Saturday, May 31, 2008

FO: Dad's Topo Chico Cozy

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Today was my Dad's birthday. Along with some stuff to use for stamp collecting, I got him some of his Topo Chico sparkling mineral water and a felted cozy for the bottles.

A while back I saw my Dad drinking his Topo Chico with a napkin and a rubber band around it. While I wish this had turned out a little better, I know this is better than what he was using before.

I used plastic US Size 9 dpns and Patons Classic Merino Wool in Rich Red, Old Gold and Peacock. I only needed a very small amount of each color.

I cast on 30 stitches in the round and knit about 15 rows of each color. I'm positive I took a pre-felting picture, but I can't find it.

Getting this thing felted was a hassle. I actually knitted it very quickly last night. Then I went out to the laundry area in my apartment with the old blue jeans I use for felting. I placed everything in the washer along with detergent. That was when I realized that they raised the prices and I didn't have enough on my laundry card to cover the load.

The laundry cards at my apartment suck because:
1)They are the only way to pay for laundry.
2)You can only refill them in the office, which was closed last night when I wanted to do felt this.
3)You can only put increments of $5 on you card.
4)You have to use a $5 bill or larger in the machine.
5)If you ask for a $5 bill in exchange for five $1 bills, The management will tell you to go to the gas station and ask for change.

So I had to wait until this morning to felt the cozy. I didn't put in additional detergent, just what had soaked into my jeans. I just did one cycle on the hottest setting. No tennis balls or dunking in ice water. I was expecting it to shrink more. Instead it went from about 7.5 inches in length to about 6.5 inches in length. Also, the width (lying flat) seems to be staying steady at about 3.5 inches.

I wanted to felt this more, but I was running out of time. Besides, if it had felted too much, it wouldn't fit the bottle. I still wish it was either shorter or shaped to fit the top of the bottle.

Dad didn't seem to mind that it wasn't felted perfectly. Honestly, I think he was more excited that I had found Topo Chico with a twist of Tangerine.

Friday, May 30, 2008

WIP: Desperation Scarf

I've made so many of these novelty yarn scarves that I have to keep coming up with weird new names. Pretty soon I'll have to do like Koigu and start assigning numbers.

I'm joking that my current project is "calculator knitting." I'm swatching for an idea I have. (See numbers one, two and three on my list.) Right now there is a lot of thinking, writing and ripping going on.

I went going to a Sunday school get together tonight. At work it occurred to me that I didn't have any good "social knitting" to bring with me. At first I thought it would be no big deal. Then I checked my e-mail and realized a movie was on the agenda. I needed something to knit during the movie.

So I decided to run home for some "movie knitting." Unable to find the yarn for my next project, I searched until I found two matching skeins of novelty yarn.

For a while, I was stocking up on the stuff for scarves to sell at craft shows. I always bought in pairs because two seems to be the magic number for a scarf. I actually took two pairs just to be safe.

This is Lion Brand Fancy Fur in "Rainbow Red." I cast on 12 stitches and I'm using US size 9 plastic needles.

I've named this the Desperation Scarf because I was desperate for something to knit. Although we ended up not watching the movie, I'm more than halfway done.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Putting the surprise in the Baby Surprise Jacket

While cleaning Mom found an old Baby Surprise Jacket that she knit but never seamed. I knew the construction for the jacket was unusual, but I'd never seen it folded into place. I decided this was a good time to try out my camera's ability to take 15 second videos (with no sound.)

(I'd also heard about the controversy over Flickr's new video capabilities and wanted to try it out myself. Personally, I don't think it's a problem.)

Either way, I present to you "Baby Surprise Jacket - The Movie," a 14-second thrill ride starring my Mom's hands.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Early FOs: Herrschner's Contest Entries

Are you ready for some more of my early work? My Mom found two afghans in storage recently.

This is the Cabbage Rose afghan by Sherry B. Raymer from Woman's Day Prizewinning Granny Squares, a book I got for Christmas one year. If I remember correctly I used Red Heart Super Saver. (In fact, I used Red Heart on both the afghans in this entry. Red Heart is the official yarn of my childhood.)

