To follow up yesterday's post, I've got photos of the objects I just mentioned yesterday. Here's the hat (a kit I bought at Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2006, I think):
I LOVE it! The weird thing is that I used 1 size smaller needles than suggested (called for 4s, I used 3s), and the size notes say the hat should fit a large child/medium adult head. I'm here to tell you that this baby fits MY head, which would not be described as "medium" in any language. I came "this close" to running out of the dark main color, too, which made me very nervous as I approached the top of the hat. But those are little details--I love the hat and am quite pleased with myself for negotiating three colors in one row. Yahoo!
The next photo is a series, really, of squares I made for a yarn shop in Blacksburg; they're collecting them to make blankets for the families of the Virginia Tech shooting victims. The only requirements were that the squares be 8" and in VT colors (burnt orange, purple, black, or white). I just happened to have most of a ball of pumpkin-colored yarn left from a Wonderful Wallaby I made last year, so it was meant to be. There are 2 or 3 others, but they aren't worth showing because a) they're not "square" and b) they're not 8". No one ever said I could follow instructions. The stitches all came from my 365 Knit Stitches A Day calendar. I don't remember the dates or the names of the stitches, but I'm sure they're all common stitches.
And my last photo is of the vest I made from Maia's handspun for afghans for Afghans. It's still missing its buttons because I have to go to the store to find some. But you'll get the idea of how cute this turned out, with or without buttons:
Sorry the photo isn't better--I'll do another "photo shoot" when I've got the buttons sewn on, and all. The pattern for the vest came from Knitting for Peace, which is a lovely book, in case you haven't seen it. There's an adorable baby hat I want to make, and a sweater, and...basically everything in the book is something I'd love to make, especially for a good cause.
But my next project is for ME: a Ron Schweitzer faire isle vest. I tried it once before, did a gauge which told me to use an insanely small needle (0s!), which I did, then discovered, once the entire ribbing was complete, that it was far too small. I put it aside to teach it a lesson, and am finally ready to revisit the project. This time I'm using the called-for needles and refuse to knit a swatch since I never get the same gauge twice. So there! Now I've tempted fate and I know something will go drastically wrong. Wait and see--I'm sure the suspense will kill you. I'll try to take photos as the project progresses so maybe one of my readers/viewers will point out any possible error before I get too far. Wouldn't that be nice? For now, I'm on the 2nd attempt to do the ribbing because my original cast-on was too wimpy (the variation I chose, not the process), so I had to rip out all 290 stitches, redo the cast-on (used the knit-on version this time on bigger needles, then am knitting the first row onto smaller needles), and start again with the 2-color ribbing. Sigh. I was surprised to enjoy doing the knit-on cast-on so much--it was very peaceful and almost therapeutic. If only doing the 2-color ribbing could be so enjoyable!
Okay, so they don't quite go together, but this post will mention both, so deal with it. :-)
I've got photos to show and stories to tell, so sit back and relax.
First photo is my finished "Shapely Tank" from White Lies Designs. I'm sorry I didn't make it one size smaller, but I'm learning to like it as a vest, so I think it's okay. The yarn is made-for-elann silk/cashmere in a beautiful watermelon pink/red. The recommended gauge was 5.5 sts/in but the pattern called for 5 sts/in. I decided to go with the pattern's gauge and to allow the fabric to be drapier, which is what happened. It's pretty long--almost a tunic, actually, which is another reason I'm using it as a vest. I purposely knit more length than I thought it needed because I wanted it to be similar in length to one of my favorite shirts. Somehow I managed to mess that up and it's really long, but that's okay--I like the way it looks on me, and that's the important part. (The "lumps" you see at the chest are the darts that give more shape to the bust area; they don't look so good off of a body, but they are flattering on a real live body, honest.)
The next photo is of our pooch-a-loo, Henry, who was just so cute this weekend, hanging out under our table while we played backgammon (I'm addicted to backgammon--no matter how many times I lose, I always beg to play another game. "My name is Nerdy Knitter. I'm a backgammon-aholic."). Here's our boy now:
Could he get any cuter?! Look at those cute speckly paws! And his silly little wonky ear that never lies flat. Oh, he's cute-cute-cute-cute!
And the story I have to tell is related to our boy. I've probably complained in previous posts about what a 100% beast Henry is when we try to walk with him. He's a 60-pound powerhouse of a dog when you get him outside. We've learned from trainers how we should handle his pulling, and it's easier said than done, let me tell you. The biggest problem is that we're supposed to stop every time he pulls--he's such a nut case that this means stopping with every single solitary step. No fun. Plus, he pulls so hard that he usually injures us in some way (neck, back, shoulders...you get the idea).
