FO Frenzy

There is nothing quite so satisfactory as the sudden empty time you have once the semester ends. After tons of papers and researching, grading and testing, you're suddenly faced with entire days in which you might have nothing that must be done. What is a girl to do with all of this free time but knit?

During the first week of finals I had tons that I had to do. I would stay up until 2, 3, 4 in the morning and crash when I got home in the afternoon. In the midst of all of this, one day I fell asleep on the couch in the afternoon, only to be jolted awake by the doorbell. Now, I'm not very nice when I'm woken up, least of all by people who I do not know (sure, it could be someone I know, but no one I know at school knows where I live). In addition, I do not have a way to see who is at my front door, so I've gotten into the habit of answering the door with a giant bread knife, just in case. Fortunately, if it's the mail or UPS they've left the package and gone on their merry way before I make it to the door. So wasn't I pleased to open the door and find . . .

My package from the ladies of the Stash and Burn Podcast! Inside were all sorts of goodies. Stitch markers that are beaded... a yarn postcard... a delicious chocolate bar... this beautiful case for circular needles (I've never seen anything like it. I've been showing it to everyone)... and TWO skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in the Vaa colorway (never used Malabrigo before. It's heavenly).

Of course I had to knit with it right away! I stopped whatever paper writing I was working on and started pattern stalking. The result was Braided, a really fun scarf pattern by Susan B. Anthony. Yes, it's got measurements, but I just got started and just knit what I felt like. The result was a fun quick knit that looks way more complicated than it actually was.

(the yarn is not nearly as blue as it looks in this picture. It's actually a deep green)

I also decided to call it quits with my French Press Knits slippers. Not that I don't love the pattern. Not that I don't find the creation absolutely fun. But this was my first felting project and I don't think the straps turned out well. I still really like these. I wear them all the time when I'm home, they're very warm and comfy. Totally worth the $7 for the pattern.

Today I finished the Vine and Leaf beret pattern from the Fall09 issue of VogueKnitting. I had to go up 2 needle sizes to get gauge, but it ended up being much bigger than what I was expecting. However, it's really really nice (my family is in love with the color). I may thread in some elastic in the ribbing. If anyone feels like making this, I would highly recommend using a smaller needle for that part to help keep it from falling off. In any case, of all my FOs, this was one of my proudest moments as it is my first Vogue project (and yes, that is Top Model McKey modeling).

I'm also all but finished with Veyla. I need buttons, so pictures will come after I get some (so, like, never).

There is just way too much more to write about, but break is upon us, so you never know when I'll appear!


Dear Powers That Be . . .

I shouldn't be on here. I should be writing a paper. It is, coincidentially due in approximately 7 hours and I have yet to start. Yes, I truly have become one of those kinds of slackers. And I can't even justify updating because of some killer knitting project because . . . there hasn't been one. I'm forcing myself to only do gift knitting until everything is done. It's scary stuff with Thanksgiving in a week. But bear with me.

Remember that wonderful international project I'm involved with? Angel Between the Lines? Well in case you didn't know, it is the continuation of the brilliant Buffy Between the Lines. With such an amazing project is it any wonder that it has been nominated for the podcast awards? And we NEED you to vote. Why? If BBtL season 2 wins in the entertainment category then Tabz will get the team to produce a one episode shot of what happens with Faith and Robin following the tv show's season 7 finale. Yes! I know! If you know me (and even if you don't), you know that I'm rediculously obsessed with the character of Faith. She was the subject of both my costuming and academic work last year and I'm on a continual hunt to acquire the Jackle (her knife).

So as you can see, I NEED you to go here and vote for BBtL in the entertainment category. It takes about 3 minutes to vote and verify your email. You can vote every day until the 30th.

As an added incentive, I snagged this off of the Blog Archive at the BBtL site. You can find the entire page here. I've always thought Superchic[k]'s "One Girl Revolution" would be perfect for Buffy (as I'm sure many fans have), so I just had to share this video.

Enjoy, feel inspired, and GO VOTE!


Stressed Out Needles (and Giveaway Winners)

Yes, I know I haven't updated in a week or more, but I think I have a good excuse. Giant paper plus Western Civ test grading equals get out of blog jail free card? Normally I wouldn't even feel guilty, but I have to announce who won the free signed comic book giveaway from last week. But for those of you who don't care about that, what has been going on in the life of this geek girl?

Well, like I said, giant papers and grading, which amounts to quite a bit of stress. Ironically, our Bible study tonight was about dealing with stress. And how do I deal with stress? I knit of course! (well, and I write random promos for Buffy Between the Lines, but that's not important)

Since last I blogged, I finished Fetching. I loved this pattern and can definitely see why it is so popular. The construction is grand and with my naturally small gauge they fit just right (I have been told I have small-ish hands). Though I loved the green in my Summer Beret, I didn't think that I would like using it in the gloves. Boy was I wrong.

