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.