Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My New Seraphina project: Iris

I started on this last Sunday, before my world got turned upside-down. I had been planning on taking it as my main working project for the trip I would have been returning from last night, had things gone according to plan. Along with a few other things, I have spent much of my crocheting time working on this, but it's been a bit of a slow go, thanks to a few technical difficulties of the AADD variety. Beside that, I am just plain very slow at crocheting - I doubt I could ever make things fast enough to make money selling them, that's for sure! It doesn't help to be frequently interrupted by a demanding little furry feline who gets jealous of all the attention I pay to my yarn (and this computer, truth be known!).

At any rate, I took this picture several days ago.
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I had also at that time discovered yet another one of those dreaded "stupid mistakes", made two rows directly below my stopping point in the picture, necessitating a 2 row frogging session! I had considered trying to fudge it and continue on, but the spot where I'd dropped the stitch was in an increase zone and it would have thrown the pattern off, so a froggin' I went!

I have since reworked the 2 rows I had to frog, and another full 4-row pattern repeat sequence plus the first row of the next one and am now working my way across the second row of this sequence, which when completed will give me 13 shells per half - my previous laceweight finished up at 31 shells per side, so I have some ways to go!

I must be a glutton for punishment, but I just LOVE this pattern in a laceweight yarn! I don't know if I would want to work it in anything heavier anymore. I have several more planned! Maybe if I do enough of them often enough, I'll even get fast at it!

For this project, I am using Knit Picks laceweight "Alpaca Cloud" in a lovely heathered purple, called "Iris", which is what I am calling this shawl. I can't get enough of their laceweight yarns, lol! This is truly a lovely color, even better in "real life" as opposed to the digital image above.

And, for those who might be wondering, I am working this with an aluminum F hook (it's an old Boye and doesn't give the metric size, sorry). If I complete it to the same long length of my previous Seraphina, it will take about 3 1/2 hanks of the Alpaca Cloud, or around 1500 yards, give or take.

Handy Cold Weather Friends?

It's a cold one today, I think winter is finally beginning to catch up with us here in the Midwest. Now that I find myself unemployed, I'm even more concerned about keeping that thermostat set to the lowest possible setting I can manage. So far, the house temp hasn't dropped low enough to set the heat on. Fortunately, I do have a floor heater I can use in the one (very small) room I spend most of my time in. That, and the plant lights, which seem to throw a reasonable amount of heat with the light, keep this room fairly comfortable, but I still need to dress warmly, and my hands still get awfully cold - especially my mouse hand!

I made myself a pair of fingerless gloves out of the lusciously soft Dolcetto yarn from the JoAnn Bellezza Collection, the pattern used was the pretty one in this year's Interweave Knits Crochet edition. They turned out quite nice, VERY soft and oh so cuddly! Here's a shot of one of them, since I have yet to master the trick of getting a picture of both my hands while manning the camera:

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One thing about the pattern: if I'm reading it correctly, then I have that handwarmer pictured above turned inside out. But I like the way the stitches look on this side as opposed to the other side, so I've decided that, inside-out or no, this is the way I'll be wearing them! It's a very pretty stitch pattern and it gets lost on the "right" side, in my opinion.

I've been procrastinating, but the chilliness today is motivating me to finish working on my modification of these gloves to provide even more warmth where I need it. I am somewhat hampered by lack of a sewing machine, which would make this process go a little bit quicker, but if my alternative method works out, then I will be happy. I will post more about all this mysterious stuff once I've gotten it done! Soon, very soon!

New Sidebar link - "How to add a Comment"

Well, if it had been left entirely up to me, it probably would have been next year before I got around to it! But Kimberly surprised me the other day with the piece of code I needed to insert into my sidebar so people could find my instructive post on making comments. All I needed to do was figure out where I wanted it and plop that line right into my template! It took a couple of tries before I was satisfied with the placement (and it also reminded me of why I am incessantly dragging my feet over updating this blog - it is a sloooooow process! Until now, I never had that kind of time. I have the time now, but not the necessary concentration. Eventually the two will meet. I hope.). So now the instructions for posting comments to my blog are just a click away, no matter how far down the message drops! Many thanks Kimberly!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

This message is for my non-blogging visitors: How to post a comment

I've had several friends report that they tried to post comments on my blog but were unable to do so. So I figured I'd include this little "how-to" so you will know what is needed. I really want to see your comments! I will probably repost this message periodically, since it will eventually get buried, or (if I get clever enough) I will find a way to include a link to this message on my sidebar. In fact, that's probably the best idea. Later.

