Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Cups

I made this Peanut Butter Cup recipe. Very easy and very good. Made a double batch and took most of them into work on Christmas Eve. Will definitely make these again sometime.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Interweave Crochet - Winter 2009

Interweave Crochet is out with it newest issue.

~Sunset Ruana - - I want to like this. I love entrelac and I love the colors. Not a fan of the whole poncho like shape. I don't care for the belt in the one picture. It's a little too blanket like to be worn like this. Designer is Sharon Falkner.

~Tatiana Pullover - - I think this would look better over some other top, the one under it in the pictures makes it bulge in weird places(sleeves & stomach) and buttons from the undershirt poking out of the lace. Honestly, it's ridiculous that they think it is acceptable. If you wore it over a tank top or thin tee, it would probably look quite nice. I like everything else about the top. Designer is Marlaina Bird.

~Twilight Duster - - I like the shape of the duster. I like the front center area. I don't much care for the color combination though. Honestly, I'd probably never make anything that large, but it does look quite tempting. I'd probably do it in one color or a more professional color combination. . . maybe black and another color. Designer is Doris Chan.

~Katharine Vest - - I don't really care for the coloring of this vest. I think it would look better in a solid color, but I am not sure. The fit on the model seems okay. Can't completely put my finger on it, but it just seems a little unfinished. Designer is Dora Ohrenstein.

~Russell Sweater - - Don't care for this sweater. The changing of direction of the crochet, makes it look more like a woman's peasant top style. I don't particularly think it is attractive on a man. the arm holes and arms are overly large. Would not make this. Designer is Annette Petavy.

~Luna Sweater - - I like the fake cables. The sweater appears to be dense enough to be warm, but not cumbersome. I'm actually quite drawn to this top. I like the color too. I like the sleeve length too. This very well may be something I crochet someday. The only thing I am unsure of, is how the middle false cable is split by the V-neck, it looks distracting. Designer is Kim Guzman.

~Frog Charming - - It's cute, in a cartoon like way. It's not a style I prefer. Designer is Toni Rexroat.

~Rose Diamonds Tunic - - I don't care for this top. The model looks shapeless. This is the bad view of crochet, stiff and shapeless. Designer is Judith Swartz.

~Zoe Vest - -I think this could be a cute vest, but in different colors. Overall, I think it would look better with a top and long skirt. I think it is a little too stiff looking. Probably would not make it. Designer is Ellen Gormley.

~Aubrey Jacket - - I like this. I like the way it appears., but it could use some more structure. I love the stitch, tunisian rib. Definitely looks like a comfy jacket. Designer is Tram Nguyen.

~Arc de Triomphe Cardigan - - I like the stitch pattern. However, I personally don't understand tops like this. Also, the top really doesn't go with the clothing underneath. Designer is Annette Petavy.

~Katrina Shawl - - I adore this. The fuzziness of the yarn compliments the motifs nicely. I am a sucker for crochet motifs though. This might be something I make. Designer is Lisa Pflug.

~Candy Cloche - - The decreasing seems a little weird on the top, but the cloche in general is cute. Designer is Linda Permann.

~Bubble Bag - - It's okay, but nothing special. Looks sturdy though. Designer is Tracy St. John.

~Mischa Mittens - - The look warm, but they look awfully cumbersome. Designer is Danielle Kassner.

~Amelia Hat and Scarf - - I actually think this set is quite cute. Definitely in different colors though. I think the hat is the cutest though. Designer is Elisa Cleveland.

~Flip-Flop Floor Pillow - - As nifty as this is, there is no way I would crochet something that large. Designer is Brianna Mewborn.

~Spring Fever Mittens - - They look cute, for a child's mittens. Designer is Julia Vaconsin.

~Painted Turtle Afghan - - It is okay, nothing special though. Designer is Edie Eckman.

. . . disappointment. This is definitely not an issue that would make me feel the need to get a subscription for Interweave Crochet. Seeing issues like this makes me wish I knew more about crochet to make my own designs. To some how create those things I fail to see in patterns and magazines. But the question always comes up . . . are they/we trying to get something from crochet that is not within the boundaries of crochet? I can't actually answer this, but it makes me want to try.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Food Friday - Cranberry Roast

Now this was a recipe that caught my eye just with the name. I saw the recipe for Cranberry Roast on A Year of Slow Cooking. This blog is on my blog reader and many recipes she posts I think sounds good, but when I saw this one I knew I had to make it.

