Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Knitting a Niebling!

Readers, Knitters, Crocheters...It's been too long since I've actually updated this blog with what's going on with my knitting and crochet projects.

Ever since bee blanket not-quite-a-disaster, I've been steering my focus away from color work so that I can work on my knit lace skills. So, I picked up some lovely lace-weight wool (Cascade Yarns' Forest Hills) and started on one of the most popular lace designs on Ravelry: Herbert Niebling's Lyra (pattern can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lyra)  :

...and I've been working on it on/off since April:

I have to say that I did make a few mistakes. They're not major ones, but they're juuuust noticeable enough that I hesitate at the thought of entering this piece in the Washington State Fair. I'll wait until it's completely finished and blocked before making any decisions, though.

As I was working on Lyra, I got an itch to start a smaller lace project. I came across Doilyheads' fabulous blog (found here: https://doilyhead.wordpress.com/) and downloaded "Fuschias" (found here: https://doilyhead.wordpress.com/about/doily-patterns-for-sale/various-publishers/fuschia/). I finished the doily just this morning!

I used 000 needles, and I absolutely love the result!

I'm also absolutely loving the yarn I used as well! I splurged on a fabulous merino/silk blend (Duchess by Frabjous Fibers) for this project, and I have about 800 yards leftover. I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up using every inch by the end of the year!

Let me tell you, Readers: I had a BLAST knitting Fuschias. I'm loving this kind of lace design! These kind of patterns suck me in the same way I get sucked into a good book; I just can't put them down!

I'll be entering the Fuchsia doily in the Washington State Fair this year, for sure! I'll keep you all posted on how my Lyra comes along!

Until next time!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Beating the Heat...

To me, these berries taste like nostalgia <3
Yikes. The summer heat was beastly this weekend.

John and I live in an apartment that has doesn't have many windows; our only source of natural sunlight comes from a big, sliding door that leads out to our balcony. We have a window in the bedroom too, but we don't rely on it to light up our apartment during the day. Luckily, our apartment faces west, so our apartment just SOAKS up natural sunlight; getting nice and bright and staying nice and bright until the sun goes down.

The bright-sunshiny sunlight comes at a cost, though. The fact that we face west AND are on the top floor can make our apartment almost UNBEARABLY hot on some days.

Carl Sagan the Angry Fish seems to enjoy it when it warms up like this; which isn't surprising given that he's a tropical fish. He's been happily swimming around his tank and building bubble nests next to his floating algae ball, undoubtedly plotting his Machiavellian revenge against me for taking him out of the tank and putting him in a cup when I last gave his tank a good cleaning.

The same cannot be said for Miss Mishka, poor girl. She's been acting lethargic and has been grooming herself constantly, so I can tell that the heat is starting to bother her. We asked the vet if it would be a good idea to give her a Lion cut, but they said that it really wouldn't benefit a short-haired cat. So we made her some frozen "kitty ice cream" (yogurt and tuna fish frozen in an ice cube tray) to cool her down.

On Sunday morning, we decided that we simply had to cool ourselves down as well. So we got in our air-conditioned car and drove to Snohomish county to go berry picking.

The farm we went to, Biringer farm, had a large sign out front indicating what was ripe and ready to pick: Strawberries, Raspberries, Tayberries, and Black Caps.

When I saw that Black Caps were available, I was delighted! I hadn't seen these berries available in years!

I used to pick these lovely little jewels of delicious with my grandmother when I was younger. They grow wild near my grandparents' dairy farm in central Wisconsin, so we would pick these by the bucket-full every summer. Grandma would use these berries the same as one would use regular raspberries, putting them in pies and jams.

We picked about a flat each of black caps, raspberries, and bought a flat of strawberries.

And we made our own frozen treat using the Black Caps:

And then we got an air conditioner <3

Stay cool, Readers!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sing it, Sarah...

Whelp, readers, I just ruined the bee blanket.

Like, totally ruined it.

I willll remember youuuuuu.....
I finished the final chart, and because I didn't feel like dragging out my sewing machine, decided to use the crochet steek method so that I can turn this tube of knitting into a rectangle. What I didn't realize was that a crocheted steek only works for non-treated wool. The yarn I used for this blanket was a super-wash.

Will youuu remEHmber meeeeeeeee...
In addition to using the wrong steek technique, I also made the mistake of carrying the background color across the steek stitches in a weird way. I wanted to make sure that my floats were staggered (this makes the pretty "diamond" pattern on the back), so I kind of...twisted the gray yarn in a way that kind of made a "bump" in addition to the purl stitch that was supposed to be cut.

