Saturday, February 25, 2006

Taking it to a new level entirely

Today is a day that will go down in infamy. It will be remembered as the day I got serious about my knitting. What made this day different from all the rest? I went shopping, people, shopping. But in a very different way.

Since I began knitting, the general shopping experience has been a formless and chaotic thing. I wander into a yarn shop, look at the bewildering array of yarns needles books and tools and let it sort of wash over me. Sometimes something would swim up to my notice out of the deep, other times some yarn or useful tool would leap out and assault me until I had to purchase it just to regain some inner peace. Then there's the stash, the ever-growing stash. It speaks to me. It forces me to bring home more yarn for it. It is hungry.

{Begin Digression}
In Kitchen Confidential, author Tony Bourdain names the bread starter at one of his kitchens "The Bitch" based on both it's requirements and the difficulty of dealing with it. For those of you who don't know much about baking, starter must be "fed" regularly by adding small amounts of fresh ingredients to it, mostly to feed the yeasts and keep it risable and useful. "Feeding the Bitch" was the way he referred to the daily difficult task of dealing with the starter. Well, this is like unto my stash now, it demands feeding with new yarn in a way that makes me think I should name it soon. And although one could possibly more accurately compare it to Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, it will more than likely be known and referred to hereafter as The Bitch.
{End Digression}

So today I name the stash. This is not, however, where our story began. It began when I realized a very specific item was needed for a specific task, and with intent and focus I went shopping, found just the thing, bought it and only it, and came home, mission accomplished. Let me tell you, people, it was awesome.

It's not just for breakfast anymore...
I dared to enter the testosterone-laden halls of the temple. I moved easily amongst the giants of NASCAR fandom, Budweiser imbibement and plaid flannel. I strolled confidently past the giant stuffed mooses near the hunting and meat processing section and through the maze of clothing that was made by men, for men and which could only impress other men. And why this heroic (or psychotic) endeavour?

Because I knew that 50# test fishing line would make the best material for lifelines for lace knitting. And it does.
No more wimpy thread collapsing under stitches!

HA! Today is a day of greatness. Today I name myself as I never thought I would, and I never hoped I could.
And because I can hardly deny a project I am actually showing you pictures of, and also because now that I'm a bad-ass knitter I don't care if you all know, I can also admit that I joined this:

Now, for a well deserved beer.

Finally - the first FO of 2006!

Jackson's eyes are like frikkin laser beams back there.
Classic Sock Pattern from "Folk Socks" by Nancy Bush in Mountain Colors Bearfoot, colorway "Wildflower". Knit with many mistakes on #2 Addi circs (started on clover dpns, switched to magic loop technique halfway through the first sock).

I won't be going back to dpns for socks except for historical knitting demos. Everything is so much easier with circs. And Merlin is becoming quite the intarweb hog, isn't he? I think he just knows how the sparkling black fur sets off those colors. Now I get to sleep. Durrow tomorrow. Nighty night.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not your typical turbos

Most people seem to agree that the most frustrating feature of a set of addis are the blunt tips. It wasn't really a problem for me till I tried playing with lace. I found that while I got the best tips for all the crazy lace manuevers with Bryspuns, I don't like the weightless feel of the plastic and how it grips the stitches. Knitting Durrow with addis I fell in love with the slip and the speed and the feel of the heavy(ish), smooth needles, but the blunt ends were no end of grief for regular stitches, much less k2tog. So I sent a pair of potentially expendable addis with my husband to work. He's a metalworker, and, well, they ain't blunt no more. Not only could you really put someone's eye out with these, you could probably perform eye surgery with them. Me likee.
Radial keratotomy, anyone?
Now, someone has had to have done this before, but I haven't seen it. Oh, and it works like a charm; it works like a mofo. I don't know how long they will last this way now that the brass is exposed, but I intend to find out. And possibly eliminate my need for glasses and contacts if I'm not careful.

