Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This post brought to you by...electricity :)

That's right folks!  We not only survived the hurricane without having to evacuate, but we also survived over 72 hours without power with a video game dependent 14-year old, a t.v. addicted 5-year old, and minimum food spoilage.  Of course our checking account took a substantial hit, as the banks were all closed because of the power outage but the clearing houses were all open, so that money I had sitting in the savings account just sat there instead of getting into the checking account where it really needed to be.  Oh well.  Worse things have (and did) happen as a result of the storm so I'm feeling very blessed. 

I was a good little blogger, and made sure to charge the camera battery so I've got some pretty surreal photos to share once I get home to upload them.  Unfortunately, I'm right smack dab in the middle of finals again and I've been without power or computer access so I'll be busy for a good week, but if I get some spare time I promise a proper blog post complete with photos and a full debriefing of the last three days.  Now, back to work :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A peek into my work-neighborhood

This little sign was invisible from my car and I found it on my giant walk on Monday.  Super cute!
This is the front of the Warren town hall building, and it's about a block over from my yarn shop.  I don't usually get to go down that end of the street much, because I normally just go into Warren to work and then go home.  My travels usually don't go much past the Coffee Depot, which I believe is directly across the street from this.

 From that spot, turn to your right and you'll see this beauty.  Isn't it the prettiest clock you've ever seen?!  I love the view from this part of the block.

 A little further down the same street is the Warren library.  It looks like a castle!  Who knew that Rhode Island had a castle, lol.  Unfortunately I've never been inside because I usually go to the Barrington Library, and because it's about two blocks down from work (and their hours are our hours so it's closed when I get out and closed when I come in).  Maybe next week I'll go on my day off and stop in with my camera so we can all see what's in there.

 Up the other direction, and through a little alley between the town hall and a building full of businesses, is the Warren Police Department/DMV and municipal parking.  If you're traveling to the shop off of Main St (route 114) from Barrington, turn Left onto Joyce St, and then make an immediate Right.  That's where you'll want to park when you come to the shop, and when you get out of your car you'll see this :)  I love the lamp posts which say "public" on the left one and "safety" on the right one.  And the red doors are great too!

 Now, back to the Warren Town Hall.  This is the sign that's carved into the front of the building, just above the doors.  It's so pretty!  Did you know that Rhode Island and Massachusetts has a rich Native American history?  Many of the towns and streets share names with the tribes that lived in the area, like the Wampanoag Trail, or Narragansett, RI.

Here's the cute little sign, with benches and flowers where people can come and sit for a spell.  Do people still do that?...sitting for a spell?  Well what ever.  You can come and sit.

Hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour of two blocks of Warren, RI...a town where I don't actually live, but I do spend a good amount of time, lol.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Irene

I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about it, but we're prepping to be slammed by Hurricane Irene.  It's currently 93 degrees here, and I've just packed up the contents of four 72-hour kits, which were spread all over my floor.  I've packed a small suitcase for Alex and I with 3 days worth of clothes and a blankie each, and everything is sitting in front of the door just in case someone comes knocking and says that we need to head for the middle school.  I have charged my phone and added minutes.  I know where the candles are.  I've spoken to my mother and my Mother-in-Law.  I bought 2 cases of water, and have four gallons put into into plastic containers for the cat.  And finally, I've arranged a place to go if they should ask up to leave, but hopefully they won't because Dante is away at a Young Men's activity and Aaron is working a golf tournament in Mass so it'll just be Alex and I. 

I'm definitely feeling the calm before the storm, and I feel pretty good about finally putting together those 72-hour kits (that I've been hearing about for the last 10 years at least).  We're expected to lose power for up to 3 days (and I've got candles, head-lamps, yarn, and a gas stove so I'm good), so if you don't see any updates from me on facebook or twitter, don't worry. 

Now!  Knitting.  I decided to take the advice of my friend Sam, and start my socks over with the Sox Appeal yarn.  It's got elastic, so I think it'll be a better choice given what I'm trying to do.  This is a risky proposition because my pattern is scheduled for release on September 11th and I need to have the sample finished before then or the pattern won't make sense.  This isn't a standard sock, and it really needs a picture.  That being said, if I get to the leg and this one isn't working any better than the other, I'll just go back to it.  I put it on hold so it's still there waiting for me to finish it (and I just might finish it anyway because I like what it's doing, even if it's not what I planned). 

