Little Things That Make Me Happy: # 1

Rereading a favorite book for the millionth time. For me, this means Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle.

I've read each of these books so many times each that I've lost count. It rivals even the number of times that I've read the Harry Potter books. I've even read Parque Jurasico, the Spanish version of Jurassic Park.

The fact that I love Jurassic Park is a no-brainer; I love horror/thriller novels and I'm obsessed with dinosaurs. Not even kidding, I never grew out of the dinosaur phase of childhood. When I was in kindergarten, all the other kids wanted to be teachers and truck drivers and red crayons (uh, long story) and I was going to be a paleontologist. And yes, I knew the word. And could spell it. In kindergarten. So Jurassic Park is a win-win book for me.

The funny thing about Many Waters is that I'm not a huge fan of any of Madeleine L'Engle's other books. I find most of them wordy and over-complicated. Sure, I read A Wrinkle in Time and enjoyed it, but I've only read that twice, once on my own and then again because it was required for school. Does it sound cheesy to say that something about Many Waters just speaks to me? Which, in and of itself is funny, because Many Waters is of a semi-religious nature (it's about the biblical flood story) and I'm one of the least religious people you'll meet.

So, there you have it, two of my favorite books of all time. I recommend Jurassic Park to anyone who likes horrors, thrillers, action novels, or sci-fi that's not really sci-fi. (You know, it's all science-y without being about spaceships and aliens. It's the only kind of sci-fi I like.) I recommend Many Waters to anyone who likes....well, good books.

Summer Updates

Hello all!

Basically, I haven't been posting a lot because...I just have nothing to say. Sad, but true. Believe me, I've sat down a couple of times trying to write an entry......but nothing comes. An uneventful life + mediocre writing skills = an exceedingly boring blog. I apologize.

I guess I can at least make a few updates about knitting progress.

I've made good progress on the February Lady Sweater considering that I'm up to over 300 stitches per row. I'm on the first row of the lace pattern and am separating the sleeve stitches from the body stitches.

I've got another sweater in the queue: Cherie Amour from Knitty. I've already bought the yarn for it, too, Loops and Threads Impeccable in a gorgeous chocolate brown color. It's acrylic, but really soft. I haven't cast on yet, and I wish that I could claim that it's because of sheer will and my iron resolve to finish projects before starting new ones. But really, it's because I don't have size 13 circular needles.

Other projects include gifts, but on the off chance that the recipients read this, I won't elaborate until those birthdays pass.

All right, that's all for now...mainly because I'm procrastinating on some summer homework that I should be doing right now...

You know you're obsessed with knitting when...

....the junk in your pockets consists of spare stitch markers, safety pins, a yarn needle, and some scrap yarn from when you trimmed the ends of your last project and didn't have a trash can nearby.

Admittedly, I did have my license and a credit card in there, too.

Wow, a whole year!

It turns out that I completely missed my first "blogoversary"! I started this blog last year on May 4th, so I'm late by almost 3 weeks. I totally forgot!

Can you believe it's been a year? I honestly thought I would have given it up within a few weeks, so this is pretty cool. Especially since it was started on a random whim and I don't ever really have anything to say. Admittedly, I don't blog as often as I should, but things should pick up over the summer as I have both more time to blog and more time to get some knitting done.

Speaking of knitting, I've got a few updates on that front. No pictures, though, because I don't feel like getting the camera out, finding good light, actually getting a good picture, trying to upload the pictures, then struggling with blogger's stupid formatting of pictures for like an hour. (Yeah, i'm a bad knitting blogger, deal with it)

The most drastic update is that I'm frogging that blue cabled hoodie that I was working on. I finished the back of it, but the shaping wasn't right, and I ended up with the wrong number of stitches at the end, and it was too long. Plus, I realized that that sweater really wouldn't look good on me anyway, because it's basically a shapeless hoodie, but knitted. Basically, the whole project was a disaster. So, it really wasn't worth finishing it. It's been sitting untouched for about a month in my "unfinished projects" box. (That pink suede box you got me, Staci).

