Archive | August, 2006

Camera fixed!

29 Aug

Ok, the camera isn’t fixed so much as rigged.  I hooked it up to the laptop, and hooked the laptop up to the computer, and I was able to get my pictures off.  I’ve made an executive decision to buy a new camera.  Doesn’t have to be top of the line, but this one is only 2mp and lacks a good zoom.  It also tends to take blurry pictures in Marc’s hands, so I need some sort of stabilizer.  I’m open to suggestions – I’m thinking about a Canon.

On Friday afternoon I picked Marc up from work and we went to the Kentucky State Fair


I’m aware that going to the fair is possibly the cheesiest American activity of all time.  It’s made even sadder by the fact that I’m fascinated by all the parts of the fair that everyone else thinks is lame.  Giant corn and tomatoes?  I’m all over that.  Please.  I don’t think I want to live in a world where it’s uncool to look at giant mutant vegetables.  But there’s more to the fair than that.  For instance, it’s educational.

See?  There are more chickens than people in the world.  If I hadn’t gone to the fair I wouldn’t have recognized the imminent danger of the world being taken over by giant plastic chickens.  I’m worried that no one will be able to fight the giant chickens except the giant plastic people

This is Freddy Farmer.  Some guy sits in the booth overhead and makes Freddy “talk” to people.  This has been going on for 50 years.  Sadly, even little kids aren’t fooled by this sort of thing anymore.  Plus he’s lame.  When this picture was taken he said “Oh, another picture!  Smile little lady!”

The fair is also where you can find the strange craft competitions.  I’ve never entered personally, although certainly my embroidery skills are good enough.  The first prize is like 25 dollars, which makes it seem not really worth it.  The only advantage is that then I would be forced to actually frame something.

There’s art:

I’m not sure that just drawing Hello Kitty qualifies you for competition…  And then there’s the cross stitch

Yes, that’s right… patriotic boy scout cross stitch done by an actual boy scout.  Who I am very concerned about.  You can’t tell here, but it’s big and entirely filled in.  It must have taken over 100+ hours, and I worry about the adolescent boy who would spend that kind of time.

There’s also a cake competition

I don’t think this even needs a caption.

The other great thing about the fair is the food – the non scary clown kind.

Apparently fried candy bars are the thing now.  Marc was so excited – this is how I got him to go to the fair.

I told him that when he dies young we’ll all know why.

Or maybe it will be because of the “Taco Dog”

It’s actually more of a taco burrito…  at any rate, it contains not only a giant hot dog but also ground beef and nacho cheese.  Absolutely disgusting.  I was content with my corn dog and half a funnel cake, thank you very much.

We saw the ugly lamp contest

Marc entered a lamp he made out of a blender last year.  He didn’t win, but he did get free fair passes.

On our way out we stopped to watch some of my students performing on one of the stages

We never actually made it to the midway, because I hate it.  I was very happy with my dorky trip, thank you very much.

On saturday I had to sing a wedding

and then we went to “Brew at the Zoo”, which is a microbrew/ food festival.  I only got one picture, and Marc looks demented, so naturally I have to post it.

After the festival we went to a “goodbye party” for one of Marc’s friends who is becoming a monk(yes, I know…)  I didn’t get any pictures there.  We went to Cahoots, which is a dirty quasi-punk bar filled with dirty quasi-punk people.

I have been knitting in between all of this.  I’ve done 12.5 repeats on the straight section of Clapotis

Right now it measures 45″, so I’m going to add a few extra repeats to make it long enough.  Here’s a closer shot of the dropped stitch pattern

I’m close enough that I’m starting to think about my next project.  I think it will be the Odessa Hat , which should give me experience knitting with double pointed needles.

Leon has been stealing my stitch markers again.  Here I am teaching him a lesson

Unfortunately, he likes to be underneath things.  Right now he’s hiding underneath a rug in the kitchen.  I think he thinks he’s invisible.  Not so much.

