Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A General Dearth of Christmas Spirit

I don't really know what's up with me this year, but I'm just not feeling the Christmas spirit. Christmas is my favorite time of year; typically the three months leading up to Christmas are my happiest most anticipatory months, and by now I'm usually all excited and cheery.

Not this year.

I'm just worn out. It was a fairly stressful day at work; lots of crying and loud children, some with bad attitudes. I feel better today than I've been recently - I let myself sleep in this morning and that was an improvement - but I just have a general feeling of worn-outedness.

I feel sort of like I'm running in place or standing still. I clean and the house stays the same amount of dirty, I do dishes and the sink is full again, I knit on the Christmas Tree of Life Sweater and it stays the same length, my cousin's Noro stiped scarf is taking forever - a bad omen for the one I'll be starting tomorrow which needs to be finished by Sunday.

Maybe I'm just frustrated because none of my knitting is really working out that well. I made a beautiful purple sock for my cousin that is just way way way too small. I'll knit a mate and give them to my mom instead (and the plan is to make cousin the other Noro scarf), but I'm disappointed, I admit it. I was also making my mom a really beautiful neckwarmer, so I thought, but then I had some other ideas and now I think I'd rather frog it and use the yarn for socks and get a different color for the warmer.

It seems nuts that the knitting could have me this down though. I mean, I do love that purple sock, in spite of the fact that it's too small for my cousin. And for having just embraced socks, I really should be pretty content with a few mistakes. Well, imperfections. To be honest, it's been a tough fall at work too, and that probably has more to do with my discontent than vague knitting related angst.

I've been reading the archives over at Yes I MADE That too, and I'm filled with crafter envy. I really want to have her fabric stash and be able to do some of the sewing projects she's got going on. Why do I never have any time? I have two part time jobs that don't add up to one real job - shouldn't I have the copious free time?

Maybe I'm not taking the transition well to being a non-school person - not used to not having a vacation. I don't know though - I've been out of school for two years now. Maybe that's it. Out of school for two years, and I still haven't published a single design, not even just on Ravelry. Time is moving quickly or I'm not moving at all.

I really think I just need to finish something though. I mean, finish it and have it be right and look good, not finish it and have it be too small. (I finished a hat that is too small for me today too - I'll have to frog to the decreases and add length.)

My dog has been sick too. Basically, he's in heart failure and the vet has said that he could easily go downhill very quickly and there's not much we can do to help him. Poor baby. He's still a bad boy who spilled a bunch of Mountain Dew on my yarn last night. I do love him though. He looks at you with the goldeny eyes and I just can't help but melt.

Wow. I really know how to bring down a room don't I? Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Well, I've only got three days of school left and then it's off home for two weeks. Surely I can buck up enough to make it three more days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Limiting Factors

I'm definitely finding that the limiting factor in the whole blogging adventure is photo-related. I keep accidentally killing the battery on Jorah's wee little camera, and mine still languishes with Nikon Corporate (which reminds me, I have yet to get an estimate on how much that is going to cost . . .) I know that I most enjoy those blogs which contain many beautiful pictures, but I can't seem to get that going on my own blog. I need a photojournalist to follow me around and take pictures of my stuff. And then upload the files to my computer.

These are things I'm going to try and photograph in the next few days:

  • The Jayne Hat I am making for Jorah for his birthday. Just needs a Pom-pom and I bought a pom-pom maker this weekend. (It filled me with crafter joy.)
  • The Zoe Hat I've been close to finished with for awhile. Also in need of a pom-pom.
  • The Christmas Tree of Life sweater I'm making for Jorah for Christmas.
  • The socks I'm making for Jorah for his birthday. (The post which includes pictures of these will also include a love letter called, "Dear Smooshy")
  • The elegant (I hope) neckwarmer that I'm making my mother for Christmas.
  • The Silk Garden scarf I'm making for one of my cousins for Christmas.
  • The alpaca shawl I've sort of been making for myself for the last eight months but I've barely started because I'm too lazy to wind the next ball, but today at the yarn store it was really cold and I said to myself, "I wish I had an alpaca shawl to keep me warm."
I think that's about all I've got going on right now. I made something this weekend, but I think it's ugly. I'm not sure. Pretty sure it's ugly. Not sure I'm going to show the blog. At least not until it's blocked.

