PEX Summer Fest

Wow. My last post was in June. Where has the time gone? I’d love to say I spent the summer traveling and was just never near my computer, but that wasn’t the case. Sadly, I think it was mostly work. Which is funny to say, coming from a freelancer. But now that the upstairs second bedroom is my office, if I’m not booked for a client, work is just a step away all the time. Working on a feature length documentary requires a slow and steady progress. I guess I did get away a few times, though. We had a great show at PEX Summer Fest, one of our best- for Thursday night anyway. We had some technical difficulties for the Friday night show but the overall reaction was amazing. This was the first year I actually had FUN at PEX, too! Camping with the Luxie ladies made a huge difference, and I ended up wrangled into helping in various ways- including being a safety for the conclave right before the burn. Wow, did I get some good practice putting out huge flaming props.

Beachy Skeleton!

Lets see, what else? We had one brief vacation, to Rehoboth beach. Good people, but terribly humid and hot weather. Lots of swimming. We also went to Boston, which was a lot of fun. We rented kayaks and hung out with Chris’ sister, and then drove all the way home. Long day. My sister came to visit from Seattle for quite a whirl-wind trip.

Performing in AC

Performing in AC

Lux Arati had an on-going gig in Atlantic City over the summer that started out a little crazy, but turned out to be a ton of fun. I was rather anxious about going, not sure what I would do to entertain the crowd for 2 hours without fire (the venue found out that they needed to have a fire marshal on scene the whole time if we preformed with fire, which was out of the budget for the event). I bought some long veil fans, practiced with my sword and dug out my silk veil that I think I’d used once previously. It was awesome. The gig included 3 dancers a night from 9 to 11 on every other Friday and Saturday night for about 6 weeks. We rotated the schedule, filling in around everyone’s availability. I think it was pretty well received. We had everything from glow hooping to feather fans and belly dance. Fun fun!

And now? Fall is upon us. Everything moves along, working some days on location, some days at home, trying to practice with my sword and my fans and maybe even through the staff in there. Working on my cable-full sweater is progressing slowly, and I have another monster in the queue…. everything keeps going.

Monster! The family I gave him to named him Scaramino Mingo

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Knitting lopi

Ok, so maybe I’m crazy. Hanging out with Chris’s sister for the day swinging by yarn stores got me itching to throw some new projects on the needles. Of course, we were in the middle of a heat wave. Why not knit with some super warm Lopi? I’ve been debating non-stop about what to make with the yarn I brought back from Iceland. Even though I’ve started the project I still haven’t completely decided on what the final piece will look like. I’m loosely following a pattern from my “Knitting with Icelandic Wool” book. I plan on adding some waist shaping, and I’m terrified of steeking it… but at least I’ve started. I cast on in line with the Regla pattern, but used the bottom pattern from the Bára pattern.

I can’t decide what to do for the yoke, though. My sweater is going to be grey, white and black. The main body is grey, the details in white and black. I like the bottom so far, but I’m not sure that my stitches have equal tension. I’m debating whether to rip the whole thing out and try again or if blocking it will help smooth everything out.

The prospect of steeking is completely freaking me out. Mostly because I’m unsure about the fit, and once I steek, its a done deal. EEEEP! As far as yoke, I’m leaning towards the upper left version. I’d love to add a hood too, but I don’t think I’ll have enough yarn. We’ll see. Onward!!

various yoke options

Polkadot booties, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

They have finally arrived (or rather, I finally sent them!) so now I can post up the little booties I made for Ellen’s baby-to-be! I had so much fun making them. They’re super fast, probably because they’re so tiny. I made a pair for her, realized how easy they were, and made a pair for little Livia (they look so huge on her!)…. another pair is in the works for Gaston (Gaeson & Meagan’s baby) but this pair is white with red tops- toadstools! I need to do the spots today, and hopefully get them over to the baby before he grows out of them! We have a Dogfishhead Squall to give Gaeson anyway, so just another reason to get together.
Chugging away on Alexis’ sweater, too. The train ride helps me get it moving, I get a few rows done every morning. My work on the super-awesome-squishy cable sweater has halted, mostly because its tough to cable with a pattern on a train. Plus, I want to get this other one done first.

So now, off to start the day, after a lovely breakfast of homemade chili, cornbread and sunnyside up eggs…. one of my favorite ways to start the day! I love sunday breakfasts from leftovers, so good…

(UPDATE: here are the toadstool ones, can you tell I learned about the vignette effect in the Flickr Picnik editor? Yay!)

Finished Toadstool Booties

I’ve been pretty busy since I posted last… mostly holding off on the posts because I’ve been pretty bad about bringing my camera around. Labor day weekend was great- I went to Terrain with my mom for my birthday, and wandered around for a while. We had a great lunch, and mom picked up a few books- neither of us bought any plants this time though. I’ve run out of room on my kitchen sill, so I think I’m done with plants till next growing season.

Dawn Patrol Journal

I went on another Dawn Patrol motorcycle ride with my dad on Sunday- what amazing weather! I really wish I had thought to make a neck strap for my camera so I could have had it out during the ride. There were some great skies and fantastic landscapes. We ended up riding with a huge group of people- it was pretty cool to see all the motorcycles ahead of us when riding down into a valley. But they rode really slow, and stopped at EVERY turn- lucky for us half the group missed one of the turns, and then a few turns later we passed the rest of them. (The rides are “Lyme dot” rides- one dot means to keep going straight, two means a left, three means a right. You also get  a list with all the directions.) I like the rides better when its just me and my dad, maybe a few other bikes. As cool as the snaking line of motorcycles is, its way more relaxing not being part of a horde. The rides are really fun because they meander all through the area I grew up, but take interesting back roads and routes I don’t usually take. You get confused and lost, then cross an intersection and suddenly know exactly where you are. It ends at the Dawn Patrol club house, down the street from where the ride starts, with a huge BBQ party.

finished top

Also- four finished projects in the last few days! I finally got through the green/lace top, bound off and blocked a hat (the one previously posted)  and a cowl warmer, and finished a present that will head off in the mail sometime next week. Also, I’m making some good progress on the baby sweater I’ve been working on… ok, so the baby was born a few months ago, but I’m making it larger than the largest size on the pattern (more a mistake than a plan, but I think it will work out) so it should fit him anyway. Thinking of embroidering a “Q” on it, too… but we’ll see if that happens when I finish it.

