Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spinning Silk and a Pretty Cape

 I'm working on this project right now, and I love it.

 It's going to be a little capelet for me- something that just goes below the elbow, with a bit of lace on it. The yarn is so pretty, with just a hint of sparkle and a really yummy cream colour.

 Every time I get a chance to work on it a bit while I'm at work, people keep complementing it. It's so gratifying to hear that people think it's pretty, and I love when they are astounded that it's not knit, it's crochet. Already two people have said they'd love to make one. I can't wait to finish it and wear it.

 We got a new version of our Rainbow Prism and it is SO pretty! I love it even more than the old Rainbow. I'm trying to decide what to make with it. I'm thinking a really nice baby blanket- I have 4 balls of it and it would make something pretty substantial.

 I also ordered a new drop spindle. Isn't it pretty? It came with the white silk and the blue sparkly fibre. The silk is so soft!

 I love the spindle, too. It's really well balanced and pretty, and the snowflake shape makes it really easy to use- so many notches for my yarn.
I'm trying a new technique my friend Gabe taught me- or rather, she taught Ilana and I watched and now I'm figuring it out from what I remember. It's chain plying while you spin- I spin an arm's length two or three times, and then chain it together and twist the ply into it. It's so cool- I'm making three ply yarn in one go. Andrew called me a wizard. I feel like a wizard.

I'm really making progress, too. I already have more than twice in that picture spun. I'm probably 1/4 or 1/3 through the silk and I just got the spindle Friday night.
The silk, oh, it's yummy. I love spinning it. It's from Tannis Fibre Arts. It's Tussah Silk in a colourway called "Royal Flush". I got it from the Purple Purl in December. Since I'm on a yarn buying ban (and I've held fast, nothing at all since December except the two balls to finish my cardigan) I couldn't get any of the super pretty yarns there. But then I saw this and I had to have it. I'd never spun silk before and the colour is just so me. Turns out I love spinning silk. It's so smooth and flows through my fingers so easily. I just have to remember to keep a light hand and wipe my darn hand frequently, or I'll get all sweaty and mess it up.
I spent this morning watching yet another version of Jane Eyre and spinning. The Jane Eyre was alright, although having just finished the book, nothing else could live up to it.

Now I think I might go take a nap, I'm helping a friend move this afternoon and I have to drive a big scary moving truck across the city. Eep! Despite having backed giant moving trucks perfectly into tiny spaces (I got a round of applause from a random stranger for that!), parallel parked and driven through city traffic in them, I still get a bit nervous about the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One Last Shot

I know, posting again already? Well, I'd like to keep you all a bit more up to date this year.

I finally posted the pattern for my mittens on Rav. I've made so many from this pattern- not just the ones from the last post. I must have made 6 or 7 pairs of mittens from this general pattern, so it's great to have it written down.
I'm so pleased all the sizing worked, too. I made every size except the women's small this Christmas as presents, and they all fit wonderfully. Yay!

I love how they look with simple stripes. I need to make another pair in a chunkier wool as a layering mitt for days like today when it was freezing cold.
Anyway, it's here: Simple Slip Stitch Mittens.
I have a few more patterns that are very close to ready for publishing. One of them I just need to do a gauge swatch for (a cowl), one I need to finish the sample (a cape), one is part of my sockies e-book and the other is a secret project I need to slightly rework. Once it's reworked, I'd like to send it off to some magazines for consideration- how exciting!
 Here's a peek at it.

I've been immersed in period dramas the last few days. I've watched through all of North and South, rewatched Anne of Green Gables for the millionth time, watched an episode of Buccaneers and watched one of the many versions of Jane Eyre. It's been a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed North and South, and Jane Eyre surprised me. I've never experienced any of the Bronte sisters except for Wuthering Heights, which I disliked. Jane Eyre is a much different story, and I'm partway into the book now and really enjoying it. It seems I dismissed Charlotte Bronte too soon!
Now I'm getting my hands on more versions of Jane Eyre, and planning on borrowing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice from my Kate manager. I also have some Dickens and Jane Austen on my shelves to delve into.
It's fun to be a million miles away in an entirely different time- and even more fun to come back to reality in my warm, cozy modern home with my yummy fibres and all my indulgent modern amenities.

As for the title of the post, my one last shot is about my career. I haven't had any luck, with the exception of my two wee little 4 month contracts, in getting any work related to my field since I left school. My career isn't stalled- it never started in the first place. I have gone through so many rounds of sending out my work and never hearing back and I was just about ready to quit and try to find a new career. But having no particular talent in anything I could earn a living from (oh, how I wish crochet could be a career for me!) and no particular ambitions other than animation, I haven't really gotten anywhere with that train of thought.
And so I've decided to do a new piece for my demo reel, tidy the rest of it up and give it one more shot to try and start my career. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Animation is filled with tiny contracts and short stints and trouble finding work, and even if I get one job I may never get another. I need some direction, though, and I need a real career job. So I'm going to give it one more good, thorough try before I give up for something else.
Wish me luck, I'll need it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Returning to Normal

    It's been hectic for me. December felt like I was never going to get a second to sit and stop that didn't involve making a million pairs of mittens (read: 4 pairs) or being out at yet another fun but exhausting social event. So everything got pushed aside, even my poor blog.
But these mittens I made for my mom and mother in law turned out really awesome, so there's that.

