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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mmmm....quiet time

Since my last post, I have been trying to turn off the TV more and to read more. Thanks to a neighbor who is alot like me in personality/preferences, I have a new book to read about different types of thinkers. It is helping me to formalize my strengths and weaknesses, and to understand why I was unhappy in my last career...I kind of already knew, but it helps to have affirmation. It also hope that it helps me settle on what I would RATHER do. It also helps to explain my sometimes knitting ADHD, which happens when I get too many projects going (more than 3). :) Ha ha!

I have also started a TKGA class called Basics, Basics, Basics. I am knitting my little swatches and learning away.

I can't believe it has been a week already. I have so much catching up to do. So down to bid-ness.


SP10 Contest #8: Blog/Post about 3 yarns you're just dying to try/get your hands on, and why!You have until Saturday, June 30th, 2007 to post your entry.

Apple Pie Sock Yarn - Why? I have heard it is heavenly. That the colors are beautiful and it fuzzes up nicely. I have not ordered it yet because it sells out quickly, and she doesn't really do alot with my favorite color, green. So that has kind of held me back just a bit. I also have not seen it in person yet, and I tend to buy sock yarns that I see in person. I have been disappointed in ordering online with true colors unseen. :)
Kauni Rainbow - Have you even seen that sweater? That Yarn Harlot is knitting? Enough said. It is gorgeous, and it looks like an easier fair isle to do! The yarn does the color switching for you! It may become a group project for some friends.
Hanne Falkenberg Mermaid - Really the whole shebang. The Yarn and the Pattern. Because together they just work. But it is sooooo pricey. That is what holds me back on this one. (Anyone want to contribute to my Hanne fund? Pleeeeeeeaaaaaase?)

Why I have the Bestest SP10 Pal in the World update.

Dear SP10 Pal,

Do not despair; I do truly love you. Please forgive the late posting of the glorious packages that you have sent to me. Trust me, I truly understand the anticipation and stalking of your pal's blog to see how much they love what you have sent. So I sincerely and deeply apologize. Please see my post below.

Your Pal,


Don't cha wish you had a pal like me? Check out the latest package to arrive from Beautiful green laceweight merino and addi turbo lace needles and a beautiful shawl pattern. I think my pal is telling me that I need to get off my butt and finally knit lace in laceweight yarn. Oh, okay, I guess I better!

After taking this picture, I am dutifully going to put the yarn and needles back in their plastic bag until I knit it so that the laceweight yarn does not get all snaggy.

Socks that Rock!

Oh my, this month's is great. The yarn is Firebird in lightweight, and the pattern is the Solstice Slip. It looks easy and pretty. What a great choice.


The Father Daughter Hat for my dad's Xmas present is going. It looks different because I have adjusted the pattern to add an extra 3 inches of ribbing, because in Alaska one needs extra protection over the ears when the temperature drops.

But I was silly and did not check my stitch count as early as I should have after starting the decrease rounds. I was over by one stitch, so I figured out that I had forgotten to do one K2TOG. No problem, I think. I will just drop down the few rows and fix it. Ah, but no grasshopper. This alpaca/wool blend is not as elastic as plain wool. So after fixing it and working the stitches back up it was all too loose and gappy looking. Argh. So I had to frog back anyway, and here is what it looks like right now. I still haven't straightened out the stitches to lie in the correct direction after frogging it. And it is soooo unlike me to leave the yarn all yarn-barfy. I usually wind it back up right away. But this summer has been crazy for me. No fear, I will finish it soon. I just need to knit more little swatchies for my Basics course first.

Well, I need to run and start typing up some answers for my Basics course. I promise to post more frequently!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I heart viewer mail.....

By the way, the new STR kit arrived, and I will try to take some pictures here soon. It is gorgeous. But I feel I must respond to some viewer mail, and then get back to work on HOA stuff. The whole HOA thing is getting annoying. WAY too many meetings, which takes away my knitting time. We have so much work to do, being a new neighborhood.

