Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monster #4

This monster?  She's plum crazy.  There ain't no better way to describe what happened here.  Part of it was planned, most of it was not, but the final effect is probably the most adorable creation I've made so far.

I'd tell you her name but that might give something away, so I'll just let you know that her name is X-Pants and in putting her together I knew she had to have the red yarn on her like pants...at first I thought full length pants, but then I decided that that would be too much of the red, then I decided I'd do a little more than half of her leg in red and that she could be wearing capris.

Well, after getting her all sewn together, I realized she was wearing short-shorts...Hopefully it was a look she favored back in the 70s and early 80s, and hopefully when she did, she mismatched her stockings and shoes and put on some crazy shirt that didn't quite match anything at all...

Or maybe she just entertained her kids by playing in the paints too much and was all colors all over.

Whatever happened in her past, this little monster turned out adorable.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Monster #3

I finished another little monster yesterday...well, the knitting of it. I'm waiting to do faces and other embellishments all at the same time.

When looking at the picture of the lady whose monster this is, I saw a gorgeous smile, so wanted the red portion to be a mouth.  I think it turned out pretty cute.

News on the thumb:  Still sore, but I'm trying to break up my activity some to do other things.  I'm fairly confident that the thumb issue is the result of the little bitty knitting I'm doing making the monsters, so I'm going to have to watch it and be careful not to do too much.  I'm feeling so creatively inspired by this group of monsters, that I'm going to finish them, but today I'm taking a break to work on my Downton gauntlets.  Pics of that tomorrow.

You can see a close-up of the #3 monster's mouth.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monster #2

A red flower adorns this bright and lovable monster.  I finished knitting her last night, and pieced her together this morning.  I had to share because I think the flower is quite the perfect touch.

In case you didn't notice there's a red theme going on here :)

In "uh-oh" news...I feel my thumb on my right hand being grouchy.  I think I'm probably knitting too much.  Will have to work on stretching it better to keep it healthy.  I enjoy this too much to have a gimpy thumb!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Monsters and more Monsters!

Have I mentioned that I'm really having fun making knitted monsters?  Who knew I had it in me.  At my crafting group last night (we call ourselves the Crafty Vixens after this lovely wine we used to drink.  Apparently you can't get it in the states anymore which is very sad indeed), I was finishing up the first in the set that has been ordered.

The first one is made for a "red head" so I gave her red hair in the form of i-cord sticking out of the top of her head.  How cute and fun was that.  It sealed up the top just as snugly as any bind-off would and it's adorable.  No seaming either.  I just transferred 4 stitches at at time to a double point needle and made a short i-cord that I bound off.

By the way, this is the first i-cord I've ever made and I have to say that not only was it deceptively easy, it looks pretty cool, and like turning the heel of a sock, is a bit of magic.  I want to toy around with the process and see if I can get it to curl a little...

I'm not going to show the entire monster finished until I have the set, the person who has ordered it has given them to her friends, and she has given me permission...but I don't think little bits and pieces of the monsters will give away too much.  So, here is the first monster body with her bright red hair!

I think I love her, btw!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Like meeting up with old friends

You know that experience when you suddenly see or talk to someone you haven't in a long time?  Maybe even the last encounter was less than pleasant, so seeing them is a surprise, and not a bad one.  You realize that you've been silly for holding whatever grudge or avoidance and you think to yourself, "see, that wasn't so bad.  In fact, it was even fun!"  And the thrill of meeting them and the possibilities of seeing them again are rekindled.

And it feels good.

You know the experience I'm talking about?

Well, I've had that experience in more ways that one this week.  One was real...a friend from my past got in touch with me again and we're talking.  After 9 years of not talking.  This was one parting that didn't end well, and I have to admit I'm a little shy and awkward, but I'm trying.  But it does feel good, so I'm hoping that it continues to do so.

The other was metaphorical, of sort.  Remember the beautiful mystery knit-a-long cowl I started in November?  Well, I parted with it on less than amiable grounds.  The needles were too slippery for the yarn or too big for my hands or in general not feeling right.  So, I put it aside for other, more immediate and interesting things (plus I had Christmas to knit for and that took a bit of time).  I pulled it out this weekend as the work in progress I decided to work on in between knitting monsters.  And you know what?  It felt right...so right in fact, I'm not sure why I put it away.  Sure, the needles were still slippery and awkward, but the cowl is gorgeous and the results are wonderful...