Don't let your liiiiiffffffe paaahaas you byyehhhh.....

So in addition to the purl stitch that the crochet stitches are supposed to "catch" when you cut them, I also mistakenly cut the gray background float.

And now my gorgeous Armenian knit blanket has a huge hole in it.

Weep not foooHOOOhooooorrrr the meeemoryy....
I'm not sure I can fix this without making more huge gaping holes. I carried the background color for most of the blanket...so unless I cut that background float, I'm not going to be able to cut my steek at all.

The fabulous ladies at The Tea Cozy yarn shop in Ballard tell me that I can reinforce my steek with my sewing machine, and that might be enough to fix the problem. But a royal eff-up like this after five months of work (FIVE MONTHS OF WORK) was enough to make me want to just take a break from this project.

For now, I'm going to put this project down. Perhaps I'll look at it again in a week or two; I find that looking at things with fresh eyes can really make things easier when I've made a major oopsie.

I guess all that's left to do is this:

Until next time, Readers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Haiku Friday

The crocus peeks out
of the frozen ground, as the
Earth yawns and awakes.

Happy first day of spring, Readers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


We got bored on Saturday...so we made jam.

I hope you like jammin' too, Readers! Until next time! <3

Friday, March 6, 2015

Haiku Friday

Little white booties
chase sunbeams and catnip mice;
Darling Siamese

<3 <3 <3

The Catcher in the Rings

"...I was sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them." 
                                                                         -J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Hello, my lovely Readers.

I am a regular bus commuter. The dense urban environment I live in makes driving inconvenient and expensive, so I usually ride the bus into work; sharing my commute with 30-40 other people every day.

As many of you can imagine, I can tell my fair share of interesting stories (both pleasant and not-so-pleasant) about encounters with my fellow passengers.

My latest "bus encounter" was, happily, a delightful and (dare I say it), a poetic exploration into what it means to be young.

On a brisk and sunny morning last week, I boarded my regular bus at my regular stop at the regular time. The bus was particularly crowded that day.

As is common in the Seattle area, a school group was riding the bus into downtown for a field trip; many bus commuters are annoyed at this, because the students can be loud and usually take up about about a good third of the available bus seats. But, the students in this school group looked to be about middle-school aged, so they were a bit quieter and easier to ride with than their elementary aged counterparts.

Luckily for me, a seat opened up right as I was getting on the bus. So, I had the great fortune to sit down across from what I can safely say is the best bus encounter I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing on our fair city's mass transit.

I was seated across from a trio of young male students, two of which were turned backwards to talk excitedly to their classmate seated behind them. They seemed enraptured, entranced, even, as they listened to their friend speak.

At this point, I wasn't really paying attention to what these guys were so excited about; I was getting my things organized and was preparing to pick up my knitting needles as this was going on. But, I had to pause and stifle a delighted giggle when I began to overhear why it was they were so excited. The following conversation is nothing short of pure glory:

Middle school kid: "You guys, this is probably the best thing I've ever written. Seriously.  It's going to get at least a thousand hits on Fanfiction.net."

Me (sotto mental voce): *snrk*

Middle school kid: "For this one, I'm going to explore some darker themes, like drug and alcohol addiction. It's going to be really deep...."

Me: *ppphhhhbbbt*

Middle school kid:  "...I'm going to channel J.D. Salinger with my writing style for this piece..."

Me: *ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd* 

Middle school kid: "...so yeah. This is going to be the best Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic I've ever done."


This went on and on.

When it came time for me to gather my things and step off the bus, I realized that I was feeling a good fifteen percent happier than I was when I boarded.

Honestly, Readers, it took me by surprise how much the above vignette affected my mood; I'm no stranger to fanfiction (I would pour over page after page of Legend of Zelda and Rurouni Kenshin fanfics back in the day), and I've also witnessed many a budding nerd explore their own skills in writing and other such things. But after thinking about it a little while, I realized that my delight with Mr. J.D. Sonic-ger came from two places:

1. That I was impressed that this kid had the maturity and education to know (at least on a basic level) who J.D. Salinger was, and appreciate him enough to want to emulate his work,


2. That he was still not quite mature enough to realize that applying Salinger's writing style and such a dark and depressing subject matter to SONIC THE FREAKING HEDGEHOG probably won't give his finished work the kind of gravitas that I suspect he's aiming for.

Based on the kid's age, I'm guessing that the most familiar aspect of J.D. Salinger's work for him is The Catcher in the Rye, which I remember being assigned to read when I was about his age.

