Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm a winner!

That's right I am here to show off some new yarn that I did not buy but won instead. The first time I've won something and it is yarn. How lucky can I be? 

I've been reading the Violently Domestic blog for a while. She caught my eye when she posted about being at Sock Summit and being so nervous to go out and circulate through the crowd. It was one thing for little old me to say I am an introvert and am happy to stay home. But for this lovely knitting book author to admit she was nervous to go out and face the crowd of our own people, it was a revelation.

I watched posts of her lovely creations and beautiful photography, but I really fell in love when she spoke of her Kitten Overlords. Her three boys are quite handsome and robust gents. I especially like how they insert themselves into the knitting pictures. And how Hunter joyfully posts those pictures.

I had seen Hunter's giveaway post and I decided to enter. I checked once after the contest ended but there was nothing. Then a wrote a blog post and checked my stats. There was a hit from the Violently Domestic site. I hurriedly logged in to my email and found I had won, but I may have missed the deadline for responding back. I did some math in my head and decided the worst that could happen was that she could say sorry I already picked another winner. Since I had already missed out in my mind I had nothing to lose. I sucked it up and sent an email asking if I could still claim the yarn and that I would understand if it had already moved on to someone else.

I waited nervously for a reply and luckily I made the cut off. Which yarn would it be? A lovely gradient? One of the sock yarns? (You know how I love sock yarns!) Which color? Oh the excitement was building! Ask D I was most distracted thinking about my winning yarn. My Kitten Overlords were unimpressed and demanded we return to our regular feeding schedule. Daydreaming about yarn while there are Greenies sitting right there? Sustenance woman, we need sustenance!

I anxiously awaited the arrival of my new yarn, yes I know I am a horrible person. Here I was about to get prize yarn and all I wanted was for it to be here so I could find out what I received and pet it lovingly. I have flaws and I am working on them. I am the same way with things I order. It takes me forever to make a decision but once I order, the package tracking begins. Really I am working on it.

Anyways the package showed up in my mailbox that we just had to check before walking over to get some dinner. I tucked it safely in my purse till we got to the restaurant. It took everything I had not to open it right then. I will admit to squishing it a couple of times through the packaging. What? I am not made of will power!

Lo and Behold, Prize Yarn!

This is KnitCircus Yarns Greatest of Ease Sock in the Hollyhock colorway. It is a Merino/Nylon blend at a whopping 460 yards. It is mine, mine, all mine. You can bet this will make some beautiful socks! I just might show them off here. Don't ya know I'm wild like that?

Thank You Hunter Hammersen for my new yarn!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It is working for me

I've been meaning to tell you about how I am exercising.

It is really hard for me to talk about this for some reason. I hate hearing about what other people are doing because in the past I've not been doing anything for so long. In 2008 I was exercising fairly regularly and lost around 20 pounds. Then we went to England for a great vacation and walked everywhere. Which was also great till I developed a huge blister then it was not quite so great. Because it was roughly half the size of a deck of cards I had to adjust the way I walked or rather limped.

I cam home and never really got back into a consistent exercise habit again. I would try and then not try. Late last summer D suggested to me that I start in again on our elliptical machine. I could not figure out what was holding me back, other than me. What did I need to change to keep me going?

D suggested that I plan on working out every day, just 20 minutes a day. EVERY DAY? Every day seemed impossible. I thought about giving myself a firm start day after my birthday but then I just got up and did it one night, and the next night and the next.

I decided to see if I could make it a whole month, and another, and another. I think I made it about 6 months before I missed a day. This meant I sometimes started at 10 pm and sometimes later than that. Not very often but I found ways of getting it done, because I had to. It was not a case of if I would exercise but when I would exercise that day.

I managed to keep it up during all Gus' stress filled illness. I think it really helped me manage some of that stress. I know it made me feel better to do something that was making me more healthy. When you cannot control your cat's health just trying to control your own is helpful.

D noticed the changes in my body first, a smaller belly and more curves, but I noticed my bum reshaping the most. My clothes fit better and I had more energy to do the things I wanted and should do, even housework.

After my first night off in six months, I had a record time and distance the next day. The thought occurred to me that one day off a week might be a good thing. It allows some flexibility, like trivia night at the Legion.

D came to me with a new plan shortly after that. If I increased my time from 20 to 25 minutes a day I could take a guilt free day off. Not that I should feel guilty about my night off, but this way I was not losing anything.

This plan was quickly adapted to a more varied model next, when we started making my workout time, outside together time instead. We now go for a bike ride or hike on one day of the weekend. It is working out to be some nice quality time together.

While I have not lost much weight, I have lost a little and my endurance is higher too. I am doing this to make myself stronger first. I hope the weight will come off, but I will not let it be a determining factor.

