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what am I doing here?

in which susan proceeds to get caffienated and knit all day. if only I could get paid to drink coffee and knit... that would so be the shiz-knit.

rowr! 12.12.2009 |

believe it or not, I've been knitting and actually finishing things I've started! amazing, I know. some things I can't show, since they're christmas gifts, but I do have a few that have already been gifted for non-christmas occasions...

my good friend, traci, had a baby shower about a month ago. she had mentioned these animal body parts from oeuf a while back, and I was all "so cute! so expensive..." so I did my best to create some budget versions for use as props in the photo booth and now she can keep them for her little one to play dress up with.

and... the actual gift I made didn't quite make it to the shower. I stayed up really late the night before, attempting to finish it and just could not get the hood to lay the way I wanted it to! it was driving me crazy and the yarn was a pain to work with, so I decided to throw in the towel since I was so tired by that point in time that I couldn't quite see straight anymore. several days later, I finally finished it and was so happy with how it came out!
wild thing
I stupidly threw the tail in the dryer and it turned all fuzzy. sigh. the good news is that it is now safe and sound at home with traci, waiting for its rightful owner to start the wild rumpus!

the pattern is from splendor knitting and was really simple, aside from the hood not getting along with the yarn I used. I only changed a couple of things: I didn't use the plastic stuff for the ears and just went down a few needle sizes and they stand up just fine, and I didn't follow the pattern for the tail.

once the hoodie was done, the weather took quite a turn from way too warm to really really cold. which is when I realized that isa's ladybug mittens are right on the verge of being too small. luckily, she already had something in mind.
shark mittens
these were super fun to make! I found some random label-less stuff in the depths of the stash and whipped these up in a couple of nights. I love them! I originally planned to use this pattern, but ended up just improvising my own version instead.

finally, I think I am in love with whoopie pies. so so yum.
whoopie 2

4 digits! 11.14.2009 |

who knew this little design of mine would generate over 1000 ravelry projects in just one year? so exciting! and kind of amazing too, considering it's probably the most brainless thing I've ever made.

poop! 11.02.2009 |

look who's on the poop's homemade halloween costume post today! she's famous!

happy halloween! 10.30.2009 |

I am so glad that halloween is finally here! not so much because I'm that big of a fan of halloween, but because I don't have any more costume making to do! hooray!

several months ago, isa mentioned that she wanted to be fraulein maria for halloween. she might be just a wee bit obsessed with the sound of music... anyway, she rarely changes her mind once it's made up, but she did waffle over just which of the many marias she wanted to be. after some thought, though, she finally decided that she specifically wanted to be the "do re mi maria."
so I ventured out to my very favorite place in all the world, the clearance rack at target, and picked up this women's size 12 number for a mere $9.24.

I then proceeded to dismantle it completely. and then, through a whole lot of trial and error, I sewed it back together isa-sized. it came out far from perfect, but not bad for my first attempt at a dress. and now I'm a little less scared of the prospect of making more clothes... someday. maybe.

no "do re mi maria" costume would be complete without a guitar, but since I don't have one, I made one out of an old cardboard box, some elastic, and a ton of glue. add a straw hat from michaels, and it's complete!

all this ensemble is missing is 7 little kids dressed in curtains to follow her around. maybe next year.

in other news, knitting! I made this:
read more about it over on the rav.

dinner time entertainment 10.06.2009 |

isa: what are you cooking?
me: mushrooms.
isa: it smells.
me: good or bad?
isa: it smells good.
isa: I said good because I don't want to hurt your feelings.

breakfast of champions! 10.03.2009 |

except that we had it for dinner. mmm...

I kind of didn't believe it would be so easy, but it was! and it was really tasty too! now I don't have to trek out to the original pancake house to have one of these. yum.

I swear I'm still knitting. I intend to have something to say on that front not too far in the future.

another post containing zero knitting content... 9.27.2009 |

but it's so worth it! the bunnies were having fun the other night with their favorite toy - a cardboard box. sometimes they're so cute that it's just ridiculous and I don't know how I manage to handle it.

babies!! 9.23.2009 |

remember that commercial? no? well, then. here it is. such a classic.

but, seriously. we're really only talking about one baby. the one inside wendy's belly! it looks like everyone who's anyone's blogging about the big shower, so I figured I should do a little blogging myself too. let's not even discuss how long it's been since my last post. or when the last time I had anything at all to say about knitting. anyway. first things first!

we threw a vintage circus themed baby shower for my good friend, wendy, who is expecting her very first little baby in just a few more weeks! after much planning and roughly a bazillion emails a day, everything came together beautifully. a great time was had by all (I hope)!

my big contribution was the buttload of candy. yum!

