Archive | 2022

That’s all, folks!

It’s the last day of the year and I have my snacks ready for tonight. The boy and his partner are coming over for games so they should keep me up until midnight. I did manage to finish one more project last night — the one pair of socks on my needles — so tonight I’ll probably work on my sock yarn garter stitch blanket.

Yarn is Mothy & the Squid sock yarn and isn’t it lovely?? I have almost half a skein left over which will go into my blanket, as I currently have too many socks and not enough storage.

With that pair of socks, I completed 40 knitting project this year, including:

  • 10 shawls
  • 7 hats
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 6 pairs of fingerless mitts
  • 6 cowls
  • 4 sweaters

I used up 99 skeins of yarn and added 129 to my stash. I’d like to flip that next year, and use up more than I add, but I’m not going to stress about it. My yarn collection makes me happy just by being there!

I also read 51 books this year, slightly above my goal of 42. I hope to continue that next year and be intentional about taking time to read. I’ve been rethinking my book group participation, because I don’t love having feelings of obligation connected to something I’d like to do for fun, and I don’t love spending time forcing myself to read a book I wouldn’t otherwise read. But then I might miss some books I wouldn’t otherwise read that I might love! It’s tricky.

Next year I think I’m going to keep track of LEGO sets I put together too. It would just be a fun bit of data to look back on.

My knitting queue for 2023 already has nine projects on it, and I can’t wait to start casting on tomorrow!

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends!

FO Friday: Great Diamond Authority Shawl

The Great Diamond Authority shawl was my last big finish for 2022, and for a while there I wasn’t sure I’d get there! I started this shawl back in June, I think, and it kept revolving in and out of hibernation. It’s a BIG project, for one thing, and sometimes I needed to not be knitting lace. But after I finished the MKAL at the beginning of December, I made a big push to get this one finally done, and I’m so glad I did!

Each section has a slightly different diamond lace pattern, finished with a knitted-on lace border. Now, friends, I think I can say with confidence that I NEVER want to do a knitted-on lace border on a shawl ever again. It took ages and ages of knitting the same little 12-row repeat across the width of this massive shawl, decreasing six stitches each repeat. BUT. (sighhhh) Oh my goodness, it’s stunning. Why is it that my favorite FOs are often the ones that gave me the most grief during the knitting process??

I just wish I could capture the sparkle. The yarn is from Polka Dot Sheep Fine Yarns, and it’s their Rime base which has that delightful 2% stellina that I’m unable to photograph. Just look at their photo and then imagine my shawl just glittering away! I can’t wait to wear this one out into the world!

Happy Friday, friends. I hope you all have fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebrations this weekend!

December Wrap-Up

I feel like I can finally hold my head above water. Work was just absolutely bonkers busy all month long, plus there was holiday stuff to prepare for and then actually do. Christmas was good, not great — I missed the girl A LOT — but I enjoyed seeing all the my families and I got lots of thoughtful gifts. Still, I’m done with Christmas and ready for it to go away. I’ve started putting away a few decorations and hope to get them all put away (except for the tree) by the end of the day. Of course I’ve also been knitting, because how else would I still be sane?

This month I finished my zebra socks, a Merfolk Fade Shawl (Rav link), and my Winter Wonderland Mystery Knitalong (designer’s website)!! I never really thought I’d be able to keep up with it but the designer planned it well and it was pretty much the only thing I worked on until it was done. It’s very long, and most of the stitch patterns were super fun. A couple were fiddly and honestly that snowflake in the middle was a pain in my butt — but it was totally worth it. You can see more photos on my Instagram! Oh, and I gifted all the things I’d knitted for my teammates and I think everything was a success. They acted pleased anyway, and that’s all I need.

Grace has another bump on her chest but we got it checked out and it didn’t show any signs of being another mast cell tumor so we’re just watching it right now. She’s still a very happy girl! We did a DNA test on Duncan and discovered he’s almost half Rottweiler! I’d thought he was a Rottweiler/Mastiff mix, so I wasn’t completely wrong. I don’t really understand the point of these tests and yet I still want to do one for Jack too.

