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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.

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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.

I have a camera card and card reader again, so I can get back to taking pictures of my FOs. My mother came to visit this past weekend and brought a few things, including a new card for my camera since she had a spare. On Sunday morning, I drove to Walmart and bought a new card reader. Now, when I moved and during the ensuing week of unpacking, I searched EVERYWHERE for my card and reader. Looking for that motivated me to empty out more than a few bags and boxes and put stuff away, I’ll tell you that. I looked, Joe looked. It was looked for. So it’s not like I gave it up for lost lightly. Keep that in mind when I say that literally THE MINUTE I brought the new card reader in to my apartment, I reached in to my purse and pulled out THE ONE I’D LOST. I swear it was not there before. I took everything out of my purse and it was not in there. The moment I replaced it, there it is. Ugh.

So the new card reader is going back to Walmart, and I finally got some pictures of this yarn I finished on January 28th.

The fiber is BFL from Dancing Leaf Farms, which I purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool last year. It used to look like this:

The yarn is spun entirely on Alexandra, and I’m pretty chuffed with it. It’s pretty soft too. Spinning on the wheel is interesting because I can spin the flyer/wheel/whatever at a constant rate–it won’t slow down unless I stop treadling. When I spin on a spindle, I have to do all the actually spinning of the spindle at the beginning and then hurry up and draft as much out as I can (or want to depending on the method) before the spinning slows down. This usually results in way over spun yarn, since I spin the spindle as hard and fast as I can in the beginning so I don’t have to stop halfway through an armslength of drafting to spin it again. It’s a lot easier to spin softer yarn on a wheel because you’re not constantly racing against the “clock” of the spin slow down.

This yarn is about a sport weight, around 244 yards. I was hoping for a bit more (quite a bit more, actually, around 350) as I was spinning the singles quite fine, but it’s navajo plied, and that ate a lot of yardage. Plus near the end of the singles, it felt like they were taking FOREVER and I wanted to get to plying already, so they came out a little thicker than at the beginning of the bobbin.

Plying went pretty quickly once I figured out what I was doing. I’ve chain plied on a spindle and I’ve chain plied from a sweater piece to both a ball and a skein winder, both of which call for fairly similar motions since you’re not adding twist at the same time you’re chaining. On a wheel, the twist is going in at the same time as you’re making your chains, so you have to hold your hands completely differently. Once I figured this out (thanks to Leslie of The Knit Girllls’s YouTube video showing how to chain ply), it was a breeze. I think I’ll be chain plying more things on the wheel since I absolutely love how it looks.

Now for some life news: Katsucon is this weekend in National Harbor, and I will be attending. Hopefully. Well, almost certainly, since tickets were like $65, and that’s too much money to just eat. Anyway, the reason for the hopefully is that my neck of the woods is supposed to get hit with a shit ton of snow this weekend. Like a foot. Yeah. This cannot happen. I have Plans and Things To Do (Things for which I will be doing some madcap sewing this evening), and I do not want to drive to National Harbor in the snow. In good weather and traffic, that’s half an hour, but in bad weather? Nope. Worst case scenario (barring my injury or death) is I drive there in the morning, it snows in the afternoon/evening, and I’m stuck there overnight without a hotel room and have to sleep on a couch in the Gaylord lobby with no extra clothes or a shower.

So do me a favor and pray to whatever deity you believe in (or, if your deity of choice is science like mine, to the inherent inaccuracy in meteorology) that there’s no snow. Or at least only a little bit that doesn’t make 495 impassable.

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.

Project Number One in the latest batch of things for AnnaMarie: Thrummed mittens!

Pattern: Thrummed Mittens, Stuffed Mittens … or Fluffies
Yarn: CorgiHillFarm hand dyed DK Polworth
Fiber: Falkland (I’m pretty sure it’s Ashland Bay)
Needle: US 6/4mm dpns
Mods: I used the pattern as more of a guideline. I increased after the ribbing (because I wanted the cuff to fit securely and with my gauge, there was no way 36 stitches was going to be big enough), I did my own thing for the thumb and the top decreases.

THEY’RE SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE.

It absolutely does not get cold enough here to justify making and wearing thrummed mittens for myself, but after making and trying on these ones, I am definitely making a pair. The Falkland makes them super soft inside and they’re hella warm, and I love them. I need them. NEED.

As mentioned above, I did some heavy modifying to the pattern. I mostly just used the thrumming chart, to be honest. I was a little disappointed the pattern did not contain instructions for making thrums, but I guess it calls for a commercial pencil roving, so you don’t really need one. I found this explanation by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee really helpful, though I think I made mind a bit longer as I was worried they would slip out of the knitting. All in all, though, the knitting and thrumming was super simple, and they kept me entertained the whole time I was working on them.

In life news: I am moving this Saturday, OMG. Signing the lease Friday afternoon. Y’all, I am SO, SO ready for this. Well, I’m not, I actually have a ton more packing to do plus I have to reserve a UHaul in order to move my bed/desks/bookshelves plus I have to buy internet (oh my god, cable companies are such a racket and internet is way more expensive than it should be). But still. It’s totally happening. 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.

