Wednesday, November 30

Burning Shame

It's the end of the month and I didn't blog like I wanted to. I was awful, horrible, evil and lazy.

Oh well.

Hat Hell 2011 was a partial success. I got rid of a lot of stash and made hats. I got about halfway through the month. Then I went mildly insane and wanted to stab myself countless times, instead I began actively organizing my stash and pattern collection. That project is still in the works.

My resolution not to buy yarn until I burned more stash failed... but it failed nicely. I bought 2 skeins of Red Heart to patch my MIL's blanket and then promptly burned them over the Thanksgiving break. Guess what the colors were? Orange and Black. It was a granny-square, Halloween blanket. I should be happy, but Halloween does have it's time and place and that is not during Thanksgiving. (See the orange skein to the left? Yeah, I was working with that and black.) I had the benefit of showing off my talent to a large group of talented in-laws. Alpha's brother designs and crochets blankets, that brother's wife does needlepoint and cross-stitch. Another sister-in-law takes fabulous pictures and is crafty. All in all, clinging to the lap blanket of orange and black made me feel like I could be a contender. And I did. They are all cool, wonderful  people and they made me feel cool and wonderful too, which just makes them more awesome.

After this never-ending cycle of ego-stroking,  I went to Salvation Army and rescued a skein of Red Heart Fleck... It's acrylic and nasty, but my heart was enlarged and willing to forgive even Red Heart. It was partly because it was nice enough (at a thrift store there are much worse yarns than Red Heart), and mostly because I went to a wool store just before.

That's right. My new fascination to shop for yarn when I visit other parts of the world continued. It began in England with sock yarn and has only gotten worse. This time I dragged Alpha out of his way to feed my need. We stopped in Temecula, California at a beautiful Wool store called The Wool Lady. It's an all animal-fiber store, specializing in wool bats for quilting. Seeing the lovely soft wool and cute projects made me want to begin quilting too. So, being in a beautiful, small business, I spent money.

I picked up 3 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace in 1071 blue. It's so soft and delicious to touch. I will share pictures, though if you google it you will see why I love it so much.  I am already dreaming of a large lace shawl that will make me weep in frustration and glow with pride. It's why I bought 3 skeins. I also bought point protectors and a lovely Skin Thimble. While knitting the sleeves of my sweater,  I realized that my right pointer finger does not have the necessary callus... so I was in pain. I knew that a decent thimble would work, but I didn't see one until I was in Wool Lady Heaven. If you are in the area, I suggest stopping buy.

So I might be awful, horrible, evil and lazy, but I am also kind of productive, crafty, savvy and totally Awesome.

(Did you see what I did up there for The Wool Lady? I cleverly said 'buy" instead of "by" instilling in your mind the necessity of purchasing, not just perusing. See?)

Also, not that enough people read this and adore me, but I would love to have a share of wool fromthe best place ever. They had a great sale for Cyber Monday, but my pocketbook is stretched a little thin right now.

Friday, November 4

Day 4- Softie #2

There are a lot of similar themes in my Hat Hell endurance test. If I have the yarn, I will repeat a pattern to get it right or to use up the yarn. Since it was so much fun to use softie, here is another one.

Thursday, November 3

Day 3- Softie #1

This series of hats is my purgatory. It’s a mini-hell of bad yarn choices built up over time, hence the name for this month. Yeah, they are great ways to start out learning (because they don’t cost too much and they come in every color imaginable) but once you feel how soft alpaca, wool and mink (mink yarn? Heck yes!) a lot of commercial brand acrylics are squeaky, rough and ever present. I’d still do a Doctor Who scarf in them for now, because I am unemployed college graduate who can’t afford copious amount of wool. (Do you remember about Wovember? You should! Go over and sign the petition now and wear wool.)

These next two hats were my joy. I'll reveal one today and the second tomorrow. I can't go about showing off all of the work that I've done. I proposed one hat and day and I will stick to it, even if you think you are suffering from deja vu.  They were made from 1-ply Softie wool/ acrylic blend. So soft. So very soft before and after crocheting red heart hats.
It’s a pretty standard ribbed beanie. A pom-pom of extra yarn was added on top, mostly because I truly hate to waste yarn. I used 58 to 60 stitches with a k2, p2 and decreased at the top.

The one problem with this yarn was the fact that the 1 ply twist would gradually come apart if I let it. I had to be very conscious of the twist and occasionally had to retwist the yarn. It made it exciting!
Dad  is modeling Softie #1 for you all. He was a good sport. I popped it on his head, took a picture and then ran away cackling. I already had a picture of me modeling a hat, I don't  want to inundate you with my beauty.

I keep saying that this yarn is so soft. This is the excess from Chachi’s hat. Chachi was a neighbor and still is a good geek friend. He and Alpha can talk Doctor Who into the ground. He begged for a hat for 3 years and then after we both moved away I gave him one for his birthday. That kind of diligence should be rewarded. I don’t say patience, because he doesn’t have a lot of it. So I had this extra  yarn around and decided to make more hats. I touch that yarn and I want to swoon, and afterwards it’s even more of a penance to work with cheap yarn. I am paying for all my young exuberance in stash burning.

