Friday, December 31, 2010

11 in 2011

Just a list for me. Links are all ravelry links.

  • Beaded cami
  • Versatility
  • Hege
  • Ice Age Boots
  • Downtown Clutch
  • A modified Backward Cable Pullover
  • WIP-- Tappan Zee
  • WIP-- Rambling Rose Cardigan
  • WIP-- Ripping out and reworking Houndstooth Mitts
  • At least one pair of socks
  • Something else
  • Thursday, November 18, 2010

    We knew it had to end sometime.

    So it finally happened. I finally caved and turned my heat on.

    I haven't been going heatless for any practical reason, though electric bill savings and being green are both nice little byproducts. My refusal to turn on my heat was nothing but a pointless and completely arbitrary act of defiance towards Mother Nature.

    When the winds first started blowing and the days started getting chillier and the nights started getting longer, I laughed. C'mon, Weather! Don't you know who you're dealing with?, I thought. You clearly have not seen my sweater shelves or my accessory wall. I am a knitter. I keep myself warm FOR FUN.

    Then it got a little colder, but I still wasn't fazed. I simply threw a blanket over my toes and made myself some tea-- and a french press cozy to keep it extra warm. Silly Nature, I haven't even put on my fingerless gloves yet. You let me know when you decide to start playing for real.

    It went roughly like that for the last month or so. The weather got wetter, then drier, colder, then warmer. I put on sweaters and took them off. Every once in a while, the Boyfriend and I would look at each other with that "should we?" look, then smile and say "nah! Let's just keep going!" I mentioned my heating stand-off on Facebook to find that everyone else I knew had already given up and turned up the thermostat. Nonetheless, I soldiered on.

    Until today. Today it was 45 degrees and dropping and when I woke up this morning, my knees ached like an old man's when it's about to rain, my toes were chilly even with socks, and the air smelled like snow. So I finally ended this (again, pointless and completely arbitrary) battle with the elements and did what most normal people did a month and at least 10 degrees ago-- turned on the heat.

    Even though I've had to concede defeat in a battle I had no chance of winning anyway, I'm quite proud of how far into Fall we made it. I'm still not sure what that says about me and my possible lack of a life.

    Monday, November 08, 2010

    Homemade ravioli is quite possibly one of the most awesome things ever.

    Sunday, November 07, 2010

    Lazy Sunday.

    Today has consisted of nothing but football watching and crockpot chili. I'm currently debating whether it's worth the effort to make cornbread as a side or just skip it.

    ....and now that it's been two hours since I wrote that sentence, it's pretty much confirmed that I'm skipping it.

    After a few..... okay, six months of feeling a bit lost, I'm finally starting to get myself pointed in a direction as far as my life and career go. Up to now, I've been drifting along-- applying for jobs, contemplating the idea of going back to school while trying to sort out if it would hurt my unemployment status, feeling generally unsure of what my next move was, not knowing what I wanted to do but knowing I need to get out of the service industry. I'd been trying to figure out what exactly it was I wanted, but kept stuck with this overwhelming indecisiveness.

    Over the last week or so, I've had a couple of important conversations with the people who love me and it may have finally been the kick in the pants I needed. It feels good to finally have a goal.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    I find it a little sad that three days into my daily blogging challenge and I'm already slipping. I usually last at least a week.

    Tomorrow will be all about breaking vows, choose-your-own-adventure pizza, and why I really need to replace my shower curtain with a door.

    Tuesday, November 02, 2010

    Voting and semi-ridiculous ideas.

    Yay, election day! I dropped our ballots off earlier today. Even though it would have been simpler to drop it into the nearest ballot box, or heck, the nearest mailbox, but I like taking it to the courthouse to hand it in in person so that I can get the "I Voted!" sticker.

    (It's a bit sad that I'm willing to go miles out of my way and wait in a line of cars just for a sticker. God only knows what I would probably do for a gold star.)

    After other errands and a really good "happy birthday, Old Guy" conversation with my dad, I sat down and tore into some knitting. I still have a pair of armwarmers and a scarf from last month that need finishing touches, but today and yesterday called for some new projects for November.

    As a show of solidarity with my boyfriend and other facial-haired friends participating in Movember, I started Incognito. Since I can't (thank God) grow my own mustache, making one out of yarn seemed to be the next best thing. I'm already halfway through the body of it, so with another day and some duplicate stitches, I should be ready to rock the 'stashe by the end of the week! With any luck, only 30% of people who see me will point when they laugh.

