First knitting project of the year.

On Friday, for the first time this year, I decided to sit on the beach to have my lunch. It was a lovely sunny day, the sea was relatively calm, and it was just the right temperature to sit, stare blankly at the sea for a while, and retreat inside when the cold started to seep inside my coat. I looked up mid-sandwich, and found that I was being watched.

A variation on the usual beach lunch monitor.

Ever since the storms, there have been large numbers of crows hanging around the beach. Murders, even. Presumably there’s some good eating to be had among the piles of washed-up seaweed (I know I’ve seen a lot of very happy labradors eating everything in sight). But this one has obviously been taking lessons from the seagulls, and was giving my sandwich a very close look. I decided it was a sign that I needed to a) eat faster and b) crack on with Little Birds.

First project of the year complete!

First, though, to get the gloves out of the way. I finished knitting the fingers while chain-watching Farscape (keeping with the space theme) and just wove in the ends this morning. These will now go to live in my work bag to be ready for when it’s actually cold enough for knitted gloves. That’s going to happen, right? And I’m not going to have a breakdown when I find I can’t use my phone with them on?

In the meantime, back to Little Birds. The additional Sprindrift I needed has turned up, along with *cough* a bit extra that may have accidentally fallen into my basket because it seems frivolous to only buy two balls of yarn when it’s effectively coming from overseas, right? I’m not ashamed to say I whooped with joy when this package turned up at my desk. I already have the pattern planned, now I just need to decide whether it needs to be bumped up the queue or if I can be patient.

My favourite kind of delivery.  :huffs yarn:

:drums fingers impatiently:

increasing the making

Step one towards making 12 things in year is making one thing.

Little Birds is coming along nicely, but as you may remember, I’m nearly out of yarn. I put in an order, but at present my yarns are still sitting in the Shetlands, probably waiting for a plane. So it sits, shoulderless, hibernating. Roosting, even.

One sleeve... #knitting

But I can’t sit idle; I have a goal to work towards. So I found a nice quick project to get me off to a good start – Galaxy.

Galaxy is a super-cute glove pattern by Satta Designs, with beeeeaaaaads and faux cabling. When I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for one of my home-dye-jobs – a black sparkly merino sock yarn. I figured that that and some clear rocaille beads would be a striking and spacey combination, particularly appropriate as we’re currently chain-watching TNG on Netflix.

It is, indeed, a quick project; I’ve already finished one and am already to the fingers on the second one. I haven’t done much beadwork before but I do really like it – these beads are attached using a crochet hook, which means I had to spend half an hour searching for my teeniest tiniest crochet hook (1.00!) and a pot to store all the beads with holes too small to use.

FINGER TIME  LOL  halp

I do have some quibbles with the pattern – all the fingers start in the same row, which is not how my hands are shaped. And there’s a bit too much scrolling between instructions and charts, but I suppose that’s the price of technology. But the charts are flawless and it’s a great speed-knitting pattern and augh it is beautiful.

One glove.

whoopscareless’ Galaxy Gloves on Ravelry

Have you got your New Year’s making off to a strong start? What have you got on the needles (or craft-appropriate equivalent)?

New Year, New… something.

I’m not normally one for making resolutions. Too much effort. If I give myself a target I will immediately begin to procrastinate and sabotage myself. Or something will happen to put me behind schedule, and I start to feel resentful, and throw in the towel. So I give up some arcane craft or sport, with great success. I’ve still never gone hang-gliding, which is something I gave up in 1998.

But, you know, there are some positive things I want to do. I have a huge reading pile. I have a lot of running gear and gadgets. And my first pairs of hand-knit socks are developing holes.

So this year, to address those things, I want to:

  • read more
  • run more
  • make more

Obviously, those are not SMART goals. Doomed to failure from the start. Let’s see if we can make these better.

