Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween and Christmas Knitting

The boy and his family received the care package I had sent them at the beginning of the week. I filled the box with scarves for his mom and sister, a big box of Iranian black tea spiced with cardamom, an Iranian fruit-roll up type snack, home-made Halloween-themed candles, and Halloween stickers and decorations for his nephew. For him, I sent a traveler's coffee mug, which I decorated the insert with pictures of us and from this summer, a knit cardboard mug warmer (pictured in a previous post sans buttons) because he hates the wastefulness of the cardboard sleeves, a bunch of pictures of us (including a number of kissy-face photos), a pouch of reece's peanut butter cups (his favorite candy), and the orange and blue journal I bound for him after he saw the rooster one I made in class.

He was incredibly touched by all of it. I really enjoyed making all of that stuff for him and his family. I love that they appreciate it, rather than think it's a waste of time the way my family does.

This very slighly puts the pressure on for Christmas, though (1) I'm sure they don't expect anything from me, and (2) I've already been working on Christmas gifts for the last month. I've already knit three pairs of fingerless gloves for two of his sisters and his sister-in-law. I am giving the rooster journal to his oldest sister. I already knit and plan to weave in the ends and block his mother's falling leaves scarf later today.
There's a pair of blue Fetching in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, a pair of pink Cabled Fingerless Mitts also in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and a pair of light pink/orange Cable-Os in Debbie Bliss Fez.

Still left to do include making reindeer hats for his nephew in Seaside and niece in Rhode Island, finding a cute hat pattern (and actually knitting) for his two other nephews in Rhode Island, knitting baby hats for his twin nieces and baby nephew. I should probably knit hats for his brother and brother-in-law, as well, but I'm not quite sure how much time I will have before the Holidays to do that. I found this really cool yet manly scarf pattern in Son of Stitch 'n Bitch that would be perfect for his father.

The boy's mom and younger sister apparently loved the journal I made for the boy and kept trying to claim it as their own. I think I might make another long day of it at the UCC to whip up another couple of journals for them, especially since I'm already giving away one of the journals I made to his older sister. That means that I need to step up my present to his older sister so that things are relatively equal.

I thinking about giving her the Summer Flies shawl that I'm working on using the indigo fingering weight yarn I picked up while with her and the boy at the Genesee Country Village this summer. I absolutely love this pattern since (1) each row is written out clearly, (2) each section is different so I never really have time to get bored with it, (3) and because it's knitting up very quickly. I've only really worked on it for 3 days and I'm just about at the last section. Since the pattern calls for 380 yards in either a dk or worsted weight, I'm going to have a whole lot of yarn left over if I follow the pattern precisely since this skein has over 440 yards of fingering weight. I'm a little concerned about blocking it since the skein was hand-dyed using natural materials and bleeds onto my fingers very slightly as I'm knitting with the dry yarn. Hopefully it will be ok.

Please forgive the pictures... my camera battery died sometime last week and I still can't find the charger. The photos above were taken using photobooth on my laptop.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spilled Milk

So much crying tonight. First over a stupid... thing with my boyfriend. Then over a long conversation with my ex. Sometimes I feel like I should just pull away from everyone and into my own little corner of this apartment.

At least I finished my December Little Shawl and half a pair of Cable-Os gloves for Ali.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Candles, Knitting, Cooking, and Bookbinding!

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I last posted on here. I've mostly been keeping myself busy with crafting and going to the gym. 

This week's activites: 
Christmas-themed candles for to be sent to the Boy's family. I wasn't 100% thrilled with the green I used for these but after much trying, I had to give up and just go with what I could get.
 I made a coffee cup/mug warmer for one of the Boy's older sisters. I think I'll make another one in a different color and give those along with a couple of knitted bookmarks as a Christmas present. I made her fingerless gloves back at the end of the summer as a present when we stayed with her in upstate NY for a long weekend. I'm sure she'd love another pair of them, but I'd rather give her something more unique. She's actually going to visit LA in early January for a conference so I can't wait to hang out with her then!
 I had a really strong desire to bake on Sunday and Monday afternoons. I ended up making apple crisp, based off a recipe from the food network, on Sunday...
 ... and I baked "Mommy Bread" on Tuesday night. The Boy's mother is an amazing cook/baker and I heard about this amazing bread she would bake for everyone when they were kids. On one of my last days in NJ, she and I spent all day talking while she painted the kitchen and I wrote down recipes into my book. At the end of the day, she taught me how to make the bread from scratch! I still have two more loaves worth of dough in my fridge, in addition to the 3/4 loaf sitting out on the kitchen counter. I'm not sure when I should make the other loaves since it's just me out here in the apartment. If only the Boy were here so he could help me eat it all...
 Lastly, I took a bookbinding class today at the UCC, which was incredible! I made the book on the right in class, and then stayed afterward and made the book on the left on my own! I am thrilled to have this new skill under my belt and definitely plan to make more books in the future. I'm probably going to go back to the UCC tomorrow morning to make some more book covers. The Boy requested a "Knicks" themed journal and I'd like to make one for his (above mentioned) older sister, too. Plus, the more books I make now while this is all still fresh in my mind, the greater chance I have of solidifying it so I remember how to do this all in the future.
I'm also still going strong on the crocheted blanket. I think it's currently the perfect size for one person to cuddle up underneath it but I'd like to comfortably fit two people. =) Sadly, I have no recent pictures of it and my camera battery is now dead. I'll look for the charger tomorrow morning and possibly post some pictures of it then.

