An Inventory

This year, we spent Christmas with my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is in poor health.  She has cancer and then got pneumonia.  She was in the hospital for 2.5 weeks, moving to rehab on the Tuesday after Christmas.  For a while, we thought she wasn’t going to make it to Christmas, but she did.  For the moment she’s stable, but the cancer is advanced and at this point we count each day as a gift.  During the time I visited with her, we talked a lot about her life and what has been important to her and what is important to her now.  “None of that stuff matters to me anymore,” she said, referring to her physical possessions.  What matters to her is speaking with and spending time with her people — her children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends.

In November, my husband was laid off from his job.  This was something we’ve expected for some time, so we’ve saved money and he got a severance payment, so we are not in an immediate financial crisis.  He spent most of the last six weeks with his mother and is now starting to look for a job.  We don’t know how long it will take for him to find a job, so we need to manage carefully so that the money we have lasts for as long as possible.  As a result, buying yarn and fiber are definitely off the list!  I must craft from stash.

These two factors have me thinking a lot about what really matters and about how I want to spend my time.  I am feeling the need to let go of some things and consolidate others.  I want to spend more time on my fiber pursuits.  Over the last few years, I’ve acquired an astonishing variety of fiber books, tools, and supplies.  I’ve acquired things at a much quicker clip than I’ve crafted them.  Once upon a time, I kept Ravelry up-to-date, but I fell out of the habit.  I feel as though I don’t really know what I have anymore and to make plans, I need to know what I have.  It’s time for an inventory.

Fortunately, inventorying is in my blood.  For most of my growing up years, my father worked in stock rooms.  When I was very small, he worked in the warehouse of a local clothing store.  When I was 11, we moved to a different state where he had a new job as the manager of a hospital stock room.  My sister and I went to a private school in the same town as the hospital, which was a 30-minute drive from where we lived.  We commuted with my father.  Since we got out of school a couple of hours before he got out of work, we spent those hours at the hospital.  We usually stayed in the cafeteria, working on our homework.  Sometimes, especially on days when they were short-staffed, we hung out in the stock room, working on homework and occasionally answering the phone to take orders from the floors while the employees pulled and delivered the needed items. Twice a year, on a Sunday, the stock room closed for inventory.  All the stock room employees came in, along with people in other administrative departments, and my sister and I.  We counted every single item on every single shelf, balancing the inventory against the computer.

I started my personal inventory process before Christmas.  I started by consolidating — putting away all the random yarn and projects scattered around the house.  It’s a lot easier to do inventory when everything is where it belongs.  It’s a little scary to flash my stash, but here’s the pix so you can see where I am now.

These bins are the main stash collection.  Each of these is a 40 quart bin.  One of the bins holds finished projects waiting to be gifted, but the rest are full of yarn and fiber.  I sorted the fiber by type (wool, plant fiber, blends, batts, etc).  There’s so much wool that it takes up 8 bins and I’ve alphabetized the wool by breed.  I separated the yarn by weaving yarn and knitting / crocheting yarn.  Then I sorted each of those categories  size of the yarn.

 

These shelves hold the yarns made from plant fibers.  It’s mostly cotton, but there’s some linen and bamboo in there also.

 

These batts have been living in this suitcase since I bought them last April because I can’t fit them anywhere else.

 

This pile consists mostly of raw fleece, waiting for me to wash and process it.  There’s also a couple of bags of yarn that I haven’t put away.  That’s my four-harness, 28″ weaving width LeClerc Fanny counterbalance loom under all that fleece.

 

This bin holds raw fleece in smaller quantities.  There’s a variety of breeds in this bin, but no more than a pound from any one fleece.

 

These boxes hold fleeces that I bought and had processed by mills.  I believe there’s three fleeces total in here.  They are sitting on top of my four harness, 22″ weaving width Dorset direct tie-up loom.

These bins and the hamper on top of them hold WIPs.  A couple of years ago, I conquered all my WIPs, but now I have a new pile.

 

These are smaller bins, about twice the size of a shoebox.  They hold a couple of WIPs, including two or three that only need blocking, but mostly they are projects waiting for me to cast on.  I matched yarn to patterns and sometimes the needles are with them also.

