Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Routine

Well suddenly it's been a minute, hasn't it? I wrote in my last post that I was making a move, and I in some ways I've been in motion since!



I started a new job on May 1, and it feels like it was a good move. It's simultaneously familiar and new, but it feels like I've got my feet under me now. I'm getting to know people - it helps that there seems to be an abundance of social opportunities. I wonder if that's just how it is, or just because it's summer? Time will tell, obviously. I feel like they are getting to know me too, getting familiar with my skill set, and where I want to go. People seem to have the ability - for real, not just for lip service - to choose their own adventure. I've been in my career field for...10 years now, and I feel like this is the first time that I can say, hey, I'd love to try THAT, and actually be given the opportunity to learn that skill. It must be some combination of the culture here as well as this point in my own development - that I can see what I'd like to do, the humility to admit that it's something I need to learn, and the courage to ask for the opportunity. It's a good place to be, all in all.

And there's a roof deck. Win.



I've had a bit of a summer fitness kick, which was unexpected. Seems more like a new year's resolution thing, which I didn't even bother making this year because I so seldom put any effort into them. We've been doing some family bike rides, and I've been working up my courage to do a charity ride for work (the shortest distance option, if that's even possible!). I have until August 2 to sign up....I'd like to do at least one more 20 mile ride beforehand just to make sure I can really do it. The options are 20, 35, 70, and 103 miles. One huuuundred miles. So much no. I've only done one 25 mile distance so far this summer (possibly for the first time ever? I'm really bad at biking. We lived near busy roads when I was growing up and we were only allowed to ride in our cul-de-sac....which was boring and there was gravel at one turn where we would always wipe out, so I didn't ride much), but it wasn't all in one shot. Timing wise, that leaves me just this weekend to try to do it. We don't have anything on the calendar, so if the weather turns out....it's actually possible to give it a shot. I even mapped out a route. Perspective is funny. I'm sure tons of people wouldn't even think to practice for a 20 mile ride, but it's really far for me. Typically any time I sign up for a fitness thing, I don't bother to train either, but it's out of laziness, not belief that I don't need to. I really regret it halfway through!

This year though, I might get strong. I've been going to yoga too. A perk of my old job was weekly yoga classes, and I'd missed that. I was going to just buy a 10 pack of classes as my mother's day present, but they were running a sale for 3 months unlimited.....I ran the math on it, and it balanced out if I went 2x a week, so I went for it. Actually all but last week I've made it 3x a week. Usually just lunch classes, but I've been doing the early class on Wednesdays fairly regularly. We've been using the roof deck of the building, and it's a pretty refreshing way to greet the day.  Not a chance though will I continue once my 3 months is up in September. I can't justify the cost of continuing at that rate unless I hit another special, but I've got time to think about what I want to do. I'd like to just work out at home, but I suck at it. Just too many distractions, responsibilities, demands on my attention, couches... I can definitely tell that I've increased strength wise in both yoga and biking compared to my baseline, but overall I'm still pretty soft. We love watching American Ninja Warrior (so random). I tried crossing the monkey bars yesterday. Instant blister and I couldn't even go 2 rungs. Those ninjas just fling their bodies around and do pullups like it's nothing. So weird how watching it on tv hasn't transferred actual ability to me....

Roof yoga view



In sad knitting news, my fave LYS shut their doors this summer. I feel so adrift without my place to hang. The groups have continued meeting, though it hasn't worked out much with my schedule this summer. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to hook back up with them this fall on a more regular basis. I've still been knitting, super monogamously on the exact same 3 things lol. Last time I was around here I think I was working on my cabled cowl, something that's been on my list for me for yeeears. I finished that in early May, right after I started my job. Since then, I've consistently had 3 things on my needles - a pair of socks for purse knitting, a "big" project for at home, and secret knitting for after the kids go to bed which is my REAL "big" project.

cowl, ends still not woven in, buttons still not purchased....I've got time before winter...

 

For socks, I worked on and finished a pair of Rose City Rollers (the biggest size of the littles, after knitting almost an entire pair of the second biggest size and deciding it was too small). It was my first time using Trekking. I liked it! The yarn didn't stripe, but it didn't pool either, so that was good. It tolerated being ripped back pretty well, but it has gotten rather fuzzy. That could come from being worn nonstop for about 72 hours after they were finished, but that's considered high praise as it was the hottest it's been all summer at that time.

