Once again it's been a while since my last update. Working full time really takes up a lot of my hours. I have a few purple-ish things to share:
A few weeks back I shared the story of my sad sock knitting experiences. I made a plea to fellow knitters for a pair of socks in exchange for a scarf. Two awesome bloggers came to the rescue: Eikon and Charles.
Eikon and I exchanged our knitted items the week before Christmas. I knit him a Shifting Sands scarf in Malabrigo (sorry, no picture!) and he knit me a pair of purple socks in Araucania's sock yarn.
They're awesome! ... and, miracle of miracles (to me at least), they're the same size! They also fit me perfectly and are quite warm, so, now I have a great pair of socks to keep my feet comfortable this winter. Having this pair has actually inspired me to attempt socks once again, but, we'll see.
Charles and I will be exchanging knit-goods soon! =)
I had a bit of a purple... problem this Christmas. My cousins and I do a grab bag for Christmas now and since I only have one cousin to purchase/make gifts for I'm more than willing to knit something up.
I originally planned to knit a scarf. Because I think scarves are such a useful and basic accessory. Well, I got my job and my knitting time was severely decreased and as Christmas came closer I realized that I would only have enough time for a hat.
I had been eyeing this cool hat in a men's issue of Knit.1. It had ribs going in different ways and a brim. Tehcnically, for a guy, but, I thought it would be great on a girl too.
I ended up using some of that Vanna White yarn because I wanted something washable, thick, relatively soft, and durable. Knitting it up moved a bit slow, but, I was at a good pace.
So, I finally knit up all the pieces and began the seaming process... I got the edges done and I tried the hat on and it was HUGE. Now, I have a big head... when a hat says "one size fits all" it means it won't fit me. But, this hat... it was large. I thought maybe I could take in the seams a bit more so I pulled in a good half an inch on both sides and it was STILL too big.
It looks cool in this picture, but, in reality it's horrible.
I decided it was time to go to plan B... I actually didn't have a plan B so in a fit of terror I searched the internet for a quick hat and decided I would just do a simple hat in the round. A good 4 inches of ribbing on the bottom and stockinette all the way up through the decreases.
I ended up loosely following Crazy Aunt Purl's Brangelina Hat.
The hat was finished in time, unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to take a picture before it was gifted. I actually double stranded Vanna's yarn to get a nice, chunky gauge. For added... 'fun' I added other shades of purple into the mix... so, one strand of the original purple and the second strand was a different shade. It turned out pretty cool looking and it ended up fitting her.
I also started on the Half-Pipe hat from Son of a Stitch and Bitch:
I actually finished it, but, I'll provide you with more details on that next time because this is the Purple post... and that lovely grey, camel yarn hat is not purple. ^_^
December 31, 2007
December 17, 2007
Yikes. I went from posting every single day to posting never. A large portion of this lack of posting is that I finally have a full time job. Since it is winter the days are super short and there isn't enough light for me to snap some pictures, but, things have been moving along.
After the whole month of crazy blogging and casting on new projects I think I had a momentary knitting burn out. But, I'm back on the ball (of yarn). I'll attribute this knitting revival to Knitting Groups and to Ben who encourage me to attend. ... I've become quite the... stitch and bitch man whore.
Friday I drove straight from work to The Gifted Purl. ... well, I stopped at Starbucks along the way. There were A LOT of people. At least 20 and a few in&outs. I started off as the only guy, but was later joined by a new guy who was learning to knit that night. Good crowd, lots of food, and very lively. We sat in a large sort-of circle and there was much knitting going on. I probably arrived there around 6:30 and stayed until almost 11! Needless to say, I got a lot of knitting done. The people there were really supportive so it was cool. Definitely something I'd attend again.
On Sunday I drove over to Wool & Co. I hadn't been there for a while and I needed to grab a few yarny gifts for some people. My other LYS's didn't carry the yarn I was looking for, and, sadly neither did Wool & Co. But, while I was there I ran into Ben who suggested I stay for the knitting group. So, I did.
The Wool & Co. group was significantly smaller. It consisted of me, Ben, another guy at the group for his first time, an older woman, Anna Lisa who was running the store at the time, and her roommate's daughter. I spent a good 2 and a half hours there. It was quieter, but, still a cool experience. Plus, Wool & Co. has a huge yarn selection so there's a good amount of eye candy... I think it keeps us well insulated too. ^_^
Today, I drove straight to the Fishbed Knitting Emporium after work... well, technically I stopped at Barnes & Noble and got Starbucks coffee and a book... Deb was there and I bought some yarn and a magazine subscription and she walked me to the basement and introduced me to the girls. There were 5 there at the time. I was a little afraid at first, but, they turned out to be all really friendly and funny. As the night went on more and more women started piling in... we had a good 12 or more there. We mostly sat around a table so it made the experience more intimate, in a sense, and it was much easier to hear everyone's stories. It was cool. I also ran into DeannaC from Ravelry. I saw her walking down the stairs and I was thinking to myself, "she looks familiar."
Another woman in the group was actually at the Purl's knitting night and was like, "I saw you on Friday!"
So my first idea was that Deanna had been at Friday's group... but she came up to me and was like, "You're simplethings from Ravelry, right?" and then I realized where I had seen her. She also mentioned to me that she was pretty sure she saw my picture on the Panopticon's blog. He was doing the 1000 knitters project and he had been selling a few items... one was a knitting bag with a pictures of about 30 random knitters and I happened to be one of them. So, I got home and of course I ordered one. ^_^
Well... hopefully I'll find time, and daylight, to take a few pictures. I have a ton of Christmas gifts that need to be knitted up. Hopefully I'll set aside more time in these next few days to get more done. For the most part there won't be anymore knitting group meetings until after Christmas... so, I'll have to really focus and knit hard.