    Even more ridiculous, however, was the Sock Yarn blanket I (sort of) started. The whole thing in itself is a bit crazy-- an entire blanket knit on size 2's from sock yarn? Seriously?-- but then I had to go and take the crazy to a whole new level. I currently have the hair-brained idea that I want to keep similar color groups together for a blanket that slowly shifts through the color wheel. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to do this, as I don't have nearly enough sock yarn leftovers to make the whole thing and will be picking up new colors as I go, but for now I'm still in that early "wonderful possibility" stage of the idea. I'm sure the "logistical nightmare" stage won't be too far behind.

    Monday, November 01, 2010

    National Blog Posting Month!

    Along with NaNoWriMo, today marks the beginning of NaBloPoMo or, in other words, a month where a bunch of people set about the task of writing a lot.

    I was previously all set to go this month, but truth be told, my heart's not really in it today. Maybe it's some sort of post-holiday hangover, or possibly the dreary weather, but I woke up feeling uninspired, listless, and just generally brood-y. Generally when I'm feeling like that, I try to simply hunker down with a cozy blanket, a pot of tea, and television I know by heart, but that just wasn't doing it for me today.

    So I did something I haven't done in some time-- I attempted to indulge in some retail therapy. Although I'm not a currently active member, I've been diligently sticking with my Wardrobe Refashion challenge. With the exception of picking up a dress to wear to a wedding last summer, I haven't bought new clothing that wasn't underwear since February. Apparently my clothing diet has left me way out of practice, because I left the mall with a bath mat and conditioner. Having said that, if I can find a pair of knee-high boots I like, all bets are off.

    I did, however, fall off the wagon pretty hard when it comes to knitting books-- Hat Heads, 101 Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders, and Stitch & Bitch Superstar Knitting are all sitting on the couch next to me. My Christmas knitting has just begun, so I can use all the ideas I can get. I'm already months behind!

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Some things probably don't deserve the thought I give them.

    So I wrote a pattern. To be specific, I wrote a hat pattern.

    I still have to wash, block, and take pictures of the finished product before I'll be ready to fully write it up, but I'm already liking it.

    Although this isn't the first time I've knit something on my own, I've never written anything that I would call a pattern, the tongue-in-cheek Random Cowl notwithstanding. I've always been hesitant to do so for two reasons.

    1. I'm pretty terrible about keeping track of my knitting. I might get as far as writing down how much I cast on and occasionally will mark the number of increases and such, but most of the time I forget at least one step or, even better, change my knitting but not my notes. I've found myself having to try and reverse-engineer a second sock or glove on more than one occasion because of my terrible note-taking.

    2. I've been struggling with the concept of "original pattern." Don't get me wrong, after reading more than my share of long and painful discussions on Ravelry about copyright law, copyright ethics, general pattern wankery and why both designers and the people who knit others' designs are all wrong, I have a very firm grasp on the law. The problem I find comes from trying to concretely define for myself what constitutes an original pattern.

    So much of my work takes bits and pieces from things I've knit before. Although none of it is exactly like anyone else's pattern, it just doesn't feel like MINE because I borrowed the gauge from another pattern or the stitch from a dictionary. Secondly, some of my knitting is simple enough that, although I didn't use a pattern, it seems silly to call it a pattern at all. Having said that, a quick look through a lot of the patterns on Ravelry --including the garter stitch scarves, the ribbed-brim beanies, and basic cable baby blankets-- tells me that I'm in the minority with this thinking. Although there's a need for these patterns-- beginners have to start somewhere-- trying to call that one individual's pattern feels like trying to copyright knitting itself. Some say it's the specific wording that makes Jane Q. Public's beanie an original work, different from every other beanie on the planet, but really? I honestly don't know how to feel or what to think on the subject.

    Then again, here I am writing a hat pattern that most knitters could probably sort out for themselves, so who am I to judge?

    Ultimately, though laws are relatively clear, I'm finding trying to define the concept of "original" is like trying to define "art" or "beauty", so while it's still something my brain is constantly muddling over, I've managed to push it into the background white noise of my thoughts.

    ....well, until I started writing about it anyway.

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    Ghouls Night Out.

    And so it commences.

    I've been spinning up my first "art" yarn. I've always had a bit of difficulty with art yarn-- it just doesn't suit me. Over the years, I've figured out that my personal knitting style tends to veer away from the novelty towards the practical. I love details like lace and cables, but if things are too fuzzy or have too many colors or added embellishments, I tend to run in the other direction. Although I've always found art yarns pretty, I tend to avoid them because I know I will never knit with them.

    Until today.

    I happened to find some skull beads at the bead shop while looking for something else, and it sparked a notion of making a Halloween themed yarn. So I started digging through my fiber stash. Instead of the traditional black/orange combo, I decided for something a little less literal and opted for some black merino with bits of gray and white NZ wool and along with the skulls, there are gears and small keys and big swirly glass beads. It's not a true art yarn-- for starters it's a relatively even thickness throughout-- but it's probably as close as I'm going to come.

