DIY

In the bag. This is the last work day of the month!

I guess it flew by, but this week has definitely dragged on. So lets talk about happy things, like ME and my projects! =)

First off I have to mention that my hair is finally long again. Long enough to pull back into a little pony tail. I forget how this makes my face look much narrower, how much I look like my mom, and how Korean it makes me appear as well. Heh. I am what I am, and I no longer have poof going on at the shoulders. Mid-April I believe will be the 1 year mark since I cut it really short before our Costa Rica adventure and I do feel like my hair growth has slowed somewhat. It may just be due to the perm though. By this coming May I’m sure it’ll be a nice mid shoulder length with plenty of styleability.

Ok now for projects:

  1. I’ve started plying my master project. I grossly miscalculated how much yardage each ply was going to be. I may end up in the 300 yard range by the time I’m done. I haven’t even gotten half way through and my spindle is almost at capacity!

  2. Christmas spinning results are in and it looks like my Mountain Sapphires will be a little neck warmer. Nice and thick! I’m doing a basic garter stitch scarf, but to spice things up a bit I’m going to drop sections and reloop them using a crochet hook to make big stitches. I’m pretty stoked for this even though the scarf isn’t going to be that long. Will be making a button border at the end.
  3. Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit Along: That’s a mouthful. It’s started! Clue 1 came out this week Wednesday, and the next three clues will be coming out once a week for the next three weeks. I’m pretty excited and thankful I had the foresight to ask Cindy for help picking colors! I did keep to the plan and I’m excited how the cowl is going to turn out!
  4. Master Plan Spinning Project 2 is manifesting itself. Noriko released a bulky weight hat last year that I want to spin yarn to make. Yeah bulky, yeah spinning for an actual project, yeah yeah!!

 

 

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The past few weeks have been a bit hectic at work, so I apologize for not updating you on my master plan spinning project. This is probably my most ambitious attempt so far at spinning a large quantity since Noriko and Cory’s visit in which I finally nailed down my drafting technique. Spinning like a boss now. But aside from that what has evolved is an appreciation for the three ply. If you know me, then you also know that I can jump the gun sometimes and just go-go-go on a project. This has definitely been a test of patience and a labor of love.

First Ply: Buckle My Shoe. A semi-solid blue-turquoise colored 100% merino dyed by Knitted Wit. I should have listened to Cindy and Noriko about starting off with a basic fiber. (I still love my first wonky mini-skein~!!!). I started off drafting this fiber the opposite way as my previous spinning projects and boy did it make a difference. Being a left-handed person, I was originally trying to draft with my left hand, which mean that my right hand was doing it’s own thing, aka holding the fiber too tightly causing the cat knappiness at the end of the fiber. But anyways, I switched drafting hands and I totally got this now.

Second Ply: 100% Natural Merino. It’s white, so I feel like it was probably bleached or something regardless of what the tag says. Aside from that this was a practice in precision. I tried to get this to be a smidge thicker and more even a ply than the Buckle My Shoe. What I got was a much shorter ply, at least to the naked eye. I’m fairly certain that I still got a good 200+ yards out of it though! =D

Third Ply: 60/40 Merino/Bamboo in the She Shed colorway by Thoroughly Thwacked. Ok so this is not a measured 2oz, but I think it’ll be enough to match the first two in length fairly decently. I was waffling on whether or not to use the BFL and decided on continuing with the merino trend. My first attempt with the BFL was not so great, though friends rave about it’s soft and silkiness. I repeatedly dropped my Kundert when attempting a ply and barely got a few yards before I gave up. I’ll try again at a later time because it must be plied with another color. I can’t ignore that coffee and cream coloring!

Two vs Three ply: Visually

In theme with being impatient and wanting to experiment I tested the ends of the Buckle My Shoe and the Natural Merino to see what it would potentially look like and got this (Sorry for the blurry pic, but you can see how kinda puffy it is as just a 2 ply):

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I’m not a fan of how the test is looking. I went ahead and started plying the She Shed and wow does it make a difference!

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Granted this doesn’t show at all what the color changes will look like. She Shed has blue and pink/red sections which I have found blend together much better now that I am finally drafting properly and the ply itself is much skinnier than my first attempt. The color transitions are not so abrupt and the over-spinning that I was doing before is much less of a problem since working with the merino. I’m pretty stoked to get the ply finished, take pictures, and share with everyone the final yarn results!

