Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day! I'm saved!

Yes, yes--I had the best idea today! It's another arbitrary rule for which project to work on at any given time. Ok, so last post I wrote about how to make myself work on the big projects, like quilts and needlepoint and such. I made up a rule, but really wasn't happy with it. Well today, being baseball's Opening Day and such (in March...weird) I realized that I had my perfect arbitrary rule! I'll work on the big projects while listening to the games on the radio. Isn't that just a swell idea? I'm toying around with an arbitrary sub-rule, something like working on the needlepoint during the home games, and the quilt during the away games. This will work for me.

Now I just need to find out what I have to do to get the games over the Internet. If I have to listen to that reeeaaaaalllly obnoxious guy who does the commercials for the casino ONE more time, I may throw myself on an Addi Turbo. It was bad enough when he did the Kroger's commercials, but these are even worse. I've resorted to turning the radio off during commercials to escape it. And every commercial gets played at least twice per inning, so by the end of the game I'm fondling the Addis with a wild look in my eye.

I like this rule. By the time the season ends (November, December? My team hasn't made it to post-season for so long that I can't keep track) I'll have come up with another rule. Or maybe I'll have gotten so much done that I won't have to make up rules. Naw, that ain't gonna happen. I just looked behind me. This room is scary at night. Who knows what's lurking behind the boxes. I'll do pictures soon, so you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Brace yourselves.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another finish

Finally, I'm done with the Petite Exemplary series from Ewe & Eye & Friends. I can't remember when I did the first one, but the last three were all finished this month. That's because they're small, and I'm trying to keep going on this finishing surge. I'm a little worried though, because I'm getting the small things done, which leaves the giant projects like the quilt and the needlepoint still sitting there staring at me. Maybe it's time to make up a new rule (totally arbitrary and easily ignored, just like all my other rules!) Like, when I finish a small project, I have to work on a big one for at least two days. I'll try that.

This makes me feel totally neurotic. I mean, does anyone else have to go to all this trouble to get themselves to finish something? I guess I might as well not worry about how neurotic I seem. I'm getting things done, and I'm exercising LOTS of self-control and not buying any new stash. That's enough to justify this whole experience.

I might run into trouble in a few weeks. I see on the Yarn Harlot's website that she will be in Indianapolis on April 29th to promote her new book. Indy is only an hour and a half away, and it's also home to one of the biggest and best yarn shops around, or so I'm told. I was in Indy last June, and I totally missed it, even though we were staying only about three blocks away from it. Anyway, I've already told the viper (I really need to come up with a better name for her) that we're going, but it won't be much fun if I'm still not buying. But then again, just because you visit the Louvre doesn't mean you have to buy a million-dollar painting, right? I can just go tour the yarn shop and take photos or something: "Here I am next to the Alpaca Silk. And here I am looking at the Kidsilk Haze shelf, and here's one of me holding Cascade sock yarn." I know people who would like those photos!

Ok, five projects down and five to go until I can start the Panda Silk socks! Yay!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Time crawls...

...when you're sewing knitted pieces together. At least I've learned how to do it, and I have both shoulders, one sleeve, and one entire side seam done. Turns out that the collar doesn't have to be done until the rest of it is sewn together, which is good, because it's not done! Actually, I can't imagine why this pattern was written the way it was, but the Knitting Police won't come and get me if I adapt it. Besides, the teacher said I could, so nyah, nyah, nyah!

I quite enjoyed the class. We talked sock yarn, grandkids, and knitted turtles (TOO funny!) The shop is a lovely, welcoming place, and all the employees are super-friendly. It's the place where everybody knows your name. I'm sure I'll be spending a lot more time there, what with the sock clubs and ladies' days, but that's dangerous. Not because of the people, but OMIGOSH THE YARN THEY STOCK!! Wendy, who taught the class, suggested that I turn over my wallet to the enablers (oops, I mean employees) as soon as I walk in the door. I have a feeling that won't help.

