Saturday, July 18, 2009

My hands are getting kinked

I've been working on knitting a Harry Potter Hufflepuff house scarf for the last two weeks....on and off. I'm sure if I really dedicated myself to it, it would have been done before now.
It started when I realized Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was coming out on the 15th...My goal was to make a scarf and be able to wear it for the movie when I went. I have yet to go see the movie, thank goodness.
I actually bought double pointed needles at Daiso when I went last, thinking I could use them for just this. Then I started the scarf (in Gryffindor colours), on those. The I realized the needles were waaaaay to long for what I was doing. And if I continued doing it on those needles, I'd have a very wide scarf.
So, instead of waiting to go back to Daiso to see if the shorter circulars they had would be short enough, I went to Michaels and bought the only short needles they had.(really, the only short one! Everything else was really long!) Instead of spending $2, I ended up spending $10. That hurt.
However, I must say, I really love them. I got bamboo ones (the bamboo ones were the only ones short enough.) - and I really like how they knit. The ones I got at Daiso are also bamboo, so it wasn't a surprise, but it did make the $10 a little easier to bear.

I've gotten 6 out of 19 stripes done now. After every two stripes or so my hands start to hurt in the knuckles. Anyone know any good ways to keep your hands from cramping and hurting while knitting for long periods?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Long time no see!

Hey there, sorry for now posting for a good month.
Life gets hectic enough and you forget about things, I guess.

I'm working on the knitting skills (I now know what a purl is!), and I've been making little crochet accessories for people (a headband that won't pinch the temples, for which Deb was very thankful - she finally has a headband that won't hurt her head and won't fall off.) And I'm working on designing a hanging organizer to hand on the wall by the bed, so the cat won't keep knocking our glasses on the floor when she jumps on the side table (bad kitty!).

Speaking of Kitty's, this one has been getting quite self conscious about weight gain over the last few months ("Amy, you're getting fat!").

And, I think partially due to the new D&D group I've joined, I'm going to work on fixing my self image.
Shelly, who is the other female member of the D&D group, is quite the crusader for healthy eating and living - organic food, and watching the calories is where it's at for her.

I found a site with some very good support (and it's free), and some great tools for helping track exercise and food consumption...

Seems to be quite the useful source.

My main goal this summer is simple: Eat Fresh.

It's going to start with a purge of fast food and candies from my diet.

Rod goes through the drive-through alot for fast food. Instead of stopping him (he teaches martial arts and is thin as a stick...), I will only get salads from McDonalds/Wendy's when I'm with him, instead of bacon cheeseburgers and fries. (Besides, I've heard enough bad things about fries and breast cancer, that it's high time I stop eating them anyways.)

And then, assuming I can afford the change in diet, it's going to be lunches of fresh fruit and vegetables all summer long.

I think it might be a bit late to plant any veggies in the garden for this year, however that will be a goal for next spring. Plant all sort of yummy veggies so that I can save a bit on the grocery bill.

To top it off, I will start talking walks every day, not just to get to the bus stop, and to work.

Instead of nibbling on cookies and chocolates, I'll pick up the yarn and crochet hook/needles, and work on a pile of christmas gifts - since thats my other goal this year - to only give handmade gifts for christmas!

And, my last note of the day - we got an Xbox 360. We got Bioshock, Fable II, and Lego Batman.

I knew Bioshock was going to be a kind of freaky game to begin with.... however, I didn't expect it to freak me out before the action even started. Rod had to convince me to keep moving the character around, after the opening part of the game, simply because it was just that freaky. I guess the game designers know to do their job!

Fable II is amazing! ... Is it childish that I was excited to figure out how to make my character have sex with her husband? ... Probably. I quite like the way the whole system works, and was rather amused to see the bright blue, glowing scars across the characters face after I had gotten her knocked out three or four times. One thing I don't really like is that you can follow a character into their home and they'll kick you out when your welcome is ended, but random npc's will follow you into your home and you can't (apparently) get them to leave without leading them out of the house yourself. Can be a little fustrating when you're surrounded by NPC's who've fallen in love with you, and all you want to do is try and buy some flowers for your spouse.)

Lego Batman is fun, and I quite like that you can play back and forth as heros and villans. I unlocked Batgirl and Nightwing and it gave me the achievment Justice League. I liked that. :D

Anyways, will try to post more often.

Have some new things planned to put up on my shop, so check back for that soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh Craigslist, you so fine!

So, I've been trying to figure out the best way to go about finding or making a loom to do tablet weaving on...
My Mum offered to make one for me, but that would have taken months (since everything she seems to offer to do, takes months).
I could have asked The Boyfriends father to make one, but I felt it would have been a mockery of his wood working skills making something so simple when he can make such wonderful stuff. (Most of the wooden furniture in their house is made by him, and he makes really beautiful things.)
Or, I could have gone online and bought one.
Then I randomly searched "loom" on Craigslist. Hey-ho whaddaya know, someone had a listing with an inkle loom. Now, the guy was also selling off a more common weaving loom, and a few other things, all in one lot for $400...I didn't have $400 to spare, and I didn't want the regular loom he had. So I sent him a message and asked if I could just take the inkle loom. And, lucky me! He said yes! And threw in a book about inkle weaving with it as well.

