Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ups and downs

Well, it's been a bit of a crazy week, weather included. We went from springtime to snowstorm to back to springtime, with a bizarre hailstorm that wasn't really hail, but more like mini-snowballs falling from the sky. Exams went pretty well, I think. At least well enough that I should pass. Celebrations afterward included a spontaneous trek to Stanley Park. My DnD character almost died with a single hit of a huge-sized electrified greatsword (thank goodness for being able to use an action point to stabilize). One of my best friends gave birth to two beautiful twins. Another of my best friends had her father pass away. Her family is my home-away-from-home so that was hard to hear. Very mixed feelings about this week.

On the knitting front, I finished (mostly) the dragonscale gauntlets. Pictures to come soon. They were pretty nice mindless knitting for while I was studying. Plans are in the works to do some baby knitting for the newly arrived twins, as well as a pair of Blackrose Socks. I've also been obsessing about cables. I went to Chapters to sneak a look at the book Continuous Cables, because I have plans in the works for designing my own unique cable pattern. I didn't want to pay for the book so I sat down with it for a good hour and absorbed as much information as my brain could hold about the construction of circular cables, then knitted a test swatch at knit night. Slowly, my plan is coming together!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You know you're hardcore when...

... you get up at 5am just to stand in line outside a yarn store in hopes of getting a door prize on their big sale day. I won't tell you the whole story because I have comprehensive exams tomorrow which I technically should be studying for, but my awesome friend IfIhadaboat wrote down the whole story so please do hop on over to her blog to read about the adventure. I do have corresponding pictures though, which I will post here for your enjoyment. Oh, and I completely forgot to get a picture of it, but we'd brought a tarp to sit on and blankets to huddle under at our campout.

Above is our cheery group, looking remarkably chipper considering that it's 6am and we've been standing out in the cold for half an hour.

And here is the view from the steps of the yarn store. The sun is just starting to rise, and you can see the silhouettes of the mountains on the horizon. By this time, the line had grown to around 20 people.

Here is the jam-packed inside of the store. The first rush to select yarn was over, and everyone had formed one giant line to the checkout that snaked through the whole store (took me about half an hour to get through, but gave me lots of time to think about my yarn choices).

Here is my doorprize! Superwash wool, yum! Totally worth the 5am wakeup.

I had been waiting for ages for an opportunity to buy yarn to make the Rogue cardigan to knitalong with the Langley knitting girls. A 40% off sale was just what I needed! I picked up this Cascade Pastanza to try out, and I've already knitted my guage swatch. I've never knit with wool-llama yarn before, but I think this will be a fun experiment. I love how this yarn looks.

Oh Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Suri Silk.....I could not resist buying it. So expensive, but so lovely.

Sock yarn! After only having variegated sock yarn, I wanted something to show off fancy cables or lacy stitch patterns.

And now, I am poor, but very happy with my purchases. If I can't afford groceries next month, now you know why.

Meanwhile, I've been slowly frogging the ill-fated shrug and transforming it into some Dragonscale Gauntlets for myself! Behold the transformation process!
I also got around to felting a little purse I made more than a year ago. I might run it through the washing machine one more time to felt it a little more.

That's all for me for tonight! Wish me luck on my exams tomorrow and Friday ^_^

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oreos and toboggans

Oreos are evil. I don't know what they put in them, but it is a powerfully addictive substance. Doublestuff Oreos in particular are liable to cause me to turn from a rational human being into a desperate Oreo junkie. Why oh why were they on sale? Next time, I will walk away from the cookie aisle in the grocery store, and buy more broccoli instead. The photo above is courtesy of a google image search which I have modified in the style of one of my favourite sites, Om Nom Nom Nom.

So there you have the Oreos. But what about toboggans? Well, I have my first commissioned knitting request (it's like I'm a Real Designer now!) and one of the suggested items for me to knit was a toboggan. Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear toboggan, I think of a sled that children use to go down a hill, and the mental picture of knitting one of these to WEAR, well that's just absurd. It turns out that in certain US dialects, the word toboggan actually refers to a knitted hat. So here I go, knitting a toboggan!

Also on the knitting front I have finally, after attempt #3, completed the Dream in Color Shrug for my lovely sister-in-law. She has been waiting quite patiently for her Christmas present, and it's finally done! More details plus pictures to come next post.

