Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year's ending

I like to use the end of the year as a time to wrap things and up finish the things I've been putting off. There's a few more projects I had hoped I'd have finished by now, but I'll get over it. I started 2011 with 87 projects, and I'm pleased as punch to be starting 2012 with 7 projects. Total. Okay, there's one work project but that doesn't really count. To me at least....

Since there's one big project I'm going to try to finish today, I'll blog briefly. Here's the projects I've finished recently...

Tiramisu Baby Blanket in Baby's First- cotton blend with pink satin ribbon.
This has been sitting on the corner of my desk for a couple months waiting to be finished. Glad to have reclaimed that spot again!
Christmas Kate for my Mom using Cascade 220 and some purple mystery wool I dyed a few weeks ago.
Sigma Nu Hat for Clay. He threw a fit when I tried to get a picture of the hat, so he is off the knit-list.
Magic Octopus Socks. Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock. Color: Octopus Garden. Started on way to Harry Potter theme park, finished while watching Harry Potter 7.2 received for Christmas. Gotta love circular projects!

And here's the projects that I'm going to carry with me in to the new year...

High-Maintenance Mittens. I had hoped to finish them before the first snow, but then cupcake hats and cross-stitching happened and I lost momentum. After I finish my cross-stitching, this will be my new Outlander project. That being said, it might be May before I finish the cross-stitching and then June before my mittens are good to go.
Another baby blanket...Encore Worsted. I keep these things stashed- you never know how short of notice babies are going to give you.
I love this blanket...need to finish work project before I get back to this...
Biohazard Sweater. I think it's too big- I need to put it on scrap yarn, try it on, figure out how much I need to rip back, bite the bullet and do it. Then keep knitting until I have a sweater.
Sock yarn blanket. Meh.
Woven Scarf for Jaclyn. I'll get there. I need to just sit down and not get up until it's done. It might take all of 3 hours- tops.
And the black-hole of time cross stitching. I love it. I only have to finish the top bit and then do the border. That should *only* take about 20 more hours. Seriously- why do I like doing this?!
So that's the last post of the year. Stay tuned for resolutions, project finishing, and then little bursts of new projects. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

T'was the Day before Christmas

And there the knitter Paige sat,
smugly weaving in ends on a hat,
wishing the ornaments would knit themselves,
or wondering is Santa would loan out his elves.
The stockings were finished last night by machine,
Paige's big mistake making her furiously green.
Enough of this rhyming crap Paige said,
and she picked up some eye-lash, first green and then red.

The Christmas spirit in finally starting to arrive with only about 15 hours to spare.

At work we took off yesterday afternoon and I dasher-ed home and prancer-ed over to my knitting basket. Okay, enough of that too. In short, by the time I would normally be leaving work, I was home and weaving in the ends on my little bro's Sigma Nu hat. The pictures are terrible, but I'm terribly pleased with the end result. I don't have time to block it, but I'll explain that if he wants it a smidge bigger, I can make that happen. It fits my dad perfectly, so I think it will fit Clay pretty well. Hopefully I'll get a good picture on Clay's head. I did make my mom a gift too, but there's a slight chance she'll check in on my Christmas crafting before she unwraps her present, so you're going to have to wait to see it too.
I dug out my mom's sewing machine last night (I had forgotten that she brought it back here instead of leaving it in Florida) and finished my second stocking with everything going so smoothly. I kept waiting for the catch and finally found it after I sewed on the button- the button-hole and button are on the wrong side! I guess my stockings will have to face each other instead of spooning. Oh well- at least I didn't forget to put in the middle part of the stocking or sew the top on wrong-side out, so I'm fine with mis-matching button application. I touched up a couple loose bits on the first stocking too since I had the machine out. All and all, I'm pleased.
I have my cross-stitching sitting next to the computer, which happens to be the best-lit room in the house. This also means that every time I check facebook, ravelry or blogs, then I am reminded that I'd much rather be cross-stitching and listening to my audiobook than working on yet another fun-fur ornament, but I've only got one day of this fuzzy logic left so the cross-stitching will just have to be patient. Okay, it will have to be patient while I finish up 16 more laceweight flowers for work, but that's a different story. At least my cross-stitching has company in my new sheepy from Kenya, a Christmas gift from Jennifer. It's adorable and I love it!
And finally, a quick picture of the ornaments. I'd like to give away 3 sets of 4 and 1 set of 2 (they already got 2 last Sunday) which means I've got 4 more ornaments to make today and only enough eyelash for 2 of them. So that means the first 2 ornaments are going to go crazy-fast and the others will have to go back to sock yarn- probably with beads because I am a procrastinating masochist.
And that's all for now. I have a couple more things I'd like to wrap up before the new year, but I'm doubting that they're going to happen. Considering where I was in the project-count this time last year, I'm okay with my 10-ish WIPS instead of last year's 87.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a great day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Little Victories

I know that since only 3 days remain before Christmas I should be more concerned with Monumentous Achievements over Little Victories, but a win is a win, and I'm thrilled with any of those at the moment.

