Monday, December 29, 2008

Yardage for 2009

I just totaled my stash yardage. As of today, including Christmas gift yarn and not subtracting yarn used in WIPs*, I have 42,236 yards of yarn. I did adjust the spreadsheet for those skeins of yarn that for some odd reason will not subtract out yarn used on projects. (I have posted about this and I think the threads always get buried because no one ever tracks it or replies. Sigh.) Using the yard to mile calculator, that is 23.997727273 miles. My foal for the year is to get the stash to under 20 miles. I would love to get it down to about 15, but that is probably a little too optimistic.

As I have mentioned before, I am not much of a Knit-a-long person. I did decided to participate in the Stash Knit Down 2009's 52 in 52 projects. It really isn't that you have to complete a project each week, but the goal is to have 52 new finished projects in your project notebook by December 31, 2009. It sounds like a lot, but really, when I started planning it out it went fast.

I am making my own monthly dishcloth club this year. I went through free on-line dishcloth picture patterns and picked one out for each month. This is of course very much like the Monthly Dishcloth Club found on Yahoo groups which I did for awhile, but I think this will work better for me. It is only one pattern a month and although the picture won't be a surprise for me, I know I will like it. (I was never so glad I didn't knit something as I was the month the dishcloth picture was of the 3 crosses. Even though that is my faith I don't like to decorate with religious symbols and using a dishcloth like that would feel sacreligious to me.) The other thing is that I spread the instructions out over 7 days instead of only 5 like the MDC usually did. I need fewer lines of pattern each day for something like that.

I am also going to knit a baby bib a month. At this rate I should really burn through my cotton yarn stash. Also in baby knitting, there are a few sweaters I have my eye on.

I have a number of single skeins of wool or alpaca. I think I will make some more hats. I used to think I had a lot of hats, but the truth is that I don't have nearly as many hats that I like as I thought, and I would like to make a few for charity as well.

Of course I also have my 2009 shawl picked out too. The Large Rectangle in Leaf and Trellis is in my queue with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2009. I hope to knit myself a sweater this year, but I need to finish Mark's sweater before I am allowed to even think about that.

That is where I am at the unofficial beginning of 2009. After all, I do not think I will finish any of my current WIPs prior to Thursday morning.

*This is mostly true. Whole skeins of yarn used for Mark's sweater are being recorded on the project page as they are used, so those are already subtracted out of the totals because I can't keep track of how many balls of yarn I use otherwise. In addition, any partial balls of yarn finished off because I am using them in the log cabin blanket have been subtracted out already.

Christmas Gifts Part 1

If you look at my Ravelry activity right now it probably looks like I just went through and favorited every pattern from the new Mason Dixon Knitting book. I could tell you that is wrong, I only favorited the patterns I really like and want to make someday, but that is pretty much most of the patterns in the book. As you might have guessed, this was a Christmas present:

My sister-in-law gets me good knitting books. A couple years ago she got me a Vogue Stitchionary.

I was also really excited with what my mother-in-law gave me:

Uptown Fibers in Sylvania let me make a wish list to keep on file there, and so I got some beautiful Cascade sock yarn (it is very soft!), Knit Klips to assist with seaming, and some more darning needles because I am always loosing those. The beautiful shawl pin below is from Mark's grandmother:
Next up: I can finally show everything I made for Christmas this year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Case of the Mondays?

For whatever reason I am incredibly cranky right now. Nothing has happened to put me in such a foul mood, but I cannot shake this. It may be that as much as I am trying to clean up the place and make it feel neat, clean, and organized there is just a never ending list of things to do and it makes me feel overwhelmed. Really I am doing pretty good, but underneath the basement stairs there is a mountain of cardboard to be recycled and until that leaves I cannot make much order between boxes that are meant to stay in storage and be placed there and the boxes that actually need unpacked. Maybe I will feel better if I work on finishing that mitten.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Organization Overload

I've been playing around on Ravelry tonight and finally have my queue in good order. For a long time I was just queuing any pattern I liked that I thought I might possibly like to make someday. It was a nice collection, but things got lost. The organization options on the queue improved, but I felt a little overwhelmed with where I should even start. Then a few months ago I noticed that you could actually favorite patterns not just individual finished objects. Now most of my queue is actually residing in the favorite patterns tab, and I only have 5 items in my queue, all of which I have a "due date" on and yarn and pattern in possession. This really make me feel much calmer.

