Friday, March 11, 2011

What's Happening?

Yeah, I guess I did it again, neglected my blog.

It happens, right? Speaking of happening... that's what life has been about for the past 5ish months. Happenings. Here a happening, there a happening. Everywhere a happening.

The main thing, however, was the arrival of our precious Morgana on January 14th, 2011. She was born at 8:05am weighing 7lbs, 14 oz, making her my smallest ever baby.

The boys absolutely adore her, when they remember she exists.

She's been swathed in many crochet and knit gifts, as there is nothing more precious than babies and yarn.

That last one is the only thing I have managed to make in the past few weeks. There is so much 'happening' going on that crocheting and knitting just.. isn't. It's okay. I miss it dearly, but I know that as things wind down and she can self-soothe, I'll get my groove back.

For now though, I have my 1st baby turning 5 in just a few weeks, and starting school in just a few months.

I have my freshly turned 3 year old who became the middle child just 4 days later.

And I have a little girl 3 days shy of being 2 months old. My last newborn.

And that's... what's happening. Life. And it happens so fast. Go enjoy it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Space running low on drive C://

Otherwise know as my umm... brain, for lack of a better word, because I'm fairly certain it doesn't REALLY exist anymore!

Time for a haphazard blog that will make less sense than it should... it's mainly for my benefit, to have a record of thoughts/ideas, but by 'publicizing' it I feel like it makes it binding. My very own virtual notary, lol.

I'm pretty sure I can't list off everything I've crafted since my last actual post. That would be overkill. But there were lots of washcloths, a scarf, a toddler hoodie, gnome hats, crochet tams, newborn hats, armwarmers, wristbands, mini-purses, etc. Busy busy busy! Tristan has been a bit of an enabler, simply because his latest hobby pursuit involves frequent trips to Joann's... in which I always need to "just look" at the yarn, of course.

Speaking of yarn, I finally sucked it up and got some actual wool... I usually shy against it for whatever reason, most likely cost combined with fear of 'ruining' it. But, hey, these were all starting bids at $0.99 a hank on Ebay, and since they are constant, I had no trouble getting them for not much more than that (1.47 was the highest). Throw in the free shipping and the repeats of items, and I was good to go.

Yep. Well, that's minus one hank of the red, which I balled and then got one simple armwarmer out of so far:

If you didn't already know or gather... I have a very furry dog.

Anyway, short-term goals:




(notice a pattern here? Definitely suffering from Second Sock Syndrome.)


Longer term:

Knit PJ pants for both boys.

Combine elements of different patterns to make a custom newsboy-style hat for me.

Sonic the Hedgehog beanie for TJ.

Skull-jumper for baby girl.

Master magic-loop.

Experiment with knooking.


Oh yeah, and then I still need to make more stuff for my shop, The Purling Pixie.I did have a Facebook shop going earlier in the year with my mom. We had a lot of fans, and did pretty alright, but people were getting a little confused about who was who, how to order, who to send money to, where to make requests. And those that did buy, seemed to stick to their own 'people'; those that only know mom bought mom's stuff, and those that only know me were only interested in mine.

So I spent the better part of 2 weeks ago knitting/crocheting furiously, just to have an okay handful of items 'in-stock' for the opening day of the left fork of Mountain Pixie Crafts. Here is where I feel a bit whiny, though. While I of course have a main point of actually selling the stuff (profits go towards the continuation of my sometimes pricey hobby, because I feel awful having Tris foot the bill), I really just want some sort of feedback. Simple "Ohh, that's cute!" Or even a handful of 'likes'. Or page likes from people I don't know, because someone shared the shop and their friends cared enough to at least look and support it by 'liking it'. But that's not really happening. And as much as I'd rather not admit it, that discourages me. Maybe my stuff sucks? I mean I know it's nothing special, but it isn't horrible, right? That is what kills me, not knowing the "why." I can take whatever criticism, because then it's no longer the unknown. Man, do I hate the unknown. Or maybe, and this is the most frightening thought... there's just not all that much interest in handmade? Why would there be? You can go to Wal-mart and buy a knit beanie for 2 bucks or something. Why pay more? Does anyone really care about handknit vs machine, besides the hand-knitters themselves?

