Sunday, November 1, 2009

. . . Anybody here?

I don't actually know how I'd know if anyone even reads this thing. I miss Livejournal, where commenting was the easiest thing in the world and super common . . . but anyhow, I thought I'd give NaBloPoMo a shot. Which probably makes no sense at all considering how much time I manage to waste *without* trying to blog, but eh.

Got way too much homework to do today, so here's a few flickr pics of summer knitting and I promise to whip out the camera and start telling stories soon!

Colorado Ishbel

Colorado Ishbel

This is my Colorado Ishbel. Actual color of the yarn about halfway between those two pics. First lace I actually blocked on wires, and it was such a delight I'm planning on casting on an Estonian lace scarf soon, so I can encounter some actual challenges.

A lot of stories go with the knitting of this shawlette/scarf/thing, but I don't have time to tell them at the moment. If anyone comments and asks, I'll share a few, maybe try to get some of my dad's pics of me knitting it all over Colorado, but for now, here's the notes from the project Rav page:

9/17: So I finally blocked the thing (there was this whole saga where I ordered blocking implements, patiently waited until I knew they totally should have arrived because I didn’t want to be That Customer that complains because things don’t show up immediately, only to find I’d had them shipped to the wrong address), and pictures will be forthcoming–I just realized I was wasting away my Saturday editing them when there is all this beautiful weather out. Soon!

8/7: This is my souvenir of my family vacation to Colorado! I bought the yarn on the first full day, in Boulder. I knew I was going to use the yarn for Ishbel, but thought I’d wait to get home–but when I was getting my yarn wound, I decided to buy needles (I hadn’t thought to bring any extra) and get started right away. I knit in Boulder, in the car, in Rocky Mountain National Park, in Denver, and all the way home. I had to pause when it was time to bind off–I needed a larger needle (I actually ended up using a size 10), but despite the high stitch count and the slow going needed to keep the bind-off loose it only took about an hour, and now I have a fabulous shawl/scarf! I’m ordering lace-blocking equipment to keep things classy, but this project is done!! Now to work on those projects I thought I would make headway on in CO …

Happy November, everyone! If you read this, let me know in a comment: What would you rather see, WIP posts or FO posts?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Thinking about doing Tour de Fleece this summer. Not that I'll be watching the Tour de France, but I have two spindles and two hibernating spinning projects. How embarrassing! So my goal would either to finish both projects, or to finish the spinning for Urchin completely and achieving some good solid progress on the red fiber. Or to spin every day on those two projects as well as finishing Urchin spinning Or something. Hmm . . . I'll keep thinking about this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Orange beret

Checked to see what sorts of posts I've left unfinished; the nucleus of this post is from June 7.

This is the story of my orange beret, shown below with incorrect color but the construction's shown off well.

Orange beret

My then-boyfriend (the Engineer) took me to the yarn store for Valentine's Day and told me to pick some things out for myself. He was a pretty awesome boyfriend while it lasted. We biked from campus to the yarn store, and stopped at a chocolate shop on the way. Also a RadioShack. He didn't actually buy anything there, but I get it. I go to this awesome crafty/"creativity-focused" store on my lunch break all the time, but the only time I've spent money there was on a journal over winter break.

Orange beret

Now I knew that the Engineer could certainly afford to buy me yarn, but he always talked bad about his exes (he probably still does, but now that I'm ex he'd rather talk about me than to me), and how it annoyed him so much when they expected him to spend more money than he could afford, but at the same time he wouldn't give me an upper limit. So I focused my search on the sale room, especially because that particular LYS had just decided to stop carrying Cherry Tree Hill and a few kinds of Noro. I actually focused pretty exclusively on the Cherry Tree Hill, which was all buy 1 get 1 free. There was some frustration, like a light fingering-weight semisolid silk which I really really wanted but would only have been affordable at 50% off. I ended up focusing on a variegated laceweight alpaca, but I find laceweight a little scary, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't like the color effects in anything I'd like the fabric for. But a yarn store lady helped me a lot in my indecision by suggesting that I'd like to double-strand it with some slightly-mottled orange worsted cotton.

