Apr 23, 2011

Socks on the beach & crochet of various frilliness

Oh, the puns. But here they are: the aforementioned socks on the beach, because yes, I have made it to the beach twice this spring already. TAKE THAT, evil procrastination monster!

Bling socks

Sadly, one of these socks (the one in the background) will be ripped out and reknit. Right now it's still attached to the same ball as the current, larger sock because, well, it amuses me to have two socks coming off one ball of yarn, and because you never know — I might suddenly be seized by the need to compare the old, too-small sock with the new sock, which I won't be able to do if I rip out the old one. Besides, I don't need the yarn from it until I finish the first sock. ;D

By the way: Socks apparently go faster if you knit at a larger gauge. And I don't mean they go faster because the knitting is looser and each row covers more area than it does at a tighter gauge — I mean that the same number of beaded lace chart repeats goes faster at a larger gauge. Or maybe that's just me...?

My crocheted Tulip Doily is now finished, too, except for the weaving in of tails and the blocking, which leaves me in need of another crochet project. (I've discovered that crochet is waaaaay easier than knitting when it comes to putting it down in the middle of a row and coming back to it in bits and pieces as I have time. So having a crochet project sitting out all the time is a nice way of feeling like I'm always making progress on something ... and also, if I keep crocheting, then I can't forget how to do it again. ;))

Tulip Doily

Oooooh, doily-y. I've never really thought of myself as a doily person, but this one reminded me of a mandala, and it may have given me doily fever. The first mate says I should make a bunch of these and join them together to make a privacy curtain for the front porch, and if he can find something in the homeowner's association agreement that says we're allowed to have curtains on the porch (or at least, that curtains aren't disallowed), I just might. ;D

But while I'm waiting for him to produce convincing paperwork, I need another crochet project. Suggestions, anyone? Something springy and not too frumpy (says the chick who just made a doily)? Maybe I could crochet a bikini to wear while I knit on the beach. But I fear I may have to create my own super-awesome bikini pattern if I do that, and I'm not sure I'm that confident in my crocheting skills yet...

Oh, well. Gotta go put a toe on that sock now, and finish dyeing some fiber. I need to do some finishing of various projects this month or there will be Grumping in my future.

...and yeah, I know I didn't do a Craft or Bust check-in last week. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow. ;)

Apr 15, 2011

Rotary cutters, baking, and the beach

What happens when you have some hoarded gift cards from Christmas and your birthday, and there's a sale at Jo-Ann of something you've been thinking about getting for years, that you've suddenly had new ideas about how to use?

Well, I end up buying rotary cutters and a cutting mat, is what happens to me. I even got the mat in one of my favorite colors; I was walking away from the scissors section and turned around for one last glance, and saw this one hanging on the display on the side of the aisle:

Rotary cutters and mat

It's even recyclable. :D Not that I intend on getting rid of it any time soon, but if I have to have plastic objects in the house, it's nice when they're recyclable. Then I have the option of trying to upcycle them myself or of sending them off so someone else can turn them into something. Options are good. ;D

And look, the other side of the mat has cute birdies on it!

Cutting mat, birdie side

In other news, I baked my first loquat pie yesterday — I failed to take a photo of the loquats while they were still on the branch, but they came from a tree that's been growing in my parents' yard for I think longer than I've been alive. When I was a kid I contrived to only eat the fruits when they were in the tangy not-ripe stage, so I've been laboring under the misconception for most of my life that the fruits are not sweet at all. Yeah, I was so wrong. These were sweet enough that I barely put any sugar into the pie.


Loquat pie

But I burned the crust a bit because yesterday was a Day of Incompetence. (Good thing I didn't try to make loquat jam, which was what I was thinking of doing when I clipped the loquats off the tree. Incompetence plus first-time jam-making would probably have equaled suck.) Maybe also because I've never used white whole wheat flour before, at least not that I can remember, and it doesn't seem to be exactly like all-purpose flour (why would it be? Since it's, like ... a different thing and all ;)). I was even a good girl and used up the leftover cinnamon sugar topping from some French breakfast puffs I baked earlier this week, by throwing it in with the loquats.

