Monday, September 29, 2008

Chunky Knits pt.1

My FMIL and I drove out to Iowa this weekend to go to the Iowa vs. Northwestern game. I haven't seen my guy in, what, 5 weeks (that tends to seem like a lot after having him spend all summer there as well), and I was très excited to see him. I charged my camera and erased nearly all pictures on it to take loads of pictures of us, and also Iowa City, and what I now have on my camera is this: Zada (Joe's puppy). 10 pictures of her, and not us.
You know how that goes,..."Oh crap! I forgot the camera" on nearly all occasions. I was pretty disappointed with myself. We spent Friday evening eating out and then dancing at Jake's bar (which after pre-gaming and two strong drinks in a single hour, I was "too drunk to dance." C'est moi.). Saturday-game day-was scolding hot. I was miserable, so Joe and I walked back to his apartment a little past half-time. I'm super sad to have left him on Sunday, but we woke up and ate at a bagel shop before I left, and told eachother that we would see one another in under a week again...because we are going to St. Paul for his cousin's wedding on Saturday. So, guess what. I have to drive all the way back to Iowa City this Friday (only a 2 hour detour, they assure me) and then hop all the way to St. Paul. Thank God for my Navigation system. I've never even driven to Iowa City, let alone being the only one in my car and then driving through another state I've never been in. "Vickie," my navi, will show her undying loyalty and dedication to me, and get a "map illiterate" soul where it needs to be. Watch "I, Robot," if you don't get the whole "Vickie" thing. We literally talk back to eachother.

Reading note: I just finished Jeffrey Cohen's "Some Like it Hot-Buttered" on the way to Iowa (it was a little funny, but not too laugh-out-loud like some suggest), and finished Alice Hoffman's "Ice Queen" from start to finish yesterday. "Ice Queen" was a little depressing (it's suposed to be), but intriguing. I thinking I'm now up to 21-22 books this year! Voila! Another FO in the same week! Here is Part One to my chunky Bathmat extravaganza. If you've read the last post, you'd know that they were knit on a honking size 50 US, 5-stranded.
Mr. Paci seems to be a fan of the bathmat. I don't speak Alpaca well, but I think he told me he wants a chunky bed to sleep on. Standing upright on my desk 24/7 doesn't suit him like it used to.

Rectangle Bathmat Information:
Pattern: my own doing (will be updated later with chunky bathmat patterns)
Yarn: Red Heart, worsted weight in 2 strands of seagreen, 2 strands light emerald and 1 strand of almost a dirty sage
Needles: Size 50 US
Dimensions: 30x45 inches

I was initially knitting this bathmat for my future apartment/home. But, having been in Joe's "quaint" apartment, I think he is a wonderful recipient of this knit. Heck, he doesn't even have a mat at all in his bathroom. He's just begging for one, isn't he?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clogs & Logs

Yes, these clogs got spoiled rotten. Two nights in a row did they enjoy a hot and vigorous bubble bath. They even got to tumble a little bit in the dryer again as well. Lucky buggers.
They are now what I could only guess a size 8 US Women's. Unfortunately, I don't think this clog can slim anymore around "the waist," but hey, real clogs have "curves." This isn't Hollywood. My Aunt Charlene is one of those people who order Christmas gifts through one of those huge catalogues. You'll never know what you'll get next with every coming year. My father received a shoe-dryer last year, and has only occasionally (rarely, shh!) used it on his shoes after he exercises. But, low-and-behold! They were amazing for drying these clogs. The device has 4 hoses (yes, that's two whopping hoses per clog), and the temperature is adjustable. Yippy for me and my new felting thing.

I'm a 5-day-a-week AV shelver at my library and recently have messed up my knee (which can't heal because I work on it every day [oh, a sick-sad-cyle]) because my job is the bend down and put things away (and straighten) all day long. Well, ok...only 4 hours a day...but hey! It takes a toll. I think I was bending down in a squat too roughly, because now my knee is achy and needs to crack all the time, and just feels really messed up. I have a flexible brace on it now, and I hope it works, but I was wondering if anyone else had this knee-cap problem too. Any advise?
I'll leave you now with this mystery object, worked on "logs" (Size 50 US needles. Yeah, I'm totally serious. A baby tree, right?). What ever shall it be?
Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Godzilla's designer

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I recently had an urge to create clogs. I've heard of Fiber Trend's Felted Clogs for quite some time, yet I think it was the pride of designing my own things that got in the way of my just going ahead and buying it (like a normal person). And $10 later, I became normal. Well, more normal, if you'd have it.

