a mad man, a box, and a pair of earrings

Saturday, August 23 was a special day. It was a day for which I had waited since CHRISTMAS! It marked the return of Doctor Who and the beginning of Twelve! EEEE. In order to celebrate (besides wearing my TARDIS shirt, drinking out of my TARDIS mug, dressing my cat as a TARDIS, you know, the usual), I made some earrings (which then subsequently went unphotographed because the camera was in Alaska and I was in Chicago).

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These aren’t just any celebratory earrings. The beads are abstract-ish DW-themed ones I made from my summer class last year.They were among the first beads I made, so they’re quite rudimentary in comparison to my chickens and initial attempts at flowers. The little blue rectangles are little TARDISes, and the red,white and blue beads are a mini-tribute to my favorite Doctor, Ten (and his 3D glasses).

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Since the 23rd I have watched the new episodes multiple times and engaged in many serious discussions about the new Doctor, Clara and other companions, etc etc. My opinion? I like Twelve. I like his grumpiness, I like the fact that he seems mad (in multiple meanings of the word), I like his kvetching, and I just absolutely loved, loved, loved the scene with the silver platter in “Deep Breath.” One thing that will take some getting used to: the Scottish accent. I definitely would have benefited from some subtitles of all that very Scottish ranting. That being said, I thought “Into the Dalek” was kind of poorly written and very confusing and while I am super excited about Danny Pink, I thought his initial character development was not done well. What do you think? And if your response is that you don’t watch Doctor Who, then I suggest that you change your television viewing habits (and consequently, your life) posthaste. That will be all.

surgerizin’

Hi blogging party people.  Last Tuesday I started my surgery clerkship! This mostly means that I now work a LOT. By a lot I mean I start at 5:30 in the morning. It is, um, grueling. Grueling is a good word. At the same time, I feel very lucky to have the schedule that I do have and to be working with some truly nice, inspiring folks. While getting to see inside real, living human beings while the capable folks next to me fix their problems is an absolute privilege, I unfortunately don’t have a lot (read: almost any) time for crafting. This part is a bit hard, as I spent a lot of time over the past two years striving to be someone with a lot of hobbies and an excellent work-life balance. But hey! It’s only eight weeks, and I am trying to console myself with thinking of ways that surgery and crafting are similar. Here’s what I have so far.

  • You know how sometimes when you’re crafting you lose track of time, then startle yourself into awareness and realize that it is some ungodly hour and it’s been like ten hours since you last ate, drank or peed? That’s surgery.
  • Accidentally doing your work in such an un-ergonomic position that you later find yourself in a secluded hallway, subtly trying to massage your own back on a doorframe.
  • And duh. The sewing. One is sewing clothes, and the other one is closing skin incisions. The biggest difference is probably the fact that when I’m sewing Lady Skaters, my knees aren’t literally knocking together with fear.

harry potter and the obviously different dye lots

Why do so many of my blog posts involve me writing the word “TRAGEDY” in all caps? Um, maybe it’s because I eff up my projects so much, but this is getting ridiculous. This one is definitely 100% my own stupid fault. Read on to join my pity party.

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I decided to knit my sister a sweater for Christmas, and chose Ginny’s Cardigan from the Interweave Harry Potter Knits magazine.  I had 5 balls of superwash DK in a purplish red color in my stash, so I just bought a couple more from KnitPicks to have enough to knit the sweater. I was almost done with the sweater body today when I realized that there was a stripe where no stripe should be.  It turns out that the dye lot for the KnitPicks Swish DK Bordeaux colorway has shifted slightly to be just a little more purple. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a lecture hall so I couldn’t fully express my frustrations, which would have involved much gnashing of teeth and loud sobbing.

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See? Very obvious stripe. Ironically, there was a post on Fringe Association yesterday about the same exact thing! I read it and thought, “Wow. I would be so sad if that happened to me.” THEN IT DID. Murphy’s law of knitting, I suppose. In the end, I decided to frog everything that I had done (and by that, I mean I decided to make David frog everything I had done, because there would be no way I could do that to myself) and buy more of the newer Bordeaux.  So much for making headway on Christmas gifts before the surgery clerkship. Luckily, this hasn’t represented TOO much time spent knitting (thank goodness for DK weight, size 6 needles and a loose gauge). Time to see how quickly I can catch back up.

sew groovy

Have you ever encountered a piece of fabric and immediately known exactly what it was going to be? This was one of those fabrics for me.  I went to a Jo-Ann Fabric in Chicago for the first time ever (normally I go to the one in the town half an hour away from my parents’ house) and it BLEW MY MIND.  The Jo-Ann location I normally go to has about 1/3 the fabric that this location did, with almost exclusively quilting cotton, baby flannel prints, and licensed character/logo fleece. Not exactly the most inspiring fabric selection. But this Joann… HOO BOY. So many apparel fabrics! It was distraction city from basically the second I walked in the door. Whoops.

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Anyway, I spotted this knit fabric in passing, and it was just dying to be a knit wrap dress.  So of course I had to take it home and do its bidding.  Luckily, I found a tutorial for a Lady Skater pattern hack for a pseudo wrap dress.  It was very useful, and given the fact that I managed to use this pattern hack without any incident, it’s also definitely foolproof.

