Things I am Excited About Now That I’m Feeling Better and School is Out

Because seriously, I’ve been sick almost three weeks.  I’ve been on medication since Saturday and am feeling dramatically better, but until I’m done with these stupid metal-mouth meds, I’m still sick.

  1. The garden! Hoping to buy some plants and put some seeds in the ground this weekend.  Which reminds me that instead of doing crossword puzzles and eating Arctic Zero (not recommended), I should be figuring out where and what I’m going to plant.
  2. Knitting! I have barely touched my needles or my stash since finishing my socks in February, and I have a sweater all ready to start – I just have to, well, start it.
  3. Running!  This stupid sick has kept me off the roads long enough.  My last long run was the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, which was over a month ago.  Since then I’ve put in a handful of consistently paced 3-4 milers, but nothing close to double digits, which is what I should be doing in preparation for the Dexter-Ann Arbor half in a few weeks.  Side note: when I went to the doctor last weekend, I remarked that at this time last year, I was sidelined from running and in to see her because of knee pain which, amazingly, has almost completely subsided.  Better to be sidelined for something treatable – like this stupid sick – than for a serious or chronic injury!
  4. The farmers’ market!  Seriously, we haven’t been since October – and didn’t go that often last fall because we were overwhelmed with produce from our garden – and because one or the other of us was out of town so often.  A good problem to have, but I miss the Saturday morning routine and the opportunity to bump into so many friends all in the same place.
  5. So many upcoming weekend trips!  By the end of June, we’re going to be SO HAPPY to have a weekend at home – but for now, before we’re in the middle of it, I’m eagerly anticipating a weekend in Rockford for Max’s birthday, Cleveland/Dayton for Trav + Kristen’s shower and to see Linda + Jeremiah + Milo, Chicago for Dan + Laura’s reception and to see friendos, New York to visit Carrie, and then Cleveland again for Trav + Kristen’s wedding.


It’s a great then when you can knock off an entire new year’s resolution in the first six weeks of the year. For me, that resolution was socks. Knitting socks, that is – though if I’d resolved to buy new cute socks from Sock Dreams, well, I could check that resolution off the list as well.

Sock #1
Sock #1, completed at a Super Bowl party over the weekend.

The pattern is Candide Ragg Socks and Cap, which was generously shared with me by Leah, who also took on sock knitting this winter. I ran into a few problems mostly related to trying to figure out the technique and pattern on my own. I knit the body of the foot inside out – oops. Then I misread the instructions for decreasing on the toe, resulting in a very strangely shaped foot, but nothing I couldn’t quickly fix between bites of brisket taco and omg queso dip.

Sock #2 in progress
Sock #2 in progress

And THEN I forgot to change needles when I started on the foot of sock #2, resulting in a somewhat looser fit. This isn’t a big deal, especially as the socks will probably shrink a bit in the wash. And even if it does turn out to be a big deal, the yarn was cheap, and I can make another pair. Or another pattern. Or whatever.


Regardless, I knit socks! And you should be glad you’re not my husband, because I spent a good part of last night nudging Shane and saying “dude!” and “look at these effing socks!” and “i made socks!”. How awesome is that?

2011 Resolutions

I usually like to give myself until my birthday to make resolutions and to report in on those from the previous year. This year, however, I’m pretty set on my list, and if I post it today, that gives me almost 13 months to complete the following:

  1. Expand my bread repertoire by baking 2 new types per month.  I can make a solid sandwich loaf, but there are many more loaves to try!
  2. Knit socks.  I’m there.  I can do this.
  3. Run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  If my knee, winter training, or finances prevent this, run at least one 10K.
  4. Continue saving aggressively for a down-payment on a house.  We’re hoping to buy this summer, but it might be advantageous to wait another year, which is why this resolution is ‘save’ not ‘buy’.
  5. Complete the 25 Recipes challenge, in which we attempt to master 25 recipes that we’ve been intending to try.
  6. Learn to accessorize.  I love the look of scarves, jewelry, and all of that, but haven’t spent much time figuring out how to work those things into my wardrobe.
  7. Make a decision about grad school.  Do I need/want more of it? In what field? This decision will largely be influenced on my job situation.
  8. Sock away 3 months’ worth of my half of the household budget (approx $4500).  I worked on this in 2009, was un/underemployed for a few months, and then got a job that pays $15,000 less than I was making when we established our budgets. I’ll be posting about this and other financial goals on How I Am Not Spending Money.  Hopefully extra income from teaching will help with this.
  9. Survive my first semester of teaching.  Can I tell you how intimidated I am about this?  It’s a little paralyzing.
  10. Take a solo trip and a vacation with SB.  We’re thinking Portland or San Francisco, and I’m thinking that my reward for #9 should be a trip to NYC.