(Me pretending to be artistic. Hey, I only have 2 hands and do my own photography)

The weather here has been wonky so fingerless gloves have been great for early mornings or late nights that I have to be on campus and fit nicely in my purse. I'm wanting to make more. Maybe Susie's Reading Mitts? Though those are knit in yarn that isn't sock yarn and that is currently the bulk of my yarn collection. I've recently been on a yarn spree via Ravelry users' destashing. Most (ok, fine, not most. All) of it has been verigated sock yarn. But I promise I'm finding uses for it. A couple weeks ago I bought some Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Knitters Without Borders colorway.

I just love the colors in the skein and had this vision of a haunting vampire style shawl/scarf that would look stunning around my neck. Well try as I might I couldn't find anything . . . until Ysolda released this last week as part of the Whimsical Little Knits 2 collection (sorry non-Ravelry users. It's not on ysolda.com yet). It's perfect! Right? Well, I hope so. I cast on last night and the white is a little more striking than I'd like but I think once I get a bigger portion completed it'll look like what I imagine.

And speaking of shawl-like things, I finally blocked my Angela Shawl. I was very unsuccessful in pulling out the points (asking for blocking wires for Christmas), but I think the result is still great.

Only problem is that I still don't see myself wearing a shawl almost ever, but I wore it this way yesterday (it was so warm outside by the time I got to church I had to take it off).

I also knit all of the pieces for the French Press Knits slippers (ballet flats actually) pattern on Friday night (told you I am stress). I put the pieces of one together but haven't gotten around to finishing the second, let alone felting. Not an exciting task. Overall I'd say I've been quite productive this week.

Oh! You wanted to know who won the giveaway? Well that would be Dariclone and Crystal! Email me with your address (tharensolo@gmail.com) and we'll get those sent out to you straightaway!


New Fedora Fad

There's a new comic out there. Yes, I know, as much of a geek as I am the most comic reading I do is Buffy Season 8 (though I'm a bit behind. Haven't read since the Fray arch). But I do keep somewhat up to date. I do, after all, have posters for World of New Krypton and Battle of the Cowl. So I'm not that out of the loop, right?

Yeah, ok, anyway, there is only one thing we're here to talk about and that's Stranger Comics' new book The Untamed (now by book, I mean comic book. And by comic book, I mean ongoing series. Yeah, I need help).

The Untamed is a story of mystery! Betrayal! Intrigue! It seriously feels to me like the start of one really good sci-fi/fantasy novel. And before you say anything, I do know the difference between sci-fi and fantasy. But there are those rare moments where the lines begin to blur and an exciting playground emerges. The Untamed is just that. An exciting playground in which the dead may just come to life.

The story itself involves a mysterious stranger who is permitted to leave Hell to return to a town he once ruled (ruled? maybe he ran it. I'm not sure because it hasn't come out yet and that's not in the eleven pages I was advanced). The man crosses the river out of Hell to visit the graves of his family before entering the town. What happens next you'll just have to wait and see. I know I'm not the best comic reviewer, but seriously, it's pretty exciting stuff. And what's really cool? We'll be meeting the main character of Stranger Comics' main series through this comic. Not just any main character, but a strong female lead, which is going to be so cool! The artwork is stunning and the writing is very well done. And the critics are raving.

The most awesome thing is that the company, Stranger Comics, is not one of your mainstream comic lines (but I DON'T have anything against the mainstream. Let's make that clear. And comic lines probably isn't the best terminology but oh well). As an emerging comic publisher, Stranger Comics is involving in not just traditional comic distribution, which will be done on recycled paper, but will also be making comics downloadable via the iphone app Panelfly. AND, there is an animated version on the official website (it rocks).

Because I'm so excited about this comic (and thanks to the provision of Tabz), I am hosting a giveaway here for the comic itself. All you have to do to enter is to visit Stranger Comic's YouTube channel and watch the first installment of the animated comic. THEN, come back here and leave a comment telling me what you think. Two people will win a signed copy of issue one. How cool is that? The giveaway will run through Saturday, November 7, and the winners will be notified on here with details.

And the thing I find most cool about Stranger Comics? The little dude in their logo is wearing a fedora!


