Sunday, March 23, 2014

Another week...ish, another post.

I've been pretty busy with both crafting and class lately. I'm only taking two classes this semester, but I'm up to my eyeballs in work. Granted, one of them is cross-listed with a grad course. It's all biochemistry, all physics up in here, all the time, though. Such an exciting life I lead.

Since I'm still working on looking for another job, I have a lot of spare time. Yaaay. On the bright side, it means that I have so much time for crafting, it's ridiculous.

Since the last time I posted, I finished two more pairs of fingerless mitts.

Hello, plaster hand. We meet again.

These are a DIY basic mitt pattern, knit with Knitters Nightmare Batty Sock in the colorway Sugar Skulls. I used 2.00 mm (US 0) DPNs and sized them to fit my very tiny wrists, as you can see in the photo. The Ravelry project page for these (which includes the "pattern" I "wrote" to make them) is over here.

Here's pair #2:

These things are bulletproof. 

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks. One has horizontal chevrons and the other has vertical.
My favorite shot of these gloves.

These are the Wellington Mitts from the Knitscene Accessories 2012 issue, by Rebecca Blair. They're knit in Lanas Stop Bambini and Oso Blanco Amore. Lanas Stop and Oso Blanco are two Spanish brands of yarn, in case you couldn't tell from the names. I picked the yarn for these up about two years ago when I was visiting my parents. They're knit on 1.75 mm (US 00) DPNs (No, seriously.) and worked at about 11.5 sts/inch in order to size them to my hands. My project page with more notes can be found here on Rav.

I'd like to state that these were a pain in the everloving ass to knit, by the way. Not due to the pattern, which was both clear and simple, but the fact that this was the first time I've ever knit anything on 00s. The stitches were almost painfully tight to work, and I had to add an extra 3-4 repeats in before I had enough space in the thumb gusset to finish these mitts. I'm happy with the end results, but friggin' A, man.

That's pretty much it for my knitting FOs. I have a crochet and a cross-stitch project done that I'll be posting in another entry a little later, mainly so the size on each of these is a little more manageable and a little less pic-spammy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Am I really going to try blogging again? Really?

I'm hoping it may encourage me to explore things other than knitting/spinning/crochet, at least.

I've taken up cross-stitch lately, and I'm really hoping to get back into making art soon. I don't think sewing will make much of a reappearance, since it's probably the most spendy thing I could get myself into right now. I have a yarn stash to last me for years, art supplies to match, and I've found that a cross-stitch project usually clocks in at $10 or less for materials. Since I'm currently on a ramen-level budget, less expensive is definitely better.

The awesome, money-saving thing about crafting, by the way? You're spending all your free time making things and not on buying stuff. :P I know it's an oft-repeated trope about the ratio of entertainment to materials cost, but there really is something to it.

My last (which was also my first) cross-stitch project took me about 15-20 hours. I paid $5 for the pattern and used both floss and aida cloth I'd bought at garage sales over the past few years. Total investment, more or less? $10. Which comes out to about $0.50 an hour.

Honestly, one of the biggest problems I'm running into at this point is an excess of knitted goods just lying around. I have 8 or 9 scarves. I don't really need to knit more when I already have 1 for every day of the week and then some.

On that note, let's move onto the knitting content. I'm not going to try and catch up with my project backlog of the past year and change, so we'll go with what's being worked on now.

To start with, an FO.

Hopefully the nail polish helps disguise how jacked my hands are. I mean, jeez, one of them is made of plaster. 

Here's a better view of both gloves.

These are the Celtic Knot Fingerless Gloves, or, as I like to call them, my "Seriously, is it spring yet?" mitts.

Full details are on the Rav project page linked above. I'd give the FO about an 8/10 on the happy meter, and the pattern about a 6.5-7 out of 10 in terms of clarity. These are knit from the top down, which is not immediately obvious when you read the pattern. It's on there, so I'm not docking points for my inability to read all the way through. A little bolding of that info and a chart legend for the cabling would have been nice, though.

Okay, enough talking for my third inaugural blog post. :P I'll post WIP stuff later, as there's a lot of it. A lot a lot. Axolotl.

