Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fabulous prizes await me (nearly)

I've been trying to think of something all week to replace the 'Maximising nature' slogan I'd put on my chemistry piece. The more I rolled it around on my tongue, the less I liked it. Alas, despite extensive racking of some collective brains, and even putting a call out over on Ravelry, I couldn't hit on anything punchy, smart and/or witty that got the message across. I settled on 'Chemistry - Adapting and Reusing', given that is the real point I'm trying to make with the piece. Would've been nice to have been funny too.....Ho-hum. I also decided to put in a key describing what the arrows mean, as several people (not surprisingly) thought I was trying to say you could knit lipstick and some cream together to make a sheep! All that remains before the Wednesday deadline is to give it a much needed iron, straighten up the sides and sew it onto the canvas, most likely with the help of a makeshift thimble - the paper and layers of glue has rendered the canvas pretty durable to attack by pointy things.

I've been so busy with college and college related crafts that I left myself with shamefully little time to make a present for my wonderful friend Jen's birthday. All I have to show for myself is a wonky flower brooch made out of some of my homespun, and what I'll admit I personally think if a fairly adorable owl brooch. I used a free pattern (found via Ravelry, of course), by the ever popular Ysolda Teague. Looking through her Ravelry page, I struggle to find a single pattern I wouldn't consider knitting. It's nice when you find someone so in tune with stuff you like. You can check out her website and the free pattern here.

Those of you who know me personally may be aware on some level that I, well, like cats. A lot. As testified by the tattoo on my inner lip. I saw a little girl last week with little cats on the toes of her shoes, and as soon as I could I got myself to Penney's and bought some plain black shoes for the extravagant price of 3 euro. I then bought a Tippex pen, which was 3 euro fifty cents, and is apparently a prohibited item these days, as it was kept behind the counter. A few minutes of handiwork (and some correcting with a black Sharpie) and looksies what I have. 

It's the Chemistry Society weekend away next week, so there is a distinct possibility of no post. So until I'm back to bore you again, have an awesome day, each and every one. Woo!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No pun intended

How is everyone this week? Good, I hope, and not letting things stress you out too much? No? Good.

Are you familiar with the work of Studio Ghibli? They make wonderful animated films such as Howl's Moving Castle and the famous Spirited Away. This week I realized I'd forgotten (well, not forgotten, I never really knew when his birthday was. Let's say missed) my friend Dom's birthday, so to make up for it I crocheted a favorite Studio Ghili character of his, Totoro, the friendly wood spirit from My Neighbour Totoro, using this free pattern on Ravelry. He's a bit of a lump, but I think he's fairly cute. I ran out of the first color grey, hence his two tone nature.

In scarf news, I've progressed another 7 inches. Huzzah. Not an overly exciting knit, but it does make watching sport a more productive endeavor.
I'm nearly finished my chemistry piece! I really, really don't know if they'll like it or be wondering what on earth I was thinking, but I think it's pretty cool. I didn't like all the white space to the right, so I added extra embroidery which I hope emphasises what I'm trying to say in this piece - that with the help of chemistry, and by proxy, chemists, natural products such as lanolin oil can be utilized in a massive amount of ways, many of which the average consumer would probably be surprised by. Heavy industry, in which it is used as a lubricant and a rust-proofing agent, is represented by the cogs and chain. The lipstick, obviously, illustrating cosmetics, while a small toothpaste tube is standing in for a tube of some non-branded topical pharmaceutical, such as burn cream. I may redo the word 'Nature', as it seems a bit wonky. When that's done, all I have to do is neaten up the edge and sew it on to the canvas. Oh, and submit it, of course.

Yeah, chemistry! Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spinning like a boss

It's been an age since I've sat down at my spinning wheel (I've chronicled my previous efforts here and here), despite having bought a big bag of roving from the the best site in the world a few weeks ago. Things have been so crazy and busy I haven't had the energy I'd need to concentrate on the task. It was with idle boredom that I sat down at the wheel last Monday night and  - behold! - something took over my hands and I was drafting as I spun! The yarn was going onto to the wheel much finer and more even than I've ever achieved before, and for the first time it felt like I was in charge of what was happening, not the wheel. I think the key to this was that I wasn't paying an excessive amount of attention to what I was doing - I let the rhythm of the wheel and the rocking chair dictate what my hands did. I enjoyed myself so much I spun three evenings this week. The blue/yellow was what I started with. Now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with a blue/yellow skein but meh, I'll figure something out. I then worked with two purples, which I think I'll ply together with some white.

