Thursday, December 19, 2013

Construction Socks

Hey would you look at that- I wrote this draft nearly a month ago and never posted it! Who's a bad blogger? I'm a bad blogger. But anyway. Onto the now-dated account of one of my favorite pairs of socks.

I love these socks.
I wove in the last end this morning and promptly put them on, and haven't taken them off since. They fit perfectly, and have just the right amount of negative ease. (I like my socks to have a lot of negative ease, which is why I can't wear these socks very much- the 2x2 ribbing isn't snug enough.) I followed the pattern Pin Striped Socks by Julia Swart. The only modifications I made were to use US1 needles, knit them two at a time on one circular, and put two inches of 1x1 ribbing at the cuff. 

The yarn I used is Knitpicks Felici in the color way Building Blocks. I also have another couple of balls in the color way Spooky, which I'm planning to knit up after my Christmas knitting is done- maybe in the pattern Fruit Loops?  

Note- after using these socks for about a month, I'm happy to say that they have, thus far, held up beautifully and are very comfortable. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

FO Friday: November Rain!

Long time no see, blog world! Where did October go? It was such a busy, crazy month, I don't have enough room to talk about everything that happened! Maybe in another post...

Anyway, I'm here today to show off a brand new finished object. It's actually been finished for a couple of weeks, but as it was for my sister's birthday (which was on Monday, happy belated birthday Becca) I couldn't share it. But it was worth the wait- I managed to get her to model her knew knitwear.

Ta-da! Leg warmers! Several months ago, Becca saw the pattern (Some Cloudy Day, by Tiny Owl Knits) and exclaimed, "Make me some!" I did an excellent job keeping these a secret while I was knitting them, and she was completely surprised on her birthday. According to her, they're extremely warm- probably too warm for Texas, but I think she'll wear them anyway. (And if she doesn't, I'll steal them back. The heat ain't keeping me from wearing woollies all year round.) 

Because her birthday is in November and the pattern is called Some Cloudy Day, I've decided to put two and two together and call this project November Rain, as both me and my sister love that song. Is it a bit weird that I name my knitting projects? Do you name your projects?

Thanks for reading! I'm linking with Tami's Amis today.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Old News

My contribution to the Age of Brass and Steam SAL/KAL has gotten about ten stitches worth of attention since it's beginning burst of progress. I've been knitting other things, which you'll know if you were here yesterday. But I also have a WIP on the wheel, which was began back in August but still isn't finished.
My sister bought these two braids for me from Little Libellule on the condition that I would spin and knit for her a shawlette out of the more neutral of the two braids we selected. This bargain suited me fine, because I got two gorgeous braids of hand dyed Falkland wool and I even got to keep one of them. I immediately began spinning the yarn for her shawl, and two months later I'm still only half way done. 

I think the main reason for this is that I'm spinning it extremely fine. I'm spinning it extremely fine in the hopes that I will get a light fingering or fingering weight yarn, though if I managed finer than that I wouldn't complain. I also don't dedicate as much time to spinning as I do to knitting. 

I'm hoping to finish the yarn sometime soon- before my sister's patience wears thin. Thankfully, by not updating her on the progress of the yarn, I think she has forgotten it's existence, and perhaps I will surprise her one day in mid December with a lovely drapey shawl knit from gloriously thin handspun. (That plan is pretty much dashed now because she reads this blog.) 

Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for progress on this spinning project, whose end is not quite in sight. Be sure to check out Crafts from the Cwtch for more spinning tales. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

I Couldn't Wait

I mentioned in my last post that I'd stupidly started a pair of socks with less than three months to go until Christmas. I haven't gotten a lot done on them, because starting a selfish project doesn't necessarily mean I've been neglecting the selfless ones.
I started these socks on a whim because I was feeling entirely uninspired to knit any of my seemingly endless WIPs. I'm following the pattern Pin Striped Socks, which I discovered from watching the Must Stash Podcast, which I highly recommend. The only changes I'm making to the pattern are to knit the cuff for 2 inches in 1x1 ribbing and to knit the socks two-at-a-time on one circ. I've knit a few pairs of socks toe-up 2aat, but this is the first time doing them cuff down.

The yarn is Knitpicks Felici in the colorway 'Building Blocks.' This colorway is about to sell out and the last few balls are greatly reduced in price, which is the sole (no pun intended) reason I bought them. Despite the colors being reminiscent of Bob the Builder, I quite like them and look forward to seeing the finished socks.

See you tomorrow for a spinning update- though, in the light of these socks, my Age of Brass and Steam shawl hasn't been getting much love!

Friday, September 27, 2013

FO Friday: A Couple Weeks Late

I've been delighted with my Pogona shawl since I finished it almost two weeks ago. Every time I look at it, every time I wrap it around my shoulders, I'm reminded just how amazing it is. Most of this amazingness is due to Stephen West  and Tosh Mo Light (colorway earl gray), but I'd say about 12% of it is my talent (subtle Avengers reference? Maybe not so subtle? See what I did there?). 

Overall, I enjoyed knitting this as much as I enjoy having it in my hands (I suppose technically it was in my hands the entire time I was knitting it, but you know what I mean), but the 600+ stitches per row near the end were a bit trying. The stitches were so bunched up on the needle I couldn't really see what it was going to look like, and the yarn gave me trouble in a few places. I think this was more because of how I wound the ball than the actual yarn, and I would happily buy another skein. I also want to try some other Madeleinetosh yarns, after I sample I skein or two of Malabrigo of course. 

