Thursday, July 29, 2010

100 Things

1. I really like seeing these on other blogs, so I thought it would be a cool way to start things off.
2. This is not my first blog. In case you didn't know, I also blog here.

Oh, by the way... I was in a KAL!

Um, I know I'm going to kick myself for this, because I didn't blog about it (which is strange, since it's me...) but, I was in a KAL.  It lasted the whole month of July, and I finished the mystery doll last night at an ungodly hour.

So I took pictures.

And I'm done.  The pattern was a mystery, written up by Pheony (rav link) and hosted by the Knit Toys Group (rav link) on Ravelry.  It was exciting to work with a bunch of other knitters on the same project (erm, hello, that's the definition of KAL?) and I waited excitedly for each clue to come out... but nothing in this went right. 

My arms are way too long, my head is too big, etc etc etc... I don't want to talk about it any more.  I was at the point where I told myself I would write about what I was doing, but everything I wrote about was ranty and ill-tempered, so I didn't hit post.  As I was sewing the ears on, W commented that it looked like a pig.  I wanted to cry. I don't think that there was anything wrong with the pattern, just, there are certain patterns (*cough* like the socks I made for Ashley *cough*) that I just can't make correctly.  I've come to the conclusion that a power greater than my own refuses to let me make them correctly.  Sure, I could take apart the pieces, re-knit with the end product in mind, and be happier with it, but frankly I'm too lazy! Maybe if it was a sweater or a sock.

Anyway, that's water under the bridge.  It's done, finished and there's nothing I can do about it or it's hump-back! W snapped it up (like he likes to do with stuff I make) and I thought that it would disappear at the end of this weekend, stuffed away in the attic of his mother's house or something... but I came home and he was stuffing armature wires into it.

 I'm gunna be a star?

GREAT. My boyfriend wants to animate what I consider the most shoddily knit stuffie I made this year! That's Alanis Morisette irony for you.

And, if you want to make your own sheep, leave a comment and I'll e-mail you the PDFs! They're probably still up on Google, but knowing my luck, someone will be interested in making this two years from now and they'll be gone... so, drop me a line :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good Day, Bad Day

Today... no, this week... has been tough.  Pretty much my whole savings for the summer has turned into my first payment for school, so that I can take out a loan with an interest payment of less than $100 a month.  It's not so bad, but I have to give up my pipe dreams of not having to find a job during school.  I lived with working last year with a 20 hours schedule, so I can do it again.

But good things have also happened!

Good thing #1: I can work overtime at work, to earn a little extra money :)

Good thing #2: I spent a lot of time on hold today, and managed to draw some sweet doodles.  I'm going to plug them into Excel later.

Good thing #3: I got a package! It's my yarn, at long last, from Eskimimi's Etsy Shop! It actually came last week, but my landlady picked it up while I was out of town having adventures.  Isn't it gorgeous!? The colorway is Broccoli Sockoli, and I know EXACTLY what I'm going to make with it.  To the T!  I couldn't get a picture that showed it's true colors in the light, but these pictures catch both sides:

So make sure you pick some yarn up for yourself... or check out Mimi's blog.  It's definitely worth a following :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clearing the Plate

My knitting- and non-knitting stress has been continuing this week.  W volunteered to cook (which he has, kind of, all week!) but today he was feeling sick.  So I make chicken and rolled it in tiny tortillas with salsa and cheese, and it was something like an enchilada, or a burrito... I don't really know. They were delicious.

Point is, while I was cooking, I was thinking.  Why have I been so stressed out? I've got a million ideas in my head, a thousand half-written proposals to a dozen calls I saw on Ravelry.

I came home at lunch and cast on for a washcloth.  A WASHCLOTH! In Lion Brand Cotton. On my Disney Princess needles.  Don't believe me? I have photographic evidence!

Then when I came home and frogged the Free-Form Socks. As if sensing the end was near, they knotted themselves up.

So I firmly decided.  No more projects are going on the plate until I clear something off it! I'm not even going to look at calls online.  I'm going to work on what's in front of me, and not try and start a million things at once! I'm still working full time, which means, with sleep, I only have 6 hours a day for knitting.  So I'm going to enjoy it, and not feel flustered by the mountain of stuff I keep taking on!

So, I'm working hard on this machine that W wants to animate.  The deadline: 2 weeks from now, before he leaves to work on a theatre performance.

