Thursday, January 26, 2006

Meme and the Part-Sock

Well, it seems like everyone's doing the Four Things meme, and while I haven't been tagged, I'm joining anyway.

Four Jobs You’ve Had In Your Life:

1. ESL Instructor
2. Information Specialist
3. Student Clerk in Echocardiography
4. Customer Service Associate at Walmart

Four Movies You Could Watch Over And Over:

1. Toy Story 2
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. The Return of the King
4. Sixteen Candles

Four Places You’ve Lived:

1. west side, Iowa City
2. Downtown Iowa City
3. Rome, Italy
4. Creston, IA

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:

1. Everybody Loves Raymond
2. Mythbusters
3. What Not To Wear
4. Project Runway

Four Places You’ve Been On Vacation:

1. Colorado
2. California
3. New York
4. Scotland

Four Websites You Visit Daily:

1. Gmail
2. Cute Overload
3. Stuff On My Cat
4. any blog on my list that's updated

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:

1. Panchero's Chicken Burritos
2. Lasagne
3. Pasta with vegetables
4. Turkey sandwiches

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I've got a partial sock for you!

Partial Sock

I'm using that Claudia Handpainted sock yarn from kpixie, and this pattern for ankle socks. I'm ready to do the short row toe on the first sock, and I've barely made a dent in the ball of yarn. I hope to finish this sock tonight, and maybe even start the next! I feel like I haven't finished anything in a long time, but I've started about five things, and I have a pile of yarn itching to get going, too. And I've got some yarn that would make a great hat and bootie set for The Preemie Project.

In other preemie news, check out the contest Jean over at The Scottish Lamb has set up! She's got a gorgeous woven basket ready to go out to someone who knits for the Preemie Project through the end of February. If I can focus long enough to make a teensy tiny preemie set, anyone can.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New Week, New Yarn

Back in the swing of things, and I'm drowning in homework. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to take a blogging break! I didn't get to knit this weekend, as I had cuter things to attend to. My little niece is growing up so quickly! Here she is not caring about the animals at the zoo.

She Doesn't Care

Of course, she's not quite 6 months old yet (close!), so she's allowed to not care about what her mommy is pointing at. I didn't get many shots of the animals, but if you're interested, Heather has some cute ones posted.

I didn't do anything "productive" this weekend, much to my continuing dismay. I have a big pile of homework next to a big pile of things to grade and a big pile of books to convert into lesson plans. And a giant pile of yarn that's getting bigger by the day. Today's addition? Five skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Sock Yarn, two in "Freesia" and three in "Stormy Days."

Claudia Sock Yarn

Gorgeous, isn't it? I think, based on the fact that I have two midterms the last week in February, that I might have to revise my Knitting Olympics project. I know I'll never get a cardigan done in 16 busy days, but a pair of socks is much more reasonable, and still a challenge as I've never knit a "real" heel, and because of the time constraint. Plus, that yarn is gorgeous. Now I just have to collect the appropriate needles and decide on a pattern. Any suggestions?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Preemie Project Hats

I've spent the last couple of days finishing up some hats for The Preemie Project. I volunteered to make three white hats for 3-5 lb. preemies, but the first two I crocheted (LB Microspun) ended up being different sizes. After that, I switched to knitting, and knit three in Caron Simply Soft. They were the right size (yay!), so now I just have to do a load of laundry and get them all clean before I get them to Laura.

Preemie Hats

Other than that, I washed dishes today (all of them!) and got my teeth cleaned. I love getting my teeth cleaned, and I love free floss. The hygenist even said that I must have good brushing technique (really? I never would've guessed... seriously), and since it's bedtime, I can go evaluate whether or not I would agree.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Finished Moebius

I got quite a bit of knitting done this weekend! First off, I finished my Moebius shawl (I made the executive decision not to thrum it, so this really is done).

Finished Moebius

I love how it turned out; the yarn, Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester, is soft and squishy and everything wool should be. My only complaint is at myself; in my desire to finish, I decided to bind off without doing the last three purl rows (it's a wrap, you can make it how you want to, right?) as it seemed wide enough. Wearing it, though, I can't help but think that I shouldn't have done that. I don't care, though, because the colors are gorgeous. And I should have enough wool left to make myself a hat. Woo hoo!

I also knit a few rows on the Adamas shawl, and then cast on a sweater for my niece (finally!). Here's last night's progress:

Sweater Back

It's the "Chunky Zip Up Cardigan" from Knitting for Two by Erika Knight. I'm using Knit Picks Sierra in Wild Rose. I really love this yarn for chunky patterns; it's smooth and soft. I'd like to have the sweater done before this weekend's "family vacation" (i.e., trip to the zoo and casino), but that's not an entirely reasonable goal, since it's the first week of classes.

