Monday, December 10, 2012

Where are my mittens?!

So firstly...there have been quite a few commenters lately- just wanted to say that you guys rock!  I get comments on my blog all the time- but 99% of the time they're in Russian or wanting to give my readers access to Louis Vuitton knock-offs and it's super awesome to get a real comment from a real person!

Secondly, I'm going to New York City and I leave on Friday!  I'm so pumped- Rob called the other day in the middle of the work day which normally isn't a good thing.  So I answered and good news- he has to be in New York next week for work do I want to come?  At first I said no- I can't really afford the airline ticket right now, much less anything else.  But then I thought- how perfect would it be to stay in New York with my hotel paid for and run around to yarn shops and pimp Good For Ewe? This is a really amazing opportunity- a little shore notice though.  There's lots of shops, I'm sure I can meet with a couple of them.  And then when Rob is out of meetings for the day we can hang out in NYC. So yeah- I'm in! It means that I'm definitely done Christmas shopping- which I think I was anyway (sweet!) and I'm going to be eaten Ramen noodles for a while once I get back, but I'm going to NYC the week before Christmas with my dude and it's going to be AWESOME!

Naturally, the first priority was trip knitting.  I scooted over to Ravelry and checked my queue for some fabulous lacy sock pattern and started feeling a little guilty.  I've got mittens that (apart from the magazine and cable needle they require) would be great travel knitting.  I've still got 2 more doilies to make (and 1 to finish) before Christmas, a hat for my web designer girl, and of course- 2 pairs of socks already on the needles. Okay, maybe I won't start a new project.  If I'm going to be running around in NYC, how much time am I going to have to knit anyway? Oh yeah- 2 flights and a layover EACH way, subway getting around to the different shops, long taxi rides?  Long lines at the store?  I don't know.  Traveling without knitting just isn't going to happen. So, doilies on the plane that stay in the room and then traveling socks- perfect!  But those mittens...
Need to be done before I go!  It's freezing there and I'd be a complete idiot to go without mittens! So this week's knitting will be devoted to finishing the second mitten (54 very cabley rows left) and putting in the 2 thumbs.  What a nice little fire under my butt to get them done!
Good thing I finished my super awesome orange sweater this week- I'm sure it would like to go!  (The term "finished" is used loosely- it still needs ends woven in and a blocking wouldn't hurt)  I love it- except for I wish it were a little longer- adding the extra 4 inches I thought my love handles needed clearly wasn't enough.  I'll add another 3 to the next one- but there will definitely be a next one. It's only a matter of when and what color- I'm leaning towards the 4 balls of light green in the stash.  Which is something I won't buy in New York City...okay maybe a little more stash, I have been a very good destasher this year.

Okay...I have a few things to get done before I go, including buying some jeans that fit, nice shoes that don't have a 4 inch heel, make arrangements for the cats, and of course- finish my mittens!

Happy Hannukah to you all, and to all a good night! (Now that I know I'm a little bit Jewish I can totally say that)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Curse you, M!

So I really don't have any finished projects to report with exception of some handspun, but I just wanted to share with you today my frustration and hatred of the letter M.

(to the clever crafter that noticed my S was backwards- fear not!  This is M actually a W, which is an upside down M and the S does in fact go the right direction)

I should probably explain that a little better.  I hate making Ms in filet crochet (which is how my little doilies are made).  They take so much longer than other letters- most letters take 5 rows to create, Ms take 8-9, depending on which I do that day.  Plus I seem to have this mental block about the Ms and can't do it without looking up a past M.  The first dozen or so I made of these doilies, I had to carry around my few pages of graph paper with all of my letters carefully charted. Now I'm free to crochet without my papers...until I get to an M. It's not a particularly difficult letter to do, just long, boring, and my brain refuses to remember how to form an M in lace.
The last doily I made had two Ms...right next to each other...and I was kind of over the doilies anyway.  It wasn't really that bad, I just liked to grumble about it as my mother was nearby and I frequently joked, saying how they probably wouldn't notice if their last name was misspelled so that I could eliminate 1 or both Ms.  By the way- this was 2 weeks ago.  I'm now TOTALLY over the doilies and still have 3 I need to make before Christmas and 3 more that I would like to make people eventually.  Considering sucking it up and getting them done and off my to-do list. (If you're keeping a mental tally, I decided not to make a doily for the person who gets my knits all the time, as gifts are never reciprocated nor am I thanked  and continuing to craft for this person is a little like continuing to throw freshly finished projects into a black hole)
So with this latest doily for my potential (dare I say probable?) in-laws, I am facing my arch nemesis, M, but it's disguise nearly fooled me- until I actually started it.  Their name starts with SW... as in Smoothly Sailing along WAIT! W is just an M that's upside down! Curse you again, M, with your longness, trickery, mental block and common appearance in last names!  Then I was like, it's cool W-Dawg, I got this.  I'll just put on a pot of tea and crank this W out- and since I've done 3 Ms in the past month, I totally don't need to go find my letter cheat-sheet.  And I was halfway through row 5 and realized...that I've screwed it up.  So now that my W upside-down M is almost done....I get to rip it out and do it all over again.

