life is what happens while you’re busy making plans

I’m a planner, y’all know that. I like a good amount of structure in my world, in my day, and when that doesn’t happen it takes me a bit to bounce back. And my world has been more chaotic than not lately, in good ways, but it’s taking a bit longer than normal to bounce back.

A rare photo of all three kids. This period of behaving and getting along lasted maybe 90 seconds.

I have been busy knitting and working on other creative projects. I have two scarves and an adult hat knit for the charity collection, which I think is a good way to start the year. There’s plenty of yarn for more, and I’m planning to start making baby hats as well. I had one for our new niece and realized that they’re really quick to make and don’t use much yarn, so they’re an excellent project.

Tiny baby hat for our niece

I made this hat using some Koigu I had in my stash. The color is much more of a light, tonal lilac purple. I think it’s a lovely little hat for a lovely little girl.

I’ve also been making some random jewelry, doing some small Lego kits, and planning some future projects. One of my unofficial goals is to do as many of these projects as I can without having to buy additional supplies. I have all of this stuff, I really should use it.

I was not really ready for this

It’s winter in Nebraska, so honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised that the temps have finally dropped into the zone of feeling arctic. But it doesn’t mean I’m ever ready for this point in the season and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to like it. However, since I knit, I am sort of prepared.

Aronia, in the wild

I’m trying to wear a knit item every day, a challenge I undertake periodically. It’s not like there’s any shortage of scarves, shawls, and now cowls in this house. I made them, I should wear them. The Aronia cowl yesterday looked great with a new blouse I had purchased and it was the perfect amount of extra warmth that I needed. Today is extra cold, something like a high of only 14 degrees and wicked wind chills, so I’ve got on a slightly more traditional shawl but worn around my neck. It’s delightful.

Work continues to progress on the mohair “thing” and I’m also spending a little time with a scarf that will be donated. I may have mentioned but my goal is to make at least one item for charity every month, and I’m contemplating doing some hats and mittens to go with the scarves. We shall see. But it makes me feel good to know that I’m doing something for someone else.

starting off proper

One of the goals I had set for last year was to explore vegetarian cooking and try to incorporate that into our lifestyle. I actually found that I really enjoy it. We have not switched to an entirely vegetarian diet, but we do make a point of having at least one meatless meal every week. And because it’s catchy (and I think something they did during WWII?) we go with Meatless Mondays. Tonight’s dinner will be an delish vegetarian chili made in the Instant Pot. It’s tasty, healthy, and really quite filling.

Now where is that recipe for BBQ squirrel?

On Saturday Lancelot helped me with a project that’s really needed to be done, and especially not since I’m going to be trying to expand my recipe horizons. That mess spread all over the table was the contents of my recipe box, my mother’s recipe box, and my grandmother’s recipe box. It was hard to find anything because there were duplicates, cards with very sketchy info, and names that didn’t always make sense to us. So instead of filing things in alphabetical order we decided to group them by type, like “Appetizer” or “Drink” or “Breakfast.” It’s in much better shape now and should actually be useful. And yes, there is actually a recipe for BBQ squirrel. My mom said it was pretty tasty.

Aronia cowl made with Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in “Tapestry”

The cowl is gorgeous. I was a little concerned about doing lace with yarn that has so much color, but I think it looks amazing. I’ll be wearing it later this week. Right now I’m focusing my attention on getting the big mohair piece done. I’m envisioning a wide, long shoulder wrap type piece that will have three large buttons and multiple ways to fasten them. Yes, this is kind of a riff on Rectangulum but I have high hopes that it’s going to be amazing.

2021 in review

Hey y’all! Nope, not dead yet. I’ve just been busy and haven’t taken time to write in a really long time. I’ve been knitting, cooking, spending time with my friends, and today I finished a rather large Lego-type project.

The secret holiday gift for Miz M
I hated the mohair shawl I was making so I ripped it out and have started a new project with the yarn
I played with jewelry one day
That’s the most recent brick build, a giant swallowtail butterfly

I’m also working on a lace cowl (that doesn’t have beads) and another charity scarf. I stay pretty damn busy these days. And having Lancelot home makes it even more enjoyable.

