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Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Tie-Dye" Pillow Case #2

     As you can see, I have finished my (first ever) pillow case!  That's basically all I have to say about it, I guess.  Not quite in the mood for blogging, right now, or anything else for that matter.  But, I figured that you - my devoted followers - deserved to see this finished masterpiece (sarcasm) the second I finished it, so here it is.  Now off to wallow as I spend the rest of my evening alone with my three best friends: Ben, Jerry, and Netflix.


Strawberry Lemonade

     ...is seriously the best Jamba Juice flavor.  Ever.  I had my two wisdom teeth pulled yesterday morning (40 hours ago, actually), and Will was sweet enough to bring this down for me to drink/slightly chew on.  For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time, Will is my boyfriend of 11 months.  Today, actually.
     Anyway, to those of you with this surgery either in your near or distant future: fear not.  I have a pretty low pain tolerance (even the doubles in my ears stung pretty badly when I had them pierced), and I have had no pain whatsoever, so far. There is slight discomfort, but considering the size of the tooth they had to saw in half just to get out of my jaw, I'd say it's extremely managable.  Especially considering that I was expecting pain more toward a 7 on the pain scale.
     So, life's been pretty good.  I'm allowed to eat as much pudding, jello, ice cream and mashed potatos as I want, which = heaven.  Total.  Bliss.
     Plus, it was ridiculously amazing to fall asleep for seemingly two seconds before I heard voices saying that I was starting to wake up.  You know those movies or TV shows who show a patient's perspective of waking up after surgery, and the camera "blinks" as everything slowly comes into focus?  I had no idea how accurate they depicted it - it literally was just like that.  Really trippy, if you ask me.  Which the drugs they gave me totally weren't.  I've never done drugs before, and to tell you the truth, I was secretly a little excited to be hopped up on Vicodin for a few days.  All it's done, though, is make me super irritated.  Which is irritating in and of itself... A vicious circle, I tell you.
     Sorry to ramble, but I kinda just feel like blogging about nonsense - that's how bored I am.  It fills the loneliness a bit, as if I were talking to someone.  Which is absurd, of course, since basically no one reads this anyway...
     So with that done, I will update you on my pillow case.  It is now at 26", and a measly 5" to go.  Which is a lot more than you'd think, because on size 5 needles, 1" is equivalent to seven rows.  And 35 rows seems like a million hours away.  I have the next two days off of work to "recover" from my surgery, and I hope to god I finish this thing by then.  It's been 8 days, and already I'm tired of it... Honestly, I have the worst finishing-a-project syndrome.  Must be a mild case of ADD.

xo Megan

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Tie-Dye" Pillow Case

     Hello all- hope your week's been lovely!  I spent most of last week poolside, drinking cream soda and enjoying the (finally) hot summer sun.  It had been raining off and on here, until early last month..  Very uncharacteristic for California.
     As promised, a post about updates on my gray tote - and, a new project I started while in Sonoma.  As for the tote, all the knitting has ceased, and the piece measures 16"w x18"h on both sides.  I used a backstitch to sew the side seams, and thats where I am now with it.  I am actually very pleased about the seams - previously, I had never used any specific technique; since I mostly knit for myself, as long as A and B were connected, I never minded the way it looked.  But, since I wanted to learn all the skills needed to make a replica of the pattern, I learnt the backstitch and let me tell you, I am not looking back.  It is ridiculously simple to do, after one masters the confusing-sounding instructions, not to mention that the seam looks, well, seamless.
     I'm including pictures of the images provided in my book, along with, as you can see, my replicas.