 

Finally, this is my fabric collection.  Last spring and summer, I took sewing lessons.  I’ve mostly sewed pillowcases, which we send to the pediatric oncology ward where my cousin works, for nurses to distribute to the kids.  I actually have a lot more fabric than this, but everything I bought for pillowcases is stored at my mother’s house.  This is everything I have at my house.

 

I have complicated feelings about all this stash.  I’ll be writing more about it as I continue the inventory process.  My goal for the next week is to get Ravelry back up-to-date.  I’ve downloaded the spreadsheet of my Ravelry stash as a starting point.  I’ll write an update next week, to share my progress and next goal.

Crafting CPH

“Why would you spend $25 on yarn to knit a pair of socks when you can buy a dozen pairs at Walmart for maybe $10?”  Every crafter I know has been asked some variant of this question.  Usually the crafter stumbles through a response, defending the reasons she or he chooses to work with fiber.  Afterwards, the crafter might rant on Facebook or Ravelry about the latest inquiry they’ve gotten along this line and  how non-crafters just don’t get it.

There are many wonderful reasons to craft with fiber; Franklin Habit’s recent blog post on Lion Brand Yarns site provides a far more eloquent explanation than I’m able to write and the comments on that post share many personal perspectives on the question.  I believe it is valuable to share our reasons for crafting with fiber.  Maybe you’ll inspire someone to pick up needles or hooks and yarn!

But perhaps you don’t want to share your personal perspective with the latest random stranger to comment on your work.  Or perhaps you have a relative or co-worker who has commented multiple times and discounts the reasons you have given.  For these circumstances, I propose the kind of practical, emotion-free response the Inquisitor seems to require: the Crafting Cost Per Hour (CCPH).

The Inspiration

I read Your Money or Your Life (Amazon affiliate link, Summary on author’s website) a couple of decades ago, when I was in my early 20s.  The book offers a 9-step method for transforming our relationship to money.  The book starts with the idea that we exchange our time for money.  One step is to calculate exactly how much you are paid per hour.  This amount isn’t the hourly figure your employer uses to calculate your pay.  You add into your weekly hours the time you spent on work-related tasks like commuting and you deduct from your weekly gross salary the costs related to your job, then calculate your actual hourly rate based on these new figures.

For example, let’s say you work 40 hours per week and are paid $10 per hour for a weekly gross salary of $400.  Perhaps your commute is 1/2 hour each way on public transit and you pay $80 per month = $20 per week for a monthly transit pass, which you use only to get to and from work.  These commuting expenses and time mean that your weekly gross salary is reduced to $380 and your work hours increased to 45 hours per week.  Your actual hourly wage is $380 / 45 hours = $8.44.  The summary link above has a list of other work-related time and expenses that you can contemplate if you wish to calculate your own hourly wage.

In the Your Money or Your Life method, once you calculate your hourly wage, you then divide every expense you have by that hourly wage to determine how many hours of your life you traded for that item.  Then you evaluate that item by asking yourself if the number of hours you traded for that item are as valuable as the item itself.

While I have not consistently followed the steps of Your Money or Your Life, some of the ideas have stayed in the back of my mind and, when I saw yet another post about a Cost of Sock Inquisitor, I was inspired to calculate what each hour of craft costs.

Basic Crafting Cost Per Hour

If you’ve purchased finished yarn and then knit, crocheted, or woven it into finished object, calculating the cost per hour is straightforward.  Simply divide the cost of the yarn by the number of hours it took (or will take) you to finish the project(s) you will knit with that yarn.

$25 for sock yarn / 20 hours to knit socks = CCPH of $1.25 / hour

Some people try to convince you that spinning is even more expensive than knitting or crocheting.  However, when looked at from the perspective of CCPH, that isn’t necessarily the case.  If you purchased a 4 ounce braid of spinning fiber for $30, spun and plied it, then knit it into a pair of socks, your CCPH is lower than knitting socks with purchased yarn.

