Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Down...

Well, I finished the first Noro Jaywalker.
I've had a bit of a cough, which has been a slight deterrent, but I'm really pleased to have finished the first sock of the pair. Better yet, after hearing "But are they going to match?" for two weeks straight, and only responding that I wouldn't do much work to ensure they did (hey, they're quirky) I can finally say... YES THE PAIR WILL MATCH!!!
I must admit, I was apathetic before about the possibility, but I'm pretty thrilled that they'll match now that I'm sure it will happen. Thank you, Noro, for figuring out just about how much yarn I would use per sock and thank you for making such addictive sock yarn. I'm really very pleased.
Additionally, despite the controversy that's followed me ever since that green was visible on the ball (after the whole ball appearing to be purple, blue and gray), my labmates are now pleased with the colors of the sock. Of course, regardless of their whims, I have loved them all along because they're Noro and they're mine.
I also broke a size 1 dpn this week (mysteriously... at work the needles were fine, get home and one looks like a snapped toothpick) but I have been making do with four 1's and one 2. However, my lab mates and I are going on a yarn run tomorrow so I'll buy another set and promise myself I'll be more careful. This yarn run is necessary because I taught our visiting student from Holland how to knit last week and now she wants real yarn to start a real project with needles all her own! She's taken to the needles like a fish to water and I couldn't be happier; I told her she needs to start socks before she leaves in July but we'll see.
If you haven't spread the joy of knitting, I highly recommend it. Sure, you'll get a few rejections (see the previous post about Our New Friend) and a few who sit for a lesson or two but never pick up the needles again. However, when you get that one person who really takes to it and loves it like you do... it's like knitting magic.
P.S. Our New Friend approached me yesterday to tell me that she sees now that knitting really is back and how she saw Martha knitting on her show and how cool she thought that was. I think she sees us all knitting during our breaks and wants in on the conversations only knitters can share. Either way, I'll show her the way if she asks really nicely. You can't say knitting turns people into losers and expect me to be enthusiastic about your sudden interest.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Noro Is Like Yarn Crack

Yesterday, #1 and I went to the LYS and I caved.

It started innocently enough. #1 needed some new yarn; S 'n B night was quickly approaching and she had a baby blanket that needed to be knit. I went along thinking, "Maybe I'll buy a nice worsted and finally knit a hat... or that cute throw from brooklyntweed..."

We browsed and looked and discussed for quite some time and I kept heading back to my old mistress: sock yarn. I looked at each hank, imagining each glorious bundle as a pair of socks I've been dying to knit.

"No! Bad Rachel! Knit something else!" I repeated over and over to myself as I gingerly cradled each hank in my hands. But I love knitting these Noro Jaywalkers so much. Each new color seems like a new adventure. So I bought more Noro, even though I have some Lorna's Laces lying around and despite the fact that the LYS has lots of sock yarn I've never tried. That Noro has a hold on me, I tell you.

Crazier still? We have another yarn run planned for next week. AND I got to introduce a fellow knitter to the idea of a yarn store. She said, "What, like JoAnn's?" Oh boy, that was the end of it. I told her about the magic that is the LYS, a concept she had never even HEARD of before! I'm going to open her up to a whole new world. It'll be great.

My Jaywalker in action. Sorta.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No, I Don't Think You're Boring.

I've been working on those Noro Jaywalkers for about a week now, but I haven't gotten nearly as far as I would like. I had nearly finished the leg last week at the S 'n B when the bf surprised me by showing up in the midst of knitting goodness. I was extremely happy and shocked because he was a day early and it just happened to be Valentine's Day. (Between you and me, if that boy had a dime for every time I lamented over the fact that, although he asked me out at 2:00 AM V-Day, due to some unusual circumstances we had never spent that fabled day as a couple... well, he wouldn't need that job so far away.)

Needless to say, my Valentine's day was not only special but surprisingly fantastic. However, every time I tried to pick up that sock in his presence over the extra-long weekend he would say, "Am I THAT boring?" or "I thought we were chatting... now you're knitting. Do you want to chat with me or not?"

Despite my best efforts to explain that I can certainly chat and knit at once (hence the S 'n B) or that no, he isn't boring, but I'm really excited about this pair of socks and we're driving all the way across town... I barely worked on those socks. In fact, my only quality sock time was while we were hanging out in the Manliest Man in the World's (MMitW) apartment while MMitW and bf were PS3-ing and MMitW's gf was typing something. That was the night I got most of the heel flap finished.