I finished those on June 21, and rather than casting on the next sock club suggestion, I picked back up my zigzagulars that I'd set down months ago. I started them back in February, but only got through the cuff and the first or second zig or zag. Come to think of it, that yarn had been ripped out too. It started life as a more heavily patterned sock, the Tornados I think. This pattern is a much better fit, and it's holding up just fine, as you'd expect from Regia. The contrast cuff is Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury sock. It seems like it will be really hard wearing, which is good as I plan to use it for heels and toes as well. It's one of the things I stocked up on when Wild Haven closed. I definitely had mixed feelings about that - on the one hand, you don't want to pass up a good deal, and it would benefit Kate more to have the cash than the yarn sitting around after the shop closed. But on the other, it just feels icky to be getting a good deal at the expense of your friend. I tell myself that I was a regular, if not high volume because I certainly don't NEED a lot, customer before the closing sale, and that I'd planned to just buy it as I needed it....but still the mixed feelings. Anyway. So those are my socks of the moment. I got down the leg to the heel in the car yesterday. I'd have started it, but I'd forgotten to pop that contrast yarn in my project bag. I'd rather knit than not knit (I'd have slept had it been quiet, but alas it was loud. Also my driver was quite sleepy, so better to be an alert pair of eyes) so the legs may be an inch or so longer than they'd have been otherwise. Now the contrast yarn is on board for the next time I find myself with time.




I cast on my "big" project right after the cowl, on May 14. A year or so late, I jumped on the Fade bandwagon. I've got 2 of Kate's Wild Haven yarns in there (one knit, one still to come). I've got the yarn specially dyed up for sock club that I didn't want to "waste" on "just socks," a sweet georgia color (that's the one I'm on now, color 4 of 7) also from Wild Haven (see self! Regular customer!), and a Leading Men Fiber Arts and a Madelinetosh that I got at the Knitting Pipeline Retreat. (I never told you about this, I guess it was in my break back in February? It was my first retreat, it was lovely, I hope to go again next year.) That's only 6 colors....I must be missing one. Oh, I see, as I check my project page - I guess I have 2 Leading Men colorways in there. All of the colors are super neutral, gray and white and purple, but light purple. Since it will be so huge, I'm hopeful that it will be versatile enough to wear with everything. If not, I guess it's a big at home blanket. I didn't stash bust for this project, as I'm not really a collector of the special skeins. Most of these were purchased with this project in mind over 6 months or so. (Better to spread it out, and to never calculate the sticker price.) I'll have leftovers, so I'm going to put a row of squares all in a row in my sock yarn blanket, and then knit a fade pair of socks with probably the rest, depending how much there is.




Ok, and then my REAL big project is a pair of Phoebe dresses from the Joanna Johnson book Phoebe's Birthday. I'm sure I've talked about the Phoebe mouse dolls and sweaters that I've made from another of her books, Phoebe's Sweater. Those dolls have been such a big hit at our house, so I hope these are loved as well. I have less than a month to finish, but I think I'm on track. I knit the first one (the smaller, darn. I was hoping it would be the big one (it's the size 4), but as it turns out it will be the smaller of the two) in just over a month. I've been working on the bigger (size 6) for exactly one month now. It's bottom up, and I've finished the waist decreases. I figure I should have the bodice finished this week, and then another week or two for the flounce.




After that (so we're getting into future knitting now, I guess), I want to make a little hat for a friend's first baby, and then the Fade will probably move into primary "big" project status. Come to think of it....the hat COULD supplant the socks as purse knitting and therefore arrive a little faster. That may be a good idea, because babies come whenever they want. Note to self. *Pause on heels, cast on hat.* Ok, so THEN when that's all finished....well then I'm not sure. A sweater, I think. I have several sweaters' quantities. I should let some of them grow up to be sweaters. I have a list in my queue. I'll have to see what moves me when I get there.

So also, because there's also, because it's been months since I wrote a darn thing, I think I'm nearing the finish line of a spinning project that's been sitting nearly finished for months. I didn't keep good track, but I think I started spinning it a literal year ago. I got a lot done in one shot, and since then every time I tried to spin it, my singles got too thin and it would snap, I'd get frustrated, and let it sit a couple more months. The Tour de Fleece is going on right now though (the fiber people's play on Tour de France....because both "spin," haha), so that inspired me not to "compete", but just to finish this one project! I missed the end of the tour, but it's fully spun, and maybe half plied now, so that's a win I think.