And I know this is slightly off topic, but does anyone else wish that netflix would put some sort of language warning on movies or shows that are listed as "NR" so I'll know ahead of time that someone might drop an F-bomb within the first minute of their show...while my 5-year old is in the room?  Or maybe the artist could say something right up front, like Craig Ferguson did in the stand-up special we started to watch last night.  He said straight up that he was going to cuss, so at least we knew.  Just sayin.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means...

Yep, dear readers.  I have a major school assignment due tonight before midnight and instead of working on it, I'm writing this blog post :)  Don't you feel special?  How is it that I still maintain a straight A average, you wonder?  What business is it of yours, I say! lol.

Anyway, yesterday I took Alex to school and after I dropped him off I went for a walk down the street to the library on Hope St in Providence (only to discover that it doesn't open until 1pm on Mondays).  Along the way I got to see some really pretty things that you just can't see from the car, like this Episcipalian church with the gorgeous red door.  I love it!  I've wanted to get a better look at it ever since the first time I saw it years ago on my way to Fresh Purls, but I never took the time.  And yesterday, on my grand adventure, I saw beautiful things all over the place and was in awe of all the things that I never noticed before or couldn't see from the car.  I was even moved to tears when I finally got a better look at the Jewish Temple, with the gold leaf and the round dome, and stone versions of the 10 commandments on the outside.  And I was totally going to share it all with you...only I left the camera at home :|  Then I had this great plan that involved bring the camera with me (which I did) but then my husband suggested that we go to Sam's Club today (and I needed him to get in because I lost my card) so he came along and I couldn't go on that same walk today.  So all I have to show for my big day out is sore shins and this one photo of a red door.

I wish I had something more clever to say, or more photos for the post, (and I actually did have something to say when I started this post) but I just spent the last 5 straight minutes playing referee to my boys and trying to keep them from killing themselves, and now I don't know what it was I was trying to say.  But maybe it's for the best.  I do, after all, still have a paper to write...  And two pairs of socks to knit and design...  And some research to do for a project I have going on the side...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why I need a photographer :)

 I've had some visitors to my blog in the last week, so I thought we'd do a little review.  This young man is Alex.  He's my youngest son.  He's 5-years old, doesn't sleep well, is a very picky eater, loves Thomas the Tank Engine, his favorite color is green, and he's very particular about his hand knits.  He knows what he likes and what he doesn't, and no one's gonna tell him otherwise!  When I surf Ravelry, he likes to get on my lap and ask me to make him just about everything under the sun.  Sometimes he asks for things that don't exist.  Telling him that there are no patterns for that is not an acceptable answer to Alex.  That, my friends, is why Alex is one of my two biggest resources when it comes to my design biz.  If he want's a tie, I better design him a tie (and he's wearing it.  It's Shelby, and it's available in my Ravelry pattern store and on my sidebar).  Anyway, Alex currently has me running ragged on a hat that I've been having a hard time working out the details for, but rest assured that he'll eventually have his hat (because he checks in on it regularly).  I can't say here exactly what it is because of licensing issues, but I can say that it's a classic 64-bit video game that may or may not involve specters and eating stuff :) 

My other main source of inspiration comes from my pretty respectable knitting/reference library.  Honestly, it looks like a lot more when you're standing in front of the book shelf.  I've got design books, stitch dictionaries, repairs and technical info, volumes upon volume in Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting, a ball winder, umbrella swift (in the box), blocking wires (in the tube), a tub of scrap yarn, three-ring binders with leaflets and printed patterns, a few works-in-progress, my Dooney & Burke bag serving as my spinning WIP basket, and my knitting bad.

Unfortunately, this is the most organized space I have right now for my knitting supplies and I'm realizing that I really need an office.  However, that's not going to happen anytime soon so I think I might need to hit IKEA for some small-space storage solutions.  That or I just need to stop buying yarn because let's be real for a minute...I'll die before I ever in my lifetime knit all the yarn I currently have, and we all know I'll probably bring some home in the next week.

