Saturday, November 28, 2009

Couples Theory

The theory of craft couples is working out quite well. I am working through things much quicker than I had hoped. Few moments here and there have really added up, plus Echo, Mark, and Justice's socks could/can be worked on as I walk to school, work, etc. Which is nice, not only because I am finishing them quicker, but I like the stress relief of knitting while walking so it makes me feel better in general.

So the next couple is Mark, Echo's husband, and Justice, my niece's, socks.

Here is Justice's first sock. I love the way the way it looks, so bright and cheery. It's kind of at a stand still, because I need to un-spin, separate, and re-spin more yarn. It's not orange, so I hope she still likes them. I really love the way the yarn feels though.

Here is Mark's first sock. His feet are 10.5, so there isn't any patterning done.

I love the yarn for these though and like the way the colors are working out though. Aren't these little stitch markers adorable? They are really bird toys! I forgot to blog about them when I got them. I can't remember where I heard about them, but they are super cheap and love the bright colors!

I thought it looked a little big, so I tried it on, but it seems to be working out well. I think I'll make myself a pair of socks with this kind of yarn.

Overall, loving this whole 'couple thing' and think this will be an ongoing thing. I am liking both of these socks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rhoni's Christmas Socks

Rhoni's socks were not quite as annoying, just somewhat tedious. As I mentioned before, I did my decreases wrong, way back on the heel and had to re-knit the second sock after I had already made it to the toe. Similar issues with gauge, but not quite as bad as Echo's. Not sure if the dye differences made the yarn feel different, but Rhoni's yarn was not as slippery as Echo's

Yarn: Panda Silk
Content: 52% bamboo, 43% superwash wool, 5% combed silk
Care: Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry
Color: 3202 (black)
Needle: US 1 / 2.25mm metal dpns
Gauge: 9.5sts per inch
Size: 6.5

Here is one sock by itself. I like the way everything in the sock turned out. In the beginning the patterned part was interesting. Although, it was a fairly simple, it was just a tad too difficult for me to memorize, which was annoying. It gave me less time to work on it, since I'd have to pull out the pattern.

Both socks together. The heel is just a regular slip-stitch heel worked over a little more than half the stitches.

The stitch pattern was from one of the Barbara Walker books, I believe. I don't remember and I didn't write it down, which is annoying. It was a pattern worked back and forth and I altered it to be worked in the round.

I worked the same toe on Rhoni and Echo's socks. I like how it worked on Rhoni's first sock and chose to do it on Echo's also. The math is different, because the space, gauge and numbers were different.

Overall, black is no so interesting to knit with, but the sock wasn't too bad. All the different parts worked nicely together. I am quite happy with how these turned out.

I will admit that all this sock knitting really makes me want sock blockers! I think when break arrives I will get some good thick foam board and make my own.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Echo's Christmas Socks

These socks, as I have mentioned before, have given me an interesting trip. Eventually I just had to let it be what it was going to be, I couldn't make it work how I wanted to. In the end, I do like how they look, even though it wasn't what I had hoped.

Yarn: Panda Silk
Care: machine wash cold, lay flat
Content: 52% bamboo, 43% superwash wool, 5% combed silk
Color: 4006 (variegated plum/pink)
Needles: US 0 / 2mm metal dpns
Gauge: 10 sts per inch
Size: 8

Here are both socks together.
You can see how the one on the right spiraled around the sock and the one on the left just did whatever made it happy.

Here is a close up. I forgot to take a picture of the back of the heel, but I used the German Heel from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks. This is a heel I haven't tried yet, I hope it works well. Hopefully she'll let me know how it fits.

A close-up of the Leyburn-ish pattern. I took the theory of the stitch pattern and adjusted it to my needs for the sock. The German heel takes up a lot of stitches, so my stitch count for the top of the sock was quite low.

The toe is my version of a round toe, also from Vintage Socks. I chose to divide it by 8 and change the decrease rounds to fit how long I needed the toe to be. I really like how it looks. Hope she will let me know how the toe fits, also.

