Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lola Bunny Finished and Bequeathed A New Name

Meet Louie the bunny! This little guy is already snuggling with my 22-month-old boy tonight. Yet, I managed to take a few pictures before introducing him to his owner. The yarn is Knit Picks Essential Multi in Confetti; 2 skeins held double on U5 circs, magic loop. The only mods I made to the Lola Bunny pattern were to: 1) CO provisionally via the Magic CO so that I could continue working the opposite direction without having to pick up CO stitches; and 2) omit the tail. I did make a tail and sewed it on. But it ended up looking like Louie was, how shall we say, pinching something. So sorry for the foul description and resulting mental image I just presented to you. However, now you can see why I took the trouble to carefully remove the tail asap. Anyway, here are the pics!

Louie Bunny FO1Louie Bunny FO2Louie Bunny FO3

Lola Bunny Progress

Here's the final picture of my Chinese Waves #2 dishcloth. Originally, it looked a bit ridiculous because I ran out of yarn halfway through. So, I folded it in half and sewed it closed. Much better, and I kinda like the spongy feel. I think I'm done with dishcloths for now. Although, if I feel motivated enough, I'll make some Tribble kitchen scrubbies.

I'm making good progress on Lola Bunny (see picture). I got a lot done while my daughter was away at grandma's! I'm currently working on the ears and have the bum, tail, and face after that. The face is done with embroidery floss, which I already have in my cross stitch supplies. Can't wait to see the end result -- Ian has already become interested in it and likes the colors of the yarn :-)

Sometimes when I'm checking the Ravelry forums, I stop and search for new groups that might interest me. Last night I thought I'd check to see if there was a group that speaks Italian. YES! When I went to their forum, there was an Intro thread entirely in Italian. Since it was too late, I only read the first page of posts. But, I plan on reading them all (9 pages) and adding one myself. It's cool to see a wide spectrum of skill levels from beginners to native speakers. I think I'll learn a lot. And they're talking about knitting! In addition to this new Rav group, I've favorited a couple of Italian knitting blogs and sites to check frequently, not to mention some links to real Italian recipes, all in Italian. It's a fun challenge. I'm still doing Babbel, too, where I've built up to 1085 words and 800 or 900 some phrases. For grammar, I've been reading some of my college texts. Re-learning and remembering all the different verb tenses is probably the most challenging thing for me and my 35-year-old brain. Funny, that, because in college my biggest hindrance was vocabulary which is now easy for me in comparison. Back then though, I didn't have interactive sites like Babbel to build up my vocab...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Verde Bag Pics

Pattern: Verde
Yarn: Knit Picks CotLin, 3 skeins (glacier, kohlrabi, lantana)
Needles: US 4, 6, 10

Knitting the lace mesh part of this string bag was my favorite part. The woven stitch at the bag top wasn't too unpleasant either. The only parts I didn't enjoy doing were the bag bottom and the fabric stitch strap. In the case of the strap, the extra time and effort was necessary to create a nice sturdy, nonelastic strap. The bag bottom looks like something unmentionable. Yet, it flattens out a little bit with ironing. The decreases and my nonelastic BO at the bag top created a narrow-diameter opening.

So... after seeing Marie model Verde and get all excited, I think I might let her have it. It's small enough for her to carry around and pretend she's Ariel collecting treasures. We could also use it to carry toys on-the-go or small knitting projects. I just know that it's not possible to be used as a regular market bag unless you're getting only small items. A cereal box definitely wouldn't fit. I think the next time I make a market bag, I'm going to do a rectangular bottom and be sure that the opening isn't narrow ;-)

I've decided to fold my latest Chinese Waves dishcloth in half and sew it closed to make up for running out of yarn halfway through making it. When I get a chance, I'll do that and take a pic. Next up is finishing my summer Berroco top Bright and some other projects that have been in letargo. I might CO for Lola Bunny today, too.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two Dishcloths Down, Possible Tribbles To Come

With all the leftover Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn I have from last year's foray into dishcloths (and since it's summer), I thought I'd make some more. Having loved the Chinese Waves pattern the first time around, I just had to make another. The second dishcloth is a variation of the diagonal garter stitch DC with a textured center using skp and YOs.

FYI: If making the Chinese Waves DC, be sure to slip sts k-wise to get a holey look which includes the illusion that one "stitch" is split horizontally by two colors. In contrast to my Chinese Waves #1, I tried slipping sts p-wise this time round, and my dishcloth looked completely different and "wrong." So I frogged and started over. Go figure that a simple twist of a stitch makes such a difference. Next up: Tribbles. Great use of scrap yarn!

