Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Begging to Feel A Lot Like

spring around here. Seriously, remind me, is Florida in Australia? It's not?!? Then why is it getting hot in December? It's been in the 70's here for most of last week, which is warm even for Florida standards.

The knitting group had a Chili Night/Secret Santa Gift Exchange. It was a blast, even though it was warm enough that chili wasn't strictly necessary. There was a ton of good food, and lots of fun. Jodi was an awesome hostess, and Jen organized the swap online.

I think the swap went really well, considering we know each other so well. Jen was my Santa, and she really came through. First there was a "Red Neck Dye Kit".

Secret Santa Gift from Jen

The saying on the front is "It's like Skittles, except it's not candy. See the Rainbow!" It's Red Neck because it came in a trash-bag box, which was the only thing that would hold the contents.

Secret Santa Gift from Jen

Inside is everything needed to dye yarn/roving: gloves, a wide assortment of KoolAid, and vinegar. Very cool, and will go well with

Secret Santa Gift from Jen

about a pound of roving. Most of it is white, and some of it is this beautiful heathery grey, which will be really neat to dye.

The roving came in this awesome bag that Jen sewed:

Secret Santa Gift from Jen

Yes, that is pirate themed fabric. It was really well put together, with grommets and a drawstring.

And now I've got to get back to feverishly crafting. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How have I not posted this yet

My Wheel

I got a wheel for my birthday!

It's a Kromski Sonata, that comes with its own backpack

Indy is jealous of my new toy

Indy is mistrustful, afraid I'd forsake him for my new toy. He has no need to worry. I've spun less than an ounce on it since I got it in October. Not that I don't want to, but I just haven't had the time, I'm focusing on Christmas knitting.

I did spin this

Practice Handspun

It's thick and thin like crazy, slubby, and overspun in some parts, and very pretty in its own way. Especially after I dyed it

Practise Yarn

and knitted it into this

Swallowtail Swatch

It's part of a pound of plain domestic wool I got from Webs, just to practice. I have a bunch of pretty fiber from plenty of sources, but I feel like I wouldn't do it justice if I spun it now.

I do have some plans though, more spinning to come!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. I was home for 5 whole days. It was fun, but busy. We had about 30 people for Thanksgiving lunch, and on Saturday, we threw my soon-to-be sister-in-law a bridal shower. She is cute as a button and we're so glad to have her in the family. The shower was a roaring success (or a least a loud din, with 30 ladies talking nonstop), everyone seemed to have a good time.

My mom and sisters did a great job on putting the shower together. There were hand made chocolates (which I had no success at - I kept breaking them), and paper crafts galore. Mom made these cute little boxes for favors.

Katies Shower

I've been relatively busy with crafting as well.

This Teddy Hat was made for my cousin's 2 year old

Timmy's Teddy Hat

It's some random blue acrylic. I used an invisible cast on and 2x2 ribbing throughout. The ears were crocheted on afterwards, then wet felted by hand in the sink. I pulled apart some pink wool and got it back to close to fiber-like consistency and needle-felted the center of the ears. I'm pretty sure I saw a picture of something similar on Ravelry, but I haven't been able to find it and don't know how it was made.

Then there are these two pillows, made for a gift for my older sister. They are made using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Aslan colorway, and Lion Brand Wool Ease, quite possibly the strangest combination of yarns ever. These were started a few years ago, before I had a good understanding of gauge. It all worked out, though, the sock yarn parts just have a little more white between them.

One has a flower motif on the front, from the crochet motif harmony guide.

Pillows for Michelle

The other side was box-stitch.

Pillows for Michelle

The second pillow has a granny square on one side

Pillows for Michelle

and some double crochet. The tab on the side is worked sideways, which shows the color a little differently.

Pillows for Michelle

The other part of Michelle's gift was an Everlasting Bag Stopper.

This is what it looks like empty

Shopping Bag #1

and filled

Shopping Bag #1

There's just a little bit of stretch. Just a wee bit.

With that said, I have to get back to working on Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Success at Crafting or Fail at Blogging

Either I've been very productive at crafting, or slacking at blogging. I'll let you guess which. I'll just list them here, more details can be found on my Ravelry page, or you can leave me a note. Here goes:

I failed massively at designing baby booties.

