terriko: (Default)
2016-07-19 10:56 pm
Entry tags:

Wedding wrap-up

Wedding photo links here:
https://wedding.afront.org/

Yes, it went well, aside from one of our friends getting a sprained ankle walking in and having 3x the amount of food we needed I think.

No, there are no honeymoon plans, as I need my vacation for family this year. Perhaps another year.

Yes, I did make my own dress. Note the pocket I added the morning of my wedding day. It was invaluable as it meant I could carry my cell phone and give my parents and grandmother a bit of a personal tour of the site.

No, I am not becoming American at this time. Do you people even know how long that takes? (But I don't want to anyhow, so it's moot.) I got my green card some weeks before the wedding, so this does not affect my immigration status in any way.

Yes, I am still recovering.
terriko: (Default)
2016-06-17 11:48 pm
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Miscellaneous frequently asked questions

Do you still have a job?

Yup, so far! J too. But J's dad has had to switch companies. Thankfully, he got an interview and offer right away for a position that's up his alley, so that's cool. Sadly, he'll be moving for the new job shortly after our wedding.

How's that wedding planning going?

Actually pretty well. We're hardly done, but we spent time this week painting the stairway and reading stuff from the choose-your-own-adventure ceremony guide our most excellent officiant sent. Some of the options in the book were... hilariously not us. Much laughter ensued. :)

But yes, we've got a list and we're ticking things off it. Being internet generation that we are, the list is actually a Google spreadsheet and the closest thing we have to a wedding planner is a grumpy sysadmin in Denver who is determined that we won't run out of food. Okay, we also have a whole IRC channel full of folk who are also double and triple-checking our checklist. We are seriously lucky to know such great people.

Are you getting stressed out yet?

Not this week -- we've actually been relaxing a little again. We've got a great community of friends, as I said above. And especially lately, J and I have been especially in sync as we sort out tasks and try to finish the last house reno stuff. (I would never have thought looking at carpet could be so hilarious, but it was!) We were pretty worn out after Pycon and the cold we caught, but we've been kind to ourselves and each other, and it's been good. It probably helps that neither of us cares deeply about the details: there'll be food, and friends, and a legal tying of the knot, and everything else will work out or it'll be a hilarious story to tell people later. We're so very lucky that there aren't huge complicated wedding traditions on either side of the family, but also that both of us are quite happy to say no when we're told we just "must" do something. ("But there have to be flowers!" "There are, they're in the garden" "But couldn't you just buy..." "... buy more flowers and put them in the ground?")

Anyhow, life is good, but painting the guest bedrooms and dealing with lists *is* taking up a lot of my evenings, so you might not be hearing *that* much from me for the next few weeks. Wish me luck!
terriko: (Default)
2016-04-04 10:33 pm
Entry tags:

Preserving America's Freedom

A friend posted a screenshot of this impressive webkit issue:

12717998_10208687820094489_6961418503102908676_n

Which of course, inspired me to write this:

"Really, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to present the Yellow Sign in court. It was something of a miracle that more people hadn't tried to enter it into the public record. Still, she'd apparently gotten complacent about it in her old age. As voting expert Persily pulled out his maps, she didn't notice the sign tucked into the corner of the document until his voice started to change. Thankfully, while youth and speed had long since passed her by, age and cunning held well in their stead, and the glasses she'd had enchanted did their job leaving her mind clear despite the exposure to the symbol. She waited a moment as he continued the incanatation overlaid in some statement about voting in Texas, then began her own counter-charm. Justice Ginsberg wasn't about to let some cultist stand in the way of government accountability, not this day."

And to think I was just thinking, the other day, that it was a shame that I didn't write as much fiction as I used to. I'm not even sure how I feel about this now. ;)
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2016-04-04 03:03 pm

Strawberry gloves

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

My other goal for 2015 was to try some more stranded colourwork that wasn’t double-knitting. I had intended to do more simple stuff, but I fell in love with this pattern and you know how it goes from there.


Strawberry Fields gloves


The pattern is Strawberry Fields by Jami Brynildson. It was one of the shop patterns offered by Knitting Bee during the 2015 yarn crawl (shops offer one or two patterns free with purchase during the crawl and they’re available for sale after the event). I got the kit at Knitting Bee during the crawl since it was one of the patterns I knew I wanted to make.


