Archive for the 'Self-Portraits' Category

…and I suck at sewing.

Hi! My name is Nicole and I suck at sewing (and the crappy photography doesn’t help).

Anyway. I was inspired/jealous/peer-pressured/whatever by my knitting friend’s fabulous infinity dress. And I wanted to make one too. So I stopped at Jo-ann’s and bought some knit fabric (polyester, yuk) to make my own.

I was not as successful and I would have hoped. The dress involves ONE seam. One. Sewed. Seam. And I couldn’t even get it right. Here’s my timeline of the project (not a recommended avenue for your own dress):

  1. Cut straps. Say to self “there’s tons of extra fabric at the end. I’ll be able to make a skirt, no problem.
  2. Cut waist band. Wish really hard that there was some sort of direction in the “recipe” for how thick the waistband should be (clearly, my first attempt, 4 inches was too wide). Otherwise, the recipe was very helpful.
  3. Hold up the remaining rectangle shape. Think to self “Hmm. this is going to be a short skirt. This might be a problem.” Consider the possibility that the other large chunk of “leftovers” might be the skirt section and then dismiss this possibility upon closer examination. Decide to continue without serious concern.
  4. Make the rectangle more rounded, hoping to preserve as much length as possible. Decide that instead of cutting a hole in the skirt, a slit would preserve the most length in all directions. Cut a slit large enough to go around hips.
  5. Step into skirt (to make sure the slit is wide enough) and consider again the fact that this is turning out to be a bit risque.
  6. Remember Huan-Hua’s advice and attempt to pin all the pieces together, all the way around the waist.
  7. Begin sewing. Curse the long straps (that get in the way). Have general frustration.
  8. Finish the seam, hold up the dress, right side facing… and see 3 giant spaces where the seam did not go where it was supposed to and there are giant gaps.
  9. Attempt 8 times (or so) to close these gaps, in the process shortening the skirt by milimeters each time. Finally decide that 2 of these gaps are now small enough that they are not important, particularly when the straps can be wrapped such that the seams essentially disappear.
  10. Try on dress, realize that it shows a LOT of leg. Like a lot. Also realize that I may be a bit too… busty to wear the dress low enough to cover leg without sacrificing support and side coverage.
  11. “Grrr.”
  12. Decide to call it a learning experience and not obsess, move on to next project.
  13. Just before closing out the firefox tab of the recipe, read that this dress could be worn as a top. Genius.
  14. Decide that next time, I will make the straps wider (for less revealing side boobage) and double check the width of the fabric before I buy so that I can be sure the skirt will be long enough.

Here’s another photo, this time of the back.



A finish and a Journey


I finished the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Or at least as finished as it’s going to be in awhile. Right now, It’s only got two buttons/button loops, but in a few months, I’ll change that. I’m in the process of losing weight and I don’t want to add the other buttons until I’m closer to my goal weight/the fit I want. And this isn’t a silly little diet/fad or what not. I’ve actually lost 7 or 8 pounds (imprecise scale) so far… anyway… Yay for this sweater!


Oh, yea, there was supposed to be a great story with this post. Ummm ok. Here goes:

There once was this knitter (me) who knit an awesome sweater in like 8 days (seen above). She seamed this sweater, promptly tried it on and thought it was too small. Specifically, she was concerned about the stretching in the arms. Frustrated, she decided to continue the sweater and then give said sweater to her younger sister for her upcoming birthday. Generous yes, but what can you do?

A few days later, this knitter brought her sweater to her fantastic knitting group. She explained her concerns and the gifting decision, something she was obviously sad to admit to have to do. Finally, she tried on the sweater and became overwhelmed with the overwhelming chorus of – “oh, you should keep it!” “I think it fits just fine” and “I’m sure blocking will help.” Our knitter left this knitting group torn between the trust of this group, and the love of her sister.

A week later, her sister came for a birthday visit. The knitter kindly and nonchalantly (noncommittally might be a better word) asked her sister to try on the partly-hemmed sweater. And to her disgust, the purply color clashed with her sister’s skin tone like no other color known to man.

