Thursday, September 24, 2015

Housekeeping post, quite literally

I mentioned a while ago that I was decluttering and paring down, etc. etc. etc.

It feels like I'm always decluttering, but things were super duper earnest in August.  I didn't toss anything in a fit of exasperation, and I rarely left something to sit so I could come back to it some other day.

I lost my sheet of paper I was using to keep track of how many items I got rid of every day as part of a thirty-day challenge, but I know I probably got rid of plenty.  After 3 weeks, I kind of didn't want to keep a detailed record of things because it got wayyy too minute and picky.

I've been deleting pictures.  Nothing crazy, since I have everything saved elsewhere.  But do I need all those pictures of my crafts projects on my work computer?  Or blurry pictures of plants or whatever from 7 years ago on .... anything ever?  I removed blogs I didn't enjoy from reading lists and unsubscribed from emails that sent me way too many updates.  That step cut down on a tremendous amount of distraction and stress that I didn't know I had.  I still can't get Martha Stewart to leave me alone, and I haven't closed any online accounts (mostly because that would mean I had to remember my passwords), but I'm hoping to do that in the next few weeks.

I even took pictures off of the walls. I'm ready for some updated photos of loved ones and now I have the space and frames to do so!  I found some fun things for Ellis and his baby brother.  I passed on other things to people who will enjoy them.  And I continued to ask myself "Will I read this book/watch this movie/wear this item when everything else is dirty?" and removed things that I wouldn't read or watch or wear even if everything else was dirty.  I think the guy working drop-off at Savers knows me by sight.

And I've been getting rid of yarn.  A lot of yarn.  I gave probably 10 pounds of the stuff to a friend this spring, and took a big bag of the stuff to my knitting group this past winter.  And probably gave at least 20 skeins to Savers that were partial or weird or whatever.  And yet.  I went through my yarn last week while looking for a project and wound up grabbing a couple more skeins I would never use.  My goal for 2015 was to get rid of all the yarn.  All of it.  And I can use it, give it away, sell it, or throw it out (that doesn't happen often but sometimes things happen) but I really and truly do want it gone.  And the more I get rid of yarn, the more I wind up figuring out what yarn I like and want to use for super exciting projects.

Like these adorable bootees:

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Bootees pattern.  Just perfection.

I made one in February.  I was going to give them to one baby, but I wanted to give them to someone else.  The yarn was left over from a sweater I made for Ellis.  I finished one bootee and cast on the second one and immediately got worried that I'd run out of yarn.  The yarn sat for over 6 months.  During that time I found out Laine was going to have another baby, and knew that I had to make the bootees for her.  I finished the second in a day last week.  I had to get creative and hold my breath a little when I seamed it up, but I had 8 or 9 inches of ends when it was all over.  I had plenty of yarn!  And those bootees are going to my sweet nephew!  He'll have something new to keep his feet warm while he wears his brother's sweater.

Pictured: the brother back when he could wear the sweater. And a cousin who really loves babies.

And I made a shawl for myself in under 2 weeks.

Not procrastinating on projects you really want to do is fuuuuuuuun! And beautiful!

It's the Age of Brass and Steam pattern that I've made several times before and have wanted to use this yarn for .... I think for 4 months now?  I did stockinette rows in the fifteen-row repeat instead of the recommend twenty-one-row repeat because I was worried about running out of yarn (I was cutting it pretty close with the orange) and I did a few more repeats altogether so I could enjoy all these colors.  I kind of wish I'd put the pink between the red and orange rows, but only a little.  I love it.  It makes me think of a sunset and it helped me use up a lot of this yarn.  And I love the yarn.  And the colors.  Cody said it looks like Captain Marvel's new uniform, and I guess that's a good thing?

We'll say it's a good thing.  I'm pretty pleased with it.  I have some more of this yarn left, and I think I can make a pretty cowl with it.  I'd like to make a baby blanket, but I don't know of anyone who wants to handwash a baby blanket other than Laine, who already has plenty of those.  I've got a little more time to figure it out, though.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dishcloth of the Week: Waves upon Waves

I knitted the Chinese Waves dishcloth pattern a week or so ago.  I'm not sure why the waves are Chinese, or why this didn't look as cool as I thought it would with variegated yarn, but I did love the slipped stitches and how the knitted fabric felt slightly layered.  I also loved the lack of a border.  I didn't think I would, but now I kind of want to knit a bunch of dishcloths without needing to be mindful about some stitch pattern that's separate from the main attraction.

