Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just 10 More Days

Today is Nov 2, which means in 10 days it will be Nov 12 and I will be 24. Not a very impressive landmark by anybody's standards, and it certainly isn't as monumental as when Mary turned 25 last month and I thoroughly enjoyed teasing her about being a quarter of a century old, but it is what it is. In the past I've always looked forward to birthdays but the milestones haven't been a big deal. I didn't care about gambling or smoking when I turned 18 and I missed the 2004 election by like a week or so. I didn't develop any kind of appreciation for alcohol until at least halfway through 22 and even now I'm not much of a drinker. I've always just sort of had the attitude of "hey, it's another year to be on planet Earth and experience life and maybe I should go somewhere special to mark the occasion." Ok, so I never sound like that - it's probably more along the lines of "It's my birthday and I want to GO somewhere. ANYWHERE. I want to go see something." Then more whining is involved.

This year isn't any different when it comes to travel since I'll be spending my birthday in Las Vegas. I've had the tickets for a while and have plans to go to shows and I'm counting down the days. The excitement just doesn't seem to be there. I'm not sure what's going on with that. It might have something to do with the fact that for reasons beyond my control Mary decided she can't go with me. I'm still going with Shantelle and she is way excited, and I think we'll have a good time, but I'm not running around like a crazy person screaming "Vegas, Baby!!! Wooooooohooooooo!" Maybe I'll get to that point when we get off the plane in Nevada.

I have a trip to look forward to, but I seem to be in quite the birthday funk. I can't even call it a quarter-life crisis because I'm not there yet, but something is definitely off. It's probably that I'm looking at 24 and realizing that I'm not anywhere close to where I thought I'd be in my life at this point. Not that there's anything wrong with my life, but this wasn't "the plan." You know "the plan" that I'm talking about. It's the one you come up with when you're a little kid and there's this big shiny future in front of you with all this endless potential and you know exactly what you're doing with it. I threw that plan out the window sometime near my senior year of high school, so I have no idea why I seem to keep getting hung up on it. That life that I had in my head isn't ever going to happen. Real life got in the way and the original plan is no longer relevant. Heck, I don't even want that imaginary life anymore, but I still feel like I've failed. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I have a hunch that it has something to do with the fact that I don't have a new "plan."

When I threw the original plan out the window, I was 17 and I still had a big future in front of me. I took a shot at community college because I was "supposed" to (one of the stupidest decisions I've ever made), realized that wasn't the right move for me, and dropped out. What I really needed was time to figure things out. By that point I'd turned 18 and no one should expect me to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I needed to go out and experience things and come up with a new plan. It made sense. I spent the next couple of years bouncing around between various jobs while trying to figure out what I wanted to do, eventually landing haphazardly at my current job as a receptionist. This coming January I'll have been at this job for 3 years. I'd like to think I'm good at what I do, my boss seems to like me (that would be Shantelle - we obviously get along otherwise I wouldn't have agreed to let her come to Vegas with me), the paychecks keep my yarn habit supported, but this isn't where I'm meant to be forever and I don't know where to go from here.

The uncertainty was understandable at 17, but staring at 24 with a big empty space in front of me is pretty frightening. I know I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else, but lots of people have full blown families or pretty substantial careers under way by time they turn 24. What do I have? A job as a receptionist with no potential of growth and an ever-growing mountain of yarn at home. I should be happy that at least I have a job, especially since I was part of a major layoff last summer and others that were laid off at the same time as me still haven't found jobs (I got my job back after about a month), but that's all this is. It's a job. It's a paycheck. It's not a career or a life's passion. I answer phones and order office supplies. It's probably not the best idea in the world for me to be posting this online for all the world to see, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

My boss and I had this basic conversation last week and she knows I don't plan on being here forever. She asked me what I want to do with my life and only one word came to mind. YARN. I don't really know what this means, but I do know that I want yarn in my future. There's this fuzzy idea of owning my own yarn shop, or being a pattern designer, or something along those lines, but I don't know exactly what that is or how to get there. I do know that I want yarn to be involved. I still need to figure out what that means, and I need a new plan, but maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe it's just some glow-in-the-dark yarn. Either way, it can't be bad.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Every year at work we have a Halloween party, complete with costume and pumpkin carving contests. This year I was the defending champion of both, and I knew there was no way I could beat the awesomeness from last year. Really, how does it get any better than a Death Star pumpkin or a Yoshi costume (from Nintendo's Mario games). It just doesn't. Last year was so amazing that there was no beating it, but I still had to try, and this time Mary would be at work with me so my group costume would actually make sense. We decided to go with a Sleeping Beauty theme this year. I never liked that movie much when I was little, but Mary's favorite Disney princess is Aurora, Maleficent is an amazing villain, and it gave me an excuse to chase Mary around with my drop spindle while cursing her to die... how could I pass up an opportunity like that???