$30 for fiber / (8 hours to spin + 2 hours to ply + 20 hours to knit) = $30 / 30 hours = CCPH of $1.00 / hour

If you mostly just want to respond to Inquisitors, you can use the basic formula and create a rule of thumb for the projects you most commonly knit in public.  Maybe your carry around project is always socks and you know about how long it takes you to knit a pair.  Calculate your CCPH once for each type of project and you’re done.

Beyond the Basics

I know that many of you profess to not like math and for you, the basic crafting cost per hour will be sufficient to respond to the Inquisitor.  Feel free to skip this section.  But I happen to love math, and there are many knitters who love math also.  Perhaps you might decide to calculate the CCPH for every project you do, just for fun.

We all know that our fiber crafting projects cost more than just the yarn or fiber for that project.  We have costs for tools, classes, storage.  We also know that the benefits are more than just the finished project.  We spend time with friends while we craft.  We watch less TV, or TV time is productive because we are crafting, not just sitting.  These costs and benefits are variable, personal, and more difficult in the accounting.  However, these types of variable and personal costs are considered in the Your Money or Your Life method, and I believe we can consider them in our context also.  I’m only going to explore two factors — tools and time — in depth, but use this as inspiration to think carefully and creatively about the costs and benefits associated with your fiber crafting!

Tools

If we choose good quality tools, fit to the task, they will last for a long time.  So how do we account for them in calculating CCPH.  I have two thoughts on this, depending on if they are small tools (needles, hooks, etc) or large tools (looms, spinning wheels, etc).  For small tools, I’m inclined to include them in the cost of the first project I make with them.  If I buy a second US 1 needle so I can knit my socks on two circulars, the cost of that needle can be added to the cost of that sock project.  From then on, the use of that tool is free.

Large tools need to be depreciated in some way.  Pick the time period over which to depreciate the tool — a year, two, three, four, five — whatever you prefer.  Divide the cost of the tool by the number of years to determine your cost per year.  Whenever you use the tool, keep track of how long you use it.  Keep a running total of the number of hours you use it as well as the number of hours used on a specific project.  At the end of the year, divide the cost per year by the number of hours you used the tool that year to determine your hourly cost for use of the tool.  For each project using that tool, multiply the number hours of use by the calculated hourly cost of the tool.  Once you come to the end of your depreciation period, use of the tool is free.

I made a quick little Google spreadsheet to illustrate the depreciation of my spinning wheel, a Kromski Fantasia.  I bought the wheel in 2013 and I’m not going back to look at all the projects I’ve done on it.  I’m just using two projects as an illustration here.  My first thought was to depreciate the wheel over 5 years.  Here’s what that spreadsheet looks like:

 

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Even with the use of a relatively expensive tool, and a modest amount of use of the tool (less than 1.5 hours / week), each project’s cost per hour of crafting is modest.  What happens if we decide to depreciate the spinning wheel over just one year, still with the same modest use of the wheel?

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While the cost per project and CCPH at least triple, the CCPH is still incredibly low.  On a per hour basis, depreciating the spinning wheel over one year with less than 1.5 hours use in a week, costs about the same as going to a movie in the theater. Once I’ve finished depreciating the wheel and the use of it no longer counts in my cost per project, the CCPH of my spinning projects will be pennies.

Obviously, this calculation will vary wildly depending on the price of the tool, the time period you choose for depreciation, and your actual use of the tool after you purchase it.  But that’s to be expected.  I’m just offering a way to capture this cost on a per project basis.  And perhaps a useful analysis to justify the purchase of your next loom or spinning wheel!

Time

I think the total time for a project can and should be increased to account for the other benefits we receive from pursuing our fiber crafts.  This might sound like cheating, because you will be double-counting time, but let me see if I can convince you otherwise.  I can knit or crochet or spin or weave in a variety of circumstances.  I might be at home alone, doing nothing but knitting.  I might be home with my husband, watching TV in the evening.  I might be in public, doing a demo where I am specifically looking to interact with people and explain what I’m doing.  I might be in public, waiting for an appointment to start or flying on a plane.  I might be hanging out with friends, at knit night, at a retreat, or in a cabana by the river (like I was yesterday).

