The Great Hair Debate

As I was looking through some old photos this week with the idea of organizing them (and tagging everyone’s faces in iPhoto – addictive!), I came across photos of one of the three times in my life where I have gone crazy and cut my hair short.

The first time, I was in sixth grade and had seen this amazing makeover in Seventeen or other such publication where the girl had this super cute bob that was just the color of my hair. I wanted it. At that time, I had hair down to my waist, which my mother trimmed for me regularly, but when I saw that, I begged for my first professional hair cut. I cried after it. A lot.

The second time was around freshman year, and I don’t remember why or how I did it, but I know that it does not look good looking back – especially with a center part!

The last time was in 2008, when I got bored with my longish hair (about 6 inches or more past my shoulders) and went to chop it off up to my ears. I liked it OK, but never loved it, and whenever my hair got wet (which strangely, happened a lot in England :-)), it turned into a frizz ball. I also felt like it took even more prep work, and thought I was sinking extra time into it with more careful blow drying and straightening.

So now, in 2013, I am back to the same hair I have had off and on since I grew out the first short hair cut after sixth grade. I’ve finally found a hairdresser who can cut my bangs so you don’t notice that I have not one, but two cowlicks in front, and who taught me how to style my hair curly. But I’m still not happy.

You see, I have wavy hair that just borders on curly, and if I leave it to dry naturally, it is a HOT MESS. And I fight it every day.

If I shower, wash my hair, blow dry it with a round brush and straighten it (which is what I do 97% of the time), it takes me an entire hour to get ready. Which is crazy. And most of it is fighting my hair.

I haven’t thought my hair looks that great for a while now. The layers make the longest layer look thin and grown out. Even after meticulously straightening my hair and using hair spray, my hair develops weird kinks (not to mention one piece in the back that literally WILL NOT STRAIGHTEN) throughout the day, and doesn’t look like I want it to.

I like my hair curly well enough, and it’s a lot less work (mousse and then 5 minutes or less with the diffuser), but for some reason it seems like a short cut and I feel guilty about wearing it curly. I usually only do it when there are three weather conditions happening simultaneously: it’s warm out (because I have to let it mostly air dry), it’s not that windy (because that makes it frizzy), and it’s raining (because straightening would be futile). I also have to pin my bangs back, because little short curls on just one side looks weird. And I think I look better with bangs, so this also makes this feel like it’s not the solution.

I pretty much refuse to put my hair in a ponytail, because when I look in the mirror, I imagine that the people I pass in the street will think, “Wow, she must have slept through the alarm and had to get ready in 5 seconds! Look at all those flyaways!” But when I see others with ponytails, I think, “That looks so cute. Why aren’t my ponytails cute?”

One time, I thought it would be fun to make a messy bun. I see them on other women and think they look really great. I did it to myself and thought I looked like I had invited my six-year-old cousin to come play beauty shop. I didn’t let myself leave the house like that.

So I tell myself that I still have long hair because it looks better on me (and it definitely does – I’ve confirmed with many others), and because I want options on how to style it. But I never take those options.

I think many women spend most of their life wishing for hair they don’t have. Those with curly want straight, those with straight want curly (which is why perms were invented!), and those with in between, like me, just want hair that will decide on something.

So I have a haircut coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks. And I’m trying to decide what to say to her. I have no idea how to get my prep time down (and that is a must), learn to style it different ways so I’m not bored and don’t look crazy, and generally learn to embrace my hair. Any lessons learned from your own hair struggles are welcome.

In need of a little color…

This week has been very rainy, grey and freakishly warm. I am starting to feel foolish that I have continued to leave out my little garden flag that says “Let it snow.” Though with the major temperature drop coming later this week, I suppose it still could. Regardless, it has made me retreat to my favorite beverages from when we lived in England – Nescafe vanilla lattes (yesterday’s morning treat) and Twinings fruit tea (today’s choice) – since it seems appropriate for the weather.

fruit tea

My other remedy for the weather has been to do some knitting with fun, happy colors that make me think of spring.

color stackAll of this is kitchen cotton – most is Peaches & Creme, with the exception of the third one from the top, which is leftover Sugar’n Cream from the two baby bibs I made last year (here and here). I had loads of leftover cotton after my crazy 2010 Christmas knitting where I made 31 dishcloths for gifts (not a project I’d recommend for others unless you want to say goodbye to your sanity). I have yet to recover from that Christmas knitting project, which is why I didn’t do any this year.

So any guesses on what my colorful stack of knitting is? (My knitting groups are disqualified from guessing, since they know. :-))

In the meantime, I’m off to change out my garden flag to a Valentine’s Day one. At least that isn’t weather-dependent.

Like candy…

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my second charity blanket of 2013. I started this most recent blanket on January 8. My intention was just to get it started enough so that I could pick it up as I felt like it. But it turns out this pattern (Blue Afghan) goes so quickly, especially at the beginning, that I found it addictive – like candy. I kept thinking “just a little bit more” as I sat cozied up by the fireplace.

the beginning of charity blanket #2

And strangely, I’ve been more addicted to adding more and more to this afghan than I have to my knitting projects, which I am mentally more interested in. But it’s just that this is so easy to pick up and do a few double crochets without having to look at a pattern, or worry that I need to finish a round or a row to get to a stopping point, and that’s just too yummy to resist.

It’s growing very quickly.

Preview of charity blanket #2You’ll notice I’m using the other color scheme that lost from the poll before, but I had enough yarn leftover to make that one happen, too.

