Monday, September 30, 2013

What a weekend!

Productive? Yes! Relaxing? Absolutely! 

I had a fun weekend filled with sewing and knitting and a little bit of cooking.

We kicked off the weekend with the HHS Homecoming game. We're in the midst of a 3-season losing streak, so there was no surprise when the streak continued. But, that's not what's important. What IS important is that the Raider Militia Band ROCKED their Michael Jackson themed half-time show.

Best looking band around. And, as my husband has said in the past, it's really nice of the high school to put on this football game for the Band. Seriously...the band has won more events than the football team has. Just sayin'.

Saturday was all about the sewing. Started the day with a quick trip to the fabric store for zippers, purse hardware, and some solid white and black fabric to use as linings for some of the bags. Once home, I pulled out my craft cart and got to work. I also had a "helper."

Why is it cats think they need to be right in our biz-nazz all the time? Diego has the benefit of being black and white, so his fur shows up on everything. Good thing he's so cute.

First project of the day was another case for my 3DS XL, but this one matches the skin I got a few weeks ago.

Isn't it awesome?! I love it so much. I used 4 different Doctor Who fabrics--I just purchased 8"x8" samples of each, which was perfect. This and the Avengers fabric in the next pic are all from Spoonflower.

Once the DS case was done, I tackled a Two-Zip Hipster for Tori.
What a fabulous pattern! Every step is spelled out and accompanied by full-color photos. It's so clear and well-written, I had no doubt what I was supposed to do. And Tori LOVES it! It's the perfect size for her to carry at school from class to class.

Sunday, I sat down with the Cruzer Convertible Bag pattern and some fabric I got on sale at Walmart eons ago. After the absolute clarity of the Two-Zip Hipster pattern, this one was quite a disappointment. I realize this pattern was written for "advanced" sewers, but even so, it seemed like some steps were left out or not as clear as they could have been. That said, I'm quite pleased with the finished bag. It's big and can be worn as a backpack. It will make an excellent knitting bag and will easily hold a sweater-worth of yarn.

I love this fabric. You might recognize it from the curtains in my front room. I still have tons of fabric left, which is awesome. It also means you'll probably see it here again in the future.

I still have a few yards of geeky fabric I didn't get to use. My intention was to make the Cruzer with my Doctor Who damask fabric, but after I read the pattern, I wanted to do it with a cheaper fabric first. I'm glad I did. This isn't the right bag for that fabric. I also didn't get around to doing anything with the Icons of the Silver Screen fabric. I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I ordered that one, though. (Oh my this how fabric stashing starts? I don't need another stash of anything. My yarn stash is plenty big!)

How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Project planning

I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my River in Summer vest/shawl/wrap/thing. It's about 75% done, and at this point, it's too big to carry around with me. So, I'm limited to working on it at home. I really hope to have it done by the end of the week.

Yesterday, my order from Spoonflower arrived! I couldn't be happier!  I have plans to spend the weekend sewing a couple of bags, another 3DS XL case, and maybe a few other little goodies. Just look at this fabric! I'm so excited to start working with it! I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

I'm also really excited about this yarn I purchased last week. It wants to be a Meridien.
The color is all wrong in the picture. It's really shades of green, not blue and tan. The color is called "Spruce Moss." I want so badly to cast on RIGHT NOW, but I'm trying to be good and finish my River in Summer first. There's one other problem with starting Meridien soon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm teaching a top-down sweater class starting October 8, and I'm also very excited about the sweater I'll be knitting along with the class. But, even if I start Meridien right now, it's unlikely it will be done by October 8. It is, after all, knit with fingering weight yarn. It's going to take a long time to knit.

In the past, this wouldn't have stopped me at all. I'd get a case of startitis, and I'd just go with it. Start all kinds of stuff. But now, I know myself well enough to know that very few of the projects I cast on when I get startitis actually get finished. Most of them end up getting ripped out and the yarn put back in storage until something else strikes me.

