Saturday, November 22, 2014

A VERY Big Day

I am sort of tempted to tell you that I cleaned the sewing room today, but since that seems to imply that either the sewing room should look at least somewhat cleaner OR, as is usually the case in my world, that I have just misplaced a bunch of things that I will spend hours looking for in about 6 months, that would (hopefully) be inaccurate.  Maybe the appropriate thing to say is that I have achieved a new level of personal growth, because I am donating crafting books and magazines to the library.

When you have recovered from the shock, let me say that it started with this:
I had gone into the sewing room to look for a book, and ran across the Christmas quilting book, which is the misguided source of the disastrous folded-ornament attempt to make the ornaments on the cover of the book.  I am generally a very big fan of books and usually find them quite friendly, but there are a few bad apples in every society, and this one insists on taunting me with the cover picture that in no way actually matches the written instructions for that project.  Lest it corrupt any of the other sewing books into such devious behavior, I thought it time for the willful miscreant to find a new home.

It's very hard for me to part with books in general, but especially crafting books, so feeling invigorated by the decision to donate one, I found found a couple more books and two magazines that I just wasn't interested in any longer.

THEN things got interesting.  Many years ago, I had subscribed to Threads magazine.  It is a wonderful magazine, and though it was perhaps (and still is in some cases) way over my head, I always enjoyed reading it.  However, after a few years I decided to stop my subscription and just reread the issues I already had whenever I got the urge.  And seven years later, it hasn't happened.  So, in an act of maturity that I must have borrowed from someone else, I decided to donate them ALL.  And on a high from that:
I went a little declutter crazy!  Or sane, depending on how you want to look at it.  If these had all come from the same place, I would actually have an entirely empty shelf to show for my efforts.  I don't, of course, but it's STILL very exciting. 

For the last couple months, I have been trying to sort through all the non-crafting bookshelves in the house, and after today's purge
I'm going to need a third box.  A third box!  I was on a roll!  I was at least flirting with moderation--right until this newly-found moderate inner voice had the nerve to think, "Wow, you know I really already have a lot of sweaters....." at which point we ceased all communications and have gone our separate ways.  Some people always have to take everything just a little bit too far...........

Friday, November 21, 2014

2 More

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes.  Apparently, they worked, because I was feeling better by Wednesday.  And, I was able to put my time on Tuesday to good use--finishing a beaded scarf.  I'm blocking it with a few others today:
Theo is sulking because I won't let him lay on them,
and snatched this
out from under him before he could fur it up.  I liked the look of the table runner as it is so much that I decided to not quilt and bind it, so I just sewed a backing on with the right sides together, turned it right side out, and then edge-stitched it with the gold thread I used for the lower leaf.  I am REALLY pleased with how it turned out--in fact, I think I need to make at least one more so we get to keep one.

The cold is hanging on, 
 and these have been hanging off the roof for a week on the north side of the house.  I think it was finally supposed to get above freezing today, but they're predicting freezing rain tonight and more snow this weekend.  Needless to say, I haven't been walking outside at all.  I'm really disappointed in our subdivision--I'd say less than half of the homeowners bothered to shovel their sidewalks.  We live close to a junior high, and kids do walk through the neighborhood, so even if our neighbors are the sort of people who don't think about others getting hurt, they SHOULD think of how fast an insurance company could sue them for any medical bills if anyone did slip.  Our insurance has sent me letters TWICE asking who they could sue to recoup the small amount they have had to pay for me--they'd be all over someone for an injury requiring surgery. 

If we are a bit house-bound this weekend,
I've already got another table runner started.  And if I can get Theo off the table long enough, I could cut out a new sewing project which would give the fabric-used tally a nice little boost.  I have given up on using up 100 yards, but if I could get myself off the table runner kick, I could perhaps get to 65 yards....I wonder how much I would need to use before the sewing room would look significantly less cluttered.......Maybe some bulky yarn projects and some fleece sewing could do it..............

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold

Boise has been setting records for low temperatures this week, which isn't quite as bad as it sounds.  Most of the windows in our house are covered with really nice blinds, and any doubts I had about them keeping the house slightly warmer have been dispelled by:
frost on the inside of the windows with drawn blinds.  This is good to know, because in a few years I am going to have to address the fact that no matter how expensive or well made blinds might be, the strings that operate them are all cheap pieces of junk with the sole purpose of getting twisted and breaking.  I don't know if they can be restrung or if I'll have to buy new blinds entirely--I thought I'd save looking into those fun options for when I absolutely have to.  In the meantime, I am keeping the blinds drawn against the balmy 15 degrees we're enjoying now, and the record-breaking 3 degrees overnight.