Overall, I enjoyed the new things I learned from knitting this sock. The heel, toe, and stitch pattern were new to me. I had my frustrations with the yarn, but part of that was my stubbornness in not getting what I expected. Also, it was due to the content of the yarn. The yarn was just too slick. I had a difficult time getting consistent gauge because of this. Love how the yarn feels, but I would most likely never knit with it again due to the gauge issues.

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Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Inspirations and Thoughts

Here is a wonderful tutorial on bleach stenciling. Honestly, can't wait to try this. I love stencil and it's even niftier to figure out one's own stencils. Once the semester is over, I am definitely going to try this over winter break.

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I saw this hat and love it. I know it's simple, but it's nifty. Again, once Christmas Crafting is done, I think I am going to make a few of these to donate.

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Lastly, I saw One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person on Natalie's blog. I really like the thought of this. The basic premise is to do something each day to improve yourself in one way or another. You can choose the same thing every day or work on different things on different days. It begins December 1st and continues for 100 hundred days or more if you want to continue. I think I know what I am going to do, but I am still mulling it over a little. Starting December 1st I will post every day, for the 100 days to document my progress on whatever I choose to improve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Twist Collective

The new Twist Collective is out for Winter 2009.

~Tanit's Jacket - - I like the body part of the jacket, but not the sleeves. The love the off center closure. The sleeves seem too baggy compared to the body. Also, the sleeves end almost exactly where the body ends, which doesn't seem flattering and draws unnecessary attention to that area. Overall, not something I would pay $7 dollars for. Gudrun Johnston.

~Skara Brae - - It seems like a nice "gansey-inspired" top. I like the detail of the stitching. I know I usually enjoy things simpler, but these different stitches seem to go together quite well. Overall, I might pay $7 dollars for this pattern. Even if there is not the shaping I would prefer, it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to alter it for some shaping.

~Mitaines & Moufles - - I do like the thought of a mitten pattern that includes an inner liner for added warmth. I am not a mitten person though. I do thing the thought of having the mitten lining as gloves a nice possibility. Unfortunately, not a pattern I would pay $6 for. Veronik Avery.

~Four Winds - - It has a nice color pattern, but I don't like the square look to the top of it. I don't like the way it makes her head look at all. Not a pattern I would pay for. Alasdair Post-Quinn.

~Dryad - - I love the ends of this stole. The shape is very nice. I probably wouldn't have given this a second thought before I did some cobweb lace, however, it's very appealing to me. What holds me back? $7, just not sure it's a pattern that I'd pay $7 for. Sivia Harding.

~Lesley - - The gauge in this just seems too large to be flattering. I could see this possibly in a MUCH finer gauge and be flattering. Not a fan. Would not pay for this pattern. Fiona Ellis.

~Polar Chullo - - I love the color work and charted parts of this hat. I don't care for the fact that the hat extends past the head and has empty space up there. If the pattern was snug and didn't have that space up top, I would definitely pay $6 for the pattern. As is, it would be too much of a pain to adjust it and still pay that much. Mary Ann Stephens.

~Kirigami - - Part of me really wants to like this top, but I don't. Stripes can so easily be unflattering, usually because they accentuate the negatives. Here, it seems to camouflage the woman's chest and makes her not really have one. The vertical stripes across the shoulders make her shoulders look wider. Overall, it just doesn't seem very flattering and I wouldn't pay for the pattern. Kate Gilbert.

~Plaited - - This looks like a design that might have been better suited to a solid color of yarn. I am not sure whether I would like this design or not. As of this moment, it would be a no. Angela Hahn.

~Mystere - - Back to simplicity. I enjoy the look of this. I do not like what it is photographed with, as the red draws attention away from it. I like this look, but I would probably not pay $7 for it. Cecily Glowick MacDonald.

~Orvokki - - Again, don't like the puffy area at the top of the hat. The hat construction in general is unique and I like it. Not really a mitten person, but the design on these are nice. Wouldn't buy, but that is mostly due to the hat fit. I could see taking the mitten motif and moving it down over the back of the hand and adding fingers for gloves and really loving them. Mari Muinonen.

