Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Random Assortment of News

     I've gotten a few things accomplished in the last week or so.  I mentioned all the Nerd Wars projects I've gotten done, but there's some other stuff too.  I re-felted the second oven mitt.  The one I called Cameron's Macaroons since I used it for Nerd Wars in R2.  We've been on vacation since Saturday.  We went up home to visit with my parents.  The first day we got there Jack's eye started bothering him.  It got worse over the next few days, so early Tuesday morning we decided to come back to Syracuse, since the cats eye meds are all here.  (We plan to keep a little kitty med bag with us from now on.)  I do my felting at my parents since Mom has a real washing machine I can control and open during a cycle, so on and so forth.  As of Tuesday morning I still hadn't gotten the oven mitt felted more.  So I tossed it into the machine with a few towels and proceeded to pack up all our crap to come back.  (Read, I started the cycle and let it go without checking on the mitt)  It felted a bit more than I had anticipated it would.  So I stuffed it tightly with plastic grocery bags in the hope that it wont be too small for my customer.  I took pictures with the bags still in it.  Its dry now but I haven't removed them yet. 
When I tried it on wet it did fit me, so there is some hope. 

     I've been chugging along at the big white dishcloth order.  I did simple Grandmother's Favorite cloths larger than I normally would.  I went up to 60 stitches across the diagonal before decreasing.  I'm finished with 5 of them.  The order is for one of my co-worker's sons.  She asked me to do them in white so that if the cloths got bleached it wouldn't matter.  I've never cared for white cloths myself, so I though this project was going to be very boring.  I have to say though, a pile of white cloths does look pretty snazzy.  I think I may do a few in my normal size in case others want some cloths that are bleachable.
     I was hoping to have time to have coffee with my grandmother, but alas that didn't work out.  The last time I was able to see her, back in July, I gave her two round dishcloths and she mentioned that she was low on dishcloths.  I totally forgot to take more with me on this trip, so on Saturday, when we got to Lowville, we made a Walmart run.  Among other things, I picked up a skein of Peaches and Cream yarn, so I could make a few cloths for Grandma while I was up there.  That's the intro into this observation.  I think P&C is getting softer.  I picked up Pansy which was a colorway I'd seen in my Walmart only recently.  The label says that this particular batch was just made in May of this year, so its newer than some of the P&C I've used and complained about.  The color is very bright and dyed evenly throughout the fiber and the yarn itself was actually pretty soft.  I've made two cloths from it so far and the yarn didn't shed that much.  Either I'm going completely wonko or Spinrite took a hint and actually made some improvements.  I'm really hoping its the later since I enjoyed knitting with the yarn.  (Realistically it wouldn't matter to me since I enjoyed knitting with it...)
     In cooking news, while we were home, we made homemade pizza.  Something I haven't done in soo long, I cant remember.  I made the dough all by myself!  So, today, I'm doing it again, this time with all my ingredients.  I proofed my yeast to make sure it still works.  It actually does, I have to admit, I was a bit surprised.  So, more on that, if the dough rises properly.  Mom puts her rising dough on top of the water heater since its a constant source of warmth.  It works really well.  I don't have a good heat source like that.  So I turned on the oven for a bit and put the dough there.  The oven is going to lose heat over time though...  We did contemplate putting the dough on top of the Xbox and leaving it running while it rises, since a running Xbox generates a decent amount of heat.  If the oven thing doesn't work, the Xbox will be plan A next time, which will lead to an interesting blog post about the multiple uses of game consoles ;)
     On Monday, after getting my hair cut, one of my cousins was able to come over for a very informal knitting lesson.  She really liked the baby booties I gave at the baby shower.  She is a beginning knitter and I've been attempting to bring her to the dark side.  We didn't have a whole lot of time together so at some point here I've decided to do a photo tutorial on the construction of these booties.  They are a great project for anyone, beginner or seasoned veteran knitter.  Here's a teaser of a pair I did a while ago:

These have been modified from the original pattern slightly.  I made them bigger, since I have a pretty tight gauge and I thought they were a bit small.  I'll go through my mods as well. 
     Now that T5 is over, I want to clean up all the odd ends of projects around here.  I have several things that are done, but just need to be finished.
List time:
-Three tea towel toppers; end weaving, buttons
-Bella's Mittens; end weaving, blocking?
-Star Trek Pot Holder; end weaving, edging?
-Several hats; need to find them.... end weaving
-Ever present dishcloths; seaming and end weaving
-Dream Shrug; knitting, blocking, knitting some more...
The Dream Shrug is my only true WIP.  I keep stalling since I figure I'll use it for one of the WIP challenges in Nerd Wars, but that isn't working.  There is too much to do on it.  I need to hunker down and just do it.  What I really want to get done this month is Amiga.  I didn't find a way to work it into challenges and I really, really want to get it done.  I caked the yarn before T5 started, so I really need to get it knit up.  (I've heard that keeping yarn caked for a long period of time is bad for the yarn...)  So my goal for September is Amiga and some clean up duty.  Oh, and another pair of mittens for the mitten campaign.  I perused though patterns today and didn't find anything I really liked more than the Warmest Mitten pattern, so I'm going to use that again, with more Amazing.  I have a whole skein and the left-overs from the first one.  I'm happy to get rid of it.  So that's it for now.  Keep and eye out for the bootie tutorial.  Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Only Three More Months to Go.....

     Actually today is the last day in round three of T5.  But, that's one of the best movie lines ever, so hows that for a title.  (10 points to whomever knows where that line came from)  So first things first; on the Nerd Wars front.  I've completed four more challenges.  So say it with me now:  I am the Melter of Cubes!!!  I used two stash busting projects for the WIP challenge.  I do have a WIP that I'd like to complete, but I knew it would take longer than the time I had allotted, so that will be for another time.  I used one of the Tricolours in yellow and purple that I gave to Chad Jr. and I used the Pinwheel Petals that I made for T.T. upon request.  A WIP is a work in progress.  There is a WIP challenge in round 3 of every tournament.  Or I should say there has been so far, most people count on it now. 
     On to my other projects.  For the Nerd Culture:  Its the Outdoor Life For Me, I made Camp Out Fingerless Mitts.  I mentioned them in my last blog.  I had seen the pattern floating around Ravelry, once I saw the pair someone else had done in Lion Brand Amazing the pattern jumped into my queue.  It was the title of the challenge that practically forced me to knit them. 
I have mixed feelings about Amazing.  Its a blend of wool and acrylic with color variations that are supposed to mimic Noro.  I have worked with Noro and I like it.  Noro is one of those yarns that either people love or hate, there is no gray area.  Most people don't like Noro because of the rough texture.  I found that Amazing wasn't that soft, its also not really plied.  Its quite fuzzy and felts upon itself just from being knit up.  I had to do a provisional cast on for the top cuff and I had a bugger of a time getting the provisional cast on back out.  I cant say too much about the colors either.  They started out nice.  The mitt on the right is the first one.  The colors turn to mud, then come back out slightly at the start of the second mitt, then go back into mud.  There is part of the skein left over and its pretty muddy looking as well.  I got the two of the skeins on sale and I'm rather glad of that.  I would say, if one has not used Noro, or prefers not to pay the price of Noro then Amazing is a mediocre substitute.  BUT, if you don't mind Noro's texture or price then spring for the Noro, it is a better looking yarn in the long run.  Amazing advertises that its washable.  I've not washed these yet so I cant attest to that statement.  Based on the felting while knitting trait, I have to say I don't have alot of faith in the washability aspect.  As a side note, I didn't check gauge since I'm a stubborn moron and these don't even remotely fit me.  I think the look cute though.

     For the Intellectual Challenge:  A Word to the Wise I made the Drop Stitch Equiangular Cloth.  I used a quote from the episode I used as a tie in.  The episode Absolute Power is one of the best ones ever.  Shifu, Sha're's son comes to the SGC and teaches Daniel just how bad the Goa'uld knowledge he posses is.  Daniel builds satellite weapons and ends up going off his rocker, which for whatever reason makes him hotter, not sure why but evil Daniel is soooo great.  So the cloth is supposed to be a representation of the weapons satellites.
Its hard to see from the picture but the pattern is pretty nifty.  I plan to do this one again with some more colorful yarn.