In the past there have been discussions on Stash & Burn and some other places about favorites vs. queue. Finally I have figured out where I stand. I will favorite individual projects any time I want because I love seeing little hearts next to my projects and I imagine other knitters and crocheters feel the same way. Those hearts are compliments really. Patterns that I mark as favorites are kind of an extended queue. The things in my queue are soon to be on my needles. (I believe that organizing my queue was one of my new year's resolutions in January, so technically I have achieved that goal since it is still 2008.) To be completely honest, I'm not sure I really get the favorite option for stash and yarn brands. Perhaps that could work like a wish list or to remember an indie dyer. The favorite designer option is kind of cool, because especially with mittens I do have a few favorite designers and this way I can periodically go check on their designs to see if there is something new that I just have to knit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fun new things

This morning I logged into Ravelry to find a notification message regarding project organization. Now I can make tabs in my notebook (kind of like in forums) for whatever I want. For example, I have a tab for Christmas presents, one for mittens, anther for socks. I like still having all projects on the main tab, but it is really nice to click the socks tab and see what socks I've knit. Casey added another sort option too. This one puts WIPs first, and then the projects are arranged in order of most recently completed instead of happiest first. I love this. I knew you have them organized with most recently completed first, but that put all the WIPs at the bottom, and when you have nearly 150 project entries like I do that can take awhile to get to the bottom of the page to update progress bars. I know not everyone really uses their project and stash sections, but I really do and this helps a lot!

I have also decided that literature has been consicously absent from my life for far too long. What is the point of having a library if I never read my books? I know knitting is a large culprit but so is the internet. In my opinion, the logical solution is to create a reading time in the evening, so now we are instituting reading time every evening after Jeoprody. I would like to read at least a chapter a night, although I guess that really depends on whether the chapters are super long or super short. Our first selection (oh yes, the plan is for Mark and I to take turns reading aloud) is My Antonia by Willa Cather. I just did a quick glance and it looks like the novel is divided into five books, and each book has several relatively short chapters. We may do two chapters a night.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I found my camera card!

As you can see, Amelia was a big help assembling "her" tree.

Will it make it?

I fully expect the Christmas tree to come toppling down any minute.

We put it up the other night finally, and wouldn't you know it, Amelia thinks it is all for her. This comes as no surprise and this is precisely why we didn't put any breakable ornaments on the tree this year. It is actually rally funny to watch her climb the tree and bat at ornaments. Right now she must be playing a game to see now many she can knock off. I count at least three, although I should look under "her" chair and see how many she has stashed there. The red armchair is hers too you see. It makes a lovely place to curl up and nap, and it is really the only furniture that she can crawl underneath and hide.

The "10 Things to do Today" list is history. It is keeping me from finishing my Christmas knitting. My goal today is to finish a mitten. That was also my goal Wednesday when I decided to scrap the to-do list, but it didn't happen. I keep seeing things that would be easy enough to do and I do those things instead of knit. I have my kitchen completely organized now, the TV stand is up and everything is hooked up and relatively untangled there, the living room furniture is arranged, the rug is down, the end tables and coffee table have been cleaned and arranged, the baker's rack is where it belongs with the proper items stored on it, the vanity mirror is reattached, the twin bed downstairs is assembled as is the desk, and (obviously) the Christmas tree is up. I also made rum balls last night. Today I want to make cookie dough for cut-outs and gingerbread men. Actually I should do that now because the dough for those needs to chill and it can do that while I knit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will it ever end?

