Monday, April 29, 2013

What a difference a week makes

#1:  Well, this time last week, I was still living at the apartment. I had most of my belongings packed, but not all.

Today I'm living back at my house (yea!) and I have some of my belongings unpacked but not most.


#2:  Looking at pictures of myself and David from last week to this...all I can say is wow.  Usually I don't see the changes in myself...but between this week and last I truly do.  Pic of us is below.  I apologize for my messy's just that after unpacking and cleaning all week, I don't think I even thought about what my hair looked like.


#3:  Last week I was doing a lot of knitting...last night I was itching to do some knitting.  I have no idea which bag or box my patterns and yarn are in, so I haven't been able to knit a thing. I think that once I find my current works in progress, I'll end up stopping unpacking at that very moment and getting to my knitting. I dearly miss it.


#4:  Last week I was a staunch fan of the coffee I made in my little bitty coffee pot, this week I'm in love with T-Bones' coffee.  I may never brew another pot of coffee ever!

Friday, April 26, 2013

We're Back!

We moved back to the house yesterday.  There are boxes everywhere and the amount of dust is unbelievable, but it's my house and it's beautiful and I'm so very happy to be there.

The kitties were too.  Pearl jumped into all of her favorite windows and howled for us to come see her.  Then went to another window and repeated.  She was so cute.  The rolled around in the dirt, climbed all the boxes and looked confusedly at where the new closets are and wondered why their running path was cut off.  But they were very happy to be home, too.

Last night's priority was to get the bathrooms usable (thank you very much Alyssa), find clothes to wear to work today (accomplished without too much trouble), get my bed set up (thank you David), find our sheets and pillows (this proved a tad more difficult) and then get our final protein meal replacement located, made and consumed (this proved most difficult of all as I think the shakers were in the very last box we opened in the kitchen).

Today's picture isn't of knitting as I can't find anything knitted to take pictures of.  I also haven't had any time to knit since Tuesday, so am a few days behind on my sock yarn blanket (will hopefully make up for that on Saturday or Sunday).  Today's picture is of the new light we got for our foyer.  It's gorgeous.  The colors are vibrant and pretty and I love the heart shaped scroll work.  It goes perfectly with the red walls.  A very lovely new addition to the house.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Projects I Hate

On this really weary Tuesday I want to talk about projects I hate.  This doesn't happen often, but sometimes I get into a project and I realize that I hate it.  I mean really truly hate it.  I have to put it away not look at it or think about it for a while and then pull it out again only to work on it for a short time and remember that yep, I really truly hate that project.

Currently I have 2 projects on the needles that I hate, ironically out of the same yarn, that I love.  It's Polaris by Rozetti.  I don't want to talk bad about this yarn because it's gorgeous.  Squishy soft, beautifully colored, plus it has sequins all over it and they are unbelievable.  I'm going to end up with a matching hat and scarf that will be pretty darn spectacular!

IF I can ever get over the fact that I hate the projects and move on with it.

I can't tell you exactly why I hate these projects, I just do.  Plain and simple.  Every time the bag that houses them comes up as my project to work on, I inwardly groan, and go for 30 minutes and no more and then put it away until the next time I have to work on it (and yes, I said HAVE to work on it).

I've experienced this other times.  Sometimes I determine that I hate the project so much that I rip it out (or cut it out of the loom if that's the case).  Sometimes I trudge along a little at a time and just get through it.  Sometimes I find that after a while I don't hate the project any more but come to appreciate all the work that I've put into it.

But, for whatever reason, this hat is driving me crazy.  I'm even "stretching" it to see if I have enough yet to start decreasing for the crown.  And I know that next year, when it's finished, and I'm staying a fancy matching hat and scarf set, I'm going to be so proud and only remember slightly how much I hated knitting this business...but until then...I must trudge along.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Weekend Appearance

Excited today.  We are packing up to finally move back to the house.  The contractor is supposed to be working all weekend to get us ready to move in on Thursday.

