FO: From the Ground

I finally finished!  I finally finished my From the Ground (adapted version of Theresa Gregorio's To the Ground).  I don't know why, but these legwarmers took me forever.  Maybe because they have 113 stripes a piece plus twisted ribbing.  Maybe because I had to reknit the bind-off.  Then again maybe it is because I am an epic procrastinator.

Despite how long these took me I really enjoyed the pattern.  This is the second of Theresa's patterns that I have knit (I knit her Milk Maiden a few years ago).  The original is knit top down, but I reversed them to knit bottom up so that I could use more yarn to reach my Camp Loopy goal of 800 yards.  The result is just this shy of cosplay, but that is more due to my color choice than the pattern.

Ultimately thigh-high legwarmers are probably not practical for my daily life, but when did I express any desire to be practical?  I can't wait for fall when I have fixed my bike and my job miraculously no longer has a jeans and tshirt uniform and I can ride around a dress and sweaters like the bag lady hipster I sometimes aspire to be.

And for the record, I fully blame my inability to finish these on Pretty Little Liars.  I was too busy yelling at the tv on Tuesday and then telling everyone I know, ok really just the dog, that I totally called that reveal.  Have you seen it?  Because I totally called that!  There was just no way I could concentrate on knitting with all of that excitement.

To see other finished objects, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!



I'm writing this while it is dark out, so I don't have a picture for you, but I am still procrastinating on these legwarmers.  Actually, that's a lie.  I procrastinated  until about eight last night and then I went into a state of panic.  I technically have  until Saturday, but I'm going away for the weekend so I need to get these done by Thursday.  I have about 6-8 inches left and not a lot of time.  I'm not sure how I am going to make it through to the end.

Procrastination has been made easy by our new friend Helo.  Boy has he been a handful.  Last week we took him to the vet to verify that he does indeed have heartworm.  They don't think he has a bad case and the treatment is not nearly as expensive as we anticipated, but he is on quite a bit of regular medication that requires periods of calm, something that is a bit hard for an energetic little guy such as him.  We've decided that he must have some terrier in him somewhere as he is just so active.  Oh, and did I mention that this medication can make him nauseous?  Yeah,  that was fun to wake up to.

Ok, enough procrastination via blogging.  To the legwarmers!  (and then work)


Second Legwarmer Syndrom

So I realized something today, as I sat down to write this entry.  It's Wednesday, which is the time to brag about how much you have done with your works in progress.  Or, in my case, to shamefully acknowledge just how little you have finished.

My dears, I have second sock syndrome.  I have second sock syndrome bad.  And these aren't even socks!  I'm still in love with my legwarmers but I am just not feeling it right now.  There is so much I'd rather do.  Even if I think I want to knit them I find myself wandering off to do other things -- cleaning the bathroom or checking to see if maybe just maybe the maven selection window has opened up.  In any case, I have made very little progress and only have nine days left to finish.  Camp Loopy waits for no knitter, no matter how afflicted.  My plan for tonight is to come home, walk the dog, and then hunker down with my knitting and Mortal Instruments book two and see how far I get.

We'll probably end up going for a really long walk.

To see more works in progress, most likely demonstrating actual progress, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!



So yesterday when I said that we were going to maybe work on the apartment and maybe watch some How I Met Your Mother I really thought that was how the day was going to go.  Little did I know that our family was going to expand to include one more little furry behind.

Yesterday we went to the local animal shelter "just to see".  We've been talking about getting a dog since before we got married and our new neighborhood, while not unsafe, makes being home alone less appealing.  And as I discovered this morning, even when your husband is asleep in the other room it is nice to have someone by your side when random people decide to bang on your door at 5am.  As we walked up the door had a sign on it that informed anyone coming to surrender a dog that they are at capacity and that any animal left is at risk of being put down.

And that was just the door.  Once inside we were faced with four full kennels and so many sad dogs that we both just wanted to cry.  We spent a lot of time looking at a lot of different dogs and tried to find a way to take many of them home.  Finally we ended up with this little guy.  Helo.  Yes, like the BSG character.  And boy is he a sweetie.  He's smart as a whip and is very social.  Last night I woke up to find that he had taken a towel from the laundry and drug it to the base of our bed so that he could have a "bed" in the same room as his humans.

