October 11, 2012

Gypsy Sling!!!

Yes, she's complete!

Let's ignore the scuff marks at the bottom of the door and the touch up I need to do to the walls, OK?  THANKS!
My Gypsy Sling!

Cell phones nestled inside already and four (4!) pockets you can't see....this bag is the perfect size for me!
I used an outdoor fabricSolaruim Outdoor Canvas-Merona Caribbean from Joann's Fabrics, which is the same fabric I'll use to sew the Weekender bag (at some point....I'm too tired right now).  The interior is canvas duck.  No, seriously.  I have about 10 yards of white canvas duck in the house that needed a use and this was it. I have a tendency to throw any and everything into my bags and I wanted something I could toss into the washing machine and not feel bad about it.  My last 2 bags are stained with chocolate, numerous water bottles, hot and cold tea, ink pens in various colors, a lip liner pencil, ink from papers that had bled next to the water bottles, and all the other various things that get stuck in the bottoms of women's purses (I just named the stuff I could identify).  Not to mention the numerous rips and tears in the delicate lining fabrics.  The white Sak crochet bag I bought 3 months ago looks like I've owned it for three years already.

So this bag, for me, was about beauty, elegance, and durability.  It had to look good, I had to look good carrying it, it had to be big enough (ie. Can I carry my laptop in this comfortably? Yes? Then it's big enough) to carry my everyday items. This is going to be the bag I schlep back and forth to NYC with.  This will be the bag I schlep around NYC with.

Making this was a labor of love.  I'm an occasional sewer; I can make what I want, when I want, as long as the pattern has great instructions.  Otherwise.....well, the results aren't always pretty because I don't sew enough.

So, what went into making this bag?

I read the pattern for weeks after receiving it.
I finally cut out the pattern pieces two weeks ago.
I spent 2 hours last night cutting out the exterior fabric, interfacing and lining.
I reread the instructions again.

I spent ~10 hours today sewing it.  No seriously, from about 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM I was sewing this bag.  What did I learn?
  1. Take breaks.  Have lunch.  Eat dinner.  Walk away from it every so often.
  2. Having a walking foot can save your life!  I've never used my walking foot before today and I can't imagine living without it now.  A walking foot is almost a must on this bag.
  3. I don't think her instructions on making the fabric straps are correct.  If I had followed her directions, I would have had colossal straps (like 80" long per strap).  I took the first strap out, cut it in half, and sewed the ends together to get the correct length.
  4. Amy must have a tiny phone, because there is so way I could fit my phone in her cell phone pocket.  I had planned to put 2 cell phone pockets in my bag anyway (I have a work and a personal cell, so it was a must), but looking at the finished size of her pockets, she must have assumed that everyone making the bag would be lining it in some super stretchy material.
The cell phone on the left (work) is on top of the pocket sewn by her instructions (using a 1/2" seam).  The pocket under the cell (personal) on the right is the same, but used a 1/4" seam.
The final result.  Each cell phone inside it's pocket....a perfect fit.  I didn't bother with the crease/pleat at the bottom either....too much bother.
I'm so excited and proud of what Ive accomplished.  I'm on vacation tomorrow, so I'm going to transfer all my normal purse stuff to this bag and carry it around town for a while. I'm also going to studiously avoid all the fabric and thread scraps on the floor (only what missed the trash) and the mess on my bed.  I need to enjoy this moment.

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September 29, 2012

February Lady in September

When I initially started knitting my February Lady sweater, it was (cringes) November 1 last year.  I assumed that I would have it finished by Christmas (see what I mean by procrastination?).

I even planned (ha ha . . .planned...lol) to complete the jacket for the Ravellenic games!  I pulled it out of its basket, reviewed what needed to be done (everything) and added the appropriate tags of EventWIPS & TeamKPLovers.

I completed 2 pairs of socks for the Ravellenic Games.

Now, it's getting cool here in NYC and I could really use my February Lady Jacket.  To compensate, I did order some jackets from Land's End, but it's not the same as a nice, custom made jacket.

