Friday, August 31, 2012

Four Stories

I haven't been writing very much lately. Writing novels, I mean. (not that I've been blogging that much, either, come to think of it.) As I said a couple of days ago, I've been too busy knitting. Unfortunately, everything that I'm knitting is top secret (which explains why I've been working on it in the middle of the busy house all day) so I can't blog about it. I apologize to any followers from Ravelry who are only interested in the knitting posts; and bring good news to those who dislike my posts about all things knitting. 

Here's the plan. In September, I will write one short story a week. And post them here. Hopefully this will get me back into the groove of writing daily. And it has the added bonus of showing off my writing skills and making y'all happy. Well, some of you happy. 

I will have the first story out sometime next week, amongst the other posts I will (hopefully) write about other interesting (hopefully) topics. Such as school. :'( 

I hope that you eagerly await reading the stories as much as I eagerly await you reading them. Happy Friday! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lace Bookmark Pattern

What you need:
21 yards of lace-weight yarn
US Size 4 needles
Crochet hook or tapestry needle for weaving in ends

CO: cast on
K: knit
P: Purl
YO: yarn over
CDD: Centered Double Decrease (Slip two stitches, knit one, slip the two slipped stitched over the knit stitch. Double decrease)
K2TOG: Knit two together
KFB: Knit into the front and back of the stitch

CO 3 stitches
Row 1: P
Row 2: KFB, K1, KFB (5 stitches)
Row 3: P
Row 4: KFB across (10 stitches)
Row 5: P
Row 6: *K1, KFB, repeat from * (15 stitches
Row 7: P
Row 8: K7, YO, K2TOG, K6
Row 9: P
Row 10: K6, YO, CCD, YO, K6
Row 11: P
Beging lace chart:
Note: Only the right side of the chart is shown. Purl a row between each lace row.

Or continue with written instruction :
Row 1: K5, YO, K2TOG, K1, K2TOG, YO, K5
Row 2 (and all subsequent even rows): P
Row 3: K4, YO, K2TOG, K3, K2TOG, YO, K4
Row 5: K3, YO, K2TOG, K5, K2TOG, YO, K3
Row 7: K2, YO, K2TOG, K3, YO, K2TOG, K3, K2TOG, YO, K2
Row 9: K1, YO, K2TOG, K3, YO, CCD, YO, K3, K2TOG, YO, K1

Repeat the pattern (written or chart) 7 times. On the seventh repeat, instead of rows 7 and 9 being 
Row 7: K2, YO, K2TOG, K3, YO, K2TOG, K3, K2TOG, YO, K2
Row 9: K1, YO, K2TOG, K3, YO, CCD, YO, K3, K2TOG, YO, K1

Do this:

Row 7: K2, YO, K2TOG, K7, K2TOG, YO, K2
Row 9: K1, YO, K2TOG, K9, K2TOG, YO, K1 

Purl one row. 

Row 1: *K1, K2TOG, repeat from * (10 stitches)
Row 2: P
Row 3: K2TOG across (5 stitches)
Row 4: P
Row 5: K2TOG, K1, K2TOG (3 stitches)
Row 6: P
Bind off. To block, run under warm water until wet, pin onto a towel or blocking board. You can make it considerably bigger by stretching it out where you put the pins in. 

When it's dry, weave in ends and you're done!

I hope you enjoy, and please send me a picture if you decide to make this! Also please let me know if you find any mistakes in the pattern. 

Please do not sell or copy this pattern; link it back to here. Thank you! 

Lace Bookmark

About a month ago, I spun about 60 yards of super thin yarn on the wheel. I though it was gorgeous. Then I took it off the niddy noddy. 
Talk about over-spun! I tried soaking it for about two days straight. Didn't work. So I hung it on the clothesline outside and put some rags on it so it would be weighed down while it dried. About a month and several rainfalls later, I remembered my yarn sitting out on the line and took it in. It was faded and stiff, and super super thin. I wound it into a ball, positive that it was still usable. 
As you can see, this 60 yard ball was not much bigger than the quarter. It was so thin, I didn't have needles small enough to knit it. So I plied it. I started out with a navajo ply, but it was completely ruining by beautiful, even, thin yarn, so I just double plied it. 

Much better. Unfortunately, what with the wasted navajo plying I had only 21 yards. But regardless, I designed a simple lace chart and cast on for a headband. 

Very, very sadly, I didn't have quite enough, and had to make my headband into a bookmark instead. But I'm still pleased with it. I will be putting the pattern up hopefully today, both here and on my Ravelry page. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Early This Morning...