Is that a problem? No, I guess not. But, there's something really satisfying and rewarding in finishing something you start. It's always a little disappointing to rip something out or to look at a long list (or big pile) of unfinished projects knowing most of them won't ever be finished.

So, I'm trying to learn to be selective in my starting. Using KnitCompanion to set up patterns on my iPad BEFORE I actually cast on has helped a lot. It forces me to read the pattern, look at construction, and think. There have been a number of times I've started setting up a pattern in KC only to realize half-way through that there's no way I'll ever finish the project. It's really wonderful and has saved me a lot of knitting time and energy.

But my situation right now is a little different. I've purchased and set up Meridien in KnitCompanion. I know I'll finish this project. It's a gorgeous sweater, and I want it. I also have an image in my head of what my top-down sweater will look like, and I know I'll finish it too. There's the added bonus that both sweaters are going to be knit in beautiful yarns that practically knit themselves. So what's the problem?

Well, it's sort of like multitasking. Can you do it? Yes. But, no one thing receives all your attention, so everything suffers as a result. Right?

I'm not quite sure what's wrong with me. I've never been this hesitant to start multiple projects. What does it mean?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gift Knitting

Gift Knitting. Some people view it very simply: I like to knit; you want something knitted; I'll knit for you. I don't happen to be one of those people. I am extremely selective about the people for whom I will knit. My mom is at the top of the list. She appreciates the amount of work that goes into knitting something, but she also understands that I've made the thing for her to wear and use. She and my dad both love handknit socks. My kids are next. Tori loves knit hats and socks. In fact, she has been known to wear knit hats well into dates and places where the weather and temperature would indicate the lack of need for such warm attire. She doesn't care. And socks! During the winter, getting her to take off her handknit socks long enough to wash them is like pulling teeth. It's kind of gross. Aaron claims to like knitted things, but honestly, the kid is like a walking furnace. He's always hot. But, I dutifully knit him a hat every year, and when he goes sledding, he appreciates it. Otherwise, it just sits in the basket with the other cold-weather accessories. My mother-in-law and father-in-law also appreciate it when I knit them things, but I don't do it very often. I'm also happy to knit for my nieces and nephews, but only if they ask. I don't want to be known as Crazy Aunt Amanda who always knits us stupid crap that mom forces us to wear.

Like most knitters, I have a handful of acquaintances who ask me to knit something for them every time I see them.  I usually just laugh it off, or tell them I don't have time to knit all the things I really want to knit for myself, so....  And it's true. Mostly. I mean, I hate it when people say, "I wish I could do X, but I just don't have time." Well, yes, you do. You have time for the things you make time for. Period. It's not that you don't HAVE time to do something, you just choose to use your time doing other things. And that's the point, isn't it? We knit for people that we like enough to dedicate the time to knit for them. I know how valuable my time is. A lot of love and consideration goes into every stitch I knit.

So why am I thinking about gift knitting? It's that time of year. If you are going to knit holiday gifts for someone, now's the time to get started! Even if you don't start the actual knitting, it's a great time to start planning in that direction.

Plus, I just saw a hat on Ravelry that totally made me think of my daughter! It's a free pattern, and I know she'll love it. I can probably knit it in a weekend. Which means it will be done way before Christmas. Well....her birthday is in November. I could give it to her for her birthday.

Uh oh. Do you see where I'm going with this? I have a TERRIBLE time keeping knitted gifts a secret. I want to give them the minute they are completed. Especially if it's something I know the recipient will love. Like this hat. I couldn't even keep the existence of the pattern a secret. I texted Tori the link as soon as I saw it, and she went nuts. I'm not like this with store-bought gifts. I can keep video games, clothes, books, whatever a secret. But I get so excited about knitted things. I want to involve the recipient in every step. I'm not sure if it's because I want them to share in my excitement, or if it's my way of protecting myself--making sure it's something they really want or not.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else feel this way about knitting for others?

