Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Year With My Yarn. Seriously . . .

I had a wakeup call yesterday.  Not only do I try to do too much.  I have too much yarn.

I have a scarytoomuchamount of too much yarn.

I decided that since the china hutch is sitting empty in my living room since the Hull is gone, that I would put the sweater quantities of yarn in there where they would look pretty and I could see them.

JesusMaryandJoseph.  This photo actually makes me feel uncomfortable.  There is enough here for 20 sweaters and 4 sweaters with long sleeves. And there's more that's not in there yet - at least three sweaters' worth more.  Not to mention accessories that can be made from the left-overs.

This is just not OK. It's too much.  Much like having too many African violets, it's not fun to contemplate this much yarn . . .

As you know, I have been divesting and making space in my life and home for the past few months.  I suppose it was only a matter of time before I took a serious look at my yarn stash. 

I am foregoing my annual trek up to The Fold on New Year's Day this year.  As much as there are friends I would love to see there, I don't want to be tempted to buy yarn on sale - and believe me, it's quite a sale. 

I'm looking to match up yarn with patterns and get started knitting some of this up - accessories as well as sweaters.  And you can be reasonably assured that there will be more yarn on my Ravelry trade/sell page in the relatively near future. 

I think it's reasonable to think I could have all the yarn in one place in my home instead of four . . .  (the yarnoire in the sunroom, the door chest in the guest room, there's still a little in the closet in the guest room and now the china hutch).  Guess we'll see by the end of the year how well I do with this notion  :-)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looking for the Balance . . .

I know I said I wanted to be living more in the present . . .  ;-)  I do.  I am.  But, it doesn't stop me from thinking about 2014 - particularly during these last days of the year.  I don't make resolutions anymore - but I do think about goals and things I would like to accomplish.

One of the things I have been seriously thinking about again is "A Year With My Yarn."  This is project I made up a couple of years ago - I've tried it before and not been particularly successful.  But I think 2014 is my year!  What is it?  It's me, looking at knitting with yarn I already have.  I don't choose to think of it as a "yarn diet."  We all know that the D word can really color an experience of any sort - so I prefer to think of it as A Year With My Yarn :-)  (I'm including fiber in this - I have plenty to spin up right here before I think about acquiring any more.)  I already know that I will have six skeins of yarn coming in next year because I treated myself to a membership in the Rockin' Sock Club again for 2014.  But other than that . . . well, I'm all about the balance in 2014, so I'm just going to take it day by day and use the yarn I already have.  It's time for my stash to become manageable again  :-)

I got a LOT accomplished with Project Zero for the last three months of the year, and that will continue in some format online in the Fish Knits Ravelry Group, but the Project Zero page here on the blog will go away.  I mean, I will certainly mention it from time to time, but I originally planned for it to just be a 3-month project, and the end of the three months will be here in less than a week.  I can let that go.  (Yay Me!!)

In addition, here is something that I have realized:  I try to do too much.  OMG I just crack myself up.  Are the tears running down your face from laughter yet?  :-D  :-D  Sometimes I'm not able to see the patently obvious . . . I try to do too much.  People have been telling me this for years.  :-D  Here's a good example - When I was actively participating in my 365 Project, I posted on the 365 site, but then felt like I had to post here, too.  Same thing with Project Zero - I started it in the YOSS Group on Ravelry, and then decided I had to chronicle it here, too. 

Double the work . . .

So, in looking for the balance in 2014, do I really need to do everything twice?  I think I can safely say that I don't.  I can and I will share stuff here - that's what this blog is for, but I no longer feel compelled to chronicle everything in multiple places.  I think this is a good thing  :-)   Good for me because it will be easier and I'll have more time to write, and good for you because you'll have links to other interesting websites  :-)  Win-win!!  Yay!!

Speaking of my 365 Project - I did get a new camera, a Fujifilm Finepix SL300, and I actually picked my 365 Project back up in these last few weeks of the year and likely will continue into 2014 again.  And I'll be sharing some of the photos here from time to time, but if you want to follow my life in photos, I invite you to the 365 Project website.  I'm on there as Annie97 - here is a link to my 365 Project and there is one over on the sidebar now  :-)  I also sent my Canon G11 in for repair, as mentioned last week - and I'm really hoping they can replace the lens because I liked it better than I like the Fuji.

I'm still - for the most part - an ovo-pescetarian.  The Strict Program for Three Months has pretty much become my way of life - so that will be continuing on in 2014.  I continue to look for the balance there as I could stand to be smaller, but the good news is that I have found that, for the most part, I don't enjoy eating the way I used to eat.  I do enjoy a good cheeseburger once in awhile (and that's like a couple three times a year which the doc says is A-OK), but that's about it.  French fries taste gross and too many sweets make me feel ill and trigger flare ups of inflammation.  So - I think I have done well in finding the balance here.  I could use some work on variety in my food, but I feel like I've got a good grasp on the day-to-day piece, and I'm pretty much off the anti-inflammatory drug I used to have to take because of the changes I've made this year.  Yay Me!!!!