If there's one thing that I remember clearly about that book that's deliciously relevant and just so dang PERFECT in this context, it's that the main character's (Holden's) obsession with protecting innocence finally began to give way during the final scene, as he was watching his younger sister ride the carousel and reach for the "gold ring".

You write that magnum opus, Sonic the Hedgehog Fanfiction Kid. Keep on reaching for the gold ring.

Orb weaver out! <3

Friday, February 27, 2015

Haiku Friday

Thank you, Mr. Spock,
for the logic and love, both.
Dif-tor heh smusma!

Image found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock

Rest in Peace, Mr. Nimoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I've forgotten how much I hate moving.

As some of you could probably guess, I've been absent (well, more absent than usual) from this blog for the last few weeks. This is partially because most (if not all) of my time has been spent putting things in/transporting/unpacking boxes.

Also, the internet at our new place didn't get activated until this morning.

The new apartment, thankfully, is only a few blocks away and has a layout that is almost identical to our old one (except that there is a fireplace, a larger balcony, and less storage space). So, at the very least, we didn't need to move very far.

Plus, our move-out date got pushed back to Valentine's Day. Whew!

Although I'm sad to leave the old apartment (which was lovingly painted and finished by our soon-to-be-former landlord, whose design aesthetic seems to be stuck in the year 1982, bless his heart), the new place is seriously growing on me. It's not above the usual apartment building transgressions (thin walls, parking not included in the rent, and expensive laundry), but it has several things going for it that has made our living experience (at least so far) a positive one, overall.

The best thing about this apartment so far? It allows pets.

Readers, meet Mishka!

We brought this beautiful kitty home on Friday from the PAWS shelter in Seattle. She's a two year old chocolate-point Siamese mix with white socks, a docked tail, a snuggly personality, a fondness for catnip mice, and a loud voice.

"Moowwr? Omowwr?" -Mishka 

Having her around this past weekend made an exhausting and overwhelming moving experience much, MUCH better. Nothing soothes stress quite like a purring kitty cat in your lap.

Welcome to our family, Mishka!

Until next time <3

Friday, January 23, 2015

Onwards and Upwards

Bee blanket progress :-) I'd say that I'm about 30% finished at this point
Hello, Readers.

Wow. It's been quite the interesting week, full of ups and downs.

Luckily, for now, the ups are outnumbering the downs.

Last Friday, Mr. Orb Weaver and I got a phone call from our landlord. Long story short, he wants us to break our lease so he can sell the condo that we're living in.

The good news is that he is paying us a considerable amount of money to do so, and this is going to cover most (if not all) of our moving expenses. We attended an open house for a one bedroom apartment a few blocks away on Saturday and signed a lease, so for now, everything except the actual moving is in order.

The bad news is that we have to be out by the first of February. So, that leaves us eight days to pack up the apartment.


While I am currently dancing with joy and thanking the powers that be that we were able to get everything in order so quickly, I will say that I'm sad to leave our 1970's era love nest (textured walls, dark wood paneling and all!) The location was perfect, our neighbors are fantastic, and the view couldn't be beat.

The kitchen was pretty fantastic too. 

So, time for a new chapter in a new apartment. Onwards and Upwards!

Until next time <3

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eeek! Steek!

A good afternoon to you all, my lovely Readers!

I've decided to try a couple of new knitting techniques, so that I may create this glorious blanket. Such a beautiful and striking design!

While I absolutely love the finished projects that incorporate it, stranded color-work in knitting has always been a challenge for me. I taught myself the basics of the technique many moons ago when I made the Zelda Purse, and since the technique was self-taught, I often find myself struggling with knitting patterns that were written under the assumption that those following them know how to hold the yarn correctly.

So, I've made it a goal of mine to re-learn how to do stranded color work. The above blanket looks like a prime opportunity for me to do exactly that!

Not only does this blanket pattern call for a fancy-pants stranding technique, but it also calls for...

...a steek.

For those of you who are not familiar with knitting lingo, let me break it down:  A steek is when a garment is knit in the round, and then after some specific stitches are reinforced with either crochet stitches or with a sewing machine, is cut with a pair of scissors.


As of now, I'm feeling pretty confident in my (corrected) stranded knitting skills. The pattern I chose calls for a specific kind of color-work called Armenian Stranding, and I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I am MADLY in love with the fact that the back of the pattern is just as pretty as the front:

So far, so good, Readers! I'll keep posting pictures as this glorious beast progresses.

Until next time!