I'm just happy the plan is working.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Warming old bones

I believe spring has sprung. We had our first outing in the grass with yarn and cats. I've already shown you the yarn, now it is time for the cats.

Gus refused to do any head shots and gave me only butt shots. I think the warmth helps his old bones move just a tad more freely. 

On the other hand Jack just loves plowing through the grass and grazing like a cow. He is not afraid to face the camera.

He looks so good on the prowl too. He is quite a fierce predator. that of course is not true when he is hawking up the grass balls that he loves so much. 

Needless to say other than missing cuddle/knitting time, we're enjoying some spring here.

Oh and my sweater is knitting up rather fine. You know in case you all were wondering

Friday, May 9, 2014

My first WEBS order

Yep the call of the wool is a hard thing to resist. Last winter I found myself woefully lacking sweaters. Now in the past I've had a hard time knitting sweaters, actually when I first started knitting I never saw myself knitting a sweater. It does not matter if your socks are not perfect, they go in your shoes and hide under your jeans. As long as they fit the world still spins. 

Sweaters on the other hand are so very visible. I found a pattern and stuck with it. But then this winter came and I wanted more. No, not wanted, but needed more. And I started consistently exercising. I felt I no longer had to wait for things to change, I was making things change. Now I have not really lost much weight but I have regained some rather pleasant curves. 

So as I was knitting my latest green sweater, I love green sweaters, I promised myself that I would only buy more sweater yarn when that one was finished. It took some negotiating with myself but I held firm. My sweater is now ready for the fall to return, so why not place my first WEBS order?

I decided some new tools would also be nice to try. For keeping the sweaters looking nice I bought a Gleener (lower left hand area) to remove pills from my knitting. It looks like a big ol' razor for your sweater. It has three snap on heads, not actual razor blades, which depend on how fine your knitting is. The big end is a lint brush to smooth everything out.

I got a set of Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles, and four sizes of DPNs too. I like the sock size DPNs that I already have from Knitter's Pride so I thought I would upgrade some of my sweater tools too.

How could I resist yarn that is named Chipotle? Even the name makes me feel warmer. It is a nice rusty brown color. My favorite sweater last winter was one I reworked from D's collection. It may not have been the most beautiful or best fitting sweater but it was my warmest and snuggliest. So what is a knitter to do?

Go find more Berroco Peruvia yarn, buy it and knit another warmest and snuggliest sweater. But first I think I'll finish my saddle shoulder sweater, maybe. You know I have new needles I could cast on another sweater right now. And that my darling husband is why I need so many needles. That question was posed to me in a genuinely perplexed manner. We have a friend that thinks you only need two dish towels. Me? I like to have a lot of tools for the job. You can not find the best tool if you don't try them. What? It is a valid theory.

I had heard stories about WEBS orders sometimes taking a while. Something to do with not shipping partial orders and not telling the customer when items are on back order, thus delaying an order. They even have a disclaimer on their site that lets you know your card will not be charged till the order is shipped. As a person that takes forever to make a purchase I was worried when I place the order on Sunday. How long would my order take? When should I start worrying?

I got shipping confirmation Wednesday morning and when I tracked the package it was on a truck for delivery. Oh happy day! A few hours after email notification I was holding a box of knitterly things.

Well done WEBS. My first order was a success.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Now with actual knitting

I know for a person that has a knitting blog, the knitting is quite absent at times. In between worrying about Gus I knit lots of things. I even occasionally finish things too, but more often I seem to be starting things.

I have a new pair of favorite socks from Icelandic sock yarn. They are a tad big now but I am hoping they do what the other socks did and felt a bit. Either way I'm sure I'll love them too. In fact I'm wearing them now.

D's socks seem to be taking some hits. D is wearing a pair for the last time today. I was going to repair them, but the yarn is just too thin. So he'll just have to settle for new ones, it is not like he is married to a happy sock knitting machine.

Since he likes some funky socks from time to time, I'm knitting these too.

And since I finished a sweater just in time to warm up the weather, I cast on another one. This yarn started out as a sweater knit in pieces, but I am still not comfortable investing that much time into something that may not fit me. At the time I was knitting it I was gaining weigh so I just did not want to be disappointed.

Since then I've had some help and figured out how to read the patterns in Ann Budd's Top Down Sweater book. I decided to tackle a saddle shoulder sweater this time. Hopefully this winter I will have an understanding of  three different ways of knitting sweaters. Maybe I can churn out a few before it gets cold. What? I can alway hope I will be a better person and have winter knits, knit before winter.

Not pictured is a pretty pair of socks for me that are in the second sock stage. They're a bit more complicated than my normal plain jane socks, thus they're taking a bit more time. But I'm not needing more socks as much as other feet in the house. 

Oh excuse me the timer just went off on my Blueberry Buckle. I hope it turns out good.