Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thanks, Secret Pal!

Wow. Wow! I totally forgot my Secret Pal said my package should get here today. So I struggle off of the bus, backpack around one elbow (really, it's, um, comfortable that way), folders and notebooks that wouldn't fit in the pack in the crook of my other elbow, talking on the phone with my sis. Then I managed to pull my keys out of my pocket with my left hand (which is unheard of for me, I've got lots of wacky idiosyncrasies), got my mail, and started up the stairs. And then I remembered, and there it was, waiting outside my door! And now, a picture.

Secret Pal Stuff

How lucky am I? My secret pal thinks she "may have gone overboard," well, I'd say so, the box wanted to explode as I was opening it! I'm just giddy with excitement. And I got really great yarn, too!

Well, it wasn't all yarn. I got an awesome hook roll, shown on the left. It's toile! And it's beautiful. I can't wait to get organized and get stuff in there. Then there's some really neat Classic Elite Flash, it's the purple/fuschia marled cotton. It looks just like the Lorna's Laces colorway Laura was knitting socks out of the other day. Above that, you'll see some "Cashmere Luxury Chunky" in three warm colors. I don't know what it'll become, but it's so deliciously soft that I know I'll use it soon.

There's also some peach Red Heart LusterSheen, which I've never seen before; it's really soft, and I've recently gotten into working with lighter weight yarns. There's also some Bernat Cottontots, which will make some nice spring hats/blankies for The Preemie Project. There's some Fun Fur, which I've never worked with before. It's a lovely silvery grey color, and I'm thinking about making a scarf with it. And last, but certainly not least, five balls of Bernat Love Bug cotton in lavendar. Now, I've never seen this yarn, but it's exactly what I've been looking for to make a baby sweater out of for my niece. And with that much, I'm sure there'll be enough!

I also got a lovely note from my Secret Pal, who is worried about the package's delay. Well, don't worry! I'm just so happy to be participating, and I completely understand that life gets in the way sometimes. I just can't get over what a box of yarn that was! And I know I've never mentioned this, but I love toile. Here's a close up:

Hook Roll Closeup

It has sheep! Toile with sheep, what a present! Thanks again, Secret Pal!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lacing Along

Hmmm, so I was going to talk about lace first, but I just, well, sniped an eBay auction. And what makes it bad is that I hate it when people do that. Oh, well, I needed to get a Christmas present before everyone starts their major shopping, and eBay was as good as anything else.

In other news, I'm working on the Knitty Branching Out Scarf. I bought some Knit Picks Gossamer when it was introduced because the colors were lovely. I don't know why I got it, because I didn't have anything to make with it, and at the point probably never would have considered knitting lace. At any rate, I decided to try something new, and here's my progress:

Lace Progress

It's about 15" long right now, and I'm going for about 48" so that it can be worn as an indoor accessory. The yarn is really nice; it's squishy, and I love the stripe-like effect. I put in a lifeline a couple of rows back, because I was frustrated by my inability to fix a mistake for the second time. It's not the fault of the yarn or the pattern, I just don't have the mad knitting skills to fix all of my mistakes yet. Fortunately, I don't really care. It makes it unique, right?

I sent off the scarf swap scarf today; I'll post a picture once it's reached it's destination. My goal this weekend is to finish the One Skein Wonder for Hannah, since I'm supposed to see her next Monday. And, of course, I need to finish some stuff up for my second package to my secret pal. I've got a big list of things I'm considering, but I've got to narrow it down. Of course, I have to order some yarn for her reveal package, too, so that it's here in time for me to send it out.

Does anyone know of a nice, inexpensive alternative to Kid Silk Haze? Or is there really no other way to go?

Before I go, I had lots of fun last night knitting with Laura of The Preemie Project, Libby, and Mandy at a coffee shop (I had Earl Grey tea). I can't wait to meet up with them again; it's really nice to get out and ignore my homework with other people for awhile. Speaking of ignoring homework, I've been doing that for far too long today, so I'd better get some work done. Once I finish this lace repeat....

Friday, September 09, 2005

Lots of Stuff Today

Eat your heart out, Martha.