I think I crocheted this around 1993, a period when I had dropped knitting and but was into crochet. I was also really into rainbow colors. (The original pattern was in subtle pastels on a white background.)

I was drawn to the giant three dimensional roses in the pattern. It doesn't make it very practical for actual use, but it was fun to make.

Mom thinks the roses got squished during years in storage, but I think they look fine.

Here's a close up of the corner. I seem to vaguely remember going to Walmart and looking for the perfect rainbow colors.

Here is the cool part. My entry tag from the Herschners Grand National Afghan Contest is still attached. Back then, you could enter patterns that had been published by someone else. I read about the contest in a magazine I was looking through at Book Stop. (Do you remember Book Stop? Barnes and Noble bought them out a long time ago.)

I didn't win, but my picture and my afghan were featured in the Herrschners catalog because I was one of the youngest entrants. (A 12 year-old boy was also featured.) I still have the catalog somewhere.

I entered several times. I forget exactly what was entered when. I'm guessing this afghan was entered the following year. This time I designed my own.

I'm really proud of this one. Really, really proud. More so today than I was back then (circa 1994?) I wanted to crochet something that was similar to a quilt. I chose the log cabin quilt. My Mom talked about log cabin quilts a lot during that period (or at least that's how I remember it.) The center of each square is supposed to represent the hearth of the home. (At least I think that's it. If so, I got it wrong here because the hearth is supposed to be a warm color.) I also remember learning about the different log cabin layouts. This is Fields and Furrows.

When I first saw it on Monday, I remembered that I designed it myself, but I didn't quite believe it. The pattern holds up well today. I might change the color scheme and the size, but otherwise I'd keep it the same. I wish I had written it down. (Maybe I'll go back and try to record it someday.)

You'll notice entering Herrschners again is number four on my list.

PS - Squinty says hi.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FO: Clapotis

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Second Wave Clapotis KAL.

It's done!

I finished my Clapotis last night while I was at my parent's house for a little Memorial Day barbecue. I even had enough time left for a goofy photo shoot in a clashing shirt before I left.

As I said before I used US size 4 needles from my Boye Needlemaster and SWTC Oasis in "Purplexed." The yarn is much better in this project than it was that weird lacy poncho I was knitting before I frogged it.

I'm not planning to block it. It seems to lie pretty flat on its own, except for the corners. I should have measured it while it was laid out. I know it's a little longer and more narrow than the original (I think), but it works.

I'm debating how to actually wear this. I have some time to decide. It's way too hot for scarves, wraps or anything warm right now.

For the parting shot, the classic shawl pose. Not quite the same with this project than a more traditional lace shawl.

I am no longer a Clapotis virgin.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day One

Today was officially day one of my list for the 101 goals in 1,001 days project, and I think I'm off to a good start. (You can see my full list here.

I sketched out some ideas for number 1 and number 39, I read a book I checked out from the library about eBay for number 10 and for number 62, I asked about tough yarns on Ravelry to get an ideas for yarns for the Susie Hoodie in More Big Girl Knits. (Although I may still decide to pick something more luxurious and be more gentle with it.) I realized number 62, knit the Susie Hoodie, will work nicely with number 60, sew a zipper into a sweater. I don't think the original hoodie has a zipper, but I want one on mine.

The big one was working on number 7, organizing and decluttering my apartment. I rearranged the closet so I could fit some more stuff in it. I put my board games on my shelves and put my Christmas decorations in the closet. I even broke out the vacuum cleaner I got for Christmas. It works great. Too bad I didn't have it when I had more carpeting.

I also finished my Clapotis this evening. Pictures to come tomorrow.

WIP: Clapotis

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Second Wave Clapotis KAL.

I was all excited about sleeping in on my day off, but then I woke up at 7:15 and couldn't go back to sleep. (However, I will be napping after this post.) I think I'm excited because today is the first day of my 1,001 Days.

