Monday, July 30, 2007

Saving for Yarn

Remember a couple of months ago I told you guys about my financial plan for my future? Well my boyfriend came up with a wonderful idea that I think may help not just knitters, but anyone with a hobby that takes up alot of money.

Nine weeks ago, Nathan (the BF) opened up an ING checking account. Apparently this is very new to ING because when we opened our savings account with them in March, they did not offer this service.

Long story short, my boyfriend loves photography (last post he took the pictures of my shawl). However, when you're poor, you can't donate alot of money to your hobby. So he opened the ING checking account so that he can fund his photography obsession.

When he told me about it last week, he suggested that I open one for my habit (knitting). So that's what I did yesterday.

And the great thing about this method of saving for yarn is that I can still access my money, plus this account accures interest (about 4.5%, just like the ING savings account). Lastly, I automatically save as much as I want every week because it comes straight from my other checking account.

I'm glad I got the account. I see this new account not just as my knitting fund but also my "Just for Fun" account. That means lets say I want to get a pedicure or a massage or do some other leisurely activity not in my budget; I can use the money I saved for that purpose. It's great!

Knitting

I have been knitting on the bag, but if I had taken a picture of it, you guys would have thought I was lying. So here is a picture of a simple sock:



This is the first sock to a pair for Nathan's Auntie Dee. The way this sock is going (84 stitches around with 9 stitches to the inch as gauge), I might finish it by September, which is perfect because that's when it starts to get cold in Saskatchewan.

Well, that's all for now. On to more job searching!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

El Cent├ęsimo

For those of you that do not know, this is my 100th post. No, I am not starting up a contest or doing anything else to celebrate (that will be next month, if I am still able to. Stay tuned!).

As promised, here are some glamour shots of the finished shawl:









It is absolutely beautiful! The colors are right up my ally: bright, obnoxious, and full of color! Perfect for brisk Fall days or windy spring nights. And even though there are a bunch of holes in this shawl, I tried to wear it this past Sunday while I was knitting inside and it got me too hot!

Now that the shawl is done, I have started the bag:



I'm half way through the first intarsia repeat and my yarn is depleating rapidly. I'm not worried about yarn, though, because this is a stash buster, so it is all good! Honestly, I can't wait to get the knitting done on this baby so that I could felt it and turn it into something useful. I don't felt much because I do not have a personal washer and dryer (aka, I have to pay for each load I put in), but for this bag (which hopefully would be done by this fall) I'm willing to break some rules.

That's all for now. I got a lot to do today and unfortunately, it does not involve knitting.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Just Blocking

Today is a lazy day at my house which is perfect because I can get some serious knitting done. But before I get to that, I still have to finish the shawl:



Here it is taking a bath:



And now it is on the floor stretched out.







Measuring to 48 1/2 wide and 21 1/2 inches long, I have to say that this was a good first attempt at shawl making. I love how the stitch pattern hides behind all the color, which would urk some but doesn't bother me at all.

Movies

If anyone is looking for a good DVD to rent this weekend, last night I watched The Last King of Scotland with Forest Whitaker. Though Forest won an Oscar for his performance, the entire film is equally as good. The soundtrack is rather sexy, which is my favorite part of the whole thing.

One thing that interested me the most is the films potrayal of interracial couples, particularly white men with black women. In American society, though it is becoming more accepted, it is still somewhat looked down upon for people to date outside of their race. With that said, it seems to me that the majority of white/black couples in America are white women with black men. It is very rare to see a black woman with a white man. And because you rarely see black women with white men, its almost looked down upon even more than black men with white women!

I have only bought this up because I believe as society changes, movies, TV, and other creative media outlets reflect the issues and present day culture. For example, 10 years ago there was never a TV show where gay men where even minor characters, let alone the stars. Now there are several TV shows were these characters are playing major roles. Now whether these men and women are really homosexual is not the point. It is the fact that society has changed so much in the past 20 years that showing this on TV is not only accepted, but welcomed.

Does that mean that in 2007 Americans are still not ready to accept a TV show or movie where a interracial couple are the stars? This may be true in some ways, but The Jeffersons in the 70's was a huge hit that had a black woman with a white man as the neighbors of the two stars of the show, George and Louise Jefferson. Hopefully, one day television and other media outlets would show these types of relationships more frequently, so that maybe the television audience would be more accepting of interracial couples when they see them at the mall or in the grocery store. Please, do tell what you think about this topic. I would really enjoy the discussion.

