As time goes by

Wow, have I been lax! My most sincere apologies for not updating for two freakin’ months. I tend to forget that I actually do have some readers.

The last time I posted, I mentioned the horror of finding out the yarn I was using–Bernat Satin in Palm green–had been discontinued. Well, Decherd Needleworks sent me their last four skeins, and right quick too, so they are ROCK STARS. Unfortunately (through no fault of theirs!) I’ve become distracted from the star afghan and have instead been making puffy slouchy hats, as they are easier to carry around now that the afghan is so big, and the pattern is easy to remember. I made one in variegated pinks and reds with the puff-stitch rows in cream and another a solid bright red. (No pics yet, but soon!)

Another “unfortunately” is that I couldn’t get my act together enough this season to make something for the annual charity auction at the company holiday party (it was last night). And from what I saw, many of the usual knitters and crocheters that donate each year also had a hard time coming up with something this time, as the pickings were slim for yarn items (fortunately the slack was covered by the paint-inclined artists).

Things are sucking all over this time around, not a great way to end 2008. Is it too early for new year’s resolutions? ‘Cause I’m thinking 2009 needs to have more knitting, more crocheting, and more blogging. And maybe a site redesign–the pink is starting to wear thin.

And as for the past two months, allow me to nutshell that for ya: painted a wall in the living room; went to a wedding on Jekyll Island, GA, and had a great time; psyched about the results of the presidential election; bought a laptop (green! I named it Lorne); went to D.C. for a conference and had a great time; knee is healing slowly but steadily; cats stopped like their food and we’ve been taste-testing for the past month; had a great Thanksgiving with lots of bourbon-flavored sides; and I intend to have a great Christmas. And to post more. ūüôā

Posting a finished hat through Flickr's "Blog This"!



Todd wearing his new hat
Originally uploaded by BronzePolgara

I configured my Flickr today to post directly to my knitting blog, so this is me, testing it out. Sadly, you can’t choose tags/categories in this window, so I’ll still have to sign in to edit a little, but I think I might post more often if I’m posting directly from a photo page.

This is the hat I made for my brother-in-law for (after) Christmas. It’s double-stranded Patons wool, ribbed brim with a stockinette base. I was afraid the 80-stitch cast-on might’ve made it too big, but I think it was just right. Not happy with the little peak at the top, though.

Also, I should probably mention that I did NOT chicken out Thursday night and did, in fact, go to the WeHo SnB group at the Farmer’s Market. It was scary, I’ll admit–I expected maybe six people, and there were closer to 20 people there–but I grabbed an empty chair, pulled out my crochet, and even managed to spit out a sentence or two before the night was over. And, I met Ellen Bloom, whose blog I’ve been reading for almost a year, so that was cool too. Which reminds me, I have to go look up the shawl she was working on, it was beautiful–Serephim? Serephina? Something like that.

I can’t say that I fit in right away, since it takes me awhile to warm up to new people and start acting like myself, but I do plan on going again next week, so I call it a win!

The one where I visit the largest yarn store EVAH

It’s been terribly long since my last post, for which I apologize.¬† I haven’t really been in the mood for posting, I don’t know why. I’m currently sitting in my sister’s living room, playing Scrabulous in my jammies. I should be finishing the hat I’m making for my bil’s Christmas present, or starting the hat or shawl for my sister, but I’m too lazy to get up.

Last Thursday, I and my sister Nancy and friend Jane drove out to the Pioneer Valley, to a) visit my alma mater (UMass Amherst) for the first time in about 15 years, and b) to visit WEBS! It was raining, and then it was snowing, but that didn’t stop us.¬† Webs was even more overwhelming than I’d expected, and I’d expected a lot.¬† We weren’t even halfway through the store proper when a salesperson asked if we needed help.¬† When she learned it was our first time there, she took us to the back room–the clearance room–where I nearly started to hyperventilate. Seriously! I didn’t know where to start!

I was good, though, and managed to stick to the $50 limit set by the two $25 gift cards I had in my pocket (my geekiest purchase was of the Amherst yarn in UMass colors!). And, oddly enough, it was my sister the non-knitter that had to be pulled away from the store, as she checked out fall-colored yarns and every sample garment, looking for just the right item to ask me to make for her.

In purse news, so far I have gifted three of them–the turquoise and purple bag went to my stepfather’s gf; the brown variegated balloon bag to my sister, and the half tan, half red balloon bag to my sister’s sister-in-law.¬† The green/yellow and mustard with beads booga¬†bags¬†still need to have their handles poked through, then they’re done.

Starting, finishing, and frogging, plus an update on the donated Cookie Monster bag

So obviously, I get a complete FAIL at that whole “trying to post every day after NaBloPoMo” thing. Oops? I blame the holidays, and the accompanying freakout.

