Knit by Night

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Normal post . . . plus sewing!

I feel like I'm getting oddly popular. *grins* People are leaving more comments on my blog. *waves to all who have commented over the last few days*

The day in the house proved most successful. I think I've made it to the halfway point on the basketweave blanket, which makes me very very happy. Half down, half to go, and no doubt that'll come along in leaps and bounds over the next couple of weeks.

I also got back to sewing on the plushie that I was supposed to give Rachel for her birthday, but was lazy, and so have to give it to her for Yule. Over an hour and a half of half-watching TV and half-sewing, I got the arms sewn up and stuffed, and part of the body sewn. Just got to finish up the body and stuff that, then work on the head (sewing the eyes, the mouth, and figuring out a decent way to attach the hair). After that comes the fun of making clothing for the plushie, which I'm actually looking forward to. I suppose that plushie can be my test-figure for various knitting patterns, too. Make mini-versions of what I'd like to make properly, and give the mini version to the plushie. It can get a full wardrobe that way! *laughs*

Have to go out today (whether my foot's feeling better or not, really), so I'll knit until then, and probably do more sewing tonight. For some reason, I've been loathe to bring the baby blanket downstairs to knit on when we watch TV. It's not like it's cumbersome . . . Maybe I'm just afraid of the dog pulling out yet more stitches. :p Silly dog. So my sewing makes a nice evening project.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stuck-in-the-House Day!

After a foot injury last night (involving a refrigerator door and a large flap of skin hanging off the back of my heel), I have learned that it is now too painful for me to put on sneakers. Which sucks, because I actually have things I needed to do today. I needed to go get a money order. I needed to walk the dog. I needed to go to the gym for my final personal trainer appointment.

As it is, now I need to call my PT and tell her I can't make it. I'll try and stick my sneakers on again after some painkillers, and if that works, I'll be able to walk the dog and go get the money order, but I don't think I'm too up for weight lifting and treadmills when I'm in pain and limping.

So if I can put my sneakers on, I can still spend most of the day knitting. If I can't . . . I can spend even more of the day knitting.

The baby blanket is coming along, little by little. It's now more than half as long as it is wide, which is good, given that it's about 25 inches wide. Still got a fair way to go, though. I'd say I'm maybe 1/3 - 1/4 done. Should be done in time for Christmas.

Luke's asked for a pretty easy present. A new scarf. Nothing fancy, really (I somehow doubt that a lacy pattern would suit him :p), but I'm thinking some of the Shetland Chunky that I used for the snake scarf and the bathroom shawl, though in different colours. Maybe something nicely variegated. I can pick up 2 balls when I get some more weight-loss money, and knit him up a quick scarf in a day or two, at most. That takes care of that present.

Suppose I ought to go take those pain killers and call Tiffany and let her know I'm not coming today. This is the second appointment I've had to cancel, and I feel bad about it, but really, I don't think I can do it today.

Friday, November 18, 2005

So I've been thinking a lot about recycling yarn lately. You know, turning cheap thrift-store sweaters into moutains and mountains of yarn that can be made into something else. Fantastic way for me to get more yarn, since buying it otherwise gets expensive very quickly. I mean, I can pay $4 and get a wool sweater to unravel, or I can pay $20-30 to get enough wool to make a sweater, and then make other stuff out of it. I don't think there's any kind of math that will tell me that recycling the yarn is more expensive.

I know I already have identical two black ribbed sweaters that are just waiting to be taken apart.They're too small for me now, and so have been collecting dust. They'll yield a large amount of roughly sport-weight yarn, which is quite good, as far as I'm concerned. (Just think of all the socks I can make, eventually!)

And (since my mind seems to be money-driven of late), I can sell excess yarn on EBay. I mean, if I can get enough spare money to go out and buy a few sweaters from thrift stores, unravel them, and then find that no, I don't really want that yarn after all, there's no harm in making a little bit of profit back, is there? People do it all the time, after all.

So I was thinking of this last night, and lo and behold, a name pops into my noggin.

Reinyarnations.

So now that the name is stuck in my head. A quick Google search reveals that it's not used by anyone yet. So I claims it, I does. Yar.

I want to go and start a-frogging now, but I've still got too much knitting to do before I can safely feel I have the time to take knitting apart. Once again, something to be done in the new year. (I'll have probably saved enough money to get some sweaters that aren't my black sweaters, either.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I found something I just have to rant on.