I still have a month and a half before hats/ scarves are officially due, since this is all a part of service project for ACCA. I have a bag (my wonderful, jute Dover bag... which I haven’t replaced even though the corners are ratted out) which I intend on filling with my stash burning goodies. Maybe if I am really, really dedicated, I’ll have extra hats and scarves.

Wednesday, November 2

Day 2- Fungly #2

Day 2 is an exciting day! It's the 3rd official post of Hat Hell 2011 (I will say the prayer again, please don't let there be another one) and the 2nd hat featured. I give to you, Fungly #2, Fungly #1's bigger, little sister.
Made almost exactly like Fungly #1, Fungly 2, bigger and better, features a top cap of black and a little black flower. (I ran out of fungly yarn near the end and didn't want to rip out all of my hard work and so I used black. It goes with everything. Then I added the flower to balance the color out.) As you can tell, it's a cap for a girl or a very, very secure boy.

I actually took a picture with this hat as per my introductory indication. I can't claim to take bad photographs when I am not even the one taking the picture. Dad took the picture.

There I am. Doesn't Fungly #2 look cute? The flower is perched slightly askew.Don't I look so cute? (I'm hiding my many insecurities right now.)

Oh well, I can't pass up the wonderful story I have about pictures and insecurity. I have the mindset of an anorexic, even if I do act on my mental disorder. I can fit into petite sizes and so I intellectually know I am not fat at all, but I still am a little insecure about my chin area. The soft curves that reveal I am indeed a woman drive me absolutely bonkers. So, when I care, I do my best to minimize the double chin. Once for a very important presentation for college, I and other seniors were photographed. All the other seniors had engaging pictures being taken of them looking at the audience. My picture? It was taken while looking at my notes (which I didn't do often) and it was taken from the side. It was one of the most unflattering angles ever. It was a bad photograph of me, but it didn't even do me the justice of appearing like a bad photograph. It was a well-taken, unflattering picture. My insecurities about doubled (ha-ha) that day.

Anyway, there I am in all my adorable, insecure glory.

Day 3: Tomorrow Dad models the ribbed look. And the day after.


Tuesday, November 1

Day 1- Fungly #1

A brief confession. I began Hat Hell in October. That's how I realized that it wasn't a quest or an adventure, but a trial and an endurance race. Let's hope I have the stamina to continue this until the end of the month. Anyway!

Do you remember Fungly yarn?
 Of course, you do my imaginary audience. Though I am certain that if I continue this endurance race, there will be enough people to laugh at my pain by the end.

So the first official hat of Hat Hell 2011 (please, don't let there be more than one year, unless there are others to share in my pain.) is Fungly #1! yay. 
 Crocheted bottom-up in alternating blocks of hdc and dc. That's half-double crochet and double crochet for the crochet pattern illiterate. I am not judging because I, too, use to be of your ranks. I don’t have an exact pattern because I am a) lazy, b) certain that there is already a pattern for a plain beanie on the vast and mighty interwebs.

And now a preview for Day 2!
There is Fungly #1 with it's sister hat. You will understand why the other one is given a gender tomorrow.

Welcome in Wovember!

Today is the first day of November and as such I am going to begin the celebrations by talking about a recent website that shares something important to me, then I will reveal what the awful things I am planning to do to my person this month.

First, the thing I care about.

Wovember is a website (an organization?) that advocates the use of "wool, woolly, and woolen" to apply only to the hair of the sheep. It's a brilliant idea that I wish had already been done.

Most people expect 'wool' to be wool. When I went to England last year I was eager to participate in their wool economy by buying wool to knit into socks or hats or cowls. Imagine my dismay when I realized that of the many shops I went to, I couldn't really find pure wool. (This may be in part to the fact that I was a novice at buying yarn, but get me some credit.) I had to settle for a yarn with a fiber content of 49% acrylic and 51% wool. This is pretty good because some garments advertise out there only contain 5% wool, but still when I went looking for wool, I was expecting the pure, from a sheep's back wool.

Is a 'woolly' mammoth actually "woolly?" It's a Tundra mammoth and it's hairy! Call it a HAIRY MAMMOTH!

So, please sign this petition. It's one of the few that I will ever ask you to sign. (I'm not very politically active.)
Now I will tell you what I'm planning to do to celebrate my new blog, my (mostly) organized stash and the month when things usually get chilly. I Introduce to you!
Every day for a month, I will feature a hat that I have made from yarn already in my stash, or donated by others (probably from their stash.) I will take a picture with the hat on me... or maybe conscript someone else. That way I can encourage myself to take pictures, and actively show you what I’ve been working on everyday. (I need to take the pictures. It’s not that I am camera shy, it’s not!) All of them will likely be beanies, since they are quick to make and warm. (I may stab my eyes out with knitting needles, or dig them out with a crochet hook before the end.) Anyway... All of the ones featured will be donated to warm the heads of teens and children in the Annandale area through the ACCA foundation.

Also, I signed up to do Nanowrimo. My first year because I don't have other employment to justify not doing it.

Also, I will find a job.