That's it for me. In other news, I finished Peter Pan today instead of yesterday because yesterday was super busy for me and I had no time to knit or listen to anything, and I also started a pair of socks today which was probably not the wisest thing to do with Christmas 88 days away. I'll be blogging about those two topics on Wednesday... if I can wait that long! 

Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking with Tami's Amis today. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIPs & Books: Hexipuffs and Neverland

KNITTING: The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knit
YARN: Various scraps
READING: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 
My Beekeeper's Quilt hasn't been getting as much attention as it wants, of late. I've been too busy knitting bigger and better things. But when you look at a big pile of over 160 hexipuffs lying on the floor, that seems pretty big. The hexipuffs themselves, unfortunately, are small and slightly boring, which is why they've become occasional TV knitting and little else. This is why I've only completed 14 out of the 30 I had planned for September, and with less than a week of the month remaining, it doesn't look like I'll be knitting many more. 

One of the things I been watched while I knit hexipuffs is the 2003 Peter Pan, which I hadn't seen for years. Having completely adored it when I was an under ten, I was surprised to love it even more this time. Possibly this is because I also recently watched Finding Neverland, which has become one of my favorite films and gave me a new appreciation for J.M. Barrie's creation.

Anyway, watching Peter Pan inspired me to read the book, and when I happened upon the audio book instead I took my chance to listen to it. I only started it yesterday and already I'm almost done- I hope to finish it tomorrow if not tonight. I'm enjoying it quite a lot, though at the beginning Peter frequently got on my nerves. Also, one thing I love about the movie is how important they seem to make Tinker Bell's revival to Peter, and in the book I almost missed that part it went by so quickly. I grant you, this could have been because I was doing Algebra at the time and the book only received half of my attention.

That's all for me tonight! Thank you for stopping by, and check out Tami's Amis for more WIP posts! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Just in time for fall

Since knitting became my main hobby, the fall and winter seasons have become my favorite, for the sole reason that I can actually wear the multitude of things that I knit. That's not to say I don't wear my cozy wool sweaters in July- after all, what else is air conditioning for?

The day after the start of autumn, a Spin-along/Knit-along was started by A Yarn Loving Mama in which participants will be spinning the yarn and knitting Age of Brass and Steam by Orange Flower. I made a last minute decision to join, because I've had my eye on the pattern for a long time and I needed something to knit with my TdF Alpaca. While this yarn was spun before the SAL/KAL began, I've received permission from AYLM herself to include myself in the spinning and knitting parts.

I started yesterday evening, and I already feel like I've made tons of progress:
I've never done a shawl in anything but fingering weight, and the sport weight/ DK weight seems to be going much faster! I think the 100% alpaca squishiness of this yarn is making me knit quicker, too. While the KAL goes on indefinitely, I think I should be able to finish in just a few days. 

In other spinning news, I have another handspun project that I see being cast on in the near future- a bit of selfish knitting to tide me over while I'm working on Christmas knits. The pattern is Capucine  and I plan on making a stripy festive one out of these two yarns:

Both were dyed and spun by me, and each is a little over 100 yards. I'm hoping I have enough to add full-sized tassels! 

Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking with the lovely Sarah at Crafts from the Cwtch today. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's Up?

How did the entire week go by without me blogging once? Truth is I've been busy- busier than I like! Between school, writing, and trying to get as much knitting done as possible, I've been continuing to neglect this poor old blog. But, to quote Batman's dad, "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." (Another thing I've been doing while not blogging is watching Batman, which is why that phrase comes so easily to mind.)

Today's blog post deserves only one subject, though in fairness it is quite a big subject:

I'm knitting Pogona by Stephen West- I bought the yarn, Tosh Mo Light, at the DFW Fiber Fest this past April. The colorway is Earl Gray, but it reminds me of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings. I love the pattern- it's my first Stephen West pattern, but I see myself knitting many more in the future! 

This project was recently on a quick time out because the other night while watching Foyle's War (I do love my British TV shows) with my sister, a huge knot came out of my ball of yarn, quickly followed by another one. I spent most of the episode trying to untangle yarn! (And that's saying something, as these episodes are a good hour and a half long.) But it's all been sorted out now and I'm making good progress again. 

That being said, I just picked up a pair of socks that desperately need to be finished, so Pogona may not be getting as much attention as it wants in the next week or two! And, to add in another distraction, a box full of yarn for Christmas knitting (after all, the holidays are less than four months away!) is coming in the mail tomorrow. I keep telling myself that getting started on Christmas knitting now will mean I'll be done well before Christmas and I'll have a stress free December, but honestly I think Christmas knitting will make the time come more quickly! Then again, speaking as a kid at heart, that's not necessarily a bad thing...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

FO Friday: Oh Wait, it's Sunday

Wow! I have a great many lame excuses for my three week long hiatus. To name a few, my sister left for college two weeks ago, I've been spending plenty of time nurturing a newfound love of the Disney Musical Newsies and the music found within it (I'd say this mild obsession has started to tone down a bit, but considering I'm listening to Seize the Day as I type, I know that's not really true), and I started high school a week ago (I'm homeschooled, so high school isn't all that big a deal, but it is an awful lot harder than what I was doing in the past few years).

