Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stitching Saturday: knitting catch-up


I've been knitting pretty steadily lately, even though I haven't been updating you - so here's a catch-up post with accompanying crappy indoor photos. :) Up above you see my baby blanket progress - I've knit at least 12 squares over the past week - I find each square takes me about 30 minutes, start to finish.

Those 5 colors along the bottom I am least sure about - so you see I am dawdling about knitting those up. One of the most frustrating things about putting together colors is the way they change in different light - one combination looks great in the daytime - but not so hot at night, and vice versa.

I might just stick with some variation of only these 4 colors...
quilt progress

Next up is my mom and I's wonky patchwork quilt - as you can see it almost covers the top of my full size bed, so I guess it's small-throw size:

It looks a bit crazy in my room, but it's actually nice and cozy looking when it sits on the living room couch...

Finally, here's the Watson scarf - hooray, I finished!

Not so hooray - look at all those little white yarn ends to weave in - ugh. The blue and brown were time-consuming enough but the white ends are extra hard to weave in - no matter how I do it, it looks wonky and I get really cranky.

Other thing making me cranky - how my bind-off edge (left) looks so much wider than the edge I started the scarf on (right):

ARGH! OH well. If anyone has any end-weaving-in advice it would be much appreciated.

On tap for my knitting mayhem was season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer- which started off slow and a bit dull and repetitive, but ended with a real punch to the gut. The show where Buffy's mom dies? Incredibly well-done, and terribly depressing! And the last episode, where Buffy dies? I'm always surprised at how many really good episodes are hidden in there. I've also been watching Vampire Diaries, season 2, but not with as much relish. It's an ok show, but it's a lot mopier and soap-opera-ish. There's a whole lot more angst and less plot advancement. I finished season 3 of Veronica Mars, and although the last season was the least interesting, I still felt sad to see all the familiar characters go without any resolution. Not a huge fan of the Veronica-starts-the-FBI pilot, but the show as a whole had a lot of potential. Okay, I admit I feel dumb coming clean about my teen-show tv watching, but there's a reason - I'm working on a teen novel. Really - it's research! :)

What have you guys been up to? :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stitching Saturday: monkey time

monkey time

Yes, I know I've been loath to share my monkey with you, although I finished him the weekend before last - why - you ask? I just haven't gotten any really good shots of him - you know, that capture his truly charming monkey essence. Yeah, I'm a bit strange, but he is one charming monkey.

Maybe it's the glazed look in his little monkey eyes...
monkey eyes
And, having (unrepentantly) seen Puss in Boots this weekend, I know one must never underestimate the power of fully dilated pupils. :)

Or maybe it's just the silly floppiness of his skinny limbs, which have seemingly limitless potential for hilarity:
a demonstration of potential for hilarity

Whatever it is, I'm hooked on the monkey.
more monkey

Everyone I've met is likewise charmed by the monkey- my friend's little boy played with him very politely for hours, and gave him lots of hugs - my niece was much less gentle but his little limbs took the flinging about in great stride. I have also noted, that if I leave him in a certain pose on the couch, he will be in a different one altogether when I arrive home. Providing quite conclusive proof that my mom is playing with him.

A few construction notes - 5 colors of stripes was a pain and time-consuming, but worth it in the end. His mouth is a little crooked, but it just adds to the charm. The pattern calls for a tail, too, but I thought he had enough skinny appendages, and I bet he'll sit better without one.

Linda filled me in on the mystery yarn I used - so here's a quick recap of the yarns on this project:
monkey colors
Top: Louet Gems - Terra Cotta
Bottom - left to right: Bamboo Ewe - Eucalyptus, Wool of the Andes- Cloud and Mink Heather, Bamboo Ewe - Beach Glass

I used size 6 Addi needles and safety eyes from Hobby Lobby. The pattern is called Jerry the Musical Monkey, designed by Rebecca Danger.

So what do you think of the monkey? Yeah, you know I'm gonna make more. Maybe I've even started another one? :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stitching Saturday: a monkey and a movie

further monkey progress

Here was my progress as of yesterday morning - I was finishing up a skinny arm:

Then I spent all of yesterday (almost) stitching and here are the fruits of my labor - an almost finished monkey (he is unstuffed and has no tail, but you get the idea):
current monkey

While I stitched, I spent a quiet morning watching Late Spring. I saw my first Ozu film a couple of years ago after I lost my father - I'm always careful when I watch them, because as detached as they always begin, they pack an emotional punch that totally catches me off guard.

