Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Omigod! Omigod! Omigod!

OK, first of all, you guys are FABULOUS! Thank you to everyone who left a comment telling me NOT to feel guilty at all about having a bright, shiny new machine and just to ENJOY IT for Pete's sake! And you know what? I think I will. ;-)

The stars must really be aligned for me though because exactly one week after I nervously bought my new sewing machine, I GOT A JOB OFFER! Dudes, I have been applying for every job that crossed my path for nearly two years and this was the first one for which I even got called in for an interview. (Actually, there was an "assessment" with all sorts of office-type tasks, then came the interview.) And finally: the offer!

It's certainly far from ideal: it's not in my field AT ALL. In fact, it's an office manager job at a university...essentially the same job I left in order to go to graduate school! Although with this position, I do get more responsibility. It is only part time (until the state's higher education budget gets more money, but that could take years) and right now this position is subject to the state's furlough "program" so that takes a 10% cut right off the top. BUT...it is a job. I liked the people I met when I was there for the interviews. I will be able to resume payments on my student loans. My husband and I will be able to stay in the apartment we love instead of moving to a cheaper, smaller, more distant location. And in all honesty, the part-time hours kind of suit me right now. I can ease back into working outside the home after several years of school and forced idleness, and I will still have enough time to devote to keeping the shop humming along as it should.

I can't even begin to express the amount of relief this job has given me. I tried not to talk about my unemployment woes too much on this blog, but those of you who have been there: you know. It's a constant pressure, a constant strain. This is a step in the right direction and hopefully things will only get better from here on out. And who knows? Maybe there will even be a few knitters at the new job. ;-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Feel So Spoiled

This past week has been an embarrassment of riches for me, so much so that I almost don't even want to post about it because I don't want to come across as though I'm showing off or anything, but it's just so fabulous that I really want to share!

It all started a few weeks ago when I was told by the sewing shop that the "great machine" I bought last summer at a garage sale for $30 was actually broken and unfixable. (It still works just fine in all respects but for the stitch length--it bounces back to the largest setting no matter what you do.) I really want to learn how to sew, so that was very disappointing but nothing I could do much about at the time.

But then a few things happened. First, the repair guy offered me a refund on the $50 repair fee as store credit. Then I had a birthday and my mother agreed to chip in some money for a new machine. Then I got paid for a few freelance knitting jobs. Then my husband and I finally did our taxes and instead of all the money going towards his new glasses, like we had planned, we had some left over. It all added up at exactly the right time and I was able to get a brand new sewing machine last week!

I rushed out to the store on Tuesday and they had one last one in stock. It's a Janome DC2010--still on the low end as far as sewing machines go, but the woman helping me said she would not hesitate to recommend this machine to her granddaughter if she wanted to sew, and that it would last me for years. It looks complicated and fancy only because they printed the stitch guide on the front of the machine, but that's about it as far as bells and whistles. Still, I'm thrilled. It will do everything I need and I am so excited to start playing with it!

To add to the excitement, I really wanted to find a place to put a machine. Like many households, I really don't have a spare flat surface--even our kitchen table is small and the outlets beneath it are being used by our wireless router anyway. So...my husband and I headed out to IKEA yesterday to find a table. We came across one that was only $20--score! I wanted a slightly wider one though, so I think the end total was still only $36. It fits perfectly next to the window, and now I have a place to leave my machine instead of dragging it out of the closet every time I want to use it.

Lest you think I'm too spoiled, here is a more accurate photo of the sewing corner:
The table just barely fits between the wall heater and the window, which has a heavy curtain over it because it is in the southwest corner of the building and the afternoon sun heats up the place like nobody's business. The area to the left of the table is the small coffee table that holds all my knitting supplies, and immediately behind it is the fireplace. And yes, the fireplace is now filled with all our DVDs, which used to be shelved nicely in the corner where the sewing machine now sits. I've been wanting to get rid of that dorm-room-looking stand for a while now. We don't watch the DVDs we own much anymore anyway. I would much prefer to burn them all to a hard drive and get rid of the physical copies. Someday. But for now, I think my first project will have to be a nice curtain to hang over the fireplace and hide them from view. :)

