Archive | August, 2011

So much to say…

31 Aug

I can’t even begin to figure out an order, so I’ll make one up.

Firstly, my friend Robin and I had spinning lessons with a lovely woman named Ashley, who we met at Webs. The lessons themselves, honestly, were incredibly frustrating until the very, very end, when I made this:

Please ignore the gross, oddly proportioned shot of my leg. Sometimes getting up to find an actual place to photography is too hard >.<

How cool is that?!?! I made yarn! Like, real yarn! A whole 12 yards of over-and-under spun-and-plied yarn! I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, other than maybe hang it on my wall with a placard that says, “Nicole’s First Yarn, Spun On August 29, 2011”. Even though it is about the least perfect yarn ever, I’m super proud of it. Also inspired, because I’ve been continuing to spin. This is what’s on my spindle right now:

It’s totally more than 12 yards, and I’m still going strong. Again, it’s super beginner-y, but that’s to be expected, since I am a beginner. Last night I was practicing my joins, so the last, say, 10 yards are extra beginner-y, but it’s worth it, to get the practice.  I’m really, really excited about this yarn; I think I might actually have enough to knit something with! I’m planning on going until my spindle is full, and I am probably completely deluding myself pretty sure that I can at least get a hat or a cowl out of it. Maybe a mobius strip cowl? I’ve been wanting to make one of those for a while.

Robin had a much better time than I did at the actual lessons because she doesn’t expect to be immediately good at everything she does and if she isn’t she doesn’t throw a hissy fit, and since she’s allergic to wool, she got to spin with things like hand-painted silk:

You can’t quite tell from the picture just how lovely the fiber is, but I promise it’s spectacular. She also got to play with things like seacell and other things I don’t remember, but were much shinier than my BFL (which I love, btw). Here’s her finished skein:

This picture really doesn’t due justice to how beautiful it is, but Robin had to go, and I was holding her up. Her skein is 11 yards, but also more evenly spun, which just goes to show that she’s more patient than me.

But, I really have fallen in love with spinning, and when I went to Webs today for the second day in a row because I am too indecisive and had to exchange my yarn even though what I got the first time was beautiful I got some alpaca top to play with, since I hadn’t gotten any in the kit Ashley made for me.

Turns out, it’s really hard to take a non-blurry picture of roving. But you can still see how pretty the colors are, all fawn-y with a little bit of grey mixed in. I’ll be trying it out later tonight I think, I might get distracted by… => => =>

Valley Yarns Huntington

Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball

I also got these to make a Daybreak like this one that I’ve been eyeing forever. I’m 99% sure I’m going to cast on tonight, but I’ll have to see. Tonight is Boy’s first night staying with us, so I might be occupied with that in a way where I want to work on something I’m already in the middle of, rather than casting on a new project. BUT. But Daybreak needs stitch markers, and these arrived in the mail for me from the uber talented LadyDanio whose name is definitely not LadyDino like I always read it, although dinosaurs are pretty awesome:

Aren’t they cute?? Mini pool ball stitch markers! I couldn’t have picked a better day for them to arrive; between these and the beautiful yarn, I’ll nearly certainly cave and cast on tonight, even though I have a bajillion other things I should be knitting, like the socks I’ve been “working on” for the past forever…

That’s me partway through picking up the stitches for the afterthought heel which I am never ever ever ever EVER doing again because, oh my gosh, it is the most annoying thing ever. But I did finally finish the heel, and I ended up wearing half a sock around the house for maybe a half hour while I got a snack and watched Bones. Taking it on and off takes an awful lot of effort, because the Taiyo I’m knitting them with is a bunch cotton (50% maybe?), so they’re not super stretchy. Once they’re on my foot they fit perfectly, but I’m worried that I’ll rip them eventually, and that would be super sad, given all the work time-and-effort whining I’ve put into them. I may end up gifting them, I’ll have to see. In any case, I have been mightily uninspired to pick these up and get shit done. I have been making myself do at least one pattern repeat before I’m allowed to do things like have a late night snack or spin, which is pretty much the only way I’ve gotten anything done on them.