People. (Wow, that narrowed it down, didn't it?) People who are completely against using animal fibres in knitting, because of the harm that comes to the animals. People who do this, and then call other people misinformed for having differing opinions.

Aside from the general stupidity of the human race in general, let me go into specifics on why this bothers me.

Yes, I'm sure we've all heard about SaveTheSheep.com. The horrible images they show. The bad stories they tell, about how cruel it is to hold the sheep down and shear them of their precious precious wool. Why, if God (or insert appropriate deity here) intended sheep to not have fleece, (S)He would have made them that way! (Please read appropriate sarcasm in that.)

Yes, I'm sure the sheep aren't too fond of being held down and sheared. Little kids put up a huge fuss when you have to bathe them. That doesn't mean we should let them run around and be dirty. And have you ever tried to bathe a dog, or a cat? It's like going through clawed hell in some cases, but it's better in the long run if it's done.

Know why sheep, typically, are sheared in the springtime? Because the winter's over, the weather's turning warmer, and if they keep all that heavy fleece on them, they're going to overheat. Possibly die from it. So is this a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation? Save the Sheep even states that the 'unnatural overload' of wool on Merinos can cause them to pass out and die in the hotter months of the year, because of heat stroke. (But shearing them is bad, mmkay?)

Yeah, when animals are treated like factory commodities, there's a problem. I disagree with that kind of treatment. Myself, I'll buy free-range eggs at the grocery store, even if they're a little more expensive than the ones bought from companies where the chickens are kept in small cages all day. But I won't go out and say, "Don't eat eggs, because most companies are immoral! Save a chicken today!" What people are missing is the fact that there's *gaspshock* another option.

Save the Sheep claims that Anyone who buys wool helps foot the bill for a cruel and bloody industry that no amount of fluff can hide. Except for the cases where people, I dunno, buy from small local fibre farms where the sheep are treated better. Which, with the growing interest of knitting and other such crafts, more people are doing.

Save the Sheep tries very hard to convince people that wool is a Bad Bad Thing, starting such facts as "It causes allergies and/or extreme itching for many people" and "It's very water-absorbent, and doesn't dry quickly." It doesn't state, however, that wool can retain 30-50% of its heating capability when wet, which no other fibre, I believe, does. Have two wool blankets that are completely soaked through, and you're out in the middle of the woods? You may be wet, but at least with wool, you won't die of hypothermia. Acrylic sure as heck won't do that for you.

The sad fact of the matter is that people, if you'll excuse the awful pun, are sheep. They latch onto a cause and blindly follow it, conveniently overlooking any alternatives, never thinking that there might be more to the story than what they're hearing. They talk about how cruel it is for a sheep to be sheared, how they're treated, how anyone who buys wool is supporting cruel practices (loaded issues . . . how I'm sick of them), and accusing everyone who doesn't think that way of being misinformed. Some people (and it's usually the zealots) treat their cause as a crusade, bashing down everyone that comes in contact with them that has a differing opinion.

Animal cruelty is out there. It sucks. Hardcore suckage. I agree. I try to do what I can to cut back on it. But I also know that rather than ban something, I can seek alternative. I can still eat eggs, because I support free-range chickens, and the farmers that make it happen. I don't have to avoid wool like the plague, because there are plenty of places that treat their sheep with kindness and respect, that are willing to sell that wool to me. The majority does not make up the whole. And lumping everyone who likes animals fibres (not flesh, as some people seem to think) with those who pollute the waters with sheep-dip and who treat the animals inhumanely is a VERY unfair generalization.

it's time to open your eyes, people. Your opinion isn't neccessarily the right one. It isn't even the only opinion that matters. It is an opinion. When you only look at one side of the coin, you completely miss the fact that there's another side. Sometimes you even forget that it's a coin you're looking at. If you don't want to do something, that's fine. Your choice. Everyone can make them. But don't force the world into doing what you want, just because you want it. Don't treat everyone who disgrees with you like an idiot. And don't, for the love of all that is pure, go around saying that you're right, and only you, because you found some facts on a minority of cases, and someone's friend's friend told you that that's how it's done everywhere.

