Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Winter is hard

Winter is hard. It just is. It is every year, and I don't know why I'm caught off guard every time it happens, but I always am, even when I think I've prepared.

Or....is it even because of winter? As I skim through the photos randomly pulled to think about writing a blog post, I come across one from October that I never got around to, when the weather was less depressing.


These are the gently rolling hills from the back of the Kinney property, where D and I spent a long weekend celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

Perhaps it's just been a hard year. While things were looking up for me last spring, with the start of a new job that I really enjoy, we lost my uncle far too young after a brief illness in August. Hot on the heels of that senseless loss, we got word that my husband's brother was also unwell...and nearly 20 years younger. The weekend of that photo above, we heard that he basically was not going to get better. How does one family lose two people so young in just a few short months?




We continued what now feels like a theme of celebration slammed right up against sadness and pain, as I turned 35 the day before the memorial service. I've never been one to get all that excited about my birthday. It comes at the start of the cold weather and the holiday season. On one hand, it could be sort of magical, the kick off to festivities. It's always made me feel sort of down. Back in college, it always fell right during finals. In fact, my own father was late to my birth thanks to an exam! And now it just feels like one more thing that people - including me - don't have time or money or energy to celebrate, which Christmas coming for the kids, and holiday parties and family commitments. I don't want to make a big deal about it, but I want to want to, and I don't, and that makes the whole thing feel like a let down. Self fulfilling prophecy. Most years of late it's been ok, as I've prioritized just relaxing and having a nice dinner at home with my family, and maybe a day or a couple hours to spoil myself with a massage or manicure or something. This year though, it was caught up in the sea of general upheaval. We still did get together with family, and I thought that the cake my in-laws picked up for me was very cute. It was just different. I don't like different. I also feel so stupid even feeling anything about it in light of the REASON things were different, because it makes me feel like a spoiled child. Perhaps now that I've said it "out loud," I really can just shrug my shoulders and let it go emotionally, as I already have mentally.

Speaking of shrugging my shoulders, it's only recently that I've been able to accomplish that skill again. I'd felt it coming on for awhile, and tried to stave it off with yoga and stretching, but all the stress of the past few months must have just been too much, and I suffered an attack of pinched nerves in my neck and shoulders just a few days before Christmas. It happens every so often for me over the past 5 years, just debilitating pain that comes on for no reason. Well, no ONE reason, some injury I can definitively point to and think, well don't do THAT again and you'll be fine! No, it seems like I physically store my stress in my shoulders, and once or twice a year, it builds up and my body just screams at me to stop. It accomplishes this by making it so that I basically can't move at all without intense pain shooting down my back and arms if I try to turn my head, so it's a pretty effective move, body. This round was one of the worst I've had, taking 3 trips to the chiropractor to regain normal, more or less pain free mobility. Again, I haaaate feeling like such a whiner, but it really ruined Christmas for me this year. I'd luckily finished my shopping the previous weekend, but wrapping gifts was quite painful. Baking cookies with my family exacerbated the pain, and made it much worse than it was after chiropractic adjustment number two, and I couldn't get back for adjustment number three for four more days due to the timing of the holiday. I have a much greater sympathy for people with real chronic pain syndromes. It is hard to enjoy ANYTHING when your body is betraying you. I've recovered since, and have finally taken my chiropractor's advice to begin a maintenance program. I'll start out seeing him monthly and see how it goes from there.

