Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Na(Fail At)NoWriMo

So, erm, yes.  Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't, but I have not succeeded in writing a novel.

For a number of excuses reasons, that I will elaborate on here:
  1. Finals.  Oh, yeah, those two middle weeks in November? Dear Alyssa, you forgot that those were finals week.  So you didn't sleep.  Bah.
  2. No support system.  Yeah, I guess this should be minor, but from the beginning I was hearing from W how people were asking why I was "writing so much." And by writing so much, I guess they meant writing 2,000 words each day? Anyway, people started making comments like "Well, I'd write that much, but I have SCHOOLWORK." As if they were so much busier than me.  

    In the end, I felt BAD about writing. Different.  Socially shameful.  I wasn't skipping schoolwork or shirking obligations, but I just felt alienated by these people.  I don't know why I let them hurt my feelings, but it did and that was probably the major reason I stopped writing. 
  3. I just got lazy.
In the end, though, I learned some important lessons.
  1. The people that W gossips about suck. Not all of them, but the ones that are hurtful. Yeah, they're losers and I need to not care about them.
  2. Finals are hard when you're taking 20 credit hours :(
  3. Everyone has a novel inside of them, and mine is NOT about a pediatric nurse falling in love and knitting.  Mine is much more exciting.
My plans for next year? Eh, probably NaKniSweMo :P

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pre-Quarter Crafting

I returned to school on Friday, partly to prepare for the upcoming quarter and partly to just sit and relax somewhere without feeling guilty for not visiting family.

I also spent some time cleaning up the apartment for the quarter, and organizing things! One thing I did was do this spiffy wall art above my bed, using contact paper.


I plan to spend a day making some paper snowflakes to further spruce up my room.  I'm not a big Christmas decorator, but I do love decorating for the winter season with snowflakes and of course, warm throws.

Also on the list of things accomplished were these: Oreo truffles, which I am quasi-famous for :) 
Oreo Truffles

My Christmas knitting is reaching a bit of a paniced state.  I know I can finish everything, I just have to TRY HARDER, darn it, and not get so distracted by shiny things.  For one, I underestimated the size of my brother's feet, his socks look like Christmas stockings!

Giant Sock!

I'm knitting them in Plymouth Yarns (a worsted weight) on size 5 needles, that I bought at the Yarn Crawl. He told me he wanted "slipper socks."  What are slipper socks?  Slippers? Socks? These are more sock-slippers, I guess, because they're just thick socks. But he tried them on before I left (to make sure the heels are in the right place) and he liked them! So good!

Cool stitch marker

Oh, did you notice the cool stitch marker? It was an odd earring, then I was inspired by Jordan at In It To Knit It! You should check out her tutorial here.

There's another project I'm working on, but it's still in the planning-esqu stages. I'm sorry to say that I'm hoping once again to get into Knitty - and I'm close to actually submitting this time :) So, if I get rejected, it will just be a for-sale pattern, like Borneo.  

Also, W is working on a stop motion puppet for his two quarter, who need clothes! So, I taught him how to use the sewing machine! I'm also knitting him a scarf and a pair of miniature mittens, but I figured I could do another post on that later :)

But, as part of W's sewing machine training, I made him he made this pencil case.  At least... part of it.  The seams were a little uneven, and I tried to fix things but just ended up screwing things up even more when I added the zipper.  So the result was this.

Pencil Case

Hey, it still holds my pens and pencils... so so what if it's a little different? It's my pencil case, made with love from W :) 

Pencil Case

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Write a Great Knitting Blog

As a serial blogger and a crazy avid blog reader, I feel like I have some wisdom to impart on blogging, especially for those who want to start or improve their own knitting blog.  I know I'm no means an expert, but there aren't many posts on the subject.  So if you want to write a good knitting blog, here are some steps!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vacation Update

I've had a nice time on vacation so far, time to craft and time to spend with family.  I'm pretty frustrated with a current WIP, which I'm thinking of abandoning (at least for a while.) Another is finished, and the pattern is being written up!

Good luck Rocky! Erm... Pinwheel!
Rocky has been passed on to Tanglewood, and I'm sure he's happy to be there! They kept his original name, Pinwheel, which W and I gave him.  He seems happy, though it's hard to see it through his huffly exterior.

Timid Bunny
And on the bunny front, we have had success getting Samson to use a potty pad! I woke up this morning to this sight.
Using the Paper!
His pee isn't really that color, it's the pen liner showing through ^_^;
Okay, his pen looks totally gross but I HAD to run and take a picture, I didn't even think to clean his cage... whoops.

