Well, it seems so hard to believe but this is the last day of January. So what do I have to show for it? Sadly, not much. Startitis is in evidence but finishitis - not so much.
It's not the fault of any of these knits that they are growing at such a slow pace. This picture shows the start of a Lady Eleanor Shawl that I really, really want to wear, barely a toe of a pair of socks that I can't wait to give my grandfather, and a hat that DQ really needs. I know that they'll all be winners, all make me very happy, and all be used... if I ever finish them.
And let's not ever mention the potholder that is already weeks overdue and is on it's third frogging. Ugh!
This January has been my least productive ever as a knitter. I finished nothing at all. NOTHING! I didn't even get close. I really hope that this isn't representative of the year ahead. I couldn't stand it!
So what did I do when I was not knitting? I caught up on my shows. I had a lovely time with my girls. We even played a little Apples to Apples on Saturday night. I had brunch with friends on Sunday. I enjoyed it all and it's all in keeping with my current plan to remain stress-free for the next 5 months. I'd just be happier if I was able to focus on my knitting again.
Jan 30, 2011
Well, it seems so hard to believe but this is the last day of January. So what do I have to show for it? Sadly, not much. Startitis is in evidence but finishitis - not so much.
Posted by hillary at 10:13 PM
Jan 28, 2011
Jan 26, 2011
Yesterday was it, the day I knew was coming. I got the look.
I was in the kitchen at work and a friend walked in and looked at me. She looked down, she looked up, then she cocked her head to the side and asked "Is that what I think it is?"
Finally, after over week of feeling like it was so obvious and having my husband and girls tell me I'm wrong - I know that it really is unmissable.
Yesterday was also the day that we got a real snow storm and what a storm it was. I tell you what. Snow doesn't scare me. I drive in it willingly and without too much worry but yesterday's storm was like nothing I've ever seen before.
It hit during rush hour and the big, wet, flakes fell so fast that the plows couldn't keep up. Cars slid here and there and in some places it got so bad that people just abandoned their cars. There was a multi car pileup at the end of our street. A friend of ours was stuck in is car on the GW Parkway for 10 hours! I'm thankful that I only took 3.
But today is a new day and, at least for now, the snow looks very pretty.
Posted by hillary at 10:03 PM
This is what my deck birdhouse looked like after the ice storm last week. I took lot's of pictures that day because I figured that it would be a while before I got another good opportunity.
I was wrong. Now we're expecting a real snow storm, you know - the kind where it actually snows instead of the lame flurries we've been getting lately. Wouldn'y it be nice if they closed the schools for something other than rain?
Posted by hillary at 9:40 AM
Jan 24, 2011
I'm not one of those women who need to "put their face on" before they leave the house each day. Truly I have enough trouble getting my girls and myself out in weather appropriate clothes (them) and matching shoes (me). Beyond that, it's all gravy so you're going to have to take me as I am - or don't.
Of course even the simplest morning or evening routine requires a little help so here's my list of my 10 favorite health and beauty products.
- Pretty Baby soap - I started using this soap years ago because it smelled really good and now it's all I use. I just love the stuff.
- Chap stick/lip gloss - it doesn't matter if it's Clinique or Pretty Baby I always have a few in my bag just in case.
- Eye liner - I guess this is a bit of a throwback to the 80's but if I'm using makeup it starts with eyeliner almost 100% of the time.
- Q-tips - don't leave home without them
- Hair product - some days I let it go wavy and somedays I go straight but without a bit of product it all turns to a frizzy mess.
- Witch Hazel - A little bit on a cotton ball does wonders for my face.
- A green redness corrector - The one I use is from Maybelline and it saves me from looking like Rudolph every year when I inevitably spend too much time in the sun.
- Moisturizing lotion - mine mostly comes from Pretty baby but I LOVE the Satsuma scented lotion from the Body Shop too. Love!
- Nail Polish - preferably at my nail salon. A good mani-pedi can be so relaxing... if the kids stay home.
- Brow Zings from Benefit - on those occasions when I really want to look pulled together I use this to fix the damage I've done to my brows through the years. It does wonders.
There you go. All my health and beauty musts in one neat little list.
Jan 23, 2011
you know how sometimes you go to the store for bread and come home with everything but? Well, this weekend we had our own version of that but on a way bigger scale.