Each of these scenarios offers me benefits that aren’t specifically related to my fiber crafting.  Time that might otherwise be wasted feels productive.  Friendships grow, providing a sense of emotional well-being.  I get some down time and to be outside.  I don’t have to be fiber crafting to get these benefits — I could hang out in a cabana by the river with friends and just chat all day without doing fiber crafts at the same time.  Fiber-crafting while also accruing these other benefits is multi-tasking.  Therefore, the time should count more than once — the first time it counts as time accrued for the finished product and the next time it counts as time accrued for process.

In addition, double (or perhaps triple or quadruple) counting time builds into our equation, and our response to the Inquisitor, all the very personal reasons why we knit.  We can give what sounds like a practical, emotion-free, by-the-numbers response while simultaneously honoring rather than denying the real soul of our work.  We don’t have to share all those details with the Inquisitor — that would defeat an important purpose of the CCPH calculation — but we know we’ve included, rather than denied, what is truly important to us.

The amount of time to count for these extra benefits is up to you.  If I’m waiting for an appointment or knitting while watching TV, I’m unlikely to double-count all that time.  In these instances, I’m turning otherwise unproductive time into productive time by knitting.  This time is tied very closely to the product rather than the process.  It’ll take 20 hours to knit these socks, regardless of circumstances, and I’ve just captured a particular piece of those 20 hours.  In the case of knitting while watching TV, did I turn the TV on as background for my knitting?  Or would I watch TV anyway?  Either way, I’m not getting a huge amount of value out of the TV watching.  Maybe I’ll double-count 25% or 50% of the time.

On the other hand, when I spend a day fiber-crafting in a cabana by the river, I am receiving multiple benefits above and beyond the fiber work.  I’m outside, which is a huge benefit in and of itself.  I’m with friends.  Maybe I should triple-count all the time I’m crafting at the river.  And even when I’m not actively fiber crafting, because I’m grilling burgers or eating, I still count that time towards my project because I wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the fiber.

The important thing here is to honestly account for the benefits you are receiving from the fiber crafting.  You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone else.  You just need to be honest with yourself.

A New Response

Now you’re ready for the next time someone asks, “Why would you spend $25 on yarn to knit a pair of socks when you can buy a dozen pairs at Walmart for maybe $10?”

Rather than rolling your eyes and explaining all your personal reasons for knitting, try this: “You’re looking at it through the wrong lens.  It’s true that I don’t have to knit.  I do it as a hobby that brings me great joy.  And when viewed that way, it is incredibly inexpensive, especially when compared to other entertainment.  This yarn might cost $25, but it’s going to take me 20 hours to knit these socks, which means I’m paying only $1.25 per hour of entertainment.  What other entertainment is so inexpensive?”

 

Another Day, Another Waiting Room

One of my favorite things about fiber work is how you can always find something to work on that fits your current circumstances.  Have lots of time and mental space?  You can learn a new craft or take on a complicated project like colorwork or complex lace.  Just need something mindless?  You can crank out some stockinette or granny stitch or plain weave scarves.  On the go?  You can bring along a small project that can easily be put down if needed, like socks or dishcloths.

My current purse project is crochet dishcloths.  I like how easy it is to put crochet down.  You don’t have to worry about dropping stitches, so you don’t need to carefully secure anything.  If I’m on the monorail from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom, waiting for food at a restaurant, waiting in a doctor’s office, I can work a few stitches and when we arrive at our destination, the food comes to the table, or the doctor enters the room, I can toss the project back into my pocket or purse with no fuss.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in the waiting room of veterinarians’ offices.  It all started back in December 2014, when my sister, in Florida for Christmas, first noticed that Tiger’s lip was red and slightly swollen on one side.  I brought him to the vet in January 2015.  They didn’t think it was anything terrible.  “Change him from a plastic bowl to aluminum,” they said. “Sometimes cats react to plastic.”

We changed the bowls.  The swelling seemed worse.  In July, we brought him for his regular semi-annual appointment and pointed it out to the vet again.  “He’s probably allergic to something,” they said.  We went through a course of steroids, one pill a day.  It didn’t seem to help.  We tried two pills a day and he got very aggressive, so I stopped the pills and brought him to the vet.  We tried every other day.  No change.

