Project: Life

 This is my dad. My best friend. I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. I had my first tool box when I was just 3 years old. And not one of those cheap plastic ones with fake tools. No. I had a legitimate little metal box and a little apron with real (albeit tiny) screw drivers and a measuring tape and my own carpenters pencils. The good kind that don’t roll. 

Years were spent following dad around the shop, sometimes around job sites (mainly our own house as he built it from the basement up). I used to sit in the basement (His workshop and office of the construction company) and pretend I was the salesperson at the hardware store. I would sell him his own tools back. 

  
I also followed dad to his job as a professor at a local university. He would take me to his office (seen below) and let me “grade papers”. (Write on extra pieces of paper with a red crayon) Eventually deciding to pursue my PhD and become a professor one day, just like dad. I’m currently just a dissertation away from my doctorate. Thanks, in part, to his inspiration. 

  
Now that dad has retired from both academia and his construction company he spends time gardening, hiking and running 5k’s. He started running at the age of 70. I’m so proud of him. Who else can say their dad does that?? Not many people. In 2014 he placed 2nd in his age group in the Knoxville 5K. He’s seriously amazing. 

  
 
   
   

My dad is incredible. If you’ve met him you know this. He’s the smartest person I know. He can talk for hours about Plato, pasta sauce, and about welding. He’s also the kindest and most understanding person in the world. He’s always been there for me. He’s always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and he’s taught me so many important life lessons. 

He is my hero. 
On April 26 we found out that dad has cancer. My whole entire world was turned on its side. I still don’t think it’s fully registered. Partially because I refuse to accept this. My dad is too strong. He is too healthy. 

He. Will. Be. Fine. 

His cancer is possibly treatable with surgery. He will be having surgery on May 28th. And hopefully that will be the end of it. 

I am willing it to be the end of it. 

I have told some people but not everyone. I haven’t really found the words. I still don’t have them. But this will be a part of my life and it’s taking time away from things like blogging. So I thought I would try and talk about it here. Because it’s life. And these life things happen whether we are expecting them or not, wether we are prepared or not. We have to adjust. I don’t know how much I will talk about this on the blog but given that it might be referenced while dad recovers because my husband and I will be taking on the gardening for dad, I thought I would explain things. 

I’m trying to adjust. 

I hope this is just a minor adjustment for dad and that he can get back to his garden and his races soon. I’m staying positive and optimistic. We have a wonderful surgeon and there is a 50% chance that this kind of cancer can be totally cured with surgery. 

I’m keeping my eye on that 50%. 

So, blog-friends and real friends who read this…that’s what is going on in my life right now. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me and asking if I’m ok and how dad is. It helps. It really does. Just knowing someone else outside of our family cares and is thinking of us is very comforting. 

Much love, 

  

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Project: Don’t ever try and hand-quilt a t-shirt quilt

Also known as “Make an easier quilt”.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Yeah. So I had this wonderful idea sometime last year. Like…last summer probably. Or maybe before. Quite frankly I’m too scared to check the timestamp on the photo because I think I started this project over a year ago. Maybe a year and a half.

But it was a really good idea. I swear.

I wanted to make a quilt.

But not just any quilt. I want a quilt that is hand quilted by myself, my grandmother, and my mom.

And sure, there are several quilts floating around that have each of our work in them. But nothing that is just the three of us. And quite frankly nothing that has a significant amount of work on my part in any of them. Lezbehonest…I was a kid and getting me to do anything actually helpful was almost impossible.

So…I’ve realized that a quilt with all of our work in it….is something I want. Something that would be very special and meaningful to me.

Quilting has been a large part of our family. I’ve seen quilts my great-grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted, quilts embroidered by my mom and aunts, and as a child I spent many hours playing underneath that huge living-room-sized quilt frame. My grandfather had my grandmother make a quilt especially for me to remember him by. So quilts hold a lot of meaning for me, but it’s not something I’ve ever had a very active part in assisting with.

So it’s time to step up, right??

And at the time…having only really quilted for random spurts in my teens….I thought HEY I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS WITHOUT THINKING IT THROUGH. And then I thought “I’m poor”. And then I thought “I have a t-shirt hoarding problem”.

And the t-shirt quilt project was born.

Let that sink in.

I decided. To hand-quilt. A t-shirt quilt. WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS. (Or basting, or interfacing…)

Yeah.

So grandma and mom and I cut my beloved running shirts apart, picked fabrics, and without looking up how to sew jersey knit to rigid quilt cotton…pieced this sucker together.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Look at that concentration…”I’m so totally ready to tackle this” I thought to myself…

And it’s sat in a corner in my house for longer than I care to admit.

