Saturday, December 30, 2006

resolutions

it's that time of year again. every year we make them, and every year, they get forgotten by about the end of february. i'm not someone who generally makes new year's resolutions, for the simple fact that i never, ever follow through on them. & then i feel guilty, so it's much easier to just avoid the issue altogether & not make any. plus, my past resolutions usually had something to do with weight loss & exercise, and i just can't be bothered with that kind of thing any more - i like eating chocolate, so sue me!
this past year i've felt very lost - mentally, emotionally, creatively. i don't know quite how to explain it, and often can't even put my finger on it, but something's not quite right. looking back over the past few years, a lot has happened - i finished university, moved to a foreign country, broke up a serious relationship, found another (& better!) partner, moved house lots of times, changed jobs even more times, lost my lovely dad to lung cancer, was finally diagnosed with aspergers syndrome, trained for/started/& am now in the process of shutting down my own small business... yikes. that's a lot of life changes to fit into the past six years, so maybe it's normal to feel a bit lost; maybe it's just everything catching up with me. whatever the reason for it, it hasn't been fun - i'm feeling drained of all emotional energy & completely mentally lethargic. i'm fed up with this feeling & want things to change.
i think what i need to do to fight this feeling is restart my creativity. i used to do a lot of artistic things - write, play music, draw, paint, & generally make interesting stuff - now, not so much. i'm still creative in the knitting & spinning sense, but a lot of my artistic energy seems to have disappeared. one idea that i'm toying with is something i heard about via crazy aunt purl called project 365, where you commit to taking one photograph every day for a year. it sounds fairly simple but i think the results could be really interesting - finding one picture that will sum up each day, and using the whole project as a record of that year. it would make me look at my surroundings a lot differently, and compel me to start finding inspiring & beautiful things in my everyday life.
it sounds like an good challenge, and one that might help me rediscover my creativity - not just through the photography, but i'd also need a journal of some kind to keep track of what the pictures are & why i took them, so it would start me writing something again as well.
so, pass me a camera & that chocolate over there... this sounds like a resolution i could get behind!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

small celebrations

my lovely little kitten made it through surgery just fine - everything looks ok & she should heal well. it's still a bit sad to see her little shaved belly but at least it's done & everything will be fine.
as any true knitter would, i celebrated this news by casting on for a new project - the beautiful endpaper mitts by the incredibly talented eunny jang (i'm so jealous of her knitting & designing skills, i can't even tell you - if you've never read her blog, you should, & prepare to be amazed).


endpaper mitts

i'm using rowanspun 4 ply in two colours which i thought were gorgeous ("jade" & the unfortunately named "sludge") but which, it seems, may be slightly too similar in shade to truly bring out the pattern - it's looking very muted so far & the diamond-shaped colourwork is only barely visible. this may be a good thing in the end as this is my first attempt at colourwork, so any (inevitable) mistakes won't be as glaringly obvious as they would have been if the colours had more contrast! it's been a great knit so far, and the pattern is really easy to follow, even if you've never done stranded colourwork before. & i was even able to keep on knitting it after i'd had a couple of glasses of wine, so it should get me through the next few days nicely.
happy christmas, & happy knitting (or however you choose to celebrate your holidays!).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

'tis the season...

