Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aren't I just the crafty one?

I mentioned previously that I was planning to join in a quilt along. The task for the first week was to go get supplies. I already had a fabric that I loved intensely that I was going to make someone else turn into a quilt for me. Given this great opportunity, I just had to take that fabric back (sure am glad I didn't let it go to Maine with a bunch of other fabrics), and find friends to go with it. Here's a picture of the motif on the favorite fabric (I'm going to use it in the quilt top and as the binding), and another of it with its new friends. I sure do hope they like each other...

In the meantime, I finished a couple of knitting projects and started two more. I'm very pleased with both completed projects, and I hope the recipients are as happy when I finally mail them.

These socks were an absolute dream to work on. I love, love, love the Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel blend. It's incredibly soft and forgiving. I used the Pillars of Atlantis sock pattern by Chrissy Graham. The yarn and pattern combined nicely into a quick and satisfying knit.*

The sweater was a true learning experience - it had seams. I'm very pleased to say that I can stitch together knitted pieces now, which is something I could not do before. Of course, the sleeve on one side went in when I was sleepy, and then I accidentally cut the wrong yarn when I tried to take it back out. This resulted (of course) in needing to reknit the shoulder section where I made the mistake. ::sigh:: You do something well, you learn; you make mistakes, you learn more. This is the Seed Stitch Baby Jacket by Elinor Brown. The mother went to my Alma Mater, and she's very devoted to the school. I decided to make the sweater in a size the baby should be able to wear when the weather turns cold again, and felt that a sweater in our school colors was just the thing.** Don't you just love those cute little flower buttons?? Hopefully, all will work out according to plan and I will be able to post a photo of sweater on baby in October.

Currently in progress, I have a pair of socks and baby blankets for my sister-in-law and the impending birth of the twinlets.*** The sock yarn is Sanguine Gryphon Kypria in an exclusive colorway for a sock club at my local yarn shop. The pattern is also exclusive, written by a local designer named Beverly Roberts. Sorry the picture isn't that great. I could either show stitch definition (sort of, since it's a lace pattern and will show best on-foot), or the color. This is pretty true of color. They're knitting up crazy fast, and I'm hoping to have them finished in time to take them to her this week. We'll see...


The baby blankets are a simple garter stitch on the bias, and I'm going to make them in alternating stripes of cream and blue for one and cream and green for the other. I wanted them to be functional, so I'm making them in Plymoth Encore Worsted, which is attractive, warm, and machine wash/ dryable. I would have done something more involved, but she already has a very nice baby blanket her grandmother made before she passed on. I don't want to be disrespectful and try to compete with that. Unfortunately, her grandmother didn't know she'd be having twins, so I thought it might be nice for her to have two blankets that she felt less sentimental about.

Here begins a SOAPBOX MOMENT:

The joys of creating with one's hands cannot be overstated. I heartily encourage everyone to find some craft they enjoy and just do it. A technician at the orthodontist's office once looked at my knitting and said, "Gosh, I sure wish I could do that." YOU CAN!!! Don't be such a doubting Mustafa!!!**** Do whatever it is that tickles your fancy. You could enjoy making music or woodworking or painting or writing or knitting or quilting or all of the above or something I haven't listed. You won't know if you like it or can do it until you try it. Whatever it is. Don't worry if your efforts aren't immediately awarded with perfection. As long as you're having fun (and not putting yourself in the poor house), keep at it. You'll get better, or - if you don't - at least you'll be enjoying yourself. Party down, people!

* I feel safe posting a picture of the end result because my mom doesn't actually ever read my blog - this will naturally be the one time she does - and even if she gets around to it, I doubt she'll be sad that she's seen the socks before she's seen the socks.

** Our 10 year reunion is this fall. Note: she also does not read my blog.


*** My sister-in-law who does not read my blog...do you sense a theme developing here?

**** Reference unknown at the moment, but I'm sure I hear the line in Billy Crystal's voice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My little place in this world...

Here you go. This is my place, where I spend my time knitting, thinking, waiting, and websurfing. My rear goes just past the cell phone, my legs live under the computer, and all that crap sits next to my legs.

Well, maybe not ALL of it. That blue bag isn't normally there. It's holding a baby sweater I've been working on for a friend. I'm almost done with it, just need to finish stitching the pieces together and add amazingly cute buttons (FO picture to come).

