Monday, November 26, 2012

Finished items and Christmas

I finally finished my Cables and Garter Cardi I started back in October. After hibernating for a while, I decided to finish it for Reddit's Finish ALL the Things! I'm really proud of myself, its the biggest project I've ever done.

I call it the Prude Jacket! I picked this pattern so I could wear my tank tops to work--I would have my shoulders covered and I wouldn't have to worry about cleavage.
I really couldn't be happier. I put a lot of work into it, and it came out great. One of those moments when I'm happy to be me. :)

I finished a pocketed scarf for a Christmas Present!

Its a Common Knowledge Pattern:

Cabled Pocket Scarf
CO 12 sts
Stockinette twice the length of the desired length of pocket
Even Row: k3, p2, k6, p2, k3
Odd Row: k5, p6, k5

Every few Even Rows, cable 3.

When scarf is desired length, stockinette the same length as the previous pocket.

Fold pockets in half; stitch sides.

I used Super Bulky yarn and size 13 needles. It felt like cheating, but it was good. One present down!

I went to a local yarn store--Sheepish--for Small Business Saturday. It was my first time in an LYS! IT WAS SO COOL. The people there were really friendly, really helpful, and overall made the place really welcoming. I bought some alpaca and some nice doublepoints. I say nice, but they are SO light--they are birch--that it feels weird. It'll take some getting used to.

I made a headband for my mum.

KnitPicks is having their Cyber Monday sale. Its probably bad for my health (and wallet), but OMG SO MUCH CHEAP YARN. I bought the fixings to make all my Christmas presents. Good news is, I'm selling a scarf with a profit margin that of the amount of money I spent, so... I don't feel too bad!

We have a little 5' tree in our apartment (fake), and we need to decorate it. Of course, it'll be with nerd decorations, hopefully all hand-made (therefore, free). I'm going to knit a few things in between gifts. Christmas is always super busy...

Happy Knitting, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zombie Review: High School of the Dead (Anime)

I hope you like fan service.

I just watched the anime on Netflix. Spoiler: Very little takes place in the high school.

Overall: Would watch more if they'd made it. It was a great depiction of a group of survivors fighting their way through Day 1 and beyond in a big city. What was really fantastic about this anime was the certain scenarios that had next to no meaning to the plot, but gave a more realistic feel to the story (Example: scared little girl wets herself while Main character rescues her. Not referenced later, but it would totally happen in a real situation). They really used the landscape of a Japanese city well; using things like rivers (common), street blocks (obviously common), and obviously the high school as a great way to show how the characters would react.

The interesting set-up of this story, however, is the balance between Enemies. In shows like The Walking Dead, the main focus of 'Enemy' is not the zombies themselves, but the survivors and their interactions. Zombies are easily controlled, but when a person goes rogue, people die (example: Shane, Dale, Season 3 so far, etc). However, in HOTD, there seems to be an even split as to the 'enemy'. The officials in positions of 'Authority' have to deal with tough decisions, such as killing a few to save many (a common theme throughout the anime). Here scared officials are the Enemy. However, Zombies approaching after any sound is made is also a viable dead method, without humans being the outright cause of this. The Zombies are still a huge, inevitable threat, as proven by the Finale. In this sense, the show seems more balanced, and moreover, the world is a greater threat.

Back to themes, there are several themes presented here that I really like.

Blood is cheap: It seems that all our main characters are the sons/daughters of important families. Our early season villain is the son of an important politician, main female characters are all daughters of important people in power. But when push comes to shove, even the daughter of an important district leader is on her own, to fend for herself. The main characters are on a search for their families, but in the meantime, no one can protect them.