Meanwhile, on the frog or finish front, it just ain't gonna happen by the end of February. I have decided that while I have made lots of progress by assigning a deadline, it wasn't a very good one. Hey, this is the first time I'm doing this, so even committing to a finishing date is a learning experience. I have decided to join Got Gauge in recognizing the Ides of March as my final date. This would not include objects that might be in a "bag of denial" even if there were such a thing. I think two more weeks will give me just enough time.

Finally, I'm learning about blogs too. I have made a few modifications as I learn about html stuff, and hopefully I will resist the urge to overmodify and keep it pretty tasteful. Let me know if my blog starts looking like it got hacked by a 12 year old boy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I broke my socks.

OK, so I have one sock done. This is a pretty comfy sock, but it has one baggy-ass heel. I have been struggling with this since I noticed it. First I noticed that the picture from the book had heel stitches that looked different from the rest of the stockinette stitches, then when it grew to a size to start trying it on, the back of the heel bagged and it didn't look the same as the book. I also noticed that in all the pics I have seen of heel reinforcement, there is a woven pattern to the inside I could not figure how to do while looking at the inside of my sock. For the picture of the sock I shot in the car, I pulled it up pretty tight so as not to show the bagginess in my photo. In reality though, it looks like this:

Humility time. One baggy-ass heel.

I am an idiot.

Sock 2 heel flap. It is amazing what happens when you actually read the instructions thoughfully and not remember the fuzzy feet pattern, assume you know what you just read quickly and go with it. Instead of Sl1 knit or purl to the end of the row, Sl1 K1 repeat to end of row. REPEAT. Sl1 P1 REPEAT to end of the row.

Oh, well, it's a learning process. They won't match, but I was only making them to sleep in, so no biggie, I guess. I do see very clearly how this sets up the stitches on the inside of the sock for that woven pattern of reinforcement yarn.

When you have that moment of pattern epiphany in the middle of the project, it sure is humbling. I am such a perfectionist that I am really fighting the impulse to rip my finished sock back and do it right. But you know what? I'm going to pass on that urge and learn to let go. I don't need my first sock project to turn into a masochistic festival of perfectionism. It isn't like they won't still keep my icy feet warm in bed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Breaking news!

This just in! Literally! I was sitting at the computer working on another post entirely and bemoaning my tepidity (is that a word?) or boringness (also not a word) and suddenly my husband returns from picking up the Chinese take out with a Priority Mail box he spotted under the carport. It is the ridiculously soft and wonderful yarn I ordered from A.L. deSauveterre. So I jettisoned my previously uninspired post infavor of a brag shot of my new wonderfulness. Yes, I love myself enough to knit myself socks out of Italian Cashmere. Merlin approves.

Colorways Japanese Maple and Cornish Pixie. I can't do these colors justice. Wow. Hey, I never said I couldn't buy yarn before March. Heh.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I don't know whether to feel lucky or rejected...

Well, what an exciting Friday evening! My husband and I are just getting ready to go to an SCA event, packing up the car and getting stuff together when he goes down to the basement to get our chairs and finds the hasp to the basement door broken off. Broken into. ACK!

The good news is that there doesn't seem to be anything missing. The bad news is that we are having to call cops and deal with a broken door instead of heading out for a weekend of fun.

About 3 weeks ago our next door neighbor's basement was robbed of his lawn equipment, but he didn't have a lock on his door. Why I don't know, but that's his decision I guess. We had a lock. Had.

So now I am struggling with all those queasy feelings you get when you have been a victim of a break in. Violation. Anger. Worry. Weird.

Even weirder is that I am feeling a little rejected. Were our tools not good enough for this particular theif? What probably happened was that he got as far as the lock and got scared or discovered or something. But I have a sense of pride in the tools we have, and it is a strange thing to feel that they were worth stealing and that I have been somehow slighted.