Monday, January 21, 2013

You'd think I would have learned by now.

...And it's only been about eleven months since my last blog post. I am perhaps not so good at doing this on a regular basis. I'm hoping I can improve my record this go-around, though. *shrugs* I'm going to aim for a blog post a week. (That may be setting the bar a little high, but we all have dreams.)

Another year, another set of resolutions. 

I don't do the whole, "I want to diet/go to the gym every day and lose 20 lbs by March!" thing, as that typically ends badly. (Seriously, think about the number of people you know for whom that actually works. All two of them.) Instead, I try and work on things that are a little less all-or-nothing.

Healthwise, I'm aiming to eat fewer processed foods and up my intake of fruits and vegetables. I do want to get more exercise into my life, but I'll worry about how to work on that once school starts up again.

My yarn and fiber resolutions for the year are equally vague and noncommittal. ("No pressure" is the name of the game here, heh.) So far, my only stated goal has been to work on knitting and spinning my stash down. I've joined a couple groups on Ravelry to encourage good behavior here.

As of the beginning of December, I had (not counting unspun fiber or yarn acquired since then) 370 skeins of yarn in my stash, with a total yardage of 78,500. That's, er, over 44 miles of yarn. Counting the yarn acquired or catalogued since then, I'm likely pushing 48 miles now. *winces*
Fiber is a little harder to quantify, but I have four 60-quart rubbermaid tubs stuffed to the brim with wool. The yarn takes up about seven and a half tubs, for comparison.

I think it's safe to say that I don't really need more yarn. That probably won't stop me from acquiring more anyway, but I'm hoping to temper that with using things I already own. And if I can use my handspun for something, even better.

This brings me to the first project of:

Operation Angry Marmoset, or, Stashdown 2013.

Seen from this angle, the green doesn't look that bad. 

Aaargh, my eyes! A view of the interior.

And how it looks on a head. Sort of.
My first FO of the year, the "Aaargh, My Eyes!" Hat. The pattern is Pom Pom It, by Steven West, a freebie that was released as part of the Westknits ChoreoKAL.

I followed the instructions pretty much exactly. There were one or two errors that I didn’t notice in the ribbing until after I’d bound off. I doubt anyone will be able to see them, however, since it would require staring directly at the blindingly green part to do so.

I used two different skeins of handspun yarn that had been kicking around my stash for a few years as well as a single skein of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Onyx Heather for contrast. I didn't use up either skein in its entirety, but I did manage to make something fun and practical with two somewhat difficult-to-work-with yarns.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Off the hook.

My first crochet project. At least it's not a potholder.

I'm completely brain-fried from school tonight (6 hours of sleep since Tuesday. If I'm being generous.), so I'm just going to leave this here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

You want me to put that hook where, now?

About two months ago, two fiber-crafting groups sprung up in the area less than 3 miles from my apartment.

I've never really been a social knitter, mainly because the majority of the crafty groups in the area tend to meet a ways outside my travel radius. (For those just tuning in, I usually walk or cycle my way across Western New York, though the latter tends to happen less when snow is falling.) So meetings taking place over in Amherst, Cheektavegas, or any of the Southtowns are next to impossible to get to without a ride, as public transportation in Buffalo is best classified as a cruel joke. Finding out that two had formed within easy walking distance was something of a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

The group that meets Wednesday nights is knitting-centered, though not knitting-exclusive. There are apparently 60 of us on the roster, though the number that show up per meeting is usually closer to 15. We spend about two hours picking away at our projects, talking, eating, and crowd-sourcing solutions to any fibery problem that comes up. It's somewhat surreal to be surrounded by at least a dozen other people doing the same thing you are when you're used to a more solitary craft life. 

The group that meets Thursday nights is crochet-centered. 

Up until this week, the only things I've ever used crochet to make were borders on knit afghans and chains for provisional cast-ons, with the random "stitch two things together without sewing" thing thrown in about once every two years. But since I didn't want to be That Lady Who Always Knits at Crochet Night, I decided that should probably change. 

