Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Yarn, Lotsa Bracelets!

This yarn came in the mail today from Sundara Yarns Petals Collection. The color name is "Poppy". It's beautiful and right up my alley! I was hoping for a purply yarn this time around, and I was obviously not disappointed. I think it shows up more blue on my computer monitor than it is in real life... it's more of a 'merlot' in real life.

As always, a pattern came with the yarn. Now, when I first started getting 'sock of the month club' yarns and patterns, I diligently followed the patterns... but somewhere along the way, I strayed from the prescribed patterns and did my own thing. This go around, I can't decide. The pattern that came with it is nice, but there are a couple of patterns I've found that I'm really dying to try. What to do, what to do?

This weekend is Lowell Open Studios, and I've been preparing by making a TON of bead crochet bracelets. Fifteen new ones, to be precise. That is better described by me telling you that this has taken up approximately 45 hours of my life over the past couple of weeks. I'm on fire! However, I have not been all that inspired with the simple bead stringing projects, which is too bad... they are so much faster!
Anyway, here is a pic of some of the new bracelets:

Anyway, if you live nearby, come visit me this weekend over at Western Ave. You can paw the bead crochet. Open studios is the reason I am hesitating to cast on for these new socks... I feel like I should be focusing on jewelry. But new yarn is so hard to resist! Aggh!
Self Portrait Thursday

The floor of my condo is concrete. It feels nice and cool on a hot day, but if you ever drop anything, it is GOING TO BREAK. I have spent a lot of minutes in this place cursing and wiping up dishes and glasses and candleholders (and so on) that have dashed to absolute smithereens.

Yes, I generally wear shoes walking around the house...
Self Portrait Thursday

The floor of my condo is concrete. It feels nice and cool on a hot day, but if you ever drop anything, it is GOING TO BREAK. I have spent a lot of minutes in this place cursing and wiping up dishes and glasses and candleholders (and so on) that have dashed to absolute smithereens.

Yes, I generally wear shoes walking around the house...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Super Nice Booty!

So, according to Clicky, my blog had a visitor from Dubai today... who found me by searching "super nice booty".

People, I was not expecting this, but I did indeed get quite a larf out of it. I am assuming that the person visiting me was not really expecting a knitting blog, either. Here is a link to the search; my blog was on page 4.

Little does s/he know how right that search is.... awwwwww yeahhhhhh! Oh, and if super nice booty person returns, hello and thanks for visiting. Are you an American soldier, or a native of Dubai? Either way, howdy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn is Coming

A small handful of things have happened recently to tip me off to this realization, including of course, the calendar telling me so. A few days ago, I left my house in the morning to go to work, and I could see my breath against the chilly morning air. Yesterday, I was driving along the highway and spotted the first hints of leaves turning from green to yellow. I have also needed to toss on a sweater here and there... tank top weather is slowly fading away. Starting school doesn't count, since I have to go back to school mid-August... that is still summer, I tells ya! I also saw a movie on t.v. recently that showed a Nor'Easter... the snowy season is sneaking up on us, people. My flip flops are already feeling sad. They told me so.

Another sign of Autumn is Lowell Open Studios. This coming weekend, from noon to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday, dozens and dozens of Lowell artists open their studio doors and share their artistic talents with the public. I have participated over the past two years, but in my own home, which was always great fun. This year, I'll be participating in my new studio space at Western Avenue Studios , studio #327. If you're in my neck of the woods, do stop by... I have been working on some new pieces, including about 20 new bead crochet bracelets - my hands are tired!

In unrelated news, I got to be an elementary school gym teacher this past Friday! The circumstances that led to this event were very sad: a local firefighter died in the line of duty, and his wife works in the Lowell school system. The school she works at asked for volunteers from other schools to come over and sub for teachers who wished to attend the funeral mass, and I volunteered to go over. I ended up getting placed in the gym, and taught 4 gym classes, in grades Kindergarten through 3rd. We did jumping jacks, stretches, played pac man tag, and watched a very dated 80's movie on bicycle safety. I reminded kids to sit 'criss cross applesauce' (cross legged) when we were sitting down on the floor, and sweated up a storm, running around in 80 degree heat in my work clothes. Kindergarten kids in gym class was a hoot... it was a welcome change of pace for me.

When I used to do individual counseling, the little ones were always my favorites. I'm a little out of practice, having worked exclusively with teenagers for the last five years. I got a kick out of their little lisps and their tiny velcro shoes and how small they all were, with their adorable haircuts and unabashed enjoyment of jumping jacks, stretching and running around. No one complained about any of the activities or acted too cool to participate... both boys and girls alike enjoyed themselves equally. It was really great.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

It's that time of week again. Today's picture is a bit of 'reality photographing' for you... definitely not trying to gloss over what I REALLY look and feel like today.
Evidently, I am developing seasonal environmental allergies. I am watery and sneezy and my sinuses are full of concrete. Up until maybe a year ago, this was not the case. Now, well, it IS the case. I am using so many Kleenexes every day, their stock will probably go up. Claritin is not helping, and if it IS helping... well, wow. That is terrible to even think about.
It doesn't help that it is hot out today. I'm sweaty AND sneezy. But no, I'm not actually sneezing in this shot, and the tissue is clean. I promise. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yarrrrrr, mateys!

