Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So, I'm back.

Wow, it's been a while. I have been so busy with performances, papers, and exams, that I've hardly had time to make anything, much less write about it. I frogged a few things, and made both Ben and I gloves. I plan on having a post dedicated to that alone, so more on the gloves, soon. I have a silver-dollar sized portion of a hat done, and most of a sweater shaped iPod cozy. If I get the show on the road, I can get the cozy done.

However, this is what I am concerned with at present:

This is (a crappy picture of) an Autobots chart that I am making into a pillow for Ben. I started it over the summer, with no particular plans as to when I was going to finish it or give it to him. As of right now, I'm considering it as a Christmas present for him. I'm pretty confident that I can get this done in time. As a matter of fact, I think it may be time for another round of creative burnthrough--maybe even tonight...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Doing Things Right

It has been so long since I've posted on my blog that I almost couldn't remember how to log in. When classes resumed, my life got so busy and stressful that I haven't finished more than a couple of projects. However, last night I realized something that really reset my perspective. I usually knit to relax, help relieve stress, and to enjoy myself. However, I have been turning away from my knitting over and over again because the lace is too complicated for my tired mind and eyes. Last night, we were passing by a Michael's, and I suddenly decided that I needed something. I went in and bought a ball of wool and some aluminum straights, and cast on a garter stitch scarf on the spot. After knitting about ten rows, I had everything all figured out.

I am officially resigning from the Ten Shawls in 2010 Challenge. When I started working on that scarf, I had red flags waving in my brain, telling me that I'd never get the four remaining shawls done if I wasted my time making something else. I beat myself up about it for a while, and then realized that the whole reason that I knit has gone out the window for the past few months, all because I've been pressuring myself over this challenge.

This school year has been the most stressful one yet, and I certainly don't need to be spending my free time freaking out about having to knit four more shawls before midnight on New Year's Eve. Also, I'd rather work at my own pace on complex shawls that I love than churn out four more simple ones just for the sake of completing the challenge--that's not what it's about. So, instead of trying all the way to the end and failing, I am acknowledging that this is what is best for me and my mental health, and I am making my garter stitch scarf. After that, I'm dreaming of mittens and socks and maybe a sweater. The moment I gave myself permission to stop stressing over the shawls, I remembered why I love to knit.

So, I'm going to return to the stress-relieving creative outlet that knitting is supposed to be. I don't know why I took so long to figure this out. I feel better already.

Look for some posts soon with older projects that haven't made it up yet. I hope that everyone is well, and that at least a few people still check my blog!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off days

It has been over a month since I last posted. I simply...haven't been knitting that much. *gasp!* I'm not sure if it's been the fact that I am inspired in other artistic areas right now, of if it's because I often knit to relieve stress...and I'm just not stressed right now. Either way, I'm going to have to get back on the ball sooner or later, because I'm nowhere near done with my Ten Shawls for 2010.

In other news, I spent the day with my friend Anna and new friend Rebecca when they came to New Orleans! She's back in Australia now, but we had a great time, including going to a yarn shop! I have pictures of things that need to be posted, but in the meantime, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm alive. Be back soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weaving in Loose Ends

To put it simply, I had a strange childhood. Due to this, I missed out on a few things that many would consider essential.

This weekend, in a strange and wonderful turn of events, I was able to "weave in" a few loose ends.

We wound up on Ship Island, and by the end of the day, I had seen and swam at a beach, flown a kite, and built a sand castle--all of which were things that had been on my to-do list for the past twenty years.

These pictures did not come out very well, which is unfortunate, because this dragon looked so cool in person!

Later that night, we returned home and went to the midnight showing of Tommy Wiseau's The Room at the Prytania Theatre. If you don't know about this movie, find out. Unless you're faint of heart. Then, don't. You may die of disappointment.

All in all, this day was one of the best days of my life.

As far as knitting is concerned, I'm still working on Blue Heaven. But, if you look to the right, you'll notice that things are disappearing from my WIPS! I have been frogging what needs to be frogged, and I'm about to finally block and sew the button on that crocheted cowl! Soon, only my actual works in progress will be listed as wips!

