Monday, December 15, 2014

Skills Upgrade: FAILURE

Remember last month when I learned to knit by magic loop with those chunky warm mittens?  I figured since I had that down, it was time to try two-at-a-time knitting (where you knit a pair of something at the same time using one circular needle and two balls of yarn).  And since I had a pair of fingerless mitts to make for my Mom and two full travel days going to and from a holiday in California (!!!), lets just jump in and see how it goes.

Toast and Jam Fingerless Mitts
Uh...yeah.  That was tedious.  I spent more time detangling the cables and two strands of yarn than I did knitting.

Maybe I should've used a shorter cable.  Maybe if I'd tried this with a thicker yarn than DK.  Maybe if the pattern wasn't twisted rib (AARRRGHHH).  Maybe if I'd done more research than a quick google before leaving to catch our 5:50 am flight.  Whatever the reason, this was beyond tedious and despite a 14 hour travel day, I got less than 2 inches knit.  TWO INCHES!

I'm a slow knitter, but not that slow.

Toast and Jam Fingerless Mitts
I love this yarn - so soft and pretty.  Oh superfine alpaca, you're super fine.
Anywho, I eventually ditched one of the mitts and continued on with just one, and it went so much faster.

Toast and Jam Fingerless Mitts
Toast and Jam Fingerless Mitts
Not fast enough though, because all my Mom is getting for Christmas (other than the aforementioned blanket) is a box with the two pictures above, a tiny swatch of the yarn, and an IOU note.  Oops.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

fo: Umaro Blanket for Mom (ssshh don't tell!)

Umaro Blanket
The never-ending blanket is done!!  Seriously, I only finished knitting this at noon on Wednesday, the day before I returned to camp and the last day I could possibly ship this thing out.  How people knit blankets (and full sized ones at that instead of wee lap blankies) out of anything finer than super bulky without tearing out their hair, I'll never know.

Umaro Blanket
Pattern: Umaro by Jared Flood
Yarn: 100% Acrylic Bernat Softee Chunky (super bulky)
Mods: Ran out of blue yarn, added brown stripe as "design element".  Did not do last half repeat because ran out of yarn again.

This pattern was lovely to knit, it was interesting and kept my interest.  So nice to watch the large scale stitch pattern develop.  The only downside was that this sucker got heavy on the needles.  So heavy that it sheared the metal on the connector piece of one of my knitting cables while I was knitting the last row!

Umaro Blanket
I was pretty sick of this blanket by the end, but I think that was because of my self-imposed deadline, and no knitting is fun under a crunch.  But I had to get it done, because the only knitted gifts I'd committed myself to was for my Mom, who hasn't gotten any knitted things from me.  She'd asked specifically for a pair of fingerless mitts, and aha damn they're not finished.  More on that later.  So I had to get this done just to send her something that was finished.

Although she nearly didn't get the blanket.  As soon as it came out of the dryer all soft and snuggly (can not believe how much this yarn softened up with a wash!), Darryl immediately stole it and wouldn't give it back.  Not even pictures made him relent.  So haha you guys get to see one in retaliation!

Umaro Blanket
For those who celebrate, how goes your Christmas prep?  Are you all chill and cool and done, sitting back and enjoying the season?  Or are you like me and getting a little manic trying to get everything done?  Are you crafting any of your gifts?

And more importantly, have you ever sent a picture of an unfinished gift with the promise that it'll will be done soon? 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dreaming of Project Future (again)


Except I can't because CHRISTMAS KNITTING OMG.  And I'm stuck in camp with only this project (and another, but I refuse to start anything until this blanket is done or else it'll never get done).
What's keeping me going is, well, rushed Christmas knitting, but also that I've promised myself that I can start up two new sweater projects (at once!) after I'm done gift knitting, and I've been stoked to start both of them for a while.

This one is Henri by Holla Knits, and I already have the yarn to knit it!  I've been itching to knit this one ever since I saw Michelle's version, ages ago.  I'll be using Knit Picks City Tweed, same as hers, and nearly ordered the same colour as hers (because omg it's called Kitten and doesn't it look adorable?!).  But then the purple called to me and I'm glad I chose it, it's such a vibrant and scrumptious colour.  The yarn is scrumptious, and I've been chomping at the bit to start this for months now.  I do plan to figure out how the lengthen the sleeves though, because 3/4 or 7/8 sleeves (whatever that is) is way too short for Yukon weather.