So, you've seen two big influences in my design business (business?...really?...still getting used to that).  And you've seen a few examples of my lack of skill behind the camera.  That being said, I'm really excited because I discovered by accident today that one of my friends from church is a photographer with a great camera, and she's agreed to work with me when I launch my Altitude line!  It's all going right back to what  Kelly Rae Roberts has been saying her e-course.  Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and opportunities will come.  And three came just this week alone!  I can only tell you about one right now, but stay tuned because I'll be revealing the others soon enough :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Secret Knitting, with updated photos, lol

First of all, I need to confess that I just got into big trouble for uploading this photo while the hubby was playing Call of Duty on X-box live, because it caused him to lag and die, lol.  So I can't upload the rest of the photos or he won't speak to me for the rest of the night, but if you haven't gotten to go check out my Ravelry project page for this puppy...go do it right now (no Ravelry account needed).  Seriously.  Why are you still here?? 

As you know, I troll Ravelry stalking my friends' activity feed to see the latest, newest, prettiest, funnest (?) projects and patterns out there.  I've seen some things that will knock your socks off, and some photography that let me know pretty quick that my old point-and-shoot sucked.  We eventually got a new camera, but there were so many options and buttons and to be honest I still don't know what half of them do so I sort of live-and-die by the flash and the 'natural lighting' functions. (Whew.)  Fast forward a few years to when my hubby went to school to get a degree in Web design, which led to our acquisition of Photoshop.  I've mentioned before that I've had some steep learning curves with Photoshop, but I've learned how to doctor my photos to look pretty much the way I want with a few simple settings, and I've gotten much faster.  These only took about an hour from camera flash to my project page.  Not bad considering my earlier efforts.  One thing that I've can make a pretty background with just about anything.  The background of that photo is just a white polo shirt draped across my bed.  But since I can't keep a white shirt clean to save my life, I probably won't be able to use it again :)

Tomorrow, my pretty mittens head out to Washington, to their new home.  I've started on my latest project and as usual, I immediately started to second guess my original vision.  But this time I told that voice to 'Shut the hell up', because I'm not going to let it scare me away from what I fell in love with and got really excited about when I first started sketching the idea.  Where does this new, bold version of designer-Cam come from, you ask?  Well, I've been working my way through the e-course (you know, the one I mentioned a couple times already), and it's been liberating!  Already I'm starting to network with other people in my position and that makes me feel better about where I am and how I feel.  I've responded pretty emotionally to several things that I've read because I was struggling with that issue.  I think I just needed the validation.  So here goes:

I am a fiber artist.  I am.  Others have tried to call me a designer, or an expert, or even a professional, and I've shot them down.  Why?!  Why was I afraid to admit that I'm an artist?  I think I was afraid that because I'm not at the level of the fiber artist that I admire and follow, that I didn't have the right to call myself that.  Who do I think I am to go out and create my own fan group on Ravelry?  Who am I to have an artist page on Facebook.  And when I first set it up, it was as a business page and not an artist page.  I've shunned that title for years, and without reason.  Here's a little background on me...

My mother is artistic, has beautiful handwriting, sews, cross-stitches, crochets, and could sketch and paint.  My father was recruited to draw for Walt Disney studios (but turned them down).  Mom said he could draw eyes like nobody's business.  I have always loved to draw and I've loved color.  I used to dump out my crayons and put them in color order before I could start using them, lol.  I took art in school until high school, where I had to give it up for Advanced English.  I never got to take it again, and it was pretty much beat out of me.  But it really wasn't, because it showed up again when I went to beauty school to become a manicurist.  I was very talented, and I really got into nail art.  I worked happily for years until the economy made it impossible for me to stay in the business.  That's when I started knitting.  Not long after I started altering patterns, and a few short years later I was designing my own.  I'm an artist in my soul, and being artistic makes me happy.  I love to be surrounded by color (and yarn, but that's another story), and I love to make beautiful things.  I find beauty in everyday things, like the jars of pickles I canned a few days ago.  So yes, I am an artist and I'm ready to embrace that and I'm not afraid of it anymore. 