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their week, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not! :) We sure are.

Doorway View
PA Sunset

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free Pattern: Tiling Tiger Print

Picture 1

This isn't exactly a pattern, per se... but it's a useful download nonetheless! This chart is a tiger print pattern, which you can apply to any knitting pattern - just work the colors off the chart whenever your pattern calls for stockinette stitch.

I can see tons of awesome uses for this! Tiger print hats, tiger print dishcloths, tiger print bath mats, felted tiger print bags, tiger print laptop cases, tiger print scarves, cowls, mittens...

While I was uploading the pdf to ravelry, W told me that it could be zebra print... just change the colors!

Picture 2

Another plus to this pattern is that it tiles! Which means that you can repeat the pattern over and over, with not a lot of troubles.

Anyway, click the link here to download a copy of the chart: download now

If you're on Ravelry, check out the pattern page here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Exams are finally over, final projects are turned in, hearts were broken and drama was had.  I'm happy to say that I spent the past (almost) 24 hours being a lazy young person. There was a short time where I worked, but for the most part, laziness!

And it was glorious.

Today me, W, and two of our friends decided to go to Eastview Mall, just for the heck of it.  Two things I love about Eastview. [1]: Yogenfruz.  It is a yuppie frozen yogurt stand with (usually) sour-tempered employees who go to private school and hate their families.  At least, today it was.

The second, and perhaps most important one, is ANTHROPOLOGIE.

I love the anthropologie store.  I love walking around and looking at the expensive clothes, not touching them because it's like a museum of glorious clothing, if I were to touch them then the oils from my skin would stay on them forever, and then sediment will be unable to deposit there, and people that want to come and see them in the future will never be able to! Or is that a limestone formation?

But really, I do love that store.  It really inspires me, mostly because I could make things like the stuff in anthropologie! It wouldn't be that hard! Ever been to a paint-your-own pottery studio? Corning NY has one and I'm totally going on a date with W over break to make some dishware :)

Here are some other goods that I thought "Oh, man, I could make that myself!!"
I could probably make this BETTER than Anthropologie... This looks kind of shoddy, for $15...
The cardboard stumps just made me think of W, wouldn't that be a cool stop motion set?
And some gloves from Charlotte Russe.  They're really chic, but if I knit myself a pair I would make glittens.
So what do you think? Do you get inspired by stuff you see in stores or magazines? Do you buy it, or go and craft it? What will happen when the crafty look goes out of style!?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burning Low


The Hooks and Needles Felting Party was Friday! I made roast chicken, corn, and roasted carrots and onions (assisted by Ash, of course.) Gillian brought brownies, and Rebecca, who's moved to town, came!

I would show you pictures of our felted slippers, but I'm the only person who's finished them, so you'll just have to see pics of mine.  Other people's projects were just these :P


And, our special guest was Samson, fresh from the vet.


He's coming home with me for Thanksgiving break, so there will be plenty more gorgeous angora photos then!

Right now, I feel burnt out... like, I'm a candle that's about to die. I can't wait for break! It'll be nice to relax, visit family, and sleep without an alarm.  Then, next quarter, I'm cutting back on credit hours a bit, so that will be nice too.

Time to get back to studying and paper-writing.  I wrote this post while the rice for my soup was cooking :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Thursday

This week is destroying me.  I have some much done - but so much left to do.  It's the story of my life.

But in good news, the Hooks and Needles Felting Party is tomorrow! We're keeping it small, only 4 or 5 of us will be here, so I'm roasting a chicken and making roast vegetables.  It's going to be lovely and stress-free.

Then Saturday is my HAZWOPER refresher course, where I hope to do some novel writing (bad me, I know, but I'm falling behind! Mostly because of time, partly because I have no idea what to write.)

Also, I have another slipper set done, and I'm starting on a hat that may turn into a published design! (Note the 'may,' haha) 

As for the picture? A little bit of happiness from a midnight snack, of course! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Knitted Totoro Cat Bus


This is the amigurumi mystery project that I've been holding back on for almost a month! I wanted to make sure my swap partner got the package, so I wouldn't be ruining some great surprise for her.


I may eventually release a felted pattern, which would probably look better and have more stability than this one. Plus, my mom REALLY wants one, so eventually it'll happen...


Anyway, I made it really quickly and the pattern notes are ALL OVER, so it will take some time to type of the notes, let alone edit it to be a full pattern... so I don't think I'll be releasing this any time soon :P



Friday, November 5, 2010

A Knitting Miracle

Well, last night at club I merrily finished the last two pieces of my first pair of French Press Slippers! I wanted to start sewing them together, when I realized that I had made three of the same piece instead of two each for the top pieces.

