Sunday, 28 August 2011

318 days

318 days of work. Not like, every day work . . . but it was there and in progress for 318 days.

That's 10.5 months.

I started it before Boober was born. It was supposed to be his. Now, I don't think I can let the kids play with it.
What is it? My trusty and faithful Companion Cube.

Long ago, I went to Shall We Knit, and I got myself 3 skeins of Cascade 220. 1 in pink and 2 shades of grey. I carefully transported it home, and brought it inside, full of caution and optimism. This was to be Boober's Companion Cube - to keep him company on long, cold nights. To always be there for him when he needed it most. To play with in the car seat, and the stroller, and wherever else he might be.
And then I prepped for the big cast on. I printed out the pattern. I wound skeins into infinitely more useable balls. I checked the Ravelry pattern page for info re: needle size - and I froze in horror. The yarn called for in the original pattern is fingering weight. The yarn I purchased was worsted weight. For those of you who a) don't knit, or b) don't give a fig about gauge - there is marked difference in the size of these 2 yarns. This would take the Cube from a handful, to something rather . . . large.
I cast on anyway. 'So what,' I thought, 'it's a toy! Gauge isn't really important! It's kind of funny when you think about it.'
And then I knit a few rows. And it was kind of tedious. But hey, it was for Boober and his Cube! A worthy cause! But stranding over 13 stitches kind of made me want to stab one of my needles into my hand over and over. So I put it down. For months.
It was only when I decided to knit the cube itself in a plain grey, and duplicate stitch the motif on that I was able to actually make the knitted sides. At first, I was knitting a row, and then doing the duplicate stitch on that same row. Eventually, I declared that too boring to proceed, and just did the whole grey cube in a few sittings.
Duplicate stitch is fun in short doses. I learned this over the next few months. When I was feeling very motivated, I could crank out 1/4 - 1/2 of a side in motif in one night. When I wasn't feeling motivated, it would stare at me reproachfully from the coffee table while I worked on other things.
And then Boober was born, and the whole thing got shelved for many, many months. I would occasionally flirt with the Cube. Do a few rows of duplicate stitch before putting it down. Getting the first 2 sides done was really exciting for me -- I was able to cut the steeks, which I find really exciting, and get the sides blocking, which I find to be the opposite of really exciting.


And then, something happened. Remember that mobile I made? Well the baby it was meant for was due - and that made me think a lot of the Cube . . . and I wanted to cast on new things, and that made me think of finishing up. And suddenly, I was hauling ass through the Cube again.

I got more sides done, and seamed, and blocked and blocking.


For a lot of people, this sort of finishing on a project is a major deterrent. I actually enjoyed it. I recently learned how to properly seam, and now I find it much more enjoyable. It took me a week to get it all set - but then . . . .


I was just about ready to sew it shut. The foam was in there - I got a piece of furniture foam and a bread knife - it was a little hairy for a while! First the cube was 8" square, but things were looking a little stretched. I cut it down to 7" square, and it was a little too small. So I wrapped the foam block in 2 layers of quilt batt. Perfect.
And then I sewed it shut . . . .


And then I was just kind of . . . astonished that it was finally finished, and sitting there in front of me. Just. Wow.

Things I learned about this pattern: the stranding will give the cube structure. Do The Stranding! Even if you think it's dumb. Or impossible. Do it.
Turn each side perpendicular to the last when seaming. It looks cool.
Felting (my original intent) with duplicate stitch is ill-advised. Think about it - different thicknesses of fabric, not good.
Putting plastic canvas or a foam sheet in each side for structure is a good idea in theory. In practice it made me totally crazy. I threw out $3 worth of supplies for this reason.

For those of you who think I might be crazy for even doing this, yes it's a video game thing, and no I'm not a gamer . . . but look at it! The nod to Maslow and his monkey experiment kills me! I Love It! Only a homicidal computer could think that taking an inanimate weighted cube and putting hearts on it would be a comfort. And yet, somehow, you do become fond of your cube. Fond enough to make one of your very own.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Turning over a new leaf.

Recently it occurred to me - as I picked my way through piles of shit, in an attempt to pluck something unsavoury from Boober's mouth - that I am a slob. A complete slob. Well, maybe not complete. I throw away trash most of the time, my house is not full of bugs or rodents, I can't be a complete slob. But there have been back-handed comments, and seeing the shit that Boober finds around to nom on is very telling . . . so it's been front of mind lately.

The state of my home: horrifying. I made a decision right then that for the sake of my children, and my own stress and sanity level, I need to do better. But where do you start? When you have finite and limited amounts of space, and 2 kids up in your grill at all times . . . what can you do? I've been in a holding pattern of ick for so long. And then my SIL hit me up for info on smartphones (I work for a wireless provider. This info is like breathing for me - although it's wildly confusing for the uninitiated) and she mentioned an app that she was lusting after. I checked it out. The skies cleared. The angels sang. A checklist! A daily checklist! It's perfect!

