Friday, March 31, 2023

Audio Books For The Win!

 So, I’ve been a member of Audible since roughly 2001, on & off.  Last night I decided after work that instead of putting on YouTube or some other video service, I would go back to my tried & true auditory distraction - romance audiobooks.  I listened for a while until Dan came home, getting my dress re-worked since I’d had to rip out 7 rows that were wonky. It was so much more peaceful.  Then this morning I got a reminder email that the 2 for 1 sale was ending today, so I popped on and bought, gulp, 10 more books.  I got mainly romance, but also some fiction.  About 113 hours of content added to my already overflowing library.  But I have a lot of crochet in my future. I broke my no-buy on Wednesday to buy the yarn for the Serged Dream Coat from KnitPicks. That should arrive next week, hopefully.  I’m excited to see the colors all laid out. I bought a few more than the pattern demo used I think, but hopefully my yardage over all will be sufficient.  I had a hard time finding any one line of yarn with enough different bright colors for the project.  And cost was also a concern. I could have used Caron One Pound skeins but it would have been a LOT of money and a lot more yarn than I needed for this project. I’m hoping  Knitpicks has good quality acrylic.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Progress Not Perfection

 I just got home from a 2 hour dentist appointment for a simple cleaning.  Have I procrastinated since 2020 to make the call to schedule said appointment?  Absolutely.  But now I'm back on track, with no actual cavities but the need to use prescription strength toothpaste to repair some weak spots after my 5 years of pica-related ice chewing.  But my hygienist, Lesley, was fabulous.  I now know all about her Covid beliefs and that her daughter doesn't believe in putting anything in her body that might change her, and how her anti-vax stand cost her a spot at the college of her dreams.  I hate small talk as a rule - it's awkward and I never know how to respond.  Apparently "Oh, wow" was encouraging her to give me more info.  Since my appointment went way longer than Jo's, I didn't have any time to miss my crochet that I didn't bring with me.  

I'm currently still working on my Piper Pocket Dress.  I had to start it over for a third time because I accidentally joined in the round with a twist.  I decided that I am just going to work the pattern flat for the first bit and then sew up at the shoulder seam later, because the join has been the crux of the problem from the beginning.  I'm almost to the second set of increases, so the project will begin growing in a couple rows.  the first set of increases didn't seem to increase the work dramatically despite increasing a stitch every 4 stitches.  Working flat makes the project look different, obviously.  I plan to do a bunch more crocheting today, now that my errand for the morning is over, I've had an early lunch, and now I can get cracking.  Later this afternoon I have about 6 calls I need to make that I've literally been putting off for weeks.  

My beta testing is almost over.  The creator, Fem, will be launching the product in the first week of April, and I'm excited to see how it grows.  One of the other members of the test posted a picture of her completed cardigan, a pattern called Heartbob Cardigan, which looks really cool.  I'm definitely thinking of adding that to my project list when I'm done with the Piper Pocket Dress, if I'm not completely over crochet by that time.  

Monday, March 27, 2023

Back to the Drawing Board

 Well, I’ve had to rip out my dress and start over. I finished an increase round and counted stitches.  I discovered that my “neater” join for the past dozen or more rows has actually been decreasing stitches. And I wasn’t satisfied with how it was looking before that, so I decided my best bet was to cut my losses of 1 week’s crocheting time and just start over and keep it neat from the beginning. Sigh. This week’s goal is to get back to the same point I was yesterday. I haven’t been doing much crocheting in the evenings because I was so tired from working 7 consecutive days. I have Wednesday off this week for dentist appointments so I will hopefully get in some more crocheting that day. Our dishwasher died & flooded the kitchen and basement so we have a new one coming on Wednesday, too, so Dan will be working from home that day as well. Yesterday I forgot to take my morning pills because I was in a rush to get on a buddy video call from my beta test group, so I took 3 naps instead of working on my project all that time. We also binge watched Netflix’s Shadow and Bone. Amazing show. Can’t wait for next season. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Riding the struggle bus

 This week has been a struggle.  I'm working 7 consecutive days thanks to the retail world in general and my company's Thursday-Wednesday work week specifically.  I'm used to my old job where I got off every Wednesday and Sunday, which was bad in that I never got a "weekend" to recoup, but at least I had a day off every 2-3 days, so that I never burned out.  By the time I get home, I'm so exhausted that I barely eat, listen to some videos on my phone and crash before my bedtime alarm even tells me to.  Last night I fell asleep so early that when I woke up at 11pm, I thought it was morning already.  