It took an extra 45 minutes but I'm now on to the third of 5 letters and the world hasn't ended.  So perhaps I'll finish it today, perhaps I'll finish it tomorrow, but it will certainly be done in time for Christmas.  And the great news?  In the next 4 planned doilies, there is not a single M or W.  Winning! (Did you say that last work in a Charlie Sheen voice?  That's how it's meant to be read.)

And on to the topic of the week- finishing up old spinning projects!
I finished 2 more lurking projects this week!  The first we shall call Gilbert Grape.  It is purple shetland wool with little blobby bits of blue soysilk that has been on the wheel since August.  I absolutely love shetland wool.  I know it's not the softest to wear, but it's one of the more affordable fibers and I think it's also one of the easiest to work with if you want a a consistent yarn, which I do.  Plus I have 2 places where I buy my shetland wool, the Wool Room at the State fair (which is where Gilbert was found) and the Feast of the Hunters Moon- a historical reenactment of when the French Fur traders discovered the Wabash area- right around Purdue.  Buying shetland wool from the Shepherd's wife and talking about her sheep (who are all named after Rock Stars) is one of my personal traditions.  It's a great fiber for newer spinners as well.
The second yarn (pink and green) is a little outside my comfort zone, and probably the oldest project I've ever gone back and actually finished.  This merino and silk blend was one of my very first projects as a new spinner- and I got a single braid of it which was probably all I could afford at the time. So we're looking at a spinning project here that's around 8 years old.  The two hanks that were finished were thick & thin and underspun- a far cry from today's spinning.  So I tried very hard to recreate that beginner spinning artyarn yesterday as I finished the third and final hank.  I think there's around 60 yards total- it will definitely be a cowl because it's so soft I can't *not* wear it around my neck.
If you know what you're looking at here, you can see that the third (outside) hank is a plied a lot more tightly than the other two.  I'm patting myself on the back for getting the thick & thin part down though.  Can't win them all, but I do love this yarn.  I'm thinking it's going to be a quick cowl on size 10.5 or 11 needles in either a seed/moss stitch or a Farrow rib.  But if you have other suggestions- holler/leave a comment!

So I'm you have a knitting/crocheting/fiber arts arch nemesis like my M?  I'd love to know if there are any parts of certain projects that you just really can't stand!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Making my list, checking it twice

I've had a fairly productive weekend/start of this week.  My boyfriend has recently started grad school, which means that I go from seeing him 2 nights a week + weekends to maybe 1 night + weekends.  I fully support his furthering his education, but I'm already a little tired of "not tonight, I'm studying".  I've been done with school for a few years and I'd like to keep it that way.  Anyhoo, him being in grad school means I suddenly have a lot more time to knit.  And this weekend plus yesterday proved to be pretty awesome for that.

So I'm able to cross 2 cupcakes off my list!  And the woman who ordered them is picking them up tonight so I'll have some cash for the holiday season....or to put in my savings account.  Now that I'm going to be getting a small but regular income, I'm going to try to start putting some back in savings.  I spent about 80% of my savings on Good For Ewe and then just living after my last paycheck stopped and this one started and I know it's going to be a very long time before I can rebuild it.  But it's so worth it! Wow- gone off on 2 tangents already... I wonder where this blog post WON'T go!
I also finished crocheting the animal bed that I showed you in the last post.  These things are super fast and take up that yarn that you're never going to use.  Plus it goes to a great cause, which gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling that's better than any sweater.  If you have strange stashings, I strongly encourage you to make a few of these!
Madeline isn't looking forward to the blanket going to the shelter- she's claimed it as her own. (She's extra fluffy right now- she has her winter coat on)
I also made Rob's christmas stocking the other day!  I'm seriously excited about being able to cross 3 things off my list over 2 days.  Gives me hope for the rest of it.  Anyhoo, Rob is a big boater- he loves everything about them.  In his spare time (which is kaput thanks to grad school) he rebuilds boat engines, which I think is super hot.  So since our 2nd date at the Sailing Club I have thought that if this thing went anywhere, I would love to make him a nautical themed quilt that he could keep in the boat or the man-cave or whatever.  I still haven't given up on that, but I thought I'd do something much smaller- there's no way a new quilt is getting done before Christmas.  Maybe next Christmas.  So as I was thinking what he could use that's handmade that was small (tissue box cozies and decorative pillows aren't really his thing) I thought...Christmas stocking.  I got on etsy, ordered the 2 boat fabrics and then dug in my stash for a solid color to match. 

