Psst (I moved!)

So I decided to start blogging again, but I looked at this blog and all its bad photography and looooong domain name and what have you, and I decided to start fresh:

My new blog is here: Colorize. There’s sewing and knitting and spinning and crochet and embroidery and what have you, and I promise the photography is better than it used to be.

Also, a public service announcement if you use a self-hosted version WordPress: Huge Attack on WordPress Sites. Installing Wordfence is an awesome idea.

Yay patchwork!

I finished these last month sometime. They’re sort of an attempt to get back into sewing. I never did enough sewing to be really good at it, but then I barely touched the sewing machine for several years apart from mending things. I wish I’d gotten a photo of one of them on my niece, but I was too busy being killed dead by how adorable she is so there’s just this one with the funky lighting.

Both were made using the quilted patchwork bib tutorial from Sew She Sews. One is quilted and the other is done with iron-on vinyl. I had no idea that iron-on vinyl stuff even existed — it’s fantastic.

I’m really only barely competent with the sewing machine at this point and these have a multitude of issues, but my sister thought they were awesome, so good enough. I’m going to make a few more, which should be good practice. I have most of a second quilted one done already, but the sewing machine and I had words with each other and it’s having a little time-out right now. (Also, I think I need to oil it.)

So I’m thinking about reviving this thing

I wonder whether anyone’s still subscribed to this thing. I’m thinking no, but I’m okay with just talking to myself here.

So in 2007 I moved and started a new job, then started school not long after. Crafting of all kinds fell by the wayside for a while between new demands on my time and an injury that made it hard to knit or crochet. But about a year and a half ago I got back into it, and now I’m happily attempting to do way too many things at once.

I have some knitting and crochet things going on, and I’ve been learning embroidery and attempting to learn how to spin.

The embroidery is interesting. I noticed after I’d been doing it for a bit that I was using my right hand. I’m left-handed, so I figured maybe this was why I was doing so poorly at it, but not so apparently. I couldn’t make it work at all left-handed — go figure. I’m only on my second project here, so I’m not especially good at it yet, but I’m steadily getting a little better, I think. I’m thinking of redoing that bit of orange outlining in the top section with a slightly mellower orange.

And my first bit of profoundly uneven and lumpy handspun:

(Don’t ask me how the dog managed to shed on my embroidery. His superpower involves ejecting tufts of fur everywhere he goes, and he decided that the middle of January would be a super time to start getting rid of that warm winter coat.)

I am declaring a general amnesty

I need a blog-reading amnesty here. The last time I posted, there were those 1400 or so unread posts, though Jess kindly pointed out that part of that was Bloglines randomly resetting entire feeds as unread.

But now? Now there are over 2300 unread posts. I give. There is no way. I keep not reading any of it because there is no way I can read it all. I’m marking every last thing read and starting over.

I got this job, see, which is sucking up a fair portion of my knit and crochet time, my blog-reading time, my gamer-dork time, my general slacking off time—you get the picture. I have not knitted or crocheted a stitch in at least two weeks.

I know, I know, your heart bleeds for me, having to work for a living and all. I’m a little bit exhausted, though. Working first shift is a major lifestyle adjustment for me, and I sit in front of a computer typing all day, which makes me not so much want to sit in front of a computer and type in the evenings when I get home.

I hope I haven’t missed anything—aw, hell. I know I missed lots. I need to start over again anyway.

Such a joiner

A while back, I saw Deneen and Megan—and probably other folks but have lost track—post their high school yearbook photos along with a current photo. I thought that was a pretty cool idea but at the time I was still very much not unpacked from the move and couldn’t tell where anything non-essential was.

I got my computer set up recently—yay! The laptop I was using was driving me nuts. (It overheats. It is a total drama queen.) I also found a box with photos since then, and since I now have a computer that isn’t driving me crazy, I thought I’d go ahead and scan the photo.

(Maybe this way you won’t notice that I have no crafty things to talk about today.)

This was maybe sixteen years ago. I think it will be obvious to anyone who knows me at all that my sister did my hair and the makeup and that my ma forced me to wear that pink sweater. I have never in my entire life willingly worn anything pink.

Not too long ago:

I don’t think I look that much different apart from looking, well, sixteen years older. And a little chubbier than I was back then, though I’ve lost most of the weight I gained in my 20’s. I kinda want my long hair back looking at that photo, but in reality it never looked that good when I fixed it myself and was a nuisance to take care of.

Found while unpacking

Speaking of socks, look at the UFO I found while unpacking (the colors are washed out by the flash, so you’ll have to use your imagination there—it was sort of a spur of the moment, middle of the night kind of thing):
Crochet sock

Ooh, that matches my skirt ever so well, doesn’t it? Kit-Kat is, as always, supervising.