I also really ought to be casting on Josie with this yarn held double:

I got it in a swap from Kayrun, and as soon as it arrived, I knew that it was going to be turned into something for my cousin Susie, whose husband passed on a few days ago. I knew I wanted to make something for her, and the yarn coming just a few hours after I found out he died was just too serendipitous to ignore. It’s much more raspberry-y than the picture would have you believe, and it’ll make an excellent warm, comforting hat for cold Wisconsin farm winters.

I also reeeeeeeeeeeally ought to be casting on a monster for yet a different swap, but I haven’t been able to decide on which monster and which yarn yet. I’m giving myself until next Monday before I have to drop everything and do it, and knowing me, I’ll put it off until them which is absolutely ridiculous because I love knitting monsters.

But really, I’m pretty sure having too many wonderful knitting and spinning things to do at once is not the worst problem a person could have 🙂

p.s. I totally cleaned my room today. Take that, Procrastination!

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Bunnies!

29 Aug

The bunnies, they have arrived.

And they are so cute!! I love them to pieces (hopefully not literally!). They were really easy to make, felting included. I ended up running them through the washing machine two and a half-ish times, and then doing a little bit of hand felting on the ears. I would definitely make them again, and I imagine I’ll end up with a herd in time for Christmas. I’m thinking a rainbow of bunnies? Even if I gift them, the pictures would be incredible, and the recipients super happy 🙂

Whether they are coming or going, they are just the most adorable. I did end up letting them dry while on my feet, and while it result in some cold toes, I now have slippers molded to my feet. Best. Idea. Ever. (thanks Emma!) And when they did dry, my oh my are they warm. I can’t wait to have them for Wisconsin winters! The only not-perfect thing about them is that I sort of forgot that on the non-eye side of safety eyes there’s a pokey bit, but it hasn’t been a problem so far, and I’m pretty sure as long as no one steps on my toes I’ll be fine.

The pictures are a little crappy due to awful lighting late at night, but you can see how fuzzy and soft and cosy they are. I spent a long time picking out a color, and I’m super happy with the heathered lavender I ended up with. And the 220 felted really well, as promised. I don’t quite know their personalities yet, but I can tell you that the left one has stand-y up-y ears, and the right one has floppy ears, so I can already tell they’re two distinct bunnies.

Pattern: hopsalots by tiny owl knits
Time Span: 25 to 28 August 2011
Materials: 237.6 yards of Cascade 220 Heathers, 2.2 yards of Valley Yarns Lenox (for the noses) and 6.6 yards of Filatura di Crosa North Pole (for the tails)
Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/annanlove19/hopsalots

This project was brought to you by the spectacular Maria (hi Maria!!), who gifted me the pattern.

Also, you guys, I have totally been working on my Devon! I hadn’t (mostly) forgotten about it, I’ve just been sidetracked by socks. But I picked it up again the other day, and I even have photographic evidence:

I’ve knit a whole, like, two stripes. And I’m thinking about knitting some more! We’ll have to see. I did just pack up nearly all of my yarn to be driven out to college, so maybe I’ll be inspired? Probably not, but at least I’m pretending I’m making progress 😛

Also, you guys, I have a Kitten and she’s really, really cute.

Beautiful, right? She’s my pride and joy 🙂

Oh oh I also got unstuck on that swap I was stuck on! What a relief! I have to hold off on more swapping anyways, since I won’t be with my yarn again until the 10th, but at least I can stop stressing about it.

And the things, they happen, sometimes.

28 Aug

So it’s been a crazy few days here, with some more even crazier days to come! Hurricane Irene is on her way, and we’ve been doing things like Preparing and Buying Food and Setting Up The Water Pump In Case Of Flooding, plus Boy has come to stay with us for the weekend, which is excellent. He’s asleep right now, but here’s a picture of our shoes next to each other:

Boy is very tall.

