Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Term Starts Tomorrow!!

First, I got sorted into Slytherin for my Fifth Year. Yay!!

Second, I'm a Middle Snake in the Black Adder Nest again - More Yay!!

Third, I was going to be somewhat sane with my crafting this term, really I was. I picked a complicated OWL, figured out I'd make a sweater for my BROOM, and do the minimum classes and quidditch. And then THIS got posted:
Gather round all ye Snakes, Slytherin Quest has a little twist this term. In honor of our Slytherin Spring 2011 Victory and to insure we retain the House Cup, Professor Snape extends an invitation to all members of Slytherin House to join the [Super-Secret Society, Name Withheld for Secretness].

Our location upon this cruise ship is secret kept, but is accessible to all of Slytherin House.

Please sign up via [Super-Secret Location] by September 30th if you wish to craft for a Slytherin Order of the Serpent Medallion.
I'm not signing up to CRAFT ALL THE THINGS, but I'm probably going to try to do so anyway. I see a lot of tiny projects in my future!!

Fourth, let us say a fond farewell to the projects that will be fodder for Detention later in the term, upon which I will no longer have time to work due to OWL, BROOM, Quidditch, Headmistress's Challenge, and six-to-eight classes a month. First is my Dobby's Sunset Birch Leaf Shawl, which is probably a day or two out from being finished, so I may be able to pull off detention credit early.

Then, there's my Nancy & Judy shawl that only uses the Nancy pattern. I've made it to the second to last color change (FINALLY). The third-to-last change took 12 rows, so this one should take about ten, then there should be about five of pattern (or to a logical stopping point) then a garter-stitch edge.

I've actually done really well in August with getting projects I've started Off The List. Three shawls finished in August alone - that's pretty darned good for me!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane "aftermath"

How to knit through a hurricane in Three Easy Steps.

1. First, the last thing you should do right before the rain starts is get some yarn. The quantity is up to you, but it should, more or less, match the amount of storm you're expecting.

2. Then, knit it up during the storm. It helps if there's some sort of cool pattern... er...

... um, okay, some sort of cool VISIBLE pattern in it. It also helps if it is....

3. Wearable in more than one way. Here, we have a lovely neckwarmer, or ...

... headscarf!

And yes, I only knitted during Irene, which (for us) wasn't very long, but I only had 93 yards of bamboo. I think I called it just about right!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stuff I Got!

So, last Tuesday (the Day of the Earthquake), I was going to hit FibreSpace to soothe my rattled neves with yarn. I left work at 5pm; the Metro, which was running at 15 miles an hour, got to King Street Station at 6:53. I can't move fast enough to get up the street to the store in seven minutes. So, on my way into work (late) on Wednesday, I managed to sneak in a side-trip. I found needles, yarn, and goodies.

The needles are Kollage DPNs, which I would love just because they're shiny copper-colored things, but they actually work really, really well. I got a set of size 3's for starting my OWL later this week, and with those and a pair of size 5s, I'll be making a pair of Flourishing Mittens. I'll be doing them with some Mini Mochi, which I last used as the fluffy green edge of the Serenity Baby Blanket, and some Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in the Espresso Roast colorway. I think the bright colors and contrast with the deep brown yarn will work really well. And the fibre content is *almost* the same - and it's all washable, which is key for mittens of mine that aren't mostly black!!

note subtle favorite NFL team plug

The goodies are another Herdy keychain (already clipped to the strap of my current totebag) and a lovely Perl Grey shawl pin. It goes delightfully with my new StellaLuna Ravenclaw shawl (see last post)!

So, I'm now really, really set to start my OWL, I've got a potential OOtP project (or at least a class project), and classes start on Thursday. I'm pretty excited!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fixing a Hole in Lace (not that bad, actually!)

First, lovely FINISHED SHAWL photos, woohooo!!

I really like my new shawl pin!

So, I need to get my "F"-is-for-Fix tile. My lovely StellaLuna shawl came through for me - not only did I need to do a splice to fix what would otherwise be an ugly knot right on the edge of the shawl, I also managed to drop some stitches right at the beginning of the shawl (*sigh*), so needed to fix THAT, too.

