Roving Reporter

Just a quick one, Ryan and I are in North Carolina for a few days for Spring Break. THe weather is only about 10 or 15 degrees warmer here than Michigan, but it's enough. Plus, we've seen the sun every day so far.

Here are some pictures I uploaded before we left and never had time to write about and post. First is the finished Olive calendar contest piece. I'll take pics and send them out when we return to michigan in a couple days.

This is my Olympic knitting as of Thursday I think. Unfortunately I only managed to get to about 14 inches before the closing ceremonies. I am a little bummed, but, I got pretty close, and now it's pretty close to done and I still have more than two months before her Birthday.

Here is a picture of the stuff I got at the Fiber Festival two weekends ago. Not sure now what any of it is, but it's all handspun and pretty and soft. No plans for any of it. The roving is silk. I don't know how to spin yet, but some day I will, and I will spin silk.

Yesterday we drove to Pisgah National Forest and walked around and looked at the waterfalls and rocks. I have pictures on my camera, I'll save those for another post. Today we are on our own because Shannon has school until 4:00. We aren't sure what we're doing today, maybe walking around downtown. There's also a motorcycle museum about 30 minutes away that he wants to go to.

I am using my sister's laptop right now. It's a PC, at home I have a Mac. She has all kinds of options for fonts and colors and stuff... why don't I have any of that?!

ahhhh... so nice to only sit in front of a computer for 20 minutes instead of 8 hours. It's going to be a great week!


Full of Smartness

First, here is a better picture of the X's quilt, hanging under the gallery lights at school.

Apparently, a deadline is a great motivator for me. Unfortunately, it gets me motivated to work on OTHER things. So, right now there are 8 days, 22 hours and 13 minutes left of the knitting olympics. I have 5 inches of the skirt done... on my way to 17. One would think that I would be using any extra time to knit... the skirt. Yeah.

This is what I did Wednesday after work, along with load another 10 or 15 albums onto my iPod. The pink will be on there too, but less of it. it will be sortof like a sunburst coming from a point at the lower left, not in the corner. I don't know how else to describe it, so stay tuned.

And here is the skirt, shown here with it's competition, the almost finished second sock, two skeins of noro that somehow showed up at my door while the "no yarn in february" law was in effect (shut up... two words for you: Close-out sale). And two balls of yarn that may or may not be the next pair of socks.

Wondering what any of that has to do with today's title? This news deserves a fanfare, a drum roll, cheerleaders, man-servants feeding me chocolate, a bottomless glass of wine, and a basket of puppies just for me.... Are you ready? Are you just on the edge of your seat? bwa ha ha ha......

I got a B on my physics test.

Hell yeah!


scarf story

Boss guy: I like your scarf, did you make it?
Me: yep
Boss guy: I figured, I don't know where anyone would buy one like that
Me: What? a skinny useless scarf?
Boss guy: Haha, yep
Me: This was the first thing I ever knitted
Boss guy: Oh yeah, How old were you?
Me: .... 25

All in one piece

It took most of the day Saturday, but all my X's are now attached to the background.

I started to lay it out over the weekend and I didn't like it. First, I eliminated all of the turquoise, blue and bright red X's. That helped a lot. Then I decided to complicate it further, because that is the way I am. I am always the one in class cutting out tiny pieces or using a squeeze bottle to dye 1/2-inch yellow circles and then going back to put a purple dot in the center of each circle.

All of the X's were cut with mitered points. Since my grid background is not 100% perfect, the mitered points of course didn't line up right, so I had a brilliant idea to cut all of the points off. Although this made the process of fusing the X's a little more difficult and time consuming, I think it turned out great! The tiny squares of negative space that are created where the X points meet are much more interesting than a mitered corner. See for yourself...

In order to get everything lined up, I used my little tacking iron to fuse just the center of an X to the background, then once I had four points that met each other, I trimmed each X and fused them down.

Sunday I did some more test dying for Chris and she is looking everything over this week and is going to let me know what she wants and how much. Which means I have to figure out how much to charge... I hate that part.

