Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Top Ten Reasons I've Been Absent Forfreakingever

Post idea shamelessly stolen from KnittingJones, a really neat knitigator type specializing in family law, and who was also gone from blogdom for way less time than I. D'oh. In no particular order...

10. My beloved has gone back to school. This. Is. HUGE. He is doing SO well!! He actually started last January, but this semester is considerably harder/more intensive than last. His school operates on trimesters, which I'm still not accustomed to, so classes tend to be longer & a wee bit more demanding (at least in my opinion, anyway). He's delcared his major, which has a longer, more official name, but basically boils down to Music Education. On top of school, homework, practice, and learning multiple new instruments (flute this week, who knows what's next), he's also holding down two jobs, plus still occasionally playing in a couple different bands. The boy just amazes me. As for my part, I've been getting up before dawn every day to make his lunch & see him off, which may not sound like much, but omg, I'm a night person! It's hard to crawl out of bed at that hour! I've also been fussing with numbers, trying to make sure I can still buy groceries every month after the bills are paid. This is a tricky thing. Given that my sweetie's school is 35 miles away, and one job is 35 miles away, and that he has to come back into our town after morning classes to work job #1, & then leave town again in the afternoon to work job #2, well...he's driving about 560 miles a week, give or take. That's a little more than a tank & a half of gas each week, and at $40 or so per fill-up, it's REALLY sucking the money out of our accounts. Unfortunately, this is the only way to juggle work & school for him, so it's a necessary evil, but it suuure sucks when it's time to pay bills! As a result, yarn buying for me has come to a complete halt too. I'm not complaining, though...it's hard as heck, and SO BLOODY STRESSFUL, but oooooooh, is it WORTH it!!! We only have a couple years of this to get through, and then he'll get his degree, and a job that he actually enjoys (well, he enjoys one job, but the main one rather bites), and then I'll have my tiny little farm! Yay!!

9. I've rediscovered cooking. Summers & cooking don't really go together for me, because I rarely turn on the air conditioner, and any sort of cooking winds up making the kitchen *so* hot. It's just not fun if you're gonna roast while you're doing it. However, the weather has taken a rather glorious turn lately, what with autumn arriving & all, and I am really jazzed for all the good autumnal foods, like beef stew & muffins & pumpkin pie & roast chickens & such. Besides, the better I do in the kitchen, the happier my husband is, given that most things wind up in his lunchbox eventually.

8. Christmas knitting. Yes, I started some time ago, and even finished a silly hat for my ma. Nothing exciting, but it doesn't need to be. It just needs to keep her ears from falling off during chores in January. It's made from a skein & a half of KnitPicks Cadena, which is just Sierra, renamed & with more colours. The colour I used is called Peat, and really, I like this yarn. It's pretty bulky, which makes for quick knits, and it's got a hefty dose of alpaca, which should help keep her head from freezing to death.

Also for my ma, Plum Tree Socks.Mountain Colours Bearfoot, Moose Creek colourway, more brown/less purple in reality. My photography skillz are questionable at best. Size 1.5 KnitPicks dpns, which I adore beyond all reason. I'm actually past the gusset decreases on these, but this is the most recent photo I've got of them. Mother's made it quite clear that she expects at least one pair of socks for Christmas this year, and probably every year from here on out. Fortunately for me, her feets are exactly the same size as mine, so it's not too hard to get the length right.

For my dad, we have the uber-geek Binary scarf.KnitPicks Swish Superwash, which rocks, in black & green. I hand-dyed the green myself, and it turned out rather nicely, if I do say so. The binary code says "geek" every four lines, on the front & the back. I love it. My dad actually reads binary, given the nature of his work & the extent of his geekdom, and I'm betting more than a couple guys at his office do too, so I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction on Christmas. It's the first thing I've ever knit for my dad...he's not really a knitted item kinda guy, but he's been awfully patient about listening to me rattle on about yarn, so I'm betting he'll understand the effort that went into this scarf. Even if he's not fully aware that this is only the second stranded knitting item I've ever done.