When you click on the comment link for any post, a seperate window should open up displaying any comments already posted for that entry, and a box for you to type your own comments. Once you are done composing your message, make a selection for identifying yourself. Now this part gets a little tricky since I can't see what you might see as someone who doesn't have an account with Blogger. What I see is 3 choices - my Blogger account name (with the button already next to it), followed by "Other" and thirdly, "Anonymous". My preference would be for you to choose "Other" (or it's equivalent, if that doesn't show up for you) rather than "Anonymous", as it will then give you a chance to put your name on your message. Don't worry about any other fields that may be included, they don't have to be filled in.

Next - and this is important, so pay attention! - you are asked to type in a word verification. There will be a senseless-looking string of letters displayed which you are asked to type into a line below the display. This is to protect my blog from roving spammerbots, which have (unfortunately) recently begun to hammer blogs with crappola in the comments. It assures that a "real" person is posting the comment. Your comment will NOT be accepted to the blog entry without completing this step!

Finally, click the button to post your comment. In my display it is "Log in and publish", but as a non-Blogger visitor, it may be different for you. This should get your comment posted to my blog entry.

I hope this has been helpful! I will try to take some time out from from my crocheting activities to figure out how to add the link to these instructions on the sidebar, so they will be available to you, since this entry will eventually drop down the list and out of sight. I look forward to reading your comments and thank you in advance for taking the time to post them!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Surviving

I received the most adorable ecard this morning from Kimberly, with a disco turkey singing the classic (I think it was Donna Summer, if memory serves) "I Will Survive" song. It really brought a smile to my face - thanks Kimberly!

And to all my friends who have left comments and sent me emails full of encouragement, support and advice - what would I do without you folks? You've touched my heart and lifted my spirit, and I can't thank you enough! I KNOW I will survive with this kind of support.

I've spoken to my contact back at the office to discover that "bosslady" went off on her previously scheduled vacation trip to Mexico yesterday and will be out until next Monday. I was also informed that no one knows what the heck is going on other than the fact that I am no longer working there - she told them nothing! There is a huge check request coming down to the department today (total of 70 checks) that is essential to be completed, and since my leaving was, shall we say, rather abrubt, I had not had a chance to set things up in the system for someone else to get this critical job done. There will be problems. LOTS of problems! I really feel sorry for my co-workers, they didn't deserve this.

No, I will not help them if they call. This is no longer my problem, she made it so. In fact, to forestall any possibility of my weakening if the phone should ring, I plan to be out all afternoon! It's a gorgeous sunny day, and since I can, I'm going to take advantage of it. I am filing my claim for unemployment and will see what's next. I would like to have a few weeks to get myself and my own affairs reorganized before I start the concerted effort of finding a new job. This one burned me out terribly, especially the unrelenting stress of the past 6 months. I've got a lot of recovery work to do.

Crochet will be a significant part of my therapy, of course! I've had this overwhelming urge to "create" for such a long time now, and now I have enough time to really dig into that stash and make something of it. There will be a hook in my hand everywhere I go, lol!

Later today, I am going to try to finish up my modification for my fingerless gloves. If I can't find someone (probably Phil) to help me get a pic of these things, you will be graced with a pic of one of them. Where there's a will, there's a way!

I'm also progressing nicely on my Iris Seraphina, this thing is gonna be gorgeous! Maybe I'll take a progress shot of it tonight to post as well.

I also have lots of other projects I'm dying to dig into, my Christmas list of projects and other things. And, there are the WIPs that I'd like to get around to finishing too.

I also have a ton of housework to catch up on, many things that I just couldn't do because of what I was going through. I hadn't realized how tensed up I had become until last night. I spent the evening at Phil's, feasting on a hefty pork roast dinner he'd whipped up (going back for generous portions of leftovers tonight, lol!) and even felt relaxed enough to stay and watch a movie with him, first time in a long time. No more anxious clock-watching, calculating to the minute how long it will take me to get things done or to get somewhere. It's a real feeling of freedom, I feel like I've been let out of jail.

Along with the movie, we also sat on his balcony for smoke breaks and enjoyed the sound of the surf hitting the beach below his apartment complex on the lake. This would be Lake Michigan, our "inland sea". We were also gifted with a spectacular lightning show over the lake. With the unseasonable temps (night-time temps in the 50's!), it was a truly relaxing experience - just what the doctor ordered!

The only downside to the evening was that I couldn't work on Iris while watching the movie - it was too dark, and I need lots of light to work on this one. But I managed to get a few rows in after I got home, so all is well. But I did feel relaxed enough to set it aside and just enjoy the movie, something I would not have been able to do otherwise, as I was always feeling like I couldn't "waste" a precious minute when I had so few "free" ones to do what I wanted to do.

