Sunday, September 17, 2017

Vroom-Vroom Went the Weekend.

  I am tired and sunburnt, but I had a good time.  Bill had told me that he was going out of town for work stuff.  I asked where he was going and he told me there was nothing interesting about the area.  I guessed a few places that I had known he had been to before.  He said that I would not guess it and then said he couldn't tell me when I asked where he was going.  I figured he was going to Area 51.
  He was not going there.  He was going to Ocean City, MD for OC Bike week.  He didn't want me to get jealous of him.  I got to go because the guy he was rooming with before canceled.
  I had to meet Bill at his work since he was unable to take the whole day off.  I almost got into two accidents on the way there, so I was ready for some fun and less excitement.

  After all that to-do over where he was going, it makes sense that the first place we went to as a group was Seacrets.  It is kind of cool.  There is sand in the main eating area and there are even bar tables out in the water.  The food was good and there were various bands playing live.

  I had a bloody mary, so I'm not sure what they distilled.  I think their set-up is pretty cool looking.
  After this our group broke off into smaller groups.  Since we were staying about 45 minutes away, we just headed back to our hotel.

  The next day we all met up at one of the vendor locations and wondered around for a while.  Some of the guys got new LED headlights put on their bikes.  They were also letting people test ride some of the various models of the Indian motorcycles.  I know Bill likes the look of them, but he didn't want to take one for a spin.

  There was even a bikini competition and this little girl was there.  I first got to see her in Thunder in the Valley in PA.  She is so cute and loves posing for pictures.

  We can't take Chaz anywhere...or should take him everywhere, it is hard to tell sometimes.
  Some of the group didn't get in until the rest of us had been there for a bit, so we were there long than planned.  I was so hungry by the time we headed to lunch.  Someone said they wanted to go to Fish Tales, but since it was so close to the action, it was going to be crazy busy.  We ended up at Fager's Island.  It was hard to choose what to eat since so much looked good.  If you ever go, look at their kid's menu.

  Since we hadn't gotten enough vendors yet, we headed to another place to buy some stuff.  One of our group had needed to get her foot worked on, so she wasn't with us for the most part, but we met her here.  At Myrtle Beach I had helped her pick out a really cool skull ring.  Well, at one point when she was on her phone, the ring slipped off and she didn't notice.
  After Bill and I got some mugs and soda from Wild Bill's we caught up to her and we looked at some rings.  Though it isn't as cool as the first, we were able to find her a really cool new ring.  The last one had red eyes and fangs, and on the new one the band looks like bones.

  We even got to learn some fun facts about Jack Daniel.  I didn't know we were the same height!  You might need to click on the picture to read the card.

  To end the day, we stopped at Fishers to get popcorn.  I also had an adventure.  I needed to use the bathroom.  The building that Fisher's was in did not have one and neither did the one next to it.  Bill figured that Dunkin Donuts would have one.  Turns out they were only opened until 1pm every day.  I had to go past it and down the ramp to find one.  That took forever, but I finally got to feel better so I could pick out popcorn.  I had to get the Pumpkin Spice, it was a must.  The other I got was the Caramel and Old Bay.  I got some weird looks when I mentioned that, but it is really good.  Sweet and a bit spicy.  The Old Bay isn't too overpowering and it pretty subtle.

  Everyone wanted to head out pretty early, but we had to make one more stop at the Harley dealership before we left.  I got an event t-shirt and sat on a purple bike.  I also saved a praying mantis.  I saw him by one of the cones by the store and managed to wrangle him and put him by some trees.  He fought me the whole way, but I understand why he was doing it.  One of the guys who was directing traffic gave me a smile for going through all that and getting pinched a bunch of times to save the little guy.
  Instead of heading straight home, Bill and I went to go visit one of his old co-workers who had retired near where we were staying.  He and his wife had a cute dog who was really shy.  It was so funny.  She kept shying away until I had all my gear on, then she came over to me and said hello.
  I got exactly zero knitting done.  I even made sure that I had it with me at all times.  I would like to say it was because I was at the beginning and would have to pay a little attention to it, but we were just so busy that it slipped my mind.  I was also just too tired at the end of each day to count to any number.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

How Can You Be Productive?

