Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sometimes life just takes over...

Life has been a little intense lately, and while I won't burden you with the details, just know that blogging may not be on the top of the priority list for a little while. I want to thank everyone for their comments eventhough I haven't had time to reply or visit any of your blogs. Hopefully things will calm down and I get back to my happy blogging, blog-stalking self.

While I have the time I thought I'd give you an update.

Clapotis was finished Friday but I haven't had a chance to get a good photo.

It was taking me forever to finish the Gem pattern from Rowan 37 and I figured out why. I love the pattern but really do hate the yarn. I finally pulled it off the needles and this mess is going in the trash. That's how much I hate the yarn. I'll get the suggested Cotton Glace and start over.

I have started Design #32 from the Rebecca Fall/Winter mag. I'm going to use some Rowan Wool Cotton that I have in stash. The gauge is not exact but I'm just going to alter the pattern. I've had this yarn since March and I finally have something that I want to use it for.

I decided awhile back to dye my own yarn for the Union Market Square Sweater from the Fall Interweave Knits. I dyed the border yarn last night while I was on the phone. I used 2 packets Pink Lemonade and 2 Watermelon Cherry. I used the stovetop process instead of the microwave process and it went alot faster. I'm going to try and dye some more yarn today since I have some free time and I can do it while I do other things.

Here are the stitch markers I made as a thank you from my Secret Pal Sarah . I printed pictures from her blog onto some "Shrinky Dinks" plastic to make the charms. She said that she really likes them. I'm glad that I sent them because it turns out that her Secret Pal bailed on her. Poo-Poo to the person that bailed on Sarah.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Go Speed Racer Go!

As I've mentioned before, I knit for speed. Sure, a nice design is great, but I like to be able to churn out a knitted item in 5 days. 7 days tops! With sewing I can make an outfit in a day, so knitting something for more than 7 days starts to wear on my nerves.

In the past it was a contest of one to see how fast I could get things done. A scarf can be done in 6 hours. A hat in 4-5 hours. For a sweater, each piece of the body takes 6-7 hours. Last year between October 1 and December 25, I churned out 17 scarves, 15 hats, 2 pairs of mittens, 3 sweaters, and a vest.

The past few months I haven't been knitting with my usual vigor. I don't really know why, I just haven't. But this here Clapotis has me inspired again. I think it's the perfect combination of uncomplicated stitches that produce a great design, paired with the world's greatest yarn. I need to finish fast so I can snuggle with my Clapotis without a needle getting in the way. With any luck this thing will be done today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hit the wall

I've tested the limits of sleep deprivation and yesterday I hit the wall. I was at work and could not produce a coherent thought. I decide to go home early, (I had done about 16 hrs the day before so who would blame me) but decided to stop by the Apple store first to get my iPod fixed. I fully realized the need for sleep when I started babbling like an incoherent fool in front of the cute tech guy. I tried, I really did , but there is no way to be sexy or seductive when what you are saying doesn't even make sense in your own mind and you don't even have the energy to hold up your head without using your hands. I'm sure he thinks I'm nuts but I tried to cover by mentioning that I've only had about 10 hours of sleep in the last 7 days. Hopefully I can make up for it by looking stunning and reciting poetry when I go in to pick up my iPod.

Another bit of evidence of hitting the wall... (brace yourself Mamacita)... I bought this.

Yeah...yeah..yeah. I know. The yarn snob has bought Red Heart yarn. Blame it on Nikki . She is now the instore knitter for A.C. Moore in Cary and I stopped by to knit a bit. She showed me all the new yarn they have in. There is some Alpaca, Alpaca Blends, and Cashmere Blends which caught my eye but then there was the Red Heart "Soft Yarn". Granted it's 100% acrylic but it's soft enough that you would actually let it touch your skin without fear and it comes in decent colors. But the part that got me....259 yards of worsted weight for $2.49. I'm a sucker for cheap ,but decent, yarn. These skeins are slated for the Turtleneck Shrugs from the Scarf Style book.