I'm now working on my very first fully crocheted project. Because it's practically a rule somewhere in the fiber universe, my first item is a very long rectangle--which is to say, a scarf. I hope.
260 yards of sport-to-DK goodness.

I'm using my own handspun, which may or may not be a good idea. I'd originally started by using a pattern from The Happy Hooker, but after realizing it consisted mainly of, "make a really long chain and do a couple rows of double crochet," I decided I could probably improvise a little.

I chained about 215 stitches, did the most excruciatingly long row of single crochet ever (Hint. Marled yarn? Makes it really hard to see what's considered part of the stitch and what's not.), and am now working my way through in half-double crochet.  I'd started working in double crochet as the book suggested, but the fabric it produced was way too open for my taste. I learned how to do both double and half-double from Left Hand Crochet on Youtube. I'd definitely recommend the videos to other lefties out there, especially given the trouble I've had trying to figure things out from right-handed book illustrations sometimes.

I'm not sure how long it will take to finish, but I'm definitely enjoying the experience. Then again, anything that distracts me when I should be studying for exams is almost always enjoyable.

Monday, February 6, 2012

déjà vu?

I've noticed I have this strange tendency to cyclically fixate on colors and/or color schemes. Particularly when I'm buying yarn or fiber.

Item A:

Into the Whirled 64s Merino wool top in Spring Bloom, 4.4 oz.

Item B:

Southern Cross Fibre Club in Spring Meadow, 110 g, Texel wool
Are we perhaps seeing some similarities here? I picked up the ITW Merino around the 27th of January. The SCF? Touched base early this afternoon.

Now, to be fair, both bumps of fiber fall firmly into the realm of "Colors Jen enjoys on a regular basis." But I've found this happening with colors that aren't in my standard repertoire: 

Item C:

Spunky Eclectic Spunky Club, Tossed Salad. 3 oz, Merino/soysilk blend.
Fat Cat Knits superwash Merino top, Gung Ho. 4 oz.
(re: not in my typical repertoire-- I'm talking about the orange notes, mainly, since bright yellow-green is most certainly one of my usual suspects.)

Tossed Salad was November 2011's Spunky Club offering. I liked it so much I picked up more in early January.  Gung Ho? Was picked up at the end of December.

I'm not entirely sure why I do this, but it's always amusing (and occasionally frustrating) to note when I sort my stash page on Ravelry chronologically.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shawl-tastic. Also, weather.

Shawl number 1 of my 12 Shawls in 2012 project is officially complete. :D



Picture 38

As I said in my last post, I wrapped this project up around the 20th, but didn't get around to taking proper photos until this week. I'm not terribly fond of pictures of myself, so I usually have to work myself up to taking modeled shots. Thankfully, my lilac armchair is more than up to the job.

As mentioned previously, the relevant info is located on my (exhaustive) Ravelry page. I'm really happy with how this project turned out. It's been my go-to scarf lately because of how well it wraps around my neck/shoulders without getting loose; this is important if your bicycle is one of  your main modes of transport. (It's also why my Doctor Who scarf doesn't get a lot of love in the more temperate portions of the year-- I'd rather not go all Isadora Duncan in my attempts to get from one place to another.) Though, speaking of which...

What in hell is going on with Buffalo's weather? We've gone from 15 F to over 50 F over the course of a week, with temps jumping all over the place in between. There was a 16-degree temperature difference from when I left the house this morning to when I came back home tonight, jumping from 34 F to 50 F.

In January. In Buffalo.


I know that I should be grateful for the mild weather, since it means I can bike as opposed to having to trudge through snow, ice, and slush, but it's weirding me out, man. I'm concerned that the trees will think winter has broken early and start to leaf. For those of you not familiar with recent Buffalo history, back in 2006,  Arborgeddon occurred because trees hadn't started to shed their leaves before an unseasonable storm hit. About 90% of all trees in the city were damaged as a result, and hundreds of thousands of people were left without power. I'd really rather not see a repeat of that this year. *sighs*

Other than that, not too much else to say tonight. I'm considering posting a recipe tomorrow, if I can find time to squander writing blog entries instead of doing homework. Oh, what am I saying-- of course I can. Heh.