I am now selling my items on Etsy! You can find my knit accessories and my sequined ornaments here!Sip 'n Knit

Penultimate veil update

I have since gotten married, but I have yet to organize my pictures from the wedding.

With less than a month to go, I cast off my veil, washed it, and blocked it. True to the pattern description, I stretched it to six feet in diameter, but the way I wore it prevented it from being a train on the ground, which was good because I didn't want it to get dirty. I will have a last post with it on for my wedding, but that will come later.

I couldn't believe that my entire veil condensed into this sink! I was also surprised that the water changed color. Months of dust in the air did attach to my veil, so I'm glad I washed it out!

My first blocking attempt. It turned out that I needed more blocking mats, so it was more oval than circular. I waited a week for my order to arrive so I could block it correctly.

The final blocking. I still didn't have enough blocking mats, but they served my purpose. You can see more of the detail here. 

Happy knitting!

Journey of wool fibers to hats

I recently bought a spinning wheel, and of course I started spinning with wool! I am still deciding on my style. With my first yarn, I fluctuated between the worsted technique (different from worsted yarn, though I did spin worsted/bulky yarn--weird how the definition changes from knitting to spinning!) and folding the fiber over my finger. Worsted feels more natural to me, but I suppose I will adjust my technique depending on the type of yarn that I want to spin. Perhaps when I am more advanced, I will cringe to read that I used multiple techniques to spin one yarn, but it spun, it's holding together, and I used it to knit. Below is the journey it made:

My brown correidale in a single ply.

Here it is plied with white wool.

Off the wheel and onto the knitty knotty

In a warm bath with wool wash.

Poorly twisted into a skein, but it made me so happy because it looks like yarn!

The two hats that I made from the yarn I spun. They don't look as "professional" as my other hats with commercially made yarn, but they still look fine.

Happy knitting and spinning!

Spinning Bamboo

I am trying to improve the frequency of my posts! I will also include pictures soon.

I bought my first spinning wheel last fall. Like most beginning spinners, I started off with wool. However, a charity that I would like to knit for prefers non-wool hats and scarves. Therefore I decided to try spinning bamboo.

Bamboo is challenging. It has shorter fibers, but they stick together a lot. I think that's what spinners mean when they call it "slippery." Unlike wool, the fibers really seem to go in the same direction and stick together. Sometimes, especially while I'm spinning, I have to pull very hard in order to draft the fibers out.

Starting the bamboo yarn was also challenging. I had tried spinning more loosely with wool to create softer yarn. When I attempted that with bamboo, the yarn kept breaking off and it was difficult to reattach because the fibers were too loose. Then I went to the opposite extreme and spun too tightly, which also caused the yarn to break.

I have experimented with how I hold the yarn and my pre-drafted. Spinning from the fold does work, but my pieces are longer than I am accustomed to with wool, so the thickness of my yarn seems to vary unless I take a very short piece. Another technique I have tried is pre-drafting the bamboo and spinning worsted. That works better for me with consistency, but it sheds on my legs a lot! I have read that shorter fibers do shed more, but this is something else!

I plan to ply it with wool, so hopefully that will prevent shedding in completed knit hats and scarves. I also plan to talk with more advanced spinners about their techniques.

I think, in the future, I will buy acrylic or another fiber to knit with for this charity because I really enjoy the feel of wool while I spin. Perhaps I will change my mind when I am more advanced.

Happy spinning!

Cap Shawl Border

The cap shawl is coming along nicely. It was taking me a little over an hour to do the 30-row repeat, but now it's going faster. Because of its structure, I don't keep the stitch counter on the needle, but on a table nearby. I change it every other row because they are so short. Purling backwards is fun! It goes much faster. I wonder why I don't do this stitch regularly... I may try to knit/purl backwards more in the future. Not only is it beneficial for short rows like these, but also for entrelac, so I understand. I have wanted to attempt entrelac for years, but have not found the time. I learned how to do it once. The tricky part was knitting backwards and picking up stitches, but now that I can knit backwards and read my knitting better, I think it would be easier.

The 30-row repeat is going faster for the border: I can do it in about 45 minutes now. I still find it relaxing, but I'm only about a third of the way through. If I do one repeat a day, I should be done by the end of March. Luckily I have spring break, so hopefully I can finish this shawl sooner. Once I'm done, I plan to blog more about spinning yarn. I also want to work on some projects that I've had on my mind for years, but other projects keep interrupting them!

