School’s in session

School started for me this past Monday. So far, it’s going pretty well. Since so many people of varying computer proficiency and experience are taking online classes, the first course for anyone taking online courses is one to get the student acclimated to taking classes and utilizing the interface. We use Blackboard, which is pretty much the standard for online courses, and there’s a whole YouTube support channel, so it’s a piece of cake to get help if you need it.

There’s been a ton of icebreaker assignments and discussion questions. Our first unit’s discussion questions went from asking us about our major and our motivation for taking classes and jumped to asking us which movie/book/tv show we’d recommend and why. I accepted that context better than the job interview I once had, a group interview, that asked me what CD I would bring with me to a deserted island and why. This wasn’t for a job at a music store by the way. Funnily enough, I said “mix CD” for my answer and I was told that it wasn’t an acceptable answer.

A job interviewer thought it was professional enough to ask me to name a CD to take to an island, and had standards for what answers were god enough.

I didn’t take that job in case you were wondering.

I also finished up some secret test knitting and now we’re back to the regularly-scheduled program of “Jen knits everything in sight”.

I’m still plugging away at the back of my Erin cardigan in the Mountain Meadow Cody for the Fringe and Friends Knitalong. It’s listed as a DK, but could also function as a light worsted. These cables are so squishy and I can’t wait to wear it. The pattern is one that gets you into a groove once you get started, so it’s better for TV knitting than it looks. That is, unless I’m watching The Walking Dead. That show would have me knitting worsted weight at 10 stitches to the inch. Just when they’ve gotten out of the 8th frying pan, the group finds themselves in the fire. I guess I shouldn’t use those terms given what’s happened in the last season.

Purging has continued, but I haven’t found new homes for as many books/magazines as I would have liked. K has some new books to enjoy (her reaction at seeing In The Garden of Beasts in the box I gave to her, “Ooh, Nazis!”), but I’m putting some on my Amazon page, also. If you’re interested in any of them or know someone who might be, check them out. Whatever doesn’t sell will just get donated to the thrift store, and my yarn will go to Interim House. Check out their website and click the link that takes you to the Knitting Ladies’ page. Any knitters who have yarn to destash/donate might consider donating to them!

Books (and a camera!) for sale

I’ve still got some secret knitting that I can’t photograph or blog about, even though I want to elaborate. I can say that I’m enjoying what I’m knitting. I also can’t wait to get back to my Erin cardigan for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong.

You can read about the details here and it’s still not too late to join up if you want. There’s no deadline for the actual knitting, but you can be part of the contest and read posts from a great panel of experts until the end of October.

I also recently moved our bookshelf and cleared off my desk.

This is after I moved the bookcase out of the corner where it stood vertically, and before I put the books back on the shelves. It’s still a mess, but I’m getting ready for school. October 20th is closing in and I can’t wait! With that said, I have some books and a camera to get rid of. Check out what I’ve got here!

Off I go to do more secret knitting and the Sisyphean task of picking Cheerios off the carpet.

I’m in!

Recently, I made the decision to go back to school and get my degree. A little over 10 years ago, I was going to school and working full-time and burnout inevitably happened. It was rough, especially since I was paying for school by myself. Not completing my studies wasn’t a choice I made; my wallet made it for me.

I always knew I’d return, and I think that having my daughter helped give me the courage to live my life and be free of certain ideals that were placed upon me from estranged family members. I want her to see that whatever happens in life, you can always bounce back, you can always take action in regards to something. I called a local community college, but got no answer, and decided I didn’t want to go that route again since it was a different community college where I first floundered. I didn’t want that “lost in the sauce” feeling. So I called another university and started the process. It was important for me to call and not text or email or leave a message. I wanted for someone to sort of hold me to the commitment of enrollment. Getting in seemed to be the biggest hurdle, but the people at the registrar office are amazing. Yes, it’s their job to enroll me in school, but they carried the tone that let me know they earnestly wanted to help me.

So, I’m in! I start online classes towards the end of October. In the last post, I mentioned having lost my old laptop to a dead processor, but this week I headed to Best Buy and picked up a new one. Nothing too fancy, but good enough for classes and one that will last me for a bit.

I’m thinking of creating a blog just for school stuff. I might want to write about my experience this time around with a better measure of fortitude, with a husband and baby…..we’ll see. Any thoughts?

