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Progress… and not so much

So, a couple months later, I’m still waiting on legal stuff, my life is still pretty much on hold… But I’m making progress on other fronts – mainly, Christmas!

I’m a lot more into it than I was last year – it’s something to look forward to, and work toward, that I know isn’t going to crumble beneath me. Can’t say the same about other things right now, but I have yarn, I have hands, I have needles & hooks… There will be Christmas presents!!!

So far, in my super sneaky Xmas shoebox, I have a shawl, a hat, 3 pairs of socks, and a scarf. Those are done, except for blocking, and one thing needs a button sewn on.

On the needles, waiting for incoming supplies, I have a nearly finished stuffed animal that needs finishing touches (waiting for eyes), and half a mitten that’s waiting for beads. Then, I have a hooded scarf that I don’t know how much I have left to do (designed it myself – and then lost my chart for the colorwork – eek!) and a bag that’s a pain in the butt and might not make it for Xmas. (Ok, it’s entirely possible that neither will – they’re not very compelling at the moment.)

Along with those, I have plans for one more hat, a pair of fingerless mittens, 2 more stuffed animals, a doll sweater, a doll poncho and hat, and possibly a blanket. And it’s all doable. Most of the projects should only take a day or two, and I have 43 days left.

But I’m not forgetting myself! I’ve made 3 pairs of socks for ME so far this year, and I’ll likely do at least one more. Apparently, I’ve become a sock knitter – and I enjoy it. It takes about a week to whip up a pair, if I stick with them… Which really isn’t that bad, when you think about it. I’m really loving my self-striping yarn, too. Stripey socks are the best!!!

Now if only I could make some progress when it comes to work stuff…

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Tough

This year has been tough, to say the least.

Depression has been my biggest issue – so many times this year, I’ve been barely able to function. Work, knitting, even socialization, all came to a halt, like they always do when I’m at my breaking point. This spring was tough, and I spent a lot of time hiding from life in general.

I was doing better, though. I was starting to pull myself out, was actually animating again, started working on projects that had been sitting around for years… And, then, it all came crashing down.

My daughter had just tested for her Tae Kwon Do black belt, and I was so proud of her. My ex’s family all came down to celebrate, and I got a chance to talk to his mom for the first time since I gave her her shawl. That was Saturday.

Sunday, while my daughter was at lunch with her dad, just after everyone else had left, I got a phone call… It was my best friend’s mom. Sylva (not her real name, but the one she went by online, for privacy’s sake) had suffered a heart attack the day before, and had passed away. I was in shock.

I’ve worked alongside Sylva for many years. She taught me a lot about animating for Second Life. She gave me a job when nobody would even give me an interview. She was there for me when I was down, understood when I was hurting, offered help and advice when I needed it, and never once judged me when I didn’t take her advice and wound up in trouble because of it. We were so much alike that it was scary – especially what I learned of her from her family. We never met in person, but all those years we spent together…

Years ago, Sylva made it known that, if something ever happened, I was to take over her business. I promised her that I would do it to the best of my abilities – she had two daughters that needed to be taken care of. Of course, when I made that promise, I had no idea that it would actually happen – that, years down the road, I’d be struggling to fit all the pieces together.

And it is a struggle. Not just with lawyers, and finances, and customers, but with myself as well. I have a hard enough time juggling my own life under normal circumstances, but now I have a huge pile of responsibilities that I need to work with – on top of my own – and she’s not there to help me out.

I’m lucky, of course. I have some amazing friends. My other best friend, Raya (again, not her real name) has been there for me the entire time. She went down to Texas with me to visit with Sylva’s family and help work out what we were doing there. She’s agreed to help me deal with customers and the like – which is a major help. She doesn’t complain when I go on endlessly about all my crap.

And, then, there’s Dray. He’s… Well, I’ve known him online since we were both in high school, but we’ve only met up once. He’s this amazing guy that shares a lot of my interests, and doesn’t judge me for the things that I normally wouldn’t share with anyone else. Even Raya. (Mostly because Raya is somewhat innocent, in some areas at least!) There have been times that we haven’t spoken for years at a time, but he was always in my thoughts, even if we weren’t actively talking to each other. It was never a matter of disagreement, just falling out of touch… Anyways, he came back into my life around the beginning of January, and having him there has been a major help. He’s always been special to me, and likely always will.

It’s because of these two amazing friends that I’ve managed to not fall apart completely – at least, not permanently. But it’s been a struggle. My entire life has been shattered, and even with help picking up the pieces, it’s going to be a long way to where I can put everything back together. I’m trying, though.

Looking back over what I wrote in December, and everything that has happened this year, I think there are a few things I need to focus on.