Still sick

24 Aug

I haven’t been doing much except lying around sick, watching old Cary Grant movies, and trying to get in some knitting time.

I’m about halfway done on the Clapotis, which is just lovely now that I’ve dropped stitches. I also started on the airy scarf, which is really simple and pretty. I don’t necessarily love working with the laceweight mohar or the big (10.5) needles, but I think the results are going to be worth it.

I promise pictures soon… we’re thinking of getting a new digital camera, one with a macro setting so that I can get closer pictures. Marc also needs to fix the usb port on the computer, which for some reason is refusing to recognize the camera or anything else.

I’m still sick and really trying to get better for the wedding I have to be in this weekend. It’s wedding season now – I have a bunch in the next month and in October, and then one of Marc’s best friends is getting married in New Mexico, so we may go to that.

Sick

21 Aug

I’ve been struck down by Marc’s cold this weekend. As per usual, he was better in 2 days, but my cold will no doubt linger until 2008.

Today was Sunday, which means pretty much all I did was go to church. I’m a pianist, and I usually do between 3 and 5 masses a weekend. I did have some time to work on Clapotis tonight – I’m halfway through the 4th repeat on the straight section. It’s finally starting to look like a shawl instead of a strangely striped kerchief. I was getting discouraged, but when I finally sat down and looked at it I realized I had actually achieved more than I thought. Because of its’ shape I think it’s somewhat misleading to look at.

I should get the rest of my Knitpicks needles tomorrow, and I may start a smaller project (voodoo wristwarmers?) in order to keep me from getting too antsy.

Baseball

19 Aug

My boyfriend’s parents came into town tonight, and we all went to the Louisville Bats game.  I’m not exactly what you would call a sports fan – more like a sports avoider, to be perfectly honest.  I tolerate baseball, because it happens during warm weather and doesn’t involve too much noise usually.  I think my real problem with sports is that I’m completely unable to care who wins.

When you factor in that it’s minor league baseball, so probably nobody really cares, you get a pretty boring experience for me.   I do love the new field though – it’s built downtown on the Ohio river ,maybe 7 minutes from my house.  Before the game we walked down to the river, and that was nice.  We also visited Joe Ley’s Antiques.  Joe Ley’s is notable for being really huge, having lots of architectural salvaged pieces, and lots and lots of scary mannequins

 

The second guy there is in a coffin, and is actually pretty startling to walk up on.  I didn’t know I had clown fear until this afternoon.  There’s a whole section of items from Fontaine Ferry Amusement park, a now defunct park that I mostly know as the park that closed because of desegregation in the 60s.  There were several gypsy fortunetelling machines in this section.  Those things give me a major wiggins.  You wouldn’t think they would – my dad was an antique dealer all through my childhood, so I’m used to old stuff and old places – but I can’t deal with figures.  Ugh.

We ate dinner at Mellilos, which is an italian bistro attatched to a winery on Market street.  It was ok… I wasn’t that impressed, but Marc was happy to eat somewhere new.

I have to tell you though… by the end of the game I really wished I’d brought along my knitting.  Somehow I’m still a bit embarrassed to knit in public.

I’m thinking of going to check out a Stitch n Bitch group this Thursday, in part to cure myself of this fear.  If I like it I might rearrange my work schedule so that I can go more often.  If I can get over my fear of dropping in without knowing anyone that is…

I did end up placing my knitpicks and WEBs orders last night.  I got the rest of the options needles I wanted, as well as a few inox, a few skeins of Andean treasure in granite (heathered beige), the noro silk garden, and a ball of Filatura Di Crosa Baby Kid Extra in black, for my airy scarf.

I would feel bad for my spending, but I got 2 more weddings to do today.  Apparently tis the season for weddings.  That’s 7 (no kidding) in the next month.

