Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall socks

Yesterday was the day to take in fair entries to the Tulelake Fair.  I had been planning to take my neon socks as my entry.  Buuuuuut I was so close to finishing the second sock on these Fall socks that I thought I could finish it in time......and after knitting like a mad woman all day I realized it just wasn't going to happen!  I had 3 rows left and the bind off and ends to weave in at 4:05 pm and Tulelake is about a 40 minute drive from my house.   And entries were due by 5pm.  So, I went with my original plan and entered my neon socks.  I should have gotten some sock forms for them or made some but - eh.

I'm really happy with how these socks turned out!  The striping matches up so well.  The one sock looks taller in the picture but I think I just tugged that one a bit more getting it on.

So, today is a bit cooler and feeling like Fall is right around the corner.  I have a minestrone soup in the crock pot.  One of the ladies at work has a prolific garden and brought in fresh green beans, zucchini, yellow squash and armenian cucumbers.  So, in the soup I have fresh beans and zucchini!  Yum.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Hey remember my last post where I said that I miss the security of having Scott around?  Yeah.  So that day a local sheriff was shot in the face and side while making a routine traffic stop here in town.  There was then a manhunt by police/sheriff to find the guy.  So, that's scary enough.  Thankfully they found the guy about 5:30 in the morning while he was trying to get out of town.  That was Wednesday.

Thursday morning I went out to get in my car to leave for work.  I had parked on the street right in front of my house because I had thought the night before I was going to do something and then ended up not doing it.  I also forgot to lock one of the car doors.  So.  I go to open the car door and notice that the door wasn't completely shut.  Dang!  I thought.  I hope I didn't run my battery down.  Get in the car and notice that the glove box is wide open.  and I have a center console the opens up and all the contents are on the passenger seat.  I start to run through what I had in there and it dawns on me that I had an extra house key because one time I locked myself out of the house.  The extra key, some tylenol and a cell charger were the only things I could tell were missing.  Cue hyperventilation, feeling like I'm gonna barf and crying.  

I immediately called the local lock shop and made an appointment for that afternoon to have my locks re-keyed.  The whole time waiting for that appointment I was at work worrying if someone was at that moment getting into my house, stealing things or worse hurting my dogs!  $95 later the locks were re-keyed and I thought I had some peace of mind.

Until dark.  Every time the dogs would run outside or bark I thought, is this it?  Is there an intruder?  Normally I sleep with windows open to get a nice cross breeze.  Nope.  Windows shut and locked.  My bedroom was stuffy so I had that window open but kept imagining the worst.  What would I do if someone started to get in?  Would it alert the dogs?  Would I hear it?  I would kind of drift to "sleep" when I'd jerk awake thinking I'd heard something.  Couldn't get comfortable.  Ended up shutting the window and got maybe one hour of sleep.

I am so tired.  I don't understand the thoughtlessness of some punk.  I don't understand why someone could feel like they have a right to get into someone else's car and rifle through it. And of course the timing of it at the same time as the shooting was really unnerving.   I didn't really worry about these kinds of things when Scott was alive.  I didn't fear for my safety.  And I miss that so much.  I miss him so much.

 I am also thankful that I could afford to have the locks re-keyed and I'm thankful nothing else was taken and nothing was broken.  It could have been so much worse and I'm so, so thankful that it wasn't.

p.s. the cell charger was broken so take that punks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

dreams and missing him

I think I've mentioned before that I have very detailed dreams.  A lot of times they are like watching science fiction or horror movies.  Sometimes they are just plain weird.  One thing they are always is exhausting.  Confusing.  And I usually remember them vividly.  Last night I had a dream that was weird and confusing and also had a few food combinations that I feel I should try.  Peanut butter and jelly on chocolate chip cookie bread - yes!

At the beginning of the dream Scott was alive.  And he was standing behind me and I was leaning on him.  Such a comforting, secure feeling.  That warmth supporting me, knowing that he had my back, literally.  And then the dream changed and he was in a plane crash and died but no one else was even injured and I was so confused how that could happen.  And, then I painted myself neon fuschia.  Huh.  And then it got even more weird and confusing ending with a dessert buffet.