I'll be back soon, hopefully with pictures of finished things! I have socks to make for my best friend's birthday, as well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Night With Ishbel--Creative Burnthrough

Night before last, I did something which really helps me when I'm overloaded with stress, or my sleep cycle is messed up, or really if there's anything wrong that I don't know how to cope with. A cure all, my "creative burnthough" is something that I turn to when I need to purge excess negativity. Instead of letting it stress me, and keep me awake at night, I stop everything and focus on an unfinished craft, until nothing else matters. I work until it is finished (no matter how long it takes) and then collapse, exhausted, into a deep and perfect sleep. I have never done this intentionally before, but I realized the other night that it was really what I needed. So, I sat down with Ishbel, only halfway through the first repeat of the A section of lace, at 11pm. I watched (listened to) V for Vendetta, Fight Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, Only You, and Pride and Prejudice.

By then, my little triangle of stockinette had turned from this:

Into this:

I wasn't quite exhausted yet, so I decided to block her. But then, I found a dropped stitch, which I will assume happened one of the four times that binding off turned into nodding off. I had already blocked the shawl when I found the error, so I had to wait for her to dry. So, I took a 45 minute nap--which was interrupted by at least three phone calls. When she was dry, I took her down, dug out the ends (my least favorite part) and then tinked the bind-off to the mistake (this part happened in an IHOP, while my boyfriend and three male friends had a cheery time. I was a little stormcloud sitting in the middle of the booth, grumpily tinking the bind-off, then growing angrier still when, in my exhaustion, I forgot to stop tinking after I fixed the mistake, and tinked way more than I needed to. Then, I finally got the bind-off done correctly (although I bound off the repaired half with a different sized needle than I bound off the other half with, which I was concerned would be a problem. It wasn't.) After all this, I reblocked my Ishbel last night, before finally lying down for a long, uninterrupted night of solid and blissful sleep.

I woke up to this:

I'd say that a single dropped stitch was getting off easy, considering I pulled an all nighter to knit lace.

The Details:
Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague (rav link)
Yarn: Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca/Merino 4ply in the Limited Edition Ysolda colorway, purchased at Old Maiden Aunt
Needles: 4.0 mm Harmony Circulars
The Commentary:
This shawl is fantastic. Now I know why it's so popular! Ysolda has written this pattern that is so easy to read, and the shawl just grows and grows so quickly! It was clear enough for me to understand easily, even at 4am. I love the finished product, and I know that I will wear it often. I can't wait to make a bigger version, hopefully with the lovely pink laceweight that Ysolda used! I knew that I had more than enough yarn to do the small version, but not enough to do the large version, so I have a bit of this yarn left, which I intend to use in conjunction with more of Lilith's beautiful yarn. I will be shopping at Old Maiden Aunt again.
What a wonderful project, all around! I'm very satisfied with it, and the 'creative burnthrough' that produced it. Some things always work.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Dolores has been finished and blocked for some time now, but I've been alternating between busy and lazy, and I've neglected to show her off!

I knew when it was tiring my arms out to hold up the work on the needles that she was going to be big, but she blocked out to a thrilling 82"x40", and that's the measurement that I got today, over a week after unpinning. The finished product is exactly what I wanted--a big, cozy shawl to wrap up in when I'm chilly, but with an elegant, polished look. I've gotten more compliments on this shawl than on some of my lace ones, which is pretty funny. It's nearly translucent, and I think that's what's so appealing about it.

The Details:
Pattern: Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West (Rav link)
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette
Needles: 4mm KA Bamboo Circulars

This is my fourth completed shawl in the 10 Shawls for 2010 Challenge. (Rav link)

In other news, I finally ordered my Harmony needles:

(I promise, I will post better pictures of them soon, when I'm in a picture-taking mood. That was right when I opened the box, on my front steps.)

Since I had to test out the dpns to make sure that I liked the 4" length before my 30 days were up, I started on my first socks! I'm halfway through the second sock, and not only do I love the dpns, but I LOVE knitting socks! After my 10 shawls are done, I think they'll be several pairs of socks. As it is, I need to get these done so I can go back to working on my Ishbel and Blue Heaven. I don't have pictures of the socks, or the Ishbel, but here's what Blue Heaven looks like, so far:

Oh, and here's a picture of the ninja that I made for my good friend Evan's graduation gift! (He's the one that I'm teaching to crochet. I can't wait for him to come and visit so that I can teach him more!)

