Thursday, May 29, 2014

Missing a Head

My week has been a bit crazy, especially since I spent all day Tuesday thinking it was Monday. I love having a long weekend, but since we were out of town, I didn't get a lot of time to relax like I had wanted to. My major progress this week has been a pair of baby hats, one of which is still in progress. They are similarly sized, but I wanted to make one slightly bigger, just in case. The accents on it are still up for debate, because it's hard to come up with ideas for boy hats. Girl hats are really easy- add a flower and BOOM you're done. This requires more thought. 
A hat in need of a head... and an accent
I used Vanna's Choice yarn in a light green- the name escapes me right now- single crochet with an H hook. My only model in the proper size is an orange shaped candle. I'm both excited and nervous to have a baby to fit it come the end of the summer. Hopefully, I will have a few more cute crocheted items done by then.

My basil is my other success for the week, as it is starting to look like what it's supposed to look like, and it smells awesome. My zinnias are doing alright as well, with the oregano coming in 3rd place. My rosemary is sadly in 4th, with nothing discernible in the pot. We planted another pot of seeds, but we may just buy a seedling in a few weeks if nothing comes up. 
My husband has most of the vegetables out of the pots and into the proper garden, and I have been given the responsibility of keeping them watered. We have beans, carrots, pumpkins, and cucumbers right now. Hopefully we'll get some good produce from them this year. 
Zinnias

Basil

Oregano



In Need

I'm really bad at asking for advice and the like. Today I have a huge prayer request. Over the weekend, I took out a deer with my car, and the shop we took it to thinks it's totaled. We were really hoping to get at least 2 more years out of it, and now that won't happen.

We have money for a car, and good credit if we wanted a loan, but combined with my husband's going back to school in the fall, we are on a tight budget. The coming baby doesn't help my budgetary concerns either. Our savings will go into school and a new car, which may seriously set us back in buying a house.

All of these issues combined with the depression I've been dealing with make for stressful times. I am in dire need of peace.

If you could pray for wisdom and peace for all of our situations, I would really appreciate the support. I know God is in this situation, but I'm struggling to see where.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day



Balloons being released at the start of the race.
Days like today remind us of our freedom, and remind us of our past. I enjoy the past reminders, particularly due to my love for history.

The service men & women marching on the racetrack

Yesterday, my husband and I had a reminder of the appreciation others have for the sacrifice made by our armed forces.
It's really hard to get a good picture of a zooming car.

I'm not big into car races, going out of town on a school weekend, or loud noises. But when E was offered the opportunity to go to Indianapolis to represent the Marine Corps, I figured, why not? So yesterday, we went to the Indy 500.


It was quite the experience. Everywhere we went, people stopped my husband (and the others we were with) to thank them for their service. The generosity of people was amazing. We had our drinks paid for, and on our way home, someone paid for our dinner as well.

Being reminded of the gratitude of many citizens is comforting, especially in the times when it seems like no one appreciates the actions of our military. It's nice to know that, sometimes, my husband is appreciated for his service.

Even though it was really warm and sunny, there was enough of a breeze to keep things mostly comfortable. I definitely got sunburn, which was totally my own fault, but we're dealing with it. We still haven't decided if it was an experience worth repeating, but it was still an experience. It was fun to actually have something to do on a holiday weekend that was totally separate from things we've done in the past, with our parents or otherwise. Things like this will definitely be harder with a baby, so we figured this year, it wouldn't hurt to try something different. Next year we will likely stay closer to home, but now we can both say we've been to the Indy 500.

Getting the Garden Started

Zinnias
Moving at the end of June means finally having a place for herbs and flowers and vegetables. My husband is a big believer in starting early, so we had seeds and pots and dirt way at the beginning of May. A week or so back, we planted everything. We started the vegetables in pots, but will transplant them in a few more weeks when they are bigger. The non-transplant plants are my flowers and herbs. I'm starting with rosemary, basil and oregano- two pots of each. My zinnias are in a longer window-sill type pot.
So far, three of four plants have sprouted. I'm really excited to have fresh herbs, and am hoping that they will do well. Luckily, they are not in my apartment, but rather outside at my in-laws. If I was keeping track of them day after day, I might over-water them, or over thin them, or generally hover in an unhealthy manner. When we finally move, it will be better, because the plants will be larger. 

