the lack of knitting (and sleep)…

I miss knitting! Ever since I started my new job, I feel like I barely have any time to knit (or really, do anything aside from work). Waking up at 6am every day has been really tough, and I’ve had so much paperwork to catch up on. Sigh. But I’m slowly adjusting. I’m ready for bed by 10 or 10:30 every night (and for those who know me well, this is pretty unbelievable), and waking up at 6 (really – 6:15, or even 6:25 some days…) is slowly getting easier, though I will never be a morning person. Thank goodness for coffee!

During this period of adjustment, I’ve realized that on weekdays, even if I find a moment to knit, I just don’t have the energy for it. These days, most of my knitting happens during the weekends. One positive about not being able to knit as often, though, is that maybe I’ll be more likely to actually finish the projects that I start. Only having time and energy to knit on the weekends makes each project seem less monotonous and boring and also, somehow, makes me more eager to finish projects. I don’t really know why I feel this way – but I figure it’s a good thing (especially considering how rare it is for me to actually finish projects :P).

In any case, as always, I’ve got a couple of projects on the needles:

  1. A Honey Cowl for my mom
  2. A surprise baby sweater for my cousin
  3. Another surprise baby sweater for another cousin (not yet actually on my needles, but it’s on my list!)
  4. My sweater… still have a sleeve and collar to finish. Not so much in a rush for this one though, as the weather is warming up!
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A spontaneous attempt at becoming more organized

Whoa, has it really been a month since I last blogged?! I guess my plan of blogging weekly kinda broke down. :/ I haven't been knitting much lately; I've been distracted these past few weeks with Kim Harrison's Hollows series, so I've pretty much been reading nonstop. But! I do have something to blog about today, even though it's not knitting. I made a planner!

I toyed with the idea of making a planner for myself awhile back, but ultimately decided not to since I wasn't sure that I would use one. But I've recently been hired at a school district, so I decided to make one yesterday in an attempt at becoming more organized. :) As for why I made one instead of buying one — because this way I get to pick what's in it and how it looks! Also, I didn't see any that I liked enough to purchase.

I bought the planner printables from Droplet. I love how the pages are clean and simple, but still really cute. I also really like that the dates are blank, so you can reuse the printables over and over again! Although, I will admit it was kind of a pain to write all the dates in. :P

I printed the half-size sheets and put them in a mini-binder I bought from Staples. I didn't like how the binder looked, so I made a fabric cover for it.

I followed this tutorial, but modified the size since I wasn't making one for a regular sized binder. I also added one more pocket! The math took me awhile, haha – and the fit is not perfect, but it's passable. :P I have to say, this was absolutely the most haphazard sewing project I've done. I did not press the seams (my mom's iron broke, and mine is sitting in storage in Orange County… :|), I did not use any pins (out of sheer laziness), and the only measuring I did was when cutting out the pieces. As a result, the sleeve is sewn together messily and parts of it are crooked… But hopefully it's only noticeable when you look at it closely. :P

Oh yeah, and the flap pocket is backwards. >_>; I picked bright, cheerful colors and prints on purpose to balance out the dread I'll probably feel once I start filling it with to-dos, meetings, etc. I think it veers toward being too bright and colorful, like something a kid would carry, but hey, like my brother told me, it'll fit right in at a school setting. :p And I think it's rather cute. :D

Aside from the ladybug + flowers print, my favorite part is probably the pen pockets. :)

Alrighty, now that I've shared my new planner… I am off to sleep. (And my cat just pounded on my door to be let into my room, so it is definitely time for bed, hah.)

 

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Thoughts on Yarn Stash(ing)

Dear readers, please understand that there will be no pictures accompanying this post due to the sensitive nature of the material (and because I really don't want to embarrass myself on the Internet by showing how much yarn I have. Because I don't. Have a lot of yarn, I mean. <_<;).

Ugh. It has been 38 days since I packed away the majority of my stash and put it into storage across the state and… I really miss it. :( I don't expect non-knitters to understand this, but my fellow knitters, surely you understand the pain and longing? I do have my emergency stash at home, but.. well.. it's mostly the yarn I don't like very much or the lace stuff I don't use a lot. Plus, nearly all my needles are also in storage, some 400 miles away, so even if I wanted to knit with the yarn at home, I can't! Unless I go to the yarn store… Hmm…

Anyway. “What do you mean by stash?” some of you might be wondering. It is inspiration. It is color and texture, a magnificent selection of yarn that has been impulsively purchased and squirreled away into unobtrusive locations around the house for emergency situations where, hopefully, no one will notice. Or if someone notices, maybe they won't be smart enough to count all the skeins. Yes, I speak from experience. I try not to think about it.

I haven't always had a stash. In fact, when I first started knitting, I was pretty good about only buying yarn when I started a new project. Of course, this method gradually contributed to the existence of my stash because I have a bad habit of starting a gazillion projects at a time… But anyway, I digress. The fact is, I used to not have a stash (mostly because I didn't know what it was, but that's besides the point, right?)

