Decluttering to reclutter?

I didn’t knit any this weekend, so no chance to sneak in an extra medal for the Ravellenics.  I’m still tickled pink that the other scarf will be finished at some point and didn’t end up an Aerial Unwind!  The flash completely destroyed most of the detail, but rest assured, it’s there!

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I spent most of the weekend cleaning and culling the house.

I throw things away when I get stressed and I’ve been really stressed for some reason.  I don’t even know why.  Actually, I don’t throw stuff away, I donate it.  I have five boxes of stuff going out for donations.  Woohoo!

Which is fine, because I do have two new things in my house to find room for.

The first is a new food processor!!!

Logan broke my old one.  I destroyed him at a game (Carcassonne) that he thought he was going to win and he didn’t take that so well.  He puts a lot of his ego into games sometimes and did this time, so started beating on the poor table like Donkey Kong.  My old food processor was sitting on the end, waiting for the blade to dry, and BAM!  It fell off and smashed onto the floor.

I was pretty furious; both that he broke an expensive kitchen appliance and that he behaved like such a little brat when he’s an adult.

…so I ordered a new food processor a few weeks ago.  I decided I might as well go big or go home so I wanted this Cuisinart, to be exact.  I had a few Amazon gift cards from different discount programs saved up and set up an alert on Honey (an extension that tracks price changes and lets you set up alerts if it reaches a certain price) so it cost me just under $100, so I can’t complain really.

I certainly can’t complain once it got here.  I’ve loved it!  It knocks the socks off my old one — it’s almost silent, twice the size of my old one, and absolutely batters everything I throw at it.  I made Grandmother’s cheeseball not long ago without thawing the cheese or pre-chopping anything in less than 5 minutes.  My old processor would’ve rocked off the counter trying to cut through cold cream cheese.

The second (hopefully fun) appliance I picked up was a FoodSaver.  One of my friends swears by hers, so I’m really looking forward to trying it.  It hasn’t gotten here yet because it finally just hit my price alert — it was $168 (insane, right?) when I added it to my watchlist and we finally ordered it when it hit my $80 price alert on Friday.  It should arrive Tuesday.

We process a lot of our own meats — we buy in bulk on sale and freeze them for later.  By process I mean we’ll by entire cuts and cut them down to steaks or grind them ourselves; it’s way cheaper that way and we can get exactly what we want and need…even if it is a little extra work or people look at me weird for having a cured ham leg hanging up in the basement.  ;P  We also save a lot of cooked meals for easy dinners.  I also can or freeze a lot of produce when it’s in season, so there’s always something going on here!  🙂

Logan and I are both tired of wasting Ziploc bags and foil with freezing and since you can wash and reuse these and actually microwave or cook in FoodSaver bags we thought this would be a good investment for us.  Fingers crossed!

 

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=)

As promised, here’s my Heroes of Yarnia scarf in its entirety!

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All mistakes are mine and a product of rushing and/or tiredness.  It was a great pattern and a fun story.  If I had a better attention span, it wouldn’t have taken me nearly as long to complete.  I loved every step of it, though!

I think the only changes I made to the pattern were adding on an extra stitch of each color to both ends and knitting them together at the end of each row so I wouldn’t have to go back and do any joining at the end since it is double knit.  I like the braided look anyway.  🙂  I also changed the type of cast on and bind off, but that’s purely preference on my behalf.

I snagged my WIPs Dancing medal from the Ravellenics with it this evening, so I’m also very happy about that.  I feel like I actually accomplished something other than unwinding a bunch of yarn!  I always like finishing a WIP more than a new project anyway, it feels like a burden has been lifted…even if it has been one I’ve enjoyed immensely.

In other knitty news, I still haven’t heard back about the other blasted scarf and at this point I don’t expect to.  I have been active in the Knitting Help group though and I do believe one lady there made it her mission to figure it out.  She basically rewrote the entire lace section of the pattern to make it look like it should and get it to work then sent it to me.  I’m still not sure how everybody else got it to work on Ravelry.  If I believed more in conspiracies, this would be one. 😛

I tested it out the reworked instructions this afternoon and it worked flawlessly!