Tall order, since I only have about 10% done.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Weekend In Pictures - July Adventure

It's been a while since I did one of these - well, it's been a while since I had such a great weekend. I had an amazing, awesome, glorious weekend! I told you int he last post about the stress sock I started, but I also went to visit my great aunt and great uncle at their lake house, which was amazing! And, even better, I got to run around.

I also took some pictures of the lichens I found. I truly was Beatrice Potter in a past life.

Saturday night I was feeling gloomy, so I gave Lotus a bath. Did she need it! Sometimes when she travels she gets stressed out about the new places, and copes by digging in her case an inevitably getting her business all over her... if you know what I mean.

 Scared to come out of her playhouse

 Thinking about it

 Eventually I got her in the tub, where she ran around like crazy, then splashed about.  Of course, she was happy to come out and be toweled off and cuddled.

Oh! Also, Saturday, we drove by the Starucca Viaduct. It was an incredible sight! Built 1847-1848, it's 100 feet high and over 1000 feet long! It's one of the oldest stone-arch railroad bridges in the United States. Well worth a look if you're ever near Susquehanna, PA. If you never are, here are some pictures!

Tonight, we dine on strawberry bread.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike

Yesterday, as I was packing* my bags to head out for the weekend (*read as: going around the apartment and shoving useful-looking things in my bag) I made a decision.  I decided that W would drive.  Why? So I could knit, of course!  

Then another decision faced me.  What would I knit? I've got a few projects on the needles right now.  One is a KAL which I am doing horribly on, I must say (that's a post in itself.) That one would never do: I need my computer to read the pattern!  The other is on hold, awaiting a yarn needle (since my cheap plastic one snapped in half - twice! - on Thursday.) The third option was to work on the sample of Borneo, but that also required my computer to take notes on.

Which option did I choose? Of course, I made up my own! I tossed a size 2 circular into my purse, a measuring tape, and some mystery varigated yarn (if anyone recognizes this, let me know!) and went to town! I think that after a week of knitting and non-knitting stress, I needed a bit of seat-of-the-pants knitting, and this project really helped! I worked the whole hour drive yesterday... casting on, not being satisfied with my cast on, and ripping out. 

Normally, this would be frustrating for me, but yesterday it was extremely satisfying.  There wasn't a pattern for me to follow to the T; I didn't have to write down any notes to refer to when writing up the pattern; I didn't even take measurements.  I think that this sock is a spur of the moment sock.  Later, I'll measure it and find an owner Cinderella-style. If it fits, and they like it, the prince or princess can keep it!

Then, when we reached our destination, I put the knitting away. After a lovely dinner and a peaceful sleep, I woke up at 6:14. I had a cup of coffee and some toast and made this! It's the very first picot edging I've ever done. I sort of winged it.  I cast on 64 stitches and knit for a while, then did a round where I just K2tog, then yarn over... over and over! Then I knit until both sides were equal, then I slipped the purl bumps onto the needle and knit them together to make a kind of hem.

I have no idea if I did things the right way, but after the last crumb of toast was gone, I started on the pattern of the sock, which I decided would be a kind of free-form. I thought of doing a variation on the armwarmers that I test knit, only picking up just one lag at a time, to make a more checkerboard-like shape.

I worked until I went to my first ever formal yoga class. (I may have done yoga during gym class in high school, but that doesn't count.) Then, I knit on the ride home with my brother and father.

Then I got home, proud of my work thus far, and decided to blog about it. Hmm, maybe I'll look through my feed and see what everyone else is doing...

... Then I saw this post by the Yarn Harlot. I thought perhaps through some sort of psychic act, I plagarized the Yarn Harlot.  She did post this yesterday at 1:10 PM. Have I been on my feed since? No. Also, the post was unread.  Did I have a conversation about the Yarn Harlot's blog since 1:10 PM yesterday? No, definitely not. (Not that her posts aren't worth discussing... it's just, I don't know anyone IRL that follows Steph as religiously as me.)

Eventually, I gave up on the investigation and just decided that great knitting minds do, in fact, think alike. I'll think I'll go get some festival food from the Church Festival down the street, sip some lemonade, and marvel at the fact that I'm channeling the Yarn Harlot.

(P.S. She's working from a pattern, the Leyburn Sock, and after reading her post I'm wondering if I should buy the pattern, rip back, then work from it...)

(P.P.S. - The reason I'm thinking about changing mine is that I think hers is better. In every way.  Better yarn, better pattern, toe up... But this ball is rolling. Maybe if it loses momentum, I'll frog back and make some Jaywalker Socks. Whenever I see varigated yarn I want to make Jaywalker Socks.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time Waster

Yesterday I lost my size 5 rosewoods.