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There is something gratifying about knitting around the bend of this sole. Its a little different than knitting on circular needles, or just knitting in the round. With every row, you can see the actual thing forming. It's not just rows in the round (a tube). It has life.

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I actually started the first clog Friday night, and was knitting the second clog by Saturday morning. I decided that Saturday morning declares good eats, so I made some blueberry muffins, fruit and poured myself a cup of Folger's carmel coffee.

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A photo of the clogs happily bathing in the sun pre-double-sole contruction. If you have the pattern, you know what I mean. They look so peaceful. While they were enjoying their bliss, I was happy enough knowing that the colors blend well, and they turned out the same size.

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This is what happens when you don't check your gauge! Ha ha, no. I'm Godzilla's designer. He's got large feet. Even monsters needs nice warm clogs in their life too.

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Fiber: Wool Barn's 100% double-pied wool in 500 yds teal and 500 yds grey
Needles: size 15 US circular needles (29'')
Contruction picks: wide foot & "bumper" sole.
Modifications: I did knit the extra row on the sole because I have a wide feet (I won't do it again next time though. I guess my feet aren't that wide). I also used size 15's instead of 13's because my yarn was a little thick, and I also saw a knitter who choose that size and her clog turned out great. I might choose another yarn for this pattern next time, too.

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It was insane putting these on prior to felting. I mean, even Micheal Jordan couldn't walk straight in these. I'm guessing these are size 15 men's shoes. Yeah, it was about time to throw these babies in the hot-tube after the photo above.

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Well, I lied. I had to take one last shot of them lying flat post-double-sole. I acutally knit like 2 extra soles because I ran out of the second main color for this clog, and pulled an emergency double-sole fiber choice: light tan tweedy yarn. It was either using up the rest of the blue wool (which I'd rather save for another clog), or skip the double-sole. Hmm, whatever should I have done? *snickers.* It actually does look nice on the felted clog though. Floors are dirty, and now you won't notice the difference between tweed and dirt. Ha.

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Post-felting. The clog is still a size 9 US womens, and I am a size 7.5 or 8. It looks like they'll be taking another nice bath tonight. But it's worth it. It does fit, and I can walk in it, but I'd prefer it to hug my feet a little more. It just gives me peace of mind.
I give many props to Bev, the designer of the pattern. The construction of the clog is pure genius, and I look forward to making more of these babies. There were a lot of increases (and decreases) in this pattern, not to mention the obvious short-row shaping, and she deserved every cent she got from me with this pattern. I can't wait until my clogs drop in size so I can strut around in them this week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[title here]

I'm having one of those weeks that you would pay to never see again.
I haven't had a particularly bad Monday in a long time. I think this Monday made up for that fact, plus decided to continue until today.

I'm just too exhausted to go into the details, but I spent all of Monday being made an idiot by everyone and everything...while the other time apologizing for all sorts of incidents. None of them were particularly my fault either. To my misfortune, today had snippets of real cruddiness...and I just don't understand where all of this is coming from. I had difficulty coming up with a title to this post, because although I don't want to keep up the gloominess, I don't have the brains nor the will to write something more positive than "the week the world crapped on me" or "can I sleep until Saturday?"

I did do a lot of dyeing last night. (Once again, today was still screwed up for me, and the two last skeins of bamboo yarn in the fall shades are basically garbage, because they somehow got incredibly tangled up somewhere between skeining them for the first time, and dyeing them...and unless I want to spend endless hours untangling them...they're toast.)
Here's one of two skeins of lace-weight "Spiced Pumpkin Latte:"

It goes really well with this coffeehouse mystery series! The colors of the skein and the content of the book are both equally cozy. This is the first of other "coffee" related skeins.


