Saturday, May 31, 2008


it was a pretty uneventful saturday here in my neck of the woods, aside from a marathon apartment cleaning session this morning. it's finals time so i've been *trying* to study. luckily my tests aren't until tuesday and wednesday, so i'm actually more ahead of the game than i have been in previous quarters. the bad thing is that my therapeutics final is about cancer... all kinds of cancer. which means, of course, that i think i probably have cancer.

headache.... check
fatigue... check
unexplained weight loss.... damn, i wish. not worth having cancer for though, i suppose.

the nice thing is that since my lectures are recorded, i can knit while i listen. the pinwheel sweater with its long stretch of garter stitch is perfectly suited for this, so long as i don't forget the increases every few rows. but, in spite of having both that and the wrap (and a few other hibernating beasties i don't want to talk about) on the needles, i'm already shopping around for my next project.

i want to knit Iceland from Rowan. its a very unique shape, sort of reminiscent of a kimono. Not for everyone, i'm sure, but i dig it. I have a bagful of bulky yarn from knitpicks in my stash that was purchased for another sweater i have since fallen out of love with. its the right weight, but i'm not sure about the color. its sort of plain, and i think the pattern is better suited to a heather-y or tweedy type yarn. perhaps i could over dye it or something later...

the pattern calls for Rowan Cocoon, which while lovely is also $15/skein. a medium Iceland would require 10 skeins. ouch. not going to happen.

Friday, May 23, 2008

yarn cake

I don't really have anything exciting going on at the moment. The next wrap isn't even long enough to warrant taking a picture.

For a little knitting variety, to break up the wrap monotony, I have picked the pinwheel sweater up again. I blocked it to see how it looked and to get a feel for how much bigger I needed to make it. In doing so, I discovered a dropped stitch that had gone too far to be easily picked up. And since I was ripping, I figured I might as well make it worth it and ripped all the way back to lose the tiny green stripe that was in there as a result of my waiting too long to splice my yarn.

I would post a picture of it, but as Mr. Z points out, you can't really see the stripe in the photo. Actually, it was pretty subtle in the sweater itself too. But I knew it was there, and being slightly OCD, it bothered me. It means more knitting, but I feel better now that its gone.

The yarn is ArtYarn, in a colorway I no longer remember. I can't even tell you the composition of the yarn as the entire label is in some Scandinavian language [edit: the label is actually in Estonian... oops!]. It came from an online store in Norway, the only place I could find it after seeing Rippedoffknitter's version (thank god for the internet... and for Rippedoffknitter, who helped me find it) and deciding I had to have it. Its a bit scratchy to work with, but softened up a bit after blocking. I'm hoping it softens more with a few more washings.

The colors are gorgeous, and blend into each other beautifully. It sure makes a pretty yarn cake no? That's about half a skein. Each skein is so long the colors repeat twice. It took forever to wind and is the reason I convinced Mr. Z and my mum that I needed a swift and winder for Christmas.

I'm not using the green in there at all, just the orange, red, and dark gray-ish brown. There will likely be enough leftover for another project.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

its a(nother) wrap

That's right, I have finished the third bridesmaid wrap. This one was done in record time, at least compared to the last one. Only a few more hundred yards of orange lace weight and I'll be done! In fact, I've already cast on for the fourth and final wrap. It will be the Cheshire Cat Stole from Purlesence. I'm pretty sure I can have it done in five months, with time to spare even.

Pattern: Michaela by Berroco
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow in Campfire Heather
Mods: knit on size 3 needles w/ lace weight yarn
10 repeats across, knit until 60" long

Pattern detail

This one I almost want to keep for myself its so pretty. But I guess there will be plenty of yarn leftover... I could always knit another.

The top photo is a result of some photoshop experimentation with actions. The actual color is pretty accurately represented in the detail pictures.

Friday, May 16, 2008

running man

I took a run in my new shoes yesterday. So what? you ask... what's the big deal? Well nothing really, except that these aren't exactly normal shoes. Kind of an experiment, if you will.

These are the aptly named Fivefingers, by Vibram. And yes, they are shoes. They are meant to mimic barefoot running, without the hazards of actually running around the city (or wherever one might want to run) in one's actual bare feet. Lord knows I wouldn't run around this town with no shoes on. Ick.

funny, eh?

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on the idea of barefoot running. I have wicked high arches and they have always given me trouble. At some point in the not too distant past, I lost one of my orthotics but haven't had the time or money to seek out a podiatrist for a replacement. (They were looking pretty beat up anyway, probably not a big loss). So I was looking into different types of inserts for both work shoes and running shoes and I came across the barefoot idea. Since I was about due for a new pair of running shoes anyway, I thought I'd give it a try.