Throughout, there has been knitting. I've mentioned in my podcast - (my podcast. I'm so not in the mood for my podcast right now. I was too nervous when I started it to start a Ravelry group, like so many people do. But....by not doing that, I don't feel like anyone is actually listening. I love consuming podcasts, but they really are a very one-directional way to share. Even though people don't really comment on blogs or youtube anymore, it's still easier to leave a comment there, or on Instagram of course, than it is on an audio podcast. It's not impossible to send someone an email, or go to the show notes and comment there....but it's that one additional barrier step that stops me from doing things like that for the people that I listen to but don't comment on. It's not a huge amount of effort, but it's just enough to make me not do it. Anyway, let's let that lie there for a minute.) - as I said, I mentioned in my podcast that there was going to be a lot of knitting time. My in-laws live about a 4 hour drive from us, and D and I made the trip down to visit his brother three times I think. I also knitted while we were there. He wasn't in much state to actually visit with us toward the end. I was so grateful to have something to do with my hands, something to distract me from the situation. I finished the cowl the day he passed. I'm glad that I didn't choose projects specifically for this waiting time. It would be too difficult to ever use them. Now it's just something that was on the list. There is sadness woven into the stitches, but there is still happiness and love for the person I was making it for. It's life.









Blessedly, it's 2018 now. After the shitpile at the end of 2017, I have been more on board with actively turning over the new year than I think I ever have before. I have wanted to knit a traditional cabled sweater since we went to Ireland in 2011. I purchased this yarn, Imperial Yarn, in sport weight, in 2015 at a local yarn store. I selected the pattern while I was working on my Calligraphy Cardigan, the brown one above. The pattern came to me by way of someone destashing a collection of vintage (it's from 1981, I think that's vintage now. It's A vintage.) patterns that were in turn I think destashed from a public library? Maybe an estate. I'm not sure. It's marked down from $3.00 to 10 cents on the cover. It's deliciously complex, but fairly simple and rhythmic now that I'm 11" in to the back panel. The pattern calls for knitting to 13" before beginning armhole shaping. I think I'll add maybe 2".





 I've decided to take a break from social media. I sort of wish I'd added it to my New Year's Resolutions. I actually made some this year. I've been keeping track of them through an app called Strides. I think it will be helpful to have them popping up on my phone so that I can't lose track of them. I've flossed my teeth all but one day so far this year. I tracked down a 5 year journal, the kind that you write a couple of lines each day, and then when the day comes around again the following year, you get basically an analog timehop to see what you were up to this time last year. I wanted to - and tried to - purchase it locally but struck out. Amazon Prime ended up coming through on New Year's Eve. I've been adding the temperature. It's so cold, it seems notable. I've also been adding a smiley face to sort of track my mood. I'd like to be more patient, more zen. I don't want to see a bunch of frowns, so it's helping me consciously try to be kinder. To myself. To everyone. At least I'm trying. My mom said to be careful not to write negative things. No one wants to remember that, or be remembered for it. We're all in sort of a legacy place right now. Leave a good one. I'm trying to be honest but I agree. I don't want to complain. 35 seemed like a really good place to start a 5 year journal. I wanted to start at 30....but I was too tired. I knew I wouldn't keep it up, and that would be disappointing. Journaling is one of my goals. I've made it every day so far. That's.....1/24th of the year.

Consciously or subconsciously, I am leaning toward putting things together. I tried patching a pair of tights that I really like, but blew a hole in them again immediately. I think I need to put something behind the stitches, not just try to stitch them back together. I wonder what you patch tights with? I patched some kid pants with some beyond busted husband jeans that have been hanging out in my fabric stash for a couple of years. They seem to go in waves. He busted a bunch of work around the house jeans all at once, and I patched what I could with the ones that were farther gone. Now they are passing down and patching kid pants. She grows so fast and has so few pants that fit, I thought I'd see if we can get some more wear out of them. On the plus side, she's more excited about the patched pants than her regular uniform pants. Hopefully these still fall into "uniform." It's a rather hippy, crunchy school, so I hope that the make do and mend method outweighs the color code. I have one more pair on the mending pile, but the first pair made it back out of the laundry and off to school today. I hope they hold up.