Rejoice! The sweater remains with the knitter (and blocked to a much better fit).

(You can see the details on the Ravelry page.)  OH.  And I have another FO – but I’m not going to blog it until I get some photos next weekend.

I’m honored to announce…

I had so much fun at my knitting group last night! We’re a fun bunch. Last night there was Elli, Leigh, Kalani, Huan-Hua, and Kathrina, all people who I would not know if it were not for knitting (I like being able to go and turn off my job, turn off schoolwork and turn off stress). It was great. I was working on my last bird-in-hand mitten and professing my love for the pair.

At one point, I was explaining how much I love them and that if it were possible, I would marry these mittens. Of course, someone mentioned how such ambiphilia (love having to do with mittens and gloves, a word I made up just now) was illegal in most states. *laugh. (I know, that was a bad joke.)

One little birdie

Then… I kept messing up the chart and the colorwork. I missed some increases on the thumb gusset, clearly because the company was so great. In expressing my frustration, I whined, as usual. I also exclaimed that obviously I had gotten married too soon. Then, in a bit of perfect comedic timing, Leigh piped in that we should have lived together first. It was funny. Probably in a way that only knitters can truly appreciate.

Flipping the birdies

Another reason why I like having real live knitters to talk with is because we can be crazy together (like above). Last night, we talked about how sometimes, we stay up really late because we want to finish a project. Last night, I was seriously contemplating staying up to finish the mittens – particularly because I had an 8 am meeting that I knew would involve a freezing transport to and from. But I did the math and I would have had to stay up until like 3 am… and with an early meeting, that was just not a good idea.

So, I went to my meeting. And then I came back and had 2 hours before meeting number two. So I knitted on the mittens a bit and got to the last thumb. And then I came back and had 2.5 hours before an inservice training session thing. So I knit some more. I pretty much finished the pair! And I got to wear them to my inservice thing and brag to everyone. It was great. One girl even said that I could walk into American Eagle and buy them for like 20$ (she meant that as a compliment).
Bird in Hand Mittens

The Details:

Pattern: Bird in Hand Mittens, By Kate Gilbert.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in two colors carried by my LYS that matched my jacket.
Needles: (and therefore size) – 3 aluminum
Time to knit: First one didn’t really get fair amounts of work until about 1/10/07. While it is true that I started them before christmas, Christmas knitting and some test knitting prevented me from doing anything productive on them. The second one I finished in about 4 days.
Mods: I did the braids a little different on the second mitten (much easier in fact). Look for a tutorial later today or sometime tomorrow.

Again, I’m going to be posting a “helpful” post on these mittens next, so be sure to check it out! In the meantime, now that I have some mittens, I’m now back in the knitters club.
Peek a birdie

My Happy Box!

A few months ago, I wrote about my “happy box.” I got a lot of comments about it and so I wanted to go into some more detail here. Basically, I put things in my happy box that make me happy.  When I get depressed or down, I pull it out and leaf through it for inspiration and a lift.  In doing this, I’m also inspired by The Happiness Project and wanted to share something that contributes to my happiness. I hope that I inspire you to find some of your own happiness. Feel free to borrow my idea – but remember that what makes me happy is going to be different than what makes you happy.

First, you’ll need a box. I used an old photo box until it was too small. This is what I’ve been using for the past few months:


I have a variety of “stuff” in my happy box. Since I’m a knitter, I have a swatch and photo of my first sweater…


I also thought it was important to put my favorite book in my happy box….


It’s by Eva Ibbotson. True, it’s sappy. But it makes me happy, and that’s the point of my happy box. I also have some more sentimental stuff in there – like letters and notes from my parents and family (that say more than just “we miss you.” – things like “we’re proud of you…”)….


I also have notes and cards from my residents from when I was an RA. I have a few from my current RAs that I supervise – and after they get taken off my refridgerator, I’ll put them in this box too….


I also have a note of encouragement from my grandpa (who is no longer with us)… I’d forgotten I had this and when I found it last spring, I cried as I read it….