Today I went back to my parents' house to get some stuff we left there. We received a few things in the mail over the last few days, including ANOTHER BILL for Emergency Room services after Mark's accident 10 1/2 months ago! >:-| I cannot even begin to express how annoyed I am with this. The hospital has been so incompetent with this whole thing. We are receiving the bill because the insurance claim was rejected since they had "incorrect insurance information." They probably tried to bill our car insurance again despite Mark having called half a dozen times now to make sure they have the correct insurance information and send it to Blue Cross/Blue Shield with the correct group number on it. They have previously sent it to the temporary insurance we had in Illinois for the month of June. I'm surprised they haven't tried to bill it under the temporary insurance policy we have since moving back to Ohio. Maybe they did. I just do not understand what is hard about sending the bill to the correct place. So angry and annoyed about this. /end rant

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

While I have a few minutes

I'm trying to squeeze in a post before Mark comes home from work. I think I blog most when I am alone for a period of time, which explains why I did a lot of blogging when I lived on my own in Toledo, and when I lived in Illinois before I got married, and why I am actually blogging again now. When I am around Mark he gets to hear everything and then I've been through it and I don't feel like typing about it. Not that communicating with your spouse is bad thing, but I will admit it can make blogging suffer.

I am doing pretty good with my list today. I need to vacuum, figure out where I want the baker's rack, and then I will be able to unpack the pots and pans because a few of them go on the bottom shelf of the baker's rack.

When I returned from the grocery store today one of the maintenance guys came with an actual drain cleaner person to fix the basement washer drain. I did a load of laundry without any problem, so I think everything will be good with that now. It is really refreshing to live somewhere that actually cares about maintaining their buildings and will hire outside people to do things right if it is beyond what their staff can or should do.

I also have the best setup I've ever had for unloading groceries. Street parking is allowed in front of my building (and it is just a little street back into the complex, so it isn't very busy) and we have our own entrance, so I can pull up and take a couple trips getting the groceries from my trunk directly to my kitchen and then park my car where I actually want it. I can do this on my own, unlike at my last place. It was a real struggle if I didn't have help and sometimes even if I did. Those canvas grocery bags really help too, besides being good for the earth they are so much easier to carry and much less likely to break.

My only complaint today is that I really want to knit and I haven't for days now. There are just so many other things I want to do and that feel kind of urgent to do I haven't had much chance to sit down and relax. I will try to remedy that this evening. This is all I have time for today!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This entry brought to you by Amelia

Seriously, it is.

I was out in the kitchen on the step stool trying to to arrange the mugs and glasses in the cupboard and suddenly the was a warm furry animal up on the stool with me. I kept working for awhile but Miss Amelia made it quite clear that I was going to pick her up. She hasn't been especially cuddly lately but apparently she changed her mind this afternoon. So now I am typing with a sleeping cat curled up on my lap.

It was time for a break anyway. I made my list of ten things to do today and I've accomplished about half of those things. A couple I need Mark to help me with, one was to be here for the cable guy to install the phone and it is 4:25 PM and he hasn't shown up yet, and the other two I just haven't got around to doing. On the plus side, I have done a few things that weren't on the list and a couple of things that came up and just had to be done.

For instance, calling the appliance guys back after they hooked up the new washer and dryer. I put a load of towels in and went upstairs. I could hear the water up here and it just didn't sound right, and sure enough, I went downstairs to find water all over the floor. Now the portion of the basement that the washer and dryer are in is just concrete and there is a drain in the floor that all the water went to so nothing was damaged. This is actually one of the major reasons I wanted them downstairs instead of upstairs. That would have been a lot more disastrous in the hallway closet where the hook-ups are. After I stopped the washer I called the appliance store, they called the guys, called me back and gave me an estimated time they would be back. They were very efficient about the whole thing. Anyway, turns out the drain that the water should go out was plugged up (so not their fault) but they did their best to unplug it for me and suggested I let the apartment office know, which I did, so maintenance should be coming sometime tomorrow probably. I did allow the washer to finish the load then (under careful supervision) and there wasn't a problem again. When everything is checked out and taken care of I will feel a lot better about doing laundry.