It's no secret that I hate my couch but the truth is that I could cheerfully see most of my living room/dining room furniture disappear without one bit of regret. But, since the couch is the worst eyesore I've been diligently going out to various stores in search of the perfect seating for most of January. Do you know how hard it is to find the perfect seating?
Not the right shape.
Not the right color.
Not sturdy enough.
Every time I think I'm close, those little doubts come back. We thought that we'd figured it out a week ago but then I worried that what we'd chosen wasn't "inviting" looking. People tend to come to our house, make themselves comfortable, and stay and stay and stay. And I like it that way.
So the great couch hunt continues and on Saturday my girls and I popped into a store on our way to paint some pottery. Just as we were headed to the door having decided that they didn't have a couch that was quite right for us something caught my eye and I was in love. Love, love, love.
It's round and a deep, rich, nearly black brown. It's also very simple and can seat 6 when closed or 10 when we open it up using the lovely gears than make it glide so smoothly. Dare I say sexily? And we're going a little eclectic with the seating, choosing 3 pairs of chairs instead of 6 of a kind.
Sunday Bruce went back with me and we spent way too much on a fabulous table and chairs that I know I'll love every time we set it for a holiday or a party or anything. It's fabulous! You can see the vast difference between old and new here. The nearly black on in the foreground and the old, lighter, wood in the back.
But it's not a couch. Still working on that one.
Jan 21, 2011
The skies recently have been gorgeous. Every day as I drove to the commuter lot I'd look up and wish I had the time to take a picture. Finally, one day, I did and I'm so happy because look at it.
This week had been mostly gray and ugly. I may like snow but the cloudy skies preceeding it aren't terribly photogenic.
Jan 19, 2011
Schoools by us were closed yesterday due to an ice storm the night before. The kids enjoyed the unexpected extension of their holiday weekend. I was supposed to be off of work anyway for a doctor's appointment and a meeting at the school. Obviously the latter meeting never happened. Bummer for that.
On the positive side, DQ got to come to the sono with me and I think it helped a little. She's still feeling a little conflicted about things.
The ice was really pretty while it lasted. Now everything is just wet.
Another plus to the day off. My girls made cookies. Is there anything better than a house that smells like cookies?
Now we're all back to the usual routine and my meeting at the school is rescheduled. Let's hope that I get it in before the bad weather returns.
Posted by hillary at 10:40 AM
Jan 18, 2011
We got a freezing rain last night so today the schools are closed due to ice. It's a safe bet that a game or 2 will be played. What a great time to think about the games from my youth.
Here are 10 favorite games from my childhood:
- Othello - my best friend and I went through a phase where we played some pretty intense games.
- Kickball - I lived on a dead end street and we'd all gather in front of my house to play.
- Monopoly - afternoons after school in front of the fire at my friends house while we drank hot chocolate.
- Sorry - who didn't get a kick out of bumping an opponent back to home?
- Kick the can - Is there anything better on a hot summer night?
- The Game of Life - I just loved moving my little car around the board and filling it with pink and blue pegs.
- Spades - I guess this is more of a young adult than a childhood thing but I missed many classes in college because I was busy paying Spades with my sorority sisters in the cafeteria.
- Rummy-o - We played this as a family when I was a kid and we still play it today with my grandfather. Generation to generation.
- Boggle - I remember playing this with my grandmother. I'm pretty sure I never beat her at it - she was a master.
- Trivial Pursuit - I remember when this came out and how new and fun it was. Still love it.
What are your favorite childhood games?
Jan 14, 2011
Jan 12, 2011
On Monday I got confirmation that the most recent potholder for the Dazzling Dozen swap was received so here it is.
The pattern for this one is Annepaalandet's Potholder and I actually received one made by the designer (in red and white) in the first potholder swap I took part in. I really love it and I've been waiting for an opportunity to try the pattern myself.
I really like the results. I used mostly Tahki Cotton classic for this one because that's how it worked out color-wise. The colors in these pictures aren't quite true but they're close. The recipient liked the turquoise and brown combo so that's what I went with but I added a little soft yellow to make it pop.
I suspect that I may try this pattern again at some point and when I do I'll modify it a little so that I can get more of the saw-tooth rounds in. Other than that I'd make it again just as is.
Jan 11, 2011
Before we get too far into the new year I want to take a minute and consider my goals from last year and think about what I'd like to accomplish in the year ahead. First, the old...
