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This RingSurf Site is owned by The Patchwork Butterfly

I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Sunday, January 27, 2008  

I was going to write about this earlier this week, but I just couldn't bring myself to type it out. Tragedy struck this week. Well, knitting tragedy, at least. When I wrote last week I had finished the knitting for Ice Queen and bound off the "face" edge. All I had left was to pull out the provisional cast on and bind off the "neck" edge. And then it would be done. But... oh, there's always a but. First, I went to pull out the provisional cast on and it wouldn't pull out. I used a new-to-me method for the provisional cast on for Ice Queen and it wouldn't pull free. So, to start off my troubles, I had to unweave, stitch by stitch, all 156 stitches of the provisional cast on. THAT was fun! So, I finally get all the stitches free and start binding off. And picot bind off takes me FOREVER. So, I keep binding off and binding off and... run out of yarn with 38 stitches left to bind off. NoooooOOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOooooooo! I even tried cutting all my yarn tails short and tying them together to use them to bind off. But, no luck. Still not enough yarn.

So close, and yet so very, very far away. *Sigh* So, now it's on hold until I get a second ball of the same yarn, or until I work up the gumption to tear out the picot bind off and try again with a regular bind off. I would do that right now if it wasn't such a pain to tear out mohair, and if I was sure I actually had enough yarn for a regular bind off. Wouldn't that be the ultimate insult to injury? To tear out the picot bind off, try again and find out I STILL don't have enough yarn? I just can't take that chance. My psyche is too fragile right now :-)

So, Ice Queen is on time-out right now. That has left lots of extra time for spinning this week, which is still going as slow as molasses, and for contemplating my next knitting project. What I should be doing is concentrating on my book projects. But I'm finding myself strangely paralyzed on that front. As an editor, I have no problems choosing what projects to include in books, but as an author, it's a little more scary. This is what I'm putting out there under my name FOREVER. Ack! However, I still have three months until my first deadline, so I'm not in the weeds just yet. I just need to keep going so that I don't get in the weeds.

And speaking of being an editor, as of today I am starting a new position within my company. I'm really excited about this position because it is on a line that is being relaunched, so I will get to try a lot of new things and be a part of growing something new. Plus, I'll get to try my hand at acquisitions, which is really cool. In my past position, another editor would find a person who might have a book in them, work with them to develop a proposal and take the book through its beginning stages, then it would be handed off to me. Now, I'll get to work from the very start to shape and guide the book and what it will be (and through that, I'll have more of a hand in what the line becomes). This is a very big deal for me, and it doesn't usually happen this early in an editorial career, so I feel really complimented. Things will probably be pretty crazy for the first few months while we get on our feet and work out the kinks, but it's an exciting time. The company really wants this label to grow and become a big competitor in the craft book market, so I think doing a good job in this position will be great for my career. No pressure or anything :-)

Well, off to my first day. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 20, 2008  

This week has been a little easier on me, and I've been a little easier on it. The past couple of weeks, I've felt like I'm fighting against the current, going against the grain, and this week was a little smoother. I've had a little extra time to mourn the plans I had made, a little more time to practice acceptance and grace, a little more time to grow up and look at the changes in my life with maturity. I'm still sad about putting off our plans, and I'm still not totally comfortable with having everything up in the air, but life goes on. Mark and I both made some decisions about our own changing situations this week, and we're moving forward, which is the best we can do right now. We still have a ways to go before everything settles and we know the shape of the next couple of years, but we've both started the ball rolling. The best thing is that we both totally support one another and are very much in love. That helps us get through a lot.

I did decide to apply for the new position within my company and I had my interview on Wednesday. The interview went really well and I'm hoping to hear back this week. The opening is for an editorial position on a line of craft books that is being relaunched. I think it is a good opportunity for me with a lot of exciting possibilities. If they make me an offer, I will be sad to leave my current position, but the line I'm working on now is very established with many long-term employees ahead of me in the pecking order. With this new position, there will be a lot more opportunity for me to grow and try new things. Both positions have a lot of pros, though, so whichever way things go, I'll be happy.