So we did allergy testing.  It turned out he’s allergic to corn, an ingredient in almost all cat foods.  We found food that doesn’t contain corn and switched to that.  The swelling was still there.

 

Tiger likes food...
Tiger likes food…

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Yes, Chris did order Tiger a take out burger.

We tried another course of steroids, thinking that perhaps the problem was one of his other allergies (a variety of environmental things like molds and pollen).  No change.  By now it was December 2015.  It had been a year of trying things.  “Is there anything else we can do?” I asked.  The vet recommended a biopsy, which would tell us what was causing his allergic reaction.  So in January, a few days after getting back from Stacy’s wedding in Indiana, we brought him to our vet for the biopsy.

A week later, the results came in: Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor.  Cancer.  The vet was surprised; he’s practiced for many years and never seen this type of tumor present in this fashion.  We’re lucky it is a low grade tumor and hasn’t grown much over the last year.  Our regular vet referred us to the oncology department at the regional specialty vet, which fortunately is not far from our home.

Two years before the tumor appeared.
Two years before the tumor appeared.

We met with the oncologist.  We weren’t sure if surgery would be an option, given the location of the tumor right on the front of his face, but one of the surgeons thought that the tumor was small enough that we did have a surgical option.

Tiger, the first day home after the surgery.
Tiger, the first day home after the surgery.

The oncologist and the surgeon both told us that after the surgery, Tiger would probably have to have radiation therapy.  Radiation therapy would kill any microscopic cancer cells remaining after the surgery.  When they do surgery, they take healthy tissue around the tumor, because the surgeon can’t see microscopic cancer cells.  The theory is that taking tissues that appear to be healthy will make sure all the cancer is gone.  The surgeon likes to get a least 1 cm of healthy tissue around the tumor.  However, because of the location of this particular tumor, taking that much healthy tissue would mean Tiger would be disfigured.  His gum would be exposed, which could cause it to dry out and that would be a problem.  It was unlikely that the surgeon would be able to get a sufficient margin, and she might not be able to get all of the tumor.

A week after surgery, the pathology report came back.  The surgeon got a minimum 5 mm margin, much better than she expected.  With that much margin, waiting to see what would happen — if the tumor would grow back — was an option.  So was radiation therapy.  “If I’d gotten 3 more mm, I would tell you that Tiger does not need radiation therapy,” the surgeon said.  “As it is, waiting is an option and so is radiation.  None of us has a crystal ball; we don’t know what will happen.  The cancer could be gone forever.  It could come back in a month.  Or in 5 years.  It’s up to you what you want to do.”

We met with the oncologist again, so we could learn about the course of treatment.  It’s 18-20 treatments, every weekday for 4 weeks.  He must be under anesthesia for each treatment, but it’s a twilight level, not all the way under.  He’ll lose the hair in the area of the radiation, but not over his whole body.  His face will be shaved in the area of the treatment, even before the hair falls out.  When the hair grows back in, it will grow back white.  We’ll have to be careful every time he has his teeth cleaned for the rest of his life.  He might lose his appetite, and might have to have appetite stimulants or even a feeding tube.  He’ll probably require pain meds.  He will develop the equivalent of a very bad sunburn in the area of the treatment.

We went home and agonized for several hours.  It’s hard to imagine putting the cat through the treatment.  But it’s also hard to swallow doing less than everything we could for him.  You see, we love all of our cats and would do the best for them that we possibly could.  But there’s no question that Tiger is our favorite.  This is a cat just oozing in personality:

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He’s the cuddliest cat I’ve ever met.  If you aren’t paying attention to him, he’ll be sure to let you know when he needs some love.

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He’s such a photogenic cat.  Partially because he’s so pretty:

Once upon a time, he was a tiny kitten!

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But also because he is so patient.  This is why he often models my finished objects!

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But most importantly, Tiger and Chris are bosom buddies.  Tiger picked Chris as his person.  Every day, when Chris comes home from work, Tiger runs to the door to greet him.  Tiger follows Chris everywhere, even when Chris is pacing while talking on the phone.  Chris might complain when the cat wants to cuddle all the time and is constantly underfoot, but there’s no doubt that he loves the cat.  They are inseparable.