I finally got to try making marshmallows (something I've been meaning to try forever) and everything you've heard is true. they're really easy and they taste, look and feel so much better than store-bought! and, somewhat last minute, I decided to make a batch of graham crackers as well and get myself a mini blowtorch so I could put together some urbanite s'mores. I must say, I was quite pleased with them and I will definitely make them again. someday.

and, of course, I had to make something for the baby too. I went back and forth on what I should make for quite some time, but then finally decided I'd attempt a crocheted totoro, since wendy's a big fan (no pun intended, I swear!). I did make a few changes, like shortening the ears and using felt for the eyes. I studied practically all the totoros on ravelry to find just the right look and I'm really happy with how he turned out.

I am in a total knitting funk right now. it's been really hard to get myself excited about anything lately. maybe now that tv is back, I'll feel the need to watch and knit. we'll see what happens. hopefully whatever happens will be something good! and something I will remember to blog about...

story of my life 5.14.2009 |

me: did you take a nap at school today?
isa: kind of.
me: kind of?
isa: I mean... yes.
me: really?
isa: no.

happy labor day to me! 4.05.2009 |

it seems as though spring has sprung big time here. it was like 80F this afternoon! luckily, I'm indoors and not melting. and isa is enjoying a birthday outing with her dad, so I am enjoying a few hours to myself to not think about what I was doing 4 years ago today.

when I asked isa what I should do while she goes out with her dad, she said (rather matter of fact) that I should do everything that I love. "drink coffee... knit... read a book... about knitting..." man, does that girl know me! I know her pretty well too, and I knew I wanted to knit something for her birthday gift. I couldn't find a pattern for what I wanted to make, so I had to make it up as I went along. and, if I do say so myself, it didn't come out half bad!

it's miffy! if I were to make this again (ha! like that's ever going to happen), I would mave made her a bit more squat. I think she's shorter and fatter than this. oh well. although, I think after making this, I might be able to try my hand at hello kitty next. they have a similar physique. and by next, I mean next year. and maybe using something other than red heart. not fun to knit with!

this year, isa and her friends seem to be at the age where they like to hang out in the kitchen and "help" cook. so I decided to have a little fun with them and let them make their own lunch. of course, they had to be properly outfitted, so I first had to break out the old sewing machine and whip up some hats.

yeah, so I stitched isa's name first and then realized that it was just way more time consuming that I'd thought it would be, so the others ended up with initials only. I think they look pretty cute that way, though. maybe next time (ha!) I'll have improved my embroidering skills and can do fancier letters. or not.

the kids made a mess, but they had fun, and the pizzas actually came out really tasty!

I also baked my first cake from scratch. I also made a mess. it wasn't easy!! it came out halfway decent, though. I think I need more practice with the mixer, though... again, maybe next year.

thank goodness birthdays come but once a year. it's time to relax with a cup of coffee and my current project, which I hope I'll be showing off soon! whee!

splash! 3.17.2009 |

meet "starheart."

that's what isa decided to name the mermaid I crocheted for her. that's right. you heard me. I crocheted. me! I think I'm really starting to get the hang of this. except for the part where I'm not completely sure how to count. but, whatever. she looks pretty good, doesn't she? I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself.

the pattern is from owlishly. I bought it months ago, but have been too scared to try it. luckily, it really wasn't so bad. crochet intimidates me in a way that knitting never has. and I seriously have no idea why. it's easier to rip back - except for the part where I don't know when to stop. and even though I finished this, I'm still scared! what is wrong with me?

anyway, isa loves her. but I'm not sure if she can quite understand the magnitude of it all. all she knows is one night, she played with a tan colored ball with eyeballs and the next morning it had hair. and then she instructed me to first add arms, then a body and tail, and then boobies. she has no idea that that hair took me over four hours to make. and those boobies! man. I freaking embroidered them! but I'm most proud of the little starfish hair thing. it came out so so cute.