This month our work team volunteered for a couple of hours at a local non-profit helping low-income single parent families, and that gave me a much-needed boost. I also helped plan our sales conference, which happened this month and went very well. I had a great time at the event but good grief the exhaustion after — I basically spent the next day on the couch doing nothing. Our office building is decorated for Christmas, including this fun crown that is modeled after ones that were on display downtown back in the 1960s. It’ll be interesting to see how fast they take down the decorations!

I guess that’s December in a nutshell. I did just finish one more big project, but it’s blocking and I think it deserves its own post, so hopefully I’ll pop back in here before the month is done! Happy Wednesday, friends.

I tempted fate

The universe is screwing with me, I know it. “Go off your antidepressants? Ha — I’ll show you who’s boss!” I found out Monday that the growth Grace had removed was a cancerous mast cell tumor, high level stage 2 with cancerous cells in the margins. So it could very well recur, and if it does in that location, surgery won’t be an option. At this point she’s happy and appears healthy so we’ll keep a close eye on her, but I just have a sinking feeling that she won’t live to be an old lady.

On top of that, the girl won’t be home for Christmas. I understand why but good grief my heart still hurts. I’m pretty sure it’s the first Christmas she won’t be with us. Growing up is hard, friends! So the last few days I’ve been playing the fun game of “is this normal emoting or is this depression?” So far I’m leaning toward the former. Yesterday started a little rough, but a great afternoon with my work team helped reset my attitude and outlook. We spent a couple of hours sorting donations for a local non-profit that serves low-income families, and even though I felt like we barely made a dent, it felt great to do something good for someone else. After that, we gathered for happy hour and white elephant gift exchange. Here’s what I took:

I wrapped it in a wine gift bag and it got ignored until very late in the game but as soon as it was opened, it was immediately stolen twice (which was our limit). I think it’s okay to say that it was one of the better gifts, which included things like a used/not completely clean sandwich press, a russet potato, and a plastic spaghettio’s bank. I came home with a holiday apron/oven mitt set, a bag of trail mix, a box of sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding mix, and, best of all, a tall glass jar that is the perfect thing to store straight knitting needles!

It was really nice to wake up this morning and feel okay again. I’m continually reminded of how grateful I am for my work environment, for my teammates, for my knitting friends. I don’t know that I’d be this okay without them. I know this is a hard time of year for many people, so I hope you’re all doing well and finding some moments of joy!

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Work is crazy. Let’s buy yarn.

Oh good grief life is crazy right now! Work is Bonkers with a capital B — not bad, just extremely busy. I’m doing my regular job, plus helping with the veterans group I volunteered for, plus helping plan a big event in December. It’s all been keeping my on my toes and wearing me out so I have very little brain power left for anything else. And I don’t really anticipate it calming down until after the holidays so I’m just buckling in and hoping for the best. I’m fully off my antidepressants now, which could have been very bad timing what with stressful work and the winter blues, but so far I seem to be doing pretty well (knock on all the wood!!).

We had a small, quiet Thanksgiving. My brother’s family had the flu so we cooked dinner and took it to my mom’s house and had a quiet evening with just four of us. I enjoyed it but I’m also looking forward to seeing my whole big family for Christmas. The husband and I made our annual pilgrimage to Weston for Black Friday, where I did the usual things: bought Santas for my Santa collection, visited Florilegium for yarn, and took a photo with Father Christmas. Makes for a fun day!

I’ve added a few other skeins to my stash lately too. I ordered the holiday wine mystery yarn box from Chestnut Hills Farm & Fiber a while back and it arrived recently, with gorgeous yarn and some super fun other goodies. And I discovered Naima Bond on Instagram and she was so awesome that I had to buy a couple of skeins from her too.

