Sunday, September 30, 2007

Packing Knitting Projects...

I'm sick again! Not surprising, because I basically have no immune system, but still, I had hoped to avoid this, as I am going over to the UK on Wednesday. My Mom, Dad, and the Moose are all flying over to the UK, where we'll meet up with Adam's family, and then all of us are taking two cars and going across on the ferry to Normandy for a week in a gite.

Here is the house we are renting

It seems it is more or less in the middle of nowhere. There are 9 of us going, and the house has 5 bedrooms. The beds, however, look teeny.

Which will be tricky for my parents, in-laws and sister in law and her husband. And it will suck for me, if I have to share with the Moose. Well, it will suck for both of us. She steals covers, and I tend to crawl on and snuggle up to whoever is in bed with me at night. I also like to read late into the night. So if Moose and I have to share, we'll make do!

Here's a photo of the living room- the furniture doesn't exactly look... comfortable, does it?

But I am looking forward to having that fire lit. I love a nice fire.

I am also very excited to see Normandy. I have recently been watching Ken Burns' The War. If you haven't seen this documentary series yet, you really, really, must watch it. It is incredibly well done, and though I have read several historical accounts of WWII and seen other documentaries, this is one of the best I have seen, and deals only with American involvement in the War.

I will be packing a deck of cards, and my dad is bringing his cribbage board, so that'll be good. But there is no internet here, and I'm guessing tv will be a no-go, so for evenings, I am trying to plan what I'll need to bring, in terms of knitting.

One of the biggest problems I'm going to have with this trip is that because there are so many of us going over, and only in two cars, we need to pack very lightly. VERY lightly. So I am bringing a suitcase I normally reserve for a long weekend trip on a two-week trip. But I need to bring knitting!

I have been quite sick the past couple of days, and have not really done any knitting at all. So it's looking like Ben's Big Digger will be finished when I get home, and sent over to him. Which will be ok. But for the actual trip I am thinking I'll knit...

Clapotis. I have ten skeins of Blue Skye Alpaca and Silk,

but I have the sport weight. So I am trying to figure out how to make it the right size. I am thinking of using size 7 needles, and doing a couple extra increase rows... does this seem right to you guys? The color is black, so if I should run out of yarn, I can always get more black when I'm home. This would be my mindless knitting project.
Any hints or thoughts on using the sport-weight?

Cozy I have Silky Wool in a cream color for this, and I thought this would be my slightly more involved project.

OR I also have the yarn for The Bar Harbor Shell Bag

Which I am going to make in shades of red and hot pink for my aunt's birthday, coming up in November. Now the issue here, is if I bring this bag, then I need to bring the completed bag home, and I know if I complete Clapotis and/or Cozy when there I'll need to bring them, too, but at least I can wear them while on my trip, right?

And finally, I have several skeins of Noro's Cash Iroha, in two shades of blue. I am going to use these to make a scarf for the Moose.

Now, I am leaning toward using the the lighter blue, I have three skeins of that, and two of the darker blue. So I had initially thought of using the one color to do a cabled scarf for her. But then I wondered if there was a nice mosaic pattern I could do, that would be reversible, using the two colors together. Any ideas? The other idea I would LOVE to do, but am not sure a pattern exists, would be to do a cabled scarf where the two colors are used and wrap around each other. You know the look I mean? I'm sure I've seen it in sweaters, but am not sure there is a pattern for something like that out there. The other option would be to do an entrelac scarf for her using the two colors, woven in and out, which would be lovely, but I've been doing a lot of entrelac lately, and worry I might get bored with it.

Plus if I do entrelac I'm not sure I'd be able to figure out a good matching hat. Hmmm...

Any ideas?

I'm not sure I'll be posting again before I go, and I'll be gone for a while, so no worries if you don't hear from me. I won't have any internet for most of this trip.

But I'd love to hear your ideas on what I should pack for my knitting!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the Edge

Lucy's mirror is completed, and I'm not totally happy with the results.

Here is a photo of it.

Can you see the issue? The problem is the abalone I used on the edges is a lot thinner than the stained glass, and was too thin to get the grout in between, it's nearly flush with the wood. So I can just touch-up the white paint in the spaces, re-grout and cover the abalone, or start fresh. Thoughts? How bad does it actually look?

Make sure you click the photo to see the detail of what I'm talking about, and tell me the truth!

Also, the Moose is done. In order to keep it for her for Christmas, I'm not going to grout it for a while. Otherwise, as soon as it's done, I won't be able to not give it to her!

