Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams Bandwagon

If you are at all active on facebook, pinterest, or twitter, you've been swamped with posts about the death of Robin Williams. And yes, this is going to be one of them, but for different reasons. So many people are baffled by him taking his own life. Some are calling it a cowards way out. Suicide is NOT cowardly. It takes so much will at a point when you have no willpower to go through with it. As someone who is close to more than one person who has attempted to die, I can tell you it is a hellish spiral. They are so trapped in their own mind that they can't find any way to escape BUT death. Is it right? No. But at that point things are so unbelievably bleak that it starts to look right.
So many people are used to accidental overdoses with celebrities. They get the RIP memes shared around for a day or two, then it's gone. But with Mr Williams, it went further. He did this deliberately. The man who made so many laugh, created so many smiles, inspired so many people, ended his own laughter. It's hard for people to gasp that the biggest smiles often hide the most pain. To hide that awful darkness inside, people shunt it aside and concentrate on making everyone else happy instead. Why? Because it's easier. It's easier to think about someone else than yourself. Depression makes it seem like perfect logic. And people can talk about "ohhh depression is bad, but it isn't that bad". That person has never been depressed. Until you have been to those depths, you don't know how bad it can be. Everyone has sad days, people have bad weeks even. But that is not the same as looking at subway lines and wondering which one you should touch. It isn't the same as looking at that bottle of bleach and wondering how much you can drink before your stomach heaves. It isn't the same as taking a bottle of sleeping pills in the bathtub. Depression makes all of that make perfect sense. You start thinking people will be better off with you gone, they'll be happier, they'll be able to do some activity without you hanging like a millstone around their necks. Even if you are getting help, it is still an uphill battle. One misstep and you are back at the bottom. After a few slides, people get tired of helping out. They get tired of helping someone who obviously isnt interested. And even if they don't feel that way, the depressed person thinks they do. They don't want to be a burden, so they clam up. Paste on a happy face. Express glee that they can't feel anymore. Nobody WANTS to think their loved one is in the pit again so they usually buy it. Depressed people can be some of the best actors. Looking back, the warning signs are so clear, but in the moment? Doesn't raise a hint of an eyebrow.
I guess my point to all of this is don't give up. YOU matter. YOU is special. YOU are wanted, even if it doesn't seem that way to you. Keep reaching out. Folks, keep extending that hand. There is help, it may not be the right kind the first time, but keep trying different things. Different medications, different help groups, different activities until you find what is perfect FOR YOU. Everyone is different, so too is how you stand up to your depression. Doesn't matter where you are, US, Canada, France, Ireland. There are numbers to call and people to speak to. PLEASE CALL. (and pardon my excessive use of capslock there)

Monday, August 4, 2014

DIY Spell Book

Still working on the pages, but I have enough done and photographed to put up a tutorial! Yay! Mmmkay, first off make sure you have time to make this. Paint takes a while to dry, I'd give yourself at least two weeks before you need it to make it (especially if you procrastinate or have all of two seconds a day to devote to this). I tried to keep this simple using what I had on hand, and most of it is easily grabbed at the local dollar store if you don't have it. It isn't one of those tutorials that has all these fabulous items that would make Martha Stewart drool, I assure you. Very slap dash.


  • A hardcover book, I picked up a library discard for free. Mine measured 5.5"x8.5" and was about an inch thick. 
  • Brown paper lunch bags. These worked pretty well for my book, but if yours is a lot bigger, you can use paper grocery sacks or even lawn bags. I only used 6, but it all depends on your choice.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Elmer's glue
  • Paint, for your cover. More if you want to paint pictures on your pages.
  • Paint brushes, I used a foam brush but if you want to add details, grab some smaller ones.
  • Old newspaper or paper ads for a drop cloth
  • Scissors, ones for paper cutting. Do not steal someones fabric shears for this, it won't end well.
  • X-acto knife, just used to gut the book, nothing fancy needed. A utility knife would work too
Optional Items
  • Decorations for your spell book. I used a flat glass stone and some plastic "gems" from a leftover project, but use whatever you like. 
  • Old nail polish. Works really well for adding splashes of colour to pages and to the cover. If you are raiding someones stash, ASK FIRST. Seriously, they probably have some they never use and will be willing to share with your crafty self.
Ready? Let the copious photos begin!
Start by slicing out the inside of your book. Try to leave the inside covers as intact as possible, but they can be covered later if you muck up (like I did)

Next (and feel free to skip this step if you want), take your Elmer's glue and glue designs on the cover. Swirls, spirals, faces, diamonds, doesn't matter. This just creates ridges for later painting. I let mine dry fully and went over them again, two coats stood up better. Entirely a personal choice here, especially if your pinched for time. If you want to add decorations to your cover, leave spaces for whatever your embellishment is. You can see in photo two there is a gap left for my stone.

