Friday, April 25, 2014

If I'm not writing or knitting...

... I must be reading. I finished three books this month. Above is the first book I finished. It turned out to be a lot better than I thought it was going to be and I have found myself using some of the tips from it. It suggests getting into a routine of roughly 15 minutes of process time (creative free time with no guilt), 15 minutes of product time (time dedicated to writing. This will hopefully grow) and 15-30 minutes of self-care (exercise, yoga, etc...) everyday. It has helped with the guilt I sometimes feel when I am knitting but often while knitting I am thinking about writing. It's just a matter of finding the time to take those thoughts and using them. I've been trying to fit 15 minutes of product time in everyday this week. I spent several days brainstorming a new name for the town in my novel. I didn't like the name I had but hadn't really tried to change it. I played around with words and different brainstorming methods but it was my husband's suggestion that eventually won. The town name went from being one word to two and added 32 words to the novel, so that was a nice bonus. Yesterday I got in process and product time and it felt great. One of the other things the book suggests is giving yourself rewards, especially for tasks you find difficult.  I enjoy writing and don't feel I really need a reward for that (at least not right now) but a reward for editing is a great idea. My reward yesterday was that I had pop at lunch instead of my usual glass of water. The bigger the accomplishment the bigger the reward. I'll be working on creating a list for rewards for doing my 15 minutes everyday, rewards for finishing a chapter and a reward for when I am done editing the first draft. 

Last weekend when we were at the library, I was looking on the new young adult bookshelf trying to find a book for my older son when I came across this book. I loved the feel of it and would carry it around for fun. When I looked inside I was delighted to find it was all poetry. A novel told in poems! I checked it out and I was able to read it in just over an hour one afternoon this week while the baby was napping. My daughter read it and she enjoyed it as well. It's about a young girl (age 12) moving from Poland to England with her mother, looking for her father who left them. She falls in love for the first time and has to deal with bullying from girls because she's different from them. Even the teachers don't treat her very nicely - they change her name to something that is easier to pronounce instead of trying to say it properly. It was a great book with a great message.

And this might not count as a book but it's a great way to spend an afternoon. My husband and I are currently rewatching Buffy and we both read the graphic novels that have continued the series. I usually want to rewatch the series a couple months after finishing it so I've seen them all the episodes several times. It's definitely one of my favourite shows. We just finished the second season where Angel dies and Willow's becoming a witch. Now the series starts getting really good. I'm looking forward to my daughter being old enough to watch. We've only let her watch 2 episodes so far.

I did painting as my process time earlier this week. I did this while the baby had lunch. Still need to finish the little season paintings on the left, but I need to buy some more paint first. And I'm not sure about the one on the right. It might be done.

Yesterday I printed off the first draft of "Lucy". I didn't want to but decided for this first edit I am changing and adding so much that I really need to start from scratch, as in I'm going to rewrite the whole thing. Having the first draft beside me will be easier to refer to than having two documents open on the computer and going back and forth between them. I saved paper and ink by changing the font and putting two pages on each side of the paper. I was pretty thrilled about holding my book in my hands. The little guy was pretty thrilled too.

And I did something yesterday that I haven't done in over a year. I quilted. This little quilt has been waiting for me to quilt it for a long time - I don't want to know how long. I quilted around every rectangle and called it done.

This was my view from the sewing machine. He went back and forth on the couch trying to get my attention. Sometimes he'd look at a book or outside but he was often talking to me.

I pieced some blocks for another wallhanging. My own design which I'm hoping works out.

And got some work done on a secret project.

Got binding on the quilt too! I was pretty impressed with myself. I think it needs a good ironing before it goes up on the wall.

I almost had enough binding of the little polka dots but I had to add some big polka dots at the end.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Last week I was looking at old blog posts and discovered that today marks 5 years since I started this blog and that this is post #444. It's been a long 5 years and it feels like a lot more. When I first noticed today would mark 5 years I tried to think of how I would mark the anniversary. If I had more readers I'd have a giveaway or something like that, but I lost a lot of readers when I changed the name of the blog a couple years ago and haven't really been able to get any back. I know it is mainly family reading this blog post today and that's okay. However, that lead to my second thought, that today should be my last post. Or perhaps announce a hiatus of several months as most weeks I struggle to write anything here. But one thing I have finally mastered as an adult is sleeping on every major decision. Whenever I want to rant, or quit something, I force myself to hold off from doing anything and go to bed instead. This past year I've wanted to quit this blog several times each month. Partly because I just can't get a lot done with a baby around. Partly because I don't know why I'm blogging or what I want this blog to be. I've had fabric sitting on my desk for a week that I finally finished cutting today. What would have taken me an afternoon to cut just over a year ago now took several days of doing a little bit here and there when I could. It drove me crazy. I just want to create but I can't and I get frustrated, and the lack of having anything to post about reminds me that I'm not creating, I'm not writing. It's been a hard road and I keep telling myself that it will get better. One day the baby will again sit and play with his toys. All he wants to do now is crawl or walk along the furniture. He is constantly getting into trouble and can't be left alone for a minute. I can't remember the last time he sat for more than a few seconds to play with something and that has affected my productivity, as it should. As much as I know and accept that he will only be a baby once (and my last baby), I can't help but want time for me, need time for me. We are trying to find a balance. Giving me time on the weekends or the evenings to get something done but it's hard to ignore his cries when it's me that he wants. 

