Closing It Out – Opening it Up

I know. Haven’t been here.wp_20160904_11_29_29_pro Well, I’ve been here but not here. I’ve been in and out of the hospital. The blood clots came back. We travelled a lot this summer and now I am doing the holiday orders. Attended some weddings, graduations and baseball games. The Cubs won the World Series!!!

This has been a year on the move.

wp_20160914_10_37_20_proWhat I enjoyed with family and friends had consequences for the shops so this year won’t be as lucrative as the last few years but we are closing out 2016 on a happy note: that I am alive right now is a big bonus that making more money would not have overcome if I didn’t.

shawlcollageI love my craft and I look at these photos and say from those balls of yarns, these beautiful things come and I am grateful for the blessing and gratification knitting and crochet provides.

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rastaearth2I look forward to new years with optimism and great plans but for 2017 there is no great, big vision. I simply want to do good. And to do well.

There is a lot of work I have to do in both business and the area of social action and justice and I can plainly see how I have been phoning it in on both counts and that cannot stand any longer.

In order to get the results, I have to do the work. And even though the work may not end in the results I want, I still have to do the work in order to fail or fall short.

My motto for 2017 will continue to be ‘Discipline and Consistency’ but I will also add deliberation to it. So I can be more purposeful and deliberate about what I do.

It doesn’t make much sense to come to these conclusions and then wait for the new year to start living them. I’m the kind of person that needs a running – well, a walking- start. There’s no time like the present since that is all any of us really have.

Did you notice the storefront? It’s the other page on the blog and that will be where the items I talk about in blog posts will be available for purchase. The next blog post will be about stripey things and those stripey things will be for sale on the blog so if you want them, you can go to the BCB365 page and that’s where they’ll be ready for you to grab them up. No need to go over to the Etsy shops or register (though they are worth the effort) and they will be offered for a lesser price than in the stores.

I have some orders waiting for me and I am about 9 days ahead of everydaywoodlands4my shipping dates and I want to keep it (or improve on it) so I am going to do some work. The snows came yesterday – took a while to get here but it is not a complaint. Mr. Honey is doing fine and we got a new bed that I need a step stool to get in.

All in all; a pretty good year.

 

Happy Holidays and a blessed new year.

Limping to the (first) finish line

a hat i made an never sold
a hat i made an never sold

Well, I have come to but not through the first week of the 75 week.  I will have come through it tomorrow which will be the first day of the second of 75 weeks.

In retrospect (and looking at the log on 75 pages) the first week wasn’t so bad. It was a lot rougher real time than it reads. But for the first week, I got in 120 minutes of exercise. The reaspn I’m counting that as a success because it’s more than I did the week before and because it’s on a direct line to the goal of 600 minutes a week. It seemed harder at the time but I am calmer about the week ahead. Though I must admit to looking forward to next Thursday which is the next free day. It appears Mr. Honey has reprised his role as a saboteur. I will have that story on the 75 week page later this week.

In Knitsville, I finished the prayer shawl and it is all packed and ready to go. The hooded scarf is trying to lure me into a false sense of security. I am now using the first skein of yarn having completely frogged the first attempted scarf. I am on the next to the last row before starting the hood and the scarf is trying to tell me there’s enough left and I shouldn’t be eyeing the remaining fiber with such skepticism. After all, the hood doesn’t require the more than 200 stitches the scarf does.

I’m not falling for it. I take a look at the remaining yarn and I think it’s going to be just like I thought it was going to be yesterday. I am going to have to break open the new skein to finish out the last two rows . Don’t think I’m going try and kick that football, Lucy. I know what’s coming. I readily admit it’s going to get me to the hood part. But there are twelve rows in that hood and I don’t think it’s going to finish them all and then I have to do a joining row to form the hood. I am ready and have accepted the need for that next skein and the most I am willing to give is to be happily mistaken I don’t need it.

I think it’s bad form for a project to try and fool you. That is hardly a sense of cooperation on expects between the parties. I want to be conservative but see the need to be more liberal to get the job done and the push back is there’s already enough and there’s no need for a contigency plan. Just let it play out and we’ll be fine. It won’t be too long before we know which side wins this battle.