Hi.  I'm Cambria, and I'm a fiber artist :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Secret Knitting: done!

Tonight, I finished my Heritage Silk Lace Mittens for Cascade Yarns and I couldn't be happier!  They are drying upstairs right now so I don't have much by way of photos, but I do have a couple to share. 

This was a real challenge for me.  I have never designed anything with lace before and I wasn't even sure if I could!  This pattern, like my Quilt and Cable Blanket, has been knocking around my sketch book for at least a year and I finally figured out how to get it out of my head and off my needles.  I can tell you that there were several elements of my original design that didn't make it into this one, but I love it just the same.  Originally, the inner mitten was going to be knit in lace-weight yarn.  The inner mitten and outer mitten were supposed to have matching eyelet holes, through which I was going to weave a beautiful ribbon.  In the end, I went with fingering-weight yarn for both mittens (at the suggestion of the wonderful Stacy from Cascade).  And I fought with the eyelets until I finally decided that it wasn't necessary to have holes on the inside.  In the final version, the eyelets are only on the outer lace mitten, and the ribbon is optional (final photos will include a ribbon). 

I have never worked with so many test knitters before, or designed a pattern with this many sizes.  My poor test knitters had to get the pattern in phases (inner mitten first, then outer mitten), be willing to keep photos and projects offline until I gave the go-ahead, and deal with my insecure questioning and follow-up emails, lol.  They were all fantastic.  The project also required that I create a spreadsheet to keep track of my testers, their contact info, and the sizes they were making.  I also added a tab to keep track of those testers who would like to be contacted about future projects.  How crazy does that sound?!  I need a spread sheet to keep my testers straight, lol.  That's totally surreal.

So, the pattern is speeding along the internet to Cascade, complete with a few photos that I thought might be helpful.  I'm going to look for the perfect ribbon tomorrow, and I'm gonna see if I can get some pretty photos for my Ravelry project page.  And then, I'm casting on for the first of three (hopefully...) designs for SSS2011. 

Oh, and don't be surprised if you see some uncharacteristically insightful stuff coming in the next few posts.  I've joined a fantastic e-course called Flying Lessons (button on my sidebar) thanks to my buddy Rain blogging about it, and it's been eyeopening!  Expect big things from Cambria W. Designs in the next few months!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keeping with tradition

I have a major paper due tomorrow and I haven't started working on it, so naturally I'm blogging.  Keeping up with a well established tradition, lol.  And I think I'll be making it a tradition to do some canning in the summer and fall.  I love it!  It's really satisfying to put stuff in jars and have it sit on a shelf looking pretty, and then opening it much much later and having it still taste good!  I've been bitten by the canning bug.  This season, I bought the kit from Ball that has the wide mouth funnel and the extra large jar tongs, and the magnetic wand to pick lids up out of the hot water.  It was SOOO much easier to do these pickles than it was to do the assorted butters last fall.  I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a large bag of tomatoes to make salsa and put that up.  My only disappointment regarding the pickles...for some reason I thought I would be able to eat them after a few days.  I've got to wait 4-6 weeks!  I would have started them two weeks ago if I'd know that.

Alex started school at the Providence Center today and had a great time.  I didn't have as great of a time, because I was at PT working my legs off.  On a side note, I've been doing lots of leg lifts which I think might be working my abs as an bonus consequence.  I'll take it!  I graduated today from 1.5lb leg weights, to actual 3lb leg weights (woohoo!).  It sound pathetic, but it means that I'm getting stronger, which means that I'm closer to my goal.  I rode the bike for 10 minutes today and my knee only popped for the first minute or so, and then stopped.  That's progress.  Once we get over the popping, I can start running again.  Yay progress!

