Bits and pieces

I’ve had a bit of a disappointing month (other than the new job, which I love!) which might account in part for my recent silence.  I had an audition for a grad school program, which went fine, but then I was interviewed by 7 people at once, which did not go as fine, leading to me being rejected (luckily I wasn’t attached to this school – I’ll be happier elsewhere I suspect!)  Then I had a job interview for a part time gig, which I thought went really well, but again – they did not go with me, and I didn’t even get to the audition bit this time.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m a terrible interview.  I’m rather introverted – at least with new people – and I really don’t do well with large committees interviewing me all at once (both had 7 people asking me questions).  Heck, I don’t even like to go to dinner with 7 people at once, because it’s overwhelming, much less have to answer questions about myself and pretend to be extroverted!

It’s frustrating because I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with being introverted, but I feel as though I’m at a disadvantage in any sort of quick judgement/first impression sort of situation.  I’m reading the book Quiet, (recommended by Robyn!) which I highly recommend to my fellow introverts – unlike other books I’ve read, it doesn’t try to make me feel like I have a disease that needs to be cured.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing to make myself feel better.  I’m got several projects nearly completed, so here are some previews!
Tie top curtains

My tie-top curtains are nearly complete – they’re just awaiting a hem and curtain tiebacks.  I love the little horses!
Jelly roll floor pillow - top

My jelly-roll floor pillow is almost done as well.  You can see the top above – it wasn’t super hard, but it was a little boring.  I sewed it to the backing and made piping.  Unfortunately, I ran out of stuffing and had to order more.  I’m using a shredded foam mix that I found on Amazon – it arrives vacuum packed and expands a ton, so I couldn’t predict the amount I needed.   The cats don’t seem to care that it’s unfinished:
Floor pillow or cat bed?

It took less than ten seconds for two cats to claim, and it’s not even fully stuffed yet.  I think it’s a hit!

I’m about to make living room curtains, and I’m also working on this:

Garden of Eerie

(not mine – I’m still waiting on my fabric!)  I haven’t done any needlework in ages.  I love this sampler -it’s called “The Garden of Eerie” and is designed by Plum Street Samplers.  Love the little Frankenstein Adam and Eve and the “This Work Rot by” text at the bottom.  This is technically Halloween themed, but I’ll keep it up all year – I have a little collection of macabre/day of the dead items in my dining room.

I also got an Ipad this week – one of my friends wasn’t using his, and was happy to pass it along.
Ipad

I was reluctant to get an Ipad – I didn’t see myself using it, but it turns out that it works for me.  First, since I work 2 places now, it’s nice to carry with me rather than a heavy laptop.  It’s also pretty amazing for sewing – I used it when working on the floor pillow, and it was so much easier to keep the instructions that way (and I didn’t have to print anything!)  I know, I’m behind on this, but I’m pretty excited about it.  I want to make a case:

e-reader sleeve

(pattern here: by SewCrafty Jess)  It’s for a kindle, but I can adjust the size.

That’s my update for the day.  I am starting to think about my fall wardrobe, but right now I can’t actually access my closet very easily to assess what I need.  Hopefully soon!

 

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What’s going on with me

Yesterday I went to put on my Millifiore cardigan before I did my makeup.  While doing my makeup, foundation managed to squirt all over the sweater (the nozzle was clogged apparently.)  I tried everything I knew to get it out, but it would appear that it has stained.

I know it’s hard to see in this picture – my camera has washed out the contrast, but trust me when I say there is a line of beigey yellow running from the arrow down to the 3rd button, as well as furthur down the button band (it was a really bad squirting accident.)  I’m really upset because this was such a recently finished sweater – I only got to wear it maybe three times, and it represents nearly a month of work.

Also today: I found out that I am being cut from full to part time at my main job.  It’s not completely unexpected, but it has thrown me into a really upset state… I know, at least I still have a job, but I am really terrified of changes sometimes.  And I do have another job, and hopefully I will be able to take on more students now.   I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps this will be a blessing, as it will free me up to work on the things I really love.  Lately I’ve been so stressed out, in large part over this job, and so worried about being cut, that I’ve barely even been able to knit.  And I love knitting, so you know how bad things must be.

I have been working on the soap bubble wrap, and I’m partway up the back.  I’m at the point of knitting the sleeves together with the back, and with that many stitches it is slow going – but after this piece I figure I am 3/4 finished, so that should motivate me.