Judy said...
I miss Yarns Forever too! However, since I am forced to work for a living, when Dianne stopped having evening hours and hired such an unfriendly person for the few Saturday hours the shop was open, she pretty much lost my business. Dianne WAS the shop, and when she wasn't there it just wasn't the same.

I did not originally get into the level of detail to address this, because it becomes the whole chicken or the egg argument. The local market was not buying enough to support the store. (Stores have huge overhead.) So she had to go on the road to do shows, which are potentially much more profitable (And heck, people are there to BUY. Just go to one yourself. It is fun.). Therefore, she had to hire employees to run the store in her absence. It is hard to find good employees, so she had to eventually cut back on her hours because she could not get enough GOOD staff. It also does not pay to keep a store open when very few customers come in during those hours. Therefore, people shop there less because she is not there or she is not open. So it is a vicious cycle, chicken or the egg. (Think, what would you do? And would the store have still been profitable? Good business practice dictates ending an unprofitable business and keeping the more profitable business.)

I personally think it is a little unfair to expect a store owner to always be there. They have lives too. Dianne often had to leave and close the store to run errands to take care of her family. She could not have run it alone for long. I have not seen Dianne in months, but that is as much my fault as it is hers. She is busy running her new business (For which I am happy and totally understand her time commitment there and don't expect her to drop that, so we email each other and read each other's blogs.), and I could not come to the store on Saturdays when she was there. It is on us to find out when she will be there, as much as it is on her to be there to see her customers.

Once upon a time I lived in NY, and the LYS owner was a real jerk, as were 80% of his employees. I shopped there anyway, even driving helter skelter to get to the store before it closed after work, because it was all I had. I supported that store even though the guy was a jerk, because it was a great store, with great yarns and great classes. It was my resource. Sure, I wish the guy was nicer, but I just gave it right back to them when they got witchy. :)

Don't take any of this response personally, I am just trying to put this out there so everyone can see each side of the argument. I also think it benefits the larger audience out there in knitblogland. It is my nature. I should have been a judge...or a psychologist.

Anonymous said...
"What are the three obstacles to work?Indecision, Indifference, and Fear."Interesting concept, and something I'll have to keep in mind. Because, of course, the next question (assuming the thing is a good thing to do) is what can be done to overcome the indecision, indifference, or fear. And that's where the rubber meets the road. OK, enough philosophy for now.

That is exactly the next question, grasshopper. You cannot stop at just the answer to the first question. The first step is to put a name to what is stopping you. The next step is to confront it. Say, "Okay, now that I know I am afraid, why am I afraid? What can I do to get past my fear?" Or indecision or indifference.

There is hope for all of us yet. :)

wrchili said...
I love the quote you used. I often let indecision and fear dictate far too much in my life as well, and I hate it. It's something I'm struggling with as well, because I'm afraid I'm going to wake up one day and wonder what happened to my life.

Amen. Don't live with regret. How about starting with just one tiny thing you are procrastinating on? Is there some class or some activity you want to start? Just sign up and do it. I promise you, you don't have to be perfect. Just try it. You might love it. And if you hate it, so what? Deciding that you do not like something or discovering that you are not good at it is not failure; failure is never having tried at all.

(An aside: You know, I think we women question ourselves even more than men. At least we seem to hold ourselves back more? Well, I know many men who question themselves in this way too, they just don't talk about it very much. And if they do, they talk about it with a woman like me...a nonjudgmental guy's gal. Anyway, it seems as though we hold ourselves back more. Maybe take a lesson from the guys, just go and do it?)

Again, this is the same advice I gave to my 30-year old friend going back to start med school. And I am going to be taking it myself today. :) Now, time to go make some phone calls along those lines. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Quiet time....

I just love Crazy Aunt Purl. So when I read her recent post (her June 15th one to be exact) about quiet time, I couldn't agree more. (However, I LOVE email and loathe speaking on the telephone. I have never liked speaking on the phone. I guess because it is such a pain to be so actively disrupted from your quiet time by a ringing phone. Phones feel impersonal. I would rather talk face to face.) For I have been thinking on and off for months about how nice it is to turn off the TV and to just spend time thinking creatively. I have been doing alot of that this last week, hence I have fewer blog posts lately.