Basil
If I can get my three herbs to make it through the summer, and keep them inside this winter, I may add a few more to the bunch. My mom grows both parsley and garlic, so I might branch out into non-food herbs and try lavender. I'm also thinking about lemon balm, simply because I like the smell. My maternal grandmother had this beautiful bay window in her kitchen where she kept African violets and cactus all year round. My dream is to replicate that some day, but not with all flowers. I'd like a combination of useful and pretty.

Oregano

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back to the Hooks

Half finished Stole
I think I confused Blogger's brain this week. I've gotten into the habit of using three different devices to prepare my posts, and it looks like I finally hit a snag. I had a post all written and posted (so I thought) but upon looking, it's disappeared! 

So instead of attempting to recreate what I wrote originally, I'm just going to say it's been a busy week but I was able to fit crochet in. Every other Tuesday is craft night with some ladies from my church, so I've been making the time to go. Below is what I got done during this week's time. 


It's upside-down. Oops. 
Improvisation is my friend with all my current projects. When I failed my 2 (or 3 or 4) attempts to cast on for a Pebble Vest, I frogged everything and started with crochet. The whole process feels better to me, though I'd sad that I couldn't make the knitted vest work. Maybe a different pattern. Or different needles. Or a new cast on method....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ravelry wins Again!

My go-to place for yarn advice is Ravelry. I have two or three groups that I participate in more actively, and those are usually the places where I seek advice.

Over Easter weekend, I was working on a lace-weight stole. It was a free-style event, so to speak, as I was adding bits from favorite patterns together. As I worked on it, getting comfortable with the flow of stitches, I started to see a problem. The first section is really not jiving with the second section, in regards to tension. Being the type of crafter that I am, I ignored it and kept crocheting. My mom made a comment about taking it apart and starting again. I ignored her too. We came home from my parents Sunday evening, and this particular project took a back seat.

Fast-forward to 3 weeks later, when I post a picture of this poor neglected stole over in the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers forum. I just wanted to know what to do, and frogging was looking like the only option. Luckily, a fellow Raveler saved my stole from that fate and suggested changing hook sizes! I breathed a sigh of relief.

The end of the school year has put me in a crafting rut, and even such a simple thought as changing hooks was escaping me. I am extremely grateful to the Ravelry community for helping crafters like me adjust their perspective and try again.

Changing hook sizes was extremely successful, and my shawl has been pulled out of the dog house.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Experiments


A tangled scarf
This week, I'm working on two different projects, but the progress is so minimal on my second, I'm only showing one here. I'm working out a more substantial diagonal scarf pattern. This is my sample, crocheted with a G hook in Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino. The yarn is something I would've never purchased for myself, but I received in a swap and I LOVE it! I've been looking through stashes, trying to find another colorway that I might be able to purchase from someone. No luck yet, but I will keep at it. I had leftover from a previous project, and thought a sample is a good thing to use leftovers for. 
I was not going for the sawtoothed edging

This will definitely be something I share with my sister, as the current scarf I have in this color really gets worn- I'm not a brown girl. It's also definitely a sample scarf. As you can see pictured above, I was having trouble coming up with a way to make the decreasing edge even. Two days ago, I tried another method, which cleaned up my edge immensely. 
The edging has improved.
There are plans to try this again, narrower, with a more "me" yarn. My leftover ball has gotten me far, and I should be finished by Friday, if I work really hard.

