Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby afghan finally complete!

I started this afghan for my bosses baby slightly before he was born at the beginning of September, and now it is finally done, hooray!

It is crocheted in a soft Hobby Lobby baby yarn in acrylic, of which the name escapes me at this moment. I will edit to add. It seems like it took forever! It was not the crocheting that was a pain; rather it was the blocking, stitching together, and repairing where my scissors got a little too close. It was the first time I had ever done more than a cursory blocking job. I created a grid on a large piece of cardboard and blocked about 12 at a time.

The patterns for the blocks can be found in the book 200 Crochet Blocks. I would have to disagree on the 200 part, as many blocks are repeated with very slight variations, or only color changes. None the less, it is a great book. I especially like the blocks that have circular motifs. Maybe some day I will be crazy enough to do a full size afghan. :)

One last pic of my baby modeling the new baby blanket:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Halloween pics a little late

Well, I've been on a hell of a hiatus. Part of it is the shape my house has been in after our mini-flood and all of the work we have been doing, part of it was my lack of creative endeavors for a while, and part of it was being too tired all the time to get much else done.

But, here I am! I have actually started a lot of new projects due to holidays and birthdays, so I will have stuff to post about. And I am making a pre-new year's resolution to post at least three times a week. Even if I don't have a project finished, I figure I can come up with something craft related. So - on to the Halloween pics.

As you can no doubt see, I was Tinkerbell for Halloween this year. I made the dress and the wings. The dress was made with out a pattern, thanks to my trusty dress form. I
had a more complicated design started but I ran out of time and had to go with this. Let's just pretend I haven't gained weight and you can't see the tummy, m'kay? There wasn't any chance of hiding anything in that paper thin fabric, though. The wings are made from a frame of 12 gauge wire, which I hot glued a thin organza t o, then painted over. I also added crystals.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dyed dress...or maybe a skirt?

I finished my ombre dyed dress today and discovered that its not really a dress. I think it wants to be a skirt. I didn't realize until hubby took the picture and I looked at it that this makes a totally unflattering dress. The problem is that the shirred yoke at the top is not long enough to fit from the top of the bust to the ribcage, so it flares out much further than it should and makes me look very wide. I might use it as a skirt instead. However, I really don't like the length this way.

If I hem it, I will hem off most of the lovely dye. I'm thinking it might need to be re-done. I think it needs another darker band of color along the hem line anyways. The color washed up much lighter than what it was wet. Even after sitting for over 24 hours, it seemed that a lot of the color washed out. I'm trying not to be dissapointed as it was my first time dyeing with these products and it was a lot of work. I ordered all of my products from Dharma Trading, and I used fiber reactive dyes in plum, wisteria, and seafoam.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A family of 2 (iphones, that is)

The last few days have been quite interesting. Brian and I joined the hordes of people on Friday to stand in endless lines in hopes of acquiring brand new 3g iphones. We arrived quite early, before 6:30am (lucky we are in a smallish town where overnighting is not required) but we were still #25/26 in line. We had decided instead of going to our local AT&T store that we would drive to Georgetown which is smaller. Either lots of people had the same idea we did, or the lines were just that long everywhere. There were roughly 100 people behind us by the time the store opened. We had decided we both wanted the 16GB white model. By the time we got to the front of the line, people in front of us were already being told the model they wanted was out. We got lucky and got ours, though.

Can you imagine standing in long lines for hours only to be told there are none left?? And for some reason AT&T refused to give any information about how many phones were available, so no one knew what was going on. Then of course there was the whole debacle with not being able to turn the phones on and activate them because Apples site was overloaded. When we got home it took about 4 hours of constantly pinging the activate button about every 30 seconds before we got through. So we finally got everything working, which was wonderful….and now comes the itunes debacle.

We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 200gb, maybe more of music, audio books, and video. The video probably bumps it well over 200, but since the whole collection is in multiple locations I’m not sure. A very small amount of this stuff translates perfectly into itunes. Along the way we have changed formats of ID3 tagging several times, and a lot of stuff is missing album art (which is needed for the cover flow function). This means that when you open itunes, everything is pretty much a jumble. So Brian and I started working on retagging and general itunes formatting on Friday, and we are still working with no discernable end in sight. Of course when we are done, everything will be so wonderfully organized, but in the meantime it’s a pain in the ass. We also figured out the hard way that when you change anything on the media center where we store all of our, well media, the individual itunes on your computer can no longer access your collection. It’s certainly a learning process. I’d really love to get around the syncing problems, but I’m not quite ready to hack the phone to do so.

