Thursday, January 30, 2014


I'm not sure if I've mentioned the FlyLady before, if I have, sorry for the repeat.  
The FlyLady is one of my heroes.  In preparing to organize my stash, I've started getting rid of things.  Not anything craft related, not yet anyway.  But following the FlyLady's cleaning routines has made a difference is just a short amount of time.  So, here's my FLYing story: 

FLYing refers to Finally Loving Yourself.  By taking the focus off of what I couldn't or didn't get done in a day to allowing only 5-15 min per task on my to do list has made life less stressful.  Yes, the to do list is still long and a bit overwhelming when you look at the whole thing.  But, when I give myself a time limit to work on a specific project, knowing that if I don't finish the project, that I can go at it again tomorrow, has made things less stressful.  It has made me feel productive with less negative self-talk.  I have defined deadlines at work, I don't need to do that to myself with my personal life.  One point she makes is that procrastination is a form of perfectionism.  If something can't be done perfectly, then we put it off, making the job much harder when we do have to deal with it.  I see that in myself, in the way I clean, get my car fixed, even in my knitting.  If a job seems to hard, then I don't do it right away.  That's what the book is about, though, it appears to be a cleaning book. . . 
I first read the book in 2004.  I signed up for daily emails and reminders.  At first it was totally awesome.  I'd come home from work and then look up what tasks had been emailed to me.  It got hectic really quickly.  I lived with my husband and a roommate, who had her own boyfriend who semi lived with us.  I was working two jobs, about 60 hrs or more a week.  I soon lost focus, decided that since I couldn't do it perfectly every day, that I wasn't going to do it at all.  And no, I do not blame the FlyLady for this, she said that my house didn't get dirty in a day, that it wasn't going to get clean overnight.  I expected miracles that involved cleaning fairies and magical spaces that would hold all my stuff.  Once my husband and I moved into our own place I realized what the problem was.  We had to much stuff for the amount of space we had.  Well, we couldn't afford a bigger place so the other option is to get rid of things.  In comes the FlyLady again.  One of her first bits of cleaning advise is to just focus on de-cluttering.  Get rid of the things you don't love and cherish, all the extra stuff is just junk that you have to keep clean and store somewhere.  
Ten years later and I still consider myself a "fly Baby".  I don't have a daily routine down, but what I do have is a good understanding of the work involved in keeping myself sane.  
Check out her website and maybe read her book (though the info you'll need is all on the sight). 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Dishcloth Distraction

I recently went to Wichita Ks, to visit my sister and her family.  It was also my niece's birthday. .   We did go to Heritage Hut, a lovely yarn store, where I found this:

A friend of mine made Stephen West's Boneyard shawl out of this yarn, and ever since I wore her finished shawl, I've wanted some of this yarn.  It was in the clearance section, so I bought all that they had.

I also acquired these:

Thanks to my little sister, whom I blame for the dishcloth distraction, my stash has grown.  She had recently laid out her stash, end to end, and it covered her entire basement floor.  I guess seeing how much yarn she had made her decide that she really didn't need so much of it. . so she gave me a bag of dishcloth cotton.  At first she told me to go through it and just pick out what I wanted.  I picked out two balls, then told her that if she wanted to give me some of it, that she should pick out what to give me.  That's when she went to go get a bag to put it all in. .   When I got back home, I combined my new cotton collection with my current stash.  I started going though the yarn, sorting out full balls from leftovers.  Next thing you know, I knitted these:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why didn't I think of that?

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my SnB Peeps?  Well I do. . .  
I was talking with one of the other Evenstar knit-a-long participants about my problems with the cast on.  Her suggestion was to just cast on nine stitches and join in the round, the hole would be small AND I could use my tail to sew it closed once the shawl was done. .   
The solution was so simple and right in front of me. . .  
Thank God for my knitting support group!

Planning, but no progress

The Evenstar cast-on still alludes me.  I'm going to meet up with my SnB friends tonight, so hopefully I'll have the shawl started tonight.  Since I've had a bit of the "startitus" since attempting to cast-on this shawl, I've made a few dishcloths.  Dishcloths were my way of distracting me from working on my scarf (see previous post).  I have discovered a black hole in my scarf pattern.  I can see the ball of yarn getting smaller and smaller but the scarf seems to be never ending.  I feel as if I'm just knitting and knitting and the thing will never come to an end.  It has all the makings of a non-boring pattern, but this project has become boring. .  My plan, at first, was to keep going until all the yarn was used up, but now I'm thinking that I'll stop once I get to the same place in the color changes as to where the scarf started.  I really want to just give up on this project.  But prevail I must, at least to the next color change.  The scarf is already long enough and planning to cast-off where the color changes, I think, will make it look more uniform and planned out.  
Aside from dishcloths and black holes, I've been focusing on my organization skills.  I still haven't found the right shelving for my stash.  But I have found several options that won't be to expensive.  I've chosen against wire shelving because I'd like my books to be organized with my yarn.  I'd also like to get some nice baskets to hold small balls of yarn, leftovers, and projects that need to have the finishing touches done.  The rest of the yarn, I want to be able to see.  But most importantly, I want to get rid of the dresser and table.  I'd rather have a small desk for the sewing machine (that I never use) and a comfy chair to knit in.  More shelf space, less boxes and baskets of stuff on the floor, overall cleaner crafting area.  The scary thing about this is that I might have to get rid of some of my craft supplies to make this happen.  I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that yet. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Circular cast on = Ugh!