Hmm. Food for thought.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nursing Top Giveaway

My wonderful friend Star has been letting everyone know about a nursing top giveaway through Bumblewee Nursing. She actually did win one last night, which gave me the hope that maybe, just maybe, I'll win an online contest someday. Why not today? ;-) Please enter, and when you do, put my email ( as the referral email. If I win I'll knit pocket gnomes all around!

Contest Entry Page

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well hello there!

It's been nearly a month since my last blog! Apparently, I have been so sucked in to crafting and other business that I've neglected my blog.. as I tend to do. Oops.

Where to begin?

Crafting news (and my word, is there a lot of it):

I am hereby deeming August 2nd my official knitting anniversary. This was the date that I successfully completed my very first KNIT project. It was a baby bootie, following the Oh Baby Baby pattern. Ambitious for a first practice project? Absolutely. Did I need help? Surprisingly, not as much as I expected. I made it to this point before I had to seek clarification from more seasoned 'hookers gone knitting':

After their wonderful, non-judgemental help (including a lovely lass that actually went ahead and made a bootie in the same pattern just to be sure she gave me sound advice, complete with step-by-step photos), and a few videos, I had this 8 hours after beginning:

Not the prettiest! But, not too shabby if I do say so myself. For a first time anyway. I even had to use the Kitchener stitch! Yikes. Now, the finished bootie was most likely too large for even my 2.5 year old. But the point in the first place was strictly for practice in mechanics, equipment, and reading knitting patterns. I was satisfied.

[ENTER stage LEFT; Knitting Craze]

The next day, I purchased Debbie Stoller's 'Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook. Awesome read, amusing at times, very informative, and some great projects. I'm also a resource hog, so having this in my collection just makes me that much happier. The very same day, I started the Technicolor Techno-Cozy. It was finished the next day, though the velcro closure was not added until the following week.

On August 4th (notice, this is just 2 days after seriously beginning to knit), I grabbed what was left of some dark green worsted cotton, and got to work on Elvish Leaves Dishcloth. I'd been eyeing this particular pattern for months, thinking it looked lightyears away for me to actually do.

It was finished 2 days later. Not perfectly, but without difficulty.

On August 8th, I decided to frog what I had of the crochet Emerald Baby Blanket I was raving about in my last crafting blog post. Why? Well, for one, I found a different, knitted pattern that I wanted that yarn for. And for two... there's absolutely no challenge in 30 inches of single crochet stitches.

Instead, I began Baby Chalice Blanket. Honestly, it was going pretty well. But then, I was working on it one day while the kids were distracting me. Bad idea when working lace. I ended up with a number of stitches that was way off from what it should have been, couldn't figure out where I had messed up, and couldn't find a safe place to frog back to. And so, it was frogged after 3 days of work. :-( I'm sure I will start it again at some point.

I took a break and decided to come back to the Honeycomb Washcloth I mentioned in my last crafting blog post, that I had given up on. I started from scratch. Somehow, after just 3 weeks, it was a piece of cake. I don't have a picture of the finish object, but you get the gist:

Busy little bee, huh?

I felt refreshed after that. So what did I do? I decided it was time to work on more lace. But not just lace... lace combined with cables. Because I'm apparently a bit of a masochist. I can't find the link to the Cable and Lace Baby Blanket right now, but apparently, it's supposed to look like this when finished:

And I think it will, when it's done. :-) Was doing pretty okay with it, until the cable join on the circulars I was using decided to tear. So this particular blanket is on hold until I get my Knit Picks Options sometime next week.

So obviously, there's no way I'm twiddling my thumbs until then, right? Right.

This past Thursday, we found out the gender of the currently almost grapefruit-sized little person occupying my uterus.

After 2 boys, we are 100% having a girl! Wave hello to Morgana. We are stoked! We'll have a little girl under the protection of not 1, but 2 older brothers! But I wasn't surprised. I knew there was a reason I'd been stockpiling girly yarns and patterns but not touching them! So today, I started on my first 'original' pattern, which will ultimately consist of 4 seperate garter stitch squares, 2 in a lovely bulky-weight pink/brown self-striping yarn, and 2 in that same squishy bulky-weight yarn, though I haven't yet decided between black or brown. And of course a border of some sort. Yay for making things up as you go along!