Do you ever have days where you fee like a Super Woman? I had one today. I woke up shortly after the sun did, ate a hot breakfast (unusual for me), went to work for five hours, came home, rolled out pastry that I pre-made last night, made a delicious savory pie filling (cheese, potatoes, onions), finished a hat for the Preemie Project, sent out an RAOK and Heather's One Skein Wonder, went back downtown to donate blood, came back home, baked 24 mini-pies, went to a potluck, and then came home and started a scarf for a swap. And I'm not even tired.

I essentially owe my sucess to Nigella. Her book How to be a Domestic Goddess really made me feel like a successful domestic goddess. Especially because I came home from the potluck with empty plates.

Enough about food, here's some yarn.

Scarf Swap Sneak Peak

That's (some) of the yarn I got in the mail today for the Scarf Swap over at Crochetville. It's delicious. And I'm not telling what it is till my partner gets her scarf :) We'll just say that I can't stop petting it. And wanting to keep it for myself, which tells me that I found a good yarn.

And how about some hats?

Preemie Hat

I adapted Yarncat's Amelia hat to a preemie size, and unlike many crocheted hats, it's really stretchy. I made a (full size) one for myself last fall, and I really liked it.

Pumpkin Hat

And that's a pumpkin hat for the Preemie Project. I don't remember what pattern I got the series of decreases from, but I just cast on some multiple of 8 and went around for awhile until it was a few inches tall, and then decreased across 8(?) rows, and finished with green i-cord.

And now, the finished One Skein Wonder.

One Skein Wonder Front


One Skein Wonder Back

and Back. I just barely remembered to take photos before I mailed it. (While I felt like Super Woman, it was still a rather hectic day.)

I've got more gorgeous yarn pics to share, but that'll wait, I've taken up enough of your bandwidth already.

Monday, September 05, 2005

It's Got Sleeves!

Or at least, as much of a sleeve as you get on a One Skein Wonder.

It's Got Sleeves

Now all I have to do is figure out how to pick up stitches so that I can do the neckline. This has been a fun little project, and I learned how to do raglan shaping. While I've got sleeves, I have to admit that I didn't seam them. Rather, I figured out how to make the sleeves in the round, and magic looped them, because who really wants a seam on such a delicate little garment? Admittedly, I've still got a few stitches that I should sew together, but the tiniest little seam shouldn't be an issue.

And now, to finish my homework. I'm not a very dedicated student; any time it comes down to homework vs. crocheting/knitting, I choose the yarn. Of course, the homework is due tomorrow, and the knitting isn't, so maybe that wasn't the best decision, but I've only got a very little bit of school stuff left that's got to be done tonight.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

One Skein Wonder in Progress

So, after feeling a bit of stash building remorse over that cotton I got on sale, I decided I should use it as fast as possible. Because then the purchase would be justified, right? Fortunately, there's just enough in a hank for a One Skein Wonder, so I'll be making some of those. Here's an in progress photo of the first, for Heather 'cause it's blue.

One Skein Wonder

Next up, one in green for Heather's sister, the ballerina, whose kitty is dying, and whose two older sisters are now both out of the state. I'm hoping to have it done soon, and may even (gasp) start it before the blue one is completely finished.

We'll see how quickly it gets done, though, because one of my classmates has offered to pay, yes, pay me to crochet her a fall shawl. I'm working up some swatches so that she can pick out a stitch pattern, and I'm going to show her some yarn to pick from. Once I know the yarn and stitch, I've got to come up with how much to charge, which will be the hard part. I don't want to devalue my work, but I also know that there's only so much people will pay for stuff.

Unless, apparently, you're me. I felt a bit ashamed the other day as I filled out Crochet Me's Reader Survey. One of the questions asked how much you'd spent on yarn in the last 12 months. Now, I'm a college student, so I really shouldn't be spending that much on yarn, right? That's what I thought until I added it all up and realized it placed me in the highest category *blush.* I felt a bit better once I thought of all of the things I've made, and that one of my friends has spent more than that amount on comic books in the last nine months, but still. I guess that's what induced the OSW frenzy. Plus, they're cute. And it meant I got to buy a new circular knitting needle (size 5). Although I guess that's a bit counterintuitive.