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to get out of there without buying a thing! Yes, even though they had some terrific new sock yarns, and some Lorna's Laces sport weight in a yummy buttery yellow that would make beautiful socks (and was 35% off!!) I stiffened my spine and walked away. Boy, does my back hurt now... I had to keep telling myself, "They'll keep making sock yarn; it won't be all used up by the time you are allowed to buy more."

I could go to The Chair and do some more sewing, but I've had about enough of that for one day. I'm torn between putting on the ipod and listening to "Emma" while I cross-stitch, or pouring a glass of wine, making some popcorn, and diving into Sharon Kay Penman's "The Sunne in Splendour". Hmmm, Jane Austen or Richard III? It's a tough decision.

Friday, March 28, 2008


...because it turns out that the baby sweater/coat that I'm taking to the finishing class tomorrow is not ready after all. I got it out earlier this week and realized that I hadn't done the collar yet. long could a collar take on a baby garment anyway? Except that this particular collar has increases and short rows and all kinds of annoying stuff. That means I have to be paying close attention, and I've been a wee bit tired this week (swamped at work, whole 'nother subject.) So I've gotta get down there in The Chair and get busy! I'm looking forward to this class, because I can't sew a seam decently, and I've boogered up too many things in the past. I've tried to follow photos and drawings, but my knitting never looks like the picture. I can't quite find the strand or the bump that I'm supposed to be stitching into, so I get frustrated and finally just start sewing, and the whole thing ends up looking like something most people would have done back in second grade. No more! After tomorrow, I'll be a finisher extraordinaire! I hope. And who knows...maybe, just maybe, I'll have another finished project by this time tomorrow! And maybe it will still fit The Baby, who is growing like the proverbial weed. And it's still cool enough for her to wear it for at least a week or two. Things are looking promising!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

At last--the famous "project chair" photo:

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Yes, it is pretty much as bad as it looks. I do have a couple of inches to squeeze between the spinning wheel and the flat basket to get to the chair. If I'm not spinning, I move the wheel and pull up a footstool to get more comfy. I have to admit that after this photo was taken, I did organize a little better so I'd only have one or two projects lying out on the chair or table at any one time.

Since I'm on a roll with publishing photos, here's a picture of the viper in the nest:

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She looks so sweet and innocent, doesn't she? Huh. She's constantly sending me links to lace shawl patterns, or yarn sales, or she's flat-out trying to entice me into the LYS. Check out her comment on the last post for an example of her treacherous ways. You would think that a loving daughter would help her mother in her time of distress, but nooooooo. Hey, waaiiit a I get it! She's trying to get me to buy MORE so it will all go to her when I die! How could I not have figured out this nefarious plot before now? Heh, heh. I'll outfox her. From now on I only buy.....


Monday, March 24, 2008

Wanted: Time to relax!

Haven't gotten much done the past few days, though I did finish a scarf (now in the Finished Project list!) It was like that song, "This is the scarf that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends..." I made it narrow, so I wanted it longer so it could be wrapped a couple of times. The pattern is the Mindless Scarf shown at the bottom of this page, so it was super-simple, just never-ending.

But now that's project #4 done, so I'll keep chugging along. I've just been super-busy and am totally exhausted. I'm going to try to go to work early tomorrow so I can take Wednesday off for some knitting time. I have a wonderful job with flexible hours. As long as the work gets done, I can come and go pretty much as I please. I'll put my nose to the grindstone tomorrow, then Wednesday I might get something else finished!

I installed a closet organizer this weekend (with a LOT of help from my husband) and now I can hardly lift my arms. The closet looks great though! Life is good when my closets are organized. Now for the rest of the house...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Road to Perdition... paved with this:

I know, I know. I now have absolutely no credibility. But I stood in that shop (and the only reason I was there in the first place is because the viper wanted to go--now you know why I call her the viper in the nest!) and I set eyes on this yarn, and I had no shame. I had to buy it, because it's NORO SOCK YARN!! Do you KNOW how stinkin' hard this is to get around here?? I knew I would have to confess on this blog, and I didn't care because I knew that you would have done the same thing. Maybe not for Noro sock yarn, but for whatever your weakness is. At least that's what I tell myself. Please don't disabuse me of the notion that all other knitters are as easily led astray.