Speaking of progress, I'm almost finished with my last mitten for Cascade and the testers are starting to report in.  I'm really pleased with this one.  Oh, and I'm getting ready to order my yarn for the SSS2011 socks.  That's my next project.  Then there's Alex's sweater, and then I have a shawl to knit for a bridal party before the end of October.  Not exactly sure when I'll get Aaron's birthday blanket finished, but it sure won't be before his birthday, lol.  Well at least we have the yarn, and I did buy him a gym membership so I think I'm covered. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's getting out of hand!

 pictured in order from L to R, are my homemade pesto, salsa, and meat sauce, all made with herbs from my garden (and my MIL's garden too).  The meat sauce has ground turkey instead of ground beef.  The salsa is from the tomatoes that we got on our road trip to Tiverton, and you can see how unusual their color was.  I'd never seen tomatoes that red before, and the finished salsa looked more like a strawberry-red than a tomato-red.  Very pretty and very tasty!  And for the pesto, I kicked up the garlic a little bit and used some purple basil that my MIL brought me from her garden, along with my German basil from my own garden.  That made the difference, and made up for the lack of pine nuts (which add something important to the flavor of the pesto).

When last we spoke (lol) I mentioned that I had two fantastic ideas for socks for this year's Scarefest.  That's now longer accurate.  I now have three.  Three!  How am I ever going to find time to knit, and format the pattern for three different sock designs in time for the kick-off?  We'll just have to see how it goes.  And while I can't tell you what movies I'm using, or what the patterns will look like, I did give you a preview of the yarns I'll be using for one of them.  But since you've twisted my arm (wink, wink), I'll give you one more clue: this latest one is based on a sequel of a popular classic horror film.  I love classic black & white horror movies (because they're totally kid appropriate) and 1950's B-movies.  It's a weakness, and a great source of scary sock inspiration. 

Oh, and does anyone know what this is?  I got it for free thinking it was a food mill, but now I think it might be an old fashioned meat grinder...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What's brown, green, tan, and pink?

Well, I can't tell you, lol.  But I can say that it might be scarefest related... 

Today we got up and got ourselves to church despite the torrential downpour.  Alex was well behaved, and I claimed a kitchen gadget that used to be in the kitchen downstairs in the ward building...I think it's a hand-cranked meat grinder.  I need to find out how to get the blade sharpened, and then I need to find some meat and grind it up.  I'm not sure when I'd need this, but they were giving it away and I snatched it up.

I'm almost finished with the inner layer of my two-layer lace mittens.  I hope to get the outer later cast on tomorrow, and then I'm hoping to hear back from my testers as to their progress.  I want to get this out to Cascade asap, and get on to the next design.  That's supposed to be the old interweave submission that I'm hoping to shop out to Knitty for their winter issue, but I'm super excited about this scarefest idea and I have a few other ideas for Cascade...oh! and I have a blanket to knit for my husband's birthday (that I started for his birthday LAST year and never finished).  So, we'll just have to see how it all goes.

Oh yea, and in case you haven't already heard...I finally signed up for Twitter (as @CambriaWdesigns) and you can follow the chaos over there too :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Impromptu day trip

Yesterday I was talking to my buddy Denise about my day and she mentioned that she was going to go out to Tiverton to hit Sakonnet Purls, then Provender sandwich shop, then possibly Greg's icecream shop and the farmer's market.  It sounded like so much fun, and I sort of passive-aggressively suggested that I would really love to come along on this trip (think whining about how much fun that sounded and how much I'd love to go, lol).  So she invited me along (wink, wink) and I jumped at it.  Sakonnet Purls is closing down at the end of September, (unless they find a buyer) so that the owner can retire after decades of running the shop.  Everything is 25% off right now (excluding the needle-point items), and I was hoping to find a really great deal on some Eco Wool for Aaron's birthday blanket.  This will be my second attempt at knitting him a blanket for his birthday, as last year's project is sitting in a bag not more than 10 feet from me right now, gathering dust.  Unfortunately, they don't carry Eco wool.  Of course, we carry plenty of it at Bella Yarns, but I figured that I might be able to get it at an even deeper discount than my usual employee discount but that's okay.  I did however find beautiful red wooden oval buttons for my future Henley design so I bought them.  Not much else appealed to me.

