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It’s all about mittens!

February 3, 2010

I have knit a lot of mittens lately. First, I made a pair of  Delicato Mitts by Anne Hanson for David’s brother’s wife for Christmas. I made them with yarn from one of their alpacas, Ode to Joy, that I handdyed.

Then I made a pair of  Super Mittens from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick for a coworker’s mother:

I have made two more pairs for coworkers:

I am using yarn from my stash for these: Brown Sheep and Malabrigo.

And now I am making a pair of Spiraluscious Mitts by Anne Hanson for a niece in Texas.

I think I like knitting mittens more than socks. I don’t know, socks just take me too long and I am not sure they are worth the effort. I probably would not give them to any one and inevitable my socks get felted in the wash or end up with a hole. I love sock yarn, though. So I am on the lookout for patterns to use up single skeins of sock yarn.

Cowls are good. Fingerless mitts (could probably get two pair from one skein). Small scarves. Baby Kimonos. There as so much more you can knit with sock yarn.

“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” Anonymous

Peace

Cynthia

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I’m Back

January 10, 2010

A new year. A new decade. I always become a little melancholy at this time of year. I  feel that with each passing year, I need to reevaluate where I am and where I want to be. This January, there are definitely good things in my life, but unfortunately, I feel there are negative things getting in the way of my enjoyment. Instead of listing New Year Resolutions this year, I am going to ask questions:

1. Should I find another job? – I have not written much about my job except some great birth stories. The truth is, my job sucks. I am a Nurse Midwife in an environment where midwives are not valued or allowed to practice their craft. Two years ago, my organization decided the midwives should work Monday through Friday 8-5 :(. This has taken the choice away from women and degraded the value of what midwives do. The passion is gone from my work. I spend the days I am “assigned” to the hospital babysitting the physicians inductions. Women are shuffled through the office like cattle, they have to see everyone, are not given much education (except when they see one of the midwives, if she has the time to spend with her), are labled high risk for stupid reasons, and do not have a choice as to the philosophy of care she wants.

I feel I am at a cross-roads in my career. I have been a midwife for 18 years, have worked in my current job for 15. Now there is discussion to have the midwives work nights and weekends again. Does this have something to do with the fact there are less physicians now and they need help? Or is it that administration sees the decision they made 2 years ago was wrong and they want to reestablish the midwifery practice? I am not sure what our role will be if we go back on “call”. But my skeptical side says it will be a slave to the docs (at least now we are slaves with good hours) and not to allow women the choice of provider 24 hours a day. I will see how much they are asking for and how much they will be willing to give us at a meeting later in the month.

2. Can I feel good about myself? – A few years ago I lost 40# on Weight Watchers. I have gained back about 10# and have not been able to take it and the rest of the weight off. I hate myself for not exercising regularly and drinking too much wine. I eat well most of the time (Christmas candy aside) but there is definitely room for improvement. I walked on the treadmill this morning 🙂

3. Will my business succeed? Or another question What am I trying to accomplish? In some ways 2009 was a good year for the business. I did not make money but I think I am getting my name out there and for the most part enjoying what I am doing. I love dying yarn and the fairs and festivals I did were fun. But . . . .  what is the goal? To make money? That will probably not happen. I do not have the time to be on Ravelry all the time tooting my own horn in the forums like some other Indie dyers who probably do get business that way. Realistically, I work full time, this is a hobby that I hope does not bankrupt me.

4. Is there more to life? You get up, go to work at a job you hate, come home, drink too much, watch stupid TV and then go to bed. Maybe the question really is: Where do I want to be in 5 years?

I don’t really have answers to any of these questions. Only more questions. 2010 will be a journey for me. I am not sure where it will take me or what road I will even be on. But I know I have to make  changes in me, my life and my future.

 

 

“Life’s problems wouldn’t be called “hurdles” if there wasn’t a way to get over them.” Unknown

Peace and Happy New Year

Cynthia

A Daily Dose of Fiber

August 10, 2009

I skirted and prepared over 30# of alpaca fleeces this weekend. They will be sent off to the mill for processing into a worsted weight yarn which I will dye. While preparing these fibers it was fun to imagine the personality of the individual animal they came off of. From the dirty juvenile to the pristine queen.

Ready to start

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Onto the skirting table where as much trash (sticks, hay, stuff) is removed as well as any fiber that is not good quality (second cuts, guard hair).

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Then into the tumbler. Here the sand, more debris and short cuts fall out.

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Beautiful “clean” fleece. It will be washed and further separated at the mill.

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All bagged and ready to go

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And now I am off to a three day Spinning Colorwork for Knitting workshop with Lynne Vogel at Harrisville Designs. Very cool.

Peace

Cynthia

Nature: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

August 4, 2009

I enjoy the nature around me. I have often written and shared photos of what is growing in my garden and what is visiting my garden. Sometimes what happens in nature saddens me. I know there is a natural order of things. 

This evening I was sitting in  my office and noticed a lot of noice in the back yard. I finally got up to look out the window to see what was going on. I noticed robins flying around the back, squawking and carrying on. Then I saw the hawk. The robins have nested in my trumpet vine and this weekend I saw the baby birds being fed. When I went out to get a closer look I saw three wide open mouths waiting for food. I tried to get photos but the nest is a little high for me to get a good look but I did get this picture:

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After the hawk flew off I went out and saw the nest is now empty. I am sad. I wonder if birds grieve. This hawk (or a hawk) has visited before. There was a nest in the Weeping Cherry near my walk way. One night we were sitting in the gazebo and heard a racket out front. We saw the hawk sitting on top of the tree with two robins dive bombing him. We went out and the hawk flew off with one robin in close pursuit. Two days later there were downy feathers on the walkway and the nest abandoned. I was sad. 

