Sunday, February 20, 2011

Projects and Productivity

Karen's Mitts are coming along nicely! 
Somehow, I feel like alternating projects keeps me more productive overall.  I'm still working on my super-secret project, but I can tell you that if I try to do a large amount of colorwork in a small amount of time, my standards become a little lax.  The longer I wiggle all those little strands around, the more I get distracted and - yes - impatient.  I haven't got a good system yet, is part of the problem.

So right now, I am working on:
Karen's Mitts!
My secret belated project
My Bamboo Snood (we've been fighting)
Spinning my undyed BFL/Corriedale
My Laminaria lace shawl.  It's not that I don't want to work on it, it's just that I'm intimidated.

I just finished:
My Discovery Sock!  It's fantastic, and I love the method of sock construction.  If you're curious or want to try out an alternative sock method, the book is called Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi.  I plan on casting on the second sock soon, and I don't feel any twinges about that!  Somehow, knowing that I won't have to turn a heel or pick up gusset stitches seems to have cleared up my SSS (Second Sock Syndrome).

Yesterday, Christopher and I went on a grand adventure!  Well, we went on an adventure.  He drove, because I was intimidated by driving my car around the rotary.  We picked up the spare key for my car at the dealership, and then went on our first trip to BJs together!  Don't take that the wrong way, you dirty birds.  You know what I mean.  The store, where you buy freakish amounts of food.  We invested in many meal-staples, and while (the bill) was a bit overwhelming, I think we'll be set for a while.  We have a freezer full of stuff now, and I won't have to cry and go to the store every single time I want to make dinner - hooray!
He lets me ride in the cart. It's true love. I got out when it started to get too heavy, because I love him too.

Friday, February 18, 2011


And I am lying in bed, melting, at 8:45.  I would be embarrassed, if I wasn't so sleepy and well-fed.

One of the sewing machines at work.

The awesome chain-link pattern that wouldn't fit over my heel and had to be frogged.

The cutest booties ever, made by my aunt Becky.
In the mail today I got yarn for a new project - Mitts for Miss Karen, my college roommate.  It feels so weird to say "college roommate" in the past tense.  Her previous set of mitts have gone walkabout, so I am going to make her a new set.  Finally - a chance to knit with Baby Cashmerino! :D

Now, I will leave you wondering - did I really sign off to go to bed at 9:03 PM?  I'll never tell. . .

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Driving Around

I've been driving around all week - in both senses.  I've been driving my car, and it's been going pretty well! And I've also been driving my spinning wheel around and around.  I've got a full 4 oz. of merino ready to ply, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will be enough for a pair of socks or mitts! The whole weight of fiber thing confuzzles me, although I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

Newly plied and snuggled into an Ugg.

 Continued the next morning: I plied it!  My pre-plying left me a little uneven lengthwise and I had to scoot some single-strands from bobbin to bobbin, but it came out wonderfully.  By wonderfully, I mean I love it.  I don't mean that it's perfect or particularly even, or even completely plied in all the fuzziest places.  But that's how I like it!

The colorway is called Mud Season - it's 100% Merino, from Spunky Eclectic's fiber of the month club.  My mum (or Santa by way of my mum?) got me a membership a couple of years ago, and I could never keep up with just my one tiny (lace-sized, I now know) drop spindle.  So I have all these beautiful little 4 oz. bags of hand-dyed fiber, and I keep picking them up and squeezing them.  What to spin next?!

In knitting news, my super-secret project which is SO belated for my mom's birthday is going well.  I'm not going to tell details now, but it should be done soon and then I will post pictures!

My Discovery Sock from Cat Bordhi's Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters is aliiiive! I read comments on ravelry and heard in podcasts that many people had trouble getting the toe-to-heel relationship right, and the socks just didn't come out well.  And there is a scary part, where you knit up the foot of the sock and close it right up with no ankle opening, and cannot try it on.  But I opened up the ankle and started knitting up - and voila!  A well-fitted, perfectly functional sock.  I'm going to make a few rows of the Chainmail pattern on the cuff, because it's beautiful.  And then onward to the next sock!  When I got the book and realized the construction of the sock (key words: no gusset, no picking up stitches, no heel turning) I had a feeling that we were sole mates.  Sole mates: see what I did there?

In non-crafting news, Christopher has decided that he is going to train Louie to be better about being picked up.  I told him that if he is going to clean up her anger-poops that she leaves on the floor after these events, he can go right ahead.  But in all seriousness, it's going pretty well.  He has a firm grip, and she seems pretty calm when she's actually in his arms (to which I can relate).  It's the picking up and putting down that freak her out.  But she's been relaxing faster afterward, and I would love to be able to maneuver her when needed - taking her to the vet is not a pretty thing.  And the vet is my dad, so I feel bad when he has to wrestle a wee, delicate, ferociously kicking beasty.

If you're wondering about my awesome (obnoxious?) photos this time, I found the iPhone App Hipstamatic, and can't stop taking weirdly filtered photos.  There are other lense and film options, but I like this spooky vintage look, and I'm going to use it for now.  How do you feel about it?

The laundry calls.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Morning Matters

Welp, I burned my barley.  I'm still making tea out of it though, and it's tasty - though burned.

I forgot that there is a big hill on the way to my parents house and now I only have my car which makes me verreh nervous.  Pray for me.

