Archive | May 2016

Knitting Fail

Well, crap. I have made an error. You know that Marcelle Wrap I’m knitting? I ordered the right amounts of yarn, cast on, and knit away…and then I got toward the end of the striped section and ran out of the cream yarn. IMG_6208

I double-checked the pattern and yep, I did it as written. Yarn amounts? Yes, I should have had enough. So why? Why did I run out?

Needle size. The pattern called for 4.00mm, and I mistakenly grabbed a size 4, which is 3.5mm. Now, I haven’t been knitting long enough to understand how or why the heck that would screw it all up, but it’s the only variable. Dadgummit all. Guess I’m ordering another skein of yarn, and until it gets here, this project is going in timeout.

The Green Stripe

Back to the Marcelle Wrap I went yesterday, forcing myself through those last few stockinette rows with the cream. I confess, I was a bit bored with it. It was growing nicely, and the pattern was easy enough to do while I watched TV, but I kept thinking of more colorful yarns and more intricate patterns. The puppies were crazy, so I sat outside with them and knit and knit and knit.

IMG_6189

THEN! Finally, after 49 rows, I was up to 309 stitches and ready to start the stripes, and the forest green made its appearance!

IMG_6192

Suddenly it was interesting again, even though I’m still just doing the plain stockinette. I speed through the cream to get to the green again, and now I’m trying to speed through the stripes so I can get to the lace section! Woohoo! I am a bit worried I’ll run out of the cream color and have to order more, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

If you missed it before, this pattern is from Little Church Knits, who kindly offers Free Pattern Fridays. You can see all her designs here on Ravelry, or follow her blog here. This Marcelle Wrap is one of four free shawl patterns and I want to make all of them!

Back to the knitting now, to see if I can make to the lace today! Happy Friday, friends!

Life After Depression

Four years. Is that a long time? Or not? My instinct is to say it’s not. As I approach my 40th birthday, four years is a blip. But today, Facebook reminded me that it was four years ago that my life changed completely, and it feels like eons ago.

Four years ago last month, my dad died. Yep, it was hard. It pushed me into a dark place, a place I was on the verge of anyway. Suddenly I was no longer emotionally able to maintain my current life; I realized I wanted more. More than working 50 hours a week as a retail store manager. More than saying goodbye to my kids one morning and not seeing them again until the next night. More than asking my MIL to take care of my kids and take them to activities and pick them up when I couldn’t. More than seeing my mom twice a year when one of us could visit the other.

Thankfully, I’m married to the best man in the world. He agreed we could scale back the budget to allow me to quit my job and stay home with the kids while I figured out my next step. I didn’t know what it would be; I still don’t know if I’m “there” yet or what. But wow, what a difference those four years made in my life.

I see my kids every morning and I greet them when they get home from school. I’m able to drive my daughter to flute lesson and band camp and auditions and study sessions and all these other things that would have been impossible before. I’m able to get a few minutes of conversation with my almost-teenage son before he disappears into his room to play video games. We eat dinner together as a family every single night. Instead of a pet-free house, we have two dogs who bring me great comfort and joy.

And during the day, I create. In those four years, I finished and revised a book. A whole book, that I’m now sending to agents in hopes of getting it published. I’ve proofread books for clients, several books, and I love that process. I learned to crochet, and then knit, and I sell my little beauties to people who love them. Through the yarn, I’ve found a wonderful friendship with my Knitting SIL. Through this blog, I’ve found a wonderful community of writers and knitters and all-around fabulous people. As one of my readers commented, I have a very rich, creative life, and somedays I’m overwhelmed with how lucky I am.

Now I can’t imagine being where I was four years ago. Remembering the job itself makes me cringe. I do miss the people, my lovely Creeker family, but thankfully I still have many of them in my life.

I still miss my dad. Of COURSE I do. I desperately wish he were still here. But this seems to be the way it goes: you have to go through something terrible to get that push to do what you’re really meant to do. Life is short and all that jazz. I can tell you the words, but until something makes it true for you, it won’t work the same. At least that’s my theory. Losing my dad set in motion a chain of events, including getting my mom and siblings in the same town for the first time in decades, and having them all around me has been one of the best blessings ever. It brought us together; it helped me get through the hard times.