December 7, 2007
I received my Tea Swap box from my once secret swapper Chelle aka nosheep4chelle on Ravelry.
The box actually came in yesterday but I guess I wasn't home when Sonia, our delivery person, brought it to the house so she left a note that said to pick it up at the post office after 8:30 on the 7th. It was about 4:00pm on the 6th and I rushed over to the post office (because it closed at 4:30) and, while standing in line, realized that today wasn't the 7th... I checked anyway and my other favorite postal worker said that Sonia had not come in yet and I'd have to pick up my package tomorrow.
So, tomorrow is actually today and I woke up all early and picked it up. ^_^
A pretty blue theme straight from Canada.
A few things were wrapped and a few others were not. The unwrapped items include two tins of tea from T in Garden Party and Vanilla Bean. They both smell delicious and come in really awesome cannisters. After this post I'll be putting the kettle on. =)
I also got two boxes of Bacetti. I love these! I love chocolate and I LOVE hazlenuts. This is the best of both worlds. ^_^
On the yarny side of the package I have 2 skeins of SWTC Soysilk. Which, interestingly enough, happened to be the same yarn I sent to my swap partner. =) I was tempted to buy some for myself but decided against it in order to save money... luckily I did because now I have some for my own!
I unwrapped all the other packages and here's what I found:
Some Lush bath bombs! Yay! Chelle had obviously been doing an awesome job of keeping an eye on my blog because I'm totally going through a Lush phase right now.
On the bath theme I also received some almond handmade soap:
And finally the last two things, which are easily the coolest things ever:
This is a bag of flower tea from Steeps Tea. Basically it's a hand tied ball of tea that blossoms when you begin steeping. I've been eyeing these for a while and now I can finally try them! I'll have to get a glass teapot though for the full effect. I saw an awesome set on-line that I might just have to purchase. I'll definitely take pictures once I brew it.
Last, and definitely not least, is a gorgeous skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk! I have been coveting this yarn for a while now. It was totally out of my budget so I just gazed at it from a far... but, now it's in my hands and I'm blissfully happy. I originally wanted to make that Montego Bay Scarf that had been going around, but, now I'd rather make something for myself. Any ideas? Yum. =)
Big thanks to Chelle who did an awesome job choosing gifts! Now it's time to have a cup.
December 3, 2007
I'm almost at the halfway point with my first mitten. It is taking looooooong. No major mistakes though, and my double knitting skills are definitely improving.
Aside from a simple 3x3 check this mitten is my first... foray into the world of color work. As well as my first attempt at designing color work. ... I swear it looked better on my Excel spreadsheet. o_O
Maybe it'll make more sense once I add the thumb and finish the rest of the body.
Yum. Don't the insides look all soft and warm? Mmmmalabrigo. =)
The brown stitch markers are the ones from EarthChick. They look almost like wooden beads. The pearly one on the left I purchased from Zero's etsy shop a while back.
Right now the brown markers are placed where the thumb should be coming out from and the white signifies the start of the main color work pattern. I decided that the back of the hand would have all the design and the palm would be very simple. I hope I calculated the stitches correctly.
I'm estimating another two days of good, hard knitting to finish this first mitten. And maybe the 2nd will go faster. Sort of like when you're driving to a place you've never been to--it seems like it takes forever to get there, but, when you drive back home it seems like the distance was cut in half. =)
On a completely unrelated topic... I've mastered the art of sounding awake when a phone call takes me out of a deep slumber. ^_^ It spares me the shame of people knowing that I actually wake up a 1pm. ... oops. I always thought the only person I wouldn't be able to trick was my mother, but, this morning she gave me a random wake up call and her first words after hello were, "I'm glad to hear you're already awake."
The only things that give me away are my one word answers, my excessive agreeableness, and the fact that I barely remember the call once I fall back asleep and wake up again. Most of the time I'll have to call the person back when I'm actually awake and have a real conversation with them. I've left a notepad by the bed though to jot things down during these dream-like phone calls. This doesn't always help though... I seem to write down really random words that obviously mean a lot while I'm on the phone but mean nothing to me when I wake up. For example, some of the words on my notepad are: period, kitten, olive garden, embarrassed, violin!!, general. Hmmmm.
Knit hard(er). =)
November 30, 2007
Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I successfully blogged once every day during November. It was a cool experience. I was hoping my writing skills would get better... maybe I'd sound more fluid and more intelligent... but, I don't think that happened. What I did gain from daily blogging was a better sense of time management, planning, and organizing. I had to make sure to set aside time every day to post a few words and I'm glad I managed to do it--even when situations were a bit difficult.
For my final post of November I have a sort of ... rebirth? ^_^
I frogged my Scrunchable Scarf in the Whale's Road color way. For some reason the way it was knitting up just wasn't as pleasant as I had hoped. In the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry I had a random drawing--the way you enter was by answering 3 'questions'. One of them was to talk about a Malabrigo project (not one of your own) that you thought was awesome. Some people mentioned the drop stitch scarf, so, I checked it out and it turned out I had added to my favorites a few weeks back.
I decided Whale's Road would become the drop stitch scarf. Here's how it looks so far:
I don't know if I like this manifestation more than the Scrunchable Scarf or less... I think Whale's Road looks best in hank form. o_O
The pattern gives a really cool effect... but, the single ply-ness of Malabrigo is actually unwinding and 'blossoming' in the dropped sections. It's getting all poofy and separated... I don't know if I like the look of it.
I think I'll knit a few more repeats and see if it starts growing on me.
Congratulations to all the successful NaBloPoMo Bloggers! I plan to NOT blog tomorrow. =)
November 29, 2007
The house is in the slow process of becoming decorated for Christmas. The tree is up and trimmed, for the most part. It's in need of a topper though--probably a star. There's also a thick gold ribbon swirling around the tree candy cane style... I ran out before I got to the bottom so I'll have to find another roll.
