Archive for the ‘Life’ Category
It's what tress often turn into, no?
Craft-wise and book-wise, I've:
- Finished 11 books. No idea if I'll be able to write reviews for every single one
- Finished three pairs of socks for girlfriends and one pair for moi.
- Made two fairly nice necklaces for my boss and my mom. I've come a long way since making necklaces out of macaroni teehee
- Started knitting a monster for the 600 Monsters Strong group. Inspired by the terrible traders in Newtown this December, this group aims to send these knitted monsters to kids impacted by gun violence.
Goodness it feels like a long time since I’ve updated my blog. So much for my original idea of having a digital scrapbook!
Well in chronological order, this is what I’ve been up to:
- June 20- June 25 – I visited my mommy and her sweetie husband in South Carolina. Wonderful little vacation. Relaxing was my word for it
- June 29 – A Derecho hit our area. What’s a Derecho? Wikipedia says it “is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. ” What do I call it?? Simply put – an ass kicker of a storm. See:
We lost power Friday night and it returned Tuesday night. I distinctly remember during the Snowcopolypse of 2010, enjoying it a little. Jermaine and I were walking around wearing five sweaters and we played Trivial Pursuit. Sure, it got old but at least the first day was fun. This storm? Not a bit of it was fun because very hot days followed. Jermaine and I had just gone grocery shopping Friday night and we were mad as hell when we had to throw away a majority of our fridge.
3. So yes. It’s been very very hot too. I know many prefer heat over cold but I do not. I haven’t had much energy lately to eat much less update projects here or review books. This smiley, actually, sums up how I’ve been dealing with the heat
But since the last entry, I have completed two socks:
And I’m absolutely giddy about this pair I’m working on now:
On the book side of things, there has been A LOT read, which has led me to wonder if I want to review Every. Single. Book.
Books I’ve finished since last book review: (Some of these might have already been read since June 12)
|Finished 5/13||Finished 5/20||Finished 6/1||Finished 6/5|
|Finished 6/23||Finished 6/29||Finished 7/24|
So Book Bloggers – Question for you – Do you review every book you read? Why? If not, what makes you want to review a book and what makes you just skip it? As I delve more into reviewing books, it would be interesting to see what others do.
…was for an adorable family friend’s puppy. Ms. Chloe got her sweater this past week
Pattern: Side Button Greyhound Sweater by Terri Lee Royea
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash, 275 yards
Needle(s): US 8 – 5.0 mm
Casted On: July 6, 2011
Casted Off: January 25, 2012
I was very pattern dependent for this project because I see Chloe about a half a dozen times a year. I don’t have “access” to a dog to always to a fitting. Nothing even close. So I stayed strictly with the pattern and to how it will then fit Chloe.
I made the XL version of this pattern because I was knitting it at a smaller gauge and…let’s face it. Chloe ain’t a skinny greyhound. I think she enjoys it. When dad went up to Debbi’s house to give it to her, he told me it wasn’t as hard as he anticipated putting it on her and once they did, she appeared pretty comfortable in it. YAY!
It wasn’t the most EXCITING knit in the world. 5×2 ribbing can get old after a while. But lil Chloe needs the sweater. I know she’ll get a lot of use out of it and appreciate the warmth it gives her after a long walk and her baths.
Last summer Deb had to say good bye to one of her puppies, Connor. I had talked about it here. While no one will replace dear Connor, I’m pleased to share that she got a new dog from a rescue league named Nala. Isn’t she pretty??
The only downer is her coat is so thick, doesn’t seem like she’ll need a sweater. Sigh
OK Gotta get back to cooking stuff for our football get together!
I have finished my Christmas stocking:
And now only two more to go!
Pattern:A NEW Mom’s Christmas Stocking by Dorene Delaney Giordano from her Ravelry Store (Note – This is a toe-up pattern)
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Patons Pure Merino.
Colorway(s): Purple and Gray.
Needle(s): US 3– 3.25 mm
Casted On: November 5, 2011
Casted Off: December 4, 2011
Modifications: Like with the previous stocking, I wanted to make it bigger. I based the instep on 60 stitches (3 pattern repeats) and the sole on 40, making the total stitch count 100 and not what the pattern stated-100.
I just love stars so I knew this pattern had to be the one for my stocking.
I am not entirely sure I’ll get Layla and Luna’s stocking done in time for CHRISTMAS DAY but I hope to get them done within a months time. I’ve started on Ms. Luna’s:
She is a kitty that loves being in the center of attention. She has a super hero complex as well. So I found it only appropriate to use bright colors for her.