…until I dropped a stitch and managed to get a hole big enough to stick my hand through.  XD  I, of course, hadn’t put in a lifeline at that point either because I was so gleeful that it was all working for a change.  I’m definitely not comfortable enough with lace to know how to fix that mess, soooo back to my previous lifeline to restart the lace again — like that’s something I’m not super experienced with at this point!!!

No harm, no foul.  I’m just glad there’s going to be something that works! 🙂

Done, done, doneeee!!!

Is it perfect?

Nope.

Is it done?

YES!  Soooo excited that it’s done that I don’t even care.  How’s that for finally throwing my old perfectionist habits to the wind?  😛

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I didn’t even notice that one of the turrets is magically hovering away because I got sleepy and was rushing to finish until I took the photo.  Oh well.  Not fixing it now!  It sustained damage in the great battle, that’s all there is to say for that one.  XD

I’ll get photos of the entirety of the scarf tomorrow when it’s daylight and I can use something other than my phone and desk as a staging area.  It will be fun to see it all spread out!

Let there be progress!

I’ve made it to the final chapter, Chapter 8, of the RPG scarf I’ve been working on!

Better yet, I’m on the last page with only three dice rolls remaining!!!

I’m so close I can smell it!

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I did a different cast on than suggested because I never like to follow directions.  Since it was a bit fancier than the normal double knit cast on, I’ve had to look around to find something that makes a similar-ish looking bind off.  It’s not perfect, but I think this one from Sockmatician will do very nicely when the time comes.

As far as the other scarf, I still haven’t heard back from the designer; it has been nine days since I sent her a message, which seems like an eternity on the internet.  I think the most frustrating part to me is having to pay for a pattern — and $6.50 isn’t what I consider a cheap pattern — and then it not being user friendly or having the designer accessible.  I think I’m just spoilt at this point!

After asking a few friends about the pattern and they couldn’t solve it either, I gave in and joined a knitting help group.  I felt bad about uploading the lace chart (I hate when people share pay-for-patterns!) but I didn’t name the pattern or provide any more instructions than needed for understanding the setup and my problems with it, so I guess my conscience will live with it.

Good news and bad news.  The good news is that one of the way-more-experienced-than-I’ll-ever-be lace knitters wrote out the charts and I *had* been reading them right!  I’m so, so happy about that!

The bad news is that nobody could figure out how on earth the charts would fit in the number of stitches either, at least not with the symbols she was using in her chart and how she was designating things.

The group opinion has been that it is a shittily written pattern because of the lack of instructions, numbers of stitches per row, and other basic things that should be very easily included.  …they also think to get things to work out, I’m most likely going to have to either not reduce the number of stitches as far as the pattern says or reduce them even further to get a number that will work out.  This could be fun.  =/

…so really now, why haven’t other people on Ravelry had issues with this or commented about it?!  Is there some secret that the rest of us aren’t privy to?

I saw plenty of whining about the cables, but I love cables and knew I could figure those out no problem.  If I had seen even a whisper (and after a lot of digging around after I had issues, I finally did find ONE person having issues with the lace but not in the projects:  “I am an experienced knitter but I find the lace pattern not only confusing but maintaining the stitch number correct is impossible! 7, 8, 9? stitches??? then the cable is thrown off and the stitch number at the end is unknown! help.. I love the pattern but tired of pulling out and reknitting to the same stage.”) about people having problems with the lace charts, I would’ve nipped this one in the bud in the vetting process when Mom was looking for a scarf.  Ugh!

I’m still going to try fighting with it when I finish my blissfully relaxing (but slow) double knit scarf.

High school

I was tagged in a thing on Facebook but didn’t really care to post it there.  Nevertheless, I used to LOVE these things back when I was, oh, a senior in high school…so given the topic, I thought it would be fun to fill it out and post it here.  You know, for old time’s sake.

IN YOUR SENIOR YEAR DID YOU…

1. Did you date someone from your school?  That would be a negative.  My school was ridiculously small and both sides of my family had settled the area so early that I was either related to everybody or knew them so well that I could never date them.  I didn’t date until college.

