Wednesday, January 28

Let's go treasure hunting!

I accomplished the homework for another House Cup class since I last posted, and I'm a big fan of how it turned out (and I didn't bleed due to trying to put it on my cat).

Because this project was so open-ended, it took me a really long time to come up with something. In the end, I decided to make something for my steampunk alias, which I'm still in the process of developing. Her name is Ginevra Lucette Valentine (and kudos to you if you can figure out the two references in there), and she's an adventurer and explorer.

Travel Map Case

The task was to come up with a project corresponding to the Character, Heart and Social numbers unique to your name. (Numbers discerned with the help of this link.) What's interesting is that my online alias xamonster and my steampunk alias have the very same numbers: 3 Character, 3 Heart, 9 Social. (A link to the further explanation of personality numbers can be found on the link above.)

Here's my description from the project page:
I chose scarlet (S9) and tangerine (C3) for my main colors. I chose to do a travel case (h3) for a map (C3): no true steampunk treasure hunter goes exploring without a map! I opted to crochet my case in order to have a stronger fabric.

The disc for the base began with 6 stitches (3+3) around, increased to 24. I continued in dc for 9 inches before finishing in sc with 3 tangerine stripes. The disc for the cap began with 9 stitches around, increased to 27 (9x3), dc for a few rounds, then adding sc with 3 tangerine stripes. The strap was dc on a base 3 stitches wide.

To reinforce the case, there is a cardboard tube, which will (at some point in the hopefully not-so-distant future) painted a metallic color with a Mod Podge top coat to protect it.

Travel Map Case

Check out my sexy coffee table. It's a trunk that used to belong to my great-grandmother.

That is all.

Thursday, January 22

Tweeting around in my head

Twitter. I do not use it. However, I have recently started subscribing to certain RSS feeds of certain Twitter users, just so's I can follow their tweets.

It started innocently enough, with Felicia Day and Dr Horrible. Then I saw that Unclutterer has one, which I call TwUnclutterer. And then Ravelry and Amy over at Knitty got Twitter. And then Felicia made a list of authors who use Twitter. I learned that Neil Gaiman has Twitter, as do Stephen Fry, John Cleese, John Lithgow, and Wil Wheaton.

As I was skimming tweets Monday morning, I noticed that Wil Wheaton had sent a tweet to Brent Spiner, and then somehow I got to Levar Burton. I have a Trek trifecta! How fantastic is that? (I'm such a dork.)

But I'm still going to stick with the Plurk.

Edited to respond to binerman's comment: I have a clan of knitters on the Plurk. And FYI: xamonster.

Foremost in my mind today, however, are two phrases: "President Barack Obama" and "former President George W. Bush". Tuesday was a good day for the country.

Monday, January 19

I will taunt you a second time

I hate you

How, you may ask, did you manage to get a cat to hold still long enough to place a hat on his head?

In short, I didn't. This photo is some kind of miracle. Most of the brief photo shoot this morning actually went like this:

You can't get me

This is the aptly-named Demetrios is an angry French cat hat, but is known on Ravelry as International Cat Hat: France, Le Mieux. There is a small number of hats for other countries: Germany, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom — even the US (a stunning rendition of the Statue of Liberty's crown and scepter).

That's all I can muster today. Happy MLK Day!

Thursday, January 15

In which my toes are a little cold.

As I may have mentioned previously, I feel that Neil Gaiman has a way with words. Let me once more demonstrate:
Oww. Windchill. Cold like knives cold.
Twitter from neilhimself

Concise, yet accurate as always.

I also learned last night that I am, in point of fact, a bad person for wanting to de-claw my cat primarily because he keeps making holes in the window plastic. I would make him duck tape mittens, but he would just gnaw his paws off. Ah well. Patchwork Window Project continues. More photos ought to follow.

Also, I have finished my January Charms project, Urchin. Expecto patronum!


Nice, eh? Now back to your regularly scheduled cold air, which is probably causing hell to freeze over again.

Monday, January 12

Secret boyfriend?

I have broken a taboo.

I watched Saturday Night Live.

I had an excellent excuse: Neil Patrick Harris. Have I ever told you that I love him? Probably not. His appearance as Dr. Horrible last July made me turn in to a bit of a NPH fan girl. (I bought the Assassins soundtrack on iTunes primarily because he sings on it.) Seriously, he's up there with Johnny Depp. (This is kind of a scary thing, friends.) I'm going to have to find a cardboard cutout of Neil as well.

The reason SNL is such a taboo for me is that in recent years it has come to be the most un-funny-yet-trying-to-be-funny thing on the planet. I think they try too hard. I mean really, is there still a writer's strike or something? Their sketches are awful.

But Neil, oh Neil. He made SNL worth breaking taboo watching. Admittedly, the funniest bit of the show was the "Digital Short". (Was there really anything digital about it? Do they film it ahead of time and just call it "digital"? That's kind of a cop-out if you ask me. Which you didn't.) Doogie Howser theme for the win. And did you see that Neil was playing? I love that he can play the piano. (Let's have a moment of silence for some fan girl squee, shall we?)

Ok, back to business. Something that really irritated me about SNL (aside from the un-funny sketches and scenes that drag on too long [like that dreadful Penelope tripe — what was that?]) was Taylor Swift. I've heard her music on the radio, but when it comes to watching her perform, I'm confused. Why is she holding a guitar? She strums two chords and is done with it. Guitars are not accessories, music industry! Bah.