It may turn out that you're just as misinformed as the people you're bashing. And that, my dear friends, is called hypocrisy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Figures.

Now, why couldn't I have found this pattern before I finished (or better yet, started) The Unnamed? I made the Unnamed for a woman named Dawn, whose favourite colour is purple. This would have been absolutely perfect for her!

Oh well. There's always next year, after all, when I can get my hands on some yarn that's actually more purple and not periwinkle blue.

Change in plans, yet again, for Jenny's gift. Since Duckie was kind enough to include the instructions for doing cell stitch, I think a nice wrap, in the black King Cole Soft as Silk would look lovely, and wouldn't take too long to complete. I'll probably start it next week, and take it to my neurologist appointment to sit and work on while I wait.

Must get off my butt and knit more of the basketweave blanket. November's half over already! Time really is running out! I'm starting to get disturbingly frantic about it!

I'm going to have to cut my losses this year, when it comes to Christmas gifts, I think. I won't have time to make socks for Robert. I'll be lucky if I have the time to finish the blanket and the wrap, and make the long scarf for Luke that he's expressed interest in. I'll feel bad, not being able to give Robert anything . . . Guess I'll just have to give him lots of socks when next Christmas rolls around.

In non-knitting news, I'm looking forward to Yule Baking Day, as proposed by Laura, in which we get together on a day close to Yule, and bake nummy treats to eat. We're going to try our hand at making a log cake, too, which ought to be fun. Since we have no way to burn an actual Yule log, having a log cake with candles on top is as close a substitute as we can get. Edible, too! (I'd like to take a moment to toot my own horn here and say that while this idea probably isn't entirely original, I was the one to propose it to my friends last year. Mwaha.)

I'm starting to think that a cooking journal might be in order for me . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Presents!

I went downstairs to check the mail today, and what did I see waiting for me? A package from Duckie, that's what! I now have a gorgeous cell stitch scarf, in shades of blue and green. Scheepjes Alpine, apparently, 75% wool and 25% acrylic. It's really soft, and the pattern is very pretty. Wrapped around my neck, I can tell it's going to keep me warm, too.

The best thing is that it'll coordinate with the winter coat that my parents are buying for me, which is apparently turqoise, navy blue, and white. Huzzah for complementary colour schemes!

I hereby name this my good luck scarf, for I'm going to wear it to my job interview this afternoon.

Likely, once I get my camera out of storage (sometime in the year two-thousand-and-never), I'll take pictures so that I can show it off to the world. *grins*

And now I must go and get my laundry out of the drier, and prepare for the aforementioned interview.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Life's lessons, as taught by knitting.

Every day, every moment of my life, are like stitches in lace. There are holes in me; these are not flaws, but rather part of the pattern that makes up who I am. Only when the last stitch is made will I be able to see what my life has made me, look at the hand that knitted me into a whole piece. On that day, and not before, since the pattern is not complete until then.

I must remember that no matter how long it seems my life has gone on, it will go on longer. I am less than half finished, and can only guess at what I will become, what I will look like when all the stitches are bound off. Knit 1, purl 2, yarn over.

I must remember that no matter how long it takes to make me, I am unique. No one else will have a pattern just like mine.

I cannot be unravelled. I can only adapt my pattern to circumstance, incorporate the errors that are not really errors, and see how that changes my final design.

I may only be trimming on someone else's piece, but without me, that piece would be incomplete.

No matter what, I will be beautiful, for no one will ever say that lace is ugly.
I got a bit further with both the basketweave blanket and the bathroom shawl yesterday. With the bathroom shawl, I finished the two triangles, and put them together, and noticed that I've gotten a fair bit better at seaming, which is a good thing. Proof that practice does indeed make perfect.

I also discovered yesterday that I have a decently-sized stash of beads, squirrelled away in various places. I came to the brilliant conclusion (and the word 'brilliant' should be read with minor sarcasm) that I could turn these beads into something useful. Say, sets of stitch-markers that I've been needing. Beats the heck out of going out and spending money when I don't have to, gives me something new to do with my hands, and gives those beads a use. And it's nice to have something so personalized and useful that I know I made.

Also works perfectly for these Random Acts of Kindness packages that I hear everyone talk about. *grins* Though I don't have the addresses of many knitbloggers, I can at least send something to those whose addresses I do have. Mayhaps as Christmas gifts, even!

