Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm going to be sick

Really. I mean it. The boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot is home sick right now with some kind of body ache-coughy-tired illness, and it's only a matter of time before I go down, too, despite the Airborne he gave me this morning. (Didn't seem to work for him, did it?) True, the word "hypochondriac" could easily be used in a sentence with the man, but even a sinking suspicion that he has skin cancer or lupus will not make him alter his usual workaholic routine one jot. He goes to school seven days a week, works six, and when he's home, he spends half his time working on something related to school. (This kind of obsessive behavior is one of the things we have in common, believe it or not.) Last night he said he was taking a day off to lay in bed. Maybe read.

The boy is definitely sick. So sick, in fact, that he offered of his own free will monetary contribution toward buying a bed. This has been an area of contention for some time. Crazy me, I keep wanting the inconvenience and bulk of a bed. Well, maybe not a bed in the traditional sense, with a mattress and box spring (How would that ever get up my stairs?) but a futon. With a frame, even. And he didn't flinch when I said one of us would probably have to take a day off for it to be delivered. It took all my self-control not to stare open-mouthed at him.

So I am probably going to be dog sick very, very soon. But hopefully not so sick that I can't knit. I admit I'm looking a little forward to getting sick for the potential knitting time. (Obsessive, remember?) If I get sick, and have a day off, I could finish a UFO or even plead that I am so sick that I must cast on something new to ease the pain. My yarn hoarding tendencies are outstripping my rate of production, so I have all of this to choose from:

1 skein "cranberry" Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
1 skein "Blue Surf" Malabrigo
4 skeins black Lamb's Pride Bulky
10 balls "Avocado" KnitPicks Wool of the Andes
12 balls "Chocolate" KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (FLAK sweater)
6 balls "Coal" KnitPicks Wool of the Andes
5 balls "Coal" KnitPicks Merino Style
1 ball black Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal
7 skeins Classic Elite Inca Alpaca (color 1168)
1 ball black worsted weight Misti Alpaca
2 skeins red Catalina Baby Alpaca (worsted weight)
1 ball "shell" Crystal Palace Waikiki
2 balls "Charcoal heather" Lamb's Pride Super Wash (worsted weight)
1 balls black Lamb's Pride Super Wash (worsted weight)
1 ½ balls black Lion Wool (worsted weight)
1 ball cream Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal
2 balls blue/brown Jawoll Cotton Jaquard Superwash
1 ball Sockotta (color 13)
1 ball Sockotta (color 5)
1 ball Sockotta (color 6)
1 ball Sockotta (color 16)
2 balls Cascade Yarns Fixation (color 8176)
2 balls Juvel Multi (color 352)
1 ball black Meilenweit
1 ball Fun & Stripes Meilenweit (color 630)
1 ball cream colored Jawoll superwash
1 ball black colored Jawoll superwash
1 ball Crystal Palace kid merino (color 9801)
1 ball Crystal Palace kid merino (lime green color)
2 balls "charcoal" Scheepjes Invicta Extra
2 balls black Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4-ply
2 balls Reynolds Odyssey (color 404)
5 balls KnitPicks Essential (color 23695- green)
2 balls KnitPicks Essential (color 23692- wheat)
1 ball KnitPicks Essential (color 236932- navy blue)

Of course, this is just a partial list.

Last night, I:

  • drank a cup of hot chocolate with coconut milk
  • had mac and cheese with tuna for dinner
  • ate a small bag of Fritos
  • drank a glass of wine
  • started calculating a savings plan for a bed

Good times are here at last!

Today I:
  • had cereal and white tea with soy milk for breakfast
  • missed Second Breakfast
  • am having mashed potatoes with some kind of broccoli/red bean slop for lunch

My nemesis, a.k.a. the person who I work under, is taking a 6 month leave of absence, beginning in March. I didn't realize this until Monday, but come to think of it, she has been unusually happy the last couple of weeks. But then, so have I, because for the past couple of weeks she hasn't been working with me.

It has been confirmed by other people in the team that it's not me, it's her, so if you're thinking I'm a difficult person, there. (sticking out tongue) Apparently, despite my disdain for my job and the tasks it entails, even my general lack of enthusiasm for the structures I work on, I am considered a good intern.

Can you imagine what the other interns are like? I've only met and worked with a few, and all I have to say is: They thought I had more education than them. Actually, they were ahead of me by nearly a year.

Sorry if I'm tooting my own horn, but not being oppressed by confusing, oblique instructions and micromanaged by someone who freaks out at the tiniest thing (and is only entitled to half of my time, but worries about all of it) has left me strangely light headed and - dare I say it? - optimistic. This woman nearly drove me to a nervous breakdown on several occasions and was so picky and displeased with anything I did that I had serious doubts about my abilities, which is why I even had to ask the rest of the team whether I sucked. It's going to take me a while to get my normal design cockiness back full-time, much less in one post.