What do you want to do in the new year?

Things I Love Thursday #4

  • The Naked and FamousPassive Me, Aggressive You – so into this album right now!
  • Also The Morning BendersBig Echo, which is sort of Bonnaroo-y but generally good background music for GTD.
  • 20 minutes on the fluid trainer on Sunday resulted in jelly legs and two days of soreness.  These are good things.
  • The THIRD Kindle case I knit and felted actually quite close to perfect.  One more go and I think I’ll be able to share the pattern, which I modified from a laptop case I found on Ravelry.
  • Kitsune Udon from Tomukun for dinner last night with Juli and Dave.  Sweet and savory, fragrant and filling.  I wish Tomukun were closer to my office so that I could get there more often than every 4-5 months.
  • A brief respite from the onset of winter weather means I was able to run! in shorts! yesterday.  And my knee cooperated!
  • FINALLY ALMOST DONE with the “holiday” knitting for Shane’s non-holiday family.  The last project will be out the door tonight, and then I can tackle my actual holiday knitting.

Needles in a Haystack

I’m not going to pledge to make all of my gifts this year – I do, after all, have a status-conscious 14 year old brother – but I am hoping to make the majority of my gifts for the myriad babies, birthdays, and holidays between now and the end of the year. To that end, I’ve started a list, and have been trying to pick up supplies here and there. Thus the subject of this post: my quest for size 4 circular needles with a 16 inch cable.

I have an interchangeable needle set that I love, but the shortest cable is 24″. I wish I’d realized how big of an issue this was going to be when I picked this set out, but that’s neither here nor there, and I’ve gotten a good amount of use out of the needles since the holidays, so let’s stop with the complaining on that front. ANYWAY.

My first stop on my yarn store adventure was the Yarn Sellar, a new-to-me knitting store on Riverside in Rockford. The store was packed full of gorgeous yarns and fun projects, and the owner was happy to chat with me about mutual acquaintances (yes, even after 7 years away from Rockford this happens on a regular basis) and my nascent knitting obsession.  No size 4s with the right cable, though.  9″ or 29″ cables were on offer, neither of which would really work.  I left with some lovely yarn (and a discount thanks to viewing their Yelp page), but no needles.

Next stop: Unique Yarns, amusingly (to me) located in the former Computer Renaissance location at Edgebrook.  I think the last time I was in that particular shopfront was in 1998, when I was first dating my ex and still working at Wonderland myself.  It’s a fantastic space for a yarn store – lots of room for a work table, comfy chairs, and a room for classes – plus loads of yarn, of course.  I had been warned that their prices – and merchandise, to some extent – was higher end, but I was mostly excited to see batts and skeins of yarn from local sheep and alpaca farms!  I bought a skein of yarn from Alpacas de Rio Rosa – specifically from alpaca # 30334489, aka Rocky.  Thanks, Rocky!  Unique Yarns DID have bamboo size 4s with the right cable, but the price was a bit steep, so (figuring they were cheaper, which they almost always are) I asked for a set of metal ones and paid without looking at the price.

As it turns out, the price was easily double what I would’ve paid elsewhere, and about 30% more than the bamboo needles.  I shrugged it off – “At least I’m supporting a local business!” – then, when I continued to suffer from buyer’s remorse, asked my mom to return the needles when next she’s at Edgebrook.

Which brings me to tonight’s venture: JoAnn Fabrics.  The only size 4 circulars had a 29″ cable.  Not wanting to make another trip, I just picked up a set of size 4 DPNs for half the price of the needles Mom is returning.  DPNs still make me anxious, but I’m trying to get over it.

