Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How I Live Frugally

I want to quit my job and knit dish towels and cozies all day.

I'm trying to decide whether to shut off my HBO subscription. I need to cut costs and my two favorite shows, Big Love and Flight of the Conchords, are finished for the season. However, I love Real Time With Bill Maher. And how much will I really be saving? $10 a month? There are many television shows that you can watch online, perhaps I can find Bill out there somewhere.

I think I could manage, albeit reluctantly, to do away with my cable package in its entirety (well, just basic) and cut my bill to close to nothing. However, I cannot live without the internet. That's my crutch. I may be reduced to eating ramen noodles and hotdogs, but I'm going to have the ability to wiki or google whatever pops into my head. And don't even get me started on Facebook.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Return of Peroni

My second attempt at the cozy is greatly improved. I can knit this thing in one evening. So, send me your addresses and I will mail you each one (at least until I get bored with knitting this).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cozy Crazy

Today, I went to my first real yarn store, Sip and Knit. It was very relaxing. But so expensive. The yarn was so beautiful and the fibers were so soft. What a luxury; too bad my financial picture does not support me purchasing yarn at $11 per skein.

Back to my house (with my Michael's yarn stash), I am getting hang of knitting in the round. I just finished my first soda can cozy. The free pattern can be found here. I don't drink soda at home, so I had to go with a beer for posing purposes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Magic Of It All

Let's tackle my knitting first. So I picked up my circular needles and went in search of an easy pattern. I thought I had found it with this coffee cup cozy. I manage to cast on the stitches, but my needles are just a bit too big. I end up stretching the yarn and not "feeling" the pattern. Additionally, I don't pull my first row stitches tightly and I end up with ladders, or extra loose yarn between the last stitch on one needle and the first stitch on the other. (I tried to find a picture of a ladder for reference for you non-knitters). I threw away my first attempt at this cozy because it was like a horrible experiment, similar to the first time the scientist in The Fly tries to transport a living thing and it comes out all backwards and inside out. (So I start thinking that maybe I should start taking pictures of all my mistakes because that's the one thing I know I can do right.) Lucky for me, there is a picture of what the finished product is supposed to look like, otherwise, I would be going around town using my deformed coffee cup cozy, fully unaware of its weirdness.

When I'm stumped, I immediately head to my favorite place. Google. I start researching knitting the round (not only because of the ladders in my knitting, but the unevenness, i.e. the stitches and the seams not lining up). That's when I read about the Magic Loop, which, up until this point, I thought was just name-brand knitting needles. The Magic Loop turns out to be a knitting technique for knitting in the round and can be used with any circular needles. Everything I read promises that this is not a complicated technique; and it turns out to be the truth. I start my second attempt at this cozy; I pull my stitches tight, my seams are even, but (isn't there always a but?) my ribbing is still uneven. I was too focused on curing my past defects that I didn't actually look at the stitches. Although the pattern says knit 1,purl 1, I was not following the mandate of knitting the knits and purling the purls. As a result, I ended up with rows of uneven stitches. The finished product is not as horrible as a monkey turned inside out, but it's far from perfect.

Uneven ribbing. And dishwasher-scratched drinking glass.

I'm not giving up on this pattern and I have started my third attempt. I'm using the Magic Loop technique and so far, so good. My ribbing is actually lined up and I believe the finished product will be very similar to the picture from the pattern.

See? The ribbing lines up.

And for something not related to knitting - I tend to shop at Publix (for the pleasure of it). The store is within walking distance and I usually make at least two walking visits per week with my greenwise shopping bags in tow. There is a WalMart Neighborhood Market in the opposite direction of Publix but close to the same walking distance for me. I walked over to WalMart this morning to get a feel for the store and see if the prices were more economical; which would need to be significant to cause me to stray from my beloved Publix. I was very impressed with the store's cleanliness and they had a great selection of all grocery and health and beauty items. The odd thing was that they had no manned cash registers; it was all self-checkout. In this economy, I'm not really sure that I feel comfortable frequenting a store that eliminated precious job opportunities for those unemployed. On the other hand, the introvert in me is thrilled that I don't have to make small talk with anyone. No matter what, I still felt I was cheating on Publix, and fully believe that they instituted their "buy one, get one free" weekly program for me. Because, in these uncertain times, you never know when you might need that extra jar of Peanut Butter or that 8-pack of wieners.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ruts and Rectangles

I'm in the process of transferring my 401(k) from two former employers to an IRA. So much paperwork!

I started a new dishcloth, mostly because the pattern is simple but pretty. What else am I going to do with the yarn?

I finished my scarf, just in time for the Florida cold weather.

I'm through with scarves (famous last words). I've been knitting for 10 months now, but I think I need to branch out and keep challenging myself. I'm getting into a rut with all the rectangles. So I'm going to print out and prepare myself for knitting socks. There is a pretty decent (free) tutorial online, recommended by many, at Silver's Sock Class.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...