And he's ours.  We still need to learns how to sit and walk without pulling on the leash, but that will come with time.  For now I'm just excited that he and Cogsworth seem to be getting along.


Weekend Plans

Happy Monday everyone!  Today marks something very unusual in my marriage.  It is the second of the very first "weekend" that Chris and I have had off together in a regular work week.  That's right, after a year of marriage and working opposite shifts, we finally have weekends!  The possibilities are endless!  We could take a day and go to the beach.  Or sleep in and go to brunch.  Or finally check out some of these downtown running trails.  Or hit up some museums.  Or . . .

Or we could stay home and finally get this place put together.

Some people are surprised that we aren't done yet, but when you want to unpack together but only have one day a week to spend together, unpacking gets pushed to the back of the to-do list.  I mean, there are so many episodes of How I Met Your Mother left to watch and I have a long way to go on my legwarmers before we get to September.


FO: Kleio

Did you know that Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup has opened sorting for Fall 2013?  I am so excited!  I really hope I get sorted into a house this term.  Last term was the first time I knew about sorting in time to sign up and as a total newbie I was asked to play as a NQFY (Not Quite First Year) to improve my chances of being sorted this term.  I turned in at least one (sometimes two or three) projects per term, so my odds of sorting are better than some.  Maybe I actually shouldn't be telling you about this.  That way I improve my chances for less competition.

July was a killer month for me and I just barely squeaked by with a finished project to turn in at end of term.  I knit Kleio by Romi Hill from her second 7 Small Shawl booklet.  This was also my Camp Loopy 2 project, knit with Dragonfly Fibers Dijini Sock in Octopus' Garden (green) and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Molly Ringwald (pink).  And boy did this take way longer than anticipated.

It is not that this shawl is necessarily hard.  Romi lays everything out for you quite clearly in the pattern.  It's just that it requires that one uses one's brain.  I made it through the first Latvian braid only to completely screw up the lace panel beyond recognition.  I ended up spending a nail-biting evening ripping back to the braid without losing stitches because the thought of trying to drop down into the braid and knit back up was enough to give me anxiety.  The second time through I used stitch markers for the pattern repeats and that really saved me.  If only I had thought of that the first time around.  Or had at least used a lifeline.

You may notice that this shawl is not blocked to its full potential.  This is because I don't own any blocking wires.  Until now this has never been a huge problem.  I just soak the shawl and pin it down on a towel, placing my straight pins where I want the shawl to pull out into points.  But because the applied edging is such a detailed trim, that does not really work.  Until I get my hands on some (I'm hoping to get some of the Inspinknity wires), it will be more of a long scarf.  Hopefully this cooler weather continues so I can get some wear out of it soon.

To see more finished objects, most likely finished to their full potential, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Geektastic Thursday: Bondi New York

Thank you everyone for the tidbit about the Netflix profiles!  We will definitely look at implementing them as soon as possible.  Though I do think it is safe to say that Chris will be disappointed if I take away one of his favorite sources for material when teasing me.  But he will survive.  There are too many sports documentaries to watch for him to worry about it for too long.  Plus there are so many other sources for material, particularly my seeming insatiable nail polish addiction.

I've had a Julep Maven subscription for almost a year, but lately I have been a little disappointed in the polish selection.  Some have really thrilled me, like the Jazz collection back at the beginning of the summer, but lately they just haven't been my style, so I decided to skip this month.  Lest you think I took this time to save money, think again.  There's a new polish subscription box on the block that started this month off with such a bang that retailers like Julep have some really stiff competition.

For me it seemed as if Bondi New York came out of nowhere.  They have a collection of high quality colors, all logically named after New York City things.  The first box was a mystery box of their current collection, but the word is that September's box will be a preview of the new fall collection.  My box included Top of the Rock, Botanical Beauty, and Teal Magnolia, along with a full sized face cream.  Essentially, I paid the same amount as I would for a Julep box, but I got one more polish.  The beauty products differed among boxes, and for the most part they were not Bondi products as Bondi is currently only making polish.  I got the lotion, some people got perfume, and still others received the Bondi top coat.  Overall it seems like a very good deal.  I've only used one of my colors so far, but I absolutely loved the way it went on.  The coverage was smooth and with a top coat it lasted without any chips for several days (and we all know my job causes me to be very hard on my manicures).

