Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm here!

Mike gave me a great birthday present by leaving yesterday so I wouldn't have to drive on my birthday :) Instead, I knit at the in-laws, watched some TV did some simple book browsing and went to dinner just him and I. Then we met up with a few friends for dessert and met a couple more to hang out afterwards and talk. It was really nice. Just what I was looking forward to for my birthday. Nothing too outlandish. I like that it was more subtle.

This means we drove all day yesterday, with me following Mike most of the way. The trip wasn't bad, only a couple spots of slow traffic through the mountains, but I didn't really realize what a long drive it is. With stops for snacks, gas and food it took about 12 hours. But I'm glad I'm here.

One of the things I forgot about when I rejoiced in all the packing being done was that I would have to unpack. Not so fun there. That's what I'm working on today, and just trying to keep my chin up about the darn palmetto bugs. uugh. yuck. And I thought spiders were bad. *sigh* I supposed it's just one of the things you have to deal with here in SC. I'll definitely be letting Mike deal with the disposal of them.

The unpacking isn't going badly, just taking some time, and because most of the furniture was left in Chicago, it's difficult to find a place to put things. Mike's been living here so long, and with such basics, that finding a place other than the floor to stash things is a bit of a challenge. But I actually feel that each time I move, I get a bit more organized. Every time I move, I make a huge effort to find a place for each and every thing, which makes it much easier to put it away when the time comes. Also, having to learn how to clean quickly and efficiently for the house showings, I actually don't mind the cleaning so much anymore, as long as I get on a roll. It's the idea that if I stop it's hard to get started again.

On the knitting front, I started a new project because with the master packing, I had a hard time finding my UFOs to work on. So while at the in-laws, I grabbed a hank that was easily accessible and started this hat from Knitty. The yarn I used just seemed to call for it, and the yarn had been a gift from a friend, so I'm thinking about making her the recipient. We'll see how it turns out first.

I was doing well on it until I reached the pattern repeat, which was different only in length depending on which yarn you used. I read the instructions wrong and tried to continue with the first 12 lines of the pattern, from the crown, which turned into more of a doily type swatch than a hat. So I ripped back about 8 rows of over 100 stitches and looked at the pattern to see where I had gone wrong. Once that was accomplished, I knew all I needed to do know was make sure I was counting correctly. I am happy about how it's going along now though. No pictures - I still am not sure where my camera charger is, but I'll find it. I guess that's a bit of motivation to keep unpacking!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Done and done.

I made it to Louisville! I was able to pack up everything I really wanted to take with me, and then some! Mostly because of the help of a friend of mine. He's a 'Master Packer' he was able to fit all this random stuff into my car!

I know it doesn't look like much in the pictures, but there are two or three big items that aren't in the picture because they're already packed. To give you a real idea of how much Tetrus-packing he did, here's a picture of my trunk - there was no space left unused.

It was pretty impressive. Not only did he get everything I needed in the car, I could still see out of the back and side windows! It was great. I really appreciated it. There are plenty of things I'm pretty good at, but I wouldn't put packing up anywhere near the top. As you can tell from some of the photos it was pretty dark out when he started, and I know it would have taken me forever - he got it done so quickly, I was still able to go join the girls for Stitch N' Bitch later :) Este - you're The Man! It'll be easy to send him thanks too (he's my roommates boyfriend!)

Here are a few more pictures to show off his talent...

When I finally arrived at Sn'B that night, I found out that all the girls had all been secretly plotting and crafting! They made me a beautiful stained-glass scarf as a going away present. Each person knit their own square out of whatever they wanted. (MP knit four - overachiever!) and then Peggy beautifully crocheted it all together. It's just beautiful, and I can so feel the love :) Pictures to come when I finally find my camera charger - I know it's in the car somewhere!

I'm really going to miss all those guys, but I know they'll come and see me, and we'll keep in touch. That's what friends do.

I am Thankful for all my wonderful friends, near and far. Thanks guys.

Monday, November 19, 2007

wrapping up

I'm wrapping up and will be on the road by tomorrow morning. "on the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again!" Now, that's not normal for me. I'm not actually a big fan of driving but I GET TO SEE MIKE!!! I know everyone here is tired of me - I've been dancing around the house singing "I get to see Mike in Xxxxx days, I get to see Miiike" or "X more days! Just X more days and then I get to see Mike!! YEAH" But I'm sooo excited!! It's been two months - and it'll be a holiday! That means down time with him I hope.

I've been using Skype to talk to Mike online. His laptop (a Mac) has a built-in camera so I got to see him too!! It's the coolest thing. It's absolutely free, and you can call anyone, anywhere. and if you both have web-cams you can see each other! My friends in New Zealand 'invited' me to join, and showed me all around their house - it was really fun. Then I made Mike join so we could talk. I only wish I did it sooner. I know he couldn't see me, but I could see him, and I think it really helps when you can see the person you're talking too. He's grown out his beard, and buzzed his hair, which is a look he hasn't had since I've known him. I'm pretty sure he's had a beard before, but it never lasted very long, not more than a week or so - and never without any hair.