  One things I sometimes wonder about is how to tell if you have been productive in your day.  Everyone wants to think they were productive, but how can you tell if you have succeeded or not.  Because so many people have to get so many things done in any given day, it is hard to tell.  Does it count as being productive if you do the dishes and get a lot of knitting done?  Does it count if you pay some bills and get some exercise in for the day?  Who can tell?
  I personally feel like I'm less productive in a day if I spend a while getting work done.  Some people might think that I was being very productive since I was earning some money, but to me it means that I won't have as much time to work on stuff for charity and then have more things for the blog.  It also means that I probably won't be motivated to get my craft storage room together more.

Picture by Andrea.
  Here is something that does help me to feel like I have been productive.  This was one of my secret test knits.  Sweet Gale was a lot of fun to test and went really quickly.  Some people might not see it the same way because I was sitting around knitting when I could have been doing something else.

  Another secret test knit was Sandbar.  I even gave some suggestions on how to improve the pattern on this one.  Helping someone to make their pattern better, or even just make sure the numbers work, makes me feel productive.

  This is the back.  I wish it had blocked a bit flatter, but it can't be helped at this point.
  There are other things that help me to feel productive, but not to the same extent.  Doing a load of dishes helps me to feel productive for a bit, but since we just make some more dirty the feeling doesn't last as long.  Paying bills can also feel productive since I'm doing something responsible, but everyone has to do that, so it doesn't feel as impactful.
  Guess this is just one of those things that are both personal and a question that can never really be answered.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Food Filled Weekend.

  I had been waiting for this event for over a month.  I follow a few people who live on the west coast and had gone to the LA VegFest.  They were posting a bunch of amazing pictures of vegan food that just looked amazing and so good.  I was so jealous and wanted to eat all of it.  I knew I would get my chance when a friend told me about DC VegFest.

  I tried so many samples and the food we did buy was really good.  It was overcast the whole time and was randomly a bit rainy, but it didn't stop me from having fun.
  The black bean burger was a bit sweet, and I can even get it from grocery stores.  I'm so excited to be able to have them at home.  Another really good thing we tried was a mango lassi.  I'm not sure what all went into it, but on top of the mango flavor, there was a strong flavor of cardamom.  All the others I have had just tasted like mango and vanilla.  It was super nice for the chilly day.
  A few of the companies, like Miyoko, had some new products to let the public try before they hit shelves.  I made sure to take a picture of the name of the company before the samples, that way I would be able to try and find the things again later.
  There are a few reasons that there are so many pictures from Vegan Treats.  According to my phone, the shop is only about a 3.5 hour drive away.  While that is a bit of a hike for desserts, I think it is worth it.  The line for the place was also always stretching more than 2/3 the way across the event.  We waited in line for over an hour to get to the tent.  We kept hoping that the line would go down, but even though they were getting through people quickly, it never really got shorter.  When we got to the front they were at the point where they had everything out that was left.  So many things were sold out.  We even saw two things sell out while we were next in line.
  I got two of their Fried "Chicken" and Waffle donuts.  The faux chicken tasted so good, I want it on sandwiches.  The donut was so fluffy and had a faintly maple taste to the glaze.  I also got a cannoli which had chocolate chips through the whole thing.  There was also a Tres Leches that caught my eye.  The whipped topping was creamy and not very sweet, it offset the cake nicely.  The cake was moist and tasted like vanilla cookie batter.
  Not every vendor was food.  There were some apparel and accessory vendors and some information booths.  A few of the various vendors were even donating some of their sales to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  I thought that was pretty awesome of them.
  I had brought my knitting with me, but it was raining so randomly that it never got a chance to come out.  I was too excited to work on it during the ride in and I had too many bags to keep track of on the way home.  I can't wait for next year, I will make sure to go to certain places first because a few of them either had insane lines, or ran out before we got back around to them.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Things Are Just Falling off my Needles/Hook!