For the beloved, a superplain, rather boring hat.My darling is nothing if not predictable. It's in RYC Cashcotton, and it's just a plain stockinette skullcap with a 1x1 rib around the edge, in black, natch. The fabric this yarn makes is quite nice, but I'm not sure my hands like working with it all that much. The cotton content makes it rather unstretchy, and the fact that it's a light DK weight, plus the extreme ginormousness of my sweetie's noggin, all sorta adds up to slightly unhappy hands. It's worth it in the end, though. I'm just working on it in small doses, so as not to get too annoyed with it.

In addition to all these projects, I also have the Placed Cable Aran sweater from the latest Interweave Knits magazine on the needles, in KP Shamrock, Fitzpatrick colourway. This is for my mom, who probably won't remember picking it out of the magazine & saying how cute it was. Her memory is worse than mine, which is a frightening thought. I'm about 7 or 8 inches into the front, and I do like how this yarn is working up--very tweedy & pretty. I'd love to have a sweater's worth in the Dougherty colour (green, of course). The best thing was the cheep factor...the whole sweater cost about $37, which is pretty darn cool, iffn you ask me. Which you didn't, but it's my blog, so there.

Not to leave the weasels out, each kid is also going to receive a pair of socks this Christmas. Anne very generously gave me the perfect sock yarn in a recent swap (plus a HUGE amount of killer good chocolate)(thanks, Anne!!) for my boys, though I can't quite decide which kid gets that particular pair. I've not started the boy sockies yet, but it will be interesting when I do. Since I homeschool, they're with me all. the. time. I'll have to wake up an hour earlier than usual every day so that I can work on them before the kids wake up. Fortunately, the weasels are *really* appreciative of hand knitted items, and really make quite a fuss about anything I make, so it's sooo worth the extra loss of sleep.

Once I'm done with aaaaall of that Christmas knitting, if there's time, I'll make a scarf out of the leftover Cadena from Mom's hat. Don't know what sort of scarf, though...it'd match best if I just did a plain rib, but I don't know if I can stomach *that* much ribbing.

7. Non-Christmas knitting. I finished my Plain Vanilla Sweater (no photo yet), which was a big ol' deal, as I'd not seamed anything before this. Seaming was really tricky, as it's a boucle yarn, so I couldn't see the freaking stitches to save my life. On the brighter side, though, boucle means no one else can see your mistakes, so it all sort of works out in the end. I quite like this sweater...it's soft, comfy, easy fit, matches my pretty new Mustang Sally socks (product of another sock swap)(thanks Nicole!!), and the best part by far--it cost $14. Seriously.

I'm also working on the Hourglass Sweater in burgundy Malabrigo ('scuse me whilst I drool a moment), my second Clapotis in Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, Safari colourway (LOVE this yarn!!), and the infamous Lizard Ridge. I've finished five squares thus far (only four pictured, and all rolled up into purty little tubes), and ooooh, lawdy, is it an addictive knit! Short rows are just all kinds of fun, and I do adore Noro & all the freaky colour combinations.

I've also finished who knows how many socks & other items this summer, but that's all for another post. This one's long enough as it is.

6. Homeschooling. I've been trying so very hard to get back on track with the weasels, and I have to admit that I'm failing miserably. Their education is scattershot to begin with, and I'm not getting much better, either. This is something that I truly cannot afford to mess up, and that weighs heavily on me.

5. Meeting incredibly cool new people. I was lucky enough to join some kickass knittyheads on a camping trip this summer, and it was such a great time! Elizabeth, Kathy, Seiding, Criosa, Pumpkinseed (blogless, sadly) & I all met up in southern Wisconsin for a fabulous weekend of knitting, yapping, laughing, and marvelling at Elizabeth's amazing organizational abilities. I had more fun than should legally be allowed, and I cannot wait for next year!