    Frankly, I'm rather giddy over the whole thing. Now my month of Halloween can begin.

    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Too many cogs moving....

    My brain has been busy lately. Busy with life stuff that I won't get into here, but also busy with craft stuff.

    I'm spinning my first attempt at art yarn, or more accurately art-ish yarn. I'm also toying with another arty-farty yarn that may or may not turn out, but for now it's an interesting idea.

    I'm trying to figure out how to block my first and possibly last* shawl. I have a giant bulletin board that is useful for blocking smaller things, but this stupid shawl just. won't. fit.

    I'm still working on my quest of knitting from the stash and the books and have added the new goal of making enough pairs of fingerless gloves that I can wear them with every outfit I own. This winter is supposed to be bad enough to take all the previous winters' lunch money and give them wedgies, so I'm trying to be prepared.

    I'm sketching out ideas for a Goodwill sweater I just finished unraveling. It's worth noting, Banana Republic makes an incredibly well-constructed sweater. Softer-than-soft merino and knit seamlessly, which is a rarity for a mass-produced garment.

    Mostly, though, my brain has been stuck on one particular notion: knitting patterns. More specifically, what makes a pattern? And when you get down to brass tacks, what makes a pattern yours?

    ....oh yeah, and I'm putting together a Halloween music playlist.

    Is it any wonder that I can't seem to fall asleep?

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Progress Report

    Once again, I've been lax in writing in this thing. It's been a pretty awesome and fun-filled summer, but that's a lot of ground to cover, so for now I just want to look at this summer's goals and see how I stack up. Let's see--

    "I will not buy any new yarn until such time as I have decided the stash is depleted to normal levels."

    In the most technical sense, I haven't bought any yarn since writing this. I did, however, buy fiber and another drop spindle and have been spinning more yarn. Yes, it increases the stash and could be considered cheating, but I'm willing to give it a pass considering I freaking made it myself.

    "I will finish every current UFO."

    Um.....yeah. I was pretty good about not starting too many other things, and only started a new bigger project (ie, bigger than a dishcloth or a baby bootie) when I finished another one. I did finish one or two other things that were sitting in the pile, but in all honesty today's list of unfinished items looks pretty similar to the list I had four months ago.

    "I will not buy another knitting book until I use every book I already own."

    Still holding strong with seven projects to go. I've even managed to go to the bookstore, look through knitting books, and walk out without one. Now that's willpower!

    There's more on my mind-- the end of summer, my newfound interest in flower garden and hawaiian quilts, knitting my first shawl-- but that will have to wait until I can organize my thoughts a bit better.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    It's important to have goals.

    I am a girl on a mission. Well, several missions at once actually.

    For starters, there's the stash. Once I got everything out in the open and organized, I suddenly realized that I am blessed with an overabundance of fiber, so with a few super-special exceptions, I'm not picking up any new yarn. I haven't settled on a time frame or goal, but like my Wardrobe Refashion no-new-clothing challenge, it's the kind of goal that ultimately rewards itself.

    Then there's what I am affectionately referring to as the Knitout at the U.F.O Corral. Like most of the knitters I know, I have things that have been sitting for a very long time. Some of them, upon closer inspection, are better off just being ripped out, but quite a few are still things worth finishing. I started with the Rambling Rose Cardigan, and though I keep having to take detours and breaks (like the Framed Jewelry Holder from Stitch Diva I made recently), am inching ever closer to finishing it. I finally knit the second sock of a pair that I started a year and a half ago. The basket of things that have been sitting and languishing is getting smaller and smaller each time I look at it.

    All of this overhauling and organizing has also made me realize one other thing. I know it is blasphemy to say this, but:

    I have too many knitting books.

    Actually, let me rephrase that-- I have too many unused knitting books. I originally bought them because there was a pattern or two that I really liked, but got distracted and moved onto something else before I could ever knit anything from it. So part 3 of "Jilly's Epic Knitting Mission" involves using all of my books. Thusly, the Ravelry queue is topped with projects from books I already own.

    To sum up, the mission statement is this:
    I will not buy any new yarn until such time as I have decided that stash is depleted back to normal levels. I will put my entire stash on Ravelry to keep myself honest. Acceptable yarn purchases are limited to extra yarn to finish a project and small batch/specialty producer yarn.
    I will finish every current UFO. Finishing can also include ripping out an item that no longer works. I am allowed to start another project during this process, but only one new WIP will be allowed at any given time.
    I will not buy another knitting book until I use every book I already own. Use = completing atleast one project from each title. Stitch dictionaries require a project using atleast one stitch pattern. The only exemptions are spinning books.
    And there we have it. I guess I just planned out my knitting list for the next two years!

