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.