Hello! As you can see, trying to keep up with this blog has been difficult. It has been relegated to mostly a personal blog. So, in an effort to streamline my life in 2018, I will be stopping this blog. But, don't worry, I'm not gone! 🙂 I have my design blog going, where you can keep up with all my projects and goings on. Please come on over and join me there! The site is tlcraftsanddesign.com. This blog is technically going to be active until the end of 2018, but you probably will not see much activity here. Hope to see you on the new site!!
I have been so busy updating my work/design blog that I have been neglecting my personal one. Sorry about that! I'll try harder going forward. 🙂 Let's see...what have I been doing? Well, we finished a bunch of renovations on our house. We finished the kitchen and redid the master bath. It all turned out nice, but was preceded with an unexpected basement flood. We had folks in to gut the basement of it's flooring, and then had someone in to fix the door that was destroyed. It was not the first time this has happened apparently, and we took the full force of their ineptitude. :S Oh well. The door is now new and has all new jams. And not a drop of water since. The basement will be a winter or next summer project. Right now we can't decide what to do down there. Okay, so kitchen! We had already replaced upper and did the tile. Now it was time for lowers, new layout and floors. We moved the fridge across the room out of the way, tore out the pantry and replaced it with a proper cabinet. The counter tops are a leathered granite, which turned out really nice. As for the bathroom, it was a complete gut. The toilet was moved, the shower was enlarged, the tub surround depth was actually made smaller, yet we fit in a new bigger tub. The length of the tub surround was enlarged, by taking some space from the closet. We ended up getting more usable space in the closet when we were done, though. Go figure. It was a really poor layout. The old vanity was really huge, so we went to a smaller one, to make room for the glass shower door to open. We did the design work ourselves, but had someone else come and do the install. But, this next reno is pretty much all us. The only thing we won't be doing is installing the carpet. But, starting Friday, we're going to rip out the old carpet, put down new sub-floor and start repairing walls and painting. We also have crown molding going in. First up is going to be J's office. We're moving him into what was the guest room, because it's a bit smaller and will fit his desk better. After that room is complete, and he's all moved in, we'll tackle the room he is currently using as his office. That will become the craft studio. It's the same process in there, except we aren't planning on crown molding. We should be done by Christmas. hehe Other than that, it's been knitting, working on designs, and trying to keep my head in the game. Easier said than done! My foot is killing me! It is somewhat healed from the initial break, but it keeps getting new fractures. I should have my new orthotics in a couple of weeks. Hopefully once I get adjusted to them, I won't have as much trouble. We went to California for a few days back at the beginning of November. We went to Blizzcon and had a blast! It was a short trip, but a lot of fun. I'm not sure we'll do it again, but it was an experience worth having. 🙂 My finished projects have been few and far between lately. I've been mostly working on designs, and now Christmas stuff that I won't post until the new year. For now, I have to go finish Dad's gift. It's trying to beat me, but I won't let it win. hehe Thanks for reading!