~Bright Star - - I think this is a cute top, especially for fall or spring. It only goes up to a size 46, which is too bad. Only real change I'd make, is I would adjust where the ribbing starts and make sure it was UNDER the chest. This could look very nice also as a longer top. If sizing was already done up to my size, I could see paying $7 for it, but since I'd have to do my own calculations to make it fit . . . it'd be easier just to figure out the whole top myself than pay for it. Cathy Carron.

Karazuri - - Not much of a fancy bag person, but I really like this one. Not the handles, but the technique of how she did the fabric. Even though I would alter it slightly, I could see myself paying $6 for this pattern. Leila Wice.

~Rover - - My first concern with any pattern, is when part of the piece seems deliberately not shown. Which seems to be the case with Rover's back legs, butt, and tail area. Increasing seems either poorly done or not done at a small enough gauge as stuffing is EASILY seen through them. I do love the buttons at the leg joints, which is reminiscent of older toys. As consistency goes, it would have been nice to see that used also on the front legs, as it is the front legs seem like a poor afterthought the way they are connected. Overall, would not pay for this pattern. Jennie Eveleigh Lamond.

~Moxie - - I love the color-work designs on them. But just not a fan of mittens or the boxy looking hats. Wouldn't pay for. Kristi Schueler.

~Cambridge Cables - - I love the simplicity of this look. The raglan shaping is one of my favorites. I like the open collar. I also like the cable waist and hem detail. Very nice and simple. I would definitely consider purchasing this $7 pattern. Becky Herrick.

~Frost Tapestry - - I like the color-work in these items. The set matches well and I like the look of it. I could definitely see making these for someone. I also like the fit of these items. Again, not a mitten person, but I could see purchasing this $6 pattern. Robin Melanson. I also understand her secret.

~Ormolu - - I like some aspects of the color-work, but I think it is too overdone. I think just the collar or maybe the collar and down the center could look really nice. It would give it a peasant top look. As is, it just seems too all over. I would not pay $7 for this pattern, maybe if it was less, because I would alter it quite a bit. Barbara Gregory.

~Farinelli - - I am a fan of Ysolda's patterns. This is a nice and whimsical knit. Not necessarily a staple item, but a nice fanciful piece of knitwear. I could see paying $6 for this pattern. Partially just because I know it would be fun to knit, even if I never wore them. Ysolda Teague.

~Sarabande - - Honestly, I like the theory of this top. However, I would probably raise the band to not go right across the chest like that. It would look better right above the chest. I would either make the opening at the top not quite so long or would just keep it open. The buttons add so much bulk. Maybe if they were knitted toggles, instead. Not sure. There doesn't seem to any or much shaping. Overall, I probably would not pay $7 for this pattern, but I think it does have potential. Kristen Tendyke.

~Manderley - - I do love the design of this shawl. The use of thick and thinner areas is quite aesthetically pleasing. The part I like best though is this first picture of it in the magazine format. It almost looks like a top and I find that idea very intriguing. I would consider purchasing this $6 pattern, if only to take it a part, essentially, and see if it was workable as a lace top. Rosemary Hill.

~Kelmscott - - I like the lace pattern used in this pattern. However, I think this pattern could easily make someone look much older than they probably are. It might not do this another color, but not sure. Would probably not purchase this $7 pattern, predominantly because of that reason. Carol Sunday.

~An Introduction to Double-Knitting: The Four Winds Hat - - - Alasdair Post-Quinn gives a nice explanation one double knitting, including some videos. The videos are a little slow moving, but they are good otherwise. Alasdair Post-Quinn.