Linking up:
Yarn-Along
WIP Wednesday


Monday, May 12, 2014

Sunshine

There is so much to be gained from a sunny weekend! I definitely feel better, though I am still counting down to the end of the school year. My students say there are four weeks left, but it's really five- though I suppose it depends on what you're counting. I'm really wishing for my mother-in-law's home schooling schedule- school starts after Labor Day and ends at Memorial Day. September through May sounds perfect to me... But to get that schedule and still be working outside the home, I'd have to go back to school and get my master's degree- it's nearly a college schedule, which I totally love. 

I go back and forth every few weeks/months. Going back to school sounds extremely tedious, but I would love teaching college classes. E and I go back and forth, but ultimately we know God will work things out for us, for the best. 


I have to constantly remember the sunny weekends, to keep me going through the week. My depression has waxed and waned, but usually gets worse when I am vulnerable at home. Those are the times when I don't need to hide things from my students and coworkers. I've had two 'breakdowns' this week, and am finally warming up to the counseling idea. With the baby, E is really reluctant to go the medication route. It's been a tough road, and every time we think things are looking up, I go downhill again. Job stress is probably the major trigger right now.

Remembering the nice peaceful days, the days of pleasant weather, help me to refocus a bit. Prayers are always appreciated. It's hard for me to come to terms with this- it's one of those things that I always thought would never happen to me. Admitting and accepting it is the first step. 

Remember the sunshine. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Scarves on Wednesday

Patience wears thin as the school year draws closer to the end. Luckily, there is always more yarn to be found! (In fact, I came across another 2 Rubbermaid containers full of yarn at my parents' this weekend.) I made a stress yarn purchase last week, along with the most adorable buttons!

With my new yarn, I'm thinking of a new scarf... honestly, I'm always thinking of new scarves. Even in the summer, I love the light accessories. The FOs I posted last week will probably become my staple style of scarves for the summer. The yarn is perfect too. Sock yarn is great for lightweight scarves. 
Neon Yarn is awesome!

My current WIP is another infinity scarf, this time in the Tiki colorway of Felici. The striping is not as clean in this colorway, which is a bit disappointing, and less vibrant overall than Fizz (my previous 2 scarves). I really liked it when I saw it online, but I'm less thrilled about it now. This will definitely be a scarf that I have my artist sister coordinate outfits for. 

I'm planning, when there is finally extra time (if that ever happens), to write out an alternative to my current pattern, in hopes of making it more dense. I'd like to be able to use it with different yarns, but right now, it's really just an angled mesh.

Dinos or turtles with the hand-dyed yarn?
Other than my brief attempts at designing, I've been dyeing yarn to go with my buttons! The first finished skein is a blue-green color, which I love, but I'm having a hard time deciding on the buttons. I'm planning on a Pebble Vest, possibly two, for baby boy, since he'll be a fall/winter baby. The other yarn I've dyed is red, but it's drying and I need to decide if it needs more red (it might dry too pink for baby boy). I also have some bug buttons that might be cute for this pattern, but I'm just in the planning stages and can always use advice. There is also the possibility of dyeing the blue-green again, or finding another yarn entirely (I know I have tons of worsted weight yarn. Some of it was earmarked for another project, but there's no way it was going to be more fun than baby knits! Brown... Dark Teal... Hmmmmm! The choices are endless!)

Before I bore everyone, I should direct you to Tami's and Ginny's for the Wednesday link-ups!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Business as Usual

Something in my personality always seems to lead to many, many projects in progress. I've been really enjoying my sock blanket, but am very reluctant to use full skeins of yarn on the project. This leads to the pulling out of sock yarn for other various projects, in the hopes of having leftovers that can be added into the blanket. Also, I can sometimes find knitting tedious, as crochet is my first craft love, and I always come back to crocheting something.

Even with a weekend away at my parents', I barely had time to do any crafting. Baby registries, shopping with lil sister, sleeping, and other family shenanigans took up most of my time. It was nice though, to get out of my tiny apartment and see people.

