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! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday: All of Them (+ one)

I dug through my hibernation can today and was surprised to only find five unfinished projects. Unfortunately, I don't want to work on any of them- and I don't think I will be any time soon. (Because I have a Knitpicks order coming on Friday...)

Even though I clearly have plenty of projects to work on, I didn't want to work on any of them. I wanted to start something new. And so I did.
The photo is black and white because my camera was making the beautiful purple pillow which serves as a background bright blue and the yarn, which is a lovely orangey-brownish with hints of green, a pale peach color. 

I'm knitting a Bedknobs and Broomsticks with my scrumptious handspun merino. It's a little thick and thin, but I think that will just add to the charm of the cowl. It was also my first time winding a center-pull ball by hand, and it was extremely easy as well as fast! I'll definitely be using it as my preferred  ball winding method in the future. 

That's it for me today! I'm hoping to have two FO's by Friday- Bedknobs and Broomsticks and the little lamb mitts blogged about here (those are actually already done, so I'll have at least those to blog about on Friday). And now, let me redirect you to Tami's Amis for more WIPs! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: On and Off

I haven't done much spinning since last week, but I have finished the first half of the 4oz of alpaca I'm spinning. I'm spinning it super-fine, and I'll ply it into what will hopefully be round fingering weight. I'm envisioning Orchid Thief being knit from it, granted I'll have enough yardage. However, I have another 4oz of the same roving that I can spin up should I run out. 

My goal of spinning for 15 minutes a day has been extinguished of late- every few days, I'll spin for a  couple of hours, and then let my spinning wheel or drop spindle (usually the former) gather dust until I am next inspired to spin. But with the Tour de Fleece fast approaching, I'm anticipating my spinning tools getting much more use. 

I'm creating another goal- to finish the singles of this alpaca by the start of the TdF on Saturday and ply it on the first day. Wish me luck- two ounces of lace weight singles in three days isn't something I've accomplished before!

Linking with Crafts from the Cwtch today. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

An FO and some colorwork

this picture is slightly off-center but I'm way too lazy to take another one
I finished my Hitchhiker. I finished it yesterday afternoon, with exactly 18 inches of yarn leftover. I was really getting nervous as I bound off, but thankfully it turned out okay. I was able to complete a total of 38 teeth, which was more than I expected. I was worried about not having enough yarn- I only had 400 yards, but it's actually the perfect size and I wouldn't really want it any bigger. The yarn I used is Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock with Nylon in the colorway 'Lucy'.

As I cast off, I was thinking about my next project. I was deciding between doing what I should do and finish up a few WIPs, or doing what I wanted to do and starting something new. Naturally I chose the latter. The project of choice was Baby Lamb Cuffs, which I began after supper (which I made). I knit the first mitt while watching Merlin (I watched a lot of Merlin), and today I'm working on the second one.

The first one I did using the stranded colorwork technique, and as you can tell from the picture my tension was quite terrible. For the second mitt, I'm using Intarsia, and it's already looking much neater. I'm probably going to remake the first mitt, just because I won't be able to stand having one neat lamb and one messy lamb.

I'll be back tomorrow with a spinning update!

p.s. Sorry about not blogging for almost a week- I was too busy knitting! I'll be better this week.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WIPs & Books: Two New Things

On Sunday,  I started a brand new project as a reward for having completely finished the swap I'd been working on. Yes, I could have dug through my pile of WIPs and worked on one of those, but I really didn't feel like doing that so I started something new. The pattern is Hitchhiker and the yarn is Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock with Nylon in the colorway 'Lucy'. I bought it at the DFW Fiber Fest a few months ago, with no idea what to do with it, but recently decided that Hitchhiker was the best way to go.

I'm a bit worried about how long I'll be able to make it, because I only have 400 yards and you're meant to have over 500 yards. But I'm sure it will be okay, because plenty of other people have made it with only 400 yards or thereabout. I'm 23 'teeth' in and still have 65 out of the original 100 grams left.

Yesterday, not wishing to listen to any of the music on my iPod, I uploaded David Copperfield onto it. I have listened to about two and a half hours of it, and am thoroughly enjoying it. Last night, for the main reason of not getting confused between two plots, I finished Jane Eyre (at long last). I had about 60 pages left at a quarter to midnight, and closed the book at 1:15. It is, I think, one of my favorite books, and I immediately wanted to read it again, but I think I'll wait a few years for that.

As usual, I'm linking with Tami's Amis today.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spinning Show & Tell

Today I am joining in with Sarah at Crafts from the Cwtch, for the sole purpose that she has including a Mr Linky widget in her most recent post about spinning. This means that I can put a link to my blog on her blog, and as her blog is, I believe, quite popular (at least, it should be, considering how enjoyable it is to read), some of her traffic might be directed over to To Live A Life. I am such a selfish person to be taking advantage of this.

I'm not doing this post purely to get a couple of page views- I also have some spinning-related stuff I want to talk about.
This is the yarn spun from the roving I bought at the DFW Fiber Fest 2013 (blogged about here). I originally intended to make a fingering-weight single from the roving, but spun it too thick (into a light sport weight, I'd imagine) and ended up just plying it into a wonderful 130 yards of bulky weight. I'm very happy with the result, but can't decide what to make with it- any suggestions would be welcome! 