And before I go, a progress shot of Clapotis.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yeah...I got issues.

I admit it...I've got issues. I suffer from a fear of commitment, OCD, ADHD, and worst of all, over-achiever's syndrome. Granted, all of these are self-diagnosed and only affects small portions of my life but this is how they all manifested themselves this past week.

My fear of committment relates to the fact that I have moved 6 times in the past 10 years. (That's 5 states/6 cities.) Because of this, my second bedroom/office has always had boxes that never get unpacked. I decided last Tuesday that I would actually unpack the 10 boxes of books and crap. There enters the OCD. I had to get this done. Never mind that I had to work extra hours for work. My over-achiever syndrome told me that I could do it all. So I bought a wood bookcase which I painted/assembled in between doing some work. Then I spent all day Saturday cleaning the second bedroom and rearranging furniture throughout the apartment. Did you caught that ADHD moment? I can't just fix one room, everything must be rearranged.

Amongst all of this, I decided that my current "On The Needles" was getting on my nerves (committment issues). It had to go. So I finished the Summer Tweed Tank (pattern available later this week), frogged the Tip&Top cotton socks (didn't like the holes in the short-row heel), practiced short-rows(no more holes!), organized the yarn and fabric stashes, started a project for the SnB charity event, and worked a few more rows on Gem.

Never mind the fact that right now it's 1:40 AM, I just finished watching the Chronicles of Riddick (good movie), doing some work and starting my Clapotis..... I'm on a roll!!!

Sleep?...what sleep!?! I don't need no stinking sleep!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hi Ladies!!!!

That's my shout-out to all the ladies I met last night at the Raleigh SnB group. I hope they will forgive me because I don't remember everyone's names but I'll make up for it because I plan on becoming a regular at SnB Wednesday nights. (I made the mistake of going home to do work afterwords. Nothing but computer jargon in my head right now. Arrrggghhh!)
This was my first SnB with this bunch and it was fun. All the ladies are nice and have that great combination of smart/crazy/wacky/funny that lets you know that you aren't sitting with a bunch of old spinsters. I think I'll fit right in. See you next week ladies!

I woke up early this morning to wind my kool-aid dyed yarn which I am now calling "Red Luxe". Luxurious red yarn = "Red Luxe".

I took a couple pics of the process which wasn't anything out of the ordinary. For each skein I used 3 packets Cherry and 1 packet Black Cherry. I didn't want the yarn to be a "screaming" red so i used the Black Cherry to tone it down a bit. If you ever do this make sure you use gloves. They do you no good sitting on the table. I forgot them while mixing the kool-aid and I now have dark pink fingertips. The yarn didn't dye evenly so I have some specks of light pink and white in the yarn but I think it's okay. I have to set this off to the side and just stare at it until I get some other projects finished. When I get started with it, I want to devote my full attention to this yarn. (ssshhhhh......I think I'm in love with it.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Gasoline Dreams

"Don't everybody like the smell of gasoline?
Well burn motherf***a burn American Dreams
Don't everybody like the taste of Apple Pie?
We'll snap for your slice of life I'm tellin' ya why
I hear that mother nature's now on birth control
The coldest pimp be looking for somebody to hold
The highway up to Heaven got a crook on the toll
Youth full of fire ain't got nowhere to go, nowhere 2 go"

Outkast -"Gasoline Dreams" from the album "Stankonia"

I think of this song everytime I drive past a gas station. Do you ever get the feeling that life will never again return to the way it was? Every once in a while, life has those turning points where you know there is no going back. $2.55 - $3.09/gallon. Now that's a turning point!!!

I think this is the reason that I've hit my current slump in knitting creativity. I can't just buy yarn willy-nilly. Every purchase must be calculated. There can be no random/un-justified stash enhancements...no leisurely trips to the yarn shop. A crafty girl must consider whether she wants to eat,knit, or drive cause ya can't do all three.