Yellow and Black, Purple, Red

As everyone who knows me is aware, two weeks ago was my birthday. It was great, it was awesome, and it hasn't stopped. Last weekend my mom and I went to a GIANT (I mean giant. Get it?) concert for my birthday. We went to see Superchick but saw 7 other bands as well, culminating in Stryper, who is on their 25th anniversary tour. I've been waiting to see Superchick since I was in the 9th grade. Which means I've been wanting to see them since I was 13 or 8 years. Needless to say, it was awesome. I love having my mom come visit, and buying my tshirt from Matt (Superchick's lead guitarist) was just the icing on the cake. We actually took knitting with us because it was a day-long outdoor event that was supposed to be around forty degrees, but we didn't need it. I did make a lot of headway on my Angela Shawl on the way there, but that was all the knitting we accomplished that day.

Oh yeah. Did I mention we were second row center and the people in front of us never showed?

Speaking of the Angela Shawl, it is all but finished. I highly recommend this pattern because I had so much fun making it. Monday night all I did was knit the last bit of the lace chart and did the bindoff Tuesday morning. However, I still have not blocked it because I've been way too busy due to school to take the time I'll need to figure it out. This was my first lace shawl and I'm very proud. I found Ravelry user sarah1's spreadsheet for the initial stockinette section to be quite helpful to get started. Then it was just a matter of finding a pencil and ticking off the chart rows as I went. Only problem-- those last rows are WAY too long for my small project knitting taste.

I used my Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock yarn and still have quite a bit leftover. I'll save it for future scrap yarn fun and look into getting some more. That yarn is awesome!

Last weekend was also one of many Cons in NYC. In attendance were many big names including Linda Hamilton and the ever lovely Miracle Laurie. Also in attendance were my good friends over at Echo Alert, Frank and Andrew. If you read this blog regularly then you know about this already and if you haven't go look at the preceding post. They gave Miracle Laurie my scarf!

(screencap courtesy of Frank)

I can't tell you how excited I am. I love Miracle as an actress as well as her character(s) and she was so nice to the guys (and me by extension). I made the Haruha scarf for her because the leaf motif reminded me of her initial Dollhouse character, Millie. Millie was a very sweet, down to earth, caring girl (woman?) who wore a variety of outfits that were more bohemian in overall style. The leaves seemed like something that would appeal to her and the Finnish origin seemed just exotic enough to intrigue her. And of course it's purple because that's Miracle's favorite color (and mine)!

While they were at the con, Frank also picked up a birthday present for me that's, well the best way to describe it is frakin awesome!

That's really all there is to say on that count. It's now sitting in a frame in a place of honor near my Firefly autographs, Indiana Jones whip, and lightsabre.

Lastly, I cast on a new project last night for my friend Carmen. I'm improvising the pattern myself, but she showed me some pictures of what she wanted, so I'm working an insane amount of stockinette to make this crazy hat for her to wear with her Bella mittens. The good thing about stockinette was that I could work on it at the movies last night when we went to see Zombieland. Yes, this is not my typical movie choice, but I actually mostly enjoyed it. Probably because of all the cultural references. You can tell I'm working on a degree that involves some film cultural analysis because that's all I seem to look for anymore. I think my favorite reference was to the song "Send in the Clowns" (or whatever the title is). That was pretty sophisticated for a vulgar comedy full of zombies.


Placeholder for Future Rockingly Awesome Post

They did it! The guys over at Echo Alert met the amazing Miracle Laurie at Big Apple Con and GAVE HER MY SCARF (I know, tone down the enthusiasm, right)! I really don't have time right now to write up the post dedicated to the episode, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up (see, I said everyone. I know you're out there). Go watch the video cast on the website or download into your itunes, which is really what you should be doing anyway. The scarf itself is the Haruha scarf by Mari Muinonen, whose beautiful pattern can be found on MadeByMyself or on Ravelry. The website is in Finnish, but if you scroll down you can look at the pdf, which is in English and Finnish.

So go! Watch, enjoy, knit. And don't forget to watch Dollhouse Friday nights on Fox at 9/8 central.


Cast-On-Itis: In Search of a Cure

I have a confession to make. I've been casting on projects like crazy. I'm growing concerned for my workload. You think I'm kidding? Here's a picture of my project bag.

Still don't believe me? Inside are 2 gift projects, a shawl, and a set of fingerless gloves. Plus I need to start on a hat project for a friend. It's insane. Yeah, ok, so maybe this isn't a lot for some knitters, but I'm a pretty consistent monogomous knitter. I might have two projects on the needles at times, but never this many (did I mention that the Great Gatsby Dress hasn't been touched since July?) I have a case of cast-on-itis, and I have it bad.

In addition to these projects I've been pattern surfing again (I know I know. Just bear with me). The temperature dropped significantly this week going from 90ish on my birthday (Saturday) to the 50s today. And I thought I'd never get to wear my sweaters. Well I know better now. This drop in temperature has made me desperate to knit warm items. It hasn't quite been a year since I started this blog and that was the time I actually got into pattern knitting and such, so this is the first time I've really seen all these possibilities for what they are, possibilities. There are so many cool options and I just don't have the time or the needles to keep up with them all.

