Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Case of the Missing Christmas Lights

It's been a nice Thanksgiving weekend, even though I didn't get quite everything done that I had planned. 
Long holiday weekends always feel like tons of time at the beginning, but never seem to be quite long enough to fit everything in.

We had a fun Thanksgiving feast at the home of some friends.  Less stressful all around when I'm only responsible for a small part of the menu and I didn't have to prep my house for guests either!  I've been bad about taking pictures lately, so the only one I really got was of our friend's young son enjoying this turkey leg bone. He has no teeth, so he was really just rubbing the gristle end against his gums, but boy did he love it.

The rest of the weekend has been equal parts starting the Christmas prep and just hanging out.  We're decorating the office for the holidays on Wednesday, including decorating our doors a la elementary school.  I had to do some prep work for my design plan so I've taken over the dining room table, which is just about the size of my office door, so that things could be done to approximate scale. 
That's before I got started obviously.  I'll share the actual design and those of my office mates later this week.

I got a little of the Christmas baking done and in the freezer.  Cheese biscuits are made because I need to take some to work Wednesday and also to my knitting group Christmas party next week.  I also made sausage balls and froze them raw.  I'll be cooking some of them Tuesday night for work Wednesday and probably the rest closer to the holiday.

I also got all the Christmas decorations hauled in from the shed today.  Everything that is except the lights for the tree, which have gone missing.  I had a bunch of lights and I can't find a single strand.  I didn't put up a live tree last year, so the only thing I can figure is that I decided 2 years ago it was time for new lights and threw them all out, planning to buy new ones.  I'm not planning on putting up the tree until next weekend, so I guess I'll be shopping for tree lights sometime this week.

The usual Sunday afternoon grocery shopping has been done, and the laundry is in progress.  Other than cooking dinner and maybe a little more work on my door decorations (which aren't quite finished) I think I'm done with productivity for the weekend.  I had hoped to at least get a start on updating the Christmas card list, but I'll work on that soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Crafting Update

There's been too much knitting, spinning, and overall crafting happening this year to completely cover what I've worked on this year.

You may remember that my crafting goal this year was to avoid any goals or deadlines and to just craft what I wanted when I wanted.  I've been pretty successful, although it's resulted in quite a few more works in progress (WIPs) than I usually have. 

I usually have 5-6 WIPs, sometimes venturing up towards 8 or 9, but right now I have 13.  Three of those are long-term scrap blanket projects and one project is the beaded lace shawl I've worked on off & on for the past 4 years (hint, no progress made this year really, but it's going to become a priority in 2016), so I guess that's really only 9 WIPs, but still a lot.  I'll share some more info on most of those soon.

Despite the "no deadlines" goal for this year, a couple of the WIPs are items I'd like to finish for Christmas gifts.  One of them will most likely get finished, the other probably not, but that's o.k.  I don't really consider these violations of the no deadlines rule since I'm not going to feel guilty if neither of them get finished. The one that probably won't get finished in time for Christmas is for my grandson, who's not quite 5 months old, so I doubt he'll notice.

I did participate in a couple of knit-a-longs (KAL) this year, because KALs are just fun.  It's fun to work on the same project at the same time as other people and share info on where you are in the pattern, ask questions, etc.  Most of the ones I did this year were with the Carolina Fiber Girls.  The did a KAL in the spring where everyone made something with Jones Street yarn from The Copper Corgi.   The KAL lasted a couple of months and I actually finished 2 sweaters.  I made a Hiro out of Jones Street Worsted and a Triticum out of Jones Street Sport.

I don't have a modeled shot of this one.
Looks great with my sweatpants doesn't it?   

 I also couldn't resist the competition of Socktober with the Carolina Fiber Girls, and I completed 7 pairs of socks in October.  There were points involved for different things and I actually came in 4th place and won a skein of (you guessed it) sock yarn.



I was spinning pretty regularly the first part of the year, but not as much since work started getting so busy.  For some reason I just lost my spinning mojo.  I've spun a little here and there, but right now, the project on my wheel is one I started September 12th and I'm still not done spinning the singles.  I'll get back to it I know, it's just not what I've felt like doing as much lately.

