Friday, March 30, 2007

Mac Cozy

My Macbook needed a home. Less than half a yard of black fleece and some white felt later, the mac cozy was born.

It fits snugly like one of those pricey neoprene sleeves, but was a lot cheaper to make.

I thought it needed to match and have its own little apple, if you couldn't tell. This solves the problem of throwing my laptop into one of my tote/messenger bags and not worrying about having my stuff scratching up my computer.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hemp... and a winner.

I'm in the middle of Eiffel and Revolution. In both sweaters, I am plodding along in repetitive, somewhat boring stretches. Nothing exciting in either.

Although, this allhemp 6 is such a weird yarn. I'm using black, and we got off on the wrong foot; it made an awful tangle when I tried to wind it as it wasn't wound up into its hank correctly. And working with it is so weird... it's stiff, and reminds me of that craft hemp that was popular in friendship bracelets in sixth grade.

So I really, REALLY hope this softens up nicely upon washing. I've heard it does.

I must, MUST finish one eiffel or revolution before starting Mariah! The world at large (six people) chose Mariah over the other two sweaters I've been admiring. So, congratulations to Mariah for winning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Perennial Knitters' ADD

There are so many choices. So many.

I want to make Knitty's Mariah.

I know it's old and everyone's made it, but the funny thing is, I was going to make it two years ago. I even bought the pink yarn necessary to do it. But then Revolution came along and I changed my mind on what to do with the pink yarn. I've been working slooooooowly on Revolution ever since it came out. Two years and the back is still only fourteen inches long. I fear I'll never finish it; the split stitch goes so slow. But I still love it as much as the day the pattern came out! Pulling it out of the depths has reminded me of Mariah, and how I was going to make it...

I also downloaded the lace inset cardigan thinking I'd like to modify it a bit...

I was somewhat disappointed that an $8 pattern only had one size which might be a smidgen too big for me. Lame. However there are other modifications I wanted to try, namely making the lace panels symmetrical.

And this one I actually have the yarn for. It looks so cozy and comfortable...

So, tell me:

Which sweater should I make next?
Lace Inset Cardigan
Barcelona Bolero free polls

I leave it to you. You will also be indirectly deciding if I should work from the stash (Barcelona Bolero) or purchase more yarn (the other two). Choose well!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Satisfaction... kind of.

I've always liked a quick knit. They're so satisfying in between larger projects, you know?

So when friends get a pair of kittens, they NEED handmade cat toys, right?

It's a shame I don't have pictures of the kittens that this was gifted to. They're six weeks old and not even named yet! So cute. Camera was dead.

Anyway, I made a little mousie from this pattern. He was leftovers from my Tubey, actually. I've used this pattern a number of times, and it's always turned out quite cute.

Then I decided I wanted to make another toy, but something more interesting than a gray mouse. I found a lot of patterns that seemed great. Like the swirl ball? Too bad it turns out as big as a grapefruit and I somehow missed this detail. What cat wants a toy bigger than it?

Several other failures left me pouting and with a new appreciation of this mouse pattern: it's well-written, cat-sized, cute, and can be made with straight needles and stuffed with like five cotton balls.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

FO: Tubey photoshoot

Okay, so it was cold and I didn't really feel like like standing around outside for very long. There's one other photo that looks pretty terrible.

Anyway, used Knitpicks Andean Silk in cranberry, slate, hyacinth, sangria, and black. Ran out of all of the stripe colors except cranberry and a second ball of slate... Glad I had the presence of mind to buy one more ball of yarn for free shipping.

The stripes are somewhat freestyled because there's one additional color in the original sweater. I started doing my own thing near the bottom. I'd run out of a color and just pick up another. I also moved up the arm stripes; I wanted them to fall around my biceps but they actually ended up a bit lower...

The other major alteration I did was that I did this in two pieces and then sewed them together; I couldn't get picking up stitches to look right, so I just skipped it. It worked out like a charm.

A secret

I have a secret, fellow knitters. I'm a nerd. This is something that at one point in my life I would have fervently denied. I have grown into a more true version of myself, and that version of me is very nerdy indeed.

