Crafting Recovery

Well, that was one intense semester. Thankfully it’s the most intense semester I’m ever going to go through, because I don’t plan on getting a second PhD. I took a pedagogy class, taught my first ACS class, and had my preliminary exams. And I have survived! The pedagogy class was really helpful in giving me a fresh perspective on teaching, as well as support while I taught something I had never taught before. Teaching had its usual ups and downs, but of the students who filled out the evaluations, I did good! It was also a great learning experience both as a student and as a teacher. I’ve already got next semester figured out.

The preliminary exams almost defeated me. I had a similar experience with the comprehensive exams during my master’s program. But this was so much more intense because they expect more from us. I got a conditional pass and needed to write one last essay to fully pass. Thankfully I did, and I am able to continue in the program. But it was not a great three months while that process happened.

So I’ve needed to take some time for myself to feel balanced again. My creative side has reared its head and pointed out that I’ve had to ignore it for my academic side. It has taken over, in a good way. It started when I made up some Christmas presents for my sister and nephews. Then I started on a pair of Dragon Scale gloves after finding out that using two strands of fingering weight yarn mimics sport weight and I could use my large stash of fingering yarn to make them. It also adds depth and dimension to the color of the gloves!

Of course, I couldn’t be happy with just the one project, I started – and finished – another: Barney. Barney is my octopus hat, inspired by the octopus of the same name from Mira Grant’s Newsflesh book series. I cosplay as Dr. Abbey, whose lab Barney lives in. I thought it would be a great touch for the costume. Also, it’s just fun to have.

A purple crocheted octopus hat with curling tentacles that hang down. It goes from a dark purple at the "head" to a light purple at the tentacles.
How can you not love a purple octopus hat?!

Now I’m still letting the gloves wait while I work on another costume piece. I made a scarf from lace weight yarn that mimics the stripes of the Thirteenth Doctor’s shirt. But when I wear it, the stripes get all clumped together and it doesn’t work the way I wanted it to. I ran across a beautiful cowl pattern that I love and decided to make a Thirteenth Doctor cowl to replace the scarf. It is beautiful. It is going to work so much better than the scarf.

Eventually I’ll get back to and finish the gloves. But the more important thing is that I’m feeling so much better and myself fully. I feel like getting some academic work done without feeling like I’m neglecting to have fun. Sometimes you just have to let go of everything else and just focus on what makes you feel good. Granted, the most important part of that is finding the time where you can afford to do that. The time where you can ignore most of the rest of the world and just focus on you. I’m lucky enough to have winter break, and I’m making the most of it.

Knitting Geek: Mark’s Scarf

December 24th, 9pm Eastern Standard Time. From here on in I shoot without a script. See if anything comes of it, instead of my old shit.

I have been a fan of Rent since I was introduced to it in 1997, my freshman year of high school. I have been trying to make a Mark scarf for a few years now. Last year I started to try to make one for BroadwayCon, but when I ended up not going, I ditched it. Well, I finally got it done, in time for BroadwayCon! And here’s the pattern:

Mark’s Scarf

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport: Midnight Heather (MH) – 3 skeins, White (W) – 2 skeins
US5 straight needles

CO 50 MH
Knit in stockinette stitch for 28 rows.
Switch to W and continue for 28 rows.
Continue until you reach a total of 17 stripes.
Knit half a stripe of W (14 rows).

Notes: Obviously, adjust for size. You don’t want the scarf to hang too low or hit too high up. Feel free to omit the white half stripe. The pictures don’t always show a white half stripe, so go with what version you want. Also, I used a slip stitch at the end of the rows for a more even edge.

Block out your scarf by soaking it in a sink of warm water and a small amount of mild soap for 5 minutes. Rinse it in cold water gently until the water runs clear. Be as gentle as possible while it is in the sink. Lay it out on a towel (layering as necessary) and roll it up to gently squeeze the excess water out without stretching the scarf. Unroll the towel and transfer the scarf to another towel, laid out the way you want it to look, and place it on a flat surface to dry. I use my ironing board because it allows air to move on both sides.

A dark blue and white striped scarf laid out across pillows and a couch to show length.

Add the fringe once your scarf is completely dry. Cut 4 18-inch lengths of MH yarn and place the tassel between the second and third stitches of the second row. Skip two stitches and do the same. Continue until you reach the end. Note: If this feels too crowded, you can space it out more. But the fringe on the scarves tends to be thick.
Do the same thing on the other end.

