Design FAIL

November 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Crafts | Leave a comment
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I have been attempting to design a pair of socks for a little while now. I have a gorgeous ball of orangey-yellow striped sock yarn. It’s very autumn-y and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The colors reminded me of Rapunzel’s hair, from the old story. Since I’ve been hopped up on cables since starting my mom’s sweater, I decided that a braided cable would look pretty on the foot and leg of the sock. Braids remind me of fall, for some reason. Something about the harvest, golden wheat.. I don’t know. Something.

I set about knitting the first sock, making it up as I went along. It went pretty well but I didn’t like how I’d done the toe, so I decided to frog it. That has since turned out to be a bad idea—I haven’t been able to properly restart the pattern since. Every time I cast on, something goes wrong. I twist the cables improperly, I miscount where the twist is supposed to go, on and on. My latest issue is that the cats have gnawed on the cable of my sock needles and now it catches on the yarn and drives me insane. I’ve tossed the whole thing into a corner until I have the money to put in an order to KnitPicks for more needles.

The whole thing has been very frustrating, but hasn’t turned me off designing completely. I doubt I’ll ever be one of those prolific designers who pops out new patterns all the time, but I do take pride in creating something that I thought of myself, rather than someone else’s idea.

At one point I wanted to make a little toy dragon and even had about half the body knitted up. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to look like, but the method I was using for the body required it to be stuffed as I went. The only thing I had for stuffing was old acrylic yarn and it was just too annoying to have that tail hanging out all the time. I could have cut it, but just in case I didn’t end up finishing I didn’t want to waste all that yarn but cutting it a bunch of times. That eventually got frogged, and I may try again but I’m not sure.

My latest idea is a pair of sock-yarn slippers. Not the giant felted ones that people make, but more like cute little ballerina slipper type things. I haven’t looked to see if anyone has made something like that (I’m sure they have) because I want to claim that I came up with it all on my own. I have the right yarn for it, just waiting on the needles (again).

It’s funny—I have the urge to work on so many things at once that I usually just end up taking a nap. That sounds like a good idea, actually…

Hehee!

November 4, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Crafts | Leave a comment
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So I’m sitting here in my local coffee shop, knitting and checking the interwebs. This older lady had come in behind me and was waiting for her coffee to be made. She snuck up behind me and was watching me knit for a little bit, very impressed. I showed her the pictures of the finished part of the Gathering of Cypress sweater and she told me I ought to bring it to the Art department of the local college, where she worked. She said she’d love for the other students to see my work.

Excuse me whilst I strut about the room for a bit. Heeee.

Victory!

November 3, 2008 at 6:12 pm | Posted in Crafts | Leave a comment
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I have finished the back part of my Gathering of Cypress sweater. I’m super excited about this because I was afraid I would end up being sick of the pattern before I got it done, and it would end up in a paper bag somewhere with a lot of yarn and never ever get finished. But no, I am a knitting machine! The cable pattern is interesting enough that I could probably just crank that out for hours upon hours without complaint. The color in the picture below isn’t quite right. The picture on the project page is a much more accurate shade of green, but this is the only finished picture I have.

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My only frustration with the pattern thus far is that I knit the rows for the shoulder-shaping THREE TIMES before I finally got it right. Somehow, since earlier shaping had had only one set of numbers, I got it into my head that the later shaping’s numbers applied to all sizes as well. Fun fact: They do not! I used the small size the first time, ripped it, re-read the section, reknit, then realized I’d mixed up the small sections numbers, and not actually even used the medium size. Third try I finally got it right only by virtue of sitting there with the book in my lap and staring at it so hard I thought it was going to burst into flames. Arrrrgh.

Either way, I have conquered the back half of the sweater. I feel very accomplished because there’s only the front half (with lots of fiddly stuff—expect swearing) and two small-sized sleeves to do! Woohoo!

A little math—it took three and a half balls for the back half. So seven for the front and back pieces, let’s say two for each sleeve, and another for the collar, i-cord, and finishing. That’s twelve of the fifteen balls I ordered, so I may have to come up with some small stashbusting projects to get rid of that extra or give it to someone who didn’t buy enough.

My goal is to knit my entire stash before I go off to basic in almost exactly four months. Whether or not I can do it is anyone’s guess, but I plan on trying REALLY HARD. Wish me luck!

This is so stupid.

October 28, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Crafts | 1 Comment
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Saturday night, I bit my tongue. Literally, and really, really hard. Since then, I haven’t been able to eat or talk much. This is a problem because, as you know, food is good. Also because I tutor for a living so I need to be able to explain complex math equations to people, often several times. Unfortunately, both talking and eating (and sleeping) are very, very painful right now.

Thanks to this whole “not eating” issue, I’ve been very lazy, listless, lackluster, and several other L words over the past few days. Very little knitting has gotten done, less work (I took off all of Monday, the shame!), and lots and lots of laying around whining about how life sucks.

I did happen to get a tiny bit of knitting done. I cast on for the Luscious Lace Scarf and knit probably ten rows or so; just enough for the pattern to show up. I’m using the Karabella Lace Merino I received from stitchnstash. This reminds me, I need to post about all the pretty laceweight I got from her. Later!