Though I haven't found time to blog, I have found plenty of time to knit, and I have a few new projects to show you. Tonight, I present a pair of fingerless mitts that I finished just the other day.
Though it took me a few weeks total to knit these Owlie Mitts, the time actually spent knitting them was pretty short. The pattern, Owl Wrist Warmers, had been on my mental to-do list since well before last Christmas, but I've only now gotten around to knitting them. They were easy while the color work kept them exciting, and they've inspired me to do more colorwork projects (such as Bláithín by Kate Davies. Just kidding, I think steeks are a little more than I can handle with Christmas just around the corner). 

For these mitts, I used Knitpicks Palette in Alfalfa for the main color, and random scraps of other yarn for the contrasting colors. As I'm not in possession of US2 DPNs, I used US1s and tried to knit loosely- I wasn't too concerned about gauge with a project like this. Because of this, the mitts were slightly different in size when I finished them, but blocking sorted this out, and helped to straighten out some of the imperfect color work. 

That's all I have to say about that! For those of you who had given this blog up for dead, I hope you will come running back screaming about miracles, and if you happen to be new, please know that it is extremely abnormal for me to go on long breaks like this! I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully) with more stories of my adventures while on blogging break! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

AlgernonKnits Giveaway Winner!

The time has come to select the winner of my very first giveaway! Is anybody else as excited as I am?

And the truly random number generator says...

Congratulations MEESHELLE! I'm contacting you for your contact information now!

Thanks for playing everybody, and stick around for future giveaways! Don't forget to check out my (now open) shop, AlgernonKnits

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WIPs & Books: Lots of Both!

KNITTING: Simply Summer Socks by Liz Pankratz
Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits
Mr Fox Stole My Heart & Mini Fox by Tiny Owl Knits
YARN: Knitpicks Comfy Fingering in 'Peapod' and 'Hollyberry' (socks)
Knitpicks Full Circle Bulky in 'Mocha' (Mr Fox)
Various mini skeins and sock weight leftovers (hexipuffs)
READING: Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney
The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P #1), by Eoin Colfer
LISTENING: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
My Ántonia, by Willa Cather
Wow! That's quite a busy week, isn't it? So much to cover! Let's start with the knitting stuff.

Upon request, I'm knitting a pair of Simply Summer Socks each for my sister-in-law and her daughter/my friend. I just started the first pair yesterday, and got the majority of what I've thus far completed finished while watching the BBC production of David Copperfield this afternoon. (A word or two about the movie- it's not a great adaption of a great book, and I would have gotten very little out of it had I not recently read the book. Despite it having a multitude of actors who I have seen in the various British shows and movies I watch, few were truly memorable, the exception being Sir Ian McKellen, whose portrayal of Mr Creakle is absolutely stunning.) I'm doing green heel and toe contrasts for the red socks, and right now I can't decide if the color combination is reminding me more of Christmas or strawberries. 

As there is a KAL for the Mr Fox Stole My Heart & Mini Fox going on in the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry right now, I'm taking the chance to knit a Mr Fox. I knit a Mini Fox a while back, but never did get around to knitting the full sized thing. Upon hearing of the KAL, I managed to find some yarn in my stash... of finished objects that I never, ever use. I ripped back the Instant Gratification Scarf that I knit but have only worn once on a very, very cold day. As I don't think a Mr Fox would find much love in my own wardrobe either, I'm going to gift him to somebody- I won't say who, though, because the recipient may read this blog and I don't want her to find out! 

As for my Beekeeper's Quilt, I've been much more productive this month than I was last month. In July, I knit 3 hexipuffs, but this month I'm aiming for a higher goal- one a day. So far I'm doing quite well, and have completed a total of seven and a half. 

I've been reading a lot this week, as well- firstly, Beowulf, which I have to read for school this year but I'm getting a head start on. The copy I'm using has both the English translation and the original Old English, and while I can't make heads or tails out of the latter it's interesting to compare the two. So far I'm enjoying it much more than I have any other book I've read for school, and I look forward to studying it in the coming year.

I'm also reading Eoin Colfer's new book, The Reluctant Assassin. I only got it today and I've only read a few chapters, but it's already enjoyable and has the same delightful humor as his other books. I have yet to see if it will live up to the standards set by Artemis Fowl, though.

In terms of audio books, I listened to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read about half of it a few years ago, but never finished it- having done so now, I can't think what stopped me in the past. I also started My Ántonia last night, but I've only listened to the beginning of it and haven't had time to form an opinion of it yet.

Sorry for this novel of a post! But, at long last, it is finished. I'm linking with Tami's Amis today!

P.s. Be sure to enter my Etsy shop giveaway here!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Finally, some Productivity

In the past few days, I've finally picked up some spinning projects. I haven't done much spinning since the Tour de Fleece, but I think I'm back in gear now.

I have two braids coming from Etsy in the next few days. I'm going to spin one of them to knit a shawlette for my sister, and as she's paying for them I can't afford to make a mistake with the yarn weight I decided to practice spinning a fingering weight on the same fiber I didn't finish spinning a couple of weeks ago. I successfully spun about 15 grams of fiber into and 83 yard mini skein of 2-ply fingering weight, which I promptly knit into a hexipuff.

I also have been working on a second spinning project, this one on the drop spindle. Remember that fiber I dyed a few weeks ago? Well, I found out why it was difficult to spin... Unfortunately, I managed to felt it just slightly when I dyed it, which made it almost impossible to spin- on the wheel, that is. However, on the drop spindle it's much easier. I'm able to draft more slowly, and I'm getting a somewhat consistent and quite fine single. 