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    What A Wicked Gang Are We

    I have been a busy little beaver of late. Due to no job luck thusfar, I find myself measuring life by the bands and movies I've seen recently and the projects I've finished.
    In the interest of full disclosure to no one in particular:
    The most recent band was the always-astonishing Captured By Robots.
    The most recent movie wasn't a movie at all, but a bunch of old episodes of Brisco County Jr.
    As far as other accomplishments, the list thusfar includes:

    -1 painted, organized, and very nearly finished craft room. There's still some touch up painting to do, and some of our (mostly the boy's) stuff that needs to find a home, but languishing 2nd bedroom is finally being put to use! Having a dedicated space for yarn makes me feel like I have my own yarn store in my house, and I am suddenly getting a heck of a lot more use out of my sewing machine now that I can see the top of our desk.

    -3 altered t-shirts

    -1 skirt made from 3 thrifted tees (complete with the learning experience of making my first ruffles)

    -the unearthing of all of my set aside knitting projects-- the various mitts I've started, the ominous and frightening Rambling Rose sweater, the Bond Girl tank I started last summer....
    -1 complete Olympics sweater........that was afterwards ripped out because I decided I didn't like it at all. In the grand scheme of sweater Olympics, I feel like I earned a bronze.

    -1 pair of socks. They're stripey and purple and fabulous.

    -1 reorganized kitchen, with cabinets I can actually use!

    I'm only just now getting around to documenting said accomplishments with those picture thingies, mostly because I've been too busy perfecting my Arnold Palmer iced tea/lemonade mixture and spending WAY too much time on the Ravelry message boards.

    Truth be told, every new thing just motivates me to craft even more. I fall asleep at night with refashion ideas running through my head and have spent more evenings than I'm willing to admit knitting until the tips of my fingers went numb. I feel like parts of my brain that have been dormant, cast aside while the other parts were consumed by stress and long hours and the constant worry about the next thing, are finally starting to work again.
    In short, I finally remembered how fucking fun this all is.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    You Are Not On the Recieving End of It All

    So far, the Official Day One of Unemployment has gone thusly:

    Make an awesome lamb-and-tomato scramble for breakfast... Check.

    Sign the rest of my severance paperwork...... Check.

    Put away all the gear from this weekend's camping adventure.... Semi-check. It's atleast out of the back of my truck.

    Pick up a couple more skeins of yarn, thus guaranteeing I have enough to finish my sweater for the Knitting Olympics.... Check.

    Watch atleast another hour of curling competition... Check.

    Although I have commited to starting my spring cleaning in earnest tomorrow, I decided today was a chill out day. It's been so long since I've taken a day to deliberately do nothing without feeling terribly guilty about it, so scrubbing down my shower can take a backseat to sweater knitting for once.

    Despite illness and numerous setbacks, I still have a glimmer of hope that I will finish my sweater by closing ceremonies. I'm about halfway done with the body, and keep telling myself the sleeves will go quickly. Then again, since I'm pretty much (once again) making things up as I go along, I suppose it's done when I say it's done!

    Posted from Blogium for iPhone

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Back in the saddle again.

    I'm a little embarrased to admit that this is is what it took, but I finally got my incentive to get my act together, in more ways than one.

    I was laid off from my job. Although I've had the news for a little while, I completed my last full day today. Other than a meeting and some paperwork tomorrow, I'm done with this thing and onto The Next Big Thing. Only problem is, I'm not quite sure what that thing is yet.

    I find myself lucky enough to be in a position where I don't absolutely have to have a job tomorrow. The boyfriend and I have always lived well within our means so there's little concern about making ends meet while I'm unemployed. Knowing that, I decided to take advantage of my incredibly fortunate circumstance and figure out what I really want to be doing, as opposed to just grabbing onto just any job. I also count myself lucky that I have an understanding SO who supports this pseudo-walkabout I'm going on. Having been through the same thing three years ago (and coming out MUCH better for it), Eric knows that it's an opportunity to set my own course and not my way of being a SAHG (Stay A Home Girlfriend.)

    So I'm getting my house in order, in both a figurative and literal sense. Everything I have wanted to do around my house but haven't had time for is on my list. This includes finally painting my bedroom, despite my boyfriend's color indecisiveness, and finishing my Rambling Rose cardigan. I'll be whittling down my refashion list and organizing our office within an inch of its life. And while I set about those tasks, I'll also reorganize my life.

    I've mostly been telling myself this to avoid an OMGIdon'thaveajobandI'mscaredtodeath freakout, but I'm really beginning to think this could be the best thing that ever happened to me.