He sent me a picture he made while bored at the coffee shop -

I love that the only part not distorted is his eyes. They're my favorite.

While packing up, I did manage to take pictures of almost all my yarn. Once I upload those I'll be able to add them to Ravelry. Maybe then, being able to see what others have done with their yarn, I'll get some ideas and be able to burn through some of my stash.

I'm getting a little worried it's not all going to fit. It's so hard to decide what is essential and what to leave behind... I have two piles now - "yes" and "if it'll fit". *heavy sigh* My only consolation is next time I'm back, it's all going, and at least most things will be already boxed!

You'll know tomorrow what didn't make the cut.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Friday was my last day at work, and they made me the cutest poster to say goodbye! It's made out of a bunch of different candy and says:

"Well Kat, you're about to make the Fast Break from Illinois to South Carolina. We will all miss you a LOT! You worked hard and always went the EXTRA mile. You even filled in for EE programs when needed. We knew we could always count on you in a CRUNCH. Besides that you're Mounds of fun to be around and your sense of humor often caused Snickers. Our wish is that you will have Zero problems with the move. We hope you and Mike will have Good & Plenty of time to enjoy life in your new surroundsings. We send you off with lots of Kisses because you are a real SweeTart and we all love you to Pieces.
P.S. If you eat all this candy, your Fannie May get larger!"

Isn't that sweet! (in more ways than one - ha ha) My favorite part is the last line - Fannie May is pretty big around here :)

Then Friday night I went to a wine tasting with a crew of people from work at this place. I really enjoyed myself. It was good fun, and I even picked up a christmas gift! Shh!

We had our server Sheri - she was great!

And the rest of the crew; a couple of Mary Pat's, couple of roomies and a couple more people that I will definitely miss.

Then last night I had a 'last bash' to say goodbye to a bunch of folks. It was nice to have everybody there - here are just a couple of pictures from the night -mostly taken by other people:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Ravelry T came!

I was dutifully packing up things on Saturday, sorting and deciding what I needed to take, and as I passed by the front door, I peaked out to see if there was a package... possibly my ravelry T-shirt? But no, there was no package by the door. *sigh* It's okay, I thought, they have a lot of orders to get out, it'll be here by Tuesday.

So I just grabbed what was in the slot, and low and behold I actually did have a package! It came! It was in one of those soft envelopes, and the mailman had just folded it in half and stuck it in the slot. Yeah!! Here is a simple picture of me modeling it - self portrait, so no judging! :) They did run a bit small, so I'm glad I ordered the medium.

I ordered three buttons as well, aren't they cute?! The pictures are a little dark though.

It wasn't until I read them off to my roommate that I finally got the "where my stitches at?" reference. I didn't realize it was a take-off of the "where my b****** at?" comment. O.K. I'm a little slow sometimes, but I'm still glad I opted for the shirt with the other logo. I just don't feel right wearing a shirt with bad grammar on it. I speak and write badly enough that I don't need any help broadcasting it.

On Packing

This whole decision process and itemization of things I want really has me thinking a lot about the amount of stuff I have and use and waste. Neither Mike or I like to buy something we already have, or get rid of something that is still useful. It just feels wasteful. But how do you balance that out between cost, time and space? Especially when your stuff is in two different states, 8 hours apart. For example, when Mike headed to SC with the first batch of things, it was August and 80 degrees out. So a simple sheet and a couple of small lap throws for the couch did him just fine. Fast forward 6 months, and it's gotten pretty cold at night in SC, and he still has no blankets for the bed! Does he buy something new or suck it up until I get there? I even offered to mail him a comforter, but he's making do with the throws. What a trooper :)

See, my birthday is coming up, and Mike was asking me what I wanted. Right now, the only thing I really want is the house to sell, but unfortunately, that's not really something in his price range or abilities. Other than that, there's really not that much that I need and I think that's part of the problem. I'm looking at it as a "what do I need" kind of thing.

I just feel like I've got so much stuff that I'm not using as it is. Especially as I pack up. I've got a limited amount of space this time (just my car) so I keep separating things into 'must take with me', 'can live without/leave behind' and a 'would be nice, but not necessity'. Everything in the last group will be the first to go if I can't fit it in my car.

So when I think about the few things I do kinda want for my birthday, the definitely fit into the 'would be nice, but not necessity' category. But as Mike pointed out earlier, your birthday is for things you want not things you need. I guess I need to keep that in mind too.

Oh, and if you really want to know, I'm thinking I'd enjoy a set of these, or these - I'm not picky. I've used a pair from someone else at knit-nite and I really like them. The wooden ones aren't nearly as garish as they seem in the photos and are super slick just like the nickle plated set. Then, I'd only be a few sock needles away from a full set of needles! I guess the smaller sizes (4 and under) don't come in the interchangeable set, you have to buy those separately - but there's always Christmas!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the final countdown...

I wish I had the music for this! the link will have to do. Man, what great hair!

