Thursday, September 30, 2010

Transfiguration - DONE!!!

First off, NO, I did not get enough sleep. But I did get more than I thought I would, which is pretty nice.

Second, when I hit that tired-and-wanna-sleep-but-only-if-X and X="finish this thing I'm knitting", I can knit pretty freakin' fast!! To wit, a Who?:

Yes, I actually managed to knit a Who? Hat in ONE DAY. Even better, it actually happened over about five hours, which, given the amount of frogging, swearing, dinner breaks and general television distraction (hey, it was ANTM, it's important to actually *see* what's happening), it's probably more like three. I managed to use some yarn I wanted to do a blocking test on - specifically, Lion Brand Wool-Ease. I know it blocks great in stockinette, but how about cables? Reverse stockinette? Not, mind you, that I've had time to block it yet. Heck, I'm just glad I found two matching buttons!!

The fact that the yarn is Oxford Grey and the buttons are green? Purely a happy coincidence. I think the buttons are the extras from a dressy silk blouse I used to have (long since lost in the mail), but they work great. I was also worried about having only one set of buttons for one set of Owl Eyes - but, as it turns out, that's how it was done in the original pattern! Yay!!

The real yay, other than having a cute new little hat (that still needs blocking)?


All of 'em. Transfiguration is "knit something with button closures - with actual buttonholes, or knit something where buttons are incorporated as decoration" - loosely paraphrased. But little button owl eyes count!!

I'm proud as a peacock over this!!

Next month starts tomorrow, with all new classes, right? Woohooooo!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Potions - Done! Herbology - Done!

Since my Tilting Tardis Shrug for Transfiguration might not (well, at this point, WILL not) get done in time to be turned in, I zipped up a set of Glass Cozies for Potions over the weekend, and turned them in yesterday. They came out well, and they do, in my opinion, beautify the glasses nicely. (And they soak up condensation and help prevent table-ring. Not entirely; I need to make some full-glass-sized ones for a class *next* month.)

I was at a dead end for Herbology; I had the idea of converting a hanging jewelry holder, with its dozens of tiny pockets, into a much bigger-pocketed needle holder. This could hang off the door of my craft room without taking up much space - and I'd (FINALLY) be able to find all my needles when I need them. Started it on Monday night, and got IMMEDIATELY bored to nigh unto death.

So, yesterday, I turned in Potions (so I'd at least have six classes), then looked through the threads for Herbology and Transfiguration. Hm, my brain said. Look - lots of pretty arm-warmers/fingerless gloves for Herbology. Those are pretty quick and simple. And look, there's a set of really pretty crocheted ones... and they were easy. See?

Getting a photo of both of them, when it's just me taking the picture? Not so easy.

Then I had to decide, for Transfiguration (let's face it, the Tilting Tardis shrug is for detention next term!!), whether to make a set of Spatz, or to make a Who? Hat. Based on available yarn and needles, the Who? Hat won, and I cast on this morning.

And no, I didn't really sleep last night. Don't really plan to sleep tonight. I have vacation coming at the end of the week, I can rest up then!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I have a Kitchen Cabinet!!

It wasn't really all about Quidditch this weekend. It was also about home renovation on a small scale: the new kitchen cabinet is finally completed!

I woke up early Sunday to discover that the first bracket (which, because there are power cords and phone lines that need to run behind this thing) and its spacers and drywall anchors and such had been installed.

I helped lift the middle section up and on.

Then there were lots of errands to get more spacers (some we'd gotten weren't quite the right size) and washers. There was also some Mexican food in there somewhere.

Then, the second bracket - and third section - were finally done.

See? See? It's done!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fifty-Seven Points for Slytherin!

Nothing got done on the Masters program over the weekend - it was all about Quidditch! This weekend was the Slytherin House Pride Exhibition (Friday through today), and I got stuff finished. First, and most important for this weekend, was the 15-points project that could be done ONLY during HPE weekend: warm comfy bedsocks!

Next, something of which I'm pretty proud, my Slytherin Quidditch Sweater. This is the first thing I've done where I've followed a schematic EXACTLY, and pinned to block following the schematic EXACTLY... and, in a twist that shouldn't have been surprising to me but actually was, I got a lovely sweater that fits - EXACTLY.