It's been a busy few weeks around here. Thanks to my injury, I have just kept on trucking on the designs. The two I mentioned last time (Spring Flower socks and Celtic Cable Mitts) are still in testing, and they are coming along nicely. I'm getting fantastic feedback on the Celtic Cable Mitts. I think that might turn out to be my best pattern so far. We have been trying to keep the vegetable garden tended as well. I've been having issues with something eating the green bean plants. Bugs, I assume, but nothing is taking care of them. In case it's something that is landing on them at night, we have put a summer bug cover over the entire planter. It's about 12 feet long, with peas planted on one side, and beans on the other. I also went out and spread a bunch of diatomaceous earth on them today. Whatever it is has a taste for bean plants, but not the peas. The cucumbers are also coming up nicely, and the carrots have finally taken off. The onions are slow going, but I think they are supposed to take a while. The garlic is about 3 weeks away from harvest. I'm going to harvest them, and then just turn around and replant a few cloves right away. I released a free pattern yesterday. They are called Simplicity Socks. They are a simple pattern that is great for travel knitting. The pattern will also work with all kinds of yarns. I've already had a ton of downloads of the pattern. At this point in time, I am at 100 unique downloads! Very cool. 😀 I have a baby blanket that I am designing, which will be a gift for a friend. The baby shower is next week, so I'll be able to put up a sneak peak of that after she gets it. I haven't decided how to do my joining, because I have a bunch of squares to put together. I'll figure that out when I finish the squares. That should be later today. Then they all have to be blocked individually to have them all match in size. I have so many squares I might have to do them in two batches. lol The other design on the go is a tshirt. Once I finish this blanket, that might be my next must finish. It's going to take a bit to get it done, but once I put my mind to it, it should move quicker. I had to change yarns because the first one just didn't work for me. The yarn was too stiff and just wasn't knitting up well. The new yarn is from Miss Babs, and it's dreamy. It's super soft and just flies off the needles. But, that means starting at the beginning again. Oh well. As for me, my ankle is healing slowly. I am still having to rest a lot. But, in general I'm feeling really good. After the collapses I had, the arthritis pain became less and less, to the point that it now isn't there at all. Seriously. None. I have hand stiffness, but that's it. Also, my energy level has been improving. Which is the annoying thing about this ankle break. I want to get up and do things, but can't. We bought a sloped weight bench that is for crunches and leg raises, and I'm using that to exercise right now. It seems to be really good. I go back to the doc in 4 weeks, so I'm stuck in the cast until then. He doubts that I'll be out of it then, because stress fractures are tough to heal. Hopefully I will be done with it, though. 🙂 I'm willing it to be healed. 😉 It's not working that well, but hey, can't blame me for trying. For now, it's back to knitting and my coffee...definitely my coffee... 😀
Well, I've been laid up the last couple weeks (broken ankle...stress fracture that the doc found a few days ago, and I'm now in an air cast and on limited activities), so I've had lots of time to finish and start some things. I've been super lucky lately, in that the arthritis is pretty much non existent. My hands have not bothered me at all. That means I have been able to finish these guys and get them out for test knitting. Celtic Cable Fingerless Mittens: I've always love cables, especially anything that looks like little Celtic cable. I put them down for months, but they are now finished. The goal is to have the pattern out around June 15. That is the end date for the testing. I've been getting feedback already, and they are actually a fast knit, so I might see some finished mittens very soon. Also out for testing (although I have only completed one sock. I just cast on the second one.) are my Spring Flower Socks. These guys have just a bit of a yarn over design to give it the look of tulips, or dandelions. The deadline for testing on these is June 10, so I should have this one out just ahead of the Fingerless Mittens. I'll link to those patterns when they go live. Until then, pictures will have to do. I have also finished a couple things that are not my designs. First is a shawl that is being delivered to a friend today. She recently lost her mom, so this is my way of sending her a hug. This pattern is called Reyna and is a very quick knit. It was really nice. It was just a mesh pattern and a garter stitch pattern. I love it. 😀 It's also made with just a single skein of fingering weight yarn (approx 400 yards). I had some yarn that I received in my monthly yarn club, and it worked out so nicely. I love that it looks spring like with the pinks and purples. The other finished item right now is a cowl for me. This is the Lila Cowl. I bought a kit for it years ago, but never made it. It ended up taking me just a couple days, and the pattern was really easy to memorize. It was awesome. I finished it last night just before bed time. The yarn that came in the kit is cashmere, so it's incredibly soft. It's summer here now, so I don't need it, but I'll get it all blocked and things and then put it in the winter scarf/mitten drawer. 