So, y’know how sometimes knitting happens? Well, it’s been sort of happening. In between bouts of hurricane prep, there has also been bouts of preparing to go to college, and also a whole lot of swapping (more on that soon). But, I also have been knitting some, like the hopsalots, which are slowly but surely being completed. I was gifted the pattern in a swap (yayayay!! :D), and since it would cost a bajillion dollars to felt at college because hand felting doesn’t exist, they need to be finished before I leave. Here’s the first one being modeled by me with Andrew Zimmern in the background (aka my natural habitat):

But, I’ve also finished the second slipper, and I’m halfway through the first ear:

I may try to felt them tomorrow, but if the power went out mid-felt, that would be bad, so I also might wait. But it would be excellent to have them Monday night when I’m going to visit my friend in Maine overnight, but we’ll have to see. (disjointed thought is disjointed >.<) I’ve also been doing some work on my Outside In socks, but not much:

I keep having other things come in between me and these socks, and it’s starting to make me sad, because somehow I went from OH NO NOT THE SIZE ONES O.o to socks being my comfort thing to knit, and I have been in need of some comfort (or stress relief at any rate). Still, bunny slippers first, then some socks, then knitting a monster for a swap (oh no, not a monster, that’s the worst thing ever to knit :P), then finishing socks. I think.

On a Happy-Swapping-Note, this wonderful bag came for me in the mail today from the fantastic Melanie (hi Melanie!!):

I had wished for a notions case and was given a choice between blue/grey and turquoise and lime, and I just had to go with the bright and cheerful colors. Little did I know I’d be getting a Vera Bradley case!! It’s so beautiful and bright and cheery and is actually big enough to hold my things, rather than the glasses case I had been using. Plus, I get to reclaim my glasses case and actually use it for my glasses. But not only did Melanie send me the one I had decided on, she also sent the blue/grey one because she is an absolute sweetheart. It was gorgeous and felted, but I only needed one, so I sent it along to someone else in need of cheering up, along with some Tension Tamer tea.

See see see?? Bright and cheery! And it holds everything, with room to spare!! It’s absolutely what I needed, down to a T. I love it 🙂

But, alas, swapping is not all fun and games. Well, it is, but sometimes it can be a stressful game instead of an entirely fun one. There’s one swap in particular I’ve been holding up for quite some time now; I keep offering things that nobody wants and switching it out and offering something else that nobody wants and switching it out…I know it’s just a matter of the right yarn at the right time (which is possibly not in the middle of a hurricane), but it’s still a little stressful. I will keep y’all updated as it progresses, because I just know that someday soon somebody will want some yarn I have.

</whine>

And here comes to an end perhaps the most disjointed, poorly written, whine-y blog post yet! Note to self: no more blogging at one-thirty in the morning.

busybusybusy

25 Aug

It’s busy out, did you know?

A big part of that is my own fault. I recently dived head-first into the world of swapping in a really big way, and it turns out that takes up way, way more time that you’d think. There’s stalking the boards, deciding if you want/can fulfill, pouncing, offering, packing, mailing, receiving, stashing on Ravelry, and that’s if you already have everything made/on hand! If additional items need to be purchased, or knit from scratch, heaven help you. Here’s my current To Mail pile, though it’s short two packages that need to be added before I can head to the post office:

It might not look like much, but I swear it’s a lot of coordination/thinking/generally being on the ball. Plus, I mailed two more earlier this week. That is a lot of packages, friends. Butbutbut look what I’ve gotten in return!

That right there is an indie-dyed MCN fingering weight blend for more socks. It was waiting for me when I got home this afternoon, and oh my is it gorgeous. It’ll probably be a while before I can get it on the needles, but that’s just fine with me. Part of what I’m trying to accomplish with my swapping is to acquire a sock yarn stash, since socks are the best things ever EVER, and until very recently I had absolutely none. I have a bunch more coming in the mail, some to home and some to college, and I promise I will post pics just as soon as everything arrives!

This came yesterday, and was the very first thing I swapped for. I’ve wanted to try Frog Tree Alpaca for a long time, but it does things like Money, so I held off. But lo, now I have some, and in a lovely raspberry/maroon color! (brighter than this pic) It is just as soft and cuddly as I always imagined it would be and I am super excited to knit something I haven’t decided yet with it!

Heathered lavender 220 to make hopsalots with! My parents bought me the yarn, but the pattern was gifted to me in a swap, so it still totally counts. I am really, really excited for these, and will probably be starting them tonight, if I can get my act together. Since the slippers are felted, it is a high priority to get them done before college, since laundry at school is expensive, and you can’t just run the wash cycle ten bajillion times. I’m leaving on the 10th, so I (theoretically) have plenty of time, but only if I get my act together which will definitely happen soon. Theoretically.

