Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I don't like to post here about my problems, but I am irate and just can't resist this time. I attempted my first Secret Santa swap (online) this Christmas and I will NEVER do it again. I bought the person something from online and had it shipped directly to her. I was a bit late buying because the original gift I made didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd hoped, and I explained that to the giftee. I could have just sent the gift I was making, but I didn't want to half-ass it by sending a gift I didn't think was good enough for a swap, so instead I bought something. Well, the giftee got it and said it was very poorly made and just completely a mess! So I bought another gift for her. So disappointing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

At long last, the Quilt of DOOM!

As you will recall, the Quilt of DOOM was named so because I totally did not realize what I was getting into with this, my first quilt, and was in over my head. My machine wasn't strong enough to quilt through the layers, so I ended up tying the whole queen-sized quilt. But at long last, I can present pictures! So, without further adieu, here is the Quilt of DOOM!

Link to review on Pattern Review.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All About Faces - Finished Portrait!

So, I finished my portrait. Painting is so addictive; once I am started on a painting I don't want to stop until it's done! Anyway, here is my finished portrait. Unfortunately, the camera didn't capture the depth of this painting. Her skin has a lot more depth to it IRL!

And a close-up.

This painting is really a self-portrait, despite the girl not looking exactly like me (although my mom and Dusty both said she does look like me). I selected snippets of a few of my favorite quotes - the uppermost quote says "There is nothing more artistic than to love people," a van Gogh quote. Then the quote in black says "Every artistic dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures", by Henry Ward Beecher. The last little quote says "Born into color." I love color and these three little words really speak to me, and this is a painting that definitely is from the soul. In the uppermost right corner is the word "inspire," which I clipped from the same note card that held the hummingbird I also used.

In the background, I've included a dandelion seed head - something about those little flowers always makes me so happy, and to me it symbolizes something spiritual; a promise of hope, a newness and a cleanliness of spirit; a gift from God. There is a hummingbird, too, from a note card I just loved and couldn't think of a better way to preserve it. The fish scales are just a visual texture I like in my paintings.

Anyway, so there it is!

Friday, October 16, 2009

All About Faces - Background

So, tonight I started on my background. It's not nearly finished, but while waiting for it to dry, I took a couple of pics.

Here is step 1:

Step 2:

Don't worry, it's not done yet!

Corpse Bride dress

I forgot all about showing the finished Corpse Bride dress. I couldn't get a very good photo, and unfortunately I don't have any of the pics of me wearing the costume at Ornament Premiere, but I will be wearing it for Halloween as well, so if I get any pictures then, I will post. Here's a quick and crappy shot of the finished dress.

After I dyed it, I sewed lace (also dyed) onto the bodice and then hand-painted the bodice. Since I like the petal look of the bodice so much, I left the under pieces without lace, and sewed pearls on them, in such a way to look as though some have fallen off (leaving gaps with only sewing thread sticking out). I cut out a lot of the skirt, to look raggedy, and then painted Burton-esque swirls with blue fabric paint and pearl blue dimensional paint, as well as blue glitter (which is not very obvious but is just noticeable enough) all around the edging of the skirt. I wanted to make some "ribs" to attach to the bodice, but didn't have time.

I was making a wig of out yarn for this, but it ended up being very heavy before I was even half done, and I decided I would probably die if I tried to wear it. So I sprayed my hair blue for the day instead, and painted my skin (I used a mix of foundation and blue food coloring, but for Halloween I will probably just get some body paint). It was fun, and the costume was very well received!

Newest Knitting Inspiration

Almost forgot to post what's inspiring me now knitwise - Ivko! I'm totally going to make a jacket inspired by this:

Which means I need to learn how to embroider. Yikes. My last attempt at embroidery did not go too well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All About Faces

I signed up to take Paulette Insall's online course All About Faces. Her artwork is so wonderful, and I'm very excited to have a chance to do this course. I'm a little behind (due to schoolwork!). Tonight, I did my first practice drawing. I'm going to try to do a quick drawing every day. This is just a quick sketch, not a serious drawing. I like how it came out; very whimsical, and I've decided the young lady I drew is most certainly a ballerina. She started out as an impression of me, but she sort of took on a life of her own! Although I do still see a resemblance. She is a fiery redhead, and she has freckles, but they are hard to see in this photo I took with my phone camera. The nose needs some work, but it is nice to know I can still pick up a pencil and get something I'm relatively happy with without much erasing!

