books

wip: domino socks, and oh, cubital tunnel syndrome!

So I've been bad. Remember that nagging wrist/elbow pain I've been complaining about lately? Turns out it's Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. My ulnar (read:funny bone) nerve has been compressed for so long that it's inflamed. I often can't feel my pinky and ring finger anymore, and sometimes it's meant dropping mugs full of tea from the numbness. GAH.
I can owe this to my fulltime jobs--my day job of digital painting, exacerbated by my 8+ hours a day spent knitting for the shop.
the moonstone/domino vanilla sock Ok, here's how I've been bad. I've been sneaking a few rows in anyway. I know I shouldn't, but I guess the painkillers have made me a little bit brave(You warned me, Michelle, but it's so tempting!). And thanks to that, (my elbow is cursing me) this little sock has grown, just a little bit more. It really can't be that bad anyway, right? Given the right posture, less pressure on my inner elbows and a looser grip it's can't be as bad as it was before. I'm going from 8+ hours to 30 minutes max(punctuated by breaks), that's got to count for something.

On the other hand, I've also been pretty good! Besides following through shop and concept design commitments (with my good friends Ibuprofen and frequent breaks), I've had to practice filling my day with things other than my businesses.

Part 1 of my July reading list, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, was finally finished. I'm not gonna lie, that book fucked me up. Even from the get-go, when I realized I was going to care about Kath, Tommy and Ruth, I knew I was in for it. If you're down for being devastated, this is definitely the book for you.
What I'm getting through now is Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone. What is known so far is that there are some very complete and relatable female characters(at least for their time) to look forward to, as well as a juicy mystery plot. Beyond that I have no idea what I'm in for, which is exciting.

And tv shows! Hannibal S2 is compelling but often hard to watch, and Stargate SG-1 is UGGGH FANTASTIC. Some more marathons of friend-recommended shows are on the horizon as well. I just have to lock up my WIPs so I'm not tempted to 'make use of my hands' while watching.

Overall, I'm trying to feel pretty optimistic about this RSI. It definitely dispelled my dejection to have learned what I've got before it was any worse. Nerves take annoyingly long to heal, but I'm grateful to know that a behavioral recovery is within my currently weak, numb-pinkied grasp.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn-Along.

5KCBWDAY7 - Looking Back, Looking Forward

Day Seven (Sunday 18th May): Looking Back, Looking Forward

While I did participate in the KCBW last year, I didn't complete the Day7 prompt. Somehow I wasn't even aware of it! I do want to participate next year, though so here's my miniature list of things I hope to have achieved by then:

  • A second knit sweater (either for me or a gift for someone else)

  • My first crochet project completed (with some measure of comfort with the craft)

  • My first published pattern maybe?

Not a very long list of expectations, but I'm okay with this. :D

On the Kindle:

White Fang by Jack London

On the knitting front:

The Irish Wellington Socks by Aileen Cahill. I felt the straight up stockinette pattern would complement the self-striping yarn really well. I'm working with Drops Big Fabel in Forest, a fitting colorway with which to remember all of my forest walks while here in England. :D Jason's going to have a pair as well, in his chosen shade of..wait for it..plain black! The simplicity of this pattern will work really well for that too.

I just might gnaw an arm off if I had to work anything like cables with a jet-black yarn. The smaller skeins(?) are elastic thread I plan to use for the cuffs of Jason's pair of socks. Wool is pretty springy, but I think he'll enjoy socks that do a better job of staying up. We'll see how that goes..

Both yarns are 75%wool and 25% nylon. Thanks for your suggestions! I'm very optimistic about the durable quality of these yarns, and am doubly glad to know that it comes in a worsted weight as well! These socks are gonna fly right off my needles, without a doubt.

I made another small stash addition last friday from Quilter's Quest in Bridgnorth. It's a lovely self striping sock yarn by Four Seasons Gründl, and I've got my eyes on the Vanilla Latte Socks pattern. This'll be a nice little change from all of these thick socks I've made this year! There isn't much info on Ravelry about this yarn, so I'm excited to see how this will look all knit-up. :D

This post is part of Eskimimi Makes' 5th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. To find posts by other participating bloggers, simply google 5KCBWDAY7 and explore away!

Also part of KCCO! I think I may participate from now on with this. :]

wip: Ribbed for Him Socks

I spent the last few weeks working through about 400 grams of yarn to finish those pairs of socks for Jason (and one for me~). It was one Hunter’s Sock after another—that memorized routine which, admittedly got a little old after a while.
It was hard to keep interest but the work paid off! We've got three nice new pairs in rotation (meaning, hopefully his high rate of wearing holes will go down), and my little traveller's stash shrunk quite a bit. I’d show proper photos of the finished socks, but I’m proud to say they’re either happily in use or waiting to be washed. I’ll make a little FO post about them later. :]

What’s going on now? Next to commissioned art, hiking and dining, I’ve been working through A Clash of Kings (read: dodging TV spoilers like an ace), and having a blast with Marie Godsey’s Ribbed for Him pattern. It’s a new functional knit ribbing pattern style I love. The variegated yarn has me stopping often to show Jason how awesome these spontaneous little stripes are turning up on these little things. ugggggh the colors…!!!! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of variegated and self striping yarn.

