Monday, January 30, 2012

Mindful on Mondays: Final Outcome

My great plan to downsize did not come to fruition. I did buy the larger TV and here is why.

When I went to the store to look at the choices, again, I found that the model I was looking at online and a brand name TV that they had on a big sale were only $100 different. So, I invested in the bigger screen.

I feel good about my choices for this upgrade because I spent two years considering this purchase, always putting it off because the price was still too rich for my budget.

Now that it is done, I am excited about watching some of my favorite movies in a new, larger format. That will keep me busy for several months as well as getting to watch my Netflix in streaming mode.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their New Year, and a good close to the month of January~!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Loopy Ewe: Grand Opening in Colorado

The big day arrived and I met up with CatWithCats in Denver to make the drive to Fort Collins, the new home of The Loopy Ewe.

Wow, awesome, fabulous - those are just some of the exclamations that I uttered and heard in the new shop. It is great. There are lots of windows, with a view of the mountains, lots of light and color, more room to move around and so many choices that it may take you all day to make decisions.

I picked up enough for about six one-skein projects and a couple items that I had not seen live yet, like the Baggu bags and a Hadley tumbler. What a great day!

Big kudos to Sheri and her crew of elves and The Computer Guy, they have done a wonderdul job of making it a warm and welcoming place to visit. I plan to make this a bi-annnual event, maybe more. Best of luck to the The Loopy Ewe, keep up the good work~!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another New Project

The Rikke Hat is on the needles. It has taken three attempts to get it started so it will be a wearable hat for me.

I am doing in in a striped version with Knit Picks Swish DK yarn in grey and eggplant. So far it is a fun knit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Blog-aversary! Five Years

Who knew when I started this that it would become a five year old.

I want to thank my readership and wish you all the best for the future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mindful on Mondays

The update on the new TV purchase is, after much research and heartfelt thought, I am going to downsize my requirement for the TV. I am still looking for a new one, that will allow me the streaming capability and HD, just not as large a screen.

I cannot justify a large dollar amount purchase in lieu of the fact that I am targeting my debt this year and trying to pay it down as much as is humanly possible. It does not make sense to spend money on things when the money should go to making my life less stressful in the long run.

Hopefully by the end of the month or by mid-February I will have a new watching unit. I hope everyone is having a great start to their new year.

Gnome Hats: Complete and Pattern Available

The Gnome Hat Knitting Project has come to an end. These last two were knit with my own design. They were fast knit and give a wonderful fabric to add embellishments to if desired.

The pattern can be found on Ravelry at this link. Happy Knitting~!

Friday, January 20, 2012

July Sock - Finally Coming Back

My poor July socks, they have been on haitus since August 1st to make way for the pile of other things that I had to knit.

It is time to bring them back out and finish the second sock. I reviewed the progress last night and went to bed thinking about how to figure out where I was. I see that I am midway through the decreases for the gusset. In golf lingo, that is a bad lie.

If I had stopped before beginning the heel flap or after the gusset decreases were complete it would be easiser to pick it up and go again after nearly seven months. The only thing that has saved me is that I use two row tallys when I am doing this part of the sock. One is to mark the stitch pattern and the other is to count the decreases. Once I remembered which tally was which I was ready to start again.

This will be my next car project as soon as the last two gnome hats are complete. Maybe I will be able to wear the July socks before July this year. It is a goal.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gnome Hats: Update - (g)Nearly Complete

I have eight completed hats. Only two to go. These are so cute, The pattern will be available for free this weekend as soon as I can get some more pictures.

It is a fast knit and makes a very fun hat for the kids to play with and can be worn with the top folded over to resemble a stocking cap. Maybe a very fun addition to your apres ski look. Another idea would be to sew buttons on it or do some embroidery embellishments. And, there is no reason you can't knit them out of different colors.

I hope everyone is finding fun ways to fill their January days~!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mindful on Mondays: Large Purchase

I am back to the idea of making a large purchase for a new TV. I have owned the one I have since 2005, it is a 24-inch screen and as large as a boat anchor. It does not have the hookups for the newer dvd players which means that I cannot have streaming access to Netflix (which I really want).

My TV watching is done through rabbit ears and an HD antenna that I had to get when the "air" signals went digital. I plan to continue viewing "air" channels, no cable or satellite for me. So I think I will be able to get rid of the HD antenna if I have a new TV, not sure yet about the rabbit ears.

So I am researching what kind of TV, model, and additional equipment to get what I want. The research is based on one hour for every $100 of value of the largest piece of equipment, in my case, the TV itself. At this point, looking at Best Buy offerings, I have met the time part of my research and then some. Now I am just waiting to see if the sale before Super Bowl is a reality.