There are a lot of other things I am hoping to do now that I will have time for them too, such as catching up on other people's blogs and maybe updating my own, and perhaps also having a chance to participate more on the boards at Crochetville. Money's gonna be tight (understatement of the century, lol!), but expenses will also be drastically reduced. Just the savings in the gas for my car alone is going to be a huge chunk. As I clean up my house, I know I will also find lots of things available to turn into cash to help me make the ends meet. It may be time to learn my way around ebay...

And so, recovery begins, and the Phoenix will once again rise from the ashes. I will survive!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Seven minutes

It's amazing how quickly a life can be turned upside down. I can even give you the exact amount of time it takes: seven minutes.

That is how many minutes late I was this morning, this despite the fact that I had left the house and started my journey at the exact same time I had all last week and managed to be up to 10 minutes early that whole time! But not today. Today, the highway was a veritable parking lot for nearly a twenty-mile stretch. I've been trying to avoid the local route lately thanks to the ever-present construction which has had that snarled for some time now. Today was just one of those traffic days, ya know? According to the traffic reports, it was bad everywhere.

But that was no excuse, not for me anyway. I am supposed to know when it's gonna be a bad traffic day and plan accordingly by leaving a half hour early. Either that, or magically have my car sprout wings. I don't get the traffic reports until I'm in my car. The radio reception in my house is lousy, and I can't pick up anything but local stations which give me no information (I live 40 miles away in another state from where I work). I did used to have a link for traffic online but that was a few computer crashes ago and besides, it only reported on the highways, not the local routes.

Regardless, the traffic reports were practically useless this morning anyway. They reported that things were clearing up on my route when in fact, they weren't. Once I got onto the highway, I was stuck. It turned out to be due to construction, a new project, just started today! A fact which the traffic reporter failed to report.

By the clock, I was 7 minutes past my starting time when I punched in, having lost an additional 3 minutes getting off the tollway because of a slow-moving vehicle ahead of me, causing me to miss the green (and it's an excruciatingly long light, especially when you can hear that clock ticking), and another minute and a half scrambling through two password screens and waiting for what seemed like an eternity (but was, in fact, a minute and a half - I was watching the clock as I waited impatiently) to be able to hit the "punch in" button.

Seven minutes.

Our time-keeping system will automatically mark you as "tardy" at 8 minutes, as it rounds the time out to the nearest quarter hour.

Seven minutes.

Even if I hadn't lost the additional 4 1/2 minutes, I would have still been clocking in "late" at 32 or 33 minutes, and the outcome probably would not have been different. Maybe.

Because I had numerous things to do to get ready for my trip in addition to my regular work, I wasted no time jumping in and getting to it (after making my mad dash to the restroom, made more urgent by the extra time spent in traffic). About an hour later, my phone rang. It was my boss, calling from her "other" office down the hall (she has two). She had been in a meeting in the office next to mine when I arrived, and then had disappeared so I hadn't had a chance to even talk to her. Sure enough, when I got to her office, our "Human Resources"*
person was sitting there waiting with her, yellow pad on her lap. I knew what this was about. (*I put that title in quotes because this gal was formerly one of our receptionists and has had no formal training in Human Resources, just to be clear. She's just another "go-fer" for my boss, with a fancy title to help her feel like she's important)

Seven minutes.

I am not allowed to be ONE minute late anymore, let alone seven. I had been told that the next time I was late, I would be sent home for two days without pay. A second incident would see me fired. This is what has been hanging over my head for the last three months. It has brought me to a near nervous breakdown and definitely has damaged my health. I was told it was "corporate policy". Only problem is, there are a LOT of people with tardiness issues at my company (even my own daughter, lately). I was the ONLY one living under this decree.

What I was told this morning was that I would be sent home - without pay - through Wednesday. And that my trip was canceled.

For seven minutes.

Seven minutes that I had absolutely NO control over.

Angry doesn't even BEGIN to describe my emotion at that point. I stormed out and returned to my office to pack up my things. At that point, all I wanted was to get the hell out of there. My boss had followed me back to my office, and I made some remark (can't recall exactly what I said) to the effect of she knew where she could stick that "corporate policy". I'm pretty sure I didn't swear, but I might as well have.

She said. "You're fired."

And so I packed some more, gathering up what I'd had left of over nine years working there and dragging it all out to my car while she stood and watched my every move (like I'm going to start destroying company property or something). I had previously filtered a lot of stuff and reduced the amount, knowing that this day would probably arrive sometime, but there was still alot there. I hope I didn't forget anything important if I did overlook anything.