The yarn is Black Trillium pebble sock yarn, which is amazing and I would totally work with again. The kit was more than enough to do the pattern, so I’ve got some nice little balls left over for a dash of colour in some future project.


Watermelon helmet, Strawberry gloves


These gloves have actually been done since sometime in 2015, and I wear them around town all the time because they’re among the smallest warm gloves I have. I particularly like that the colours go with my watermelon bike helmet, which is from the delightful Nutcase Helmets. I also like to think that their name is a statement on my mental state, which I assume is why they put it on the front of the helmet. I saw someone with one of these out on the road by the grocery store and knew I wanted one when my helmet was due for upgrading.


The gloves a little more beat up than they were fresh off the needles (you can see a yarn tail that’s come unwoven in the photos) but I hadn’t shared them when they were finished so now’s as good a time as any!


I did modify the thumb a little bit, as the original one felt too tight for my comfort. I don’t like having my motion restricted, and being able to spread my hands wide is kind of important when braking on the bicycle!


Strawberry Fields gloves


Things I learned from doing this:



  1. Working with wool for colourwork is much easier than acrylic or cotton. My other tests had been with cheaper yarn, and it turns out I wasn’t doing myself any favours. The wool is much more forgiving, blocks better, sticks to itself better, and is just all ’round easier.
  2. Don’t pull anything tight. Those floats behind need to be longer than you think, and I can still see places where I pulled a bit too tight to fully block out.
  3. I need more practice doing colourwork while using magic loop (I did two gloves at a time on a single long circular needle).
  4. Blocking is magic. These looked ok on the needles, but they look beautiful after blocking.
  5. I want to do more colourwork!

As to the last, I’ve already started on more experimentation with colours thanks to my yarn sampler subscriptions, but expect more projects in 2016!

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-31 03:00 pm

Japanese Knot Bag

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I was browsing this thread about project bags, saw this design, and thought I should try it out. A quick search of the internet found me some basic instructions (this tutorial has particularly decent pictures and nice clear indications of where to sew), so I free-handed a pattern and gave it a shot.


Japanese Knot Bag


In the picture above, you can see my free-handed pattern. I knew I wanted a project bag for my current knitting project (the sweater) that always has me carrying at least two balls of yarn (that’s to allow me to switch back and forth between two balls and avoid abrupt colour changes when I switch balls). So I basically put the two balls and proto-sweater on my grocery store ad and drew around it.


Japanese Knot Bag


You cut two of both the inner and outer colours, then pin them right-sides in.


Then sew the outside/bottom edge of the bag EXCEPT the outside handles. Basically, start below the handle part and sew along the bottom until you get to where the handle starts on the other side. If you look at that first picture of my template, you’re basically ignoring everything above the grocery store ad likes that say “organic” on one side and “home & family care” on the other. Snip along the curve if you want it to sit better.


Also, sew the top flat part of the handles at this point.


Then, you turn the inner lining right-side out and stick it into the bag, re-pin, and sew the whole top curve INCLUDING the handles but only the one side of them.


It’s going to look kind of goofy as you turn it right-side out:


Japanese Knot Bag


You pretty much have a big oval bag attached in the center with handles sticking out. Wrap it all around and you get a bag with holes in the handles on either side. You need the holes in both handles for it to turn correctly, don’t try to do something clever like I did or you’ll be making friends with the seam ripper. There’s probably some way to do that so it works, but I wasn’t going to experiment too much.


Japanese Knot Bag


Iron the edges so they’re folded in and then complete the seams, do a bit of stitching at the bottom of each handle for strength, and voila, you have a bag!


You fold the long handle through the short one, and it stays reasonably closed and looks like it could be a cousin to the little hobo bag on a stick of the type you see in cartoons (wikipedia tells me this is called a bindle).


Japanese Knot Bag


It’s a pretty simple project, on the same scale as my favourite drawstring bag, but with curvy seams instead of a fiddly drawstring.


Japanese Knot Bag


We’ll see how it does after I’ve toted it around for a while, but it certainly looks prettier than the beat up old small cloth conference bag that I was using before! This is also a great bag to hang on a wrist if you’re knitting while standing in line or just want your yarn close at hand so it doesn’t get tangled or tempt a kitty.


Overall, I think I’d need to be a bit more careful if I were giving this as a gift, since I didn’t love my final seams that much, but I like it enough that I kept my freehanded template in case I want to make another!

