family


This year was a bit of trying one all around.  While the SO & I were better off than a lot of folks, we still spent 3/4 of the year stressed about the future – there were times when we didn’t think we would make through. But instead of dwelling on the negative, I thought I’d end 2011 on some of the positives that happened.  With lots of pictures!

First was adopting our silly cat.
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Even when we were at our most depressed, Rorschach kept us sane & laughing.  She really is the best thing that could have happened to us.

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On that same note, volunteering at Pixie Project was one the things that made me the happiest this year.  A bit of animal therapy for me every week was what I needed.
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I ran my first 5K this year

my first 5k!

It was a lot of fun and I was very proud of myself.  I was never a runner but I was determined to complete it.  And I did pretty well actually!

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I got to finally see my beloved Red Sox play my second loved Mariners.  Even though the Sox lost (and ended up being the start of their horrible end of season) I had so much fun.

sox game

I also got to see the Blazers for the first time -in fact, I’ve seen them twice now!  It was a very sporty year.
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I got to travel more this year – mainly work related but it was all wonderful.

I went to OH in June for TNNA with my lovely coworkers.  Then a month later it was off to Boston where I visited 20 yarn shops for work.
MA trip

I got to reconnect with my dearest friends out there too
MA trip

Closer to home, I went to the coast with my Mom in the spring & again in the fall.  It was a good trip for both of us (and for Maddie the dog).
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We didn’t go to very many shows this year, but the few we did were great.  Eddie Vedder was probably my favorite, but I also saw Social Distortion, Thurston Moore, the Posies and a special performance by Wild Flag at OPB with only like 50 other folks.
wild flag

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Of course I knit a lot this year (it’s part of my job!)  Since I blog so much for work, it’s hard to find time to post to this blog.  In any case, I made a lot of stuff I’m very pleased with, including my favorite new sweater.
ProvidenceVert3

My friend Jenny is also an awesome photographer.

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It didn’t seem like I did a whole lot of reading but I read all three Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books (liked them all) and the three books in the Hunger Games (liked the first, didn’t think the others were as good) .  I seem to spend more time rereading Jane Austen (especially the new annotated versions of the novels).  I also discovered it’s far easier for me to listen to audiobooks – especially at work when I’m doing a lot of just data entry.  I joined Audible and made it through all 5 Song of Ice & Fire books (by George R. R. Martin – I’m pretty obsessed with the TV show as well) and my current favorite, Bossypants.
wpid-bossypants
I really do want to read more next year but I think it will mainly be audiobooks again.

I also I discovered I can’t live without the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.  It really gets me through the week & relisten to them all the time.

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While 2011 was not a great year, I’m very thankful that the SO & I managed to get through it with our relationship still strong.  I think if we could get through the last 2 years, we can get through anything now
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I’m also thankful for our fantastic friends who were also a huge help in keeping us sane through 3/4 of the year  (especially Carmel & Shawn, who were actually with us at many of the events I mentioned above).  Love you all.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2012 for everyone.

So the somewhat uncomfortable thing about my work life & hobby being so closely linked is wondering how much to talk about it on my personal blog without it sounding like advertising or something.  Obviously I love the company I work for (and have before I even started working for them, pretty much since I became serious about knitting) but I don’t want to sound like a walking advert.  Either you like KP or you think they are the “Big Bad” (which cracks me up, if those who think KP is a huge company, they should see our office). In any case, mostly I try to keep this nonwork related but I had some really awesome things to show.

So part of my job is doing photoshoots once a month. It’s really fun (correction, outdoor shoots are really fun, indoor shoots get mindnumbingly boring.) I’ve done a bunch of them since I started in this position – I obviously don’t do the photography, mainly I just help with the styling to make sure the knitted or crochet item looks good.  We hire a model for a few hours for the main part, but when it comes to children, we use relatives of our employees.

Last time I had a sweater that didn’t fit any of our office kids, so I asked my sister if my niece would be able to do it.  She was really excited, so they made the 2 hour drive up.

And seriously, my youngest niece was perfect.

And my older niece came along too, and I actually had some things that she could model as well, since she was even more excited about it.

I can’t get over how grown up she is getting – I mean, I was present at her birth, the only birth of my 4 nieces & nephews I actually got to witness.