Like Antonioni, he has these dreamy black and white shots and he's a master of composition:
Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 8.09.03 PM

His choice of cast is nearly identical in each of his films - and Setsuko Hara has to be one of my favorites:
Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.51.03 PM
There's something so luminous and joyful and charming in her smiling face.

One of my favorite sequences comes near the end, when her father is trying to convince her to marry - she's afraid to leave him on his own - but you begin to see it's not just that - she's so happy in her current life that she can't imagine a life unlike it...

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.52.19 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.54.26 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.55.41 PM

There's something so incredibly moving about this scene, as her father tries to convince her that she needs to move on - her time with him is over.

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.56.20 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.57.49 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 7.58.31 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 8.01.00 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 8.01.14 PM

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 8.02.48 PM

It's really a stunning, quiet, wonderful film.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stitching Saturday: this monkey rocks

If you've been hanging around my stream for any length of time, you know I love monkeys. If I know you, I might have even shown you my monkeys. But I thought I'd hit a monkey wall - I hadn't been inspired to sew any more for a loooong time.

This monkey brought me back around:
side view

Yeah, I know, he isn't so exciting yet - but can you maybe envision the monkey he will become? I've just finished up one long, skinny arm and the hand is ready to stuff:
monkey progress

He looks a bit deflated without any stuffing in his mouth, but we'll fix that soon enough.

Aren't my needles so shiny and nice?
I <3 my needles

A few notes about the knitting process so far - these directions ask you to do Magic Loop for every step - while in the monster book, small appendages like the arms and legs asked for double-pointed needles. Um, can I just say that using Magic Loop instead of dpns is about 1000% easier?! (I feel like a fancy pants since I used the hip abbreviation "dpns", by the way) :)

It just feels a bit funny using needles with such a long cord (I bought mine with a 40 in cord, because I was imagining knitting large stuffed animals - and they were really handy for Higgins / Biscuit. But on a teeny-tiny skinny arm, I had that long cord flapping around every time I turned it and 9 times out of ten it was bouncing off my face (I'm sure the bus riders were amused).

The other thing that is tricky is having 5 different yarns going at the same time. Before every new color I'd have to spend a few minutes distentangling it from the other colors - it adds quite a bit of time to the process. But I think in the end, it will be worth it, because I'm a stripes girl, and I think he looks adorable with his stripe pattern.

I've been faving lots of awesome monkeys on Ravelry, here's just a few:

Hope you're all having a great weekend! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stitching Saturday: monkey colors


I was over on Ravelry and one look at this little guy and my weekend was spoken for:

I don't know what I love more - the monkey pattern, the pose, the awesome photo, or the bright, perfect colors she chose. All of it. I love all of it.

One thing I love about all this crafting I've been doing is how much it makes me think of and notice color. I would have never looked at these 5 colors and put them together, but they look perfect:

Naturally, I was itching to start right away (as usual) so I used the colors I had on hand, and not bad ones, at that. But I'm starting to recognize a very consistent batch of colors I gravitate towards online and in real life:

All except for that rusty, terracotta color - I threw that in for contrast, but it's not in my normal color scheme.

Here are the yarn counterparts:
monkey colors
If you're curious - from left to right they are Bamboo Ewe - Eucalyptus, Wool of the Andes- Cloud and Mink Heather, Bamboo Ewe - Beach Glass. And that rusty terracotta color on top - Linda, help me out (i.e. this was one of many generous gifts from you!) do you recognize it? :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stitching Saturday: knit knit knit

nine colors

I am woefully behind in my posting this week - I think I've been knitting and crafting so much that I can't do all that, photograph, upload, and blog at the same time. Erg - sorry!

Anyway, up above are nine colors of Love This Yarn that I'm using to make a baby quilt - maybe - this quilt?
Yeah, you know it, I totally fell in love with this baby - I mean - look at those sweet eyes! The pattern suggests nine Lion Brand colors, but I subbed Love This Yarn instead.

You know? It's REALLY HARD to find nine colors that look good together. I just assumed I'd march in there and buy the first 9 pastel shades I came across, but it wasn't that easy. I'm still not 100% sure all nine colors I chose will make it into 1 quilt.

Here I am with my cell phone camera, trying to piece together a decent color combo at lunch:

The pattern neatly blocks out where each color will go, but I wanted to play with placement anyway.

