Friday, November 28, 2008

The Heat Is On! 27 Days Until Christmas - Eeek!

And I am not speaking of the weather in this instance. I am talking about the imminent deadline for my holiday gift knitting. So far, so good!

I am on schedule to finish all and on time. I have organized my list in conjunction with the mailing deadlines and then ones after are local gifts I can deliver as late as Christmas Day itself.

My greatest thanks to Ravelry for the Ravelypmics event in August for getting me kick started with knitting some gifts and organizing the list. It has made a huge difference in my lower stress level associated with wanting everything done on time. I admit that I have added a couple additional projects to the list however have warned the recipients that it will not be delivered until after the first of the year. One is a nightcap for my dad. He has been wearing a stocking cap to bed more nights than not since the cold weather has set in. I found a simple pattern that can be made from a superwash and I think he will like it.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Turkey Day: food, family, fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Thankful!

Even when it seems that the sky is falling, the world as we know it is collapsing and life is crumbling around us, there are still many things to be thankful for.

In that spirit, I am thankful for:

Family and friends, the good health of my parents and their continued desire to get out and enjoy life. The cutest, most lovable cat buddy in the world. Making money doing what I love. Plenty of yarn and patterns to keep me busy, productive, creative and calm. And the beautiful place that I live, I never get tired of the view. And lower fuel prices! (yes, that does say $1.43 for unleaded)

On this day I encourage you to take a few moments and be thankful for all the things in your life no matter how small. Stop, take a breath, observe and be thankful for all that you have and all that you are. We are all special and blessed!

Pedro has discovered that momma's boots are a fun thing to wrassle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ode to Joy: The Knit Picks Catalog Has Arrived!

The Knit Picks catalog is a thing to behold. I have kept every one since I started receiving them two years ago.

Not only do they showcase their products nicely with excellent photography, but they also have the best tips I have seen in one place.

This month they concentrated on holiday ideas. This includes great selections for last-minute knitting projects for your list and gift ideas for the knitters in your life.

I think my favorite thing is the sampler sets they are offering. The yarn samples are in a color theme complete with patterns and ideas of how to use them.

Each edition has its own theme; like July 2008 and socks. Everything from how to dye naked yarn to ideas for patterns to make unique footwear.

You need to get on their mailing list to join the fun of receiving your very own catalog to treasure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Knitting Group

We met for the first time this evening, however, I feel a connection to these women who bravely come out to meet in a central location in the effort to find like-minded people. The quote of the evening was related to the relief of finding others who understood what she was saying about knitting. We noted it has its own language and when spoken with passion to non-knitters it can cause the glassy-eyed look that reminds one of deer in the headlights.

We met at an independent coffee house off of the main drag. The place is cozy and the staff energetic, happy and very interesting. I had the privilege of meeting the #1 barista in Colorado Springs of independent coffee establishments, as awarded by The Independent. She is lovely, quick to please, and, as I found out, very creative in her concoctions.

She is even creating a Coffee Tour for her regulars that may soon become a club (or cult of sorts). I plan to visit during our holiday-imposed hiatus to try the Cranberry/White Chocolate mocha drink. She says it is a holiday favorite. When I asked for a printed menu, I was told that they can and will do anything even if it is not on the large chalkboard of choices. A specialty of the house is creating just about all of the fancy drinks in a sugar-free format.

I am looking forward to sharing my passion for the craft with this lovely group of ladies!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November Days to Celebrate

November arrives with cooler autumn weather and promise of fun days to celebrate. Finding ways to enjoy each and every day is part of the goal of being present for your life. Let's see how we can enjoy the month of November.

On the 6th it is National Men Make Dinner Day, followed by Chaos Never Dies on November 9th. We celebrate the reason for our national freedoms with Veteran's Day on November 11th.

The 13th is World Kindness Day and on the 14th let's take advantage of Lighten Up and Laugh Days. By the 17th we need to get ready to enjoy Make Homemade Bread Day. Then we can enjoy a break from all the fun with Have A Bad Day - day.