As always, these are just my opinions and I would love to hear your opinions on these designs. Go over and have a look! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Craft Inspirations

These are things I saw on blogs or out in the Internet universe that were inspiring to me:

Roo Knits' Vine Yoke by Ysolda. I don't see many knit garments where I am wowed. I remember seeing Ysolda's pattern in the Twist Collective but it is in a gray color. It looked nice, but Roo's version in the green variegated really makes the pattern really shine. It looks great and makes me wish I had the time to make one. Although I think, I'd start with a provisional cast on and make it a sweater instead of a Cardigan. Lina's looks very nice too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food Friday . . . plus some

Well, sometimes our experiences, crafting or not . . . are nothing more than learning experiences. This Food Friday experiment ended in nothing but lessons to remember for a next time.

My mother got me subscription to MaryJanesFarm Magazine. The newest issue (Dec/Jan) has a recipe to make home-made candy canes. I thought this was a marvelous idea. It'll be an even better idea when I can get it to work.

First, it took me forever to find a Silicon Baking Mat. I finally found one at Target.

The beginning of the sugar, juice, and vinegar together.

It's cooking up nicely.

After peppermint is added, it is poured onto the mat.

Mine took more than the 25 minutes to cool down enough to be worked with.

Here are some designs I tried out.

Lesson Learned from batch #1:
~Candy cooking may seem tedious, but takes attention. If talking on the phone with your mother while doing it, be careful not to burn the liquid.

Lessons Learned from batch #2:
~Recommended amount of peppermint in recipe only leaves a faint taste of peppermint. Tastes more fruity and sugary from juice and sugar.
~There is plenty of time to work with the candy.
~Juice did not give it the rich color the recipe said it would.

Thoughts for next time:
~Try food coloring.
~Try more of flavoring, but use something other than peppermint, since it's not a flavor I care for enough to have a whole batch of candy canes around. Or to continually taste through this recipe-working-out process.
~Wash dishes after doing this, not the next day.

Overall, it was a nifty experience and I will definitely try again when I have more time. Lots of ideas. When working with the candy, I really wanted to make more complex designs with it.

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Here is the third project I was working on. A hat, for someone close to Channon of Chan Knits.

This would have been done much sooner (like a few days after her post), but I miscalculated the first time I made it and it came out too pointy. This yarn doesn't not rip, as it clings to itself. So I knit another one and it went much slower. Mailed it off yesterday. I am a huge fan of the Tychus pattern, I just modify it to the specific needs.

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Lastly, I am not sure how much knitting there will be over the next few days. When making dinner tonight, I almost dropped a pan, so stupid me went to grab it with my bare hand. Not too much got burned, because I realized what I was doing quick enough. But the inside of my knuckle(the worst place) of my middle finger on my left hand is burned. I knit continental and use this finger A LOT. So, we'll see how it is when I get off work. Hopefully, they'll let me work register tonight and not make food . . . it could be painful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pieces fall. . . not always into place

I have finished the first one of Echo's Leyburn-ish socks. I say Leyburn-ish socks because it is based of the stitch pattern used in the pattern, but altered. My stitch repeat within the patterned area is different and the rest of the sock has nothing to do with the construction of the Leyburn pattern.

You can see here, a close-up of the patterning. Because there were so many light purples, no medium purples, and only one dark purple, the pattern does not show up as well as one would hope.

I have begun the cuff of the second sock. Now, even though it is the same skein(although further in), the same gauge, and the same pattern . . .it is pooling to say the least. But I have accepted this, although it is too bad.

Rhoni's second sock, being knit for the second time. I have done the gusset decreases and am now moving onto working the foot. It won't be long now.

And now some drawings from Drawing Class:

I really enjoyed drawing this pose. 1.5 day pose. I so very much wish I had had a little more time to make a larger contrast in the shades, but it is close enough.

Here is another pose, different man, where we had 2 days. It was too much time with this pose, I got bored and began outlining the figure in dark jagged marks. It kind of looks like he is in hay, oh well. My favorite part is his hair, it turned out wonderfully.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving Along

The first craft couple is moving along nicely. I do have a third project I am working on, but that is almost finished and I will show it tomorrow probably.

Echo's first sock. I will fully admit that this yarn was the one I was the most excited to use and has frustrated me the most. I have started and ripped out this sock countless times. I had in my mind this beautiful way it would knit up, but I couldn't achieve that and have the correct stitch count. So eventually I just had to let it be what it was determined to be. I'll probably rarely use this kind of yarn again due to it's slipperiness.

