Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chaos And Serenity

For those of you not in the know, I volunteered to do crafts for two, week-long sleep away camps with about 90 kids each. I don't think I fully grasped what kind of commitment being in charge of crafts would be. I also didn't really understand that being given five weeks to create 7 kinds of crafts x 90 kids would be meltdown inducing. Last night my family staged an intervention. My behavior had not been acceptable (true) and I needed to change it (also true). Temper tantrums are not very becoming, especially when one is a college graduate.
Today my oldest and truest friend came over and helped me piece together kits. I've got one week left and I am experiencing an inexplicable amount of serenity.

My brother also asked me if I'd taken some sort of drug today because I was in a good mood. No. The intervention just happened to work.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Got Thanked For Using Yarn

The other day I was looking through the various comments left on this blog. (Thanks for leaving them everyone. It makes me feel super special!) I noticed this one left on my post about the Fireside Sweater.
I got thanked for using yarn! That's like being thanked for breathing.

You're welcome. I love Zealana yarns. (I have some more stashed away for other lovely projects) I think it is important to support New Zealand yarns, especially those with possum content. I'm part Kiwi after all. If you don't know why possum yarn is important, check out kiwipurler's post on the matter.

On a different note, has anyone ever submitted a proposal to a publication or yarn company? I've heard that you can get "pattern support" aka, yarn.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Take A Bow

I've been busy preparing for camp, doing some secret knitting, and trying to reknit the Sasquatch sock, so here is a cute Scooter picture to hold everyone over. He looks cuter than he smells. (I think I bathed him the day after this picture was taken. The weird odor in my room magically disappeared after that.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sasquatch's Sock

I officially have another Sasquatch sock. It looks like it fits, but it is just loose enough to creep down my leg. I cannot even begin the describe the fury I felt when I got the sock off the needles and tried it only to find it was too big. There may have been an immature display of finger clenching, teeth grinding, and glaring involved.

The tragedy with blocking is that you cannot block things smaller. And because I've chosen superwash wool/nylon blend, I can't shrink it in the dryer. So today I did the only thing a mature, logical, and calm knitter could do.

I bought myself another pair of needles.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Third Sock Attempt

It took me awhile to decide what pattern my third sock attempt should be. I knew I wanted to do toe-up since the last two pairs I've made were top down and they didn't fit me. I decided to go with the Leyburn pattern by pepperknit.

I figured that if the yarnharlot has made multiple copies of this sock, it must be good. I can confirm that it is indeed a rad pattern. It is easy and interesting. And pretty. Let's not forget that. I've made a few mods so that the sock would fit me better. So far so good.

Actually, the sock seems loose to me, but I'm thinking that I'm use to clingy polyester socks. I don't know what a good knit sock should feel like. This sock isn't baggy or anything. It just isn't suffocating my foot like other socks do. All you sock knitters out there, how are knit socks suppose to feel?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweating In The Sweater

I have officially finished my very first sweater! The pattern is The Fireside Sweater by Amber Allison. The pattern is written fairly well. But what I like about it best is how easy it was to modify it to fit me better. If you want super specific details about what modifications I made, check out my Fireside Project Page on ravelry.

I used Tui by Zealana. 70% NZ Merino, 15% Cashmere, 15% Possum. I asked kiwipurler to send me an extra skein because half-way through, it looked like I was going to need 11 skeins. I only had ten and I don't live in NZ. Of course I ended up using only 9 skeins. But I don't think I would have even bothered finishing the sweater if I hadn't had the extra skein. It was like a security skein.

The buttons are dark wood. I chose them because I wanted them to blend in with the sweater. All in all, I'm fairly pleased with the sweater.

Of course, in an entirely predictable turn of events, it is too hot to wear the sweater.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Scooter's Annual Damage Report

Scooter manages to damage himself once a year. One year he scratched his cornea after digging and then rubbing his eye. Another year he got two ticks in his ear. Then there was the time he got a splinter in his chin from running into the fence while he was yelling at the neighbor's dog. This year he had a sore spot on his foot that he wouldn't leave alone.