However, I’ve found a solution. It’s a 2-part’er.

  • Part 1: Beg someone with a long-arm to just put some lines in this beast and call it done.
  • Part 2: Start new quilt that is smaller, well thought through, and not t-shirt.

Thankfully, I’ve found a friend who is just getting in to quilting on her mid-arm…and is willing to do it for a nice barter-style deal…and I’ve managed to piece together a new quilt top to a much smaller quilt.

However I’ve learned a lot from this….year long experience. I’ve learned that I really do want something made by all of us. I’ve learned a lot about quilting and I know it’s something I want to continue doing, in a way to keep the heritage going. I know that hand-quilting is a big challenge and I have so much respect for all the people I watched do it as I was growing up. I’ve learned that interfacing is super-important (haha). I’ve learned that some quilts are just too big for your first time out of the gate. And I’ve learned that it’s ok to change direction in a project and admit (somewhat) defeat.

I will hand quilt! I will have a quilt with my mom and grandma! And I will never, ever, ever try to hand quilt a t-shirt quilt again.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Ever.

Former Perfectionist Tip: If the going gets tough – Long arm it and start something less horrible.

A Life of Projects

What projects have you had to let go of or re-route? Have you made a t-shirt quilt? Have you hand-quilted a whole quilt? Share your stories down below!

Why the changes?

I’m so glad you asked. And I’m glad you’re still here…(or I hope you are) or WELCOME if you’re new!!

So I had been slacking with this blog…especially when slacking with my knitting and spinning. I felt like I didn’t have anything to say. But…I’m always doing SOMETHING.

I decided to adjust this blog, and my username to reflect where I am now, and where I want to go. Here’s why…

Old Username: Knitter in Pink. New Username Former Perfectionist. 

I knit. This is true. I wear a lot of pink. That’s true too. But it’s not all I do. It’s not all I’m passionate about. And sometimes I don’t knit much. Sometimes I garden. Or bake. Or make homemade cleaners. Or…dissertate.

Also? I used to have to make everything perfect. And I still kind of do. But I’m working on it. I’m NOT PERFECT. Ha. And my new username is what I am trying to be. I’m trying to let go of the compulsion for perfection. It’s OK if I twist a stitch the wrong way. It’s OK if I have to spit-splice my spinning. It’s totally cool if I forgot the vanilla in the cookies. Fell out of my yoga pose? No big deal.

Perfection is exhausting. So is life. Why make it moreso?

Old Blog Name: The Knitter In Pink. New Blog Name: A Life of Projects.

Why? Isn’t your life made up of projects? My wedding…HUGE project. My dissertation…if that’s not a life project I don’t know what is. Sometimes I’m gardening. Some days I knit. I am a pinterest junkie. Tomorrow’s project might be a headstand. Yesterday’s was a half marathon.

So I’m going to share those projects here. At least one a week. I couldn’t talk about knitting every week. I tried. For years. But I do too much STUFF.

So all of it gets to be included. Why? Because it’s my life. And it has projects.

Enjoy.

 

Festivus!

Best. Weekend. EVER!!!

Ok, I say that every year, this weekend.

Why? Because it was Montpelier Fiber Fest!!!! Every year I go with one of my favorite people in the whole world…she’s my mentor, my trainer and basically who I want to become when I grow up. I get to spend the whole weekend with her and her family, some other friends, AND we go to a fiber fest, AND get awesome food (because her mom is an amazing cook) AND I get to run one of my favorite routes, AND I get my flu shot!!! YES!!!

I’m not kidding, this weekend even makes me excited about flu shots.

I love this weekend so much. Only 363 more days until I get to do it again!!!

Friday night we got in late. I basically went right to bed so that the next day we could get up and go to the festival!!!

Photo Oct 05, 10 35 49 AM

I love this festival so much. Awesome vendors, great selection, but not over-crowded. I can look around, then go back around again and get what I wanted. No pressure. It’s fantastic. More on the purchases later. I promise.

So after the festival we headed home for dinner…and these awesome ladies gave me the most amazing card…and I lost it. Cried at dinner. They also got me a little gift to wish me well for the following weekend (this coming weekend) when I will complete my first-ever marathon. The full 26.2. The big dance.

*falls over*

So…I’m as prepared as I can be. More on that…next week.

Oh holy God I’m actually doing this, aren’t I? Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

EEK!!!!

Ahem.

So. Stash that got acquired….

