Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holy Update Batman!

Why hello everyone! It's been months since I've updated this thing. Needless to say, a lot of things have changed since I last posted. I think I mentioned that I was starting a new job - my first big girl/adult job. I started back in the end of August, went through some orientation, then was thrown into the fray of being off orientation. Luckily all have gone well and I feel I've been handling all the changes fairly well. It's really a great amount of stress, but it's helped me to learn a lot about myself and start paying off those damn student loans. It's a relief to finally start getting those out of the way.

I still knit and crochet, just not nearly as much as I was before I started having a job. I have less free time, obviously. I joined the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup group on ravelry (yes, I am a super dork). This allowed me some incentive on starting and finishing projects. Each month there are "classes" and you have to make projects as "assignments" to get points for your house. I was sorted into the house of Slytherin and the people in the group are very nice. They are funny and made my first year (which was only 3 months, whatever) enjoyable. There are three semesters per year and each semester = one year. So I'll be a second year starting in January. Here are some of my assignments from this semester. These were completed from September - November:

The Beatnik Hat

Slytherin Snake Toy (for the kitties). It looks slightly phallic, but that was completely unintentional...

Sparty Dishcloth - A new design that is available for free under my rav name canadiadry :D

Sweet Eleanor hat using my hand dyed yarn from forever ago

Hand dyed yarn using kool-aid and wiltons - colors based off Michigan Autumn colors (really proud of this one!)

Squiddy, the squid cat toy. I tent to default to cat toys when I'm drawing a blank on assignments.

Some corded cat toys

A "Dirty Dishes Suck" dishcloth and two "chinese waves" dishcloths (bottom). Unfortunately the words on the "Dirty Dishes Suck" cloth don't show up well in pics.

A paw print dishcloth

Three felted mice (no I wasn't kidding about defaulting to cat toys)

A knitted Christmas ornament for my sister

And, lastly, some malabrigo thuja socks for the boyfriend. Obviously the socks are too big for my feet, but you get the idea.

I have a few more projects in the works, but I'll post them (maybe? hopefully?) within a few months, hahahaha. I also will most likely be making my first sweater (GASP!) in January. $5 in Paris sweater knit along for the win! Hopefully by knitting with others, I can finish it in a reasonable amount of time!

That's all for this post, I guess. I can babble about my job, but it's basically busy and stuff. I act professional for about 40 hours a week, then come home and fart around on the internets for a while. I even see friends sometimes when I'm not working!

And I'll eventually get back to the doublevision blanket. I promise...

I leave you with a pic if Izzy. I know you're all excited about it ;)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blanketmania and SHEER MADNESS

As I said in a previous post, this past month has been INSANE! A little over a month ago, I found out that I got a job across the state and I'll be moving there to work full time. I'm super excited and nervous, but I can't wait to finally make some money and use my college degree. Hooray! I got my apartment and will start working at the end of August. So overwhelming but so awesome!

I participated in my first swap in July! It was a lot of fun. The goal was to dye your partner a skein of sock yarn in their preferred colors. My partner's preferences were on the bolder side, so I used kool aid and went all out and used all four of her preferred colors: red, blue, green, and purple. And the result is:

Here's what my partner sent me. My preferences were to use fiery colors or blue/green/purples. They went with the fiery theme and I can't wait to knit up some socks! I also got a sweet Ravelry project bag. I use it all the time now!

Another random thing is that I received two drop spindles from someone because I mentioned I would like to learn how to spin. I've practiced with them, but I'm still not that great at it, so I hope to take a class or further myself in that area sometime in the future. Obviously working full time and learning a new skill like that MIGHT not go hand in hand at first, haha.

In the past month, I have taken part in a challenge on Ravelry called the "Exploding SNAP". It's hosted by the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup and the goal is to finish as many WIPs (works in progress) in the month of August. I had a few still on the needles that definitely needed finishing. I ended up finishing the test knit I had for my most recent pattern. It's a dishcloth that uses the block S logo for Michigan State University, my alma mater! I loved how it turned out and am glad that I'm now up to three published designs on Ravelry!

Here's the MSU dishcloth:

And my other design (not a part of the "Exploding SNAP") that I haven't posted about yet. The black outline isn't part of the pattern. The dunking basketball player pattern is for a dishcloth, but this is the blanket square the dishcloth pattern is based on:

The blanket square in the picture is for the comfortghan I'll post about later.

