I hope everyone has a happy, joyful, peace-filled, safe holiday season. Sackie hopes the same for you too.
My year has been filled with ups and downs (and it looks like it will end that way too!). This will be my last post of the year that isn't olive-related, so I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has stopped by my blog. I'll see you next year! :)
And just so you know that he isn't always a photogenic charmer, here's a picture of Sackie while prepping for his photoshoot. He's not liking his snowball outfit.
Holding hands, feeding ducks When I met you, that's what I wanted to do
I liked the scarf when I saw it, but I like the sentiment behind the name just as much.
In an effort to procrastinate on other things, I brought out the purpley-blue yarn I dyed earlier this year and got started on the scarf. A cast on of 33 sts gave me around a 5-inch wide scarf and it took me about 6 days of leisurely, nights-only knitting to get ~65-inches. I used the recommended US sz 10.5 needles with worsted weight yarn.
The star stitch the scarf is based on grows rather quickly and the pattern is a simple 4 row repeat that is easily memorized. Don't let the directions for star stitch intimidate. Once you have the needles and yarn in your hands, it's really very simple and produces a really beautiful pattern.
I took Monday off from work and decided to go to the beach. The quality of the light during autumn is amazing, especially at the coast. It was cold enough to wear a hoodie, knit hat and scarf, but still warm enough that when my feet got wet, it wasn't uncomfortable. You *have* to get your feet wet at my favorite beach in order to access the majority of it.
Been playing Little Big Planet on the weekends. The game really is wonderful.
After several years of being good, I've started regularly drinking coffee again. Sticking with one small cup a day, and so far I've been trying to limit it to three times a week. If it starts affecting my skin/complexion, I'm going to have to cut it out again.
I've been having some fun knitting hats for my Sackboy. Since he's small, his hats are tiny and that means quick, instantly gratifying knits.
I've already posted the snow hat with pom pom, but the striped beanie and the earflap ones I knit this past week. The black and grey striped beanie I made so that it resembles a unisex beanie I bought several years ago (before I learned to knit). The orange earflap one just *needed* to be done. Sackie's cuteness just demands an earflap hat! I added in the bit of colorwork to break up all that orangeness.
All the hats were pretty much improvised. I looked at some patterns to get the technique for the earflap one (I've never done earflaps or had to pick up stiches before), but otherwise it was just estimating cast-on and how many rows to knit to get the right scale for Sackie.
I'll be putting the needles down for a while (except for olives!). As long as there aren't any more surprise delays, Little Big Planet should be arriving this week and I intend to get playing next weekend. After that, Mirror's Edge is soon approaching. No, I won't be knitting Faith!
I made a new friend. Literally. And apparently he likes lemons too.
If you haven't heard of Sackboy, star of the highly-anticipated, soon-to-be-released Playstation 3 video game Little Big Planet, go view this game trailer. Now, now, now! Don't blame me if you die from cute overload. Go on, I'll wait.
See what I mean?
When I first saw Sackboy, in all his knitterly glory, I knew I *needed* to make him. He really didn't take that long. Only a couple of weekends and he didn't monopolize my time. I added the detail stitching on weeknights, after work. He's not perfect, but I'm happy with him. I may make him a friend once I've gotten a chance to play the game and can scrutinize the Sackpeople.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to share the pattern for him. This isn't about me not wanting to help other people out or share the love. It's about me wanting to do the right thing. You can skip to the end of this blog post now if you aren't into soapboxes.
I think that most people found my blog because of my free patterns, and I hope you know how I feel about free patterns: I love them! I love sharing my original designs because I think it's important to give back to the knitting community. Free patterns are a great way for all of us to stretch our skills and learn new techniques, try something different without worrying "do I really want to spend x dollars and end up with a pattern beyond my level?" However, I won't share the pattern for my version of Sackboy for the simple reason that he is a trademarked character. I'm sure Media Molecule (the game developer) has marketing deals to sell Sackboy merchandise. If they don't, they should. I would buy the stuff.
You see, even if I offered my pattern for free, I would end up cutting into MM's possible profits. Sure, one or two people knitting a Sackboy wouldn't be a big deal, but if you multiply that by a few dozen and then factor in that some people would try to sell them, well, you can see where things get messy. And I would have the legal responsibility for having offered the pattern in the first place.
Big (and little) companies have access to better/more expensive lawyers than I do. I like my hard-earned money. More than I like lemons. I like my money in my accounts. It's happy there. My money will not be happy in some expensive lawyer's account.
I believe that the game developers should make money from a character that they have spent years creating and refining and breathing life into. I mean fercryinoutloud look at how cute and full of personality they've managed to make a bunch of pixels! Hopefully some of the profit will allow them to create future games and characters that are just as wonderful as Little Big Planet and Sackboy. I don't want to be responsible for taking anything away from their hard work. Ok, hopping off the soapbox.