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-28 03:07 pm

A sweater for me (just started!)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One of my goals for 2015 was to knit an adult-sized sweater, but I cheated a bit and made one for my sister (who’s smaller than I and one of the smaller adults I know).


So I revised my goal for 2016 and here’s the start of something cool, I hope:


Cardipalooza swatch


That’s the swatch for my very first sweater for myself!


I’m participating in Cardipalooza” (Ravelry Link) in hopes that having a group to post pictures to will help me stay on track. It’d be better if there were weekly checkpoints or something, but I guess I can make my own.


The yarn is Malabrigo Rio, a beautiful 100% merino wool superwash that comes in the most lovely colours. I wanted to treat myself but still have something that wouldn’t be so hard to care for that I’d never want to wear it.


Proto-cardigan


I’m trying Acorn Trail, which might be a bit of a challenging pattern for me because of all the many many fit options, plus all the seaming. But I like the way it looks, and it’s not like anything else I have, so that’s what I’m starting with. Probably not the most scientific way to choose, but honestly, I think most yarn projects are just “I want” and anything else is just justification anyhow.


The photo is from earlier in the week — despite having to tear back twice due to messing up the decreases, it’s bigger now!

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-24 03:05 pm

Yarn of the Month Club, January 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


January’s Yarn of the Month package has some serious variety in it! Raffia, cotton-linen gradient, and a single ply acrylic-wool super-saturated gradient. These were all super fun, but I was most taken with learning to block raffia. So flexible and shape-able when damp!


Classic Shadow


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Classic Shadow

“This yarn has such beautiful colourways – it would be perfect at jazzing up a simple project”

4.5 sts/inch on US 8

70% Acrylic, 30% wool


Single ply, acrylic-wool, super-saturated colour goodness. I love the swatch pattern!


Front unblocked and blocked:

Yarn of the Month, January 2016

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Back unblocked and blocked:

Yarn of the Month, January 2016

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Those colours are great, although I will caution that they bled a little upon blocking. After a wash or two, though, I could totally see using this in a brilliant “screw all those pastels” baby project.


Good Earth Adorn


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Good Earth Adorn

“This yarn is perfect for lacy spring knitting”

4 sts/inch on us 8

47% linen 53% cotton


This is a really nice linen-cotton blend. I could actually see making a garment out of this one, even though I’m not the hugest fan of working with linen (the “so soft after many washings” is too long a pay-off for me).


I think the stitch pattern might make a nice dishcloth, though, and those things get washed a lot more than garments:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


It wasn’t evident to me that it would be a gradient from the ball, so that was a neat treat. Here it is blocked:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


And in kite form! 😉


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Yashi


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Yashi by Universal Yarn

“This yarn is challenging to knit and creates beautiful and sturdy projects”

3.75 sts/in on US 9

100% Raffia!


I’d been curious about raffia but I couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole ball to try it out. Thankfully, this is exactly the sort of reason I subscribed to Yarn of the Month so I was quite pleased to get such an unusual yarn! It feels weird to be knitting something that feels like paper, but I got used to it quickly. I honestly didn’t think it was that hard to knit after you got into the swing of things: the raffia is much more flexible than I’d have expected.


I didn’t like the seed stitch swatch recommendation because it didn’t really show off the neat flatness possible with this fiber, so I switched mine up with some bands of stockinette to show the difference:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


The biggest surprise of using the raffia was learning that it can be blocked. (Thanks to the fine folk at Black Sheep at Orenco for telling me that!) It was super satisfying to block, as the damp raffia becomes flexible and soft.


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


I was surprised by how taken I was with the Raffia. I might have to see about making myself a hat or something!


Conclusion


An interesting batch of yarns, but the real winner for me was getting to try out the raffia. Who knew I’d like it so much? I should see if there’s still some in the sale bin at Black Sheep at Orenco…

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-22 11:39 pm
Entry tags:

It's been a while, how about some book reviews?

GSoC is, as usual, eating my life, but it's not so bad. If you're reading this and want to help mentor for Python, drop me a line, I have a project that needs help and is willing to train new folk.

But let's talk books in brief, since I've read a couple I enjoyed:



Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch



This title sounds like smut, and there's definitely some steamy scenes (The aliens look like supernaturally hot humans, because of course they do), but it's also a hilarious campy mashup of Men In Black combined with a romance novel, and it's *fun*. This one starts when protagonist Kitty walks out of a boring day of jury duty and sees a case of road rage turn into a savage and not-entirely-human attack. Thinking quickly, she jumps in to help... and in the aftermath, finds herself carted off to New Mexico by mysterious and hot government agents as a new recruit.