I finsihed the prayer shawl yesterday afternoon and I stayed upstairs working on things for a while and didn’t go back down until dinner so when I was watching whatever it was that was on the t and v, I had no project to reach for. What a funny feeling.

My first thought was to start another hat. I only have four of the eyelet rastas and can use more but then I thought I should make something for the new shop. Maybe a baby blanket or a cocoon. Something not a hat. I’m leaning towards doing the cocoon and creating a set by making a baby hat to go with it – so it won’t be a completely hatless experience – in any case, I will have something to reach for this evening.

I’m of to do other things! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

 

75,000,000

Knit mittens
Knit mittens

This is how many miles Mars is from Venus. Explains a lot, doesn’t it. Carol commented that her husband’s veins popped.

What is it with men and redecorating? (BTW, stop by Carol’s blog. She does way more pics of WIP than I do. Glad you’re still on the cured list, girl. You beat that cancer all the hell.)

I’ve thought about doing WIP photos but it would be of the same couple of hats over and over and well, I’m also lazy. Much easier just to link to the shop.

I actually don’t expect the redecoration project to be a stereotypical Mars vs. Venus thing. I expect that once he gets into the cleaning thing, he will drive me crazy. Mr. Honey is a much better wife than I am. He can be Stepford when he gets in a zone and the thought of us deep cleaning may send him into a frenzy. Though the last time I did a good cleaning on the living room with my BFF, Billie, he pretty much stayed out of the way.

We’ll see what happens.

The headband is finished….maybe…sort of. I have to add the buttons but now I am have a debate with myself if I want to add another finishing touch. I think I do but I don’t think I have enough cotton left in the skein to do it and nothing would be more frustrating that starting it only to discover there isn’t enough to finish it. If I can have a completed article without having to purchase any extra that would be great. (As I write this someone is drafting a resolution to have me kicked out the stash society. “Be it resolved as she had a legitimate reason to yarn shop but did not…’)

On the other hand, there is so little of the skein left that it doesn’t have a real use. Not enough to make a spa cloth or soap sack. The greater sin is to let it languish or consider a mercy killing. Hold on a second, I have to go see if this will work….talk amongst yourselves…

Well, it seems there was more than enough and there’s some still left over. The remnants will have a life as the next time I go shopping, I can pick up some more of the hot pink and can use it. All’s well that ends well. So now, all that’s left are the buttons.

I have to get a package downstairs to send off or take a trip to the post office. There’s a puff slouch that’s almost done then I have to crochet a hat in the black sparkle yarn.

I was on Facebook last night (re: early this morning) and I saw WEBS, which is a yarn store, is having a hell of a yarn sale. I am so tempted. I am tempted because not only do they have most of their stock on sale but some of it is also discounted so if you buy a certain amount, you can get up to 25% off. I am eyeing the Plymouth Encore Chunky, a yarn I’ve always wanted to get my hands on. It’s actually not on sale because it’s less than $6.00 a ball but I can get the discount with as little as ten balls.  (The stash society pauses in the extraction procedures as they wait to see what I do.)

I’m not going to order it. I have time. Since it’s not on sale, there’s no real rush and in the meantime, I can purchase one or two balls of it from the Woolly Lamb where I know they sell it and I can work it up to see if I love it as much when I work with as I do when I see it. Besides, it would sit in the stash box for a long time. It would be more of an emotional thing than a business thing and I can learn control over impulsiveness.

In other knitting news, the hope chest can hold six bins because I can stack them two high before touching the artwork. There are now two bins on the chest and more will make their way up.

I am getting good feedback from items I’ve sent to folks but a few of them have note that it took some time to get their items but it’s been worth the wait. So they kick me but with a really soft boot.

And I am beginning to get a little bummed out that I haven’t had a sale in a week. But only because it puts me behind last April where I had eight orders. That’s all.

Infinity scarf in fiestaThe knitting pattern I have to type up is giving me the look again so I am going to leave you to go and do that so I can put a call out for test knitters. It will be for the infinity scarf called the ‘Forever Cables’ scarf.