And in other news, it’s been Grace’s turn to be an expensive dog. She had a growth on her top lip that we were watching, and at first it was very small and the vet said it was a histiocytoma, a benign growth that should resolve itself in about three months. Well, it didn’t. It grew and grew and finally when it looked like a raspberry on her lip, I took her back to the vet. The darn thing had more than doubled in size in six weeks! So she got to go in for a little nip and tuck, and was going to get a dental cleaning while she was under anesthesia. Of course I got a call that she had two cracked molars that needed to be removed. Super. That night was really hard — she kept whining and pacing, despite us giving her as much pain meds as we could. Thankfully she recovered quickly and bounced back to her cheerful happy self within a couple of days. The vet sent the growth off to be biopsied and we should hear back about that next week. Fingers crossed! I won’t show you the growth, but I’ll show you her funny little sneer now.

There’s more I could share but that’s probably enough for now and I want to get some knitting done before I get too tired. Happy Wednesday, friends!

November is zooming

Guys, this is a little crazy: the holidays are coming super fast. The end of the year is coming super fast. Why is November going so quickly? It’s the time of year when workplaces have holiday parties with white elephant gift exchanges. And since I’m a knitter, those gifts usually involve yarn. I’m thinking about a bottle of wine with a cabled wine bottle sweater. Is that a good gift?

I hope so, because I don’t have any other ideas! Okay, I take it back: my other idea is a Yip Yip but I didn’t think of that until I’d already started the wine bottle sweater. In the past, I’ve done a hat/mitts set and a crochet cactus, but those both sounded like too much work this year. Now, the real question is: what kind of wine should I put in the sweater?

Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: Socks!

Today is Veterans Day (THANK YOU, veterans!) and that is a bank holiday, so I have the day off and I’m so grateful for that. While I waited for clue two of my MKAL, I was able to finish a pair of purple shortie socks. Of course now we’ve hit the days with highs of like 37 and shortie socks don’t quite meet my needs, but heck, it’s Missouri. We might get a random warm day next week. I’m pretty sure this leftover ball of yarn was from New Garden Farm, a local indie dyer, but I can’t swear to it.

Yesterday was the launch event for the veterans group at work and my worries were all for naught! Everything went smoothly, all the people were friendly and delightful. Yes, I did bite into what I thought was a chocolate chip cookie only to discover it was raisin, but I recovered and went back for a peanut butter cookie instead. It’s just been such a rewarding feeling being part of such a cool project from almost the beginning, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Right, off to start clue two! Happy Friday, friends!

Ten years with yarn

Today is my yarniversary. Ten years ago today, I sat down with some pink Red Heart yarn (it’s all I could afford) and the Cool Girl’s Guide to Crochet, and taught myself how to crochet. Now I can’t imagine life without the fiber world.

2012 was a bad year. We lost beloved family members and I was in a job I hated. I’d already planned to quit my job when my dad died in April but losing him cemented the decision. It was the right move but I needed more than that, though I didn’t realize it at first. By November I was deep in depression but didn’t understand it, or didn’t want to admit it — I’m not sure which. I’d never dealt with it in myself before so I didn’t know what was “normal” grief and what was clinical depression. So I was fumbling along, looking for things to distract me and give me a little bit of pleasure, and along came yarn. (And therapy and meds, but that’s another story!)

Within a few months, crochet led to knitting and here I am. Knitting is such a big part of me now; it’s part of my identity that I carry with me everywhere. it’s given me joy and peace, color and creativity, friendship and love. It’s helped give me the confidence to embrace the weirdo that I am.