Making accessories for this little guy is going to be a lot of fun. He definitely will be needing a hat with earflaps. Even though LBP's release day has been pushed back, I plan on hermitting myself away the weekend after it starts selling and spending some quality time getting to know Sackboy. Maybe if I leave some needles and yarn out, Sackie will knit his own friends.
I haven't had the chance to knit anything more than olives in quite a while, but this past weekend was a nice time to get back into it. A little bit of rain put me in the mood. I've started to work on a new pattern.
The above picture shows some of what I worked on over the weekend. I'm not going to say what it is yet, but I think (hope?) that it will turn out nice enough to show off the finished project once it's complete. My goal is to finish before the end of this month.
Unfortunately I won't be able to share the actual pattern for this project (I'll explain why once I'm done), but as always seems to be the case when doing pattern design, I am enjoying the challenge of trying to figure out shaping and how to pull everything together.
I haven't been able to knit for the past several weeks. I barely have been able to knit my olives. Perhaps that's ok, since it means I can put off finding a new/bigger jar if I'm only managing one olive per week. But even the one olive is accomplishing the goal of the Olive Plan. I really am fortunate.
There are tiny sprouts of an Olive Plan 2009 in my mind. I need to sort out whether it's do-able and the general logistics, and if I have the discipline to keep up with it. I will say that it wouldn't really be knitting related and I would create a separate blog for it. I'll have to see what develops.
I did treat myself to a new point-and-shoot camera (Nikon Coolpix S600). It's around the same size as a business card, so no excuses for not taking it with me everywhere. The DSLR I was interested in is no longer in production and I haven't had the time to research new or upcoming models, so I figured this would hold me over until I can read up on DSLRs again.
The weather has been teasing with some cooler days here and there, but mixing in those warm days typical of September and October around these parts. I'm looking forward to being able to wear hats, scarves, coats and gloves.
During the work week I try to eat at least one apple a day. I don't know if the "apple a day" thing is responsible, but I haven't had a really bad cold in at least the past 5 years (knock on wood).
Carrying the apple to work in my tote means it gets treated fairly carelessly, so the Silly Apple Cozy by Casey Newman was a nice solution to bruised fruit.
For my apple sweater I used bulky weight yarn and US sz. 7 needles. The pattern calls for 8s, but I don't have any. The density of the knit fabric is nice and thick, great for keeping the apple safe from bruises. I used a button instead of a knit bobble for the closure. For the leaf, I knit a larger version of the leaf from my "Cherries are the Bomb" pattern.
At first the sweater was a little tight on the giant apples I buy, but after a couple of days of use it loosened up a bit and fits nicely. Really cute pattern, and functional too!
Decisions, decisions! I'm trying to figure out which of these scarves I should send for this year's Red Scarf Project.
For the past couple of years I've participated in the Red Scarf Project, which is run by the Orphan Foundation of America. The OFA is a wonderful organization that provides scholarships and support services to young men and women who have aged out of the foster care system and are making their way through college/university and trade school. Part of the way the OFA shows their support is by sending care packages to these students, and during the winter months, the OFA likes to include hand knit scarves made and donated by people like you and me.
If you'd like to participate in this year's RSP, click on the above link to find out more about it. There are some guidelines that they would like to be followed, and they will only accept scarf donations this year from September 1 through October 31, 2008.
There is still plenty of time to knit up a scarf and send it in. And no, it doesn't have to be red!
A question from Heidi about learning to knit made me think about how I first learned. I think I had seen some knitted project in a crafty LiveJournal community and decided I wanted to learn... right away. I found an online, written tutorial (no pictures or videos) that explained things in a way that made sense to me and took a pair of no. 2 pencils and some pearl cotton that were sitting on my desk and went at it. The pictures here show the result: my first attempt at knitting.
A big, big thank you to Harper for recommending Juice Beauty products. I have been using their SPF 30 Mineral Sheer Moisturizer for the past month and I am very impressed with it. I wear it under my powder foundation all day and my skin stays so soft and smooth. I've also noticed that my skin tone has evened out a bit too. I've been using their Green Apple SPF 20 Antioxidant Body Moisturizer and that works wonderfully too.
If you use multiple chat clients (Y!IM, AIM, etc.) and want to consolidate, I recommend Digsby. Digsby also handles email and social networking notifications. It's only available for Windows right now, but they are working on Linux and Mac versions. I have been using it for a couple of weeks and I like it so much more than Trillian. Please note that Digsby is still in beta, so if you aren't willing to put up with issues (such as RAM hogging) that go along with using a beta product, skip it.
Busy, busy. Need more sleep. I'm getting bags under my eyes.
I gave up drinking daily coffee (french roast, black) about 6 years ago. Now it's a special treat, something I have maybe a few times a year. Donuts? I don't think I can ever truly give them up. My favorite is still a frosted and sprinkled cake donut. For some reason the more outrageously colored the frosting and sprinkle combination, the tastier the donut seems to be.