That said, I think I am going to knit her a going away present.

Last night, I:

  • had mashed potatoes and broccoli/red bean slop for dinner with two glasses of wine
  • knit very little - my wrist still hurts.
  • finished reading "Kitchen" by Banana Yoshimoto

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fug one, fug two

Today I:
  • had a bowl of cereal for breakfast with soy milk
  • had a banana for Second Breakfast (big surprise there)
  • am having Invention Soup* for lunch

Fugly Socks

Pattern: Uh, this is the Handy Book of Knitting Patterns (CO, leg shaping and heel) meets Knitting Vintage Socks (toe), which probably says something deeply psychological about me, but I'll pass on that subject for now. I already came up as Severus Snape on a personality test, so I'm good to go in that area for a while.

Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes "Lumberjack Black"

Size: women's 7 1/2

Gauge: 8s = 1" (or 32s = 10cm, for those of you on metric) on US #1 and #2 needles

I must confess that despite all my whining and kvetching about these socks, they fit like a dream after washing. I've been wearing them for a length of time that I dare not admit publicly. (Longer than the usual store bought sock, but not as long as Lara, which I happen to be wearing right now. Do you have problem with that?) Being a rather rough wool, they do itch a little around my ankles, but not enough to really bother me. They're not cutting off my circulation like a lot of my store-bought socks do.

Fugly Piggy
Why are my KO's so fugly? Am I buying the wrong yarn, looking at the wrong patterns? I can't see where I am obviously going astray, so I'll just say that it must be a knack or something.

I made this camera cozy Saturday morning. I guess It's not so bad, considering I didn't have pattern - or coffee. I started it by knitting a small rectangle for the base, then picking up stitches all around it to work in the round, adding shaping to fit the contours of my camera as I went. I'm very happy with how well all of that fits. But I really need to fix the pig head flap, it bothers me to no end. I suppose I could just go buy the Stitch 'n Bitch book this idea came down to me from, but I'm cheap. (I partially suspect that I am knitting in different direction than that pig, anyway.)

Purge, Purge!

Why do I always live in shithole? I've seen the insides of three apartments in the North End lately, and they're all so much cleaner and nicer than mine. Nobody has to hold their fridge back when they open it so that it won't slide towards them on the sloping floor, or has a 6' clearance on their landing. They can't reach their overhead lights without a chair or stool. For goodness sake, they have a sink in their bathrooms!

I got absolutely no knitting done Sunday. I completely forgot all about it. I was too busy purging my apartment of crap.

What have I chucked? A tea cup set and two glass plates. Three large trash bags of clothing. One trash bag of incomplete (and likely never to be completed) quilting. Uncoated wire hangers. Natty towels. Boxes made of rolled newspaper. A ragdoll. Five books. (Which leaves about 500 behind, but those 500 are necessary. Really.)

I almost threw out my 2000 Sweets catalog. I know throwing it out is probably the right thing to do, I haven't used them in months (except as a step to do leg exercises) but I flipped one open and saw a section of a triple pane glazing unit with wood trim and I just couldn't do it. I am very weak when it comes to graphic diagrams.

Last night, I:

  • had a glass of wine
  • made and ate Invention Soup* while watching Runaway Jury
  • really upset my cat with my cleaning
  • found all of the cat toys

*Necessity is the mother of Invention. Invention Soup is what you make when you're too broke or tired to go grocery shopping and just use whatever you've got at hand. In this case, this was seaweed-red bean-broccoli stem-coconut milk-miso-rice soup, sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Mmmm.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Today I:

  • had cereal and white tea for breakfast with soy milk
  • ate a banana for Second Breakfast
  • just finished up some fettucini noodles with soy beans and pesto for lunch
  • am drinking a moderate amount of coffee
  • am boggled by my blog

So I found a tutorial yesterday through Blogger on how to change the appearance of my blog. All was going well until I realized that somehow, some way, what was previewed was not exactly what was actually happening. For instance, in my preview, I had a nice, tidy border around the body of the text. Do you see a border now? If I go to my template, and hit preview, there's a border, and some padding, too, to keep the text from grinding up against the edges of everything. But not in reality. Urgh. (The text is also a little larger in the preview. Anybody going blind reading this right now?)

But I will not despair. I have plans for the look of this blog, and I will not be thwarted. There will be pictures, yea, pictures in my header and background! They will be mighty good pictures. I will draw these pictures, color them in on Illustrator, and present color scheme options to vote on. But don't expect them next week or anything, because my knitting is backed up and must be attended to. At least it feels that way. I mean, just today I am falling behind by a total of nine hours, just by being at work.

Hmm. Was that an obsessive thing to say?

Last night, I:

  • had fettucini with organic pasta sauce and soy beans for dinner
  • drank two vodka-soy milks
  • watched Ghostbusters
  • finished the Fugly Socks and The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Projects, Projects!

