Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Philosophy

Hi all, this is the New Year's Resolution blog.  Shocker, I know, as it's New Year's Eve.  As some of you may know, I have a lot of yarn.  I mean a lot.  According to the last counts on Ravelry, plus yarn that has been ordered but not received, I have 337 different yarns.  This does not include the skeins.  So, for example, if I have 15 skeins of a purple heather Cascade 220, it only counts as one yarn in Ravelry.  Now granted, I do only have one skein of some yarns, particularly laceweights, but you can see the scale of the problem.  This also does not include all my fiber, meaning roving, fleece and top, that I have yet to spin on the Lendrum.  Which increases the scale of the problem.  So, given that it's that time of year, I've decided that I need to embark on a new yarn and fiber stash reduction plan.  (And I don't want to hear any giggles about previous attempts, it's a new year and a new plan.)

2011 Yarn and Fiber Stash Reduction Plan Rules:

1.  No yarn purchases during 2011 with two exceptions (there have to be some exceptions or I'd go off my head):
  • The Webs May Tent Sale - However, all yarn purchased must be at least 60% off retail.
  • Stitches East - However, only yarn that is not available locally or cannot be easily purchased on the web may be purchased.
2.  Books, patterns, and needles may be purchased, but with the purpose of using yarn already contained in the stash.

3.  All projects shall be knit with stash yarn with the exception of any group baby blanket projects (said hoping that no one in my knitting group reproduces in the coming year).

4.  Projects shall be chosen with the aim of reducing overall space amounts (i.e. 600 yards of worsted takes up more space than 600 yards of fine laceweight).

5.  At least one project shall utilize my handspun yarn, which had already been spun as of 12/31/2010.

6.  At least one project shall utilize a kit which had been purchased prior to 12/31/2010.

7.  At least two projects shall be self-designed and the pattern shall be suitable for posting to Ravelry for sale.  At least one of these projects shall be a design for a women's sweater with a wide range of plus sizes.

8.  At least one project shall be for Shawn.

9.  With respect to the roving, top, and fleece in the stash, at least 4 ounces of fiber shall be spun each month.  (Although this adds to the yarn, yarn takes up less space than roving, top and fleece.)

That's the fiber and yarn plan.  On to the writing plan.

Again, as many of you know, I'm working on a novel.  However, I've not been working on it very hard as of late.  I pretty much haven't done anything since our last meeting of the Misplaced Modifiers.  And I'm over the half way point, so I just need to get things moving along.  Therefore, I've concocted a cunning plan, as laid out below:

2011 Novel Completion Plan:

1.  At least once a month, I will participate in a Challenge Writing Weekend, whether anyone participates with me or not, in which the goal is to write 5,000 words over the course of a weekend.  (Linda D and I occasionally do these challenges.)
2.  In addition to the Challenge Written Weekends, I will average a 1,000 a week during the non-Challenge Writing Weekend weeks during the each month.

3.  This schedule shall continue until the novel is complete.

I will be heading to Staples later today to get a 2011 calendar to help implement both plans.

In other news, I have been off this week, which was good and bad.  Good in that I'm cruising on the Tramline Cable Sweater, and I have a shot of completing the last sleeve today or tomorrow. I'd like to finish the thing today so I can start the 2011 Yarn and Fiber Stash Reduction Plan fresh, but that's just my OCD talking.  And I would like to be able to add the yardage to my totals for this year...but again, I'm being rigid in my counting hierarchy again.   The week was bad in that I kept buying stuff.  See the Mountain Colors Half Crepe yarn to your left that I purchased at the Elegant Ewe.  I also put in an order at Knitpicks for the new Margaret Stove book, the double knitting book that I've wanted since Stitches, and a couple of balls of the new Chroma in fingering weight.   Then there was an order for vinyl project bags to US Box, an order for work tops, and an order to Zappos for my nth pair of purple shoes.  Not to mention the shoes I bought at DSW and the laptop speakers I got at Bestbuy.  Apparently, if I work, I'm too tired to shop.  Must remember this.

Anyway, I wish you all the best in the New Year and hope that you all accomplish anything you resolve to do.  I'm crossing my fingers for myself.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas Time

Okay, first things first - I did not receive a sculpture. Repeat, I did not receive a sculpture. Well, okay, I admit that I didn't really expect to get it this year, but I wondered if Shawn would decide to relieve himself of "reminders" for the next year or so until he finally caves. However, he could have decided that if he caves, I will come up with some other request that will be worse. Logical, I suppose. Poor Shawn :)

My last day of work was Thursday evening, and we grabbed some dinner and played the new Wii Party game Shawn picked up for me. Unfortunately, dinner made a rapid reappearance. Peking duck...eeww. I was not feeling well for most of the next day, headache, chills and other digestive complaints, so that totally blew our plan for
having lobsters and steamers on Christmas Eve, which I do every year. So the plan is to fit in today with our other plans. The oncoming blizzard may throw wrench into that, but we'll see. Yesterday I was fine, so we headed to Shawn's parents for Christmas.