Killing a few to save many: In the fervor of war against the dead, many characters have to make decisions regarding the living. One situation that is brought up a few times is letting a small group of people cross a bridge or enter a safe zone. Letting them in brings in the possibility of letting in an unturned bitten person, therefore potentially harming the large group. Its a really difficult decision for anyone to make. People are still people, letting them die is inhumane. But letting in a possible threat that could kill a greater population is a great deterrent. Moreover, the anime provides both sides of the argument in positive light--a small group, huddled in a house, kills the poor man with the little daughter out of fear instead of letting him in. At the same time, the police try not to let in the group of crazed survivors cross the bridge into a secured area. These are situation that we, the viewer, can see what side they should have taken, but if we were in that position--what would you do?

If you are easily offended by upskirt shots, nudity, unrealistic battle scenes, and oversized breasts, this is not the anime for you. The sheer amount of fan service is rather distracting from the scenario. There are several scenes involving a plethora of women that just seem unnecessary and unrealistic. Definitely a Shounen (Or Manime, if you will), HOTD is not for the weak of heart.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Great Fingerless Gloves Debate

Partial fingers, or no fingers at all???

It tears me apart! I can't decide! Does the partial fingers make them something other than fingerless gloves? Is it simply born of laziness that one does not knit the fingers?? QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED!

Seriously! What is the point of having gloves if they don't warm your fingers? Of you simply knit them long, so they cover part of your fingers, without the individual finger holes, ARE THEY FINGERLESS MITTENS? Does that even make sense?? Where is the line??

I must preface this story with a fact about me: There are few things I dispise more than an ameteur that claims to know more about a skill than they actually do. Never bullshit knowledge. If you don't know, ask. Moreover, if you're going to publish a pattern, research that it isn't common knowledge, or at least don't claim inspirational genius when creating a garter stitch rectangle.

I once subscribed to a 'Rock Knitters' website, where everyone was teenage girls in love with Fall Out Boy (not an insult to Fall Out Boy but to blind followers), who were 'inspired' to create a lumpy set of garter stitch fingerless gloves (6" rectangle, seamed together with a hole for the thumb. Obviously no research was done.) so they could 'practice guitar outside, without getting cold,' and look cool doing it. (Girl, please. If you're practicing guitar outside, either your parents regretted getting you the damn thing for Christmas and sent you out there until the lessons start kicking in, or you're annoying your neighbourhood crush by playing on the porchswing whenever he walks by to pick up his little brother from the park. That is, if that isn't your Dad's guitar from his teenage years that you found in the attic and swiped for a facebook photoshoot) It made me dislike the fingerless fad for a while.

Then I got a touchscreen phone.

So then I had to backpetal. As a slight elitist, I still resented the teenage angst I had associated with the things, but... usefulness! I need gloves, but taking them on and off just to send a text? What a nusance! Maybe if I just left the tips off, and made a hybrid Half Finger Glove...??

Don't get me wrong, I love me some fingerless glove/mittens. So simple to knit--I once made a pair two hours before a concert--so cute. Useful if you're worried about your warms/hands getting cold with a short sleeve shirt. Great for warmth when you still need your bare fingers. Hell, they just look awesome. They are a great way to learn knitting in the round without getting yourself into too much trouble with socks. Its like knitting a tube sock with a purpose besides sitting in the bottom of your sock drawer until every other pair of socks in sweaty and gross in your hamper. A tube sock that's edgy. But to actually wear them... I had some issues with it.

So the debate continues. I wear them now in places of low-judgement--Friday Night Magic, concerts, costumes, etc. Meanwhile, I've been sticking to full mittens in other places. (I always neglect to think that unless you are a knitting/are close to someone who knits, the technique of knitting is a mystery anyway. People can't tell the difference between a poorly knit item and a well-knit item, unles syou shove it in their face. Moreover, they don't care.) But the Knitting Elitist in me still feels like unless you've got some interesting patternwork or colourwork going on, knitting Fingerlesss Gloves is the equivilent of knitting a 3' scarf on size 15 needles with super bulky yarn. Sure it looks cool, but I can teach my 10-year-old Autistic stepsister with a learning disorder to make that. At the moment, I am knitting boyfriend a pair of gloves with partial fingers, because its more manly and because I think it'll look sexy, but the debate still runs strong. I am torn with resentment of an archetype and love of a look. Maybe I'll switch to mittens and just leave the debate unanswered forever.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stigma Against Loosing Weight.