One of my favorites shots was this one of them together, mainly because it was my idea for it.

I wish I had the other shots of this (there was one that was more active that I really liked), but this one is still really cute.

The nice thing is my sister got a disc of all the shots we took (usually between 25-40 of each item), though of course I forgot to get some copies after I gave it to her.  Sigh.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some fun things from my job.  Knitting wise, I’m working on the Greenfield Cardigan still.  I’m hoping to finish it by my Seattle trip (yes, with CoffeeBoy, looks like it’s a sure thing he’ll be back here for good in a little over a week, fingers crossed).  I had to take a break though – I’m on the sleeves and wow, sleeves are boring enough, but garter stitch in the round makes me want to stab my eyeballs.  So I started a crochet hat.  My favorite crochet designer is Linda Permann (not only talented, but a fantastic person to work with) so when she put her Blackberry Beret up, I immediately bought it and decided it would be a nice quick project to do.  And it is!  I finished it pretty quickly (even after 4 restarts, due to my own stupidity rather than the pattern) and I’ll have take some photos when it’s dry.

And maybe actually do another post here.

I always feel bad for December birthdays – people are spending so much time trying to find that perfect gift for someone…and then they have to do it twice in the same month. (I will say January birthdays, for me, are worse – there are 4 very close members of my family – including CoffeeBoy – who celebrate birthdays within one week in January. )  So I really wanted to make the 2 close members of the family feel special on their birthday this year.

Mom is one December baby and she’s had a rough year.  I decided she deserved mink – not some crappy fur jacket, but a mink/cashmere blend scarf.

Mom Deserves Mink Scarflet

Started: November 19th

Completed: December 1

Yarn: Great Northern Yarn Mink/Cashmere

Pattern: My own

Needles: Size 5

Notes:  I really wish I got a better shot of this, it was a lovely little scarf.  It took me forever to figure out a pattern for this yarn – it’s a very light yarn and it feels so fragile, when I’m used to more a tough wool.  I had a bunch of ideas, none worked so I went with just a garter stitch scarf with a twist –  I started with one stitch & just YO on each end until it was wide enough, then did YO K2tog & YO SSK on each end until it was long enough.  Then YO K3tog & YO SSSK on each end until back down to 1 stitch. I bought the shawl pin on etsy from AmericanCarver – it ended up a bit wide for it, but my mom loved it, plus she has a bunch of funky pins that she can switch it off with.  She was very happy with it – and timing couldn’t have been better since we are in the middle of a very cold snap here – cold even for me, after 2 MA winters.

The other December baby in my family is my youngest nephew.  And when I saw this pattern, I knew I had to make it for him.

Bruce the Mittens

Started: November 30th

Completed: December 3

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Bulky in Squirrel Heather (way less than one hank) and some random Wool of the Andes held doubled for the mouth

PatternDeep Blue Sea Shark Mittens

Needles: Size 8

Notes: These were a big hit.  Again, I really wish I got better pictures of them, but it’s hard to get him to sit still to pose.

These were super quick to make, especially  in his size – my only issue was with the sewing up (I’m not so great on that).  There were a couple of issues in the pattern with sizing (without the person nearby) but they were minor.  I’m even tempted to make a pair for myself!  He was really excited about them – my sister told me he wore them bike riding and every time they stopped, the sharks “attacked” each other.

I’m still slowly getting through the rest of my holiday gifts but it’s been a busy couple of weeks – the past 2 weekends I’ve been out of town & my job has been pretty crazy busy at work.  I know I’ve hinted at what I do, but I can talk about it now since my project is now live – I’m working with outside knitwear designers on the Independent Designer Program – we put the first wave of patterns up last week.  It is a fun job – all of these patterns are fantastic! (one downfall to my job – I look at cute patterns all day long, which makes my knitting queue longer and longer).  We’ll put out more information out in January, but if you’re looking for a great pattern, check out what we have! 🙂

My job rules, by the way.  I’ve been very very lucky this year in my job opportunities. 🙂

I may have a problem.  I’m addicting to making bags.

