Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Word of the day is "alternate"

With the new (tiny) merino/silk hank soaked, I might just be able to knit a coin purse from my handspun knits! I think I will knit them with alternate skeins/balls/bundles of yarn, simple because I'm thinking one is thinner than the other and knitting them alternately might make it work.

In other news, I find that I like the super-carded wool a lot better than I like the merino/silk. Shorter fiber length = easier drafting for a newbie like me.

Also, I think I'm going to rip out the new purse. One, I would rather knit two balls in alternate rows to get a more random stripe and Two, I'm not sure about the pattern I'm making up. So I'm ripping it out and starting from the bottom (bottom of the purse, I mean.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The haze is finally starting to clear....

On top of giving me some non-drowsy Claritin, my mom may have given me a good solution to this little sinus issue I've been having. Since we think it may be because of all the dry air I've been breathing in recently, both indoors and out, my mom had the idea to put a coffee can full of water on top of my radiator. As the radiator heats up, the water will vaporize and humidify the air. I had been trying to figure out a way to do this, but she came up with the best/most simple solution. She's a smart lady, my mom.

In other news, I am loving the new Knitty suprises. I might have to add Dragonfly to the knit list, which seems to be getting longer all the time. Just yesterday I added a wrap sweater that I sketched out, with the plan to make it from one of the recycling sweaters I picked up last week. I think I may use the wrap sweater project as a "how to recycle a sweater" tutorial. From what I've seen, the only things about sweater recycling online involve felting them and using the felt. There's so many more possibilities than that, if one is willing to take the time. And really, who can pass up a handknit sweater that only cost $5.00 to make?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Yesterday and today have had me feeling pretty much like my face was going to fall off. I think it might have something to do with winter-- cold dry air followed by dry heat from our radiators-- but my sinuses are pissed. I've been waking up feeling stuffed up lately, but yesterday I woke up feeling like someone had taken some heavy-grit sandpaper to the back of my throat and up into where my sinuses drain. Then the headache came on, those kind that pretty much put a mask of pain around your eyes.

Today isn't much better. I'm still going to work, but I'm probably going to stop by the drug store and pick up some non-drowsy antihistamines, because the ones I have aren't exactly work-safe.

The worst part? I felt so worn out and crappy, I didn't even have the energy to curl up on the couch and knit, like I normally do when I'm sick. This sucks.

For now, back to bed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No time for a real post, but since I only just wanted to post the photos that accompany my last couple of posts, I don't feel too bad.
E modelling the Tube Sock Scarf

Very blurry (it moves fast) and very big ball of roving!
The fruits of my labor-- my handspuns so far. The one on the left was done when I had been spinning for about three days and was trying to ply for the first time. I think things have gotten a lot more consistent since then. The bottom hank is from the Purple Haze ball.

The newest project, a purse. I started on it last night during Whiskey Night with Mike and Jen. It's almost but not completely in the round, since I didn't have a circular short enough. I decided to just make it with one seam up the side. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to play out yet, since I'm just kind of making it up as I go along, but it will atleast be an interesting project!

Warning: If it hasn't been made obvious yet, I write the way I speak. And I speak in parentheticals.

Do you have those friends that you can spend hours with, without ever getting bored or needing some other distraction (ie, a movie or a game or some other form of entertainment)? I do, and I am so grateful for it. I also consider myself lucky in that two of those friends are miraculously dating eachother (which means I get two for the price of one!) and another one of those is my boyfriend.

The four of us (myself, E, and our friends Jen and Mike) spent the night hanging out, having drinks, and basically shooting the shit, and it was quite honestly one of the best nights I've had all week. Sometimes I feel bad and/or neglectful of our other friends, since we hang out with these two so much. At the same time, I don't.

I even got to briefly teach Jen about spinning! I've been (very) slowly teaching her how to knit, but I'm beginning to think spinning might be more her thing.