I will have pictures of Ishbel, and the (hopefully) finished socks in posts to come, stay tuned! (Oh, also pictures of my mountain of Cascade 220 that I purchased!) I have a weekend full of concert performances, and after that, work and most of my rehearsals are over for the summer, and it will be full-on knitting, reading, and relaxing time!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I remembered last night, while I was knitting on Dolores during intermission at The Music of Pink Floyd that my Ravelversary was coming up. Fearing that I had missed it, I quickly checked Rav on Ben's phone and found out that it was today. On May 16, 2009, I was invited to join this lovely web community, and I will forever be SO grateful that I am able to participate in it. I would never have become the crocheter/knitter that I am today, without Ravelry to inspire, teach, and encourage (and, of course, enable) me. Although today will be a somewhat non-yarny day for me, I will be celebrating all day long. I'll have even more of a chance to celebrate my Ravelversary tomorrow, when my Harmony Interchangables and DPNs and new knitting books arrive from KnitPicks. If they don't come tomorrow, then I'll celebrate again when they do. I also purchased enough Cascade 220 at WEBS to make two sweaters! Their Cascade is on sale (4.99 a hank!) until the end of the month, and there's tons of it in stock! So, I'll be looking forward to receiving that, and making sweaters (and socks, but more on that later) after my ten shawls are complete.

With that, I must embark on a far-flung and potentially irritating day. But, I'm going to make the most of it, and I hope everyone out there has a great day, too.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


My Traveling Woman is finished.

The Details:
Pattern:Traveling Woman by Liz Abinanthe
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette in "Fairy Tale"
Needles: US 5 KA Bamboo Circulars for the body, US 8 KA Bamboo Circulars for the bind off. (I'm really glad I did this, my bind off had tons of stretch.)

When I cast on for this shawl, I planned for it to be a clever project while on my trip to Memphis to perform the Brahms requiem with the choir. A fourteen hour round trip, my knitter friend Amanda (bicyclefairy on Ravelry) at my side, I figured I'd be nearly done by the time I got home, and I'd be able to say that I made "Traveling Woman" on my trip.

Well, first of all, this shawl took me two months to finish, partially because it was the hardest thing I've made so far, and partially because I've been busier than I've ever been in my life. There was a great deal of physical journeying before it was done.

However, I had no idea when I started this project how much of a mental and emotional journey I would go though before I bound off. In the course of this shawl, I performed two requiems, an opera, and Carmina Burana. The Brahms requiem changed my life. I came home from Memphis a new and better musician, and my eyes were permanently open to why I do what I do. The independence of the trip was needed, especially since I had some family problems a few days beforehand. I think, in some ways, the problems that I was having before I left were really what sparked the change in mindset.

Anyway, I feel like all of the things that have gone on in the past few months have changed the way I think. I am a much better performer now, because I've finally figured out how I feel about my career. I have also figured out how I feel about people in my life that have brought me nothing but sorrow.

I've spent much of the last two years missing my friends, because I "don't have time" to see them. Well, I've been making time.

and it's been amazing.

I also sat back and really assessed what in my life makes me happy, and what doesn't. As a result, this will be the first summer of my adult life that I will not be working myself to death at a place where I am both unappreciated and unsatisfied.

This summer will be a summer of knitting, books, movies, and most importantly, friends. I'm not going to be wasting any more of my time.

As happy as I am, both with the shawl and my revelations, I bound off in sadness, because I found out last night that a dear friend of mine will be having heart surgery on Monday. He is elderly, and this will be hard, no matter what the outcome. I have been praying for him day and night, and I hope that anyone inclined to pray who reads this will also offer their prayers for Mr. Bill Thomas.

So, as I sit now with my Traveling Woman wrapped around my shoulders, I know that it was not physical travels that lay before me, but a journey to a better realization of who I am, and what's truly important to me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The past couple of weeks have been a whirling race to the finish line, to the end, to the beginning of the eternal weekend that is summer.

The opera is on Monday. After that, a presentation, exams, and I'm done.

Not only am I done, but this summer will be the first real summer of freedom for six years. The last time I had a summer of freedom, I was pretty much a child. I decided that how I usually spend my summers has really not been good for me for quite a few summers now, and I'm ready to be free of that and have a summer of relaxation and actually doing things that I want to do.

There have been many revelations as of late, and life is getting pretty great from where I stand. I just have to get through these last few crazy things.

When the opera's over, there will be much posting of pictures and telling of stories. I promise, I will be back soon, with tales of victory.

