January 31, 2012

February is for Finishing

So lately my knitting situation has looked like this:

Yeah I have alot of unfinished projects.  Or UFO's as they are known in the knitting world.  I'm pretty much buried in them.  Check it out:

This would be 4 unfinished knitting projects that I was able to assemble for this photograph without getting up off of my spot on the couch.  SHAME.

I'm surrounded by ziploc baggies filled with good intentions. I'm in this awful cycle where I start something super excited about it.  Find time to work on it a few times.  And then get derailed and am too tired/distracted/overwhelmed to even think about it.  By the time I have a chance to go back to whatever it was I'm over it and on to the next shiny.

Pintrest does not help this problem.

And the worst part is that because I have so many unfinished things I just feel guilty about all of it.  I feel guilty for starting something new b/c I really should finish something I already have going.  Then I feel guilty for working on something I'm not enjoying because I have so little free time why am I spending it on something that's not completely awesome.  And what ends up happening is that I just don't knit at all anymore.  And that's just fucking awful.

So!  I've declared February as Finishing month.  I am going to get a handle on this.  I am not going to start anything new.  The month is only 29 days long so I should be able to handle it.  Right?

February is for Finishing Rules:

1.)  I will not start any new knitting or sewing projects for the entire month of February.

2.)  I will only work on unfinished projects that I have already started.  No cheating - it has to be something I've actually worked on.  Not just thought about working on.

3.)  There is no shame in frogging.  If I don't like something I'm working on I can just frog it.  I'm not sure why I feel bad about that.  But I always do.  So this month I won't.  If I'm not interested I will rip with abandon and put the yarn back in my stash where it can find a new and happier purpose.

4.)  There is no guilt in February.  I will not feel bad about myself when I uncover projects that have been abandoned for embarassing amounts of time.  Or ones that I forgot about completely.  Or ones that only have one stupid little thing to do on them before they are done.  I will only feel happy that I am finishing them not guilty that it took so long.

And I"m throwing in two very specific to me rules:

5.)  I will not let the child distract me.  She's as a bad as I am with the crafting ADD.  I will not listen to her siren song when she says things like "I think maybe we could make this into a dress."

Trying to occupy the same space on top of the couch

6.)  Dye doesn't count.  I have tons of really cool things coming up with Destination Yarn so I"m going to be dying like a madwoman for most of Feb.  I'm allowed to be as ADD with that as I want to because usually my random let's see what happens colorways are the most fun:

Underneath the Christmas Tree

That's it.  If anyone out there wants to play along with me shout out in the comments.  I may try to do some sortof contest or something depending on how ambitious I am.  There might be yarn involved.

Yay February!

January 30, 2012

The Black Leeow Hat

So my kid has a thing for black kitties:

Taking main kitty for a spin around the dance floor.
Taking her Main Kitty for a twirl around the dance floor
So when she outgrew her Unfinished Hat (I never did block it) I knew I wanted to make her one of these:

Finished hat for my kid!  I hope she likes it....  #knit #knitting
Kitty Hat.  Here on Ravelry.
I had big plans of getting it done for Christmas but of course that didn't happen.  Instead she took it out for it's inaugural run during the crazy warm weather we had in early January:

Black Kitty hat at the Park!

We're at Rocky River Park in these pictures... one of my fav's in Cleveland.  It's right on the lake which is as always awesome:

Black Kitty hat at the Park!

And the equipment is all accessible by stairs - great for a mom who is watching a little one and doesn't want to have to keep lifting a toddler up to the slides.

Black Kitty hat at the Park!
Although if daddy is there he is happy to help her learn to climb.
So the specifics on the hat...  It's the Official Kittyville Hat pattern out of the Stitch 'n Bitch books.  It's available free through Ravelry here.  I ended up changing a bunch of things, though (of course I did):

Black Kitty hat at the Park!
I knit it from the top down following the directions for Thorpe (also a free pattern) because I didn't like the seam between the hat and the earflaps with the pattern as written.  It's all about the details (see also: I need to get my OCD on somewhere).  That way I could just knit the earflap stitches straight down from the body of the hat w/o any seam.

Black Kitty hat at the Park!

I also knit it over 82 stitches instead of the pattern's 84.  I wanted it to be a bit smaller than the pattern but not so small that she'd grow out of it any time soon.  The earflaps and Kitty Ears are the same as called for in the pattern, though.
Black Kitty hat at the Park!

I added a double crochet edge around the whole thing like the Thorpe pattern.  And I did the ears in two colors.  The pink is in stockinette instead of seed stitch b/c to me the insides of kitty ears are smooth not bumpy.

Black Kitty hat at the Park!

The yarn is Patons Classic Merino.  And because my kid likes all things sparkley I added in some Patons Brilliance, too.  I held the two yarns together but only knit with the brillance on every other row.  So the sparkle is subtle but noticeable.

Black Kitty hat at the Park! x

She LOVES this hat.  And while it's a bit big on her still:

Black Kitty hat at the Park!
I know that just means she'll get more than one season's use out of it.  Yay for handknits!

And how about some bonus pictures of Lake Erie from Rocky River Park.  Love me some Lake Erie.

Black Kitty hat at the Park! Black Kitty hat at the Park!