So...this is project #30 in the pile beside the chair. At least it's a nice round number now. And I won't, I really won't buy any more yarn for new projects. This will be the next goal yarn (after the Last Purchase yarn, which is no longer the Last Purchase now, is it? I'm darned if I'm going to go back and correct that in previous posts!) I'll allow myself to knit these socks when I've finished 25 projects. Talk about justification...

And, hey--I finished another project last night: #13, Petite Exemplary #1. So it's 3 projects down, and only 27 to go, at least in this pile. THEN we tackle the projects hiding upstairs, and that's not for the faint of heart!

Must stay out of yarn shops....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


So I finished two projects in one evening, which goes to show that I could get soooo many more things done if I would stick to something! BUT...I found two projects that I overlooked when I did my inventory (March 15 "Beside the Chair" post.) Lurking UNDER the chair was yet another scarf, so this will be project #28. It's made of silk that I spun from a "hankie" in blues and--guess what--PURPLE!! It's another project that's about 1/3 of the way finished. Now we know what kind of attention span I have!

The other one that I found, now project #29, is a spool of pastel roving that I have spun into a singles, and need to Navajo-ply and finish as a skein. That would take about 10 minutes to get done, if I would just set the wheel up and do it. After that, I don't know. Does it remain Project #29 until I knit it, or can I tuck it away to be re-discovered and re-named later? No, the logical thing is to keep it #29, because I already know it's destined to be a hoodie for the one-year-old granddaughter. So it's not as close to being finished as I had hoped. That also puts it high on the priority list because I need to finish it sometime before she graduates from high school.

As I wrote before, this has been good for me. I can see what needs to be done, and can concentrate on one thing at a time. But what has happened because of my lack of self-control is that I feel like I'm now working on things just to get them done and out of the way, not because I enjoy it. I hate that. I want to be knitting or stitching for the joy of it, as well as the prospect of the finished item. I DO enjoy it, but there's still this little voice in the back of my mind saying, "Oh, yeah, this is great, but you've still got the needlepoint rug, and the black quilt, and the cross-stitch afghan, and the baby quilt, and the Dale sweater, and the two and a half pounds of merino to spin and knit into a gansey...." and on and on. I suppose that's my punishment for being greedy and continuing to buy and start projects when I knew I already have more than enough to last my lifetime! What's that called? Oh, yeah--SABLE--Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. I never expected the very things that I love so much to become a burden.

But that's what this blog is for. It's to help keep me focused and to remind me that I love being creative, and I love making things for other people to enjoy. But the true satisfaction comes not just from the doing, it's also from the finishing. The projects and stash that I have waiting aren't going anywhere, so I'm going to make a real effort to put them out of my mind. If they aren't in this pile by the chair, I'm not thinking about them right now!! And if the viper (March 16th post)would stop emailing me about how Yarn Market has Panda Silk sock yarn in all kinds of gorgeous colors, it would be a lot easier! I think I'm going to have to block her emails. Alas, she lives here, so that's no deterrent. Time to go find some alpaca to feed her and keep her quiet.

Which reminds me--I stopped by to talk to MEYSO (March 15th post) and she has a bunch of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk marked down to $5 a ball. I very nearly broke my resolve. But I thought of my readers, gritted my teeth, put it back in the basket and WALKED AWAY. Right into the lady showing everyone her stupendous "Lilies of the Valley" lace shawl made from a merino/silk blend that I could hop online and order right now....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Beginning of the end

Hey, I finished TWO projects yesterday! So even though nobody's commented yet, except the viper in the nest (which wasn't AT ALL helpful) just getting this blog out there and getting the projects (at least the ones I can see) counted and listed has given me a push.

Now, these were small projects, partially done. But what the heck--they were in the UFO pile and now they're not! First done was #26--a novelty yarn scarf. The viper says it's not long enough, but it used up all the eyelash yarn I had in that color, so I say it's done. It's a fashion scarf after all, so it doesn't need to be as long as one you'd wrap a few times for warmth.

