bloggy stuff


Well, given the week I had, it is probably not a surprise that I didn’t complete any blocks last week. I did complete a swap for mini skeins for wee little blocks!  I posted a picture of the mini skeins that I sent last week for the Yarngasm mini swap.  I got my package from my swap partner!

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My package was so full of goodies!  I got some chocolate squares.  I sent identical squares to my pal, so I laughed out loud when I saw that!  She should enjoy what I sent since it what she also sent!  There is also some tea. The Candy Cane Lane tea is some of my favorite!

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Of course, she also sent some really lovely yarn!  One of the little skeins (the blue that is almost at the end) is her own handspun! She says it may not be fingering weight, but I am going to add it to my blankie anyway!  I love it.  The yarns are lovely and fun. I hope she enjoys what I sent as much as I enjoy what she sent. I should have some new blocks next week now that I have replenished my supply with some yarns I am really excited about!

I love podcasts. I listen to them in the car and while knitting. Sometimes I listen to them at work in the background.  Nearly all of my podcasts fall into two categories: books and crafts.  Recently, I found video casts. I love to watch them when I eat lunch in my office or when my husband is watching tv I don’t care about.  Here is what I am listening to/watching!

Book podcasts:

  •  Dear Bitches Smart Author (DBSA podcast):   This is by the ladies at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author. They review and talk about romances. The most recent episode is about knitting and romance (a cool cross over for me)!  It is not kid safe or safe for work.
  • Book Riot: This is a podcast about news in the publishing and the book world. They have a more literary focus, but I find it fun and interesting.
  • Read it and Weep:  They describe themselves as a good podcast about bad books, movies, and tv shows. Each week they read or watch something bad and make fun of it. It is not kid safe if you listen with littles. Nor is it safe for work.
  • Bookrageous: This is like listening in on a book club. They spend the first half of the show talking about what they are reading and the second half discussing an assigned book.  One of the hosts from Book Riot is a host on this show. It is also more literary.

Crafty podcasts:

  • Knitmore Girls: I love listening to them talk about knitting and their lives. It is like hanging out with a couple of cool knitting friends. I have been listening to this one since about 2009 or 2010.
  • Stash and Burn:  This is another “hanging out with cool knitting friends” podcast. It is also another podcast I have enjoyed since 2009 or 10.
  • Subway Knits: This is a new one to me, but I love listening to Maria talk about her projects.
  • Doubleknit: This is another one I am fairly new to. This is a set of twins talking about life and knitting.
  • The Savvy Girls: This is another set of sisters talking about knitting. They also do “tidbit” episodes about random things. I enjoy the slice of Canadian life!
  • Knitting Pipeline: This is one I am fairly new to. I love to listen to Paula talk about knitting, but I also love her nature notes segments. I have learned so much about birding from her!
  • Knit Picks Podcast: This is put on by Knit Picks. I have listened on and off since the beginning.
  • Knit One, Geek Two: I love how they talk about knitting and geeky things.
  • Never Not Knitting: This is a podcast I have listened to since it started.  I love listening to Alana’s stories!
  • Commuter Knitter: Jen podcasts on her drive home. I just love listening to her talking about her knitting. I am often driving when I listen. I feel like she is in my car!
  • KnottyGirls Knitcast: I love listening to Jen and Laura talk about their lives, knitting, and geek culture.
  • Twinset Designs: Another set of twins. I love when they talk about life on the farm and design stuff.
  • CraftLit: This is a book and craft combo. I love listening to Heather talk about books. She finds the best readers! It is a dose of classic lit class with knitting! The book right now is Sense and Sensibility!
  • The Yarniacs Podcast: This is brand new to me, but I am enjoying it.
  • Mastering the Knits: These ladies are working towards being Master Knitters. I love hearing about the process.

Video podcasts (all crafty):

  • Geeky Girls Knit: I just want to hang out with this mother/daughter combo all the time.  They are adorable and so fun!
  • Yarngasm: I love listening to Kristen talk about New York and her knitting.
  • Knitting in Circles: this is a husband/wife team. I love listening to them talk about their adventures.
  • Minerva Turkey: Shannon has been an online friend since 2009. She is new to video podcasting. It is fun to watch her in person.
  • Gnome Acres: I love listening to the Lego talk and other geeky talk.  Plus, the yarn is soooo pretty!
  • The Fat Squirrel Speaks: This podcast is so much fun. She is the fun friend we all love.
  • Must Stash Yarn: This is another fun friend podcast. I love feeling like I am hanging out with these ladies.
  • Suburban Stitcher: This is another podcast where I feel like the Dianne and I would be friends in real life. I love looking at her projects!
  • I have two podcasts I am going to start watching: Susan B. Anderson and A Homespun House. I have heard so much about them, that I want to watch!