Now, this isn't something I'd normally put into writing for all the world to see, but I feel like it needs to be said. My mom is freaking amazing. She's made my Halloween costume just about every year and they're always brilliant. My co-workers are still in awe over her mad sewing skills from Yoshi. This year she pulled out all the stops. We were under a time crunch because life got in the way and then she got a cold - one of those really nasty headcolds with crappy sinus pressure and all you really want is a head transplant. I have no idea how she managed to keep sewing with all that going on, but she did it. And my costume was amazing. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself:

Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it, right? Not only did she completely rock my costume, but I talked her into altering Mary's Princess Peach costume from last year to Aurora for this year. Originally the plan was to just change the skirt flap thing, add something for a stand-up collar, and add sleeves. Easy peasy, right? Mom took it like a million steps further. She completely redid the bodice and took poofyness out of the skirt. I swear this woman used magic. I have no idea how the hell she did what she did but the result was once again amazing.

We won Best Group Costumes at the contest at work. I probably don't need to point out that there weren't any groups competing, but that's not the point. We were the talk of the party. It was great. I didn't think Maleficent would ever beat Yoshi, but I think she did. She's evil and amazing and I loved being her for a day. This costume is definitely going to be a repeat in years to come. I love it!

Oh, and just to show off last year's awesomeness... Here I am as Yoshi. Might as well include the rest of the Mario gang while I'm at it. Mary is Princess Peach, her husband is Mario, and his best friend is Wario. I won "most creative" in the work contest last year, and we placed second place in a local pub's contest as a group. It was great!

Halloween is tied with Christmas for my favorite holiday. It's that one day out of the year I get to fully embrace my crafty geekyness and show it proudly for all the world to see, without coming off as a crazy person. Ok, they still look at me like I'm nuts, but there's usually a certain amount of respect there to because it seems like everyone, at some point in their lives, has worn a Halloween costume and/or carved a jack-o-lantern. This is different than anything yarn related because really, only knitters and crocheters seem to understand the siren call of a yarn store and the insanity behind spending *hours* knitting $20 socks that you could go buy at a department store for like $2. Granted, I've never knit a pair of socks, but I understand the desire to do so and hope to finish a pair one day. Anyway, the point is that the general public appreciates the hard work that goes into a home-made Halloween costume, especially one as awesome as the ones my mom has made for me through the years. They also appreciate the difference between whacking at a pumpkin with a dull knife and meticulously following a complicated pattern with itty bitty saws. They might still think it's crazy spending that much time on something that only gets used once in the year, but they also appreciate how much cooler it is than running to the local party store and picking up a costume that everyone else is wearing.

That being said, I still have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to pumpkins. Last year I carved 6 pumpkins. Seriously. And they were awesome. Death Star, Captain Jack Sparrow, Hannibal King, fireman, Monster, and a tiki. Knowing that it wasn't ever going to get better than the Death Star, and that I just didn't have time to carve a million of them again, I stuck with my favorite things from 2010. Embracing my Slytherin geekyness and my crocheted Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter pumpkin was a stencil from zombiepumpkins.com and it has a projected shadow of the Cheshire Cat on the back.

My Slytherin crest pumpkin was a design I came up with based on images of the crest I was able to find online. I'd love to carve all the house crests one year, and I'm already working on the patterns. Might even post 'em on my blog if people are interested.

I hope everyone had a very happy Halloween! I'm already brainstorming for next year...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Massimo and Harold

The following post is what happens when I don't get enough sleep, consume entirely too much coffee, the phones at work are super slow, and all my work peeps that keep me entertained are at an off site meeting all freaking day. Now you can't say I didn't warn you...