In other, knitting news, I am working away trying to finish Ben's sleeves for the Big Digger Sweater. I am knitting both sleeves at the same time, and it is taking ages. I have about 130 stitches on the needles now, and am doing St. st, with increases every 4 rows, which is some kind of knitting boredom torture. I have realized I hate knitting sleeves. Really hate it. Don't mind them in the round, don't mind if there is cables, or some kind of stitch, but knit a row, purl a row just bores the hell out of me!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I spent a large part of last night watching House, and grouting some of the projects I've been working on.

Here is Hannah's Mirror.

Now I just need to paint the edges white, and it's done! This mirror is Clear and Rose Quarts, white and pink sea glass, iridized glass, wispy and opaque stained glass, and patterned and straight mirror.

I used an antique white grout on both this mirror and the one for my in-laws.

This mirror is natural sea glass, with stained glass and mirror.

And finally, here is the frog, grouted. Needs it's edges painted, like the others. I dyed the grout a light green for this one.

I have been really enjoying the process. Moose enjoyed it, but said "it's a hell of a lot harder than it looks!" Some people do pieces with straight cuts, which can be a cool look, and I tried that out once, on the edge of my birdbath.

But I find the randomization of the cut pieces a lot more challenging, and I like the look. Also, even more difficult is doing shapes, like the leaves in the above photo.

But on the whole, anyone can do this. It is an expensive hobby. The 10" mirrors above cost about $17 each, before shipping. They're MDF, which is what most Mosaic is done on. Then there's the glass. Some glass is more or less expensive than other types, and like everything, I like the expensive kind. Then, there's the time factor. You glue your pieces down, let dry over night, and then you grout. Once you've grouted, you take a very small screwdriver (flathead), and carefully go around each piece, scraping off any accumulated glue or grout which may still be covering your edges. I really am enjoying it. I am not so much enjoying pulling all the glass out of my feet. Have I mentioned I really need a craft room?!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Blue & Pink

My in-laws asked for a mirror that would remind them of Cape Cod.

(click on photos for more detailed view)

The stones around the center are sea glass. The rest are shades of blue and grey, with a little white and some cut mirror.

The next one is for my friend April's new baby girl, Hannah.

The center is clear and rose quartz, with white and pink sea glass.

These just need grouting, which will happen tomorrow, along with the frog and other projects.

Thanks to everyone for your nice words. No worries, I'll never be traditionally normal. I've always been a little too crazy for that!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crawling Toward Normalcy

Thank you all for your nice comments on the mosaic pieces. I am planning on doing up some small mirrors and possibly some frogs/mirrors for sale. We'll see how that goes.

I've been on the antidepressants for about a week now, and so far, so good. The main side effect has been exhaustion. I started on half a pill for the first week, and each time I'd take one, it was like I'd taken a sleeping pill. Then that started to get a little bit better, and then it was time to up the dose to a full pill, so I've started all over again with feeling exhausted again. Drugged exhausted, which is different from auto-immune-exhausted, and also different from depression-exhausted. But it's no big deal, I just crawl into bed with a book and sleep. It's crazy tired, though, I mean, even knitting is too much effort, so you know that's seriously tired. But I expect it will get better in time. I can't say I feel less depressed yet, but I know that will take some time, as well. And I am ok with that.

The only other noticeable side effect, which I knew would be an issue is the way alcohol effects me. Now, I'm not much of a drinker. I've always been a cheap date (in every sense, since I am allergic to fish/shellfish and with the Crohn's, can't tolerate filet mignon any longer!) but now it's ridiculous. When the Moose and I watched Snakes on a Plane, I had one and a half glasses of wine, and was totally off my head. Which was a good thing, let me tell you. That movie was crap. But I was drunk enough to get all excited for the infamous..."That's it! I've had it with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!" line. WOOO! Yeah, Moose laughed her ass off at me, on her third bottle of hard cider, and not in the least tipsy. What are you going to do?

The only other time I was this effected was when I was on the steroids, the last Christmas with Adam, and we were at my parents house for the holiday. I had bleeding ulcers in my stomach, from the Prednisone, and decided to have -literally- two sips of wine with dinner. Upon which I started laughing hysterically, and fell off my chair. Yeah. Alcohol straight into the bloodstream is an interesting experience. We all had a good laugh at that one.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I've danced on tables in Savannah on St. Patrick's Day,

That's me on the far right. I don't know who the guys are. That's when I dyed my hair black, which I quite liked, but my father called me "Elvira" until it grew out.