The lighter swirls under are from where I tried hot glue. Made a mess and peeled it all off. 

Now we get to paint! I used an acrylic paint for mine, just what I had on hand. I used an inch wide foam brush to coat mine, worked nicely without globbing too badly in the creases. Let dry thoroughly between coats and be careful of that crease by the spine. Paint tends to settle there.

Make sure you get that inside lip too, see where the red is on the bottom side? That stuff

While all that mess is drying, you can make the pages. What I did was cut the bottom off all of my bags without slicing the rest of the bag. I snipped a thin slice from the fold and cut from there.

Excuse the mess, I was in between all kinds of projects

Save those ends, I ended up using mine to cover my mistakes. If you choose not to, you can always recycle them later or use them for something else. Now we slice the bags up each side in that crease. 

Flatten them out and fold them in half. Each of these makes two of your book pages. Stuff them in your book to make sure it's your ideal thickness. Not enough pages? Slice and dice some more!

again, hanger for other costume purposes, ignore that

Now to give my pages some texture, I crumpled each one into a ball lightly. Not tight, just enough to wrinkle and muss up the pages. Then I flattened them out again in the folded shape like before.

Once your cover is dry, you can flip it and start painting the insides. I chose to leave mine partially unpainted so I could attach the bottoms, but if you did a neat job with cutting yours, you can paint it all.

I used my bag butts to cover up my mess, I used hot glue here because I wanted those suckers to stay on. They can also be doodled on later, which was a bonus.

Now it's time to glue in your pages. You can do it the smart way, and glue one at a time, or do it my way and do it all at once making a huge mess. If you did do it my way, and you find pages sneaking out because they were only half glued, sneak in there and pile more glue on. Then smoosh the pages, be careful because it WILL be hot! Keep gluing and smooshing until you are all secured. I plan on cleaning mine up later, but I figured a spell book like mine would be beat to hell anyways.

Now, you can do a few different things. You can leave it as is, you can decorate the cover and leave it, or you can do what I did and decorate the cover and the pages. I don't have my pages done at this point, that will have to wait for a future blog post, but I can show you the cover of my book.

I decorated BEFORE gluing pages which really wasnt smart. My glue wasn't dry when I went to flip it and the little gems traveled. For the glass stone, I used hot glue to secure it. Learn from my mistakes, folks!

I hope you're happy with your book! If you make it, please leave a link in the comments or get ahold of me on deviantart. You can find me there under PriestessRaven. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bikini Body

If you are on facebook at all, you've probably seen at least one of those body positive image memes. Numerous blogs were developed for it, for one size or another, mostly for all shapes and sizes. Woman of all shapes and sizes proudly showing their swimwear clad bodies with a nofucksgiven attitude. And that is wonderful, really is. I will never grace the cover of a magazine (unless its for notorious reasons, like yarn bombing the white house), I will never be sought after for photo shoots. I won't even become an instagram "hottie", I take a lot of yarn photos. The message is not one to discourage, love yourself is a great thing to do. But it's easier adding text over an inspirational image than it is to do in practice.

Why bring this up? Because my parents are treating my daughter to a day at a water park. She is old enough (and tall enough, she won't STOP GROWING!) to go on the rides herself, but it really isn't all that fun to do it alone. So, Mommy is on the chopping block. Grandma doesn't even own a bathing suit. Now I know I won't be the only mom in a suit, I know I won't be the only one with stretch marks, a case of the jiggles that shames Jell-o, and a sense of agony every time the suit creeps up. I know I won't be the heaviest lady there, and I know I won't be the skinniest. I'll be just a face in the crowd, one of many to the workers and a background character to the other attendees. I have a ready finger and a smart mouth to anyone who decides to bash me for daring to don spandex. None of that bothers me. What bothers me is that I hate how I look, especially exposing that much of myself in the highly hated areas. I own two swimsuits and in the two, three years I've owned them, I've never worn them. One has a skirt, why I don't know. We know what is under them, and once they are wet and stuck to your legs they don't hide anything. Both are floral, and not a small pattern either. Why do companies think we want flashy bright designs? I want a PLAIN option! I'm not saying everyone wants a plain suit, some people prefer the bright ones but I am not one of them. I know I need to set an example for my daughter, to show that it doesn't matter what you look like. To give her a realistic view of what some people do look like. But that doesn't make me any more comfortable. Seeing her smile will be worth every painful minute, though.

