Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why You May Want to Move to Tucson

My facebook and twitter status last night was:
Jennie is sunburnt. In December. From writing and drinking chai. Really? A-yup. Really.
That it's beautiful enough here to sit outside is a blessing, though remind me how much I enjoyed this when I have skin cancer in ten years.

If anyone can recommend a good, light daily moisturizer with sunblock.... :) And a way to remember to use it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

I'll be candid - I'm sort of a grinch. Actually, that's an exaggeration, but I'm just not that big on the holidays. My husband and I don't really like spending time with my in-laws. I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat a lot of our families' traditional foods. I don't even really like getting gifts, especially since most of what I get in recent years is stuff someone thinks I might like and actually don't. On a rational level, I know it's the thought that counts, but that doesn't make me appreciate the 36" dancing Jazz Santa or the solar-powered address light (when we lived in an apartment even) any more.

I also still resent how parts of our family fought over how much time we spent with who, etc. when we first married. What little is left that I like - good carols, baking - my husband is either sick of or shouldn't have. (Extra 50 lbs anyone?) So, despite how much I'd like to get excited tonight, I still feel like: holidays = hassle.

That said, I'm hoping all of you are having a great night - especially those with kids. And I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, this year will be different.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Wonder #19 - WIP Slinky Gray Sweater

Hello again! This Weekend Wonder is a sweater that's been on-again-off-again in my life and is now in its third iteration. Originally, I bought the yarn - a soy blend - on clearance to use to make the Five O'Clock Tank from Crochet Me. Alas, I have neither the right hooks nor the patience for that particular pattern right now, and after my problems with the Strapless Corset from Sensual Crochet (three completed tops, three of which didn't fit) I decided to free form the tops with stitches I knew I could do with my current hooks.

After I started it, though, I lost interest, but an idea for a different type of sleeveless sweater, a drapy thing, kept dancing through my brain, so I began this:

Okay, I know it doesn't look like much yet, but it's only the neckline and a few inches of the front and back! It's getting there. The idea is a balletneck yoke in half-double crochet with the body made of alternating double crochets and double crochet clusters. It's more complex than that - the front involves a mitering effect - but it's also free form, meaning I'm still making it up as I go, trying it on every couple rows and doing a two-steps-forward-one-step-back dance of experimentation. But I'm enjoying it, and it's making a fun fabric, I've got to say.

If it turns out really well, I'll have an excuse to go buy more similar yarn - I'm enjoying the feel of it! - and I'll write out and test a pattern, but that's still a long way off.

Before I go, one more little present. My favorite distraction, chomping away on his Kong. This is Luke. Luke, Blog. Blog, Luke.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

D-O-N-E and WIP

Well, I'm writing this post in advance, but by the time you read it, I will be done with my first semester of my MFA. I imagine that it'll feel both like a big load off my mind and also a bit daunting. I have a lot I want to get done over break - a new writing project to start, books to read, family to see - but it'll still be nice to have a change of pace. And school doesn't resume until the week of January 12th(!). Still, that won't be enough time to read the 25+ books I just added to my goodreads wishlist. Yikes!

The WIP I want to share today is my circle rug, which is currently about 20% done (as of Saturday). The great thing about a project like this is you can take it anywhere - you just need a skein, a pair of crochet hooks, and a pair of scissors (unless you're better than me and can tear yarn). I'm making it out of a softer thinner yarn than called for, so I modified the circle pattern (added a repeat I think) and changed hook sizes. My goal is to finish this and make it a holiday present to myself and my roommate. It's going to be our bathroom rug.

Next time - the sweater!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Wonder #18 - WIPs

This Weekend Wonder is that I have, yes, actually been crafting. I've got a potluck to get ready for and a couple days of work on a take home exam ahead, but I wanted to take a quick break to share some of my current projects, even though these are all just WIP photos - progress, but not pretty.

First up, today, are two smaller projects I've been working on at bed time and will, with any luck, wrap up this week. One is a small bag based on the Tube Bag pattern from Uncommon Crochet, a book I really like and am going to take the time to finish reading, cover-to-cover, this holiday break, because it is that kind of book. Neat patterns, yes, very(!), but it also deserves attention to the design principles and ideas the author is putting forward.

Any blog followers may recognize this yarn as the lovely stuff I used to make the Boy Chicago Scarf earlier this year. I had a smaller-than-my-fist amount left over when I finished, so I decided to use it for this little experiment. As much as I love the stitch definition, I am planning to felt it and then play with strap or flap design from there.

The second is an even simpler project - a too-be-felted rectangle that will become a hook book, a la Lion Brand Yarn's pattern. I took a photo, but to be honest it didn't really say much. Look at me - I'm a variegated rectangle! I'll take a better shot before felting and share it with the FO.

Next update, my WIP Circle Rug, which you can see a preview of in the corner of a photo above, and after that, my sweater prototype.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So - very - close - to - done

I'm almost done with the semester and very, very excited. It's hard to believe I'm a quarter of the way done with my MFA already. I'm afraid crochet has been backburnered (Linguist? Is that a word?) in favor of papers and such, but I've brought some with me today and will be enjoying our wintery day by sitting outside and crocheting either circles for the rug or the top I'm doing freeform. I just finished my papers for my last class with two hours to spare and can't start on the last task of the year - a take home exam - until tonight. Sigh of lovely, lovely relief.

Last Friday I had a reading, did I mention that? I may post the piece here, but I may wait until I have a chance to workshop it. We'll see. In the meantime, hope all is going well for all of you...

Monday, December 1, 2008

The end of NaNovember and a return to our irregularly scheduled programming

Hello again! I apologize for the continuted radio silence in late November. For a little while there, I was behind on NaNoWriMo, and playing mad catch up, but then I just got caught up in the story. I ended up hitting something like 59K (for those who don't know, the challenge is to write 50K in a month), and I have three scenes remaining until the end. I'll admit I broke one of the primary NaNo rules this year. The idea is to start something from scratch, but I was already 53K into a novel, so I started from sort-of-scratch at the start of the second half. If you count the 1500 words I added to the first half during the course of the month, I'm over 114,000 words and expect I'll break 120,000.

Unfortunately, I've got papers and end of the year school work to knock out, as well as an essay to polish before my reading (eep!) this Friday. My goal will be to finish and give one good revision to the book before my husband arrives for the holidays. He's driving(!) from Buffalo here to Tucson, so his exact arrival isn't firm and won't be until he's on the road really.

In the meantime, I'll be continuing to work on (and trying to post about):
  • The Circle Bathroom Rug (Book: Crochet Me)
  • A felted hookbook (based on the Lion Brand Yarn website free pattern)
  • A felted bag (based on the Uncommon Crochet book's tube bag foundation)
  • Coasters I'm making... which will be for sale on Etsy, hopefully along with other items (more info soon I hope)
  • and a top I'm designing.
If the last one works out, I plan to put the pattern up for sale on Etsy as well. My goal in the next few weeks is to strike a good balance between schoolwork and crochet, as well as celebrating my big 3-0 later this week.

Wish me luck!