  1. If something is worth doing, I need to do it. If not, I need to let it go. No more WIPs hanging out in limbo. No more “someday, I’ll…” If it’s worth it, I need to make it happen.
  2. I need to put myself first, at least sometimes. I’ve been working on this one. I keep healthy snacks around for my afternoon blood sugar drop, even if they’re not cheap. I finally pushed myself to get insurance, I’ve even knit a few things just for myself (though, the knitting has dropped off completely for the past few months.)
  3. I need to stop trying to control others’ reactions. This one, I struggle with. It’s hard for me. I want people to be happy, to react well, to smile and be positive. And if they don’t, if something’s wrong, I take it personally. I can’t continue like this. I need to take reactions as they come and move on, not dwell on them forever. (They haunt me at night!) This one is going to be tough, for sure.
  4. I need to give myself permission to not be ok. There are going to be times where I’m going to fall apart, where I’m not going to be able to face people, where all I’m going to want to do is curl up in the dark and hide. This is part of who I am. Fighting it only makes it worse. I need to stop beating myself up because of it, and I’ve been working on that. Giving myself permission to curl up and take a nap, or step away from a situation where I’m getting overwhelmed. It’s ok. It’s not the end of the world.

…and I’m sure I’ll come up with more, but for now, that’ll do.

Now to go curl up in bed with my butt-head cat and get some much needed sleep. Tomorrow: Work!

42.2 – More Organization

I’m all proud of myself tonight. I decided to tackle my KnitPicks drawer chest. I collected all of the KP yarn that isn’t currently in use or intended for a holiday gift, grabbed a few empty cardboard boxes, and got to work organizing.

I went from this:

To this!


Then, I settled down and looked for a place to put a few items that were misplaced when I emptied the boxes…

And found this.

*facepalm*

36 – Eep!

So, apparently, I’m bad at blogging. I keep disappearing for weeks (coughmonthscough) at a time.  Oops.

But… I have pictures for you! Including… A me-sized sweater!

And, since I’m not feeling very talkative, I’ll just move straight to the pictures! Yay, you!

Crocheted Book Bag

Ankle socks for my swap partner

Shawl for my swap partner

Dress for Cheyenne! (And another for the niece’s bday)

Finished the colorwork mittens I started last year!

A long, thick, fluffy scarf for me!

The beginnings of the xmas box (in b&w to not spoil the surprise!)

….and my sweater!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackout

Pips’ Knits is joining in the protest against SOPA and going black today.

The SOPA and PIPA bills endanger the future of the internet, and the freedoms guaranteed to American citizens in the constitution.

If you haven’t done so already, contact your representatives and tell them to vote no to taking away our freedom.

Silly Newb…

I’m looking back at some posts I made in my journal way back when I was a knitting newb, and just laughing at myself…

“I want to make this for my sister’s birthday (which is this coming week!)”
-February 20, 2005
Um, yeah.. Right.. sweater was completed in October – of 2009! (And didn’t fit her by that time. Duh…)

Do all newbs misjudge their speed that badly? By March, I had 1 more sweater, an afghan, and 5 large lace shawls planned – all to be done by July! Even now, I couldn’t knit that quickly! We’re talking over a year’s worth of large projects…

Silly newb.

Year In Review

All in all, this has really been a good knitting year. I said, back in March, that this was going to be the year that I got serious about knitting, and boy did I stick to it! Since that post in March, I’ve completed a total of 48 projects – that’s an average of almost 5 per month. Before that I’d knit a total of maybe 30 projects – in the more than 6 years I’d been knitting!

I’ve tried lace, really learned to crochet, done fair isle and intarsia, done test knits, modified patterns, realized I was purling the wrong way and learned to do it the right way, and even created my own patterns! I’ve learned how to choose the right yarn for a project and developed my own preferences for fiber. I’ve even learned to spin and dye my own yarn. I’ve done selfish knits, gifts for family and friends, and participated in knitting swaps, knit-alongs, crochet-alongs, and Nerd Wars. Overall, I’ve become very confident in my abilities, and knitting has become a major theme in my life.

I started with a goal of birthday socks for every person in my family, and I can’t say that I followed through, but I did change the goal… I’ve finished 11 of the 12 pairs of socks I want to have completed by the end of the year, and am about halfway through the very last pair. I’ve finished or frogged all but one of my original unfinished projects, and the last is set to be finished this week.

I invested in good quality tools this year, instead of going for the cheapest available. I have 2 sets of interchangeable knitting needles – one thanks to my awesome mother, a swift and ball winder, yarn scale, metal darning needles, almost every size of crochet hook that I could possibly need, project bags, a needle gauge… and yarn.

Did I mention that I’ve bulked up my yarn stash majorly? I had a few skeins at the beginning of the year, but they weren’t the greatest quality. Now, however, I actually have a decent quantity, in a good variety of colors, weights, and fibers. While I do still have some cheap stuff, most of it is good quality, and some of it could even be considered “luxury” yarn. Now, I may not have been the wisest with my money when it came to building this stash, but I’m working on that. It’s part of the learning I’m doing as I grow – making smarter choices about how much I spend, and what I spend it on.

As for what’s coming next year… Well, I’ll talk about that later. For now, I think I’m going to just enjoy the knowledge that I really did have a good year this year. 🙂