This knit coffee cup and the knit donuts offer the smile-inducing power of caffeine and fried dough, but without the guilt. Now if I added in some knit cigarettes to go with my coffee and donuts, I'd have the ultimate unhealthy (yet healthy, because it's fake) breakfast going on here.
I followed the pattern, substituting worsted weight yarn and US sz 5s for the cup and coffee and US sz 7s for the cup sleeve. I used the 7s so that the sleeve would knit up less dense than if I used 5s. The cup measures about 5 inches high and is about 3.5 inches in diameter at the top.
While looking for something to stabilize the bottom of the cup as Melinda recommends, I found that a lidded yogurt container fit well towards the top of the cup, but not at the bottom. The yogurt container discovery led to the idea to have the cup be a place to stash spare change or small objects.
I ended up using a simple round of cardboard at the bottom of the cup, then put a plastic bag of rice in to weight the bottom. The yogurt container, wrapped in a white plastic bag so the labeling wouldn't show through, went on top of the rice and I sewed the coffee swatch onto the yogurt container lid.
My cup looks a little portly due to my yarn/needle substitutions. If I get the chance to knit this again, I'll probably do one less set of increase rounds for the base of the cup and work from there. Very well written pattern and it goes perfect with the knit donuts.
I saw this doughnut pattern by Dorien on one of my Ravelry friend's (nillakitty) project lists and knew I'd have to give it a try.
Once again, I subbed worsted weight yarn and US sz 5s. Perfect! The donuts turned out life-sized (3.5 inches in diameter). Something to note: if you follow the pattern instructions past round 19, the stitch counts in parenthesis don't appear to be accurate. The donut still looks good when you're finished, but just something to be aware of. Knitting exactly from the pattern gives about a 2/3 frosting to 1/3 donut ratio.
I did work the pattern a little differently so that the frosting to donut ratio was a little more even, and so the donut would be a bit flatter than the original. I knit 3 rounds (instead of 5) just after the cast-on and I added in the "k1, m1" set of rows after round 19, ending with the "k4, m1" plus 2 knit rounds (instead of 3), before casting off. I sewed the "sprinkles" on after stuffing, since I found it made the bead placement easier.
The powdered donut is done the same way as the frosted one. I used some soft and fuzzy yarn that was in my stash that lost its label. The "loftiness" of the yarn caused the powdered donut to be slightly bigger. Even though it's the simplest of all the donuts made, I think it's my favorite.
For the jelly donut I worked the pattern the same way as for the sprinkled donuts, except I kept working the decrease sets until I had 5 stitches left (knit two of these rounds and then sew them together). I also used a paler colored yarn to cast on and knit the first row to give that pale seam that you often see on the real thing. To make the jelly, I just messily embroidered on some red yarn.
Knitting the donuts was really enjoyable and there's no junk food remorse, like I would have after eating the real thing.
I succumbed to temptation and decided to get a iPhone 3G.
I've never been one for cell phones. I have one for emergencies, but I really don't use it very much. I'm just not a phone chatter. And I never got into the whole texting thing. I do, however, love my computers and web access. How did I ever navigate and find my way before online maps?
The iPhone is perfect for my commute, giving me something to do when the train car is too crowded and I can't concentrate on a book. Music, websurfing, games to occupy me. And the GPS will come in handy for my directionally challenged self.
The learning curve is minimal. Watching the online, guided tour was good enough for me to figure out almost everything. The only minor confusion I had was in setting up voicemail. I needed to reset my voicemail password at the AT&T website to unlock the voicemail box, and that cleared things up.
I was on the fence about whether or not to get one. I'm so happy I did!
This really does calm and relax me. Just get a bag of assorted sequins and go about sorting them. The simple task helps me clear my mind and the colors, shininess and shapes of the sequins give me that "ooooo, preeetty" feeling.
I start a new job soon. New beginnings are always a hopeful time. A little bit scary, but mostly exciting.
Trying to finish up a couple of fun knitting projects before the new gig starts. Next, it's on to getting more Kitschmas Trees done, and then a couple of scarves and hats. It's a little difficult to think about cool-weather knitting when it's been so hot out.
Small as it is, this was actually a challenging thing to knit. I used my US sz 2 dpns for the first time (well, to actually knit something and not to just pick at eyelash yarn from between stitches). I could feel those things flexing as I struggled to knit the tiny stitches. I did use a worsted weight yarn, so that kept the stitches super tight too. The fish measure 1.25 inches from nose to tail, and .75 inches wide at its tail.
I didn't stuff the fish as recommended and left off the smile and eye. In reality I just couldn't get them to look right, but I'll just tell everyone that goldfish crackers didn't have those fancy facial features when I was a kid.