I have been doing some physical housecleaning. Filing bills and getting more organized. And it feels great!
I have been working on some ideas for part-time businesses that I could start. It is hard though. Because, as I have posted before, you get afraid to take that leap to try in case your choice is a mistake. It is ironic; because I am kind of like a "life coach" for my friends. Only I don't charge them money like those cheesy hacks (Y'all should watch the Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode on life coaches). I am the one that they call for initial and ongoing encouragement to take the leap and follow their dreams. I need to take my own advice! It is also scary because I don't want my "professional life" to be viewed as being derailed too much by my various career adventures. Cause some of y'all know that I have been thinking about getting a PhD as well for awhile. Some people are such purists, if you don't remain dedicated to one profession, they think something is wrong with you. But I believe that everything we do has great lessons learned to apply in any job. One of these part-time businesses could actually help me fund my way through a PhD if I was successful. The other would be more for the love of it. :) And what better reason to do a job?

I should take inspiration from my friend, Mary, and my own life thus far. We both are constantly learning new things, and I think it makes us better people for it. My friend Dianne who just takes the plunge into business, herself. I think my new friend Isis is the same way. People never expect me to do the things that I do. "You were in the Army?!" "You used to be a cheerleader?!" "You study martial arts?!" "You knit?!" "You are studying interior design?!" "You know Russian?!" etc., etc., etc.. Why live your life with regret? Just pursue your interests.

Ah, forgive me for the venting. I try not to get into uncomfortable levels of TMI. But it also helps to throw it out there in writing. For years, I have forced myself to acknowledge my fears. Until last year. Now I am doing some of that emotional house cleaning that I have been putting off. (Working jobs with crazy insane hours have a way of shaking you up, but leaving you with little energy to tackle issues.) I have a quote (from a modern performing arts show on PBS that I watched about 17 years ago) that I still hold it close in my mind whenever I find myself stalling on something:

"What are the three obstacles to work?
Indecision, Indifference, and Fear."

So ask yourself, which is it? What is keeping you from doing something? From moving forward?

(People think I am starting to babble crazy talk when I say things like this. But I think it is powerful. As these three categories pretty much fit all of the reasons why I stall on something.)

So my friends, my problem here is both indecision and fear. Still trying to work through them. Maybe I will take the plunge soon.
And now back to the knitting content: Yay!

Yarns Forever is now officially closed. The local knitting community has lost a great asset. And it makes me sad because I don't think that everyone out there quite realizes it, or is even willing to acknowledge that. But what can you do when some of the local knitters do not support a local store? I am not going to get into the local knitting politics and debates over how much people claimed to have supported that store, but keep this in mind people....a handful of knitters cannot spend enough to even support one local store. We have families to feed and bills to pay. We need all of you out there supporting your LYSs. It is one thing if the LYS does not carry the one yarn you really want and can't order it for you, so order it yourself. But do try to look at the LYS for a substitute first. I consider myself a LYS tourist. I try to visit LYSs where ever I go. I get to help support local stores with my dollars, and I get to see what other yarns are out there. Not every store can carry every possible yarn choice out there. Try doing the same thing on your next vacation.

We all know that Dianne is on to greater things with her handdyed business. Shows are more profitable than bricks and mortar stores with less overhead and more buyers coming in over a small period of time, so we will see her at SAFF. I hope my local readers will go to SAFF, as it is a great opportunity to buy and support small businesses like Dianne's and Miss Babs. I can't wait to get to that show early and scoop up the prettiest hand dyes!

When one door closes, another opens. Goodwin's has moved to Campo Bello, SC, for those of you who do not know. I think it has the potential to be a great store, since there new house has great "bones" for knitting. (Truth be told, I have heard that it was a great store when it was in NC, but was always out of my way. So it is not a new store!) Outdoor fireplace, screened porch, many rooms full of yarn. It is a ways out of town, but I think it will be worth the trip. They also teach classes there, so for those of you who need them, hopefully they can replace our loss of classes that Yarns Forever provided. I am hopeful.