It’s not like I’m the kind of girl who switches bags to coordinate with her outfits (ha ha, I’m lucky if my clothes somewhat go together)  I’ve been carrying the same big black Kate Spade bag (my only designer item and I didn’t pay for it) for years – it fits all my essentials – wallet, phone, water bottle, sock knitting, a book – even my computer.  And hey, black goes with everything.  I also have a smaller hip bag I carry sometimes when I don’t need anything more than my wallet/phone – it goes across my body & I keep it on when I’m out at a bar or a show.

Then, suddenly, my mom comes to visit & I start making all these bags.

First – a bright orange bag that goes with nothing.

I called it Henry Lee - as in a little bird lit down on Henry Lee - Nick Cave/PJ Harvey song

I called it Henry Lee - as in "a little bird lit down on Henry Lee" - Nick Cave/PJ Harvey song

I love it.  It’s like a messenger bag, as it goes across my body & is big enough to hold all my essentials.  The strap is a bit short but still, love it.  So Kate’s been retired for a bit.

I got the fabric from Ikea.  Why on earth did I not go there before?  I live 5 minutes (literally!) away.  I pass it everyday on my way to work.  They have awesome fun fabric, among other things.  I am lame.  Anyway the fabric is heavy canvas-y which is great…although I did experience my first broken sewing needle.

Then there came these:

no name for these, but I had a bird theme this weekend apparently

Okay now these are things I never use.  I like to keep my hands free when I’m out & about and carrying a purse.  And to make these handbags with wooden handles that I can only carry with my hand rather than my shoulder?  Sigh.  But they are so cute!  And easy to make – I used this tutorial – and quick.   I really love them.

Plus I made a couple more little drawstring bags & this little bag for my lipstick, chapstick, personal products that roll around in my purse all the time

By the way, I did not just sew up bags with my mom, I also made some piillow cases (one out of the blue birdie fabric on the purse up there) and some towels.  But bags pretty much were the focus – my mom made one similar to Henry Lee & some drawstring bags too.  If you really want to see them, they’re all on my flickr page.  We had a great girly crafty weekend – I love hanging out with my mom.

Oh, and I also bought a book – Sew What! Bags by Lexie Barnes.   So, I’m sure this obsession will not end anytime soon.

THEN today I get my first employee purchase from Knit Picks & guess what I got?

Yep.  The kit for the Montavilla Market Tote.  It’s not like I need grocery bags either – I have several reusable bags already because I freaking hate plastic grocery bags with a passion. Beyond even the environmental impact, I’ve just always hated them & my totes hold more & are easier to carry.  I almost always have my red Trader Joe’s tote bag in my purse.  But I guess I don’t have any knitted ones, so that makes it okay, right?

I also got some yarn (City Tweed finally!) and new circular needles (hopefully I won’t break another size 0 needle) but…excuse me, my Elinor is calling me to sew up another impractical frivolous bag.

Note – I began this post 2 days ago.  It’s been one of those weeks.  Sorry, this also turned into quite a long post for me.

After several weeks of not having anything to do (with the exception of when CoffeeBoy was here), I’ve suddenly had a busy couple of days.  Starting work, especially since I haven’t worked in over 3 months, has definetly contributed to that – more on that later.

First I want talk about Black Sheep Gathering – my first and still favourite fiber festival. I wasn’t able to go last year, obviously as I was still in MA, but I did go 2 years ago, Friday with my mom, Saturday with my friends.  This year I only went with my mom but we had such a fantastic time. Soon after I arrived, after chatting with Donna at Lavender Sheep and Sharon at Stitchjones, I immediatly headed to Blue Moon.  They are crackdealers, I swear. Now Twisted carries Socks That Rock, but what they don’t have is…Mill Ends.  And at BSG, not only did they have mill ends, they had Raven Clan mill ends.  I could not resist.

I tried to be good, I did limit it to 5 of  STR – 3 Raven Clan (2 MW that might be Pallas Athena and Raven and 1 HW that might be Rook-y), 1 other HW (maybe a varation of Kaw Kaw?) and 1 other MW (I think it might be a varation of Henpecked maybe?) and  If any other STR fanatics have suggestions, I’d love to hear them – you can see close up pictures on my Ravelry Stash page.