Don’t get me wrong here; all of this is absolutely worth it. This phone is hands down the best device I have every used and I love it. There are a few small things I’d like to change, but everything that the iphone does it does extremely well. Here are my biggest wishes:

-multimedia messaging (yes, I know, you can send pics via email. Most people still don’t have email on their phones yet, though. So although you might be able to email them, whose phone will you be emailing them to?)
-A2DP stereo Bluetooth. In relation to my body size, the iphone is pretty big. I’d like to drop it in my bag and listen through my stereo Bluetooth headset.
-A better camera. My old phone had a 3.2 mp camera, and I will miss that very very much.

I’ve managed to get very little crafting done during this changeover to iLand, but I will have photos up soon of my drying yarn. It needs to hurry up, because I have a wedding present to knit!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fabrics and yarns to dye for

Yes, yes, I know it's been far too long since I posted. But as usual nothing happened for a long time, and then all the sudden I had a lot happen. I will try to make several posts over the next week or so to catch up on all the different things this week. Today I spent about 4 hours dyeing yarn and a dress that I had purchased from Dharma Trading. The dress is nothing fancy, just a shirred tube dress. I have wanted something done in Ombre (dip dyed with gradations of color for those not in the know) for a long time, but finding a piece that is reasonably priced and reasonable seemed to be too tall an order. So I'm making my own. I also did a hank of silk and one of cotton. I took a whole lot of pics, but apparently I'm very shaky tonight, and hardly any of them came out well. I will take more pics and give a more detailed explanation of my process. It wasn't all that hard, but very involved. It's probably one of those things where you get more effecient and therefore, faster, as you go along. Oh, and yeah, its extremely messy. More on all this later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Adventures in Knitting

So first off, let me say that I posted from my phone last week, and although blogger.com said my post was published, in actuality it never appeared. So now I have two posts to make. Ah, the wonders of working with advanced equipment. So I am working on the Camisole Frock tank top from Spring '08 Interweave Knitting. You can see it on Ravelry here, if you are so inclined.

As usual, I couldn't leave well enough and have made a few changes. It occured to me the other day that in my last few years of crochet and knitting, I have only once ever made a pattern in the yarn it called for. And that time, I did it on accident. I had bought the yarn and the pattern and when I got home realized that they were one and the same. Anyways, back to the Frock Camisole. I am making it in one of the new Caron yarns that just came out. It's called Spa, and its a combination of Acrylic and Bamboo. Best of all its really inexpensive. I'm using a butter yellow color, and rather than making it in one color as the pattern calls for I am making the part above the bust seam in a sage green. I have also removed the two purl row that goes down the front and back center and replaced it with a 6 stitch cable. I've been wanting to cable ever since I learned, and now I've finally found a project to work it into. You might notice that the gauge is tiny; it's taking forever to knit up! I'm okay with that though. I've decided that I love working in small stitches because of the definition. I love the feel of the fabric it makes, too. The original pattern called for size 7 needles, and I'm working with a size 4. Which brings me to my adventures in knitting story.

My Denise Interchangeables only go down to a size 5, so I went looking for a size 4 circular. The only ones I could find in the right length were a Boye Interchangeable. These needles had me in tears, literally. The spot where the needle screws onto the cable frequently comes loose, and then your stitches snag. Then if you aren't very careful when you screw it back together, the yarn gets pinched in the screw threads, and you have to pick it out and start over. So a row that should have taken you 5 minutes takes twice as long. Annoying as hell! So, I decided that I would take the plunge and buy a set of Addi Turbos, which most knitters know is the Cadillac of knitting needles. I had never bought them because they are so expensive, but I figured at this point it would be worth it. I could only find a listing for one store nearby work that carried them, so even though it was a little far I figured that if I was quick I could make it. Silly me!