I have a couple more of mia's patterns which I really do plan on eventually trying. maybe I'll do the dinosaur next. he has no hair. thank goodness!

see starheart on rav!

knitting for people who are smaller than me 3.09.2009 |

it is really amazing just how lazy I have been knitting-wise since january hit. what is it, like march or something now? I've decided to stop thinking about time and where it has gone. it's not good for morale. to get back into the groove of things, I decided (was forced) to make some stuff for the little people.

remember how I was all, "I love these merry-janes and I'm going to make them for all the girl babies in the world!"? well, I started a pair for a friend's niece back in... um... a long time ago... and for some reason, just never finished them. since then, everyone's been popping out boy babies and nothing else. and I had been so busy procrastinating that the intended recipient is probably in college now and her feet have surely grown, so they languished in my knitting basket until last weekend's baby shower. finally, someone I know is having a baby girl! and I finally made myself finish them - and the baby's not even born yet. how's that for beating a deadline?

once that was taken care of, I still wasn't feeling quite up to another project, for reasons unknown (would rather sleep). but isa decided that she would motivate me by demanding a rainbow hat. with a flower! she's quite the smooth talker and the rainbodessa was born in just a few nights.

so, that's two projects done in as many weeks. amazing, I know. try not to be blinded by my awesomeness. and now I feel the need to start on something that is me-sized for when things start to warm up around here. maybe this. the weather cleared up over the weekend, but if you ask me, it's way too soon! can we just have a few more weeks of dreariness? I'm just not ready for the impending doom of summer that spring inevitably brings. I feel sweaty just thinking about it.

but I've got a happy place I can go to now. right in my own living room! I found myself staring at this corner for longer than is healthy, just smiling and sighing. happy.

I may have gone just a teensy bit crazy trying to get my hands on some orla kiely target madness a few weeks back (do not ask to see the rest of it - I am a little embarrassed). people who understand applauded my efforts. just about everyone else questioned my sanity. please don't tell them I went to like 12 different targets more times than I can count just to get something to put my yarn in. also, please don't tell those same people that this is only like 2% of the yarn I actually have. it will a little secret between me and the internet. shhh....

big day 1.20.2009 |

it's a big, BIG day for us as a nation - quite possibly the biggest in my lifetime, so far! and, in the spirit of making a big day even bigger (for me, at least), I do believe it is time to make a little announcement of my own as well.

you may or may not remember a little project I posted a couple of months back. I have been rather blown away by the amount of positive feedback I've received for my wham bam thank you lamb neckwarmer both on ravelry and in real life. who knew that one little garter stitch rectangle would be so well received? as of this moment, there are 245 projects on ravelry and the pattern is in 596 queues! I honestly never expected this kind of response, but I've loved clicking through all the projects and have been so encouraged by the kind words of many.

so yay for all the knitters who have a neckwarmer of their own now (and the lucky people who got one as a gift)! but what about all those people with cold necks who don't know how to knit and don't know anyone who can knit one for them? won't someone think of the non-knitters?? the answer to that is YES! I am thinking about them! I've actually been thinking about them for weeks, and so much so that I've decided to open up an etsy shop just so their necks can be warmed. and so they can look awesome at the same time. in 18 different colors!

click above to come by and visit! and tell your friends! I'm so excited (and a little nervous) to put my little endeavor out there for everyone to see. and I hope to be able to add more exciting things as time goes on - there is definitely more to come!

thanks to everyone who's encouraged me along the way and all the knitters who have shown me that people out there will actually wear my creations in public. and a big giant thanks to my good friend, wendy of dozidesign, who not only made that super cute logo up there, but has been full of good advice and has cheered me on from the very beginning. I aspire to be half as awesome as you someday, wendy!

exciting times ahead, people! I, for one, can hardly wait. cheers!

only slightly obsessed... 11.23.2008 |

with wool-ease thick & quick. just a little. it's so gratifying! and cheap! poor, neglected bridie. and now I'm kind of itching to knit up a few more neckwarmers for christmas gifts. I promise I won't blog about them if I do and spare you from all the thick & quick love. it's on sale at michael's this week too - I just might end up buying 1 or 3 of every color. maybe.

so, the last time I forced isa to wear the ice cream hat I made her two years ago, it was a bit of a stretch and she complained that it was too tight and that she needed a new one. and since kerblock obama won the election, I supposed it was time for some change.
fro yo hat
isa was quite adamant that the new hat not be vanilla. we finally settled on strawberry after a short argument over grape (which is so not a normal ice cream flavor) it fits me too!
look! it fits me too. thank goodness, since that should mean she'll be able to wear it for more than 2 years this time. and she had a lot of fun playing hat model.
fro yo hat fro yo hat fro yo hat fro yo hat
more details on the rav.

warm fuzzies 11.21.2008 |

I started working on bridie a few weeks back. it's a nice simple knit (so far) and I've got both sleeves and almost half of the back done. I made some mods - shortened the sleeves and added some shaping, which required math and thinking. and it's kind of taking a while because I am slow and maybe easily bored.

needless to say, it was time for another mindless quickie for me! I swung by michael's the other day to see if they had anything I could blow my 40% off coupon of the week on and almost walked out of the store empty-handed. and then this crazy offensive mustard yellow caught my eye. did you know lion brand wool-ease thick & quick now comes in a rainbow of crazy 70s colors? maybe it has for a while. who knows. but it was the first time I'd seen it on the shelves! how could I not buy it?