Orange beret

I let the yarn sit around in my stash for a while; I'd already looked up worsted-weight cotton berets with some awesome fair-trade tweedy organic cotton yarn in mind, and I was leaning towards one of those patterns. But I left the yarn in skeins until about two weeks after Mardi Gras, the day after he broke up with me. The very next day, I was spending time with a good friend (the Seamstress; she gets a code name in case I ever want to blog about our affair, which is a whole nother thing) because I was hurting a lot and didn't want to be alone and sad. I'd been watching Dollhouse for a couple weeks, and convinced her watch the first episode to be my swift as I wound the laceweight. It's a good thing I chose a show with extra-long episodes; as it was, we watched through the "Grr Arg" before I could finish. I wound the cotton the next day, and promptly cast on. I didn't want the yarn to be a memento of my first "official" boyfriend and all the firsts that went with that; I wanted a hat for that.

Orange beret

I ended up using the Spring Beret pattern (Ravelry only) by Natalie Larson; if you want to see exactly what kind of yarn I used, here's the project on Ravelry. And all things considered, I think I'd rather have this gorgeous hat, which helped me heal, and which is associated with someone (the Seamstress) I was much happier with, and remain friends with, rather than skeins that remind me of a failed experiment and a man I unintentionally hurt. Wouldn't you?

Orange beret

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giveaway goodies!

I've got lots to talk about, but I suppose I'd better start out with an explanation of those random links (which were supposed to be for personal reference only and later become a foundation for this post if I ever got around to it). See, a while ago Sew, Mama, Sew sponsored a gajillion blog giveaways, and I entered most of the ones I was interested in the prizes for, even remotely. I won two: Four yards of sheer fabric from Sewing with Trudy (and her daughter Emily of Super Stitches), and a fat quarter of flowered fabric from Two Hippos.

Here's a true-color photo of the sheer fabric:

Sheer fabric

And here's me trying to show off just how sheer this is, and sort of failing, but it looks artsy anyways:

Sheer fabric

When I first found out I'd won, I thought that the print was much smaller (and the fabric less sheer) than it is, and I thought I'd like to make a shirt out of it, something Dawn might wear in Buffy Season 7 (hence the screenshots), but that feels a little bit Beyond My Skill at the moment, considering the slipperiness of the fabric. Also, I'm not sure how well a giant print will work on that sort of a design. A smaller floral would be really awesome, I do know that. But I have no idea what else I'd do with the fabric. I think perhaps it shall go marinate in the stash somewhere.

The fat quarter came in a lovely package, so of course I had to do a "process series" of opening the thing:

What a pretty envelope!

Flowered Fat Quarter

Never mind. What an ingenious use for nice paper!

flowered fat quarter

A very nice note inside:

flowered fat quarter

And the contents! She included some very nice squares of a different pattern, as well.

flowered fat quarter

This is closer to true-color, but a little more blurry:

Flowered fat quarter

Now, I've been a Very Bad Blogger and hadn't yet acknowledged that I've received these lovely prizes! But I won another giveaway today, which kind of shamed me into blogging. Besides, I'm not going to SnB tonight because I've already biked way too much (a saga involving size 2 circular needles and my inability to read), so I feel like I should blog before I knit to Buffy Season 7 and Skype my Love Interest.

But, anyhow! Today I won a giveaway on Craft Gossip for a book about how to score good vintage finds and how to modify them. It looks very Not My Style, but it probably has good techniques. And if it doesn't, well . . . there's always somebody who wants it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shirt inspiration for sheer fabric

I meant to save this thing as a draft for personal reference but I can't even figure out how to delete the damn thing, let alone un-publish it. So. Sorry.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Catching up - Ysolda (the designer) and Miss Edith (the FO)

Last weekend, Ysolda (rav link), one of my most favoritest designers & bloggers, was in Madison on her not-so-whirlwind tour of the states. So of course I went to see her. And ended up suffering from a bit of that weirdness that can occur in the presence of celebrity-type people (yes, Ysolda, you are a celebrity in my world), and being really awkward, and feeling like I had made a bad impression in some way which made me feel even more awkward. Should have brought a friend. Oh well, live and learn . . .

