Monday, October 26, 2009

The One In Which I Am Super-Duper Proud of Myself

So...I may have mentioned once or twice before that my apartment is a dirt and dust magnet. I mean that literally. My apartment sucks this stuff in the windows like it's feeding off the grime of the city. I can't figure it out because no one else around here seems to have this problem, but I am not kidding when I say that each time we sweep the apartment, we end up with a pile of dark gray dirt large enough to masquerade as an ant hill. I am not a filthy person, so needless to say, this grosses me out. Big time. Wearing socks or slippers is a must in my apartment unless you want the bottoms of your feet to turn black. I was working out in my living room a couple weeks ago (Wii Fit is more fun than an actual workout, what can I say?) and my running-shoe-clad feet actually slid across the floor! We store the Wii Balance Board in a zip-up pillowcase just to keep it clean, and that white pillowcase is looking rather gray these days.

Dust and dirt settles on everything in the apartment. I am constantly wiping down the mantle and the windowsills, the bookshelves and the desks. I have to dust-bust the couch and armchair every time I sweep. This leads me to the topic of this post: if that much dust and dirt covers everything in the apartment, what is it doing to my poor keyboard?!?

I have had to pop all the keys out of the keyboard and give each one a thorough scrubbing several times since we moved down here. The last time I did this, I had had enough. I pulled an old tea towel out of a drawer and tried to use that as a cover. Not only did it look terrible, but it didn't really work. The grime would get onto the keyboard anyway. I spent an hour and a half yesterday prying all my keys out again and giving them another thorough scrubbing. I was thisclose to telling The Brain that I absolutely wouldn't stand for thtis any more and insisting that we move to the Arctic Circle when I decided to Do Something About It.

So I hauled out my trusty(?) sewing machine and made a keyboard cover. I just took the keyboard measurements and winged it, and I think it turned out pretty well. I even lined it with contrasting fabric and used fusible interfacing for extra structure and reduced porousness. It may not be the world's finest sewing job, but it does the trick and it makes my work space look more streamlined and professional.

The best part about the whole project is that I was able to use fat quarters that were sent to me a few months back by my fabulous bloggy friend, Jacey. Thanks, Jacey! The fabric was put to good use and it matched my color scheme perfectly. :) You should check out Jacey's blog for some knitting awesomeness and extra-yummy Food Fridays. She's also having a blog contest in honor of her 2nd Blogiversary, so go visit!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oh Yeah...the Blog!

Here is what my past couple of weeks have been like:

I really need to blog today. I really need to blog today. I really need to blog today. Oh, crap! It's nearly midnight! I'll blog tomorrow.

Next day: I'll blog as soon as I finish this. And then this. Oh, and this other thing. Oh, crap! It's after midnight! I'll blog tomorrow.

Three days later: I really feel like I'm forgetting something. I know there was something I was planning to do...oh yeah! I needed to eat lunch. That must have been it.

I kind of crapped out on my personal goal of blogging at least once a week, didn't I? Oh well. At least I threw a podcast up there to keep you entertained. Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments. I really like listening to podcasts while I knit but I know there are some people who really aren't interested. That's OK. We're just doing this for fun and will not be hurt or offended in the least if you don't feel like playing along.

And I do promise to post to this blog...when I can remember. :-P

So, what has been happening over here? I'll give you the quick run-down:

My final lace project for MacKintosh Yarns was completed and sent off. Ice Queen by Rosemary Hill, free pattern in Knitty. Knitted with MacKintosh Yarns Brigit Lace, a silk/cashmere/alpaca blend. Final thoughts: Like knitting with cream. Plus: beads are fun.

I managed to get the first of three pairs of legwarmers off to my sister in Minnesota, just in time for the first snowfall of the season. I had some leftover yarn (Berroco Vintage...a decent yarn. Inexpensive and machine-washable, yet also kinda waxy-feeling.) so I whipped up a Ripley hat to go with them. That pattern is super fun, and the knitted-in slouchiness helps you look effortlessly cool.

