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As has been very firmly established, when I like something (movie, book, tv show, etc), I tend to make things. Following in that proud tradition, may I humbly present my greatest nerd crafting achievement to date, a Star Trek dress:

dress

This opus, knit in fingering weight (recycled) yarn on size two needles with no pattern (but contiguous sleeves) took over eight months from conception to completion. I put it down and didn’t touch it for a couple of those months, but still. It took a long-ass time to knit. It’s a ton of stockinette. I can’t even think of how many yards of yarn are in it, lest I faint dead away.

It is probably my proudest knitting accomplishment to date. I love it.

I’ll try to keep my blathering to a minimum, but Star Trek is My People. I adore Star Trek. There are episodes of The Next Generation that aren’t just good, but are probably some of the best television you will ever see. (There are also some episodes of Next Generation that are probably the worst television you’ll ever see, but we don’t talk about those). I am so utterly confused by people who didn’t like Deep Space Nine. Star Trek has fascinating worlds, captivating plots, and representation in SPADES. Not to get all social justice on y’all (I save that for Twitter and Tumblr, mostly), but there are just SO MANY LADIES in Star Trek. I love it.

dress back

Now, my dress isn’t really an exact replica. It’s mostly based on the Original Series uniform. I’m sort of still in the middle of the Star Trek franchise (I’m in season five of Voyager with Enterprise next up and I haven’t seen most of TOS (but I have seen most of the movies)) (and the first person that tries to nerd shame/fake geek girl me is going to get a lecture and the ban hammer in that order). But there was a lot of knitting to be done and I didn’t want to make most of it black. And the coloring for the Next Generation uniforms would have required intarsia in the round, which, no.

It was, for the most part, a pretty easy knit though. I mean, it’s mostly just around and around and around with some increases thrown in at the skirt. I’m almost crazy enough to knit another one for my Nerd Wars dissertation. I’ve been wanting to do a dissertation for the next round, and it would almost have to be a lace weight dress because there are few things that would actually take three months to knit. I’ll have to look through the yarn stash and see what I have in enough quantity–the sweater that the yarn for this dress came from was enormous with a gigantic cowl neck. I guess I could always do stripes.

dress2

I made this dress for being-a-gigantic-nerd purposes, but also to wear to a comics convention that was in DC in April, Awesome Con. As usual, I took no pictures (well, that’s not true. I took a couple of pictures of awesome cosplay), but I had an absolute blast. It was very different from the anime conventions I’ve been to in the past (for more than just the different subject matter), but I’m definitely going again next year. Plus I got to meet Timothy Zahn, author of the Thrawn Trilogy among other things, and that was just SO COOL. I also got to meet Janine Spendlove and Matt Slay of Time Traveled Tales and Silence in the Library Publishing, both of whom signed my copy of Time Traveled Tales, and JK Woodward, an artist for IDW who draws the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comics. He drew me an amazing commission of Data and Spot.

One of these days I’ll go to a convention and actually take pictures that I will post on the blog, but today, as they say, is not that day.

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Soooo I realize I’ve been a little remiss in posting on this blog, here. I’ve mostly been knitting lately, and that usually means the blog is a parade of FOs. I don’t know if you guys like that or not, but in any case, I’ve sort of fallen off the wagon. This time, however, I something of an excuse…

Craftsy Writer

I have indeed been blogging, just unfortunately not here. My first post is up on Crafty now. It’s about weaving with yarn designed for knitting, and you should definitely give it a look.

I’m not sure how often my posts will be published over on Craftsy, but I’ll be writing them about once a week (or so… we all know my track record with regular blogging, after all). They will mostly be about spinning and weaving, but I think I can throw some sewing and knitting in there from time to time. Unlike my posts here, which, as I’ve mentioned, tend to be of the FO parade sort, my Craftsy posts will be much more informative.

So please take a look and let me know what you think! Or what you’d like to see from me in the future. (And I’ll try to be better about posting here, even if it is only showing off what I’ve been making).

OH, and one last (off-topic) thing: Maryland Sheep and Wool is in two weeks, and I will definitely be attending, at least on Saturday. I’ll let you know closer to the date what I’ll be wearing so you can come up and say hi if you’d like. (Maybe there will be prizes? Who knows.)

