Monday, September 29, 2008

We're all going to die!

I was going to wax philosophical on the economy, but honestly, I don't know where to begin. I just know Suze Orman's freaking me out:

So instead of talking about the economy, here's some mice:

And my Entrelac Scarf in progress:

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I'll have better stuff tomorrow, provided that we aren't plunged back into the dark ages.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tapestry Cowl Class

This blog has been lacking in knitting content recently, although my life hasn't. Time for some catch up.

Me and my class mates

Last week I took one of Staci's classes at The Knitting Nest. I learned double knitting and started the Tapestry Cowl.

Tapestry Cowl Swatch

Here's where I was at the end of the class. We practiced casting on several times.

Double Knitting Swatch

See, it's pink on the other side.

(By the way, the gauge got larger when I did double knitting. It turns out US Size 2.5 is not too small for me. It's closer to five stitches per inch now.)

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The first half of the class was Tuesday night. Wednesday night I cast on the actual cowl. I started with the magic cast on on two different needles. I put a stitch marker every ten stitches on both sides to keep track of things.

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Then I put all the stitches on one needle, alternating colors.

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And here I am, one row in.

Tapestry Cowls

Here's where we were at the end of class on Thursday. Fran's is on top. She spent a lot of time perfecting her technique and waited to cast on Thursday night. Jo's is on the left. She got a lot of work done between Tuesday and Thursday. I'm on the right somewhere in between.

I've done the first nine rounds, and the next round will involve colorwork. So far it's going pretty well, although my purls (the blue side) are bigger than my knits (the pink side.) I'll go more into my technique later. I'm still looking for the best way to handle two yarns at once.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Proof that I need more fiber

Last night I dreamed that I bought a fleece.

I was at a farm. And I got to pick the sheep. They sheared it for me, and I went into the store to pay for it. I looked down the aisles. They had yarn, but no roving. I was disappointed because I wanted roving too.

I was debating what to do with the fleece. Should I dye it before I spun it or after? Should I use one color or several colors? Should I dye it all? How should I ply it? How should I prepare it? Should I make one large item or a bunch of small ones? I could make a lot of skeins of handspun with this fleece. I wanted to make a sweater, but I was worried that the Romney would be too itchy. I was considering a blanket. Or maybe I would make a sweater for those rare cold days. I could make it self striping and wear a shirt underneath.

And then I woke up.

Crap. I need more fiber.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cranky Friday

It's Friday, and I'm cranky, which is unusual for a Friday. Especially a payday Friday.

Let's start with the fact that I didn't get paid properly. I've seen this mistake coming for the past week since we can look at our pay and bonuses from our computers at work. Despite e-mailing everyone involved everyday, it didn't get fixed in time for payday. I'm especially annoyed at the one person responsible for the system who seemed to ignore this problem all week, then e-mailed me on Thursday saying it should be fixed and didn't respond when I sent the screenshot showing that it was not fixed. I'm going to get reimbursed my lost bonus (I estimate about $200-$300 after taxes. I don't know for sure because the system isn't working.) The problem is I don't know when. This means I'm going to have to draw from savings to pay my rent and do a bunch of crap until everything goes through. I'm also annoyed that I didn't get a straight answer about what to expect. (A check? A wire transfer?)

I'm annoyed because I wanted to go to Ikea this weekend and shop for couches, but now I need to save my money until I find out what happens with my paycheck. I'm not ready to buy a couch yet, but between gas and a meal at the store, I should probably wait.

I'm also annoyed that I finally paid off one of my credit cards, and they just sent me a new one. (Apparently the old one expired.) They also sent me one of those $5 checks that sign you up for a free trial of some BS buyers club if you endorse it.