Looking at other lofty goals, I signed up for the Harlot's 2006 Knitting Olympics. Crazy, I know. I've been promising Heather a cardigan for awhile. She gave me a scarf yesterday that she's been working on for awhile, and it's really soft and warm and I love it, so I decided that for the Olympics, I'd challenge myself to finish her cardigan in 16 days.

I'm going to use a pattern from the last Family Circle Easy Knitting. It's the blue and white one under "Powder Blue." Here's a close up of the cables.

Cable Detail

I think it'll be fun, and I think I could potentially finish. I really want a challenge, though, so I set the bar pretty high. I'm hoping I can finish and not fail my classes, etc. We'll see.

In other news, I'd like to thank my secret pal for her comments! They made my day!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Moebius Beginning

The tests are done; don't even get me started on the last one (I have to remind myself that peoples' eyes glaze over when a rant involves linguistics). I'm taking a break from the shawl, because I got my Denise Interchangeables in the mail. They're working perfectly with the Moebieus Shawl. It's really neat being able to just add length and take it away from the cord when I feel like it. Here's the yarn from my Moebius kit.

Huggable Yarn

The colors aren't exactly true; the blue is a bit richer, and what looks like brown in the photo is actually a nice olive green. This big superskein (it's 410 yards) was just right for hugging when I was stressed out yesterday. I'm about halfway through the shawl, but I'll post a progress picture soon, as I don't know when it'll be finished. Hopefully soon, but school starts Tuesday (I can't believe it!), and I have lots to get done before then.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Adamas Shawl Progress

Finished up another test this morning [in 72 hours: 3 exams, 37 pages written]; only one left. Of course, it's probably the one I'm least prepared for, so at least part of this day off, I'll be studying syntax.

But not all day, because I want to keep working on my Adamas Shawl. Here's the progress:

Adamas in Progress

I was very excited to get to take the picture in natural light; all semester I was out of my apartment during daylight hours, but this spring I've got two afternoons a week without a thing to do. Well, I'm sure I'm supposed to be studying and grading things and whatnot, but, well, it sounds more like prime knitting time to me!

Anyway, I'm working this up in Knit Picks Shadow in Vineyard. It's a gorgeous deep heathered purple. I'm on the fourth pattern repeat of fourteen, but that only puts me at 10% done. Hopefully I can make some good progress today.

In other news, while taking breaks from my exams to, well, um, read knit blogs, I stumbled across Birch. Gorgeous! If I hadn't already ordered a Thrummed Moebius Kit after seeing the Harlot's post. And a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles. That one was a late Christmas present, though. But still, I'll have to wait and clear up a few projects before I seriously consider getting my hands on that pattern book.

Like the shawl in progress, which reminds me... I have knitting to do!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Survey

Hi, everyone! So, it's about six on Sunday night, and I woke up about an hour ago. My comprehensive exams (comps) started yesterday. I picked up my first exam yesterday at 11 in the morning, and it was due today at 11. They're take home/open book, mostly because the questions are not anything for which you can find the answer in a book. You get a set of data, and you have to do an analysis of it, and defend your analysis. I managed 15 pages for this one, and I feel pretty good about my answer. I know that at about 4am, I was starting to get less coherent, but I took a 3 hour nap before finishing, so I hope it makes sense.

I have today off, and the next test starts tomorrow at 11. I should be studying, but I had to find out about my Secret Pal, and now I'm going to post my survey answers. Read on if you find that kind of stuff interesting (I know I do...)

Secret Pal 7 Survey

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
I'm a softness snob; I prefer natural fibers, but I don't like wool that's scratchy (like some Noro and Lopi), and I do like soft lower end acrylics, especially Caron Simply Soft. I have nothing against Lion Brand, and I love the colors in Landscapes, but I would say that I prefer real wool to Wool-Ease.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Clearly, I crochet ;) I'm starting to think, though, that I prefer knitting. I don't spin, but I'm not opposed to learning someday.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A big ole pile. I do own, um, two needle/hook organizers, but, well, I haven't actually put needles or hooks into them yet.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for six months, and I would say that I'm an intermediate knitter. I'm not afraid to tackle anything.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, I do indeed. Here's my Amazon Wish List.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Hmmm. I like cherry, and lilac, and vanilla. I don't like pachoulli very much, or coconut, but other than that, I'm pretty easygoing about scents.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I don't have a chocolate obsession, although I can't say no to chocolate/raspberry things. I like candy in general, but I guess I don't have a favorite candy.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I love baking, and cooking in general. I also really like photography, although I've never been able to get myself to make a scrapbook, much to the chagrin of my entire extended family. I also like embroidery, and woodworking, although with a one bedroom apartment, it's hard to do much of that. I have dreams of building my own swift.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all sorts of music, except some rap/hip-hop. I love Led Zeppelin, and Ben Folds, jazz, opera, pop, barbershop, classical, classic rock, Sousa marches, seriously, just about anything. My darling iBook can play anything of a format that iTunes can read (sorry, no Windows Media Audio).

