Saturday, December 30, 2006

And so it begins...

I decided to start one of my knitting goals early, so I just got home with this:

(New Zealand roving and an Ashford drop spindle)

and this:

(cambric from The Black Drop)

The spinning is ready to commence!

In other news, the Bellingham Parks and Rec. has been giving horse-drawn carriage rides downtown for the last 10 days. They've been going past my apartment about every thirity minutes or so. And they tell me living downtown doesn't put me in contact with nature-- we have trees AND horses! Next time they jingle past I might try to snap a picture.

And finally, I've realized that if someone were to judge me solely by what is on top of my dresser, I'd look like kind of a badass, or atleast someone into punk and rockabilly. (which I am. The music part, not the badass part.)

(clockwise from left: two Zippo lighters, the flask belt buckle E got me for Christmas, dice from my dice necklace in with all the change, girly heart-shaped candle, and an International Playboys pin. Oh yeah, and there's a stray knitting needle leaning up in the background.)

Sometimes I think I'm losing it, am I the only one?

I wish I lived in LA, it sounds like their SnB is full of awesome people. There's not exactly an SnB here, except the craft night at the LYS that I haven't had time to go to.

I've been having knitter ADD. I can not stay on a project long enough to finish it right now. With some, it's simply because I don't have enough yarn to finish and I'm waiting for that. With others, it's because I start them, don't like them, rip them out, and then get so bored/disgusted with the yarn I pick up something else. Here's hoping the scarf I just started will be somethingI can finish. I'm sure it will be-- scarves are easy. I also can't wait to work on the fuzzy sweater, again, but I feel like there's other stuff I gotta do first.

I picked up Dominitrix today, along with some other books. I'm starting to realize that I'm am the person retail stores designed gift cards for. Dad got me a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, but I walked out with $60 in various books. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I always find interesting things on their $2/5/10 tables.

I was hoping to find Naughty Needles, but sadly my local B&N just doesn't have as many knitting books as I would like. I think it's just cause I'm picky cause they actually have quite a few, but most of them aren't for me. Which is part of the reason I like Domiknitrix-- most of the styles are simpler, with more focus on garment design instead of crazy overdone details. I'm all for cables and bobbles and intarsia and stuff, but it seems like too many books have patterns that are all of that going on at once. Either that or they're full of awful novelty yarn patterns and, frankly, a novelty yarn has to get up pretty early in the morning to impress me.

Either way, I'm stoked. I also picked up something for another secret project, and tomorrow am picking up a hand spindle and some roving from my LYS, which happens to do double duty as a spinning supply shop. Did I mention it's also a block away from my house? How awesome is that?

For now, I'm just going to go knit and watch some bad late night tv.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like January.

I don't believe in new year's resolutions, but since we are coming up to the end of the year, I thought I'd put together some knitting/craft goals for the next little while:

  • make more stitch markers, including ones designed for crochet (with the exception of Jen, nobody I know has actual stitch markers! We all use bobby pins and safety pins and bits of stuff!)
  • finish atleast half of the projects currently languishing around the apartment
  • make the skirt from "Greetings from the Knit Cafe"
  • learn (or atleast attempt) spinning
  • pick up jeweler's anvil and metal snips (for a pendant project)
  • figure out a project for that pink cotton novelty yarn!
  • dye more yarn
  • reinstate the use of the craft journal (as in handwritten journal, not blog). With some projects, it really does help to take notes.
  • start a pair of socks and actually finish them
  • finally sit down and write "tutorial" of reknitted sweater tips.
  • Maybe gain enough confidence in work to set up etsy store (this one might be pushing it just a tad.)
  • Two words: Fair Isle.

In the immediate future, the goals are to finish E's scarf and the Noro mittens, get Jenny's scarf (and my dad's presents) mailed, and find some dinner!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

He's gonna have a bag of crazy toys to fill the stockings of girls and boys

Merry Christmas to any random person who finds this blog.

I have had an awesome Christms. I got to spend it with E, and we both absolutely loved the presents we got for eachtother. I like centering presents around a theme. A couple of years ago, the presents for my old roommates/best friends were all based on the theme "pink". One friend loves flamingoes and other friend's favorite color was pink, and thus a theme was born. I bought the former a flamingo ornament and a pink brooch (she loves brooches), and filled a giant-sequined pink stocking for the latter with all things pink. She got pink socks and a pink hat and Gap's "pink" scent (her favorite) and pink bracelets and a couple of things I don't even remember.

...But I digress. The theme for E's presents was "pampering", so I got him a super-plush robe, these really rad slippers with memory foam, and a homemade certificate that featured:

-a massage from our local spa
-10 at-home massages from me
-a spa day full of pampering and relaxation, complete with lunch, dinner, and parking meter duties

I included the brochure from said spa so he could pick out the type of massage he wanted the most.

That's not all, but I'm too tired to finish. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Come on down, every Jane and Joe. Greet your sweet 'neath the mistletoe....

Work was nice and slow today, so I took off in favor of coming home. I feel like I should be working on those unfinished Christmas presents of mine, but since I know the recipients aren't getting them by tomorrow no matter how hard I try, I kind of just don't feel like it.

There is one possible exception to this and I should probably get started on it if I'm going to do it.

I've been pretty bothered/pissed off about something the last couple of days, but it's too long a story to write and frankly, really isn't any of my direct concern. Just something that's bugging me. Long story short, driving drunk is one of the quickest ways to make me not like you and possibly punch you in the face.

