for giving me so many gifts.

From the learning rooms... reading like crazy before school starts and I don't have time to do my own reading. I finished Outliers and loved it. I was thinking of buying Blink, but then I found it on my shelf - what a great surprise. I'm also trying to finish Eat, Pray, Love before the movie opens. There are other books, but they can wait.

From the kitchen... preparing to make Devils on Horseback for a get-togther tonight. I haven't had them in so long and I've never made them, so I'm excited to try.

I am wearing... khaki yoga pants, my black Chinati t-shirt

I am creating... a short-sleeved sweater called Abalone, brown socks called Charades and another monster set for a belated birthday present.

I am going... to fold the laundry that has been sitting in the laundry basket in our bedroom for almost a week.

I am reading... oh, I didn't realize there was a specific place for reading. This is my first time using this format. Hmmm, well I guess I can talk about those other books I eluded to earlier. My bathroom book is 13. My goal was to finish The Passage before the end of summer, but that is obviously not happening. I am pacing myself through Hidden Gems. I'm trudging through Until I Find You; it's heavy (literally and figuratively) so I don't get far before I have to put it down and read something lighter, like The Friday Night Knitting Club. It's light and easy.

I am hoping... that a dear family friend is doing alright. I just heard this morning that she was diagnosed with cancer and I haven't touched base with the family yet.

I am hearing... Clint clear his throat repeatedly.

Around the house... tidying up for tonight's get-together. Yesterday Clint installed the last cabinet and the over-sink light. Now the only thing left is the backsplash tile. And that will be a pretty big job.

One of my favorite things... leftovers - I'm about to eat some for lunch.

A few plans for the rest of the week: welcoming my Aunt Nancy from upstate NY, dreading going back to school, seeing Chris and Rodney who are visiting from Houston this weekend.

Adapted from: The Simple Woman's Daybook.

My own amendments:

I am listening to (I feel that this is different from I am hearing because I am hearing lacks deliberate intention)... lots of How Stuff Works podcasts, The Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The High Road by Broken Bells, and the auto-tuned Home Invader (so ashamed).

I am watching... lots of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and D.C., The Next Food Network Star, Design Star, and Skins (Season 2).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Betcha Didn't See that One Coming ; )

I was listening to one of my favorite knitting podcasts the other night while I was falling asleep: The Knit Picks Podcast hosted by Kelley Petkun. The topic was knitted gifts. Since I am someone that from time to time, gives my knitted objects as gifts, I thought this was worth listening to. Kelley had her recommendations for what makes the best knitted gifts especially to be given to non-knitters.

Sidebar: Gifting knitted objects to knitters and non-knitters is a topic I should explore in a further post. The common belief is that a non-knitter will likely not appreciate a knitted gift the way a knitter does.

Surprisingly her first suggestion was socks. Personally, I can barely make it through a pair of socks for myself, so the idea of spending all that time and then giving them away? I don't think so.

Sidebar: I did knit a couple of pairs of socks for my mom, so that should illuminate how special it is to receive socks from me.

Kelley's second suggestion was washcloths. I've seen many people do this and then pair it with a great soap. And I thought, hey, this is a good idea. Washcloths are easy and super fast and how many people actually use hand-knit washcloths on a regular basis, so that's a real treat! So to make a long story short, I thought about who deserved a hand-knit washcloth and the winner, I decided, was me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer To-Do

1. Go to Barton Springs. Then go to Guero's and eat al pastor tacos and a hornitos margarita (on the rocks of course) with Stacy.
2. Sleep outside.
3. Finish reading The Passage.
4. Go to yarn stores with my Aunt Nancy.
5. Go to the Sit and Knit at Mandolas at least once.
6. Do a movie in our backyard.
7. Make homemade hummingbird nectar and feed hummingbirds.
8. Eat a caprese salad with fresh summer tomatoes.
9. Learn how to make my own good iced coffee at home.
10. Watch Swimming Pool.
11. Watch Bridget Jones's Diary.
12. Finish the kitchen.
13. Finish the Tuck vest I'm knitting right now.
14. Finish Herbivore.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kitchen Update

After days of waffling back and forth between laminate that looks like granite and granite tiles for our new countertops, I think we've reached a decision, or at least a step in the right direction. We had originally disregarded the option of stock laminate that we would cut ourselves because one of our countertops is nine inches longer than the longest stock laminate pieces. We briefly discussed that we could use it, we would just have a seam which at the time, I didn't think I could live with. After some reconsideration, I've decided we should reexamine this option because it's a fraction of the cost of custom-cut laminate. And Clint could do this himself and we could start right away. We're both tired of the reno being halfway done with no end in sight.

