December 28, 2007

Bulky Flip Top Mitts

So remember how I was making a hat / mitten set for my $15 gift for a random exchange with my girlfriends? Yeah they were a huge success:
She loves them!
Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the finished mittens up close because I finished sewing in the ends literally about 2 seconds before I had to run out the door to the party. Gotta love procrastination! I did write up the pattern to share, though:

Bulky Flip Top Mitts

They knit up very quickly on size 9 needles although all of the finishing involved in making them flip tops is kindof a pain. I think it ended up being worth it, though:
If anyone finds any errors in the pattern please let me know! I’m very new to this whole pattern writing thing! I also added them to Ravelry here.

Oh and I ended up just using a button I had for the hat – it was a shiny shell type thing that I had in a box of random buttons I got from my great-grandmother. I wish I had a better pic but oh well. I’m just happy she liked them so much!

December 27, 2007

The land of the Two Ply Yarn

Btw I’m ignoring all of the back blogging I should be doing and instead I’m posting shiny objects. Something tells me you guys would approve.

So when I first started knitting I cranked out a whole set of hideous acrylic scarves for my then roommates. I didn’t know anything about knitting other than that I loved it. I was making something from a big ball of nothing! And I could make it sortof even! And it’s fun! And that was it. I knew there was potential but had no clue how to take the next step. I lived in the land of garter stitch scarves.

That’s where I am with spinning right now. I know how to do exactly one thing. It’s not perfect but I love it and it’s fun and magical and I want to do that one thing all the time over and over again. There’s probably a lot of potential to do lots of different things but I don’t even know what they are let alone how to do them. I’m in the land of uneven two-ply yarn.

Want to see my latest adventure?

I started with this:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
8oz of hand dyed Corriedale pencil roving (I now know what pencil roving is! And what a batt is! Progress!) from Crown Mountain Farms in the colorway Finding Rainbows.

I used the highly scientific and precise method of wrapping it around my arm and counting wraps to divide it into two equal-ish halves:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

Which I wound into center pull balls:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

And spun up:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Christmas tree lights don't exactly make for accurate colors...

Once I had one half spun I wound it off onto a ball (I own 3 bobbins and 2 of them are occupied with the fire fiber right now):
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

Then I spun the other half and wound that into another ball:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

Then plied the two together:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

And let it chill on my niddy noddie for a few hours:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Before skeining it and gifting it to my mom for Christmas:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving

I love the land of two-ply yarn! But I really don’t want to live here forever. So what’s the next step? Because I have 8 more ounces of this stuff to play with:
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
The colorway is called Erie. As in the lake in Cleveland’s backyard. How could I possibly resist?

Plus lots more even more beautiful roving that I got for Christmas (including silk!)…. So yeah… I should probably learn to do something else….
Crown Mountain Farms Pencil Roving
but this is pretty fun, too.

December 26, 2007

Merry Holidays!

Just wanted to wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Christmas 2007

I hope that everyone had a great day yesterday and that all of your handmade gifts were done on time and appreciated for how amazing they are.

Christmas 2007
Our Familiy Picture, Christmas Morning, 2007

Regular participation in the blogging world will return soon – things around here have been beyond nuts thanks to a combo of lots of fun things going on and my serial procrastination… until then Merry Holidays!

December 12, 2007

Fiber optic holiness indicators

So the one two punch of work crazy / holiday crazy means this will be a bit random… but in an attempt to keep things amusing I have to show you my latest WTF internet moment – the Celebrity Wax Nativity:

Because clearly the Beckhams are the holiest of the celebrity families.


I can sortof understand what they were going for with the Three “Wise” Men:

But for the shepherds I’m at a total loss:

Snakes on a Nativity?

There’s more fun with nativities here (thanks Shayne!).

Oh yeah and there is a good chance of finishing the mittens in time but I’m not really sure I want to gift them… I’m just not feeling them as much as the hat:
We’ll see what they look like when they are done… I still have to make them flip tops (the red stripe comes out and becomes where the mitten flips open).
And find acceptable buttons. Btw the button selection at JoAnne’s sucks alot. Anyone have any other suggestions?

The weekends continue to be crazy fun:

Steve's 30thSteve rockin’ out his 30th birthday crown while being roasted by his mom.

Steve's 30th
Some b-day karaoke.

Aren’t they cute!

I was flying solo because Matt was at a Silverchair concert w/ his brother. Because apparently it’s 1996. Loved them in ’96. The guys joined up with us later and had to play a little catch up:
Steve's 30th
Seems like such a bad plan…

Matt, my bro, and his bro all happy at the end of the night.

And that’s about all I got.

Oh wait – one more thing – Next Friday (Dec. 21) we’re organizing the first annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Pubcrawl. If you’re in town and want to join us let me know!