Another project I finished for the "Exploding SNAP" was a pair of socks. I don't like making socks (have I said that before? Haha) but these were actually fun to make. The yarn was beautifully variegated and it was a very fun pattern - Nutkin.

Before Exploding SNAP:


Another big project I did for the "SNAP" was to finish my Monthly Adventures Block of the Month Afghan. I went ahead and made the squares from September-December in order to finish the blanket before I started working. I know in a way it kind of defeats the purpose of "block of the month", but I did complete the March-August squares during the correct time period, so I think that counts for something. I was worried that if I didn't try to finish the afghan before starting my job, it might have been put on the back burner until who-knows-when. I want to give it as a gift for the holidays, so by finishing it now, I don't have to say "OH SHIT! I NEED TO FINISH THAT BLANKET!" the week before Christmas.

Although it's encouraged to only work on WIPs during "Exploding SNAP", it's also ok to start new projects as long as you finish them before the end of the challenge. I decided to start two projects for a fellow raveler who lost all of her ornaments in a flood (the lady who gave me the spindle, actually). These were my first knitted beading projects and I LOVE how they turned out.

Lastly, the project I am most proud of from the "Exploding SNAP" (and in general), is the comfortghan that I have mentioned. It was made for a young man I graduated high school with who had leukemia. He had to move to Texas in order to receive treatment for his disease after he relapsed. I decided to use my resources and time to organize a blanket for him. I originally proposed to my local knitting group and an online ravelry group (the Amazing Flying Squirrel Karma Team) 20 12 inch squares for the blanket so that the final size would be about 4 feet x 5 feet. I soon learned that there was so much interest that a 30 square blanket could be made. I had about 15 people involved from all over the country (and out of the country - Canada) to make this blanket that turned out to be about 5 feet x 6 feet. I used red because it's one of our high school's colors and gray because I wanted a more neutral color to complement the red. The red squares were used as texture squares while the gray squares were meaningful pictures put into the blanket. I made 9 squares of my own and seamed the squares together. After seaming it together, I sent it to Texas.

A few days later, the young man lost his battle with leukemia. I later learned that the blanket made it to him before he passed and that both him and his mother were VERY touched by the gesture. There's a little more to it than that, but for privacy reasons, I don't want to disclose anymore of it. I can't really find the words to say how happy I am to know that I was able to be a part of something to help comfort someone who was really in need of it. I feel that any words I do write about this will fall short of saying how I really feel about it. Even though I didn't know this young man very well in high school or after high school, I am so grateful I am able to help anybody in that capacity. I feel that there will not be another project like this comfortghan project for a very long time, if ever. The whole thing is so much bigger than I am, and I am glad that I was able to use my talents to help it come to fruition.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


All I can say is that so many things have changed since the last time I posted. I'll post a more substantial update later, but I'm just so surprised with how things have come together in was I didn't expect this last month or so. Crazy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why Walk When You Can Fly?

In this world there's a whole lot of trouble, baby
In this world there's a whole lot of pain
In this world there's a whole lot of trouble
But a whole lot of ground to gain
Why take when you could be giving, why watch as the world goes by
It's a hard enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly

In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
In this world there's a whole lot of shame
In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
And a whole lot of ground to gain
When you spend your whole life wishing, wanting and wondering why
It's a long enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly

In this world there's a whole lot of cold
In this world there's a whole lot of blame
In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings
There's a star on the far horizon, rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you're given, why walk when you can fly

Friday, July 2, 2010

So Many Things!

Lately, I have definitely felt that at last, it's summer! I've been trying to be outside as much as I can while also trying to avoid the heat and such. I try to watch sunsets often and get to see fireflies out at night. It's really great. I love summer. It kind of makes me sad already that the days are getting slightly shorter, but oh well.

I was watching a sunset on the lake the other day and there were a good number of people around doing the same thing (along with taking pictures and ohhing/ahhing). Of course I love taking pictures of the sunset, but it's also funny to see people's reactions when the sun actually sets. Kids will say things like "BYE SUN! See you tomorrow!" which is adorable. The other day, people started clapping when it set because it was a great sight, but it was kind of humorous on the other hand because the sun sets everyday and we're just now clapping for nature, I guess. Also, we usually aren't able to take the time to appreciate little things like sunsets or other beautiful natural sights. I love sunsets.