I did it! I didn't think I could, but I did. I managed to finish the Pirate Queen's Booty Bag in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is tomorrow. I sincerely doubt that anyone at work will know of this glorious international holiday, however, I know there are people out there who will speak to me in spirit!

Anyway, here is a shot of the knitted-up bag pre- felting.

Now, here are a couple of shots of the bag post - felting. The first one is hung up right in the same spot as the prefelted one, for comparison.
The second one shows the inside of the bag, too... it's reversible, even!

Project Notes:

Pattern: Pirate Queen's Booty Bag, by Pat Knight
Needles: Denise Interchangeable needles, size 8
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Pacific (#2433) and Jet (#4002), three skeins each
Pattern Notes: I liked this pattern, although double knitting is very slow going. I never thought I'd be done in time! There is a typo right near the beginning, where you knit rows 1-20 in straight double knit, but then you start the little skulls on row 11! Ewps. Other than that, it was straightforward and easy to follow. There is lots and lots of i-cord edging, which gives the bag a nice finished look at the end, and it went a lot faster than I thought.
The bag felted a little different than I expected: it shrank more lengthwise than widthwise, and the opening of the bag is a little wider and more floppy than I would really like, but the bag is still cool and totally usable. And hey - there are SKULLS! I saw somewhere that someone did this bag with another pattern on it, which would be cool. I might use smaller needles next time since I'm such a loose knitter, but hey. All in all, I'm happy. Thumbs up!

I always like it when I run into cool free patterns on the net. Thank you, Pat Knight!

Now, all of you check out the Talk Like a Pirate website and try out a few key phrases tomorrow. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wow- Sleepy, Much?

Now, while it is true that I hadn't been sleeping very well this week, I wasn't expecting this... I managed to sleep until one in the afternoon today! This really never happens. On the weekends, I usually wake right up at the time I usually get up to go to work, which is about 7 AM. Then, I can usually force myself to sleep another hour or two - you know, the luxury of being able to sleep in on the weekends.

Not today.

I guess I really needed it. Deep, heavy, crazy dreamed sleep. No tossing and turning. You could have prodded me with a chocolate covered bowl of ice cream and I still would have remained completely asleep.

In other news, I went over to Cece's house yesterday evening for some knitting, hanging out, and casual birthday celebration (it's her birthday on Tuesday). I was very excited about this, because I actually managed to think of a birthday gift that I knew she would like and that I knew she didn't have - fancy schmancy tea and a tea infuser from Simpson & Vail. They have really lovely teas of all different varieties. I got her Monkey King Jasmine, Lilac, Rooibos Chai, and a decaf Earl Grey. If you are a tea fan, this place has most likely got the tea you are looking for, and it is really delicious and high quality. Super yum.

Speaking of super yum, I made an ice cream cake for Cece, following my mother's example: 1 springform pan lined with saran wrap. 1 layer of crumbled Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies. 1 layer of chocolate brownie ice cream. 1 layer of chocolate fudge with sweetened coconut (or macaroon crumbles). 1 layer of vanilla bean ice cream. 1 layer of chocolate fudge with more choco cookies. Freeze at least 1 day.

You can use whatever flavors of ice cream you like, of course. This was a big hit. It is admittedly not the most attractive of desserts, but once you bite into it, it really doesn't matter. Yum yum yum.

And now, I must go make lunch - haven't eaten anything since that ice cream cake last night!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

Conveniently enough, this will serve as both my SPT picture and a knitting update... how convenient! AND, amazingly enough, I was totally satisfied with the first and only shot I snapped!

So, I'm mostly done with the big skulls, too, but there is still soooo much left... the rest of the body of the bag, then the handles (pre felted, there are four handles that are 18 inches long each!), then the i-cord bindoff around all 4 handle holes, then the i-cord around the bottom of the bag inside and out, and then finally the felting, shaping and drying. Done in one week? Not so sure. I'm doing what I can, people. Doing what I can.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Double Knitting should Walk the Plank!