This brings me to today's Friendly Tips for Everyday Living

Tip #6
If it takes you more than 15 minutes to justify a purchase, just walk away. More than likely you don't really need it. (The operative word being "need" not "want".) You'll only burn time and gas trying to return it when you realize you really should have saved that money for your next trip to gas station.

Right now, I'm knitting swatches for a stitch pattern I came up, as well as kool-aid dyeing my Andromeda yarn for Clapotis. I'll have pics to show tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The trifecta is complete!!!!

Good Times! Good Times!

I'm back from Cleveland and I'm TIRED!!! But it's a good tired. There was so much to do and so little time.

I saw Wedding Crashers and Four Brothers. Wedding Crashers was the funniest movie ever!!! I laughed so hard I cried. You must see it. Four Brothers was great. The reviews weren't too good but I think the reviews were wrong. The fact that I've been in love with Andre Benjamin since 1994 may make me a little biased but I don't care. I will be getting both of these when they are on DVD.

Bill took me for half-priced sushi at Sushi Rock on Wednesday. I love sushi but she doesn't. She made some horrible faces which were a clear sign that she is not a fan.

There is a lot of other stuff but I'll spare you and skip straight to the crafty content.

BWAAHHAHAAA! My plan worked and the trifecta is complete! Resistance is futile!

Bill's new job will have her traveling alot and she wants something to do so I suggested knitting. Mamacita got her to start sewing again last year and now I've got her knitting. (Craft addicts don't like to be alone. We are always recruiting.) But get this...she didn't want to start with a scarf. She wanted to start with socks! It took us a little while to talk the sock fiend into knitting a scarf with non-novelty yarn.

The yarn shop were I bought my Shimmer was closed Saturday so I wasn't able to get more. I was disappointed but I can call and order some later. I made up for it with a trip to another shop for the new Rebecca No.30 mag and a trip to JoAnn's to pick up this...

JoAnn's just added some nice yarns that are about $5.99/ball. I got 9 balls of their Stellina yarn in Fushia to try out for a new design.

I'm not too motivated to finish Gem so I think I'm going to set it aside till the weekend and play with my new yarns for a while.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wednesday is officially for "Friendly Tips for Everyday Living"

I've officially deemed Wednesdays as the day for my segment called "Friendly Tips For Everyday Living". Some will be knitting related and others not, but all should prove useful is some way or another. You can check out the first two tips here.

Friendly Tip #3

If you own a yarn shop, one should realize that the internet is not a myth and really does exist to connect people to any and everything they want and often times at a better price. You may have a small monopoly on your city and feel the need to charge $10.50 for a ball of Rowan Cashcotton but don't get upset if a knitter feels the need to type www.cheaper-yarn.com and get it for $8.00.

Friendly Tip #4
If one goes into a yarn shop as a customer and knows more than some of the girls working in the shop, i.e. helping other customers find yarn and answering questions about gauge,yarn weight, and patterns, then one might need to seriously re-consider their level of confidence in their abilities. You know more and are better than you think.

Friendly Tip #5
If one (the giftee) receives a gift (the gifter), then one should properly acknowledge said gift and thank the gifter. As a giftee, one should also consider the quality of gifts received when the situation is reversed and you then become the gifter. In simpler terms....if someone gives you a nice gift, you better say thank you and give them a nice gift when it comes their turn to get a gift. Otherwise that person may get a little vendictive and cheap in their future gift giving.

Tip #3 comes from all the yarn shops I've visited in my travels and Tip #4 stems from the visit to a yarn shop I mentioned yesterday.

Tip #5 comes from me trying to talk Mamacita out of giving a sub-par gift. Mamacita made quilts for our high-school graduation gifts and family/friends darn near demanded quilts for their children's gifts. Mamacita kindly made them quilts. She also gives out NICE money sums for college graduations. She is now slightly and justifiably bitter that when my sister graduated she received paltry sums like $30, or in some cases, nothing at all.

