Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September

9/23 update - my sale page just got deleted, after being buggy..i'll come back in the next couple of days to try to restore it. in the meanwhile, carol fellers on ravlery has 6 patterns on sale with code plucktober2015 - see the plucky knitters group - plucktober retail/updates thread.

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The Harvest moon cardi is very very slow going. I misread the collar, potentially poor instructions, and then, knit about 3" of the body and realized I hadn't been paying too  much attention to the edging. The designer has the instruction for right side / wrong side split across 2 rows, indicating right side edge and left side edge instructions separately - silly and way more complicated than it should be..also boring stockinette so it's not getting much attention lately.

The video was posted for a friend. It's longer than expected, and I tried to do a re-do last week thurs/friday to do a shorter one. Figured out a better camera angle, more close-up; problem is my computer might be getting a bit low on memory because just trying to add single slides to the movie - it ends up crashing. I've put it aside for now.

exploring free time and various hobbies at the moment. I discovered Zen Tangles on the weekend, which are like little doodles in ink, and think I might explore those if I can find my micron pens. It's annoying to have put some things into storage so they are essentially unavailable when you need them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Making a 3D Snowflake (video)

Interesting. I filmed a 15minute video in 15 minutes, and then, took 15 hours to do all the processing, editing, voiceovers, conversion, uploading. It was interesting and fun with a learning curve and a few bumps.
video

Lessons learned - clean up your phone so you can shoot the video straight without having to do the extras, and get someone else to film you.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

September

I have not had a chance to take a pic of the Perinwinkle Cardi that I finished a couple of weeks ago. Too bad, as the weather is getting colder, so I'm not sure how long I'll be able to wear it.

I'm a few rows into the body of a new cardigan.

and most importantly, I updated the sale page - lots of discounts on patterns for Plucktober.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

August

The cardi is complete. Turns out I had overknit 3", and ripped back so that the cardi sit comfortably just over the top of my jeans. I bound off and used the remainder re-balled yarn to finish off the 2 cap sleeves, and do the bind-off at the neck. I had to rip back 2-3 rows of my swatch (ack!), in order to finish the bind-off. While I was digging through some stuff, I found some cute shell buttons which I'll affix to the cardigan. I'll have to use the rest of my swatch to secure the buttons. Yay for Emma's suggestion to block the cardi before I could finish it.

Was reading over the June post. The Isotonic Indulgence pillow didn't work out the way I hoped. In a matter of days, I felt it was too flat. I ended up buying a wool pillow instead (used another 20% off coupon) as the e-mail coupons finally kicked in! It's been a dream, I think it's worked succesfully for more than 6 weeks. I've been using the Isotonic Indulgence under my knees, which keeps my back straight while sleeping. Not sure why, but for months now, I haven't been able to sleep on my side. either my arm falls asleep and cramps, or it's just been too uncomfy to do so.

I've started the second swatch of the madtosh dk baltic for the Salted pullover. I think I got about a half a swatch knit.

People keep telling me that the housing market is really hot right now, so I'm back to thinking about putting my house up for sale. I have become cluttered again. So, I found this book by Marie Kondo that a friend had mentioned, and read that one evening this week. It's a pretty good read; way too much stuff about her experiences. The 2 take away gems are: Only keep what you love (and discard the rest), and Sort by Category not by location. She also talks a bit about the psychology and why people rebound (they start with the most meaningful things they are attached to etc).

It anyway inspired me to separate out some clothes for donation, and I brought a stack of clothes downtown to Velvet Crease (cook st.) for consignment. They accepted 7 items, and suggested another shop for the t-shirts and such. I think some stuff will end up being donated, and some stuff will perhaps wait for a later visit - November for Christmas-type items, and Spring for the rest of the dresses/short-sleeve or no-sleeve tops. They said they were focused on women's business clothes but I think they might mean middle-aged women's business clothes, because they did not take a couple of business/nicer sleeveless tops that could be easily layered with jackets year-round.

Overcast day and I hope that it get sunny again soon.