I've been meaning to post more WIP pictures of Clapotis. I love to see the progress as I go along.

I took this picture earlier this week in the break room during work. The white couch makes a good background. I think I was near the end of section three here.

This picture was taken Wednesday at Chicks with Sticks Wednesday night at Bluebonnet. I think I was officially at the end of section three.

Here it is as of yesterday, at the North Central meetup. I've done some significant work on section 4 at this point.

With any luck, there will be an FO post tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Next weekend will be packed

Everything in the world is planned for next weekend. Well, not everything. Along with some events with friends and family, there's a bunch of knitting stuff going on. Here are some knitting events around town if you're in Austin. I probably won't be able to attend all of them, but maybe some of you can.

Knitty Bingo

Gauge will be having a bingo night starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30. The prizes are of the yarnie kind.

HCW "Off Site" Sale

I love it when Hill Country Weavers advertises sales in rhyme.
Green House, Yellow House, Blue House, Full!
We're having a sale, and it's not just wool!
This sale is off site. Apparently, Suzanne is cleaning out her "houses." The flyer I got says she'll have "felting wools, basics, novelty, self stripers, Rowan, winter wools, Berroco, summer cottons, sample garments, ribbon yarns, baby yarn and Tahki-Stacy Charles."

I never would have heard it about it if I didn't stop by HCW this afternoon. (I finally got my Eucalan. Mmmmm...grapefruit.) I hadn't been there in a while, and I mentioned to Suzanne that I lived north now. She handed me a flyer and said I was in her neighborhood.

The sale is Friday and Saturday from 10-6 at 1131 Yucca Drive.

1,000 Knitters Project at The Knitting Nest

The Knitting Nest will be hosting Franklin from the 1000 Knitters Project on Saturday. I already signed my modeling form months ago, and I am awaiting further instruction.

On June 14...

I just realized that World Wide Knit in Public Day is not until June 14. I'm relieved because thought it was next weekend for some reason. That's one less thing to try to cram in next weekend. The details for the Austin event are here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I took u a picchur, but I eated it

I was going to have pictures of Clapotis tonight, but I can't find the camera cable. So, you'll have to wait until later. For now, you can haz cheezburger.

more cat pictures

I found out today at work I got a promotion. Sort of. It's more of a certification. Basically, they will periodically take me off my current team for special projects. (During those projects, I'll make a little more money.) So it was a good day.

It's only a couple of weeks until I go to California. I had only planned to make A Major Knitwork the only yarn shop on my trip (for Jules' sake), but when I found out about Wildfiber, I had to make it two. I've heard they have an entire wall of Koigu. So it's two yarn shops. That's it. (And I'm saving my money up.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

101 Goals in 1,001 Days

I've always had a thing for self help books, challenges, systems, goal-setting and self improvement in general.

I think I've learned to take it all with a grain of salt, and use what I want and ignore the rest. For example, I do Flylady, but I don't shine my sink daily and I never wear my shoes indoors.

So now I'm on board for the 101 goals in 1,001 days project. I have all sorts of goals floating around my head anyway, and this seemed like a good way to do it. The way to achieve many of my dreams of self-employment and making a living at my craft are not well defined, so I have to define things for myself.

Here is a complete list of rules, and there are some other tips here. I will start a week from today so I'll have some time to plan, which means I'll have until February 21, 2011. I was a little overwhelmed writing the list. Now that I see the end date, not so much.

You'll notice my goals are somewhat lopsided, but maybe so am I. Measurable goals are important, so I threw out some of the more vague things. (Some of these will be better defined later.)

I will refer back to this entry regularly and make changes to it as I accomplish things. I'll link to it somewhere on the blog. In the meantime, I hope you'll consider joining me.