Friday, September 20, 2013

And now it's gone

I had a long, elaborate post written with this title "And now it's gone" referring to summer being gone. Then, I did SOMETHING, and deleted the entire post.....and now it's gone. Which makes me very sad. I'll try to recreate the highlights...

So, summer is gone. I'm not sad about it. As much as I love the laid-back attitude surrounding summer, Fall is my favorite. Jeans and sweaters, cooler temps, apples and pumpkin pie, leaves turning gold and red and orange, and the soybean fields yellowing. That yellowing is usually the first sign that fall is really coming.

Those pictures were taken about a week ago, and now the green in the fields is almost completely gone. The only thing I love more than that yellowing-green is freshly fallen snow, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

This time of year, I always look back and take stock of what I accomplished over the summer. This year, it wasn't much. Remember in my last post, when I talked about Animal Crossing: New Leaf? Yeah, it kind of ate my summer. I didn't do much knitting or sewing or any other kind of crafting. All of my free time was spent catching bugs, fishing, doing tours on the island, and building public works projects.
I'm still playing, but not as rabidly as I was before. I take time every day to accomplish the "required" tasks, and play some extra if I feel like it. But, I'm not as obsessed as I was, which means I'm back to knitting and crafting.

I'm currently working on River in Summer.  It's a wonderful cardigan/vest/shawl/wrap thing.
The yarn is Briar Rose Wistful in purples and greens. I love the yarn so much that I really can't wait to have the thing done so I can wrap myself in it. The pattern is wonderful--just mindless and rhythmic enough for watching TV or carrying on a conversation, but interesting enough to keep it fun. Love it.

Starting in October, I'm teaching a top-down sweater class. The class is geared toward knitters of all experience levels--beginners can use existing patterns, but more experienced knitters will get help designing their own. I'll be designing my own as well--top-down cardigan with set-in sleeves, a wide button band and collar, and done entirely in diagonal rib. Oh! And I'll be using Malabrigo Rios--I bought myself 10 skeins for my birthday in August, and I LOVE it!

In other non-knitting-but-still-sort-of-crafty news: My husband and kids got me a Nintendo 3DS XL for my birthday. I was super excited and surprised--when I purchased my 3DS in June, I really debated getting the XL, but decided I'd rather spend the extra $30 on another game. So, this was awesome. But, I needed a case for it. None of the ready-made cases appealed to me, so I set out to make my own. Then the kids each wanted one, and before I knew it, I had these: 
The two on the right are for the 3DS. The two on the left are for the XL. The one on the far left is for my friend Sam, who is one of the hosts of the podcast Not Your Mama's Gamer, which you should all listen to right now.

So, once the cases were made, I realized I wasn't thrilled with the boring color of my new toy: black and red. Snore. So, I looked for skins for it. Again, nothing really jumped out at me. I really wanted a Doctor Who skin, but none I designed my own on DecalGirl. I'd never done it before, but it was so easy.  And, I couldn't be happier.

In other geeky/crafty news, we went to GenCon in Indianapolis in August. Talk about nerds! Holy cow!  (I mean that in the nicest way possible! My husband and daughter had found "their people." Aaron and I, however, felt a little left out because there wasn't much video gaming stuff.)  Anyway, there was a booth for Three Geeks and a Needle, and I couldn't resist purchasing a small bag and a key fob. But what really caught my eye was the fabric they used. It was sooooo geeky! So, I immediately went online to try to find the fabric. After much searching, I discovered Spoonflower. And the angels sang!  So much beautiful fabric! I ordered enough of this to make a bag. I also ordered several 8x8 swatches of Doctor Who fabrics to make another case for my XL, like this and this and this. I'm so excited and can't wait for the fabric to arrive!!! 

So, as you can see, I'm getting my crafting mojo back. What kinds of crafts are you doing this fall?