Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Good Things

So it's been a little while.  I've finished my third semester of grad school; one to go!  It was my best semester yet, amazingly.  It was a crazy, hectic, wonderful last month or so.

Most importantly...

 (all pictures via nicoleladonne.com/blog my wonderful photographer!)
I got married.  I could really not have asked for a better wedding and a better man to get married to. :)  It hasn't even been a week and I'm just thrilled.  Here's to many wonderful years ahead of us!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Embroidered Cover #3

 My third and final cover for the Covered in Stitches contest.  It ended Monday, I finished this late Sunday.  You didn't think I'd do a book cover contest and not do an Anne cover, did you? :)  Green Gables and Anne are both on white linen.  Green Gables I stitched through both the white and blue and you can see a bit of the white around the edges.  Anne I appiqued on in entirely; a tiresome process, but sooo worth it in the end.  I think she looks pretty fabulous.  I used the text from the movie and just back-stitched it.
 The illustration from the Anne of Green Gables Treasury alongside my piece. :)
 A close up of Anne.
 Green Gables.  You can see the white around the edges.  Ignore the blue, I took the photos before I cleaned it.  The trees and bushes are felt with french knot flowers.  The tree trunks are just sort of satin stitched, but not in a smooth way so that they'd look more tree like.  The roof threads are woven through each other.  The grass by the house is the raw edge of the green fabric. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Embroidered Cover #2

I don't know if you're all familiar with Persephone Books.  They're the ones that re-published Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, the basis for the movie with Amy Adams and Frances McDormand (which I loved, book and movie).  They publish out of print books by mainly female writers; they're nearly all published with just a plain dove grey cover (their Persephone Classics get an artsy cover).  Everything I've read through them I've loved in one way or another.  Miss Pettigrew was wonderful and light and fun, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Stratchey was wonderful but a bit heart-breaking, and so on.  The one that's stuck with me the most was Manja by Anna Gmeyner, book no. 39.

From their website, "Written in London by a young Austrian playwright in exile, Manja opens, radically, with five conception scenes one night in 1920. Set in the turbulent Germany of the Weimar Republic, it goes on, equally dramatically, to describe the lives of the children and their families until 1933 when the Nazis came to power. 'What is so unusual,' wrote the playwright Berthold Viertel in 1938, 'is the way the novel contrasts the children's community - in all its idealism, romanticism, decency and enchantment - with the madhouse community of the adults.'"  This book is quite long - over 500 pages - but reads so well.  You go between all the children at various points and see how their lives all connect and intersect and how they're all tied together.  It's also amazing in that it was written before World War II started, yet shows the horror of the Nazis already.  It's a beautiful book, but terribly sad too.  I read it in 2010 and still think about it.  I really highly recommend it.

Because of all of this, Manja was the next book I made a cover for for the contest mentioned previously.  I loved doing the cover and since the book has the dove grey cover it left it completely up to me.  This is what I came up with:

"She wanted to leave a sign behind for her friends, when they came here a little while later.  She couldn't find anything suitable.  In the end she took out her scarf and tied it round the birch tree.  It looked sad and stupid.  But she left it."  -p. 520

While it's not a birch tree, I love this tree and loved layering each branch over others.  It was challenging but rewarding.  I love this.  It's perfect for the book.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Things

We have a new kitty!  We got her exactly one month ago today, and she was about 6 weeks old when we got her.  Her name's Curious George Eliot and she's absolutely wonderful and crazy and a pain in the butt.  I adore her.  This was her on day one:
 And these are her yesterday:

 She's grown so much.  She's not that little fluff ball we adopted anymore.  She's getting all sleek and shiny and already seems so big.  She's such a crazy little thing too though.  She bounces off every surface and attacks the carpet or a bit of fuzz.  She chases her tail and jumps and flips.  When she's been in her cage for the night or when we're not home and she's let out again, she'll follow you everywhere.  Sometimes I think she's afraid of her own shadow.  She's wonderful.  Oh George. :)