As you may or may not know, I have a pygmy puff that resides atop my Tweety mug on my desk at work. His name is Massimo and you can see him chilling with Spock back in this post. Massimo keeps me company on days like to today when everyone is at an off-site meeting. Don't let the cute and fluffy look fool you though... he has sharp little teeth, is fiercely loyal, and has been known to attack mean-spirited people as they walk by my desk (of course he only attacks when he feels I'm being threatened).

Apparently Massimo needed a friend. After all, I'm only at work 40 hours per week and Massimo is by himself the rest of the time. He must get lonely, right? Tuesday evening I received a yarny-goodness package from my dear ravelry friend Vberry and inside was the world's cutest stuffed gorilla. Once I was done drooling over the amazing yarn I popped the gorilla into my purse so he could come to work with me on Wednesday. As soon as I got to work yesterday morning I introduced Massimo to the gorilla, but apparently Vberry had warned the gorilla about Massimo's ...not-so-friendly... side. I tried to reassure the gorilla that Massimo wouldn't hurt him, but the gorilla still seemed really nervous. In fact, he was so nervous that he wouldn't tell me his name.

While with me, the gorilla had only encountered me (a ginormous human-type-being), and a friendly pygmy puff that he believed to be evil. That must have been terrifying. Thinking that he might warm up to someone more his size and completely likable, I decided to introduce him to Ryan. Unfortunately I didn't consider the fact that Ryan might not be so keen on talking to a gorilla larger than him, so more awkwardness ensued.

Eventually it was time for me to go to lunch, and as much as I hated to leave the nameless gorilla at my desk, I thought he could use the space to settle in without me worrying about him. Turns out I was worrying for nothing. By time I got back he had climbed up on my travel mug - he just wanted a better view! He told me that his name was Harold and that he just wanted to see what I was working on. I showed him my plans for my Slytherin pumpkin and he told me that he thought it would look better with a badger... he's a Hufflepuff! We agreed to disagree and move on with life. I explained to him that Massimo is a Slytherpuff (loyal friend with an evil streak that I adore) and that over time I'm sure they would become good friends.

Harold seems to have survived the night, gave Massimo a second chance, and was still on my desk when I got to work this morning. He even helped me put together signs for the Halloween contest at work tomorrow. Such a good gorilla :-)

In other non-gorilla news, last night I hung out at Starbucks with Shirley and worked on my Rose's Mitts while drinking a yummy venti toffee mocha. Silly me, I forgot to say "decaf." Decaf is super important when ordering a huge coffee-type beverage at 7pm.

Once I was home (and practically bouncing off the walls) I realized that sleep certainly wasn't in my near future, so watching the Rocky Horror Glee Show and carving a pumpkin sounded like a good idea. RHGS was awesome and was amazingly ab-tastic. This means I was easily distracted. Easily distracted Schmutzy + pumpkin carving = bad idea. No, I didn't cut off my thumb or anything that tragic, but I did manage to screw up my pattern. It's not beyond repair and I think I've figured out how to fix it, but it was still frustrating. Oh well, I'll just have to take another crack at it tonight. I was planning on watching Amityville Horror or Boltneck this evening, but after the events of last night I'm thinking that a Ryan Reynolds movie while pumpkin carving could be even more distracting thus a bad idea. Maybe I really do learn from my mistakes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seahawks Mitts and Other Awesomeness

Can you believe it? I actually finished Mary's birthday present ON TIME. I even had enough time to block her Seahawks Mitts and let them dry before giving them to her. I am absolutely in love with the way they turned out!!! I've drooled over this pattern for so long but dreaded jumping into stranded colorwork, especially when a deadline was involved. Really bad idea to do them 2 at a time on 1 needle, but I survived and it was worth it. I definitely want to make another pair for myself one day!