In an effort to avoid another vet bill, we decided to patch him up. A bit of Desitin, gauze, and some tape kept him from licking his paw.

Scooter is a bit picky about having clothing, or anything else for that matter, on him. I think it makes his fur feel funny. But after the cornea incident, we've developed a way to keep him from ripping off gauze or rubbing his eye.

We taped a baby sock with grippy feet (we have wood floors) to his foot. I must say, it subdues him quite a bit. He spends more time moping than he does nibbling on the sock. The added bonus is how funny he looks with a little baby sock on his foot, especially when I walk him around the neighborhood.
Scooter's foot has healed since the mopey picture was taken. No vet bill. Yay!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Stages

Last night I was chugging along with my sweater sleeve. Life was dandy. This is the closest I've ever gotten to completing a sweater. As I finished up the last increase, it dawned on me that the sleeve seemed, well... a little long. Then I reread the instructions, which said "repeat increases 5 times" Not 10 times like I did. This also meant that I had 10 stitches more than I needed. I went through the 5 stages in about 5 minutes.

1. Denial: 10 stitches. That's not too many. If I do lots of extra math the extra stitches won't matter. It's like ease, right? Maybe I can make the sleeve a bit shorter when I block it.

2. Anger: Why did I not notice the "five repeats" bit? What kind of dummy am I? The kind that can't read. That's what.

3. Bargaining: I'll do the other sleeve the same. The sleeves will match. All I need is to grow my arms out about two more inches. That's all. Two inches.

4. Depression: Why should I even bother finishing this sweater. I've never finished a sweater. Why will this be any different?

5. Acceptance: At this point I ripped out 40 rounds of stitches and started knitting again.

It's irritating, but I spent far too much on this yarn not to finish the sweater AND have it fit. Plus kiwipurler sent me extra yarn to finish the sweater. And I even bought buttons the other day. I will finish this sweater. It will be awesome. And I have regained the ability to read now, so I will only increase five times, not ten.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Panda Hat

I've had a few requests for a Panda Hat, so I used my Bear Hat pattern with Cascade 220 in colors 8505 and 8555 (White and Black). The ears are done using black for the inner and outer ear. I think it is rather cute.
A big thanks to my little brother for taking a moment to model the hat for me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Biking Your Way To A Better Tomorrow

I thought I'd actually start tracking my progress now that I have the new bike. And I thought I would share the sheet with all of you as well. The more the merrier! Just click on the image to get to the picasa web page where you can download the file to make a full size print. The download button will be in the top right hand corner area.

Categories include the usual date/ time/ distance categories. I also added an average speed, a route name (if you have a name for a route), and a # of people that said Hi. One one ride I got three... but it was on the old bike.

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's biking nickname suggestions. (In my blog comments, on facebook, and a few from my Mum) You guys suggested The Black Panther, The Bandit, The Bear-Eared Wonder, John Matrix, Jane Matrix, The Knitting Ninja, Knit Maven, and Kninja. I ended up introducing my Mum to babelfish to see if any names would sound cooler in a different language. At which point we came up with "The Dark Rider". I'm rather partial to it. It's descriptive yet a wee bit mysterious. I'm still open to new ideas, or votes for the current suggestions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love Blanket

The other day I was reading a blog post on Needled called Generosity. Kate talks about how generous knitters can be. She was a recipient of a hand knitted blanket made by ten people that she didn't know. I'm sure every knitter who reads that blog was a wee bit jealous. (Although she very much deserved every bit of love that blanket contained) Fast forward a few days. As I went out to walk the dog, I saw a package addressed to me from my old employer (and friend). I put it inside and continued on. Scooter had a quick walk that day. As soon as I got home, I ripped the box open.

Tore past the tissue paper to find this. A hand crocheted blanket made for me! Especially for me!!! For anyone who knits/ crochets/ quilts, etc, you know that each stitch was done with that special recipient in mind. As soon as I saw it, I exclaimed, "It's a love blanket!" And boy do I feel loved in it.