I'm participating in Feeling Stitchy's contest for embroidered book covers.  It's inspired by Penguin's new book covers for Emma, The Secret Garden, and Black Beauty.  So far I've done this one from Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies:

I'm really proud of this.  I actually had traced this cover weeks ago because I think it's just an awesome cover, and then there's this contest that ties in perfectly.  I'm definitely a book person though, so it's not such a stretch for me. :)  I tried to use a bunch of different stitches, and it's *all* stitched.  The hair is raised stem stitch, the jewellery and top of the dress is satin stitch, the skin and bottom of the skirt are chain stitch.  The black around the jewellery and in the picture is all back stitch and the whole thing is outlined in stem stitch.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  It's really cool. :)  I have a few more ideas ready to go that will have bits of applique and stitching combined.  Hopefully they'll turn out as well as this one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Long time no see

So it's been a while.  It hasn't been terribly exciting here lately overall.  Though, my awful roommate moved out and my fiance moved in. :)  The apartment's definitely more cozy when you don't have to worry about running into the other person, and there's more stuff and it's just friendlier feeling in general.  It's awesome. :)  Though, we've been wedding planning, going back and forth between a fairly big, regular wedding and basically just eloping.  We're going to have the regular, nice wedding and hope that being near Christmas not so many people will come (my issue with the regular wedding is how big it was getting).  We've got the church and photographer and are about to send out save the dates (which I know are, like, months late...), and I have my dress.  That's it.  This is way more complicated and stressful than I wanted.  I just want to marry him, I don't want all this fuss, lol!

I haven't been terribly productive lately.  I haven't knit really at all lately.  I've been cross stitching again lately, and embroidering - which I love because I can whip things out in a day or so depending on size.  One of the embroideries was a gift that was just given so I couldn't share until now. :)

The gift for my wonderful friend, Mandy, and her new husband, Steve:

 This I made because I loved the text of it (found here on flickr) and wanted to keep embroidering things.  It's the author's note to Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh:
 A close up of the stem stitch outline:
 Not completely done yet (I still have to wash it), but I just loved this t-shirt on Cafe Press or something and wanted to do the illustration:
 And last but definitely not least me and the gorgeous bride from this past weekend, and then a wonderful one of her in the mirror :) :
Congrats again to Mandy and Steve! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Finally Finished - Monk Travel Satchel

So I began this bag in October 2007 (according to the rav page for it). I finished it yesterday. *hangs head in shame* Almost four years... At least it's done now. In a way I'm glad I waited to finish it, because if I'd tried to finish it before I wouldn't've known how to do some of the finishing details and it wouldn't've turned out so well I think. I had all the pieces sitting around for years; the finishing was my foil.Even knowing ~4 years more about knitting/crocheting, some of it was still a pain. Picking up all those stitches around the edge to do in the yellow was a pain in the butt, but I did it pretty well. Slip-stitch crocheting the front and back to the strap was a pain, but turned out excellent. I still can't measure worth crap apparently- the inside pocket's not at all centered, lol. I also didn't have anymore of the green so the seed stitch on the bag front is in yellow, and I had to use yellow to attach the back pocket. I also sl-st the back pocket on and did a sl-st line across at the top as well to keep it the same around. ...But I love my bag. :)
It's not quite the same as the pattern. I blame this on not caring about gauge, or only semi-caring, when I started. My bag is not as wide as it ought to be and is much taller (though technically it's not taller, but because it's narrower it seems taller. The height measurement is right, the width is not). The strap pockets, therefore, sit higher on the bag than they ought to; they're flush with the top of the bag rather than two inches down the sides. This doesn't bug me though, they're good where they are.