It was all worth it, however, because the socks are again coming along beautifully and I had a wonderful weekend with my bf. I have no sock pictures to post, but I'm working away and I'm looking forward to a yarn run with #1 and perhaps other lab knitters tomorrow.

The pictures are some cupcakes I made over the summer that I was especially proud of. Real buttercream (with molten sugar and everything!) leftover from a birthday cake for the bf became pretty cupcakes to share at knitting group (woot). Happy knitting!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Knitting and Femininity

Recently, while knitting in the lab with my #1 lab knitting buddy, two non-knitter lab mates were discussing the number of knitters in the lab. One said to the other, "Working in this lab makes me feel so not girlie. Everyone in here seems to be knitting and I don't do any of that kind of stuff." The other nodded her head and agreed that a lack of knitting (and other handcraft) prowess left her feeling less than feminine.

This got me thinking about if knitting is really a "girlie" activity. Sure, I've heard people say things like, "Oh, only girls should knit." Of course, I completely disagree with this statement. (See I'm also not sure I consider knitting to be inherently linked to femininity.

For one, knitting is a sure-fire way for me to ruin nicely polished nails.

Additionally, while knitting does make me feel connected to some ancient tradition that was largely performed by women, the really girlie girls I know would never knit (or sew or cook) because they prefer to keep themselves on a pedastal and would never risk chipping polish, mussing hair or breaking a sweat for the love of art.

On the other hand, perhaps femininity and girlishness are related but not really synonymous. Women are artisans. Girls are artisans in training. Women have years of experience and practice which allow them to not only create beautiful creations but also to have the wisdom to let girlie aesthetics go for a moment until the product is complete.

However, I am one of those crafters who is irked to hear anyone describe a craft as meant for one gender or the other. Men were traditionally the accomplished painters of Europe, but do I feel masculine when painting? No. Frankly, I'm interested to see what anyone, regardless of gender, has to bring to my favorite crafts. I'm always looking for new inspiration and new points of view.

P.S. Those socks are the alpaca lace socks that plagued me for so many months. They are the Merino Lace Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks in Alpaca Sox (color 1803). Yes, they are exquisitely warm and soft. The best part? That little lace pattern continues all the way down the heel! I'll try to get a picture while the bf is around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Wasting My Time

Yesterday I had the oddest response to my knitting encountered thus far. There is a new research assistant (RA) in the lab and she is very chatty. She was already not my favorite RA because when she speaks she sounds like she just stepped out of Clueless and she is too young to be really familiar with that era. Regardless, I make chit-chat with her to be polite and to figure out what kind of RA she will become (industrious, lazy, flaky, etc.)

I was knitting away on the socks pictured (Noro Jaywalkers) during my lunch break. The girl previously mentioned asked if I was knitting another pair of socks to which I replied that I was indeed. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Rachel: Do you knit?
RA: No.
R: If you're ever interested, I'd be happy to teach you.
RA: Uhm, that's okay. If I started knitting I'd be a loser. Uhm... not that you're a loser! Just I would be a loser.
R: Okay...
RA: It's just that I did that potholder weaving things in high school and if I started knitting I'd waste all of my time knitting. Uhhh... not that you're wasting your time!
R: Actually, I like knitting because you can knit while you're doing things like standing in line or waiting for an appointment, time that would otherwise be wasted.
RA: Uh-huh

Oh dear. It appears our new friend has no filter on her mouth.

Needless to say, I've decided to keep knitting and no longer waste my time listening to her.

And the Jaywalkers? My first socks ever were a pair of Jaywalkers I knit on size 2's in the largest size, way back when I unknowingly twisted all of my stitches. I cast these on with the same needles in the smallest size and they were huge. I ended up frogging my inch or so and restarting on size 1's and they look much more reasonable. As for the yarn? While it isn't the softest yarn I've felt by a long shot, the colors are beautiful, making it really fun to knit with. I highly recommend Noro socks if you're big on color and not so particular about a yarn's hand (how the yarn feels when you touch it). It's no Red Heart, but it's also far from Lorna's Laces.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I, like so many bloggers, have fallen behind. I have lots of pictures and stories to share from the last few months, but I'll start with the most recent news. First, I left the library for a job in a psychology research lab.

True, not nearly as romantic for a knitter.