As I've said before, fingerless gloves have become something I'm desperate to make for myself. I actually cast on Fetching last night (and by cast on I mean there are about 6 stitches on one of the five needles). I'm going to use the other skein from my Summer Beret. The idea of soft green bamboo gloves is very seductive. I can't wait to get more done with them. But my love really is devoted to my Angela Shawl (aka, the Traveling Woman shawl that's such a big hit on Ravelry right now). It's an amazing pattern and looks so good! Plus, it's really not boring for what has got to be over 200 stitches per row (and still increasing might I add). I can't put it down. It's like a really bad habit. And the Three Irish Girls yarn is simply gorgeous. I can't wait to put up pictures when it is done. Blocking is going to be the hardest part but I've been told that's when the magic happens (my first shawl, what do I know?)

This obsessive knitting has gone great with my tv watching. Via computer, of course, because I don't have cable and my tv isn't digital so we get 0 signal. In addition to the myriad of programs I've been watching, I've also had a mini-obsession with the OC in the past months (don't judge me, I was in highschool when it was on). I picked up the first two seasons for $20 (which is a miracle for dvd sets) and am now in the middle of season 3. I had seen random episodes but didn't really get it. My geek girl friends kept telling me to try it so I finally gave in and am loving getting caught up. It's weird in some ways because I was talking to a student about a research paper and tv came up and I realized . . . she barely remembers it being on tv. That's so strange to me. I must be getting old.

But what sort of blogger would I be if I didn't brag about my birthday? I did in fact get some knitting goodies. My roommate, goddess that she is, bought me two GIANT skeins of Bernat Super Value. One skein of purple and one of teal (teal because it's our school color. She went there for undergrad so she's a bit obsessed). I was trying to decide what to do with them and I think I'm going to go with afghan squares. I think a purple and teal blanket would be pretty cool, plus it would match the color skeem that seems to be developing in my room. She also gave me one skein of Lion Brand Homespun but I haven't decided what to do with that one yet.

Also in this picture is the yarn I went out and bought today because I found a pattern I just had to have. These slippers over at French Press Knits are absolutely awesome. I love them so much I actually bought the pattern (I know. How long did I sit and ponder Whimsical Little Knits 2?) It was $7 on Ravelry but I think it'll be worth it. The yarn is a really pretty lavendar that photographs more blue than it actually is, but you get the idea. Plus, it's a felting pattern, so I get to try my hand at that. I really think these will be practical to have because my feet are always cold, but I can't wear socks around the apartment too much or they'll get holes. The only problem I can forsee right now is that they are knit with multiple strands held together and I'm not sure how to do that.

Overall the knitting prospects, while looming large, are pretty exciting. Plus, I'm doing this to myself so I might as well deal with it. And I have two new dvd sets to watch while making them courtesy of my fraking awesome boyfriend.

And maybe some pretty roses to try to keep alive.


Running Through Wool

Looking at the calendar it is hard to believe that it's already October. We actually experienced a weather change here last week but it was back up in the 80s again today. Sad as it is, this is what life is like when you live at the beach (evidentially. I've only lived here since May so I don't know yet). October is my favorite month. Not because the leaves change colors (though I'm from a mountainy area and do miss that), and not because it's my birthday month (Saturday. The 10th if you're wondering. I accept cash as well as material goods), but because of that weather change. I've always loved the sudden crispness to the air and the way it burns the back of my throat just a little. I have this old ugly sweater I pull out to wear that I've had since I was, oh I don't know, 8? 9? 10? It's a hand-me-down from some old neighbors so God only knows how long that rust-green and royal blue have been cohabitating.

Knitters, I've discovered, are very fond of this season. It's like a new year of knitting just opens up to us. Here on the east coast and especially in our humidity in the South, it's really hard to knit with heavy or sticky yarns during the warmer months so you end up doing a lot of fingering-weight projects or just taking time off altogether. But when it gets cold suddenly you can knit in wool and heavier yarns that would just cause itchy misery no matter how soft and beautiful (I'm not saying wool is itchy. This humidity could make anything itchy. Even the air gets itchy).

I currently have two beautiful cold-weather projects on the needles but they're gifts so they must remain locked away in my ravelry page until they are finished. BUT, I finally splurged and bought Whimsical Little Knits 2 (only the digital version. I can't afford the print add-on at the moment), so I'm planning on making one of everything very soon. Particularly Ripley and Veyla. And maybe Damson if I find some yarn that just speaks to me. I'm very excited because I recently purchased fourteen sets of bamboo 8 inch double pointed needles. They're gorgeous and only cost me $20 total because I bought them on Ebay!