Well, we watched the Dog Whisperer this weekend, and unbeknownst to me, Cesar really got through to Nerdy Hubby. Nerdy Hubby realized that Henry wasn't submissive enough to his humans when out in the "wild" that is our yard/street. Nerdy Hubby also realized that his attitude needed to change to communicate calmness to our easily-upset pooch. So, Nerdy Hubby and former-beast, Henry, practiced and practiced walking calmly, stopping when he got too excited, with a slight sound (if you've seen "Dog Whisperer," you know the "tch!" sound he makes) to let him know he needs to get back on track. I won't say he's "cured," but he has made significant progress in just a matter of 3 days. Both Nerdy Humans have been out and about, walking with the boy, and he's getting better. I don't want to count our chickens before they're hatched, but I feel like we're making progress. This will be a huge change in our lives if we can get to the point where we can take Henry with us when we go for walks. Then our "only" other problem will be carrying the calm environment to the car...hmmm...how to do that...
I have more knitting-related news, too, but it's time to go. Basically, I knit a vest for afghans for Afghans, and I love it (even learned to do single crochet!). No photo yet. I also knit a Nordic ski hat with THREE colors at once! (Photos later.)
Q: What do you do when your basement-level office, which flooded with 6" of water last fall, leaving moisture and ick, not to mention the carpet adhesive and chunks of carpet padding (from when we had to rip up the soaked carpet) behind, is just not working out?
A: You paint it the perfect sky blue, of course!
Here's the other side of the room, complete with icky floor, yucky walls, and boring old neutral wall color:
I am so excited about this beautiful blue, I can hardly stand it! It's the most perfect sky blue color! The paint company (Valspar, if anyone's interested) name is "Sonic Sky." I don't know what makes it "sonic," but I don't even care--it's perfect!
So far, this is our first DIY project indoors since we moved into the house. We've put down toxic-smelling solvent to remove the carpet glue/padding, which worked to a point, but today we have to do a second coat of it. Not fun. We've washed the moldy walls with a bleach/water mixture. We've scrubbed at the moldy wall with steel wool. We've painted the walls made of dry wall.
The rest of the project involves priming the cement walls with water-resistant paint, filling in cracks in the walls/floors with special sealant, and painting the remaining walls and the floor.
I'd say we're almost halfway done with the project. It's going to be so happy and cheerful--a perfect antidote for a basement room with 2 little windows. Hopefully my computer will be able to go back down to its rightful home and we'll get our kitchen table back to normal. What a concept!
Well, I went to the post office today and sent the shawl to its new owner. It's funny how little it bothered me to let it go. I've moved on to many more projects, so the shawl is just another FO.
What have I been up to?
Well, I made 4 or 5 squares to send to Blacksburg for blankets for the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. I made a shapely tank out of some candy-apple red silk/cashmere I bought at the end of 2006 (my last purchase before the knit-from-my-stash "diet" began). I'm still sewing in ends, but it's already done. (That's what happens when a knitter gets to attend a 2-day workshop where knitting is accepted.) Now I'm about halfway through a vest for Afghans for Afghans (pattern in the book Knitting for Peace; yarn handspun by my friend, Maia).
The catch with the vest is that I don't know how much yarn I have because it's handspun, so I don't know if I'll have enough to finish it. So far, I'm just at the halfway mark and have a good amount left. I'm going to keep knitting to see if I can finish it; if not, I'll frog it and make the next size down, or maybe a few hats.
On the poochie front, the big news is that we went to J's house for a doggie play date, and boy was it fun! Sure, we were supposed to be knitting, but we spent most of the time staring at our cute pooches, wrestling, rolling, and just plain playing. J has a 4-month-old pup who was ready to play as soon as Henry's paws touched dirt, but my poor nervous-nellie pooch needed time to get used to his new surroundings. So there was Diddy, just rarin' to go, and there was Henry, "marking" every blade of grass. Sigh. But Diddy was patient in her own puppy way, and eventually Henry noticed her--then the fur hit the fan, as it were.
Now we have to make sure these 2 kids get to see a lot of each other--they were both tuckered the next day. This is very good. For those of you who don't own energetic pooches, the goal for any given day is to find an activity to cause severe fatigue. It's not as easy as it sounds.
The Nerdy Household is full of fun activities--gardening, cleaning, organizing, buying a new computer for Nerdy Hubby...all fun.
And we have a long weekend approaching, which will hopefully mean more organizing, but for my Nerdy Office, which has been in disarray since the horrendous basement flooding of October '06.
I do have other knitting news, but I have to keep mum about it until I hear from N that she has received the parcel I sent...boy, I hate waiting!
I don't have any photos of anything because Nerdy Hubby kidnapped my camera for a research trip last week. I'll post some soon.
TWO SIXTY-ONE! Yes, you read that correctly: my shawl sold for $261 on ebay. Yahoo! I'm waiting for the official word from PayPal that the payment has cleared, then I'll send the shawl to its new home and the money to Virginia Tech.