Of course, I also have plenty of photos – of family, my awesome summer working at the yarn store (click the photo to see tags of who is who and stories behind them….)


And finally… I like to have things that make me laugh. Like this article for example…


It’s an article about a bunch of old women who tried to register for the army and staged a protest when the army wouldn’t accept them. It’s full of humor, wisdom and the best things in life. It makes me smile.

That’s a collection of some of the stuff in my happy box. What would you have in your happy box?

Wool stockings in April

And, according to the weather forecast, it’s not to late!

So… remember those gorgeous stockings I started a few months ago?

I finally finished them! Check them out!
Norwegian Stockings!

I lurve them so much. They are wicked warm, but that’s a good thing. Now, I just need to find the perfect shoes and the perfect skirt to show them off…

Some details:

Pattern: Norwegian Stockings from Folk Socks
Designer: Nancy Bush
Yarn: Knitpicks Telemark 100% Peruvian Wool.
Needles: US 3 dpn (Brittany Birch)
Time to knit: Only 2 months. A long time, but not compared to how long my socks usually take.
Mods: I guess I’m pretty short. I had to cut some of the repeats out of the pattern.
Notes: At first, I did the heel turn with the yarn held doubled – that was NOT a good idea. After I finished the pair, I cut the heel turn, unraveled it and re-knit it with only one strand.

Also, if I were to knit this again (a possibility, it’s definitely a good pattern), I would NOT slip the edge stitches. The pulled pretty badly and there are holes along the flap. I may duplicate stitch them to close it, but I’m not sure yet.

Note to self: My mom likes these socks and this (or a version of these) may be a good gift for her someday…

Extras: I feel pretty dang confident in my fair isle skills now. Another photo, just for fun…
Norwegian Stockings 2

What I’ve Been Up To

Well first off, I did this awesome button swap

I’ve also got 2 swaps pending on the knitty swap board – it’s nice because I’m exchanging some yarn which I shouldn’t have bought with quite a bit of sock yarn (some quite good) to bring with me to NYC (I have an “I’m only packing sock yarn” rule!).

Next, I got a little something for myself for graduation. It was definitely a splurge, but it’s been awhile since I’ve done that… here’s a photo….

I love it! First, it’s very much in my “style” (If I have one – that’s debatable) and, it’s not something that I’ve ever seen (or seen anything like) here in Bloomington – as a diehard Target girl, I don’t get to say that very often. If you’re interested, her website is here and her etsy shop is here. And her customer service is excellent. This necklace came wrapped in a nice box with a bow. It made me feel special!

Next up. Things are a little boring on the knitting front.
Green and White Dishcloth

I’m trying to knit as many of these as I can in the next 22 days to give to some of my friends/coworkers.  We’ll be in apartments (after spending 2 years in the dorms!) and I thought this would be a cute idea.  Basically, I’m going to make a bunch and let them pick a few that “speak to them.”  I bought a cone of the white and I’m keeping it any solid color (no ombres) and the white as the background.  I’ll post some more photos in the later days…

Also, I joined a new knitting/designing groupblog/community.  It’s been pretty great because I can get feedback about my designs-in-the-works from actual knitters.  Also, we’ve been challenging each other (in a good way) and that’s been pretty neat.  It’s a secret blog though, so you can’t see (na, na, na, na, na).

Non-knitting related content:

There’s been a ton of talk in the blogosphere about blogs and the purpose of them and whatnot.  Things like “why blog if no one comments” and things like “lets all just get along.”  And in the meantime, I’m starting to feel more and more a part of the blogging community.  I get angry when my journalism professors dismiss blogs (granted, they’re talking about political blogs which may indeed be the downfall of objective newspaper reporting as we know it, but that’s another soapbox) – how dare they insult my community – they know nothing about the power of good that can be spread by the blogs – check out the Harlot‘s collection for Doctor’s Without Border’s if you don’t believe me!