     Below are pictures taken in sunlight and artificial light, to mimic as much as possible how the colors change in different lights.  This was by far my hardest subject to shoot (I've been a photographer for almost five years, so trust me, this is saying a lot) in terms of ensuring that the colors I saw transferred accurately to the camera.  So, after about 40 minutes of trial and error with my white balance, this is the result.  And about as close as I will ever get to the yarn's actual color.  It is an absolutely gorgeous blend of purples, blues, and sea greens.  I fell in love with it the second I saw it.  Before it was wound, it reminded me of tie-dye, hence my title for this project.  But, who couldn't love it?  210 yards of 100% merino wool for a whopping $10.85.  I had to buy two!
     This project is also knitted in one piece.  The specifications fit a 16" square pillow, which you see here. The piece is about 17" if the edges are rolled out, and at the moment it is 14" long.  Just about halfway there.  The ribbing seen at the base of the pillow will not be seen by looking at the front - it will be met in the middle of the back of the case by the other end of the knitting.
     I so wish it were possible to transmit the feel and texture of something across the internet; this fabric is to die for.  Not to pat myself on the back, but it was such a good idea to use worsted merino wool for a pillow case - it is amazingly soft! I literally can't stop touching it.
     Here is the manufacturer's website, in case you would like a skein (or three!) of their absolutely stunning yarn: Malabrigo Yarn.
     There are three retailers of this yarn nearby me, so if you would like this pillow case knitted in this color (Whales Road) or a different one, please feel free to contact me about it!  My email is megancooper13@ymail.com.
     Happy Monday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

4-H Camp

     Happy Monday, I s'pose.  Personally I never liked (nor still do) Mondays so I'm not very happy that it's here.  I'm pretty sure that applies to everyone though, so I'm sure we're in the same boat!
     No exciting progress on my gray tote - it looks the same as the picture I posted on the 12th here except that it's longer.  It's about 34 inches long right now I think (the measurement I took was pretty rough), and I still have about 7 or 8" to go.  So, instead of a post that pointlessly describes the same thing as my previous post, I decided to make this one about my venture up to Angwin (in northern California) to 4-H Camp on the 15th.

     To explain the pictures above (clockwise from top left):
            - The large wooden placard in the center of camp
            - Campers (age <12) and staff (age 13-18) at lunch
            - The sign posted on one of the entrances to the camp's kitchen
            - Will's dad (the camp chef) holding his grandson Allen

     Will's sister, Denise, and her husband, Robbie (whose son is pictured above) drove up with me, and we arrived at camp just after noon, after an hour and a half of a car ride.  :( !  I had never been to 4-H before, so after lunch Will took me on the grand tour.  The camp resides in the Las Posadas State Forest, which is about 700 acres of trees - the camp uses only about 70 acres though.  The forest is absolutely gorgeous, and I wish we had had more time to walk/hike the rest of the trails the camp uses.

                      Please respect my images and do not take them without my consent.  

     Will is a "chaperone" (a less glamorous title is 'supervisor') to the kids at camp, since he's 23 and too old to be a staff member anymore, so we had a lot of time on our hands to simply pass.  Which was really nice though, because we hadn't seen or spoken to (minus a very brief 10 minute call two days prior) each other for five days, so I was happy simply to be next to him.  We made lanyards before dinner (mine is neon yellow, orange, and green - amazing, right?), and afterward headed down to the campfire, where the campers' final three skits were performed, a few songs were sung, and closing ceremonies performed.  This all ended at around 9:30 or 9:45 PM.
     At 10 PM, the slideshow was put on for the entire camp to watch - pictures are taken throughout the week of the campers and staff, and compiled into a 20 minute video.  After that ended, the Friday Night Dance began, and the "Marriage Booth" was opened, both of which ran until 11 PM.  The marriage booth is a small, one-room building that the staffers decorate every year to hold "marriages" between campers, staffers, or - in mine and Will's case - adults.  We got matching star-shaped silly bandz as rings - they're very pricey, and extremely hard to find. ;)  Even though it sounds really cheesy, it was actually an amazing end to the night.  After the sun went down, and until Denise, Robbie and I left at 11:45 PM, I felt like a kid again, at camp, having fun with a boy.  I may be slightly sentimental and/or nostalgic, but it was perfect.