If all goes as planned, I think I may stick with the plying a solid with a multi-dyed fiber path. 2 ounces seems to be a good sweet spot for me before I get bored of a particular colorway and I really like the way my three ply hand spun looks. The closer I get to completing the third ply the more anxious I am to get my hands on a niddy noddy. Granted that for measuring purposes, my swift works just as well, and also to make a decent sized skein. Just wanting to have all the right, and pretty, tools I guess. =)

And just how am I going to go about plying 6 ounces of yarn? Uh…we’ll get to that when we get to that…hehe

 

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One of the best types of new years resolutions is to be healthier than last year. That means putting less bad stuff in, to get more good stuff out. And I’m talking about everything from energy to pooping. I’m serious!

So far here are some steps I’ve taken to attempt to be healthier and happier this year:

 

Cut back on sugar.

Most of the time I really dislike coffee taste. It’s weird, sour, bitter, meaty, soily, chunky. I’m taking baby steps to get over myself and still get the caffeinated morning kick I need by reducing the sugar I put in my coffee. I’m currently down to 1 packet of Sugar in the Raw. The master plan here is to reduce altogether my input of sugar in my coffee, and eventually not putting in cream either.

 

No more food binge at dinner time.

Like most people I’m starving by the end of the work day and can only think of stuffing my face with quick box pasta or 10 minute pop-can Pillsbury croissants. Processed foods! But anyways, last summer I heard a talk about eating and dieting and weightloss. This was more of a chat about how to eat your food, not starving yourself or making weird grocery shopping choices, which inevitably leads to food waste. Here’s a quick recap on NPR’s website.

What I haven’t gotten down yet is the “eat breakfast like a king”. I’m still on just coffee and maybe once a week a scone added. Weekends I do eat breakfast sandwiches, but that’s usually a bagel sandwich from the corner cafe. So my goals for this year is regularity. Buy granola bars, fruit snacks, and other small tid-bits to bring with me to work in the morning.

 

No Pants Zone

I’ve successfully not worn pants for almost three months now. I gave up after a trip to a local boutique this past fall and realized that I can no longer purchase a pair of jeans without trying on 5-10 different styles. Not worth the effort when I can throw on a cute dress and tights. I’m even a little iffy on skirt wearing. This goes more towards the feeling happy than the feeling healthy spectrum of this years personal goals. I’m slowly growing my collection of dresses as is reasonable. Trying to buy quality pieces instead of cheapie items. Hopefully this will help my wardrobe as well. I have gotten rid of a lot of clothes that I no longer wear over the past year. Probably in the range of 4-5 trash bags full. I hope to keep that trend going and retire my t-shirt collection, move all my clothes into the closet minus undies and socks; get rid of things I will really never wear again.

 

Make room

Top priority as well is to make more room. Breathing space. Empty space. Get rid of trash, things I don’t need. Things of barely any sentimental value. Just get rid of it. There are still boxes of things that I haven’t unpacked from our move last Christmas. I haven’t touched or thought of them. I don’t need them.

TOSS THEM I MUST! It makes sense to justify removing excess from my surroundings in this way. I suppose it also helps that when we move again there will be less clutter to pack. I also want to go through all my books and sell or give them away. Particularly, I want to get rid of the books I have read or can easily access online via Kindle or otherwise. There’s just no reason to have these books anymore. The ones I keep will be the ones I want my future children to read. But since a lot of my books are outdated technical manuals…they can go.

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There are not enough hours in a day to do all the things I want to do. So I end up not resting on the weekends like I should be.

Video games ended up taking all of Saturday again. But I do two loads of laundry, and loaded and ran the dish washer! So I’m not a complete slob.

Last week Noriko and Cory visited Portland and I had a chance to pretty much double my fiber stash by helping Noriko destash.

These additions effectively double my stash. =D

And in relation to the actual spinning of the fiber, I managed to finish up the art batt Jonathan bought me for Christmas.

It’s freakin beautiful!!! I can’t wait to figure out what I’m going to do with it. I want to use all of it too, so it will probably be an asymmetrical shawl,  or a plain scarf to show off the colors, or maybe an art piece to put on the wall…

 

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This was a new learning experience as well. My first handspun was also a 2 ply, but it was also only 2oz of fiber. I plied the whole 4oz of the art bat and it did not all fit on the drop spindle. Apparently 4oz is never supposed to fit and most people do 2oz at a time. I also had quite a bit of leftovers of 1 ball, so I ended up Andean plying the last bit onto itself and reattaching it to the main yarn. After a quick wash and dry I think I have about 170 yards. Not too shabby!