The pattern isn’t complicated, and I’ve already got the first half of it memorized. I really like how it looks in some of the project photos I’ve seen, if not the “official” photo which really doesn’t show off the lace. The Karabella is this gorgeous blue that I’m in love with (I’m a bit of a fan of blue, if you can’t tell), and like my other favorite merino yarn (Bollicine Dolly), it’s very squishy and stretchy.

I probably shouldn’t have cast on anything new, as I’ve got at least five projects waiting for my attention at home, but I just couldn’t face the thought of those heavy cables, fiddly socks, or frustrating hat brim when I was already so tired. I wanted something light and easy and not complex at all. I promise that as soon as I can eat again, I’ll finish the blasted hat and catch up on Mom’s sweater. I’m so close to decreasing for the armholes that it’s ridiculous that I haven’t done it yet.

In the meantime, my mouth hurts and I’m going to whine about it. And possibly think about going home early.

Knitting Lust

October 24, 2008 at 12:36 am | Posted in Crafts | 1 Comment
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A quick post from work, because I need to get this out or it will kill me.

I usually don’t care for kits, preferring to buy my own yarn and make my own color choices. Not today! Today I am practically slavering over the KnitPicks Cool Palette Sipalu Bag kit. I want it so badly.

I keep telling myself to just forget about it. I’m already probably overcommitted, as I intend to knit as much of my stash as possible before I ship out. I’ve got patterns picked out for all of my laceweight, and if I get all that done in time, I’ll need to find stashbuster projects for all my remnants.

But I wants it! I pout and I stamp my feet and KnitPicks just won’t send it to me without payment, which is the other problem. Until a better job pops up, I’m unlikely to be able to afford such a lovely kit any time soon.

Perhaps Santa will bring me a kit!

We’ll Miss You

October 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Last night, we lost one of our herd of felines. Beebee, one of the two boys (of five kittens altogether) died last night. We’re not sure what happened, but suspect a vehicle was involved. Luckily all of my other babies are fine.

Beebee was born May 19, 2008 while I was at work. My mom helped deliver the kittens and texted me to let me know all five were happy and healthy, as was Mama Cat. He was one of the two tiger-striped cats.

Beebee was the last kitten to open his eyes. For a while, we were concerned that something had gone wrong with him, that his eyes were messed up, or maybe he was having trouble developing properly. One day I gave all the kittens a bath to help get rid of some of the fleas. Not a single kitten enjoyed this experience, but Beebee squalled the loudest. He cried so hard, his eyes came open a little bit. They opened normally after that, and he turned out fine.

He got his name from the fact that his eyes hadn’t opened—B. B. stood for Blind Bat. Later, when they got bigger and he proved himself to be a bit of a bully, it stood alternately for Billy Badass or Big Bully.

He was one of the sweetest cats I’d ever known. He’d let you rub his belly for hours if you wanted. He’d crawl into your lap and fall asleep, purring. He liked to curl up with me if I was taking a nap, or lean over my shoulder and watch me knit. He was the admitted favorite of the family, especially my dad.

He looked a little silly, as baby animals do, but as he got bigger he grew into a beautiful little cat. He’d had really big paws, so we expected he’d grow into a much larger cat than the others. He wasn’t without faults, though. He was the only one who still had trouble with the concept of “the bathroom is outside”, and more than once I’d wake up in the middle of the night to clean up a present he’d left for me.

He answered to Beebee, baby boy, the beebinator, the beebster, little beebs, and fuzzball. When he felt like it.

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I love you, little fuzzy.

Playing with Themes

October 19, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Technical | Leave a comment
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Just playing around with themes and layouts and headers and whatnot.. If you like a particular look, leave a comment. I’m drawn to this current layout, with the two posts side by side. Tell me what you think of it.

Rampant Harlotry

October 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Crafts | 2 Comments
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Thursday, October sixteenth, I saw the Yarn Harlot at the Ramada Inn in Mandarin. She was short (as she so often is), her hair was blonder than I expected and less frizzy, and while she seemed nervous at first, she soon warmed up to the room and had us all close to tears from laughter.

This was also the first time I’d ever met a celebrity in Real Life, not counting that time my mom and I talked avocadoes in Kroger with the Sheriff of Baldwin County. I swear I tried my very best not to act like a complete and total nerd when she signed my book and I think I did okay. I didn’t stutter but I do think I may have babbled a bit.

When I first got there, I just settled quietly into the knot of knitters in the front lobby waiting for the Will Call window to open. A little while later, a pair of the Black Purls showed up so I attached myself to them. We chatted, got our tickets (and my copy of the book and Ravelry “My Name Is” pin) and found damn good seats within spitting distance of the podium.

As is the custom among knitters, we all turned up in our best hand knit and crocheted items. I wore my Red Vixen Cami, the Dragon’s Embrace shawl, and my Foot Confetti socks. I was stylin’ and profilin’, as they say. I had the whole eighties “pants rolled up to the knees” look going on so I could properly show off my socks. It was awesome.