Turned the heat to 375 on my little wonder cooker thing.

Added a little veggie oil, just to be able to brown the roast.

I bought a Top Round Roast, no particular reason except for it tends to be one of the cheaper roasts.

My roast was 2.76 pounds.

I chopped up half an onion. This was an experience because my sister, Rhoni, and her fiance, John, sent me and the boy knives for Christmas. (Yes, I am an early opener.) Any who, this was the first time I got to use them and I took a nice little chunk out of my left middle finger while cutting this onion.

First brown the roast in the oil. Turning so it gets browned on all sides. Toss in the onion and let them cook down for a few minutes.

First add the soy sauce, the recipe says 2tbsp, I will admit that I just eyed it. I let this cook for another 5 or so minutes to let the onions finish caramelizing and for them to soak up some of the soy sauce.

Next I did NOT just add the cranberry sauce, like the recipe says. The boy doesn't like fruity flavors with his meat, so I wanted to tone it down a bit. I mixed the cranberry sauce with one cup of hot water and mixed it together. Then I poured it into the pot. I covered it and let it cook for about 2.5 hours on 200 degrees.

With it we had roasted potatoes. The boy likes fingerling potatoes, so we tried these.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

I cut each potato into approximately fourths, some a little less or more depending on their size.

I then sprayed generously with Pam and sprinkled on some salt and pepper.

Baked for 30 minutes on 400, and 30 minutes on 300. They were lovely. I will admit that I didn't care for the purple ones, but I am not sure if that is because they actually tasted different or if it's just the fact that it's weird eating purple potatoes.

I forgot to take a picture of the roast and gravy when it was all done. Too focused on my finger, sorry.

Conclusion . . . at first the roast only hinted at the sweet cranberry flavor and I thought, well, I should have listened to the recipe and not diluted it. However, then I tasted the mixture left in the pot, which had thickened on it's own and didn't need to be reduced. Heavens, I would make that roast again just for that gravy. It was delicious and I will definitely make this again sometime!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Interweave Knits - Winter 2009

I know this is somewhat late, but it's the first chance I've had to do it. This review is of the newest issue of Interweave Knits, Winter 2009 issue.

~Nora's Sweater - - I like the flowy look of this. The sweater is structured and with a lot of thought. The pleats seem well placed. It seems a little over done though. Maybe the cabling around the neck and middle was a plainer stitch. Overall, I like the sweater, but it appears a bit matronly. Designer is Pamela Powers.

~Syrup Pullover - - This is an unfortunate case of someone who thinks if they add enough crap to a design that it makes it something worth knitting. The textured stitches, the plain stitches, the ribbing on the v-neck, the weird puffy sleeves. It looks like a Frankensteined pattern. Individually, I like the textured stitches, but over all, it appears to be a joke. Designer is Nicole Reeves.

~Aquitaine Pullover - - I like the way this looks from the front. More the lines of texture down the body. However, no where is there pictures of the back, which makes me question what is wrong with the back. The collar is a little too wide. Undecided about this one. Designer is Deborah Newton.

~Alma's Scarf - - It is a nice scarf, but I don't see anything particularly aesthetically pleasing. Designer is Mareike Sattler.

~Alpaca Pleats Jacket - - I am not sure if it's just the outfit that the jacket is with, but it seems out of place. The basis of the jacket, the pleats, doesn't seem appealing to me. Designer is Connie Chang Chinchio.

~Braided Riding Jacket - - I think the jacket is over done, but I like the stitch definition in the yarn. There is something about this jacket that draws me in. Even though the stitches seem like to much, they do have a good balance. It is aesthetically pleasing to look at, just not sure if I'd want to wear it. Designer is Coralie Meslin.

~Floating Spiral Hat - - The stitch definition isn't very good and I don't much care for the pointiness of the hat. Designer is Owen Biesel.

~Art Lace Bag - - I don't think this is appealing at all. The heavy stitches on the bottom. the weight pulling the lace open. I just don't see anything appealing about this. The shape of the bag, may be in style, but it seems like you'd just loose more things in the purse with those weird bottom shape. Designer is Teva Durham.

~Wave and Dimple Kimono - - This is not shape flattering, especially from behind. In general I like the cable stitch, but it looks like bad maternity wear as is. Designer is Sharon Shoji.