And since today it’s snowing, and I’m planning on mostly staying holed up in the house, it might grow some more. It’s just a soft snow, not meant to accumulate more than an inch, but that’s enough for me to try to avoid bad snow drivers.

I have also restarted my own pair of Knotty gloves on size 1 needles, that fit now (hooray!), so hopefully I’ll have some progress photos of those to show you soon.

 

 

FO: Newborn Vertebrae

Here is a look at my third finished object of 2013.

Vertebrae_front

It’s the Baby Vertebrae pattern in leftover Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock from my Clapotis.

I really like the way the colors pooled on the back and almost created little X shapes across the back.

Vertebrae_back

I think it’s beautiful and bright and looks like candy. It’s newborn size, so it is every bit as small as it looks.

The pattern was easy to follow. I only faltered a bit when I had to pick up sooo many stitches around the front and neckband. My stiletto Signature size 3 needles made the picking up task much easier, but it was still time consuming. So worth it in the end though!

 

 

To continue, or not to continue…

I’m already feeling a bit ambivalent about one of my 2013 goals: “Finish at least one of the pairs of socks languishing in my WIP pile.”

Truthfully, there are only 2 pairs that are in my WIP pile, the first sock of a Nutkin and the first sock of a Effervesce.

socks in progress

I decided the pair to tackle first would be the Nutkins, as I’ve had that yarn and pattern pairing in mind for over a year, and originally started these in September. I made the decision to do a normal heel flap instead of doing the pattern’s suggested short row heel, and that’s really about as far as I can get. I don’t think I like the way it’s biasing. I also realized after trying it on that though it fits, it bows out a little on the top and doesn’t fit snugly until the pattern begins. Though I have that nagging feeling that I should give up on this one, I just can’t get past what I thought was my initially perfect pairing of this yarn and pattern.

The second pair, Effervesce, I started back in May 2012. This yarn, Lorna’s Laces Solemate in Buckingham Fountain, was originally going to be Highness, and then I decided at the last minute before heading off on our Memorial Day road trip to switch. While I do think the pattern is turning out beautifully, it requires A LOT of concentration – much more knitting concentration than I normally have. Which is why I only worked on it during our road trip, and it has since been languishing in a bag. While I would love to finish these, I’m not sure I see it really happening any time in the near future (read: next three years).

I am very goal-oriented in general, and I have a hard time letting go of a project once I start it. It tends to haunt me and make me feel guilty, which is what prompted me to add this sock finishing goal in 2013. But now that I’m really not feeling either one of these projects, I’ve started thinking I need to get over that. Knitting is a hobby, after all, and not a job, and there’s no reason I have to follow through on something not fun that I was only going to do for my own enjoyment anyway.

As part of this realization, I decided to start on my own pair of Knotty gloves, which I have been coveting since I made my mom’s pair last year. I was SO EXCITED about getting started on these. I looked up my Ravelry notes on the last pair and got to work on size 2 needles. After I knit about an inch and half, I started thinking it was looking pretty large. I tried it on and…

Knotty gloves are too big!

it’s humongous. I looked at the pattern and realized it calls for a 1.5 needle. Sigh. So now it’s off to rip out my “fun” project to start over.

 

 

FOs: Baby Hermione Trio

Now that we’ve reached the middle of January, I am finally getting around to revealing three projects I finished in 2012!

These last projects are a special trio that I am calling the Baby Hermione series.

The first is a hat, using the Rolled Edge Cap pattern (6-12 months size) and eliminating the tab at the top. Since these were finished at the end of 2012, this hat was modeled by Rudolph since there were no babies handy. Baby Hermione hat

Secondly, we have the Baby Hermione socks (Striped Socks):Baby Hermione socks

And, to round out the trio, we have the Baby Hermione mittens (His and Her Mittens):

Baby Hermione mittens

All three patterns are from 60 Quick Baby Knits and made from Cascade 220 that I had left over from my Harry Potter scarf. I love them!

FO: Charity Blanket #1 of 2013

Ta dah!

Remember when I asked you to vote on a color scheme for my next charity blanket? Well, it turns out when I feel committed to you, I finish afghans much faster!

After finishing my slipper socks (back on December 15), I started an afghan with the selected color scheme of navy, teal/turquoise and white. And on Tuesday, I finished it! This may be the fasted afghan I have ever completed.

As I started working on the blanket, it seemed like it didn’t really need the white, so I dropped it. And – full selfish disclosure – I’m glad you picked that color combo because I strongly dislike that turquoise yarn. I wanted to use it up and get it out of the house. Back in 2010, I picked out something other than my usual Caron One Pound yarn (for charity blankets, it’s best if it’s cheap and washable!) to be able to choose a wider range of colors. I regretted the choice immediately. It was soft, true, but it was also very splitty and much thinner than my usual yarn. I found it very frustrating to work with, but the end result was vibrant and pretty. Since then, almost a whole pound of it has been ruminating in the stash. It was time for it to go.

So this blanket incorporated navy Caron One Pound of yarn (which is certainly my preference and will unlikely stray from again!) and the dreaded turquoise yarn. And I think it’s turned out beautifully!

charity afghan 2013 #1

I still have a little of the turquoise left since I didn’t have enough to complete another round on the afghan.

leftover turquoise

I have plans to make another charity project with it so that the yarn will be well and truly gone! Stay tuned for another FO with it in the future.