French breakfast puffs
The aforementioned French breakfast puffs.

By the way, with the above photo, I now have photographic evidence that my baking technique has indeed changed. Generally it seems to have improved (though not consistently, as I have more Days of Incompetence now than I used to). In this case, the change appears to have made these come out out lumpy, like the ones I've seen on other blogs, but unlike the ones I used to make years ago:

French breakfast puffs
See? Smooth as a baby's butt, but, I dare say, sweeter. And crunchier.

...but this is one of those cases where I actually like the way I used to make them better. I wonder what I did differently — did I over-stir the batter?

It's also moderately hilarious that that photo from like 4,000 years ago, taken with my old point-and-shoot, is better than the one taken recently with my DSLR. The lighting in the place I lived in Wisconsin was ridiculously perfect for food photography. Now, if I ever get far enough into cleaning and reorganizing around here, there's a possibly equivalently-perfect location in my current living space. But you know, there's that "getting far enough into cleaning and reorganizing" thing.

While I'm on food photography, would you like to see the fresh local yummy eggs we got while we were doing our last CSA veggie pickup?

Local eggs, yay ;D

Local eggs, yay ;D

I love that they're all different colors. ;D The lady who sold them to us says that the green ones (er, not that any of them look very green in those photos, but I promise some of them are vaguely vaguely green, kind of like if powder blue secretly wanted to be mint green) are supposed to have less cholesterol. Weird, huh?

Oh, and did you know that — supposedly, also according to the egg lady — if you store your eggs in the carton with the pointier side down, it will help keep them fresher? I have no idea whether that's actually true, and we'll probably never find out, since eggs never survive our kitchen longer than about a week and a half (we seriously need our own chickens; if I had a yard it would be done already), but maybe you can test the theory and report back. ;)

To cap off this week, we also made our first spring pilgrimage to the beach. (There, I dumped a knitting book and a Folkwear ethnic clothing book right into the sand just before we left. DOH. I told you incompetence abounds lately. But this photo is not of that.)

Sandals at Dunedin Causeway

Last year we utterly failed to go to the beach at all during the summer. It isn't summer yet, but I have hopes that if we train ourselves to go to the beach regularly this spring (I mean, we have a beach right there not ten minutes away, albeit a small and rather rocky one), we'll get stuck in the habit and mindlessly continue into the summer. Then the first mate will be more brown than pale blue ... though I imagine his face will still be pink. Oh, and I need re-confirmation that his hair is capable of instantaneously turning gold, with, like, one full day in the sun. I swear I saw it do that one day, but it was a few years ago, and I need more evidence to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

Also, if we go to the beach more, I will again have motivation and reason to build myself a little charkha. It's hard to spin with a drop spindle on the beach (wind and a drop spindle are not great bedfellows), but a charkha seems like it'd be more manageable. That's a good excuse for having a charkha, right? So I can spin cotton yarn on the beach that I can then turn into warm-weather clothes to wear on the beach? ;)

Apr 12, 2011

Happy blogiversary to the craft blog!

I almost forgot: Today is this blog's blogiversary! Last year I did forget, though, so to celebrate my lack of brainlessness, I shall post a photo of my latest Navajo-plied yarn. I spun the singles during last year's Tour de Fleece and *whistles innocently* have been a terrible slacker about getting back to plying it. But one bobbin is done, and I have one more bobbin to go. (Not making any bets on how long it's going to take me to get to it, though.)

I love how it looks all round and squishy (and how it is all round and squishy, too ;)), like all the pictures of awesome hand-dyed sock yarn I see on Etsy:

Navajo-plied Merino

Okay, maybe I'll share two pictures of squishy Merino yarn. ;)

Navajo-plied Merino

And heck ... you know what? Through the end of the day I'll offer free shipping on anything in my Etsy shop. Just enter the coupon code BLOGGY when you check out. :D


Apr 10, 2011

Craft or Bust weekly: getting back on track & springtime growth

It's not always easy un-derailing yourself, is it? But I wrote again this week — less than I have been, but the amount isn't what counts. ;) 381 words is better than none.