   This is the cowl I was talking about.  I know I had meant for it to be a scarf, but like I said before, I don't think I would have been able to make that happen.  I hope someone doesn't mind the ends and knots.

   I've tried looking all over, but I still haven't been able to find the name of this pattern!  It is driving me crazy.  I've found some that are similar, but then there is a difference that lets me know they aren't the same.  It is a two row pattern with five stitch clusters with a chain and single crochet between.  The second row has two double crochets in the same stitch on either side of three regular double crochets, all of this being worked in the tops of the clusters.
  If anyone has any ideas, let me know.  It is most likely by either Lion Brand Yarn or Red Heart Yarns.

  This is the Impulse Scallop Shawl.  Tank is helping me to show off how soft it is.  I think it is interesting how the pooling and the striping turned out.  I was expecting it to look similar across the sides where the stitch counts were the same.

  Tank is making sure I wove all my ends in securely.  I love how big it turned out.  It is just so nice to wrap around you.  I also didn't use as much yarn as I thought I was going to.  I said I was worried that I would be cutting it close, but it turns out I have a few skeins left over.

  I had so much fun making the mobius wrap that when I still had some yarn left over, I wanted to try something.  For a few rows of this cowl I worked the stitches as I saw them.  Normally when you work your first complete mobius round in the knit stitch, it will look like you are working knit stitches over purl stitches.  This means that I knit half the round and purled the second half.  Then after I felt it was big enough, I switch it and purled the first half and knitted the second half.

  As I promised before, here is the video of the Solar Eclipse pictures I took.  Some of them might look a bit odd because I had to move where I took the pictures from because the sun moved behind some trees.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Knit One, Twisted Purl Two

  This is a project from way back in the day.  I'm pretty sure most people have heard the Knit One, Purl Two saying before.  I used to think it was just funny, but then I tried it as a stitch pattern.  I then used it a whole lot.
  However, this was started so long ago I didn't know some of the awesome stuff I do now.  Like how to weave in the ends nicely, this has them cut short and knotted together.  I also didn't seem to remember how to wrap the yarn when purling correctly.  All the purl stitches were twisted and I know I definitely didn't know that you could purl through the back of the loop.
  It still had the yellow, since I had been starting a yellow section, and I may have given the blue away with my last yarn donation.  I also knew that purling by wrapping the yarn in the wrong direction would drive me crazy if I had to do it for too long.  Luckily with the last yellow section, it would be long enough for a cowl.

  This is a funny story.  My mom saw an ad for Tuesday Morning for these gradient yarn kits.  They were only $4.99 (before tax) for each one.  Yes, they are small skeins, but all the work of having to pick out all the colors is already done, and unlike stash diving, they are also guaranteed to all be the same weight of yarn.  Since they were small skeins and so inexpensive, I may have gone overboard a bit.  In my defence, you would probably need more than one skein if you were to try and make a shawl or sweater.  I made quite a dent in their display, but I was nice enough to leave some on the shelf.
  The lady in line in front of me seemed impressed by the price but said she would have no idea what to do with it.  The lady behind me, who had been looking at one of the brown kits, said that she would know what to do with it, but didn't have the time.  I don't know her or how much yarn she has, but I know I always find time.  Time in the car when you aren't driving, riding the bus, waiting on hold with customer service, while waiting for your inbox to refresh, when waiting for something to finish baking in the oven for dinner, the list just goes on.

  Since I knew that I wasn't going to be using those kits any time soon, I put them in bins and put them into the craft organizing room.  The room is slowly coming together.  The guest room is still a huge mess, but I am starting to chip away at that as well.
  While going through a bag of what looked like a bunch of small balls of yarn, I found this guy.  No needles or life-line in sight.  There never is with things that get donated.

