Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a morning person. I've tried, really I have. I've been told that you can get used to getting up early if you do it long enough, but I figure at this stage of life, it ain't gonna happen. I mean, there were twelve years of getting up early for school, then a couple of years of getting up early for a job, then a brief moment (about 15 months) after marriage when I could indulge my sluggy self and sleep as late as I wanted, followed by infant/toddler/preschooler times two (which meant not sleeping a whole night through PLUS early mornings for a few years), then getting up early to get them off to school, then seven years driving a school bus. Trust me--if becoming a morning person depended only on getting up early long enough, I'd beat even the early bird to the worm. But the truth is that the last day of getting up at 5:30 to drive the bus was every bit as horrible as the first day. After I left that job, I scored a job with extremely flexible hours and immediately slumped back into slug mode.
But recently, I've been getting up early (for me, anyway) for the temp job with the Census Bureau. And, ya know, it wasn't that bad. Sure, that hideous noise of the cell phone alarm going off in my ear was totally obnoxious, but I changed the sound to a "perkier" one that doesn't make me want to hurl the phone against the wall (fortunately, my fast-twitch muscles take even longer to wake up than the rest of me. If I even have fast-twitch muscles, that is.) If I got up right away instead of mashing the snooze button, I discovered that I was relatively alert and not totally dying. I can't imagine why things would have changed. Maybe it has something to do with getting older, or maybe it's just that 7:30 feels almost like midday after seven years of 5:30 wake-ups. Whatever, I decided that I would try getting up at 7:30 every day, at least for this week, and see how it went.
Well. It's now about 3:30. I have done the dishes, washed sheets, blocked the Swallowtail Shawl that I finished last night (yes! A finish! Actually one of two!!), planted marigolds, beans, watermelons, and rosemary, potted up the basil and oregano, washed and blocked a sweater front, done some Bible study, combed some of the Border Leicester fleece I bought a couple of months ago, and made yogurt. Oh, yeah, and I've knitted a little too.
This is astounding. Of course, I'm very tired right now and will probably need to take a little nappy-poo shortly, but I'm feeling mighty virtuous at the moment. Think of all the projects I may be able to get done! I do hope this lasts.
Yeah, two months since the last post. You might think that I've been insanely busy and that's why I haven't posted, but it's not really true. I have been working a temp job with the Census Bureau, but even though the part-time hours do make me tired (stoopid fibromyalgia) that's not my excuse for not writing. I actually have none--it's been laziness and nothing more.
I have been knitting and quilting, though! I am winding up a Big Stinkin' Project, so I'm tickled pink about that. I put the binding on a quilt yesterday and started stitching it down by hand, so a couple more hours and it will be DONE! Now guess how long it's been a WIP. Go on, take a guess...dum dee dum dee dum...ready? I started this quilt in 1994. Yeah. That's pretty bad, huh? Wanna know something worse? It's not my oldest WIP.
But I have (sort of) redeemed myself with the sweater that I'm finishing. It's a Central Park Hoodie (yeah, I'm a lemming. Shut up.) There are almost 3500 of these sweaters listed on the project pages of Ravelry. Who knows how many more are being made by knitters like myself who are too lazy busy to post pictures.
Some people refuse to knit something that's being made or has been made by everybody and her sister, but there's usually a reason why a pattern becomes insanely popular. Now that I've made one (ok, almost made one) I see the appeal. It's cute. It's easy. It fits well. It doesn't take an insane amount of yarn, and you can easily change it up by leaving the hood off and knitting a collar instead. It's easy. It went fast. Did I mention that it's easy? If I should decide that I want to make one for somebody, like for an anniversary gift or something, it won't take forever. Not that I'm thinking about anniversary gifts or anything. Just sayin'.
Anyway, all that's left is the side seams and crocheting button loops. I might even leave the button loops off, but I'll decide that when I get the sides sewn up.
So check back in a few days. I may actually have finished project pictures!! Astounding!
Ok, this is only one reason, but it's a really good one. Last week I started a shawl with a skein of Socks That Rock mill ends that I bought at Ball and Skein, a shop in Germantown OH that I finally visited recently. (Lots of gorgeous yarns and very cool people hang out there!) The shawl pattern is "198 Yards of Heaven" and although it calls for worsted weight, it's a pattern that works in just about any weight. And you can just keep knitting until it's the size you like, which is what I did. Unfortunately, though, it soon became clear that I would need more of the same yarn. What to do, what to do?? Ravelry to the rescue! I hopped on, pulled up the yarn page, typed "STR" in the search box, and voila! Thousands and thousands of skeins of STR in stashes everywhere. I narrowed the search to those for sale, and halfway through the fifth page, there was my yarn! I hadn't known the name of the colorway, but discovered that it's "Sugar Plum." One message to the seller, one message back, a quick side trip to Paypal, and my new yarn is making its way to me as I speak. Er, type.
And tonight, I pulled out another shawl to finish--one that only needed fringe cut and looped on. (Yes, it was a single evening's worth of work that I postponed for some strange reason. Remember the long-unfinished scarf that only required 7 rows to be done? Yeah, exactly like that.) A couple of episodes of "Mythbusters" later, and I was almost done. Only...I ran out of the Zen ribbon yarn I was using. And it's discontinued. What to do, what to do?
"The Hole" would be the Ravelympics. It took up most of my time the past couple of weeks, but I enjoyed it. My project was to spin the walnut-dyed fleece (that story here) and knit it into a sweater. I'll wait while you stop laughing...
As I was saying, spinning and knitting. Yep, big project, but I dove into it head-first. I ignored housework (oh, yeah, like that's something new!), got behind on both blogging and reading blogs, totally relied on The Husband for take-out food, and let the daily newspaper pile up.