First, the hole needed to be repaired while everything was still pinned out on the board - it's just easier to re-weave everything in that case. I'd been holding the lost stitches, more or less, with a paperclip since I'd discovered the hole, and blocked the shawl with the paperclip in place:

Then, it was a case of figuring out what that part of the shawl was supposed to look like. Luckily, the answer was "a mirror image of the stuff on the other side of the motif" was the answer. So, I had to "knit" up a stitch, while also knitting up some yarnover stitches, k2tog-ing when appropriate, and otherwise making things more or less match. This is much easier to do with crochet hooks; I've found that oversized crochet hooks actually make it easier to keep track of where things are going - even if they're a bit trickier to get to cooperate with the actual stitching.

Once everything has been reduced to one dropped stitch that has nowhere to hook into, it's time for a wee bit of darning. So, with some extra yarn (always, ALWAYS keep a bit of extra yarn if possible!), I secured one end of the thread by weaving it in to the knitted portion of the motif, then needle-knit the lost stich into the pattern TWICE from the stitch above it. (Sucker's not going ANYWHERE this time.)

Then thoroughly weave in the other end of the extra thread, and trim the ends as closely as possible. Upon really close inspection, there's something a bit squiffy with the repaired motif, but the odds of "really close inspection" are slim, and it looks good enough that it isn't going to draw attention to itself to the detriment of the rest of the shawl by being wonky now. And even better, the WHOLE DANGED SHAWL isn't going to unravel now!

Once the shawl was, for the most part, otherwise okay, I decided that the weaving in had actually gone smoothly and quite invisibly enough that I wasn't going to take the chance of trying to splice the other ends I was going to fix, and that weaving them in would be just fine and not harm the shawl's appearance. And be less likely to cause, oh, something like the WHOLE DANGED SHAWL UNRAVELING.

So that's how I'll get my "Fix" tile! One more (Tidy) to go, and I will have collected them all!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

O.W.L. Prep

It's almost time to submit my OWL proposal, so it was time to get all the stuff I'll need to knit the Evenstar Shawl together. Here are my eight balls of silver-shot twilight-blue mohair (Luna), four packs of iridescent beads (which should be well over 3,000), needles, steel crochet hooks, and the pattern.

This is a better photo of the actual color of the yarn; evidently, my iPhone camera isn't quite so into the whole "getting color correction working when faced with a BRIGHT ORANGE background".

You can even see the little bits of silver all through it. My proposal is mostly written - I have to add a few more things about how the lace elements actually represent Venus and lots of little stars even before the twinkly yarn and beads come into the picture - and I'm pretty sure it'll get approved. Mostly since the same shawl was approved for Astronomy last term at least twice, and at least one person (Hi, Headmistress!) is making it NEWT-worthy. I could probably put it in as a NEWT, too, except I'm not NEWT-qualified (not enough OWLs), and I really need Astronomy for the NEWTs I will have in the future. So, um, OWL for now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(re)Starting a New Shawl

Remember the gorgeous skein of handspun laceweight by PEby that I won? This stuff?

I had decided to make an embossed leaf entrelac scarf out of it. And I got the third repeat... and it Just Wasn't Working For Me. It would've been fine, but I wasn't feeling it. It wasn't Quite Exactly Right for what I wanted for this yarn.

See? Looked fine, but. So, I hit Ravelry, and found a version of a Birch Leaf Shawl that works "for any quantity of yarn". You start at the pointy tip at the bottom, and knit until you run out of yarn (or, hopefully, until you have enough to do five rows of garter stitch for the top edge of the shawl after the last full pattern repeat). I am liking this much better, and am looking forward to the finished shawl. Which might be sooner than usual; I've been on a bit of a roll, shawl-wise, lately!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blogoversary - Four Years!

First - OMG. It's my Blogoversary, which I totally wasn't expecting so soon (no idea why, I can see the countdown-counter as easily as you can), so I don't have anything planned for it. Sorry, loyal readers! I've actually had the blogspot blog for four years now. Wow. (And the LJ one for two years before that. Wow.)... it really is helping me keep track of my crafting, that's for certain!!