The thing that perplexes me about sewing is the sheer quantity of the prep work.  With knitting, you check your gauge, you make sure your math is right, wind the yarn in to balls, and that's about all the prep work that needs to happen.  (Perhaps that's why it's so easy to start dozens of new projects in the blink of an eye). Sewing is a different beast.  First you have to iron your fabric.  Then cut out your pattern.  Then make sure it's going the right direction on the fabric.  Then pin it down and cut it out.  So you've got a solid 25 minutes of prep and 9 pieces of fabric.  Sew together the 3 main bits of fabric that form the stocking.  3 minutes for both sides of the stocking.  Turn under the edges of the brim, sew. 30 seconds.  
The pattern didn't call for it, but I added fusible fleece to the inside to bulk it up.  I just felt that a stocking made of just 1 single sheet of quilting cotton wouldn't be around a terribly long time.  So I added an extra step- cutting the fleece and fusing it on.  20 minutes. Then I sewed the brim and hanger to the inside of the stocking so it would flip out on the right side with the sail boat on the brim going in the right direction.  10 minutes of pinning, checking, 30 seconds of sew, 45 minutes of seam ripping and swearing.  I had pinned the wrong side in- and the wrong side of the fabric was showing on the brim.  
The funny part?  I made that same mistake 1 more time before I figured out how it needed to go.  It was a little easier to rip out the second time.  I walked away, had a cup of tea and went for a run before I attempted it the third time.   But the third time was the charm, and I turned it out, ironed it, and called it a day.  Here it is with my stocking.  But for now, it's wrapped and under the tree. During our 8 days of Christmas, this will be gift #1.

And lastly, I spun some yarn!  I actually started this batt out of sheer boredom during the ice storm of LAST FEBRUARY!  That's right.  This spinning project is really old.  So I've been working on it a little bit a few times a week for a couple months now and yesterday morning I called it done.  I really love it.  I've been working hard to get a more balanced handspun yarn, and this is probably one of my better specimens. It's a heavy fingering weight (which sounds so dirty) and there's 261 yards of it, so not really enough to make socks.  What would you make? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crafting into the Holidays

So the Christmas Countdown is on!  I'm still in the "I can totally finish all my Christmas projects" phase of Holiday crafting.  The crazy part?  I keep adding more projects to my plate because I must be a total project masochist.

Here's the one project I've finished this week.  If I keep going at this rate, my Christmas presents will be done in time for Easter.

So here is my Christmas Knit List (and I think most of the items are crocheted)

Cupcake hat for an 18 month old (in progress)
Cupcake hat for a 3 year old
Quilted Christmas Stocking for Rob
Doily- for a wedding that was in October and I really need to get it done.
Doily- for Rob's parents.  His mom is a lover of doilies.
Quilt- have about 15 hours of hand sewing left on binding.  Tired of looking at raw batting hanging out.  Plus I think I'm getting a quilt rack for Christmas and I'd like to have something to put on it!
Doily- for my Aunt & new Uncle with his last name.  I thought Aunt Neany was making them a doily, Aunt Neany thought I was making them a doily, they never got a doily. There's no real deadline on this, I'd just like to get it off my list.
Doily?  This one is a maybe.  It's for someone who asks for (and gets) stuff I make quite frequently- most of her birthdays, Christmas, random things that she's asked for, baby blanket she didn't use, potholders she's taken out of my potholder drawer....but I have never ever gotten something in return.  I know that Christmas isn't about getting, it's about giving, and family, and Jesus and stuff, but I'm not really sure what to do here.

What do you do for people who are constantly asking for stuff but don't return the favor...ever?

Rant over...list resumes.