I blame fate

18 Aug

I wore “Branching Out” to teach yesterday, and I recieved lots and lots of compliments. Somehow there’s nothing quite so gratifying as how excited a 13 year old will get over things. All the “ohmygods” and the squealing. I’m not even joking, either. I teach all different ages at my job, but my favorites are definitely the middle-schoolers. I am aware that this makes me unique and possibly insane. It’s all the wanna-be sophistication combined with the great love of all things pretty and sparkly (I teach girls, obviously.)
We’re having our end of summer session recital on saturday. I’m going to try to get a group pic of me and my “girls.” They aren’t all doing the recital – only 11 out of the 15 students I currently have. We’re closed for fall registration for a few weeks, and when I start back up I expect to have even more students. I ususally have over 20, and I can take more if I teach Tuesdays, but since Tuesday and Friday are my only days off (and Tuesday only sort of – I sometimes have rehearsal) I’m not sure I’d like to do that.

Although I may need to, if my sad, sad crafting habit keeps up. I’m going to need another skein for Clapotis, so I went to order that and the other needles I wanted… only Knitpicks doesn’t sell 16″ circs, so naturally I went browsing elsewhere… and got hooked in by the WEBs sale on Noro. I’m going to get some silk garden to make another Clapotis with. My Mom saw mine and started wistfully talking about how she used to have a handmade wrap like that, and she really misses it. So I’ll make another, and either give her that or the one I’m working on now, depending. My new hair is slightly more fussy about colors worn next to it, so I may wind up gifting the current one. I’m not sure about the orange/rust color now. I think I’d rather have mine be in pretty jewel tones, which I know won’t clash.

Marc took me to the library today. Strange phrasing I know, but I’m apparently physically incapable of returning books, so if I want something he gets it for me. That way I’ll return it. I checked out a few knitting books, including “Last minute knitted gifts.” I want to make the “Airy Scarf” for a present.

I can apparently get two scarves out of a ball of kidsilk, so I can have one too! I’m thinking of either black, cream, or a pretty deep blue.
The other book I checked out and love is “Scarf Style.” Do you notice a trend? I think it’s because I’m a singer. The diva in me loves to have something wrapped around her neck at all times. I want to make “Backyard leaves”

and “Misty Garden”

Of course, the recommended yarn for this one would set me back 25 bucks, which is a lot for a scarf I think. I can’t come up with a cheaper sub, because it’s worsted weight heathered mohair. Not that common.

This stole would be pretty for the noro too

I also got a few truly bizare books, such as Great Knitted Gifts and Loop-d-loop. The first consists mostly of Intarsia. Really strange intarsia with random polka dots and the most unhappy looking child models I’ve ever seen. The second is supposed to be “avant garde,” so maybe I just don’t get it. There are only two patterns I would consider.

I looked at “Stitch n bitch” nation too, and I once again failed to get it. The only thing I would make is the capelet. I don’t know… it just seems to try very hard to be “hip” and sort of fail. The only thing I loved in the first book was the “Chinese Charm bag”. On the other hand, I love the crochet book to bits and pieces, but it’s possible my standards are lower. Anything not consisting on crocheted toilet covers makes me happy.

Oh yes, and Clapotis progress. I’ve finished the increase section. I added one extra repeat, which brought the width to 19.5″. I think it will grow a bit once I start dropping stitches, so hopefully it will turn out as large as I would like it. The yarn was wanting to pool, so I removed a 6″ section, and now it seems to be ok. I still love it, and I can’t wait for another 7 rows, when I get to drop my first stitch! I’m trying not to overdo it, since I have the recital on Saturday (I will play the piano for my students.) and I sometimes get stiff fingers.

So to sum up then… I have a yarn problem.

Now with pictures!

16 Aug

My branching out is finished and blocked, but I don’t have a picture of it blocked yet, so here it is before blocking

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And being worn by the cat

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It ended up being fine in length – it stretched quite a bit, around 6 inches in length. I’m very, very happy with it, and happy with the wonders of blocking. I’m also very happy that I chose to do it in green, because it goes beautifully with my new hair, which as of today is auburn.

