Friday, December 31, 2010

Progress: Afternoon of the 30th (in Japan)

A few more hours left...


Panhandles (x2)

Husband Hat 

One Sock - Halfway through the foot of the second Worsted Weight sock, so will be done soon.

Blue Sock - Just needs one end woven in and a wash.

Bibs - Need buttons, as soon as they're dry.

Pocket Creatures - Technically I also started the other two pairs by making the inner warming bag, but I'm not really counting that until I cast on.  Which I won't do for at least a couple of days.  The one that I'm supposed to finish still needs features, finishing work, and stuffing.

Heart Box - Sitting on the table in front of me...I need to get the foam pieces out to pin it onto while I get it going.

Knitting Tools Case - I know how to do it.  Just a bit of cutting and some straight lines sewn is all it needs!  20 minutes or less!

Small Knitting Tools Case - Needs a button sewn on and the nifty pincushion bit sewn in.

Box Bag - Totally frivolous project, but also finished.  Of course, the moment I said I was going to finish everything I'd already started in 2010, I had to start something brand new.  I think I suffer horribly from this phenomena:

Unders - Still may need some sort of edging around the legs, but are done for now.  I'll have to wear them a few times to decide if they need something more or not, and I cannot wait!

Lady Sunshine Test - Not even touched.  Probably won't be the first FO of 2011 because I still have a couple more things that have to go to family to finish up, and I really, really want to cross stitch.

Five down, 12 to go, eight of which will take less than an hour total.  Still do-able!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Final Countdown

of 2010 at least.

To go along with counting how many WIPs were started and finished in 2010, I'm trying to finish all projects but the blanket that were started in 2010 by New Year's Eve.  Right now (morning of the 29th) it stands at fourteen projects.  I do need to start one more, because I'd rather just finish all the baby bibs together, but that's a quick one and won't take long.  So fifteen total to finish in the next couple of days.  Do-able.  Totally do-able.

I really mean it this time!


Panhandles (x2) (finished afternoon of the 29th) - They're in the wash right now, going through their third felting cycle.  Should be their last, too, and then they're done.

Husband Hat - Needs end woven in and a wash/block, so will be done when I block all the things that need blocking.

One Sock - Halfway through the foot of the second Worsted Weight sock, so will be done soon.

Blue Sock - Just needs one end woven in and a wash.

Bibs - I need to knit one full one plus the strap of another, then weave in ends and block five.  They only take a few hours each, nice quick knit.  Cute Stitch buttons I already have will finish them off.

Pocket Creatures - I started one of the three pairs I need to send home, so I've got to finish that pair before January.  The knitting is done, they just need features, stuffing, and finishing work.

Heart Box - This is one of those paper-based baskets that really aren't that difficult, but are really fiddly to get going.  This one especially because it's a heart shape instead of a simple rectangle.  It will be good as a break from the knitting.  Most of the items on here that require actual knitting are out of thicker and not-so-nice yarns, like the cotton bibs and acrylic blend socks (why is the brown stiff when the blue was so gosh darn nice?), and I would rather not kill my arms just to get them done.

Knitting Tools Case - I have in mind what I'll be doing, and a working sewing machine to do it.  I also have a cheap-o little dollar store kit that makes pretty much exactly what I have in mind, but has instructions.  I'll probably do that one first, since it should be quick, instead of totally winging it for the case and failing.  Adding another project...

edit evening of the 29th - I made a box bag too.  And since I was doing the innards of the first Pocket Creature, I did the innards of the other two also.  I'm trying to pretend it doesn't count as starting them.

Unders - I can't believe I started these this year, but they just need a bit of a rip and re-knit.  This is the one that is a hope more than a definite, because the new numbers may or may not work.  We'll see.

Lady Sunshine Test - Not a 2010 WIP, but Lee said to make up for the blanket, I should finish something else this year.  I already finished a bunch of older WIPs, but, if I finish the rest of the list early (not likely), this will be my project for the rest of the year, and probably my first FO of 2011 because my hands are cold!

So really, not that bad.  The apartment is pretty clean and organized, I'm on vacation, no reason not to finish this list.  15 13 must-dos, 1 will-do, 1 should-do - not too bad.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Knitty's Dead or Alive Fish Hat is adorable.  I love it.  I wanted to knit it for someone, and Lee and I both agreed that his father would be the perfect recipient.  If he really likes it, I can make the matching scarf next year!


Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, Teal, Royal Purple, and Orange.
Needles: US7/4.5mm
Timeframe: November 24 - December 15, 2010.
Mods: Just one big one.  I picked up the wraps, did the colors how I wanted, and knit the tail as one piece rather than two with seaming.  Check out my Ravelry project for more technical details.
Problems: None.
 I love the eyes on the fish hat - they're so adorable and came out so well!  I am typically very bad at free-form art, though I'm obviously improving on that, as you can see from the perfectly spaced, perfect "X" within a perfect circle of the eyes here, and as you'll see with my Nuno felting post.  I am so, so proud of how well these came out.  I am in no way an artist, not artistic at all, and mostly drawn to not the art but the utility and complexity of knitting and having form follow function rather than having the design be the main goal.  Socks with an interesting construction or pattern that happen to look totally awesome as they warm feet?  Perfect!  A shawl to keep me warm in the winter with an intricate pattern?  Sign me up!  Freeform knitting or crochet?  Not so much.  Painting (other than paint-by-numbers) or embroidery, especially freehanded?  Nope, can't do it!  If you'd asked me a few months ago, I'd've put needle felting and Nuno felting into the can't do it without explicit instructions and a pattern pile, but it seems as though one can, in fact, learn such skills.  Pretty rockin' if you ask me.

It's amazing to me how many different projects I constantly have going on all at once.  I don't just mean the WIP count, where half of them don't get touched, I mean how many projects I work on at the same time.  I started the Christmas Socks on the same day that I started this hat, and blocked them on the same day too, and neither were sitting around waiting for blocking for too long.  I also knit at least one baby bib in that timeframe.  The only reason this one isn't finished on the same day is because it had the extra embellishments of the eyes to deal with.  I knit the first Blue Sock, then knit almost the entire pair of One Sock since they were going quickly (until I lost a needle), as well as most of the Husband Hat before heading back to the Blue Sock.  I know that this is how I work best in every aspect of life, bouncing from one thing to another and then finishing everything all at once at the same time, but it feels less fulfilling since all the successes come as one major success rather than small victories spaced around.  Makes me almost want to start being a bit more project monogamous.

That's probably never going to happen though.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crocheting with Thread

It's actually not bad.  I enjoy it.  My gauge changes wildly however, so if I were to ever do something large out of crochet with thread, I'd have to make sure to have a warm-up project so I could check my gauge before starting on the main one.  I've recently made not only the snowflakes, but a few bookmarks as gifts.  I made one out of the incorrect sized thread before getting correctly sized thread and making a lot more.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace Yarn #20
Hook: Steel US8/1.25 mm
Timeframe: November 10 - 19, 2010
Mods:  None.
Problems: Only reading comprehension and using the wrong yarn to start with.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace Yarn #40
Hook: Steel US8/1.25 mm
Timeframe: November 11 - 19, 2010
Mods:  None.
Problems: None!

They're all stiffened with sugar as per this site's recommendations.  None of them are sticky, and I left the dangly bits dangling.  I did make two more with the correct thread, but sent them off to recipients before realizing I hadn't photographed the rest.  Whoops!  They're all pretty much the same though, not missing much here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Snowflakes!

I made some kinda cheesy little glue gun snowflakes the other day.  This is actually a pretty good project for babysitting, snow days, or just something to do with kids.  Which is why I, an adult, did it all by myself.

All you need is a glue gun, this snowflake printed out at approximately 3" in diameter, glue for your glue gun (preferably sparkly), wax paper, and clear wire (jewelry making or fishing line) to hang them with.

Step 1:  Print out your snowflake and cut it out.  Or, print out a whole bunch on one sheet of paper.  Lay it on the counter, lay some wax paper over it, and tape down the wax paper a bit.  Not too much, you want to be able to move the snowflake pattern under it, so just a small piece of tape on two of the edges is fine.

Step 2:  Using your glue gun with the glitter glue sticks if you can find them, fill in half of the snowflake.  This particular pattern is good because the lines are about the perfect size for filling in with a glue gun.  Fill in only half, starting with the centerline.