The second pair of legwarmers, Mosey by Susan Power, also in Knitty. Also in Berroco Vintage. Also, my first time making pom poms. I actually ran out to Jo-Ann and got a pom pom maker set. It promised "Perfect pom poms every time! No trimming needed!" Once I relaxed my opinion of "perfect", the pom poms turned out OK.

I also whipped up a Spiral Cowl by Keri McKiernan out of the fabulous yarn I got from Leann at Enchanted Hues. I love hand-dyed yarns, and I love them even more when they don't pool! This yarn had the perfect amount of little bits of color that peeked out from a swirl of dark blues and greens. I love it! I just need to find the perfect button to finish it off. I'm thinking black glass, maybe?

Next up: more legwarmers for my sister. She's going to have the warmest legs in Minnesota this winter!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Giving it a Whirl

If any of you read my brother's blog, you already know the news because he beat me to the punch (by 16 hours), but here it is for the rest of you: We decided to put up a podcast!

You can listen to it here at Libsyn, and read show notes here at Blogger.

Does the world need another knitting podcast? Probably not.
Do we care? Nope. Not in the slightest. :)

It's our first episode so obviously we're a little rough. We'll continue to improve. I promise. Feel free to leave constructive criticism for us because we can take it. No need to comment on the fact that we both sound waaaay more Minnesotan than we think we do in real life. Or the fact that I sound like a complete ditz. I'm an intellectual giant! ( disguise, apparently)

It's just an idea we've been tossing around for far too long, so we decided to go for it. We're having fun and we hope you do, too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stick A Fork In It

Ugh. It's been one of those weeks, ya know? It's Thursday already and I'm just now getting a chance to let you know what happened after my lace emergency of last week. First of all, I want to thank everyone for your helpful and kind comments! I know it's something we've all been through before, and every time it happens I think, "Well that was stupid! I'm never going to make that mistake again!" Famous last words, of course.

I decided to play it safe and figure out how much yarn each border repeat was going to take. Using a very scientific method of sticking a safety pin through the yarn at 3-foot repeats, I calculated that each row of the border took about a foot of yarn. A foot! That would mean that to do the border as written, I would need about half the yardage from the entire skein. Umm...definitely not enough for that.

So I ripped. I ripped out about 24 hours' worth of knitting. I ripped out the outer border. I ripped out the inner border. I ripped out my grafted seam (and a beautiful seam it was, too). I ripped out 3 pattern repeats from each side of the shawl. When I was done, I was left with this: two shawl halves and a bunch of little balls of yarn in various lengths.

Then I started the process over again. I grafted the two sides together. I picked up stitches and knitted the inner border. At this point, I was contacted by Liz, the dyer extraordinaire at MacKintosh Yarns, who told me not to panic and that even though there was no more yarn in this color to be had, I was welcome to stick a crochet edging on the thing and call it done. Now, maybe it's just that I didn't want to admit that a shawl had defeated me. Maybe it's my Midwestern work ethic. Maybe it's simply the fact that my crochet skills can be called "sketchy" at best, but I wasn't about to just throw any old thing on the shawl.

So I did what any self-respecting knitter does and picked a simple (read: low-stitch-count) border out of Victorian Lace Today and used that instead. Good thing too because by the time I had finished knitting up the border on Tuesday night, there was barely more than a tiny coil of yarn left. Whew!

Problem solved. Major crisis averted. The shawl is blocking and all is well.

Oh! And I just have to say a word about this yarn: MacKintosh Yarns Spinneret Lace. It is a 55/45 blend of silk and superwash marino. I just have to say that after repeated knittings and rippings, it held up just fine. No pills, no fuzz, it still looks great. It's nice and smooth and has good drape, and it's not thick like some 100% wool laces can be. I think I may have found my new favorite lace yarn. Just sayin'.