🙂 My biggest finished project is my Herbst Rosina. I made one for my mom for Christmas, and fell in love with it, so I made one for myself. It's awesome. This picture is a bit washed out, color wise, but I haven't made it back down to the basement to set up proper pictures. The color is actually like blue jeans. Actually, the yarn is called Denim. So, there are flakes of whiter color along with the blue. It's definitely not the shade of grey this picture shows. The yarn is the same as moms. It's the Miss Babs Yowza. I used almost 3 full skeins of this yarn. I made it long enough to come down to cover my butt. I love how it turned out. Other than that, I have been resting and trying to let my ankle heal. The doc I found was terrific. I was so thankful to find someone that would see me! Everyone else refused or tried to send me elsewhere. sigh But, this guy is awesome. He's about a 45 minute drive away, but worth it. He wasn't impressed with some of the things he saw with my foot. But, first we have to get this stress fracture to heal, then we can move on to fixing other stuff. The really great thing is that he has options for me! Other than just amputation. So, fingers crossed we can find a solution. I'm only a couple days into my 6 weeks of the air cast. And that is best case scenario. He wasn't inspiring confidence that I'd be out of it in 6 weeks. That's the issue with stress fractures. You're not quite sure how they happened. And in all likelihood mine happened just from how I walk. So, I'll need a new brace, most likely, and then we'll have to fix it. If I don't take it easy over the next 6 weeks, though, it won't heal. That means very little walking for me. It also means a lot of time sitting, which isn't good either. I have grabbed the hand weights to do some stuff with my upper body as I sit, and I have also been doing leg exercises while sitting. This way, it keeps the blood flowing and keeps the muscles working. I get a check up in a week in a half from now to see how things are going. Hopefully it'll look like it's improving. 🙂
It's that time of year when the trees have started to fully pop with leaves, the flowers and coming up and everything is looking green and pretty. It's also that time of year when my sinuses go crazy and hate me. Thankfully I can take lots of stuff to make that a bit easier. It also means I can throw open all the windows and listen to the birds happily chirping at the great weather. I have started a couple projects in the last few days. That's the problem when I don't feel well. I need something new to occupy my mind. Just ignore that bag of wips..and that bag....aaand that bag. lol We went out to the local yarn store last week to meet up with a friend who was in town, and I was drawn to this lovely Miss Babs yarn. I mean, when am I not?! I love her yarn. I think I have a problem. lol This one is Miss Babs Yowza in the Adobe colorway, and it's so pretty! It's a light dusty rose color and it's gorgeous. It will become a sweater soon..I hope. Again, ignore the two sweaters I have on the go already. The pattern is Jesse's Girl in the book by Kate Oates called "Grown". It's such a pretty sweater. It's a pullover style, with lovely cables on the arms and the body. I thought the cables would make it go slower, but so far it's going really well. The pattern starts with having you knit the sleeves, which I love. I usually do that with my sweaters, because I almost always lengthen the body. Doing the sleeves first means I know that the yarn I have left is all for the body. This is the only thing I started from someone else. I did however start working on a new pattern design. This will become a t-shirt as Spring progresses. The prototype is being knit in Knit Picks Lindy Chain in the Serrano colorway. It's a nice vibrant red. It's a bit difficult to work with, because it splits a lot. It is still a very nice yarn, and very pretty, though. It won't be as drappey as other lace weights, because it feels more like a cotton. The picture shows a wee taste of the sweater, only the neckline, and all the goodies piled up on the ottoman for all the calculations and things I have to do for sizing. There are even cat toys thrown in for good measure. 🙂 Tomorrow we'll be making Easter Dinner and trying to relax. I have to make a doctors appointment next week, because my heart has decided that it didn't like the meds I was on and I went into Bradycardia (slow heart rate). It cause me to collapse 4 different times. I'm feeling a bit better now, but I need to get a full EKG and work up. That means I am on no meds other than my anti-inflammatories. It's going well, but we need to make sure I can handle any new meds. At this point, I'm not really interested in anything else. It's too risky. 🙁 We did manage to get most of the vegetable garden planted last week. We have one large planter that needs work still, but we need to pick up a bunch of dirt to get the soil loosened up. Now to just wait for everything to start popping up for some yummy veggies. We also have a couple blueberry plants now. I planted them a few weeks ago, and they are growing really well. I figure that they will start to produce a nice yield next year. This year is all about them growing and maturing. I'll be happy if we get any berries this year.
