Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hats, hats, hats....

What do you when the weather is mean and bitterly cold? Knit hats!
I'm up to two so far for the month. 

 Because nothing says winter like..............lobsters?!?

These are ROCK lobsters, from Maine. (No joke - the pattern writer is from Maine.) I like the colors and always adore doing some Fair Isle so this one was a winner. Husband loves it, so no complaints there. :)

This a free pattern called 'Graham'.  (And much more navy than this uploaded pic shows. Why does this photo look so different on Blogger than when looking at it in my computer files? Hmmm.) 

It's just your basic hipster, slouchy hat. I like these because I can fit them on my head even when I have my (voluminous) hair up, as I usually do in winter. (My spiral curls are DRIED the eff out and frizzy in this weather and blowing it straight is even WORSE. Can't win. Sigh.) Even if I look like a fool when I do that because the hat sticks out and is all lumpy and bumpy.

They probably would have looked better ON someone but there is no one here atm for that. I feel like I used to use my Monkee as a model but I tried that and the results were...


Not good? 


 Oh well. He tried. I'll have to find another job for him. :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December

One last post for 2014!


It's been a busy two weeks. Been using my time off from work to declutter, clean, organize, sort, pack up or throw away basically half the decorations and other items in the house. (I even cleaned through my birthday on the 21st! RAWRRR!) Many many boxes have been filled for good will and countless trash bags and other items have made their way off to the trash heap. Hasn't been much fun, to be honest, because it's been SO MUCH work (almost like moving) but it was very needed. I've felt for a long while that I have entirely too much 'stuff'. You go through a grieving of sorts as you bin it but then a few days later you realize you don't notice it's gone at all. And if that sounds drastic - it is............but it's also not. I still have PLENTY of stuff left! :)

(Psst. There is stuff to be given away at the end of this.)
 
It's too bad I live in too rural an area for a yard sale because I could have a FABULOUS one in the spring with the stuff currently living in boxes downstairs. Ah well. If that's the price I have to 'pay' for living on an off-the-beaten path itty-bitty slip of  a street that's hard to find even when you are looking for it, so be it. It's also quite nice when you can go hours and hours without even seeing a neighbor's car drive by. :)

So. Didn't get much knitting done for Christmas or anything else for that matter with all that going on. 

A pair of socks from November were finished and I washed/blocked the wad of blanket squares that I had finished in the last few months. (Counted this morning and I now have 82 squares completed. I think at least another 48 will be needed to make a good sized blanket. 48. *sigh*)

A new hat for Christmas.......well.......it's in progress. The lobsters are growing a little each day.

The tree finally made it up - on Christmas Eve. Better late than never, eh? 
Very nice to have it up after taking last year 'off' because KITTENS.

Said cats were nice enough to *cough* get us a present this year. (Which I generously paid for. And shopped for.)

Huh. Cheeky little buggers!

After that massive decluttering/cleaning I wasn't much in the mood for all the decorations to be put out so I kept it to the basics: stockings, various holiday candle holders, lighted pine garland on the staircase, etc. 

And I changed up my little 'stitchy' basket with a winter theme that should last until spring. :)


I thinned out my cross stitch patterns as well and have a big stack of them to give away if someone wishes to pay for the shipping on them. There is a bit of everything in there from Bent Creek, Lizze Kate, The Drawn Thread, Cricket Collection, etc. 

 There are also a bunch of Shepherd Bush patterns *without* the kit materials they originally came with. 

I've gone through each one very careful to make sure they are in order and no pages are missing, etc. It would probably be like $10.50 for a priority mailer in the US, international....I'm not sure. I would need your address to figure it but I do enough 2-3 ounce overseas packages to know it would probably be upwards of $20-25. 

You must take the whole thing though. I'd rather stab myself in the eye than have to piecemeal it, sorry! Leave a comment if you want them, if more than one person does I'll just randomly pick a name after a week or so.

