Thursday, March 29, 2012

When do I slow down?

Have you ever felt you don't have an off button? That's me. I've just discovered that I don't have an off button. Here I've decided to take a long break from school because I was too stressed out over it, just to spend all the extra time developing patterns and trying to get an Etsy shop running where, if I'm successful, would mean almost all my knitting time would be taken up with projects knit for other people. Am I a glutton for punishment, or do I just not function well without self-imposed deadlines and pressures?

I have noticed a huge difference between this kind of pressure and the school pressure, though. This kind of pressure is exciting to me. I finally feel like I have my creative spark back, the spark that I lost when I went back to school in the first place. All I can think about is getting back home so I can work on my projects! It's been a long time since I've felt inspired by what I'm doing. I absolutely love the feeling. What I need now is time.

When I get inspired by something, I want ALL the time to be with it. Forget about this work to make a living thing, I want to dive into my craft. Unfortunately my craft doesn't earn me a living and I do so like to live.

I suppose I just have to take a breath and know that there is plenty of time. All things don't need to be done right now. It's a process.

 In all this craziness, I managed to finish the giraffe! The recipient loved it so much!

This project was such a challenge to me to keep my motivation up. Those spots went on forever. But, I prevailed and swore to myself that I would never make another giraffe if my life depended on it. So naturally, when a second co-worker asked me if I would make one for her I immediately responded: Of course!
 Perhaps I'll make the second one with less spots...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Playing Catch Up

This past week has been busy for me. So busy in fact, that I am woefully behind in catching up on my blog reading and obviously far too busy to even write a post myself! The reason I've been so busy is because this past week I had two dress rehearsals plus the two concerts for the choir I sing with. There was a lot of running around and not a lot of time for knitting.

The only thing I managed to have time for was to create an Etsy shop with an associated Facebook page. The Etsy shop has been in the back of my mind for awhile, I just didn't take the plunge until a coworker of mine (the one who I made all the baby things for) was asking me for a link to a page where he could show his friends because a lot of them are interested in the things I made. Not to mention I'm also in the process of making a lot of coaster sets. I only have one up for sale at the moment because that's all I had left over from last year. I made a ton of sets for friends and relatives for Christmas and they were a big hit. Here's to another crafty endeavor!

Hopefully this week won't be nearly as busy for me because I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blog posts!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seeing Spots...

It's official. I'm in duplicate stitch hell. Obviously I bit off more than I can chew with this silly giraffe. Don't get me wrong, he's cute. Some might even say crazy adorable... but the spots. Each spot is duplicate stitched on and you just don't realize how big an undertaking it is until you start it! There are times I feel like I'm getting somewhere with it, only to turn it over and see all the blank yellow sections mocking me with their lack of spots.

What's a girl to do when there is a task this daunting??? Work on a pair of mindless stripey socks of course! I'm nearly finished the second sock! Two of my friends and I plan on getting together to add the afterthought heels. There's a certain amount of moral support one needs when she's about to cut into knitted fabric. Let's hope the tears are few.

It seems wrong to delve into this small-talk subject, but we have had unseasonably warm and gorgeous weather here in Central New York these past few days. Yesterday was the St. Patrick's Day parade and the weather couldn't have been nicer. Sam was actually in the parade helping a dog rescue group with their pups. He managed to get a bit of sunburn on the back of his March. I feel I need to remind myself of the month because normally we have at least two feet of snow still on the ground at this point. This has been anything but a normal year.

Daisies in the grass (Instagram)
Crocuses and bees
Pippin enjoying the sun (Instagram)
However, there are some flowers and a certain cat who are quite happy with the weird yet amazing weather. There were even bees hanging around the crocuses (you can see her hanging out in one of the flowers in the foreground)! I don't know whether to enjoy the weather, or just be completely weirded out.  I suppose since I have no control over it, I might as well enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My first pattern (of many? Who knows?)

I just published my first pattern!

Around Christmas, Sam asked me to make a hat for him. I went searching for the type of hat he'd like, but I couldn't find a pattern that really suited him. What do we resourceful knitters do when we can't find exactly what we want? We make one up!

Sam's Brimmed Beanie (rav link)

I made it out of Hand Maiden Cashbah sock yarn, though any soft fingering weight will do. I just know how itchy some yarns can be when they're next to the forehead. There's nothing like a little cashmere to make the itch go away! I used size 1 US needles and surprisingly, it didn't take me very long to complete.

He loves his hat so much! He wears it all over the place, outside, inside (though thankfully he respects it enough not to wear it to bed!)