OMG I want this sweater, it looks so cozy and so me! 

On the opposite side of the spectrum is this super light-weight cardigan, Featherweight.  It's a stockinette open sweater knit out of lace-weight yarn, and oh cripes I'm going to be crawling the walls with how find and how long this will take.  I normally don't knit anything finer than worsted weight, so yeah, BATTY.  But it's a great layer and perfect for wearing over the 1000 tank tops I own but never wear (other than as a bottom layer) because I live in the Yukon.

The yarn is an impulse buy from our LYS, Malabrigio Silkpaca in olive.  I don't know why the green, it just called to me and wouldn't let me leave unless it was in my purse, so there you have it.  I love Michelle's version with her lovely stripes*, but I think I'd wear this more as a solid.

I think these will be good to knit together.  One is more complicated and involved, with all of those textures and cables, while the other will be pretty mindless knitting.  I'm want Christmas to be here now so I can get started on these already, geez.  Christmas gift for me!

How about you all?  Have you chained yourselves to gift making and getting sick of it, like me?  Have you ever set a reward for yourself for completing a tediously long project?

*If you haven't noticed yet, Michelle is sort of my knitting idol.  She makes some gorgeous knits and I sort of want to copy nearly everything she makes.  :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Never Ending Blanket

Umaro Blanket
I realize this picture doesn't have a scale.  It looks so tiny though DEAR TOAD WILL THIS EVER END?!
Knitting a blanket for my Mom for Christmas, and it's never going to end.  This is it as of this afternoon.

Umaro Blanket
This is it 20 days ago.

I am never knitting another blanket again.  If this was crochet, I'd've been done weeks ago.  *grump*

Umaro Blanket
It is awfully pretty though...

Monday, November 10, 2014

fo: Really Quick Mitts

It's officially winter here in the Yukon, and my hands are cold.  So despite the crazy list I've given myself to knit for Christmas gifts, I said screw it and made myself a pair of mitts!

Our new LYS had this great super bulky skein of Malabrigio Rasta, and I fell in love with the colours.  I wanted a simple pattern to show off the yarn, and Ravelry lead me to Really Quick Mitts, which is designed specifically for this yarn.  This pattern was easy to knit, and yes, really quick.  I wish the LYS had more of this yarn because I'd just make these mitts for everyone.

This yarn is so thick, I needed to use thicker needles as well, and I don't have 9 mm needles in double points.  That meant either ordering online, or finally learning magic loop.  Hmm yeah, time to learn a new skill.  And you know, it wasn't nearly as hard as I made it out to be in my head.  Funny how we psych ourselves out about these things, eh?

Because I can't just follow a pattern, I decided to knit this between their small and large (the only two sizes).  I basically just cast on 14 stitches (S: 12, L: 16), and then followed the directions for L.  Surprisingly, I only used half of the ball of yarn, so either I have ridiculously short hands or...I don't even know.  Anyways, I explained my mods on my Rav project page

These mitts are really warm.  I didn't realize how warm until I was playing outside to take these pictures.  Took all these pictures playing with the snow, then took them off to take a few other pictures, and then froze my fingers off.  My boyfriend didn't appreciate me warming them up down his back.

This picture is dedicated to Michelle, who lives in Texas and makes mittens anyways.  If I could send you some snow, I would.  Come to the Yukon and play!

While taking these pictures, I looked up at the setting sun, and noticed that the sky matched my new pretty mitts!  Aw so pretty.

And for a bit of fun, here's some of my outtakes from trying to be fancy with my camera's zoom.  Heh, oops.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Follow Me on Bloglovin!

...if you're into that sort of thing.  I'm just trying things out and claiming my blog over yonder. 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In more crafty news, I'm working on a few things that I can't wait to share with you!  I just need to get off my butt (and the computer) and photograph/work on/finish them, but oh how comfy is my couch?

Very comfy. 

This is why I knit.  Mmm comfy couches and crafting, combined!

Monday, November 03, 2014

fo: Linden Sweatshirt of LOVE

I have to say this before anything else: I LOVE THIS SWEATSHIRT, above and beyond anything I have ever made (and that says a lot, because I've been sewing/knitting/crafting for a very very long time)!
Linden Sweatshirt
Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt, by Grainline Studios

Fabric: Two medium-weight mystery knits I've had for ages - the grey patterned one I bought years ago at Value Village (thrift shop) for a few bucks and suspect is pure polyester; the black is a cotton-poly fine-rib knit (I think) that I got in a large fabric package from a friend a couple of years ago. Despite the difference in stretch (the first has about 20%, the second closer to 50%), they paired well in this garment.