The olympic knitting is coming along well... I have about 3.5 inches of the skirt done and the i-cord drawstring started and it's about 6 inches long. The timing is actually working out pretty well. I was telling my mom over the weekend that I must be crazy for picking such a big project to knit when I have so many other things going on. I'm feeling the need to write out my school/work/homework/dying for Chris schedule and hand it to people when they think I'm over-reacting or exaggerating about how busy I am. But, I just had a physics test on Monday, which means no homework until Wednesday and I am just finishing up the time consuming part of the X's quilt, so I actually do have a little free time to knit. And as long as I knit about an inch or two per day, I'll have it done with time to spare.

Next project for school is going to be a Whole-cloth quilt... deconstructed. The plan, which really is not a plan, just an idea in my head is to use Remazol dyes along with reactive dyes just like that black yellow and purple quilt I linked to above. I am going to use a big, maybe 40" or so piece of fabric, and paint it with the dyes in some sort of traditional quilting pattern like a whole cloth quilt. The combination of the two dye chemicals work against each other and have sortof a bleach and over dye action. As in the black yellow and purple fabric I did before, I painted the whole piece with black Remazol, then after it dried, I went back with a squeeze bottle of yellow reactive dye and drew the circles all over, then went back with a squeeze bottle of purple reactive dye and put a dot in the center of each cirlce. The result is black with yellow and purple targets all over. So that will be the Whole Cloth part, then the plan is to cut it along the diagonal in strips and swip swap the order and sew it back together. That's the deconstructed part.


Trouble with the law

It is only six days into February and I'm already having a hard time with the "no new yarn in February, in Michigan, excluding the fiber festival" law. and I am thinking of adding another exception to the law. How about, "no new yarn in February, in Michigan, excluding the fiber festival and excluding things that will be knit as a gift." I found this great **** yarn on ebay that I think will be perfect for something for ****. And her birthday is after my semester ends, so I'll for sure have time to knit them when I'm done with all this physics crap. That's it... hang on... I'll be right back.

Last Thursday and Friday evenings, I ironed and fused all my fabric, all 15 half yards of the green gradations, plus about 15 quarter yards of the accent colors for the "stitches". I discovered it's amazing what you can do when you follow the instructions. I always have my iron set to cotton and with a medium amount of steam. I hardly EVER change it. So I was wunder-undering all my fabric, and my iron ran out of water. For some reason I didn't add more water and then later noticed how much better and easier it was for the WU to stick to the fabric all of a sudden. Whatayaknow... someone already knew that and wrote it RIGHT ON THE PACKAGE!!!!

Saturday morning I cut out 200 4-inch squares of all the background fabrics, and then last night my mom helped me start cutting out all the X's. I still have about 50 or 60 to do, I stayed up until 1am tracing all the X's and we got a good chunk of them done. They are all ready to be cut now, and I'll be doing that tonight as soon as I get home at 6. Then I will stay up until the whole quilt is assembled onto the batting so I can take it all in one piece to the critique tomorrow night. Since I have to be at work from 8:30 until 5 every single ^(#^%)*@#$@ weekday, tonight is the only chance I'll have to do it. Then hopefully she'll understand if maybe the whole quilt doesn't get completely quilted until the end of the semester. It's going to be about 60 inches square when finished, so that will take me a while to quilt, and hopefully being able to do a little bit at a time throughout the next month and a half, I'll be able to bring it in again to show at the final critique.

So the plan of attack as of right now is to get my physics homework done today while I'm at work, so that I can have the whole evening tonight at home to assemble the quilt.

Pictures to come... And here they are!

My swatches and paint chips. My color matching abilities impressed me. This is the first time I've tried to match something like that. Some matches were more successful than others.

The quilt all laid out on the batting and fused.

Shown here with a few X's laid out.

I overdyed this commercial fabric... Any opinions on the pink for a border?