December 7, 2007

Well, Crap.

So last night I went out to pick up the yarn I needed to make flip top mittens to match the hat. (Thanks for all of the suggestions and compliments, guys!) Well when I originally bought the yarn there was a big, full to overflowing bin of it there. So I only bought what I needed for the hat b/c I wasn’t sure of the mittens yet. Plus I’m SO not capable of returning yarn and I didn’t want to end up with extra in the name of keeping this stash thing under control.

Turns out that was a bad, bad plan. All Michaels had was this:
Patons Shetland Chunky
Same yarn, different color. Crap.

Booo! Hiss! Scowl! It totally serves me right, though. Trying to be all conservative and responsible with the yarn spending. Silly me. The knitting gods love excess and will punish those that skimp on yardage.

I should know better by now.

The people at the store were very nice to the crazy lady looking frantically for yarn – they let me use their phone and yellowpages to do some recon. Yeah. No store in Northeast Ohio has this yarn in this color. And unless I had flux capacitor buying it online wouldn’t leave me with enough time to get them knit by Saturday. So I bought 3 skeins of the closest thing I could:
Patons Shetland Chunky
The blues are the same exact shade – it’s just that the hat yarn is darker. At least that’s something.

My options at this point are:

A.) Give up the dream of mittens and buy a candle or chocolates or something.

B.) Make mittens in the light yarn. They sortof match right?

C.) Make mittens and a hat out of the light yarn. It’s not the color I wanted but it’s not a bad color… although getting all of that done in a week is - Ambitious. Possibly crazy-making.

D.) Make mittens in the light yarn with a few stripes of the darker color - I have a little bit of it left so I could definitely pull off stripes – but I’m not liking this so much. I know if stripes really go with my setup here.

E.) Make mittens with seed stitch cuffs in the dark and the body in the light. I possibly don’t have enough of the dark yarn left to do this (dare I tempt the knitting gods twice in one project?) but I think I like this option the best so far. They would look something like this:
Patons Shetland Chunky
Ok. What do you guys think?

December 5, 2007

Rockstars and Nutcrackers.

So I’m really backlogged with stuff I want to post about. For some reason the blog has been really knitting heavy and not so much about the life lately – which is odd because we’ve had lots and lots of crazy-fun things going on. It’s weird what I feel like blogging about when – there really doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. I’m not going to get too hung up about it, though. So instead of trying to back-blog everything fun we’ve done over the past month (perhaps I’ll do that later because there are some hilarious pics I should share) instead I’ll just give a fly-by weekend recap.

So. Friday night I was MIA with a cold – I was going to go out anyways but I know how I am with the whole self-restraint thing and I’m guessing that “just one drink” plus cold medicine would equal BAD. So Dexter and I had a quiet evening together while Matt partied it up at the newly opened Bar Centro. Their pizza is quite tasty although not nearly as free as the pizza used to be at the Bier Market’s happy hours. Sadness ensues on that one. Anyone know of any happy hours with free food (and cute bartenders)? We’re looking for a new usual Friday night venue…

Then Saturday was a crazy busy day but one I have been looking forward to for a long, long time. Saturday I got to see the Real Nutcracker. See a long time ago in the 1990’s Cleveland had a Ballet company. And their production of the Nutcracker was second-to-none. Well at least it was the one that I grew up with and loved. Then in 2000 we lost the ballet permanently to San Jose – it’s something our city is still definitely missing. So to make lemonade out of the lemons my mom and I started a new tradition. Each December we took a little weekend trip somewhere to see the Nutcracker, usually paired with an art exhibit or a shopping excursion. We’ve seen the Nutcracker in Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta and none were even close to as good.

Ok in all fairness the Nutcracker is a ballet that is very open to interpretation. Each company does their own thing, includes their own dances and picks and chooses what music they want. Yeah there are some constants – like the tree growing – but it’s amazing the differences between them. In Chicago the character of Drosselmeir is much more… involved... in the story – to the point where we were calling him the “pervy uncle”. In Atlanta there are farm animals. No, really. Farm animals. Not sure what that has to do with anything but if you want to see a pig on pointe shoes check it out. Detroit’s was pretty good from what I remember and their theater is amazing. And Pittsburgh was my clear favorite because they did the most to make it seem local – the set and everything seemed to be in Pittsburgh which I really liked. However. None of them were quite right.

Well, this year for the first time since 2000 the Cleveland (oops I mean San Jose) Ballet returned home for the Nutcracker and I got to go with all of the ladies in my family:
The performance was everything that I wanted it to be. The costumes were a bit different in places and the set had been updated – but the things I had been missing in every other production were there. The swan taking them from country to country, the great jumping dance outside of the gates of the palace, and most importantly the pas de deux at the end with the coolest move in dance:

The fish. (pic from the Ballet San Jose Website.)

