28 February 2007

Getting Some Sunlight

I bought plants. And planted them around my mailbox.

I have never purchased plants before. Not for planting. I've never had a yard or a garden of my own.

Bromeliads, Crotons, and Snapdragons. They will probably die. They are probably not suited to the soil/ amount of sunlight/ temperature/ something. Because I don't know anything about plants. But I think they look nice, and I am proud of myself. If for nothing else, than for spending time outdoors.

Now, about that dead grass surrounding them... That waits until B is home from his underway.

Zigzag Necklace

After the hoodie was all put together and soaked in the tub (and yes, I know I still owe another post on that sweater!), I figured it was time to craft in a slightly new direction.

Beaded wire crochet!

Pattern: "Zigzag Necklace" from Nancie Wiseman's Crochet With Wire, published by Interweave Press.

Materials: Artistic Wire, 28-gauge, in Plum; crystal beads; clasp and findings; size 4 hook.

Time Spent: A couple of hours.

My mother in law gave me this book for my birthday last year - along with all the supplies to make this necklace. And it slipped to the bottom of my stash. Oops. But, hey, I finished before my birthday this year! I hadn't ever crocheted or knitted with wire before, but I enjoyed it. Now I need to buy more wire so I can make more of the projects. (Does wire count against my vow to not purchase yarn until April? Hmm. Probably does.) I have another beaded crochet book (yarn/thread/fiber, not wire) that my former boss gave me that I also need to delve into. So many things on my project list...

26 February 2007

I Heart My Hoodie

Oh, my. I adore my Central Park Hoodie so much. So much, that I could not stop working on it, because I had to HAVE IT NOW, and I finished it in exactly 2 weeks. I've made socks that took 2 weeks. Socks!

Photo Shoot:

Artsy shot. Pretty buttons.

Obligatory bathroom mirror shot. (B is out on his new ship, so I have to model AND take the pictures. Ugh.)

You can see how nicely the hood lies. You can also see that the sleeves are a little snug. I think the blocking will work it out. Yes, I always block pieces after they're all the way done, seamed and everything. I know some people block pieces and then seam. I can't get a handle on what problems my blocking needs to address until after I've put the thing on.

Obligatory headless bathroom mirror shot. Check out those cables!

A sopping soapy mess. I block with Woolite, and for this one I threw in a bit of vinegar hoping to soften it up. It wasn't really harsh, just slightly scratchy on my arms.

Laid out to dry on the giant beach blanket.

The official FO post shall come after it's dry. I will try to find somebody to take pictures for me, since B doesn't come home for almost 2 more weeks.

*If you happen to become smitten with the Central Park Hoodie, check out the CPH KAL. See other knitters' gorgeous finished hoodies, and if you decide to go for it (and you should!) you can get any help you may need.

25 February 2007

New Friends

In the past two days I have had to good fortune to attend two separate social knitting functions. The first was a "knit-in" at the LYS, on Friday night, and the second was a Jaxknits meeting, yesterday afternoon. When I was in Jacksonville house hunting, I went to the same knit-in, but yesterday was my first opportunity to go to a stitch-n-bitch type function since moving here, and I really had a lot of fun - even if the cafe at Borders was currently closed and we had to swipe chairs and congregate in the middle of the self help section. Met some awesome and talented ladies (who had some very nice things to say about my hoodie-in-progress) and made some good headway on my project.

The Jaxknits ladies are contributing socks to the Socks for Children in Common charity project, making socks for kids living in orphanages in eastern Europe. The pattern can be found here, if anyone out there would like to participate!

23 February 2007

22 February 2007

Pile O' Pink

See? I have been knitting!

This pile of pink cabled pieces is the back, both fronts, and one sleeve of the Central Park. I have been working on this about a week and a half. Proving, once and for all, that I actually am a reasonably fast knitter, and Leo just existed in some sort of vortex, in which I could knit and knit and not make any progress........

19 February 2007

A Change Of Pace

Every so often, my creativity demands expression via non-yarn avenues. So last week I busted out my bead stash.

Admittedly, they are still yarn related - they're stitch markers! They came out a bit heavy to dangle from straight yarn, probably, but most of the time when I use stitch markers at all, it's with circular needles, and the markers are suspended from the needle cord - and they should work just fine for that. By the way, these beads came from Bead Hawk here in Jacksonville - great store.

Next, this project.

I realize it's hard to tell much from this picture... It's a bookcase, and I'm staining it. It's too close to the wall in the garage for me to get a wide enough angle for a good picture - and I wasn't about to move it for the sake of photography. I've never stained before but I think it's going pretty well. Upon the advice of the very friendly guys at the unfinished furniture store - called Wood You, also here in Jacksonville, also highly recommended - I'm doing the staining with rags rather than brushes. The process is almost a sensual one, just hand against wood with no brush adding distance.