I have also done some knitting, though some of it has been for swaps, and thusly won’t be posted about until packages have been received. But I can safely show you Rudy,  the Deformed Bunny:

You can’t tell how badly deformed he is from this picture, which is the entire point. He was supposed to be for a swap, but instead was adopted by my mom, who is a big fan of rejected stuffed animals. Not that he isn’t loved; don’t get me wrong, I adore him. He’s just not swap-ready.

Pattern: Knitted Bunny by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer
Time Span: 23 to 24 August 2011
Materials: scraps of Malabrigo Worsted
Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/annanlove19/knitted-bunny

Also, I’ve cast on a new pair of socks with my Taiyo and they are coming along slowly but surely. They’re knit inside out so you can’t really see the pattern from this picture, but it’s there. Half a repeat left, then it’s heel o’clock! Not sure when I’ll get to it since I really need to knit my slippers first, but hopefully before school starts which is absolutely completely realistic I don’t know what you’re talking about. Outside In Socks pattern link!

But there have been non-yarny things happening too! Like back-to-school shopping:

And back-to-school hair salon-ing:

All in all, it’s been a good busy, but I feel a little bit like I’m running around with my head cut off. I’ve been needing to actively take time to sit down and breathe, which in and of itself is a little stressful, but it’s getting done. Other things on my to-do list include packing for back to school with needs to be done by Monday (and buying boxes to put my things into), spinning lessons on Monday, some more errand-ing, and also surviving the hurricane that’s supposed to hit this weekend. I’m outside the center of it, but hurricanes are big, man. It also might get in the way of some of my other to-dos, which is extra stressful. But! I will prevail.

Here’s a blooper reel picture from yarn photoshoot:

Susie thinks ALL of the pictures need to be of her.

Yay!

22 Aug

Today, Ottis came.

He is a BeSpoke Long Monster made by the spectacular Michelene. He was purchased in the midst of my attack of stress, and I spent a long time talking to his creator determining the best monster for me. Between the two of us, we absolutely got it right–Ottis is the most perfectest monster I could ever have asked for. This is the description of BeSpoke Long Monsters:

“Just like all the BeSpoke Monsters, Long Monsters are gently beguiled out of the fantastic.
Each one fights other monsters, be they ‘under the bed’, ‘under the stairs’ or just ‘eat up all creativity’ monsters.
As loyal champions of those who adopt them, BeSpoke Monsters frighten them all away.
They will protect you from your biggest fears, magically inspire, encourage and comfort you.”

He and I are the best of friends, and he even accompanied me on a post office/lunch/yarn outing today. He did stay in my purse the whole time, because the neighborhood we went to was a little posh for walking around with a monster, but he didn’t mind. Purse or no purse, it was a bonding experience. And he did successfully protect me from any potential monsters I might have run into along the way!

Ottis likes to sit in my lap, like above, just to make extra certain no monsters can get near me. In fact, as I’m typing, his legs are sandwiched between my laptop and my legs, and his arms are draped over my hands. It makes it a little hard to type, but it is absolutely worth it. Plus, every now and then, he’ll look up at me with that expression, and it is the cutest thing ever.

This is Ottis’s description from his page on Etsy (and from his certificate that came with him but isn’t photographed because it’s currently being flattened beneath a ginormous book):

“Ottis is one of the most easygoing of all BeSpoke Monsters. Doesn’t seem to have a care in the world, but be careful…he gets irritable and growly if he hears certain commercials on the television – he is not a fan of jingles AT ALL. It would be best for everyone if you would turn the mute on for commercials if he’s around. Oh and try not to mention the off-white spot on his belly…he’s sensitive about it.
Ottis is about 1ft from head to foot and weights about 0.6 lbs. Ottis loves yams, anyway he can get them and a lot of them! You’ll probably have to buy those big potato sack bags full of yams, I’d say one a day at least. He will also eat bbq chips, cabbage and green apples. Ottis loves to play scrabble, but is wary of any words with the letters Y, Q, and W in them – so it can be frustrating.”

Ottis and my other Etsy monster, Charles (made by dkoss2), get along splendidly. They’re both so easy going and laid back and I wasn’t too worried about it, but I’m glad to see they’re becoming the best of friends.