Failed Booty Experiment

Then I made up for it with some Ruffle Rib Baby Socks (Knitting Daily Pattern), which were gifted to someone at work. The color is very Jaguars.

Ruffle Rib Baby Booties

Crocheted some Fun Fur Flip Flops for Donna, breaking the promise I made to myself never to do that, but she really wanted them.

Fun Fur Flip Flops

I knit a few inches on a charity blanket for the Stitch It podcast.

Knit Charity Blanket

And, only 10 months late, I delivered the last of last year's Christmas gifts. Gloves for my Dad. These are my own design, based off of instructions in a back issue of Interweave Knits.

Dad's Ugly Brown Gloves

Dad's Ugly Brown Gloves

I made an Umbilical Cord hat (from S n' B, which I got from my bro for my birthday) for the baby girl my cousin is expecting. Indy was then subjected to a long session of modeling it, due to a lack of anything else with a head small enough to model it. It started off okay

Indy Modeling Umbililical Cord Hat

but after two whole minutes of trying to get him to look at the camera and sit still at the same time, Indy looked like

Indy Modeling Umbililical Cord Hat

Some Monkey socks. How did I get to make something for me?

May Monkeys

I've also finished my Lady February, and have another cute little kid hat that needs a little needle felting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nothing's Scarier than Math

It's late October and that means three things in my house

1) Chili

2) Pumpkin Pie

3) Pumpkin Carving

Pumkins 2008

We had four pumpkins at our house this year, one each for me, Nerdy Husband, Big Little Sister, and her friend. BLS is living with us while she goes to school here. The knickname borrowed from a relatively awful video game movie, since she's much taller than me.

She's also the one who picked out this pattern for me to carve.

Pumpkins 2008

She and her friend carved out these two

Pumkins 2008

Pumkins 2008

And Nerdy Husband had the easiest to carve, but one of the best pumpkins.

What do you get when you divide a pumpkin's circumference by its radius?

Math is Scary

Pumpkin Pi

or, in this case pumpkin pi over 2, because he says that is always the answer. What a math geek! We're such a good match.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Last of the Spinning Class Posts...

Here's the last the post about the spinning class:

For the second week, I used the Louet S10 DT

Louet S10 DT

and had several different fibers to wash and card.


Spinning Class Fiber-Romney


Spinning Class Fiber-Merino

Blue Faced Liester

Spinning Class Fiber-BFL


Spinning Class Fiber-Shetland

and last but not least, mmmm Alpaca

Spinning Class Fiber-Alpaca

I blended them together with the hand carders they lent us and came up with this

Spinning Class Yarn

Spinning Class Wrap Up

Last month I took a Spinning Class at Hank's Yarn in Gainesville. It was really educational.

I posted about my first weeks progress, the promptly forgot to follow up.

During the first week, I turned this

Spinning Class Wool

into this

Spinning Class Yarn

It's a itty bitty skein of Navajo plied wool. I Navajo plied because I wanted the color changes to look like this.

Spinning Class Yarn

And I just really wanted to try Navajo plying. It's pretty overspun because I was a little uncoordinated.

For the second week we had a bunch of diffrent fibers to wash, card, and otherwise play around with. I blended them together and spun some singles and some good looking navajo ply. Pictures later.

For the third week, I had the Ashford Traveler, and I learned what it meant to not like a wheel. I couldn't pinpoint it, but that wheel just didn't feel natural for me.

Red on Red Barberpole

I spun two singles of different colors of Louet roving

Red on Red Barberpole

and plied them together

Red on Red Barber Pole

During the last class, I turned some more Louet roving into

Spinning  Class Yarn

I learned a lot from the class. The next step is to get a spinning wheel for my birthday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirate's Life For Me

Today is that special day: International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So have some fun and look up pirate vocabulary.

Else yer a bilge rat.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book... And I'm in It!

It is finally here: The Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book. It will be available at some Local Yarn Stores, at Create Space and on Amazon.

What's the Crochet Liberation Front? It's a Ravelry group dedicated to championing the cause of crochet. As of now there are over 2,200 members.

