Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's A Start

Findley light blueI finally cast on for my official Ravellenic Games project (The Three Lace Cardigan from the Juniper Moon Farm Findley book) last night.

You know, I'd been composing this blog post in my head (as you do) and I've totally forgotten was I was planning to write. I do remember that it was going to be very clever (of course) and not really knitting related.

It was also full of excuses about why I haven't blogged since Saturday.

With that as the lame segue....on Sunday I drove two hours down to civilization to attend the bridal shower for my cousin's fiancee. It was fun and very nice to see the family (which reminds me that I have letters to write. You know, letters. On actual paper?).

Now when we moved from CT to NH we disposed of our second car. Hubby had a walking commute since we were living at a boarding school and I had zero commute since I was working from home.

With our move from NH to NY I've said we should give it a year before we run out and buy a new car. (That's a key point. Along with the fact that I'm the one who chose the house on the edge of nowhere.) Having grown accustomed to the reduced expense from having just one car I said we should give it a year to see how many times it's an issue.

Well, Sunday was an issue since hubby had to work and my event was at a time that prevented me from dropping him off.

Happily, my in-laws lent us their car.

So I didn't blog on Sunday because I was roaming the country side. Didn't knit much either, for that matter.

We were supposed to return the car Monday morning before hubby went to work, but then he suddenly freaked out because it was the end of the month and he had to do inventory. He changed direction on me and declared he couldn't return the car until Tuesday.

Three lace cardigan hemOf course that wasn't working for his parents.

In the end, I slammed a few drawers, stopped around a bit, then packed up my work stuff, and drove the car back alone.

I told hubby I had my toothbrush so if he didn't get home until midnight he should just leave me there and get me in the morning.

Fortunately he got off work early enough to retrieve me.

It worked out well because I got my necessary work done AND had lamb and mashed potatoes for dinner!

We were able to hang out and watch a movie after dinner because I ensured I got my work done in a timely fashion.

That allowed me to finally start my sweater.

Phew! Two inches of garter stitch in lace weight yarn sure takes a long time to knit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ravellenic Games 2012!

If you are reading my blog then you probably either knit or crochet and therefore know what the Ravellenic Games are.

black bean For those rare people out there who are reading my blog and don't know, they are a personal challenge to start a project during the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games and finish it before or during the closing ceremonies.

For the sake of posterity, I'll point out this even was formerly known as the Ravelympics. However the US Olympic Committee finally noticed it and sent a cease and desist letter stating the name was violating their trademark.

Now, as you know if you followed the story, most knitters and crocheters understand and respect trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property (although like any group of people there are some that either just don't know or know and don't care, but that is another conversation). Anyway, as has been reported far and wide, things would have been fine if it had stopped there, but the letter was a little derogatory to our crafts causing hurt feelings and a massive uproar.

The end result was the USOC apologized for the poor choice of language and the Ravelympics were renamed the Ravellenic Games.

Everyone, supposedly, is happy now.

I, of course, was not blogging regularly at that time (as opposed to now when I'm also not blogging regularly, but I have a really good excuse---my laptop crashed and put my work behind schedule, but that is also another conversation) so did not jump into the fray.

However, during the heat of the kerfuffle (do kerfuffles have heat? Maybe height?)...when the frenzy was at its height I had an Olympic athlete in my house. He is a coach for the skeleton team (which I think is like the luge or the bobsled? Now that I know one of them I'll have to pay more attention!). He might have been an athlete at some point, which reminds me that I wanted to Google him. And the skeleton.

Anyway, the point is that I resisted pouncing on him and asking him whether he felt that knitting denigrated his athletic endeavors. My supreme self-restraint stemmed from the fact that hubby had only recently become friends with him, hubby has to work with him in a professional capacity, and it was only the second time I'd personally seen him.

(However, I was not so restrained the third time I saw him when he was sitting on my porch drinking wine with hubby and I received the notice that my Trellis Mitts were accepted for the new 101 Lace One Skein Wonders book. I actually ran out on the porch and did a Snoopy dance right there in front of the guest.)

Still, it is important to know for the future that I have access to an Olympic athlete type person if for some reason we should find we need it. I understand he can be distracted by good wine, which probably also means he can be distracted by good food. We should factor that into any plans we have.

Anyway, since the point of the Ravellenic games is to knit or crochet I will now actually talk about my knitting.