So, let's review what I currently have.

What's worse, I know I need to frog some, because I attempted to add short rows (to raise the back) and I didn't like how they looked.  So, I think the September 2012 game plan is to finish the Rubus Suberectus Socks, & finish Magrathea.  I think that's enough to be going on with.

September 27, 2012

Holiday Knitting? Already???

As much as I hate to acknowledge it, now is the time to start thinking about Holiday Knitting. Yeah, Christmas is only 3 months away, so in the true fashion of a procrastinator, I'll start planning now, ignore the plan, then knit like mad starting 3 days before Christmas.

And not finish.

So, once I finish 2 more pairs of socks, I will have officially completed the Sock Knitters "unofficial" 12 socks in '12 KAL". I signed up to knit 30 pairs of socks on May 28 and I'll probably reach my goal by mid-October 2012. 4 months to knit 30 socks (smh) . . . gotta stop sniffing the wool fumes. Anyway, I'm also thinking I'll cut back to two socks a month on the sock knitting to make room for the holiday knitting.

I'm looking forward to the possibility of a project that's just a bit bigger. I had a queue of 2012 projects that I've wanted to complete all year and I'm just now acknowledging that the majority of those projects will never see the needles, but some of them will. I'm determined.

September 26, 2012

I'm back in the groove

Yeah, I know.

Shocked, aren't you?

I'm actually blogging again.  I'm actually sitting down and putting my thoughts to....well, not paper, but on something.

Anyway, here's a status update:

September 25, 2012

New Crafty Interest

In the past six months, I've spent a considerable amount of time at home.  It was past due; I had not spent any appreciable time at my parent's home since I can't remember when last year.  So, I spent about 6 weeks at my parents in May and June before heading home for a while.  Then, I spent almost all of August in Georgia.

So why do I mention this?

Well, Mom doesn't knit.  She sews.  So when I run out of yarn and my fingers start itching for a project, I take a side-eye to her fabric stash.  During August, after finishing my two Ravellenic projects, I needed a project. I needed something to knit....but with only Michael's and Joann's at my disposal, sewing was looking good.  For the past few months, I'd spent a lot of time contemplating sewing again.  Mostly, this interest was sparked by necessity; I needed to recover 3 ottomans in my house.  Well, I've finished 2 ottomans; one was recovered in white duck cloth, with a blue and white navy stripe cording offsetting the ottoman and the ruffle at the bottom.  It took all of my rusty skills (thank you, internets!) to remember how to make a bias strip for the cording, how to insert a zipper, how to accurately cut the fabric (lol.....I still goofed quite a few times) and how to work my iron (no seriously.  I don't iron.).

Once I was done, I cast my eye toward a long-time, back-of-the-brain project that I've wanted to do:  An update on my knitting bag.

Project Bag from Coffee and Chocolate Swap

I received this from the Coffee and Chocolate swap 3 years ago and I've used it constantly ever since.  It has logged as many miles back and forth as I have.  However the longer I used it, the more I realized I needed to update it.

You see, when I travel I never check bags.  So when I step to security I have a 22" upright carry-on, a Swiss Guard Book bag, and my knitting bag.  After a while I realized that to make life easy, I could tuck my cell phone, keys, ID, credit cards and Plane tickets into that knitting bag and go right through security.  No digging through my book bag; no having to stuff my purse into my upright right at the ID check. After a while, TSA stopped checking the knitting bag.  But placing my ID, credit cards, keys, etc, inside the bag meant it got tangled quite often, especially if there were more than one project.  What I wanted was an outside pocket or two for those items.  So, that's what I did, I made one!

Larger Box w/Pocket3

Larger Box w/Pocket5

Ha!  Just what I needed.  And it matches my DPN Needle roll...


So, I've been bitten by the sewing bug yet again....Next up

:)  I can't wait.

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September 18, 2012

Fall Hope

Right now, I'm suffering through an overcast day in NYC.  It's wet but not rainy, cool but not cold, and grey but not dreary.

It's matching my mood.