Layla on the other hand is a very gentle soul. Calm and soothing colors were required to match her personality however the combination still had to provide enough contrast for the stranded pattern to be visible. And yes, I’m sure plenty might say I was definitely over-thinking what colors I would use for her. I wanted to get it right though. I finally found it:
Seeeeeeeeeeeee….soothing colors but will still provide some wonderful contrast.
Have a great weekend everyone. Knitters, getting all those handknits done for the holidays? What all are you making for loved ones?
I love this time of year. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Cooler weather. New Years. LOVE IT.
I think, though of all the holidays during this time of year, I like Thanksgiving the most. It’s likely because of the spirit of it. Too often we live in a world where we focus on the negative and let it destroy our days. And, trust me, I’m just as guilty of it as the next person.
This holiday makes us (or at least it should) realize the wonderful things we do have in spite of X, Y, Z.
So in no order, this is what I’m thankful for this year:
1. My amazing husband, Jermaine.
I pride myself on not being one of those women who needs 4 dozen roses sent to her on Valentine’s day but that doesn’t mean I’m not my own special brand of crazy. We’ve been through a lot together and because of that, he has been my calm when I’m anxious. He is the best exit buddy a woman can ask for.
2. Layla and Luna
We adopted them from the PG County Humane Society. You see all these tear jerker commercials about how we should save dogs and cats from a terrible life on the streets. While that is absolutely true, that’s not one of the main reasons why we adopted these girls. Sure it’s one but it’s not the only one. We wanted the companionship that came with kittehs. Shoot! They’re a wonderful source of entertainment as I’m sure they feel the same way about us. There are days at work that are so crazy and busy that the ONLY mammals I want to see are them because they don’t care about the craziness at work. All they want is to plop on your lap and purr, which, in turn, is quite calming.
3. Family and Friends. They put up with a lot and are always there to offer advice and laughter and appreciate my odd sense of humor. (pics were listed in alphabetical order: dad, mom/ray, rose/debbi, random group shot of Jermaine, me and Jess painting our home)
4. My job. I know I’m not out curing cancer or at a soup kitchen like I might have wanted to do in high school but I think I found a very comfortable nitch. Do I want to retire from this job? no. But I’m doing exactly what fits with my strengths according to many career tests I’ve taken. I help the underdogs and I feel like the information I provide my coworkers is a great benefit to my organization. I’m learning a great deal and I continue to and that’s a great feeling. The mind is an incredible thing if always challenged.
5. My health. Yes. It’s ironic that I state this as I’m getting over a cold that’s been a real pain in the ass, if I might be frank. But with this, I realized that I’m thankful for: A-The last time I got sick like this was in early 2009. So two and a half years without a cold certainly is not reason to complain. B- I have sick leave and a boss that encourages me to use it (when appropriate, of course. Like this past week when I hardly had a voice). C- I have insurance to cover me if this stupid cold progressed into something worse. So yes, I’m thankful for my health and that I have the resources to take care of my diabetes. (That’s my insulin pump featured above.)
6. Our new home. Jermaine and I bought a house this year and we’re having fun making it our own. (Yes I know that’s technically a pic of the cats but it’s their new bay window!)
7. Yarn. Need I say more? But I think I will–I am thankful that I have time to be creative.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Be sure to think about what you’re thankful for and tell everyone close to you that you’re thankful for them. That is what the holiday is about…not how authentic your cranberry sauce recipe is.
We adopted Layla and Luna in 2005. Back then, I was quilting more than knitting. I started picking up knitting more seriously at the weeeee end of 2006. By the time 2007 came around, the knitting bug hit hard and it became my primary craft. Then, in 2008, I said, out loud, “You know honey, it would be great if I knitted each of us a stocking for Christmas.” Cute idea right?
And naturally I didn’t actually start one till 2009:
I’m not proud. It took Jermaine and me buying our house to realize I really really wanted all of us to have a stocking this Christmas.
Jermaine’s, I knew, would be the most difficult. His name is just too long–8 letters. Why does that make a difference? I wanted our stockings all to have our names shown on one half of the stocking. Jermain’s name required about 70 stitches, so that doubled would make for a 140 stitch stocking. Depending on what yarn I’d use, sizing and shaping would vary.
So there’s that fine line between one hand where I make him a stocking out of fingering weight yarn, size 1 needles and it taking forever OR, on the other hand, I make him one that ends up so big it can fit Luna.
I then found designs by 2 Sticks and a String on Ravelry and I knew these were the patterns I wanted for our family stockings! I grew up with stockings a little bigger than her planned schematic but overall, I really like the designs!