It's huge! It's heavy! It's double thick! All the color work is carried inside the stitches.

Thanks so much Mrs. L! I think about you, your husband, and camp very fondly. And every time I look at the blanket, I'll be reminded how loved I am. (I also appreciate the amount of postage it took to send the blanket to me)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Appalachia KAL Recap

The May KAL for Appalachia is finished. I am so happy and proud to have so many people knit one of my designs. And I was impressed to see that every color combination that was chosen looked amazing. The overall feedback the pattern was that Appalachia was fun to knit. It is a fairly easy introduction to stranded color work. Here are a few hats in no particular order that came out of the KAL (used with permission of course)

Amy Herner did this with Crystal Palace's Mini Mochi and Plymouth Yarn's Happy Feet. I am impressed with how bright the black is with the pastel colors. It is a really snazzy hat.

ememknits did this version with Mini Mochi and Patons Kroy Socks 4ply. I love the subtle purple and green that shows up in the sea of blue.

Hooknneedler did her hat with Bernat Softee Baby Solids & Marls. Although I didn't mention it anywhere, I was secretly hoping someone would choose a yarn with short color repeats. I'm so happy Hookneedler did. I think it looks wonderful!

Jessica Myers did this version with knit Picks Wool of The Andes and Noro Silk Garden. I can honestly say that I would have never thought of pairing the warm orange with the cool grey. But both colors really play off of each other well. (Jessica also said, "It was a really fun knit and the decreases on the crown are really cleverly done." on her blog, which really made my day. I spent a lot of time making sure the decreases were well incorporated into the pattern)

Lily Giddings did her version in Mini Mochi and Malabrigo Sock, which were the recommended yarns in the pattern. Although I love that she chose completely different colors than I chose.

LizzieHelen did this version with hand dyed Red Heart Ltd. Heart & Sole. I wouldn't have thought about hand dying the yarn for this hat. I'm so impressed with the colors that LizzieHelen was able to get!

Donna Kinkead did this version with Knit Picks Chroma and Knit Picks Bare. Even though I recommended that the variegated yarn be the counter color, I think I might like it as the main color even better! (Donna was the first to finish the KAL. I was so stoked to see this hat pop up in the KAL thread)

Sandyham did this version with Lana Gatto Wool Gatto and Noro Silk Garden Sock. She ended up using three different noro balls in the hat to get the colors she was looking for. I think that was a clever idea.

This version of Appalachia was also done with Online Supersocke 100 and Zitron Trekking (XXL). I liked seeing another hat with a short color repeat variegated yarn. And that color combination is stunning.

Some hats did turn out a little small, which probably happened because some people do their stranding a bit tighter than I do. But the pattern is flexible enough to allow for extra repeats of the triangle to be put in the hat without affecting the shaping at the crown of the hat.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

The first movie in my Summer of Sci-Fi is...

Everything is quiet in the quite town of Santa Mira, California. Lovely weather, friendly people. But something is a little off.

People start claiming that family members aren't actually family members, but rather they are impostors. They look the same and sound the same, but there is something amiss.

Dr. Bennell thinks there is something a bit off, but it isn't until copies of people start showing up that his suspicions are confirmed. The copies look the same and act the same as the people they are impersonating, but they lack emotion.

They are born from seed pods and they are spreading fast. The pod people plan on taking over the world!