And this really pissed me off:

Stay Out of my Bathtub

Maintenance finally comes to fix the leak in my bathroom after asking them to come all summer (literally) and this is what they leave behind. I do not have a clean apartment, but the bathtub was not this bad when I left for work this morning. They didn't even have the courtesy to rinse out the tub with the shower. Not to mention that they did nothing about the mold growing on the ceiling (I guess that's up to me, a sponge mop and a bucket of diluted bleach.) They also did me the "favor" of replacing my fancy (and less than 3 months old) with an el cheapo one, and leaving the air condition off when they left so I got to come home to a hot apartment.

I guess it's a good thing they left all their crap behind, because they didn't leave a note like they're supposed to when they enter your apartment.

I feel violated. The little kid in me wants to put up a "keep out" sign on my door.


I'll be back later when I'm less cranky.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday Tens: Ten Reasons Why Scarves Are Awesome

Last night I passed out before blogging, so I owe you a Tuesday Ten. Enjoy!

A while back, talked about why I like scarves. I decided to expand on it a little bit.

1. Scarves keep you warm. I know you're thinking "well, duh!" But growing up in a warm climate, and I never used scarves. In fact when I wove a scarf in middle school I never wore it. It was more of a decoration to hang on the corner of my bookshelf. A while back I read on another blog about how essential scarves were to keeping warm. It surprised me. But now that I've been wearing scarves, I can appreciate how warm they are. They're as close as you can get to running around town with a blanket wrapped around you.

2. Scarves are great for small amounts of luxury fibers. The amount of yarn you need varies with the scarf, but they can be made with small amounts of yarn. And really, a wonderfully soft fiber deserves to be around your neck. On a related note...

3. Scarves are a good way to test itchiness. Your neck is more sensitive than other parts of your body. A scarf is a good way to see if you can tolerate the yarn before knitting an entire sweater.

4. Scarves can be used for decorating. I've been thinking about ways to display my scarves in the house. Recently Apartment Therapy showed one way to decorate by using scarves as chair runners. I imagine they could be used as table runners as well.

5. Scarves can protect against asthma attacks. I get these (mostly useless) newsletters about treating my asthma from my insurance company. I was glancing through one before I threw it out, and it recommended wrapping a scarf around your face during cold weather if cold is one of your triggers. This goes double for exercising in cold weather. I have both exercise and cold triggers, and I wish I started wearing scarves sooner.

6. Scarves are fashionable. Don't take my word for it. Some guy from Project Runway endorses them. (See above.) Code for something says: "Scarves are awesome. They suit everyone, they’re affordable, come in a multitude of styles and ultimately are totally functional!" JeniDesign says: "I love scarves! You can do so much with them, tie them around your waist, double them up around your shoulder and the same old drape them around your neck. No matter how you wear it, wearing scarves are awesome."

7. Scarves let you knit lace without the commitment. There's a reason why Strangling Vine is finished and Kiri is still in time out.

8. Gauge isn't all that important when knitting scarves. Being off by half a stitch per inch usually isn't a deal breaker with scarves.

9. You can use any yarn for a scarf. Whether the yarn is stiff or drapey, thin or thick, textured or not, you can make a scarf that works.

10. The scarf is the ultimate blank palette. I talked about it before, but scarves can be easy or hard, long or short, wide or skinny or just about anything else. The Mario Scarf is a great example of the creative possibilities of the scarf. Check out Knitting New Scarves for more inspiration. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Knitting Nest

On Saturday The Knitting Nest celebrated it's one year anniversary. The party was originally scheduled for the weekend I was in California, but they postponed because of Hurricane Ike. The good news was that I got to attend.

Happy Anniversary

There was still plenty of cake when I got there...

Anniversary Flowers

and there were roses...

Staci and Abby

...and there were Abby and Staci. In fact, I think it was my first time ever meeting Staci in person, not just hearing about her or commenting on her blog. I got a chance to ask her about the class I'm taking this week.

I also ran into Suna and Katie, who I normally see at Bluebonnet.