Otherwise, I am having a lovely Christmas Eve. Our new comforter is so plush and big and lovely that I find myself never wanting to get out of bed. E tried to get me up the other morning buy pulling the blankets off, but I always seemed to find more to wrap myself up in. Once E get's off work, we're headed over to my mom's for our long-standing tradition of ordering pizza and watching Christmas shows. We've got close to 30 different Christmas specials and movies, including some random and odd ones. Like John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together and Alf's Christmas (remember Alf?). I'm stoked cause I get to make cocoa using her Cocomotion. One of these days I'm going to get one for myself, but I know doing so will open up the floodgates on E's appliance habit. (If he had his way, we'd have a gadget for absolutely everything. Me? I'm mostly content with a blender, food processor, mixer, crockpot and Cocomotion.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I find that I tend to write in this thing as one of the last actions of my day. A sum-up, if you will. This is definetely a drunk sum-up, but you can't win them all.

So here's some things that happened tonight, most of them at the cocktail party:

-I spent time with a good friend that I haven't hung out with in a while. I took it as a huge compliment when he told me that he loved me not just because of our friendship history and all we've been through, but because I was one of his "low-drama friends." It's sweet to hear that someone misses hanging out with you not only because they have an awesome time, but also because there's no aftermath. I'm always so glad when people recognize me for the traits I look for in others.

-I am starting to form some new friendships with people that I have always gotten along with and liked, but have never truly gotten to know.

-I am finding more and more that I like my new neighbor and her boyfriend.

-While I was on my lunch and waiting at a traffic light, the Clash's "Should I stay or should I go" came on, and I danced like crazy in my car. I realized, midst-dance, that the cars around me (or rather the people in them), probably thought I was being nutty, but I was happy, so fuck them.

Some friends never showed up tonight, and while one called and another one is known to do her own thing and/or flake out, the other two (who are two of my best friends and also dating) haven't talked to me tonight. Which isn't like either one of them. It makes me worry, since last time the boy talked to them they were in the midst of a fight. I love them both a lot, so I worry about their individual and collective happiness.

-I got to buy martini glasses tonight. I only owned one, from when the girls and I lived together, and it was piddly and sad. Now I have a set of six basic-but-awesome ones. The boy got to buy our new down comforter. For various reasons, it's a king size comforter even though we only own a full-size bed, which makes it huge. It does mean never having to worry about the other one stealing blankets.

-Tonight I wished that I was bold enough to say exactly what is on my mind at any given moment with no worry. I'm a gal who's pretty much known for telling people exactly what I think, but at the same time I can't leave a comment on one of my favorite blogs for worry that I will sound dumb.

I think that's it. Time for bed.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Time for bed, but not before the requisite post.

I need to invite people over more often. It gives me incentive to clean house.

E and I spent the evening getting the house in order and, other than some odds and ends, everything is tidier than it has been in about six weeks. No dishes in the sink for the first time in about a month, we can actually see our coffee table AND our bedroom floor (!), and all the crap that had been taken out of our office closet and strewn throughout the room is safely tucked back inside. Well, maybe not safely, it is pretty packed. However, I took care to put empty boxes and extra bedding on top, so that atleast if there's an avalanche we'll only get hit with the soft and light things. Having things this tidy definetely has a calming effect on me, since all the clutter we build starts to stress me out. Yay for neatness!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Whine, whine, whine.

I want Studio 60 to come back already. I know they're on hiatus until mid-January, but I want it back. And now NBC has taken off the web versions of the already-aired episodes, the bastards. Atleast now I can record the future episodes on the dvr we just added to our cable. And to think, I didn't have tv before I moved in with E. Now I'm practically planning my life about it.

Well, if all else fails, I've always got the Christmas episodes of Sports Night to watch.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

3-day weekends are bad for my head.

The hangover's not as bad as I expected, but it's not fun either, especially when I have so much to do. I'm heading over to my mom's to finish laundry and bake cheese crackers, chocolate chip cookies and more cut-out sugar cookies if I can get a chance to go buy more dough (I'm lazy and don't feel like making dough from scratch.)

here's the list:
-finish laundry and cookies
-finish carly's present
-buy supplies for Steph and John's present
-buy supplies for the girl's gift bags (the sachets, bath bombs and something else!)
-make sachets and bath bombs

list for the week:
-switch dressers (I think E and I might actually use our dressers if they were on our sides of the bed)
-clean house
-buy booze
-make finger foods
-find place to set up bar
-move bikes
-try and get office organized before Friday

And then, after this week and Christmas are over, I'm going to collapse in a fit of inactivity.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

This is gonna have yesterday's date on it, simply because I've been trying to finish writing this for the last two days.

On Saturday, I was given the best birthday present by my boyfriend-- an awesome evening full of fun.

Thanks to the generosity of my coworker, I was able to get off work early enough to make our dinner reservations at Buca di Beppo. I had never been there before, and Eric hadn't been there in years, but I really enjoyed it, with all of the quirky photographs and the wierd restaraunt layout. Watching the waiters and servers and hostesses and bussers run around seemed like a study in controlled chaos. Some high school must have been having their winter formal last night, cause I kept seeing groups of five or six dressed-up teenage girls heading for the bathroom. Always in groups, never individually-- makes me remember what it was like to be 16 and, for reasons I still can't explain, unable to go to a bathroom alone.

We had a huge, really delicious meal, then jetted off to The Crocodile to see The Living End. Having been a fan of this band for years (a little before and long after "Roll On" came and went), I was pretty excited to see them. Eric had seen them years ago on Warped Tour and became a fan from that, so we were both pretty stoked to go.

It was, quite honestly, one of the best shows I've been to in... well, years. The last time I remember being that blown away was Death Cab for Cutie at Viking Union three years ago. The musicianship was impressive-- I have no idea how Chris Cheney can play like that and manage to sing at the same time. Their new songs are just as good as the old ones they made eight years ago, and are somehow managing to keep the same distinctive sound while (atleast on some songs) doing something other than punk rock beats and hooks. I was having such a wonderful time that at one point I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment.