I made socks! With a pattern on them!

Pattern: Heart to Hearts socks from Wendy Johnson’s Toe Up Socks for Every Body
Yarn: Cascade Heritage, considerably less than a full skein
Needles: Sock needles. US 1s.
Mods: None, knit as written. Though I should have increased fewer for the heel and started it a wee bit earlier

I bought the yarn for this socks in a yarn shop in Fredericksburg, the town where I went to college. The shop is new and was not there when I was, which is really too bad cause it’s a lovely shop (I was there a few months ago to visit some friends). The yarn is the most delightful shade of pink, perfect for girly socks with hearts on. And the base is lovely too, not that I would expect any less from Cascade. I actually have another skein of this yarn in purple in the stash.

The socks were pretty fun to knit too. Just enough concentration to make them good TV knitting. It took me a while to memorize the pattern, but I did eventually. It’s pretty intuitive.

If I were to make these again (I won’t, but let’s pretend), I would make the smallest size instead of the medium and I would make the changes I mentioned above. These are great socks and they’ll get a ton of wear, but they are just the tiniest bit too big. Which I guess is preferable to the pair of socks I have that’s just slightly too small, but you know.

In life news, operation obtain motor vehicle was a success! As was operation drive 400 miles in a car you’ve never driven before (and wasn’t THAT a fun one). It’s a lovely car and I’m pretty chuffed with it (2003 Pontiac Aztek, as I believe I said last time). Lots of cargo space, good engine, power accessories. I’m going to replace the radio because it doesn’t have an aux port or a tape deck (that I could use with a tape deck converter) and the idle is pretty high, but other than that, I love it.

The trip to NY was pretty fun too. We spent much of Saturday and Sunday up in Canada, the first day at Niagara Falls proper and the second at Niagara-on-the-Lake. We got pastries at a Reasonably Priced Bakery (my brother and mother were up there a couple weeks ago and discovered the bakery with the “really reasonably priced pastries”, hence the name), played at a park (I love a good swing set; also I’m five), and had lunch at a lovely Microbrewery on Queen St. called Taps. My brother and the friend he brought with them (who are both 19) were thrilled to be able to order beer. I ate poutine and it was delicious (my midsection and thighs disagree but who listens to them anyway). And we stopped at a garage sale because why the hell not (no one got anything. I looked at sweaters but there were no good fibers). A good time was had by all.

I’m currently working on about nine hundred projects for other people (a shawl, some mitts, and a sweater for WWFY and also shark mittens because IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN). I think I’m going to try to participate in Blogtober this year (it may get pushed back to NaBloPoMo in November) and because I don’t have enough things to knit (ha) I’ll probably cast on some socks for Socktoberfest. WHOO IT’S A PARTY.

I finished the long-term fingering weight sweater! It was a saga. Sometimes it was a slog. But it’s finished and I LOVE IT.

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Pattern: Made up as I went using the contiguous sleeve method
Yarn: Recycled J Crew merino and about half a ball of Red Heart Sashay in Jive
Needles: US 2/2.75 mm

You guys. This sweater. The placement of the ruffles and where you’d think it would be pinned (along the top in the middle) make my hips look ENORMOUS. I am already distinctly pear-shaped thanks to years of sitting and slow boob-growth, but it this sweater? HIPS BABY. I don’t even care because the ruffles are so damn fun and I adore the low, wide neckline. LOVE. And it’s great that I love it because it certainly took me long enough to knit for a short-sleeved sweater.

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Let me tell you about the construction. I used a top-down contiguous for the sleeves, both as a test of the method and because I wanted set-in sleeves. I knit down the shoulders, increased for the fronts, and knit merrily along til I got to the ruffles. After trying several joining methods, I ended up purling the yarn in and then I sat down to look at my creation. Only to see that the sweater did not even remotely fit around me. There was like a five-inch gap between the fronts that was not going to close. So I picked up some stitches, cast on 25 more for the front, and knit along, decreasing one of the picked up stitches at the end/beginning of every row until I had a panel that made the sweater actually fit. And then repeated along the other side, obviously.

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I actually really like how the front panels came out. They drape really well and provide a large area for me to pin. I actually ended up sewing a twisted cord loop and button to the fronts just under the bust for a fastener after I took these photos, but on the off chance I wanted to pin the top of the neckline together for serious hippage, I could. I mostly wear my sweaters pinned just under the bust, so that’s where I put the clasp.

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It’s a fun sweater. If I don’t wear the right clothes under it, I look hella pregnant, but it’s definitely a fun sweater.

In other news, I start my job full-time tomorrow. Tonight, I’m running to the thrift store to get some more office-appropriate skirts and pants (I particularly need some black pencil skirts), as well as probably some sweaters because I am nothing if not impulsive with yarn purchases. There will probably also be some mourning of the loss of my free afternoons. I guess I have to join the realm of real 9-5 (well, 8:15 to 5:15) workers. I will certainly get less Netflix-watching done. That’s probably good for my productivity anyway.