This is the most extravagant purchase I have made for myself in a loooooong time, and I admit that I'm feeling a little uncomfortable about it. I mean, isn't this just inviting disaster? Is my car going to explode next, or our rent increase dramatically? And now that I have a sewing machine, it means I have to buy more stuff in order to use it (namely, fabric)...that may not happen for a while. LOL But I have the biggest hurdle cleared, right? Oh, and the mailman just dropped the latest issue of Burda magazine through the door. Perfect timing! ;-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wanna Win Some Fibery Goodness?

Hey all,

I know I need to do a regular blog update, and it's coming, but I wanted to let you all in on a chance to score some fiber fun!

Kristen and I have been reading and commenting on each others' blogs for...wow, a couple of years now I think. She's super great and does some nice work so it's worth checking out. But now she's giving you even more reason to look--she's participating in a walk for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and is raising money for the cause. Please read her post to see why this is so important to her.

While you're there, you can also get the details about her prizes! She has some pretty nice stuff already, but I hear that even more prizes are being donated so it's worth keeping an eye on what's going on over there. I am sending her a little something from my shop, too, but you'll have to keep up with her blog to find out what it is.

Good luck, everyone!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Question for Sock Knitters

All right all you sock-knitting pros: I have a question for you.

I have not made a lot of pairs of socks, so this may be a stupid question, but bear with me: I have a fit problem with all of my socks that I cannot seem to conquer. My socks are always extremely difficult to get on over the heel, and they are always quite tight across the ankle once I get the socks on. What gives?

I am knitting to gauge. I do not have giant ankles. I am tall (5'10") and I do have long feet (size 10), so I'm wondering if I just have a wider heel/ankle space than other people? I recently discovered that tall people generally need longer arm holes than others (Such a DUH moment when I read that in a sewing book! So that's why t-shirts are always tight there, despite my skinny arms!) so it's not outside the realm of possibility.

But if that's the case, then how do I go about compensating for it? My ankles and feet are skinny and long, so adding stitches will just make for a baggy sock. I have tried using more or fewer stitches in the heel flaps, and I have tried making longer heel flaps. I'm not sure what else to try and I was hoping someone might have a suggestion for me.

Is there anyone out there who can offer up some much-appreciated advice? :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are You A Knitter?

Earlier today, for reasons that are neither relevant or interesting, I found myself waiting around in an office on a local college campus. There was one other woman already waiting when I arrived, and we smiled at each other as I sat down in a chair nearby.

She looked at me quizzically and said, "You look familiar. Do you work here on campus?"

"No," I said, "I don't. But I can't guarantee that we haven't met somewhere. I always have trouble recognizing people out of context."

"Oh, me too!" she replied, "But you look so familiar to me!"

"Huh. Maybe I just have one of those faces," I said, and that was the end of the conversation because we had to move to a different office.

I know I don't know her because I know everyone I know in this city (meaning that it's not as though I have met so many people that I have started to forget some of them), and she's not one of the people I know. But she also looked familiar. And friendly. When we got up to head down the hallway to the other room, she was delighted to find that we are the same height (a rarity in a world dominated by women who are less than 5'10" tall) and we continued chatting as we walked until the office worker with us asked if we knew each other already. Nope. Not at all.

Of course, as soon as she said I looked familiar (and when I knew that she didn't know me from "real life") I desperately wanted to ask her if she was a knitter. Maybe she's on Ravelry and has seen me around. Maybe she even listens to the podcast or reads this blog! (No, I harbor no illusions that I am that well-known, but it could just be one of those flukey things, ya know?) But I didn't ask her for one reason: if she wasn't a knitter, then just think about how random and unrelated such a question would be. It would be akin to breaking into a conversation about financial planning to ask someone if they have ever hunted rhinos.

Or...thinking about it now, maybe it wouldn't have been that weird. *sigh* I'll never know. And now my curiosity is killing me!!!