But that feeling, I really miss that feeling.  The security.  I think that part of the dream came about because I was thinking yesterday that I miss the no judgement discussions we'd have.  About politics, religion, everything!  And yes I also miss the physical security.  I wasn't afraid with him around.  He was the biggest, baddest, coolest dude anywhere.

Anyway, no real point here - just life I guess.  That's what's happening on Wednesday at my house.  Oh, yesterday was "dog day" so I let Joey run around naked!  No cone and since his cone is attached to his collar, no collar!  He was a free dog!  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

comparing lives

I wrote this post last week and didn't publish it because I felt like my blog has been getting back to "normal" and I just don't know if anyone wants to be reading about my grief anymore.  Needless to say that just because I don't write about it here or post on facebook or talk about it as much doesn't mean that I'm not still feeling it.  I decided to post this because someone said something to me today that just hasn't been sitting right.  I was talking to this person about why I haven't gone back to school and the eventuality of buying a house someday.  And she said to me "But you're free now, you can go anywhere, do anything you want."  Ouch.  It pierced me straight through.  And  I know she meant well, and from her standpoint in her own life she would like to be free of her own tethers so to speak.  Here's the thing though - I have always been free!  I chose to stay with Scott, to tie myself to him but he was always very supportive of anything I ever wanted to do.  I do NOT look at his death as "yeah baby I'm free!  free at last".  I cringe even writing that.  It hurts my heart.  Please, don't ever say that to someone who has lost a loved one - just, don't.

It's funny reading over the post I wrote last week in light of the conversation today.  Anyhow, here's what I had written:

So I did something this week that I am still processing.  I'm not going to say exactly what I did in case it doesn't come to fruition.  But, what it was is something kind of huge.  And it really underscored for me that I am alone.  In the big things that happen in life, it's just me now.  I don't like it.  I know, I know - just because Scott died doesn't mean I did and yeah yeah he would want me to live and be happy.  But until you've been in my shoes you really don't know how this feels.  Going from "we" making decisions to just "me".  I have had more than one of my friends express their, I don't know, envy (?) of me being able to make my own decisions.  When I bought my sewing machine and was hemming and hawing and worried about spending that much money all at once a close friend said "I wish I was an adult and could make my own decisions to spend that much money on something I want".  I was telling another friend about my weekend a few weeks back, how I didn't get out of my pajamas all weekend and knitted, watched podcasts, took a nap - and she said she wished she had my life.

To both I said - no, you really don't though.  Sadly, both of them feel trapped in the marriages, lives that they have and long for a little freedom.  But, when I had Scott I did not feel trapped.  He gave me unending freedom - he told me ALL the time to buy what I wanted no matter the cost.  It was me that held myself back.  We wanted to have children and it didn't happen.  My life gets really lonely.  It's sad, really, that I look at what they have and think about how much I wanted that with him and will never have it.  And they look at me and think they would like what I have.  But, I have what I have out of devastation and death.  No one wants that.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy if I ever had one.

By doing what I did this week it got me thinking about olden times when a woman alone could be destined to destitution.  I'm definitely way more cautious about what I do financially but thank God being alone does not mean that I have no means to stay alive.  I am so thankful I have my job, car, house, family and dogs.  In many, many ways I am rich!  That fact does not escape me.

I guess the point of my post is that we all have struggles.  Every single one of us can look at someone else and think they have it made or  they have it all together or our lives would be awesome if it was like someone else's.  And as cliche as it is once we knew what their lives were really like we would probably just want our own lives back.

P.S.  you know how people say not to make any big decisions in the first year?  Yes to that.  But also I'd like to add not to get rid of any possessions either.  I got rid of some things that now that I'm out of the "fog" of the first year I'm wondering what happened to them and regretting if I got rid of them.  Like there was a little llama that Scott gave me that was fluffy and had little adornments on it.  Pretty sure I got rid of it because I can't find it anywhere.  Ugggggggg.

