Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Spending Ban Begins Wednesday!

One thing I've learned about myself:  I could be VERY dangerous given enough time to get ready for a "ban" on anything.  Before starting my very first year of Cold Sheeping, I had a last minute order "in case" I ran out of yarn:
There was a pink yarn in there as well, so my "getting ready" involved yarn for FOUR sweaters.  (Though in all fairness, the pink sweater is now my ratty wear-around-the-house sweater, the cream yarn is my favorite wool cardi, and the turquoise is my favorite spring sweater, so at least I shop well under duress). I was thinking of starting my ban on December 1, but that would give me an entire month to get myself into trouble with "preparation," so November 1 it is!

I just placed the Knitpicks order after removing more yarn from it.  I feel pretty good about it--I removed some colors that I thought could be nice and just went with what I am likely to do next year.  No lace weight, no sock yarn--just the ornament yarn.  And now I'm done.   The only thing that might become a problem is white machine embroidery thread because several of the ornaments I want to make next year are stand-alone lace ornaments and they are thread-hogs, but I have other colors as well and if I truly run out of that particular embroidery thread before November 1 of next year, I might make an exception.  Maybe.  I could grab another couple spools before Wednesday, but that would mean breathing in fabric fumes when I am about to embark on a year-long spending ban and I just don't think the end results would be pretty........

I've Had Better Weeks

Wednesday's physical therapy appointment was a bit too much for my back, and then we tried a different sort of end treatment rather than the usual e-stim massage that I can NOW say really helps after treatment.  By Thursday, my back muscles had started spasming, which put me back on full-strength pain medication, round-the-clock doses of valium, which basically knocked me flat for most of the weekend.  Because valium is addictive, Sunday I decided to give the other muscle-relaxer they gave me a shot.  I'd stopped using it because it made me nauseous, but that was after a few days, so I thought one day wouldn't hurt.

Some days I amaze myself with how very wrong I can be. 

Did you know that a drug can leave you nauseous for 24 hours after the dose supposedly runs out?  Yesterday I spent most of the day laying perfectly flat because any movement at all made everything worse.  After a while, I didn't even have the will to knit.  Yes, you read that correctly--I didn't even want to knit.  Needless to say, Andy and Theo were quite worried. 

Thank heavens I woke up this morning feeling weak but better, and I am happy to report that there has been no long-term damage to my knitting obsession.  And so far my back feels pretty good--that was one way to get it some rest. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gearing Up For 2013

Last week, I had run to the fabric store to get a few items that I did actually need, and got sidelined by Christmas fabric being 50-60% off.  Needless to say, some followed me home:
I hesitate to say I need anything in the crafting world, but when I started on Christmas quilts a couple years ago, I did notice that my Christmas fabric stash was composed mostly of a large amount of small amounts.  So, I decided that it might be time to switch my approach and buy bigger amounts of one or two Christmas fabrics a year so I have better options.  This--plus a little extra--is done, and I will be diligently avoiding ANY crafting stores for the rest of the year. 

Which brings me to my next idea:  a year without spending any of my personal allowance on THINGS.  As we all know--I have a HUGE stash of both yarn and fabric, and sometimes I think my cold-sheeping of yarn has driven me to buy non-yarn things I don't need.  Extra buttons, extra stabilizer (though I go through tons of that, so that might not be a good example), books, extra threads--Am I substitute-stashing? 

When we got married, we set it up so Andy and I each get a personal allowance which we can spend in any way we want without any discussions.  Lots of times, we do discuss purchases but that's more of a sharing thing.  It's been my experience that men experience no guilt whatsoever about spending money on their hobbies, but women can feel guilty over even the smallest thing, so it just headed off a lot of problems for us.  And, of course, our buying ban experiments helped us re-think our spending habits in general, but I think the severe stress of the past year has sort of undone things for me, and I am stress-shopping again.  Not a lot, but just enough that I recognize it.  So--do I make 2013 a year of no spending as well?