Note: We had to purchase a bookcase because our movers threw our previous bookcase down the stairs as they were packing up our apartment. Oops.

This isn't to say that I haven't been knitting. I have. Update on the new project soon.

Also, I have attempted to join two new webrings (pending acceptance, of course). Florida Knitters, and Knitters with Minis. Technically it's my husband's Mini, but that still counts, right? It's in my driveway, and I drive it every once in a while...

Like I said though, I attempted to join these two rings. After submitting my info to RingSurf on the Mini ring, RingSurf brought up a page saying the ring is not currently accepting new members... But I did receive an email confirmation providing me with the code... So... I don't know. Maybe I'll leave the code up for a little while and see if I hear anything.

17 February 2007

Leo Sweater

Leo, by Kristi Porter, from Knitty's issue Fall 04.

Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Silk in "Cinnamon" - personally, I would not have named this color Cinnamon. Perhaps Caramel. The yarn is rather soft and for the most part pleasant to work with, but, well, you get what you pay for I suppose. My stitches didn't look quite as even as they usually do, and the original neck was... saggy... (see previous post). But the neck looks good now, and blocking fixed the majority of my unevenness issues, and in the end I'm pleased with the yarn for the price.

Time Spent: Must I admit this? I bought the yarn back in August... Then it was going to be a Christmas present... Now I guess I can call it a Valentines present. Of course, this was not my only project for that entire time. It was one of those that I kept putting off, and putting off... Thank goodness it's over now.

Notes: There has already been one post about my love-hate relationship with this sweater in detail; I won't go into it again here. And don't get me wrong; it's a great pattern. Everything the conservative-but-trendy guy wants in a pullover. The final product looks rather nice, if I do say so myself. I think B was a little surprised by how stylish it looks. It just took FOREVER. Size 3 and 4 needles? It's like the designer was trying to kill me.

Still, now that it's done and has even been worn in public, it was just about worth it.

My only modification to the pattern is the neck. The roll wasn't working out for me, so I did an inch and a half of 1x1 ribbing with double decreases every other row on the front center.

And now, we may all move on with our lives. And mend our marriages.

(Just kidding.)

14 February 2007

Happy V Day

Nothing says "I love you" like a bunch of cupcakes stuffed with pink berry goop.

Giada de Laurentiis, Raspberry Cream Cupcakes.

13 February 2007

It Smells Like Wet Livestock In Here

55% like wet alpaca and 22% like wet merino sheep, to be exact, and then 23% like wet silk, too. Because that's the blend of the KnitPicks Andean Silk that went into B's Leo... Which is now probably pretty close to dry, after being blocked on Sunday.

It's finally finished.

And stinky.

(Sorry about the blurry picture. It was either a blurry picture or a dark one.)

It was finished Saturday night at about 1:30 am. (I just haven't had the chance to blog about it until today.) And don't think the monster gave in to completion without a fight. OH, NO - there was a gruesome and bloody battle. Ok, maybe not bloody, but definitely hairy.

See, when I first started the sweater, I asked B if he liked the neck in the pattern, because I didn't think it looked like his style, and if he told me early then I'd have no problem changing things around to better suit him... But he had to let me know then, so I could do the necessary alterations of the front and possibly back parts of the sweater. He looked at the picture and said, no, that neck looks fine. He has no recollection of this conversation, apparently, because on Saturday morning I finished the pattern as written, and he tried it on, and hated the neck.

Granted, it looks a little floppy and unwieldy here, but I feel that probably would have calmed down in blocking. Either way, it was a no-go. I know if he doesn't like the neck, he's not going to be wearing the sweater, and so this whole 6 month sweater-making ordeal would have been pointless. So, I frogged the neck.

There was only so much that could be done without tearing up parts of the body, which I was not especially willing to do. So, it's a conservative 1x1 ribbed neck with a very slight V; barely even a V, more of just a series of decreases at the center of the front to make the thing lie flat. He says he likes it. Hopefully he means it and isn't just trying to prevent my head exploding.

When it's dry, I'll have him put it on, and then I'll do an official FO post.

08 February 2007

I Am Still Alive

And I am in Florida!! Yay.

And I have internet again!! Double yay.

Every morning since we've gotten here, I've woken up, looked out the window at the palm tree in the yard, and thought: "Man, it's a ridiculously gorgeous day outside."

Followed by the thought, "If it's this pleasant and warm in February, what will it be like in July??"

There is way too much to do right now (read: unpacking!) for me to spend time blogging. I just wanted to put everyone's mind at ease: I have, in fact, not dropped off the face of the earth.

And in a couple more days... A long-awaited FO post.