Instead of the usual actions (read as: Flipping out and tearing the house apart in attempts to find them, crying, finding them in a crazy place, like the fridge.) I calmly sewed up my current owl, took some yarn, and worked on different needles!

Was a working on a project on my laundry list? Was I cleaning my plate?

No, but I did make this cutie.  Then I watched the end of Gurren Lagaan with W. (There may have been crying then.) Then I finished this cutie.  Then W and I played with it and talked about animating my toys, and listened to music.

Then, when I went to write in my journal, I found one of the lost boys in my bag! Without even looking!

As for the other two... well, I can work with just two needles today! They'll come back when they're ready, I'm sure.

As they say, never put off for tomorrow what you can put off today... or something like that.  

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear Me... Learn to Embroider

Other than that, the prototype for my next pattern is done!!

It's called Borneo, and it's a knit owl stuffie. 

There are a few adjustments between this critter and the final pattern.  The ears will be shorter, and the tail won't taper as fast, and of course, no wonky embroidery! I think button eyes are in order. Also, it will be a lot better knit :P This little guy feels rushed, but I WAS rushing to mail him to a friend from college, sooo...

I'm currently finished with a portion of the pattern-writing.  I'm planning on the pattern including instructions to make the doll in the round and flat with seams.  There will also be a "frankenowl" section on how to modify the pattern to make your own unique version.  It's a lot of work, test knitting, and designing, but in the end you will REALLY get your money's worth for this thing! It ain't no Dino.

I'm really excited to release this pattern, but it's probably not going to come out until September.  I'm going to aim to have the pattern written and tech edited by the end of the month, then give the world a month to test knit it, then release it September 1st. That's the TENTATIVE schedule, since I'm doing a million other knitting things at the moment. (Okay, maybe more like 4, but it sure feels like a million. I will most likely blog about all of them.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

OMG! That's me!

Can you spot Little Alyssa in these pictures?

SQUEE! I'm too excited to see she made it, in one piece, and got to be part of the exhibit.  I'll make sure to post up when she gets her five minutes of fame on the Stitch London Blog.

For now, you can see the posts about the exhibit here, and here :) 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pattern Testing!

So, in order to fully understand the trials and tribulations of pattern testing, I decided to try and test a pattern myself. My own pattern? Yeah, none of that.  I wanted to try the free pattern testers group on Ravelry, but before I got to that, I noticed a post in another group that I'm in. 

That led me to create this glorious, glorious set of fingerless gloves!

The pattern doesn't have a name yet, but when it goes live I'll definitely post something up to tell everyone. I think that I helped the designer a lot.  I made the gloves in a smaller size, and I'm really happy how they stretch to fit my hands.  I centered the pattern on the back between two purl stitches to ... I dunno, just because. 

Taking photos of the two gloves together by myself was tough.  W was in Pennsylvania all this week, and I was left to take photos with a timer, balancing the camera under my chin.

 This one turned out ok.

 This one is photoshopped! (Evil me!) I took a picture of one hand, then the other, then over-layed the two layers. 

But, lo, I was also on the receiving end of pattern testing! I saw my mystery pattern come to life at the needles of some Ravelry users today, as well! I'm super, super excited.  

So this week, I got to give a new designer the chance to see their design made by someone else - and then I got that chance myself! I am definitely going to have all of my patterns tested from now on.  I also think that, if I get the chance, I'm going to test knit myself.  I think that test knitting can make me an even better designer :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Testing 1... 2... 3...

So, I learned a valuable lesson this week.  That lesson: the power of the test knitting. 

It all started when I got a message from a user on ravelry asked me a question about Dino.  Of course! I'm always happy to clear up questions about my patterns! Let's take a look.

(Ten minutes later)


(Thirty minutes with an open notebook in front of me later...)

"No. Seriously.  What!?"

I have no idea why I wrote down what I did in that pattern.  The set up round before the neck is supposed to be there, it provides a taper that I like... but the entire rest of the body is written completely ignoring the number of stitches after the set up round, not before.

I feel horrible for not catching this mistake, but I feel even worse because people have KNIT Dino. They have encountered this problem, and, god bless them, they haven't said anything.  Thanks for suffering in silence!  

I have learned my lesson, though.  From now on, all of my patterns that qualify are going to be tested. I'm really sorry to everyone that knit Dino and got frustrated! It really bums me out, and I hope that it doesn't happen again...

Once again, really sorry!
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