It is a well known fact among the members of my family that I am a night owl. My fellow night owls know this because the often see me at one or two in the morning, typing at the computer or clicking my knitting needles. The morning people know that I am a night owl because they don't see me until 10 the next morning.

Last night was a night of crochet. I meant to write, but first my dad as using the laptop and then I was in the middle of a crochet pattern, so I just crocheted.

The picture does not do the motif justice- the colors are much brighter and lighter. I used the pattern Sunny Days from Yellow, Pink and Sparkly. The pattern is available for free both on her blog and on Ravelry, here and here. The pattern uses DK yarn and a size E crochet hook and measured 12 cm across. But I used size 5 crochet thread for the yellow and green and embroidery thread for the pink, and a size 1.75 hook. Mine measures 7 cm across, so it's small enough to put on a hair clip.

I would, and probably will, gladly make this up again. Many thanks to Janet at Yellow, Pink and Sparkly.

For many fewer details, visit my Ravelry page here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crochet Beret

Don't those words just sound wonderful together? I certainly think so.  I've seen a few patterns for crochet berets on Ravelry, but I'm not sure that August is the time to start crocheted hats, especially in Texas, especially when I already have half a dozen projects started (and another order of yarn coming any day).

But, seeing as all of my projects are Christmas presents, I can't exactly knit anywhere in the house which is filled with could be recipients. But I like to be with everybody because they are entertaining. So the compromise is working on little projects that only take an hour to make. Namely, a beret for a stuffed lamb named Oxford.

Oxford was given to me when my sister Rebecca went to Oxford in '08. Oxford is in fact a girl, despite the misgivings the name offers. 

The beret doesn't exactly stay on her head, but it looks cute in the picture. I used I Love This Yarn, a very small amount, and a H crochet hook. 

I'm very happy with it. Maybe next time I'll crochet a beret for me. Doubtless it won't fit. 

P.S. Sorry for not blogging for so long... I've been too busy knitting. I am going to get better in the next few days! I hope...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joke of the Month- August

This is my Dad's favorite joke to tell:

There was a village that was well known across the world for its fantastic flower shops. The flowers were bright and cheery, and sold quite well.

But there was suddenly a drop in sales. The townspeople were shocked and did not know why people had stopped buying their flowers. But one person discovered an abbey of monks who had begun their own flower business on top of a high hill.

The villagers were furious, and they sent one of the strongest men there up the hill to put a stop to the monks' popular shop.

The man was called Gregory, and he climbed the hill and chopped off the hands of every single monk. His mission accomplished, he went down the hill, greeted by the cheers of the villagers.

But despite their hands being cut off, the monks' business seemed still to be blooming, no pun intended. And so George, who was even stronger than Gregory, found the monks and cut off their legs. Unfortunately, the persistent monks somehow continued to sell their flowers at an incredible rate.

And so the villagers, now desperate, sent yet another man up to the abbey. This man, Hugh, was stronger and more vicious than both Gregory and George combined. And so Hugh climbed the hill with his sword in his hand and he chopped off the heads of the monks. Needless to say, their business promptly fell.

And the moral of the story is, Only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Wedding Gift

Way, way back in January, my recently wed sister Elizabeth made a request for her wedding gift: an afghan similar to the one my mom made when she was my age. I had until then been planning on making her a quilt, also upon her request, but my talents are better suited to knitting and so an afghan was a better idea.

It took a very long time to knit all 63 squares. Many of them were trudged through miserably, with many groans and wishes of completion. But at long last, a week before the wedding, I finished all of the squares. Well, almost all of them. I was one short. But by then I was so sick of that pattern, I decided to go ahead and piece them together and knit that last square when I came to it.

I wanted to finish the blanket by the wedding, but I don't think that would have been possible. As it was, I finished two weeks after the wedding. But I am still extremely proud of myself.
The day I finished it, I began a new project. Unfortunately I can't post pictures for another four months or so... Spoilers! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fairly Recent Memories

Everybody has memories of those little semi-transparent colored pegs that you stick in the board full of holes and then light it up... it's like magic.

What's also magic is that I took this picture in broad daylight and that is exactly how it turned out. Awesome, huh? 

Yesterday, my friend Rose and I discovered two sets of Lite-Brite in the living room. Two ancient, wonderful sets of Lite-Brite. They had, from about seven years ago until the other day, been hidden away in my brother's closet. But now, they're on their way to Good Will or some such place. But we did rediscover them for one afternoon.

I obviously had to make a Tardis––  I had planned on making it fill up the entire board, but I barely had enough blue pegs to make the tiny Tardis. 

(I also made a Doctor, but seeing as we didn't have brown or tan or enough space, I erased him from the peg board of wonder.) 