I suppose that's it for now, that took much longer than I expected it to. That's what I get for not keeping up with this blog, I guess :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures in New Hampshire

Yep, the "Live Free or Die" state. Seriously, it's on every license plate. And I love it so.

As of last Friday night, we still had not decided whether or not we would be camping or not. The weather forecast told us that there would be a 50%-60% chance of torrential downpours from 10pm Saturday night until 10am Sunday morning, with a potential of severe thunderstorms. But after foregoing this trip a few times already, (for reasons other than weather, though weather was often a factor), watching forecasts even for 80% chances of rain fail miserably, we decided to go for it within an hour of waking up on Saturday morning. My 4 year old was the main cataylst in this decision, as he woke up, stretched, and said "Mama, let's go camping. I sleeped well." Keep in mind, the kid has never been camping and I am unsure how he even knew that it involves tents, sleeping bags, and marshmallows.

So after our whirlwind packing of the truck, we hit the road around 10:30am. There were still a few necessities to purchase: a tarp, propane, toilet paper, a cooler, ice. All of which could be gotten at Walmart. Tris ran in, as we had the dog with us and are not the type to leave an animal alone in a car for more than 5 minutes. (In fact, we often report people that do such a thing, usually if it's in the middle of an excessive heat warning). He came back 3 minutes later, fuming. Apparently, the place was absolutely swarmed (of course... what else do people have to do on a nice Saturday morning...), there was not a single cart to be had, and the camping supply section was completely ransacked. There were no coolers, anywhere, of any shape or size. A single 2373 x 333948 foot tarp for 10 million dollars. And a dented can of propane. Um. No.

So that set us back a bit. Decided to try a different Walmart, which was out of our way. It was also a clusterfuck, but at least they had what we needed.

So, by noon, we were finally, officially en route to destination. Around 2, we finally hit the beginning of what Tris likes to call 'the mountains', and I like to call 'hills', since I am a Rocky Mountain girl.

Just a bit later, we reached our destination, which was Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping. We had only heard of it through word of mouth, and there is not a ton to be found online as far as reviews. So, somehow, through word of mouth a a brief description on a webpage--

"The Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping Area offers a rustic, roadside,camping experience with no amenities. There are no formally developed sites, no potable water sources, and no fire rings or restroom facilities."

-- this somehow became our choice for a first camping trip with a pregnant woman and two really young children.

So, we spent over a half hour driving up and down this road, realizing that the place is, in fact, swarmed. I did not realize that there were so many women that have no issue with squatting in the woods! We finally settled on a rather large site closer to the beginning of the "dispersed camping" area. I thought it was gorgeous.

Tris was a bit crestfallen that we couldn't find an open site by the creek. So was I, but this worked out just fine, and there were no people around us. Which is pretty important to me when I'm trying to escape people to begin with. Oh and, the description lied. There were fire rings. 2 of them on our site, in fact.

We got our site all prepared, watched the kids run around and have a blast and actually behave much better than I expected. Even took the dog off his leash, certain he would take off into the woods since we were somewhere new, but he is a bit of a pansy and only wants to be where we are. Which is a good thing when you are smack dab in the middle of Bear Country.

One of the most important things to set up was 'my' bathroom. This consisted of of 5 gallon bucket with a hole cut in the bottom, that Tris put in a 4 foot deep gully in which I had to rock climb to get in and out of. He said that this was because he knew how much I like privacy, and that way, no one could ever know that I was taking a leak there. But I think that secretly he put it there for shits and giggles. Let's watch the pregnant lady climb rocks and hack through pine branches to go pee!! :-) The bucket was moved as soon as it got dark, so that, you know, I wouldn't kill myself in the middle of the night.

After setting up, Tris left on a mission to find a grocery store somewhere. This was a bit scary, as there was no cell service in the area, and I would be in the woods with 2 kids and a dog and no time frame of when Tris might be back, as we had no clue how far away food might be. Luckily, it only took him a half an hour to leave, find a place, shop, and get back. But the damn store had no marshmallows. This broke TJ's heart. We assured him we will make sure to have marshmallows in our possession before we even leave next time we go camping, and that seemed to make him feel better.