I wonder if stashing is kind of instinctive in a knitter, though. Even without actively trying to start one, I started just buying extra yarn. 'Cause, hey, you never know when you might see that lovely lace yarn again.. Or hey, I know I'm working on this hat, but I want a new winter scarf too! Might as well get the yarn now. (These may be early warning signs of developing a stashing habit!)

Then I discovered Ravelry, an online knitting/crocheting community, and I discovered that others collected yarn too – and it was called a stash. I came to believe (for a time) that one could not be a Real Knitter without a stash of yarn. When I bought yarn with my mom, she would exclaim, “Just buy enough for your project! You don't need that much yarn!” and in response, I would inwardly scoff, Real Knitters always need that much yarn.

This is when I went a little overboard. Suffice to say, I now have a lot of yarn, I do consider myself a Real Knitter, and I'm trying to knit my stash down before buying anymore yarn (but I am not always successful at this). But you know what? I may be slightly embarrassed by the size of my stash, but I'm not apologizing for it. In fact, I'm kinda glad I have it. Because it really is inspiration sometimes. And it's fun coming across some yarn I bought years ago that I probably had a specific project in mind for, but have since forgotten. Because then I get to browse Ravelry for awesome new patterns for a specific yarn, which for me, is always more satisfying than browsing Ravelry for awesome new patterns without any yarn in mind. That probably didn't make any sense.

Writing all this just made me miss my yarn stash even more. Sigh.

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New Year = New Start, New Goals

Sooo… My plans to post on this blog at least once a week didn’t quite work out the way I’d hoped. But it’s a new year, full of exciting changes and new beginnings for me. :) Namely, I am done with grad school and will hopefully soon have a disposable income, yay! Which means that I can soon follow my lifelong dream of filling my house with wonderful, beautiful yarn!! :D … Don’t worry, I’m kidding. Mostly. ;p

More seriously, I have some goals this year, one of which is to blog more regularly. I wasn't able to do this last year (especially last semester), but I am definitely going to try this year. I want to do this mainly because I've been wanting to be more involved with the online knitting community, but also for myself – blogging regularly will allow me to stay organized and on-track in terms of my knitting projects and hopefully (hopefully!!), I won't go crazy like before and start a gazillion projects and not finish any of them. :)

With that said, one of my knitting goals is to complete 13 cowls/infinity scarves in 2013. I've realized that I love knitting and wearing infinity scarves! I feel like they knit up so much faster than regular scarves and much less fussy to wear – just loop it over your head once or twice, and you're set! :)

My other goal is to knit down my stash and keep yarn buying to a minimum. Realistically, I am not very confident that I will achieve this goal. My all time favorite activity is browsing yarn stores online, which tends to lead to impulse purchases (because really, sometimes you just need that gorgeous skein of cashmere/silk/alpaca/etc), so that will be a difficult habit to break. I also often find excuses to go yarn shopping, like when I knit gifts for other people. Hey, I can't help it if I need to find a skein of machine washable blue wool for a hat, and it turns out I don't have anything suitable in my stash! And the other 5 skeins of yarn in my cart? That's just so I can get free shipping! (Yes, that's the excuse I usually use to justify extra purchases… :P)

Anyway! Before I completely embarrass myself over my yarn purchasing habits, here are a few things I've been working on since the new year. First up is a Honey Cowl in Skein Yarn's gorgeous Merino Silk Sport in the Blueprint colorway. It was my first time using this yarn, and let me just say, it was such a wonderful experience! The yarn is beautiful and so luscious to knit with. And the colors! I typically stay away from variegated yarns, but I completely fell in love with the blues and greys of this colorway.

Like I was saying, I typically stay away from variegated colorways, and it's usually because I don't know what to knit with them. I don't like using variegated yarn in patterns with cables or lace because I think thy usually end up looking rather messy. The Honey Cowl is one of the few patterns that I really love knitting with variegated yarn – something about the slip stitch pattern just looks really good, I think! Although, to be honest, I think I just love the Honey Cowl pattern, period. :) I knit one awhile back using Madelinetosh Pashmina in the Tart colorway, and I wear it all the time. The texture from the slip stitch pattern is so lovely, perfectly squishy and soft. I also started another one in Skein Yarn's Merino Cashmere Fingering in Elderberry for my mom, who requested it after seeing mine! Aaand I started one in Madelinetosh Tosh Sport in the Moorland colorway for a friend's belated Christmas present. Yep, I'm just a little obsessed with this pattern… I will probably knit a couple more for myself in the future. :p

Another project I've finished recently is the Big Herringbone Cowl using an acrylic/wool blend from Daiso in a nice, neutral tan color. Yep, another cowl. :P The yarn is actually quite nice, and I really love the texture from the herringbone stitch!

However… It was kind of a pain to knit. :( I finished the cowl pretty quickly, thanks to the US #15 needles I used, but oh man, the herringbone stitch really hurts after awhile! And I wish the ends didn't curl up so much. :/ But that's easily fixed with some blocking (or ironing, in the case of acrylic yarn? I'm not reslly sure.) I guess…. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the end result, and I'm even considering making another one for myself – not for awhile, though!