On the way back we stopped at Provender as planned.  It was a really cute little shop with gourmet foods, bulk gummy candies, various sauces and spreads, and sandwiches made to order.  I picked up a bag of four current scones for breakfast, but passed on the rest because everything was at a higher price point than I expected, given the size of the items.  However, it was a lovely shop and if I wasn't responsible to buy dinner for my entire family of growing boys and was only feeding myself...I would definitely have bought one of the sandwiches!  Denise got some of the gummies, so we passed on the icecream. 

After a quick stop at the local Subway (for my guys), we hit up the farmer's market where I bought the most beautiful, red, giant tomatoes!  Why I didn't bring my camera into the veggie stand is beyond me but I should have because you wouldn't believe the tomatoes.  I got two of them and some pickling cucumbers to make pickles with (of course).  When I got home, I got some cilantro from my garden and made a good amount of salsa.  It's fantastic and I got two decent sized canning jars full, just from those two tomatoes! 

Later that night, while the boys were eating their subway sandwiches, I finished off the last of the pesto I made a few days ago and put some water on for my corn-on-the-cob.  Denise told me about an interesting way to dress the corn and I just had to try it!  After it's all done and cools down a little, lightly spread mayo on the corn and then roll it in grated Parmesan cheese.  It's amazing!  I had one last night, but I'm definitely paying for it today (milk...) so I'll just have to eat the others the old fashioned way (with butter, salt, & pepper) although I'm thinking of adding some cilantro to mine to help use some of it up.  It's going nuts in the garden.

In knitting related news...I got a call to design another sock for the Super Sock Scarefest!  I'm really excited about it, because last year I was pushed into designing a pattern for the group and it sort of launched my design career.  Oh, and also because my name was mentioned in the same post as some real hard-hitting sock designers :)  It was like being acknowledged as a player in the sock design game.  I spent the rest of the day thinking about different ideas for a sock and I think I finally came up with something that's cool.  I just need to swatch and see how it goes. 

Oh, and while I was at it...I finally joined Twitter so you can follow me there if you want to.  I'll be posting my sneak-peaks there and updates about special offers and releases.  You can find me as: @CambriaWdesigns.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I gave in

Yep.  I'm a sheep.  I broke down and bought the pattern for the Stripe Study shawl and plan to cast on just as soon as I can, (which will probably be when I finish my mittens, and then the convertible mittens, and a sock pattern for the Super Sock Scarefest...that I don't even have a basic concept for yet), so probably not until October, lol.  I'm thinking that I'll try using the rust-colored zauberball (that I've tried to knit with two other times) and my gray Cascade heritage for this. 

Now, if you're reading this and notice the shift in the tone of this post, it's because I ran out of the house with my buddy Denise to go to Tiverton to Sakonette Purls...and I forgot all about this post so it's been about 5 hours between the first paragraph and this one, lol.  On that note, I'll wrap this up and post about the trip tomorrow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Just one of those days

project sneak peak #2
Yesterday was one of the longest days I've spent at work in forever.  There is just so much left to still do to get ready for the Fall, and we have giant boxes of new yarn arriving almost every day.  Normally that would be exciting, but our shop has limited shelf space do it's like we have to rip it all apart and figure out how it all fits together...every few months.  And keep in mind that we're open 7 days a week so there's no good time to do this, which often results in Naomi staying in the shop until midnight, sometimes with one of us staying to 9 or 10 to try and help her out. 

Yesterday I walked in to an in-progress inventory of Comfort Worsted, which I had to complete.  Then I had flurries of customers come in with lots of questions so that took a lot of time away from my other project...totally restocking and reorganizing the Ultra Alpaca (by a new color system that Naomi wants me to start using...that I can't figure out and doesn't make sense to me at all).  When the shop closed at 6pm, and I had to go teach class, I had every bag of Ultra Alpaca we have in the shop tossed on the floor with several skeins on the floor to go with it.  After class, I had to go back and try to finish it up because I just couldn't leave it like that for Naomi to find in the morning.  It wouldn't have taken nearly as long if it wasn't for the fact that Naomi want's the colors arranged 'tonally'.  When I looked at her example in the 220 wool, I didn't see any sort of discernible pattern and had to call her to figure out what the heck she did there.  It looks so random (and unpleasant to the eye, in my personal opinion)!  So this task killed me, and it sucked my will to live, and I cussed it and complained bitterly about it, and worked on it until 9:30pm when I finally threw in the towel and called Naomi to let her know what I'd actually gotten done.  I have no idea if it looks like she wants it to, but I know I tried my best and felt like I was floating in the breeze the entire time. 

