Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am stuck....

...but not necessarily on Band-aid brand!
Lately a little pile of (new!) adhesive bandages has become a permanent fixture beside my hooking station. It's not because I keep catching skin on my gripper frames – but because I've been using them as friction padding.

Years ago I had ambitions of becoming a wood carver, so I requested a carving set for Lee Valley for Christmas. My dad added a roll of friction tape to my gift....and while I can honestly say that I haven't yet carved a single Santa, that friction tape came in quite handy during some previous marathon hooking sessions.

With some long days of hooking lately, I've been reminded of that tape, and rather than hunt for it, I grabbed for a quicker solution: band-aids. They aren't just for cuts and scrapes, you know!

Since I don't always hold my hook the same way, or even pull my loops in exactly the same motion all of the time.....different parts of my hand seem to rub at various times. Since the spots seem to change, I don't seem to develop much of a protective callus. The band-aids have done a good job so far of preventing a single blister from having a chance. They also come in handy if I have a shredded cuticle/forefinger that is being irritated by the constant rubbing along the top of my work.

I only use the fabric bandages (whatever is on sale), since they are breathable, a lot more comfortable and really seem to stay in place (until I accidentally wash my hands...and then I find the easiest way to remove it is to just cut it off – running the scissors in behind the padded section).

Of course, the real solution might be to just slow down and pace myself....but I know that is not going to happen: I only have two speeds....and one of them is Stop! :-D

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 34: 64 square feet

I really had to motor this weekend to meet my self-imposed goal of 3 square feet every week.....and I just squeaked them out. Having my basket of knotted bundles of cut strips definitely saved a lot of time -- but it's amazing how quickly the supply is dwindling. I think I am going to cut and bundle more random colours/textures and just continue pulling from the basket. This simplified approach seems to make selection much easier.

With just another night or two of hooking, I'll be one-third of the way along the long side - a far cry from my plan to be finished this side by the end of January (tomorrow!)....but at least I'm still making progress and not stalled at stop (where I spent most of the beginning of the month). Onward and upward!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

I'm waking up in Toronto this morning....but truth be told, I wrote this on Wednesday night, before I left :-) Hope you have a great weekend. Me, I'll be (hopefully) hooking up a storm, in an attempt to play catch-up from a lazy, sleepy start to the week.

:: Does your favourite sweater have a little snag or hole? Don't despair....check this out this tutorial on making a needle-felted patch instead. I think it's genius! Oh, the possibilities....

:: If you like doing your own nails, and want to do a bit of fun colour polish.... Step-by-step gradient manicure instructions here. It's like each nail is a different piece of the same swatch...

:: I love clothes that you can wear more than one way....and the more different ways, the better IMHO. Last spring I discovered the Origami and it's been a wardrobe staple ever since (cool video showing some of the many different ways you can wear it here). Last weekend I discovered a new clothing line called {r}evolution apparel, focusing on comfortable, versatile, fairtrade, sustainable clothing. They're just getting up and running this Spring, but you can pre-order their first piece: The Versalette. I will be sure to share more first hand reviews once mine arrives in April (I finally settled on Aluminum).

:: Rug Hooking Magazine has a new on-line e-zine called Rug Beat. I haven't subscribed yet, but it's on my list of things to do...and hopefully that happens this weekend. If you want to read some first hand accounts in the meantime, check out April's blog or Woolly Mammoth.

:: Some great things made with wool here. Sadly no hooked rugs, but I do love the necklace!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MP by OP in progress

Last week when I was visiting with Elaine, I had the privilege of sitting in on two of her regular classes. Lovely ladies at both – a nice mix of familiar faces and new ones, too. I must admit that I did have a little twinge of green, though....since it made me really wish that I had a similar group that I could meet with on a regular basis. We could sit, chat, exchange ideas, brainstorm new ones hook, sip tea....and just enjoy the feeling of togetherness. I think that would be great.