ETA: Also, yay, I made a banner! Not a fancy one, but it features my artwork. It doesn't match the blog, and I don't care. I don't know how to pretty up the blog and I hate all of their templates except this one in this color.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sylvi is ruined

I accidentally felted it. A lot. There's no saving it. I bought new yarn to start over. I am so sad!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sylvi again!

On Sylvi, I've now finished the right front, blocked the back, and started on the left front. Can't wait to be done with this one. Time to start planning my handmade gifts for Christmas. I don't make things for everyone, some people I buy for as that's what they'd prefer. But there are a few who will get handmade gifts, and I need to start planning for them!

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Sylvi updating

Here's where I am with Sylvi: I've finished the back, and I'm about 60 rows into the right front (but the pic was taken way before that).

If you're familiar with the pattern, you'll notice some changes here: no hood, armscythe instead of raglan shaping, and the A-line is decidedly less A and more C as in curved/waist shaping. Also, the top of the cable is way different, and the front has a curve and an edging of the stitch pattern from Rapunzel. I rarely knit patterns as they are written; I usually make some mods and in this case, major ones. It's not that Sylvi isn't absolutely gorgeous when knit as written, it's that it wouldn't be gorgeous on me, and I also just feel I have to make things my own. And to be honest, I hate raglan shaping because it somehow makes my chest look bigger, which is not a good thing. I decided to do armhole shaping because of that. I feel that the seed stitch front is too plain, but I don't want to put flowers on the front, either, so I came up with my own thing, which may or may not look good. We'll see. I didn't want the hood, and my gauge is really, really off. So I had to add lots of rows, except that instead of just adding rows into the chart like most are doing, I used the hood chart for the upper back, but, it wasn't long enough, so I had to "freestyle" a few rows past that. So my cable is different, too. It's bedtime for me, but I'll post more when I have more to post about. Peace, y'all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just a quickie to mention a site

So, I just discovered that Loretta, one of the wonderful ladies with whom I took M. Douglas Walton's painting workshop, has a website now! How awesome. She is a fantastic artist, and you should check it out.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sylvi Progresses

I thought I'd post a photo of Sylvi, to show my progress. Sylvi is turning out to be quite an annoyance. It's not the fault of the pattern at all, because I really haven't been following it very well. I couldn't get gauge, and I wanted my Sylvi to turn out long, almost hitting my knees, and I didn't want a ton of ease in it. I also didn't like the openness of the fabric with my yarn and the specified needle size. So, I went down a needle size, but stayed with the XS thinking that way I'd lose some ease. And I did. The first time, the sizing seemed ok, but I totally missed the decreases that gave it an A-line shape, as well as somehow getting my cable off center. I had to start over. Now, on my second time, the cable is beautiful!, but somehow, although I'm using the same yarn, needles, and tension, my gauge has changed so much that now I think it's going to be too small. Sigh. My next project is going to be 100% by the book. What a headache.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride Costume, Part I

Ornament Premiere came once again, and this year my ornament was Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. I loved this movie, and thought this would be a fun costume to make. I originally was going to make the wedding dress, but when I found a prom dress for $5 at Goodwill that fit me perfectly and that I could redo, I decided it was fate. The dress was a pale yellow, and there was no getting it to any shade of white, but I thought that in about half the movie, her gown looked bluish or purplish anyway; looking at the Corpse Bride doll that was released confirmed it. So, I used some Navy RIT dye to dye the gown and veil I found, as well as some lace I bought to cover the bodice. I was a little sad about the dress; its original state was so pretty, but the hem was torn, which helped. I especially love the bodice, which reminds me of a flower!

The original dress before dyeing, pale yellow (although it looks whitish in the photos):

After dyeing, a lovely silvery purple:

I'll post pictures later of how the whole thing turned out!

Also, Dusty and I made some Scrabble coasters for our new apartment, from an old Scrabble game my boss found at a garage sale for $2. Score! We stained them and glued them on cork. I love how they came out!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dyeing ain't easy

My first attempt at dyeing yarn did not go too well. I had a skein of Paton's Classic Merino Wool in Aran, and attempted to dye it. It did not take the color very well, so I ended up with a light grey-purple (not a bad color but I wanted it a little darker, and I was hoping to get some of that kettle-dyed variation like Malabrigo has) and also, a huge tangle of yarn. My self-wound hanks are now a mess. Also, when I was stirring, the yarn caught the drain stopper (I dyed it in the sink), and pulled out the stopper, letting all my dye water go, so I couldn't leave the yarn longer. Not fun.