Step 3:  Once they are hardened, peel the snowflake halves off of the wax paper.  Run a line of glue along the centerline of one piece, and attach a second at approximately a 60 degree angle.  Do this for all of your pairs, three pairs per snowflake (six halves).

Step 4:  Now glue three snowflake wedges together to form a full snowflake.  Glue a hanging string (clear wire) so you can hang the snowflakes.  Make sure to pull off as many of the stringy bits as you can.  These are great as Christmas gift bobbles, even if they aren't the most amazing of craft projects.

Step 5:  If you are using glitter glue, make sure to run your glue gun until no more glitter comes out.  You don't want to be surprised next time you go to use it.  Make a few more snowflakes, I got two nice lightly-glittered ones and I used the two dark snowflake halves as window stickers.  They stick nicely on their own.

Voila!  Snowflakes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Crocheted Snowflakes

Here's a bunch of FOs:

I made seven large snowflakes and six small.  I diluted some Elmer's glue with water, and learned that it was best to dunk each one in glue, wash of my hands, then pour on some glitter, turn it over and get the other side, and then pin it out.  Trying to glue, glitter, and pin each snowflake separately was a very messy experience.

I think they turned out well.  Most of them I gave to my school's RoboCon team to decorate their robot.  Their robot was Santa-themed, so very Christmasy and I wanted to add to the holiday cheer.  Also, sparkles!  Who can say no to sparkles?!

Pattern: Snowflake Bookmark (Rav), 6 Snowflakes
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace #20
Hook: 1.8 mm/US 6 steel hook
Timeframe: November 12 - 19, they're quick!
Mods: I finished the snowflakes instead of making them into bookmarks.
Problems: None.

Pattern: Lacy and Open Snowflake (Rav), 7 Snowflakes
Yarn: Daiso Cotton Lace #20
Hook: 1.8 mm/US 6 steel hook
Timeframe: November 12 - 19, they're quick!
Mods: None, except changing the hook and thread sizes.
Problems: None.

It gets lost in my current tree, but I love it anyway.  I have one large and one small snowflake hiding amidst the pink ornaments on my little tabletop tree.
RoboCon Robot
 For more info on the RoboCon robot, see the Regionals post and the Nationals post over at my Japan blog.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Down to the wire...

...and I go and do something not-Christmas-gift-related.  I spent an evening making washable pads.  Yes, those things.  I'm serious.  I'm that crunchy granola sometimes.

I've been wanting to make some for years.  I dislike creating waste, and like to find ways to make less of it. This may not be a world-changing act or one that will have a major impact on anything really, but I feel that it's a good thing.  Much more comfortable than disposable alternatives too!


I made them from this site.  I used some bargain-bin fleece, as the only other options were plaids with at least one stripe a shade of puke, and a towel we got when we went to some onsen or other.  My only recommendations are to use the zipper foot when seaming the outside and inside as well as for the topstitching, and to make the wings a bit wider.  Also be absolutely sure the snaps (if you're using them) are secure because that's just not something you want to be worrying about.  I also tried weighting the pattern and using my rotary cutter to cut multiple pieces at once, and let me tell you, that is an awesome, awesome trick for making things like this.  There are two fleece pieces each, so four total, and I cut them all out at once.  There are four towel layers each, and I was able to cut out all eight layers, using up pretty much the entire (very thin) towel, at once as well.  Excellent.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ah, Christmas!

That time of year where the WIP count slowly creeps up, and then shoots back down once I've blocked things.  I was happy with the amount of yarn used, hoping maybe I could get under 40,000 yards of yarn in Japan by the end of the year, and then I realized that I haven't actually put all of my yarn into Ravelry.  Most of it, yeah, but not the stuff that's in my WIP basket (hello 5,000+ yards of WW for a huge blanket), and not the bag o' Patons Classic Wool that I brought back from the US this past summer.  Entering most of that gets me up to 48000 yards, nearly 28 miles of yarn.


I am going through a bit of my roving for Nuno felted scarves.  The plan is to make eight of these as gifts.  Thus far, three are sent out, two are finished, and the final three are designed, but still in component parts.

