Saturday, January 14, 2012

I finished a tight gauge wool hat for my brother's birthday (which is happening in 2 months, so I feel pretty good about that).

I also finished a pair of socks for myself, with enough yarn left over to make another pair (they'll be ankle socks though). I'm just now working on the heel flap of the first ankle sock.

I've also been having the urge to make a sweater. Either some especially cheesy stranded "Christmas Jumper" for myself, or my niece. Of course realistically, that would be biting off way more than I can chew right now.

I would like to do another lacy piece at some point too. I did a really detailed lace shawl last summer and gave it to one of my sisters-in-law. I should probably make one for my other sister-in-law as well. I really like this one but this is probably more to her taste.

There are so many projects I want to do! But I have so much yarn in my stash right now, I need to use up some of that before buying materials to make any of these lovely things. Yesterday I cleaned my room top to bottom and discovered that I have way more yarn than I though. Enough smooth, worsted weight acrylic to make several brightly-colored stuffed animals. Enough bulky synthetics and blends to make several pairs of slippers and/or scarves. And enough decent wool to make at least a couple of hats. Maybe even mittens.

I want to use that pound of halfway decent black acrylic I have lying around to make this vest. If I like the pattern I might actually purchase some good yarn and make it up in that. Other than that, I guess I'll be making a lot of stuffed animals and slippers. I have some friends with small children, maybe I can pawn a few of the toys off on them.

I thought up an awesome way to organize my yarn. Instead of winding it into lots and lots of balls of varying sizes (which tend to unroll themselves and tangle together), I'm winding my yarn around empty toilet paper tubes. Just cut a slit in one end of the tube, tie a knot in the end of your yarn, slip the yarn into the end and wind around the tube. When you're done, just cut a slit in the other end of the tube and slip the end in there (sort of like the notch on the top of a spool of thread). Then label the edge of the tube with the fiber content. Suddenly my yarn stash isn't looking so bad. I can actually find what I need. There's also something really gorgeous about a basket full of brightly-colored, neatly rolled yarn.

I finally managed a decent library run last week, so I've got some interesting books to read this month. I picked up a copy of Othello, a biography of Winston Churchill (cause I realized that all I know about that famous historical figure is that he was portly, he was the prime minister of Britain during WWII rght after Neville Chamberlain, and his mother was scandalous), a cook book, and a book about the role religion has played in US politics (historically). I finished the cook book yesterday (while doing laundry and winding yarn), and just cracked the political one last night.

Other things going on... I got my hands on a Spanish grammar workbook a few days ago (bought it w/ an amazon giftcard I got for Christmas) and have been brushing up on that. I'm only on lesson 2 of the first chapter, but it's amazing how much I remember (despite having spent high school Spanish class doodling in my notebook and staring out the window). My grammar isn't great. I can usually conjugate verbs okay, but have trouble remembering which articles to use. My vocabulary is abysmal, but I remember more than I thought I did. This chapter I learned that paragus= umbrella. To remember I think of the BBC series Sherlock, and Mycroft's use of an umbrella as a fashion accessory (esp. in the clips used for this fanvideo).

My Spanish dictionary should be arriving in a day or two, so that should help fill in holes. I also need to find a Mexican TV show to watch so I can figure out the rythm of speech a bit better (my accent is okay. It's just harder to form sentences outloud than it is in writing).

I already mentioned Sherlock in this post, but I'll go ahead and discuss it properly. It's one of my shows, and the new season is running right now. Basically, two Sherlock Holmes fanboys (who are also well-known and well-loved screenwriters) decided to remake the series and have it set in contemporary London. Each season is a miniseries of  three 90-120 minute "episodes" that play out like movies. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson. The actors have amazing chemistry, there are plenty of nods to the Arthur Conan Doyle cannon ("inside jokes", if you will), and a really cool use of contemporary technology (John Watson's "memoirs" become his "blog", Sherlock checks his facts by looking up info on his blackberry). The plots aren't typically very believable, but neither were the ones in the original stories. Mostly the show is a fantastic blend of action, suspense, and character development. I'll be eagerly watching the season finale tomorrow!

I've been in something of a slump with my cooking lately. Last week I roasted a duck, made some frozen burritos, and shortbread cookies. But before that there were the holidays, and then I was working some crazy hours (at work we had a floorset and then inventory in the same week), and then recovering from the craziness... I've gotten out of the habit of proper meal planning. I need to fix that. And I need to do some just for fun cooking. So I've been reading recipes and making plans. I think I want to play around with succotash (since I've got some frozen corn and lima beans in the freezer), do something with roasted root vegetables and sausage and this bread. I also absolutely have to make this since it's everything I love in a cake (Mostly fruit, a simple batter, not at all fussy. No frosting).

So, that's what I've been up to :)

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