I'm very pleased with how it turned out. A few of my friends test knitted the pattern for me and they liked it as well!

 I realize that there is an overabundance of exclamation points in this post, but it's all very new and exciting! I'm beginning to wonder what else I can come up with!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

25 things about me... Maybe 24.

I came across a blog that had a list of 25 things about the author. I've done these lists before, only the last one I did was 100 things. 100 things was a pain in my ass, mostly because it's surprisingly difficult to come up with 100 things about yourself that other people would find interesting. 25 sounds much more reasonable so here goes:

1. When I'm in an extremely happy mood, I will dance all over the house and sing my head off. Of course, I have to be alone to do this, otherwise the crazy might show and my "normal person" cover will be blown.

Indian Rhino and me
2. My second degree was in Animal Management (aka zookeeper school) and I got to live my dream of working with exotic animals; rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans among others. It turns out that wasn't a dream I wanted to live long term. I loved it, but ultimately it wasn't for me.

3. In high school I was best known for being a singer (I won some awards... yeah, I guess I'll toot my own horn. ) Now I'm best known for being a knitter and I'm cool with that.

4. I know I've mentioned how reading is a passion of mine. Sometimes I can't put a book down because if I do, I'll miss the characters too much. Don't even get me started on how I feel at the end of a series...

5. I have to admit it... I love young adult fantasy novels. There I said it. Not so much the Twilight series, but books like the Alchemist, Eon/Eona, Harry Potter, etc. Kinda can't get enough of those.

6. Tea is, by far, the most satisfying drink I could ever have. If I do not have a cup of tea in the morning, I'm lost. There's nothing in the world that sitting down and having a cup of tea won't fix, except, perhaps a broken leg, it won't do a damn thing for that. English Breakfast and Chai are my favorites.

7. There is no finer color in all the world than green. At least not to me. My favorite shades are probably hunter green and green with hints of blue. I guess purple and blue aren't so bad either, and certain shades of red (ok, so, I like a lot of colors). Least favorite color: pink.

My favorite spot in Ithaca, NY
8. I'm happiest when I'm outdoors on a warm summer day, with the sun shining and me sitting in the shade of a tree. It wouldn't hurt to have a bit of water around too. This picture just about sums it up...

9. I have an unnatural love of office supplies. New pens, fresh notebooks, blank paper... love. I think I love pens so much because I used to practice my handwriting constantly when I was younger and different pens either made my handwriting better or worse. I had to try them all!

10. I've written in a journal since I was in the 8th grade. That's seventeen years worth of journaling. I've gone back and read some of the ones I wrote when I was 13 year old me was a silly, silly girl.

11. The least enjoyable situation I can think of is being at a party where I don't know anyone. I am a timid wallflower and that's all there is to it. (Of course, my friends know better, but that's  because I don't show just anyone my outgoing side!)

Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu
12. I'm a vegetarian. People always ask me why and it's a combination of reasons. I suppose it's because I believe too much meat isn't healthy for your body or for the environment, not to mention the system doesn't generally take the animal's welfare into consideration. Of course, I'm also the last person to judge anyone on their lifestyle, so if you're a meat-eater, more power to you! My best friend thinks that bacon is godly which is why she sent me this as a joke:

13. Aside from an occasional Rum and Coke in college, I haven't drank soda of any kind since I was a junior in high school. Don't get me wrong, I'm no health nut, I can down a pint of Haagen Dazs with the best of them, but soda upsets my stomach.

14. I don't have any cavities in my teeth. See #13, I think it's directly related. (Not to mention all the cavities I've ever had fell out with my baby teeth. Oddly enough, my last baby tooth fell out when I was in the 9th grade... While we're on the subject of teeth, I've never had braces, but I did need all of my wisdom teeth to be taken out. I suppose my mouth wasn't as big as my mother was always telling me it was, go figure.)

15. I'm often mistaken for being much younger than I am, sometimes as much as five to ten years younger. There are worse things in life I suppose. Though trying to convince me of that when I was in college was a difficult task indeed.

16. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at both colleges I graduated from. Yeah, I'm one smart cookie, but smarts don't mean a damn thing when you don't know what you want to do with your life. I envy those who are sure of what they want from the start. The only thing I've even known I've wanted is to someday be a mother. Someday seems a lot closer than it used to, but it takes two to tango and we both have to be ready.

