Saturday, October 22, 2011

Last weekend I went to a church rummage sale, which was a first for me. There were no clothes which was probably good to keep the mess and that "thrift smell" down. But there was a bunch of really neat stuff, and they were as organized as one could expect. I picked up some ribbon, a potholder kit, and an embroidery hoop for cheap, about three dollars. I didn't even like what was in the embroidery hoop- I just wanted the hoop! I also picked up something for my wall. That wasn't a priority for me- some people really want stuff on their walls, but I tend to think it looks cluttered. There is a poster I own that has followed me through high school and college, that I want to get framed before I hang it up again (and because of that, I haven't put it up here- if I'm just going ot move again, I'll save myself the space).
The poster I bought can actually be found at

Isn't that so great? I don't have any special interest in seals, but I do have an interest in well-done scientific illustration. I think these seals are just so awesome and ugly and magnificent. AND it's educational. I don't think I'll tire of it soon. It was only $3 anyways.
If it was just a poster I might have passed, but it was actually very well framed- definitely done at a professional frame shop. That's part of why I bought it and lugged it home. I haven't put it up yet; it's propped up on a chair that I found on the street (it needs to be re-caned.. I'll be teaching myself caning! It also needs to be painted and the legs are uneven, I'm not sure how I'll fix it but I don't think it will be hard).

In another yard sale on the way there I picked up a weaving loom! I don't know if it has all the parts- I haven't checked yet- but I know it has instructions. I also got a few ladies' gloves and a few books, including a lovely copy of War and Peace that I'll slog through.

Interestingly this has made me want to purge a lot of random stuff from my house. if I'm going to be bringing things in I need to put things out, or I will drown in clutter. I think I'll start by getting rid of scrap fabrics that I won't -really- use, and clothing I never wear (some of it I have NEVER WORN, as it was given to me by my mother who may or may not have worn it herself). I would give it to the thrift shop down my street, but they're closing soon over a dispute with their landlord and are trying to get rid of items. I did a big shop there a few weeks ago and scored some interesting items. At the end of the month they're having a dollar sale so I may stop in again, just to see if there's anything new put out. I would have called the Vietnam Veterans of America group to pick up a bag of clothes but the Better Business Bureau tells me they're a little shady! Egad!

All this will give me things to occupy myself over the cold winter, I'll be staying in to save money- it helps that my landlord pays the heat!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Today I was supposed to be committed to finishing up some assignments, as I might not have time to do them this week. Unfortunately, my usual carpool won't be coming through my area on Wednesday, and if I can't find a ride (which I probably won't, because other people I've tried have been -more- unrealiable- and I also don't want to bother anyone :/ even at a cost to me) I won't be at work that morning and I will have time in the morning.
I am making some progress on one assignment, but I haven't gotten to the other. Other things that have been filling up my day were errands, cleaning house, watching My Little Pony (no reason to lie), and scrolling blogs, mostly on personal finance right now. This is where I found these map tools, to see where you've been:

visited 20 states (40%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or another interesting project
For the US I clicked states I had spent at least a few days in, even if I was just in one area (as for Tennessee, I was mostly only in one hotel for a conference, but that's okay because it was important to me).

When I asked myself if I forgot anywhere, I decided that if I couldn't remember, it didn't count!

Someday I'd like to see Hawaii and Alaska, as well as some of our territories like the Marianas and Guam. I'm hoping to see some friends I've made who live in Idaho and Montana now, and other areas out West like Colorado and New Mexico. I was discussing with a friend how British people (and Europeans, though we have less interaction here) will sometimes assume (not nicely) that Americans never travel. He thinks it may have to with how LARGE our country is, and how you can go to a different state- sometimes even a different area within a state- and it's like you're in a whole different place. The scenery and the pace is all different. Sometimes even the way people look and speak, and their food, will be markedly different than what you are used to, and you don't even have to whip out your passport. That's one thing I like about my "home state" of Maryland: the variety in different regions, even though it's not a large state. There's the edge of the Appalachians to the west and the Chesapeake Bay to the east. DC is cradled right in the middle- and the interstate shoots through that.

But I've been to places around the world, too:

visited 12 states (5.33%)
Create your own visited map of The World or Free ipad travel guide
I think it's funny how much Canada highlights when I've really only been to two cities. I almost wanted to click Japan and South Korea because of how much TIME I've spent in their airports!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knitting: getting there.

