Friday, February 24, 2012

Hangin' with Elle instead of Ella

I have had an extremely long week.  I have been working overtime, and a few things have been suffering.  Firstly, my Ella still has short sleeve caps.  I wanted to fix it today, but I had to attend to another more pressing matter.  My fingernails!!! EEEKKKK!  The polish was chipping off terribly, and the hangnail hooked onto the yarn when I knit.  So, it was about time that I gave them some TLC.

I went to Duane Reade's website and saw that Essie came out with a new line called Luxe Effects. All of the colors have a pop of shimmer or glitter, and can be used with other polishes to make really pretty effects. I saw that they paired a pearlescent shimmer polish with a white base coat.   So, here is my take on it. 

I used O.P.I.'s "A-ha Moment" to paint the tips of my nails. 

Then I used 2 coats of "Elle's Pearls by OPI" as the main color.

After that, I applied Essie's "Shine of the Times" over each nail, for extra shimmer.

Here is the complete look.  I love it.   
French Luxe Bling
Here is a closer look at the Luxe effect.

Don't worry.  Tomorrow, there will be knitting.  I just received some new yarn for a totally new project.  I will tell you all about it soon.  And yes, of course there's PINK! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sleeve Cap Mishap

I worked fervently last night to finish the sleeve caps on Ella, and catch up with everyone else in the KAL. I took careful notes using my Vogue Knitting app. So, when i matched it up to the bodice, I was a bit stunned. It was missing a huge chunk of stripes. About 12 rows worth. I guess somehow my row gauge was off. As much as I hate weaving in ends, I am grateful for the stripes that spoke the truth. It's time to do some sleeve math. I figure there were 9 decreases in which I decreased every other row. If I decreased every third row instead, that would give me 9 extra rows in the length of my sleeve cap. Then I can just knit 3 rows even and the problem would be solved. Let's see how this theory plays out.

Here is a picture of my sad sleeve.

Sleeve Island

Yesterday was Carnival day on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. I would have much rather been there than in the cold, having to wear multiple layers of clothes, and keep my pedicure under wraps. I would have much rather had the sun beat down on me in my feather and bead costume, and consume ample amounts of coconut water with a little (or a whole lot of) sumthin' sumthin' added to it. I would have much rather listened to soca music vibrating through the air from speakers twice my height mounted on trucks plastered with ads for Monster Energy Drink and Blue Waters. I would have much rather seen friends I haven't seen in years, and meet new ones in equally beautiful festive regalia.

But alas, the only Island I am on is Sleeve Island. I will say, I am quite content that I am relaxed and not hearing the office phone ring, or seeing an overly exhausted banker go crazy when I tell him that its impossible to recolor a world map and add 100 tiny dots to it in 30 minutes because he needed it yesterday. Sleeve island is nice, because while I am here, I can watch a live stream of Trinidad's festivities while I knit. That makes me happy.

I made a boo-boo by increasing to 72 stitches instead of 70. But, whose counting? I fixed it by binding off 1 extra stitch in the first 2 sleeve decrease rows. I am happy to be making progress since last week's injuries had me slow down a bit. I anticipate being able to weave in the ends tomorrow ( hopefully). Next stop, bolero city! Oh yeah, and i'm booking a ticket to next year's carnival too.

The first picture shows me halfway through the decreases that happen every other row. The second picture shows a better depiction of the colors, and a close up of the sleeve cap in progress.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eye Strain

It has been a really long day. I have been staring at a computer screen intently for 12 hours. It's a marvelous wonder that my eyes haven't just jumped out of their sockets and ran to the Optic Police to charge me with overuse and abuse. When you look at pixels all day, your eyes overwork because they are trying to focus on an image that is not real. So they tire themselves out by constantly refocusing. Now just multiply that with 4 straight hours of zooming in and out of Photoshop images to make sure each pixel is the correct color. No wonder I feel crazy right now.

I have decided that the best solution for this is to stare at a real image that is really pretty. I just wound up some Red Barn Yarn in the Nora #7 color way. It's a nice mix of Mohair and Wool that will become Escher's Oriental Poppy Cowl. I'm waiting for my poppy yarn to arrive, but I can cast on for the cowl in the meantime. So instead of hurting my eyes more by reading from my Nook, or playing Angry Birds on the way to work tomorrow... I will be knitting. It is soothing to the soul, and guess what? I can do it with my eyes closed.

This pattern calls for a size 10 needle. The only ones I could find were these Susan Bates straights that I got from an EBay auction 10 years ago. It feels good to go back to the basics.

Now, time to cast on and work the first row, so I can rest up for work tomorrow. Subway knitting, here I come!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yarn loves me, yarn loves me not.

Truly, there is rarely a day that I go without knitting. However, this weekend almost made me cry.