I had to stop for gas on the way home, and a couple of things at the grocery store (critically mindful of the fact that every penny is now precious), finally reached sanctuary around noon. I've tried not to think too much about all of this all afternoon, burying myself in my Seraphina project. I did talk to my daughter, though. She said my boss called her down to her office to let her know that this would in no way affect her job, that she was considered a valuable member of the company. Needless to say, she was not very happy about it all (she told me she'd spent about a half hour in the bathroom afterward. Even though she didn't say so, I know she was crying. She also mentioned she'd spent a considerable amount of time sitting in her car "venting" to her girlfriend), and again suggested I look into a possible harassment lawsuit. I have evidence that I was definitely singled out, which led me to the conclusion that getting me out of the company was the goal for some time now. Why? I haven't got a clue, to be honest. This originates with my boss, a singularly passive-aggressive woman who is seriously ambitious and neurotically addicted to her job and all the power and control that came with it (she is, in addition to being the accounting department manager, the Controller of our branch of the company). For whatever reason, she seems to have thought that I was some threat to her, which couldn't have been further from the truth. Ambitious I have never been. I just wanted to do my job to the best of my ability (and, until recently, thanks to the unrelenting stress, I was damn good at it) and go home. But logic has never been a party to this whole sorry mess. I could speculate on that forever and probably never come up with a satisfactory answer. The closest I can think of, off-hand, is that she knew she couldn't control me, and that I was very much aware of all her shortcomings business-wise (I forgot to mention the ego about the size of Lake Michigan), over the years I've helped cover many many mistakes she'd made. Expensive mistakes at times. I guess I was dangerous in some way. Who knows?

So now I have to figure out what I'm going to do. Starting tomorrow.

Today will be given completely over to crocheting, and browsing. (and will continue on for as long as I feel like it, seeing as how it is now around 11 pm, several hours since I wrote this post and then let it sit while I crocheted and played. It's all good.)

Of course, this means no more yarn shopping for awhile. Maybe that's why I've been stashing like a madwoman these past several months - I knew this day would come. With the terms that had been set for me, it was inevitable. I just wish it hadn't happened until after the trip. I really needed that money. And I do feel bad for the folks that are going to get screwed (and there are several of them, both involved with the onsite job and back at the office) due to her decision. But I guess that's not any of my concern, or should be...

I did talk to a co-worker friend a short while ago to let him know what was going on. He works part time there and has also been receiving a lot of pressure from her. If I didn't know any better, I'd be thinking she was trying to push the whole department out. But that makes no sense at all, as it could conceivably destroy her job too.

While talking to my friend, I casually mentioned a fact that he was unaware of that then seemed to take on more significance, in light of everything. She's on antidepressants, has been for several years. Having been on them myself for a period of 6 years straight, I recognize signs of instability in her that I experienced myself due to the drugs. It's very subtle stuff, and often can only be recognized in hindsight, as it was in my case. That's why I won't touch them again, no matter how bad things get. But I can definitely see the effects on her, especially in hindsight. Maybe someday I will compile the info I have on these drugs, much of it has been censored in this country. But not tonight.

Maybe I'm still in shock. Or maybe, despite the pending panic over my financial situation, I am merely feeling a burden has been lifted. All I know is that once I got over my initial reaction, I felt fairly calm and... okay. It did occur to me that she probably did me a favor by cutting me loose today, as I was too fearful to do it myself.

I may be thinking otherwise by tomorrow, lol! But I'm going to enjoy this feeling for now. Tomorrow is another day...

Pic of the month

I meant to post this link yesterday and never got around to it. This is probably one of THE best pics I've yet seen! It has become my desktop wallpaper, and it looks wonderful there! Absolutely gorgeously stunning! Check it out:

Evening blue

Okay, off to bed I go. G'night!

Yarny ramblings

One of these days, I will manage to get it together to add some stuff to my blog - links and buttons and other nifty little things like what I see on other people's blogs. When I have time...

Problem isn't so much a lack of time, it's that there are too many things competing for both that time and my attention. Quite often, I end up getting scattered in too many directions trying to squeeze them all in and managing to accomplish exactly nothing! Or near nothing, anyway.

I think I mentioned that I'd managed to wind up a bunch of yarn this past week. Here's a couple of pics of that yarn, all of it raring to go on some project or another, and me with a hook burning in my hand!

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Now, the two pics are nearly identical, but the glare on the bags was on different locations in each pic, allowing for a better view of ALL the yarn if I posted both of them.