This will take some planning, and one of the things I've been considering is this:
One of the major reasons I came up with the 365 ornaments in a year idea is because I adore this book.  I plan to knit straight through it.  However, the patterns call for fingering-weight yarn.  My fingering weight stash is composed of:

1.  acrylic yarn for baby sweaters that is mostly in "baby" colors
2.  sock yarn, which I bought to make socks and which I actually want to use to make socks
3.  yarn designated for sweaters

So, I'm thinking about ordering some Palette from Knitpicks.  I'd like the ornaments to be made out of wool, and I'd like some different colors--blues, reds, etc.  However, I put the yarn in my online basket about 3 weeks ago and keep revisiting it, double checking the colors, changing some, removing things.  I want to make sure this is not a "last hurrah" nor an impulse buy, and originally I thought I'd wait until the first of the year.  But after the stress of my father's health and now the returned problems with my back, I'm worried about my emotional state going through the holidays, so if I do the buying ban, I'll start by December 1 at the latest.  I've got a bit of time to think about it--and I think I'll do a spending ban of some length no matter what, but I'm thinking from the state of the craft room that I could REALLY benefit from the 12-month version............

YIKES!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Holiday Basket - Updated

So many people have had so many great ideas to round out the list for all 26 letters that I've updated the list to include many of them: 

“FILL YOUR HOLIDAYS WITH MUSIC” STASHDASH

  1. Find a cute holiday-ish basket that will inspire you to fill it with yarny-goodness
  2. Between November 1 and midnight of December 31, fill it with any combination of the following:
A. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - knit something small (less than 6 inches or thereabout)
B. Frosty the Snowman - knit a snowman of some sort or something with a snowman on it
C. Toyland - make the toy of your choice
D. My Favorite Things - make “warm woolen mittens” in your choice of yarn and size. Mini mittens do count
E. Here Comes Santa Claus - knit a Santa or something with Santa on it
F. A Marshmallow World - spin the fiber of your choice
G. Silver Bells - make a bell or something with a bell motif
H. Jingle Bells - make something (such as an ornament or stocking or whatever) that can have jingle bells attached to it
I. Blue Christmas - make something blue
J. White Christmas - make something white
K. Oh Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) - make an ornament to hang on the tree, or alternatively make a tree
L. We Three Kings - finish 3 WIPS or finish 3 items if you don’t have any WIPs
M. Joy to the World - finish your oldest WIP
N. Christmas in Killarney - make something green
O. Nuttin’ for Christmas - make Grumpy, the Lump of Coal
P. What Child is This? - make something for a baby or child
Q. Twas the Night Before Christmas - make a Christmas stocking, stocking ornament, or socks
R. Christmas Shoes - make a pair of slippers, booties, or socks
S. I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas - make a hippopotamus or other toy (crochet) (knit)
T. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - make something red
U. Good King Wenceslas - make a crown or hat
V. Deck the Halls - make a decoration
W. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - make your favorite pattern
X. Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel - finish eight WIPS or 8 items if you don’t have WIPs
Y. Twelve Days of Christmas - finish twelve WIPS or 12 items if you don’t have WIPs
Z. Ring Out, Wild Bells - finish ALL your WIPS
Bonus Challenge: Knit 6,000 yards of yarn in any way you would like

Ravelry project tag: musicdash

Let the holiday season begin!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Seems My Back Has the "Grouchies"

Andy has been on a business trip this week, so my original plan was a sewing marathon.  But I'm back in physical therapy now, and this week hurts more than last week.  When I was in the emergency room last year, the doctor said that 90% of back pain clears up in 30 days no matter what one does, and the best thing to do when one has back pain is to keep moving.  So, that's what I was doing.  And, being my life, I'd be in that 10% category when that actually makes it worse.  Dang it!

Last week's PT goal was to calm the muscles in my back down, so I was given 4 stretches to do.  This week we've been trying to add strength training to it, and this is where things are getting problematic.  During today's appointment, it still looks like there's no lasting damage, but right now the muscles are very sensitive and get irritated easily.  Sounds like a lot of people I know, to tell the truth.  So, there's been a fair bit of valium, which I thought made sewing a REALLY bad idea, so I'm back to reading and knitting.  I'd be showing you pictures if this weren't a valium moment.  Tomorrow I see the doctor again, which I'm guessing will get me assigned about 2 more weeks of physical therapy, and hopefully over the weekend those muscles can reach a calmer, more happy state.  Too bad they aren't the muscles that knit..................

