Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Because September minus June equals a quarter of a year

I am deciding that a little post-it of a post is better than no post at all. A post-it would at least infuse my online persona with a teeny tiny breath of currency by bringing my homepage out of horribly humid-and-hot June and into delightfully rainy September, which happens to be a particularly lovely month in my estimation, it being the month the talahib weeds by the roadside grow their white wheat-like fuzz.

And that is that, and that is all. Should anyone be reading, apologies for this lil' bit of nonsense.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tagged and (re)tagging for the Liebster Award

Thank you Bheng and Edwina for including my sparsely-updated blog in your list of 'liebster' blogs.  I had fun reading and learning various things about you and here's my bit:

11 random me-facts 
  1. I turn thirty later this year.
  2. I am severely near-sighted.
  3. I understand Kapampangan pretty well when I hear it spoken but am barely able to construct a sentence myself. 
  4. I am teaching myself to type properly and have gotten up to 25 words per minute! The best thing about being able to touch-type is how it lets you work on the computer with the lights off.
  5. I 'collect' hardware from old bags.
  6. I've been averaging 4 cups of coffee a day these past couple of months.
  7. I like cloudy, windy days best.
  8. I am intrigued by the properties of linen and leather.
  9. I love seafood and mangoes.
  10. My favorite book is The Hiding Place, written by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherill.

My answers to Bheng's questions:
  1. What is your best crocheted or knitted project  to date? Not considering my Beatriz Shrug (no basis for comparison there, it being my first and only design to date), I'd say my Go for Baroque cardigan and Chanel no por Favor bag are the top contenders (posts about these FOs to come soon!).
  2. Which time do you want to travel back in , if given a chance? Pre-colonial era. 
  3. Sweet or Sour? Sweet-- don't like sour things much.
  4. Will you wear a crocheted wedding gown? Of course! But it has to be impeccably lined and none-too-fitting and if possible, an exact replica of this gown.
  5. When was the last time you told your mom that you love her? Thirty minutes ago. :)
  6. In the workplace, which employee will you choose? The always punctual so and so or the brilliant one who is always late?  If punctuality were a measure of how hard the employee worked at his tasks, I'd go for always punctual. But I've found that isn't always the case. 
  7. Quality or Quantity? Quality, if we're talking about human effort.

My answers to Edwina's questions:
  1. Where's your favorite place to craft? My room because it has the best (i.e., brightest) lighting for my weak eyes.
  2. Do you have a dedicated space in your house for your crafting? No, but my craft supplies are slowly taking over my room anyway.
  3. Do you like listening to music while crafting? If so, what do you listen to? :) I hardly ever listen to music! It must have something to so with my inability to multi-task.  
  4. Are you an output or process-based type of person? I had to look this up to understand the specific connotations of the terms and according to a description of the types in some web page, it seems I'm an outcome-based type of person.
  5. If you were given the chance to be the one to choose the name you were given when you were born, what would you have named yourself? I've never really thought about it, but off the top of my head: Isabel. 
  6. Cats or dogs? Both. 
  7. Ice cream or cake? Cake but only if I really really really had to choose.
  8. What are three must-haves that you keep with you at all times when you go out? Excluding my wallet: a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, a pack of wipes and an umbrella (boring list, I know)
  9. Do you work best during the day or night? Either's fine as long as my mind's in a state of focus.
  10. Spaghetti or pancit? (I'm obviously running out of questions to ask lol) This is a tough one. I like them in different ways and crave them at different times, so I'd say both.
  11. If I had the time and the yarn to knit you something, what would you want me to knit for you? An oversized gray wool bag with giant cables. :p
People I'm tagging***
  1. Mimi
  2. Fatima
  3. Lorelie
  4. Sacha
  5. Bheng
  6. Edwina
  7. June 26, 2013 update: tagging Jei too!
***Echo here the what-the-hey-about-tagbbacks and no-pressure disclaimer that Edwina put up in her Liebster post

My questions for you:
  1. Any amazing discoveries lately?
  2. Day of the week you generally look forward to?
  3. Love having a routine or hate it?
  4. What did you want to be when you were younger?
  5. One thing that's piqued your interest lately?
  6. Your best subject back in school?
  7. Your someday-I-shall project, craft or otherwise?
  8. A hobby you thought you'd really get into but didn't?
  9. If you were to be given a block of time to make something, would you choose to make something intricate to wear on a special occasion or something that you're likely to use on a regular basis?
  10. If you could get a specific yarn/thread as a prize, what would you like it to be?
  11. If you could recommend a book, a TV show, or a film to me, what would it be?
And I know I said no pressure, but just know, I would really love to read your answers!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For a super baby