In 2014 I will:

  • read 36 books (same as last year, should be fine)
  • run 240 miles (200 last year, with biiiiig gaps of lazy)
  • make 12 things (only 8 last year, shamefully low)

3 books, 20 miles, and one crafted item per month. All easily trackable through Goodreads, Runkeeper, and here. If I reach them early, I can come up with stretch goals. And the bonus of only choosing positive goals is that I don’t to come up with a reward. Except for the running, which might need some bribery. 240 miles will be halfway to a new pair of shoes, so I guess there’s that.

I’ll leave you with an image from last Jan 1st. Back then, we were only visitors to Brighton. Now, the weather is hilariously bad so any pictures won’t have the same sort of… charm.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8504/8332512903_c155956be1_n.jpg

I LIVE HERE DID I EVER MENTION THAT OMG

:panicflail: #2

I think I have a problem.

I told a story the other day about not being able to find the rest of my yarn.

I’m now faced with an equally terrifying prospect: I might not have had enough of it in the first place.

For probably the first time in my knitting life, I trusted a pattern. From sizing, to yarn brand, down to the exact quantity of yarn. Seven of the base colour, two of the birds, one of the leaves. Easy. Fine. None of the other project pages said anything about stingy yardage allowances.

But…

I’ve done the body.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting

I’ve done a sleeve.

One sleeve... #knitting

Actually I’ve done a sleeve and a half, but I haven’t taken any pics of the second sleeve because I covered it well enough with the first one.

Half a sleeve. #knitting

But… I’m on my last 25g skein of the base colour. I have half a sleeve, the shoulders, and the not-button band to finish. I am bricking it. I really don’t think I have enough. I searched the house for all the ball bands (hurr) to make sure I had counted right and hadn’t lost a ball (hurrr) somewhere around the house. I have, haven’t, and this really is all I have left.

I know there’s nothing to do but keep knitting and deal with the situation as it comes, but it’s really nerve-wracking.

Do you have any comforting words for me? Please?

November is Coming.

2013 NaNoWriMo Participant

It’s that time of year again.

As soon as October rolls around, the NaNoWriMo machine lurches into action. Eventually, I see an email, and I think ‘huh, I should probably think about that’. I then ignore the issue, wait until the morning of 1st November, come up with a half-assed plot and then stress over that for a month.

It doesn’t seem to be happening like that this year.

For a start, when that first email came round, I thought ‘huh, if I end up doing it, I should probably donate.’ I donated in my first year, but not since then. And I love NaNo, and I want them to keep on doing what they’re doing. So I went on the store, and saw the NaNo power-up mug.

November is coming. #nanowrimo

+20 buff to hyperactivity for 30 minutes. SOLD.

Then I was like, well, I’ve bought a mug, so I may as well participate. I’ll think about it later, though, make a proper decision when I’m better able to do so.

Then a couple of nights later I dreamed my plot. No joke. I’d had no proper sleep for weeks, and then the first night I actually sleep long enough to dream, I come up with some batshit crazy plot which is part dystopian future, part psychological thriller, part metaphor for modern life. I have two ready-made, reasonably interesting characters, a full world, and a reasonable premise around which to build the whole thing.

So, the preparations are beginning. I have multiple files of brainstorming notes, across DropBox, Evernote, and my snazzy red notebook. I’ve switched onto movie soundtracks for running so I can drift off into plot points while I tread the promenade. AND I just realised that I booked a week off work in November.

brace yourselves: November is coming

Anyone else in? I am whoopscareless over there, and I am open to buddies if you tell me where you found me. 😀

What to do with a thousand eggs?

Last weekend, DG was away with his friends for a stag do. He took the TV, the Xbox, and most of our soft furnishings. I saw some of their adventures through Instagram, which I think might be against the rules of stag events. I think it’s just as much against the rules for me to talk about it now, but who’s counting? #nofilter #nolifer?