My knitting skills are being tested. . seriously.  I can't get the hang of the cast on needed for the Evenstar shawl. 
During knit night, I started using some spare lace wt. and size 3.25 double points, using some written instructions. . and it wasn't happening.  So when I got home I started looking though videos and I found this:
I then decided that I'd try it with sock weight, making it a bit easier until I got the hang of it.  WRONG!  For some reason, after I finish the first row, my knitting us upside down.  So, I'm going to have to wait until I can sit next one of my SnB peeps, show them what I'm doing, and maybe I'll have a shawl cast on by next week.

This is really bothering me, mostly because I've been playing in my stash and I now have that itchy feeling of startitous, where I really want to start a new project.  But I keep telling myself. . you have a shawl you want to make, evently you will get the cast on and all will be ok.  Also, I'm still working on my foreign correspondents scarf.

So calm down!

Knitting in 2014

Last year my New Year's Resolution was to not purchase any more yarn.  I made it to October-ish. .   My LYS announced that they were closing and everything had to go. .   I made several trips and made it home with some really nice stuff.  Yes, getting expensive yarn at a cheaper price is nice, but the actual shopping for the final few times was not.  I visited the store three times after they made the announcement that they were closing.  Each time was a very depressing shopping trip.  Mostly because I kept thinking, "this will be my last time to come in here."  I used to visit the shop, with no money in my pockets, just for inspiration.  I used to go in just to smell and/or squish some yarn.  And now I don't have that.  Sure, we have a Hobby Lobby and a nice JoAnn's  but there's something about squishing alpaca/silk blend that you can't find at a craft store, or smelling Lamb's pride wool.  Now that I can't visit a yarn store as often as I'd like, I've decided that I needed to display my stash.  Set it up so that I can smell and squish and be inspired by what I already own.  
Here's my current situation: 
the "Craft Table"
the "Yarn Dresser"
Most of my stash is stored large Ziploc bags in the "Yarn Dresser".  The top drawer is full of projects that need to be blocked and the rest is stash.  There is also stash in the plastic tubs next to my dresser.  Obviously, the tubs aren't enough since I'm overflowing with sock yarn.  Also, the yarn dresser just so happens to be a broken dresser.  *sigh*  so I'm looking in to shelving and cute baskets.  Something where I can get rid of the plastic bags and have my yarn where I can see it.  Hopefully that will be all it takes to find my knitting mojo again.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014


My knitting New Year's Resolution for 2014: Knit the Even Star Shawl by Susan Pandorf.  

So far I have a swatch:

The idea for knitting this came from my knitting group, Manhattan SnB.  There were several of us that wanted to knit this.  One of the ladies is an amazing lace knitter and has offered to help each one of us out.  We're going to call her KnttaMama.  Thank Goodness KnittaMama is so willing to be there for each of us!  I'm going to need some serious help.  I've knitted lace before, just not with actual lace weight yarn.  There are also beads involved which I've never used before, *deep breath*, I have also never knit anything round. . not like a hat (in the round) but like a mathematical pi.  KnittaMama has done all of these things, many, many times.  So we're doing a knit-a-long.  I think it will be slow going for me.  The pattern looks complicated and the instructions seem to be all over the place.  I printed the pattern out and it was 19 pages long!!  *le sigh* My goal is to have this completed by Thanksgiving 2014.  I'm so glad I have a great knitting support group to help encourage not only me, but all of us to be better knitters!  I'll post progress pictures as I go along!  

Kitty Needs a Home Update

So a long while back I wrote about a cat that was living under my house.  She was affectionate and seemed very relaxed around me, so I thought she'd make a good pet for someone.  So I started calling around. . I was able to find a no kill shelter near my house (which is surprising since I live out the country) that, if they were able to make room, would take her.  The other condition was that she had to be Leukemia (FeLV) free.  I would compare FeLV in cats to AIDS in humans.  It's the number two cause of death in cats.  So, our goal was to get the cat to a vet.  Here is where things went down hill fast:  I had to trap her. . get her into a pet carrier. . I tried for two weeks, every time I saw her.  She had a towel that she'd slept on, so I put that in the carrier.  Didn't work. . so I started putting the food dish in the carrier.  That sort of worked.  She was scared of the carrier.  I tried being mean and forcing her into the carrier.  That was a mistake.  She is now scared of me. . unless I have food to offer.  So maybe she wouldn't make a good house pet.  I just wish I could get her to a vet, do the FeLV check and get her fixed.  She's a tough kitty, she's lived under my house during the coldest winter I've ever lived through.  And the issue she was having with her eyes seems to have cleared up on it's own.  So she's a fighter, so I'll continue feeding her.  If I can get some updated pictures of her, I'll post some on here.