50.1 – Wow

I’ve really done it now…

Last night, I finished my 52nd project this year! With 17 days to spare!December 2012 045

Apparently, simple stockinette stitch socks go really fast – especially when they’re for little kids, and knit with fun, self-striping yarn! Woohoo! 😀

On top of that, this morning I finished all the miscellaneous sewing I had to do. Buttons are sewn on to various projects, conductive thread is sewn into the fingertips of gloves and mittens, broken buttons have been replaced…. *whistles innocently*

I’m down to just a few more projects to finish, and then I’ll be ready to go. Tonight, I think I’m going to work on my niece’s sweater, and hopefully that will be done by Wednesday-ish, so I can wash and block that and my nephew’s sweater, and have those wrapped by next Friday – just in time for our Christmas get-together with them on Saturday!

Now, that being said, I’m in a bit of a moral dilemma. Certain people in my family have decided that they’re only doing gifts for kids. Which is fine… Even if I think it’s a bit stingy, as there aren’t that many adults, and they only have one niece and no nephews on this side of the family, and they’re the ones in the family who actually have money, while the rest of us – who can’t really afford it – are much more generous and enjoy giving gifts… But that’s beside the point. They’ve also made it clear that it goes for giving gifts to them – they don’t want any.

Every year up until now, I’ve gone against that and either bought or made gifts for them. Last year, I made hats for both of them (hers was out of a gorgeous, not-cheap, Angora blend that I wanted so badly to keep for myself – it was the only hat I ever made that looked good on me!) Now, they put the hats on for pictures when they got ’em, but I have no way of knowing if they ever actually wear ’em – I’ve never seen it. For all I know, they never have, and they’ve either been shoved in the back of a closet somewhere, or they’ve been given (or thrown!) away.

Needless to say, this year, with my hands acting up and my bank account perpetually empty, I decided not to give them anything. Up until now, I’ve been alright with that decision, but now, with just over a week before we exchange gifts, I’m starting to feel bad about it.

You see, gifts aren’t an obligation to me – they’re something I do out of love. If I make a gift for someone, every little stitch is a bit of love, a wish for happiness and well-being, a drop of hope. And, whether I buy or make a gift, a lot of thought goes into finding just the right thing for the person it’s going to. I don’t just grab a pair of socks from some store and call it good, I scour the internet for hours at a time, looking for just the right thing, and then either I buy it, or I spend many more hours making it for the person it’s intended for. Every gift I give is an act of love, and a way of showing how much I care for someone.

And not giving a gift, to me, feels like I’ve turned my back on that person. As much as these two get on my nerves at times, I don’t feel right turning my back on them – they’re family, whether or not we always agree on things.

What should I do? I don’t have money, but I do have a bit of time… Do I make them something? Or just not give them anything, knowing that they don’t give a damn, so why should I? (Yes, I know, this may not be true of them, but it sure feels like it most of the time…)

Do I stick with my initial decision and not stress myself out trying to do something? Or do I find something simple to do? Or just run to the dollar store and call it good? 😉

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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….
Oh.
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!

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*

42 – The Answer

Looking for the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

….I sure don’t have it. Bah.

My hands have been achy this week. Possibly because I’ve been using them… But the jury is still out on that.
Managed to get almost all of one project finished, just waiting on some yarn to do the last bit. Half of the (not so) super secret first project is done, too. But, of course, I can’t show any of this.

What I can show, though, is my organization progress. It’s not perfect – nowhere near. But, considering how bad it was, and the fact that I can’t afford to buy organizers this month, I think it came out pretty damn good.

From this:

Where I started. Notice the boxes, and pile o’ crap, and everything. Kinda hard to work with this on my desk, y’know…

To this!

All finished!
Well, for now at least. Still need somewhere to put the yarn & stuff in the cardboard boxes – not to mention the random crap that’s still cluttering, but not overwhelming, the desk.

Notice, too, that the cat miraculously changed in the process of cleaning! It’s magic! 😉

Next month… The closet of doom!

41.2 – October Blahs

I should be cleaning and organizing right now. My bedroom/office is overrun with papers and boxes and all sorts of crap that needs to be taken care of… But I’ve got no energy – or, at least, no motivation.

I have a good amount of yarn sitting in cardboard boxes, with nowhere to put it. All of my project bags have at least 2 projects shoved into them… And I keep having to hunt down patterns that I only put down maybe an hour before!

All of this has led me to the realization that I really need to break down and buy more organization materials. I need drawers (or at least bins) to put my yarn in. I need separate shelves for my knitting stuff (my regular bookcases are packed with my reading books!) I need somewhere to put my patterns I’m working on that doesn’t involve having to get them in and out of a binder. And I need storage for my finished items that don’t have a home yet – including gifts!

I keep meaning to get more storage space, to clean out my closet, to get organized, period… And it keeps getting pushed to the back burner. There’s more important stuff to spend time & money on. Yarn “needs” to be bought, patterns “need” to be knit, bills actually do need to be paid, and work really does need to get done. And, I need to spend time with the midget, and take some time (and a little money) for myself, too… Doesn’t leave much for organization.

At the same time, all this clutter can’t be helping my mental state lately. Everything just piles up, and it feels like the same is going on with my life – everything piling up, nothing getting taken care of, it’s just pushed aside to be dealt with if/when it becomes a problem.

I think (well, ok, I know) I need to commit to working on organizing things – both physically and mentally. It’s just hard to get started, and to keep going, and not slide back to the spot where things are perched precariously and any wrong move could send them tumbling down. It’s not a good way to live in any sense.

Anyone have any energy or motivation to spare?