In other news, I am sick. Blech. I'm pretty sure I caught this from Rachel. Thankfully, though, I'm really only a bit more stuffed up than normal, with a rather sore throat. Plenty of tea with honey, and Halls, will sort that out. This level of sickness I can easily work through. It practically doesn't affect me. It's when things hit my lungs, or I get the flu and can't get out of bed for a week, that really bugs me. Still tired as all hell, though. Since starting the gym, I've been sleeping more at night, and I've already been sleeping more than a normal person ought to anyway.

Oh well. That's what my appointment with the neurologist is for, after all.

Right. Stitch-markers. On it.

(*looks askance at her mug of chai, wondering why it tastes so odd today* Oh damn, I forgot to add milk, that's why!)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Huzzah!

Duckie's scarf arrived at its destination yesterday. You can pictures of it here, if you're interested. I'm glad she likes it. All she requested was something that'll help keep her warm through the winter, so I figured that would indeed do the trick. 'Tis a cozy scarf.

More progress was made yesterday on the baby blanket, though not as much as I'd have liked, given that I spent last night at the gym party (which rocked, by the way. Full of tasty snacks and fun exercising), followed by coming home and becoming entranced by Rachel playing Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. Today, though, since it's a holiday and I have no obligations other than walking the dog, will be spent knitting more of it. Bit by bit, it'll come along.

The people I've shown it to so far think it looks decent. The stitches are loose, given that I'm working with a slightly larger needle than I normally would, but that just means it'll be a good springtime blanket, as well as being big enough to wrap Sean all up with in the winter months, too. Double bonus! (Or something.)

After this come the socks (hopefully) and the wrap that I've decided would be even better for Jenny than the poncho or the scarf, then the baldy hat, and I'm all done my knitted Christmas gifts! Huzzah!

Of course, then I have to finish sewing up the Griffin plushie, make the Shigure figure and the yukata, and throw together a book of puzzles, but actually, those things won't take me too long. The puzzle book will be the longest, but if I actually work on that little by little while Rachel's at work, it'll get done quickly enough.

Still, time's a-wastin'!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sick, yet again.

Finally caught up on all the knitting blogs I haven't managed to read this week. It only took me what, an hour and a half? What else was I going to do with that time, after all?

The gym party's tonight, and wouldn't you know it, I'm feeling distinctly like I'm getting a cold. Ugh. Figures. I'm all stuffed up and sneezy, and I probably shouldn't go to a place where I'm going to infect a bunch of health-conscious people, but . . . Gym party! Free food! Reasonably attractive women dressed in togas! More chances to exercise, and bring Rachel along to boot!

I guess I'll just have to see how I'm feeling later this evening. I'm sure today will be spent with many a cup of tea, downing eccinacea pills in order to boost my health just a little bit. I can't afford to let this infection hit my lungs, though. Already asked my parents for enough medication money over this and previous months. (I already suspect that the antibiotics may not have killed off the previous infection completely, since I woke up twice last night to take my inhaler. Not good. Really not good.)

In knitting news, the baby blanket is coming along nicely. Not very big at present, but it's moving quickly enough that it shouldn't take me too long to finish. I hope. I mean, I do have from now until Christmas, but I don't want it to take that long! Maybe a few weeks of good solid knitting. Maybe. At most.

I need to get back to working on the bathroom shawl, too. I'm suspecting that I may need another skein of yarn for that one, though, which may impede my progress somewhat. (I say oh so casually, as if running out of yarn for a project only increases the chances of not being able to work on it.)

Right. Time to go make myself some tea, curl up with Buffy, and work some more on the blanket.

(On a more random note, has anyone else noticed that WhoLinksToMe's format has gone all funny and illegible over the past few days? It now shows none of the links, things overlaps each other, and the page has tons and tons of whitespace. Is it just my browser that's the problem [though I am using IE at the moment], or something more sinister?)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Change in plans.

Given the shortness of time between now and Gift-Giving Day, combined with the shortness of my attention span, I decided to make Sean's blanket a nice simple basketweave pattern, instead of the lacy one I had in mind. Oh, Fanned Feathers will be done eventually, but not right now. I just don't have the patience, I think, to deal with something that requires so much of my attention. Since starting to go to the gym, I've been sleeping more, and finding it harder to concentrate on the little things. Something as simple as k4p4 suits me just fine right about now.

