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.