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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'...you 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?

Sunday, July 31, 2011


So I know I was jazzed about starting P.T. and I knew I would probably hurt before things started to feel better...but honestly, can anyone explain why I hurt so much when I'm only stretching!  I haven't even started any exercises.  My back is so out of whack that I have to do the modified versions of the stretches that she showed me, because my hip and ankle joints hurt.  Right now as I sit here typing this, my knee is throbbing.  This is gonna be fun.

Also, I have an appointment tomorrow at the DHS office so that'll be fun :|  And after that, I get to see if I can get Alex in to see the doctor for a suspicious looking rash on is arms, face, back, and ears.  Meanwhile, I also have to find time to work on my paper that's due on Tuesday night.  But don't think that means that I'm not going to Denise's to watch True Blood tonight, lol.  Or posting every day for a week during my busiest school-related week so far.  Cause that makes sense, right??  If it makes any difference...I didn't knit anything yesterday...

In knitting news, my rockstar test-knitter Daisy found three small errors in the numbers for my outer mitten between yesterday and today (and I just sent the pattern yesterday!), and she's managed to finish the first mitten.  She's a knitting force of nature!  Thankfully, she chooses to use her powers for good instead of evil.  So, this means that I just might get this pattern out faster than I expected, all depending on how quickly I can get the other mitten finished.  Or on whether or not I can resist casting on for this or this.  I tried to ignore them, but I keep finding myself checking out the finished projects and clicking on the pattern to see what it is.  It's going viral!  I usually try to avoid these types of patterns because I don't want to be a sheep in the herd...but I'm a total sheep!  They're just so genius, and I'm just so powerless to resist.  Maybe I'll be saved by my huge school workload, my family obligations, and my unreasonably large Ravelry que.