In other news, I've come to a decision about the things I was mulling over yesterday. Basically, I was offered a really big, but kind of scary, job opportunity. I mix paint for a living, for one of those big-box hardware stores. I have been offered the option to go to a smaller, more local store a couple of times. This time, I was made a really good offer. The manager of this smaller store wants me to come work there and eventually take over his job when he moves on, which is going to happen within the next six months. On one hand, this is an amazing opportunity, and would eventually mean making almost twice as much money as I do now while doing something that I enjoy and am good at. On the other, I'm terrified that I will be biting off more than I can chew. Managing my own store would be the biggest responsibility that I've ever had in my life, and I'm scared shitless that I will fall flat on my face. But after a lot of thought I finally had to ask myself, "what is life without taking risks?"

So I think I'm going to fight my fears and go for it.

To sum up, I am feeling very good about today.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When did "sit and spin" go from being a crafting phrase to an insult?

I find that after certain events today I suddenly have a lot on my mind, but I'd rather put it aside for awhile to write about crafting. One can only mull over things for so long before people start to wonder what the constipated look on your face is about and whether you are, in fact, constipated. (In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't.)

Meanwhile, there is so much spinning going on! Now if only I had better light for pictures/time to take pictures during the day!

There's a lady in the next town over who buys up fiber remnants from Brown Sheep Co. and cards them into bee-you-tee-ful balls of roving. My LYS, which if not previously mentioned is NW Handspun Yarns, sells them for $10. $10 for a ball of roving bigger than my head? Why yes, I will take some of that! I picked up a colorway called "Purple Haze", which is a lovely blend of purple and royal blue with bits of lavender tossed in. Because of the way it's been carded, it drafts super-easily. Within about a day, I was able to get a decent sized ball of singles spun, soaked, and wound up into a hank.

I also finally got the merino/silk and New Zealand wool I had spun soaked as well, and it definetely makes all the difference. The silly little tangled balls that were sitting on my coffee table have now morphed into smooth not-so-tangly-twisted hanks, albeit very small ones. One of these days I might actually spin enough yarn to knit something!

The Tube Sock Scarf is, thankfully, also done. There is only so much *k2p2 (repeat from *) I can stand, so I was more than happy to bind off that little number. E is very pleased with it, and spent about two hours surfing the internet Tuesday night with it wound around his neck.

Now it's onto finishing the stupid mittens that I've been putting off (I changed the pattern on the thumbhole, but being slightly addle-minded I forgot to write down how I changed it, so I'm going to have to guess at matching them. I'm not looking forward to this, hence the procrastination. ) And then it's back to the fuzzy sweater! I think I'm also going to make a purse from some of the random yarn I've picked up recently. After that, who knows? The list of future projects is so long, I don't even know where to start!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Now where the heck do I put it all?

So when I say I went to town with the whole stash-building thing, I meant it---

stash building!
Click on picture to see details about what the heck all those yarns are.

Two of this, three of that. Oh, you only have one left? Don't worry, I'll take it!

Bells had it right that I'm a yarn store owner's dream. While everyone else is busting their stash, I'm buying up oddballs like it's going out of style! So now I've got a ton of yarn for a bunch of little things. On the upside, I didn't really have much of a stash too begin with, so now I can atleast relate a little to those gals with yarn closets (or even, dare I say, yarn rooms!)

As mentioned, I also finished the slightly-short-kinda-stripey-cable-keyhole scarf, with the exception of blocking and weaving in ends. I don't know that it really needs to be blocked, but frankly I could use the practice and I think that cable pattern could benefit from it.

Full-size photo when it's all finished. As for now, the goal is to take a shower and go out, with the hopes of procuring lavender, more roving, and something to make for dinner tonight. I'm thinking I might do spinach lasagna....

I'm proud to be someone who does things and sometimes scrapes my knees...

It's official, the sweater addiction has reached dangerous levels. I now own 40 sweaters. I could wear a sweater every weekday for two months without a repeat!*

...and I just deleted a giant paragraph full of excuses for being a sweater addict. It sounded too much like an alcoholic trying to explain why he isn't an alcoholic.

The thing is, if loving knitwear is wrong, I don't want to be right.

On the cool side, I did find a couple of sweaters that are ripe for re-engineering. Well, maybe. One is perfect, but the other one may be cut from knit fabric, which will leave me nothing but a bunch of short strings.

Tomorrow is definetely picture day-- of my new yarn, and my finished keyhole scarf!