And not only did the Blue Moon Fever strike me, it got my mom as well.  My mom, who not long ago gave me all her sock yarn because she didn’t like knitting socks, decided she really wants to knit socks.  The night before I taught her how to magic loop and when she witnessed the frenzy at Blue Moon, she decided she really really REALLY wanted to knit socks.  I wish I got some pictures of those too – I steered her towards the HW & MW – I think starting on LW got her to give up too quickly.  I also wrote up some very basic, very detailed, instructions on knitting socks on ML with a short row heel.

The student teaches the teacher 🙂  We’ll see if she sticks with it…otherwise I may find myself with even more sock yarn!

I did actually get a couple of other sock yarns.

The far leftis more Cashmara – the yarn I fell in love with at the Knit & Crochet show.  Decided I needed some purple!  Then the pretty chocolate minty yarns is from StitchJones – that is my fave color combination so I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m actually thinking about doing my craft room in that color scheme actually.  Anyway, that was all of my purchases…at least at Black Sheep.

Sadly, the alpacas weren’t there this year but we did see some cute sheeps & goats!

baby goats!

baby goats!

Howdy.

Howdy.

Nice horns, buddy.

Nice horns, buddy.

All in all, it was a great day.  Not least of which was spending so much time with just me & my mom.  While I do visit my family every other week or so, I rarely get to spend just time with my mom.  But we have a tendency to be bad for each other – we are such enablers.  My mom got me back for the STR the next day.

I’ve been buying more & more fabric – nevermind I still haven’t gotten my sewing machine to work yet.  I just really want to make come cute bags – I’m not as interested in quilts or clothing at the moment.  For instance, I bought these the other day for $1 each at consignment store down the street.

So that got my mom excited, as she’s more of a sewer than knitter.  So on Saturday she “suggested” we go to Joanns “just to look”.

Yeah right.

my entire weekend haul.

my entire weekend haul.

Siiiiiiiigh.  Do I really need another hobby?  Anyway, they had the Sugar & Cream plus all the Fat Quarters on sale.  Then I deciede, since I lost my fave headband somewhere in my mom/sister’s house (easy to do there), I thought I might get some fabric to make some new ones – I loved my headband, it was a really cool large one I got at Last Thursday last month.   I wore when driving since my hair is too short to put up & just blows all around when the window is down.  And then I picked up a pattern for a nice messenger bag, but no fabric for that.  Yet.

Let remind you – I Still Haven’t Actually Sewed Anything Since Jr. High.  Mom keeps promising to come up & check out my sewing machine, but that hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe it’s best for both of our wallet’s sake.

And my new job is going to be an even bigger enabler.  So the news is I am now working for Crafts Americana as a Customer Service Rep.  In case you don’t know, or don’t click on that link., they are the parent compnay of one of my favourite places on the ‘net – KnitPicks!  Dream come true.  🙂  I am very excited – I started this week, just training, and it’s all I can do to not just pet the yarn samples all around.  Plus there are lots of fun people – Melissa works there (though in a different depaartment, so I don’t see her much) and all the folks I’ve only “known” through Ravelry or the Knitting Community. Yes, I even met Xena. (she’s really sweet & cute).    I”m just so thrilled, especially after sending off at least 50 or so resumes (probably more) and KP is the only place that called me back AND the place I wanted to work at most.   Also good – short commute (15 minutes!) though it is weird driving to work again after several years of not having to.  And let’s not forget that discount…when should I make my first purchase?

(CB’s first comment on hearing I got the job – “Yah, congratulations!”  Second comment? “I don’t want to come home & see the house overrun with yarn.”  Silly boy.  I also work for Connecting Threads so fabric might be a bigger issue these days…)

This post is getting so long, so I’ll have to wait to blog about some of my other adventures – new knitting, an vinyl party at my friends, and seeing Food Inc last night.  Everyone needs to see this movie.

I had a lovely visit yesterday with my family for Mother’s Day (and for The Amazing Race season finale – yah my fave team won!).  We spent the day mostly hanging outside in the sun, playing with the kids & zoo of animals my family owns (6 dogs, 3 cats, a frog and a rabbit.  Not kidding). I played football & soccer with my nephews and then got this cute picture of my niece’s rabbit & my sister’s dog

That's Emmett the rabbit & Holly the St. Bernard. Yes, Emmett runs around the yard sometimes

Awwww!  