They were very kind to us this year, which they always are.  Our dvd player in the bedroom blew so they got us a blue ray/dvd player, which we'll use in the living room and relegate the dvd in the livingroom to the bedroom.  I also got a new yarn swift from Knitpicks which is a nice upgrade from my old swift which is also on its very last legs.  I just wound a skein with the old one on Monday and wondered if it was going to make it through the skein. And the new one is larger and looks like it'll handle heavier skeins better.  

I made the spinach dip with tofu again, but this time, I added a bit of some Amazon Salsa Verde Picante Hot Sauce, an extra garlic clove and some Penzey's Garlic Salt.  You couldn't taste the heat of the hot sauce, but it perked it up remarkably.  I also made a tossed salad, which we still have gallons of in the fridge. I guess I'll have plenty to eat this week. I knew there wouldn't be any desserts I could eat there, and being sick the day before, I decided on Christmas morning I didn't feel like getting up extra early to make one for me.  So when I got home last night, I made some Hot and Spicy brownies.  I'd been having this idea running through my head for a bit, so I did a quick search and came up with a recipe. You just take a brownie mix and add a teaspoon of chili powder and 3/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  They were good, you didn't really taste it until the after bite and then it was a warm heat.

I have been obsessing on the Tramline Cable Sweater.  I finished the front on the 20th, and I already have this much of the first sleeve.  I'm off this week, except for quick visits to the office, and I'm hoping to make major progress. I'll have to think about what to do next.  I am really focusing on stash reduction, so I'm trying to use worsted weight or larger. We'll see.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Drops of Brandy

This past week was fairly busy. There was a farewell party at Hermano's in Concord this past Monday for a co-worker who is moving on to a new job. After that I had to hit Petsmart for a new aquarium heater as my previous heater had attempted fishicide by boiling on Sunday (I hadn't noticed the thing had malfunctioned until the temperature had reached 92 degrees), and then I had to hit Hannafords for various supplies and gift cards for my nephews. The following night I had a Jetboil current and ex's dinner, and then I had to hit RiteAid for cards to mail the gift cards to my nephews. Apparently the smart-ass Christmas cards I already had in my possession were not appropriate for young recipients. (Okay, so I get that the one I had with Santa talking about his new all protein diet and the reindeer running around looking for other missing reindeer might not have been the best choice.) Wednesday was a quiet evening and I worked on the front of the Tramline Cable Sweater. Thursday evening I went to Alison M's and got to see Edgar's Christmas photos. That dog is crazily cute. I also received a really kind gift of Dream in Color Smooshy in Cashmere in a fabulous purple from Mary T.  It's gorgeous, I just want to roll in it. 

This week my friend Mindy C finished the sweater that she's been working on, and that I've been helping her with during our lunches at work.  It's for her nephew and it came out really well.  I'm curious to see what she picks for her next project.
In other obsessive knitter news, I have been kind of bummer that Knitmeter doesn't work on facebook any more, because the application on facebook allowed you to calculate how much you had knit since you started keeping track.  The web version of this application only allowed you to calculate how much you had knit in the past month, last year, etc., which was not as cool as far as I was concerned.  It finally occurred to me that I could do much the same thing, by designing my own spreadsheet on Excel.  So I did.  So, not counting the yarn I've knit in the Tramline Cable Sweater (because apparently my OCD does not allow me to count the yarn until the project is complete), I've knit 7,971 yards or 4.528977 miles since August 29, 2009.  If you want a copy of the worksheet with the formulas, email me.

This weekend we were slugs.  Very much slugs.  We didn't really do much.  I spent most of the weekend working obsessively on the Tramline Cable Sweater and listening to audio books at the same time.  We both had today off, but we still were slugs. I finished the front of the sweater about half an hour ago.  Yay!!  I think I managed to get through the front without screwing up any cable crosses this time.  I've looked over it carefully twice, so probably I just need to show it to another knitter so they can spot it in a heartbeat.  There are two sleeves to go, so I'm two-thirds of the way through.  It's not eating as much yarn as I'd really hoped though, even though I added three inches of length to the sweater. I'm only through about six skeins for both the front and back.  Oh well. 

Three days of work this week, and then I have the following week off.  Unfortunately, Shawn has this week off, because the whole seniority system thing at his job sucks. Again, oh well.  I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve, Shawn and I will be exchanging our letters and having lobsters. For the last few years, we've exchanged letters to each other rather than buy each other more junk.  We buy quite enough junk for ourselves throughout the year, without adding to it.  I much prefer getting the letter than anything else Shawn could get for me.  Unless it's a sculpture he's made himself.  For those of you that remember the whole poem thing, since I finally did get the poem, I've moved on to requesting that Shawn create me a sculpture.  I've said that it could be a sculpture of anything, even an abstract concept, and it could be made of clay, playdoh, mashed potatoes, etc.  Shawn, to date, is not cooperating.  But, it took me a year and half to get the poem, and I've only started the campaign in earnest recently, so I'm not expecting it will be for Christmas this year.  For those of you wondering at my candor, Shawn does not read my blog unless harassed to do so.  Plus, he's well aware of the campaign at this point. 