Pattern: Chinese Waves (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Sugar'n Cream Solids in Hot Green, probably 90ish yards
Needle: #7

Sunday, September 20, 2015

At least I got a good picture of the zebras

Evelyn and I went to the zoo last week with the intention of taking her picture with her face in every single one of those face-hole things that they have up right now.  But she was tired and it was hot and things went south eventually and the whole thing ended with a ridiculous whining tantrum and the revocation of several privileges and her passing out HARD on the five-mile drive home.  We're getting closer and closer to a bedtime that will get her a solid 11.5 hours of sleep a night (even though she probably needs more because I think she's growing again), but life past 4 p.m. is typically a struggle.  We'll get there eventually.  But here are some pictures of the animals (the zebras are my favorite) and Evelyn cooperating but not really in pictures, which is probably her specialty.

She is doing the same pose as the squatting monkey.....behind the board.

After we went home and I confiscated the doll stroller she maybe loves more than life itself, we read some books together and ate a bunch of sandwiches.  She went to bed a little bit earlier than she did the night before and woke up singing before our normal time to get her up in the morning.  She likes to sing "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from Frozen when she's waiting for us to wake up.  I think that's cute.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Clocks are cool

I've been thinking about Benjamin Banneker and his handmade clock a lot lately. He had a big section on his accomplishments (apparently some of which were apocryphal but that's how it goes with most historical figures, especially of his time) for a couple of years in my history books and they always mention how he built a clock entirely out of wood.  I've been thinking about him a lot in light of recent news events and realized I don't know the first thing about how clocks really work.  I keep trying to explain gears and springs to Evelyn when she checks out music boxes and watches and I flounder around and I think she's on to me.

Anyway.  I've been over here thinking about clocks and kids learning and inventors and history.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A quick attempt to catch up

Evelyn says she doesn't like school, but she likes her teachers and hugs them and tells them she loves them and at least once pretended to be one of them.  I think she just really likes being at home and doing whatever she wants--even though she doesn't usually get to do whatever she wants.  She was especially delighted that her class liked it on Monday when she brought her book "The Little Engine that Could", which she read each night before bed for the past 2 weeks.

Also, she had a cold on Labor Day weekend and she looked like this for a solid 2 hours while watching a movie.

Cody and I had our 9th wedding anniversary last week.  We celebrated a day late and took this family selfie before having dinner at Cracker Barrel.  Evelyn was pretty happy with our anniversary--as in, it's something all 3 of us share.  A crazy part of me kind of wants to renew our vows next year.  Mostly because I can't believe that by then we'll have kept this partnership going for a decade.  But also because if I could have anyone present while we voiced our commitment to each other, I would want it to be Evelyn.

It's still weird that she's gone for most of the day with people we don't know very well.  The teachers and staff at her school seem super nice, and I'm sure there are no psychopaths in her classroom.  But she still talks about things she probably didn't know about a month ago and now she keeps talking about zombies.  Every other spooky aspect of Halloween (and good grief, this girl does love spooky), I can handle. Or at least point her in the direction of some spooky-loving aunt or uncle.  But zombies are where I absolutely draw the line and I am thisclose to telling her that if she turns into a zombie I'll take her out myself.  Even if this is her zombie face and I think it looks pretty cute.  Even if she only wants to take pictures with her dad and not me.

This past weekend I spent half a Saturday going through things in my old bedroom.  Evelyn has now inherited a bunch of mine and Laine's old Barbies and doll clothes.  She's been pretty delighted with everything now that it's washed and ready.  Her baby Hildegard has never looked better. Best of all was when Sara said that Evelyn could have her old doll stroller.  She's been elated ever since.  After all that cleaning, we headed out for Dallas's fourteenth birthday party.  Because Dallas is 14 now and everything is crazy.  Evelyn and Ellis were ridiculous and social and I think Evelyn feels confident that she's friends with a bunch of adolescent boys.  At any rate, she forced them to listen to stories about Hildegard and Ellis crawled under tables pretending to be a dog.  A few people petted him on the head.  Ellis was a perfect big brother to them both.  I took a few terrible pictures of them.

