Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Break and Other Myths

I am a college professor and every summer friends outside of academia ask me the same question: "What are you going to do with your summer off?" I know the people asking often mean well, but this question irritates me because my summer is not really "time off." Don't get me wrong, I'm not actually being paid to work or anything, but I still often put in 40-50 hour weeks on my research scrambling to catch up with all the things I put off while teaching. My summer work is usually more flexible (I can work from home in yoga pants and a t-shirt instead of dressing up to go on campus) and I really do enjoy it, but it's not like I'm sitting around knitting and watching tv all summer. I have been trying to spend more time on my knitting now that it's summer, and that means I've actually finished some projects! For example, I finally got my colorblock sweater done. I've done the pattern before, the Moss Block Cardigan by Jennifer Lori. It's an easy and fun pattern, and I had planned on making it for my youngest daughter. However, this is a 1 year size and she is now 2 1/2 years old, so not gonna work. I was able to give it my 9-month-old niece instead, so at least that worked out ok. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino that I bought cheaply from people on Ravelry, and it feels nice and soft for a baby. I felt bad that poor Iva never got to wear this, so I am currently working on another sweater for her, a Playful Stripes Cardigan. It is coming out quite nicely so far! I am knitting with odds and ends that people gave me, so this one will be "freebie." Kind of funny, when you consider how much I've spent on yarn lately, but I will get to those pretties soon enough. ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Knitting to Distraction

My poor, neglected blog keeps getting shoved aside while life takes over. Similar things keep happening with my knitting, but I've been more adamant about getting at least a little bit of yarn time every day or two. I find that small projects keep me going, because I can finish them quickly and feel productive. Also, working with lovely yarns helps. In that vain, a few months ago I made a hat for friend who had a baby last August. I was several months behind schedule, but at least I made something by hand so that had to count, right? This is the magic coffee baby hat, and the pattern works up fast and is fun. The tan is Pattons Decor and the blue/tan variagated is something luscious that someone gave to me (partial skein) with no tag. This is somewhat sad, because I loved the yarn and would be happy to buy more. It did make a cute hat, so I'm happy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Potholders Galore!

Every year around October/November I come up with plan for the gifts for the daycare workers/teachers that take care of my two girls. In my mind I rationalize that making something will be more personal and cost effective. Technically, that's true except I never take into account the time it takes to make the gifts. Because Iva is still only 2, she has 6 teachers in her room. RJ has a teacher and teacher's assistant, a dance teacher, and a music teacher. That's 10 gifts minimum, if I don't count support staff at the school. In the past I've knitted dishcloths, so I wanted to do something different. This year I thought perhaps crocheted potholders. I can crochet fairly fast, and it uses kitchen cotton which I have a lot of already. What I didn't count on was that most of my kitchen cotton is pink (I think I had in mind making heart-shaped dishcloths for Valentine's Day last year), which doesn't seem like it would match most kitchens. I'm also not sure when I thought I'd have time to do this. My teaching load was manageable, but I've been working on a grant and I was on our department's job search committee and the college's curriculum committee. Both committees took huge amounts of time. Then there were the inevitable illnesses that come from having two young children at school/daycare and working at a university. Forging forward despite the lack of time, my wonderful friend Marie passed along some kitchen cotton in colors other than pink (thanks Marie!). I then brainstormed some more and figured the best accompaniment to potholders would be baked goods, and I have a special family recipe for a raisin spice bread that is quite yummy. I also wanted to bake the bread in decorative cardboard mini loaf pans. As luck would have it, I discovered the really fun site Pick Your Plum and within a couple days they were selling mini loaf pans for cheap! I quickly ordered a couple packs and awaited their arrival. I was already doubting my ability to finish so many potholders when the loaf pans arrived. They were super tiny. Like, smaller than a cupcake tiny. I had neglected to carefully check the actual measurements (totally my fault), and should have ordered the larger size. I would need to make at least 3 "loaves" per teacher for it to be anything more than a joke. At this point, I knew the whole plan was doomed and began to slow my production of potholders. In the end, I finished a respectable four and learned my lesson about making gifts for teachers (maybe). At any rate, I can work on some more throughout the year and have enough for next year. Still not sure what to do with my itsy bitsy loaf pans, but I'm sure I'll think of something. ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Welcome to 2013!