This sock is why I am now so intent making starting second socks immediately after the first sock. I crocheted this sock in, oh, 2005? Somewhere around there. That’s how long I’d had the yarn I made the olive stripe socks with recently—I bought two 100g skeins of it on a trip to Pittsburgh. I have this one sock and most of the cuff ribbing of the second sock. Sometime last year I picked it up again and had major gauge issues with the ribbing to the point where I was no longer sure I was using the same hook I’d originally used, though the hook was tucked in with the unfinished project. I put it away again, unable to face frogging those sixty or so rows of back-loop single crochet and starting again. That is a lot of sc right there.

But one of my Summer of Socks goals, now that I’ve unearthed this project, is to finish these socks. When I first found them today I thought for a while about frogging the whole thing, finished sock and all, and making a new pair of knit socks out of them. But then I put the finished sock on, and I just can’t frog it. It fits perfectly, it’s incredibly comfortable, and I love the contrast between the lengthwise striping on the cuff and the horizontal striping in the rest of the sock. (It’s the In Your Shoes ankle sock pattern at Crochet Me, except that I used hdc for everything except the cuff and changed the cuff sizing to fit me better.)

I’ll have to monkey around with different hooks for a while to get the gauge right to keep going with the ribbing, but I definitely want to finish these rather than frog them.

My current pair of knit socks is moving along at my usual less-than-speedy pace. I keep getting faster at knitting, but I’m still nowhere near as fast at it as I am at crochet. (I’ve also been slowed down this week by emergency oral surgery. I’m on the mend now, but I was in a bit of a fog for a few days what with not eating solid food and all.) I turned the heel of the first sock yesterday and am working on the foot now.

In technobabble-ish news, the email address I used to have on the sidebar (yarnification at is now defunct. It was attracting a lot of spam. That was never an address that I gave out much, but if that’s the only email address you have for me, please note that there’s a new one over there in the sidebar. (It forwards to my regular address. I always try to do that with addresses I put on things like this blog so that when the spambots inevitably get hold of it, I can just kill the old address and set up a new one.) I’d also like to point out here that Project Honeypot has a great script that will help obscure your email address to keep it from being harvested by spambots. It’s what I used for the email address over there, though I tinkered with it to make it wrap instead of being on one very long line. For one thing, it’s a very long address and looked silly at first, and for another I just have to tinker with things. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do that.

My first Summer of Socks socks are started

Y’know, it occurred to me earlier that I haven’t put any of my finished object photos into the gallery for ages, possibly since I moved the blog to its current home early this year. I’m thinking about setting up a new gallery altogether and starting fresh, just import the photos I like best from the old gallery and then just keep going with new things. There are a lot of slightly bizarre projects in the old gallery.

The beginnings of my first pair of Summer of Socks socks:

Summer of Socks--progress photo, first pair

The yarn is Marks & Kattens Clown, which is a cotton/wool blend, in colorway #1688, lots of pretty sky blues. Happy happy.

I have not given up on the candle flame shawl, which is in time-out at the moment, or the Seraphina.

I still haven’t decided just what to do about the Seraphina, though. I got lots of great advice in the comments to the last post. The two main trains of thought there were:

  • keep going till I ran out of yarn (which I did very shortly after finishing the row I was on when I posted that photo) and then either block it to see how big it ended up or finish it off with black
  • or

  • frog it while consoling myself with alcoholic beverages and possibly having a good cry while I’m at it, then redo the shawl using one strand of the red and purple and a second strand of black

I’m torn. On the one hand, I think it would look pretty cool finished off with black, and Knitpicks has some fingering weight black yarn that’s exactly double the weight of the laceweight at 220yd/50g and which is very inexpensive (budget being a major consideration here).

But for slightly more money and aggravation (okay, well, a lot more aggravation) I could frog what I’ve done so far, get some black laceweight for not very much more money than the fingering weight would cost, and be more sure of getting a result I’d be happy with. I’m still thinking it over.

Another project I have in mind, now that I’m unpacked enough that in the foreseeable future I might be able to dig out the sewing machine, involves the background to that photo up there. The only problem about losing fifty pounds, it turns out, is that clothes you love don’t fit you anymore. I sent a lot of things to Goodwill before I moved that were in good shape but just too big for me, but I kept some things that I really loved with an eye toward doing something or other with them. That B-52’s t-shirt that I cut up and refashioned recently was one of them, and another was a whole pile of peasant skirts. The sock is lying on one of those skirts, which I’m wearing today while everything else is in the wash. I can’t really wear it out of the house, though, because it looks a bit silly. It’s very big, and I have the waist pinned with safety pins to make it stay up because I can’t pull the drawstring tight enough otherwise.