The weird combo of space-Judaism, code breaking, aliens and terrorists... well, you've got to read it to believe it. I'm particularly a fan of Kitty's mom, but I can't tell you why without spoilers. I've already got the next book from the library.



The Imager Portfolio (Series) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.



The author's Recluce series marked the point at which I stopped asking questions about a friend's book recommendations and just started reading whatever he suggested. I haven't read all his other series, though, so I picked this up from the library because it was one where they had the first book. As I've come to expect, this one has fantastic world-building, politics and societal questions, characters I come to care about, and action to keep everything from getting too dense. I just finished the second book today.

This particular book is about a young man who starts his career at as a portrait painter, but as one might expect from the title, he eventually figures out that he has "imager" powers -- that's basically this world's version of a mage. Soon enough, he finds himself making powerful allies... and enemies. It's a serious study of power in the political/social arena, and while I do think it skirts the edge of being preachy at times, it's good enough that I don't mind, and I even found myself pausing to think about what the characters were saying more than once, and not just because I was knitting and needed to re-read passages if my mind wandered too much.
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2016-03-21 03:01 pm

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, January 2016

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


January 2016’s Beanie Bag was all about yarn construction. I got the purple version, which was really quite nice! This month’s notion was a shawl pin from Knitter’s Pride (I was so glad mine arrived intact — apparently a few got broken in transit!), there was the usual little package of wool wash from soak, a pattern coupon (I forget if I used this one or not), and of course the 4 balls of yarn.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


I just want to give a quick shout-out to January 2016’s bag: The snowflakes are so cute, and I was initially disappointed that the new zipper didn’t look as pretty until I realized that it also doesn’t seem to catch the yarn as much as the chunkier old ones. So score one for improved functional design!


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


There are 4 samples. You can read about them on the Beanie Bags website for Jan 2016, but in short they were:

20 yds of Alpaca Lana D’Oro

20 yds of Highland Duo

20 yds of Cloud

20 yds of El Cielo


The last one is exactly the same, including the colour, as a sample I’d tried from YOTM, so that was amusing. I used it very differently in this project, though.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


The pattern was a simple kerchief, like a big chunk of granny square since I did the crochet version because I like crochet colour changes better. I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but that super-soft edge is really nice. I’d never really worked on a project with 4 completely different types of yarn before. Kind of fun, and something I would totally do again.


20160115-IMG_9662.jpg


Just to do a quick compare/contrast, here’s the Beanie Bag yarns beside my Yarn of The Month yarns. The YOTM sample (on the left) has a broader variety of unusual yarns to try (a single ply with bright colours, raffia, and a gradient linen-cotton mix), while the Beanie Bag yarns although different are intended to go together. It’s kind of interesting how the strategy is different. Also, in case anyone’s curious, I weighed the yarns and the Beanie Bags samples came in a bit heavier than YOTM in January, but it’s pretty close.


Also, I had forgotten that Jimmy Beans does a 5% cashback on yarn, and that this applies to the Beanie Bags and was auto-applied to this bag because I’d gotten to the threshold of $1, so I got this bag for $9 instead of $10. It might have been fun to build up a larger discount over time and then treat myself, but this is so much more convenient and practical and I never forget to use it. Handy! Between this and the fact that YOTM has had to raise their prices a bit to $9.50 (from $9.25), the prices are even more close than ever for people who keep a continuous Beanie Bags subscription.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


Overall, I don’t think I learned as much from this Beanie Bag as I have from others, but it’s still a very nice bag! I got a usable project (although I don’t know how much I *will* use the kerchief as it’s started to become itchy as I wear it to write this… and I’m not sure which yarn I’m reacting to!), a nice shawl stick, a great bag, and a convenient travel size of wool wash.

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2016-03-17 03:02 pm

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, December 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Beanie Bags, December 2015


December’s theme was “superwash” and it included 5 samples in worsted weight. This seemed like a perfect time for me to practice my colourwork, since “do a small fair isle project” is on my craft goal list for this year, and I need practice with colourwork.