Sorry - no pics this time. I'll probably edit later to include pics of the yarn I dyed, once it's dry and no longer tangled. I just wanted to leave myself a note that changes definitely need to be made in the process next time I try to dye yarn.

Edited to add: I used the leftover RIT dye in Navy that I used to dye my Corpse Bride costume.

Edited to add: Picture - as you can see, untangling the yarn required some cutting. I now have 4 smaller skeins instead of the larger 1.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New painting - Lycoris radiata

I've finished another painting... at least, I think it's finished. I'm not really quite sure. Right now, I've left the background white, because I like the contrast of the white against the red, but I'm also worried that it makes the painting look unfinished. I was considering doing a light, warm-tones color gradient radiating from the flower. Should I go for it?

On the knitting front, I'm working on Sylvi. Lots of mods, let's see if I can actually finish this one! Usually when I try modifying a knit, I get frustrated or bored, and forget about finishing it. This time, I am determined - I so want to have my very own lovely Sylvi!

Also, I finally can wear my Noble Collection Arwen Butterfly ring again. I know it's nerdy, but really I wanted this ring because it's just lovely, not because it's LotR-related (although, of course, I do LOVE LotR). My mom got it for my birthday one year. Unfortunately, the quality was not so great - not long after I received it, the clear stone fell out - there are no prongs on this ring, and I guess it was just glued in. I super-glued it back in, but it fell out again, and I couldn't find it the second time. It had been too long for it to be replaced by the company, and I searched for a replacement stone, but couldn't find one. So for a long time, I couldn't wear it. A couple of days ago, I had an idea. I had an old ring that was too large for me, with an lab-grown opal in it. The opal was nice but the ring itself was blah, and I couldn't wear it anyway since it was too large. So, I loosened a prong, took the opal out, and, since the shape of the bottom was off and I knew glue wouldn't hold anyway, I green-stuffed it to the ring. I was able to do it so only a teeny bit of the green stuff showed, and that I painted silver, which happens to match the sterling silver almost precisely. It looks great, and now I can wear my ring again, yay! I'd post a picture but I couldn't manage a good, non-blurry one. I don't know how people take pictures of jewelry.

Soon, I'll post photos of the dress I decorated for Ornament Premiere, as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. I don't have the photos right now.

And, is it terribly nerdy that, I bought makeup from EyesLipsFace partially because they abbreviate it as ELF and I thought that was awesome? I mean, yes, I mostly decided to try it because it is inexpensive (although it would be easy to over-spend on that site!), but the name totally makes me happy.

Finally, I thought the Blogger tab that says "Monetize" meant you could make your blog Monet-ish. I was excited. Alas, it is not so.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Paintings and Etching

I've been experimenting with Armor Glass Etching Cream. Pretty cool stuff! I saw a tutorial on Craftster on making stencils for etching with fabric paints and tried that. It worked well for the design that wasn't highly detailed, but the really detailed ones I did needed contact paper for stencils... of course, I didn't have any contact paper, so I used Hallmark self-adhesive wrapping paper instead. It worked decently, but I think I really need to get contact paper for future projects. I also need to be more careful with the Exacto knife, as I cut myself around three times in one hour. I only bought one vase to try the etching cream on, and then after I'd used it and thought it was so neat, I started etching things like my WoodWick Candle jars and my reed diffuser bottles. I found some cool tattoo designs online to use. It was hard to get pictures of the results, but I will post the best I managed. The candle was my favorite, but I couldn't get a photo because the candle was a cream colored one (frosted cookie, mmm!), and the etching hardly shows (you have to look very closely). But here are the vase and the reed diffusers.
The first is a swallow tattoo design. The second is a fat little bird I freehanded. The last one is a phoenix tattoo design.

I also have two paintings to show! One (the Jazz Club) is a CorksnCanvas painting, and the other is only done in that style.

I'm still working on the Quilt of Doom, and have started Sylvi, although I have had little time to work on either as the semester is coming to a close and that means lots of work with little time in which to do it. Hopefully I will be able to finish the Quilt soon.