Goal for this week: Photos.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unfinished Object

Been a little sickly here recently. I got sick about a month ago and haven't been able to shake it. Probably the answer is just that I don't really take care of myself the way I should. I keep making these resolutions. I"m going to go to the gym, I'm going to eat better, I'm going to walk to work, to knit something for myself, to get more help at work . . . but it doesn't happen. I'm still pouring myself into work, when I should really be working on the knitting, and driving to work and not going to the gym or eating well. Or sleeping well. These last two weeks I've been waking up five and ten times a night.

I feel cold, and frayed, the way that I hope people I knit for don't feel. I have so much knitting to do for Christmas, for real knit worthy people but I feel a little oppressed. And Kate's bridal shower is coming up and I need to prep for that . . .

I make all of these resolutions for myself, but I never end up following through with them, and then I'm just cold and achey and cranky.

I feel like I want to make another resolution here, say it out loud that I'm going to start taking better care of myself, but I hardly think it will help.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finished Objects

It's been all about the finished objects here at Dom Dovie for the last couple of days. First up, the Latvian Mittens:
I have to say, I love how they turned out. The instructions were great, and they're just lovely. The afterthought thumb worked really well, and they're really comfortable to wear.

The Transformer's Hat just needs to be blocked to make it ready to go.

My best friend was here this week, and she obliged me as a model and we had a little photoshoot of a shawl that I made in high school. I was allergic to it and never wore it in spite of its beauty, so earlier this year I sent it to her.

Very purple, eh? It was the first real lace I ever did and I'm still quite pleased with it. It's from Meg Swanson's A Gathering of Lace.

I sent her upstairs to pick a hat out of the FO basket to wear in the photoshoot and she picked my Simon Tam - one of the many hats of this pattern that I have made. I got much better pictures of her in it than I have of myself. She apologized for the purple and gold color combination by explaining that after all, LSU is her alma mater.

We had a great time, but somehow I got away with not taking any pictures of us goofing off. We bought a foam gingerbread kit and put it together and painted a bunch of wooden ornaments and knitted and watched movies. It was a total crafty geek-out and I haven't had that much fun in ages. I'm really lucky though, because I'll be seeing her again in about three weeks at Christmas!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sleep Tight

I just found out yesterday that my parent's dog, Melanie, died on Thursday.

We got Mellie when I was ten. We found out we were getting her on my sister's birthday and the dog tags said that she was my sister's even though the parents explained to us that it was just nominal and she was everybody's puppy. Really though, she loved my brother the best and he was devoted to her.

Mellie used to roll in dead worms to make herself smell better. She would bark nonstop whenever she wanted a cookie. Mom used to put her in bed with us to wake us up when we were little because she was a nonstop licker. When we first got the kittens she would pick them up by the scruff of the neck ever so gently and take them out into the field and leave them there. She used to steal food out of my sister's hand at the table, and back when we had Thor, our golden retriever, she would steal food from him too.

In the picture above she is sleeping on the bed under the table at the edge of the kitchen, the life heart of my parent's house. She may appear to be sleeping but she is perfectly aware of her domain. She could hear the sound of food hitting the floor anywhere in the house, and if she didn't come charging in right away, she always heard the three sharp taps we all learned to give with our toe to call her.

Mellie was the queen and the boss of our family. Even in the last couple of years when she was getting tireder, she still supervised everything that went on.

She's been a presence in my life for the last fifteen years - even after I moved out I could hear her barking over the phone. I'm having an easier time than my folks and brother of course, because I'm used to not seeing her, but I don't know what it's going to be like when I get home and she's just . . . gone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I think I'm allergic to my Distracto Vest.

I worked on it pretty constantly yesterday and finished the back, but the whole time I was handling it I just felt worse and worse. I could finish this whole thing in less than a week - that's how fast it's going - but now I'm afraid to touch it. I feel okay today - aside from being freezing - but I'm afraid to pick it up.

Now I'm remembering why I don't buy purple - I'm allergic to some purple dyes, I'm convinced of it. I've had bad reactions to purple acrylic, purple mohair, and now it seems, purple wool.

I'll lay off it today and work on the hat and the mittens and then pick it up tomorrow. That should give me an answer.

The only thing is - will I still be allergic after I wash/block it? Should I power through and try to finish up? or should I frog it and try to swap it on Ravelry for something I'm not allergic to?

