Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ron Swanson ProTips

Have the best week possible. Have a steak, work with you hands and go easy on the salad - you're not a rabbit.

I took Ron Swanson's advice and worked in the out-of-doors to plant some flowers on the porch. It's not much, but for me it's like some kind of verdant heaven. It's mine and I'm proud of it.

I also finished the Procrastination Shawl. I don't really know how to wear it, because it's not quite big enough to be a practical shawl but wearing it as a scarf kind of looks baby bib-like:
My house is a mess, but my shawl turned out pretty neat!
This is the face of a tired 26 year old wearing a purple bib
But still, it's finished! And that feels pretty good. I'm working on a bunch of little gift projects now, we'll see if I can pull it out in a ridiculously short amount of time. Nothing like putting off your gifts to making something for yourself that you'll hardly use. Huzzah!

I'm kind of stressing this gift for my mom in particular. I had a brainstorm to make her a cool wrap to wear with a dress she's wearing to a wedding we're both attending this weekend. The yarn I got is hand-dyed (read: overpriced) and contains her favorite colors: tones of blues and dark purples. But as I'm knitting it up... it's just really starting to look.... well... "busy"? Or, if I'm being honest, possibly like cupcake barf?
Not the best picture, but you get the idea. I'm not sure what to do at this point, since we're on a TIGHT deadline. Maybe I'll just give it to her after the wedding so she won't feel forced to wear it? Oy... perfect example of why you keep it simple when giving gifts. Don't spend a ton on your yarn or your pattern because no one really knows the difference and hand crafted awesome yarn is only pretty in the eye of the craft nerd beholder. LEARNING.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Felt Up

Big news on Project Baby Bootie.

I am a successful felter, folks. I felt things now. Add it to the ol' skill set because I, ladies and gentleman, can shrink up some wool:

I'm sure you recall with perfect clarity the previous attempts with mystery yarn that turned out to not even be wool:


But those days are over now and I'm thinking I'll have a pair of super-cute stompers by the time this weekend is over. If you'll pardon me repeating myself: THESE ARE SO CUTE. I love the red, don't you? They're screaming for lil' apple buttons, are they not?

Speaking of skill acquirement (and also another dangerously expensive hobby), I'm teaching myself how to spin my own yarn! I ordered a kit from etsy that came with a basic drop spindle and 2 ounces of Merino wool. The result was clumsy, but could be identified by the non-picky as 'yarn'.

I didn't take too many photos because this first attempt has a face only a mother could love, as they say. But I have 12 yards of 1 ply yarn that wasn't a thing before, so that feels like an accomplishment. I will, of course, keep you updated on any developments in this area, as I know you'll be on the edge of your seat. Spinning is very relaxing and is the perfect activity for my little 4 foot x 7 foot porch on a nice day. So don't worry, I promise I go outside every once in a while!!

Can't visualize what I mean by "drop spindle"?  Here's the video that started it all for me:

Be warned, she makes it look so easy, but like most things, it takes a while to make her skills look effortless.

As a reward for reading through all of that crafting chatter, here's a little song for the weekend, with a side of nostalgia:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I just finished a big work project that also happens to commemorate the end of the organization's fiscal year. It happens every year, but it's always a big undertaking. As you wrap up a year, there's always time for reflection and lessons learned. In finishing this big project, the satisfaction I usually feel has not rolled over me quite yet. This is partially due to all the work still to be done in the last few days of this year, but it's also because I was able to accomplish so much, but none of it with out mistakes.

I mentioned in a previous post that I started a Procrastination Shawl 'just because', even while I have an ever-growing gift pile that needs attention. It knitted up quickly at first, but has since stayed the same size.

Before: When I cared about presenting you with a quality blog

After: when I did not care what your precious little sensibilities might make of my
horrible cell phone camera

Not because I haven't been working on it, but because I've had to rip out rows more than once due to lost counts, dropped stitches and even forgetting which side was the Right Side and the Wrong Side. Interestingly, this hasn't bothered me very much - probably because the yarn I'm using is cheap and ugly and the pattern is interesting to me but not something I fell in love with ages ago. I'm just enjoying the process and learning new skills along the way. This is known as "process knitting", a simple concept I heard about on an old episode of the KnitPicks podcast. You're knitting to knit and not for a result. This type of approach has taught me more than I can say and has really helped me not only learn from my mistakes but also freed me from constantly beating myself to death over every problem. I think I'm going to apply this a new approach to my workload and see if it helps me avoid mistakes and ultimately overcome them. I'm going to try to enjoy work for the sake of being busy. I'll let you know how that works out for me - if I even remember typing this in the morning.

In other news, the year-end project had it's perks. Yummy hors d'oeuvres and a gift - new plastic cup with straw! It may not be my beloved Tervis Tumbler, but it's a close second, pal.
Cup shown in foreground. Dog included for scale.

This post is brought to you by: an ill-advised late night stop at the Rock n' Roll McDonald's for a large Diet Coke.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


So, look. I had an update for you last week, but then Blogger was down and then I had to get back to work, nawmsayin?

Sorry for the absence. After this week, I'll be able to get back into a regular routine. Meanwhile, this pretty much sums up my approach toward the rest of the week:

Of COURSE, I continue to knit. Right now, I'm working on something totally incongruent with the amount of gifts I should be making for other people. It's a "shawl" but most likely will be warn as a scarf and it's a super fast knit. The following was cast on and knitted on a bus ride to and from work:

It's a deeper purple than pictured and it's a great deal of Barney to be draping around one's shoulders, but being able to finish something quickly with yarn that's just sitting there brings me joy. It's called the Procrastination Shawl for a reason.