Anyway, in preparation for the weekend he, or someone like him, over-estimated the amount of breakfast ingredients that would be required. Maybe they’ve become more wise and sensible since their student days, perhaps they can look at the second full English and say ‘no’, maybe they just didn’t drink enough to need so much beer soaking. Whatever the reason, we’ve ended up with a fridge *full* of eggs. Seriously, I’m having digestive terrors just looking in there.

The beer is pretty much gone, though. I helped. 😀

So I’m trying to think of the most painless ways to get through at least 20 eggs before they go off. I’m not afraid of using elderly eggs, so I suppose I don’t have to really power through them. But as I usually end up using the last egg of the half dozen several weeks past the sell-by date, I should probably start planning now.

First on the list is, naturally, cake. I made some spiced banana cake the other day, as they also had a couple of manky old bananas left. It was ok, if you like banana cake. Which I don’t. I always do this. I hate the idea of wasting food, so I use more expensive ingredients to make something I like even less than bananas.

CAEK  #cake   #caaaaaaake

Next one planned is a lime and poppy seed cake, just because I was in the supermarket and saw a lime. Somewhere I have a default cake recipe I use as the base for all of my cakey experiments – I shall have to dig that out and have a play.

Other than that… hard-boiled eggs to have for lunch. Omelettes? Yorkshire puddings? Pancakes? The possibilities are intimidatingly endless. I need an adult.

First person to make an egg pun gets fired.

New project.

Notice how I totally didn’t post yesterday? Yeah. Didn’t wanna. I liked my Sunday post so much I wanted to leave it up a bit.

Back in the game.

I started a new project last weekend, at precisely the wrong time. Mid-afternoon on Sunday, while working through the washing, and with an achey hip from an earlier run. Just in time for the evening, for the week of work, and then DG being away for the nwxt weekend which is my cue to crack open a box of wine and eat potato 24/7. Too greasy for sewing.

Anyway. Back in the mists of ancient time, the USD:GBP exchange rate was great, so I bought a number of patterns direct from the US. I’ve used most of them, but this one has been sat in my pattern file forever.

I decided that this set was a great deal as it could provide an entire wardrobe. If, that is, I wanted an entire wardrobe made out of cotton jersey. One never knows.

I’m making the dress, but with the short sleeves. I have a grotty old wrap dress in a very similar style that I wear around the house on weekends, so it’ll be nice to have something similar that I can actually wear outside. 😀

My only concern was that I’ve not worked with knit fabric before. I spent about ten minutes researching before I began, and came across this guide to conquering knits. After reading that, I threw caution to the wind and began.

Being good and transferring my markings. #sewing

I’m going to have to knuckle down and get this done pretty sharpish. I have another Super Awesome Potential Project to be thinking about, so this can’t be hanging around, harshing my creative mellow.

Sunday is Run Day

Not all of you will know this, but I am a runner.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to evangelise about running. I’m not going to tell you about my mile time (embarrassingly slow), I’m not going to tell you about all the races I’ve entered (none so far, not looking likely to change).

I might just tell you a tiny bit about it, though.

I took up running about three years ago, maybe a bit longer. I was feeling unfit, unhealthy, and suddenly got paranoid about heart disease and dying alone being eaten by cats. DG (my other half) volunteered to take me out and train me, and as he’s an experienced runner, I said yes.

After the third ‘just run to this tree, oh no, I didn’t mean this one, I meant that one’ I fired him. I found the NHS Couch to 5k podcast. I discovered RunKeeper. At some point I discovered Fitocracy and that was that.

I kind of bobbled along, but running never really stuck until I was working on my Masters dissertation. It was nice to start my day with something that, even if it went badly, could still be spun as A Positive Thing. I might spend the rest of the day weeping into my keyboard, staring at a blank screen, but at least I’d done something good for my body.

Running in Birmingham was fun. There’s a surprising amount of green around.

Rainy walk.

