Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another FO ;-)

Stop the presses, alert the media. Two FO's in one week!

(I didn't actually finish both so close together - this one was just waiting a disproportionately long time for some buttons; it's hanging out with the previous incarnation of this pattern)

Baby Yours for BBH (Ravelry link)
Pattern: Baby Yours by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Ravelry link)
Size: 6 months
Started: March 1, 2009
Finished: May 16, 2009
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight, Colorway Lucky (March 2008 RSC)
Needles: US 4 / 3.5mm
Gauge: the recommended one; I don't remember what it is
Modifications: none

This is in the mail, off to the mommy of its intended recipient, due to arrive the beginning of July. It's the 6 month size, so hopefully it should fit him in the fall (it gets cold early in the season up there in Canada!)

These were so much fun to knit; I hope I'll be able to make a few more at some point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An actual FO

... but it's crochet. You don't hate me, do you?

(too tired to caption. baby awake at 5am. need coffee.)

ETA: Stats for Ellie's Boteh
Ellie's Boteh (Ravelry link)
Pattern: Boteh Scarf by Kathy Merrick (Ravelry link)
Started: May 7, 2009
Finished: May 16, 2009
Yarn: Trekking XXL, Colorway 106 (pastels)
Hook: F
Gauge: ?
Modifications: none

So, this was terribly entertaining to make, but completely different than, say, knitting the central sections on the Shipwreck Shawl. Both were lots of fun, but one required lots of concentration and one required nothing but a chair for me to sit in.

It's like my TV watching habits, really: sometimes I like a super intense Law & Order episode, or even a really wacky Lost episode, where I have to pay attention and think about things if I want to figure it out (Shipwreck). And, sometimes I like a good episode of cheezy reality, like the Hills or some sort of Real Rock of Chance of Love in Charm School (since they're all interchangeable on VH1 these days), where I don't actually have to think much.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think crochet is any less intelligent, or any less difficult, than knitting. Right now, for me, it's actually more challenging to figure out the patterns. It's more that the Boteh pattern let me turn my brain off once I figured it out. A nice garter stitch scarf or a stretch of stockinette is the same.

I did immediately start a second Boteh, since I'd like to get a few of these made for my son's teachers, and they fit nicely in a small tote bag. I've gotten tired of dragging a huge 3'x1'x2' totebag around with me, and switched to a Vera Bradley tote (which was my Mother's Day gift, and I LOVE IT, btw), plus my very streamlined laptop case. Easier to carry two small bags plus the baby at the end of the day, instead of the huge tote that always fell over and dropped my stuff on the ground.

So, yay crochet. I won't be afraid of patterns that have crochet trim, or animals with crochet ears, although I'm not ready to take on any amigurumi or large afghans just yet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


65 Questions You’ve Probably Never Been Asked

1. First thing you wash in the shower? My hair
2. What color is your favorite hoodie? Navy
3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again? Yes
4. Do you plan outfits? Yes
5. How are you feeling RIGHT now? Sleepy
6. What is the closest thing to you that’s red? 3M packing tape
7. Describe the last dream you remember having? Trying to sell chocolate bars to my boss for a fundraiser.
8. Did you meet anybody new today? No
9. What are you craving right now? Cake.
10. Do you floss? Not often enough.
11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? gypsies
12. Are you emotional? Overly so.
13. Have you ever counted to 1,000? All the time.
14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? Bite.
15. Do you like your hair? I used to, but not so much right now... I finally figured out I'm allergic to PPD, so I am very grey at the moment.
16. Do you like yourself? Usually.
17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush? I do not think so.
18. What are you listening to right now? Random TV.
19. Are your parents strict? They were, but I appreciate why, and am very grateful.
20. Would you go sky diving? No way.
21. Do you like cottage cheese? Yes.
22. Have you ever met a celebrity? An author, an international recording artist, and I think maybe an actor.
23. Do you rent movies often? Not anymore.
24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you are in? My emery board ;-)
25. How many countries have you visited? I've visited and lived in two.
27. Ever been on a train? Yes.
28. Brown or white eggs? Either - they're the same nutritionally.
29.Do you have a cell-phone? Yes.
30. Do you use chap stick? Burts Bees.
31. Do you own a gun? No.
32. Can you use chop sticks? Yes.
33. Who are you going to be with tonight? Hubby and N.
34. Are you too forgiving? Not nearly enough.
35. Ever been in love? Yes.
36. What is/are your best friend(s) doing tomorrow? Not exactly sure - they're so far away :-(
37. Ever have cream puffs? Yes.
38. Last time you cried? A few days ago.
39. What was the last question you asked? “Anything else to go in the laundry?"
40. Favorite time of the year? Autumn.
41. Do you have any tattoos? No.
42. Are you sarcastic? Oh, yes.
43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect? No.
44. Ever walked into a wall? I think so.
45. Favorite color? All of them.
46. Have you ever slapped someone? I think so, but I don't remember.
47. Is your hair curly? No.
48. What was the last CD you bought? I don't remember.
49. Do looks matter? Not looks, but upkeep ;-)
51. Is your phone bill sky high? No (yay comcast!)
52. Do you like your life right now? Pretty much.
53. Do you sleep with the TV on? No.
54. Can you handle the truth? Yes.
55. Do you have good vision? Definitely not.
56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people? I think it might be four people.
57. How often do you talk on the phone? Daily.
58. The last person you held hands with? Hubby.
59. What are you wearing? Pink tank top, navy sweat shorts.
60.What is your favorite animal? Ladybugs ;-)
61. Where was your default picture taken? Back in my old apartment
62. Can you hula hoop? I think so.
63. Do you have a job? Yes.
64. What was the most recent thing you bought? Coffee.
65. Have you ever crawled through a window? No.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I neglected to mention...