Photo Oct 06, 7 33 55 PM

 

From leftish to rightish: 1) Spinning gift bag from friend’s mom. Included a new lap pad for spinning WITH POCKETS!! What??!? Yes. 2) Alpaca fleece from friend’s mom is under that. AWESOMESAUCE. I almost bought one and was regretting it. She had some to spare. SO COOL. 3) Spindle and 3oz fiber for a gift for a friend that worked all weekend at the yarn store for me so I could go play!!! 4) 6 oz each of merino in slate and burgundy. Goal is to spin for the Tempest sweater. 5) White merino for dying. 6) So…I had a dream the night before the show. I dreamed I was knitting the Rocky Coast Cardigan….and I was wearing it in my engagement photos. So I bought yarn to make it. Why not. I feel like if something comes to you in a dream and it’s reasonable…you should follow that notion. 7) Random 3.5oz of cormo that was purchased to go with hard to see 8) which is my new supported spindle!!!! IS SO PRETTY!!! Better pictures later. 9) Spinners Book of Yarn Designs. *drool* Had wanted for awhile. Friends mom had it and I spent all weekend lusting over it. So I bought one. Then 10/11) is the gifty from the amazing friends and the card.

Fantastic weekend.

Well…3 days until Baltimore. I better get packed!!!

What Your Moped Means to Me

Hello!!!

It’s been a little while since I’ve made a real post. The last few weeks have been tied up with family issues and then vacations. First my Uncle, who is like a second father to me, wound up in the hospital and then had to have surgery…so needless to say I dropped most things and spent several days driving back and forth to the hospital. He’s still in the hospital, but is recovering fairly well. Then…I went on a much needed vacation to the beach. More on that in a wee-bit. Let’s get started.

Knitting News

I finished TWO projects since we last chatted!!! Two!!!! AND STARTED A THIRD!!!! And no one had better point out the other 15 UFO’s hanging out around my house. Most of which I haven’t even put on Rav because I don’t want to face the numbers. I am not a monogamous knitter, ok?? Ok.

So…the Inishbofin Cowl from KnitScene Accessories is DONE! He-whom-it-is-for does not know this yet…and hopefully won’t read this or see me modeling it. Hehehe. If he does, he can harass me about mailing it. I’ll get there eventually.

Cowl completion!!

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Details

Then I knit up a pair of mittens for my Aunt for Christmas. Yeah, you heard me. ONE CHRISTMAS PRESENT DONE!!! HA!!!!!

;

Mittens DONE!!

Then finally, I started some fingerless mitts for myself. I used my regular mitten pattern and added a 2×2 cable about 6sts in for the left mitt, and 23 sts in is the plan on the right. For the left it should have been over another 2 sts, but…then I would have had to move things on to different dpns and my sts wouldn’t have been even on each needle and…I was lazy, ok?? Sheesh.

;

Fingerless Mitt #1

I worked on my neon socks a little bit too. I…should put some of these things in the Ravewhatever Games. I joined like 3 teams. I should…ya know…compete.
I’m a slacker. For more evidence, see below.

Spinning Stuff

Um….no.

Seriously. Haven’t touched a thing. I had a Tour De Fleece epic fail…and have continued to fail.

Wants and needs

To spin more.

Ha!

Right now…I can’t stop buying buttons. Mostly from Ephemera and Beanforest. I needs them. I wants them. MUST HAVE ZE BUTTONS!!!!!

They go on my nifty new back-to-grad-school bag.

Dr Who Messenger Bag!!

Yeah….I’m a dork like that. So far…I’ve bought 6 new buttons this month. I need to post a picture of my button board…my purse is covered in buttons too…and sometimes they fall off. And then I cry. I need to sew them on. I’ve said that for…forever.

So what I want more than anything is a magical monkey to sew all my buttons on to things because I’m a slacker. Kthx. 🙂

Workout World

Last week I did a killer 7 mile LR. It was AWESOME. So happy with that one…however…this week I went to the beach. Aaaand I did nothing.

Can you blame me for not working out??

Actually I walked a lot…but we were only there 3 days, technically…it was one. Monday…we drove, Tuesday we beached, and Wednesday we drove home. So…yeah. Thursday I did bike a little…but I felt awful most of the day. Vacations wear you out!! But I’m slowly getting back in to things.

Today…I did one leg of a sprint distance triathlon. So there’s that. More on that in a wee bit. Tomorrow the goal is to do about 6-7 miles.

 

General Chatter

Well…as I mentioned, I start grad school in a few weeks. It’s starting to get all kinds of serious now, with meetings scheduled, and my first training for being a TA…but the fun part is all the new school stuff. I’m a sucker for school supplies…I can’t help myself. I LOVE NOTEBOOKS. And pens. Oh and don’t get me started on post-its and highlighters. SQUEEEEE!!!!

