Friday, January 27, 2012

FO: Fall Foliage in Winter

Something is finally happening outside... 
It's not necessarily the first snow of the year (and hopefully won't be the last) but it's falling thick and heavy, catching on my eyelashes and on my tongue.  I was out dancing in it for awhile, then remembered that I had a finished hat in need of pictures before I give it away at the perfect time!
Pattern: Foliage, by Emilee Mooney.  Available for free at
Yarn: Squishy Malabrigo Merino in Worsted Weight- color is "Noviembre".
Needles: Knit on bamboo size 7.
Time: I don't actually remember when I started this (and didn't properly document it on Ravelry!) but I remember it was early January-January 25th, 2012.
Recipient: Fellow VE employee Valerie- dark hair and hazel eyes will compliment the colors in this hat well.
Modifications: None, though I wish I would have done one less repeat of the leaf pattern.  I did that the first time when I made this hat eons ago, and I should have checked my notes to do it again this time.
Worst Part: It took much longer than it should have to make this- should have only been a few days at most, but moving and no time meant a longer time period to finish.  
Best Part: Easily working with the Malabrigo- I love this particular combination of colors! 
 Off to go watch the snow fall and finish my cup of green tea- perfect for a day like this.  Then off to climb before my night shift at the climbing gym... need to stretch my muscles at the end of a long week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Settling In

Sorry for such a long absence from writing!  It's been crazy busy trying to find time to move everything from one apartment to the next between working 40 hours at the climbing gym and 8 hours at the dance studio a week, not to mention choreographing and training for climbing.  I finally had a couple of full days off this weekend to really put the apartment in order, and I'm loving how it's looking so far!
While occasionally I'm not the neatest person on the planet in my bedroom (ask my Mom) I like common areas such as the kitchen, living room, and bathroom to be clean, and that wasn't the case in the last place.  So having a place that's easy to keep clean with just two people is great- though we have a couple of new roommates that we've been getting used to the last week or so!
This is Albert- he's our little poof-ball that's about 11 weeks old and scared of his own shadow.  He's needed a lot of love and petting to get used to people and spends a lot of time hiding under the couch, but when you get him purring it's loud and continuous and will go as long as you decide to pet him.
Maeby is our little "helper" kitten.  She a little over 3 months old, though tinier than Albert.  She doesn't hide ever, and loves to go between chasing a ping-pong ball around the apartment to jumping up and falling asleep in your lap when you're reading on the couch.  She loves teasing and playing with Albert, and I often wake up to her cuddled right next to me purring away.  A super cute little lady!
Other things that have been on the agenda- Scott's really gotten behind the idea of brewing his own beer, so for the last few weekends our apartment has stunk of hops and beer when he made his first couple of batches!  He's planning on bottling the first batch of Honey-Wheat Ale in the next day or two here, then he has a batch of Fuggles IPA after that.  Both batches are going to brew about 5 gallons of beer, so we're going to have a "Beer and Kitten Party" soon to introduce Duluth friends to Maeby (and maybe Albert if he comes out of hiding) and share some (hopefully) tasty brews.  
Last news before I run off- I finally got to cast on for the cowl I'm making for my brother's girlfriend, Kendra. She's going to be making me an original painting to hang in my apartment, and I'm making her something soft and squishy to wear in the winter, spring, and fall.  This is part of my "12 in 2012" series, and I'm hoping that some solid time today and tomorrow plus a car ride to the cities this weekend will help really move that project along.
The quilt blanket is moving along- I've cut out probably 2/3 of the squares for my college/high school blanket, and I'm thanking my lucky stars that I don't have 500 race Tshirts to add! ;)  I did happen to find more climbing shirts, plus I'll be participating in UMD's competition in April, so it'll be good to finish one quilt before starting the next... :)
Until later!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blanket Thoughts

Yesterday I took time on my day off to pull out the gigantic tub of Tshirts for my Tshirt quilt and lay things out.  After sorting them, I realized I had a lot more than I originally planned, and I'm pretty sure I'll have to make at the very least two quilts, if not three.
My first quilt was all the old Tshirts and sweatshirts from High School and College, including softball teams, high school plays, Mock Trial, and Attitudes Dance from college.  I laid them all out on my living room floor and realized that my blanket will easily be four shirts by five shirts, and I'll probably add another row of five shirts for a total of 5x5 Tshirts, each measuring 14''x14''.
This quilt will be massive.  I've never made a quilt before, and I'm mostly worried about putting on the back and stitching the quilt down front to back.  I've been scouring the internet for instructions, and have a rough game plan for putting this all together (stay tuned for how it actually turns out).
I also have a ton of old Tshirts and sweatshirts from my closet as well as my parent's to make a separate quilt purely for vacation tshirts.  I didn't even try to lay that one out, because I know there are a few lingering shirts at my parent's house that I have to find to add to it.
Last but not least, I realized that the number of climbing-related shirts I own is ridiculous- enough to easily make a quilt at least 4x3 shirts!  I could easily make a smaller "climbing" quilt purely with Tshirts from climbing competitions I've been in or volunteered for, plus the odd "North Shore Climbers" shirt or two.  Who knew?  I suppose climbing has been a very large part of my life for the last 7 years or so.  I just didn't realize it was so much that I could make a quilt out of it...
For now, I washed some of the old shirts for the high school/college quilt, and I'll be getting a piece of plexiglass today cut to 14'' by 14'' to lay on the shirt area for the quilt to cut around.  Hopefully I'll find time this weekend to iron on interfacing and start sewing the strips together, then I'll worry about the backing...
 Plus, working on the blanket is a great break from unpacking, rearranging, cleaning, and laundering.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Big Plans...

