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Long ago and far away…

So, after the major push to get everything ready for Christmas in 2012, I spent Christmas without my daughter. It was tough for me, and I wound up sinking into a major depression that lasted for months. On top of that, my main computer died, and I didn’t have the money to fix it, and I was under a lot of stress from multiple directions… I wound up totally caving in on myself, crawling into a hole, and hiding.

It’s been a long road since then. There have been ups and downs, but mostly downs. I’ve realized, only lately, that I need to majorly rethink the way I approach relationships – romantic, friends, and family – and life in general. I have a lot of changes to make, the biggest one being taking care of myself – in all senses.

There are many parts to this… One is putting myself first, and thinking about what I need and want to be happy, instead of pushing that to the back burner. This means allowing little indulgences, and rewards when I push myself to do things – and actually following through with those rewards. Doing things for me, and not just for everyone else – something that I rarely do, and have never really prioritized. Another part of this is not letting things dangle indefinitely – either wrapping them up, or letting them go. And another is, when I do something for others, not expecting anything in return. Not a thank you, not equal effort… If I don’t enjoy the giving of the gift in and of itself, without any strings attached, no matter how small, then it’s not a gift I should be giving – whether it’s time, energy, or a physical gift.

All of these things apply to knitting, too. So, for 2015, I have three goals.

1) When you leave a large number of WIPs together, and they get jostled around, yarn gets tangled, and dusty, and picks up cat hair, and things just get messy and complicated – just like when you leave loose ends in life. As I work through my figurative loose ends, one of my goals is to go through my drawer of WIPs and sort them out. Figure out what’s worth saving, and what needs to be frogged. Holding onto all of these is holding up my needles that I could be using for other things. So, anything that’s worth saving, I want to finish – or, at least, make decent progress on. Anything that’s not, I want to frog and, hopefully, find new life for the yarn.

2) Giving gifts is great, but so is selfish knitting. The fact is, there are very few people in my life that appreciate how much goes into every little piece as much as I do. There are a couple, but really… I put so much work into these things, and never really do anything for myself. It’s not just knitting – I’ve long lamented that every cent I earn goes toward bills, that I never take time for myself, that I’m always being dragged in this or that direction, that I never get anything that I want… And, honestly, that’s all on my shoulders. Nobody is going to take care of me the way I want to be taken care of – except myself. I need to do more for me – be more generous with the time, money, and energy I put into making myself happy. So, one of my goals this next year, is to do just that. To do more things for me – that means knitting those things that I want so badly, but never can justify simply because it’s for ME. I deserve these things just as much as anyone else. So I’m going to have them.

3) Along that line… Giving gifts is still something I love to do. But my final goal is to change how I go about it. I’m not going to pour months of my time into things for people who don’t appreciate it, because I always wind up hurt. Instead, I’ll put myself out there for people who I know DO appreciate it, and others… Well, there are things other than hand knits. And I’m going to stop expecting anything back. No more 3-month shawls, only to get a towel and an insulting book in return. If I put 3 months into something for someone, then that’s my choice, and I can’t expect them to reciprocate – especially if they don’t know and -can’t- return the effort, even if they did know. All I can do is give, and hope that it’s accepted, and let go of everything else… And this is the hardest thing for me – letting go. But I can’t control what anyone else does, how anyone reacts, whether that shawl is worn with love or balled up in the corner. But I can know that I put a piece of myself into that, to show that I loved them… And that’s enough.

There will be more later – I hope – but, for now, it’s time to close the computer and head to bed.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.



50.2 – Fail

So close to finishing the niece’s sweater. I can see the end in sight.

…so, of course, I run out of yarn.

Well, ok, I’m not quite there yet, but it’s sure close. Not sure what I’m going to do – I’ve got half a hood to do, and preferably mittens, too, though I’m guessing those won’t happen.