     The last challenge was Giving Geeks:  You're the Inspiration.  For this one, we had to pick one of the previous GG challenges and choose to be inspired by one individual's submission.  I chose the very first GG challenge, Cold Hands Warm Heart.  I chose one of the people who made mittens that were donated to a school.  It worked out great since I've been wanting to do mittens for Norwood Norfolk Central School.  I only have 'til the end of September to do any more.  Here's the ones I submitted.
I used a pattern I've used before Warmest Mittens.  Its the pattern I used for my very first pair of mittens.  Its very simple and spelled out really clearly, I think.  It was a great first mitten pattern. 

     I've also finished my dissertation, as in my first socks!!!  Yes, they are done and they fit.  I'm really looking forward to cooler weather so I get a chance to wear them.  I really enjoyed the process of socks, so I see many more pairs in my future.  That means I should probably get myself some sock blockers.
     Tournament Five has been a great one for me.  I melted the cube all three rounds and I finished my first ever Dissertation.  Its been a personal best.  I most likely wont be able to keep up this momentum in the future but at least I can say I did it once.  I should get back to enjoying my vacation now.  I have a few projects I want to get done in the between time.  (T5 and T6)  I have some finishing to do on a few things and I've really been wanting to get that little cardigan Amiga done.  I really slowed down between tournaments last time and I think that helped.  Happy Crafting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Catch-up

     So, its nearly the middle of the month, what have I been up to?  I've turned in two projects for Nerd Wars, felted an oven mitt, started the second sock on my first pair, made some more dishcloths, ditched a wedding and went to a baby shower...  I'm sure there's more.  So lets start with the Nerd Wars challenges.  The first one I handed in was for the Scientific challenge:  Light and Matter.  I made a Harmonic Mosaic Cloth
We were instructed to choose one of four phenomena:  reflection, refraction, diffraction, or dispersion.  I chose dispersion.  Dispersion happens when light passes through and object with an angle such as a prism.  So the waves of white in this pattern represents normal white light as we see it.  The background is a rainbow of color and represents light after it has passed through the prism and been broken into the full spectrum.  I used the prism that Dominic gives to Cassandra for her birthday in Rite of Passage as my tie in.
Here is my submission post for further details:  Light and Matter

     I just posted my second project, it was for the Geek Pride challenge:  Masters of the Universe.  For this challenge we needed to make a project for or in homage to one of the behind the scenes people who made our nerddom a possibility.  I chose Peter DeLuise.  He was a director on SG1, he was also a creative consultant, writer and producer.  He has a great sense of humor that comes through the episodes he directs.  He also put himself into many of the episodes he directed, most of the time without lines.  In Wormhole X-Treme, a fan favorite, he does have a speaking roll.  He is the obnoxious director who mostly yells at all the actors and crew.  That whole episode is an inside joke.  So, the episode itself really has an A story and a B story.  Martin Lloyd, the cookey alien we meet the season before is producing a show, Wormhole X-Treme that is a direct ripoff of the stargate program.  Col. O'Neill goes over to the studio with the cover of being the new Air Force creative consultant.  The real purpose is to talk to Martin and figure out whats going on.  In the mean time, the other aliens who came to earth with Marty are NID targets so Sam and Daniel are trying to get to them.  Sooooo, this is all leading up to my very favoritest shot ever.  Sam and Daniel follow one of the aliens to an apartment complex.  Its the opening shot to this scene and I really think it sums up Peter DeLuise to a tee:
The camera is already panning away, but you get the idea.  The action is in the background, but right in the foreground, front and center is huge cherub baby statue patooty!  I laugh so hard every time I watch this episode.  (I have a very juvenile sense of humor.)  So in homage of this shot I made a hat and booties for the poor naked cherub.  (Note that a hat and booties still will not adequately cover said poor naked cherub.) 