I am very lucky at this time to have my husband, who tells me “We will manage, no matter what,” and uses his mathy skills to point out that I will easily make up the cut salary with the students I have taken on since last year.  He’s also taking me to lunch tomorrow after what promises to be a distressing meeting with my boss.

And I do have my kitties… sad though it may seem, nothing makes you feel better than seeing this while typing a blog entry about your troubles.

Sarah Jane is doing so well now… she’s getting along (or at least ignoring) the other cats, and her blood sugar levels are stable on just medication (no insulin.)  Every night she sleeps on my pillow, and every morning she wakes me up to let me know that she needs pets.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter – I hope to get to feeling less depressed soon!

moving…

Just a quick note to say thanks for all your well wishes – they must have worked, because we started moving into our new house on Saturday!  It was a little nerve wracking, as moves always are (our movers showed up an hour early, and we are still moving the things they forgot!)

Friday we will close on our condo, so hopefully soon we will be all done with this whole thing, and get to settling into our new house.  My Dad (who renovates old homes for a living) will be around tomorrow so that we can form a game plan for the work to be done.  I will post more with detail on the house and what we’re doing soon.

I took the advice of several of you and preset several feliway diffusers in the house for the cats, and then did not separate them (we did get an extra litter box, bringing us to 4 boxes.)  We filled two of the boxes with the cat attract litter, and they’ve barely touched the others, so I think we will be switching to that permanantly.  Sarah Jane seems to be doing very well so far – I don’t want to get too confident, but she is able to get away from the other cats, and she has already claimed a new chair for herself.

That’s all for now – more later!

kitteh help needed!

I’m having something of a cat behavior problem, and I would love any advice!

Here is the culprit, looking properly guilty of course.  Sarah Jane is a house cat who escaped her owners (or was abandoned) for an unknown period of time before we took her in.  She’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever had, and we love her to death, especially my husband.

When we first got her she was using the litter box, but would have occasional accidents.  We took her to the vet, he diagnosed diabetes and put her on medicine, and her sugar levels are now under control.  We started (after a few weeks) trying to introduce her slowly to my other two cats, Leon and Dionne.   They didn’t like each other, but it seemed like they were learning, so eventually we let her come and go freely.  Then she started having a lot of accidents in the kitchen, very near the litter box in there, but not near enough to be an accidental miss. (we have 3 boxes in different rooms.)  I took the cover off, and she used it for awhile, but finally started up again.  We finally had to lock her in the bedroom again and consider how we could introduce them again.  Lately she has been occasionally peeing around the baseboards near her litterbox.  I moved her box to that spot and she hasn’t had another accident yet, but I am sure it is coming.

I should mention that she is very fearful of my other cats.  She seems to be getting used to Leon, who at this point just ignores her when he sees her, but Dionne hates her.  Dionne will come up to the bedroom door and shove her paws under it, trying to get at Sarah Jane (all our doors are very short, I think there must have been carpet here and someone chopped off the doors.)  I don’t expect love, I just want them to ignore each other.

Sarah Jane has been tested (twice) for any medical issues other than the diabetes, and she is clean (no infections, crystals etc.)  She did have a major problem when we switched her to a wet diet (wellness core) and now we have to mix medimucil into her food (poor kitty!)  She developed some issues with that problem I think, as I know the box was a source of pain then, but she does use it most of the time, so I don’t know what triggers that.  It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s territorial.  She is not a timid cat, and does not back down from Dionne, who usually runs and hides after initiating a confrontation.

We are moving on Saturday, and I’m not sure the best way to introduce the cats to the new house.  I’m hoping that with twice the space they will be able to ignore each other more, or that they can each claim their own territory since it will be new.  Sarah Jane loves to sleep in our bed, but I am just not willing to put a litter box in my bedroom again, and once her box is in a room you had better not move it (trust me on this one.)  We were thinking of startng her in the guest room, since she seems to like having her own space, and letting her out at intervals (at first with the other cats locked in our room until she gets used to things.)

Of course, all this is complicated by the fact that we are moving, and we have been showing the house (traumatic for the cats.)  I haven’t tried to reintroduce them very much because I thought they were under enough stress.  We love Sarah Jane no matter what, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to clean up disgusting things every other day?  We have tried feliway (did nothing,) taking the lids off the boxes, moving the boxes, getting more boxes, every cleaning product under the sun etc.  We are at a loss.  We are, however, very grateful not to have any carpet in this house, as hard surface floors are easy to clean.

