Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy early birthday to me!

My birthday isn't actually until next week but yesterday my dear hubby Mister Vonkysmeed brought home my birthday present and handed it over.  I've known for awhile what he was planning to get for me so it wan't really a surprise but it was certainly nice to get it (ooh, and thanks to Pops-in-law too as this gift is from both of them!).  See, I gots a brand new iPod Touch!  I finally mentioned that I might like one after realizing that the Touch could replace my dinosaur of a Palm Zire and do even more.  I admit to being slightly resistant to change, so have never actually had an iPod of any flavor before.

My only complaint is that I will miss the stylus.  I know, weird huh?  But it did take me forever to upgrade from a DayRunner (anyone remember those things?!  I could not live without mine!) to a pda in the first place, and one of my favorite tools on my Palm is a notepad feature where I can draw or write lists, impressions of something I see, etc.  Although Lil' Miss has been using this feature a lot, like while waiting in a Dr.'s office she asks for the pda so she can draw while waiting, of course this leaves me with absolutely nothing to do, but at least the kid id happy right?!  I guess I can be a little old-fashioned about some things, like I detest e-readers, give me a real book any day of the week.

out with the old and in with the new

So, does anyone have any suggestions for apps I should look into?  Mister Vonkysmeed is so sweet he even made sure there was a balance available in his itunes store for me to use to get some things for my new toy.  I know I will want a better calendar, with the two anklebiters I absolutely rely on that thing to make sure I don't miss any appointments or classes of theirs, or mine for that matter!  I'm not sure what else I should look into, so suggest away!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Glynis socks redux

Remember how in my last post about these socks I said I was a bit off on the gauge?  Well, yes that 1/2 stitch per inch off on the gauge makes a difference, a pretty big one too.  After getting an inch of ribbing and 4 repeats of the lace pattern done I decided to try on the socks again.  It was a huge struggle to get them over my instep, nigh impossible, sigh.  I had to rip them entirely out and start over again.  So not happy about having to do that but the alternative of having socks I can't wear or that are only partially knit is worse so I began again with the next needle size up, a US 2.

Now that I have restarted them, they are coming along quite nicely, I only did 4 repeats of the lace pattern of the leg instead of 9 as called for in the pattern because I didn't want socks quite that high.  It seems that a 3-4 inch leg is what works for me and once I got to that point I started the heel flap.  I had to do 18 slipped stitches on the heel flap height, about  2 3/4" high.

The color is definitely growing on me, once I had the mental image of Shrek blowing big pink bubbles the colors make me giggle a little inside every time I see them.  It remains to be seen if anyone else will be as amused by them as I am.  The yarn is a joy to work with though, so soft and easy to knit.  It does get a little splitty but it's not a huge problem and thankfully my harmony needles are so pointy it's pretty easy to deal with.  Hopefully they will wash up and wear nicely too and if they do I will definitely be investing in more Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy sock yarn!

I am beginning to rethink the whole 6 socks in 2011 goal, I think I am going to end up with 12 pairs by the end of the year at the rate I'm going.  They may not all end up being for me, I just got some Knit Picks Felici in rainbow and tiki to make some socks for Lil' Miss, but I will definitely end up with more than 6 by the end of the year.  This would be why I sometimes lowball my expectations, I get so excited and happy when they are surpassed!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Excuse me while I rant

Hmm, no white here!

Can someone please tell me why it is so difficult to find the simplest of wardrobe staples, a white t-shirt?  You know, just a basic whit t-shirt that you can't see my bra through?  Okay, maybe I am totally out of touch with the current style (like I have always been, in high school I strongly resembled a goth-amish refugee, yup, imagine that one for a minute!) but it really shouldn't be so hard to find.  Apparently every clothing manufacturer has agreed to use the thinnest material possible and the public just accepts it.  It used to be that you could find a decent white tee, sadly mine was somewhat stained in the underarm area so it is now a lovely shade of rose pink, nice, but not white.  I mean, I even subjected myself to walking into The Gap (I hate this store, so not me!) bu even their most signature garment was ridiculously thin, I mean, a dermatologist could examine me through it!