I love the colors- there's a lot of red and pink, with splashes of green and grey. It reminds me a lot of the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Snowmen, with the red and grey of Clara's outfits and the general greenness of Madam Vastra. I still need a colorway name, though- any suggestions would be welcome! 

That's all the spinning for me this week- I'll have more next week! I'm linking with Crafts from the Cwtch today. 

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway here

Saturday, August 3, 2013

AlgernonKnits & a GIVEAWAY!!!

So, for the past few months I've been making a few very small hints that I've been working on something secret. I kind of doubt any of you noticed, but nonetheless, they have been leading up to something big... and it's time that something big was made known.
For several months now, I've been working on setting up an Etsy Shop. It's gone through some rough times, but I'm finally ready to open. However, I'm holding off for one more week. Why would I wait seven whole days to release my hard work into the world? Because I want to do something special to kickstart AlgernonKnits (the name, if you hadn't realized, of my new business). And that something special is a giveaway. 

Yes! To Live A Life's first ever giveaway! And, what's more, I'm going to be holding a second giveaway on my Ravelry group! First, let's have the details on the blog giveaway. 

What I'm giving away: 
An entire skein of gorgeous yarn, hand dyed by me! This is just a sample of the heavenly goodness I'll be selling in my shop. 
This is a variegated yarn, most lime green and white, with hints of mint at the color changes. I'm telling you, it's really difficult to part with this beauty. It's a worsted weight superwash merino (though I would recommend hand washing in cold water and drying flat), and you get an entire 100g/220 yards! Sounds pretty good, huh? 

Here are the rules:

-To enter, leave a comment on this blog post. Don't forget to give me your Ravelry username or email, so I can contact you if you win! I will randomly select one person at the close of the giveaway.
-One comment per person! Any extra comments will be deleted. 
-This giveaway is worldwide! Don't let your place of residence stop you entering!
-The giveaway closes on SATURDAY, AUGUST 10TH at midnight! I will draw a winner on Sunday the 11th.
-This isn't a rule, just a request. Please share links to this post everywhere you can- the more the merrier! 

So, now that the BLOG giveaway is all explained, let's go onto the Ravelry giveaway! 

What I'm giving away:
A pack of four mini skeins, dyed by me! 
From left to right you have a beautiful spring green, a delightful sky blue, cheerful sunny yellow, and a dusty purplish-pink! These fingering-weight mini skeins each have 25 yards. They are 100% wool; hand wash and dry flat! This yarn will felt (and does so beautifully, if that's what you're going for). Perfect for a Beekeeper's Quilt or an addition to a stripy scarf!  

Here are the rules:

-This giveaway is taking place in this thread on my Ravelry Group. To enter, all you have to do is write up a post. I will randomly select a post when the giveaway closes.
-You can enter as many times as you want! Bring your friends and have a nice big chat! 
-The giveaway closes on SATURDAY, AUGUST 10TH at midnight! I will draw a winner on Sunday the 11th.
-This giveaway is worldwide! Don't let your place of residence stop you entering!
-This isn't a rule, just a request. Please share links to this post everywhere you can- the more the merrier! 

Doesn't this sound fun? I hope you will all enter both giveaways and the best of luck to everyone!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: good news, all of my non-knitting readers! If you should happen to win, I will knit you something with the yarn I'm giving away! This is only open to the blog giveaway. I will knit a hat, cowl, or fingerless gloves- pattern of your choice! Also, if you are a knitter/crocheter but would still prefer an FO to the yarn, that's okay too! Just let me know.
Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you! 

both giveaways are now closed. thanks for playing and congratulations to the winners!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Another Friday, another FO

KNITTING: Vanilla Socks of my own design
YARN: Knitpicks Stroll Handpainted in the colorway 'County Fair'
I finished my socks! Woo hoo! I only cast off a few hours ago, and already I'm wearing them all around the house. If I were going out today, I'd wear them out too! 

I used one of the super stretchy bind offs out there, I'm not entirely sure which. But I think I did it a bit too loosely and now the socks have a ruffly bit at the top. I considered redoing the bind off, but I didn't, the reasons being that a) I rather liked that girly touch, b) I am an incredibly lazy person and the thought of undoing 60 stitches was too much for me. Now, a few hours later, I'm completely in love with the ruffly edge. 

Now that I've finished these socks, I have two more pairs– gifts –to knit up as quickly as possible. No rest for the weary! (Actually I'm quite looking forward to knitting these socks. I have to say that because the recipients might read this and I wouldn't want them to think I'm suffering for their socks.)

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis today.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pick A Boo: Done!!!

After many stumbles and falls, I am delighted to say that I completed my Dragonfly Wings as part of the Pick A Book KAL. A couple of days after last week's update, I picked up my needles and got through those dreadful Cast On rows in one afternoon, the next day I did the lace section, and finally, on Tuesday I bound off and blocked it.
It blocked out very, very long and quite shallow, but it works beautifully if I wrap the ends around a couple extra times. It's so light and lacy, but as it's 100% wool it's also super warm. This means that I won't be able to wear it for several more months, but it'll be wonderful all throughout fall and winter. Perhaps on Halloween I'll be adventuresome and wear it with black.