But the real story with Bondi is their customer service, which has been above and beyond what could be expected.  Their CEO is the front man for communications with the customer base, and when there were unexpected problems shipping out some orders he responded by offering every subscriber a discount on a future polish purchase.  We'll see how active he can stay on the Facebook pages as the company grows, but the team is off to a great start.  Any group that publicly shames their boss for falling through on shipping promises by posting a picture of him in Halloween drag deserves some attention.  If their product continues to perform at as high a level as box 1 there is no way I'm going to be able to stay away.  I think I need to start calling myself a collector now.  Just to head off any new stashing problems.


Stealthy Progress

You know what I did not realize would happen when I got married?  We share a Netflix account.  And you know what happens when you share a Netflix account?  You can't hide anything.  You have to own up to the fact that yes, I knit and watched Ally McBeal all day instead of finally unpacking our office.  And yes, I watched the Katy Perry movie again -- it's just so fun!  Honestly, I cannot hide anything because what I am watching and the frequency often reflects my mood or my current state of physical wellbeing.  If only Netflix would take a cue from my current knitting, and take the slow, stealthy route that no one will notice.

Because yes, I am still working pretty much exclusively on the Rosemary Cardigan, which has really grown thanks to all the dedication.  Last week I finished the first From the Ground legwarmer and managed to screw it up very successfully.  I decided I wanted to bind-off the top in a way that matched the cast-on so I chose to go with the Elizabeth Zimmerman Sewn Bind-Off.  Boy was that a mistake.  The bind-off is so tight that it pinches the top of my leg.  I need to unpick the bind-off and reknit it with Jenny's Stretchy Bind-Off, but one of the crucial points of the sewn bind-off is that you have to cut the yarn, so now I'm worried I won't have enough yarn.  I'm just going to have to risk it and hope that if I need it the Magic Knot will save my life.

Check out other works in progress, probably with actual progress, over at Tami's Amis!


Like Magic

I've stalled out recently on my From the Ground Legwarmers.  Fortunately the benefit of having multiple WIPs means I always have something at the ready.  Weirdly the only other project I have going is my Rosemary Cardigan, which has been very slow going.  Something about the gauge at which this cardigan is knit has really slowed me down, but now that I am farther along into the body I seem to be picking up a little bit of speed.

Yesterday morning I finally reached the end of the first skein of Cascade 220.  Because I'm fighting off a cold I really did not fancy doing my usual felted join and decided to try something new that I have heard a lot about but have not tried.  I pulled up videos and taught myself the Magic Knot.

Yes, I was still in my pjs.  There's nothing more comfy on a Monday morning than cartoon Darth Vader pj pants.  Even if it is 90+ outside.  This knot really is magical.  I tested it by putting a lot of stress on my yarn and still it didn't budge.  And then I knit it in.  Can you see it?

Really?  I promise it's there.  Can't you . . . Ah, well . . . that Jane Richmond.  She's a magical lady.



Guess who's sick.  Again.  And I didn't even tell you about that bought of strep I had two weeks ago.  Chris has joked that he can't remember a time I was not in pain or dying on the couch, but it has just been a long hard summer.  By the time August came around I was so stressed and worn out that my immune system just caved.  And I'm not the only one.  Almost everyone I work with has been out sick at least once in the past month.  School is back in session in about two weeks and boy am I looking forward to it.

Today I decided that I was sick of being sick and I have rallied to try to get some work done around our apartment.  We moved in three weeks ago we are just now finding the floor underneath our boxes.  Today saw me unearthing the kitchen table for the first time

I have this crazy thought that if I use a table cloth maybe we won't stash everything on the table.  Like the pretty pattern will serve as some sort of protective shielding, immolating all the bills and cough medicine that try to reach it.  It is a completely ludicrous proposition, but one I am clinging to with as much ignorance as I can muster. 