So what did I learn from this process?  That I don't understand color value very well.  That I prefer a shelf that flows naturally from one color to another in a basic ROYGBIV order.  (As a child I would dump out my brand new box of crayons and sort them in order before using them.)  That my mind perceives things a certain way and it's not usually the way that other people view things.  That if I don't enjoy a task, it's really really hard to finish it and to do a good job.  That if I apply what I've learned here to my budding design career, I should resign myself to simply designing what I want and what I like (even if there's not much money in it) because trying to do things that aren't my 'thing' simply because its profitable is going to make me miserable and I'll end up hating the thing at the end of the day...sort of like that wall of Ultra Alpaca.  That being said, I think I need to have a conversation with a few people about some project ideas that we kicked around, that I'm not very interested in doing, and getting them off my plate so I can focus on things I love.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Radical honesty (be warned, lol)

 I don't usually like to post photos of myself, especially first thing in the morning before I've had breakfast, or a shower, or put on any makeup but I figured "why not?!"  This is me as I really really look.  This is the Me that my poor husband sees every day when he wakes up.  It must not be as bad as I often think, because he's still hanging around, lol.  

I have many flaws.  I hate housework.  My husband does 95% of it, and my son does 4%, and I begrudgingly cover that last little 1%.  I have no sense of home decor.  My apartment still has boxes in it after living here for 2 months...mostly because I can't really be bothered to unpack something unless I need it...and I haven't needed any of it.  I buy pineapples, and then never get around to cutting them up so they die a slow and disgusting death on my counter until I finally have to throw them away.  I am a pineapple waster.  I get a new drink before finishing my old drink, and leave the glasses and cups sitting around. (it's not unusual for me to have at least 3 different drinks at one time).  My husband says he could find me by following the trail of abandoned drinks.  I like to watch bad horror movies (and really, aren't they all bad these days?).  I like to listen to rap and hip-hop, and watch R rated movies (which clashes with being a Mormon in a big way).  I can be a 'know-it-all' and I'm afraid that I'll have a really hard time cutting the strings when Dante moves away.  I'm 'that mom' know the one.  The one that everyone avoids eye 
contact with.  The mom that all the neighborhood kids fear.  The one that's so intimidating that no one comes to the door to ask her kids to play outside.  In my defense, I'm often tired so I look mad when I'm not, and I'm 6' tall, but I don't take any crap either. 

I have to admit that when I started this post, it wasn't going this direction, but it feels good to admit it all and get it out there.  Maybe it's inspired by all the Rage Against the Machine that I added to my iPod last night, lol.  Because as bloggers, we're programmed to try to put a rosy spin on our lives and show ourselves in the best possible light.  We gloss over things that go wrong or try to put a thoughtful perspective on it.  We take beautiful candid photos of our children doing things like playing sweetly with pets, playing in the mud, eating fruit, working in the garden, playing on a farm, etc.  We don't show them getting into trouble, being mean to the same pets, hitting their friends or siblings, getting rashes or stitches or surgery or going bonkers because they're sleep deprived.  We don't show them struggling with a learning disorder or battling depression because they feel a deep sense of failure about things that other children can let slide off their backs like water.  We don't show photos of our husbands struggling with year after year of job loss, and the resulting depression that comes from not feeling like you have any purpose or contribute to your family in any meaningful way (even thought that's not true in any way).  And I honestly don't know why we try to hide the actual state of our existence.  