Rhoni's second sock being knit for the second time. I am not minding this so much, but the lace pattern is getting a tad old now that I've done it so many times.

*** Disclaimer *** = I am farther along than this in both of these socks, but haven't had a chance to take any good pictures. Will try tomorrow.

Also, the boy has a new hobby! He had the interest in it already, but I won't deny that I encouraged him to go for it if it was really something he wanted to learn. He's been practicing every day for the last four days. It's nice to see him interested in something other than the computer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meme - 40 Things

Meme - 40 Things

I snagged this from Karen of Musings of a (mostly) Self-Taught Knitter

1. Do you like bleu cheese?
No, I do not like the taste, smell, or especially the look.

2. Have you ever smoked?
Once, it made me horribly sick and haven't done it again.

3. Do you own a gun?
No and I have no desire to.

4. Favorite type of Food?
Mexican!! - - Which sadly is difficult for me to eat now for reasons of proximity and being lactose intolerant.

5. Favorite type of music?
Honestly, I like a lot of different kinds. I especially like music in other languages.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I like hot dogs, but agree with Karen, you can't really think about them too much. Fried hot dog sandwiches or hot dogs with macaroni and cheese.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Not sure on this one. Probably The Santa Clause with Tim Allen.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Water, I usually feel dehydrated in the morning.

9. Can you do push ups?
Not really. My wrists do not do well with exercises where I have to put much weight on them.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
My engagement ring. I am really not a jewelry person.

11. Favorite hobby?
Crafting - - - I know that is cheating because it's a category, but that's really the best I can do for you.

12. Do you have A. D. D.?
Not really, but I feel like it sometimes.

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
Glasses, I can't wear contacts . . . can't touch my eye like that.

14. Middle name?
Is very common, Lynn.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
I wish I was better at Spanish. Remember to take the cookies out at 5:48. I'm cold.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
Water. Juice mixed with water. Juice.

17. Current worry?
That I won't complete everything in time. (school)

18. Current hate right now?
Bad teachers.

19. Favorite place to be?
With the boy. I could be anywhere in the world, as long as he was there.

20. How did you bring in the new year?
I never do anything memorable.

21. Someplace you’d like to go?
I'd love to go to Ireland.

22. Name three people who will complete this.
Probably no one.

23. Do you own slippers?

24. What color shirt are you wearing?
Off white.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
I don't know, but they don't sound pleasant. I don't like things that are overly smooth or overly rough and those definitely sound too smooth. Gives me the creeps texturally.

26. Can you whistle?
Ha, ha. No, definitely not.

27. Where are you now?
At my desk, at home.

28. Would you be a pirate?
Probably not, I have a thing with motion sickness.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Don't sing in the shower, just relaxing.

30. Favorite Girl’s Name?

31. Favorite boy’s name?

32. What is in your pocket right now?

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
Meghan of Stitch It!! Podcast. I found her podcast recently and have been listening to past episodes. She's hilarious and has an infectious laugh.

34. What vehicle do you drive?
2000 Pontiac Grand Prix . . . . it's falling apart.

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Sprained my ankle when the boy tried to teach me how to play soccer.

36. Do you love where you live?
Yes, in the fact that I like Buffalo. It's all good. No, in the fact that I hate snow.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
Two, but one is in the living room for working out and one is in the bedroom for movies and video games. We have no cable.

38. How many computers do you have in your house?
4 . . . my computer, the boy's computer, the boy's old computer(we plan on giving it to his parents), and my VERY ancient laptop(doesn't work for very much).

39. If you changed your job, what would it be?
Heck, I am still in that process. But if I could change my "part-time" job, I would work with something more relative to my goal of working with arts, crafts, and children.

40. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
I honestly hate this type of question. If they could be any wishes . . . end to world hunger, arts/crafts would be taught in EVERY school, and the boy will live longer than I do.