As a medium-sized person, I have seen signs of resentment when I exibit weight-loss behaviours. If I eat a small lunch, for example, or mention the caloric content of an item of food.

'But you're so skinny! You don't need to loose weight. Me, on the other hand...'

Are people that self-centered that they refuse to realize that most people have the same body image issues as they do?

Personally, I don't feel the need to loose much weight. In fact, I'd be perfectly happy with gaining the numbers if I could loose the belly fat. My weight loss goal is only 15 pounds, maximum (I've lost 6--almost halfway there!) The difference in the way I look outwardly would be slight; most people won't notice a difference. But my jeans will fit better, I won't be scared of swimsuits, and I'll overall feel better. Trimming a small amount of fat will make me healthier physically and mentally. Similarly, I am loosing the weight in quite a healthy manner, not by starving myself as people try to make it seem, but by portion control and limiting my caloric intake enough to use stored energy. And not put my body in starvation mode.

But as a medium-sized person, other people--even meduim sized ones--show resentment and concern if I exhibit these behaviours. I now don't even tell people of my special diet, for fear of critisism. 'You don't need to loose weight, be happy with the body God gave you.'

God gave me a body, but He didn't shove the food in my mouth.

In high school, people would always say how skinny I way. When I told them my jean size, they were shocked. 'There's no way! 9? No, you're like a 2.' Sorry my friends, I'm carrying a lot more fat around than I let appear. Just because I don't let it hang over too-tight jeans, doesn't mean its not there.

I am so confused with people, and why they think that its okay to criticize someone on something they obviously feel poorly about--why else would I be dieting--and that they know what is best for you. Why its only okay to be worried about your image if you are medically obese. You are only allowed to start thinking about your health when your health has deteriorated to a point when it can medically effect you. People are so backwards. Thank you, I want to look out for myself. Forgive my ignorance to the culture.

For anyone who is trying to loose weight or is thinking about it, do your research first. Find out how many calories a day you should eat for your activity level. Measure your BMI, and measure the BMI for your 'desired' weight. A number on a scale may sound pretty, but unhealthy is unhealthy. Exersize. Take the time to fidn a work-out plan that's right for you. When you've done your research, and can confidently say you're going to do something healthy for yourself, then you can go without guilt when people criticize you. You have the power to control your weight, and you have to power to do it in a healthy manner.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hats, Scarves, and Collars

With the advent of a cold front here in Georgia, I've turned my knitting to warmer things, rather than decorative.

Seed Stitch Collar

I prefer collars to scarves for a few reasons: One, they are a much faster knit. Two, they don't get caught in zippers and on velcro on your jacket. Three, they just look cool.

I made a really simple seed stitch collar with buttons for these reasons.

CO 30 sts
Knit one row
[k1, p1] to end of row
[p1, k1] to end of row

Repeat until work measures around your neck comfortably

[k1, p1] Twice, k1, cast off 6th stitch, repeat until end of row
Next row, seed stitch, and add the cast off stitches back onto the needle
Repeat another 4-5 rows of seed stitch, cast off.

Its a rectangle with button holes.

Add buttons, and you're done!

Newsboy Hat

I'd give you the pattern for this, but I honestly can't remember what I did.

I know I used elements of Starcap, and I did a seed stitch band (I love seed stitch). Other than that, its not too clear.

Ravenclaw Scarf

I'm currently working on a Ravenclaw scarf for Boyfriend. He really wants one. I wanted to do it in book colours, rather than movie colours (blue and bronze vs blue and silver), but we had limited yarn choices. I went with 1x1 ribbing; I think that makes it look really clean. Using Caron Simply Soft (like the poor college student that I am) in 'Celestial' and 'Grey Heather'.

I think Matching gloves would be pretty awesome, too.