My knitting pace has decreased severely... I might just have to purchase gifts this year. o_O Beau, the Olive colored sweater in Malabrigo has been on hiatus for a while now. He was originally supposed to be the sweater I would wear for Thanksgiving, but, when I realized it wasn't going to happen I said he would be the sweater for Christmas... that's looking a bit iffy right now as well. I need to pull him out of his useless hibernation and get those needles clicking.
Speaking of hibernation... my body is in store-the-fat-just-in-case-we-get-snowed-in mode. It's not pretty. I think I'll have to hit that treadmill pretty hard. x_X I am already 4 lbs over my self-imposed weight limit. Right at this moment in time I've weighed the most I've ever weighed in my whole life. ... yikes. I guess a bit of running at the gym will keep me warm. =)
Knit (and run) hard!
November 28, 2007
I started on my pair of double knitted mittens. It's my own design so I'm assuming there will be much trial and error. I'm only about half way up the cuff and already I think I might have to frog... the cuff seems a bit too wide.
The outside is Cascade 220 Tweed and the inside is Malabrigo worsted in Glazed Carrot. Yum. I tend to knit tighter on DPNs and ... I'm definitely knitting tighter here.. so tight that my fingers are sore. I feel like I've been knitting forever (I knit through The Waitress, an episode of: The Simpsons, Family Guy, and King of the Hill) and I only have these ~2 inches. o_O Double knitting is insane!
I'm planning a bit of colorwork once I get up to the main body of the mitten... I don't really know what I'd do though. My first idea was to have it look like the thrummed mittens... because those were my original inspiration for these mittens... but, I think I'd like something cooler. I plan to keep most of the outside in tweed and have the orange just be a pop of an accent color. I was thinking either diamonds or crosses with the middles left out. I guess I'll decide when I get to that part.
It's almost December... I really need to put more work towards my Christmas Gifts. o_O... yikes.
I see a lot of sleepless nights in the near future if I don't knit hard.
November 27, 2007
I really have nothing to blog about today. I'm so glad the month is almost over.. and thank goodness for memes. ^_^
26. I can only read music. I don't have any talent in the direction of playing by ear or composing.
27. My favorite author is Oscar Wilde.
28. My favorite 'word' is iambic pentameter.
29. I used to be bone thin... and then college came along...
30. I like my bed made in a certain way and I like to be surrounded by pillows.
31. At most, it'll take me 10 minutes to fall asleep once I get in bed. This 'skill' developed right before I got into college.
32. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm a night person or a morning person. I definitely like to stay up late and sleep in... but at the same time I love the newness of morning. I think I'd prefer to stay awake all night and leave my house once the sun comes up.
33. I'm a Virgo. I generally don't believe in Horoscopes but I've run into a few birth charts that have been spot on.
34. Most people who know me think I'm extremely creative and very artsy-craftsy... I am.. but only to a certain extent... a fairly low certain extent.
35. I moisturize my hands and arms daily.
36. I wear my contacts for extended periods of time.... unhealthily long periods of time.
37. I never wanted a tattoo until I became a knitter. I would always say, "I could never decide on something to have on my body for the rest of my life." But now I can.
38. On average I type about 90 wpm.
39. I love singing, I can sing in tune, and I can even follow a harmony but, I do not have a singing voice what so ever.
40. I consider myself a Gamer. I love RPGs.
41. My preferred genre of movie is action. Especially when the main character is a woman who kicks ass.
42. I think that's why one of my all-time favorite TV series is Buffy.
43. I love the flavor onions bring to a dish... but I cannot stand to eat them.
44. It's the same with tomatoes. I enjoy pasta sauces, pizza, and ketchup... but if it's chunky pasta sauce or pizza with actual tomatoes on it... it's over.
45. I eat salsa weird. It brings together my two love/hate foods... so, I generally just dip my chip and pick up the 'juices' rather than scoop.
46. Me and cilantro are not friends. His flavor is just too explosive, distinct, and overpowering.
47. I prefer knitting with animal fibers... soft animal fibers.
48. I prefer knitting with straight needles.
49. I prefer knitting with wooden needles. A nice merino wool knit with wooden straights = bliss.
50. I'm obviously a process knitter.
Ta-da! Maybe something better tomorrow. =)
Posted by dickie at 9:45 PM
November 26, 2007
For some reason I really don't want to blog today... but I must.
Let's see... I'm finally packing up my swap partner's package today. I'll be sending it out tomorrow morning. Hopefully it gets there in good time.
I also bought a stack of padded envelopes in order to mail out all the Silky Merino awards from Malabrigo Cast On Week. I didn't realize that sending out this yarn would be costing me quite a large sum of money... oops. One of the international winners offered to pay for her shipping. Isn't that a nice gesture? =)
I didn't mention this in my last blog but that's my current notebook. I like to write things down... not necessarily useful things... but, I just like the actual process of writing. A lot of pages consist of me just writing out a page in a magazine or the ingredients in a bar of chocolate... or making random lists. I just like to write non-creatively. Having a cool ass notebook around (as well as awesome pens) makes this easier. I do have some useful information in there. Like when I was doing the Knitter's Tea Swap 4 I had a list of things that I had purchased and was considering purchasing for Suzie's package. I make a lot of knitting notes in there as well. And then when I'm hanging out with friends I have them write mini journal entries. =) It's a nice all-around stack of paper.
In the picture the notebook is open to my Christmas list. You can sort of make out a "7, 8, 9, 11"... those are the needle sizes of Lantern Moons I want. ^_^
I've been tagged for the 8 things again... except when I did it I listed 7. I've been wanting to do the 100 things meme so, I think I'll start that off today... in installments of 25. ^_^ I guess they'll make good fodder for the rest of NaBloPoMo.