101 Goals in 1,001 Days

1. Get published in Knitty.
2. Design and swatch 20 sweaters. [0 of 20]
3. Knit 3 of the sweaters above. [0 of 3]
4. Enter Herrschners Grand National.
5. Do an energy audit of my apartment and make changes.
6. Go to Stitches West with a good amount of money to spend.
7. Declutter and organize my apartment. Click this link for pictures.
8. Get all my (crap) things out of storage and put them away in my apartment. After I finished this, I moved in with my parents and put it all back in storage. :(
9. Help Mom clean out the shed and have a garage sale. Completed November 2009
10. Sell some of the stuff in storage on eBay. Completed Summer 2010. I sold stuff like this.
11. Redecorate and rearrange my apartment.
12. Sell some of my My Little Ponies and put the remaining ponies on display.
13. Catalog my yarn on Ravelry. Completed in late 2010
14. "Pimp my blog" and have a fabulous contest to promote it.
15. Join the
Knitting Guild of America and the Crochet Guild of America.
16. Become a level one Master Knitter.
17. Becomes a Certified Knitting Instructor.
18. Spin 10 skeins of yarn to sell. [0 of 10]
19. Knit all of Cat Bordhi's Socks
20. Knit an entrelac project. Completed 2/6/09
21. Knit a stranded knitting/fair isle/colorwork project. (What ever you want to call it.) Completed 8/18/08
22. Publish 10 free patterns in PDF form on Ravelry. [1 of 10]
23. Publish 5 paid patterns for download and in hard copies.
24. Pay off my credit cards.
25. Enter at least two pairs of socks in Think Outside the Sox. [0 of 2]
26. Be more productive at work.*
27. Educate myself more for work.*
28. Knit a mosaic knitting project.
29. Knit a modular knitting project.
30. Hold a board game night at my apartment with all my friends. Completed 11/20/10
31. Work on a project(s) to fight for mental health care and/or universal health care.
32. Campaign against Rick Perry in 2010. Completed 11/2/10
33. Try acupuncture.
34. Learn to say my own last name properly.**
35. Buy a halfway decent futon or couch.
36. Dye 50 hanks of yarn to sell. [0 of 50]
37. Do a freeform knit and/or crochet project.
38. Decoupage my bedside table.
39. Come up with 1,001 pattern ideas. [40 of 1,001]***
40. Ask my doctor for an Emergency Contraception prescription. Completed 7/15/08
41. Research and decide if I should get an HPV Vaccine, and get one if I decide I should. Long story short, I'm too old.
42. Teach a child/teenager to knit or crochet.
43. Make a list of 50 small things I've been procrastinating on and do them. (ETA 3/22/09 - The list is here.)
44. Learn to be a better photographer.
45. Save a set amount for an emergency fund.
46. Save a set amount for a new car.****
47. Learn to read crochet charts.
48. Go to the Texas State Fair
49. Make an informed choice at the next city election.
50. Get a proper fitting and bra at Petticoat Fair like everyone keeps saying I should.
51. Brush twice a day, floss daily and use flouride treatment daily for 30 days straight. [0 of 30]
52. Make some candles out of all that candle gel I bought on eBay.*****
53. Make crafts out of all those glass Christmas balls I got on sale.
54. Learn to use that sewing machine I found on Freecycle and make a simple dress.
55. Finally knit Morrigan.
56. Figure out the copyright rules for knitting and crochet well enough to write a decent blog entry on it.
57. Buy and learn to use a spinning wheel. Completed 2008-2009
58. Buy and learn to use a drum carder.
59. Knit something that requires steeking.
60. Sew a zipper in a sweater.
61. Do a project in Tunisian crochet.
62. Knit the Susie Hoodie from More Big Girl Knits.
63. Take a self defense class.
64. Make some crazy out of recycled materials.
65. Make something with "dangerous tools."******
66. Learn basic car maintenance.
67. Learn to do a cartwheel.*******
68. Become a volunteer editor on Ravelry. Completed
69. Crochet a sweater.
70. Make and carry a reusable bag so I can cut down on plastic.
71. Find a creative way to display photos at my desk at work.
72. Clicker train Bunny Foo-Foo to come when she is called.
73. Learn to sketch out my designs so they don't look like a two year-old drew them.
74. Make a curtain out of those used gift cards I've been saving.
75. Make or buy a decent blocking board.
76. Crochet a doily.
77. Swatch 50 different yarns. [0 of 50]
78. Open a shop on Cafe Press.
79. Post 25 items for sale at my Etsy shop. [0 of 25]
80. Find at least one advertiser for my blog.
81. Buy a washer and dryer.
82. Find 5 way to be consistently happier. [0 of 5]
83. Go on a long road trip with Jules.
84. Read and preserve the letters my my grandfather sent to my grandmother during WW II.
85. Pick 5 essential feminist and/or political books and read them. [0 of 5]
86. Knit a Baby Surprise Jacket.
87. Knit with "art yarn."
88. Volunteer at a local reproductive clinic.
89. Donate $50 to a charity.
90. Learn to play chess.
91. Perform 20 random acts of kindness. [6 of 20]
92. Think of of 10 good comebacks to have on hand. [0 of 10]
93. Find a drum circle to join locally.
94. Weave a project.
95. Spin enough yarn for a sweater and knit the sweater.
96. Sew a quilt.********
97. Make my own soap.
98. Take Light Rail five times in place of driving my car. [0 of 5]
99. Create a kit and see if I can sell it.
100. Have a big bash for my 30th birthday.
101. Keep a log of my moods for 90 days.