All of the yarn in the bags, except for the rustic orange stuff, as well as the luscious lavender colored yarn in the right foreground are recent additions to my stash. The big bag and the smaller one on the right are all Bellezza Collection Cosetta yarns, the lavender is the Dolcetto. In the bag on the left is my 4 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes, in 2 colorways. I had bought those originally with the plan of making handwarmers from them, but I may change my mind in which case I will need to get more since there isn't a lot of yardage on the skein with that yarn. I will probably make at least one pair of handwarmers from one of them, but with my modification (I'll get to that shortly), I'll still need at least another skein I think.

The rustic orange yarn is part of my very first order from Knit Picks. I had bought a couple of skeins of Andean Treasure to try out, but I'm still not entirely sure what I'll make from it. Probably a scarf. I might have enough to try it out using the Get the Skinny scarf pattern from Interweave Press, available on this page (scroll down to the bottom, it's the last project there).

Then there is the laceweight yarns, the yellow (Sunlight) had been purchased at the same time as the Andean Treasure, the purple (Iris) was bought this summer. I managed to wind up all 4 hanks of the Iris Baby Alpaca and one of the 3 hanks I have of the Sunlight Baby Alpaca (actually, there is a fourth hank, but it was one of my very first hand-winding efforts, which went terribly wrong. I don't know how much will be salvagable, and haven't had time or patience to find out yet). I'm contemplating a lacy scarf from the Sunlight which, if it turns out well, I will be placing another order with Knit Picks for a variety of laceweights and/or sock weight yarns for gift scarves. Most of my gift recipients live in warmer climes so this would probably be my best choice for gifts, depending on how long it takes me.

The Iris will be a Seraphina. In fact, I started on it today, with the notion of getting at least the first 11 rows done, at which point I will no longer need to refer to the written pattern anymore. But I've, ah, run into a little, uh, snag. Wouldn't you know it? I had completed 5 rows and was working on the 6th when I realized I'd screwed up on 5 (where have I heard this before?!). Sighing, I proceeded to frog my way back to the error spot, but then the yarn snagged - but good, and I haven't been able to pick it loose. Mainly because the lighting is so crappy and so are my eyes. I also realized rather quickly that I have again reached that terrible stage in my monthly cycle known as the dreaded PMS, a time when I am very glad I live alone so no one witnesses my bizarre temper tantrums besides Meeps, and being the good kitty that she is, she keeps it to herself! There is no such word as "patience" in my vocabulary when I am going through this stage, and I get far too frustrated far too easily. It was this silly syndrome, in fact, that got me into this snagging problem in the first place. I know this yarn tends to snag easily, especially if you try to rush when you're frogging, so what did I do? Why, rush, of course! When I am able to muster up enough common sense, I will usually put away the thing that is causing my frustration and try again later. Otherwise I'm likely to do damage that I will later regret.

Of course, the PMS is being enhanced by the fact that it is Sunday night, with my "free" time dwindling rapidly and all kinds of things I still want to do with it. Monday just seems to arrive too quickly! And, to complicate matters even more is the thought of my trip weighing heavily on my mind. I'm trying real hard not to obsess about it, but of course that's not easy for an obsessive person to do. I swear, I'd probably worry about the sky being blue when I'm under this influence!

But anyway, back to the Seraphina. If I can, I will try again before I head for bed, and perhaps I'll manage to get past that snag point so I can move forward with it again. It is going to take me a little getting used to working with such fine yarn again, but I don't expect that to take too long. I am planning on taking it with me on the trip, along with a few other as yet to be determined projects. I've been fighting the urge to fill my suitcase with yarn, lol! It's not like I'm going to have a whole lot of time to crochet when I'm there anyway, but there's no way I'm going to be gone five whole days and NOT bring any yarn to work on! Especially when I'm going crazy with the desire to crochet NOW, not later!

I finished up a scarf earlier this week, just have ends to hide and fringe to add. It will most likely be a gift, so a pic will have to be delayed, at least until I determine whether the chosen recipient wil be someone who could see it here. It turned out pretty nice, and I'm dying to babble about the yarn I used for it. Patience, my dear, patience!

I also got my Dolcetto handwarmers done except for my planned modification. Since it's really hard to take pics of your own hands, I am going to take the handwarmers and my camera to work tomorrow and have my daughter do it. They turned out really nice, and boy are they soft and warm! What I want to do, though, is add a little something onto them, mostly for my right hand (my mouse hand) with the idea of warming my fingers, which get deathly cold in the wintertime. If my planned modification works out the way I have it figured, I will share all the details here, and on the forum as well.

Which reminds me, I keep forgetting to post my finished projects in Show and Tell! I will have to remember to post my Harvest Shawl there, will try and get that done tomorrow night. I'll save the handwarmers until I get the modification done, though.

