Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fingerless?

There is just no way, with my schedule, that something I post as "WIP" on Wednesday is going to be a finish on Friday. It just doesn't happen.
size
This gives you an idea of size
But a girl can dream, right?
Nails
Gratuitous pic of nail color and engagement ring. I'm testing out nail colors for the wedding. 
If progress happens, it'll be over the weekend, most likely. And I do plan on having a pair of something--fingerless mitts or full mittens-- on Monday.

Onto my question:
I am working on mittens. The pattern includes an awesome thumb-space. I really just want to stop and have a pair of fingerless mitts. Except I already have several pairs. And I legitimately need a pair of wool mittens.
color
(Another ring shot) This is a better representation of color
Should I persevere?

Linking with Tami, even though I'm not quite finished....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Working on... Mittens!!

Even though the weather's been pretty crazy here in the great Mitten, going from freezing temps to thunderstorms and flooding, I've been encouraged by several Ravelers to go ahead with my plan to make a nice pair of wooly mittens.
Mitten beginnings
A lovely cuff. 
I've had several pairs in my queue for a bit, and last night I settled on Mrs. Murdock's Mittens, a very basic pattern. I really wanted a pair of wooly mittens for the cold drive to school in the morning. But the weather's been weird, and I haven't had time... You know the drill. Hemming and hawing, and not getting anything done.

But, since I did make some progress on my parents' afghan over the weekend, I felt like I could start a new project. I'm working these mittens in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, originally bare, but dyed green by me with Kool-Aid and food coloring.

I'm still working on my Snowdrop(s) but they're already at the point where progress doesn't look like much.

Linking up with Tami for WIP Wednesday!
Being busy with teaching leaves only small amounts of time for blogging and crafting, so even though I am hopping around and checking out all the cool stuff, I don't always have time to comment. I hope you still feel the love :)


Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Roundup

Another typical weekend for me.

Working all day Saturday, with some attempted lesson planning and the like. I did get some crocheting done in the evening, mainly powering through an infinity scarf for someone I was seeing on Sunday.
I also started working on my Snowdrop, as part of the February CAL that the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group is hosting.
2 Snowdrops
Top: Red Heart Holiday Hunter/Gold
Bottom: KnitPicks Stroll Tonal Stonewashed
My mom had the US Figure Skating Championship Women's Finals on, so I watched a bit of that with her, remembering how I used to love watching the female figure skaters.

Sunday morning Mass, breakfast with the family, a bit of a nap. More crocheting. A prayer meeting in the evening, with a speaker sharing about the youth programs. A variety of people asking me how wedding plans were going. By the last one, I was a bit flustered, mainly because right now there is not much wedding planning, as both E and I are finishing up school, and the big things are all planned and out of the way.

This morning, I woke to a text from one of my friends, informing me of the snow day. It was way too early for her to be texting me, but we're both teachers, so I guess she thought I would be up. That text was followed shortly by a text from my host teacher, telling me to go back to sleep. My fiance called 10 minutes after that, because he volunteers to be my secondary alarm clock. Because I was in no rush to get up, we actually chatted for a few minutes before he had to go. He has to get up for school too, and his wasn't cancelled.

Since I got a bit of a lie-in, I was not overly productive today. Errands mainly, plus chores that I don't have as much time to do when I'm in and out of the house for school and work. More crocheting, working on my "Ten-minute" projects. (both of my 10 minute projects take more than ten minutes, but it is good to spend some time with them.)

