Sunday, October 31, 2010

Long-Overdue September Yarncraft Recap


Tunisian crochet seemed like an interesting meld of crochet and knitting, so I bought a hook and decided to give it a try. I made just a simple cotton dishcloth, using (my beginner, shoddy) Tunisian crochet, which falls under option 2, use a special tool. As you can see on the right side, it took me a little while to figure out what I was doing, but my dishes won’t mind!


Spirals are a shape found often in nature, from the center of a sunflower to a Nautilus shell. They are simple; a circle that gets progressively larger, so it spirals around itself, ever widening.


When I was little, I somehow got the idea in my head that pink was one of the natural colors that bunnies came in- you know, bunnies could be brown, white, grey, black, or pink! Well, eventually I figured out that it wasn’t true, but I still have a fondness for pink bunnies, so here’s my little pink bunny with button eyes, a button nose, and a button tail.


I work at a preschool, and every day after school, I do cleaning, some of which involves bleach. Well, I dripped some bleach onto my pants, which of course left light spots, and then there’s the paint that wouldn’t wash out…. I’d already modified these pants a couple years ago by adding ribbon around the cuffs, so I got some embroidery floss in colors to match the ribbon to make butterfly appliques to hide the bleach spots.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Working at a preschool, it's very easy to tell that we're well into the cold and flu season, which reminds me of a story from when my brother was in early elementary school. My mom took him with her to a PTA meeting, and he and his friend Todd were playing in the corner while the parents were having the meeting. In the middle of the meeting, my brother came up to my mom, and asked (loudly enough that everyone heard, of course), "Mom, what's 'snot'?" My mom was a bit mortified, and my brother added, "Todd said 'snot' and I don't know what that is." Now it was Todd's mother who was mortified. My mom calmly responded, "It's nasal drainage," and my brother said "Okay" and went back to play. My mom looked at the other mothers, who were probably thinking, "What kid doesn't know what snot is?" and said, "Well, what do you call it?" None of the other mothers had an answer for that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A busy week

I haven't ever talked on this blog about my job. Well, for a while, that was because I didn't have one. I worked at Michaels (the craft store) until the beginning of July, then decided to leave, for various reasons that I won't get into.

After going for most of the summer fruitlessly searching for a job (and I tell you, it's frustrating that I can spend half an hour filling out a job application, and they can't take half a minute to call me about it. I only ever heard back from two places that I applied to.), earlier this week, I landed a position as an assistant teacher at a Montessori preschool. Unfortunately, it's not the school that's a three-minute walk from my house, but it's a short drive away. There's one lead teacher, a morning assistant who leaves after naptime, and I'll be there from lunch through after-care.

This week, we had three mini-days with the eight new children, three- and four-year-olds, with all three teachers there. The three of us have really been bonding as a team, as well as getting to know the routine and the children. The lead teacher, of course, has met all the children before, but the other assistant is also new, though she got hired about a week before I did. The two of us have also had some opportunities to meet the returning children, which culminated today in a picnic at the lead teacher's house for just the Kindergartners. The other assistant and I helped out, and got to know the four of them who were there (one was unable to make it, as his family is out of town for the weekend).

Monday is the first day with all the children, 17 total right now. That'll be a change, but at least all the returning ones know the routine, even if they'll have to be reminded a little at first.

I was hired the day before the first day that the new children came, so I've had to learn everything very quickly. Now that we've had some good mini-days of practice under our figurative belt, we're all feeling more confident. Not only that, it's been a lot of fun (if hard on my joints with all the sitting on the floor), and it's nice to have a job that I really enjoy going to.

Friday, August 13, 2010

July Yarncraft Recap

Again in July, I was able to do all six classes in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. First up was DADA, where our assignment was to "create something which represents a way that you banish the Dementors of Depression and the Werewolf of Anger from your life". I made this very peaceful Mother Nature Goddess doll, which is covered in vines and flowers, to be calming.