I am currently working on the blue/green Knitted Witt. Buckle My Shoe is the colorway in 100% merino. So far with this I’ve figured out the drafting issue I was having before. The issue was that I was park/drafting, and ending up with these weird poofs at the end of the bit of material I was spinning at the time. Very much like if you pet a cat from head to tail you get those bits of fluffy fur. So I’ve been holding the yarn too tight. With the merino I switched hands so I am now drafting out of my left hand by pulling with my right hand, and barely holding the fiber which allows the spin to come up a little into into the drafting zone, pinch and twist and draft. This seems to be working out a lot better for me. I am getting a lot more breakage, but that is offset by a more even ply and less strain overall on myself. I’m also getting a much thinner ply. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the way I’m drafting. (I’m also drafting a lot faster, 1oz nearly complete in 5 hours, but also really thinly).

At this point the master plan is to spin both pieces of the Buckle My Shoe, spin the undyed A Verb For Keeping Warm, which is also 2oz of 100% merino, spin up some of the BFL I have in my stash (in a thicker ply hopefully), and then ply all three together. I’m hoping for a soft and silky result. (crosses fingers). =D

 

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2016 has already started and I’m already behind…with blogging. hehe

I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of hoo-haa-hmming about the past year because honestly I’ve already tucked it behind my ear and am ready for a new start.

So taking a cue from my friend Noriko’s blog post about project goals for this year here’s a quick rundown of my yarn related aspirations for 2016:

 

Spin more

The Kundert spindle I recently purchased has had a lot of use already. I’ve forayed into the world of drop spindles and I love it! Right now I’m working on a 4oz art batt from Crosspatch Creations in Mountain Sapphires. It is soo pretty! The first 2oz went by really fast. I have been working on it since I opened the package Christmas Eve. Since I have only one spindle, and I didn’t want to put my pretty single ply on a toilet paper roll I went in search for an easy alternative. Scrap is a local non-profit that provides cheap recycled arts and supplies materials. I found some awesome threaded cones for $0.25 each! The ridges help keep the yarn from slipping. The shoebox and size 17 metal straights help complete my homemade lazy-kate. I’m excited to not ever do a hand wrap for Andean plying ever again.

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Buy less yarn

My stash as it is isn’t very large. It never has been with my budget. With the new found addition to spinning my own yarn, the realization that fiber is much cheaper than prespun is very appealing to me. Granted I will still need to buy sweater quantities, but I feel that smaller accessories are still attainable at the handspun cost. I’m pretty excited this year to make some hats, shawls, and cowls out of my own handspun.

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Finish at least 6 of the Mega KAL projects

Last year I managed to do 3 of the suggested list that I made myself…that’s pretty lame actually. So this year the new list is smaller accessory type things which I hope to complete in a more constructive manner. I gave a way a few things I made this year to very happy recipients, so it’s not like I wasn’t able to knit at all. Goal for this year is all of them! Yet more realistically, 6.

 

Knit Jonathan’s sweater before May

This I absolutely must do and will start probably in March. Two months is enough right? I keep asking him what color he wants and all I get is “Tweed”. Tweed is not a color, my dearest. I’m still debating on the yarn. It has to be one that will hold up to use and that I will enjoy knitting up. As far as pattern goes, I’m also still debating. Le sigh. It’s all up in the air, but must be done!

 

Knit myself at least three sweaters, Kyra included.

This is totally attainable. I have some sweater patterns already picked out. Since Kyra is short sleeved I am going to force myself to knit the other two long sleeved. Guh, sleeves. To keep things interesting I’ll be making a really interesting cardigan by Thea Coleman called Shaken or Stirred. A little bit of color work I think is just what I need. The second one will be the Campside Cardigan by Alicia Plummer. If I have time I may cast on for the Hoodie Shawl Cardigan too… I got this nifty yarn bowl for Christmas from my in-laws. Many a sweater will be made with this holding the yarn. Hopefully this is also going to reduce the amount of Lucy that gets included in my projects.

 

Design 4 free patterns.