So, I looked for a more flattering sweater to knit with that same yarn and settled on the February Lady Sweater, which is really cute! I am going to modify it, however, so that it's fastened more in the middle, with either a single button or a shawl pin. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft in a greyish denim blue color.

I cast on today, and have about an inch and a half done so far. Another plus for this pattern: It's seamless! It's knit from the top down in all one piece! I'm pretty excited about it, and we'll see if I can actually finish a project for once, despite my long history of suckage.

'kay, that's about all I have time to type right now. I'm trying to post more regularly now, so hopefully it won't be too long until next time.

Hello again!

Goodness, it has been a while. I have a whole list of excuses, but you'd just be bored. So basically, AP exams are eating my life, but now, the hard ones are finally over! So I have a bit of free time!

There's actually a lot of news to report this time. First of all, I'd like to introduce you all to the newest members of my family, Hera and Artemis:

(sorry for the bad pictures, the mice move so fast, it's impossible to get a good one!)

Aren't they adorable? Hera is the dark brown one and Artemis is the white. Don't you think it's ironic to name mice after the queen of the gods and the goddess of the hunt? Me, too. That's why I like it. I got them from my AP Environmental Science teacher. She also teaches an animal behavior class that did some sort of project with mice. Well, their original mice started having babies by the dozen, so she needed to get rid of them. So, I volunteered to take one home.

I did some research, found out all about how to take care of mice, bought a big aquarium, set up an elaborate cardboard jungle gym in it, and bought food and litter and stuff for them. Artemis was the first one I brought home, on monday (April 6th). I wasn't really sure whether she was a male or a female, so I looked it up on the internet. My original plan was to have one male mouse, because 2 male mice together will fight like crazy (they're really territorial) and a male and a female will breed at an alarming rate. But, it turned out that she was a female, so her name changed from Bartimaeus to Artemis and I decided to get another female mouse. See, mice are really very social creatures, and a female all alone will get depressed and sleep all the time.

So the next day, Tuesday the 7th, I took my little hermit crab cage to school again to pick out another mouse. But when I went to the teacher's classroom after school, the mouse cage was completely gone! It turns out, another student had volunteered to take them home over spring break and had taken them out of the classroom early. So I had to run to the bus loop to find her and pick out a mouse in a hurry. It is extremely hard to determine a mouse's gender, especially on the fly, so I took my chances and just grabbed the prettiest dark brown one. Luckily, she is a female, so her name's Hera. They are so cute!!

In knitting news, here are a few updates on my various projects on the needles (no pictures, though, because I don't feel like it):

1) Seascape Shawl

I need to come up with a new name for this project, because it's lime green and not ocean-y. Like, Winding Vines or something. Well anyway, I've got quite a bit done, at least, I've exceeded my own expectations for my progress. I finished the border section and now I'm a little over halfway through the first chart. This is going to be awesome when I'm done!

2) Garter stitch cowl

This is a new one! I went on vacation recently to the beach, and we went through this tiny, tiny town called Plymouth, NC. We were going through the pitiful little downtown Plymouth when we passed a store called Yearning for Yarn. So of course I was like MUST STOP. So went in, and was greeted by the store owner, a sweet little old lady named Catherine. She immediately introduced herself and the other woman in the store and took us on a tour of all the yarns she had. It was a little bitty store, and really long and thin, but it had a good selection! Catherine was SOOOO nice and sooo sweet that I HAD to buy something, so I bought a bag of used needles in various sizes (for 3 dollars, what a deal!!!) and a skein of Plymouth Yarn Co. Baby Alpaca Grande. This yarn is so soft I want to roll in it, or knit bedsheets out of it, it's incredible! I could only really afford one skein because it was 14 dollars, but I had to have it. And I didn't feel bad about paying that much, because I wanted to support such a fantastic store!

So anyway, one skein isn't enough for a whole scarf, unless it were really skinny. So instead I'm making a cowl. It's completely garter stitch, with 21 stitches per row on size US 13 needles.

The only sad thing is that it's getting warmer every day here, so I've got to wait until NEXT winter to wear it!