I'm back at the site of my very first consulting client, the place I was thrilled to leave 2 years ago and the place I'm thrilled to be back at 2 years later.  I've had some difficult clients since then and I never realized how much I missed this place. 

June 12, 2012

Planned Insanity

So, I know it's been a while.  There's a reason: I can't stop knitting socks.  In nearly 5 months I've knit 16 pairs of socks....well, perhaps 18, depending on how long it takes me to finish Maeva and knit the second sock of Skew (Nevermind.  Finished sock two while writing this installment).  I've learned that my limit (for sanity's sake) is 3 pairs of socks a month.  That's all I can really handle.  Besides, at the moment, I haven't been able to cast on anything else.

Which is why, for the month of June, I signed up on Sock Knitter's Anonymous to knit 4 socks. Actually 5, but I removed one because it didn't qualify for the time limit.

Yes, 4.

And I volunteered to test knit a pattern.  Thankfully, she only needs one sock complete (here's looking at you, Skew2!)

Six socks in one month.  And I won't be home until mid-month.

No, I'm not losing my mind.

It's already vacated the premises.

June 5, 2012

Frustration and Accomplishment

**This is a photo heavy post**

I'm getting really desperate to cast on Semele.  The yarn has been ready for months now and my fingers are itching for a pattern that doesn't involve turning a heel (more on that after the jump).  This is what's on my project page in Ravelry:

Originally queued: July 25, 2011
Project created: January 28, 2012
Hibernating: May 14, 2012

See, this has been waiting a very long time.  I was hoping to get started this month, but it might not happen.  Damn.

March 19, 2012

More Knitting

I made a commitment to blog more this year and I'm determined to do so.

My ongoing commitment to Sock Knitters Anonymous continues to lead me down the primrose path of sock knitting foolishness.

For the month of February, I planned to knit 4 socks (yes, 4...I know, insane me....).  More interestingly, I finished them, some in March, but I started in February and that's what counts! (more after the jump!)

March 17, 2012

Something new to like

I hate to clean.

There, I've told the entire world (not that anyone really reads my blog).

I absolutely despise cleaning.  As a child, I was given washing dishes and dusting as a punishment, thus kicking off a lifelong hatred for any kind of cleaning chore.  As an adult, I clean begrudgingly.

I stack and run the dishwasher.  Hand washing is done only when I've stared at the same plate in the sink for 3 days straight and I'm leaving on a week-long trip the next day.  Besides, I heard that the dishwasher uses less water than hand-washing.

My bed is made when I put new sheets on it.

Clean laundry is consistently piled in my bedroom chair.....Rarely does it make it to the closet....not that my closet has a lot of room for it anyway.

When I had carpet, I occasionally vacuumed.

I still consider mopping the fifth ring of hell, and it's only done when I stick to the kitchen floor.

I never dust.  No amount of money on earth can compel me. When I dust, I end up spreading the dust around by sneezing. Besides, no matter what, you have more dust the next day. Given that I am now the proud owner of laminate floors, this is a problem.

And now that I've given you this litany of things I hate about cleaning, why did I title this post "Something New to Like?"

Because I have found something new to like.  Meet the Swiffer Vac and the Swiffer Duster/Extender!

Don't ask me why, but I'll load a Swiffer Dry cloth onto the Vac and take it all around the house.  I have no problem putting a dry cloth on the duster and quickly swishing the coffee and side tables or tackling cobwebs in my house.

These two products are so simple and easy to use that I almost have fun with them.  My only problem with the Swiffer Vac is the 10 minute suction time on the Vac part.  That sucks, but then again, I don't need to run the Vac all the time. Just when I get something I can't pick up on the dry pad.

Of course, Swiffer isn't solving my messy kitchen problem (anyone have a solution for that?), but at least my floors are clean and most (wood) surfaces in my house are now dust-free.

PS.  The people who made Swiffer aren't paying me a dime for this post.  I just really really like the SwifferVac.

February 17, 2012

I want to stop now....

