Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow day!

Everyone at work has been lamenting the fact that we haven't had a lot of cold or snow this winter.  (I've actually been ok with that because I'm not acclimated to the cold and having a mild winter has made me love it here ever more).

But, there is definitely something magical about snow, when you don't have to see feet and feet of it piled up above your rooftops creating even colder temperatures. I remember those days from Kentucky and I don't miss them.  I don't miss slipping on the sidewalks and having to scrape ice off of my car everytime I wanted to drive somewhere.  I don't miss having to use antifreeze on my door lock to get it to open.

But after living in Mississippi for 13 years I can still feel the magic of the white stuff.  It's so pristine and pretty.

The mountains look SO much bigger and closer and are defined totally differently.

The world changes a bit, and it's fascinating all over again.

Today we're IN the snow clouds.  (Reno is at an altitude of 4500 feet, so it's possible from time to time to be in the clouds...that is if those great big mountains don't tear them up first).

To prove it:

Friday, February 27, 2015

I continue to be blown away

Today is a reflective day for me.  I moved to Nevada 6 months ago.

6 months ago I was running away from an awful situation into what I hoped would be a place where I could heal, focus on me for a little while and find my path.

Hell if I didn't hit the jackpot (an apt metaphor in a state of gambling, don't you think?)

I love it here.  I love everything about it.  Even the rain shower I was driving through to get to the cattery where I am going to board the kitties when I'm on my trip.

I love my job.

I love the people I meet.

I love the terrain, the weather, the sunlight.

I love that I can look out the window and see some variation of this every day...

I love that I'm happy.  Just happy.  Not "about" anything, just happy.  It's a terrific empowering feeling that transfers into everything.

I love that I am strong--both physically and emotionally.

I love that I've been able to explore my talents and work with amazingly talented people.  It inspires me and makes me want to do/be better.

I love that I have folks on my journey...folks who are cheering me on, helping me through, encouraging, loving and supporting me throughout all of this immense change and transition.

I love that I see a future here.  I love that I want to stay around for a good long time.  Make this my home.  Find a community and get to know and see everything.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I stayed up late...

...and then came home from work and knitted all night.

I'm even thinking that today, day off...I could just sit and knit.  This whole plan to go to the grocery store and be responsible and buy healthy food and cook it so I can eat it and not undo all my amazing progress from last year.  Yeah...that plan is starting to feel shaky because I have amazing socks on the needles.


 Peachy Keen by Cookie A, February 2015 sock club pattern in the club yarn: Anzula Squishy in Begonia.  It's SO AMAZING.  Soft, squishy (of course) and shimmery beautiful.  The pattern is really very simple.  I'm almost done with the leg...and the gusset decreases happen in the foot patterning at the top rather than along the sides of the ankle.  Totally cool :)

And just to prove that I DID finish Feeling Groovy and casted on Peachy Keen RIGHT AWAY.  That's what I stayed up late for two nights ago.


Work news is cool.  I'll be shifting responsibilities next week from order fulfillment to "back orders and receiving."  I'm really very excited as this is an area I identified in my 3 month meeting.  And I've discovered over the past 6 months (can you believe it's been that long???) that I love doing inventory stuff.  And organizing the yarn.  It's all wonderful and cool and I can't tell you how terrific I feel that I work in a place that listens and helps the employees find "their place" even if it isn't one that existed when they arrived.

Case in point:  I'm a data geek.  (Y'all knew that right?  PhD in research methods testing out some data analysis on a survey instrument that I created...worked for years doing data analysis for grants...) Anyway, I love data and while I don't miss the academic world, I do miss playing around with data and figuring out patterns.  So, Laura recognized this and has put me on a huge (and I mean huge) data project which I'll be devoting 2 of my days of work to (the other 3 to back orders).  She said yesterday in morning meeting "we'll have to give Leslie a new title and a crown or something because she's going to be our yarn expert...with her sticky brain she'll know it all!"  Ha!  I told her I'd accept a scepter. :)

I love having a sticky brain by the way!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weaving a little magic

So many months ago I bought some yarn to make Alyssa a scarf.  It's Maleficent in Sparkle Gnome from GnomeAcres.  It's gorgeous yarn and I was really excited to make her something special for her move to Florida and her new life...Then, as you know, all hell broke loose, I got divorced, moved across the country and that yarn hid out in a basket until a couple of weeks ago.

