Week in Review: August 5-11, 2018

Before we get into the normal topics, I want to share a few special things that happened this week.

New Blog Name, New Site Location

After lots of thought the last few months, I decided to change the name of the blog and it’s address. The WordPress link remains the same, but the domain has moved to thatangelaleese.com. I wanted to stop pretending I’m a brand. I’m just me. I’m Angela Leese. That Angela Leese. That one who sat next to you in engineering classes or who you saw spill an entire iced coffee down her top or who gets bit by spiders anytime it’s possible. I may not be the only one with my name, but I am a pretty awesome Angela Leese.

Health Update

It’s been a horrible week, I’m not going to lie. I was basically useless most of the week when I was at home and maybe got two-thirds of my hours in at work. Everyone has had to cover for me and did so before I could even ask. Matt. Bob and AJ at work. I also got some amazing support my countless medical office staff members who squeezed me in and let me move things when needed. Answered my many stupid questions. Don’t know what I would have done without all of them.

I may have mentioned last week that I hadn’t been feeling well, maybe about a weird cramp in my abdomen. It got worse, so I went and saw my primary care doctor as soon as I could get in on Monday. His thought was gallbladder issues, as I nearly punched him when we pressed where my gallbladder is. Ultrasound and blood tests came back normal. Saw a GI specialist who guessed stomach ulcers but wanted me to get the CT scan my doctor had already ordered. And, after what seemed like an eternity of intense pain, a diagnosis: Crohn’s Disease. I’m on steroids and start working on figuring out long-term treatment tomorrow.

Okay…back to our normally scheduled programming…

Life of Lizzie

Lizzie was, of course, impacted by my health issues. I was too sore for hugs or snuggles and often couldn’t help her do things. Matt also had to do work at home each evening, unfortunately about the time my pain was at its height for the day. She got ignored a lot. But, she was a trooper.

She very excitedly helped Matt make cupcakes on Thursday night. I got zero photos, but they were yellow cake with chocolate ganache covered in as many large sprinkles as she could fit on each one.

Our neighbors got a new trampoline so she had a blast jumping on it a couple evenings.

We went out to Shenandoah National Park for the weekend with some old friends. She had a blast blowing bubbles, getting her face painted, hiking, and having a dance party with one of our friends.

On the Needles

I finished the hats for Lizzie and her BFF, at least the knitting part. She insisted that they have pom poms which I need to make and attach. Hats are using the Barley Light in the child’s size, knit in a yarn I cannot recall right now. Ha!

I also started and completed a hat for her BFF’s sister. Pattern is the Sockhead Hat and yarn is Miss Babs 2-Ply Toes in a colorway I can’t remember at all. I made the adult size, despite her only being 8, per her mom’s recommendation. No FO photo, so here’s one of me with the hat 80% of the way done.

I also started, just yesterday, on a shawl in Kelborne Wollens Mojave, a lovely cotton and linen blend. I was going to make a hat with it but it’s got too much drape to it, even at a fairly tight gauge. I’ll offer the FO to the person I was going to make the hat for, with the option to decline in exchange for a hat in the same color but a different yarn. Pattern is Dotted Rays.

I made zero progress on the two shawls I started last week, as I got on this hat kick. Really should have grabbed one of those for the Shenandoah trip but it didn’t cross my mind. I’ll probably work on the purple one next, for a break from this pattern.

Adventures

Our big adventure was to Shenandoah. I’m all out of words to describe one of my favorite places on the planet.

Discoveries

    My diagnosis, obviously
    Iced slightly-sweet tea
    Cotton and linen yarn doesn’t make a good hat but is heavenly as a shawl

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Enough of my whining for one week.

A Better Me

Zero progress on this, as I’m just trying to get back to normal. May have lost weight, but I don’t really care. I stopped keeping away from gluten, dairy, and soy after my doctor told me forget about it. I may start it again but, again, I need to get back to normal.

On Tap

  • Treatment plan development
  • Finishing the three-color shawl and picking up the purple shawl
  • Mailing off a few things that have been sitting for weeks
  • Weekend with no plans! (I think.)

Week in Review: 29 July – 4 August, 2018

This week went very quickly, mostly because of how nuts work has been lately. It involved a late evening at work for me and one for Matt, so one dinner out and one lazy dinner. But, we survived!

Life of Lizzie

We finally got the “It’s ok to get out of bed” clock set up after she woke up a 3:30 on Wednesday morning and was downstairs, drinking her milk before we realized. Matt got the honor of putting her very angry self back. Thankfully, she doesn’t remember this at all and the clock has worked well the last few days.

Lizzie had lots of extra energy the other night and asked to be taken to a playground. Well, it had just rained so everything was all wet. She came up with the solution on her own: play area at the mall. So, I took her after dinner and she had a grand time running around and sliding down the watermelon and surfing the orange slice (thanks, Barbie: Life in the Dream House for teaching her about surfing).