Mermaid- for my mom.  I started this back in June or July because I was going to give it to her for her birthday in October, and then there was the whole thing where she had my cat put down when I was on a work trip because my cat was peeing on the floor and then it turns out it was her cat and I was really mad.  And her birthday fell in to one of those days that I was too angry to call her.  Anyhow, I miss  my cat, her cat is now heavily medicated and not peeing on the floor (as much) and I am tired of seeing this Mer-WIP.  Here it is now.  The tail is being beaded so it's not exactly a fast project right now...
And another little dilemma... I seem to have quite a few of those right now.

The day before Thanksgiving I was thinking about what I'm thankful for...and it's a really long list.  Supportive parents that were able to give me the loan that started Good For Ewe, a really awesome boyfriend, friends, having a free place to live while Good For Ewe gets going, and (probably more than is acceptable) I am thankful for Madeline, my shelter kitty that I've had for almost 3 years now, and the 14 years I had with Tubby Custard- and lots of other things, like eBay and sock yarn.

And then I started thinking about all those animals in shelters that don't have homes this Holiday season. And while I can't adopt one right now (I can't get another animal until I move out of my parents' house) and I don't really have much money to donate, I can always make animal beds to drop off at the Humane Society, and so I made one.  I collected a bunch of oddballs of all colors and fibers and started crocheting.   It ended up looking like this... a little wonky but very thick and warm.  It's a little prettier than this- this was bad lighting.
I dropped it off at my vet's office yesterday in the Humane Society donation box.  Within 10 minutes, I got a phone call from the vet's office thanking me for the blanket and telling me that they vet saw it and thought it was too nice to give to the Humane Society where an animal might chew on it or pee on it.  I explained that I know what animals do to these blankets and I really don't mind- I'm just using leftovers and they don't take that long.  Anyhow, the vet tech explained that the vet wanted to use it when they're putting down animals.

I'm having mixed feelings about it.  I made it for the Humane Society.  It's an animal bed.  I should feel honored that it's been "saved" from this fate and is going to be a final comfort to an animal as he or she is put down.  But I'm a little mad that my blanket is now kind of an instrument of death.  I guess I'm not far enough removed from Tubby's death to be entirely okay with it.  At the end I told them that they're welcome to do as they pleased with it- I just don't want to personally think about animals being put down as it's still a pretty fresh pain for me.

But for now, I've started another one (because I totally need more projects before Christmas) to keep up with the stash cleansing and because I'm thankful for my shelter kitty and want to give some other shelter animal a nice warm blanket this winter.  (Mine's the gray one hiding under the tree skirt.  My mom's is the evil one trying to beat her up)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh What A Week!

I feel like I've been running non-stop all week, and things are finally starting to slow down a bit.

Firstly, Good For Ewe had it's BEST WEEK EVER!  October was not that great, but I'm definitely doing a lot better this month.  Plus I'm starting to get repeat orders, which to me is way cooler than opening an account- it's much easier to get a customer than it is to keep one.   Last week I drove through Ohio stopping at 2 shops, and then stopped at 2 shops in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh was big and scary and I got lost about 5 times, but I opened 2 new accounts so it was worth it. I hit up one more shop in Ohio on the way home, which didn't go as well (it's the first time I walked away without an order- it hurt pretty bad).

So this week I've been doing lots of Good For Ewe work and a little bit of gift knitting, but haven't really touched any personal projects.  So my sweater looks like this...
And I really don't think I'll be wearing it on Thanksgiving, especially since my mom's cat peed on it today and it's soaking in wool wash.  Anyone want a free little cheetah cat?  Because it's taking everything I have to not take her out to the farm.

I finished the doily, framed it myself and took it to a wedding.  Let's hope they like it!  I have 5 more to make before Christmas.  Ugh.

I've resumed working on my mother's Mermaid for which she's been asking for over a year.  It's a little scary looking right now, so I'm really hoping that it improves.

I wasn't really sure how to approach knitting a body- it's not something I've ever done before and there weren't any patterns that fit what my mother wanted in her mermaid.  I'm not keeping track of my numbers or anything, but I will share my process in case you're curious.

I started my making a hat from the top down.  (I recently deleted that picture in my phone because the beady eyed head was freaking me out when I looked through my pictures) I just made a long hat and then decreased really quickly (I think I did k2togs around for the whole round) and made the neck a tube.  After a couple inches of that, I began raglan increases and got to working on her shoulders, which I separated and then put on some arms.  I made little mittens for her hands, and I'll stuff them a bit and then go sew in some fingers.

And here she is as of right now...
And some pretty things that aren't knitting related....

Paperwhite Blooms- I bought these bulbs the day Tubby Custard died and they're going to be so beautiful for Thanksgiving.