I'm also working on a bit of baby knitting for my first nephew, since the shower will be roughly a week or two after Christmas.  May as well send it all in one package, even if it does make the Christmas stuff a touch late!  The baby stuff is mostly done since it's mostly easy-peasy don't-need-to-focus knitting.  I finished off some blue recycled cotton that I had no idea what to make with for a baby blanket and a matching burp cloth.  I used up a bunch of kitchen cotton on a few bibs for the baby (and a biscuit blanket I took to a Thanksgiving dinner potluck), and I've got enough leftovers from the first set of Sneaker Booties to make another pair for this little guy.  Lots and lots of presents for the new baby, all patterns I know and love, and only buttons to buy!

Thus far, I've sent out all of my cards, finished the in-laws' gifts and sent all those out, but am a bit behind with my family's presents.  I'm going to blame it on the baby shower gifts.  Even though we all know I'd probably be as behind without those too.

Must get back to knitting!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creepy Critters

Amigurumi are cute, but are usually fairly creepy looking.  Here's an adorable hedgehog pincushion:

Pattern: Waste Yarn Hedgehog
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential (now Stroll) in Black for details, Wild Fire Fibres BFL Sock from the sock club for the face, Madeline Tosh Tosh Sock in Loopy Ewe sock club for the body.
Needles: US1.5/2.5 mm, DPNs
Timeframe: October 2 - 4.
Mods: A few.  I started with the disappearing cast-on in black, CO 4 sts, Round 1: *K1, M1* around, Round 2: *K2, M1* around (12 sts), switch to brown and continue from Row 1 of pattern.
After the first set of increases (work rows 2 - 5), I made French Knot eyes, then switched to the darker color and turned my work so I was knitting on the inside, giving reverse stockinette as the outside.  I followed the directions otherwise, but didn't weave in the ends, just left them inside, and ran the final tail through the live stitches twice to close up.
Problems: None.

I used scraps of what I've already got to knit this adorable little guy.  I think he'll look better with pins in him too.  He's been sent off to a friend who should have him by now and so shouldn't be surprised by this post.

And a not-so-adorable Hedwig-esque amalgamation of patterns:

Pattern: Pocket Animals and Forest Friends (Owl and Robin)
Yarn: Jo-Ann Sensations Angel Hair for the body, Dupont Sayelle gold for the beak and feet, probably Red Heart acrylic for the eyes.
Hook: USF
Timeframe: July 2007 - September 17, 2010 with a hiatus of being in the US while I was in Japan for nearly 2 years.
Mods:  Some.  I crocheted the body as one piece instead of multiple, I crocheted the wings from the Robin pattern, and I didn't make the horns. 
Problems: None really, yarn wasn't the best though!.

For crochet and knitting, the yarn you use can have an effect on the finished product.  Knitting tends to be fairly neutral, depending on your technique, so a neutral yarn, with no inherent twist, is desired.  Crochet tends to induce at least some twist, again depending on your technique, so either a neutral yarn or a yarn with the opposite twist is desired so that you'll have a neutral outcome.  Of course, one can knit or crochet with any yarn one desires, but some yarns create better finished products for some techniques.  The yarn that I used for Hedwig had an inherent twist the same way as the twist I induced, so the wings and tail curl in a not-so-good manner.  A better crocheter may have re-jiggered the second wing to knit backwards so the twist remained the same, but I did not, so have one wing waving hello and one wing beckoning you closer.

Ah well, such is life!

Monday, November 15, 2010

FO: Hanging Towels

I realized that we don't really have hand towels by the kitchen or bathroom sinks when looking at an adorable towel on Ravelry. I then modified the cute pattern to make the towels hanging towels to rectify the lack of hand towels by my sinks:

Pattern: Bubble Up Towel (Ravelry)
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Naturals for the main color, various Lily Sugar & Creams
Needles: US6/4.0 mm US7/4.5 mm
Timeframe: October 17 and 18 - 21, 2010.  Short piece of work, waited on the blocking.
Mods: Quite a few.  CO 36, 4-st garter stitch border, when work is a square, K2, SSK, K to last 4, K2tog, K2 on RS rows, P2, P2tog, P to last 4, P2togtbl, P2 until 12 sts left, K2tog center sts, make bobble in contrasting color, make flap as long as desired with 2-st garter stitch border, make buttonhole by casting off center stitch and then casting on one stitch in the next row, K4 rows, BO.
Problems: None!
These are fairly cute and they match my washcloths.  Simple little knits to wipe your hands on instead of using your jeans!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I keep my knitting group's bag of extras.  Mostly dollar store yarn and project leftovers that are most of a skein, there was some cute #20 cotton crochet thread in there.  I've added quite a bit of my leftovers and unwanted yarns, mostly dollar store stuff, acrylic, and mohair, as I can typically find uses for wools, and don't feel bad grabbing this little 20 gram dollar store yarn for my own purposes.  Especially when those purposes are as nice and pure as a bookmark or two for Christmas and snowflakes to decorate my school's Christmas-themed robot, if in fact there are leftovers.  20g doesn't go very far.