The sample table was pretty fun. A lot of things looked much smaller on the mannequins or laying on the tables than on the models . . . I don't know why. Well, the sweaters (especially Little Birds (rav link) (which is on the first page if you Google)) did. The toys looked bigger.

Two of Ysolda's patterns have been calling my name ever since I first saw them--Vivian (rav link), a gorgeous cabled hoodie, and Rose Red (rav link), a cable-lace hat. I tried on the samples, and Vivian was my size (although apparently it was supposed to be Ysolda's . . .). Rose Red was too small--I have a gigantic head, but Ysolda sizes her hat patterns, which is great. I actually have a hibernating UFO of her one free hat pattern, Urchin (rav link|my project), which is actually how I found her.


So now I'm planning to make both Vivian and Rose Red at some point. I'd really like a tweed Vivian--I was looking at KnitPicks City Tweed Heavy Worsted (rav link), but I don't know that I'd actually wear a jacket in many of those colors. (They've got a much better range in DK . . .) Also, despite KnitPicks being a relative bargain generally, a whole jacket of the stuff, even in my closer-to-the-small-end-of-the-spectrum size, is on the expensive side. Can't buy the pattern or the yarn until I get my next paycheck though, so plenty of time to compare prices. Rose Red is more of a long-term thing.

Anyhow, back to the trunk show: I'd started knitting a Poppy (rav link|my project) in the last week or so before I left school. She's named "Miss Edith" after Drusilla's doll on Buffy the Vampire Slayer because (1) I love Drusilla and (2) around the time I cast on I was being called “Miss Edith” rather often because Miss Edith’s always been naughty and needs to be punished. Of course, I'm such a stop-and-start knitter that she didn't even have one leg finished when I realized Ysolda was coming to Madison. I managed to get the entire body, as well as the hair, finished the night before, and cast on the dress. I worked on it at the store (a bunch of people, including a teacher from my old high school, sat and knit), but didn't get it finished. So here is my Miss Edith next to Ysolda's sample Poppy (the original!):

Poppy & Miss Edith

And here is me, Ysolda, Poppy, & Miss Edith:

Me & Ysolda (& Poppy & Miss Edith)

At this point I've finished the dress, but she's remaining faceless for the forseeable future, based on (1) a vague memory about Native American (according to a brief Google search, Iroquois) superstition that dolls should not have faces, (2) faceless dolls from some toy catalog we used to get when I was little, and (3) trepidation about my embroidery skills.

So here we go: I used heart-shaped buttons out of my mom's dentist cabinet sewing stash:

Miss Edith

Some art shots:

Miss Edith

Miss Edith

Miss Edith

Me & her:

Miss Edith & me

Look, we have the same hair!

Miss Edith & me

More pictures if you click through to either Flickr or Ravelry--I went a little snap-happy with that backyard sunset photoshoot.

And I had been going to blog another FO today, but writing a blog post always takes longer than I think it will. Things I didn't get around to: an orange beret (rav link) and the last four pictures I took in New Orleans (including some needlepoint). Talk to me--are these worth blogging? Do you want me to say witty things about them and give fun explanations including my ex-boyfriend?

Friday, May 29, 2009

I did some mending!

So last summer, the plastic clasp thing on one of my favorite bikinis busted when I bent over. That was the second time this had happened to this particular bikini--last time my mom had sewn in a new clasp for me. Well, I was rooting around through her notions and what should I find but another bikini clasp--it turns out the previous one had been one of a set of two! I sewed two lines of split backstitch with a doubled all-purpose white thread, insipred by the stitching on the loop that the clasp hooks into. Also because this bikini's already busted two hook/clasp things, I gave it a little more length. I don't feel any pulling across the back--I think this one will last. No process photos due to camera cord AWOL-ness, but Photo Booth to the rescue!

I didn't take a picture of the busted bikini, so here's a dramatic re-enactment of my distress. Note the broken clasp I'm holding--it's kind of hard to see.