The following day, my actual birthday, was much more low-key, which is exactly how I wanted it. I got to sleep in without having to worry about the meter maids, have dinner with my mom where she gave me traditional birthday dessert of Death by Chocolate (my favorite), go play boards games with some of my best friends, then go out for a casual drink with some other good buddies. All in all, I call this birthday a roaring success.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I started to write a giant post about how I'm feeling right this second. And it was the most honest thing I've written in the last year or so. But I erased it all, simply because I can't explain it, even to myself. Sometimes life is unexplainable and feelings can't always be quantified by words.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh what a day.

I have done nothing but mix paint, scrape paint, and fight with computers today. The big painting project I have at work is a little more behind than I'd like it to be, but since there's not a deadline it's not a big deal. It's just that, as nice as having a project to focus on can be, I would just as well like to be done with it sooner rather than later.

Tomorrow marks the last day at work before my three-day weekend, which is set to include going to a birthday dinner with my boyfriend before we go see the Living End (yay!), baking lots of cookies (yay!), doing lots of laundry (meh), and knitting lots of stitches. I'm going to try to throw mailing christmas cards and making sachets and bath bombs into the mix as well.

Holy crap that's a lot of stuff to pack into three days. If half of that gets accomplished I'll feel good.

Maybe it was the super-windy weather we've been having, or maybe it was the realization that I had been screwing up a knitting project for about the last fifteen rows, but I was really restless last night. I stayed up watching Queer As Folk and reknitting the part of my project that I had been forced to rip out. Mittens don't exactly fit when there's now thumb hole increases, now do they?

There will be no early night tonight, however, as we have dinner plans with an old friend of E's, followed by some boozy fun with our little crew of miscreants. I doubt we'll get into too much trouble since we're not planning on staying out all night, but with our group of buddies you never know. All I know is, whenever I wake up with the kill-me-please hangover and a bunch of bruises, it always seems to be worth it. Hopefully I'll still say that when I'm old.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wow, I suck at this whole posting every day thing. I think it's cause I'm just not that interesting, even to me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You'd have been better to stay 'round our way....

I started a scarf for my sister last night. I had decided to make her a ribbon scarf since, living just outside of Orlando, she doesn't have much use for the warm and cozy kind. I had gotten about six inches into it when I asked myself, if I were 15 and a slave to Aeropostale, would I wear this?

....So I'm giving her gift cards instead. They're much safer. I'm thinking I'll make her some sort of jewelry in the near future, but Christmas is too much pressure to craft for my sister. It's not like with my parents-- Sisters aren't required to pretend they like the crap you make for them, although my sister probably would anyway just to spare my feelings. Either way, I'd rather get her something she actually wants.

I got some errands done today, with the exception of one. I had meant to pick up dried lavender, but I'll have to just save that for my next day off. I would try to do it after work, but the store I need to get it from keeps the same hours my job does. So next day off it is.

My birthday is in five days and I don't really feel that excited over it. It's not that I'm dreading it. I'm just kind of feeling like "whaddayaknow it's my birthday how bout that. " I'm more excited about going to see The Living End the night before and baking snowflake sugar cookies the day after. I'm more excited for Christmas and giving people things that show them I love them. I'm more excited for New Year's, when we tell the old year to kiss our asses goodbye and wave hello to the new one. Birthday? meh.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dragging his sack thru a chimney stack, all the little hepcats jump for joy

Okay, I managed to get the move over to Blogger Beta done, but it's gonna take a bit before I can customize this thing the way I want to. I just kinda hate default settings, you know?

The cold I've been trying to outrun finally caught up to me, so I'm planting myself on the couch tonight. The boy was offered a spare ticket to a Guns n' Roses show, so he's currently on his way down to Seattle, which gives me some decent craft and chill time. So I'm playing with beads and yarn.

The design for a pair of earrings that I've been trying to work out is finally starting to take shape after about three failed attempts. It came to me while I was at work and was one of those ideas that is so simple you ask yourself why the hell didn't I think of that sooner, before I did it all these dumb ways?" So I played with that a little bit, but now I'm setting it aside-- I've still got presents to finish!

I've been thinking about hosting a cocktail party for whoever of my friends feels like coming over, and right after I got this idea I saw an article in Domino Magazine about it. I realize this isn't some big shock as just about every home-and-lifestyle magazine has a cocktail party article in December, but what fascinated me was this:

The inside table of contents mentioned how the writer threw this great party and it was so easy and fairly cheap. Easy? Probably. Cheap? God, no. When I tallied up all the things this woman got for this party (which to be fair, does include an artificial tree and ornaments, which she'll be able to use in the future), the total came to just over $1000! I suppose when you're a Fancy Shmancy New York Magazine Editor, this makes sense, but to those of us that live in the real world, spending $100 on thirty custom-printed invitations seems just a little bit nuts for one little cocktail party. Nevermind the custom matchbooks (which I actually secretly dig.)

I'm all for splurging, but damn.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Silly me, I made a post yesterday, but to my livejournal instead! It wasn't that great anyway-- just me complaining about the fact that so many old men and middle-aged women automatically assume that being young and female means I must be dumb too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An outing with Mum.

As it stands, I now in fact need the Wardrobe Refashion get-out-of-jail-free card. But I'm not using it yet, cause I've still got a little bit of consumer sinning to do. I'm fairly certain I won't be happy until I've picked up that dress from Target, and maybe a pair of shoes to go with it. Makes me want to slap my own hand for being so wicked.

Today was mostly spent on an outing with my mom. Once a month, we drive an hour down to Smokey Point to go grocery shopping.

...yeah, I know. It sounds wierd and I suppose kind of is. But Smokey Point has a commissary, and being retired navy my mother has access to it. The savings are worth the hour trip. On the way, we stopped by a fabric outlet we've been meaning to check out and found to our slight dissappointment it was mostly just quilting fabrics. So the detour wasn't a complete loss, I hit the Gap outlet and picked up a sweater and a couple of t-shirts. (Bad Jilly!)