By the way, if ever again I say "How hard can it be?," refer me to the Quilt of Doom.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Even if Duct Tape Can't Fix It*, Superglue Can

The atomizer from my bottle of (discontinued! how could they!) VS Angels' Halo broke off, and I was very unhappy. I looked online to see how you could "fix" it, but all the information addressing this problem said "can't be repaired, return the bottle." Considering that I got it for Christmas 2 or 3 years ago (no, I don't wear perfume all that often), returning it was not an option. Neither was throwing it out. So, I'm looking at how it goes together and it comes to me - I could just superglue it together. So, I very carefully applied a teensy bit of Zap-A-Gap superglue (it's what we use for gluing our miniatures together and tends to hold very well) to the part of the perfume bottle that looks like an upside down screw sticking up, covering in a thin layer of translucent latex/rubber (I don't know which), with a hole in the middle (what's that piece called? I'm not familiar with perfume bottle anatomy), and laid the atomizer on top of it, being careful to line up the holes for the spray. Let sit for 12ish hours, and it works just fine! I've only used it twice since, and I'm being careful when I spray, but it is working. The thing is to make sure you don't get any superglue in the holes that spray out the perfume or you'll really clog it.

*Disclaimer: Duct Tape couldn't fix it, but only because it is too small. No offense to duct tape, as it really is all-powerful. And I didn't actually try it.

Have officially cast on for Sylvi from Twist Collective (which means I listed it as "in progress" on my Rav page). My gauge is a little off, 13stx17rows rather than the 12x16, but that's ok because I'm both smaller and shorter than the XS size. I'm making modifications, of course, and giving myself a LONG time to complete this one (though of course I've had most of my projects on hold for a long time - whoops, darn Project ADD!). I'm giving myself till late September/early October as Spring has already arrived and, here, feels more like Summer. Summer, of course, will feel more like Hell. So there won't be any chances to wear this till late Fall, but I want to have it finished by then, and knowing how I am about projects, figure starting 6 months early is the only way I've a chance to actually finish by my deadline. I love this design, but I am not knitting it with the hood, mostly because then I wouldn't be able to show off my handknit hats (haha). No, really I just think the versions of this I've seen with a collar rather than a hood are somehow much more striking. So I am going to knit it with a collar instead. Also, I am going to add pocketses at the side seams, and I may want to line it (if I can figure that out). And use clasps instead of buttons. And put (glass?) buttons in the centers of my flowers instead of bobbles.

That's all I got. Peace out!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ideas for Face Vase?

Regarding my last post, Brie said she also hated Wuthering Heights as the characters were not compelling - I totally agree; that is the exact word I was looking for (or group of words). I, too, LOVE Jane Austen, and thought Jane Eyre was a great book, too, but not Wuthering Heights. I have a silly grudge against the Brontes anyway, since one of them said Jane Austen's writing was frivolous (to paraphrase) and I can never remember which it is. I actually think it was the one who wrote Jane Eyre, which is a great book, but which is, imho, still inferior to Miss Austen's writing - which as well as being love stories, were also clever observations on her society, while Jane Eyre just seemed to me a romance. But even if she'd said Jane was the greatest writer who ever lived, I would still not like Wuthering Heights.

Regarding unfinished series: I don't mind re-reading books (I tend to miss so much in the first read), in fact, while I am nearly always reading a book, about half the time it seems that I am re-reading one of my favorites instead of a new book, so the best unfinished series are almost guaranteed a re-read anyway (although having to re-read 10! books, wow, that is a lot). For A Song of Ice and Fire, I've read each of those books at least two or three times. But I do think I'm going to finish the Death Gate Cycle before I start The Name of the Wind.

I've also been reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. I don't own them all, but I have access to them all. I'd gotten to Book 6, and I don't really know if it's worth continuing. Taken on its own, each book is pretty well-written and enjoyable enough, but as a series, it's gotten to be VERY redundant. Honestly, I think there are only 13 books in this series because 13 is an unlucky number, not because there were 13 books' worth of story to tell, if you know what I mean. I'll probably finish them anyway since leaving a series unfinished is like leaving a book unfinished, and only the very worst of books (e. g. A Million Little Pieces) deserve that.

Ok, so now, the real reason for today's blog post. I bought a Face Vase, and I don't know what to put in it. I'm going to post a picture (although the only picture I could find was of a black one, and mine is white). What would you put in this vase?

Also, I am dying to make a Rorschach Inkblot lamp like these on Craftster.

Finally, my touchpad on my laptop keeps going crazy, clicking on and selecting things when I am not even touching the touchpad OR the keyboard. And sometimes it won't click at all. It is driving me insane!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Read or not to Read?

Of course, the answer is always "To Read," unless you're talking about one of James Frey's books. But the question is, which?