One week – to the day. Not enough time to order yarn from the slowpoke yarn company, and this isn’t something that I can get locally, either. And it’s not a popular color, so there aren’t a ton of people who have it listed in their stash on Ravelry – and none of those that do have it listed for sale. *sigh*

I guess this is how defeat feels.

…and I was so close!

50 – So Close!

So, 2 weeks until Xmas, and I’m so close to finishing!

…well, if close means 2 pairs of mittens, 1/4 of a sweater, a hooded scarf, a pair of kid-sized socks, and a blanket. >.>
BUT! Most of those can be finished after Christmas. In fact, the only things that need to be done right away are the sweater and the socks, which shouldn’t take me more than a week combined (I hope) – and they’re due in just over a week, so I should (hopefully) be good!

I’ve wrapped up a bunch of the gifts that have to be sent out (though no idea if I’ll have enough money to actually ship ’em in time – eep!) and the others that still need to be wrapped are  blocking as I type this. Including one pair of mittens that I just finished this morning.

I broke a button while squeezing water out - eep! Need to replace that...

I broke a button while squeezing water out – eep! Need to replace that…

Everything else, I’m looking at an extra 1 1/2 weeks after xmas until it needs to be finished (except for the blanket, which I already told my mom was going to be late – so she knows it’s coming, but doesn’t expect it on time. She said my gift to her was helping with all the xmas shopping anyways.)

So, for my updated goal of finishing 52 projects this year, where am I?
Well, let’s see…
7 sweaters (8 if you count the one I finished on the 1st, but I’m not counting it)
5 pairs of socks
2 pairs of fingerless mitts
1 pair of gloves
4 pairs of colorwork mittens
5 scarves
7 hats
2 cowls
3 soap holders/washcloths
1 capelet
2 pairs of slippers
5 shawls
2 bags
3 dresses
2 collars
total: 51 finished projects!!!!

At this rate, I will not only meet, but exceed my goal for the year – topping out at (hopefully) 57 projects. On top of that, I will have designed 5 patterns for publishing, and heavily modified or improvised another 6. I’ll have given 5o gifts, and kept a whopping 7 items for myself, including a sweater and a gigantic scarf.

Needless to say, today I’m feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

…now if I can just get those last few things done and ready to go.

44 – Behind Again

So, this month has been pretty bad knit-wise. I’ve been feeling a little apathetic and overwhelmed, and my hands have been having issues, and things have been taking forever, it seems.

I started a few projects, finished a lot less (3 – 4 if you count the one I finished on the 1st of the month), and spent a lot of time doing, well, nothing.

I’ve changed my gift plans so many times that I’m not sure what’s what anymore, I still have yarn that I need to order, and some that I have no idea what I’m even getting!

In other words, I’m starting to panic a bit.

…and let’s not mention the things I should have sent out already that are still waiting to be blocked *facepalm*

Things will get better…. right?

42.3 – Shut up already!!!!!

Three posts in a week – that has to be a record. Maybe.

But, I just had to share what I’m up to tonight… You see, one project I have planned for my holiday knitting this year requires bulky weight, yellow yarn. Now, I needed that bulky weight, yellow yarn to be machine washable, and as close to 100% wool as possible, and still super affordable, as I needed about 500 grams, which can get pretty pricey.

So, of course, I turned to my favorite cheap-but-decent yarn pusher store.

First criteria: Bulky weight
No problem – there’s an entire page devoted to all their bulky weight yarns.

Second criteria: Machine washable
Ok, that narrows my choices down to 3 bases

Third criteria: As close to 100% wool as possible
Alright, there’s 100% acrylic, 50% nylon & 50% wool, or 100% wool. The 100% wool is the only one that won’t make my fingers cry, so that’s the obvious choice.

Fourth & final criteria: Yellow
No problem – the picture shows a really pretty butter yellow that will….
There’s no yellow.

So, I take a step back and think… There is really nowhere that I can get this decent of a price on yarn – especially with no shipping costs. But, they don’t have what I need. So, what do I do?

Dye my own!

