Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seriously?

In my frantic rush Monday to go see the Yarn Harlot (read about that adventure here), I could have sworn I packed my Grass Green hat and newly finished Mock Cable Wristers for the chilly evening.  Well, when I got on my last train, they weren't in my purse.

Ok, breathe.  It's going to be ok.  I must have left them on the couch while I was rushing around to get out the door.  No big deal.

They weren't on the couch.  They weren't in the basket I keep my shawls, hats and gloves in.  They weren't on the floor or the rocking chair.  They weren't anywhere in the house.

:o( Sad moment.

I called Subway, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble and TD Bank.  None of them had my hat.  LIRR, on the other hand, makes you fill out this ridiculous form for lost items.  I called them while I was filling it out and the lady said to call back after I filed it.  I did.  She was super sweet and helpful but said that they hadn't come in yet.  She said if I didn't get a call Wednesday to call back on Thursday.  Guess we'll find out today if my hat and mitts showed up.  Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How the Yarn Harlot Saved My Life

*Ok, so she didn't really.  But she totally could have.

Rewind to the beginning.

Monday, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was doing a book signing for All Wound Up in Park Slope.  Sweet!  Julia had told me about the event but could not make it.  So I had to go for the both of us!


I was pretty lazy that day and left the house in such a rush.  I had to walk to the train station (still no car) which is about a half hour walk except that I had about 25 minutes before the train was due into the station.  So I speed walked and actually made it there with enough time to get my ticket and take a breath.  Except I was pretty sweaty and gross.  All I could think was oh man please don't let me smell bad when I meet the Yarn Harlot!



I spent the train ride working on my Bluerose socks and Traveling Woman shawl.  It was overall uneventful.  When I got to Brooklyn I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Subway before walking towards Barnes and Noble.  Yes, I decided to save the $2.25 on a subway ride and walk the half hour to the store.  It worked out well though because I needed to deposit a check at the bank on the way and thought I knew where a branch was located.  I was rushing though because it was quite the walk and I wanted to be sure to get to the bookstore and have time to find a seat.
Reading an excerpt

After all that rushing, I made it there with plenty of time and went straight to the customer service desk to ask where the talk was going to be.  Right after the employee told me where to go, I turned around and headed to the escalators.  Just then she walked in.  I didn't know what to do.  I just, well, froze.  I whipped out my cell, pretending to look busy and then hurried off down the escalator.


I found a seat and waited.  I was really shocked how few people were there at that point.  The store had set up about 35 seats set up, 5 of which were facing the wrong way.  Ridiculously, they were zip tied together and the store employee would not let us cut them apart** but would let us turn the entire row of chairs around.  Cause you know, zip ties are so darn expensive these days...


After a while it really filled up.  I mean, standing room only.  I was glad to have a seat and a decent view***.  When SPM took the podium, she was much different than what I was expecting.  I was expecting her to be bigger.  Or maybe taller.  Somehow more intimidating and less down-to-earth.  I guess that's just a result of seeing her big personality online.  But she's actually close to my height (5'3"****) and size.  She was also so much nicer than I expected.  Not that I expected her to be mean or anything.  But she just jumped right into talking to everyone.  I guess, though, when this is your career it's more like second nature for you.  I was a bit in awe.


She talked a little, then read 3 excerpts from the book, answered questions and chatted with us, and then started the book signing.  I was in no rush so I sat with some other ladies for a while knitting and chatting.  I don't actually want to give anything away from the book in case you're waiting to purchase it or see her in person.  But we found it funny that one of her stories involved her looking something up in a medical reference book at the library and that was the section of the store we were squished into.  She took a picture of the wall behind her once it was pointed out.  She also took a picture of the crowd and you can see me way in the back of it on her blog post of the event.