I went home, cast on 25 st on us13 straights and cruised along in garter stitch (slipping the first st of each row k-wise) until it was long enough to wrap around my neck. then I bound off, seamed it up like so
and wham
thank you, lamb (and mostly acrylic) -

now I'm warm and toasty and feeling kind of stylish, even in my pjs. this was so fast and mindless I almost feel like I need another fast mindless before I pick up bridie again. or maybe I can make another one of these little guys.

happy day! 11.05.2008 |

Rock the vote!
Originally uploaded by chanachang
guy on npr: blah blah blah... barack obama... blah blah
isa: mommy! he said "barack obama!"
me: yes, he did! who's barack obama?
isa: our president!

12 days and counting! 10.19.2008 |

somebody's excited for halloween!

this costume was so simple and quick to put together, I'm kind of hoping she wants to be a bat every year! the idea came from here, but I strategically replaced the metal pieces with piping so she won't gouge out any unsuspecting classmates' eyes at school. I used some pipecleaners to give the ears shape and stability and lined them with purple fleece just for fun.

she loves it! I loves it too! now if only california would hurry up and realize that it's supposed to be fall so that she doesn't end up sweltering instead of looking awesome when she does wear it to school on the 31st.

that's right - the very useful link included on wednesday's forecast says, "how to drive in the rain." what rain?? we want rain!

hello! hat! 8.29.2008 |

the first time I ever went to the great wall of china was in january of 1999, with about a dozen (non-chinese) people from my school. it was really really cold. there were lots of people selling stuff all around the wall. I guess the sellers make it a point to learn some english so they can sell their wares to the americans wandering about. the most memorable were these women selling rabbit fur hats, waving them around in our faces while yelling (repeatedly) "hello! hello! hello, hat! hat! hello! hat!" meanwhile, my classmates (in their broken chinese) would try to dodge them by responding "bu xie!" thinking they were saying "no thanks". it really means something more like "you're welcome". but they got the tones all wrong, so they were actually saying "sneakers", which made the hat sellers really confused. what the heck was I talking about? oh, right. hats!

I just finished bonnie tonight, after much battling with that wretched crochet. it's always trying to get me down. I'm slowly becoming less intimidated by it, but I still think I kind of suck at it. either way, heeeeere's bonnie!

pattern: bonnie, by kim hargreaves
yarn: garnstudio safran, 1 ball, gray
needles: us3 dpns, 3mm hook for edge
finished: august 29, 2008
notes: I was baffled as to why this pattern was written for flat knitting. not that I have anything against knitting flat... I just think hats make so much more sense in the round. luckily, I was armed with graph paper, a pencil and, most importantly, a big eraser, and was able to chart out the pattern. other than converting the pattern to knit in the round, I co 5 more sts to work better with the charted pattern and took out 2 rounds of the crochet edge so I wouldn't have to start a second ball of yarn. I managed to get thru the crochet edge thanks to this great video. thank you, youtube. love the way this came out. winner! side note: my head could also stand to be a teensy bit smaller. (rav link)

I completely forgot to post this other (also gray) hat that I made a few months back. it was based on a hat worn by mia michaels during the auditions for the best show in the universe (next to lost), so you think you can dance. some members of the sytycd ravelry group wanted to deconstruct the hat pattern, so with their help, I managed to crank out this simple pattern, which is available as a free rav download.

pattern: so you think you can hat, by me
yarn: lion brand cotton ease, gray, half a skein
needles: us4 and us7 dpns
finished: may 31, 2008
notes: very easy and quick! everyone needs one!

as long as we're playing catch up with my finished projects... socks!