1. I'm left handed with some things and right handed with others. For the most part my left hand writes, eats, and talks on the phone. I think my right hand does pretty much everything else.
2. I think I adapt easily. I'd actually attribute a portion of this adaptability to being left handed in a right handed dominant world. A south paw really needs to go against his initial desires to make things work properly.
3. I'm afraid of heights. x_X I push myself once in a while in hopes of conquering the fear... like looking over ledges or standing near windows in high rise buildings... it doesn't work.
4. I LOVE espresso drinks. Originally because of the ambiance of coffee places. Now they're a comfort drink and somewhat inspire me to be creative.
5. Despite my love for espresso I actually don't like coffee flavored anything. Candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.
6. I also love tea. This has also grown from a sense of ambiance and serenity.
7. In highschool I was a swimmer. I always swam backstroke and in freestyle relays I always swam anchor. I used to get offended that the coach always made me swim last. It wasn't until later that I found out I was put last because I was a strong swimmer.
8. I quit swimming after my 2nd year because I thought it was "too hard".
9. I'm a knitter. ^_^
10. In highschool I was the editor for the school's Literary Magazine. I loved writing and reading... that has since changed.
11. I don't keep in contact with any of the friends I had before college.
12. I'm an introvert. High energy crowds drain me--I need my alone time to recharge.
13. I don't mind doing things alone. You can always find me eating at restaurants, visiting museums, shopping, etc. all by myself.
14. While I don't mind being alone, I do love doing things with people I care for.
15. I'm very generous. This doesn't go along with my current income however. o_O
16. I have a tendency to block out negative feelings, sad things, and memories that make me uncomfortable... As a result I believe that I'm satisfied with my life and that I'm quite happy. Once in a while I'll read an older entry in a journal and realize that sometimes I'm far from content.
17. I'm really intelligent (I consistently score fairly high on IQ tests) but I don't make good use of this gift.
18. One of the main reasons is because I'm a HUGE procrastinator.
19. I love Coke.
20. I prefer Coke from fountains first, then cans, followed by 2 liters, and last the small plastic bottles. Sometimes fountain Coke sucks, but, when I have a good one it's REAL good. The smaller plastic bottles are the worst. I'm not sure where glass fits in because I haven't had many Cokes from glass bottles... but, I'm pretty sure they would rank higher than the small plastic bottles.
21. I love photography. I didn't always though. I had taken a class in highschool and thought it was alright. It wasn't until college that I realized not everyone can take decent photographs. So, I began to treasure this skill.
22. My phone is the Sidekick ii and it is easily one of the best phones I've owned. Its life is coming to an end soon and I'm not sure what phone I should get to replace it.
23. I can play the guitar. My parents taught me the basics and from then on I was self-taught.
24. I can play the piano... thanks to 4 years of lessons.
25. I can play the violin... I took a whopping 9 years of lessons and out of these 3 instruments, I suck most at violin.
I've written up to 72... and I think that's as far as I can go. o_O Hopefully I'll come up with more random tidbits to reach 100.
In other news, why can't I find the NutRageous candy bar in stores anymore? It was my favorite!
To the NaBloPoMo participants: blog hard the rest of the week!
And, as usual, to the knitters: knit hard!
November 25, 2007
Here are my fiber-related purchases from Black Friday:
This is a ball of Royale Classic Crochet Thread. It's a cool variegated color. And, as you can see it's already being used for a bookmark. I think the hook I'm using is a little on the big side though, so, I'll have to go smaller.
Another ball of the crochet thread, but this one is in burgundy. And it too is being used for a bookmark. That bookmark pattern is the only thing I like to crochet. =) This is a 1.25mm hook.. and I think it works the best for this project.
This is a smaller ball. I think it's un-dyed. This too will be turned into a bookmark. (Can you guess what the majority of my Christmas presents will consist of?) ^_^
I could be all luxurious and crochet them all out of Malabrigo lace... but, my previous Malabrigo bookmarks turned out too flimsy. I demand stiffness in my bookmarks. Any attempts to spray starch the Malabrigo lace left me with a fuzzy, sticky, mess. ... I think this cotton thread will work much better.
I grabbed these 2 skeins of Patons SWS. Haven't tried soy yet and this seemed like the best entrance into the world of alternate fibers. =) I have no idea what I'll make with these though... and ideas? It doesn't seem like I get much yardage, so, at the moment it looks like a scarf is out of the question... plus I have like 7 scarves OTN right now and adding another one would make me VERY unhappy. ^_^ Maybe a pair of wrist warmers? We shall see.
This wasn't from Black Friday but I figured I should take a picture of it anyway. This was a birthday present from my friend Idyl (pronounced 'ideal'). I had been eyeing this calendar a few weeks back--good thing I didn't buy it. =)
Finally, another picture of Shifting Sands. The excessive white sections of the 2nd skein of yarn are starting to show. The yellow/gold hues are the same but now there are many lines of white... it's kind of an obvious change. o_O I'll keep going though. I have a bit of the 1st skein left over so maybe I'll add it in every so often to decrease the speckled look.
Hope you enjoyed this dose of yarny goodness.
I think now is time for a power nap. =)
November 24, 2007
I don't really post many pictures of myself so I thought I'd share a few. Also, I needed to blog for NaBloPoMo and I'm out of material. Now you can say hi if you see me at a yarn store. =)
Me, Anne, and Kevin. For a few semesters we started a 'band' of sorts. We called ourselves "Acholyte Trio". ... don't ask.
Kevin, Lora, Carlo, and Me. This was during a photoshoot of Carlo. We got majorly rained on. Fun times.