Tip #5 also comes from the fact that I sent someone a not-so-cheap gift because of this small little gift exchange I joined because of a little blog I write and the giftee never acknowledged the gift that I sent. I wouldn't have been so upset if it weren't for the fact that they've acknowledged and shown pictures of things they received from other people. I have one gift left to send. I'm not saying, I'm just saying....

As for the knitting progress...

Gem is sitting on the side lines until I go back to NC. With all the family time it's hard to really concentrate on it. The ball of Shimmer I have is going to become a little clutch purse but I will be buying more on Saturday which I will turn into a long skinny scarf. (Thanks for the suggestions everyone!). I'm also turning the heel on my Tip & Top Cotton sock. I've decided to start over since the first sock I made had those funny holes in the heel.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mission Accomplished: Hello Cleveland!!!

Hello from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The secret mission I mentioned Friday is complete. I am now visiting my family and working from Cleveland for the week. It was only a secret because I was surprising my parents and my mother reads this. I drove from NC and they aren't really big on me driving long distances by myself.

My brother is on this side of the country (he lives in Seattle) and my cousin is home before he goes off to Iraq, so this a good time to visit. There was a family gathering Sunday and I popped in and surprised everyone. It was great. I got to see my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And most importantly I ate like a fat rat! Many miles will be run when I get back to NC.

Now to the knitting content.

I've already fit in a few visits to some yarn shops. Mamacita and I went to And Sew On in Cleveland Heights and Fine Points on Saturday. The first shop is a needlecrafts shop so the the selection was small but nice. There was some nice K1C2 Frosting yarn on sale but required US2 needles and we all know I'm not a fan of the same needle gauge so it stayed at the shop.

Have you ever been to a store with a whole lot of nothing? That's how I feel about Fine Points. It's a nice shop, crammed full of yarn from every maker possible BUT there isn't enough of any one color to make anything. Not unless you want to look like Joseph in his Technicolor Dreamcoat . I also discovered that just looking at novelty yarn makes me itch. I like classic yarns and furry/fluffy/scruffy/feathery yarn makes me cringe.

I have some other tidbits about this place but I'll save it for tomorrow's segment of "Friendly Tips for Everyday Living".

I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn't find anything to buy at the first two shops. It just felt wrong. I made up for it with a quick trip to The Knitting Room in Woodmere. Look at the goodies...

Some SWTC Pheonix for half-price and a ball of Crystal Palace Shimmer. I am in LOVE with Shimmer. Great feel,weight,and shimmery without being scratchy. I've never seen it before and I'm trying to come up with something to make with it so I can go pick up more before I leave Sunday. I don't want to make any more shrugs/boleros. Maybe a drop-stitch scarf? Any ideas?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

No really...For real!?!

My sister has a habit of calling me while I'm at work and asking "What are you doing", to which I reply, "Working". She always follows with "No, really. For real!?!" And we do this every time she calls. It was a known fact that when I first started working a few years ago, I didn't really do much work. My day usually consisted of 2 hours of "checking email", a 1 hour meeting, 1 hour lunch, and 3 hours of actual work. (If you were counting you noticed that didn't total 8 hours). It wasn't my fault they didn't give me anything challenging to do.

I used to complain about my under-utilization but no more. Now I work and I mean work. With my current project I work a full 9-10 hours in the office and an occasional 1-3 hours at home. And I'm not complaining...well...not that much. I enjoy my co-workers and my work but it does cut into my knitting time. After work I don't always have the mental brain power to knit because everything would be one long stockinette row. This is why Gem is not finished.

FYI....This post has no pictures. Sorry, too tired. But please keep reading.

Instead of knitting I have planned out my winter knitting list. With the lack of good patterns this season, I'm going to eliminate some stash and venture into designing some knitwear. The local SnB group just sent out a notice for a Winter charity/fashion show/silent auction event and I sent in my name to make a few things. I think this will challenge me to design something. And they are looking for more "guy stuff" so I might take a stab at that too.