Because of this I may very soon knit my first pair of socks. I know, it's Socktober so I should of course be knitting socks, but with November looming with all of its giant deadlines (one of my classes doesn't meet again after Thanksgiving) I don't know if I've got the time to teach myself such a skill.

I did finally finish hand-winding all of my Three Irish Girls Adorn sock yarn (I don't reccomend this if you can help it. It got tangled right away and took me FOREVER), but I don't want to make socks with it. I've been thinking for a month or two about a shawl pattern that actually seems to be becoming popular on Ravelry. It's called Traveling Woman and is partly inspired by the character of Angela from Bones. It was written by Liz Abinante from feministy.com. It's a gorgeous pattern written for a single skein so it's be perfect for this gorgeous yarn.

And speaking of yarn, she also has a very unique and awesome collection of yarn over at her Etsy shop. If you look at the sock yarn you'll notice that five colors are from her True Blood collection. I know, awesome, right? They're $23 so it might be a while, but I definately want to try at least one of these to work with while I listen to the audio books (I'm on book 3).

Another thing I've been doing to keep myself from becoming emotionally unstable because of all of this work (I feel like I complain about school alot. I actually love school. It's been better than I could have hoped) is I have started running. I was in a car accident at the end of August and suffered some injury to my neck so I'm not able to do my pilates for a while until it heals. Because of this I have no form of physical activity left to me. I know, it sounds sad. All there is for me to do is run. It's my last resort. And I don't necessarily like it. But it has been good for me and I love the way I feel when I finish. I'm not that good yet. I think I ran a total of 10 minutes today (3.3 songs or so) and walked a comparable amount. Anyway, the point is that I was remembering this passage from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and it really describes how Bridget is running again after letting herself wallow in self-pity for a very long time. She runs and starts to feel the freedom of being herself and the burden she's been carrying starts to ever so slowly slip away. That's how I feel. That freedom. I'm not saying I enjoy it. I still hate running. But the freedom is starting to kick in, and that I truly love.


Where's Angel?

You've heard me talk about Angel Between the Lines, or at least mention it in passing. You know, it's that audio drama I've been working on all summer? Well today is the day. Today, on the 10 year anniversary of Angel: the Series, Buffy Between the Lines ends and Angel Between the Lines begins. This season will answer the questions every fan has concerning the time between seasons 3 and 4. So what are you waiting for? Go subscribe, stream / download, or listen to the content in any other way possible (which I don't think exists. Another way I mean. Except maybe through EMAIL).

PS: If you haven't watched Buffy or Angel yet, what are you doing? Go! Now! Hulu has some seasons so you now have no excuse. Plus, it's a great way to get in some knitting time as well.


Urchins Live At the Beach

Single Skein September ended last night. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, September is the month set aside by listeners of the Stash and Burn podcast to knit those random single skeins that knitters inevitably have lying around. Unless you're me and you actually don't have much of a stash and actually have to go buy the skeins for those projects. Kind of defeating the purpose, but that's ok. I'm the moderator for the Ravelry thread so starting tomorrow I have to start counting everyone's projects to put in the spreadsheet. It is a lot of work but it's also fun. I'm getting to see all of this beautiful knitting and getting great ideas.

For example, I'm becoming obsessed with fingerless gloves. I really like Fetching which has been the #1 glove pattern for a while. I started looking at Debbie Bliss yarn last night on Ravelry and had to convince myself I don't have the $7 quite yet that I'd need for this pattern. I also really like Suzie's Reading Mitts and CanCans so I'm thinking I'm going to use that extra skein from my Summer Beret.

My own contribution that I'm most proud of is URCHIN! Yes, I finally finished and just in time for the hint of a season change. I'm hoping to find an excuse to wear it this weekend because I'm so excited to finally have it finished. Despite the headache it caused I still love it so much.

I'm now wanting to make more designs by Ysolda. In particular I'm really liking the things I'm seeing come from Whimsical Little Knits 2. Especially Ripley and Veyla. I could just buy the patterns online which would be about $10 or so, but I want the book version to, which means I'd spend around $22 because it's shipped from Scottland. I should probably just buy the digital version and get the print add-on later, but I'm not sure I can afford it so I just keep looking at the patterns and sitting on my hands while I drool.