Makes a Mistake

So I was trucking along on my Tuck vest now that I have the pattern and I had a good amount knitted when I realized ... it's too big. I brought it to lunch to show Stacy over the weekend and she held it up to me; I know that I want it big, but I don't want it this big. I was knitting on a larger needle trying to match the gauge of the vest they have out on sample at Gauge, but I don't think I can make it happen. I think I'll just stick to the pattern the way it's written. I'll have to rip it all out and start over : ( For that reason, I haven't touched the project since Saturday. I know I'll pick it up and start over, but it takes some willpower.

In the meantime, I've been working on my Herbivore shawl. I know I'm gong to love it when it's done, but it's taking some time. I love the shape; it allows for a longer thinner shawl as opposed to a triangular shape, the typical shawl I make. This will be my 7th shawl out of 10 for the year. I don't want to jump the gun, but I'm already starting to think about when I'm done with 10 and what I'll do. Will I keep going? Or take a break from shawls? I don't want to jinx myself though, so I should stop.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Spacegoats Make a New Kitchen!

Things have been pretty busy around here with remodeling the kitchen.

Our original plan was to remove the soffits to allow for a real overhaul and open up the already tiny space, but that idea was quickly shelved when we realized we would "have to" have the ceilings checked for asbestos. We have the lovely popcorn ceilings and the ones that were installed pre-1978 (which is a loose number) potentially have asbestos in them. Our house was built in 1979 and I didn't want to taken any chances. The more I read about getting the tests done and the money involved, the more we decided we could live with the soffits.

So we started to make a plan and a budget, but then we got ahead of ourselves and went to Ikea and bought our cabinets last Thursday. Since they were so heavy, we had them delivered and they arrived the next day. I don't know what was wrong with Clint and I, but we somehow neglected to think about the fact that Ikea products come in pieces. As they unloaded our flat boxes of cabinet materials, the realization set in: we would have to assemble these cabinets before Clint could even install them! I know - we're stupid.

Things went pretty smoothly for a couple of days. We got all the upper cabinets installed, but then paused on the lowers until we got out countertop situation situated. We had imagined that we would install laminate than looks like granite because of the cost. Well, this is where spending some time on a budget before we got started would have been useful. We went to three stores to price the cost of laminate countertops. Just for the countertops and delivery, it would cost about $700! That doesn't even include removal and disposal of our old countertops, or installation of the new one, or sink connects and disconnects! So we don't think we're going to buy laminate.

We priced some granite tiles today with the prospect of laying them as the countertop. It would be about $400, with Clint doing all labor himself. I just wish we had planned out a full budget ahead of time so I could have started adjusting to the prices awhile ago.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spacegoat Makes a Swatch

So long time, no see...yadda, yadda, yadda...I'm starting a new project!!!

After breakfast today, I convinced Stacy to go to the yarn store with me. I wasn't really planning on buying anything (really!) and neither was she, but then we saw this sample vest and all bets were off. She tried it on, I tried it on, we fell in love with it! I thought it would be fun if we did a summer knit along together and I could reignite Stacy's passion for knitting. So we ordered the pattern and yarn and I was lucky enough that my yarn was in stock, and I was able to take mine home today! The pattern will take a little while, so the acquisition is bittersweet, but at least I can start swatching and get ready! Yea - project!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 6: Cleaning Up

I've spent an inordinate amount of time today cleaning out email inboxes. We received an email at work telling us that our inboxes are just too big and even the scheduled deletions they do once a month are not enough to keep up with us! They recommended that we take time daily to filter through that day's mail. It's hard for me though - I used to manage weekly clean outs, but now I'm more like every few months. I did successfully clean out my school email before I came home today. There's just so many stupid emails that waste my time, like teachers telling everyone they let their class out late (so we don't mark the kids tardy) or emails soliciting us to join the school dodgeball team...

I came home and in just over an hour managed to clear out my personal email inbox as well. It was interesting getting back to pre-August 28th emails. I read through some random ones and thought about how much my life has changed since then with my mom's cancer diagnosis.

Anyway, I'm keeping up with my Lenten addendum: no knitting blogs or Ravelry. I also realized after the last post that I really need to include knitting podcasts as well. Wow - I didn't realize how much knitting had intervened in every crevice of my life! So as of today, I'm fully knitting-free. I reorganized my Google Reader subscriptions, so that all the knitting blogs I read are in their own folder that I promise not to open until Easter.