Things were all well and good, I was about to finish the majority of the work on the first bookmark, and I realize I've messed up the directions:

The outside edges of the fans are supposed to join a lower fan.  Less than an hour of work, the first two fans are okay, and I have the pattern memorized.  Not too big a deal.


Except I scoured the directions looking for such a thing because I was sure they joined.  Somehow, I missed it, and only saw it halfway through the seventh of eight fans.  Now I get to rip back to halfway through the third fan.


I'll probably go out and pick up another skein or two of this stuff though to make another bookmark and hopefully get at least three snowflakes, preferably more like ten so the students can keep them at the end and everyone on the team gets one.

But we'll see.  Such things can only be accomplished if I can read directions correctly in the future.  I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I am an official Letterboxer.  I signed up for Atlas Quest, username Shlaci, and found my first letterbox when I was in Tokyo with my in-laws.  There are a few around Tokyo, and I printed out directions to all of them in case we went anywhere that had one.  We visited the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, and there is one letterbox there, the Lotus letterbox:

I used my signature stamp to mark that I was there, and stamped their lotus stamp into my logbook as the first stamp.  Many people have a nice book, but I decided that since I may want to re-order mine by place and I want to be able to bring supplies with me on hikes like the Appalachian Trail (where weight is a big priority), I want a method of recording finds that doesn't take up much space.  I got a small trading card holding binder that comes in a box.  It's perfect for trips where weight isn't a problem, I put folded blank notecards into the slots and can write the name, date, and location of the box on the notecard.  The box holds a small stamp pad and my stamp easily as well.  When weight is an issue, I can take just a handful of notecards, a small stamp pad, and my stamp.  The notecards can be rearranged and I can of course always get better trading card binders or notecard filing systems to keep track of my finds.

Later this month, I'll be traveling to Tokyo for the national RoboCon competition to cheer on our team.  We have a few hours between the bus arriving in Tokyo and the start of the competition, so I'm going to see how many other letterboxes I can cross off my list while I'm there.  I know I'll get the Tokyo Disney one when my family comes to visit, but there are a few others fairly close together near interesting sites or museums that I should be able to get.

Hopefully I'll be able to hit all the ones currently in Japan before I leave!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

FO: Bookmarks

I've knit a few of these guys, and finally knit one for myself:

Yarn: Wister LaLa Baby, Japanese yarn in white
Hook: USE/3.5 mm
Timeframe: June 15 - 17, 2010
Mods: None.  Excellent pattern.
Problems: None!
I also knit up a few for a charity sale we had.  All the money collected went to a local orphanage.  I knit four, but forgot to take a picture of them before they started selling.  Whoops!

Pattern: Spider to Web Bookmark (Ravelry)
Yarn: Wister LaLa Baby, Japanese yarn in white, then off-white.
Hook: USE/3.5 mm
Timeframe: November 2, 2010
Mods: None.  Excellent pattern.
Problems: None!
All four of the bookmarks went, so I was quite pleased.  I do enjoy this pattern, it's so simple and quick and is fairly impressive, I think.

FO: Cusp

Cookie A., my favorite sock designer, is coming out with a new book.  It's called Knit.Sock.Love., and will be available in a couple of weeks.  It's up for pre-order now, and you can get a PDF version at a much lower price if you pre-order it with the book.  Highly recommended!

