Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back Soon

Hey, everyone. Been having some Health Issues lately; hope to be back regularly next week. Until then, happy crafting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I received my W.O.M.B.A.T. award, woohoo! (Um, think "have you been paying attention to the rules and regs of the school?" quiz. I passed!) The professors actually went through and made a special, personalized certificate for each and every one of us. They totally rock!!

Maybe tomorrow, I'll actually be physically up to knit/crochet...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ways to Count Stitches Without Actually Thinking

Not much today - swamped at work. But cool ideas for Row Counting - either make a nifty Row Counting bracelet for yourself, or (like I did) get a copy of Quilt2Go's StitchMinder for your mobile device. (I'm using it for a dishcloth right now; I'll be using it for one of the Massive Complicated Shawls once the term ends!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chugging Along

Mostly worked on my HoM OWL this weekend; I'm down to 55 rows left. Since I managed to finish about 15 during the course of the entire weekend, it's going to be a bit of a rush to finish - and let's not forget I've also got my DADA OWL to get done. Sigh. Plus, I'd like to finish at least one more Hallows done for Quidditch... I have about half a Pineapple Dishcloth (today's carry-around) for that. It's going to be two of those, two round dishcloths, an Easy Pretty, and two American Flag Potholders. I think that will put me at around 800 yards, but I want to be sure. Plus, I'm having fun doing "relaxing" knitting and crochet with yarn that's bigger than size 10 cotton!

If I get far enough on the HoM OWL tonight, that will be tomorrow's picture. It's nine more rows until the second set of peacocks begins. Sigh.... but if I get this sucker in, it's a MILE of yardage bonus for Slytherin!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

1,000 posts? Really??

Turned in three classes this week, somewhat unexpectedly, and should have a sixth by the end of the month. Wasn't planning on that, but I'll take it! These are my turn-in posts.

I chose Option 2: Craft something that means something specific to you personally. I had some leftover yarn (about 100 yards - crochet really does use more yarn than knitting!) that didn't have a dedicated purpose, and cried out to be made into Something. This is what I came up with. (Really, the center is Navy Blue. It's just hard to tell, but it is!)

Now, the explanation. I've always had a bit of a stars-and-stripes theme going; the product of a military upbringing, in part, and a love of bright colors for the rest. My kitchen has the theme (not "Danger Men Cooking"; my mom insisted I have a border in my kitchen when we got the house; she's been trying to get me to get rid of it since), with all sorts of red-white-blue things going, most notably the curtains by the window.

I've painted furniture (it looks like it's a set of dressers, but really, it's, um, not, because who'd have dressers outside the kitchen?) to match...

... and I tend to make more things to match when I can, like, for example, dishcloths for Hallows.

But getting stars on things is tricky. Unless it's screened fabric, or something huge like an afghan, stars just don't happen easily, and even if they do, they may not look good. Leaving me with a decided Unbalance of Stars in my decor. So, I made a big one! It will go in my kitchen, probably somewhere near the oven. Since it's cotton, it will probably wind up being an all-purpose towel/dishcloth. Or just a pretty happy thing!

Thanks for the assignment, Professors. I like making pretty happy things!

I chose to Craft a Direct Antidote to counteract injuries caused by the Incendio charm. It is based on the Rule of Three: it is a three-ply yarn, made from three long color runs, amounting to approximately forty and one-half yards. To activate it, simply wind it thrice, widdershins, around the affected area. Until activation, it should stay wrapped clockwise on a frame of some sorts, strands not touching. (No harm will be done if the strands are in contact, but it decreases the active life of the antidote by a few months.)

As a side note, it also seems to work nicely for mosquito bites. I'm not quite certain why, but as side effects go, I'll take it!

History of Magic:
I have chosen Option 2: Craft something that would help you break ancient curses. (And it only took 60 yards of cotton!)

I have created a protective disc that I believe will be effective in breaking ancient curses (and protecting the user from any that might not quite break entirely).

It is a fifteen-pointed green disc, meant to be held between the cursed object/place and the user. Cursed objects may be held by the user, but the user is advised to be certain no direct contact with the actual object occurs until the disc has had a chance to work. Average working time varies from two to fifteen minutes, with up to two hours required for coverage areas in excess of two acres.