Beanie Bags, December 2015


In addition to the yarns, there’s some pom-pom makers, patterns for wine bottle cozies, a packet of Soak wool wash, and a coupon for a discounted pattern (which I forgot about before it expired, alas!)


I took quite a few photos of this bag, but honestly when I’m looking for info on a bag I often wish there were more pictures rather than less, so if you’re curious, I put even more pictures up in my curiousity.ca/things I’ve made album on flickr.


Here’s some photo spam of the yarns:


Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This was the softest yarn of the bunch!


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash


Madeleinetosh Tosh Vintage


This has the subtle colour changes that Madeleinetosh is known for, although they aren’t super obvious in my photos of the little ball.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Madeleinetosh Tosh Vintage


Lorna's Laces Shepherd


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This is a nice woodsy variegated with a looser, squishy ply.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Lorna's Laces Shepherd


Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


A pleasant heathered yarn. I particularly liked working with this one.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted


Beanie Bags, December 2015


Another pleasant heathered yarn which was a great match for the Rowan.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted


My Fair Isle sampler


Overall, they all felt pretty similar, and it’s possible that difference in softness was a function of the dyes more than the yarn itself (although the different plying does make some difference). This was great for my purposes, since it meant they worked okay together!


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This detail shot shows you two important things: #1, the variation in colour in the madeleinetosh sample. #2, the lesson I learned about fair isle samplers, which is that you *really* need to work in some sort of border to anchor the colour changes. I’ll keep this in mind for the next time I do a colourwork sampler!


Here’s the whole piece:


Beanie Bags, December 2015


The patterns were taken from “Mastering Colour Knitting


I’m not sure how I’ll fit this long sampler into my blanket made of samples yet, but I think I’m at the point where I should start putting it together rather than filing all my samples in a binder!

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2016-03-15 01:06 am

Pi day swap!

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One of the Ravelry groups I enjoy runs a pi/e themed yarn swap and I decided to participate this year because seriously, how awesome is that? The deal was that you had to include yarn or spinning fiber, some edible goodies, a handcrafted item, and other goodies related to pi or pie. Target value was $30-40, which was actually hard shopping in all the yarn crawl stores with their beautiful handpainted, hand-made items! But I managed!


My swapee likes batman, so I made her a project bag which *might* have just been an excuse for me to buy some batman fabrics.


It’s reversible, so here’s the outside and the inside:

Batman project bag for Pi Swap

Batman project bag for Pi(e) Swap


I also made some papercraft pie boxes to fit the bag and some tea into. The lemon meringue one is a pattern from the silhouette store, and I modified it to make a blueberry pie one since I was putting blueberry tea inside:

Pie boxes for Pi(e) swap


I also made some magnets and a button, and a whole set of pretty stitch markers suitable for even bulky needles, but I didn’t take pictures of those separately.


Here’s two views of the whole package:

Pi(e) swap package


Pi(e) swap package


It included lovely yarn from Thoroughly Thwacked, a Brittany Crochet hook that my swapee was looking for, and some wooden buttons that I thought looked cool as well as the other things I mentioned. I hope it suited her!


And, since I’m sure you’re all curious, here’s the package I got from my upstream partner:


My Pi(e) swap package!


I see she noticed that I like tea :)


Also, check out the amazing little cherry pi pie charm:


Cherry pi pie charm from my Pi(e) swap package!


And the hat fits perfectly!


Super awesome hat from my Pi(e) swap package

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-13 02:50 am

Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One more preview photo for today!


Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


These yarns have been sadly neglected in favour of Rose City Yarn Crawl stuff, but they’ll be coming up soon! I’m very much looking forwards to more teensy tiny sample knits.


Yarn of the Month is on the left, with that tempting stained glass pattern that might have me ditch the usual swatch patterns in favour of trying a two-colour affair. Jimmy Beans is on the right with the Eddie the Eagle-themed package. Apparently they yarnbombed the Sundance film festival in celebration!

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2016-03-13 02:35 am

Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I took this picture back in January but apparently never actually shared it, so here’s a belated preview, if that makes any sense:


Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


Yarn of the Month is on the left, Beanie Bags on the right. Since I’m planning to block the YOTM samples tonight and nearly done with the project for the Beanie Bags, I’ll leave further discussion of the contents until the full reviews.