In the small amount of time I've dedicated to crafting so far this week, I have crocheted on my Piper Pocket Dress.  The yoke is coming along. I'm not quite satisfied with how the join is looking, but I'm hoping that I can smooth that out in the blocking process.  It is a nice soothing motion - the half double crochet.   

No photos today, since I'm updating this from my MacBook on my lap, sitting on the floor in my work's break room. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Substitution, not quitting

 Well, I had one heck of a time trying to work on my Emerald Isle Cabled Sweater this weekend.  I got so frustrated by row 3 that I gave up and admitted that my skill level with crochet isn't there just yet.  Plus, my mind isn't in the right place to focus on such a commitment when I have other things I should be doing, like organizing my home.  So, I scoured Ravelry for a pattern that was still crochet and would pose a challenge to me like the cables, but something I could handle.  I set the filters to show me crocheted, fingering weight, single color projects.  And I fell in love with a crocheted dress as soon as I saw it.  It's called Piper Pocket Dress by Tinderbox.  

I couldn't wait to get started on it, but first I created a presentation book of the pattern.  I love how she has it broken down into steps that are in small boxes that read left to right instead of just written out in lines down a page.  So far I'm only on row 9, but I've reviewed the entire pattern and there aren't really any hard parts.  The challenge with this one is to crochet such a high volume of material with a size 2.75mm hook and fingering weight yarn.  But it's mainly half double crochet, which I find to be soothing to work.  The smaller gauge does make it a lights-on project, otherwise I can't see the stitches I'm working into and it's more difficult to find them by touch in the dark. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

3rd FO of 2023


So a sleepless night and early zoom call did equate to more knitting time, and I was able to finish my vanilla socks knit with Knitpicks Stroll Tweed yarn in the color Lapis.  No matter what light I used, the color on camera is off.  They are a royal blue, not periwinkle like this picture I took under my Ott light. I got a little distracted while I was on my zoom call and knit a bit too much instep before starting the toe decreases, but I think they will be fine.  I was pleasantly surprised that I'd already woven in the beginning yarn end, so I just had to kitchner the toe closed and weave in that end on each sock and they are now ready to wear.  Now I have a clean slate to tackle my crochet projects for the CYC Crochet Instructor's Certification program.  less than 6 weeks to go for that.  I may have found some people to teach to crochet in my beta testing group for my certification requirement, so that's exciting.  

Right now I'm waiting for Jo to get out of the shower so we can hit the library for a book that I'm interested in.  She's a slowpoke.  After the library I might visit family before I come home and get back to my yarn.  Or I might paint.  I got some online painting videos last night from Painting To Gogh ($10 off from my link:

O Sleep, Where art thou?

 One of the biggest annoyances in my life is the fact that I'm a terrible sleeper in my old age.  I wake up every 1-2 hours and am wide awake and unable to fall back asleep.  I take medication to help me get and stay asleep, and last night I forgot to take it.  I remembered after I woke up for the 3rd time at 3am and was still awake at 4am.  By which point it was too late to take it because I have a Zoom call for my beta test group at 7am.  Sigh.  At 5, after it was clear I wasn't falling back to sleep, I got up and took a shower and got dressed.  Since I'm going to be meeting with my crafting group via zoom, I wore my Flax Light sweater, which is super comfy for my day off.  While I was awake earlier, I did manage to get within a half inch of the beginning of the toe decreases on my tweed socks.  During and after the call I will try to get those done so that I have another FO in the books for 2023.  