Maybe this will be my Valentine prezzie to myself. I hope everyone is having a great start to their New Year~!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gnome Hats: Update

I am into the fifth hat and finally have a good pattern created that fits an average adult. They are lots of fun to knit and look great.

I ended up with a plainer hat than what the pattern is in Knitting Today Dec 2100/Jan 2012 calls for. This pattern is in the round, all knit, with knit two together as the decreases. I had to tinker with the - how many rows between the decrease rows - to get the best look without the hat being so tall that it will double as a conning tower on a submarine.

Looks like I will get them all done on time and under budget (the yarn was on holiday slash price sale - yay).

I hope everyone is having a great start to their year~!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mindful on Mondays: Impulse Buys and How to Avoid

My apologies to those who believe that Monday should actually be on a Monday. My bad....

With that said, I concur with Cathy: I like to spend money on the things I want, like yarn and knitting tools and movies that I must (so I think) own so I can watch. For years it was easier to avoid looking at the bills, than admitting I had to pay them. Fortunately, I have that under control (almost) and have nearly dug myself out of debt that was created when I was "under-employed."

When the economy downturn came and I took a cut in hours I looked at all the "bills" and determined what I could do without. The first thing was morning coffee from 'bucks. Well, that was really a non-issue because I do not go for coffee every morning, I drink mine before I go to work from a pot I brewed myself with generic brand coffee mostly.

I did give up buying movies when they first came out without seeing them first. What I found was most of them were not as good as their trailers so I could just watch them once and say "Okay, I've seen it." I do my renting through Netflix and have the streaming feature as well as a couple through the mail system. It works great and keeps me entertained. Now admit it, I do still buy a movie occasionally that is one that I will watch more than 4 times a year. Usually I make that decision after I have rented the same movie over and over, then I go to to find it for the best price. (Next on this list is Letters To Juliet - love that movie).

Now, for impulse buys, these used to include knitting magazines, go figure. I have decided that if the magazine does not have at least 5-8 patterns that I must knit, then I will look for them as a one time buy option, try to borrow the magazine or find another pattern that is close to the one I like.

I have found that the library (and our library district - Pikes Peak Library District) is the best when it comes to well-stocked and easy to get stuff. I put stuff on hold and pick it up from the library that is best for me. Then I get what I need without having to spend lots of time looking for it. They have lots of movies, audiobooks and knitting books.

With other impulse items, I employ the ten-second rule that makes me stop and really think about what I really need. That seems to be working for me. For things that I really think I want after ten-seconds, and it is not an must-have-right-now, then I write it down and think on it, research options for thirty days. I have found that by then, I decide I can do without them. That really helps my cashflow.

Next week: I will try to be on time~!

Happy Monday: Weekend Update

Not much knitting progress this weekend as I prepare to go back to the full work week lifestyle. I did manage to complete a third gnome hat and cast on two more. One for house knitting, the other for purse knitting.

On Saturday, we had another round of Holiday Scrabble, this gets funnier everytime we play it. The goal is to make every word a holiday word and the pre-story to prove the point is the best part. Thanks to my game partner, it made for an enjoyable afternoon.

New Tools for 2012

My Santa(s) were really good to me this year. First, I received the very cool package of Albert (who is now mounted on my wall above my closet door as a "trophy") and inside him was a Mama Bear table top swift from The Oregon Wood Worker. This came from my secret Santa.

I set it up on my every-handy card table and tried it out on a skein of sock yarn. It worked like a dream. It is easy to set up and use, comes apart and stores in a lovely fabric bag. The action is smooth and when paired with my new electric skein winder (another Santa gift), it required little manipulation or tending while it wound. It does require I sit there with it or Pedro tries to bat it as it goes around. That could be a mess if he succeeds.

The new tools are a great way to start off the New Year~!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

1st Quarter Challenge

Even though I am overly tempted....too tempted.... wait, NO, tempted, by the Loopy Ewe 1st Quarter Challenge to knit a project with a silk-mix yarn, I have to say, not this quarter.

I have a challenge of my own to do. I will be finishing a commission project - 10 gnome hats by February 1st, and then concentrating on finishing the UFOs in my pile. To make it fair, they are: K1B Reversible Vest, July 2011 socks, Spiraluscious cowl and mitts and the Camp Loopy 2011 bunting.
After I have accomplished all that, I will look into starting a new project. The reason for this self-imposed decree is - I am starting a new dayjob next week. This will include a learning curve for a new company that will eat up a lot of my "compute cycles" and take away some of my knitting time. This is a good development because I am so looking forward to working for a company that appreciates and values their employees.

My next new projects will be the Phoncible Hat in Lion Brand Amazing and the Bum Diddy visor hat in Charisma. I love trying new patterns, usually I find some fun and fast gift ideas.