School's keeping me super busy (surprise!) but I did find time to hit our LYS here, The Quarter Stitch, for the first time today. It was a wonderful experience. There were women knitting and talking and the store had that close in, friendly feeling. Yeah, I loved it. I'm still such a newbie when it comes to knitting (not a noob, that implies incompetence and I think I have the hang of most things now. Except socks. I have yet to knit a pair of socks). When I go in a store I just have to touch everything and I'm shocked by the amount and variety and the colors. It's like a sensory overload. So of course I bought some things (duh!). I picked up these amazing Japanese bamboo circs for the project I'm making for my twitter friend Amanda's baby due at the end of the year/beginning of '10. Can't tell you what it is because it's a secret, but I promise to post a preliminary picture once she gets it and later a picture of the adorableness once the baby is born. I also picked up a skein of Borroco Ultra Light Alpaca in color way 4288. I know, sounds like nothing, but it's a stunning deep grey-ish blue with flecks of dark purple. I fell in love with it and the fact that it was under $6 guaranteed I was buying it.

One last thing. I just heard from Frank that Echo Alert has been in touch with Miracle Laurie and she remembers the scarf I was making for her. She will be at Big Apple Con this month and wants them to give it to her there! I'm so excited (even though I won't be there). Of course because they're giving her something I've made, but also because they get to meet her. Yeah, I'm really really really jealous.

Ok, I'm stopping for now. But the fact that I have more to say is a good indicator that I'll update sooner rather than later (provided my classes don't cause me to jump out of my second-story window. JUST KIDDING MOM!)


Disappointment and Dinner Plates

I am a slave to academics. I truly am. I spend all my time either at school or doing school work. When you just look at the class hours, it doesn't seem like that much. But when a professor looks at you and says "wow. you're doing a lot" you realize that you're not just lazy, it really is a lot of work. And when you spend all of your time doing this it's really nice to just take some time to relax and calm your mind. So when you do take this time to knit some calm and 2.5 hours later discover that the amazing hat you were making was way too small for any adult human being and have to rip all of it out, it's really sad.

Over the weekend I cast on Urchin, which I'm really excited about making for myself. I had finished a few things for friends and wanted to do something fun. I followed the pattern, thought I had gauge, and started making the smallest size. After a while I realized that was going to be too small, so I decided to make a larger size. Then on Wednesday I was watching Selena Gomez's Facebook live chat only to discover after I finished and grafted (which involves cutting the yarn) that it was insanely too small. You know those caps that Jewish men wear? Yeah, it was like a tall version of that. So sad. So now I'm remaking it, again, on much larger needles. It's looking better and I'm hoping this time will work out much better.

I did learn two techniques for this hat. One is the w+t, or the wrap and turn, which is explained on the Knitty abbreviations page. There are no pictures, but when I went hunting I discovered it to have been the most clear explanation out there. W+T is my new favorite stitch, especially in this hat, because it makes the knitting go bye so fast and is very gratifying to look at (oh no, the writing teacher just ended a sentance in a preposition).

Even more important than the W+T is the other thing I had to learn to do for this hat-- hand winding. As you know, I bought some gorgeous yarn via Ravelry, which came in hanks. These are great because it's theoretically more yarn and it's just plain pretty looking. However, you can't knit anything in a hank, it has to be wound into a ball. So that's what I did (after losing circulation in my fingers the first time around)!

I do have some FOs (finished objects. I do knit-speak!) to show for the past month. In the finished pile are Miracle Laurie's scarf (pics to come when Frank gets it to her) and yet another pair of Bella mittens which are sitting waiting for the baby gift and beanie to be sent out with it. I also made another beret for my friend Stephanie over at La Femme Chic. I love the hat, but I must say that she totally rocks the look (and you can't even tell I blocked it on a dinner plate).


Fortuitous Possibilities

Today was the first day of classes. Yes, it is that time of year, and this time things are a little different-- I am in my first year of graduate school. That feels so weird to say. I'm on a two year track to get my masters in history, which is simply bizarre. Today was my first day of class for an independent study course and a Russian course which I'm auditing. Tomorrow I start one of my two regular graduate courses, which I'm quite excited about as well (despite the fact that they are 3 hours long). In addition to this, today was also my first day as a TA. I introduced myself to the class, held my first office hour, and had a student come up to me after class to ask a question.

Why could you possibly care about my classes? This is a knitting blog after all. Why in the world would I drag academia into it all! Well, it just so happens that I'm addicted to syllabi. I love getting a new file or handout that lists all the new opportunities and possibilities for something fun and exciting. I know, I'm a nerd. But a new syllabus is a lot like new yarn. New opportunities to create something beautiful and enjoyable.

Last week I ordered some new yarn via the "trade/sell" option on Ravelry. First I got some of the super popular Three Irish Girls yarn. There was a thread in the Stash and Burn forum and it piqued my interest. I'm still very new to yarn buying and since I don't have a lot of money to spend on yarn (being a TA is not the most lucrative field), I've never gotten in on the ground floor of something like this. But thanks to Ravelry, I now have some very fancy, very beautiful new yarn!