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Oh, I don't have a favorite, I just love color. Chocolatey brown, bright red, calm blues, and greens are all wonderful. I like rich colors and jewel tones, and some pastels.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am a single twentysomething with no pets except yarn. That's a pet, right?

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I love scarves of all shapes and sizes, and mittens are one of my favorite cold weather accessories. I wear hats sometimes, and I've never actually owned a poncho, although I'm not opposed to them in principle.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Hmmm.... I love Blue Sky Alpacas (I've used sportweight and cotton), and I've never disliked a yarn from Knit Picks. I also like Cascade 220.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Novelty yarn; it's just not my thing. And LB Homespun. I don't like to be a hater, but I hate using Homespun (although I like how it feels).

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I really enjoyed making lots of mittens for Christmas gifts. I like things with shaping, or fun lace patterns. Or quick little scarflets and wristwarmers.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Nothing (seriously, I've been pretending to study for my comps). Next up, though, is another pair of mittens for my mom, and after that, I don't know.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
YES! I love to see what other people make. Seriously, even if it's "just" a dishcloth, I'll treasure it. I don't get many handmade gifts from people, but I love them.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circulars. I have a bunch of Addi Turbos, and I just ordered a Denise Interchangeable kit.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Golly, I like them all. I like bamboo DPNs, 'cause they don't fall out as often. I like my Addis, although, Susan Bates aluminum needles are also nice and smooth. I also like how plastic needles flex a little and warm up.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I own a winder, but no swift. For now, my knees and the hands of friends suffice.

22. How did you learn to knit?
I used the DVD that came in Target's Knit Kits last summer, and supplemented it with

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Crocheted, I've got one that's 1 year old, knitting, um, two months.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I don't have a favorite animated characher, but I do like sheep and squirrels and jellyfish (they travel in smacks).

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. Food, friends, family, and no pressure to have gifts ready. Plus, it helps me focus on what I'm truly thankful for.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn? And books, I have pretty big collection of those. And pens. And junkmail (I always forget to shred it).

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I saw this pattern the other day at Knit Picks, and it looks great. I like the books on my wishlist, but I'm pretty ignorant about patterns available online.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Hmmm, I've knit socks toe-up, but I don't know how to do a turn a heel and whatnot. Someday I'd like to know that, and Fair Isle, too.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I've knit one pair of socks, but I don't really know what foot measurements are necessary. I'll just have a quick go at these: um, around the ball of my foot is 9", 10" around before the ankle bone, 10" at the ankle, 9.75" long. (My shoe size is 8.5-9, wide).

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
June 22nd.

Thanks for reading, and I hope something was interesting!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2006 FO #2

Hey, I finished another thing! Alright, I technically started them in 2005, but I'm calling them the second finished object of 2006.

Alpaca Wristwarmers

I whipped these up out of Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist. It's 100% baby alpaca, and I picked it up at Sophie's Fine Yarn Shop when I visited Louisville. I used US8s and just k4p1 for awhile, then sewed up the seam, leaving a thumb hole. They're absurdly soft, and will make me wonderfully warm when I'm at work. I still have one ball of this left, and no plans for what to make. I thought maybe a lacy scarf, but we'll see what happens.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year

It's a new year? I never see it coming, but it always does. So I'm declaring 2006 the Year of Selfish Crafting... Sort Of. What I mean by this is that I'm finally going to make time to knit and crochet things for myself. Things that are larger than an iPod Cozy! The "Sort Of" is because most of my pending projects are, of course, for other people. So what am I planning on making this year? For myself, the Adamas Shawl and maybe a sweater. And a stocking cap and mittens? For others, I have some socks to finish up, a scarf and mittens set, and I have to work on some sweaters and blankies for my niece. I also plan on a couple of hat and bootie sets for The Preemie Project each month. And of course, I'll fill in this plan with lots of random little projects, I'm sure. But the point is, I'm at last not going to continually put off making things for myself in favor of making things for other people.

I started off the year by finishing my Panta. I used some leftover Cascade Quatro and a US8 Addi Turbo, and I really like how it worked up.

Me in Panta

Then, I worked on Mom's birthday scarf. There's not much to show yet, but here's the lovely texture of a lot of single crochets.

Mom's Scarf Progress

In other news, I did some online shopping for the Crochetville Winter Wool Swap. It was very exciting; I love shopping for other people. I like to be able to pick some of my favorites and share them, but also to see new things and try to find things my partner will like. I actually like the sending part of swaps better than the receiving, but as this swap is all wool/alpaca, I am very excited to see what comes my way.

And now, I'm off to do some studying.