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Just for reference, my hair yesterday looked like this

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Quite a difference! I love the richness of the color, and I’m terribly excited to not be a blonde anymore – I was getting bored. I like to change my haircolor, and it’s been nearly every one, but after a bad experience involving some “black cherry” dye that was at first purple and then black, followed by expensive salon treatments and stripey hair, I kept it pretty blonde for the past two years.

I promised pictures of the yarn winder Marc built for me out of legos, but this is the best I have.

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I’m in danger of becoming a crazy cat lady. I actually have two cats, but the other one won’t let you do whatever to her the way that Leon will, so she is rarely the subject of photographs.

And some random yarn p0rn, this is the Knitpicks shimmer I got the other day. It’s going to become a shawl.

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Games and a new Clapotis!

14 Aug

We had people over last night to play boardgames. We played “Ticket to Ride,” which is a train route building game, and then I got roped into playing another strategy game. Apparently it has to do with amassing lots of goods, such as corn or indigo, and then trying to ship them out. I’m am not so good with the strategy games. I think that mostly I suffer from supremely not caring whether I get the most corn or whatever. Plus I dislike games that are really slow paced. Like chess – chess makes the part of my brain that hates math ache.

Or maybe I just really wanted to finish my Branching Out scarf? After they left I did one more repeat and called it finished at 29 repeats (2 more than called for). Marc and I tried stretching it, and it does stretch quite a bit, so hopefully it will be long once it’s blocked. It’s shine sport, so it’s got modal in with the cotton.

I’ve never blocked lace before, so I’m kind of freaked out… but I’m going to use a method I read online involving threading spare yarn through the edges to keep them straight (excellent for the type A afflicted like me.) I can’t today, because I need to buy some more straight pins on my way to work at 5:30.

I work very briefly tonight – just one lesson and then a rehearsal for the recital this weekend.

After that I’m going to make Spicy baked macaroni. from Everyday Italian on the food network. I have to replace the spinach with broccol, since Marc refuses to eat cooked spinich (makes me sad, but he is generally unpicky).

And last night I started on my Clapotis! I’m using Knitpicks memories sock yarn in the Redwood Forest colorway. I got a few of knitpicks new interchangable needles to try in my last order, so I’m going to use size 6 circulars for Clapotis. It took me a little practice to figure out knitting and purling in the back loop, but the videos at knitting help saved me as always! I finished the setup rows, and so far it’s an incredibly fun knit – interesting, but not as involved as the lace on branching out. Firsts involved here? First circular needles, first knitting in back loop, and first serious use of stitch markers. Very exciting. I love the yarn I chose – it’s sort of a deep burgandy with brown streaks. More subtle than lots of sock yarns are. I searched on Flickr and found someone else who had used my yarn, and theirs turned out beautifully. I plan on making mine to the dimensions in the original pattern. I may need more yarn (I have 3 sk, and I fear it will use 4), but it’s ok if I do. It will give me an excuse to buy the whole interchangable needle set (must qualify for free shipping, right? ) It turns out that I don’t hate circular needles, I just hated the crappy ones I started on. These are fabulous – light and sharp, and the cord is so flexible that I won’t need to steam it.

So tired… must knit more!

13 Aug

I’ve just finished a 3 hour knitting session on my Branching Out scarf. I’m incredibly happy with how it’s progressing, and just thrilled at my apparent aptitude for lace. It’s now at 28 pattern repeats, and measuring around 55″ unblocked. I’m going to go ahead and add another ball of yarn and do maybe ten more repeats. I like my scarves long, and I really doubt that it’s going to stretch as much as the recommended silky wool, since my yarn is cotton/modal. I’ve only had to frog once – the addition of a lifeline has completely saved me.

I think my background in counted cross stitch and crochet makes me better at lace knitting than regular knitting. I’m used to keeping a count in my head while watching tv. I only tend to make mistakes when things are sort of mindless.