I also finished my project for my Ravelry Swap/One group and got it all mailed off to Canada yesterday!

Now I'm off to have the most productive day in history at work. At least, it better be. Join me, won't you?!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Work Cyclone!

I'm stuck in one - you ever been there? Of course you have.

It's really eating into my bloggy time, but I'll power through for you all and get back to it really soon! Swearzies!

In the meantime, I'm working on my sister's over-due birthday present. A scarf for a certain University in Indiana... I'm trying to make it REVERSIBLE and making MY OWN COLOR CHART, so the first draft wasn't 100% what I was going for:

So, the "U" is more like YOOOOOU in that it is too wide, dontcha think? Also, the sides were hella fug, so I fixed my technique on that front. Still, it's a start and the second incarnation is working out for me. Updates on that soon, promise!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Runs

Well the post-work run went very well. I ended up running a full mile, even though it felt like I barely made it a quarter of that. Not running on a track is definitely the way to go as far as I'm concerned, you can see your goal in the distance and push yourself to get there. Yes, please!

On the downside, I feel all my tendons and hamstrings tightening up on me today. My whole lower body feels like a version of this:

Note: Not my hands, thankyouverymuch
But that's good, right? It means the exercise is WORKING or something. I'm waiting for the fun that's supposed to accompany this process. Any day now, I guess...

One suggestion I would like to make is segregated exercise spaces. There are no words on earth that can describe how dispiriting it is to have someone who is out running for "maintenance" of a slammin' bod lap you four of five times in a single run. I think the maintainers should have their own path and me an the other shlubs who got really freaked out watching that 1,000 pound man documentary on TLC at 1 in the morning on Saturday should have our own. Something like:
Professional artist's rendering

In Knitty News:
I finished another drink cozy yesterday all set to ship off to Canada! I just need to find some cool buttons to sew on it - maybe I'll be brave enough to journey up to the thrift store by my house tomorrow. We'll see!

I also worked on another baby bootie while watching Cheers on Netflix last night. I need to adjust my gauge, clearly, because they turned out to be twice the size they're supposed to be. This really just means I need to do math. Which means I threw the bootie on the FAIL pile and had to walk away. This is where the Never Ending Cardigan comes in handy - nice, repetitive stitches that make sense and fit. We shall see what the weekend brings (besides more rain, boo!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

U cold?

I'm 'in training' for a very short race on June 16. It's a 5K and I know that your average person can knock that out after eating a plate of nachos on Super Bowl Sunday, but for me, it's the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE. I'm not a good runner, never have been. I'm slow and I panic when I feel like I can't breath, so it takes me a while to get back in the swing of things.

Update: I'm running the in Jim Gibbons Traffic Jam 5K in support of the Leukemia Research Foundation. If you'd consider giving a few bucks to the cause to support my efforts, it would be most appreciated in addition to being money-well-donated. If you're laughing at the idea of me running in any sort of road race at all, please donate $100 now. Don't I entertain you ENOUGH? To donate, click here.

If I take time off from running consistently, I automatically go back to square one where I can only go a half-mile. So, as you have calculated in that brilliant little head of yours, that's not anywhere close to the 3.1 miles I need to build up to. Therefore, this week has left me feeling a little defeated and so I'm not feeling especially bloggy. I shall keep you posted - I'm going to be running after work today so I have NO EXCUSES. We'll see how that goes!

Since I'm in the defeatist mind-set, I need to once again celebrate a small victory! I completed a little knitting project - a Mug Cozy! (We're Just That Awesome Cozy from Sweatshop of Love)

I was testing the pattern out for a swap I'm participating in via Ravelry. My partner lives in Canada and loves pink & purple, so I felt bad forcing my favorite color on her:

Verdict: I'll just keep this little winner for myself and modify the pattern for a larger gauge to use up some of my pink Lion Brand Cotton ease left over from the baby blanket I made my cousin. Hey, it's the little things!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Well, I missed the deadline to turn in my washcloth for charity. I feel like a real rapscallion, but work has to come first. (Cue Sad Trombone)

It actually turned out for the best, because while the cloth turned out fine to the average eye:

All I see is:

So I figured "What the heck?", turned it up to 11 on the Bad Person Amplifier and decided to test the quality of the washcloth on myself. And you know what? I freaking LOVED IT! The wave pattern, though positively riddled with errors is so soft and great for washing your face. The other side has these nice seedstitch nubs that exfoliate like a dream. Sorry children at a Haitian hospital, but I think I'm going to be using my cotton scraps to keep me in washcloths and soft skin. I promise to increase my giving to PSI and the Red Cross next year, ok? Friends?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen Ain't Got Nothin' on Me

How's your day been going?

Well, that's good/ too bad.

Me? Oh, I've just being doing a great deal of data entry, enjoying some of this long-awaited sunshine and WINNING A CONTEST.

Sweatshop of Love is celebrating its 5 year anniversary and gave away two patterns and the yarn to go with it. I entered both and won the:

Loop Entrelac Top
and the yarn to go with it, betches!

I mean, look over my last month of posts. FREE YARN and FREE PATTERN?! Heaven. Happy Monday... and pardon me for gloating, but "Winner, winner, chicken dinner."

Good Morning, America

And yes, it does feel strange to celebrate a death as a victory and yes, I am thinking that over. But that high-school Republican in me seems to have only been lying dormant in my heart on this particular issue.

UPDATE: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” - Mark Twain