Friday, January 23, 2009

One Row Scarf

I'm happy to report that Mom's surgery yesterday morning went very well. The only unfortunate thing about it was that we had to be at the hospital at the ungodly hour of 6:15 in the morning. But we were home by 11:00 A.M., and she only has a small incision. So other than still feeling tired this morning (and very grateful that it is Friday), I am well pleased.

I had taken the entire day off from work, so I had some time at the hospital and at home in the afternoon to finish up one of my scarves. It was so close to being finished that I decided to focus my attention on it yesterday.
I used the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf pattern, and the leftover yarn from this project. The yarn was from Blue Sky Alpaca, and it's an alpaca/silk blend. The scarf ended up being 5" X 50", which is a nice size. The yarn color is called "garnet", so it's not quite such a bright red as it looks in the picture.

I also started The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards yesterday. I was prepared to feel lukewarm about it, but I found that it is an extremely enjoyable book to read. I'm hopeful I will have time to finish by next Wednesday so I can attend book discussion. The real trick is going to be keeping my hands off the romance novels for a few days, so it's a good thing that the serious book is a good read!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Putting Some Romance Back Into My Life

One group that I didn't drop out of over on Ravelry was the "52 Books in 52 Weeks" group. They are a nice group of people, and getting book suggestions by the bucketful really helps me at work. And so far, I have read 3 books in 3 weeks, so I am still on target for the challenge. Granted, I have read anything particularly intellectual, but happily that isn't part of the challenge.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey was a very interesting mystery. It was not a typical mystery by any stretch of the imagination. But I really enjoyed the application of police procedure to an historical enigma. I think it will be a very successful book for discussion.

And then I started reading Jayne Ann Krentz. I have read two of her books in a row. I don't know what has gotten into me. I haven't read romance novels since I was a teenager. And I never read books by the same author back to back. But I enjoy spending time with her characters, and there is enough suspense in the books to keep this veteran mystery reader interested. One of my usual complaints about romance novels is that the men aren't written in a realistic manner. But Krentz's characters all seem realistic to me. So I am happily putting some romance back into my life with Krentz's books.

Now I need to select my next book. My mom is having some outpatient surgery tomorrow, so I should have some time while I'm waiting to both read and knit. At least, I'll bring both things with me to keep me occupied. (It's so nice to have hobbies - I'm never bored!) I should be good and read The Memory Keeper's Daughter so that I can go to book discussion next week. But I have a sneaking suspicion that another romance novel might just win out! I'll let you know what I decide.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And This is Why I Blog...

...because nothing else really motivates me to finish projects up.

I got busy yesterday and got some things ready for their photo op. Here's my first FO of the year, which has been waiting since January 7th to have 4 measly ends woven in.
It's a crocheted V-Stitch scarf, made with Elsbeth Lavold Hempathy. The Hempathy was interesting to crochet with. It felt very stiff in my hand, but the scarf itself is soft and drapey, which I wouldn't have expected.

I have also been making WUA squares. I started with a box of scraps,
and so far, I have made 13 squares.
I have made a small dent in the box, but I still have plenty of scraps left. However, I am going to take a break from making squares. I am working on mittens for The Bridge Project, and then I want to make some chemo hats to donate to my crochet guild. And I'm still working on my various scarf projects. So more FOs to come!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crying Uncle and Feeling Better

After all my enthusiasm for my 2009 challenges that I felt in December, I've spent the past 2 weeks wrestling with, well, malaise seems to be the best word for it. It took some time to figure it out, but I finally had to admit that I was feeling overwhelmed. Not only was I stretched too thin, I was spending way too much time trying to keep up with everything online and failing miserably. So this weekend, I have pared way back on the groups I am trying to participate in, and I have a new resolution for 2009. I may belong to fewer groups, but I intend to be a better member of the groups I do belong to. I also decided that I miss blogging here, so I intend to get back to blogging regularly, too.

So, to begin with, I have dropped out of all but 7 groups on Ravelry. The hardest decision was to give up on my beloved Stash Knitdown group. But with over 2600 members in the group this year, I simply could not keep up with reading all the posts, much less posting myself. If I missed even a day, I was a hundred posts behind. I also decided that I had gotten about as much as I could from the group. So my stash busting will continue, but this year I am going it alone (no doubt with a little help from my friends in the real world). I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, but as soon as I left the group, I knew I had made the right decision.

I have also given up on the Winter of Lace. I tried swatching for the February Lady Sweater and couldn't get gauge, so there went my major lace project. I also got way behind reading all the posts over there, so I have given up on that KAL as well.

Hopefully I will have some FOs soon. I am busy making WUA squares for Homespun Helpers, using up all sorts of scrap yarn. I have also started some mittens for The Bridge Project. And I'm still working on scarves. Most importantly, I am enjoying my projects again and feeling more in control of my crafting life. That's a good place to be.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Slower Going

So after I posted about my 2008 FO totals and my 2009 challenges last week, it occurred to me that I can actually make fewer items this year and still meet my 2009 goals. Really, I am looking at making 52 small items and 4 sweaters. If I can do that, I will be happy. In turn, this will free up time for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. Maybe, just maybe, I will finally achieve a balance this year between all my hobbies!

So right now, I am happily working on 5 scarves and 1 shawl, mostly in the evenings. I will hopefully start my first sweater next weekend. And I read most of The Daughter of Time this weekend. I feel much less rushed about everything, which is very nice and relaxing. And it actually feels good to give myself permission to read, and to rediscover how much I enjoy a good book.