Friday, August 22, 2014


I've been knitting, knitting, knitting!  Here is sock #1 of my plum medley socks.  Plum Medley is the actual colorway name.  I felt like it was very Fall and Halloween.  I started this sock on August 10th and finished today, the 22nd.  So, 12 days mostly knitting 1/2 hour a day and the last couple days my internal alarm has woken me up earlier than my alarm so have knit about an hour each day.

I went with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel (FLK) again and it went very smoothly.  I still have a teensy gap on one side so I will just add a couple stitches there but no gap on the other side.  I will have to pay more attention to try and figure out just why I'm coming up with a gap.

Today I had a half day of work since I'll be working Saturday morning.  Even though I know I'll be working tomorrow I still feel like I'm getting a vacation day somehow!  Isn't that funny?  The boys love it, I came home at regular lunch time and they haven't had to get back in their kennels.  Joey has a vet visit in a bit to get more sutures removed from his ear.  His ear is healing so well from his surgery, I'm really hoping there are no setbacks once all the sutures have been taken out.

Let's see, what else is new?  Honestly not much.  Temps are dipping back down into the 40's at night but still warm during the day.  I'm glad not to have to turn on the air conditioner, which I really just have for the boys to be comfortable during the day.  This is the sweet time during the year where my electric bill relaxes.  No air and no heat, it's pretty perfect!

I realized some time this week that I haven't done any canning.  Usually by this time I've made strawberry rhubarb jam and at least one batch of pickles.  The thing is last year I didn't eat all the pickles I made!  I still have 4 or 5 jars.  I made a triple batch last year because I had gone through them so quickly the year before.  So, I'm still deciding what I'll do.  If I decide to make some pickles I will only make one batch.  I think I want to make jam for sure but rhubarb isn't ready yet.

My Mom and I have a trip to the coast coming up!  I can't wait :)  I won't say when we're going in case any creepers read my blog. (I don't think so but must be careful) I'm really needing some beach time.  Some just sit and soak in the sound of the waves.  Some knitting in a chair in the sun or even overcast fogginess.  Just ocean time!  And, Mom time.  It's going to be good.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

hermit crab

Like anyone grieving, I've gone through some phases.  Last summer I really didn't want to be home.  I wanted to be a beach bum as much as possible.  This year I could easily be a beach bum again but dang that gets expensive! Gas, hotel, dog kenneling.  This summer I am more of a hermit crab.  I am very much annoyed if I have too much to do during a week or on the weekend.  I'd rather just stay home with my pooches.  Preferably in pajamas :) grin.

This weekend has been pretty good.  I sewed, watched movies and chilled all day yesterday and then last night went to trivia night at a pizza parlor with friends.  Our team was losing until the last question when we made a wicked comeback listing 10 of the 16 legends in the song Vogue by Madonna!!!!!  Each correct answer was 10 points so we went from losing to 2nd place!  It was pretty funny.

Today I have done a little more sewing, knitting and watching podcasts.  Oh yeah and I just woke up from a 2 hour nap :)  I'm working on a new pair of socks - surprised? LOL not so much.  I started last Sunday and have been just trucking along and today I am right at adding the heel.  Isn't this yarn fun?  I bought it last year on one of my trips to the coast.  It reminded me of Halloween.

I edited this post to add pictures of a couple of the zipper bags I made this weekend.  I actually made 4 more but gave them away before getting pictures!  So, these two look the same but are a bit different.  I used iron on fleece for one and then regular stiff interfacing on the other.  So far I think the fleece is a bit easier to sew for me because it's like quilting but is squishier so not sure I like it for the bags.  Buuuuuut, I've seen other bloggers have used it so thought I'd give it a try.
 Okay, and here is where I run into most of my frustration with the bags.  Once you sew the sides along the zipper edges and then flip everything inside out to finish it's super puckery on the sides, like the green one.  Most instructions say to sew the zipper folded towards the outside and that happens every time.  By a happy accident I had folded the zipper towards the inside and I think it came out better, a little more flush.  It's easier to see in person of course.