However, it is less dusty, less dirty, more interesting and I have more money for yarn! I win.

Second, those in my S 'n B know I was knitting a pair of alpaca socks for the last few months that really kicked my butt. I had to rip out parts many times and they required lace charts every step of the way. Luckily, they're absolutely gorgeous and worth every minute of ripping and re-knitting. You can check them out on ravelry (username shortestkitty) or you can wait until I post them in their glory.

After a project that admittedly beat me down for a bit, I decided I needed to do some small projects before I get back on that horse named Socks. No, I didn't pick something reasonable like a nice pair of Fetching or a quick hat; I chose to take a break with coffee cup cozies.

To understand my rationale you must first know that I love coffee. I find it to be comforting and suitable for every hour of the day from breakfast with oatmeal to just before bed with cookies. You must also know that I love to warm my hands on the mug; it makes me feel comforted and taken care of. My bf thinks it's totally weird that I hold the mug in both hands under the table when we go out for breakfast. He hates coffee. I, on the other hand, love coffee hot and cold but I hate, hate, HATE a lukewarm cup. Blech.

Late last week I tried my first cozy using leftovers from my alpaca socks and a simple tube pattern. It worked, but I was hoping for something more exciting and more special. Serendipitously, I found this pattern on ravelry:

Normally, I loathe to knit seed stitch. But really, I hardly notice it here and it's given me a chance to try a new cable pattern (see picture above). What yarn is that? I have no idea. I bought it in NYC at Daytona Trimmings as my first "real" yarn. It was originally my failed marsupial tote (never felted), but I decided to finally rip her out and use the yarn. If I recall, it is hand dyed something or other and, while it seems perfect for felting, I swear I can feel the sheep's oil on the fiber. Weird. Nonetheless, I'm excited about this little cozy, even if my nonknitter coworkers think I'm crazy.

In the midst of knitting this cozy, I took a break for dinner leaving the cable needle tucked carefully behind my ear so I wouldn't lose it. Alas, my ears aren't the perfect needle containment device and the needle fell during dinner unnoticed. Unnoticed by everyone, that is, except our little dog Draco who thought it looked like the perfect toothpick:

Draco: 1. Needle: 0.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Knitter's Worst Nightmare

No, I didn't come down with arthritis or something awful, but what befell my knitting and me this past week was quite dreadful. I'll set the scene....

I was heading to Pittsburgh for a couple of days with the boy and a friend to check out the Warped Tour. The car ride is several hours long, so I brought a couple of knitting projects to work on; I was looking forward to some uninterrupted quality time with my yarn and needles. I didn't have any WIPs so I took my beautiful cashmerino and some lovely bamboo sock yarn figuring I would let myself knit whatever appealed to me whenever I happened to picked up the needles. I was heading toward sweet bliss.

On the way to Pittsburgh, I decided I would start with the cashmerino and knit myself a pair of Knitty's Fetching, which I had been longing for since I laid eyes upon them, although I only learned to cable recently. So I began to knit that fantastic fingerless glove. The yarn flew through my fingers, my mind completely focused on having a finished glove in my hand as quickly as humanly possible. I'm proud to say that after a car ride there and several hours of the boy and the friend playing video games I had a fingerless glove. It was spectacular.

I put the glove on over and over again, admiring my handiwork and imagining myself wearing it (and it's yet-to-be-knit mate) all over town this Fall with my little olive military-inspired jacket or a lovely little sweater.... Oh, the adventures we would go on, these gloves and I!

I was so excited that as soon as I woke up all I wanted to do was knit the next one and finish the pair. I cast on in the car on the way to the Warped Tour. I knit and knit, toying with the idea of taking my knitting with me as entertainment during bad bands and refreshment lines. It wouldn't fit in my tiny Vans skull and crossbones purse, however... perhaps it was not to be. After all, I did not want to lug my larger leather bag all over the grounds, did I?

However, when we arrived rain was immanent and so I decided to bring my umbrella (and therefore the larger bag) and thought, "What the hell? Why not bring my knitting!"

We had a great time. We saw the Toasters, Bad Religion, Coheed and Cambria, Flogging Molly, Big D and the Kids Table.... So much fun was had. All the while, whenever a boring wait would rear its ugly head I would just whip out that glove want knit a row or two. I accomplished quite a bit over the day and was living in a wondrous dream world where my Fall fashion fantasies were nearly within reach.

