Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Post Today

Ooo boy are you folks in for a picture treat today. I've been busy since my last post.

On the knitting front, I did finish the collar for my sweater, but it's too big. By a lot. So I've decided that I'm going to figure out how I need to make it smaller, frog it, and reknit it to the proper size. Damson is out of hibernation, and I have counted, tinked, counted, tinked, and counted it back to the correct number of stitches and am successfully working through the stocking stitch border. It looks like a scrunched mess right now, but I'm confident that it will be completed before the end of the month.

I tried some more natural dyeing this past week using purple cabbage. I went from this:

to this:

And then, after over 24 hours in the dye (plus 6 hours in the mordant bath) and several heatings, I ended up with two skeins of this:

Yep, the yarn took up none of the dye. I was assured by a book that this would work. The two skeins are currently dripping in my shower, and I'll dye them over in the future, probably with Wilton's.

Yesterday I almost died in the wilderness. Ok, so that's an exaggeration, but there was quite a bit of back and foot pain involved when I went for a hike. I did get some lovely photos, though.

Tonight's sunset was also the subject of some photos.

I'm hoping to take some of my photographs and translating them into paintings. I've recently rekindled my interest in the Impressionist period, specifically in Vincent van Gogh, who is my favorite painter of all. I went a little crazy at the library today, getting books and DVDs on Impressionists and how-to paint. I'm going to do some more reading before I jump in, but I've already picked up my basic supplies so that when I do go to start, I don't have to postpone anymore.

And finally, my little local yarn store has started carrying Malabrigo. I got bitten by the Malabrigo Bug years ago, but kept it under control through distance. I stopped by today to see what she'd gotten in, and two skeins followed me home.

The color way of this yarn is "Hummingbird" and it reminds me of van Gogh's night time works (there was some worked up at the shop).

I've decided to save the pictures of my finished items from my January challenge until the end of the month. I think it will be a nice way to wrap up my personal challenge.

That's all until next time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Twice in One Month!

I finally finished one of my projects left over from 2010!! Last night I bound off for my Valium Bandit. I don't have pictures yet, though, because I need to block it, which requires a soak in the washer, which is tied at the moment. I'll post pictures of that once it's dry.

I've also made progress on two of my sewing projects. First my coat, which now needs only the sleeves hemmed and the buttons sewn on, and second my brown and teal dress, which only needs the arm hole finishing.

My NaKniSweMo sweater is next, assuming I can find the !!!!!! two balls of yarn that I bought extra to finish it off. Luckily I know where they aren't, due to an ill conceived notion to air out my stash.

I think I've decided that this is roughly 2/3 of my stash, but there is a distinct possibility that it's more like 1/2. Also, it's very hard to get my whole bed in the frame due to lack of space issues in here.

For this pictures, I cleared out my storage ottoman. But if you ask Westley, I cleaned it out for a different reason.

And finally, I learned a new technique at my ASG meeting on the 8th: sashiko (a style of Japanese embroider). It was even a hands on meeting.

I did that during the meeting. I usually hate hand sewing, but this was lots of fun. So much so that I got a book from the library and have traced out my next design.

Cause I needed another hobby.

I've even worked on my thesis, and have more work scheduled. So far 2011 is off to a positive start. Until next time be safe, keep warm, and stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking Stock

It's my first post of 2011.

I'm not a huge believer in new year's resolutions. I don't sit down and make a list with "lose 20 pounds" or "get organized" or "knit the great american sweater." Those are vague and set up for almost immediate failure. However, I am a big believer in starting as you wish to go on, and so I try to spend each January breaking bad habits from the year before. By baddest habit from 2010 was eating out too much (especially across the street at the Mexican restaurant) because I never went shopping with a list, and therefore never procured any food fit for lunch or dinner for more than one night. So this year I'm breaking that habit and replacing it with meal planning, grocery lists, and home cooked meals complete with sides. My grandmother gave me her old miniature food processor, complete with the shredder/slicer blade, and I've used it 3 times already this year.

The second bad habit I'm working to break is inactivity. Towards this end I'm enrolled this quarter in Taiji (more commonly but incorrectly, it turns out, known as Tai Chi) and Ballroom Dance I. For one hour each day, four days a week, I will be engaged in some sort of physical activity. I'm especially excited about the Taiji. It's very centering, the way Aikido used to be for me, and is going to be great for toning my lower body.

Another thing I'm keen on in January is finishing up any projects left over from the year previous. Procrastination is something I've worked against my whole life, and I'll leave a project left undone forever if I don't make an effort to get it done. 2010 seems to have left more projects unfinished than years previous. Currently there is:

Damson (counting issues, garter section done, needs border)
Valium Bandit (working on edge chart)
NaKniSweMo sweater (collar needs frogging and re-knitting, 2 seams)
Percy (stalled in second repeat of chart B)
Knitter's Carry-All Bag (needs handles, pocket lining, interfacing, and putting together)
Plaid Coat (sleeves hemmed, buttons and button holes)
Brown and Teal Sundress (hem at bottom and arm holes)
Maroon Sweatshirt (front facings, sleeve treatment, button, snaps, neck treatment)
Thesis (redo data analysis, write last 2 chapters, revise, revise, revise, defend).

That's 5 knitting, 4 sewing (the bag gets counted as both), and one thesis. I'll feel very accomplished if I finish all but Percy and my thesis (I'm not really aiming to be done with my thesis by the end of January, but I will hopefully be in the "revise revise revise" stage). I also have a TSP (top secret project) that I started on the 31st. I wasn't going to start anything new, but NOTHING on that list is appropriate for bus/travel knitting.

Now, on to some pictures. First, pictures from my trip to Texas. Mom and I spent my last day there (the 30th) at two of the university's art museums. One had an exhibit "Turner to Monet" and the other was "The Language of Photography." Pictures were allowed at neither exhibit. However, in the first museum pictures were OK outside of the traveling exhibit, and downtown Austin has some magnificent architecture.

Both Westley and I traveled to Texas for 10 days (+2 for travel). He had lots of fun once we managed to get down there. The windows were particularly fun.

My parents have a cat, Betty Boop, who is much shyer than my big pirate. She wasn't too thrilled about having her house commandeered.

I also finally got my package from the Buffy Swap I participated in back in October.

The last picture is for the witch PEZ dispenser that I forgot to put in the full picture. And yes, Angel's nose comes off (with velcro).

That's all I've got for this post. I'm also working on breaking my bad habit of not posting for long stretches. We'll see how that goes.