Tonight I am making Sausage gravy over biscuits for supper. I know it is really a breakfast thing, but I think it works well for supper too. I'm not really crazy about it, but Mark loves it and the only other time I have ever made it was for him after his first day of law school orientation. It just felt right to make it for supper after his first day on the job.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A loss and some gains

A moment of silence is needed for my dear Foliage hat. As far as I can tell, it fell out of my coat pocket in the mall today. I will check the lost and found at the mall, but I am not hopeful. Maybe someone who needs it will find it and wear it, I could be happy with that. The fortunate thing is the pattern is readily available at and I can buy the yarn and knit another one just like it. I loved that hat too, so I probably will.

This is a very happy home this evening since the Blackhawks game is actually on TV in our viewing area! I think we can see it because we have both Cleveland and Columbus stations here. Even when hockey (Bluejackets) is supposed to be on Fox Sports Ohio in the Cleveland viewing are it wasn't on, so until now we have been out of luck. Right now the Bluejackets are up 1-0, so it would be even better if the Blackhawks scored, but just hearing the United Center horn makes me happy. The hockey is definitely one of those things we miss about Chicago, especially because this year WGN is supposed to carry a bunch of the Blackhawks games and we were so excited because we could still see them, but then the cable here started giving us some weird WGN America instead of the real WGN like we used to have a few years ago.

My major accomplishment today has been organizing the bathroom. It is the only room in the house that is in order, but it is a start!

I am going to have to take a picture of the top shelf in my pantry. Before I left, my mom and I divvied up the canned goods. (Yeah! Power play goal! Sorry, I said I was watching hockey.) My top shelf is very colorful and reminds me of how much we accomplished this summer. It is now 8:30 so it is time for me to get back to unpacking or organizing or something

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Beginning

I decided awhile ago I would begin blogging again once I was settled in wherever we were going to end up. As of today I'm moved. That is not to say anything is in any order, so "settled" might not be the best description but whatever. Actually Mark just went out to pick up a couple things at the store and I really needed a break. I love that the cable was installed yesterday, it means I can type this and have it published.

In the category of major life changes that have occurred since I last made a real entry, the most obvious one is that Mark and I are finally moved into a new place. It is technically an apartment, but we have basement and a large patio and our own entrance, so it is actually more condo-like. We were finally able to leave our temporary residence because Mark passed the bar and very soon after interviewed for and then accepted a job. He starts Monday. (Monday I get to hang around and wait for the cable people to install our phone and wait for our washer and dryer to be delivered.)

Then there are the family additions. In September my parents decided they were ready for a dog, and they brought home Sadie. She is a Lab/Border Collie mix and sometimes I think my entire month of October was spent watching her. Sadie is now about 4 1/2 months old and she is very high energy, very intelligent, and like most puppies she is a little ornery too.

My parents take her for walks a couple times a day, which is how they happened upon our new addition, Amelia. In early November a very friendly little black kitten just would not let my parents pass by without begging them to take her with them. They resisted for a couple days and just left food instead, but when the weather started to get nasty, my mom picked her up and brought her home. I think Mom figured she could be an outside cat, but Mark and I fell in love with her, so now she is here with us. Watching her explore all the new furniture and weave in and out of all our boxes is quite fun. The vet initially told us she was probably about 7 weeks old (that was a week after we adopted her) but yesterday he said he thinks she may be slightly older based on how much weight she gained in the last month.

Everyone keeps asking what I am going to do now. After New Year's and once I feel like I have things in order here I will start looking for a part-time job. I'm not crazy about working full time at this point, but I can keep that as an option too. I don't know how much is really available where we are now. Maybe I'll find some creative talent and start selling things on Etsy. I'm not really sure.