Friday, May 31, 2013

Almost too Hot to Knit

It has gotten so hot here recently. My family really didn't want to do anything that required any heat for dinner last night, so we went out for parfaits instead. They were really delicious. I normally get something with caramel on all three layers, but this time I opted for strawberries and walnuts in maple syrup. It was so delicious.

My fiance and I went to see Iron Man 3 yesterday. It was really fun to watch even if the ending was a little stranger than normal. Iron Man was our very first date movie, so we have tried to see every Iron Man (and by extension, every Marvel movie) in theaters together since. It is really sweet and we have never had a disappointing time at the theaters ever.

I have been slowly working on a scarf. I swear that I started this thing when the weather was bearable, but knitting a wool scarf in the middle of this scorching summer heat is a little crazy making. The scarf started out as a striped scarf a la the Noro Striped scarf, but it has evolved to have the stripes as an accent color to the main wine color. It is nowhere near complete, but it is something simple I can pick up and knit on whenever I feel like it.

The yarn is really nice to work with too. It is Patons Wool Merino worsted weight. It has such a nice luster and it is really soft to work with. The multicolor is just Patons Wool which is less soft, but still really nice to have in your hands when you are knitting. I have a feeling that I will make either a matching pair of fingerless gloves, full gloves, or a hat to go with the scarf before I am done since I have two balls of each color. This is basically knitting from the deep stash that I still have on hand since before I went to college.

My cotton hasn't grown much since my last picture. I think it is time to feed it some weak fertilizer to make sure that they are getting enough nutrients through the soil. They should be getting their photosynthesizing leaves soon and then their first set of real leaves. Then I can transplant them to bigger pots. Hopefully it will all go well.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Traveling Through my WIP Pile!

I am slowly getting things out of my WIP pile. In the past two weeks the pile has shrunk from four projects to only two projects and that is only because I almost immediately cast on another scarf after casting off my Noro Striped Scarf.

I decided to take a leaf out of the Yarn Harlot's book and wet block my scarf. It is a shorter scarf that (as my fiance has pointed out) is going to be perfect for spring and fall when I don't want to be wearing my longer scarf just yet. It is also the perfect length to use to tie around my head and wear it as a headband/earmuffs.

I am trying to decide if I want the stripes to be all the way up my next scarf or if I just want the two color striping bits at the ends of the scarf and keep the rest in the main color that I started with. But other than that, I am on a 1x1 ribbed scarf kick for some reason. It is easy and fun and always looks good no matter what you do with it, so I think that is part of the reason why I can't stop knitting 1x1 ribbed scarves at the moment.

I am also back at making my scrappy crumb blocks again. My mom's old sewing machine is acting up again, so I am back to hand sewing the blocks. The top two on the right were completely done by hand while most of the others were done either by machine or half by hand and half by machine.

Ironing the blocks really makes a difference with how they lay. The last block I made was ironed before it was trimmed down to size to make the cutting easier (and it was).

 I also did a very loose Jelly Roll Race Block (the one on the upper right corner) where I took scraps of fabric that were about the same width and sewed them all end to end. Then I folded the ends in half and sewed along one side and cut the fold then repeated that until it was a square block. It sounds complicated, but it really wasn't. I understand why people would like to buy a precut jelly rolls of a fabric line to make a quilt with. It really doesn't take that much time and I imagine that if you were doing that on a sewing machine that it would fly by.

My cotton is growing quite nicely. They finally sprouted and the seedlings are growing nice and tall. I'm not sure a couple of them will make it, but my dad (who gardens a lot) thinks that they might all survive to be strong cotton plants. Hopefully in another week or two they will have their true leaves instead of the seedling leaves. When that happens then I will transfer them to other bigger pots to grow up the rest of the way.

This makes me hopeful that I can actually grow things and that my dream of having a small garden one day will come to life. I mostly would want a small herb garden with maybe a couple of veggies, but I haven't had anything grow like this before. I will report back with their progress in about a week.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Sock Saga

I am finally feeling better after having a couple of days off from work. I am actually starting to feel like a human again instead of feeling like a human robot trained to please people I don't know. And I have been knitting. What is bad about that?

I finished the socks for my dad and I am really happy with them. I noticed when I was blocking them that one sock is looser than the other. Ah the pleasures of guage and proof that how stressed you are really does affect how you knit. Either way, those socks are done and I can now move on to a different project. And the best part is that I know my dad will love them too. He is already hinting for a second pair.