This is part of my effort to make our place as beautiful as possible to accommodate for the rough exterior.  I have been very open with the fact that the neighborhood in which we live is not the nicest.  It is not the ghetto by any stretch of the imagination, but people here have more to worry about than how pretty the structures appear.  When we moved in everything leaked, there were ants everywhere, and the carpet was stained from countless substances.  But it has great bones, amazing lighting, and from all the crayon on the walls I think it is safe to say that this place has seen a lot of love.  It's just as exhausted as I feel and in desperate need of a face lift.  And while we don't have the funds to really overhaul a place we don't actually own, just keeping it clean and tidy has made a world of difference.  I'm sure once we get the pictures and artwork up on the walls we will see a real improvement in the aesthetics.

And if nothing else, at least I have a great new way to dry my laundry.


FO: Myrta Mitts

I have a rather old FO for you today.  Yesterday Alex Tinsley released a new pattern, the Myrta Mitts, which I test knit for her back in February.  It may be disgustingly hot now, but let me tell you.  I am already fantasizing about wearing these mitts on a long chilly walk to work.

The pattern calls for bulky weight yarn, which I don't typically have in the stash, but I happened to have this skein of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky that a non-knitter gifted to me a few years ago (I guess soft really is a universal language).  I cast these on one Saturday morning to knit while we went to a movie and ended up finishing them that night.  Bulky yarn and size US 10 needles can do magical things.

Ultimately the only thing I am not super fond of with these mitts is the color.  It does not match anything else in my wardrobe and it is not as bright as I tend to go with my knitting.  However, they are super soft and cozy and so I learned to love them.  The thick palm contrasts nicely with the thinner arm to make a unique bit of luxury.  I highly recommend giving them a go.

To see more finished projects, most likely posted in a more timely fashion, check out Tami's Amis!



Last week for Work in Progress Wednesday I showed you a completed legwarmer.  This week I have for you . . .

Another legwarmer!  But not from the same pair.

I don't know what has gotten into me lately, but I am all about the legwarmers.  For Camp Loopy 3 we have to knit a project that takes at least 800 yards.  I spent a bit of time looking at sweaters as I know many knitters have, but I was trying to make this project as affordable as possible.  The Loopy Ewe offers a discount for yarn ordered during the official camp week, but even with that the cost of the project can get really big really fast.  What I ended up with was two skeins of Cascade Heritage Sock in the Plum and Raspberry colorways.  In addition to my obsession with legwarmers I am also really enjoying projects that take more than one color so Theresa Gregorio's To the Ground was the perfect solution.

To the Ground is a pair of over the knee striping legwarmers.  I ended up reversing the direction of the pattern to start at the ankle rather than the thigh and work up the leg.  I also wound my yarn into two balls each so that I can use as much yarn as possible.  This means that they could get very long indeed.  I am already over the knee on my first leg and still have plenty of yarn to spare.  There's a strong possibility that I could wear them in the place of tights with a pair of shorts to work (it sounds tacky, but in my world if a 4 year old would wear it it's probably perfect for work).  I also have visions of wearing them over tights with a short skirt and tight fitting sweater.  Possibly with boots.  Essentially this project is my chance to feel like I live in a comic book.  We'll see where I end up.

To see more, probably more tastefully driven projects, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Fibre Spaced!

I'm sure you will be completely shocked to hear that one of the primary reasons we stayed in Alexandria over the weekend was so that we could go to Fibre Space!  Or, rather, so that I could go to Fibre Space and Chris could monitor my budget.  I have to give a huge thanks to every yarn shop that includes a comfortable couch where my husband can sit and play on his phone until I call him over to choose colors and then decide on something completely different. 

I have to admit that I was a little surprised by how small the actual retail space was in the shop, but the amount of workspace and class space that was available to anyone passing through wanting to just sit and knit was spectacular.  And the lines at Fibre Space are clearly so carefully chosen that they do not require a huge area for merchandising.  If you are looking for a standard workhorse yarn this is probably not the shop for you.  But, if you are looking for something special to take your knitting over that line into true luxury you are not going to be disappointed.