Since it's been a while since we've had a post about anime, I'd like to briefly review Casshern Sins. I'm not going to link you to the anidb entry, because it's fairly spoilerish. This is a series that is just wrapping up, and has been one of the best of this past season. It follows the story of a robot named Casshern who wakes up with no memories, but apparently has been responsible for the ruin of the world. It follows his journey as he tries to find out who he is, what has happened to the world, and what he must do. It's a very bleak post-apocalyptic setting, yet some of the landscapes are truly gorgeous and the characters are very vivid. The episodic nature of it is somewhat reminiscent of Mushishi, where not every episode is a feel-good happy ending, but more of a realistic look at how people deal with hardship and find meaning in their lives. It's much more action-packed than Mushishi though, since Casshern was essentially created to be a killing machine, and puts his talents to use fighting off the scores of other robots trying to kill him.

After watching episode 19 I opened up my photoshop (the likelihood of me opening photoshop increases proportionally to the amount of homework I have) to make myself a new forum signature and avatar. I made them as a tribute to Lyuze, one of the recurring characters in the series. I dismissed her in my mind after the first couple episodes as just another angsty side-character, but they've really done some great character development with her and she's become one of my favourites. If you're wondering about the 'KitKat', that's my other online alias (I've mostly switched over to Arzu these days but on my anime forum it would just be weird to change the name I've had there for so long).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

OWOH Winners!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this exciting event! It's now time for the super exciting announcement of the winners! Without further ado, our lucky entrants are


Jenna Z the crafter and swapper extraordinaire who you can find over at her blog CorgiPants

Barbara Cagle, a crafter of words (you can read about her book - the wonderful story of her mother who raised 16 children - over at her blog)

and last but not least, Nairo Sionuill a long-time alliance friend from Guild Wars, who shall one day take over the world with aardvarks.

I had my sister supervise the rolling of the dice (the d8 helped out the d20, because it wouldn't do to give the d20 ALL the credit for determining the winners) and all the winners have been notified. In the event that a winner doesn't email me back within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by! This was such a fun contest that I may have more giveaways in future, so please come visit again!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Blissful Life of a Part Time Student

....enables me to knit all weekend long. That's right, I knit with reckless abandon the Whole Entire Weekend. Other related accomplishments include getting most of the way caught up on watching Battlestar Galactica, cooking a Very Delicious Meal of taco pie and impossible coconut pie with 3 of my siblings, walking to the video store and renting a movie that became unplayable in the second half due to a large scratch, and learning how to recount a simple story of "Vinni Pux" (that's the soviet version of Winnie the Pooh) in Russian. Altogether a very satisfying weekend. Homework and job searching can wait for next week.

So, onto the knitting! Well, just scroll on down to last week's OWOH post to see updated pictures of the goodies I'm giving away. That was pretty much my whole weekend. I charted out a pattern for Red Mage from Final Fantasy, to keep Black Mage company. He was a bit trickier to chart than Black Mage, but managed to stay fairly recognizable. I'm also very happy with my 1up doubleknit Mario Wristband. I'll be sad to give that one away. It's made from leftover yarn from the last two pairs of socks I made.

I also have some retroactive knitting pictures for you! I present to you the Dragonscale Wristwarmers, as modeled by their lovely recipient. The yarn is the same as I used for those RPM socks, many moons ago, which you may remember (or may have seen recently, if you're new to my blog). More pictures are up on Ravelry on its project page.

Next up, I have for you a sneak peak at a little item I've knit up for Baby Rena. Honest, I'll get it done and sent off before she grows out of it (which is why I made the 6 month old size of the pattern). Anyways, I won't spoil the surprise of what it is, although those of you on Ravelry can probably see it easily enough, but I wanted to point out something odd about the stitches. Look closely:See that? Instead of being little 'v's, the stitches are like little twisty ladders. I don't know how this happened, because I knit it normally like I knit always, but it looks pretty awesome. It's probably due to how twisty the yarn is, and the direction I was knitting relative to the twist of the yarn. It's lovely bamboo sock yarn and feels absolutely luxurious, so soft and smooth. I learned mattress stitch for this project (I know, I know, I've been a knitter for so long, and never learned how to do a proper seam until this month, making do with sloppy ragged seams for all my projects) and it was a lot of work, but definitely worth it for how wonderful it looks. We'll see if this interesting stitch configuration lasts through the blocking process.