So what else? Knitting updates!

Still plugging away at the Vlad shawl, I like it but it's become an unwieldy number of stitches and it takes forever to get to the end of a row. I'm determined to finish it this week. I was going to be house/dog sitting for a week and had a bag full of projects packed (projects before clothes, naked but I'll have shawls!). Now that I'm not needed for that, I can minimize my projects. That one is staying, I really want to finish it and block it, but what do I want to thin out? Scarves? More shawls? UFO's that are mocking me? Probably the scarves, I like the pattern but it requires a cable needle (for me, I know some of you can do it without one) and that isn't travel friendly. My ren fest knitting is at a pause, I finished the flail, but my axe blade is being a pain. Yarn is in timeout.

swingable to boot!

I'm also working on the Elder Tree Shawl, an adjustable version of the Lonely Tree Shawl, both are free downloads by Sylvia Bo Bilvia. I'm using acrylic (gasp!) for both and hoping for a decent outcome. I still have to finish sewing up the wizard robe, I finished Hubs tunic thingie. The trousers I passed on, the fabric shredded too easily and I didn't want a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the festival. I keep coming to terms with the fact that I am a terrible sewing person. I can do an ok pouch, however. Have I mentioned that I haven't even touched my costume yet? Because I'm fighting with costumes for the 6'+ crowd which means spreading fabric on the PORCH because I don't have enough space unless I move furniture? I still have about 3 weeks, well two with one of those being spend at my parents. Not house sitting, but house working. The joys of being an able bodied and nearby offspring of DIY-ers.

My exercise plan I posted before? Trying to get back into it. I caught a very nasty plague from the hellspawn, talking gross lung batter. Still coughing up ick thanks to my allergy ridden sinuses feeding my lungs. So I had to give up for a while, bending at all induced a dizzying coughing fit let alone sit ups. I still don't have full breathing capacity back, it was that bad, so I'm keeping it at a day 1, 2, 3 level for a while instead of advancing. But I keep getting distracted by shiny new books, think I could work out and read?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Deadline Cometh

There is an awesome renaissance festival downstate, try to visit every year with a group of friends. I dress up every time, great excuse to wear a corset. Plus, the actors will interact with you if you do dress up, they treat you as you are costumed. My brother and his then wife dressed as peasants and were ordered around, they had a blast. This year, my husband is getting in on the act, he's always been willing but not able to dress up. Friends of ours are also going, and I'm providing some costume help with them. Know those DIY instructions that have all this stuff on hand for amazing projects? I'm not one of them. By sheer luck, most of my costume came from the thrift store or stuff from old costumes (except the corset, buying a new one. Moresca, highly recommend them for product and friendly staff). There will be photos, I'll share my stupid easy stuff with you. Right now I'm making a spell book from a hardcover library discard. A robe and trousers from a king sized flat sheet and pillowcases. Actual stuff you might have on hand or can get cheap at a thrift store. The sheets I had purchased at the Christmas Tree Shop for $20, and that was the most expensive thing so far. They sucked on my bed, that satin backing meant every time I got up, I slid. But there is no reason you couldnt grab a sheet for near nothing at a garage sale and dye it (Rit dye, laundry aisle at your grocery store). Pouches? Fabric scraps from the thrift stores and the remnant bin at Walmart and JoAnns. Totally doable stuffs, folks. I'm also knitting weapons, they will end up being used at later gaming sessions by the DM. Free patterns for a flail (she has it listed as a morning star), an axe, and a sword can be found on ravelry. I really should be sewing and not blogging, but the size of this robe means I need a lot of space to lay it out and its a bit windy outside. I refuse to chase a sleeve down the street. Any suggestions on what to use for pouch drawstrings besides satin cords? Something sturdy, as they will likely be hanging off a belt. At this point, I'm eyeing shoe laces (new, not used, nobody wants the smell of dirty feet on them). No, our costumes won't be strictly authentic for you sticklers. But they will be breathable and, for my sun allergy ridden husband, comfortable. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Working Out: If I make this public, I might follow through

If you've ever been on Pinterest, you've seen those fitness boards (and the bot accounts that post only that) full of "3 Weeks To Abs!" or "Arms For Summer". I saved a few of those because they seemed simple, I could fit them into my unorganized days. I still haven't. Wake up call came today, I had to hold my legs up in the air for all of 30 seconds and I couldn't do it. I literally could not hold my legs up in the air without support. I was so disgusted with myself that I forced myself to actually LOOK at what I have saved and to try them. Last day of school, so I don't have too much of a timeline to worry about now and can do it at any time. This was really simple (or so I thought). I don't have the link that corresponds, just the photo. Check out day 1:

"5 crunches?", I scoffed "Who can't do that?" Me. Humbly, huffing puffing me. I hate how far I've slipped, I've never been in the best of shape, but I am kind of active. I walk on a near daily basis. I volunteer once a week where I'm hauling around bags of clothes (If you think they aren't heavy, try carrying lawn bags and totes full of them and throwing them. Then we'll talk). My diet isn't the greatest, but I eat a lot of fresh fruits and try to get veggies in (Farmers Market is more cost effective and the stuff lasts). And here I am. I have a damn gym membership and have I used it in the past 3 months? No. Lately I see myself in the mirror and want to cry. Depression is rearing its ugly head and I'm not even sure I'm fighting it. Add summer temps on top and it's a while pile of hell (my legs + shorts gets the same results as dividing by zero). I want to do things with my daughter this year. I want to go to the pool with her (which means a swimsuit, brace yourselves spandex industry). I want to take walks, visit the park, do THINGS. But if I can't even bring myself to look at myself in the mirror, can't give a good hard look at just how much space my pants take up on the clothes line, can't bend over and paint my toenails without not breathing (part of that is a boob problem, ladies you have my back right?), how am I supposed to do that? She doesn't care, kids don't see their parents as fat. They just see Mom (or Dad, I'll be fair here) and that is that. But for her sake, I care. I don't want to hear one of her friends say "Omg, is that your mom?" unless they are talking about whatever weird hair colour I'm sporting. For her sake, I want to be able to run with her after a ball and actually make her push herself. I want to be able to wear clothes that she can raid my closet for. I want to look at myself and be happy. I want to be able to accept the compliments that my husband gives me. This will never be a fitness blog, or even a follow-my-journey thing. I knit. I read. I doodle. I marathon Netflix. I'm a couch potato at heart, otherwise I doubt I'd have ever started a blog. But that doesn't mean I have to look like this while I watch an entire season of a show in a week. Or read a 7 book series in a week. I can be happy with myself and be myself and that is my goal. I want to smile when I see myself in photos. And I want my daughter to smile with me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Don't Want To Knit Anymore

Wait, what?

A knitting blog that doesn't want to knit anymore

Say it ain't so!

Calm yourselves, it isn't permanent. I haven't gone COMPLETELY nuts. But tis true. I'm working on a project and it is making me not want to knit anything anymore. Not even a new project is brightening me up (and I just perused the new Knitty patterns). Why? Because I know that the massive PROJECT OF DOOM will be sitting there, in my chair, mocking me.

"OOOOOH you can start a new pair of socks, but you can't finish me? Simple two row pattern in the round, and in light worsted no less, but you can't be bothered"

Yes, my UFO's talk, don't yours?

I'm plugging away at the Vortex Shawl, trying my hardest to use up this less than wonderful yarn I *had* to have. It's Red Heart (yes, yes, acrylic you yarn snobs. Money goes to growing offspring, I'll splurge when I take over her bedroom as a walk in yarn closet) Boutique Unforgettable. Looks AMAZING in the skein. Working with it? Meh. The sheen is gone, the colours all wind up muted, and it fuzzes worse than my mothers dogs. Seriously, I have a continual donut of fuzz while I'm working on this (anyone who has ever used a sheddy yarn knows what I mean). I'm almost at the end of ball #2, one more left. And I'm trying to talk myself into going until I can'ts go no mores. Because I am seriously tempted to just do my garter and bind off. But then I will be stuck with about 200yd of the stuff. I tried at least two other projects with that stuff, a lovely pattern by Caitlin ffrench (check her out on Rav, you won't be sorry) and the ball band shawl. Both were a big ol NOPE. This one I frogged 3 times before I finally got it to work.

What I did get to work was another shawl. Yarn that I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to do with it. Bernat Mosaic, three balls. I made Lala's Simple Shawl (my go to lately). I shortened it a bit to make sure I had enough for the bind off (and I could have gone another row or three, of course), but it turned out perfectly for my shoulders. I'm wearing it now seeing as it's 68 in this house (without a fan or an a/c unit, woot!). I even have a picture, as arty as I get without an instagram filter

the hand sculpture thing to your left was made by my niece

So to recap no, I'm not going to stop knitting. I become even more intolerable and antsy if I don't have SOMETHING for my hands to do (and bugger off, you skeevy pervs, no one wants to hear from the peanut gallery). And I really can't convince Hubs to get me some handspun at the Ren Fest if it's just going to sit there. I will totally post about our trip and costumes!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Theme of the Day