...and I finished the knitting of it. I even bought some buttons when I was in London and they are perfect.  I have put the picture of its knitted progress here.  I'll have it modeled in a day or so.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Progress, and lots of it

This weekend I have sat on my rear and knitted...relaxed and basically thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Nothing motivates like a long weekend.

I have completed the 3rd installment in the Downton Abbey Knit-a-long I'm doing...working on a pair for both my mom and me.  Those came out nicely and I'll post a picture of mine tomorrow.

I also completed the monster booties for my friend Aaryn's baby.  I think they're adorable and they were very quick and very fun to make.

I pulled out a work in progress from a couple of months ago...a knit-a-long cowl in this delicious yarn.  I made very good progress on it while watching Downton Abbey with the girls last night. I'm hoping to finish it soon...and will then see if the buttons I bought in London will work for it and if not, then I'll need to hunt down some other buttons...I have lots in my jars, probably better than I could find in any local stores, so we'll see where this goes.

I've also been thinking about the big commission of monsters I have going...planning yarns, thinking about the people they're for and how I'll make them unique.

AND I've agreed to make a monster for my sister-in-law.  She has a very specific description of her monster and I've decided to go with it.  I have just about everything I need here to make it so will get started on that soon...I like that it's going to be uniquely hers.

No weaving to speak of...I just can't seem to make myself go in there and thread the loom.  I know I'll get over it soon but with so many knitting projects calling my name it's kind of hard.

So, it's been a great weekend, and I'm looking forward to another sunshiny day at home since we're off of work today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A little ray of sunshine?

Oh, this weather is about to do me in.  It's so dreary and cold and windy and wet.  It's the most awful of awful weathers, and it doesn't seem to ever stop!  The weather predictions show sun on Friday.  I'm afraid we'll all go crazy by then if it actually happens!  Snow tonight and tomorrow...so we're all secretly hoping for a late start or a day off...I know I am.  Not that I have anything in particular to do, but just love the special-ness that comes with a snow day, so rare as they are around here.

Yesterday I posted that I worked a different schedule...and I really liked it.  I liked having my down time in the morning.  I was quite productive at work, and the time didn't seem to drag ever, unlike it does on a normal day.  It was quiet up here even though we had students...so all-in-all I think it was a very positive thing.  I never knew I was a "second shift" worker!

I started some gloves for mom since she requested them.  They are my little ray of sunshine.  She said that the yarn looks like sherbet. I can't disagree with her--raspberry and orange sherbet swirled together.  The color name is Tomfoolery and I woke up at one point singing a little ditty in my head that was really a repetition of the word tomfoolery.  I had to laugh...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A morning that was very much like an evening

I'm working late today.  We're going to open up our center and stay open until 7 one night per week. I'm hoping we have a good response and people want to stay and study later...if they do, this could be revolutionary! Because I'm staying late, I came to work late.  I toyed with the idea of sleeping in, but decided a work week is a work week, and if I sleep in I won't get anything that I like to do during the work-week done.  And in all honesty with myself there is no way I'll actually go to bed when I get home, so sleeping late will only cause me to stay up later and that'll end up in a vicious cycle that will likely leave me grumpy.

Plus, I pay bills on Tuesday and while I could move that to another night of the week, I really don't want to.  It's become a routine and I really want to keep it that way.

SO, I decided to do all the things I normally do in the evenings, in the morning.  That means that this morning, I got up at 5 like usual, exercised, showered, and breakfasted.  After which I paid the bills and knitted while watching our Great Courses lectures with David (who also works late on Tuesdays this semester).

I think I prefer it.

Today I got finished with the 2nd clue of the Downton Abbey Knit-a-Long.  I really love it.  And I've started a pair for my mama in bright yellow, orange and pink (a colorway called Tomfoolery).  She may want them shorter though and must tell me before I get too far along...

Monday, January 14, 2013

So very very wet...

It has rained and rained and rained...for days and days and days...and promises to continue to do so for a few more days.  I'm so tired of the grey skies and the "everything's wet" feeling, and my hair sticking out in all directions.  The sun came out for about 10 minutes yesterday morning and I almost got up and danced, but I felt the clouds coming in before I even gathered up the energy to move.