I ordered up enough of their undyed yarn for my project (all the requirements, just natural colored instead of yellow!) It came, I let it sit for a bit, while I worked on other projects, and then this week, I decided it was time…

Tonight, after a nice, long talk with Nancy of Schmutzerella Yarns, I whipped out the big silver pot, some food coloring, and a bottle of vinegar and… well…

I think I might just have my yellow.

The yarn is cooling now, after which I’ll rinse it and set it out to dry. Right now, I’m feeling pretty optimistic. The yellow isn’t 100% even, but I think that just adds a bit more interest to the fabric.

Let’s just hope all the dye doesn’t wash out!

41 – Getting There

Finished mittens. Still need to be blocked, but I’m saving up all the blocking for a giant “block party.” Yeah, that’s it. *whistles innocently*

So, the mittens are finished, and new projects are on the needles. I’ve got 2 gifts I’m working on – a sweater and a scarf – plus a nice, aran weight shawl for myself. I knocked a couple of things off of my list, switched plans around… and still I’m 3 days behind schedule *sigh*

I’m excited, though – I have reason to hunt down and purchase some really, really nice, exotic wool. Well, exotic if you consider cold European countries “exotic.” I’ve got major plans for this yarn, and can’t wait to get my hands on it… Even if it’s going to take a while to get here. But it’ll so be worth it!

I’ve got a total of 16 holiday projects I’ve yet to start – not to mention a couple super-secret, non-holiday-related ones. Plus, I have the three on the needles. But, I finished 12 last month, so there’s no reason I can’t get the remaining ones finished in a little over 2 months, right? (heh… right…)

Of course, I’m trying not to remind myself that most things need to be done well before xmas, so they can get where they’re going in time… >.>


40.2 – Whee, fun?

I think I may be pushing myself a little too hard lately. My hands and wrists are both sore – usually it’s only my right. Of course, that may have something to do with doing colorwork and using both hands to knit…. Nah.

I’m starting to fall behind on my gift knitting schedule. Last week, I was ahead, but somehow I went from being 4-5 days ahead of schedule to almost a week behind! I’m thinking maybe I need to prioritize (again) and figure out what I really want to make, what really needs to be made, and what’s not worth the time.

Right now, it’s looking like anything on yarn lighter than DK is going to be swept off into the abyss… Aside from 2 1/2 pairs of colorwork mittens (which are probably what’s causing this problem to begin with, but shhh! I want to make ’em!) Oh, and can’t take off the niece’s socks, either – I promised her socks, so she’s going to get socks! This girl asks for stuff more than anyone else I know – and she’s only 3. Of course I’m going to make her anything she wants!

Cheyenne, too, has been asking for things… Though she’s a lot less specific. We were flipping through my patterns, talking about what I was going to make for who this year, and she kept whining that none of it was for her. *whistles innocently* I do know she wants a shawl. And she needs a scarf – she’s never had a hand knit one, just a “neck warmer” (cowl) that barely fit over her head. Plus, she’s getting mittens, and a hat… This girl is going to be more spoiled than she knows. But she thinks she’s not getting anything. Cuz I’m good like that. (And also because she’s super gullible.)

I did figure out the problem with the scarf – it was just a lack of comprehension on my part… But it’s facing either the frog pond, or being tossed into purgatory until after the holiday season, because it’s a fingering weight scarf with over 300 stitches per row, and it’s annoying the crap out of me. I knit and knit and knit for hours on end, and I’m still maybe an inch into the thing. Blech. Think I’m maybe halfway to the first really interesting row, and even then, it’s not that interesting. It’s very, very tempting to frog it, double up the yarn, and make something faster. But we’ll see.

And, then, on top of all the gift knitting I’ve been working on, I’ve got even more super secret projects going on. Projects that involve lots and lots of planning and preparation, and conspiring with friends, and maybe even, eventually, making a little money. But, mostly, they’re just really, really, really awesome. And time consuming. *sigh*

Something tells me this is going to be another late-night Christmas Eve knit-a-thon.