Learning from your knitting

It’s safe to say that I’m a product knitter – I make things because I want to wear them, and I am not satisfied without a steady stream of FOs.  Even so, I won’t choose a project that contains elements that I know will drive me crazy – no stockinette sweaters in fingering weight for instance (at least not until Marc gets me the knitting machine I’ve asked for!)  Sometimes though… sometimes the love of a sweater will outweigh a technique I don’t enjoy.  I did not know before I started the Printed Silk cardigan that I don’t enjoy making twisted stitches.  I should have guessed, since I also don’t enjoy lots of small cables in a garment, and since I failed utterly making a pair of socks with twisted stitches (firestarter socks.)  But I didn’t, and I have now resorted to bribing myself with a new sweater’s worth of yarn in order to get it finished.

It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished, but I still have one more piece with twisted stitches and one sleeve in 1×1 rib to go.  I’m a little worried about running out of yarn, since I can’t find one of the balls I bought… I hope it didn’t go into storage with my wintery yarns!

The current sweater of my obsession is the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits.  Love this, and not just because it’s green!

I’m not sure what I want to knit it in… definitely a semi-solid I think, doesn’t garter stitch look fabulous in a semi-solid?  I’m trying to reign in the yarn budget right now, with the possibility of us having to carry 2 mortgages for a few months if our condo doesn’t sell soon… but then again, if we don’t move soon I’m going to use up the yarn I have here and have to buy more.  I’m thinking of using DIC Classy, although I think it is pricey.  I also thought of malabrigo, but to be honest I want something more durable – my malabrigo sweater is awfully fuzzy looking. Any other suggestions?

This sweater also reminded me of another that I wanted to make.. the Millie Cardigan from Vintage Crochet. There are a few cute finished sweaters on Ravelry, and they helped to revive my interest in this swing cardigan, which is another grown-up version of the baby sweater.

I would use ribbon instead of the fabric strips here, and I would downsize it significantly (it’s a 38″ in the small.)  It calls for Cashmerino Aran, but I’m not feeling that.  There’s a beautiful one done in Rowan Purelife on Ravelry.  I’m thinking of using a similar DK weight yarn to help with the downsizing – perhaps Blue Sky Skinny cotton?  There’s a soft blue color that I have been dying to use for something.  If I stick with an aran weight yarn I will go with a wool because cotton would be too heavy.

Continuing on the crochet vein, I got the Summer Interweave Crochet in the mail yesterday.  I am very pleased with this issue, which is great because the last 2 issues left me cold and I was thinking of dropping my subscription. It just proves again my theory… I love my winter and fall knits magazines and my spring/summer crochet.  There are some great projects here, many with an emphasis on filet crochet, something I have been interested in trying out.

I love the tiny row of buttons on the camisole, and the front is adorable as well.  I also love this stole, which solves one of my recent questions (“Why are crochet shawls always knit with chunky yarn when crochet makes a chunkier fabric to start with?”)  This is knit with 2 skeins of Helen’s Lace, but I would sub something cheaper (maybe gloss lace… wouldn’t that be lovely here in the nice mermaidy blue color?)  Although the size of the thing is intimidating, I have no idea how fast filet would go.

The pattern I’m most likely to start soon is this lovely cardigan.

It’s not the best photo, and I don’t think it looks good over that shirt, so here is a link to the designer wearing the sweater on Ravelry.  Yes, it is again that loose tied cardigan shape, although this one is not swingy.  I love the bobbles.  I secretly love crocheted bobbles, as long as there aren’t too many.  I think this is adorable.  It’s crocheted in GGH Mystik, a DK weight cotton/viscose blend that I think it stupid pricey for what it is.  I’m considering subbing either Garnstudio Cotton Viscose or Elann Luna.  Does anyone have any comment on either of those yarns?  I’m sure they will be splitty, as apparently GGH Mystik is, but I really want to keep the shine and drape of the viscose, so I can deal.

I wear my cardigans so much more than my pullovers – that’s why I make so many cardis.  I love to wear layers!

We had a showing this morning at 9 am, so I took Marc to work and brought Leon along for a ride.  Poor kitty… after being in the carrier at least once a day for 2 weeks he’s starting to look at me with deep suspicion.

He spends most of his time on the mantle, which for once is clear of stuff.  Perhaps he feels that he has a better chance of seeing me coming with the cage.  I had to take this photo because I thought he was so sweet with his tail hanging down!

