Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Schedules Bringin' Me Down

School started yesterday. Trying to figure out a new schedule to accommodate all my resolutions for the year has been a bit stressful, but I'm on the right track. I think I just need to hit the point where I have a million fewer things to do and then it'll be smooth sailing! My goal for that day is Friday. Wish me luck....

Last week I was away and too busy with my family to remember to post anything. I can totally show you what I was working on, though. My grandma was helping me sew! I'm starting with the most complicated pattern ever, but between the two of us, we figured out most of it and got my pieces all cut out. I just need to tend to some knitting before I dive in. I'm hoping this weekend will be a sewing weekend.

I've enjoyed the process so far. It's like a puzzle that I only theoretically know how to put together. It's very philosophical, the more I think about it. And describes most everything I know. I can tell you how to do things, but that doesn't mean I've ever done it before. Like entrelac or those Beekeeper hexipuffs: I've never done it, but someone explained it to me once, so I get it. I could do it. I think. Right?

Weirdly, it's figuring out how to transfer important marks from the pattern pieces that's holding me up. Fabric pen? Pins? just sew through the pattern pieces? That and deciding whether I trust my machine to baste. Those are dumb things to hold me back, but I get hung up on the small stuff all the time. In any case, I hope to have an update or an upset to share with you next week.

What do you think: knowing how to do something and having done that thing...the same thing? Should we maybe all try those things we think we know how to do just to make sure?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year!

I know it was a week ago, but still..I'm hoping it's a great year for you. :)

This is where I would normally do a year-in-review type of post, but last year wasn't really my proudest as a knitter. Something weird happened last summer and, despite my May KAL, I doubled my WIPs and the number hasn't diminished much even now. This year it'll all change. I turned 29 yesterday and I'm looking to shape up in many ways this year, get myself in order before I turn 30. There are lots of things I need to check off the list this year, so here are my resolutions (knitting first, then personal):

Finish the WIPs!
Become a monogamous knitter again (a little cheating might be allowed)
Continue stashing-down
Get rid of the knits I never use

Get into a religious blogging habit
Extend the blog to either a podcast or YouTube account
More knits and more bunnies on Instagram (tie it to the blog better)
Work before play (a.k.a. take care of business, as John says: T.C.o.B.)
Get in shape (run/work-out)

This is going to be a big year. I know it in some sense, but feel it in other ways. I want to step up my game to reflect the bigness I feel. I hope I can rise to the occasion. :/

I've been off to an awesome start this year as far as the knits go. I've completed four projects (all monogamously knit) since the first and I should have a two-year-old (and two-year-old's) blanket finished by Monday. The momentum I've built just in those small victories really has me amped up to finish things and finish them quickly. I do want to start some new things, after all. :)

Only a skein and a half left now!
Monogamous knitting will help me manage all the other hobbies I've picked up and juggled poorly in the last few years: blogging, the dolls, sewing, photography, and (most importantly) school. I'll need the extra time to organize a big surprise John and I spontaneously decided to schedule in May. :)

I can't wait to continue sharing the making with you all this year and to share the rest of my big year with you all! Thank you all so much for your continued support over the last and previous years. It really means the world to me. I hope any enhancements I plan make for the blog will make Bunnies and Bettas a really great place to visit moving forward!

Here's to the new year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Sun Came Out

Hello friends! Long time no blog! I've written a few posts, but it's been so dark and cloudy, I haven't been able to take any pictures to go with them. :P It's like we live in Mordor over here! I've seen the sun twice in the last three weeks! Christmas was one of those days, so that was a nice gift.

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday, whichever ones you observed. Ours was quiet and relaxed. I'm still knitting Christmas presents like a little elf, though. I have a lot left and a deadline that's creeping up fast (nope, it wasn't Christmas!).

Today and yesterday, I conquered the monumental task of moving my yarn stash around. John's been on a shelf-building kick, which wrapped up with new yarn shelves for me. Yay! I don't have as much unused yarn as I thought I did. I have a ton of partial skeins, but those are living somewhere else for now. :S

I like the idea of getting up and plucking the yarn I want from the shelf instead of having to recall my weird organizational system (and the exceptions to it) and digging through boxes and tubs of yarn. I'm hoping to continue my destashing in the coming year. This will help me keep track of it. Though I'll have to find a new use for some of the shelves when I begin to run low on yarn (HA!).

I'm sure (I hope) after the gift-knitting season you are all diving into selfish knits! What are you working on to keep you warm in this burst of cold weather?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sweater Stacking

Hello, dear readers! I hope my American friends had a fabulous Thanksgiving last week and that my international friends had a great week!