Last weekend, went to a wedding, and it was fabulously sunny and I met a lot of interesting people and practiced Connection. It was fun. Sometimes highlights in my life though make the rest of the time feel dreary and low.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Cardi is almost complete


Apologies for the bad pic, taken inside. The color is a stunning periwinkle blue.
I ripped back 3" from this last week. Pre-blocking was a great idea (thanks emma!). It ended up relaxing and being a couple of inches longer than I wanted. 

Good thing too, as I was almost out of yarn, and still had the sleeves, and neck to do. Now, I've finished the ribbing at the hem, and one sleeve cap, and I have 12g left. It was 5g for the one sleeve's ribbing, so I think I have enough to finish up.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

hot

I think I might finally see why people in California and Arizona don't like knitting heavy sweaters during their mild spring and winters. It's just too hot to think about hauling a heavy sweater around, and it's only in the low 80s here. I love the warm weather, but lately it's just a bit too warm in my house to entirely cool down or even sleep. I miss having an air conditioner. I have a little fan which rotates and pushes some air around.

As I peruse my queue, I see a lot of heavyweight sweaters in there.
Also, it might be time to cut my hair...

Here's the cardi i'm working on so far (pattern - Mary Mary):




Sunday, June 21, 2015

mid-June

I started a new project - it's called Mary Mary, it's a lightweight cardigan which I hope to use over dresses in summer. The yarn is Handmaiden Casbah in a light purpley-blue periwinkle color.
It's the first thing I started in a really long time.. I hope the knitting sticks this time.

Weather is warm and I'm really enjoying wearing dresses this year. Almost the whole June, I've just been delving into my closet and wearing dress after dress. I've even given up jeans on Casual Wednesdays. There's something freeing about wearing them, and I feel happier when I do wear them.

I also buckled and got a new pillow. I can't really remember what I was using before..One of the good ones had gone flat after what I remembered was 3 months. Bed Bath & Beyond allows you test out pillows (and once in awhile they have a 20% off coupon), and if it doesn't work out for you, you can return it, and try a different one. They seem pricey, but when it's a good night's sleep that you're trying to get, it seems worthwhile.

I tried a Stearns & Foster one, and then, an interesting goose down one, and now, I'm back to the Isotonic Indulgence, which I hope to keep loftier longer by sleeping on different parts of it, instead of the centre only. They'll also roll over the coupon if you used it from one to the next.  The upside of the whole trial process is that I also bought a hypo-allergenic type cover for the pillow and that has worked like a dream over the last 6 weeks.

BB and B also has a huge gadget section so I splurged on a tea scoop strainer thingy. You rotate the base of the handle, and the 1/2 ball rotates open or closed. It's pretty handy so far. Used it for a couple of teas at work.

Other new loves this summer:
(a) SB Frappuccinos - Red Velvet Frappucino specifically, and I found a really good Black Forest Cake at Thrifty's that reminds me of the ones my mom used to buy when I was a kid. I also splurged on a Rootbeer Float at QV Cafe last Friday - it's a great way to cool off. None of these things are good for me, but they sure taste good.  The Frappucinos are essentially sugar syrup with flavour/colour, crushed ice, and whipping cream (which is whole milk and more sugar syrup). No wonder the whip adds 70 calories on a tall size (yikes!) and the frap. drinks are all around 350-450 calories for the tall. Not that I'm counting, because who needs that when you want a bit of sweetness in your life.
(b) going for quick walks - in the sun..what could be better...


 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

It's June

Well, hard to believe sometimes that I'm in a funk.
April was about travel and knitting; May was about neighbour issues; and now, it's June.

I finished off the Making Waves Cardi, and I've been experimenting a bit with yarns..but I'm in a funk again. Both for knitting and weaving. Even squishing yarn doesn't thrill as it used to. I am inspired to get out in the sun..so i'm not totally gone, and the weather has been so nice lately. It's a nice change.

Not much interests me these days for creative pursuits, and I feel a bit like a gerbil on a wheel. This week, I'm down with a cold, a big fat pressure behind the eyes head cold. It started out as an innocent little bit of pressure in my right ear, and then, the sore throat thing. By the weekend, I was light-headed, super runny nose alternating with head congestion. Finally, I bought some antihistamines, and I've cleared right up.