~Dusseldorf Aran - - I like the cabling panel, but the sweater in general doesn't seem all that appealing. The sleeves are just silly. Not necessarily a bad sweater, but it does not appeal to me. Designer is Fiona Ellis.

~Deep Texture Tunic - - I love the thermal texture of this and the length. It looks very nice and comfy. I like the fold over collar and the raglan shaping. Simple and nice. The belt doesn't look like it is actually needed. Designer is Melissa Wehrle.

~Shredder Pullover - - I love the cable up the side. I like how detailed it is. Overall, the sweater is okay. I am not sure I know very many men who would wear it with that cable on it though. Designer is Jennifer Hagan.

~Bells of Ireland Cardigan - - I do not understand why the arm holes are so deep. The "bells" look like cherries. Otherwise, I just don't see how the sweater looks appealing, but I don't like those cropped sweaters. Designer is Courtney Kelley.

~Lacy Ribbons - - Honestly, I love sweaters like this. I just fine them unpractical. I'd snag it on anything and everything. I love the look of them though. Designer is Rosemary Hill.

~Half-Felted Knapsack - - I always like the thought of felted bags, but don't think I'd have the patience to knit something that large just to felt it. The handles seem awfully thin for a bag that large. Designer is Christina Moran.

~Fiery Ruche Scarf - - I like the ruching effect. I don't think I'd like to knit the scarf length-ways, but it has a lovely effect. Designer is Victoria Zygas.

~Paper Lanterns - - I like the theory of them, but it seems a little too much work to do for a lantern. I do like functional pieces, which means you'd have to buy these kits and stuff and it would have to fit that specific lantern. Nice idea though.

~Icelandic Star - - I like this sweater. Simple, nice cardigan. The stranded work is complimentary and not overwhelming. I like this a lot. Designer is Sarah Hoadley.

~Miss Michelle's Jacket - - I like this, but not the closures. Hook and eye closures are not sturdy or a warm way of closing. It looks like a nice jacket, not necessarily well fitting though. I love the stitch pattern. Designer is Kristin Roach.

~Heritage Cardigan - - I really like this. I like the large size, the color work, and the overall look of it. Really like the collar. I don't know if I'd actually wear it or not, but I really like the look of it. Designer is Sharon Shoji.

~Aspinwall Pullover - - This is one of the better men's sweaters I have seen. I like that the colorwork separates the switch in stitch patterns. If the boy ever actually wanted me to knit for him, this would be something I would definitely consider. Designer is Susan Dittrich.

~Hearts and Flowers Cardigan - - A cute child's sweater. I am not a fan of that shoulder, but I am sure it makes the colorwork easier and most children probably don't care. Designer is Judy Alexander.

~Pointed Kerchief - - I like the theory of this, a headscarf, but since no photos are provided of the back, I wonder how well it actually works. Designer is Lisa Shroyer. DOWNLOAD FREE.

~Corseted Necklet - - I don't care for anything that must be tied with a ribbon. Designer is Sandi Wiseheart. DOWNLOAD FREE.

~Rittenhouse Scarf - - I like the look of this, but rarely wear scarves for just looks, and this doesn't seem all that practical. Designer is Marilyn Murphy. DOWNLOAD FREE.

~Winding River Cowl - - I like this thick, yet delicate looking mobius-type cowl. This could be something I would consider making. DOWNLOAD FREE.

Hooked on the Environment - - An interesting article about a woman who crochets vines with a pitchfork and her bare hands.

Conclusion. . . I look forward to these, but they rarely show me something exciting. Is it because I've seen too many designs already, so nothing seems new? I hope not, I haven't been knitting for THAT long. I guess in the end, it is a good thing my should will force me to focus on other crafts I'd like to do, because knitting isn't seeming quite as exciting in some aspects.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Cleaning

Yesterday and today I have been working on my Winter Cleaning. Basically the winter version of spring cleaning. Assessing the things we don't use, things that should go to Good Will, things that should be thrown away, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.

Since I've been sick with this chest cold for about two weeks now, I move slower than I'd like, but I am making good progress. It's odd to think that this is probably our last year in this apartment and it's feeling more like things are were they belong in the apartment to make it "ours". Just goes to show how long it can take to make a place feel like home.