My jaw was slack.  I held up the pieces, compared them.  Tried to stretch one so that maybe it would fit into shape.  Three other knitters were there, and they confirmed the diagnosis: I had made three of the right top piece, and one of the left.  I felt defeated.  This was the second mistake on these slippers this week!

Ash suggested that I just sew it together anyway and felt it up, since it probably wouldn't matter.  I just didn't like this idea - maybe it wouldn't matter, but I would know.  I would see W's mom in the slippers, and wonder if they're not the best they could be because I messed up.  I wouldn't give her the slippers saying "Yeah, hey, I messed these up, but you know, you won't notice," but I'll be thinking that.  I guess you could say I'm a perfectionist...

This morning, I went to throw in the towel and give up, ready to move onto my next set of slippers, when I discovered something amazing.


The two halves match.  They are mirror images.  They line up evenly.  They were made correctly.

How do I explain this? I choose not to.  I'm going to accept this as a crafty miracle and not draw too much attention to it.  Whoa, you might be thinking. This just means that you weren't paying attention last night when you went to put it together. But it wasn't just me.  Three other people looked at those pieces and shook their heads and said "Jeez, if this is your knitting your homework must look really bad." Maybe the four of us were off our rockers from end-of-the-quarter papers, but I doubt no one noticed.

But maybe it's not a miracle.  Maybe there's a troupe of elves hiding under my bed, who have decided to help me by fixing my stupid knitting mistakes at night. I'm not going to test this theory, though!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just Got a Little Classier.

Hope you don't mind! :)

I SWEAR, this is the last change in layout you're going to see for a WHILE... it was all a matter of me not being able to do what I wanted.  But we're good now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finished: Little String Bean


This is project 1 of ??? for W's big sister, who's child is due in May!

W's sis is going to know the sex of the baby, but she isn't telling anyone, mostly from a fear of primary colors.  I feel for her.  I wouldn't want a bunch of all-pink or all-blue stuff for my kid, either.

A note on the buttons: I picked them out at JoAnn's, having forgotten to actually bring the sweater with me! So I didn't want to go green for fear of not matching, and I saw these orange buttons and thought that they were perfect, just not-matching enough to seem chic.


Project notes:
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Green and White
Needles: Size 6 and size 5

Well, there we go! A FO to make up for the lack of knitting I've been doing this week (due to Week 9)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those self-esteem-destroying days where you just can't do anything right?  Yeah, welcome to today. 

It took me two hours to do a lab that should've taken me less than one because I kept messing up simple math.  2+5=8? Sorry, that doesn't fly in college.

Then, when I was in class, I was still messing up basic addition! Maybe it's the lack of food (and lack of time to eat food) or the lack of sleep or the lack of free time.  Anyway, I went to eat with Ash and we went to club, where I thought I could chat and work on my slippers.  Knitting.  What could be more easy?

Yeah, when you're having one of those days where your brain is in backwards, you probably shouldn't knit something that requires PAYING ATTENTION to each row, because there be increasing and decreasing going on in here.

Want to defy me? Learn from my example.


Maybe you're wondering what this picture is.  I can clarify.  Above please note the two pieces around a central, larger piece.  This would be the two halves of my French Press Slipper.  See how one piece is smaller than the other? That's where I decreased, forgot to knit the bit of stockinette in the middle that makes the piece long, then increased again for the top of the foot. 

If words are hard for you, this is how it SHOULD look.


... One of the girls at club said "I feel sorry for you." as I laid out the pieces to memorialize my idiocy.  Ash suggested maybe it will felt out... but I can't do that, I have to frog it back and rework it.  It'll be fine. I can fix this.

In other news, I've written 5,000 word for NaNoWriMo and finished my baby sweater! I plan on making a FO post tomorrow for it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

National (BLANK) (BLANK) Month

This year, I'm participating in my very first NaNoWriMo!  So if you're doing it to, you should add me as a writing buddy.  

My novel is a chick lit novel about knitting, death, and friendship... I think it's going to be pretty good.  I've got a tart and an end, and some things in between, but I don't really have it all in place.

Also, I heard about this awesome thing called NaKniSweMo ... and I cursed myself. I would totally rather knit a sweater than write a novel!

Although when I was growing up, I really wanted to be a writer... knitting is more my thing now.  If you don't want to think for yourself, you can knit a really gorgeous sweater.  Writing on the other hand...
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