April, I went to Pasadena, CA for Vogue Knitting, and discovered Atenti Bags. Fabulous and beautiful, made in the USA. I made it out without buying yarn (horrors!) but it was a very small show - about 75 vendors, and I didn't take any classes. I did partake in a few days of sunshine, and went to Trader Joe's (a lot!) - I stocked up on a few bags of goodies..none of them good for me, of course!
I also did some general sightseeing in the area.

will try to remember to come back and post some pics

Sunday, March 01, 2015

March

Well, I was in a funk, then, I re-looked through my queue and found a pattern I liked - Making Waves Cardigan. I dug out the yarn I'd planned to use and it just didn't speak to me. So, I dug through my stash, and found something that said it wanted to be used. Bugga in Polka Dot Wasp Moth. It's a black with bits of teal in it.

I started knitting the body 3rd week of Jan

 and when I got down to the back and ran out of the first skein, it turned out that I started the second skein which was a lot darker, so I undid that, and wound and started a second skein.  Somewhere in the middle of the row, the cable on my signature needle broke. I was not happy. Luckily, I reported it to them, and they replaced it. Now, I've knit sleeve 1 and I've started on sleeve 2.

In the middle there about 2 weeks ago, I decided I was inspired enough with my knitting to try again to go to Stitches West. It's been on my list for a very long long while, but being kind of on a yarn diet means that I can't just buy everything. So, I looked for a hotel, and thought I'd booked the room. When I arrived, it turns out that I booked March. Luckily, I was able to find a suitable replacement.

I signed up for 3 classes, and had a great time. I met some people from my online rav groups, and I was very good, I bought only 3 skeins of yarn:

From Left to Right - Miss Babs Sojourn Sport in Violaceous (65% Cashmere, 35% Silk), Invictus Yarns Desert Dream in Sunshine - a lovely honeyed yellow (50% Camel; 50% Silk), and Fresh from the Cauldron MCN Sock in a lovely (non-self-striping) mix of Turquoise Blue, denim blue(s), Ochre yellow, and Brown. I know, not my usual colors, but I just couldn't resist.

I also fell in love with some sari silk wrap skirts (made from recycled sari silk wraps) from A Darn Good Yarn. There were some great deals to be had at the show (one of the booths was offering Offhand Designs bags at 30% off). Unfortunately, I didn't find out about that until the very end of the show, and by then, they designs either just didn't grab me, or with the discount, and our @#$% exchange rate, it just wasn't worthwhile to get. Perhaps I might regret that one day..

I also found some cool collapsible luggage that I might re-look at to get for my next trip - http://store.tutto.com/
They were very appealing, but either did not have the color I wanted in the size I wanted, or the size was wrong to put my carry-on luggage in. As it was, I would have had more room in my carry-on, if I'd brought fewer cardigans to show and to use for class. As it was, I could have left 1 or 2 at home, and had more space for toting home. Or, I could have buckled and checked in laundry and a softer bag..instead I opted to just do carry-ons and get home faster.

I came home to my plum tree blooming out front - full and pink.




Sunday, January 18, 2015

On New Year challenges

Wow...I just didn't think it would ever happen to me. I'm in a funk for my knitting. i have 23 pages of queued items on Ravelry, and I just don't feel like knitting with any of them. I've been browsing the pages of my queue and reading the patterns. Most are pieced, need mods, or I'd planned to use different yarn than what I'm interested in right now. In some cases, the things I queued don't appeal to me anymore. I just don't have the excitement I had in past years to embark on the new knitting projects.

I am in 3 groups on Ravelry that have posted challenges for 2015. With the way I'm feeling this year, I just don't know if I'll be motivated to meet any of them.

The 12 in 2015 group, I don't think I'll stay with. I haven't knit 12 projects in a year since 2012 - it was mostly shawls and hats. I made some beautiful ones. I just hardly wear any of them.  So that, in hindsight, seems to be a bit of a waste.  In 2013, I changed to making cardigans, and pullovers, but even with stockinette that requires more attention than I have been able to put in this past year.  This last year, 2014, I was focused on house stuff, so there was a lot of reorganization that went on, and no time to just leave crafting stuff out and have fun. It can be pretty draining to live by someone else's unrealistic expectations of you.