Anyway, I’ve always refrained from non-knitting related content as much as possible.  But as I’ve grown into this community, I feel like sharing more and more of it.  So here’s some updates, if you’re interested…

  1. I finished a 25 page senior thesis (71 pages with appendices) and next Friday is my senior review.  I’m not real worried about it, I think I should be alright.  Basically, I’ll get some sort of a final stamp of approval to my major (which I created) and then I’ll be good to go in early May.
  2. I’ll be attending IU again next year, in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s program.  Oh, and I’ve gotten an assistantship that will be essentially paying me to go to school.  But that means that I may be up at 3 in the morning with drunk and belligerent college freshmen more often than I want to admit right now.  I think it’ll be fun.  Yea, stay positive right? (Actually, I am really excited about my assistantship.)
  3.  Generally, life is good.  Knit.  Study.  Laugh.  Reminisce.

A new year…

In keeping with the tradition of last year (on my old blog–you can’t see, na na na na na na), I want to hint at what’s to come, and set myself some blogging and knitting-specific goals.

  1. No stash enhancement of any kind until the fleece fest in April. This means no buying yarn, needles or books (no matter how much I want a particular sock book that does not come out until February). New magazines are fine. Also, buying more yarn to finish a project is allowable, but discouraged. Also, exceptions will be made for SP9 &10.
  2. Socks will fly off my needles. I knit one of my sister’s christmas socks (size one needles, remember) in two days. I should have more mates for my socks. I should have more handknit socks to wear. I’m actually thinking of having a rule that if it’s not socks, it must be a gift for someone. Wouldn’t that be INSANE to stick to?
  3. The next sweater will be knit on size 5 needles or smaller. Ideally, it will have a fair isle yolk.
  4. I will replenish the boyfriend’s supply of dishcloths. He’s also requested some hand-towels. I’m thinking variations on this pattern, but in kitchen cotton (since I have tons of it). This fits with the nothing-but-socks-unless-its-a-gift thing too.
  5. Create a giant KAL. I have one in the works, but I’m trying to line everything up so that it goes smoothly when it goes “live” (nothing like blowing a newbie out of the water on something like this). Also, I’m going to need some other moderators. Anyone want to volunteer?
  6. Attempt publication in some knitting related publication.
  7. Knit a knee-high sock in traditional, Nancy Bush inspired style.
  8. Destash via weeding out the crap. Donate past poor yarn choices to swap boards and/or the Collins Textile Room.
  9. Offer 2 or more free patterns on the blog in 2007 (quick and dirty ones don’t count).
  10. Respond to each and every comment left on my blog.
  11. More creative/better blog posts. Still keep the good, technical info (like the tutes and stuff) but add in some creative, pseudo-lit stuff.
  12. Re-design the blog.  A new header (one that I own) and maybe, depending upon my summer employment status, my own domain.

One more down…

A scarf for Trisha…

First, I have to explain some stuff about my extended family (this post’ll probably meander a bit). I’m one of the youngest of the cousins on my dad’s side of the family. At all the family gatherings, I always felt left out. The older kids were too old and the younger kids were way to young. I never really had anyone to talk to. It’s no wonder that my cousin Sean always associates me with having a my nose in a book (from the pre-knitting days).

My cousing Trisha and I, however, have a pretty special bond. It stems from a trip that I took my senior year of high school. We went to Ireland with my Grandfather.

Originally, I wasn’t supposed to go. It was supposed to be Trisha, my cousin Colleen and Grandad. Fortunately for me, Colleen had to back out. Grandad called my parents to see if I wanted to go. Since they thought it was a good opportunity (my grandfather was 79) and since I had plenty of money saved up, they agreed. A month later, we left.

Now, Trisha and I aren’t exactly two peas in a pod. She and her family are pretty religious. At this time in my life, I’d decided that religeon wasn’t for me (I just hadn’t told anyone yet). She’s 4 or 5 years older than me and at the time was working in Chicago. She listened to Josh Groban. I didn’t.

But got along splendidly! We searched for early (before 10) live Irish music together (for my grandfather), we shared some inside jokes at the expense of my grandfather’s driving skills (He frequently exclaimed “Damn clutch!” –oh and he lied to the rental company about his age so he would be able to drive…) and we ate some incredible yogurt (Sno Fruit Crumble. I tried finding a link, but I can’t. It saddens me to think that it is maybe no longer available. I kid you not, I had dreams about this stuff. It was so good!).