Rose too had fun with her Lite-Brite...
But she, unlike me, chose to follow a pattern. That was actually because her board was the right size and mine was too small, so I had to improvise. But at least I had enough pegs to finish my design. Also, her board being much older than mine, she couldn't light it up. Ah well. Nobody's Lite-Brite is perfect. Except mine, of course. 

Ten Squared

I was just looking back at my old blog, and saw that I had exactly 100 posts. That is quite an achievement for only two years. I only hope I can come close to such success on this blog. It seems so insignificant in comparison... 

That was written back in February, from my post Will My Spring Break Ever Come?, the eighth post on this blog. Eight really is a very insignificant amount of writing. 

But that's ancient history now. I got 100 posts on my old blog in two years, and 100 on this blog in 7 months. I'm sure that my avid readers are appreciative of this.

Double Pointed Pencils

Commonly used tools in knitting are Double Pointed Needles. Double Pointed Needles, often shortened to DPNs, are used to knit in the round, creating a tube of knitting. Or, depending on various increases and decreases, a hat or stuffed animal.

I have no DPNs in my meager collection of knitting needles. I do, however, have colored pencils.

I sharpened both ends of four colored pencils and found some yarn in my stash of hand spun yarn, and cast on. 

I've used DPNs, or rather DPPs,  before, but it didn't work very well. But I wanted to try again because most hat patterns are knit in the round, and I'd like to knit hats. So, for practice, I decided to knit a hat for one of my many stuffed animals. 

It was successful. I tried to do some ribbing a couple of times, and failed, but it all worked out okay. 
My mother thinks that the model, a monkey by the name of Jay-Jay (named, of course, for the Silky Sifaka Lemur in Artemis Fowl), looks like a duck. I disagree entirely. Please feel entirely welcome to post your own opinion of Jay-Jay's similarity to a duck. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fair Isle Hamster Pattern

I give you the pattern for Hamster Humphrey. If you spot any problems, please notify me and I will do my best to fix them.

What you will need:
Small amounts of worsted weight yarn in main color and three contrasts, and black for eyes
US Size 8 knitting needles
Crochet hook or tapestry needle (for seams)
Small amount of stuffing, or yarn scraps
You could also change the yarn weight and needle size for a smaller or larger hamster. Or you could use a larger needle size and felt Hamster Humphrey, as this was what I made Hamster Humphrey for anyway. But you don't have to if you don't want to.

kfb: knit into the front and back of the stitch
k2tog: knit two together
p2tog: purl two together
k: knit
p: purl
CO: cast on

Pattern begins here:                                      
CO 8 stitches
Row 1: kfb across (16 stitches)
Row 2: P
Row 3: kfb across (32 stitches)
Rows 4-12: fair isle chart (starts on a purl row)
Row 13: k
Row 14: p2tog across (16 stitches)
Row 15: k2tog across (8 stitches)
Row 16: p
Row 17: k2tog across (4 stitches)
Row 18: p
Row 19: k2tog across (2 stitches)
Break yarn and pull through both stitches

Felting: (optional) put hamster in the washing machine with a regular load of wash, set it to 'hot' and check on it every ten minutes or so.

Assembly: Sew up the seam at the bottom. Stuff the hamster and sew up both ends. Embroider on two eyes.

Finished hamster is about 4 inches long and 2.5 inches tall.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hamster Humphrey

A few days ago, I was wondering what would happen if I felted a fair isle something. Originally I was going to knit up another fair isle mouse but decided to create my own fair isle mouse. I casted on, knit a few rows, and when it started to look more like a hamster, I decided to create my own fair isle hamster. 

Tada! I give you Hamster Humphrey. Humphrey because it was the first name I thought of that started with an 'H' that wasn't Huey, and there's already a Hamster Huey. 

I felted Hamster Humphrey and didn't get too much of a result. I believe the cause to be US size 8 needles and worsted/ bulky weight yarn. My subconscious must have realized that it wouldn't have worked out too well if the stitches were tight, but oh no, I refused to listen.  And so I ended up with a Hamster Humphrey slightly fuzzier and still in great need of a diet. 

Luckily, I saved the chart I made, so I can recreate Hamster Humphrey on bigger needles if need be. 

I will be posting the pattern in the next day or two, both here and on Ravelry. I just need to figure out all the increases/decreases. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hair Bands

This morning, after I emptied what seemed like a hundred soy sauce packets left over from the other night's take out dinner from Pei Wei...
... I crocheted a headband. I got the idea from the blog Crafts By Sinjah, which is coincidentally where I found the pattern for my V-Stitch gloves

What I did was chain a loop that was the right size for a headband, *single crocheted about five inches along the chain, started chaining again until it was as long as the first chain minus the five inches, slipped into the first single crochet, and repeated once from *. 