Finally, I sewed a bunch of stuff. My friend Meagan and I road tripped down to Vogue Fabrics in Illinois one day while I was on a mini vacation between jobs, and it really inspired me. I'll maybe do a separate post on what I've sewn, but maybe not because that would require effort and photography. (I will say that I've worn every single thing more than once since I made them. Perhaps I'll try to awkward selfie the next time I wear them and revisit this list.) At the end of my headlong immersion into my sewing room, I came out with a drapey (voile? lawn? Lawn I think) black dress from Burda with little yellow and white hearts with pockets and a keyhole that I wear with a belt because it's kind of shapeless but I like it, a waterfall front jersey dress from Burda, a short sleeved Burda sheath dress for work, a white jersey dress (McCalls I think) with a probably quite versatile gray slip (date night slip), a super simple black long sleeved jersey dress that I want 10 of based on an Alabama Chanin pattern (I like the look of her hand embellishments but I'm realistically never going to do that. I like the simple shapes of the base patterns though!), a black short sleeve tee shirt which I like but I'll make with more ease next time, Chanin again, and another Chanin, this time an oatmeal colored tunic that I attached some lace from an ill advised similar tunic from Old Navy that never fit. I like this tunic, but the fabric is sheer so I've been wearing it as an undershirt for a sort of boho look. I think......that's it. EIGHT garments?! What? I also made half a fail of another tunic because the fabric was really pretty but like trying to cut water. I should have paid more attention to how the pattern landed, and I ended up hating it and not finishing it. I'm also in progress of a blouse by Burdastyle that I WOULD have finished, but I forgot to mark the darts on the pattern and had to get the book back from the library. Now I've had it 3 weeks and still haven't traced the darts....my sewing room got a little bit tossed when we unexpectedly decided to remodel our bathrooms. How does one toss a basement sewing room while doing a completely unrelated remodel? Well, as this is already crazy long....I'll get to that later. :)




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Inertia

Try as I might, I just can't think of a better word to describe the past few months.

I feel as though my mind has just been spinning without knowing what direction I should choose, what direction I even WANT to go in, and I've had a really hard time with that. I've thought many times about using this blog or a journal or something to get my thoughts out, to see if that would help clarify what my next move is, but I've come to a funny realization.

It turns out that if I don't feel like I know where I want to go, I just go.....nowhere. I have a really hard time even forming thoughts to MYSELF that go anywhere when I don't know what I want to result to be. 

There is precious little in my life that has not had a definite plan, a goal, a trajectory. I typically know what I want my result to be, and while the steps to get there may require work, it's generally been easy to map out those steps. 

I knew in 4th grade that I wanted to be an architect. A teacher suggest it to my parents at a conference, and I latched onto that idea, and I worked my butt off to achieve it. I didn't necessarily have a specific picture of my family life, but I suppose I always had an ingrained picture of what it might look like based on how I grew up, and I (we) have made that happen. In many ways, there has always been a "next" step to look toward, something that would drastically change my life. College, grad school, work, wedding, house, professional license, family.

And now? Now I'm not sure. It seems like the next.....well.....30 or so years are going to either be much the same, or just incremental change, right up until retirement. That doesn't necessarily feel big, or scary, because it's so far away and something we've been planning for and saving for like most people our age and circumstance, the ones not expecting a pension and not coming from any family money. And we'll continue to do that, but daaaang that's a long time of "the same" until then. 

I guess this is what a quarter......third.....some random fraction before mid-life crisis feels like?

Crisis feels too strong though. I'm not in "crisis." Maybe I'm in doldrums. I just feel in the middle. Ok, not even the middle, but over the beginning parts, the getting used to it bits, and it just feels.....directionless? 

While I've been doing all of this mental spinning, I couldn't even seem to come up with a couple of scenarios to flesh out. That's actually a tendency I've been working on at work too. I'll partially develop all kinds of different layouts in my mind and reject them for one reason or another, and the only one that will make it onto paper (or screen) looks like it's the only one I've tried. It's something I really should work on more in life too. Sometimes when you lay something out, even if it's wrong or it won't work or you don't like it for some reason, it may spark some other thought that IS an interesting idea. 

I think I have fear of the blank page. I've had a hard time looking at the blank page on my blog. I have a dim desire to write a book sometime in my life, but because I can't picture what I would want it to be about, I'm not sure I'll ever start. (children's, fiction, research, professional, not sure, therefore I don't want to think about it.) I have been wanting to start drawing again, but I'm paralyzed by doing it "wrong." I used to draw all the time. It's the REASON that 4th grade teacher thought I'd make a good architect. Then I got to college and saw all these people who were actually REALLY good at it, and I just....stopped. I felt intimidated and sloppy. I went to a design school, and in some ways it made me afraid to design. How messed up is that. I look around at all the makers and Etsy-ers and quit your day job, make your own way-ers. It feels so romantic, that overnight success which probably took years, but it looks effortless and fun. I can't even bring myself to sign up for a table at our school's craft fair, because what would I even make that's worth making that people would want to buy when surely someone is already doing it, and doing it better. And then, if I hit on that awesome thing that people love that they DO want to buy, do I really want to BE a one man sweatshop churning out the same widget day after day? On top of a job and all the other stuff? Or, even scarier, INSTEAD of a job, where you're livelihood depends on keeping people interested in that widget or the next one, living life on social media and marketing and selling all the time? (Actually thinking of all that has made it easier for me to say, um, no, that's not what I want.)