First off, thanks for the birthday wishes! They are always appreciated, as are any comments! :-)

I find myself in quite a dilemma. I've read the first book of the Death Gate Cycle (great book!), and received the rest of the series (6 books) for my birthday, BUT I also received The Name of the Wind. I've heard really, really great things about the latter, which makes me want to read it ASAP. Thing is, the sequel evidently won't be out for a while, which isn't a big deal (as there are sooo many books out there I want to read!), except that I could read the rest of the DGC first and then my waiting for The Wise Man's Fear would not be so prolonged (though my anticipation to read the NotW would be, resulting in major disappointment if the book turns out not all it's cracked up to be - somehow the longer you have to wait, the more disappointing it is for the book to turn out not as good as you expected). Of course, I'm used to waiting by now (see: A Dance With Dragons, haha). So which would you do? Read the book you're a bit more excited about but will have to wait a year or more for the next installment, or read the series that is complete and so far has been interesting, saving the other book for after you've finished?

Not that I even know when I will have time to start any new book that isn't about endocrinology. I've so much studying and so many projects to do for school, that I've had time for nothing else. Finished a sock, but haven't started the second yet. I love biology, and endocrinology in particular is turning out very interesting, but darnit, I want to knit and paint and read my fantasy novels!

By the way, which book organizing site do YOU use? I tried librarything a year or so ago (?) but they had a limit for free accounts, which I quickly surpassed and so gave up the site. Then I found Goodreads on Myspace and whatever-it-is on Facebook, but though I've been cataloging books I've read, am reading, want to read, own, and want to get, I'm not really sure which is better, if either. I don't particularly want to bother with TWO sites as I really don't even have the time to keep up with the one.

When it comes to reading materials, I find myself gravitating toward a particular type of book - fantasy novels. Not that I don't enjoy other types of book, but when I am looking for something new to read, I usually will head to the fantasy aisle first. Therefore, while I am somewhat of a prolific reader, I don't consider myself a great reader, as I'm not very well-rounded for the most part. I do also really love classic literature (everything from Beowulf to Chaucer to Shakespeare to Tolkien to Austen to Hemingway), and I'd say it's genre #2 for me (if it is indeed a genre). I'd like to branch out, but really, I never know what to read in other genres. Something's being a best-seller doesn't automatically recommend it to me. I know I enjoy other types of book - I used to be crazy about John Grisham's books, at least the first ones were really great, and Tom Clancy had some novels I liked, too. In high school I borrowed true crime books from a girl who lived next door, and devoured those. In high school I read everything I could get my hands on, but I had more free time then. Now if I'm not reading fantasy, I'm reading a book on micro or something similar.

I also adore Librivox for the free audiobooks. I've been listening to Wuthering Heights recently, for the first time. Honestly, I'm not crazy about this particular book thus far, but audiobooks are amazing and I wish they were less expensive. Seriously though, how in the world did Heathcliff come to be considered some sort of beloved dream-guy? Sandor Clegane is nicer and more of a dreamboat than this guy (at least he does semi-nice things for one person, well maybe two). I really can't stand any of the characters, and can't bring myself to care about what happens to them. I'm at the point of wishing that Heathcliff and Catherine would just run away together and save me having to read the rest of this book (or in my case, listen to). I usually love gray characters, and it's fun to read about people who aren't perfect heroes, but Catherine and Heathcliff are so dark gray, it seems like there is no depth to them at all (which I suppose is the point - they are both shallow people), and the kind of selfish love they share is not romantic at all. Seriously, I cannot find ONE thing to recommend them. Also, someone on one of those sites (was it Goodreads?) commented that HC and Cat could not marry because at the time it was illegal for an unrelated man and woman who had been raised in the same house as brother and sister to marry. I wondered about the accuracy of this, as in Mansfield Park (which is not from the same time period but is only about 30ish years earlier) Edmund and Fanny are raised in the same house and ARE related, and marry.

Finally, I find that I've become quite obsessed with fig scents. I want to find that perfect perfume that is figgy, a bit sweet, a teensy bit floral, very fresh, and woodsy, a bit musky. Sigh.

It's past bedtime. Goodnight!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday, and it's really been a great one. Friday I was able to visit with my mom and see my family. Saturday Dusty took me to Albasha's for some delicious Greek/Lebanese food, and Sunday he grilled steak, mmmm. Then today, his mom cooked crawfish pasta for me, one of my favorite entrees, and made the most delicious chocolate cake! I received the rest of the Death Gate Cycle books, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, a lovely lamp, a really cute purse, and a new laptop! All in all, a great birthday.