It's far from perfect, but compare the thickness and consistency with some of my previous efforts. Much improved, in my opinion. I love it when things 'click' in your head. With some more practice I'll get even better.
I love my spinning wheel - I completely zoned out and spun for an hour at a time without noticing the time go by. It might be a bit of a controversial statement, but I'm really looking forward to being unemployed for a little while. It'll be novel to be able to devote a few good hours to a craft, rather than squeezing in a tired half hour at the end of a long day in the lab. I have no intention of remaining on the dole in perpetuity, but at this point in time, in the increasingly stressful last few months of my Masters (née PhD), I am longing for those long empty afternoons. Expect to hear about frugal activities galore - out of necessity as well as choice.
I've made massive progress on my lurid scarf, considering I only cast on about a week ago - 13 inches already.
The Giro d'Italia started yesterday! This is basically the Tour de France, but in Italy. There's an informal 'Knit-along' being discussed over at the Pro-Cycling Fans forum on Ravelry. I'll be primarily working on this scarf while catching up on the highlights in the evenings, so I may be finished it sooner rather than later, huzzah! When I tire of the feel on acrylic against my fingertip, I will retreat to my delicious socks, of which I got another inch or two done last night.
Nom! Looking forward to having another pair of handmade house socks. Hope everyone else has had a wonderfully crafty week.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Record breaking

Apologies for not updating last Monday as I said I would - but I have much crafty goodness to make up for it! Not any progress on the ribbed scarf I'd started in the previous entry though. I'd cast on what probably would have been an adequate number of stitches had I been working with a single strand of wool or wool blend, but the two strands of acrylic held together was so springy that after a few inches the ribbed stitch measured only a few inches wide - not nearly wide enough for a winter scarf. I am simply not willing to switch between knit and purl so often on the amount of stitches that would be required to make an adequate width and length of scarf, particularly a scarf I'm knitting as a favor. Call me selfish, I don't care!The recipient will just have to do with a garter stitch scarf, probably with some fringe. This is to be my ultimate brain-dead knitting, and as such will be kept by the couch for when I watch tv.

Why am I wasting time talking about acrylic scarves when I have other, much more exciting knitting related news? To whit, at the 2011 Roscommon Lamb festival, myself and 1133 other knitters, including Jen, Nina, Shauna, Anne, Sharon and Liz from the Galway Stitch'n'Bitch group, broke the world record for the amount of people knitting in one place at one time. Yes, it's true! The whole initiative was organised by Michelle from Michelle Made This. Here's some pictures from the day.
There was a bit of waiting around before hand, so what else would we do but knit?

For the attempt itself, we were 'shepherded' into a football stadium which was perfectly angled to catch all available wind. Despite our cold fingers, we managed to knit for the 15 minutes required, whilst being 'entertained' by a man with a microphone and an unnatural fondness for mexican waves, as well as some adoringly inept dogs 
I was working on a sock I'd started the previous week in Donegal, using some delicious yarn I'd bought in The Loop, London. Between the waiting around beforehand and the attempt itself, I actually got a decent amount of the foot done.
Here's another picture from today, but it's not that great, I couldn't seem to get the light right.
There was some waiting around then whilst they tallied the counts from the various stewards, before - oh joy of joys! - it was confirmed that we had indeed kicked the previous record holders butts. Sorry guys! The crowd goes wild!
It seems like one of those things people might put on their list of things to do before they die, 'break a world record', and wow, we've done it. Go us guys! Go Ireland! The little country that could.

In other crafting news, my chemistry piece is really starting to come together. I got most of the (admittedly simple) embroidery done, which I was a bit worried about, not being overly precise with my needle. I realize it needs an iron by the way. Honestly though, does the little guy to the right look like a sheep?