With spring and summer on the way I really would like to find a decent white t-shirt, and when I do I'll probably need to stockpile them!  My favorite go-to store has sadly gone out of business, Mervyn's, and my second favorite store New York & Company has joined in the too thin material brigade.  It has been awhile since I last tried to find one, and I am getting ready to begin the search again, sigh.  This could be one of the reasons why I hate to shop for clothes, I need a specific item and just can't find it, or maybe I am being a bit like Goldilocks, this one too thin, that one too short, where is the one that is just right?!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


newly organized closet, yea!
This weekend I was trying to work on my scrapbooks and my Slice die cut machine was being difficult and not working right for me.  Okay, it's been buggy pretty much since I bought the damn thing but when it works, it really works and I love it.  Anyway, I got mad at it and needed to find something else to focus on, so I decided to move around some craft supplies as I had been contemplating doing for a long time while I waited to see if my Slice would spontaneously start working properly again.

Once upon a time I was an artist, well, at least an art student and I still have a taboret in which my remaining art supplies are housed (from Wikipedia: a small portable stand or cabinet, with drawers and shelves for storage. It is used as a method to bring organization to a work area. This name for a portable cabinet is common to artists.).  I came to the sudden realization that part of my reluctance to work on my scrapbooks is due to the fact it is a total pain in the ass to drag all my supplies from the closet where they are stored out to the dining table where I work with them so I decided to move the scrapbooking stuff into the taboret and relocate the art supplies...somewhere else (I so wish I has a craft room like I did while living with The Momster, I waited a whole week after Grumpy moved out to take over his room for my artsy crap!).

The scrapbooking stuff fits into the taboret nicely and all of the art supplies are neatly reorganized into my yarn storage boxes.  Huh?  What's that?  How did the yarn get involved in this you ask?  Well, it occurred to me that my current yarn boxes were bursting at the seams to contain the yarn I have stashed and since I use the yarn more than the art supplies maybe I should make sure the yarn is easier to get to and maybe devote more space to it.  So one thing led to another as you can assuredly see by now and I spent all afternoon going through stuff, reorganizing it, cleaning out things that I don't use anymore or are broken/unusable, purchasing some new storage boxes, etc., etc., etc. 

So, I got completely distracted and my dining table was still covered in partially completed scrapbook pages.  Sigh, maybe I'll make some progress on it sometime this week, but doesn't my taboret look nice with all the scrapping supplies in it?  And now I have some room to buy more yarn too!

obsessively labeled yarn boxes, hmm, OCD maybe?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Sock KAL

So I started out the month of March by joining another sock knit-a-long, this time with the Sock Knitters Anonymous group.  One of their challenges for the month is lace, and lucky for me I have a spanking new Sock Innovation book by the uber-talented Cookie A. begging to be knit out of so here I go!

For these socks I am using my lovely new skein of Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Sock yarn that I bought for myself at the beginning of the year.  It is a truly interesting shade of pink and green, called magenta-moss on WEBS.  It truly is magenta and moss, with some browny-green thrown in for good measure.  I think it'll be one of those colorways that will grow on me over time (I have now decided it looks like Shrek chewing Bubblicious gum).  Happily I was able to split the yarn in half and get each sock started at the same color change.  I never would have been able to get the yarn split evenly without my yarn scale, I am getting a huge amount of use out of that thing.  Hopefully I'll get two matching socks rather then fraternal twins since I was able to get both started at the same color change.   

I chose the Glynis pattern out of the book as after perusing the projects on Ravelry of socks from Sock Innovation I decided that this pattern would look the best in self striping yarn.  My gauge is a tad tight, but really, how much difference will 1/2 stitch per inch make?  I think I'd rather they were a bit tight to get on then too loose. For some reason I am having a devil of a time so far keeping the pattern straight, I keep making mistakes and having to pull out work I just did to get it right.  Frustrating, but necessary.  Here's to hoping it'll get easier for me as I go along.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Hoodless Hoodie

I just finished up my Austin hoodie by Connie Chang Chinchio and I am so incredibly happy with how it came out.  I still can't quite believe that I managed to make it come out the right size even though I didn't follow the gauge or my size according to the pattern.  All I can say for this one is that the washing and blocking really made it, the fit was totally wonky until after I ran it through the wash and laid it out to dry.  Can I say again just how happy I am with how this cardigan came out?

I did make a few pretty minor modifications to make my Austin.  First off the gauge, I knit mine at 5 stitches per inch rather than the pattern gauge of 6 stitches per inch, just because I liked the look of the fabric better that way.  To make up for knitting at a different gauge I followed the pattern stitch counts for a size larger than what would be my size, but I did follow the length for my size. Along the front I wanted to have buttons in case I needed to close up the cardi, so every 20 rows I did a really simple yarn over buttonhole.  I also knit 10 rows in garter stitch for the hem as I wrote about in a previous blog post, and I did the 10 rows of garter stitch for the sleeve cuffs and for the edge of the collar.  Ah, the collar!  I knit the hood per pattern for 4.25" then did the garter stitch to finish it off.  I didn't want a hood as I felt it would: 1) hide all the work I had done on the upper back of the cardigan, 2) would be a total waste of the yarn, and 3) plus I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn as I was making a larger size than intended.

