Dear 2012

You have been quite a rollercoaster year for me. I started the year with such high hopes for my future. There were so many things I was looking forward to, hoping to accomplish, new things to learn. I wasn’t expecting so many changes – or rather, these kinds of changes – by the time you were over.

This year turned into an exploration of love, overall. What love means, how it grows, and how it hurts us. I found myself nurturing new friendships and letting go of old ones. I started planning a future with the love of my life, only to have the relationship end abruptly – I still don’t understand what happened. Maybe it’s not really my lesson to learn, but his. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of discovery as well as healing. Today, this last day, I will let it go.

There is still much to look back on, though, and many good things to be thankful for. Many things have happened to spark creativity and inspire hope.

I did my fairs again – Janesville and Custer – as well as new ones. It was a difficult realization to make that wings just aren’t as profitable as they used to be. I blame Disney. Retiring them – except for special orders – is going to be rough, but so far I have enjoyed not worrying about them. My energy has been going toward more productive endeavors.

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Aerial, for instace. I debuted in May at the Actor’s Gymnasium’s “Circus in Progress” show. It was exhilarating, challenging, and incredibly fun.

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Again in October, we performed at the fall Circus in Progress. That was a clever trapeze act in which our characters were ones you would find in a midnight diner.

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I was the lonely old lady – a character I had much fun concocting.

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I have been pushing my levels of endurance and my threshold for pain as I train for this. I am hoping to turn it into a career – and that is what I hope the end result of 2013 will be.

In September, I started teaching beginning aerial arts, and in January, my daughter will begin learning.  This has been a wonderful experience, albeit stressful at times.  My students are amazing and talented, and I am excited to be the one inspiring them to push themselves farther, and even more so to be able to give them skills and confidence to do that.

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I made a big push in the knitting world.  I participated in two challenges.  I did not succeed in one, but the other was fantastic.  The Ravellenic Games were a bit hard on me – I had too much going on at the time. The other was NaKniSweMo, and I adore the end product.

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I attended Stitches Midwest and took some wonderful classes, met amazing people, and bought too much yarn.

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I also released three new patterns.  The Tetris Afghan, Dragon Slayer Gauntlets, and Cascading Leaves Cowl:

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In June, we acquired our little Pygmalian.  He has been a fabulous addition to our household – goofy and loving and adorable.

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He is about three times that size now, and I still haven’t trained him to leave my yarn alone.  What a rascal!

There are more little things, here and there, that shine for me.  I run into bits and pieces as I walk through my house and go about my day.  With the recent relationship change, I have been working hard to clean my house and cleanse my soul.  Many things have resurfaced with this purge and my thoughts are filled with reflections.

This next year is going to be wonderful, if a little difficult and nerve wracking.  I am going to do some adventurous, dangerous, and hopefully clever things that shall be revealed throughout the coming months.  But that is in the realm of 2013.

For now, I am putting on a party dress and going to see friends to bring in this brand new year among people I love dearly, and who love me in return.

Goodbye, 2012.  I won’t be seeing you.

No longer yours,

Pixie

 

 

Solstice

The winter solstice has always been a good day for me.  In my mind, it officially represents the end of the year, when the world is consumed by a long dark, and then the sun rises and we all start over.  The solstice is my soul’s reset button. It reminds me that whatever has been going that is bad will be taken care of, and I will be ok tomorrow.

I apologize for the silence here over the past couple of weeks.  It was by no means intentional, and I feel a little guilty because there should have been a lot to talk about – projects flying off the needles, travel preparations being made, and generally, a warm fuzzy holiday buzz.  Instead, it has been kind of cold, dark, and lonely as I cope with recent heartbreak.  I won’t get into the messy of it, but suffice it to say, I am trying to do better.  I have exercised a lot of self-reflection lately, and leaned a lot on my friends and family who have not waivered since it all happened.

But, through all that mess, I wasn’t knitting.  I just didn’t have the motivation in me.  My travel plans were tossed out the window, and now I am searching for a roommate while scrambling to make this holiday a good one for Ellette.

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One set of fingerless mitts – almost done.  They need straps and buttons, but those are purely aesthetic, so if I don’t get around to it, no one’s the wiser (except you, of course).

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Today, I finished one sock.  One. A second one needs to join it.  But when I finished this one, I held it up and wondered if maybe it was too short.  I don’t know what to do about it.  I think I may dig through my bin of knits-for-sale and find a nice scarf or something.  I don’t know yet.

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I apologize for the dark photos, I was trying to keep this one a secret from Ellette.  This is her cape, blocking.  The fair isle came out really nice, and now I have to cut the steeks and make the button band.  I’m terrified that with my recent luck, I will screw something up and have to start over, at which point all hope for me is going out the window.