Here is the link to the submission post:  Geek Pride
     In real life these were for the aforementioned baby shower.  My cousin married a good friend I went to high school with about two years ago.  They are expecting their first child in about a month.  Apparently its a boy... (Longish story, people were told, my mother either forgot or wasn't told, so I didn't know it was a boy until the day before the baby shower.)  I made all the gift in gender neutral colors.  Its probably actually a good thing since most likely they will have more children.  Along with the hat, booties and gift card I also gave Jr. two wash cloths.  Two more Tricolour, this time in yellow and purple.  In hind sight, I probably should have chosen a lacier pattern since Tricolour is quite nubbly, this baby will stay very nicey exfoliated ;)

       I've finished the second Pinwheel Petals Cloth.

     I had the chance to felt the oven mitt yesterday.  I didn't felt it quite as much as the first one.  I probably should have started a second agitation cycle, or checked it during the first.  There is one little spot on the thumb that didn't get felted as much as the rest of it.  I'm guessing it folded on itself and stayed protected.  Overall I'm still pleased with it.  I don't have pictures yet of that.  I've also started the second sock of my dissertation socks.  I cant say enough how much fun it is to knit socks.  I said when I started knitting that I would never knit socks, or use wool for that matter.  My preconceptions are changing alot, who knows what I'll knit next....  Actually what I'll be knitting next are fingerless gloves.  They are going to be my TUP and for the Outdoor challenge, I think...  More to come on those.  Until later all.  Happy Crafting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

End of Round 2, More Dishcloths and oh yea, Melted the Cube Again!!!

     Okay so cube meltage may not need three exclamation points but I didn't think I was going to make this one.  I feel bad actually since Giving Geeks was the one that got me all six.  Giving Geeks for round two was a "pick me up" for someone I was supposed to know personally.  It so happened that a friend of mine failed a pretty important exam that really impacts both him and the rest of us.  I had made "celebratory" cake in the hopeful assumption that he had passed.  The cake turned out to be condolences cake and I took full advantage of his misfortune.... sorry, I'm a horrible person... 10 points for me, score?  I made Hawaiian Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  The original recipe can be found in the first Lowville Mennonite Cook Book (the blue one).  I tweak the frosting slightly, its my secret and I'm never telling, but I will reprint the original if anyone wants it.  Here's a terrible picture of how it turned out.  (I forgot to take a good one)
     I finished the knitting on my latest oven mitt.  I originally submitted it for partial credit since I hadn't gotten it felted yet.  I ended up getting full credit, since the knitting is all that really counts anyway.  That was a nice surprise.  I still haven't gotten the chance to felt it.  Mom was using her washing machine when we popped up over the weekend.  I may attempt to wet felt in the dryer so I can actually get it done and on to the recipient. 
Here she is all ready to go.  This one was for the Dirty Laundry challenge.  We needed to make something for or about a little known fun fact about a character.  Cameron Mitchell bakes and actually made cookies for Sam once, so the oven mitt is for him. 

     The last project was also my Team Unity Project.  This round we were to craft something for one of our baddies, since without the bad guys our good guys would have nothing to do. 
I made this rose for Adria, since she longs for Vala's affection and approval and this is something Vala would like.  I used it for the Cover Me challenge.  I used the cover of my favorite book of all time:  Spindle's End by Robin McKinley.
The rose is to mimic the flowers on the cover, I tied the cover into Stargate with the medieval castle.  In one of the episodes SG1 goes to a medieval Christian village on a planet where much superstitious mumbo jumbo takes place and SG1 eventually kills an Unas working for Sokar and frees the village.  Its not one of my favorite episodes, because of the overpowering religious overtones, but anyway still a good one. 

     I've been plugging away at my orders.  I have three done and a fourth cloth started on an order of six dishcloths.  I am nearly finished with another Pinwheel Petals Cloth.  We popped home over the weekend to deliver an order to my aunt.  They were a birthday gift from her daughter (my cousin).  I took up my stash of finished dishcloths and Aunt Isy picked out the three she liked best.  It worked out pretty good actually.  I made one specifically for her and that was one of the ones she picked, so I guess I can read people pretty well after all.  Well, its now my birthday!  I have fruit pizza to make.  Yes, I make my own birthday cake.  I'm "the baker" so it falls to me.  Lets face it, I'm fussy so I might as well make exactly what I want the way I like it, right?  Happy Crafting!