Good news: I am all moved into my new place! (More about that on the bottom.) Bad news: It’s a gigantic mess still. Good news: IT’S MINE ALL MINE (well, also Joe’s since he lives there too). Bad news: My camera sd card and card reader appear to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Good news: I took these pictures of this sweater before I moved.

Pattern: Shalom Cardigan
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden (about 3/4 of a skein) and recycled wool
Needles: US 9/5.5mm I think
Mods: Long sleeves, different color yoke and bottom band, different CO and sleeve numbers… I used the pattern as a guideline, basically.

Once again, I’m playing along with IntSweMoDo, wherein I try to knit 12 sweaters in a year (because definitely I need 12 more sweaters, but shhh). For those following along at home, this is my first sweater of 2014. It was cast on in the tail end of 2013 (December 30, according to Ravelry), but mostly I knit it in January of 2014.

The pictures aren’t modeled because it’s BLOODY COLD OUTSIDE. It fits a little differently on me since I’ve yet to adjust Elizabeth to my current office-job-having bad-food-eating not-exercise-doing weight, but you get the idea. It’s actually still pretty baggy on me, which was sort of the idea anyway, so it works. Unless I shuffle the neckline around, the end of the yoke tends to hit at the nipple line, so that’s a problem, but I can deal with it.

All in all, I’m pretty chuffed with it, and I’ve been wearing it quite a lot since I bound it off.

Now, more about the apartment: My stuff is all moved in and it’s even mostly organized, but there are still a bunch of bags and boxes of stuff that need to be put away. And a bunch of stuff I have to get that I didn’t know I was going to have to get (mostly because the thought never occurred, not that I thought the apartment would have them) like clothes hangers and cleaning solutions. I had to run out early on Sunday morning to buy a shower curtain cause I forgot that I would need one.

I fully intend to snap some pictures of my crafting corner once I get it all set up. I need to get at least one more bookshelf for yarn storage, but my mother has an extra one she might bring up this weekend. It’s a work in progress and there’s a ton of stuff left to do, but things are moving along. And most importantly I HAVE MY OWN KITCHEN. Excite.

I was definitely a doll kid when I was little. I had baby dolls and stuffed animals and Barbies, and I loved making up scenarios for them. I loved dressing up Barbie in all sorts of clothes. I had a hot pink Barbie car at one point, but I don’t think I ever had a big dollhouse. I’d have loved one when I was kid; hell, I’d love one now. It’s less about dolls now and more about a deep love of miniatures, but still. I don’t have a Barbie Dream House or any Barbies anymore, but I do have some yarn that brought Barbie instantly to mind.

I spun this up on Alexandra, my wheel, in just a couple of hours. Speaking of the wheel: about a month ago, I took a spinning lesson at Uniquities, my super fabulous Local Yarn Shop. I wanted some Official Instruction on how to set up the drive band and tensioning and stuff and, if there was time left over, to learn a little about corespinning. We decided to set up the wheel as a double drive. The difference between the bobbin ratio and the flyer ratio is pretty small, but it’s big enough to work. And I can finally tension everything properly, so plying isn’t a mess of too much twist. Anyway, I managed to get through some practice corespinning and moved over to the BFL I had started, but the drive band kept popping off! Because the wheel is a bit old and a bit wiggly, things tend to move around. The other day I really wanted to do some spinning, so I sat down and studied the situation and (I think) managed to mostly fix it so that doesn’t happen any more.

All that to say I spun up the Barbie yarn in no time flat and had absolutely zero tension problems, and it was wonderful.

The fiber in question is merino that I bought from the Spinner’s Hill booth and Maryland Sheep and Wool. It used to look like this:

SO PINK. I used a short forward draw and it just flew by. It’s a two ply and the bobbins matched up almost perfectly, even though I didn’t actually divide the fiber until I was about halfway through the first half. I knew I’d purchased four ounces, so I just measured off about two ounces and set it aside for the second bobbin. There were few enough singles on the second bobbin that I could wind them off into a modified Andean bracelet and continue plying with no real break in the yarn.

I got a total of 188 yards of about worsted weight, which is pretty typical. I actually managed to get all 4 ounces of finished yarn onto one bobbin while I was plying, and I have no idea how I accomplished that. I really love the finished yarn though. It’s pretty soft and super squooshy. Nice and dense. It will probably become mittens at some point. With that much bright pink, it’s perfect for cheering up dreary January days.