The first ever book has been organized and edited by the "Fearless Leader", Laurie, with contributions from the "minions" of the CLF. It is not a "Learn to Crochet" book, but rather a reference book with a wide range of patterns and articles.

Articles like the one I wrote. It is about using math and other technical tools, such as spreadsheet software, to write and adjust crochet patterns, and to just have a better understanding of crochet construction.

One of the main focuses of the article is to show you how to write a pattern that looks like this:

Spreadsheet Screen Cap

The numbers here are all automatically calculated and easily adjustable. It would be very simple to write a pattern in multiple sizes, or to make changes to a pattern as you go.

My main goal with the pattern was to make the math and "technical stuff" behind crochet more accessible to everyone.

I will probably be giving away at least one copy of the book, more updates on that later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two Tropical Storms and Ravelympics Wrap Up

I've been a bit busy the past two weeks. After the last post, one might think that I've been off creating. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Life has gotten in the way.

I've weathered a tropical storm and bits of a hurricane. First, Tropical Storm Fay slammed our fair city with buckets of rain and plenty of wind. Two days off of work were spent in my pajamas, mostly sleeping and reading.

Last weekend my family and I headed to the Keys for some snorkeling. Unfortunately, Gustave brushed close enough that the waters weren't clear. Even more unfortunately, we didn't find out how murky the water was till we had taken a boat tour into the ocean, through a squall. It was a rough ride, and a few times out there we caught enough air to scare even the seasoned sea-goers. I am not a big fan of being on the ocean, and I'm still not sure how my family managed to get me to go out on a boat during a hurricane.

Other than that, the trip was a lot of fun. There was a little rain, we've all lived in Florida long enough to not let that bother us. We got to feed the Tarpon at Robbie's, which is great fun even if you're not a fish fan. Beware of the pelicans though, because they're even more aggressive than the ducks in my neighborhood. They will try to take the fish right out of your hand.

In other news, Ravlympics is over. I made a pretty good start on the Curve of Pursuit.

Ravelympics Final

It's probably about 25% done or so, which is how much I could realistically hope to get done. We'll call that a success!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cat Bordhi + Cast On Podcast + Caffeine = Inspiration

It's been an interesting day.

When I went to work this morning, I had a killer headache, so I took some medicine. Medicine with about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

This was a risk, as I am very sensitive to caffeine. If I eat too many m&m's, I will get a caffeine buzz for a little while, then get tired, restless and be unable to relax.

To help me feel better, and since I'm lucky enough to be able to listen to music at work, I turned on the new episode of Cast On. And Cat Bordhi was the guest. If Cat Bordhi is the mad scientist of knitting design, then Brenda Dayne is the Kung Fu master of podcasting.

With this perfect storm of energizing forces and creative genius, I had quite the rush of designing inspiration at work. A few new design ideas came to me, and I had a couple of break throughs in some of the older ideas I've had bouncing in my head.

I couldn't justify sketching at the office, let alone play with yarn. Believe it or not, I was actively working. Frustrating!

And even if I could have sketched, I don't have an organized way to keep track of these ideas. Even more frustrating!

So I'm starting a design journal.

And yes, I'm talking about designing, which isn't something I've ever really talked about here. Recently I've been almost exclusively using other people's patterns, perhaps playing with yarn choices. But I would like to start designing more of my own projects. They may not necessarily be published, but if they are, I have some ideas, especially for online publishing. Think of a sweater pattern in a worksheet, where you input your gauge and desired dimensions, and customized instructions are automatically calculated. No math or spreadsheet prowess necessary. If you can type in a few numbers, and hit print, you have your very own custom pattern.

Also, I've been making progress on the Ravelympics project.

Ravelympics Day 10

This is how it looks right now. I'm not going to post every day's progress picture, because they all look pretty similar. They can be seen at my Flickr page

This energy has made me overly optimistic about what I can accomplish this evening. My to do list is ridiculous! I just hope I don't crash.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Ravelypic Progress

It's not yet afghan sized, but it's getting there.

Day 2

Knitting Olympics Day 2

Day 3

Knitting Olympics Day 3

As you can see, Indy clearly approves.