These excursions with my mom are always two parts enjoyable, one part mildly aggravating. When my mom retired from the navy, she never went back to the workforce, in part due to an illness that would eventually require four surgeries, but probably for some other reasons too. She is not nearly as social as she used to be, and I sometimes think the isolation has prematurely turned her old. The reason I say this--- because she gripes about the price of everything ever made. And these damn (30-yr-old) kids and their video games. Eh, atleast she's a loveable curmudgeon.

While we were out, I picked up a couple of other things. I found an awesome present for my dad-- a barometer! Being a fomer navy man as well, it's right up his alley. Along with that, I got myself the new issue of knit 1. A quick glance through it reveals atleast a few patterns that (unlike most of the regular vogue knitting stuff) aren't entirely ridiculous. Yay! I might not have wasted $6.00!

I'm slowly but surely starting to get the hang of the whole online knitting community thing, beyond just reading the billion blogs I've got bookmarked. Hell, I'm almost ready to write my first tutorial! First to finish my 101 in 1001 (more on this later....)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I might need a get-out-of-jail-free card soon.

Here's a couple of the things I've been working on lately, or atleast major close-ups of them. The only two I'm not worried about spilling the beans on are my mom's scarf and (well, duh) my Christmas tree. Yes, there has been and underlying theme of greens and blues this season, but that's because the favorite color of a lot of the recipients happens to be blue and/or green. The other theme-- Noro yarns. I might even attribute the fact that I've been working with Noro to me being ahead of schedule. The beautiful color changes make me want to keep knitting so I can see what happens next!

I finished Mom's scarf today, save for weaving in one or two ends. Now it's onto the tea cozy.

In other news, I've been really good about being a wardrobe refashionista-- since August 1 (or really a couple of weeks before), I have bought only one item of clothing that wasn't for work, and I've been making things like crazy. Having said that, I'm really itching to do some shopping. I saw a dress that would look fabulous on me at Target, along with all kinds of fun gaudy jewelry. And I can always find super cute stuff on the sale racks at Old Navy. I'm slowly talking myself into the notion that, since I've been so good the last four months (not bad since I only signed up for two!), it just might be time to add a couple new things to the wardrobe. Plus, so many things have now become work clothes, what with being covered in paint and all. Maybe I can justify a tiny fall off the wagon?

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm a bad blogger.

How sad, only four days into Holidailies and I've already missed postings!. In my defense, the recent snowy weather wreaked a little bit of havic with our ISP and our router, causing a temporary lack of internet.

We picked up our Christmas tree last night after we got off work. We've put it up and now we just have to shift all the furniture just slighly to make more room for it. I pulled out the suprise I told the boy about-- a big sparkly champagne-colored star for the top.

It made me think of last year, when lacking a topper we stuck a little teddy bear in a pilot costume up there. This was after we had to throw it in the back of the truck, lights and all, to take it from my apartment to the boy's. See, he had bought a tree for my apartment as a suprise, but never quite got around to buying a tree fort his place. By the time he decided to do that, Bellingham had become a tree stand-free state. It wouldn't have been a big deal except he had family coming, including a 2-year-old nephew. We weren't about to let him spend Christmas day without a Christmas tree, so we took most of the breakable ornaments off and carted it over to the boy's apartment.

The whole thing makes me want to launch into a funny tree stories essay, but if I do that I'll miss the football game. Just know one involves a SWAT team.

Crafts are going along slowly but surely. Some of the momentum I had has petered out of me. I suppose working for six days and having to explain, "no, we don't have any more shovels. We ran out six days ago," 187237 times gets a little trying. Also, I've been doing a few more social things after work the last few nights-- seeing a band I really wanted to see, wishing a friend well before he moved down to Portland-- and really, things like that tend to take a slight precedence for me.

Thankfully, I've got the next to days off and my only commitments are to help a friend move some stuff and go grocery shopping with my mom. Otherwise, it's veg city, baby!

Either way, enough excuses. More posting to a journal know one ever sees, and more crafting things that I can't yet talk about. (just in case, you know.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day 1....

So I just (hesitantly) opened my bill from the hospital for my emergency room visit. About a week ago I tripped over my couch and smashed my face into an end table, resulting in a bump on the noggin, an ugly-looking cut, and two black eyes. Yes, there was alcohol involved and, yes I really did trip and fall, but feel free to insert some domestic violence joke here. God know's everyone else has. I have been dreading getting this bill, but was convinced by the boy to open it.

....$28.40. Not a typo. Twenty eight dollars and forty cents.

I keep thinking that that can't be right, but there it is. I suppose that might make sense, since all the hospital did was ask me how I was feeling, give me a not-really-needed tetanus shot and some neosporin, and send me on my way. Either way, I'm incredibly grateful that it wasn't the $200-300 I expected it to be, and feeling pretty damn lucky all around.

I've been knitting like crazy the last few days, with two Christmas presents done, a couple more half-finished, and some more still to come. I've been itching to take pictures of the stuff I'm finishing, but they will all have to wait to be posted until after Christmas when they've been opened by the recipients. So instead I'll just put them all into one big gluttonous "look what I've done with the last six weeks!" post.

I made a list today-- well, actually I made three: the who's-getting-what list, the Christmas card list, and the to do/make/buy list. All of them still look pretty long, but somehow I'll get it all done. Up next is cleaning our apartment and reorganizing our furniture in anticipation of getting our Christmas tree tomorrow.