Yesterday I got some training at my new job from 2 different people who are both very nice & helpful.  Hopefully I remember what they taught me and I did take some chicken scratch notes to jog my memory.  I was so relieved to see a co-worker from my old store that I asked for pull into the parking lot behind me. My boss had said that someone I didn't know was coming from a different store, so it was a relief to see someone familiar.  The other person was the woman who had my position before me.  She taught me some of the shortcuts she uses to get around different problems that are unique to my position.  It was all a little overwhelming.  But in a good way.  An exciting way.  I don't leave my car in the morning filled with misery as I walk in, so it's a win.  One of my other old co-workers texted me out of the blue to ask how I was doing at my new store.  I told him about some of the different challenges we're facing as we go into the dreaded "INVENTORY" day next week.  

I did break the crafting no-buy this week to get a dress form in my size.  I like when people show a project in progress on a dummy.  I got an email from Joann's that dress forms were on sale, but my size was out of stock locally and online, so I checked Amazon and they had it even cheaper with Saturday delivery, so that will be here tomorrow.  I look forward to taking better photos of my sweaters on the mannequin and also maybe sewing garments that fit me in the near future, if I ever get my sewing area straightened up.  It was difficult to choose the size small-medium based on my measurements when I typically still buy size Large/XL by default.  But I wanted it to be accurate.  Now I won't have issues like I did when I tried to sew a skirt to wear to my aunt's funeral only to find out after it was done that it was too small around my waist.  And I will be able to mark for a hem on pants & dresses without too much trouble.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Second FO for 2023


Flax Light by Tin Can Knits is complete!  I cast-on for it on 2/11 and finished it on 3/11.  I'm not quite happy with how I cast it off the body, but I'm not upset enough to undo it and start over.  I wore it on Sunday without blocking it, since I was so desperate to wear it.  It's comfortable and I'm happy with the size ML+ a few stitches on the sleeves.  If I make it again, I think I will do reverse stockinette instead of garter stitch on the sleeves.  That was a struggle I did not enjoy.  I did entirely too much tinking and reknitting when I found that I'd autopiloted thru those sections and did the wrong stitch.  It was a great pattern, well written, and good for beginners as well as experienced knitters looking for a good, classic garment.  I knit it with 6 balls of Knitpicks Stroll Tweed in the color North Pole Heather.

Now I'm back to my Lapis Knitpicks Stroll Tweed vanilla socks.  I was excited when I realized at lunch this week that I was done with the gusset decreases already - I thought I was still in the middle of those when I'd put this project down to work on my sweater.  That meant I could just pick this up and knit while I'm at work without thinking about it for a while.  I usually make my socks about 6 3/4" before I start decreasing for the toe.  I think this pair I might make a bit longer so they have a little more toe room.  

The leftovers from this pair will probably join the leftovers from my sweater to become another pair of socks with contrasting toes & heels.  At least that's the plan.  I have so many things to work on, I have no idea when those will be done.  I need to get back to my Craft Yarn Council Crochet Instructor's Certification work as soon as these socks are done - hopefully this week.  I'm down to 6 weeks to complete the program.  Time to hurry.  I am finding that monogamously working on one project at a time is very rewarding.  I don't forget where I am like I did with the socks when I'm only working on one project at a time.  And the urge to start something new makes me work faster to complete what I'm on so I can get there.  

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Wow! What a Week!