JAYG try #1
10 minute project- trying to finish Mom & Dad's afghan!
 Not much else-- Hope you all have a lovely week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

FO Friday

Finished Juliana
Still needs blocking, but finished otherwise!
 On Wednesday, I shared my Juliana that was halfway done. As I worked on it after school and during our evening television shows, I came to a realization. I figured out what colors I love working with: sunset colors-- rich purples, pinks with some yellows, blues and oranges. The Chroma I am using, Gossip, has some beautiful shades of pink and purple-- the only thing I don't like about the colorway is the muted pale pinks and purples that are used as the transitions.
The pretty colors!
Aren't those colors amazing!?
 However, I do LOVE the Palette Fingering in Mulberry that I'm using with the Chroma. The pattern yarn requirements have it listed as 766-919 yards. I opted for a smaller sized wrap, with my center section measuring 40 cm unblocked. I didn't follow the pattern exactly in regards to changing colors, but I don't really think you can tell. On the border row, I ran out of Palette about a third of the way around. I didn't want to frog, and I had another skein, so I "broke into" a new skein. I used nearly all the Chroma. So between the 2, I'd say I used a little over 640 yards (if my mental math is right, lol)

My Shallow Waters that I shared last week is still in a pile. I really appreciated the feedback on my color choices, but I think I'm going to take an alternative route and dye some yarn to match. I have Bare Stroll in the stash, and as long as I pick a light enough color, I can use that until the shawl is my desired size, and then re-dye to use with the last of my Pearlescent.

Due to my upcoming move, I'm really trying to commit to "Cold Sheeping" and am having some success being part of the Cold Sheep and Friends group on Ravelry. Two different discussions went on this week, one regarding the optimum number of WIPs, and the other discussing methods for finishing items that languish. I particularly took to the second one, as I have a knitted Citron that had been a WIP since this time last year. The idea is to take 10 minutes each day to work on a long term project that you may not like as much. And to work on it BEFORE working on something that you like. So I've pulled it out. It is taking me over 10 minutes to just complete one row. Originally, I wanted to use the entire skien of yarn that I had, but I'm thinking I probably wont anymore. So the only thing left is to decide when to stop.
Citron- no visible progress
I couldn't capture the colors properly, and its hard to see the true size when my circs are too short. 
I've also taken a couple of skeins and wound them into balls on the new yarn swift my dad helped me make. It's not perfect, and it takes up lots of space, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. You should be seeing the newly balled yarns in my WIPs next week!
Using my new yarn swift
Not all skeins are made the same size... 
I start teaching next week, 2 sections of 11th grade government. I'm nervous and excited, but it will cut into my crafting time ridiculously.

The way my university sets up the student teaching expierence requires 2 weeks of "proper" lesson planning for each class being taught by the student teacher. My host teacher has 3 different classes, so I will end up with 6 weeks of full lesson plans for 3 different subjects. After the initial two weeks, the lesson plan format can be reduced, so the load will be worse for the month of February, and then ease up in March.  Today marks the end of the 3rd of 14 weeks of my student teaching. So far, so good.

Linking up with FO Friday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I hope everyone's been enjoying the cold weather!! It was zero degrees yesterday when I got up for school, and it barely got warmer than that.
Juliana


My students are taking exams all week, so my teaching is minimal, and I've had a little bit of spare time to crochet. I started a Juliana again, this time with the proper yarn. It is definitely turning out better this time, and I love the colors. I'm using Knit Picks Palette in Mulberry and Chroma in Gossip. I doubt I will use all the yarn up, so I'm planning what to make next. I really love this Chroma colorway, and I'm sad that it was discontinued. You can't tell from the photo, because I hadn't gotten far when this photo was taken, but the pink in this colorway is AMAZING!

When I need something a bit more brainless, I go back to working on infinity scarves. I'm in the middle of my fifth this month. Making infinity scarves is an ongoing project, and I really hope to finish up many more between now and graduation.


My fiance was over this past weekend, and brought a book with him-- he thinks I have time to read. Oddly enough, he's right, as I've been able to read nearly 3 chapters of Service, by Marcus Luttrell. Luttrell is a Navy SEAL who lost his team and wrote about it in his first book, Lone Survivor. This second book is much more palatable for me- one, because my fiance is no longer deployed, and two, because I'm not walking into the book knowing that everyone dies. E keeps bringing around these military books for me to read, to help me understand what he went through. It's eye-opening and sometimes scary, but we really do need to face what our military personnel go through to defend our freedoms.