Second to be finished was #12, one of the Petite Exemplary cross-stitch pieces. I want to get the other two done soon, because then I can frame all four in the set to hang in the bedroom I plan to paint this spring. I had finished the first one in the series a while back, so it will be nice to finally get them all done. I hate to think of the cost of the framing, but since I'm not buying any new fiber stuff, I should have a little extra money that I could set aside each week for framing. That's one of the drawbacks of cross-stitch, isn't it? I love it, but the cost of framing is scary! And it's hard to find a framer who really knows how to mount needlework.

I mentioned in my first post that I need a goal. I'm going to start small and say that when I finish 10 projects I can knit the Last Purchase socks. It would be cool to save that yarn until the UFOs are ALL done, but I'm not completely delusional. I have quilts in the project pile that have been there for 20 years. I don't expect to finish everything this year, and I WANT THOSE SOCKS!!

Off to start a new list. This will be my favorite: Finished Projects! YAY!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beside the chair...

Ok, no photos yet, but I'll start with a list of the projects piled around my chair in the living room. This will be kind of like an archaeological dig, because the newest stuff is on top. I don't know what's on the bottom. Ooooh, this could be exciting!
1. The Last Purchase yellow variegated Panda Silk sock yarn. Not started.
2. Two skeins of Katia Mississippi 3 for socks. Lovely lavender shade. Not started. Done!
3. Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted for socks. Even more lovely pinkish-purple color, with the hand-dyed shading in the skein. Yummm. Not started. Done!
4. Chris Bylsma Crayon Box Jacket. This was started with Poems and Sonnet, from Wisdom Yarns. They're both variegated, with shades running from deep rose through pinkish-purple, to dark lavender (do we see a common theme forming?) The original pattern calls for all sorts of novelty and accent yarns, but I wanted mine to be more sedate. And pinkish-purple. Part of the front done.
5. Plymouth Yarn Lacey Shrug pattern, started with Encore Colors. Variegated shades of gray and, um, pinkish-purple. (This is a little embarrassing.) About halfway done. Done!
6. Novelty yarn for a scarf. One skein of Crystal Palace Fling, and one skein of Trendsetter Antico. The main colors are pale yellow, pink, and...never mind. Not started.
7. Yarn and pattern by Debby Ware: Baby Beret in pink, cream, yellow, and green. Not started.
8. Pale blue variegated Panda Wool socks. First sock is done, and second is well along. Done!
9. A gorgeous lace scarf in Rowan Kidsilk Haze in a deep, glowing rose. This is intended as a gift. (Though the last time I knitted a scarf for someone, she died two weeks later. Maybe that's why I haven't finished this one, because it really is lovely and the yarn is a joy to work with, but I also really love the friend for whom it's intended. I don't want to be the Scarf-Giving Harbinger of Death.) It's about 1/3 done Done!
10. One skein of Phildar Phil Luxe that I think I was going to use for baby socks. Soft, buttery yellows. Not started.
11. A box of applique quilt pieces that I'm basting to freezer paper so I can sew them to the background. The pattern is "Laurel Leaves" and there are about a billion leaves to do. Started, and a looooooonnnnnng way from being done.
12-14.Three of the set of four "Petite Exemplary" cross-stitch designs by Ewe & Eye & Friends. Luckily, these are less than two inches square. One is almost done, two aren't started. Done!
15. "Forever Hearts" cross-stitch design by Ewe & Eye & Friends. About 1/3 done. Done!

 16. A knitted baby skirt made with Cascade 220 and Fling novelty yarn. Deep pink. (Did I mention that we have a grandbaby living with us?) About 1/2 done.
17-19. Three skeins of Trekking XXL sock yarn: one in deep pumpkin, one in a brighter orange, and one in a sort of burgundy/raspberry. All are variegated. None started.
20.Yarn for another novelty scarf: Fling in deep teal, and Safari in variegated teals. Not started. Done!
21 & 22. Two skeins of Tofutsies yarn for socks: one rose/pink/beige variegated and one purple variegated. (You knew there had to be more purple in the pile, didn't you?) Not started. Done!
23. Pink Sheep in the Shop wool scarf. Halfway done. Done!
24. Elizabeth Bradley Needlepoint kit. This is the "Waterlilies" pattern from the "Forget-Me-Nots" series. There are four squares in the series, and you can put them together with the border kits to make a rug. About 2 1/2 inches done on a 16-inch square.