Remember yesterday when I mentioned, briefly, my "T"-is-for-Tidy tile? Well, I took hours (and hours) clearing out all the places-that-stash-shouldn't-be in the house, and lumping the results into a pile in one corner of the dining room (which isn't actually big enough for a table or anything, but the people we bought the house from used this room for dining, so that's what we call it. Another tradition that has no real meaning in current day!). Here are those results:

Yeah, I know, it's pretty bad. OTOH, I found a bunch of projects and yarn that I'd thought I'd lost. Like the fuzzy yarn to make an entrelac hat to match my Danica scarf, and the third skein of Starry, and that other bag of cotton yarn for facecloths to knit for Christmas, and all the yarn for my New Angle Afghan.... yeah. I don't need to go yarn shopping for quite a while!

Monday, August 22, 2011

O.W.L. Swatch - Evenstar Shawl

I finally did my OWL swatch for the Evenstar Shawl. The yarn is so soft and fluffy and mohair-y... yeah, I'd better not make any mistakes. It doesn't TINK well, to put it mildly. But, on size 3 needles, I was to get a 6" x 4" swatch and I pretty much nailed it. Once I got the hang of the kfb4-k2tog and kfb7-k3tog stitches, things went (a bit more) smoothly.

I added beads to the shawl, too. I wanted them to be *subtle* accents, and they're so subtle they don't show up well on camera. They twinkle ever so prettily in RL, though, so I'll be using them. Three thousand of them, evidently.

I can also use this swatch to turn in for my "S"-is-for Swatch tile in STUFF.

Which will leave me with the "F" for Fix, and the "T" for Tidy. Still have some work to do on both of those!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Something worse than having to Splice...

So, here's how the splicing went on the StellaLuna shawl:
Step 1:    I carefully took the beads off the almost-finished ball of yarn.

Step 2:    I hunted through the office, locating a needlework-inclined coworker with a beading needle.

Step 3:    I carefully threaded the beads onto the new ball of yarn.

Step 4:    I spliced the two balls of yarn together.

Step 5:    I realized I could have skipped steps 1-3.

Step 6:    I hid under my desk for the rest of the day.
The reason I did that splice first (with a whole lot of extra work) was to make sure I remembered how to make a solid splice with this yarn. Yay, it worked.

Today at lunch, I got the shawl off the needles (well, to the last nine stitches; then I checked the instructions, and finished the last two rows at my desk). Woohoo, it's a shawl!


THERE IS A GIANT HOLE that starts in about the third row. Of over 100. GAH.

So, my "fix" tile will be earned for fixing THIS nightmare, as well as that piddly little splicing problem. Seriously, how have I managed to miss that...

fancy "don't unravel more!" paperclip

....for however long it's been? And how many MORE holes are going to get discovered when I try blocking tonight? I'm not sure I want to know!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

K-Pop is done!

Since I need my size 3 straights for my OWL swatch, I had to get K-Pop off the needles. I blocked it last night, and it dried QUICKLY (or I did the best-ever blotting job of my life). I got to wear it today!

It's cute. There's one vertical repeat less than called for by the pattern, since that's how much yarn I didn't have, and I didn't do the edging called for by the pattern - again, almost out of yarn. This was a nice little knit-up, though, so I'll probably do a full-sized one at some point. I really like the geometric lace patterns! You can see said pattern a bit better here, while it's blocking.


And no, I don't have more StellaLuna bits. I hit the end of the current ball of yarn this morning during my commute in to work, and DON'T HAVE A NEEDLE. So re-threading the remaining beads onto the new ball of yarn? By hand? I got four on in about 20 minutes. If I have to do the rest that way, I will, but I'm really hoping one of my coworkers will have a needle on them today...!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Something requiring a Fix

So, I'm doing pretty good with the STUFFF, I have two Fs and a U. I'm pretty sure the T will never be mine (tidy my workspace? are you INSANE?), and I have plans for the S, but I was in a bind - I don't have much (that I can find) that needs fixing. Until I remembered my lovely StellaLuna shawl, which is about half finished, and has A Thing That Must Be Fixed. Here's the shawl now:

And here's the problem. The yarn wasn't one long, continuous piece of yarn. It was, in fact, six pieces of yarn, something that didn't get noticed when I bought it... mostly because it was in a lovely little yarn-cake from the get-go. Yes, it's Fathom colorway again, yes, it's MadTosh. I love this yarn. I did, however, COMPLETELY FORGET how to spit/water-splice yarn when I first ran out.

So, I have this UGLY KNOTTED THING at the edge of my shawl. This *cannot* be allowed to stay there, and really, it's lace. Weaving in ends? Not so easy.