In the Wednesday evening class, two of the ladies are working on their own versions of one of my Amazing Matrix Mats....and I was so happy that they brought them to share. I love to see the different colour combinations people choose. And when there is already so much done it's really easy to imagine them both complete.

First up is Becky's autumn tones....so very yummy....

And now there is Kathy's wider range of values - I so admire anyone who can use both light and dark and inbetween in the same piece. It took me about 10 years to accomplish this. Yes, it's true.

(sorry about the blurry photo...all my fault, not the rugs....)

Can't wait to see them both finished. Maybe at the Annual.....?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some snaps from last week

Not a lot of time to write many words this morning....but here are a few snaps I took a week ago when Elaine and visited the the Textile Museum in Toronto....

I have a few more to share still, but I'll wait until I have time to write about them. Happy Hump Day everyone! :-D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

colorways emag

I received an email from Interweave on the weekend....and while I usually just delete most of these things, something caught my eye: Colorways. A few years ago, in one of Deanne's classes, someone had a unique publication all about different types of fibreart. I still can't remember what it was called – only that it was really neat and out of print – but when I saw the cover for Colourways, I immediately thought back to those other periodicals and decided to investigate a bit further. I'm so glad that I did.

There are currently two issues available. The first (Summer 2011 - Mac) focuses on natural dyes and the second one (Fall 2011 - Mac) is all about indigo dyeing – both subjects I've been thinking about quite a bit lately. These are interactive computer-based magazines and while not available in print form.....instead you get wonderful layout, gorgeous pictures, good information and great videos – without harming a single tree! :-) My only regret is that it appears you have to view/read them on an actual computer – I haven't yet found a way to view the content on my iPad.

You can check out the preview tab on any of the links to get a glimpse inside and get answers to FAQs... or you can watch the video embedded above to get a bit more information. Please note: the links above are for people who use Mac -- if you use a PC (windows), you will want to check out these links instead: Summer 2011 - PC and Fall 2011 - PC

The regular price is $4.99 each, but they are on sale until the end of today (Tuesday) for just $2.99 each.....if you're looking for a bargain!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 33: 61 square feet

Pretty good progress considering I only really hooked yesterday -- and I had a bit of a rough start. During one of my many avoidance sessions, I calculated there were 495 (now 475) 3" squares still to be hooked...so with the checkerboard trim added in, there are just over 32 square feet still to be hooked (or a space about 6.5' by 5'). Now there are a couple of different reactions to discovering this -- and I'm hoping that I am able to continue to see it as motivating (instead of depressing).

I have to go away overnight for work just once this week, so I'm hoping that I can fit it A LOT of hooking every other night when I'm home....and on the weekend, too. I find the momentum of regular hooking can become a bit like a snowball -- and I'm in desperate need of resuscitating this habit.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

thank goodness for coffee....

...and the clarity it brings! I finally sat down at the frame this morning, after running out of good excuses for delaying and being overwhelmed with guilt. After a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and sweet salsa (my favourite: 3 pepper blast), I sat down with a cup of green tea and got to work. I settled in quite quickly and was soon pulling loops – and regretting my delay in getting started... (sadly, it isn't going to hook itself!)

After a couple of hours, I stopped for a break to make a latte. When I sat back down and took a look at what I'd accomplished so far....within minutes, I discovered a problem. After a quick double-take at where the squares were starting and stopping, I instantly saw my grievous error: I was off by 1.5"! Basically half of what I'd done needed to be ripped out. I don't know how I managed to miss it before, in all of my many checks....but I am oh, so grateful that I discovered it now. And so early in the process. A major PHEW!

So if you haven't had your cup of coffee yet today, I encourage you to do so....you just never know what you might be missing without it! :-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

This week is a little bit of a last-minute scramble to put together a list....but here goes....