 

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We decided to go ahead with Radiation Therapy.  Tiger is 13 now, and in excellent health other than this tumor.  If the tumor did come back at some point in the future, he might not be so healthy and able to endure surgery and radiation.  And so this morning I found myself back in the veterinarian’s waiting room, dropping off Tiger for his first treatment.

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In his carrier, this morning, waiting.

I pulled out my current dishcloth and crocheted a few rows, finding solace in the familiar rhythm.

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P.S.  Just as I finished typing this post, the vet’s office called.  He did very well with his first treatment and he’ll be ready to come home in about an hour!

 

 

 

 

How Many Projects?

I’m taking a time out from packing to write a quick post.  Last November, I registered attend PlyAway, a spinning conference hosted by PLY Magazine.  My friend Lorelle was planning to go too, but by the time registration came around, she knew she wouldn’t be able to attend.  “I’d love to go to fiber events with you,” she lamented, “but work and other financial obligations keep me from going.  Why aren’t there any local retreats?”

“We can make our own retreat,” I responded.  And so we have.  This weekend, six of us our staying in a condo on the beach.  One or two others are driving in for the day on Saturday.  I’m the only one who knows everyone going.  Everyone else knows no more than two others and some (including Lorelle) don’t know anyone other than me. We have no firm schedule.  Everyone’s bringing their projects.  Via e-mail, everyone shared what they are bringing and what they’d like to learn.  Fredi’s bringing unwashed fleece and will show us how to wash it.  She’s bringing her drum carder and hand combs so we can make rolags if we wish.  I’m bringing all my acid dyes and equipment for dyeing, including bare yarn.  Dawn’s bringing bare fiber.  Dawn, Nancy, and I are all bringing our rigid heddle looms.  Shellee and Lorelle have never woven before and want to try it out.  Everyone except Shellee spins; she’s going to try the spindles Nancy and Dawn are bringing.  Everyone else is also bringing their spinning wheels.  Shellee will show us her unique method of knitting.  She speeds along so fast, her hands are a blur.

So now I’m packing, and I must consider the first question — the one a fiber crafter always asks before she packs anything else — which projects shall I bring?  How many is too many.

I’m definitely bringing the current project on my rigid heddle loom.

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I’ll bring yarn to warp the loom again, in case I finish this project.  I have at least 3 spinning projects in progress, but I’m only going to bring the Three Feet of Sheep with me.

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I really run into trouble with the knitting projects.  Shall I bring the Bubble Baby Blanket that I haven’t worked on in months, but is part of my Detention OWL for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC)?

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Or the Begonia Swirl Shawl that I started months ago to replace the one that was accidentally felted?

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Of course I’m going to bring the Cloisters Shawl I only started working on a week and a half ago!

I need to bring some crochet.  Because I must have all the things, right?  I’ll probably just toss some cotton and a hook into my bag so I can whip up some quick dishcloths.  Maybe 2, no 3, who am I kidding 4, better make it 5, seriously 6 skeins is the limit.

Am I bringing enough? Better toss in just one more thing — I don’t want to run out of projects.

Oh!  Shellee is bringing blocking mats and wires.  I need to bring the 3 shawls I have laying about that just need blocking!

A Year of Projects: 2016, Week 1

I have not yet written crafting goals for 2016.  November and December were pretty crazy around here!  First was my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday on Thanksgiving Day.  Then there was the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, followed the next weekend by the Holiday Party.  Then we had Christmas festivities with my family.  On December 28, I flew to Indiana to play matron of honor for Stacy’s wedding on January 2.  Chris flew up on December 31 so we got to spend New Year’s Eve together.  We just flew home this afternoon, to a cooler and wetter Florida than I left last Monday.  Stacy’s reception was held in a building at the same fairgrounds that hosts The Fiber Event.  It was so strange to be in that building without seeing rows of lovely fiber, yarn, and tools for sale!