Happy knitting!

Cap Shawl Update

I need to get better about posting more regularly!

The cap shawl, in Victorian Lace Today, is a huge project and is taking me forever! It doesn't help that I am in graduate school with a part-time job, but still, an hour a day--if I'm lucky--hardly makes a dent!

I started the project in early August, around the 5th. I only just finished the body of the shawl on Friday, February 13th. The complexity doesn't make this project so time consuming: it's the sheer number of stitches! It's knit in the round, so it's only knitting, knitting two together, and yarn overs--you don't even purl until the outer edge of the body! Yet towards the end, with 738 stitches, it's about an hour to knit a lace row and 45 minutes to do the knit row.

I went to Grandma's Spinning Wheel in Tucson to get help on starting the knitted-on border. Jimmy was a lot of help, and he was really friendly. You have to break the yarn, cast on eleven stitches, and start working on the chart, which I didn't have to write out because it's so much shorter. I did have to learn a new skill, which is purling backwards. It's so much faster than turning my work for each short row. It makes me want to knit/purl backwards for any short project, like scarves. I LOVE learning new skills in knitting, and I know I have a lot more to learn, which just makes me excited.

The border is going well so far. Since it's a 30-row repeat, one repeat is taking me about one hour, especially since I'm still going a bit slowly on purling backwards. The pattern is so easy, though, that it's very relaxing to work on, and soon I may be able to have a conversation while working on it. I hope that my feelings toward the border will continue to be positive and not transition to a purgatory-like state.

This shawl is going to be my wedding veil, and now that I'm so close to being finished, I cannot wait to see how it expands. My non-knitting friends and family don't understand what a knitted veil will look like (sweater on my head is what they envision). However when I go to a knitting store, everyone sees the project as I do. Regardless, it's not going to be a modern-traditional veil that is completely see-through. I will use it to cover my face when I walk down the aisle. I am NOT doing this traditional covering because I am traditional. I am insisting on covering my face because I spent so much time on the project that everyone should look at the veil for at least one minute. I'm hoping it's impressive.

More updates soon to come...I hope!

Happy knitting!

Late Post on Summer Knitting

This summer was spent working on one project: my cousin's wedding blanket. I started working on it in the beginning of May. I designed it myself (wasn't that difficult), and I finished it August 1, a few days before the wedding.

Things I learned, but should have already known:

1. never knit a blanket in the summer! I was sweating SO much under the blanket--even with air conditioning!

2. Blocking it takes longer than you expect, even in the desert.

3. Never buy yarn that has been returned to a store. I bought Caron One Pound Yarn, which has no color variation--supposedly. I stupidly got one without an official label on it. I guess it had been returned because when I blocked the blanket, I noticed a slight color variation, which should not have been there. So even if there is no dye lot, make sure they all have the official label.

I will post my pattern soon (it's free!), but here are some pictures:

Happy knitting!

DIY Yarn Chandelier | HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens

DIY Yarn Chandelier | HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens

I may do this! It looks easy and could be a great addition to a craft room, should I ever get one.

HIMYM Critique--WARNING: Spoilers!

I was not the first person to jump on the HIMYM bandwagon. Based on the title, I didn't see how a long or successful series could be made. After all, how long could it take to tell a story about meeting someone? Obviously I had not yet met the long winded Ted Mosby.

So I started watching the series around Season 3. I loved the characters and how they dealt with issues that I had encountered. I really enjoyed a show that spoke directly to people in their 20s, 30s, and early adult lives. I tried to see myself in one of the characters, and though I do not fit any character exactly, I still related to all of them (Once I met the mother, Tracy, she and I did seem to be similar, and my boyfriend is closest to Ted, which is odd). I am sure that many of the other fans thought Robin was perfect for Ted, like I did, and really wanted the relationship to work out, though we knew it couldn't be possible.

For me the series started to decline in Season 8. I was anxious to meet the mother, and it shouldn't take two seasons for two people to get married. How long did that weekend last? While there was some funny backstory and interesting obstacles, Barney and Robin should have been married at the end of Season 8. Since I marathon watch my television, the energy really seemed to lag towards the end.