Now, I know I've never mentioned SPM around here before.  That's probably because I'm not the typical Yarn Harlot fan.  When I read a blog, I like to start at the beginning.  Sometimes I don't and just jump in, but I do the same with podcasts and TV shows.  Which is why I'm about 3 years behind in listening to CraftLit at the moment.  I've tried to go back and read SPM's blog from the beginning.  And I've made it through quite a bit.  But she's been blogging for a while now, and she blogs often.

Working on my Traveling Mermaid Shawl

And the other problem?  Sometimes her blog rambles a bit too much for my attention span.  I admit, I scan a lot of blogs rather than reading every bit, especially when people are writing about their projects and the mods made and yadda yadda.  But with her blog it's different.  Maybe it's because she's a writer by profession.  Trust me, I've even tried to read her books.  They just don't hold my attention.  But Monday night, I was eating it up!  SPM needs to make audiobooks of her publications.  And if I had my way, she'd be the one to be reading them aloud.  Let's make it better, we'll make it a video- she had the best facial expressions while reading to us!  It made it so much better.  It made the stories come alive in a way that her blog and books never had for me.  I mean, I know she was standing right there actually alive in front of me, but the stories were just so much more intriguing to me.  Now how do I convince her on my plan??  Any ideas out there?


At the end of the night, she was super sweet and signed two books for me so that Julia could have one even though she couldn't make it.  We chatted with her a bit and she did not try to rush us at all even though we lingered a bit.  But eventually we left her to sign copies for the store and head upstairs to pay for our books. The girl I had been standing with checked out fast but there was a problem with the guy in front of me and it took forever.  And then SPM and her friend were 2 people behind me in line.  With the book.  SPM was standing in line to buy her own book.  Apparently she left her copy of it home and needed another for her readings.  I was much amused by this.


Now, onto the saving part of the story.  I checked the train schedule and realized once again, I had less than a half hour to get to the train station to make the train on time.  And yes, the walk takes about a half hour.  I booked it down 7th Ave towards Flatbush and then decided I could probably make faster time going down 5th Ave (it would take me closer to the station) so I cut down 4th St.  And then I remembered.  All the stories I've been hearing on the news and warning my Park Slope friends about.  Over the past few months there have been far too many sexual assualts on women at night in that general area.  Ugh of course I remember this walking down a dark not very busy street.  I walked faster than I think I ever have.  I reached 5th Ave and was disappointed to see it was less busy than I was expecting.  But it was lit and there were people.  I avoided the men on the street, especially those who fit the suspect descriptions.

Addicted to knitting?  Maybe that's me...
I started walking a little more at ease, swinging my arms as I speed walked to the station.  And then I remembered- I have two hardcover Yarn Harlot books in a shopping bag.  Well, that could make a good weapon.  Obviously I have my sharp pointy knitting needles but they're buried in my purse.  But this bag.  Well, it could make a good defense against an attacker.  I could imagine it- someone coming to bother me and I would just turn around swinging that bag.  And then when I knocked him down, I could quickly grab my knitting needles just in case.

The girls with the best name EVER!  (She agreed)

Thankfully, I did not need to worry so much about it.  I made it to the station just fine though very parched.  But she totally could have saved me had I needed a defense.

We have the same name.  You would think they would look the same in her handwriting.

Now that I'm safely at home, I'm looking forward to reading this book.  Maybe now that I've seen her in person, I'll just hear her voice as I read them and my attention will stay with the stories she tells.  Oh, and yes she says "aboot" and "eh" and other cute Canadian things :o)



**At least 5 people turned around and offered their scissors.  I love knitters.  We always come prepared.

***I had a great view when I offered the seat next to me (I was saving for a friend who couldn't show last minute) to a lady when her birdfaced baby mommy friend snottily asked can't I move down.  Ugh.  If SPM hadn't already speaking I would have said something but I didn't want to be rude unlike some people.  Birdface had to sit next to her friend, even though she had to keep getting up to soothe her cute baby and wound up giving up her seat anyway.  I hate people.  Her baby was really cute though.