I'm hoping to post some pictures soon of what I'm doing without the knitting: cooking, embroidery (a little), taking pictures of Clint's growing hair and seeing A LOT of movies (we saw Shutter Island this past weekend and I REALLY liked it) - you know what I'm making. Afterall, this is a blog about making things.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 4: A Double-Edged Sword

Since I've been a member of Ravelry for a little over a year, I've seen it really grow and make a lot of my knitting dreams come true. Just now I was reading their "This Week on Ravelry - Issue 68" which is basically an online knitting magazine, and some thoughts started forming in my mind.

When I decided to give up the knitting for Lent, I didn't want to outlaw myself from Ravelry, plus I didn't see the point. I figured, if I'm giving up the actual knitting, what's the harm in reading about knitting? Well, there's a lot of harm. Obviously, when looking at other people's knitting, it makes me want to knit. I'm thinking that I'm not truly giving up the knitting, if I'm still spending time on the computer looking at all-things-knitting.

So here's a radical decision: starting Monday, I'm not going to look at Ravelry or knitting blogs for the remainder of Lent - gasp! I know this is a good decision because the thought of it makes me want to to cry - that's a good sacrifice ; ) Also it's just not feeling hard enough to only give up the needles. It's like all the online accoutrement is allowing me to give up the actual act, but all I'm really doing is living vicariously through other knitters.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 2: The Right Choice?

Obviously it's very early on in this event, but I found myself wondering this morning if I made the right decision about what to give up. I'm barely missing knitting! I know, I know - ask me in a week and I'll probably answer differently. Alright, I did stare at my green socks longingly today and admire for far too long how exquisite the stitches looked...

So far, some of the things I am doing to occupy myself are: reading, helping plan Candace's bachelorette party, helping Clint plan our spring break trip and staying later at work. I'm cool with all except the last. Every Tuesday and Thursday after school we have a yoga teacher that comes and teaches a class for all of us tired teachers. Typically after yoga, I go straight home, but both yoga days this week, I found myself back in my classroom after yoga struggling to catch up on all things school. It makes yoga less relaxing knowing I have to go back to working afterward. There's just so much going on right now. UIL is this Saturday, so after that, there will be one less thing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1: Lent

So ironically on this first day of Lent, I taught Carol how to knit during 7th period. She was a super fast learner and took to it like a spider to a web. I don't even know if it should count as teaching because I showed her one row (15 sts), she tried one row and had the hang of it. She was planning on going home tonight and knitting more, so we'll see what she says tomorrow.

Now that I'm free to pursue other interests, I actually feel distant from fiber in general and have been reading a lot more. I think that's good for now. I'm hoping to fall in love with knitting again. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Countdown Begins

Lent starts on Wednesday. 
It's Monday - 4:38 pm. 
The time is almost upon us. 

I spent some time yesterday organizing and putting away my knitting materials. All I left out was the citron shawl in progress and my knitting notebook, but I don't even feel like working on it. Knowing that even if I worked on it every waking moment between now and Wednesday and I still wouldn't finish it is causing a serious lack of motivation. I think I might even indulge in some embroidery tonight!

I've been a little jealous of all the Ravelympics that's currently going on, but I think it's good - I'm looking at it as an extra challenge. And hey, there's always next year...

So during Lent my main goal is to not work on any of my personal knitting, I will be teaching some people though - I've had several requests and I'm really excited. I will also be starting the knitting club at school after UIL is over. These are both good things and I don't see them as spoiling my sacrifice because I haven't taught anyone to knit in f-o-r-e-v-e-r! And my main motivation in giving up the knitting is 1) to make a sacrifice and 2) experience some things I've been missing out on because I've been spending so much time knitting. Plus, in the old days when I would teach people to knit, my heart was in it, but not 100%. I would teach and then want to work on my own projects - I could never give myself fully. So now that working on my own personal projects is not even an option, I can be a more devoted teacher!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Change of Direction?

After much anticipation, my very first sock kit arrived today. I am definitely pleased with the yarn and the patterns, but I think all of my yearning definitely got the best of me. Do I love the patterns? No. Do I like them? Yes. The good news is the yarn is gorgeous, but I'm already contemplating not making socks out of it! Why did I have to fall in love with knitting shawls all of a sudden?! They're all I can think about! 

