Friday, September 26

Re-evaluation and retrospection...

It's been close to 6 months since I've posted here. The summer turned into a very busy, and very life-changing season for me for many, many reasons. Partly we went without any internet access at all for around 3 months, plus I did some travelling for Wal-mart to make some extra money to help pay for some of the things that are going on around here. During my time sans-web I was able to do quite a bit of re-evaluating of what is important to me, what I want, and what I need to treat as a priority.

Family *has* to be #1, and should be treated as such. Sitting at the computer for hours and days on end means that many other things in my life are being over-looked. Being here is *not* a job for me... it's entertainment and relaxation. I would love to be able to spend more time on my designs and such, but for the time being, I need to focus my energies elsewhere for my family to survive. This doesn't mean that I'm going to give up designing, as it is a necessary outlet for my creativity, it means that creating and writing patterns for publication are no longer my ultimate goal when designing.

I promised myself this summer that when I got my net back that I was going to cut back. I discovered that there *is* life beyond the keyboard and monitor. I have spent my first few weeks with internet access again going through many of the pastimes I have online. I went through Facebook and deleted a bunch of apps that I didn't use, and were just cluttering up my page. Ravelry was the biggest potential timesink I had online, and therefore got the biggest cuts from me. I went from over 450 groups, to less than 80. I am still not participating in the forums there yet, but I am getting to where I want to be with it... using it as a resource for what I really want to do and believe in, as well as a journal for my projects, stash and the like. I still have more cuts to do, but I'm getting there a little at a time.

I am happy, and actually quite relieved, about giving all this up. It's like a huge weight is being taken off of my shoulders. I'm actually gaining so much more than what I'm losing. I'm very happy spending time in my garden or the yard, or even just sitting on the couch knitting or playing DS while Derek plays his Xbox or watching TV. I am also looking very forward to what my future holds for me, since I won't miss out on it with my nose stuck to the monitor!!! I will still spend time online, as it's the main means of contact with most of my friends... I don't think I would be able to give up the net entirely even though I can obviously take extended breaks from it! I am happily going to be AFK most of the time, and enjoying every moment of it!

Tuesday, April 29

The light at the end of the tunnel...

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and for once I'm certain that it's not a train coming towards me!!! I've been working fast and furious on my Mystic Ocean shawl over the last few weeks. If you are on Ravelry, check out my project page for this shawl! This time I linked the progress photos directly to the larger images available on my Flickr photostream.

Chart D; 226 rows
6 days work from the previous status shot, and I've got another clue done! This chart gets the length of the shawl to 226 rows total. It feels like it will never end!!! You can finally start to see what the finished pattern will look like, and I'm very impressed with how it is turning out.

Chart E; 268 rows
The morning that Derek left for Edmonton, I finished the 4th clue. I finally got a really nice photo in natural light for the last clue, so I made sure that I did it again for this one. The shawl is measuring over 5 feet across at this point, and I'm working on my 5th ball of yarn.

Chart F; 300 rows
Somehow I managed to get 32 rows knitted in just over 3 days! I am really picking up speed even though each row is nearly 300 stitches!!! I just want to get this shawl done and blocked! I am beginning to worry about having enough yarn to finish up with. The pattern called for 1200 metres, and I started the 6th ball half-way through this chart. I have 4 *spare* balls of it, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be enough. I have 3 more sections to do, so it will be close! Wish me luck!

Friday, April 11

Moving right along!

Yes... Mystic Ocean is moving right along. The current is strong and swift, and with a little bit of luck, this journey will be complete no later than the end of May! Larger images of these photos are available at my Flickr Photostream, as well as more details of this project in my Ravelry notebook. The pattern I am using is Mystic Waters, and was designed by Anna Dalvi at knitandknag, as a mystery KAL in late 2007. I have named my version Mystic Ocean since the blue-green colour makes me think of the ocean, and it fits in with the theme of the element of water!

Estelle Watercolours #21
The yarn is Estelle Watercolours in a blue/green colourway {#21} that I bought at Ram Wools during the trip to Winnipeg that Derek and I recently took. It's a 50/50 mohair/acrylic blend, and is really nice to work with for a fuzzy yarn. Each 50g ball has approximately 160m, so according to the pattern, I need about 6 balls. To make things easier, I bought the entire bag of 10... I have to admit that the 50% price tag of $2.99 a ball made that decision a lot easier!!!