Mother's Day has passed, Father's Day is rearing its head, and I can't keep track of all the others. I dread these holidays. Not because I don't like the idea, celebrating the most understated and underpaid job? All for it. But I hate gifting for this. My parents are the worst when it comes to getting them gifts. By their age, they have everything they could want that would fit in my budget (sorry, not getting you a new four wheeler) and they can purchase the little things that I could choose. The typical things to get mom (flowers, chocolates) aren't her cup of tea. My father isn't a grill master and has retired and doesn't need another tie. So I'm forever stumped as to what to do. This year, I did simple and crafty for my mother (I intend to make it up to her later), but there isn't anything I can make my father. They appreciate even the little things I get them, at least the effort behind them, but I never really get THE thing. The wow factor gift. I'd be happy to do it just once. I'm running through a mental list of what their likes are and anything even remotely connected and all I get is "already done..won't use it...has 10 already". My husband is easy. Anything nerdy, geeky, Star Wars, or chocolate. I don't even break a sweat over stocking stuffers for him. Even his parents are easy to shop for. It's mine that throw me into fits. Apparently that was passed onto me, I'm horrid to buy for according to Hubs. At least Bug won't problems with both of us. Do any of you have that impossible to gift person on your Day's list? Any creative ideas knocking around? Share, please. We can brainstorm together!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

SpringVoxBox Review Time

Before I start, these products were received free from Influenster for review. Interested? Free to signup at  The reviews are all personal opinion, however. If I didn't like it, I would certainly say so.

In my VoxBox, I was sent the following:
  • Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara
  • Kiss Everlasting French Nails
  • Peach Pie Car Freshener from the Labor Day Movie
  • Playtex Sport Fresh Balance
  • NIVEA Skin Firming Hydration Lotion
Lets start, shall we? Mascara is up first. Normally, I don't splurge on my makeup. Dollar store and e.l.f. brand are my typical go to. So I was kind of excited to try something new. I wasn't disappointed, it went on well and lasted. I have fairly sensitive eyes to liner and mascara, but this didn't bother me.

Next, the nails. I was going to try and attach them. Package stated more of the popular sizes, but not for my weird fingers. Even if I filed them, it wouldn't have been enough to fit all of my nails. So I could not review these.

Now the car freshener. It smells like gummy peach rings as opposed to a peach pie, but that's to be expected. Still, it's cute. Shaped like a wee pie.

No, not reviewing tampons. You are welcome, everyone. I'll merely state that it was nice to get a decent amount to test (16 count box) instead of the typical 3-5. 

Lotion time! I haven't used this for two weeks as is suggested for the earliest firming results, but I have tried it a few times. The fragrance is strong, not a pleasing odor. My nose is plugged due to allergies and I can still smell it. Even with a small amount, it leaves a greasy feel. I've had better luck with moisturizing with other brands. I will keep using to see if there are any results otherwise, but it isn't something I'd purchase myself.

So, there is my plug. My sellout post :) Don't worry, I'm working on patterns and projects and I'll get back to the yarn soon.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I'm going stir crazy when it comes to my knitting. I have such grand aspirations only to be grounded by the fact that I owe people knits. And of course, I taunt myself with ravelry. But these? These might not wait. If you are a member, then you know that you have a page of suggested things based on your searches and what you've made/queued. These popped up on mine:

Copyright belongs to Knitted Toy Box

Copyright belongs to Knitted Toy Box

How cute are these?? The pattern for Elsa is here and Anna is here. I was sucked into the Frozen world, Let It Go wanders through my head along with the ice harvesters chanting from the beginning. But I was so very impressed with these patterns. Not only are they offered for free, but they are well written. I am knit fangirling here, and I have no shame. These are sorely tempting me away from my work and if I had all the yarn? There would be no stopping me from casting on for them RIGHT MEOW! Ahem. So. In conclusion, I want all the yarn for these adorable dolls and I need them now. kthnxbye ;) (that would only work if Hubs read the blog).

In other news, I'm also torturing myself over socks. I have yet to complete a pair of socks, but I want some nonetheless. I get distracted by the time I finish one sock, so I end up with a loner just languishing. I should make a Dobby clothesline and just pin them all up. That would give me an excuse to keep making just one, right? Right? From the looks of my floor, though, I'm not lucky enough to have a house elf anyways.

