A KAL that I might be able to finish

This past weekend, I was looking for something to work on. Probably knitting, but hopefully spinning too. At least something to cut back on the yuuge stack of stash yarn all over the house.

Reddit’s knitting group began their latest KAL last week. Two things stuck out in my mind:

  1. The KAL goes through the end of October.
  2. It’s a lace (or beaded lace) shawl project, with what looked like an intriguing advanced pattern.

Then I took a closer look at the pattern itself. The pattern looks lovely, and a challenge which would be a nice…distraction. Unfortunately, I cannot personally support the designer. Which is not to say that you might not enjoy the pattern, or have a problem supporting a given designer in their career. If you ask me, I’ll tell you which one it is, but it’s readily available at the Reddit r/knitting group.

For their KALs they offer the option of the “otterlace” category. If you have a particular pattern in your Ravelry queue, and it fits the criteria, you can let the group know you’re working on that one. Which I did.

Remember the Bat Shawl? This one. The yarn was very fine, cobweb-lace sized fine, and it blocked out smaller than I expected. This time it’s going to be a little different.

I’m using handspun alpaca instead of the Filatura de Croza, and it’s slightly thicker. The needle size is 1 size up – I think I’m using a US5 instead of the 3 I used the first time. So far, I’m up to inserting markers for the second row of bats and it’s coming along nicely. I think I’m happier with this so far than the first one. Not that I’m unhappy so much with the first one – I learned a lot, it was my first full-sized shawl, and it’s held up. But this might be worn more.


The Snow is Over!!!!!

For the first time in over a week, we have no snow. No snow outside. I am so, so happy. Snow is nice, but it’s May dammit, and snow time is over. Time for summer. It would be spring, but spring usually doesn’t happen here for longer than two days. Anyway.

It’s the day before Star Wars Day. Please don’t make me say it out loud – we all know it by now. I’m going to try to talk everybody else into buying Star Wars:TFA this weekend. Money’s kind of hard to come by at the moment, but we’ll see. Maybe some amigurumi of Finn and Rey.

I’m still working on the Dalek shawl. I had to dye more yarn and it turned out…a little differently than the first skeins. Yes, my mantra is “I think I have enough to finish”. So the bottom of the Daleks and the edges of the shawl are noticeably darker than the rest of the shawl. Sadly, I have no more fucks to give. It’ll probably be okay; I just don’t want to take it apart one more damn time. I’ll take a picture when it’s done and run it by the Girl’s Gang before I decide to post it.

Also, I have an idea for a spindle case. It’s a really specific thing, that would probably only interest a few people besides me (if any). I found, a long time ago, a pattern online for a coffin purse. I’ve made one out of cardboard for myself and really like it a lot. There needs to be some modifications – not built out of a cardboard beer-can case, for openers, and with some dedicated space for roving that won’t wind up stuck firmly to the spindle end in transport. But it’s just an idea.

School is almost over for Baby Goth. We’re going to have a high school freshman (freshperson?) in the house in less than a month. Where the hell did all those days go? She is somewhat better with endings than she used to be, but I’m not looking forward to this. Several of her favorite teachers are leaving; three are going to different districts, one is teaching only at the high school, and one is retiring. The one who’s retiring is a favorite of all of us. We’re sad to see her go, but she deserves some time off. It’s been a thrill to have somebody working with kids who enjoys what she does and sparks that in her students. I only hope Baby Goth will be as lucky next year to have even one teacher like that.

Gratitude : The Professor’s Homework Assignment

So, I decided to do this month’s homework assignment at the last moment (just like every other assignment I’ve ever had – ah, memories). This time of year, American Thanksgiving, is a time of giving thanks for what we have. I have a lot more than some: a roof over my head, food on the table, and people that I love. This post is about some of that.

Today was an especially good day. I have been working toward a new career of sorts for the past couple of years: medical coding and billing. It’s been rough even getting an interview, even with passing a certification exam. This past week I had two interviews and a job offer. Right now – and for the near future, at least – I am incredibly grateful for the woman who decided to give me a chance.

I am also grateful for my family. Parents, sister, in-laws, nieces and nephew; and especially Dad and Baby Goth.
Some of them are pictured here. Continue reading “Gratitude : The Professor’s Homework Assignment”

BatFit 2015 – Goals for next year

Yes, I’m doing BatFit again this year. This past year I lost a little weight, then gained it all back and then some. Thank you, stress eating. I did get closer to some of my goals – one more semester of school, a practicum and a certification exam to go; cutting out some of the more negative influences in my life where I could, and not paying quite as much attention to the ones I can’t exactly cut out; and I spent some more time spinning. For this year, I have some goals:

  • Finish school and my practicum, and get certification. One more semester to go.
  • Find a job, preferably one that will allow me to work on my certification while on the job if need be. It would be nice if my practicum lead to a job, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
  • Eat more vegetarian meals each week, even if it means fixing something different for myself than the rest of the family.
  • Talking to my PT about the feasibility of getting back on my bike with the neck problems I’ve had/still have – and then doing as much as I can. It’s not going to be my only form of exercise. But I really have missed getting out on a bike.
  • Getting outside, even during the winter. Once again, we’ll see. That might be a little more challenging once my practicum starts and I’m working again.
  • Concentrate more on the people who mean the most to me and ignore the ones who aren’t. Especially after this summer, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do; certainly about what friends are and what they do to/for each other.
  • Doing some more sewing for myself. It was fun making A’s costume this Halloween; I’d like to do more of that too.
  • carving out some alone time that doesn’t necessarily involve being in a car either driving or waiting for somebody.

That’s the only things I can think of right now, but I’m sure I’ll find more. Probably. We’ll see how this year goes.

My, um, workout: BatFit days 3 and 4

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

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.

Using my Handspun

Most of the projects that I’ve made – I’d say roughly 2/3 as of today – have been made with my own yarn. I will buy yarn sometimes. Normally the “sometimes” = making toys, gifts or socks. But if it’s for something here, or something for me, I’ll definitely use handspun.

I did make some black alpaca recently. It’s spun from what was called a roving, but looked and acted more like a commercially combed top. Gorgeous, very soft, reasonably long-stapled alpaca. Here’s a look at the plied yarn on the bobbin.

(click to biggify)

Right now I’m using it to make a shawlette. The pattern is Sewanee by Beth Bradford. She’s a talented fiber artist currently in a fiber arts program at a Southeastern college. The Ravelry link for the pattern is here. It’s well written, easy to follow and will look lovely. If it doesn’t, it’s totally the fault of the knitter and yarn designer. I’m just sayin’.

I’ve been doing some more spinning for specific kinds of projects lately; crafts that I’ve either loved and put aside for years or have been doing regularly but never considered making my own yarn/floss. I’m a little anxious about how the finished product will work, but I think it’ll fit into a crewel needle (big hint here). The singles also seem smooth enough. But we’ll see.