I've been very busy enhancing my stash, especially the last few months, thanks to the generosity of both JoAnns and Hobby Lobby with the 40% off coupons. I just can't resist the darn things, and I've managed to collect a bunch of fabulous yarns that I otherwise would not have been able to afford. But now it's time I get serious about working this stash down! I have a bazillion projects I'm dying to sink my hook into, and plenty of yarn. Now all I need is the time to work on it! Hopefully I'll have a steady stream of FOs to post here in the coming months...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

And She Scores!

So glad I did that google search today. I FOUND IT!!! K-Mart had my hand creme! Not only that, it was cheaper there than anywhere else! I grabbed two, would have taken all they had (there were about 6 tubes on the shelf), but that's all my budget would allow, especially since I'm massaging it for more yarn purchases (will I ever stop? I can't!)...

So now I am well-stocked in my favorite hand cream, plus I checked out the two new scent lines HG is putting out for the coming holidays, will definitely be wanting to pick those up in the post-season markdown sales. I can't remember exactly what the one was called, it was "Organic..." something, a blend of figs and lavender, which sounds unusual, and it did smell nice. But I definitely went cuckoo over the other one: Wild Honey and boy oh boy did THAT smell dee-liscious! It's a definite must-have!

Went to my local JoAnns to spend my Michaels one-day only 50% off coupon and couldn't resist picking up a gift set of 6 very sparkly-pretty knitting needles! I am such a magpie, lol! But I justified the purchase since I have only a few sets of the things and am definitely planning to learn this winter. The set was $9.99, so it only cost me $5 for them. The package didn't say what sizes they were, but I just opened it up and looked them over. There is a size 6, 7, 11, 13, 15 and 17. Further review of the small number of sets I already had shows I have only one size duplication! Woo Hoo!

Okay, I will discuss yarn, and projects in another installment. For now, I have to get tonight's laundry moving along - in my usual weekend snail's pace, laundry always seems to be relegated to the near end of the two days off! I've managed to select most of the clothes I will be taking on my trip and expect to get that wrapped up by Tuesday night (I'd better!), but there are sure to be many little details escaping my attention which won't make themselves obvious until I'm practically rushing out the door to catch my plane. It would be so nice if I didn't stress myself out like this all the time, but it seems to have become a habit I'm having a hard time breaking. Oh well!

Dry skin

Thanks to Wendy and Deneen for your comments regarding my flakey skin problem. I did manage to finally get things to calm down last night. Regarding the suggestion to drink lots of water, I figured I'd mention that I practically wear a water bottle around my neck at all times, lol! My skin isn't cracking, though I do still have problems with dry skin despite the heavy water consumption, especially when the weather turns cold - it gets especially bad when I have to close up all the windows and seal myself off from the natural air. If there was any way I could handle it, I would have a window open year-round - being in a closed-up house causes my sinuses to dry up too, making it harder to breathe. I get outside and everything opens up immediately and I feel much more comfortable, albeit cold!

I know what you're gonna say next - and yes, I've tried adding humidity, to the point of having foggy mirrors even, lol! But it doesn't help. Only the outside air does the trick, which can be a tad hard when temps are in the subzero range (it's coming, yikes!). Some folks are allergic to the natural world. I'm just the opposite. I bet if I had a fireplace in this house to stay warm with, I'd have less of a problem.

The other thing that tends to aggravate my dry skin problems is a life-long nervous habit I've had of chewing my cuticles. I just can't help it! It starts with those dang little dry bits of skin that pop up along the edges of my fingernails, which I start picking at automatically, which makes them get bigger, so then I try to bite them off. But that just loosens more skin, which I automatically pick at, then bite, and... The never-ending cycle! I began trying to clip those pieces with a pair of tiny nail scissors, thinking that it would help, maybe stop the cycle from happening. It didn't. Then the lotion comes out, and that helps for all of maybe five minutes, or as long as it takes for my skin to fully absorb the stuff. And then it starts all over again. ::SIGH:: This was what I was suffering from yesterday, and no matter how hard I tried to ignore those stupid little skin flakes, I couldn't. I'd think I was being successful, and then realize that while I was reading an email or otherwise thinking about something else, my traitorous hands were busy picking at the nagging little buggers! Or, I'd be trying to work on my crochet project, and the yarn would unfailingly find those rough parts and snag itself on them.

