- The Grey Ghost is finished and has been sent to its recipient. Finally. The pattern came from the Rowan booklet Calmer and was designed by Kim Hargreaves. Let's talk about that for a minute. Did you know that there is a vast chasm that separates UK and US patterns? Nor did I, until I started this one. In the beginning, I figured that the main difference would lie in the cm to inches (Damn the Imperial system of measurement!) but that was no big deal because I have a two sided tape measure. Easy peasy. What I wasn't counting on was the difference in how the pattern was worded. Things like "dec eor until you have X number of sts" on a UK pattern like this read "dec on next and following 4 alt rows and then on every 6th row 8 times." Wha? Huh? In retrospect, it doesn't seem all that difficult but I was positively stumped when I encountered it the first time. Thank the universe for Ravelry because there were plenty of other knitters who helped me interpret the whole weird wording business. Unfortunately, this was after I had already knit the entire back without armholes. Yup, I forgot to knit armholes in the back. And this was after I had knit the fronts (correctly) and measured them against the back, which I was absolutely certain was correctly done (but wasn't), and frogged them. Needless to say, I had to frog the back and reknit the fronts and get on with the rest of it. The longest part of knitting the whole thing was the banding around the fronts and the neck. It literally took me 48 hours of knitting to do this. It was ridiculous and tedious. In the end though, it turned out beautifully. I loathed giving it away but it was a commission knit so I had to. I do plan to knit this cardigan for myself because it's so darn lovely. Blurry photos of it will be on the blog soon along with some details about the changes I would have made to the pattern.
- The silk Jellyfish is also finished. Hurrah! I used Fiesta La Luz for the whole thing and it turned out beautifully. The pattern calls for a different yarn to be used for the border but I didn't want the feel of anything but pure silk against my skin so I stuck with the La Luz and went down two needles sizes (an eight to a six) for the border. I actually took some photos of my mama being an unknowing model in it but see above for the reason for no photo. I knit the smallest size and I had my mama (a size medium - she has rather broad shoulders and big tatas) and my oma (Dutch for grandmother. And she wears a size large top) try it on and it fit both of them perfectly. My oma requested one for Christmas so it's time to go stash diving and find the perfect yarn for it. The pattern was quite easy. So easy, in fact, that I was able to memorize the lace pattern for the sleeves and that's saying something because I feel like my short-term memory is about as good as our cats'. I also just picked up as many stitches as I felt like for the border and started out with 193, as opposed to the pattern's suggestions, which was 132. If you are going to make this little shrug, which you should because it's awesome, where it says "m1" in the border directions, do a yarn over for a lacy effect.
- I also finally finished the entrelac pillow I made for Travis when we first started dating over a year ago. I had finished the entrelac/knitting part of it long ago but I finally got around to making the actual pillow (out of black polar fleece) and seaming the sides (in the car on the way back from my mama's house for Thanksgiving) and I sewed the buttons on last night when we got home. It is now a bright addition to our sofa thanks to the deep blue and purple chenille with the contrasting black chenille that I used for the entrelac (both were Lion Brand Sensations). Photos of that will also be forthcoming.
- Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to do some mindless knitting that was also Christmas knitting so I started cranking out dishcloths like it was my job. I have finished seven thus far and given away two. I'm going to end up using all of my kitchen cotton, which is awesome. Go stashbusting!!
- I am thisclose to finishing the Heath cardigan. I finished the left front banding in the car yesterday and started stitching it in place. All that is left is the right front banding and seaming and she's ready to rock and roll. Good stuff.
- I started my mama's shawl for Christmas. I decided against the tulip shawl because it just wasn't working out and I started another one. I don't have much to say about it yet because I'm about to frog my second attempt and have another go at it. I'm using Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in the Pewter colorway and wow is that some delicious yarn.
- The Titillating TaTa Tube was frogged and boy did that feel great. I also took the opportunity to frog four other swatches that were destined to become something that I thought was going to work at the time, much like the TaTa Tube. Now I have more yarn in my stash and fewer knitting disasters on the horizon. It feels so good to frog things that you know aren't going to work (like a bulky weight yarn on size six needles that you, for some reason, think is going to make a great hat when, in reality, it would make a great bulletproof helmet.).
- So that's knitting news as of late. Sheesh! That was a lot of stuff, right??