As my grandma put it – I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

From there it was a quick dinner at Otto Moser's before heading to the Artists of Cleveland Holiday Show which was very cool. Then we took my grandma home and I had just enough time to change before going to the Rockband party. Yes. Rockband party.

How about a visual:
Rock Band Party
Best video game EVER.
Rock Band Party
Rock Band Party
It’s like guitar hero for people with friends. It was amazing how into it everyone was – and can I just say I rock at Rockband? I didn’t do the singing part (noone wants to hear that) but I was the only one at the party (who doesn’t own the game) who could rock out medium on all 3 instruments. So. Much. Fun.

Rock Band Party
Matt rocks too but not at drums. He was terrible at those probably because he has no rhythm. No seriously. He’s very talented at many, many things and I love him dearly but the man has no rhythm at all. He figured out this little fact about himself while trying to learn Salsa dance in Copenhagen (seriously) and was depressed about it for like a week. By now he’s accepted his musical shortcomings – good thing the Rockband Guitar doesn’t require any musical talent at all:
Rock Band Party
Notice the flannel? Totally 90’s rocker. Heh.

Rock Band Party
Apparently I take this game very seriously. That or I was trying to vertical. Depends on how late it was in the evening…

Rock Band Party
Just a random picture of their dog, Max.

Sunday Matt was in an all day cornhole tournament with some of our neighbors so I spent the day recovering, doing laundry, getting my Christmas cards together, knitting a hat (still don’t know what I’m going to do about that – thanks so much for all of your input, though!), and spinning this:
more fire yarn
I can almost see the end of the fire fiber!!! Very exciting. I can’t wait to see how much yarn I end up with…

And finally... It's official. I'm in my Fantasy Football Playoffs! I"m the underdog at #6 but I still have a chance. Stranger things have happened.

December 3, 2007

Fifteen Dollars

Ok so in a few weeks I’m going to a very swanky Christmas party for all of my girlfriends. There will be much wine and good food. I’m super-excited about it. Except that I have to bring a $15 gift to exchange. Now not everyone at this party knows I’m a knitter or even what that means. I’m kindof new to the group... But I decided to knit my gift because then it would be original and much nicer than just buying some random lotion or something (preaching to the choir here, obviously).

Anyways my gift had to be less than $15, cute, fashionable, and appealing to anyone who might happen to pick it. So I made this hat:
Robins Egg Hat
Yeah the ghetto lightbox leaves alot to be desired.

It’s actually not finished. I still have to find a button which will make it look more like the real one here.

So right. Super-cute hat, check.
Robins Egg Hat
Horrible bathroom mirror shot, Check.

Anyways I have 2 more skeins of Patons Shetland Chunky to do something with. And only giving a hat seems sortof lame... So what should I make with the remaining skeins? I originally thought a scarf. But I can’t find any seed stitch scarfs that I like and I want it to match the hat. So perhaps mittens? Or flip top mittens? Or is that toooooo original. Or perhaps I should just buy a candle or something to go with it and consider myself done. Or is this not a good gift? I could make something else entirely – like a bracelet or earrings or something that could be super-trendy… I dunno…

What do you guys think?

November 28, 2007

Ghetto Lightbox Fun

So I don’t usually so Work in Progress Wednesday but while I had the “lightbox” set up I took some pics of what was handy… here’s what I’ve been working on lately:

Mmmmmmalabrigo Irish Hiking Scarf:
Irish Hiking Scarf
About half way done. Love it.

Back to School U-neck:
Back to School U-Neck
So not done in time for Thanksgiving. Not even close. The front has been re-done, though and it fits. I love me some short row bust darts – those plus the vertical ones incorporated in the pattern and my boobs have a very custom made home.

Swirl Socks:
Swirl Socks
Swirl Socks
These have been my traveling sock for a while now. I cast on for them back on our mini-vaca to Detroit in July. Since we (finally) have no travel plans for awhile – until January at least – I’ve bumped them up to my daily bus knitting.

In other knitting related news - tonight I’m teaching my brother’s girlfriend how to knit! I don’t think he’s super-thrilled about it but we don’t care. He’ll realize how awesome it is to have a knitter for a significant other once she bribes him with some new handknits. Andy really appreciates the handknits:

I reused that photo from this post waaaaay back in Dec. 2005.

And also - I just wanted to give a shout out to Detroit. It rules. And not just because Kristin lives there. Like Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and many others it's a wonderful and interesting city with an unnecessarily bad rap. I hate it when people (or "studies") judge a city by reputation and not by actually going there and experiencing it. Yeah for the Rust Belt!!!
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