****and a quarter but people don't usually count that.  But that was all the height I gained from 8th grade to high school.  So I was very proud of it at one time.  And I'll take what I can get in the height department.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Abby's Football Hat

Ok so I found a picture I took to quickly show Abby's Mommy her football yarmulke hat.


I'm going to have to make another and go a big bigger next time, except this one was made with leftovers.  Football season has just started afterall.  I made her a little football toy as well, with a cat bell inside so it jingled.  She won't be able to actually enjoy it for a while, but I figured I had more leftover brown yarn so why not?

I can't wait to see Abby's pictures from her photoshoot with the hat!

Oh, and without the white bands and stitching, this hat could totally be a Hershey Kiss :o)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tempest


My Tempest sweater has made several appearances on the blog so far, but now it's finally getting the attention it deserves.



A couple weeks ago two months ago, Village Knitter received a huge Sanguine Gryphon shipment.  I love their colors so I decided to buy my first skeins of Bugga.  I have plenty of sock yarn and decided my yarn was destined to be a sweater.  I did a quick Ravelry search and chose Tempest (Rav link) from Knitty Spring 2008.



Lazy me decided I do NOT want to knit my sweater in pieces.  After gauge-ing and measuring, I worked the numbers and rewrote the pattern to be knit in one piece.  I also had to adjust the stripes because my row gauge was much different from the pattern though my stitch gauge was on par.

I was hesitant at the beginning of the sweater.  I was worried my stripes wouldn't "pop" enough because of the pooling in my CC.  If the green in it was clustered, some of my narrow stripes seem to disappear at parts.

Missing Stripes

The knitting was so easy.  The whole sweater is knit flat in stockinette stitch.  It was finished so quick!  I wove in all my ends like a good girl and blocked the body to make the next steps a little easier.



When it came to the sleeves, I didn't really think ahead about this one.  The pattern has the sleeves made flat from the cuff to the shoulder.  This was so not going to work for me.  I made too many adjustments already to just blindly follow the pattern as written here so I began to investigate.  As this is my first sweater, I really had no idea what to do though I was starting to invent ideas.



I've done short rows for so many projects that they seems to be the right choice.  After checking with some other knitters, they agreed and one suggested a Barbara Walker book.  But that would have involved a) buying a book and b) finding that book in a store and/or c) waiting for that book to ship.  No go for me. To Google I went!  I of course found an article on Knitty and some notes from a blog as well.  Between the two of these and many many attempts on my part, I eventually figured out how to do short row sleeves.  And they came out great!

In my first attempt, I actually did a short row in the way one does a short row heel.  How funny it was to put my cardi on and see a heel of a foot on my shoulder.  Rippit rippit rippit.  I was in such a rush to have my very first cardigan knit that I didn't pause to take pictures.  I even meant to take some to write a short row heel tutorial and forgot :o(  I guess that just means I need to knit another sweater and take LOTS of pictures of it along the way :o)

And the buttons!  Oh the buttons....sigh.  I walked into the shop one Wednesday and was so shocked to see new buttons had come!  And they were a perfect match.



I did it up right once the knitting was done.  After blocking, I sewed in a grosgrain ribbon button band and sewed backing buttons on with the fashion buttons.  Thank you Knitmore girls for your tutorials (grosgrain ribbon and couture buttons)!  Although I did know how to sew buttons already, I tried Gigi's suggestion of using a tapestry needle for spacing while sewing.  I didn't like it.  The needle was too slipper and kept sliding out.  I went back to the usual toothpick method since the wood has more grip.  Except we have the weirdest flat/squared toothpicks so it didn't give as much space as I was hoping for.  They came out fine though.



Now, after about a week of wearing my sweater, I noticed massive amounts of pilling on the right side.  Not on the left.  Just the right.  Thank you heavy organicy musliny cotton Brooklyn Industries purse.  I have to make a concious effort to switch shoulders every now and then.