Today I:

  • had cereal and white tea for breakfast with soy milk
  • had a banana for Second Breakfast
  • am having veggie potstickers for lunch
  • am drinking coffee, of course

My digital camera needs its battery recharged, so there will be no original pictures today. Which is no great loss. There are no new F.O.s, and my W.I.P.s pretty much look they way they did before. (Do you really want to see 3/4 of my second Fugly sock, even after seeing the first one completed? Not exactly fascinating material.) Fortunately, I have lot of W.I.I. (Works In Imagination) to discuss.

Knitting for family
In Mandarin, if you want to ask somebody how many immediate family members they have you need to use a measure word. The measure word for this situation is generally for amounts up to ten. After that, you have to use another measure word. I was the only one in my class at the time this idea was introduced that had this dilemma: my immediate family consists of over eighteen people. The sad thing is, I don't even remember if at the time I was counting step-relatives. Either way, that's a lot of people to knit for come the holidays.

I solve this problem by being biased. The first people to be eliminated are those whose current address is unknown to me, for fairly obvious reasons. Sure, I could ask Mom, but considering that 80% of the time I speak to her she almost immediately loses her cell phone connection I think that may be more trouble than it's worth. The second criteria for elimination from my knitting list is whether or not I can think of a project that's interesting to me. There's a real poverty out there for men's knitting, so I don't knit for my brothers. As far as I know, my brothers aren't even aware that I knit, so no harm done anyway.

Who does that leave?

Mom, Dad, five sisters, nieces and nephews, a grandmother and maybe an aunt or two. (Who are all probably reading this right now, thinking, "She didn't make me anything for X-mas!" Well, hold your horses. There are a lot of holidays.) Let's not forget the boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot, either, someone who is going to be assaulted with numerous knitted goods over the next twelve months, whether he likes it or not. I have big plans for his wardrobe, and his squeamishness at asking for things is not going to get in my way!

That said, here are some lists:

Mom: This is what I am going to make her for next X-mas. It's the perfect sweater for her. It's stylish, elegant, and looks like it will forgive a fluxing waistline. And in KnitPicks Merino Style it'll probably not break the bank, or rather, credit union, either. I'm also going to design some wavy socks for her birthday.

Sibling #1: For next X-mas I am making her this bulky weight yarn cardigan, most likely out of cranberry Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, because I am cheap. I also want her to be able to machine wash it.

Dad: I've been having a perverse notion to make him a sweater. "Perverse" because he's an ex-logger who does building maintenance for a living, so even if he likes the sweater, he'd only be able to wear it holidays, when he's clean, and going to stay clean. To get full mileage out of any sweater I knit for him he'd have to wear it about five times a year for the next twenty years. That's why previously I made him a hat.

Boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot: He's got some gray socks coming really soon, in worsted weight. Then a v-neck cardigan, a hoodie, and an argyle cardigan. Then probably some socks. And gloves. And... well, you get the idea.

Last night, I:

  • had a bowl of mushroom bisque with croutons for dinner with coffee
  • ate leftover rice and veggies for lunch with a bag of Fritos

Edit: I'm revising the look of my blog, so you may notice it being published over and over and... over. Ignore that. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When will that gold medal be up, anyway?

Today I:
  • have had coffee. Lots of it.

My First Sweater

Pattern: "Lara" from Debbie Bliss Silk Alpaca

Yarn: Lots of "coal" Wool of the Andes from KnitPicks

Size: 32" (I am a 34", but the pattern runs large)

Gauge: 18s = 4"/10 cm on US #8 dpns and straights.

I'm not certain what to say about this pattern. It was simultaneously difficult and easy. It's easy to work a sweater all in one piece, and it's difficult to understand the very concise explanation of exactly how that is supposed to happen after a couple screwdrivers. There were some definitely weird maneuvers in this pattern that could probably be eliminated without any ill effects. That said, it was an easy knit. I would do it again.

Especially now that I know I can do a simple sweater in nine days. Whoo - ha!

Last night, I:

  • had stir-fried broccoli and mushrooms with rice for dinner
  • drank a lot of water
  • worked a little on the Fugly Socks
  • watched The Upside of Anger

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No Photos, Just Some Thoughts

Today I:

  • had a bowl of cereal and cup of white tea with soy milk for breakfast
  • had a banana for Second Breakfast
  • scarfed down a bean and rice burrito and a bag of Fritos for lunch
  • have had a lot of coffee
  • just want to go home and knit

I have a huge line-up of Things To Knit in my head, tangled up with What The Hell Am I Doing With My Life and concerns about the infinite quality of my dirty laundry pile. (That thing will never be cleared away, I know it.)

What the hell am I doing with my life? I'm still interested in architecture. Unfortunately, going to school while working full time doesn't work for me. Neither does office work. If I could be an architect without ever entering a cubicle or cow-towing to a boss, I'd do it in a heartbeat, provided I could finish up my degree as a full-time student.