This is awful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Distracto Vest

On Thursday night BIL (who is usually in Pennsylvania) called and said that he would be in town the next day - out of the blue. I had to hide the hat, which has been my tv knitting (most of it knit the night of the Presidential election). I was able to sit and talk for about 20 minutes before I utterly broke down and went to cast on for this:

Excuse the photo - tweedy cables are tricky in this light.

It's Estes Vest from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits. I have been powering through it for the last few days - such a welcome distraction from Hey, Tomato which was making my wrist hurt from the miles of seed stitch and the fact that it has to be frogged again.

I'm kind of loving it. I made the biggest size, but my gauge is a little bigger than the pattern specs. It seems like it'll fit when I hold it up to myself, but it's definitely going to be pretty fitted. I'm also modifying the pattern quite a bit - the biggest complaint on Ravelry was that it was a little short, so I have added about 4.5" to the hem and 1.5" to the waist so far. The gray line through it marks the beginning of following the pattern, after the added length.

The yarn is Glenfiddich Wool that my parents bought for me at a craft fair ages ago. I feel bad now because I really wasn't feeling it when they gave it to me, but now I am completely in love with it. It's so springy and delightful and fun to knit with.

I haven't let myself knit too much today - it's been all about the coats - but I can't wait to finish it. I'm really looking forward to being able to wear it - and having never made a big project for myself before, I'm pretty excited.

This lovely lady has been helping me sew:

My angel of a Cocker Spaniel, Kira. Hanging in her chair.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Nikon in Peril

Well, it's official. My Nikon is currently winging its way to corporate to have the good camera doctors there explain why the shutter isn't closing.

I really love this camera and I'm also really pretty broke right now. We didn't budget for camera surgery this month. I just hope that whatever is wrong with it is fixable. But, you know, easily fixable. Like, $50 fixable. I could swing that.

Pretty busy weekend. I worked both days and I need to remember when I work at the yarn store that it is absolutely necessary that I have a project in progress with me because if I don't I just daydream about all of the yarn I could buy between customers. My current daydream project is this vest from the new Classic Elite Autumn 2. It would be my first steeking project, my first Veronik Avery project, and I have promised myself I would learn to do colorwork with two hands instead of dropping, which is what I do now. See the lengths to which I'll go to convince myself this is a good idea?

I really can't say enough good about the new Classic Elite books. Alpaca Stories and Autumn 1 and 2 are just amazing. I want to knit essentially everything in both of them, but I have sewing to finish before I treat myself to more yarn.

Speaking of, the new Smooshy came in last week, in more colors than you can imagine. So beautiful. It makes me want to knit socks.

But then I won't have my lovely camera to photograph them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hooray for the Weekend

A truly great weekend. Not a lot of knitting was accomplished, but overall I give this weekend an A for productivity.

I didn't have the work this weekend, my first weekend with both days off and nothing to do for months and months. I slept quite late on Saturday and then Jorah and I went on a nice long walk through the neighborhood. We were hitting the thrift/antique stores and found several that were very cool - one kitchen store in particular where I could do all of his birthday shopping with great success.

I spent the evening working on the needlepoint stocking I'm trying to get done for him for Christmas. My mother made amazing stockings for our family when we were kids and Jorah needs one so he matches - we do Christmas morning at my family's house and the stocking is a big deal. It's just the most beautiful pattern too - I'm so pleased with it. I've had it for about two weeks, and I think I'm making good time. It doesn't photograph very well right now, but I'll post a picture once it's a little farther along.

Today we went to an antique store we visited a while ago and bought a cheap but nice secretary for my office. I haven't been getting very much done in the office, because I really need to have a movie on to get work done. I know that makes me a terrible attentionspanless person, but it is so. The flat screen monitor sits on top of the desk, flanked by my adorable speakers, and the wireless mouse and keyboard are inside. When I'm not using it, it's all closed up. Perfecto. And to prove it works - I spent about 8 hours sewing today working on the 19th century coats that have been hanging over my head for the last year.

It is a really great little office now and I think I'll spend lots of time in here in the future. Kira likes it, she's been sleeping in the red chair for the last few hours, keeping me company.

I think I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel on these coats. What will my celebratory knitting project become? I have so many ideas . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Surprisingly Little to do with Robots

The Robot hat continues but a new picture would not be very interesting yet so instead we'll look at something else I've been working on today.