On our way back to the center of the state, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen my finished fingerless glove in quite some time. Perhaps just before we went through the gates to Warped Tour I last laid eyes upon them. This concerned me a bit, but I distracted myself with knitting the right glove.

When we were safely home, I told the boy about my concerns and I looked through his car for the missing glove. Then I looked through our bag from the trip. Then he looked through our bag from the trip. Then I looked around my room. Then I became very, very sad.

It was nowhere to be found. That wonderful glove was gone.

It still makes me sad (and a bit annoyed with myself) when I think about it. The only conclusion I have come to is I must have dropped it somewhere at the Warped Tour. This means that it ended up sitting in garbage (that place looked like several dumpsters had been emptied on the grounds and then spread about by a pack of wild dogs) unless some unsuspecting concert goer picked it up and saved it from that awful fate. I can only hope.

Little glove, if you're out there, I hope someone is treating you well. And if you, Dear Reader, happened to attend the Pittsburgh Warped Tour and picked up a purple, cabled, fingerless glove (in fabulous cashmerino) with the ends not yet woven in... I'd really love to have her back.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Memories of a More Daring Time

My first new item in quite some time is up at the shop, with more to follow for the week. She's called "A Shock of Pink" and was inspired by my own hair coloring antics. I used to color my hair often, and while I've been jonesing to add a shock of color back for some time, I simply can't right now with grad school connections and full-time job interviews looming around the corner. I made this lady so I could relive those days, and imagine for a moment that the professionals in my life would appreciate a pink streak or two in my mane.

When I decided to color my hair the first time (blue), I knew I would get some stares and maybe some comments. After all, throughout my childhood I remember my Mom telling me, "People who do things like that are just starved for attention. They're just doing it to get attention from you and it's obnoxious." I hope she's since changed her mind. I didn't do it for the attention; I really just love unnatural color against natural things. It's kind of like fashion where you mix brights with neutrals because together they make a bigger and more beautiful impact than either could alone. Regardless, the hair did get quite a bit of attention.

Children were the most upfront about it. They yelled things like, "Mommy, she has rainbow hair!" Or, "Ooo... can I have hair like hers?" as their mothers shushed them, dragging their babies away from the obnoxious woman looking for attention.

Then there were the adults. I learned from the whole hair thing that people really do see colors differently. My blue was often labeled green. Purple became blue. Pink was red or raspberry or maroon, even as it faded to an obvious shade of magenta. Oh, and they always wanted to touch it. Without asking. As though dyeing my hair meant I wanted strangers touching my head. They don't approach little old ladies with blatant dye jobs and immediately grab for their hair, do they?

Not that my hair and I didn't have good times together, especially the pink. I had a lip stain in the exact color as my hair, which looked so smashing together. I also had pink streaks for both proms, although the color was really set off by my senior prom dress (a black Betsey Johnson with pink embroidered roses). However, my favorite thing might be that the boy next to me in the senior yearbook had green hair while I had my pink, immortalizing us in all our glory (and in full color). I think he's in the Navy now, which makes two of us who had to leave our color in the past.

By the way, the pouch can be found:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Possibly The Cutest Thing I've Ever Knit

So, my latest FO also happens to be my smallest ever. These little booties are for a cousin who is due at the end of August. I actually learned cabling for these little guys!

The mother-to-be isn't especially savvy when it come to hand knits... and with babies it's so important for everything to be washable, so I knit these in CHICCO Merino Superfine in color 32. It's so soft and nice to knit with, if just a bit prone to splitting. However, the best part is this yarn is machine washable! I thought that was really important.

The pattern is really easy, too. You can find it here:

Not only is the pattern free, but I think these little booties are just perfect for little boys or girls. The pattern suggests ribbon, but I thought i-cord seemed somehow more masculine, plus I really love the look of it. They knit up really fast and the purled ridges, cables, and eyelets add enough interest to keep even the most impatient knitters knitting. However, I warn you: if you're going to KIP with these, be prepared for lots of questions and puzzled looks because, unlike socks, they don't really look like booties until the very end when you seam them up (don't be afraid, it's just a couple of inches, honest!)

On the other hand, if I had a dollar for every time some one asked me, while knitting a nearly finished sock, "What is that?" or "Are you making a scarf?" or "Ooo... is that sweater going to be done for Winter?" Well, let's just say my stash would be stuffed to the gills with the most fabulous yarns the world has ever seen.

A few more pictures:

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Been A While...