It's the tired kind of dreary weather.  The kind that makes you want to snuggle up under the covers and pretend that the outside doesn't exist.  The kind that is dark in the morning when it's time to go to work and dark in the evening when you're on your way home...and dark most of the day too.  Thick sticky clouds that hover in the trees, and obscure the landscape.

It's the kind of weather that makes me long for summer...the intense heat and sunshine.  The green leaves and grass...flowers.

Anything to disturb this grey-ness.


Unfortunately, last night I realized that the sock I'm working on is not going to fit my foot.  It's so pretty, too, and I hate to unknit everything, but I'm going to, at minimum, have to go back to before the heel because there is no gusset...and when I tried this on this morning I actually felt discomfort at the top of my foot...I thought maybe it was because of the needles that were still in, but I looked carefully and I think it would just plain be too tight.

So, here's a picture before I go operate.  Hopefully I'll simply be able to pull back to right before I started the heel...if not, well...I'll have to rip it all out and start over.  I think I'll continue with this pattern, but maybe not.  We'll see.

The yarn is "flat feet" by Conjoined Creations.  They knit up plain sock yarn into a flat, hand paint it, and then you pull it off and knit it.  It makes for an awesome looking result and is quite fun to work from.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Katia is finished...and she's pretty darn cute.

In all, this took me less than a week.  I started last Sunday and finished on Saturday.  I thoroughly enjoyed every stage of this project.  Putting the face on and seeing the project come to life is really fun.  I think I love making toys.  Who knew!

And now I'm ready for something that will provide a modicum of challenge, so I've pulled out a pair of socks I started a while ago that has a lace pattern.  I'll probably knit one, then work on a monster, and so on...I've an order for a few monsters, but won't show them until they are all completed and I've gotten permission from my customer that it's ok to show the world.  I can't wait to see them all together.  It's going to be adorable.

In the meantime, enjoy Katia.  She's going to make one baby very happy I think.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rainy Saturday

I woke up this morning with little motivation to do anything but knit...I'm not going to fight it.  I'm under no pressure to do anything else and I don't see any reason to create any pressure.

The monster snuggle blankie is coming along nicely, of course.  I promised daily photos and figured I'd better post one today because I highly suspect she will be finished tomorrow.  I'm still leaning towards Katia as her name, but we shall see once I'm finished.  I have knitted all the limbs and will work on the eye patch and the tummy panel today.   Stuffing and sewing together will finish this piece.  Then the embroidery which will bring out all the personality!  I can't wait to see her all dolled up!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Home Alone

I'm the kind of person who is very happy being alone or very happy being with others.  I typically don't like large crowds, but growing up in a family where large gatherings happened on fairly regular occasions, I usually enjoy being around groups of people.  (my only major issue being able to hear properly in crowds...).

This weekend, I'm home alone because David's working on the coast until Sunday evening.

Usually when I'm home alone, I thoroughly enjoy it. I eat whatever's to hand, sleep when I feel like it, and do whatever I feel like.  I hardly seem to make a mess and rather enjoy the peace and quiet.  I let the kitties sleep with me, and in general live on my own terms.

This time, though, I'm kind of lonely. I don't usually experience loneliness, so it's strange. I sat down last night to start knitting on my monster and thought about the fact that I'd really prefer having someone to talk to.  Watching tv, no matter how interesting, just wasn't going to cut the edge off of the overwhelming quiet that was my home last night.

Hopefully I'll feel better about it tonight...I surely hope so as I have a full Saturday and most of Sunday to get through before I have some human companionship!

The monster blankie is coming along nicely. I finished an arm and 2 ears yesterday.  The work in progress is shown below. I'm thinking her name may be Katia, Princess of Grace, but we shall see.  Once her other features start coming together all that may change.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snuggle Monster

I'm making a tiny snuggle monster blanket for my colleague whose wife is having a baby in March.  I finished the body yesterday and it's so soft and snuggly, I wish it could be mine.  I started the arms and have almost finished them.  There are legs and ears and then there will be an eye patch and a tummy patch, and I'm seriously thinking she needs something on her bum.