Pillow fight! This was us dressed up for an Alumni Banquet we were going to.
Me, Lora (fave!), and the other Kevin. This is at Millenium Park in Chicago. We had just left the Art Institute and were sitting at this little "watering hole" to cool off.
Joe, Anne, Lora, and Me. This is @ Oakbrook Mall. Anne, Lora, and I had an outing and Joe just happened to be there.
So, that's me and a bit of insight into my odd life. Now you can recognize me if you're ever in the Chicago area or in a yarn store or a some yarny conference. =)
I'll try to get some knitting pictures together for tomorrow's post. Only 6 more days of November left and I'll be free from the everyday blog obligation. ^_^
November 23, 2007
This year was a crazy one. I decided I wouldn't sleep last night after Thanksgiving dinner. The stores were opening early and I needed to bust some doors.
At 12:30am I was in line at the mall near my house. It was opening at 1. Last year I missed out on all the opening festivities so I swore that I would get my VIP pass and coupon book this time around. I reached my goal but it was pretty useless. There was free samples of Pepsi and the coupon book was actually just a listing of all the sales that were going on pre-11am. I browsed a but and fought through crowds and entered a few raffles, but, all I ended up purchasing was a gift for one of my cousins.
At 2:10am I left the mall and went across the street to wait in line at Best Buy. According to the weather application on my phone it was a cold 24 degrees. For those of you who haven't done Black Friday at stores like Best Buy it's not just a rush-in-free-for-all... it's actually quite organized. You wait in line and at 3:00am they start handing out tickets for their limited supply door busters. They walk down the line and ask if people need a ticket. People had been camping out since midnight... and I mean camping out... so I was pretty far back in the line. The employees will hand out the tickets starting at the front of the line and they stop when they run out of tickets. I was hoping I'd be able to get what I came there for... which was a 42" plasma TV, a TomTom GPS system, a Sony laptop, and an e-Machine. Finally at 4:00am I had a ticket for the plasma and the GPS. The laptop tickets didn't make it to my section of the line and I hadn't heard about the e-Machine... so, I left. I drove home and dropped off the tickets for my parents. With the ticket you're guaranteed the item as long as you pick it up before 9:00am. Best Buy still technically wouldn't open their doors until 5:00am and I wasn't about to wait another hour.
So, dropped them off, and drove out to the outlet mall about 15 minutes from my home. My cousin had been working since 12:00am--the time the outlet mall opened. I stopped in to visit her at Banana Republic which was having a 40% off sale. I picked out about $250 worth of clothes and she offered to buy them for me with her employee discount which would be an extra 30% off. I ended up only paying $110. Good deal. =)
Left the outlet mall and headed off to Michael's to use a 25% off coupon. I had been hoping to get my hands on some Lion Brand Cashmere Blend... but, they didn't carry any. So, I ended up getting some crochet thread (I'm gonna be churning out those bookmarks this Christmas) and I decided to try some Paton's SWS. I had been seeing and hearing a lot about it so I allowed it to jump into my basket. ^_^
It was now about 6:30am so I went home, dropped all my purchases on the floor and crashed into bed.
That was Black Friday 2007. =)
November 22, 2007
I love all the cold weather holidays. For me they're always very family-oriented. Both of my parents came from very large families, my mother has 8 siblings and my father has 6. This meant celebrations like Thanksgiving were always big events. Every year my family would actually attend 3 separate parties, one for my mom's family, one for my dad's family, and one with friends.
One of the things I looked forward to every year was going to the party on my dad's side of the family. My grandmother made the best stuffing and she would only make it on Thanksgiving. It went perfect with the turkey and the mashed potatoes and gravy. It was bread-y and herb-y and just delicious and her own secret recipe.
One year, my dad's family decided to do a non-traditional Thanksgiving and ditched the turkey and cranberry sauce and all the fixings... including my beloved stuffing. My grandmother knew how much I loved it so the next week she invited me over and made it for me.
I never asked her for the stuffing recipe nor did I ever ask her to teach me how to make it because like many great cooks (and she definitely was a great cook) it was all up in her head without exact measurements... she just knows how much of each ingredient goes into each dish.
It was common knowledge in our family to never give our grandmother a cookbook and never ask her for a recipe. Giving her a cookbook was the ultimate offense--basically, to her, it meant that we thought she wasn't a good enough cook and needed guidance. The recipes, on the other hand, without knowing the exact measurements came out like: "Mix some water with a lot of flour and a little salt and herbs and bake until done."
Fast forward to maybe my Junior year of College. It was November and Kevin and I were either attending a Thanksgiving party on campus or throwing one of our own... but, we both were cooking some food. He decided on stuffing and I told him about my grandmother's delicious version and how I needed to have it every year. He told me he was going to make it from a box and that he thought I would enjoy the boxed brand as well. I doubted it.
So, we make our food and have our party and I take a scoop of stuffing onto my plate. It had a similar look and consistency to my grandmother's with all the crumbly bread bits and herbs. I took a bite and pleased said, "This tastes like my grandmother's stuffing!" Kevin laughed and I continued eating.
A few days later, I was at my dad's party and there on the table was my beloved food. I looked at it closely and it actually looked exactly like the version Kevin made. "Weird" I thought to myself.
I tasted it... and it tasted like it always did and it also tasted like Kevin's. Flustered, I made my way into the kitchen, marched over to my grandmother and confronted her, "How do you make your stuffing?"
She looked at me and said, "I thought you knew... I always made it from the box." And she pointed to the stove and sitting there was the same box of stuffing Kevin had introduced me to.
She shrugged and added, "All I have to do is add water."
Happy Thanksgiving! =)
November 21, 2007
I forced my camera to take pictures today. He wasn't happy about it. The sky is still dark and completely overcast. We were supposed to get snow today but no sign of it yet. Definitely a lot of rain though.
