Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's so itchy

I have an itch. A terrible, horrible itch. And no matter, not matter how much I scratch it, it won't go away.

I have an itch to knit baby things.

I don't know where this itch came from. It hit me about a month ago, and it won't go away! I want to knit tiny baby socks, and little baby cardigans, and small little baby toys that will be grabbed by tiny baby hands. And the worst part? There are no babies in my life!

It's almost cruel.

My best friends Katie, who is currently expecting boy #3 lives in Australia, so I can't knit baby things for her. My other best friend doesn't want another kid for a long, long time so she's out of the picture. A acquaintance/friend of mine is pregnant with child #2, but I never saw child #1 wear the cardigan I made for him, so I feel like knitting something for the second kid is going to be a waste of my time. Any other friends that I think would be knit-wroth is not having kids...I'm screwed.

I've been trying to scratch this baby-knitting-itch with other new projects, or by picking up projects I haven't worked on in months or years; like the lace stole I have about 25% done. Or the  worsted weight scare blanket that I've been working on since 2012. But picking these things up only satisfied me for a little bit....and then I want to knit little bitty things again.

Someone knit-worthy, who lives close to me, seriously needs to have a baby soon. I wonder if my Mom would be up for it...

Oh hey, this is still here!

Imagine my surprise when I flipped through my bookmarks today and saw this thing! Like finding a journal from high school tucked under your bed; just not nearly as painful to read through.

When I last left you I was a knitting college student. Now I'm a knitting paralegal. I finished college and am employed at the law firm where I did my internship. It's a great firm to work for, and I love my co-workers. Did I mention that I was hired right after doing my internship? Yeeeaaaah, pretty friggen great.

Does it give me more time to knit and spin? No. Have I finished ANY of the projects that I started at the beginning of the year? No.

In January 2013 I started a pair of socks that had little fishes all over them. They're supposed to be fish-argyle socks, but I refuse to attach a new color for the argyle stripe every 3 rows...that amount of weaving in I'd have to do would do me in. I'll add them as duplicate stitch instead....I'll revisit that thought later.

Remember the Tunic that I wrote about? I'm still on the decreases with that one. That's right, haven't even gotten to the body portion yet! And the thing is already really big at the bottom still. Like wear-it-with-my-little-sister kind of big. The ladies at my knitting group have said that the pictures look like the bottom is supposed to be bigger and flare out a little bit, so like an idiot I'm forging along anyways. We'll see how this develops.

I've completed one, count them ONE, skein of yarn that has been on my bobbins for almost a year now. It's boring brown and doesn't have much yardage to it...I think it's because I used most of the roving for something else...oh well. I'm working on "Three Feet of Sheep" roving right now for my Mom. It's a three-foot tube of merino roving, split into 8 differently colored balls. Instead of getting fancy and complicated I'm simply spinning from the top down. So far on the bobbin is a creamy pastel off pink color, a light pink color, a dark pink color, and now pastel purple.  Also on a bobbin is some red/orange/pink merino that I've been working on since Spring; but at least that one is getting done...slowly but surely.

And I don't even want to talk about the other projects that have been in my WIP baskets...since 2012. I feel a bit ashamed about that actually. For 2015 my goal is to finish all the WIP's that I have going right now, and then I'll pull out some of the bigger things that I've been wanting to make. Hey, maybe if I make myself give small monthly updates, via picture progress, I'll actually get them done! Sure that will be easier then posting regular random things....surely.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hello, my name is Nici and I'm a liar

Remember how I said I would update this more frequently? And you guys would actually hear from me more then quarterly? And remember how posting tutorials might be my thing, so I have to write to you guys? Remember all that?

Yeah....sorry.

I partly blame the fact that there is nothing exciting going on in my life. At least nothing that I feel I should write about excessively. For the most part it's school, work, school, work, home renovations, school, more work, knit (hahahahahahahhaha!!!) and school.

I actually haven't even gotten all that much knitting or spinning done in the last couple of months. Why? because it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do so with my current boyfriend. I could get more knitting done with a toddler, or a bag full of wet kittens. If we aren't doing something around the house, then he wants snuggles and cuddles and lovin's. Which I'm totally okay with, but sometimes I just want to knit! I miss my stash.

So I've started going to a knitting group that isn't too far way from my house. It meets up once a week, and sometimes I make it and other times I don't. The last two nights we had date night at the same time that knit group happened, and I'd rather romp around Tacoma having fun and making memories. But if we have nothing planned, I'm planning on being there.
It will probably also be the only place where I'll get any knitting done. Go figure.