I’m not a “new year’s resolution” kind of person, they seem destined to fail right from the start. I do, however, like to set goals for myself for the coming year. These are what I set for last year…

  • I will work to incorporate more physical activity into my routine by using the treadmill, ultimately getting to 30min/day, 5x/week
  • I will learn a new creative skill (I have kits here already for quilling and chain maille)
  • I will continue to explore vegetarian dishes and strive to include a meatless dinner at least 1x/week – Meatless Monday is a thing at our house
  • I will learn at least one new Indian recipeI will finish all of the fiber projects that are currently in progress
  • I will continue to work on my health issues by being more mindful of what I eat and drink

I feel like I did really well with some of those, completed them even, but not everything. So for 2022 I’m planning to…

• No new yarn (unless I somehow manage to use everything I have in the house)
• Learn a new knitting skill
• Complete at least one project every month – doesn’t have to be knitting, just something creative
• Learn a new craft skill (like actually use the chain maille or quilling kits)
• Try at least two new recipes every month
• Plant and maintain a vegetable garden
• Lose 50lbs

We’ll see how it goes. I have already kind of started by picking out yarns to go with patterns and putting them in project bags in my office closet. Hopefully that helps.

Hoping you’re all safe and having a wonderful holiday season. Be good to each other.

never enough time

We had a really nice weekend, and that was good. We managed to get a very nice balance of being productive and being sloths. Heavenly really. Though I will say, I won’t be putting off grocery shopping until Sunday afternoon again any time soon. But here I am with very little time because, quite frankly, I’m realizing what bits of my life really are the priorities.

That’s a queen size bed in our guest room

I can’t remember when I finished those three, and I can’t be bothered to look, but I can tell you that they’ve been hanging out in the closet for entirely too long. We’re anticipating having a house guest around New Year’s so I figured I should probably get this done before she arrives. I also managed to finish the last gift and that baby will also require blocking, so…

Rectangulum in the wild

I wore Rectangulum to work one day last week with a black tunic and black leggings and it was just lovely. The ability to customize the look with the buttons and button holes is really kind of genius. And I still believe that this yarn is absolutely perfect.

My goal now for the rest of 2021 is try to finish what I can of the existing projects. I’ve moved on to a lace scarf that’s been in the works because it’s probably closest to done. There’s also still the beaded lace cowl, the kitty doll, and the mohair shawl. I’m well aware that those won’t ALL be done before the new year, but I’ll try. I did start a new charity scarf this morning because I wanted something mindless to work on sometimes.

Garth is not pleased that today is Monday

monday got me like…

Run Forrest, run!!!

Ok, so it’s not quite that bad. But I did just explode a container of vanilla yogurt because I was fighting with the package. Two valuable lessons learned from that, so not all bad. One, the dog really seems to like vanilla bean yogurt. Two, white yogurt on a greet shirt leaves an unusual yet hilarious visual. Use your imagination.

Anyway, the weekend was great. We did very little that would be considered “productive” and it was delightful. I did manage to finish a project I’ve been working on.

Rectangulum

This is what happens when you cannot be bothered to check your damn gauge. It should have been much narrower and much longer. However, it does “fit” and I like how the placement of the buttons/buttonholes makes for a lot of versatility. And that fucker is WARM.

I also managed to get a good amount of work done on the one remaining holiday present. I would say I’m now at least half way done, maybe more. Unfortunately this is one of those patterns where I’ll have to guess when I get close to the end and see how intense a game of Yarn Chicken I want to play. But progress is being made and that pleases me.

In other news, I found a really interesting show on Discovery+ called “Good with Wood” and it’s turning out to be something that both Lancelot and I enjoy watching. I think it’s probably a good break from all of the holiday baking competition shows I’ve been watching.

Having Lancelot here is slowly but steadily feeling more normal. (for everyone I think) It’s definitely nice to have meals with him and to have his company in the evenings. I still firmly believe that it was the right decision for him to leave that job, and he doesn’t appear to have any regrets.

We are fast approaching the end of one year and the start of another. I am not a person who does resolutions. I’m not broken, in need of fixing, so that just seems silly to me. But I do like to set goals for myself. I can’t find where I wrote down the goals I set for this year, but I feel like the ones I didn’t complete were 1) learning a new craft, and 2) exercising more.

I’m still thinking about what all would make sense for next year. I’d like to get back to posting about it more often, making more progress hopefully.

update on projects in the works, OR, when Erin comes clean about the many many things she’s trying to do

I would like to think that I’m better at reining in the number of projects I’m working on at one time, but let’s be honest, I am 100% not good at that at all. I typically love the projects but sometimes they bore me to tears and I feel like I need to get something new going like right this second. Having new yarn arrive the other day did nothing to help the situation. So here goes, a full accounting of what I’m working on…

Kitty amigurumi – this is for our new niece who should be born in January. It’s probably at least half done and it’s such a small project that I’m not sure why I just can’t get it finished.

