Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gettin' Knitty With It

I did it! After 32 years and many attempts to learn, I have finally figured out this knitting thing. I was inspired by bettie and Fuchsia, the neat projects over at and my desire to make the really, really cool things in Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch books. Plus, people I know keep getting pregnant, which makes me want to knit things for them. I asked for the first Stoller book for my birthday (back in October) and didn't get it. I put it on my Christmas list, and didn't get it. So I went and bought the sucker, borrowed some needles and yarn from a friend and went to town.

I've been a crafter for years. My first solo projects included dresses sewn for my dolls and coasters stitched on that plastic canvas stuff, somewhere around the age of 8. Before that I'd been making Christmas ornaments and Mrs. Tiggywinkles and helping my mom card, dye and spin her wool for years. I also wove myself a scarf in there somewhere, on a floor-loom, no less. As a teenager I progressed onto cross-stitch and have amassed hundreds of patterns since then, and have a good ten projects on the go at any one time.

Knitting always eluded me. Three female relatives tried to teach me. Friends sat me down with needles and yarn. I just found it to be too frustrating, so inevitably I'd give up on it. I don't know what twigged this time, whether it was (like bettie) jealousy that friends could do something I couldn't which made me stubborn enough this time around; or whether it was the way Stoller writes her book with not just clear but also fun instructions; or whether it's because there are tiny babies arriving in the world soon, and I feel the need to help keep them warm and snuggy. Or maybe the universe just decided that it's my time. Whatever it is, I'm addicted.

And now I'm gonna show off!

First swatch in garter stitch! I had to pull it all out about 3 times before I wound up with this.

First swatch in stockinette.

First attempt to change colours.

First project! It's the Windy City (tm) scarf from the first Stitch 'n Bitch book, but I decided to change the colour more than once. It looks like the width is less than the picture in the book, but that's just fine because it's for my friend's 3-year old daughter and she has a little neck, being three and all. [grin]

I'm very, very proud of me!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Why do we do that?

Women, I mean. We devalue ourselves. I have a whole whack of awesome, intelligent, beautiful, amazing women that I count among my friends. Each one of them is unique and wonderful. And yet, we all downplay our good qualities. At the solstice gathering for my circle we each talked about how we had grown and what we had learned in the past year. Each of us has done some fantastic things and we were all able to say "Yay me!" about something. Then each of us said "But..." Yes, it is a good thing to continue to grow and change; to recognize that we're never really "done" and that we all have challenges to face and things that we would like to improve about ourselves, and I recognize this.

I just wonder why it is that we can't ever just say "Yay!" without adding the "But...".

Monday, January 09, 2006

IKEA, knitting, emotional release and an invitation

What a weekend!

Spent Friday night doing a whole lot of nothing, which was very nice for a change. Fred wasn't feeling well so he'd stayed home from work. We went to bed and snuggled while we watched a movie, and it was fantastic.

Saturday we spend a whole bunch of money that we really couldn't afford to part with. We started at IKEA. Went in to get a small storage chest, came out with the chest, a camoflouge computer chair (3 guesses who wanted that [grin] ), a bedside lamp, an overhead LED decorative majiggy (can't call it a light, since it doesn't give off enough of the stuff), an orange towel, a black wastebasket, a drying rack and fun clothes pins, and an orange kitchen brush with a suction cup on the bottom of it. Fred and I really shouldn't be allowed to go shopping together. We also priced stuff that we will need to get to replace furniture that will be going with Amanda when she moves out. We so need to start saving.

After IKEA we went to the mall to use up the last of the Christmas gift certificates and discount coupons. I picked up Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller and I am excited beyond belief. I'm reading the book through first then next pay I'll be picking up some yarn and needles and tackling the task of learning to knit. Very, very excited! I've already got a mental list of who I can knit stuff for. I feel an obsession coming on!