I started this tunic a month ago, and I've been knitting the same 8mm ever since then. What I mean is that I keep messing up and having to start over. Let me outline it for you:
  1. Swatch to make sure gauge is right, then eagerly grab new ball of yarn to get going.
  2. Cast on not enough stitches and run out of tail.
  3. Cast on stitches again, have too much tail, but don't care and tuck tail away instead.
  4. Knit 8 mm and find out that your gauge is off. Instead of 20sts/4" we're getting 21sts/4"...not a huge difference, until you take into account the 37 3/4" you're working with.
  5. Rip everything out, swatch with a smaller needle size.
  6. Discover you're now knitting at 19sts/4", say screw it and cast on anways.
  7. Knit the small size 'cause the medium size was too big. You want a tunic, not a tent.
  8. Knit the first 8 rows, try to untwist the knitting, discover in horror you twisted the stitches somewhere along the way, and nothing is going to untwist them.
  9. Rip out everything in a angry, mumbling fury of string.
  10. Pick up the 216 stitches you need. AGAIN! and begin knitting AGAIN! in what you're hoping is going to be a correct manner.
  11. Check the twist of the stitches every 2 inches until you're satisfied that you're knitting is not twisted somewhere along the way, and maybe this time you'll make actual progress.
  12. Put knitting down and don't look at it for a week.
And that is where we are now. I got a row in yesterday while BF was watching a show on Netflix he's been wanting to check out for months. Sitting on the couch with gray yarn in my lap was a nice change. Maybe I should find more intriguing TV shows on Netflix for him to "find".

Speaking of getting knitting done, I have one more hour before BF get's home, and I'm mostly finished with my homework...so if you'll excuse me...*dashes to her stash*

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tutorial and...update?

Seriously, I swear. I just haven't had much desire to do a whole lot of blogging lately, to be honest with you lovely people. And honestly, not a whole lot has gone on around here that would require a update.

I've mostly been concentrating on school work these past couple of months (read, I've been thinking about concentrating on school work but instead sit on you tube for hours before realizing I have something due in three hours and work like a maniac to finish it) And spinning has taken a huge back seat lately. Buggy has even been in the closet for the last few months, just sitting there with some pretty roving on the bobbins.

Although I did learn how to make wine bottle lamp shades, so that's pretty awesome. Since I have nothing else to talk about today, I suppose I'll give you all a quick tutorial on how to make one yourself. Maybe that will be a thing for me...a monthly tutorial....ooohhh, there's a thought. Anywho.

To start you'll need the following items:
- An empty bottle (I used beer as a tester 'cause it was easier to screw up)
- A glass cutter + cutting oil (find them on the internet, the cheapest shouldn't cost you more then $10)
- Gas
- String
- A lighter (one of those long ones...seriously)
- A bucket full of water (You'll thank me later)
- Safety glasses ('cause you know, when setting things on fire, safety is our number one priority)
- Marker
- Measuring Tape

That's right, I said gas. You can find the same tutorial using nail polish remover, which I tried, and it didn't work. Maybe it was the type of remover I was using, But I found that the remover mostly bunt too quickly and not hot enough. So that sucked. Feel free to try the nail polish remover and if it doesn't work for you upgrade to gas.

Step 1: Tie the string snuggly around the bottom of the bottle you're going to cut. You want the string on the bottle tightly, but not so tight that you can't slide it off again. Cut the string and slide it off  the bottle.

Step 2: Using a marker and the measuring tape, mark a line around the bottle from the bottom up. This way you'll know exactly where to put the string again before you set it on fire.

Step 3: Soak the string in some gas or nail polish remover. I recommend using gloves when your doing this. Mostly so your fingers don't smell like gas. On seconds though, you might want to wear gloves the whole time you're doing this. Just so, you know, you don't hurt yourself. Then slide the string back onto the bottle over the marker line you created in Step 2.

Step 4
Step 3 alternative: Alternatively, and this is what I ended up doing, slide the string back onto the bottle over the marker line you created in step 2. Take a spray bottle filled with Gas (like the one I used) and lightly spray the string. Once it's saturated, wipe up any gas that is on the bottle with a throw away rag.

Step 4: Put your safety glasses on. Grab the bottle by the neck and hold it over the prefilled water bucket. Taking your lighter (the long one) and set the string on fire.

Step 5: While your bottle is on fire (okay, that sounds really bad) rotate the bottle slowly. You basically what the fire to go around the string. Rotate the bottle until the fire goes out by itself.

Step 7
Step 6: Place the bottom of the bottle into the bucket of water. You'll probably hear crackling as the glass splits. That's fine. Lightly tap the bottom of the bottle, and it should pop right off.

Step 7: Clean the bottle, and use a file to smooth away any sharp edges that you may have. Because I have a glass grinder at home, I just used that to smooth out the edges, so I can't really recommend a good inexpensive alternative.

Step 8: Now the fun and not so dangerous part begins. once you have the bottom taken off your bottle you can use glass paints to decorate your bottle any way you want. I used Gallery Glass paints to draw on mine. They come in little 2oz bottles and can be bought at any Michaels craft store. The best part about these paints is that you can make little window clings with them and add decorations to just about flat surface.

Mind you, after making the lamp and decorating it, I don't know how to turn it into an actual lamp.
Finished Bottle Lamp
I'm assuming you can purchase the set up for the light bulbs at any home depot, or Lowes but I haven't gotten that far yet. So, ya know, you're on your own with that last part.