Happy Birthday, the Money and the Math

I got a call this morning, and Ryan's new neice was born a little before 6am. Happy Birthday Madison! Now the little booties I made will finally have some feet to keep warm! I am not going with Ryan tonight to see her though, I have been sick for a week and a half with this sore throat and cough, so I don't want to chance getting the new babe sick on her first day out of the womb! Instead, I am going to my parents house to dye fabric, make a mess in my mom's kitchen and maybe get THEM sick.

So last week, I was reading Crazy Aunt Purl and she had an excel file set up for a budget. I downloaded it, and because I am a nerd sometimes (get that, a nerd that doesn't get physics or math) and thought it would be fun to track my money. I didn't really do anything with it, just saved it without adding any of my own information to the budget plan. And then Monday, when I realized the first of the month was coming and I need to get my rent figured out, I signed onto do my online banking to find my checking account had $4.53 in it. And my savings had just enough to still have money in it after I transfered enough to cover my rent check. Great. Wonderful. Superb even. That brought to my attention that I need to start being a little more careful with my money. I REALLY wish I had thought of that oh, you know, 3 years ago when I had over $3,000 in my savings account.

So I started with January, and filled in as many of the fields in the excel budget as I could. By my calculations, I spent around $500 more than I made this month. YIKES!!!! Ok, let me explain myself... I spent about $160 on (hopefully) a year's worth of contacts, about $85 on Rx's for three months, $117 on school books and my graduation fee (yes, you have to pay $90 to graduate, and that is not to pay for the diploma, I still have to buy that) and from there my explanations get a little fuzzy, not so legitimate and necessary for sustaining life as I know it. Ok, so... Mervynn's was going out of business, so I had to go. And I had to cash in on all the deals and steals, like, a new pair of tennies for $30 (they were half off!) and a couple new bras that were also 40% off. And then Ryan had a gift certificate to use at Old Navy, so I went with him and spent about $60 on a new coat, a sweater and a dressy sortof sport coat/blazer (that sounds bad, but it's very feminine and cute and I don't know when or where I'll ever wear it, but it only cost $6.97).

And that is not even counting the YARN... OH THE YARN!!!!!!!!!! Let's see, that trip I bribed myself with a couple weeks ago cost me about $45, I've been yarn stalking on Ebay a lot lately too, so in January I wracked up another $55 worth of stash items from Ebay alone. Yes, I spent almost $100 on yarn in January. I didn't include in there the $35 I spent at Elann.com to buy the yarn for the Knitting Olympics which is also my sister's birthday present. That I see as legitimate because I have a plan, it's a gift, and I resisted the temptation to keep adding items to my cart, "I'm ordering the yarn for Shannon's skirt, I might as well take a peek at their sock yarn and, ooh, this looks pretty, and oooh silk..." and so on.

So now I am officially on a budget. I will not be buying yarn in February, I will not buy shoes, I will not buy clothing. There is just one (ok, two) exceptions. February 18th is the Fiber Festival in Chelsea. There will be yarn and I have to go and I'm not promising I'll leave empty handed. In fact, I promise I will NOT leave empty handed. So that is it! No buying yarn in February, in Michigan. So that means, when Ryan and I are on vacation in North Carolina at the end of February, my yarn diet is rescinded.

Physics is still kicking my nether regions. I am really wishing I hadn't taken this class, but I have to keep movin' on it. I was pretty proud of myself last night. Usually I try to get all the way thru my homework before I call Shannon, so I can ask her all the questions at once, instead of calling her umpteen million times in the span of two hours or whatever it takes. So I got through my Lab assignment in about 2 hours, all on my own. Then moved on to my homework from the lecture portion of the class. Got that done in less than one hour and only had ONE question for Shannon! That's right, I understand Kinetic AND Potential Energy. Take that PHYSICS!!!!!!!!!! HA!!!!

This Sunday is the PuppyBowl, I know you all are as excited as I am. Mom and I will be knitting and watching the puppies chase each other around the football field (and giggling, but that's a given).