 I am not a fan of Cat Bordhi's sweet tomato heel.
Leyburn Socks with Sweet Tomato Heel

Perhaps it's just me, perhaps I've done something wrong, perhaps I simply chose too complicated a pattern to try this out on, but I have finally turned the heel of one of my Leyburn socks and the sock is so tight around the instep as to need me to tug it into place when I attempt to wear it.  I'm also not a fan of the bunching look created by executing the third set of short rows. Sigh.

Maybe I'm pushing myself too hard, but I'm just now binding off the first sock in this pair, which has put me behind in knitting the 4 socks I had planned this month.  I would like to get the Solid Socks Group Mystery Sock knit before the last clue come out.  I also need to get Ivy knit before the end of the month.  I reestablished my cast on day for the sock (tomorrow) and if I can get a decent amount of work done on the Mystery sock tonight, then I will get started on it tomorrow.

February 8, 2012


I think February is the month for me to be productive.

At work, I managed to wrap up a project that was continually delayed last year (not due to me....there was always a competing priority).  It only took a month, mostly due to the developer needing to fine-tune code.  Otherwise, I'm waiting on feedback from the end user.  Meanwhile, I'm up in Maine finishing another project, helping a school automate some of their processes.

On the knitting front, I have already finished one of the Sock Knitters' Anonymous socks.

Clover socks
Clover Socks in Cherry Tree Hill, Loden colorway
The Clover socks were a lot of fun to knit and they took no time! One week for the pair, which is probably the fastest I've ever finished a pair of socks.  Even better, I bound them off and immediately put them on my feet (since it was 18 degrees here in Portland, ME today),  I have a load of handknit socks to wash when I get home tomorrow and for some reason I'm not looking forward to it.

SolidSocks Feb2012 mystery KAL
Solid Socks Mystery KAL
Meanwhile, while watching the Superbowl (Yay Giants!), I cast on for and finished the first clue of the Solid Socks Mystery KAL sock.  I was smugly reveling in this fact when I realized that I was using Jojoland Melody from my stash.

Leyburn toes
Leyburn Socks in Jojoland Melody
CRAP!!! I need to learn how to read the instructions better, because Jojoland Melody is definitely not a solid or semi-solid sock yarn.  So, after admiring the beauty of that bit of knitting, I frogged the cuffs and searched through the Ravelry queue for something else I could knit.  I happened on the Leyburn Socks.  These have been in my queue forever, so I cast on.  So far, I've finished one full repeat of the instep pattern and I can see that I'm going to need to break out the stitch counter for this pattern because it's so easy to miss those rounds of plain knitting.

So far, in 2012, I've finished 3 pairs of socks....I'm thinking that I just might challenge myself to finished the full dozen for the year, especially since I'm already making good progress (2 socks completed, 2 on the needles, 1 waiting to start).  I'm not counting the Escalator socks because they were begun last year.

February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

 And I'm sitting in JFK airport, so I'm sure you can guess the allegiance of most of the people around me.

I'm rooting for the Giants, mostly because that's who I rooted for in 2008.  I'm what you would call a "day of" fan; I make my decision of who I'm supporting the day of the game.  So in 2008, newly settled in Florida, bored out of my mind, and wanting to be able to keep up with the inevitable discussion at work the next day, I watched the Super Bowl.

had absolutely no facts on either team.  I didn't know that the Patriots were coming into the Superbowl undefeated and were looking to set a record.  I didn't know that Plaxico Burress would later shoot his own dumb self in the leg and earn some prison time.  All I knew was that it was Eli Manning vs. Tom Brady.  Eli, the newly drafted little brother of one of the few names in football I recognized vs. the supermodel (who was married or engaged to the supermodel and had a child with another gorgeous woman in relationship circumstances that were as murky as Brangelina).  Since I adored Peyton, I decided to give Eli a chance.

How time flies.  Now Tom is still a brilliant, dominant player, Peyton is seriously injured and Eli has come into his own.  This game is killing me.


UPDATE:  the Giants won!  Woo Hoo!!!

February 3, 2012

A Skewed Reality

Skew 2, such fun!Tuesday, I started a second pair of Skew socks.