That's pretty much all the knitting I've been doing lately. Two cowls down, 11 to go! :) I will probably have updates on the other two Honey Cowls next time I blog, which will hopefully be next week or sooner~ ;p

P.S. Isabelle approves of my new cowl! :)

 

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Excuses

Hello blog!

Once again, I am back with excuses for my long absence. You know, the usual: busy with school, overwhelmed with studying, etc, etc.

I’d planned a blog post with pictures… however, for some reason the ones I took on my phone did not upload when I imported pictures onto my computer. Weird. So! This post is sans pictures, sorry. :P They weren’t very good pictures, in any case.

A couple days ago, I received my very first order from fabric.com! Exciting stuff, and I’m happy to say, I received the correct order. :) Last night, the pattern I ordered for my Halloween costume finally came in the mail — Simplicity 2172 – along with the other patterns I bought in order to reach the price required for free shipping… Of course, then I went to Joann’s to get some boning and other stuff (I’m attempting a bustier! So exciting). And discovered… a sale. $0.99 per McCall’s pattern, limit of 10 patterns per purchase. This resulted in (1) me spending more money than anticipated, and (2) me spending much more time than planned. Oh, and I had a stupid moment: when looking for boning, I saw a small pack of 2 yards for $5, and a BIG box of 12 yards for $2.99. So of course I grabbed the box… only to find out it was sold by the yard! Yes, I did almost buy $30+ of boning. -_-;

In any case, pattern cutting commenced, and hopefully I will have something interesting to post about soon.

Other crafty news: I finished my corduroy jacket, which I love except for one huge problem – I messed up the hem, badly. I’ll still wear it, probably, but I’m really embarrassed by the hem! I’m not going to try to fix it (again) because I’m lazy, but also because I don’t really want to make the jacket any shorter than it is… Lessons learned? Pay attention to the pattern instructions! Read carefully! Don’t fail at reading comprehension (which has been happening a lot lately)!

Oh, and there’s been some knitting going on, but I don’t want to show pictures because it’s just a dull tan color (thus far). It’s a blanket I’m making for the Worldbuilders fundraiser held by the fantastic Patrick Rothfuss (psst, go read his book!) Hopefully I will be able to finish it in time… otherwise, I’m pretty sure I can finish it in time for next year’s fundraiser. :P

On a final note.. for whoever occasionally reads my blog, please don’t expect regular posting! I wanted to keep up with blogging weekly, but alas.. school is kicking my butt this semester, so I probably won’t be able to post regularly until after the semester – or knit/sew a whole lot, either! I know, sadness. :(

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I heart alpaca.

So it’s dreary and gray outside today, which makes me incredibly happy. I’m a Bay Area girl at heart, and for me, fog > hot searing sun any day!

What especially makes me happy about cold weather is that I can FINALLY wear alpaca. I believe I’ve previously extolled at length on the wonderfulness that is alpaca, so I won’t get into that here — not too much, anyway. But oh my, it is such luscious stuff. I cannot wait until it finally gets cold enough here in SoCal for me to wear alpaca. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with me, I will be very sad. :(

This past summer, I completed a big, cozy, red alpaca cabled scarf. And it came out gorgeous, though it sheds like a beast. If there were a shedding competition between my cat and the scarf, I think the scarf would actually win. And together, they are a force to be reckoned with. ;)

Look at that smug look on her face!

The yarn, Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, is something I’ve blogged about previously. Even with the shedding, it’s one of my favorite yarns, and often while I’m knitting with it, I have this urge to roll around in it. So would my cat, which is why I’ve never actually tried to lay it all out to roll on. ;P

After finishing the scarf, I still had ~100 yards of yarn left – enough for a little hat! :) I made the Icing Swirl Hat, designed by Ysolda.

Excuse the horrible hair, please…

Winter, I am READY for you!

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Been awhile… again.

Hello, blog!

These past few weeks have been so busy, what with moving back down to SoCal for the school year, cleaning my room, getting ready for school, actually going to school, preparing for clinic… etc etc. What free time I’ve had has mostly been taken up by reading (for pleasure, not class!), not crafting, as of late — which, I’ll admit, is part of the reason I haven’t posted any new blogs. Sorry!

This will be a short blog, and I apologize for that. I just wanted to start getting back into the swing of blogging; hopefully, after today, I’ll be back with blogging 1-2 times each week. I assure you, there HAS been some fabric stash enhancement and sewing going on. And many, many projects planned for the new future, including a black corduroy jacket that I’ve just been too lazy to cut out. (This is maybe a good thing, because I really need to finish my brother’s socks and the Worldbuilders blanket before I do anything else. It’s just been so HOT lately that I don’t feel like knitting or even touching yarn!)

Okay, that’s all for now. Gotta get back to dysphagia… (why yes, I AM blogging while in class. Sshh!)

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