:: Liberty introduced their Spring/Summer 2012 fabrics. You can see all of the gorgeous colourways here.....I've been drooling over them all day, and would love some company. There are some very pretty prints in this collection that I'd love to splurge on and add to my stash....but not until I get my first quilt sewn from my London souvenir stack. On my 'one day' list is to make a dress from Tana Lawn.....but I will wait and buy the fabric that sings to me when I'm actually ready to sew it (and wear it! :-D)

:: I recently discovered Tiny Owl Knits and their super cute patterns. I followed the link on Dulcy's blog a couple of weeks ago and even knit my first felted ring! I think these hats will make great Christmas gifts next year for some of the littles in my life....and this reminds me of the real Mr. Foxy that lived in the dress up box at my Nanna and Poppa's house-- oh, how glamourous we felt with it clipped on our necks..

:: The Doris Eaton book I mentioned last week is also available in hardcover. I wish I'd known it before....since it's really going to be a 'forever book' for me.

:: I downloaded Instagram app for my iPhone this week....and it's made taking photos using my phone a lot more fun - and the photos more interesting IMHO. I'm consistently amazed at how much better (like other world better) my new iPhone 4S photos are compared to my old 3G phone. It's not longer a complete catastrophe if I forget my camera at home....yippee!

Have a great weekend everyone -- I'll be busy hooking up a storm, in an effort to catch up with Christine. I think at this point the only thing that is going to help me win is a broken leg or ankle that keeps me at home....but maybe there is still hope!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

home, cozy, and warm

After a bit of a white knuckle drive for the last bit of my trip home tonight, and 8"+ to shovel once I got here, it was wonderful to be able to cozy up on the couch with my knitting for a couple of hours and get warm. Yesterday's trip to the Textile Museum with Elaine was great.....and I took a whack of pictures with Instagram on my iPhone to share in a future post (I left my real camera sitting on the counter at home - duh!). For now, here are a couple of shots taken right outside the entrance. Lots of little design ideas painted on this garage door....

(I think if you click on the photo, you can see more details....)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New knitting project

Although I wasn't really planning on doing any more knitting until Jumbo is done, I realized the other day that I need to have a portable project to bring along with me on my many travels over the next several weeks. I didn't really have enough yarn in my stash for a suitable project, so I visited Elaine's neighborhood yarn shop yesterday afternoon. After some deliberation, came home with almost enough Malabrigo Twist to knit another Veera sweater. Not that I'm really keeping track, but this will be my fourth project using one of her patterns. I can't say enough good things about them.....and the great fit success (after a sea of failures from various other designers) makes me hesitant to try anything else. The goods news is that there are still more of her patterns that I'd love to knit, and she seems to be designing new ones all of the time....so there is no end in sight :-D

I knit my swatches last night, and today I am going to start on the actual sweater. But first, I need to go and try to figure out how to do a "provisional cast on"...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

on my bookshelf

One of my goals for this year is to really ramp up my reading again. I used to be a voracious reader, frequently staying up well past my bedtime to just read a little more, and sometimes waaaaaay past my bedtime to finish a book to the end. It's not unusual for me to read a whole book in just a handful of sessions -- and sometimes even in one single spell. I think it's because of the concentrated blocks of time required, that I've let my reading slide over the years....filling the time with other incompatible pursuits that require the use of both hands.

I'm off to a pretty good start so far, having read two books in the first two weeks of the year. Although I was a long way from reaching my goal last year of a book every two weeks, I'm feeling pretty good about 2012. I started a new list in the sidebar to make it easier for me to keep track.

At the moment, I have this little stack of books waiting in my queue - a mix of oldies (those that I remembered really loving in the past, but can no longer remember many details about) and a few newbies. I am also making my way through the Peter Robinson Inspector Banks books (mystery series set in the Yorkshire Dales, discovered early in my trip and reinforced after a surprise meeting of the author in a train station there) on OverDrive, and I'm wait-listed for Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Do you have any books you think I should add to my list? They don't have to be overly literary, but I do enjoy a good story.