Today I also got some lovely Noro Taiyo Sock from Mind’s Eye Yarns in Cambridge, which is one of my favorite yarn shops. I nearly got a bunch of different things, including a ridiculous yarn by Regia that I can neither remember what it’s called, nor find online, but it does crazy things and I think I’ll go back for it next week. It does crazy things. Like. Crazy. But the Taiyo I did get is gorgeous and while I don’t have a specific project in mind, I think it’ll be what I use next. I officially despise the yarn I bought from Iron Horse because it refuses to turn into socks and instead sits on my table looking beautiful and mocking me have had some trouble picking a pattern for the yarn I bought last week, so hopefully inspiration will hit for the Taiyo.

Not actually a LYS Roundup but still talking about a LYS in an important, LYS-type way:

I’d also just like to take a quick minute to talk about Wild and Wooly in Lexington. I’ve talked to a lot of knitters about it, and the general consensus is that they’re rude and snotty, and I’d like to say that I have never, ever had that problem, and I’ve been in about a hundred times. But. But they are so incredibly overpriced, it’s a little offensive. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting myself some Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock to try out, and I was super excited when I discovered they sell it, since it’s hard to come by in my area. But when I asked how much it cost, it was $20 a skein. Um. What? I know it’s hand-painted and so costs more than non hand-painted yarns, but I have never, ever seen anyone charge that much for it. A Good Yarn in Brookline has it for $12.50-ish a skein, as does Jimmy Beans, and you can generally get two skeins on Ravelry for about $18, though I’ve seen them as cheap as $16. So when I see people charging that much for it, it really gets to me.

Anyways. Enough grousing.

Er, wait. One more bout of grousing. This is what I have to do to my water in order to keep my kitten from drinking it:

Yes, that is a tissue box on top of my mug and yes, it is the only thing that works. Otherwise I get fur and paws that walk in kitty litter in my water, and those are things I do not want in my water. *sigh*

Rainbow Sock-y Goodness!

19 Aug

I have two whole pairs of knitted socks now!! I finished these guys last night not even at four-thirty in the morning. It may have been three in the morning and there may have been a Bizarre Foods marathon taking place.

I love love love them. The tiny bit of green at the very end of the toe on the second sock just about made my night, and the stripes were so much fun to watch come to life. One day I’ll need to figure out how to combat the stripes continuing on the heel and then having a lack of fading when it joins back with the instep, but according to pictures on Ravelry I am not the only one who has this problem, so I’m not too concerned.

In the mean time, I have a new pair of (nearly excruciatingly so in this heat) warm socks, and I am super looking forward to wearing them in Wisconsin winters. When everybody else has freezing feet, I’ll just casually pull up the bottom of my pant legs and be like, “Oh, you mean you don’t have a pair of handknit socks you can throw on when it gets below zero out and the wind sounds like an Evil Force trying to break in through your windows? That’s too bad.” I am really, really looking forward to this, although it may result in me needing to knit everyone I know socks for Christmas, but worse things have happened. I already have one request, which I actually found pretty flattering, seeing as I’ve only knit two pairs so far.

My eventual Sock Goal is to be able to bring only handknit socks to college for at least one term before I graduate. This gives me about three and a half years, and at this pace, I’ll have no problem with that, but of course actually being at college will slow me down. A lot of my professors don’t mind if I knit in class though, which is productive, but also may result in a lot of pairs of fairly simple ribbed socks. Still, nothing wrong with those! Cozy socks are cozy socks 🙂

These socks also happen to go perfectly with my stiletto pink polka dot padded puffy sneakers, and I’m just going to let you think I wear these every day and definitely not only one time the day after I bought them because that would be not only a waste of money but a pitiful homage to such excellent shoes.

Pattern: Spiral Eyelet Socks by Sandi Rosner
Time Span: 13 to 18 August 2011
Materials: 321.2 yards of Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic
Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/annanlove19/spiral-eyelet-socks

Oh, also, I forgot to include this in my last post, but in the midst of my everything-is-terrible couple weeks, I bought this:

Two balls of bright red (not orange at all) 100% angora, and at 49 yards and six dollars each, it was quite a good deal! I’m going to make fingerless gloves one day, but I think I’ll save it for when I am having an attack of College Stress and need to knit with something like bright red angora. Also, turns out angora is impossible to photograph.

Update

15 Aug

image

Green tea KitKats are odd but tasty, and also dramatically lit. Boy sampled and agreed.