There are more incriminating photos, but I'll spare you. I will, however, share with you this photo of the ladies room at the Ritz in London. I sneakily took this to show my mom when I went for tea once. Swanky, no?

And so, my friends, the point of that last photo is, that crawl though I may, I'll never really reach "normalcy" and I'm totally ok with that. I'll always be the kind of gal who takes photos of swanky bathrooms, because, well, why not?

In other good news thoughts, I didn't cry at all today, or yesterday. So, progress!

In other crappy news, a song I put on a Valentine's Day mix for R is now playing over and over and over again on a commercial, which is kind of a bummer. But you know, some things you just can't escape from. Even with medication.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Done, Done, Nearly Done...

Moose has gone home, and we had a wonderful time. We never get to spend enough girl time together.

So I have several very nearly done things. to share with you.

First, I had a quick crochet lesson at a LYS the other day, and here are the crocheted ends of my Lady E. It's not single crochet... I'm not really sure what kind it was, but the result looks ok, I think.

Now I just need to figure out the crazy-ass fringe of a million knots. I don't expect that will go too well, but fingers crossed.

Secondly, I finished another Pinwheel Blanket.

Pattern- Pinwheel Blanket

Yarn- Araucania Patagonia Nature Cotton, Color 201, 3+ skeins

Needles- Denise Interchangeable, Size 9.

This just needs some ends woven in, and blocking.

Then we have Jemima. I bought a couple options for the placket. Here they are, on the grey sweater. As much as I LOVE that green, I'm thinking white will be the way to go. Thoughts?

Then onto Mosaics...

Lucy's mirror is done, just needs grouting.

And while Moose was here, she gave it a go, making Ben's name in red, yellow and blue, while I did this... which also needs grouting.

And, finally,Holly sent me some gorgeous sock yarn!

First, some knitpicks, to get myself going.

And then, some Fearless Fibers, in a really stunning green. I can't wait to try this yarn!

Thank you again, Holly. It's always nice to get something in the mail that doesn't include an invoice!

So that's all for now. Plugging away at Jemima's last sleeve, and, come to think of it, really need to do the sleeves on Ben's sweater!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WIP Wednesday

Here is progress on Jemima...I have the front and back and one sleeve done. I wanted to bring it to the seaming class, but didn't have the sleeve completed yesterday.

What I did bring was the Big Digger Sweater, by Lucinda Guy. I seamed the shoulders in the class, and I think it came out really well.

And here is a detail of the seam...

And finally another Pinwheel in Progress, using Nature Cotton

And now some Mosaic work. This is, perhaps obviously, for the Moose.

And this is for my sister-in-law, a small mirror I'll be bringing over.

Here is a detail. I think one of the pieces looks a bit like a dolphin.

So that's it for the moment. The Moose herself is on her way up to visit me, and we're going to have a nice couple of girly, sister, bonding days. Which shall commence this evening, when we get pissed and watch "Snakes on a Plane."


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Friday, September 14, 2007

Good News, Bad News, and More Yarn Than I Know What To Do With

No, the "more yarn than I know what to do with is not, in fact, the good news.

The good news is that after my family's visit yesterday, at least one room is completely sorted. May I present, my teeny tiny kitchen-

It really is tiny. We did carve out a place for part of my new glass collection, in a ridiculously small cabinet, as seen here. I have 6 jars out at the moment, working on a project, but you get the idea.

My mother descended on the living room, with a large bin, and put all the visible yarn in the house into the bin. Including yarn for projects I am currently working on, which are all more or less, at the bottom. I'm not sure the photo clearly demonstrates how large the bin is, but it's very big. The bags on top have cable needles, dpns and other sundries tucked in them.

So today I need to go through all of this lot, and figure out where to put it. I confess there is even more yarn in the bedroom closet. Oi.

And finally, the bad news. With the Moose here yesterday, I had another look at the sweater, and it is, indeed, MASSIVE. Way too big for her, and the stretch is completely out of control. She asked if it was a sweater or a dress. So I'm afraid I will have to re-knit it. Now, I knit it in the medium size, with a slightly shorter body and sleeves, so I'm not sure what to do. Do I make the small size, with even shorter sleeves and body? Do I knit the small size and not wet-block it? But then what happens when she goes to wash it? Should I just have her dry-clean it? Although I know they use liquids, too, so honestly, I am stuck. Any suggestions?