= = = = = = = = =

I'm heading down to the city this morning for a few days (gotta love it when you're heading out on a day when all of the buses are cancelled...). In the middle of a couple of things for work, I'm hoping to sneak in a visit to the Textile Museum, and sit in on a couple of classes at Elaine's place. Since I'm staying with her, I get to be her special guest ;-) I'm sure it will be a blast.....and will tell you all about it for sure when I get home, if not from the road....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 32: 58.81 square feet

Although I didn't pull any loops on Jumbo this past week, the counter still adds another week. You see, I'm keeping track of how long it's really taking me to hook this rug -- both weeks when I'm actually hooking and also those when I plan/want/expect to hook, but for whatever reason it just doesn't happen. This week was one of those weeks.

Truth be told, my reintegration to work was not a gentle one....and most every night I can home feeling tired. My brain and my body were both too tired to try to figure out where I needed to start hooking, calculate the shape sizes (notes? what notes...? LOL!) and whether or not it should be a light square or a dark square in the corners. So instead I read, and read some more, watched TV, ate birthday cake, and did some general crafting -- kinda like my 'holiday week', but with more shorter days and several long interruptions :-)

So yesterday, after scrutinizing pictures, flipping them around, counting, re-calculating, sketching, drawing and double-checking, I am feeling pretty confident that I am actually ready to start hooking. But to be certain, I will have one last triple-check tonight....'cause there is the potential for a major screw-up, and I don't want to figure it out only after hooking another 15+ square feet. That would require medication. A lot of medication.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fabulousness and Favourites

After five years of blogging, I'm hoping to mix things up a bit and start adding some new features to this here place. One idea I had was to start posting a list of fabulous finds and some of my favourite things on Fridays. Some weeks there may be just one item, and other times there may be fifteen things on the list -- it's all new, so I'm sure it will evolve as the year unfolds. Here is my list for this week....

:: One Line a Day Journal. Discovered here. I ordered mine last weekend and it arrived yesterday. I've often contemplated writing a journal, but it seems like too much of a big commitment -- and what if someone else sat down and read it?!?!?!? I think this is just my speed -- totally achievable....and hey, not a lot of room for too much foolishness! :-D

:: A Lifetime of Rug Hooking by Doris Eaton. I ordered Doris' book last fall from Deanne....and just never got around to posting at the time, but it is - by far - the best rug hooking book I've read in a very long time, and if I'm being honest, the only one I've actually read from cover to cover in years. If you haven't seen it yet, I can't recommend it enough.

:: Apple tv. After both of my sisters got them for Christmas, I had to at least try to keep up, so now have my own. It's been great for watching Netflix on my tv without having to mess about with any cords. Plus, I can easily access all of my music, movies, etc. from my computer and play on my tv. It all makes for perfect background noise while I sit and hook.

:: Downton Abby. When I was in England last Fall, everyone was gushing about this show....and I knew I would have to check it out when I got home -- but I didn't want to start watching it mid-season, so I patiently waited. Over the holidays, I downloaded all of Season 1 on itunes for $9.99 and watched it together with my mum and dad. We all loved it! Season 2 airs on PBS on Sunday nights, starting last week.

:: Actor Tim Roth. I'm crushing on him after my marathon of watching all of the episodes from three seasons of Lie to Me (and wishing the whole time that it wouldn't end). I tried revisiting more of his past work, including Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Rob Roy, Four Rooms and the Legend of 1900 (all on Netflix, by the way!)....but the younger version is just not as appealing somehow. I guess I'm getting older....LOL!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Just before Christmas, in the middle of my quest for the perfect gifts, I visited my local Canadian Tire store. After I quickly located the sought-after camo duffel bag, I decided to cruise the aisles for a couple of minutes and see if there was any inspiration to be found for the last few people on my list. It was during this wander that I happened up the pallet of 16Qt Electric Roasters - on clearance for only $39.99 each.

My Auntie Marg has been using one of these appliances for years, as a 2nd oven to cook a ham or roast whenever she hosts large family gatherings, so I had seen them before. But what I had never considered was that I might find one so cheaply, and just by accident. Since Christmas is the worst time of year to be buying unnecessary stuff, I hymned and hawed, and roamed around the store trying to convince myself that I shouldn't buy them. The silent conversation went something likes this: they might be perfect for dyeing....I don't really need them.....that's a really great price...they will take lots of room to store.....there won't be any left if I wait....this might solve the problem of the fuse blowing when all of my stovetop is on max for hours.....16 quarts is a lot of liquid....I can always bring them back if I change my mind....how many dye-pots does one girl need?....