This past week has been busy as the wedding preparations including baking 680 cookies and a 5-tier wedding cake!  Stacy, her mother, her aunt, her sister-in-law, and I baked the cookies last Wednesday.  Fortunately, we had the use of Stacy’s parents’ church kitchen, which had a commercial oven that could fit 150 cookies at once.  We baked all 680 cookies in only 3.5 hours!

Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!
Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!

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After baking cookies, we started on the cakes.  I was the lead decorator and giver of orders, as I have been decorating cakes since I was 12!  I made the cakes and the lemon curd.  Stacy made the chocolate ganache and all the buttercream and mixed lemon buttercream and raspberry buttercream.

I may have used this cookbook once or twice.
I may have used this cookbook once or twice.

Her mother and aunt cut out fondant Christmas trees and painted them with powdered food coloring.  I showed Stacy’s sister-in-law how to pipe miniature Christmas trees and she cranked out 250 of them, while Stacy’s mother went behind her putting the little stars on top of each tree.

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The army of trees.

Stacy’s brother cut the dowel rods that help support each tier (using a pipe cutter borrowed from a cousin) and her father cut and sharpened the dowel rod that goes from the top to bottom through all the tiers.  When it came time to stack all the cakes, Chris helped me line up my edges correctly.  At every step of the way, Stacy and I discussed colors and placement of pieces.  This is the first time I’ve made a cake in such a collaborative fashion.  It was so much fun, and I love the result!

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Now that the wedding is over and I’m home, it’s time to look ahead and lay out my goals for 2016.

Taking Stock

Before I start making ambitious plans for myself, I wanted to look back at 2015, to see what I finished and what remains unfinished.  I’m working on a slide show of all the projects I finished this year, and I will publish that later this week.  Today, I’m making a list of all my WIPs.  It’s a scary list, even though it only includes projects I’ve actually started, not everything in my mental queue!

Knitting WIPs

Projects started in 2015

  • TKGA Master Knitter, Level 1
    • This week I will start working on addressing my gauge issue
  • Splash Socks (started in April 2015)
  • Tier Scarf (started in June 2015)
  • Miranda Shawl (started in July 2015)
  • Bubbles Baby Blanket (started in July 2015)
  • Morrigan Shawl (started in August 2015)
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl Redux (started in August 2015)
  • Finishing
    • I still have all the sweaters I got from S.  They need to be seamed and blocked.  I believe there’s 10 or 11 projects right there!

Projects started prior to 2015

  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the knitted dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 leaves
    • 18 tribble scrubbies
    • 18 waffle stitch
    • 4 brick pattern
    • 16 illusion heart
    • 4 random designs (1 each of 4 different patterns)
  • Traveling Scarf
  • Evenstar
  • Baby Blue Monster

Crochet WIPs

  • Granny Square Blanket (started in 2014)
  • Skulls and Roses Scarves (started in October 2015)
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the crochet dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 hyperbolic
    • 9 ladderstitch
    • 4 or 5 diagonal (corner to corner)

Spinning WIPs

  • Camel Down / Silk Blend (started in September 2015)
  • Three Feet of Sheep (started in August 2015)
  • One pound of BFL (started in November 2015)

Weaving WIPs

Since the only loom I’ve been using is my rigid heddle, I only have one weaving project in process!  I started this scarf on December 5, 2015 while at the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, so that I could demo weave.  I talked to many people throughout the days of the sale and did a fair bit of weaving.  I haven’t had time to work on it since.

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In addition to this project, I now have the storage unit full of weaving things to sort.  This includes minor repairs to one loom (the 36″ Harrisville) and probably a complete refinish of a second loom (the 48″ Macomber).  I’m hoping to the the storage unit cleaned out by mid-February, though the refinishing job will most likely take longer than that.

Dyeing

Dyeing doesn’t really have WIPs as something is either dyed or it isn’t.  But this is a list of dyeing projects I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t.

  • Dye Maple Leaf Shawls (pending since December 2014)
  • Dye Triangles (pending since August 2014)
  • water source / pH experiment (pending since early 2015)

I’m not sure if this is actually all my WIPs.  It’s everything I could find laying about or listed in my Ravelry project pages, but I’m sure I missed more.