This has to be one of my favorite patterns, mostly because of the unique construction.  I love the ergonomic toes, the origami heel, the candy cane feeling when knitting the legs...there is so much about the sock to love.

So, I'm thinking I'll probably finish the first sock sometime this morning and go ahead and cast on for the second sock.  Or I can go ahead and get started on one of my SKA socks.

(Right now, I REALLY don't like the fact that the iPad takes such horrible pictures.  I guess now is the time to try out Photoshop Express.)

That's the other thing I love about this sock; because of the uniqueness of the construction, SSS is virtually negligible.

January 29, 2012

2012! A Milestone Year!

Wow, how time flies!The last time I updated my blog it was January 2011.....now, it's January 2012 and I'm back again. I would recap the year, but there isn't much there to get excited over...

  • Started working for a new client in January 2011
  • Left project October 2011
  • Placed back on the project (in a off-site consultant capacity) from October 2011-present
  • Picked up new client in November 2011
  • Gained entirely too much weight
  • Knit entirely too little
  • Bought Entirely too much yarn
  • Had new flooring put into house (Yay!)
  • Bought iPad, cracked screen horribly, bought new iPad...refuse to allow this iPad to know anything but the luxury of its case.
  • New cell phone....same crap coverage inside my house.
  • Ran up Credit Cards...Then manage to almost completely eliminiate CC debt
  • Paid off my car (Woo Hoo!!!)
Yup, that's pretty much a recap of 2011.  So, what am I hoping for for 2012?  Well, this is one of those milestone birthday years....and I don't really have anything planned, which is depressing me.  So, I guess the big goals are:
  • Remain employed (Always important)
  • Out of debt by my birthday
  • Stash away more Emergency Fund money
  • Come up with decent milestone holiday spot
  • Lose Weight (always a goal, even if it isn't obtained)
  • Buy less yarn (already off to a bad start there.....33 skeins since January 2)
  • Blog more....Already up one post for the year.
Speak of which, I finally figured out how to get more blogging done this year.  I purchased Blogsy for my iPad and this is the first post I'm using it on.  I love it.  It combines all the application I use most in blogging in one app and if it weren't for the fact that I'm hunting and pecking with one finger (although rather quickly).  so let's see if this was a decent purchase.

I decided to get involved with Sock Knitters Anonymous's Monthly Sockdown Challenge.  I started back in October and managed to finish that sock. I didn't finish November's sock in time and, to add insult to injury, I've managed to lose one sock!  However, I did complete January challenge and not only did I complete it, I finished TWO socks in one month!!!  Ha!!!

Sock one: Early Spring by Janice Kang.  Knit with SWTC TOFUtsies in color way 923.  I enjoyed knitting these, but I worried the entire time because the yarn is ~48% cotton and soy (meaning elasticity might be an issue).  I was proven horribly right, but they're still a great pair of socks.
Sock two was the ever popular Hermione's Everyday socks.  Talk about a fun pair of socks to knit!  The only reason I didn't finish this in three days is because occasionally I have to put the knitting down to work.  Umm, yeah I've been wearing the socks around the house, on my new (and dusty) floor.  Why do you ask?

I'm literally chomping at the bit to start February.  February's sock challenge In Sock Knitters Anonymous is:
  • Moderator Madness Month – we’re bombarding you with all the things you SHOULD have voted for just because we can :) 
  • Technique: Knitting for a Cause or Mosaic/ Slipped Stitches or Self-Striping or Illusion Knitting 
  • Designer: Kerin Dimeler-Laurence, Lykkefanten, Kate Blackburn
So, for February, I'm going to knit Clover and Ivy by Kate Blackburn For Sock Knitters Anonymous.

For The Solid Socks group, the challenge is Spring or a mystery sock designed by LauraJ.  Since I'm not big on mystery socks, I'm knitting one of LauraJ's old patterns, BDY February 2011 KAL, in a suitably "Springy" color way.

I'm actually excited about knitting again and returning to my blog.  I look forward to the new year now.