Archive | January 2021

Busy Weekend: Done

Oh golly, I’m tired. Our bookcase replacement project is done but it took most of the weekend and a lot of effort. The husband assembled all the bookcases, and I moved all the books over, as well as climbed up and down chairs to move the LEGO sets that live on top of the bookcases. After that was done, we had to break down and bundle up all the cardboard (and there was a lot of it) and finally, get rid of the old bookcases. Thankfully, my brother and sister are book nerds as well as so they took them off my hands and out of my living room. All that’s left is one bad bookcase, currently in the dining room, that needs to be broken down and disposed of, and we have one lovely library/music room!

We’ve got some room to grow as well as room to display some fun things. And I’m quite happy because the husband also removed the old, non-functioning radiator that was taking up wall space — he found three old remote controls back there! I guess we know where they sat to watch TV! The setup for the turntable is new as well, which meant reclaiming the desk (which the clever husband built) as a desk, so I now have an actual workspace downstairs and no longer have to work at the dining room table.

Now it’s Sunday night and we have to work tomorrow and it feels like we didn’t get a weekend at all!

A busy weekend

Guys, I got some really lovely comments on my last post. Thank you! It was so nice to connect in that small way. I meant to post again sooner but the last two days have been just bonkers enough at work that my brain was too tired to blog in the evenings, and I wanted to make sure I had time to appreciate and respond to the comments. Now I’m all caught up with that, plus kind of caught up on my blog-reading.

I also thought I would have pretty photos to show of my new shawl, but between work and rain, I do not. Instead I’ll show you what I’ve been knitting this week. I think I mentioned that I was starting some donation hats. Well, I love knitting hats, I like getting older yarn out of my stash, and I like knowing these hats will go to people who need them. So I’ve just been knitting hats this week. The red is the Hinterland Hat (Rav link) in Rowan Pure Wool and the purple/green is the Charlie Hat (Rav Link) in Malabrigo Worsted. Right now I’ve got some green worsted on the needles for a Duality hat (Rav link). It’s fun picking a different pattern each time!

But my knitting time will be a little limited this weekend. We used our stimulus check to finally do something we’ve talked about pretty much ever since we got Duncan over three years ago: we got bookcases with doors on them. Duncan really enjoys eating books, the older and more valuable the better. I kept thinking he was getting better, but it happened again a couple of months ago so we’re just going to assume it’s always a possibility. I’m a hard-core book nerd, the kind who cares a lot about first editions and dust jackets and condition, so I’m thrilled to be protecting my collection now.

These are just Billy bookcases from IKEA, but the books and the doors dress them up so nicely and make them look fancy! We made a good start last night but this morning my view has a lot of cardboard, so we’ve still got some work to do. Maybe I’ll get to do some knitting tomorrow?

WIP Wednesday

I was on Twitter this morning, early enough in the news cycle that it wasn’t yet doomscrolling, and I found a couple of good threads about coping during this pandemic lockdown/isolation stuff. One was about teenagers doing virtual school, and it highlighted many reasons that some kids are actually happier this way. Yes, like adults, there are the extroverts who feed off of being around others in person, but there are so many others who don’t need that. Ones who are suddenly discovering the freedom of not participating in so many extracurriculars, ones who are experiencing a relief from harassment or bullying or just the petty bullshit that is high school. Ones who are appreciating the extra space in their work areas, the freedom to go to the bathroom whenever they need to, or eat lunch at a normal speed. Ones who learn best on their own and don’t need the crap stress of “group work” to learn how to work with others.

This isn’t true for everyone, I know, but there’s been so much focus on “Oh, the kids are suffering! Let them back in school!” and so little attention paid to the ones who are benefitting. My son loves it. He is relaxed, has time for the things he loves outside of school, gets to take breaks and pet dogs and have snacks (and he’s a teenage boy — snacks are important!). It’s not perfect, nothing’s perfect, and there is no ideal learning situation that fits all sizes. But just like I’m enjoying working from home most of the time, it makes sense that many younger people would have the same experience.