*I actually own more than that, but the rest are for recycling projects. The official sweater count only includes sweaters I've bought with the intention of wearing.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

So we housed a kitty last night. We've been seeing her around the apartment building and originally thought she belonged to one of our neighbors, but after petting her we realized that she was too skinny to belong to someone. and really affectionate and people-oriented in a way that implies that someone lost or abandoned her. So we fed her, and let her hang out in our apartment, and ultimately fell so in love with her that we decided if she stayed around we would take her to the vet on Monday and find out what she needs for us to keeep her and have her healthy. We didn't want to kick her out last night, but we also didn't want to find cat poop on our rug, so we put her outside but left her food and planned on buying a litter box pretty soon.

I fed her this morning, but we didn't see her tonight. E is slightly/pretty/mostly heartbroken. Fact is, I'm slightly heartbroken too. We were hoping to take her in and put out some "found" ads and hope that no one answered so we could keep her as our own. Know how hard it is to wake up a kitty sleeping at your feet just to tell them to go outside? Yeah.

Hopefully she'll show up tomorrow. I think that she's hungry enough that she will come find food where she knows she can get it. If not, I wish her safe journey, wherever she may go.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

While everyone else is busy busting there stash, I just totally built mine up with a bunch of oddballs. Details (and pictures illustrating my madness) to follow.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This isn't nearly as much about knitting as I intended it to be.

I am definetely an emotional knitter. I got in a fight with E the other night about something incredibly minor, but we both knew it was just a smokescreen for a couple other, slightly bigger frustrations. He went to bed, I sat up and finished another 8 inches on his scarf.

A couple of years ago, a friend was going through a rough time, and for my own reasons I just couldn't be as good a friend I wanted to be. At the time, I felt too caught up in my own emotional bullshit to be a good friend to anybody else. So I knit. I knit A LOT. When I gave her the stuff I had made for her, she was able to know that although I couldn't be "there", I still loved her.

I sat in my shower yesterday and cried, and I knew that I was crying about a bunch of things that wouldn't be big deals by themselves, and frankly weren't big deals no matter what, but all the little deals I've passed off as not mattering had ganged up and become one giant ball of stuff.

I cried because I felt like everything sucks, even though I knew damn good and well that that isn't true. I cried because I felt stupid and useless and helpless, even though I know that's not entirely true either. I cried because I'm not nearly as good at this whole "being an adult" thing as I should be, which quite frankly is true.

Hell, I cried because I was sick to death of doing laundry and dishes.

...but then I got out of the shower and worked out some of the little things, including some of the previously mentioned frustrations sitting between me and E, so the giant ball wasn't quite so crushingly big.

And then, I finished spinning that merino/silk. It is now sitting on a makeshift bobbin, waiting to be soaked and have the twist "set" (or atleast that's how I'm told it's supposed to work). I made a gauge swatch from some random yarn I picked up the other day, just to see its potential. I worked on E's scarf, because it is a work in progress worth working on.

The thing that always makes me feel better about life is this: We are always finding ways of improving, creating, building. Not just knitters-- everyone.

But as for me, it's pretty safe to say that I knit therefore I am.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

So I was just reading this article on the mainstreaming of cruelty-free values.

I really like that vegan- and vegetarian- friendly products are becoming more available beyond just food level, but one thing struck me. From an environmental standpoint, is trading in natural materials for lots of plastics really the way to go? Although I am not vegetarian (and subsequently not vegan), I have over time started to slowly move towards eating/wearing/buying things that have less of an impact. But swapping your leather ipod case for a plastic one, while good for the cow, isn't necessarily better for the landfill it will eventually end up in. And recycled yarn is wonderful, but shearing a sheep isn't cruelty.

Sometimes I think people miss the forest for the trees.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

No craft content ahead.

I've been talking tonight about...stuff. (slightly drunk, hard to explain meaning. Then again, "stuff" is pretty non-explanatory.)

There was a conversation that I wanted to spout off about, but it's too late and I'm too tired.

This is what I will spout off about:

I have a coworker who has been single for awhile and is very intent on being in a relationship. She has told me how lucky I was to have found someone, so I've been trying to explain the whole story to her.