Mending my bikini - 1

It's kind of hard to get the right details in Photobooth, you know. Here's me demonstrating that the bikini's clasped properly around my back, and that one tendril of hair is right exactly where it shouldn't be . . .

Mending my bikini - 2

And now, because how could I possibly resist, some gratuitous bikini shots! (Did you know that if you put "bikini" in the text relating to a Flickr picture, you don't need to do any work at all to get views? True Fact . . .)

Mending my bikini - 3

Ooh yeah, hella sassy . . .

Mending my bikini - 4

MySpace cleavage shot--done for parody, not self-degradation. I swear!

Mending my bikini - 5

This one even got commented on by a stranger. o.0

Mending my bikini - 6

OK, this one might be a little degrading, but I'd like it if it was of someone else.

. . . All these views I am getting on flickr are tempting me sorely to exploit my youth & beauty for personal financial gain . . .

Oh and P.S. I'm planning on embroidering this Buffy screencap sometime soon (Season 3, ep 20, "The Prom"):

I'd actually really love to do an image of Buffy & Angel, but I can only picture it in cross-stitch which would be highly difficult to design without one of those fancy software packs. :/

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Curtains fail

So I've been trying to sew myself some curtains, but there was failure involved. I blame the thickness of the fabric (I think), as I was blaming the ancient-ness of my machine but then I kept having problems with my mom's newer machine. But I did discover that Singer hasn't changed their needles much and hers will fit in my machine . . . hooray! I did take a nice series of illustrative photos in order to write a nice Sewing Machine Saga but as previously mentioned, I've got no idea where my camera cable is. :/

On the knitting front, Miss Edith (Poppy) is coming along quite nicely--Ysolda will be at my LYS on Saturday, and I want to be able to show her something of hers I've actually completed . . . (Do not even mention Urchin to me. Please.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What I've been up to

So I know a blog post is nothing without pictures--*nothing*. Unfortunately, I really have no idea where my camera cable is--it probably got chucked in a box when I was packing up my dorm room. Or possibly my backpack. But the point is, I don't know where it is. So I played around with Photo Booth to show off the cross-stitch kit I'm working on currently. (Played being the operative word . . .)

Cross-stitch kit

Cross-stitch kit

Cross-stitch kit

Also way back almost a month ago (holy shit, almost a month and no job . . . going to call Sabrina's mom *tomorrow* . . .) when I was packing up my dorm room, I took some pictures of my knitting just because. So here are the projects I took pictures of then:

Miss Edith (Rav Link)
Pattern: Poppy by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool


At this point she has an entire torso and most of one leg; I really ought to work on her more, as Ysolda's coming to Madison next weekend.

She’s supposed to look like me, at least eventually. She’s named Miss Edith after Drusilla’s doll on Buffy the Vampire Slayer because (1) I love Drusilla and (2) around the time I cast on I was being called “Miss Edith” rather often because Miss Edith’s always been naughty and needs to be punished. ;)

I wish I'd picked a plumper yarn; while I was at the store it seemed *so* important that I not get something that was ~6 yards short. Then as soon as I cast on I realized that it wouldn't have been the end of the world if I'd e.g. made her legs a couple rows shorter if I did run out of yarn. Oh well.

Monkey Socks by Cookie A. (Rav link)
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 100


Got yarn from my aunt for Christmas … she put it in a White elephant package figuring that if I didn’t end up with it whoever got it was likely to be willing to trade.

Since that picture was taken I have completely finished the pair of socks, except for the weaving in. x.X I know I know, bad knitter. It's just I've kind of been possessed by this whole cross-stitch thing . . .

And while I'd love to make this post even longer, I'm overcome by an incredible urge to actually so something. Later!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hi, I'm back

I was just going to write this long, very eloquent thing and dump it in the Cast On drop (this is like e-mailing it to Brenda but other people can see it). Then I was like, that is silly. I have a blog. I shall therefore post a version of this eloquent thing here, in order to participate in a community and also to get credit for my personal eloquence.