CPA swaps group is having two challenges (at least) this year. One is to declare a bin of yarn that you will knit from, and if interested a bin of Unfinished Objects. You can also state "use it or lose it" meaning that if you don't knit by the end of the year, what you've declared you'll knit in January, you would lose the skeins of yarn to the prize pool. Yep, there's a prize pool to win more yarn if you meet your goals. Some people have offered to chip in $5 per skein of yarn unknit..this they say with 25-30 skeins in their bin (yikes!). Still a small price to pay I suppose for not meeting the challenge you sow for yourself.

The second challenge in CPA swaps is one that is longstanding - Stashdown 2015. You track your INs and OUTs on yarn in terms of yardage, including yarn you knit. I thought about doing this in 2012, but too myself out of the main spreadsheet. Instead, I've been tracking privately each year 2012, 2013, 2014, and including the $ I spent. I thought that seeing the $ go in/out would reduce my spending on yarn. It sort-of works. In the end, if I really want to buy something, I lie to myself and justify it some other way. I have donated a lot of yarn over the years, and gotten rid of the old LYS (local yarn store) yarn through a friend who destashes on usedvictoria at a fraction of the price. Also, my local knitting group has gotten a lot snobbier, so those yarns don't fly there.

Verdant Gryphon group is doing 12 projects in 2015, or can be counted as 12 skeins, for those of us that knit sweaters - yay! I might actually meet this one this year, if I can find a pattern that I want to knit with, and yarn I want to use. Yarn must be VG or the old SG (Sanguine Gryphon yarn). With the goal of meeting 14 skeins last year (2014), I would have been close if they'd counted the 3 skeins I used from CY, but alas no. Even with weaving projects in there, I think I used about 8 or 9 skeins, and nowhere near 12 projects. Only thing is that if I end up knitting with other yarn -some of my madtosh or skein, for example, those wouldn't count.

I think even since December, my plans are changing:
  • I miss the sun, and I'd like to do some travelling (which I haven't done a whole lot of since 2012, and even before 2009) this year.
  • I need to remember to Be gentle with myself..as I'm at a crossroads now that I feel like my mind is changing daily on what inspires me, and where and how I want to spend my time
  • I am giving myself permission this year to succeed, to be an artist, and to fail faster (if need be, to reach my goals. For info, read more on Tien Chiu's blog). For a long time, I've resisted this idea of being an artist thinking that I had to create from scratch, or to have more original ideas.

    I've realized that I'm great at taking found materials and making them my own. I have for a long time adapted patterns from designers to add the features, techniques or the "look" that I want, and that's ok. It's part of my creativity process. I do have a running list of ideas and I want to play and explore with them this year, without creating undue pressure on myself to be perfect the first time, or to formalize the result in some way.
  • I want to continue with the weaving (and potentially knitting) but on my own terms. I'm going to make what I want when I want to make, and most likely, make for me....with the possibility to gift items later. 
  • For some reason, people in my group feel the need to razz me about the knitted cardigans I make, or about not knitting and just socializing when I go to knit night. For me, knitting has always been about choosing what I want to make for me, as no one else really will appreciate the time and effort I've put into it.  These days, going to knit night has become more about connection to the people in my group, and less about the churning of product knitting that I have done in the past (especially in light of the challenges on Ravelry to knit - which is more about quantity than quality). I actually spent one recent night doing weaving planning which was intensely liberating.
  • On weaving, I charged out of the gate in October and made a bunch of scarves through December. There are endless ideas, and I'm working on some of my own, but I need to visually "see" what the end result will look like...and not to worry about conforming to what others have done, or to feel restricted by "rules".
  • My woven items are about "contrast", which differs from my knitting where yarns that are used in contrast tend to look gaudy. In weaving,  contrasting yarns seem to make the designs "pop" more.
  • I'm also going to try hard to resist buying.all.the.things...even as my 2015 self pushes to make.all.the.things...and to make items from my stash as I can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's a new year!

It's a new year, and I'm planning a largish knitting yarn destash shortly, so stay tuned for upcoming posts. May also have some books, and circular needles.