Saturday, February 6, 2016

More Waiting and Knitting

My temporary retirement continues.  The latest word from my vendor is that the job for which I interviewed has run into a snag.  Another vendor working with the client has asked for more money, a lot of money!  Since that vendor is the prime contractor on the job and my vendor is a sub to them, my position has taken a backseat.  It is not likely that my position will have funding.  My vendor is now looking for other positions for me.

Since things are not going as planned with vendor 1, I reached out to another vendor.  I'll call her vendor 2.  Vendor 2 has a position that is a good fit for me.  I have an interview on Tuesday for that.  Wish me luck!

Last weekend I went down to Cincinnati to visit my mom.  While there I finished my Basic Ribbed Socks.  I couldn't stop myself from slipping them on my feet.  They fit like a dream!!  I was so excited.  When I got home I let them soak for a while and let them dry.   Sadly, when I put them on again I realized that their little bath caused the yarn to loosen.  They were too big!  In an act of desperation, I machine washed and dried them.  They now fit much better.  They are not quite as snug as I would like, but they'll do.

I'm making progress on Relax.  The pattern calls for a line of eyelets along the outer edges of the front and back pieces.  The eyelets are made every 10th row.  In between is miles of stockinette.  Each time I pick up this piece, I can't do more than those 10 rows.  It is mindless knitting, good for car rides or watching television.

In my last post I mentioned that Blake got accepted to the University of Cincinnati to study engineering.  It has been my tradition to knit each of my children a blanket to take to college with them.  Blake picked out the Gradient Blanket for his pattern.  He asked that I make it in blue and red.  I decided to make it a little wider than called for in the pattern.  I should have enough yarn.  I calculated the halfway point for each color so I'll know if I'm going to make it or not.  If I don't, I'll be ordering more from Knit Picks.

The organization of the craft room is still in progress.  I now have all the fabric on one side of the shelves and the bins of yarn are going up on the other side.  There is also a big bag of yarn that I will put up for adoption.  I also created a bin of UFOs.  My goal is to intersperse a UFO project with my other projects. Now that I've finished the socks, I'll pull something from the bin to take its place.  I figure if I maintain the bin I can always toss a project into it if I get bored with it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tom Petty Is Right

Waiting is the hardest part.

Blake submitted applications to 3 universities at the end of October.  He received acceptance letters from 2 within a couple weeks directly admitting him into their engineering programs.  Unfortunately, neither of them was his #1 choice.  Where he was hoping to go had 4 options for admissions:  directly admitted to the college of engineering, provisionally admitted to engineering, admitted to the university but not engineering and lastly not accepted at all.  We were sure he'd at least get provisionally accepted, but if that happened, he would have to make a decision.  Study at his #1 choice with the hope of getting fully admitted into engineering at the end of his first year or select one of the other two.  He was getting very anxious to hear.  Throughout January he heard other people say they received their admission letters.  Everyday he didn't hear a thing.  Until yesterday.  The acceptance offer from his #1 university stated that he was directly admitted into engineering, but not into the major he listed as his first choice.  They did accept him into his second choice major.  I asked him if he was alright with that and he said he was.  He said he actually had considered that major first before changing his preference last fall.  He is very excited and relieved.  So next fall my baby will be studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.  I'm very proud!!!

I'm relieved that his waiting is over.  However, I am still waiting to see if I have a contracting job with a particular state agency.  I was originally told that I would start work on January 4.  Before New Year's I was told that it was going to be pushed back a week.  That week became 2 and then 3.  Then I was told that the position had to be competitively procured, meaning I needed to interview for it along with 2 other candidates.  My interview was on Monday.  At the end of the interview I was told that a decision would be made in a day or two.  It is now Friday and I just received word from the vendor that I am trying to contract through that the agency hasn't sent any word yet and won't this week.  I can't even express my frustration.  I'm frustrated with the state agency and a bit frustrated with my vendor.  I thought the position was a sure thing but now I'm not so sure.  I haven't been looking for other work.   The proverb "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" keeps going through my head along with "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched."  I think I need to find alternative baskets for my eggs.  Next week I a going to call other vendors to see if they have anything for me.  I'm not totally giving up on this position.  I'm just tired of giving control of my life to others. 

(Side Note: it struck me this morning during a moment of particular anxiety that the feeling I was experiencing was similar to the angst I feel on an airplane.  I'm not a good passenger when there is any sort of turbulence.  After a quick self-analysis, the root cause of the angst is the same in both situations.  I'm feeling the bumpy ride and I have absolutely no control over making the situation resolve any faster.)