Okay, back to the topic at hand.  For her book, I was able to test knit one of the new socks, Cusp.  This is a great sock pattern, really simple and quick compared to many of her designs, and perfect for some gorgeous Indigo Moon I had on hand:

Pattern: Cusp, size L
Yarn: Indigo Moon West Coast Musings in West Coast Sunset.
Needles: US1.5/2.5mm DPNs.
Timeframe: July 3 - 8, 2010 for the first one, October 17 - November 1, 2010 for the second.
Mods: None!
Problems: None!

I do love Cookie A.'s patterns and can't wait to see the new book.  I've got it pre-ordered and I'm getting the PDF too.  This one was a really quick knit with interesting gusset construction.It is not particularly flattering to my ankles, but is a cool design nonetheless.  It may live on my sock blockers more often than on my feet!

Friday, November 5, 2010

FO: Amethyst Wrap

This next project also had a two year lag while waiting for more yarn.  I did in fact get more yarn, but whether it was the change in dye lot, the change in needles (I used Addis instead of my Boyes since I now have an Addi Turbo Lace in US4) or something else, there is a definite change to the pooling from one set of yarn to the next.

Pattern: Amethyst Wrap
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential/Stroll Multi in Peacock Multi, 4 skeins.
Needles: US4/3.5mm Boye Interchangeables then Addi Turbo Lace
Timeframe: August 12, 2008 - November 1, 2010.  Hibernation waiting for yarn for two years, then waiting for a block for a month.  Poor wrap.
Mods: None.
Problems: None.  The not-quite-consistency of the pooling annoyed me, but it still looks great and I'll use it.

Initially, I had two skeins of the Peacock Multi so figured I'd give it a go with those.  This was a test pattern, so I fulfilled the general requirements of making sure the pattern works and all, and was able to say how much 1/2 the recommended yarn got you.  At that point, it was a pretty cool table runner, but I'd much prefer a wrap that can double as a scarf.  I love the colors, and while my aunt may have been interested in using it as a table runner, I wanted this one for myself!

Before Lee assisted my photo efforts
I purchased some additional yarn while in the US so brought that and the hibernating wrap back to Japan.  I managed to finish nearly all of the knitting while on flights to a conference in Slovakia.  It also waited for over a month to be totally finished with those projects I swore I'd have finished soon.  One of which is still not done.  However, it will be warm and wonderful when it is finished, that darn Bramblewood Vest that is oh-so-close.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

FO: Caroline

Here's the first of a few finished object posts.  I had a blocking session the other day, so I've finished a few things that were hanging around.  First off, a cute hat that I can wear now that it's getting chilly out:

Pattern: Caroline, size L
Yarn: Peru DK Luxury in Purple, 2 skeins.
Needles: US4/3.5mm Addi Turbo Lace and DPNs.
Timeframe: October 3 - November 1, 2010.  One (long) day of knitting, one day of blocking and ribbon making, procrastination in between.
Mods: Slightly fewer rows per inch, so knit 5.5" brim instead of 6" and I love it!
Problems: None.  I think it's a tad larger than desired, but the small likely would have been too small, so no real complaints.

I've had this hat and the yarn to knit in in my queue for quite some time.  I finally took the yarn and pattern to RoboCon, a robotics competition my students were involved in, and knit it entirely during the competition and bus ride home.  It just had to wait awhile to get blocked and be-ribboned.  Mostly, I wanted to block a few things at once, and had enough projects in the "almost there!" stage of knitting where you're close but not really and it takes longer than you think but you're so optimistic you'll finish them this week that I waited until I did, in fact, finish a couple more of those items.  Which you'll see shortly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We've recently had our school festival, so here's my arrangement:

Every so often, every student puts their weekly arrangement on display for the school.  There's always arrangements in certain areas, and here was mine this year:

And here are a few more I've had throughout the year.  I really haven't been showing them off, but there've been a few good ones:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have stamp carving supplies, and while I don't typically have a reason to carve stamps, I've carved a couple that I haven't yet shown off.

This one is for a friend.  We'd talked about letterboxing at one point, and she has quite a few sites near her, so I made what I thought would be a pretty good signature stamp for her to letterbox with:

She's from the Northeast but lives and works in Florida, so the combination of Mickey and a snowflake seemed pretty good.  I printed out the pattern and used the tracing paper to transfer the pattern to the rubber blank, then carved it out.  It came out pretty well for my second stamp ever!