That poor remote must be feeling neglected. I ignore it most of the time. I've been more interested in catching up on the Lime and Violet knitting podcast during the day. I tried one episode and got a little hooked. If you look closely, you can see my iPod (his name is iGor) tucked into my knitting and the little black box with "iHome" is a plug-in speaker (it is the box with no name). These tools make it convenient to listen to all of them, at a clip of about 4 or 5 a day (I listen between GF's comings and goings, whilst coping with the needs of Bratty McBraterson and her backup Doggies). The laptop is usually on my legs because I like to pause in my knitting to see what they're talking about when they discuss different yarn purveyors. It's going to take quite some time to get through them all - there are a lot, and I feel little hope that I'll ever completely catch up. In the meantime, I'm feeling an immense urge for Starbucks and sock yarn..

I cannot, however, overindulge in either desire. As far as the Starbucks goes, I am in the midst of yet another attempt at living a more healthy lifestyle. I've rejoined Weight Watchers online, and I'm trying to be a little more active. I gotta say, I kind of dig on the new WW tracker - it has this nifty daily checklist of items you should be consuming. They're called "Healthy Checks" or something. I love them because, if I check off the proper number of boxes in each category, I get a little smiley face. It's like a daily report card with all A's and gold stars for dieting. One of the checks is for water. As a result, I'm entirely motivated to drink more water. That water bottle sits there because I don't have a table to put a glass of water on like a normal person.

In fact, all of this crap sits where it sits because I DON'T HAVE A FREAKIN' TABLE. You see, GF and I had this great idea to purchase a sectional some time ago. It never occured to me that a sectional sofa would render end tables pointless. Now now, I know what you're saying, "Ringed, may I ask why you don't have a coffee table?" To which I respond that you clearly have not been paying attention. I have three dogs. One of them is a shepherd/lab mix with a table sweeper for a tail. He's also large and dumb and likes to body slam the furniture while fighting/playing with the other dogs. More on that some other day...like when he breaks something really expensive that GF cannot live without (read here external hard drive that keeps getting knocked to the floor from the table HE gets to enjoy... not that I'm bitter).

Then there's that bag with the knitting. I stole that bag from my brother (who is in the Army) years ago. Until I started knitting, I was at a loss to find a use for it. I mostly kept it because it was something of his to remember him by (he's usually somewhere far away). It's large enough to hold a couple of skeins of yarn and a corresponding large-ish project or two pairs of socks in progress, if needed. Currently, it's holding the yarn for a baby blanket. I actually started this project three or four times, lost an entire day on one idea and then pulled it back and started again. I've settled on a nice bias knit stripe in garter stitch. I hope it's enjoyed by the recipient. I think I want to do a nice crochet border in the green on the outside edge when I'm all done with the stripes...I guess I'll have to remember how to crochet...

Of course, all this knitting and podcasts and whatnot is for the specific purpose of distracting myself from my current state of joblessness (the primary reason I cannot overindulge in sock yarn). The cell phone's purpose is to remind me that I still don't have a job, or even prospects therefor. It sits next to me, not ringing. Well, that's not true. It doesn't ring because I have it set to vibrate so it won't annoy BMcB and the Doggies. It's a Blackberry (named Edna), so I get what few emailed rejections employers bother to send immediately. I also use it to maintain nearly co-dependent level constant contact with GF. Until I figured out that the screen lights up when the phone is ringing, I used to get mad when he'd send me more than one response at a time. You see, emails don't set off vibrations, texts and GF messages set off two bursts, and calls set off four or more. When GF sends more than a single line of response at a time, it vibrates twice for each message. Due to the nature of our contact, it sometimes vibrates a LOT. I guess, therefore, a more accurate-to-the-situation explanation is that it sits there, dark screened, and vibrating.

That's all for now. I'll give a puppy update soon, with new pictures.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Giving this a try...



I tried to get into quilting before, but then I started law school. Knitting is more portable. I've been thinking about finding my way back to quilting and I need to break my machine out anyway (looking at you, J). This looks cool and kind of fun and I might enjoy it...

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

FINISHED!!!

After a month and a half of staring at boring boring grey, I finally finished GF's socks. I'm very pleased with the end result. More importantly, he's very pleased with his socks. And they make his feet look surprisingly normal.

Of course, after I finished the socks, the temperature soared for about a week here, and GF couldn't wear his new pretty socks. Instead, they sat on the table next to the couch. Eventually the temperature ebbed, and he got to wear them to work this past week. He loves them, naturally, and now would like more.

::sigh::

Lesson learned - don't introduce new addictions you aren't prepared to feed.