I'm really excited to check out the West Hollywood Stitch & Bitch tomorrow evening! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween Candles!

The colors in this photo are slightly off, but you get the general idea.
 I think I've fallen in love with candle-making.
 I can't wait to send these out for Halloween!

FOs: Falling Leaves Scarf, Cabled Fingerless Gloves & Candles!

The past few days have been full of creative energy. I'm running late to the UCC so I'll just post some pictures for now. Enjoy! 

 Cabled Mitts for the Boy's sister-in-law.
 Falling Leaves Scarf for the Boy's mother.
 Soy candles made at the UCC.
 Same candles, different angle.
Oh, I forgot to take a picture of the pillar candle I made in class a few weeks ago with the rest.

I'm off to make some Halloween themed candles to ship to the Boy's family, along with some yummy Persian treats. I wish my family would enjoy some of this stuff so I could make/give them these types of things. They just think it's a waste of time. Oh well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Instant Gratification

I woke up to a rather dreary morning and decided that I needed a burst of color and some instant gratification while I continued laboring on my longer projects (the crocheted blanket, the evil stepmother shawlette I had to restart, my falling leaves scarf and a newly started green wrap).

Insert these cabled fingerless gloves I decided to knit for one of the boy's sisters. Knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, this glove worked up rather quickly and enjoyably. I misread the pattern a bit though and ended up with 41 total rounds, rather than the suggested 39 so I'm debating whether or not I should go back and adjust the glove. To compensate, I only knit 8 rows of the ribbed pattern on top, rather than the called-for 10 rows, so I did end up with a glove in the size described in the pattern... I just got to it in a slightly different manner. It's late, so I'll knit the thumb tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I can't wait to go to the UCC to continue learning how to spin fiber! Ana was a great teacher last week... I just hope that I can continue teaching myself what to do in her absence.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Candles, Roving, and New Friends

I had the loveliest day yesterday! I headed over to the Urban Craft Center in the afternoon for a candle-making class. We had a lot of fun playing with soy pillar candles, honeycomb wax, and beeswax sheets, along with a variety of scents and colorings. I came home with a lovely variety of candles and can't wait to start making my own here.
My favorite candle is definitely the mermaid, made using a silicone mold out of honeycomb. I plan to give this one to the Boy's mom as part of her Christmas present.
I've been making slow and steady progress on the second part of her Christmas present, her falling leaves scarf, in white. I can't wait until this is finished and blocked. I hope she likes it.

After my candle-making class, I stuck around at the UCC for their open studio night to work on the above-mentioned scarf. About an hour into the studio hours, Ana, from BananaKnits walked in to work on some of her beautifully dyed roving. I asked if I could watch her fluff it up (I apologize fir obviously not knowing correct fiber terminology) and I'm glad I did because she was wonderfully sweet and helpful. A few minutes later, some of her other friends joined us, with fiber and yarn in hand. They proceeded to tell me about various knitting and spinning groups and meet-ups in the Santa Monica area. Ana also showed me how to use a Turkish spindle to spin fiber!
I certainly did not expect to start learning how to spin fiber when I woke up yesterday morning! Working on the Turkish spindle was a bit difficult for me, but I think I started getting the handle of it towards the end of the evening. The UCC has a bunch of different types of spindles in their collection, so I'm going to play around with a few until I find one I like. The also have a variety of wheels, so I will definitely check those out on Monday morning.

I signed up for a monthly membership to the UCC for October. I was going to wait around until November, but then I realized I would have to start studying for the NY/NJ bar exam then. So, I'm committing to making the quilt I started last April in NYC. I have a bunch of beautiful fabric, some of which has already been cut and is ready to be sewed. I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish the whole thing, but I'll do my best and see where I end up.