I changed the I-cord color, they were supposed to be in the yellow. But I really like the brown and wanted more brown on the front, so, brown I-cords. :) I also felt the front was a bit plain looking so I found a Michigan outline online and traced it and rigged up a piece of paper to the bottom right front and embroidered a Michigan on the front in brown. This is my favorite part of the bag actually. I've forgotten how much I enjoy embroidering (and cross stitching)! I want to embroider everything now! lol :)

Rav page: Michigan Bag

Monday, May 23, 2011


“That Anne-girl improves all the time … I get tired of other girls - there is such a provoking and eternal sameness about them. Anne has as many shades as a rainbow…” ~Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Since I'm getting tired of having all socks from patterns I try lately to be annoying and not fit or be a pain to make or... whatever else, I've decided to create my own pattern. Based on the colors of the yarn, these are my Anne-Girl Socks. :) I got this yarn and originally wanted to do something fall-like, but nothing was coming to mind. Looking at the yarn more and more made me think of poor Anne Shirley and her failed attempt to dye her hair raven black. It’s not quite as green as her hair might’ve been, but I know how my hair looked when it was green and it was more brownish. The pattern has a large braid in the middle, flanked by two small braids and a small twist on each side. Of course there had to be Anne’s braids! :) So these are my “Anne-girl” socks (god forbid if I called them “carrots”!). This is the first pattern I’ve created. We’ll see how they go as they progress. If I can get them done well enough maybe there’ll be a pattern to follow. :)
The chart of the cable. In case my written directions aren't clear, I made this too. (Granted I know what my written pattern means, but if I ever post the pattern I wanted this too...)
My attempts at creating a pattern. You can't read it all here, but it took quite a lot of figuring out and a few attempts at test knitting (on the leftover yarn from Skew) before I was confident enough to actually use the orange yarn.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stupid socks

So Nutkin's turning out a bust so far too. And I was liking it so much! I turned the heel this morning and decided to try it on (because I'm crazy like that). I can't get the damn thing over my heel! :( So I'm going to see if they fit Mom, cuz she has small feet (that's gotta equal small heels, right?), and maybe she can have them. Otherwise I have to frog yet another pair. Stupid socks... I love socks so much, why do they not want me to knit them lately...?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer daze...

I've been out of school for a few weeks now. I did pretty well, though not as well as I'd hoped. Best thing was that my The Birth of a Nation paper wound up really well, I got an A in the class, and it's been submitted for one of my graduation requirements without further revisions! :) Now I'm just trying to find a job, to no luck. (If you give me an application, or say you're hiring, and then I call a few days later and you say you're not hiring, I hate you. Don't tease me like that.) If nothing else I'm planning on trying to tutor, but I'm having issues setting that up. We'll see. Right now I'm just pinching pennies and stressing out and being a bum in the apartment all day. On the plus side I've been super productive otherwise, lol. I've finished 6 books since I've been out of school. I've re-read The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. I've also read The Secret History of Giants by Ari Berk, Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I'm currently reading Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by Marion Meade. I also listened to The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde and am currently listening to The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. Next I'll move onto the next Thursday Next book, The Well of Lost Plots, and either The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan or The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford. We'll see. :) I love being able to read again for pleasure. I'm tired of analyzing and dissecting every book I've been reading since August, so it's definitely a nice break. Yesterday Josh and I went to the park, despite the gloomy weather, and sat and read for a few hours. It was chilly and overcast, but didn't rain and it was nice just being able to sit outside and read together. I was still working on The Lost Hero at that point and it was just really calming and nice. Unfortunately I had a headache (as per usual) which distracted from the reading enjoyment, but I still couldn't have asked for a better few hours. As well, I've finished my skew socks. I started two other pairs but didn't like them at all (one the pattern was super confusing to my stupid brain... the other I didn't like the yarn, which I will have to work through eventually, but not now), so frogged them. I've started a third pair now and just love them. It's Nutkin, and I really like the yarn choice I'm using. 2 Skew photos and a Nutkin. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fantastic Things