And then Dad took a few of us.  I may frame this one.

Ellis is obsessed with Levi and Evelyn is rabidly interested in Sara.  This is, of course, when they're not all up in Dad and Mom's business (respectively).  Mom thinks that Laine's new baby will pick Levi as his favorite person, but I'm wondering about Sara.  They're both excellent baby people.

Not pictured is the family reunion we went to on Sunday.  I snuggled a baby and ate some barbecue.  Hildegard and her stroller got quite the workout and Evelyn had a pretty good time--especially when she knew exactly where her Gram was.  Watching Evelyn with her grandparents is one of my favorite things.  We are rich in love and probably attractiveness.

Evelyn has been asleep now for over an hour.  Cody is cutting up some fruit so I can have a snack for tomorrow.  I'm typing this post I've meant to get out or a while now.  Most nights I knit and watch a little TV instead of looking at the Internet.  But I still want to talk about decluttering and life with a preschooler and some of those knitting projects.  I'm trying to finish a project a day this week and it's going pretty well.  But I need to bind off a shawl now, so that's what I'm going to do.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dishcloth of the Week: this is not a blanket

I used a blanket pattern for a dishcloth!  Let's be honest, I'll turn anything into a dishcloth. 

It's the Garter Stitch Baby Blanket pattern recipe from Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I'm not sure what the name for it really is, but Ravelry calls it "Baby Blanket pattern" and Zimmermann talks about it a little in her lesson on Great Garter Stitch in her Knitting Workshop video.  Sometimes I watch that on DVD just for fun, and sometimes I actually watch it to see how to do things.  After checking out the instructions for the blanket a couple of times, I thought it would be fun to try.  (There's a DVD and a book.  I've had the book for years, and Cody got me the DVD series for Christmas last year. So much fun!)

So I started the blanket.  I used some super bulky scraps and that's where all my Lion Brand Thick & Quick has gone.  I'm not finished yet and I was a little concerned about the joining part of the pattern.  So I practiced with this dishcloth.

It's a fun pattern where you knit one stitch fewer on every row and then pick up one more stitch after a while.  I don't want to say much more without giving it away entirely, but it's simple and fun. Also, I just love garter stitch--especially garter stitch dishcloths.  This was a fun way to make a square. 

Plus, I learned I really need to work on my seaming.  So now I know to be super careful when it's time to finish up the blanket.  And in the meantime, I have a nice little dishcloth to add to my gift stash.

Pattern: Baby Blanket from Knitting Workshop
Yarn: Sugar'n Cream Ombre in Azalea, 90ish yards
Needle size: #7

Thursday, September 3, 2015

It's September

I started a lot of books in August, but didn't finish any.  On Evelyn's second day of school, we went to the library and I checked out a bunch of books about time management and parenting.  Bless our librarians for checking out my books and keeping their sympathetic looks from being too over-the-top.

I want to re-read the book of Micah.  Evelyn wanted to go to church on Sunday, so we trekked out to my parents' church and I got to sit through a lesson on 7 or 8 verses from Micah.  It was pretty fun. 

I'm still sifting through some extra things.  I'm trying to get rid of extra clutter because I'm tired of keeping up with extra things and keeping them clean and because having things just kind of stresses me out.  I tried to tackle most of our things before Evelyn went to school because I knew life would speed up a bit and needed fewer things slowing us down.  Work has slowed down now, which means I can take a little time to decompress and to tackle some things I've had to put off for the last few months.  I've been trying to use my down time to take care of stuff I've put off and get ahead on projects for things I'll need when life gets busy again.  Still, anytime I talk to friends--and sometimes even family--I feel like I've just come out of a cave.  People have been socializing and eating in restaurants and watching movies and I feel like I'm blinking and disoriented in sunlight.

I'll get there.  I printed pictures for the first time in nearly a year recently.  I wrote a note to an aunt.  I called my Mamaw this morning (she's doing great!).

It's going to be a good month.