The best I can do at this point, besides bellyaching about it here, is make sure I'm well-stocked on the best hand lotions I can get. I have one, though, that I absolutely LOVE, but I can't find it anymore, and the tube has been milked for all it's worth! I might be able to get one last squeeze out of it before I have to admit that there is no more to be had out of it. It was a special hand creme that was put out by Coty in their Healing Garden line (one of my favorite personal care set of products). It's called Intensive Hand Creme and I got it from Walgreens back in the spring if I remember correctly, and haven't seen it since. That figures! If anyone reading this has a line on where I could get some more of this wonderful stuff, let me know PLEASE! The best thing I liked about it, besides it's great moisturinzing capability, was it's delicate scent. Most of the intensive hand cremes I've tried tend to be a bit too heavy on the scents, and while I like most of them (somewhat) I'm not always in the mood for heavy florals or even vanilla. This cream has a scent that will complement and blend with pretty much whatever scent you may be wearing at any given time, or it stands on it's own quite nicely without being overpowering. And it was working the best of all the lotions and creams I'd tried. And I think I've pretty much tried them all.

Ooh, just did a google search on it after trying to visit their website directly (and getting a "flash inspector" that did nothing instead). Besides Walgreens, KMart carries this line, and since I have to run out shortly, I may stop by there and see if they have any. Per google, drugstore.com also sells it, so I may be able to get my dry little greedy hands on it! IF they are still producing it - and that is the sixty-four million dollar question.

Okay, so that's all I'm going to say on this topic. It just gets frustrating to have to keep stopping when I'm raring to go on a crochet project to try and get unruly skin under control, so I had to vent. After all, isn't that part of what this blog is about? And it's great to get the feedback too - thanks ladies!

Later, I'll have some more crochet-related stuff to share, but for now I gotta run and get these errands done. At least it's not raining cats and dogs today like it was yesterday!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'd rather be crocheting...

Instead, I am wrestling with another flare-up of - gasp! - flakey skin syndrome! It drives me batty, but the skin around my fingernails has this tendency to get thick and flakey, and nothing I do will tame it. I swear I've actually seen bits of skin pop up, just waiting to snag my yarn. And the yarn I'm trying to work with tonight is a lusciously soft, almost roving-like worsted weight wool/cotton blend. The two gravitate to each other like magnets, sigh. So I will go through several sessions of trimming cuticles and thick skin followed by generous slatherings of heavy-duty moisturizing hand lotions, more trimming, more lotion, etc etc until I either get the skin under control or I have no fingers left to trim!

This yarn, though. It's like cotton candy, it's so soft! And what a lovely color, a lightly heathered pastel purple! This is one of the snazzy new JoAnn yarns from their Bellezza Collection (looking online, I see that it is not broken out from their other yarns in the Sensations line, so I can't provide a specific link for all the yarns in this subgroup), a wool/cotton blend called Dolcetto (and wouldn't you know it - it's on sale this week!). I am just in LOVE with all of the yarns in that collection! I've been working very hard at collecting coupons from various sources that I can use to get as much of this yarn as I can for several different projects/gifts. I am making myself a set of fingerless handwarmers from this Dolcetto, using the pattern from Interweave's Crochet edition. I've stitched up the first handwarmer, up to the point where the ends are to be sewn together, and have started on number 2. Once I get the basic pattern done, I have some modifications to add to it, to make these more suitable for my needs. I'll share when they're all done! If I can gather enough money/coupons together, and there is enough inventory on hand, I would also like to collect enough balls to make a poncho or (more likely) capelet and (really dreaming here!) a small lapghan to go with these handwarmers.

Ooh! I see they also have the Canditti on sale too! I am in SERIOUS trouble now! I want to get a truckload of ALL of these yarns!!! What's that you say? Eat? HA! Who needs food when they can have YARN! This is better than any diet I know, lol!

I'll save my Hobby Lobby Yarn Bee rant for another time, but be forewarned! It's coming...

I'm also going to be due for another stash flash series soon, if I keep this up. All that yarn I flashed last summer? I think I've managed to, at minimum, increase it all by a third, maybe half. I won't know for sure until I pull out the newer additions and inventory them. I'm almost afraid to, lol! Maybe if I wait long enough, I'll get enough of it used up so I won't look as insane as I feel over this stashing syndrome I've developed. It's all Crochetville's fault!

Over the past couple of days, I managed to get a whole bunch of yarn wound up that's been needing it in order for me to use it. Most importantly, I got all 4 hanks of my Iris laceweight alpaca yarn wound and ready for action, and I will be starting that project tonight since it will be my travelling project - a Seraphina! I also wound up one hank of the Sunlight lace alpaca, I've decided to try it out on a lacy scarf - as soon as I find the right pattern. I've been wondering if it would lend itself to a filet design? Well, whenever the pattern appears, the yarn is ready!