Mark has been doing a lot of research into his school options, and I can tell that he is really excited because of this:

(Please excuse our produce in the background. The garlic and onion were not part of the cake, I promise)

The reason Mark wants to go back to school is to become a pastry chef. He is a wonderful chef, passionate about food, and much more adventurous and inventive than I am in the kitchen. And instead of just doing it as a hobby, he wants to do it as a career. All the research he's been doing has apparently inspired him: rich dark chocolate cake from scratch with scratch raspberry buttercream filling, scratch chocolate buttercream frosting and fresh raspberries. Yum! I told him that if he's ever said to himself "You know, Jenni's almost perfect, but what she really needs is a bigger butt!" well, then, his dreams are going to come true :-) I know, it's kind of hard to take my whining about our changing plans seriously when I get benefits like this, isn't it?

And Mark isn't the only one that has been playing with his hobbies. In addition to the English Gardens bombyx spinning (interminable) and the Ice Queen knitting (only need to do the picot bind off on the cast-on edge, then wash and block), I've also been working on my book projects. I'm not allowed to show the finished projects on my blog, but here is some yarn that I spun for one of the projects. It's actual proof that I can spin something other than frog hair! I know it's a little "rustic," but the projects in the book are meant for beginner's yarns, so I wasn't going for perfection here. It has been awhile since I've spun anything but gossamer weight, so this was a very interesting change. I'm happy with how it turned out and I think it will work well for the project. The fiber was from my stash and was too coarse to use in my lace work, so I'm happy that I found a use for it here.

In addition to all of that, I've been working on cleaning up the computer/craft room a bit because the stash is reaching epic proportions. The fun of that is that I've found some things I forgot I had :-) Expect to see some destashing sales here in the near future!

Sunday, January 13, 2008  

Well, life has kind of had me at a loss for words lately. Going back to work after my nice long holiday was about as fun as I anticipated. And there's been a bunch of other things swirling around that have me out of my comfort zone. I'm a planner. I know that life happens and you can't plan everything, and if you do you're sure to be disappointed, but in general I like to have a good idea of what I'm aiming for and where I'm heading. And that has not been working out so well lately. There are some changes happening at my work right now and I have a choice about what I want to do moving forward. Unfortunately, neither choice is a clear winner. Each has its pros and cons and I'm just truly not sure what to do. So, that is frustrating. At the same time, Mark has been having some difficulties with his own job and in considering what to do about moving forward, he's decided to go back to school. I'm happy for him that he's thinking of trying something new and pursuing a dream of his, and that is definitely the priority, but it does throw a lot of our plans into question. He still needs to do research about his options, but the probability is that we'll have less income (he'll be working less hours to attend school) and more bills (tuition), so that puts our house plans on hold. As I said, I really am happy for him, but I'm still a little sad to put a dream on hold when we were so close to acheiving it. So, going into this year, I thought I had a pretty good bead on where I was going. Now... not so much. I'm sure all of this will work out for the best (or at least work out) but right now, in the beginning of all these changes, when everything is up in the air, I'm unsettled, waiting and wondering.

So, with those cats holding my tongue, I haven't been doing too well with my "more posting" resolution, but I have been keeping busy. With Margene's NaSpiMoMo for inspiration, I've been taking time to work on my English Gardens bombyx every day. Between holiday knitting and holiday everything-elsing I just hadn't been finding the time to work on that project and it was dragging on way too long. So, even if I only work on it for a few minutes, I'm taking time to sit down at the wheel with the silk every day. And, thankfully, I've been seeing progress. I'm at least seeing light at the end of the tunnel for the first ply (and then onto the second ply--oy!). But at least it looks pretty!

And even all the spinning I'm doing hasn't taken up all of my time. I've also found time to work on my version of Ice Queen, although I don't think mine looks particularly icy. She's more of a reminder that one day, all of this ice will be melted.