Size: I cut a size 14 through the sleeves and upper body, gradually grading to size 16 at the hips.  And then I chopped a bunch off.

Modifications: There were a couple - mostly due to me wanting something less loose with this stiffer body fabric, but also because I suspect I have very short arms.

Linden Sweatshirt
Of course, I took exactly 0 pictures of this entire process, but I found the body was just too wide once sewn up.  Cozy and comfy, and I might've kept it as is, but it pushed just past the sloppy line and I knew it'd bother me.  So I took my trusty chalk and marked, on both sides, 1/2" from the hem and wrist stitch line, and 1" from the underarm stitch line, connected them all with a smooth line, and restitched.  This means I took 4" total off the width at the bust and upper arm, and 2" total off the wrist and hemline.  And now it's a perfect fit!  Still loose and comfy, but I'm not drowning in oversized sweatshirt.  (Although if I used a thinner or more fluid knit, I might not make these same mods.)

Linden Sweatshirt 
The only other mod I did was to hack 2 1/4" off the sleeves, because raw they were longer than I wanted them finished, and I still had a 2" cuff to add!  Easy peasy alteration though.  I nearly added thumbholes to the cuffs, but then changed my mind.  Mostly because sleeves long enough for thumbholes to be used drive me batty.

ETA: OH!  I also cut off 1/2 inche from the bottom hem, because I don't know it made sense at the time.  Forgot about that, until I looked over my notes from last night.  Oops.  This is why I learned to take notes, becaue my brain is rubbish at remembering things sometimes.  Slacker brain.

Linden Sweatshirt
The only critique I have for this sweater and pattern, and this is purely personal preference, is that the neckline is a little too wide.  My bra-straps, sadly, get shown off nicely in this sweatshirt.  I'm not choked up by this though, because this sweatshirt is cozy and perfect for layering, which I do like sediment deposits in the warmest months, nevermind in winter.  BRING ON THE BRIGHT TANKTOPS!

I think, to solve this next time, I may either project the raglan seams, shoulders, and back neckline up a bit to get more coverage.  I could probably try a smaller size considering how much I chopped off the sides as well, but I think I have the fit I want worked out there, and this might be a fun drafting exercise.  Alternatively, I could try pinching out some of the width on the front and back piece to reduce overall width.  Hmm.  Any other suggestions?  Have any of you tried something like this?

Linden Sweatshirt
None of that above distracts from the pure love I have for this garment, and I don't even want to make anything else until I've made at least 3 more.  Already I'm plotting how to incorporate all of my knits into this pattern, and different ways I could alter the pattern (lace? zippers? pockets? embroidery?)!  And it's so quick and easy; I think it took me about 2 hours total (ignoring interruptions like dinner and a gym visit) to make up last night, and that includes putting it on constantly and running out to show off to Darryl (the boyfriend - I guess I should finally give him a name on this blog).

Linden Sweatshirt
That expression screams 'damn proud'.
And because I don't have anything else to say but OMG LOVE THIS PATTERN SO MUCH SQUEEEE, here's a few more detailed pics.

Linden Sweatshirt
So glad I "saved" this patterned knit for just this project - nothing else would've worked nearly as well!  This is why extensive stashes are a must for any crafter.  *nods*
Linden Sweatshirt
Neckline ribbing and topstitching.  Plus the purple ribbon I'm using to designate 2014 makes (and which side is the back).
Linden Sweatshirt
Don't know why, but those sleeve cuffs ans topstitching brings me joy.
Linden Sweatshirt
Don't be fooled by the even-ness of the bottom topstitching - the damn seam meanders like a slow-moving river.  WHATEVER DON'T CARE.
Have you sewn this super easy pattern up yet?  If not, do you think might in the future?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Plotting a Sewcation and Spazzing out in Camp


No, I'm not excited at all.  I love my job, but there's only so much of it I can do at one time, and 3 weeks straight (that's 252 work-hours, but who's counting) with no days off is definitely it.

To get me though these last few days, I've been plotting a sewcation!  And boy have I bought the patterns to prove it.

First item on the docket is to test sew Steph's latest inspired creation, the Sea Star Tunic.  I have no idea how this funky puzzle of a pattern will go together, but it sounds like a fun experiment!  While I know I should go with something practical, I'm sort of thinking that it'd be fun in some sort of sheer, like a pretty chiffon in some wild print.  Hmm, choices choices.