I just watched The Story of Stuff for the first time. I think it's a good summary of my personal environmental beliefs, and why I personally am taking Brenda's current theme, make Do and Mend, very seriously. While the video itself doesn't really talk about making do and mending, it does talk about the incredible amount of waste that we produce today, and the costs that are externalized from buying too-cheap goods.

I actually had first heard about this video from my local newspaper, which had a syndicated version of this New York Times story about the use of "The Story of Stuff" in classrooms. What really stuck in my craw was the way in which this video was portrayed as being political propoganda, even by the authorial voice.
The video certainly makes the facts stark and at times very political: “We’ll start with extraction, which is a fancy word for natural resource exploitation, which is a fancy word for trashing the planet,” she says at one point. “What this looks like is we chop down the trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals.”

What's the non-political way to describe this? "We extract the resources"? It really sticks in my craw the way that the right in America (as well as the main-stream media) has such a monopoly on "apolitical" language. Also how much more mainstream right-wing crazies are than left-wing crazies, but that's a whole 'nother rant.

One parent actually succeeded in getting his local school board to ban this video from local classrooms, on the grounds that “There was not one positive thing about capitalism in the whole thing.” Well, that's kind of the point. We are immersed in an environment that points out the good things about capitalism. Plenty of school textbooks (in America, at least, these are often total crap) talk about capitalism and how it's so amazing and gives us all jobs and cheap consumer goods, but is anyone going in front of school boards to protest this? Well, maybe. But teachers ought to have the right to bring in other materials that point out the dark underbelly of capitalism, as well as any other viewpoint that they believe is missing from the standard instructional materials.

In other news: I'm learning to embroider!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Does anyone remember me?

I know, I know. Lots of people re-start their blogs in January. For most of them it's probably a New Year's resolution type thing. Well, for me it's totally not.

See, a big part of the reason I have disappeared so completely from the knitting bits of the internet is that my camera had no batteries, and then I knew I had more AAA batteries but didn't know where I'd put them, and then kind of forgot. And now I'm home for Christmas (well, at this point almost done being home for Christmas . . .) and have no fucking idea if I even brought my camera home from New Orleans. So there you go.

But anyhow. In this magical month of not-having-any-homework-not-even-a-little-nothing-I-need-to-study-for-at-all-not-really, I have been doing a lot of reading. A lot of reading of library books, actually. It turns out (if you think about this for a bit it should be blindingly obvious why) that the extensive public library system in Madison, Wisconsin has a lot more knitting books than the university library at Tulane, or even the New Orleans public library system (although admittedly I don't have a New Orleans library card yet . . . I should get on that). And one of the myriad knitting books that I am trying madly to finish before I head back down to Louisiana and have to return all my library books (There are, like, 29. Don't laugh, this includes DVDs.) includes a book that I have actually finished--The Close-Knit Circle by Kerry Wills.

For the most part, I found this a fascinating and educational book. I'm relatively familiar with the subject matter, but it definitely did goad me into blogging again. Theoretically this is a book about the knitting subculture, which I feel myself to be a part of, but it spent a little more time talking about the knitting fad, which I think is kind of stupid, than was strictly necessary. This is theoretically one volume of many in a series about subcultures, including one about vegetarianism. If the author of the vegetarianism had spent this much time wondering if vegetarianism was still cool, their editor probably would have thrown them out on their asses. However, due to the misperceptions of knitting in the media etc etc (I just listened to Episode 45 of Cast On which touches on this subject) I suppose there is a possibility that it's not the author's fault that the knitting trend (OMG can it die now please? Can people stop assuming that because I am young and knit I am the same as people who will only knit the ugliest simplest patterns out of Stitch 'n Bitch?) is all over her book, because the editor might have been like, um girl, you need more about this knitting trend thing I been hearing about. Snip snap snizzle. Because that is 100% how I would talk if I were an editor . . . slash not.

Anyhow. I had a really happy holidays and in my camera-free time I have made three knitted gifts two of which are all the way in New Jersey and Harlem and things and therefore might never ever get blogged. But if my camera turns up/I steal my dad's camera in the next couple days, y'all can totally see my brother's ballet socks . . .