I ended up with three skeins of Plucky Knitter Plucky Sweater in Sticky Toffee, a delicious bronzy orange that I think will be just perfect for Emma Welford's Heliopath Vest.  The cable work just yells out to me from the page and I cannot wait to knit it next month for the new term of Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup.  I went into the shop with this pattern in mind and was torn between several lines.  Ultimately the Plucky Sweater has the most yardage for the price in a yarn I've never tried before.  Lest you think I am overly spendy, this was part of my anniversary present.  I think Chris has learned that the best gift for me can be taking me to a yarn shop, giving me a budget, and letting me pick out what is speaking to me.  He did say in his original wedding vows that he would buy yarn for me, so I must have done something right.


One for DC

Happy Monday everyone!  This week not only do I have my standard "weekend" of Sunday and Monday, but I also had off on Friday and Saturday because it was our anniversary!  I can hardly believe that we have been married for an entire year.  It feels like no time at all and forever all at the same time.  To celebrate we went to one of our favorite vacation sites -- Washington DC.

The actual space suit worn by Yuri Gagarin, first man in space, on display at the Smithsonian
Rather than paying an arm and a leg to stay in the city, we found an inexpensive hotel room in Alexandria and took the metro into the city on Saturday.  Alexandria is a lovely historic town on the Patomic and is very walking friendly.  One of the things Chris and I have found we like to do on vacation is to park the car once we arrive and not use it again until we are heading home.  The long walks are great exercise and allow us to spend more time talking and people watching, which is always fun.  We ate some truly amazing food, both at a surprisingly authentic Greek restaurant and at my new favorite, Bilbo Baggins Global Restaurant.

Sunday morning we decided to find a place for brunch and Google led us to this charming find.  The entire place is Hobbit themed, though not after the new film, but after the old cartoon I have dim memories of watching as a child.  The food was spectacular and we got to play Lord of the Rings trivia while we waited.

Saturday was our day in DC and we tried to cram in as much site seeing as we could.  We probably could have fit in a few more museums, but we had so much fun at the International Spy Museum that we did not move on until after noon.

The only part of the museum I risked photographing -- crawling through duct work!

We saw the ground floor of the American Indian Museum, everything we could find in the Air and Space Museum, the Library of Congress, and all of the American History Museum that was not closed for renovation.  Our mad dash walk took us past the Capital building, and we saw the outside of the Supreme Court, which is actually being renovated and so is hidden by a cloth barrier with a picture of the building.

He traveled all this way to see the Supreme Court and all he got was a photo and some stairs.

And of course I squeezed in knitting at every chance, making a bit of progress on my Camp Loopy 3 project (Theresa Gregorio's To the Ground).

All in all it was a wonderful trip.  We got up close and personal with a lot of history without feeling pressured to absorb it all lest we never return, which is how I like my vacations.  Now I have to go back to real life and unpack the rest of this apartment.  Or I could just sit here and knit while catching up on podcasts.  It really is one or the other.


FO: Bad Oyster

It's the final FO from the old apartment!  Unfortunately my camera also died the same day and our charger is broken, so I had to take these photos on my phone.  Sadly they don't do the awesomeness that is Bad Oyster quite enough justice.

I originally intended to use this Highland Handmade sock yarn (in the Uber colorway) to knit socks, but the color was so verigated that every design I tried seemed to look too busy.  I am not a huge fan of fringe, but I decided to give this design by Alex Tinsley a go and immediately fell in love with it.  The construction is so basic yet innovative that I don't want to tell you about the construction because that will give away the pattern.  Let's just say that it is knit without purling and there is steeking involved.  I have never cut my knitting as part of a design process before, so it was a little nerve wracking but very exciting.  I stayed up far too late one night because I could not stop making fringe.

The shawl is a lot of fun to make.  It's more of a small funky scarf than an actual shawl, but it makes for a great accessory.  I wore it out with one of my old teacher dresses to give a bit of edge.  Come fall I think this will be a staple part of my wardrobe.

To see other great finished projects, check out the linkup over at Tami's Amis.