I drove up and down the street looking for this store, European Knitting, and it seems to be a residential neighborhood. I finally find the address, and its for a condo complex. Assuming that I must have something wrong, I call the store, and the lady assures me that I am in the right place, and to park and she will come get me. It turns out that this woman has rented out a condo and filled it with yarn and merchandise - oh, and a ginormous talkative cat named Moses. The place smelled like my grandma's shed, which isn't surprising considering she was an aging woman with a thick accent, a brightly colored muumuu and orthopedic sandals. :) She was very nice and quite helpful, but I soon discovered that this is not the place to go when you are in a hurry. She talked as she slowly searched through stock, which was stacked on every available surface. She often forgot where things were, or set something down and then couldn't find it among the stacks. Multiple folding chairs and vintage occasional chairs were scattered through, along with a few tables, lots of paper, knitted items, and general ephemera. Wait, maybe I was in my grandma's shed. Then she messed up the receipt on the credit card machine and couldn't figure out how to get it to print, and insisted I needed one when I really didn't. When I finally convinced her I would be ok without it, she still had to figure out how to print out a daily batch report for me to sign, which she also had to look up to do. I really wouldn't have minded this all, except by this time I was late back to work.

I'm sure I'll go back to her for something, but never on lunch hour again. :) Oh, and by the way, those Addi's are as good as everyone says they are. My knitting glides in easy circles and my work has sped up so much!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

the best hubby in the world!

My husband came home last night from volleyball with a dozen roses just for me. :) Just because. I've been having a really rough couple of weeks and the last few days in particular were even worse. I have fibromyalgia, and when I'm in a lot of pain, it makes me really tired, which leads to being grumpy and exhausted, which leads to bad sleep, which leads to more fatigue and pain...and you get the idea. So not only has Bri been utterly sweet, but he brought me home these gorgeous roses! Both kitties were just as enamored of them as I am. Zuul, pictured here, decided to have the leaves as a late night snack, and Anubis tried to pull one of the stems out turned sideways between his teeth. He looked like a Flamenco dancer, uh, if a flamenco dancer were nekkid. Sorry for the bad lighting, but its really hard to get a good pic at night in my dark red bedroom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Etsy Store

Brian and I have decided to start selling our own handmade jewelry. I am always making things, and it seems silly not to be getting my stuff out there. I have gotten to the point where I am making more than I can keep. I got my husband in on it when he became interested in chainmaille jewelry. This is possibly the best thing we have ever done together! It is really nice to share a hobby and have something we can do together. I must say that organizing the business aspect of things together has already been touch and go because of our different approaches to doing things. I am sure that practice will make perfect though. See our stock at
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5375359 !

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Vogue Sweater is Finished!

After about a month of hard on and off work, the sweater, she is finally finished (insert bad french accent)! After a few false starts with bad gauge I was on a roll. This was a super easy sweater even for a novice like me. This is the Off the Shoulder Tank from the new issue of Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2008. It is knitted in Ella Rae Silkience on size 5 needles.
I had to extend the top a little to account for boobage (technical term), and I made the waist length a little shorter. I wanted it to sit just above my hip bones so it wouldn't roll like my tops normally do. I think it ended up shorter than I wanted, but it was a learning experience. I think it's pretty damn good for my first garment!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

jewelry kick

I'm gonna make this quick cause bedtime already crept up on me, but I'll hurry and get some pictures up now. I've been making lots of jewelry lately, especially earrings. Our order from The Ring Lord showed up, so we spent all weekend making chainmaille stuff.

Left: Rose gold, sterling silver, and salmon colored austrian crystals.

Right - Pink and white pearls and abalone (better pics to come)

Left - I absolutely cannot figure out why Blogger keeps loading this sideways, as it is saved vertically. I'm sick of messing with it, so sorry it's staying as is for now. Its made of 16 gauge titanium with gray pearls and lavendar austrian crystals. Again, better pics soon. I need to get this out in the sunshine to pick up the colors better.