Skewed shawl – I bought this cake of mohair yarn on an absolute whim and then could find just ONE pattern that uses it. And I’m not super excited about it.

Lace scarf – this is fine, but it’s boring. The yarn is soft, does this rainbow color block thing that’s lovely, but the pattern is just a two row repeat and the yarn is sock weight. It’s taking absolutely forever. But this is the project I take with me for things like doc visits when I know I’ll be spending some time waiting. It’s also good TV knitting.

Lotus cowl – sock weight yarn, lace, and beads, need I say more? I’m about 1/3 of the way done with this but unlike that lace scarf this is one that has to be done with plenty of solitude and quietness. Assuming I ever actually finish it this will be stunning.

Holiday gift – I’m not sure who all reads this blog so I’m going to play this safe and be super vague. The yarn is great, the pattern is great, but it’s a bit fussy. I would say I’m probably at least 1/3 of the way done and should have no trouble finishing by Christmas.

Rectangulum – this is the new kid. I had the pattern saved in my Ravelry library but didn’t have enough of any one sock yarn to make this the way I wanted to, at least not until that latest batch of yarn arrived. I’ll be making this with two balls of Louisa Harding’s Pittura in the “Sleeping Venus” colorway. This pattern also requires buttons and thanks to Mom I have a whole jar full. I found several colors I’ll be using and it’ll be perfect.

I’ve also got a jewelry project that I started ages ago that really should get finished, plus several more kits for jewelry, oh and some felting kits as well. Truly, I have enough project fodder to last at least the next year, probably longer. But I like to stay busy and I hate being bored.

Today I love… new knitting projects, I love overnight oats and how that means less fussing in the morning, I love that Dino (my friend’s kitty; I’m critter sitting this week) hung out with me yesterday for a bit, I love that Lancelot only has 2 shifts left, and I love that being hyper-organized really does work for me

Super basic knit cowl made with a single ball of Queensland Collection Perth yarn in the Tasmanian Bay colorway (rich jeweltones)

so there I was, hip deep in yarn bands contemplating the virtues of bamboo needles versus metal when suddenly…

WTF?? This is most certainly not what I want

Garth is of the opinion, like most cats, that anywhere he plops down for a nap is his bed, and good luck telling him otherwise. He doesn’t share. He also has a tendency to find where Eric is napping and steal that spot from him by just being obnoxious until Eric gets up and leaves.

As I was sitting in my chair knitting on a relatively boring cowl, drinking my tea and watching the news this morning I realized that all of “this” – my morning routine – is likely going to change when Lancelot is working from home. But then, maybe it won’t. It got me thinking about routines and that maybe this is a perfect opportunity for me to re-evaluate some of mine to see if they really are still beneficial. I see the difference between “routine” and “rut” as pretty damn subtle, though highly significant.

It’s still going to be important for me to have consistent “go to bed / wake up” times because sleep is so crucial in managing my Bipolar. I feel like it’s also going to be important to have some time in the mornings to do a little knitting and enjoy my cup of tea. That’s almost more of a ritual at this point, and I feel that it does serve me exceptionally well.

Some of the things I do that feel sort of standard like menu planning and getting my outfits together for the week will certainly stay, though I’m hoping to be able to get L more involved with the menu because I think it would be great to get him more involved with cooking. (he has expressed an interest in this, so yay) I also anticipate some of the household chores will either stay the same or at least be pretty similar.

I honestly think the biggest difference will be with my nighttime routines. For a while I had been trying to shut down all of my electronics at 7pm and then pick up a book and read until 8pm when I went to bed. That lasted until I finished the book I was reading and sadly I have yet to get into a new book. I’m hoping that I can shift my bedtime until 9pm (since I won’t need to get up quite so early anymore) and then come up to my office at 8pm and read. I anticipate that time would allow L a little extra time in the evening to wind down how he prefers so that we both get better sleep. I hope anyway.

Today I love… hot tea with honey and cream, I love that there are no external meetings today so I can be a little extra casual, I love that today is chicken noodle soup day, I love that the cowl is coming out beautiful and I’m glad I decided to go with a non-pattern to let the beauty of the yarn shine through

spin it ’til you win it

I feel incredibly fortunate that since the pandemic started Lancelot and I have only had to be tested twice. The first time was prior to the full vaccine roll-out and that was because I had some other unpleasant virus that was not The Rona. The second time was on Friday because one of L’s coworkers, who is also fully vaccinated at this point and very careful, tested positive. We felt that the responsible thing to do, particularly given that both of us are fighting some kind of upper respiratory yuck, was to go for testing.

