Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Crafting Goals Recap

I set several crafting goals at the beginning of 2016 and since I just posted my 2017 crafting goals earlier this week, I thought I'd update how I did on the 2016 goals.

The Good

Knit 12 Pairs of Socks
I actually knit 17 pairs of socks in 2016, so I definitely exceeded this goal.  I won't bore you with pictures of all of them, but here are a few of my favorites from the year.

Knit 2 Projects with Laceweight Yarn
Yes, I knit the Newfoundland shawl and the Danse Macabre shawl.  You get crappy pics of both of them because they are still in the bag of things that need to be blocked.

Knit 2 Projects with Handspun Yarn
Also successful.  I knit the Quaker Yarnstretcher Boomerang and Traveling Woman, both out of my handspun yarn.  I've actually gotten around to blocking both of these.

Finish Marigold Moroccan
This is a project I started way back in January 2010.  Because it was heavily beaded and I was knitting both halves at the same time, it was a very time intensive project and I only worked on it sporadically until 2016.  It wasn't unpleasant to work on, just required focus and it was slow going because of the beads.  I sat down at the beginning of 2016 and counted the remaining rows and figured out how many I had to do a month to finish it in 2016.  And I did it.  Breaking it up into monthly chunks kept me on track and I did the final bind off, which joined the two halves on New Year's Eve.  I haven't had the time to block it yet, but here's a picture to prove it is in fact done! I'll post a better picture and some that show the beading detail once I've gotten it blocked.

Spin the Bin
At the beginning of 2016 I picked out 12 items in my fiber stash to spin in 2016.  Together, it was just over 3 lbs. of fiber, and I spun all of it.  I really should corral all the finished yarn together for a picture, but I haven't gotten around to it, so I'll just share a couple of my favorites.
This is the yarn that was knit into the Traveling Woman shawl above.

Learn to Sew
I did learn how to use my sewing machine.  I'm not very good at it yet, mainly because I haven't really sewn since early summer. I took a class at my local community college the first half of the year that was very helpful, but then work got busy and I couldn't make the class.  But I did make a few things and I can make a pretty good pillow case!
I've also made a small quilt that's finished except for hand stitching the back of the binding.  It's not exactly square, but I still like it.  However, I think I've decided that at this point in my life I don't have the patience needed to do serious quilting.  Maybe as I get better at sewing straight seams that will change.  But here's the top of the one I've mostly finished.

The Bad
 Knit a Steeked and Zippered Cardigan
This is the only actual knitting goal I didn't achieve this year.  But really, the primary reason I didn't is I still haven't found the pattern I really want to do.  I'm not sure exactly what I want, and I honestly haven't spent a ton of time searching for it.  I think I'll find it at the right time and this will happen.  In the mean time, I don't really feel bad that this goal didn't get achieved.

The Ugly
More Yardage Out Than In
This was a complete and total fail. On the positive side, I completed 64 projects in 2016, which used 25,879.4 yards of yarn.  That's 14.7 MILES of yarn folks.  So I certainly did some knitting.  I added less yarn than I did in 2015, but 2016 still saw a substantial increase in my stash yardage even with all that knit. It's not ugly though, it's beautiful yarn, and I'll use it eventually, so not going to beat myself up about it.

So there you have it.  2016 crafting goals were mostly successful and I'm hoping 2017 will be even better.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Reading List

Books I've Read in 2017

I include audio books I listen to on my daily commute. (A) indicates it was an audio book, (K) indicates it was read on the Kindle app, and no designation means it was a traditional paper book.

I am no longer taking the time to link each book to Amazon.  If you want more information on a book, there is a link to my Goodreads in the sidebar.

Steal Me, Cowboy - Kim Boykin (K)
Oklahoma Christmas Blues - Maggie Shayne (K)
Fiona's Flame - Rachael Herron (K)
The Christmas Secret - Jannie Watt (K)
Don't Break My Heart - Laurie Kellogg (K)
The Velvet Hours - Alyson Richman

2017 Crafting Goals

I've set some new crafting goals for 2017.  I'll do an update on how I did on 2016's crafting goals later, but here are the new ones for this year.