I should probably mention that I changed the pattern up a bit. I really didn't like the look of the ribbing on the hands in the original pattern, so I decided to switch them to stockinette. It worked out really well since I was using the same weight yarn, same size needles, and same number of stitches that I did in my Tenth Doctor Mitts and I knew they fit Mary so I just made the hands the same way. It worked out great! Next time around I think I'd probably switch to size 2 needles for the last few rows of colorwork to make the wrist a little bit tighter. Other than that they fit both of us really well :-)

Mary (aka BFF) showing off her new Seahawks Mitts and Birthday Babe beads
Not that this should surprise anyone, but Mary was really lucky that she even got her birthday present. As soon as I tried them on I wanted them for myself! My mitts that I wear on a daily basis are only wrist length, but the Seahawks Mitts go practically to my elbows and are super squishy and warm. This leads me to believe I need a longer pair for me and soon (especially since my desk is freezing today) so I've started on a pair of Rose's Wrist Warmers that should go about halfway between my wrist and elbow. It doesn't have anything to do with this month's Gallifreyan Time Travel Challenge of crafting something inspired by your favorite Doctor Who companion. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

And now for something that *wasn't* crafted by me... A couple months ago the super awesome LisaD sent me an amazing ice cream swap box. It was full to the brim of all kinds of fantastic goodies including an ice cream cone cat toy for Bella. She sent me a message asking me to take a picture of it since she forgot to before she sent it, but I couldn't right away because I did something monumentally stupid. You'd think that I'd have learned by now that I need to take pictures of swap goodies before giving them to Bella, but obviously I haven't. I opened the box, gave it to her, and didn't see it again until yesterday. She just loooooves to hide her toys, especially those containing catnip. Apparently she was craving ice cream yesterday so she pulled it out from wherever it was hiding and played with it a bit. Luckily I was around when this went down and was able to snap a couple of pics. The little bugger hid it again before I could get a picture of it all by itself, so these are better than nothing. Apparently she just doesn't want to share her stash.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mitts, Mitts, and More Mitts

The past couple of weeks have been fairly stressful for me, so blogging hasn't been done as regularly as I'd like, but I still have been knitting away! Seems like the only thing I've been working on lately are pairs of fingerless mitts!!!

Tenth Doctor Mitts
Once I started over on these I was in love. They went sooooooooo much faster since I actually enjoyed working on them and I finished them in just under a week. Perfect timing too because my desk just seems to get colder and colder in the mornings and my hands have been freeeeeezing! Suppose that's to be expected in October. I actually finished them the same day that my "It came out of nowhere..." shirt from woot arrived - a Thursday right before casual Friday when I get to wear t-shirts to work. I was totally stylin' with my Doctor Who shirt and mitts :-D I've worn the mitts every morning since then and I still love them. What a treat to actually make something for me!!!

Shantelle's Birthday Mitts
When I brought the Beauxbatons mitts into work to show off over the summer, my boss really liked the pattern and asked me to make her a pair in black. Time passed and I didn't get to them. Eventually she changed her mind and decided that she'd actually rather learn how to knit and make her own. I taught her how and right now she's working on a scarf for her daughter to practice before she starts working with fingering yarn and tiny needles. Unfortunately this leaves her hands cold until she's ready to work on her mitts, so I decided to go back to the plan of black Susie's Reading Mitts and made them for her birthday. Now her hands don't have to freeze while she's still learning how to knit :-)

Seahawks Mitts
BFF Mary's birthday is this coming Tuesday and it looks like I'll be able to finish her Seahawks mitts in time!!! I finished the colorwork portion at knitting group last night and I love how they're turning out. This pattern is so awesome that I'm going to have to make a pair for me one day...

In other non-mitt-related news, I got to hang out with Nicole this past Sunday which means I was reunited with the Traffic Cone of Doom I crocheted and gave to her this past spring. He has a place of honor sitting on her dashboard and reminds her not to go hitting innocent traffic cones. Awesome :-D

Sunday, September 26, 2010

26 Hours 45 Minutes

That's how long it took me to crochet the Dragonflies Shawl. I'm never timing anything ever again. That was such a hassle and I don't think I really wanted to know how long it actually takes. Knowing means that someone should slap me the next time I say I want to make a shawl for a swap. Seriously, how stupid was this decision?!?! The minimum time that's supposed to be spent on the large item is 2 hours. Yeesh. Well, I never claimed to be sane, right?

This is Mom modeling the shawl. After this picture she decided to run around the front yard pretending she had wings. This apple so doesn't fall too far from that tree!
 I'm really thrilled with how it turned out though. Going into this project I knew it was going to be larger than the Scarlett (Multnomah) shawl, and even though I had the finished dimensions staring me in the face on the pattern page, I still wasn't expecting it to be this big. Really came as a surprise when I went to block it. I thought it was pretty while I was working on it, but the way the lace opened up just took my breath away. Unfortunately I didn't think much about the size when I was ordering my blocking mats and now I wish I'd ordered 2 sets. Oh well, I made it work with what I had. This sucker has a wingspan of 60 inches and it's 30 inches long.