So, I haven't written anything recently. A lack of grad school acceptance letters definitely put me in a funk for a bit. However (!!) I've been tinkering and I am working on some crafty stuff (hooray!)

Recent Crafty Adventures:

-lots of cooking (my new favorite thing)

-finished zippered pouches for my good friend Roni (a nurse gal and one with her likeness plus her name embroidered)

-a nearly finished pair of Knitty's Pomatomous socks with my lovely hand painted yarn-- I'll post these once they're done (you should try these if you haven't, they're deceptively simple)

-my lovely shrug in the plum mohair, which I love, but I bound off WAY too tightly the first time around (I remember being quite stressed that day); once I bind off reasonably I'll post

-two super cute cabled baby booties for my new cousin (I learned cables for these babies, pun intended; so easy and so tiny)

I also started a part time job at the university's library, which has made me feel more like knitting lately. It's probably because not only do I get one hour(!) for lunch, but also I must wait for the supervisors to be ready before I begin my shift. So I've had lots of chunks of time to fill, and knitting is so perfect for that. Plus, like a lot of crafters, library work just makes me have visions of super hip, sexy librarians who knit and wear little pencil skirts with heels and cashmere sweaters that cling in all of the right places. Although I've never actually seen a librarian like that, I have lots of hope that other libraries are just full of these women, like 1950's time capsules. Not all librarians really wear mom jeans and orthopedic shoes, right?

We are also so very close to Fall, my favorite fashion season. Every year Fall gets me all giddy. I realize it's coming early July... then, I comb through the ELLE runway shows and fantasize about everything I would wear if I had unlimited funds. Next, I snap back into reality and think about what I'll really wear, and what I can make to fulfill my designer fantasies. I'm really jonesing for the little knit cap Ralph Lauren featured on all of his models for Fall... it's so fantastic. I'll have to see if I can knit one, but I'll need some help. I do have some brand new cashmerino around, which is asking to be made into fingerless gloves, and I'll grant it that. I've always wanted a pair and although some complain they're completely useless because the fingers--which gloves are made to protect-- remain cold while wearing them, I think fashion can walk a fine line between glamorous vision and function. In fact, it must.

So, dear readers, do yourselves a favor and get into the Fall wardrobe mood. You'll have no one but yourself to blame when you get to autumn and hate everything in your closet. Which I do, every year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Break (Woot.)

While some may say that Pennsylvania and Delaware aren't the most exciting Spring Break destinations, those people obviously don't include in their vacation plans knitting, sewing, and drinking coffee while watching trashy TV. I haven't just been loafing, however.

Above, you can see the wondrous new pouches cooling on the ironing board. I think that gal with the shock of pink is my favorite. Reminds me of how my hair used to be, once upon a time. The nurse one at the bottom is for a dear friend who is (surprise!) studying to be a nurse. I think she'll like it. Look for them coming soon to my Etsy shop near you! Hopefully they'll be finished by Thursday as I won't be dragging my machine to Delaware (like we need one more thing to move!)

In my knitting news, I switched needles for that shrug and the bamboo needles are working much better than the other ones I was using. Much less slipping and stitch dropping. I've been thinking about taking a bath all day (in an attempt to relieve a stubborn headache) and then I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if I could knit in the bath?" This only lead to visions of a big, soggy yarn mess. Then I thought, "Why not a sauna? Then the yarn and needles won't fall into a giant puddle of water!" This lead to the realization that, under the right conditions, my project could felt as I knit (and not nice and evenly, either). I think I should just do one leisure activity at a time. Besides, I always take a bath thinking, "This will be so nice; I'll probably spend an hour or so just soaking!" Then, after 10-15 minutes I realize I'm bored, books are hard to read without getting them wet and I'm ready to actually do something.

I like the idea of baths much more than the bath itself, like so many things in life.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

You never know when...

You just never know when you skills may come in handy. For example, one of my lab mates was telling me about this hole in her mitten. The manufacturer put in a tag like a t-shirt has inside the mitten (uncomfortable!) so she decided to snip it out and accidentally snipped more than necessary. She was describing how she was thinking about sewing it because it keeps spreading, but I took one look at it and said, "Hey! There are live stitches here!" and offered to fix the offending hole.

Now, I've never mended a mitten nor darned a sock in my life, but surely I should be able to fix it in a way that will be more effective than needle and thread, right? I'll be trying tomorrow, we'll see how it goes. I'm kind of looking forward to it... weird, no?

