Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life is whizzing by...

Here it is, 3 years later (how can that be?), and my resolution to post more often has fallen by the wayside. Honest, my blog friends, I keep thinking about you, and taking pictures to show you things I'm doing, but the actual blogging part...? Not so much. But I'm back, if anyone is actually still out there!

In the last 3 years, I have continued knitting and crocheting and spinning, and added dyeing and weaving to my bag of fiber tricks. I've completed lots of projects, frogged a bunch, acquired yarn and fiber, spun fiber into yarn.

I finally finished the Susie cardigan  (Ravelry link) last October, 5 years and 2 days after I started it. The recipient wore it EVERY DAY for months, except for washing it. I haven't even put the clasps on it because she wouldn't take it off long enough for me to do so! I made it in Dream in Color's Classy in the Good Luck Jade colorway. No hood, just a garter stitch neckline.

Purlescence Yarns continues to be my home-away-from-home. I've gained so many dear friends through my association with them, and people that I now consider to be family. Kevin has just started his Tails of a Sassy Fiber Monkeh blog. Mari has her Just The Food, People blog too. Sandi, Kaye, Nathania -- I love you all!

We had a blast teaming with Pam Haschke for the Halos of Hope-athon, a 24-hour knitathon to create hats for people undergoing cancer treatment. Halos of Hope is an all-volunteer organization that distributes these hats to cancer centers across the US and we're proud to have provided 230 hats in 24 hours. I even pulled an all-nighter, which I hadn't done since college, a thousand years ago.

The 2nd annual Halos-of-Hope-athon will be held June 28-29, 2014, from 10 AM Saturday to 10 AM Sunday. We'll see if I manage to stay up this time, as I will have returned from London just 2 days before that! Hope to see you there.

Stitches West is still our biggest event. I was lucky enough this year to be part of the Purl Up & Dye team, creating color on superwash merino fiber. Such a fun time, playing with color! I bought several braids and am loving spinning that fiber into yarn.

For example, here is my chocolate cherries colorway still wet (top), before the color is set, and the bottom picture is the final spun product, a 3-ply fingering weight. The finished product is more rose-colored than red in real life.

School is as wild and crazy as ever and I still love it. Last year, I got a new part-time librarian and spent time training her. However, she started the job in August 2012 and went on maternity leave at the end of February, so this school year is the first full year she's been present. She's been a great help, with lots of great ideas and energy.

I've started to get more engaged with my own health. Some numbers were heading the wrong way and I just felt pretty blah about myself. So last June, I started working out at the gym that had just opened near school. LOVE IT! I'm working with a personal trainer who keeps me going. In addition to the increased physical activity/strength training, I'm also being more mindful of what I'm eating and how much of it I'm eating at a time. So far, I've lost almost 25 pounds, aiming for maybe another 5-10 more. I've had to buy new clothes (terrible problem to have, really) since I'm down 2 sizes.

Another project that I'm really pleased with is my CustomFit sweater. If you haven't heard of CustomFit by Amy Herzog, and you're a knitter, go check it out right now! You input your measurements, your swatch measurements for whatever yarn/needle size you would like to use, and your design elements (cardigan/pullover/vest, neckline, sleeve type/length, etc.) and CustomFit will return a pattern to you. Simply follow the pattern. It is written out for you. You don't have to figure out which size directions to follow. You don't have to figure out how to modify the shaping to fit your specific needs. AND IT WILL FIT! I will be making more sweaters. The next one will be for Kelli out of the same yarn I used here, Cascade's Eco+ in the Aporto colorway.

Music has also come back into my life in a big way. I had mentioned previously that I was singing with a gospel choir. Well, that group is no longer active. :-( In December, I was watching The Sing-Off, an a cappella competition show. The winning group, Home Free, completely captured my heart, and I'm obsessed by them and their music. (Ask anyone that knows me about the Home Free obsession!) When I heard their album release in January, it made me realize that I truly needed to be singing again. After a few months of searching, I've begun singing with the Peninsula Harmony Chorus, a local a cappella group.

Thanks, Kevin, for reminding me that I have this blog to update. I also post on Facebook as Kathy Lew Clark and on Twitter as PurpleYarnQueen, if you want to follow me at either place.