And then I got home and discovered that I already had a set of size 4 DPNs.

In Which I Am an Upstanding Knitter

So the other day I was home sick and decided to tackle a knitting project I’ve had my eye on since my sister announced her pregnancy last fall, thus kicking off OMG BABIES EVERYWHERE 2010. (Seriously, babies everywhere you guys.)  With plenty of time on my hands and a backlog of Gossip Girl, I whipped through the hat in a couple of hours, putting the finishing touches on it at knitting group the next day.

This got me to thinking: maybe I should make a few of these hats and put them in my Etsy store, which has sat empty since the holidays!  Which then led me to wonder whether or not I could legally sell a hat made from someone else’s pattern.

So I contacted the pattern designer.  I explained the modifications I had made to her pattern, and asked whether the licensing on her pattern would allow me to sell projects that I made with it.  She replied that while she had no problem with me selling hats I made with her pattern, the modifications I made essentially reverted the pattern back to the one she had modified originally.

So I tracked down the creator of the original pattern, and was along the way pointed to a great resource explaining copyright issues related to crafting in general, and knitting in particular.  I explained the process by which I’d made the hat to the original pattern creator, and was told that while I couldn’t sell projects made directly from the pattern (or others in the book, I assume), I was welcome to make my own modifications and then sell the resulting projects.

So while I’m disappointed that I can’t list the adorable hat that I made the other night, I do feel like an upstanding citizen and responsible crafter.

MAYBE the best picture ever taken of me

24 Hour Crafty People

While I can’t commit to 24 full hours of crafting – I value naps and weekend relaxing too much for that – I have signed up for a 24 Hour Make-Along for this weekend.  To keep myself honest and committed, here’s what I plan on working on:

  • Finish Sipes’s stripey cat
  • Sew [redacted] for baby [redacted]
  • Make yogurt according to Olivia’s instructions
  • Dye my sad Old Navy hoodie (and also something else that I’m forgetting at the moment) kelly green
  • Give pita bread another try
  • At least cast on a baby project for [redacted] or [redacted] or [redacted]
  • Darn socks?  Maybe?


For Lent this year, I’ve decided to not buy any craft supplies. I actually implemented this ban a couple of weeks ago, but it is intended as my Lenten sacrifice. This should serve a couple of purposes:

  1. Saving money
  2. Encouraging stash-down
  3. Knocking out projects I’ve been meaning to get to but somehow don’t because new ideas are more exciting

The only acceptable exceptions to this rule are supplies needed for wedding stuff.  We’re getting married two weeks after Easter, so for my sanity and Shane’s, if we decide to DIY anything for the wedding, those purchases are allowed.  My friend spark has signed on for this challenge as well, and she agreed this is an acceptable cheat.

In the spirit of stash down, my first project was eliminating my Sugar n Cream yarn by making burp cloths for two of my pregnant friendos.  There’s a freaking huge baby boom going on amongst our friends and relations, so there may be many of baby projects coming in the next six months.  These were super easy and went very quickly, and I’m generally quite pleased with the results!

Ravelympics project: 8 burp cloths

Up next?  Either much belated birthday x-stitch projects, a birthday hat or two, or baby sweaters.  Or maybe all of the above.

2010 Resolutions and/or Action Items

  1. Focus on my relationships and be a more patient and loving partner and friend.  Also cat parent to Basil, who is adorable but drives me freakin’ nuts.
  2. Get married. This should be action item #1, but item #1 on this list is actually much more important.
  3. Save aggressively for a house and for overall financial stability.
  4. Go camping and generally explore our new state.
  5. Get over my fear of DPNs and knit the kittyville hat.
  6. Write two more issues of my zine.
  7. Run 500 miles. This works out to roughly 9.5 miles per week. Totally doable.
  8. Learn CSS. I mean really learn it. More than just troubleshooting and/or fixing things.
  9. Read 30 books. This works out to 2.5 books per month.
  10. Kitchen Diaries project, which should result in achieving the following sub-goals:
    1. focus on healthy, flavorful meals
    2. try several new recipes each month
    3. learn more about the camera + take better photos
    4. update my/our blogs more regularly