I think a great deal of the reason that E and I fell in love was because we weren't looking to date anyone. Neither one of us was searching for a relationship. I had been single for two years and had gotten to the point where I honestly didn't care about dating, and E had been out of a relationship for awhile and wasn't worried about dating either. I was happy with myself, my friends who loved me, and my family, so I didn't look at men as dateable/undateable. I looked at them as either people I wanted to be around or people I didn't want to be around. When I met E, I didn't think about dating him, but I knew from the first night we started talking that he would be someone I wanted to be around. To this day , I still say that if we hadn't wound up dating, he would have still been my best friend.

I had already realized that I was a whole person, with or without a boyfriend, so I wasn't trying to impress anyone when I met E. As a result I acted the same around E that I did around anyone else. I was me-- sweet, averagely pretty, bitchy, brutally honest but well meaning, kinda clumsy, not-giving-a-shit me. He was the same way- cute, kind, honest to a fault, idiosycratic, mean-to-people-who-are-deliberately-assholes him. And we liked (and ultimately loved) each other for exactly who we we are. Part of the reason we were attracted to eachother,a HUGE part of the reason we work so well despite diffences, is because we are and have always been the people we claim to be. It's not the only reason I love him, but it is definetely one of the many.

Sorry, this has nothing to do with craft stuff, it's just a mental purging on my part. I've been trying to find the words to explain how I feel in love with E and why I love him so much. My apologies.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bundle up!

It's frozen in Bellingham.

The view outside my window. The tall building is formerly City Hall but now serves as a museum. If you look next to it, you can just barely see the bay. The lack of buildings or scenery, however, makes for some amazing sunsets.

Yahoo lists our current temperature at 20 degrees, and all the snow we got last night has since frozen solid. When it started snowing last night, my inner island girl got excited. Growing up in Hawaii/San Diego/Florida, I didn't see snow until I was almost 13, so I still haven't had a chance to get sick of it.

On the other hand, the big girl voice in my head so oh crap, you might actually have to drive in it this time. I managed to get out of it during the last snow storm two months ago making E drive everywhere. This time, because of schedules, I actually have to get on the road myself. Thusfar I seem to be doing okay. I've made it to work and back twice with nary an incident.

It's really wierd to see all of this white wind whipping over the ground. Makes me think of Antartica or something, not plain old Bellingham. Luckily the boiler for our building didn't freeze this time, it's not so fun without heat.

The cold weather did give me the opportunity (like I need one) to spin some more. I had picked up some new roving from my LYS to continue spinning. Still mostly New Zealand wool, but I also picked up an ounce of a merino/silk blend to treat myself.

I know they say 100% wool is good for beginners, but I had such an easier time with the blend! The slippery-ness that I was warned about actually helps me draft more evenly. It wound up beautifully and felt so soft!

That said, I am starting to get a tiny bit better with spinning pure wool. I tried switching colors while spinning with much better results. That tightly wound little ball in my hand starts out orange but gives way to an orangey gold, a reddish color, and eventually a bright pink in the center. In fact, neither picture shows how pretty the colors actually are. The folks at NW Handspun sure do carry some pretty-colored stock! I'm still trying to figure out how to avoid overspinning without my yarn falling completely apart. Right now I seem to be at one extreme or the other.

I'm gonna go crawl back under my blankets until it's time for me to go to work.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm a consumer whore (and how!)

So I'm feeling pretty darn good after finding all kinds of awesome deals in my shopping excursions the last few days. Probably better than I should, given my ongoing goal to buy less. Some of it I blame on the gift cards. Some of it is just plain addiction. And some of it is because I can't pass up a REALLY good sale, especially on something I kind of already want.

Frankly, talking about how cheap one got things is pretty boring, so to sum up:

-Embroidered silk found for over 80% off! I just might have to go back and buy the rest of it up before someone else does. Also, flamingo print fabric for $1.80/yd!

-a really cute $5 sweater at Macy's (which puts the sweater count up to 38. I have a problem.)

-A discount on merino/silk roving because I let them know about an error in their price list. (yay for good karma)

And to top it all off, I found a pair of jeans that actually fit! That's right up there with the Loch Ness monster as far as "things that are rarely seen" goes.