Chart A; 60 rows
It took me about 2 days {including frogging my first attempt!} to get the first chart done. Derek was thoroughly impressed with how nice it was turning out even then. Just 60 rows of knitting so far, and I was quite pleased myself!

Chart B; 130 rows
A couple of days later, I had the second chart complete, which was also signalled the end of the first clue. I was now 130 rows in, with no looking back... well except at the chart for the previous row so that I could make sure my stitches were in the right place of course! The top edge stretched out would be about 36" at this point, as I had a few stitches fall off of my needle as this picture was taken! The design is now quite evident in the project, and I need to find a way to stretch it more for my progress photos since the variegation in the yarn doesn't hide the stitch pattern.

Chart C; 184 rows
Another week, and another clue done! Working really cuts into the knitting time, and each charted row takes about 10 minutes to knit. Completing chart C makes the shawl 184 rows long, with a stitch count of 188 stitches. I tried to stretch this out more, but need a better background so that you can see the openwork more clearly. The larger photo at Flickr shows the detail a bit better. The top edge is now at least 60" when stretched. I used two of my 32" circs to display it for the picture, and I could have pulled it out further. With around 200ish more rows to go, it will be HUGE once complete!

Wednesday, April 2

What the hell?!?

No, this isn't a late April Fool's joke... it's really me!!! I know it's been a long hiatus, even for me, but it's good to be back. One of the main reasons I haven't been around is because I had lost my internet access for 2 months. It was quite difficult surviving without any contact with my friends at all since I'm so isolated out here! Oh well... what's past is past! Let's get on with some progress info! I want to get this posted, so pics will have to follow... there are a few pictures in my Flickr though, as well as all of the project info in my Ravelry notebook.

These are the projects I can remember finishing since I was last on Blogger:
Lissa's garter rib scarf is done! Even with the couple of errors in the pattern, it worked out well. I've heard through the grapvine that many of the patterns in Magknits have problems with errors that are never fixed. I find this disenheartening since one of the patterns in my Ravelry queue is a cool looking pair of socks from there.

Rebecca's snake scarf is done. I remember having a few difficulties with this pattern as well, and was quite disappointed since I had just gotten over the troubles with Lissa's scarf. Overall I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Derek's work socks are also finally complete! This is the same pair that I cast on right after finishing Henry's back in October. They were put on the backburner while I worked on winter items, and were finally picked back up and finished in late March. I won't be starting any new work socks for him for a little while. Only working on these socks during breaks at my jobs made this a *very* long project to complete.

My blue stole was finished over this last weekend. When I went to update my sidebars, I realized that I hadn't even added it!!! I started this shawl well over 2 years ago... before Camille's had even closed! Derek and I were at Michael's, and he helped me choose the pattern as well as the yarn. I had cast it on, and had gotten about one ball into the project when I put it aside. The last time I can recall working on it prior to the last little while was when I was in Thompson 2 years ago this June!

I've got two new projects on the needles currently:
My Step socks. I'm making myself a pair of generic stockinette socks out of a ball of Austermann Step that I bought last year in Calgary. When I first started them on 2.0 mm dpns, I found the yarn to be horribly splitty. I restarted them on 2.25s with much better results. I did have to increase my usual number of cast on stitches, but the sock is still working up fast. As of this writing, I am just coming up on the heel flap and turn.

My Mystic Ocean shawl. I have finally started the Mystic Waters KAL shawl. This KAL was actually held in the fall, but I had neither the time, nor the supplies to do it then. When we took a recent trip to Winnipeg, I picked up some Estelle Watercolours and an Addi Lace needle to complete this shawl. The colourway I chose screamed "Green Ocean" to me, so it was the perfect choice for my project. As of this writing I'm nearly complete the second of eight charts... Row 95-ish of about 350-ish.

With the weather warming up outside, I have been able to knit during my coffee breaks at both jobs, not just lunch breaks, so that really helped in getting Derek's socks done, as well as the amazing progress on my Step socks already. My shawl is my computer/ living room project, and is going quite well even though I'm left with a halo of mohair fuzz all over my clothes every time I work on it! Even though I have Alex's hoodie listed as a WIP on my sidebar, it's currently actually a UFO. I need to find the pattern yet again!!! I'm finding that concentrating on just one project at home, and one travelling project is currently the best use of my knitting time.

Sunday, January 13

Calling in stoned...