This is a sock yarn called Adorn. It's super soft and so pretty! The colorway (Erin) is actually a little brighter than it shows in the picture, but it is a definate sea green style color. The thing about Three Irish Girls yarn is that it is dyed to order, so if you order from their site they don't dye it until you pick your fiber and then your color. I'm very excited to use it, and am planning on making a gift for a very special person who I think will love it.

In addition to the above, I also purchased some destashed Cascade Jewel. It is 100% wool and is quite a lovely shade of purple. And it is not going to be a gift. I've been planning on making a hat for myself with this yarn, and after looking at other people's projects using this yarn on Ravelry, I think it has to be Ysolda Teague's Urchin, which was published in the Fall 2007 issue of Knitty. I've never made a Ysolda design, but I'm really looking forward to it, especially since I've never done grafting before.

With regards to my own knitting, there really isn't much to say. I'm working furiously on Miracle Laurie's scarf (which will get its own post when it is done) and it is almost completed. The Great Gatsby Dress is once again in hybernation as I am easily bored with such large projects. I am also working on some projects for friends, including a baby gift for a dear friend of mine on Twitter. No details until she recieves it, but if it works I know she will love it. I really should start gift knitting. Since school is starting and there will be tons to do, it would be fortuitous to start now rather than later, right?


Purple Rows

I'm sitting on the same couch from which I wrote my previous post, only in a much better frame of mind. After three really long weeks I have an apartment! I'm moving in next week, so in the meantime I'm living with my aunt and uncle. I have been blessed to have a lot of people help me as I deal with everything that was going on, and now am happy to report that next month things should be more settled.

In the meantime, I have, of course, been knitting. Last week I misplaced the pair of circulars that I needed to knit the next section of my Great Gatsby Dress, so I stopped by AC Moore and picked up supplies to knit the Grace Lace Beret. This beret is a fast knit, but intricate enough to yield a stunning result. I used NaturallyCaron.com Spa in "Green Sheen", which as you can see is quite a nice color. This is the first time I've used a bamboo yarn, and I've been very pleased with the result. It's a very soft texture that is different from other yarns I've worked with. Smoother, I think would be the word for it.

I've also been continuing to work on my Great Gatsby Dress. The picture below is of the completed back skirt, but I've finished the ribbing on the back bodice and am starting to increase up to the arms. I had a lot more completed but unfortunately I somehow misread the pattern to read "three inches" not "three rows." To those who don't knit this might not seem so bad, but in a tight knit, this can be very long. Add the fact that the section is done in stockinette, which bores me to no end, and I was not a happy camper when I found out my afternoon of knitting was for naught. However, my summer job ends this week and then I hope to put more of my attention on finishing this garment.

Earlier this week (I guess now it was last week) I picked up a copy of KnitScene for Fall 09 in celebration of finally finding an end to this madness. I love the style with which the designers approach garment knitting. Every page made me think "I want to wear that." Ultimately I bought it for the Balmoral Vest pattern, but I see myself making time to knit most of these pieces if I have the funds for all of that yarn. It has definately succeeded in reminding me how much fashion is influenced by knitted items right now, which makes this so much fun.

My last bit of news is very exciting. My friends Frank and Andrew host the Echo Alert Podcast about the show Dollhouse (I believe I've mentioned it before). In their last episode they interviewed Miracle Laurie, who plays my favorite character Millie/November/whoeversheisnow. On a whim I had the guys ask her if she'd wear something I knit, and she said yes! Now I'm searching for patterns for a light scarf that I can make in a really soft yarn (I'm pretty partial to bamboo right now). She said her favorite color is purple, so I'm waiting for something to inspire me. Right now I'm just very excited that one of my favorite actresses on current television is willing to wear one of my handknits.


Flood Victim 101

On Monday, July 6th, my life was fairly average. I had the day off work and spent time cleaning, doing laundry, and working on some podcasting. My boyfriend came over and went to the store with me to buy groceries, after which we made dinner. We watched Jeopardy and started a movie -- Ghost. I was finally introducing him to Patrick Swayze. All in all, an average summer day.

That all changed at approximately 8:15 pm. Shortly after beginning the movie I started hearing a really weird noise. We weren't far enough into the movie to get past the creepy part and into the funny part, so I made my boyfriend get up to see what it was. Thank God for the life size cutout of Luke Skywalker that my friends had given me back in high school. Luke was scratching the wall because he was standing in water.