Take, for example, my Christmas gift to myself:

That's right, a black MacBook. I had been running on a Dell Insprion since 2002, which was only beginning to annoy me; I decided that the solution to my issues would be to upgrade the RAM. As it turns out, in order to upgrade the RAM I would have had to rip the entire computer apart. No thanks.

Now my problems were solved! 160 gig hard drive, 2 gigs of RAM all in a pretty package! OSX is a great system, and I'm just getting used to it...

Then I get into law school last week, and discover on the site's technology requirements page this handy statement:

Beginning with the entering Fall 2007 class, MSU Law requires each student to own a Windows-based laptop/notebook computer ... The Law College, as well as the legal community at large, uses some software that will only run on Windows. This includes the software the Law College uses to let students take their essay exams and print to network printers. Law College does not support Apple based computers and does not guarantee all the software you will need will work on an Apple.

Well, kiss my grits! What a load of crap, I initially think. And would I even consider getting rid of my beautiful new lappy? Hell no!

But then a solution arises: I can go to Boot Camp and get myself a dual-booting system that supports more than one operating system! Just now, I have successfully installed it on my system and partitioned out my hard drive so that my system has both OSX and Windows XP! How cool is this? I can install all these law-like programs to the Windows partition and all the rest of my life onto the OSX partition.

In a nutshell, it can do this:

Yes, this makes me feel really badass. I only did this with TWO nervous breakdowns where I thought I killed my computer, mind you.

This dual-booting business isn't where my nerdiness ends, however; please be noted that I am also a video game nerd. I have an NES, SNES, PS2, DS, Xbox 360 (sadly broken, a lamentation best left to another post), and a Wii. My old bosses at the yarn shop advised me to knit more and game less, but so far this has not really come to pass...

And yes, I did frog the vest. Sort of. I pulled the needles out and started Eiffel, leaving the work somewhat intact for now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Crisis averted?

Sorry to be so whiny. I don't know what I was whining about. After all, I've gotten into my second-choice school now and will be enrolling there for law school.

I'll be really, really close to Threadbear up there. No, this was not what made my decision, but it certainly helped make the city more appealing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Epic fail

I thought I had one up on the ladies in the Argyle Vestalong: I didn't use Knitpicks Merino Style to make Eunny's Argyle Vest. I mean, the archives told me that this would mess up the row gauge, making it too big! So a solution was obvious: use Knitpicks Telemark, a lighter-weight wool. It seemed flawless! Swatching told me to up the needle size a bit, but this is no big deal.

To further complicate things, I had gotten this great hot pink yarn at the Michigan Fiber Fest which was about the same weight as my telemark. And how could I resist the temptation of a black and hot pink version of Eunny's vest? It would be so sexy! So complex! So... me!

But alas. No amount of swatching could prepare me for a problem I assume is caused by my hot pink yarn being somewhat lighter than my telemark. I thought my mad 1337 skills as a knitter could overcome this obstacle. But:

Yeah. The fair aisle isn't very fair; in fact, the tension is impossible to keep even. I can do fair aisle well; this I know, because I have a lovely pair of socks in my pile of UFOs. However, I've always tried it with two or more colors of the same. Never have I before tried fair-aisling different types of yarn. I didn't imagine it would be so bad.

Even though the color combination is fantastic, the unevenness does not do justice to Eunny's design... the other colors of telemark just don't have the same sort of "pop" to them as this pink does. NOTHING can live up to this pink, because it is my absolute, hands-down, favorite shade of my favorite color of all. Knitpicks, if you can hear me, make this color!

Indeed, this project has become an epic failure on top of an already crumbling life. Since taking the LSAT in September, everything has tumbled down...

You see, the day of the LSAT, I got my first-ever parking ticket. There were a million other cars parked where I was, but I paid it up anyway. Little did I know that was a sign of things to come. I was testing in the mid 160s; fine scores indeed! However, Kaplan has rated the test I took to be the hardest ever administered; and my scores that came six weeks later certainly reflect that. Every study buddy I had, every person I know who took it that day scored about ten points under what they were testing. Some gave up.