2. Did you marry someone from your high school?  Same as above.  I went out of state to find somebody to marry.  Take no chances!  😛

3. Did you car pool to school?  On the rare occasions that I would drive, my sister would hitch a ride with me.  We still usually rode the bus for an hour and a half, though.  That’s the ultimate carpool!

4. What kind of car did you have?  I drove the family’s old ’92 Dodge Spirit when I drove anything.  That car never quit.

5. What kind of car do you have now? 2008 Toyota Prius

6. Its Friday night…where are you now? How late? At home, all night.  Most likely camped in front of my computer playing a game or maybe knitting/sewing.

7. It is Friday night…where were you then?  Depends on the time of year.  Fall, definitely a football game — between cheerleading and band, I went to all of the games.  Winter and spring were different academic competitions and tennis, but I can’t remember what nights they competed.  

8. What kind of job did you have in high school? I babysat four kids and took care of a nearby farm when the family was away.

9. What kind of job do you do now? Housewife.  Anybody that has met Logan knows that’s a full-time job. 

10. Were you a party animal? I think I was the antithesis of party animal.  I only ever really went to a Halloween and birthday parties.

11. Were you considered a flirt? Again, the antithesis of this.  What would have been the point?

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Band — concert, jazz, and marching.  We didn’t have anything else, the school was too small.  I played flute starting in fifth grade and then when we got a new band director he taught me to play alto sax.  My senior year I auditioned for the color guard and ended up somehow making captain, so twirled a flag instead of marching around with a flute the last year.

13. Were you a nerd? Let’s see, I was taking college classes at 15 and graduated a year early.  In band class one of my friends and I would make up what was essentially our own Magic: The Gathering cards; after we built decks for ourselves and our friends, we would play the game at lunch.  We also invented our own languages and codes to converse in, which I still remember.  Before school, instead of socializing in the gym or cafeteria like the rest of the student body, my friends and I hung out in the Chemistry lab and quizzed each other on science trivia.  I’m *pretty* sure all that makes me the penultimate nerd.

14. Did you get suspended or expelled? No.  I was only ever in trouble in 6th grade and the principal ended up calling my parents “concerned” because I didn’t cry when I was called to his office.

15. Can you sing the fight song?  I don’t think there was an official fight song, although the band students had one we would sing anyway.  “United in true fellowship…”

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s)? I don’t like to name names but I always liked my Spanish and science teachers, also my first and second grade teachers.  In retrospect, I also really liked my math teacher and wish I had appreciated him more while I was in school.  The teachers were effective and cared about the students and what they learned, not about their social status.

17. Where did you sit during lunch? The furthest table back in the corner by the wall.  I sat either on the end or the second seat over, depending on the year.

18. What was your school’s full name High School? Bland.  Enough said.  It was so small that it was a combined elementary and high school and in order to have enough students for sports teams, we had to combine with another school.

19. When did you graduate? 2003

20. What was your school mascot? Rockets

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you? Goodness no.  I was there long enough as it was and that was a year shorter than most.  I do miss being able to see some of the people but sorry, not worth having to deal with the rest of the people…especially not the bullies.

22. Did you have fun at Prom? I hated dances, I hated dressing up, and there was an immense pressure to attend Prom…so I did the logical teenage choice:  I rebelled and didn’t go.  I chose to go to a New Found Glory and Good Charlotte concert in South Carolina instead with my sister and one of her friends.  Horrible bands but she enjoyed herself and I think we all enjoyed the experience (at least compared to the alternative), so no regrets.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?  Considering I didn’t go?  😀 

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? That would be a massive no.  I was invited to both the 2003 and the 2004 (since I went through all of school with them) ten year reunions and didn’t go to either.  Small school and I wasn’t exactly Miss Popularity, so I didn’t and don’t see a reason to attend.

25. Do you still talk to people from school? I still talk to my best friend pretty regularly.  He and I had lost touch but now we email at least once a week.  I see one of my other good friends every few years and we talk off and on.  Life gets in the way and I’ve moved a goodly distance from “home” so it’s not always easy to keep in touch when you’re a hermit.  Facebook is a good way of keeping in touch, though.