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Coming Soon: Holiday Music Stashdash

Starting November 1, one of our area radio station kicks in with the Christmas music, so following their in-need-of-a-calendar lead, November 1 kicks off

“FILL YOUR HOLIDAYS WITH MUSIC” STASHDASH

  1. Find a cute holiday-ish basket that will inspire you to fill it with yarny-goodness
  2. Between November 1 and midnight of December 31, fill it with any combination of the following:
A. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - knit something small (less than 6 inches or thereabout)
B. Frosty the Snowman - knit a snowman of some sort or something with a snowman on it
C. Toyland - make the toy of your choice
D. My Favorite Things - make “warm woolen mittens” in your choice of yarn and size. Mini mittens do count
E. Here Comes Santa Claus - knit a Santa or something with Santa on it
F. A Marshmallow World - spin the fiber of your choice
G. Silver Bells - make a bell or something with a bell motif
H. Jingle Bells - make something (such as an ornament or stocking or whatever) that can have jingle bells attached to it
I. Blue Christmas - make something blue
J. White Christmas - make something white
K. Oh Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) - make an ornament to hang on the tree, or alternatively make a tree
L. We Three Kings - finish 3 WIPS or finish 3 items if you don’t have any WIPs
M. Joy to the World - finish your oldest WIP
N. Christmas in Killarney - make something green
O. Nuttin’ for Christmas - make Grumpy, the Lump of Coal
P. What Child is This? - make something for a baby or child
Q. Twas the Night Before Christmas - make a Christmas stocking, stocking ornament, or socks
R. Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel - finish eight WIPS or 8 items if you don’t have WIPs
S. Twelve Days of Christmas - finish twelve WIPS or 12 items if you don’t have WIPs
T. Ring Out, Wild Bells - finish ALL your WIPS

Bonus Challenge: Knit 6,000 yards of yarn in any way you would like

Ravelry project tag: musicdash

Let the holiday season begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

When Valium Strikes a Knitter

*  On Ravelry yesterday, someone suggested making 2013 the Year of Starmore knitting.  This actually struck me as a good idea

*  It occurred to me that it might be fun to write a knitting sequel to Kafka's Metamorphoses where Gregor wakes up to find he has been turned into a moth.  His family is initially okay with keeping him--until he starts eating their sweaters.  Then they squash the daylights out of him and get on with life.

*  Theo is starting to look at me as if I sleep too much during the day

*  The new Knitpicks catalog wasn't even remotely interesting

*  The idea of casting on a sock using size 1 needles when I'm trying desperately to knit up yarn as fast as possible seems to have merit

*  I am considering a 3-month spending ban on my personal account.  This going in to Christmas...........

*  And, most importantly, it's after 2:00 in the afternoon and I haven't done a single thing that my physical therapist would have described as "over-doing it."

A Wish for the Blogsphere Gods

Dear Blog Sphere Gods:

Please let me figure out those "type what you see here to prove you're not a robot" messages even half as fast as the computer spam bots do.

Sincerely,

Toni "I can't read those darn squiggles" Sutton

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chasing Yardage

The brioche scarf is now done:
and with it's 440 yards of yarn, I have now achieved my second-highest yardage in a year with two and a half months to go!  And--even more encouraging in many ways, this yarn is all used up from my stash!  In a fit of madness obsession with variegated yarns, I ordered 4 HANKS of this yarn in either 2006 or 2007.  Call it a "youthful indiscretion," or, if you'd like to include the other 18 hanks of variegated yarns I also acquired around that time, call it "complete idiocy."  I am happy to say that even I came to my senses and realized that variegated lace yarns have never work out for shawls as I hope they will, and it might have taken me about 10,000 yards of lace to learn this, but with my stash, it could have been worse.  Much, MUCH worse. 