I really want to try my hand at making my own perfume and lamp oils. Anyone have any tips on finding the oils to do this? I'm looking everywhere for fig-scented oil and having no luck.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I finished Dusty's Batman dicebag, and it is a huge hit - he and all his friends think it's awesome! So yay!

Mardi Gras was fun - we usually go to the FQ, but only during the day; we left at 4pm. We ate chargrilled oysters at Acme (yum!!!! - best part of MG!) and walked around, particularly enjoying the costumes on St. Ann's Street. Got some great pictures!

Oh, I finally learned the named of my favorite flower - odd, as it's been my favorite my entire life, and I see it yearly, since they grow wild here. But I never thought to ask before, since I had my own name for them anyway. My friend Jenny is a plant person and she enlightened me when I was talking about how I want a garden full of them and daffodils (though I don't think they bloom at the same time, also I think daffodils don't grow so well around here as we don't have the cold weather they require, so they apparently get refrigerated). Anyway, it's Lycoris radiata, also called "Hurricane Lilies" and "Spider Lilies" (but not the Spider Lilies I think of when I think of spider lilies).

Beautiful, no?

Still working on the quilt. Tying is supposed to be quick, but I am finding it very tedious.

I MUST stop getting bored with my knitting projects. Sigh...

How are all these people on Craftster and Ravelry so amazingly creative and talented?!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

FO: Eiffel Flower Painting

I finished a painting yesterday - one for myself(!) this time. This is a painting I just dubbed "Eiffel Flower" because "flower" rhymes with "tower." It's done on 16x20" canvas with acrylics (sadly, cheap craft paints because that's really all I can afford), spray paint, and a fine-line purple Sharpie. The idea of this painting came to me as I decided I wanted to do a painting of the Eiffel tower, but I did not want it to be just a normal painting. I wanted a different angle than the one we are mostly used to seeing, and I really liked the idea of a collage painting. The birds are borrowed from a cool photo my mom took of some birds on a power line, that I wanted to incorporate into the painting. The flowers are from photos of Dusty's trip to Hawaii; I think his dad took that photo. This was my first attempt at painting flowers, and I think it turned out pretty well. The lace was actually a strip of fabric lace I bought and laid on top of the canvas, and spray painted. I was a bit hasty and didn't spray the middle of the lace as well as I should have, but I still think it came out great. All in all, I am really pleased with this painting and it is going on the wall asap!

On the knitting front, I've been making a dice bag for Dusty, with the Batman symbol on it. I also started working on the Sideways Grande Cloche from Boutique Knits for a bit of mindless knitting, and I'm still working on the Drops Sweater. I got the yarn for Sylvi and it is oh-so-vibrantly purple and lovely!

Today I am going to work on finally getting my quilt sewn, and of course, the daily dose of study. I think we are going to eat at Acme Oyster House for V-day, yumm!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

FOs: Verity and St. Vincent Cloche

Yes, I know... I haven't even mentioned these projects on here, and now I'm posting them as FOs. Sorry, I suck.

The St. Vincent Cloche is a free pattern I started on last year. I actually finished it before Christmas, but just now stitched the ribbon down to the hat. This hat was inspired by the hat that Anne Darrow wore in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong. I loved that hat so much. Of course, mine doesn't look much like it, but I still think it turned out well.

This hat is knit and felted. I used Paton's Classic Merino in natural. It took over one skein but well under two. The hat came out HUGE. I am not sure how many times I had to felt it to get the right fit, but it was a lot. After I'd finally gotten the crown to fit my head, I had to cut the brim to make it just the length I wanted (about the length of the inspiration hat). It is waterproof. Very much so. To shape it, I had to wet it, and it took a lot of water to accomplish that. I need to reshape the brim, I think; it looks a bit squished.

I found the ribbon for around one dollar at Michael's. It is Christmas ribbon, white with silvery-gray snowflakes. I machine stitched it onto the hat.

Verity is a project I started and finished last week, in just a couple of days. It's a hat by the super-talented Ysolda Teague. It's available on Ravelry. I had a skein of Malabrigo that I'd bought from someone's stash on Ravelry (it seems all the online stores that sell Malabrigo charge flat-rate shipping and that's usually good for big orders, but I can rarely afford to make large orders, though when I get rich, I am buying so much Malabrigo!). Malabrigo is my very favorite yarn. I love the current trend of slouchy hats. I will probably be wearing them even when the trend ends. This one is really not that slouchy (I made a M), but I like the fit of it. I made the M because I was worried I'd run out of yarn with the L, otherwise I would have liked to do the L hat and M brim. But no worries, I still love the hat! And I didn't have a button lying around, and I really wanted to go ahead and wear the hat, so I found this old (fake) gold brooch whose origins I do not know. It is a little heavy for the hat, but it looks cute imo.