25. Almost-finished (yay!) baby coat from a Debbie Bliss pattern. It's RED, hahaha!! And it's all knitted. I WILL finish it two weeks from today because I'm taking it as my project for a class on finishing knitted clothing. So it's really done. Sort of. Done!
26. Last but not least, another novelty yarn scarf out of Fling and Flutter in light teal. About 1/3 done. Done!
 27. No, wait! I forgot! (How could I? It's sitting right in front of me!) I'm plying two mill-spun singles of merino to make a uber-fine shawl yarn. Plans are to play around with dying some of the skeins and selling them. I have plenty: four cones at around 10,000 yards each of the mill-spun. I'm not even thinking about how far from done this project is.
Whew. And that's just downstairs within reach. It's interesting to see the stopping point on these--most are 1/2 to 1/3 done. So I think I'll try to finish some things, starting with the half-finished, then moving on to the 1/3 done projects. It helps to list all of this because I can see exactly what needs done, instead of just a huge pile. But what about the long-term projects, like the needlepoint and the quilt? And those aren't the only ones I've got going. More on how to deal with them later.
If you've read the first comment on the first post, you'll see that there is a viper in the nest. The aforementioned returning chick is a knitter. And an enabler. Maybe if I toss her some alpaca now and then it will shut her up.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Last Purchase (sort of...)

Today it hit me--I have to stop buying project stuff and start finishing things.

I guess the epiphany came when I fell over the boxes blocking the teeny path to my computer desk, which is now located in the former weaving room. See, I lost one of my weaving/knitting/spinning/sewing/craft/computer rooms to a child returning to the nest, so now there is two rooms' worth of STUFF crammed into one room. And the only way to get it cleaned and organized is to start finishing things. And the only way to start finishing things is to STOP BUYING STUFF AND STARTING NEW PROJECTS!!

So today I bought the last two skeins of that yummy yellow Panda Silk sock yarn that I've been craving for the past week. It's kind of a..shall we say...farewell present from my reasonable self to my out-of-control-fiber-buying-project-starting-but-never-finishing self. And I warned Marcia, the Evil Yarn Shop Owner (hearafter known as MEYSO) that I would not be buying anything else until....well, I don't know when.

Of course, I might have to buy items to finish certain projects, like batting or thread to finish a quilt. Or knitting needles to replace broken or lost needles (though I plan to be verrrry careful with my luscious Knit Picks Options needles. More on them in another post.) And I'm not counting magazines as purchases, though new books will be banned. But I may have to reconsider the magazines. I mean, why buy more patterns and inspiration when you're already drowning in piles of them? So the buying moratorium is not carved in stone, except for anything used to start a new project, like more sock yarn. I expect readers to help me stay on the straight and narrow. I'll confess when I'm getting the itch, and you-all can talk me out of it, okay?

I also plan to sell some STUFF, once I figure out how to do it from a blog (total computer idiot here.) So keep your eyes open. Heck, if there's something you need, ask me. I probably have it and might be willing to part with it for a little cash!

That's the other reason for the spending freeze. I splurged (several times!) over the last few months, so I've got to work really hard on paying off the credit card. It was fun to go bonkers at the fiber festival last September, but now I have to keep moving balances to new cards to avoid interest charges. It's a pain in the neck, and lousy for the credit record.

There you have it. Time to stop buying and start spinning, knitting, quilting, weaving, etc. I'll post pictures of the rubble soon, and I'll start a list of WIPs and UFOs (Works in Progress and Unfinished Objects.) I need to have some sort of goal, so feel free to make suggestions. And if you're in the same boat, we'll work together!