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(She does have shorts on, but they’re shorter than her shirt.)

On the Needles

I already wrote about my two FOs, so I won’t blather on about that. As is typically my style, I started about a million things to celebrate, only a few of which worked out.

There’s the hat for Lizzie, being knit in very! bright! green! of her choosing. It’s using the Barley Light pattern from Tin Can Knits. I’m hoping to have enough yarn to make a matching one for her BFF next door. The yarn is Woolen Boon’s Boon Classic in the colorway Summer Vibes.

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I started a very pink shawl for a friend who did not have the best week. She lovessss pink. I’m using one of my favorite patterns ever, Dotted Rays by Stephen West. The yarn is from Periwinkle Sheep, I think. I think the color is named Hot Mama. Finding out would take, you know, effort. I plan to knit this until I use up the remainder of a ball from making another of the same exact pattern plus another half skein or so, maybe more. The recipient is quite tall and I want to make sure the FO is of an appropriate size for her body.

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Third new start is a shawl for another coworker, whose favorite color is purple and has a sort of funky style. I’m making one of the patterns from Hunter Hammerson’s Curls books, Chicanery. The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in Smoke on the Water that I got for 40% off at my LYS. I’m hoping it winds up a decent size, despite the low yardage (405 yards).

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Adventures

Only one real adventure this week and it was one I went on alone. I went to the DC Pen Show yesterday. While it was lovely to see a few folks from my online pen pal group and check out the merchandise, I don’t think I’ll attend in the future. It was very crowded and, though I should have expected it, almost all of the pens for sale were out of my budget. And I’m just not *that* into fountain pens. Sure, they’re really nice to write with and all of the different colors of ink are fun but I’m not at all to the level of obsession as most of the other attendees. (I did pick up a cheap Pilot Kakuno, some burnt orange Pilot ink, and a flexible notebook with a rocket on it.)

Discoveries

  • Cookbook Grand Cucina Latina’s recipe for ropa vieja – best recipe we’ve tried for one of my favorite Cuban dishes
  • Re-discovered Chick-fil-a Diet Lemonade
  • Everyone takes their kids to the mall on a rainy Thursday night
  • Kelborne Woolens linen/cotton blend Mojave
  • Work thing: how to add data to the edges of Activities in Rhapsody

 

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

A few very non-productive work meetings this week. You’d think I’d learn no one wants to actually provide the first version of something. It’s easier to simple criticize what others have drafted. Lesson learned for next week.

One of my wisdom teeth decided it was finally time to start growing in. Now I know why Lizzie was always so testy when she was teething. Advil makes the aggravation tolerable enough.

A Better Me

I didn’t walk nearly as much as I wanted to this week, mostly because of the busy work week. I did wander around the outlets yesterday but that wasn’t even a lot of steps. Down another 1.6 pounds for the week (9 pounds total). Figured out I’m going to start reintroducing foods on the 13th and am already dreaming of cheese.

On Tap

  • Weekend trip to Shenandoah with college friends and their adorable kid
  • Finishing Lizzie’s hat
  • Starting a writing challenge with friends (subject for a later post)

 

Have a great week!

FO Friday: Twofer

I have two finished objects to share today which is pretty remarkable, given my inability to focus on projects lately.

Campside

The first FO is a large shawl I made for a coworker who wears lots of clothing on this color palette and loves scarves.

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The pattern is a free one, Campside by Alicia Plummer. It starts with a stockinette section that’s followed by four sets of eyelet sections, each with fewer stitches between the eyelets than the previous section. It ends with ribbing which I really like the look of on a simple shawl. I blocked it gently and it still wound up huge, 56″ across and 25″ tall. My poor coworker can get eaten by the thing!

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I could not get my phone to take a picture accurately of the color, which is a heathery purple with lots of red in it. Regardless, I really love how it turned out and will certainly be making something using this pattern again.

Vestigial

The second FO is a pair of socks in a pattern I’ve not used before, Vestigial by Beata Jezek. While it’s a simple enough pattern to memorize, I did mess up a few times. I did them toe-up with a short row heel as I didn’t want to have to do any complicated counting.

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As usual, these took a month to knit because I got bored after the first sock. Maybe I should have two pairs of socks in rotation?

I’ll be back on Sunday with a review of the week which will have some other knitting content.

Rainbow Days

Do you craft projects tend to grab onto a particular color palate and not let go? For me, lately, my colors have gone to rainbows.

It started when Neighborhood Fiber Company started offering their Marriage Equality colorway (for the third? fourth? time). I bought two kits of the gradient (DK and Sock), happy to both support the benefiting LGBTQA orgnization and have some of the wonderful, vibrant colors. I’ve now used them for a handful of projects – and still have a good 1/3 of the DK left!

