Monday, February 28, 2011

Experiments with a giant necklace

The crud seems to have creeped away for the most part -- thank you for all your kind words and well-wishes! We're feeling much better around here today!

I still didn't feel like picking up any of my WIPs, though, because Bertram the British Bunny nugget kind of got me excited about small, inconsequential projects to break up the large projects that require a lot of thought.

But the large projects that require a lot of thought keep creeping into my brain, so I tried to just take a small detour. The purse I'm working on is turning into more of a tote, and I'm soon going to have to figure out what type of handles will work best. I've had several ideas that I like in general, but they tend to have annoying problems that I can't figure out how to solve. So the thoughts continue to percolate.

In what I thought was unrelated news, I've lately become slightly obsessed with Olgajazzy's Cable Braided Necklace.

photo from Olgajazzy

I have a completely unrelated project idea related to this super awesome faux braid technique, but I started to wonder what it would be like if made from worsted weight cotton. Maybe this would be a good design for some bag handles at some point!

So I tried it out this evening. I made two strips of different colors. I made the strips only six holes long -- this is just a swatch. My immediate thought was that it might be cool looking, but would probably still be too small for a comfortable bag handle, even in the heavier yarn.

As I started the really fun process of pulling the strips through one another (Olgajazzy has great pics of the process in her blog post; I shan't duplicate) it quickly became apparent that I will totally be using this technique for bag handles at some point. First of all, this just looks awesome:

Bear in mind that this was a quickly-done swatch -- the pull-throughs aren't very even, but that can easily be addressed. Isn't it cool? I love the way it looks in complementary colors. And here's the best part:

Great size for bag handles! And it's all rounded and cushy -- it feels good in my hand. Yet with nice, flat ends that are easy to sew onto another surface! Necklace, schmecklace -- I've found the true calling of this fabulous technique! I'm not convinced it's the best handle for The Purse, but this will show up sooner than later, I promise!

Now I might be ready to dive back into the big projects! Geronimo!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just don't dip them in hot mustard sauce!

What do you do when you're hunkered down at home, feeling poorly and can't focus on any one thing for very long? Make a bunny nugget!

I was zoning out this morning, reading some of my blog feeds, and I came upon a post by KPiep about having a knitting dream. The dream culminated in a burning desire to make bunny nuggets. Huh? Bunny nuggets? So I followed the link to Ravelry and lo and behold bunny nuggets are just about the cutest little things ever. And I will say, once again, that cute can only be good. KPiep mentioned that her husband desperately wanted one for his desk at work, so I decided to ask Gator if he was at all interested in having a bunny nugget of his own. Oh my.

I don't know what it is, but apparently men freaking love bunny nuggets (p < 0.05, n=2).

So Gator picks his yarn and he gets his nugget. And I do agree that it's pretty cute-as-can-be. In a manly way, of course.

I particularly like how is tail is almost as big as the rest of him. Hehe.

Bunny Nuggets by Rebecca Danger
Red Heart Super Save Flecks and size US6 dpns
Now it may be nap time again. What have y'all been doing this weekend?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Best laid plans, or The creeping crud

I had plans this weekend, kids.

Not Disneyworld or anything, but plans. Go here, do this, accomplish that.

Then Gator got sick.

Not health scare sick, just a stop-you-in-your-tracks head/chest cold of general misery.

And now I'm getting it. Argh. Grrr.

I guess this calls for tea, soup, and OTC cold drugs. Lots of those.

And Lego Harry Potter. ;)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gadgets and widgets and things, oh my!

A little while ago, Sandy asked about the little progress bars I have in the sidebar. It's quite a nifty little blog widget that I found via Cogknition a few years ago and I must say that I really enjoy it. If the bar represents a pattern found on Ravelry, I add the project button underneath for added flair. There are two different progress bar scripts available on the Ravelry Goodies page, one of which includes a photo of the item in progress. Plus they have a few other goodies that you can grab for your blog (including how to grab those project buttons).

Coincidentally, I've been looking at other blog widgets and add-ons recently because I've been thinking of re-vamping the ol' blog. While I am still really happy with the cheery ladybug theme, I've come to think that a three column blog would really suit me better. I may just adjust this layout for three columns, or it may be time to venture into a different look altogether. I'm not sure; the idea is still percolating in me wee noggin. If I do make any changes, I'll let you know -- I know from experience that if you follow in a feedreader I could strip this puppy down to nothin' and you'd never know. :)

But since I am turning some ideas over, I've been trolling the innerwebs for some additional widget-y goodness. And since I'm on Blogger, some things have to be "Bloggerized" -- a process I leave to the "experts" (read: anyone who has any idea why things on Blogger must be just so, because I really haven't a clue -- I learned HTML in 1997 and my skills are stuck back there). I like mintBlogger's list of add-ons because it is pretty boring and sane. I'm really not looking for a bunch of random stuff that, in my mind, is the equivalent of making words flash and play music unbidden just because you can. And there's a lot of that out there. Never mind that I have cute yet useless things like a Yahoo Avatar and a little Fish Pond (have you fed them???) in my own sidebar as we speak. But I do like the idea of having a button that would translate my whole page into another language. I think that would be pretty cool. And I'm interested in doing something useful in the comments realm, but I'm not sure what yet. And maybe some other stuff.