In the knitting world, I made a pair of socks for Bundles of Joy. They are trying to collect as many socks and slippers they can for the elders on Pine Ridge Reservation. I made size 11 men's socks out of Fishermen's Wool. I used the Thuja pattern that I've used before, because I LOVE IT! It uses worsted weight yarn (a bigger yarn) and they go much faster than normal sock weight yarn socks.

When I finished these socks, I still had a good amount of wool yarn left. I decided to use some of the Easter egg dye I got on clearance a few months ago to brighten up the "oatmeal" colored yarn! I based it on the June theme of the "Kool Way to Dye" ravelry group which was "Fairy Light". When I thought of fairy-type things, I thought of bluish/purple hues. I liked how this turned out, even if I almost accidently dyed my kitchen in the process!

Additionally, Easter egg dyes use vinegar as the acid and I used the microwave for the heat source.

vinegar + wet wool + microwave = "EWWWWW" smell

Luckily the smell didn't stay around long :)

A recent project has come up and taken a LOT of my time lately. I'm putting together an afghan of blanket squares to give to a young man with leukemia that I graduated high school with. I have a few people from a ravelry group and our local knitting group doing squares. We have already reached the original goal of pledges for squares, so it's going along very well. The blanket size has been increased because so many people have pledged a square for it. I am making a few for it, of course, but I needed to do some improvisation on a few of them.

I wanted to make a University of North Carolina (UNC) blanket square, but oddly enough, there weren't really any patterns for a blanket square with the interlocking NC logo on it. I charted out a picture of the logo onto a grid, and knit a blanket square out of it. Easier said than done, but I decided to take my hard work and put it on ravelry as a dishcloth pattern! I never thought I would submit a pattern because I don't have the creative "designer genes" (see what I did there, haha), but I figured that people would hopefully appreciate an interlocking NC logo.

And here are two more squares I've completed.

University of Texas

University of Michigan

I'm very excited about this blanket. Mainly because I've been meaning to do something like this for a while and it's finally taking shape. People have responded very positively to the idea and I can't wait to put it together. I feel it'll be a great thing for the young man and his family to know that so many people have come together to support him in his battle. I'll post pictures when blanket squares start coming in and things come together for that.

And one of these days, I'll get back to the double vision blanket, I promise! :D

Lastly (on a totally different note), I recently watched a documentary called "Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains". It's intense and about a group of Uruguayan athletes whose plane crashes in the Andes. A group of them are able to survive for TWO MONTHS before they are able to be rescued. It's incredible. The group returns to the area of the crash thirty (I think) years later with their families. I can't imagine going through something like that. If anyone has Netflix, I recommend it! Not for children AT ALL though because some of the subject material is really intense.

Izzy sat behind me while I wrote this, so here's a webcam pic of her (bad quality, sorry!)

That is all :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Animals, More animals, and Some Knitting

ALRIGHT! I'm back from another busy week of doing crazy things. This time it was in Atlanta, where my sister is currently moving to. She accepted a job there and needed help looking for apartments. They definitely call Atlanta the nickname of Hotlanta for a reason - an average high of 95 degrees + humidity the time I was down there! Whew!

I got a lot of knitting done in the car rides on the way there and back (yes we drove from Michigan to Atlanta). I got to make a stop at the zoo and get some neat pictures while I was there.

One of the best things about Zoo Atlanta: they have pandas! They're only one of four US zoos to have them. This is the momma panda, Lun Lun.

And here's the baby panda, Xi Lan! These pandas are probably some of the cutest things I have ever seen.

Also, they had a demonstration on training. They used otters to show how training can help in daily routines with animals. I knew this before, but it's really neat to see, of all things, otters doing little tricks with their trainers.

I also thought the turtles and snakes were really cool :)

I have a funny video of a gorilla catching food from a trainer, but unfortunately I can't figure out how to rotate the video :(. Oh well. It was a very wonderful day at the zoo!

Now it's time to discuss the results of the crazy long car ride to and from Georgia. On the way to our destination, I finished the 6th out of 12 squares I'm making to put together as a blanket! They're turning out very well so far and I can't wait to do some more squares.

On the way back home, I started on a sock (the pattern: Thuja) and got pretty far with it.

Opie approves, also.

Yes, He's actually in mid-meow in this second picture.

He's such a charmer... :P

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blue True Dream and Leaping Spirits

Here's a poem I like from E.E. Cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt imaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake
and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)