Linking up with Tami for WIPW and Ginny for Yarn-Along.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FO Saturday

Due to my school schedule and my inability to have pictures prepared in advance, I'm doing a FO Saturday. (Still linking up with Tami so you can see other cool stuff!!)

Thursday night, hoping beyond hoping that I might be able to have pictures and everything else prepared, I powered through and finished the last few rows on my Mezzaluna in Knit Picks Chroma Elfin. Using Chroma I was only able to get 17 rows-- so no border. But I like it all the same. 

Chroma Mezzaluna
The size is very generous-- nearly 80 inches along the top edge. I really loved working with Chroma. It is a single ply, and has a slight thick & thin characteristic, but I enjoyed working with it.

Last week I finished my Oveja scarf, and wore it as soon as I wove the ends in. I love the border along the long edge, such a different design element than the patterns I usually make.

Oveja 2
Wearing it with my favorite pair of boots and awesome print tights.
And to cap off my progress, I have a third Shallow Waters shawlette. But there are some technical difficulties. It's in Knit Picks Felici, which comes in 218 yd skeins. When I bought it, it was just to try it out, so I only bought one skein of each color I wanted. This one is called Tiki.
Nearly finished

If you look carefully, you can see the last row is a solid peachy-pink color. This color is one of a pack of mini-skeins that I received in a swap. It was the closest match in color when I went scrambling through my yarn, trying to find something that worked. You see, my plan originally was to use the half skein of Stroll Tonal Pearlescent that I had left from my Pearl Wrap.  But I must have looked at the 2 skeins together in bad light, and I was convinced that they matched. They don't. So, I really want this to be a bigger scarf. And I dont want to frog it all. There are 400 yards in the mini-skein pack-- 40 yards in each mini-skein. Here are my possibilities:


Options 1 & 2
1 & 2

Options 3 & 4
3 & 4

Options 5 & 6
5 & 6
What do you think? I could really use the help. Thanks!! (Edit for clarity: I have not paired any of the yarns together, I just took the photos in pairs for ease of viewing & numbering)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's been a week or two since I've linked up with Tami's WIPW, but I have stuff to share this week (And I've prepped in advance!)(but it's still short. and lacking photos. Sorry loves)

I've been slowly working on a Mezzaluna, but am now nearing the end. If only it was portable for taking to school. I love how the pattern looks though, and with my new Knit Picks Chroma yarn, it looks awesome!

Elfin

I have a few rows lefts on another Shallow Waters scarf-lette.

There are two crochet mitten patterns being mulled over in my brain right now (Friendship Mittens and Mrs. Murdock's), and I really want a chance to work on them, but don't know when I'll be able to.

Besides that, I have a few long-term WIPs that I want to get out again and work on. But, again with the time thing. Teaching is a busy business. One ripple afghan and at least one block afghan, both hoping to be resurrected this weekend... Maybe.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I feel like a High Schooler Again

All last week I observed a teacher in a nearby high school as part of my student teaching experience. I will be spending the next 13 weeks in this same classroom and at some point will be teaching the students like they are my own. However, these first few weeks lead up to the end of the first semester in my host school, and the students are preparing for final exams. So there is not a lot for me to do besides grading the odd stack of papers.

Blog-hopping a few weeks ago, I came across someone who was reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the debut novel of British author Rachel Joyce. Just last week I came across another recommendation for it, and since I had it on reserve at the library, I figured I should give it a go.

I started reading it on Thursday or Friday morning.

Problem #1: I brought it to school with me.
Problem #2: Four of the five classes were working on review stuff-- nothing for me to do.

So basically, I spent a good portion of the day on Friday with my nose buried in a book. I left school on Friday feeling slightly guilty, but it's not like I didn't do something I was supposed to be doing. It was just a dull day at the high school. But I felt like I was about 16 again, reading a book under the desk because I was done with my work, but still didnt want the teacher to know that I was doing "outside work" in his class.

