One Fish Two Fish

The business of the past few weeks left me with an intense need to craft.  I clocked out of work, got home, and the rest of the night was consumed by scissors, fiber, sewing machines, and expletives.

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Water soluble stabilizer that I have had in my craft area for several months now, combined with:

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Pounds (about 8-10 pounds, I kid you not) of tangled fiber.  Basically, I received a shopping bag of fiber and told that if I wanted to go through the trouble of untangling everything, the yarn was all mine.  At this time, I had an idea for a project that this sort of gift was perfect for.  I had no desire to untangle it, I merely sandwiched a bunch of it in the stabilizer and added a bajillion pins (yes, that is a mathematically correct phrase.)

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I’m still picking pins off the floor and have warned my housemates against walking around barefoot.

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I took it over to the sewing machine and spent the next three hours stitching, and swearing, and slapping the table, and cleaning the machine, and fixing the thread, and retucking and pinning, and swearing some more before bringing out the bottle of whiskey and glaring at the mass of tangled yarn and thread.  I am lucky to have roommates who happen to find my moods and crafty notions amusing, so they poured the whiskey and watched the project progress, not minding that over time the volume and creativeness of my cursing increased.

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Once the main stitching was done, I headed to my fabric stash .  I have had this bolt of fabric for a few years now – it was a freebie from a neighbor.  I find it charming, yet too gaudy to really do anything with.  I love the images of the koi and lotus though, so I wanted to utilize them in my project.

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There were even seahorse!

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The whole thing then took a bath in warm water to get rid of the stabilizer and spent the next few days hanging over whatever I could drape it over without it being in the way.  It was so thick – too thick probably for the project really – it took ages to dry.

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And then it took a while to photograph, but here it is! Thanks to Ellette, I have some modeled shots.

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This makes the fiber look more brown than blue.  I wanted it to look like the shifting waters of a stream.

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There are different sized koi, a couple of seahorses, and a few lotuses hanging out as well.

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It measures about nine feet and weighs a pound or two.  It needs another warm bath to get rid of the last bit of stabilizer residue, but after that it should be beautiful.

And now that the weather is in the 80s, it will really come in handy (she says with just a hint of sarcasm.)

Not There Yet

On Sunday, I really tried to hammer out the last rounds of the Roundabout Leaf tank.  I worked until the linen made my knuckles sore.  I very rarely experience the knuckle pain that many knitters/crocheters complain of when working with inelastic fibers such as cotton or linen, but this tank is giving me the worst.  I think it is because I am knitting at a slightly tighter gauge than called for.  I know for certain that the tighter gauge is the reason it has taken me so long to complete.  If I had knit to gauge, my bands would be wider, requiring less of them to reach the desired length.  As it is, I’ve added two extra to give me the hip long tunic length I am hoping to achieve.

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I am on what I suspect is my last go-round before decreasing.  Then it is the blocking and picking up for the straps.  Two days left before I fly to Seattle and I really hope this is done and in my bag before I leave.  Overall, this has proven to be a rather mindless knit, which makes the going easier because I can chat or watch a movie while I work, and it has been fairly transportable, although at these later stages it has become a bit cumbersome.

Around and Around

I have been knitting on this Roundabout Leaf Tank and at the same time I feel like I’m spinning in circles myself, reaching out to grasp anything that will stop me and supply me with bearings to get back on track.  I feel like time has slipped away completely and I am hardly sure of what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing.  I wish I had more to blog about this week, but finding words and photographs has been a bit beyond me.  I assure I am well, and that may be the cause entirely for my absence.  I tend to live a very full life and then crash into weeks of doing absolutely nothing to recuperate.  I think I am headed for a few weeks of relaxation soon, but probably not until the end of May.

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I leave for Seattle next week (so excited!!) and I am hoping to have this tank done by that time, so that I can begin something else guilt-free.

On a side note – I was thinking about what to take actually, and last year around this time we went to Washington, D.C., and I started the Semele wrap that was never worked on once we got back.  Perhaps I will make this my “traveling shawl” and bring that.  And maybe some socks, just in case.  Wow, looking at the Ravelry link for Semele I can’t believe I ever put it down – it’s gorgeous!