Right - chain earrings. I love the way these look, so I will probably make another pair in sterling.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vogue Knitting Off the Shoulder Tank

I've been afraid to post an entry about this sweater, because it seems that as of late any knitting projects I post as I'm doing them don't get finished. I really want to finish this sweater. As skimpy as it is, it might already be too hot in Austin to wear it. We've already had 100 degree days this week. Anyway - the pattern is from the spring/summer edition of Vogue Knitting. I started about a month ago, but my gauge was way off, so I had to restart. It's moving along pretty fast. It would probably faster if I could figure out how to switch back and forth from knit to purl in continental with slowing down exponentially. I am using Ella Rae Silkience yarn in "silver", which is actually a light lavender. I love this yarn! It's a great combination of affordable, soft, and easy to work with. It's a combination of cotton, nylon, silk and rayon. I bought it at Yarn Market.com for $5.85 a skein. I'm over half done with it and haven't yet finished with the second skein. The pattern calls for for a yarn size that is almost the same size, and size 7 needles. I'm using size 5 needles. I think my gauge works up smaller, which is fine. As you can see to the right it fits my dressform pretty prefectly. I did make the length shorter, since I have such a short waist.
I just can't wait until I finish this! I'm hoping maybe another week or two at most. I've been taking it everywhere with me, and probably driving my hubby crazy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

tunic style dress - Butterick 4920

I started preparing the pattern on Friday night, and here it is Monday and I'm still sewing. On a "very easy" pattern. Ce la vie. I'm going to mark it up to a learning experience. I am sewing a combination of A and B views, as I am doing a dress length, but sleeveless.

According to the packet I am a size 10 in bust and hips, and a size 6 in waist. So I made all kinds of nice connecty lines to change the sizing for the pattern and cut it. When I pinned it to my dressform it seemed big, but being inexperienced I thought that the seam allowances would take care of it. No such luck. After trying on the bodice I tried it on and it was big, so I took in the the side seams by about an inch and a half. When I finished the skirt, I had to take in the side seams even further. I'm sure part of this is because the pattern is probably supposed to be worn loose, and I'm planning on it being fairly body conforming.

Then, when I sewed the bodice and skirt, I sewed it on backwards, not once, but thrice. Yep. Partly it was late and tired, and partly I got more and more frustrated and kept doing it wrong. Here is the picture from last night before I fixed it:

So now it's all together, minus hemming. I don't like the fit at all so rather than doing what I usually do and wearing it when its not perfect, I will take it apart and make it fit. The part that is really bothering me is the cowl. It hangs down almost to my crotch, which causes a rather unflattering fit. It's hard to see from the front, but it's really obvious from the side, as if I were some celeb trying to hide the baby bump that everyone knows is there. I think part of this is because I used a heavier and stretchier fabric than is called for, and it causes the cowl to sag.
So long story short, its back to the drawing, err, cutting board. More pictures of the finished garment to come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New fabric, and a creased diploma

I have had the sewing bug for quite a while now, being as that I'm 4'6" and pretty curvy. Kids clothes don't work for me because of the curves, and buying women's clothing has turned into a nightmare. I used to be able to buy juniors clothing, or shop at most major chain retailers with somewhat of a correct size.

However, over the last few years more and more stores are phasing out their smallest sizes. At the places where size zero's and double or single xs still exists, it's just not the same size it was 5 to 7 years ago. This means a lot of ill fitting clothes for me, or shopping at much more expensive stores. Sometimes both. And I have a really, really hard time paying $100 for an article of clothing, and then having to have it tailored. I know that I need to just get over it. But, still. So long story winding down, I really want to learn to make my own clothing. I've made a couple of small things, but while I was going to school, I never got around to the more complicated (read, anything above very easy) patterns.

Now I have more time on my hands, and I'm planning on sewing. I bought a whole bunch of patterns on sale for $0.99, and now I just need to make them. I bought some fabric, too. The fabric on the left is a (rayon-poly, I think) knit that I bought on sale that I want to use for a dress; the fabric on the right will eventually be a circle skirt. I have a pattern for the skirt, but I have absolutely no clue what kind of pattern to use for the dress. I also don't have a serger, so I'm hoping I will be able to sew it on my regular machine. I have heard good things about Sew U Home Stretch even though its a basic book. Maybe it will help me in my conundrum.