 So, after a 6 day work week, I'm finally getting a proper weekend at home.  And with the snow storm we had last night, I'm not sure I will be leaving my house today.  I have a video call "Movie Night" with my beta tester friends at 2pm this afternoon, so I will be home knitting at that time.  We haven't decided what movie we are watching yet.  I voted for Where the Crawdads Sing, but right now it looks like there are more votes for Dune 😜.  I'm not a fan of sci-fi.  My sweater is about 11" of sleeve from completion.  I can't wait to finish it so I can wear it.  And I overestimated the amount of yarn when I ordered it, so I will have 2 balls left to make matching socks & hat at some point.  When I finish my sweater I will try to complete the royal blue stroll tweed vanilla socks, so that I'm at a clean slate.  I need to crochet a carrot for my CYC crochet sample of spiral technique, then on to my cabled crochet sweater.  I'm trying to stay monogamous to a single project so that I actually finish projects now.  Hopefully this will keep me from having so many abandoned wips.  Also it's a better use of my yarn, since I'm just tossing out yarn and half done projects as I find things I have no plans to finish as I'm cleaning my house. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Needle Love

 For all the knitters out there that struggle to find circular needles with good joins and flexible wires with no memory, I can not say enough good things about Chiaogoo Red Lace needles.  I switched my sleeve from a Knitter's Pride Royale to a Chiaogoo and the project is now flying.  No more struggling at getting the stitches onto the left needle from the cord.  Sleeve 1 still has about 2" to go before I start decreasing, since I didn't knit at all yesterday.  I'm hoping to have the first sleeve finished on Saturday.  

I got my work schedule for the rest of this workweek from my new store yesterday, and I do work on Sunday, so my wallet will be happy.  Then on Monday I have a short day so that I can attend a video call about the beta test I'm participating in.  Super stoked about that starting.  I can't wait to meet the other participants and see what this new platform looks like.  The creator is focused on building a community and I commend her for filling this gap in the crafting ecosystem of the 2020's.  Yesterday I applied to be recertified for my Pharmacy Technician certification.  It was approved when I checked this morning, so I can rest my mind for 2 years on that front.  Now I have a fresh certificate to take to my new store to hang on the wall.  My promotion went into effect yesterday, so I'm now a CPhT Lead.  Unfortunately, that isn't an option on the name tag generator.  I am excited to get to work on Sunday morning.  Tonight I work almost until close with one of my favorite pharmacists.  I will miss our Friday nights together, as we were commonly scheduled these shifts together.  I think I will get pizza and cannolis to celebrate the bittersweet ending.  The weather is supposed to get pretty bad here in Rochester, NY, which is good because it keeps people at home and out of my store.  

This weekend I am planning to get my nails done, knit, do laundry and work on the bedroom reorganization.  We also have a birthday dinner planned for my brother-in-law Saturday night.  One of the difficult things about working with split days off from my job, is that I have to try to squeeze a whole "weekend" into Saturday.  And my new store's hours make it so that I work later on Sundays, but not by much.  Monday-Wednesday I get home in time to eat dinner with my family for a change.  So all is good in the Shannanigans household. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

March 1st Recap

 It's late and I was supposed to post today but I just wasn't in the mood for it today.  I didn't sleep last night and had to get up early this morning to take Jo to doctors appointments.  I worked on my sweater sleeve but got frustrated during the 2nd appointment where I'd made the same mistake of knitting 2 rounds in a row thru the garter stitch section.  I decided to stop working on it until I got home and got my new 12" chiaogoo needle to unknit the round and fix my mistake.  I have about 2" more to knit before I start the decreases.  I was exhausted so I took a couple short naps today.  I did manage to get the bedside cubes into place and my houseplants have been rehomed to the top of those cubes.  I have 1 more planter that needs to find a home  but I haven't made room for it yet.  I found an audio book I like and was listening to that this afternoon while cleaning and then again tonight while Dan was watching The Mandalorian.  It's a fictional romance story which is refreshing after my non-fiction, self-help jag I was on.  Tomorrow I'm only planning to sort all my writing utensils and move the Cricut to the office finally.  I don't want to have to push that forward on my task list for another month.  I haven't heard any news about my new schedule yet.  Hopefully I get some update tomorrow or Friday.  I typically work Sundays, and while I won't be totally upset if I have the whole weekend off, my budget prefers that I work that day.  Friday night I'm working my last shift at my current store and it's going to be bittersweet.  I think I'm ordering a pizza and cannoli's  to celebrate.  That's my favorite meal at work.