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I also ran into Jan. She worked with my Dad and has been a family friend for a long time. She didn't want to be photographed, but I did get a picture of her yarn. She bought four skeins of Malabrigo Lace in Emerald for her Pi Shawl. We looked up the yardage on Ravelry, and decided four skeins was enough. (There were only four skeins left of that color. I'm convinced they were waiting for her.) I helped her wind them.

My Merino Single on the swift

Speaking of winding, I got a chance to wind my homespun and measure it out.

You can see all my pictures from Saturday here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Swatching Sunday: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport

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I've been skipping Swatching Sunday, and today's swatch is a bit anemic. I'm going to frog it anyway.

This week I'm taking Staci's Tapestry Cowl class at The Knitting Nest. This is a gauge swatch, although I'm not sure how doing colorwork and double knitting will affect the gauge. I did swatch in the round, using magic loop.

I used US Size 2 Addi Turbo needles and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport.

I actually got 6.5 stitches per inch instead of the 6 stitches per inch I need for the pattern. I'm not sure what to do next, since I'm not sure how my gauge will change on the actual project. However, Addis are made in Europe, so they are actually 3.0 mm in diameter, which is between US Size 2 and US Size 3. (Here's a chart.) That explains why I didn't get the 6 stitches to an inch gauge that I usually seem to get with US Size 2 needles.

Hmmmm. I'll have to think about this.

WIP: Entrelac Scarf

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I started my Entrelac Scarf late Friday night, and it's going great. Here's where I was yesterday during my visit to The Knitting Nest.

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Here's where I am now. I'm really pleased with the way the colors are going. The stripes are almost perfect. I'm using the Noro Taiyo that I bought at Gauge.

Speaking of Gauge, I stopped by today, and they have a new shipment of Handmaiden Sea Silk (and Double Sea Silk.) I was good. I only bought the knitting needles I needed, no yarn. It was tempting. I also borrowed 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I going to make a Chevron Scarf.

Oh, and I saw a baby! I picked the wrong time to forget my camera.

FO: Odessa

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I told you I'd finish it today.

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I put the finishing touches on Odessa this morning, and took pictures of it at The Knitting Nest this afternoon.

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I managed to finish the top with my weird magic loop hybrid, although I switched to a pretty basic magic loop towards the end.

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The hat turned out pretty good, but I somehow ended up a stitch short, which meant one of my ridges was thinner than the others. (You can see it here.)

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To recap, this is Odessa, which is now only available on Ravelry since MagKnits called it quits. I used one skein of Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in Ballad Blue (508) and size 6 beads from Joann. The ribbing was done with US Size 0 dpns and the rest was knit with a US Size 2 - 16 inch circular.

This hat is another Christmas gift.

Friday, September 19, 2008

WIP: Odessa

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I'm getting close to finishing Odessa. In fact, there may be an FO post tomorrow. And because I started decreasing at work, (where I didn't have dpns) I'm doing some bizarre magic loop hybrid with a small circular. If it works out, I'll try to post a tutorial. So far, it's not ideal, but it works in a pinch.

Hopefully, I'll start the Entrelac Scarf this weekend.

The Knitting Nest is having its one year anniversary party tomorrow, so that's where I'll be tomorrow. I hope to see you there.

This isn't knitting related, but Mental Floss is giving away five $10,000 scholarships in its College Ain't Cheap Tuition Giveaway. (And yes, I'm posting this in hopes of getting some more traffic. It doesn't have anything to do with knitting, but it is a good opportunity for the full time college students who are reading.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My (Latest) Trip to California: Non-Knitting Stuff

Is everyone ready for a vacation "slideshow"? You can see all my photos and a real slideshow on my Flickr page, but here is the run down.

The original plan was to pick up the rental car and spend some time at Unwind until Jules got finished with class. However, Jules got out early, so I picked him up at the train station first. At the station, we were talking on our cell phones, trying to find each other, when the call was dropped. The next thing I knew he was hugging me.