Eeee! My sweater on Ravelry just got two hearts! One from someone in Germany that I don't even know! The other from a woman I met in knitting circle in New Zealand. I ought to have gone more, those women were so nice to Steph and I.

I'm working on a sweater I started in August, when I was in DC. I went to Looped Yarn Works, picked a pattern out of a book and a bunch of yarn to go with it. It's probably the most I've spent on yarn for one project, but it's also probably the biggest project I've undertaken! Aside from the Baby Blanket That Never Made It. But, you know, that one never made it. Quite unfortunately, the sales associate at Looped Yarn Works didn't suggest a yarn gauge quite anywhere near what the pattern I had picked out suggested. I had this suspicion, but I thought I would try it anyways, and even picked up two different needle sizes. The needles are the only think I have some buyers remorse over, because I have the cords and a few needles from the Knitpicks interchangeable set and I should just buy tips, but I was on vacation!

I ended up making a different pattern in the book, Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. I have mixed feelings on my much the title describes the patterns in the book. Some are fitted due to simply a lot of ribbing, while some really aren't fitted at all (the Crisp Rectangle Tunic Top is in fact a RECTANGLE, and the Cozy V Neck Pullover is a great classic masculine sort of sweater: you know, boxy and unfeminine..). The pattern I first saw from the book (on the internet) was the Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties. I liked the pattern because I liked cropped cardigans and I love leaves (more on that later). But would I call this pattern fitted? This pattern, that is shown dangling off the torso of a reasonably non-rectangular model? It doesn't look unflattering, it simply doesn't stand as a pattern meant to emphasize custom fit.

In the author photo, Stefanie Japel is not even wearing a fitted garment. Perhaps that should tip you off.

I still like the book, though, personally- a lot of it falls in line fine with my fashion aesthetic. I will probably be making that Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties, if I can figure out how to make it look like I didn't knit a top that was fitted in the sleeves and way to loose in the front.

I am working on the garment that made the cover page, Textured Tunic with Side Buttons. I might not have started it if the book included good pictures of what those side buttons actually look like. Ravelry to the rescue! I am only knitting small side slits.
This is my progress so far, minus about 4 inches on that sleeve in progress because I was increasing like a madwoman and had to rip it all back:

Prettier in person, and on a person, I promise.
 You can see here how I really like a flared sleeve... But I didn't plan very well how much I wanted the sleeve to flare. I am starting to think it is TOO MUCH FLARE. I am not tickled by the prospect of ripping out both sleeves, however. In addition, I didn't like the given texture of the Textured Tunic, and experimented with many other stitch patterns. I found nothing that worked!! It is another challenge all together to convert a stitch pattern to being worked in the round. Maybe someday, but I just wanted this sweater done, and besides, it's my first sweater. I should probably keep it simple.
So, I am justifying my dramatic sleeve choice with the reasoning that I lost the textured band that kept it interesting, so I ought to have SOME part of the sweater's construction be unusual.
I am liking the top-down-raglan style of making a sweater. I may make this again with the textured band as a short sleeve sweater. I'm not sure on short sleeves because I'm afraid the band part would be too "HEY LOOK AT MY CHEST" and yet I would try to make sure it hit directly above and below my chest, because I'm not particularly busty and I don't want an oddly placed band to make me look flatter.
Anyways, I'm making good time with properly timed increases on the second sleeve, and I will be ripping back the bottom and knitting it longer. This may be more difficult because I'm working with a set amount of yarn but I like the idea of small side slits, so I don't know how much I can actually increase the bottom length by. I think I am going to rip, save the ripped yarn in a separate ball, and knit until I run out of yarn- the separated ball representing exactly how much yarn the current side-slit and garter-band hem takes up.

Then I got kind of excited about taking pictures of my knitting, and this "digital macro" function I have on my new-to-me camera. My sweater probably looks way more appealing in close-up:

mmm, Malabrigo.
Of course then I stared taking pictures of anything I thought looked good when I held it up to my face really closely:
not-so-lush Acrylic of indeterminate origin.