In other news, my diploma from the Art Institue of Pittsburgh, Online Division, finally showed up. And apparently, "DO NOT BEND" means absolutely nothing to the fine people that delivered it. See that big bend in the bottom left corner? Yeah, that matches the beautiful crease in my fine new diploma. It goes right across the seal. I could iron the rest of the diploma flat, but I'm assuming that if I run an iron across the seal, the embossing will dissappear. Does that mean I'd no longer have a valid diploma? God that would be a fitting end to the travails I've experienced with this college. Just for proof, here's a pic of the $60,000 piece of glossy paper:
Yay me! I might be able to regain somewhat of a social life again!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New camera and old pictures

Brian got a new camera for his birthday that has the best white levels I've ever had on a camera. I took some pictures of jewelry I made a while back and had yet to photograph. Despite having the best white levels I've worked with, I still have some work to do to get better pictures. Here's what I came up with so far though:

The earrings are made of 20g copper wrapped on a jig with bronze colored hobby wire wrapped around lime green pearls.

The necklace is 26g copper wire crocheted with amethyst stones. The clasp is handmade with 20g copper wire.

I am in the middle of making a new pair of wire wrapped earrings based on a pattern from Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine. I only hope mine look as cool as theirs do! They are about halfway down the page, listed as "intricate woven earrings". http://www.stepbystepwire.com/wire/backissues/wire-spring08.cfm

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chocolate-Pineapple Mini Cupcakes

My hubby and I made the most wonderful dessert today, and I ate so much of it while I was cooking that now I'm about to burst. Discomfort aside, this dessert rocks! I found a link to make these through http://www.craftzine.com/, which pointed me over to Bakerella at http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2008/05/cupcake-bites-made-easy.html for a recipe for cupcake bites. Now mine look nowhere as nice as hers do - she used a hard candy coating with sprinkles for the top, and mine just has frosting - but they taste wonderful none the less. We followed Bakerella's instructions but came up with our own delightful combination of flavors.

I bought a couple of candy molds at Michaels. We weren't sure what size to buy, so we got one set that are really small and look kinda like Riece's Peanut Butter cups, and another one that is bigger and meant to be for filling with fruit or custards or something. It turned out that the smaller ones are definitely the way to go. The larger ones ended up being a lot more than bite size. So, first you make a cake of your choice and bake it, let it cool, then crumble it up and mix it with frosting to make a mooshy mixture. (My own professional cooking terms.) We chose pineapple cake and cream cheese frosting.You ball it up so that it will fit nicely in your candy molds, and stick the balls in the freezer to firm them up for a few minutes.

You then melt your chocolate in a double boiler (we used dark chocolate) and pour some into your molds. Before the chocolate can harden, you stick your cake balls into the mold so it sticks out the top. Then you stick the molds in the freezer again for the whole thing to harden up again. Then you pop them out and decorate them! Bakerella dipped the top of hers into melted candy. I'd love to try this but hubby wasn't up for it this time. Maybe next time. :) Instead, he decorated them with a frosting tip and what was left of the cream cheese frosting.

Let me only say again that these are heavenly! They are really easy to make too, although a little time intensive.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Interweave capelet finished

I finally finished the Interweave Grand Plan Capelet after about two months of knitting in endless circles. And I hate it. Ok, hate is maybe too strong a word, but it's definitely a dislike situation. I don't know if it's the pattern or me, because I'm a new knitter. The neck fits wrong, and the bottom is too tight. It's a shame after putting so much work into it, but so be it. I'll chalk it up as a learning experience. I'm just happy I used cheap clearance yarn. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

everyone and their dog

It seems that the whole country is moving to Austin. Every day on my way to and from work I was noticing tons of out of state plates, so a little over a month ago I started keeping track of the plates I see. Of course I don't write them down until I get home, so I've forgotten a few. Here is a list of the ones I've seen so far:
New Mexico
North Dakota
New Jersey
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Hampshire
New York
and of course, a slew of California plates

I'd like to say I'm really irritated with Yahoo for posting our county as the top county in the country to move to - but that would be hypocritcal of me since I moved here from California myself 7 years ago. ;)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Busy month with lots of projects

I thought that graduating school would mean that I had lots of spare time, but wow, was I wrong! I took on multiple crafting projects, volunteered for the March of Dimes, spent tons of time working on my portfolio, and went on vacation to Florida to visit my mother-in-law and her fiance.