Pinned EXACTLY!!!

I'm proud of myself for getting this done - and that it looks great!

Yes, the smile is not reaching my eyes here.
I'd been holding still for a bit longer than my knees would've liked.
Great photo of the sweater, though!!

Finally, my Slytherin Quidditch Hat is done, too. It also fits exactly; I've figured out how to block using a balled-up towel the size of my head. We'll be using THIS technique for the Masters Level I hat, for sure!!!

I turned in the HPE socks on Saturday, and I'll be turning in my Quidditch Sweater and Quidditch Hat later today. Plus - I've already started (and halfway finished) my Quidditch Necktie!! With the cheering, I've gotten 57 points for Slytherin JUST FROM QUIDDITCH!! Woohooo!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I really need a "Quidditch" tag now.

Today, the Slytherin Challenge Quidditch weekend begins! Today through Monday, everyone can earn points for the House two ways: (1) cheer every day (post something fun in the Quidditch thread) and (2) crafting ONLY today through Monday, make an item in House Colors!

Here's my yarn, I'll be casting on a pair of Warm Fuzzy Bed Socks for myself:

Of course, to do this, I'll need needles. Which are currently being used for my Tilting Tardis Shrug for Transfiguration:

See the little Tardises?

So, this weekend: Bedsocks, Shrug, Glass Cozies (Potions) and retrofit a jewelry holder into a needle holder (Herbology). And it'd be nice if I could start my OWL, too.... (Yeah. Just a little overcommited.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

$3,000 for a TV? Seriously?

There's a Big New Appliance Store in our area - it's taken over most of the old sites where Circuit City was. It has really huge TVs. This one is 82" - and there was no way to get the entire TV *and* my husband in frame, unless we blocked the TV. And he's not a small guy - this is just a freakin' HUGE TV.

The price was pretty big, too - what we paid for our new little TV/DVD combo thing is STILL less than the thing you have to buy for *this* TV to sit on! (Seriously - do people pay I-could-buy-a-car prices for TVs??)

I, of course, wandered off to have my photo taken with sheep. Rhinebeck envy, you know - but these are the only kinds of sheep I'm allowed to be near just yet.

The giant sheep looming on the wall are a little bit creepy, though.

I mean really - do the sheep *have* to be 20ft tall?

Still a bit boggled at the $3,000 TV!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pretty Nature Photo

Nothing today - just a pretty photo of a mushroom from my mom's backyard.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Miss Babs and the Color Workshop

Saturday, I got to attend a Miss Babs color workshop at Fibre Space in Alexandria. It was VERY cool. In addition to finding out about Miss Babs (a fellow MBA, and the yarn is actually the family income, which is really cool!!), I got to think about color-planning in a new way. I'm not going to give out the details, since I think anyone who can really should take this workshop - but I'll show you what I got. First up is the yarn (and needles) I got before the workshop. I forgot to picture the cool gadget - drat. But here's the yarn:

You can probably guess what I'm going to do with it. Anyway, one of the color exercises involved a stick, lots of little bits of yarn, and some double-sided tape. Here's my stick:

I looked around at other people's sticks, and spotted some Teal and Terra Cotta together. Two colors that hadn't really grabbed my attention, so I added them to the center of my stick. Then added some Obsidian, then a little Naked. I really like the way it looked - it said "southwest" to me. So, I ended up getting MORE yarn.

I don't know if you can see just how deep and vivd the Teal is - it's a dark turquoise (to my mind), and it looks great against the black and the terra cotta. I'm thinking it will be a 3/4-sleeve bolero, but we'll see. It'll be something, for certain, and soon. And without the workshop, I wouldn't ever have thought about it!

close up of Teal, so hopefully you can see the color better.

Back to this month's classes now - I still have Transfiguration, Potions & Herbology to finish up!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday report...

I did do work on my Masters over the weekend - nothing worth taking photos, though. But hopefully swatches will start in a couple of weeks (over vacation), and I'm doing another test hat (for Quidditch) to see if I've got the jogless stripes and blocking down.

This weekend, it was all about Quidditch. The sweater is knitted; I just have to do all the finishing and blocking. Here it is with one armhole left to go:

I also got my Slytherin/Scarlett's Army stuff in the mail, yay!

