Yarn in my Skate Bag

I figure skate. I knit. But not at the same time.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knitting...and splurging...

One month left before school starts. Whereas in my previous academic endeavors, this meant a solid month to lay by the pool, read mindless chick lit with no literary merit, and enjoy a cold margarita or ten, with law school that means that I've already started reading...lucky me.

However, I was able to justify a wealth of new technological toys. My first new laptop in five years! I am pleasantly surprised with how much the price for a laptop has dropped in five years. I paid less than half of what I paid in 2003 for a computer that is a lot lighter, widescreen, and has about 6x more RAM and 120 GB more hard drive. For the record though, I HATE Windows Vista and I hate the new version of Microsoft Office even more. Perhaps they'll grow on me, but I don't anticipate it.

I also broke down and purchased my first digital camera! Yessss! No more photos taken by borrowing my sister's camera (or more like stealing it when she's not home), or using the lousy camera on my cell phone. I went for a Nikon Coolpix S210. It's small, it takes great pictures, and it was pretty cheap ($150). Oh, and it's purple.

I also won a new 8gb iPod Nano in a drawing at work last week! Score! I bought a 1gb shuffle for the gym/rink back when the price dropped in the spring, but an upgrade of my 15gb 2nd generation iPod purchased in 2003 was overdue. It's pretty much dead--no longer communicates with my computer and the battery is pretty much shot (the latter of which isn't an issue, as I mainly use it in my car and the integrated system Scion has keeps it charged).

I think new knit iPod and camera cozies are in order...

Aside from reading, the next month is also dedicated to wrapping up some knitting projects. I finally decided to use the Peruvian Tweed (100% alpaca) I bought on sale 2 yrs ago to design my own sweater. Just a simple V-neck with a chevron lace pattern and set in 3/4 length sleeves. Right now I'm about to start the sleeve caps! Winging it seems to be working so far...I think it will look fabulous once it's blocked and the lace pattern opens up more.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer!

Summer brings....

Time to knit up all the yarn I have in my stash before classes start in August. Because a) I don't really have money to buy yarn right now (stupid law books take up yarn funding), b) I'm saving up for a few projects I'm dying to do, and c) might as well use the stash. Truthfully, I don't have much of a stash. I know this because I just organized it last week...most of it is left over from previous projects, with some random accumulation here and there...and it all fits in one 18 gallon plastic storage tub. So any sort of yarn diet, provided I have time to knit, won't last too long. My latest is a sweater I'm designing for myself with my Peruvian Tweed :) (More on my Ravelry site.) Speaking of which...

Summer also brings my newest web site addiction I don't have time for, Ravelry. Have I been that out of the loop that I didn't know this wonderful site existed!? Muchas gracias to Amy for pointing me in the right direction (my productivity at work will go down now). I'm on there as Rachillsk8, and I've uploaded allllll (or almost all) of what I've knit over the past year, and stuff from my (somewhat pathetic) stash I'm going to use up at some point.
Summer also brings the first 2 medals of the 2008-2009 skating season!



This past weekend I drove up to Grand Rapids (gas prices, eek!) to compete at the Grand Rapids Open. It's not an adult-only competition, but they have enough adult skaters there that they can actually hold events for us. It was great seeing all the adult skaters I've met the past 2 yrs who competed or came to watch, and I met another local adult skater who is actually joining my club this year! Yay!

I placed 2nd in my interp and 3rd in my free. It was my first time competing silver free, second time competing individually. Overall I'm okay with how I skated. Interp could have been better, truthfully I am a huge slacker and didn't really prepare for it (meaning I did the same Josh Groban program I made up on practice ice 2 hrs before competing it at Adult Nationals...which I have since run through once before this competition). For whatever reason, I get really nervous for interp. My free program...okay in the fact that half of it is new, just put together within the past 2 weeks (other half is my bronze program from last year). My goal was just to get through it, which I did. But I didn't have the attack I need, and therefore my jumps were not nearly as high as they are in practice, and I need to hold my spin positions longer. This will all come though with practice and there is plenty of time and plenty of competitions between now and April. Eventually the whole awkward "oh my god I'm out here by myself, someone help" feeling will go away, my program will get more comfortable, the harder elements I want to put in will get to where the need to be. As always, my beautiful dresses looked fabulous :)

As much as I loved synchro, it really is kind of nice being able to skate to what I want, compete when/where I want (and stay in whatever hotels I want), wear whatever dress, make-up, hair, etc I feel like, and be on my own schedule. The friendship and camaraderie that seemed to be missing from singles competitions when I was a kid (hence what drew me to synchro) is totally there with adult skating. And I love it. So having to give up synchro for law school certainly is not the end of the world.