So, those are the things I've been thinking about as I look toward the new year.  What about you?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I wish you a day of love and laughter and fun and happiness.  And I wish you a peaceful and loving spirit.  And I wish you all good things in the coming New Year.

This is a shot of my tree - my mom's tree, actually.  I still use it.  She loved all things iridescent  :-)  And this is now the only blue spruce around here . . . makes me love it all the more  :-)

Thank you for reading my blog - I think blogs are almost a little old-fashioned anymore, but I still love mine and I still love writing here, so although I have let a lot of other things go in these past few months.  I'm sticking here, so I hope you'll keep reading and maybe share it with your friends  :-)

Here is something peaceful to celebrate this wonder-filled and joyous day  . . .

Merry Christmas, and all good wishes for the coming New Year  :-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Moving Forward . . .

What a weekend this has been.  Yesterday was just not a great day no matter how you shake it.

I did have some heartening news about my Canon G11 camera - I realized it's still under warranty, so I sent it back to the factory to see if they will replace the lens.  But that was about it on the happy possibilities front.

And yet . . .  I'm very sure that everything that has occurred in these last three weeks is all part of making space in my life for whatever is coming.  As I've said before - change is sometimes challenging.  And yet, if we can't change, we get stuck.  And if we get stuck . . . well, I'm sure you see where that analogy is going.  So, I keep moving forward.  Sometimes it's just looking for the next right step - no master plan, just the next right thing, one after another until I can find my footing and regroup.

Shedding the past and moving into the present.  I've been thinking about this lot - I have been living a bit in the future rather than the here and now.  Something for me to work on  :-)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

. . . and More Change . . .

I don't know how much more I can stand . . .

Two weeks ago I said goodbye to regular production of my podcast, All About African Violets.

Last week, I said goodbye to the Ravelry group of which I was a co-founder and co-moderator, Year of Stash Socks (known in the vernacular as YOSS).  After three years, the other moderators and I knew that it was time to say goodbye - it will shut down at the end of the year.

And today - on the Solstice - the shortest day of the year, I am saying goodbye to the stand of Blue Spruce trees in my backyard.

It's a gloomy, gloppy day here in Chicagoland.  And my heart is just breaking . . .  They have stood guard back at the wayback of my yard for the decade I've been here and many before.  The house was built more than 50 years ago and I'm sure these trees are at least 50 years old.  There are eight of them back here (and one in the front that's got to go, too).

You can see in this photo (although it's dark - really gloomy today) that they are so very ill.  They have something called cytospora canker and are dying from the ground, up.  They were all too far gone to be saved. . . 

They start cutting at the bottom and they took the biggest one first.

Then they work their way up as far as is safe and then cut the top off - here is the top, just falling (toward me actually).

And here is it on the ground.  I had to stop watching after this first one . . .

JesusMaryandJoseph I am so sad about this.  It's just horrible to see them come down.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Change is Hard . . .

Today I uploaded the last regular episode of my weekly video podcast, All About African Violets.  Producing this weekly series has been a labor of love for the past 18 months, but when I came back from Scotland in late October, I realized that it would soon be time to stop.

When I started, I knew that the podcast would be finite - that there would come a day when I would be out of naterial and it would be time to end.  At that time I figured if I could get all the interviews and show footage I hoped for and all the info/how to segments, I would have about 18 months of material.

I was pretty much right on the money.  It's right about 18 months - and if I were to continue production I would begin to repeat myself.

None of that makes it any easier to let it go.

I am blue - and yet I know that the timing is right.  It has been a tremendous ride, that's for sure.  I met so many viewers at various events, and so many were active participants with me - asking questions and leaving comments on the website and FaceBook page.  I learned so much from all the guests who were gracious enough to sit down with me for 15 or 20 minutes (sometimes longer!) to share their experience and their knowledge with me and my viewers.

I produced a weekly episode faithfully for 76 weeks - I never missed an episode, even when I was traveling.  It was a lot of work, but man, it was a LOT of fun  :-)  And it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  For a niche podcast, it developed a pretty substantial audience that was international in scope early on and continued to grow throughout its entire run.

All the episodes will remain on the website for the foreseeable future so that people can still access them and recommend them to other growers, as well as newbie growers.  And yes, I've thought about DVDs - I'm looking into that possibility.  And I'm quite sure to film some "specials" in the coming months, but regular production has ceased.

I would estimate that stopping production will give me back probably 4 - 5 hours back into my weekends.  It might not sound like a lot, but to someone who works full-time, it's a gold mine.  Four or five more hours. . .  that's huge.

I believe that letting go of my podcast is part of the way that I am making space in my life for whatever is coming, and I continue to physically divest here in the house - making space both figuratively and literally in my life and in my home for whatever is coming.  I still don't know what that might be, but my heart and spirit are open to it and I know it will appear when the time is right and all will be made clear.  In the meantime, I'm embracing the gift of time I have just given myself.