...and thus begins my attempt at Holidailies. Maybe by commiting to writing everyday I'll become a better writer, but somehow I kind of doubt it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Recipe for a twice-baked burrito (well, maybe only once-baked)

1. Run a bunch of errands on foot in the snow.
2. In the midst of these errands, realize you are hungry and buy a burrito at the local Taco Del Mar.
3. Stop buy the yarn store on your way home. Get in long conversation with the gal that works there about the best yarn to knit a hat for a chemo patient with. (oh crap, ended with a prepostition, ah well.)
4. Get home and go to check email, completely forgetting about food.
5. Realize ten minutes later that you had food waiting for you that has now gone stone-cold.
6. Heat oven to 300 degrees (or whatever random temperature you think will heat said food)
7. Put burrito in and forget about it for fifteen to twenty minutes.
8. Take out burrito and, wearing oven mitt, eat, making sure to peel off foil as you go.

I loved my snow day. It wasn't so good to start with-- our heat went out and left our apartment at around 47 degrees-- but once the heat got fixed I had a wonderful day. While the house warmed back up, I ventured out into the 14-or-so inches of snow to get some tea and stop by the Black Drop Coffeehouse. I was planning to sit down and knit for a while, but they were packed, so I got my cambric and left. I went and picked up some tea at a local tea-and-spice shop and, after picking up the previously mentioned burrito, headed home, made some tea, amd sat down to some knitting. I am now 3/4 of the way done with another Christmas present. I don't know why I'm not elaborating about the presents I'm working on. I've kept the craft blog hidden enough that I know the recipients aren't going to find out. So why am I so paranoid?

My big goal for this week is to pick up the stuff needed to make home-made bath bombs and lavender sachets. It would be much easier if I had grown lavender this year, but I didn't so now I have to find dried lavender somewhere else. Good luck to me, I guess.

The other reason I like snow days? Living in downtown Bellingham, I'm near quite a few things, inlcuding the local bar, its awesome food, and its Monday Night Football crowd. The boy and I went over there and cheered on the Seahawks while I indulged in one of the best Philly cheesesteaks outside of the northeast. Ah, wonderful snow days....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Let the holiday craziness commence....


All systems are operational and we are go for launch!

(Maybe it's the boy's influence, but I've definetely developed a thing for NASA slang.)

I spent a couple of hours today gathering supplies for Christmas presents and now I have the rest of the day to sit down and get to work. I think I managed to pick up everything I need for about five of the things I've got in the works.

I don't want to mention too much about what I'm working on, but I'm okay with talking about the ones for me mom. She's still not too internet savvy-- I just set up her first email account so that she could use Amazon, and then she screwed up her first order, so I'm not too worried about her finding/reading my super-secret craft blog. For her, I'm knitting a tea cozy a la Knitty, and a scarf. She knows she's getting a scarf, and she's been driving me crazy, changing what she wants every two minutes. So I'm just making her what I want to make, using one of the yarns she really liked. Personally, it won't be something I would ever wear (I HATE Lion Suede), but my anti-wool mother really liked the way the yarn felt and looked, so I'll put my own issues aside.


The penis hat has been fixed and finished. It still has a little bit of wierd decreasing going on, but there's not a whole heck of a lot I'm willing to do about it now.

(Also, I intentionally put up a blurry picture because I'm beginning to hate looking at pictures of myself.)

Enough jibber-jabbering! Time to knit!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I've been knitting how many years now?--- and somehow I still never learn my lesson-- if you're going to wing it, don't wing it so much it becomes unwearable.

Fact is, half the things I make are either patterns I spontaneously alter or things I make up as I'm going along. And that's all well and good and in most cases comes out fairly okay with only a minor glitch or two. Not this time. This time, I decided to just decrease my hat whenever I felt like it.

When all was said and done, I found that I had made a giant wool condom. Well, technically only the tip part, but either way it was not a good look for me.

So I spent last night ripping back to the point where I started the crazy decreasing business, and today's ferry ride from Orcas Island (where we just went on vacation!) reknitting it with much smarter and more attractive (and less penile) decreases.

Jilliana's personal lesson for the day: Creativity is all well and good, but a little bit of forethought works wonders. (And saves you from looking like a dick.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

'Tis the season....

I think I'm going to forgo any of my current for me projects to try the over-ambitious task of getting some Christmas presents done. Until then, I will just drool over the projects in Greetings from Knit Cafe , and look longingly at my fuzzy sweater.

(Truthfully, I will probably still work on the fuzzy sweater. Merry Christmas to me.)

I've got some ideas for Christmas presents for folks, but getting them done in time may be the hard part. Damn me and my superior procrastination skills!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scarf action

I finished the I'm-taking-a-break-from-tricky-things scarf, just in time to wear out on Saturday night. I still have a spare skein and am debating about adding fringe, but I think it might be a bit too much. I mean it's already got seed stitch, color variations, and a little shimmer within the yarn--- what more do I really need to add to this?

Yes I know, it looks SO fashionable when paired with my too-big Bumbershoot sweatshirt from '04. :)

The rain has been pouring off and on since Saturday afternoon. Here and there I see a flash of lightning or hear a distant thundercloud. I think this is definetely going to be a stay inside day. In fact, I should probably get moving since I still have a little running around to do. I planned to stop off at my LYS, run by the bank, and lastly, pay those stupid parking tickets.

That's one thing that I'm ashamed to admit I get a sense of pleasure out of--- the fact that the meter maids get to spend their workday in the pouring rain. Now if only it were about 20 degrees colder....

We're in the process of having our kitchen re-drywalled, so I think I may take laundry and knitting over to my mom's so I can stay out of the way. It's really strange to see the walls in our kitchen... well, flat. They've always been slightly warped since I moved into this place a year and a half ago, but building construction last spring caused giant cracks to spread all over the place. We're talking big, gaping cracks, some as much 1 1/2" wide. While I won't miss that, I will miss the big flower that was painted there.