I really want to pull out some more merino and spin something very similar to this. This ends up being my default spin. I sometimes wish I could spin thinner and get more yardage (because fiber is expensive, and I want to get maximum knitting out of it), but the truth is, I just prefer knitting with worsted weight yarns. I’m going to try and remember this and not be too worried about yardage and getting the most bang for the buck. I tend to spend less than $20 (ideally under $15; I think this was $10 or $12) per 4 ounces, and getting to spin it, knit it, and then wear the FO is plenty of bang for that buck.

In life news: I am moving! Joe and I finally found a place of our own. It’s a little one bedroom and it’s a little more than we wanted to pay, but it’s a space of our own. We’ll sign the lease next week sometime and move in February 1st. I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS, you guys. It’ll be a little cramped, I think, but we’ll have our own kitchen and balcony and WINDOWS. LOTS OF WINDOWS.

There’s some furniture I need to get (some bookshelves for yarn storage, mainly; I’d like the Ikea Expedit ones, but they’re a bit pricey) and a LOT of packing to do, but it’s finally happening.

Look, y’all. In my defense, I was out of town for two of the four weeks I didn’t post anything. Internet was spotty and time to post was even spottier (my mother, with whom I went on the trip, along with my younger brother, is sort of a nut about planning and doing things on our biannual trips to Florida to visit the grandparents). I did do a fair amount of knitting (what else are you going to do in an hour wait for Space Mountain?), which I can post over the next week or so. Today’s post is a shawl I finished on December 15 and apparently never got around posting about. Anyway.

Pattern: Catkin
Yarn: Cephalopod Skinny Bugga in Hermit Crab and Crown of Thorns Starfish
Needles: US 4/3.5 Knit Picks Options circular
Mods: None, knit as written

I made this for AnnaMarie as part of a swap. Ravelry tells me it took over a month to knit, but I’m sure I was working on other things besides. Although, to be fair, it does use almost two entire skeins of fingering weight yarn as it is (apparently) a square shawl with a neck hole in the middle. You can tell that it’s supposed to be square shaped by looking at people’s blocking pictures (or when you block the one you made, I guess). Maybe you can tell from the other pictures too, but spatial awareness and reasoning has never really been my strong suit.

I am highly doubtful I’ll knit this pattern again for myself, but it is quite lovely and I would like to have one. There are a whole host of two- or three-color shawls I’d like to have/make (Faberge, Catkin, Color Affection), but who knows when I would get to them. I certainly have plenty of shawls and scarves at the moment. (We won’t talk about how I just put up a WWFY post for a couple of big circular shawls.)

Catkin was pretty fun to make though. The different sections break it up so you never get bored, and once you get the hang of them, each section is pretty intuitive. Bugga, skinny or otherwise, was a delight to work with, as always. Such excellent colors that get in those yarns. And so soft.

If I ever do make one for myself, I’ll probably wear it delightfully sideways as in the picture above. It’s a little quirky, like me. I would like to knit another cape of some sort though as my other one gets plenty of wear. I’m pretty sure “cape” and “capelet” are just nicer ways of saying “poncho” for people who were scarred by the 70s, but that’s okay. They’re warm and comfortable and they stay where you bloody put them (I’m looking at you, shawls).

Let’s see. In fandom watching news, I have finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist (original and Brotherhood), and I’m pretty sure I never told you I’d started. I’m planning to do a sort of anime binge watch before Katsucon in February so I can get a lot more things. Previously I went to anime conventions cause they’re a fun excuse to dress up in costume (from any genre, really; I’ve seen cosplayers do everything from Anastasia to Star Trek to the Ancient Aliens guy) and be a big nerd in a group of big nerds. But I’m gonna watch some anime this go round so I get the full anime con experience. Next up on the list is Cowboy Bebop, which used to be on Cartoon Network all the time when I was in high school but I have never actually seen. Feel free to leave suggestions for others to add to the list. So far I’ve got Cowboy Bebop, Black Butler, Attack on Titan, and Inuyasha. And maybe Gundam Wing.