So, last night and this morning I've been combing through my closet to purge all the too big clothes.  I'm excited to report that I did manage to shrink my pants enough to get a few more weeks out of them.  At this point I've lost 20 pounds and David 31.  We are both so thrilled and feel so amazing, I can't even begin to tell you how happy we are to have finally found a diet that works and that we know will end up with us being fit and trim by this time next year.  We even gave away all of our winter coats.  We figure by the time it gets cold enough to wear them, we'll have lost most of our weight and everything we have will be way too big

In the midst of all of this, though, David has had to go shopping for new pants and shoes.  His old shoes have gotten too big, which is an unexpected outcome of the diet.

Knitting and weaving will have to take a short hiatus this weekend.  I'm going to work on a couple of projects in between packing, but I won't be just sitting and knitting like I usually do on the weekends.  That's ok.  The end result will be that we'll be back in our house and happy to be there.  Thrilled actually.  Then I can knit and weave myself crazy.

Today's picture is of a fun little project I'm working on.  I bought some yarn at Halloween from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It's a neon package that has pink, green, turquoise and orange.  I've decided for this to be a hat and possibly socks, mittens or a cowl...haven't decided what to make next.  The choice of colors is based on a deck of cards.  I have assigned each color to a suit and then I draw the card out of the deck and knit that many rows in the color indicated.  It's been fun and mindless knitting...and wow, is it bright!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts on Boredom

I abhor being bored.  Absolutely hate it.  I hate it with all the passion I can muster.  Being bored in one aspect of my life feeds over into so many more...I get cranky, have a hard time settling down to the things that I normally like to do.  I think I'm probably very hard to live with.

And I am beyond being bored at work.  There is NOTHING to do.  All the students are diligently working on their own, behaving and otherwise engaged.  We're pretty much waiting until finals to get all the data we need to write all the reports we have to write.

And to be honest, it's about to drive me mad!  I have played games until I'm tired of playing games.  I would pull out my knitting but that won't do either.  People will look askance at me if I do something so out of line with acceptable work behavior.  I can't start anything or plan anything because that's not I sit and while away the hours in the day and hope that my mood isn't to terribly sour by the time I get home.

Ah, I really do hate boredom.

So, to share some good news.  The construction crew is finally winding down work on the house.  We should be back in (easily) the first week of May as planned.  We'd hoped for earlier, but that just isn't going to work.  David and I are going tonight to pick out a new light fixture for our foyer and to get a vent hood for the stove.  I'm definitely ready to get back to the house.  The apartment living adventure has been good, and I know it's something we could do with smaller furniture and better planning, but I dreadfully miss our high end appliances and the garage.

And the diet is still going very well.  We go weigh-in today, and I expect to get close to 20 pounds.  I'm wearing pants 2 sizes smaller than my previous ones and tops one size smaller.  Very exciting on both counts!  David must go shopping this week because his pants are not looking right on him...and he's happy about that.

Today's picture is of one of the sweaters (I still have on the needles!) that will be my "skinny sweater."  I love the colors and am very much looking forward to finishing it!  The yarn is simply divine!
I may put some extra effort into it this weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ripping out...

I find it interesting how little qualms I have about ripping out knitting and starting over.  I plunge head-on into a project and work on it a while and then will decide either it's not working, I don't like the stitch, or the yarn isn't appropriate for the project, and out it'll come.  Just like that.  And I don't look back or feel bad.  When it's not right, it's not right, and it certainly isn't a good use of my time to work on something that isn't right.

And an inappropriate waste of good yarn.

I did that last night with one of my getting skinny sweaters.  The yarn is really too thick and heavy for a summer-weight top.  I wasn't entirely sure, either, if I had enough of it to make the entire top and I didn't want to get far along and have to rip out the whole thing...THEN I would be disappointed.

So I ripped out last night to save me the anxiety of working on this project.  I'll have to find some other use for that yarn.  It's lovely, but not quite enough to make a sweater out of...I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with it. Maybe it'll become the main yarn in a blanket...or maybe a cozy shawl (I'm looking in that direction now). Also, in reading about the yarn, it pills, so I'm not sure it'll be a good choice for a sweater that I intend to wear...thoughts and thoughts...but one conclusion...definitely needs to be ripped out.

Instead I worked a bit on mom's mother's day present and did my square for the day for the sock yarn blanket.  The sock yarn blanket is turning out really nicely.  I should have the 2nd row completed by next week.  And as I progress on it, I'll be adding new yarns, which is always an exciting feature of these wonderful "scrap yarn" projects.  They truly do reflects years of work (though I have only  knitted not quite two years now, I do have a lot of leftovers).

