Friday, June 30, 2006

For shame

Last night the hubby and I had a wonderful little date night. We went to Shabu Fondue here in Chandler to try something new. We got the cheese fondue and shared a shrimp, steak and veggie plate. Sharing the main course was perfect so we could have room for the best part of the meal - chocolate fondue. Very yummy dinner and the restaurant was very cool, very clean (I'm SUCH a freak about that) with excellent service. A little pricey, but we'd go again.

After dinner, I somehow convinced Brian (must have been the food coma) to take me over to CraftMart. CraftMart is a locally owned craft store that has been around forever. Last year they closed 2 of their stores, leaving only the Chandler store open. I was there last week to buy beads and one of the employees told me that they were closing. The store would be closed for 3 days, reopening on Wednesday for a huge sale until everything was gone. Wednesday morning I drove over there to check things out. The line was down to the other end of the strip mall! Forget that. So, we headed over there last night. I was hoping to score some expensive beads, a scrapbook, charity knitting yarn, felting yarn and cotton yarn for Sarah and I - all at good prices.

Brian was convinced that the store would be cleaned out with a huge crowd. Not so. In fact, I was surprised at how much was still left and how few people were in the store. Until we started walking around. Now, I've shopped there so many times that I pretty much know their prices. And something was up. That something was the prices. A hard glance at the shelf tags and you could see where they taped the new, higher prices carefully over the old. Yarn that was $5.99 a skein on Saturday was now $6.29 - with 20% off. A completed cross stitch sample that was $125.00 was now $225.00. Decorative shelves were priced higher. Beads, candle holders. Not everything, but enough. I was disgusted. Here I was so sad that this store was closing and this is what I find? And the cashier who I asked about it confirmed that they did raise the prices during the 3 day closing. Nice.

Needless to say, the yarn I bought hadn't had it's price changed nor the tiny stitch holders. I had plans to buy more, but was so disgusted with them that I left.

Isn't that illegal? Or just slimy?

Posted by Heather at 9:51 AM 9 comments

Saturday, June 24, 2006

It's love

I love my knitting. Yes, I've said it before. But this is a whole new kind of love - it has beads. After a false start, I was up until 2am knitting my Beaded Shawlette. Isn't it amazing how lace looks like this all bunched up.



And with a little stretching can look like this.


Just so you know, I braved the inferno outside to get good shots for you. See how much I love my readers?


Isn't it beautiful? I love the colors of the Koigu (which I won from a contest over at Cat Knits) and the beads are the perfect color and size. They are subtle and add enough "bling" without upstaging the Koigu.

I was worried about the bead row being totally fiddly, since you use a crochet hook to put the bead on the stitch then knit it. But it isn't bad once you get the hang of it. It would help if I held my yarn in my left, so I might have to beg Sarah to show me again. The tough part is some of the holes in the beads aren't big enough. I'll probably wind up getting a smaller hook so I can use all the beads. Knitting this shawlette is so much fun, I can totally see it being my newest addiction. Because, well, we all know I have enough felted purses (except black, I totally need a black felted purse with silver beads. An illness, I tell ya.) and I need something to be hooked on.

I ordered the pattern from The Mannings. And while I'm thrilled it made it here in 2 days, I'm not thrilled I was charged $3.00 shipping on a $6.00 pattern when it cost $.87 to ship.

And in case you were wondering how the Star is faring being home all summer, he got a job. I though hell would have frozen over, but it is still over 105 degrees outside, so I guess not. He loves it, though. A miracle for sure.

Posted by Heather at 1:11 PM 8 comments

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Decisions, decisions

Thank you very much for your kind comments on Jaywalker and Charlotte. I'm really happy that I sucked it up and made myself finish both before I could start another project. Both of them had been sitting around for too long. Now both can go sit in a drawer until it isn't 100+ degrees.

Now I find myself with nothing to knit (blanket and charity sweaters don't count). An odd feeling, really. Yesterday, anticipating the end of the Jaywalker torture, I ordered the Shapely Shawlette beaded pattern. Sarah put a request out to the KnitList for patterns calling for 2 skeins of Koigu. Someone recommended the shawlette and Cece made such a beautiful one that I just had to have the pattern. I'm hoping it is here for the weekend. I have 2 beautiful skeins that I bought at Jessica's several months ago that I had originally intended for socks. I think they will make a much prettier shawlette with silvery beads from the beading stash (don't ask). My awesome Vacation Swap Pal, Karen, sent me that gorgeous Art Yarns UltraMerino that will become a second shawlette.