Plus there's the time factor. I want to go in all of these directions, all at the same time, but there isn't the actual, physical time in which to do it. Most days, the hours between 7am and 8pm are fully spoken for, and mostly not directed by me. There's the j-o-b on the weekdays, and the aforementioned hands on season of mothering the other days and after the work time. And don't get me wrong, I want both of those things. But I also want me time, quiet time, creative time, lazy time. But also there's sleep. And couple time. And family time. And friend time. And laundry time (always laundry). And there's just not enough time.

I know I don't have life rocking changes on the horizon. But I know there are incremental changes coming. Soon my day hours won't be quite so intensely directed by small people. I will be able to use my sewing room more freely once everyone in the house can navigate the stairs to and from. Then I don't have to be so ELSEwhere to work on things, which will make me feel less guilty for abandoning people or not carrying my load. Even this summer will be easier to leave the house and just spend time in the yard. It's just the getting there that's been kind of hard. I know I'm certainly not the first nor the last to say it, but mothering certainly has a way of making you lose bits of yourself.

Despite all of that, I guess I'm starting to feel my way out of that "getting there" fog, that directionless spinning. Maybe part of it has been work stuff, as I've had some loss of direction in the past few months. I made a decision, finally, last week to accept a position with a new company. I've been with my current company 6 years, which is not a super long time, but pretty respectable in today's work world. It was a really hard decision for me because, while I've been in a project lull for several months, I can see real potential for things to improve in the future. Another local firm reached out to me with an interesting offer, and I decided to go for it. A lot of coworkers from a past firm are there and quite happy from what I hear, and I think it will be a good fit. It would have been a much easier decision if I was REALLY not into one or the other, but I had the distinctly first world problem of two very good options, and good enough terms at my current (soon to be former) firm that the door would remain open to me if things change in the future. I had a cup of tea the night I accepted the offer and saw this, and that settled my mind a bit. I always believe in fortunes when they feel so spot on, even if they are more "statement of fact" than "fortune." (Of course I ignore them the other 90% of the time when they don't make sense or tell me things I don't want to hear, so take that with a big grain of salt.)



Another thing that will be sort of huge will be building our new house. We bought land last year, but have had a hazy 2-3 year timeline since then on when we will actually start. The new job, and pay increase that should usually come with a new job if you're lucky, are helping bring that timeline into sharper focus. We still.....still....haven't had our plans priced out, but I feel like building next summer or fall (2018) may be a reality. There hasn't been much impetus to develop our plans to a pricing level so far, because without a deadline....well, we aren't good at working without a deadline. Plus it just felt unattainable to get what we wanted with my salary what it was. But now that's changing, so it feels like it's time. It's scary though, because as architects, we can't just pick something from a catalog and build it with its pre-figured pricing. No. We know too much about what we want, so it of course must be custom and non-standard. However....we are not residential architects, which means that we simultaneously know too little, and I'm terrified that a builder will take one look at us and our precious plan and raise his rates by 150%. Which will make the financing out of reach again, and the timeline could fall back out of focus, and with just feeling out of focus in general, well, that's been a hard step to take. 

And like always, just putting SOMETHING down to start feels better. It always does. Something to build off of, or something to scrap because at least now you know.

Decisions made - no, I will not be quitting my day job to become an artisanal soap maker, yarn dyer, professional knitter. I will, however, be trying out a new day job. I (we) will work to bring our house plan down to the square footage that we think we can afford, and set meetings with a couple of builders. Like writing that first word or drawing that first line, at least then we will have a place to start from. Maybe it will be ok and within range, and we can start the next steps of securing financing and setting down a schedule. Maybe it won't and we'll have to value engineer ourselves, and that's ok too. Lord knows we've done it enough at work! 

But I guess the lesson for me in all of this ramble is to just start. It's ok and GOOD to rip that bandaid off. Make the first mark. Just pick something. Apply force....overcome inertia.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Podcast Episode 8 show notes


Podcast episode 8 is up! You can either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link.

I talked about:

Knitting and sewing - finished!

Phoebe's Sweater, Joanna Johnson  11.21.16 - 12.17.16
Phoebe Mouse, Joanna Johnson 12.18.16 - 12.24.16
1 knit and 1 crochet dishcloth + 2 scrubbies 
Time Traveler Socks 12.01.16- 01.02.17
Campside Quaker shawl 11.10.16 - 01.15.17
Burlap basket from book Growing up Sew Liberated by Meg Mcelwee
Sweater sized project bag

Knitting - in progress:
Tornado socks, The Yarn Enabler 01.05.17 -
Pure joy shawl, Joji Locatelli 01.17.17-