I had not taken a picture for February because the Beanie Bags package was delayed to the point where I was completely entrenched in Rose City Yarn Crawl knitting when it arrived, but I’ve taken a quick snap today that I’ll put up shortly!

terriko: (Default)
2016-03-13 01:42 am

Yarn Subscription preview, March 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Both my subscriptions arrived on the same day, so here’s a quick preview!


Yarn Subscription preview, March 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


My Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag on the left is a collection of sport weight merino in pretty pinks, with the newer square bag like they did last month, a Soak wool wash packet and this month’s notion, which is plastic spiral stitch markers. I don’t have any of those so I’m pretty pleased!


My Yarn of the Month Club mailing has two larger samples without any obvious theme. The yellow is a neat wool/linen blend with an interesting texture. The white is a slippery, shiny wool/polypropylene/nylon blend that is unlike anything I’ve ever knit by feel alone, but it’s even neater than that because it changes colour in the sun! I’ll try to get some better pictures of it tomorrow when I’ve got more sunlight!

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2016-03-03 08:37 am

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-long (Clue 3 and 4)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Crawl starts soon, and of course I’m last-minute blocking!


Here’s clue 3:


Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 3


And the final clue, clue 4, unblocked. I actually missed the final colour change, those last points are supposed to be cake-coloured. But honestly, I’m so in love with the yellow/orange yarn that I’m kind of glad I made the mistake. Plus it looks better with the beads I wanted to use.


Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Soaking so you can see that I did actually add beads:

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Or maybe I should call them sprinkles, given the cake theme?


Blocking:

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Great pattern, but now I’m going to bed to get some sleep for tomorrow’s crawl!

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2016-02-21 03:45 am

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’d planned to just do the knit-a-long for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, but then I went out to a knitting group and saw what the pattern for the crochet-a-long looked like… Not only does it look lovely all crocheted up, but the pattern itself has the most gorgeous crochet charts I’ve ever seen. Colours to distinguish rows! Highlighting to show you where pieces should line up with rows below! Careful layouts to make everything easy to read! One of the reasons I learned to knit (besides needing something to do on the 3hr long car ride to the Very Large Array) is that there are so few good crochet patterns and learning a similar craft was the easiest way to expand the range of patterns I could do. So it would be a shame to know of such a nice pattern and not try it out!


The Yarn


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long


I’d been so good about using stash yarn for the MKAL that I decided to treat myself to something at Black Sheep for this one. These are both from Teresa Ruch, a local dyer who works with synthetic fibers and uses amazingly saturated beautiful dyes. The yellow-orange ball is Tencel, the grey is bamboo rayon. It’s a neat combo because the tencel is much shinier than the rayon, so there’s a serious contrast between my two colours. And it’s a nice excuse to try some different synthetics, since I’m always on the lookouts for allergy-friendly options.


The pattern


Here’s a teensy peek at those charts I’ve been raving about:


mcal-chart


Not only are the charts clear, well-written, and easy to follow, but the “flavour” of this pattern is cake, so it’s described in layers of cake and icing. People in the thread have been naming off cakes to go with their colours, and it’s awesome. I’m calling mine creamsicle mousse.


This pattern is named after Rimsky-Korsacoffee house, one of the local places that takes “keep Portland weird” as a personal mission. Also, it has great cake.


Clue 1


Clue one included a layer of cake and the first layer of icing:

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1


It’s approximately kerchief-sized at this point, and a bit to fit into my photo lightbox unfolded, so I kind of need natural light to take pictures of it (my flash is somewhere in a box from the move).

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1


Clue 2


Clue two, also included a layer of cake and layer of icing. The icing is pretty similar, but the cake is quite a different stitch pattern! At this point, it’s starting to really look like a shawl:


Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2


And a close up:

Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2 detail


This is the first larger, non-amigurumi crochet project I’ve done since I got some “ergonomic” crochet hooks, and I’ve got to say that it makes a difference. My right hand doesn’t get tired nearly as quickly. In fact, it’s usually my left that gets tired first now! If you crochet at all, I highly recommend investing in a set. It doesn’t even have a very expensive investment: They are cropping up at absurdly cheap prices on amazon and elsewhere, maybe $10-15 for a set of hooks with a case and sometimes with some stitch markers or other notions thrown in. I have a set from clover that has a significantly more expensive list price (I got it on sale) but I honestly can’t tell the difference between it and the cheaper sets. I do admit I haven’t tried crochet with the cheaper ones for any length of time, though.