Why it works: Green was the color of the 'Eye of Horus', or 'Wedjat', which had healing and protective powers, and so the color also represented well-being. To do 'green things' was to do behave in a positive, life affirming manner - the exact opposite of curses! (There's a really interesting article on colors in Ancient Egyptian art here, if anyone else is interested.) The number five in ancient Egypt incorporates the principles of polarity (2) and reconciliation (3). "All phenomena without exception, are polar in nature, treble in principle." (1) Thus, my protective device is two sided (one to reflect the curse, one to protect the user) and made of three-pointed sections, five in total. Horus, in his aspect of deity of protection, is also associated with the number five. So, green thing with two sides, three multiples in each of five sections = pretty danged protective, especially against ancient Egyptian curses!
So, five classes and one Hallows in, with a class, two Hallows, and two OWLs left to do in two weeks. YEEK!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tour de Fleece Update: I made yarn!

So, I got a shiny-new Ashford spindle from Nature's Yarns this past Saturday, since my little tiny spindle was Full-o-Yarn. I also got three little $1 bags of merino roving, and a three-minute impromptu how-to-draft properly lesson. Here's what I've done with it so far:

Tour de Fleece Day 9 (aka "Saturday"):

The plan is to make one long yarn from the red, orange and yellow fluff (1.5oz all told). I was able to get all the red done Saturday during the NASCAR race (not the most exciting race of the season, as it turned out), and thanks to actually *finally* being able to draft as I go all the time, it went quickly, comparitively. The heavier spindle actually helped with that! Also got much thinner yarn.

Tour de Fleece Day 10 (Sunday)

Started spinning up the orange the next day, and got very, very tired. Soooooo very tired. I think I only got a quarter to a third of the bag spun up. Near the end, it started to get thicker, too, so I called it quits for the day.

(Day 11, Monday, was a Rest Day)

Tour de Fleece Day 12 (Tuesday)

I was *beyond* tired Tuesday. Not only was it really, really hot ("93F, feels like 100F!" at 5pm), but the air quality was HORRID. It would've been a Red Air Quality day under the old system. So, in addition to not sleeping, I got to add "not really breathing" into the mix. On the other hand, of all the crafts I do, at this point, spinning takes the least amount of brain-power. (Getting the photo posted in time on the proper TdF thread on Ravelry? That almost didn't happen!!)

Tour de Fleece Day 13 (Wednesday)

The third and final color began, and except for interruptions due to some amazing dance routines on SYTYCD, went smoothly. So, by the end of the evening, I had about 120 yards of a three-color single.

Tour de Fleece Day 14 (Today)
Now, suddenly having the ability to try the whole Navajo plying thing was too entrancing to hit the snooze alarm, so this morning, I tried it. I got some stuff that actually looks like a nice little three-ply yarn:

... however, on the main, it's a wee bit of an overtwisted mess. When the spindle is going slowly, it's pretty easy to get about five feet of nicely-twisted looks-like-yarn stuff - but then the spindle has to stop, get wound with yarn, and things just *happen* in the middle of it. Part of it, certainly, is a practice thing, but part of it is something that just plain works better on a spinning wheel. Constant tension on the stuff being plied, on the resulting thing, and constant motion? That would actually work. (Possibly having caffiene *before* plying might help, but I think it's mostly mechanics.) Anyway, it resulted in 40.5 yards of yarn that *will* be used to make a tiny bag - since that's about all one can do with 40 yards of yarn.

I think I probably should've been able to get double that - but it's horribly overtwisted for the first third, badly overtwisted for the second, and almost real yarn-like in the final third. Oh well, that's why Attempt at Plying #1 was with the $1 bags of fluff! Back to the silk tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yarn Crawl Alert!!

Hey, Virginia Knitters - the statewide Yarn Crawl is happening! (Well, it started. Um. I'm blurry on the rules from lack of sleep. And I probably should have posted this earlier... but YARN!!!!)

Details here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Nope, nothing to do with the movie that's OMG ALMOST HERE EEEEE!