I've been crafting today too, in between cleaning, making sure I don't wear myself out and end up in a coughing fit like last night. Blah. So I have been working on my future-brother-in-laws present. My sister said he could use some more handkerchiefs, which he wears under his work helmet because he shaves his head. Unfortunately, she said he prefers solid colors, so no fancy bleaching or dyeing going on. Just cutting and sewing. I am using it as practice on my hand sewing though, since it's been a while and I have a future project in mind that is going to take a lot of hand stitching.

Maybe I'll have a couple of them to show tomorrow. And I'll try to remember to scan that picture of Garren tomorrow too.

Tomorrow I get to see my replacement Student Teaching coop teacher. Hopefully it goes well.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Drawings on this Solstice Night

One would think that there would be more drawings from a drawing class . . . not really, you'd be surprised how long they draw things out. Any who, these are the drawings I never showed you. the last one is only a partial drawings due to nudity. I'd like to keep my blog PG. Plus Photobucket doesn't allow nudity, even artistic.

This first one was my mid-term project. We chose our own subject and all that. This is a woman in a yoga-meditative state. Which is something I have felt very out of touch with this semester. I haven't maintained a center and am hoping to work back toward that over Winter Break. She is alone on the press board to show the calm meditative state of nothing existing except the individual.

The rest of these are just drawings from class:

I like this line drawing. He looks a little similar to Mr. Burns.

Hopefully when Spring comes I can take some better pictures for my portfolio.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

School Project

I told you I would have some stuff to show for school projects. This one was made as a cumulative piece for the class. It was to demonstrate what this class helped us learn and how we progressed.

It's wrinkled from being in my bag. The fabric was all hand-painted with acrylics. The water background was painted as one piece with blues, greens, and purples. The colors were very diluted and I used more of a wash technique with some layering.

The green strips were painted as one larger piece with less diluted paint and just one color of green. I then cut up the fabric into the size pieces that I wanted and sewed them together. The outside of the fabric is hemmed with transparent thread as to not distract from the rest of the piece.

Lastly, I created two fish stamps. They are not as complicated as I had originally hoped to make, but with the supplies I had, it was too difficult to do that. Next time I make something like this I will buy linoleum squares to do some real intricate carvings. The fish are stamped onto the fabric with non-diluted black acrylic paint.

The piece is suppose to represent the potential separation that can happen in a school environment. Me being alone in the corner, feeling like I am lost as a new teacher. The students to my left, sectioned off in their own little world and the other teachers and staff above me sectioned off in their own little world. The large open water area is suppose to represent how the techniques I learned in this class with hopefully equip me to better connect with my students and know how to reach out to other school staff members for assistance.

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I should be back blogging more consistently. The Advil and cold packs seem to be doing a good job. It doesn't seem like I will need physical therapy!!

You will probably see a wider variety of crafts though, because knitting in general seems to aggravate the shoulder. So I will be focusing more on some crafts that I have been wanting to do, but that I put aside for knitting. Hopefully this will be a good thing.

I intend to try to blog each day, except for when we are in Ohio (Jan 1st-Jan 5th). No one in his family even has a computer. We were sent a couple pictures of the boy's nephew, lets face it, I already consider him mine too. Anyways, he's a doll, I'll try to scan one in and show you guys tomorrow. Evidently, I have been spelling his name wrong, not Gerrin, but Garren. Oops, that's what you get when families don't communicate well.

Any who, things seem to be moving in a positive way. Maybe 2010 will be a wonderful year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Knitty - Winter 2009

The new Knitty is out for Winter 2009.

~Spoke - - I find the circle pattern intriguing. It says it can be made as a cardigan or a pull-over. Either way, I don't think that half circle, radiating out from one's side is very flattering on any size of a person. It does seem to accentuate the hips the most, then the waist, but it pretty much obliterates the fact that the model has a chest at all. As I said, intriguing to look at, but not very flattering. Designer is Lori.

~Soria - - I love the cable pattern used in this top, not only is it aesthetically pleasing to look at, it also seems very flattering on the model. I think the colorwork part is a too large for the top though. If I made this I would either eliminate the colorwork completely or I would make it about half as tall as it is. I like the low neck. It's not too low, too revealing, but it is not snug around the neck either. Designer is Tikru.