I'm also working on a shawl, the Vortex Shawl, which is going slow. Steady, but slow, mostly because my yarn choice is meh. Was that on my list? Of course not. Several hats got bumped for that. Which is why I REALLY need to finish, to prove I had a good reason for reshuffling. After all, who doesn't bargain with themselves?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Gift Goodness

I'm a sucker for knitting new projects instead of what I intended. I had already knitted a dress and capelet for Bugs doll. But then I got it into my head to further spoil this offspring of mine, and make a Kiki themed dress. By Kiki, i mean Kiki's Delivery Service by Studio Ghibli. I have most of the outfit, all I'm lacking is the broomstick (which is what I'll be doing today. Starting with the dress, I used the Raglan Banded Dress by ABC Knitting Patterns. I had to do a bit of fudging with the skirt to make it work, I was silly and removed the stitch markers after the top part when you needed them for increases. I'll update when I can get pictures on the doll, I had to do this on the sly and didn't get a chance to try it on. Here is a back view, I was one short of those cute flower buttons so I had to make due.

Then I had to make shoes. Walmart, Kmart, and Target all have their own versions of AG dolls (and they are all more reasonably priced). The shoes and clothes are sometimes hit or miss, I've had good luck with the shoes from Walmart. I found a pair of pink mary janes for a buck or two, can't remember exactly. But, they were bright pink. Enter nailpolish. 

In progress, used Avon in Ruby Red Slippers. Took about three coats to make it all even

Finished shoes, black is Wet and Wild Black. Even the bottoms were pink, it was kind of glaring against all the red.

She also needed a Jiji. I tried a pattern before, but I couldn't adapt it worth a crap. So I went to a fallback, Tabitha the Destash Kitty (free ravelry download). I've used this before, kicking myself for not thinking of using it in the first place. His eyes are slightly off center, it's hard to attach two buttons at once, if I was smart I'd have done the white then the black ones. Eh, too late now, it was too much of a fuss the first time. He's cute, and that's what counts.

For the broomstick, I'm using these instructions from Natural Suburbia.  I snagged some straw from my parents, already have dowels, and some hemp to make it look tied. To keep it secure, I'm going to hot glue the straw in layers so I hopefully have nice full bristles. I've been busy otherwise, I made a shawl for a birthday gift, working on a baby blanket, hats, instead of all the stuff I really should be doing. I even sewed a doll tutu, ever try and sew tulle? Almost as bad as stitching satin.

I was bad and bought new yarn. Three balls of Crystal Palace Fjord, three of Bernat Mosaic, and one of fingering weight yarn. The last is a mystery, it was all rolled up, havent the foggiest of what it's even made of. But it is gorgeous, shades of red. I even lucked out and found a set of 5 dpns  size 1, in metal. Know what that means? SOCKS! I haven't finished a set, ever, but I still want to make more. I'm such a project whore, I start one and drop it when the shiny new one comes along. Ravelry is my dealer, and I refuse to go to AA meetings. Once I actually finish something, I'll post more. I know you are all DYING to see my half done hat and almost turned heels.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Now what do I do?

I love getting new yarn. It's like a shoe addict getting a new pair of boots. I went slightly wild and indulged myself at Michael's (there was a sale, that's my only excuse). Nothing major, but a few here and there of things that I grabbed just because they looked pretty. Then I got home, squished them and studied the shades. And now they are all in a large tote bag, waiting to be used. Haven't seen the light of day in about 4 days. In fact, the yarn I bought today is getting researched now for projects over the others. This is how stashes grow, you pick something on a whim then it sits. I had high hopes that I could immediately start on something using such cheery yarn, but that thought blew away with a blast of cold wind when I stepped outside. Plus remembering the projects and obligations that still awaited me. My current projects are kind of stalled, just languishing in bags of their own or taking up residence on the coffee table. New needles aren't even tempting me, and I even got my hands on some interchangeable circs.

Part of the problem is one of the yarns. Gala Mixed Fiber, if you've ever shopped at Big Lots you've seen it. $1 a ball, excellent deal for some mystery yarns especially the fingering weight. Ball band gives you diddly to work with, just a suspected fiber content. Its black, loose spun, and has sequins. Nothing to search for because so few people link their projects to the yarn. It's roughly classified under "novelty" but if you've ever looked at the stuff, you know how ridiculous it is. Not that its the fault of anyone who made the page, they did the best with what they had. Projects made from the yarn is how I find most of my ideas, so many people take a pattern and just go with it, it's kind of amazing. Especially when you don't know if you want to make a hat, a bag, or boot toppers. Do I want to make it for me? Do I want it for a gift stash project? Could this be suitable for any local charities? This is what viewing the projects helps me with.