Ok, I think that's it for 2014! Have a happy new year everyone! 
Bit somber here, I'm afraid, as my husband's uncle just passed this week. He had been battling cancer for a number of years and it had recently traveled to his brain. It seemed like he would have more time but he started to slip away on Christmas day. I feel so bad for his cousins who have now lost both their parents and all their remaining grandparents within the last four years. Starting the new year with a funeral means you've already gotten the worst part of 2015 out of the way, right? :(


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

And Happy Holidays to all!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

November!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Almost missed my picture post for November!! *scramble*scramble*scramble* 
Getting in just under the wire. :)

(This post was a real labor of love, too, because I hit something on my keyboard in the middle of it that split all the paragraphs and symbols into gobbledy-gook and, well, it took some doing to figure out how I had screwed THAT up. Turns out ctrl-alt-something will change the formatting of your keyboard to.......something that does not benefit an English only speaker. Ha!)


 Hope everyone in the US had a nice Thanksgiving.  I cooked a lot......and ate a lot. So two thumbs up for the holiday from me! (Also: watched some movies I've been meaning to get to, like Catching Fire, that I never make time for.) 

video
 (Much better Youtube link)

The husband was  a little more pro-active than me, as he participated in a bike run through the woods in the morning, put on by the local bike shop. (Which is also a fledgling beer company. Beer and bikes! That's aweso.......wait, what? I'm not sure they thought that one out. lol)

I will admit I was still sleeping when he got back from the run. 6am on a holiday? NOT ON YOUR LIFE. lol) 

 No crazy Black Friday shopping for either of us. Not my scene, I have to say.
Went to a not-at-all-local show up in Mass. instead and got some handmade gifts for others and a couple for myself, like Mr. Sheep here. Not sure where I am going to put him yet but I couldn't pass him up!

  
 It's been an insanely busy month because beads, beads, beads, and more beads. Every day a new pile of beads made, packed up and shipped out. Thankfully, December is a little easier because that month has more to do with personal sales (gifts, etc.) than designers loading up for their holiday shows. Just keeping my head down and plugging away at it, trying not to think TOO much about where/when I'm going to knit up some gifts for Christmas. Heh.

All the pretty 'leafs' are gone for the year now. :*(
I enjoyed snapping pics of the nice ones in my travels. I love when they look like they are on fire.


'Stitches East' socks............put to bed. 
Trekking XXL striping yarn. Fruit Stripe Gum pattern.....again. 

It's so much fun I make have to make a dozen socks in this pattern before I'm tired of it. (Pair #3 is already completed, but not photoed yet, and pair #4 is in the very, very, very early stages of being completed.)


Tomorrow is a very exciting day because...
...I finally get to start my David's Tea advent calendar!


You have to get these the SECOND they come out if you want to grab one so I've been staring at this big box for a whole month now, trying to wait until December 1st. Soooo hard! I love advent calendars in general but one that gives you a little tin of special tea every day? Ho, ho, ho!  *fans self*

I got the winter collection at the same time to keep me busy or otherwise I never would have made it. Never. Ha! :)

(Not an actual Grumpy Cat. Sweetest, Gentlest Thing Ever Cat.)

Meisha is still doing ok, so that is a good thing. Her levels are worse every time we test for them (grr!) but she still doesn't have any major symptoms

 I got her a new doctor, someone who can devote a little more time/energy to a rare case. Did another whole round of various tests and there is still no cause to be found for her hypercalcemia. (It's certainly not for lack of trying, that's for sure.) The testing was great overall though because her kidneys and joints showed no calcification yet, which is AWESOME. She's the healthiest terminally ill animal you've ever seen! SO FRUSTRATING! @$!@$!@#$
*ahem*
I gets angry sometimes. Just saying.
Someone pass me a holiday cookie to distract me. 

See? I feel better already. Eating your feelings WORKS, guys. 
IT WORKS. Never forget that. Heh.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October II

Picture post! Lots of eye candy! 
Before it gets too late and I end up having wasted my time taking all these photos. :)

Hartford Convention Center

Oooo, Stitches East 2014 show was fun. Last year I didn't see much that excited me but this year I wanted EVERYTHING.  A whole convention center of everything you want. It's so sweet and so cruel.