And my single red rose from Rob- it even came with a little teddy bear.  I really lucked out with Rob- there's hardly a day that I don't have fresh flowers in the kitchen.  (I thought guys only brought you flowers when they forgot your birthday!) And he's the nicest guy in the world too.  Minor details.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Obsession Continued

This week I have been almost completely monogamous and absolutely completely obsessed with the orange sweater. I'm having to bribe myself with it in order to get other things done (I can start the sleeve after I finish the Miller doily, I can work on it for an hour after my run).

I have been going to anxiety/OCD tendencies therapy every couple weeks for a few months now. I went last Tuesday, with the first 7 inches of the sweater I had started the day before.  I know that I have a highly addictive personality (I get hooked on stuff easily and don't stop until I have finished it or completely exhausted myself) and I was talking to my therapist about my knitting and how when I'm stressed like I have been, stopping is just really hard to do. The fact that I'm really loving this sweater and it's going super quickly is just making me want to spend more time on it, and it was really worrying me how obsessed I was getting with this orange sweater.  I kind of feel like I'm wasting time in therapy talking about knitting and the way it makes me feel because I can do that on my blog and I don't have to pay a co-pay for that, but it was good to hear her out.

She believes (we didn't use any machines or anything to medically confirm or deny her hypothesis) that my knitting is more of a self-hypnotizing coping mechanism for anxiety than a symptom of OCD.  She continued to describe what happens physically (slower heartbeat and deeper breathing) and emotionally (calmness/elimination of fight-or-flight mentality) during self-hypnotization and I think that's she's right.  I've known for a really long time that I do knit more when I'm stressed out (ie I'm a really nervous flyer.  I flew to Beijing and had a pair of socks by the time I landed and there's the entire sweater I made during finals week my last semester at Purdue) and during calmer periods I don't feel incomplete or stressed out if I don't knit that day.  I could go weeks without knitting and not have a breakdown, and I could knit all day and it wouldn't be a self-destructive habit, sore index fingers excluded.  I also don't like to be without a knitting project in my purse, but I can go out and have a nice time if I don't bring it.  It's like a security blanket in that aspect, comforting to have around but I'm a perfectly functional person without it.

So for the first couple days of orange sweater obsession, I beat myself up over it and kept thinking of all of the other, more important things I could be doing (working out and cleaning).  And after talking it over with my therapist, I've accepted that it's okay to get obsessed every once in a while, especially if I do feel better after spending some time with my yarn (and I absolutely do).

So here is the sweater as it stands after today's knitting group...
And here it is getting the Wonder Possum seal of approval and gray hair.
A doily I need to finish before Saturday... (It's Miller, so I'm almost there plus border)
And finally, my booth at the craft fair!  It goes until next Saturday so hopefully I'll just be picking up the table.  I doubt that will happen, but I would like there to be significantly less when I return.  I did walk in with my tub of baby blankets and hats and some woman shrieked to her friend "THE CUPCAKES ARE BACK!!!!" and I sold one before I even unloaded it, so I have a good feeling for this year. I'm hoping to get a few orders from it and perhaps a few people who would like to take lessons as well this year, but we'll see! Que sera sera!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I might be alone on this, but Halloween is my FAVORITE day of the entire year!  I normally drag the spinning wheel out on to the front porch and chill with Tubby Custard while handing out candy.  This year there is no Tubby Custard though, and it's going to be around 30 degrees F tonight.  So I think I'll stay in instead.

I'm kind of over getting ready for the craft fair.  I have one more little plum hat in progress that I'd like to finish, and I'll put out cards for custom orders.  But I'm not sure that I'm going to sell as much as I have made, so I'll stop after this hat.  I have a woman who says she's going to come over today to pick out some baby gifts to buy before the craft fair, but she's also said that twice before in the past few weeks and then just not come by. So we'll see. I did tell her that there won't be much left after the fair, I hope that's the truth.

I just had a rush of eBay auctions end, and I sold 6/7 yarns listed this morning.  I'm quite pleased, a few of them sold for quite a bit more than I was expecting!  I have another rush of auctions ending this afternoon.  I should really check in to eBay sellers' rehab.  I think I'm okay as long as I'm not selling family heirlooms for 99 cents.