  From how crinkled the yarn is, I can imagine that they made a mistake and were trying to go back and fix it.  I'm not sure what happened but something made them give up on this pretty shawl.
  Some things you may not be able to easily see in the pictures are that every other row is made up of twisted stitches.  I'll have to figure out if those are from the knit row or the purl row.  I'm hoping for the knit row because I find it a lot easier to knit through the back loop than to either purl through the back loop or to wrap the yarn in the wrong direction.
  The middle of the shawl and one side are on a more previous row than the other side.  This won't be too hard to fix because I will just take the farther side back until everyone is on the same row.  I might also take it back one more row since some of the stitches that I picked up were also not on the same row, but I will decide that once I get there.
  In my knitting classes I have had people ask how to pick up dropped stitches.  I always tell them the things I do when I have to do it.  Just grab those loops and put them on a needle, any needle, though a smaller needle means you are less likely to tug too much and pull its neighbor out and down a row.  It also doesn't matter if you are picking them all up in the same direction or if they are twisted.  All those things can by fixed later when you go back to them, either to work the next row, or just to make sure you got them all.  I also try to make sure I get all the yarn from each stitch, but if I happen to split the yarn, I figure that as long as I got most of it, it is good enough for now and that I can also fix that when I go back and get to it.
  Once I think I have most of them on there I will take more time and follow along the row and see if I missed any.  Once I have them on then it is a lot easier to assess what needs to be done.  Take out a row, re-knit a few stitches so everyone is on the same row, untwist some stitches, or pick up the last fibers of a stitch you split.  There are probably some other things that may need to be done, but those are the usual.
  I also tell people to not panic, the stitches can smell your fear.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Partial Eclipse of The Heart

  Today was the solar eclipse.  Some people in the US got to see a total eclipse, but I was one of the many who only got to see a partial eclipse.  It didn't help that it decided to be a semi-cloudy day, so the sun was popping in and out while it was happening.  Being in a total eclipse is interesting because one minute it is daylight out, then two minutes later it becomes night only to have it become day again in another two minutes.
  In my area it only became as dark as late evening, but it was still really cool.  It felt weird to have to turn on lights inside at 2:30pm.  I only saw one of my neighbors coming out to check it out.  Now the others could be at work checking it out, or popped out when I was back inside.
  People said that animals might start to act strangely.  Tank was acting normal, but that might not be saying much.  The funny thing was that when it was time for the peak of the eclipse, the tree frogs were going crazy.  They were so loud.
  Now that all the fun is over, I'm off to knitting.  Pictures/video coming soon!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bits of Fabric All Over

  I was trying to remember where I got them, and I've had these three bags of quilting cotton "scraps" for so long that I don't totally remember.  I want to say they came off a free listing on Craig's List, but it could have easily been someone who brought them to a knit-night.
  Since I have obviously looked at them so much, I knew a lot of it would be going to the Donate pile.  My problem was that I didn't know where to take them.  Yarn?  Finished items?  Cross-stitch kits?  Kid's kits?  Those are all easy.
  I knew that a few of my friends sewed and decided to post about it online.  One of my sewing friends said that she had talked to someone at the Eastern Market in Washington DC who makes art with fabric.  I sent an e-mail to Jaime from Seeing in Fabric to see what all she was looking for.  She said cottons and that she was not looking for any reds at this point. 

  These are the ones I pulled out for her from the first bag I had.  The reason I called them "scraps" before was because they were labeled as scraps, but some of these pieces are probably over a yard.

  This is what I found in the second bag that I felt no need to keep.  I know some of them have some red in the fabric, but I figure it wouldn't be too hard to work around it if need be.

  The two bags are what I packed up for her and the bin is what I decided to keep for now.  Not pictured is the denim and flannel my mom brought to her.  Not sure if I have enough of each to do what I want, if it turns out that I don't have enough, I know where to take them.
  She let me pick out two prints in exchange for the bags.  It was so sweet of her!  I also told her that I wasn't done going through everything, so there will most likey be more fabric.
  My mom had also never been to the Eastern Market before and was overwhelmed by the whole thing.  We also had lunch in the area after going to Second Rising to get some amazing bread.  Ever since we got some Himalayan Spice Rolls last fall I have been in love.  I try and buy something from her every time I am in the area.