Summer also brings my finished "Girly Raglan!" I wore it to work last week, and actually made it to knitting group afterward! It was a big hit all around. It does seem to grow a bit while wearing, but I think some hand washing and a little time on low in the dryer before it's fully dry will take care of that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Girly.


This yarn purchase is among my proudest.

10 balls of Rowan Cashcotton DK in color "pool". Purchased on Ebay for $31. At $44 after shipping from the UK, that was still a steal! (Only 8 in the bag at that point, I had already dove into it before taking a pic...had to wait until I was home alone so as not to scare my family by taking photos of yarn. They were already somewhat scared by my level of excitement when it showed up in the mailbox.)
The yarn is yummy. It's soft, it's pretty, it feels oh-so-good against the skin.

Problem is...I bought this yarn for another project. After some frustration trying to get gauge, I realized...doh...the pattern calls for Cashcotton 4-ply, not DK. But not all is lost.
Since I'm not much of a stasher (most of my stash is yarn left over from other projects), and this yarn is perfect for a summery sweater, I decided it couldn't wait too long. Rather than setting it aside, buying the correct weight of Cashcotton (which probably would NOT come as cheap), I decided to cast on for a summery, simple top-down raglan with a nice wide almost off-the-shoulder neck. I didn't really have much of a plan for this sweater, I just wanted to see where it would take me. After 2" of ribbing, I decided on a simple eyelet pattern.


And after a week....
I'm not quite sure if this will end up with short sleeves (maybe an inch or two of ribbing to the current length), or my original thought of 3/4 sleeves. Maybe a hoodie-style pocket, maybe just 4" of ribbing...not quite sure where this is going yet, but I do know that I am liking it!
I love top-down raglans. So simple. Guaranteed to fit. So little finishing. Endless possibilities.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack....

Look! I'm still alive. I still knit. I still skate. I haven't posted in almost a year (eek...been BUSY!). But the past year in a nutshell:

--Still at the job I mentioned starting soon in my last post. Love the company. Love commercial real estate, it's very interesting. Turns out it's the perfect field for a gal who loves shopping...except now when I go to the mall, I find myself wondering some pretty ridiculous things (like...is that restaurant over by the mall an outlot, or a ground lease? How did Chipotle and Panera get around radius restrictions to put locations in the mall when both restaurants are already right down the street? Are the CAM charges at Eaton collection high, because it's beautifully landscaped...)

--I'm finally going to law school at Cleveland Marshall College of Law (Cleveland State University). I'm in the part-time program, with class 6-9pm M-Th after work. I opted for part-time over full time because I'm getting amazing experience at my current job, and they're paying for a little more han half my tuition. Plus the thought of more student loans and leading the poor student life again was not appealing. Instead I'm just poor and needless to say, I have no life!

--The wonderful man in the last post? Been dating just over a year now and it just keeps getting more wonderful :)
(yes, I knit that shrug I'm wearing in that pic.)

--Got glasses. Things that are far away are no longer blurry.

--The awesome roommate mentioned 2 posts ago? Turned out to be crazy and a total pain (as in people over getting drunk until 2am every night, obnoxious drunk friends passing out on the couches on weekends, throwing parties when I went on vacation without having the courtesy to tell me). I got out of that and moved into my parents' house back in October. My parents didn't care, and I figured it was silly to pay rent for an apartment when I'm basically never home. Plus, I'm better off putting that money toward law school.