Also I gave part of a FO to my mom:

Stackable Kittahs

Started: April 30th

Completed: May 7th

Yarn: Pattons Classic Merino – black, grey, beige and brown – none were full skeins.  Some random stash yarn for the eyes & Big Kittah’s hands, feet & arms.

Pattern: Stackable Cats by MochimochiLand

Needles: Size 6US

Notes:  It’s pretty obvious I really love the Mochimochi patterns – they are super cute and really fun.  I’ve had this one for awhile and finally decided to make them.  I don’t think I made any real significant mods to them – I did magic loop the ears, arms, legs, & tails and for stuffing them I used a mix of stuffing & pellets to make them more bean bag like.   I only felted them slightly in the sink too – Paton’s has a tendency to felt up quickly and I didn’t want them to be completely felted.

I’m not has happy with the two larger ones but I do love Little Kittah:

So he went to live with my mom as part of her Mother’s Day present. I’ll make another one for myself at some point so the kittahs are complete.  Little kittah only took less than a day to make, the others were 2.

Right now I”m hard at work on Ishbel again – I decided I wanted to finish it by Friday to wear to the Knit & Crochet Show – I’m not taking any classes, just want to go to wonder around.   I might just be able to finish it.

I’m realizing I’m just not much of a lace knitter – I’m just not into it.  Of course I also said that about sock knitting a couple of years ago so who knows how I’ll be in the future.

You also might notice my new project bag under there.  I think I have a problem.

With the exception of the one on the far left which was part of my mom’s gift, all of these are mine AND each has a project in them.  I’ve had the Wicked Witch one for quite awhile as part of a Woolgirl kit and I guess I suddenly decided last week I needed more.  The one on the right is from Twisted, the other 3 are from a lovely Etsy seller BlueTulips.  And I bought one from Ravelry that might show up today.  AND I bought a bunch of fat quarters at JoAnn’s to attempt to make my own (FAIL until I get my mom to come up here & show me what’s wrong with my sewing machine).  Sigh. I am silly.

 

Sock Monkey!

Sock Monkey!

In my last post, I mentioned that maybe I need some quickie FOs to get me out of my rut.  So I turned to my Comfort Knits – dishcloths/facecloths/towels.

I went to visit my mom this week – she just had foot surgery and is bed-ridden (or rather, couch-ridden) for the next week and bored out of her mind.  She recently joined Ravelry (yah!) and found these towels that she liked a lot.  So I printed the free pattern, bought several balls of bright cheery cotton for her to use, and came to visit.  Since I had a couple of skeins of the new KnitPicks Simply Cotton, I decieded to join her.

Mitered Hanging Towels

Started: April 21

Completed: April 25

Yarn:  KnitPicks Simply Cotton Worsted in Ginger & Toffee

Pattern: Pretty Vintage Hand Towel

Needles: Size 8US

Notes:  These were pretty quick & easy, which is why I generally don’t post FOs on my Comfort Knits – they’re not that exciting.  But I tried a couple of new things on these.  It’s the first time I’ve done mitered squares – I’ve seen lots of people do them, but never realized how simple they are.  It made me think of making a bunch out of my leftover sock yarn & make a blanket – I must be keeping those scraps for some reason right?  Next is the yarn – this is lovely stuff.  Much softer than Peaches & Cream/Sugar & Cream but doesn’t shed like the Lion Brand Organic Cotton  (not bothering with that one again).  Lovely stitch definition & I can get 1 of the these towel & a washcloth/Trible out of a skein (er, almost – I ran out of Ginger 2 inches before the button hole on the second towel after makinga washcloth earlier ths month. Oops.)  I will definitly be getting this yarn again – I think it would be lovely for a blanket as well.

My towels have mistakes design features on them becuase I cant count rows wanted a unique look.  I did random garter/stockinette rows, while my mom has perfect looking ones (should have gotten photos of those.)  We raced each other on making these – unsurprising, she beat me both times.  But it’s a contest I don’t mine losing – while I knit much more than she does these days, she has been knitting for 35+ years. 

I’ve been a bit under the weather the past couple of days – allergies mostly – and right now I’m trying to get motivated to go to the gym & mow the lawn.  But maybe I’ll just curl up with some more Comfort Knits. 🙂

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