What are the odds of this? Take a look around. See many architects like that? I mean, plenty of people have had their educations paid for in full by someone or something, either reaping the cost of it afterwards in exorbitant loan payments, or (for the lucky few) not all because Daddy paid for it. (Does that sound bitter? It is.) But the cubicle. The boss. You would think that in architecture - a field traditionally aligned with Fine Arts since the Renaissance - individualism, creativity, and independence would prevail. It's design; it's art. And everybody knows what artists are like.

Well, I wish that was how it really is, or ever really was. I feel like Sherlock Holmes - not in the brilliant, acute sense, but in that I am attempting to invent a career to suit my skills and interests - yet I have neither the funding nor the concrete direction that good ol' Sherlock had. If he wasn't fiction, I'd be pissed.

What are my current goals?

I'm going to finish the Fugly socks (I am already past the heel on the second sock) , then knit the front of my FLAK sweater. Early in March I will begin a pair of socks for my mom and try to weasel back into a fine woodworking workshop. After that, things get hazy. There are a lot of projects to choose from, but I know I am going to try to take more woodworking courses. Fine furnituremakers are closer to artists than architects, at least in the areas that I think count.

Yesterday, I:

  • blocked Fulgy Sock #1
  • had a coffee and a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast
  • ate two bean and rice burritos for lunch
  • chopped my hair
  • had a tuna fish sandwich, an artichoke, and sauteed mushrooms for dinner
  • drank a vodka-soy milk
  • watched Four Brothers

Edit: And wouldn't you know it, the moment I posted this, a piece of spam slipped through the word verification. Sorry, folks, but I'm switching to moderated comments.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Day 11


This photo is really a lie, because I've been wearing this sweater for two days now - I just haven't gotten a picture of myself in it yet. I'll post all the F.O. specs. once I have that picture.

Fug Progress

I completed the first sock yesterday, and as of a couple minutes ago I am about 1/4" from starting the heel flap of the second sock. I'm using Lion Brand Magic Stripe yarn on US #1 dpns, and the sock fits, but it's tight. As in, I fight it on, and then it's okay until I need to get it off again. I hope this sock loosens up either in washing or wear, otherwise I won't be able to wear them on days when I am feeling too fatigued for a fashion fracas.

I'm also having a heel problem, it seems. My sl1, k1, psso has a gap right before it. I don't know what's causing this, but I think on the second sock I am going to use a different decrease stitch and see if that fixes it. If that doesn't work, I don't know what to do. I'm going to wear these socks, so it doesn't really matter now, but I don't want this happening on socks I am giving away.

Looking at these socks objectively, I still think they are ugly. However, they match half the pants I own, so I suspect that they won't exactly be languishing at the bottom of my sock basket.

That is, assuming I can get them on.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Day 7

Due to the incorrigible antics of Jamieson last night, I am not done with Lara yet. At midnight, with six rows of the cuff remaining, I called it a night. He had food, he had water (some of it airborne, via squirt gun) but nothing would calm the raging beast except me going to bed.

Does anyone else have this problem with their cat? That if the lights are on too late at night, they go crazy? I know knocking over glasses of water is pretty much a universal cat trait, but midnight madness? Hmm.

My determination has been revised: I am now determined to finish the sweater tonight, probably at Jeanette's cocktail party. I have the neck seamed, I just need those six rows, some side seaming, and blocking. Maybe I can get it done during lunch...?

Yesterday, I:
  • had soy yogurt and coffee for breakfast
  • ate a bag of Fritos for Second Breakfast
  • had some veggie potstickers for lunch... and some peanut butter cups
  • watched State and Main and Reign of Fire
  • ate fake cheese on crackers with avocado slices
  • drank a beer and half
  • had a bowl of minestrone for dinner
  • cursed vehemently at you-know-what

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Day 6

Right Sleeve Begun

I did about 2 hours last night before I pooped out. I'm determined to have this sweater finished and drying by bedtime tonight so that I can wear it tomorrow. I was going to block it then sew up the seams with black embroidery floss, but since it needs to be ready by 7 am, I'm going to sew it up with yarn and then block it. I hope it comes out alright. I seamed the back of the collar and it looks very awkwardly done to me. Hopefully, that's just me being overcritical of my own work.

Speaking of which...

Sometimes the criticism is justified, and it's entirely the project's fault. Therefore, I present (as a gift from me to all of you Knitathletes who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated) this button:


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Day 5

Knitting Olympics

Knit for 2-3 hours while watching Get Over It and Reign of Fire; right sleeve is begun.

A scene from last night

A poll for you. The winner of this poll will be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing they are in tune with how my cat thinks. I'll close this the day the Knitting Olympics ends.