 This is a sweet little leaf whose pattern I made up on the spot, and I describe it on my Ravelry page.
It's probably going to be sent to my botanist friend because I never figured out what I wanted to do with a little leaf, and I can whip up another in a few minutes. Unlike its inspiration, this leaf will not biodegrade, which is why I generally try to stay away from plastic yarn like acrylic.

I also have a lot of weird close ups of my thumb, couldn't help it.
I'm kind of hoping she tucks it into some actual plant in the herbarium she works at and see how long it takes anyone to notice. Kind of like this:: "A museum curator with a sense of humor, spotted at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History."

Oh boy! It was grey all morning and then poured for about half an hour. Just now the sun burst out! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pictures! Birthday Weekend! Coachella problems!

When it was my birthday, my dear friend Christine from high school came up to see me from Maryland! I call her Teeney because she's tall.. It makes sense to us, trust us (oh, high school girls). She's always been more camera-savvy than I, and she was selling her old camera because she had bought a better, smaller one. So I gladly bought it from her, and am really excited to make my blog more interesting! Well, maybe it still won't be interesting.. I should probably work on my writing, too, hm?

Anyways, this is me and Teeney at Tattooed Mom's on South Street:
I would honestly probably describe Tattooed Mom's as a hisptery dive bar that I don't understand. It had all this thrift store score old fashioned furniture, and a lovely bar, but the service was terrible and the faux-roccoco detailing on the furniture didn't save it from feeling dirty. They have this thing about leaving little toys and trinkets all over, and putting out Dum-Dum pops... all cute, sure, but sort of cluttery. Which might be exactly what you're going for. After all, a girl flashed us (bra on!).
We went to a small Oktoberfest celebration at Brauhaus at ate lunch at Kanella with another high school friend, who is in medical school in Philadelphia now. I scored her the last cheap fake-Tyrolean hat they were giving out. Later, I gave the hat to some totally drunk guy on the street.

I liked the beaded necklace because there was a tiny mug on it! These necklaces, we later threw at aforementioned flashing girl.
For knitting, the tank I am wearing is Coachella from Knitty, made of Knitpick's Shine. It is not holding up to washing and wearing quite as well as I had hoped and is sort of sagging. Maybe next time a cotton blended with nylon or elastic is in order. I'm also wearing a blue tank underneath from Benneton that happens to match the color very well - and the neckline on Coachella is waaay too low on me, necessitating the under layer. Maybe another Coachella would also have to be knit with a smaller drape all around.  Later we passed this mural of trees and the neighborhood in a pixelated look. Jason, Teeney's main main, told us to look square:
 Then we decided to look acceptable. I'm wearing the free hat, as well as a midi length embroidered cotton skirt I picked up in Thailand at the nice part of Jatujak market. I am undecided on how flattering this length is on me. I think it might make me look shorter and cut at a weird part of my leg, but skirts that hit above the knee sometimes make me feel like too much is showing.
As for accessories, there are Tsubo heels I kind of adore (I paid too much for them, is the only problem) and a Coach bag my mother was carrying when she came to visit me. When we visited a diamond shop (for their impending betrothal!!!!!) I was glad I had gotten a little dressed up. But any semblance of  maturity was probably betrayed by my hat and the fact that I spent the time flipping through a bridal magazine and criticizing the models' postures.
 Jason took this picture of Teeney as she was walking towards him, and I think it such a pretty picture of her without me creeping on the side. :p

I took this one of the cute couple:
they're fantastic.
 Then here, I can point out the sag that bothers me on this Coachella tank. You can see it in the above front-on picture where Teeney and I aren't being squares, but it's harder to see where the normal, intentional drape of the neck stops and then there is a weird sag. Possibly, if I had a bigger chest circumference, I wouldn't have the problem of the drape revealing too much OR this second under-bust sag. Notes if I ever make a second Coachella: even though I made the XS size, I might need an XXS. Don't make as many increases for the drape, if possible, and the raceback can be shorter (and requires reinforcement), as well as the armholes being smaller (I crocheted a border and pulled it in tightly, skipping a few stitches). Anyways, in this side view you can see the normal drape, and then underneath that, another bulge- this is the fabric sagging:
 Jason figured out some function on Teeney's new camera that takes multiple pictures, which is how this candid came about:
I like it, but I have to remember to push my glasses up!
 And the three of us! We happen to all be wearing blue shirts. Blue is going to figure prominently in their upcoming wedding!