Tonight I listened to a few Knit Picks podcasts since I've gotten severely behind. Of course, the first podcast I listened to was the one about the new fall yarns from Knit Picks! Next I moved on to the Cookie A. interview and various snippets of other podcasts. I still need to listen to more... so behind.

On Ravelry, I saw that I have 6 WIPs... Hmm, maybe I should label some of those as hibernating? Anyway, the projects I'm actually working on now are: Bright (drape neck summer top), Verde (market bag), and soon a Lola bunny rabbit. My 2 pairs of socks and cell phone cozy have been on the back burner. I might frog the sportweight pair of socks because they're really heavy, and I'd rather use my green skein of Louet Gems on something else, truth be told. Maybe a hat? The ankle socks are suffering from second sock syndrome all due to my not making both at the same time. Hopefully, I'll get those finished in time to enjoy wearing them this summer! The cell phone cozy... dunno... My ultimate number of WIPs would be 3: one sweater/top, one pair of socks, and one kid project.

The new Knit Picks handpainted sock yarn, Stroll Hand Painted, looks awesome! I'm so happy that Knit Picks has come out with a machine washable handpainted sock yarn. What a pleasant surprise! As beautiful as Imagination is, I probably won't ever buy any more specifically to make socks since it's alpaca (I love alpaca, but not with socks), not machine washable, and felts very easily. The colorways of the new yarn are really, really cool!

We went to the zoo today -- always enjoyable. There was a 2-week-old orange-colored baby silver langur. Just as a zoo keeper was explaining that the female holding the baby wasn't the mother, another female came over and took the baby into her arms. Supposedly, all the females were passing the baby around. The kids and I decided to take the boat ride through The Islands, and surprisingly Marie was allowed to sit by herself in front of Ian and me. Both of them really love being at the zoo.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Low humidity=good hair day; Sara Bareilles' song Gravity

I just checked the current local humidity and dewpoint at 11:29 PM: 52 and 49, respectively... Meanwhile in Raleigh, NC (my former locale): 84 and 66. I actually got cold while outside with Marie before sunset. It's amazing how different 67 in Raleigh feels compared to here! The dewpoints in Raleigh never dip below 60 during the summer. My curly hair is loving this stretch of super-low humidity and dewpoints :-) Today was one of those good hair days that comes out of nowhere. Good hair days are few and far between for us curlies, so I enjoyed it all I could even though the only outing I made was to go grocery shopping. BTW, in addition to the low humidity, I've been doing two things differently: adding honey to my leave-in and adding gel after briefly plopping (not before).

On STYTCD, there will be new pairings Wednesday. Instead of going into all of that, I'll just say that I'm curious to see what happens this week. Last week's Mia Michaels dance is still in my mind, and I've managed to watch it a couple times each day. It's addictive, pun intended.

The Sara Bareilles song Gravity, which was used in Mia's dance, is so haunting and beautiful. It was a perfect match for Mia's choreography. I thought I'd share two different videos of it here. This link will take you to the music video, and here is a video from Sara herself with just her and the piano. This isn't the first time I've been impressed by Sara Bareilles. She did a beautiful song with Ingrid Michaelson called Winter Song that I found while reading someone's MySpace page. Recently, I found out that her most popular song, which I didn't care for until now, turns out to be written in response to her record label trying to pressure material out of her: "I'm not gonna write you a love song cause you asked for one, cause you need one..."

Last, but not least: I CAN TRILL/ROLL MY R'S COMPLETELY NOW. Not especially exciting to everyone else, but it is to me! It was only a few weeks ago that I finally figured out how to roll my double R's for speaking Italian. Then two or three nights ago, I had another mini breakthrough and could finally trill for several seconds without much effort or thought. Woohoo! I've been driving everyone in my household batty with my trilling. It's funny I never learned how to do this while playing the flute. But then again, I didn't need to because I was taught to use just my diaphragm to do flutter tongue (different from double or triple tonguing), kinda like lightly laughing super, super fast. It's like whistling, but to demarcate the notes you use your diaphragm muscle and not your tongue. Well... I can now cross off rolling my R's from my list of impossible feats. Yay!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sheldon #2 Finished

Pattern: Sheldon
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport, green apple and sky (1 skein each)
Needles: US2 circs and US3 DPNs

Comments: For my second Sheldon, I tried improving upon little things here and there. The most prominent improvement is the applied i-cord around the shell. If you look at the picture above that shows both Sheldon profiles, you can see the difference. All I did was insert a YO before the PU & K a stitch through the shell and attachment panel. Then when you go to pass the slipped stitch over, you also pass over the YO at the same time. The YO acts like a connector and hides any blips of contrasting color. On my first Sheldon, you can see blips of purple yarn peeking through my green i-cord. Here's the tutorial from which I learned this technique. It's one of those techniques that gets long stowed away after bookmarking and then finally gets used for something. I highly recommend it, and will probably suggest it in the Sheldon forum.

