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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

In-Between Times

     That title doesn't just refer to Nerd Wars.  I'm between two jobs right now.  I've left Laboratory Alliance, after almost 10 years.  I'll be starting with Upstate Medical University this coming Thursday.  I have a total of five days off, so now I get to mull over all my decisions.  I was really excited for all this, now I'm a bit apprehensive.  I'm leaving behind some truly amazing friends and great colleagues.  I know I'll make new friends and find new mentors at Upstate and I really couldn't turn down the money, its just a really big change.  It feels strange not to be at work today.  My new job is salary and wont allow any overtime.  At this point I'm really, really looking forward to that.  With the recent staffing crisis, we've been scheduled to show up at nearly any time of the day.  They stopped asking a long time ago and I was getting fed up with the attitude of management that 1) our lives should revolve around that place and 2) we should be lucky to be employed.  Don't get me wrong, in this economy, I do feel lucky to be employed, but I don't like to get that thrown in my face and or told we're all replaceable.  I wont rant anymore about that place, its in my past now.  Ultimately this is what I'm taking away from the changes; I'll have more money to buy yarn and more time to knit!

     I haven't been knitting the last few days since T10 will be starting soon.  I was working on a scarf, but the yarn and the pattern aren't working well together.  I'll be going in a different direction with the yarn and picking a different yarn for that pattern.  The yarn is Shibui Knits Silk Cloud, its mohair and silk and its like knitting with a baby kitten.  I was given the book, More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, on my last day and there is a great lace scarf pattern in there.  Or I found a beaded lace scarf pattern last night, either one would be great.  I may just flip a coin.  

     I have pictures of the Madelinetosh Chunky I picked up a few weeks ago:
The colorway is Jasper.  It reminds me of evergreen trees.  I think its going to be a scarf, maybe...   

I did complete a scarf last weekend.  I finally caved and picked up a skein of that ribbon/ruffle yarn.  It knits up fast.  That's the only positive thing I can say about it.  I used Red Heart Boutique Ribbons and made this:
It turned out okay, but I still hate the concept.  It's not really knit because it's not really yarn.  The ribbon in particular isn't even a skein.  It comes folded up and tied together so before beginning it needs to be rolled onto something so it doesn't become a tangled mess.  My batch had a knot in it.  I still haven't figured out how to weave in the ends.  The ribbon snags, the stitches are impossible to pick up if dropped....  basically its horrible in my opinion... but people go bonkers for the stuff... so I made one.  I'm thinking of trying Sashay just to see if it's any less annoying to work with.  I guess there are reasons I don't normally jump on the bandwagon. 

     I did get a few pictures of my grandmother's shawl but they are still on my camera and I'm too lazy to go get it and download them.  I need to weave in the ends and box it up.  I'm hoping to give it to her this weekend.  I'll make sure to take good pictures before doing so.  That's it for right now.  I'm thinking of cranking out a few dishcloths in the next couple days, or starting to write up the pattern for Jack's Knucks.  I need something to do for the next three days, other than watching Star Trek Voyager that is...  Until Later, Happy Crafting! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Playing Catch Up and Happy New Year

     So I haven't blogged since October.. Tournament 9 is now over.  I completed a few projects for rounds two and three.  November was the month of hats.  I made another Jayne Hat for a friend of mine:

This is the third Jayne Hat I've made.  I was hoping to use up the left over Vanna's Choice I had lying around from a previous Jayne Hat.  I severely under-estimated the amount I had left.  I decided to buy more, since the Vanna's Choice is cheap and fairly good quality as far as an acrylic goes. I was able to find the colors I needed and they matched perfectly.  The Vanna's Choice is actually softer now.  

The other two hats were from this pattern:  Baby Bunny Newborn Hat.  I made the first hat straight from the pattern, since it was for a newborn.  I used Queensland Collection Super Aussie.  I got the yarn on a tremendously phenomenal sale, but it was cream colored.  The recipient wanted pink.  I've done enough dying at this point that I was confident I could dye it to my liking.  It went from this:
to this:

I used a combination of Kool Aid and Wilton's Gel.  I was extremely pleased with the way it turned out.  Here's what it looks like knit up:
This hat is adorable!  The second bunny hat needed to fit a two year old, so I used the gauge I got knitting the first hat to figure out the second one.  It worked out pretty well.
My client was very pleased with the final results.  If I ever have children of my own I will make a few of these.  They are simply adorable.  The pattern is simple and easy to follow.  I converted it to an "in-the-round" pattern for ease.  The trickiest part was sewing on the ears. 