Dark blue and white striped scarf with long dark blue fringe wound so it is in fourths laying on a blue background.

You’re done! Go have fun and make money to pay your rent!!

The same scarf as above, but with the long fringe in the foreground, hanging off the edge of the couch, kind of blending in with the blue of the couch.

Time for Time Off!

Yesterday I officially started my winter break! I finished revising my final paper for class, got it properly formatted, and turned it in. That was the last thing I had to do for the semester. I promptly started relaxing and enjoying it!

I finally went through photos I took at a wedding back in September. It was so nice to loose myself in the rhythm of editing photos. Somewhere in there I decided to watch Criminal Minds from episode 1 again. I used to watch it when it was on, but then Mandy Patinkin left and I just couldn’t keep watching. After watching Mindhunter multiple times, it’s made Criminal Minds completely different to me. Mindhunter looks at the beginnings of what becomes the B.A.U., aka Criminal Minds. I may just keep watching this time.

But it’s been more than just binge watching a show I haven’t watched since it was on TV. It’s about not having anything class-related to worry about. I got some neatening up done in my office. I pulled books to take back to the library. I’m looking forward to loosing myself in Chernow at work again. I’m looking forward to reading some of the academic books I got out of the library that I’ve been interested in reading, but class work was more important. I have yarn and new needles on the way for a new knitting project. I don’t know how much I’m going to get done over break, but I know I’m going to enjoy what I do accomplish.

Aren’t breaks a wonderful thing? Which is why Hamilton really should have taken one when Eliza told him to….

Life = Sledgehammer

At least it feels that way. Lately I have been so busy with so many things that I want to share with all of you but I haven’t had time to do it. So I’m going to quickly run over everything and go into details in their own post. Also it’ll help me remember what I wanted to write about.

I am continuing to make progress through The Dresden Files. I’m up to Proven Guilty although I do have a short story I need to read quick before moving on. It really is cool going though all of it again. But seeing as I’m reading everything except the short stories on my Kindle (the Paperwhite makes reading before falling asleep so much more convenient!), I was really starting to jones for a book.

Thankfully I had picked one up. I had stopped in a Barnes & Noble to use the restroom quickly when I saw a book that I had heard about on NPR (I think) and really wanted to read it. Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain is an amazing and, for me, freeing read. I have probably mentioned it before, but I am an introvert. My hubby is an introvert. Many on my dad’s side of the family are introverts. But America is the land of the free and home of the extrovert. It is hard living as an introvert in an extroverted nation, but Quiet helps me to realize that it’s not a bad thing. I’m barely a quarter of the way into it and I love it! There will be a very thorough post, or two, about this wonderful book!

Ever since taking a basic photography class at school, I’ve been getting more and more into photography. I’ve always enjoyed it, but that class inspired me to start investing more into it. Recently I’ve invested a little bit more. I bought a 35mm lens and a couple of ND8 filters, one for the 35mm and one for the lens that came with the camera. I think that 35mm lens is going to change how I take pictures in a wonderful way.

This is a complex one. First, while I am working on The Dude’s on the Grid sweater, I’ve also been inspired to get the supplies for a couple of baby blankets. Friends of ours recently had a baby and I wanted to do something for them. Then I remembered that my sister requested I make a Gryffindor-color striped baby blanket for her future nursery. No need for it yet, but I thought “Why not find the pattern now and use it for our friend’s blanket?” So I found a great blanket pattern, and ordered some great purple yarns and needles from KnitPicks. Hopefully I’ll be able to get started on it soon.

Second, I have a new job. I’m working at Jo-Ann’s. It’s really stressful suddenly working an almost 40-hour-a-week job where I’m on my feet for most of that time after working at a desk job for over five years. I’m slowly starting to get used to it again. But add school to it and I’m having a hard time finding a good balance that includes time for myself. I’m really hoping that writing here will give me some of that me-time again.

Fall has inspired me to start cooking again. Between cranberries and squash and Brussels sprouts and asparagus, my fridge is full of food waiting to be cooked. As things happen, pics are posted to Instagram. Hopefully there will be posts here to talk about the wonderful photos I’m slowly filling up my Instagram with.

Okay. Now I think I’m going to meander toward bed. I’ve rambled for long enough.

What a Weekend!

Well, that didn’t go as planned. But it was great!