Sunday morning I got up bright and early and went to my new gym for my first aerobics class. It was something called Basic No-Bounce, so you get a good cardio workout, but it's pretty easy on the knees. There I was in my brand new workout clothes (black pants, that I need to shorten, and bright orange top) bopping away to cheesy 80's remixed music. I lost the tempo, and had to stop using my arms because at points it just got too hard for me; I got out of breath and red faced; I wound up facing the wrong direction more than once. Through it all I had a giant grin plastered across my face. It was so much fun!!!! Then, just as we were finishing up the final combination, about 18 minutes into the cardio section I felt like crying. Not sad crying you understand, or crying because I looked like a great, flabby, orange numpty. Crying because I felt so good. Crying because I haven't had a moment that happy, just for me (i.e. completely independent of any of the people in my life), in what feels like forever. I can't wait to go back.

Sunday afternoon found us in the Big Smoke playing our monthly
Buffy-based RPG at our friends' house...where I was asked to be a groomsman in their wedding this October! More welling-up, lots of hugging and discussions about whether or not I really want to go to a stag party and watch women take their clothing off. I am so touched and excited that I've been asked to share in their wedding this way (I was already asked to sing, so this is an added bonus). Also, I get to wear a kilt. Whee!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I have never been one to keep a New Year's Resolution, and I see no reason to start now. That said, there are some things I'd like to do in the coming year.

1. Get healthier physically. I've quit smoking, which is a great first step. I started South Beach last year, but found that to be too much of a change right then. I'm going to give another look at it this year, once I have more control over my kitchen. I've also got an appointment to check out a gym tomorrow night, and went today and bought workout clothes that aren't from the early 90's. I'm FIRMASSing it over at the WD and attempting to be mindful about what I put in my body. So yeah, one goal started.

2. Get healthier emotionally. The past few months have been exhausting for me emotionally speaking. I'm tired of it. I've been working on my spiritual health with my circle and by myself, and that's been a help but I'm still spending far more time than I want to complaining about my life and wallowing in negativity. It's a very difficult thing that I hope will get better once May rolls around and Fred and I have our home to ourselves again. In the meantime, I am working on having more time to myself, and doing some self exploration. I've got a good handle on who I am now, it's time to work on the parts of me I don't like a whole lot.

3. Cultivate patience. There are good reasons why my life isn't going at the pace I want it to. I know this from past experience. I just need to keep reminding myself of it.

4. Have fun! Not to say that I don't already. It's just something I'd like to keep on doing.

On the whole things are really good. I have all my basic necessities taken care of and a whole lot of extras. I have my health and the health of my family. I have lots of wonderful people who give me love and support. Parts of 2005 were difficult, but more because of what was going on around me, and happening to people I care about than because of anything happening directly to me.

My wish for 2006 is that everyone I know, and everyone I don't have a healthy and happy year that is leaps and bounds above the last one.

Right, that meaning thing.

Please note: started this on the 28th. Yes, I'm slow.

After catching up over at the WD and seeing Simon's post, as well as reading the P@'s blog about it, I want to do a companion post to the Post-Wishlist. So, um, I am.

What I gave:

To my Dad:
- an engraved manicure set (The one he had is older than me. Really.)
- a jar of Robertson's Lemon marmalade

To my Mom:
- a flannel shirt
- her yearly unicorn, which this year was a book by Carson Kressly. I like to change things up so that she doesn't wind up with a lot of dust collectors. Last year I gave her a colouring book. [grin]

To my Frank:
- an anthology of Elmore Leonard stories
- a bucking bronco Christmas ornament; the cowboy looks exactly like Frank!

To Mom and Frank together:
- a 3-jar combo of food/cooking stuff: chocolate sauce, roasted garlic and onion jelly and bumbleberry jelly

To Fred:
- a Zboard with a World of Warcraft overlay
- a funky purple dress shirt with a matching tie
- new nipple rings
- some bath stuff
- a cross-stitch kit (this one, and the one above really are for him, not me!)
- some chocolate and stocking stuffers
- a mini-Robosapien
- a 365-day wolf calendar

To Dave:
- a goblin wall calendar
- a crystal skull with led platform

To Amanda:
- tiny resin bears dressed as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion
- an Alex Ross calendar
- a joystick you plug into your tv so you can play Pac-man without a computer

To various other relatives/friends:
- book about the mythological history of N. Ireland (Uncle Jimmy)
- celtic pin (Aunt Betty)
- cauldron (Becca)
- date book (Iona)
- HBC gift card (Jo)