The only weird thing about these hooks that they don’t match up with the sizing of the other hooks I own, so my new G hook is a bit smaller than my old one (4mm vs 4.25mm). Thankfully, it seems to be working out fine on this shawl.


Doing both the MKAL and the MCAL was probably a bit too much, since it’s meant that I haven’t even touched my January Beanie Bags or YOTM samples, let alone the February ones, but I’m really excited about the final piece taking shape, and it’s kind of neat to be doing the less-common one. The last clues came out this past Wednesday and my deadline for the shawl is when the Crawl starts in two weeks, so it’s looking like I’ll be able to finish both without much trouble!

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2016-02-15 03:04 pm

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit-a-longs (Clue 1 and 2)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

As I mentioned in my post about knit-a-longs, the Rose City Yarn Crawl runs both a knit and crochet a long in the month leading up to the yarn crawl. It’s a real treat seeing people wear their creations out on the crawl, and I wanted to be one of those gals sporting a new finished object on the crawl this year.


I decided that enough of my yarn was unpacked that I should be able to find some stuff out of my stash. This is actually hard, since I mostly buy yarn for specific projects and this is my first cowl, so I haven’t really shopped with that in mind. Since it’s Presidents day down here in the US, I’ll show you the red-white-and-blue yarns that became my short list before I decided on my two required colours:


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Knit-a-Long


Okay, so it’s actually blue-white-red like the French flag, but I am Canadian after all! This is KnitPicks Diadem yarn, bought during the big yarn sale in November two years ago on spec, because it sounded lovely and I wanted to try it. It’s a super fluffy alpaca-silk single ply that *feels* like heaven, but it’s kind of hard to work with because it sheds fluff, splits, and the fluff felts into little loops around the yarn that I have to cut off pretty frequently plus it sometimes loops around to make knots. And it’s hard to photograph because of the halo of fluff.


I was initially pretty disappointed by the yarn, but as I’ve gotten used to it, the luxurious feel balances out the finicky nature of the yarn. This is going to be one luxurious cowl, although I’m going to have to work for it!


I really wanted to do red & silver but once I saw the first clue, I decided silver & blue would suit it better:


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Knit-a-Long


Clue 1 is supposed to remind you of bike treads. I think it does!


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 1 detail


The whole pattern is written like a story about a bike ride, with twists and turns. Clue 2 involves some scenery and then some winding roads.


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 2 detail


It was at this point that realized that I’d somehow chosen my high school colours, silver and blue, because it reminded me of an old high school shirt when I started to get into the “scenery” part. Oh well, they’re great colours even if it is a bit funny.


Now let’s zoom out and see clue 1 and most of clue 2. I needed to take the picture while I still had nice light and figured you’ll see the last part next time. Clue 3 has been out since Wednesday so I’m a bit behind!


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 1 & 2


That… does not look like a cowl at all, to be honest. What a strange beast! I look forwards to seeing how this construction is going to work in the end.


Overall, the story of this cowl kind of makes it fun, and I’m loving how it feels even if the knitting process can be a tad annoying thanks to finicky yarn. I do think I’m done with mystery knits for a while after this, though… after seeing how beautiful other people’s cowls look with colour two as a variegated, I have a deeper understanding of how much I like selecting colours with advance knowledge of how they’re going to work together. But I did choose something high-contrast which looks pretty good, so I can’t be too sad!

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2016-02-15 12:05 am

Catch a Falling Star MKAL Clue 3

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’ve paused on this knit-a-long since the Rose City Yarn Crawl ones have started and I foolishly have tried to do both, but here’s what it looked like at clue 3:


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 3)


I really liked the bind-off in this. You can’t tell from the in progress photo, but it’s designed so that the bind off is thicker in places to follow the curve, so I plan to block it curvy. Overall, this was a very technically interesting pattern! And very nice for a free KAL to start the year, although not the easiest one on my hands. I really need less slippy small double pointed needles, I think, but my knitpicks laminate ones broke while I was using them. (They replaced them, but I’ve been too nervous to try the replacement.) Anyone got any recommendations?


I’ve actually finished this one glove, since as you can probably guess there’s just a few thumb stitches left. I haven’t finished the second glove because I’m on to the next project, but it’s cast on and waiting for me when I’m done and ready to come back to it!