Let's go!

*I'm being purposely vague about my work related goals because I prefer not to get too specific about my job online.
**I can't roll my r's
***Just ideas. I don't have to swatch. (Read this to see why I want to do this.)
****I'm perfectly happy with the one I have, but it won't last forever.
*****You know that greasy looking box in storage? Candle gel.
******Something involving saws, hammers, power tools, etc.
*******This has been a goal of mine since elementary school.
********A small quilt is ok.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Gauge Potluck and More

This isn't my best photography, but it'll work.

I mentioned the Potluck at Gauge yesterday. Now I'm finally getting around to posting the pictures.

I took more pictures of food than people. They had...


...cream cheese with a pomegranate chipotle sauce and...

...five kinds of homemade gelato! There was lemon, strawberry, pomegranate, chocolate and hazelnut. (Thanks Emily!)

There was other yummy stuff as well. Of course, I brought a two liter of Coke that no one opened. (But it will be there the next time they need soda.)

I found the elusive Black Purl

When I got home that night, this was in the mail:

That's Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in Black Purl.

And I didn't break my budget. I actually ordered this from eBay last fall for about the half the normal price. Somehow it was returned to sender, then I forgot to respond when the seller asked me for my correct address and then I forgot all about it. Until a couple of weeks ago when I cleaned out my e-mail. I e-mailed them back and they still had it! I'm psyched.


Knitasaur is designing gloves and she needs your hand measurements. Post yours here and enter to win some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. Be sure to tell them Large Marge Sally Comes Unraveled sent you.

Parting Shot

I saw this at the cash register at Gauge. If you put your money in Poncho Pig, I'll give you lessons.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

FO: Charity Slippers

I know last week I said I'd finish them in the same day, but they didn't get done until last night, at the Potluck at Gauge. I'll have more on that later.

(BTW - Check out Gauge's website. It's been revamped.)

I can now tell you that I used the Toesties pattern by Megan Mills. It was one of several the store had out on charity knitting day.

As I mentioned, I used US size 4 dpns (waaaayyy too small, but I made them work.) I also used a J hook for the crochet border (I doubled the pink yarn) and an E hook for the little rosebuds.

The rosebuds are my own improvised creation. I started by chaining 10, single crocheting ten, then increasing to 20, then to 40. Here is what they look like uncurled:
Then I curled them up and started sewing there wherever they seemed to need sewing. Their a little wonky and uneven, but they work.

Speaking of wonky, I kitchner stitched the back (which is optional in the pattern.) I made some mistakes, but I'm calling it close enough.

As I mentioned before, I think this is Caron Simply Soft, but the yarn had no labels, so there is no way to know for sure. It's a dusty pink and navy blue held together. (The lighting seems to be really off in these pictures, except for the first one, so the colors may look weird.)