What is jamieson doing?
falling off the table in a drunken stupor
reassessing the standard concept of perceived reality
attacking my Knitting Olympics project
attempting a sly transition from the table to my lap
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day 4

Right Side

About 3 hrs.: 16 rows of 168 stitches

Tonight I expect to begin decreasing to begin the right sleeve. In this photo I have the piece folded so that you can better visualize it as a sweater, as opposed to some amorphous thing on my kitchen floor.

Knitting time slowed by watching Danny Deckchair and Harry Potter, again. I really need new movies.

I knitted my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot an intarsia scarf a couple months back, and in an effort to get it over with a soon as possible, I didn't knit it double. He said that was OK, but we're both regretting it now: the scarf curls like crazy, of course, being stockingette, and my B/P/W's alledged tolerance for a curling scarf has revealed itself to be very, very low.

He is also very stubbornly in love with this curling scarf and won't let me frog the whole thing so that I can knit it in the round. Which means I have to knit a backing to it, remove the crochet border, and sew it all together. I haven't been exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of this, since I think it may look like what is commonly termed "ass", but what am I to do?

Mom's back-up sock

I'm currently knitting three sweaters - one of which is Aran - and I have five socks on the needles right now, so of course, I have another project idea. And it's socks.

In a sly attempt to get my mom to wear the socks I knit her for Xmas, I am going to knit her a second pair for her birthday. (A second pair of socks - not a second pair of Bed Socks. I think it will be a while before I get over that k3tog every four rows thing.) Perhaps with some back-up socks she will feel that actually putting the socks on wouldn't be a desecration. I want to use Sockotta yarn again for this project, so the pattern of the sock needs to be fairly simple to deal with the business of this yarn. I haven't decided which one to use yet, and opinions are welcome.

I've looked around for a simple yet interesting sock pattern, but I haven't struck upon anything that really grabs my interest. I dimly recall seeing a pair of socks somewhere like the wavy scarf in Knitty. Maybe this was my imagination, because now I can't find them. Oh well. I will just have to design them myself. Such is life.

The deadline is the end of March, so I should start them promptly after I catch up on Part 5 of the FLAK, after the Knitting Olympics are over.

Yesterday, I:

  • had bag of Fritos for Second Breakfast
  • had burrito for lunch
  • drank a lot of cheap coffee
  • was so cranky when I got home that I ordered pizza and had a screwdriver
  • decided that all other pedestrians in the North End are my enemy, esp. the ones who block me from passing for whole block and then cut me off when I finally have a chance to pass and say something condescending to me when I sigh in exasperation. (Does that sound bitter? You should have heard me yesterday.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Plan B

Over the course of the weekend, The Plan has degenerated into Plan A. Perhaps "degenerated" is not quite the right word. "Evolved", maybe? "Transfigured"? Whatever the adjective, it is not working properly.

Is it difficult to fit into my lifestyle?

Not at all, sadly enough.

Is it proving to be ineffective? Is it hindering my quest to achieve Knitting Olympics greatness?

No. On the contrary.

It's working too well - I'm almost done. What to do?

Plan B

  • I will work on "Lara" with unrelenting dedication until it is completed. (Probably Friday; I have Chinese class Tuesday night.)
  • I will then fill the time until the Knitting Olympics deadline with neglected W.I.P's, no matter how much it may hurt to look at them.

The order I will work on these W.I.P's is as follows:

  1. backing for boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot's scarf so that he will stop asking for it;
  2. fugly socks (this may take all the KO time left. And the vodka.)
  3. Gentleman's Shooting Socks (just in case I do whip through #2)

Day 3

Right Front Begun

About 8 hours

At this point, this yarn is a blend - 99% black wool, 1% white Angora cat - like everything I knit.

Slowed by watching Harry Potter: The Sorcerer's Stone, Wit, Monsoon Wedding, and Sabrina over and over, as well as eating and, of course, popping out midday to take pictures of snow:

Man skiing down Hanover, the main business street of the North End

Salem Street
Paul Revere Park
Jamieson sleeping atop the yarn for my Knitting Olympics project
Okay, I know that's not snow, but he is white.

Yesterday, I:

  • had coffee for breakfast
  • ate tater tots for lunch
  • had tofu ravioli with marinara sauce and an artichoke for diner
  • drank half a Belgian beer
  • snacked on fake cheese with crackers and avocado
  • realized I need a Plan B

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Day 2

Yesterday I:
  • had tea for breakfast, and a soy latte and reg. coffee at the coffeehouse
  • had tater tots for lunch with seaweed sprinkles
  • had a microwave veggie lasagna for dinner and an artichoke
  • drank two screwdrivers and a lot of mineral water
Beginning the back

9-10 hours (lots of interruptions)

Knitting time slowed by gadding about the North End and watching Just Like Heaven, Doom, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades, and Monsoon Wedding - repeatedly.

Feeling very cocky.

Snow day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Day 1

Left Sleeve

6 hrs @ home

Knitting time slowed by watching The Bicycle Thief, The Seventh Seal, and Just Like Heaven. Photo seriously brightened to show stitch definition.