(l to r: Ed Gamarra, Ari Berk, Charles Vess, Tony DiTerlizzi, Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, Wendy Froud, Brian Froud) So I'm lucky enough to go to a school where one of the English professors is friends with people like Brian Froud. This past weekend was "Imagining the Fantastic," featuring Brian & Wendy Froud, Charles Vess, Tony DiTerlizzi, Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, Ari Berk (the English professor), and Ed Gamarra. It was absolutely amazing. I've been a fan of Brian Froud since I was probably 10 and my parents bought me Faeries that he did with Alan Lee. I have 10 books of his art, plus a few calenders at home, and Josh has 2 more. We got to see a bunch of his and Wendy's art and they discusssed future projects. Charles Vess works with Neil Gaiman quite a bit, and I just love his drawings in Stardust. The slides he showed of his art just glowed, and I want to go to Abington, VA to see the bronze Titania he made. Tony DiTerlizzi I didn't really know, but his stuff is gorgeous. He did the Spiderwick books and the new book, The Search for WondLa. He's also possibly crazy, but was a lot of fun to listen to. :) Elizabeth-Jane Baldry is an amazing harpist and she premiered her film, Sir Lanval, here over the weekend. Ari's an English teacher here and a good friend of Josh's. He's worked with Brian Froud on 4 books, I think, and has a novel coming out in the fall. Ed Gamarra was a professor out East and now works for the Gotham Group in LA. Each of their discussions was really neat to listen to, and the panels where they just talked amongst themselves were amazing. I could've done without the Q&A bits, but otherwise it was pretty much the best weekend ever. :) School's been keeping me really busy lately. I had a 20 page paper due Monday for my Civil War class. I have my research paper on The Birth of a Nation due next Monday. I still have one book review to finish, and one exam left to take. I haven't even looked at the book for the last exam...

I've knit a bit though. :) I spent 3 Sundays in a row at my friend's apt. watching the Mildred Pierce mini on HBO. I didn't really care for the mini - no one was likeable at all - but I got more of Josh's sweater done. :)I needed a break the other night after having worked on my Civil War paper all day Sunday, so Monday I started Skew. I needed something small that I could take places and that would knit up easily. After a bit of a hiccup with the needles and the first couple rows, it's been going really well. I really love the yarn (some fingering weight called "Wicked" from Woolen Mill St. Yarns); it's super soft and easy to work with and the colors are just amazing. And I finally have an idea for the other yarn I got from her; we'll see when it gets made though. :) Tanis Fiber Yarns are giving away some gorgeous silk yarn. Go enter! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring has... gone back to hide.

So it was gorgeous for about a week. I even had the windows open and didn't wear a coat to class! Now, it's snowed again. We even had a snow day Wednesday... :( Snow days make me very unmotivated for school. I knit quite a bit though. I'm now past the arm holes on Josh's sweater. :) I'm thrilled. Now it's all straightforward until it hits the right length for him. I had him try it yesterday once I'd joined under the arms to make sure it all fit right. He was worried it was going to be tight across the front so I explained that there would be the ribbing and the zipper added still. It fit across the back, more importantly, which is what I was worried about. It's turning out well. :) I really want to do something that'll go quick and be done and easy, but I know I need to stick with the sweater. I just really want to make some more socks... Or start a sweater for me. Or something. This (mainly) one project thing is killing me! lol I guess I could work on the afghan; it's just so huge and difficult to want to work on...

Now to get back to school work... Civil War - we have an exam next week. I think I'll be okay. Luckily I don't have to read the book for this exam; it's The Killer Angels which I've read a few times before, and I've seen Gettysburg I don't know how many times (what an amazing movie). 20th Century Seminar - I've been reading old newspaper articles from 1915 on The Birth of a Nation. The paper'll be on the press reception of the film and how they report on the protests, premieres, etc. I need to start writing the paper though; the draft is due in two Mondays and I have to have 15-18 pages done. Ick. 1865-Present Colloquium - I have 2 papers to write still. I'm trying to get one done ASAP but it's not happening... It's on a book I already read so it should go easy but it's not... I need to start the next paper too; try and write as I read the book this time...