I started a new sweater on Monday. I probably shouldn't have because I have more than enough projects going already, but I needed a little break from craft fair knitting and Good For Ewe knitting.  And it is Autumn, and I had a bunch of orange worsted weight that's been calling my name for a while, and I've been wanting a sweater project and a lace project and this kills 2 birds with 1 stone.  And I'm so in love!  I'm knitting the fitted version of the February Lady Sweater and this is my first project ever knitted with negative ease! It's a little terrifying and I'm scared it won't fit or will make me look chunky in the wrong areas, but that is my biggest regret with all of the sweaters I have ever made- all are warm and comfy, none are flattering.
I'm even knitting something from the bottom up that's going to require me to sew sleeves on afterwards.  It's been a really long time since I've done that- my past (probably) 8 sweaters have all been raglan, and all but one from the top down. So I really feel like I'm in new territory for me, and it's exciting. And it's very very orange. Enough of the chatter, here are some pictures after 2 days of knitting on it.
This is the body (from the bottom up) after 2 days of knitting it.  I might have gotten a little obsessed.  It's a smidge over 11 inches.  The pattern says to separate the front and the back at 13 inches, but I have a long torso, so I'm going to 14.5 inches.  I went a little longer before I started the waist decreases, and went a little longer between the waist decreases and the waist increases, so it should fit just fine and not have the waist shaping too low.
That's the waist shaping.  The lace pattern is 7 stitches across and you essentially take 2 lengths of the lace pattern, turn it in to 1, knit for a bit and then bring it back up to 2 lengths.  I think it's very clever. 
The bottom is supposed to be 2 inches of garter stitch.  Mine is a smidgen longer than that, but that just contributes to the extra 1.5 inches of torso I'm making. But since it's garter stitch in the round it's actually supposed to have a buttload of purling, which I think kind of defeats the beauty of garter stitch.  I just knitted the round 1 stitch past the first marker, wrapped, turned, and went back.  The only "side effect" of purl-less garter in the round that way is a little eyelet row on each side of where I wrapped and turned and a couple really dense stitches that got knitted twice.  I actually kind of like the  little eyelets though- it's just one more personal touch.  I normally don't take the Easy way out, but I thought EZ would approve of this way to eliminate a couple hours of purling. (I'm a very slow purler)  For those reading and not sure what I'm talking about, EZ is Elizabeth Zimmerman, the Opinionated Knitter.  She published many books about how people who write patterns are morons and how her way was better.  She was a pioneer of making sweaters in the round and she absolutely abhorred purling.  The Fitted February Lady Sweater is a version of EZ's February Baby Sweater, which is garter stitch and gull lace.  Then a bunch of knitters started knitting adult versions of the February Baby Sweater, which are adorable on other people.  I tried one on and just looked pregnant, which isn't a good look for me, especially since I'm not pregnant and don't plan on becoming that way for a very long time.  

So long story short, my new sweater rocks.  I love it's orangeyness, I love how quickly it's going, and I love that it's eliminating a sweater's worth of Cascade 220 from the stash.  I'll still have 11 sweaters' worth of stash after this sweater, but I'm making progress. And if I live to be 120, I might actually finish all my stash! 

So...non knitting news....

My Christmas Cactus got excited and became a Halloween Cactus.
And I painted 10 glass ornaments with glitter paint.  Okay, a 1st grader could have done it, but I'm still thrilled with how they came out. 
The Lacie bonding/slobbering continues.  As does the dining room floor peeing.  And that's all folks! Have a great Halloween and a lovely November! 

Friday, October 26, 2012


I am just about burnt out on cupcake hats.  I know that people love them, and I know that they'll sell, and I know that there's a huge profit margin and not *that* much time in them, but I'm having a very hard time talking myself in to cupcake making. At last post I had 5 and I'm not working on my 7th, so not a huge improvement.