Instead, it's a bunch of crochet. There *is* a connection, for which I blame Raverly and the entire HPKCHC. (yay!)

Anyway, time to turn in the first of my Hallows. This is worth 35 points (yay), and for this option under the Resurrection Stone, the idea is to (a) give a face to a pattern that doesn't have a Ravelry photograph and (b) use at least 300 yards of fiber. I did one exactly by the pattern for Charms last month (so it doesn't count here), then another six. On three of the cloths, I swapped out buttons for French knots, which renders them decorative rather than practical, but still pretty.

Here's the lot of them:

Betsy Ross

1812 - The Star Spangled Banner

Old Glory (buttons)

Old Glory (knots)

The ones I like best, though, are the ones without any "stars" on them - totally machine washable no matter what, and there's no fear that something might melt from a too-warm Held Pot.

I'm going to do some more of these, with a slightly different color scheme, for one of the other Hallows. Whee!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Care of Unmagical Creatures

I have actually been knitting quite a bit - all washcloths, lately. They're small, portable, and I can fit four balls of yarn in my purse and they don't weigh all that much! So, if a class can be made to fit a washcloth, I'm trying to make it happen.

For Care of Magical Creatures, we could start on the Christmas knitting, so I did. Most of the women in my family (whether they want them or not) will be getting little cotton washcloths, and, if there's enough yarn, little facepoofs to match. (Looks like one ball of Lily Sugar n' Cream nets two washcloths, and *maybe* one facepoof if I'm lucky. Here's the first set, turned in for class:

For Muggle Studies, I had the option of (being a Slytherin) reading through The Green Fairy Book and crafting something to represent a story from it. To my delight, it contained the tale of The Enchanted Snake!! For the HoH Challenge for July, we were also to attempt, for some class, to find a Gryffindor to stalk, and make a project of theirs that fit. I found a wee Gryffie with a perfect project to try: a dishcloth with a big giant "S" on it. Which, if done in green, winds up looking like this:

That's likely it for classes, although I have some ideas for Arithmancy, DADA... oh, heck, for all of them, but OWLS, Quidditch and Tour de Fleece come first!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We R Slytherins!

Might as well brighten up the weekend with a kicky* little melody!**

(*I don't endorse house elf abuse. That's one scene that could've been left out of the vid. Otherwise, it's fun!!)
(** Because I haven't gotten pictures of my knitting & spinning uploaded in a way I can show them here yet. It's the weekend.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Learning Process, end of Week One

I was originally going to leave my yarn as Just Singles, but was reminded about the whole "Navajo Plying" thing. Which sounded pretty much like A Thing To Learn, and also keeps insanely long color runs (hello!) intact. Hadn't a clue how to do it, though, so once again, interwebs to the rescue! I found this GoogleVid which explained everything succinctly, with written words (which help me retain the knowledge better):

Thus, armed with my new knowledge, I put the royal & lavender yarn on my other bobbin (I have two... yes, only two at this time) and started to spin up the green. I figure this will be days six (yesterday) and seven (today) for my TdF. That gives me all weekend to figure out the whole plying thing once and for all. Taking advice from many lovely Ravelers, I'm putting the spun stuff on my spindle so it's not right on the whorl, and I'm getting a lot of yarn on there. I'm also getting more consistent with my thickness.

If I put the teal I spun up before TdF started in between the royal and the green, I should (hopefully!) wind up with enough yarn (300-400 yards?) after plying to Actually Make Something. Although that may not work - I think the green is coming out *much* thinner than any of the other colors, so the lavender/royal/teal may be one yarn, and the green may be spun onto some amber and yellow. But SOMETHING will be knitted with the lavender/royal once it's plied into Real Yarn, for sure! Like, perhaps, Jacquelyn Landry's Nereides? It says right in the pattern that it's good for handspun, particularly silk, which I am (actually, with my own paws!) making. And I'm still knitting lots, really. You just can't tell from this week's posts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Random Thursday

Random day today. First up, some squash from mom's garden. They're huge! These are the first two; there have been six more, and more coming. Good thing she likes squash.