The Princess left for Florida last week, leaving us with a grumpy Star to deal with. I must say, it is nice to not hear them fight 24/7. But I miss her. I leave for Florida on the 4th to attend her Quinceanera on the 9th. That should be interesting. It's being thrown by my ex and his family. The drama that is already reaching epic levels is just too funny.

I will, however, have 10 hours of flight time to knit and read in peace. With no cell phone. No email. No having to drive everywhere. And to think I didn't like to fly.

Posted by Heather at 11:52 AM 4 comments

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Finished!

Finally!!! I cast on for these socks on February 9th and just over 4 months later, we have socks!



I have no idea why they look so boxy on my feet, so here's a shot on my table.



See those two tiny little balls of yarn next to the socks? Yea, that's all the yarn I had left. I was sweating it when I began the decreases for the toes, let me tell you. And, just in case you haven't seen enough pictures, a close up of the stitch pattern.



I knit them both at the same time on 2, size 1 circulars out of a cotton blend (which I can't remember now) yarn. I really do like how they turned out and they fit really well. However, I'll never make them again. They just took forever and I really didn't like working the stitch pattern.

Posted by Heather at 9:45 PM 5 comments

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot fun in the summer time

So, what's a girl to do when it is 111 outside and she hates the heat? She watches movies all day and knits socks, that's what she does!



Or to be more specific, she finishes 2 heel flaps and turns the heel. The best part about this huge heel? That it has a long gusset, so now I only have like 3 1/2 inches of foot to knit.



That heel flap looks big, doesn't it? I was getting worried, but I've tried the socks on a few hundred times because I'm terrified of screwing up again several times and they fit very nicely. I love turning heels, so that was a nice little reward for the miles of leg and flap. I'm in the home stretch now, baby! I'm still not loving the pattern, but it is a little more bearable now that I have plain stockinette on the bottom of the foot. It is moving faster, but I still feel like I've been knitting them for.ev.er. They are darn cute, though.

I've resisted casting on for another project...for now. Must.finish.socks.

Posted by Heather at 7:50 AM 5 comments

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Unsocked

Is that a word? Is now! A long, long time ago Heather knit a sock. It was a beautiful sock. However, it seemed a tad tight when she tried it on. Not to worry, it would fit fine, she stupidly thought. You know how second sock syndrome goes. The yarn sat in her bag for quite awhile. Until she wanted to knit the second too small sock. And couldn't find the yarn. Anywhere. So, she happily took the project off her WIP list and shoved it in a bag. Until Pam found it in the bag of yarn I begged her to take and crochet into a blanket I hated gave her to finish the test blanket I was working on. So, it got added back into the project rotation.

Trying to be a good little knitter, I've been working on and finishing old projects. So, I pull out the lonesome sock. And well...



Yea, my foot ain't fitting in that sock. What the hell was I thinking? So, it is now this.



Now it is just stash yarn again!! Do you know what that means? I have 3 projects. Just 3. I'll always have a charity sweater going, so that doesn't really count. We have the blanket that was always going to be a very long-term project. That leaves us with...



Jaywalkers. Sigh. I'm still only on the heel flap. I resolve, no new projects until they are finished. If everyone out there in blogland loves these socks, why don't I?

Posted by Heather at 9:08 AM 2 comments

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Actual knitting & crocheting content!

I know, try not to faint. I've been trying to use stash yarn and finish up some project that have been lingering in bags. Using up leftover yarn from my first Clapotis, I made a baby dress. But I don't have a baby, right? Some time ago I found my childhood babydoll, Crissy, on eBay for a pretty decent deal. I HAD to have her. You see, I adored that doll when I was a kid. I played with her for hours everyday. My mother broke my heart when she gave her away. She came to me naked, so she needed a dress, right?



I made the little hat and booties from stash yarn, too. I love how they turned out! Yes, I realize I'm adult :)

And...miracle of miracles. I finished the damn Charlotte's Web. I may love Koigu, but I HATED this pattern. If it weren't for the Yahoo! knit-a-long, I wouldn't have been able to knit it (darn shame that would have been). The pattern is horribly written and boring. I'm going to burn the pattern, Excel spreadsheet and index pattern repeat cards in the grill. The yarn is from Mystical Creations in the Raisin colorway. After dancing around the living room when I wove in the last end, I soaked it in Eucalan and nearly had a meltdown when I saw this.



See how dark the water is? After a panicked call to my friend, Sarah (who I'm mad at because she wouldn't stick me in her suitcase when she went to Rocky Point. Jeesh), I rinsed and rinsed and everything was fine. Whew! 4,000 pins later and I have this.