I've been slowly working through some projects. I was sucked into a great project that is designed as an RPG (roll playing game) where you roll the dice to see which chart of that section you get to knit. It's a lovely scarf, and I've finished it recently. The pattern is called Heroes of Yarnia. It was a lot of fun. And now I am working on a blanket that will continue until the end of November, that is by the same designer. So much fun! It's double knit, just like the scarf, which means it's fully reversible. 😀 I also released another pattern, which you can find on my pattern blog of here. And of course that blog has links to all my patterns on the side, as well as a link to Ravelry to see them all with pictures and be able to purchase them on there as well. This latest pattern is a hat. I wanted to use the theme of leaves for something, since when I started it it was fall. A hat seemed like the best place to get a nice big pattern. The hat pattern is available in three adult sizes ranging from 19" around the brim to 23" around the brim. It can also be made shorter if the knitter prefers a regular hat and not a slouchy. I haven't been feeling well with my new medication, so my designs have been put on hold temporarily. But, I just stopped one of my meds and I'm feeling a tiny bit better. I'm going to try to get as much done on the latest sock pattern as I can today, and maybe I'll get more done than I expect. For the latest updates on patterns, be sure to go over to my design blog, or you can join my Facebook page. As for an update on me, well, like I said above I've felt crummy. I've collapsed 4 times in the last two months, which is a big problem. I almost broke my wrist twice. Thankfully it was sprained, but needless to say you can't do much knitting with a badly sprained wrist. The first fall was the worst and I bruised and sprained my whole right side. So, we'll see where we take things at my next doctor appointment. Today I went to see the asthma doc and we've changed things up on that front as well. I've started a daily medication to see if we can get the inflammation to go away in my lungs. Fingers crossed! Apart from that I picked up a test knit for a gorgeous scarf that is a super secret until the designers mystery knit a long has concluded. I have to try to get that done by the end of March. No rush. lol
Wow, it's been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. We made it through Christmas, and had a good time. I put my pattern testing on hold during the holidays, because it was just too hard to get anyone. Most people were busy finishing off gifts for family and friends. Thankfully I had finished my Christmas knitting well in advance of Christmas. I knew I would have to get mom's gift in the mail early. I have also finished a bunch of projects and a bunch of patterns have been published. For the links to patterns and to keep up with those, you can find them here. That is my website for my design business, as well as my site for my portfolio of test knits that I have done. I'll be doing another update there shortly, because things have been released or started. First up in the finished projects portion of this post is mom's sweater. I am so in love with this pattern that I am making one of these for me now. Mine is just a little brighter blue that what I used for mom's. Mine is a denim color. The pattern is Herbst Rosina, and is a beautiful sweater. As a quick caveat, you'll have to read the pattern carefully. It was translated into English and some of the pattern is worded a bit strangely. If you have knit a sweater before, you should be able to follow the directions well enough. And believe me, it is well worth it. The lace design on the back is worked until it touches the front lace of the sweater. It makes this lovely sweeping lace design on the back that is gorgeous. I love every bit of this sweater. It also goes faster than just a plain stockinette, which is nice. When I was knitting this, I knit until I split off for the sleeves and then actually knit the sleeves before finishing the body. The main reason I did this, was to be able to lengthen the sweater. This way I don't have to guess what I need for yarn to finish the sleeves, and I can just keep knitting until I run out of yarn, or I hit the length I want. These socks are my own design. They are called Diamonds at Sea. I finished these just after we got back home from our cruise, so I did a fair bit of work on them while sailing. That contributed to the name. The diamonds were more visible than normal, because I used a slipped stitch technique instead of a leaning stitch type of technique. I finished a pattern for another pair of socks that launched just a couple days ago. These are called Butterfly socks. Somehow in the process of waiting for the testing to finished I lost the second sock of this pair. It has to be in the house somewhere, but I can't find it. In the fingerless mittens category, I have completed two patterns. First is Dreaming of Spring. These are a raspberry stitch that gives it a little height and