I greatly looked forward to the season finale, and I had many fixed feelings at the end, as did many other fans. I watched it live because I knew my Facebook feed would be littered with spoilers (yes, I realize the irony of this post). Here are my critiques:

1. Lily and Marshall: they're ending is predictable, yet happy. Their argument over careers was confusing, since they made it clear that Italy was not an option, but Marshall still decided against becoming a judge, though he should have still taken that opportunity. They never clarified that, probably to give Marshall some humorous lines about dealing with a difficult boss. Yes, everyone will empathize with Marshall's situation--unless you are very lucky--but that plot should have been cleared up. Lily seems to corroborate Jane Austen's stance, made clear in Emma, that women cannot be friends once they are married. Robin makes a good point that the gang must fragment, one of the reasons being that Lily and Marshall have kids and are busy and have different priorities and responsibilities. This argument makes sense, except that Lily and Marshall had been making an effort to be part of the gang with their first child. Although spending time with a family may not be ideal for the single career woman, they are her surrogate family, so I don't buy Robin's argument for distancing herself. Lily, very attached to Robin, would not let her go so easily either.

2. Robin and Barney: Although I was skeptical about their relationship initially, they did seem to work well together and shared many personality traits. I may have had them divorce, but I definitely saw them reuniting in the future, perhaps adopting a child as well. Yes, I imagine it is difficult to have a spouse who travels frequently for work, but the end result does not have to be a divorce. I must say that I respect Barney's honesty with Robin, though I expected him to make more of an effort to keep his marriage together. Same goes for Robin. She could have been successful and request to travel less.

3. Barney: After breaking up with Robin, I did not see him acting like his pre-Robin, player self. I suppose he might have done so for a period of time, but not indefinitely, at least, not until he first laid eyes on his daughter. I know the writers were trying to make a point that becoming a parent can change people for the best, but it is too idealistic to say that the change is instantaneous. Of course, I am not a parent, so perhaps this quick personality change is frequent.

4. Ted and the mother: As I previously mentioned, I couldn't envision a better match for Ted other than Robin, that is, until I started seeing glimpses of the mother. Tracy so perfectly compliments Ted. I appreciated the flash-forwards, but I would have liked their relationship to develop more through Season 9. I see the necessity of ending the series the moment Ted meets her, but there could have been a many more scenes of their lives together. After waiting SO long to meet her, it seems unfortunate that they waited so long to get married and that she died so young. Ted could still outlive her, but maybe when he was even older.

5. Children: According to another article, People, the children's responses were filmed nine years ago and that the series was always headed in the direction of Ted's and Robin's eventual union. It makes sense that so much time was dedicated to their romance, but still upsetting that the fans had so little time with the mother, who was an even more perfect fit with Ted. Their reaction bothered me and many other fans. I understand their conclusion that Ted is asking their permission to date "Aunt Robin," but if that was the whole premise of the show, then it should have been "How I Fell in Love," or "How I Learned that You Can Have More Than One Great Love," or "How to Tell Your Children You Love Someone Other Than Their Mother," or "The Incestuous Nature of Friendships." However the series was not called any of my titles, so the conclusion should end in marital bliss for Ted and the Mother, however realistic or unrealistic that may be (after reading a lot of literature, you change your mind about marriage...many times).

Yet all of my critiques may be for nothing: like a book, HIMYM is just a TV show with characters made to emulate people. Therefore perhaps we should not complain about the series finale as if we were speaking about real people. The series showed us vignettes from the lives of twenty-somethings and displayed the nuances of friendship. That should be enough, right?

My List of Meaningless, but annoying, Pet Peeves

In no particular order...

  1. A damp towel when you've just showered
  2. Damp clothes out of the dryer
  3. Knitting patterns in booklets that are unavailable 
  4. Plane tickets that are ridiculously over-priced
  5. Drivers in the fast lane that go below the speeding limit
  6. When the internet loads slowly--and I remember the dial up days!
  7. People who lack the ability to follow directions
  8. burning your tongue on food or drink
  9. Knitting with a cut on your finger
  10. The dry part of lotion.

I'm usually a happy-go-lucky person, but these things have been happening recently, for whatever reason, and I felt like recording them. 

What do you most want to read about?