And with this, I present Jermaine’s finished Christmas Stocking:
Pattern: A NEW Dad’s Christmas Stocking by Dorene Delaney Giordano from her Ravelry Store (Note – This is a toe-up pattern)
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Sport
Colorway(s): Aurora Heather (green) & Dove Heather (white/gray)
Needle(s): US 1 – 2.25 mm & US 2½ – 3.0 mm
Casted On: October 7, 2011
Casted Off: November 5, 2011
- This pattern was based on repeats of 20. So to add some width because of my preference and because of the length of Jermaine’s name, I expanded the stocking to 120 stitches, as opposed to the 80 it called for. So for the instep, heel and “leg” portion, I used size 2.5 needles. After the border on the top, but before Jermaine’s name, I changed to size US 1-2.25 needles and increased twenty stitches evenly by making one stitch after every six stitches. I was concerned that the stocking sizing would look off but with the needle size decrease, everything coincided nicely.
- 120 stitches made for an awkward heel flap, so I ripped it and did a short row heel (I mean it’s not like Jermaine is actually going to wear this. It’s for stuffing present(s) in! ).
- I also did an i-chord bind off. This was a first time doing this bind-off for me. Sure, it’s not the quickest one in the world, but it gives the stocking a very nice edging. It’s curling over a little bit, as you can see so perhaps I should go up a needle size the next time I use it? I don’t know. But this certainly won’t be the last time I use it.
I know this project came with a lot of false starts. (Did you notice the first pic? How there’s no gold in the final stocking? That was Jermaine’s request and I was more than happy about that. Never been a fan of golds/yellows/oranges.) But I am quite pleased with the end result.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd I’m half way done with my stocking
we just moved
The move went very very well. We are about 97% unpacked with some few stubborn boxes here and there. This is starting to feel like home now and both of us, as you can see, the kittehs are quite happy here:
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what else I want this blog to be other than a digital scrapbook of all my finished objects. My life is so much more than that. I might hesitate writing about events in my life because they might involve people that do not want to be talked about online. I can’t say I blame them. Or perhaps maybe I think too much – Do people really care about a book I just read and absolutely loved? But this is for me first and foremost. I have readers, many of which know me in real life, some do not. If they don’t care about a particular topic, it is totally within their right to move on to the next blog listed in their Google Reader account.
[which reminds me…I have to work on my confidence in writing book reviews! I have read some really fantastic books lately too!]
This is a knitting blog and in my attempts to improve my writing in my professional life, perhaps this can help me share my thoughts on knitting and all the things that come with it.
My knitting buddy Carol mentioned this in a blog post a few months ago:
I did a blog post a little while back about some of the similarities I noticed between the quilting blog world and the knitting blog world. One thing I’ve seen on a lot of quilting blogs lately is a “Process Pledge.” The Process Pledge is a vow to not just “show finishes or occasionally confess about our moments of indecision, but chat openly and often about our works in progress, our inspirations, and our moments of decision,” to quote one blogger.
She went on to talk about writing a knitting book but it got me thinking about the knitting process. I know of various times in this blog where I have some hesitations about writing about Works In Progress Entries. It just comes to this: They’re not as fun. Let’s face it. What if you post a picture of a work in progress and four inches have been completed. Next week rolls around and you have done a whopping additional 2.5 inches to it. Wow. Not all that exciting.
But there are decisions you make as you knit something that would be interesting for your fellow knitters to know. I always appreciate a good heads up about charts or yarns for example. I like reading friends’ reviews of books. So why not add my own?
So I start now, in this new chapter of my blog, showing off my Featherweight Cardigan project.
At first, I’ve been so hesitant about such a pattern. There are thousands of projects on Ravelry and I noticed that a lot of them are sheer. And if that’s what people want, then FINE! More power to them. But from my point of view, I questioned the point of a cardigan so thin. My friend Darsana, who has made four, I’m pleased to note, mentioned that there are times in her office when it feels like a meat locker indoors. It’s not the time for a heavy sweater because it’s often summertime with ACs jacked up so high. I started thinking that and I said to myself, “Yuuuuup….I can see myself needing a few summer sweaters for those times.” She modified the pattern, too, to add more shaping to it. As you can see, many, have found these mods helpful.
One can’t take bulky yarn and knit this pattern. At the same time, I wanted to see more finished ones with fingering weight yarns as opposed to the laceweight it calls for. My friend Cam recently finished one that I just fell in love with! Let’s take a moment and gawk at her lovely cardi, shall we??