The weather these days has been helping my mood a lot, though I'm still feeling tired- we haven't decided if it is work or the baby. Except for the last 2 days of rain, we've had a decent amount of sun and warmth, which I am really grateful for. I'm starting to ache for summer, which is only 6 weeks away now. Between now and the end of the school year, there are only 2 full proper weeks of school, where all five days there are classes. This week, we have field day on Friday, so while I still have to drive to work, I don't have to teach. The following week is our full week, then the next week has a half day to lengthen the Memorial Day weekend, with the following Monday off. Which leads to the last full week of school, then the three day week that ends school. It seems complicated and confusing at times, but it also helps put things into perspective . Can you tell I'm anxious for the end of the year? I will be honest and say that the school year has been rough, and there are no guarantees it will be better next year, but having a whole summer to prepare for it will be better than what I had coming into this year.

I just word-vomited.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me, and it's just been one of those years when I've been too quiet. Life isn't all sunshine and butterflies- it's real. I miss my old home, I miss the consistency of my days as a student. But I love my husband, my job, and establishing a new life. It may be a few more years before the turmoil of this life change dies down, but by then, I'm sure the next change will be coming. I need to remember to embrace it, trusting in God's plan for my life. Knowing that God has it all worked out and be comforting, but sometimes I need my little details filled in. Relax. Trust. Be at peace. 'Be not afraid'- St JPII

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dyeing for new Yarn

Mini-skeins waiting! 
Lately I've been on a yarn makeover. To keep myself from the urgent need to buy new yarn, I've been remaking old yarn with food dyes. Both the above and below images received a Kool-aid makeover last week. Because they were  leftovers and mini-skeins, I wanted them in semi-solids for my baby sock blanket. The two above ended up as blue and an orange-y yellow. The two below got red and green overdyes to give the colors more unification. I am pleased with how the colors look in the skeins, so I'm hopeful that they will look good in the blanket.

More minis!

Last night, I got antsy again, and pulled out two skeins of Knit Picks Bare Worsted. I soaked them overnight in the bath, and woke up at my normal time to add the dye and yarn together. (I didn't go to the high school this morning because they had prom day off). When I got up the second time, it was very clear that I needed another round of dye.
Bath-tub yarn!
Below you can see the yarn, which had become light blue-green, with some of the new dye on top. When I left for school, most of the dye had absorbed, so I turned the heat off to let it cool. I usually find that leaving it like that allows the dye to absorb more. 
It may seem silly to dye yarn in the morning before going into work, but I find that it allows me to have more patience. Or at least, it gives yarn a rest. I won't be able to knit it for at least a few more days, so dyeing it slowly never seems to be a problem. 

Infinity Stripes

On Wednesday, I gave a sneak preview of my finished project for the week. This project will always hold special meaning for me, due to when I made it.

Double the fun!
These two scarves kept me company during my first experience on an over-night school retreat. We only had girls sign up for this one (I'm told that's unusual), and the experience was interesting, to say the least. It was a short, two-day retreat, but still a good time away from everything else. 

My small group
Being out of the school atmosphere was great for me, as I really enjoy the age group, but so often have to be the teacher with my students. These girls were not my students- I teach freshmen, they were sophomores- and we had some good fun. The "thing" of the weekend was the "Cold Water Challenge". We were on a lake, and a few of the girls had been recently nominated. My understanding of the challenge is that you must jump into a cold body of water within 24 hours of being nominated, or donate $100 to charity. What ended up happening was the priest on the retreat with us offered to do the challenge, since none of the girls had permission forms to go in the lake. (School rules, which is legitimate). The girls thought it was hilarious, and the priest told us later that it was something he did with his buddies when in college, so not much of a challenge for him.
The girls challenged the priest- the "Cold Water Challenge"

Back to the scarves- one skein of Knit Picks Felici per scarf, crocheted on an angle. I didn't want a pattern so busy that it obscured the striping, but I didn't want plain double or single crochet either. It's basically my version of the Retro Striped Scarf from Crochet Me a few years back.