I was, of course, looking for my tapestry needles (which happened to be in my purse because that's where every knitter carries her tapestry needles, don't you know!) and found a bag of yarn--2 packages of which had never been opened.  Club yarns from Dragonfly and Cookie A from August.  I was so thrilled to see them, touch them and mourn for the sadness that was my life at that time.  Then I put them in my special place and will get them out in my 2015 year of the clubs!

Anyway, back to Maleficent.  I knew I wanted to weave this scarf and was really excited this "weekend" to finally sit down at the loom and get it started.

I just have to say that it's gorgeous on the loom.  Can't wait to see it off of the fact, I think I'm going to do some fancy tied fringe to bring about the full magical effect.

Happy Monday every body!  It's my Wednesday!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Feeling Groovy, Sock 1

I finished the first of the socks last night.  I love it...sort of.  The pattern is "ok"...not bad...definitely turned out fun, but I just don't know how I feel about slip stitches on socks.  We'll see how they wear before I give a final verdict.

I'm desperate to finish them, less because I want them done and more because I WANT TO START THE NEXT PAIR.  Cookie A a gorgeous peach colored Anzula Squishy.  A luxury for my feet, let me tell you!

Not to mention the blast I'll have in the knitting of it.

News:  Biker dude showed back up at knitting group last week.  He continued to be amazed by me, but didn't speak.  I'm kind of terrified of the whole "talking to a guy" thing so not sure what, if anything, I could do at this moment...though I do have to say I'm curious.

I had color themed carts today at work.  Not all one color all day, but each cart was one color.  It's always interesting in JBW world.


Also I'm writing.  Which is why I'm here less. Some pretty powerful and amazing things have come through my fingers.  It feels good to get it down.  I know it's not "the thing" that will be whatever it is that I'm doing--(i.e. this is prewriting in its most primal form) but boy is it valuable to me.

I'll share one of the bits.  I don't know what to call these things that I'm writing.  It isn't poetry, and I'm not sure it's connected other than it's my thoughts, but it's there and it's been very healing for me and I do want to share some of this with the world:

In the beginning there was calm.

Calmness that let me think and breathe and see.
 Calmness that allowed me to stop and realize my worth
 Calmness that gave me the strength to do the things I needed to do to move forward.
 Calmness that prepared me to be loved.
 Calmness that allowed me to truly love others.
 Calmness that defeated anxiety.
 Calmness that reached out to others.
Calmness that gave others the strength to breathe, see, realize, do, love.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yarn Clubs

I went a little (ok a lot) crazy with yarn clubs this year.  I really do love the thrill of getting something surprising in the mail...sometimes a challenging pattern, always a beautiful yarn.  I want to review the ones I've joined so you can get a sense of what I like about them, what I think makes a club successful and what I'm planning to do with my club yarns in 2015...which is similar to what I was planning to do in 2014 but all the drama of 2014 got so in the way of yarn clubs!

Oh, and please don't judge about all the money I've spent on these clubs.  It's been a tough year and I can only explain my indulgence as therapy...


Vesper Sock Yarn Club:  This is a 3 month subscription to Knitterly Things's Vesper Sock yarn.  The colorways are specially dyed for the club and only available to club members.  I hoard these skeins like the special things they are and pull them out from time to time to make a gorgeous pair of self-striping sock love.  I've also woven a scarf with one skein and it has continued to get raves everywhere I go.

Madelinetosh Magnolia Club:  I debated with myself about joining this club.  I LOVE Tosh.  The yarns we sell at JBW are spectacular.  Knitting with Tosh is always amazing.  The dyed colors are wonderful.  So my logic was that with bases we don't carry in the shop and special colors, I would totally love the club.  And the truth is I don't.  I won't "up" again for the next one simply because it's been "eh"...don't get me wrong, the yarns are gorgeous, but while the yardage is generous it isn't generous enough to do something like a sweater, but is too much for a hat--and honestly, what does one do with extra skeins of yarn?  I know...put them in stash and wait for them to "become something amazing"...but I don't need more stash and part of my exploration in the yarn club is to learn about yarn, and to learn about new patterns and techniques...Tosh didn't do it for me. (maybe I'll feel differently when the yarn does speak to me and tell me what it wants to be. I'll update you when that happens).