 Actually, all four pairs of the mittens I made turned out great, and the ones for my father in law, that I wasn't sure about the fit on, fit just right. Yay!

     If Christmas presents weren't enough, it was Andrew's 30th birthday. I had to organize a party, which was actually relatively smooth. A lot of old friends we hadn't gotten to see in ages trekked a long way out, and we also had a lunch with his mother and brother and my parents and brother here beforehand. The whole thing went really well, other than my Dad having a really nasty cold.
     I decided that I really had to make something for Andrew, and he'd been wanting a big, generous scarf. We'd talked about basketweave because he liked something his Nan made in the stitch, so I came up with this crochet basketweave stitch. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, but it took every spare minute I had that he wasn't around for two weeks. He loves it, though. I went to pull it out to take a finished shot and realized that he wore it today. Yay!
     The stitch pattern turned out exactly how I would have hoped. I have plans to put it on a very masculine pair of socks. That brings me to another thing- this year, my pattern goal is to write an e-book or just a collection of slip stitch sock patterns.

      I finished the first design. Cabled socks! You can see some of the troubles I had- one of my failed heels on the left, and the final nicely fitting heel on the right. I pulled the whole sock out more than once, but I'm pretty happy with the pattern now.

     They're comfy and I like that the cable doesn't have any gaping and they fit nicely into shoes. Overall I'm quite pleased. The next pair is going to play with sideways construction that gives the socks greater stretch around the foot. I've also been swatching and trying to get lace to work properly in slip stitch. No luck yet, but I'll keep trying.

      This is a project that was really moving along... and then I ran out of yarn. I had to order more from the shop where I got it, and since it was online this time I had to pay shipping. I didn't buy enough in the first place because I was worried about the few extra bucks, and now it's cost me in the long run! You think I'd know better. Thankfully the dyelots are identical.
     I have the entire body done and most of both sleeves- I've even woven in pretty much all of the ends, and since it's colourwork, that's a lot of ends. I just need to get my motivation for this project back. Sigh.

      I also finished this pretty little hat- the incredibly talented Aiobhe Ni's Pheonix hat. Like most of her patterns it's deceptively simple and a bit repetitive, but totally worth it. It's great on cool but not freezing days where I don't want my hair totally smooshed and ruined. That's funny, like I have a hairstyle so intense that I'm really worried about wrecking it! Heehee!

      This week I've been doing some sewing. I pulled out my beautiful new serger and made some simple curtains for the house. The place looks so much nicer with something other than sheets tacked in the window!
     I also made a stack of cowls for my Mom. She asked for some for Christmas and I just didn't have time to make them, but promised I would still do it. The dark grey fleece and the white I already had, and I went to Walmart this week and got a fleece sheet (cheaper than buying fleece by the yard, and the nearest Walmart is about 3 times closer than the nearest fabric shop here, stupid Fabricland closings!) and went crazy.
   The cowl on top isn't the greatest, I accidentally cut the stretch the wrong way. The others turned out really well, though. I'm quite pleased. There's a nice variety of weights from single layer late spring skiing to double thick midwinter runs.

     I'm working on some fun things now. I'm planning on buying a pattern to sew a gorgeous show-stopping little red dress. I don't have one, and I want one! I'm also working on a capelet out of this totally yummy cream and sparkly yarn that I got out of our clearance section. I think it was intended as a baby yarn, and it's just a simple acrylic, but it's going to be gorgeous.
     I've also been spinning a lot. This is motivated by the growth of my spinning stash. I haven't bought any yarn since November (excluding the two balls I got to finish my cardigan, that does not count) and this month I decided it was time to finally get the new drop spindle I wanted. It comes with a bit of silk and angelina to spin... and then I looked through my etsy favorite and wound up ordering the neon rainbow merino with firestar I have been drooling over for ages. I'm excited, but I really need to get my current spinning moving because I know once the new stuff gets here it will be even easier to put it aside.

     Today I am finally starting to feel better from the cold I've had. I got a great vacation to Cuba over New Years thanks to my terrific parents, and it was really relaxing and wonderful. Then I was thrown right back into work the day after I got back, and a week later I came down with this cold. Finally I'm starting to feel better and it's time to finally face my resolutions, which were as follows:
1) Be more awesome.
2) Take more naps.

Wish me luck!