February 22, 2008

Some picture updates and I'm a girl

Well, the snow has pretty much put the kibosh on driving to NY today, however it has allowed me to have a very chill day at home where I can get some laundry done, get my oil changed and do some damage on my Cabled Blanket. It's a slow project, but a nice one to knit while I watch Suzie's Gilmore Girls DVDs.

My mom and I had a great day in Boston yesterday. Tea at the Taj is a damn good time! Though I totally broke the "casual elegance" rules and wore sneakers. She brought the socks I knit for her for Christmas, as well as the kitchen towels I embroidered for her, so I could take some pictures of them.

The socks were knit with Austermann Step, in a basic sock pattern:

The kitchen towels were embroidered using designs from Sublime Stitching. Blogger has a habit of cutting off the right side of my pictures, so to save time I'm just going to upload smaller versions.

Finally, I've been able to spin up just a bit of the hand dyed roving from this weekend. I'm liking how it's turning out, I can't wait to see what happens with it.

February 19, 2008

Yarn for Sarah!

Sarah's yarn was so excited about being so bright and happy during these dreary months, that it decided it needed to fly.

I also have pictures of the dyed roving!  It bummed me out at first that the colors didn't come out the way I had planned, but I think this is kinda pretty.  Or really ugly, I can't really tell, but I think it'll spin up well.  I can tell you that the roving is really happy about itself.  It is a very happy batch of roving. It still has a little bit of drying to do, but I'll hopefully be able to spin up at least a little this afternoon, and I'm SUPER excited to see how it comes out. It actually may have felted oh, so very slightly, but I think it'll be workable.

So the incredibly talented Cindy over at her blog, Scherenschritte, very sweetly gave me permission to show the cutting I had done of her awesome design, one of the four she created for a Little Red Riding Hood series. I definitely plan to use several of her original designs as templates, as I find my way through this really exciting new craft. I highly recommend taking a look through her blog to see what she's done.

And here's what I've done, which I think is really cool, and I'm excited about. Either Flickr or Blogger is being stupid, and I can only show the whole design if I do the smaller version, but here it is. Not to scale. ;)

It is currently hanging on the wall above my couch, and I'm excited to make the other three. Though, I'm actually thinking of doing them all a bit smaller, and perhaps out of origami paper. The paper I used is closer to construction paper, and I think it'll probably fade really fast. So now I just have to start keeping my eyes open for cool frames.

I'm almost finished with the socks I'm knitting for Jane, who I'm going to visit in NYC this weekend. I love STR and the fact that their mediumweight yarn is such a fast knit! I decided to try out a short row toe for these, however I find that the internal seam is REALLY obvious, and who wants to feel seams in their socks? So I'll redo the toe I've done and do the new toe differently. Not sure if I'll use my usual toe, or possibly a spiral toe.

My birthday is on Thursday and I'm SUPER excited about it. I keep expecting that Thing to kick in where I'll stop really caring about it, but every year I still look forward to it. I think the reason why is that, well, a) I'm kinda self-centered and my birthday is all about MEEEE, so that's cool, but then also because my mid-20's really kinda sucked in a lot of ways, and I had about 4 or 5 years in a row there where my birthdays were really just shitstorms of suck. My dad had just died, or I was 2,000 miles from my friends and family, etc. My mid-20's were an incredibly frustrating and lonely time for me, but in the past couple years that has really turned around. I have a job that I really enjoy, I've found the love of my life, a home of my own, some really great friends, and I finally have direction. Not the direction I thought I'd have, but it's a good direction. :) This birthday is a chance to celebrate how happy I am with my life right now.

So this week is jam-packed full of activities to celebrate. Drinks and yummy German food on Wednesday, the MFA and afternoon tea at the Taj with my moms, a romantic dinner in the North End and finally a long weekend in NYC with my best friend Jane, who will be the recipient of my very first pair of Socks that Rock. Tuesday I'm taking off, too, but that's just so I can get some general stuff done and chill out after all the excitement.

Perhaps I'll dye some more roving...

February 17, 2008

I've recently taken up the very old and culturally diverse art of papercutting. I'mma show 'em to you now.

This I made for The Dude for Valentine's Day. It's a bit girly, as was the little verse I wrote below it, which was really too cheesy for me to write here. Ken's not one for girly things, but he still claims he loves it. I also am not usually this cheesy, but I thought the design was really gorgeous, so I did it up. I actually think I may do another one for Mother's Day, 'cause I think my mom will love it.

The template I actually got from the Martha Stewart site, but I've been looking for more to work with.