I am pretty happy with it, but it turned out differently than I thought. The yarn seems to have a thread-like appearance to it that I like. It is smaller than we estimated and the bind-off, even though I used a needle 2 sizes bigger, is tight. Blocking it was a total pain in the ass because of that.

I've also been blessed with gifties!! From my Vacation Swap Pal, Karen, I received a very thoughtful and totally awesome box filled with presents.



Gorgeous yarn - Art Yarn Ultramerino and poofs of silky soft angora (can't wait to find a pattern for this!), 2 very soft flower face cloths, 2 knitting mystery books (which is too funny because I bought my 2 pals the same books!), an H bookmark, 3 bars of yummy smelling soap, her first quilted project - a sachet that is so cute!, 2 Norah Jones cd's (how did you know I lost mine?) and the final present that had me in tears - a box filled with natural soaps with my Olive's picture. I cannot begin to thank you enough for your gift and the note.

And from my Secret Pal, 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces in the Purple Club (does she know me or what?) colorway.



Thank you both, again, so very much. They were truly the bright spot in my week.

I'm trying hard to get out of my little funk and the kindness of my friends has helped more than I can say. More knitting content and happiness to come :)

Posted by Heather at 8:57 PM 6 comments

Friday, June 09, 2006

Summer break

Whose idea was it for teenagers to have summer break? Huh? Probably some school board full of men who worked during the day, leaving their poor wives at home to slowly lose their minds over the course of 2 1/2 months.

4.2 minutes into summer break, the fighting began.

"Shut up", screeches the Princess.

"No, you shut up", screams the Star.

Repeat indefinitely until mom screams (in a very mature voice), "how about you BOTH shut up!!!". (yea, I know)

May the Goddess keep me sane. Or provide me with good wine.

Thank you so much for all of your comments and emails. I'm feeling so much better. One of the things I've been doing to help is reading. LOTS of reading. I made it a goal to keep the TV off (or the watching to a minimum) and read more. I've probably read 20 books in the last month. I'm totally hooked on the Stephanie Plum series. Funniest books I have ever read. Not only are they keeping me occupied, they make me laugh. And that has helped so much.

Posted by Heather at 10:09 AM 7 comments

Monday, June 05, 2006

thoughts

I've been trying to blog for over 2 weeks now, but I can't. And I'm not quite sure why not. There was a time I was very, very depressed. To the point where I think Brian was pretty worried. I could have just curled up and slept for days. Feeling like I had been crying for days. Then came the feeling like I was a deflated balloon. Like nothing was left inside. That probably came right around the time we were informed the Star failed 2 classes and we had decided that there would be no Florida vacation for him. Or for us. I needed that break. Desperately needed that break. There has been fighting daily, moody silence and just all-around miserableness. It is a very, very sad thing when you don't want to really go home after work.

As I write this, I'm sure a few of you might wonder if I think my kids are horrible. No, they aren't. In fact, I think they are wonderful. Most of the time. I know things could be worse - I've seen what some of my friend's kids are doing and it horrifies me. But there are those moments of teenagerhood that break a mother's heart just a little. And it is hard.

For a very, very long time I have spread myself too thin. I give 110% at work - answering phone calls on weekends, checking email and going overboard in my efforts to please. I was a single mom for a long time - doing everything for everyone. And little for me. While that has gotten much better, I still find myself not taking care of me. And I think the lightbulb is finally bright enough where I can see how that is affecting my health, my happiness and relationships.

It has been tough, but I'm finally understanding that I shouldn't have guilt about carving time out for myself. I have realized that if I do carve out that time the house isn't going to blow up, the kid's won't need therapy and the world won't come to a crashing halt because I didn't answer a work email within 5 minutes of it being sent. Not only that, but carving out that time for me will actually make me a better mother, wife and friend.

There has been so many things I've wanted to do in the last few years. But guilt of time away from the kids kept me from doing that. I should have realized a long, long time ago that a little time away would have made me a better mother. And maybe they would enjoy our time together a little more.

So, I want to go back to school in January. What was my first thought? Oh no! I can't be away from home 2 nights a week! What would the kids do? I wouldn't be there for them as soon as I came home. What about Brian? The guilt crept in. But now I am starting to see things a little different.

Sorry if this is rambling, but I thought I should explain where I've been and where I'm going. I feel much, much better. As though there is another world of possibilities open to me now because a little of that guilt has lifted.

As soon as I can delete the pictures of the Princess kissing her boyfriend off MY camera, I'll post pictures of knitting. And I promise to be back very soon. Thank you for your support through the last month :)

Posted by Heather at 2:56 PM 9 comments