Also, I'm posting this, but don't be scared;  I have no plans to do these things.  My car is blue, not sponsored, and I'm sure that one has something extra under the hood. But - much more reassuring than the crash test video!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whirlwind of a Week

First order of business: A confession.

I am a winter creature.  I love the snow, my body temperature adjusts swiftly, and I love to actually feel cold enough to snuggle in under a quilt.  I love the way snow looks, I love to eat it with maple syrup, I love to build forts, and watch dogs cavort in a winter wonderland.
The confession: I am so done with this.  It's been weeks and weeks since we've had clear ground, which would be fine if the snow was nice.  But it's solid ice for at least a quarter of an inch everywhere, whether on the road or the sidewalk or covering what used to be nice fluffy snow.

So now that that is out of the way, here are things that happened during my whirlwind of a week!

In chronological order, here are the events!

Friday night I had my spinning lesson.  Sheryl is the sweetest lady, and a wonderful teacher.  Her dog is a big snuggle, and her family is fun.  I learned how to ply and asked all my questions.  She said I was a natural (awww shucks!).

Saturday: I went car shopping with my Papa.  And fell in love, unfortunately, with the genus of car, rather than the species.  That is to say that I tried all of the Subarus, and could not make up my mind.  Practical and well-built Forester (high clearance, lots of space) or Sexy Impreza.

My car, from its listing.
Ladies and gentlemen, on Sunday I bought the sexy standard transmission critter.  I still wake up in the night terrified that I made the wrong choice.  The Forester is built like a brick, drives fantastically, and is well-within my comfort zone.   But all embarrassing red-light stalls aside, I've quite enjoyed practicing this new, well, hobby.  Skill.  And I've always loved the feel of riding in a manual transmission car.  It's one of the few acceleration/deceleration sensations that my stomach does get along with.  Also, it's pretty practical.  It's smaller but the trunk is not very small. And it's all AWD all the time, so as a winter-driving sedan, it's about as good as it gets.  I saw one towing a trailer during the (most recent) snow storm the other day. And it has good crash-test ratings, but for the love of cupcakes do not watch the video on youtube.  A good rating does not necessarily make for a reassuring video (THE DUMMIE'S HEAD ALWAYS COMES OFF?) and may or may not have led me to call my dad at 4 in the morning panicked, the night after I signed the papers.  Luckily, he's good for emergencies and has a very calming doctor voice.

Monday we picked up the car, and brought it home to my parents house!  Just before we left, Sheryl of Spin A Bit called to tell me the mail carrier couldn't get up the driveway to drop off the wheel, but it was ready to be picked up from the Post Office!

Tuesday: Snow Storm Again.  Christopher and I had a lovely evening sitting around together, and I made homemade sloppy joes.  I pout about not having my wheel, and drink red wine.  I bought the wine as a conciliatory offering to myself, since I didn't have my wheel.  But once the bottle is open I realized I'm going to have to work hard on it.  I'm not a good drinker, and if it stayed tasty for two weeks, that's how long it might take me to drink a whole bottle of wine.  And Chris doesn't drink, so I can't hardly expect him to save me!

Wednesday the roads were still crap, it was sleeting, and I left work early so my aunt could work on my back.  She does many various therapies, including some cranio-sacral.  She tells me I mustn't knit.  I try to be strong.  I drink more wine, while not knitting.  I read instead, and watch Coffee Prince.
I ice my back.

Thursday the roads are finally clear(ish).  My dad (who is awesome) takes my car to get inspected: crack in the mirror means no good!  Chris and I drive my new car (with it's rejection sticker) to pick up the spinning wheel!  It's all wrapped up in New Zealand newspaper pages.  I get some beautiful fiber as a bonus, because Sheryl is delightful (and I think that's her policy).  We bring home wheel, fiber, and niddy noddy.  I squeal excessively the whole ride back, clapping my hands like a fool, and fog the windows - also because it is 16 degrees outside.  Brrr.
Lou is prepared to supervise.  Also, the polar bears on that blanket.
After dropping off my car at my parents house (where it was being fostered briefly) we come home and set it up while watching an episode of Lie to Me.  My hands get tired and Christopher screws in the tiny screws for me because he is the best.  Louie tries to drag the instructions inside her crate like the raptor from the opening of Jurassic Park (but way cuter!)  I spin for a few minutes, and then realize it's 11:30 and I have work in the morning.  To bed!

This very morning, my mom (who is wonderful) takes my car to have its mirror fixed, and gets it re-inspected.  It's good to go, and now I just have to send in various thingies by mail and have pictures taken for the insurance.  Oh, and learn to drive it.  After work, I go to the dollar store and buy what seems to be an unfinished basket for Lou to gnaw.  After arriving home, I bite it and find that it tastes like it's been bleached.  It has our keys in it instead.

Liz comes over, and is very brave going out driving with me.  She's a very calm friend.  Just right for embarrassing repetitive stalls at intersections.  We drive around.  I come home with my car (Izzy is her name) and here I am.  Drinking red wine, eating a sloppy joe, and supervising romp-time for Louie.  I spun a bit on my wheel first, of course.  I ice my back.  Speaking of, I must sign off because this position is rough on the sore shoulder.

Wish me luck roasting barley.  I am craving some barley tea, and must roast my own due to tragic lack of Asian grocery.

More pictures will be forthcoming, with more spinning wheel details!  But right now. . . I'm gonna go make some tea and spin ;D