These two bags are destined for a fairy princess named Charese!  She wanted them to put in her car to help keep her organized.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

making and finishing

I have a few finished objects to share with you!  I have been busy testing out my new machine!  And knitting!  I'm going to go in order of finishing, so first up is my neon socks!  These are super bright and I love them!  I also love that Rocky is in the backround looking at me like I am ca-razy!  Could be.
Here you can see that the colors didn't quite line up, which I'm okay with.  The way the yarn is in the ball I couldn't tell what colors would be coming next and I didn't want to unravel the whole thing to get them to line up.
  Also, for information purposes, it is hard to get a picture of your own feet!  For the top one I held out my camera like taking a really low selfie and that seemed to work the best.
Friday night I made this cute little zipper pouch.  I really like the way it turned out!  I love the fabric, it was just a scrap that Jan had left over from a project that she had given me.  I'm hoping that Joann's has more.  I also made a little beaded zipper pull for it that I think turned out cute.  This is currently in the mail on it's way to a friend.

And then, dun dunna dun!   My first finished quilt with my new machine!!!!!!!  This worked up really quickly!  I used basting spray and safety pins to baste the layers yesterday morning.  Flannel is so fiddly that I literally at one point wanted to chuck it!  But, glad I didn't because it's so soft and preeeeeetty :)  This was a large piece that Mom sent me.  She had gotten a super good deal on it at a yard sale or thrift in Chico.  And, bonus, it was already sewn into a large backing for me!  Altogether I think the quilt is about 72 inches X 72 inches.  The quilting only took about 3 hours.  Then I'd say another 1.5 or so hours to make the binding and attach it.  Which I think is pretty good! 

I really am appreciating the features on this machine that make it obvious it's for quilting.  There is a button to push that makes the needle stop in the down position every time (love!) and the auto thread cutting is nice.  There is a separate motor for the bobbin winder so you don't have to unthread and stop in the middle of whatever you're working on.  Nice!  Also, there's a button that automatically makes a little knot at the beginning or when you stop sewing.  And the tension and stitches are just nice.  You still have to control it yourself with moving the fabric around but it seems easier with this machine compared to my old machines.  I'm thankful I had those old machines to learn on though.  Is it sad that I feel loyal to an inanimate object? LOL

Here's a close up of the front and you can see the binding.  I had this really fun, funky toadstool fabric in my stash for awhile now.  I kept trying to put it into a project but it never quite fit.  So, I was pawing through fabrics yesterday after I had finished stippling and grabbed it up.  It's a different choice for sure but I think it works.
Here is the whole quilt view.

And look out!  Dog with a cone coming through! Dog with a cone people!   Inevitably whenever I'm taking pictures of one of my projects one of the boys needs to be right in the middle of it!  This time it's Joey.  He is in the cone from his ear surgery.  Which is going really well, healing really well.  This week we'll start taking out sutures.  
This is my favorite fabric probably in the whole quilt.  It's a fun little vintage print that Mom had in her stash.  She shared a piece of it with me so I put a few squares of it in this quilt.  It's all little items that represent luck.

So, that's it so far.  I did also hem up a tshirt for Jan's husband and it turned out well but that's boring, right?  I did get to try out the twin needle top stitching and I lurve it!  Like super love it.  I had big, big plans for today making zipper pouches but then house cleaning kind of had to happen today so you know.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

new sewing machine

Well, I did it!  I bought a new sewing machine!  Yesterday I drove over to Medford and bought it and set it up this morning!!!!!!  
So, here she is all set up.  There's a little table thing that slides up to it.  Honestly I don't think I'll use it for regular sewing, but for a quilt I think it will be nice.  This morning I was reading the instruction book and there is an overlock stitch and coordinating foot - that means it does the same stitch as a serger would!!!!!  There is also a setting for twin needle stitching, and it came with a twin needle.  I'm really looking forward to trying that.  