I hope everyone has great plans for this month and the first quarter. Maybe Loopy Ewe 2nd quarter challenge is in the cards for me~!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goals and Ambitions for the New Year

Yes, four days in and I am finally appearing with my list of goals (I do not do resolutions).

This has been a whittling event because I have so  many things I want to accomplish; while reviewing this past year, I decided to approach this from an under-promise and over-deliver mentality. Maybe that will work better.

First: I want to do a shout out to the Lion Brand Notebook blog folks, their ideas are concise and well-stated (this is my paraphrase to fit this post):
  1. If you do not yarncraft now, begin. It adds creativity to your life.
  2. Crafting with your hands can help relax you, make you more patient and reduce stress in your life.
  3. You can connect with old friends and make some new ones.
  4. Give to your community through fiber crafts.
  5. Create your own designs to mimic the over-priced commercial wares you see in the stores.
Now, for my goals for this new year:
  • Upload and track all knitting projects on my Ravelry page.
  • Knit a couple cardis for office wear.
  • Learn: shadow, double knitting and hexi-puffs.
  • Finish and publish the two designs I worked on in 2011.
That covers my goals, I hope that I will have a great accomplishments page to offer you at the end of this year. My best wishes to all of you as you pursue success for your goals (and resolutions)~!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review of Accomplishments from 2011

The obvious is: I started strong on the project list I meant to accomplish for the year, and about six months in, it derailed. That refers to the KWCG Sock of the Month Club - self-imposed, and self-regulated, and it successfully got me six pairs of socks by June. In July, it got derailed and I have one sock to finish.

Another way I am viewing it is: I got a LOT of knitting done this year. I blogged most of it, I did not put it all up on Ravelry. That is something I want to get better at (see next post for "goals of 2012").

In the midst of the fall push to finish gifts and take on some commission knitting, I found myself in the job seekers pool. It is a scary place these days, with large fish - toothy ones - circling and me, a newbie. Not to despair - it all turned out okay - several job offers and I start my choice next week. This is me doing the HAPPY dance.

This will be a better year, I have great plans and high hopes. I hope it is for you as well~!

Note: Pedro is making friends with Albert. I don't have the heart to throw away this particular "gator".

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mindful on Monday: Introduction

I had the pleasure of having breakfast and a good, long visit with CathyR from CatWithCats this morning. We got caught up on our various activities and life as we know it.

Then we discussed a topic that we think is very important in this day and age. This topic we will begin exploring this month, on both our blogs,  and answer/reflect on/consider comments from our faithful readers on the subject. This topic is mindfulness.

One definition of mindfulness that I found when googled is:

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
For me this said that if I approach things in my life with a mindful  attitude that maybe time will slow down to appreciate the finer things and make better choices. There are several areas that I think I will use this idea on this year. The first on being finances, and the primary concern for this month is the purchase of a newer TV.

I have been thinking about this purchase for a year now, and have talked myself out of it because of finances and timing. The plan was to buy it as a Christmas gift for myself when the sales were on, then I heard that the best deals are in January prior to Super Bowl weekend. So I have put it off again until I start seeing the ads from Best Buy and others.

The TV I have still works great, however is not HD, so I have to have an HD antenna to bring in local channels. I do not have cable, nor do I want cable. All I need is local network channels to see the news and weather, plus the public channel to see a travel or cooking show occasionally. Otherwise, I watch a lot of movies, love my Netflix subscription and want to add the streaming capablility to maximize the money I spend with Netflix each month. This constitutes the majority of my entertainment allowance and keeps me occupied in the evenings while I knit.

That is my justification about the purchase and I will be choosing a TV that fits in the house, will last me for several years and offers me the best deal for the money investment. The considerations for this purchase are: available space for the screen (best size), location where it will have the best wifi connection (for the Netflix streaming), ease to hook up the dvd player (or do I need to buy a new bluray one?) and ease of usage.

Once I have reviewed all the options I will be making an educated purchase, hopefully before February 1st. Anyone with questions or ideas, please leave them in the comments for consideration.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Welcome 2012

Wishing everyone the best 2012 you can make it.
I have big plans - hope you do too!

And to rob a wonderful sentiment from a newsletter I received from The Stitchin' Den in Estes Park:
A new year is a reminder to celebrate all the things that are good in your world ... the people you love, the places you are part of, the memories you hold on to ... ... all those unforgettable moments when you close your eyes and breathe in life with a smile. May your heart be filled with lots of little reasons to celebrate -- at the New Year and always.

If you have the opportunity to visit Estes Park, enjoy the fabulous scenery and take the time to visit the Stitchin' Den. They have a great selection and friendly staff to assist you with your fiber needs.