The projects I had to choose from was another pair of socks, a scarf, and a pair of fingerless mittens. So, I chose the socks, but I knew that something was bothering me about them. It wasn't the fact that they were the Snape's Stockings pattern by Erica Lueder. It is a fun pattern and it is nice and textured. And it wasn't the pastel blue-white-purple-pink yarn (which turned out to be self-striping). I just did not like those two things together. So I ripped out the half-sock I already knit and I feel a lot better about it.

My next project that I will finish will be my scarf that I started when I first got my job. It is a good time to knit it since it is summer because I will finish it and it will be a wearable item when fall comes around.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


It has been a long time since I have done anything with this blog and that makes me sad. The biggest factor in that is my job. It isn't a very hard job to do. I deal with a lot of people on a regular basis while having to keep on a friendly and positive demeanor, but it is very physically exhausting.

On top of that my job has also been getting me ill because I have not been getting proper breaks for a majority of the time I have been working there. That means that I don't really eat as much as I probably should and while not eating with a lot of moving around means I am losing weight (at a healthy 1-2 pounds a week), it also means that my acid reflux acted up badly enough for my doctor to put me on house rest for fear of appendicitis.

But it is springtime and the long winter up here in northeast PA is finally over. That means that I can finally try to grow the last of my cotton seeds. I probably planted them a month late, but I am planning to keep them as potted plants in hopes of getting at least one cotton boll from one cotton plant. Right now I am just trying to get them to sprout. The seeds are at least three years old at this point (maybe even four) and I am not sure if the last of them will even grow. Then again, I only planted them on Sunday, so they won't pop up with little sprouts overnight. I have to have some patience.

I have barely been knitting over the last several weeks. I only started knitting again two days before the end of my house rest from work. But in that short period of time I have been a monogamous knitter.

I have been working on a pair of gray socks for my dad. He picked out the yarn because he liked that there were two strands of grey and one strand of brown for a little contrast. They really just look grey unless you are looking at the fabric close up. I guess it does provide a little contrast, but not much. But a pair of vanilla socks have been really helpful recently. I don't have to think about it to knit them anymore which makes them a perfect pair of auto-pilot knitting.

Since I haven't knitted in a while, I have this urge to finish all of the projects I have on the needles. My list isn't to bad this time though. I only have four things on the needles and most of them are for me, but they all require some amount of concentration. I am hoping that if I just sit down and knit on one thing at a time then I will actually finish some things until I have nothing old left on the needles. Anything that pops up will be new for a while until I build up my stash of projects on the needles again.

The warm weather means that I have this new desire to go outside with my wheel to spin. I never thought I would want to take it outside to spin, but I guess that makes sense. And my little Sonata is a travel wheel, so I can fold it up to move it and take it with me.

While I haven't spun with it outside yet, I did have a meeting with my fiancee's South Asian history professor to show her how a wheel worked and how to spin. I took a bit of everything with me. Raw fleece, processed fleece, an alpaca batt, some raw cotton (since she has been teaching about India and Gandhi), spun cotton, a drop spindle, my tahkli, and my wheel. She had a blast watching everything and asking me questions about it.

It also got me back on a college campus and made me realize how much I actually miss going to school. What I thought was hard work isn't actually that bad. Sure, the reading is pretty intense and sometimes the classes can be a little bit boring, but learning new things every day is pretty cool. And I really do miss not having to wear a structured uniform to go to classes verses the uniform I have to wear on my job every time I work. It's the little things that really do count that we take for granted when we actually have the freedom to do them.

I did have a small break of insanity and decided to knit a tiny chicken from a free pattern on Mochimochi land. I used KnitPicks Palette that I had in my stash to make it. Except for the beak which is made out of a strand of orange from a variegated sock yarn I have (and which I suspect is really a striping sock yarn).

It is so tiny and adorable! The plus side is that it took me maybe a half-hour or so. It really is tiny. The ball it is sitting on is the very top of my french press that I use to brew tea in.

I do have two more posts to write in my Lolita Hobbies series of posts that I was writing. My goal is to have those posted by the end of May. I am really not sure how often I will be blogging right now because of how my life is going, but I do hope to share at least some knitting stuff every few weeks. So I might not be posting as often, but my posts might be longer. Either way, I hope to do some more blogging soon!