The lack of sunlight is hindering my blogging a bit because I'm not typically home when the sun is available for photos. :P I have been knitting and working on various things, though.

My in-progress knits have been unceremoniously dumped in wretched a pile next to the futon since this summer. It was really starting to wear on me, so I thought I'd do something about it. My first thought was to neatly fold the projects and stack them so that the least finished were on the bottom and the closest to finished were on top. That way, I can glance to my left, think, "Hey, this sweater just needs a neckband," and pick it up to finish it.

Turns out it works! As I was stacking the projects (sweaters, mostly), I thought those very thoughts and I finished a couple of them. I have a large order of Christmas knits, all the same item, so I know I'm going to be glancing longingly at this carefully arranged stack and wanting to knit on anything but those items from time to time. :) I'm hoping that desperation for anything else will result in lots of finished sweaters! It's ridiculous to have so many so close to being done. It's cold, dammit! Let's wear these things already!

I've had a bit of wrist pain as of late, so I've refrained from knitting, even though I don't think it is knitting-relating. It's feeling much better, so I'm going to do some housework now and then cast on a Christmas present for one of my brothers to knit when my Wednesday tv shows come on. :)

Are you making holiday gifts this year? What do you watch while you holiday-craft? If you are interested in some good company and some good holiday movie recommendations (some are wholly unrelated to any holiday, but still fabulous), pop on by the Christmas Movie KAL thread in the Very Shannon group and join us!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Different Stitches

I've been doing some sewing!  I started with a couple bags a while ago and a pouch or two before that, so I thought I'd jump right in to designing and sewing a doll dress. Best idea...? Eh....

Actually, it might have been!

I modeled it after this Cabbages & Roses dress because I figure if I can get it right in doll size maybe I'll be able to make one for myself some day instead of having to shell out $440. :S The goofy puckers in the front there are the only part that didn't come out quite right. I should have notched a corner or something. The most amazing thing is that it fits her.

It suits her. I was afraid it would look a bit...home-ec-y or something. The length helps

The next logical step, then, is to sew something for me! I've had the Washi Dress pattern for a while, but the fabric I bought is really nice and I don't want to mess it up, so I bought a Japanese sewing book and some sale Jo-Ann's Fabric flannel shirting to make an adorable, loose-fitting "practice" dress.

Admittedly, a Japanese sewing book probably isn't the best way to practice because the instructions are rather minimal (I've failed spectacularly at Japanese sewing patterns before), but I've read through them a few times and I think I've got them figured out. I have no idea how I'm going to sew top stitches 1/16" from the edge of the fabric without the machine eating it, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. :)

Right now I'm stuck at the washing the fabric and the tracing the pattern pieces stages. I'm not even close to cutting out the pieces yet! Sewing's hard, guys. So much prep. All you have to do to prep for knitting is wind a ball of yarn. :P Don't be looking for a finished dress soon is all I'm saying.

What are you guys working on? Any big crafting plans for this lazy Thanksgiving week?

Constance posted her Blog Hop post and it's fantastic, so go check it out! I suggest you follow her on Instagram or tumblr if you want to watch her work unfold. It's really beautiful. Eliza said she'd try to do a Blog Hop post too, so keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Socks for Sock Weather

I got totally mixed up in my days last week, which resulted in a total failure of my blogging schedule, haha. So, that means my posts this week are going to be a bit mixed up too! My Friday FO on a Monday:

Summer Breeze

Pattern: Earlybird Socks by Cassandra Dominik from Knitty, Winter 2012
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibre Sock in Gust
Needles: US 1
Project Page

I would imagine just about all of my American readers witnessed some snow last week. I hate snow. It does mean, however, that I am more apt to pull on some cozy hand-knitted socks when there is white stuff on the ground threatening to freeze my toes off. I finished these guys just in time.

The yarn is amazing, as always. My favorite fabric for hand-knitted socks! As last time though, it did pill quite a bit while I was knitting, this time more so because the pattern required quite a bit more manipulation and yarn abuse. No pilling in use, though. The color is unimaginably beautiful, like the scent of flowers on the wind (hence the name, though spring maybe would have been a better choice...I had Michael Buble on the mind a bit).

The pattern was also pretty amazing. It's memorable in it's simple repetitiveness, but I did find that I couldn't muster the stamina to work on it for very long. It's not exactly mindless and there was some stress in nearly dropping stitches a few times that I could have lived without (which could be avoided with a cable needle, but I am a rebel). The smocking of the pattern does make it a touch tight to pull the leg over your heel, but they fit great. OH AND THE HEEL! It's a flipping toe-up flap that is genious! It starts under your heel and continues up the back, so your heel is protected from all the important angles! I'm going to start doing this on all my toe-up socks.

