Summer. Blech.

•July 12, 2014 • 4 Comments

We are in the thick of summer here. Temperatures in the 90s almost every day. House-shaking thunderstorms roughly every other day. Desperately trying to finish up my summer classwork with somebody saying over my shoulder, “What do you want to do today?”

Oh yeah. I love summer.

There are some good things about summer. It’s a great time of year to bust out the microspindles and do something that doesn’t involve sitting at a wheel. In fact, it’s probably better for my back and neck this way. I bought a 2 oz bag of some lovely bison and cashmere blend just for my Bosworth, and I’ve been inching my way through that. It’s fun, very fine spinning and I don’t have to work very hard at it – a good summer project.

I also finally got going on some silk and bamboo that I sampled several months ago.

Not my best spinning, but it’s pretty fine; I’m wanting this to be laceweight. It’s 8 oz., and I’m hoping to make a Pi Camping shawl out of it when I’m done. But we’ll see.

And…I’ve been working on this year’s Steotchalong. Here’s the end of Day 6:

I am so incredibly happy that I had some off-white/bone colored linen lying around. White Aida would have been…painful. I’m guessing it’s Snoopy, but I have no idea what they’ll do with this for the next (last) section. Snoopy Doggy Dog?

Other than that, we’ve not been doing a lot. I have to keep up with my classes this summer, which means that I’m not able to do as much as I’d like with A. But we’ve managed. And by the time I’m finished, there’s going to be a whole week to do things in before she goes to school. And we’re having company that week…

You Don’t Need Hobby Lobby

•July 3, 2014 • Comments Off

Hobby Lobby, for those of you who have never seen one (and in certain parts of the US, they are scarce), is a large chain of crafting supplies. They are run by a couple who are evangelical Christians. Their religion has a bearing in every aspect of their business: they carry Christian homeschooling textbooks and other supplies, they have a Wall-o-Crosses, their stores are closed on Sundays and religious holidays. Thanks to the US Supreme Court, they also use their religion to determine what benefits they will offer their employees. Lots of people, on many different blogs, have written about the recent Supreme Court decision allowing private businesses to allow their religion to dictate what benefits their employees have available to them. Specifically benefits that relate to women’s reproductive health; birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods. At least five SCoTUS judges did. We won’t mention the name I have for them based on this decision alone. This isn’t about that.

This is to help out those of us who would like an alternative to shopping there. If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, you probably have one of these stores nearby as well:

  • Michaels Arts and Crafts. This is the “largest arts, crafts, hobby, framing and seasonal goods stores in North America”. It would be hard to have a Hobby Lobby without at least one Michaels nearby. Helpful hint: it’s a great place if you know exactly what you want and aren’t afraid to look around.
  • JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. They have fabric. Lots of fabric. But they have other things too. At least at the ones near us, they have everything from cake decorating supplies to 31 count linen and lots of other things in between. Again, it’s great if you know exactly what you want.
  • Buy Local. If you live in a medium sized town, there are some other alternatives. Yarn stores. Hell, in our area there’s at least one every 5 miles. Fabric stores. Quilting shops. Embroidery shops. Crafting stores and art supply stores. Look around you. It’s a good way of getting to know your area and meeting new people.*

I cannot speak for the Big Box Stores listed above. They may treat their employees similarly to HL or not. There is also the good old Internet; Etsy and ArtFire are two that immediately come to mind. I know there are others.

As with other stores similar to them, there are real people who will be hurt by a boycott. I do feel for them. I understand firsthand what it’s like to find out what your employer (or your spouse’s employer) really thinks of you. Make no mistake, that is a part of what this was about, even though it wasn’t stated outright.

Still Here, More or Less

•June 30, 2014 • 2 Comments

These days less, but yeah. Still kind of here.

This year, I’m in school. So there’s not a lot of time for fun. But some.

Our Big Kid is going into 7th grade this year. She’s been a little bummed about not doing very much due to Mama doing her own classwork. In other news, the ocean is a little deep.

But we have been doing some things. This, apparently, has been designated the Year We Work on the House to Keep it From Falling in on Us. We’ve painted the house. We’ve replaced roughly 3/4 of the trim boards on the chimney and outside the kitchen. We’ve even rebuilt the garage floor. W00t.

Big Kid has gone to a couple of movies. She’s read probably more YA fiction in the past month than, well, ever before. I have even discovered what’s more awkward than watching a movie with a sex scene with your parents. Trust me. Don’t make me spell this out for you, for the love of Bob.

I’m still working my way through the superwash blue-faced Leicester. Even gotten a little of the stash worked down. There was a bookmark for a swap,

a shawl for 6th grade continuation
(it’s the Mermaid’s Song shawlette from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits collection) out of some of the BFL,
and something else. Something that looks a lot like a big piece of stockinette with some beads on it, and will hopefully look a lot better once it’s bound off and blocked.

Also…some cross stitch.
WIP Wednesday Day 2 of the Steotchathon
This is for the 2014 Steotchalong. It’s only a picture of Day 2; everybody else is on Day 4 and I’m midway through Day 3. But it’s fun. In between catching up on Pseudopod stories and watching episodes of Sherlock, it’s really going pretty quickly.

Gift Knitting Without a Pattern

•January 21, 2014 • 1 Comment

I’ve been doing some knitting for a friend’s daughter’s birthday. Her birthday was almost a week ago, but this particular friend knows how things go when I’m making something and makes allowances. This project has been a little bit of a challenge.