My mind is running ahead of me with all the projects I intend to make, but this is a welcome sort of hoarding because they all rather virtuously star yarns I have on hand. I have my adorable superhero of a nephew to thank for this stashbusting roll that I'm on: it started when I found out he liked to snuggle in the shawls I'd made for my mom to wear in the car, and while the image of it continues to tickle my heart, it just could not, would not do.  And so, I made this:

using a free pattern called the Superhero Dreamcatcher Afghan, which, if I understand correctly, was originally written up by Wendy Gamble-Hogsten as the Baby's Round Ripple Afghan and later on Spidey-fied by Gail E. of Stitch 'n Frog Crochet.  (Thank you ladies for your generosity in making your pattern and creativity available for everyone to enjoy!)

I used up a little less than 5 balls of Cannon Solid crochet thread -- 2-point-something for the blue and 2 balls flat for the maroon.  It was my first time changing colors within a single work and I think I may have been bitten by the colorwork bug.  Thinking about which color to add in next kept me on my toes the whole time, and it's a bit embarrassing to say how much frogging went on before I settled on the very simple striping scheme that you see above.  

Here's an infinitely cuter photo:

Small side note: My baby love was sleeping particularly soundly when I took that photo: he'd missed his nap earlier in the day thanks to a bit of sugar rush from eating cupcake icing. 

My oh my, isn't he just a dream? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

A post about events that transpired 27 days ago

Having worked from home for quite some time now, I have come to be a mere spectator to the exuberance that affects the office-working sector whenever a public holiday either happens or is made to coincide with the much-dreaded Monday or the long-awaited Friday of the traditional work week. Take, for instance, the four-day weekend that was Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday, which I spent at home alone* and mostly in front of the computer trying to get back up to speed on the research I've been hired to assist with after a truly terrible sleep-deprivation-induced flu forced me to spend all of the prior week curled up in bed (and unable to finish even just a single row, sob!).

But a week ago 27 days ago, I had a chance to partake of the various leisurely benefits that long weekends typically afford.  The holiday under observance was Veterans Day, and the non-working statute that accompanied it made a meetup among a few members of the Crochet in the Philippines Ravelry group possible.  There were six of us in attendance and if not for Veterans Day, there would've only been three. I'm kind of pushing it with this long weekend spiel; I remember just now that Veterans Day fell on a Tuesday and there was work the previous day so in addition to being long-winded, the spiel is not even at all accurate. Sorry about that.  I'll take this as my cue to move on to photos of the things I came home with that day.

(1) Delicacies from Cebu, courtesy of Miss Gerry.  

Masareal and chocolate tablea,
but click the image if you want to see some who's and the where, too

I really wish I didn't procrastinate about completing this post quite as much as I did, because looking at the photo is making me crave the slightly gritty peanuty goodness of Cebu's famous masareal which, needless to say, is long gone by now.  Isn't it fascinating that a peanut bar should be white?  I'd say it's only aptly so: masareal has a surprisingly subtle and clean flavor that I really enjoyed.  Thanks again Miss Gerry!

(2) New tools for a newly-acquired skill

(Because not too long before the meetup, my fingers finally agreed to take up my brain's repeated requests to please maintain tension and please stop dropping stitches from the circulars, thank you very much.)

Again, click the image to see the people and the setting

I'd been quite nervous going to the meetup knowing a trip to a real live yarn shop was in store, but I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to stick to my resolution to get only a bare minimum of my craft-related whims needs.  Looking back, I do feel I overdid it a bit.  I should've taken that chance to get some dpn's sans shipping, and an extra stitch holder or two couldn't have hurt either. I'm not too stumped, though, because there will certainly be a next time and perhaps then I'll be better prepared. (gulp)

* The little whine you might perceive there in my tone in no way signifies discontent, it's just my unwriterly shortcomings coming to the fore.  Home happens to be one of my two favorite places to be, the other one being where the other half of my heart is.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FO Post Backlog: First Knooking Success

I finished this way back in October 2012 but only got around to taking photos two Sundays ago.  Being a bit of a chronology nut, I have to admit I feel rather uneasy putting this up just now, but anyway:

Started: September 15 ; Completed: October 4

It's based on Sho-sho, which can be downloaded for free on Ravelry.  Thanks to this lovely pattern, I managed to conquer:
  1. My fear of the stockinette stitch
  2. My fear of joining in the round
  3. My fear of picking up stitches
  4. My fear of knitting (knooking) in general

I've also learned:
  1. A no-seam shrug construction.  I changed construction up a bit to avoid having to graft seams.  Instead of knitting a rectangle, seaming the sides and picking up for the ribbing, I started in the middle of the back portion, worked flat for a bit, joined in the round at the sleeve, cast off at the cuff, then pulled out the provisional cast on to work the other side in the same way.  There are other construction sequences that would have allowed me to avoid seams but I wanted to work the right and left sleeves the exact same way to ensure mystitches came out even
  2. Loose knits may be more susceptible to gravity.  I intended for the shrug to have three-quarter sleeves but they've stretched to a full arm's length.
  3. Ribbed shawl collars seem to demand extremely stretchy bind-offs and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff was what did the trick for me.  
but have yet to master:
  1. Knooking jogless garter stripes  in the round
  2. Maintaining tension when joining in the round. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Deep breath, deep breath

They've just posted a preview of some of the patterns in the March 2013 issue of Inside Crochet and my very first crochet design is out!  It's my first time to see the official photos and I couldn't be more pleased.  I'd repost all of them here except I'm not sure if it's okay to do that so I suppose I'd have to settle with just one (please excuse that horrible run-on sentence!) :

It's called 'Beatriz Shrug' after my mom :)

And here's another photo, taken before the shrug was shipped all the way to the UK:

Lastly, here's the Ravelry pattern page for it.

(If you're wondering why the shrug in my photo looks a bit different from the one the model has on, it's because it can be worn either side up and the look of the hem and the collar changes depending on how it's put on.)

I'm so giddy and gleeful I can't stop smiling.  Thank you, Inside Crochet, for accepting my design into your lovely magazine!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To an Austere, Productive Year

I've been itching to buy yarn the past two weeks but the four-foot pillar in the corner of my room has been making it hard to justify a new purchase.

To be fair, the containers are pretty bulky and inexact so the yarn balls would probably come up to just half the apparent height if I gathered them into a pile by themselves.  I'm tempted to go on here about other excuses factual details like how I didn't buy all of them anyway (etcetera, etcetera) but then, that would get me veering off the path of reason onto the downward, slippery slope of greed. And since experience has taught me that the quickest path from digression to brevity is a bullet list, I shall use one in order to make my point quickly and easily.  So here goes:

  • To some extent, I'm always wanting new yarn but I've realized that the wanting begins to rear a compulsive head whenever I enter into a state of craft-related anxiety.  In fact, I could probably trace all my yarn purchases to one or combinations of the following: 
    • Indecision over which project to work on next
    • Work-in-progress hurdles, detours and dead-ends (emphasis on dead-ends)
    • Stubbornly vague design ideas
    • Unproductive attempts to write a blog entry
  • My very first yarn splurge* may have been excusable on grounds of ignorant enthusiasm but it's not like I waited until I'd gone through that first batch before I bought the next one.  But the buying must stop because I probably have at least two years' worth of material by now and that's not counting my hoard of thrifted clothes (which I intend to repurpose into bags once I'm able to get myself a sewing machine).
  • And now the hard part: how to enforce this yarn freeze.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, I've been working to stave off an urge to buy yarn for a couple of weeks now; I've so far been successful and these methods are the ones that have helped me the most.  (It's probably premature to be sharing this so early on but oh well).
    1. Using the yarn I have on hand as criteria for choosing a pattern, instead of the other way around.
    2. Crocheting motifs. More on motifs (the ones I've been trying and why I love them in general) on my next post next month week.
    3. Recycling sweaters. I bought five sweaters for the express purpose of recycling them into yarn. Two from this set, I turned into my yellow bell bag but I'm determined (and quite excited too because winding yarn into balls is fun!) to frog the rest into new-old yarn. I'm actually almost done with one of them:

Now, if all three fail, I resolve to take out and reorganize all my threads in a last-ditch attempt to deter me from hitting a "Buy Now" button on some yarn site somewhere. So if I ever put up photos of my yarns all piled up in a heap, you'll know what made me do it.

- - - - - - - 
* My very first yarn splurge amounted to 35 balls of Cannon thread: 12 maroon, 12 dark red, 6 gray, 9 pink  -- remember this, Mimi?