Oh, and speaking of new readers up above, I just wanted to give my greetings to anyone new who may have wandered in for the OWOH contest, and if you're reading this, I'm quite flattered that you've stuck around. Your comments really made me blush. It has been great getting a chance to connect with so many new people, and I didn't think it would, but it really does feel like a global open house event. I wish I could give prizes to all of you!

Monday, February 2, 2009

One World One Heart Giveaway

Update: This contest is now closed. Winners will be posted shortly!

Yes folks, it's time for my first ever blog giveaway! Many thanks to my awesome friend over at Youvegotmaille for alerting me to this great international event (and be sure to visit her giveaway too!)

The event is called One World One Heart and it is composed of bloggers around the world all giving things away for free. What could be better than free stuff?

I shall be choosing THREE winners for my giveaway! The first two chosen from my random draw will each receive one doubleknit reversible potholder, like these:

You can opt for the Black Mage or Red Mage as shown above, or if you have another video game character/logo you'd like me to chart out, I might be able to work something out. In fact, the design is pretty flexible, as long as it's chartable and fits within the area of the potholder, and is geeky in some way (because let's face it, geeky knitting defines my blog).

Due to the quite unexpected volume of signups (I never knew there were so many people out there who love geeky knitting) I am offering a THIRD prize! It is this very stylish Mario 1up Wristband, as shown below. It's pretty stretchy, and it should fit both male and female wrists. I tried to pick gender-neutral colours as well. It's doubleknit as well and is made with superwash sock yarn, so no worries if you get it dirty, you can just toss it in the washing machine.

So, I'm sure you're all wondering now how you enter. Here are your directions, in convenient numbered format.

1. Leave a comment on THIS blog post
2. Give me some way to contact you (either leave your comment with your blogger ID if you have a blog of your own, leave your Ravelry name, leave me your email address, or make sure your name is recognizable as someone I know in person/on facebook)

That's all! This giveaway is open to everyone in the world, and a winner will be chosen by rolling of my happy yellow d20, narrowing down the list until a winner emerges. The last day for entries is 11:59pm PST on February 11th, and the winners will be announced on February 12th, so be sure to get your entry in before that.

Once you've entered mine, you should browse some of the other 800+ blogs entered in the OWOH initiative and sign up to win some other cool free stuff :)

P.S. If we get all the way to 150 comments, I might even throw in a 4th prize! Wheee!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Poor Skittles

I got an email from my mom this week that my cat (well, technically my parents' cat now, but I still consider him mine because I chose him to bring home when he was a kitten, and he still takes every opportunity to steal my lap whenever I'm home) had an unforunate brush with a candle on the coffee table, resulting in a little singed whiskers and some slightly crispy fur on this shoulder. Look at how unimpressed my little Skittles looks below.

Hopefully his whiskers grow back soon. He's getting to be pretty old and he doesn't attempt any kitty acrobatics in pursuit of birds at the bird feeder like his buddy Creeper, but he still plays outside and needs those whiskers to keep from bumping into things and getting stuck in small places. Not to mention they don't look dignified at all, burnt off like that.

Knitting this week has been stalled by homework. I'm finally (almost) done my online course, which has been haunting me for the past two months. I just submitted my answers to the exam questions last night. This should make my current semester a lot more relaxing because I'm only taking two courses. My favourite of the two is Tone Analysis which is turning out to be just as much fun as I thought it would be! Also, in less than a month I have my comprehensive exams (testing me on every course I've taken for the past two years) since I'm in the non-thesis track. I actually much prefer studying for exams to writing papers, and once those are over I'll have even more free time!

What will I do with this free time, you ask? Well, you probably don't need to ask. I have so many knitting projects I want to begin that the compartments of my brain are overflowing with yarn. Additionally, I have resolved to get caught up with Battlestar Galactica.

In other news, I'm now a designer on Ravelry! I'm hoping to make a few more pdf's of my knitting charts, most based off of old video game sprites, but modified to reflect the fact that knit stitches are rectangular instead of square like pixels. My first one is the Super Mario Powerup Charts that you can download for free on Ravelry! If you're not a raveler and you still want the chart, just send me a message and I'll email it to you. The charts are made for two-colour knitting, since most of my colourwork is doubleknitting and three colours there just gets to be too complicated.