As it turns out not only do I have plenty of yarn, I even have enough left over (about 340 yds) to make myself a nice little pair of socks!  Do you sense a growing obsession there?  I fear I do!  A quick word on the yarn I used, Araucania Itata solid in light lilac (Ravelry link), after washing the yarn has softened up considerably, I am actually surprised how much it improved with washing!  It doesn't have much give while knitting, but it is nothing like knitting with cotton or crappy acrylic (not all acrylic is crappy, just most of it).  It was certainly a learning experience to knit with alternating 2 skeins at once since this is a non-dyelot yarn.  The color of the yarn was worth the effort, but it is not my favorite thing to do!  Maybe it is the fairly loose gauge of this garment that made the change from one yarn to another so obvious, but I will probably need to take a crochet hook to it in an attempt to even out the stitches a bit.

I definitely made my goal on this one though, I wanted to be able to wear it this spring, maybe for Easter and it certainly got done in time for Easter (and it would have been done even if it weren't so late this year!)!  Now to get started on the next stash down before my new Knit Picks order arrives, a short sleeved Sahara knit with Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk in kiwi (Ravelry link).

Monday, March 7, 2011

I DO like green aggs & ham!

Isn't reading great?  Especially when you get rewarded for reading the classic by Dr. Suess, Green Eggs & Ham.  Yes, to reward Lil' Miss for reading through the entire book all by herself (and it's a whopping 62 pages long!) I made green eggs and ham for breakfast this weekend.  I realize it's not a ham steak, but I thought since sausage comes from pigs it qualifies as ham, right?

Just in case you feel like doing this for your child, or maybe for yourself just because, let me be the first to tell you that just adding blue food coloring does not work.  You'd think it would too.  Normally when you add blue to yellow you get green, but with eggs you just get blue, so go for the green food coloring.  If there is anything more revolting looking than green eggs, it's blue eggs.  I think ours were a tad on the minty green side because I had already added the blue.  I suppose it works for it being the month of March too, you know, like shamrock shakes, except it's shamrock eggs!

I can't say I enjoyed the treat quite as much as Lil' Miss did, even Destructo Boy ate his green eggs with gusto.  Mister Vonkysmeed doesn't care for eggs even when they are the more traditional color so he escaped this mornings breakfast.  I actually had to close my eyes for the first few bites, I know they are the same but that color leaves something to be desired.  In spite of my lack of enthusiasm for green eggs I know I will have to do this at least one more time, when Destructo Boy reads Green Eggs & Ham by himself for the first time.  When he does that he'll get rewarded too, with his own special breakfast.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I make a bargain with myself

Weird I know, but I often tell myself I have to do a less desirable project to then get to do something that is more fun for me.  Am I the only one who makes these kind of little deals with myself?  And am I the only one who almost always keeps them?!  Anyhow, since I seem to keep dropping the scrapbooking in favor of new knitting projects I decided to put a stop to that behavior with a new little bargain.  Thus, I am not allowed to start another knitting project until I finish up the birthday albums and fall 2010 pages that are in progress.  It seems a bit ridiculous, I know, but I have a feeling I'll just keep putting off the scrapping until I run out of yarn (like that would ever happen!). 

So all I have in the way of knitting right now is my Austin hoodless Hoodie.  I guess that'll help encourage me to get that sucker finished too huh?!  On the plus side I am actually making progress on the pages, I already finished their birthday albums and have the pictures all printed out for fall.  The only part unplanned right now is the journaling (the hardest part for me for some reason, you wouldn't think it since I blog, huh?  You try to be brief and poignant every time and you'll get writer's block too I tell ya!) and since I have all the pictures for fall printed out and ready to go onto my already designed pages, I just have to sit down and do it.

Of course right after making this little deal with myself Knit Picks released their new colors of Felici, the bastards!  So in spite of a self-imposed halt to new knitting I have a shopping cart full of yarn at KP that I will be ordering fairly soon.  Sigh, excuse me while I go pull out my glue to finish up fall so I can get to work knitting down my current stash to make room for the new fibery goodness shortly to make it's way here.
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