Monday, March 31, 2008

Muir is Blocking!


After a false start and ripping out a few repeats, I narrowed up this shawl a bit, and knit quite a lot for 2 weeks. I pressed on this evening and managed to finish the knitting AND block it. I am now very sleepy and want to go to sleep.

Quicky recap:

Muir by Rosemary Hill on Knitty.com
on Addi Lace size 4's
with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geishain the Backstabber colorway
Finished size: about 2 feet by 7 feet

This pattern was fun to knit, once I got into the groove. I messed up several times during the first few rows, but quickly got more comfortable with the pattern. There are cute little picots around the entire edge, and I really like the open, yet sorta sturdy look of the lace. There were no confusing parts, or errors in the pattern - knitty.com delivers where many NON-FREE patterns do not.

I'm not sure what's next on my knitting plate. I'm toying with the idea of making a pair of fingerless mitts... although I cannot fathom a scenario where I'd want a warmer hand but not warmer fingers, I have read many threads about this on Ravelry. Fingerless mitt knitters report that you won't understand until you try them, so... I might as well! I don't quite know whether the mitts are on the top of the list at the moment... I found a mug cozy pattern that looks pretty cute, too, and this pattern would most certainly work with any number of leftover yarns that I have in my stash.

Stay tuned to find out what the next project will be, and to see pictures of the shawl once it's all dry!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stir Crazy, Anti Consumerist

I had been doing fine, just fine with the wintry weather all winter. People would complain about the cold and the snow, and I just wouldn't feel the same abject misery as they were obviously experiencing... until three days ago. Suddenly this past Monday, which was pretty chilly with quite a wind chill factor, I had had ENOUGH. I'm sickofit! Stir crazy! Ready to run out of the house screaming and shouting jibber jabber! To make things worse, I have checked the 10 day forecast every day this week, hoping for a warmish day in the future.... NOTHING. The high temp for the next 10 days hasn't gotten over about 48 F. I'm ready, people! I want to go outside in a light sweater with no hat on! Really badly! Whine whine whine!

Okay, I'm done with that for the time being. Next, I will talk about the second half of my post title: I am working on shedding the habit of being sucked into the consumerist lifestyle. Over the past few years, my finances have been decent, but far from stellar. For New Year's, I resolved to buy / use fewer throwaway household items, and have been doing well with that... but what about other types of waste, like wasting money? About a month ago, I started REALLY looking at where all my money is going. And while it is true that I don't have a TON of flexible/ disposable income, I am just wasting a HUGE percentage of it on stuff I just don't need! I go through phases where I feel like I NEED certain things in my life: my shoe wardrobe is lacking; I obviously NEED several new pairs. I ought to have a bunch of nice makeup; I NEED to buy a whole bunch. So on and so forth. Short of a few items, my jewelry business probably has enough supplies to tide me over for years!

Sooooo, I have committed to changing my spending habits and to really think about each nonessential purchase. Mortgage, electricity, insurance... these are all essential. Clothes, toiletries, perfumes, shoes, snacks, dinners out, nonessential.

Let me tell you, changing my spending habits has been REALLY HARD. Spending a little money on 'a little something' was such a habit, and was a form of entertainment; something to DO; a way to treat myself. Now, I am not doing that, not even a cuppa coffee in the morning. I brought tea from home every day this week. A couple of weeks ago, I was sort of running around in a little circle in my apartment, saying, "I just want to BUY SOMETHING!" It was torture!

As time is going by, it's getting a teensy bit easier. I am getting out of the habit of using money as a little means of entertainment, and am just not thinking as much about spending money and getting little things here and there. I will be interested to see how the mindset continues to change over time, and if NOT spending money will be more of a habit. The thought, "do I really NEED that?" pops into my head pretty often now; I'm wondering whether, over time, I will stop even thinking about buying something. Time will tell.

Wish me luck... and not too many large, unexpected expenses!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Makin' Stuff

I made some stuff today. First, I made scones, from my current fave cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance. They are all tasty and stuff. Hooray!



Then, I made this hat:



Project Details:
Pattern: The Amanda Hat by Gina House
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in colors 211 and 2117.
Needles: 6 circs and dpns
Notes: I had to cast on more stitches because I used thinner yarn than the Malabrigo it called for. I liked this pattern: It looks to me like a very similar stitch pattern to the "My So Called Scarf" pattern. The one thing I would like to change about this pattern if I ever do it again is that there is an extra stitch running up the back of the hat - I suspect it's because otherwise, you'd have to shuffle the stitch marker at the beginning of the round... but I can handle that, sure!

Also, I did indeed cast right back on for the Muir Shawl. I worked on it a little today, but was suddenly struck by the mood for a super quick one day project. I'll be back on shawl duty in no time, I'm sure.