So when Meghann put out a call for squares last week, I was (a) very sad for her friend who lost her husband and has a newborn, and (b) relieved to take a cupcake break. I crocheted 3 12" squares.  (If you'd like to contribute to Meghann's friend's blanket as well, let me know and I'll pass on your info).  I was able to completely eliminate 2 oddballs from my stash in making these, which is exciting.  But the bad thing about working with stash yarns is that sometimes your squares end up looking like Spiderman   (see bottom square). I might do another square or two, but I do need to get back to a couple cupcakes first so I don't have to take a paycheck from Good For Ewe this month and can put that towards paying back my loans. Anyhoo... squares.
I don't know what it is with me and cross stitching lately, but I've been doing some more of that, too.  This is a little piece I started way earlier this year.  I love all things Autumn, but I think all the leaves will be gone by the time I finish this piece.  I'll get over it.  I keep thinking that I'm making progress, and then I see the giant pile of thread that still needs to go in it.  And then I feel like I should take up a different hobby instead...
There is something else on which I've been making progress lately.  It's getting my mom's cat Lacie to stop hissing at me every time she sees me.  This cat seriously hates me.  But 3 nights in a row this week when I was working on cupcakes/squares, she came over, sat in my lap, and started "making biscuits" on my stomach. (It's kneading for hours on end.  I'm so glad she doesn't have claws in the front.)  When she's found her position, she adds hardcore slobbering and rubbing her face all over my pj pants to the mix.  And I sit there and let her do this for a couple hours because if I interrupt her, she will probably pee on the dining room floor.  It's a little dysfunctional here right now. But I've given up trying to knit when this love/hate ritual starts, I don't want her slobbering on the yarn. When she's finished she goes back to hating me.
Another cupcake avoidance project is something fun and completely unrelated to yarn.  A few weeks ago I was at Crate & Barrel in the fashion mall and they had these adorable little Christmas decorations that were plain balls, but solid glitter.  And I love glitter more than a gaggle of 12-year olds at Limited Too.  So I had to have them.  Checked the tag, $8 a ball.  No way, Crate & Barrel, that's just crazy talk.  Yesterday I was at Michael's looking at frames for my latest cross-stitching and I saw very similar Christmas glitter balls to the ones at Crate & Barrel, but these were $6 a ball.  Which is still outrageous when you can buy clear glass ornaments for less than a dollar and a couple bottles of glitter paint.  I bought a ton of those clear glass ornaments last year and was knitting around them and I was sure I still had TONS leftover.  So I just bought some glitter paint.  

Got home, discovered I only had 10 ornaments but decided to get my glitter on anyway.  I'd do a tester-batch to see if it was worth doing more.  Plus I could always try to sell them at the craft fair, eh?  If they sell- awesome! If they don't- more for me! It's a win-win.  

So here they are after a first coat of paint, drying on large knitting needles in a vase.  Hey, it works.
And here they are after a few more coats of paint (the reds just got started this morning, they're only 1 coat in). So after a few more coats of paint, I'll have some pretty snazzy ornaments, and I won't have spent $80 to get them.  Boo-yah, Crate & Barrel. 
And in actual knitting related news, I unearthed a partial sweater while I was digging through more yarn to sell on eBay. 
I'm not sure about it.  I think it's a bit crazy for my tastes but variegated cardis in Plain-Jane patterns are really in right now, so I might just go with it.  I mean, I didn't technically start another project.... I'm not sure I like the colors anymore though.  I'll just knit on it for a few days and see what I think then.  

Okay, back to cupcakes.  Have a great weekend! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life in the quiet

It's been really quiet around here since we had to put down the Notorious Tubby C.  (That was my cat's rapper-name).  I am keeping busy and am still getting ready for a craft show that is taking place in about 2 weeks.  I have a few blankets made (leftovers from last year) and I've been cranking out some baby hats. I'm hoping to make a few more of these....
My very favorite thing is the set of 2 warshcloths.  I really just wanted them for me and my Someday House but since I made them instead of 3-4 cupcake hats I am going to give them a chance to contribute to the "Paige Hasn't Been Paid in 7 Months" fund, and I'm going to put a ridiculously high price on them.  If they sell, so be it.  If they don't, they're mine!

The eBay destash spree also continues- I'm going to have 10 auctions ending in the next 48 hours.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  I'm selling 9 stashed yarns and 1 alpaca shawl.  I have a really big car maintenance expense coming up and I'd hate to have to choose between the maintenance and Christmas gifts, so I'm destashing and crafting. The reality was that I was never going to get around to knitting those yarns anyway, so I might as well sell them now while I'm not worried about moving and trying to find them a new home then.

And because I get really bored of making baby hats, I took a wee break and cross stitched a funny little thing.  I think she's pretty funny at least.  Here is the end result!  I think she turned out well and there is a similar one I made last year (Domestically Challenged) and I'll be putting them together in a guest bathroom someday.

And lastly, I played with dye!  My mother's Spawn of Satan cat completely destroyed the ball band to this undyed hank of Good For Ewe Sultry Steps, which I was going to sell to a Good For Ewe customer.  So I thought I'd dye it. I think it turned out really well using a couple different blue and red Jaquard acid dyes.  And since I need cash more than I need yarn, I'm listing it.  But this time I'll try it on Etsy.  If you would like a piece of Good For Ewe yarn's your chance!

Knitpurldrop Shop  414 yards fingering weight sock yarn: 40% superwash merino, 40% baby llama, 20% nylon.  Color: Steampunk Cherry.