Oh--and I finally saw Blade Runner today. It was awesome.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

It's been a time for cleaning and taking care of business for me lately. I've been working pretty hard on getting my room into a presentable state--it's been a wreck since the opera, and I never really finished moving into it in the first place. That took up most of the beginning of my spring break, and I'll be doing some more of that tomorrow before I go back to school and face the Les Enfants/Mozart Requiem/Carmina Burana/Finals/Durufle Requiem rush. Phew.

But, this has been a very nice break. Ben and I took my brother to the park, and afterward, I managed to coerce him into drinking a smoothie. With fruit in it. This is a big deal. It was great to get to take him outside and just play for a little while.

Also, just before the break, and through a small miracle, I actually managed to get tickets to Wicked! It was a dream come true, and better than I could ever have expected, and I expected it to be really great. I don't have any pictures from us at the show on my memory card--I'll have to check my computer's hard drive.

Also, we recently went to see Video Games Live, which was AMAZING.

We waited in line for two hours afterward to get autographs at the meet-and-greet. I got there an hour late, because I had to dash there after a mass, so I was pretty pooped when we finally got our autographs at 1am. But, it was totally worth it.

I've also been trucking away diligently on my Traveling Woman, which is going decidedly slowly.

I'm almost done with my third repeat of chart A, but it's still pretty small. Because I knitted so loosely when I first started, I always sized down my needles, but I apparently don't need to do that anymore, because this is quite a bit smaller than it should be, I think. I'm just going to keep on knitting. I have three more balls of this yarn, so I can make it as big as I want. Although, I probably won't make it too big, because it's such a bright color.

Anyway, I hope that everyone is having a lovely weekend in whatever way means most to you. I went on a loot-buying spree last week, and I have to take pictures and get them all posted, so I'll be getting those up soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Startling Discovery

Well, I've been a busy bee lately, but I'm home from Memphis, and Spring Break is approaching. I, however, am ill, and am praying that I get my voice back for Carmina Burana auditions on Wedenesday. In the meantime, I decided to give Traveling Woman a break while I'm sick (I've been making enough mistakes on it while my mind is clear--I don't want to chance a total meltdown.) and make a simple project.

Over the past few years, my love of reading has taken a backseat to school, work, and wooly endeavors, most of the time. As much as I love love love love to read, I've only read about four books since I started college. I decided yesterday that this needs to stop, and as a tribute to that, I am going to make a Book Sweater. However, as I mentally reviewed my stash and looked over the requirements for the project, I came upon a startling discovery.

My stash is comprised almost exclusively of fingering-weight yarn.

The book sweater calls for worsted weight wool. I have exactly one type of worsted weight wool--some Knitpicks Wool of the Andes.

It's black. I'm not knitting in black, while I'm sick.

It did not occur to me that my love of sock yarn had caused me to own nothing BUT sock yarn. I will be attempting the book sweater in the DK Scarlet Fleece Painted Merino that I bought to make a Cortana-inspired shawl. It won't even put a dent in my stash of it, because I found it necessary to purchase three or four skeins of it, just in case. Now that I will probably be knitting the shawl, I definitely don't need 800 yards to do a small shawl. So, this little book sweater will be a nice way to try out this yarn before I go for a big project with it.

I'll start out with the suggested needle size. I think that, the more I knit, the more firm my tension has become. I don't think it's necessary for me to go down a needle size anymore.

We shall see, we shall see...

Oh, and I'm going shopping for worsted weight. Very soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Memphis, Day 1

Wow, today was a long day. I've been up since 3AM, and my ability to write is out of the window. So, here's my day in pictures.

What a day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Memphis Eve

I'll be leaving for Memphis at 4am, so this will be short. I finished Gaenor, which has be very excited, because it's much more fun to wear than it was to make.

The Facts:

Pattern: Gaenor by Corrina Ferguson

Dream in Color 'Smooshy' in Dusky Aurora

Needles: US 6/4.0mm KA Bamboo Circulars

My Two Bits:
This shawl produces a beautiful result. I can't say that I absolutely loved making it, but I'm thrilled with the finished result. It blocked out to a huge size, and will be keeping me toasty warm in Memphis.

I started Traveling Woman last night, and I'm super excited about it already. Pictures tomorrow, while I'm working on it on the bus.

Alright, I'm off to bed soon so that I can get some sleep before the big trek. Pictures from Memphis soon!