I started it on a whim one day to give my kitchen some fun color. It was giant-- about four feet tall, give or take. I had to sit on top of my fridge to paint the top petal and at the time chuckled at how I must have looked to anyone walking by. It was probably funny looking to begin with, but got even funnier when I almost toppled off the fridge. I had planned to add a few more and paint the part of the wall below the chair rail pink, but once things started getting all crack-y that went out the window. Ah well, the one big flower was fun while it lasted, back to boring off-white. For now it just looks like the bottom picture-- bare grey drywall.

Okay, I've sat here long enough. Time to get moving!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This round up thing sounds good!

I got this idea from miss Samurai Knitter-- a quick log of what you finished in the last month, and what your goals are now. I kind of like it, especially since I am one of those who is easily distracted-- hence, the scarf I just started and the socks currently languishing.

I'm cheating though-- I'm recapping from when I started this blog so that I can include the stripey sweater.

So let's see...
Long-awaited stripey sweater....check.
Addelle's bracelet.....made and finally given. check
Leaf armwarmers......finished and being worn constantly. check!
Another skinny I need another one, but check nonetheless.

As for this month....
Priority one is finishing the fluffy sweater, if only so I can stop getting fuzz everywhere! After (and most likely during) that is getting Christmas presents started. I'm not even sure who's getting what yet, so I better get cracking. I'm probably going to finish the scarf within the next couple of days, since I'm about six inches from being done anyway. As for my kool-aid socks, I'm keeping them in mind but since I'm starting over, they can wait for a bit while I find a pattern I like better. I'm also going to help Jen tackle purl stitches next week. She wants to be done with the scarf she's working on by then, so we should have a fresh project to work with.

Now let's see how close I actually come to this list by the end of the month!
Adelle's bracelet 003Now that I've finally given it to her, I can write about the bracelet I made for my friend. I had already made a similar one for myself, but changed hers up a bit. I was starting to run a litttle low on the red and orange beads, so I added some yellow/gold ones in to compensate. It definetely adds to the fall feel I was going for with the first one. I also found a small Buddha charm at the Bead Bazaar and definetly wanted to incorporate that for my newly buddhist buddy. I had to change the placement a couple of times to get it where I wanted it, but ultimately I like the end result and, most importantly, so did she.

Next up is a pair of star earrings for me! The same day I found Buddha, I also picked up some super cool star beads-- two big ones in (I think) mother-of pearl, and about a half dozen each of small white and hematite (shiny black) stars. I found a design in a beading book I picked up that used a bunch of headpins threaded through eachother that looks pretty nifty so I might try that.

It's a good thing it's been rainy and cold, cause I now have about 9 projects that make me not want to leave the house!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Craft NIght, technical difficulties, and project procrastination...

The first Craft Night went off without a hitch last week! Everybody came over, project bags in hand, and set down to work. One gal was working on a sweater, another friend started a crochet pattern called "Cowl" that upon further inspection turned out to simply be a tube, but will look cute no matter what they call it. My friend Steph made dishcloths from some chunky cotton I hade leftover, since her husband had managed to get bleach on all the nice ones they got as wedding gifts a month ago. As for me, I divided my time between working on my fluffy sweater and teaching my friend Jen to knit.

I got Jen started on a garter stitch scarf and suddenly realized that I didn't remember what it was like to first start knitting. Teaching Jen reminded me how hard it actually is when you're first starting-- trying to manuever two sticks and a piece of string so that they form a pattern is something most fingers aren't used to doing without practice. So we had some learning glitches, like constantly dropped stitches and cast-on hangups. Ultimately, we got her on the right track and, after going home and ripping her work out and starting over like every knitter since the dawn of time, Jen is getting the hang of it! Next up, purl stitches! The next one is planned for next Wednesday, because I have a feeling with all of the Halloween festivities I probably won't have the energy for one this week.


and pictures don't seem to be uploading,what is happening here? That's the only one I could get Blogger to upload and even then couldn't get a smaller picture of. Pffft.

Since then, I have been diligently working on my fluffy sweater and kool-aid socks....okay, well maybe not diligently. I finished the body of the fluffy sweater almost a week ago and, quite honestly, have not felt like sitting down and doing the math for the sleeves. Also, I wanted to take a small break from constantly being covered in fuzzies. I have a feeling that I may have to rip out the bottom and redo it, as it came out a little bit shorter and wider than planned. It shouldn't set me back too far though.

As for the Kool-aid socks, I am tempted to just rip them out and start over. I wasn't super fond of the pattern when I started, and since I turned the heel I've made a ton of silly errors that I don't catch until six or eight rows later. If it were just one little oops I might just keep going and factor it into the matching sock, but since it's, like, seven little oopses in various spots, I really just want to start over, and this time with a new pattern. Frankly, despite the stupid not-paying-attention mistakes I've made, I kind feel like the whole thing is just a little too easy.

So I took a break and started a simple seed stitch scarf using some "Life" yarn I picked up on clearance at JoAnn. I'm two thirds of the way done and figure once I finish it I'll be ready to go back to the other two things, including the ripping of my first ever sock. Eh, if Jen can do it, so can I.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Holy knitted stitches, Batman!

Oh my gosh, I just turned my first heel! Holy crap, that wasn't as hard as I thought!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kool Aid dyes are rad!

The kitchen smells fruity, like those markers we used to have as kids-- they never really smelled like any real kind fruit, just fruity. Except for grape, fake grape always smells the same.

Yesterday was my first experiment into Kool Aid dying. I've been collecting Kool Aid packets whenever I happen to be in the grocery store and thinking about it with plans to eventually dye white recycled yarn for some gifts. But before I ruined the yarn intended for other people's projects, I figured I'd try it out on my sock yarn. Way I see it, if I can actually manage to knit myself some socks, I doubt I'll much care if they're some wierd color. Plus, nobody sees them when you wear shoes (which is why my socks rarely ever match.)