Luckily, I think this week has been my last big binge before I go back on my clothing diet. Aside from the ones from Target, all the gift cards have now been spent, which removes the reason for me to look at clothes in the first place. I've already placed a moratorium on buying any more knitting books. And as for fiber and craft stuff, I'm trying to avoid buying anything without first having a project or goal in mind, so my own indecisiveness should slow me down a bit. That pretty much takes care of my frivilous spending with the exception of chinese food and beer, neither of which I'm willing to give up. One has to draw the line somewhere.


I've been thinking a lot today about community and how the internet has both helped and hindered communication, but my thoughts aren't quite formed enough to put down in any readable format yet. I am however starting to believe that I am one of those people who communicates better and more effectively without the crutch of a backspace key.

Monday, January 08, 2007

And the day's not over!

My day in pictures:

I started off by throwing on my new t-shirt from Anthropologie. I love the pretty leaf image and the oh-so-soft organic cotton. It feels like I've owned it for ten years!

I managed to get a bit more spinning done. I kept telling myself to put it down so I could run errands, but the roving kept call me. I'm finding that I'm starting to be able to draft and spin at the same time. Up until now, it's been the "spin and park" method all the time. It does however mean that I drop the spindle a lot more.

Even though they didn't strike me as particularly Christmas-y, I bought these giant sparkly feather ornaments this year for our tree. Now that I'm taking it apart, it occurs to me that there's gotta be something fun I can do with them the rest of the year. I'm thinking maybe as part of a walll or table decoration....

Per my list, I made it to the yarn store, the bead store, and the book store and picked up all kinds of things. The only thing I came up empty on was lavender, but woman I talked to reminded me that my favorite tea shop carries bulk lavender. Why I didn't think of that before is beyond me and the tea shop is a lot easier to find than the mysterious lavender place with the unknown name. After today, though, there will be a moratorium on buying new knitting books until I actually knit something from one of them.

Although the girl at the yarn store looked at me funny, there's a reason I carry these two books everywhere I go. One is my new planner, the other is stitch-n-bitch knitting journal that has notes on my yarn stash, including dye lots. I now have the exact yarn I needed to finish Carly's mittens, including the correct dye lot, and just might be able to get them done by the time she gets to town on Saturday!

There was also hummus and a trip to the Black Drop involved, but no pictures. It should however be noted that it was somn damn good hummus.

As for now, the plan is to finish taking the tree apart so E and I can haul it downstairs, tidy up my living room and possibly have some friends over for dinner. In my adventures today, I walked past one of my favorite italian restaurants and the smell coming from inside made tonight's dinner menu abundantly clear-- cheese tortellini with veggie marinara, garlic cheese bread, and a choose-your-adventure salad*.

But enough rambling. If I'm going to get all this done AND run to JoAnn Fabrics, I'd better get crackin'!

*choose your adventure salad-- the basic salad is there, but condiments are up to you. I plan to use a tiny bit of italian dressing, craisins, feta, and some crunched-up pecans. E leans more towards bacon bits and shredded cheddar.

Note to self: spellchecker is your friend.

We're back.

E and I went down to Seattle on Saturday for our friends' housewarming. I was a bit nervous about it at first, but had a great time once we got there. Seeing our friends new house has increased that desire to move, though. I have loved living in our quirky old apartment, but it's starting to wear me down. Plus we need the space. We're batting around the idea of moving into a bigger space within this building, which may be all I need. Beyond that I've been kind of scanning the for-rent ads, but we have such particular tastes that finding what we want could be hard.

The other awesome thing about getting out of town was the shopping. I decided that since the new Wardobe Refashion doesn't start until Jan 31st, I'll let myself buy whatever I want, then go back on the wagon at the end of the month. I found a couple of cute shirts at Anthropologie, and a nifty $5 t-shirt at Urban Outfitters. Didn't get to stop by the yarn store as planned, but that's really quite okay.

