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!