Now, if you're getting ready to google barefoot running, be forewarned. There are some pretty wacked out theories out there. For me, this isn't some transition into a hippy lifestyle in which I wander around in long skirts and bare feet for the rest of my days. I was just intrigued by some of the more scientific articles, many of which aimed at runners, that talked about how it strengthens the muscles of your feet and supposedly decreases the need to rely on orthotics.

I've only run in them once, so I can't vouch for any of those claims, but they are actually really comfortable. Once you get your toes accustomed to the idea of being separated from their neighbors, that it. I took them out for a very brief trial run yesterday and while it was definitely a different feeling run, it went really well. Until I tried to get out of bed this morning. Turns out running in shoes and running barefoot works your calves in entirely different ways. Talk about sore... Oh, and you definitely get some weird looks.

And i know this has nothing to do with knitting, or wedding planning, or anything crafty at all. But they amuse me, so I thought I'd share, since I don't have any knitting pictures. However, I should have some soon since the third wrap is upstairs blocking on the bed as we speak! Yipee!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just call me Martha Stewart

In an uncharacteristic moment of productivity, I decided to organize our recipes. This was a serious decision, considering that Mr. Z's recipes were a jumbled mess that was barely contained by the file folder in which he kept them. Mine, on the other hand, were stuffed randomly into a plastic box which had started out with category dividers, but ended up with 98% percent of the recipes stuffed in front of the dividers due to my refusal to decide where they belonged.

But now?

Why binders? Because they open flat.
And the sheet protectors mean you can pull the recipe out
and if you spill on it, just wipe it off

That's right. Beautiful organization, and it actually wasn't even that difficult. One afternoon I booted the dogs out into the yard and took over the floor of pretty much the entire ground floor of the apartment. Having made an index card for every possible food category, I sat down and divided ALL of our recipes into piles. That exhausted my productive capabilities for the day and each pile was shoved into a folder and tossed on the book shelf.

Then a few days ago, I sucked it up and went to Staples in search of binders and page protectors. One tip... those photo pages for 3x5 photos are perfect for recipe cards. You know, in case you feel productive.

I just did one category at a time so as to avoid getting overwhelmed, and I finally finished up yesterday. Full sheets were put in sheet protectors, while smaller recipes went into 4x6 and 3x5 photo pages. Irregularly shaped, cut out recipes got rubber cemented onto typing paper and went into sheet protectors as well.

Good photography can convince me that someday I might
make a cake shaped like a beehive, complete with
marzipan bees. It could happen...

One perk was discovering all kinds of tasty recipes I want to try. And finding some old ones I'd forgotten about. There's also a whole bunch of Martha Stewart recipes with beautiful pictures that I will most probably never make. But like I've said before, I'm a sucker for good photography...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jewelery class #2

Today was the second week of jewelry class. Our actual instructor was not there, so one of the other teachers covered for her. I actually preferred this instructor to ours, as she seemed less distracted and it was easier to get an answer to any questions we might have. We did sit around a lot and wait while she was helping another student work on something else, so that was a bit of wasted time. But overall, it was a lot more interesting than last week. And one of the gals that I got on well with last week in the Tuesday class came to our Wednesday class this week because she couldn't make it to her session. Hopefully she'll continue to come to the Wednesday session because Jenny will be gone for a few weeks and that will leave me as the only beginner for those classes.

This is my piece of Nu Gold after being textured. I love it!
Its actually more gold than it looks but it picked up some pinkish stuff
from being in the pickling acid with the copper.

After a demonstration on how to use the jeweler's saw, we were turned loose on our metal samples. The metal seems thin, but its surprisingly difficult to saw. At least I don't have to fear taking off a hand, unlike my previous metal working days at ye old Worthington Industries. But, before we were ready to cut out our actual bracelet pieces we had some other steps to do. In order to make it workable, it had to be annealed.

That's right, they let us handle a gas blowtorch thingie (very technical term there) to heat the metal until it was red hot, then drop it in a crock pot of acid. Very exciting. After that, Jenny and I took steel texturing hammers to our pieces. She was working with copper, I had Nu Gold. (An brass alloy of copper and zinc I believe) I am quite pleased with how the texture turned out, though it was a long and rather noisy process to get there.

Jenny hammers her copper to give it some sweet texture

Next week we will glue our templates to the metal and cut out the links. And you can disregard the jewelry homework in the last post. My indecisiveness led to a last minute change of plans, so my links will now be tall rectangles of alternating copper and Nu Gold. Hopefully it doesn't look like poo when its all said and done.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

fiber-y goodness

This past Sunday we spent the day at the Ohio Expo Center at the fairgrounds perusing lots of furry beasts. That's because this weekend, Columbus hosted both the Ohio State Rabbit Breeders Show and Sale, and the Buckeye Alpaca Show.