The cool thing about Kool Aid dyeing is that there are a ton of tutorials to be found! Knitty's article proved super helpful, and I even found a color chart! Armed with a little bit of knowledge, some leftover keg cups, and an big eyedropper I borrowed from Eric's airbrushing supplies, I set to work.

It turned out that completely covering my surface in saran wrap was a good plan-- I wound up spilling the grape cup while cleaning up, but the plastic wrap caught nearly all of it! Plus, it made cleaning everything up a matter of scooping up the plastic with everything in it and tossing it!

I did a little test hank by wrapping about ten loops from hand to elbow and cutting it off, then dyed that first to see how I wanted the colors placed. It seemed to come out fairly nice, so I dove into the first hank. The colors seemed to come out alright, until I started noticing that some of the yarn underneath wasn't getting fully color saturated. Adding more color helped, but it also added more water to my already brimming plate. I think I may need to use less water next time, and possibly measure out how much for a more uniform (and easily duplicated) dye job.

After a couple of minutes in the microwave, the water on the plate was clear and it looked like all the color had been sucked up, so I rinsed my yarn off and cleaned it with a little bit of shampoo. Then both the first hank and, eventually, the second one I did were left on hooks to dry in my kitchen.

I kind of cheated-- I didn't wait until my test hank was fully dry before knitting a swatch of it. I just couldn't wait to see how my colors came out! The pink lemonade color I used really wasn't as vibrant as I had hoped, and I managed to leave some pretty substantial white spots on the full hanks despite my best efforts, but all in all I think it turned out okay. The nice thing is having a photo record of the pattern I used-- I don't think those two little balls of yarn are going to be enough to make some socks, so it's nice to have a blueprint for dyeing more.

I think I may try dip dyeing next time, only using two or at most three colors instead. I can probably get some better saturation that way. For now though, it's onto socks! My feet can't wait!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is it wrong that I pretty much hate novelty yarn?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Doggy knits, yarn for beginners, and really, why the heck am I even writing here?

I need a dog so I can knit cool things like this for it, courtesy of Street Legal Designs:

The boy thinks knitting sweaters for dogs is a completely silly, kind of tacky thing to do. While I agree that for the most part outfits for dogs are not at all cool, dogs actually get chilly in the wintertime too! What better than a sweater for those slightly cold, kind of rainy walks? I'm not saying fit 'em with a hat and galoshes or anything, just something to keep their little bodies warm when the fur isn't quite cutting it.


I'm about half-way done with the body of my fluffy re-sweater. So far, the stash looks like it just might hold out, atleast I really really hope so. I'm excited to get it done, since I've been wanting a sweater like this for the last year or two. It's designed to be like a store-bought sweater I already own, but in ivory instead teal of and omitting the zipper that the original has. Otherwise, I plan to keep the raglan sleeves and the giant cowl/turtleneck collar. I'm already starting to see that the mohair blend will definetely benifit from a little blocking once I'm done, but *fingers crossed* it should shape up pretty nicely.

I posted a question on the livejournal Knitting! community (not to be confused with Knitting Pretty) about what they think the best yarn is for my soon-to-be-knitting friend. It seems most of the vote is for Cascade 220 and needles anywhere from a size 6 to a size 11, although most favor the 8 to 10 range. There's also a debate between straight needles and circulars that leaves me kind of sitting on the fence as to which ones would work for Jen. Really, I have enough spares of both that it would be easy to switch up if one doesn't work.

I suppose it might be time to actually start telling people about this silly thing. Honestly, although I like reading craft blogs, having one feels a little egocentric to me-- like "hey, come look at all the cool stuff I do. It's not enough to read my thoughts on one blog, now come read about my craft stuff too!" So I've been really loathe to point anyone towards this. On the other hand, I'm really kind of sitting here talking to myself, which is pretty lame too. A pointless conundrum if there ever was one.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What? No new clothes for how long?

So it just occurred to me that I completely fulfilled the terms of my 2-month Wardrobe Refashion pledge! In fact, I've been avoiding frivilous clothes shopping for so long, I didn't even realize until that it's actually been almost three months!

(To be honest, I did buy work clothes, but that's okay-- the pledge say so!)

Under normal Jill circumstances, I would immediately run out and buy some new clothes, but for some reason the urge just isn't as strong as it normally is-- that is to say it's there, but not so much. I know that there are so many things in my wardrobe that I've been meaning to get to that I find myself thinking more about that than about new stuff. I also find myself looking more to less mass-marketed, more handmade if and when I can afford it. The goal: More skirts, alter some t-shirts, possibly make a dress out of some old curtains Scarlet O'hara-style, all while keeping up with my knitting and other craft projects. Lofty, I know, but I like to aim high.

I picked up a beaded jewelry book and ReadyMade's How to Make {Almost} Everything yesterday. I've already perused it a few times, but I think I'm gonna go flop down on the couch and read some more.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blah, blah, blah....

It seems I might be hosting a craft night for me and some friends in a couple of weeks! If it turns out well, I might try to make this a regular thing. Crafting can be such a solitary thing that it's nice to occasionally do it with other people. Plus, it will hopefully give me the opportunity to sit down and teach a friend to knit.

Another friend who is learning to crochet wrote a post on her blog about finishing her first scarf and why she likes crochet so much, and it made me think of ....well, why I love to knit so much. I find it soothing at times and intense in others, mainly depending on the project. My friend likened it to meditation and it is in its own way. Knitting quiets the nerves and unravels the mind. I can remember times when I have poured myself into a project because of feelings I couldn't or didn't want to express and, strangely enough, it helped.

Also, I feel this special sort of happy whenever I bind off the final stitches or weave in the last end-- that accomplishment that comes from knowing I just made something out of a very long piece of string. I like that, with a little math, I can alter a pattern from being kind of what I want to exactly what I want.-- when I actually have the discipline to use a pattern anyway. And it's pretty rocking to receive a compliment and reply, "yeah, I made that."