I can totally understand wanting to put a positive spin on your situation, because I look for the good and the beauty every day.  But I don't think that should be done at the expense of being honest about what type of life I live.  I keep having to check myself, and remember that I'm living a good life and with the exception of the financial instability, I wouldn't change anything about it.  I love my husband and I know that he loves me.  I love my children and although I'd kill for them, and die for them, I also LIVE for them.  I've adjusted things about myself that weren't in line with raising well adjusted children.  I'm not standing on a soapbox here...I'm just saying that they are my whole world and I love being able to grow and change with them so that they can live their own lives and be happy and healthy.  If that means that I have to miss social functions because Alex has to get to bed by a certain time or be miserable for a week...well I'll just have to skip the function this time.  I can say for certain that becoming a mother has made me a better person, despite my natural tendencies.  I've had to let stuff go and adopt other stuff, and I'm the one who benefit from the changes in the end.

I love the mess.  I'm learning to love and accept my "bride-of-Frankenstein" streak of gray hair.  I'm finally comfortable with my height after feeling like a freak for 30 years.  I'm finally at peace with my hair (and happy to report that it looks good now that I've stopped trying to wrestle it into submission).  I'm happy with my style of dress.  I love to read trashy young-adult vampire novels.  Sue me.  I am a collector of yarn and patterns.  My son's had better have daughters...because their inheritance will be wool, circular needles, and a collection of patterns designed by me that don't earn any money, lol.  Oh, and on that note, I finally got my rejection letter from Interweave Knits.  But on the positive side, I've got a mostly complete pattern that I'm thinking about sending to another publisher (and Eunny Jang included a hand written note praising my use of color in the design).  I love my flawed, not-quite-there-yet life.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Seeing is believing, lol

 I never thought I'd see the day when Eddie would lay still and let Alex cuddle with him.  I made Aaron get the camera so we could take photos, because no one else (who knows us well) would ever believe it without some sort of photographic evidence.

Anyway, it was a really bizzar day today.  Alex woke up early this morning (which isn't that different from any other day) and came into my room to ask if he could sleep with me because he had a bad dream.  I was too tired to object so I just told him to get in.  He did, and went right back to sleep (which is weird for him).  He even slept through the alarm, and continued to sleep after I got up this morning.  We've had two good night's sleep in the past two days, so I'm hoping we can correct the lack of sleep before he has to start school.

After my appointment this morning at DHS (which went relatively quick), we managed to sneak him in to see the doctor.  We got a cream for his bumps and he should be good to go in about a week.  And now, instead of working on my paper...I'm writing this post.  But I'm proud to report that I finished the reading last night, and I didn't knit anything yesterday either so I'm not messing around as much as it might seem ;)

This morning, the Fall 2011 Twist Collective went live, and I was really impressed with several of the patterns.  I also realized that although my pattern is really unique and pretty (in my not-so-humble opinion), it really didn't flow well with any of the other patterns in the collection.  When I looked at the mood board, I saw whimsical and fairy tale-esque.  The collection was more woodsy and rustic.  It definitely made me feel better when I saw what the direction they went in, because now I know that it was more about the pattern clashing with the tone, and not about it sucking.  I think my submission to Interweave would have fit in better with the Twist Collective collection, but I'm not sure if there would have been enough clever details for it to make the final cut.  This whole thing is definitely a refining process, and I'm trying to learn something from each submission and rejection :)

One last thing.  I'm not going to Rhinebeck this year.  I just can't afford to go.  But I see everyone gearing up for their trip and planning their Rhinebeck 2011 project.  I can't help getting swept up in the excitement and I've decided that I want to knit a Rhinebeck sweater too.  If you haven't been to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival yet, you should really go.  It's like a knitters pilgrimage.  And knitting the Rhinebeck project isn't just about making something to wear there.  It's more of a personal challenge to make something that stretches your skill set.  It's about making a project that you might not quite be ready for yet, just to see if you can do it, and then show it off to everyone at the festival when you do.  It's sort of a coming out of your skill set and sense of style.  And there's always an 'it' pattern.  The year I went, it was Vivian.  There must have been 20 people wearing one!  So, even though I won't get to go up and show it off at the fest, I'm going to knit a Rhinebeck sweater this year, and I think you should join me!  My only question that needs answering right now is whether or not I'll design my own sweater, or knit one from my que.  Any thoughts?