~Four Corners in Tokyo - - Huh? I don't find this appealing to look at, nor do I think this would be appealing on any person's body. I understand knitters wanting to find unique ways to design things, but some things are better left alone. It looks like a vortex or part of the female anatomy. Either way, why would you want to literally wear a box shape on you? Because of this shape it wrinkles and rolls in areas where you definitely do not want to look like you have more flesh than you do. Unfortunately, I just don't understand it. Designer is Sarah.

~Zora - - It seems simple, nice. I don't see anything especially appealing that draws me to it. The band around the waist seems a little ill placed for the model. I assume it was meant to be more around her waist and less around her hips. Instead of making her waist look smaller, it makes her hips look bigger. Designer is Kristen.

~King of Confidence - - I like the stripey theory of the yoke and the contrasty colors. I do not like the bobble items at all. Blah, it makes it kind of look like slubby yarn. Otherwise, I really like the simplicity of the sweater and think it would make a very comfy cardigan. Designer is Ann.

~Quadrat - - I really want to like this top and part of me does. Against my better judgment, I like the box top part, the neckline and the sleeves. I dislike the whole belt thing and would prefer some waist shaping instead. I actually find myself wanting to cast on for this, but add waist shaping, which would be feasible, just some math. If I ever get that far, this top may be made in my future. Designer is Beautia.

~Mr. Darcy - - Odd photos, but it does look like a nice and simple man's sweater. Love the texture, but I am not so sure about the neck opening. Seems a little odd, like a fish mouth. Designer is Cheryl.

~Knotty but Nice - - It's nice and the cable work is nice. Designer is Natalie.

~Vroom - - Not sure if it is, but the first picture looks like it was done in photoshop. I am not around many four year old boys, so I am not sure, but I do think they might find this vest appealing. Personally, eh. I do like the creativity of it all though. Designer is Valerie.

~Incognito - - I definitely understand the quirky, silliness to it. I don't see myself knitting one though. Designer is Mercedes.

~Shroom - - I think this probably has the best "slouch" effect I have seen in a slouchy hat. Very nifty, could definitely see myself knitting that. Although I don't wear slouchy hats, I know plenty of people who either do or should. Designer is Lee.

~Pyroclastic - - Interesting design. I love all the architecture involved in the sock. Designer is Marlowe.

~Diversion - - Okay, I love this sock!! I love the lizard ridge effect and can't wait to knit a pair of these. Designer is Kristen.

~Synergy socks and shield - - As much as I love Cat Bordhi's mind, this is not something I understand. I don't necessarily get the point of just the shield. If my feet are still cold, it's more than just my lower calf/upper ankle area. I'd want thicker socks in general, not a decorative shield for part of the sock. Designer is Cat Bordhi.

~Saviano - - Nice, but nothing special. Designer is Marjan.

~Tentacular - - I can somewhat understand just the silliness of this scarf, but otherwise I just don't get it. It doesn't seem all that warm. Seems like a pain in the butt to make. And most definitely is not flattering. Designer is Pauline.

~Duet - - I like the leaf design. I like the buttons too. Nice, simple, but a little flare. Designer is Linda.

~Burning Embers - - I like the shape of this cowl. It doesn't appear too bulky, so it will fit under a coat. I like the buttons on the top too, not only for a little more breathable at times, but for ease of getting it off and on. Very nice. Designer is Kristy.

~Frost Diamonds - - It looks okay, but none of the photos really seem to show it off as anything special. The light is just a little too bright. Designer is Stefanie Japel.

~Bitterroot - - I do like this shawl more than the previous one, but I am just not much of a shawl person. The beads look very nice in one of them. Designer is Rosemary.

~Citron - - I like this shawl the best. I like the two different levels of transparency. Delicate, yet doesn't look like you'll ruin it the first time you wear it. Designer is Hilary.

~Queen City - - Very nice fingerless mitts. I like the patterning on the back. Designer is Becky.

~Mrs. Roosevelt's Mittens - - Just mittens with a decrease similar to a toe of a sock. Designer is Franklin.

~Ailbe - - Nice mittens, with nice motif design on the back. I like the cables, simple but nice. Designer is Kristi.

~Mr. Popper's Penguin - - Again, really bad photoshop work. A cover for a hot water bottle - - like heating pad. Don't necessarily think I'd want a penguin on the outside. I understand the purpose and the cuteness to it, but I am not so much in to cozies or making them. Designer is Laura.