This evening I:

  • had pizza for lunch and dinner
  • drank three Screwdrivers
  • still could count, luckily

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Plan

My laundry is clean, my apartment is almost, and I did a little shopping. Tomorrow I go grocery shopping (after the flame is lit, it can't be helped) and then I'll be ready to rock 'n roll, or rather, er... sit 'n knit.

For sixteen days.


My boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot is just now beginning to realize the gravity of the situation. He is used to me knitting through movies, through him talking... through parties... but I do often take breaks to do other things, like eat, read, etc.

That won't necessarily be the case soon, esp. if I fall behind.

So. The Plan. The Plan is pretty simple. I need to have the knitting portion of the sweater completed by Wednesday evening, Feb. 22nd, so that the following Thursday I can mist and block it for seaming on Friday night and Saturday morning. I have two full weekends that I hope to use for the bulk of the knitting, which will require some rules:

  • I will avoid all activities that cannot be integrated with knitting. If it would be weird for me to knit in the restaurant, etc., I'm not going.
  • I will be on a severe blog diet, avoiding any temptation to endlessly troll through knitting blogs to see what others are doing. This only counts if I am at home, since it would eat away at knitting time. I can't knit at work so anything goes there.
  • When I'm done with the day's knitting I will post on my blog, then do something else. This has to happen before midnight on work nights so that that something else can be sleep.
  • I will not knit/crochet on anything else. Sounds rather obvious, but I think I better mark that one out, just in case. You never know.
  • I will plan what I am going to wear in advance to save the time I would otherwise spend blundering around, half awake and half blind in the Cave weekday mornings. (I can't stress this enough. I wear mostly black and gray. Ever look for a coordinating outfit in black and gray at 7 am in a dimly lit room?)
  • I will try not to constantly whine, or watch the same movie for 16 days straight.
  • I will not cook in a manner that requires real attention for more than five minutes straight. Hello, instant potatoes!
  • I will eat at least three times a day, no matter what.

Now, to see if this actually happens!

P.S. I'm not going to the Team Boston Kick-Off: not only would that be distracting from actual knitting... but I'm too shy. Go figure.


Today I:
  • had a cup of soy yogurt and white tea for breakfast
  • am incredibly bored

One More Day to Prepare

I do have a Plan, I swear I do. The first phase of it is for me to update this blog and then go home early from work (There is nothing to do! I already Windexed my desktop and moved my monitor!) . What I do from there will be reported on later. Really. I have a Plan.

Last night I finished the Revised Voodoos from yesterday's post.

If you're not interested in how I revised them, now is good time to click on one of my links or something, because I am going to post about it in detail, just in case I need to remember the pattern, or someone is actually interested. Maybe that person in Estonia. (Yep, I notice you. There aren't very many people reading this blog to hide behind!)

Here goes:

Revised Voodoos 2

Yarn: Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal 3-ply Bulky (90% alpaca/10% wool)

Size: One size

Notions: US #6, #7, & #8 dpns, scissors, darning needle

Gauge: 16s = 10 cm/ 4 inches

  • cast on 40 using US #7 dpns
  • *k2, p2 repeating from* to end of round
  • work 9 rows as set
  • switch to US #6 dpns and work 10 rows as set
  • switch to US #7 dpns and work 18 rows as set
  • k1, place all stitches but the next 12 on a holder (28 on holder)
  • k1, p2, *k2, p2* twice, k1, cast on 4
  • join to work in round (16 stitches)
  • k1, p2, *k2, p2* 3 times, k1
  • k1, p2, *k2, p2* twice, k2tog, sl1, k1, psso (14 stitches)
  • cast off using a US #8 dpn
  • join yarn at base of thumb, leaving a 6" tail (to be used later to tighten any loose stitches around thumb area)
  • pick up 6 stitches from base of thumb (where the 4 s were cast on) and the 28 stitches on the holder, working as set (34 stitches)
  • k1, p1, k2, p1, *k2, p2* 14 times, k1
  • work as set for 6 rounds, cast off all stitches with a US #8 dpn
  • weave in ends, use cast on tail on thumb to tighten loose stitches with darning needle

Not rocket science, but now you know how my mind works when I'm knitting on the fly. Fun, eh? Well, maybe that's an overstatement. The important thing is they're done, and I've written down my method so that I can make them again if I want.

Last night, I:

  • had a cheese panini, a bag of chips, and coffee for dinner

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More wristwarmers for my apartment to eat

Today I:

  • had cereal and white tea for breakfast
  • had a veggie wrap, a cookie, and a bag of chips with apple juice at a lunch lecture
  • nearly fell asleep during said lecture

Voodoos Revised... Again

Since I still cannot find the wristwarmers I made for my niece, I have resorted to making another pair. Not that she is going to get them. I'll eventually find that first pair and mail them to her, but in the meantime it's frickin' cold here. I mean it. This isn't just the Californian in me. Look at my new weather pixie thing. Cold.