Also, today I was tricked into joining Tour de Fleece, which I now cannot wait to begin on June 29th. I still don't know a lot about it, but I'm part of two teams- Rookies  and Tiny Owl Knits. The Rookies team is for first-timers, and I don't know if it's mandatory for first years to join it or if it's optional, but I did join it and that's that. 

I busted out my fiber stash to see what all I could spin up for the TdF, and this is what I came up with. Not much. However, the fluffy light brown fiber to the far right is only a portion of the alpaca I'm currently spinning, and I have about 2 pounds of 100% silk hidden away somewhere that I can spin if I use up everything else (which I rather doubt will happen).

The third and last spinning-related topic I wish to cover is one of celebration- my second spinning anniversary is coming up in less than a month, and I need to buy myself a pretty braid of fiber to celebrate. The TdF coming up only gives me more reason to want to treat myself. I've been searching Etsy for reasonably-priced, beautifully dyed braids, and if anybody has a favorite I'd love to hear it in the comments below!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beads & Instagram

On Friday, I received an amazing RAK (Random Act of Kindness) from one of my good friends on Ravelry. The RAK consisted of the stitch markers pictured to the left, and they were so beautiful that I was inspired to make some of my own. I already had a trip to Michael's planned for that day, and it was with the added intention of picking out some exciting new beads and wire (the wire wasn't that exciting).

My Michael's has a great selection of beads, and I could have spent hours in their jewelry section. The prices are marked by color, with the cheapest at about $4 and the most expensive at $15, and since I was working on a pretty tight budget I stuck mainly in the $4-7 range. However, I did find some lovely beads that were originally $10 but were on sale for $2. I have yet to find out what's wrong with them.

I bought four strings of beads and a spool of black wire, and upon my arrival home I set to work with my new supplies and a pair of needle-nose pliers. Shortly afterwards, I was rewarded with these:
Yes, I only made three stitch markers and I haven't made any since, but I intend to in the next few days- I've been busy this past weekend! Well, perhaps busy isn't the right word- I've been knitting and finding a new way to share my knitting with the world, which brings me to the next topic.

You may have noticed the beautifully antique-ified photographs in this post. They are the victims of my Instagram account. I've been having quite a bit of fun, taking pictures of almost everything I do. The downside is that I don't have my own iPhone and have to use the family one. The upside is that almost everybody else has their own iPhone, so pretty much only my mom and I use the family phone, and my mom hates it, so for all intents and purposes, it's mine (for Instagram, anyway). 

I'm not using Instagram too much, though- I'm proud to say I've only posted 17 photos since I got Instagram on Thursday. I don't think it will become too much of an addiction- then, I said that when I started knitting and spinning, too. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

FO Friday: Hooks and Things

I don't have much of an FO today- just this little flower, which I crocheted for my sister the other night. It was in payment for her doing my dishes, a chore which I detest. The pattern is Flower Hairclip by Céline at Chez Céline. It's the best flower pattern I've come across yet- I love the results, and it's fun to make. I'll definitely be hooking more of these!

I used Wool of the Andes leftover from my Doctor Who Scarf Bag  (blogged about here) in the colors Oyster Heather and Whirlpool. The button was one from my sister's collection. I used an  F crochet hook, which was nice because whenever I crochet flowers, they turn out too loose.

I've run out of things to say (and I want to get back to the Merlin episode I'm in the middle of), so I will redirect you all to Tami's Amis for more FO Friday posts. See you later! x

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday: ooo presents

spoiler alert!
The above is what I have been working on in the past few days- i.e., the package for the swap in which I am participating. It's getting closer and closer to being done- my plans are getting finalized, the biggest knit (the gray thing in the top right corner) only has a few more rows, and everything else can be completed in a day or two. Unfortunately, I still have a few small things to pick up at the store, and since I can't drive I have to rely on somebody else to take me, per their schedule. 

Naturally, the swap isn't the only thing I've been working on- the day before yesterday, I made my 100th hexipuff (and have since made two more). I've been going completely crazy with hexipuffs this month (which is good, because last month I made about 4). I have 23 so far, and my goal is 60- only two a day! I just hope my miniskein stash won't completely die out before I meet that goal. 

As for what I've been reading this week? Well, I haven't been reading so much as listening. On Sunday night, I listened to A Christmas Carol, starting at 10:50 pm and finishing at about 2:00 am. It was read by Jim Dale, the wonderful reader of the Harry Potter books. I loved the book, and look forward to reading (and listening!) to it again and again in the future, though next time may be nearer to Christmas. 

I also listened to A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes book, and quite loved it. It really is incredibly similar to the Sherlock episode based on it. 