I've also downloaded the Rosy Ladyshorts, by Cloth Habit.  They're so pretty, and look like a fun and quick pattern.  I just hope I can find decent fabric in town. 

When I was down in Edmonton this summer, my buddy and I went fabric shopping (well, I went fabric shopping and she encouraged me to buy everything), where I finally tracked down some swimsuit fabric.  I have a bunch of it now (but no photo yet, sorry!), but no pattern to go with it.  WELL NO LONGER.  I've jumped on the Bombshell bandwagon, despite some misgivings about that straight line across the hip bit.  I like it on everyone who's made it though, and it's a lovely pattern, so I'm just going to trust in the pattern and go.

 I'm also considering this tankini pattern by Jalie Patterns for some of the fabric. I have some wild hot pink and black arrow fabric which would be a lot of fun as a top.  Or bottoms.  OR BOTH!  Ack I wanna show you the fabric!  Soon, my pretties, soon.

What else...oh!  I also bought the Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio this time.  Mostly because I'm bloody cold in my office and it looks like a great sweater pattern.  I have a great, sturdy purple knit I've been hoarding, and this might be just the project!  Ooo, I also have an argyle-printed grey knit I've had for even longer...can you say colour-blocking?!

For some reason, I feel like I bought another sewing pattern sometime in the last three weeks, but maybe I'm thinking of the 3 or 4 knitting projects that have made their way into my hands...

(Why yes, there has been a lot of impulse shopping this rotation, why do you ask?  I'm just glad to have refrained from the yarn ordering bing I nearly did the other day...)

And none of this includes all of the patterns I already own want to sew up.  Like another version of Grainline's Archer.  And...I don't even remember, but there's a lot.


(I might be going a little camp crazy)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rock Post: Bornite

Bornite Samples
So as you can probably tell from my blog title, I like rocks.  I'd blame on the fact that I'm a geologist, but I've been smashing rocks to find shinies since I was 4 years old (and then going door-to-door to sell them), so really, becoming a geologist was inevitable. 

Just because I work as a geologist, doesn't mean I get immersed in the science of it very often (which is why I want to start sharing more on this blog - use it or you'll lose it, and all that).  My job is pretty routine, and basically boils down to identifying shiny rock (ore) from dull rock (waste), and following their trend to get the most shiny.  And drawing lots of maps, which sometimes involves colouring with pencil crayons.

Seriously, I have the best job ever.

Bornite Samples
Despite the routine, we occasionally find some really pretty specimens.  Like the bornite sample above!

Bornite is a copper sulphide mineral and one of the sources of copper metal in our mine (we mine zinc, silver, copper, lead, and a bit of gold).  For those curious about these things (I AM!  Haha I'm such a geochemistry geek), the chemical formula for bornite is Cu5FeS4, and the mineral generally contains 63% copper.  It's had a lot of different names over the years, most of which can be translated to some variation of "colourful copper ore", but was finally settled on as bornite in 1845 after Ignaz von Born (1742-1791), an Austrian mineralogist and invertebrate zoologist*.

Bornite Samples
Today, it's commonly called "peacock ore" because of the stunning colours that bloom across the surface as it oxidizes (aka tarnishes - like all of your Grandma's silver you were forced to clean as a child).  This mineral can oxidize very quickly - these samples oxidized in the 12 hours between the rock was blasted and my visit underground.  Granted, the was so much water pouring out of the surrounding rock that I'm surprised we didn't need a boat, so that probably helped a lot.  (Water, especially oxygen-rich water, can cause more rapid oxidation than just exposure to air.)

A less exciting (but still shiny!) version can be seen below.  Some of the darker blebs in the rock is quartz, a bit of sphalerite (our zinc-bearing mineral), and I suspect there's a bit of pyrrhotite in there somewhere as well.  I know there's a ton of pyrite (aka fool's gold) mixed in as well, but I have a tough time distinguishing them in this sample here.  Though if I dunked this sample in water for a week, the pyrite would turn rusty and the bornite colourful, which would identify them both - but then I'd be stuck with an ugly rusty rock with a bit of colours peeping out. 

Bornite Samples
We don't actually see much bornite at our mine, or at least, we don't often get a chance to identify it because it can resemble some of the other minerals we find underground, and we don't spend much time studying rocks in production mining.  That's for exploration projects.  Which is why we were so excited when one of our headings was chock full of it.  As you can see, it can be really pretty when oxidized!