Here's her body

The two markers at the bottom will tell me where to pick up stitches for the tummy, so you can see where that's going to happen.  I'm going to document the daily progress on this project since it's going to actually start moving now that the body is finished.  while it didn't take a terribly long time to complete it was hard on my hands because of using the large needles.  I read about people loving to use chunky yarns because the project moves so quickly, but I find that (for me anyway) it doesn't move quickly because my hands get really tired. I'm much more suited to working on socks and small projects like that.

I'm happy that the rest of the pieces are done on one size down needles, so hopefully the rest of this will be easy-breezy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

When I was in 5th grade, I was in a gifted and talented class.  We had previously met as a class as a special "pull out" class once a week or so.  But in 5th grade, they hired a teacher and we met every day.  I had to miss music class because music was an elective and GT was an elective, but my other classes were not.  I really missed being in a music class.

And I really really didn't like my GT teacher.  I don't remember her name, but in my memory, she was a tall big-boned but thin woman who was very old...or at least looked old.

She thought that we needed to do things like memorize crazy-long poems.  (as a class we revolted and refused to do this assignment).  The only other thing I remember actually DOING in that class was a research project and presentation.  I researched antique dolls, and my piano teacher at the time, Mrs. Sherman, let me borrow a bunch of hers to use during my presentation.

But there was one other thing I remembered about that class.  She made us start the day with the saying "today is the first day of the rest of your life."  I thought that was just about the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. I remember the first time she told it to us and I responded something to the effect that that was rather obvious.  The profundity was lost on me, but I think the teacher felt that if she kept making us say it that it would click one day and we'd be amazed at her insight and wisdom.

I have to say that I still don't really "get it."  Of course today's the first day of the rest of your life...and yesterday can't be done over again...and we need to live every day as if it's our last...and all that jazz...but in the end, if we don't plan on some sort of continuity and keep sticking to our plan, we're just hopefully thinking that we're getting on and happy with ourselves, but never accomplishing much.

The kinds of motivating cliches that I prefer really fit in with my crafting self...a stitch in time saves nine, you can't move a mountain in a day, every little bit counts, it all adds up in the end.  That sort of thing.

Keep trying...don't keep starting over!

Today's picture is of a knit-a-long I'm participating in.  It's a mystery, so we get new clues every week.  It's also inspired by Downton Abbey, a television series that I love.  They will be fingerless gloves and are knit in a color way called "Christmas at Downton."  They have a lace panel on them, and the yarn is more than scrumptious (Sportmate by Lorna's Laces).  And when I posted this picture on facebook, mom said, "I want some!"

Monday, January 7, 2013


It's been a whirlwind day.  I was expecting it, but whirlwinds are always surprising nonetheless.

But, less about the whirlwind and more about the awesome new knitting love I've discovered.


I'm currently knitting from Rebecca Danger's "Knit a Monster Nursery" book...and OMG I'm in love with knitting monsters.  I made this adorable little guy who is my DPN holder (it's like a pin cushion for knitting needles) on Saturday night and Sunday morning.  3-4 hours tops.  He's made from sock yarn that I had leftovers...and in my eagerness to finish him, I sewed his arms where his legs should be, but then that just makes him unique.

I will love making socks now because my DPN monster will accompany me every time.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stupid Ears

I have stupid ears.  I don't know how else to describe them.  They bother me all the time, they don't hear properly and sometimes they make me (literally) sick.

That's what they did this week...or one ear in particular.  My right one...the bad one.  It started hurting on Tuesday, clearly had fluid on Wednesday and by Thursday I was so nauseous I could barely walk or drive and it was seriously impacting my ability to hear or think straight.

Convinced that I had an infection I called the dr. to get a refill on the drops I keep on hand for emergencies like these.  They called them in, but insisted that I come in and see the dr. anyway.  The earliest possible time.

So, I had to take the day off of work today to go in and have my ear checked out.

Believe it or not, after almost 5 years, the hole in my right ear drum healed up--apparently on Tuesday because that's when I started having symptoms.  So, it's a new tube for that ear, and I already feel better...thank goodness.  And thank goodness that Becky insisted I come in and have my ear checked out because drops wouldn't have fixed this problem.

