Still Life from Quimper

Still Life from Quimper
A shot of an almost-completed still life needlepoint

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So very happy you came to visit. Now, pull up a chair, pour a glass of your favorite beverage, and read on about adventures in needlework.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yikes! Has it really been 6 months??

Or, my explanation for doing what I swore I would never do!

Yes, I have been, um, not really lazy, exactly.  Maybe just occupied?  Maybe that's an excuse a reason for this horribly long time between blog posts?

You see, my life got really complicated and took a few unexpected twists and turns.  Life does that to you sometimes, usually when you're not expecting it.  Mine involved re-thinking my money earning needs/requests/desires to include a steady paycheck, not just a paycheck that appeared out of the blue sometimes.  And to do that, I had to go back to school.  Not school, school, like a second BA or an MA or some other form of learning that involves time and effort and $$.  No, more like learning a skill.  That is marketable.  To someone else in the workplace.  It was a tough decision and took my Libra brain several years to decide.

(Hint:  if you have friends born between late September to mid October, and I'm sure you do, ask them to make a decision.  Then pour yourself a cup of coffee.  Then start working on a long-neglected project.  By the time you've brewed your second pot of coffee and finished your project, your friend will have made a decision.)

So I made mine, and it involved night classes once a week, and maxing out our credit card, but as soon as I made the decision to enroll in these classes, the money was there, the time was there, and I began to relax a little bit.  Then I started my classes.

Then I began to learn stuff.  And the stuff started to stick.  And it began to make sense, and I remembered when I had used this stuff both as a business owner and on some temp assignments.  For example, when I went to trade shows, I'd ask myself questions like: "Should I buy this yarn for the shop?  What does it cost per skein?  Will my customer base buy it?  Do my competitors have it?" - these are examples of something called a SWOT Analysis!  Holy cow!  Who knew I was doing it right after all?!

And I learned that the people in my class were smart, had been in this industry for years, some had to re-certify themselves and others were certifying themselves for the first time.  Oh, yeah, and they knew everybody out there.  Which proved very helpful when I had to reach out and network for a job hunt.  I found that I was in a group, an industry, that fit with myself, and had Rolodexes that were almost as large as my old shop's mailing list.

But it also meant that for 12 weeks, my weekends and evenings were spent with books and highlighters and pens, or on-line, or reading and re-reading sections and reviewing notes.  I know just about every coffee shop within a 10 mile radius of my home.  And many of them are independent coffee shops and that made me very, very happy.

And I found a new job in my industry a couple of weeks ago.  Actually, a recruiter found it for me, as I stink at finding companies to work for and these recruiters are pros at it.  They have Rolodexes larger than my old shop's mailing list!  It's a good company with good folks, the work is steady and will continue to grow, and I'm enjoying what I do.

And my stitching world has continued to expand.  I finished a Percentage Sweater (thank you dear G!) using a cable pattern from Barbara Walker for the front and the arms, and that I finished by St. Patrick's Day, and that Webmaster Bill was able to wear throughout this cool spring:

Webmaster Bill, striking a Captain Morgan pose

I also got involved with the Atlanta Knitting Guild's Halo's of Hope project in tandem with Stitches South.  I used some kids' hats patterns in the blues and greens that fit with an Under the Sea theme and that also had a wavy brim to look like waves:
Green hat, wave-y brim

Kitties helping with blue hat.  Kitten is Peppercorn, regal cat is Penelope Lane, 
called "Penny" for short.  Both are rescues. 
A little hat made of fun blue yarn

And there was The Mountain, with its several projects.  I did bring a sock, but it involved some thinking while I transitioned into the weekend that is The Mountain:

Knitting this sock, entitled "Mizar," reinforces why I like socks to be on the simple side:  the detail on the back of this sock (also on the front, all the way down to the toe) involves slipping very tiny stitches made with very tiny yarn in front of or in back of each other.  As with other cable patterns, once you know the pattern the project goes quicker (though is not as exciting because you've learned it), but you can relax.  A little.

And a cardigan that I've always envisioned for an office setting.  If you work in the South, you know that offices are very many degrees cooler than is comfortable for a normal human being.  Perfect inside temperature for a suit coat; an arm covering of some sort is needed for the rest of us.  This cardigan is also a Percentage Sweater cardigan (fortunately, The Sweater Workshop has instructions on cardigans, too) and is going to have a single button at the top as its button.  Which I bought this spring at Stitches South and it is going to be stunning.  No picture of the button yet, but here's the sweater nearing completion (and a good thing too - I bought the yarn in 2010!)

I figure the ongoing knitting projects will end in a month or so, as summer has taken a while to get here and there are a couple of stitching projects I want to pick up.  One is a needlepoint of some irises that I just need to finish the top of:

Currently, this entire piece is stitched and only the top remains to finish.  Yippee!

and one is a Hardanger piece on which a pretty ring box sits.  I haven't done Hardanger in a while, so it will involve reviewing past notes and reading the directions carefully!  Pics when available.

Have a great summer, everyone, and more blogging more regularly!

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