So, for today's picture I'll show you a picture of the sock yarn blanket after I finished the first row...with Pearl thrown in for a pretty model.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5 Shades of Grey

I haven't read the popular novel series 50 Shades of Grey.  I'm really not interested in doing so.  But, I do like the idea behind it.  Grey is such an interesting color.  One of my favorites, actually.

For a neutral, it has such potential.  It runs the gamut from white to black, but can have hues of green, blue, yellow or red in there to make it more interesting.  When painting or coloring, if a color stands out too much, just add some grey to it and it calms down, and looks more respectable.

Taken all by itself, however, grey is rich.  It's shimmery and ethereal.  It seems ungrounded and yet solid at the same time (think clouds or mountains).

My literary reference when thinking of the color grey goes back to Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.  The painter is looking at the sky and asks the girl "what color are the clouds."  She responds "Grey."  And he tells her to "look more deeply and tell me what color are the clouds."  She ponders the clouds and realizes that they have blue and green and yellow and black.  Darker shades of the same color.  The clouds, which look simple and "one color" are really deeply textured because of all the different colors reflected back from the surface.

That said, what better accessory than a grey scarf.  It isn't something I would ordinarily think of, but I had just a tiny bit of grey alpaca silk left from the blue and grey scarf I made a few weeks ago.  It certainly wasn't enough to make a single warp or weft but could be combined with another yarn (or 3 or 4) to create something shimmery and wonderful.  The alpaca silk yarn is incredibly light and airy and was an obvious choice to add the chenille that I love working with so much which is even more light and airy than the alpaca silk.  Then I decided to put in some grey cotton and another grey tencel (all shimmery and reflecting back light).  I toyed with the idea of a 5th variegated grey (that goes from silver to black).  Decided against it...then as I was about to start winding the warp I realized it needed it.

Designing the warp was incredibly fun.  I have a deck of tarot cards that I bought in France.  Tarot cards have 5 suits, the typical hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds and then the trump suit which has "major" cards. I decided that the alpaca silk would be the trumps, and assigned the other yarns to different suits.  I wound off however many ends were the number and chose the yarn based on the suit of the card.  When I used up the alpaca silk, I wound off the other edge until I reached another trump and then called it a scarf (rather than a shawl which it had the potential to be."

This picture shows the warp after it was sleyed in the reed.  I think adding the variegated was a very good idea.  It keeps the scarf from being too much of a "cloud."  I love that the shades of grey also have very different textures.  It's going to be a wonderful light-weight snuggly scarf.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Get Ready...Get Set... "go" yet, but I'm mentally getting ready and set for moving back to the house.  The contractor hopes to have everything finished by next Friday...that's two weeks.  Then we can get in, clean everything up and have the movers, hopefully, "set" to "go" the first weekend of May.

How exciting would that be!?!?

And in the mental game of getting prepped, I've been thinking again about how to move the loom.  It was a very stressful thing for me to move to the apartment, but I'm so glad I did.  I had really lost touch with my weaving, finding it difficult to weave during the week, but with my forced blank weekends, I have found lots of time on Saturday and Sunday and find that I can make good progress on things if I am dedicated to working on them over the weekend.  This is good to know...

My plan is to have all my projects finished when it is time to move and to put a false warp in the loom to hold the shafts steady so that they'll transport just fine.  And for that reason, I need quick-to-work projects, so I'll be making a lot of scarves from this point forward.

I started Art Box #2...well, I've designed it.  I have a lovely grey scarf in the loom right now.  The picture of the yarns I'm going to use are below.  I've decided to mimic the red and black plaid in her dress but include the blue and cream from the table to help make it a little more feminine.  I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate the blue and cream...I have some ideas, but we'll see where I end up.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Art Box 1

[Edited to add that these have sold already...and I could have sold them a couple times over.  I'll make more in this colorway, don't worry...]

I finished Art Box 1. They are gorgeous. Soft. Squishy. Beautiful colors. My experience with these hand woven towels is that they don't wear out. You can ruin them with bleach but they are quite hardy.

This set is for sale for $80. Send me an email or comment below if you're interested.