That's all for now. If you would excuse me, I have a bag to make.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Inspiration

The shawl is maturing into a wonderful teenager, everyone! Here is a progress pic:



I'm almost done on the last repeat. The pattern says to knit till there are 195 stitches on the needles, but I haven't been counting stitches. I'm just trying to get rid of yarn so that I can make more room for new yarn. You guys seen my stash.

Because I like to plan ahead, I decided to read further along in the pattern to prepare myself for what was next. I found out that the pattern wanted me to create a scalloped edge on the border of the entire shawl. That's when I started to panic because it did not explain exactly how to do this. I fiddled around the web for a moment and found only this page to be somewhat useful. However, if you are an expert in lace, please let me know how I would attach a scallopped edge to my shawl. I would love to finish this piece before the month ends. It's not that I have a deadline in terms of wearing it somewhere or giving it as a gift. I just can't wait to block this thing to see how it comes out!

New Project

On Sunday as I was listening to podcasts and working on the shawl, I was sitting in front of my stash and glanced over at these skeins of yarn:



I immediately got the inspiration to knit this bag out of it:



It is from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. I've wanted to make this bag for a long time now. In fact, when I bought the skeins pictures above, I knew they were going to be felted (which reminds me of a story about what happens when a knitter picks the wrong yarn for certain projects I have to tell you guys later).

The pattern calls for 4 colors but I'm only using 3: 2 for the main design and possibly 1 for the accent color on the crosses (you see the little light flecks of color on the crosses?). According to the introduction to the pattern, the fourth color was similiar to another background color which made a slight stripey affect that made the yarn look hand dyed when felted. That sounds cool but when a knitter's on a budget, you can't afford a stripey affect that even the picture in the book can not detect.

Q&A

Del asked me in the comments of last post what the stitch pattern was for the yellow scarf. Just to let you know it's a seed stitch. Usually I do not like seed stitch because to me it's really plain but requires alot more than stockinette. For example, if I do stockinette in the round, I don't even have to think. I could knit and watch tv for hours and before I know it, I'm ready to turn the heel of a sock. Seed stitch, however, you got to make sure that you start with a purl if you did a knit on the last stitch of the last row. It is for this reason that my rule of having an even number of stitches when making a scarf go out the window. For this scarf in particular, I casted on 13 stitches. Then I knited 1, purled 1 to the end, then I turned the work around and did the same thing the entire scarf till I ran out of yarn. Very easy, very simple, but the results are very Banana Republic.

My plans for today vary. I got some errands to run, knitting to do, and a mock interview to go to so that I can test out my interviewing skills. I don't plan on doing perfect the first time and hearing some constructive criticism right now would be great. That is because, quite frankly, that's one of the best ways to improve.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Forgetful

Yesterday I was reminded by this man:



my boyfriend that Friday the 13th was my blogaversary. Needless to say that I had completely forgotten all about it. I must say that it has been wonderful this past year writing and sharing my life and knitting with you guys. To commemorate the occasion, Nathan gave me a card as well as this:



A lovely camera so that I do not have to bother him for his. Isn't he sweet? I've been wanting a camera of my own lately but I could not find the money to purchase one right now. I did not even tell him I wanted a camera but he just knew that I needed one. That's a good boyfriend!

Knitting

The big yellow scarf was started and completed yesterday. No my wonderful boyfriend did not knit this up for me as planned.



Here's the story. My boyfriend and I were discussing how I wanted my scarf to look. I wanted a Banana Republic look, that is something lucious, thick, and warm with a simple stitch that they would charge $60 for but because I'm a knitter, I would look at it and totally say, "I could make that for a third of the price," and then actually do it. That's what Nik did.

Anyway, so my boyfriend had somehthing else in mind, something that he tried to explain to me but I did not understand. And seeing that I was determined to get a certain look, I told him forget about it.



So who in their right mind would wear a whale's worth of yarn in hot ass July (well, for you and you it's not crazy at all seeing that this time is very cold)? Me of course! I wanted to show you guys the capabilities of my camera.





Some random pics with the camera.

That's all for now. Happy Knitting Guys!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Back!