The badass yarn currently being transformed here is James C. Brett’s Woodlander DK in Shade L5. The scheme brings cozy fires, flannels and of petrichor to mind. Manly pajamas too for some reason. My kinda thing.

I can't understate how much of a nice departure this is from the last three pairs of socks I knit. I'm expecting this project to be a comfy staple in my sock collection and am super excited to see them finished.

mailtime!

It's a real treat to be surprised with gifts in the mail! Earlier this year,  I received an adorable package from the wonderful Emma of the handmade shop TrinketsnTreats (which is on vacation currently, but do keep an eye on it, her work is precious!)

In this well-wrapped package was one of her lovingly handmade bat keychains, made with (if i recall correctly) a cruelty-free polyester felt, making the toy both vegan friendly and moth proof (such good news!) I also received The Craft Library's Knits for Fab Feet and Cosy Toes, a little book full of adorable sock patterns I can't wait to try. There's this one sock pattern with a little pocket you can place a hand-knit teddy bear in, god ugh that's too cute!!! The socks themselves seem to all be knit in a very fine gauge, so I'll have to finish a few wips before diving into these projects.
 Also! Just a few days ago I received a message from the lovely Triona of Triona Designs letting me know that I won her giveaway for the Knitpicks Bulky 2013 Collection pattern book! This is the first knitting-related giveaway I've won, so I was really excited!

The patterns inside area absolutely beautiful. I fell in love with the Maddie Hoodie the moment I laid eyes on it, and will definitely make one of my own soon.

Have you received any surprise gifts in the mail recently? Let's talk about it in the comment section!

yarn-along v

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On the reading front: I finished Franz Molnar's Prisoners last week. It was a little slow at first but wasn't hard by the midpoint to get hooked! I'd like to believe that a bit might be lost in the translation from its original written language, but even then the imagery is beautiful. When I have to put down the book for a bit to sigh and say ..wow, you know it's a good sign.
Hagakure's made quite a few appearances over the last couple of yarn-along posts, and it's for that same reason. That little book's full of really deep words and passages. It would be unfair to not sit and ponder what's been said every few pages, and that's why this little book is still in the currently-reading pile by my bed.
Lord of the Rings is a slightly different story. I'm looking at at least a thousand pages of book to get through, and the size of the thing makes it a home-only type of reading deal. Because it's the kind of story that requires that I set at least an hour aside to focus on it, this book hasn't had very much attention from me.

As for knitting, I'm about 65% done with my Hermione's Everyday Socks! Might have said this before but I'd love to work this project once more in the future with a more solid colored yarn. This self striping yarn looks really lovely in this pattern, but the texture looks like it needs a chance to hog the spotlight in a pair of its own.
I'm also working on a number of lovely knit pieces for Bapsicrafts--my hope is to build enough stock to  take part in a craft show or farmer's market, which will take a real while to do!


This post is made alongside many others in Gsheller's Wednesday Yarn-along!
Click-through the image for more information on this yarn-along,
and let me know if you decide to join!

yarn-along iii


Got myself a hand-me-down Android last week, so I threw a bunch of pdfs on it and went right to reading! The first book I'm getting through is Leo Babauta's Focus, which has been a pretty interesting read so far. The pink Endpaper Mitts were finally finished, so I quickly got to knitting the second pair, a beautiful silk/mohair blend with a sparkly polyester cuff/accent color. Again, the colors wouldn't have found themselves if I had to pick them out, so it'll be neat to see how these turn out.
Just a few more commission projects more and I'll treat myself to a personal project from the stash [finally!]. Well. After I finish my coursework that is.

This post is made alongside many others in Gsheller's Wednesday Yarn-along!
Click-through the image for more information on this yarn-along,
and let me know if you decide to join!

yarn-along ii


Not much has changed on the reading front but I have been finishing quite a bit for Bapsicrafts. I've been fortunate enough to receive a custom order from a customer who wanted a wip for the Endpaper Mitts finished. She provided her own beautiful yarn--the lighter pink a silk blend, and the stronger pink, a soft merino. This is easily the smaller gauge I've ever knit, which caused a few hand-cramps every now and then but the gorgeous colorwork makes for great encouragement to finish. As you might be able to see the second glove is nearly finished--soon I'll cast on the second pair in a gorgeous chocolate brown and silver for the same customer. :]
I was intimidated by Eunny Jang's pattern at first, but it's been very easy to follow, and little parts of the gloves [like the seam stitches and symmetrical repeat] have me admiring and learning from her as a knit designer. I've got my eye on her cabled socks as a nice gift project in the future.
Click-through the image for more information on this yarn-along,
and let me know if you decide to join!

