Sunday, September 30

Decision making time

I often hate having to make an *actual* decision. It's so much easier to have others make them for me. Who *really* wants to act like a grown-up all the time anyway? Life was so much simpler when I was five!

When I was five, I had to go to bed at 7:30, or encounter the wrath of "Mom". At forty-something, I now have to decide for myself what is a reasonable bedtime for getting up at 5:30am.
When I was five, my mother told me what to wear to school, an orange skirt and bright pink top weren't an option. At forty-something, I have to remind myself that an orange skirt and pink top aren't an option... neither is the yellow pants paired with the purple t-shirt.
When I was five, the teacher told me which subject we would be doing at that time. At forty-something, I have to decide what time it is, for knitting, for crocheting, for sewing, for quilting, for designing... and don't forget stuff like housework and such too.

Being a grown-up sure sucks sometimes! But now that I've had my five-year-old temper tantrum, it's time for me to go decide what, and if I will submit for the two submission calls I'm interested in. Plus I need a swift kick in the arse to get a couple spec proposals prepared and sent in!

Till next time,

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Thursday, September 20

Holy cow it's Thursday!

Where did this week go? I think it went into the same hiding spot that the rest of this year has disappeared into! Please tell me that I'm not the only one that feels like this entire year so far has sped by in the blink of an eye.

I've been "busy" and "not busy" all week it seems. I used a tutorial I found online to design a dress for Melissa. It turned out pretty darned cute if I do say so myself. I'm waiting to hear back from the person that wrote the tutorial, and if she agrees, I'll be posting my own "how-to". I took a ton of photos as I went along so that I could share with you all. I haven't finished off any other projects this week, but I've been making steady progress on everything at least.

My biggest efforts for the last few days have been business-type ones. As you can see from my blog layout, I've *really* been messing around with the appearance of it. I still can't get it to where it pleases me again. I really liked my old layout and template, but it didn't support any of the dynamic features that I wanted, such as searching posts by tag. I'm also having some trouble with graphics, since I no longer have a graphic artist available. I have an extremely talented daughter that can draw amazingly well, but she doesn't do it on the computer. I have been working "behind the scenes" a ton too. I'm completely revamping my standard pattern layout and such. It will be a fairly involved process since I will be going through each one with a fine-toothed comb and making sure that every little aesthetic detail has been taken care of. My 10 year anniversary as a published designer is coming up, and I'd like to have everything looking really spiffy for the occasion!

Off to town to get the thread I need for the dress hem, and see what else follows me home today. It's the last day of a sale at the fabric store, and I have two 40% off coupons for the craft store!!

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

Wednesday, September 19

Dangit, she's been changing things again!!!

I've been playing around with the colour theme a bit again (finally?). I am in the process of completely re-vamping all my patterns and such, and therefore want that scheme to be the same across everything I work on... well at least the items that I have creative control over. I too dislike "new and improved"... it seems that the "old and ordinary" works so much better!

Please let me know what you think... Are the colour combinations readable and such? Things like that. I *still* need to work on the overall layout and content, but I'm going one baby step at a time. Now that the summer is over, and the kids are back in school, I have no choice but to buckle down and get to work myself!

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

Friday, September 14

(U)FO Friday...

Well today's FO isn't my UFO. I was hoping to have the basket weave afghan finished by tonight, but it just wasn't in the cards. I can *partially* blame it on knit night last night... I didn't get to work on the afghan since I was out for the evening! I *am* on the last pair of rows before the three round border, however I have to weave in the ends before I can start that. Well over half the ends were already done, so it won't be *that* bad of an ordeal for me. I'm looking very forward to completing this project, and have already chosen the next UFO to turn into an FO.

All is not lost, as I do have an FO to report. The last of the boot sock samples was finished this afternoon!!! The ladies pair, and the first of the men's were washed and are now hanging on their blockers to dry in the bathtub. I only have one men's sized blocker, so the second sock will need to wait until the first one is dry. I have that particular pattern about 75% done, and the editing shouldn't take very long once the photography is finished.

I had one of the sproggins at home today, so I wasn't able to "work". I still made sure I was productive though! I finished the sock, and cast on another sample sock for a different design. I went into the craft room today to hunt for some sweatshirt fleece, which was located elsewhere as it turned out. I decided to do a bit of organizing in there since it's mostly been ignored lately. I can get in and out, and locate what I need relatively easily again, so I'm pleased with that progress. Once I located the sweatshirt fleece, and the pants pattern for it, I copied the size I needed, and cut out the pieces to make Alex a pair of sweat pants. I also cut the seams off of 2 out-grown, worn out pairs of jeans, so I can now add denim "inserts" inside the pant legs to help reinforce the knees. Add in some housework, and you have what I'd call a pretty decent day!

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

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Do you hear voices?

No, not *those* kind of voices!!! I am talking about yarn, thread, patterns, fabric, etc that "speaks" to you? I can hear them! =o)

While I was in Ontario this past summer, I collected most of the fabrics for my pink ribbon bargello quilt top. I swear Auntie Wendy was right there with me, guiding me to the perfect addition to my stash in each shop. One of the quilts I made this summer makes me smile every time I look at it. For whatever reason, no matter what mood I'm in, it cheers me up.