     The pictures below:
            - Will, wearing glow stick sunglasses, courtesy of one of the girls on staff
          - Campers and staff at the last camfire of the week (not all are pictured; there are about 100 kids total)

     One last note - I will be on vacation starting today, the 18th, through Thursday the 21st, and will not have access to the internet - unless I go into town to use the Wi-Fi at Starbucks, but I wouldn't count on that.  So, be looking for an update on the gray tote at the end of this week.

xo Megan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cheesy Smiles

Hey guys -
    This is the project I'm working on at the moment - a soft, big tote.  This pattern is from the book called Simple Knitting by Erika Knight.  This bag is knit in the tweed stich - two slightly confusing rows that are repeated over and over.  The great thing about this stitch is that the wrong side of the pattern is lovely, as well as the right side.  I'm definitely keeping this pattern in the back of my head to use in the future as a reversible pillow!  This bag is knitted in one piece, and after binding off, is stitched up, and then a narrow piece of cotton tape is sewed up both sides, creating the handles, and some structure to the bag.  *FYI: the bumpy side is the right side.*
    Life's been pretty blasé the last few days - my boyfriend, Will, is at 4-H camp this week as a counselor, as he's done for the last five years.  Camp is in Angwin, California - about an hour north-east of Santa Rosa.  There is absolutely zero cell service there and the only landline is for absolute emergencies; unfortunately (in this instance only!) he's also my best friend, so I have to go six very long days without any communication with my favorite person, minus a letter or two, if he decides to send me one..!
    Tonight I'm going to a knit night with one of my oldest friends, so that should be a change of pace.  Turns out though, that it's the same group I went to six or so months ago and, to be completely honest, I did not care for the women in the group.  A bunch of yuppies, if you ask me.  When I was there last, one woman complained about how expensive it was to send her family on an obstacle-resort vacation: about $9,000.  I was sitting there thinking, "Sorry that your worst problem in life is shelling out ten grand for a vacation..."  Anyway, I told my friend I would go, since without my best friend around, there's not much else to do, so we'll see how it goes.  For the moment, time for mac n' cheese and a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon!
xo Megan

Tweed Stitch:
R0w 1 (RS): K1, *yf, sl1p, yb, k1, repeat from * to end.
Row 2: P2, *yb, sl1p, yf, p1, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Worked over a multiple of 2 stitches, plus 1
Yf: yarn forward (or, yo)
Yb: yarn backward
Sl1p: slip 1 purl-wise

Friday, July 08, 2011

     Really amazing news! Okay, not drop-everything-and-run amazing news, but still exciting nontheless: I have found the most gorgeous yarn at - of all places - Michael's Arts and Crafts!  I was there yesterday buying size 15 needles for a new project (post to come later, after the "Birds of a Feather" bag is done) and I happened to walk past this yarn.  Instantly, the fuzz on the yarn caught my eye, along with the extremely beautiful and vibrant colors.  I have the worst addiction to buying yarn - 90% of the time I will purchase multiple skeins (sometimes of different colors or textures altogether), without a single project in mind.  This being the reason I stood in the middle of the aisle (literally) weighing the possibility of buying this particular yarn.  I was absolutely sold on the color and texture (I'd bought lesser -grade and -colors on a whim in the past), but as I only had $70 to last me for another week (including the bill I had yet to pay for the monthly data plan on my phone), I hesitated for a moment.
     But, only for a moment.  That was when I saw the price tag. This gorgeous yarn is lace, and although it is only 3 oz., it is 498 yards long. Would anyone care to take a guess on what it was selling for? $4.99.  My face literally looked like O.O when I noticed the tag.  I'd never worked with lace before, but let me tell you, it is absolutely my new favorite texture, and will be so for quite a long time.  It's been 24 hours since I bought the yarn, and I still firmly believe this is the best investment I've made in a skein of yarn, ever.