Overall, not so many patterns that I liked this time. As always, these are just my opinions and I would love to hear your thoughts on them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Doctor's Visit

Well, I had an appointment today at the health clinic on campus. The doctor says I have tendinitis or bursitis. On the positive side, if it is tendinitis, she doesn't think any tendons have ruptured . . . which is good, no surgery or shots. She wrote me a prescription for strong Advil and told me to use a cold pack on it when I can. If I still have pain about two weeks from now (when school is all done), then I am to visit her again because I will have to go through physical therapy.

Lets cross our fingers against physical therapy and hope my body works it out on it's own. Overall, things could have been worse . . . although, they could have been better too. So we shall see.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 5 & 6 - Falling Short

As much as it sucks to admit defeat . . . I have to do so in a way. My shoulder isn't getting any better and it's aggravated by pretty much any movement at all. I won't be doing my drawing for the 100 Days. I might start it back up again after I've gone to the doctor and they determine what is wrong, but until then I have a lot of writing, typing, and drawing to accomplish for the end of the semester. I really can't afford to potentially permanently mess up my shoulder for something I don't have to do. I will go make an appointment at the health center tomorrow and hopefully it won't take too long for them to look at me. I realize they probably don't have the ability to tell me what is wrong and I may have to see a specialist of some sort. So in the end, no drawings. Trust me, it disappoints me greatly.

So, yeah, I haven't been doing much of anything because like I said, pretty much everything aggravates it. So sorry, no pictures of anything new to post. I will have things to post at the end of this week, as I have some projects to complete that I think will turn out nicely. I would like to say that I will still be posting every day, but honestly, it hurts to type . . . so we shall see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 4

First, I will show you Justice's first sock, all finished! I didn't work any patterning on Justice's sock because I wanted the focus to be on the yarn and how pretty it was all on it's own. Onto sock number two!

Second, we have my drawings for today. I only worked a bit on the girl's hair and then I worked on some fish designs that I am hoping to use to make my own stamps for a project I need to work on this weekend.

A close-up of one of the fish designs I am thinking about using.

My exercise today consisted of yoga. My shoulder is still bothering me, so I was trying to relieve some of the stress in my body. It made me feel better in general, but not my shoulder. I unfortunately think I will have to go to the college health center this coming week. Blah!

Off to work, see you all tomorrow! . . . . p.s. Due to it being the end of the semester I am horribly behind on most of my blog reading. Sorry, I will catch up eventually.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 3

First off we have Justice's sock. I am almost finished with the first one. I have started the toe. I am almost done undoing and respinning the yarn for the second sock.

As for my drawing, I have added to it. I tried to up the contrast on the photo so you could see the drawing better. I will probably work on her one more day and then move onto a sketch pad for the rest of the one hundred days. I like the way she is turning out though.

For my exercise today I spent 10 minutes on the exercise bike. I did program #3.

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Tomorrow, I will probably show you the most recent drawing I did in drawing class, also.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 2

Here is Mark's first sock. It turned out well. Still wanting to make some sock blockers! :)

Here is my yesterday and today drawing. I added to what I had started yesterday. I think I will need to grab one of my sketchbooks to dedicate to this process though since it should be somewhat more focused. I like how she is turning out though and might continue with her for a few days. It's a really crappy picture, sorry.

My exercise for today was stretching. I tweaked my shoulder about 3-4 days ago and it's not getting any better, so I figured stretching all around was a good thing to do. Didn't help my shoulder though, hoping I don't have anything more serious like tendinitis.

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On a separate note, I received my notifications for where I will be student teaching next semester. I think I was placed in pretty good schools. Looking forward to it, but nervous.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person

One hundred days to make me a better person starts today. My daily things will be progressive. There is two weeks of classes left and then finals week, so not a lot of time . . . so, not a lot to do in that time. I am going to draw and exercise each day of the 100 days. I will blog about what I did and take a picture of the drawing I did for the day. Since time is sparse, this week I will draw for 5 minutes and exercise for five minutes each day, next week will be 10 minutes each day, then 15 minutes each day . . . starting the fourth week, I will do 30 minutes of each on each day.

I walked around the block for five minutes for my exercise.
I drew for five minutes, but I forgot to take a picture, so I will post it tomorrow along with the one for tomorrow.

I am not counting the drawing I do in drawing class, nor the exercise involved with walking to and from school.

* * * * * * * *
I also finished Mark's first sock and will take pictures of it to post tomorrow also.

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.