Yarn talks to me too. When I'm choosing which yarn will become my next project, it will often tell me whether or not it wants to become that item. I've been told by many that I'm crazy, but that's something I've been told many times before, and I'm sure that I will hear again many more times... Don't forget, I have SEVEN kids!!!

Today I introduced one of my neighbour-friends to *her* fabric voices. She wanted my help in choosing fabrics for two upcoming quilts for her "classes" this fall. The first required 12 fat quarters and a metre for a border and binding. I told her to find a metre cut in her stash that she liked. I spread it out on the table and very quickly placed some of her FQs all around it. Some would immediately be tossed in the "no" pile and others immediately in the "yes" pile. I quite simply, and almost callously, rifled through a few of her bins picking out suitable co-ordinates. When we had about 20 "possibles", I removed the large piece of fabric and haphazardly arranged the FQs on the table. She thought that we'd never be able to figure it all out. I told her to remove the ones that didn't belong. It took her a few (or more) minutes, but finally she had weeded the choices down to the 12 required. The entire process took 15-20 minutes, tops. She had expected it to be an afternoon-long ordeal trying to match up all that fabric. She was very pleased at how it had all turned out... even after I announced to her that she had just learned how to listen to the fabric voices!! This is a woman who has known others before me that said fabric, or yarn, or whatever spoke to them, but adamantly declared that she never heard voices, and thought we were all a few sandwiches short of a picnic!

So do you hear voices? If not, maybe you need to open your heart and listen!

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

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Wednesday, September 12

What *am* I working on?

Anyone who knows me even slightly can attest to the fact that I am *far* from a monogamous crafter. Now that I've added sewing and quilting to my current hobbies, of course that means even *more* WIPs (and the resultant UFOs as well). This year I've been trying to focus better, and I think I've been pretty successful in resisting the urge to start every "Ooh shiny!!" project that tempts me. Of course I still have a multitude of projects, but I'm getting pretty darned good at producing quite a few FOs also.


Knitting is still my favourite pastime, as the callous on my right index finger will attest to. Strangely enough, I only have one project that I'm actively working on, and that's sample socks. I'm getting one done at a time, finishing one before casting on the next. I am halfway down the foot of my current project, and have three more socks to knit for photography purposes.


I've been crocheting for over 20 years now, so it's inevitable that I would come across some pretty old UFOs. My current "living room" project is my oldest (that I know of) UFO. It's an afghan that I began in 1998 or 1999. I have about 6 more rows to work before doing the edging, so I'm anticipating finishing in the next day or three. My current "travelling" project is another crocheted afghan. It's a plaid design worked in strips and I purchased it as a kit from Herrschners this spring. I have completed over a third of it, and don't expect it will take very long to complete.


I have a large bin of projects ready to quilt, and more ready to "sandwich". I am not too worried about those right now, but I have 3 quilt tops cut and ready to sew. The first one I want to work on is a pink ribbon bargello. It's in honour of Auntie Wendy, whom we lost just over 5 years ago during her third battle with breast cancer. I've put away my sewing machine for a little while so that I can spend my energies on designing and writing. We shall see how long I can resist *that* temptation!!!
Most of all, I'm having fun working a combination of my own designs and OPPs (Other People's Patterns), and in a variety of mediums. Doing that helps in keeping me motivated. I added a bunch of new-to-me yarns to my stash while on vacation this summer so I'm looking very forward to seeing what they want to become. I also increased my fabric stash by 2 over-flowing suitcases, so that will be fun to play with as well!

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

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Tuesday, September 11

Back to school means back to work!

Where has the summer gone? For that matter where has the year gone?!! It seems like it was only March a few days ago.

The kids started school last Thursday, and Derek went back to work yesterday, so today is my first "real" day of work since some time in May. My ISP has been extremely "helpful" in making sure I was productive today... my rocket stick isn't working!! I found out after a few calls to their useless customer service line that they are working on the cell tower by my house. There is no tower redundancy out here in the middle of nowhere, so I'm stuck with just my mobile phone (from a different company). Gotta love modern technology!!!

Even though it's been quite a while since I have released any new patterns, I *am* still busy designing. My most recent release was on Knit Picks in July, "By the Sea" socks: I have two more sock patterns in the works, and three finished sock patterns that are currently on hold until I get the results of the design contest they were entered in.

I picked up a new hobby this spring, quilting/ sewing. Derek bought me a shiny new sewing machine for Mother's Day, and I've put quite a few miles on that the last few months. Speaking of miles, check out my current tally of yarn consumed!! I have a couple things to add to the meters, but I'm well over 11 km used between knitting and crocheting.

I'm trying to decide what to work on next. I've always been an "Oooh! Shiny!!" type of person, so it's hard to stay focused on just one or two things. We shall see what the new school year brings...

Till next time,
Nicole =o)

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