Last night I finished the Tangerine Guacamole Regret Cap, and dropped it off this evening on my way home from work. A little cha-ching always helps around the holidays, even if it was pimpin' out my knitting hands for 1/4 of minimum wage. My ego and right index finger will recover eventually. I did get a quick picture of the hat before I took it to it's new home. Please be gentle- I am neither a morning person nor a hat person and it shows here. And I should probably be wearing lipstick.
That's one of my bigger victories this week- a stocking cap in 3 days (day 2 felt a cold coming on and knitted for 20 minutes before going to bed and sleeping for nearly 12 hours).

My (hopefully) last holiday knitting project is broken up in to "Little Victories". Today's Little Victories included starting my brother's hat, finishing the ribbing of said hat, and getting through the first of 3 fair-isle charts- all of which I made up the other day so that he has a custom Sigma Nu hat in Purdue colors. It's my second fair-isle project (which in itself is another little victory) and my first project with more than 2 colors. Here it is a couple minutes ago, after the first round of the second chart.
Stay tuned for more Frat Hat and to see if I actually get in to the Christmas spirit this year. But don't hold your breath for the second one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tangerine Guacamole and Similar Regrets

It's been a busy week in the Paige, Madeline and Tubby Custard household. Since my split with Bam Bam and my season off of rugby, I've been a little...hermity. This week was a fantastic break from that, and all things considered still highly productive.

Tuesday I went to see the first 7 minutes of next summer's Batman movie with Meghann's husband AND IT WAS AWESOME. That's about it for that.

Thursday I joined Jessica at Zumba and while I couldn't move for 3 days, IT WAS AWESOME.

Friday I signed up for a rather impromptu sewing class on Mass Ave called at a quilting shop called Crimson Tate. I haven't sewn since high school (pj pants and an embroidered pillow- oh yeah) but I was really pleased with how my Christmas stocking turned out. I got there early and got started early and then finished in time to start another stocking before meeting my friend to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Robert Downey Jr. and I are going to get married, but more on that later. Here is the completed first stocking, and it might be a while before it has a twin- my sewing machine fell in to a coma as I was finishing the top and it needs to go and get itself fixed. Here's a fun fact: Rowan also makes fabric, and it turns out that I am a fabric snob too. Madeline disapproves of my fabric selection.
(do you like my buttons? I couldn't decide which to use so I used both!)
Saturday came and I put on my wonderful Christmas sweater (bought at Goodwill, embellished with stash) and headed downtown to the Hoydens officer election Christmas party. I had a great time and a couple G&T's and found some awkward pictures on facebook this morning.
This morning I met with a knitter who called me yesterday in desperation because she had promised her grandson a knitted hat for Christmas and either couldn't make it or didn't want to make it (her story kept changing). She had bought yarn to match his coat in gross acrylic in the shades "Tangerine" and "Guacamole". Naturally, he wants a stocking cap, which takes effing-forever and she only thought to ask for help exactly one week before Christmas. She also thinks that because she paid for the yarn, then I should knit it for free, because really- it surely won't take more than a few minutes? I'm good- but I'm not that good. She thinks $20 or anything over that (for something that is going to take me around 10 hours) is waaaaaay too much money. I was quite offended when she insinuated that my time is worth less than $2 an hour and that I should just make the hat in the holiday spirit (see two posts ago for my feelings on holiday spirit). But in order to leave and get her to stop complaining about how "expensive" my services are, I said I'd see what I can do. Seriously-why do I do this to myself?! I should have left and told her that I've got my own darn presents to finish and her poor planning is not my emergency, but that would require my growing a backbone which I don't see happening any time soon. ARG! I hate people sometimes. Here's the damn hat- or at least the start of it.
And while I'm ranting, something else that bothers me. See something funny about this key? Yep- two colors, one symbol. I just wish I knew which was which since I've done one color of red on the main house and am using the other red (before I realized the key mistake) on the upper houses and as the border. It should turn out okay- but denial is more than a river in Egypt.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Stash

I was just over reading (and laughing at) the Yarn Harlot's guide to what to get your loved one that happens to be a knitter for the Holidays.