On the plus side, this also means the thing'll actually get done for Christmas! Huzzah!

I'm beginning to give the intended wool socks up as a lost cause, since I can never find the right size needles, and, being unemployed, I don't have the money to buy them anyway. Maybe next year. *sigh* I was so hoping to be able to make them for Robert this year.

Well, I suppose if I get a job soon, I might still be able to, after all. The dpns are only going to be about $5, then intended wool about $10-12. $20'll buy the whole lot, and I'm sure I can spare that out of a paycheque, really. Y'know, after I bring my bills down a little.

Why do the mundanities of the world always seem to get in the way of fantasy knitting? *laughs*

I think I'm going to skip the gym today in favour of rest. I didn't get much sleep last night, and I know that if I don't nap at some point today, I'll be asleep by 8 this evening . . . and that'd mean I miss House. Can't have that! Besides, I still am going back tomorrow for another half hour at least. I say at least, because if I manage to bring a CD player with me (if I can find Rachel's), it'll make the time go by quicker, and I'll be able to be entertained there longer. A distraction from the weakness in my legs, really.

So, given that it's not even 10 AM yet, I think this calls for some relaxing knitting of the basketweave. Yes, yes it does.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Now that's pretty dang nifty. Michaels just called me back about teaching knitting classes. They have someone already, but they said that person doesn't exactly consider themselves to be a very advanced knitter, so the Event Coordinator said that if I might be interested in organizing an advanced knitting class, come in and talk to her, show some stuff that I've done, etc. Classes aren't hugely popular right now, but that's partially because Michaels is new, and most people don't know that they offer classes.

I don't know if I'd call myself a particularly advanced knitter, but I do know more than your basic basics, so that's a start. I figure that once I figure out how to knit socks properly, and maybe get a good start on that shawl I've been planning, I might be able to handle teaching a class. And really, that'll be in the new year anyway, at which point, popularity in classes may have picked up.

The really spiffy part is that the classes are $20 per person, and I get 90% of those fees. I don't have to buy supplies for everyone; that's the job of the participants themselves. I can just imagine it. For an hour's class, if only 1 person signs up, I get $18. If 5 people sign up, I'd get $90. Talk about a good way to earn some extra cash!

Less good is the restriction that everything on the supply list has to be something that people can buy at Michael's. I can understand that from a business sense, but I know plenty of people whose blogs I read that offer some damn good patterns, for low prices, and it would have been fun to boost their sales a little that way. *chuckles* Alas, I'll just have to provide cheap free patterns myself, if I choose to do this.

I definitely want to. Extra cash, plus spreading the joy of knitting, equals happy me!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Problems come in all shapes and sizes.

I finished the last panel of The Unnamed last night, and started sewing the two of them together. After sewing up one side, however, I realised that there'd be a small problem.

If I sewed up the second side, thus creating the circular poncho, the hole in the middle would be too small to fit anything but a child's head through. And since I didn't knit this for a child . . .

Ugh. Damn the pattern for basing its directions and numbers on bust size rather than head size. I don't know what they were thinking, really, but in my crazy old world, it's better to have a poncho that you can actually put on but that may not cover all of your front, than a poncho that'll cover everything but has to hang around your forehead to do so.

So right now, it's only got one side sewn up. I'm thinking the best way to do this is to attach a button somewhere on a remaining side, one that'll fit through any of the holes made by the lace pattern, in order to get the damned thing to stay on the intended recipient. That way, it can be a little more adjustable, too.

The problem then will be finding buttons that are the right colour, size, and don't come in a huge bag of 300 other buttons that I'll never want or need.

However, this nixes the plan for Black Twin, since I'm not putting up with this again. I could, in theory, put more stitches in the cast-on, and do one or two less pattern repeats, since that would easily solve the problem, but I'm in no mood to experiment like that when these things are going to end up being Christmas gifts. Maybe for next year, when I have more time, and can go around and measure peoples' heads in advance, just to be on the safe side.

I'll just have to look around online and see if there's a decent poncho or stole or shawl pattern or something that I can do with the black Soft as Silk. Something that won't take forever. I'm sure finding something won't be that hard. Plenty of patterns in the Internet-sea.