 

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Anyway, I was hoping to have more completed of this tank by now, and then I thought about it and realized that I only seem to have a handful of knitting hours each week, and if I’m not working on it, it’s not working on itself, so it’s not getting any longer when I’m not there.

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The point I’m at now is pretty mindless, so I am hoping to whack out a  bunch of it this weekend (in between the parties and circus shows and stuff).  The real challenge will come in the shoulder straps, which I want to heavily modify to be less chunky than what the pattern calls for.

Explore Chicago: The Blue Man Group

We had a group adventure over the weekend, captained by my friend DJ (the cute blond far right).  He was determined to give us non-Chicagoans a taste of true Chicago, and that entailed heading into the city for dinner and a show.

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Dinner was at Edwardo’s and consisted of deep dish spinach pizza.  Only one lonely piece survived the meal, as the adults of the group were ravenous by the time we arrived at the restaurant.  If you don’t know it, or have never had deep dish pizza – it is loaded with carbs, grease, and deliciousness. One piece is usually all I need to feel absolutely stuffed.

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Afterwards, we headed to the Briar Street Theatre to see the Blue Man Group.

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The Theatre is definitely something to behold.  It’s interactive, which keeps you entertained before the show.

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Tubes were everywhere, and when you got up close they all played different types of music or speeches.

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There were some you could use to communicate with people across the theatre.

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We all laughed so hard we cried.  There were points during the show where I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.  I was gasping for breath, and DJ was sitting next to me laughing at me while I squeaked for air.

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It was an incredible show – and I heartily recommend it.  You will not be able to stop laughing (I’m laughing now as I write this).

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Because our Chicago adventures include public transportation, CTA shenanigans ensued during the ride home.  Ellette and I like to try to ride without holding on to anything.

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It quickly escalated.

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All in all – a fantastic Chicago adventure that has become one of the highlights of my year so far.

The Destash Strategy

I am a part of a swap group on Ravelry.  It is the ‘Knitters Holiday Swap’.  Every month, or every other, we celebrate some random holiday. April is  ‘Tell A Story Day.’ 
One of the rules for the swap is that it must contain yarn or fiber, at least one skein. This has been a wonderful destashing exercise for me, since I have been diving into the stash to include in the swap.

While cleaning today, I had a wonderful idea. I reshuffled my yarn hoard supply and started pulling out the balls that I could reliably tell myself I was never going to use.

I managed to empty a small bin, which made me ridiculously excited about being that much closer to accomplishing my goal.

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I now have it filled with the yarn I want to put towards swap packages.

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It is a nice collection of weights and colors, so finishing my packages each month should be that much easier.

I’m feeling kind of clever right now.

Saturday

Even though I am finished teaching for the next few months, I would still like to share with you pieces of my own personal training and fun.

This is from earlier this spring, when we hung the lyra on a swing set to practice.

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Reporting to You Tired, Sore, and Waterlogged

It has been a whirlwind over the past few days – I apologize for my absence and beg you to hear me out.

On Friday, I took off to Milwaukee for an aerial recital, which went amazingly well.  My girls make me so proud.  I know I am heading the right direction with them, and with my own career goals.

Saturday and Sunday were then consumed by birthday parties and meeting up with friends I haven’t seen for awhile – I wasn’t home much.

Monday and Tuesday then saw Ellette and I taken down by some sort of stomach bug – either food poisoning or something equally nasty.  Yesterday, I still felt a bit woozy and was catching up from 5 days of absence.

Today, I feel almost back to normal.  I am still a little rushed, and the heavy rains of the past few days are not helping.  There has been extensive flooding in some areas (I can’t get into the basement to do laundry) and the mood all around has been a bit dreary.  Despite being so busy playing catch-up, I spent my lunch hour today working on the Roundabout Leaf tank by Norah Gaughan.  It has reminded me that I desperately need to set aside some time for knitting before the world explodes.

 

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It’s coming along slowly.  Sadly, I am not as far along as I would like to be.  I haven’t even finished my second ball of yarn yet.  I am so excited to see it completed, but I have to keep reminding myself that knitting doesn’t happen without a helping hand or two.  I really need to get into gear and set aside time to work on my projects.

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