This will go up on Etsy soon (unless claimed first.)


Now, here are some more lace-weight skeins I dyed up, yet couldn't conjure enough energy to re-skein and put up on etsy. I'd like to just put these pictures up on etsy like this and re-skein them before sending them out...but I don't know if that just makes me look lazy.

These skeins are called "Ever-blue" and "Ever-pink." They have like 5-6 different shades of that color. I imagine that these skeins would look really great as a lacey neck warmer (bunched-up circular scarf) or of course a shawl.
One good thing happend yesterday: these glasses. I went back to the thrift shop in hopes that a hardcover book I wanted was there (they have a lot of great books there, believe it or not). I wandered to the kitchen part of the store (the stored still makes me feel icky...it's kind of dirty there), and found these awesome glasses! I'm a fan of green & texture...and it was a match made in heaven. Sweet!

Please let me know if any of you want to claim the skeins above. There are two of the "Spiced Pumpkin Latte" and one of each of the "Ever" skeins. Otherwise, they'll be put up on Etsy when I finish skein the rest (and who knows how long that will take me, at this rate).

Feel free to leave a joke, or some piece of good news (yourself, society or whatever) below...goodness knows that *anything* not depressing will cheer me (and other Bad-Monday-hangover victims) up.
You're the best, guys!
Anna

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the dress.

Last night was the most impulsive thing I've ever done in my life. I've never jumped out of an airplane or bungee-jumped. The most I've experimented with my hair is dyeing it light strawberry-blonde and cutting it chin-short. Years apart from eachother, even. I would never even think to get engaged and have a wedding 6 weeks later, like some people. That's just crazy. However, I finally have done one great impulsive thing in my life, and that is walking into the first bridal store I've been into for myself with just one hour before closing and buying the first wedding dress I've ever tried on.

It was hasty. I know. Ridiculous, even. I'm surprized my mother didn't talk me out of it when she was with me last night. But the reality is that it was exactly the dress I've been envisioning, and it was the last dress left in my size, while also being discontinued and on a huge sale! The dress was so perfect for me that it fit like a glove, and the only alteration it needs is to shorten the hem. I had 10 minutes left til closing and the shop is a bit far. I had made my decision. I would buy that dress. I may regret being so hasty and not have the full "experience" with dress-shopping. Maybe I'll live vicariously through the show "Say 'Yes' to the Dress." But looking at this dress, there is no way in the world that I'll have that achy feeling in the pit of my stomach, thinking that I picked a dress too plain. There's no way. This dress makes a statement. It has pizaazz. And I know that Joe will love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

[Knit 1, frog 1]-twice

Dearly beloved,
We are gathered here today to pay honor to the late cowled raglan. It has lived a good full life during the short week it was on the bamboo needles.
It's sibling, the top-down that developed cowled neck-material first lived an even shorter life, and I have faith that the two raglans are in heaven together, enjoying their peace.
I'd like to now say a few words about the late raglan before we part today.
The raglan started off well. It was on the right needles, and if it were anything but a cowled raglan, the stitch amount would have been spot-on. However, I kept on knitting and knitting this poor little bugger, knowing the risks that I might have to frog again. However, no self-loving knitter would really want to frog it if they had to. And so I kept knitting on. Until the stand-still. I had this squirmy feeling in my stomach that the neck just looked to wide, even for a cowl. I wondered if it would just fall off my shoulders. By this time, I was already iffy about the gauge because the stitches were so squished on the needles, and even getting them flat would prove to have numerous results. The yarn is just so stretchy, naturally.

Sometimes, you're in a really detached mood. Luckily, that was the right time to decide to just frog it altogether, even if the raglan was fine. I really didn't want to get half way down the raglan and find out that it needs total reconstruction. As you can (or might be able) to see, the front is a little wide, and the neck area is much to wide, even for a cowl. The better thing to have done was to do increases after every couple of rounds. That would require faking it though, since I was going to use YO's as the increases.

