The Highlights Reel

While I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, more than one person commented to me that they couldn’t take classes the entire time because it was too much for them to absorb.  Wasn’t I totally overwhelmed?  Nope, not at all.  The entire event was an adrenaline rush and I enjoyed every moment.  A week after I got back, after reliving the entire event through writing the blog posts about it, I crashed.  This wasn’t all because of the show; August is break month for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  I push myself hard during the term, achieving feats of crafting that I otherwise wouldn’t attempt, and I appreciate break month!  Don’t get me wrong — I still crafted and had fun adventures in August and September to date.  Here’s the highlights.

August

S’s 5th Birthday Party

My cousin’s daughter turned 5 and had a birthday party at the zoo.  It was the largest kid’s birthday party I’ve ever attended — 28 kids and 30+ adults.  I made fondant cupcake toppers (I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve got mad cake skills?  I don’t make cakes as often as in the past).  Since I live 2+ hours from my cousin, she bought cupcakes locally and I put the toppers on when I arrived at the party.

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And I was the first person in line to get my face painted.  I got to the party early so I could get those cupcake toppers on the cupcakes and the few children already there showed no interest in getting their face painted.  I figured I’d beat the rush!

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I knit the birthday girl a Barbie dress.

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Sorting Yarn

A few months ago, my friend Nancy and I went to the home of a member of the weaver’s guild who had passed away (see my blog post).  She wanted her yarn to benefit the guild.  Nancy and I sorted it to pick out anything that was suitable for demos.  We always have a little takeaway for kids and are constantly on the look out for yarn for those.  We packed up any project kits or yarns suitable for weaving and brought those to the guild’s annual auction.  The money raised from the sale of those yarns is designated for demos and will be used to buy yarn for takeaways once we use up our current stash.

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Orlando Shakes Open House

From the Weavers Guild meeting, I went straight to the Orlando Shakespeare theater for their annual open house.  I’ve never made it to this event before and had a great time.  I went to all three panel discussions — one on lighting and sound production, one on building props, and one with the directors and educators about visioning and producing individual plays and the future of the troop.  They also had a small display of props and costumes from previous productions.  Here’s a small selection of the spectacular costumes, which are created in house, in conjunction with the theater department of a local university, and with the help of many volunteers.

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Akerworks

My order from Akerworks arrived!  I got 6 bobbins for my wheel (one in each style) and 3 drop spindles (one in each size).  I didn’t take pictures before they got pressed into service, but I’m sure you’ll see pictures in future blog posts.  I did take a picture of the lovely hand-written note Adan included in the box.

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Ravenclaw Staff

I accepted a position as blog mistress for The Ravenclaw Aerie, the blog for the Ravenclaw Tower in the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  This is a big part of the reason for the neglect of my own blog; planning and executing for that blog has taken the time I had for blogging.  Now that we’re on a schedule over there, I expect to be back to my own blog regularly!  Most of what’s on The Ravenclaw Aerie is probably only of interest to those in Ravenclaw Tower or the Cup, but one of the first posts is about something else I did in August.  Ravenclaw Porcupine Snuggles works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  She and two of her colleagues drove from Baltimore to New Smyrna Beach, FL to release Cougar, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.  I met them in New Smyrna Beach so I could witness the release, and Porcupine Snuggles and I wrote a blog post about it for the Aerie.

Disney with Beth

My friend Beth came on vacation for a week and we spent lots of time at Disney!  We ate at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new part of Fantasy Land in the Magic Kingdom.  We did not expect to be able to get a reservation because this restaurant, the interior of which is a replica of the castle in Beauty and the Beast, is sold out 6 months in advance.  We checked anyway; someone must have cancelled because we got a 1:15 pm reservation!  The restaurant is stunning inside and out.

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On the day we went to EPCOT, it poured.  My mother, Beth, and I walked from The Land to Journey through the Imagination without seeing any one else walking around (everyone else was smarter than us — when we got to Journey through the Imagination, the ride was down because the building was struck by lightning!).  It was eerie, and made us think about what the park is like after it closes.  We waited for Journey through the Imagination to be back up, and after we got off the ride, the rain had settled down to a normal rain shower rather than a deluge.  We headed towards the World Showcase, wading through a calf-deep puddle on our way there.

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All the rain made for a beautiful sunset!