As I knit it, I wasn't sure I was going to like the finished result- my tension was slightly uneven and I made a good many mistakes on the increases. But now that it's done, I'm absolutely delighted with it. However, I wish that the lace section was a bit longer and a more central part of the shawl. As it is, when I wear it all I see is orange. While it was a lot of fun, I don't think I'd knit this pattern again. With a month left to the KAL, I'll have to find another pattern to try my luck with! 
I'm linking with Crafts from the Cwtch today. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIPs & Books: Oh, Copperfield

Straight onto the books part of the post. I finished David Copperfield a couple of hours ago, and I nearly cried at it being over. There were parts of it I loved (all concerning Betsey Trotwood) and parts of it that made me cringe (all concerning Uriah Heep). It took me a little longer than a month to listen to the 36 hour long book, which is pretty incredible for me. I look forward to reading- or listening- to it again in the future, but for now all I seek to do is remove it from my iPod and replace it with My Antonia by Willa Cather, the next book to receive my attention.

Now onto what you've all been waiting for- the progress on my knitting projects. Actually, I have only one to show you today, and it's the same I've shown for the past couple of weeks.
KNITTING: Vanilla Socks of my own design
YARN: Knitpicks Stroll Handpainted in 'County Fair'
READING: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens; My Antonia by Willa Cather
As I listened to the last ten hours of David Copperfield in the last three days, I got a good deal of knitting done on my Vanilla Socks, and have completed the heels and am about halfway done with the legs. I'm hoping to have them finished by Friday, especially as I have no other projects to work on, but no guarantees!

That is all I have to say today- I'll see you tomorrow for an update on the Pick a Boo KAL! Linking with Tami's Amis today.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lots of Love

Happy Friday! I have a quick, cheerful finish object today that has nothing to do with knitting or crocheting, and was only finished about half an hour ago.
I made this rainbow of origami hearts following the instructions from this pin, which I originally thought would be extremely difficult due to my inaptitude at origami (and, indeed, at following instructions with nothing but pictures to guide me), but after making one heart I realized that this is so easy even I can do it. 

I originally intended to use as bookmarks (which they are meant to be), but considering I don't read nearly enough books at any one time to use six (plus three practice) heart bookmarks. I'm thinking of making them into a mobile for my lair.  

The pin was one of two heart bookmarks I had found, unfortunately I can't remember where I pinned the first and I can't find it anywhere (not that I looked particularly hard). But I acted on that inspiration as well, purely from memory, and came up with what you see to the right. 

This is actually the second one I made, but the first wasn't as good. It's fairy simple to make- you just cut out two identical hearts from a piece of felt and stitch them together at the straight part using a blanket stitch. I don't remember the original picture I found to have stitching along the top parts of the heart, but I thought it gave the heart a more finished look. 

I like the appearance of the felt hearts more than the origami ones, and I don't think I'll make any more origami hearts for the purpose of a bookmark, though I think they would make cute envelopes for a Valentine. 

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis today. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pick A Boo: Stalling

I first mentioned here that I am participating in the Pick A Boo KAL hosted by the lovely Sarah at Crafts from the Cwtch (with whom I am linking today). That was three weeks ago, and yet this is my first blog post of the KAL.
KNITTING: Dragonfly Wings by Boo Knits

I am currently at the stage in the pattern where you begin to cast on stitches. I've been at that stage for about two weeks. I'm a bit confused as to what I'm supposed to do, but I'm going to get around to asking for advice on Ravelry soon. No matter what, I won't have time to work on my little orange shawlette until August. Thankfully the KAL goes all the way to September, so I'll still be able to finish at least one shawl.

And that's all I have to say about my participation in the KAL! Maybe by next week I'll have some more progress to show you?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Secret Things

Howdy, kind readers of my blog! 

I'm afraid that, though I have many spectacular projects on my needles, I cannot yet show you any of them save one. And that one hasn't grown much since last Wednesday because my 'secret projects' have been taking up most of my time! However, I have gotten a few more rounds done on my current pair of socks.

The yarn I'm using is nothing special- Knitpicks Stroll Handpainted in the colorway 'County Fair.' I've decided since my first pair of socks to never knit with boring sock yarn again, as socks are one of the few things you can wear without worrying about the colors being too vibrant and/or gaudy. Maybe my next pair will contain sparkles

I'm not using a pattern for these socks, just winging it and hoping for the best. As it's only my third pair I doubt this was the best idea, but we'll know for sure when I get to the heel turn. 

This week I've been listening to David Copperfield some, but not much. I'm on track 20 or 21 out of 36, and as each is about an hour long I don't think I'll manage to finish it by the start of August. I've been writing plenty as usual, but my novel has suffered a rather severe injury and I've decided to let it rest for a few days before continuing with it.

On a completely unrelated note, I finally bought a charger for my camera yesterday, after the old one had been lost for nearly two months. I've been taking pictures like crazy, but unfortunately almost all of them are of secret things so I can't show them off! But I'm delighted to be able to use my camera again, and it's a relief to be free of the iPhone camera. The question is, will my Instagram suffer from my proper camera's reinstatement? 

See you soon! I don't know if I'll have an FO on Friday, but one can always hope! I'm linking with Tami's Amis today. Thank you for stopping by my blog! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

FO Friday: A Big One!