1. Finish more UFO's - I don't promise to finish all of them but if I could bring 3 or 4 to fruition it would be good. I'm sure that Bruce's socks and blue & yellow blob will cross the finish line soon. Loppem and my beaded Juno Regina are likely as well. Beyond those we'll see. ~ The socks and yellow blog did indeed wind up in the finished column as well as another pair of socks that I'd started ages ago but none of the other WIP's ever really got much attention.
2. Do a little Fair Isle - I've done it before and I'm no good at it but I know that practice would help. I'm thinking that mittens might be good. Small and not intimidating. ~ This was one goal that I completed and it was better than I ever expected. You can see the finished mittens in the mosaic below. I even went on and knit a fair isle hat. If it stays this cold then I may make even more mittens or a new hat for me.
3. Try steeking - This kind of goes with #2. KP had a kit for a steeked laptop cover a while back and I'm still kicking myself for not getting it. Steeking plainly scares the shit out of me but I think that being able to do it would open up possibilities for some cool knitting. ~ Shockingly this was another goal that I achieved and it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought. I hope to try it again on a slightly larger scale soon.
4. Make more socks - I think that 18-20 pair would be cool and do-able too. In all fairness there are multiple reasons for this lofty goal - family, family, family. Suddemly my girls would like to wear nothing but handknit socks (Stinkette even tries to sneak the same pair onto her feet over and over until I wash her others - ewwww, stinky.) Not only that but a few family members have been dropping hints and making direct requests. I'm happy to oblige! ~ Looking back, this may have been a bit unrealistic as a goal. My final total for the year was 12 pairs. I still think that I could've hit 15 if not for my end of year deistraction but 12 is respectable too.
5. Be more careful about my pattern/yarn choices - I really need to become more of a thoughtful knitter. This is especially important since I'm feeling a sweater knitting vibe lately. ~ I do think that I'm doing better with this. I just washed the shrug that I made for DQ earlier this year and I was so surprised to see that the yarn still looks really nice and shiny with no pilling even after quite a bit of use. A well used item that keeps it's appearance up is a sign that the choices were all sound.
6. Design a wrap - I don't care for triangular shawls and I find that most wraps are just one motif from start to finish. I want wraps with a bit of excitement. I've been thinking about this a lot and the Alpine Lace Shawl that I made in 2008 is one of my most favorite pieces. Keeping track of the motifs and having no rest row made it so engaging. I want to feel that challenged again. ~ Fail. I never even got started.
The next goals are stash related. As usual, I find myself looking at the stash and feeling like it's a little out of control. I'm not sure that I can realistically see myself reducing it much. I know myself better than that. But I do think I can get it under control a but.
7. Try to limit most purchases to events - visiting a new yarn store on vacation is an event. Rhinebeck and MDS&W are also events. I can't say that I won't buy anything on other occasions but I want to try to limit the just because I want it purchases a bit. ~ Fail. My stash grew unreasonably this year. I need to remember that my hands can only knit so fast and stop buying yarn for stuff I'd like to knit "someday".
8. Buy with a purpose and write it down - I really want to limit my purchases and stop the impulse buys but I know that they're going to happen. There will always be yarns I can't resist. A more realistic goal is to limit my purchases of heavier weight yarns to what is needed for a specific pattern and when I make those purchases I need to catalog them and the intended project in Ravelry. Use the tool for all it offers. ~ I do this a little more but still not nearly enough.
9. Spin some of the accumulated fiber - I just need to get back to spinning in general. ~ Fail. I did spin a wee bit but not nearly enough.
10. Knit more of the stuff in my queue - I've already bought the yarn for most of the projects in my queue so if I knit from my queue it ought to reduce the stash in a really satisfying way. ~ I think that I'm doing better with this.
So here is the 2010 productivity in pictures...
In 2010 I knit:
12 pairs of socks
1 felted bag
2 baby sweaters
3 pieces of lace
1 pair of mittens
1 pair fingerless gloves
1 steeked doll hat
and I crocheted
1 sneaky reaper
Not bad at all.
In the coming year my biggest goal is to enjoy everything that I do. That includes the blog. Knitting and blogging are supposed to be fun. When coming up with a post is stressful then it's just no good. This said, my goals for 2011 are:
- Blog happily - If I don't have time or inspiration then I won't feel guilty about not posting. I still hope to post most days but I won't stress the occasional off day.