But for now, I'm just dreaming and going back to working on The Purse. So I'll ask the rest of you: What are your favorite knitty/crafty or bloggy widgets?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Makes you stronger

Hmmm. Designing is hard.

Not like OMG, I can't do this; it's waaaay too difficult, but it is very time consuming and there's a lot of trial and error and ripping out and starting over. And thinking you've finally got all the kinks worked out and then there's just this one thing that doesn't really become apparent until you're well into the project but it just will not do and so you have to rip it all out and start over again. That kind of hard.

And that's why designers of free crocheted purse patterns get paid the big bucks.

I'm hiLARious.

Actually, I kind of wish that I had documented that process so far so that I could show the pitfalls and all the thought and work that goes into one little purse. But, of course, in the heat of the moment things just got ripped and wound as fast as possible in order to get back to the creating. The camera was never thought of. (She says as if this process is all over now and everything is just going to fly right along. Truth is, there may be lots more opportunities!)

I do want to talk more about the specifics of the process, but I think I'll save that for when I can show you what I'm talking about. And until the prototype is finished, I'm being all very mysterious and secretive. 'Cause that's not annoying. Hee!

I will tell you that it's crocheted, it's a purse, it utilizes a novel stitch, and it's very colorful and cheery. And I can't wait to have it finished so I can show you!!

In the meantime, I do get to show you something else that's colorful and cheery -- the Patchwork Sampler afghan that I made for my dear friends Jane and Pat who got married last year. All those blocks went together fabulously and a little red border really brought it all together and I love, love, love it. So do they!

I love that it's nice and big -- I've been going through this serious phase where I'm annoyed that none of my own afghans are big enough. The one I'm making for us right now is going to be big enough that I will never have to chose between warm feet and warm neck again! But I digress! This is about Jane and Pat's afghan! That, once again, I have no really good photos of because of a serious case of Winter! So all the photos were taken indoors and the red looks weird and the stitches are kind of washed out.

In real life it is Pretty! and BIG and cushy and waaaarm. All in all, a resounding success. And it is being well loved in Seattle. I cannot ask for more.

In closing, if there's one thing that is keeping me from getting the new purse design done as quickly as I would like, it is the wonderful Valentine's present that my sweet darling husband gave to me on Monday and is slowly taking over my life:


The hilarious thing is that I've not read any of the books nor have I seen any of the movies. So I only know about this franchise what one soaks up as part of pop culture. Granted, it's a Lego video game and it works pretty much exactly like Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones, and my favorite and the one that started my obsession with these games: Lego Star Wars. In fact, Gator realized that, in his mind, he'd been calling my new game "Lego Star Wars Harry Potter". Hee! I am having a blast with this one.

Now, I'm going to finish this purse and hope it doesn't kill me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Non-knitting blogs (and I don't mean this one...)

I’ve intended to blog about four times in the last week, but here’s the absolute truth: Given the choice between blogging and making something to blog about, I choose the making part every time. Which I suppose is a good thing. If you think this blog is boring when it’s just Show and Tell, imagine how boring it would be if there wasn’t even that. Yeah, I thought so.

So I’ve been working hard, but I don’t have anything to show for it at the moment. I spent several weeks cranking out beautiful things I’ve wanted to make for awhile (and there are more of those, never fear!), but it’s made my brain start blossoming with all sorts of ideas. So I’m doing some designing. I said last year that I wanted to design two snowflakes and maybe something larger. Well, I designed one snowflake and that’s it. Still, one snowflake is better than no snowflakes, and I feel that it was my best design yet (even though it wasn’t really creative in that it was copying nature). But I’ve been lurking (and not lurking!) about on a new crop of blogs I’ve found, and I’m full of new inspiration. Most of the design process so far involves swatching. Lots and lots of swatching. New stitches, how they like to lay, how they work with different yarns and hooks, increases, decreases, the whole shebang. Not glamorous, and not ready for prime time. But I think the results will be worth something.

In the meantime, Ten on Tuesday is accomplishing its task as a blog fodder generator. I actually like the topic this week although I had trouble locating ten non-knitting blogs that I regularly read and enjoy and are possibly new to you. Yes, I read LOLCats but I didn’t think that was really list worthy. Silly is fine, but I tried for at least not silly and ubiquitous.

So here, in alphabetical order (I really hate ranking things), are my ten favorite non-knitting (or any crafting, for that matter) blogs:
  • BibliOdyssey: This blog contains the most beautiful collections of art and curiosities. Primarily it showcases recently digitized collections of illustrations, etc. from libraries and museums around the world. When this one comes up in my feeds, I’m always very excited!