This year I want to start designing. I’m in no way qualified, so I’m pre-declaring that they will be free patterns. And more than likely hats, and if not hats, cowls. I’ve always been a little lackadaisical with keeping good notes. I hope to change that this year by self-publishing and getting myself out there in the designer world. My user handle on ravelry is purrcolatorknits, coffee and cats. Awesome.

 

And that’s all I have planned so far. I don’t even want to think about Christmas present knitting yet!

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One down, two to go!

Christmas is just around the corner and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a long time since I was truely excited to give gifts. Mostly because this year I feel like I can afford to give some well thought and meaningful items.

But anyways, onto some selfish stuff:

I did manage to get wrangled into going to Jonathan’s company holiday party. Partly due to the purchase of this little beauty:

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Aww yeah, gigantic teddy sweater! It was remarkably soft and cozy despite obviously being used. May have found the best vintage store in Portland too.  A little secret spot in Hollywood called Babylon Vintage. Products are good and the prices are even better! I’m not super sure about the contents as the tag was gone, but I’m guessing there’s a bit of wool in addition to acrylic. I’m hoping to figure out a way to tailor it though. It’s a XL with odd wing shaping on the sleeves. But otherwise, super awesome teddy sweater!!

Around the block we happen upon a bazaar at the local church. At one of the booths was hand made, hard wood, Christmas ornaments!

 

IMG_1934 The maker, Vincent and his partner, don’t have a facebook page or etsy shop set up yet, so I’ve linked his facebook profile in-which he accepts messages for orders. He’s been busy shipping out and making new items. Check him out!

 

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I’ve also come to the point of obsession over this app: Neko Atsume

Cats

Play things

Fish currency

It’s basically a super easy, non-sadface version of a Tamogatchi =)

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Christmas for myself came a smidge early. A long the lines of learning new things I’ve picked up a drop spindle from KundertSpindles. These are also hand made and super light! I’ve already broken into my merino/bamboo from Thoroughly Thwacked. And picked up some undyed BFL at my LYS and Masham dyed by DragynKnits. Excited! Need to get the almost 1.5oz I’ve already spun up safely off my spindle though so I can try these other fibers.

Not bad for a newbie

Not bad for a newbie

Seems to be working so far. Only dropped it twice...hehe

Seems to be working so far. Only dropped it twice…hehe

For a little while there I was really confused about the importance of the weight of the spindle. Heavier spindle = thicker yarns? Yup. The weight of the spindle gives the whorl more mass in which to stay in motion. More force is needed to keep the spindle twisting the fibers. If there are more fibers, you need more force and so more weight. So anyways. I apparently bought a super duper light spindle, despite it’s size. Hopefully as I get better this means I can do both thick and thin threads!

But do you see those colors?!!!?!?!?!?!!

le sigh…

 

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I’ve been following the (Argyle Sheep, Black Sheep, New Stitch A Day) emails with their video links to their highly anticipated new project launch. In their videos they talk a lot about being connected with their clothing, the emotional suffering that us first worlder’s experience when coming to the realization that yes a lot of our clothes come out of SE Asia sweatshops. But the funny thing is that this is just another yarn club, but with a twist. The twist is that they are using materials made in America as well as providing a forum for discussion and high quality instructional videos for the patterns exclusive to the club.

Now on one hand I find that this is an incredibly awesome thing. New Stitch a Day is an excellent tutorial website with clear filmography and curated so these guys know what they’re doing with providing classes and such. I absolutely love this website. Not everyone has the advantage that I have living in the DIY community that Portland is.

On the other hand, I was really…and I mean really…disappointed.

All that hype about having those staple items in your wardrobe, knowing where and how and when your clothes are designed, produced, and manufactured; and not to mention the plethora of already existing yarn clubs, independent dyers all across the country, and online resources. I was really hoping that they were going to open a shopping mall, similar to Etsy, specifically for hand manufacturers for knitting, crochet, and sewing. Instead we’re presented with another seeming pyramid scheme of the middle man banking off of mid-size American yarn producers and knitwear/sewing designers. I was hoping it would be an awesome Wool & The Gang type thing with a modern and modest every-day style. Something I’d be proud to show off to my friends, but also derp around at the grocery store in. Talk about a major let-down. =(

Granted there’s a lot of exposure already that goes with being a part of a knitwear community. And it’s awesome that they’re providing another venue for independent producers of patterns and knitwear designers. But its not for me. I consider myself to be a intermediate/advanced knitter and the prospect of spending over $100 for a measly 3 projects without even the material to make the project is just ludicrous.