That's all she wrote, for now. I went through the yarn stash last weekend, and there are photos. Scared yet?

Thursday, January 8

Ra Ra Ravenclaw!

This post is going to be primarily about knitting and Harry Potter, so if you're not interested in any of that, you probably ought to skip this post.

I finished my Luna scarf, which was my first project for the new term of Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup. I'm knitting (and crocheting, as you can see below) for Ravenclaw again, which is nice. I was prepared to knit for another house again, but the numbers ended up being fairly balanced and I think everyone got their first choice.

Luna scarf
Luna Lovegood scarf. Slightly twisty, slightly itchy, but sweet

The scarf was crocheted from stash wool, which is amazing in and of itself. I ran out of the first color (the lightest) and went stash diving to dig out some more coordinated colors. The Luna scarf was an assignment from this month's Defense Against the Dark Arts class. The task was this:
This month you will be learning the Imperius Curse: Go to our Group Members Page. Close your eyes. Click on a fellow Housecupper. Make something from their projects page. (Because it’s like the other Housecupper controlling you - but there’s a certain amount of agency, because you can choose what project you do…and also because if you hate everything, you could choose another person - we totally wouldn’t know.)

So I thought the assignment was pretty cool. I clicked on a person called MOEgir198, who had already made a Luna scarf, and there you have it.

Here's a quick rundown of the rest of the classes for this month. (And the list of classes available to take has been expanded, which was nice.)
  • Herbology: cleaning the greenhouse. Clean your Ravelry queue, update stash and needles lists, organize yarn stash (with before and after photos) and make a 12-month plan of at least one project per month to work on.
  • Care of Magical Creatures: knit or crochet something that will keep the magical creature in your home warm. These items can also be donated if you don't happen to have any pets.
  • History of Magic: knowledge. The first assignment is a 25-question quiz; the answers are to be found in the seven books of the series, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Tales of Beedle the Bard.
  • Charms: the Patronus Charm. Create either a cure for seasonal depression (i.e. something to make YOU happy) or depicts the patronus as a messenger (a messenger bag or book cover).
  • Arithmancy: the magic in math. Using the site Intro to Arithmancy, obtain your three numbers of interest: Character, Heart and Social. Then craft a project that features these three numbers.

I have a few ideas so far, and I have already started on my project for Charms class. I'm knitting a beret called Urchin which is from the Fall '07 issue of Knitty. The wool I'm using is the giant cake of black wool from Heartland Fiber Co (that new LYS in town that I finally visited*).

A new thing for the winter term is OWLs (Ordinary Wizarding Levels). The assignment is to choose a class to attempt an OWL for, present your written portion, and then commence the project, which is due at the end of the term (end of March). I'm thinking of doing a project for Herbology ("students should be able to easily manipulate oversized organic creations"). My project plan is a cabled blanket, Serenity. I was also thinking about Charms, for which I'd knit a shawl. I'm still up in the air about that.

That's really all I have to say. Kudos to you if you've made it through this whole post!

*This link, coincidentally, is the same one I shared two posts ago when I mentioned the cortisone shot for my shoulder. Weird.

Tuesday, January 6

In which I share someone else's content

You might know that I enjoy reading books that Neil Gaiman has written. I also enjoy reading blog posts he's written. I would like to share bits of a couple recent posts with you.

Firstly, something about the new year, which I enjoy most particularly for the photo (which is completely and thoroughly hijacked from Mr Gaiman's blog post At the turning of the year). mark the passing of Edd Cartier (and the nearly-done-ness of 2008). Of all the pulp magazine artists of the 30s-50s, including such masters as Virgil Finlay and Kelly Freas, Cartier was my favourite, particularly his work in Unknown Worlds. Marvellous stuff. If I had known he was still alive, I suspect I would have written him a fan letter. Instead, I discovered the other day, from Locus, that he (and James Cawthorn, who was, with Mal Dean, the definitive Moorcock illustrator) had just died, and now I know that Mr Cartier was alive, it's too late.

The other post I want to share (Another year) has a couple different fun bits. The first celebrates the knighting of author Terry Pratchett, and the doffing of caps.

Let's see. The biggest and the best news of the day is that Terry Pratchett is now Sir Terrence of Pratchett. Hurrah.

I shall doff my cap the next time I see him. It will be the best-doffed cap in the land.

I shall buy a cap first, specially.

The second bit of the post shares his wishes for the coming year.

...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

Neil truly makes me smile. Now back to your regularly-scheduled Tuesday.

Monday, January 5

In which there are haircuts and to-do lists

Happy 2009! I know a lot of people who had a rather rough time of it over the past 12 months, and I hope that this year goes a lot better for them.

That being said, I have not made any concrete resolutions. I have started using a to-do service (Toodledo) and it helps me to keep track of things that need to be done. Right now I have categories for knitting, cleaning, work and Ravelry. It's pretty cool.

I don't have a whole lot to say today, I suppose, other than the usual hooray for the new year bit. I got my hairs cut recently, and got a fairly cute PhotoBooth shot of it last week.

I'm feeling a little weird today. I have a bit of a headache and feel kind of dizzy. I'm also a bit flushed. (This is a good reason for not showing you a PhotoBooth of today's look, although my hair somehow gave itself sausage bangs.) And I got a bill for the $88 my insurance decided not to cover from the cortisone shot I got last month, which was nice. I suppose I should be happy that they covered some of it, eh?

I need to go now. I started writing this post four hours before actually publishing it.