     I only completed one project in December.  It was lace-weight and large, so it took the whole month.  I made another Jeweled Cowl, this time at the request of a former co-worker of mine.  She is getting married in March and wanted a cover up.  I cast on 250 stitched and knit per the pattern after that.  (52 beaded rows)  I actually did the math for this once since it took me the whole month to compete.  There are 104 patterned rows and two rows extra at the beginning and the end, if you include cast on and bind off that 108 rows, at 250 stitches each, that's 27,000 stitches!  I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace for this, its plied unlike the Malabrigo Lace, so it does knit up differently.  Its drapier (if that's a word) and the fabric is more open and loose.  This cowl stretches more than the other two.  The beads are Fire Mountain Gems Delicas.  They are 8/0 seed beads in the opaque pearl color.  Love the Delicas!  I need to get some better pictures before I send it out to the client, but here is a prelim.
 I've been working on my dissertation since the tournament ended.  I want to get it done so I can give it to my grandmother.  I just joined the second skein the other day, so its getting quite large at this point.  I don't have any pictures of it yet, I've fallen behind in my picture taking.  I have some new stash to put up as well.  Once I get this done I think I'll start the scarf I had intended to make back in October. 

     Alright on to the business of New Years resolutions.  Of course by resolutions I mean Knitolutions...  So lets look back at last years goals:
     -Color work, stranded knitting and I think its called Swiss Darning, where you follow over existing stitches with a different color.
     -Real lace knitting, shawls or wraps with small needles (I have a small needle phobia)
     -I think 2013 is the year I'm going to learn to spin.

So lets look back at 2013 and see how I met all three of those goals.
Faire Isle:
Snowflake Hat; March 2013

Brain Wave Hat; August 2013

Lace, real lace that is, with small needles. 
Cassis Shawlette; August 2013  (fingering weight with US4)

Jeweled Cowl(number 1); August 2013 (LACEweight with US8)

Cassis Shawlette (number 2); September 2013

  Jeweled Cowl (number 2); October 2013

Jeweled Cowl (number 3); December 2013 (still laceweight)

Zig Zag Lace Shawl (WIP) Laceweight US8s

Now for the doosie as far as the needle phobia goes:   (Drum roll please...)
Jack's Knucks; still a WIP (fingering weight with US1s and US2s)  1s and 2s!!! 

Yup, I did that too.  I'm not very good yet and I find it really tedious, but I like the challenge, so at some point here I'll work on some more.  This is just a really wonky single.  I want to work on my consistency and then try plying.  Its a pretty good start though if you ask me, I've just used the internets for videos, I haven't had anyone teaching me hands on. 

I guess I need some new knityears resolutions now that I met last years so, here goes.
-More color-work.  I only checked Faire Isle off my list, there is still Intarsia and duplicate stitch. 
-Also more lace.  I see now why people refer to it as being bitten by the lace bug.  It is truly addicting.  I enjoy making shawls.  I have tons more patterns queued and I have some more yarn ready and waiting.  I think what I enjoy most, is beaded shawls.  Since I stated beading with the Jeweled Cowls, I now add beads to anything I can manage. 
-More spinning, good spinning.
-More dyeing and knit up what has already been dyed. 
-Publish my first pattern.
-Possibly open up my own Etsy shop.  I want to get my available FOs out there and make a little money. 
-More sweaters or other large projects.
-I think this is at the bottom of every year's list.  Finish up those WIPs.

     That's it for the happenings of late.  As far as personal life goes; Paleo is awesome and I wish I would have started it sooner.  I feel like a million bucks.  I sleep better, I have energy, all my funny little aches and pains have disappeared.  I've  lost 10 pounds.  I fit in clothes that have been in the back of my closet for three years.  After a week or two, when my husband noticed I was loosing weight just by changing my eating habits, he decided to try out Paleo too.  He pretty much hates it, but he's loosing weight and he feels better so he's sticking with it.  I miss some foods, but I don't have cravings and there are so many resources around I really don't have an excuse not to eat well.  That's it for now.  I'll do my best to keep up with the blog better.  My work life is getting more and more crappy.  I'm hoping to change that soon.  Until later, Happy Crafting!