 While I went and bought myself a serger for my birthday / Christmas, and I've used it a bit, I'm drawn to the idea of making a quilt at the moment. I made myself a top on the serger, and I liked it until I washed it. I'm not sure if it was my technique, and the fact that I manhandled the neckline after inserting it backward, of course, or if it was the super lightweight knit, but it didn't wash well. So that was discouraging. I made a couple kid tops, which would have gone quickly had I not had the massive neck injury in the middle. I finished them a week or so ago, selected sizes based on measurements. The big one is huge, and the little one fits the big kid. I'm going to see how they wash up, and if it goes well then I'll make a smaller one for the little kid, and set the biggest one aside for a couple years. Like I said, they grow fast. If it doesn't go well, well I have a queen size quilt to distract me. I have 2 yards each of the prints, and about 1.5 yards of the gray. I think I'm going to use up nearly every scrap, including piecing a couple of the solid gray and the white triangles. I cut one of the white strips a little crooked, so I may need to stretch what I do have. I'm still thinking it might be a smidge smaller than I wanted. When I get to the end, I'll lay it out over the batting and see if I want to add some border strips. I'm going to use a flat gray sheet for the backing, left from a set of our sheets where the fitted one ripped. I probably shouldn't wear my rings to bed. This isn't the first time they've ripped right there, right under where I tuck my hands under my chest when I lay on my stomach, a posture that is absolutely terrible for my neck but is sometimes the only way I can get to sleep. I think I'll want to quilt this on my home machine. I can't stomach the cost of sending it out, just a quilt for us here at home, nothing fancy. I heard the Yarn Hoarder mention on her podcast that she has a local shop that she can take classes on, and then rent time on the machine hourly. I wonder if we have something like that near me. That would be cool. And a bit easier I'd imagine.

2018. This will be a year of yoga 3x a week, daily journaling, flossing, making the bed, and working on getting out of the house on time. This is a year of biting into big, involved projects. This is a year (well, a first quarter) of deciding if we are going to officially sign something and build a new house this year. This will be a year of peace, kindness to myself, my loved ones. Cultivate the relationships I have, and don't feel envious of the ones I don't. I hope this is a year that ends with as many, or more, loved ones than we started with. Let's all take care of ourselves, ok?


I'm leaving those twinkly lights up until daylight conditions improve. :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lip Gloss holder necklace

My daughter saw this cute little lipgloss holder that Emily of Knitting Butterflies knit for her daughter on Instagram and thought it was so cute.


We live in a cold climate, and chapped lips are a frequent battle, so I figured that giving her a way to keep lipgloss close at hand was a worthwhile effort, so I whipped up one of my own to tuck in her stocking for St. Nick's. And when you make one, you always have to make another. At least that's true in my house! Whatever one has, the other wants.

(For those who are not in my exact part of the state, Saint Nicholas Day is an oddly SUPER regionally celebrated thing - my husband is from just 4 hours away and never celebrated it growing up....and I'm not even sure my parents did just 90 minutes away! It has something to do with having a high concentration of German immigrants. It's funny, because I'm not totally sure of the difference between Santa and St. Nick, even though I read a brief description of the holiday on Wikipedia, or why we somehow get visited twice in the month of December. I do know that I like to give Christmas jammies for this "holiday," because then they can be appropriately and festively worn all month.)

Regardless of the whys or wherefores, I thought this was a tiny enough project that I could have it done in a night or two. After a little trial and error I figured it out and thought I'd just jot it down here in case anyone does THEIR stocking stuffing for Christmas day or Hanukkah or something! I used size 1 needles and leftover sock yarn - in this case it was Trekking. I cast on 20 stitches and did 1x1 ribbing in the round for about 5 rounds. Then I switched to stockinette (or at least I did when I was paying attention - I had to tink back one row when I realized I was ribbing again while I was knitting watching tv), and knit until the tube was just shy of 2". Then I k2tog for the next 2 rounds, and then threaded the tail through the remaining 5 stitches and cinched it tight and wove in the end. (It will not be fun to turn that little tube inside out, and this is why I don't knit gloves.) Then I took a small crochet hook and did a chain of about 24", but just adjust the length based on how long you want the necklace to be. I was too lazy to get up and check, but I wanted mine to be approximately the length of those mardi gras beads, so I just eyeballed it. Then I took the tails and tied them on to the ribbing, and wove the ends in so hopefully it will be secure. If not.....well I guess I'll have to whip up another one. My second one only took about an hour.