Speaking of travelling... I will be leaving (very bright and early, groan!) Thursday morning for Dallas Texas, on business. I'll be working at the group registrations booth for the American Heart Association convention through Monday when I'm scheduled to return, arriving home (very) late, and then it's off to (regular) work I go Tuesday morning! This means I will be working nonstop from this Monday all the way through to Friday of next week - and THAT means LOTS of overtime pay! MONEY FOR YARN!!! Send me lots of energy folks, so I can make it through this grueling schedule!

While I'm gone, I should probably be able to make some decent progress with the projects I plan to take, since I will be offline the entire time. Wonder if I will have withdrawals? I don't think I've been offline for more than 24 hours in the last 5 years, possibly longer. Heck, I may even be forced to watch some TV in my hotel room! For all I know, though, I'll be too tired to do anything once I get off work every day - onsite hours typically run to about 12 or more hours a day, there might not be much of me left to do anything but sleep on my off times, lol!

The only part of this trip/job that has me nervous as heck are the early morning hours. I'm terrified I'll oversleep, even though I will be setting up for a wake-up call from the hotel and I'll have the little travel alarm I got for the trip. I am soooo not a morning person! But I'll probably be too nervous to oversleep - which is a good thing, since my days there will be starting at 6 am!

So, my plan is to get my wardrobe ready and packed tomorrow (I will have to find clothes that are business-dressy, yet comfortable enough to wear for these long days, including shoes. I'll be standing and walking a LOT), make sure all the little technical details of my house are in order, replenish Meeps's food (Phil will be coming by to feed her and keep her company, but this is gonna be tough for her. She's never been alone this long in all the years I've had her.), and at least start my seasonal clothes shifting so I'll have a decent selection of warm clothes when I get back home. The temps have been very unseasonably warm here lately, but that is soon to change. For all I know, it could be snowing when I get back from the tropical climes of Texas!

I haven't accomplished much of anything today, alas! As is typical of me on a Saturday, I was too burned out from my workweek to feel ambitious enough to tackle any major projects, so I will be scrambling around tomorrow to get it all crammed into one day. And for the next week, minimum, I MUST work on getting to bed early so I can get enough sleep to be functional. I'm feeling sleepy already!

Well, back to wrestling with my dry skin so I can get some more crocheting done...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Harvest Warmth

I'm going to grab a quick moment here and post my latest completed project, which I've been meaning to do for several days now, but... Well, you know how it is!

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This is my Harvest Shawl, which I completed (very) late Sunday night, just in time for me to wear it to work on Halloween. It is made from nearly 4 full skeins of Lion Brand's Homespun in the Harvest colorway, a very autumnal blend of greens and oranges which I love! The greens didn't show up as strongly in this picture, but they are very well represented, believe me! The shawl was worked in a basic hdc "prayer shawl" pattern, but I wanted to fancy up all the edges a bit, so once I got it as long as I wanted, I proceeded to work 2 rows of hdc all the way around all 4 edges, followed by a row of scallops formed by working a sc-hdc-dc-hdc-sc-ch1 in every 2nd stitch. Then (crazy me), I fringed it with 3 strands per scallop! It took 126 strands, knotted at both ends. This baby is very large and WARM, and I suspect I will be bundling up in it alot through the colder months, which was the basic idea behind the project.

I have a lapghan and some handwarmers planned to complete my winter websurfing wardrobe. As soon as I get off this thing (shortly), I will be working on the second project, which I (barely) started at work today during my very brief lunch.

I am also up to my eyeballs in Christmas projects. Depending on who the recipient is, I may be able to post some of them here once completed, but some may have to wait until after the holidays for their spot on the virtual stage.

Okay, I'm off to go play with my yarn. Hopefully, I will be able to take some time out this weekend to catch up on all the other exciting news I have to impart, including info on my rapidly approaching trip to Dallas. Stay tuned folks!

Probably the most important interview you will ever read!

Again, it's way past my bedtime - so what else is new? I have much to post about, but considering the hour (and how long it takes me to write one of my usually lengthy posts), I will have to delay a bit longer. But I just got done reading the interview at this link I'm providing, and considering the fact that there is now legislation being contemplated that would force everyone to take mandatory vaccinations, you need this information.

It's especially critical if you have children.

Don't procrastinate - read it now!

Interview with an ex-vaccine researcher

Please do share this information widely, and consider giving your representative a call and letting them know how you feel about the idea of forced vaccinations.

And if you would like more information about this, or the supposed flu threat our newswires are full of stories about, leave me a comment and I will consider posting more links on these topics here.