During blocking - yes, there are places where the shawl is pinned directly to the bed because I freaking need more puzzle pieces

Hanging out with the Mad Hatter and Captain Jack before blocking
I absolutely love it. Breaks my heart a bit to pack it up and ship it out. It will be winging its way to my swap partner tomorrow in the super awesome treasure chest flat rate box that I spent entirely too much time decorating yesterday when I should have been working on my socks. Since my spoilee has no idea who I am and I'm fairly certain she doesn't read my blog, I'm going to go ahead and give you all a sneak peek of what I just finished packing up. This was for the Pirates swap in the Odd Ducks group on ravelry. Yes, dragonflies are extremely piratey. Just go with me on this one ;-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Frogging Without a Tantrum

Remember when I said that I was going to make mitts for me because I wanted to reclaim my crafting mojo? That totally didn't happen. Even after the knitting retreat last weekend I'm still in a major funk. My projects don't currently thrill me. There's nothing that I'm just dying to finish. It's a problem :-(

My plan for the knitting retreat was to finish Dragonflies (which I totally did and it's awesome and pictures will be posted eventually) and finish these mitts. I knew that cooler weather was coming, they'd be good to keep me warm at work, and mitts don't take that long so why not? It so didn't work like that. I worked on them all weekend when I wasn't spending time on the computer, swearing at the crappy wifi connection in our condo, or getting tips and practicing spinning.

I finished the ribbing and moved on to the cables. That's when I discovered that I left home without my cable needle. Apparently dark yarn in bad lighting on size 2 needles is not the right time to learn how to cable-without-a-cable-needle. Stitches were dropped, swearing occurred, then I realized I could use one of my interchangeable tips for a cable needle and I was good to go. After a few rows of the pattern, I discovered that I was having major problems with laddering going from needle 1 to needle 2 using magic loop because I broke up the stitches in the wrong place. Deciding that I really don't need to be a perfectionist and I can live with a bit of laddering if the rest of the mitts are awesome, I continued on.

I obviously didn't finish them on the retreat, and I didn't even finish one pattern repeat (needs two before I can even think about increasing for the thumb), but I brought them with me to work and knitting group to keep plugging along. I wasn't paying enough attention at knitting group and ended up crossing two of the cables in the wrong direction. I didn't discover it until three rows later and I wasn't willing to knit back three rows to fix it. Again I tried to tell myself that I don't need to be a perfectionist, and The Doctor would probably appreciate the unique quirkiness of the incorrect cables (I was telling myself anything at that point to be able to keep knitting without too much stress), so it's ok to ignore them and just finish the damn mitts.

The next day at work I planned on working on them at lunch, but I only got one row done because I kept looking at where I screwed up. This was not the quality I was used to, but my hands were freezing at my desk that morning and so I should just finish them, right? That night I just couldn't take it anymore. I reached the point at which I could choose to have a short wrist and start increasing for the thumb, or do another repeat and make them longer. I tried them on and contemplated my options, and then realized that I hated them. The pattern is beautiful, and I love the yarn, but they just don't work together. It wasn't what I wanted. I spent more time drooling over the awesomeness of how the colors played out on the back plain side than the intricate cabling. That's when I knew I needed to frog them (for those that don't know, "frogging" knitting term used when you rip out your work because you "rip-it, rip-it, rip-it"). You all know how much I hate knitting back to fix a mistake, and how ripping out a few rows (like on that lacy shawl I'm supposed to be working on but I'm still grumpy about it and refuse to touch it) makes me cranky, so the idea of frogging a week's worth of work on tiny needles made me want to cry.

But I didn't cry. I pouted a bit, but no tantrums were involved. The only time I swore was when I texted BFF that I was ripping them out and "f*** knitting - pointy ended sticks SUCK." Not the most mature of moments, but believe me that that's pretty good for me when it comes to frogging. By this point it was about 10pm on a Thursday, I knew I needed to go to work in the morning, but I also knew if I didn't fix them and start a new pair right away that I wouldn't ever finish them. I found a new pattern, started watching Boondock Saints on Netflix (because Irish accents and violence always helps), and began ripping them out.