definition to the mittens. I only did the design on the top of the hand, because I always find having some kind of bobble on the underside of the arm or palm really gets annoying when I type or need to rest my arm on something. I also launched By the Shore Fingerless Mittens. These have an oyster stitch that reminded me of sitting by the Bay of Fundy watching the waves and having wienie roasts. I also made a pair of these for my cousin. She needed something for at the rink, so I put a flap on her pair. I finished a pair of socks (not my design) called By the Seine River. These have a simple meandering pattern that creates a wave like design. I used a yarn that is a bit busy, so the pattern doesn't show up that well. But, I wanted to get the yarn used up. hehe I do love the pattern, though. It was a quick knit, too. Another pair of socks I made for myself were the Osier socks. It's made with a yarn I got from a yarn club, and it looked like fun. They turned out really well, and I love wearing them. The color is very cheerful. 😀 The pattern itself is very easy to remember, and is a great travel pattern. Time for another pattern of mine. I have no link for this yet, because it hasn't been released. I am planning to release it in a couple of days, so be sure to check my design website for it. This is the Leaf Slouchy. I started this as fall was rolling in and the leaves were falling to the ground. I wanted to have a nice wandering leaf pattern. I had some trouble with this pattern because of some issues with my health. I was having a lot of trouble with my memory and just keeping things straight in my head. My cognition has been in the toilet the last few months. More on that shortly. This adorable hat is called Romancing the Brioche, and I knit it as a test knit for the designer. It's absolutely adorable. The ribbing and the heart are done in the brioche technique and give a nice definition to the stitches. Now for a work in progress. This is a knit a long I am doing. It's double knit, so it's fully reversible. The designer has this set up to be like a dungeons and dragons game. Each clue has a number of charts, and you roll the dice to determine the chart you will use for each section. It's a lot of fun. The other thing I like is that your scarf is going to be completely unique. It's fantastic! Now that I've run through all that, time for a quick update on what is happening here. As I said above my health has been rocky. Mentally I've just not been there. The medications have messed my mind up to the point that my memory was short. The old doctor I was seeing was a real piece of work and was ready to just shove me out the door. So, I went to see someone else. The new doctor has been great. She ran a bunch of new tests to see what she was dealing with. She also did an ultrasound of my hand and found inflammation. I should have no inflammation when on a biologic. So, that medication was stopped and she got me approval for a new one. I start that one last week. She also gave me a steroid shot. That spot is still bruised. lol But, I am feeling so much better. I can think straight today, which a huge improvement. The new med is injected every two weeks instead of every week. It seems like I may have been allergic to the old meds. Great that the old doc paid enough attention to my concerns to actually listen to me. >.> The new doc heard me and told me that I should have been in remission long ago, so that means the old med wasn't even working. There is no guarantee that this new med will work better, but we'll only wait three months before moving on...not two years. So, I'm satisfied with that. I can actually sit here and type, which I haven't been able to really do in months. I've started playing around with food again. We bought an Instant Pot, and I've been doing a lot of our meat in that. It's so fast and easy. I plan on trying it for bone broth soon. Tonight we made a Portuguese Beef Stew. It was delicious. It's cooked in white wine, which gives it a much lighter and brighter flavor than I am accustomed to. But, it is very good. Now that I can be up and around more, I want to do some more experimenting and trying out different recipes. I have plans to make some snickerdoodles in the next few days. I don't have any vegetable shortening, but thankfully tomorrow is grocery day. I am on a diet, but there is nothing wrong with a wee bit of a treat now and then. As long as I don't eat the entire sheet of cookies in one sitting, I'll be just fine. I have pretty good willpower when it comes to baked goods, so I should be alright. That about sums up what has been going on around here. I will try to keep up with things better now. Since I can actually type, it should be much easier.
My first sock pattern has been released. These socks were inspired during the Blizzard of 2016 that some news folks lovingly named Winter Storm Jonas. I think it's silly to name a winter storm, but hey, it became familiar to a lot of folks, so I ran with it. The pattern can be found on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy.