However, this is the mark of a really good book in my mind. I wanted to find out what happened to Harold, and why Queenie Hennessy was so important to him. But, as a plus, it wasn't an inappropriate novel. It was a very clean read. One of my favorite parts of the book was following Harold's journey along the map provided in the front of the book.

I would definitely recommend it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

FO Friday

The end of a busy week is more than a welcome sight. Tomorrow I might even wear jeans-- five days of "teacher clothes" can wear you down! And I don't insult teacher clothes, I just need to adjust my wardrobe to find stuff that is appropriate to teach in, is reasonable attractive, and comfortable.

But I get off topic so easily!! I'm here to post about yarn-y things. After school yesterday, I sat down with my hooks and cranked out a dishcloth, the border on a shawlette, and dithered about what to make next. I just found a few really nice cowl patterns in the Ravelry database, and I might try some out in the near future.

My 2 finishes are the Tulip stitch dishcloth that I've made before-- I super love the pattern-- and the Oveja shawl in a scarf/shawlette size. The Oveja is the CAL in the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group this month, and as it is a goal of mine to get my stash under control, I'm finding yarns to go with various CALs so I have support when I work a pattern. It's a fun and active bunch  participating in this CAL, which is super helpful.

However, there is always a condition on my finishing-- today it is the fact that I still have 15 g left of the yarn I used, and I hate saving those little balls of yarn. So I'm debating between frogging back the final written row in the pattern and redo-ing, or adding on another border row to finish up the yarn.

And no photos because of my early rising and self-imposed bed times. Sorry. Maybe I'll do just a photo update this weekend. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reading

I'm reading a new book in the New Year.

This book was suggested by one of my recently married friends, and so far, it is an inspiring and challenging read.  The Power of a Praying Wife starts with being solid in your own relationship with God, and moves into the idea that one has to be totally self-sacrificing when praying for your husband. He may not be praying for you, but by praying for him, you can draw closer to him and to God.

There are 30 sections in the book, each covering a different aspect of your husband's life to pray for. I've only made it partway through the first, but I really like the challenge it presents me. The format makes it great for a daily study book-- though I won't have the time for daily reading, I still hope to finish most of it before I need to return it to the library.

Are you reading anything challenging or inspiring?

When Life Gets Busy

I feel a bit like I fell off the edge of the earth when 2012 disappeared and 2013 came to be. Spending New Year's with my fiance's family was great, but trying to catch up the rest of the week has been crazy. Student teaching starts on Monday, first with observation, and then a gradual movement toward more responsibility in the classroom. I'm both nervous and excited.

However, being at school, during the 'regular' school day-- meaning from 7 to 3-- will cut down on craft and reading time, which is slightly disappointing. Wedding planning will also be put aside, at least for a bit.

My camera battery died, otherwise I'd share a few photos from my Christmas adventures. My future sister in law ordered hats for Christmas-- ages ago!-- but now I finally have modeled photos of most of the hats I made for her. I'm planning on sharing those soon, just because her kids are so cute :)

Even with a busy life, I want to make a few goals for the new year:
  1. At least one craft show item made a week-- like a hat or scarf. This should eat up some of my stash so I won't have to move all of it come August.
  2. Craft with purpose-- this means dyeing yarn as well as making things. I have so many items that were "cute" or "fun" to make, but now I don't know who to give them too.
  3. Do that exercising thing. Being on my feet all day in a classroom is not going to be great for my physical well-being-- at our student teaching "training" they told us to make sure we are exercising-- Plus, I have a wedding dress that needs to fit properly.
  4. Only buy new yarn when I need it-- no need to explain this one
  5. DO NOT overcommit yourself. I've done this a bit already, but I really need to keep it in check. I have projects for other people that I really don't want to make, but I've already committed.
  6. Blog for me. I've found that blogging holds me accountable for finishing projects, and I love sharing my journey with a particular bit of yarn.
We'll see what I make of these goals come the end of January when I'm in the thick of things.