I dug out a pair of size 1 needles (yeah, they're super tiny. 2.25mm) and started over with Koigu Wristers. I was only able to knit about 8 rows by time the movie was done, but I was feeling good about the new ones. The mitts fit so much better than the first pair. I was excited to work on them again at lunch yesterday, and even got them right out when I got home to continue working on them. Now I'm to row 20 of the ribbing and I'm excited to finish this post and get back to working on them. Maybe my crafty mojo is starting to return!!!

Thank you so much for reading this far. I know the entire story could have been taken care of with a simple blurb like "My Tenth Doctor Mitts suck so I ripped them out and started over. I didn't even cry or swear and now I'm working on new ones that are significantly more awesome." But that didn't convey the growth I went through for these. I am and always have been a crafty perfectionist. Just the fact that I didn't give up on them with the laddering problem was an amazing improvement for me. I've never ripped something out and started all over again. Normally I'd fight it to the death to finish it, or cut off the yarn and work on something else. The idea of frogging always seemed painful to me. I'm happy to say that I survived though. Maybe this means I'm growing. Or not.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting to know you

Here's the second part of my homework for week 1 of HSKS12. It was a lot of fun getting to know everyone and discovered some amazing projects in the works (I'm talking about you, Genevra Dreamy) and that other people agree that soft and squishy yarn is all that matters!

  1. Someone with the same craft as you (either those listed above or another one): Angelina Frysia is a fellow quilter :-)
  2. Someone who was born in the same month as you: November babies unite! Gryphon the Great
  3. Someone from a different country: Emma Wigworthy is from the UK and is an amazing designer! I'm totally drooling over her seriously cool Slytherin socks
  4. A new HSKS Family member: Hey, look - a newbie like me! Delantrophy Griey
  5. Someone who has been in 3 or more HSKS swaps: Megaera Black
  6. Someone who has a bigger stash than you!: Of course this is just going by the posted rav stash. I still need to finish cataloging my stash. Oy. Rowena Bladvak
  7. Someone who both knits and crochets: There's a bunch of bistitual crafters in this group including Genevra Dreamy
  8. Someone who has the same favorite color as you: Amethyst Aurag didn't really list a specific favorite color, but she likes bright clear colors like me and that's what counts :-)
  9. Someone who has the same favorite season/holiday as you: Bella Shacklebolt gotta love the holidays!
  10. Someone who has the same favorite fiber as you: Ambyr Phoenixfyre is a fellow lover of soft and squishy yarn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You spin me right round, baby

I've hit a bump in the road with my crafting mojo. Hate it when that happens! I finished the triangles of Dragonflies and now it's time for the gusset, but the pattern isn't working like it's supposed to and I'm frustrated. I'm used to this with knitting, but I can figure anything out with crocheting except for this damn gusset. Now I'm in a funk and it seems to have spread to all my other yarny projects. Erg.

The only thing I'm really interested in knitting is the Seahawks Mitts because they're so different. But they take lots of focus and I haven't been in the mood to deal with untangling the yarn. Next time I decide to do 2 colorwork mitts on one needle, please throw something at me. I'm up to row 21 now though. Go me.

My new Knit Picks order arrived today, and with it was the yarn for my Tenth Doctor Mitts - inspired by David Tennant in Doctor Who and using Marge's Mitts pattern. I've decided I need to make something fun for me. In hopes to get excited about a new project and reclaim my crafting mojo, I started them at knitting group tonight but they didn't seem to help improve my mood. Only got 3 rows into them and I'm not sure if I'm going to like the way the cables work up with this busy yarn. I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed by them.