I'm going to cut my ends VERY CLOSE to where they need to be, carefully unwind each bit of yarn from each side, and heat/water splice the stuffing out of it. Which is what I remembered to do for the *next* yarn join, so I know it not only works, it works well with this lovely stuff. I mean, really - there shouldn't be weaving in ends in a shawl except for the very beginning and very end (and if I'd remembered at all, I would've remember to knit the tail in as I went when I started... but clearly, I wasn't thinking clearly when I started this lovely.

More tomorrow, assuming it actually works as well as I think it will.... fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to tell I'm healthy enough to try going to work.

Out with a migraine for 27 hours. Upon getting my vision and coordination back (and being well past the throwing-up stage), I did what any normal person would do.

I knit a dishcloth, just to make sure I could.

... what do you mean, "that's not normal"?

Monday, August 15, 2011

F is for Finish!

Finished my shawl on Friday night, without much yarn left over at all. Got it blocked on Saturday, and let it dry:

Today, I wore it. And since it's down in the sixties in the mornings now (WTF, August, you DO know you're supposed to be warmer?), I actually needed it!

I really like the way it came out, and as an extra-fun bonus, it will also get me a STUFFF "Finish" tile. Yay!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crochet with George

Haven't done a photo with George for a while. So, here's my crochet-along shawl, hanging out in the afternoon sunshine!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crocheting an Azalea Bush, quite by accident

Slytherin House is doing a Summer Crochet-Along (CAL), and one of the patterns chosen is the Elise Shawl (Rav link). This has been in my stash for quite a while, since I figured it would be a good thing to try my handspun on (such as said handspun is). Last time I was at Fibre Space (to pick up my four skeins of Miss Babs Yowza! in Russet for my Girl From Auntie Rogue Hoodie), I bought Fun Yarn. It's Neigbhorhood Fiber Co., and I think it's Studio Sock. Not sure on the colorway - I've been calling it my Watermelon Yarn, but I know that's not the actual name. (Heaven only knows what happened to the tag.)

Anyway, I cast on using the lovely little hand-carved wooden hook I got at the TKGA conference last year (it didn't work for worsted-weight yarn, since the groove is so sharp, but it's perfect for sock yarn). And the color pooling started happening... and I was entranced by it. Here's a photo Wednesday morning:

It's going to look like a flower-garden print when it's done, and I think it will be *beautiful*. For a minute or two after I got to the end of row 6, I was confused... it appeared to be the smallest shawl ever, and I was pretty sure the pattern photo showed a human-sized shawl, not a Barbiedoll-sized shawl. Then I read the writing in the lower right corner: "repeat rows 5 and 6 11 times". The written instructions also include "or until desired size". Here's what I have so far:

Since it's crochet, it works up very, very quickly. I like the fact that it almost looks like a floral print (or an abstract of a floral print); and it will be ready to wear in time for the TKGA conference, too! I think I will have it done by the end of the weekend, and then it's back to knitting the K-Pop Shawl and my OWL swatch!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gimme a "U"!

I've been noticing a lot of online housekeeping happening in the Snake Pit and environs, so I decided (whilst waiting between projects at work) to clean up and organize my queue so, in theory, I could easily find whatever I barely remembered I wanted to knit/crochet in the first place. Here's what it looked like to start: quite a few categories, but I'd slacked off on tagging things.

Thus, over the course of two hours, I went through every single thing in my queue. I deleted about two pages' worth of things (50+ items, I think), and added new tags/categories, like boyclothes (things for my very tall husband - long cardigans, kilthose, and other things that will take years to knit) and WANT (for all those things I keep thinking I should start, but forget about or can't find). Every single thing in my queue is now tagged.

And thus, I earned my "U"! (And I'm giggling that I now have an official "FU".)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well, yes, it's poison, but...

I've been trying to knit under my desk a bit today. I'm into the first row of the third repeat (of five) of the vertical pattern of Chart 2 of the Ae-Rang shawl, and have discovered that each vertical repeat = four additional horizontal repeats. And I really, really need these needles to swatch for my Astronomy OWL! At least I've gotten my proposal written up, which was a bit tricky, but I really need an Astronomy OWL for both my NEWT ideas. Anyway, knitting is happening. And, so far, my BAM bag hasn't unzipped itself again (but the day is still early).

It has also been called to my attention that there is a small phial on my desk.