I found a great book called "The Papercuttings of Hans Christian Andersen" which tells the story of his life and shows many of the hundreds (if not thousands) of papercuttings he did. He was really incredibly talented, just doing them on the spot while he would tell his tales. If he was telling his stories to children, he'd finish cutting when he finished the story, and would give the paper to one of the children listening to play with. Many of the ones that have survived are from those children, which is pretty amazing.

From what I've researched so far the German form of the art generally shows my favorite designs. The German word for papercutting is "Scherenschnitte," and I generally use that word, because it's WAY more fun and impressive to say, and I find that it makes me appear REALLY smart to other people.

I found this awesome Little Red Riding Hood series on a scherenschnitte blog I found, and I cut one of the templates and framed it this afternoon. I've contacted the author of the blog to ask her permission before I post it here, hopefully she'll say yes because I want to show it off. :) If you're interested in this at all, you should go to her site, she does amazing things.

I'm super excited about this, and can't wait to do more. I don't do it the right way. REAL papercutters use scissors, I use an Xacto knife, but whatevs because I love it. :)

In yarny news, I've just dyed Sarah's yarn, and I think I'm going to dabble a bit in dying roving today. I love these days, where you have nothing to do but blast music in your kitchen and just Be Creative. Sarah's yarn came out pretty kickass, if I do say so myself. It's a variegated red and is currently drying in my craft room. Pictures to come when it's a bit more dry.

I'm sure I'll edit this in a bit to give up the results of the Great Roving Experiment. I'm a-gonna do it with food coloring. I could probably just wait to post this, but it's my blog and my rules so I win. :)


Okay so I'm not always great at picking colors (as those who remember the Jamaican Kool Aid Incident of 2007 will know) but I was pretty psyched when I was able to mix up a nice forest green, a sky blue and a very "bark"ish brown, however when I cooked it all up after I'd soaked the wool, the brown turned purple. So we'll see if this looks at ALL good. However, I think I may do this again soon, hopefully making a buttery yellow. Regardless of how it comes out, I'm going to spin it all up so I can see the process through from start to finish. Maybe it'll look cooler spun.

No pics yet, it's all very hot and wet right now (Ariel is sniggering), hopefully I'll have some good ones up in the next day or two.

February 12, 2008


If you'd asked me last week, "Jenny?" "WHAT! Goddammit, can't you see I'm busy?"
"I'm sorry! God..."
"Sigh... No, I'm sorry, what is it?"
"No. If you're SO busy..."
"No, really, I'm sorry, I've just had a rough week and- I guess I just snapped."
"It's okay. I understand."
"Yes, it's fine."
"Okay, good. Hug?"
"Okay, so what can I help you with?"
"Jenny, do you think you'll ever finish that vest you were knitting with Crystal?"

I'd have responded with, "Pssshhh, prolly not, to be honest. I'm not that excited about it, and it's kind of annoying. I don't even think I'll like it when it's done."

But then Crystal happened to come over this weekend, and she happened to bring her Boogie vest that we started together, so I couldn't help but pick it up again, and next thing you know, BOOM! FO!!!

I actually don't even hate this thing on me. I might even wear it tomorrow. I've never been a vest girl, well... except for this brief phase in 7th grade when I would wear one of my dad's conservative knit vests with one of his crazy crazy ties, loosely tied with a white shirt, sleeves rolled up, in some bizarre interpretation of feminist protest against all the hip hop boiiiiii's in my school. I remember, also that year, I wore a pair of olive green Chuck Taylors with an OD tshirt and a corderoy jacket, dubbed by my friend and I "The Eddie Vedder Jacket" and one of the class meatheads asked me in all earnestness and without a hint of mockery, "So, like, are you making a fashion statement or something?" He just couldn't understand why I was wearing ratty old jeans instead of tight-rolled Z Cavs. This kid also, one year prior, upon hearing that I had a black friend asked me, again in all earnestness, "You have a black friend? Really? (he was totally jealous) So, is she like, Preppy Black? Or Ghetto Black?" And those were the only two options. Welcome to Pelham, NH! Yeah... I heard that kid got hotcupped sometime in high school, and nobody really heard much from him after that...

Sorry, whew! Anyway! So I think we were at I've never been a vest girl, but this vest I kinda like. It's cozy, that's for sure. For details on yarn and pattern, check out my Rav Page.

So, lets move on to my First Ever Contest!!!

Well, I really loved reading the dozens and DOZENS of suggestions for what to do with my Identity Thief from all my wonderful posters (someday I really pray I'll get to meet you all in person... I think that will be a wonderful day, a day full of love and light and hope for a peaceful future) however I was particularly taken with one suggestion in particular, given by Miss Sarah.

"I suggest sending them some serious hardcore gay porn or sign them up for extremely fundamentalist religion literature."