First off, she loves Assassin’s Creed. She got a copy of AC3: Black Flag for Christmas this year. She also refuses to wear hats. Not even assassin’s hoods. So I grabbed a chart for the logo here – it’s by IAm 4Man and it’s lovely – and got to work on making somthing she might wear – a pair of mittens. I decided on putting the logo on the outside and another pattern on the palm. There’s a pattern in Folk Knitting in Estonia that looked like it would work.

One’s finished so far, but it’s not been blocked. So as soon as both mittens are finished and blocked, I’d be happy to share a picture before I send them off. The worst part is that the floats on the front are uneven – it looks like it’s quilted, but I think it’ll block okay.

Other things have been going okay. BatFit is going pretty well. I’ve given up on weighing myself more than once a month, and am much happier. I’ve been doing some form of exercise (either yoga, Wii Fit or DYAO) almost every day. I missed this past Sunday, but it was pretty busy here with the Broncos winning the conference championship and going to the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. I’ve also been meditating every morning but one since Jan. 1. I’m not sure that I’m noticing any differences in how I feel from that, but we’ll see what things look like next month.

Spinning At Last

•January 9, 2014 • 2 Comments

For the past few days, I’ve been getting into spinning again. It makes me happy, and I realize how much it’s been missing in my life for the past few weeks.

I’ve been working up to going back on the wheel. I mentioned that I bought some new fiber right after Christmas, and it finally got here. There’s a Merino/silk dyed blend that’s going to be A’s graduation shawl. And there’s this:

P1020882

The bag says it’s a bison/bamboo/Merino wool/cashmere blend. It feels like baby hair, and it spins up incredibly easily. Very little effort to get a nice, fine thread. Like this:
P1020885

Yep, that’s my Bosworth Mini. I could have probably used the Lollipop also, but this one was easier to get to. Even as a fine, fine yarn it’s still soft. Not sure how many yards 2oz will give me, but we’ll see. I might try using this as singles too, but it’s very fine so maybe testing this half a spindle full is a good idea. Two of the fibers are brand new to me – the bamboo and the cashmere. I’m glad now that I tried them in a blend with at least a little wool in there. I’ve heard that both the bamboo and cashmere are quite slippery on their own, but the blend really is easy to work with.

After I’ve gotten a spindle full of this down, I’ll give the wheel a try and make a couple of samples.

My, um, workout: BatFit days 3 and 4

•January 4, 2014 • Comments Off

There’s also some obligatory spinning and fiber-related things in this one.

Yesterday was Day 3 of BatFit 2014. It was all about workouts. Workouts and I have never been friends. If I get tired or sick – and thanks to lots of things, I’ve been getting tired a lot – I quit. For a while. I get bored easily, and quit too.

There are some activities that could be characterized as “exercise” that aren’t boring, though. Going on hikes. I’m lucky enough to live in an area with some pretty damn spectacular hiking within a 2 mile radius of the house. Hell, even taking A to school is a mile each way, and not a bad walk by footpath. I need to check with my former PT to see if bicycling would be a reasonable/sane thing for me to do with my neck situation. I love it, and I miss it desperately, but I don’t know if it’s realistic any longer. I’d also like some alone time w/A while she’s willing to be seen with either or both of her parents, and I think hiking at least once a week (not counting back and forth to school) might be a very good thing indeed. There’s also the “Dance Your Ass Off” option. Providing there aren’t any witnesses…

Yesterday, I got my Giftmas present to myself: 2 different packs of spinning fiber. One is 8 oz of a merino-silk blend that’s going to be a shawl for A’s 6th grade graduation. Sometime soon I’ll write about the “time-honored” tradition that is 6th grade graduation; suffice it to say we’re going to shop for a good dress and heels very soon. Dear Bob. The horror.

Anyway, the other is 2 oz of a Merino/cashmere/buffalo blend that was on special and I’ve been curious about. It’s kind of an oatmeal color. Definitely not what I expected, with the buffalo in the mix. I don’t know what I’d like to do with it. Depending on the resulting yarn, I might make at least one more Tit Bit for my mom.

Being Kind: BatFit Day 2

•January 2, 2014 • Comments Off

Today’s BatFit Kickoff Day is a difficult one. It’s an especially difficult one for most women, I think. Men too, I suppose, as it’s not something that’s encouraged in our society. It has to do with the concepts of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. For other people, certainly. That’s easy, at least for me and some other people in my RL. But towards ourselves?

Today’s question that the Curious Professor Z asks is:

I ask you, dear readers, how will you cultivate Compassion, Gratitude, Forgiveness and Generosity in your own lives, and most importantly, towards yourself?

I am (mostly) okay when it comes to extending compassion, generosity and understanding toward others. It’s something that I actively work on. But not for me.

My feelings about myself are becoming a problem. Mostly because they are bleeding into my daughter’s feelings about herself, and that needs to change. She’s a wonderful kid, in every way. Because she’s adopted, I was hoping that the way I am wouldn’t be relevant to the way she is (emotionally at least). But that’s not the case, apparently, and I’m hoping to change that. At least a little.

There are some people in my life that I’m working on forgiving. Forgiveness in their cases will probably mean turning my back and letting them out of my life. If I hold on to the anger I feel toward them, it’ll only hurt me. Plus – it’s an example for A.

Gratitude is a little easier, I think. Not something that comes without thought either, but counting my blessings and remembering what I have is something that seems easier, anyway.

Compassion and generosity is…at least for myself, a hell of a challenge. But I will try. I think taking some time out for meditation and doing at least that for myself may help. Might not, but we’ll see.

 
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