Cookie A Sock Club:  I will do the Cookie A Sock club until she quits doing it.  I'm just sad that I didn't start knitting early enough to be a part of it from the very very beginning.  Every other month you get a skein of yarn and two Cookie A patterns that are only available to club members for one year (and then she sells them on Ravelry to anyone).  The yarns are typically sourced from small dye companies and are specially dyed for her pattern.  And they have always been gorgeous.  Only once did I decide that the yarn needed to be something other than the socks that Cookie A decided that it should be (I'm making a Pretty Thing from it...and one day I'll get back to it because it truly is ideal for where I am in my life right now...cashmere neckie...).  Back to the club, though.  It's awesome, the Ravelry group is wonderful.  I do love seeing all the works in progress and listening to people discuss the patterns, etc...and the patterns are genius.  I will catch up on my socks from last year as I'm working through all the clubs from this year.

Rockin' Sock Club:  I really debated whether I wanted to join the RSC this year and am glad that the sign ups were later than the others because I may have skipped it.  I went ahead and joined because the yarn is always spectacular.  Plus this is year 10 and Blue Moon promised amazing things!  You get a skein of yarn every other month along with two patterns--one for a sock and one for an accessory.  I've done the RSC for 3 full years (in other words this is my 4th venture into the club) so I have quite a pile of RSC yarns that will need to be knitted up in my "down time" but since 2015 is the year of the club I suspect that this will happen.  My only complaint about the RSC is that the patterns aren't always to my taste.  This isn't a huge problem as I'll find other patterns to work...but it can be disappointing as I want the full "club" experience.

Dragonfly Yarns Club:  Dragonfly Yarns are truly special.  I love every single skein that I've ever gotten from them.  They're gorgeously dyed and the yarn is high quality.  And in the one instance where I've gotten a bum skein, she was super nice about it.  I kind of debated whether to join again this year because last year I really didn't like the patterns that came along with the yarn...I decided to do so on the simple fact that I have knitted something from every skein (or skeins) that came in last year except for the stuff that came in August and October and that was because I was in "transition" and hardly knew my name.

Among Friends:  This was a total impulse buy...the Outlander Club.  I was so excited by my first shipment that I'm anxiously awaiting my next!  Time does not move fast enough right now!  I'll report more fully when I've had more shipments, patterns, stitch markers and project bags to share, but my first one was amazing.

Finally:  Miss Babs Knitting Tour:  I haven't received my first shipment yet, but I'm really excited. There are 4 shipments, with accessories, yarn and patterns.  Each shipment is themed based on a location...and since I love to travel AND I love to knit...this is wonderful.  I'm totally stoked about getting these shipments and will report to you about them as I go.


It's a lot, I know.  And I'm really excited about working on my projects as they come in.  I've already completed 2 and started the 3rd (the pedestrian cowl from a month or so ago) and these two socks:

Rockin' Sock Club: Feeling Groovy.  Pattern is 59th Street Bridge

Yarn: Dragonfly's Djinni Sock in "Big Sky" using Cookie A's pattern Senna from last year's club.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Family time

Time for some much needed family time. Catch you on the flip side next week!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A symphony on the loom

...and I"m about to go finish up this warp to create probably the most beautiful set of towels to date.  To say that I'm happy and proud isn't even tipping the ice berg!

Friday, February 6, 2015

In which a lesson is learned...

Yesterday was one of those really good days.  Good therapy session, good shopping, good weaving, good knitting, and a really good time with my knitting group eating good sweet potato fries and drinking some really yummy root beer.

So, we meet in a sort of pub/bar (as far as we have those in the states) and sat in the middle of the room and knitted and talked and ate and drank and it was so much fun.  I laughed and enjoyed the conversation.  Contributed my part when it was time and just listened when it was time.  We came and went as we were able, but I was there for most of it (I've been known to close down many a bar and the fact that I work the early shift is probably the ONLY reason I didn't close down last night! ha!).