Hope you all have a great week! I'm going to be blogging more in the next few days- I promise! Check out Tami's Amis for more WIPs. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Socks, Murder and Pinterest

Knitting: Hermione's Everyday Socks
Reading: Jane Eyre and Murder at Hazelmoor
Pinning: A Year of Photos
My socks are done! Right in time for WIP Wednesday, of course. I finished the second sock on Monday night- or rather, very early Tuesday morning. Monday afternoon, I was determined to get them completely finished that night. Monday evening, I was determined to get the ends grafted- I would save the ends till Tuesday. Around midnight, I decided I wasn't all that tired and wove in the ends.

The problem with these socks is, one is bigger than the other. It's not a huge problem, because they both fit fine around the foot, but the cuff on the first sock is about two inches taller than the cuff on the second sock. I suppose my gauge changed drastically between them. But I don't care- they are my very first pair of socks and if they were exactly the same I would be worried about myself being *too* talented.

On the topic of books, I'm still working my way through Jane Eyre. I don't know why it's taking me so long, considering it's a fascinating book and almost impossible to put down. But when I do put it down, it stays down. I'm almost done with it, though- only about a hundred pages left. I hope to finish it in the next few days.

I've been distracted from Jane Eyre, however, by an Agatha Christie book I brought with me on vacation. The book is Murder at Hazelmoor, and so far it's a wonderful read. I haven't read a great deal of Agatha Christie's novels, but this is looking up to be one of the best I have read.

Also in the past few days, I've been ensnared by Pinterest. The latest idea I've had concerning it is something I have decided to call A Year of Photos. The premise is that I will pin one picture to this board every day for a year. Other people have done this sort of thing, of course- for starters, there's 365 project, where you take a photo for every day of the year. I did a bit of this at the beginning of the year, but photography isn't really my area and I stopped after about two days. But this seems much more feasible. All I have to do is find a picture I like and pin or repin it- simple. It'll be interesting, I think, to go back at the end of the year and look over my year of photos.

Thanks for stopping by- look at Tami's Amis for more WIP posts!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Alpaca Goodness

I've been doing a tiny bit of drop-spindling the last couple of days. The fiber I'm using is 100% alpaca from Jacob's Reward Farm, and it is heavenly to work with. I spun about 25 grams of DK-worsted weight yarn, which I will ply when I have spun a bit more. 

I'm doing my best to start spinning for a minimum of 15 minutes a day, which will, hopefully, improve my yarn-making drastically. Not that I'm bad at spinning- I'm perfectly able to make a beautiful skein of yarn, if I do say so myself. But the more I practice, the better I'll get. If I can keep it up, I'll see how this yarn compares to what I've made at the end of June. Will I get better, or am I already as good as I can be? I certainly hope it's not the latter. 

I'm also working away at my socks, and I'm trying to get them done as fast as possible so I can do some more work on the swap I'm doing. 

I'm off to eat lunch and then do some knitting and spinning! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The beauiful view of Sierra Blanca from the front porch of the house
For the past week, I've been on vacation to my grandparent's vacation house in Ruidoso, New Mexico (as I mentioned in my last post). Though I did practically nothing except drink hot chocolate and play Rummikub, I was delighted to be free from the pressure of blogging, though my few readers may have missed my posts. I had no Internet connection save the iPhone, and I rather dislike typing on touch screens so I did it minimally, and only to answer emails etc. I went with my parents, my sister, and each of our best friends (who are also sisters). Mother and Father left us alone for the most part, and let us stay in the house for three out of the four days we were there while they went out to dinner. However, on one of the days, we went into the town for souvenir shopping, and visited all of our favorite shops. I spent very little money, I'm proud to say (this is probably because there aren't any yarn shops in the town), and what I did purchase was not for my but for my partner in the swap I'm currently participating in (more on that later!).

Ruidoso is a wonderful place for knitting, and I knit an entire hat while there. I have no flattering pictures of the hat, and it is now in the hands of the person it was made for, so I doubt I will get any. The pattern I used the Police Box Slouch Hat, and it is a brilliant, brilliant pattern. I will definitely be making one of these hats for myself! (And I'll get pictures of that one.) As I finished the hat before the vacation ended, I was very grateful I'd thought to bring a backup project, and I'm happy to say that I'm making steady progress on Hermione's Everyday Socks.

When I got home on Friday night, I was delighted to find a package waiting for me. It was the Thin Pencil Roving I had ordered from the lovely Etsy shop Kauni, which I couldn't reccomend more. Free shipping worldwide and excellent prices on excellent products besides- I will be buying more from this shop! It arrived pretty quickly considering it came from Estonia, and I spent yesterday and today spinning the roving I ordered. It was possibly the easiest spinning job I've ever done, since the pencil roving required no drafting and all I had to do was feed it into the wheel. It's lovely long-striping and it was a joy to see the colors play out as I spun. It's about 100 grams, and 460 yards or something.

The yarn is not for my own use but is to be sent off in the current swap I'm participating in, another from Tiny Owl Knits. I'm extremelely excited, and have several goodies planned out that I have yet to make. It's a secret swap, so nobody tell my partner that I spun this for them!

Well, this has been an incredibly long and wordy post. Think of it as making up for all the days I didn't post in May (though, I still have lots of catching up to do! So many things to tell the world about!).