Goodwin's website is out of date, so I am going to post directions to their store that they provided to me:

The new location is 221 N. Main Street Campobello.
Easy to get to, just take 26 and get off at exit 5. Head towards Campobello, go about 3 miles,
turn left onto 176. Shop is about 3 blocks down on your right. Pull on in the driveway. Plenty of parking.

I was able to get the following yarns on my visit to Goodwin's:

Some of the owner's own handdyed sock yarn, North Woods Farm Fiber Co. There is no colorway mentioned. I think she said when that happens, it is just a one time colorway she is experimenting with. I am going to combine it with some old Cherry Tree Hill to do that Chevron Scarf, methinks.
And some new sock yarn I had never seen before. I had to buy it because it was a peachy orange and blue and white, like the Florida Gators. It is Leili from Liisu Yarns in the Fiesta colorway. I have never seen it before. It is 75% superwash and 25% mohair. It is really quite enchanting, and the picture does not do it justic as to how pretty it is.

And I received my Molly Bag replacement from Knit! Yay! I love it.
It is housing my current WIP. The Father/Daughter hat, I am making it for my dad with two strands of the alaskan alpaca yarn held together. OMG it knits up sooooo heavenly soft. I worry though that the hat will not be large enough to accomodate the ole melon head. :) I may have to frog. Also, I was weirdly uneven in my gage when I was last knitting it. Ugh. This is the first of the Xmas knitting to get started.

Honestly, I also felted a Felted Military Belt. But it is quite uneven. I have to laugh. I was knitting it on the wrong needle size while recovering from hives on my hands. I don't care, I will wear it anyway even if its quality resembles those childhood pottery art projects we all made for our moms. If I get to finishing it with the buckle and all, I will post a pic later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I have the bestest....

SP10 pal EVAAAAAARRRRRR! (Yes, to show my happiness I will risk sounding like a 'tweener.)

I was a little worried when my SP10 pal posted on my blog that she had sent me a package at the beginning of June. Because I have been so sick, I have not been to the old PO Box in two weeks. I was worried that they may have >gasp<>

But no, it was there waiting for me. Of course, I got into my car and opened it right away. (Those box cutters I keep in there to do my weekly recycling runs come in handy for surprise packages!) And here it is.....

Squeeeeeeee!!!! She ordered for me the Cookie A. sock pattern, Twisted Flower, that I wanted mostest mostest mostest. I know you could not have had a camera in my house...because I had just showed this pattern to my husband last week when I was home sick catching up on Knitty Gritty episodes. I was explaining to him how Cookie A. is the most amazing sock designer, and how I wanted to do this pattern. He thought I was a bit touched, being how complicated it is. :) But me being a bit touched goes without sayin'....But he is so sweet and a bit touched too with his faith in me that he thinks I will be able to do amazing designs someday too.

And the EXACT yarn that it calls for (Louet Gems, which I am looking forward to trying finally), and a set of uber cool lantern moon sox stix. I bet you didn't know that this was my favorite color of green when I was little? My favorite color was green, and I just loved loved loved emerald green. Now, I love all greens. But anyway, I felt like a little kiddie in a candy store. While I was driving, I would pet the yarn. Oooh. Of course, she also sent me two delicious truffles, which I have already eaten (and hence, no pic).

All I can say is, SP10 Pal, you are one cool chica. You must really be stalking my blog. :)

And yes, you are contributing to my knitting ADHD. I am really itching to break out the ball winder and swift (and I will probably break down later today). But I will always forgive you. I don't mind being spoiled so well.

P.S. My dad is from Massachusetts. And I love Boston and my favorite team is the BoSox. :) I used to watch their games with my grandfather. Definitely not just a post-championship bandwaggoner fan here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Long time, no blog...

I am so sorry you guys. Seriously, all this illness and traveling has worn me down. And now, all of the antihistamines I am on really make me tired all of the time. I wake up at 7 am, have two hours of energy and then feel like crashing everday. I will try to do a short catch up on some things today, but I think it is going to take awhile for me to catch y'all up.