I don’t mind doing the responsible grown up thing at all, especially in a situation like this. We went for the tests and then went home, neither of us leaving the house until… well, we actually still haven’t – just give me a minute here.

We had seriously stocked up on groceries the weekend before so all we needed were a few bits for the week, figuring that if we did have The Rona we would be staying isolated for at least 7 days. Everything we needed could be ordered online and then delivered to the house that afternoon for a small fee that we agreed was worth it. So we settled in to wait.

Mitts!

Lancelot worked on a massive LEGO project he’s got going and I knit. A lot. I started those mitts on 11/3 and finished them on 11/6. It’s a pattern that I modified the hell out of and done with leftover yarn from a shawl. Good stuff. I also got some work done on a holiday gift, a lace scarf I’m making for me, and I started a very basic cowl.

We cooked together, we watched goofy TV together, and just kind of had a delightful extended weekend together. It was marred only by neither of us feeling particularly grand. But on Sunday we got the results and neither of us actually has The Rona, just nasty colds or something. L was scheduled to go back to work last night but there was some kind of fuck up with them needing the test results and he still kind of feels like shit so he stayed home (yay!).

And that is why we still haven’t left the house. I am 100% fine with that. Can’t say as I am super thrilled to be back to working today, but it is what it is. At least I look fabulous.

Edgar

It’s getting significantly cooler here now so I’ve decided it’s high time I start adding knit accessories back into my wardrobe. This is my version of the Edgar scarf made with much smaller needles and using Lang’s Mille Colori Baby. I only had the one skein of yarn and had purchased it just because the colors are appealing, so it was the perfect fit. I would recommend both the pattern and the yarn.

Right now I am sitting with my full-spectrum lamp trying to stay ahead of my seasonal affective disorder. The colder, darker months are hard for many of us and this is the best way I’ve found to help. My psychiatrist recommended this in part because you really can’t overdo it. I love that she combines the best of modern medicine with “remedies” that are based in science.

Today I love… not being seriously sick, I love that I finished a pair of fingerless mitts yesterday (that were started on Wednesday), I love that time in “quarantine” has meant a lot of knitting time for me, I love that last night’s dinner had 5 ingredients and required minimal effort and tasted phenomenal, and I love that the weather is getting cool enough to wear handknits more often

live it

The pressure cooker did not cooperate. It took SIX FUCKING TRIES to get it to work. I do think I finally figured it out and I will be making damn sure it doesn’t happen again. But then putting the leftovers away for Lancelot I misjudged the size of container I should have had and ended up with a Butter Chicken lava flow all over the counter. We shall not speak of this again.

This morning I got up, got my tea made, and picked up one of the previously set-aside projects and got a moderate amount of progress made. That felt really good. I’m debating between working on that again tonight and starting something new. I really think that part of what I need is a little knitting success, like a small-ish project I can finish in a few days. I think a pair of fingerless mitts with a simple cable up the back might do the trick.

I did manage to have some successes with work today. I didn’t manage to wipe out my to-do list for the day, but I got some significant pieces done and that felt good. There’s still plenty left to do, but again, I was in desperate need of some sense of accomplishment.

Have I mentioned how much I love making soup? Because I really fucking love making soup. Only once have I had it not come out very good, and that was my own damn fault. But I rarely use a recipe anymore, I just toss things in the pot and let them simmer. This is veggie beef soup that has onions, garlic, celery, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers, zucchini, and stew meat simmering in a bath of beef broth. And because I took the time to put it all together this morning and let it hang out all day, my dinner is already DONE!!!

Truly, what’s not to love?

Garth decided that Lancelot would make a fine napping spot earlier today. He’s very rarely a “lap kitty” so L did his very best not to move and disturb the little guy.

Find happiness where you can, and write it down so you can revisit it. I’ve been keeping a Gratitude Journal in a word processing file and trying to add to it every day. I manage to write something most days, which is good. I’ve long found this to be a solid addition to my regular routine, though the format has changed. When I was on Facebook I would post my entry every day as just a “post” so now that I’ve basically given up on that platform I keep it to myself. It’s still helpful for me to do, so I’ll keep doing it.