... to be broke & stressed, apparently.
it was confirmed today that my wee cat, who has been not very well for the past couple of weeks, has stones in her bladder. she needs surgery sooner rather than later, so she's booked in first thing tomorrow morning for an operation which is fairly serious for a small animal, and which will cost somewhere in the region of £200-300. to add to that, the resident sock appreciator had already planned to spend tomorrow night with family (& complicated family circumstances mean that it's not something she can postpone or cancel) so i'll be left on my own to take the cat to the vet (sans car, so that's always fun), worry all day about how she's doing, & then cope with a restless dog, an unsettled cat (the ill cat's littermate, who always gets upset when he's without her) and a doped-up sick kitty with a bald belly full of stitches. oh, and i just got a cold.
here is what i will not be doing to help me cope with the next couple of days:
1. watching terrible movies while knitting until my hands cramp as an attempt to distract myself from cat-related worries
2. consuming my own body weight in chocolate, ice cream, & wine
3. convincing myself that said chocolate, ice cream, & wine is in fact an extremely healthy meal, but should perhaps be balanced out with the occasional plate of nachos (after all, salsa is a vegetable)
4. reading mystery novels when i can't get to sleep, & then finding myself completely incapable of sleep because a) i'm alone in the house & b) i'm convinced that the slight creak of the heaters cooling down is in fact a murderous sociopath hiding under my floorboards, and the dog snoring in the next room is actually the aforementioned sociopath warming up his chainsaw
5. trying to figure out if i have to sell my sock yarn stash to fund the rather expensive cat operation
should be a fun few days, eh?
& yes, i know that it could be worse, and that other people have more serious worries, and she's "just a cat". but she's just a cat who let me cuddle her during my (many & repeated) bouts of crying-for-no-reason in the year (or two, or three) after my dad died, & she didn't even mind when her fur got a bit damp. & she's just a cat whose ridiculous habit of falling asleep on her face causes her to produce the loudest snores i've ever heard from something so small, & never fails to make me smile. & she's just a cat who loves me so much that her absolute favourite place in the entire world is my lap. & so she will never be "just a cat" to me. (she's the one on the right)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot...

...like i won't finish my one & only piece of christmas knitting! luckily the recipient is understanding of the knitting process, & won't be bemused by a half-finished piece of knitted thing (likely still on the needles) turning up in their christmas parcel. even though i've spent the afternoon watching this...


...& plan to spend the rest of the week in similarly brainless pursuits while knitting furiously, it will still never be done in time. luckily my video collection is sizeable enough to provide a lot of knitting accompaniment (& it's all as embarrassing as the above offering, in case you were wondering). a sneaky preview of the lone christmas knitted thing:


(the fuzziness of the shot wasn't deliberate, but will help with the disguise attempt).
the halls have been decked, and i even got an early present:




last year when we put out the christmas decorations, the relatively new rescue pup got a bit over-enthusiastic in his investigations of all the exciting new things, and shredded my christmas stocking that i had had since childhood (needless to say, i was NOT happy about it). this year, the resident sock appreciator found someone to make me a new one... and this one even has my name on it! (you'll note that it's hanging on the wall, just in case the pup decides to try a repeat performance of last year's antics).
i managed to score some more lucia sock yarn from the posh yarn sale, as an extra gift for the RSA - it's winter, after all, and many more cosy socks will be needed!

and we got this great card from my aunt, found in the collection of unused vintage cards & stationery that my granny had collected over the years - we're still trying to figure out if she sent it to us in the knowledge of the humour we would find in it, or if she just thought it was nice!


hope it's gay... hee hee. (yes, my sense of humour isn't particularly developed).
it's getting christmassy over here... and the RSA is so happy...
(seriously, click on the link - you won't regret it. i'm so lucky that i have someone who loves me enough to let me publicly humiliate them like this...)
happy christmas holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

life is hard; let's go shopping!

this week seems to be a buildup of small annoyances; the kind of things that if they happened one at a time wouldn't be a problem, but when they all happen at once, it's just exhausting. it's been a week of sleep deprivation, sick cats, bad dogs, buses that don't go where they say they do, late trains, rushing about, and rain, rain, rain. the hat kits are off to market again this weekend, along with some new things:


knitting needle bracelets, hopefully to catch the crafty people looking for last-minute xmas gifts for their crafty friends. the hat kits didn't sell at all at the last market so i'm not too hopeful about sales, but i'm still trying to remain vaguely optimistic!
one positive note yesterday was that i was able to pick up some money from a sale of my handspun at K1 Yarns; naturally, i spent it almost immediately. i mean really, could you have resisted this bag, especially if you were in need of cheering up?

it's by red or dead, and is enormous (i'm one of those people who likes to carry waaaay too much stuff with me, so i like a big bag). it's made of a thick, padded cotton jersey material, and is printed with... knitting needles & balls of yarn, with the tangled & trailing yarn ends spelling out "red or dead". seriously - what more could you want?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

elfine... fini!