Rather than starting another scarf for portable knitting, I opted for:
a new sweater!  I might be obsessed with yardage, but I haven't yet given up on finishing those 12 sweaters by December, and those are size 10.5 needles and bulky weight skeins of only 98 yards and it's a stockinette sweater.  I'm still mostly obsessed with the green fingering-weight sweater, but when I need a break and the hope of finishing a sweater soon, this is a nice change.  Not to mention, this is a bit easier to work with when the muscle relaxers kick in.........

Sometimes Anonymous Commenters Keep Us Honest

I have deleted an earlier post today because an anonymous commenter quite rightly took me to task for it.  I had been really ticked off about a comment on one of my posts that had nothing to do with knitting or my post, but was just a promotion for the commenter's own blog, which is irritating enough, but the blog had nothing whatsoever to do with knitting.  What very understandably chapped my anonymous commenter is that I complained that it was a religious blog.  I can SO understand why that would offend someone, and I would like to apologize to her directly, but that's the problem with anonymous comments--I can't.  So, here I am.  I am apologizing to the knitting internet at large--she was right, I was absolutely wrong, and I wish I could set it straight if I could. 

She correctly asked me if I would have been so angry if it would have been a blog about writing, knitting, another type of religion, or by a liberal, and I would say knitting, no.  Anything else that is divisive--YES.   This is a KNITTING blog.  The knitting world is my safe-haven.  Now that we're only weeks away from the election, Facebook and Pinterest have become only about divisiveness.  Everything else on the internet seems to be about division--this religion over that religion, this political belief over that one.  Here in the knitting world we're not liberals or conservatives, Mormons or Catholics or Muslims or whatever.  We're just knitters.  So, do I still find it offensive that someone would try to promote a religious blog via my knitting blog?  Yes--it's inappropriate.  Call me old-fashioned, but I believe everyone has to find his or her own way to a spiritual belief--or lack of one--and I hate proselytizing  as much as I hate door-to-door salespeople and telemarketers and advertisements.  What I think and believe is up to me, and I do not appreciate anyone pestering me or trying to influence me, and for it to happen on my KNITTING blog was my final straw.  I did NOT mean to insult anyone's religion or beliefs, but I can absolutely understand that is how I came across.

So, Dear Anonymous,

You were right, I was wrong, and I truly apologize. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Weekend of Knitting

Sometimes I find myself wishing for a weekend where all I did was knit.  I need to stop wishing for these things, as thanks to the re-aggravated back problem, that is almost all I have done this weekend.

I knew my back was doing badly, but with all the issues with my father's health, put it on the "back burner" to get seen to.  Monday I was feeling quite proud of myself, having called the spine clinic to set an appointment for Thursday just to see if they could help me get back on track--no pun intended.   Tuesday I walked down to our library (only 3 miles and no hills at all) and ended up hardly able to walk by the time I got home.  The heating pad and I had an affair all day Wednesday, then Thursday I went to my appointment knowing that I would probably get evaluated then referred to physical therapy--which is exactly what happened.  That's all good, except the back problem exists because my hip turns, and it has been turned for a couple months now and I have not been able to get it turned back myself, so I need a physical therapist to yank me back into alignment.  At that magic moment, most of my pain will go away, and I can get back to my strengthening exercises.  That, however, isn't until Monday.  My extended weekend has involved limited movement, pain pills, books, audio books, movies, muscle relaxers, and lots and lots and lots of knitting:
though unfortunately with fingering weight yarn and size 2 needles, it doesn't look like as much progress as it should.  And, because I needed to remind myself that there are FAR worse problems in life:
another chemo cap!  Which completes another "12" on my list--yay!  I've also been working on the brioche scarf, but it didn't manage to get photographed.  I was close to digging out the new beaded scarf, but with the pain pills AND muscle relaxers, I thought it might be best to stay away from anything even slightly tricky--not to mention tiny, sharp crochet hooks and freakishly aerodynamic beads that would be really painful to crawl around on the carpet retrieving right now. 