And I'd like to put my two cents in for anyone reading MY blog in hopes of getting gift ideas for ME. Please. Don't buy me yarn. Let me show you why. I'm very proud of my stash, and I've finally hit a point where adding to it makes me cringe a little. I've got plans for nearly everything in here, except for one drawer- which I'll get to later. Enjoy your tour of my stash (this isn't all of my stash- somehow the giant drawer of Cascade 220 got missed, plus there are small deposits of yarn spread over 3 rooms, but these have moved over from the "Stash" category to the "Project" category.

Here is my tub of roving, or for the non-knitters reading, the not-yet-yarn pile. This is all going to be spun someday, and then I'm going to find all of the roving that doesn't fit in to the tub, and then spin that too. It's not a short process, but I'll get there.
The sock stash. There are some that believe that sock yarn doesn't count as stash, and to that I say, "Bless your heart." I have enough sock stash to make a pair of socks a week (which is knit-suicide) for almost 2 years. For non-knitters: a large sock stash is a common occurrence. This example is a little larger than normal, but I can explain. Sock yarn is really easy to buy. Most yarn shops have a large selection of sock yarn, and odds are- there's a brand or color you've next seen before and therefore must have. It is also very easy to buy because you know exactly how much you need to make a pair of socks (or mittens, or hat, or shawlette). You need 1 ball or 100 grams. It's really easy to get sucked in to the "it's only one ball!" thing and before you know it, you have to keep your sock yarn in the bathtub to accommodate it. I also find that it makes a great souvenir. See the sparkly blue ball, front and center? A trip to the Marine base last year to visit a guy. The guy didn't work out, but the local yarn shop sure did. The orangey-red above that? A trip to the upper-peninsula of Michigan, also with a guy that didn't work out. (I swear, those are the only two). The pastel-colors under the white box full of beads? From my favorite dyer in England. I've got three more of hers in there too. See how easy that is to accumulate? In order to stop buying sock yarn, I'd have to stop traveling, stop meeting fascinating knitters and dyers, and stop visiting new yarn shops altogether. It's impossible, but I am trying to slow down the process by knitting more socks so that the stash can once again fit in a drawer instead of a cedar chest. The sock-yarn-eating blanket also lives in there. I keep hoping it will "help itself" to the stash and start knitting itself, but so far it's resisting.
Not yarn, but I'm quite pleased with my needle organization system. See that top drawer? Size 2 needles. Size 2 straight needles, size 2 dpns, size 2 circulars, all size 2. The next drawer is all size 3 needles and it continues in this manner until you hit size 10 on the bottom. It's bulky, it's not a cute little bag, but darn it, the system works so it's staying there. This is also a handy place to keep spare size-checker-things, tape measures, stitch markers and things like that, but keep in mind, it's the needles we're talkin' about here. The crap yarn. Or the baby yarn. Let's rephrase this: the machine-washable yarn. The acrylic yarn.See this cluster of bags? These are projects-to-be. Inside each bag is a project's (most commonly a sweater's) worth of yarn, wound and ready to go with the pattern and needles inside. There are 10 of these bags total, this is merely a cluster of 3.
One of these bags on the inside. Needles to be picked, pattern to be improvised but the folded bit of paper is a collection of cable patterns that I like. The special stash. I've got 2 drawers of the special stash, and it's yarn that I'm terrified to use. That's because it's from people that I don't want to disappoint by knitting something ugly with the lovely yarn they bought or made for me. In the drawer below this, there is yarn from a knitter who has since "cast off" (non-knitters might say, "passed away"). In short, I'm waiting until the heavenly light shines on to a pattern and the angels sing "for the vintage rowan in the drawer......". The lace drawer, 1 of 2. Any knitter who knows a thing or two about lace, know that there's 10 years of knitting in this drawer. So naturally, I've got 2 drawers. I'm a planner.The handspun drawer, 1 of 3. I have issues making things with my own handspun, I'm working on it. Don't be too judgmental. So that was a super-quick tour of the stash with over-exposed pictures. Naturally, there's more but if you want to see that, you're welcome to stop by and see for yourself.

While we're talking about stash, here's a couple of my stash-busting projects.
And that's all, folks!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Most of the time I quite enjoy being single. I'm not obligated to go spend time with someone else's family at get-togethers, it's at least half the price when it's just me doing something, nobody can tell me that I knit too much, and I'm the reigning queen over the remote control.