These are from Lizbeth Upitis's Latvian Mittens. I sometime go through extreme Yarn Harlot envy, and the result of one of the my earlier periods of such was the acquisition of this book. They've really taught me that no matter how good I think I am, there is always something out there waiting to kick me in the ass.

I honestly don't think a sweater would have been this hard - the difficult thing for me is reversing the pattern in my mind so they make a mirror, and making everything happen on the same row. If I didn't have to knit them identically, it would all make so much more sense. That's why I have to do them two at a time. This also helps with my Second Sock Syndrome. I never can knit the second one if I don't do it at the same time as the first. That's when Jorah comes in so handy - he can just go down a needle size or two and make the second one. If only we had a close enough gauge that we could tag team sweaters the same way . . .

Anyway, these mittens are a gift for a friend who moved away a few months ago. They were supposed to be ready for her going away party, but that didn't really work and then they sort of got shunted to the back of the queue for a while. I'm about twenty rows from starting decreases on each one and then it's just the thumbs. Now that I remember how close I am to finishing, these are going to get a higher priority.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too Bad They're Not Robot Cats

Last night after making that triumphant post that actually said stuff I went to go cast on and discovered that I didn't have any size 3 20" circulars, which are of course, vital to the process of knitting a hat. I ended up finishing up Zoe instead, a children's hat that I've been working on for a week or two and finished the knitting part. I think she needs a pom pom (will be a nice way to use up the rest of the yarn) and then I just need to find someone with a small enough head.

After work today trekked back to the yarn store to buy my needles and was very successful in only buying needles. There's some Manos del Uruguay that is just calling to me (handpaint red & pink is one of my all time favs) and there are one or two other small projects I keep trying to justify in my head. The girl at work who's having a baby, the little somethings I could knit for stocking presents for Jorah . . . how much I would really like some nice Bearfoot socks . . .

But I just bought needles and then came home and got cracking on the hat. I don't know if I always overestimate my knitting speed or if it's just that I feel like I have to show progress, but things seemed to be taking forever tonight.

Here's the Autobot:

And the Decepticon:

Sorry for the photo quality. My gorgeous beautiful wonderful camera is oddly broken so I'm making do with Jorah's nice camera. I like mine better.

In spite of the slowness, I'm really pretty excited. I think that's because Felted Tweed = Soft Deliciousness. I'm finding that it's doing a great job colorwork-wise as well. Not slippy, things are showing up, yet when I wrap on the back the wraps don't poke through. I'm sitting here knitting and planing a Voltron hat for myself in my head. Hm. Need to do a better job separating things in my mind. After all, just because the first thing I make with Felted Tweed is a Geek Hat, doesn't mean I can only make Geek Hats.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Robots in Disguise

At the yarns store today I bought some Rowan Felted Tweed to make my brother-in-law this Transformer's Toque from Yes I MADE that. Back in the day when I was just dating my husband I bought him a Transformer's The Movie poster about one week before BIL bought one for himself. Jorah made me watch the movie with him once in high school and I have to say I just wasn't feeling it - certainly not the way some do. But I think this will be a hit with the brother.

It's the kind of pattern I really like too - I love that it goes the extra mile and has the detail "More than meets the eye" on the inside of the band. I'm very attracted to handmades with little details like that - special secret surprises.

I've been looking for an excuse to mess around with some Felted Tweed anyway - I did the swatch for it at the store and I really loved it. Also, it's machine washable and ever since my mom made a stand for machine washable presents I've had my eyes peeled for yarns we can both like. I told my folks they could have anything knitted that they wanted as a thank you for the amazing amount of work they did getting the house ready when Jorah and I got married, and my dad's request would look great in Felted Tweed.

This also has the benefit of not being an extremely expensive Christmas present. We're quite poor this year and presents are going to have to be more modest than usual. That makes me a little crazy because I honestly love giving presents, and I feel like if I'm not going to spend much money I had better spend more time so people will still know I love them. Insane Troll Logic, I know. I have a pretty packed schedule this fall though and already so many projects in the works that I shudder to think of knitting for everyone on my Christmas list. It's just not possible this year.

But BIL gets a fancy Transformers Hat!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Testing One Two Three

So. I have a blog. Let's see how this goes.