Okay, I've been back in Michigan since Monday afternoon. New York was fabulous! Most of my time was spent with my family, though, so I was not able to visit any yarn stores. However, looking at my bank account these past couple days, I was glad I did not have the chance to go.

Knitting

I've been knitting, mostly on the shawl and not seeing much progress on any of my other projects. I think it is because it takes me a long time to actually get to knitting these days. I'm still job hunting so I'm busy calling people, mailing resumes, and working on the computer. Then I can't leave my house dirty, so that has to get cleaned. Before I know it, I have to go to work (I work the second shift, 3pm-11pm). Then I always say, "Well I have this whole weekend to knit." But then you know how it goes. Your weekend is always filled with things that you could not do during the week. Groceries, laundry, house cleaning, catching up on sleep; all eating away at my knitting time.

The reason why I said this is because as a blogger who loves to knit, I sometimes feel pressured to sit and knit for a couple hours just so that I have something to show you guys the next day. Because lets face it, after awhile, a knitting blog gets dull if the author does not show some sort of progress in his/her projects.

Now, don't get me wrong. Much like you guys, I knit because I like it and I do not feel obligated to knit things I do not like or knit on things that I do not have passion for simply because I need some material for my blog. All I'm saying is that surfing the blogosphere can really inspire a knitter to challenge their knitting skills, or sadden a knitter because he/she is not producing as much FO's as other knit bloggers are doing.

So I ask you, do you sometimes feel pressured to knit just so you have something to say on your blog? Let me know!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Big Bird and Big Yellow Yarn

I'm having such a great time with my family in NYC. Today my twin nephews, my sisters, and my mother went to Sesame Place to have some fun in the water. We had such a blast just hangin out with my twin nephews, and getting to reminisce about the time my sister and I spent at Sesame Place as kids. Though I would love to place a picture of my nephews up here, I hear that doing that could place them in danger, so to be safe, you guys would have to settle for words.

So what does Big Bird have to do with Big Yarn? Everything:



A big yellow bird...




Some big yellow yarn.




I bought this stuff last week after a job interview that did not go down too well. I was planning on making a simple seed stitch scarf for this winter out of it. I know it's pretty bright for winter, but I think winter is already a sad time of year and a bright scarf would definitely brighten anyone's day. However, my boyfriend saw it and asked me if he could make it for me. He told me though that he had a very different design idea from mine. We'll have to wait and see what he comes up with. Additionally, although I would love to knit something quick (that is a scarf in a day quick), that's one less thing I have to knit.



I hope this Eye Candy brightens your weekend! Happy knitting!

BTW

My grandmother loved the socks! She told me I should consider selling my work, which I take as a big compliment from a women who is the queen of everything domestic.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Late Birthday Present

I have a little time before I have to leave for my flight home. I've been waiting to show you guys the finished pair of Jaywalkers for my Grandmother. Here they are:





My grandmother's birthday was June 9th. I believe she is 70 years old now, but I'm not too sure. I decided to knit her some socks after the occasion had past and thought that mailing them to her would be a nice touch to my old-school gift for my old-school grandmother. However, once I knew I was going to NYC I decided to just finish the socks before the trip and personally deliver them to her. Hopefully she'll like them.

The yarn is KnitPicks Essentials in the Pumpkin colorway. I ran out of yarn on the first sock so I used some left over Trekking XXL yarn. Waste not, want not! Would I make these socks again? I think so for myself. They were quick, easy, and interesting. I'm not sure if I want to submit mine to the gallery she has going but I'll think about it. I'm somewhat scared that they will not fit because I've heard that many people complained about the narrow leg. If they do not fit my grandmother's feet I still think she'd be so touched that I made her something that she would not care about fit (or that's what I think in my head).

By the time you read this, I'll be on my way home! See you next week!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Working Girl Gets to Travel

Today I'm going on a job interview at a local hospital. I must admit that I was rather surprised to get a phone call from them, seeing that I gave them a resume more than a month earlier. My boyfriend told me that employers may take awhile to return your phone call. My impatient ass, however, gave up after 2 weeks. Cross your fingers for me. It's a job I really want and something I believe is good to start out with right out of college.