 And just for shits and giggles, here's some of my phone doodles that I particularly liked.  One was drawn while drinking some horrendous coffee, and the others were just girly-ness while surrounded in boys.  I'm damn proud of that unicorn, myself!



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

She Lives!!!

Project Planning
Most of the yarn I panic-packed for camp knitting this rotation.  Each ball was a surprise as I unpacked them.
And by 'she' I mean me!

So I'm nearly two weeks through a three week rotation in camp.  After only one week off before hand.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, that means I'll have worked 5 full weeks out of the last 6!  BLECH.  And half of that with the camp plague, to boot.  This place is a little petre dish.

Between the workload, crummy internet, and crummier health, there hasn't been much desire to blog lately.  But I have kept steadily onward with knitting.  Yes, more knitting - it's the easiest thing to bring to camp.

See that pile of yarn above?  It's what I panic packed for camp the morning I left, directly because I realized how quickly Christmas is approaching, especially for someone who makes most of her gift.  YIKES!!

I don't really have much to share right now.  I'm lucky I was able to get the one photo into this post with this slow internet, and I'm a bit scared to hit post.  But I am alive!  (Which feels a bit surprising, considering the back-to-back colds/flus I got earlier this month.)  And man, I cannot wait to get home, clean out my disaster of a sewing room, and sew

I'll babble more about my Christmas knitting soon.  And possibly a rock post, because boy did I ever find a pretty one underground the other day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

fo: Grey Amber of Summery Goodness (and Winter too!)

Grey Amber
Look, I crocheted a sweater!

Grey Amber Grey Amber
I mentioned this sweater last month when I was suddenly obsessed with crocheting.  We're heading off to a warmer climate this summer, and I wanted to make something for it (well, a few somethings, but we'll get to that later).  This seemed like a great garment to toss over a tank top and shorts or bathing suit, so I bought yarn and started hooking as soon as it arrived.

Pattern: 152-17 Amber, by Drops
Size: Small
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Whisker
Hook: 5 mm

The thing is, I didn't exactly read the yarn requirements properly before I made my Knit Picks order.  Which is totally understandable since it was a 2 am order...  ANYWAYS, I ordered worsted weight, not DK as the patterns calls.  (For those who aren't yarn affici, worsted is a bit thicker and heavier than DK, which can effect your finished garment size since the stitches tend to be bigger and thicker as well).  I really wanted to use this yarn though, so I just did some maths (urk) and made up the size small...

Grey Amber
...with a bit of finangling around the neckline.  There's technically supposed to be a solid stripe right up to the neckline, but that didn't work out with my gauge.  And honestly, I really like the lattice lace at the neckline better anyways, so WIN!  I did do away with the loopy finish on the neckline though, and opted to just do single crochets around the whole neckline, partially to finish it but mostly to give it some support. 

Grey Amber Grey Amber
I sewed up the shoulders and side seams (from body hem to sleeve hem) using just a whip stitch.  Nothing fancy.  (I'm mostly showing these pics because I wished someone else had when I was trying to figure out how to sew this up.)

Grey Amber
There's no shaping to this sweater.  The lace and solid striped panels just tend to conform to your body shape without clinging, similar to bias-cut fabric.

I'm pretty tickled by the final result, even if the sweater does emphasize why I probably shouldn't do drop shoulders - emphasizes my narrow shoulders and wider hips.  Whatever, it's cute and comfortable and I adore it!

And don't think this is only a summer top!  I'm totally rocking this sweater here in camp, despite the suddenly frosted campsite, by layering it overtop one of my many long-sleeve tees.

Grey Amber
(Please forgive the office photo.)

Because I picked a heavier yarn, I didn't quite have enough to get the 3/4 length sleeves.  I realized this pretty early and panicked when I realized that Knit Picks wouldn't be restocking this colour until the end of November.  :O  So I found a woman on Ravelry who would sell me a couple balls.  A couple balls turned into 6.  But then, I realized I liked a shorter length anyways, because at my gauge, the sleeve would wind up full length - not what I wanted.  So I managed to use up nearly every little bit of my original 7 balls!

Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
And completely forgot about the extras until this arrived in my mail box.  Oops.  :) Oh well, I'm sure I'll find something to do with it!

Do any of you crochet?  Ever thought of hooking a sweater?  I certainly hadn't until I came across this!