Saturday, February 11, 2012

Random Saturday

The little voice in my head has been a little too persistent lately and is doing too good of a job of trying to drag me down. Today is World Happy Day and in the spirit of the day, I'm blogging about what makes me happy. So here goes...

  • Tom and everything he does around the house (which is everything)
  • My family
  • Having a flock of cedar waxwings hanging out in our yard
  • Having both cats sleeping next to me on a cold winter's night
  • Coming across a flock of wild turkeys in a friend's driveway
  • Knitting (mostly)
  • All the love my friends share with me
  • Snow (of which we do not have enough this winter)

And of course, the little voice in my head wants to negate all of these things that make me happy by guilting me:

  • "You don't pull your weight around the house"
  • "You don't visit your family often enough:
  • "You have too much yarn and will never knit it all"
  • "You aren't productive enough at work"

And the voice drones on and on and on, to the point where it creates an actual physical heaviness in me. We all have that negative, persistent little voice. What strategies do you find useful to quiet that voice?

Knitting News
I keep hearing about Signature Needles and how wonderful they are to knit with. I also keep hearing about how expensive they are. And there's a good reason for it. Pop on over to kmcat's blog and read about her experience with Signature Needles. Her story makes me want to knit only with Signatures!

Regarding actual knitting productivity, there isn't much. I've made too many gauge swatches for the Baby Surprise Jacket, mostly because I kept increasing needle size and couldn't understand why I kept getting fewer stitches to the inch (I'm easily confused). It finally dawned on me yesterday what the problem was and this morning I swatched some more and got close, 5-1/2 to 5-3/4 stitches per inch on US5 needles. I need 6 stitches per inch, so US4 needles are next on the agenda. I thought I was a tight knitter but that doesn't appear to be the case with this project.

I almost finished the Slouchy Beret but ran out of yarn. The pattern didn't give any gauge, although I suppose I could have done the math myself (duh!) but it didn't occur to me. (Note to self: use your brain, woman!) I managed to eke out a few more rows on the Elizabeth R shawl and am almost finished with the second pattern repeat. This project will go on the shelf until the two BSJs are finished.

And I ordered the Pinehurst fingerless mitts kit from the Squam store, in the Deepest Depth colorway. The pattern is by Natalie Selles and the yarn is dyed by Jill Draper. These mitts should be perfect for the chilly evenings at Squam this year. Naturally, since I'll be prepared with warm clothes, the weather this year will be tropical. Last year started out tropical and quickly turned winterish and I was woefully underdressed.

Running Progress
Nothing to see here. Move along now...

Okay...the little voice is telling me I'm having too much fun and that it's time to clean the house. The dust buffalo herd once again needs to be culled. And I need to figure out what we've got on hand for dinner. Tom cooks every night and it would be nice to give him a break from the kitchen.

Happy World Happy Day! And happy knitting!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A New Year and a New Me

In the middle of the night, 2011 crept out the back door and in snuck 2012 (and over a month ago, I might add). I'm not sure how that happened. Or why I'm so surprised because that little sequence of events happens once a year right around this time. Each year, the new year seems to come a little faster the older I get. While that can be exciting (I'm moving into uncharted territory), it's also a tad bit frightening (I'm moving into uncharted territory).

December and January (and so far February) have been dull and dreary and I needed a little pick-me-up. Now, I don't consider myself a girly-girl--I hate to go shopping and wearing makeup is...well...time-consuming. I pride myself on being able to get by without wearing makeup and pity the poor souls who do. So imagine my surprise when late last year, I went on a bender of sorts.

My nephew was getting married and while I don't wear makeup on a daily basis (not even mascara or blush), I will wear it for special occasions. The problem was that all of my makeup was at least five years old, and in the world of cosmetics, it's considered a big no-no to even think about using a product that old. What's a girl to do when the stuff gets worn once a year, at most?

Enter Leigh, who recommended Jane Iredale mineral makeup. She pointed me to a salon that carries the line and after a lengthy consultation with their consultant, I walked out fully made-up and feeling (dare I say it?) rather beautiful. My wallet was also much, much, much lighter. There are several things about this makeup that I like--it looks "fresh" all day long, it has an indefinite shelf life, and it's an SPF20 sunscreen. No really, it is! I didn't believe it (marketing hype and all that) but I got the chance to prove it to myself. I went fishing with my brother the day after Thanksgiving. I wore the makeup (I felt silly and vain putting on makeup to go fishing, let me tell you). The day was sunny, the sun was reflecting off the water, there was no shade (we were in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay) and I didn't get sunburned! So I'm sold. I still don't like that it takes too much time to put on (and take off) but I supposed that's one of the prices to pay.

With the advent of my 53rd birthday (yikes!), I started to go through yet another phase of feeling like I looked frumpy and dumpy and decidedly middle-aged. And my clothes no longer pleased me (most being at least six years old and many being much older than that). I hate shopping with a passion which is why I like shopping at Nordstrom: they stick you in a dressing room and keep bringing clothes to you. And if you use their Personal Stylist service (totally free, by the way), they have at least a dozen outfits already waiting for you! Yes, their clothes are expensive but in my opinion, it's well worth it. I'm very happy with my purchases and probably won't have to go shopping again for another six years!

Running Update
Run? What's that? Hee hee...I'm still working long, stressful hours and am finding that long, stressful hours aren't conducive to running, or anything else for that matter. My running goal this year is to complete a 50-mile race in November, but right now that goal is seriously at risk and might need revising. I've been running at most, four to six miles every couple of weeks. Tom, on the other hand, is ramping up his training for the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 in May and running one (or more) 50K runs every other weekend. He makes me look like a slacker.

Knitting News
As always, there are lots of things to knit and not enough time to knit them. In addition to the hat I'm knitting for a coworker who was diagnosed with breast cancer, I'm knitting (or will be) two Baby Surprise Jackets for coworkers' babies. Unfortunately for me, the babies surprised the parents by arriving early (and fortunately, in excellent health). I'm at the gauge swatch stage and it seems that I need to go up at least two needle sizes to get gauge. So we'll see. Either the jackets will be too small for the tiniest of newborns or else the BSJs will fit the babies when they become teenagers. Gauge is fickle.

The other project on the needles is the Elizabeth R shawl, the first offering of the 2012 Shakespeare in Lace club from Wooly Wonka Fibers. I want to say this shawl's for me, but I don't think the color suits me, even though I like it. So far it's a wonderful knit and even though I had to perform surgery not once but three times (and for the same mistake), I'm enjoying the knitting immensely. The little pops of red and teal in the gold enchant me. Here's a photo (pre-surgery):

2012 should be the year I knit from the stash (yarn clubs notwithstanding). I started cleaning out the closet in my office/fiber room and was rather shocked to see how much fiber I had squirreled away. I need to cull the stash and will be putting yarn in the Trade/Sell stash category on Ravelry, so stop by for a little shopping.

That's about it for now. The blog has been way too quiet of late. I'm doing a lot of writing and editing at work and have temporarily lost the will to write for fun, even in random bullet points.
With any luck, the work writing will taper off in the next couple of weeks and I'll resume blogging more frequently than once every two or three months.

Happy knitting!