I filled them with Bonne Bell Lipsmacker, because despite all the fancy, environmentally better brands I've tried.....I still love that stuff. I used it allllll through high school and college, and it might just be time to quit fooling myself and go back to it. I'm a fruit flavored gal myself, I never cared for the sugary scents. I bought an 8 pack and held some back for myself, and to replace these when they inevitably get lost. Or possibly eaten, you never know!



I wasn't actually sure if these would be just weird or awesome. The reception this morning was quite good! I, of course, got no credit. Apparently St. Nick is ALSO a knitter. :) I'm interested to see how they fare after a day of school!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Podcast Episode 12 show notes - Mistakes Abound

Welcome to the show notes for Episode 12 - Mistakes Abound. Either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link.


I talked about:

Knitting - finished!
Calligraphy Cardigan, Hannah Fettig: 09.06.17 - 11.20.17
Vanilla Faded Socks: 09.06.17 - 10.27.17
Forest Floor Hat: 10.27.17 - 10.29.17
Kid Cowl: 11.08.17 - 11.11.17
Split Brim Hat: 11.20.17 - 11.24.17


Knitting - in progress:
Sock Yarn Blanket: 06.25.14 - the end of time
Procrastinatrix Socks: 10.29.17 -
Thrummed Convertible Mittens: 11.25.17 -


Future Knitting:
Lalita
Lanvad

Sewing:
Phoebe Mermouse

Spinning:
Still haven't decided on the plan, but have started spinning color 3

Big spin, in which I can't remember what my actual plan was. Should I....
A. 3-ply all 3 colors together
B. 2-ply like colors together, so one oatmeal (color 1), one off white skein (color 2), and one brown (color 3)
C. 2 ply combinations of 1-2, 2-3, 3-1




I mentioned:
Convertible mitten technique by Nuttin but Knittin and video tutorial by The Charm of It
A Sense of Place by Andrea Mowry and the Jubilee Hat


Contact links
email - cozycapecottage@gmail.com
instagram
ravelry
facebook


Music courtesy Bensound.com

Friday, October 27, 2017

Podcast Episode 11 show notes - Avoiding my Chores

Welcome to the show notes for Episode 11 - Avoiding my Chores. Either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link.

I talked about:

Knitting - finished!
Nothing to see here

Knitting - in progress:
Calligraphy Cardigan, Hannah Fettig: 09.06.17 -
Vanilla Faded Socks: 09.06.17 -

Future Knitting:
Forest Floor Hat by Alana Dakos
Howard Hoodie

Sewing:
None

Spinning:
Big spin, in which I can't remember what my actual plan was. Should I....
A. 3-ply all 3 colors together
B. 2-ply like colors together, so one oatmeal (color 1), one off white skein (color 2), and one brown (color 3)
C. 2 ply combinations of 1-2, 2-3, 3-1




I mentioned:


Contact links
email - cozycapecottage@gmail.com
instagram
ravelry
facebook


Music courtesy Bensound.com

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Podcast Episode 10 show notes - Works in Progress

Welcome to the show notes for Episode 10 - double digits! You can either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link.

I talked about:

Knitting - finished!
Nothing to see here

Knitting - in progress:
Calligraphy Cardigan, Hannah Fettig: 09.06.17 -
Vanilla Faded Socks: 09.06.17 -

Sewing:
Did some mending

General chat:
I talk a little about the design process in preparation for building our new home!


Contact links
email - cozycapecottage@gmail.com
instagram
ravelry
facebook


Music courtesy Bensound.com