And now, dear readers, I have to go gussy myself up for a wedding reception. The wedding was this morning, at 6:30 am. Don't worry, I took a nap. Instead of doing my homework. Or cleaning my apartment. C'est la vie.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Aaah, Football

I love the first game of the season; it's almost the fourth quarter, and we're leading 49-0 (Go Hawks!). We'll see how it ends, as the Hawks have a tendency to screw things up in the last quarter. In other news, Kinnick is lovely after it's facelift. The only disappointment today is that this is the first home game in five years I haven't been at. After four years in the HMB, I feel funny not being there. And not waking up at 5:45 this morning to get to the stadium. And not spending over 20 hours a week in rehearsal. As a side note, if you go to the band's website and refresh to see all of the pictures, I'm just to the left of Herky in the picture of Herky (the mascot) in the stands with band members, and my best friend Heather is the girl with a bass drum in one of the pictures.

I wish I'd gotten season tickets, but the Home Schedule leaves a lot to be desired. I didn't really want to pay $130 to watch us play Northern Iowa, Ball State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. I've got enough great football memories. Winning the Alamo Bowl (Nade Kaeding attempted to conduct In Heaven There is No Beer), clinching the Big 10 Championship at Minnesota and watching the fans rip out another team's goalpost (they're idiots... you can't get a goalpost out of revolving doors), beating Michigan, beating Michigan, beating ISU, beating ISU at home, and, of course, The Catch. For non-Iowa fans, check out number four at the Top 100 Finishes, 1970-present. The Capital One bowl end is an indelible memory, and it was a fantastic way to finish my career in the HMB.

We're at 56-0 right now. I hope it holds. I hope that this year, the Hawks get to go to the Rose Bowl. I'll be sad to not get to go with them, but you've gotta move on.

Enough about football. This afternoon, I'm hoping to fix up the pumpkin hat, and I've swatched for a One Skein Wonder. Yes, I've decided what to do with that cotton I got on sale; I've got a ballerina friend who could use some cheering up, and that pattern always makes me think of willowy-ballerina-types. Now I've just got see if I can get any closer to gauge without venturing out into the football traffic for more needles, as my knitting needle collection is woefully bare, especially when compared with my crochet hook collection.

Friday, September 02, 2005

School Takes Over

Gah! I always forget how busy I am during the semester until the next one rolls around. And this semester, I even have fewer classes than I've ever had before! Fortunately, they're all interesting, it's just a lot of work. Yesterday I worked on this hat as stress relief:

Almost Pumpkin Hat

This is supposed to be a pumpkin hat for The Preemie Project. Of course, I forgot to switch to a different color for the stem, oops, so I'll have to rip back and fix it. Of course, I've never ripped back anything knitted in the round with decreases. I'll probably just go back to a row before the decreases so that I know where I'm at.

I am very excited that I learned a new technique while working on this hat. I had tried DPN's before, and they worked alright, but not fantastically. So this time, I went with Magic Loop Knitting. I used the video over at, since the other instructions I tried to use left me with a tangled mess. It worked really well, and I didn't get frustrated at all (after the first attempt). Now I'll have to go check out the videos for changing colors while knitting, so that I can put a stem on the hat.

I also ordered some yarn for the Winter Scarf Swap over at Crochetville. My swap partner is from up north, which rocks, because I love making warm, squishy scarves. I'm not going to reveal too much, because I would like the scarf to be a semi-secret, I'll post some close ups when I get the yarn. I can't wait!

I also ordered some sale Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton yarn. I've never used it before, but I've heard good things about Knit Pixie, and I had a coupon. Can't go wrong with a coupon and sale yarn, right? I don't like to buy yarn without having a project in mind, but I've got to admit I don't really know what I'm going to do with this. I'm thinking some spring preemie caps, but cotton's not too stretchy. Maybe a scarf or wrap for myself? It seems like I always intend to make myself a wrap or a shawl, and it never happens, but who knows?