The best thing about group tonight was that I learned how to spin with my drop spindle! Since I bought it a couple months ago, I haven't had much luck. But yewberry came to my rescue tonight and I totally got the hang of it. I love it when the light bulb clicks on. So even though I don't want to deal with knitting or crocheting, I have spinning to look forward to at lunch tomorrow - along with the book I just can't put down (Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting to know me

The first week's assignment for HSKS12 is to get to know each other, so this is my "all about me" post. I'll come back and update it over time to keep likes and dislikes current so it can be used for lots of other swaps too. Well, that's the plan anyway, let's see if I can stick to it ;-)

Crafts: Crochet, knit, dyeing yarn, stitch markers, jewelry, quilt, cross stitch, attempting spinning,  lots of other stuff too...
Fibers: Anything soft and squishy especially an undying love for sock yarn and Malabrigo. Hate scratchy yarns. Even Red Heart has a place in my stash - perfect for amigurumi.
Food: Pasta and ice cream. Love chocolate (reeses, snickers), kiwi, lime, vanilla, cookies (oreos), crackers (cheezits, wheat thins, goldfish), cashews
Drinks: Hot chocolate (with peppermint!), Earl Grey tea. Hate coffee that tastes like coffee, but I'm a Starbucks addict when it comes to caramel macchiatos, pumpkin spice lattes, and eggnog lattes.
Colors: Tropical blue and lime green. I love bright happy colors that don't require sunglasses if you want to look directly at them. Love 'em paired with black. This includes bright pink and purple too, orange and yellow only if it's for something non-wearable. Best wearable colors for me have a blue undertone. Not a fan of earth tones, especially olive green and rust.
Hooks and Needles: Love Boye crochet hooks and I probably have enough to last me a lifetime. Love love love my Knit Picks nickel plated interchangeables and can always use more points and cables :-)
Yarn Projects: My go-to are quick projects like amigurumi and fingerless gloves. I've recently discovered a love for shawls and one of these days I'm going to attempt socks. I freaking love cables.
Favorite Season: Fall. Really it's Halloween to Christmas since it covers my fave holidays. Halloween is my fave fun holiday, but it's tied with Christmas because I love the energy and the giving that goes along with it (so not into the religious scene, but I believe in Santa!). My birthday (Nov 12) is a close second (yes birthdays are holidays) and I try to use it as an excuse to travel every year. In third is Thanksgiving for the food and family.
Wish Lists: Amazon, Knit Picks

For the most part I'm an open book. Feel free to ask if there's anything I left out :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Learning Something New

After my frustration with the After Hours shawl, I decided to take a break from knitting for a couple of days. I've finished several more rows in Dragonflies and I think the end is finally in sight. I still have 75 more shells to do (and the dragonfly gusset), but there shouldn't be any problem getting this shipped off to my swap partner by the end of the month. Yippie!

The break from the needles didn't last too long though, and soon enough I was back to working on the Ggester at lunch. This hat is crazy huge, but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem for wearing. It's just a silly hat, so who cares if it's a bit loose. I know I said that I was only going to work on it at lunch, but this morning I just wanted something mindless and soothing to work on so I started and finished the first of the 3 "happy points." Unfortunately I was a bit too mindless while working on it and ended up screwing up the placement of the seam and decreases. The decreases are on the outside instead of the inside of the point which means it's not going to hang how it's supposed to. Also means that if I fix my mistake with the other points then they won't hang naturally from my head. I think I've figured out how to fix it, but I'm really not looking forward to the other 2 points.

The yarn finally came on Thursday for BFF's Seahawks Mitts! I don't remember if I've said this or not, but I decided on Transition Gloves for the pattern and this means I finally have to learn color work. This isn't a traditional Fair Isle pattern, but the same techniques are used for adding color. The ribbing is done only in green on tiny Size 1 needles, then it's time to switch to Size 3 and start adding the blue. So far I think I'm doing ok. My tension was off for the first couple of rows, but I think I've solved that problem by holding the green working yarn in one hand, and the blue in the other. It's really strange getting used to using both hands for adding yarn, but I think I've started to get the hang of it. Finished row 12 last night. Only a bajillion more to go. Oh, and for added fun, I'm doing them 2 at a time on 1 needle. It's how I've done the past sets of gloves and didn't expect any problems. That was before it occurred to me that I have 4 balls of working yarn hanging from my needles. Obviously not the brightest decision I've ever made, but after the first night and a tangled mess, I think I've got a rhythm down to prevent massive tangling. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I can't believe I forgot to post this with last weekend's pictures, but I've started on Swatch #3 - Seed Stitch. It was fun and relaxing for the first couple of rows (and I don't seem to be having any problems with it), but now I find it to be downright boring. I've been avoiding finishing it all week, but I should really get back to it so I can finish it and move on to something more interesting!

