Last weekend we took in a small "sheep to shawl" competition at a local heritage museum. (It took me a while to find the camera cable for downloading...woops!). They had four teams made up of various spinning and weaving guild members. Each team had to card, spin and weave the raw, dyed wool into a shawl 6' in length, all within the 5 hour time limit. We didn't stay for the whole thing (easily bored kids) but while we were there the girls got to see every part of the process in action and do some fun crafts.
Whenever possible I try to get them out to see craft or art events where the artists/craftspersons are actually working. I think it is good for them to grow up knowing that it is possible to get beautiful things that aren't made in China and sold en-masse at the local mall. Its also good for them to see things made by hand so that they will be more encouraged to place value on arts and crafts and see it as something that they themselves could do too.
First up, a display of handspun yarn and a small loom:
Some raw wool ready for spinning:
A team hard at work (these ladies are from a local art college):
As you may have noticed, I've been fooling around with my blog template. I'm not terribly adventurous or computer savvy so don't expect a fabulous new look or fancy graphics! Just adjusting the color and placement of things is about as much as I can handle right now.
Update on Mr. Cat: he's going to be ok! His bloodwork showed nothing dire, just a minor infection which we are treating with antibiotics. So far the dehydration treatment seems to be helping and he is now on new, designed-for-older-cats food, which he loves. We are hopeful that he will start to put on weight and make a full recovery. In the meantime, he is being brushed and coddled and fed choice tidbits of turkey every day!
What's new with knitting: not a whole heck of a lot, sad to say. I had to rip out pretty much everything I had done on the Mad Tosh sweater and reknit it. Because it is lacy I couldn't tell how big the finished back was until I blocked it...and it was too small...grrr. Then the sleeve increases didn't work out for my row gauge...rrrrrip. If I didn't want the sweater so badly I swear I would have given up by now. As it stands I have reknit the whole sleeve and am halfway through the 2nd run at the back. At least its quick....
And, in case you are wondering, that's some lovely Noro Kureyon at the top of the page. It's color #220 that I picked up at Little Knits in Seattle on Monday. Because it was 1/2 price I got a whole sweater's worth for me and a couple of bags for K. in a dark blue/black/olive (#195). Gotta love cheap Noro!
Not much else to say for today. Poor Mr. Cat had to go to the doctor this afternoon. We actually thought he was a goner but he seems to be pulling through. The old guy has been feeling poorly since the move and recently took a dramatic turn for the worst. At his prime he weighed in at a respectable 22 pounds, today he can't be more than 7. Right now he is being treated for extreme dehydration and constipation and we will get more info from the vet tomorrow when his blood work comes back..fingers crossed that nothing really nasty shows up.
The Spider Stitch Shawl is finished and blocked! Details here on Ravelry.
I have mixed feelings about this project. On one hand it is cool to take thread and turn it into something delicate and beautiful (and the blocking process is some kind of weird knitter magic!). But, on the other hand, I serious doubt I will ever wear a shawl at this stage of my life so it will most likely be bundled into a drawer and possibly gifted to someone else at some point. It does make a lovely piece of art, though ;)
Once the shawl was blocking (a torturous chore to set up) I cast on for this sweater out of some Mad Tosh DK I recently bought.
Normally I let new yarn marinate in the stash for a while before knitting it up but this time I wanted to get going right away. The colors aren't in my usual palette..I normally go for more red/purple/oranges...but this combination of greens and browns matches my eyes to an eerie degree, lol, so I couldn't resist. So far the knitting is buttery smooth with nary a snag or knot.
Yesterday was Mother's Day and what a glorious day it was! I was showered with small gifties in the morning and got to spend most of the day relaxing, knitting and reading. K. is out of town for a few days but, before he left, he and the girls gave me some cool stuff including a fruit gift basket from Edible Arrangements. Yum! Shortly after he left to catch his plane, my ex came and took the girls out for his usual Sunday time with them, leaving me with nothing to do for the rest of the day but lay about and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather! I did take Tango for a walk mid-afternoon, but other than that I was completely lazy. I figure I deserved it, especially after working so hard last week on the house-cleaning thing.
On the knitting front, I finished up the purple socks:
I have to say I am completely blah about these socks. They are from Unwind Yarn's Shiraz. The colors are pretty but the yarn is not the softest, even after a wash. I can overlook that easily, though. What I'm really choking on is the three knots I found in the skein. Considering this is a small-operation hand-dyed yarn finding any knots is pretty much unacceptable in my books. As I was finishing them I came to the conclusion that life is much too short and I have way too much nice sock yarn to waste my time knitting something I don't completely enjoy. Meh.
After the socks, I decided to start a lace project: Spider Stitch Shawl from Yarn Forward magazine. The yarn is some Handpaintedyarn.com laceweight that I've had kicking around forever.
Lace is on my list of personal challenges for this year. I have so many beautiful skeins of laceweight yarn languishing in my stash that its time to do something about it, dammit! I don't know that I'm really a shawl wearing sort of person so I'm approaching this as a more of an artistic statement than practical knitting, lol.
Of all the domestic arts I have to say that I am the worst at cleaning. I don't like it, I'm not good at it and I generally injure myself in some minor way every time I attempt it. I tend to get depressed and overwhelmed easily and then nothing gets done for weeks at a time. The big problem with this is that being in a messy environment just makes me even more depressed and I have an even harder time working up the energy to tackle the huge mountain of chores. I also find it very stressful and guilt-inducing to be surrounded by stuff that needs to be done.
Lately I've decided that enough is enough. I have been slacking along on the cleaning front for years, barely doing the minimum to make the house presentable. Oddly enough I used to keep the home spotless before I had kids but I guess life and post-partum depression have taken their toll on my psyche. "Fit for any unexpected company" slowly turned into "meh, its good enough" and then slid right down into "don't look too closely at anything!".
Over the last couple of days I have been forming a new strategy to regain my former tidy ways. I made a chart of all the chores that I need to do weekly and monthly, with a place to check each off as I go. I didn't worry about daily because I generally have no problem with a quick sweep and tidy each morning. I also figured out when my most productive time of the day is (10am to 2pm) and I am trying to push myself to get things done during that time period rather than put it off until the "later" which never comes. I figure even if I just make a token effort at accomplishing some of the tasks it will be better than doing nothing.
I'm really hoping that, by the end of the month, I will have a page full of check marks and a reasonably clean house. So far I'm doing well and I find that having it all clearly outlined on a list makes it easier to break things down into doable sections instead of looking at the whole messy house and feeling overwhelmed.
A pretty finished sweater to brighten up a dark, rainy day! Details are on Ravelry here.
I am surprised how much I like this. I was a bit put off by the chunky-ness but once it was done and washed it became much more lightweight and feminine feeling. I can actually see wearing this a fair bit. It was very quick and easy to knit, too. I would have been done sooner but I had a really rough couple of days last week and didn't get much done on it. Because I am a faithless whore (at least in knitting) I did start a sock but I am proud that I still kept at the sweater until it was done! Pics of the sock next blog post..it is far too dark and gloomy here now.