- Knit what is needed - I am shamelessly stealing this from my friend Carole because it fits my state of mind perfectly. There will be gift things and baby things and keeping warm things for many people I love and I will knit them all with pleasure.
- Knit 6 pairs of socks - I really just can't imagine not knitting socks since my whole family loves them so much. I just don't want it to get obsessive. If I can knit 12 pairs in a relatively quiet year then 6 pairs should be do-able in a busier year. No stress - just warm feet.
- Start the kippot for Stinkette's Bat Mitzvah - It's just over a year away so, keeping in mind all of the other big stuff going on this year, I'd better start this sooner rather than later since this is really the only firm fibery commitment that I have. Stinkerbelle has big plans and she'd be crushed if I couldn't do for her as I did for her sister. Thankfully this is one job that soothes my soul so I'll enjoy every minute of it.
- Spin more - I still really want to get back to spinning and get better at it.
- Finish a few UFO's - this is always on my list. This year I can add Que Sera to my list of UFO's since it's lingered for quite a while.
That's it for my list. Do you have one? Whatever you knit in the new year, I hope it's happy and successful.
Posted by hillary at 10:08 PM
Jan 10, 2011
This weekend was exactly as I planned. Lot's of knitting and relaxing. In fact, we were so busy relaxing this weekend that by the time we finally stepped out on Saturday, most of the wee bit of snow that fell the night before was already gone.
The most interesting thing about this weekend ocurred when the girls and I did the grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon. We ran into a teacher from Stinkette's school who came up to me and said that she'd heard a rumor. Is it true? Well, of course it was and after a brief conversation I walked away with the girls and commented to DQ that I feel like everyone is talking about me.
"They are!" was her response. So helpful.
Then she observed that suburbia is kind of like High School in the way everyone talks about everyone and word travels like wildfire. She has a point.
Jan 7, 2011
You know what this is? The only real plan I have for this weekend. For real!
DQ asked me last night what my plans were for the weekend and I told her I have none. She actually knew that already but she said that she was just checking again because it was so hard to believe. Yay!
Jan 5, 2011
Now that my big surprise has had a few days to sink in I’ve got a little follow up post. First let me say that this is not going to become a baby blog. I will not subject you all to endless reports about doctors, and tests, and my various aches and pains. Likewise there will be not ultrasound pictures and any bump sightings will likely be draped with a finished knit. What I’m trying to say is that this blog will mostly remain as it has ever been - knit focused with a bit of life in general because I need normal more than ever right now.
When I called this post By the Numbers it was because the numbers just seem inescapable. The first thing that people think when they hear the news is either 41 or 12. Forty-one is my age and people who don’t know me that well tend to assume that’s why I’m a little more reserved about this pregnancy. Obviously it’s a concern but, as everyone tells me, there are many, many, women my age having babies now. Great!
Twelve is the weirder number, the one that has induced stunned silence in many of my friends and family. That and laughter – lot’s of laughter. That’s the number of years between Stinkette and the new baby. 12! (DQ is 15) Let’s put that in perspective.
- I will spend the latter part of this year changing diapers and teaching DQ to drive at the same time. In fact, there will likely be an occupied car seat in the vehicle when DQ practices driving.
- I will likely be potty training and looking at colleges simultaneously.
This child will be 3 when it’s oldest sister goes off to college.
- When this child starts kindergarten, it’s older sisters will be a High School junior and a College sophomore.
- When we celebrate it’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah both of it’s older sisters will be of legal drinking age.
- At that point, I may even be a grandmother since DQ will be 28 – 2 years older than I was when she was born. I shudder to think.
- Here’s a good one. This child will be 18 and likely in college well before I hit retirement age. Whew!
These are the things I think about all the time now. It’s extremely weird. I have plenty of time to think about it though because I’m not really doing a lot to prepare for the baby. We have many things already from when the girls were young and I have no doubt that it will be well taken care of but I couldn’t bear it to come home to a house in full baby mode without a small person so I’ll wait until after the arrival for most things – and that means knitting. It’s so tempting to make endless sweaters and blankets now but I’m going to wait until I know who I’m knitting for. I can, and will, look at lot’s of patterns though. Count on that.
One more number for you – 30%. That’s the percentage of parents these days decide not to find out their baby’s sex in advance. We are in that minority so we are calling it "Peanut" for now while the 4 of us pitch possible names and consider the possibilities.
