Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yarn focus challenge

Have you seen Rebekah's challenge? I just signed up to participate. The details and rules of the challenge are here. Thank goodness we get one free day per month. Yarntopia is opening next week! If all goes as planned, after I purchase my Malabrigo from Amy, I won't be buying yarn for a long, long time.

Now I have to figure out how to make a ticker that's acceptable to me. This one from the Ticker Factory is ok... I wish could find a narrow one to go in my side bar. Even something that simply counts up numerical days would be good--I don't need a slidy thing. Help, hints, suggestions? Please?

Edit: I found this javascript counter. Seems to work ok. I had issues formatting it to look nice on my blog, so I'm still open to suggestions.

Edit 2: reset my ticker for the start of the challenge

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hi, Remember Me?

Thank you for all your advice my biased swatch. I was happy to learn that it's wasn't my fault--it's the yarn's fault. Thanks to Elizabeth, Grumperina, and Jes, I now know that crooked knitting can happen when the twist of the yarn isn't quite right. Grumperina even sent me a link to an article that explains how yarn can be unbalanced. It's interesting reading. If you spin, you should read the article.

Dragon, almost...
I'm bigger than this dragon! says EllyIf I sat down to figure out how long it's taking me to finish this BABY sweater, I think I would be embarrassed to find that I have finished adult-sized sweaters in half as much time. I guess I wasn't enjoying knitting this sweater very much. When I finally finished knitting and seaming, I had to crochet stuff--which meant putting the whole thing aside and teaching myself the necessary skills. But look! Now it has a spiky spine! Fresh off my crochet triumph, I decided to make up some crocheted ears because crocheted fabric is much stiffer than knitted fabric and I wanted to be sure that the ears stood up nicely. Here the sweater is modeled by a stuffed dog. I don't have a teddy bear that I can dress up in baby clothes. I attempted to put the sweater on Scout, but she didn't like wearing the hood (or the rest of the sweater for that matter.)

I don't need no stinkin' zipper!Now, for the most scary part--installing the zipper. I have a zipper and it is too long. I know that I can shorten the zipper, but I don't know how. I have a sewing machine, but it refuses to sew in straight lines. I have read the zipper-installing tutorials again and again. But I am still not convinced that I can do this. It doesn't look too bad without a zipper right? Who cares if the baby gets cold? Just kidding. I will put the zipper in as soon as I can.

Am I boring yet?
Yesterday, while I was staring at the too long zipper, Peter commented that I wasn't finishing very many knitting projects. Yes, that's true. Then he asked, "Aren't your blog readers getting bored with you?" Hummm...I don't know. Are you?

I haven't been knitting much lately. And when I do have a chance to knit, I've been working on a couple of projects that I can't blog about. Hence: not much blog fodder. I hope to pick up the knitting pace again soon.

I have discovered becoming a freelancer is actually starting my own business. I've been busy working on filling out small business paperwork, straightening out finances, and managing communications with clients, networking with other freelancers, and then trying to find time to do the work that I've agreed to do! Sure I can stop and knit whenever I like, but now if I'm knitting during "work hours," I'm not earning money. So, I'm less inclined to knit "just a few rows" on my "breaks" like I used to do when I was a salaried employee. Ah well. I'm still glad that I quit my other job. I will get used to being on my own and I will eventually have the free time that I dreamed about when I first decided to go out on my own.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tell me why

Don't ask my opinion, I'm biased.I've knit a couple of swatches with Louet Sales MerLin (merino and linen--clever, huh?) and both swatches have a weird bias to them. See? Please, knitting and yarn experts out there, tell me why this is happening. No, I'm not twisting my stitches. This happens when knitting flat (as seen here) and when knitting ribbing in the round. Is it the way the yarn is made? Is there anything I can do to avoid it? I'm highly confused because I have never seen anything like this before.

Update: Dragon Hoodie parts are done. Now I have to get up the gumption to sew them together. This weekend involves teaching at LYS on Saturday (assuming that I have students) and watching Peter run the Seabrook Marathon on Sunday. I don't see much seaming happening on either day.

Good News:
I'm going to Alaska! Alaska! I have wanted to go to Alaska since I was a kid. Peter and I just booked a Backroads Trip. We will be hiking, biking, rafting, sea kayaking, and DOG SLEDDING. (I'm ignoring the fact that the dog sleds are going to be on wheels.) We will be going in August when the heat of Houston will be unbearable. There are still several spots open on the trip. Anyone care to join us? Come on, where else can you buy qiviut yarn in a museum store?

Monday, March 13, 2006

You know that you've been out of the blogosphere too long

when you have 111 unread entries on bloglines and you don't subscribe to very many blogs in the first place.

Dragon Parts!

It's proof that I have been knitting (and a photo of Elly's rear end). Unfortunately, I haven't been knitting very much. What you see are four of the six pieces need to make a Dragon Hoodie for Eva. I have been wanting to make this sweater for a long time now, but never got around to it because I could never find yarn that I liked. I finally settled for Plymouth Encore even though the gauge is wrong.