I've pretty much got my craft list for 2012 in order.  I was originally going to try to do "12 in 2012" concerning knits, but I realized that I have a few old dusty project in my sewing bin to drag forward, plus a few that I need to make for presents this year.  Luckily the people that read this blog know most of the things that they're getting (I'm horrendous at keeping any secrets when it comes to crafting projects!) so I'm not really ruining anything here... :)

UFO Projects to finish:

1. Dad's Dale of Norway Sweater (Knitting)- this is by far the biggest UFO in my bin right now that has been around and needed finishing forever.  It's actually pretty far for progress- I have most of the body knit up, and I'm almost halfway through the fair isle on the shoulders, plus most of the way up the first sleeve, so in reality this shouldn't be that hard to finish.  It would be a huge sigh of relief if I could cross it off the list, not to mention stop getting crap from all my family since I "gave" it to my Dad for Christmas back in '08.  Oops...  Projected Finish Date: Hopefully by summer, so I can bring it down when I go to visit him in Florida.  Otherwise even by fall would be fine.

2. Cheryl's Apron (Sewing)- I told Cheryl a long time ago that I would make her an apron when she first got married that had "Mrs. Read" embroidered on it, with coffee cups surrounding it and a big ribbon to tie in the back.  I started it, then for some reason after I pinned the hem it got shoved down.  I'm blaming starting Grad School for this one.  Once I'm done moving stuff in, I'm pulling this one out and making a game plan.  Projected Finish Date: As soon as frickin' possible...

3. My TShirt Quilt (Sewing)- I don't even remember when I last worked on this, though I've been steadily adding more and more Tshirts to the pile to go into the quilt (it's going to be massive when it's finally done)!  I have quite a few with interfacing on them- I just need to figure out exactly what size I'm going to cut them to, and where in the quilt they will all occur.  I feel like this one won't be too hard, it's just going to take awhile.  Projected Finish Date: Ideally before Spring.  Let's say March?

4. My Whisper Cardigan (Knitting)- My gauge was horrendously off on this cardigan, so I ripped it out and left it in the bottom of the bin to sit in time out for a long time.  A very long time.  I do indeed still want it, though if i find another use for the beautiful Malabrigo Lace I used, I might switch projects.  I have other sweaters that I have on my mind currently, plus I'm a little more adverse to having a white cardigan floating around.  Projected Finish Date: If I stick with the cardigan pattern, I want to have it finished by May.  Otherwise it's pretty flexible.

5. My Poseidon Adventure Shawl (Knitting)- I'm about halfway through this beast, and I'm on the simple YO K2tog that occurs for 500 something stitches per round (plus adding beads), so this is going to become my go-to project to grab when I need something mindless that I can slug through.  Plus it would be a great thing to throw over the back of the couch when it's done, or throw on my legs when it's chilly.  I'm hoping to have it done by the spring.  Projected Finish Date: Spring

Projects to Start and Finish:

6. A Dance Bag for Stacey (Sewing)- Last year I gave the director of the dance studio I work at a pair of Owl Mittens, and she loved them!  I was having trouble searching around for a good knitting pattern this year, but I noticed one night at the studio that her dance bag- stuffed with tap shoes, ballet slippers, costume books, and goodness knows what else- was falling apart.  Enter Amy Butler's book Style Stitches and a search for some appropriate dance fabric, and I'll hopefully have a pretty gift by the time the season is finished!  Projected Finish Date: By the studio's recital in early June.

7. A Hat and Scarf for Reed (Knitting)- Reed is making me a website with all my resumes, papers on teaching, and even climbing pictures and videos of my dances for me to use in exchange for a cozy hat and mitten set.  I'm doing a modified version of the Thorpe hat (my favorite standby) and Jared Flood's scarf pattern Pavement- both very guy-like and hopefully not terribly difficult.  The Pavement pattern I can use for gift knits down the road (though I abhor knitting scarves- no patience for them), justifying getting it.  Projected Finish Date: Hopefully early spring- this is one I'll need to crank out pretty fast.