The Holidays do not fall in to that "most of the time" category. The Holidays are the time that you spend with loved ones, laughing and drinking that disgusting eggnog crap and just being all around merry. And as a veteran Holiday singleton (this will be my 6th in a row and 22nd total), this reliable source can tell you that Holidays when you are single suck pretty hard.

The Holidays force you to listen to your friends bitch about how they don't know what to get their significant others and they can't decide whose family they will spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with. The Holidays force you to lose sight of your good qualities (I have nice ankles and bake well) and start to see why you're single- why would anyone ever want to date a warehouse girl with 2 cats, too much yarn, and hair that is a complete mess most of the time?

And that's probably why I was really really excited to have a friend set me up with a date that should have been this coming weekend. I figured out how to make my hair look cute despite it's awkward length while I try to grow it out, bought new stiletto boots, and had even picked out my outfit for that evening. And then he changed his mind. I tried to shake it off and work on a hat for a friend, with then before I knew it I was in the shower, sobbing at the idea of yet another New Year's Eve, watching the ball drop, totally alone. I hate the Holidays.

Anyhow, here's a hat, blocking on a partially deflated soccer ball.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Weekend's Work

Thanks to Outlander, I had a very crafty weekend. Unfortunately, none of it was Holiday crafting. I've only got 4 hours left in my audiobook (before I get the next 5 of them from my friend David) but I'm telling myself that the end of the audiobook means the end of cross stitching until a significant chunk of my holiday knitting is done andbound off.

I really have no idea what is so dark addictive about this little farm sampler. But I'm a little sad that I need to put it down- a far cry from the 5 year itty-bitty cross stitching I finished earlier this year. I think I'm finally at a point where every little thing (and there's lots of them) makes a difference and I can't wait to see how it will look an hour from now. There's something so satisfying with getting a tree done, and then a fence, and then oh look- a little hat! There's going to be a little person under there in about half an hour!
I know that me making little X-s on pre-made fabric is not the most riveting blogging, so I'll move on for a bit.

I didn't really work on my wonderful blanket this weekend in the ususal sense- I did spend much of Saturday afternoon dyeing up new colors to add to it in addition to the new handspun colors. I worked 4 more circles in to it, but that's not really blogworthy. I am quite pleased with my dyed yarns though- so I'll brag on those.

*Dyers: I know they're not fabulous but I'm really new to this stuff so be gentle!
From left to right: Gross Celery- aka- Original color, Super dark purple, much lighter purple that was dye-pot leftovers from the previous purple, Super dark teal, royal blue handspun shetland, and a strange Avacado green.

I love most of them, but I've already got a purple that's so similar to the darker one, I probably won't be adding this to the mix. But that yarn (until Saturday) had been a gross farm wool that had been a nasty shade of yellow that just looked like dirty sheep to me. With exception of the royal blue shetland, all of these colors had been the celery green that you see on the far left.

And moving the hat. I made this for work and finished up last night. I quite like it- but we'll see.
And finally, the Magic Octopus socks have been reduced to purse knitting, where they will be lucky to see an inch a week. I'm still a little determined to have them finished for Christmas. And mittens. And 60 circles attached to my blanket. Oh yeah, and tons of Christmas knitting too. I wonder who could arrange for me to sneak
in an extra month before Christmas?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Outlandish crafting

The house is mine again for a couple quiet weeks, and I'm spending every moment I can listening to Outlander on audiobook while crafting. I don't know if it's the book or the projects that are so addicting, but I'm quite fine with it. Except that I really shouldn't be working on my granny-circle blanket and farm sampler and SHOULD be working on Christmas presents! I've got 3 medium projects (4-6 hours each) to make and I'm going to make as many small projects (less than an hour each) to give away to people like co-workers, extended family (they'll get several small presents), the neighbor lady, and so on.

But the good news is there's only one present I HAVE to finish before my mom comes back on the 19th. The bad news is, I really don't want to work on anything but my blanket and cross-stitching.

Here's a quick update on those...

I'm running out of a few of the colors in the blanket. This is because they are either favorites that just get a lot more playing time, or they were itty-bitty yarn balls to start with. To compensate and not end up rotating between 3 colors on my later circles, I've added a couple handspun skeins of a comparable weight and will probably over-dye some pale green today to a couple darker shades.
I'm totally addicted to this little farmhouse. Since this picture I've finished all the windows and have started with the lettering above the house- it is a sampler and therefore must have very doodley letters you know.
It's a wonder this project isn't going faster, considering how much help I have.