And I also crafted: mostly on old UFOs that seriously need finishing, Once and For All, but I've also been researching textiles and ethnic clothing and knitted lace. Oh, and I've done a lot more baking — since I've discovered how easy biscuits are, we've been kind of addicted. ;D

The mood to get back on track is kind of in everything right now — Sunday I rewrote a old pattern for personal use, so I can finally finish a charitable project that's been stalled because I seriously couldn't make heads or tails of the pattern; Thursday and Friday I worked on the crocheted Tulip Doily I started not too long ago (by my current UFO standards ;)), finally plied TWO different yarns that have been waiting on it (and both of them were three-plies ... guess I'm going through a phase), reswatched for the above charity project, finished the hairpin lace project and the rough draft of the pattern that I've been working on, restarted a sock-knitting project in which I had lamentable gauge issues, and finally restarted knitting the TwitKAL shawl that I started last year.

So yeah, you could say that getting back on track despite the crap is my theme so far for this month — this year, even. Sure, crappy nonsense keeps interfering (and I swear it isn't minuscule crappy nonsense, either ;)), and it throws me off my stride for a bit after it happens ... but it's time to stop letting it beat me down.

Must. Get. Old projects out of the way!

Must make room for new awesome projects.

Because I'm bursting at the seams with good ideas that need more time and space in which to develop. It's spring indoors as well as out, I guess: and all the new sprouts (figurative and literal) need ample fertile ground and good care and feeding so they can grow and flourish.

Must. Grow!

Sure, and it's springtime. Anyone else out there growing with me? ;D

(Want to know more about Craft or Bust? Check out the tab at the top, or go here to read about it.)

Apr 4, 2011

Craft or Bust weekly: attack of the craziness! & forgiveness of self

This post is a day late. You could say it's a dollar short, too — I didn't reach my CoB goal last week. Nope — didn't write at all. The most important thing I think I can do with that is to be compassionate and understanding toward myself: I didn't reach the goal, but it wasn't out of laziness or disrespect of the goal. It was because goshdarnit, there's a lot of craptasticness floating around right now, and my thoughts and energy have been taken up with those things. (It seems to be going around, a little bit, as the lovely Sarah Marie Lacy wrote about something similar on her blog not too long ago.)

I did craft this past week, though, which is something. There's proof that I didn't do nothing worth talking about last week — so this week I'll do an old-style check-in with all the crafty things I did last week. Because you know what? Things won't always go exactly as I plan, but if I do something worth doing, then my time wasn't wholly wasted.

So, this week...

Cream biscuitsOn Sunday, I made griddle scones, a hairpin lace strip for a pattern I'm working on, a new fork-style shawl pin, a spiral charm pin, and a heart charm pin, and I wrapped a beaded shawl pin. Monday, I made cream scones. Tuesday, I didn't do any crafting, but I did some crafty research. Wednesday, I phtographed the shawl and charm pins from Sunday, took some photos of yarn, did some more research, listed the pins in the shop, joined two hairpin lace strips for the pattern, and made some mini notecards using the yarn photos I took. Thursday, I made some more griddle scones, rewrote part of a knitting pattern I need to use for a charity project (because it really wasn't making sense to me the way it was written ;)), and spun a skein of pink BFL yarn for plying, for a custom order. Friday, I photographed all the yarn plies for the custom order. And Saturday, I made cream biscuits.

So there it is! What'd you do this past week that was definitely worth doing, whether or not you met your goals?

(This post is part of Craft or Bust, a weekly creative endurance challenge with a sense of compassion and fun. Check the Craft or Bust tab at the top of the blog, or read more about it here.)
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