I got my yarn order from Knitpicks this morning, which was tres exciting since it wans’t scheduled for delivery until Monday. Marc came to wake me up, and I was exceedingly grumpy as I always am until I realized that he had set a lovely new box full of yarns down next to me. He knows the way to my heart!

A few of the yarns were from new lines… I got the new “Gloss” sock yarn in Concord, which is a very vivid purple. I was hoping it would be slightly more muted, but I still think it will make a lovely lace scarf someday soon. It feels wonderful (70% merino, 30% silk) and is definitely a bargan. I also got Amethyst heather Wool of the Andes, and it’s just lovely – I think I prefer some color variation in my wools. I got the new Wool of the Andes bulky in pewter, and it’s my only real disappointment. The color is sort of dull, and the yarn itself is pretty rough feeling. I’ll reserve my judgement until I try it, but I am not terribly enthused.

I got a few of their old yarns too. I got Shimmer in turquoise splendor, which is so pretty I can’t believe it, and wonderfully soft. I also got Memories sock yarn in Redwood Forest to make a Clapotis out of (aren’t I behind on these things?) It’s somewhat more subtle than it looked in the photo. So far I love it – so pretty and autumnal! Then I got some merino style and a bit more shine sport (love shine!)

I took pictures, but the usb port on the computer is acting up, so I can’t post them til Marc takes the camera to work on Monday. Then I’ll have pictures of all the yarn, plus the yarn winder that he built me out of legos (based on plans posted on Craftster.)

My crafting history

11 Aug

When I was a little girl I was in the Girl Scouts.  My Mom was our troop leader, and we were always crafting something or other – mostly weird things, like cats made of out bowling pins.  I can recall how badly I wanted to be good at making things – but somehow my crafts never turned out as well as anyone else’s.

In middle school I went through a period of wanting to be an artist, despite my total lack of drawing ability.  Since I was already a hopeless dweeb, drawing a portrait of the most popular girl in class wasn’t really helping my street cred.  Particularly when I made her resemble Hilary Clinton.  So I gave up, and comforted myself with the thought that I was at least good at music (and I was – I’m still a professional musician at age 27).

My freshman year in college I was saddled with a roommate from the tiniest town in Indiana, who liked to say things like “Wow, I’ve never seen a black person that wasn’t on TV before.”  So yeah, not my best friend, but she did teach me how to do counted cross stitch.  She was mostly into dorky samplers that included lots of duckies and teddy bears, so I wasn’t certain it was for me… but then I looked on the internet and found a world of gorgeous sophisticated designs.  I quickly surpassed my roommate in skill, much to my surprise.

A few years later, I was moving into a new apartment and I thought “I’d love to have some real paintings for the walls, but I can’t afford them.”  I love geometric type modern art.  And I thought “Well, why can’t I make some myself?”  And I did, and I was amazed at how easy it was.

Now I’ve made everything from chalkboards to the ubiquitous record bowls.  My home is like a giant testament to my crafting spirit.  I kept up the cross stitch too, learning lots of beading and specialty stitches.

I was getting bored with it though, so I decided to teach myself to crochet (I was scared of knitting due to an aborted attempt a few years ago.)  I bought “The Happy Hooker”, and made a scarf within days.  After that I was hooked.  I made around 5 projects from that book, and then started thinking about knitting again.  I bought Stitch n Bitch, and taught myself American style knitting, but I wasn’t happy with it.  I kept dropping stitches, and I felt like it took forever to do anything.  I nearly gave up, but then I tried Continental and it was like a light switch going off.  Now knitting is my primary hobby.  I’ve even started a stash (well, mostly knitpicks because I’m still scared of the price of yarn.)

So… yeah.  That’s my path to all my old lady hobbies.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There’s something so special about creating something yourself, that I have a very difficult time ever buying anything in a store.

First Post

11 Aug

Welcome to my craft blog! I decided that I wanted a place to talk about my crafts, because I feel really silly subjecting the readers of my normal blog to my ravings about yarn.  More here soon, I promise!

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