Friday I went to work with a slight twitch in my back. Just a small, slight pain. I was tired from going out dancing the night before, and figured I must have just slept bad. I managed to make it to work, not necessarily bright eyed, but at least I was present. I drank about a quart of orange juice before normalcy set in. On the way home from work, I listened to the CogKnitive podcast while I tuned out the crazies that ride the subway. Dr. Gemma spoke about the importance of yoga in this particular episode. I was working on the Festivus gift for my coworker and carried on like I didn't have a care in the world.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I had wonderful plans to tidy up the closet, organize the stash, and finish knitting my Ella sleeves. I tried to get up out of the bed. OUCH! I tried to swing my legs off the bed. OUCH! I tried to just sit up while I was in the bed. OUCH! Apparently, the left back muscles connected to my Thoracic spine decided that they wanted to throw a hissy fit. I finally somehow pushed myself off the bed with my arms. Then some foolish thing falls off of the night table onto the floor. I bend over to pick it up. OUCH. Ok. So, I revert back to ballet class. Second position, Grand PliƩ it! Omg. Am I supposed to be a squatter all day?

I attempt to go to the grocery to buy some fruits and juices for my cousins kids. I try to carry a seemingly light box of Capri Sun juices from the carseat to the front door. OUCH! Then I feel it. The impulse go around my torso from the back to the front. Is that what a muscle spasm feels like?

I go upstairs to greet the kiddies. The four year old reaches up for a kiss. I bend down to kiss her forehead. OUCH! I have to squat again. "Anty Meka you are hurting. Are you gonna cry? You don't have to cry for that". This little one is so sweet. I try to unzip my boots. OUCH again! The 4 year old unzips them and uses all her strength to take them off my feet as I wiggle my foot around, holding on to the wall for dear life. After a struggle I am free.

Later on, I proceed to sit on the couch to catch up on knitting my lovely Ella. I usually lay my leg across the couch and line up my skeins somewhere between my leg and the back of the couch. OUCH. OUCH. OUCH. Now I am sinking into the couch, in searing pain, yarn is rolling everywhere, and
my tapestry needle just fell on the floor. Arrrrrrgh!

That's it. I've been holding out, and not trying to take meds all day. But, it's time for me to swallow one of them. 15 minutes later, zzzzzzzzzzz.

Throughout the rest of the weekend, I got a twitchy feeling every time I tried to knit. I got some relief on Monday, and I believe that was due to the fact that I did the "half lord of the fishes" yoga pose, also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana. (thanks, Yoga Journal!) Sit on the floor, bend one leg, cross the other leg over the thigh, twist toward the hip of the leg used in the crossover. I was able to feel a really good stretch. I moved slowly and breathed very deeply. I promised myself I would do a full yoga workout soon. But at this point, the downward dog seems impossible. Injuries humble you so much. They force you to slow down, and make you realize how important helpful people are. Even the little 4 year olds.

My overall results: I knit 20 more rows on my Ella sleeves Monday night, and made progress on the Scrumptious Neckwarmer for my coworker. I also want to post a pic of my little sweet angelic cousin who calls me "Anty Meka" in her sweet voice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Seeing Double

I am working on the sleeves of my Ella coat. I decided to make them both at the same time just to keep things consistent. In an effort to minimize having a ridiculous amount of mini yarn balls, I came up with an idea to keep everything together. I knit one sleeve from the inside of the ball, and the other sleeve from the outside. Secondly, I am alternating starting the even numbers of rows on the wrong side or right side for each color. This allows me to have some space when weaving in ends, so I am not weaving 2 colors next to each other. Some of the color bands are only 2 rows long, so it makes the fabric very dense if I'm weaving in a section that have 4 tails in a row. I have to keep on mind that I still have to seam this all together on the end. My darning needle is going to need some space.

The goal for the KAL is to have the sleeves completed before next Monday. For NaKniSweMo I finished a pair of sleeves in 2 days. But this is NOT November, and this is NOT a Stockinette sleeve done in the round with minor cable detailing at the cuff. I'm not even going to talk about the amount of ends to weave in, which could take up some significant time. Thank God for reality TV playing in the background to keep me awake late at night.

The stripes also account for the fact that Ella can't commute with me. But, I did manage to make use of my train time today. I casted on for Ella #2 today.

At this point, I am at Bedford Avenue, on the L train.  The last stop in Brooklyn.
I am making it in a color scheme that revolves around orange. This new Ella is actually for my mom, and I have chosen the size 44 for her after careful measurements. I asked my mom to choose which color comes next when I started to set up the color scheme. Her response "They all look pretty. Pick whatever you want." My result ended up looking like candy corn, but what the heck.

I will fix that by adding some bling with Tilli Tomas Flurries. I can't wait to see this Ella come to life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weaving, weaving, weaving in.

I finally finished my Ella bodice. I was afraid I was falling behind, but I was able to catch up after 2 nights of watching reality TV. The bodice fits great. I am still getting used to it being slightly larger than when I usually make sweaters. Most of my sweaters don't have 2 inches of positive ease. But yet and still, I am loving it.

My only qualm about it is the amount of weaving in for all of the loose ends from the stripes. But the payoff is great with all the lovely colors.

Here are some progress pictures.

My nice weaving.....

....and the rest that needs weaving. Ugh!

Also, I would like to introduce you to my newest little cousin Caleb. He was born in Trinidad yesterday morning at around 9 AM. He is 8 pounds and the sweetest thing ever. I'm kinda bummed that I can't make anything woolen for him, because he lives in a tropical island. Does anyone have any ideas for something cute for him?

Lastly, plans for Ella L'Orange are underway. I recently got my package of yarn from The Loopy Ewe. I am waiting on 2 skeins of Tilli Tomas Flurries from I am so excited to start this.