pattern: elfine socks; free pattern from here
yarn: mama e's sock yarn in colourway "chocolate"
needles: crystal palace bamboo dpns, 2.25mm
modifications: the first & most obvious one is that i used dpns instead of the magic loop technique in which the pattern is written. also, i used a different wrap & turn method for the short row heels, as i found the one in the pattern slightly messy (although, as i previously mentioned, i may have been doing it wrong!). & i used a sewn bind off to finish, as i find that makes a stretchier bound off edge.
they've gone off to lanns this morning in the post so hopefully she'll get them soon - & hopefully she likes them, & they fit... knitting for someone else is so stressful!
also, the new winter knitty is up... i definitely see a pair of these in my future. i love love love this designer's sock patterns - i already have one pair of pomatomi & had been pondering a second pair since they were so satisfying to knit, but i might have to make a pair from her new design first....
as soon as i decide which skein i can bear to use up from my now-vast collection of sock yarn, that is.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

so very tired.


it's been a difficult day. this morning, after several appointments with doctors & specialists & many months of waiting for referrals, i had what may be the first of a series (depending on what today's test shows) of EEGs in an attempt to see what's been going on in my brain. although it was the opinion of the consultant neurologist that the "absences" were more than likely stress-related rather than epileptic, tests are nevertheless being done, which will either show nothing & confirm his opinion, or show nothing & require more tests & more waiting (i'm not quite sure how it will go).
the initial EEG is fairly brief, but involves the use of some techniques which seem to be more or less designed to bring on an "episode" - understandably, since if they could actually catch you in the act (so to speak) then the result would be fairly clear-cut. & it was pretty horrible - not invasive or painful, but lots of strobe lights (not ideal for an autistic person with an aversion to bright lights!) & deep breathing (essentially, self-induced hyperventilation - not ideal for an asthmatic!) which made me feel fairly peculiar.
what with all of that plus a 45 minute bus ride each way, the result is complete & utter exhaustion...
... i'm not even sure i have the energy to knit.

(now that's serious.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

so much sock yarn...

...so little time. the order from blue moon arrived this morning!!


alas, not all the yarn is for me... from left to right: "ruby" for sarah; "red rock canyon" for the resident sock appreciator, plus an extra skein of the same sent by mistake (!); two skeins of "rocktober" for india & lynette; and three for me (!) : "love in idleness", "spinel", and "puck's mischief". in my defense, two of the skeins for me were from a knitty swap, so it's not as bad as it seems. the extra skein of "red rock canyon" was sent in error, instead of a skein of "sapphire" for karen. i've let blue moon know & have heard excellent things about their customer service so hopefully it'll be resolved soon & poor karen won't be sock-yarn-less for long!
now if only i can find the willpower to hand over the other skeins at the knitting meetup this evening, and resist the temptation to steal it all & flee to mexico...

Friday, December 01, 2006

progress report

for lanns: sock number one is complete!


(don't worry - i did put it on my foot for photographic purposes, but it will be washed & blocked before i send it to you!)
the pattern is elfine from anna bell (free here) and the yarn is mama e's sock yarn in "chocolate" on 2.25mm needles. the yarn is delicious to knit with - really soft & sproingy, and a really pretty colourway, although i did find it very slightly splitty when it came to tightening up the figure eight cast on. the pattern was a surprisingly quick knit, especially for a lace sock - it's written rather than charted (& i normally prefer charts for lace work) but it was clear & very easy to follow. i did make a couple of minor alterations to the pattern: it's written for magic loop, but i used dpns, and i used a slightly different wrap-and-turn method for the short row heel as i found the one in the pattern slightly messy (although perhaps i wasn't doing it right!) & preferred the method i normally use.
it's quite a snug-fitting sock to put on so hopefully it will be ok (although i have an abnormally high instep & the sock is very comfortable once it's on so it'll probably be fine). i'm taking a break & working on some plain stockinette toe-ups for myself this weekend, & will work on the second sock next week!