26. School Colors? Maroon and gold.

27. What celebrities came from your high school?  That’s so absurd it’s laughable.  We have people with egos that are so large that they certainly think they’re celebrities but nobody who is actually anybody as far as I know.

28. Did you play a sport? Cheerleading, basketball when I was younger, and tennis.  The only other option for females was volleyball and I never liked volleyball so didn’t care to play it on a team. 😛

29. What was your favorite club? Upward Bound or Science MACC (an academic team competition).  None of the other clubs really did much, aside from Forensics which was really more of an excuse to get out of class to practice your performance piece.

Hands

Panic.  It’s this weird overwhelming anxiety thing and it feels like there’s something squeezing me to death from the inside.  I can’t breathe right and I want to run away, even out of my own skin.

I don’t like panicking.  It’s really not fun, but it does happen unfortunately often.  The anxiety also causes migraines, which I know I’ve mentioned before, so it makes for an altogether not-so-fun day or days…depending on how long that impending doom feeling and the aftermath lasts.

Why does that matter at all?

Over time, I’ve sort of figured out that if I can do something with my hands, I’m usually distracted enough that I can remain calm.  Logan even bought me a spinning ring so I can fiddle with it when I get stressed in public.

Even better, I’ve found that the best way to help manage that suffocating, choking, crushing feeling is to do something productive.  Sure, taking naproxen like my neurologist suggested does knock off the edge a bit, but it doesn’t actually help me manage it.

But!  Making something does.  Putting something net positive and beautiful (or pretending it’s beautiful) out in the world helps to soothe those horrible nasty feelings.  If I can keep my hands wrapped up in yarn and make a pretty scarf, I’m usually pretty content.  If I’m using my hands to sew up a quilt, I at least have something to concentrate on.

I don’t know why but if my hands are occupied, my mind is too.

…so today, when I got a little overwhelmed out of nowhere, I made pretzels!

I don’t know why.  I’ve never made them before.  It just seemed like the thing to do.  I’ve been wanting to get more into baking, so maybe that’s what prompted it.

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Bonus:  baking is much more tasty than yarn or fabric.

 

Scarves

After a few days of knitting and ripping the Black Cherry Lambic scarf, I’ve frogged it all the way back to the point in the pattern where you decrease for the lace and tossed it aside in disgust.

I’m officially sick of this pattern.  I’m still not sure what I’m doing wrong but no amount of bull-headed-ness on my part is figuring it out right now.

I don’t know if the instructions are too vague or if I’m too dumb…but I just don’t get it.  I even sent it to one of my friends who has been knitting about as long as I’ve been alive and she couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  Admittedly, that made me feel a bit better but not a whole lot.

I’ve struggled with some patterns in the past but can usually get them in the end.  I’m not sure what the problem with this one is — none of the other people that have it in their projects seem to have had issues with it and most are even raving about how easy it was.  I think I must just be broken.

Maybe if I let it sit in time-out for a while it will finally strike me like a bolt of lightening but for now, it’s behaving really badly and it’s going to stay there.

In an effort to keep from forsaking knitting forever, I’ve decided to try to completely my RPG scarf for the Ravellenics.  It will at least give me something to keep my mind (and hands) occupied while I’m ignoring the pile of yarn that’s making me so angry.

I’ve only been working on this scarf since, oh, I dunno, January 2017?  It’s double knit and I typically only pick it up when I’m traveling or really, really bored since it packs up so nicely.  I think it’s time to finish it for the WIPs Dancing event.  I’m still on Chapter 7 of 8, but I think if I finish at least one dice roll a per day, I can finish it by the closing ceremony!

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Plus, it’s not completely infuriating and I still find it super entertaining…even when I make sleepy mistakes like not using the inverted charts when making the second half of the scarf.   Oh well, that dragon can just look to the right; he’s distracted by something shiny!

Fighting loneliness

I’ve been seeing a lot about loneliness pop up on the news lately — earlier this year, Britain even appointed a Minister of Loneliness — and the negative health effects that being lonely can have on a person.