(These photos are all of me wearing the items versus my usual slightly nicer shots but I’ve been feeling lazy.)

Everyday Shawl

(Rav project)

This was a really meditative knit. I worked on it during conference calls at work and occasionally at home in July. The recipient was complaining that she’s always cold – hopefully this has kept her warm!

Lizzie’s Rainbow Scarf

I really just sort of made this up as I went along, roughly following the Tale as Old as Time pattern. My project page for it (here) has all the details. Made using the NFC DK weight.

Rainbow Hat

I think I may be almost over my inability to do colorwork. This was made in DK and I just sort of made up the pattern (and the crown shaping, hence the wonkiness of it!).

Harvest-a-Long: Lessons Learned

There’s a concept used in my industry, probably from a business book no one can remember the name of anymore, known as Lessons Learned. When you finish up a project, the team gets together and thinks about how things could go better the next time. Sure, some whining happens, but the focus is on how you can do things differently to make it all go better next time. 

Lessons learned apply to crafts, too. 

I learn something with every project. Sometimes it’s something little, like that a particular yarn likes to split so the lesson learned is to use a needle with rounded, rather than sharp, tips. Sometimes it’s something you can’t believe you never thought to do differently. 

My Harvest sweater left me some major lessons learned.  Lessons I thought I had learned before. 

*sigh*

Thing is, my sweater doesn’t fit me. I chose the wrong size to make. Got gauge, followed the directions. Doesn’t fit. 

Yep, I wrote a whole post about measuring yourself and choosing a size. Yet, I made the wrong one for me. 

I chose the size exactly the same as my chest measurement, measuring around my widest point in my chest. This means that there was zero ease. 

Lesson One: Cotton does not stretch

Next time I work with this yarn or another cotton, I should add at least and extra inch to account for the fact cotton does not stretch. (And maybe add a bit more if I intend to throw it in the dryer when I’m too impatient to let it dry flat.)

Lesson Two: Remember your body type

Unlike the standard person sweaters are designed for, I have broad shoulders and, well, a small chest. In the future, I need to account for this. 

Amy Herzog has an amazing blog series called Fit to Flatter which is also available in book form. In the post on choosing your sweater size, she describes how to take a better measurement than the tradition chest one. I won’t rehash what she says, but the lesson from Amy for me is that I often need to knit a size or two larger than the pattern calls for. 

The Sweater

I tried on the sweater and even wore it a few times before blocking it. From the start, it felt tight across my shoulders and I couldn’t quite close it. After blocking it via washer and dryer, it is not at all flattering. And, worse, it’s just not comfortable. Here’s a photo I took of me trying it on, about the only photo I have of me wearing it. Notice how it won’t close, yet bunches at my armpits. Signs of a poor fit. 


Don’t worry, though, the sweater will not be relegated to the back of my closet. I’m lucky to have a friend for whom the sweater is a perfect fit. It’s actually winging its way across town (so more like fighting I-66 traffic) to my friend KO to keep her warm on chilly days at work. 

I will knit myself another sweater one of these days. And I will remember my lessons learned.  (Either way, I’ll blog about it, you can be sure.)

Harvest-a-long: Finale!

Congrats, you’ve made it to the end of your cardigan! You’ve finished knitting it! Oh, blocking, you say? Yeah…that.

I have to admit, I’m rather bad at blocking things which are lace or socks. Lace is straight-forward – you use wires or pins and stretch it out until the straight lines all line up and your lace has “opened up” as much as you’d like. Socks, you just wet, throw them onto a blocking mat, and wait forever for them to dry.

This sweater, well, it’s a bit harder. If you’re yarn is not machine washable and dryable – like mine – you’ll want to block it by laying it flat on a level surface. I won’t go into the details though Tin Cat Knits offers advice on the pattern and you can Google it. Just know that blocking your sweater is important and, like ironing in sewing, gives you the best final product. Take your time. Don’t pull it up until it’s TOTALLY dry, no matter how tempted you may be to wear it ever-so-slightly damp.

Next time, I hope to share photos of my finished sweater and, in a few weeks, those of my friends and coworkers I somehow convinced to do this with me. For now, you can laugh at the photo I took just after I wore the ends in my sweater, on a train full of commuters from York to London.

Visit to Trefriw Wool Mill

(Back in a few days with another installment for the Harvest-a-long because knitting the body of a sweater takes forever and doesn’t need another post.)

While on vacation in Wales, we visited the Trefriw Wool Mill. The ill makes both yarn and traditional Welsh woven fabrics from that wool. They very happily welcome guests to take their own tour of their mill which is entirely powered by hydroelectric power. I won’t beleaguer it with lots of words. Let’s just say I was in heaven and very sad I wasn’t there on a day the shop that sells their wool was open.