Can Dr. Bennell save his sweetheart Becky, Santa Mira, and the world, or will he be too late? Will the pod people take over? Watch to find out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Summer Of Sci-Fi

I watch a lot of movies. I'm not going to tell you how many I watch a week, but it is more than you. Despite the high volume of movies I've seen, I've only watched a handful of classic monster movies. Of the small handful, I have been incredibly impressed with the quality of the lessons that are in each film. Some of the lessons are rather profound, such as "the scariest beast is the one you battle inside yourself". I've decided that this summer I am going to make more of an effort to watch these old films, and while I'm at it, I'll share it with all of you. Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting a new series called:

I quite like the posters for the old monster movies too. Although they all seem to be a remix of each other. To make a monster movie poster in the 50s, you just need to add these ingredients:
1. Blocky letters with warped perspective
2. A screaming or fainted lady
3. A monster or a concerned looking man near the lady
4. A reference to outer space

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Don't Sweat The Sweater

How long does it take to block a sweater in the Bay Area during the month of June? An hour? Two? Not even close. It took THREE DAYS for this to dry because some how I managed to choose the only weekend in June that it has EVER stormed to block the sweater. In my entire memory, I don't remember it ever raining in June around here. Ever. After the storm we had a day of hot, sticky, mugginess. Another thing that doesn't happen here. Not until I tried to block my sweater. My very first sweater. Go figure. Maybe it'll rain again when I finish the sleeves.

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Training To Be Even More Awesome

I'm taking my new hobby very seriously. And no it isn't running from giant hand monsters... I'm training to bike from San Jose to Santa Cruz. It's a 30+ mile route (with hills!) Why, you ask? Well, I'm either crazy or highly competitive. My brother's done the ride before, so I'm going to go with the latter. And who knows after that. Maybe I'll bike to Canada.

Anyways, after my ride on Thursday, I thought the old bike could use a tune up. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find it enjoyable to change gear at the bottom of the hill and have it change before I make it to the top of the hill. I'm not going to even pretend I know any more about bikes than that. But when you take your bike for a tune up and start hearing things like, "How attached are you to this bike" and "$200 to tune up this year", the suggestion of buying a new bike doesn't seem so far fetched. So I got a new bike. (A Specialized Sirrus)

I think I need an awesome nickname. Batman is the Dark Knight, Manfred von Richthofen was the Red Baron. I believe there is an unwritten rule that you can't give yourself a nickname. This is where I need your help. My biking outfit is black. The new bike is black. What shall I be called?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scooter's Love Affair With Biscuits

It's been awhile since I've done a Scooter post. Scooter is doing very well. He has already grown all his hair back, so he'll need another haircut for summer.

Scooter's current favorite game is to get a biscuit out of his Kong.

I love when he holds it like a people. I'll bet he wishes he had opposable thumbs.

He's pretty smart about getting the biscuit out, though. He tries pulling it out, but if that doesn't work, he'll pick up and drop the Kong for a bit to dislodge the biscuit. And although it doesn't happen very often, sometimes the Kong gets stuck on his fang teeth when he throws it about. I'm sure he doesn't appreciate all of my giggling when that happens.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wooly Me

Thanks to everyone who gave me some ideas about beating the blues. I ended up spending a bunch of time with Scooter in the backyard sunshine. I also gave myself a break from designing. Instead, I started a new project.

I spent a day trying out needle felting. It took a few hours, but I made a mushroom and a seagull. It was easy and hard at the same time. It's easy to felt the wool into a shape. But I had the worst time trying not to poke red wool through the white side of the mushroom. Although the actual process is pretty relaxing.

I've also decided that I am going to knit a few things that I haven't designed. This sweater for one. I just have half of the back and two sleeves to finish. I'm a bit worried about it being too small.... but I think blocking is really going to loosen up the fiber. I also want to give socks another try. I still haven't managed to make a pair that fit. (Justin and Dad haven't minded though. They each got a pair of socks out of my poor swatching)

I also started reading Black Beauty. I haven't really read anything in such a long time, it's been nice to dive into a good story.

My parents came back from New Zealand yesterday as well. They brought all sorts of goodies. Some were from them, some were from friends in New Zealand.

My Mum told me that one of our family friends had sent something that fully represented me. He had it since 1964, but thought I ought to have it. Admittedly when she said that it was essentially me, I thought to myself, "It would have to be a picture of someone knitting for it to be 'Me'." I'm glad I only thought it, because this little wooly knitter really is me. In fact, it might be a better representation of me than a self portrait would be.
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