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I don’t think this will take too long though.  One hour?  Maybe two?

Quick Knit December – Round 2!

Once again, I give you a coupon on a quick, easy holiday knit for those last minute scrambles.  One ball of yarn, one hour (if you can count), and one beautiful product.

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The Zigamorph Scarf uses one skein of Madelintosh Worsted (or about 200 yards of worsted weight yarn) and uses dropped stitches to create an eye-catching zig-zag effect.

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I have knit this scarf over and over again, experimenting with all sorts of yarn brands and fiber types.  This here is Lana Grossa Bambu.  Soft, shiny, and just as warm as the merino, but a little lighter.

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This blue/gray is Sweet Georgia.  The darker blue in back is Madelintosh.

The stitches really pop in the blocking – and blocking is ridiculously easy.  There is absolutely no thought involved.  I soak my scarves in warm water for about 10 minutes.  Then, I throw a towel over the shower rod, and sling the soaking scarf over the towel.  The weight of the water pulls the ends of the scarf and elongates the dropped stitches.  The finished items falls consistently between 5 and 6 feet in length.

To receive $2 off your pattern purchase, enter coupon code: QuickKnitZigs at checkout.

Not a knitter?  Not to worry!  I have a few premade scarves available in my Etsy shop.  I can also do custom colors and fibers.

Owls Emerging

Today, over my lunch hour, I decided to put some time into the owl socks.  I started them, and then they sort of sat there, just past the eye placement so I had their little green beady eyes watching me as I picked up other holiday knits to work on instead of them.  Silent, blue owls with their look of shame.

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Okay okay, maybe not shame.  Imploring? Judging? All-Seeing all-knowing?

Over my lunch, I timed myself so I could better estimate how long it is going to take to knit – one chart repeat equals approximately one hour of work.  If I want to make them mid-calf it will be 7 hours of work per sock.  Combine that with the purple cape and it’s miles and miles of mindless stockinette, and those may be the only two things I complete this season and I still will lose my sense of sanity.  I don’t think there will be any hope for me this year.  *sigh*

I had the sock with me at work, and I was showing it to a few people (who knit or crochet, or used to) and asking questions about length and beads and whatnot.  One woman looked at the sock and thought it was nice, looked at the chart in a daze, and then realized that I was making tiny little owls.  She sort of lost it with excitement and for the next 5 minutes kept saying “Oh, it’s an owl!” and variations thereupon.  At least I know that if there is a fiber catastrophy or the recipient hates them, I can fall back on her.

Quick Knit for Christmas – and a Coupon Too!

Because I am entrenched in miles up on miles of boring stockinette stitch, I am changing the pace a little bit.

If you are anything like me, and I assume you are a little because you are reading this, you will be furiously knitting (or crocheting) wonderful woollen creations for those you love.  At least, those you love who will not accidentally felt that gorgeous aran sweater or has abnormally large feet or whose favorite color is unicorn vomit pink.  I keep discovering things that I want to make for those people around me who adore and crave hand knit items, so my holiday list is getting longer and longer.  I am contemplating putting a cap on it (keyword being “contemplating”).

While I may not have hope left for me, there may still be hope for you, which is why I am offering you this promo; a discount on some of my quick knit, single skein patterns.

Up first: Keyhole Cowl

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This little cowl is knit flat, on a bias. The ends are then sewn together, and stitches picked up around the top and bottom for a neat garter ridge.

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It is great for layering, for wearing indoors when your office is chilly. And it only uses one skein of a heavy worsted/bulky weight yarn!

Just use coupon code QuickKnitKeyhole at checkout to receive $2 off this pattern.

Check in next Wednesday to find out what pattern is up next!

Self-Imposed Sleep Deprivation

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Behold, many, many hours spent tucked against the headboard, quietly yet furiously knitting and calculating and stranding yarn to produce what I hope will be a wonderful present for my dear daughter.

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As you can see, I worked out the colorwork issues and even got passed that portion.  Now I am on the mindless rows of increasing.  My own fear is that the yoke is too small.  I am telling myself that it appears that way because it is still on the needles and unblocked, but once I block, and then cut that steek (yikes!), it will open up considerably.  And I am trying to convince myself that, even if it isn’t quite wide enough – it’s a cape!  And by no means needs to close in the front.  And, if I am that concerned, I can just make the button band a little bit wider than I had intended.

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In the meantime, when Ellette is looking (she’s a clever little girl with a keen eye), I have started a different holiday project.  Watching the owls emerging is so much fun!  Now, if only my hands made the transition from chunky, loose knits to tight little sock stitches, this holiday knitting thing would be flying by.

(Sorry for the crummy photos – I was rushed this morning)

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