Travel Knitting

Yesterday I told you guys I'm flying back home to New York to see my family. I'm really excited to go. I haven't seen them since January when my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. I know that to many of you, New York is a scary, mysterious place, but for me, it's home. New York is the only place I know where you really do not need alot of money to have alot of fun (unless that is, you like the high life, then you might need a little more than $20 bucks to enjoy yourself). Living in Michigan for so long has made me yearn for some traditional Guyanese foods like curry and roti, or rice and stew cabbage, or pine tart and black cake (here's a page that talks more about the cultural influences on Guyanese cuisine).

So there are certain things I have to buy at home that Michigan simply does not have, like Wise Cheese Doodles (simliar to Cheetos but simply not the same), mouth watering thin crust pizza that you have to fold in half to eat, and $10 pedicures. I'm also planning on visiting some yarn stores in the city like Purl in Soho, Seaport Yarns and School Products in Downtown Manhattan (I know yesterday I placed myself on a more strict yarn diet, but technically, this yarn will be vacation yarn).

So of course I have some plane knitting:



I started this shawl on Saturday night. The yarn is from my stash, some Lorna's Laces sock yarn in the Rainbow colorway. I've never been so excited about a project in a long time. I've done lace work before in socks and other garments but this is my first lace shawl. I'm hopping to give this one away, but I'm thinking to myself the colors are so wild, I'm not sure many people other than myself that would like it, let alone wear it.



The reason why I have stayed away from lace for so long is because I did not want to go through the process of blocking the thing. Don't get me wrong, I love to block my knitting, but I also do not have to use thousands of pins to get the right shape like I would have to do with this shawl. Nonetheless, the pattern is not too complicated and should keep me busy on the plane ride to New York.



If I am able to, I'll see if I could blog in NYC. If not, this is goodbye till next week!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Delicious yet Bitter

I've been gone for awhile now (since June 19th to be exact). I have to admit that I did not have much to say and I feel that if you don't have something real to discuss, then you should not blog until inspiration comes naturally. Well, I got my inspiration this weekend:



I finally moved into my boyfriend's apartment and I have to say that when I stacked all of my yarn on this make-shift bookshelf, I was surprised and enthusiastic about it all at the same time. You see, I was thrilled to see all of my yarn in plain sight. Now I could feel like I'm shopping in a yarn store every time I go up for some new yarn (it's dorky, I know). The bitter part of this delicious moment came after I had realized that I had alot more yarn than I expected.



I mean though some of the yarn is for my boyfriend (straight from Argentina) the majority of it belongs to me. Soon after, feelings of shame began to formulate in my soul. In fact, at one point I was somewhat embarassed to display my yarn to the world, seeing that the shelf is right across from the door and the first thing that friends and strangers would see when they walk in. Even after I stacked the yarn on the shelf and came back from a long day at the park, it overwhelmed me to see it all there first thing as I walked into the door!

I have to explain to you guys why I am shocked that my stash is larger than I had expected. All this time I thought that I did not have that big of a stash. In fact, I thought I was doing so much better than other knit bloggers with huge stashes. Before yesterday, I was so nieve and self-righteous. I would constantly tell myself, "I have so much self control. I may have alot of yarn but at least I don't have enough to fill up an entire room," or "My stash only fits into one rubbermaid bin." The reality of the matter is that I have so much yarn that I can barely fit it all on one bookshelf!



Realizing that I have all this yarn has placed alot of stress on my mind. What about this August? I was planning on having a yarn binge but it looks like I haven't purged enough of my stash to justfiy that. Additionally, in some ways I feel selfish for spending so much money on this hobby of mine when there could be better things that I could do with my money like start paying my student loans off or zero-out some credit card bills.

Still these feelings won't push me away from knitting. This is what I love to do and as far as I'm concerned, knitting has only enriched my life, not taken away from it. In fact, I don't think ANYTHING would keep me from knitting for the rest of my life, tell you the truth.

So I have a new plan. I want to make alot of Christmas presents this year (I know it's July!). Therefore, I have decided that if I'm making a Christmas present, I have to see if I could use up some stash yarn first before I purchase something new. That will be my challenge for the next 7 months. Now all I have to do is go through the stash, sort the yarn by what I want to make out of it and choose a recipient for this December. However, I'm too lazy to do that (it is Sunday, you know). I think I'll do it when I come back from vacation.

Oh yeah, I did not mention that I'm going to New York City this Tuesday. More details on that tomorrow.