pattern: embossed lace socks, by mona schmidt
yarn: koigu kpm, 2 skeins
needles: us2 and us3 dpns
finished: july 13, 2008
notes: I have long wanted to make these socks - I think I actually bought that back issue of ik just for the pattern. who knows how long ago that was. easy to memorize lace pattern and fantastic yarn = great socks! also, kind of hate twisted rib. it looks great, but I hate knitting it. (rav link)

one more recent fo that is not a hat:

pattern: feather and fan over 18 st
yarn: fun with yarn handspun merino, frosting, 1 skein
needles: us13
finished: august 8, 2008
notes: made this while watching the olympics opening ceremonies. fun, fast and so not useful for this heatwave. oh, fall, where art thou? (rav link)

quite a productive summer for me. :) but I am seriously so ready for fall. I want to wear my knits! and I need some rain! my car is really dirty.

what? 7.23.2008 |

I bumped into a client in the hallway at work this morning and had the following exchange:

client: hey! I've been meaning to talk to you!
me: hey, what's up?
c: you like kittens, right?
m: ... um... I do?
c: yeah!
m: oh, what makes you say that?
c: you know, your car...
m: uh huh....
c: the license plate!
m: (trying to put two and two together and not doing a great job)
c: you know, it says "kittens are better...?"
m: (light bulb goes on!) HAHAHA!!!
c: (looks confused)
m: you mean knitters?
c: oh? is that what it says? anyway, you want a kitten?

whooo whooo 5.24.2008 |

ever buy patterns, but don't knit them? I have stacks and stacks of books, magazines and binders full of patterns I have proclaimed to love and yet have never knit. on top of that, I've got even more stuffed into my computer, in my "patterns" folder, in my bookmarks, in my ravelry queue, in emails I've sent to myself... patterns out the wazoo! sometimes I think I should just knit them just for the sake of not looking like such a hoarder/slacker. but really, sometimes what you need is a reason to knit something and the perfect pattern just for the occasion.

I forget when I first saw hansigurumi's amazing patterns, but I remember I was just so wowed by how intricate and realistic her designs were. I finally just had to buy one when this came out. and then it sat in my computer for months and months. and then my friend who maybe has a thing for owls had a graduation party today! it was a sign from God. it was time to knit!

pattern: horned owl by hansigurumi
yarn: lion brand cotton ease
needles: us6 dpns
finished: may 23, 2008
notes: holy cow, was this fun to knit! it wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be and there was just about zero seaming. I did make one really dumb mistake and then had to rip out half the back and start over. and then after I finished knitting the legs, I realized I didn't have quite enough stuffing to stuff them. so I had to rip that out too. and then I had to make up some way for the butt to come together right in the absence of the legs. I also filled his butt with lentils so that he wouldn't tip over. all in all, though, I am happy with how he came out. I fully intend to make more! and I really like the way he feels in the cotton ease - very soft and cuddly. I also want to make one with legs just to see how he comes out. or maybe with really bulky yarn so that he comes out like three feet tall. that would be awesome. it's a fantastic pattern. everyone should make one! or twelve.

has hell frozen over? does that have anything to do with this heat wave? 5.17.2008 |

I never ever win anything. as in sweepstakes, raffles, drawings... well, except last year at the makerfaire, when I did win a completely useless copy of flight simulator. it went home with my friend. it has since turned into a carrot/bunny hybrid for isa. but, anyway, I seriously never win anything. and it's fine. I'm ok with it. I enter contests and whatever, but never really expect anything. so a few weeks ago, when the ravelraiser event was going on, I was thinking more that I'd donate a few bucks to a fantastic website I use everyday and keep ravelry going! I didn't actually think any of the incredibly amazing prizes would actually end up in my grubby little hands. but, holy cow. look what landed in my mailbox this week!

hmm... what could be inside?

oh, baby. nothing says "don't worry, you're going to survive this horrible life-sucking heat wave" better than 5 luscious hanks of pure cashmere from posh yarns. people! I! won! something! and something really really awesome, too! that I love! not flight simulator! which doesn't even work on mac! and isn't even yarn!

so, actually, what I won was a $50 gift certificate, and lucky me, the lovely dee let me pick out anything I wanted from the shop before it was open for orders. and then! on top of that! she threw in an extra hank! I mean, WOW! I don't have enough exclamation points to express how wowed I am by this stuff and by dee's generosity! it's amazing! so soft and pretty!! yum!

now I just need to figure out what to make with it. and also wait for the horrible weather to go away so I don't sweat all over it. but even the sunburn that has taken over my back and shoulders and the sticky sweatiness covering every inch of my body can't get me down, because I am a WINNER! yay!

hello there!

you can go back to the top now. perhaps this will be a good place to store surprises. heehee!