  • Knit 1 pair of Desert Vista Dyeworks socks/month
  • 2 projects with handspun
  • 2 projects with laceweight
  • 3 projects with yarn added to stash before 2016 (this can cross over with handspun or lace goals)
  • Reduce total number of stash entries (including trade/sale) to 540 or less (currently 554)
  • Spin at least 12 fiber stash entries
  • Reduce fiber stash entries to 65 or less (currently 70)
  • 3 sewing projects of some kind
  • Stay on track with Frosted Pumpkin Happily Ever After monthly pattern
  • Aim for more yardage out than in on a quarterly basis (handspun created does not count as yardage in, but handspun knit counts towards yardage out)
I've got a few other goals that aren't crafting related, but they're still in generalizations at the moment, so maybe I'll talk about them at some point.

As usual, I'm going to try to start posting here more, but we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bits and Bobs from July

I don't know what I was thinking, but my only excuse for trying to start writing here again so close to crazy time at work was that when I wrote last I didn't yet realize that the final craziness was upon us.

The NCGA wrapped up their session around midnight, Friday, July 1, 2016, a month ago and I've spent the month of July recovering, at least I think I've recovered...almost.  I'm still feeling a bit brain dead most of the time, but it seems to be getting better.

We celebrated my grandson's first birthday at the beginning of the month, and in typical one-year-old birthday style, there was a lot of food, a lot of presents, and a lot of messy toddler.
Before the messy part
 The only other event of any note in July was a quilt class my mother and I took together this past Saturday.  One of my goals for the year was to learn to sew, and I've been slowly doing that.  My mother used to sew a lot when I was a child, but hasn't really in a long time.  She bought a new machine about the time I did and we took a mystery quilt class at the fabric store in Sanford this weekend, just to spend time doing something together.  I'll probably never finish the quilt, at least not the size it's supposed to be, but it was fun.  As usual, I had good intentions of taking some pictures, at least of my mother and I, but I totally forgot.  I'll insert a picture of what I got done sometime soon if I can remember to take it when I'm home.

Other than that, it's now August, and I need to get moving, literally.  I started taking a tap class again about 3 weeks ago, and so far I'm enjoying that.  Class right now is on Tuesday nights, but will shift to Monday nights in the fall.  So I should be able to attend until early January at least.  2017 is a long session year, so session will start in mid-late January and at that point Monday night classes won't be possible.  There is a Thursday night class, but it's more advanced, so if I feel I can keep up in that class by that point I may be able to switch to that.

I'm going to try this month to start getting back into an exercise habit.  Rob signed up for a 10K race the end of the month, so I signed up for the 5K FunRun with the intention of walking it.  Need to get some walking in before then though if I'm going to make it.  Just ordered a new swimsuit so I can start swimming laps again, and I'm considering making an appointment with a personal trainer if I can find one I like through the Y.  Grand plans for sure, we'll see if they actually happen.

Until next time....

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Long Time Gone

The longer I go without blogging, the harder it seems to be to come back to it, primarily because I feel like I should tell you everything that's happened of any significance since the last time I posted.  But that's just not realistic, so here I am back again, and I'll hit a few highlights and we'll just pretend it hasn't been that long OK?

My son and his family are back North Carolina, at least for the next couple of years until the Army decides to send him somewhere else, so we've been able to spend more time with him, his wife and the grandkids.  I love my kids, I love my grandkids, but spending a few hours with the grands makes me glad I'm done with the kid-raising phase of my life.  The joy of being a grandparent is being able to enjoy some time with them then send them back home with Mom & Dad!