Creeping up on the end of the month we have World Hello Day on the 21st, followed by Eat a Cranberry Day on the 23rd and a reminder on the 25 that there are 27 days left before Christmas.

The big feast is coming this year on the 27th, (known as the fourth Thursday in November) and we are all ready for turkey and the trimmings for Thanksgiving.

Then we finish up on the 30th with Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day.

I hope there are plenty of days for all of us to celebrate this month!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Motivates Me?

On my last post a faithful reader asked me a tantalizing question about my knitting. "Do you find that having "special" projects waiting helps with the motivation to finish up works in progress?"

This question gave me the big AHA moment. Yes, it is the carrot on the stick for me. And a version of delayed satisfaction. I find that I am a production knitter at this time of the year as I plow through my gift knitting list. Since I have some to mail, I design a schedule that fits with the mailing deadlines and I work on those pieces first. Then I work on the local giving items after. that.

I start my gift knitting in the Spring with a review of patterns, my proposed recipient list and the supplies needed to accomplish this. Then in July I review all, finalize the list and cast on my first piece. Of course, Life gets in the way after that and I find myself in October gasping at the calendar and putting myself in deadline mode.

During this time I have found some fun projects I want to knit for myself, aka been to the Taos Wool Festival and brought home the lace scarf and mohair locks from the previous post. Well, I knew when I bought them they would not get cast on right away because I had projects going at home. So they sit patiently waiting for me to finish my list. They are the grand prize at the end of my gift knit marathon. These projects will feed the process knitter in me. I will be learning a new pattern and using my creative design side when I set mohair locks into a fun scarf.

I have become disciplined to only have two projects going at one time. I have a house project that I knit on early AM with my coffee and morning news, and after work with an evening movie. Then I have a project that rides in the car with me for knitting at lunch and in the parking lot in the AM when I have arrived at work early. That is getting harder to do as it gets colder. I am now knitting with fingerless mitts on.

The idea of having those special projects to start at the end of the year is the way I celebrate the completion of another successful year of knitting.

Thank you, dear reader, for putting a finer point on what, until now, was a subconscious motivator in my knitting world.

I hope all of you have special treats planned for yourselves as we approach the end of the year!

Note: all pictures used in this post are from previous knitted gifts. You will still have to wait for the current ones until after Dec. 25th.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Previously on my blog...

we talked about knitting, and I am sure you have been waiting for a comprehensive update from me. As you can see, the guy with the glowing eyes has convinced me it is time to share the news.

The best news is: yes, I have been knitting, a lot. The bad news is: I cannot really tell you about it.

I know, you think I am teasing you. Well, I'm not. Since Ravelympics I have been trying to finish my gift knitting for this year. Most of the things I am working on I cannot show you pictures of or discuss.

So, now you ask yourself, why should I continue reading this post? Because I am going to share with you what is on the top of the knitting list when I finish the gift list. It is my Taos project purchases. First on the list is a lovely lacy scarf pattern with an unusual shape and some fabulous yarn from Plain and Fancy.

The shape is more ellipictical than rectangular and has a beautiful lace edge. The yarn is fingering weight in a multi-color with brown, gold, teal, peach, and lavendar. It looks like it will go with anything. I had help from my friend CatWithCats picking it out. There were too many choices and it always helps to have another pair of eyes.

My other great purchase was dyed mohair locks from Kai Ranch in Texas. They had them lined up in bins in every imaginable color. I was baffled by what you might use them for. While I stood there pondering their use, CatWithCats had located Gale Zucker and Joan Tapper of Shear Spirit.

Besides convincing me I had to buy a copy of the book (Shear Spirit), Gale showed me a great idea to use the mohair locks. She was wearing a scarf that she had made in a plain, dark color with the mohair locks incorporated into it randomly to get a very fun look. So I picked out the colors I liked and we decided that they would look great combined with a charcoal gray. I have not found the base yarn yet, but am looking forward to starting that project the first of the new year.

Well, it has been great getting caught up with all of you. Hope you are pursuing your passions and enjoying the start of the Holiday Season. I promise to share pictures of my gift knitting ventures after December 26th.