8. Kim's Wedding Hat (Knitting)- One of my good friends Kim recently got engaged, and since then she and her fiance have decided on a winter wedding.  Her sister will be knitting I believe mittens for her, and I'll be knitting a hat to keep the bride warm between the church and the reception!  Projected Finish Date: I still have to talk to both Kim and her sister to figure out logistics, and this won't have to be done until her wedding (at least a year), but it's good to keep it in the mix. :)

9. 4 Pairs of Socks for Myself! (Knitting)- I realize this is 4 things, but it takes me awhile to make socks and the ones I have in mind for this project are a tad more elaborate and will probably take the whole year.   I need to finish the Addiction socks, start and finish the Bridge of Roses socks (which I already have the pattern and yarn for), make the Hundred Acre Woods socks with my threeirishgirls yarn from yarn club (yes, I am that dork!), and challenge myself with some awesome Norwegian Stockings (which will take a million years).  Projected Finish Date: January 1st, 2013!

10. Sweater for Myself (Knitting)- Since I finished the Vivian sweater, I've been looking for a great pattern to start for myself.  While I have a lot of other big things to finish, I would love to have a pretty warm sweater ready to go for fall for myself.  I have a few in mind and time to narrow it down- I'm thinking either the Coastal Hoodie, Jared Flood's Tinder pattern, or the beautiful Velvet Morning by one of my favorite designers, knittedbliss!  Projected Finish Date: Fall 2012

11. Cowl for Kendra (Knitting)- My brother's long-time girlfriend is an amazing artist, and we have a bargain where she's going to paint me a Van Gogh-like painting for my new apartment and I'm going to make her something out of tasty luxury yarn!  I'm thinking the Stockholm Scarf (again by knittedbliss), probably in the Fresco yarn by Classic Elite (soooo tasty!) since I loved that pattern so much the last time I made it!  Projected Finish Date: As soon as possible?

12. Gift Knitting/Sewing- This last one is a lump of all the Christmas gift knitting and sewing I'll be doing that I have in mind but haven't started yet.  It's a mildly big list.  Surprise, surprise...

Uff da... big blog post, big plans, and a year to do it... I'm going to be busy...
(Oh, and I apologize for lack of photos in this post- I couldn't even find old pictures of some of my projects.  Shows how long it's been since I've done anything with them... oops...)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moving and FO: Geeky Linux Mittens

I really wanted to start the new year with some great posts on my Christmas knitting (which will happen!) but my time has recently been otherwise occupied- I'm moving to a new place!
While this isn't the 'ideal' time of year (it's about 8 degrees outside right now), it's really the right time in my life for something like this.  My old apartment had the lingering feel of a college dorm, mostly in part due to guy roommates that leave bacon pans out on the stove because they "use them every day".  Silly boys!  Instead, I'm moving in with a quiet and clean roommate in the upper level of a duplex, with a view of Lake Superior from my kitchen window, a big corner for my craft table, and within walking distance to the dance studio I teach at (and will be spending almost every night a week at now with all my extra students!).  
The new place is in the "controlled chaos" stage of the move, with about 75% of the stuff from my old apartment moved over, and with a lot of work I'm hoping that I'll have a good portion of it unpacked and ready to go by the weekend!
Just to tide over the knitters, here's a recent FO as a Christmas present that the recipient was very excited to use the last few days- some super Geeky Linux Mittens!
Pattern: Geek Mittens by Gayla Oglesby
Yarn: 2 skeins of the tasty Ella Rae Lace Merino- one in jet black and the other bright green!
Needles: size 2 for the cuff, 1 for the rest of the mitten
Made For: Scott, certified linux nerd.
Timeline: November 21-December 27th, though I pumped out the second mitten in about a day to get them finished before I had my Christmas gift exchange with Scott!
Modifications: I wanted the cuffs to be more fitted, so I cast on with 56 stitches, K1P1 for 2 1/2 inches, then increased every 7th stitch before launching into the fair isle.  I also changed the binary on both mittens to contain a special message written in binary- talk about nerdy!
Worst Part: Putting off the second mitten until I couldn't put it off any more, and having no choice but to crank it out.
Best Part: Knitting with this wool is always a treat, and seeing his face when he opened them was worth all the fair isle work!

I'm actually working on my "Knit List 2012"- my goal this year is to finish up a bunch of large UFOs floating around in my stash, including the big ghost of Christmas past, my Dad's Dale of Norway sweater.  My goal is to "Knit 12 in 2012", which doesn't seem like a lot, but most of my projects are big ones.  When I have the whole list nailed down I'll put it up.

Still putting together my new creative writing blog... stay tuned for that!

For now, off to lesson plan my classes for the new year and stay warm...