17. I can't stand shower curtains touching me while I'm showering. I don't care if it's as clean as the day it was made, that horrible, wet plastic sheet clinging to me in the shower makes my skin crawl. I have a claw foot tub, so the curtains goes 360 degrees around me. I've come up with some pretty innovative ways to keep it off me, one of which backfired and spilled water all over the floor, but that's a story for another time.

18. I almost never listen to music on the radio. Pop lyrics with no substance just doesn't do it for me. Give me Death Cab for Cutie or any number of singer/songwriter, indie folk bands any day.

19. I've never been a religious person. I believe there are as many ways to connect with God as there are people in this world. I'm still discovering my path, but I don't like people telling me it's wrong because it isn't like theirs.

20. I've been to lots of different countries: Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, France, China, Bermuda.. and still I haven't seen enough of the world. I'd love to visiting New Zealand (secretly it's because I want to visit Hobbiton, don't judge me!)

21. I've never dyed my hair. I can't guarantee that this will always be the case seeing as how I've spotted a few grays in the last year to two...

22. I go days without watching any TV. I don't have cable, I barely have any local stations and I'm perfectly content with that. Netflix is my friend. I just can't stand commercials. Ever since college (when I learned to critically think about things) I've noticed most commercials are ridiculous and if they are to be believed then men don't care about anything but beer, sex, sports and pizza and women only care about keeping a clean home, raising children and nagging men. (Stepping off my soapbox now...)

23. When I'm thinking deeply about something, I rub the tops of my fingernails. It's a habit I picked up when I was a little kid. Half the time, I don't even realize I'm doing it!

24. I don't have any tattoos. It's not that I think anything bad about them, a lot of them can be extremely beautiful. I just have a healthy aversion to pain and I can't think of anything I'd want permanently embedded into my skin.

25. I'm having a hard time coming up with the 25th one! I guess we'll just have to leave it at that.

There you have it. That paints quite the picture of me. I hope you all have enjoyed it! Back to our regularly scheduled knitting program next time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A whole lot of knitting over here!

Though I haven't been busy writing on my blog, I have been busy in life and knitting. I've been working like a madwoman on the baby toys.

It turns out I finished the elephant just in time for the baby to be born. As luck would have it, he was born on leap day (after 32 hours of labor, yowza!) Everyone is doing fine and if the pictures are to be believed, he's adorable.  I can't wait to meet the little guy. The elephant is pretty excited to meet him too!

I started the giraffe almost immediately after finishing the elephant. Let me tell you something, giraffes are much more fiddly than elephants to knit. Still adorable, just fiddly. You would think I would have known they would be, what with their long necks and spots... I admit, it's the spots that seem the most daunting to me. Ah well. It's a challenge I accepted!

The giraffe doesn't look like much now (in fact, I have one more leg than what the picture shows) but he's getting there.  Though it seems I've run into a little problem. I've come down with a case of startitis.  

Maybe that's not entirely accurate. I finished a pair of socks so that I could use the needles to start a new pair. That wasn't really my plan, but somehow it happened. I had a half-day of work on Friday and I sat down on the couch to relax for a bit. I didn't have anything in mind to watch when I came across the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix. Six episodes (and hours) later, I had a completed pair of socks and a very numb butt! I just couldn't stop myself, I had to know what happens in the next epidsode!

The socks are made out of Malabrigo sock yarn in Solis and the pattern is Hermione's Everyday socks (rav link). I had to finish them because I couldn't get another pair off my mind. A friend of mine started a pair of toe-up socks in KnitPicks Felici sock yarn and they just looked awesome. I had a couple of skeins of it in my stash and they've been calling my name ever since I got them.

Last night I finally got around to starting them! I've knit toe-up socks many times before, usually by using the provisional cast-on method and knitting a short-row toe. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but last night I branched out a bit and tried something new with this pair. I have been a die-hard short row heel and toe sock knitter for years, but last night I tried Judy's Magic Cast on for the toe... my mind is official blown! What an awesome technique, I can't believe I didn't learn it sooner! I've just been too stuck in my ways. 

Not any more, look at how awesome it is! There is no seam on the inside when you're finished! It looks like, and essentially is, one continuous piece of knitted fabric. Some people are just too clever for words!

Discovering this method was a happy accident. What I really started these socks for was to try my hand at an afterthought heel. I had heard of this method before, but something about it piqued my interest now. It seems so wrong to cut into knitted fabric, but I'm going to throw caution to the wind and do it!

I have two skeins of this yarn and since I'm starting toe-up, I'm just going to knit one whole skein per sock and add the heel in later. There's nothing like learning a new technique that gets me all excited about knitting again! 

I only have-- I don't know-- miles to go before I get to try it!