I'm not so surprised though because I have a pair of socks made from String Theory Caper Sock that pill a lot too.  Both of Caper Sock and Bugga have a fair amount of cashmere and I've learned from listening to spinning podcasts that cashmere has a short staple length which I'm assuming would make it pill more.  When I pulled off some of the pills and played with them, rubbing between my fingers, they were very soft :o).  I think that proves my hypothesis*.



Other than the pilling, so far so great with this one!  I love it so much, I almost bought more Bugga to make another one!  Almost.  Until I thought of the 22+ miles of yarn in my stash (and still not done inventorying!).  But I do want to make another one a big modified (ideas:  ribbing on the bottom and ends of sleeves, add a hood, and do a tutorial for the sleeves).  That might have to be a present to myself after getting through some of my stash.  Guess I just have to knit more :o)


*As a teacher, I should know this.  But not having been in a regular classroom for a while, I couldn't remember the term.  I kept typing hypotenuse and knew it wasn't right.  Ugh #teacherfail

Friday, October 14, 2011

Phew

I finished a shawl!  But it's waiting to be blocked so no updates on it yet.

Shockingly, I've worked every day this week except Monday (which was a holiday anyway).  I subbed, babysat a sick kid, and worked at the yarn shop.  It was a busy week.

Today I came home to find this waiting at the door:


Apparently I graduated in August...?  I mean, I applied for graduation, but the procrastinator that I am, I never really followed up on it.  So when I never heard from Pace about it, I didn't really worry.  Sigh, this school never ceases to surprise me.  But at least it's all freakin done!

So now I have a B.S. in Ed, an M.S. in Ed, and no job.  Boo economy.

Ok happy note now.  No Abby pictures, but I did crochet a little football hat for her.  It's too small and looks like a yarmulke on her.  Her mommy swears it'll stretch and fit her but I'm not so convinced.  She may have to cut it in the back, but Abby will be wearing it for a photo shoot tomorrow!  Seriously, check out this lady's photography.  Adorable amazingness!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Winner!

Wow I always seem to forget that Wednesdays is my knitting night with my girls (when available).  Which means I get home late, especially now relying on getting rides and public transportation (Dad says my car should be fixed by this weekend though!).

Balloon Animals + Chili's + Margaritas/Beers + Knitting + US = Awesome

I definitely meant to draw the number last night but didn't quite get to it.  So here it is....


Comment #4 was Angie!  We actually knit together on Thursday evenings Village Knitter so I guess I won't have to ship anything.  Angie blogs over here if you want to check up on her and nag her to keep posting :o)

Thank you to everyone who entered!  Thanks to my obsessive book buying, I have another double set of books (oh Borders, your sales were too good to say no to!) so I'll probably have another giveaway at some point.  Keep an eye out.

And how can I leave you without some Abby-loving??

I stole these pictures from her Mommy's Facebook...

Coming home from her first doctor's appointment.  Apparently she screamed the whole way home, but I don't believe it judging by this picture.

1 week old already!  She's about half the size of the blanket and twice the size of her Minnie doll.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Last Day and a Quick Update

Football hat for Abby's photoshoot

Wow I actually was called for work today!  I'm going to be a gym teacher for the day.  So a short and sweet update for you all.

I stopped by to visit Abby with my Mom yesterday.  She's as cute as ever!  My cousin told me that everyone at the hospital loved the Mickey blanket I made for her.  She said they used it for the Our 365 (professional in-hospital) photos and brought  her home in it :o).  See more here and here.

Don't forget to leave a comment for the 100th post giveaway!  I will be drawing up the random number generator sometime tomorrow so get your posts in asap!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yup, Me Too


I've got to admit that I've got the hexipuff fever.  A friend happened across the Beekeeper's Quilt pattern on Ravelry and showed it to me at the beginning of knitting group a couple weeks ago.  I thought it was a great pattern to use up old sock yarn scraps since the idea of doing the mitered square blankets gives me agita*- so many ends to weave in!