I finished the episode on Friday night and did the editing and took care of the post production details yesterday.  And then.last night, for the first time in weeks, I had enough energy and enough time at the SAME time to finally get a good pipe practice in.  It felt really good to sit down and just play again.  I can already see some of those found hours given to pipe practice.  :-)

Hard to believe (how did 18 months fly so quickly?!).  Sad in some ways (saying goodby on camera was hard).  Exciting in others (something is coming and I'm preparing for it).

Change is hard - but change is inevitable.

A friend gave me this years ago - I keep it where I can see it every day.  It's how I'm feeling right about now:


 The teeny weeny print says: "Pluck" on the yellow bag.  And on the right: "Her heart glowed with a degree of happy assurance."

I LOVE this - and although my heart is sad, it's also glowing for whatever comes next. And so I'm embracing this change in the routine of my life and I will keep moving forward. :-)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Time Warp. . .

It's astounding . . . Time is fleeting . . . Madness takes its toll . . .

I know I say this a lot, but I'm really finding that the older I get the more time seems to compress for me.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about that - however, I know how I feel about the alternative, so I just keep moving forward  ;-D

Am heading back into the regular world after a really nice four-day weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I went downtown to catch up with a friend on Saturday - we went to see Straight No Chaser and then had dinner at McCormick & Schmick's.  Straight No Chaser was amazing, although I didn't care for the girl who was their opening act, and McCormick & Schmick's is a really easy place for an ovo-pescetarian to be able to eat.  Yay!

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.  I went to church.  I haven't been in quite awhile.  People used to give me a hard time about just going to church rather than singing in the choir, and so I avoided going for quite some time.  But also, I found that I often just really have needed to have Sunday to get ready for the week to come.  But I want to go during Advent - particularly as I am in this place of transition.  It was good.

Yesterday I updated my destash on Ravelry and sold a bunch of Wollmeise pretty quickly.  Got it all packaged up and am hauling a big bag of packages downtown with me today to get it all in the mail.  I did treat myself to the 2014 Rockin' Sock Club, so there will be yarn coming in next year - and I also got a sweater's worth of Wollmeise DK weight - I'm praying that I don't find it as splitty as the sock yarn . . . But other than these two purchases, I think I'm done again buying yarn/fiber for a really long while.  The yarn I got in Scotland arrived a few weeks ago (still in the package - I need to photo it and put it away), but that's really it here. I'm going to try "A Year with My Yarn" again in 2014.  I didn't do so well last time, but I'm going to see how it goes - I do believe that it's completely possible to not buy any yarn or fiber in 2014.

The other thing I treated myself to (my Christmas present  :-)  ), was a new treadmill.  Yes!  A Sole F85 is on its way to me now, and if all goes well, it will be ensconced down in the basement before Christmas.  I really, really miss having a treadmill and am really, really looking forward to having one again.  It's harder to get smaller - harder even to maintain - without it.

The destash of my home here continues, because the other thing I did yesterday was begin to gather up all the old electronics in this house that I don't use any longer.  My cousin's husband knows a place that will take all this stuff - they either repurpose it for folks with cerebral palsy, or if they cannot use it, they will recycle it properly.  So - three old cell phones and two old PDAs later, everything that I can delete has been deleted and I have a small bag of that stuff complete in some cases with software and cables  :-) 

Next up I have two old laptops - one of which is my old DOS dinosaur that I took with me on "The Summer O' Fun" in 1997 when I drove all of old Route 66.  I'm going to fire it up tonight and pull off whatever is left on it  :-D  My other laptop is much more recent and I will be able to grab stuff from it onto a thumb drive.  Then there are two old computers in the garage that have been sitting around - everything that could be removed is already off of both of them.

I did look into recycling all the old paint and old fluorescent tubes/lights and batteries.  the places I've found so far want money to do that - but I'm supposed to check at the hardware store as they at one time had a thing going with ComEd where they would take the CFs and tubes.  I'll do that sometime this week.

I did manage to finish up a pair of socks over the weekend:
Patty Socks 1

Just some plain vanilla's.  The yarn is Happy Hands Toe Jamz.  It's 75/25 Merino/Nylon, but not superwash.  Still, very festive!  These are for a friend of mine in Colorado who suffered a closed-head/traumatic brain injury when she fell from her horse.  She has a long road to recovery and I thought they might help keep her feet warm on the journey.

There are a lot of knitting projects just waiting for my attention . . . again, I am in the position of casting on more than I finish  ;-)  I'll be remedying that in the weeks to come.  At least that's the plan.

The house is decorated for Christmas - as much as it's going to be.  I didn't do much this year, but it's enough - and more importantly, it's all I really felt able to do this year.  It's enough to raise my spirits, but not so much that I have to dread mid-January when I'll have to put it all away!

Onward  :-)

p.s. Oh, and you're welcome for that earworm - I would have included the video for you, but You Tube and Blogger were not playing nice this morning  :-D