When I first started thinking about not making the socks, I told myself, no - you joined this SOCK club and you are going to knit socks. But the truth is, life is too short to knit something you're not into - and I don't think I'm into the sock patterns this month : ( I'm a little disappointed in myself, but I don't regret signing up for the club at all. I love the yarn and I love even more that I'm expanding my color horizons. I figure I won't be able to complete a project with the new yarn until after Lent anyway, so that gives me plenty of time to ponder what the yarn will become.

I'm thinking I will have time to finish the blue shawl for mom before Lent. I completed 3.5 lace repeats today and that leaves 6 more. Definitely finishable in two weeks. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting on the Yarn to Arrive

My first shipment of yarn from the sock club is due to arrive any day now. The online boards I read are abuzz with who has gotten theirs and who hasn't. I'm strangely reminded of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which strangely I read (for the 84,000th time) last week. There are many a spoiler threads where people post pictures of what the shipment contains and I'm having a really hard time staying away from them, but I will resist- I want to be surprised when I open my box. Since Clint and I don't really exchange gifts I feel like this is Christmas. Sometimes we tell each other something we want and then the other goes and gets it. But rarely do we give each other true gifts. So I'm excited because I feel like this yarn is a true gift since I don't know what it will look like. Maybe in subsequent months I won't be so restrained and I will look at spoiler threads, but for now, I shall remain untainted.

Because I was so anxiously awaiting my sock yarn, I actually went online and purchased two more skeins of yarn form The Backwards Loop because it always comes really fast and I knew it would arrive before the Rockin' Sock Yarn. I ordered it Monday evening and it was here waiting for me yesterday after yoga. I didn't even get a picture of the blue because my camera battery was dead and I couldn't wait; I balled it and cast on a shawl for my mom. 

All of a sudden I am OBSESSED with shawls, or shawlettes, I should say. I noticed there is a group on Ravelry for those dedicated to knitting 10 shawls in 2010. If you had asked me a month ago if I would ever knit a shawl I would have said you were crazy, but now I can barely focus on anything else! I hope I can divide my attention when the sock yarn arrives. So I'm thinking of joining that group and trying for 10. If I made my first in a week, then surely 10 in a year won't be too troublesome...

Monday, January 25, 2010


Ever since I told my parents about giving up knitting for Lent, they haven't been fans of the idea. I'm not even really sure why. My parents have NEVER been the type to meddle in my business. All my life they have provided me with support in the endeavors of my choice, but they're always very reserved. So I'm very confused why they're even voicing an opinion on what I consider a non-important (from their point of view, not mine) topic.

Having them question my decision of course made me question my decision. Several times in the last couple of days I've thought about how easy it would be to NOT give up knitting. But then I think, that's why I'm doing it in the first place.

I asked Clint why he thought my parents were being so vocal, but he didn't know. But he disagrees with them; he wants me to give up knitting for Lent because he's looking forward to spending more time with me. It's so funny, when I'm knitting, 90% of the time I am with Clint (on the couch watching TV), but I know what he means: my attention is definitely primarily on the knitting. I wish I could be one of these people that multi-tasks easily, but I'm not. Like when I hear about people that can knit in meetings and still be active participants, I can't relate at all. I have to be fully present to one thing. 

On another aspect of resistance...I did not go to the yarn store this weekend. Instead I pulled out my white Through the Loops socks that were supposed to a November knit-along. I had a renewed interest in them, maybe because of all my pent up anticipation of the arrival of my first sock kit (which should be here any day!!!!!!). Anyway I got a significant amount done - maybe I'll even finish before the sock kit arrives...


One night last week I got obsessed with knitting this gorgeous hat I keep seeing on Ravelry. I guess one of the things holding me back from knitting is I would have to knit with two colors which I've never done for real. I mean I've made items where a second color starts at the start of a row, but that doesn't really count as color work because it's really easy. The hat would involve fair isle which means I would have two colors of yarn work simultaneously. 


I started researching different techniques and it appears that the most efficient method is to use both hands, ie. knit Continental and English at the same time and keep one yarn in each hand; much easier said than done. I practiced a little bit and it went better than I thought, but it was really slow. Knitting the other way is like writing with your non-dominant hand. It's been so long since knitting was difficult that it was hard to stick with it. Then I considered, if I learned Continental would that count as knitting during Lent? ; )  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FIrst Shawl: Complete


I completed my first shawl last night. Shawl is a pretty loose word; what I made is not nearly as big as what I would consider a "true" shawl. But I like what I made because I can wear it as a shawl around my shoulders or backward around my neck and wrap it. It's being blocked right now and is almost dry, so I'm hoping to wear it today when we leave the house. And we have to leave the house because we barely did yesterday.