Anyway, in other news, I am still apartment hunting. I finally finished reading I Jedi, so Joe and I are going to move on to the Hand of Thrawn books soon. Oh, and you should all go check out the Harry Potter Medicinal Re-Read, wherein a bunch of people are re-reading the Harry Potter books and posting about their thoughts and feelings. My friend Kevin (of Made-of-Fail, for the curious) is a part, and I’ve done some editing for his posts. It’s a super fun project and a lovely, thought-provoking, and nostalgic read.

Today is my birthday! Also, it’s snowing!

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I turn 24 today. To celebrate, you can take 24% off of my patterns. Just use the coupon code “birthdaybirthday” at checkout. If you knit quickly, there’s plenty of time to whip up some shark mittens before Christmas! Promotion ends midnight EST Monday 12/9 (which is Joe’s birthday).

More spinning! Ravelry tells me I spun the yarn in about three weeks, which makes sense. It’s about three weeks worth of spinning for a couple hours in the evenings after work. I started with this roving:

Which I got from Maryland Sheep and Wool this past May. I spun it worsted and it spun up so nicely. The merino was nice and bouncy and crimpy and so soft. There were a couple of felted spots, but that’s probably as much due to how I had it stored as anything else. Here is the resulting yarn:

It’s SO SOFT which is just great. It’s not even by any means as I was aiming for a worsted weight and got more like a heavy sport/dk with spots that are fingering weight and spots that are bulky weight. It came out to 310 yards though, which is pretty excellent yardage for four ounces spun worsted.

I didn’t have a coin handy, so here’s a scale shot with my finger instead. It’s a two ply, and I spun it on the big-ass maple spindle. I split it in half for each ply, then tore off chunks which I then tore into strips and spun. It was not very scientific and I have no idea how the colors will knit up, but I think the result is absolutely gorgeous.

As usual, I have no idea what this loveliness will become. I’m thinking maybe a cowl or something that sits next to the skin since the yarn is so soft. I’m pretty happy just admiring the skein and squishing it for the time being though.

I’ve since started a couple other spinning projects I’m working on intermittently. There’s another 4 ounces of Cloverleaf Merino in purples and greys. There’s some BFL. There’s some Dancing Leaf merino on my Turkish. There’s a tiny little sample of bfl/silk I got from Corgi Hill Farms on the supported. And there’s some merino I took off the supported and am spinning on my little Knot my Day Job spindle. None of them has very much progress and only two of them are listed as WIPs on Ravelry (the two merinos), but they do have singles on the spindles.

In life news: I really ought to start looking for alternate (read: better) job options. I wish my job paid better/offered benefits because I do like it most of the time. I also need to think about looking at apartments so I can move in December. Not sure how that’s going to work out exactly. But I’ve got a little bit of time to think about it.

I’m still watching SG1 (I’m in season nine; Vala is adorable but not as great as Sam, who is my absolute favorite). Joe and I haven’t been making much progress on I, Jedi cause I have a jillion things to watch (Castle, SHIELD, QI, the Daily Show, Colbert, podcasts, etc etc). I’m not really reading any books in particular, although I’m kind of reading Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. I recently finished reading Tales from Empire, which includes the Zahn/Stackpole collaboration Side Trip (which is the greatest thing ever–Thrawn and Corran and Hal and UGH LOVE IT).

Also, it’s shark mittens season. I have two open orders and I just got another as I was typing this. Which is great; I definitely need the money. And I don’t mind making them. But it does get to be a bit repetitive. It’s okay though. If the piles of sharks gets to me, I’ll just pull out one of my jillion spinning projects.

Not the disease or even the Robert Browning poem (which is excellent, btw), the fingerless mitts pattern:

Pattern: Porphyria
Yarn: MadTosh Merino DK in “Flashdance”, about half a skein
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm
Mods: Well I used a dk instead of a fingering, so basically I just took the stitch pattern and made it up as I went.

This is pair two of the first round of WWFY swaps for my new best yarn friend AnnaMarie at Corgi Hill Farms. Like the first, they were super fun and fast to knit in a yarn I am completely in love with. The stitch pattern for Porphyria is interesting–it looks like a cable, but it’s not actually. Kept me on my toes.

The MadTosh is absolutely gorgeous. The color saturation is amazing. The base is pretty nice too–really sproingy and squishy. The US 4 needles were a wee bit too small for the yarn, but the resulting mitts are gorgeous. The fabric is pleasantly dense without being unyielding. I might have added another stitch repeat to make them slightly bigger, but they stretch nicely.