I've broken with tradition today so you can see the entire set. The green and pink towels have different looks per side. Quite pretty and gives you more decorating options.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I'm on retreat this weekend.  A much needed retreat.  In fact, I'd stay this way for an entire week if I could but work beckons and it's the wrong time of the semester to call in sick. There's a lot moving and shaking at work and I could find myself in quite different circumstances in the coming months...or I could find myself just exactly where I am.

I'm ok with that.

But back to the retreat.  My plans for this weekend are to knit and weave and relax.  I'm going to watch travel shows and dream about where I will travel and what I'll do there once I lose my weight.  I'm eating healthy this weekend (thank you so much David for cooking me food for when you're gone...steaming or baking veggies is definitely something I can manage on my own).

I was so excited about my retreat that I actually woke up early this morning.  I did this during spring break too.  Cracks me up.

I currently have 8 knitting projects on the needles and would have started a 9th without question except I'm out of size 7 needles (though I do know I have tips in there, so may change my mind if I can find the right size circular cord) and am definitely starting another mystery knitalong.  Those are so fun.  I even watched the premier episode of Game of Thrones this morning to be part of the spirit behind the KAL (not sure it's going to be my kind of show, but I'll watch it with David when he gets home and hide my face during the violent parts).

I designed the next scarf I'll weave with a lovely "splurge" yarn (thanks to David for my Easter "basket").  It's a cashmere sock yarn and goofy me didn't pay attention to the fact that it's only 50g which isn't enough to knit a pair of socks, so I'll have to weave it into a gorgeous scarf with some bamboo and tencel yarn. It'll be scrumptious.  I have another scarf waiting to be woven that I'm calling "4 shades of grey"...for obvious reasons.  Art Box #1 is still on the loom, but I've made very good progress on it today and won't be surprised if I finish it off if not today, then tomorrow morning.

So, my goal is to be creative, relax, watch tv, knit, weave, and not disarm the alarm on my door until the girls come over on Sunday evening!  Heaven.

Today's picture is of Frankie.  It's a little knitted monster I'm making for my mom to give the little girl she babysits.  The head and body are complete.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Art Box #1: Venus and Cupid

When I was in London in December, I picked up a box of notecards called "Art Box."  It's based on a book called Art Book and provides samples of some major art works.  These include painting, sculpture, and architecture in all periods and styles. I bought the box with the intent of using each post card as inspiration for a weaving project.  I finally got around to my first project from the Art Box.

And boy has this been a fun and inspiring experience.  I randomly selected the first card and examined it, decided to make some kitchen towels that would have a pattern that would be frisky enough to stand up to the flesh and exuberance of this painting.  I went through my pattern books, wanting to work from an old book of pattern drafts and selected a threading that would allow for many different looks depending on treadling and tie up.  I took the post card to my yarn tree of yarns that I use to make towels and picked out my colors and then let it stew for a little while.  When it was finally time to design, I decided that the blue should be a main player because of the gorgeous blue background of the painting, but that the fleshy colors needed to also stand forth.  And the green, while subtle in the painting, is very important to setting the nature scene and providing a little depth and "groundedness" to the overall effect of the painting.  Therefore, skinny green stripes, bordered by coral, bordered by fleshy pink.  I repeated these stripes in small versions to create movement and interest throughout the towels.

I spent a good bit of time working on my first art box project this weekend, finishing winding the warp, sleying the loom, threading the loom and winding on the warp.  I started weaving only to discover that my treadling doesn't result in anything that looks like the picture in my pattern book.  I examined the pattern book, looked back at my loom and still don't know what's wrong.  Maybe I'm not beating hard enough, but that would result in a very unsatisfactory feel to the towel, so I decided to wing it.  The first towel is in the fleshy color and has very tiny diamonds.  It's woven in a 1/3 twill which means that it looks completely different on the backside as it does on the front.

The second towel (shown below) features the green.  In the same 1/3 twill with a different treadling, this has bigger diamonds and a large multicolor stripe that mimics (in proportion, not exact size) the stripes in the warp.

I love these towels.  I will sell them as a set of 5 for $100 when they are completed.  They will make a very special gift for someone and spruce up a kitchen.  Post card will accompany the order along with quick notes about dates of weaving, etc. (written on back of post card).