Did indeed start some knitting up before we left for the show. Can't go to a fiber festival without some fiber involved.

(Yarn is Trekking XXL, pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum.)

I don't think I did too badly with my purchases considering I wanted everything. Right?

A couple skeins of rainbow striping yarn from White Birch Fiber Arts.
Navy/blue australian merino from Windy Valley Muskox Co.
Regia. (Great for socks. Wears like IRON.)
And a sparkly turquoise yarn from The Periwinkle Sheep.


Also a lobster hat kit. BECAUSE why not? (This was the hubby's pick.)


Those rainbow striping yarns are like a Lisa Frank/unicorn/glitter bomb happy making thing. Rainbow. Stripes. 
I regretted only getting two colorways........so I *may* purchased have another two the week after the show from her Etsy shop. Maybe. Nobody saw. (Feel free to judge.)

The hubby did his own purchasing: a big ole hank and a cone of alpaca for weaving. 
Soooooo soft. *pets*




There were A LOT of weaving samples up at the show. I dutifully took pictures of all the rigid heddle ones I want him to make for me. *ahem*

Snaps from the top of the cliffs down the road from my house. Is there any better season than fall? I THINK NOT.


That is all for now. Super super super busy with bead orders this month. Tis the season and all. :)
Ta!


Friday, October 10, 2014

October.

 Yay! An update! I keep meaning to do this and meaning to do this but it never seems to happen. Grrr! I lost a bit of time there in September due to a vacation week and - even more importantly - a BRAND NEW COMPUTER. I am no longer computing like it's 2006, people! 

My old computer actually wasn't in terrible shape, aside from being nervous of a hardware meltdown happening at any time because, you know, that stuff wasn't built to last forever and 7-8 years is asking a bit much of it. *ahem* The bigger issue was that more and more things weren't working with Windows Vista now that it's no longer supported so, rather than upgrade an old computer, we just got a new one! (A Windows 7 machine though because, MAN!, have I heard horrible no good things about Windows 8.) I was dreading moving everything over but apparently things have changed a LOT since I last bought one of these dang machines and it was actually pretty easy. *blink*

ANYWAY. I'm in a good mood today (mostly) because tomorrow is the Stitches East show and I looooooooooooooooooovveeeeeeeeeeeee the Stitches East show. And now it's here and I'm excited, even though I haven't been knitting much lately. I did so much knitting over the summer that I decided to take a break from it for a little while and get more stitching done. 

Turns out when you work on stitching a little bit each day (or most days) you actually FINISH THINGS UP. I know, right? It's miraculous.

These finishes here are the L*K Song of Spring kit , the rabbity 'small' that comes with that and the 2nd part of the BBD Honeybee Hill. (I haven't had occasion to use that sparkly green linen before and I quite like it here with Mr. Rabbit. )

I finished another piece as well but that may/may not be a gift so I don't want to post it and I have a big Plum Street piece 'in progress' that I am plugging along on. I can't go to the SE show without something on the needles though so stitching progress might be halted for a bit while I get my sock knitting on. :)

Relatedly, that new iPhone x-stitch app making the rounds is quite brilliant. An online/device accessible detailed accounting of everything in your stash?  YOU KNOW I had to snap that up immediately because I *LOVE* a good spreadsheeting, organizing, finger snapping, alphabetizing project. 

I went through pretty much everything I have pattern wise, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap and.......