Forty-five minutes later we were about a foot and a half deep in water climbing out the window in the dark. The water rose so fast. Within ten minutes the water had passed my ankles. We weren't sure what was going on, so we started with ground level items and then moved up from there. The water was coming in from both doors and was significantly higher outside than inside. It's amazing how calm we managed to stay and how I was able to just let some things go because I couldn't save everything. In the end we were in the dark sloshing through the apartment and climbing out of the window into the knee deep water and rain.

When I went back the next day the water was out of the apartment and was going down in the apartment, though my car was still standing in it. I got a few things and then went back to the house to try to sleep. My mom made it down that afternoon and we headed over to the apartment where they told me I had until 8pm to move everything out of the apartment (we were told this at 4). Thankfully we were able to get some help and a walk-in special on a climate controlled storage unit. Somehow we got everything moved. I'm still amazed that we pulled it off.

Officially I am not homeless-- the proper term is "displaced student." The Red Cross has given me a little money to help buy food and my university that I will be attending in the fall has pro-rated a dorm room for me until the end of summer school (about 2 weeks). The damage is extensive enough that I have to find a new place to live before August. But so far I've been blessed to have everything fall into place. My car has been cleared by a mechanic, and I have a meeting with our Dean of Students to work on a long-term solution. My aunt and uncle live nearby and were kind enough to let my mom and I stay with them while these solutions came together, so I haven't had to stay in a shelter at all throughout all of this, which is unbelievably amazing. Overall God has blessed me with people who have the means and have been able to help.

If there's one thing I now know, always buy flood insurance.

Oh, and make sure to always have your knitting supplies in a bag. I can't work on the Great Gatsby Dress even if I have time because my stitch markers are in the hastily packed boxes in the storage unit. Guess I'm stuck working on washcloths.


Fashion in the Dollhouse

I've kind of fallen off of the knitting bandwagon lately. I still love it. I'm still passionate about taking the collection of fibers that have been made into beautiful yarn and turning that yarn into something I can wear. But over the past week or so I've been kind of coasting. I'll pick up a project, knit a few rows, and then put it down. I'm not sure why this has happened, but I'm hoping to fix it soon. I'm almost done with the border of the Great Gatsby Dress, so things should get more interesting after I finish that piece. Of course, that means acquiring the proper needles for this project. Hopefully my friendly neighborly AC Moore has the giant circulars in stock. Oh and those "hockey gloves" I'm knitting? Yeah, haven't worked on them since. *sigh* Poor boyfriend's going to be freezing for quite some time.

In happier news, I'm blogging live from my brand new computer! Last week my best friend came to visit and went up to Best Buy with me. I now have a lovely HP Compaq Presario. It's black and has a wider screen than what I'm used to. And it's absolutely amazing. I'm pretty insane about it, but it's such a relief to have a computer that works! My good friend Frank gave me the opportunity to test out the audio capabilities yesterday by recording an episode of his podcast Echo Alert (if you haven't checked it out, you should. It's about the new hit tv show Dollhouse and is tons of fun to listen to). It was so cool to record and have it actually sound good. I've already gotten a piece of a chip (flax seed tortilla) stuck under the zero on the key pad . . .

But back to knitting. . . .

My subscription to Vogue Knitting finally started. Earlier this week I got my first magazine. It's all about luxury yarns and long, light summer knitting. I haven't read all of the articles yet, but I really like it. The main reason I wanted the magazine is because of the last pattern, #31 It's a pair of socks by Mari Muinonen that look very similar to the socks worn by Eliza in the Dollhouse opening credits. I've never knitted socks before, so these probably should not be my first pair, but I want them soooo bad! I pretty much want the whole outfit, but I'll settle for the socks. For now.

I've been thinking a lot about fashion lately. Not in the "oh, I want to be a supermodel and wear designer clothes" way, but in a more practical sense. As you can see in the previous post, I recently acquired a new pair of glasses. I've worn contacts for years, but as I've moved out of my parents' house and taken on a lot of my own finances, contacts are no longer financially feasible. I mean, I'm taking over my car insurance soon, I can't really afford $30 a month for contacts on top of rent and food. So anyway, it's becoming more difficult to figure out what to wear because things look a little different with glasses. Plus, even though I'm a college graduate, people at work still think I look sixteen. So now I've started going through my clothes pulling out stuff. Half my clothes I've had as long as middle school, so it's time to grow up. Items like the green jean skirt I bought when I was fourteen just don't fit with the image of a graduate student.

Once again, what's all this have to do with knitting? Well a lot of fashion has embraced knitting, and in the same vein, a lot of knitting is fashionable. It's no longer granny sweaters and mittens (though oversized mittens have become quite popular). So by playing with my knitting, I'm able to find more of what looks good. Knitting magazines have become a great way to see what is out there and I've been getting a lot of good ideas.

Now if I could just find the desire to actually go shopping.