Thursday, June 25, 2015

Because of magic

So, that happened. 

Last week we went to Cocoa Beach for a couple days and then to Disney for another four days mainly for dance-related shenanigans. Do you see that smile on my face? That's the real deal and I'm smiling like this in all of the photos I'm in because I am genuinely having a blast. Frankly, I'd forgotten what it felt like to be relaxed and have a nice time. Even when we did the Showcase of Bathrooms with the little bit, we were having a good time. Aside from a few unfortunate potty-training-related difficulties, it was one of our best vacations. 

The best part? Everyone was super nice and not only because it was their job. I saw buckets and buckets of genuine compassion, playfulness, kindness, joy, and general awesomeness. Even guests were uncommonly kind to one another because... of... magic. That's all I can come up with.

I also left my tablet at home for the entire trip, which means my brain got a rest, too, but it also means that I'm short on pictures this week, so here's a gratuitous photo of the Fluffalo hoarding kale chips.

I actually got quite a bit of knitting done this past week, though almost no knitting happened during our four days at Disney. Much of what happened was during the 12+ hour drive. I got about 1 1/4 of Fluffalo's socks done, minus heels, on the way down and I managed about 2 1/2 feet of Trillian on the way back. I'm almost done with the legwarmers, too. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you spend hours doing nothing but sitting and knitting. It's like magic. 

Now that I've started Trillian, the Outfit-a-Long is gaining momentum. I'm focusing this week on getting my shirt cut out and working on my shirt-making skills, including matching plaids. I'm mostly reading and watching videos about matching plaids right now because the fabric is still in the wash, but Miss Lladybird's tutorial looks like it hits the OCD/lazybutt balance just right. So that's this week's technique. (Woo!) I'll let you know how it goes. Right this second, though, I have to go put the fabric in the dryer.

Ummm... because mint

And speaking of being thorough, I just skimmed through my monograph on little (mostly) brown South American butterflies and remembered just how flippin' thorough I can be. I've spent some time away from it while Professor worked on the edits to send it to a journal and I wanted to look through it one more time before sending it out in the world. I'm proud of my work and I hope it will serve to help other scientists learn about these beauties for a very long time. Even as long as it is and as thorough as I was, it's not complete and never will be. It's taken nearly two hundred years to understand even as much as I do about this group and I know I'm only scratching the surface. Anyway, I'll let you know how that goes, too. I'm not sure what the timeline is for publication for this particular journal is, but it shouldn't be too long. 

So, did you miss me? How has your June been going? Did you have a Happy Solstice?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Not bad for having mucous for brains all week.

In spite of a pretty bad cold, or possibly because of it, I've had a pretty productive week. I've been working to keep the house tidier so it's not a huge mess or stressful to clean before we leave for our trip and a ten minute tidy at night combined with the eldest's help in the kitchen has been quite effective. I finished both of Miss Bu's Florida shirts (the second of which has yet to be modeled in its finished state), made a little progress on my legwarmers, and figured out where I was on Louise-- the sleeves, in case you were wondering.

And I've started a sock for the Eldest, too. This will be more or less a plain sock with a stripe of 1x1 ribbing up the leg, toe up so I can use all the yarn, and using Lara Neel's Thumb joint hat top heel from the Fork in the Road pattern. It only took a little bit of turning my brain sideways to make it work and I think she's going to love them.

In other news, I kind of tossed "gardening" into the Project Make excellence salad, not really knowing a hundred percent what I'd do with it, but I did prune some of the trees today so that we could get under them to mow a little easier, so I'll throw in some tree-pruning in for this week's technique. The trees I pruned are quite large and I only worried about what I could reach today, so this is a little more information than I really needed, but might be handy again when the cherry and peach trees get to be a little more mature. I probably should be worrying more about this in the fall, but I hardly took down any branches at all, so today's pruning likely won't cause any harm.

Of course now I have a pile of perfectly good oak branches that could be turned into something, but no time to really do anything with them before we leave the state.

By this time next week, I'll be in Florida, chilling on the beach, but I do plan on posting from there so that the fun here at Lace Maze won't stop. And I'm alonging with Bekah, who has summed up better than I what I'm up to. I kinda feel like I'm Stash Ambling instead of Stash Dash-ing, but I'm sure this is just a lull in the finishing. Once I card and spin the rest of the black alpaca (spinning from the locks was a no-go today), I've got some gradient batts waiting in the wings and will be jumping into the gradient-along, too. In the mean time, I've got some serious planning to do.

And I plan to focus the awesomeness into a laser beam of awesome.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Oh dear.

Dance shenanigans took up the majority of last weekend and while there are still practices to go before our trip to Florida and Nutcracker practice after, recital week is done. The boys looked great in their shirts and, while I did get a great picture of them, I didn't ask their moms if I could put them on the blog. I'm sure it would be fine, but I'd rather be on the side of respectfulness. Anywho, I helped watch littles for the first half of the show, did the Mother Daughter dance with Iris, and pretty much chilled out backstage and knit for the second half. That resulted in Brickless being finished last week, but it has yet to be blocked, so no picture today.

I also did some more Project Make-related mapping, this one outlining the kinds of clothes I normally wear every day, arranged by season. The back of the page has fabric manipulation techniques (seams, zippers, pleats, etc.) that I want to learn. Even if I don't use everything I've written down as something I want to learn, each one will be another tool in my toolbox.

When sewing attacks! wouldn't think flamingos were so aggressive.
The map was helpful when putting the elastic around the neck and arms of this little shirt, pointing me toward a new way of doing it that even used a stitch on my sewing machine that I've never used before. Unfortunately, the stiff linen prevented the elastic from drawing up as much as I wanted it to, so that was not the right method for this fabric, but I'm pretty sure that I could now put elastic into a pair of underwear without much trouble. While there's some disappointment about this shirt not fitting properly, I did learn something from it, at least. I'll rip the seam in the morning and try again. I like the simple construction of this shirt, but I think I'm going to like it better if I can get the neckline to work like it should.

And because the DaVinci Disorder won't let me really finish a project before planning the next six, I dove into the very modest fabric stash for some shirt fabric. I'm thinking "Fall Colors Outfit-a-long" using this year's Pantone Fall Colors as inspiration for something that I'm actually going to wear. Just when I thought I wasn't going to find anything, I came across a few yards of the above flannel. My two favorite comfy cotton button-ups are wearing out and this plaid looks to be a suitable replacement. I would wear the heck out of a shirt like that and I think I'm going to pair it with the Silky B Cashmere that I got at Stitches because what goes better with a plaid flannel shirt than a silk/cashmere shawl? I ask you.

I haven't had my act together about posting new techniques for you lately, for which I apologize. I'll get back to it, but it might not be until we get back from Florida.

Oh dear...
What am I going to knit in Florida?