The second thread, and it’s related to that first one, was about coping in extreme situations, such as a year-long global pandemic. If you’re on Twitter and you’re interested, you can find it here. But one of the biggest takeaways for me was a reminder to try to break the cycle of ruminating, having repetitive thoughts about a negative event or situation, and try to find and focus on the positives. It sounds so simple and obvious, almost insultingly so. But there are many things I’ve appreciated about the last year, and maybe it does/would help to try to remind myself of those sometimes. Things like my son not hating school as much as he used to, working in comfy clothes with my dogs nearby, getting to see my son and husband during the day, seeing how much more relaxed my husband is about work now that he’s at home, maybe even not having to work around people who stress me out!

Oh, yes, I know, there are so many bad things about this time, and you all know them and have your own too. But in many ways, this quieter life is well-suited for me. And it’s forced connections in other ways — I’m so grateful for our Blogville group, and I’m not sure we would have gotten together this way if we hadn’t been feeling lonely and isolated.

It’s been a long haul. I know I’m struggling more often than not. If you are too, know that it’s understandable and you’re not alone, and keep on trucking. I really do believe things will get better, and with any luck, we’ll be able to carry forward the good things we’ve learned from living through this pandemic. After all, we’re all works in progress, aren’t we?

This isn’t the post I meant to write today, but that happens sometimes. So here are today’s photos: more snow, hooray! And I’m working on donation hats with some deep stash. Happy Wednesday, friends.

It’s a new day

Okay, so guess what? Snow is better than rain! It was starting to snow before I went to bed and we had a lovely gentle ground cover when I got up this morning. I don’t think we’ll be getting much more, and that’s okay, just this is fine for now. There’s a rumor of temps near 50 this weekend, so maybe that will include sunshine too!

And last night I bound off my We Belong Together shawl. It needs ends woven and a good blocking, but I’m delighted with it. (I’ve been watching too much British TV: I really wanted to say “I’m quite chuffed!”) This might be my fastest shawl ever too. It took just six days, well, seven if you count the weaving and blocking I’ll be doing today. Apparently DK weight knits up much faster than fingering weight. Shocker, I know.

Oh, and look, I made a mistake. See that one small teal lace section? Yeah, that was supposed to be as big as the purple one. I only did the lace pattern once instead of twice but didn’t figure it out until the end of the stripe section after it. So not worth frogging back. I didn’t use up as much of the teal because of that, but I think it’s still going to be a wearable length.

I’ve also realized that I need to adjust the position of my sewing machine. I spent Saturday sewing more masks and by that night, I had a catch in one shoulder. The machine is kind of angled because the cord is too short, and every time I use it for very long, this happens. Note to self: get an extension cord for the silly thing before you use it again! It’s just painful enough to be annoying, and I think that helped exacerbate my crabbiness yesterday. I might try a heating pad today and see how that goes. So, happy Tuesday. Hope it’s a good one for you!

Sock It To Me Monday

And Monday is socking it to me this week. It is cold and gray and rainy, and I found out some news at work that was a little disheartening and so I am wandering around my house in a hoodie with the hood pulled up because it is somehow mildly comforting. We all thought, Oh yay, 2021 will be better! Oh yay, the vaccine is coming! Oh yay this or that! Well, guess what. Things still mostly suck, except I have less dread every time I log into Twitter each morning.

I’ve had some time on conference calls where I’m not doing much, so my bright, fun sock is growing nicely. But mostly I’ve been working on my We Belong Together shawl and I think I will finish that in the next couple of days. Oh, and I took a short break last night for this little project.

Duncan went outside with the sweater on, and came inside without a sweater. I found it outside, damp and muddy, by the broken gate where they like to go in and out under the deck. It snagged on something, clearly. I have mended the hole and it is not pretty if you look up close but it is no longer a hole at least. I didn’t want to take a picture because my mending skills are less than stellar. Thankfully, the dogs won’t care at all.