We've gone greener on the household lights. Lights (bulbs, flashlights) is a hobby of my husband's, so he had fun getting everything switched over up to his specifications. I don't think we need more lightbulbs until 2028.

I'm miffed; the new "large" soda at Subway is NOTICEABLY SMALLER than the old one, by (according to measurements) four ounces. The cup isn't just shorter, it's a bit narrower at the top (but not at the bottom, because that would mess up cupholder technology everywhere). I depend on every ounce of caffiene I can get, so this annoys me.

Finally, the Big Local Library is doing a bunch of fun presentations over the summer. I'm quite pleased that someone had a giant stuffed snake to use for the "Reptile Wonders" notice!

See? I told you it would be a random day today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yarn Leftovers: A Solution Thereto

I finished one of my Hallows for-sure-for-sure over the weekend (more on that later). I started with six 120-yd balls of Lily Sugar'n'Cream and made some American Flag Dishcloths. I did one exactly to the pattern for Charms last month, but the rest I changed a wee bit here and there, and will be turning them in as Hallows #1 for Quidditch. (Hallows have to be 300 yards; I figure mine's in the 500yd+ range) I had a couple of yards left at the end. So, rather than just toss an otherwise unworkable amount of cotton yarn out, I did what made sense to me at the time. I braided it:

...which resulted in a bunch of little friendship bracelets.

Yay! No wasted yarnbits!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To define "Ravel"'s A.Word.A.Day offered this up yesterday - I added a third definition which isn't necessarily "standard", but is certainly in widespread use among a certain crafty set:


From Middle Dutch ravelen (to fray out), from ravel (loose thread). Earliest documented use: before 1540.

verb tr. intr.:

1. To fray or to become disjoined; to untangle.
2. To entangle or to become tangled.
3. To foster one's addiction to knitting, crocheting, spinning or weaving in an online community of like-minded individuals. See also enabling.
There, that's better!

That enabling thing is key. Fellow Ravelers and Tweeps encouraged me to try the Tour de Fleece this year - so far, so good. I have managed to spin every day, although I fell asleep before I could post in yesterday's thread (drat). I'm mostly working on getting through the giant pile of tussah top I brought home from MDS&W in May (see photo at top).

Day three was finishing up the rest of the purple fluff pictured above, and that's all done. There's six ounces total, and since 1.6oz previously got me 120 yards, I think I'll have enough to make something pretty once I'm done. I think it's going to be two separate yarns - the purples, blues and greens as one, then all the warm colors together. Except maybe the bright pink; that might be on its own. These are going to be singles, since the batch I did up pre-fleece actually looks like yarn:

Anyway, Here's Day 1, which is some superwash merino:

I have 4oz of this, and it's a LOT:

Here's Day 2, which isn't quite as spectacular, but it's still pretty:

So, that's the start of my Tour de Fleece, and I'm hoping to have a big dent in the stuff I bought at MDS&W, and have the skillz/courage to spin up the pretty orange fluff A sent me by the end of it all!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Free(dom) Day!

There was crafting done over the weekend. But for today, let's all just kick back & relax and enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

History of Magic, 50%

So, last night, shortly before midnight, I got to the 50% point on my History of Magic O.W.L. (If you're wondering why there wasn't a post yesterday, it had a lot to do with crocheting every spare second I could.) I think I crocheted double the number of rows I needed to yesterday, since I had to keep frogging multiple rows because of my inability to count correctly when exhausted - which I am, thanks to this thing! You better believe I'm going to finish it ASAP so the end of July doesn't wind up the same way. Anyway, here it is just a wee bit over 50% finished:

Here's the "wee bit" - about eight stitches done into the second half:

I am *not* carrying this thing around today; instead, I'm working on my July CoMC project ("make a Christmas gift"); I'm doing little round cotton facecloths for the girls in my family. Or at least my MiL & my aunt. Probably my cousin. Possibly my SiL and my nieces, but then I'll have to come up with something cool for my BiLs and nephew... anyway, I'm making a little Bacon Facecloth today.

Unrelated, started using a new icon on Rav. (Yes, it's Polaris, and no, she's not a Slytherin. But she's green.)

My big plan for the weekend? SLEEP!!!