A bit of spring cleaning

So I’m on a bit of a spinning hiatus due to some cold weather arthritis flare and a touch of a cold/plague/flu. Between the two I’m not much use of anything. I did manage to start cleaning through my craft room before this miserable illness took over. I frogged a few projects and even took them out of the Ravelry queue. Some projects just weren’t meant to be finished. This led me to make some really hard decisions, who really wants to frog single ply lace? I had to. I didn’t have a choice. It just wasn’t worthy of continuing. I have projects that I walk by and go “someday I will” and others that I can’t even look at the bags without guilt. That’s when I knew it was time. I just had to.

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Organizing is now to the point where I’m getting the projects and forcing myself to look at them. They aren’t just pretties on a shelf. I forced myself to clear the shelves and put them in baskets on the floor. So I have to trip over them, or look at them, or be in some way attached to them psychologically so that I can’t forget about them. It’s a punishment for all the pretty bags I’ve put them in and made it so easy to forget about the contents. If this is what it takes to get them finished, then so be it. They are already more in focus than they have been the last year.

Let’s talk about the dreaded book shelves. I have 2 bookcases that I have been using to harbor yarn, projects, books and the miscellaneous gizmos and gadgets. I have everything from oil paints and mineral spirits to glass beads and candles to my keepsake wedding bouquet. I have no theme to these shelves other than if it fits, cram it on there. I also have 7 wall shelves and 2 3×3 cubbies to store stuff and so organizing can be a bit tasking when you start pulling things out. I don’t know about you, but I get a bit absent minded and end up upturning the whole room because of things like ‘this yarn has to go over into this basket and *ahhhhhh* it needs to be organized!’ Organizes yarn basket, finds something that doesn’t belongs, takes to proper place and finds new disaster just to continue cycle until whole room is organized!’ (this is my style of cleaning and my house would never get cleaned if I didn’t do this)

The night my cold hit I was attempting hairpin lace, and might’ve cracked it. It seems to be easy going and has a lot of rhythmic movement. Finding a use for it might be something else entirely, but for now I’m just glad to understand it.

We ended up with a bit of snow that disappeared almost as quickly as it came down. It was quite funny, as a friend of mine in Oregon was experiencing sunny 60+ weather in her sandals, down in the south we’re freezing our britches off and enduring school delays.  I also had the joy of chasing down my darling dogs a couple days ago as they decided to run out of the garage while it was opened instead of getting into the car for a drive to pick up the kids from school. So they ended up being left at home on bad behavior in doggy jail.

Now I have to pull myself together and manage not to be sick for a half hour for the Valentine’s class party, room parent, adulting, responsibilities, blah blah blah. DayQuil is my BFF today. Maybe if I’m good the kids will let me nap after homework is done? This thought thrills me to no end.

 

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Who are we?

Earlier this week a query was posted on another blog akin to being labeled. Are you a knitter or just knitting? Are you an onion with many layers that make the person that is you, or are you a single definable term and quite content with it?

Philosophy is not usually my cup of tea, but this resonated something deep within me.

Who am I? I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, room parent, care taker, pyrographer, painter, artist, fiber artist, knitter, crocheter, baker, cook, maid, chauffeur, organizer, planner and many, many other things. To simply narrow it all down and smack a label down on it for me, is incredibly difficult. To me, it’s like stifling out the flames of who I am to refer to me only as a mom, or only as a knitter. I’m capable of plenty and to limit one to a single category should be a crime. My passion of the week will change, but I will still be me.

So the question of the hour is, who are you?

I don’t even know what that is

Do you ever have one of those moments where someone asks you to do something, because it puts both of you at an advantage, but rather begrudgingly?

I volunteer at my children’s school throughout the year with class functions and had signed up again at the recent back to school affair before school started this year. I got an email asking to be the room mom for my daughter’s class. Now I have observed the last two years living here, as I have 1) never lived anywhere where such things have existed or needed to be of use, and 2) have minimal idea what such people do. So I did what any person does when coming across such mythological terms and meeting their fate. I googled it, I studied it, I pinterested it, I found school calendar stuff, I shall be prepared and brought out of my yarnie cocoon of a comfort zone. I shall be the best unprepared home room mom of the 4th grade ever. Or not. We shall see. They only asked because my kid has a ridiculous amount of food allergies, and I volunteer. They don’t know how socially awkward I am yet, or that I bring my knitting everywhere. I am literally laughing as I write this because this is the push I need to be less of a hermit and I know this will either make or break my social anxiety.