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Sick

A couple days after Disney, my husband got sick with a very bad cold.  I caught it from him and it turned into a sinus infection.  Yuck!  For the last week of August and the first week of September, we took turns feeling misearable.  Not much got accomplished around here.  I was coughing so much that fiber crafting wasn’t even viable 🙁

September

L’s Birthday

Fortunately, I felt better in time to fly to New York City for a long weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday.  Before she arrived on Friday evening, her friends and I went to the Global Fashion Capitals exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum.  Here’s a couple of interesting pieces from that exhibit.

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We were trying to decide what to do next when I saw someone walk by with a Mood bag.  For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mood is a fabric store and is the place contestants on Project Runway shop for the fabric used to make their creations.  We decided to go to Mood and since it was a lovely day we walked the 10 blocks to the shop.  I was totally overwhelmed by Mood.  On the ground floor, there’s a two-story section of upholstery and other home decoration fabrics.  To get to the main shop, you take this old elevator, operated by an elevator attendant, to the third floor.  Once there, you have another 3 stories of every fabric imaginable.  I have no idea how the contestants manage to shop for fabric in only 30 minutes!

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Yes, I did pet Swatch!
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One section of the leather department.

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One day, we went to the Tenement Museum (no pix allowed there).  Our grandfather grew up in the Depression-era tenements of the Bronx, so this was a poignant visit for us.  Afterwards, we wandered around SoHo and I bought my first ever pair of Fluevogs.

Later that evening, my sister and her friends went to a play.  They bought tickets before I committed to the trip, and I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the show.  Instead, I took a train out to Long Island to visit law school classmates and meet their 4-month-old baby.  It was good to see them!

The next day, my sister, her friends, and I went to the Cloisters Museum, and visited their famous room of unicorn tapestries.

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We ate fabulous food every day, including the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten, from The Doughnut Plant.  The interior of the shop was adorable, with doughnut pillows on the wall, a doughnut tile backsplash, and donut chairs!

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The last night, my sister and I stayed in her friend’s apartment in Brooklyn.  The friend was out of town, but gave us a key.  The apartment came with bonus kitty, Billie.

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Billie was super sweet and reminded me of my Pepper, whom I still miss very much!

Although I lived in the Northeast for nearly 30 years, I had never spent more than an afternoon in New York City before this trip.  I had a wonderful time and hope I get to visit again!

Spamalot

For the fifth year in a row, Chris and I have season tickets for the Orlando Shakespeare theater.  The first show of the season was Spamalot!  It was absolutely spectacular.  If you have the opportunity, you should totally see this show.

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Orlando Maker Faire

Last weekend was the Orlando Maker Faire.  The Drunken Monkey Spinners and Weavers of Orlando shared a booth for the event.  Nancy and I spent the entire weekend in the booth; other members of the two groups spent one day or the other.

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This was the fourth year of the Orlando Maker Faire.  Last year, they expanded from the Science Center and included some exhibits in the park.  This year, they expanded further, with arts and crafts exhibits in the Orlando Museum of Art, which is located on the opposite side of the park from the Science Center.  The expected attendance at this event was 15,000; I didn’t hear an actual number after the event, but it is by far the highest attendance at any event where I’ve demoed.

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The Science Center was wall-to-wall people; the Art Museum, where we were located, was steady but manageable.  This was a fantastic event to demo.  The people coming to this events are makers themselves.  They like to know how things work and ask lots of questions!  I spun the 50/50 Camel Down / Silk that I bought from Red Fish Dyeworks at The Knit and Crochet Show.  I only got 1 ounce spun, out of 4, in the 17 hours I spent spinning!  This is partially because I talked to lots of people, but also because it is spinning very fine.

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Hey — there’s one of the Akerworks bobbins I got in August!

Florida Fiber In

This weekend is the Florida Fiber In.  I went last night, but won’t make it there the rest of the weekend.  I picked up some Black-Faced Valois locks and some Bombyx Silk fiber, and spent a couple hours spinning and chatting!

Fiber Crafting

The new HPKCHC term started on September 1 and I’ve been crafting like a mad woman.  I haven’t taken pix of anything yet, but I’m working on that today and tomorrow.  I’ll have a Year of Projects update post sometime tomorrow.