Tomorrow I am going to try to have the nerve to finally sew up my quilt. The Drops sweater is still going - I've finished and blocked the front and have just started the back.

I have become obsessed with Sylvi from Twist Collective. It is so striking! My birthday is next month, and as one of my gifts, I asked for yarn to knit Sylvi. I found a purple color I love, Phantom in Louet Riverstone Chunky. I've read that this yarn is thin for a bulky, but even if it is, that's ok... I think this sweater-coat calls for much more ease than I'd ever need or want. It was also a great price, from WEBS Yarn. So I didn't really splurge in asking for that, as even the Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes Bulky would not have been much cheaper, and they didn't have a purple that I loved. I wish they carried it in the color Hyacinth like their worsted WOTA. LOVE that color so!

I bought both Vogue and IK for Winter 2008 and now I don't think I'm going to knit anything from either. Maybe the Victoria Yoke Pullover from IK; it looks surprisingly good on curvier women.

Anyway, that's it for now! Cheers!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Drops Sweater Update

Just a note to say that the Drops pullover seems to be going... not too badly. I wasn't sure about this project because the pullover is designed for a yarn with a halo, which I do not have. But the Shadow, while not haloed, is... halo-y. There is a (very small) bit of fuzziness to it which works. The teal color is lovely, and the yarn surprisingly soft, considering how inexpensive it is. I'm almost to the waistband, which is a bit of a dilemma. Do I go out and buy a skein of Paton's in the closest thing to teal I can find? Or do I use something I already have? I've some leftovers in brown, natural, green, gold, and purple. I think I'm going to try to find some teal yarn, because I like the monochromaticness of the photo on the Drops site. Then again, the purple might be cute and Anthropologie-esque.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Projects and FO: Mysteriously Green Slippers

I used to be pretty good about updating on my projects, but I've really been slacking there. It only matters because then I forget what I've going on and what was frustrating me most about a project.

I now know why Rapunzel was given that name (the sweater, not the princess). It is because this sweater is never-ending, just like her hair... well, at least really, really long like her hair. I've restarted it about three times and am getting nowhere. I am beginning to think I really need to choose a different yarn for the sweater. Thing is, can't really afford to buy new yarn right now. So, for now I am calling this sweater "Aurora" after the Sleeping Beauty princess (or Rosie, if you're a Robin McKinley fan like me), since it has been sleeping quite a while. But fear not, fair maidens, for I am determined that this fairy tale shall have a happy ending!

I've been working on an entrelac hat, but it, too, has been discouraging. I love the idea of this hat in this yarn, but seeing it knit up... it's just not working for me. The colors keep trying to pool, the hat itself is too large, and the yarn is too heavy. So I cast it aside, too. I think this is going to be a "loser" project. I don't really know quite what to do with it.

Fortunately for me, Drops Design released this pullover pattern. I didn't have any Kidsilk-like yarn, and again, couldn't buy any, but I did have some Knitpicks Shadow in Snorkel lying around, that was originally going to be for a shawl. I needed a quick-and-easy knit; something to get me motivated on knitting again. Why yes, those ARE size 10 needles. As many projects that I've completed and been not quite satisfied with, I need something that will, hopefully, help me get my knitting mojo back. Fingers crossed!

One thing I did finish on my trip to western Kansas for Christmas was a pair of green Mystery Slippers, from the Yahoo Holiday Mystery Knits group. This pattern was great! I love the finished slippers and have already worn them so much that I've had to shave them once or twice to get rid of pilling. They are warm, cute (although they make my feet look HUGE), and the green color is great. My only complaint is that they get rather loose, and being in 100% wool, can't be dried to tighten them up. (well, I suppose they COULD, since felting does have that effect...)

I also finished a pair of short ankle socks (western Kansas is a long ride) that had been lying around for a bit. They're really not worth posting, since they are just plain gray, from KP Palette, but they are very comfy. I ran out of the gray and had to finish one of them in black. I really love handknit socks, even if I do have to hand wash them.

Earlier in the week, I went out to Hobby Lobby to find some things for my quilt and some buttons for the slippers. I ran across a new magazine called Stitch. It's a publication by Quilt Arts and... wow! Really loving this magazine! There are two skirts I am definitely making, and soon - warm weather will be here in LA before we know it (and by warm, I mean unbearably hot - people around here say Hell is where New Orleanians go to cool off). The cover skirt is my favorite. I am going to have to finish up at least my quilt and the two paintings I am working on before I can even seriously think about these skirts, but it's never too early to look around for fabric. Fabric suggestions, anyone?

