11 of 52…How the Yankee Ladies Afford to Craft

Holy Smokes!!!!  Yesterday I found out about a thing called the Salvation Army Fabric Fair.  Here, when the SA gets craft/sewing supplies they don’t put them in the stores.  They hold them until the annual Fabric Fair, which I went to on the way to work this morning, because hello, fabric at thrift store prices.

Guys.  Whoa!  The thing is held in the National Guard Armory, doors open at 8, and there was a line when I pulled up.  And it’s not just fabric.  Yarn, knitting supplies, patterns, ribbon, buttons, yardage you can have cut from the bolt, yardage already laid out on tables, batting, needles, thread, sewing machines, templates, finished quilts, partially finished quilts, fat quarters, strips, charm packs, layer cakes, bags full of tops that have been cut but not pieced, and random sized pieces. And underneath each groaning, overladen table are more boxes filled with same for restocking!

The place was crowded, and I was trying to hurry, so I didn’t spend much time at the yarn bins, but they had some nice stuff alongside the Red Heart.

I spent forty-six bucks for all you see here.  That cream and blue plaid is wool, 2 yards x 54 inches and cost $7.  Cloak?  Ruana?  Huge piece of wool to throw around myself on Samhain?  Haven’t decided yet!

Fat quarters were seventy-five cents each.

That floral above the wool?  It’s 3 yards of cotton, far pinker than it looks in this pic, and probably destined to become a loose, flowing skirt for me for only six dollars.

There’s a log cabin ruler for three dollars, and that thing that looks like a pattern contains not only some pattern type stuff, but also three square templates, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 inches for four bucks.  YOWZA.

I’m probably going back before it ends on Saturday.  I still have some money left from the bowling prize I got yesterday, and I want to take my friend with me.  Because guys.  Seriously.  If you want to make beautiful things on a budget, this is a not-to-miss.  In other words, this morning was The Inaugural Annual Visit To The Salvation Army Fabric Fair.

10 of 52……A new car

So.  Item number one:  My friend Patti invited me to a 10,000 word challenge.  And for some reasons that I am still not quite sure of, I agreed that this was a great idea and accepted.  Therefore, you can expect 10,000 words this month.  Most of them will probably be random, but whatever.  Words.

Item number two:  I am 10 seams away (7 at 22 inches and 3 at 88, but who’s calculating?) from having another finished quilt top.  Expect to see it soon.

Item number three:  My bowling season ended last week.  What the hell am I supposed to talk about if I am not bowling?  Oh, I remember!  I signed the whole fam damily, kids and adults, up on the kids bowl free site.  If you’d like to take your family bowling all summer check them out at kids bowl free.  Yep, that’s  referral link.  I didn’t get paid for it, but may win a prize if you use it.  Kids must be 18 or under, and shoe rental may or may not be included depending on what your local bowling center decides.  The program is nationwide, but it’s up to each alley to participate or not.

And, FINALLY, item number four:  I took delivery of my new car yesterday.  It’s a 2018 Nissan Versa SV Limited Edition in Blue Pearl.  The interior is charcoal.  This is the very first time I have decided “It’s time for a new vehicle,” done my research, gone to the dealers, conducted multiple test drives, picked out an actual NEW vehicle, financed it myself, and registered it only in my name.  I feel like such a big girl now!

I did have a bit of help from my partner, who is substantially taller than I am– to wit: he sat in my final two contenders to ensure that he and his equally tall son would fit comfortably in the vehicle.  If they fit, anyone else I care to let me ride with me will also fit.  Done deal.

I love that this car drives very much like the Nissan Sentra I’ve been driving, minus the shifting part.  I was comfortable right away and able to reach intuitively for the major controls.  Also, it integrates with my phone via Bluetooth.  Also, I can retire my seat cushion because the driver’s seat is height adjustable, praised be Freyja!  Also, check out the last picture to see the average MPG on my way home last night.  WHOA!  Not quite sure how that happened, since it’s rated at 31 city/ 39 highway and the way home is a combination of both, but I’ll take it.  The Sentra gets 38ish, so this was a nice surprise.

I’m not sure what her name is yet.  At first, I thought it would be Jane, because the car is rather plain, but after driving her a bit more, I don’t think that’s quite right.  She does not drive like a Jane.  Previous vehicles have been named Beatrice and Matilda.  Any suggestions?