Much to do. Praise the Lord. Work to do and doing it with love and gratitude is one of the greatest blessings there is.

Help Me, Rhonda

Granny Square Slouch in white

The bookcase is in place. I was in the process of moving it when Mr. Honey walked in the room and offered to help. Which I accepted.

I only had to endure one short comment about moving big, heavy objects while not wearing shoes. Other than that, the team of Mr. and Mrs. Honey got the bookcase against the northern wall without much difficulty

The hats are in their respective envelopes and they need to go downstairs for me to make the shipping labels. In one of those strange things that go on with computers, I had to update my international shipping program and now it won’t run on the upstairs computer but will run just fine on the laptop downstairs. I did not remember this until I tried to run it upstairs.

The second square of the afghan is also on my needles though I must admit I haven’t done more than two rows on it. I have also selected the next hat to be made and it will be part of the Color Wheel line though what color the sample will be is still up in the air. It’s a slightly slouchy beret and it lends itself to any color so this is going to be a ‘reach in the bag and whatever color comes out’ kind of thing.   I think that’s how I pretty much do it all the time.

The weather has cooled down here enough for me to go out and finish the patio project.  About a week ago I sprayed the vegetation growing between the patio bricks and now I can go out and clear it out so we can free the patio furniture and I can go out and knit outside.

I am getting ready for Christmas in July in the shop. I think it would be a nice time to intro the new stuff and the old stuff with a new background. This is a lot of work but it’s mine and that makes it worth it.

Waiting to Inhale

knitted newsboy in aubergine

Apparently, the photo of a newsboy cap not withstanding, I am in the middle of a shawl run. You all know by now how I select patterns. Well, maybe you don’t so here goes – I have my pattern books lined up on a shelf (OK, shelves). They were supposedly in no particular order. I take the first one off the shelf, leaf through it until I find a pattern that I like to do – before I completely change it around – and then go merrily on by knitting way. For some reason, all my shawl books are sitting on the shelf together. Having a shawl party. Not inviting a scarf book or even a wrap book in the neighborhood. All the shawl books are sitting in a row.

Luckily, they are experiencing a breakup. Diversity is the key here. Because while I select a book off the shelf, the next pattern comes from those I’ve created or have store on my PC. So, the shawl I started a couple of days ago will go back on the shelf behind a hat book and a hat pattern encased in a page protector will slip in behind it.

Let a girl have her quirks – it keeps me out of the bars.

I was out this morning photographing hats. I actually had six instead of five and I got through four of them before the batteries in the camera decided they had enough. I will go upstairs and get some new ones whenever I need to go upstairs for something else.

The craft show is a week from Friday and I have sixteen (16) new items to add to the mix. Of course that is not enough – I don’t ever have enough – but other than pressing on, there’s not much more I can do. I know I will probably managed to squeeze out a few more and I will be surprised when I look into the bin with all the others that I have a lot there. I just want there to be some new choices for the girls to look at.

Today is day eleven (11) and I am chomping at the bit to get to my free day tomorrow. I have no idea why and I think it will be a great big let down when I finally get there. I think it’s the anticipation that is causing the hormonal rush and when tomorrow dawns I think the fact that I made it there without going off the rails will be the destination and not the journey.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, I just need to be prepared.

Bagels will help. I am looking forward to the bagels.

The Beginnings

I like the first of any month – it’s almost like the clock turning back or turning forward and resetting. It’s like that. It’s not that. But I like firsts anyway.

I am going to declare the stash busting officially over – since I was the one to declare when it started and that it was a goal, I am the one who can declare it over. I still have tons of yarn, especially around the chair in the living room where I work on things. But I am not overwhelmed by it  The second phase of the yarn sort (putting the whole skeins into containers) will start this week. I don’t feel I will accumulate a stash that big again and I am very specific about what I want to make since I am making items for sales and for the shops – note to self: send in those applications.  The second part of the second phase has also begun and that is to pull the yarn and then find the project that goes with it. This has led me to start using a Feza Opera yarn I got at Loopy Yarns a while ago. I am crocheting a slouch beret. I won’t be able to make more than two with each color but I won’t necessarily make a hat with each color. Right now, it’s a white hat and it’s going very well.