I’m pretty sure a couple people took pictures of my tank top or my shawl while we were there, and if you see this and have pictures of me from the event, please let me know! I’d love to see them. As for my own pictures, there are none. The second thing I discovered after taking my seat was that my camera was dead. Completely. The first thing was that there were VIP seats that I hadn’t heard of, but that’s irrelevant as our seats were awesome anyways.

Beth and I each bought a drink from the bar to kill time, and even though mine was delicious I would not have ordered it if I’d known that it would cost me $7.50! Insanity and price-gouging, I tell you. It wasn’t even a double!

There was a raffle, in which so much nice stuff was given away and it’s entirely possible that my number was called while I was at the bar. Either way, I didn’t win anything, but the girls both did so good for them! After the raffle, I took my mug (bearing the remnants of my alcoholic beverage) back to the bar so that I wouldn’t have to worry about kicking it over or anything. In the lobby, knitting while she waited for seven o’clock to roll around, was STEPHANIE PEARL-MCPHEE. I said “hi” to her! I had to steel myself to keep from going over and acting like a total nerd. The entire way back to my seat I kept telling myself to be cool. I think it worked.

Then she came in and we all cheered and the talk began in earnest. It was everything I hoped it would be. She was funny, though she seemed a little shaky at first. I wanted to go up and hug her and tell her not to be nervous. We all got into the spirit of it and halfway through it I realized we were that group of culty-type people who make jokes in jargon and laugh and if anyone else had been there they would have had NO IDEA what we were talking about. At one point she was telling a story about how pubs won’t take your reservation if you “drop the K-bomb” as she said. Their reasoning is that “knitters don’t drink” and she says, “have you ever HEARD of gauge? You should be proud every time you see a sober knitter!” We’re all laughing at this, of course, because to us it’s hilarious but a non-knitter would have totally missed it. I bring this up because it means we’re never allowed to complain when computer nerds make rm –r* jokes or things like that.

We got neat little swag bags, which came with a button that says VOTE YARN HARLOT (which I wore with pride), a small pattern booklet from Berocco (nice patterns, actually), and a KnitWitz branded bag. I love bags. Bags make me oh so happy.

At the end she signed books, and I waited like a good little fan and got my book signed and I did my very best not to freak out while I was actually TALKING TO HER. I had to go grab my smelling salts afterwards. I’d always imagined I’d be cooler when meeting celebrities, but clearly I’m just as big a dork as everyone else.

Over all, it was great. I had a blast, and I cannot wait to see her again.

I <3 the 80s.

October 16, 2008 at 4:01 am | Posted in Crafts | 1 Comment
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Say what you will, the eighties gave us some amazing music.

Folks, I have an announcement! I will be shipping out to basic training on February twenty-fifth! In the meantime, I will be doing my best to exercise as much as possible, knit as much of my stash as I can, and live it up before they send me off.

Right now I’ve got I think four or five projects on my needles. My mom’s Gathering of Cypress sweater (Gathering Intentions, from Inspired Cable Knits [errata]); my own First Sweater (Tubey, from Knitty.com); the Blankie (basic log cabin blanket in eye-searing colors); a pair of socks with an original design I’m trying; and Brian’s hat that I must re-knit so it actually fits him.

Let’s talk about the Gathering of Cypress sweater for a minute. I LOVE this pattern. Love it. The cable pattern is easy to memorize, interesting without being tiresome, and it looks SO GOOD knit up. There’s only one issue I’ve noticed with the way the pattern is written. There are two setup rows you’re supposed to do before starting the cable pattern itself; the instructions for it are included in the section on the back portion of the sweater, but not anywhere else. If you’re not paying attention, your cables might be two rows off between the front and the back.

I first heard about the pattern from the Knit Picks catalogue. That catalogue is probably my favorite thing to receive in the mail besides packages and money. In it, they show Gathering Intentions knit up in Knit Picks Comfy in ivory; it looked gorgeous and I fell in love with it. I knew my mom would love to wear it—she’s big in to the big, cozy sweaters.

Of course, in the course of falling in love with the sweater as it appeared in the magazine, I didn’t bother to read any reviews of the book, check for errata, note the fiber content of the yarn, or do any of the other things people should do before shelling out for a hardcover book and a sweater’s worth of yarn. Oops!

I lucked out though and the book and yarn are both great. I’ll write up a more comprehensive review of it later, but thus far I haven’t found any errors in the patterns I’ve looked at. The yarn turned out to be seventy-five percent Pima cotton, twenty-five percent acrylic, and so soft! It almost feels like it should fall apart in your hands or turn to dust because it’s so smooth and soft. I really do love Knit Picks yarn and I feel a little guilty when I buy it because it’s just so inexpensive! Mmmm.

The color is a pretty dark green that my mom picked out, and I really like it. My only issue with it is that it comes up a dark grey (or lighter grey, depending) in my photos, unless I take the time to take pictures while the sun is out and make sure they come out nice, so really the only issue is that I suck at taking good pictures.

Okay, this has gotten long enough. I’m thrilled with this pattern thus far, and have knit about ten inches of the back panel. More on the book and the other patterns in it later!

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