In other news, I've signed up for the Hogwarts Super Kit Swap 12 (HSKS12) and received my spoiler and spoilee information tonight! The term actually starts on Monday (I think) and since this is my first round with HSKS I'm super excited to get started. Unlike my usual swaps I know who my upstream contact is and my downstream knows who I am so it looks like I'll be making some new HP friends. This group really seems to focus on getting to know each other and creating really awesome and special swap boxes for the spoilees. This swap is based on book 7 (timing with the new movie) so our theme is horcruxes and instead of being sorted into houses, we were sorted into families. I'm part of Ron's Muddle-Headed Mates. Sounds about right, dontcha think? Instead of my usual Slytherin silver and green, we get new colors too: Maroon and Orange. This scares me more than a little, but it still has potential. Can't wait to see if and what my spoilee does with it!

Day 12, Triangle 2: 21 shells = 2 hours 20 min
Average: 6.6 minutes per shell (this was at Wednesday night craft group)
Day 13, Triangle 2: 12 shells = 60 min
Average: 5 minutes per shell
Total: 231 shells = 18 hours

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lace + Heroes = Bad Idea

After having such great luck yesterday with my After Hours shawl, I spent all day today itching to get back to it. It was just so much fun. Knowing that I reallllllly need to get Dragonflies done by the end of the month, and that I don't actually have to finish After Hours until Christmas, I was a good girl and did a row of Dragonflies while watching Heroes before getting back to the knitted lace. The problem is that I got involved in the plot and I didn't want to stop watching it when I wanted to start working on the lace. Yesterday I discovered that it takes one heck of a lot of concentration to follow the chart and knit with fingering weight yarn on slippery size 11 needles. I had to give up on watching tv or trying to chat with anyone and just focus on the pattern. Once I got into the groove I was able to turn music on, but that's it. Tonight I started out with the music and the knitting, but I sooooooo wanted to know what happened on the show and I thought I was doing good with the pattern reading, so I got cocky and watched the next episode. Big mistake. On the row before I was supposed to put in the next lifeline I totally screwed up. Somehow I'm off by like 2 stitches. It's enough of a difference that it needs to be fixed, but I can't figure out where the problem is. I just stared at it for like half an hour. This is what I get for being distracted by the pretty. How can I be expected to focus on the knitting with Peter and Sylar fighting. I should have just put down the needles. But I didn't. And now I'm paying for it. Arg. I should also know better than to knit at night. Now I'm all craky and sad and stressed and tired and sleeping is going to be an issue. Also having a total "I freaking hate knitting" moment. So wish me luck. In a few seconds I'm going to rip out 9ish rows of lace. Yeah, thats more than 3 hours worth of work. I'm going to have to step away from this for a few days before I kill it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Maybe I'll put lifelines in every other row now.

This means I don't have a pretty crafty pic to post tonight. The second triangle of Dragonflies looks exactly like the first one, and the current state of After Hours is less than the pic I posted yesterday. Dammit. Seems wrong not to post a picture of something though, so here's a shot of Peter trying to kill Sylar - the scene that started it all. Stupid distracting tv.

Day 11, Triangle 2: 9 shells = 40 min
Average: 4.4 minutes per shell
Total: 198 shells = 14 hours 40 min

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

This weekend was a crazy busy one and I should really be thinking about sleep, so this is just going to be a quick post with lots of pictures :-)

On Friday I finished Swatch #2 and got a couple more rows done on the Slytherin Ggester.

Saturday was filled with dyeing 3 skeins of yarn (Buttered Popcorn, Secret Santa, and Clifford), and lots of work on Triangle #2 of Dragonflies.

Sunday I went to the fair and didn't do any craftyness of any sort. I did try deep fried oreos though. Can we say ewwwwwwwwww?

Today was spent recovering from all day at the fair. Made some stitch markers for some upcoming swaps (I love my new design!) and for the After Hours shawl since the TARDIS ones I love so much are just too cumbersome for this lace project. I also got to row 15 on the shawl! Not one problem with it yet. Go me :-D I love that I can finally start to see the design coming together. Btw the red line through the pattern is a lifeline. If I do encounter any problems I can rip back to that row and it'll hold my stitches so I don't have to start the whole thing over again.

Day 10, Triangle 2: 36 shells = 2 hours 35 min
Average: 4.3 minutes per shell
Total: 189 shells = 14 hours