And that's it for now.  I'm meeting the Good For Ewe accountant bright and early tomorrow and I still have quite a bit of homework to get done beforehand.  Have a splendid week!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Goodbye to a Yarn Snob

It takes years to train an animal to be a proper yarn snob.  It's a true gem of a cat that knows that Noro is better than Red Heart and yet still appreciates her nasty acrylic blankets when gifted to her. Last Tuesday I had to say goodbye to Tubby Custard, the cat I've had since I was 10 and the best yarn snob the animal kingdom has ever known.
Tubby- I will miss the wet spots in my yarn, and when you curled up beside me when I was knitting and then tried to yank the straight needles out of my project with your paw.  I will miss your constant squawking about absolutely everything- the house is so horribly quiet without you.  And while I still start crying whenever I pull an orange hair out of my shirt or my knitting project, I know that one day I'll see those strays and smile instead.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things I do instead of blogging

It's been a crazy 3 months.  I feel like I've barely touched my projects at all, with exception of Good For Ewe projects, which I have 3 on my person at all times in case I have time for just one more row.  Good For Ewe had it's first trunk show this weekend in Greenwood, and I'm going to call it a fabulous success.  I only had about half the projects done that I wanted to have done, but those that were finished  were blocked with patterns written up and fairly well received.

I told myself that I could start adding a few personal projects back in to the WIP rotation once I finished  the trunk show.  And then...I was talked in to doing a craft fair in early November. At first I was like NO!  I want to finish all my Good For Ewe projects that I didn't finish for the trunk show and then personal projects and actually get some holiday knitting done in time so I don't have to wrap up partial hats and doilies.

But I thought about it, and all those cupcake hats and baby blankets made for a really nice Christmas bonus.  And I haven't had an actual paycheck since April.  I'll do it.  I already have a few blankets made up, a couple hats, and there's a few other things that I've made for myself and didn't love as much as I thought I would, so I'll stick those in there too.  I just bought $75 worth of cupcake yarn, so if I sell 3 I break even, if I sell more than 10 then I'm thrilled, but missing skin on my fingers.  Oh well, skin grows back and if it means I can go another few weeks without taking a paycheck from my little baby company, then I'll do it.

Other things I've been doing instead of knitting/blogging....

Working my butt off.  Good For Ewe isn't going to run itself.

Tracing back my dad's side of the family history.  Turns out I'm 1/8- 1/4 Jewish. Who knew?
Running a lot.  I signed up to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February.  My current "runs" are about 4.5 miles. I've got a lot of work to do.  Here's a picture from the Color Me Rad run.
Going to a lot of weddings.  And crocheting doilies for all the couples getting married.  I hope nobody with a long last name gets married anytime soon- I'm so doilied out.  I still have 7 more to go this year.
Playing rugby.  I even got initiated into the Hoydens family a couple weeks ago.  Our theme for this initiation was "Camelot".  Rob was my fair maiden for the day.  I also told my coach that this would be my last season.  Since I got really in to running, I've lost about 15 pounds, which is great and I feel really awesome about myself for the first time in a very long time.  But it also means that when I get tackled, I fly.  Backwards.  Into the ground.  With a thump.  It's taking me a little bit longer to get up after every tackle, and it's just not fun anymore.  I'm going to walk away from the sport while I can still walk.  Most of this season I've been a little limpy anyway from some really bad bone splintering above my right ankle.
Destashing.  More specifically, selling all of my alpaca yarn on eBay.  It's lovely stuff but it just made me mad to see it in my stash.  So I freed up a couple drawers and pocketed a couple hundred bucks.  Double-win.

And I have finished one tiny little personal project.  I finished it while enjoying my cup of tea this morning.  Here it was when I started working this morning... (instagram-style)
Here it is with all of the gaps filled in...
Here it is with the body outlined...
Here it is with a face outlined and beaded eyeballs...
Here it is after being trimmed down to fit in the frame and having the dirty spots where I held it bleached and scrubbed out...
And I'll show it framed when I get there!  But it's going to look lovely over my desk.

Lessons learned from this cross stitch project:

1.  My hands are never clean enough.
2.  If you make a change, write it down.  This is a recurring lesson that has yet to be learned.
3.  It's okay to improvise. Just because it's set in paper doesn't mean it's set in stone.
4.  50 shades of white are not nearly as fun as 50 shades of grey.
5.  Just because the project is small does not mean it will go quickly.
6.  Take your time outlining.  One little mis-stitch can make it look like your very girly sheep has some male anatomy.