Here's the plan now. The raglan is being constructed bottom-up now, and I will be in more control over how the top is formed for the cowl. Anyways, the sleeves might look prettier in the rounder form (for bottom-up method versus the V-shaped top-down), and I'll save the YO's for a different raglan. I'll be sure to post some pictures when my meek WIP has grown some more.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gauging around

The cowled raglan has come to a stand-still right now until I figure out how wide it is. I decided that since I've never been good with the whole "perfect gauging" skill (oh, many-a-project have been frogged due to this disability)that I decided that pin-usage was in order, just as judging over 4 inches, rather than over 1 inch would probably be more practical as well. Now, if you aren't the swatcher, believe me, inches can sneak up on you in the process if you don't gauge properly. That 5 stitches measuring 1/8 under an inch really shouldn't be overlooked. Goodness knows that I have knitted projects sizable to godzilla that way. The over-all gauge is still iffy, due to the very stretchable nature of this raglan. I don't want to keep the fabric too relaxed, or my gauge will be off because when you pick it up, it is stretching a lot naturally. My guess is that there are 21 stitches to 4''. I have 46 stitches per sleeve right now, so that is roughly 8.3 inches. I might just do one more increase before I either save the sleeves, or do a "fudge" increase (using k2tog's to still be able to use Yo's). It rained all day Thursday. I was extremely content with the weather. Don't get me wrong, it stunk driving home through construction, and having the fear installed in me that someone would crash into to me (last week when it rained, a right-hand turner barely missed me and crashed into the front of the person behind me, while I was waiting at the right light.). When I got home, I baked my "Chicken-roni Casserole" and then enjoyed the soothing sound of rain on my deck as I sipped on some hot cocoa. I believe that I even read some more of my "The Other Boleyn" book as well. (Shelver memory syndrome= no brain left after work.)My garden was getting a little overgrown, so I cut a lot off and shipped it off with my Grandmother when she came over last time. I still have Greek oregano, basil, rosemary and even mint (the small one on the right. I know, pathetic). My blog friend Cassie actually inspired my to dry my herbs by the oven using thread. Don't they look pretty? I didn't actually need to dry the flowers, but how sad would they look with just a few leaves all shriveled up? Rosemary is way in the back. Cassie also inspired me to re-try making hummus. This time, there wasn't roasted red-pepper, but just roasted garlic and onion. It was scrumptious, I tell you! I decided to use up the leftover bread from Panera to make myself a veggie humus sandwich!
Lastly, and most recently, I finished "The Other Boleyn Girl" novel novel last evening while sipping slowly on some orange zinger tea with a slice of orange on the bottom. Yumm. I enjoyed not only the steamy citrus tea, but also enjoyed reading outside in the chilled air while my footsies were snuggled all warm in my "gypsy" colorway socks.

It almost felt like fall. I can't wait to go apple picking next Saturday.
P.s-I added meebo back to my sidebar. Feel free to IM me if i'm online. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cowl-to-be

I casted on for a cowled raglan in a slightly mohair-like yarn in a lovely shade of lavender. Would I have been stoked that the LYS had a shade of sea-green? Yes. But I'm cool with this color. Purple used to be my favorite color. I'm not the least bit kidding. My whole entire room used to be purple (okay, maybe 10 years ago)...even my walls. I can be nostalgic with this sweater.
The point of this raglan is to be a bit see-through so that I can wear a tanktop under it that will show. The idea is a little bit from Stitch 'N Bitch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I rather it be from the latter, because that show is ridiculously awesome, and I finished the entire 7 series now, and need a little something to keep me going. I'm using my own lovely sea-green vintage stitch markers for this project. They pair so well together!
I recreated (again) the whole look of this blog. I hope you all love it. The last one (a vintage look with pink, red and seagreen) was cool, but a little "all over the place." The theme colors make more sense now, and rocks out! Knowing me though, I'll probably change it in a month. I'm just that sort of person. But hey, I haven't rearranged my room in months! That has to be worth something, right? Ha ha.

It's been a bit lonely over here the last couple of weeks. If your in the house, scribble a little hello note if you have the time. Thanks! :) I'm off to go exercise now. I know. They will be welcoming me back with a party, I've missed so many weeks now.

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