Our original plan had been to meet my future mother-in-law at the rabbit show. She raises angoras and would have been there, had a family emergency not mandated that she stay home instead. We did still meet up with one of her friends, who was carting off some rabbits that she had just purchased on behalf of Mr. Z's mum. They were NOT angora, so apparently she's expanding back into having other breeds.

I realllllly wish I hadn't forgotten my camera. There were so many adorable different rabbits! I had no idea there were so many uniquely different breeds. It has renewed my persistence in pestering Mr. Z for a house rabbit. I will not, however, be getting an angora rabbit, despite the fiber potential... that hair is WAY too much work. You can see a few of the rabbits we saw, including a fully fluffed angora, on knittycrafty, as she joined us on the expedition.

After the rabbit show, we moved on to alpacas, by far my favorite part of the day. They are all woolly and funny looking, unless they've been sheared. In which case they look delightfully gangly. Mr. Z and I have been discussing the possibility of having some sort of large-ish animals once we buy a place in Lubbock, and we were both really impressed with the alpacas. Not too big, easily managable, and far cheaper than a horse. I think we both agreed that they are a definite possibility.

Not that any of you are probably interested in getting an alpaca, but I will plug Land of Legends Alpacas. There was a young kid (ok, he was probably like twenty, but still) that was very informative, and friendly without being too pushy. We had a very enjoyable chat with him, and he even gave me some advice as to which type would be best if looking for fiber to spin. Speaking of fiber...

...the best part was the yarn! Unfortunately there was no angora at the rabbit show, though we did get to try some bunny jerky. But the alpaca show didn't let us down. There was lots of yarn and knitted goods. I got a skein similar to j's but in a different color. You can hardly turn down 600 yards (!!) of pure alpaca for thirty dollars. Well a non-knitter could maybe... but not us.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Much to celebrate today! And by celebrate, I mean spending the day at work and the evening camped out in front of the TV.

In addition to Cinco de Mayo, I am also celebrating my first etsy sale!! That's right, someone bought a copy of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse print.

I assume it is for a Mother's Day gift as the buyer asked if it could be delivered in time for this weekend. I have to pick it up from the printer tomorrow and drop it in the mail. Ken has said this officially makes me a photographer, but I am continually humbled by the work I see from others (most recently the shots seen on the Pioneer Woman's website have made me feel woefully inadequate) and don't really feel the term applies. But for today, I shall agree

We are also celebrating the inaugural post on Ken Cooks. That's right, Mr. Z has officially caved and begun blogging his own experiences in cooking. In addition to our edibles, will allow him to blog the wines we drink from here on out as well, as he is far more knowledgeable in the wine realm than I am. Unless you want to hear critiques like "tastes like old shoes" or "goes down like water," in which case I would be happy to do the occasional guest post. As it is, I will (most likely) be doing the food photography for Ken Cooks. His food is quite delicious, but his camera skills are somewhat lacking.

Lastly, I will share my homework for this week's jewelry class. Our first project is a tab and slot bracelet (or necklace, or belt, or whatever...). Its made of multiple pieces, each with a tab and a slot (hence the name) where the tab of one piece hooks into the slot of the next, making a sort of chain. Our homework was to sketch out the shape we want to use for our piece.

I decided to make a bracelet of overlapping oval-ish shapes, and I'm guessing it will take about six pieces to go around my skeleton wrists. Still haven't decided on the metal, though I'm currently waffling back and forth between NuGold and Copper. I think I'll do a hammered texture, maybe with a patina for an aged look. It looks pretty sweet in my head, we'll see how it works. I'll try to document the process from sketch to finished item, so you can see how it actually turns out.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This is why...

I am 27 years old and still want to grow up to be just like my big sister. She's freaking amazing! I don't know all of the details but there is some sort of fundraiser going on in Gallup where all sorts of artists, organizations, and regular folks decorated these birdhouses to auction off. I think the money that is raised is going towards cancer or something. Sister's house is by far the most awesome one in the gallery. You can see them all at

Isn't it awesome?? I know its a ton of pictures, but I had to share it from all angles.

And no, you're not crazy. There was a post here about photography. I pulled for a rather embarrassing reason that I'm not really ready to discuss. And the discovery of the error led me to go in search of the dvd with the original image only to find its MIA. So I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon tearing apart the office in search of the disc. No luck. I only have two of the three dvd's of images I took with me when I split back in the day. The missing one had all my still lifes, all the infrared, a bunch of landscapes... very depressing, just thinking about it. I'm really hoping its around somewhere in a case for something else.

However, regarding the post, thanks for the kind comments to those who left them :)