9 of 52

It’s Monday, and I should be working.  But what I am thinking about is sewing.  I’ve got a queen size quilt top that I need to lay out for final assembly.  I’m anxious to see it all together.

In other, less successful, news, my youngest daughter asked me to make her a kilt and I agreed.  We went to the fabric store, where kilt patterns were in short supply but skirt patterns were readily available, and she picked out two.  She chose a lovely dark grey floral cotton for her amazing skirt.

Yesterday, I started on it.  I laid out the pattern pieces, and cut out the skirt.  I struggled to understand the yoke instructions on this pattern that is labeled easy, but finally got past that.  And then I looked to sew the skirt front to the skirt back, and realized I had miscut the front.  Oops.  But no worries, it would be shorter that we planned, but still an amazing skirt.  So I had her try it on.  And it would not go over her hips.  We had cut (yes, she’s helping) a size 10 and she wears a size 14 in this pattern.  Guys, it’s pretty difficult to come back after you just cut the whole thing TOO SMALL.  We’ll be going back for another copy of the pattern, and more fabric.  And I have 1 7/8 yards of wonderful grey floral in assorted sized chunks for quilting.  Yay me.

The 3rd Fourth Doctor scarf is still in the basket.  I pull it out now and again and work a few rows.  There are three books on my bedside table, none of which have been opened in the past week.  But I’ve been sewing, and I’ve been spending time with people I love, and ….

I’ve been realizing that I really can do it all, everything I want to do.  I just can’t do it all at the same time.  And what I want to do most right now is connect with people, cut, and sew, so that’s what I am doing.

8 of 52

In which I freely admit to skipping a week because I was reorganizing my room pursuant to the removal of a huge corner cabinet and that was more important than letting you know there was minimal progress on my other goals.  I’ve been finishing that reorganization and cleaning this week, so there still hasn’t been much progress.

But I am getting back on track:  I knit yesterday and brought that third scarf to 1/5 done.  I still aim for a March finish.  I also unearthed the February books and will get back to them after I publish this post and make the chicken salad for this week’s lunches.  I read extra in January, so I am still good for the year, but I am sure Sarah is waiting on my March selection, which I cannot in good conscience give her until I finish her February book.  But heads up, it will be A Wrinkle in Time, so I can see the movie with the book fresh in my head.

Speaking of movies, I saw Black Panther last weekend. It was entertaining, but I was unimpressed with the sociological message behind it. Or maybe the lack of same. There were vibrant Black characters, which I was glad to see, but viewed through my social work lens the conflict between the “good and peaceful” king and his “violent and bad” challenger just didn’t work. It tasted like a rehashing of the argument about whether marginalized peoples should protest quietly/peacefully or angrily/forcefully. The crisp, grammatical English spoken by the king juxtaposed against the more sloppy enunciation of the challenger was also frustrating.  It may be my own white ignorance, but I think the movie played to stereotypes of some white folk’s ideas of acceptable Blackness versus unacceptable Blackness. UGH! You can do better, Hollywood.  You need to do better.  Show us more strong Black characters without the Uncle Tom’s Cabin overlay.  The little scene after the credits started did a bit to alleviate my concerns, but how many people saw that? Our family was almost alone in the theater when that happened, but we never leave until the lights come up–most people scurry as soon as the credits start.

Yeah, I know that’s a controversial thing I said up there. Hate if you gotta hate, but keep it civil.

The other thing I spent time mulling this week was Aristotle’s quote: It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. I was am troubled by how many people I know who cannot do this. Won’t do this. Whichever, effect is the same.

In other entertainment news, we have new soundbars, one in my room and one in the living room.  They improve the television and music experience 167%. As the CNET review for the Vizio SB3621n-E8 said, “Just buy this.”

7 of 52

In which we have no pictures, because we haven’t finished any projects or books. Work has not been any “busier” but it has required more of my non-working time brain power, and I’ve been doing more things with the family. All good stuff, but it does cut into crafting time.

But. Let me tell you. I started learning a new skill this weekend. And finding out I’m good at something I’ve never tried before makes me happy. That’s all you get. Muhahaha!

6 of 52

In which we say TaDa!

Now, I realize this one is not quite as impressive, being a mere 8.5 feet, but here is my Fourth Doctor Scarf. Go me.