Sometime after that, I remember sitting on my special bucket, and realizing that my 'business' itched a bit. So I look down, and there's this small, but freaky looking spider sitting on the inside crotch of my jeans. It looked like this one:

Nevermind. I was attempting to google for a picture of one. But browsing through thousands and thousands of hideous spiders was making me really really uncomfortable. I am deathly afraid of spiders. But I am even more afraid of spiders in my cooch, and adrenaline saved my life and helped me manage to get that damn arachnid out of my pants and far, far away, without having to rockclimb with my pants around my ankles and asking Tris for help. Good thing, considering we had a visitor not even 5 minutes later.

Tris cooked (hot dogs and grilled BBQ chicken), I chilled in the hammock, the kids ran in and out of tents like possessed monkeys. It was blissful.

And then I hear a human not of our own, calling something to Tris. Tris went over and talked to the guy. I noticed that Wolfsheim (our dog) was bristling and very on edge. He did not like the guy. So I sat up to see what the deal was. It was just some white guy, no shirt, definitely drunk, and he was telling Tris that he lost his buddies over 3 hours ago and didn't know which way the main road was. He asked to borrow Tris' cell, which, Tris tried to say there was no service, but couldn't, because, apparently there WAS service where he was standing. The guy doesn't get an answer. Tris told him to hold on, and then came to me to tell me the chicken was done, and that he would be back, that he just wanted to give the guy a ride back to the highway. I would have said no, but it entailed a 2 minute drive, and knowing that a bit of wandering would procure cell service should I need it, I let him go. Panicked the whole 5 minutes he was gone, but you know.

When he got back, he was telling me how this guy was telling him that he had been kicked out of a campground in Kangamangus, and that the sheriff there had told him to go to "Third Eye Road". This led to giant guffaws from me. I can see the confusion... where we were is pronounced like "triple-eye road". So.. Third Eye. Yeah. Maybe not so funny to sane people, but *I* got a laugh! Anyway, turns out the guy's buddies were waiting on the side of the road for him, and he had gotten out of our truck and immediately started bitching at his girlfriend :-/ Tris hung around, because he wanted to make sure everything would be kosher. The girlfriend waved him on, so he came back to us. A few moments later, his cell rang, and it was the number that Third Eye man tried to call. Apparently, his buddies were slightly upset that Tris had helped the guy, because they had intentionally ditched him. Tris was a bit hurt by this, because after all, he was just trying to be a nice guy.

The kids fell asleep around 10, and Tris laid in the hammock and I sat and tended the fire and listened to music, trying to place, on a scale of 1-10, how badly I had to pee. And then I felt a breeze. I hadn't felt a breeze all day. And I knew the rain was gonna start. So I went to the hammock and shined the light in Tris' face to let him know, but he was asleep, so I left him be and went to go pee. No sooner had I buttoned my jeans than the clouds literally vomited all over the place. I caught a priceless glimpse of a stunned Tristan stumbling out of a hammock and rushing to get essentials under the tarp.

It rained. All night. And our tent leaked. I expected this, but not to the degree that it did. One of the worst moments was what I assume to be around 4 in the morning, having to pee ever so badly, with the rain harder than ever and making my head hurt with how loud it was. Waiting for what seemed like eternity, for it to let up just a little bit so I could put on my hoodie and go. It didn't let up. Rather, it got worse. But I still had my hoodie, right? Would help a bit. I grab it out of the mesh bag I had it in, that happened to be sitting in the largest puddle in the tent. It was dripping wet. I put it on anyway, exited the tent, did my thing. Got back in the tent. The rain stopped.

Sunday morning consisted of very bland eggs and some grilled maple links, and packing up all of our sopping wet gear. We left immediately after packing up, and went sightseeing along the Kangamangus Highway for 4 hours. I loved it :-) I'll leave you with a few (cell phone! :-O) pictures to admire. Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished... sort of!

Well, I did it! I finished the Mario Bros. "?" Bag.

