Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good times @ SSK

Here are some pictures of the Silver Spring Knitters group, which is held every Tuesday from 7 to 9 at Adega Wine Cellars.

First we eat, before the yarn comes out. Adega has yummy food, as Heidi models below:
Then, we knit (or crochet) and drink
Debbie, Hannah, Me, Amy
Heidi, Vara, Me
Our resident family: Abe, David, Hannah
Me, Rebecca, Amy
Martha and BarbaraHannah, Debbie, Rebecca, Me
Barbara and some people I don't know yet
Congrats on your first book, Amy! Her husband brought over this gift as a surprise.

Good times...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Home again

On Saturday I went to Maryland Day at the University of Maryland, College Park. I had a nostalgic-good time.
Ever need to make ice cream in a flash? Here is the recipe:
Stir really fast:
And voila! It was delicious.
My former second home, the BioPsych building:
It was in front of this building that we discovered why we had seen people with gobs of cupcakes walking around the campus. I had been thinking, how did these people get so many cupcakes, they couldn't have been for free! Alas, they were. They had baked a trillion cupcakes, iced them with Maryland's colors, and then arranged them into the MD emblem:
These workers spent all day disassembling the picture, bringing cupcakes to the hoard of people in front of surrounding tables. People were taking a dozen at a time. They probably still had extra!

Then off to Stamp Student Union. The food court finally had all the merchant booths full:
McDonald's, Saladworks, Steak Escape, Chick Fil-A, Taco Bell, Panda Express, etc. They also have a movie theather, Co-op, bowling alley, pool/games room with a Subway inside, an art studio, a nice restaurant, coffee bar, art gallery, two-level bookstore, Mailboxes etc, Chevy Chase Bank, convenience store, etc. I was thinking two things: when do these kids study, and man, I want to be in college again. My brother said that the more he sees, the more excited he becomes to go to school here.

Outside Stamp is a life-size statue of Jim Henson, a famous UMCP-er who was the first to make his own major, Puppeteering. Interesting fact: my research professor at the School of Social Work in UMBaltimore allegedly has the exact proportions as Jim Henson had, so he was the model for this statue. He said that they did a cast of him.
Ahh, McKeldin, my favorite library. You can find any psych research article in print here. I missed it while at UMB.
Now a 180* to the mall. My brother got worried. I said, no, Edward, don't worry, there are no stores.

But there was a UFO.
Kids playing in the fountain. I held my composure. I only wanted to jump in this fountain every hot day I was at MD.
The sundial, to see if you're late to class.
Sumo wrestling.
A velcro wall.

A climbing...cone.And as things were being deflated and tables were being emptied and carted away, I realized that my nostalgic day was over.

The end.

Braided I-cord Strap

This strap is intended for Norah Gaughan's Brea Bag, but of course can be used for any. It is a bit stretchy, depending on your gauge. Here's how I did it:

CO 8 sts.
Stockinette stitch for 5 rows, beginning and ending with a WS row.
Now slip this little square through a d-ring. Pick up 8 stitches along the CO row, and now hold the two needles with 8 stitches each parallel. Row 6: K2TOG, one stitch from the front needle and one from the back. This is similar to a three-needle bind-off except that you are not actually binding off; you are keeping the stitches.

Row 7: Purl
Row 8: K1, M1, K2, M1, K2, M1, K2, M1, K1 (12 sts)
Row 9: Purl the first 8 sts, then place on holder.
Now begin making three I-cords, 4 sts wide each, starting with these last 4 stitches. This is what mine looked like mid-second I-cord: Make each as long as you like. Remember that it stretches. Do not break the yarn on the last I-cord. You will need it to finish the strap.
After all the I-cords are finished, braid them together, making sure that the unbroken yarn is on the far left.
Row 1: Purl across all 12 sts, which realigns the I-cords.
Row 2: K1, K2TOG, K1, K2TOG, K2TOG, K1, K2TOG, K1 (8 sts)
Rows 3-7: Stockinette stitch
Do a three-needle bind-off around the other d-ring, having picked up 8 purl bumps from row 3.
Happy knitting!

Speedy Gonzales

This was my first week sans internship and man, did I make the best of it. I dwindled my wips from 10 to 5. Yippee. Plus, I started and finished a mini project, a little tooth for my dentist. She is my age (which I'm still traumatized by) and also a knitter. It was my last appointment on Friday. I wanted to knit something since we're both knitters and to thank her for a great job. I had expected her to use it to give to kids (who she wants to work with) when they are getting a shot or something, but she said she wants to put it in a shadow box and hang it up in her future office. I was flattered.
I wanted to just give up on the following two scarves and send them into hibernation since winter is a long way from now, but somehow while watching chunks of Lost episodes via ABC's website, I finished both blasted scarves. I think I'll save them for Christmas presents. First, the ever popular My So-Called Scarf:When my dentist and I were waiting for the impression to set for my inlay, I went on the internet on the computer (long story involving how this place is state-of-the-art) and showed her all the holiness that is Ravelry. I left it on "by accident" when I left. This past Friday she told me how she used it to link to this pattern and showed me the progress she has made on it so far. All part of my plan to convert non-Ravelers to Ravelers. Mwah ha ha ha.