Ta-dah! I finished my February Lady Sweater! Since I only had one sleeve to go on Wednesday, I knew I was going to finish it, but I did not meet my goal of having it done by 8 o'clock Thursday night. Fortunately I did finish it exactly six hours later and blocked it overnight.
KNITTING: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne
YARN: Knitpicks Swish Worsted in Amethyst Heather (8 balls)
And yes, I am using a DPN to hold my hair up
If you did the math correctly, you'll know that I was up until about 2am last night. I was exhausted, but happy to have the sweater off the needles and all of the ends woven in. I thought, I really don't want to block this tonight, I'll just do photos tomorrow with it unblocked. I'm sure it won't change that much. (I don't know why I thought this, because I've done lace knitting before and I definitely know how much better it makes the knitting look. I guess I was too tired to think straight.)

But, I went ahead and soaked it, put it down on the floor to pin it out... and it stretched. The body stretched down about 6 inches, going from just at my hips to just below my hips. So that's why I used 880 yards of yarn instead of 750! I guess that's why people block their gauge swatches. When I tried it on this morning, I was delighted with the length and I'm so glad this is how it turned out. The sleeves also lengthened a bit, which is great because I was a little worried about their length. 

One of my favorite things about this sweater is that it only took me one day less than three weeks to knit it. My last sweater, Oh My Bear! , took almost four months to complete. Granted, I knit several things in between, but February Lady was put on pause a few times to knit a pair and a half of socks, a gnome and part of a shawlette.

The only problem is I only made two buttonholes (completely by accident) and I don't have enough buttons for even those yet. But that isn't stopping me from wearing my sweater (inside with the AC- it's too hot outside!) and I doubt anybody will notice.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out Tami's Amis for more FO Friday posts! x  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Almost Done and Just Started!

KNITTING: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne
Socks (no pattern)
YARN: Knitpicks Swish Worsted (sweater) and Knitpicks Stroll Handpainted (socks)

I've been doing lots of knitting this past week! (And very little spinning, which is why you didn't get a post yesterday.) I finished the body of my February Lady Sweater and have finished one sleeve, however I have yet to pick up the second (perhaps tonight I'll get around to that; it's only 11pm after all). I used exactly one ball of yarn on the first sleeve, and thankfully I have exactly one ball left for the second!

I also started a pair of socks on Monday, and I absolutely love them so far. I'm doing a stockinette sole and 2x2 rib instep, toe-up two-at-a-time on US1 needles. I didn't check my gauge, I just cast on and did the toe increases until it felt like it would fit my foot, which happened at 60 stitches per sock.

This week hasn't seen much literary action (unless you count my own writing, which is thriving), because whenever I get my headphones out to listen to David Copperfield I suddenly feel like listening to music. However, the good news is that my best friend has started reading it and she is an incredibly fast reader, so in order to finish before her (competition, competition) I'll have to listen to it a lot more. Perhaps another thing to do tonight while I start the second sleeve?

Thanks for stopping by! Check out Tami's Amis for more WIPs! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Walking in the Rain

I just got inside after walking around outside in the rain. It started out as a drizzle, and it just kept on drizzling and drizzling until it was pouring and I was soaked to the skin. It was like an all-natural shower (though I wasn't naked). Now I'm inside, snuggling up in a big turquoise sweater with llamas and snowflakes on the button bands and cuffs and wearing the most comfortable sweat pants. I've got a huge cup of hot chocolate to one side and a slice of cold pizza on the other (the two go together surprisingly well). I have a new pair of socks on the needles and a novel to write.

It's been a long time since I've done a 'random' post, hasn't it? I think my last truly random one was back in January! It looks like a lot of my posts about the weather seem to fit nicely into the random slot, I suppose because my mind tends to wander when it's raining or snowing out.

My sister is making muffins currently. If she doesn't share with me, a combination of the Hufflepuff and Slytherin inside me will force a few of those pumpkin cream cheese muffins into my stomach. On the topic of food, I have now finished my hot chocolate and pizza and I'm only somewhat full. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, because they were very liberal helpings of both. My stomach must be growing. Or these sweat pants allow me to eat more than I normally could.

And now I have to go and either do some knitting or writing. See you soon!

Friday, July 12, 2013

FO Friday: Different Kinds of Crafty

To my great surprise I have done hardly any knitting today! However, I still have two finished objects to show off (neither of which were knit or crocheted).

I picked up this fabric at Joanne's a few days ago (along with a green polka-dot fat quarter which is the lining for this bag and two more for another bag). When I first bought it, I wasn't completely in love with it, but now it's one of my favorite fabrics ever. It even has little balls of yarn on it- perfect for a knitting bag. 

The bag is about 8x10", which is the perfect size for pretty much any project aside from a sweater, for which I use something akin to a reusable grocery bag. I used half a fat quarter each for the bag and lining, while on the previous drawstring bags I've made I used an entire fat quarter for each. Those bags are nice, but this is infinitely preferable. 

The second project was to jazz up this old t-shirt I had that was too big for me:

I saw the idea on Pinterest this morning, and immediately thought that I needed to find a t-shirt to play around with. It's a simple enough matter of cutting slits in the fabric and drawing a crochet hook through them, creating a sort of crocheted chain in the shirt. The placement of my 'belt' isn't perfect- I'm not sure it's the most flattering shirt. But it was great practice and my next shirt will be perfect. (To the right is a close up of the crochet detail.)
That's it for me today! (as if it wasn't enough) Check out Tami's Amis for some more knitting-related FOs! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I have no idea what to title this post.