.... that I also got my first offer of a commission the other day.

And it was for crochet!

I was working on the Boteh at lunch, and there's a nurse I see from time to time sitting one table away. Every time I see her, I'm working on something different, and she always asks about it.

This time, she complimented the scarf, and asked me a series of very pointed questions - how long will it take? What would that cost in the store? How much was the yarn? etc. etc. I could see where she was going, but said nothing, and eventually she said, "How much would you charge me for one of those?"

I waved my hand and gave a vague answer, but she insisted, "No, I'm being serious, how much? I'd give you tonnes of time."

The thought is tempting, considering I've seen dead simple garter scarves in novelty yarn sell in gift shops around here for $57. Trekking is retailing for ~$16.50, and I could easily charge $40, but I'm not sure that would cover it for me. I'm not trying to be greedy, and I don't think I'm that good, but everyone's time is valuable, not just mine. I knit to relax, as a hobby, and I don't have time to do unlimited projects, and I'm not sure I would want to do it for money.

My parents both have some experience in this area, so it's not foreign to me. My mom is a qualified seamstress, and did it full time for about six months when she was younger. She remembers the transition from hobby to job, and how her enjoyment faltered significantly. My dad does some really great woodworking, but again - on his own time as a hobby. He could make a lot of money at it, but he always told me he never would - it's no longer fun for him when he has a deadline or a specific order. He's like me - he picks projects that look interesting, rarely makes the same thing twice, and works at his own pace.

I told the woman in the cafeteria that I was very flattered, but that I didn't have time to get my own knitting done, let alone stuff for other people. She insisted she wouldn't pressure me, but I'm not sure that's possible when it becomes a business venture. I told her I would keep her in mind, but I don't think it'll happen right now, and I'm afraid she was insulted. I hope she didn't take it personally.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is anybody still out there?

I wouldn't blame you if you weren't ;-) I pretty much suck at blogging lately, and I'm not sure why, but c'est la vie. It'll come back, I'm sure.

Life has been pretty good round these parts. My darling boy turned 1, two days later I turned (a great deal more than 1), and we had a great birthday week. I've been working steadily on the Shipwreck, and even had a great few hours when my mother was down for N.'s birthday where we put him in daycare, and sat in Starbucks knitting all morning before picking him up and heading home. I realized last week, though, that I have to put my Shipwreck down. Thousands and thousands of repetitions of k2tog/yo have been getting to me. I'll finish it, I'm determined, but I wanted something to work on during my lunchbreak that was more portable, but yet not socks. The Central Park Hoodie isn't going to be portable, and I've done cables lately, which means I want a break from cables, too. I have KADD (knitting ADD - apologies if someone else has coined this). So, what to do?

Enter the Boteh Scarf (Ravelinky) or as I like to call it, Suck it Crochet, I'll Beat You Yet.

I've always found crochet to be a bit out of my reach, and it was driving me bonkers. I used to make chains with my best friend when we were like, 5 years old, and had no crochet hooks but found our fingers worked fine. I managed to do two circles to sew onto the knitted elephant as ears last year, and it wasn't too taxing, but I felt like I never really got it. I have a teaching book that is a great start, and I spent some time in 2007 trying things out - sc, hdc, dc, shell stitch, etc. But again, I never got it; I found myself having to look at the directions every few stitches to see what I was doing.

It's a very intangible thing with me, getting it, and it took me quite some time before I achieved that level of understanding with my knitting. It happened, though, somewhere between my first BSJ and now - I can read my stitches, predict what happens next, and let a pattern flow. It's a pretty great feeling, and I've wanted to get there with crochet for years.

The other day, it happened.

Ages ago, I had bought the Interweave Crochet issue with the Boteh in it on the suggestion of the LYS owner, I think it was for a bag that's in there - she felt it was a good introduction to working motifs. I never went for it, though, and the mag sat on my shelf. But I'd seen the Boteh, and kept going back to it. It had a chart, which was scary but not completely out of reach (I knit better from charts than written instructions), but it also had written instructions that seemed clear. Every few months I'd pull it down, look at it, study it for 10 minutes or so, and put it back on the shelf. Last week, I looked again. Yep, still there. Still charted. Still foreign, but wait - when I looked closer, I realized it's made up of chains and only two other stitches - hdc and dtr. Dtr is rare, but not complicated, and hdc is nice and small. Chains are simple. Do I have a size F hook? Check. What about some fingering weight that I love? Holy Lord, check^∞. I finally settled on my one ball of trekking XXL, wound up from yet another failed sock, started with a simple chain, and trusted in the pattern.

It took me three modules of blindly following the written instructions before I could put the work down, look at it from a distance, and see what was going on. Then, over the weekend, it happened.

I got it.

I could see how the hdc's were making up the structure, what the turning chains of different lengths actually did (even though I know why they're there, in theory, from reading about it), and how a dtr is actually constructed. It was really a moment for me. I stopped needing to look at the pattern, or mark down which row I was on.

Ha! You won't beat me, crochet!

Now, I'm not under any delusions that this is a complicated pattern. It's only two or three different stitches, for heaven's sake. But I understand the stitches, just like I understand how different increases and decreases work in knitting, and how a cable is built. I know there's volumes to learn, and I haven't even touched crochet increases and decreases yet, but I feel it now. It's not untouchable anymore.

I'm not switching loyalties, though; I'm a knitter first, and I always will aspire to be a Knitter by trying more and difficult things. But, this small victory is huge for me. Plus, it's a cute, trendy scarf that could be whipped up with any of my sock yarns as a quick gift ;-)


In other news, my husband is cute. He found this mug on the Starbucks sale shelf before I did, and insisted it come home with us for my birthday ;-)