And the other blasted scarf, Wavy:
I also finished Norah Gaughan's awesome Brea Bag:
I made a braided I-cord strap since I couldn't find leather straps in my price range that I liked. I will post a tutorial for making this strap.I also put in snaps and a lining with a cell-phone pocket.
And I also finished the Potholder Loop Welcome Mat from Mason-Dixon Knitting. It was too fat to fit, though. The door just pushes it when it opens. So then I had the "bright" idea to block it. Well, I will tell you something. Getting cheap-ass brightly-colored cotton loops wet was not my best idea. First of all, it is still wet. Second off all, the colors bled like crazy. It even stained my designated blocking towels. Yeah, the color probably won't come off the next time I go to block something else, but I'm not going to risk it. I'll just trash them. And just to kick me when I'm down, the stupid thing is still to thick. Maybe I'll use it in the kitchen or something. Or the bathroom, since the dye also stained my bathmat. :-(

And now the moment you have all been waiting for. After months of being in pieces, I FINALLY finished the sodding Mancala board. Praise all that is holy. I was sick of looking at this wip, both in my knitting basket and on my projects page on Ravelry. It was really hard to sew together. To felt, I put it in the washing machine and then dried them on cups to ensure a uniform size. To sew, I recommend stuffing cotton balls into each cup to retain that size and because mine had a tendency to want to fold while I was sewing them. I sewed each six-cup row together just under the lips of the cup, and then sewed one row to the other, one cup at a time. Then I sewed these 12 to the board, then the two "home" cups to the end mini cups, then to the board.
I also made these little stones out of Sculpey. I wanted a contrasting yet multi-tonal stone, so I got red and orange, and rolled them together to make a marbleized effect. They turned out perfect.
Happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Last Knit

Check out this funny video that I found through someone who queued one of my designs on Ravelry. I wish I could knit as fast as this lady!

Happy knitting!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finally my theory is confirmed

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I was a bad, bad girl

Going to bed Friday I was thinking, ok, party's over (literally, we went to a party), let me down some water to have a sans hangover Saturday so I can get some WORK done. I'll even let myself sleep in. Ok, well that didn't work so much. I woke up at like 6:30 am. I finished a journal entry for art therapy class, then...turned on my computer...which is always a bad idea. Had to check facebook and ravelry, of course. Then I had "one more episode" syndrome on ABC's full episode player website in terms of LOST. Damn, I love that show. Sawyer...yum... I was productive in terms of knitting, however. I finished the My So Called Scarf.

Ok, now I'll start working. I planned what I specifically needed to do. Finish art journals and set up outline for paper by the end of today. Paper tomorrow. Readings for class Monday on the train. Then I took a shower. Then I decided I needed a haircut! You know, starting a new career in a few weeks and all... So I called Bubbles (in inspiration from Heidi's new cut) near Union Station and set up an appointment for 3pm. That'll give me enough time to knock out these journal entries and then spend all day Sunday on my treatment paper. Except that it was 1pm, and I needed to leave at least by 2 seeing that the metro is on weekend schedule. And by the time I figured this all out, it was 1:30. Oh, it gets worse.

So I headed out to Bubbles, figuring that if I get there early I can read as well as read on the metro. Then I found a crossword puzzle on the seat. The girl at Bubbles saw me early. She did such a good job! I gave her the following picture:and the final result is pretty close. Finally a stylist is not afraid to cut the back as short as the front. The past two I went to said, "no, that will look bad." Anyway, she is great. This is her fave style to cut, coincidentally. Her name is Noemy.

So then I decided for some reason to go to Georgetown. Whenever I go, whoever I'm with doesn't want to go to all the same stores I want to go to, or there's not enough time, blah blah blah. So I took advantage of being alone. There were SO many tourists there. It was a beautiful day. I went to La Madeleine, Sephora, Steve Madden, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, J.Crew, and H & M. After that, my wallet and I were tired and I headed home. I only made two purchases, but big ones, guiltily. At Urban Outfitters I got a new wallet, and then lucked out at the clearance table. I got two paper star lanterns, a Rorschach game that would be a great party game, and something for craftnite that I want to be a surprise. At H & M I went buck wild. I got some work clothes though, so that's good. And I got a lot for what I spent. And everything...umm...complements my features...which is the most important, after all (according to Stacy and Clinton). On my way to the metro I spotted some awesome cigar boxes just inside Georgetown Tobacco. The second hand smoke and 4 bucks was worth it. So then I made the trek back home, making a slight detour when I took the red line several stops in the wrong direction. Glad I looked up when I did! I got home at 9, did one more journal entry out of guilt, went online for a while and settled into bed pretty late.