Every year I write a variation of this post. But I can’t help but appreciate the impact this “little hobby for old ladies” has had on me and my life. So let’s stay together, yarn — forever.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

FO: Crocodile Run Cowl

Next to hats, single skein cowls are one of my favorite things to knit. They’re such a good palate-cleanser and a great way to use up the fun single skeins that I tend to buy. And I love wearing cowls too — the back of my neck always gets cold in the winter! So when I was waiting for the MKAL pattern to drop, I pulled out a skein that was calling my name and cast on a Crocodile Run Cowl, which is free on Rav. Here’s an unblocked and blocked view:

It’s written for DK weight with simple lace. I loved knitting it and really wish I’d been smarter when I cast on and weighed how much each pattern repeat used. I’m pretty sure I ended up with enough yarn to do another repeat. So if you knit one, weigh your yarn after the ribbing and then again after you do the first repeat. That way you’ll be able to check before you start the second round of ribbing and use up as much yarn as you can! Oh, and my yarn is Old Rusted Chair Squish DK in Oil Slick, and I love it so much. It’s hard to see but there are little bits of turquoise and purple in there.

I might have a couple of finished socks by the end of the month too — I think I might need the mindless knitting for some stress relief! I’m helping out with a couple of extra projects at work, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means I have fewer days to get it all done. Plus we have the launch event this week for the veterans resource group I’m helping with, so I’ll be attending a lunch with a bunch of people I don’t know (and hopefully a few I do!). Plus I get to fly on the company plane later this month (not like a huge corporate jet, just a small plane) which is super super cool but also sort of scary because I have to find the hangar at 6:30 am and there are high odds of bigwigs also being present. Plus I have my first colonoscopy next week — I’m not really worried about it, but I’m also not looking forward to it and it’s another day of missed work when I have a lot on my list. ARGH.

So it’s going to be a slightly crazy month, but I think it’ll be manageable. Because do you want to hear something really crazy and scary? My mental health is … pretty good? Like, better than it’s been in a long time? I’m tapering off my antidepressants. I’ve been on a half-dose for a month and now I’m switching to every other day for a couple of weeks. For the first few days, every time I got frustrated or sad about something, I freaked out a little bit and worried I’d made a mistake, but I kept reminding myself that a bad hour or a bad day or even a bad couple of days doesn’t meant I’m not handling it — it just means I’m human. And each time, it’s passed. I’m still cautious, because I’ve been on them for about nine years, but I’ve felt really stable and overall happy the last several months. It’s amazing how much the new job helped. Being in a supportive environment where I feel appreciated and valued and I’m given the opportunity take ownership of projects has been huge. I guess I didn’t realize exactly how much my former job was messing with my head. I’ve also built up more strong friendships over the last year, which has also been enormously helpful. I mean, seriously, my knitting peeps are the best. So … yeah. Maybe it’s overly optimistic to go off the meds at the most stressful time of year when the outside world gets literally dark and cold. But what if it’s not? That’s what I’m holding onto right now.

Happy Monday, friends.

Finishing some things

I guess you’ll only see me when I’ve managed to finish something. At least that’s the current trend. There’s a group at work collecting winter gear for kids, and I’ve got four hats done and ready to donate. Okay, almost. They’ve been washed but there’s still a bit of stray dog hair, so I need to use the lint roller on them before bagging them up. It was fun to have an excuse to make some hats and it used up four skeins of acrylic from my stash.

Also, I don’t think I ever told you that I finished my yarn puzzle! This is the Skeins puzzle from Hedgehog Fibres and man it was a hard puzzle for me. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to want to put it together again, so I’m leaning toward sticking it in a frame and hanging it.

I’ve also finished a cowl but it’s got lace and it’s currently having a bath, so that’ll be another post when it’s ready for its glamour shots. My first mystery knitalong started on Friday, so that’ll be my main focus this month. It’s one clue a week and I’m really not sure I’ll be able to keep up with it, especially since I’ve also got two books I’ve got to read for different book clubs, plus I also have to keep up with my weekly shows. We started the new season of White Lotus, we’re watching the new Quantum Leap (and really enjoying it!), and now the new season of the Crown is starting – so basically at this point I need to hope the MKAL is good TV knitting!

Happy Sunday, friends.