All in all, great yarn, great pattern great socks. :) I redid the bind-off after these pics so they no longer cut off circulation to my feet. Forgive my marked up legs. My skin has an amazing memory for my pj pants (especially when I'd been lounging in them all day ;]).

I promised to alert you to my Blog Hop choices. Lindsay posted hers already and keep an eye out for Constance's. I still have one invite out, but I will let you know when that pans out one way or the other. I know she's pretty busy right now.

Got any socks going? Dreaming of any in particular?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blog Hop

Sorry I sort of fell off the map last week. This fall has been a busy one, though I don't have much to show for it. :P

I was invited by Ine over at a picture book mind to take part in a blog hop. Thank you so much of thinking of me, Ine! So... here goes!

1. What am I working on?

Knitting, as ever, but I thought maybe I'd let you know a couple other things I'm doing, too. Knitting first: I just cast on this pair of socks in perhaps my favorite Hedgehog Fibres colorway I've been fortunate enough to get my hands on so far (which has been too few!). It is called Windbreaker and I'm pairing it with the dyer's own pattern Vestigial. I'm also still working on a sparkly green Grace. Just needs sleeves (like all my other wips ;))!

I'm also working on a couple of art projects. One is repainting my doll again (this is the third and final time--for a while--I pray), this time painting her whole body instead of just her hands and face. The other art project is one that's entirely in my head at the moment, but I intend to storyboard it soon. It will be a graphic rendition of The Decemberists' album The Hazards of Love. Every time I listen to it (which is often), I have vivid images of the characters and settings that I feel I should start putting on paper pretty soon. It will likely be a looooong term project since I've already been thinking about it since the album was released a couple years ago, but I think it will be fun.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don't know if this question is answerable concerning my knitting. I tend to pick bold colors, but many other knitters do too, so I don't know if that makes it different. It's interesting to think about knitting as a genre. There are definitely designers whose designs I can pick out instantly, but I don't know how we can differentiate between those who knit others' designs besides the color palette each knitter gravitates too or her chosen alterations. I'm sure there are distinguishing markers, I just haven't sat down to think about it....

My art is a little easier to make out as my own. Granted, I haven't done it for nearly a decade, but I assume my style hasn't changed much. :) I prefer to work in pencils and I strive for super-realism. That doesn't necessarily differentiate me from other super-realist pencil artists, but I tend to have a very light hand, which does make me a bit different, I think. In the last couple of years before I set the art aside, I really took to working in pen. This helped a bit with my light hand so it didn't get too lost. My goal is to return to that with The Hazards of Love project, though I might sacrifice the super-realism.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

This is an easy one. I've always been an imaginative person. I daydream and I'm easily distracted. I get hung up on images or ideas and want to explore them. I knit because it keeps me grounded. I listen better with knitting in my hands and I can focus on what I need to focus on--like lectures or puzzling through my dissertation--without tumbling into a passing thought. I used to doodle extensively as an undergrad. My notes contain more art than substance. :) Art and the doll give me the chance to exercise my imagination. I need to do it more often now that the stress of grad school (finishing it, specifically) is piling on. It's so nice to not think about all the stressful stuff 24/7 and to create something that won't be criticized or graded or otherwise evaluated. I leave school at school and think about what color my new doll's eyes should be or how the Fairy Queen will look: like a person or a tree?

4. How does my writing/illustration/creative process work?

I don't know how much of a process it is, but it's true for knitting and for drawing: I plan for ages and ages, then finally, one day, sit down and start on it. Knitting I work on endlessly, ripping back for mistakes or measuring for alterations. The art is pretty much the same, except I have to work on it in spurts. I typically focus on one area at a time until it's perfect. Super-realism takes it out of me, so I can't stare at it too long or work on it as vigorously as the knitting. I actually have a lot of unfinished or really weird-looking works because I just never found the time to finish them (see above). In the end, I either like it or I don't and I move on to the next thing, having enjoyed the process thoroughly, if not always the end product (if there is one).

Because I've been busy the last couple of weeks, I'm behind in inviting the three bloggers I have in mind, so I'll have to update this post and alert you next post when I've asked them and they've participated. This has been an interesting brain exercise, so I encourage you to take the questions to your own blog whether invited or not and let me know you've posted so I can learn about your creative process.

Please hop on over to Ine's post here to read her answers. She's an incredibly talented artist and knitter (though only a beginner! I can't believe it!).