Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hack, Cough, Wheeze

(Just a note -- blog posts turn up on my Facebook feed as a note; this is old news for anyone reading on FB.)

I've been sick since last Tuesday evening: allergy-induced Bronchitis. I get it at least every other year, around the same time, with the same symptoms every time. Throat suddenly hurting? Inner ears starting to itch? I know exactly what to expect. Knowing what's coming (and that it will pass) does not help me be any less of a big wuss. I'm tired of the deep, painful cough and the phlegm. (Let's leave it at that, shall we?) Whine, whine, whine.

cascade superwash pinkI can't really nap, because laying down makes the cough worse. Things were so-so until Friday night (at least I got through the work week mostly unscathed), but I spent the weekend propped up on the love seat in our little library room here, with some DVDs (the entire run of Frontier House today) and my Giftmas knitting. If nothing else, I got quite a bit of knitting/finishing done! (Working with the pink stuff to the right at the moment.)

It's very important that I get over this in the next few days. We have family coming Thanksgiving evening, I have some knitter friends coming over on Sunday, and on Monday next, I start a new job.

You read that right! I'm sure many people who are reading this have been in similar predicaments: your company is going through rough times, or maybe is already reorganizing; rumors are flying, and you don't know what's coming at you next. So, you get your resume updated and maybe post it online -- doesn't hurt to be ready, right?

What I didn't expect was to have a call within 2 hours of posting the resume, and a request for an interview the next business day! I posted my resume on Friday, had a formal interview on Tuesday and a job offer the same afternoon. (Right about the time my throat started to hurt!) I'm very excited about this new opportunity. With the market the way it is right now, I know precisely how lucky I am.

Hope this finds everyone healthy and well!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Giftmas Crafting Starts Early

09-stockings-hangingI made stockings for John & me about 4 years ago. They made the move - we used them last year - but I can't find them. It's a little early, but I have plenty of knitting to do for Giftmas, and I figured I should get this out of the way. Stockings are one of my favorite things about the holiday. It goes back to my mom (I think they were one of her favorites, too) -- she'd start collecting things for our stockings in January. After she died, the family tradition died as well, until John came into my life. Now, we exchange stockings the morning of Dec. 25th every year. So the old ones had to be replaced (if they turn up, we can always rotate.)

As luck would have it, I'd found the perfect material for the stockings, in the form of a (probably very scratchy) sweater I thrifted last winter. It was made up of hundreds of short pieces of yarn, so there was no way it was going to be unraveled & recycled. I felted it, but it didn't turn out as fabulously as I'd hoped. But, yes: perfect for stockings! Here's what I did, if you want to give it a go yourself.

09-stockings-materialsGet all of your materials together. You need a paper template (see notes at bottom), felted sweater, long straight pins (mine have the leaf topper) and scissors (sturdier ones than shown -- I ended up using a different pair than the one pictured). Not shown: sewing machine (you could also hand-sew, if you have the patience).

09-stockings-patternThe sweater was an adult small, and felted, was even smaller, so I couldn't quite get two stockings out of the body. I wanted our stockings to match as closely as possible, and I was lucky that the sleeves, taken apart and laid with right sides facing, were an exact fit for the template (I could also have just resized the template, but we each usually end up with a DVD in the stocking, so the right width was important). I put the two pieces together, right sides facing and pinned the template to the material in several places.

09stockings-sewingIt always seems like when I cut something out and try to sew it together, something shifts and it ends up uneven. So, I thought I'd be clever and sew around the template first, then cut it out. It worked pretty well, although it was a little tough to maneuver at times.

09stockings-sewnHere is the first stocking, sewn and cut out. (You can see why the sweater couldn't be unraveled.)

09stockings-finished1Turn right side out and kind of push the seams into shape. Our new ones need a tiny bit more attention.

Stocking #1 complete. (Pic of both stockings, pre-hanging. They look different because the sleeves and the body felted at different ratios. So one has a firmer, fuzzier fabric.)

When you're all done, add a loop for hanging. I used some random scrap yarn and crocheted a 4-5" chain, then used the tails to knot the loop firmly to the back edge of the stocking. Hang by the chimney (or wherever) and stuff with gifts at the appropriate time.

Notes: For the template, I did a Google Image search for "Christmas Stocking Template." As luck would have it, the first result was the shape I wanted.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not very observant, I guess

nesting-dolls1I bought this nesting doll, made in the Ukraine, several years ago at a silent auction (I had organized the entertainment for the charity event, which was Renaissance-themed). It's beautiful, and I've taken good care of it, but guess what I never did? That's right. I never opened it.

The other day, we had some friends over to celebrate Halloween (a little belatedly) and watch some bad Sci-fi movies (Plan 9 From Outer Space and Robot Monster). One of our guests, a young lady who came with her parents, asked if she could open the doll. After awhile, she came to me with a tiny doll the size of a peanut (not in the shell). "Do you think this is the smallest?" I said that it looked pretty small to me. Then she twisted it open; there inside was yet another doll, just a squinch larger than a grain of rice.

nesting-dolls2Squee! I never had dolls like this as a kid, and have never seen one that nested so deeply (if that's a good way to describe it). For all I know, this may be typical, but it still brought me a bit of joy. I had no idea what a little treasure I had.

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