I finally have some finished objects to speak of…a hat for my steps sister and the baby blanket finally finito. The hat pattern is The Heartskull Hat and the baby blanket is the ever popular Wool Eater Blanket. I’m very excited to have finished both, as I’ve liked both and needed a good excuse to make them.

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Now that my time restricted projects are complete, I can get back to all my shelved to wips. I’m rather excited about that, it has been so hard to see them in baskets and work on others without picking them up and doing a few rows.

Now that things are settling into a new routine, I’ve discovered something else to relax and wind down- I’ve discovered how to access my local libraries online pdf collection. Now all I need is some 70 degree weather and some hot spiced cider.

Is summer really over already?!

Tuesday the kids went back to school. It got up to 95° and the ants have decided to reinvade my kitchen. It is rather comical how all summer long the ants have been coming in by force, and we have been staving them off with cinnamon, and then moved on to traps because of the dogs and the kids. Now they do not respond to the traps, because they are much more interested in the Captain Crunch on the top shelf of the pantry. Well, my husband has had it after throwing away a few boxes of cereal. We used to set out traps for the flying ants, when we lived in Olympia, consisting of honey or corn syrup and borax and making a soupy paste of it on a plastic container lid and leave it out of reach of children and animals right outside to draw the ants to it. It worked wonders during the mating season of the flying ants. So I finally decided to set the sweet poison trap, seeing as how they were so keen on sweets. Within an hour of putting it up there, there were a few carcasses laying around the trap. Now there is no signs of activity now, and even though it has worked I feel rather guilty for having to resort to such violent kitchen warfare.

Three more color change rounds to go on the blanket, which essentially is 6 rows. I’m excited. Seeing projects come to fruition is one of my favorite things ever, it’s in the top 10 list between naps and dark chocolate. I’m aiming to get my knitting energy back and get some wips finished after this. I’ve had way too many projects laying around for my liking. I will admit I had to frog the last round of the blanket 3/4 of the way because I forgot 4 stitches (twice), I’m glad I noticed it before I started the next row, rather than after, but it set me back two days. Each color row takes about 2 hours now, mainly because I lack the focus and attention to hurry it along.

Speaking of lack of attention, I’ve lost a big part of attention on my projects due to some of my energy being focused on organizing and cleaning and rearranging. Trying to make the house more spacially usable. I’m still trying to work out those kinks. We took the table leaf out and moved away from the wall and actually have an arrangement where we can all see each other and less clutter. We reorganized a closet that is half finished that could be converted in a pantry, and converted it the rest of the way so that it’s our cleaning supply pantry/ janitorial type supply area. It’s less of a mess and more functional than it was. We are going to be reorgnazing the kids closets in the upcoming weeks as well. Now I need to find ways to make things work better in the yarn room as it is feeling a bit crowded with a ton of unorganized stuff and miscellaneous projects in here. I think the organizing bug has bit me and has no plans to leave. I cycle through phases of rearranging and cleaning and sorting ever so often. I did it a lot when I was younger and had my own room. I wonder how I’m going to change things. Maybe I’ll go to a thrift store and see what I can find for organization so I can eliminate the need for the huge table to be up all the time.
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We finally figured out what made the shower leak in the master bathroom. I could do a happy dance having the answers finally. Apparently the shower was remodeled by an amateur or the home owner at that point in time, and they did something really stupid.
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They cut the fiberglass shower pan liner and caulked it up. This is a big no no. A) You don’t cut the fiberglass if you don’t know what you’re doing and you definitely don’t put caulk on it, B) if you cut it you are supposed to put epoxy and re-fiberglass it. If you don’t know how to do it, you get someone who does. Also, they poured the base crooked so the subfloor leans towards one corner which is where it leaked the worst, you can see visibly by the discoloration of the wood. The tiles on the outside of the shower are coming up and cracking because they are the wrong size and they continued the subfloor expansion outside of the shower. It’s going to be an entire bathroom remodel by the time we figure everything out. Of course the other tub started leaking again at the same time we discovered this, so I want nothing more than to win the lottery in a state that doesn’t even have it. *le sigh*

On the plus side, I get free range over the color schemes of the bathrooms. I wonder if they make knitted textured tiles? I don’t know but I’m thinking a pale yellow, porcelain blue, and cream for the tiling and doing a pale yellow paint for the walls.