So, what am I going to do? I guess I will keep going. No hiatus. No quitting. I'll try to post as often as I can. And I'm going to try and establish a routine before summer vacation begins and it gets really crazy around here. Today I finished reading a book about committing to process time (free creative time), product time and self-care everyday. Start small (15 minutes) then expand the product time. It was a book about writing and so writing is what I would be working on during product time but knitting and quilting would be my process time. Time to be creative and let my mind go and relax. And I need to take better care of myself. It's easy to forget that everything is connected and when I don't take care of myself and do the things I enjoy, I won't be up for doing any work.

Enough blabbing, here's some knitting. Made some good progress on the cardigan for my mom this past week. Something finally clicked and I can read cable charts instead of checking each time what I'm supposed to be doing. It's made it go a lot faster and more enjoyable.

I bought some yarn last week, too. Webs is having a 40th anniversary sale so I ordered up some yarn.  The pink one on the bottom is to make something for my daughter, but not sure what. Socks, maybe? All this yarn is sock weight.

I got 3 of these (also sock weight) and I might get more. I love it even more in person. I had planned to make socks for my sister and then something for me but I really love it and would like a cardigan or sweater in it.

This I bought to make a cardigan for me. Once I finish the back of my mom's cardigan I'll allow myself to cast this on.

Here's the little guy helping me. I keep the pattern in a page protector (or drool protector) that he likes to carry around. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some small knitted finishes and other stuff

Finished the pair of mukluks for the little guy. Still need to add a sole but I can do that later.

Pattern is by TinCanKnits and is great. I hope to make a few more of these over the summer to use in the fall.

Here they are in action. A little big, which is what I wanted.

And he has a hard time getting them off. I don't think he ever actually did. I took them off before he got really mad at them.

Cute little feet and legs staying warm.

And another picture just because.

After completing the cardigan for my daughter, blanket for my son and socks for my sister I needed to do a little selfish knitting. I cast on this cowl last Tuesday and finished it within in a few days. Yes, it is beaded but only because the yarn is hand-wash. My mom bought it for me for Christmas a couple years ago. It's baby llama and very soft. I still need to block it which might change the look of the yarn. I have a little bit leftover but I don't know what I'm going to do with that yet.

Not a great picture but here it is.

Woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground this morning. I was wearing sandals last week but the hand knits were on this morning. Little guy doesn't look too happy about it.

Look mom! It's your cardigan. I figured out where I left off and knit 4 rows last night. Every right side row needs the cable needle which means I can only work on this when the baby is sleeping.

And I played with fabric this week. These stacks have since been ironed and cut for a secret project. Not sure how much more I'll show here but it's nice to touch and play with fabric again. Now it's time to dust off the sewing machine and put some blocks together.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Knitting Finishes

Pair of socks for my sister. Done. Should be mailed tomorrow.

Blanket for baby. Done. Think he looks like a newborn in this picture.

Laid out.

It's pretty big. Covers my lap...

... and can swaddle the little guy.

He likes playing peek with it. 

A little difficult to crawl in.

So happy to have this done and that he likes it.

Started a pair of mukluks for the little guy. Making the toddler size as I expect he'll use these more in the fall than this spring.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The writing, reading conundrum

It's been a while since I've posted anything about writing. I've slowly been plugging away at creating an edit outline for "Lucy", something to help me keep track of what I think I need to work on for each chapter. However, I got a little sidelined when I started checking the new books and new dvd's listings online for my local library. When we lived in Idaho for 2 years there was one little library and by the time we left we were rereading and rewatching the small selection they had. The new book shelf right inside the door was my favorite spot. 
Here in Ann Arbor, there are 5 library branches. We go to the closest one almost every weekend. We visit the main downtown branch about once a month but it's hard to keep track of what's just arrived. My husband suggested looking online, which for some reason I hadn't before. I spent hours since then going through books and dvds - looking at over 5,000 the first day. I now check on a weekly basis. It's almost as good as walking through a library for an afternoon and it let me find a lot of books I normally wouldn't. Speaking of books, I've requested and checked out a lot of them last month. I'm loving it but struggling to find the time to read and write in any free time I can find. I've tried to read while nursing the little guy but he's really good at reaching behind him and smacking the pages.

Here's our library shelf. Most of those books are mine. The two big novels at the end belong to my son. 

Yesterday I completed my edit outline for "Lucy" and printed it off. The little guy crumbled a page before I could get a picture. I really want to finish this first round of major edits by July. And not because I want to enjoy summer with my kids. It's Camp NaNoWriMo and I really want to participate as I have started brainstorming the next book in the series (I have mentioned that "Lucy" is part of a series, right?). And I really like the t-shirt.

And here's why this wasn't posted yesterday -  I finished the little guy's blanket! Here he is with it minutes after I cast off. Now to weave in ends and try to do a proper photo shoot by next Monday.

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