I am suspicious that I might have bitten off more than I can chew, at least time-wise. The other evening, I went out to eat with a bunch of other women, and we got to talking about international "Talk Like a Pirate Day", AKA TLAPD. The official day is September 19th, and I am looking forward to sharing a few "ARRRRRRR"s and inappropriate uses of words such as "booty", "bounty", and the like. Several women mentioned that they have already knit their Pirate Queen Booty Bag for the occasion. I quickly glanced at the pattern, figured sure, I can do that, and then zipped out for the yarn. However, it is done in double knitting, in the round, which means that you're knitting the front and the back during the same row - sometimes, double knitting is done flat, where you knit one side in one direction, and the other side on the way back. Well, it is slow going, folks. Slow indeed. I'm about 1/3 done after a couple of serious days of knitting. Once I'm done with the knitting, it needs to be felted, shaped, and dried. Oh, have I mentioned that there is supposed to be I-cord edging and bindoff on all edges, AND an i-cord edging around the bottom, inside and out. Good lord. I MIGHT get it done... for NEXT YEAR'S TLAPD! Anyway, it will be a seriously cool bag, for whenever it's done.
Here is the progress so far:

Anyway... we'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

Today, with the shades down, I quickly snapped a picture of me with the ceiling in the background.

I'm totally looking down on you.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Myrtle Leaf Shawl

I do believe that the first and only photo I have flashed of this project as it was ongoing was here. However, as of this morning, it is completely complete. I headed outside to take some pictures, but had a little bit of a hard time. You see, the yarn is quite thin and light, and it is kinda windy out there! I did the best I could to take a few good shots.
First off, a picture on a cafe' chair. You can sorta see what's going on, but not really:

Next, a nicely pigeon-pooped park bench. A little bit more detail here:

A super duper closeup of the lace pattern. Nice leafy detail in this one:

I stole a brief, unbreezy moment to grab this shot with the shawl hanging from a dangerously pointy iron fence. Check out how see through and super airy and lacy it is. You can see the best lace pattern definition at the bottom of the picture:

Super duper closeup of the edge pattern:

Annnnnnd, one last shot of the pattern details:

Project Details:

Pattern: Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Errata: corrections can be found at this link. Myrtle leaf shawl pattern DID have errors, so do visit that link to save yourself headaches if you're thinking of knitting this pattern!
Finished Size: 14" by 75"
Yarn: Almaza Tencel in this color by Just Our Yarn
There are 1000 yards of this lovely yarn in one skein, and for $21, that seemed like quite a deal! I had plenty left over when the project was done... perhaps not enough to make anything useful, but enough so that I didn't feel nervous as I was working the edging.
Needles: Knitpicks circular needles in size 3.

Project Notes:
I liked this pattern, although I must confess I was getting tired of the repetitive pattern of the body of the shawl by the end there. The border is knitted on afterwards, and it was easy to memorize, was only 12 stitches wide, and flew right along.
I loved the yarn - very pretty, light, and nice to work with. I think I like their heavier weight of tencel yarn, Aziza, because it feels a little more substantial to me and a little less fiddly. People, I will definitely buy yarn from Just Our Yarn again... it's beautiful, the women who run it are super nice, and it's a very reasonably priced yarn.
The Knitpicks needles are way pointier than the regular Addi Turbos, which make them better for knitting lace. I have heard good things about the Addi Lace needles, but haven't taken the plunge yet. Perhaps I should... I do have yet another shawl that is partially knit, and a nice pointy needle might really be a nice change with that one.
Lastly, I would like to point out that when pinning this bad boy, I not only pinned around the rectangular body section, but I also put a pin in every single point of the edging. That was a LOT of pins. A SUPER LOT.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Oh My Goodness, I did it!

I finished knitting the Myrtle Leaf Shawl. I am currently mustering up the motivation to lay it out to block, and then if I point the fan at it overnight, I really do think it will be dry and ready to photograph tomorrow.

Next up? I'm attempting to copy a much loved cotton cardigan from The Limited. I'll have to document my work on that soon, too. One arm down. I do hope it ends up being wearable!

Oh, and here's a little something to chew over: if you are someone who thinks he/she might be on the list to be receiving something from me for xmas, AND if you think you might enjoy receiving something knitted from me, NOW is the time to drop some hints. Socks, hats, scarves, knitted/ crocheted market bags, face cloths, dish cloths, bath mitts or similar items would be fun for me to make! (And with those hints should be sizing hints, too...)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Biggesy Mammal!

I stopped by the Cambodian grocery store today, and didn't think to take pics of the Cambodian delicacies that I picked up (oops), but did take a picture of my snacky dessert, Yan Yan. Yan yan consists of some sweet, tasty cookie-like breadstick-like items, and a little section of dipping chocolate. Yummy! Here's what the packaging looks like, so you know to buy them if you ever get the chance:

Each stick has a little animal on it and a little saying. They were all cute, but this one was my favorite:

Yes, the whale is indeed a biggesy mammal. Awwww. And, here is an attempt at a closer shot of the whale itself. Check out the blowhole action:

I'm saving the biggesy mammal for last. *munch munch*