For the March of Dimes I made bracelets and monster stuffies (with the help of a couple of loyal friends) and they all sold out. :) Here are a couple pictures:
The trip to Florida was amazing. We visited St. Augustine, (my namesake as my last name is Augustine, and of course I always knew I was a saint ;) ) as well as Downtown Disney and Epcot Center, and we stayed with the in-laws in Ormond Beach. I was smitten with St. Augustine; I think it was the most beautiful place I've ever been. The gardens were to die for. Pictures can be seen here:
The other thing that we did on vacation was eat and drink continuosly. I am now on the "Special K" diet to combat the 5 pounds I gained drinking Mojitos and eating cuban food, seafood, desserts, and everything else that came my way. Ah well, Ce la vie.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This week has been so long; it seems like a few weeks packed into one. I had promised myself that since I’ve finished school I would post more often. It seems that school has not yet released its tenterhooks on me, though. My official graduation date is March 22nd, and because of a very catastrophic loss of my un-backed-up hard drive, I have to create an entire portfolio from scratch. So in the last 5 days I have:

a. reorganized my messy closet and yarn stash (pictures coming soon, cause it’s not yet finished)
b. attended SXSW
c. driven to San Antonio and back for Cirque du Soleil
d. worked feverishly in Photoshop and Illustrator, plus my sketchbook, to create portfolio pieces

So – as for SXSW, it was awesome! I’ve lived in Austin almost 8 years now, and this is the first time I made it downtown for the festival. I had always mistakenly assumed that if you didn’t have a wristband, there was nothing for you. I was so wrong! My hubby and I both took the day off work and headed downtown around noon, to the Dell / Stereogum / Paste lounge and saw Lightspeed Champion and The Weakerthans. I especially enjoyed Lightspeed Champion. Lead vocalist Devonte Hynes must have been miserable in his signature furry hat though, as the temperature was 92 degrees!

We then headed to Waterloo Records where we saw a couple of free shows. We saw Division Day, Elf Power, and the amazing Kimya Dawson. Although we went to see Kimya, I was really impressed with Division Day. We ate at Central Market after the show, and then hiked the mile plus over to Mohawk where we caught some really strange experimental type bands as we waited to see the show that took us downtown to begin with – Be Your Own Pet! Brian and I have been listening to them for a while, and so we were really excited to see them play. They put on an amazingly awesome show. They managed to blow a fuse or something on the equipment, and we had about a 15 minute break before they were able to play again. We felt a little funny being amidst a bunch of teenage girl groupies, but the energy and the music was way worth it.

Of course I took my current knitting project with me. I worked on the Prairie boots in slow moments and when we had to stand in line. I got no few strange looks for that, but hey - I like to keep busy. Not to mention that I'm addicted to knitting like it was some high grade crack. :)

I promise to get some pictures and videos up soon!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prairie Boots in Progress and a new Ikea Closet

I promised a photo on the new knit Prairie Boots pattern and here it is! It is amazing how quickly this pattern is working up. I'm really impressed with how easy it is as a beginner to make these. I want a pair in every color!

Besides knitting today, I hit up Ikea to pick up the supplies to organize my understairs closet. It's currently a jumble of fabric, yarn, wrapping supplies, and (multiple) vaccuums. So my goal for this week besides attending SXSW and seeing Cirque du Soleil in San Antonio is to install all of this stuff and make a beautiful closet. And as usual, my kitty Anubis wants to help. So as much as I'd like to pontificate on the thrill I get from organizing things into bins, baskets, and shelves, I have a lot of chores to do before we head downtown to party with all the SXSW festival goers from around the world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Steek Vest stumps me, and I fall in love with Prairie Boots!

So I'm a new knitter right? Brand new, less than a month knitting. But being the bonehead that I am, I insisted on starting something fairly complicated, at least for a newbie. I went straight for the Steek Vest in Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop knitting book. In all fairness to myself, I did look for a 'easy' pattern, all though I'm beginning (get it??) to learn that pattern difficulty ratings are very relative. It's knit in the round with ribbing at the bottom, and then knit stitches going up with wraps around the needle in the center to create drop stitches. I did great until I got to the place where you split the front and back up to start the armholes. Suddenly I'm having so many problems and my vest seems to be more knots than knits. So my friend and I decide to go to the "Chix with Sticks" at the LYS tonight so that I can get some major first aid for my idiotic attempt to knit something so out of my league. We make a production out of it and meet and drive out...only to discover a sign on the door saying "reminder, no chix with sticks tonight". Reminder...don't you have to be told before you can be reminded? Oh well. Maybe by next week I will have dug myself out of my hole.