It was tons of fun and despite our differences, I really enjoy her company. It’s always so nice talking to her and she has such a great laugh. It’s also important to note that my grandfather made something like 7 or 8 trips to the emerald isle. We were priviledged to accompany him on his last. He died at 81. So, I thought I’d knit her something for christmas. It took me a while to decide on a design, etc, but I really like what I came up with.

The specs:

Pattern: I made it up. It’s 2X2X2rows of moss stitch over 22 stitches. Oh, and fringed.
Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande in a dark blue
Needles: US 10
Size: Long enough.
Time: Knit in two vacation days

And since I was at home when I made, this, I took advantage of my mom’s stampin stash and made her a card to go with… And I made it all by myself! It was hard. I definetly like the fiber arts better than the paper arts.

The little (ok, well thick) string tied to the top is some extra yards of the yarn so that if the scarf needs repair someday… also, the inside of the card has care instructions.

One christmas gift down. Lots more to go. (can you guess where I am in the photo below? I’ll give you a hint – it’s in Ireland!)


I saw this over at Moth Heaven, who got it from Kathy and I really like it.



1. Yourself: student.
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): laughing.
3. Your hair: ugly.
4. Your mother: shrinking.
5. Your Father: buisness.
6. Your Favorite Item: internet.
7. Your dream last night: candy.
8. Your Favorite drink: tazo.
9. Your Dream Car: green.
10. The room you are in: small.
11. Your Ex: erh.
12. Your fear: failure.
13. What you want to be in 10 years? skilled
14. Who you hung out with last night? chef
15. What You’re Not? everything.
16. Muffins: bisuick
17. One of Your Wish List Items: Obama.
18. Time: night.
19. The Last Thing You Did: resume.
20. What You Are Wearing: pantless.
21. Your Favorite Weather: springy.
22. Your Favorite Book: Middlesex.
23. The Last Thing You Ate: gum.
24. Your Life: stressfull.
25. Your Mood: tired.
26. Your best friend: zen.
27. What are you thinking about right now? *censored*
28. Your car: parent’s.
29. What are you doing at the moment? tired.
30. Your summer: sucked.
31. Your relationship status: serious.
32. What is on your TV? cartoons.
33. What is the weather like? balmy.
34. When is the last time you laughed? today.

Secret Pal 9 Contest

My Favorites of the following are…. (I’ve never been very good at chosing favorites)

Actor –  Johnny Depp.

Actress –  Maggie Gyllenhal

Animal –  those that make fiber, I guess.

Band –  The dixie chicks (they’re a band right?)

Beverage – Diet coke with lime.

Book –  Favorite book of all time is “A song for Summer” by Eva Ibbotson (Good thing I own it since it’s hard to find).

Bubble Bath – I don’t have a bath.  I’m sorry.

Candy –  I like take fives.  Also, just about anything fruity.  Oh, and this butter nut crunch stuff that they make at the nunnery where my aunt lives.

Color –  Green.  Definetly Green.

Flower –  Pretty ones.

Food –  Raspberries.  Tiramisu.

Lip Balm –  Something without much flavor or color.

Lotion –  Erg… do I have to pick?  Anykind from Bath and body works with a clean scent.

Movie –  Any pixar flick

Song –  Too many to pick on.  Probably Grace from the Grey’s anatomy soundtrack.

TV Show –  Grey’s Anatomy.  Oh, god, Grey’s Anatomy.

Vacation Spot – Ireland


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Stuff on the needles – to complete, sometime.

Christmas Gifts to Finish
Mom's Sweater (the body is done)

Socks in progress...
Grandma's Socks
Koigu Scruncher
Raindrop Lace

Lace Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
The Behemoth Log Cabin
The Swallowtail Shawl
Stupid Ugly Mitten
Felted Clogs


June 2023

On my Ipod…Music and Audiobooks

Devil in White City heartlonely

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