Wow, it's been longer than I thought since I last posted. I've been keeping busy the last couple months. We went on our cruise in September and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I was sick by the time we got home, and am still sick 2 weeks later. I have many meds for my asthma, and to try to prevent pneumonia. We may or may not be winning that battle. I'll know more in a couple days. The cruise was once again a writing retreat. We really needed a mental reset, and this did just the trick. We were able to relax, and hang out with friends new and old. We were able to get some great advice from some of the pro's that were on hand, as well. It was great. I spent a lot of time relaxing. We had a balcony on our room, so I was able to spend some time out there. But, it was hot and humid, so my time was more limited than I wanted. At least it was a wall of door/windows, so I could see the water, even when I wasn't outside. I managed to get my sock finished and the pattern updated to out it in for test knitting. The last two weeks has been very little (read as no) knitting. A couple days ago, I felt well enough to finish the sock, and yesterday I updated the pattern and got the ball rolling there. Trip pictures: Our ship when we were in St. Maarten. We did an off ship day and did a bit of shopping, so I was able to grab a picture. This ship is huge! I think it's now classed as Royal Caribbean's second largest ship in their fleet. They were still calling it the largest when we were on board, but I think the new ship is supposed to be bigger. First stop (Jamaica): St. Thomas: St. Maarten: Wild chicken in St. Maarten: My sock by the water: I could knit here all day! And I'll throw in a picture of Abby, because she posed for pictures before we went away on vacation. I was doing photos for the sock pattern I released in September, and she decided it was her turn. In all, things are going well here. We won't have any impact from the hurricane, which will be good. I feel so bad for all those in its path though. It's devastating so many areas. 🙁 Now it's time to go get some work done (what I can do, at least), and then return to resting.
We're in the midst of a second heat wave in just a few weeks. Although, it does amuse me that they call them heat waves now, when it always used to be called Summer. lol Oh well. Either way, it's hot outside, and it's stuffy. So, I'm tucked away indoors. The air conditioner has been struggling to keep up, though, which has meant it's really uncomfortable inside. Sunday we did an inspection of the system on our own. Let's face it, we can't get and HVAC guy in here for at least a week with this heat. Everyone and their dog is going to be having issues. Well, as we did our inspection, we found that not a single duct has been taped. Yep, not one. That meant that there are a bajillion leaks just in the furnace room alone. So, we bought foil tape, and covered every seam. We also felt around and covered everything with a draft. That was such a huge help. We've had at least three companies in here doing various inspections of the AC and furnace, plus a whole house balance check, and not one felt the need to mention the tape? Ugh! Oh well. That's why we do it ourselves. Today we'll go outside, and make sure the outdoor unit is clear. I trimmed the bushes back about two weeks ago, but we're going to clear more. Plus we'll also shut down the system and clean all the coils. That will be everything we can do with the system. Next up is insulation. Our exterior walls are so thin that we have no window ledges. I kid you not. The walls are only thick enough to hold a standard window box, with no extra. There is also no vapor barrier anywhere. When we hang pictures we pull out bits of insulation (and sometimes not even that), and no plastic. So, we'll go around and temp the walls. If they are warmer than they should be, we'll be tearing out drywall and spray foaming everything. It'll cost us a few thousand, but it's still cheaper than adding an entire second AC unit, which is over 20k. It will also make the house more energy efficient. Apart from that, I've had to put down what I was knitting for the Ravellenic games. It is a Christmas gift and it was just too hot in here to work on it. So, I started a pair of socks. That was my second choice for the games. I should have sock one done tonight, I hope. 😀 The yarn is very pretty. It's Tough Love Sock from sweetgeorgia. It's very pretty and very nice to knit with. It's not splitting in the least, and is just so smooth. This color is called Oyster Bay. It reminds me a bit of Moon Mist ice cream, but it needs more green for that. I chose a pattern I haven't knit before called By The River Seine. It's a simple pattern with just some knit togethers and yarn overs. Super easy. But, it gives the illusion of waves. Other than that, the weeks have been filled with doctor fights, and trying to exercise. I need to do as much as I can before the end of October, because the doctor might be taking me off the meds. Hopefully I've been on them long enough that it isn't a huge deal. I'm just tired of the doctors in the same practice disagreeing so much. This med works, no it really doesn't, but this does, but the only way to really help this is diet and exercise, ya, but you should still have this drug. If the med won't fix it, why should I take it? So, I've eliminated gluten from my diet, and have done some other diet modifications that we were already working on, and have been trying to do some exercising. It's been fine so far. 🙂 I'm not convince gluten free will help, but I need to give it a few months. We'll see. 🙂