Sunday, March 25, 2007

Meet Endive

Did I ever tell you that I am obsessed with turtles? This is Endive.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spending My Weekend at the Frog Pond

I finished my first toe-up Sock Candy sock last night. Much to my disappointment, the leg is HUGE. So, today I ripped out the top two inches which was where I ribbed. I then went down a needle size, decreased 7 stitches and knit much tighter. Still too big. I am planning on ripping it again, but I need a break from dealing with it. I think I will rip out the whole leg and decrease at the ankle. After I finished it the second time and tried it on, I decided that the whole leg is too big, not just the top of the leg. Live and learn, right? This is why I still have not cast on for my STR club pattern. Lots of people have had trouble with it, so I want to be able to do a basic toe-up pattern before attempting a difficult one.

Last night I spent about two hours in Borders looking through knitting books. I saw the new No Sheep for You by Amy Singer. I liked it. Very good information on all kinds of yarn. I also saw the DominiKNITrix book. Although I like the premise of it and there was excellent instruction for beginners, the patterns really didn't speak to me. I was looking for Last Minute Knitted Gifts because I really like the chevron scarf that everyone is making. But, they didn't have it. I ended up taking home Suss Cousins book on knitting for the home. I fell in love with this book. My friend is getting married in Key West in October and I am thinking of making the beautiful book for her guest book. I also think she would like the place mats.

Borders was having a special night for educators and all teachers got 25% off. When I checked out I was asked if I was an educator and I said, "I am a social worker" and the woman looked at me for a moment and said "close enough" with a smile. Works for me! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Snow, Irish Oatmeal, and a FO

Happy St Patrick's Day! I celebrated by eating some Irish oatmeal for breakfast after spending two hours digging out from this ridiculous snowstorm. We got about a foot. I have big knitting plans for the rest of the day. Warm beverages, blankets, wool and DVR. Perfection! :)

OK, so I finally have pictures of my finished felted hat to share.

I got the pattern from the class and I'm not really sure where it is from. But, I had intended to knit up a cloche style hat. Picture 1920's style with the brim that kind of flares out. It took two skeins of manos and I had to start on the third skein while I was on the decreases. Well, the hat ended up waaay too long and after the fact I realized that their was no shaping for the brim, so it probably wouldn't flare out the way I had anticipated. Plus, when I put it on pre-felted it was past my shoulders. I probably could have ripped back and did the decreases with the second skein and avoided buying the third skein. Manos is pricey. Although I LOVE it!

After felting, I put it over an upside down mixing bowl to keep its shape. It took several days to dry on the outside and about a week for the inside. I flipped up the brim because it was waaaay too long.

The second day of the class was beading and embroidery. It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do. I finally decided to do blanket stitch around the brim to make it stand out a little bit. Then I did little flowers with yarn and beads. It is a very, very warm hat. I wore it all weekend at Lake Placid when we went away in January. That was before I did all of the embroidery, so not quite as pretty but still very functional.

As usual, the lighting isn't the best but the colors are truer in the second pic.

I finished knitting the Fiber Trends Gelato Bag and felted it. I haven't yet lined it and put on the pretty button. Here is the picture of it pre-felted (remote control for size reference).

I made the handles longer than the pattern stated on the advice of my classmates. They had theirs' finished and wished their handles were longer. There are benefits to being a slower knitter! It is a fun little pattern and the next time I would use a cheaper wool like Cascade 220 or even Paton's. Some people in class used Paton's to make their second, third, fourth, and fifth bags. Yes, one woman had done five and I hadn't even started the handles on my first one. Anyhoo, I used a strand of Cascade Pastaza with a strand of some kind of tweed. I can't remember which one. But I didn't really like the feel of the Pastaza. I'm looking forward to seeing it finished and nervous about doing the lining. My mom is helping me with another sewing project next weekend and I think I will wait until I feel a little more comfortable with sewing before tackling this one.

Did you read the Yarn Harlot's blog (March 16th entry) about her Socks That Rock Club sock? It is hysterical. I am also in the club and was thinking of doing a basic pattern instead of the free patttern. There has been a lot of talk about how hard the patterm is, but Stephanie has inspired me and now I want to knit the pattern. I can't wait until my husband asks what I am knitting! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I feel stuck. Every area of my life. Well, most every area. Stuck.

Work. I am a social worker and have been working in social work since 1998. I typically choose jobs and populations that are challenging and often crisis-driven. I'm tired. Nearly ten years of challenge and crisis. Very, very tired. Without sounding too cocky, I am good at what I do and take great pride in my work. This perhaps is also my greatest downfall. My boss's boss told me several times last week that they basically don't listen to me when I say I need help because they know I am so competent. See what I mean? My greatest downfall. He also said that because I work so hard it allows the people around me to work less hard. He is one of those people that has to work less hard because I work so hard. Additionally, I work in residential services. So, I work a lot of holidays, two evenings per week, and one weekend day. I'm also getting tired of my variable schedule. I have to be part of an on-call system that I hate. When I moved into this job a little over a year ago, this position was supposed to grow into a more administrative position and it hasn't. I feel like I need to say good bye to social work. It feels like a death. I love and hate the field all at the same time. It is all I have ever done and I hold a masters degree in social work and I am good at it. But, it is no longer healthy for me.

Marriage and Family. My husband and I met nearly nine years ago and we have been married for two and a half years. We moved in together after one year of dating and for all intents and purposes we might as well have been married at that time too. Almost two years ago we decided that we wanted to have children in the near future. Just over a year ago I moved to a less stressful job (still within social work) with hours different from my husband's hours. Our intention was to need very little child care and my mother was happy to assist with this. Last autumn we "actively" started trying to conceive. Seven cycles later and still no baby. The conclusion of this cycle really upset me. Really. I'm beginning to wonder if it will happen for us. I'm beginning to think about fertility treatments and adoption. Questioning what is right for us. I have concluded that my career path is one of the problems.

Creativity. I want to be an artist. I want to create. I want to write. I want to surround myself in beautiful things and beautiful thoughts. I want to open a yarn store. I want to get an MFA in writing. I want to have the energy to do these things and I feel like the stress of work often prevents me from doing the things I really love.

Money. I am going to sit down and figure out what our fixed expenses are and how much money we have to bring in to maintain our basic expenses. Then, I want to start elminiating the extras. I want to pay off whatever is extraneous and determine how much money I absoultly need to bring in to maintain the lifestyle we want. Then, I want to re-focus my effort and energy on creating. Creating the book that has been doing cart-wheels in my brain. Creating a healthier, happy life for myself and my husband. Creating the space that I want my house to be. Creating the life that we so much want to parent. Creating the business that will support my need to create with fiber. Creating a lifestyle that will allow me to spend every moment I can with our child and not resent my job while my baby is in day care.

Reality. I know this won't all happen overnight. I am thinking that I may need to give myself a six month or one year time frame to make this happen. I know my husband also needs to change jobs--he is in a similar boat. We are pursueing some state jobs for him which will provide for our family the excellent benefits that my job now provides. I do, at times, love social work. I would like to continue to work one day a week, on my terms, in the field. This would also provide a set amount of income to count on while I work on some variable, creative sources of income. Or, hopefully, the one day a week I get to spend with adults while I am a SAHM.

Thank you for listening, if you made it this far. I think I needed to get it out, to sort it out, to plan, to help me commit to what I know is right.