That is a lot!  I am about a week behind in most of the weekly podcasts, but I still keep finding more! Listening to and watching podcasts makes me feel like I am at knitting group! They are a source of inspiration, motivation, and information!

I have never really been into roll playing games (RPGs).  I just didn’t really “get” them.  I also am not really good at establishing habits. My attention span is shorter than the time it takes for habit to really form.  I always have good intentions, but end up forgetting or losing interest.

This year, I decided I wanted to be more intentional about my goals and keeping up with tasks that I need to do in my life.  I looked and looked for a way to keep me motivated and to keep me on task.  I found HabitRPG.  It is a roll playing game (although I still feel like I don’t really get that aspect of it) that turns your tasks and habits into a game.

You divide your goals and tasks into three categories.  Habits are things that you want to repeat (or don’t want to repeat). Dailies are things you do every day. To Dos are one time only type tasks. For example, one of my goals was to keep up with my correspondence.  One of my habits is write a letter.  Another goal was to cut back to only one soda per day, so a negative habit is drink coke (if I drink more than one, I click it and it “damages” me).  I also wanted to be more active, so I put my step goal in for a daily. If I meet it, I check it off. I also wanted to be better about doing a daily load of laundry (we have 5 people in our house, one of whom is in cloth diapers).  That is also a daily task for me. Some examples of one time only to dos are to do a memory book for Logan’s 10 year adventure that he took earlier this year. Another one is to use the Magic Eraser mop to get the last of the hairspray residue off of my bathroom floor.

As you do good habits, daily tasks, and to dos you move up in level and accumulate “gold”. You can use those for rewards (like armor for your avatar or rewards you set up on your own).  You also get eggs and hatching potions as random rewards.  My favorite part is collecting the “pets”.  I have no idea why this is so motivating to me. It probably says something about me that a virtual “pet” would be more motivating than good health or a clean house, but it is the truth.  I think this makes doing a lot of things that I don’t love to do fun, or if not fun at least they are tolerable. It keeps me on task and motivated.  I have moved on from any of my goals three months in (which is amazing). I have added new goals and habits as I go along. Anytime I have a task at work or home that I just don’t want to do, I add it to the game.  It motivates me to do it and do it much sooner.

As you progress through levels, you can also do things like quests and challenges.  Those are fun. I am only now starting to figure them out.  They add a whole new layer of motivation in that others are relying on you to do your tasks to help out the team.

HabitRPG is best on the desktop platform.  There are mobile apps, but those mobile apps are just for keeping track of things on the go. It is really best to log in on the computer.  Try it out! It is a lot of fun.

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I am currently knitting socks for my husband’s birthday.  They are the Time Traveler pattern with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the old Franklin’s Panopticon colorway.  I feel like this yarn may not want to be socks for my husband.

Way back in early 2009, I bought this yarn at Hank’s (my LYS that no longer exists). Lorna’s Laces was doing limited edition colorways to honor various knit bloggers.  One of the ones they chose was Franklin Habit’s Panopticon blog (if you don’t follow him, you should).  I had knit my DH a pair of socks before. It is a complete labor of love as his feet are huge!  I decided maybe it would be easier with a snazzy colorway like this.  He approved of the color, so I started knitting the MonkeyMen pattern. It was a test knit for the designer. I finished the first sock only to discover that it was much, much too small (there was a reason it knit up so fast).  I tried several times with larger and larger needles.  The socks got closer to fitting, but the fabric would never have held up to wear.

So, I decided that I wanted to learn 2 at a time, toe up socks on a really big circular needle.  I had gotten the book (which was new way back then) 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  So I cast on just the Classic Sock from the book.  It was slow going. I hated how the stitches moved on the circular. I kept tangling my yarn (and occasionally knitting from the wrong skein).  I gave it the old college try. I did not love it. I did not love it so much, I put them away for years. I decided that I was going to tough it out one more time just a few weeks ago. I pulled them out of time out (yes, after nearly 6 years in time out).  I knit a round and decided that 2 at a time socks was just not for me.  I frogged them, and went looking for a new pattern.

My criteria for the pattern was that it had to be something with some interest (no plain, vanilla sock with miles and miles of teeny, tiny stockinette for me).  It had to meet my husband’s criteria for “manly”.  It needed to be something I could knit on DPN’s (the pattern is written for a circular, but is easily converted).  I also still wanted to try a toe up sock, so I wanted a toe up pattern.  The Time Traveler pattern fit the bill.