In Herbology, we explored "the vining properties of plants, as represented by CABLES!" I had seen, in other classes, several of my fellow students making a tea wallet (a pouch in which to carry a few tea bags). I wanted to make one, but the only pattern on Ravelry was for a basketweave pattern. I decided to let cables be the inspiration for my tea wallet, and made this one for my mom. I then wrote up the patten and posted it for sale on Ravelry.

The next class that I completed was History of Magic, where we were supposed to make something to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday, either by creating something for a baby, or create something to celebrate Harry himself. I chose to highlight Harry's ability to love, which is something that sets him apart from Voldemort. I also honored Harry's mother with this, since her love protected him, and I made this I Love You dishcloth for my mother.

In Ancient Runes, we were assigned a letter, which had to be the first letter of the type of item, patten name, yarn name, or colorway name. I was assigned "E", and I chose to make a bag with the pattern name "Exchange Bag". The crochet is done, but I will probably end up lining it and sewing in a zipper.

For Charms, we practiced Wingardium Leviosa, the levitating spell. We had to make something light and airy. I knit a lace shawl, which I also submitted for Ravenclaw's July Bugspray contest, as lace is reminiscent of mosquito netting. This was the first time I'd done a shawl with a knitted-on edging that worked in perpendicular rows rather than just knitted on. I used the same yarn as the shawl that I made for Transfiguration in March, and I still have some of it left.

The sixth class was Potions, where we studied aconite, which is used to create the Draught of Peace, which "calms anxiety and soothes agitation, but that is only in its finished form. Creating the Draught is a process fraught with difficulties, as it is a remarkably difficult potion to stir correctly." We were to create something that was either calming, or beautiful but fiddly. Just last month, I started spinning on a drop spindle, so I used my first skein of handspun as my project. It ended up being approximately 26 yards of double-ply bulky-to-super bulky at 6ish wpi, exactly 50 grams.

August is the month in between the summer and fall terms, so there are no classes, although there are lots of other things going on, at least one of which I'm planning to participate in. Ravenclaw is having a summer reading program, where we make items that are inspired by books that we're reading. I want to write more patterns, so I've been searching for things to make that don't have a lot of patterns for them already. I've already read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, but there are already a lot of Alice-themed patterns out there, so I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything with that. Next on my reading list is the Chronicles of Narnia (I got a nice collectible edition recently), so maybe I'll have more luck with that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Here's another photo series, cleverly entitled, "Catnip".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In which Han decides that maybe life isn't so bad after all

Here's a series of photos which shows that Han isn't always hiding and running away from us, but is really a hedonist at heart:


Monday, August 9, 2010


As I alluded to earlier, in mid-June we moved into a new apartment. We had been living just out of town (near Elijah's parents, which was nice), but our new place is in town, close to Safeway, PetSmart, our vet, and lots of other places that are handy to have nearby. It also cuts Elijah's drive to work in half, at least.

Besides the location, we love the new place! It's bigger, and in a nice little area. It is an apartment, but townhome-style, so we have two floors (I love having two floors- stairs are nice to have for exercise that you don't even notice, and the cats love them), and the apartment complex has four buildings with four apartments each. We're lucky enough to have a unit on the end of a building, so we have only one direct neighbor. (After living in an apartment last summer with neighbors on all sides and sharing a hallway with everyone else on the floor, it's so much nicer to almost have our own building, with our own front and back doors.) The four buildings are in a square, with a nice little courtyard in the middle, easily accessible through our back door (while we have two dedicated parking spots in front of our front door).

It's a pet-friendly place, so there are always people taking their dogs outside, which the cats love to watch from the wide windowsill of the big window in the living room overlooking the courtyard. The boys, although they are getting better in many ways, still don't like to leave their comfort zone, so they don't like going outside (although sometimes I make them go outside on a leash and in a mesh cat tent, mean mommy that I am).