For my shawl, I used Madeline Tosh sock yarn - it was my first time to knit with Madeline Tosh and it was a dream. Every time I find a yarn like this, I think, where has this yarn been all my life? It's so soft, but still has some weight to it and the depth of color kept me entranced the whole time I was working with it. I think I'm going to end up calling the shawl "Goldilocks and The Three Bears" because of the browns and golds. And besides, Goldilocks was a traveling woman (the original name of the pattern) in a way.


I realized when I was very near finishing that I had been completing my yarn-overs incorrectly the whole time. I though this was a lesson I had learned when I made the orange socks in October but apparently not. I don't think anyone else would be able to spot this mistake, and I did keep it consistent, so I guess that will have to be okay.

I told myself this morning as I was waking up that I deserve to go buy new yarn since I completed a project. Although my first sock club shipment arrives this week (!!!!!!!!) and obviously as soon as it does I will be casting on some socks. My goal is to complete that pair of socks before Lent starts and I think it's highly possible I can...if I don't have new yarn and other projects to distract me. My heart is saying, go to the yarn store - you deserve it; but my head is saying work on something already in progress.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Lenten Sacrifice

So every year I think about giving up something for Lent: some years I actually do it. Growing up my mom always encouraged me to try it and usually I would by giving up something silly and purposely doable, like Cokes or candy, which I didn't really consume much of to begin with. I am and never have been super religious, but the idea of Lent has grown increasingly interesting to me as I grow older. 

I gave up eating meat for Lent in either 2002 or 2003 and it was a REALLY rewarding experience. My roommate at the time participated with me and we helped each other out. We learned a lot about vegetarian cuisine and actually continued to abstain from eating meat for about a year afterward. Even now, I try to limit my meat consumption and go through long periods without eating it.

My brother and sister-in-law regularly participate in food fasts with their church. I noticed when I was with them over the holiday break that my sister-in-law was having an unusually difficult time with her decision this time. She would excessively salivate over everything she saw us eating and I started thinking and wondering why she was participating in the fast. I mean I know fasting is difficult, but it's something you're choosing to do and I believe that you should humble yourself. 

So in an effort to stop judging her, I started to think about what I could give up myself. I went through all my normal ideas: meat (again), alcohol, etc. but none of them seemed hard enough. I thought, what is something that would be REALLY hard to live without for 40 (46) days? Knitting. I do it everyday, I think about it all the time; I want to talk about it constantly. Not knitting is a true sacrifice for me.

I'm afraid that instead of just being a relaxing hobby, knitting has become a security blanket for me. It makes me feel good and I want to bring it everywhere, even when it wouldn't be appropriate. Or I'll be out with friends and think, I'd rather be knitting. There have even been times recently when I have chosen knitting over social outings. Sometimes I worry that I'm ignoring Clint in favor of knitting. I've also noticed lately that I'm insatiable; I finish a project and I don't even enjoy the end result - I voraciously start a new project. 

I've also been thinking, what else could I produce if I directed my creative energies in different directions? I haven't embroidered in a long time. I haven't been reading or writing nearly as much as I want to because I'm always knitting. And I'm also excited for the possibilities that exist that I haven't even thought of yet.

I would like to say that during Lent, I will update my blog daily. I can picture the posts: Day 10 - Withdrawal, Day 18 - Was I Crazy?, etc. but I don't think it's realistic. I also need to decide what to do about Sundays. I've been doing some research about Lent, just to know what I'm getting myself into, and I found out that some people exclude the Sundays of Lent and treat them as "celebration" days or "mini-Easters." The websites I have found state that Sundays should always be a day of rest and your sacrifice should be suspended, but that plenty of people don't abide by this and continue their Lenten sacrifice throughout the entire time period because it's easier. I was kind of excited by this prospect at first, but if Lent is about sacrifice then I don't think I should take the easy way out. I don't know, but I still have some time to decide before Ash Wednesday.

As a reward to myself (is that allowed?) I signed up for a sock club. I have wanted to participate in one before, but I have always been hesitant because of the cost and commitment, but with the sacrifice in mind, I told myself to go for it. So starting the last week in January, and every other month after that for the year, I will receive in the mail a shipment of beautiful, hand-dyed sock yarn, 2 sock patterns and other surprise goodies! I think the most exciting prospect of this venture is that I will have no say in the colors of the yarn that come to me. I don’t know why it’s so thrilling to me, but the idea of someone picking colors for me intrigues me. I guess because I’m hoping to expand my color palette and be exposed to colors I wouldn’t normally pick out on my own.