Lace Long Jump

For Games past I've usually done the WIPs Wrestling style category. Whichever one was for taking a languishing work in progress and finishing it up. And, boy howdy, don't we all those those?
Findley light blue

This year I decided to mix things up by doing a fresh project instead.

In a moment of insanity I settled on the Three Lace Cardigan from the Juniper Moon Farm Findley book. I've seen it in person and it's adorable. I even started it at one point, but didn't get very far.

I'm not expecting to finish it by the closing ceremonies, although I might be pleasantly surprised, but I'm hoping this is a kick start to get it going and well on its way.

Yes, I did say I had started one once, but I've abandoned that one for a different color yarn. Therefore the first one counts as a swatch and was part of my training. Actually, that one helped me realize that the yarn doesn't play well with my Addi Turbos. I had even purchased new needles for it.

Cowl Jump

Despite the ambitiousness of that cardigan, I didn't not actually cast on for it during the opening ceremonies last night.

Cozy Cowl Ravellenic Games 2012Instead I quickly changed direction and worked on a cowl instead.

My new local yarn store, Adirondack Yarns, had a kick off party last night. I keep attending their open knit-nights on Wednesdays with yarn from my stash, no one has said anything about it, but I feel a little bad. But I've bought stuff from them before and they know I'm new in town.

Anyway, for the party I thought I should use yarn I'd actually purchased from them. At Thanksgiving I'd bought two hanks of a locally grown and spun 100% angora yarn. This seemed the perfect opportunity to use it.

As though the cardigan wasn't enough of a challenge I've now set myself up with two projects!

Things aren't as bad as they sound since I flew through the cowl. I just need to get the dang thing cast off properly and I can move on.

Ok, I think I've rambled on enough for now (this tendency to go on and on is probably one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much lately--I know that once I get started it will be a black hole of time). The Ravellenic Games last for 16 days, there's plenty of time to tell you more later.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Being Disciplined

When I was younger, and thought I'd grow up to be a novelist, I heard that writing was a discipline that had to be practiced every day.

I heard that some professional writers would set aside time each day to write. Or at least sit at their desk and think about writing, who knows whether they actually wrote anything.

It was not a discipline I pursued. If I was in the mood to write I did and if I wasn't I didn't. Simple enough.

Then after college I didn't really feel like writing fiction any more. Then I eventually got a job where I was paid to write and there was no practicing about it because I was required to write something almost every day.

Maybe because I'm getting older and wiser, or because I am now getting paid to write, but I'm starting to see the wisdom of this being disciplined business. Of viewing writing as an activity that has to be practiced.

It's not actually the act of writing, although my neglect of the blog in recent years would argue otherwise, so much as the style of writing I want to practice.

I feel like these days I'm either writing long articles about technology or sound bites about yarn.

I want to write long things about yarn.

I want to write short things about...anything.

I need to play with styles, and lengths, and topics. Writing is a discipline. It takes mental muscles and they need to be used and stretched.

The well of words is a pump that needs to be primed. haha.

Sitting down and putting words on paper, or screen as the case may be, is a habit that has to be cultivated so it becomes a reflex.

In theory, our new home is peaceful and quite and otherwise conducive to a pursuit such as writing.

Goodness knows I spend enough time goofing off in aimless pursuits that I should have enough time to practices the discipline of writing.

It's a matter of making it a priority.

These means I have to start blogging more regularly and I have to stop neglecting my pen pals.

So, this is me, being disciplined.

But that's enough practice for tonight. I have to go clean the kitchen.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Unpack The Yarn

Doesn't that sound like excellent advice?
Of course, if yarn is getting unpacked it must mean that at some point it was packed.

And if yarn is being packed and unpacked that must mean we moved.

That's right. Although we moved from CT to NH just two years ago we have now moved from NH to NY.

Hubby decided that after 15 years as a teacher he had done enough to give back to society. He wanted to pursue his interest in wine.

It was supposed to be a long-term plan, but then he saw a job posting for which he sounded qualified near where is elderly parents live. We decided there was no harm in trying and it might be a good learning experience.

And he got the job.

Now he is the wine director at a boutique resort and is having a ball.

The month of May was hellish as he was finishing the school year and also making the four hour drive to the resort any time he could to get some floor work in before the busy season started.

Then June was kinda ugly because we moved and had to adjust to our new life and his new schedule. In addition to the move and unpacking, I had to go on a business trip, and I had an article (or three) due, and I still had to keep my yarn job stuff going. Some stress-induced tears might have been shed.