Autumn is coming…

I’m surrounded by various works in progress, but if I stick to my finishing plan, I could be swimming in sweaters come September October. The number of pairs of socks that are waiting to be knit are filling up my knitting basket on the side of the couch. That’s nothing to say of the bag filled with crochet squares, the drawer filled with yarn, and the yarn/fiber/fabric bin in the closet. Oh, and I started cutting fabric scraps into 2.5″ squares to be pieced together and turned into another quilt. BLANKET FORT 2014!

This is a #tbt pullover, nothing fancy, just some stripes. It’s Fibre Company Road To China Light in Aquamarine, Citrine, Malachite, Peridot, Smoky Quartz, and Garnet. I think I intended for it to have saddle shoulders. I’d know for sure if I kept my notes with the sweater. Always keep the patterns & notes with the garment. Keeping them in a book in a separate place only works if you don’t have a stack of notebooks and you’re not sure which one has the numbers you need.

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Another project I’m anxious to finish now is Larch. Chelsea of Figs & Things just finished hers and it’s serving as a huge push for me to finish mine. I’ve divided for the armholes and am currently knitting the fronts at the same time. Fingers crossed that I don’t chicken out and end up with a vest.

Hexie Quilt is Finished!

Jennifer:

THIS IS AMAZING! I smell a new project coming on.

Originally posted on Measured & Slow:

Ta da! The hexie quilt is finally done!

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The final tally was about 1500 hexagons, 4 spools of thread, and a million hours of sewing, but it was so worth it! It’s a mix of different fabrics from different companies, but there’s a whole lot of Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman in there. I’m really happy with the overall pattern (which was only half me; Mike and Aliya picked out the arrangement of the hexies), but I also love looking at the individual fabrics. As you can see, I used a lot of Just My Type.

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I hand stitched the hexies together, and then quilted them with a decorative loop stitch. I wanted to reinforce the hand stitching so it would hold up to every day use, and the loops add a nice texture. I was asked to make it into a duvet cover instead of a traditional quilt, so…

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Doing it my way

I finished the biscornu a couple of weeks ago, so I laid out my quilt after my craft compass swung from cross stitch to quilting. I pieced the top by machine, but I’m doing the quilting by hand. I wanted to have this finished before S came, but that last trimester kicked my butt and my brain shut down.

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Progress halted on this because I got intimidated by the task of quilting, and doing it without the backing puckering anywhere. Our living room isn’t tiny, but I could have used a little more room and a huge table or some other hard & flat surface to pin the layers together. I got it as smooth as I could on a futon with my rotary mat underneath it. I pinned carefully and went in small sections, but there was still puckering when I started from the middle with my quilting.

I started from the middle because that’s what I read when it came to hand quilting. Following that method lets you smooth the quilt layers (top, batting, backing) from the center in an outward direction and minimizes the chances of puckering and bubbles in the backing. That’d be nice if I had the proper area to pin the thing in the first place. Some places will do this for you, or let you utilize their space, but I wasnt going to pay for it. It can get pricey, and for my first quilt I wanted to be involved in each step and learn. I know now that starting with a corner would’ve worked way better for me, but I thought that would be “doing it wrong”.

There are certain things in life that have hard rules, but I should have known better to remember that when it comes to crafts, you have to do what works for you. In knitting, crochet, spinning, sewing, etc., there are so many different ways to achieve the same results in most instances. It’s all up to the style & learning ability of the crafter themselves.

I have grey and pink Gutermann thread (4507 and 2346, respectively), but I only used the grey on a few squares in the middle so far. I was initially following the rectangles that make up each square, but I didn’t get do anything that can’t be (carefully) picked out. I’ll think of a new design, begin from the corner, and maybe I’ll have a new quilt before it gets cold enough to use it!

(Side note: Because I can never keep one craft on my mind, I also pulled the yarn I had set aside for a blanket for S, and have been brainstorming about a new color scheme and another shape for the motifs. No idle hands here.)

I might have a new obsession

A little while ago, I noticed that my tomato pincushion was just not cutting it. It held my needles just fine, but it couldn’t hold many needles. When stitching up projects that call for many colors, and for them to be used often, it helps to have some pre-threaded and waiting for you to use them. My little sad tomato was under-performing more and more.

I made a biscornu!

Cross Echoes Biscornu Pattern

Typically, they should fit into the palm of your hand. However, I wanted it to be bigger than the old tomato. At 5″ wide, I can have multiple needles for multiple projects ready to go. I don’t have to worry about it rolling underneath a table, chair, or sofa. Since S is beginning to move a lot more and at a quicker pace, I need to make sure that no needles go missing.

I’m already planning the next one, and now that my new cushion is finished, I can get back to working on my Once Upon A Time sampler! We’re already up to June and I only have January finished, so I’ve got some work to do.