I made this wristwarmer last night with (if I do say so myself) very satisfactory results. Aesthetically speaking, it's a bit crude, but it is hitting all the practical considerations on the head. It fits... well, like a glove, and it's fuzzy, comfortable, and tighter than the original Knitty Voodoos. That's because I went down a needle size at the wrist for ten rows (so that I could feel it gripping my wrist, very important for a sore knitter!) and instead of adding stitches for the thumb gusset, I simply backed up the rest of the hand. And it fits. Comfortably. Did I mention they fit?

I hope to complete the second one before the Knitting Olympics begins Friday.

Cripes! Did I say Friday? As in, two days from now?

Maybe I should start formulating my Knitting Olympics Plan!

Last night, I:

  • had an artichoke with mayo for dinner. (What can I say? I was knitting.)

Seagulls, anyone?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

And Now For Something a Little Different...

Today I:
  • had a cup of soy yogurt for breakfast
  • drank two cups of black coffee
  • am having leftover pasta for lunch with coffee

Do you ever have one of those days at work where all you can think about is knitting? Surreptitiously, you eyeball knitting blogs, searching for more projects to add to an already endless list like a drowning person grasping for a life line, and whenever you are given a task, you think about how much knitting you could get done instead, if only you could knit at work? Or - even better - if they just let you go home to knit?

That day is today for me, yesindeedy. We had a deadline Friday, so there is literally no work. Usually, this annoys me to no end, but after filing and organizing everything I could think of, I called it a day rather than sit at the computer all afternoon, pretending to work. I got permission, but I didn't think there was much risk of being turned down: everyone else was engaged in the important task of eating ice cream.


I offered to help Lissy from the North End S'nB rediscover her crocheting skills a couple weeks ago, and it has since turned into me helping the entire group along. Everyone has prior experience, albeit dormant, so I'm not stressed. The plan is to make flowers from The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches. No big deal, except...

I can't read crocheting instructions. I always just looked at pictures, or made something up. So I borrowed the book and did my homework last night.

Clockwise from the top left: "Little Flower", "Little Rose", "5-Ring Rose", and my half completed "5-Ring Rose"

I was using some leftover Sockotta yarn to work these up, so I got to remember why mercerized cotton is the usual medium of choice with this kind of crocheting. It's difficult to see what you're doing if the yarn is variegated, and if it's inclined to split, it's difficult to aim properly - which pretty much sums up the physical experience I was having, aside from my hand cramp. I need to pick a better yarn for the actual "lesson." (Let this be a warning to you all!)

The other aspect of my crocheting experience was anger. Who wrote these instructions? What were they thinking? After spending a half hour on the "Little Flower" instructions (decoding the abbreviations, and the abbreviations within the abbreviations) I finally realized my initial take on the flower was correct: It's a damn chain loop with double stitch petals, spaced evenly all around. They just have a inner ring of single stitches so that the petals aren't increases. And they said it in the most obtuse language I have come across lately, and that's saying something, since in a little while I have to start studying for my Chinese class.

But all is not in vain. I have unraveled the secrets of the three flowers into English, and I actually think they make a good progression from basic to complex. We could probably get through at least the "Little Rose" before the meeting is over, maybe even work 2 rings of the "5-Ring Rose" if we're all feeling particularly clever. You never know. We do have coffee.

Last night, I:

  • had fish and chips with a ton of coleslaw for dinner
  • washed it down with a Heiffeweizen
  • cursed The Ultimate Sourcebook (Don't worry; my curses barely rank a hex.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blogger must have heard me

No sooner had I published that last post than I tried uploading photos again and... it worked.


If kvetching on my blog always got me this kind of instantaneous result, you'd be reading some very different material right now, let me tell you. Fortunately, I think this is a one-time thing, a fortuitous circumstance, so I'll spare you my take on foreign policy, religion, and public cell phone usage. Instead, here are photos. Yay!

The Mighty 8"

I wasn't kidding about 10s per minute with cabling. This weekend, it felt like 5s per minute. I am so glad I have reached this point, it's been like passing a gall stone: I just want to get it over with, already. Other projects call. They are queuing up, staring at me through the semi-transparent plastic drawers. Begging me to cast them on. Tonight, or maybe tomorrow, I will give them some relief. I have a couple or a dozen WIAs I need to pay a little attention to in the meantime.

Speaking of attention...

This is what I see when Jameson is not on my lap, my shoulders, or under my chair, whining. Whoever said cats are independent doesn't know my cat.