^ is better than no title at all, right?

Happy WIP Wednesday, y'all! Since last week, I've done quite a bit on my February Lady Sweater.
You probably can't tell, but I only need 5-6 inches of the body before I can start the sleeves. Despite this, I'm still a bit worried about running out of yarn. I'm pretty sure this is just the usual knitter's paranoia, because I bought an extra skein of yarn and I'm almost sort of positive that my gauge is correct (and yet I'm worried to check it in case it is wrong). But even still, I'm doing my best to knit faster so the yarn lasts longer. 

I've also been knitting two other things- the first is a shawlette I'm doing as part of the Pick-A-Boo KAL over at Crafts from the Cwtch, which I'll be showing off tomorrow. The second, shown below, is just a little project that should only take an hour or two to make from start to finish, but I've been going rather slowly. 

As this picture doesn't tell you much of what it will become in the next day or two, I'll tell you- I'm knitting an Ewok, inspired by the creatures of Endor from Star Wars. I've knit an Ewok before, but this time I'm changing the design a bit and already I'm happier with the results. I have plans for this little guy, which will hopefully be revealed soon. 

In terms of reading, I have not been very proficient of late. I've been reading Harry Potter at lunch and before I go to bed, and I was listening to David Copperfield but as I only had the first thirteen out of thirty-six tracks on my iPod, that stopped recently. However, today I uploaded the rest of the book and I can now finish it, which I plan to by the end of July so that I can start the next book on my reading list. 

Thanks for stopping by! Though you probably came from Tami's Amis, if you didn't be sure to check it out for more WIP Wednesday posts! 

Spinning Show & Tell: The Opposite of Busy

I have not been spinning much this week. In fact, I haven't spun much at all for the Tour de Fleece, but it's my first year so that's all right.

Today I thought, I'd better do some spinning so I have something to blog about. Unfortunately, I was feeling more inspired to knit and even more inspired to procrastinate (curse Pinterest!). So I got a little drop spindling done, but not much. 
I'm spinning this lovely roving my mom bought a couple of years ago back when she was still trying to learn how to spin. As she hasn't picked up her own drop spindle in months, she gave me permission to use the roving. I'm getting a DK/Worsted weight yarn and as there's only about 25 grams of fiber, I'm only expecting to get enough for something small- perhaps an Owl Two Ways? I've knit one before, and it seems like the perfect pattern for using up handspun scraps- perhaps I'll get a whole parliament of owls! 

In other spinning news, I dyed some roving the other day that I'm very pleased with. The only problem is, it's rather difficult to spin and not the softest, so I haven't gotten around to spinning more than a few grams of it. 
I love the colors I was able to get. It's actually a bit more rusty and a bit less pink in real life, though this picture captures it best of all the ones I took. What I've spun so far is super fine, and I'm hoping to navajo-ply it when I'm done. 

That's it for me this week! Check out Crafts from the Cwtch for more spinning inspiration! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gernumbli Gardensi

In the last few days, I've been crocheting more than knitting, which is very unusual for me. Since receiving the crochet book More Cute Little Animals to Crochet in a swap on Friday, I've been more inspired to pick up a hook and I've already finished one thing from the book-  the Garden Gnome. I used various scraps of worsted weight acrylic I had lying around and a size F hook. As I didn't have any safety eyes, I just embroidered them on with black yarn. Also, the pattern includes instructions for a mushroom, flower and lawn but I didn't want those and I didn't have any green yarn, so I just stuck with the gnome. 

I've named him Gernumbli Gardensi, which is the Latin name for Gnomes in Harry Potter. Of course, in Harry Potter the gnomes are grubby creatures with potato-shaped heads, but I have a feeling that trying to craft one of those would not yield as good results as this did. I loved crocheted Gernumbli and I love the finished object, and I can't wait to crochet more from the book. 

I'll be back tomorrow with a spinning update! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

5K Saturday

a screenshot of my Camp Nanowrimo stats
In the past few days, I got a little behind on my novel. (In case you missed the post where I talked about it, I'm participating in Camp Nanowrimo this summer, which is a program that helps authors write a rough draft of a novel in 30 days.) Because I was a little behind, I decided to fix that and then some. I thought, I will write 6,000 words today and not only get caught up, but get way ahead!

So, I was doing great. I hit 3,000 words. Then it was time for me to make dessert, and do some crocheting, and dinner. Then my friend and I wanted to watch the Disney Hercules, and I had to be in bed by midnight, and I still had three thousand words to write. I wrote as quickly as possible, and in less than an hour, I hit 5,000 words. And a little message pops up on the screen that says: Only patrons can write more than 5,000 words per day (by the way, the site I was writing on is 750 Words, which used to be free but unfortunately is now only free for the first month; though that's perfect for the month-long Camp Nanowrimo). So, my 6K Saturday turned into a 5K Saturday, which still put me ahead about 2000 words.

And now, after a busy day of writing, I'm enjoying writing this blog post while trying to simultaneously pay attention to Hercules. So, I bid you all goodnight and apologize for a rather distracted post.

FO Friday: A Little Bit Late

Firstly, Happy Belated Independence Day to all of my US readers! I hope you all had as amazing a day as I did.

On Thursday, I nearly finished my Rainbow Socks. On Friday, I nearly finished my Rainbow Socks. And today, I finally did finish my Rainbow Socks. 