While I have these extra days at home, I am trying to establish a regular exercise habit.  My goal is to get at least 30 minutes of activity as recorded on my Fitbit.  Today was Day 8.   I feel much calmer now.   I know there is no reason to stress about my job situation over the weekend.  Nothing will get resolved by worrying.

Onto knitting topics. 

Kristin's infinity scarf is done.  I added about another 12 inches to the length and then grafted the ends.  It is ready for delivery to her.  She did most of the knitting.  I have to say she did a great job.

The other knitting project I want to show is a pair of gloves I made for Kristin.  After discovering my hand knit gloves in her purse I told her I would make her a pair of her own.  I used the Evil Genius' pattern.  The pattern has you knit each finger first and then attach them together and knit the hand, thumb gusset and finally cuff.  The gloves did come out fitting perfectly, but I don't think I'll do them again.  The finger joins were way too fiddly for me.  I've done gloves both ways and prefer cuff up.

It's almost Happy Hour.  I exercised earlier so I need to get a shower.  After the shower it is time for a glass of wine.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tackling The To Do List

My resolution for this year is to tackling some of the long-overdue items on my To Do list.    Since being off work, I have been working very hard to get the house organized.  I feel that the main living areas of the house are in good shape, but the basement needs attention, particularly my craft area.  Getting that space in the basement organized is #1 on my To Do list.

I'll admit to being an impulse buyer when it comes to yarn.  I walk into a yarn shop and the fumes from the fiber overwhelm me.  Even if I'm going in to only browse, I walk out with at least a skein of something yummy.  The yarn gets brought home with all good intentions of casting on.  But the reality is that it gets placed aside with its predecessors to wait for me to rediscover it.  While organizing the rest of the house, I moved all yarn to my craft room to be sorted and catalogued.  Last Sunday afternoon I went downstairs with my laptop and camera, ready to tackle the task.  Boy!  Did I underestimate what a chore this was going to be!  I've since modified my plan to focus on sorting and organizing.  Cataloguing the stash on Ravelry will have to wait.  The magnitude of my fiber addiction is becoming quite clear.  I am too embarrassed to show you a picture of the state of things right now.  It is total chaos.  I'll post a pick once I get it to a happy state.  I can't promise when that will be, but it will happen some day.

What I will show you is what I have been working on.  Each project below is also related to a To Do item.

To Do:  Make a pair of socks that fit!  This is a Basic Ribbed Sock from the book Custom Socks by Kate Atherley.  I've not had much success knitting socks.  They usually end up with a cuff that is too tight and feet that are too loose for me.  I'm following the recipe in this book to see if I can get a pair that fits me.  So far so good.  The cuff is stretchy but not tight.  It's too soon to check out the feet, but I'm hopeful it will fit nicely.

To Do:  Work on a project that has been sitting in the queue for a while. Relax has been sitting in my queue since August 2014.  I bought the yarn and pattern over a year ago, but never cast on.  Part of my procrastination is related to indecision about what size to make.  After scanning projects on Ravelry and chatting with my friend, I decided to knit the Medium.  It will still have a lot of ease, but not the yards of ease that the model seems to be wearing in the pattern picture.  This may take me a while to complete.  It is a lot of stockinette stitch.

To Do:  Get back into quilting.  Years ago I was involved with a group that made crib quilts for at risk children.  It was a service project sponsored by my place of employment.  As my kids grew and became involved in activities, the quilting got set aside for knitting, which is more portable.  My involvement with the group tapered off.  With my girls off to college and my son able to drive himself anywhere he needs to be, I find I have more free time.  I've started attending the once-a-month Sew Ins and have re-discovered my love for this craft.  Below are blocks for a Block of the Month project.  11 of 12 blocks are sewn. 

To Do:  Spin more.  I had fiber on my wheel for over a year.  It was some basic cream-colored wool that my sister gave me.  I didn't have any particular plans for it until I discovered that Kristin had borrowed my hand knit gloves.  I quickly plied the wool and knit her a pair of gloves.  Once I found the spindle free, I decided to spin some luxury fiber I bought last year:  yak.  I bought this fiber at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival.  It is super soft and has a lovely sheen.  I divided the fiber into two equal piles.  The intent is to make a double ply yarn.  Once I see how much yardage I get, I'll decide what to knit with it.