I had a lovely time on a knitting getaway down at Isle of Palm, SC. Really, our only trips away from the beach were to go eat and to go to the lovely Knit yarn store in Charleston. The owner, Gay, and her staff are lovely people. Seriously. Gay takes time to sit down and talk to her customers, knit with you, help you, whatever. And so does her staff. One of the women in the shop actually made coffee and gave me some when she heard me whining about a headache and my needing to find a coffee shop while everyone shopped.

(Y'all, I honestly thought it was a caffeine headache. That is, a lack of caffeine headache. I am famous for getting these because my cardiovascular system is 98% liquid caffeine. And you other consulting engineers out there know what I am talking about needing to drink copious amounts of caffeinated liquids. But it turns out the headache was really due to the pressure dropping since Tropical Storm Barry was deciding to visit us. Which is now a new type of headache I am becoming famous for, as do many other people in the Greenville area. There is something about this geography that gives one hurricane headaches. But we didn't know that Barry was coming to see us at the time, because honestly, WHO watches the TV when you are at the beach. If you do, your beach priveleges should be revoked!)

My mom and I have an ongoing joke about taking pictures of our toes in different oceans around the world. You can't go to the beach without at LEAST sticking your toes in the water and sand. :)

Anyway, Knit has a great selection of books (so many books!), needles, and yarns! I *finally* picked up some Schaeffer Anne Sock Yarn that seemed worthy enough to be purchased. (When I saw it at Stitches East, it was not as impressive as some of the others I needed to allocate my limited funds to.) I also picked up some addi turbo needles (I can't find sizes 4 and 5 circs in this town to save my life so I must travel to find needles.), and a Lantern Moon Molly bag in red silk. But I can't show a pic of the Molly bag...the piping started fraying on the first day I used it. So it is in a box so it can be returned for a new one.

We had such a fun time at her store. Sitting with local knitters and talking about all things knitting. You can't beat that, ever....And a word of advice: if you ever go on a knitting retreat, make sure someone packs a ball winder and swift (as I did).

The night I got back from the beach, I tried on some aikido uniforms that I had ordered. About 4 hours later, I broke out in a serious case of hives...I won't go into why I had to order polyester/cotton blend uniforms as opposed to the usual 100% cotton ones...but lets just say I suspect the blend and chemicals used on it as the culprit. I am also going to spare everyone the gory details about the progression of my hives. I went to my dermatologist the next day, and they swear it was all the seafood that I ate. But after speaking to a family member who worked in allergy medicine, and other friends, we are more sure it was the uniforms. But I am going to plan a trip to an allergist sometime soon, because my allergies may be getting ridiculous. I think I AM turning into my mother. I am getting more sensitive to things, and that is no fun kids.

So, the irony is like a freakin' hammer. I had to cancel going to my aikido camp because I broke out in hives from trying on aikido uniforms that I had ordered for camp. Not only that, my hands hurt so much that I could not knit for 3 days. And even after that my hands would itch whenever I used them. Ugh. I guess I needed the rest anyway.

I think the final thing today is that I have signed up for Stitches East classes a few weeks ago. I am going to be taking alot of design classes, as that is where my area of interest is in right now. I need to push myself to learn more, as I always have ideas but need to get off my butt in putting them to paper more. Anyone else going to Stitches East this year?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Queen of the Weird...

I am so sorry I have not posted in awhile. I hope you all will understand. First, I had the hand infection. Then, I was able to go down to Charleston and stay in a friend's condo for a knitting weekend. Then, when I came back on Sunday night, I broke out with hives. A really bad and persistent case of hives. It is very painful to even use my hands, since I have welts on the pads and sides of my fingers. So no knitting, nothing. Not even housecleaning. I am basically stuck just watching TV, and it is driving me nuts. We are not sure what started it...whether it was eating shellfish or something from the mail order karate uniforms that I tried on. Anyway, it just plain sucks. Because of this, I am not able to keep up with my PT and probably won't be able to go to my aikido summer camp this weekend. Oh well.

Anyway, I promise I did start on a new lace tank top, and I will post a picture of the beach soon. We did survive TS Barry. It was kind of fun.