Sunday, May 27, 2012

LYS Trip: WoolWinders

We were dismissed early from work this Friday (squee!) and, as I've done in the past, I zipped straight to an unsuspecting LYS instead of heading home.

The Great Yarn Fast of 2011 is but a memory, but I still have a self-imposed yarn super diet for this year, so yeah, no going crazy at WoolWinders; luckily, their online list of yarn is helpful in terms of weight and fiber (if not pricing -- but that's what the rest of the internet is for, right?), so I was able to do some serious narrowing-down before I even set foot in the door.

I had a shawlette pattern in mind (it's for a gift, so I can't post specifics yet, but it has approx 430 yards of fingering weight needed, with a lot of stockinette in the body and a cool lace border) and a price limit of $20 (because, like I said, super diet).  These factors combined to pull my focus to the Cascade Heritage Silk Paints [Rav]; 85%/15% superwash merino and mulberry silk, 437 yards in a skein, really pretty colorways from which to choose, and priced at twenty bucks!

After a couple of minutes of being torn between the RED (9958, called Vino) and the BLUE (9996, called Deep Ocean), I made my choice and made a beeline for the register to keep myself from further temptation.  During the ringing-up process, I had a nice conversation with a staff member about her shawl-in-progress.

And then she said these magic words:
"Would you like me to wind this into a ball for you?"

UM YES.  With the laceweight debacle fresh in my mind (still in snarls, by the way), I gladly accepted, because let me tell you: if somebody offers to save you from your own impatience for zero dollars,

So I took it.  And then I took it home.

Oh, and if you get tomorrow off (for Memorial Day or for Pentecost or for always-having-Mondays-off), I hope you enjoy the day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Under Construction

I love knitting.  And while I love being finished with my knitting, I don't so much love the finishing itself.  Allow me to demonstrate the lengths I will go to in the interest of procrastination...

There's this blanket, right?  I'm stalling on it because each 4"x4" square requires weaving in ends and blocking.  There's a lace shrug I've been trying to get done before the end of May [Rav link]; it's just lying there now, glaring at me as I type this.  It only requires weaving in the join between skeins and grafting the underarm areas and picking up lotso stitches and making ribbed bands for the armholes and body openings... that's all.  Not high maintenance at all.  /sarcasm
Can you see them all giving me the collective stinkeye?  I can't work under these conditions!

I've been knitting off and on (mostly off) on a little Lambie toy since April 7, 2010 (for those playing at home, that was before my daughter was born.  You remember her, the little blonde girl who runs around and makes articulate verbal requests.).  I was awake until 2am last night, trying to get as far into finishing as was humanly possible:
At 9pm, I wasn't even finished knitting the face yet.
The pattern is free! from Lion Brand [Rav link] and I like it...  but it's an annoyingly neon reminder, flashing brightly at me:   
HELLO!  THIS is why you're a garment knitter!  
Toys are sooooo fussy.  The legs and body and face are all knit in one piece (THANK GOODNESS), but there's lots of seaming + ears + arms + attaching + sewing nose and eyes blah blah blah and now I'm whining.  You can't hear it, but I am.  I blame the exhaustion.

So between avoiding finishing work on garments and avoiding finishing work on toys, what's a knitting lady to do?  Find a completely useless, instant-gratification project with an inverse relationship of object size to number of needles used, you say? 
Enter the mini-sock.

Yep, that'll work.  And it uses up otherwise-disposable stash!
It's for Quidditch.  Stop smirking at me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Bloggess

First she was awesome enough to sign a book she didn't write!! 
And then she said she liked my dress!!!!
Yeah, that's me.  Lady in Red...

Okay, let me back up.

I went to see bestselling author Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, at the Gaithersburg Book Festival with my fabulous friends today.  I think she is amazing.  Her posts on mental illness are, as you may know, super meaningful to me (#silverribbons)
AND she's the funniest person on the internet. 
Oh, and she's on my computer desktop background.

I am not even close to being a stalker.  I am a fan.

We dropped in this afternoon (Judah Friedlander was around, and we listened to Steve Coll, too, which was enlightening) and whoa, there she was!:

She read a chapter from her book (this little gem was called "The Psychopath on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door") and then she answered questions, and a thoroughly wonderful time was had by all.  Even the uniformed police officer near me was having a good time.

There was a looooooong line for the book signing.  I have no pictures of this process, nor do I have any photographic evidence that I talked to her.  I do, however, have a signed copy of Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek...  because I had no physical copy of the book for her to sign, but also because they're friends, you guys, geez!