Side note, new needles. Amazon, awesome deal on some bamboo dps. 15 sizes, 5 needles in each set for less than $15. Plus the interchangeable set. I had my heart set on some Harmony ones from Knit Picks, but I really didn't need size 2 tips. So I settled for a set by Knitters Pride. sizes 6-11, my most commonly used sizes. I read the reviews for both, some loved them some hated them. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Back to the yarn (and paragraphs!), I also grabbed some Loops & Threads Charisma (bulky) and Impeccable (worsted). The bulky I had plans for, earflap hats. I made a Thorpe first, but it turned out HUGE. Like fit my giant headed husband huge. So now I'm at square one for an earflap hat in bulky if the next size down doesnt work out. I also nabbed some Red Heart Soft, I have plans to make a couple of Antler Scarves (not a link to the pattern, just to rav page). I've made one before for a friends bf and she wants one for herself. It's hard to find a "manly" scarf, even with a slight sheen I think it will turn out ok. Not going to lie, it was a tedious knit with all those cable rows, but it was worth it.

In the end, I sit here and scroll. Also, I avoid those other looming projects (seaming! we hates it, my precious..), but mostly I scheme. Easter will be here before you know it, I do have some baskets that need goodies. Plus there is some stunning Cascade lurking in my stash, be a shame to let it go to waste and there was that b.x. slouch I needed to remake (someone swiped the first one once she saw it on instagram). Oh, I'd need matching mitts for that, and there are those Woodcutter's Daughter mittens I have planned..

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Finding my Zen, and if that fails? Find my wineglass

My knitting has been roped back into submission. While it isn't completely without hiccups, it's back to the level of surly I've come to expect. I finished this:

Just in time to be early for Easter. This is kind of my fallback pattern now, I've done my altering and can whip through it with minimal fuss. I still might fuss with the pattern, but for now? It works. The smock top is behaving itself, I finally got myself together enough to figure out the correct stitches to make it work. And I've been finding some cute new things to pin on pinterest that I probably will never have time to make. I've also been putting of knitting a ton of other things that should eventually be done. Maybe once this blasted shirt is finished.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Knitting Makes Me Stabby

Of all things on a knitting blog to write, but it's true. The last few days, everything I try to pick up and do? Frogged. Doll dress? Gone. Shirt? Zip. Shawl for the stupid doll? Cast on 3 times. And it wasn't the designs fault, it was my own error. I made a wee micro preemie kimono, adorable little thing. Botched the shaping, but luckily it was able to be made as a decorative oops. I was trying to work with two patterns to make them work a bit more for me. I hate stockinette on straight needles unless I absolutely have to, and if I have to do about 4" of it? Bring on the circs. But for the life of me, I couldn't get my decreases to work out and get the eyelets to work out. Why? Because I forgot to calculate for both the FRONT AND BACK of the stupid shirt. Yep, I was trying to make the one side be the entire thing. Go me. Why all this frustration? Because my hellspawn is spoiled. Clarice the ridiculously expensive doll needs a wardrobe. I made two dresses, but I had other patterns just kind of sitting there. Bug loved the phoenix dress I made, but that really wasn't something suitable for easter wear. Of COURSE I opened my mouth and asked if she'd like a new outfit for then (we dress up for the family gathering). Of  COURSE we want a new dress! And why be under accessorized, we need a capelet because april is chilly. And OF FREAKING COURSE I had to come up with something to put in the basket. One of her favourite movies is Kiki's Delivery Service. Why not make her doll a Kiki costume? How hard could a black dress and red hair ribbon be? But then you need Jiji, a broom, and SHOES. I'm just going to have to buy the stupid shoes, those pinterest tutorials make me want to pull out my hair. I'm not a sewing person. I think I have my patterns in mind to make the required outfit, just have to make it all on the sly. Ideally, I'd like to make some hand mitts for my nieces baskets (who doesnt need fingerless gloves?), but I need to decide on a pattern and start NOW. Otherwise, I'll be up till 3am weaving in ends (like I was christmas eve). So how about you, any holiday knits you're starting? Or is everyone still recovering from making winter warmth from the polar vortexes?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Pinterest is Horrid and Awesome

I'll be totally honest, I love pinterest. I can find recipes that even "I" can make, get hair tips for my unruly mop, and makeup tips to hide the too-damn-old-for-this acne. But the downside is that original content is hardly linked back to its source. I see so many images posted and shared endlessly only to end up on a dead end spam link. One "pinner" I followed only pinned those such images. I finally unfollowed as I was tired of having to constantly search for the instructions to whatever I was making/cooking/doing with construction paper and sprinkles. I was actually sucked in earlier. I pinned a cute little unicorn cross stitch with a snarky phrase underneath. Thinking it would make a fun gift, but lacking any source, I made my own chart for the wee beast. Hoping for a close up image, or a chart so I could put my slightly sloppy one to rest, I searched for the original source. Imagine my surprise when it showed up in someones etsy store. By this point, I had already finished most of it, and had redone the phrase to something more pg (the recipient has children, and I wanted it family friendly). I was rather disappointed in myself for not checking sooner. I did edit the source of my pin to the shop, but it didn't undo what I did. It didn't make those stitches go away or the chart to go up in flames. But the point remains that someones work was ripped off, by me, thanks to not being linked.