The quilt top is entirely sewn together, and now I need to do the quilting. So far I love how it looks (it has been covering my bed for the past few days), but the real challenges are coming up now. Wish me luck!

Also, Brisingr has gotten much better. It took almost a hundred pages to get me really interested, but this book is really easy reading, so that's not too bad actually. I'm enjoying reading the book now.

Last, I re-arranged my sidebar by craft, rather than by year as I had it before, though past projects are still separated by year. Is this an improvement? Please let me know! I have little time to work on things such as my blog's format, but I know how irritating a poorly set-up web page can be. I'd like to have it look nice, but I honestly just don't know how.

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans was a very good movie. It had the advantage of being only an hour and a half, which was nice in this era of needlessly long movies. I have probably ranted about this before, but: yes, some stories (such as LOTR) take two or three hours to tell. SOME, not ALL. Most movies do not need to be two hours or two and a half long! Thank you, Underworld writers, for making a great movie that was not needlessly long.

That said, the writers of the A Song of Ice and Fire TV show that is in pre-production for HBO can take as long as they need or like to tell the story, so long as the tell it RIGHT. I have never been excited about a TV show before... but YES!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Time Flies!

Seriously! I have been so busy with life that a month has passed, and I have forgotten to update. Well, I ought to say I've neglected to update. I thought of posting a couple of times, but I never got around to doing so.

School has started again, and that will be keeping me busy for the semester. I am also working on a slouchy entrelac hat, two paintings - one a gift and one for myself, and my quilt... I mean comforter. I made the mistake of saying once I was going to make a quilt to Dusty, and got called "grandma" for the next week because of it. So I've been saying "blanket" or "comforter" around him. Haha.

For the quilt, I've more than a third of the squares sewn together. I don't know if anyone will recall my earlier posts regarding making a quilt, but I was inspired by all those cute quilts at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to make my own. So, I bought a bunch of different fabrics over a period of several months, and cut 8" squares of them, and now I'm stitching them together. I'm also going to "cheat" on the whole quilt-making thing, because I'm not using batting, well not the normal kind. Considering that this is going to fit a queen-sized bed, I didn't think it a good idea since this is my first quilted anything, after all. So, I went to T. J. Maxx and, for around $15, picked up a nice, plush microfiber full/queen-sized (90"x90") blanket. I do wish it was a little longer, because it limits my "comforter" to being 90"x90" rather than the 90"x96" I would prefer, but it will be easier (I think) to use a blanket as batting than trying to get nice, even batting on my first try, on a queen-sized quilt that I don't intend to quilt heavily. The blanket does cover the bed as well as the comforter currently in use. I may only "tie" it, which I'm told can be done with embroidery floss.

For the backing, I cheated again. Urban Outfitters sells these tapestry-bedspreads, which are basically bed-sized (108"x90") lengths of fabric, a bit on the thin side, but very cute and, when on sale, affordable (I paid ~$20), too. So my backing is a bright bird print (called "Mod Birdies" or something like that), with lots of pink and green, brown and blue, and orange, too. Should go nicely with the rest of the fabrics. The only thing that concerns me with this is that somewhere on the packaging it said something about the dye possibly running, but I washed this with all my other fabrics, and I didn't notice anything afterward. I've washed it twice already because of that warning, and so far, I've had no problems. Hopefully, it will turn out fine.

So far, I love how it's coming along. I adore each fabric I am using, and I think (read: hope) it's going to turn out fun, bright, and funky without being obnoxious. Which is pretty much my style.

After I finish the quilt, I am going to add a big, black bird applique to the bottom edge of it. Should be fun.

Oh! A while ago, I posted about the neat Garnethill Mirror Plates. Well, a kind Raveler messaged me with ideas on how to make them. So now I am going to try that soon.

I'm also reading Brisingr. So far... eh. I need to stop comparing it to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, because that's really being unfair. No one alive can compare to the quality of those books. Hopefully the story will get better, though. I've heard this book is better than the last two in the Inheritance series, Eragon and Eldest. There are things I liked and disliked about each of those books. But really... if you want talking dragons, go read Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern stuff.

By the way, I want IK Winter 2008. I am kinda in love with the Manchester Jacket. I want to make it in a leaf-green.