Turkeys were roaming the lawn when I left for work this morning. Did you know Turkeys have day care? One or two adult females will stay with all the babies while the other adult females and the one adult male go out to eat.

There are lots of deer around this year. Tonight after dinner David and I were cleaning up the kitchen and heard a “sneeze” in the back yard. We went out with a flashlight and saw a deer jumping over the wall back into the woods. They love hostas. Ask me how I know.

On to knitting: I am finishing the first sleeve of my February Ladies Sweater. If all goes well, I will finish the second sleeve this weekend. I am very excited to be done because it is a great sweater but also I vowed not to start another project until this sweater was done………………. I have lots of projects in mind to start next. The new Interweave Knits arrived and I picked up Vogue Knitting at the store on Sunday. I don’t think I will knit a project from either of these next, but there are several that have possibility for future projects. I love the hat on the cover of Vogue and the hat on page 74 – definitely possibilities. There is a great poncho shaped shawl on page 70 (they call it a rounded triangular blanket shawl) that is interesting, I am not really a poncho wearer, technically it is not a poncho but it reminds me of one. In IK there is a sweater on page 44 I like, but I would lengthen the sleeves.  The Berry and Bramble Cardigan on page 46 I would make the button version and not the one with the sash. And the Every Way Wrap on page 48 is a definate addition to my project list. If only I could knit 40 hours a week instead of work!!!!!! 🙂

I was a vendor at an annual fair in town this past weekend. A little girl was wandering in my booth and told me she was going to school soon. I asked her if she was going to kindergarten or first grade and she could not answer. Then I asked her how old she was, she said “My birthday is dangerously close.” She will be five on her birthday in October (her mom came by and filled me in). This little girl was so cute. The other thing she said was when she picked up a skein of hand dyed yarn, she said “This is some pretty colors.”

Please visit my shops: www.nightingalefibers.com and www.nightingalefibers.etsy.com. New items added.

 

“There is no sin punished more implacably by nature than the sin of risistance to change.: Ann Morrow Lindbergh

Peace

Cynthia

Dying Yarn

July 24, 2009

I have been doing a lot of dying this week. I am trying to get the rest of my lace weight dyed up and added to the store. It is such an interesting process and each time I work at it I learn more. Sometimes the color just does not come out the way I intended – that could be good or bad. I just hope the colors appeal to customers. Here is a sample of Lillian – which is 80% Alpaca/ 20% Silk Lace:

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I also finally put up Hildegard on the site. This is a 50% Suri Alpaca 50% Merino sport weight yarn that is just beautiful. It is soft and springy. Here are a couple of pictures: IMG_2719_edited

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And here is a Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting made from Hildegard:

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I am hoping to finish the body on my February Ladies Sweater tonight and start the sleeves. David and I are going to the coast of Maine for a few days so I should have a lot of knitting time. I’ll post pictures when it is done.

There is a new baby on Peeka Ranch. He is very cute:

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“Paradise is where I am.” Voltaire

Peace

Cynthia

Garden Color

July 19, 2009

Summer has finally arrived in New Hampshire. It is still a little cool, especially at night, but the past few days have been beautiful. My vegetable garden is finally showing signs I might have something to harvest. There is lots of color in my yard. Here are a few pictures I took yesterday:

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The fish are happy and healthy.

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Stunning color.

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I love coriopsis.

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Hummingbirds love beebalm.

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And everyone loves roses.

I would love to be able to work and play in my garden all day. Unfortunately that is not going to happen. I love my job but work is stressful and I am not sure my job is very secure. Midwives have been marginalized all over the country, and my small corner of the world is no exception. Women do not have a choice who attends their birth because physicians and administrators do not see the value of our presence. I hope the Obama administration is seriously looking at nurses – specifically advanced practice nurses like midwives and nurse practitioners – as a big part of the solution to the failing health care system in this country. I know he talks about nurses and nurse practitioners, but will we be big players in the reform? The AMA has a big financially back voice and they see us as competition and a threat to their salaries. CNMs and NPs keep people healthy and out of the hospital with preventative health care, we are more cost effective because we do less invasive and unnecessary labs/tests/procedures, and we consistently receive good “scores” in patient satisfaction. I am just baffled as to why administrators of health care systems choose not to see this.

Enough with the rant, but I will come back to it.

Here is a cute story. I was seeing a woman for her six week postpartum visit and she was there with her baby and her three year old, who came to most of her prenatal visits and was very involved in the visits (I like to have the siblings help me listen to the baby). When I was finished with the exam and his mother sat up, he asked if I was all done. I said yes. He then said “You didn’t listen to the heart beat.” 

“It is worth noting that the primary cause of workplace burnout is not the amount of time working, but whether the work you did can make a difference.” Penelope Trunk

Peace

Cynthia

PS Please visit my store www.nightingalefibers.com or my etsy site www.nightingalefibers.etsy.com      Thank you

Beauty

July 10, 2009

Well, it has been a long time…………..

Life certainly has a way of getting in the way. I will not bore you with what has been going on with me the past few months, but I have done a lot of knitting and spinning and dying.

My main knitting project right now is my February Ladies Sweater. I actually started this in February but have since frogged it and started over because the first one was going to be too small. I am almost finished with the body so I feel good about it. Here is a pic:

 

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I am very happy with the way it is coming out.

As those of you who live in New England know, we have had a very wet and rainy summer so far (this weekend is predicted to be sunny). Last week I was in my kitchen on the phone and saw this out the window:

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Since it was raining hard, I was not sure what it was. I stood in my kitchen door to take these pictures.

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A Luna Moth. Beautiful.

And while I was at it, I snapped this picture

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“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing: it’s when you had everything to do, and you did it.” Margaret Thatcher

Peace

Cynthia