Thursday, November 27, 2008

November, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Part I: So much for posting more often….
last time was the end of September and it’s November already? I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. Summer is over and the holidays are fast approaching. I never seem to be ready for the holidays; it’s just the way I am, I guess. Thanksgiving is just a food-fest and Christmas is all about the gifts, it seems. And with the economy so bleak, I wonder why I bother with the tree and all of the other trappings.

I stopped at Walmart the other night to pick up some vitamins and cat food and they were playing Christmas music! Christmas music was actually playing in a store during the first week of November! I wanted to scream. I remember when you didn’t hear Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and it doesn’t seem that long ago to me.

I’ve made a major decision; I’ve decided that I won’t let the holidays depress me this year. I refuse point-blank to be a downer when everything else seems to be that way. I will not let the fact that I’m low on cash bother me. I am doing everything I can to live inexpensively right now. I’m keeping my spending to a minimum and driving a lot less, even though gas has come down a lot lately. Oil is still up and I heat with oil. Here in the northeast corner of the US, oil is very commonly used and it’s also pretty expensive. So the thermostat is set kind of low and I’m wearing all kinds of knitted warmies and I turn on the electric blanket at night and I think we’ll make it. I keep telling Mike we’ve got our love to keep us warm! He’s not complaining yet….

Part II – Knitting…dare I say it? I FINISHED something!
I did! Really! My niece is expecting her first baby in December and they know it’s a girl. I wanted to make something for the new baby so I signed up for a class at my LYS. I made a Baby Surprise Jacket (EZ’s pattern) and it came out so cute! I used Jelibeanz yarn by Plymouth Yarns and instead of the usual baby pink or yellow or green, I used a hot pink variegated with striping in bright purple and bright blue variegated. I added a collar and cuffs in the purple and multi-colored heart-shaped buttons. If I do say so myself, it’s adorable.

I’m working on a bonnet in a similar pattern in the same colors to match and if I really feel frisky, I might even make some booties! It’s a quick knit, but I have to say that if I didn’t take the class, I honestly don’t know that I would have finished the sweater. There were so many little tricks taught that I really learned a lot. Of course, the sweater is an elegantly simple pattern, but I don’t think I would have completely understood how it all came together if I didn’t have the teacher there. She was great. She also gave us the pattern for the bonnet to match as an “extra” and in addition, showed us how to add cuffs and a collar to the basic pattern. I feel so good about this little project. It’s helped me along my journey as a knitter to know that I can complete something that isn’t a scarf.

I also started a wrap; it’s a LYS pattern from a place in Lake Placid in upstate NY (Adirondack Yarns; . It’s called “Asymmetrical Cabled Wrap” and it’s all done except for the seaming. I did it in a sea green chunky alpaca and it’s so yummy soft that I can’t wait to wear it. My office is going “green” and so they’ve turned the thermostat to the lowest OSHA-acceptable level, so I expect to be chilly in the office this year. I already use a “Sweaterless Yoke” from “The Knit Stitch” that I made ages ago whenever it gets a little chilly and always get a lot of compliments on it. I even made one for a friend in another office and she swears it’s the best idea since sliced bread. When the blower in the ceiling is shooting cold air down on your shoulders, those little shoulder-covering wraps are just the thing to keep you cozy.

I’m still working on the shawl from July. I’ve gotten a few rows more done, but I have to concentrate so much on getting the right rows done and counting the stitches and making sure I’m on the right pattern row that it gives me a headache to work on it for more than an hour or so. I guess I’ll just keep going. I mean, I paid $50 for this yarn and I’m damned if I’ll let it just sit there! I’ll make it into something….

Back to the socks…I decided to just rip both pairs out and rewind the wool. I’m sick of trying to figure out the Crazy Toes & Heels method. About the only thing I’ve learned from that book is a good toe-up cast-on. I think maybe I need to take a class to get socks right. I should think about that, but I’m trying to save up for a class on an Aran cardigan. I have the wool from a sheep & wool fest I went to last year. I bought it specifically to make an Aran sweater, but haven’t even had the nerve to wind it into balls. If I can set the cash aside for the class, it’ll be worth it to (hopefully) get something finished again. I think I need to have the “homework” from the class to motivate myself. Hmmmmm…can I do that to myself somehow? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

November 26, 2008
Part I – How quickly things change…
Things changed around here in what seems like the wink of an eye. I wrote the beginning of this post on 11/11 and thought I’d get back into on the weekend. By the 14th, my DH, Mike, had been laid off without notice and I was wondering which end was up. He’s since qualified for unemployment insurance (For those who don’t know, in New York the employers have to pay a ’tax’ for each employee so that if the employees get laid off, they will get paid by the state for a while.); I’m not sure how much he will get paid get or how long he can get unemployment, but I hope it’s enough so that we don’t have to worry too much about money.

Folks have asked how he could have been laid off without notice, but he worked for the state legislature as a Receiving Clerk and when you work there, you “work at the pleasure of the legislature” so they can lay you off “at will”. Nice, huh? I’m in a union-protected job and I have health insurance and stuff, so I can make sure he’s covered there. It’s just that it’s such a lousy time of year for this to happen. Bad things always seem to happen to my family in the fall; when my Gram died, her wake was actually on Thanksgiving and when my aunt passed, it was on the same day as my Gram, but last year. I always seem to be going to wakes and funerals in the fall. No wonder I get so depressed this time of year…

And so, it’ll be a quiet holiday season here, but as long as we have enough to pay the bills, it’ll all be fine. Just say a prayer that we come through ok, please? And Thanks!
Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cats!