So I know it says up in that title that there will be an update, but seriously I can't think of anything. I've been on a couple of tiny trips, but other then school work and regular work, I haven't done anything else. \

Hopefully you guys will get a more exiting update eventually. Maybe.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finally cott-on

Alright, so as plays-on-words go, this one might not be the best. But I tried, okay?

It's time for the Tour de Fleece again, and this time I'm sorta participating. In a nutshell, the Tour de Fleece is a challenge given to spinners all over the place to spin some yarn every day that the Tour de France happens. They spin bicycle wheels, we spin spinning wheels.
You can join a "team" or start your own with friends. In the "teams" you can chat with others people and show off your progress photos. And of course get motivated to actually spin the whole month that the Tour de France goes on.

I'm part of the Rookie team, not that I've talked much to people or even posted a single picture, and a Ravelry friend of mine started an impromptu Slacker team that I've joined with her. So far I'm less of a Slacker then I thought I would be. I spun  a whole 10 minutes on the 29th (the start of the Tour) a whole 10 minutes on the 30th, and a whopping 30 minutes on the 1st. I.Was.On.FIRE! After that my spinning was interrupted by camping vacations, by school obligations, and by general laziness.

The personal challenges I set for myself were 1) spin cotton, 2) try core-spinning. I started working on the cotton first and after failing miserably at my wheel, I tried it on one of the spindles (after running to the Slacker group and asking for advice and getting a link to some instructions of course). And I'm happy to say that it actually works. 

I also spun up two core-spun yarns, and they turned out pretty nicely. One of my Ravelry friends was amazing enough to send me some over-twisted core yarn and a small batt to play with. I loved the colors of the bat and was kind of disappointed when the core-spun yarn didn't turn out quite that pretty. But after I realized that I could pull the batt apart into two color sections I liked the colors quite a bit more.

The second core-spun yarn is the Norwegian wool that Mom dyed for me, flecked with some blue felting wool. They are little packets of wool that Michaels sells for felting projects, but they worked great as accept colors. I even threw some beads onto the core thread and incorporated them into the yarn.

I even finished a spinning WIP and am plying it right now. I'd like to think that I was rather productive during this tour. I've learned some new techniques, I've seen some amazing yarns, and I've met some new friends. And hopefully next year's Tour will be just as productive for me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What the Early Learning Center has taught me...

During spring quarter I'm working at the Early Learning Center on the TCC campus as part of work study. It's basically a day care center while parents go to classes. Here is what I've learned so far:

1) Children apparently run on ranch dressing.
2) 2-3 year old's have an amazing imagination
3) 2-3 year old's suck at following directions when there is more then one child within a one mile radius
4) Ranch is a bitch to get off plates
5) Children can put away more cheese then a dairy can make.
6) My hair is free-game for "beauty" treatments.
7) Anything solid can be used as a brush...anything. (can you say blue crayon scalp?)

 I work in the toddler room, which is usually my favorite age group. At 2, kids are imaginative enough that they can entertain themselves, smart enough to understand when you tell them something, but still small enough to need cuddles and stories.
But they're such a handful at times - like when they get that crazy hair up their arse - that it makes me question if I ever want to have to deal with that for the rest of my life. Yeah, I know they won't be 2 for the rest of eternity, but the older they get the more obnoxious children get. I mean dear god...some of the kids at the ELC..dudes...why? Makes me want to smack the parents to be honest.

On a non-childcare related note, I've also learned that:

1) Having a minimum of 2 hours of kill between school and work let's me get homework done.
2) I should always bring a novel to read.
3) My paralegal teacher is ridiculous
4) There is no point running for the bus...I won't make it.
5) Wearing comfortable shoes is important
6) Don't eat lunch
7) There are always leftovers in the kitchen
8) My paralegal teacher is ridiculous

Oh, and I haven't gotten a lick of spinning in since the quarter started. Fuuuuuuu----

Monday, March 4, 2013

And now I'm sore


View of the mountain
from the car
I went hiking with a friend this past Sunday. He's always wanted to go, I had nothing else planned, so we packed some snacks, drove to the location and then hiked 1.9 miles to the top of this mountain. It was amazing.

The trail we were on is well known and there were a ton of people going up the mountain as well as coming down from it. The trail goes back and forth so there are some steep points, and some that are nicely leveled. Throw some large rocks in and you have a trail that will give you a workout without killing you.
The ledge we
stood on

Naturally my sneakers were not equipped to handle the snow and slush that was on the trail, and I think I may have stepped in a puddle at least once...maybe. My toes became ice cubes after a while so I'm not sure. But it was so worth the view from the top of that ledge. So.Worth.It.

It's made me appreciate Washington even more. I've always known it was pretty, but I've never had the chance to see just how pretty it can be.

Now both of us are sore. But again, it's so totally worth having seeing that view for myself. And I'd totally do it again in a heartbeat. We've made tentative plans to go again, but thanks to Washington weather, a lot of it depends on whether it will be raining on the weekend or not.Time to invest in some good hiking boots me thinks. =)