I tried to get a few self-portraits of myself in my new Ravelry beta t-shirt but those turned out the worst. I'll try again when we get some sun.
I DID manage to get a few shots of the WIPs that I'm actually... wip-ing. ^_^ And also the yarn I bought the other day.
Let's start off with my current favorite: Shifting Sands.
Can you sense the darkness? hehehe. I had to push my table right up next to the biggest window in the room and pump up my ISO. Then I made sure to take at least 5 shots from each angle and hope that at least one of them turned out in focus. I ended up with about 3 out of 40 that turned out okay. Ahh, darkness... the enemy of the photographer.
I started my 2nd ball of Malabrigo--you probably noticed the lack of the cake's gaping void. Some yards before the 1st ball ended I started alternating skeins every 2 rows to add a transition just in case the two skeins were different colors. Luckily they're quite similar. The biggest difference seems to be that the white sections are slightly longer on this 2nd ball (about 5 stitches worth whereas ball #1 had 2-3). No big worry though.
You may have also noticed that the yarn is chilling on my Hemlock Ring. It makes a cool background. For some reason I'm unable to successfully use a round blanket. I think I need to find myself a similarly-awesome square/rectangle shape.
This is the diagonal knot stitch scarf. It's coming along slowly. I still can't get the purl side to work smoothly. It reminds me of my struggles with the purl side of My So Called Scarf. I managed to work through that and actually find a good rhythm so hopefully I'll be able to find a similar rhythm with this. On a positive note, I now memorize the pattern... not that it's much to memorize, but, every little bit helps. =)
I don't know how my camera does it but these colors are really close to the true colors of the actual yarn despite the overwhelming darkness. I had to ditch the Hemlock Ring for these pictures because the overall hues of the yarn were so dark the camera wouldn't even focus. So, I needed a brighter background to ... help it along. These are 2 skeins of Noviembre, a very fitting autumn color way. One skein will be a prize for the Malabrigo Cast On Week and the other will be going to a secret swap partner. ;)
These two yarns will soon become a pair of double knit mittens. I tried to develop a technique to get ribbing double-knit style.. but, it didn't work. I'll have to figure something out. I'm also unsure about how decreases/increases will work... but, I'll tackle that challenge when it comes time.
The orange skein is Malabrigo: Glazed Carrot. Delicious. =) My favorite color is orange... but, for some reason orange yarns never call out to me. The other day Mr. Glazed Carrot screamed "mittens" so I bought him.
The 2nd skein is Cascade 220 Tweed. He looks nice. Hopefully they become friends and work together in my mittens.
That's all for today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Hopefully I'll have time to post. Oh! I recently received a HUGE influx of visitors to my blog... I'm curious about where they all came from... but, more on that next time.
November 20, 2007
I love having "regular" status at shops I visit.
At Starbucks or Caribou, for example, the moment the barista sees me walk into the door they'll start making my drink. It's helpful when I'm in a hurry. ^_^ In the Starbucks I frequent I've received many free drinks as well. If you were to go in and order a vanilla latte and they were like, "Oh, we're out of vanilla." Then you would switch your drink around. If you ordered your vanilla latte and paid, and then they realized they didn't have anymore vanilla as they were making it then they might refund you and give you a substitute drink for free or give you a voucher for a free drink in the future.
Since they know that I ALWAYS get the same thing if ever they run out of one of the ingredients they always give me the substitute drink for free. I think that's some dedication and great customer service. ^_^
Another place I'm usually recognized is LYS's. I think I have a tendency to stand out among the regular knitting population so, regular status @ LYSs is often achieved.
The most recent place I've become a regular is at this Chinese restaurant about 20 minutes away from my house. Next door is a 24 hour Starbucks that I religiously visit and that's how I discovered this place.
The first few times I went there I wasn't too impressed with what I ordered. One day I decided to try their crab rangoons and they were delicious. So, I'd go there often and get a dish with a crab rangoon appetizer and a can of coke.
Now, after I order my food the manager always adds a can of coke and asks if I want crab rangoon. I thought this was the epitome of being known at a restaurant, but, now when I sit down she'll only give me my coke without a cup of ice because she noticed that I drink out of the can. And then I don't eat my crab rangoon with sweet and sour sauce so she stopped bringing that out as well.
During my most recent visit I ordered a beef with vegetables dish. I'm not a big fan of most vegetables so I tend to mainly eat the meat. When my plate came out the huge mass of vegetables were replaced with only a few greens and carrots and the meat was doubled. I love great service and being a regular. ^_^
On a related topic... sort of... , my "imaginary friend" Danielle and I were talking about high school physical education. We mentioned the swimming unit and I asked her if the girls are forced to swim when umm... Aunt Flo was visiting.
She said no.. and the way they communicated this to their male gym teacher was by going up to him and saying, "Regular." And then they would be excused from swimming. I thought that was cute and funny. Needless to say, Kevin and I had a field day with the term. Unfortunately, the jokes ended up being quite inappropriate so I won't be sharing them today.
Today ended up really dark, foggy, and stormy so no pictures. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I can share my new yarn, progress pictures of my current WIPs and maybe my Ravelry beta t-shirt. =)
Knit hard! Only 10 days of straight blogging left!
November 19, 2007
I bought more yarn today. I know I shouldn't have... but... I had a purpose! I was buying yarn for my swap partner. I don't think she reads my blog... and if she does she won't technically know that I'm her partner... so I can tell you that I got some luscious Malabrigo and some bamboo yarn. =) Pictures will be coming soon.