In other news, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, my neighbor annoys the $@!* out of me. In addition to his antics, we also have “The Vertical Trailer Park”.

I swear, it’s just this one building. All the other buildings in our complex are older people, or young post-college couples just starting out. But the VTP is ridiculous. It’s also the newest building in the complex which that right there just makes me want to rip my hair out…anyway. Everyone in the VTP…seems to be what one might call “trailer trash”. Most…seem to be related or at least in close association. Often people are wandering barefoot from one of the buildings stairwells to another. Frequently dragging kids back and forth. Or just screaming from one balcony to the other while hanging off the edge.

The cast of characters includes Little Hispanic Girl Who Glares, Big Lady Who Wears Things With Writing On The Rear, and my personal favorite, Orange Mohawk Safety Vest Marley Moped Man. That’s just a few of the gems. In fact, there is a whole moped crew, which that alone terrifies me. Driving a moped says one of two things: Either “I’m too broke to afford a real vehicle and think driving 35mph is socially acceptable” or “I have had so many DUI’s that this is all the state will allow me to operate”. Both of those just rub me the wrong way.

It is quality entertainment, but it’s starting to make me uneasy. The other day a man tried to sell me an air conditioner…and I’m fairly certain I saw a woman from social services doing a home check on one of the residences. Also I think two of the apartments are occupied by a husband and wife who are now divorced, because they yell at each other, transport kids back and forth between apartments, and both discipline the rugrats. It’s lovely. Really.

Before I go off on a rant about letting your children sit in the middle of a frequently used parking lot at 10:30pm…we will move on.

Awesome Award

TA-DA!!!

Team KnitWits!

 

This week’s Awesome Award is for my mom and my good friend Jo!!! Both of them completed their first sprint distance triathlon as a relay team!!!!! Jo has a full-fledged sprint tri coming up soon, so this was her practice for it. Mom…is not a super-swimmer so this was a great way for her to compete without getting her feet wet!

Jo swam, I biked, and mom ran. It was a really great race and I’m SUPER proud of these two ladies for all their efforts.

And apparently we need to give my dad a bonus Awesome Award for his sprint with the camera. According to witnesses (DB and Jo’s Hubby) dad snapped a few pictures of me finishing the bike leg, then grabbed his chair, water, hat, and camera, and sprinted off to the run start to see mom before the rest of the group even knew he had moved. Apparently, he moved so rapidly that the rest of our support crew was talking to him one minuted, and couldn’t locate him the next. With all the races and horse shows dad has played pit-crew for, he clearly knows how to navigate a crowd, and make a speedy exit if needed. He also knows where to be with a camera. Thanks dad, for always supporting us. And way to be quick on your feet while toting all our crap and your chair…but next time maybe tell the noob’s where you went….

That’s it for now! Hope everyone had a good week or so while I disappeared. And look for more updates of the Vertical Trailer Park and Downstairs Neighbor…I’m sure they will come…

 

That’ll Be Dr. Knitter

Knitting News

So much yarn, so little time!!!

I’ve finished my Sweet Georgia Socks and am now working on some neon ones. I don’t know how to function without socks on the needles. Come on now. Sock knitting is about as addictive as tattoo’s…speaking of which…I feel that itch creeping up again, but anyway, back to knits.

I started a new job…at….yeah…a yarn store. It shall remain nameless for now because…eh…that’s too much personal info. But the shop is one of my favorites, and I’m UBER happy to be working there. It’s seriously the best job I think I’ve ever had. I’m SO happy to go to work every day. It’s amazing. I don’t do well with sitting ALL day so usually I straighten the yarn, pet the yarn, admire the yarn…and clean everything. Then knit for awhile…then wander the shop rearranging things. My favorite part is when the UPS guy comes with new merchandise. For one, this means I get to pet new yarn, and it’s another excuse to wander around the store. Overall, it’s the best job in the universe. Pretty sure.

I’ve had a bit of cast-on-itis lately. I started the Inishbofin Cowl which is in the latest KnitScene Accessories…but for some reason is not on Ravelry. It’s my first ever pattern with a chart *gasp* but so far it’s going well. It’s for a dear friend who lives in a chilly place so I’m hoping to get it done quickly.

I also have acquired yarn for two sets of mitts from KnitScene Accessories.

The ones on the cover will probably be first. That yarn was acquired on a trip to Tennessee. More on that later.