Things started well. I started spinning on Saturday, Feb. 13, and cast on for the sweater on the following Monday. I alternated the spinning and knitting and got one sweater front, one sleeve, and most of the second sleeve done by midway through the second week of work. But then I ran into trouble, because my neck and shoulders seized up. I was in so much pain that I was nauseated, so off to the chiropractor and massage therapist I went. (I think that massage therapist must have be a former KGB agent or something. How can someone cause so much agony with just her pinky finger??)
So the project didn't get finished, but I'm still happy with the fact that I was able to focus on one project only for all of two weeks. That's awesome for me! (Another knitter asked me the other day if I am monogamous--I had to admit that I'm a total WIPslut. Actually, what she said was, "Are you monogamous, or do you have three or four projects going at the same time?" I think she was a bit puzzled by my semi-hysterical laughter. Three or four projects? Uh.....)
The bad news is that I'm still struggling with the neck/back/shoulder issue, and that even sitting here typing is making me hurt. So I'll wander off to get some breakfast and take more Aleve, and maybe get back with pictures in a day or two. If you're on Ravelry, you can find a few here.
Wow, I'm really on a tear here! Two more projects were finished, and I mean completely finished last week.
This first one is a cross-stitch piece I had started several years ago. I didn't have a lot to finish on it, but it's 40-count linen, so not the easiest thing to work on. I had to have the Ott-Lite close by and concentrate to see those teeny threads. I decided that, since I already have about a bazillion cross-stitch projects waiting to be framed, I would make this into a pincushion. I didn't have a pattern, so I just winged it and stitched it together by hand. You can't see the side seams, where there are a couple of tucks (getting around the corners was tricky), but it's cute and it was easier to put together by hand than wrestling with it under my sewing machine foot. It's about 4 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches. It will sit next to my stitching chair. I've needed a big pincushion for a while, so this was a satisfying finish.
I'm a little embarrassed to discuss this next piece. This is a scarf I started who-knows-when for an older lady who I consider one of the cooler friends I have. I don't get to see her that often, but she's such a joy to be around. This soft rose is the perfect color for her, and I'm so happy it's done. The really embarrassing thing is that I haven't touched it in ages, and when I got it out last week, determined to finish it, I found that I only needed to knit 7 rows and bind off. That's right, SEVEN ROWS! What possessed me to stop working on it when I was so close to the end? I'll never figure it out. Well, it's done and ready to be presented to her at last. The yarn is Kidsilk Haze and the pattern comes from the Vogue On-The-Go book, Scarves Two.
Another reason I'm feeling so virtuous is that I not only finished stitching and knitting these two projects, I actually finished them. I made the pincushion the same afternoon I put the last cross-stitch in the piece, and as soon as I bound off the scarf, I blocked it the same day. Can it be? Am I learning self-discipline? My normal finishing method is to finish the stitching or knitting and leap joyfully into a shiny new project. Not this time. Whaddya know. Things may be changing a bit at Chez Spingirl!
Wanna see something really cute? The picture on the left is my daughter holding my son the day after he was born. The picture on the right is her daughter holding his son. It's so cute I can't stand it, I really can't.
So, with all the cruddy weather we've had the past couple of weeks, I've been happy to stay in and keep working on my billionsmillionshundreds dozens of projects. I have been working on a couple of quilts lately, along with the knitting, but I won't have a finished project to show off for a few more weeks. I have finished two knitting projects, though!
The first is a lace cowl that I got from this blog. Thanks, Wen! It's a nice pattern, and the cowl turned out great.
This is the Coloring Book Shawl that I made from five shades of Plain & Fancy yarn I bought at SAFF. That was one of the most gorgeous booths there, and it took a while to narrow down the choices. Unfortunately, P&F doesn't have a website yet but if you go here and scroll down to "Henderson" you'll find their information. You could probably email them to find out what shows they'll be going to this year. Their yarn is kettle-dyed on the most gorgeous smooshy singles yarn. I want one skein of every color!
The shawl pattern shows seven different lace panels, instead of the five I used, and I put my own lace pattern in the top (pink) panel instead of doing plain stockinette that the pattern specified. It turned out pretty large (which is why I could only fit half of it in the picture) but I think the yarn was a little heavier than what the pattern called for. At any rate, it turned out beautifully.
So I've added those two projects to the "52 Projects" list at the bottom of the page. Yeah, I'm still waaaay behind on that schedule. I'll have to tell you about the new group I joined for 2010 in the next post. I'm a little embarrassed, but what the heck.
Oops, how'd this picture get in here?
Isn't he just too cute? I haven't seen him in two weeks! He'll have changed so much by now. BTW, his official name is no longer Baby X, it's Little Dude (his daddy's name for him.) It's perfect.
Yesterday was a terrifically exciting day for us. Baby X decided to join us on his due date, and not make his poor parents nervous wrecks for another week or two. There was some concern at first that Mommy X was not in active labor, and talk of sending her home from the hospital. She proved them wrong and after a few hours of labor and about 15 minutes of pushing, out popped our Baby X. (Ok, I don't know if "popped" would be the proper word, but it was pretty quick because he made his appearance well before the doctor arrived.) Everyone is healthy and happy, though Mommy X was understandably a bit tired.
I had the little video camera, so I recorded his first "bath" and got some frame captures. They're not the best pics, but I'm sure I can get some from the other accomplished photographers that were snapping away. Honestly, it was like the paparazzi at the Oscars!
Seven pounds, three ounces. Twenty inches long.
Oooh, he's just too adorable! I can't wait to get my hands on him again!