30 April 2010

Birthday Business

As I've mentioned before, I belong to Ravelry, and recently participated in a birthday swap. My swap buddy sent me a package that arrived on Monday, but I waited till Thursday to open it, and this is what was inside:

There's all kinds of good stuff. I got two different kinds of yarn, a sock pattern book, some tea, a handmade ceramic vase, a handmade ear warmer, some notecards, a bookmark, a photo album, and a Razorbacks keychain. All things that I will enjoy using.

As I was putting some things away I discovered a couple of things that I had intended to put in Merideth's box but forgot. I'll send them off tomorrow and throw in these, too.

I'll have them done by this evening because the finger, it's healing up nicely.

21 April 2010

(Wo)Man Down

WARNING: This post contains medical content that may be disturbing for some viewers. If you are sensitive about blood and whatnot, it would be best that you turn away now.

I am a member of Ravelry, the online knitting and crocheting equivalent of Facebook. One of the features of the website is that you can join any number of groups, where you can discuss things with like minded knitters. I am a member of several, one of which is the 2010 Birthday Swap group. Once you join, you are matched up with someone who has a birthday near yours, then you buy each other small gifts and swap them. Since my birthday, and my partner's birthday are both on the same day next week, I've been picking out things to send her.

One of the required elements of the package is that you include something you make yourself. My buddy said that she would like to get some stitch markers, so I took a careful look at some of mine, and decided that I could probably make some for her.

I went out to Googly Eyes and Other Supplies (Daughter's name for Michaels) and picked up all the necessary bits and pieces that I needed. I sat down last night after dinner and started putting them together and got this far:

As you can see, I managed to put together some passable, if slightly large, stitch markers with the few tools I had at hand. The technique I used was to load up some beads on a headpin, run that through the stitch marker loop, twist the headpin, then snip it off to the correct length. I got all of the beads strung and the initial twists made when I discovered that my snippers were in the basement. I didn't feel like going to the basement, so I just grabbed my scissors and used them. This worked well for the first 2, but then came the third one and the medical incident.

Had I gone to the basement and gotten my snippers, I would have been able to trim off the little excess bits of wire from a nice safe distance. Using the scissors I had to hold things in a somewhat awkward position, which resulted in this:

On the left is the stitch marker, and on the right is a sizable piece of my left index finger. In fact if you click on the picture to make it bigger you can clearly see my fingerprints. 12 hours and 3 bandaids later it seems to have stopped bleeding, but it is causing a major knitting issue. I can make a knit stitch with very little pain because the yarn moves across the upper part of my index finger, but when I purl it seems that I use my index finger in just exactly the wrong place to move the yarn on the needles.

So unless someone can suggest a knit-only pattern that I'd enjoy, the knitting world will be one woman down until some healing occurs.

14 April 2010

Time Out

This weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning. On Saturday I did a major job of spring cleaning in the dining room which involved recycling a huge amount of paperwork, and going through Daughter's craft area and getting rid of all of the stuff that she hasn't used in years. To top off the 5 hours of cleaning I spent 30 minutes on hands an knees with a bucket and a rag scrubbing the hardwood floor.

On Sunday I thought about doing the living room, but instead I cleaned out the front closet, then for fun I thought I would work on "the basket." It's the basket I keep in the living room where I put things that I'm taking a break from working on. In theory it's just a place for them to rest a while, but in reality it's usually a one way trip. Things go in but they don't often come out again. I decided that maybe I should try the "Finish it or Frog it" technique. The idea is that you either pull something out and work till it's finished, or you pick something out and turn it back into a ball of yarn.

The first step was to clean out the basket and sort things.

Clockwise from the lower left are: the Hockey Wallaby, a Vest, some socks and a sweater for the donate pile, a sweatercoat (in the basket), some donateable yarn, and some yarn to return to its rightful place in the stash room. D'art decided that this would be the best time to help me by making it impossible to put anything else in the basket.

I decided that the first thing that would get finished should be the Hockey Wallaby. Especially since the Blackhawks played their final regular season game against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon. It was a fairly quick game, relatively speaking, even though it took an overtime for the Red Wings to finally win. During the course of the game I made this:

That would be the second sleeve. This sweater should be done very soon, then I think it will be on to the sweater-coat which, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say, need only the button band. The sweater itself is done and already sewn together. What's even more distressing is that it's been done for at least 3 years. It's not in my Ravelry database, and I started that in September of 2007. As soon as I finish the Hockey Wallaby the sweater-coat is up. I wonder if it's even still in style?

04 April 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. As I write this I'm sitting on a lawn chair in the back yard after having first cooked Easter dinner, then cleaned up the kitchen afterward. I had my English Breakfast tea, and my Iced Tea, so that plan is still on schedule. As I sit here and enjoy the lovely weather and gentle breeze, I can see all kinds of plants that have gotten a good start on the year.

The first flowers I have every year are the flowers on my Vinca. They are one of the signs of spring that I look for each year.

The second one that shows up is usually the Muscari.

Pulmonaria showed up next. This one is Daughter's favorite because the flowers turn from pink to purple.

And today's newest addition is the Jack Frost Brunnera.

These all tie in very nicely with the latet shipment I received from Blue Moon containing a skein of yarn called Wild Irishgirlie, and two patterns.

I chose the one called Slip Jig, and I've finished the first sock. The pattern was easy to memorize so it went fairly quickly.

Here's a close-up of the cuff pattern...

How's that for some nice Easterish color?

03 April 2010

The Saturday List

Tomorrow is Easter. The end of Lent. Time for celebration. Time for the subject of my list, and my plan for tomorrow.

1. For breakfast I'll have 2 or 3 cups of English Breakfast while I eat a mountain of candy breakfast.

2. For lunch I'll have a glass or two of LiptoComment iced tea. I made that this evening so it'll be nice and chilly by noon tomorrow.

3. In the afternoon I'll take a walk on the wild side and have some fully caffeinated estate tea.

4. And to finish off the day, a little Vanilla Nut just before bed time.

I hope everyone has a joyful Easter, and enjoy a cup of tea while you're at it.