Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rotating Images of Happiness

We have had the same coffee table for a number of years, a vestige of the college days where decor didn't really matter - while it was lovingly handmade by my boyfriend, it was decorated with strategically placed beer caps so that it looked like an Irish flag. While I don't doubt his artistic abilities or his hard work, the table was simply not very charming. I didn't have the heart to tell him to get rid of it though, and so it sat there as a proud centerpiece of the living room until recently, when the last of its wobbly legs gave out. I then sadly/happily informed him that it was time to get a replacement, and he reluctantly agreed. While we did some shopping around, budgetary constraints had us settling for an IKEA coffee table that had a glass covering on top. While the new table was very modern looking and meshed well with the rest of the apartment, I actually started to miss the handmade, personalized aspect of the other table, despite its garish beer theme. I found a good compromise one day, when I was cleaning out my box of photos - I found that I could make a collage out of these photos, place it on top of the table, then secure the pics in place with the glass. Not only do the photos get some usage, but the coffee table looks a little more interesting without looking too juvenile. The boyfriend is happy and so am I~!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cable Sweater Inspired by Rebecca

Hurray, my first completed sweater for 2009! This sweater was a labor of love, a project inspired from the cables in this Rebecca pattern. The yarn is double stranded so that it would knit to gauge - I used Cascade 220 in cream with an alpaca tweed that I bought at the Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck back in October. I knitted the body in the round, making 3 decreases for the waist, and three increases for the bust. I used the cable pattern in the front AND the back, so I casted on the same number of stitches (78?) for each side. I knitted the sleeves in the round, after picking up 50 stitches for the armhole, knitting 3 rounds in garter stitch before doing the rest in stockinette. After doing six inches for the sleeves, I decreased two stitches every four rows 10 times until I had 30 stitches left. I ended the sleeves by doing 2x2 ribbing for 2.5 inches. For the shoulders, I bound off 11 stitches for each shoulder with a three-needle bind-off. For the cowl neck, I picked up the rest of the stitches from the front and back that were not bound off for the shoulders, picked up a couple of stitches from the sides, and knit in the round for 8 inches. I did the last 4-5 rounds in seed stitch (purl, knit, purl, knit to the end on the first row, then knit, purl, knit, purl to the end on the following row). I bound off loosely, weaved in the ends, and voila! Since this sweater is tighter fitting and thicker than most of my sweaters, I didn't dare block it - I wore it to work yesterday and it has kept me comfortably warm in my freezer box of an office. I am also happy to say that despite the sweater having a cowl neck, it is not itchy or irritating in the least. So far, so good!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beaverslide Dry Goods

I realized that I haven't posted much about knitting recently... Although I am not as frantic as I was during the holidays, I am trying not to slack off too much - currently I have two projects in the works, one of which is making a sweater out of this beautiful yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods. All of the yarn comes from their farm in Montana. The prices are reasonable, given the amount of yardage you get, and the pictures they post of the yarn are pretty accurate. Although the color palette is much more vivid than I'm used to, I think this is a wonderful change for me, considering my tendency to veer towards various shades of brown! I haven't washed the yarn, so I don't know if the color bleeds or if the vivid colors tend to fade over time. I bought two types of yarn; four wool skeins in a gold-ish yellow, and four skeins of the blue, which is an alpaca and wool blend. I have 1.5 sleeves and a collar to do before the blue yarn gets unveiled to the world - can't wait! I am still on the lookout for a project that will complement the yellow yarn - although the blue and yellow are both considered worsted weight, I found that the yellow yarn is more bulky to work with... No matter what I do, my gauge is somewhere around 3-4 stitches per inch! Surely there are some patterns out there that are dying to be matched to this yarn, but it has yet to be found~

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why did it take so long for me to discover delicious? At work, I am known as the most "tech-savvy" one in the office. Although I seriously beg to differ (I figure out most things by playing around with a program until it magically starts working), I do enjoy the more artistic and tech-y projects I get randomly assigned to, including designing the layout of our annual report, creating form templates for internal and external communications, and more recently, produce a short video about our agency that will be used on our new and revamped website. Recently I am getting more assignments that require me to know a lot about the internet, and I feel like I am slowly getting left behind by my slightly younger cohorts, who have been using the internet before they could even walk. Although only a few years separate us, there are vast differences; I remember using a typewriter to type my high school papers, and my first email address was the one assigned to me during my first week of college orientation. I don't have a facebook or myspace page (yet), and html is intriguing but completely foreign to me. I was also completely oblivious to sites like delicious, which is heaven for info hoarders like me - it's basically a library for all of the interesting websites that you had browsed, had wanted to remember, but didn't have time or a piece of paper to write the address down. It allows you to tag your favorite sites so that they can be easily categorized, and you can search for sites that are tagged by other users. This discovery was done at work, in the name of "professional and work-related in-depth research." Fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Handmade Pinhole Camera

After buying my fish eye camera, I have been getting more and more into film these days. Although I love the convenience of digital cameras, one can't help but be drawn to the old-school days of film. I have been dabbling into the world of manual SLRs (my parent's old Minolta at right) and plastic "toy" cameras which I will post at a later date (I am shopping around for a good quality but relatively inexpensive scanner for medium format/35 mm negatives so that I can actually post pictures I took instead of incessantly rambling about them!), but I stumbled upon this cool link that I wanted to share - it teaches you how to make a pinhole camera from ordinary items that you can find around the house! How cool is that? I read a little bit of it and while the directions are clear with good images, I am not confident that I have sufficiently cultivated the skill of following written directions. Nothing is more classic than the pinhole camera however, so I might just have try it! Add this to yet another project that I want to do~

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! ('Tis the year of the Cow)

Akemashite omedetougozaimasu~
May this year be filled with health and prosperity for all!