For some reason, this tiny sweater is causing me great anxiety. I ripped out the back (or part of the back) three times for various reasons. I worry that it won't fit Eva because I have no idea how big an 18-month old is. I worry about how the parts are going together (the hood construction is a bit baffling to me). I worry about installing the zipper. Heck, I worry about FINDING a zipper. I worry about making the crocheted poky things to go along the spine. I worry that it will look too plain without the spots. I worry that no one will know that it's a dragon. I worry that the colors aren't right. (I picked red and gold because I thought that Eva should be a Chinese dragon because she's more Chinese than I am. But do people know that Chinese dragons are red and gold?)

To make this sweater even harder on me, I decided to knit the entire thing continental style. Why? To prove to myself that I can do it and to make knitting a mostly stockinette sweater a bit more interesting. I am primarily an English knitter, but I learned to knit two-handed fair isle very early in my knitting career. So, I can easily knit and purl with both hands. However, increasing, decreasing, and binding off continental style are challenging for me. I know the benefits of continental knitting, but boy oh boy is it uncomfortable for me. I think this will be the end of my experiments with continental knitting. That is, until the next time I want to experiment with continental knitting again.

In regular life:
My last day at my job is Thursday. Today, I'm waffling between "I'm so happy!" and "I'm so sad!" I'm happy to escape from the chapters that I have been editing and re-editing for years, but it frightens me that someone else is going to edit my chapters. I guess I can't have it both ways. Meanwhile, I already have two freelance jobs lined up. *Whew!* I'm not unemployed after all.

I'm also entertaining myself with my new computer. It has a built in webcam.

I'm coming to get you!
click for giant Scout

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sweet Girl Socks

So innocent and sweet, yet devilish

Pattern: Spring Melody Child's Socks from 2006 Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Baby Stripe, 1 hank
Needles: US size 0 DPN (yes, DPN!)
Pattern Errata: Before I started this pattern, there were no errata posted online. I found several mistakes and communicated them to the designer. I'm not sure if the designer passed the mistakes on to the publisher.
1. In the "Make Heel" section, repeat rows 1-4.
2. In the "Shape Heel" section, row 6 should read: p10, p2tog, p1, turn
3. The "Foot" section should read: Continue knitting in stockinette until foot measures 1.5 inches less than desired length.
Modifications: I did a normal slip-stitch heel flap instead of following the directions.
Comments: The socks are pretty darn cute, but those beads were a bear. Should I ever do beaded knitting again, I'm going to try the crochet-hook method.

I showed SG one finished sock this weekend. I also showed her that I was working on the second sock. I didn't even have to tell her that the socks are for her. She figured it out on her own. She was very shy at first--she didn't even want to touch the sock. But once I convinced her to hold it, she got very excited. The first thing that she noticed were the beads. So, of course, putting the beads in was completely worth it!

Random, unrelated weirdness
because Monkee of you dare.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Oh yeah! It's me.

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab.
And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.
But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!
"Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."

Like butter scraped over too much bread

I love that ^^ quote ^^. It's a great analogy and it describes exactly how I feel: "all thin, sort of stretched."

So cute!To say that I've been busy is an understatement. Not much knitting to show off at the moment. I finished one sock and am working on the other. I'm seeing SG and her father tomorrow. They are running in a race with Peter. Well not with Peter, but at the same time as Peter. I'm not hoping to have the second sock done by tomorrow because I want SG to see me actually knitting a sock. However, I'd like to finish knitting the second cuff, knit the heel flap, and turn the heel before the start of the race. Doing that during the race will be a pain. Plus it's only a 5K which means that Peter will be done in 16 minutes or so. I don't usually take knitting to such short races.

Meanwhile, I have been doing a little work on the Barbie Shawl (Dayflower Daydream) but it has reached the point of lace-blobbiness so attempts at photos have failed.

But alas, the demands on my time have been keeping me away from my knitting needles. I'm still at my job (my last day is the 16th) and I have lots to do before I leave. Most of what I have to do is get ready to leave. I've accumulated a lot of stuff that needs to be organized and sent to the office before my last day.

As I prepare to leave one job, I'm also preparing to start my own freelancing business. I started networking, brushed up my resume, applied for independent health insurance, looked into forming an LLC, and ordered a computer.

Also, I have been working part time at a LYS. I teach classes and mind the store occasionally. I have some things to say about teaching knitting, but I'll save that for another time.

On top of all this, I have agreed to make two more sample knits. A big project for Annie Modesitt (at the bottom of the linked post) and a smaller project for Amylovie's store. I am a crazy woman.

But wait, there's more! I joined a kickboxing class. That's right--this girly-girl now has boxing gloves and spends her evenings hitting and kicking a big bag. The class meets EVERY weeknight so I have only snatches of time to knit at night. *Sigh*

And today, another distraction. Look! A toy! It's a MacBook Pro. One of the new Macs with an Intel chip. I want to play with it. Shiny!

Can a computer be cute?