In other news, my pretty babies will be all gone soon:
They're waiting, all lined up, for their owners to choose them. I can't believe how successful Malabrigo Cast On Week was... and, I think I'll be living off this high for a while. I actually bought some Malaboo-boo (as Danielle refers to it) for myself today for a pair of mittens I have plans for. It'll be my 2nd attempt at designing a pattern.
I officially have way too many projects on the needles. According to my Ravelry notebook I have 10 WIPs. That's definitely too many. And I REALLY want to get to work on these mittens... I should really finish up a project. I forgot how much time goes into making a scarf. It's simple, but, it's long and time consuming and VERY repetitive. Possibly more time than a pair of socks?
Speaking of socks... I'd like to make a trade with someone... a sock knitter, to be exact. I was walking around the house a few days ago and my feet were cold. Of course the first thing that came to my mind were wool socks, but alas, I do not own any. All my previous attempts have provided dysfunctional pairs so I'd like to trade someone a scarf for a pair of socks. Anyone willing to take me up on this offer? The scarf will be out of Malabrigo (unless you'd like something else), 2 skeins even! You can choose the pattern and color if you desire, or, I could surprise you with something. I'm excellent and knitting flat things!
I'm also a men's US size 9-9.5. ^_^
I'd love to trade soon, before Christmas even. I guess this is not really the time to be asking since knitters' needles are generally booked until after Christmas... but, I want some socks! I might just cave in and make another sad, sad attempt. Or, God forbid, I'll buy a pair from Walmart. o_O ... you don't want me to buy socks from Walmart, right?
I could try to knit 2 at the same time.. and that would ensure that 1) I don't suffer from SSS and 2) They end up the same size... but, me and magic loop have not yet been acquainted. And wouldn't a little gift exchange be fun?
If anyone would like to take me up on my offer let me know. =)
For now, knit hard!
November 18, 2007
People have been asking me for the pattern I used for my DS cases. It was my own pattern and I never really got around to writing it out until maybe a month ago. As I was figuring out what I did I decided I'd like to add a flap to the top as a closure to make sure the DS stayed in its lovely case. Sadly, I couldn't come up with one I loved so I'll just have to share the basic sock pattern for now. I don't think I'll have time to really develop a decent flap until after the holidays. Enjoy!
Cabled DS Lite Case
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted
Needles: 4 DPNs in US 8
Gauge: ... umm.... ^_^
CF3: Slip next 3 sts onto cable needle purl wise and hold cable needle in front of work, K3, P1, K3 off the cable needle
Needle 1: K2, P1, K3, P1, K3, P1
Needle 2: K2, P1, K3, P1, K3, P1, K2, P1
Needle 3: K3, P1, K3, P1, K2, P1, K3, P1, K3, P1
The condensed version: [K2, P1, (K3, P1)x2]x4
Needle 1: K2, P1, CF3, P1
Needle 2: K2, P1, CF3, P1, K2, P1
Needle 3: CF3, P1, K2, P1, CF3, P1
The condensed version: [K2, P1, (CF3, P1)x2]x4
CO 44 stitches divide on to 3 DPNs
1st needle: 11 sts
2nd needle: 14 sts
3rd needle: 19 sts
The stitches are divided this way to allow for easier cabling. Feel free to divide the needles as you see appropriate.
Join into a circle and begin pattern:
Rounds 1 & 2: Pattern Round
Main cable pattern:
Rounds 3 - 8: Pattern Round
Round 9: Cable Round
Repeat rounds 3-9 four more times.
Round 38-43: Pattern Round
Round 44: Knit
Divide stitches evenly onto two needles and graft shut.
Weave in ends.
I find that if you turn your DS case completely inside out and pull out the grafted corners as far as they can go and then flip it right side out it'll leave you with nicely shaped corners.
A flap can be added by picking up stitches along the CO edge.
The original green DS case I made actually had an even 3x1 ribbing. I found that it was too loose so I tightened up some areas and that's how I came up with the crazy 2x1, (3x1)2 ribbing.
November 17, 2007
Just a few pictures to share!
The other night I cast on for an Irish Hiking Scarf in the pretty Indigo that I received from EarthChick. In true Malabrigo form, the skeins had significant color differences. My friend Kevin, who is not a knitter, but, hangs out with me a lot looked at the skeins and said, "They're different colors." And then he looked at the tag and added, "But they're from the same dye lot."
Funny how friends and family pick up on the lingo even when they have absolutely no desire to knit (I've tried to teach him twice!).
I'm working from both skeins at one time, alternating every two rows. It's creating subtle striping, but, I think overall it looks pretty cool.
I also decided that I would knit this whole scarf Continental. I'm mainly an English knitter and started to develop my Continental style while knitting the Exchequered scarf, but, I figured I could fine tune it.
It's sort of frustrating. I really have to focus and force myself to not switch to English, but, I'm doing it. =)
Shifting Sands has been moving along quite nicely as well.
It's strange but the scarf/pattern looks 100% better in photos. I'm almost finished with my first skein... It doesn't feel like it's a good length for half a scarf. o_O I'm hoping that I had used a bit of this first skein for something else and that my 2nd skein will have more yarn. I can't really think of what else I would have used it for... but... umm, let's hope for the best. ^_^
You can see the gaping hole that used to hold the yarn. It's magic! The yarn just turns into this really weird scarf. =)
There's also a jar of honey in the background from my Knitter's Tea Swap partner Suzie. It's delicious and wanted to be in the photoshoot 'cause he matched the colors of the scarf.
I've extended the Malabrigo Cast On Week cut off for Sunday afternoon/evening. So, hopefully people upload a few more projects. I actually have one more project I want to add, but, we'll see if I get around to it.
Now that I have like... 10 WIPs it's time to go into knitting hibernation and try to finish at least one.