(Wow, looking at those two pictures of my spinning and knitting together, the two colors look so similar even though the actual projects are totally different. In person, the spinning reveals many more colors than just pinky-purple. Strange.) Anyway, for Ice Queen, I'm using Crystal Palace Kid Merino in the "Painted Iris" colorway with irridescent violet beads. I'm really happy with how it's turning out, although I had forgotten what a pain it is to work with these mohair yarns. I don't know if it is just me, but as I knit, I accidentally scootch the mohair along the binder until I have a big mohair hairball. Then, I have to carefully distribute the bunched mohair along the binder so I don't just get one huge clump in my knitting. Attractive! In spite of my own little personal challenges, the project is going along swimmingly. It's a project that has enough going on to be interesting, but it still is simple enough for TV knitting. This is going so quickly that I'm already trying to figure out my next project. So far, no winners, but planning is always the best part! If you don't hear from me in a week, send someone into my stash to find me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008  

I had a great start to 2008, and I hope you did, too. We had a day of gray skies, VERY cold weather and on-and-off snow flurries, but lots of fun and laughter, as well.

I like to try to have the first day of the year be a microcosm of what I want for the year to come, and if my year is a reflection of my day, I'll be a lucky girl. I got to sleep in and wake up with my guy and spend the whole day with him (a rare day when neither of us had to work). I didn't get my bubble bath or nap in, but there was lots of spinning and good food and even better company! My mom joined the two of us for a dinner at Buca di Beppo's and now I'm home in my pj's relaxing before returning to work tomorrow (*sob*). I've had a great holiday break, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to go back. Where's a winning lottery ticket when you need one :-)

Work and life were both getting a bit crazy before my break, but the time off has me feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the new year (well, almost ready--I wouldn't mind having a few more days off before I have to tackle the new year). Between the solstice, the new year and my birthday at the end of the month, this time of year is always finds me in a reflective mood. I haven't firmed up any solid resolutions yet (I usually try to have those together by my birthday), but overall I'm working on discovering ways to make this year a happier, healthier year. And, of course, I've been thinking what I want to accomplish in my craft life, as well. The first order of business, of course, will be the book projects and writing, but I have a few more goals after that (the projects are due in April and June and the manuscript is due in September, so it won't be the focus of the WHOLE year). So far, the goals I've settled on are:

1. Knit a sweater for myself. That fits. And that I'll actually wear.
2. Knit a cardigan for mom. That fits. And doesn't pinch under the arms.
3. Wash and process fiber from a raw fleece. Then spin it. Then knit it. Into a project bigger than a swatch! (Maybe a doily?)
4. Finish the spinning @#%$#^& silk I'm working on! And at least start designing an incredible new shawl.
5. Actually, finally, really, get the cojones together to pick out the cast off from the October in New York shawl, finish it and fully prepare the pattern for publication, either in a future book or as an independent pattern.

So far, that's what I'm shooting for. I think that's a reasonable list considering I have the book to work on. And of course, there will probably be a few new pairs of socks for my mom. Speaking of which, I did not finish the circus socks in time for Christmas, but they were done before the new year, so I think I may have broken my own record :-) Mom loves both pairs of Christmas socks, so I'm satisfied (and glad to be done with them!). I don't have pictures of either finished pair, but I'll have her model them for me this weekend. For now, I actually have NOTHING on the needles, a situation that I'll have to rectify immediately, if not sooner! Right now I'm totally in love with Ice Queen so I think I may go ahead and work on that while I make sweater-y decisions. I have the yarn in the stash (in three different colors--a rainbow of Ice Queens!), and I'm sure that I'll be able to find some suitable beads in the stash, as well.

And, as you can see from the pictures scattered through this post, Santa brought me some fabulous new fibers to spin, too. Seriously, where's a winning lottery ticket when you need one?!?!? Oh well, back to reality.

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!
One of my resolutions: more posts in 2008.
Hope you all had happy holidays and here's to a wonderful new year.
I'll be seeing you soon!

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