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October Progress and Goals

So far I’ve finished a pair of Husbeast and have cast on for Thuja and am about halfway through the first sock.

October goals:

  • Thuja done!
  • self-designed man socks
  • basic, ribbed house socks (though I could do these and have them count for the November SKA KAL)
  • finish the 2 pairs of in progress fingerless mitts
  • one pair of women’s fingerless mittens

Leaving me to finish before Christmas:

  • 2 pairs of women’s fingerless mittens
  • 3 pairs of women’s house socks (which fall under the December SKA KAL, but I don’t know if I’ll wait that long to start all of these pairs)
  • 1 pillow(actually started this)
  • 3 toys
  • 3-4 hats

Gardening:  got the garlic, peas and fava beans planted.  Planted some kale seeds in the seed starter thingy — those will be transplanted to the side yard when ready.  Otherwise we’re now in maintenance mode.

Other crafts etc:  I’m planning on making some candles & some melt & pour soaps today (more gifts). (Done!)

I also want to finally make some Poetry Stones.  I purchased the kit on sale at a Borders with the intent of making memorial stones for our pets.  I planned (and still do plan) to mix their ashes with the concrete, so they each have their stone, but if (& when) we move, we can bring them with us.  Anyhow, I’d like to get started this weekend.

Finally, any spinners out there?  Here’s a shout-out to MVFF for a fiber giveaway.  It’s a couple blog posts down, and ends October 11th.


What happened to September? and (In)Voluntary Simplicity (and contest)

I have no clue what happened to September. It’s gone.  Even here in SoCal the mornings are finally a bit cooler.  I was still in a t-shirt and shorts for Rigel’s 6 a.m. walk, but the 68 degrees house temperature felt toasty and welcoming when we got back.

September, other than finishing up some sock WIPs that I didn’t get done as planned in August, was sockless.  Hats, mittens, yes.  I finished one pair of mittens, one pair of fingerless mittens, one of the pair for two different sets of fingerless mittens (here and here), and one hat.   I’ve also cast on (and am more than halfway done, and may finish it today,) for the Celtic Cap. (One pair of fingerless mittens was completed prior to September.)  That may not sound like a lot for an entire month, but the holiday knitting really didn’t start til September 19th.

October shan’t be sockless.  The Sock Knitter’s Anonymous Rav group KALs for October include Man Socks, so all the man socks I was planning on doing for holiday presents will get started (and hopefully completed) this month.  I have 4 pair to do:  Thuja, Husbeast, and two self-designed (not yet designed) pairs.  Yes, they will be worsted weight. I’d never be able to get them done otherwise.

On another note:  I’ve been interested in the voluntary simplicity movement for many years, first reading Your Money or Your Life then other books, running a study group,  etc, and more recently following various blogs.

It’s no surprise that the basic tenets of voluntary simplicity — living mindfully, valuing time with family and friends, decreasing or more thoughtful spending, etc — are gaining popularity with Americans in general during our current recession.  Lemonade out of lemons (hopefully grown on your own or a neighbor’s tree, if not, purchased from a farmer at your local farmers’ market), so to speak.

To me, the idea of voluntary simplicity, and especially mindfulness over thoughtless consumption, ties in with many of my values and concerns.  Handmade vs mass produced;  buying produce and meats at my local farmer’s market; supporting small businesses and artisans; the fear and cognizance of peak oil.

But is voluntary simplicity (or its values) becoming something people are being forced into?  And is that a bad thing?  (I’m NOT talking about people losing their homes, having to declare bankruptcy, etc:  that is horrible.)  But we’re now seeing commercials (I think Allstate?) talking about rediscovering the things that really matter.  When an idea is incorporated into insurance commercials, it’s definitely hit the mainstream.

Have you been thinking more about these things?  Changed your lifestyle?  Your goals?

In a shameless shill for comments, I’ll run another small contest.  Comment on the idea of voluntary simplicity by midnight PST Oct 4th 2009 (Sunday evening) to win, yep, stitch markers, note cards and some California poppy seeds from my garden.  Monday I’ll post the winner.


On Buying Handmade and a new Contest

After the experience of one (yes, just one) of our solar lights disappearing from our frontyard, Dave & I are a little leery of putting out anything too nifty out front.  However, we can decorate the backyard and have been thinking about what to get.

Decorating the backyard primarily means, in our case, putting something up on the turquoise wall.  I was thinking lanterns, Dave was thinking hanging wall art of a celestial nature (suns, stars, moons).  We debated the merits of Talavera objects but decided on metal.

So, yesterday afternoon, after getting the fountain running and scattering a few more river rocks, I plopped myself down in front of the computer and started searching on Etsy (and Artfire, but had less luck there).

I have to say, I really, really love the idea of Etsy.  However, it is a MAJOR pain to search.  Very clunky and time consuming.

I found two vendors that we’re going to order from:  My Truck Leroy (link is to their own homepage rather than Etsy) — one of my faves from them is already sold but their site says they’ll do custom orders/make to order —  and Winfield Designs (for some garden stakes, two stars & a moon).

…..some time later…..some work in the front yard…..harvesting a million tomatoes, getting the plants cleaned up, etc, etc……

….I got a wonderful email from Jessica at My Truck Leroy.  Dave & I have to finalize what we want & I have to get back to her.  Excited!


Answer the current poll regarding “buying handmade” and post a comment (on this post!) about your answer by noon PST Friday July 31st.  I’ll use an online random number generator to pick a winner.  Prize?  Another stitchmarker/notecard combo.  Jackie, who won the last contest, posted about her prize here.


Where I was today….

….with my mom-in-law Rosemary (wearing the Lady E I gave her).

La Lana is a must-see if you are in Taos.  Hand-dyed, handspun and millspun wool, silk and mohair (and various blends), with primarily native plant dyes…..