It's been a bit since I've posted any pictures here, in part because the batteries in the camera are kaput again, but also because none of the current projects are in photo-friendly stages. Ultimately it's not that big a deal since virtually no one knows about this blog yet, not even my friends! (I wanted to actually have something to show before I started telling people, "hey, look at my craft blog!")

But I digress. I do have one project with decent pictures, and it's been the biggest one of late. A few months ago, I realized that I was starting to lose my creative spark. I hadn't made anything in months and really only had one or two good ideas for things. I made all these excuses for it, like lack of time, lack of space, the weather-- but realized they were pretty much all crap and, more importantly, easily fixed. So I made myself a to do list that went as follows:

1-commit to carving out time for arts and crafts
2-create a dedicated workspace (one that will include storage and a place for my sewing machine)
3-surround myself with things that motivate and inspire me

1 was the easiest and 3 will always be an ongoing thing, so the big one has been item 2. And this is the work in progress....


What a crappy, useless, messy as hell, blah room.

I started with paint, then some rearranging and even those two things worked wonders. We are still lacking in storage-- a fact that the angle of these pictures manages to hide-- so the next thing is shelves, both for my project supplies and for my boyfriend's.

Either way, I find that I've already been more creative since I started this! That pristine uncluttered desk is now full of yarn, beads, a sewing machine, airbrushing stuff.... you name it. And I actually find myself sitting down and making stuff, even when I'm not planning to. Organizing beads turns into making a bracelet and seperating yarn by fiber becomes sketching ideas for a sweater. And all it took was a little bit of inner and outer rearranging.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm starting another reknitted sweater, and it's already become "hold my breath and hope I have enough yarn" time.

I wish I knew a trick for being able to figure out if the amount of yarn I have is enough to do what I want, cause I'm never sure and, frankly, never know until I'm most of the way done that I'm going to run out. I have this sinking feeling that if I have enough it's going to be just barely and I'm probably going to have to rip out a bunch and make some design changes before all is said and done. Ack!

I guess I'll just have to knit with my fingers crossed from now on. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

So excited....

8 days until Craft hits newsstands. I wasn't with it enough to get a subscription yet-- heck, I still have yet to get around to renewing my ReadyMade subscription! So I guess I'll have to wait the extra two weeks.

I have the day off today, but I'm not feeling super great. So despite the last vestiges of nice weather outside, I'm probably just going to stay in the house and occupy myself with a pot of tea, some knitting, and a movie, and maybe a good book later on.

I'm finishing up one of my oh-so-easy absolute-favoritest skinny scarves. I been on a mission to start going through my knitting stash, and decided to make yet another skinny scarf from the little bit of blue Homespun I had left. The gosh darn things are just so easy and suprisingly versatile. Depending on the yarn used, all it takes is wrapping it around the neck one or two more times to take it from an airy spring scarf to a warm winter one.

In other news, the swatching article in the current Knitty reminds me of all the reasons I came to terms with knitting swatches, and actually kind of like doing it. It even gave me a few more uses for a swatch that, I feel kind of silly saying, hadn't even occured to me. Someday I may even take all those dumb swatches (the ones I don't pull back out when I'm done with them) and make a really colorful throw with them or something.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ground Control to Major Tom: ABORT.

Hoodie may be a no go. I did some test swatches last night, and even if I was willing to cast on 132 stitiches for each side, I'm not sure if my stash of that yarn will hold out-- not good since I bought every skein JoAnn Fabrics had left when they cleared it out. I might just have to hold off and make a lighter, spring-ier sweater instead. In fact, lighter and cooler makes more sense the more I think about it-- I was using a cotton yarn anyway, and isn't that more geared to spring and summer?

Monday, October 02, 2006

armwarmer 2

I think I just finished one of my shortest projects ever, other than the skinny one-hour scarves I love to make. I had picked up some Noro Kureyon to try out Stitch and Bitch Nation's armwarmer pattern and somehow managed to get both armwarmers done in just a few days! I was a little shocked considering my small amount of DPN experience (which means none at all.) It takes a little getting used to having so many needles right there at once-- the ones that weren't being knitted on seemed to constantly be in the way and don't even get me started on having to use a fifth one for certain spots in the design chart-- but I think I kind of got the hang of it.

This picture was my effort to do two things: look tough like "put up your dukes!" and show the leaf detail on top. I kinda failed dismally at both.

armwarmer 1

I think the hoodie is definetely next, but I may alternate working on that with my first-ever socks. Now that I've started to get a feel for the double-points, socks don't seem quite as daunting. Plus, I'm planning on Kool-Aid dying my yarn, so I'm excited to see how it knits up.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So I think I've started this as my craft blog, but I don't know how much it's going to get used. In fact, the only thing I have worth putting in here right now is a cross-post from Wardrobe Refashion.....enjoy!

I finally have something to post in here! How exciting!While I have been busy crafting, a lot of what I was making was coming from my stash and therefore not really a refashion, but this one definetely is! I found an old sweater at a thrift store that was ugly, but had a ton of useful yarn and at $3.00 was too good to pass up. So I bought it and set to work taking it apart.I managed to get most of this sweater knit in a short time, but had to put it on hold for months because I didn't have enough of the color I wanted for the sleeves. One of the drawbacks of reknitted sweaters is that you can't just go to the LYS to pick more up if you run out. So after a lot of searching, I found a yarn that, while not being exact, was pretty darn close to what I've been using. And now it's finally done, just in time for fall!
stripey sweater 1
stripey sweater 2

I was too tired the other day to take a decent picture wearing it, and now my camera's just a little bit dead, so eventually I'll have a better one!Now I think I'm going to start a hoodie, just as soon as I decide whether it's going to be pink with black sleeves/hood or black with pink sleeves. Decisions, decisions.....