It wasn't until a week or so later that I realized how popular this pattern was, and the Cabbage Patch/Tickle Me Elmo frenzy that went along with it.  Some of these people are a little bit nuts.  So is the designer though.



Whoa.



I've started two blankets.  Yes I said two.  One is for all my leftover sock yarns.  The other is sock yarn that once was for a pair of now tri-color frogged argyle socks.  Because it was intarsia, this left me with a lot of small balls of yarn.  I was going to make some random striping socks with them, but that again meant more weaving in ends and agita.  This project was the perfect solution.



As the designer says, they're very easy to keep in my purse and work on as I'm on the go.  I think it's hilarious though that they're all coming out different sizes.



I did alter the pattern.  Of course I did, this is me afterall.  I hated the way the increases and decreases looked on my first, as written hexipuff.  Same goes for the bind off edge.  I changed the pattern so that my increases are done as make-1's (which is why my puffs are coming out misshapen but I'm ok with that) and I moved my increases and decreases over by one stitch so that it's worked after the first stitch and before the last stitch on each needle.  If this doesn't make sense to you, you probably haven't read the actual pattern yet.  I also thought the three needle bind off looked super sloppy so I'm just doing Kitchener stitch.

Comparing Bind Offs - White is from the pattern as written and Purple is my changes

Comparing Increases

Comparing Decreases

These puffs are like doing a double toe- the start of a toe-up sock is the beginning of the puff and the end of the puff is like finishing off the toe of a cuff-down sock.  And seeing as how I avoid cuff-down socks as much as possible, this gives me the opportunity to memorize Kitchener stitch.



Another change- I'm using a US size 1 needle for the pattern.  I know I'm a loose knitter, but really...how did she get those done on a US size 4 and not have holes of stuffing showing through?  I tried a US 3 (because I always have to go down at least 1 size) and man was that a disaster.

Also, I'm being a super recylcer here.  I save all of my yarn scraps.  I have a glass vase that I throw them in which is also the decorative home for all of my old straight needles.  Lately, it's been overflowing.  So I took out a bunch of the scraps and put them in a ziploc that stays in my hexipuffs project bag.  When I finish a puff, I stuff it with the yarn scraps.  The only exception is the white puffs do get stuffed with the fiberfill because the yarn scraps show through too much.


*Yes, I had to look up how to spell this word. 


PS Don't forget about the 100th post giveaway!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Welcome, Abby!

Monday evening we got the phone call that my cousin was going into labor.  More than 24 hours later, this little peanut joined our family

Abigail Nicole

I visited Abby at the hospital last night and couldn't believe how calm she was.  She was watching everyone (as much as a newborn can) and observing.  She barely cried and only when the nurse took all her clothes off to run a couple tests.

Feeding time with Mommy

The first time I held her, I had just sat down when I felt her fart.  She peeked out through one little eye as if to ask "Did anyone notice that?"  Yup, she's definitely part of my family.  After that, she was very awake for the rest of the time we were there.

Mickey ears!

I made her a little Mickey ears hat which barely fit on her head.  I couldn't get it to stay on, or for the ears to stay up.  I guess I'll have to make a bigger one really quick!

I also made her this blanket over the summer, which Mommy received at her baby shower in August.

Can you tell a couple letters are missing underneath??

Mommy loves Mickey Mouse, but couldn't find Mickey bedding for a girl's room (only Minnie or Disney princesses).  So I worked out a colorwork chart and knit this blankie up.  I'm planning on making another in boy colors just because I want to size up the Mickey head.  I can't wait for a picture of Abby with it!

And now for the cuteness pictures that I just can't resist sharing.

Apparently she's already a Jets fan

Tiny wrinkled feet
Holding Daddy's hand

Ok, that's enough cuteness for now.  Don't forget to enter the 100th post giveaway!

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