"What's in that?" a coworker asked.

"Poison," I replied, because it's true. (It's wintergreen-scented isopropyl alcohol, which, for some reason, takes the itch out of mosquito bites almost immediately for me. Since I've been getting all my bites on the way to work, keeping some on hand just makes sense.)

I think I'll be left alone for the rest of the day, if not the rest of the year. And I think I just got out of make-the-coffee duty permanently.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Well, knitting is pictured below, but this is really more of a "Yes, today is Monday" post. Ever wondered if those spiffy BAM Bags - you know, the ones that seem like one big, long zipper - ARE actually one big long zipper?

The answer is a definitive "YES", as I discovered whilst crossing a parking lot early this morning.

As near as I can tell, one of my lovely size 3 aluminum needles was able to work its way between three of the teeth of the zipper, popping it JUST ENOUGH so one second, there was a bag on my shoulder; the next second, there was a bag (and all the stuff in it) on the ground... with the strap still on my shoulder. I was lucky that it didn't happen streetside, or on the bus (although it may have started as I was leaving the bus; the driver gave me a strange look, but didn't say anything), but in an empty, traffic-free parking lot. I was able to recover everything (wow, I have a lot of shiny paperclips-used-as-stitchmarkers that I carry everywhere). But now, I had a handle-less thing that wasn't quite deep enough to carry everything easily one-handed. (It's morning, just assume there's a Giant Carafe of Caffiene in the other hand.) So, managing to gather everything up and more or less transport the resulting jumble about fifty fee successfully, I pulled up to a windowsill of convenient height, and did what anyone faced with such a dilemma would do: Took a photo to post to Twitter.

I did manage to get to work without too many problems - mostly my wrist getting a bit fatigued from the odd clamp-grip I had to use to keep the zipper from further unzipping, and the fun of having exactly NO hands to manipulate the security fobs to enter my building. Then it was time to figure out if I could get it *actually* unzipped, so I could move past the accidental unzip point and re-zip the whole thing.

Thankfully it worked.

Of course, since I had to work through (ie, unpick & cut) the stopper that keeps the bag from completely unzipping anyway, I now have a bag that could unzip at any moment if I'm not paying attention. This concerns me a bit. And I have no idea how I'm going to get my lovely size 3 aluminum needles home safely....

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Knits and Phoenixes

In actually-I'm-knitting-really-I-am news, I started AeRang by Jolene Mosley last night. Got through the first chart before bedtime on Wednesday, which was probably foolish, since I'm incredibly sleep-deprived already, but teh knitting crazy got me.

Dear Students,

Congratulations! You have been selected to undertake a journey of personal growth and crafting prowess. I am pleased to invite you, the students (and NQFY and SoSs) of the HPKCHC, to the inaugural gathering of the Order of the Phoenix. Those of you who choose to accept a mission with the Order will undertake a variety of duties and assignments to thwart Death Eaters, He Who Must Not Be Named, and all manner of crafting gremlins and forces of evil.

Our purpose as a school is to foster growth as a magical community, as well as provide the best in magical crafting education that we can, by practical courses. The Order of the Phoenix missions will test your skills in magical applications lasting more than one muggle month and up to two muggle months (ideally, 6-8 weeks). You may join the Order and carry out one task each term. You may simultaneously sit for one OWL or NEWT each term, if you choose. Order missions will teach valuable skills in magical clandestine operations, and completed missions will earn 100 points for your House. Students, NQFYs, and SoS who complete Order missions will earn that term’s badge.

But membership in the Order is not for the faint of heart. As in our other Advanced Studies courses, simply achieving your goal will not complete the objective. If you choose to join the Order and undertake a mission, you must report your plan to your Mission Chief before you begin. Mission Chiefs will be looking for plans full of cunning and bravery. Be careful with specific details lest your owl be intercepted by our enemies, and be prepared to remain in contact with your division throughout your mission. Your Mission Chief will approve your mission and after receiving and replying to the prearranged signal from the Order Commander, you may begin.

That’s all I can say for now, as Hogwarts business is calling me away. Watch the skies for post owls carrying further instructions. And… good luck.

Headmistress of Hogwarts
The HPKCHC folks are doing a really wonderful job of keeping things new and fun and interesting. I'm definitely going to be staying a few extra years for post-graduate work...