January 23, 2012

Cleveland Aquarium Visit

So we took our family to the brand-spanking new Cleveland Aquarium:

Cleveland Aquarium

Cleveland Aquarium

It's located in the old Powerhouse in the flats.  We actually had our wedding reception at Windows so I have a bit of an affection for this place:

Cleveland Aquarium
And lived at the Bingham in the background.  Funtimes.
The powerhouse is a really interesting building and I was excited to see it used in this way.  It's been a million and a half things since they redid it as an entertainment complex but I think this is by far the coolest:
Cleveland Aquarium

The exhibits were really well done.  My kid especially liked the "Kitty Fish" (any fish with whiskers) in the Ohio Lakes and Rivers exhibit.  And we watched the stingrays for a long, long, long, long time.
Cleveland aquarium!! #happyincle #clevelandaruarium #clevelans

One of the neatest things about the aquarium is how they use the building.
Cleveland Aquarium
Tanks are tucked in underneath brick arches:

Cleveland Aquarium

Exhibits are arranged around long, vaulted passageways:

Cleveland Aquarium

And they give you peeks at the iconic smokestacks:

Cleveland Aquarium
Cleveland Aquarium
Lobsters?  In the smokestack?  I don't quite get it but it looks cool so I'll run with it.
The interactive tank was impressive but also super crowded.  I'm going to guess that will get better with time:
Cleveland Aquarium
My kid:  I touched alot of things.  A spiny thing.  And a bug thing.  And... I didn't pet a shark.
But all of it was leading up to the grand finale.  The shark tank:

Cleveland Aquarium

It was HUGE.   The sharks were HUGE.  And had TEETH:

Cleveland Aquarium

The shark tank (and all of the tanks, actually) was really, really cloudy.  I'm told that it will get clearer with time but I'm glad we got to experience it while it was still murkey.  Made the whole thing seem unreal and extra spooky:

Cleveland Aquarium
My kid before bed that night:  "I liked the sharks but I was a little afraid that they were going to eat my brother."
The last thing before exiting through the giftshop is the underwater tunnel:

Cleveland Aquarium

It goes on for-ev-er.  In a good way.  And while everything was still murky so we couldn't see much we did have a school of stingrays swim directly over us:

Cleveland Aquarium
How. Cool. Is. This?!
My biggest complaint* is that it wasn't what I was expecting based on my knowledge of the building.  I wanted to see fishtanks set against sweeping views of the river and the flats.  Like the logo depicts:
Cleveland Aquarium
 But that never happened.  I also expected some ridiculous spaces in terms of vertical volume but that never happened either.  Everything was pretty much one story, in the basement.  They made the decision to use the old Rock Bottom Brewery as the snack shop and didn't claim any of those spaces for exhibits.  I was picturing tanks where the old brew kettles were.

Cleveland Aquarium
Why are there not giant tanks everywhere in here?  It would have been so cool!
But I'll give them a pass considering that I know nothing at all about the requirements for aquariums.  When I had an algae bloom in our sad little home setup the first thing they asked me was "is it near a window?"  So I'm guessing that on this big of a scale natural light and heat need to be really carefully controlled.  Probably not possible in a space with sweeping views of downtown.


Overall though it was a really cool place.  We ended up buying a membership (it pays for itself in 2 trip) and I plan on taking the kids again soon.  

Cleveland Aquarium
I liked the fish.
*Not the stroller controversy.  Seriously, people.  Not everywhere can accommodate strollers.  There are narrow hallways and big crowds.  It is not an affront to families or anti-children.  It is simple math.  Although it would have been nice if they had a coat check.  Or even the ability to run out to the car if necessary (they have a no-reentry policy).  As it stands most of the parents there looked like pack-mules (kids in carriers!  Diaper bags! Coats for everyone!  We have to carry all of the things!).

January 20, 2012

Project Runway Recapped by a Toddler

Ok so.  This weeks installment of What My Toddler Thinks about Project Runway is admittedly much less fantastic than last week's amazing.  She was out partying too late last night and is a bit cranky today.  Plus I made the error of allowing her to see some of the sewing room portion of the show.  Which meant she was no longer interested in watching dresses because she wanted to make one of her own.

This mainly involved cutting up pieces of yarn and then holding them up to her stuffed animals saying "What a pretty dress"

The second the show was over she begged me to go upstairs to my studio where she wanted to draw and then sew.

My sewing machine may be a toy but I can out design any of you people.  Have you seen my squirrel-y dress?

Anyways!  On to her commentary:

..... (She had nothing to say about this dress whatsoever.)

It's kindof a Malificent dress... kindof... I don't like this dress.

It has alot of lines.

Where's the rest of her dress?

 That's pretty silly.

I don't like this dress.

Oh wow!  Look at her Hat!  (and then she went and put on a tutu)  It looks like a hat!!!

That dress has some things on it.  I like her crown.  That's a beautiful crown!

 It looks like a touchdown (football jersey).  She has some boots on!  She needs a coat and a hat on.

That's pretty awesome.  It's so shiny!  I like this dress.

She looks like big bird!

So the shiny dress was her clear favorite.  And I'm just going to go ahead and say that her lackluster commentary was because of the lacluster dresses.  Nothing was all that amazing this week.  I actually did like Mila's dress as a dress but now that my daughter has called it a football jersey I can't see anything else.  The fabric completely looks like football jersey fabric.  Crazy that.

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