I’m pretty pleased with the top. Once I finished the braided neckline, the whole thing hung a lot better. Definitely felt less tent-like. That green fabric is super super stretchy, and was not cooperating at all as a waistband. It just kept ending up making the whole thing even more balloony. Not a fan. So instead I just took out the basting and ended up using the fabric I cut for the waist as a tied belt. The braided neckline means that this is a strapless bra shirt for sure, and the only one I have is black- I’m hoping it was shadow and not bra I could see in some of the other photos, otherwise I’ll have to put off wearing this till I go shopping :-(

The cowl was a pretty fun fast knit, too. I bought the yarn on a whim when stopping by Rosie’s for some needles. Chris got me a gift certificate a while ago, in an attempt to get me to branch out and visit different stores- but I think I still like Nangellini the best, so I’ll stick with them. Anyway, I bought two balls of this, and thought that would be enough. Right after I cast on I took a look at the yardage, and was about 75 yards short of the required amount. I made a few alterations to the pattern- made the neck part a section narrower, cut the collar down in length and width. I cast off with about a centimeter left. Phewww! I think this will look pretty good with a coat, its perfect for late fall.

finished collared cowl

So thats the craftiness- the other business—–this weekend was the final performance of Scorch, the great fire group I’ve been dancing with since the summer. Rehearsal on Thursday, performances on Friday and Saturday. I think it went really well, we got a great turn-out. It was free, but donations were collected to pay for the space and the fuel/safety equipment. I’m not sure of the final numbers, but I think we at least broke even, which is great, since the venue cost was a lot higher than the girls thought it was going to be. I got Chris to record our dance with his phone, and I’m sure there are a ton of photos floating around. A guy from cities2night was there, and those photos are here.

And here’s the video:

The perfect yarn for the buttonhead!

Wow, that was a fast knit! I cast on yesterday and cast off today! I’ve been wanting to try the buttonhead pattern out for a while, and when Leethal wanted to do a knit-a-long (over on Ravelry), I thought it would be a perfect chance to be pushed on to start it. The knit-a-long was a buttonhead + game knitting, which is a super cool concept great for TV watching- basically when something on your list happens, you switch something in your knitting- purl instead of knit, or cable or something. (Lee has an e-book about it) You end up with a really cool randomized project. (By the way, she has really great patterns and super cool other things on her site- go! go check it out!)

knitting (and my birthday shirt!)

I didn’t do the game knitting part of it, because I wanted to try out the pattern on its own first and I wasn’t going to knit with a tv show, so I figure I’ll have another go at the hat with the game knit part incorporated, but I’ll have to put that off until after I finish the owl sweater.

I still need to block the hat. Honestly, I’ve never actually blocked something before… I’ve always just let it go. But this yarn is a bit lumpy (which is why I thought it’d be perfect for the buttonhead, its a formula more than a pattern, so gauge doesn’t really matter) and I think blocking might smooth that out. I need to find a balloon or something to do it properly, it’ll be an experiment for sure! And I think it will be good practice for the sweater I’m working on, since I’m pretty sure I’ll need to block that.

Not a bad finished project for my birthday! (I know I don’t look happy, but thats cause I hate taking photos of myself, nothing to do with the hat!) I already have a request for a second, so one will be heading out to Seattle with the next care package.

yay buttonhead!

fail

This weekend I finally picked up the Hew sweater I’d had hibernating. It was so close, just the collar to finish. Thats a little deceiving, though, because I think its the third or fourth time I’ve tried to knit up the collar. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it would not lie properly, and just looked awful. I’m not really one for half sweater/shrugs anyway… I like them in concept, but in reality they’re just far too top heavy for me. So I suppose it was a doomed project from the start. I frogged it all last night. But now I have an unknown amount of a wonderful yarn, and no idea what to make with it. Its Lousia Harding, wool/silk…. my Rav stats say I have 3 skeins = 330.0 yards (301.8 m), but I’m not sure how updated that is. That isn’t very much, and since I bought it over a year ago I doubt I could find more at the LYS…. I think I have another skein rolling around somewhere upstairs, I’m going to do some serious searching this afternoon. This yarn is just gorgeous, and I really want to make something with it that I’ll love and wear all the time. Any ideas?

now what?

Productive weekend! I started it out by trying to score a pair of free pants at Gap. I didn’t make to one of the first 50, but it was still a good sale, so I stuck around. I really hate crowds, and “Oh My GOD! I Want Those PANTS!” crowds are really no fun. But, I got some clothes that I’ve been needing for a while and got out of there as quickly as possible. Then, off to the farmer’s market. The cheese at the Rittenhouse market really is the best. Took a break from the amazing pepperjack for some cheddar… seriously, if you are in town, do yourself a favor and swing by on Saturday morning. Its worth it.

farmer's market tomatoes for the salsa

Chris and I were madmen in the kitchen this afternoon- candied walnuts, fresh salsa (WOW! Why have I note done this before??) and a pasta casserole with farmer’s market veggies and some from the garden, sausage from Martins… yay local! And a lovely night with True Blood and Mad Men and my knitting, really, what better way to end the weekend?

WIP back... Owls!

WIP front