Well, back to my poor, ignored blog. Last year I felt like I was lurching from one crisis to the next, never really getting time to get caught up on really important things. You know, like my knitting blog. In particular, last summer we suffered from some health issues that took my husband and daughter out of work/school for over three weeks each. Thankfully they both fully recovered, but it felt like we never really recovered as far as keeping up with things at work and around the house. Here's to a reboot in 2013! So far it is shaping up to be a busy, but good year. For the blog, I will pick up where I left off in June and see where things go. Here is my completed Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette. I first saw the pattern on Susan B. Anderson's blog and decided I needed one for myself. I was able to use a fun multicolor yarn, which was a gift, but tone it down a bit with the light lilac. Things were cruising along nicely, and then I ran out of yarn. Ugh! I hadn't even gotten to the end of the small shawlette size! (What the heck is smaller than than a shawlette? A shawlette mini?) I was visiting my mom at the time and with the sage wisdom of a long-time crafter she said "why not just crochet an edge with another yarn?" Of course that was the right answer and I added a nice lace edge to complete my shawlette!
If you want all the details, my Ravelry project page is here. I've even worn it a couple times already, even though it hasn't been blocked yet. I think this is a winner! Having started the year by actually finishing something, I think I'm going to make that my theme for the year. I used to be known in my family as the finisher (in a family full of incomplete projects that include entire house remodels this is not trivial). My favorite thing was to buy partially completed craft kits from Good Will and then complete them. I just love the sense of completion when you actually reach the end of a project. Let's see if I can capture that again!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We Did It!

My husband and I have had a very busy year, meaning we've had very little sleep these past many months and lots of stress. As the year is winding down (we are on an academic schedule, at least that's how my mind works), all that hard work seems to be paying off. My husband finished his MBA in December, and his official diploma arrived in February. In March, he got the well-deserved promotion he was promised. Yay! Finally, as of June 1st I got official word that I have tenure! What a year! Here's hoping that knitting and blogging will become more frequent activities from now on. ;) All of this good news made all the sacrifice seem worthwhile, and I've started a project in very cheerful colors to celebrate. I saw the Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette on Susan B. Anderson's blog and thought that I could make one of these myself. I've never done a shawl before (lace in fingering weight yarn and small children don't mix), but this uses worsted weight and is not very lacey so it seemed perfect! So far, I am loving the pattern. It's fun and easy. I'm using some wonderful New Zealand yarn I got as a gift, and mixing it with a solid light pink color to tone it down a bit.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On My Own

For the past 3 years my hubby has been diligently working away at an MBA, working full time during most of that time. This required a fair amount of sacrifice on both our parts. He had to stay up at all hours of the night, studying after the kids were asleep. He was in evening classes 2-3 evenings each week and usually a study group on the weekend, leaving me alone with the children a lot, meaning that I wasn't able to do much work of my own at home. I'm incredibly proud to say that he finished this past December, with flying colors! We were even happier when his current job rewarded him with a promotion, and he was chosen to represent his group for special training. Yay! Except that the training is once a month over three days, and for at least the first meeting he had to be away overnight for the whole three days. Needless to say I was NOT thrilled about that part. As a result, I was home alone with a 1-year-old and 4-year-old for those few days. Dinner was not so bad, but bath was nearly impossible. Bathing Iva is like taming a wet, wiggly octopus (why does it seem like her limbs double when she's wet?). RJ is really good in the bath on her own, but when she bathes with Iva there tends to be too much kicking and splashing than I am comfortable with around little Iva (although Iva giggles and has fun, oblivious to the danger). At night the two wake-ups for Iva and one for RJ is killer on one person's sleep. This is all to explain why blog reading, commenting, and posting have come to a screeching halt. My hope is that the remaining training will be much closer, and I won't be alone at night. Also, the girls are slowly getting better about sleeping. I have been able to squeeze in some time on one project, a cute hat I am crocheting for a member of one of my Ravelry groups. It's a bit of a surprise, so I will post it once she receives it. For now I will post with some photos from kids' Easter parties at school. They both had a good time getting eggs and eating chocolate (hmm, wonder where they get their love of chocolate, ahem).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yes, This is a Knitting Blog, Why Do You Ask?

Well, you might ask that because there hasn't been much knitting content lately. We have gone through another busy period, and my ability to work on my knitting projects has seriously suffered. I've reconciled myself to the idea that until the kids get older I will not get terribly much knitting done. I don't feel that bad about it. Afterall, they are only young once, and I want to enjoy this time with them. I anticipate that in the not-too-distant future that I will be waiting during dance lessons and soccer practices, allowing me a lot more knitting time so I am just holding out for that. I have been doing a lot of craft projects with RJ, as way of keeping her entertained and indoctrinating her into the crafting/artistic lifestyle. ;) I will have to take some photos of those projects and post them, even though they mostly aren't yarny crafts. RJ's birthday is the day after mine, so I have been doing lots of baking. Here are the cupcakes I made for school. It was a "bug/garden" theme, so I made these in striped cupcake papers with a flower on the bottom, and then decorated the top with the yellow frosting and put a gummy bug on it. The cake mix was "funfetti" with colorful sprinkles. They loved them!

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