I’d have to blow another $100 just to get the exclusive membership project bag. What?!

Ok lets do the math:


Standard Membership is $147:

6 patterns: Up against Ravelry’s library and averaged $6 per pattern that comes to $36 ($111)

6 HD video classes: Up against the INTERNET that comes to $0

Live Designer Q&A: Up against a book signing at Powell’s that comes to $0

Community Forum: Up against Ravelry’s free forums and groups that comes to $0

Lifetime Access: Up against Ravelry’s free membership that comes to $0

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For someone who needs the instructional classes, this would be a steal! Averaging $25-$60 a class at a community college or a LYS you’d come out on top. So for me this would be a complete waste of $111.


Gold Fleece Club membership: $377

36 patterns: $216

etc etc etc.

This might be worth my time, unfortunately it’s still $377 and without the option to choose yarn colors, skip a month, and it’s an extra $300 for the bonus project. O Hell NO.

 


What about people who are larger sizes? What about people who can’t wear animal fibers? There’s not enough information on these pages to really sell me. This is a blind $400 purchase for it to even be somewhat worth while. =/

And I must point out that there is a large price discrepancy between knitted and crochet projects. They are priced differently, but why? Are the crochet designers also getting paid less? This is incredibly infuriating. Argyle Sheep is maintaining the status quo of crochet being the lesser craft, the craft for people who lack any sense of style or sophistication, the craft for the stupid. This is the first time I’ve seen it presented so obviously by a relatively mainstream platform. Crochet is an afterthought, even in their videos. Why is there such a negative appreciation for those who crochet? Elitist.

The last video where they are finally opening Black Sheep memberships they also includes a small plug for their own YARN LINE. Which is one of the yarns they are offering in the knitted and crochet projects. Are you kidding me? You want me to spend $150 for an untested and untried yarn of your own design? Aside from the usual what if I don’t like the color or what if I don’t like how it’s plied, or what if the colors bleed, what about where did you get the fiber from? You see that “100% American Wool”? America is the ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. I don’t see anywhere on their YarnFund website mention a state in this country that is producing or milling their Zephyr yarns. W.T.F.

Be careful guys. Seriously. Black Argyle Sheep. HUGE LETDOWN. I just hope those that have bought into it can assuage my cynicism. I really don’t want the New Stitch A Day people to fail, but I wish it was something else.

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This may have been one of the most productive weekends I’ve had in a while.

To start things off:

FRIDAY: GOT MY HAIR DID!

Old hair

Old hair

Curled up!

Curled up!

Chems

Chems

RINSE!

RINSE!

YAY!

YAY!

 

SATURDAY: Portland Retro Gaming Expo, AND got started on the Consummate V’s Hat for Noriko’s Birthday KAL.

Ikaruga This is a man.

A man and his Ikaruga.

A man and his Ikaruga that he’s been searching for.

Searching for longer than we have been dating and married.

He finally found it.

(I apologize for the potato quality photo. I was trying to catch him in the act.)

 

Portland Retro Gaming Expo

 

All of this minus the Silver Gamecube we scored at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. And yes, yes that is a little sewn project bag. Yes, it will be used for knitting. And yes, she had other sizes that could easily accommodate as a dice bag or otherwise gift bag for said expo purchases. But YES! Finally I have my own copy of Tales of Symphonia!

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These fine gentle-people were all playing Starwars Battlefront for the original X-Box. That’s right. All of them, playing one game, together. There were approximately 25 systems up in this section of the arcade. Insane!!

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And this setup was all Atari. ALL.

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And this! This was the setup for the Tetris World Championship Stage! For serious.


SUNDAY: laundry and cleaning and omg LOOK. A wild cat on her couch!

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Also, I finished the Consummate V’s Hat and blocked Jonathan’s scarf. Finally done with that scarf!!

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Consummate V’s!

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Hatfield #2

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Bohemian Cowl

 

 

 

 

 

The Bohemian Cowl was also completed this week. That means I have two complete entries into the KAL giveaway. I’m really gunning for that skein of yarn.

Guh! So tired today, back at the grindstone.

Coffee GO!

Coffee GO!

 

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