These skirts—I really love these skirts. Now, most of them came from thrift shops and I didn’t pay more than a couple of dollars apiece for them, but they have all this great fabric in them. I keep thinking over what I want to do. I could, say, take the waistband off this skirt, remove an entire gore from it, and make a new waistband, and it would probably fit perfectly after that, with enough material taken out to line a bag or something clever like that. Or I could just use it as raw fabric and make a cute top (or two) or a completely different skirt out if it. I don’t know. But I want to do something with it and the other skirts I’ve saved.

The Seraphina progress report

I’m starting to have a few concerns about the Seraphina, mainly that I’m going to run out of yarn any time now and it still isn’t as big as I’d like it to be, about 17″ from the center top to the bottom point and something like 38″ or 39″ across the top edge.

There’s also, for lack of a better word, a thing going on where the yarn flashes in places. Mostly the two separate strands mellow out the intensity of the colors, but in places there will be a stretch where the red lines up with the red and the dark purple lines up with the dark purple, and I can’t decide whether I like that or not. It’s happened once so far, for about four rows, and is starting again on the row I’m working on. I think I’m okay with it as long as it ends up looking as though I meant it to look like that, but I’m not sure.

Anyway, see for yourself before I babble about it some more. See how little yarn I have left?
Seraphina progress photo

I am of two minds here. I could:

  • Keep going and see what happens. It might just turn out to be big enough after blocking, and though I probably will not have anywhere near enough yarn to edge across the top, it will probably look okay without edging. The flashing might look like I meant for that to happen. QuĂ© sera, sera. I do not have to exercise obsessive perfectionism over everything I make.
  • or

  • Frog it. Untangle and re-ball all that yarn (440 yards in each ball, folks), find some inexpensive black laceweight and start over again, using one strand of this yarn and one strand of black. This would fix both the running out of yarn and the flashing color problem.

Either way, this yarn is going to be a Seraphina. I love the colors, I love this pattern, and one way or the other I’ll get it to work. I’ll be sitting over here thinking on it for a while. I might crochet till I run out of yarn before I make a decision—if I frog, it’ll be a nightmare to get it all untangled and balled up, but that’s true whether I start from where I am right now or wait until the yarn runs out.


Do you still love me even though I talk about knitting all the time and haven’t crocheted anything in months? How about if I quit talking about the knitting for a bit and show you this swatch?

Seraphina swatch

I became frustrated with the lace shawl—okay, I know I was going to talk about crochet, but this is how I got to the crocheting. This knitting project is kicking my ass. I’ve never had any real trouble following complex crochet patterns, but I can’t seem to follow the instructions for this knitting pattern. I broke it down into knitting-for-dummies, putting individual line instructions on their own index cards, no more than three things to a line and each in a different color of ink to make it easier to keep track of where I was. That made me feel ten different kinds of stupid, but it worked. For a while. Right now I’m having difficulty figuring out what went wrong in the last row I did, and it has been put aside until I can return to it with a more Zen-like approach. Or at least without breaking out in hives.

In the meantime, I need something to do here. While I caught up reading blogs, I saw Sara say the magic word: Seraphina. I’ve made a Seraphina shawl before, and I absolutely love it. It is not summer-weight, though. It’s made out of very warm and somewhat heavy yarn.

I immediately co-opted the red-and-purple laceweight that was intended for the Janet lace shawl. (I’m thinking the Janet shawl will be done in the a solid-color laceweight that doesn’t have a project intended for it yet. And yes, that is an awful lot of laceweight yarn lying around the house for someone who has not successfully managed to knit any lace yet.) I started swatching with an F hook but came up with something so stiff I could probably have sided a house with it—I’m using two strands held together so the colors blend better, but didn’t take that into account when I first started swatching. I kept going up until I got to a K hook, and the bit up there is the beginnings of the shawl.

Y’know, I think my knitting problem is at least 50% due to my listening to that voice in my head that keeps suggesting that maybe this is a bit more than I can handle. Every time I screw up that shawl and start over again, I start to believe it a little bit more. But you know what? The directions for the first several rows on the Seraphina shawl, the part before you get the pattern repeat memorized, are just as complicated as this knitting pattern, and I’m not having problems with that. So it can’t be that I just can’t follow the directions.

The other 50% of the problem? A combination of things. I never noticed this until fairly recently, but I tend to mix up the directions in my head. I keep reading certain sections of the Seraphina pattern, for example, as “ch2, dc, ch2” when it’s actually “dc, ch2, dc”. I’m good enough at crochet that I don’t generally mix up the stitches even though I’m reading the pattern wrong and tend to notice and fix things right away when I do screw it up, but I’m not at that point yet with knitting. I’m also not yet as good at fixing knitting mistakes as I am at crochet mistakes.

So. Crocheting this shawl because I need a relaxing project, but planning to get back on the horse after I’m done with this.

As a side note, that little voice also suggests that this color combination might possibly look like technicolor barf, but I am steadfastly ignoring it. I like red and purple, and I’m trying not to be such a wimp about color.