I have been knitting and crocheting my way through the stress, although I haven’t finished anymore bags.¬† Weird, huh? I have a red and white 80/20 booga bag (decreased the stitch count by 20%) that’s been languishing on the needles with only about five rows to go, and the mustard beaded bag is finished except for the icord, which is about a foot too short still.

Paula, Kathie, Steve and BenInstead of finishing those, last weekend I started four–four!–scarves. One is crocheted alpaca (the defunct Lana D’Oro that I’ve been saving for a special occasion for about three years now) and will be a gift for a family friend. One is the much lauded “My So-Called Scarf,” which called to me one night in such a way that I¬†had to start it–it’s¬†currently six inches long, but it’s a beautiful stitch.¬† The third scarf was intended to accompany my mostly red outfit for my company’s holiday party on Monday, and was made of a very white, very sparkly chunky Wool-Ease.¬† I used a spiral crochet pattern, and I hated it when it was done–it looked like I was wearing an Elizabethan ruffle, and it was waaaaay too long.¬† That was Saturday. On Sunday I frogged it and started the fourth scarf of the weekend,¬† a dc-crocheted scarf of a much more reasonable length. I crocheted up both sides of the starting chain, so it folds a bit; then I sc’d twice in each dc along all four edges in a bright green, which gave it a slight spiral that was much less pronounced than the first one. (That’s me and my scarf in the picture, on the left.) It’s now further adorned with a touch or two of red wine, but it’s barely noticeable.

But! In bag news! Remember the sparkly blue bag that I made for the silent auction at the holiday party? Well, thanks to my boss, and to the other people that got into a bidding war, the bag finally sold for $100! More than any of my other donations have ever made!¬†It went to my boss, who was out of town at the time so I had to bid for him (which was a little weird). He brought it home when he got back to town, walked in his front door with it slung over his shoulder, and his little two year old daughter took one look at it and reached out her hands while declaring, “Mine!” to the¬†shiny bag.¬† So!cute! I saw her yesterday at the department holiday party, and sure enough, she had it slung over her own shoulder where it was carrying her treasures. Best spent $100 ever, if you ask me. ūüôā

Omigod sewing!

It’s still true–I hate sewing.

I braved Valley traffic to go to Jo-Ann’s last night after work, where I was rewarded with a renewed stock of magnetic snaps.¬† Woot! I, um,¬†bought them all.¬† I had to! Three packages of three snaps each, for only $1.29 per pack?¬† Hells yes! I also bought three different fabric squares/remnants for possible liners, needle and thread, a thimble (so glad for that one!), a roll of stuff to iron seams instead of sewing (another woot!), a bottle of liquid seaming stuff to avoid sewing (didn’t actually use this one), a button I didn’t use (too small), and a crochet magazine.

I got home, had my yummy pot roast dinner, watched Jeopardy, and then pulled out the ironing board. And then dusted it, because it had been that long since I’d last used it as more than a hanger for plastic bags. The iron, also rarely used, still worked the way I vaguely remembered, so that was cool.

Then it came to the lining part. I’d printed directions from HelloKnitty.com–they didn’t help much.¬† My first attempt failed, because my bag is oval, not square, so the liner was too small.¬† Good thing I bought spare squares! My second attempt went better–I layed out the fabric, put the bag on top, folded the fabric, then cut around the bag. Unscientific, but I hate measuring tapes. I folded seams, ironed that nifty stitch witchery stuff to glue them together (not a very strong glue, unfortunately), popping it into the bag over and over for a trial and error approach to getting the right size.¬† Got it close enough, then attempted to sew actual stitches over the glue, to make it extra strong.¬† Ha! Did one side seam, remembered why I hate sewing, and decided the second side wasn’t worth it.

A Date With Cookie Monster purseI added the magnetic snaps to the lining (woot! easy peasy!), then¬†put the seamed up lining in the bag, and pinned the top to the inside edge of the bag–nearly perfect size! Woot! (Good thing in the end that the glue wasn’t that strong.) Then came more sewing, since I couldn’t just leave the pins in the bag–phooey. This is where I was very glad I’d purchased the thimble. In the end, the stitch was uneven and very ugly, but did I care? No! It was finished, the lining was attached, and I’d only lost one needle in the process! (I found it later.)

A Date With Cookie Monster purseThen came the shiny button embellishment for the outside.¬† The button I’d purchased was way too small, so I pulled out the pretty plastic “jewels” from last weekend and found a pretty blue one that worked nicely.¬† Then I had to glue it to the pin-back, except, I had to find the glue gun.¬† (It was in the storage box on the top corner shelf of my closet–joy.) I don’t know why I keep using glue guns, ’cause the glue rarely holds.¬† The jewel popped off the first time I tried to attach the pin to the bag, so I had to add layers and layers of hot glue around all the seams and along the top of the pin back.¬† It should at least last through the auction–I hope.

In all, not including the trip to Jo-Ann’s (where I didn’t buy yarn, btw–go me!), it took me 2.5 hours to line that stupid bag. OMIGOD do I hate sewing!