I'm the one who is only actually half-dressed in the gown. The lady on the left was another bridesmaid and is apparently faster at dressing than I am. So there you have it....a photo of me. By the way, the photo was not taken at an angle. We had been drinking so much by that time that the world actually looked like that. hehehe
- I finally finished The Nautical Chart and really enjoyed it. It has mystery and intrigue and a quiet love story all tied together. His writing style is very fluid and engaging, rich with description. That being said, I wasn't in love with the ending. It sort of seemed like an easy way out - a cop out, if you will - and I could've seen it ending in a much more satisfying manner if the author would've chosen one of the many avenues he left open for himself to end it differently. I'll probably try a couple of his other books and see how they go.
- I read Coraline in an evening. It was a very fun, creepy little book. It was written by Neil Gaiman, of Sandman fame, and it was very nicely done. It would be suitable for an edgy bedtime story for children, a creepy read for young adults, or a dash of whimsy and that feeling of something is a little off for adults. It literally took me about four hours to read this book and I was knitting dishcloths all the while. I recommend it if you are looking for a quick, engaging read with a character you can easily get attached to.
- I also read Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems and thoroughly enjoyed it. No section of society escapes from David Rakoff's rapier sharp wit in this book of essays. For those of us who knit or create things with our hands, I would like to direct you to the essay entitled, "Martha My Dear: These are Hands, Use Them" as I feel it directly speaks to those who feel the need to make things, to create, and discusses what happens when we do that. Each essay is a quick read with plenty of laugh-out-loud bits and it would be perfect for reading while deeply entrenched in a more serious book in order to give your noggin a break from all that heavy thinking.
- I recently started A Great and Terrible Beauty (Readers Circle) and, although it's written for young adults, I would thus far recommend it to anyone with an interest in slightly Gothic historical fiction novels. I'll keep you updated on that as I go along.
- And going in a completely different direction, I have been reading Life After Death: The Burden of Proof before bed. It is easy to read, straight forward, enlightening, and interesting. I always like to read a non-fiction book along with a fiction book or two to give myself options. I'm about 80 pages into this one and I am really enjoying the conversational tone of the book, which completely lacks highfalutin pedantry. I had been averse to reading any of Chopra's books for the longest time because of the whole bandwagon thing but I'm glad I gave this one a shot because I really find it soothing somehow.
- I recently picked up the sewing machine again and started sewing. Just small things like pillows and such but I needed another hobby (HA!) so I started small and I'm progressing. There are two books that I have found to be great resources for the beginning sewer. One is Step-by-Step Sewing Course: Essential Techniques for Making Over 150 Creative Home Projects and it is stuffed full of useful information and plenty of easy projects for the beginner. Another one I have come to find very useful is Sewing 101: A Beginner's Guide to Sewing. It has a hidden spiral binding so it stays flat on your work surface and it addresses everything under the sun for the beginning sewer. It ranks high on my go-to list of books to answer my sewing questions.
- Because of my revamped interest in sewing, I decided to pick up this book Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects, especially because I had read great things about Amy Butler's patterns, etc. This book did not disappoint. There are great patterns and ideas for cool home accessories, bags, and fun things like a kimono style robe and wide-legged loungie pants. I have high hopes of sewing up a few things as Christmas presents.
- Before I forget, if you have any interest in sewing or crafting of any sort, go to Joann.com and sign up for their email list. You will receive tons of coupons and promo codes for shipping, up to 50% off of items and all sorts of other good stuff. I used a 50% off coupon to get my copy of the Amy Butler book from them and I paid about $12 for it and got free shipping.
- On Halloween night, I severely sprained my ankle and I've been hobbling about ever since. It's finally getting better and I can almost walk normally. For a while there, I was doing this crazy zombie walk and it appeared to outsiders that I was on the hunt for brains. Such was not the case. Besides, I'm a vegetarian and brains are definitely meat although some would argue that particular brains are made of air and thus vegetarian safe.
- The contest winners are (yes, I finally got around to choosing them with the help of a random number generator) Sharon and TwitchyKnitter. Sharon won the grand prize of the book plus two skeins of yarn for a project and, oddly enough, I had just won her contest but it was completely random. I think it was just good karma or something. TwitchyKnitter won the consolation prize of sock yarn. I am planning another contest soon so stay tuned for more details.
- I will be adding another section to this blog very soon and I have an announcement to make that will have to wait until the next post (which will be very soon. I won't make you wait so long. I do solemnly swear to this.) because it seems that this one is too long already, especially with no photos. I'll also let you know when the next t-shirt will be available so you can get your orders in before Christmas.