The last picture to share isn't really a To Do list item for me.  It is Kristin's, but she asked me to help.  A couple years ago she asked me to teach her how to knit.  She wanted an Infinity scarf.  I made up a pattern that wasn't too complicated and showed her how to execute the stitches.  She worked on it for a while and got pretty far along.  But like her mother, she set it aside and didn't return to it.  While she was home for break, she asked me if I could finish it for her.  She wants another 12 inches or so knit on it and then the ends grafted together.  Before I pick up the needles I will need to figure out the pattern again.

Time now to get back to some of these projects.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year to everyone!  In retrospect, 2015 wasn't that bad of a year.  It went by quickly, possibly because it was packed with trips and activity.  While writing our Christmas letter, I struggled to abbreviate the news to fit on one page.

The Custom Fit cardi didn't get finished in time for Christmas.  The pieces were sewn together, but the button band wasn't started.  It is in progress now and should be done by the end of the weekend.  I have the buttons ready to go.  Hopefully by my next post I'll have a picture of it being worn.  That will be the test to see if my pattern modifications actually fit me.

The Faith shawl made its debut at Christmas.  I'm very happy with how it turned out. It was blocked and dried in time for me to wear it to my family's celebration in Cincinnati. Since the weather was so warm that night, my brother-in-law built a fire in the fire pit.  The shawl now has a smoky aroma.  I've tried airing it out, but it still lingers.  I guess I'll have to deal with it until I decide to block it again.  With all the points, I won't be doing that again soon.

Here is a close up of the point,

a side shot

and the detail of the center.

Ed was the only person who didn't receive a hand knit item at Christmas.  He got an IOU for a cowl.  I was able to get it banged out in a couple evenings.  He's going to wear it tomorrow morning when he goes hunting.

The next big project on the docket is a Big Wool Blanket for Trisha.  She saw pictures on Pinterest and requested one.  One of my sisters gave me a huge bag of wool to use.

Patty suggested that I split each piece in two lengthwise and put it through a diz.  As I split the wool, I lightly drafted it to make the thickness more consistent.

Being not familiar with using a diz, I watched a couple videos on YouTube.  I found a shawl pin that had holes that I figured would work.

After dizzing it, I ended up with a fluffy ball of roving.  It was almost magical how it ended up so nice.  It was like cotton candy!

After I had a couple balls made, I cast on  42 stitches for the blanket.  I'm using Size 36 needles.  The gauge is about one stitch per inch.  There isn't a pattern I'm using.  I'm just going to do whatever my heart desires as this goes along.

My temporary retirement is scheduled to end on January 11.  My knitting productivity will decline once work begins.  This makes me very sad because I've loved all the projects I've done in the past 7 weeks.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Two Hats to Wrap

I finished the hats for my in-laws.

While knitting the hat for my mother-in-law, I became concerned that I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete all the pattern repeats.  I decided to cut things short and make a tam instead of a stocking cap.  I think it turned out very nice.  The ribbing draws in quite a bit, which will keep the cap snug around the ears, while the top is loose so as to not produce hat hair.

This pattern had several elements that I had not tried before.  The Bavarian cast on is a long-tail variation that is very stretchy.  I'll have to remember to use it on socks sometime.  The elongated stitch was another element that was new.  I like how it looks, but it was bit difficult to knit on 4.5 mm needles and worsted weight yarn.  My fingers were hurting after a few rounds of this.  I'll try to incorporate it into something using a lighter weight yarn and see if it is easier to execute.

The hat I made for my father-in-law is a basic socking cap.  It was a very fast night.  Ed tried it on for size.  I think he's going to want one himself.

That concludes the gift knitting I was planning for Christmas.  I haven't made much progress on the Custom Fit cardi, so it probably won't debut at Christmas.  I have a 4 rows to go to finish Faith.  It will probably play the role of understudy.

This year has been an unusual year for me.  Because of my time off work, I have been able to accomplish all of my Christmas preparations scheduled to date.  The house is decorated.  Christmas cards have been sent.  Christmas Eve meal is planned. Most presents are acquired.  The only thing left not started is the baking.  The kids asked that I wait until they get home from school for that.  Blake finished up his semester yesterday.  Kristin came home last evening.  Trisha is expected home tomorrow.  It feels a bit strange not to feel frantic at this point, but I am not complaining.  I'm loving it!

After the New Year, I will return to work.  The paperwork still needs to be done, but I will be starting as a consultant for a state agency either on January 4 or 11.  I'm hoping for the latter date just to give me another week to be lazy at home.  I need to start adjusting my body clock back to a working person's schedule.