Honestly, it hit a bit close to home.

Yes, I’m married and a self-professed hermit.

I cherish my alone time.  BUT!  There is a huge difference in being alone and being lonely.

Alone is just a state of being; it’s when you can regroup, enjoy the calm around you, and gather yourself before having to face the world again.  Having alone time, even away from your partner (and sometimes especially from them), is a must in any relationship I have.  I have bad anxiety and I can’t function without that brief, selfish moment of me.

When we have guests, even ones I adore, or when we’re visiting other people, I inevitably start to get nervous and start looking for a way to just sneak a few minutes of solitude.

Sometimes I just need to listen to a song.  Fun aside: metal heads supposedly are better adjusted and can deal with their emotions more easily than people who listen to other genres of music?  Imagine how nuts I’d be if I listened to something else!  My current sad mood song?  Sirenia’s Sirens of the Seven Seas.  I don’t know why but it just chases a lot of my negativity away.  The only better thing is scooping up one of my cats.  There is something incredibly soothing about a cat’s purr — if they’re purring, nothing else could possibly be wrong with the world.

Loneliness, though, is an entirely different matter and an emotional response.  Being lonely is that feeling of utter isolation, even if you’re in a room full of people and sometimes especially if you’re in a room full of people.  It’s the negative reaction to feeling unfulfilled and needing outside help and not receiving it.

I thrive on being alone.  I seek it out.  I could be a hermit until the end of my days.  All I would ever need out of life are some books, food, a cat to keep my lap warm, and hopefully a big pile of yarn or fabric so I can have a creative outlet.  I’d be happy as a lark.  That’s a choice, though.

Loneliness is crushing.  It’s devastating mentally and after a while, you can feel it physically.  You’re tired all of the time, it’s hard to get excited about things you love, it’s very similar to depression because in a lot of ways they are one and the same.  I thought this site summed up the differences really well and quite succinctly…better than I ever could.

Logan and I moved to NY almost 8 years ago.  We made a few friends but they have since moved away.  We’re back to square one.  Logan goes to work, interacts with his coworkers, and comes home.  Logan also still maintains regular contact with the same friends he has had since preschool.  He sees his college friends several times a year.  He has a social network.  I don’t.

There are days that Logan is so exhausted from work that he would walk in the door, not say a word, eat dinner, then immediately go to bed.  There are also days that I just don’t register on Logan’s radar.  He’s too busy with his phone — either reading the news, stalking Facebook, or talking to one of his friends — to remember that he’s in the room with somebody else.  Somebody else that hasn’t seen another human being in a week but him.  I would’ve been ecstatic for a simple “hello” after talking to the animals all day.

I don’t have a car (well, technically the car IS mine but he needs it for work, so I’m not going to argue that point) so I can’t exactly get out and join a social club…and honestly, my anxiety would probably keep me from doing so.  Point being, the loneliness was really setting in and becoming a major issue last year.

So, at the close of 2017, I decided to do something VERY unlike me and do something about it.  I was tired of being sad and alone.

In December, AOL Instant Messenger closed down for good.  AIM had been my preferred form of communication since I was a budding teenager.  It was the only way I ever talked to most of my friends throughout high school and college.  I met a bunch of online friends that way, a few of which I followed up by meeting in person.  It’s how Logan and I got to really know each other, though we didn’t meet there.  It probably sounds overblown but I’m not sure I would have survived without AIM at certain points.  It meant a lot to me, so losing it was a bit of a sad day.  It also meant losing the only way I knew how to contact some people.

As I said, it was my primary form of communication for over half of my life.  You don’t swap phone numbers or emails or addresses with people you talk to every day.  Using a messenger is good enough.  That is until it’s gone.

I’ve also been a hermit for years.  It’s safer being alone than lonely.  Combine my lifestyle with the sudden loss of an ability to contact most everybody I’d ever loved and my little world came to a screeching reality check last year.

Which is when I started my insane quest to track down almost everybody I care about and establish contact with them.