ETA: I totally just tripped myself out. hahahaha. For a fun time look at the middle picture and scroll up and down and up and down. It looks like it's moving or zooming in and out. TRIPPY! o_O
November 16, 2007
Malabrigo Cast On Week was a success! ... for now. =)
When I originally started the event we needed over 200 projects to beat out Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi. We had a good 350 members so I figured if each one did one project then we'd get it for sure.
After my original posting I only had about 40 people replying with interest... but, I decided to go for it anyway.
So, the gap has been closed and it was easily over 200 projects added. While I'd like to completely contribute the success of Cast On Week to the Malabrigo Junkies I actually think the constant influx of new members adding their projects to Ravelry helped give us the boost that we needed.
I should've taken note of the original numbers. But, Lorna's Laces was growing as well, so, not only did we have to deal with the original 200 projects but also the regular additions of projects to competitor's yarn totals. We did good. =)
Now the goal for the remaining day and a half is to give Malabrigo worsted a sizable lead over Lorna's Laces so that there is no chance of them passing us up.
I'm somewhat afraid that after the end of the week there will be a decline in the usage of Malabrigo... because people really CO everything they could handle and afford... but, we'll see. I still have 3 more projects to add!
... I just read through those few paragraphs and it comes out really... fragmented. hahaha. Today is not a great day for blogging. I think I need a nap! =)
Knit & Blog hard (after a good powernap)!
November 15, 2007
Here's the 3 things meme. I 'borrowed' it from SavingNine. =)
Three things that scare me:
- Tiny things that jump or move quickly
- The idea of moths invading my stash
Three people who make me laugh:
Three Things I love:
- Alone time
Three Things I hate:
- Crappy drivers (gonna agree with SavingNine on this one)
- Psychologically scary things
- Closed minds
Three things I don't understand:
- Everything beyond a basic-intermediate level
- Fire-what is it?!
- Water-these things seem so... arbitrary but when I think about them they don't make sense
Three things on my desk:
- Yarn. Malabrigo and some alpaca to be exact.
- Coffee. Grande soy with whip cinnamon dolce latte
- A thermos half filled with tea from this morning
Three things I'm doing right now:
- ... this
- Drinking coffee?
- I agree with SavingNine--this is a dumb question
Three things I want to do before I die:
- Own a condo
- Get into the best shape of my life
- Become semi-famous
Three things I can do:
- Type relatively fast
Three ways to describe my personality:
- Sense-of-humor-ed. o_O
Three things I can't do:
- Talk to strangers with any sort of charm or finesse
- Dance and look good doing it
That was surprisingly difficult.
So, me knitting the Shifting Sands scarf is REALLY weird. My hands memorize the pattern more than my brain does. I actually couldn't write out the pattern for you if you asked but for some reason my hands know what to do. Knitting it actually makes my brain tired because I'm constantly trying to figure out if what my hands are doing is correct... but I really can't wrap my brain around it. It's weird and exhausting. Almost makes me not want to knit the scarf even though I can... and easily.
I took a bath yesterday and it was goooooooood. I broke out the trusty space heater to warm things up (because nobody likes to get out of the bath/shower into cold air) and... it was good. I didn't even do my usual prep. It was just the tub, a Lush bath bomb, and two episodes of How I Met Your Mother.
I just wish I had a bigger bath tub... At certain times during the bath I like to be completely covered by water, as a result there are all sorts of contorting going on. You should see me. ... actually... maybe you shouldn't. ^_^
Malabrigo is only about 26 projects away from passing up Lorna's Laces. Hopefully we have at least that many more people cast on. =)
November 14, 2007
I have a few projects to share with you. They are all Malabrigo Worsted and they all were Cast On this week for Malabrigo Cast On Week. =) I plan to start maybe 2 or 3 more projects. x_X
The first is a 2nd Scrunchable Scarf in Whale's Road:
I started this on Sunday evening. I know for sure that the Scrunchable Scarf is a great pattern because I've knitted it before... but, I dunno about how well it's working with this yarn. I loved the color in hank form, and it was equally stunning wound up in a cake... but... now I don't know... I think I'll keep working it to see how it turns out.
I think the first image shows truer colors.
I slipped on the stitch markers I received from EarthChick for picture purposes. This scarf really doesn't need any stitch markers and requires very little memorization.
My next project I started last night. It's Shifting Sands in Amber Gold.
I'm currently loving it. Ever since I saw brooklyntweed's version I've been considering knitting it up. The amount of cables were always daunting though... and I had previously tried the cables-without-a-cable-needle technique but it would not work out for me.
The Amber Gold had been ... reincarnating itself every so often because I love the color... sadly, nothing ever really fit the bill... I figured the color was similar to sand (and similar to brooklyntweed's) so I should go for it during this Malabrigo Cast On Week.
This time I was able to learn with assistance from Grumperina's instructions as well as the videos at knittinghelp.com. It made all the difference and now this scarf is a breeze. I've already memorized the pattern and I'm really enjoying knitting it.
It looks like it would make an awesome place mat.
I messed up on the first two repeats. The 2nd row of cables I was actually knitting two in front when I should only have been knitting one. It's okay though... it's a design feature. ^_^
My third project I started just about an hour ago. It's the Diagonal Knot Stitch Scarf from SavingNine in Azul Bolita.
This blue is SO radioactive. It like... glows. The scarf is a bit thin for my tastes so I think this will end up as a gift. I actually already have the perfect recipient in mind. ^_^
The pattern is pretty simple, although the purl three is quite difficult for me. It might be because I'm using super blunt wood needles. I think I'll have to switch to sharper aluminum because it's quite the struggle. Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out.
Those are my projects so far. I feel an Irish Hiking Scarf in the works as well as a pair of mittens... I NEED Malabrigo Cast On Week to be a success. We're only ~40 projects away from being the 8th most popular yarn on Ravelry!