For my third stamp, I made myself a letterboxing signature stamp.  Like everyone, when I'm bored in class, I've doodled from time to time.  Since I was little, I've doodled a specific dragon, not a traditional dragon in any mythology really, but my personal doodle.  Therefore, this particular doodle, being fairly small and fairly easy to recreate and fairly unique, would become my personal signature stamp, along with the kanji for my name:

I very much enjoy carving stamps.  They really don't take much time at all.  I'm definitely going to place a stamp or two in Kanazawa, in Kenroku-en, the famous local garden, and maybe in another famous place or two, but probably just there.  I may also place stamps in a couple other places around Japan, say, at the three famous mountains or the other two of the three famous gardens.  We've already climbed Mt. Fuji, and I'm not sure if I'll get to the other two gardens again, but if I do, I'll have to plant boxes.

Anyone else have stamp ideas they need carved up?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back in Black!

Yes, they did in fact have black elastic, and I did in fact get some.

In keeping with my last-minute finishes, I finished my Blaze about five minutes before walking out the door to a Halloween dinner.  Wearing it.  I left my knitting scissors at home during an earlier train ride, so was unable to run the elastic through the tops of my knee socks before wearing them out, but since they only fall when walking and we'd be mostly sitting, I wore them anyway.  Made quite a cute Halloween outfit!

Not so good picture, but the best of the sweater and socks

Now for a major washing/blocking session, washing my well-used Rogue and blocking (read: finishing!) my Caroline hat, Amethyst Wrap, Cusp socks (from Cookie A.'s soon-to-be-released Knit.Sock.Love), and Blaze.  The Caroline hat will still need a ribbon, so will need a bit of work when it's dry before it's really done, but this brings my yearly total of projects up to 50 finishes, of course in a year that I don't set any goals for myself and assume that with two queen-sized blankets, I'll have a smaller than usual count.  Not that I'm complaining!  I should have at least a few Christmas presents (Nuno scarves, socks, and Pocket Creatures) as well as a pair of gloves and a work vest or two done by the end of the year, so the total may well in fact pass 60.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Now with (somewhat) Less Fail!

I finished the Laceless Millicents, and promptly wore them.  I also learned that my calves seem to be an inch smaller in circumference than when I started the socks.  I'm wondering if I'd mis-measured by about 1/4 inch, then rounded up, and have lost a bit of girth, or maybe I was measuring some odd way?  Either way, the socks are adorable, but they don't stay up.  So, I got elastic cording to run through the 1x1 ribbing at the top, and now just need to run that through and photograph it.  I just realized, I purchased white elastic...I wonder if they had black elastic and I just got the white anyway, or if they didn't have black elastic and I wasn't quite as much of an idiot, buying white elastic to run through black socks where it may show up...

I fixed the Bramblewood, got a bit further, did the other armhole edging with US8 and that fits well.  Now I need to rip out the first one and re-do it.  I've also got to decide what size to do the neckline in, either the US8 or US6.  I suppose I could split the difference with a US7...I may do that.  I'm waiting until it's a bit further along, say, at the hip increases, and with the two armholes finished so I can try it on and decide how tight the neckline should be.  I'm also lowering the decreases to 10" from the original 6".  If I were to increase at six inches, I'd be increasing at my waist, and that's just not right.  10" should do me just fine, and the total length seems like it will be good too.  Of course, I won't know until I'm there, but it's all looking great so far!

I'm working on the second of a pair of socks I can't show off yet as my walking about project, since my Millicents are finished.  No pictures of those for awhile.  Because yeah, with the amount of pictures I take on a regular basis, that'll be a hardship, right?

I'm about to switch off from the Bramblewood vest to Blaze, a sweater that was on hold in the US for the last couple of years that as of this weekend will be with me and there will be enough yarn to finish it up.  The sleeves are joined, the underarm seams are seamed, all I've got left is a few inches of yoke and the neckline.  It's so close and such a great orange color that I'm hoping to finish it up in the next week so it's ready for Halloween.  It'll look adorable with my Millicents and a nice black skirt...Fingers crossed!

Official UFO
Nearly complete!