By the way, this is the link to the work I replicated. It's only fair to show off some publicity for my flub. So please, fellow pinners, check your pin. It's easy to find the real source. If you are using google chrome (not sure how to do it on others, I suggest you search for your browser), right click on whatever image you have on your pin. You will see an option about searching google for said image. Click that. It will open a new tab and show you a list of options. Might take a few pages, but it usually gets you to where you need to be. I have been let down only twice, and considering I have 1,400+ pins, that is a pretty good track record. And I also went through and found sources for that spam pinner I was following. So please don't fall into my mistake, please look for sources. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

Does anyone else mentally say "wed-nes-day" while spelling it just to make sure it's all right?

Anyhoo, updates!! Guess what? I finished a shawl! And it turned out quite lovely for my first attempt.

I had some issues with curling, still having some as you can see. I sewed little beads to the edging and it is helping considerably. The span on this is amazing, I think I wound up around 80"? I even blocked it like an adult, felt so grown up stabbing pins in to my mattress (only thing big enough for it). So what's next? My Boku shawl! I had to whip up a quick coffee mug cozy from the same yarn, I needed a better idea of how much I had to work with. I had that poor thing queued from 6 months ago, it was awful. But I finished it! 
This is the mug cozy, and my terribly unpolished nails. I wish that lovely green had wound up at the top, but thats how this stuff works. It turned out a big baggy on the bottom, I should have gone down a size, but my needles were again awol. This is getting to be a habit, whatever little gremlin is stealing my needles is being put on notice. Hopefully my next update will include my SECOND shawl of the year! Really quite excited, I have one more planned for the same pattern as the Boku shawl just to give myself some experience with large numbers of stitches before trying the Vlad shawl. Thats the one I really want to sink my teeth into...oh dear, one for the bad joke jar?

Friday, January 3, 2014

New year, new projects, new anxiety

This year I will make a darn shawl. Failed with my socks last year because I misplaced my pattern (that I had my notes written on) so they are languishing. On a roll with those, too. This year, I am making a shawl that I have ALWAYS wanted. No specific pattern incited lust in my fiber obsessed heart, but one for me. So to kick myself in the tail feathers, I projected three of them with yarn from my stash (go me!). One scares me to my little crooked toes. Vlad by Tammy Bailey is a beautiful pattern (ravelry pattern) which is offered for free. Lace. Chart reading. Fingering weight yarn. I'm getting chills. I've made exactly one pattern with a chart, and that took me a while. It was just a basic cable, nothing fancy, but it was big. Especially when you had to reverse it for the matching mitt (I recharted it and scanned it, you can find the project here). But this? This is the ocean after dipping my toe into the lake. What else am I doing? LaLa's Simple Shawl by Laura Linneman (ravelry pattern), because you know I can't beat myself enough by starting just one shawl. This one will use up my Boku yarn leftovers, I hate having nice yarn sitting there and mocking me. This one is a bit simpler, but no less daunting to me. After working on  GINORMOUS tree skirt, this shouldnt be an issue but it is. Last, but certainly not least, the Sunshine Shawlette by Lion Brand. I'm not a big fan of such mini shawls, but I'm working on this until I run out of yarn. From browsing the other projects, I've seen some very cute projects with thin yarn like what I'm substituting with, so I'm hoping for some lovely results.

What have I been up to besides torturing myself with yarn over panic? Doll clothes. My daughter received an American Girl doll and obviously needs a wardrobe. So, between Pinterest and Ravelry, I've gotten quite a library of patterns to make. I've already completed two dresses, a sweater, a shrug, and a pair of slippers. One dress was even SEWN. Yes, I used a sewing machine to make a dress. I'm scared too. This had to be my favourite one, though.

The February Doll Sweater by Jen Cooley (ravelry pattern) was based off a Zimmerman design for a baby sweater. It also inspired an adult sized womens sweater that I am also eyeing for myself. Will 2014 be The Year Of Big Projects? Go big or go home...probably not, but it's nice to dream isn't it?