That's pretty much it for this report.  Have a happy holiday for those of you that do that kind of thing.  And for those of you that don't, have a good time too.

Stay tuned for further updates as they occur.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

This week's song title is appropriate because it's been fricking cold. I hate winter and I hate wearing coats and bundling up, and I hate having to spend what I have to spend to have a nice winter coat that goes with suits. But, I had finally broken down and ordered a winter coat on Tueday or Wednesday.  My old coat was the one I had when I was still at Bianco, and the lining was pretty much gone, and I had beaten the crap out of it, so it desperately needed replacement.  I had even succumbed to beginning to wear mittens, by Tuesday, in hopes that if my hands were warm, I could go without a coat a little longer, I mean, hey, it was only 30 degrees, that's not bad right?  When I ordered the coat, I thought, oh, I'm not paying for expedited shipping either, I can make it to December 16th, that won't be a problem.  So of course, the temperature had to drop. It was 8 degrees yesterday when I got in the Santa Fe to go to work.  If I had just ordered the freaking coat in October, it'd probably be 40 degrees right now.  I need to move some place where it's 70 degrees all year round. It has not yet truly snowed, meaning that snow has not actually accumulated on the ground after falling, but if I never see another snowflake, it'll be perfectly fine with me.  Sorry for the rant, but it's that cranky time of year before I have accepted the fact that experiencing another f-ing winter is inevitable at this point.

In other news, I gave Elaina's scarf to her and made her pose for pictures.  She requested that I obscure her face, so I played on photoshop a bit and made it happen.  I also wrote up the pattern this morning and posted it on Ravelry.  You can get to the pattern by going to and it's a $3.00 pattern. 
I had considered doing it for less, but I did compile a chart for the written pattern instructions I had used, so I thought it was worth that for my work.  In other fiber news, I visited the Elegant Ewe this week, which is always a bad idea for me.  I had received an email from them stating that they had some Cascade 220 sport weight in.  So I had to go look that that.  They had two versions, one that is a two ply and has a more rustic look, and one looked more like worsted weight Cascade, with 4 or 5 plies (I didn't count).  I would have liked to try the one that looked more like the worsted but they didn't have any colors I liked.  The two ply version is pretty, but I'm not sure how the stitch definition will be, but I thought I'd try a skein out.  Guess what color I got.  I also ended up getting the Winter 2010 Spin-Off magazine, the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book (which has one of Gina H's patterns in it...yay Gina!!), and Kelly's Cake Tank Pattern, which does not appear to be on the website yet.  It's really cute though, and it goes up to 55" for those of us who are of size.

In writing news this week, I have not done any.  Whatsoever.  I'm not sure what is up with that.  It's either because we don't have a meeting this month due to the holiday or it's my aggravation with the cold.  Plus the office is just ridiculously overrun with stuff that we moved to make the rest of the apartment tolerable for Thanksgiving.  I may be forced into a clean and purge in the office this weekend.  It depends on my actually motivation levels.  In related news, I did finally read Peyton Place.  One of our writing group members, Sally H-D, wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the book, and has a book contract for her thesis, and we've been providing critiques.  I'm sure the critiques will be more helpful now that I've actually read the book. 

That's about it for this week. Tune in next week at this same channel.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Song of Purple Summer

Okay, remember how I said I was naming all my blog posts after songs?  So sometimes I get stuck and I go searching for stuff on the Itunes store.  This week I needed something with purple, for reasons that will become self evident shortly, so I searched.  I came up with this song.  I don't like it the song from the 30 second blurb I listened to, but who (meaning those obsessed with the color purple) could not like this title??  I wish I'd thought of it, I'd love to write a book with this title.  Anyway, the summer part is not apropos either, but still. 

This week not much was going on.  I had my first full work week since October, as I'm using up vacation days before I lose them at the end of the year.  I keep forgetting to schedule vacation now that I'm not sick all the time from the stress of practicing law.  I went to Borders on Wednesday night for the Concord Knitting group, and they had some fake trees up.  Does this scream my name or what?  If  it were reasonably priced (i.e. not $119) dollars, and if I felt it was safe to put up a tree with an overly curious, destructive and obnoxious parrot in our household, I'd get it in a second, just for the laugh value.  One of the knitters suggested I could trim it with hot pink flamingo lights.  I liked it, in the "it's so bad, it's hilarious" mind frame. Speaking of which I've been saying I'm going to do this for sometime, so here it is.  This is the Christmas lobster that I bought at Hannaford for $6.00 that sings Jingle Bell Rock.  It's my favorite thing.  Shawn hates it, but it slays me.  Here's the video on youtube:

I also finished the scarf I designed for Elaina this week, and I blocked it this morning.  I'm hoping to get a better picture of it once it's dry, and I think I'll write it up for ravelry.  Not sure I'm actually going to charge for it, but we'll see how I feel about it after writing it. 

Not much else going on.  We took Kiwi to have her wing feathers and her nails trimmed yesterday.  She now has more toys to destroy and one of them is even Christmas themed, with bells.  That bird loves trying to kill bells.  Not sure what is up with that, but hey, keeps her busy.

Anyway, that's all I have to report at this time.  Stay tuned.