Jan 4, 2011
As 2010 drew to a close I finished 2 projects. This pair of socks which I bound off on the very last day of the year was the very last. The other thing just went into the mail today so I figure that I'll give it until next week to arrive at it's destination before posting it. For now you've got socks.
These belong to Stinkerbelle and she is quite happy with them. She ought to be. The yarn she chose for these socks was a really lovely skein of Creatively Dyed Calypso which I bought for my own feet. That's what I get for telling her to go to the stash and pick something.
The yarn is really nice to work with and has amazing yardage. I still have quite a bit left over and I have no idea what I'll do with it but it'll be good because this yarn is just so pretty. I really love the colors. Of course the fact that there is zero pooling or flashing helps a lot but it's the really subtle little sparks of red - just a single stitch every now and again - that make my girl smile. They're so small that they're like a secret that only she knows is there.
She really does love the socks though and she's already worn them... a little longer than I would've liked.
The pattern is just my usual plain, toe-up, gusset socks. I've found that the gusset and flap is much more successful than short row heels for me. They're both easy to make but the gusset and flap seems to fit better.
The only change on this pair of socks is the bind off. In the past I used the sewn bind off but this time I tried using the tubular bind off and it's a winner. It's stretchy and the look is just perfect. I think it's a keeper.
What is it about this post holiday period that makes the cold air outside seem so much more harsh? Or is it just me? I think it was colder a week or so ago and I know that it was windier then but somehow now it seems more depressing.
Oh, well. Nothing to do about it but bundle up and pray for and early Spring. Unless it snows. That is totally a different story. Then I'll be just like one of the kids sitting at the window, watching it fall and hoping for more. I don't think I'll ever be too old to love a nice, fresh, snowfall. I can't imagine living in a place without occasional snow.
In the same vein, today is all about things we wouldn't want to live without. Not people because that really just goes without saying, but the stuff. What makes our lives richer? What brings a smile to our face every time we use it? What is so much a part of our everyday that not having it there is unthinkable?
- Books - I just can't imagine what I'd do without reading material.
- My Computer - sad but true. I suppose that like so many of us I am addicted to the internet.
- My Watch - There are plenty of people who never wear one who'd say that a life spent unencumbered by the pressure of time contraints would be lovely but I'm not one of them. Even when I'm sitting on a beach with nowhere else to be and no time to be there I still need my watch.
- My Camera - For capturing pretty things everywhere.
- My Refrigerator with the Icemaker - On any given day you can walk around my house and find half full glasses of water filled with ice. We drink a lot of icy water!
- Cheese - #5 is also important to hold all of our cheese.
- My Car - Sure I could walk but it's much more fun to go fast with the top open and the radio on.
- My iPod - One of the greatest inventions ever.
- Knitting Needles and Yarn - Need I say more?
- My Deck - Now that I have it, it's had to remember life with out it and I'd rather not.
Jan 3, 2011
Saturday was not only New Years Day, it was also my Blogiversary. My 5th! I can honestly say that there is nobody who would ever have predicted that I'd stay with the blog for this long - not even me. My long history of picking things up and putting them down and the many abandoned journals and diaries hidden in odd spots around the house would testify to the unlikeliness on this and yet, here I am.
One of the funny things about so called milestone anniversaries is the way that they inspire us to get introspective. We come up with all manner of profound observations... or not.
Truly the only great observation that I've got is that you never know where life will take you. It always surprises us. Especially when you think you've got it all figured out. The only thing we can do is hope that the surprises will be good ones.
Five years ago I was working at a job I hated. Happily I've moved on to a job that fits me much better but I still interact with the company on a personal level and it's been surprisingly beneficial.
There have been unpleasant surprises too over the last 5 years and many of you have been with me for them. My family has lost a few members and they were all a surprise to some extent.
But the bad times make you appreciate the good times even more. My brother met and married the love of his life while living in Korea and they had a beautiful daughter. That was a really great surprise to us. AI suppose that it's equally surprising that they found themselves moving from Manhattan to Indiana. Never saw that coming.
It was even more surprising when my grandparents made the trip to be at my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I would've bet money that they wouldn't have been up to making the trip. That was an amazing surprise.
And now we've got and even bigger surprise. My family, which had seemed complete until recently, is apparently going to increase by one this June. Just when I thought that I was finished with diapers, car seats, and all that other good stuff I find myself getting ready to dive back into it all once again.
Like I said, the best we can hope for is that all the surprises in our lives should be good ones.