2 weeks left for the final countdown! Just 2 weeks until I get to see MIKE!! YEAH!!! Although I will be sad to miss some things and people here :( But i get to see Mike!!! And I'm going to stay in SC with him - whoo-hoo! Now, if only I could get this silly house to sell. ...

In two weeks, I am packing up my car and leaving with everything I can fit, and might possibly need, to move to SC. I'm a little worried about having the time to pack it all, partly because I'm also trying to make sure I get to see and say goodbye to everybody, so I'm trying to spend more time with them before I go. But I am so excited about finally moving! And I know I will have to come back at some time to finish moving all the furniture and non-essential stuff I left behind, but I have some great roommates to take care of things in the meantime, and sometimes you just have to let things go and hope have faith that they will all work out. So that's what I'm doing. I'm putting it in someone elses hands (my realtor mainly) and going to where I need to be - with my husband.

I think this will also help with the job search as well. It's hard to look for a job, do follow up and really put your best foot forward when you are only there for one day or are still in Chicago. Now... the monumental job of deciding what to take and making sure it's going to fit in my car!!! Not looking forward to that much.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

improv vs. pattern

Last week, I was sitting in front of my computer, trying to catch up on all my Thurs. night shows and I just picked up the yarn and started knitting. I started with a vague idea of making a pair of simple ribbed fingerless hand-warmers with some SWS that I had. As I went, they spontaneously turned into a pair of ribbed mittens (that now need have a thumb). My knit nite friends were not surprised. They said "You're always knitting without a pattern and making up projects!" What? This is news to me.

So I started thinking about this a bit... First, I looked back at all the things I've made and realized that I have made up a few here and there, but most are pretty spontaneous rather than intentional shun of a pattern. I don't dislike using patterns, I actually love the idea of following instructions and knowing you'll get the results you want. I'm the same way with cooking, I'd rather follow a recipe than have to forage through the fridge. I think the reason I end up "making up" my own knitting comes from just taking advantage of the situation. Let me explain.

Take these mittens. I currently have 3 projects on the needles right now, the baby sweater for Gabriella, a sample ruffle scarf for SASI, and my Wyvern socks, all of them are at least half way done or not that far from finishing. Why start a completely new project? I'll tell you - the other three projects all have patterns - patterns that I can't or haven't memorized. This means I have to have the pattern out and ready in front of me, know where I am in it, and have the quiet to focus on reading it. That means if working from a pattern, I need to plan out a lot more before I even start knitting!

If I'm making up the pattern, it's something I don't have to think about. I can just pick it up and go. As I'm shaping it or going into something more complicated than stockinette, I just fiddle with it until I get the results I want. That's why I think it's so hard to write a pattern, - while I'm working on it, I'm not really thinking about it, I'm just improvising. Which means afterwards, I have to try and remember, what did I do exactly...??

This is very similar to what I do at work. My job is to lead a group of youth or adults through a variety of activities to enable them to work through some pre-determined issue (i.e. lack of communication, trust issues, being accountable for their actions etc. etc.) and also enhance their cohesiveness. Every day, I facilitate a different group. Different sizes, different ages different objectives and different lengths of time to work with them. I usually get the information about my groups about 5 minutes after I've met them. As my day continues, the activity I choose to introduce to my group next depends on where they are at that point in the day. I couldn't map out a day with a group if I wanted to, because it depends on what they give me. It works the same way with the mitten, depending on the yarn, and the stitch I'm doing, what size or shape I need it to be, I have to adjust as I come to that part.

Now the problem with making up a pattern can be that it can cause a pretty simple thing to take much longer. When I was making the giraffe, I ripped out the legs (each one) 3 or 4 times to get it how I wanted it. Partly because I wanted them to look the same, but also because I was trying something a little different, to tweak it, and get it just right. With a pattern you don't have this issue. Someone has figured that part out, and you just need to follow their directions. If it doesn't match what you intended, you can then alter/adjust it to make it work, but you at least have a foundation for your intended path. That is one of the advantages of a pattern. You know if you follow the pattern it will (or should if it's written well) work, and it will look nice and unless you mess up there's no need to rip back or do it over. If you look at the pattern in advance you can plan for the techniques you don't know as well and have all your materials at hand. In the same way at work, I can rely on the activities themselves to stabilize me. This activity is supposed to be set up for a group in this way. If I present it to my group in the basic way, it will (or should if I present it correctly) work, and it will still get my group to interact and work together and communicate and etc. etc.

So what it basically comes down to is, I need to have the prep time and quiet before I start or work on a pattern project, and that things might take a little longer if I wing it, but it'll be better catered to what I'm looking for or expect. Now.. the next question is how to I apply that to my life?? yeah yeah, I know I'm not supposed to bring my work home with me *grin*

Here are some more shots of the mittens:

Here's me knitting the thumb on, I had just cast off for an opening for the thumb, but then when I changed my mind and decided to make them into mittens, I just went back and picked up the cast off stitches and used the 3 DPN's to add a thumb.
I do really like the way the ribbing looks inside out, but I don't weave in ends well enough to turn them inside out.