In the meantime I have started another beyond beginner pattern. I fell in love with the Prairie Boots on Coco Knits, and I just have to make them! I have finished the sole on one boot so far, and I'll put up pics when I get a little further. I'm making them out of Yarn Bee's Mosaic Twist, which I bought like 40 skeins of when it was on super sale, i.e. from $9.00 apiece to $.99. More info on this wonderful pattern soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I have become absolutely addicted to knitting. It’s true. I’m a fiend, carrying my knitting with me everywhere and getting in a few stitches here and there. I knit at the movies, while waiting for a table at restaurants, and I knitted at SXSW in various quiet moments. Just a month ago, though, I couldn’t even knit more than a single row. Thanks to the folks over at The Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe in Cedar Park, I have become the yarn fiend you read today.
A couple of years ago my grandmother showed me how to knit and purl, and before leaving her house in Nevada I had a neat little square of stitches. When I got home, though, I couldn’t remember how to do it at all. I couldn’t cast on, I couldn’t purl. I picked up a couple books and tried to teach myself, to no avail. After awhile I gave up, and decided to teach myself to crochet. It seemed infinitely easier to learn from a book, and I stuck to that.

While being very happy with my crochet, I was disappointed at the lack of good patterns. (Recently some great books have come out for crochet, so this trend is changing, if somewhat slowly.) I looked at wonderful knitting patterns on the internet and in books so longingly, and decided I just had to figure it out. I came across a video on Amazon that had a lot of good reviews, so I ordered in December. It’s called The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Knitting. Within hours of watching it I was indeed knitting and purling away. It’s a great video for those who know nothing about knitting. However there were some things that I just couldn’t seem to catch from the video that I really needed to know, such as un-knitting and switching from knit to purl in the same row. Those items are on the video, the information just wasn’t sticking. A friend and I decided to sign up for a knitting class, and headed over to our LYS, The Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe.

After two hours of their class, I had learned to knit, purl, increase and decrease, cable, un-knit, and much more. The lovely Sue-Ann, our instructor, was extremely helpful. Of course I also left with a lighter wallet thanks to their wonderful yarn selection. This was the first time I had ever bought yarn outside of a hobby shop, and it was heaven. I made a scarf from the yarn I purchased that day, but being the stubborn and mule-headed person that I am, I instantly jumped to making a garment. Scarves are nice, but I made plenty of them when I learned to crochet. I want to knit so I can make gorgeous clothes that fit my small frame! So with no further adieu, here is my first project. It is the Grand Plan Top Down Capelet from Interweave Knits’ Wrap Style book. I am working it up in and inexpensive Bernat acrylic, but it is soft. I plan on embroidering it when I'm done to jazz it up a bit. I might line it too, I'm not sure yet. I have gotten a little further that when I took this picture, and I hope it will be done soon!

Monday, March 10, 2008

SXSWi and a new recon'd T-shirt

My hubby and I volunteered for SXSW interactive through work (Dell) and ended up working for a great company called Knowbility. They do consulting and testing to help companies make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. When we went in on Saturday we were asked to wear specific t-shirts for the booth. This is what the before size large t-shirt looked like (I wear a size zero and I'm 4'6", so it didn't really fit) before I cut it up:

And here's what it looked like about 2 hours later:

SXSWi was a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to catch a panel that was hosted by the folks over at Craft: High Tech and Craft. They also had Diana Eng speaking, the "geek" resident from Project Runway a few seasons back. She is also well known in the crafting and fashion industries for bring technology and electronics to fashion. It was a fascinating panel. They showed several projects each panelist had made, and then talked extensively about how crafters can take the step to improve American ingenuity. With our economy in a downturn and many Americans talking about all of our products being made in other countries, this is our chance to make a difference. We can create new ideas and new markets, and make people recognize that "craft" is not a dirty word. It means workmanship and care. It was a very inspiring segment, and my husband and I instantly spent a good hour or more discussing how we could use circuit boards, conductive wire, and LEDs in a fun way.

I planned on using this blog primarily as a diary of sorts to track my crafting efforts because there is so much I've done that I haven't documented. I've been a really bad blogger lately, but I have been very productive craftwise, so I will try to get lots of new posts up over the next couple weeks.