Of course, with my interchangeable needles, I'm using nearly all the cords again, and even have quite a few projects on thread or Addis instead of the Boye cords.  That's what I want for my birthday, extra cords!  Actually, I probably shouldn't get them, it's one of the ways I keep my knitting in check.  Somewhat.  I'll be switching the Bramblewood vest to the string currently holding Blaze, then back again.  I've got at least ten hours of train riding this weekend, hopefully I can get it most of the way there, if not totally finished!

I'm over 20 projects again.  However, that will change the minute I block stuff, as one project only needs a block, one project needs a block and a ribbon, one just needs ends woven in and a block, and another one should be finished tonight, and will then just need ends woven in and to be blocked.  I have so much knitting I want to do!  I'm in "finish yarn" mode, wanting to finish projects already on the go and make all the projects I have yarn for, starting with the bulkier yarns.  Hence the Bramblewood vest and the kitchen towels.  Next up will be a re-do of the Green Day Vest, hopefully one that will fit this time!

I've been spinning a bit too, and while it's not quite at the point where I want to take a picture of the yarn on the bobbin, I've about got one bobbin done in plain white Correidale, no real technique to speak of, a highly generic beginner's yarn, that will end up being a 3-ply and hopefully knit up fairly bulky.  I want to knit the Wave Hello Cardigan (Ravelry only), a pattern to be released late November, I believe, with it.  I think it's a good pattern with just enough interesting detail to look great with some bulky handspun .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fail Week

This week, my knitting has been full of fail.  Epic levels of fail.  Okay, not epic.  But fail nonetheless.

First off, I brought my work vest, hopefully the first of a few this year, to my knitting group on Monday.  I'm working on a Bramblewood, fairly simple, worsted weight yarn so fairly quick, free pattern, and uses up some 3+ year stash yarn, win-win-win-win-win.  I was working on the I-cord edging for the armholes so I could maximize yarn.  Also, this way I was able to leave the yarn attached and not have multiple ends to weave in and was really slick about it.  However, in following the directions and switching to a US6 from a US8 for the edging, I made it entirely too small.  I can in fact fit it up on my arm, but add a shirt and I'm sure the circulation would be cut off by the end of the day.

Bramblewood Fail

Next fail was the second laceless Millicent Sock by Cookie A.  The first sock is lovely, finished, though I may run some elastic through the top as it fits amazingly but is tall enough to want to sag a bit during use.  I found this out while wearing it all evening after finishing it, with one leg of my lounge pants rolled up to show it off all night.  Lee thought I was hilarious and insane.  Anyway, the second sock.  I made it to the heel turn, and realized that I had two more stitches on the purl side than the knit side, and followed the directions correctly.  Crap.  In looking more closely at the heel flap, I realized that I had only 42 stitches, and while that may be the answer, it was not the number I was looking for in this case.  Rip and re-do.  In some cases I may have fudged it, but with this pattern, that was not something I wanted to do.  I hate messing up a heel flap, mine are always 48 rows due to my high instep instead of the typical 30 - 40.

Now with correct heel flap!

Finally I (hopefully) finished up my week of fail with another error on the Bramblewood vest.  You can see this one in the picture, kind of.  The final set of cables, at the widest point, is supposed to have an odd row where you knit the knits and purl the purls, and I went right on to cabling back towards the center.  So, instead of a lovely curve, there's a point.  I was considering ripping down and re-doing only the cabled panels, but I think it'll look better in the end and be less of a hassle to just rip the whole thing back and re-do.  It's all in the round with stockinette in between the panels, so not that big.  Three inches is kind of annoying though, even if it is in worsted weight yarn with only six rows to the inch!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I made a lovely dinner and just wanted to share.  First off, my chicken was browned so nicely that I had to take pictures:

I made Chicken Parm-ish.  No real cheeses to speak of, so I shake some canned Parm over the chicken before putting the sauce on it, then sprinkle some shredded cheese product over the top.  Pretty good for Japan.  The nice browning of the chicken made me very happy.

Secondly, I made Apple Pie-rate Ships for dessert.  They were quite delicious, though a bit more work than I'd do on a regular basis, and went over quite well:

I'm pretty sure I'll end up making these again, just not any time soon.  The color would likely have been better had I actually used the recommended egg wash, but that was just one step further than I was interested in going.  I made apple crisp the next day with the leftover apple filling.  I could have put more into the pies, but I didn't want to overfill them so I skimped.  The apple crisp was delicious though!