My Andromeda yarn for Clapotis arrived. I fondled it but only for a minute since the yarn smells likes a lamb's butt. What do you expect from un-dyed yarn? But Stephanie at Woolpeddler's is nice and she ships fast. I'll definitely buy from her again.

I discovered a new yarn shop in Wake Forest. It's a quilt shop called Quilts Like Crazy that started selling yarn earlier this year. They have a good selection and I'm excited that they are five minutes from my apartment. All the other shops are 25-40 minutes away.

I had Bloglines condense my 3 feeds into 1 but I think I may have lost a few subscribers. I'm not sure but if so, please just re-subscribe. Sorry for the inconvienence.

I think that's all I have to report today. If it's not coherent and my punctuation/spelling sucks, blame it on the lack of sleep and proper eating.

I'm going on a secret mission Saturday which I'll be sure to tell you about Monday. Hopefully by then I'll have some knitting to show you too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Those people at Rowan have lost their d*mned minds!

For the love of all that is holy, what rabid, madness-inducing virus got unleashed in the offices of Rowan!?!? Oh how I was looking forward to the new Rowan Magazine 38 , and oh how they do disappoint. Have you seen the madness! The pictures are scary and the designs are scarier. Maybe it's just me but take a look with me and see if there is anything you would spend money on, let alone, wear in public?

What is this?

or this?

or this?

I can't tell what half the designs are supposed to be, others are so big and mis-shapen, and the few that look normal look like they came from a previous Rowan mag.

First Knitty came out with an all-male issue but I got past it because I had the Fall IK and I just knew Rowan and VK were on the way. But NOPE, VK is following the horrendous bo-homeless look and now, this Rowan mess. What next? Will everything in the fall Rebecca mag be equally devastating. Oh the horror!

Why oh why has Rowan forsaken me?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Best laid plans.......

I'm a procrastinator. I admit it and for the most part I have done well to overcome that problem but in the case of the All-White outfit, procrastination reared it's ugly little head. I knew about this party the first week of June but waited until 2 weeks ago to really start and I payed for it in the end. It didn't come out the way I wanted and I didn't have time to fix it. Here it is.

(Click the pic for a closer view)

It's supposed to be a "collage" skirt. It is a front and back piece with side grommets and ribbon ties on the side, and is supposed to go over a pair of short-shorts. What's wrong is that at this length it's too long for the grommet/ribbon thing and should just be a regular skirt. But since the regular skirt thing isn't what I was going for I needed to shorten it and decorate the back flap which I hadn't done and didn't have time to do. I'll probably fix it and wear it somewhere else. If nothing else, it's something I can add to my design portfolio. Thankfully I had a backup outfit.

Gem Progress

Here is a progress pic of Gem . I added the pic of Gem to show what it is. I thought I had shown a picture before but I guess I never did. I hope to finish the front tonite and the back by Wednesday.

A cornucopia of delights

Look at all this SP goodness!!!

A big thanks to my Secret Pal Sarah . She said she couldn't wait to send me my last gift because otherwise it would have kept growing. I can see why! When I opened the box I was so overwhelmed and felt so unworthy. Here is what she sent me.

Yardley English Lavender lotion --- The perfect after-bath lotion.
Arizona and Disneyland keychains --- I collect keychains and didn't have one from either of these places. YEAH!
Mini Travel Emory Boards - I'm putting these in the knitting bag. I never notice a chipped nail until I'm knitting
A Maya Angelou bookmark - Psychic Sarah must have known I was looking from a bookmark the other day.
Carmel Apple and Kettle Corn Popcorn - I've been known to go on a popcorn binge and eat nothing but for days at a time.
5 skeins of KnitPicks Merino Style in Rhubarb - Enough for a nice vest that I've been thinking about making.
A lovely card, matching notebook (so very Diva!), VK Weekend Knits book, and some Pina Colada Adiago Tea (I won't even go into my tea addiction).

Everyone go visit Sarah and see the pictures of her adorable children. She's the greatest!