I had to redo the thumb a couple of times before I was happy with it, but the result fits really well. The recipient’s hands are sized similarly to mine, so they should fit her well too.

I’d definitely like to knit this pattern again for myself. I might even use the same yarn since I have about half a skein left from the first pair that I get to keep. I also have another skein in return for the next round of knitting, so I can make a matching hat or cowl or something. If I make these mitts again, I’ll probably go up a needle size to make them just a wee bit less snug.

What did I get for knitting these mitts and the previous pair, you ask? (As if the gorgeous leftover yarn wasn’t enough.) I’m glad you asked, because I got THE MOST GORGEOUS braid of fiber ever:

60/40 BFL/Tussah Silk. Colorway Senoma. OMG DYING IT’S SO PRETTY. I have like three other spinning projects (only one of which I’ve mentioned at all and has any significant progress on it) so I should wait, but OH I want to spin it. Immediately.

In life news, I am leaving this evening to head up to New York for the long weekend. It’s to visit my grandparents but also it’s to pick up my car! My grandfather owns a business buying and reselling cars, so I asked him to keep an eye out for me. He found a 2003 Pontiac Aztek and it’s mine, all mine! I’m super excited. I’ve been without a car for a while (I rely on my boyfriend’s to get around) and I’ve never had one of my own. I am thrilled and there will definitely be pictures of my baby when I get home. (And bumper stickers, especially geeky ones, are a go).

Sorry about my erratic posting schedule lately. IDEK. It’s not like I don’t have a ton of things to post. Anyway, I made a sweater.

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Wine is always a good addition to project photos.

Pattern: It’s a raglan. No pattern.
Yarn: Recycled kitchen sink yarn: 40% Merino Wool 30% Viscose 20% Angora 10% Cashmere
Needles: US 10/6 mm

Ravelry tells me I knit this sweater in exactly two weeks, putting me on track (and slightly ahead) for my 12 in 12 sweater challenge. This is sweater number five.

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It was a super easy knit. I had about half a skein left over (not that that means much since it was a recycled yarn) which I have since used in another thing, so that’s another sweater’s worth of yarn out of the stash. Yay! My yarn stash is my no mean excessive, but I have enough that I feel a little guilty buying more, so I’m working it down.

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Excuse my silly faces. Anyway, this sweater. It came out exactly as I envisioned, which is a slightly oversized sweatshirt-type sweater that I can pull on if chilly or whatever. It actually fits well enough that I could wear it out of the house, which wasn’t really the intent. It is a nice bonus though.

Like I said, I have a ton of things I’ve been crafting, so hopefully I can get my butt in gear and type up a whole bunch of posts that I can schedule. Life’s been weird lately. I’m still nannying sort of, but I quit my regular gig. I’m actively looking for employment elsewhere as I have had about enough of children to last possibly the rest of my life. In fan news, I am working my way through Deep Space Nine. I started reading American Gods, but who knows when I’ll finish it. I watched the Doctor Who season finale and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Joe and I stopped reading the Jedi Academy trilogy, but I’m going to finish it on my own.

What’s this? More knitting? AWW YEAH. Just finished up some scrap socks made with leftovers from other sock projects.

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Pattern: Top down sock, flap and gusset heel, wedge toe
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted in Tea Party (the majority of the socks), Red Heart Heart and Sole
Needles: US 1. Whatever that mm is. 1.25 I think?
Mods: None, it’s a sock

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They fit pretty well. They get a little wavy where I changed yarns but that isn’t so obvious when they’re on and it doesn’t affect the fit any.

They’re socks so there isn’t a tremendous amount to say about them. I like socks. I have another pair on the needles (also using scrap yarn). The Ravelry project page is called “Scrap Socks 3: The Scrapening”.

In life news: Still in Florida. Which, by the way, is driving me completely bonkers owing to my completely fucking insane/idiot family members, the weather, and the spotty internet connection. Oh, and my phone that doesn’t work because I’m dumb. I think I can fix it (eventually), but still. UGH. So there’s knitting and I’m rewatching the Avengers in ten minutes bursts. I need to catch up a whole bunch of Geek and Sundry YouTube content as well as Castle, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones. DON’T SPOIL ME.