My friend copied Atonement for me so I watched that last night. :) I love that movie even though I couldn't get through the book... I put on Vanity Fair afterwards; another excellent movie. Trying to de-stress but it's not working well so far... :/

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things I've been working on

So I started this blanket last summer some time. Mom taught me the stitch and it does go fast, but it's just getting large and hard to work with, but I like that the colors can be whatever and however wide. I need to get back to it, but like I said, it's hard to wield around...

The socks I just finished. Very straightforward. I started them last summer then didn't touch them for ages. Once I got back to them though, they finished in less than a week.

The beginnings of the sweater I'm making for Josh. You can just see the top edge there on the left. The yellow yarn's holding the loose cast on stitches to add the hood onto later. It's 30 black rows and then 5 blue rows due to the much less amount of blue I was able to buy. I'm still worried I might run out... I'm really enjoying making it. Very simple overall. We'll see once I get into actual shaping though. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In which I realize I'm still knitting wrong...

A few years ago I found out that I wasn't knitting properly. My mom'd taught me ages ago to knit basically continental style, and that worked fine as long as you were pretty much just straight knitting and purling, but not for much else. I found this out when I went to make something I think in the round and it just wasn't working. What I realized was that mom'd taught me to knit so the stitches lay with the right piece in *back* of the needle, not in front. Once I realized this wasn't right, I fixed it and had it in front and everything worked out. I never paid attention that purling then wouldn't work because in the round you're just knitting and it always worked. Come to now. I'm making Emilien for my boyfriend and it's all just knit and purled. I know how to knit, but when I purled like mom'd taught me, the knits came out with the wrong leg on the wrong side of the needle like they did the way mom'd taught me. I go searching around the internet and see what I'm doing wrong and so now I know. I hate it though. I'll keep making the sweater because I love it and I love my boyfriend and want to make it for him, and purling is getting easier, but I'm not loving it like I do knitting. I'll learn to love it I guess because I can't just keep knitting in the round or knitting like mom taught me (because, while it's great for just knitting and purling, adding much of a pattern at all gets a little iffy). Here's to learning to love to knit again...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I forgot I'd been posting books and stuff on here too! Ha! Let's see, in 2008 I finished 50 books and had started 5 others. 2009 I finished 65 and started 1 other. Last year I read 75 1/2 (the 1/2 was the first half of HP7 before the movie) and started 5 others. Some of the ones from last year were only partial books, used for classes, so I counted them in parts and added up the parts, so I probably actually read parts of at least 5 more than that number reflects. So far this year I've finished 7 1/4 (another partial book for class) and have read bits of about 4 others that I hope to eventually finish (some are texts, so I won't finish them, lol). I haven't read any fiction in a month and I'm really beginning to miss it. I like what I'm studying, but sometimes you just need to escape into something made up...

Updates, changes, life...

So it's been nearly three years... I'd actually kind of forgotten about this thing... Whoops... Since then I didn't do a whole lot. Life and craft wise. Life wise, my parents' friend asked me out which was awful, my mom set me up with her co-worker's son which was okay until it wasn't. I started talking again to the guy I dated in college and we're back together and planning on getting married. I'm in grad school now as well, working on my MA in history; I've made some really good friends back in school, but have an awful roommate so it balances out. Craft wise, I was cross-stitching for a while, but haven't done that since I started school. I made some socks, an awesome scarf for my dad, a hat, um... I attempted some entrelac socks and some lace gloves but they were both turning out too small for whatever reason, so I quit them for now. My mom taught me a crochet stitch for blankets and I've been making an afghan on and off since last summer. I've knit two hats in the last couple months, and am stuck on the first sock of this weird yellow... I have some wonderful yarn I found on etsy that I have plans for, but we'll see when they realize (one I plan on making Skew but I don't know quite what with the other; there's about a half dozen patterns I'm eyeing). I've a laptop and highspeed internet (finally!) so will probably post pictures of stuff eventually. Assuming I don't forget about this place again. :) eta: And now I've changed the layout. :) I like this one much better. I'm still kind of a dark person, but the dandelion puff and grass is just so perfect... I love it. :)