Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life List

The down time I have spent at home waiting to be sent out on a new job has been good in one respect. I have had time to do some things I've always wanted to but couldn't justify. Today I was reading an old copy of Body + Soul magazine (thanks Martha) and ran across an article about writing Life Lists. It motivated me to check out www.43things.com and take the personality test based on things you've already done. I was labelled "Organized Reinventing Money Manager" - gee, no surprises there. Just glad it wasn't "Disorganized Boring Slug."

I have started a Life List with anything I've yet to accomplish in life on the site - from small and insignificant to rather grandiose. Very entertaining and enlightening to see what surfaces after the first 20 most people list. I remember years ago writing such a list in relation to career goals with Edward Jones at a regional meeting in the beginning of my financial advisor job. The speaker told us just the act of writing down goals cements them in your subconscious and you will accomplish them. I remember listing pretty outrageous goals and feeling it was all bogus. I found the list six years later and had surprisingly accomplished every one of the 15 goals I had set for myself. Made me a believer in the process.

Watching the Inaugural events on tv today has been surprisingly absorbing. I've never been even slightly interested in years past, but this has been different. Have knit like crazy as usual while watching so I don't feel like such a bum. I finished blocking my newest cardigan design and am almost half finished with a deep red mohair belted wrap cardigan I had started for Jade for Christmas last year. I'm going to knit another version of my design with some tweaks, maybe using J-Knits yarn Dreamy Bulky yarn. I will post pictures of project progress later this week.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Busy 24 Hours

One of my projects right now is knitting 6" square swatches for J-Knits.com. I hooked up with them through Ravelry.com and got my first shipment of yarn to knit yesterday afternoon. It was 4 colors of their "Dreamy Bulky" hand-dyed yarn (mohair/wool). Absolutely gorgeous colors and texture. They name their colors after states and cities. I liked the green shade best of the pinks, burnt orange and soft gold colors they sent. Guess what the name of the green I liked best is? PORTLAND, of course, where it is green all the time.

I was so enamored with the yarn I set to work immediately knitting the 10 requested swatches (which I assume will be sent to yarn shops that buy this yarn from J-Knits). Sat by the fire and knitted last night. I finished them before noon today, worked in the ends and blocked. They sent a postage paid envelope to mail back and I just mailed it back to them. In exchange for my time, they give me a credit for each swatch to be applied to any of their hand-dyed yarn (everything from lace weight to this bulky).

Pretty much did nothing but knit for the last 24 hours (and slept a little) but really enjoyed it. Hope they send me more yarn to knit up. I've put pictures of the yarn and finished swatches on the right. Now I'm back to a chunky cardigan design I'm putting together. I'm keeping it simple, done in the round and QUICK. Will post pictures as it progresses. The slowest part for me isn't the knitting or calculating, but writing down the details to go into the pattern. I'm thinking the "Dreamy Bulky" yarn I just used would be nice in the final version. We'll see..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Suspended Animation & Handmade Soap

I guess this is what suspended animation feels like. I'm still on retreat and feeling like I'm disconnected from everyone and everything. No word when I'm shipping out to my next job. Even my unquenchable knitting obsession is wearing thin. I am proud of the fact I've made a definite dent in my yarn stash and made everything in my studio/craft room more organized and accessible in the 3 1/2 weeks I've been home. But enough is enough.

So far today I managed to finish & pack up the huge red Bohemian afghan I knitted for Whitney (my niece) and her fiance, Brendan, who live in Cranbury, New Jersey. I'm hoping the very red afghan (ironically, the color is called "Cafe Cranberry") will look good in Brendan's apartment which is allegedly RED. I think he likes red because he is Canadian. All of my Kansas relatives seem to like blues and greens (and possibly golds and browns). So being a red-lover scored Brendan a big, cushy afghan. It is nice, if I can brag for a minute. I used 12 skeins of Paton's Bohemian & double stranded it on a size 19 circular. I couldn't bring myself to do it in seed/moss stitch, which would've looked awesome but might've doomed it to UFO (unfinished object) Land. I wussied out and did garter instead. Just hope all those yarn ends don't pop out at the same time later on..

I also made Whitney a rather wide and long scarf out of Moonlight Mohair in shades of brown & golds. No, I have not become a Lion Brand fan (although I will admit to a secret fondness for Wool Ease - chunky in particular). Again, done in a basic garter stitch. I have to admit the combination of fuzzy mohair & glint of metallic gold is pretty attractive in the scarf. I hope Whitney will enjoy wearing it with her camel coat and will throw out the grey alpaca scarf I made her a long time ago when she graduated from Yale.

Also included two scrunchy spa cloths in pale yellow and a wedge of handmade honey soap. Don't know if handmade soap is a big thing in NJ, but maybe they can start a trend. Or inspire them to start a handmade soap business if the economy takes their real jobs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Embrace Uncertainty

I'm still at home on Retreat. I was thinking that I do have another New Year's resolution. I was watching Ellen several days ago & saw Deepak Chopra mentioning his own resolutions. I like what he said about trying to "embrace uncertainty" in 2009. The more I think about it, the more I want to do this too. Talk about taking a lot of the stress out of everyday living...

I've accomplished a few things today. I finished knitting the stuffed caterpillar toy to tuck in the knitted stuff I'm mailing to Jade today (see photo on right). I included mostly things for Hudson (alias Sudsy), who is now 18 months old along with a hat & slippers for Jade. I sent him a brown cable knit pullover, matching slouchy hat, felted slippers, chunky blue helmet hat and the caterpillar. Maybe he will get some good out of the cold weather clothing before spring arrives in Portland.

Now I'm back to working on 2 afghans, scarf (gifts for nieces) and a top down "February Lady" sweater for me. I've managed to clean out some off my huge yarn stash in the last three weeks and organized the remainder in my wire cube wall. I'm really ready to head back out on the road again and do my job. I'm so trying to embrace this uncertainty.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's Resolution

I've wanted to set up a blog for several years now. I really admire friends that have put in the time and effort to maintain a blog so I can keep up with their lives. I guess setting this up is my New Year's resolution for 2009. Hopefully I will manage to keep this interesting and updated.

I am currently on "Retreat" from my job as a Transitional Representative (travelling financial advisor). I go from office to office across the US filling in for advisors that have left the company either temporarily (medical or military leave) or permanently for whatever reason. I arrived home (here in Lindale, TX) several days before Christmas when my last job in Valparaiso, IN ended. I've been here waiting to be sent to my next assignment for 3 weeks now. The downside is I've got a bit of cabin fever and the upside is all the knitting I've gotten done. Won't bore you with all the projects I've finished, but will add a few pix of my favorite things.