Jules was wonderful and patient while we went to Unwind. (That trip will get a blog entry all it's own.)

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This trip was to celebrate Jules' birthday. As a gift, Jules' mom put us up at the Sportmen's Lodge, which was really cool. They have a big pool, a waterfall, a gazebo, a water mill and swans.



That night we ate at IN-N-OUT Burger. It was my first time, and it was delicious. It was so good, we went through the drive through for a late night snack on the way home. (We also got dessert from a New York style bakery.)


After dinner we visited Jules' friend Sean (and I forgot to take pictures.) Then we went to Griffith Observatory. We saw some exhibits inside, including a giant pendulum. Outside the view was great. I had some trouble seeing through the telescope (and balancing), but I had a pretty good view of the skyline without it.



The next morning we went to Chinatown. It was a blast.


Dim Sum at Lucky Deli

For breakfast/lunch, we had Dim Sum at Lucky Deli. (Take a closer look at some of the food here.) Later on, we went to another place for dessert.


I wanted one of these hats...

We did a little shopping while we were down there. I really wanted to buy one of these hats, but it wouldn't fit in my suitcase. (It did shade me from the sun pretty well.)


Here's the Hollywood Hills as Jules drives down the highway. I almost saw the Hollywood sign several times, but the clouds covered it at night and buildings blocked it during the day.


Jules at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

We rested up at the hotel for a while after Chinatown. Later that night, we went to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. I had chicken and waffles (of course.) Jules had fried chicken gibblets and gravy with collard greens. (I tried the gibblets. They were ok, but I didn't care for the collard greens.)


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The next day we visited the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum in the same area.



Did you know they're Sabor Toothed Cats, not Sabor Toothed Tigers? (And they look kind of cross-eyed.)


Me and Jules

Here's the shot of the happy couple. This is the garden in the middle of the museum. (There were turtles there too. I like turtles.)


Jules says Hook 'Em

After lunch we visited Venice Beach. We waded in the ocean, picked up some pretty shells and saw the drum circle. We passed a street vendor selling handmade candles, and Jules bought one for me. It was very sweet.

We had to walk a lot because it was hard to find parking and we had to park far away. On the way back, we ended up walking the wrong direction for a while.

When we finally got back to the hotel, it was kind of late. After some confusion about restaurants, we went back to Chinatown and ate at Won Kok for Jules' birthday dinner. (Of course, I forgot to take pictures.) Jules had ginger squid and I had scallops. We shared. I gave Jules his gifts, a wallet and a mushroom. (I also gave him a yo-yo, but he had to wait and open on it on his actual birthday, which was the day after I came home.)

We got back to the hotel, went to bed, and got up at 5 a.m. so I could get to the airport on time. I was exhausted, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FO: 1-Up

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

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I should have taken a better close up, but this is as good as it gets. This is cropped out of the following photo:

Jules' Birthday Mushroom

When Jules and I visited Wildfiber during the last trip, Jules asked me to make him a stuffed Panda. The trip I took last weekend was partly a birthday celebration for Jules, and I was going to knit him the panda as a gift. But I ran out of time and I had trouble finding a good panda pattern.

At one point I remember he had asked if I could make a mushroom pillow. I didn't have time for a pillow, but I did find the Super Mario Mushroom Knitted Toy pattern from Skyline Chilly.

The night before I left, I grabbed some Cascade 220 in Palm and White and threw it in my knitting bag along with a Ziploc bag of stuffing and some US Size 4 bamboo needles. Acrylic would have probably been a more practical, but I couldn't quite find the right colors in the right weights. I bought the Cascade on hand for another project, but it only took a little bit of each color, so I have plenty left.

Jules Birthday Mushroom

The original pattern calls for KnitPicks Palette, a finger weight yarn. I ended up with a bigger mushroom because I used worsted weight. (The pattern says you can adapt it to pretty much any weight of yarn.) It still fits in the palm of your hand.