--My 25 yr old brother got his girlfriend knocked up...my nephew Ian (named after one of my little cousins who were killed 2.5 yrs ago) is due in late August. And I get to keep him in beautiful knitwear. I finished this cute little sweater in plenty of time for the baby shower next week. It's a simple top down raglan, I made the neck opening for his head, there are button holes (need to buy buttons). Yarn is Lion Brand Cotton Ease, which was surprisingly soft and nice and will wash easily. It took less than one skein of each color, with plenty left over for a matching hat. Didn't take me much time to finish these at all.
I'm also finally able to use the few balls of JoAnn Sensations Bellezza Dolcetto in a blue/white blend that I bought a few years ago. It's a really nice soft wool, nylon and cotton blend. I found the pattern in the Knitty archives, it's a top-up raglan hoodie in a garter rib pattern.







--This year I added two more national medals in figure skating to the collection! My synchro team won the adult division at the 2008 US Synchronized Skating National Championships in Providence, RI back in February!







I also decided to start working on freestyle again, since I won't be able to skate on my team next year due to my school schedule...when I got back from Rhode Island, I spent the next five weeks re-learning all the jumps and spins I hadn't really done much of since I quit singles skating at age 12. I then traveled to Lake Placid, New York for the 2008 Adult National Championships. Lake Placid has always been a special place to me--and one of my favorite places to skate. While most skaters' first competition is a local basic skills competition, my first was a team competition in Lake Placid. I came home from that trip with my first medal, which still hangs in my room (along with 100+ others). I didn't have my best skate at Adult Nationals, I got really nervous being out there on the ice by myself...but it was good enough to take home a silver medal! That's me on the left hand side of the podium!

While I didn't make that dress (it came from Del Arbour, my favorite skating dress company, who also did those gorgeous blue dresses my team wore and our back ones from last year), I did glue on all 1000+ rhinestones one by one...they don't show up as well in photos, but there are small black stones all over the body of the dress (front and back) and the black edging separating the sleeves from the nude mesh insert. The red/silver stone pattern on the front wraps around to the back of the dress, too. You can make out the necklace and bracelets, also all made out of stones glued to the dress (needless to say this lil baby took hours). It really sparkles out on the ice and I got tons of compliments. I also had a new ice dancing dress made (which has a longer skirt). It's a red halter, and I blinged that baby up, too. I'll have to post pics later :)


I'll have to post pics of all the things I've knit over the past year...aside from the baby gifts, there are 3 complete sweaters, 2 pair of socks, a pair of fingerless gloves, a cable knit scarf for the boyfriend (which he loves), and a few WIPs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

If My Mother Only Knew...

My mother has always been convinced that anything my siblings or I do will ruin something in the house. Bottle of perfume (on a doily) on my dresser? That's going to ruin the dresser. Laying on the couch? It's made for sitting on and you're going to ruin it if you lay on it...go to your bed if you want to lay down. Actually using the comforter to cover yourself when you sleep? That's going to ruin the comforter. And I'm used to being told I'm going to ruin the stove, oven, sewing machine, washer, dryer, or any other machine or appliance in the house by simply using it. (No wonder I never moved back once I left for college, eh?)

My parents are out of town this week, on vacation with my sister in Hilton Head. Um...I needed to block two knitting projects, but my house is not conducive to blocking because it lacks carpeting (yes, I know I could always get a blocking board or use some other alternative, but I like pinning down to the carpet). And I had some felting I needed to do, and the front-loading, locked-during-cycle washers in my building and at the laundromat just wouldn't do (when I mentioned my need for such a washer for a "project" to the new boyfriend, he offered to let me use his, but I really like him, we've only been together for a month, and I'd rather not scare him away by purposely shrinking perfectly good sweaters in his washer). Needless to say, if my mom saw the two projects (laid down on towels, of course) pinned to the carpet in my bedroom, and the washer that is currently full of hot water and some of my old sweateres, she'd probably have a heart attack. (For the record, I am ruining neither the carpet nor the washer. Or the pillowcases I used to put the old sweaters in, the towels I laid between wet pieces of knitwear and the new berber carpeting, etc). Muahahahahaha. My brother, on the other hand (who is 24 and still lives at home), has used his freedom at mom and dad's house this week to have his girlfriend stay over, throw parties, drink tons of beer, and do God only knows what's else. In the grand scheme of things, what's worse?