Marie is not wanting her brother to have this second Sheldon. She actually was crying about it because she wants her Sheldon to "have a friend." Uh huh, right. She's jealous and still needs to learn that not everything is hers. Right now, Ian's Sheldon is next to him in his bed to greet him when he wakes from his nap. Did I mention that he calls Marie's Sheldon "C-Pa"? I bet that's what he'll say when he notices his new turtle :-)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I should be knitting right now! Oh well... I'll be getting my knit on at knit night anyway ;-)
Sheldon#2 is nearly finished, as well as my string bag.

Last night's SYTYCD was awesome. There were some standout dances and standout individuals. My favorite two dances of the night were Kayla and Kupono's "Addiction" dance and Janette and Brandon's pop jazz "Jewel Thieves." Kupono played his malevolent role of addiction very well, and I got chills when he smirked as Kayla, playing the addict, struggled to escape his grasp. Very powerful, memorable piece. Like last week's vampire dance with Sonya, I was mesmerized. They make a great pair. Janette and Brandon's combination of technique, fun, and chemistry with Wade Robson's choreography made their dance extremely fun to watch. I thought Janette looked like Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka the way she wore her hair and hat. Jeanine really shined during the jive she danced with Phillip. I can't wait to see who they partner her with next week. Speaking of which... I think the pairs should be:

Brandon and Jeanine/Kayla
Ade and Kayla/Janette
Kupono and Melissa/Jeanine
Jason and Janette/Melissa

That's assuming Evan and Caitlyn go home. If Evan stays, then I'd pair him with... Jeanine, I guess. Whoever gets Evan is very unlucky.

Friday, July 03, 2009

An Interesting Cover To Share

Interesting, seeing a guy sing Lady GaGa's Poker Face O_o Kinda like it! But then again, I've always liked Chris Daughtry.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sheldon Snapshots

Since I needed to take a picture of Marie holding her new Sheldon, I decided to take a few shots of my Sheldon#2 in progress. I've already finished stuffing the body of Sheldon#2, so this time around is definitely going faster. It's funny, too, how much easier it is. I'm finding that this Sheldon's stitching is turning out much nicer since I know what to expect. I've got Sheldon fever! This little guy is fun! I'm looking forward to also making Ian a bunny rabbit (Lola Bunny) out of sock yarn. You could say I'm liking this whole "knitted stuffed animal" business.

SYTYCD was interesting this week since almost everyone had to dance their genre. My favorites this week were Janette/Brandon, Kayla/Kupono, Melissa/Ade, and Karla/Vitolio with an honorable mention to Jeanine/Phillip (only because Jeanine has been impressive each week despite her partner). Though I like Randi/Evan, their dance bored me this week. Caitlin/Jason will be on the chopping block this week I think, unless the numerous positive comments about Karla/Vitolio have been misleading. Can't wait to see if the MJ tribute works out!

Tonight is Knit Night --YAY!!!!!!
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Before and After Pics

This is one of those times when the before picture is better than the after one (IMO). Today, I got my hair cut the Deva method (a method in which your hair is cut dry, curl by curl), and here are pictures for your perusal. The last picture is the after picture with the original styling products in my hair. I think it'll take me a week or so to see how I like this cut using my own conditioning and styling products. The Deva products seemed to dry out and frizz-ify my hair, which surprised me.

For those familiar with Deva products, my stylist used the low-poo shampoo and One Conditioner (wonderfully scented btw!). Then she put the heavier of the two gels in my hair. After drying under the hair bonnet (or whatever you call those thing-ys), she diffused it the rest of the way. Despite the appearance of my hair in the after/2nd pic, it looked halfway decent when I left the salon. It's after it completely dried that it got super frizzy and dry, and my head began to itch slightly.

My stylist Maria was very nice, and we talked CG stuff the whole time. She knows her stuff and practices what she teaches. She really enjoys cutting curly hair. She did one whole side and stopped to compare it to the other side, which was neat.

After picking the kids up from my mom's and returning home, I rinsed my hair in the tub, then CO-rinsed and styled it with my flax seed/LA Looks gel combo. My hair (and head ftm) feel and look better now. My head doesn't itch anymore, and my hair is softer although not as soft as it was before my haircut.