Look at all the feet it came with!  There is a walking foot, blind hem, open darning foot (for quilting), zipper foot, button hole, so many!  

 Once I got it out of the box and set up I realized that it is right about the size of my old Millie, the brother machine I've been quilting with.  Which is nice because I'm already used to the size of the machine from that.  It's definitely bigger than my Singer and more substantial than that one.  There are so many features to try out!

Here's the first finished project with my new machine!  A zipper pouch with a fun beaded zipper pull.  I know it's not Fall yet but I saw this fabric at Joann's and had to get a bit to make a pouch!  I thought it would be fun in the Fall to have a project bag with that theme :)  The off white fabric at the bottom I sewed a thin ribbon on either side to help it stand out a bit.  I should have put the stripe towards the top of the pouch, I didn't think it would end up so low after putting in the gussets.  eh.  I lined it in the same fabric.

 Here's a little close up on the zipper pull.  Kay from my new favorite podcast, The Bakery Bears, makes little beaded zipper pulls on her pouches.  So, you know, I had to copy her!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Knitting influences

I bought this book a couple weeks ago and I've been enjoying reading it.  It's a collection of knitters who tell a little story of how they started knitting and who specifically inspired them in their creativity.  They also share a pattern that is inspired by that person.  I've enjoyed it for a number of reasons.  In the introduction is this paragraph that really rings true for me, in more avenues than just knitting:

"Throughout our knitting world, there lurks the refrain 'it's not your grandmother's knitting,' meant to imply that our grandmothers were unsophisticated knitters, had outmoded ideas, lacked style, or were otherwise dowdy or uncool.  This sentiment deprives us from really seeing knitting through our grandmothers' eyes and understanding what they loved about it.  It discounts our grandparents' skill - in many cases developed over an entire lifetime - and also their style, individuality, and grace.  I hope this book will convince you - or just remind you - that the knitting we do is our grandmothers' knitting.  Not only are the knits, purls, cables, and eyelets the same stitches our grandmothers made, but also the unique 'knitters hand' that comes through in each of our works is influenced in some part by the people we grew up with."

I love that.  I love thinking of someone learning to knit from their grandmother and then passing it along to their own children or grandchildren.  There's something cozy to me about that.

Naturally, I've been thinking about why I learned to knit and wondering who inspired me.  I didn't grow up watching anyone knit or crochet.  Quilt and sew, yes!  That is a no-brainer - my Mom - so it's kind of in my blood.  There was no way I wasn't going to sew, make dolls, and eventually quilt.  But knit?  It's more vague.  This is going to sound so silly, but! there was a book I read when I was quite younger, a young adult romance even, where the main character's best friend knitted.  I don't even remember the name of the book or the character's names or anything else except that the knitting she did made an impression.  In one part of the book she knitted up a sweater for her friend in a ridiculous amount of time, like one day or something?  I remember thinking at the time how cool that was.  Now that I do knit I know it's unrealistic.

Around the time I did actually learn to knit it was all over the trash mags and stuff that Julia Roberts would knit on movie sets.  And I remember thinking that it must be something that people actually do.  That was like 1998-9 time frame.  While Scott was in Korea I thought I'd learn how to crochet first.  I figured that one hook would be easier to manage than two needles.  I bought a book and set to it.  I didn't get it.  I kind of got it but it was hard to pick out what I was supposed to be stitching into.  After he got back from Korea I bought a book, "I can't believe I'm Knitting" and that made sense!  The stitches all contained and easy to see on the needle.  I can't really pinpoint when I started knitting for reals, like had to have a project going in addition to sewing.  I'm so glad I stuck with it though!  I'm so grateful to those who came before me and figured out the stitches and wrote books and patterns and shared their knowledge!

What about you?  When did you first start knitting and who inspired you?