February 23, 2011

Ouch!

I was a physical anthropology major in college. One of the best classes I took (besides the one that took me to Costa Rica to play with howler monkeys) was a forensic anthropology class. Now, you should all know by now that I have a terrible memory and am unable to retain any sort of important information except song lyrics and old phone numbers. However, there was one thing my forensic anthro professor said that stuck - that your body slowly begins to degenerate once you hit 24. You are no longer growing (well, except maybe outwards), and your body is slowly starting to fall apart. Of course, when she said that I was the ripe old age of 19 and laughed at my older classmates whose bodies had already started to betray them. I regret that now... I sprained my back working out on Tuesday. It's official - I am 24.

February 21, 2011

Tracy's Mermaid Mitts

Here's my most recent FO. I finished these over the weekend while watching the entire first season of Dexter with my mom...who for some reason insisted on calling the Ice Truck Killer the "Ice Cream Killer". Not the same thing, mom.

The pattern for these mitts is from Dancing Ewe Yarns. The pattern was quick and easy, but there were several mistakes in the small size, which is the one I made. Besides that, the only problem I had with these is that they very clearly show off my uneven tension. Oh well! I used stash yarn (I still haven't purchased any yarn so far this year!) - it was a skein of Bamboo Ewe from Stitch Nation that I picked up at Michael's a year or so ago. I am slowly but surely plugging through that stash of mine.

February 16, 2011

Springtime Came Early... for a While

We've been having amazing weather here. Well, until Monday, when winter finally showed up again. Don't get me wrong - I love rain. Love it. But I have to admit that I was loving the sunshine too. The plum tree in front of my house came into full bloom and has been looking gorgeous. Unfortunately the flowers didn't survive the torrential downpour we had last night. Guess we will have to wait a while for springtime to come to Santa Cruz again.

February 15, 2011

Mitts fit for a Man

I set out to make sparkly, girly mitts for my friend Tracy... and somehow they morphed into these.
Not girly at all. There was a series of problems that turned these into what they are. First, the pretty, girly yarn knit up too loosely. Then I decided to use smaller needles, and it looked a little funny. So I kept the smaller needles and switched to a different yarn, thus creating these. I am going to give them to a good friend for his birthday - my last February birthday gift!

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

(see more awesome NPR valentines here)

I don't know if you guys know this about me, but I love NPR. It's the first thing I turn on in the morning, it is constantly on in my car, and I am glued to the radio all weekend listening to Car Talk, Wait Wait, and Prairie Home. Boyfriend thinks it just adds to my grandma-ish qualities, but I think it's a pretty important part about what makes me awesome. 

February 10, 2011

The "Finally" Hat

My friend Danu has been wanting me to knit her a hat forever. Yes, literally forever. However, I have been slightly hesitant for several reasons:

1. Her cat devours knitted things. He seeks them out (even if she hides them) and rips them to shreds. I brought over my knitting once when we were hanging out, and he stuck his head into the bag, pulled out my ball of yarn and proceeded to start eating it.
2. I once made a shrug that was too small for me. I gifted it to her thinking it would look adorable on her... and forgot about it. Until it showed up at her garage sale (that she had at my house) a few years later. At least someone bought it!

But that is besides the point. She has been asking me for a blue, slouchy hat for a really long time, so for her birthday (yes, another February birthday present). I found a suitable pattern (the Meret Mystery Beret pattern on Ravelry) and made Danu her long awaited hat. I used the skein of Malabrigo Worsted that I bought on Christmas eve (see this post), and it knitted up really quickly. The yarn is nice and soft with slight color variations that bring out the lacy pattern.



February 9, 2011

Anissa's French Press Cozy - Because Coffee Needs to Stay Warm

I have a very dear friend who is addicted to coffee. Now, I know a lot of you claim to be "coffee addicts", but you have nothing on her. There is almost always a full pot of coffee in her kitchen. She brings her own french press to work (because she is a slight coffee snob), and I am frequently privy to receiving instant messages from her stating something like this:

"yayayayayayayayayayay! Caffeine!"
or
"Hmm.. I feel funny....OMG I HAVEN'T HAD ANY COFFEE YET!!"
or
"My hands are shaking because I've had so much coffee today. Talk to you later, I'm off to have a coffee date!"

Ok, so those aren't exact quotes (well, the first one is pretty standard - she says that at least 3 times a week), but you get the picture. Anissa loves her some good coffee. One time she thought she lost her wallet (which contained her social security card, credit cards, ID, etc) and she was most bummed about losing a $20 gift card to her favorite coffee shop. So when it came time to brainstorm about what to get her for her birthday, I knew right away it had to be coffee related.

I started looking online for patterns for french press cozys, but wasn't too pleased with what I saw. They were all either too plain or too bulky looking... so the wheels started turning and I came up with my own. It took me 3 tries to get it (almost) right - there are still a few things I want to fix if I ever turn my scribbled notes into a pattern.

Here it is in all its glory:

You might recognize it from my sneak peek post the other day. I didn't want to post the whole thing in case she saw it before she received it in the mail. It's pretty simple - three plain cables with two owl cables on either side. They have cute little button eyes and make me smile. The cozy has three ties that hold it on - they are the one major design change that I would alter if I write it up as a pattern. I think buttons would be much nicer, and would help reduce the bulkiness of the cozy. 

She already sent in a fan appreciation picture:
In this picture the owls eyes look a little googly - maybe he's had too much coffee today!

Hope you like it!

February 8, 2011

Taking it Personally

I know I can't please everyone, obviously. But for some reason I find myself getting really bummed out when people don't like my pattern. I obsessively check Ravelry several times a day to see if anyone has completed the pattern or made any comments. So far the response is pretty good, but there are a few people who've knitted it up and aren't too pleased with it. I know not to take it personally, and I think overall the response is pretty darn good for a first pattern. I just have to take what everyone says and use it as constructive criticism in order to make future patterns better!

Ravelry has several test knitting groups, so maybe I will present any future patterns to them so they can rip it apart before anyone else can. Live and learn!

February 7, 2011

Sibling Fan Appreciation

Here is my lovely sister modeling a hat I quickly knit up and sent off to her a few weeks ago. It keeps her head warm as she bikes to and from school every day! There's a really awesome pom-pom at the top, but you can hardly see it. This hat used up almost an entire skein of yarn... I am slowly but surely busting through that darn stash!

February 2, 2011

A Sneak Peek

I have spent the past few nights working on a present for a friend's birthday. Since I was making up the pattern, there was some trial and error (see this for an explanation of my first attempt). I finished the main portion of the project last night, and added on the details today. I don't want to post full pictures of it because I don't want my friend to figure out what her present is!
 
Yes, that's an owl cable! I've always loved them wanted to incorporate one in a pattern of my own.

I'm mailing this off to her tomorrow. Once she receives it I will post the full pictures and possibly the pattern (if I've fine-tuned the pattern by then). Hopefully she will like it!

February 1, 2011

Hmmm... Perhaps I Should Learn to Measure

Last night I settled down to begin work on my next pattern idea. I came up with my general design, game plan, knit a few test cables, and measured the item my pattern is intended to fit (cryptic, I know...but it's a birthday gift for a friend who occasionally reads this and I don't want her to know!). I was SURE it was going to fit... and after working on it for over 3 hours I finished it and triumphantly tried to fit it to the object... only to find out it was about an inch and a half too small. So I looked at my pretty design, took a deep breath, and frogged the entire thing. This means I can make the second attempt bigger (har har), better, and with an extra row of cables.