Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Coming up next...

This morning I was driving my youngest to preschool. He was happily singing "D is for drums!" (I heart They Might Be Giants), when suddenly he yelled out: "Mommy! Mommy!" I looked in the rearview mirror, trying to figure out what was wrong. He grinned and said, "Mommy, coming up next is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. OK?" A playlist. From my four year old. I burst out laughing as he continued to sing. Not a bad way to start the day at all.

So, what's coming up next? After a flurry of Christmas knitting that miraculously got done well enough in advance for a bit of rest, I was out of new knitting projects. There were a few things that needed finishing up, but nothing that really caught my interest. I found out at the last minute that my sister was visiting our little brother in far off Texas, therefore *also* visiting my wee little niece Reagan who is almost one year old. My brother happened to mention how much he and his wife liked the sweater and hat I made for her last year, and gee, if I ever felt like it, they sure would love some more knitted stuff for could I resist? I pulled out some Bernat CottonTots from the stash and whipped up a Miss Dashwood hat that is just the cutest darn thing ever. If I ever find more tiny girl babies to knit for, I'm making more of these. The bobble cast on took half of forever, but over all it wasn't difficult and the resulting hat was met with great approval out there in Texas-land.

I realized that with all the move preparations, I needed something simple to work on as a way to wind down and de-stress. I picked up the sweater I was making for my youngest and worked on it for a while, but quickly found that keeping track of the pattern repeats and cabling took more mental energy than I was up to at the moment. Though it is coming along nicely, don't you think? The Cotton-Ease really shows the cabling well, and the resulting fabric is soft and warm.

Then I remembered the Perfect Sweater project over at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I had ordered my Cascade 220 yarn in a truly gorgeous deep, slightly heathered green, and was chomping at the bit to get started. I'm working on the jewel necked cardigan version somewhere down the line, and with the move to Portland coming up I really wanted a simple cardigan of my own to take along when we leave. I pleaded with Ann to let me get my hot little hands on the pattern in progress, if only so I could get a general idea of shaping and get started. She graciously sent me not only the pattern but picture upon picture of how the pattern pieces went together.

This will be the perfect project for me: stockingette, long stretches of plain knitting, with just enough calculating and figuring to spice it up and make things interesting (since the pattern wasn't finished and isn't written in my size yet). I'm almost up to the armhole shaping on the back right now. Hard to tell shaping with it on the needles, but so far it is fitting well and things are working better than I would have thought. I did see a potential change in the armhole and sleeve cap shaping that might make the sleeve easier to set-in and make the fit a bit sleeker - that will be worked out once I get the back finished. I love plotting out the numbers and getting everything figured. Stitching up all the bits reminds me so much of sewing, and the way everything fits together makes more sense because I have made so many blouses and dresses in the past. I'm making my version a little longer than the original, with a tiny bit of shaping in the middle of the back, in order to copy the fit of my favorite knit jacket. It'll be exciting to see how it all comes together, and working on this gives me something else to do when I've been staring at lists or primering walls for hours.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Avatar madness

I blame JenLa.

Yahoo! Avatars
(Is it just me, or is the monkey laughing at her?)

New Year, no resolutions

Everywhere I go, people are talking about their resolutions for the new year. None over here. Not that I don't believe heartily in change and growth. I do, and continually strive to make myself a better person. The thing that gets me about New Year's lists is the odd timing, and the attempt to try to change. When I decide to do something differently in my life, I make that change right away. If it's something I really want to do differently then there's just no waiting until the first of the year to start. To me, saying I'm going to try to do something is really setting myself up for failure. It's hard to really get to work on something new when you've got "I'm going to try" rolling around in your head. I decide something is going to happen and work to do it, period. Now, sometimes I don't actually accomplish whatever it was that I wanted, but just going forward actively helps accomplish so much more than a half-hearted, "try". To quote my favorite Jim Henson creation: "Do, or do not. There is no try."

This year sees a lot of things to do. A staggering list, actually. Dan is furiously job hunting (anyone need a Mechanical Engineer who does project management, system engineering, has a ton of CAD experience, is flexible and creative, and has a great work ethic? Around Portland, Oregon?). The plan, if there is no job to speed things up, is to put our house on the market at the end of February. Given the housing market here in Southern California, it should sell quickly, which puts us at moving by around the middle of April. We'll take the money from the sale and get a rental somewhere around Portland while Dan continues to job search. We should have plenty of money to live off of for six months to as much as a year if really neccessary (hope not). Then we'll find a house to buy and move the final time.

This means two months to paint, install a new kitchen floor, install a bathroom floor (it's carpeted - who puts carpeting in a bathroom?), get new carpeting or possibly laminate flooring for the rest of the house, clean and organize and purge. Getting rid of things and organizing further will help in the move as well. I'm currently making list upon list of all the things we need to purchase, things that need to be done, research needed (how do you measure for carpeting, for instance?), estimates, packing lists, travel's going to be a regular book by the time I'm done. Thankfully, I LOVE making lists and organizing things, so this is truly my element. But the amount of things to take care of is daunting, to say the least.

Crafting and cooking updates will be sporadic here for a while. Knitting and sewing will certainly continue, more as therapy and sanity breaks (and a way to use up supplies before moving) than as creative outlets, at least for now. I will be organizing recipes, instructions, and patterns so they're easily accessable over on the side bar, and hopefully adding more in the next few months.

2006 will be the year we move to Oregon. I can't wait!