And this is it! Still warped with the inkle weaving last done it. Looks like it's been like that for a looooong time. I'm working on removing the warp thats on there, so that I can warp it for doing some card weaving instead!

I made my cards on the cheap - I bought a pack of playing cards for the dollar store, and a hole punch, and trimed them down, and punch holes in the corners. Heh. Small, but oh so affordable.

Why am I going to do card weaving instead of inkle weaving? Weeeeelll, SCA says it all.
One of my friends who does SCA stuff, does card weaving for it, and has made some really pretty bands. So, I've been slowly gathering all the materials I need to start. The loom is the last thing I need for now, so I hopefully will be able to start weaving something this evening!

My one problem is....This --->

These threads have been tied here for so long, that they've practically melted together with age.

I'll try using am kitchen knife next and see if I have any sucess with that. Hopefully it works. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Knitting, Spinning and Yarnaholism

I am learning to knit. What you see to the right is the first 3...4? Rows of stitching that I've done this afternoon.
Up until this last row that I did, I didn't really like it much...and I can't say I'm knittings biggest fan just now, but it's certainly turning out better than I expected.
I still like crochet much, much more.
I don't think I'll take up knitting for much more than the occasional scarf or basic rectangular shawl.

On a yarnier note, I've got yarn addiction.
I sat down today to take pictures of all the pretty yarn I've been getting recently, to add to ravelry, and realised just how much yarn I have stashed away, that I need to use. Apparently I'm a fan of Vanna's Choice, and pretty much anything thats sparkly and shiney. Oh, and Alpaca. And anything with Alpaca blended into it as well.

I have quite a few non-wool items as well, since my Mother is alergic to Wool. So, I've grown sensetive to the idea that there are people out there who can't handle all the fibres that are out there. So cotton, acrylic, polyester, alpaca, bamboo, linen, etc, are all the alternatve fibres that are finding their way into my stash. I really like the bamboo yarns - so soft! You would never believe that such a hard wood could make such a soft fibre!

Oh, and I have some fibre pictures :D This is beautiful fibre I picked up from Knitopia around the beginning of the month. Lynn, the owner, sells her hand dyed fibre and yarns, as well as all sorts of other beautiful stuff, and this is some of her hand dyed. It's very difficult to photograph, since it has shimmery shiney bits in it. But I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, and I had to have some. I haven't dared tried spinning it yet, as I want to master the techniques I've learned first before I try anything with this stuff. It's SO Soft!

And this! I finally took a picture of this! I finished my first handspun several weeks ago! I'm not quite sure what to make of my plying, but I rather like it I think. There isn't much, since it was the fibre that came in the learn to spin kit I bought at Fibres West, but it was certainly nice enough fibre to work with.
What do you think?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Strawberries for Spring

I know this has absolutly nothing to with crafts, but I must share because it's so exciting!

Apparently I was working across the street from a gem of a Farmers Market, and I didn't know it!

I've walked past the Langley Farm Market a bazillion times in the two years I've been working at Chapters, but only today did I stop to actually really take in what they had.
It was the $1.99 sign above the strawberries outside that really got me. Big. Juicy. Succulent. Mouth Watering. Strawberries. That are early!

I called my mother, "Is $1.99 for a pound of strawberries good?" "What?! YES! Buy!"

And then I went inside, and found fresh mangoes, also ridiculously cheap, and got some of them, as well as some dried pineapple. I only spent $5.89, but for that small amount, I got so much! I'll stop by there and get another container before I go to work tomorrow, to share in the staff room.

I had a mangoe and a few strawberries when I got home - and let me say - I haven't had strawberries that good from the states for sooooo long! Normally we wait until the local fruit is ready before we bother buying any, but I guess I really lucked out today! (Oh, and the mango was very good as well!)

On a more crafty note, I've been gathering what I need to start tablet weaving. Three colours of crochet cotten from Micheals, some playing cards from the dollar store, a hole punch....
Now I just have to see if I can get Rods Dad to make me a loom of one type or another, as he is quite the crafty type when it comes to putting wood pieces together. Half the wooden pieces of furniture in their house were made by him.

Still working on figuring out knitting...I tried it out the other night, but when I started the first row, after casting on, I kept dropping stitches, which would force me to start over. I get the basic idea, I just need to keep really good focus on it I guess. I still like crochet better. I drop a stitch, you don't have to frog everything and start over.