Sure, she used fingering weight yarn but you can’t see through the cardi. It fits her wonderfully and I particularly like the ribbing collar. It gives it a very nice border. She added length to the torso, which is something I’m probably going to have to do as well. All in all, a very well tailored cardi. Ms. Cam can probably wear this to the office if it gets too cold with the AC or she can wear it hanging out with her man on the weekends.
Ok I’m starting to sound like one of those announcers on a makeover show when they start talking about the clothes they picked out for the person.
So I started knitting one with Dream in Color Smooshy. This pattern can sometimes turn into a bore because it’s, for the most part, straight stockinette. But I am particularly interested in how the yarn I picked changes every so slightly:
This is just the swatch I made a few weeks ago but it still kept my interest. This is the progress so far:
The specs of purple, lighter blues and even some hints of green if you look close enough just make me giddy!
I plan on making this with Darsana’s modifications too and adding length to the torso. Haven’t made a decision about whether I want full sleeves, like I usually do, or go for more snug and more fuller and longer ones. I usually go for longer sleeves but perhaps 3/4 length ones will allow it to look more professional and tailored? I don’t know. (I’m on this professional self-improvement stint as you can probably tell. I want to write better and look better and perhaps….maybe…feel more confident? I digress though)
Up next will be a finished test knitting cowl I did for my buddy, PAKnitWit!
Wow things have certainly been busy here.
Jermaine and I are packing up our lives to move into our new house at the end of the month:
But in the midsts of all this craziness, I finally have a finished object. My last one was from April.
Pattern: In and Out Socks by Cookie A’s Designs from Knit. Sock. Love.
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight
Colorway(s): Skein with No Name, Rockin’ Sock Club installment from November, 2010
Needle(s): US 1 – 2.25 mm
Casted On: July 4, 2011
Casted Off: August 7, 2011
This was one fun pair of socks to knit! The winding, cable-like pattern is what attracted me to the pattern in the first place.
And something I found particularly interesting was the way the heel flap was developed:
The winding cable-like pattern then POP a heel flap!! That part of the sock almost made me giddy as I was knitting it.
I enjoyed this pattern very much. I seem to be on a sock craze of late. And a STR and Cookie A. one as well now that I think of it. Explanation of socks–well I guess that’s pretty easy. It’s summer and gross out. Socks are portable and small and most likely I’m finishing up someone’s Christmas present so that’s a win win right there. I’m inspired to knit with Socks that Rock sock yarn of late because I’m drawn to many patterns that are friendly to multi-color colorways, which also explains my draw to Cookie A. patterns as well.
What will be next is Cookie’s Raven Swirl Socks with March, 2011’s Rockin’ Sock Club installment:
On a personal note, I won’t be back for a while we move. I look forward to showing off my Autumn Rose Pullover with all the ends woven in and a lovely neck band:
That’s not news. Of course it isn’t. But I’ve realized something of late just how true it is.
My buddy Deb lost her sweet boy to cancer on July 5. Granted I didn’t see Connor daily, weekly or even monthly but it was always nice to go up to her house and see him. He was just such a sweet boy.
If something is bothering me, I wear it on my sleeve. Deb, on the other hand, often keeps things to herself. And that’s fine. If anything, I wish I was more like that. So when Deb announced this, I just kept saying to myself “Leave her alone. She knows she can call. Don’t get all up in her face right now, Laura.”
OK Fine. But I had to do something. I miss Connor. I sort things emotionally through doing things. How could I find that something while respecting Deb’s wishes to be left alone.
Then I remembered! She asked me to make a sweater for her other puppeh, Ms. Chloe. I can do something for Deb and Ms. Chloe while remembering Connor’s memory and leaving my buddy alone.
Here’s Ms. Chloe
Isn’t she a cutie?? Nine years old with a lotta puppy in her
I started The Side Button Greyhound Sweater for her:
I don’t have dogs or even one closer to me to model the sweater as I knit it. So I wanted to pick a very detailed pattern that will help me and my lack of canine companions. So I picked the Side Button Greyhound Sweater. Yeah, sure, Chloe’s a mut and is a little big in comparison to the very athletic greyhound but it’s still a very good foundation for a sweater. I’m fine with adding length and width to a pattern. No problem! But where I should start short rows for the shoulders for a pup? No clue! So I called it my Greyhound Sweater for a Mut
I show my love and support through knitting. My mom cooks food for people and tells guests to come with tupperware. I knit socks for cold nights and shawls for friends with family members dealing with cancer. Perhaps there was a reason I didn’t start making Chloe’s sweater till now, when I’ve had her measurements for about a month now. This will be quite therapeutic for me and hopefully Ms. Chloe will have a sweater for this winter!
I’m about to steek my Autumn Rose Pullover. VERY exciting!