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Cutting out the fabric was probably the biggest challenge – the Lady Skater pattern does that weird thing with folding to meet the selvedge edges in the center, and this fabric was really lightweight and sticky to itself. My kitchen is about four feet wide (not kidding) and six feet long and this fabric was >60″ wide and over two yards long, so I just could not get it to fold nicely for cutting.  Instead of continuing to struggle inside, I took it out to the hallway and did the cutting there. I am that neighbor, everyone.

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After a sweaty cutting debacle, the rest of the dress came together very smoothly.  My biggest gripe with the dress is that the back gapes a bit, but that might have to do with the stretch content of the fabric + my neck binding isn’t as tight as what the original pattern suggests. It’s not gonna stop me from enjoying this crazy-printed bad boy.

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famous last words

Hello there everyone. Can y’all guess which incredibly inaccurate and foolish sentence came out of my mouth not even a month ago?

“I’m totally not doing any knitting for Christmas gifts this year.”  “I’m in the middle of destashing and not buying any yarn, and it’s going really well.”

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If you were the shrewd, cynical consumer of Internet information like I know y’all are, and you guessed that I actually said BOTH of those things, then well shucks, you’re right. Ugh. Just ugh, you guys.  Up until the beginning of August, I had only purchased two skeins of yarn for all of 2014. Just two!! I was feeling very smug about my 3 out, 1 in challenge/promise/thing. And then that fricking Knitpicks sale came along and ruined everything.

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In this gorgeous pile of shame I have enough yarn for gifts for David, my mom, dad and sister, a friend or two, and maybe even a lil’ sumpin sumpin for myself. I’m terribly torn between excitement and shame about this most recent yarn acquisition. Alas, alack.

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alright meow

Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumping around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree? Am I drinking milk from a saucer? Do you see me eating mice?

Okay. That gets me every time. ANYWAY. Another sewing project completed!  This is Simplicity 2258 in that lovely Lizzy House Catnap fabric that I picked up at the Needle Shop a few months ago.

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This project was originally supposed to be done in time for my birthday, but you know how things happen (“things” being very upsetting booboos that make you squawk around the house and then promptly wedge the thing into a corner, out of your sight, until seeing it doesn’t make your eyelid twitch anymore). What happened to this lovely dress, you ask?  Well, you see. I have had this pen. I really liked writing with this pen – I liked the ink, and it had a little light on the tip that made it very convenient for clerkship. There was one problem with said pen. Every so often, it would glob out a big fat ink booger. This happened fairly infrequently, and like 100% of the time it did happen, the ink booger just ended up on my hand because I am a lefty and that is my lot in life. But one day, one fateful day as I studied for my Pediatrics shelf, unbeknownst to me, said pen globbed out a big ol’ ink booger right onto my desk.  Very shortly afterward I decided it was time for a sewing break, so I pulled my dress out onto the desk, and… you know where this is going. TRAGEDY!!!! Even worse, I didn’t notice until I had already ironed over the damned spot. Then I saw it – a small (but not insignificantly small) ink blob front and center at the top of the skirt. My reaction was not unlike this. Needless to say, I immediately threw that pen away with relish.

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I was pretty stumped as to how to deal with this issue (not enough fabric left to cut a big new skirt panel, too poor to justify buying more fabric just because I’m a dumbass), but of course my amazing mom came up with an answer. Why not just shorten the skirt at the waistband?  The blob was only about 2 inches down from the edge of the fabric – I could definitely shorten the skirt by that much, be judicious about hemming, and still probably get away with wearing it to clerkship!  “Genius idea, Mom!” I said, and then I promptly put the damn thing away and forgot about it until just a few days ago.

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The fix was very quick and now I am so satisfied with the result. I blogged about making the bodice here, and talked about how the princess seams went infinitely much smoother this time around.  I self-lined the bodice instead of doing facings (I hate when those things pop out of the armhole), which went very smoothly. The only gnarly (in a bad way) part of the dress for me was the armbands – the first time around with the dress, I chalked their awfulness to me f’ing it up, but this time I am beginning to think that the armbands just were not drafted with my shoulders in mind. Overall, I’m so happy with this make and I’ll definitely be wearing it over and over again.

it’s about time

It’s time to share the end of a project that is both cathartic and shameful. Cathartic because IAMSOGLADIT’SALLDONE (hem, sorry), and shameful because I should have finished the dang thing like seven months ago. Whatever could this project be? David’s “Christmas” sweater, which I have been working on for god knows how long. Well, I finally just pushed through to finish the last 6 inches of sleeve, the seaming and the collar. THE END. SAYONARA. HASTA LA VISTA. BOOM.

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Okay. So here’s the actual sweater. A little lumpy here and there, but who isn’t? It actually fits pretty well in the shoulders, arms and torso length. When I was knitting, I actually did modify the sweater and knitted all the pieces (including the sleeves) about 2″ longer than recommended because I knew that David has such a long chest/arms. There was no rhyme or reason to the extra that I chose, I just kind of picked a random number and knit to that point. I seriously almost cried with relief when he put it on and it didn’t look terribly misshapen.

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My biggest gripe for this sweater is that the collar/neck area is very tight. I don’t think I screwed up while knitting, and I blocked it to their specifications, but I don’t think even I could button this thing all the way up around my neck. I wonder where I went wrong – so strange.

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Guess what? This is the first ever adult sized sweater that I have finished. (Not the first one I’ve started, but I’m coming for you, you stinkin’ gray cardigan.) Hooray for knitting milestones! Now I’m off to work on my own cardigan, which is mercifully a) much smaller and b) a much more interesting color.

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