There is a *very* good reason why I rarely take anything other than Tylenol or Advil no matter how sick or in how much pain I'm in... it makes me stupid! Yesterday was a perfect example!!! The kids have generously shared the recent run of cold/flu that is running through our house with me. I thought I wasn't home enough to catch anything from them... was I ever wrong! As is typical when I catch one of these illnesses, I'm knocked flat on my back.

It all started on Friday, where I was sounding like I was related to Kermit the Frog. All I could do was croak! I managed to make it through my night shift at work since all I was doing was croaking, and feeling a little nauseous. Nausea and I are closely related since I'm used to it from my hypoglycemia. I made it home okay and tried to catch a quick cat-nap before starting at the grocery store... another typical Saturday routine for me. Well things soon turned south from there. My ability to concentrate was non-existant... if it wasn't for the computer, and it beeping at me every time I hit the wrong button, I would have been literally screwed! I didn't make this many mistakes when I was first being trained there! When it came time for my break, and I couldn't even remember our Co-op number, I *knew* I had no place being there. I told the girl in charge that I would stick around until lunch so they wouldn't be short-handed. I hoped that I could make it through another 2 hours without completely screwing everything up.

Lunch break was another experience entirely. I could barely concentrate on the highway on my way home. This is only a 10 minute drive straight down the TC, and if it wasn't for the fact that I don't need to turn off at all except to get into town here, I would have ended up lost! Since Derek had seen what bad shape I was in at work, he was sweet enough to have a cup of tea waiting for me. His quote to the kids was, "Mom could barely even scan in the groceries." Well his sweet gesture was promptly introduced into the bathroom where I spent a half hour getting well aquainted with our fixtures in there. He phoned Co-op and told them that I wasn't going back for the rest of the afternoon, even though they needed me to close that day.

As if things couldn't get any worse, they did! Since Derek isn't used to me being *this* sick, he hauled me in to Wal-Mart to get *something* to make me feel better. I didn't want to go, but I didn't have any idea of what to tell him to get for me either. I picked out an assortment of throat and cough drops, as well as some Neo-Citran... that was when it got interesting. Neo-Citran has a variety of different drugs in it, and with good reason, it's not recommended to drive or operate power equipment while taking it. There should have been another warning on the label for me... trying to talk coherently, or operate a telephone is beyond your abilities until all residuals of this medication are out of your system!!! I thought I was behaving and talking funny *before* I took it... that's nothing compared to me *after*!!! Someone, I'm not sure who, brought me the phone to call work to say that I wouldn't be in last night. I vaguely remember looking at it oddly, and the next thing I can recall is that it was ringing. I looked at the phone strangely and answered it. It was my manager, wondering where I was. I *know* that I talked to her, and I *know* that I tried to explain that I was sick... but what exactly I said, or even if it made any sense at all is beyond me!

Here it is, the next morning, and my brain still feels really foggy. I'm not feeling any better, but I'm afraid to take any more of the Neo-Citran, and with good reason I think. The only reason I'm posting this is to warn you all of the dangers of taking this kind of stuf... or at least the dangers of allowing *me* to take any of them!!!

Tuesday, January 1

January Goals

My goals for the month of January are thus:

  1. All stash from craft room inventoried.
  2. All inventoried stash photographed and uploaded to Flickr.
  3. All inventoried stash listed in Ravelry with photographs linked.
  4. Stash-busting goal of 1000 metres used, or given away.

Current Projects
  1. Decide on projects, and stick with, "three projects at a time" rule.
  2. Find, and list {on blog and Ravelry} all WIPs/ UFOs currently in the house.
  3. Finish at least three projects other than dishcloths.

Projects I want to do

  1. Create listing of all a-long's and a-month's that I belong to. Mostly done already, but keep this current.
  2. Decide where those projects fit in with the "three project" rule.

Photographs & Accountability
  1. Keep blog and Ravelry up-to-date with progress.
  2. Photograph and upload to Flickr all FOs. {This will be a constant goal, even though it's also left-over from December's list.}
  3. Link all photos to Ravelry and Blogger.
  4. Post at least weekly to blog with updates on progress, and check that sidebars are current.

My Home
  1. Declutter kitchen. {Specific list to follow}
  2. Declutter dining room. {Specific list to follow}
  3. Declutter living room. {Specific list to follow}
  4. Make detailed list for kitchen redecorating plans.
  5. Make detailed list for dining room redecorating plans.
  6. Make detailed list for living room redecorating plans.