Did anyone else enjoy the major cellphone outage hysteria on Tuesday? We had 3 1/2 hours of pure blissful peace and quiet. It sure was fun trying to make phone calls, and think someone had hacked your phone, only to find out it was everyone and not just you.

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Amidst all the regular chaos, I discovered that a longtime family friend had passed away. It certainly has challenged me to put things into a different perspective. I have an aunt who has been fighting for her life for the last month and a half, and she’s at the point where she’s given up. And because my only superstition is that bad things usually happen in three’s, a close family member has been diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma recently and we are awaiting more details. My heart is broken for these people right now. I wish there was something more I could do at this point to help.

In lighter news, we are still on baby watch, my sister in law has a few more days left before her due date. I’m super excited, and I know I’ve said it a dozen times already, but I can’t wait to meet our niece or nephew!

The magic of the Wool Eater Blanket

Ever since I first laid eyes on Bavarian crochet, I knew I would love it. I didn’t know how much work or how much less work, to be precise, there was really to it. It looks a bit intimidating if you look at the multi-colored variations of blankets that have been made. I thought it was going to be more difficult, having not really picked up the hook for anything more than a sporadic stuffed animal and dropped stitches in the last couple of years. I think we make things out to be more intimidating than they really are when we are lacking self-confidence. Well, I bit the bullet, read the instructions over a few times and started a baby blanket for my sister. image Somewhere under all that blanket and yarn is my table and 3 or 4 knitting projects. Procrastination, thy name is Jamie, and she is too busy enjoying the beautiful burst of color to care about the mess. Also, also, also. Speaking of procrastination,  I finally finished the Bluebell baby cardigan, and it is so tiny! image I really couldn’t believe how little it was for all the work that went into it. It will be a snug newborn sized cardi, in time for the cold Michigan weather that will hit when my sister is due this winter. I can’t wait to make a few more things. I enjoy making baby things the most. Speaking of babies, my sister in law is due to pop within the next couple of weeks and I can’t wait to find out if we are having a niece or nephew. My fingers are crossed that she has a July baby so we have another July birthday to celebrate.

Things are about to get a whole lot quieter around here because school starts in less than two weeks. It means I get my knitting time back, uninterrupted!  I’m hoping Ethan’s ear infection,  which has now turned into a double inner ear infection, is gone be the time we have orientation next Friday.  Rachel has managed to get some sinus cold/respiratory thing, and it has been shared around with the husband and myself.  So we are crossing fingers and wishing ourselves better, because everything seems to go wrong at once around here. A caulking issue with the bathtub in the main bathroom sprung a leak and we ended up with water pouring into our bedroom from the ceiling again, same hole. A toilet malfunctioning and leaking into the bathroom. Late summer blight killed out tomatoes and is trying to kill our squash. Between these and needing 1 root canal and just having had 1 root canal, things can only get better from here. At least we have all the school supplies and they’re organized.

I can’t wait for fall to get here so I can enjoy bike rides and pumpkin spice everything and 60 degree weather.

This is why we block

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I know every knitting and crochet blogger has talked about this subject from time to time. I would like to discuss this because not everybody understands the importance of the subject. In crocheting, it doesn’t get used as often because most items don’t generally need to be opened up or grow out side of doilies and some items that may need seaming. In knitting, we use blocking to open up the work, to help it grow, and show what it really looks like and it’s true shape. When I say grow, I mean it literally gets bigger than it was before we started. With certain fibers this  can be a huge growth, and others just a miniscule growth. 
The main reasons for blocking will always be:
1) Opening lace work and showing the patterns true nature and beauty
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2) Straightening out edges and seams to allow for better sewing, whether you knit or crochet, it’s a mundane task and it makes it easier.

3) It allows your item to have a fresh pressed, professional look, instead of the crammed in a project bag for the last month look.
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Before:

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After:

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Now isn’t that magical?