I’m happy now. My life is peaceful and joyful and colorful. Those four years were rough and bumpy and jagged and sharp, and now I feel like I’ve reached a smooth part, where the lows aren’t so low and I can get past them more quickly. Thank goodness for my husband, my kids, my mom and siblings, my puppies, the friends who were truly there for me when I was struggling. Thank goodness for kind, gentle doctors. Thank goodness for antidepressants and thyroid meds and melatonin. After three years of taking them, I’m almost completely off the happy pills and doing well, but I know they’re there if I ever need them again.

I am one of the lucky ones. I know many people, too many good people, who have struggled, will continue to struggle, with depression forever. So many times, depression is ongoing and constant, not the (relatively) short experience I had. So many times, the meds don’t work, or you can’t afford the meds, or you’re ashamed to ask for the meds. So many times, you don’t take the time to see a therapist because you think you can do it alone.

But sometimes you can’t, and THAT’S OKAY. Trying meds, even lots of different meds, is OKAY. Seeing a therapist is OKAY, probably one of the best things I did, and I highly recommend it to everyone, not just people suffering from depression. Don’t just say you’re “fine” if you’re not. Find one person you trust, and tell the truth. Let them help you.

Here’s what I’ve learned over four years:

  • Smoking DOES cause cancer, and cancer CAN kill you, and it SUCKS for everyone involved.
  • There can be beauty and great meaning in death.
  • Time does help heal. Wounds don’t go away, but you can find joy again.
  • A family of four can live on one salary. It’s hard sometimes, and I worry about money a lot, but this is still the best choice for me, for us.
  • Most people are truly kind.
  • It’s worth it to keep fighting. Life may be short, but it’s beautiful. Find the beauty.

IMG_6183

Shawl Obsession

I want to knit all the shawls. I’ve never been a shawl person, and for the longest time I wasn’t a shawl-knitting person. But lately I’ve been on a kick where I appreciate the shaping and the lace details and the magic that comes when you block it. I spent about an hour in my Ravelry library last night and matched yarn and patterns for five shawls! I know they won’t all happen anytime soon; I do have two shawls and a blanket in my WIPs at the moment, after all. But once those shawls are done, I’m pretty sure another one will take it’s place pretty quickly.

Speaking of shawls, fabulous designer Corrina Ferguson (aka picnicknits on Ravelry and Instagram) is having a Summer Shawl-a-Thon and is offering 55% off some of her shawl patterns! Check out the options right here. I have two in mind: Gloxinia and Madelia. I think I’m leaning toward Madelia, if only because it’s a bit smaller and I can finish it sooner. Plus many of the shawl patterns I love are narrower ones that can be worn like a scarf too. I’ve even got yarn in mind:

IMG_6178It’s DK weight, because I can only do so much in fingering before I go completely mad.

Now, this next part is going to completely contradict what I have just written, but I’ll do it anyway. I cast on a new project last night, bringing my number of WIPs to nine. And this project was started as a direct result of shawl-fatigue. I’ve been working on my Pink Diamonds shawl and my sister’s Marcelle Wrap and the mermaid blanket and I needed something cute and fast. Plus, as of today, it has been 52 days since I finished a hat, and that’s simply not acceptable. I am a hat knitter. They are my most favorite things to make ever. Nothing to do but to pull out a skein of Malabrigo Worsted and cast on another Duality hat for myself.

IMG_6177

But I swear, as soon as this hat is done, I’m making all the shawls!

Awesome Project Bag

No knitting photos to share today, sadly. I didn’t make it to the green stripes in the Marcelle Wrap (though I only have 10 rows left before I get there) so there’s not much to show. Instead, I’ll show you what I got in the mail.IMG_6169Isn’t that AWESOME??? I love Lionel Richie, and my husband’s text tone is a snippet from “Hello”. I first saw it in another knitter’s photo on Instagram, and of course I asked about it. I checked out The Yarn Stories, where she’d gotten it, and it was sold out. Thank goodness I’m on Instagram frequently, because the other day they posted they’d gotten restocked and there was ONE left. I was on the stationary bike exercising, but you can bet I went online and ordered that puppy while I was pedaling away. I’m delighted with it. It’s bigger than I was expecting, heavy and durable, and will hold at least a couple of projects. Now, I just checked and their website says they have ONE left, so if you want one, move fast!