I did a quick gauge swatch and decided to start with the size 0s.  I did all the way up to the end of the toe increases and realized that it was no where near big enough. My gauge was suddenly very different (I think because my quick swatch was knit flat, but who knows…I could have just measured wrong or something).  So, I pulled it back out. I went up a couple needle swatches. Did another swatch (this time in the round). Decided it was good, and cast on again. If you are keeping track, this is the fourth time casting on with this yarn.

They have been going swimmingly. They fit beautifully. They are interesting enough and are knitting up super fast.  Today, I had just a little bit of the cuff left (like 5 rounds). I am doing a 1×1 twisted rib cuff.  I have seen it on project pages and thought it looked nice, so I decided to try it.  I figured, “5 rounds, I can easily knock that out at lunch”.  I want to be done with the first sock so that I can get to a good point on the second that I can take it on vacation over Easter.  So, I ate my lunch quickly and pulled out my sock. My hands were shaking (my food hadn’t hit my bloodstream yet, and breakfast was apparently not enough today). I knew I should wait, but I just kept thinking how quick I could knock it out.  Big mistake. I ended up dropping a bunch of stitches when I dropped a needle and fumbled for it. I think I dropped about 8 stitches. I then fumbled some more and they dropped down a couple of rows.  I do not have the right size crochet hook with me.  So I had to pick them up with a cable needle. It took me my entire lunch break to pick those stitches up in a twisted rib pattern with a freaking cable needle.  Guess who still has 5 rounds left?  This girl!  I didn’t make any progress!

I will try again tonight, and hopefully have a finished sock to show for it (as I knock frantically on wood)!

I haven’t posted in years. Life just got crazy. Going through infertility, pregnancy loss, parenting young kids, and normal life stuff meant I just didn’t post. I miss it. I miss having a place to document family and craft life. I used to blog for my friends, but I am restarting my blog for me this time. I decided my birthday was the perfect time to restart! A new year, a new beginning! I am excited to start documenting how I spend my spare time!

In addition to restarting my blog, I started a year long project! It is a temperature scarf! I cast on 38 stitches on size 2 (2.75mm) needles. I am using fingering weight yarn. I didn’t want a 10 foot scarf like most of the worsted weight scarves on Ravelry! I am so excited about documenting a year in this way!

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It is a little over 4 inches wide. Hopefully, smaller yarn and needles will mean a reasonable sized scarf I can use in Florida! I also can’t wait to see how the colors play out.

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Stay tuned! I am planning weekly updates!

1. For some reason, my post from Saturday didn’t post until I logged on tonight.  I don’t really know why.  I must have angered or annoyed the blog in some way.  This is paybacks.  Sorry for a second post in one day!

2. My Christmas tree and outside decorations are still up.

3. Last night I took down the inside decorations.

4. My plan was to take down the tree last night, but discovered that my cats have been peeing all around the base of the tree.

5. I spent the evening cleaning up cat pee.

6. The cats are not sick (they were at the vet last month). They just don’t like Christmas trees. They did this last year.  We thought they wouldn’t this year because last year’s tree was real and this year’s was artificial.  Our vet had suggested the real tree may have confused them and made them think they were outside.  I don’t think so.  The artificial tree didn’t matter apparently.  They are just grinchy.

7. If anyone would like two adult cats who have a tendency to pee on the carpet anytime they get pissed off (pun intended), please let me know.

8. I realize the above won’t really entice anyone to request my cats, but I believe in truth in advertising!

Pedometer

Of course, this is the time when everyone makes all kinds of lifestyle changes and resolutions about weight loss. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that this year.  That being said, I have made two health related changes.

I have quit soda (again). I had quit soda back at the end of September (not caffeine…I still drink tea and eat chocolate). I stopped having headaches (even hormone induced migraines stopped).  I started drinking it again during the holidays, and I also started to battle headaches again.  So, I have quit drinking soda.  I mostly drink water and tea (I am in the South, so my tea of choice is usually sweet tea).

The other change that I have made is to get a pedometer. I used to always wear one. I am much more active when I wear a pedometer. I have a private competition with myself to up the total number of steps I take everyday.  Without one, I have no motivation to move more.  My old pedometer gave up on me about a year ago. I have been meaning to replace it. I finally did.  I got this one.  My favorite thing is that I can put it in my pocket and it is accurate!  I cannot tell you how much I love that!  It doesn’t have to be on my waistband. That makes me happy.  It is small and very thin, so you can’t tell when I am wearing it with my dress clothes. So, I will be moving and walking more.  I am thinking about doing something fun like Webwalking USA (although I wish there was a nice web version of this similar to the Eowyn Challenge or Walking with Attitude, I am not into Lord of the Rings enough for the first and I don’t want to pay for the second).  So today, my pedometer is my favorite thing!

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