Oh, and when I was in Knitopia the other day, I bought a new spindle. Thank you Viking Santa for making beautiful spindles that don't cost $100! I bought a lightweight one that is ideal for lace weight spinning, although I'm not nearly advanced enough to try getting that thin...I've gotten a decent amount spun up on this one, and I like it alot more than the spindle that came in the kit. The photo (Which I have neglected to rotate...) shows the beginnings of the spinning, but I've gotten alot more done since then. I like how theres a groove carved into the shaft. Makes it alot easier to keep the yarn in place.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tablet Weaving

A few of my friends are members of the SCA, and one of them, Ashley, learned how to do tablet weaving from it. Since I wanted to learn myself, and I rarely see her long enough for her to give me a lesson, I decided to try and find some good tutorials on the internet.

Tablet, or card, weaving, is a very...ah...complicated form of weaving, and before I ever attended an SCA event, I didn't even know it existed. I got to watch Ashley doing some of her tablet weaving when we went to a heavy fighting practice one time, several months ago, and it fascinated me.
As far as I have been able to tell, the idea is that the cards that are attached to the strings, get rotated each time the string gets woven through. Either all get rotated forward, all go back, or some go back and some go forward...
As I said, it's complicated.
Which may be why I haven't seriously tried finding a good tutorial beforehand. I like the ease and simplicity of crochet compared to how complicated tablet weaving seems.
However, spinning isn't simple either, and I find that very meditative. So, perhaps I'll be able to successfully manage tablet weaving as well.

Anyways, here are a few of the tutorials and resources I found that could be useful to others:
I'm possibly going to order a copy of Card Weaving as well, since I don't always like to sit in front of the computer to follow instructions - and it might be a bit difficult if I'm try to weave and sit in front of a computer at the same time.

Hopefully it all will work out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First Listing!

I I've finally listed a product for sale on my Artfire shop! (Instead of Etsy....we'll see if I decide to list anything there or not in the near future)
They have a Rapid Cart thing for off-site listings, however, it looks wonky when I try to add it to my post here, so I will try sticking it in the side, in place of the ad for Artfire perhaps. Anyways, if you would like to check out the shop, then just click here. :D

Edit: The Rapid Cart does work quite well in the side, so you can check out the listing to the right if you would rather not dive into the depths of ArtFire. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Good Read

And a good cup of tea. That, along with watching a movie with a crochet project, is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.
Since I work in a bookstore, it's definitely a very easy thing to do, since there are always books that I want to read.

I finished reading The Book of Negroes (by Lawrence Hill, published in the USA as Somebody Knows My Name) a few weeks ago, and it was one of the best books I've read in years. Mr. Hill does an amazing job of describing Aminata's life, and even though it is a fictional story, I could feel myself walking in her shoes. I am not usually drawn to such powerful stories, usually preferring to read Terry Pratchett, or Christopher Moore; but the tale is so well woven that I couldn't put it down! I got so attached to characters that I easily found myself laughing along (or at) them, and crying along with them as well.
Highly recommend it!

And....For something completely different, the next book I'm finding myself in is Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Seth Grahame-Smith has taken the classic novel, and turned it into a Zombie thriller. I'm so entertained by how serious the whole thing seems. It's even got a Readers Discussion Guide in the back, including my favorite question: "9. Is Lady Catherine's objection to Elizabeth (as a bride for her nephew) merely a matter of Elizabeth's inferior wealth and rank? Or could there be another explanation? Could she be intimidated by Elizabeth's fighting skills? Is she herself secretly in love with Darcy? Or is she bitter about the shortcomings of her own daughter?"
Grahame-Smith has expertly woven into Jane Austen's world to add a society where zombies have been the norm for some five-and-fifty years, and young ladies are equally capable (if not more so capable) of mastering the combat arts to defend themselves and those around them from the undead.
Read if you're capable of taking classic literature lightly. Don't if you love your precious Pride & Prejudice so much the mere thought of anyone medling with the original makes your eyes bleed.

I sat up and re-watched the 1995 Pride & Prejudice production from BBC (so very worth owning!), before reading P&P&Z, and it seems to be making each moment of the book that much more entertaining. (I would have read the original all honesty, I found the original to be a very slow read, and reading it once was quite enough for me. I still appreciate it for what it is.)

And on a topic completly not related to books at all,...I was in the dollar store today and picked up some cute rub-on sticker things from a brand I had not heard of before - Cosmo Cricket. It had a site on the back, and since I liked what I saw, checked it out when I got home. Wow! So cute! This is a company that I'm seeking out and finding more of! This is the only line of scrapbooking materials that I have found where every single thing they make, is something I love! What the stuff was doing in the dollar store....well, I just hope it's a sign of their other products being well priced as well! *crosses fingers*

I know previous posts in this blog have been about yarn and crochet, but I assure you, I like a bazzilion other crafts as well, so you'll see a sprinkling of them come along as well. :)