The navy blue doesn't show up very well in my dark hair, but it goes with my outfit for today, so I'm not allowed to complain. I might make another one with a flower added onto one of the chains... 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

An Accessory

I adore fingerless gloves. I also occasionally call them 'finger gloves' by mistake, which makes no sense. 

When spinners or yarn connoisseurs (do such people exist?) hear 'art yarn', they probably think lumpy, uneven yarn in bright colors that make no sense. This yarn is probably impossible to knit or crochet with, and would create a rather ugly garment anyway. Or, if this art yarn is handspun, they might think, What a lousy excuse for a skein of failed yarn!

I spun some art yarn a month or so ago, with the intention of it having all of the properties of art yarn except the atrociousness. I did this quite well. 
Some slight unevenness, only to be expected from handspun yarn, but overall, my yarn was very nice and colorful. It also was not mostly pink as the picture would suggest. That's just the photograph deceiving you. 

I spent a long time hunting around for a good pattern and finally found this one on Ravelry. It was free. It required less than the 105 yards I had. The gloves were pretty, and the pattern was easy to follow. 

I made one glove, and promptly ripped it out. I like my fingerless gloves to be nice and snug (which is why I love the pair of my sister Elizabeth's that got shrunk in the wash), and my first try was way too loose. I also didn't like the crocheted cuff. 

So I knit the cuff and crocheted the body, and adjusted the pattern for a smaller size. Then it was too long. Another reason I picked this pattern was that it was short, meaning that the cuff only went out an inch or two on my wrist, so I could wear the gloves with my watch.  

I started yet again. This time, I cut out rounds eight and nine. It was perfect. 

I added a black chain to the top of the glove and wove in the ends and I was finished! I am extremely happy with them, and would recommend the pattern to anyone. 

P.S. I apologize for not writing about Elizabeth's wedding- if it ever gets done, it won't be for a very long while. My reasoning is this: you probably don't really care, I didn't take any pictures so you would probably only get a rough idea of what the wedding was like. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wedding Teaser

My wonderful sister Elizabeth got married yesterday! The week has been very hectic which is why I haven't been able to make time amid all of the parties for writing.

I will be writing all about the celebrations tomorrow (or the next day)! I warn you all, it will be a lengthy blog post! Ah well, it will balance out this one.

Congratulations, Mrs Joseph!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Louisiana, the Edge Of

People might say that since Shreveport, Louisiana is right next to Texas, they would feel pretty much the same. Not exactly true. 

As soon as we crossed the border last Thursday, it was all, "Louisiana is just so gloomy! Look at the clouds! It's so much better in Texas!" 

We are all avid lovers of Texas. 

The reasoning behind taking the three hour road trip to Shreveport was not just so that we could find fault with Louisiana, but to visit the movie set of my brother David's film Ain't Them Bodies Saints, which he wrote and is directing. If you google it a quarter billion results will show. 

When we reached David's rented house in Shreveport at around 1:30, David was about to leave for the set.  They were going to start filming around five, so we had three hours to do whatever we wanted before following David to the set. 

And so, lunch it was. A certain Bodacious Barbecue caught our attention, and we headed over there for their trademark Botato (say with a strong southern accent), a baked potato with their bbq brisket, tons of butter, cheese, and sour cream. 
Bodacious Barbecue

They were  big fan of pigs. The entire diner was filled with statues of pigs. My lame excuse for this bad picture is that we were getting in the car and I didn't have time to take a better one. 

We finished lunch around three thirty or so and set off to find the set. We had directions, we had the address, we were happy. 

Three hours later, we arrived at the set which should probably have taken about ten minutes to get to had we not gotten hopelessly lost. 

Ah well. We got there. David had time to say hello. We met Ben Foster and Casey Affleck. We saw all of the trucks and eighteen wheelers needed just to film a movie. It's bigger stuff than we thought. 
 They were filming inside the house and we couldn't go in obviously, but we were given headsets that allowed us to hear everything that was going on. We were also given awesome chairs.

 I can't help but wonder if Elizabeth's mind is somewhere else; her fiancĂ©, perhaps?
 Equipment. Confusing equipment.

 A corner of the house where they were filming
 Big air conditioning thingy.

Since the film takes place in the 70s, there were some awesome police cars:
I want one of those cars for my sixteenth birthday. 

It was so amazing. We're all very, very proud of David for being in complete control of all of this.