On the one hand, as a knitter, this sort of weather really makes my obsession hobby look really, really practical.  We live in the northern part of the US, and sweaters are not only [sometimes] fun to make, but completely and totally practical.  The household overabundance of sweaters and wool socks officially lowers our heating bill......even if for no other reason than because Andy is an easy-going man who leaves the thermostat programming up to the one with the wool obsession and I will take any excuse to explain a 10-year supply of yarn.

On the other hand, the reason we call the icky, nasty, feel-lousy germ-fests with no actual cure "colds" is that they tend to occur in cold weather.  Probably best, in all honesty, because "getting the warms" sounds like a fatal tropical disease.  I spent Sunday morning working on a new table runner design,
and by Sunday night at 6:00 I was in bed feeling too awful to even knit.  I know!  I have knit when coming out of anesthesia after surgery, but I just crawled into bed and didn't even dream about yarn.

Thankfully, yesterday I could at least knit, and today am functioning pretty well on Dayquil and tomorrow's high is supposed to reach all the way to 33 degrees.  Whew!  Heat wave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Snow Days!

Did I mention we were picking tomatoes as late as Sunday?  We finally planted the garlic last weekend because it just hadn't been cold enough any earlier.  Our historical frost date is October 10, but with rising temperatures, it's been getting later and later, but this was definitely the latest.  Then Thursday
and Friday,
we received Idaho's new record snowfall for November. Pretty, but Theo was really sulky:
He and Calisto have been hunting voles in the backyard every day, and in spite of being a long-haired cat with hair between his toes specifically FOR walking in the snow, he has absolutely no intention of going near the stuff.  Instead,
he decided to "help" me embroider a lace ornament.  Luckily I got the machine stopped before a cat laying on the embroidery hoop messed it up, and it did free up my crating table, so in a desperate attempt to grab some fabric yardage before the year is up because Christmas is coming soon, I took the 4 yards of  iridescent tulle netting I'd also snagged in Ontario, cut it into roughly 3.5-inch strips, set the ruffler to the very highest setting,
 which made little tulle rosettes.  I've found it's best to add another layer of stitching after gathering for additional strength, then taking some poinsettia bouquets I found at the dollar store,
I made little poinsettia rosettes to be placed on the tree.  
As this is a new idea, I'm not really sure how these will work on the tree, or if it would be best to have them easy to take apart for storage, so making yet another attempt to master the glue gun, I got 7 rosettes glued
and two glue burns--making it one of my lousiest attempts ever.  I'm thinking maybe they should just be pinned on.........

Theo finally had to get up for a snack,
so I was able to finish the ornament after several hours of cat-napping.  (Don't we use that term to mean a QUICK nap????  How did THAT come about?)

Today will be another indoor day as, while it looks beautiful,
 it was a spectacular 1 degree when I woke up and is not expected to be above 25 as a high for today.
We don't actually plow roads in Boise--we sand roads and put a de-icer on them, which works for some things but not for heavy snows.  Today the ridges formed in the snow by cars trying to get through the snow will have frozen solid, making driving really, REALLY interesting, so we're staying home today.  Let's see, what would use up a whole bunch of fabric quickly? what gifts do I need to work on today.....?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

100!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or probably 100.5

Because it had been hanging around for a few years, I thought it would be nice to finish the mitten garland for project number 100, and depending on how one wants to look at it, it was.  All the mittens are attached to the garland,
 but I'm going to need some more mittens:
The intent was there, but I don't think it really counts as "finished" yet, since "finished" usually means "not requiring any more effort."

So, that left it until today for,
a finished table runner!!!!!  As I ended up using the second piece as the backing, there's not going to be a second one right now.   I'm a bit tired of ribbon right now:
Theo, on the other hand, is not:
Winter arrived here yesterday, which is also known around here as "humans entertaining the kitties" season.  Tonight after helping me with the ribbon, he tried helping me with the blog,
 then moved on to "helping" me with the leaf table runner
just in case I was hoping to be able to do anything on it tonight.  Cat owners staff are more prone to drinking, right?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Did NOT Buy Yarn Today!!!!!!!!!!!

But it was a close thing--believe me. 

As I'm taking a break from Cold Sheeping, there really isn't a reason for me NOT to buy yarn.......well, except for the really, really, REALLY massive yarn stash that is why I started Cold Sheeping in the first place.  And the fact that I literally have no more room in the craft room.  Two tubs are outside the door right now so I can get at some of my other stuff, and using up 52 balls of yarn and 46 yards of fabric just hasn't freed up as much space as I had hoped.  (To be fair, the 22 yards for pajamas was fabric I purchased at the end of last year's spending ban and making 4 sets of pajamas meant I didn't ever have to find a place FOR that 22 yards of fabric, and 11 of the balls of yarn have been bought and used since I stepped off my sheep in September, but that's another story......)