4. Stitches Midwest. There aren't words to describe it. I came home, of course, with a near epic haul of yarny goodness, and had a great time at the knittyhead meet-up at lunch. Shanelle joined me again this year, and it was wonderful. There was also a smaller, but no less detrimental to the budget, fiber fest in Crystal Lake a few weeks prior to Stitches. Yep, I got a pretty great haul there too. I'm just rolling in the fiber bliss right now.

3. Ravelry. Again, there aren't words to describe the awesomeness that is Ravelry. Casey & Jess are gods among men (well, Jess is a woman, but whatever). It's a massive timesuck, which can be a problem at times, but oooooh, so COOL!! I'm CelticCoyote on there, iffn ya wanna poke around at my (rather extensive) queue.

2. Baseball. I spent the first half of the summer juggling baseball games, because each kid was in a different league. Conveniently, both kids often wound up playing at the exact same times, on completely different fields. There was much running from point A to point B, and considerable guilt on my part that I couldn't be in two places at once. Both weasels had a blast, though, and can't wait for next season. Recently, the baseball has been of the vintage variety (1859 rules, uniforms, gear, lingo, everything). I adore vintage baseball, and really, there's no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than knitting on the sidelines of a sod field, watching the Regulators stomp the Ganymedes or Plowboys or Marauders. Good times.

1. Inertia. The more I don't blog, the more I don't blog. There's just so much to say that it's overwhelming...where to begin? Top ten lists are handy for that, though my loquatious nature does sorta stretch it out a wee bit. Heh. Anyway, hope to change that, and all that optimism. It's cooling off, and next week promises to be about twenty degrees cooler than this week, so I expect to be inside a bit more then. I've spent nearly every single day this summer at the park with the boys. It's been great fun, and the weasels have certainly enjoyed it, but I look fondly forward to a day when I can just kick 'em out the back door into a real yard, and I can blog from my own porch (because my lofty dreams involve wireless laptops and other fun toys). Thanks to my darling beloved, that day may yet come. Yay!


Christine said...

You're a good sport. This is a challenging and squeezing time for your family, but you are all healthy and together and moving toward a very good goal. Count me as one of the cheerleaders at your sideline yelling, "Go guys, go! Keep it up! You're getting there!"

Christine said...

And kudos for getting a nice jump start on your Christmas knitting. Good stuff.

KathyMarie said...

Welcome back to blogville. You were missed. :)

Kerrie said...

So cool Heather!! Congratulations on all the good stuff going on for your family. I'm going to email you again. :-)

Anonymous said...

I would be very happy if you come to swap gift with us!
have a nice day!
Mama from France
Swap gift communauty and friends

Kristin said...

When you get your swatch knitted up in the shamrock will you post a picture of it? I would really like to see how it looks as a fabric and not just in a skein. Thanks so much!

Sue, aka seiding said...

Nudge, nudge. Keep on posting!

Dang, I had successfully resisted any urge to make the Lizard Ridge until I saw your pretty little squares there. Why'd you go and post a thing like that? :P

Heather said...

Bwahaha!! Come over to the dark side, Seiding...it's niiiice over here... :-D They're so easy, and so fast, and so bloody satisfying! Good for the budget, too, since you can just buy one skein now & then, rather than all at once thanks to dyelotting. Love you, Noro!

Kristin, keep checking in...I've got a photo of the back of my sweater for ya (just gotta get it in a semi-coherent post!).

Kerrie, you are a dear, dear friend, and I don't deserve you. :-) I owe you about a dozen emails...

Kathy & Christine, you guys have no idea how much your support means to me. Seriously. This is a TOUGH time, and it's comforting to know that not only have others gone through similar, but that I've got my own personal cheering section. Y'all rock. :-D

On a completely unrelated note, how weird is it that I have to cough up the word verification to post a comment on my own freaking blog? :-P