We took a trip to Louisiana in March to celebrate the 90th birthday of Rob's Aunt Sue.  It was good to see some of his family that we rarely see and my DIL was able to bring the grandkids down too even though my son couldn't get leave.  Sue is my MIL's sister and is quite a bit older than her, but you can see the family resemblance.

Rob & I celebrated our 16th anniversary last week, and I can't believe he's put up with me this long.  There are days it seems like our wedding was yesterday, and others when it feels like it's been forever.  But that's true of most marriages I suppose, but I'm glad he's stuck with me for yet another year.

I took a sewing class for a few weeks and have actually learned how to use my sewing machine, although it will be a long time for I feel like I have any degree of expertise. I've also attended a couple of fiber events this spring, but I'll talk more about those in separate posts.

Other than that, it's my busy time of year at work, so my hours are erratic.  Some days I work relatively normal hours and other days I work until late at night just to get things done that need to be done for the next day.  I've been in my current job over 20 years now, and although some days I would like to find something different, for the most part I still like my job, and every time I try to imagine doing something else I think of all the things I would miss about my current job.  I keep my eyes open for something else that might be interesting, but I've essentially resigned myself to being here another 9 years and 8 months at which point I can retire with full benefits, and hope to do so!

O.k. quick and dirty update done, more crafting and other tidbits to come, assuming I don't get totally distracted again right?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Finally FO Friday

After taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays, the last two weeks of work have seemed inordinately long.  So I'm glad it's finally Friday, and it's a 3-day weekend to boot!

I was feeling the need to work on some quick projects this week and get the sense of accomplishment that comes with actually finishing something, so I made up these three hats.  Aren't they adorable?! The blue & green monkey is for my 6-month old grandson, the pink & purple unicorn is for my 3-year old granddaughter, and the blue & white bear is for my 17-month old nephew.
The yarn is Top This! by DMC and it comes with the cute little animal heads to make these.  Each one knits up in just an hour or two, so I made these in three consecutive nights this week.  One caution if you want to make these, the pattern runs very small.  I actually knit the monkey one twice.  I had heard that the pattern ran small, so I knit the toddler size for my 6-month old grandson, but even that looked too small to me.  So I ripped it out and made the small child size for him, and I made the full child size for my granddaughter and nephew.  If they're a little big, that's always better than too small.

I'm hoping for a relaxing weekend.  I've got some yarn to ply off the bobbin so that I can get started on my Spin the Bin goals for 2016.  I finished spinning the singles last weekend, but didn't want to start spinning something else until this last thing left from last year is completely done.  I also need to sort and organize some clothes this weekend and see what can be donated. Finally, I want to get Scrivener reinstalled on my laptop because so far I have made no progress on my goal to actually write for 30 minutes 3 times per week.  I reloaded my laptop early in 2015 and I've never reloaded Scrivener, which tells you how little writing I've actually done in the past year.  Hoping to change that.

So that's it for today.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WIP It Into Shape Wednesday

Knitting WIP
This week's knitting WIP is the pair of socks I cast on New Year's Day.  As I mentioned, one of my goals for 2016 is to knit at least 12 pairs of socks.  I don't know that I will do exactly 1 pair per month, but I know that if I finish at least 1 pair each month, I'll hit my goal, so these are January's pair in progress.
I'm just doing a plain "vanilla" sock, toe up.  The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow. I will do the Fish Lips Kiss Heel when I get to that point.  I prefer to knit my socks two at a time on two circulars if possible.  There are occasions when doing certain types of patterned socks where that's not possible, but if I can, I do.

These are being housed in my Dr. Who Tardis bag from Erin Lane Bags.  This is a small sock bag that has a divider inside to keep two skeins of yarn separate.  I love the fabric and I like the interior design.  I'm not a big fan of the way she does her drawstring on this bag.  The bag is very well constructed, it's just a personal preference thing.  I prefer one drawstring coming out one side with a tension clip or something.  This one has two ribbons running through and you pull from both sides. This is the first of her bags I've bought, so it may just be this particular style of bag.  I bought this one at SAFF, so I'll have to look at her others next time.