Recycling yarn

I've had this yarn for six years. Yes, six years. As I told knitcake during a Knit 'n Sip session (somewhat slurrily - I'd already had two vodka tonics and balled three skeins of yarn) this yarn was what got me into knitting. I was a crocheter, even and Afghan crocheter, but my Grandma sent me a care package that included this yarn in it's first sweater incarnation. It fit me; it had wonderful buttons, but the styling was so-so. Dolman sleeves, poofy body. Grandma didn't make it, she was just sending it along, so it ripped it and started making a sweater from a Rowan magazine I saw in the library. (You know, that same library where I learned to knit belt- style? I'll never forget that knitting section.)

I was half-way up the back when I began to fear that my yarn was running out. Two frogged sleeves had gone into making that half-back. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

So I put it off. And off. Until now.

Saturday I wound it all up on my handy new yarn meter, tied it off, and washed it in Woolite. I was drying it in the shower with a towel on a coat hanger as weight until it became evident that the shower might be needed for something else (like showering) within the next couple days, so I relented and slung it all over a chair.
It measures about 780 yards. Doesn't sound like a whole sweater, does it? Well, I could have sworn it was a whole sweater when I got it, and I haven't lost more than 25g of it over the years.

To use this yarn I'm going to have to learn to knit a raglan from the top down, just in case I run out - a simple raglan. The yarn is heavy worsted, about 16s =10 cm/4 inches. Maybe if I use big needles and have YO increases, it'll just make it. Any thoughts?

Foiled Again

Today I:
  • had cereal and white tea for breakfast
  • an having rice and bean burritos for lunch
  • am frustrated with Blogger

What is with blogger lately? It is one thing that I can't use Flickr at work - I'm getting used to that - but now I can't upload photos into Blogger. WTF?

And I had some wonderful photos, too. I was saving them up all weekend. (Not that I had a choice... Blogger wasn't working at all during the weekend!) My boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot made me a yarn meter, so I finally washed, dried, and skeined some single-ply, light green wool with flecks I'm recycling. I have photos of that.

I also finally hit the 8" mark on my FLAK back. 8" of cables! I'm not sure which excites me more: looking at all that cabling or knowing that I have four days until the Knitting Olympics begins to knit something else.

Last night, I:

  • had fettucini with mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and tomato sauce for dinner
  • ate a large artichoke with mayo
  • drank 1 1/2 beers (forced the other half on B/P/W)
  • watched Danny Deckchair
  • knit on some socks

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Busy, busy!

Today I:

  • had cereal and white tea for breakfast
  • am eating udon soup and a banana for lunch
  • am in the middle of a charette

The shortage of time I have for an entry today has caused me to ponder what I will during the Knitting Olympics, when I will no doubt be not only reluctant to pause for extensive blogging, but unwise to do so.

I have devised A Plan.

This is not a Knitting Olympics Project Plan - I'm going to work on that this weekend - but a Blogging Plan. To save time, but still convey some information, every night before bed I will post a photo (or several: I knit while waiting for photos to upload!) followed by a brief description, in this manner:

Knitting Olympics swatch #1 in "coal" KnitPicks Wool of the Andes

Intended for "Lara" from Debbie Bliss Silk Alpaca

+18s x 24r : 1 hr @ S'nB

Knitting speed slowed by showing off Baby Bobbi Bear, drinking coffee and general gabbiness. Hastily blocked this morning.

Last night, I;

  • ate a bag of Fritos
  • had pasta wheels with pesto and seitan for dinner
  • worked on my FLAK sweater and the Embossed Leaves socks

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More Wacky Antics

Today I:

  • had a bowl of cereal and a cup of white tea with soy milk for breakfast
  • am having veggie meatloaf for lunch
  • am still on a black coffee kick

Bear Sweater

I finished the Baby Bobbi Bear sweater last night after work.

Originally, I was going drop stitches along the edges, re-knit them, and trim and weave in the ends of every row... but I didn't do that. To my work-addled brain, that seemed like too much work. So I chopped an inch off either end and wove the ends in (photo to right). That made this tidy edge you see on the left. Then I picked up the stitches along the edge and knitted the button flap. I crocheted a loop for the button.

Perhaps this wasn't the most logical way to go (I don't even know what to call it) but it was fairly effective. I like the points on the sweater, it gives it visual interest. I'm not entirely happy with the button placement; I imagined it centered, but with the sweater style I ended with it wasn't possible without the button practically hanging off the edge, and I didn't want to just have a frog or toggle. Live and learn.

I have yet to wash Bobbi and his sweater, but I'm hoping the sweater will shape up a little. The bear nose is a catastrophe, but I'm going to let it go. If I ever make this bear again, I'm going to get a tiny embroidery hoop and use it on the head. Luckily, I will never have to see this bear again after Friday, when I am pawning it off on a co-worker who has a new baby. Not that I'm traumatized or anything, it's just that if I have this fella sit on my bookshelf, right where I can see it every day, I would feel compelled to fix it.

What a mess that would be!

Last night, I:

  • had miso soup and vegan cheese and crackers for dinner
  • watched Best of Show
  • finally chose my Knitting Olympics project