On to the felting project. I have some old sweaters that I haven't worn in at least two winters, hardly wore the few winters before those, yet can't bear to part with. Since due to age and some improper washing (by my mother, because remember, I wasn't allowed to ever touch the washer because I'd ruin it), they were already very slightly felted. So...I felted them the rest of the way and will be turning them into handbags or whatever else I can think of. Here they are, pre-felting, again, forgive the lousy camera phone pics. One of these days I'll get around to buying a real digital camera.
American Eagle Outfitters cardigan circa 1997 or 1998 that I remember buying on clearance for about $10 or $15. Got some good use in high school, haven't worn in a whole lot since, kept it around thinking once I was in the working world I *might* wear it, but still haven't. I plan to incorporate the embroidered pattern going down the front somehow, perhaps making a round purse with that along the top by the zipper. Only time, scissors, and my sewing machine will tell!

This sweater was picked up on clearance at Abercrombie and Fitch around fall 1999 or winter 2000 (either way, freshman year of college) and I wore it quite a bit that year, but not a whole lot after. The bell shaped sleeves were always too long, it was to chunky to roll or push them up, I didn't know how to knit back then and therefore couldn't fix the length myself, so I never wore it much after that. But never got rid of it. The future knitter in me was subliminally screaming "you'll be glad you kept it!" It has a nice floral pattern on the hip and one sleeve and I've got plans to incorporate those sections and an old brown leather belt to make this a cute as hell felted hobo.

This is another Abercrombie sweater, I think I got it senior year of high school (so 1998-1999). So cute with a white top underneath, khakis, and a pair of Doc Martens back in the day. Even cuter when it's a fall purse. It's the perfect orange color for that.

My dad bought me this beautiful sweater from Express for Christmas when I was in 10th or 11th grade. He let me pick it out. It cost $60, which back then to me seemed like A LOT of money for one sweater and I almost felt guilty for asking for it. But if anyone were to buy it for me at that price, it would have been dad! I wore it quite a bit over the years but all the color work sort of felted together over time and it got a tad tight. Plus it was always too warm. Ohhhhhh it'll be such a pretty bag!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BAH!

So I finished and blocked the Argyle Vest (designed by the amazingly talented Eunny Jang). I started this back in November or so, but it hung from a doorknob in one of my many knitting bags for several months due to both lack of time and my nervousness about steeks. (I figured that undertaking was best saved until I had a significant amount of time to dedicate to it). Turns out the steeking was easy and somewhat fun! As the project progressed, I originally feared it would be too snug in the belly region...that actually came out perfectly! However, it is way too big in the shoulder area, as you can see in the photos below (I don't own a digital camera so forgive the crappy camera phone pics...):


I seem to have two options. 1) Rip out all the ribbing around the neck and shoulders (approx two days worth of work), undo the shoulder seams, take it up, and then redo the ribbing, or 2) seam it up via sewing machine

Any advice!?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm still alive. And I still knit.

Abandoning my darling blog AGAIN!

Ok....so I'm still alive. Since I last posted, I've moved into a great apartment in Cleveland Heights. I have a great roommate Suzi. I'm in an artsy-fartsy sort of area of Cleveland where I can walk to pretty much anything I'd want to walk to (ice rink, yarn store, bars, restaurants). Lost my shitty job right after Memorial day, which was a tad of a setback. However, I was offered a new job in the legal department of Developers Diversified Realty yesterday! I think I start Monday. For the past month, I've been dating a guy who is absolutely incredible. (For the record, he knows about the knitting. He's seen some of my handbags and stuff. Doesn't quite know about the blog yet...or the extent of my yarn stash...but he's got his quirky hobbies too so no need to worry about what he thinks of that!)

I finished the knitting for my wrap sweater from last year's spring Vogue. It needs blocked, but I'm planning to do that at my parent's house this weekend since my apartment lacks carpet to pin it to.

Deep V argyle Vest that I started what, last fall? (I want to say November) has been sitting abandoned for a while. The knitting is done, although it's still on the needles. I know I have to do some stuff with the steeks. I pulled that out to look at finishing before I start something new.

And I've got a stash of about 5 old wool sweaters that are out of style, too small, have accidentally been felted, etc. Some of these are circa 1996-ish. Those are going to eventually get felted and then probably turned into handbags for the fall/winter.

Sorry kids, I am lacking in the digital camera department, not sure where my camcorder (with built in camera) is...so no pics. I'll work on that.