Friday, May 29, 2015

The Hana Hou Journey

   As you all know I've been knitting a Hana Hou (starting with my handspun one, then moving onto the Bernat Baby Sport one) since March 2014. I loved the sweater that Mel, the designer, knit for the pattern, and I just needed one. I started with my handspun Hana Hou last year out of The Joyful Sheep "Zebra" but that got frogged (after much debate) because you just couldn't see the copycat stitch on the edgings or collar.  I then cast on another one in Bernat Baby Sport "White" for this year's Mel Ski KAL in the All in One Podcast group on Ravelry. This one is for my friend Grace of the Daisy Creations Designs podcast, because it turned out a bit too big for my liking. I am almost done with it, I have the collar and one sleeve done. All of the seams are sewn up. I was so  excited, so I tried it on... Let's just say, I will not be knitting another one.
   Now, I know that this one was too big for me to begin with, but the style just does not look good on me.
   So I am a girl who likes her tops/cardigans/sweaters nice and tailored and fitting, but I thought I needed a boxy cardigan. I thought that it would be great and I'd be all cute and whatnot... Mel, and her models, look amazing in their Hana Hou's, but I just cannot stand to even try it on again for Finished Object photos. I will be putting it on a hanger and then sending it off to live with Grace, never to be worn (by me) ever again. I told Grace straight up,  "If you did not want this sweater, I would literally just throw it in the trash can."
   My mom told me that it could also be the yarn, which is true. but the pattern is written for sport weight and that is what I used. Maybe it's the acrylic, I don't know, but I just wish that I loved the cardigan on me as much as I loved it in the pattern. (and on Mel, and on her model)
   Please, if you like boxy, open cardigans, go check out Hana Hou by Mel Ski on Ravelry. It's a gorgeous cardigan, and well worth the price! I think that I will knit one of Mel's more fitted sweaters, but honestly, I don't think that I will knit another boxy cardigan... Maybe ever.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Review: The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head by Gary Small M.D. and Gigi Vorgan

The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head
Gary Small M.D. & Gigi Vorgan
Non-Fiction - Psychology
267 pages

True stories are more bizarre than any fiction, and Dr. Gary Small knows this best. After thirty distinguished years of psychiatry and groundbreaking research on the human brain, Dr. Small has seen it all—now he is ready to open his office doors for the first time and tell all about the most mysterious, intriguing, and bizarre patients of his career.

The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head is a spellbinding record of the doctor's most bewildering cases, from naked headstands and hysterical blindness to fainting schoolgirls and self-amputations. It is an illuminating journey into the mind of a practicing psychiatrist and his life in medicine as it evolves over time—a behind-the-scenes look at the field and a variety of mental diseases as they've never been seen or diagnosed before. You'll find yourself exploring the puzzling eccentricities that make us human.

Often funny, sometimes tragic, and always compelling, Dr. Small takes you on a tour of his career that moves from the halls of a crowded inner-city Boston emergency room to the multimillion-dollar ski lodges of the nation's elite. In between, Dr. Small introduces a strange cast of true-life characters and conditions, while dealing with mysterious hysterical blindness, a man convinced that his penis is shrinking, secret double lives, and frighteningly psychotic romantic desires. His career and personal life come full circle when his own mentor becomes his patient, making Small realize that no one is beyond mental exploration—not even himself.

(Text from front inner cover)
   The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head was probably the best psychology book I've read so far. Dr. Small didn't sugar coat anything, he told you exactly what happened, his thoughts, treatment, and how the patient progressed/turned out. The title of the book is from one of his earlier cases- a woman who was, quiet literally, standing on her head naked. Each chapter is a different case, starting from when he was training at Harvard to when he has his own floor for his patients. Dr. Small told the true difficulties of being a psychiatrist. He told us what his thoughts were about each client, his feelings about actually, finally, being a psychiatrist, and how he wasn't afraid to ask his mentors for advice.
   Being a high schooler studying psychology, it was nice to read about the 'truths' per-say. I liked that Dr. Small told us about how, when he first started out, he actually felt as if he was just role playing, and in the last chapter, he gave us an all too real experience about losing someone you're close to to a psychological disease-in this case, Alzheimer's- and not being able to do anything to help.
   I do wonder about how the patients felt when, assuming they did, they read about themselves, their case, and Dr. Small's thoughts in this book.  I guess we will never know.
   I will definitely be reading more of Dr. Small's books as I progress in my psychology career, and will recommend this book to anyone looking for books on the subject.

Knit on All the Things, Buy All the Yarn

    This last couple of weeks, I've cast on another sweater (Shapely Boyfriend by Stefanie Japel) worked on my two in-progress sweaters (Hana Hou by Mel Ski and Julissa by Vanessa Smith) decided to frog my brothers birthday socks because his feet are enormous and wide, and sewed five project bags.