Ongoing

I have also been working on improving skills to benefit my blog.  I bought my first DSLR camera (a Canon 70D (affiliate link)) and a Pro-Am video camera (Canon XA-10 (affiliate link)).  I added Adobe Stock to my Adobe Cloud subscription.  I used my Lynda.com subscription to learn how to use Adobe Bridge, then used Bridge to move all my photos out of Apple’s Photos app and into their own folders on my external hard drive.  I’m still working on adding metadata and tags to the photos.  I had 19,000 photos and videos in Photos and have a very hard time actually finding anything when I’m looking for it!  It’s a lot of work to organize, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.  I’m just starting the Lynda.com courses on Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, to further improve my photography and videography skills.

So that’s the highlight reel of the last six weeks.  What’s your highlights?

 

A Year of Projects 2015, Week 25

It’s been a busy week around here, and this coming week will be busy too.  However, there’s always time to craft!

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Here’s the list of goals I wrote last week:

Goals for the Week of June 14 – 20, 2015

  • Finish the Sand Tracks Scarf.
  • Finish the Raindrops on Roses Shawlette.
  • Finish half of the questions and swatches for MHK1.
  • Finish at least one color and weave scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
  • Cast on the Liquid Silver Shawl.
  • Knit the Grisou Scarf (another test knit).

I’ve finished the Sand Tracks Scarf.

imageThe Raindrops on Roses Shawlette is a stockinette stitch body with three repeats of a lace pattern.  I finished that, but did not bind off.  I have enough yarn to knit at least one, possibly two, more repeats of the lace.  Since this is a test knit, I e-mailed the designer and asked if she preferred that I bind off now, per the pattern, or if it was okay for me to knit extra repeats.  She said she’d like to see the shawl in a larger size, so I’m going to knit the additional repeats and expect to finish early this week.  Here’s how it looked on Wednesday, 4 rows shy of finishing the first three lace repeats:

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I haven’t done anything with MHK1 this week.  I need to make this a priority as I want to finish before I go to TKGA’s Annual Conference in San Diego from July 21-26.

Yesterday, I tied on a color and weave scarf.  This is a solid red warp.  The weft alternates one pick of the same red as the warp with one pick of a tweed.  I’ve woven perhaps 1/4 of the scarf, and plan to finish it early this week.

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I looked at all the crafting I plan to finish this month and decided to move Liquid Silver to early July.  I do want to swatch for it by the end of the month.

The Grisou Scarf is a test knit.  I am using a different yarn than the designer, so swatched for it.  I ended up knitting swatches with three different size needles!  I’ve just got to finish the border, and expect to finish knitting it today.

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While I was waiting to hear back from the designer of Raindrops on Roses and for the Grisou swatches to dry, I cast on another Heart Illusion Dishcloth.  I got about 1/2 of it knit.

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Finally, though this has nothing to do with knitting, I wanted to post a picture of me with my father, since today is Father’s Day in the United States.  I often say that I’ve birdwatched since I was 6 months old.  My father started birdwatching shortly after my parents married, and once I came along, I was in a backpack on his back.  This morning, my father, mother, aunt, uncle, and I went birdwatching for Father’s Day.  We went to a newly opened 11 mile drive that skirts along the northern edge of Lake Apopka, not far from where we live.  We only saw 22 species of birds, all of which are common in our area, but we saw many, many individual birds of most species.  Here’s a picture my mom took of my Dad and I, looking at birds:

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Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015

I’m writing this set of goals through the end of the month, to cover the class deadlines for the HPKCHC.  I honestly don’t expect to finish all of these items, but I’m going to do my best!

  • Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
  • Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
  • Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
  • Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
  • Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
  • Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
  • Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
  • MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
  • Small stuffed bird (DADA)
  • Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
  • Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
  • Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette (in progress)
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

KCBW6, Day 3: Experimental Photography

The prompt for today is to take creative pictures.  On this blog, I usually use straightforward pictures.  However, I often take creative pictures of the pieces for fun or to include in homework submissions for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  Professors often give bonus points for creative pictures!  I decided to pull out some of my favorite pictures and share them with you today.