     Of course, I wanted to knit a swatch to show you all, instead of just posting a picture of the skein, but I worked a 10x10 rib (about 14" long) on size 2 needles for more than an hour and my results are shown in the pictures below.  The yarn varigates much too slowly, and I still had many yards left of the same purpleish-brown color before it changed to red, so I gave up.  I think I know what I want to use this yarn for, so when I make headway on knitting that (hopefully sometime in the near future), you will be the first to see pictures of it.

xo Megan


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Birds of a Feather

    Finally, my first knitting post! This is my current project - a bag I found on knitty.com by Stephanie Shiman, called Unbiased.  I have three panels completed - all that's left is one panel, the strap, and a bottom I'm adding in, to create more space inside the bag. I'm knitting this in the garter stitch, which makes it a pretty easy (and thus, mindless) thing to make. Also, I apologize for the quality of the picture. I know it looks fine, but the colors are slightly different than reality - it's much more purple and green-ish, but somehow the camera I used (my mom's; I was too lazy to break out my 5 lb. Nikon) skewed the colors. Hopefully pictures I post later on, closer to completion, will be accurate. Here is the picture supplied by Stephanie in her post about the design of this bag. Super cute, right? Unfortunately, the yarn I'm using (Marble Chunky Yarn in "Peacock Blue") isn't nearly as fun to look at as the yarn she used: recycled silk that was handspun in Nepal. It's first on my 'buy' list as soon as I have any money!
    Anyhow, it's still ridiculously hot, even inside my  extremely insulated house. I've only been outside twice today - that's how uncomfortable it is. Once to the library to pick up some books by Paul Ekman, the world's leading psychologist in studying emotions and facial expressions ("Lie to Me" anyone?? The show is based entirely off of his work, and he collaborates with the show's producers to make sure that every episode is accurate, scientifically) - just some light reading, since after all, I am a psych major! And the second time, to go to a 'consultation' about having my wisdom teeth out - I have exactly three weeks to anticipate that, and let me tell you, I am not even close to excited. I told the man who will be doing the surgery, essentially, that there was no chance in hell I was going to be awake for the whole thing, and I plan on being hopped up on pain meds for a few days after, because I am not looking forward to the pain that is renowned for coming with the removal of wisdom teeth. Luckily I've only got two, though: one upper, and one lower. Kind of a bummer that they're not both on one side, because at least then I could eat on one side of my mouth. But, on the upside, the pain will be dispersed more.
    So that was my day, and I'm going to take off now to work on this bag. Hopefully I'll have it done within the next few days!

xo Megan

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Day of Cotton Candy, Screaming Kids, and Fireworks

July 4, 2011
©Megan Cooper
    Hi guys! I am writing from the Marin County Fair, on a set of bleachers waiting for the pig(let) races to start. It's been absolutely sweltering today, and by 7 PM it's still less than ideal.
    This year's theme is "Celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge - 75 Years" and I had amazing aerial photos of the bridge that I was planning to submit, but of course, I was a dumbass and forgot all about entering my pictures by the fair's deadline. It was definitely a huge bummer seeing work just as good (and, I have to admit, some not as good) as mine hanging on five different walls, being viewed by hundreds of people.
    Anyhow, rides still have yet to be ridden, and after that I'll be staking out a spot somewhere around the huge pond where fireworks are set off around 9 PM. The pig races are about to begin - see ya later!

xo Megan
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Hello, World

July 4, 2010
©Megan Cooper
So I guess the first thing I should say is Happy Fourth of July! I'm not really sure how much that counts, though, since it's 2 AM and it still feels like Sunday night to me. 
Clearly, this will be my first post, and I'm not quite sure how I want to begin everything, so I guess I'll just jump right in. I think it's pretty obvious that I should definitely not be awake right now, considering that I will be having brunch tomorrow (today, really) at 10:30 AM. Given that, there is basically no way I will be making my first knitting post right now - that task will fall to tomorrow, at the first chance I get.

By the way, yes I did take that picture (photography is another major part of my life), at the Marin County Fair last year.

Thanks for listening, world, to the first post of my blog.
xo Megan