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stitches and Glass

Thanks for all the kind words about the sweater! It's about dry and I haven't yet measured it, because, frankly, I don't know I want to know! I'm going to have to pick up the pieces (in more ways than one), because it's all over the floor, and one sweater takes up about a quarter of my living space. (Seriously). My family are coming today to help me organize more stuff, so I have to get it off the floor, and we'll see.

The post did make me realize something, there are some crazy bitches who read this blog. I thought I was crazy! CUT THE SWEATER?!! What, in my months of posting mediocre knitting, made you think I would even begin to ATTEMPT such a thing?! Honestly, you're not helping my craziness here. Although I'm touched you think I could pull it off! :)

I ordered some stitch markers I'd been coveting on Etsy for a while, and I could not be happier with them! Here are some photos, the detailing is amazing.



I once had a pet bluejay, and even though they're sort of the hooligans of the bird world, I have a tendre for them. Isn't his little face adorable?


This was hard to capture, because of the vivid yellow, which doesn't really translate here. Goldfinches mean a lot to me, because when Adam died, I think he sent me messages with Goldfinches. More on that another time.

And finally, the Cardinal. I love Cardinals. When I crushed my ankle the spring before Ad was killed, I had to stay on the couch with my foot over my heart for almost 4 months. Adam came home the first week with a little birdfeeder that looked like our house. He hung it in the tree right outside the window, so I could watch the birds. And I fell in love with a Cardinal who came, and ate, and brought a lady friend, and I watched their babies grow up, too. They come every year, and every time I hear his bright "Chirp!" I think of Adam.

I am enormously pleased with these, they were made by seller "Wee Ones" and I'll definitely be back for more.

Finally, here is a sneak peak at another mosiac project I started over a month ago and am getting finished up.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blocking Scare

So, I'm plugging away on Jemima, and Jen is totally kicking my tail.

I'm also blocking my Not Your Standard Issue Sweatshirt II, which I was inspired to make for the Moose, when I saw Tiennie's version of it. I even used the same yarn she did, Classic Elite "Duchess" in a very sweat-shirty grey, that Miss Moose herself chose.

I'm kind of scared. I'm actually really fucking scared. I did a gauge swatch and got gauge. I did wet and let the gauge dry and it bloomed a bit but nothing crazy. Well, now all the parts are out, and they have stretched MASSIVELY! I'm talking 3-6 inches in more or less every direction. So I'm praying it'll shrink up again, because I'm seaming it tomorrow at a local LYS, and right now it'd fit my dad. The Moose is quite petite, despite the nickname, so hopefully it won't be swimming on her. I don't want to have to completely re-knit it, but I will. If I have to. Or if Dad doesn't like it. ;)

So I have a confession. I'm a little bit of a stalker. Who do I stalk? Grumperina. Not that she reads my blog, but I just love her. I really am amazed by her skills. And she makes me laugh. I have a kind of girl crush on her. And I used to work in the city where she lives, and I am occasionally there for medical appointments, and I am always on the lookout for her. That is the extent of the stalkiness, so no need to warn her. Except maybe if some completely strange woman suddenly hugs her in Harvard Square, and she posts about it, it's probably moi. I just think she's such a craftigoddess. I read her blog all the time, and I don't comment much, because I'm too awe-inspired or something. Anyhow, love that gal. It's something to aspire to, knit-wise.

And I notice some blogs, you know, the ones that just everyone reads... they have the ads running up the side. And the ads generally relate to whatever the blog deals with. So I'm thinking mine would have a Little Knits ad (love them- they rock, and I spend a lot of my money there), and then there'd be an ad for a glass place, because I've been buying stained glass by the cart-load... and then probably Valium Ads, and maybe one of those "are you crazy" self tests that then take you to places to get valium... and what else? Oh! Shampoo and conditioner. You would not believe what I spend on shampoo and conditioner. And moisturizer. Oh, and stretch mark cream. The steroid situation of '04, the one that gave me facial hair but made my hair fall out, gave me weird fat pads, so I looked like a wet Gremlin, and helped me go from a size 2 to a 20 between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yep, well that last bit left me with stretch marks on a large portion of my body. DEEP marks. I actually went to a dermatologist to see about having them laser lightened, and she said I had so many and they were so severe, it would cost between six and seven thousand dollars! I said for that amount of money I can get a boob job and no one will notice the stretch marks!