Today being my day off, I have to have an overly ambitious list. Today I'm going to:

  • Finish taking the ornaments off of our super-dry fire hazard of a Christmas tree
  • Work on E's Tube Sock Scarf
  • Spin some more. Work on getting an even draft.
  • Hop on a bus and go to Fairhaven, making a stop by the yarn store, the bead store, the bookstore, and that lavender place I was told about
  • Go to JoAnn fabrics for secret project fabrics. Cross my fingers that that clearanced embroidered silk is still there. Try not to cry when it isn't.
  • Make a salad. And maybe eat some hummus.

Finally, for Julie the Samurai Knitter, a picture of where I knit. On our living room couch, atleast during this time of year, with my feet tucked under the super plush faux fur throw my mom made for me when I was 13.

When E asked me why the heck I was taking a picture of the couch, I explained, "cause that's where I knit." He told me that in that case I should also take pictures of the bed, the floor, work, the coffeeshop, the local bar, our truck, the park and the bus stop. I think maybe he's trying to tell me something.

(Sad thing is, I actually have a sort of make-shift craft room, but it's mainly where I store my stuff and work on beading/sewing/desk-friendly projects. )

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Like a well worn shoe I'm slipping right into place...

The subject is a lyric from a song, which is followed by the line-- "every one of those 3000 miles, I was wishing I was kissing your face."
I don't know why, but I love it.

As soon as I finish E's scarf, dubbed the "Tube Sock Scarf" (pictures and an explanation later), and the random scarf I'm working on, I'm completely friggin' done with scarves. However, I might eat those words, depending on what I buy tomorrow.

An LYS nearby is closing doors and selling all their remaining yarn at 50% off. someof them are only one or two skeins, which can mean scarf or some other item (hence eating one's words.) Somehow when I went in there today it didn't dawn on me that everything left was 50% off, so I was a bit choosier and less spendy than I would be given the circumstances. When I went to the register the ring up what I had chosen, I was caught off guard by the total and informed that the things I had thought were full price were ALSO super cheap. So I'm going back on my lunch to basically buy everything left in the store. We're talking damn nice yarn for the same price as okay/decent yarn. Woohoo!

Either way, no matter what happens, I'm taking a break from scarves. Hell, I might even work something from a pattern. (!!!)

Friday, January 05, 2007

I'm really beginning to love Google Reader for reading all the non-lj blogs I've become addicted to. It makes my bookmark list almost obselete! That said, I still sometimes prefer to read people's blogs, both on livejournal and abroad, in their own format. Makes everything seem a bit more personal or something.

The scarf that I made for E last year has now become a non-scarf for me. I realized about halfway through knitting it that it was going to be too wide, but pressed on anyway hoping that blocking could fix that as well as the length problem. Alas, it was not to be. Afterwards, E confessed he wasn't entirely sold on the yarn in it anyway, so rather than take this one apart and reknit it, it sat in the corner while I started something else. But it was given new life when wrapped around my shoulders and secured with one of my hair chopsticks, and looks (in my opinion) quite smashing to boot. So yay, new stole for me!

Work was dumb today, but I'm over it. Marie Antionette involved a whole lot of eating cupcakes and wearing dresses, but I'm over that too. Atleast I got to see Holly for the first time in a while.

I got some cool ideas for stuff I want to do last night, but for now I'm keeping them to myself. Instead I will work out the logistics in my head.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Spinning, spinning, spinning.

As soon as I put new batteries in the camer, I want to take a picture of my first spun yarn, knitted up into a swatch. It looks like crap, but it also looks like it started to even out a little as my day went on. I've worked on some more tonight and it seems to be coming out better.

We rang in the new year comfortably, having drinks with our friends at their house. E and I had contemplated going to a bar, but we looked at the calender and saw that absolutely nothing was happening, so instead we all decided to have a small pajama party, complete with fuzzy slippers. I finally got to give my friend Elena the armwarmers I made for her, which are just like mine only in a different colorway. She's been subtly and not-so-subtly hinting for the last couple of months that she would really like these, so I made them for Christmas. I was glad she finally got to open them.

I really wish I could find a decent spinning FAQ, I've got a couple of questions that I simply can't find answers to online. I'm thinking that I may take the beginning spinning class at my LYS. For now, I'm just going to sit and be inspired by these girls. They spin and dye some of the most beautiful yarn I have ever seen and, lucky me, have their studio two blocks away!