Thanks to everyone for helping me through this endeavor--I'm pleased as punch to be able to give such a hefty sum to the Virginia Tech fund.
Here's the Beast in all of his crazy glory. This is his typical behavior when he has too much energy and no one will play with him. He gets this devilish look in his eye, goes to his crate and "steals" his bed, then does what you see in this video. What a goober dog!
So I woke up this morning to hear Nerdy Hubby exclaim, "Hey! I've been outbid!" You guessed it--his was the very first bid on the shawl. Isn't he sweet? But he's already been outbid...by a complete stranger! I assumed it would be Nerdy Mommy, who mentioned she would probably have a bidding war with Nerdy Hubby. But no! Someone I don't even know has bid. What fun! Thank you to those who have gone to take a look at the auction, and especially to those who have put in bids. Hooray!
I guess all of the embarrassment of sending 4 bulk emails with 3 failed links isn't so bad now. I was so worried that everyone would be too frustrated with me to actually go to the auction. Phew!
Now I get to obsess over the auction every day for 9 more days...
Well, here I am, writing to confess that I already made a mess of my big attempt to raise money for the Virginia Tech Hokie fund. Sigh.
I emailed almost every person in my address book to tell them about my project, included a link, then got a call HOURS later from my brother who told me the link I included didn't work. Argh!
I don't want to be one of those annoying people who sends mass emails over and over. I'm hoping I fixed it!
Anyway--for those random readers whose email addresses I don't already have in my address book, you're in luck: you won't be getting multiple emails from me. You can read all about my plan right here, right now.
I finished my Icarus shawl! Yup, it turned out beautifully. I love the yarn; I love the pattern; I love the two together. Because of my dial-up situation at home, I won't post a photo tonight, but I'll be sure to do that on Monday.
I'm trying to post a photo from home; we'll see how that goes (remember I'm on dial-up)...
So my quandary began before I even finished the shawl: what to do with it once I finished. I have shawls; I wear them once in a while. I don't need another shawl. I don't need a gossamer-weight, lace shawl.
At the same time, I was wondering how I could do something meaningful for the Virginia Tech community as it's really not far from where we live, and it was just such a horrific experience for everyone. The problem was that the Nerdy Bank is perilously low on funds most of the time.
So...(do you see where this is heading?)...
I set up an ebay auction for the Icarus Shawl, and I'm planning to send the proceeds from the auction to the Hokie Fund. I'm so excited about this idea! But it will be more exciting if people actually bid on the item...
I sent an email to friends and family today, and hope to send an email to my colleagues on Monday. What I envision is a group of donors banding together as a "team" to bid with a collective amount of money, then drawing numbers/names/whatever to determine who gets to keep the shawl. How does that sound, everyone?
The link to the auction is here. It's called: "Handknit gossamer (lace) shawl" and it's in the clothing category, not the knitting category because the knitting category only had yarn, patterns, kits, etc., and not finished items.
PLEASE tell your friends/family/acquaintances/people on the street so we can make a big donation to an important cause.
EDITED TO ADD (5/6): I had a very nice email from a reader to warn me that I should have asked for the designer's permission to sell this shawl. Gulp! I was so disappointed with myself because I really wanted this auction to work, and I didn't want to have to send yet another email to everyone, cancelling the auction.
Well, I quickly sent an apologetic email to Miriam and she just as quickly responded, giving me permission to sell the shawl! I'm so relieved!! So the auction's still on, even though I cancelled it and have to relist it. But that's minor. Hooray! Thank you, thank you, thank you to Miriam for her understanding!
Now I hope this raises some money to make all of the embarrassment worth it. Sigh.
PS--I blocked it all by myself on my bed yesterday. Yes, I was too impatient to wait for Janice to return from MSW. Yes, I'm all about instant gratification. Yes, it was actually fun (having a duvet cover with squares all over it helped).
I officially have 1/2 of the last RS charted row left to knit on my Icarus Shawl. Yahoo! I still have the loooooong WS row and 4 uncharted rows, and okay, the huuuuuuge bindoff row, but still! I'm almost there.
And I have my friend, Janice, to help me block the shawl on her blocking board. Double yahoo! I'm always nervous about blocking for some reason, and usually wait until I'll be seeing my mother, who is much better at it than I am. But this time I'm in a bit of a hurry to get the whole project off the needles and blocked (I have a secret plan which will be revealed soon).
I'm not sure what my next project will be...something with bigger needles, with heavier yarn, without a chart, I think.
I'm giving serious thought to devoting every other project to charity knitting, but haven't quite committed to that plan yet. We'll see.
Yesterday was my friend, John's birthday. Happy birthday John!!!
Now I'm off for a late-night trip to the grocery store. Ah, the exotic life of a nerdy knitter.