Chalk it up to the post break-in emotional loop de loops, I guess. Even now as I am waiting on DeKalb Countys' finest to show up and write the report (and I have nothing but the best to say about what few experiences I have had with our police) I am sitting here blogging about it. I guess I don't know what else to do. Maybe I'll go knit. Or join a webring. Yep, I have been wanting to join this one for ages now.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Entirely too weird to pass up!

I found this at Peony Knits. I'm really not a big fan of memes, but this was, well, read the title.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about The Chickengoddess!

  1. Reindeer like to eat The Chickengoddess.
  2. It's bad luck to whistle near The Chickengoddess!
  3. Astronauts get taller when they are in The Chickengoddess.
  4. It took The Chickengoddess 22 years to build the Taj Mahal!
  5. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted The Chickengoddess.
  6. You can tell if The Chickengoddess has been hard-boiled by spinning her. If she stands up, she is hard-boiled!
  7. The book of Esther in the Bible is the only book which does not mention The Chickengoddess!
  8. Never store The Chickengoddess at room temperature!
  9. It takes a lobster approximately 7 years to grow to be The Chickengoddess.
  10. Humans have 46 chromosomes, peas have 14, and The Chickengoddess has 7.
I am interested in - do tell me about
Oddly enough Number 6 is true, but as for the astronaut thing, I was drunk at the time and I don't really recall.... Now I am faced with a moral dilemma if I want to eat a lobster. Will it really be cannibalism? With butter? Mmmm. Lobster.

Rumors of a secret project patently untrue!!!

I deny any knowledge of a new project. I deny that this project is taking place at work on my lunch break. I deny that this was any justification for starting any project prior to my March 1st starting date established and duly ratified by me. I did not receive any packages from Canada recently in the mail. This is a complete fabrication. Any information you may receive regarding the alleged stealth project is wrong. After all, I don't knit lace; how preposterous!

The alleged "project"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Seriously Shrinky-Dink

Durrow is coming along very nicely. I have only one more sleeve to go then to whole thing goes together, gets a neckline and I have another FO. I really can't wait, because this will be my first FO of 2006 (one sock really doesn't count, you need a pair) and I will be making good time for my end of February frog or finish deadline. The unblocked 4x2 rib does make it look a bit on the slim side, but it stretches like crazy so it will fit just fine.

Honestly, this biggest problem I am having with this sweater is getting good pictures of it. I am no photographer, but my digital camera usually does pretty well. This yarn is so dark, however, that I can't get anything to show up well and my backgrounds burn out every time. Hopefully, by the time it is done I can get it on the husband and get a decent pic outside on a sunny day. Maybe that will help. Any suggestions on photography are welcome.

As I progress in my knitting endeavors, I find the hardest thing to do is to trust directions I don't understand. So far I have been pretty fortunate to have worked with good instructions - which is a really good thing. I would be totally unprepared to strike out Grumperina style and rewrite bad or error laden directions. But turning a heel is learning about faith, let me tell you. From the Fuzzy Feet to the 1st real sock, I have to blindly trust in directions which seem to make no sense at all, and that just goes completely against everything I stand for. Even in Durrow, which is the first neckline shaping I have done, the directions looked weird until I followed them and the thing just happened. It is so cool to learn to let go like this.

That being said, I have no idea now what I'm going to do about the Clapotis. I am completely sick of it, but it looks so beautiful...I don't know. Most of my wool and WIP's reside in gargantuan Ziploc bags where I can enjoy them while keeping them clean and bug free. Cat free, too, which is a very big thing in this house. I have one sack about the same size as the Ziplocs which is a cloth drawstring bag I got as my only souvenier of Riverdance (yes, the souvenier selection was that lame...) and I might just put the clappy in there and forget it exists for a while. I shall call it the denial sack, or my +2 magic sack of disappearing, or something, and it will be my new best friend. That way I can decide not to decide on things like this until later. Ah, the underrated joys of procrastination.