So now it's Sunday--onto my paper. I just finished the journals. I figure if I type nonstop for the next several hours I will be able to go to bed at a decent hour. We'll see. Then I'll only be ONE PAPER AWAY FROM GRADUATION! also 26 days.

Happy knitting! (i'm jealous)

p.s. I call this one "trois chats" What a cooky boy, this one...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm a chicken with no head

Wow, it has been a really busy past few days.

Monday I had a presentation (which went fabulous) and went to Pub Quiz at McGinty's.

Tuesday was knitting group. It was pretty normal. I had had a bad day, so I endulged on wine and a chocolate lava cake. It is a dark choclate cake for one filled with hot chocolate syrup. I met Heidi's mom, who is really cool. I came across a great find at Border's: The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches. Hardcover, hundreds of pages, and on sale for $4.99! It shows you how to do the basics and variations of each.

Yesterday I had no internship because it was Emancipation Day in DC. Amy and I painted the town red. We went to the Plaza Art store and Strosnider's hardware to prepare for craftnite. We got loads of stuff. Then we went to Whole Foods for a snack and discussed vegetarianism. I tried tofu and this other wheat-based stuff that is supposed to resemble beef. Another vegetarian friend shared with me once that one of the reasons people don't like tofu is because they are expecting it to resemble meat since it is commonly used as a substitution for it, but that it doesn't come near to it texturally. I actually enjoyed my little non-meat hot bar snack. I did have salmon, however. Then I went to free yoga at Willow Street in Silver Spring. It was ok. I'm new to non-fitness-club yoga, so it was much more spiritual and philosophical than I'm used to. I've been sore today, too, so I did get a workout. I also fell asleep while doing the meditation part. I was feeling a little bad yesterday again. After that I went home to prepare for craftnite (I brought a shitload of stuff). In the mail I got both (and only) my next Netflix movie AND the Cascase220 I bought on sale from WEBS for the tilted duster part deux. Very exciting.

On the way over Heidi and I noticed an awesome sculpture someone made in their front yard. They made a "tree" from lumber and twigs, and covered each twig end with a brightly-painted glass bottle. It was so cool I had to get out and snap a pic.

Then Honey greeted us upon arrival.
You can tell a knitter lives here when a skein of yarn is hanging outside for some functional reason or another.
Can I have some cookies and strawberries too? Honey and I waited while Amy and Heidi ran out to the fabric store.
I swear, Selma is going to be a chef someday the way she randomly decides to combine foods. This is a strawberry with slurpee filling.
On to the crafts! We decided to do the shrinky dinks. Due to some miscommunication, I ended up downstairs for a long time, alone and sharpening scads of colored pencils. It was boring.

Can you see where Heidi got her inspiration for this one?
Amy originally wanted to do shrinky dinks because she wanted to make stitch markers with knitting symbols, to kill 2 birds with one stone. When you get to the stitch marker, you'd just do the symbols that's on it (make 1, ssk, etc.). She was gifted some with the abbreviations, but wanted to make some with the symbols instead.
I did some with the abbreviations.
Then we cut them all out. A professor once told me that I do not have a good poker face. Yeah, this picture pretty much sums up how I've been feeling the past few days:
Then we heated them in the oven for a few minutes, and tada!

Can you see the inspiration for the cherries? Amy's are the two made into earrings, and mine is the other one. I literally traced the cherries from the tablecloth onto the shrinky dink, so you can see you much it shrinks!
On to project #2. Amy had seen this on a blog. In that a crochet hook is a staple for picking up dropped stitches in knitted work, the creator of this gizmo thought it'd be handy for a crochet hook to be always in reach. You start by cutting the hook in almost half.
Then you just bend the end into a loop.
The aluminum hook didn't work out great.
Then with a steel hook and some manly arms of steel, it worked.

So that was craftnite. Then today was my last day of my internship at High Roads. They gave us interns a nice little breakfast from the Corner Bakery and the book, "Days in the Life of Social Workers," which is comprised of 54 tales from real social workers. My supervisor also gave my a bottle of wine and I got some cards from kids and staff. In group I had them make s'mores and playdough from food ingredients: combine 3c flour, 1/3 c salt, 2 tbsp vegetable oil; slowly add water and work into dough; add food coloring and knead until thoroughly colored. It was a lovely day, cut short by the pope's visit.

So it's been a crazy week; more craziness to come in the next month and a half.

Happy knitting.