The colors are also different from the ones called for. I only used two. I think his might be closer to the original 1-Up mushroom from Super Mario Brothers, although I'm not sure. (Video game geeks, feel free to correct me.)

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Going through security didn't take nearly as long as I had expected, so I had time to work on it while I waited for the plane to take off.

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This is how far I had gotten after about 45 minutes of waiting. I napped on the first leg of the trip and finished this up on the second leg. The whole thing probably took less than two hours. I "wrapped" it in a barf bag from the plane and gave it to Jules along with a wallet and a yo-yo I bought him. He loved it.

The pattern itself is quick, but a little bit challenging. Mostly it's the colorwork for the spots that's difficult. There's a pretty big gap between colors, so you have to be careful with tension.

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I should have taken a better close up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pictures from California

Tuesday Tens is late tonight. The good news is that about 100 pictures and short videos from my trip to California, including pictures from Unwind, are up on Flickr. A full account will come later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Making Ends Meet

For no particular reason, I thought I'd share this picture of my sister and her boyfriend.

Making Ends Meet

You had to be there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday Tens: Ten Knitting and Crochet Videos

Sorry I crapped out on you Tuesday. It's a good thing Thursday begins with a T. While I pack to go out of town, here are ten videos featuring knitting and crochet for your enjoyment.

1. Shreddies - Knitted by Nanas - I was completely baffled by this video of a master knitting camp where very little knitting gets done, until I saw the commercial above. Apparently Shreddies is a cereal (I'm assuming sold in the UK) with a whole Knitted by Nanas campaign attached to it. Of course, the way it's explained in the commercial, you would think a quilting metaphor would make more sense. Four layers "knitted together" doesn't quite work. (Reminds me of the Quilted Northern debacle from a while back, although less obvious.)

2. Knit Wits - This is a riot, although for such seasoned professionals, these guys seem awfully inexperienced.

3. Knitting Club Recruiting Video - A little confusing if you haven't seen commercials like this one. The best line is "I want to knit something of myself!"

4. ONE MINUTE MELTDOWN - Wanta Danish? - A short music video featuring amigurumi.

5. woodstock hooker showing off his wares (puppet hats) - Jonathan James is having a bad hair life, so he crochets surreal hats.

6. snip snip snip - I don't quite get it, but the octopus is cute.

7. Disco Knitter - Pretty self explanatory, and pretty accurate for animated knitting.

8. Knitimation - Do The Brane - Maybe fun fur is evil. (Although I still don't know how to do the Brane.)

9. DOLLS UNITED - Someone did a lot of intarsia. (Or duplicate stitch.)

10. Sheep - Funny Animation - Is there anything better than a knitting sheep?

4/4/11 - Edited to Fix Title

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Closed for Blogcation. Sort of.

Dear Mom,

I haven't returned your call yet because I'm not as prepared as I was before my last trip, and I'm debating what to do next. And I know you want to know what my plans are, but I'm not quite sure yet.


I should have kept my packing list from last time. Crap, crap, crap. I need to make a list of lists.

In less than 48 hours I'll be in California. My yarnie plans include a trip to Unwind in Burbank while I wait for Jules to get out of class. (Mental note - e-mail Unwind.)

Tomorrow I have to take Bunny Foo-Foo to Mom and Dad's house, so tonight I'm doing most of my packing and preparations.

I may or may not take my own advice when it comes to picking projects. I'm definitely taking Odessa. I have a good start on it, but there's still enough left to do to keep me busy for a while.

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Can you see the beads? It's hard to photograph them because the flash reflects off them.

The other project may be my long languishing Rainbow Socks (if I can figure out where they were), a Chevron Scarf or both. I also may be attempting so last minute gift knitting on the plane.

In the mean time, I may or may not get to post again before I leave Friday morning. I'm guessing not. But I am going to try to schedule at least one or two posts while I'm gone. (Maybe more.) Either way, I should be back by Tuesday.