Good heavens!  I just realized that I might actually have more common sense when heavily medicated than I do normally....................yikes!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Type A Knitting

It's October 11 and I have knit (or removed) 15,058.85 yards of yarn this year.  This is my fifth year of tracking yardage, and I'm already at my third-highest yardage with just over two and a half months to go.  Finally crossing that 20,000 yard mark might finally be doable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know--this obsession makes me a complete maniac and most people knit to actually get a knitted object.  But THIS knitter lives with a crazy stash, and in order to not look at the size of my stash and get totally nauseous, I keep track of how much yarn I use in a year.  Thus far, I have not achieved S.A.B.L.E. (stash accumulation beyond life expectancy), and if I can knit 20,000 yards each year, I'd have about a 5-year yarn accumulation, which doesn't sound nearly as bad as a 10-15 year supply, which might be slightly more realistic if I ever chose to try realism in my knitting world, which seems unlikely. 

So, I am on a mad quest for yardage, and what am I working on?
Sometimes I think I just try to make things as difficult as possible for myself.........

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Whew! I Needed That!

Vacation is over, but it was wonderful.  For someone who doesn't always even sleep 8 hours, I slept so much the cats thought they'd finally converted me.  I had thought I'd be a crafting machine, but I really wasn't.  I did a lot of exercises for my hip/back, soaks in the hot tub, and just generally didn't bother about getting anything done.  For ME, that was huge.  Not that there aren't a few new things.  A new knitting project bag made from scrap material:
which was intended to have pockets and a loop for running the yarn through, but became very simple when I realized how rusty I was at sewing.  One side of a buttonhole is actually 2 inches long, so obviously the buttonhole sensor foot and I need to spend a bit of time together....

There are some new Christmas ornaments:
though the roses are (A) smaller than I thought they would be, and (B) without actual loops for hangers, but a little thread should take care of that.  I thought I might get a third one on this hooping, but the rose is laid out in such a way that I couldn't get it high enough at the top, so had to stop before it joined itself to the other rose.

There is a new chemo cap:
which leaves me with only one more hat needed to finish that "12,"  which will be number 7 with just 2 1/2 months left.  Yikes!  I actually have 13 "twelves" listed, so my goal now is to finish 12 of them,
which Calisto thinks is an embarrassing cop-out, but no one asked her anyway. 

 Since I'm behind on sweaters, I did work on one of the in-progress sweaters,
 which besides being rather difficult to photograph is an Alice Starmore pattern made with fingering yarn on size TWO needles.  Oh yeah, what could possibly be wrong with THIS plan?

And, because I just wasn't feeling idiotic enough, I dug out the new bead stash:
 and have started a new beaded Ostich Plume scarf:
The yarn is some of my new I'm-cracking-under-the-stress-and-slid-off-my-sheep yarn, so it feels sort of good to be using it rather than trying to cram it into an already-overflowing lace bin, but it neither fits into ANY of the needed "12s" categories, nor will it help me in my Mad Halloween Dash goal to knit up 4,000 yards of yarn.  But there are beads, so it's fun if very, VERY slow..........

And to complete my mini "stay-cation"
I decided to open a bottle of chocolate raspberry wine a friend gave us last year.  Oh my.  It's good, but next time I will know to serve it in thimble-sized glasses.  Very, VERY rich stuff.  No wonder the bottle said to try to use it within 6 months of opening.  If it were just me, it really would take that long.  Andy, of course, will probably have it polished off by next weekend, but at least I got to try some.

Now, back to that pesky real-life stuff...........

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm On Vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dad was released from the hospital Monday, so my mother's part-time residence with us has also ended.  Andy left this morning for a long-planned motorcycle trip, so I have the weekend to myself!!!!!!  I don't think I've ever needed a vacation more.  I flirted briefly with the idea of staying in flannel PJs all day, but that would make getting the mail slightly embarrassing, so I might save that for Sunday...

I have finished the first chemo cap with the new yarn:

have started a new brioche scarf as portable knitting,

and am taking advantage of my free weekend by firing up Jeeves and working on the embroidered napkins again.
 
 Since I'm counting each one as a "decoration," I just finished another 12, and more importantly, I only have 4 more napkins to do and a project will be done and I can quit moving a stack of ironed napkins around the sewing room.  I ironed all of them about 6 weeks ago, and will do close to ANYTHING to not have to iron more than I have to.  My ironing aversion is almost enough to make me understand the 1970s fascination with itchy polyester clothes.  Almost.................