She didn't laugh.

Finally, I mentioned earlier how I love Little Knits. I placed an order with them yesterday for a secret project, and then today I got an e-mail that they were offering free shipping. I of course just figured it was my usual bad luck, and didn't dwell on it, but they pay-palled me back the shipping! Love that.

Have a good night, folks.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lighter Meme

1. Three films you rented recently?

1. Out of Africa.

If you haven't seen this film, you really must rent it. Streep is perfection, and Robert Redford... well. Let's just say that the hair washing scene is enough to fuel my sexual fantasies for months. Ok, maybe weeks, but you get the idea. I used to tell Adam he should wear khakis more often because he'd look like Redford in Out of Africa. Also, he had a great bum. It didn't work, but the film really is a must-see.

2. Whale Rider.
Lara said that I had to see this, and she was right. I can't believe I didn't see it before, and it was certainly one of the best films I have EVER seen. Rent it as soon as you can. It's brilliant. Moving, funny, touching... everything you could want in a film.

3. Jurassic Park.

Ok, I know this is a little departure in genre, but I rented it again and man, do I love this film. Especially the soundtrack. Although now it's back into my head for probably another couple of years. But what a great film! And I'd forgotten Sam Jackson was in it. Although he gets eaten by Velociraptors fairly quickly. How fucking scary are those Velociraptors? I mean, seriously, those fuckers can open doors. I bet they could pick a lock with their toenails. Very bad news. Oh! And when the T-Rex (with his little arms) is running after the Jeep, and they see it in the rearview mirror and it is RIGHT FUCKING THERE, and the mirror says "Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear"- BRILLIANT!

Now, when I first saw this film I was in High School and went on a date to see a film which I thought was a cute little film about dinosaurs. In the early ads for the film there was no indication that it was kind of a scary movie. Needless to say, all the 6 year olds and I were wetting ourselves. But it was a good film. And it's worth watching again.

2. Are you into any crafts other than knitting?

Yes. I got a sewing machine from Adam for my 28th birthday. I have been meaning to get more into quilting and thought it would happen this summer, I usually don't like to knit when it's really hot out. But the knitting held me, and I also don't really have space for making quilts. I need a dedicated craft room.

I've also gotten into making Mosaics this year. R gave me classes for my birthday, and I've really taken to it. Here is the mirror I made him-

The birdbath I've been working on for myself-

And a peek at a project I've been working on for my friend, Nils, who has commissioned me to make him a mirror for his bathroom.

The larger piece of glass is sea glass. I use a lot of beach glass and semi-precious tumbled stones along with cathedral stained glass, murano glass and other glass.

3. Any New Stash or Notions Acquisitions?

Always. A little while ago I was at a yarn store with R, and noticed him fondling this-

So when he left the shop I bought 3 skeins for a scarf for him. I'm thinking cabled. Complicated cables. But we'll see.

I also bought two skeins of this-

Cascade Eco Wool,for, you guessed it! A Hemlock Ring Blanket.

I also ordered some stitch markers from Etsy, and I'll post more about those when they arrive. I've also been considering making myself some stitch markers, but we'll see how that goes!

4. What Are You Listening To?

As always, kind of an eclectic mix of stuff. The Fray, an old System of a Down album, some old Shirley Bassey, and "You can Learn French in your Car"- yeah. My family and Adam's are all going to Normandy for a week in October, and I know Spanish, but not French. So far, I can ask where the bank is, and say "what is that?" Oh, I can also ask for the bathrooms, and for dessert. So I think I'll be ok. I don't have high hopes. But I don't drive much lately (crappy joints), so I haven't really dedicated myself to it in the way I'd planned. I figure there are a few key phrases I need to learn- "Is there a yarn shop?" "I am allergic to fish and shellfish" and "I am American, but I did not vote for Bush. Either time."

5. Name Five Things On Your Knitting Wishlist?
Oh, this one is easy! I have a big-ass Amazon Wish List full of books, most are knitting.

1.Victorian Lace Today I want to make myself this-

2. Knitting Classic Style

3. A Gathering of Lace

4. Some Cashmere Indie Silk in this color

From Little Knits

5. A set of Knit Picks Options Needles. In the regular Nickel, I think. I love wood needles, but am not loving the coloring on the wooden ones.

So I have enough on my wish list for now, I think. And that's only scratching the surface! :)

Ok, so there are 5 questions. If you read this, consider yourself tagged!!