Me, I cried, and submitted applications to schools that I hadn't considered before. You see, I would have had a shot at great schools if I'd have gotten that 165-or-so. However, I now had a shot at good schools, or so I thought. In December, I submitted my applications and waited.

I graduated college. My thesis sucked.

I still waited and then some more until February.

I got into my third (last) choice school, which any literate and moderately motivated individual can get into. The thing is, they figure most people will flunk out and only the best will graduate (true).

I waited some more.

Even with a good scholarship, I calculated that if I pay the minimum on my student loans each month, I'll be paying them for 28 years.

Last week my top school, which had initially been my bottom school (back when I thought I had a shot) rejected me. When I told a colleague, she said, "Who the hell gets rejected from WSU Law?" I said, "Apparently me." How tactful. This spun me into a fit of depression that I haven't been able to shake since.

My second choice school is out there. It's not well-known for its law program. It's more well known for the hijinks of its fraternities full of overactive undergrads. But, it is a law school. I've only wanted to be a lawyer since I was twelve. Call it a childhood pipe dream, but all the choices I made were made with this goal in mind. It has crumbled before my eyes, and I'm left to disappoint all of those who believed in me. If fate is trying so hard to tell me not to do it, what the hell am I supposed to do instead? I have never even stopped to consider other possibilities save for the pipe dream of becoming a sales rep for Lorna's Laces...

So tell me, fellow knitters... Do I frog the vest?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Magnets, FOs... I swear I've been busy.

There was a big thread on Craftster about marble magnets which is where I got the inspiration and advice on doing this. The magnets looked like a really satisfying, fun little project that I could dig into on a day off work.

I had a 2006 Hello Kitty calendar laying around (couldn't bring myself to throw it away), and decided that this would be the perfect medium to immortalize as little magnets in this fashion.

The supplies:
  • Those half-marble things one finds in a floral section of a craft store or the aquarium section of a pet store. Perfectly clear ones work the best, as iridescent ones will blur the images underneath.

  • Silicone sealant glue. Available at craft stores, Lowe's, etc.

  • Magnets. I used 1/2" round dealies. A 50 pack was $6.

  • Circle punch, 3/4". Mine was incidentally a little bigger than my marbles, so I ended up trimming my images anyway. Made cutting them out a snap.

  • Cardstock (not pictured), to back the pictures you pick.

Next thing to do is cut out a plethora of cute images that would look good immortalized as magnets.

...And then glue them to the backs of cardstock. Of course I picked cardstock that's, like, the same damn color as the old coursepack from college I was working on... This just keeps the color of your images true if they're on thinner paper.

Once the backed images are set up, use a small bead of silicone sealant to attach them to the flat sides of your marbles. A good hard press will get rid of any little creases or nooks in the bottom of the marble - this is like magic. The images will come out mostly bubble-free and crystal clear! Silicone is amazing stuff; this is why any old glue doesn't work as well.

You'll also notice in the above picture that my circles were a tad bigger than my marbles. Let this be a lesson that you check the size of your marbles and the size of your images. So, to remedy this...

...I trimmed the damn things.

Let the glue set up a bit (half an hour should do) and you'll be ready to attach your magnets.

Again use a small bead of the silicone sealant (a little goes a long way) to attach the magnets. I used thick magnets because the marbles are glass and therefore heavy. However on the craftster thread a lot of people used sheet magnet because its much cheaper.

So now I have some pretty magnets and I didn't have to feel guilty about throwing away that Hello Kitty calendar.

Oh, knitting? I've been doing that, too.

I finished a years-old UFO; the yarn is Filatura Di Cosa 127 Print or something along those lines... three balls, size 7 needles. Pattern is the Angel Yarns Noro Scarf. Pretty simple and easy, probably way it has stayed unfinished since 2005. The big disappointment? The wool needs some serious conditioner or eucalan to make it wearable; so itchy!

I also finished Tubey, done out of Knitpicks Alpaca Silk. I swear it looks good on me, I just haven't had Steve around to give a proper photoshoot... Will do that soon, I think.

Now on to Eunny's Deep V Argyle Vest! So fun! Hope I don't run out of yarn!