I'm using a Poke Me Not from JanBSmiley to not only keep my stitches from sliding off the needles, but to keep the small pointy needles from poking through the bag.  I have about 7 of these things because I use them on just about every project.  Highly recommend!

WIP Me Into Shape
I've decided to add weightloss progress to Wednesday's as well.  After all, I'm a WIP too.  I don't really want this to become a weightloss blog, but I don't want to ignore that part of my daily life either, so I will attempt to strike a balance between sharing some of my efforts to be healthier with you without going overboard.

I may do a longer post at some point with a little more of my lifetime battle with my weight, but suffice it to say it's not the first time I've made an effort to lose weight.  I've tried tons of times, and even been successful a couple of those.  I can lose weight when I set my mind to it.  I just need to make it stick at some point.  But for now, I need to focus on losing.  Hopefully by the time I get to where I want to be this time, I'll figure out how to maintain it too.

I'm a lifetime Weight Watchers member, but I'm way over goal.  I've tried to get back into WW the past few months, but it just wasn't clicking and with the changes to the new program, it's not going to work for me.  So I'm doing this without an official program of any kind.  I need to make lifestyle changes that are just that, my lifestyle, and not work this program or that, or this eating plan or that.  So my current tools are my Fitbit Surge and the Fitbit App to track my food intake.  I'm trying a couple of different online groups to find the right fit for support, but mainly I'm trying to eat healthier and move more.

I "officially" started last Tuesday, January 5th and I will record my weight every Tuesday morning.  Doesn't mean I won't weigh myself other days, but the weight I will record for tracking purposes will be whatever I weigh Tuesday morning before I get into the shower.  So yesterday was my first weigh-in day and I did really well this week.  Of course, the first week, when you go from eating a bunch of junk to actually eating somewhat healthy is always good, but it's always a nice boost as well.

I have a lot of weight to lose, and I haven't decided yet whether I want to share actual numbers here or not.  I have a feeling that if I'm actually successful in making some progress this time I will get more comfortable with sharing the details, but until then, I'm sorry if I keep that part vague.  I will say that my first goal is to lose 5# by February 2, and in one week I'm well on my way to that goal.

Happy Hump Day!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fee Fi FO Friday

Sometimes I actually finish projects.  That's not accurate, I actually finish a lot of projects, but I go through spurts. I'm not a monogamous knitter, so I usually have many different WIPs at any given time, so unless I'm really focusing on one particular project I may go weeks without actually finishing anything and then suddenly I'll finish several things one right after the other.

In knitter-speak a finished project is an FO, i.e. finished object.  I'm designating Friday as the day to generally share FOs, so here's something I've finished recently.

I went to Southern Pines a couple of days before Christmas to do a little last minute Christmas shopping and after I got what I needed for everyone else, I treated myself to a little Christmas at the yarn shop there, Bella Filati.  It's a nice, friendly, yarn shop and I go there occasionally on Saturday afternoons for social knitting.  If you're in the area you should stop and check it out.

But the reason I mention it is that at that visit I bought a skein of Knitted Wit Victory DK yarn  in the Autumn Rainbow colorway.  I just couldn't resist these jewel tones jumbled all together.  Isn't it gorgeous?
I had the store wind it for me so as soon as I got home I could cast on.  I knit a pair of gloves for me, but because I have small hands they only took about half of the skein, so I made a short cowl to create a matching set.
Cowl pattern is Diamond Cowl, gloves I made up as I went.
I love them!  They're so fun and colorful.  I just bought a new charcoal grey dress coat, so they give me a fun pop of color with that.  I loved this colorway so much that I've ordered a skein of sock yarn in the same color from the dyer.  She has more in her shop if you want it, go on, you know you do!

I get many hours of enjoyment from knitting and other crafts, but wearing something you made at the end is also very satisfying.