I was hoping I would finish them last night, and I could have easily, if I hadn't gotten bored with them (a common lament of all knitters, I'm sure). But I was especially worried that I wouldn't finish them before it got dark, so I took a picture pretending they were done (they nearly were). 
You can't tell, can you, that there are two balls of yarn and a pair of needles hanging off of them, can you? Ah, the many uses of jeans. 

I learned a lot of things while knitting these socks.
  •  Knitting socks is incredibly easy (actually I already knew this, but now I'm completely positive of it).
  •  Knitting socks toe-up is incredibly easy.
  •  Knitting socks two-at-a-time is incredibly easy. 
  •  Self-striping yarn is amazing. 
They took me a little over a week (I started them last Friday) to knit, though I could have knit them much faster if I hadn't been knitting my February Lady Sweater  (which, I'm sorry to say, has been shunted to the side in the last couple of days while I was finishing my socks) at the same time. 

Another thing that stalled the completion of these socks was the arrival of my package from the Common Room Swap from Petra (Saree on Ravelry). It was such an amazing swap package, I was crying all throughout opening it. Thank you so much, Petra! 
I've already started crocheting a Gnome from the pattern book, and hopefully he'll be an FO in the next day or two! 

That's it for me today! Check out Tami's Amis for more FOs! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WIPs & Books: All Mine

This past Friday, I received a Knitpicks order in the mail, and inside the box was the yarn for a sweater and two pairs of socks. I immediately cast on the socks, and on Saturday cast on the sweater.
The pattern I'm following is the popular February Lady Sweater. I've been enjoying knitting it for the most part, though the yoke was so incredibly boring that I couldn't knit it without watching something as well. I also had some gauge issues at the beginning, and I accidentally left off the third buttonhole, and I'm sure that there's an infinite amount of other problems with my February Lady. But now that I'm onto the body, it's much more fun to knit and I'm happier with the way it looks (even if the collar is too tight). The yarn I'm using for the sweater is Knitpicks Swish Worsted in the colorway 'Amethyst Heather.' 

Onto the next WIP. As I said, I started a pair of socks, and I've been working on them slowly and somewhat steadily. The yarn is Knitpicks Felici Fingering in 'Rainbow' and the pattern is Simple Summer Socks
For the last hour or so, I was working on them on the back porch and got quite a lot done. (Wait a second. Knitting outside? With wool? In Texas? In July? Yep, we're experiencing an unexpected wave of nice weather, and it's beautiful outside.) I have about two and a half inches to go before I start the heel. It's my first time knitting socks toe up and my first time knitting them two at a time, so I'm learning lots, namely that both feats are incredibly easy. 

Now, in concerning this week's books... I haven't been reading very much, because I've been concentrating on writing. As some of you may know, the July session of Camp Nanowrimo started on Monday, and even though I have repeatedly said that I am never participating in Nanowrimo again, it has managed to draw me in, as it always does. I decided to join in four days before the event started, which was plenty of time for me to come up with a plot and characters. I've done surprisingly well, and the book is coming along excellently. The book is about a boy named Jude who finds a ghost and has to help the ghost solve its own murder. At about 4,000 words in, I'm proud to say that the ghost has not yet made an entrance. 

I'm linking with Tami's Amis today. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: The Tour!

The Tour de Fleece started on Saturday! Oh, the excitement!

In fact, on the actual day I only spun about ten yards. I was feeling very little spinning inspiration, and was more excited about knitting the new project I stupidly started that morning (more about that tomorrow!). I didn't meet my goal mentioned last Tuesday to finish spinning the alpaca singles I had been working on, but I did finished them today, and I plied them. I had a lot of fun photographing the progress.
Unfortunately, it didn't yield as much as I had hoped. From nearly four ounces, I only got 226 yards, which isn't nearly enough to make Orchid Thief. I'm guessing it's ended up being about sport weight judging by the yardage, though it really looks like fingering. It will probably bloom a lot with washing, but that's a job for tomorrow...

The alpaca isn't the only stuff I've been spinning, mind. I also spun some yellow fluff I dyed a while back. I spun and plied it on a drop spindle, and had enough for one or two hexipuffs, which is what I've  endeavored to do with the finished product. 
I haven't quite finished that puff yet... I've lost some of my interest in hexipuffing since starting some new, more interesting projects. 

That's it for me tonight! Check out Crafts from the Cwtch for more lovely spinning posts! Thanks for the linky, Sarah! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

FO Friday: Wish it were Winter

Today it was about 105° Fahrenheit. Not exactly perfect weather conditions for wearing cozy cowls and woolly fingerless mitts. And yet, I have two of them fresh off the needles.
This is the only picture I've yet managed to take of these mitts (save some rather creepy weeping angel impersonation ones that I took at two o'clock in the morning when I was too sleepy to think properly, and I'm not ready to show those to the public). As you can tell, I didn't end up re-knitting the first mitt, as I mentioned here. It would seem that my laziness is stronger than my OCD. The pattern is Baby Lamb Cuffs by Tiny Owl Knits and here is my Ravelry project page.

I just finished this cowl this morning. It was a fun and quick knit, and the pattern was quite interesting. Using handspun yarn was another thing that kept it interesting. The pattern is another by Tiny Owl Knits- Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Now, I have to cut this short because I want to finish the 4-hour Jane Eyre miniseries and it's already ten o'clock. Check out Tami's Amis for more interesting FOs!