It's not that it was that difficult, it's that I finally finished something for the first time in a while. Even if I did take a shortcut:

That's the back of the bag. The pattern definitely did call for 2 question-mark panels, but, A) I was running very low on orange, as it was just a scrap ball to begin with, B) Colorwork looks nice, but I'm really not very good (read: Impatient) at securing and weaving in loose ends, so the less the better C) It's a bag... you are only going to see one side of it at a time, and since the black/purple stripes actually look quite nice, I consider it reversible!

I tried to reward myself for finishing something by purchasing good, new yarn. I spent literally 2 evenings perusing the deals on Little Knits I had finally narrowed it down, and I had them in the cart, and then I saw that there was a minimum order of $25... being as frugal *coughcheapcough* as I am, and unable to increase my total of $15 any higher, I closed my browser and went to bed.

Over the weekend, we went camping in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. It was our first camping trip, both as a couple and as a family, and we had a blast. I will blog about the experience at some point this week, for sure! I kept looking for any little yarn shops in town, so I could pick up at least a ball of yarn as a souvenir. But I tend to chicken out when it comes to LYS's, mainly based on the horror stories I hear about knitting snobbery and class wars and yarn snobbery in general. I never got my souvenir.

After a very lame, but serious attempt at knitting this Honeycomb Washcloth for practice, I put it aside and decided to bust out my crochet hooks (against my vow to swear crochet off until I successfully knit SOMETHING), and got started on this lovely Tiramisu Baby Blanket:

Except, my version will be not so much "Tiramisu", but emerald green:

I won't decide on the ribbon color until after we find out if we are having a boy or girl. I may decide not to even keep this blanket and may gift it. We will see when I'm more or less done, exactly what it is I want to do. But for the moment, I am satisfied.

Alrighty, enough crafting talk for the moment. Time to get back to the 'real' world for a bit!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crafty Goals

I suppose you can almost call this an addendum to my last post.

I need to find a way to motivate myself to get out of and stay out of the chaos that my crafting life currently is, especially since crochet has always been my escape from the chaos of every other aspect of my life.

I need a system.

First things first, I actually got at least half of my yarn stash at least listed on Ravelry. The other half is either scraps or unidentified, and I'm not quite sure how to put it in the 'system'. But it's a lot easier to see the grand scale of things in a list than it is to stare at a few overflowing boxes in a closet. Looking at the actual number helps me say "Good god, woman! Use some of that up before you buy any more!"

I've also been spending a bit of time winding any oversized skeins into smaller balls. While skeins are easier to work from, balls come in handy when you have to frog a significant amount of a project and don't expect to get back to it anytime soon. if I was to be working on a large project, I would rethink this, but for the most part I don't see myself doing too many long-term projects, I don't have the attention span for it. Converting skeins to balls is also involving a significant amount of detangling, which is pretty much the bane of my existence, but needed to be done.

In between anything related to organizing (and spending a little bit too much time in the Ravelry groups and forums...), I am still working on the Mario Bros tote that I have listed on the top right of my blog. I have the question mark square completely finished, and while the pattern calls for 2 of them (one on each side), I decided that you're only ever going to see one side at a time, and decided to make the opposite side in black and dark purple stripes. I have about 8 more rows of that, and then to make the sides of the tote and the strap, and it will be finished. I'm not allowing myself to start another project until this one is completely done.

When I do finish it, I intend to put all of my crochet tools aside for a time, and seriously take on learning how to knit. I tried this a few months ago, but kept getting distracted by a cool crochet project, or frustrated with how long it was taking me to knit, or not being able to read the patterns correctly. I can knit. I can purl. Both are very slow and tension is very inconsistent. I am also intimidated by all the different needles... At least crochet hooks are all pretty much the same, just different sizes. Although I know what all the different knitting needles are FOR, I still find them intimidating. The idea of managing 4 DPN's at one time really frightens me, not so sure I have the dexterity for that!

So, in short, these are my short term goals for the next few months:

Organize. Finish. Learn. Conquer.

And when I say "conquer", I really just mean get comfortable with two pointy sticks. I want to be able to look at either a knit OR crochet project and say, "let's do it!"