I made another monster, but since I haven't uploaded the most recent pics, you'll just have to see her half-finished:
monster progress

I knitted up the little arms (also in pink) and found myself giggling at how, um, unintentionally phallic they are. You'll see when I show you the finished product. ;)

I used Love This Yarn for this monster as well - I have to say I prefer the texture it has on garter stitch than stockinette:
at work on another monster

It's just a cheap acrylic, but it's really plush and soft when worked in garter stitch.

And lastly, here's a wonky patchwork blanket I started last year and am continuing with my mom:

She's already knitted up a huge pile of blocks to practice her knitting - so I'll add those soon and update you. I like that it's imperfect, and that it's something we're making together. I can be such a crazy perfectionist that I sometimes feel paralyzed by my own excessive standards for myself. I am very, very hard on myself - so I like to give myself a break and say "This one can be wonky, as long as you finish it, and it makes you happy." How about you guys? Any recovering perfectionists out there? :)

Hope you had a good weekend, and are enjoying the end of summer and the first hints of fall...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stitching Saturday: Winner(s)!

Okay, I must admit that I loved all of your names, but 2 in particular had my heart: "Higgins" because my little guy is shaped exactly like Higgins and "Biscuit" because well, how can you not love a blue monster named "Biscuit." In a vain attempt to choose one, I did a thorough scan of Lime Riot's blog and Dani's Flickr stream for some background, and I saw that Mrs. Lime Riot is an awesome knitter and crafter who has already stitched quite a few monsters, (so I don't think she needs another copy of the book) but I did want to reward her genius!

So I decided to award 3 prizes!
- Addi needles for LimeRiot
- The Big Book of Knitted Monsters and Addi needles for Dani

Dani is also a fabulous knitter, and I pretty much fell in love with her blog when I read the following:
"If you aren't smart enough to listen and look for cars while you skateboard down the middle of the street, well then, perhaps you ought to be pancaked on the road and removed from the gene pool, whippersnapper!!"

I, too, am a grump who knits and freely uses the word whippersnapper! This prize was clearly meant for you. I think we are grumpmates. ;)

Ladies, please contact me by email at unafloresita AT gmail DOT com with your addresses and preferred Addi needle size. :)

Thanks, everybody for entering! My post was linked from another blog, which brought me a lot of new visitors - thank you so much for dropping by. :) Hope you all enjoyed this and are ready for even more knitting. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I knitted a monster giveaway


Yes, your eyes do not fool you, I finally finished knitting my monster! Aside from the small scarves I've knitted, I've never undertaken anything this big before, and I'm quite pleased with him. He was constructed through numerous 100+ temperature days and many TV series, including MacGyver, Magnum PI, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I can only assume he has taken on the characteristics of my favorite lead actors and is a take-charge, crafty, good-looking monster with a quick wit. Yeah, maybe all this knitting has made me a little loopy. So what. :)

I learned quite a few different things on this project, including Magic Loop, knit front and back increases, and 3 needle bind off. Also, I got to play with those cool "Safety Eyes" I'd never even seen before:

They sell them at my local Hobby Lobby, which probably means they'd sell them anywhere. I guess they call them "safety" eyes because they have a plastic part that snaps into place on the other side of the fabric, presumably so they don't end up in the mouth of an infant. Still, if you pay 99 cents for 4, I wouldn't trust them not to fall off. Anyway, this monster won't be anywhere near a child, he'll be my trusty cohort. :)

I pulled out my huge bag of polyfill and spent a whole afternoon stuffing mr. monster:

I had so much fun learning how to make this guy, that I thought I'd do a giveaway here! I guess I've done all my giveaways on Feeling Stitchy in the past, but I thought it would be nice to do a giveaway just for you guys - peeps who've been my blog friends (and lurker blog friends) for years. :) This book was a gift from my friend, so I'll pass along the knitting goodwill by giving away a brand new copy to one of you.

And since I loved this book AND my Addi Turbo needles, I'm doing a giveaway of both:

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight this Friday - please help me out and give my new monster a name:
Also, can you tell me if my monster is a he or a she (or an "it"?) :) Next Saturday I'll announce the winner - I'll either select my favorite name, or make it random, if all the suggestions are equally awesome, and I'm stumped. :) Oh, and please include your email address so I can notify you if you're the winner.

So what do you say? Want a cool knitting book and the best knitting needles around? Leave a comment here! :)