I hope it is at least sunny where you are today!

We belong together

Watching the inauguration yesterday, I was struck by all the strong, gorgeous colors the women were wearing, and I decided I needed a commemorative cast-on. I don’t wear red (because I don’t like red with my purple hair) or yellow (not a flattering color for me) so I focused on the teal/purple combo. Stash-diving gave me these. The teal is darker than Dr. Biden’s (and not quite as green as it looks here) and the purple is lighter than Vice President Harris’s, but it’s close enough that I think I’ll remember the day when I wear this.

The pattern is We Belong Together and so far it’s exactly what I needed: some variations to keep it interesting but not so hard that I can’t watch TV at the same time. And it’s DK so it won’t take as long as fingering weight!

Also I blocked my Oxbow cardigan and now I kind of wish I hadn’t, because it grew a bit and the texture is a little looser. It’s not superwash so I can’t just throw it in the dryer, so I think it just…is? It’s fine, still totally wearable and just a bigger, cozy cardigan. And it is softer, without any itchy issues so far, so that’s a plus. I think the only thing I could have done differently was to make my gauge swatch bigger, to get a better sense of how the stitch pattern behaved after blocking. Live and learn, I guess!

Happy Wednesday

Four years ago today, I had a piece of chocolate cake as comfort, as consolation. Today I baked a cake as celebration. Today I celebrate the inauguration of the 46th president and of the first woman vice president, and I celebrate the return of cautious optimism and hope.

The cake is also for my dad. Today is his birthday. He would have been 77 this year, and I think it’s the first year since he died that we aren’t having a big family dinner with Mexican food and margaritas in his honor.

And the cake is for Jack too, whose birthday was yesterday and is 7 now. (So many 7s! Must be lucky!) He won’t get cake but he got a little bit of pumpkin mixed into his dinner last night, so he was happy.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

With my cardigan done, I switched focus last night to the boy’s gray sock and I feel confident that I can get this first sock done today.

I have about half an inch left before I start the toe. No problem! Except I got distracted thinking about my next sweater. I want to do a colorful striped sweater so I started playing around with color choices.

I think I’m leaning toward number three. What do you like best?

FO: Oxbow Cardigan

It’s done it’s done it’s DONE! I finished my Oxbow Cardigan today and it might actually have been my fastest sweater knit, at only two months. There’s definitely something to be said for knitting bulky-weight sweaters! The yarn is Cascade Eco+ and I only used 2.5 skeins of the four I purchased. I feel a bit of itchiness against the back of my neck as I sit here typing, so I’m going to give it a nice long soak and see if that softens things up.

The sleeves are about three inches longer than I would have liked, but other than that, I think the fit is great. This project definitely had some elements that aren’t my favorite (deciphering increases and decreases, short rows, picking up A LOT of stitches) but it was all good practice for me. Before this, I thought I only liked to knit pullovers, but this wasn’t bad at all, maybe because it was bulky weight? I’m already thinking about what my next sweater should be!

Also, I was introduced to a new show: the Great Pottery Throw Down and it’s SO good. In the US, I think it’s only available on HBO Max. If you like wholesome shows like the Repair Shop or GBBO, you should give it a go. It’s marvelous.

Still a little dumb, but cool

My Oxbow cardigan is growing, and as it does, it is growing into a clearly identifiable sweater object. I don’t know that I’m doing the decreases the way the designer intended, but if anything is messed up, it’ll be by the edge and probably not as noticeable. The main body of the sweater I’ve managed to keep in pattern, for the most part. There is a section of about 10 stitches on one upper arm/shoulder that morphed into about six rows of ribbing but whatever, I’m not bothered. This is meant to be a cozy comfy sweater anyway, and the texture will help hide errors.

Looking at the photo now, I think I spotted another section that got a bit messed up. Oops. I’m hoping to get through all the decreases today and maybe even pick up for the ribbing. Wouldn’t it be something if I could get this done over the long weekend??