Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Circus of values

It's the last day of Movember kiddies, and I say good riddance to bad facial hair.  Anyone who participates in this moustache-growing month should really wear a sign.  I sat through a whole meeting at work today wondering if the nice gentleman I was talking with sports a 'stache year round (and really thinks it looks good) or if it's just for charity.  Moving on.

We begin, dear readers, with a recap of things that happen in my life that aren't necessarily all about knitting.  Kind of a downer, I know, but they all relate to crafting, promise.

For the first time in many years, I got dressed up for Halloween this year!  We were invited to a Halloween party at Fuzzyhead's friend's house, and told to dress up to keep the fun alive.  I spent way too long and way too much money on a costume that I wore for a few hours, but I was proud of my creative spirit.  Here we are in poor lighting in our kitchen about to leave for the night:

Do you know what I am?  I'm a sexy hamburglar!  I completed the outfit on the way to the party with a quick stop at McD's for a happy meal box, which I tied onto my skirt.  Fuzzyhead could almost pass for his every-day-self except for the plastic hunting knife tucked into his pants.  He was as Locke from Lost, the shaved head makes him a dead ringer for anyone else with a shaved head.  The scar over his eye (washable marker is good for everything) brought the whole look together.
And we of course carved pumpkins, albeit a bit late this year.  We bought them on the Saturday before Halloween, and carved them on Sunday night.  My pumpkin saw a bit more action than Fuzzyhead's since I didn't cut all the way through the flesh and thus there was less pumpkin rot.  By the following week they were both in the green bin.  Sad.  

Oh no!  A snake-faced Voldemort!
My November was not terribly fast-paced, but I was dragged to Montreal with Slim Jim to find her a place to live.  She starts school on January 3rd at Concordia and didn't think too far beyond being accepted and packing her cat and dog up to take with her away from Momma's mess-filled house.  In case you're wondering, it's really hard to find a student-priced room/apartment where you can bring your barking dog without being evicted.  The dog/cat thing has been pushed to the back burner, and in our whirlwind weekend (took the train in on Friday night, left on Sunday afternoon), we found her a place to live.  BUT, the important part of the story is that I spent some quality time at a knitting store since I was rudely pulled away from my weekend off.

I consulted Ravelry in our hotel room to find nearby knitting shops that we accessible by metro/walking.  One of the forum posts highly recommended Effiloche, just a few short metro stops and a quick walk away from our hotel.  Please excuse the glare on the store window, it was an exceptionally gorgeous day outside.
They sell fabric and yarn, and even rent sewing machines by the hour.  So cute!  The fabric was all adorable, no old-lady patterns to be found.  It's exactly the kind of fabric I would stock up on if I sewed.  I wanted to snap a few pictures of the inside of the store, but I always feel weird doing that since some places are all up in your face about not taking pictures.  Really, what does it matter?  I don't like being yelled at so I settled for some shots from outside.

They have a cutesy little display of felted outdoorsy things that I also loved.  I want a felted toadstool. 

I returned from Montreal with two skeins of yarn for Momma's dog walking ear flap hat for Christmas.  I've finished the basic hat shell already and crocheted a border all around the edge.  I'm working on an ultra-warm inner shell to keep her head toasty during winter dog walks.  Fuzzyhead has an ear flap hat and I know gusty winds whip right through the bulky knit, so two layers can't hurt.

Also, I'm a wee bit of a paper crafter, and I spent some serious time crafting up these puppies:

 Fuzzyhead and I host his annual Christmas gathering for his friends, mostly for their Secret Santa exchange, but in recent years, also for me to play super hostess.  We settled on a date many weeks ago to be sure everyone could make it, and I made up the invites more as a courtesy than a true invitation.  We chose our theme months ago, and I patiently waited for Halloween-y themed paper and stamps to appear at Michaels.  I spent 5 or 6 hours crafting the invitations, and only finished all of the wording last night.  Oh, and just because I'm me, I made my own envelopes:

I bought a roll of craft paper (cheap and cheerful and sold by the roll!), and measured around each card to make a custom envelope.  I love the Halloween stamps I bought so I found an excuse to use the big feature stamp image on the outside of the envelopes.  I.  LOVE.  THEM. They're all addressed and waiting for stamps. 

My yoga socks are still around in the background, I've got a pair on my needles right now, but I'm in no rush to produce them.  I had a request through the yoga studio for a pair so I finished up the purple ones I was working on.  The lady who requested them didn't have a colour preference, so I brought all three of the pairs I had on hand to the studio for her to choose from.  I pinned them to an old bulletin board and added some core information, made myself a little display board.  She chose the red pair so I'm down to two pairs in my inventory.  I told the studio to keep the board there since I'm sure people are more likely to buy them if they can touch and feel the finished product. 

Tres cute, non?

I'm working my way through Christmas gift knitting for 2011.  I'm so glad I didn't commit to more holiday knitting, it would kill me.  I finished both of the felted slippers for the sister things and made my way to Michaels again this week for some puffy paint for a non-slip grip on the bottoms.

I used Tulip brand Puffy Paint in white.  The slipper on the left has been "puffed" while the one on the right is waiting its turn.  The paint took more than 4 hours to dry (never blindly trust the instructions kids), but puffed up nicely with some direct heat from a hair dryer (the instructions called for holding a hot iron up close to the paint without letting it touch, but this was way easier).

Slim Jim's slippers, puffed and ready for wrapping.  Note the heart for extra love.

Remember that manly cabled cardigan I was working on.  Done.  Here's its trip through the blocking process, and when it's properly revealed on Christmas morning, Fuzzyhead will be a fine model for the finished product.
Soaking in the tub

The finished pieces are blocked to their final measurements and set out on the futon to dry.  I did this on Friday morning before leaving for my Montreal weekend and I left them to finished drying while I was away.  They were very damp when I set them out since I ran out of wool/dog appropriate towels to squeeze out more water.  

More pictures and updates up soon, I've got lots of knitting that needs to be shown off.