First off, the Shapely Boyfriend. I'm knitting this out of some In The Loop yarn that my mom got me. She bought around 15 "Made by Me" knitting kits at the dollar store for less than a dollar and they each came with 2-75g skeins of yarn. I don't know what the content is-I'm guessing acrylic- but it's really nice and soft. It's a heavy fingering weight, and the only way I know this is because I did a WPI measurement and got 14. More about the yarn later. I had to do a generous, and I mean generous, amount of math to get this yarn to work for the pattern. My gauge is 24 stitches by 32 rows = 4 inches, so even doing the largest size, It would still be to small. I cast on 78 stitches and increased to 270 before starting the neck shaping. I used this handy little site to help with gauge calculations, and I will say, it's pretty spot on. I've already split for the sleeves, it only took three days, and tried it on. It fits nicely and I can't wait to finish it.

   The Hana Hou is currently being sewn up. I decided to sew the body of the sweater up before I knit the bands and collar (which hopefully, I won't regret later) and get the seaming over with. I won't bother with a photo of that, because it's just a mess of sweater pieces and yarn  ends.

   The Julissa got a few inches knit on it. I just have a sleeve and a half and the collar left and I'm done. Why haven't I already finished it you ask? Well, because I'd rather cast on two more sweaters.

   My brothers socks.... How do I put this nicely... HE HAS SASQUATCH FEET! He has the same size feet as my mom, and I swear I had her try them on. They were supposed to be a surprise birthday gift, but I really needed to make sure they fit before I finished them and said "Happy Birthday." He tried them on and they were too short, and too narrow. I think the shortness came from the short row heel that I did, I hate doing short row heels by the way, and the narrowness came from only casting on fifty some stitches. Granted, the yarn is sport weight, but it's Peruvian wool and silk, so I guess it doesn't really want to give much.

   I'm sewing the project bags for my friend Grace, she hosts the Daisy Creations Designs podcast if you'd like to check her out. She sent me three different fabrics with three different linings and asked if I could make some bags for her. I really love the fabrics she chose, she has great taste!

All of the house bags have this orange polka dot lining that I LOVE!

   Last Wednesday, we went the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in Fritch, and went hiking. It was a long two hour hike up hills and rocks and trying not to touch the cacti, get bit by a snake, or step on a lizard. Mostly, what we did was look at pieces of flint and boulders of limestone. It was probably more fun for those who enjoyed the hike, but me? It was hot, I was sweaty, and I really don't like to hike. The view was gorgeous though! And the rocks were pretty, we found a few with crystals, which I loved, but they said 'back then' the rocks with crystals wouldn't be valuable because the crystal was in the way of the flint.

  I have been crafting, I just have been sharing it. I haven't been blogging much in general, I know. But not because I don't want to, not even that I don't have the time. I  plan on blogging at least a few times a week, really I do! It's just that I need to set everything out to photograph, I need to set aside time to type everything up, think about what I want to say, etc, etc. I get three days a week off from work, so maybe I should just set down and write a post or two each morning with my coffee or at night with my tea. I'll post some book reviews later today, I finished two books yesterday and want to tell you what I think.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

FO Friday... On Saturday

I actually just cast off my Sockhead Hat last night, but it still counts right?

So I've missed What I'm Reading Tuesdays and WIP Wednesdays this week because I started a new job, but I know you'll forgive me because I'll make it up this weekend!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Weekend

   This weekend was Easter weekend. We dyed eggs, I made pies, and Mom and I made lunch. We dyed eggs yesterday, and when we were all done, I had some leftover dye, which I decided to use to dye some Corriedale I had.

   I'm calling this one Sulley (from Monsters Inc)

   This one's just pink with glitter.

I don't have any photos of the pies I made, but I'll share the recipes I used.

For the chocolate pie, Chocolate Cream Pie II I've made this pie for every holiday for the last couple of years, I've never had a problem with the filling setting up, but this time, it was more like pudding in a crust. I'm thinking it should've been set in the fridge for a longer period.

For the coconut cream pie, Emeril Lagasee's Coconut Cream Pie My mom says she loves this pie, I've never tried it because I don't like coconut, but you should try it for yourself.

For the cherry pie I made, I used this recipe and 1 can of cherry pie filling. Pour the can of cherry pie filling into a baked 9-inch deep dish pie crust, prepare the vanilla pudding per the instructions, and pour over the cherries. Chill in fridge at least 3 hours before serving. I'm allergic to cherries, but my PawPaw, who I made this for, said it was really good. He took the whole pie home.

I hope you all have had a great Easter weekend, full of chocolate, family, and fun. I'll see you back here later this week.