These will go to an Austin hospice group, although I don't know exactly which one at this point. Gauge will be collecting charity items for them for a couple of months.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Food for Blog

From The Simple Dollar's article entitled How to Get Personal and Professional Value from Idle Web Surfing.
If you have a personal blog where you write about the drama of your relationship with your girlfriend or you post a lot of pictures of your adorable kittens, you might not want to include this blog in your profiles. Why? This type of information is simply not compelling to anyone but you and your closest friends - certainly not to professional acquaintances and probably not to more casual friends, either.

The same goes for the trail of bread crumbs you leave in your comments in various places. People might be interested in your cat care comments if you’re a vet, but if you’re just in love with your precious kitty, not many people will find that compelling, so resist the urge unless you’re providing information that’s actually useful to others.

It’s fine to post opinions and such, but ask yourself before you post whether or not this information adds any value for anyone else. If it doesn’t, consider carefully whether you should even post it at all - usually, the answer there is no. If you’re careful about that, you wind up giving the impression to others that you’re insightful and useful - and that will encourage people to look more deeply into the thoughts you have to offer.
I think there's some truth to that, but I also think some "personality" on a blog makes things interesting. That's why I've branched out a little from the pure knitting. The most successful knitting blogs seems to be peppered with some personal information and stories that keep people coming back for more. I've thought about making this blog more of a "informative" blog and less of a record of my own misadventures, like burning bacon or going to the dentist. But I feel like it needs personality.

I think the swatch entries need more valuable information. At this point, they are mostly a photographic record for myself.

Thoughts anyone?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grocery Ennui

I toyed with calling this entry "Grocery Rage," but that's not really accurate. But neither is "Grocery Ennui." I think it should really be "Grocery Irritation," but that's not a very good title.

You can see by my freezer that I just came from HEB. I wish I had a bigger freezer. I'd buy more frozen pizza. I'd buy more frozen everything. Somehow it always fits. (And I just took out a frozen pizza to eat for dinner, so I have a little more room now.)

Frozen food is good.

A lot of non-knitters comment that they don't have the patience to knit. I don't have the patience not to knit. And spending two hours driving to HEB, shopping, comparison shopping, standing in line, loading my car, driving home, waiting for the gate to my apartment to come unstuck and putting away the groceries is something that really tries my patience sometimes. I actually should have gone this weekend. I'm trying to go once every two weeks after I get paid, and not eat out. Of course, that much shopping takes more time.

I noticed a couple of things on my shopping trip.

First, I think long trips to the grocery store bring out the worst in kids. I think I saw everything from crying babies to an older boy, probably 13 or 14, who insisted on punching the food in the pasta aisle. (I was especially annoyed when he punched the spaghetti I was about to pick up.)

Next, is Tuesday night the night before they restock the shelves or something? They seemed to be out of everything.

We got a new vending machine at work. In this machine are the tempting but expensive Oreo Cakesters. I've been wanting one, but a package of 3 costs one dollar. I promised myself if I skipped the vending machine, I'd buy some cheaper at HEB.

But once I made it to the cookie isle, there were no cakesters to be found. At least no Oreo Cakesters. There were "Nilla Cakesters" that I did end up buying. They look good, but not as good as the Oreos.

Also, when I was younger, my Dad would occasionally quiz me on which product was less expensive per unit (per ounce, per serving, etc.) When I gave him the answer, he would ask how I got it, and I would point to the unit price on the label and say "It's right here."

Back then, I don't remember the unit price on the labels being so screwed up. One brand of toilet paper lists the unit price per sheet, another lists it per roll. I even found a unit price for Q-Tips that was zero cents. Seriously.

At least I have my pizza, but that brings up another issue.

This isn't a self cleaning oven, is it?

I'm renting, so it's not like I have a manual for this thing. Wouldn't there be a button for it? I think the smoke alarm keeps going off because there is burnt cheese from previous frozen pizzas. I guess I'll have to do it the old fashioned way. The way that will probably try my patience.

Or I can just get used to the smoke alarm.