So, to help with the cheering up, here are my happy feet in the Holiday Boogie Woogie socks I finished last week.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Keeping Track

Knitting is a great craft for people who like to do things while they're doing other things...and I don't necessarily mean multi-tasking, because I think that's taken on quite a "professional" meaning.  What I mean is...well, take me for instance.  I can't just sit and watch tv.  While I'm interested in what the shows may have to tell me, I'm not interested in JUST SITTING there.  I want to go bonkers.  Or, riding in a car.  I can't just ride in a car.  I must be busy doing something else.  And knitting is perfect because I can keep my hands and brain occupied when it would otherwise be off thinking of ways to hurt  people and in the meantime make some pretty awesome stuff.

I'm extremely proud and excited at how knitting finally took hold of me and all the amazing progress I've made with it.  I've only been knitting for a year and a half now (I know, I'm amazed!) and I keep thinking of ways that I can make this my life...I mean, seriously.  I fantasize about knitting things and selling them, only to realize that no one is going to pay what it would take to make even adorable toy monsters.

SO, I take my passion back to the realm of crafting, relaxation and creative fun, and fill in my down time making things.  It's what I do.

And at present I have about 300 things that want to be knitted.  Every single skein of sock yarn in my basket is ready to become a pair of socks, or a shawl, or a hat.  Every single sweater pattern that I've printed out in the past year wants to be knit up so I can wear it before it gets too cold.  And walking around London helped me realize how much I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone wearing my hats.  Not only were they stylish, but they did the trick at keeping us warmer than we would have been without them (and my ears thanked me heartily!).

The current project I'm working on is a complete no-brainer.  It's perfect for knitting group night because there is no thinking involved.  In fact, it's all knit stitches, and you just knit away until you're done.  Sounds incredibly boring, but it's not.  It's lovely.  The only part of the pattern that requires any thought is the short-row toe and heel.  And I figured out after doing the first one that if I count my stitches with these handy-dandy stitch markers that I have to do even less thinking about it.  I can just watch as the project flies off of my needles.  And how awesome is that?

And I will tell you that after finishing up this next sock (I'm almost almost done), I will want something with a little pattern or interest.  And that's good.  Here's a picture of the first half of the toe with all its markers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

21 Years Ago Today

21 years ago today I gave birth to two beautiful twin daughters. There were times when I wasn't sure we were all going to make it through, but there were many more times when I knew we were going to be happy happy happy together as adults.

And officially now they're adults.  The law holds nothing back from them, no rights, no responsibilities.  The world is theirs for the taking.

And I know they'll do a great job taking it on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

And we're off!

2013 is official!  It's time for new beginnings and to think about ways we can improve on who we became last year.  Everyone's making resolutions, thinking about their past, their future, and what they want to accomplish in the next 12 months.  Goals are set.

We eat our black-eyed peas and whatever other foods needed for good luck, health and prosperity, and then sit back and see if we can live up to these new expectations.

And for me, many of those things hold true.  I'm definitely reflective as the new year passes.  I think about thing I could have (should have???) done differently last year, and try to set some reasonable goals for myself in this new year.  I hope I can live up to my expectations.

In this new year, I plan to knit more, weave more, maybe pick back up the piano, exercise and be more proactive in the life that's going on around me (whatever that means!).  I hope to blog almost every day, and try to be more creative when the opportunities come my way.


And on that vein, I appreciate your patience as I wound out the end of 2012.  We had a very busy couple of weeks and then all I wanted to do was sit by myself and be quiet for a bit.  I managed to weave some towels (pics below), start another set of towels, and knit a pair and a half of socks.  I finished up Alyssa's London hat minutes before I went to sleep before leaving on our trip.  Alyssa graduated (yea!).  We had a fabulous time in London! (double yea!!!) and we bought and had installed an elliptical trainer in the house for that whole exercise goal I set.


Pictured above is the towels and napkins that I made for Aaryn's mom, Penny.  They are in muted Christmas colors of honey, gold, greens and burgundy.  I used a random number generator to determine the stripe pattern in both the warp and the weft for what turns out to be a very different looking napkin and towel for each item.  I love working in this type of pattern. I  think it's uniquely "me" (my style, mark, or whatever) and, in my opinion, truly beautiful.