Friday, November 22, 2013

The Final Project: Penny

I got up this morning to temperatures near freezing, a sky embraced by a soft grey sheet of clouds sprinkling tiny frozen droplets into my hair, and a brisk wind nudging me into the Fine Arts hall on campus.  My very favorite type of weather, nipping and teasing, weather with its claws sheathed ready to play.

I came home after class with tingling toes and ice-cold fingers because my dad's car has given up on heating and I'd forgotten to bring gloves.  After an hour of washing dishes and watching an episode of The Universe on 10 Ways To Destroy Planet Earth (Warning: Only watch if you're okay with your brain exploding at about 36 minutes in, and that's if you have some scientific background!), I was sufficiently warm enough to return to my room.

What greeted me was quite a pitiful sight.  A new volunteer for The Final Project had made her way to my house overnight, and had been sitting on my windowsill all morning, shivering in the cold and dripping with near-freezing rain.  Of course I let her in immediately, apologized profusely, and gave her a few minutes under my blow-drier to warm her up and dry her off.

With her feathers once again fluffy and her eyes bright, she's ready for her shining moment.  Introducing...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Final Project: Krissie and Maxwell

Before you panic, let me assure you that this is not my last project.  It's a clever title for my latest one.  I assure you, I will continue to knit long after I've finished.

With that reassurance, let's get to what the project actually is.

Have you ever heard of The (secret) Toy Society?  It's a wonderful organization that secretly leaves toys in public places to be picked up by children and taken home for free.  I just had to join, although I haven't made any drops yet.

I'm at college literally every weekday right now, and we're getting to finals in a couple of weeks.  This means, as my best friend put it, "There are lots of stressed teenage girls."  These people might appreciate adorableness.

Finals means many students are pulling several all-nighters to cram for tests they haven't prepared for.  Who better to encourage these tired teens (and adults!) through their study sessions than someone who's up all night anyway?

That's where my nocturnal friends come in.  An army of owls (and potentially bats) released into the campus[es] where they can bring happiness to a few lucky students.  Ready to meet the first volunteers?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Octuple Rainbow: Multiplying Spiral

The Octuple Rainbow, 144 squares of gorgeous yarn math and color mixing, is a single unit.  I don't think I can wrap my mind around this concept.

I raced through the last quarter and finished it just on time.  Impressive considering how far behind schedule I was.  I was literally working on it in a movie theatre the day I finished it.  The last stitches were done in the car, in fact, and I let my youngest brother snuggle under it all the way home because I'm nice like that.

Then I took pictures.  Remember the picture of the two stacked quarters offset?  I had to do it again with three.

And then with four.  But you might recall that I was missing one of my quarters because I had loaned it off to my best friend.  So I had to wait until Sunday to retrieve it.  He laughed at me when he saw what I was doing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bunny Fluff: Snowfall

Before I took up spinning, I was doing a bunch of research, and talking about it a lot with my best friend (since I process information by relating it).  I really don't remember how angora came up, but it did.  And for some reason, out of all the fiber I told him about, "rabbit wool" became his favorite (and yes, I know that terminology is incorrect; I've since corrected him to calling it "bunny fluff").  I knew I would have to make him something out of angora because of this, so when he later joked that I should make him a hat, there was my plan.

Turns out it's way cheaper to buy angora fiber than it is to buy angora yarn, so... yeah.  100% pure angora fiber is an interesting spinning task.  The fibers are short and hate to stay together, so they take a ton of twist to stabilize.  It also likes to spin thin.  So yeah, you could say it's a challenge.

I have four ounces of it, two 2oz ...bundles, I guess. Plastic bags full of fiber.  I manipulated one into a braid when I pulled it out, and I've left the other alone for now because of angora's tendency to shed.  I really have no idea how much the hat is going to take, so I'm going to do the two braids as two skeins.  That means I only have to have an ounce at a time on my spindle.  And means I can take a break from spinning to do half the plying, and then spin the other skein.  I'm easily bored.

Anyway, so this is my birthday gift to him.  Not just the hat, but the process.  Of course I have to do the spinning (this is so not a beginner's fiber), but I'll probably let him help me ply it if he's interested.  We're definitely dyeing it together, however he wants that done.  And since he's a quick study, he can also help knit it.  Meaning he'll be involved in every step of this process from fluff to finished, with the exception of spinning singles.  This is fun for both of us.

Right now I'm just shy of finishing the first ounce.  I have a small length of top left out of the ounce, and then I'll wind off this single onto a pen (probably) and start on the other half.

One of the college campuses at which I take classes is a giant two-story building that vaguely resembles a strip mall.  So while I was there yesterday, between classes with little to do for an hour, I spun.  Over the second-story railing.  Aw, yeah.

I picked a section of railing where people don't normally walk underneath, and it was fortunate that I did.  Once during the spinning process I lifted the spindle for a flick, and when I released it the slight bounce snapped my single.  Oops.

Interestingly, things seem to fall slower when watched from above.  Akitla struck the ground with a clunk audible from the second story, and lay forlornly in a tiled corner, waiting for me (I wish I had a picture of this, but I was too busy freaking out to stop to take one).  I admit I cursed as I snatched up my things and dashed down the adjacent stairs to retrieve her.  Except for a slight dent at the bottom of the shaft, she's perfectly all right.

I think from now on, I'll keep my balcony spinning to the plying part of the process.  There's less likelihood of tumbling spindles with that stage.  Anyway when plying over a balcony, a good solid spin will carry it all the way to the ground, which tends to make people stop and gape -- a sight that basically makes my day.

Friday, November 1, 2013

October Resolutions: What Just Happened?

Someone informs me that October is over.  What?  When did that happen?  Isn't it like the 18th?

According to my music professor this is the part of the semester where school tries to kill you.  My exams and major projects are stacking up within days of each other, making it difficult to plan ahead and forcing me to basically just get through a week at at time. Half the students are getting sick from not taking care of themselves well (not this girl!).  Sleep is in high demand and short supply.  So that might all be part of my confusion and inability to get things done.

As I suspected, this month did not go so well for my resolutions.  Check out the original post here to see what my original goals were, and brace yourself for a crash.  Here we go.