I'll be putting on the tattoo this weekend, since it's Slytherin Pride time in the Cup. Woohoo!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Hey, a fellow Space Cadet!"

So, this morning, I was walking down by the water. Hadn't been up by one of the new jetties (not really a jetty, but...), and discovered that one of them has a map on it:

. Kind of a cool little historical map, really. Especially when you realize IT'S CARVED IN GRANITE. Srsly, that's a long-lasting map! Took that photo, then wandered around to the bench at the back to take photos of my Quidditch sweater - when I heard: "Hey, a fellow Space Cadet!"

Turns out there was a lady who also goes to Fibre Space walking her two (adorable!) Schnauzers, a girl and a boy. Schnauzers being a breed I'm not super-allergic to, I gave in to the big-eyed pleas for ear rubs and back scritches. (I wish I could actually have a dog - or a cat. Snauzers & Siamese go well together, as long as the dog realizes who's really in charge - i.e., the cat.) Anyway, we chatted for a bit about the dogs, knitting, Ravelry, and the store, and she offered to take a photo of me holding my sweater. I must point out that she took a lovely photo; I've cropped off my face because the light was hitting in such a way that I looked like my nose was falling off. NOT her fault - I blame the sun & the light off the water.

I've just put the two fronts (or, rather, what will be the two fronts once I've done two more rows on that side) on stitch holders, and I'm about to start the first row of the knit-flat back.

As you can see, I'm pretty far along on this one. If I actually get some knitting time today, I'm hoping to finish the back, at least. I kinda have to, in fact - there's a kintalong for the Serpentine Valentine Socks starting on Monday, and I'd like to have this (and my Transfiguration homework, and part of my quilt challenge, and maybe my Quidditch necktie) done before then!!

(And I just have to add: the sweater is STILL going to be on the overlarge size. Which is great - I can actually wear thick turtlenecks under it come winter. Or felt it down just a wee bit...!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And now, a break from knitted objects...

My new favorite thing-I-want: Interweave CD Collections. Seriously - I've missed issues from the past 8 years of Interweave Knits, and certainly lots from past 5 of Knitscene. Instead of the Hell known as eBay and tracking things down that way, I can now get a CD with everything on it! I am SO there - I was going to digitize a lot of my favorite patterns - now I won't have to, I'll just get the CDs I need!

Of course, everything isn't on CD yet... these are two books I wouldn't mind getting my paws on:

Still going through the three (!!) books I received from the fabulous rockinsticks, though, so I should be able to keep from buying anything anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quidditch Sweater - Started (twice)!

There was a lot of drama in HPKCHC over the weekend (henceforth, "The Kerfuffle"); I'm still digesting it. I'm certainly staying in the Cup for the rest of the month, and probably the rest of the term (once I calm down a bit) - if only to make sure Slytherin gets the cup back. After that, I'm not sure; if, say, Durmstrang starts up, I'll probably enroll there. Right now, I'm just plain angry, and trying to keep my (potentially not-useful/harmful) comments out of there. One of the "healing activities" started up is to contribute to the Quidditch Essay (... don't ask), and this is what I came up with:
To me, being a Slytherin is being able to be myself, in all my crazy-ambitious it-is-TOO-possible-just-watch-me! glory.
It's having a House where people understand that the gift of ambition and drive to make things better in whatever framework one is dealt is exactly that: a gift that should be used and nurtured.
It's having encouragement to reach for the seemingly impossible, dream of a bright tomrrow, and work hard to bring it into reality.
It's knowing that brilliance, harnessed and directed, can make things better than we ever imagined.
My House is Slytherin, and together, we can change the world.
A big part of why I've enjoyed HPKCHC is because of the House of Slytherin, as it was before last Friday. Our (former) HoH and the Crazy As (who, along with the Deputy Headmistress, aren't in the Cup anymore) really encouraged everyone to do the best they could, and I've been able to pull off more spectacular and fun projects since last May than I could've dreeamed possible. As it turns out, this has actually been a really good thing for my mental health: I thrive on feelings of accomplishment, of "there, that's done," and creativity. The Cup has outlets for both - insane deadlines, and chances to make up designs (so far this term - Arithmancy, Flying), play with existing designs (DADA, History of Magic & Charms - and my OWL), or actually follow designs as written (I'll let you know if that happens). If you've seen my house, you know that it takes a good long time to get anything accomplished around it - it happens, it's just slow. Knitting/crocheting for the Cup is nigh-immediate, since at times, I can finish a class assignment in one day!