The sweater that sickness built

“Nooo” says Sarah Jane, “You don’t need more photos of the knitting. Look at the cute instead!”

Yesterday I went to work, which in hindsight was possibly a mistake… I made it through my obligations, but then immediately felt 10 times sicker… so I stayed home from work today. I will have to make up the day later, of course, since I don’t actually get sick days from my teaching job (Oh how I long for sick days!) but at least I got to stay home and knit! My unexpected illness has resulted in the tuxedo top being very near completion, while I was expecting this top to take at least 2 weeks. I’ve finished the front and back, and knit the 2 lace straps. I’m waiting for the front to finish blocking so that I can knit the lace inset. I think I’ve decided to go with the reverse stockinette, but I’ll see when it dries. My tension on the front piece is much nicer, and I don’t care as much about the back.

I got my copy of Nectar in the mail today, along with the denim yarn to make Joy. My mailman said “Look, more yarn” when he handed me the package… I think he’s on to me.

It should be interesting – I’ve never knit with denim before! I was relieved to see that my stashed Rowan yarns will work nicely for Jasmine and Dawn. Everything looks nicer in person, and the book is really just lovely. I also was pleased to see that I can use the frogged All Seasons cotton from Manon to make this design, Honey.

I really like the way the cables are shaped at the bottom… it reminds me of the Nantucket Jacket, but hopefully this sweater will not give me linebacker shoulders (I’m a little bitter about that knit.)  I’m sure I won’t get to this before fall, but won’t it make a nice fall jacket?

Tonight while I’m waiting on the front of the Tuxedo top to dry I will do a little swatching for the designs from the new IK and Nectar that I’m interested in knitting.  I’ve already swatched the bamboo silk for Wallis and I love it, but I will post more about that tomorrow!

Planning

It’s Kentucky Derby weekend here in Louisville. This weekend brings out the hermit tendencies in me – I live in a congested part of town that is usually filled with annoying, possibly drunken tourists (and locals) this weekend, and I prefer to avoid contact as much as possible. Combine that with a cold, and you have a recipe for staying in, eating macaroni and cheese (with cauliflower, so it’s healthy?) and teaching myself to read and knit at the same time.

I have 13″ of the back of the tuxedo top completed (a few more than in this photo,) which represents way more hours of knitting than I’m going to admit to you. Stockinette can be comfortably mindless when you’re in a cold medicine haze and reading a nice cozy mystery. Plus I had Dr. Who to watch, on my breaks from reading.

Marc just shakes his head; I think he can’t imagine why I would want to knit and read at the same time. Well… because now I don’t feel like either one is taking away from the other! Mind you, I wouldn’t knit or read anything demanding, but it is a nice way to pass the time.

I’m having a bit of a tension problem with this yarn – I don’t want to knit too tightly, but linen has zero elasticity, and I get occasional loose rows. I’ve decided not to care about them, and wait until the back is blocked to decide between reverse stockinette and regular.

I’ve also been reorganizing my queue on Ravelry (I went down from 7 pages to 3 by way of stern “are you really going to knit that” questions) and reassigning my stashed yarns. I got my Ella Rae Bamboo silk from Webs (guess they were wrong about that backorder) and it’s gorgeous – perfect for the Wallis cardigan I think!

I haven’t actually received my Summer IK yet, but this does not stop me from planning. I decided on Ella Rae Silkience, bought at the last Knit Nook sale, for the lacy tunic – I hope it works out! I also got out my yarns for the designs for Nectar that I want to knit (you would not believe the places I have stashed yarns in our 2 closet condo) so that I can swatch when my book gets here (I hope I have enough, but I think I should based on the prices of the kits… if not I will reassess my plans.)

Yes, if I am anything I am a planner. I am the type of person who cannot go on a vacation without 4 guidebooks and a typed itinerary. I like to make lists and check things off of them (thus: why I adore Ravelry, though I rarely use the forums.) I don’t do things on the spur of the moment, because I like to be prepared, and extremely spontaneous people make me cranky.

Marc thinks that the reason why I get along so well with our new cranky cat (Sarah Jane) is because we are just alike. He has a point. She will complain loudly if you do anything to upset her routine, which I think is adorable… she’s so grumpy, but at the same time wants to spend 24 hours a day in physical contact with one of us.  I think my reaction to a sudden bath in the sink would be about the same as hers.