Fast forward to the checkout --> I ended up leaving the store with two that day. When I got back to work I found them online for $180 each, and decided that if they worked half as well as I hoped they might, that I was going to want more -- and I definitely wasn't going to want to fork over full price. I took one out of the box when I got home and was thrilled to discover that there's a removable roasting pan insert, which will make filling and emptying a breeze. Then I called my mum to share my excitement, and together we convinced ourselves that if 2 were good, more would be better. And the next day I returned.....and now I have four.

So far I've only used one (the other 3 are still in there boxes, just in case I get a rude surprise).....and so far I'm loving it. Yes, it took some time to get up to temperature (especially since I had it quite full of water and wool), but I already think my days of absentmindedly boiling are long gone. I will soon give them a proper workout, and experiment with them during a major dyeing production.....and will report back on how it goes.

With the way that I dye, I really like a fast-absorption of the colours. Since I dye so many pieces of wool in one session I will have to wait and see whether it make more sense for me to use pots on the stovetop for the original colouring, and then fill up the roasters with the families of colour to simmer off.....or if the roasters are up for the complete circuit.

As I said, I'll keep you posted....but in the meantime, if you want to try to get your hands on one of these seemingly ginormous crock pots (minus the crock), you'd better visit CT soon -- the last time I was in the Huntsville store, they only had a handful left.

P.S. I would love to hear from you if you've tried using an Electric Roaster Oven before -- both if you thought they were awesome, or if they totally sucked. Please share....thanks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

holiday handmades (belated)

I'm a little late is sharing these snaps....but you know what they say: better late than never! :-)
While I don't feel as though I made quite as many of my own gifts as I have in previous years, I certainly seemed to receive a good share.

Of course, it all began with my uncle's stained glass, and quickly resumed with a sweet little snowman hooked by Elaine (I'm sure you can spot him in a photo below....), followed by this wonderful hat that Wendie knit for me....

It's a great pattern - and wonderfully executed. I've received comments and compliments on it almost every time I've worn it...and several requests for me to make others. I haven't said yes yet to anyone, but I'm more than happy to share the pattern (better yet, it's a free one!). It's called Capucine and you can find it on Ravelry here along with details and pictures of almost 2000 projects, or if you're not a member, directly on the maker's blog here.

On Christmas morning, one of my first presents was a bit of a re-gift. A couple of years ago (maybe even 3?), she gave me her newly completed version of Emily Carr's Sombreness Sunlit (licensed pattern available here)....with a promise of getting my Dad to make a frame for it. It's been sitting (and waiting...and hiding) in the back bedroom of their house for some time now, but I am pleased that it's finally framed and ready to hang on the wall. Now I just need to find a spot on the wall and do some shuffling.....

My dad made me a collapsible, adjustable, portable wooden swift, using cherry harvested from their land....

I know that this swift is something I am going to use and treasure for the rest of my life. So handy for skeins I dye and skeins I buy. I've already given it several test runs and cannot offer any suggestions for improvement – it works like a charm!

The last photo of this year's handmades wasn't made by the gifter, but they're a wonderful momento from another great trip: handwoven tea towels from PEI. Drying dishes with a handwoven tea towel makes the chore actually enjoyable. As I remember, those at Belfast Mini Mills were very reasonably priced.

Nothing says love quite like giving a gift that you made yourself. I'm a pretty lucky girl.