Honestly, it's not AS BAD as I thought it was going to be! Of the 315 patterns I own, about 75-80 have already been stitched. Now, that is still more than I can probably REALISTICALLY finish in the years I have left to me (or have left in my eyesight/hand dexterity). And it doesn't take into account that I own 14 years of the JCS ornament issues which, well, have a lot of stuff in them. But. It's STILL not as bad as I thought. I would have guessed I had no less than 500 patterns to get to, so, yay? Buy more? ;)

(Also not counted: the patterns I have given away over the years. I gave away a GIANT stack of used Shepherd's Bush/misc. patterns at some point, a fact I am a little bitter about, to be honest, because REASONS. Things did not turn out well on that one. *sigh*)

After the patterns were done, I did my hand dyed threads but not my DMC. (Because I own ALL OF IT so I don't need a stinking list for that. ) All of the info is in that mysterious Cloud thingy now  and I can open it up on my phone or Mini so I have NO EXCUSES not to keep up on it. The app is really great and I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone with Apple devices and a wish to have an easily searchable database of their stash.

OH well. I probably had a million other things to say but this will do for now, right? :)

BTW - those little guys at the top are the new Mummy beads I posted on Etsy/my site this week. Cuties! :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September

I am a bad, bad blogger because I seem to have missed a post for August. And most of July. Whoops? There was no way I wasn't going to get on here and talk about my (truly) beloved Woodstock Fair that is held on Labor Day weekend and the fact that I...


WON BEST IN SHOW for knitting again. Woooooooo! 
I LOVE THAT WHEN THAT HAPPENS, I'll admit it. I only enter stuff in that I think is better than average, which means I don't enter in stuff every year, but I'm still surprised this year by my win because, man, there were SO MANY great handcrafts this year in all departments, not just the knitting one. It was a great year for the contests and I loved spending my time pouring through all the contest barns (three).

My Fruit Stripe socks also did well. :)
I have no idea what it means to have a Superintendents Award (they were new this year) but I'll take it! THE MORE RIBBONS, THE BETTER.

So very good year for my knitting. I registered the mittens when they were barely started *gulp* and quite literally didn't finish them until the night BEFORE I had to drop them off. Heh. Luckily, I'm quite familiar with mitten construction/Fair Isle colorwork so I didn't hit any road bumps along the way with anything. 

Unlike a champion animal, both of these guys will be put to work this winter and get a lot of use. (The last pair of Best in Show mittens have since gone on to put in time shoveling snow and actually getting DIRTY and quite roughed up.) No rest for the woolies come winter, no matter what they win. :)



I won't bore anyone with endless pictures of sheep, bunnies, chickens, etc. I have folders full of them but, honestly, they don't change at all from year to year. The above photo is my first attempt to try a panoramic shot with my iPhone, atop the hill where the tractors/old timey machines live. Because of the hills, you only get about 1/3 of the fair in there though. What a gloriously beautiful evening though! The weather was perfect!

I've never entered in any cross stitching but I'm thinking about it for next year because the theme for next year is 'America the Beautiful' and I do love a patriotic stitch. You have to get prior authorization to submit into the theme contest though so I'm still mulling over ideas and researching it. (If you have a favorite good sized, somewhat primitive/sampler-ish, good contrast patriotic design that comes to mind, please feel free to share.)


There has been a lot of knitting in general this summer for me. (Along with a lot of reading.)

 There's been a scarf finish, in this wonderfully nubby and WOOLY, sheepy Icelandic yarn.

 More socks, with varying success. I couldn't hate the purpley ones MORE if I tried. I've tried to use that yarn (which is expensive but will remain nameless) several times for several projects over a great number of years and it's never worked in any capacity for some reason. Doesn't work for these socks either but I didn't have the balls to just throw them out. Sigh.

 More work on squares for the Neverending Scrap Yarn Blanket. (Plus another batch in my bag that need to be blocked.)

I think I need a small break from it though before I start something else. As soon as we came home from the fair I drug out my stitching and put this to bed:

Honey Bee Hill by BBD. I only had a bit in the left corner to do so it was an easy finish. I do love my bee patterns. :)

Also, this happened this weekend:
A customer packaged returned to me. Look closely at the date though. *ahem*
Now THAT'S a first for me. WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL THIS TIME?
Think about THAT next time you are complaining about a slow package. COULD BE WORSE.
Like, a WHOLE YEAR worse! Ha!