In other news, no time to knit really this week, but today was my last exam for the week and now all of my subjects have been run for the lab (woo-hoo). The boy is swinging by this weekend, and part of me wants to go down and spend all of spring break with him, but... he's in the process of moving (the "real" reason for my visit), he'll be at work all day (high chance of boredom), I could work more effectively at home (I think), and there's not much to do down there except shop for yarn and other crafty supplies.... but seeing the bf would be so nice! I'll probably stick around here, though. It is supposed to be nice (spring, here we come)!

And the picture? It's from the cable car from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. That was a fun day; I'd never heard of it until my friends were apartment-hunting, but if you're in NYC and want something different check out this island. It's so rad! Cute little diners, some open park space, it's absolutely lovely!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Winter Won't Let Go.

For those of you in the Northeast, you know what a cruel game the weather has been playing with us lately. Last week was beautiful, sunny and relatively warm; it seemed that the days of shorts and flip flops were right around the corner! Alas, today it is cold, blustery and snowy with more on the way.

What's a gal to do? Curl up with some herbal tea and knit with yarn cozy and lovely, but in a garment that will be worn from chilly Spring mornings to cool Summer evenings. That's where that mohair silk comes in. I picked it up whilst visiting the boyfriend in a lovely yarn shop in Newark, Delaware called "Stitches With Style" (I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area). It was love at first sight (not with the boyfriend, the yarn; I don't subscribe to the notion with significant others). It's one of my absolute favorite colors; I can't wait to finish this shrug and have the weather be warm enough to wear it without a big coat. Knitting always leaves me dreaming of more lovely knits I'll wear frolicking on the beach on a warm Summer day and into a breezy cool evening. Of course, I only have 1 or 2 days like that each year.
And the pouches? They're calling my name now. Off to paint!

Sunday, March 4, 2007


So this week is shaping up to be a doozy. (I never use that word, doozy.) Professors always seem to all cram in the same stuff at the same time. Which makes sense, when you think most classes have 2-5 exams to fit into 15 weeks while avoiding things like Spring Break. Unfortunately, this practical fact of the time-space continuum results in a week fuller than the rest now and again. Plus, in my lab we're running subject this week. Yes, running subjects in a psychology lab. No electric shocks, no confederates, and no fake electric shocks. We're just watching people put tennis balls into boxes, with the hope that it will yield some interesting data. We shall see!

So, you may be wondering about those zippered pouches I discussed yesterday... I began painting the ladies on today and, while I have no pictures to show, I'll give a few clues about what they'll look like:
1. One will have some pink hair.
2. One is vampy, like she just came from an award show that gives little gold men to people.
3. Two are for my dear friend, which won't be for sale but will be posted.

Stay tuned for the finished pouches, hopefully coming in the next week!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

This is just the beginning...

After last semester's GRE, grad school applications and general finishing-up-requirements-to-graduate-madness, I'm finally finding much more time to dedicate to creative endeavors. After getting some projects finished and moved out of my knitting basket (I had let them go for far too long) I'm getting on to exciting new things! "So, what's in the works?" you may ask. For one a whole new batch of zippered pouches! I love making these, the right combination of illustration, sewing, design and a little bead work. They're a fun, satisfying project; see them in their infancy above. (Plus, a beauty shot of my machine, a Janome. I used to joke with my friends at FIT that the machine was my true love and I was having an affair with it behind the boyfriend's back. Ha, good times.)

I, like many crafty people, find turning to projects in times of great stress or sorrow can provide relief and solace. As I'm waiting for a handful of universities decide where I'll be and what I'll be doing in 6 months, I feel focusing my energy on producing something is keeping me from obsessing over the uncertainty of it all. I turned to knitting once before when I lost my dear Grandma. She was such a force in my life, and losing her was so scary; I used my spare moments in the weeks before and after her passing to knit the Marsupial Tote from Stitch 'N Bitch. While the project didn't turn out (it was my Aha! moment for why gauge is important), it allowed me to escape the stress of the situation and just quietly contemplate and think of my sweet Grandma. While she wasn't much of a knitter, she pursued all kinds of other crafts and I always feel somehow closer to her as I work on projects. I only hope the next time I face turmoil or pressure in my life I have enough wisdom to whip out the needles and stitch up something simple.

Nothing seems to be better medicine in uncontrollable situations.