Anyway, the lesson.  A cute guy walked into the bar, we checked each other out, and then he went to sit down at the bar and have his drink and supper and I continued talking and enjoying time with my friends.

About an hour or so later he left, and the girl sitting next to me hugged me and said, "that biker dude was totally checking you out all night." and then everyone else at the table said, "yeah, he was"...and I had absolutely no clue.  I mean I saw it when he walked in but after that NO CLUE.

And then I said, "whatever did I do?" and Jenn replied "uh, nothing."

And that's when it hit me, the lesson...I was just me.  All night.  Seriously me.  Laughing and carrying on and really being pretty goofy and a total stranger couldn't keep his eyes off of me.  I wasn't dressed up, and honestly my hair was quite a mess, and I was knitting in a bar with other girls (and a guy) who were also knitting in a bar...

I don't have a clue who the cute biker dude was or if I'll ever see him again, but he so completely made my day by appreciating me for me from across the bar and doing so in an obvious enough way that my friends could see and tell me because let me tell you...that's a lesson I needed to learn and boy did it make me feel like a million bucks!


We're under a "High Wind Alert" here today (and they don't joke about that) and the clouds are amazing.  Happy Friday everyone...I start my week again tomorrow, but today is just me and some more weaving and knitting and movies and kitties and later some Thai food with my friends.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fun times at work

I really do pinch myself sometimes and make myself realize that I'm not in a dream...that I really do work at an awesome yarn store and I really do get to help people figure out yarn-y things regarding projects that they're dreaming up.

It's so much fun!

Today I was answering e-mails.  A lot of times that's doing the routine--declined credit cards, shipping quotes and out of stock items--but today I also helped people pick out their yarns, their projects, their colors.  And it was terrific fun.

I do love my job and I do have to pinch myself and remind myself that I'm not dreaming because seriously, this is so wonderful.


And because I know you were wondering, this little slug turns into a demon--think Kujo the calico cat--at the vet.  They had to sedate her just to examine her and while we were a little worried that there's a UTI going on we went ahead and decided to give them both their shots because man, this was stressful on everybody.

Demon cat.  I'm not kidding.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Purple was today's color.

I was cranky...not sure why...hate being cranky but I'll get past it.

Kitties go to vet tomorrow...worry about Zora.  She's not friendly at the vet.

A friend got a new loom.  I can't wait to teach her to weave!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A thoughtful post

Last night I had a dream.  I was playing the piano and realized that one song that I'd loved forever and played for a long time I was playing incorrectly.  In one of the phrases I was playing a note, one that, ironically, took the arpeggio "down" instead of "up" like it was supposed to be.

Upon realizing that I was looking at the music and seeing for the first time that I was playing it wrong, I thought long and hard about that.  The way I'd played it for years sounded ok.  Good in fact.  It felt natural and I played it through a few times to make sure that I was hearing what I was seeing--and in fact I knew I wasn't.  I thought about whether it was worth the effort to learn to do it correctly.  Play it the way the composer intended.  And I knew that I needed to play it the way it was supposed to be...the song just wasn't right in the other way any more and I would know that I was selling out.

So, I determined that I was going to learn to play the phrase correctly.  Doing so would take effort, practice and determination.  If you've ever played the piano, you know about muscle memory and how your hands will at some point just take over and do what they're supposed to do.  This frees you up to express and provide other components to the music that aren't strictly technical.

When I started on retraining myself it was difficult. I knew that if I wasn't diligent that my hands would go back to doing things they way they wanted to and I would have to slow down, pay attention and work on making the transition from the incorrectly learned phrase to the next one...after all the muscle memory is in the transition too.

So, I slowed down, played the phrase over and over again until it felt better, then I added my left hand into the phrase to play its part and kept going slow until they wanted to work together well and then I started speeding up to the correct speed.  After I got that down, I moved to the next phrase to see that my hands could go there and they did.

I woke up before I played the whole song, but wow...dreams can bring us powerful messages if we're willing to listen.