Um, OKAY! :D

So here's the plan, kids. TONS of Bill-Me-Later magazine subscriptions, membership in NAMBLA (The North American Man Boy Love Association) and empty envelopes sent from all the places around the world where I have friends who will simply drop an addressed, stamped envelope into the mail for me, about one a month for many, many months. Plus I'm going to call the Winnipeg police department.

So Sarah gets some sock yarn, which I will happily and lovingly dye especially for her while thoughts of passive aggressive vengeance flitter through my mind, but she won't get it until next Wednesday. :)

February 9, 2008

Clever Post Title

Hoooo-eeee it's been a while. How've y'all been? Yeah? Cool.

Sooo let's start out with the knitting news. I made two pairs of socks for Christmas, neither of which I got pictures for, but they were both good. My mom couldn't love her socks more, and that makes me really, really happy. Ken loved his, too, but he doesn't express himself as well, lol.

I'm currently working on these top down short-row heel socks with my first (oh, but of MANY) skein of Socks That Rock, mediumweight which REALLY DO rock, in the Pebble Beach colorway.

This yarn blows Austermann Step RIGHT out of the water, my friends. It is downright bouncy, the stitch definition is totally boss, and the mediumweight is heavy enough to where you can get away with about 8 fewer stitches to the round, which makes the socks go faster. :) I desperately want to get two coordinating colorways and make the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Gifts, which I do not own. If you search either STR or the Chevron Scarf on Ravelry you'll notice that people have done this and the results are incredible. I just have to get over the fact that I hate knitting scarves...

I'm also working on the Embossed Leaves pattern from Interweave's Favorite Socks, with Trekking XXL. The book I got for Christmas and the yarn I got at the Yankee Swap. I consider myself the luckiest person at that Yankee Swap, because it's such beautiful yarn, thanks to this kick ass stinker.

I don't have a sock model thingy, so to show the pattern I just threw a couple remote controls into it. MacGuyver? Yeah, I'll answer to that.

Here we have the burgundy cabley throw that I'm working on... Well, that I started, at least...

...one of the jumbo cables...

If I ever do actually knit the whole thing it'll be awesome. :)

I also knitted some mittens with an awesome colorway of Austermann Step, and found that I still had enough for a cute little pair of ankle socks! Happy surprise!

I have to say, I know I am in the minority here, but I don't mind it when the stripes don't match up. In fact, I actually kinda like it better. I like it when my feet are treated like individuals.

Spinning News!

After a couple months of not touching my wheel, I finally got the bug again and have been spinning spinning spinning lately. It's so great! I'm still not entirely consistent, but I'm actually noticing improvement in the balance of my yarn with each skein I spin.

Here we have the red and white roving I purchased at the Bazaar Bizarre in December, spun into a nice Candy Cane yarn. Yo yo, chiggety check it:

And, so far my favorite, I spun really tiny singles of a gorgeous dyed Romney that I got at the MA S&W, then spun up some thick and thin Merino top, purchased at Gore place about 10 minutes after I learned what spinning was, then plied them together:

I LOVE this stuff, but I can't figure out what to do with it. I think I'll end up with about 3 skeins of it. Ideas?

In farming news (I have farming news!) I just bought a CSA share from Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm! My $100 will go toward keeping the farm running, I'll go to the sheep shearing festival and in the fall I'll get all kinds of awesome, gorgeous mohair and kid mohair. WEEE-HAAAWWW!!!

And lastly, for the non-fiber-related news. I finally decided to join Weight Watchers and in the past 3 weeks I've lost 5.8 pounds! I'm really happy about that, I'm learning to make better choices, and I'm trying to eat as nutritiously as possible. I've recently become inexplicably obsessed with things like heart disease, silent killer blood clots, diabetes, etc. I don't know, I think it's all the evil gray hairs that are showing up on the top of my head... In addition my back has been getting worse and worse and worse, so my hope is that losing weight and eventually getting into much better shape will REALLY help that out.

Finally, some dude in Winnipeg somehow stole my debit card number and pin and charged over $1000 to my checking account! I've gotten half of the money back, and am one affidavit away from getting the rest back, I've cancelled the card and opened a new checking account. My bank doesn't want to follow up with it, so I'm left with an IP address, an email address and a street address, given to me by the fine people at karmaloop.com, who gave me every bit of information they had when they realized the $628.66 worth of merchandise that was purchased with my card wasn't actually purchased by me.

Soooo, any ideas as to what to do with that information? I'm thinking a big package with a return address that says "karmaloop.com" filled with dog poop.

If I get any kick ass ideas in the comments, I'll happily reward the commenter with some Candy Cane handspun, OR, hand dyed merino sock yarn, commenter's choice. :)