  • BoingBoing: An overwhelming amount of pop culture, politics (primarily net-related), and geekdom. So many posts a day that there’s no way I can keep up with it, but when I do have time to sit and scroll through, I always find something I want to know more about. Also, more than once I’ve known the answer to the Bluff the Listener challenge on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! because of reading this blog.

  • Club Jade: Home of the Star Wars fangirls I used to run with. Snarky, geeky, genre-specific fun.

  • Criggo: Their motto is, “Newspapers are going away. That’s too bad.” This is a site in the grand internet tradition of holding the world up to a scrutiny that we, ourselves, could never, ever pass, and then making merciless fun of it. In this case, newspaper copy editors, classifieds buyers, police blotters, and local admen get the brunt of it. But really, some of this stuff is just pretty darned funny.

  • The Different Drummer Soundtrack: The Different Drummer lives an interesting life full of choices I wouldn’t make for myself and that’s what makes it all so very readable. He lives in a co-op (he’s lived in several, actually) in Madison, WI, he’s joined the Baha’i faith and he moonlights as a DJ. He’s introspective and willing to share so much of his life with his readers.

  • March of the Platypi: A big city ER nurse tells tales that don’t break the HIPAA rules. I like to think that venting on his blog allows him to make it through one more shift doing the work I could never do in a million years. Updated sporadically, so it’s easy to keep up with, but I miss him when he’s gone.

  • Mystagogy: Eastern Orthodox lives of saints, theological essays, current events, and sundry, Churchy stuff. More than I keep up with regularly, but it's a good resource.

  • Smitten Kitchen: I’ve never once made any of the mouthwatering recipes on this site. But I always, always intend to. The photography of the food makes me drool, and I think they love mushrooms almost as much as I do. Oh man, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

  • The Time Hack: An interesting year-long experiment testing the idea that we perceive time differently in different situations. Specifically, the gentleman is doing something he’s never done before every day this year to see if we really perceive time “more slowly” the first time we do something. Also, a growing list of 365 things one person has never done before that they are A) willing to do and, B) willing to talk about in a public forum. Granted, some of the things are kinda lame.

  • WWdN (Wil Wheaton dot Net): You may remember him as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation or you may remember him as Gordie from Stand By Me, but Wil Wheaton is all grown up now and he’s really open about his life, his career, what a gamer geek he is, and how fortunate he feels for the life he has. Also, he’s just a big ol’ dork like me. And I totally respect that.
That's all for now. Next time, an FO. No, really. It's already finished and received and cuddled and everything. :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Oscar-winning Movies

The topic is not specific, but I have taken it upon myself to narrow this down to Best Picture Oscar winners. Or else I would have just thrown my hands up and not played at all.
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Casablanca
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • The Sound of Music
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • The Last Emperor
  • Dances With Wolves
  • Schindler’s List
  • Braveheart
I've only seen three of the best picture nominees this year so far -- I'd better get to it!

Monday, February 07, 2011

This is what you get...

...when you take a week of vacation then get three snow days the next week.

Frankly, not as much as I'd hoped, but we'll all survive.

I finished Gator's soft, warm purple hat and he loves it! I think he's super cute in it!

Snowboarder Hat That Rocks! by Irish Girlie Knits
Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande / size US 11 dpns
I had trouble getting good lighting -- even though we were outside on a sunny day, actually stepping into the light would have resulted in my poor darling husband being groin-high in a snow drift. So to see the color more accurately, observe what I did with the leftover yarn:

One-Hour Earwarmer by Paulina Chin
Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande / size US 10 straight needles
This yarn is deliciously soft and the color is a nice complement to my baktus, but I'm afraid I made the earwarmer a little too big because it stretches quite a bit and has a tendency to fall down over my eyes (which Gator finds adorable). I will have to come up with a fix, I'm afraid.

While on vacation, I finally did something that I've meant to for a long time. I watched all the episodes of Firefly and the movie Serenity. (As an aside, I just ran across this piece of awesome today.) I really enjoyed them and I think I may have to schedule a re-watch of the whole thing in the near future. While watching, I picked up the barely-started purse I had cast on and finished it up!

Wooly Bully Bag by Lori Puthoff
Patons Classic Wool / size US 10 1/2 circular needles
So this has been a nice little run of selfishness, but I kind of fell off the MeMeMeMe! wagon a touch. Our church is having a fundraiser that includes a silent auction. I wanted to donate something for it, and since everyone seems to like my shawls and scarves and bags, etc., I decided to donate a little lace:

Anjeli by Angelika Luidl
Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light / size US 7 circular needles
I know the photos are (once again) not the best, what with it all laid out on a, let's call it vintage, bedsheet and all, but I did the best I could before I had to hurry and take it to the church. If I can, I'll get a snap of the lucky buyer modeling it!

I have a couple of other things in the works and I finally get to show off something that I've been waiting a long time post, but those are for another day. Thus concludes my edition of "What I Did For My Winter Vacation". Oh, and I made baked custard.

Did you get a snow day last week? What did you do?