But July has been going well and we're starting to get a routine.

I Told You So
When Hubby received and accepted the job offer in March and we knew change was coming I was able to go from supportive, cheerleader wife mode to cranky, put-upon wife mode.

I started the transformation by loudly announcing that I would end up doing all the packing by myself at the end of May and that we would need two moving trucks because we've always needed two moving trucks.

Let, me tell you, being correct is not as fun as you would expect it to be.

Now, when I said I'd be doing all the packing myself, what I actually meant was that Hubby wouldn't be around to help me. And I was correct as he was in NY working. I wasn't, however alone.

First my friend Nancy came up early in May for 2 hours one day and packed my china cabinet for me to get the ball rolling.
Then, as moving day approached, my friend Judy came and spent an entire Sunday helping me pack.
Judy and he husband also came and helped on truck loading day.
Mom came up, of course, and helped finish the packing. She was in charge of cleaning up as we were loading the truck.
And, of course, we needed two trucks. Hubby thought we'd be OK with one truck since we managed to shed some old furniture this time. He thought that on a previous move we just didn't get a big enough truck to start with. I don't remember what his reasoning was to dismiss the other two truck moves we had.

Well, as we were realizing that a second truck would have to be acquired and trying to figure out how to manage four vehicles with only 3 driver, Rick and Judy announced that the didn't have any plans for the weekend and could drive our second truck.

We were flabbergasted and warned them that if they said that again we'd take them up on the offer. But they were ready, willing, and able.

Fortunately, the house we're renting in NY is a partially furnished four-bedroom so there was plenty of room to sleep all of us comfortably after the drive.

Unpacking, Endlessly
In case you're wondering, Hubby had dropped Samson and Baru off with his parents the last time he was in NY so they were out from underfoot for all the packing and loading.

When it came time to unload the trucks we had mom, Rick & Judy, Hubby's parents, and his brother & his wife and daughters.

It was pretty awesome to wake up the first morning in my new home and hear so many people focused on getting us settled in.

Most of our possessions seem to have survived the trip in one piece. One lampshade, which was already a little roughed up, got roughed up more. And a couple floor lamps got scratched, but if you twist them the right way it's hidden. I'm pretending they were "distressed" on purpose.

I guess the biggest disaster, which was easy to recover from, was that laundry detergent spewed everywhere in the smaller truck when the cap popped off the bottle. Lamp bases and my desk all took a hit. But it just had to be wiped and rinsed off.

That was probably the cleanest truck they've every had returned!

Vinegar and oil spilled in a box in the big truck, but nothing seemed to have gotten damaged. One of my boxes of yarn got hit, but magazines were in that part of the box and no yarn was damaged.

Despite the fact that we've been here over a month now (we drove over on June 1), the house is still in chaos.

For previous moves Hubby was a teacher and I was either on vacation or unemployed so we were able to just focus on unpacking for the first week or two after we moved in.

Not this time.

Hubby had to go straight to work (in fact he had to bug out the day we were unloading the trucks, which lead to some hysterics on my part when he expressed concern about the gas levels in the moving trucks when they got returned) as soon as we moved. I did, too, for that matter. Just because I work from home doesn't mean I've got tons of free time.

We're trying not to sweat it. As we need things we go questing through boxes, which leads to one or two getting emptied. We figure it will get there eventually.

In the mean time, we live in a lovely, rural area. Peace and quiet abound. It seems it should be just the right atmosphere for a writer. No distractions (aside from the pups and the boxes) and inspiring scenery.

I'm hoping I'll be motivated to start blogging regularly again.

Did I mention we moved in on June 1?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lady Godiva's Glove?

The other day I got out the doll I knit with the idea that I should probably finally make her some clothes.
For motivation I put her on the side of my desk where I could see her constantly.
Since her head is (let's be honest) a little big for her to sit up nicely I arranged her so she was reclining comfortably.
(Remember, I work from home so having a naked doll on my desk is not an issue.)
This morning I arrive at my desk and she is wearing one of my fingerless mitts.
"huh," I think, "that's weird."
When Hubby woke up I asked if he had put the glove on her.
He said yes.
He said her saw he laying there and she looked like a Mini-Me and I'm always wearing my mitts so it seemed appropriate.
My Hubby is silly.
On the other hand, considering it's just us and the dogs if he had said no we would have had a problem.