Monday, January 09, 2012

ready for the week

I spent most of this weekend puttering around....and avoiding starting on any large, ambitious projects. To sate my desire to start knitting a second blanket, I decided that I would reorganize my yarn and tidy it up, so that it was all ready when I was really ready to start (which was not this weekend -- I really need to resume work on Jumbo this week. My holiday is over :-) )

The good news is that my long-dyeing ball winder has suddenly gotten a second wind and is no longer making increasingly poorer balls. Another good discovery is that a little bit of washi tape does a great job of keeping slightly wonky balls or slippery balls contained. When it was all back in the bins I was surprised at how much they've dwindled with the knitting of the blanket....and I'm sure there will be pretty slim pickings once a second blanket has been finished.

Gotta jet now, though....today is also my first day back at work - but I was determined to get a quick post out before I head out the door. Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

fininto blankito

I finished casting off last night, just after midnight.....and I love it! I will share a better picture in a week or two, once I've had a chance to block it properly (it needs it!) and sew in the last few ends. I'm going to use a needle and thread to firmly secure the little tails in place, so they don't worm their way back out (I heard about this trick from Heidi a couple of years ago, but this will be my first time trying it). I'm so glad that I decided to use bigger needles and use multiple strands of yarns to get the same general weight.

This definitely won't be my last such blanket. For the last couple of days, I've been dreaming of making another one in mostly shades of red for my bed in the summertime. My sister Sandra suggested that it would make an awesome bed covering - and I have to agree. I think I'll have to tinker with the pattern a bit to end up with a more rectangular shape, but have a few ideas already on how I might accomplish it.

In case you're curious (and so that I can find my notes when it comes time for my second one), here are the detail and notes.....
  • 8mm needles
  • multiple strands knit together to get the same basic, bulky? weight (up to 4 yarns at one time, mixing fingerling, lace, sock, DK, etc.)
  • approx. 140 stitches per side at the end (560 in total)
  • save all large balls for the outer rows -- they eat up yarn. 8 rows of pinky purple used almost all of the yarn from an former, very long scarf (originally a kit for Lu).
  • very heavy - much time is taken just moving the stiches along on the needle in the later rows
  • hot to work under - perfect for cool winter nights, but not really suitable for summertime knitting
  • every row takes longer than the previous one...and in the end, it took more than an hour just to do the knitted cast off.
  • generally increase 1 stitch on either side of corner (8 in total), every other row....but in last row before casting off, increase 2 stitches on either side of corners (16 in total) - to give a bit more ease around the corners
  • the pattern calls for starting with 9 stitches. I think next time I would start with 5 -- just to get a tighter centre.
  • next time, I'd knit a wider garter stitch border.....and make 'hidden' increases in the border (instead of yarnovers) and maybe throughout the whole blanket?

Friday, January 06, 2012

blanket - day 4

With any luck, the knitting will be completed on this baby today -- for a total of five days of knitting and not a lot else getting done (easily over 500 stitches now and still counting....and did I mention it's over 3lbs?). It's been blissful, really. Luckily I still have a whole weekend of respite ahead of me -- I'm still hoping to tackle a few more (smaller!) projects. Have a great weekend everyone....and thanks again for reading along....

Thursday, January 05, 2012

blanket - day 3

All day yesterday I was obsessing about the bright pink strip I had hooked in the wee hours of the night before - I had rejected the ball earlier in the day, but in a moment of weakness my eyes tricked me into thinking it was more purple than pink. More than once I've considered ripping back (one area where rug hooking is very forgiving - you can evict any portion, at any time, without having to rip out anything else to get to it), but late in the day yesterday I decided to stop considering elimination as a option and instead to treat it as a challenge and do my best to 'make it work'.

I am liking it a bit more, and I'm hoping that the square I'm working on now will go a long way in tying it all together. It's a similar colour, but a different yarn. I'm taking a few risks with this project - it is my self-imposed 'play week', after all - but as I knit, I can't help but imagine what a safer combination of colours might have yielded. Lucky for me, I doubt this will be my first and final such blanket.....so I'm lining up all sorts of possible plans for future throws.