I can now move on to the next goal: accumulate health. This means more than just physical – though there is that. There is also spiritual and emotional health as well as a healthy environment. All of those are very important – I would say almost equally important. But there is no denying that I am past middle age with fewer years ahead of me than behind me and I want them to matter to me.

That means, for the most part, doing more. The only thing to do less of is eat. Move more, pray more, be more deliberate, love more. These are things to strive for and there’s more than that. I have to find a different church because I am ready to be involved in my church again and I don’t understand what’s going on where I am. There are a whole bunch of churches I have  yet to visit and I can do that in my role as a district officer and keep an eye and heart open for what church speaks to me.

This is the hat I made Sunday when we met for knitting in Evanston. Looking at it gives me the idea for another hat – one with puff stitches. I am going to have to work on that.

I had just one sale in July and that kind of bum me out. I have 60 items in the shop  Forty of them are hats.  I have another hat on the hook and nothing on the needles but I am making items for women. I am thinking ahead to the holidays already up to Mother’s Day. Being your own boss means whatever you think is what your company thinks. Whatever you do is what your company does. So if I don’t work, my whole company isn’t working.  How am I going to become a mogul if I don’t work at it?

In the meantime, the mogul has to get dinner for Mr. Honey who was out working on the brake calipers for his car. I don’t quite know what that is – other than I know they exist – but it sounds impressive that he’s painting them.

 

Two Days of Spring

When I was in my Certified Lay Speaker class, there was talk about the ‘Rules of Life.’ The Rules of Life are those things that we each decide we need to do in order to live the life we want to live. They are the base and core actions we do in order to keep us grounded and focused on what we are here to do.

The Rules of Life have haunted me ever since that class. What are the things I want to do every day, or most days, that will have me centered and grounded so I can withstand the storms and tempests that will come to blow me off course?

One of my rules was to have at the beginning of my day an hour where I knit or crochet in silence. No music. No T and V. No talking. Just me and my needles and hooks. I’ve been doing that for the last few days and I have to say it is a powerful moment. My mind has gone to focus on so many topics and I have found some clarity about some things and then there are just moments where there is nothing but the project and I’ve noticed my breaths are deeper and more cleansing.

For the past two days, I’ve taken my quiet hour outside in the sunshine with Duke. He’s been bugging us pretty early in the morning to go outside. He loves this kind of weather. He also loves the snow so we just figure he loves being outside. He goes out and he just lies in the sun and every once in a while he will move into a shady spot and when he’s rested and cooled, he will move back into the sun. I have been sitting in the Adirondack chair my B-I-L made us for Christmas a few years back and I’ve been working on my bag project. I started the project a few days ago and I’m not sure I’m making great progress. It could be because I am using size six needles with a worsted weight yarn and that doesn’t make for quick knitting – but I am making a bag so the fabric needs to be tight even though I plan on lining the bag. It is about half done so I should probably measure it to see how much more I have to go. I have decided to go off pattern (quelle surprise!) and create something that is more my own. It is much brighter yellow than the photo shows, I believe the color is buttercup or something like that and it is quite yellow. The black edge is the top of the bag and there will be another black band at the other end because that will be the other top. I haven’t decided yet whether to line it with yellow or black or even white and I am leaning towards making it match and there will be a pocket of the front and then the last thing to decide is whether it will be a drawstring or shoulder bag. It’s nice to have options!

I was at the old church last night for a rehearsal for a Good Friday service. All the Methodist churches in the area combine choirs and do a service. I hated being there. Just hated it. I was surprised at the feeling. I loved seeing some of my choir mates and felt as if I was missed, but I hated being in that building. That building I used to love coming to. It has changed for me. I hated that it didn’t feel the same. Moving on is a part of life. It is a part of the this Easter season. I understand the need for change. I understand how it is essential and will happen whether or not we wish it. I get it.

But I don’t have to like it.