My finest moments came after dark. I distinctly remember one evening, listening to the Dark Knight soundtrack, hitting the ‘sprint’ section of the training program and belting along with my arms outspread yelling ‘I AM THE BATMAN’. The road was not deserted. I have no shame.

Brighton, though, I tend to see at dawn.

Can't get over how awesome it is to run with a view like this. :D

I spend half my time running along with a dopey grin on my face because it’s so pretty. That’s when I’m not chortling at a comedy podcast, or gritting my teeth as I try to run directly into a ‘bracing’ sea ‘breeze’. Sometimes, if I come across a flock of seagulls and pigeons devouring trash from the promenade, I run into the middle of them, throw my hands in the air and yell FLY, MY PRETTIES.

I go a bit mad when I run.

Last week, actually, I had my favourite experience ever. A big shaggy dog, fresh from the sea, lolloped up to me just as I was turning round to start the homeward trot. “Hello, dogface” I said, my standard greeting for every single dog that comes within a hundred paces. It then ran alongside me for a few paces, accepted an ear-scritch, then disappeared back off to its owners. Made my run. Week. Hell, probably month.

Today, I ran six miles. I have new shoes. I have Dark Knight on the playlist again (NaNo is coming). It was a glorious day and I have such a runner’s high I can barely sit down.

One hell of a day for a run.

Totally worth it.

:panicflail:

I just had a truly horrible experience.

I’d just finished the first chart on Little Birds, and was about to start on the first sleeve. ‘Hmm,’ I thought, ‘I know I only just started a new ball of yarn, but I should probably go check how much I have left.’

I couldn’t find it. I knew it was still in the mailing envelope, a rather fetching blue metallic number. I knew that there should be at least one ball of Heron and one of Laurel left in it. But I couldn’t find the damn thing anywhere. Not beside the futon. Not beside the bed. Not in my work bag (I didn’t think I’d taken them to work, but you never know). Not in the office. Not – and I don’t know why I checked, but I suppose it’s good to be certain – in the bathroom.

I spent about twenty minutes searching before I started to get teary. I wondered whether DG or I had absent-mindedly thrown it away. That’s obviously crazy talk, because that would imply either of us had done some housework. But not crazy enough to stop me gingerly examining the contents of the kitchen bin.

By this point I was pretty much tearing my hair out. I tried to convince myself to sit down and relax, maybe post an ‘I lost my :insert object:‘ tweet, which normally causes missing objects to re-appear. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even tweet. It was too serious a situation. This was wool, man. I cannot relax or spend time sending frivolous messages while wool is missing.

Eventually, I went back in the office, and in a moment of inspired desperation, rummaged deep in a box of miscellaneous wires and adapters for random electrical devices we probably don’t own any more. And there was my bag of yarn, sitting happily on top of a file of sewing patterns I didn’t even know was missing.

Why in the hell it ended up there I may never know. But at least now I can relax, and get started on my sleeves.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting

GIFS.

It is Friday. It’s past wine o’clock. And I’m going to take a detour from my planned blogtober post to sing the praises of GIFs.

I’m still pronouncing it with a hard ‘g’. Do you know what I think about what the inventor says?

I don't caaaaaaaaare.

GIFs are my favourite thing about the internet. I love memes, I love cartoons, I love being able to interact with other people around the globe without having to interact in real life. But I absolutely adore GIFs.

Sometimes they’re funny.

predator trolls alien

Sometimes they’re adorable.

doggy plays hide-and-seek

Sometimes they’re like looking into a mirror.

sobbing under the desk

I love reaction gifs so much that I actually have a bookmark folder dedicated to them.

Gifshot

They are synced between all of my devices. And you’ll notice that it appears before ‘essentials’.

I never watch videos, but I’ll scroll through 1000 pages of /r/gifs. They’re just so much more digestible and fun. I was so excited when I found gifvine and could make my own gifs.

What do you think? Do you have any nifty sources of GIFs or do you want to click away in disgust whenever you see them?