I’m a bit ahead of my knitting schedule, so I need to figure out what is going to happen next. Now, I’m a list maker by nature, and a social worker by profession. I know that I know that I know that what gets measured gets attained. With that in mind, I made this hobby tracking page for my BuJo in December:

You will see I had to cross out “weekend” because we had an area-wide snow day this week and I used it to knit. Also, I’m in a different relational space now and some of my weekends will be filled with fun stuff that doesn’t include crafting of any kind. (The boxes, empty and with dots, just indicate the 10th such action, so I don’t have to count by ones over and over.)

So here’s the deal, I can’t decide if I want to think of the year in quarters or sixths. Finishing my scarf so early in February brings this to the fore because it affects how I allocate my remaining craft days in February and possibly into March. So naturally, I’m talking it out on the blog.

Sixths makes it easier to track the one ofs, but quarters is best for everything else. I’m leaning toward quarters, and will probably take a couple days to consider this while I catch up on my reading. I know the chart says I’m ahead on that, but the book on my right which hasn’t been touched for four days assures me otherwise.

I’m guessing I’ll knit during the week and do other projects on the weekend for a couple of weeks. Well three weeks if we include next weekend which is one of the “fun stuff that doesn’t include crafting” I previously mentioned. Yeah, okay. By quarters. Take a couple of evenings to read, pick up the last Fourth Doctor Scarf midweek, and do a different hobby the weekend of the 24th. Thanks guys, you’ve been very helpful. I knew I could count on you!

5 of 52

In which we confess the things we aren’t giving a fuck about, but later

Does this look vaguely familiar? It should. This is a mini Fourth Doctor scarf, suitably sized for my five foot frame. It is going a bit quicker than the last one, being approximately half the size. I’m a hair over half way done with it.

Guys. I am bored with garter stitch. And these are not even colors I particularly like. But I am fangirling hard, and I NEED this scarf in my life, because reasons. Therefore, I am knitting on. There’s one more left after mine, and I am just gonna grit my teeth and plow through.

Here are the books I am reading. I broke my unannounced reading rule of one book at a time, because February got here before I finished Anansi Boys, and so I needed to start Sarah’s Cousins Book Club selection in a timely manner. I’m two chapters into both, and you can see from the post’s tag line that I am taking the material to heart already.

Now then, a discussion of things I now find worthy and unworthy of my personal fucks. I know you can’t wait to read this part. HA!

So, near the end of December, I decided that I wanted to do the following things on a daily basis in 2018:

  • Create things
  • Express appreciation to others
  • Haiku
  • Make music
  • Read
  • Write stories from my days

I even made myself a handy-dandy year long tracker for each item in my bullet journal.

Here’s what I notice I give a fuck about, because I do them at least five of seven days: Create, Express appreciation, Haiku, Read. I do not make music or write prose. I want to be a writer and musician, but I am not willing to consistently put my energy into these things. Perhaps because they aren’t concrete goals like knit 12 items and read 12 books. Perhaps because I have limited resources of time and find other things more enjoyable. Perhaps because I could do these things, but it would require running through my evenings with a timer in my hand and not interacting with my family and this is unacceptable to me. Maybe after my tangible creativity goals for the year are met. Maybe not. Maybe what I am getting around to on a regular basis is an accurate representation of what is actually important to me. And that’s okay. I can practice giving and not giving fucks any way that increases my personal life satisfaction.

4 of 52

In Which We Vow To Knit Smarter As you can see, I finished the first Fourth Doctor Scarf. I promise the recipient isn’t always as grumpy as he appears here. There have been a few shake-ups this week, and we’re all kinda trying to roll with the punches. You’ll note that I’m keeping my face out of this blog post. Here’s a picture of the giant scarf roll. This is a picture of the other side, and the proof that I need to knit smarter. That, my friends, is 104 ends that need weaving in. And you can’t even see the ones in the work itself where the yarn ball ran out in the middle of a stripe. Oi! Here’s 18 feet of jumbled up finished scarf. There’s really no way to get a picture of the whole thing laid out. I started a new book, third for the year; and picked my in-between project. I’ll be working on this until February 1st: I’ll start it tomorrow and may or may not get it finished by Wednesday night. Knitting will recommence Thursday. There was also working, a bit of cooking, and plenty of wine drinking. And that, dear reader, is your weekly update. One day ahead of schedule. Go me!