It has been a bit insane but I’m talking to people almost every day (including somebody I may or may not have dated once upon a time — I’ll never tell!) to the point that Logan commented about how freakishly happy I’ve been lately and then he got a bit jealous and I had to deal with that mess.  Sorry, dude, shit happens.  If you ignore me all of the time, I will get sad and lonely eventually.  If I finally have my friends to talk to again, that will make me happy.  That’s how loneliness works and that’s why the vast majority of people have friends, to stave that off.

I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy finding everybody.  One of the people I tracked down I hadn’t talked to for over twelve years and he, in turn, helped me find somebody I’d been actively looking for since my phone number changed when I moved to Atlanta a decade ago.  I swear he worked some voodoo magic or something.

It has been a crazy wild ride.  I’m not sure I can keep my “social life” up to the level that I have lately but I’m really very, very happy to have all of my hermit friends back in my hermit life.  …even if it is just daily emails or texting photos of our cats back and forth.  😀

 

 

 

X_x

I think my brain has exploded.

No matter what I do, I can’t work out the chart for the lace portion of the scarf.

I’m probably over thinking it, as I tend to do, but it really is about to drive me insane.

The math alone is killer.

You enter the lace section with 67 stitches — 2 border stitches, 63 for lace, 2 border stitches.  The instructions say the scarf has 9 repeats per row.

So the first row should have 7 stitches, right?

…it has 8?  Unless I’m massively misreading it?

8 stitches don’t fit evenly in the very specific set up.

6k, 1p, 1yo.  That’s 8, right?  The yo wouldn’t be just be an instruction to slap the yarn over the needle for making a stitch with the first stitch of the next repeat, right?

The instructions do say the stitch count alternates from 7-9 stitches as well…so my brain is totally fried.

I gave in after two days of banging my head on the desk in frustration and knitting and ripping and knitting and ripping and just messaged the designer on Ravelry.

If she can’t clarify this, nobody can.  To beat all, nobody else seems to be having issues on the project pages.  There were a few notes about the cables, which I found remarkably easy — I breezed through them (other than a mistake of my own when I forgot to reverse the WS).

I swear, every time I pick up a new project, I go from feeling like a semi-accomplished knitter to a complete moron.  😦

Also, I got so frustrated earlier that I dropped my work and a needle fell out so I dropped a good 12 stitches.  I’m going to have fun picking those up tomorrow too.  Bah!

On a brighter note, since knitting has me about to rip my hair out, I’m happy to be thinking about quilting again!

I stumbled upon a super cute and simple pattern on Craftsy that I’m thinking about getting called Book Nerd.  I’ve been collecting odd fabric prints for a while now based on more nostalgic things from my childhood and wouldn’t you know they’re all book related?  Babar, The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Peter Rabbit, things like that.  I don’t think I have enough for an entire quilt yet but I think they’d be cute!

I need a really simple project for a change.

Yarn, yarn, everywhere!

I finally got to dive into my Ravellenics events!

Yes, I get to say events now because thanks to another blogger — NothingButKnit — I learned there was a frogging event called Aerial Unwind!  This is the type of competition I was born for!

I have a beautiful shawl I was working on a year or more ago that went horribly wrong.  It’s double knit and has 19 pages of charts…and I stupidly took it to work on the car.  Dumb, dumb me.  I don’t even know where to begin with where I went wrong with it but I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to fix it or where.  I set it aside in frustration, lost all of my marked charts, and have been meaning to frog it and recast it for ages but just never have.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

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I’ve also worked through the cabled part of the scarf for the Short Track Scarf and am starting the first row of the lace center now.  It carries on for as long as I’d like the scarf to be and Mom wants it to be about 50 inches or so, so I’ve got a while to go, but I think it’s doable!

It has been a long, long time since I’ve done lace — I much prefer cables — so this could get fun. I might end up tagging a laurels onto this for lace if it ends up driving me too nutty.  😛

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As expected, I forgot to invert the first row of of the cable chart so had to tink it back, even though I knew it was going to be an issue when I read the pattern yesterday.  Go figure.  I’m nothing if not predictable.  ;D