In 2010, I knit a crown in Ravenclaw colors.  Since Tiger believes himself to be king of the house, I thought him an appropriate model.  I love the look of disdain on his face.
In 2010, I knit a crown in Ravenclaw colors. Since Tiger believes himself to be king of the house, I thought him an appropriate model. I love the look of disdain on his face.
This skein of yarn was a present from my friend, Stacy.  She collaborated with Christa of Nerd Girl Yarns to plan a custom colorway, based on the colors of the frog in my Ravatar at that time, and named after my imaginary magical beastie (this is a thing in Ravenclaw Tower).  Here, I've posed my Frogman statue with the yarn.
My friend Stacy gave me this skein of yarn. She collaborated with Christa of Nerd Girl Yarns to plan a custom colorway, based on the colors of the frog in my Ravatar at that time, and named after my imaginary magical beastie (this is a thing in Ravenclaw Tower). Here, I’ve posed my Frogman statue with the yarn.
Cats often interrupt my photo shoots!
Cats often interrupt my photo shoots!
While its not a fibery picture, I love this photo of Pepper stalking the  Christmas village.
While it’s not a fibery picture, I love this photo of Pepper stalking the Christmas village.
On my recent trip to India, I took this photo of goats lounging on the steps of a temple.
On my recent trip to India, I took this photo of goats lounging on the steps of a temple.

The Weasel of Wrath

In the fall of 2013, the Weasel of Wrath became a thing in Ravenclaw Tower.  Every project I turned in that term included a picture of him and told a piece of a continuing story.  The Headmistress Challenge that term was to write your own lyrics for a wrock song, with bonus points for recording it.  I wrote lyrics, another member of Ravenclaw Tower recorded the vocals and instruments for me, and I put together a music video.  The photos below are my favorites from that term.

The Weasel wearing a sock toe hat.
The Weasel wearing a sock toe hat.
Searching in the jungle (aka our hydroponic system) for the Raspberry Monster.
Searching in the jungle (aka our hydroponic system) for the Raspberry Monster.

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The wrock video included two different sets.  The lyrics are about basilisks, so I went to the home of a friend who has snakes and shot stills and video there.
The wrock video included two different sets. The lyrics are about basilisks, so I went to the home of a friend who has snakes and shot stills and video there.
The other set was the Weasel's burrow.  This behind the scenes shot shows the burrow set up on my dining room table.
The other set was the Weasel’s burrow. This behind the scenes shot shows the burrow set up on my dining room table.
The Weasel of Wrath, with his friends Foxy and Jewel.
The Weasel of Wrath, with his friends Foxy and Jewel.

Drum Roll, Please…

I finished spinning the Nerd Girl Yarns Lux Top that I have had on my wheel since last July!  I am absolutely in love with this yarn and am already looking for knitting patterns.  If you have any suggestions, let me know!

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UFO Inventory

UFO stands for “unfinished object.”  I personally distinguish between WIPs (works in progress) and UFOs, though some people use the terms interchangeably.  A WIP is something that I’m actively working.  An UFO is sitting around waiting for me to get to it sometime.  I don’t like to have a lot of UFOs.  I do like to have multiple projects in progress, so I always have an option for a project that fits my current attention span and activities.  But UFOs lurk in the back of my head, sucking up small bits of energy and sometimes making me feel guilty for abandoning them.  I used to have a number of unfinished projects, but in January of 2013, I inventoried my UFOs and addressed all but one of them.  Either I finished them or I frogged them.  Since then, I have tried to finish up projects within six months or so of starting them.  Despite those efforts, I have accumulated a few UFOs and I’d like to finish with them.  Today I took the first step towards finishing them by taking them all out and determining what needs to be done to finish each one.

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Gryffindor Houndstooth Scarf

I am not going to post about every project I completed during the six weeks I took off from blogging.  I’m making an exception for this project, which I finished before Thanksgiving, because it provides an interesting comparison to the Hufflepuff Houndstooth Scarf.

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Hufflepuff Houndstooth Scarf

For HPKCHC Quidditch Round 4, we must make something that either (1) gets hung on a wall; (2) is a matched set; or (3) is outlandishly large, sparkly, crazy, or distracting.  I’m going with option 2 and weaving a matched set  of 5 houndstooth scarves (using the same pattern qualifies as a set).  That’s one scarf in each of the four house colors and the fifth in House Unity purples.  The Hufflepuff scarf is the first one I’ve finished.

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WIP Wednesday: November 12, 2014

I haven’t posted progress in a couple of weeks as I’ve been visiting with friends and family.  I’ve got a lot in progress at the moment!

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Pink One Row Scarf

I’ve been working on this scarf as a goal for HPKCHC Quidditch Match 3, which ends at midnight POT today!  This project just seemed to go on and on and on.  But that’s pretty much what it’s like whenever you knit a scarf!

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