Friday wasn’t bad. The first panel was “Unpopular Anime”. I thought this would be a good way to find some gems hidden in the sea of anime. Nope. It consisted of the panelist standing at the podium reading descriptions of anime that enough people hadn’t heard of. About halfway through a con staffer came in and it turns out that her laptop wasn’t working with the projector. I decided to leave at that point because I couldn’t see how a slide show would help that panel.

I ended up having a panel cancelled on me because the panelists never showed up. There was quite a line too. It would have been quite the panel, if they had showed up. I was disappointed that someone would commit to doing a panel and then not show up. And it wasn’t a case of something came up and they cancelled the panel ahead of time. Nope. We were in line until around 10 minutes after it was supposed to start when they cancelled it.

Anyway. At least “Kimono 101 + 102” was great. I was also really glad I didn’t wear my yukata. Turns out I should have sewn at least half of the sleeve opening on the outer edge. It’s fixed now. And with the knowledge I gained from the panel, I’m going to be more confident wearing it. Also, this will give me time to wash it before wearing it, which should relax the fabric and it will sit better.

And here I wasn’t going to go into panel detail until later. Oh well. I guess I’ll continue tomorrow then.

Oh, and I’ve made more progress on the scarf!

I’m getting there. Slow and steady gives me a good scarf.


Go meet with awesome ASL teacher to chat and go over my final from class.
Go home to hubby, who worked from home today so he wouldn’t risk possibly getting coworkers sick.
Figure out and make dinner.
Do interpreting homework.
Knit like a madwoman.
Pass out in bed.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Weekend progress

So, I mentioned on Friday I was hoping to be here today:

Yeah, I’m closer to here:

But that’s because on Saturday I finished up the yukata! After a lot of sewing and seam ripping and sewing some more, it’s finished. I’m hoping to get a couple of pics of me in it this week before the convention this weekend.

Now I can focus on studying and getting the scarf finished for the weekend. As long as I have some time to just sit and knit I know I’ll be able to put a decent dent in the scarf. Hopefully that’ll be tonight. I was going to go to the gym after work, but the gym is at school. And school is closed today for the holiday. I guess my first time to the gym’ll be on Wednesday after I meet with a teacher. Not exactly how I was planning for this to go.

But the point of all of that is that I’ll have time to knit tonight that I wasn’t going to have before. Yeah, when I get home I’m going to sit down and start knitting. Maybe I can get half of what’s left finished. Then if I can keep working on it after class Tuesday and after the gym Wednesday, I might have it done in time. If I’m close, I may take it with me to work on while in line Thursday night. But I’d have to be a couple of stripes away from being done. I don’t want to have to have more than two colors with me.

I am really looking forward to this weekend! Now if they would just get the schedule up. ::scurries off to check::

“Witty Little Knitter”

‘Pity about the scarf. Madame Nostradamus made it for me. A witty little knitter…’
~Fourth Doctor

I have been a knitting fool lately. Well, knitting and crocheting. I’ve been working on a Fourth Doctor scarf for a few months now. Partially because the thing is 12 feet long when it’s done; partially because I’m in no rush to get it done, so I simply pick away at it. I was considering getting it done for Ohayocon, but I’m waiting on more yarn, so that’s probably not going to happen.

Last Monday I finally finished my net bag! I know I mentioned it before but, while reading No Impact Man he inspired me to use some yarn I had lying around to make a net bag. I’m planning to use it for produce when I’m at the grocery store. It’ll help me to keep from needing to use the plastic bags. I can’t wait to start breaking it in.

Soon after I finished that, I went on Ravelry again and looked for a slouchy hat pattern. I’ve got an awesome hat for everyday, but sometimes I know I’m going to want something like a knit slouchy hat. I found one I like, so I got started on that.

I just love knitting/crocheting!

Crazy or witty?

As I mentioned on Sunday, I am about halfway through a Season 12 Fourth Doctor scarf. I’m aiming for as accurate as possible, so I’m using the “original” pattern and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport yarn. I’m using Saffron, Thyme, Turmeric, Camel Heather, Chestnut, Cobblestone Heather, and Currant. The only one I think could be improved is the Camel Heather. Unfortunately it’s the closest color in that specific yarn. Once I figured out how to properly count the rows, and that every stripe has an even number of rows means all the ends are on one side, it’s going quite well. I’m going to keep this one for myself because of the row issue early on. But I’m thinking of continuing to make them and sell them on Etsy. I figure it can keep my fingers busy, help make some fans happy, and make me a little extra cash.

I’m sure by the time I finish this scarf I’ll look back at this and realize how crazy I was.