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2016-02-09 12:08 am
Entry tags:

Bonus beauty: Panda Eye Stick

Birchbox January 2016

I mentioned that I was using my $10 coupon to buy adorable kbeauty things. This is the best one: a little aloe eye stick in an adorable panda container. It is greenish, makes my eyes feel cool for a minute, and serves basically no purpose in my life except that it looks adorable beside my sink. I'm ok with that. :)
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2016-02-08 09:57 pm
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Birchbox January 2016

Unsurprisingly, the Birchbox for January is new year's resolution themed. Here's the eye-searing outside:
Birchbox January 2016

And the contents:

Birchbox January 2016

So let's talk about 'em!

Birchbox January 2016

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser

I know, I know, more lather doesn't equal more clean, but I love how this lathers up and it's so easy to see to rinse clean even if I'm exhausted when I head to bed. I normally don't think much about my cleanser, but this one feels like a treat. The person who described it as smelling like pina colada mix isn't wrong, but I like it.

I've tried a billion cleansers thanks to birchbox and most of them make very little impression on me. Since it's sometimes a struggle for me to remember to wash my face as much as I should, I figure anything that makes me actually happy about doing it is a good thing. I'm putting the full-sized version in my next birchbox order!


Birchbox January 2016
Birchbox January 2016
0.2 Meet Your Destiny® 0.2 Eau de Parfum - 50 ml

It's a perfume. While I don't immediately hate it, I also don't love it or even care about it. It's a grand meh on the perfume scale. The nicest thing I can say about it is that the incredibly meh "0.2" name goes well with the meh scent and the meh packaging.

update: okay, after putting it on my wrist and leaving it there while I wrote the rest of these reviews, I care about it enough to wash it off. bleh.

Birchbox January 2016
Ciaté® Nail Polish

I love getting nail polish samples and I'd never tried out Ciaté so I was pretty excited. It looks pretty neat on my nails, fairly different from the way it looks in the bottle. But unfortunately, that's where the fun ends for me: it's a fairly thick, textured polish (not a personal favourite) and it chips pretty easily so my mani only lasted two days. Maybe fun for a special event, but certainly not a daily wear for me. Alas!

It did look pretty for a day, though:
Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint

Using this feels like I'm staining my lips with strawberries -- it's got that berry scent and a light liquid formula. I kind of love it! It's quickly become a favourite of mine because of the easy-to-pocket small curvy sample container. Do be careful on chapped lips: it can stain dry edges a bit more than other places and leave you uneven, but I've used this as motivation to remember to put on lip balm overnight so that I can use this in the morning.

Definitely nicer and easier to use than the benefit stain, maybe a bit less easy to use than the stainiac one, similar to the one I have from Sephora but the scent is more fun.

Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

This seems like a perfectly nice liquid liner, but I just can't seem to get the hang of using it even in a nice big easy-to-hold pen. I did manage to get some thinner lines without much difficulty, but I still end up with mis-matched eyes half the time I try. I guess at least there's lots of sample for me to practice with?


Birchbox January 2016

In conclusion...



I guess if I had to pick one of those stickers, I'd go with creativity, since when I thought about resolutions, I realized most of what I had were craft/maker goals. I think honestly, though, that it's less about creativity and more about refinement. My goals are mostly based on learning new techniques that complement what I know and using the skills I have more effectively, and about tackling bigger projects. That's honestly true across non-maker goals too.

I think this carries over to makeup: I'm feeling less like it's a fully creative endeavour and more like I'm in a slow skill-building phase. And this is good, because tuning the looks I can use at work is super useful, and also means I have a sense of subtle tweaks that make a difference in my continuing use of makeup as a social engineering tool. (everyone uses makeup that way, I'm just more intentional about it than some, I guess.)

Anyhow, overall, this was a good box for me: I loved the cleaner and the lip tint. While I didn't love the nail polish or eye liner, they were both products I'd considered paying for and I'm glad to know not to spend money on them. A few dollars of sample continues to be a much better investment for me than most full-sized products, even if I wind up with perfume samples every other box.

I've been wondering if I should give up my birchbox subscription when it comes up for renewal this summer since I've gotten myself into another yarn subscription and honestly, how many boxes does one gal need? But given the way I use makeup, it's still looking like a reasonable investment especially because it encourages me to keep my makeup fresh and toss old samples so I don't have bacteria-filled tubes of mascara around. Plus, I like the points system. I'll make a decision when the subscription comes due, though.