I haven't done any weaving since March really.  Just haven't made the time to set up the loom with a new project.  I bought some yarn at SAFF specifically for a weaving project though, so I'll definitely get something started in the new year if not before.

While it's been nice not to set any rules for my crafting this year, I think I'll be going back to setting some goals for 2016.  I'm still going to try not to get too over-committed on things with deadlines, even if they are self-imposed ones, but I like to have a bit of a plan for my knitting, and I like checking things off a list.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

SAFF 2015

One of my favorite trips of the year is the annual Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) held just outside Asheville, NC.  This year, because the dates of the event were moved to the last weekend in October, there was no tractor show, so we were able to use the entire grounds of the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center.

This year I took two classes.  On Thursday I took an all day spinning class with Judith MacKenzie.  I still consider myself very much a novice spinner, so I really learned a lot in this class.  Unfortunately, as is usual when I get immersed in what I'm doing, I didn't think to take a single picture of Judith or anything we did in this class.

Friday morning I took a class with my secret boyfriend Franklin Habit. This class was on doing steeks (aka cutting your knitting on purpose) and installing zippers into knitting.  I had never done either one of these techniques, and while I'm generally a "learn what you need to know to do the project" type knitter I thought it would be helpful to actually have someone physically show me how to do it.  And of course, I had to take at least one of Franklin's classes (secret boyfriend remember?)  While I wasn't particularly doubtful of my ability to do either of these things before, now I know for sure how to do them, and I'm currently scanning patterns to do both in a sweater.  Fortunately, I had a little more focus on Friday and did get a picture of Franklin with Dolores in the background.

Friday afternoon was the first chance I had to do some shopping with all the vendors.  I had a couple of specific projects I was looking to find yarn for, so I focused on those mostly Friday, although I picked up a few things not on my list as well!

Saturday I had no classes, so I decided not to get up at the wee hours with the rest of the group, and instead slept a little longer and got to SAFF about 11:00 am.  One of our group has a vacation home about 45 minutes away from SAFF and she graciously lets us stay there.  Not only is it a huge money saver (more money for yarn & fiber & classes!) but it's nice to have a comfortable place to sit around together in the evening and show what we bought or made that day & just knit and socialize.

This was the day I made it over to the barns to see the animals.  Alpacas and llamas and goats and sheep.  Just about any fiber animal you can think of.  And because they're all so cute and furry I took lots of pictures.  I won't subject you to all of them, just some of the cutest.

Baby Suri Alpaca

Baby Alpaca

More Baby Alpacas


I admired this sheep's dreads

Nosy Sheep

This one just wanted you to scratch between his horns

Saturday night we joined Ann & Janis of the Carolina Fiber Girls podcast and a few others for dinner at the Sierra Nevada Brewery just down the road.  I'm not a beer drinker, but the food was pretty good and it's undeniably a gorgeous building.  I think I need to take Rob there the next time we're in the Asheville area.

Outside of the brewery

Vats of beer

Something to do with making beer

Sunday morning we took our time getting up, packing, and loading up the cars for the drive home.  Michiele was riding with me and we decided to make one more quick stop at SAFF on the way home.  A couple more purchases were made, and we headed home.  I'm so glad I took Monday off work too because besides needing to do laundry and grocery shopping, I need to some time to admire and inventory my haul from the event.

It's quite a haul, but almost all of it was bought with a specific project in mind.  That gorgeous teal grouping towards the bottom of the picture is already being knit into a sweater in fact.

All in all, another great year at SAFF.  The classes, the yarn, the fiber make it worth the trip every year, but the weekend with such great friends that share my love of all that SAFF offers make it more than just a trip.

Sunday, November 15, 2015



Yeah, it's been a while.  Life has been moving along, and I've been living it.  And working...I've been working...a lot.  Session finally ended September 30th, and I think I'm still recovering.

There have been some good times in all those months though...
  • My college roommate got married
  • I got to visit with my sister and nephew at the beach
  • Rob & I went to Asheville for his birthday
  • Classes, yarn, fiber and time with good friends at SAFF
  • My 25th college reunion 
A couple of those I may write a bit more about soon, because I'm back, or at least I'm going to try to be.

Just call me the Terminator.