The knitting has been quite therapeutic this week, not only giving me a great excuse to sit still, watch old shows (currently on season 2 of Lie to Me....and loving it), and relax with my thoughts.....but it's also been a source of reflection of past knitting projects, travels, and friendships. Those little balls of yarn carry more than just colour and texture, you know....they've been acquired and collected over the past 15 or so years. That's a lot of memories.... ;-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

blanket - day 2

I was a little sad when I added on some needle extensions so I could the blanket spread out a bit better -- for all of my knitting yesterday and so far today, I really haven't made much progress. Well, not as much as I would have thought, at least. This prompted me to count the stitches and I realized there are more than 350 at this point -- and still growing at a rate of 8 stitches every 2 rows....so I will be over 400 in no time. And, it will be a few days before I am ready to cast off.

My curiosity of seeing what each new round of colour will bring and how it changes the look of everything that was knit beforehand is keeping me motivated, while the large, heavy mound of knitting in my lap is keeping me warm! ;-)

Hope you're having fun making things and staying warm....it's another snowy day outside.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

the start of a blanket

....and not just another blanketing of snow! (Mother Nature has been busy and making up for lost time since Christmas, with new snow arriving almost daily).

When I was at Heather's last Fall, I fell in love with her gorgeous knitted throws -- in addition to many other things. And in spite of the pattern practically burning a hole in my pocket, I delayed starting one. No longer.

After a few false starts on other things yesterday, I decided that what I really felt like doing was curling up on the couch, watching Netflix (seasons of TV shows without commercials is like a movie that never ends) and knitting. I initially thought that I just wanted to work on a 'small' project, and so I started knitting a bracelet to be felted in the wash (yet another inspired by Heather project). My test piece is knitted and sewn and just waiting for later in the week when I do laundry for the final finishing. I can't really knit more until I know if my dimensions are going to work, so I was soon needing another project.

After rejecting several ideas -- and acknowledging that I really don't need another sweater or vest at the moment, with those I recently completed over the holidays -- I finally settled on the blanket. In spite of it's size (and many hours needed to finish), it will be totally practical AND it will use up bits and balls from my yarn bins. The only downside so far is that the rows are getting longer (now about 2 feet on each side), and taking more time to knit.....so by the time I finish one colour, I've planned many different 'next' colours and can't remember which to choose. It's a pretty good day when that is your biggest problem! :-D

P.S. I've just finished catching up on all of my e-mails....so if you are still waiting to hear back from me, I don't think it ever arrived (it's come to my attention recently that not all e-mails make it to their final destination -- where they end up, I'm not quite sure....but I just know they didn't get there.)

Monday, January 02, 2012

happy new year

Yesterday was our last en masse gathering, and I'm back home again after celebrating a wonderful holiday season with friends and family. Today I begin to slowly settle into my own routine and the wonderful promise of a brand new year. I started my day today with the last of the treats: a couple of pieces of biscotti that my cousins made and brought to share yesterday, alongside my morning coffee. And so the continuous feasting is ended for another year. It's time for the "normal" to return....and a bit of balance wouldn't hurt, either.

I'm trying to start the new year in a positive way this year, setting the scene for a productive and creative year. This week is a bit of a special gift for me - I don't return to work until the 9th - and I've decided to give myself the gift of free time. So often I feel burdened by a long list of projects and mundane tasks that need doing, that I don't always take time to just play and see where inspiration takes me. Less important or necessary jobs constantly get shoved down on the list - and sometime even right off the page! - but not this week. This week I am going to just do what I like, when I want, and hopefully without too much concern for the 'undone'. I don't think it will always be easy (especially with 92 items in my inbox...yikes!), but I'm curious to see what the week brings.

This year I'm hoping to... read more (the goal of a book every 2 weeks was unfulfilled last year, so I'm trying again), blog more (posting every week day), hook more (no forced sabatical injuries, please!), shrink more (continued focus on health and wellness), and create more (including refashioning more clothing and even sewing some of my own clothes). It sounds pretty ambitious, I know....but there is nothing more exciting than the promise of a new year -- even if it's really just new pictures on a different calendar. An easy opportunity or excuse for anyone wanting to make some changes...and so I am.