This app gives me a list of things to do daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. It's possible (maybe advisable) to edit frequency and tasks. Sure, lists are 'silly' and you can totally make them yourself and all that -- but it's a free app, and it seems to be working for me.

Wednesday, I cleaned the bathroom. Including the tub and surround. I last did this while nesting with Sweet Pea. She's 3 now. I am Horrifying.
Thursday, I cleaned the fridge with soap and everything! Last time I did this? Never. I am so gross.
Friday I took 2 or 3 hours to cull the massive toy herd we've grown. Currently my kitchen floor is covered in boxes for donation.
Today I've cleared off some of the kitchen table. It's our shit pile. Where we dump everything. When it gets full, we clear it off on to the living room floor, or the bookshelf, and we start again.

I've only just begun with this, but I'm really, really tired of being gross. I'm tired of putting it all on Mr. Wonderful - it shouldn't all be his problem. Days when the kids simul-nap, I can use that time to be productive rather than napping along side them or surfing the tubes or otherwise wasting time. Of course, napping is a completely valid pastime, and can be done on days when I'm tired too, but it doesn't have to be the default.

I'm so hoping this sticks. Because I'm tired of being gross.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Start-itis, Finish-itis, and sewing in general

The weather is getting cooler. By cooler, I mean TOLERABLE. Finally.
This means one thing to me and my brain. It's time. Time to plan new things, start new things, and finish all the things that have been hanging over my head for the past 3 or 4 months. This is how we come to have in-numerable sets of knitting needles and balls of yarn scattered around our house. They keep the piles of fabric good company. And all the spools of thread? I hear those keep . . . umm . . . MICE! Yes, mice . . . away.

So my current queue/work list is starting to look pretty insurmountable.
Dolls. Lots and lots of dolls because I'm really hoping for a guest spot with the Stitch & Kitsch this year. I need to bring along like . . . 15 - 20 dolls.
Doll clothes for the same reason.
Small stuffed animals.
My entire knitting queue (20-some items) call my name. I really want to make some more socks. And knit some toys for some kids who lost their 6 year old sister in a car accident this summer. And knit pants for my tiny son that will actually fit him. He's very tall and thin. And I owe my nephew a sweater. And I'd love some new fingerless gloves for me.
But if I cast all of that on -- yikes. So I've been really trying to finish a few things. I got Boober's sweater done.

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I really like it!
Enough that I'm planning on making a few more in different colours and sizes.

This yarn (Spud & Chloe Sweater) is my new favourite. I've purchased a fair bit of it in the recent past. It's nice and soft, and thick and works up (and WEARS) beautifully.

I've also made strides on my Knitted Companion Cube. Inspired by the recent birth of a friend's baby, I cranked out the remaining duplicate stitch, blocked the remaining sides, and seamed 4/6 of the blocks this weekend.


I'm waiting on the 2 pinned sides there to dry completely, then I can complete the seaming (which I actually find enjoyable. I know. Weird) and stuff the bugger.

And I got more done on the Sk8r.


Clearly not even close yet, but it's progressing.

I need to focus on 2 special projects for a while now . . . I wonder if I can be somewhat monogamous for a while.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Omg, seriously?

Has it been that long? I suck.
I just get lured into long days at the park, or knitting, or doll-making, or worst of all . . . hanging out on Ravelry and Facebook. And then suddenly I realize I can't remember the last time I blogged.

So. Hi!
Life is good. Lots of knitting, playing and doll-making going on.
Sold 4 dolls last month. 2 more on order - they're only cuddle beans, but it's something.

This is the most recent sale, and I think she's lovely!


She was purchased as a birthday gift for a little girl in the local area. It was very cool to be able to deliver the doll in person.

In the last month I also made and delivered a great big order of project bags and shop aprons to SWK. It took up about a week of my spare time. Maybe more.
And just yesterday I learned about a new yarn shop hoping to open in my own little town. I, of course, have offered my services as a sample knitter, and as a project bag supplier. We'll see what comes of it.

Aside of that, there's been much playing



A bit of knitting


Both of these look considerably different now - but I have no current photos. The stripey one is finished - just needs some buttons.

Boober got too big for his bucket, and is in a convertible these days.


This means Sweet Pea is in a booster, which makes her really happy. She's enormous, and does meet the legal requirements, but I keep having this bizarre dream where she's suddenly lost a bunch of weight and is no longer eligible. It's weird.

But this week's BIG excitement?

"Smile with your teeth"
"I can't. They're not clean yet"


Sweet Pea went to the dentist for the very first time. She did so well. I am a super-proud mommy! No tears, no drama, no whimpers. She looked worried for about 3 seconds when they came to get her from the waiting room. By the time she left the chair, she was best friends for life with Terri - who was completely impressed and enamoured with her, in kind. And best of all? No Cavities!