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.