3) 3-2-1 Scarf

I just finished this one today! It's based on the pattern here:
Mine is made with purple Caron Simply Soft, with a border of some teal Knitpicks Suri Dream. It's gorgeous! But again, i have to wait until next winter to wear it. :(

4) Crochet Earrings

I made the first pair of these for my mom for mother's day. They're basically tiny crocheted flowers made from embroidery floss and put on earring wires. I've done the first flower of the second pair now.

So, that's about all for now. I'll try to post again in a reasonable amount of time....

Life, etc.

Hello all!

I don't have a lot of time to write blog posts, what with all of the homework and stuff I've had lately, so this won't really be a full post. Just thought I'd update a bit in the meantime.

For the kool-aid dyed yarn, I've decided not to do any of the possible ideas I had last post. You know, just to shake things up. No, really it's just because I tried a few of them out and didn't really like any of them. For a first lace project, the branching leaves pattern was just too difficult, at least for me (don't laugh, lace knitters) and I got frustrated VERY quickly. The very first row had types of decreases that I'd never heard of before. And after working a swatch of about 1/2 of a repeat, I had already had to rip back so many times that I had to restrain myself from flinging the whole thing across the room. If I can't handle 1/2 a repeat of the lace pattern, I sure as HELL wasn't going to attempt a whole shawl. I still think it's a very pretty scarf, but I'll probably come back to it much later, after I'm more experienced with knitting lace.

So, it was basically back to the drawing board. Or in this case, back to Ravelry pattern search.

In the end, I decided on the Seascape wrap from Knitty. It looked fairly straightforward, I could understand all of the charts without having too look anything up, and there are good sized patches of stockinette that make the lace pattern look a whole lot less daunting. Not to mention the fact that it is GORGEOUS. I'd admired the pattern when it first came out (Summer '08 issue of Knitty), but just in a wow-that's-awesome-but-i'd-never-knit-that kind of way.

So anyway, I started the pattern, and I'd like to say that this is probably a perfect first lace project. The first thing that you knit is a simple border with basically just knit stitches and YOs in a repetitive sequence. It's a great introduction to reading a chart and dealing with laceweight yarn because it's easy, and every row is the same. Fantastic! Then, once you get past the border section, the wavy pattern is pretty much just the same sequence of stitches, but with more space in between and an extra increase or decrease here and there. It's easy to understand why the lace pattern works the way it does. I mean, it's not just blindly following a chart, the mechanics of it actually make a lot of sense.

I've knitted about six inches, impressive progress for about three days of work, if I do say so myself! (it's actually been about 2 weeks, but I only have time to work on it on weekends). I'll put up a progress picture when the lace pattern takes shape a little more. Right now, you can't quite see the swirls yet.

Would you look at that, this turned into a pretty decent-sized post. Huh.


I wrote in my last post about trying to knit/crochet a shawl for prom. I even picked out a sort of fishnet lace crochet stitch pattern for it. I crocheted a couple of inches in this stitch pattern when I realized...I really don't like it. It looks I don't know, just somehow it reminds me of a string bag or something. Not glamorous and elegant and prom-like.

So, I've been looking for other lacey shawl patterns on Ravelry. I'm thinking of making this pattern from Knitty, just making it wider and longer. That's really a last resort pattern, because I think the yarn I'm using would do better in a more classical lace pattern. I'm also thinking about one of those dragon scale-looking lace stitch patterns. I like those, and I think I have an afghan pattern around here somewhere that I can adapt. There's also a leafy lace pattern called branching out that I think would look gorgeous if I knit about 2 or 3 side by side. Especially since the yarn is green and would look terriffic as leaves.

Two problems, though.

1) It needs to be relatively fast to knit/crochet. I've only got until April 25th to have this DONE. And this is working around the intense workload I've got at school right now.
2) I've never knitted lace before. I have never even worked with yarn this thin before. The pattern needs to be simple enough that even a beginner like me can do it with no problem.

Not to mention the fact that I have to actually LIKE it...

Ideas? Suggestions? All are welcome!