Other than that…and some awesome free yarn from my awesome boss…my mom just got back from Spain and what did she bring me?? YARN!!!!! It’s pink so I’m super excited about that. Some of it was straight acrylic…so that will be for someone’s baby somewhere. Most was Merino/Acrylic. Not too bad. I don’t know if she found a real yarn store or just a hobby shop. But hey, it’s yarn from Spain!! Although it weirdly is labeled in English…but it says Made in Spain so….yeah.

Spinning Stuff

Well I’ve moved to a new location and Eloise (my Schacht Matchless) is poised in the corner…with not much going on. I have to remedy this soon…especially with the Tour De Fleece starting TOMORROW!!! I’ve never spun for the TDF, but I joined this year. I’m in the rookie team, Peloton, Team Nerd Wars, Team Schacht, and Team Spindlers. I think 5 is good for my first year, right??? Man I need to find my current drop spindle project!!! *gasp*

Here’s the current fiber on the wheel. It’s been there for about 6 months. The goal is to FINISH IT!!!

I have been working on knitting my handspun merino in to a Multnomah. It’s going beautifully so far. Just started the feather and fan. Pictures to come!

Wants and Needs

I desperately want a new spinning wheel…but that’s not about to happen. But if I could, right now I’d get a Ashford Traditional. It’s light, portable, and a Sleeping Beauty style wheel. My Schacht is great, but it’s a beast. I’d love to have a little ashford to tote around.

Also I have a tattoo of an Ashford Traditional so…there’s that.

I also really want to get some Fleece Artist. I currently own none. With my given sock obsession, I really need to remedy this. In particular, I’d get the Twilight colorway. http://www.theloopyewe.com/browse/yarn/fleece-artist/trail-socks/twilight/ I don’t have socks that color…which is depressing.

Then there’s this…

It’s KFI Luxury Silk. We carry it at the store I work for…and I pet it every day. The problem is…it would be around $60 for two skeins….but there’s this perfect scalloped shawl pattern…yeah. I want it bad.

But…I’m about to be a broke PhD student….so wants aren’t happening. More on the PhD later.

Workout World

This is a new section, and not really knitting like the rest of my blog…but it’s something important to me. I also don’t think all knitters are as sedentary as the general populous believes.

I’m mainly a runner. I do 5K’s and half marathons. I also love triathlons so I do a bit of running and swimming as well. Here’s a little bit of my race remembrance wall. It’s motivation to do more.

Right now I’m trying to train for a marathon without a race in mind. Every time I’ve tried to do a full marathon training schedule with a goal race picked out…I fail. So…I’m just focusing on doing the distance, regardless of the race. If I make it to an 18 mile training run, then I’ll pick a race.

I’m also working on doing more toning. Currently I’m working on the 1000 Squat Challenge. The goal is to do 1000 squats in 1 week. I’m doing 150 a day for 6 days, then 100 the last day. So far I’ve done 300…and I’m starting to feel it. Anyone care to join?!?!

Also in my occasional Workout Wednesday post I’ll be sharing a favorite workout move, or a really good running story.

General Chatter

BIG NEWS!!!! I got accepted to a PhD program!!! I have officially QUIT TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL!!! BWAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!! It’s OVER!!!!!! Finally!!!!! Phew. 3 years was more than enough servitude. I’m going to be working on my PhD and hopefully teaching college and doing research from here on out. No more getting cussed out (ideally), no more hormonal adolescents, no more parents blaming me for everything…Sweet freedom.

The PhD program has led to a move back to my old hometown, so I’m super happy about that as well. The DB (dear boyfriend) moved with me from his home in Tennessee, so…things are somewhat serious. Including…maybe a little engagement ring shopping and talk. NOTHING official yet but…it’s a thought. 🙂 We shall see.

Overall I’m THRILLED with this new opportunity and SO fortunate to be doing this program. It’s a 3 year program in Agricultural Education. I can’t wait to get started in August.

Awesome Award

This Awesome Award goes to Lindsay who was on Jeopardy tonight. (Yes I am a dork and I watch Jeopardy) She stated that she took pictures of litter that she would find in indoor places and posts it to her blog. When asked why, she said that she felt people that were rude should be publicly shamed.

I officially adore her. Mainly because I spent a full 50 minutes (10 minutes per class) each year trying to explain the difference in a TRASH CAN and a BOOKSHELF to my high school students. I had 5 trash cans in my room. One bookshelf. I can’t tell you the number of times I cleaned trash off my bookshelf.

Oh wait…yes I can. 180 days of school times the 2 years I was in that room. 360. There. That’s how many.

So Lindsay from Jeopardy….you are my hero for today.

Here’s a link to her tumblr. http://litterinstoreslitterindoors.tumblr.com/

Well that’s it for now. Have a good week!!!!