Afterward, home.  And ice cream.  YAY.

EDIT:  And then I saw this!!:

"Now we are so happy, we do the Dance of Joy!!!!"  What a fantastic day, you guys.  XD

on the wrist of Jill Factotum

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

HP FOs and a Fantastic Book

I haven't been able to knit the past couple of evenings, because I've been devouring Let's Pretend This Never Happened, the best-selling memoir by your favorite Bloggess and mine, Jenny Lawson.  The book is SO FUNNY, I can't even breathe.

I did get some knitting done earlier, for this term's Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup (RAVENCLAW!!) -- so here they are so far...

* Care of Magical Creatures May 2012
* Flying May 2012
The HPKCHC has rules about turning in blanket squares for class assignments -- minimum size 7.8"x7.8" -- so I used these as 1) an example of a project knit with worsted weight yarn; and 2) a representation of my claustrophobia.
more of Pathways Blanket [Rav] by Frankie Brown; knit in 4g Knit Picks Swish Worsted (colorway Squirrel Heather) and 4g Knit Picks Merino Style (colorway Dusk) per square

* History of Magic May 2012
My research into the Quibbler article regarding an alleged murder as Hogwarts headmaster proved very enlightening; I turned this armband pattern into a coffee cozy that demonstrated my findings.
Trust Snape Armband [Rav] by Slythwolf; knit in Lion Brand LB Collection Superwash Merino in colorways 174 Spring Leaf and 141 Wild Berry

* Defense Against the Dark Arts May 2012
This sneaky striped bib is perfect for hiding one's sneakoscope in a kitchen drawer.
My Perfect Bib [Rav] by Jessi Crum; knit with Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in colorways 122 Taupe and 113 Cherry

** Ancient Runes Ordinary Wizarding Level Spring 2012
Students can submit proposals for OWL projects -- things that will take longer than the one-month class assignment timeframe, usually 6-8 weeks -- and I've had my OWL proposal accepted!!
All will be revealed in time...
Tower of Balls: 7 balls of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in colorway                  Indigo Heather; 339 grams, approx 746 yds

Does this whole post make zero sense?  Are you still intrigued?  Would you like to know more?  If you can, check out the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup Ravelry group!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wool and Sheep! Sheep and Wool!

Did you know that the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was this past weekend?  I was not aware that it was happening until, oh, Friday... when my husband suggested we go check it out.

Let me repeat.
My husband.  Had this idea.  To have all three of us go.  To MSWF.
It was my Mothers Day present.  <3  
DAFI Alpacas make kids happy.

We went for the last hour or so on the last day, but there was still a lot to see.  There were sheep, naturally, and OH the wool.  Seeing all the fiber made me want to learn to spin; even Sammy got mesmerized by a spinning demonstration.  Punkin Q. Pie only had eyes for a loudly baaing BFL.

Walking around all the vendors was a bit daunting for me; there was a very large amount of beautiful stuff, but I still had the distinct feeling that I could take it or leave it.  There was some picking up of skeins and an equal amount of putting them back.  I had expected to feel, you know, "the power of yarn compels you!" or some such similar sensation.

Then I turned a corner and my eyes fell immediately on the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth -- scads of deep rich colorways hanging beneath three or four heavenly shawls floating overhead.  No gasps, no stopping for pictures.  Just an immediate BEELINE.

So I can haz a yarn:

This is Nona, in a special colorway called Bacchus -- lots of grape-y purples and greens, soooo gorgeous.  Also, it's 50% Merino, 25% Cashmere, 25% Bombyx Silk; I couldn't stop petting it.  Also also, it's laceweight, so I've got like 640 yards of the stuff.

Then we went and got ice cream.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Potter Nerdiness Awaits

It's May Day and what does that mean?  The start of term for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, and this time, I've been sorted!! into RAVENCLAW!!!  (You can't see my happy dance, but it's happening, trust me.)  Funny, I have more school spirit for Hogwarts than I do for any of my actual alma maters.

I've got several projects planned already, so you'll be seeing some extra special projects along the way, most of which will beg the question: "aaaand why did you make this again?"  Oh c'mon, it's fun. 


Sticks, don't fail me now!

Off-Topic: Mental Illness Again

Just really quick, guys: best-selling author Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, has another amazing post about mental illness...

go HERE for her video post...

then go HERE or HERE to print out free awareness bracelets.

Therapy saved my life.  SO if you find that you may need help:
go to therapy, talk to the people you love, avoid your triggers, take whatever legal drugs you need.  And as Jenny says, don't leave.  

Additional resources at Erasing the Distance.