So, I'm staying in the Cup for now, since, and now it's about the POINTZ. (And I'm staying mostly in The Slytherin Dungeon, run by my ex-HoH, but will pop into the new Dungeon & the Cup from time to time). I want ALL THE POINTZ!!! I've already turned in (and gotten credit for) five of the six "points" class possible - and hopefully, there will be lots of bonus points. I'll be wearing my "Scarlett's Army" Quidditch Ravatar from here on in, so we'll see.

On the POINTZ front, I started my Quidditch sweater. I was a good little bunny, and even did a swatch!

The swatch, however, IS A LIAR. A big, fuzzy LIAR. I measured, and got 20st=4". Which, somehow in my brain, turned into "cast on 360 stitches". (Which, in the cold light of day after a few nights' good sleep, I realize should have been "cast on 260" - math after midnight should be banned.) But even with considerations of Math Failure, the sweater was 200 stitches too big, not 100. Even my poor math skills can't save this swatch from being branded the lying liar it is!!

So, Monday night, still shaking from The Kerfuffle, I ended up ripping out 7,200 stitches and casting on again, this time with 160 stitches. Just before work on Tuesday, I was almost back to where I'd been when I had to frog:

I've gotten quite a bit further along now - it's amazing what knitting 200 fewer stitches per row will do for my knitting speed.

Hopefully, this will be done this week - by the end of the weekend at least? - and I'll have POINTZ for Slytherin - and be able to start on the matching necktie, hat, gloves, socks and (hopefully) plaid skirt. Yes, POINTZ IS ALL!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The O.W.L. this term: Herbology (aka "Cables, and lots of 'em!")

So, the O.W.L. proposal went in yesterday, and it looks to be approved. It's going to be a sweater, for Herbology. This is the yarn:

This is all the stuff I'll be using...
  1. Knit 'n Style, August, 2010;
  2. Vogue Knitting, Fall 2010;
  3. Rogue, by Jenna Wilson;
  4. 3000 yards of Green Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill;
  5. Four sets of 7" bamboo needles (for knitting all the parts of the sweater at once; fronts will be on the same set of needles);
  6. 1set of 36" size 7 needles (for button band and collar);
  7. Nine brass buttons;
  8. Yarn needle; and
  9. Stitch holders.

I was good and actually made a schematic - so having swatches would actually be, y'know, USEFUL. And did my Quidditch sweater (which I cast on Sunday night) schematic at the same time. I even put a key on it so I'd remember which lines were for which sweater.

Then, of course, there was the swatching. I finished it late last week, and went about doing the blocking on Saturday. Usual steps: Drench, Wring in Towel, Pin Out To Dry.

Then, on to the explanation, which flows best from what I submitted in my proposal:
I have multiple swatches, as there are several areas of this sweater that I needed exact measurements to be able to make my master schematic. In addition, I am changing several components of the sweater, as explained in detail below. First, moss stitch, which is the main "background" stitch of the sweater. I plan to keep the moss stitch relatively untouched, but will be able to use the moss stitch side panels of the sweater to conceal the subtle waist shaping.

The second swatch is the double-braid motif for the upper part of the sleeves, with a button band cast on and worked up one side. I am adding the button band and collar from the London Calling cardigan. Below is the original front of the sweater, and my proposed button band and collar.


Here is the related swatch:

Next, I will be changing the bottom part of the sleeve. The original sleeve has paired mirror-image twisted cables. I will be adding a closed-loop Celtic motif at the wrist of each sleeve, which will go (based on the swatch) to just below the elbow.

Finally, I'll be modifying the main panel celtic motif. In my opinion, closed-loop formation at the hem and neckline of the sweater will make the panels appear more intricate, and they will better match the sleeves.

I figure I'll cast on sometime Wednesday, or when I get to the "divide for front and back" part of my Quidditch sweater, whichever comes first. Woohooo!!