Leia, on the other hand, loooooves going outside, and will often dash out when I open the door to leave or return home. I take her outside often, and she's good about not straying too far and listening to me when I call her, so I usually don't bother to make her wear her harness and leash. And it turns out that she loves dogs! She's made friends with many of the neighbor dogs (at least, the ones that are good with cats). Our next-door-across-the-walk neighbor has three dogs, and their American Pitbull and Leia are best friends. They get excited when they see each other, and run right up for a greeting sniff. She's also friends with another neighbor's two dachshunds, one of which is bigger than she is, but the other is smaller. They're energetic and jump a little sometimes, but they're very sweet.

When I drag Leia back inside, one of her favorite places is on the couch. Our living room is so large that we have room for two loveseats and the tall cat tower. The small cat tower is upstairs in the computer room, where the cats like to hang out with us. The boys often curl up under my desk, while Leia prefers sitting in the window over the desks.

No pictures of the apartment itself, but I will leave you with these pictures of what can happen when you leave toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom:

"I didn't do it!"

"Am I in trouble?"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

June Yarncraft Recap

HPKCHC projects for the month of June, where I again managed (but barely, this time!) to complete all six classes.

First up was Herbology, where we were tasked to create either a project made from an edible fiber (corn, soy, milk, etc.), or to create a representation of food. Having no edible fibers to use, I went with the second option, and created this amigurumi, which flips back and forth from a fish to a sushi:

I late gave this to Elijah's mom, who grew up in Japan and loves sushi. She thought it was really cool!

The next class that I completed was DADA. The assignment was to look into the Mirror of Erised and see our deepest desire, then to create a pair of objects representing that desire. One of my desires is to one day have kids, a boy and a girl, so I created these two knitted woven balls:

For HoM this month, we studied the Four Founders, and were instructed to make something representing one of the Founders. Since my idea was for a small item, I chose to make something that represents all of the Founders. I made a broomstick for each, adorned with their House colors, because I feel that a broomstick can represent each Founder with a different aspect.

First, the broom is a good symbol for Helga Hufflepuff, who valued those who did not fear hard work. She wasn’t much one for unnecessarily fancy things, so she would have wanted her broom to be simple and unassuming.

Second, the broomstick would be more than just a tool for cleaning to Rowena Ravenclaw. She valued cleverness, and it is very clever to enchant an everyday object such as a broom to become a flying broom!

It is not only clever, but also cunning to make such a mundane object be able to fly! This fact would have been appreciated by Salazar Slytherin, who valued cunning and secrets. Not only can a broom fly, but it can also understand simple commands, such as “Up!” and can interpret the movements of the rider to know what it is supposed to do. Very cunning, indeed!

Finally, Godric Gryffindor provides the bravery that it takes to fly a broom. It can be scary to fly on anything, whether it’s a hippogriff or a flying carpet, but a broom can be rather hard to hold onto. It takes a lot of bravery to fly something so small, and Gryffindor has that in spades.

So you see, the simple broomstick is really much more than it seems. Looked at the right way, it has the attributes of all the Four Founders!

I finished Ancient Runes well before the last of the month, but because I was busy with moving, ended up posting it late at night on June 30. We had to choose a non-Latin writing style/system to study, and I chose the alphabet from Futurama. Ravenclaw, following May's May Flowers Challenge, had a June Bugs Challenge, so I knitted the words "June Bugs" in Futurama into a dishcloth, and bordered it with little bugs:

And here's the chart I made, so that you can better see the design:

The final two classes this month were joint Charms and Potions. In Charms, we studied Lumos (light) and Nox (dark), and in Potions, we studied Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. For Charms, we had to create something that shows the interplay between light and dark, and for Potions, we had to create either a Hand of Glory (which is a hand that gives light only to the holder, but we were encouraged to be creative), or a representation of something that creates light. We got bonus points if we connected our Charms and Potions projects somehow.

I connected my projects by doing two Star Trek-themed items. For Charms, I double-knit a dishcloth. When you double-knit with two colors, you have the positive image on one side, and an inverse image on the other:

and the back:

For Potions, I made a Type-II Phaser:

And that's all for June! I'm working on several projects for July, and I will again be trying to make all six classes. Perhaps next term, I'll try for an OWL!