yarn-along i


Just thought it would be a neat way to keep to reading and personal knits by participating in gsheller's yarn-along every other wednesday!
The Barnes and Noble store nearest my house had a closing-out sale, so I went in for a look and nabbed a copy of Neil Gaiman's Coraline for a good price! This made for a charming read, I'll allow myself to watch the animated movie by Laika finally.
Hagakure was a gift from Jason, and is turning out to be a more long-term read for me. The book is short but full of little passages that can really cause you to think. Every few pages I find a new one that resonates well with me, like this one:
The proper manner of calligraphy is nothing other then not being careless, but in this way one's writing will simply be sluggish and stiff. One should go beyond this and depart from the norm. This principle applies to all things.
I'm hardly a quarter through this book, and it's already been an insightful and interesting read.

As for the knitting work in progress, that's one half of the Trigger Gloves I'm knitting for Jason. I've got both gloves mostly finished, too--it's just the thumbs that need to be worked in, and the ends to be weaved in and these will be ready-to-wear. I'll finish them by the end of this week. Promise.
For those curious, these gloves are being worked with Paton's Classic Wool in the colorway named Mercury. Something in me thought it was a good idea to use a pure wool for these gloves to keep those weaved in ends from unraveling and sticking out. And considering how he'll wear them wherever he goes once given a chance, a wool might full well or toughen up over time [or at least be slightly simpler to repair]. Am I right in assuming these things about wool over something synthetic or is this based on misconception? Not sure but I suppose I could look it up on rav.

Click-through the image for more information on this yarn-along,
and let me know if you decide to join!

a little update for this week: on wednesday i went in to get the second half of my wisdom teeth pulled--the first half were taken out last summer, and i've been stalling for my second visit since. i'd say that all of that fear and putting off of the appointment were for nothing, but i've been in a lot of pain and have had to take it easy to let myself recover. it's meant less time to run around and ship my few orders, and less time to wander and take photos. i don't like downtime at all.

i'd be totally miserable if i weren't able to spend time doing my tow new favorite things--reading and knitting. recently i started on tolkien's the hobbit, and have really enjoyed it since. i remember being a little scared off by tolkien's books when i was much younger, and since then have just idly put off reading his stories, but now that i've finally picked one up, i'm happy to find it not too difficult to read at all, and excited to see what the rest of his books have in store for me and my imagination. 
next to reading i've been casting on and binding off dozens of little bath scrubbies for the little shop. they've been relaxing to knit, and i hope they find a home soon after i list them! so far they've been mostly white or in some favorite color schemes already sitting in my yarn basket but i hope to have more variety in color choice, just like i do with my washcloths, but those will have to come with time.
it would be a masterpiece of understatement to say that knitting and reading have been keeping me sane this weekend.

do you have any projects or books keeping you busy this weekend?
do tell in the comments!

(p.s. my 21st birthday is in three days. i think i might hold a little sale that day for my favorite shop items!)

what i'm reading


this summer i made a resolution to read more books, it's sad to me to not be an avid reader, and the excuse of not wanting to sit there for a long time to stare at a book can't fly anymore [especially when i'm already spending ages browsing online...].
the resolution itself presented two challenges for me--the first was to find out what to read, and the second was what form i'd like to read the book in.

there's no doubt about how nice it is to have a hard copy in your hands to take anywhere and bookmark, and there's a good chance the book won't cost too much, but it's sometimes hard to justify the loss of precious space in a small home like mine. it seems so counterintuitive with my love for yarn and sparked interest in books but i've been very interested in living minimally for that reason. so to justify the cost of shelf space i look at review after review on book sites and try my best to gauge the rereading or reference value of the book that i haven't even looked much into [bless you, google book preview], and maybe if i don't forget about the book altogether, i'll make the big choice to purchase it. sounds like i could use a kindle, huh?

i went through that long process when buying these two books pictured, and so far i haven't regretted my purchases one bit. recommended by a friend, cordelia fine does a wonderful job of doing careful research and delivering her points clearly in delusions of gender, and has made me think a little harder about information i'd otherwise blindly consume. and stephanie the yarn harlot's done nothing but wow me with her writing style and relatability. i'm beginning to understand why she's so  popular in the knitting community. these are both really nice reads that i'd recommend to anyone who has as hard a time as i do about making purchases. especially if you're going to buy knitting rules. don't. hesitate.
i think after finishing these two i'll try an epic for the rest of the year. maybe tolkein, who knows. reading feels great.

have you fallen in love with any good books lately?