I mostly played with yarn and watched TV yesterday, but by nine I was pooped so I retreated to my bed with my new book, a Mother’s Day gift from the girl (paid for with money from her first paycheck!!) and so far I’m loving it. IMG_6170Can’t go wrong with Clara Parkes. My only concert is that it’s too short. I think it will be done too quickly.

Now, today, I must ignore the sniffling/sneezing/coughing and do some errands, for a I can’t take a sick day every day. You can be sure that I will return to my couch and knitting as soon as possible, though. I hope you all have a sunnier, healthier day than I will!

Pink Lace Cowl

The pink yarn project was a bust. I got to the end on Saturday, and it just wasn’t long enough to wear like I wanted. I frogged, and I wasn’t sad because I adore the yarn and loved knitting with it. I found another pattern, and before we left for the girl’s recital yesterday, I grabbed the needles I needed. Unfortunately, within four rows I realized I didn’t like the fabric. It was too loose. I have an image in my head of what I want this scarf to be, and I just can’t find the pattern that fits that image. SO, I guess I’m going to try to figure it out myself. I want it to be a horizontal scarf with tapered ends but I don’t know how many stitches to cast on. That means my first step is a swatch. ACK! I’m not a swatcher. I mean, I know how, and I would do it for something like a sweater, but I kind of hate it. Still, I love this yarn enough that I want the final product to be as close to perfect as possible. For pink cashmere, I will swatch!

I needed a break from that project before trying to design the pattern, though. I realized yesterday that I have very few solid color scarves/cowls in my hand knits, and since I wear a lot of striped/patterned shirts, I need more solids. Plus it’s getting warmer, so I need something cooler than dense wool. Again, I had an image in my head, but this time I got lucky in finding a pattern, and I finished my Lace Summer Cowl this morning.

IMG_6048IMG_6049IMG_6163

Pattern is Summer Lattice Cowl and the yarn is SMC Select Juliette, a bulky pink cotton. I modified it to work in the round, rather than having to deal with seaming, so I cast on 120 stitches and just knit until I decided it was done. It’s exactly what I wanted, and now I just want to make myself ten more solid color cowls! But instead, I’m going to balance my knitting by working on some commissions for a bit. I started the Marcelle Wrap by Little Church Knits for my sister this weekend and so far the pattern is flying along. I can’t wait to get to the stripe section so I can add in the dark green.

IMG_6051

Maybe I’ll get there today! For the first time in weeks, my entire day is empty, and I’ve got a yucky cold, so I’m going to plant myself on the couch and enjoy some binge-watching and knitting. Pretty sure I’ll have some furry friends keeping my company too.

IMG_6150

A Choir Concert, with Pink Yarn

Last night was a pretty neat evening. The girl is in the honor women’s choir at school, and last night was the spring concert. It’s their only fundraiser of the year, so they held it at a gorgeous church downtown and charged a small admission, and it was one of the best choir concerts I’ve ever been to. IMG_6139The acoustics were AMAZING, and the choir director chose the perfect pieces for the room. I have no idea how to post video on here, but if you find me on Instagram (I’m bonnyknits there too) you can see a snippet of their last song. All the choirs were upstairs, lining the balconies around the entire sanctuary, and their voices filled the room, and it was just…breathtaking. IMG_6144IMG_6143All the choirs sang beautifully, truly. I’m so glad my girl is involved in music, and I’m so glad we’re in a school district that values fine arts and has the resources to support them.

IMG_6147There’s the pretty girl (and the pretty mother too, even wearing her new turquoise scarf!). She’s moving into the concert choir next year (the mixed choir) and there’s a trip opportunity if we can get our fundraising gears going. It’s experiences like these that help me feel like we did the right thing in moving last year, even if it has been hard for the kids at times. Most of the time, I think they agree.

I had my knitting with me last night, too. I wanted a bit of easy selfish knitting so I grabbed my skein of Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere (Yep, it’s exactly as squishy and soft as you imagine) in Charged Cherry and cast on the Half Moon Scarf. So far, I’m loving it, and I’m loving knitting with this yarn, but I’m a little concerned my scarf won’t be quite long enough. IMG_6149We’ll see. Today the kids have auditions for an honor band, and then we have a family birthday party, so this will come along. But if it comes out too short, I think this is one instance where I wouldn’t mind frogging, if only so I can knit with this yarn again. At $30/skein, I’m not likely to get more of it anytime soon!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend; mine promises to be quite full and hectic!