Yesterday I received an email about discounted sock yarn.  Discounted. Sock. Yarn.  And I'm off the sheep........But I resisted.  I even deleted the email.  But after a 2 mile walk today and physical therapy, my hip was hurting and I was frustrated and feeling more than a little sorry for myself, so I went BACK to the website (like I'd have forgotten who had sock yarn at a 60% discount) and had almost justified a big new order of yarn.  Luckily, I got derailed by looking for some nice tweed yarn for this sweater, which luckily meant I had to dig through my queue to find the link to the pattern, which reminded me of all the sweaters I have yarn for, which reminded me of all the sweaters I have already started, which--after I recovered from the shock--convinced me to turn the computer off and go back to my sock.  'Cause when that 230 yards is used up, I'll have so much more room.......................:)

Yes, But Only If You Do It MY Way??????

So, one of the reasons I have been working on gifts is obviously that Christmas is coming, and in the past one of my favorite parts of the holidays is a girl's Secret Santa exchange.  We get assigned names, have two get-togethers where we bring gifts for our person, and then on the second night, the person tries to guess.  Many of these ladies are good friends, and I love either making things I think they will like or finding little things to buy them.  All fun, right?

Think again.

A few years ago, one of the ladies had suggested that we try exchanging things we already had.  I thought this sounded fine in theory, but when it came down to it, I didn't think it actually worked, and rather than giving someone something that I didn't want, I made gifts for my person because it was someone I really wanted to do something special for.  I think most of us shared my view, and we went back to just using the $15 spending limit last year.

The email went out last week to see who wanted to participate, who was interested in hosting, and whether we wanted to do dinner.  The person who had suggested the re-gifting thing said "we'd strayed far from" re-gifting in the last couple years and that she'd socialize but couldn't bring herself to participate in the giving or receiving of gifts.  While I can understand (and fully support) efforts to minimize "stuff," have the manners to not dump on something you were just invited to do.  Seriously--a simple "I'll socialize but count me out on the gift exchange" would have done.  Another person did exactly that--all good.  Tonight there was ANOTHER response saying another person would only participate in the exchange if the gifts were re-gifting or homemade.  Is it just me, or is it really rude to tell someone you'll only participate in something they've invited you to if they do it your way?  If you want to set the rules, host your own damn party. 

I know--this sort of thing has actually become pretty standard behavior as of late.  The two prior holidays on Ravelry, I created a Holiday Basket Dash for the Stashdown group, using holiday songs to come up with TWENTY-SIX different categories.  Twenty-six.  Last year, I actually received a complaint from one of the members saying there weren't enough choices.  TWENTY-SIX CATEGORIES, including one SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO incredibly restrictive as "make your favorite pattern."  As I couldn't ever bring myself to say anything other than "make your own damn list then," I never responded.  And I don't miss moderating, because from the moment I created the Cold Sheeping thread, I was inundated with requests for exemptions and complaints that this or that shouldn't count against the sheep and on and on and on and on.  FOR YEARS.  Part of me always wanted to ask "If you didn't like it, why did you join???????????" but of course, I didn't.  The main thing was always to have fun and make it a fun place, but stepping away from that has made knitting a more fun place for ME.

Has anyone else been running in to problems like this? 

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Attempting" Finishing Friday

 Having reached 99 projects with just under 2 months to go, last night seemed like the perfect time to start a really time-consuming project, so
I have started a new set of Christmas pillowcases--for next year, obviously.  I'm stupidly optimistic, but not completely insane.  There is still this
 which is progressing, but since most of it is outlining, it gets a bit boring. 

Today I got to the sewing room early, but not as early as some,
and for a while, we were doing fine.  When I cut out the fabric for the two ribbon bags, I actually cut enough fabric for FOUR, but thought the other two pieces could become table runners.  Starting with the green organza,
I got quite a bit done and stopped to decide if maybe I should just leave it as it is.  Theo votes yes,
though his taste is often as questionable as his views on "helping:"
So I think the white ribbon is out.  And someone is sulking
now that what's left of the ribbon has been rescued.  The hardships this poor kitty faces every day........

Thursday, November 6, 2014

99!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meet finished project number 99:
which is my new favorite project.  THIS time I used organza ribbon for the first stripes, then it made sense to tie it in on the handles as well. I promise this one really is going into the gift bin, honest.  Even if it WOULD make a wonderful project bag for knitting...........

Monday, November 3, 2014

Variety Might Be The Spice of Life....

.....but self-patterning sock yarn could be the candy sprinkles on top. So, as soon as the second pair of socks was finished,
 there I was, casting on for the final pair.
Apparently I've missed self-patterning yarn in stockinette more than I thought I had.  And this has certainly solved my guilt problems over the new sock yarn, as this will be the end of the impulse yarn I grabbed at Joanns.  Or, at least, for now.....