I went for a nice, long walk today - I like the weather we had - overcast, cool, crisp. Cold enough that you can see your breath, but not so cold that it's uncomfortable to be outside. That way, when you're walking fast, you're warm but not hot, and it feels refreshing. I took a new route for my walk, through neighborhoods I usually don't go through. At one point, some guy leaned out of his car window and screamed something at me that ended in 'bitch'. I smiled and waved, but I'm not sure if he saw me. I laughed out loud - did he think I was someone else? Did he think he'd hurt my feelings? Did he and his friends laugh afterwards, snickering at me for whatever reason? I don't know, but I was really pleased to notice that I thought the whole thing was funny, rather than feeling hurt or angry.

Anywayyy.... I have posted several posts in a row over the past few days. I seem to fly in and out of blog mood... so it goes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oh, Dear.

So, I have been knitting my Muir scarf/ stole for 5 days now, and have completed about 13,500 stitches. I have been watching it grow to about a foot long... and perhaps 2 feet wide. Unblocked. I did some math by weighing the yarn that is left on the ball and determined that... I am working on a short, wide stole. I stared at it for a while, pulled at it this way and that, trying to convince myself that once I'm finished knitting, it will most certainly block out to the size and shape I really want it to be. Finally, I accepted the truth: If I knit to the end, I am going to be the very, very sorry owner of a too short, too wide (yet very pretty) scarf that I will never use.

Rats.

I am taking a deep breath now, and trying to decide what to do. Well, I should clarify: the first step is going to be ripping out all of the work. I am trying to decide what to do AFTER that. In order for this project to turn out the way I want it to, I will need to eliminate one of the pattern repeats, so that I will end up with a slimmer, longer scarf, rather than a short, wide one. So, after I rip out hours and hours of work, will I cast back on for this project right away, OR, feeling discouraged, will I pick up a completely different project and wait for inspiration to strike to re-start the Muir?

I'm not sure yet. I think I'll go RRRRRIP out this project and figure it out after that. Bummer.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally, an update!

For certain, I have been neglecting my blog recently. Many apologies. To make up for it, I will share personal anecdotes of my life, as well as photos of a completed knitting project AND a newly begun knitting project.

Anecdotes: Okay, I lied. There is nothing interesting to report other than I have been waiting patiently for warm, springlike weather. I do believe it is time that I am rewarded for my patience. If spring is not forthcoming, I will also accept cash as a consolation prize.

Finished project: I have finished my Central Park Hoodie! The yarn was nice and teddy bear like, the pattern was straightforward once I tracked down reports of errata, I didn't run out of yarn, and the sweater fits and looks pretty good. All in all, a most excellent project. Here are two pictures - my head is cropped out because I am having a 'bad face day'. It would NOT cooperate by looking non-grotesque today. Go figure. Also, I am sincerely hoping that my tripod was a bit crooked, because otherwise, I REALLY ought to go see someone about my seriously bad posture!



Project Notes:
Pattern: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky.
Yarn: Classic Elite Skye Tweed in Color # 1243, 14 balls. This yarn is discontinued, but I live near the Classic Elite headquarters and they had some left.
Needles: Denise interchangeables, size 5 & 7
Hook: Crochet hook, um, perhaps a 5mm? Something like that.
Size: 40
Notes: There are errata out there. Look them up, live by them. Otherwise, you will become annoyed. All in all, I would recommend this project. The cables kept it interesting, but it was not complicated. I would also say that it fits nicely, and the pattern gets bonus points for adding plus sizes.


Next up, a new project! I have had a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha in the Backstabber colorway in my stash for a while, and wasn't quite sure what I was going to knit with it. After I finished CPH, I decided to pull out this yarn and find a pattern to go with it. After searching high and low, I decided upon Muir from Knitty. I like the wide open lacework and the leaves that seem to be floating in the middle of the lacework.

Here is me touching the yarn - say it with me: "ooooohhhhhhhh"



When I went to go wind it, I was somewhat distraught because it initially looked like it would not all fit on the ball winder - it started hitting the metal guide arm, even!




When you start to knit up lace, it frequently looks bunchy and weird. This pattern has the added bonus of looking nipply!





And finally, a stretched out shot of the lace in progress:



I am a little nervous about the amount of yarn called for. The yarn calls for perhaps 20 yards more than I have. However, any given pattern tells you how many total yards were in the skeins they had to purchase in order to make the pattern, and does not tell you the actual yardage used. So, I am weighing the yarn as I go along, so that I will hopefully leave enough for the edging, which is knit after the body of the scarf/shawl is completed. I will naturally report back when it is complete, and perhaps even before that.