Thursday, June 28, 2007

BTT: Desperation

Booking Through Thursday's question: what's the most desperate thing you've ever read because it was the only thing available, and was it worth your while?

If you've had a baby, you know just how boring being a pregnant woman waiting for a quick weigh-in and brief face-to-face with an OB or midwife can be. The magazines and such don't change much, and if your doctor's office is as busy as mine was, you're waiting for the PA, then waiting for the ultrasound tech, then waiting for the midwife. Simply put, I wasted hours of my life in a doctor's office.

Pregnancy brain isn't a good thing when trying to remember to bring a book or a project to the check-up. There were times when I was rereading the birth control minutiae of an add for the sixth or seventh or twentieth time. It was ghastly. I was reading labels and price tags on plants and pots outside the windows. I was reading the backs of other people's books from across the room.

Of course, there were times when first-trimester nausea prevented me from focusing on much of anything because it made me sicker. At that point I got really familiar with the details of every painting in the waiting rooms.

Was is worth it? Well, my son is pretty fantastic, so there's the up-side of the story. But I certainly wouldn't choose that doctor's office unless under duress. I may have read a few things in the various "parenting" magazines that have been helpful, though I couldn't recall exact details.

(Okay, can you tell I wasn't a "glowing" pregnant lady?)


Holy wow. Sharon actually thinks I rock! Thanks, dude! Now here are some folks that deserve the same wonderful treatment.

Gabriella has this wonderful sense of color that really compliments her design and pattern choices. The artistic quality of her blog makes it a lot of fun to look at and partly inspired me in my own choices.

Gloriana knits, sews, and teaches Shakespeare to universtiy students. I'm sorry, but what could be cooler than that? I can't decide if I envy her crafting skills or her literary prowess more.

Brynne is another multi-talented supergal. She's pretty handy with the sticks and the sewing apparatus, and while she speaks with grace and eloquence about her crafts, she also raises two wonderful and sweet little boys. And they're already planning for more offspring. That's a full plate, folks.

Rachel doesn't do fuzz, but she does funny combined with thoughtful really, really well. I've been reading her blog longer than any other, with maybe the exception of the Panopticon, and she has never failed to keep me interested. The way she writes her son's intriguing and sweet adventures and developmental progression makes me feel a little less alone in the parenting wilderness.

Ysolda - what a killer name! - designs knitting patterns that...words can't describe. Watching her creative genius is like glimpsing the edge of something enormous and incomprehensible. And utterly fantastic.

I have to say that this award "meme" is cool opportunity to honor some folks that really deserve it. Pass it along if you read.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Doldrums

As things have turned out, knitting isn't the source of my repetitive use issues. Work is. Specifically, gift wrapping. How do I know? I didn't have to be at work four days in a row, and by Wednesday I was at a new knit night with the log cabin in reds and browns. I finished a whole strip that night. Over the weekend, I finished the above socks, though the darker one was 3/4 finished anyway. It's Wildfoote in Vinca Minor with a solid Lorna's Laces I've long since lost the ball band for. The other is a yarn I wanted to test for socks: Telemark by Knit Picks. But more about that later. Sunday I worked a full eight-hour day which included gift wrapping 40 Riedel glasses (7 boxes!). Today? I hurt again. Drat.

About those Knit Picks socks. Telemark is interesting because it's a tightly spun sport weight (100% wool), so there's only 103 yards to 50g, whereas the analogous worsted is 110 yard/50g. The texture is very different - less spongy and airy. I chose the Delphinium (purple, anyone) and bought three skeins. I just did a very straightforward 2x2 rib on size three needles with an eye of patridge heel and a quick redux toe (SPM's "peasant toe"). I've intended them for hiking socks or comfy 'round-the-house numbers. One took me a couple days (and a skein and a quarter) rather than a week and change. My conclusion? If they wash up soft, they'll be fantastic quick-fix FO's. AKA, gifts or stocking stuffers.

My son has a thing for bandaids, and yesterday, he came up with this idea on his own: we'd all bonked our heads and needed to feel better. He was very proud. Cute as could be, too. Aren't we the dorkiest people you've ever seen?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

BTT: School days

School Days, Golden Rule Days(?)

1. Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?

2. How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

Of course I have old school books. While I doubt I have anything from high school (bo-ring), I have quite a few old biology and chemistry texts, as well as every (freakin') novel or text I read for my English degree. There's also a smattering of French and Psychology hanging 'round here somewhere. I have been tempted by other people's textbooks, but in the end I tend to realize they won't have as much meaning for me.

I've saved all my notes and things from my English classes because it will come in very helpful if I ever have to demostrate what a class was about for another institution. My other motivation is to have that stuff around to look back on when I'm preparing for graduate school. Ultimately, I think all that stuff could be helpful if I decide to be an independent scholar. Really, has anyone done the math lately on how much it takes to earn a PhD in English in comparison to how much we get paid? Ouch.

BTT: Dessert First

Today is all about playing catch-up and ignoring my painful left extremity. Sooooo...last Thursday first.

Dessert First
1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?

2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

No, not really. I don't know what you all are reading, but if I skip ahead and find out what happens in the end, I'm more confused because of all the pieces I missed that lead up to that ending. I love that moment when the last page has just been read, the back flap closed. Just sitting there, savoring the last moments when things came together (and hopefully ended well) can only be diminished for me if spoiled by too much knowledge.

Tempted? Only when what I'm reading is very, very boring.

FO: The Saga of the K/H

There they are, the actual FO on their intended legs but minus the kilt because it hasn't been bought yet. Aren't those fabulous calves just asking to be shown off?

Way back in February, I had this bright idea. I could give my husband a Utilikilt (feel free to giggle at the propoganda) for his birthday, and knit a pair of kilt hose to go with. I consulted the digital oracle for patterns, and was taken by this. Those cables were my undoing in so many ways. And you realize this project was originally an excuse to go to my favorite yarn store and buy yarn, don't you.

Next stop, LYS. When I stopped in that fateful day, I had all kinds of ideas but no clues. Theresa was a genius at helping me with yardage, needle sizes and gauge. But there isn't a person at Knit Purl who hasn't been helpful and genuinely nice. (And I'm not just saying that because they might be reading!) I walked out with five skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted in Aran and size three DPN's, though I still had no comprehension of the scope of the project ahead of me.

At home, I hid the bag of yarn and the pattern. The thinking here was that I was going to make the k/h a total surprise. However, knitting on this project only when hubbo was work turned out to be a pipe dream. There was just too much to do. The pattern is toe-up on circulars (not my cuppa), so the first task was adapting and getting gauge for size threes. Theresa, we, okay you, were spot on. You are officially my scientific consultant for knitting projects. I cast on and frogged twice before really catching on to the proper set-up. Having never knit cables, I hadn't realized just how many stitches they could suck up. Lesson #1. Between February and the beginning of April I managed only to complete the first cuff.

As the birthdate quickly approached I found that it was time for a change of plan. First, knit in front of the husband. This involved a couple of large lies about the project. The first k/h sped toward the ankle, and it also became a sweater sleeve (in name only). By this time I'd given over the pattern for winging it. The calf shaping and ankle redux are very different from John's version, and I wish I had charted them before knitting up. Lesson #2.

Numero Uno went back into hiding after the heel flap because I couldn't think of a feasible lie to explain toe redux on a sweater sleeve. I was ecstatic to be halfway there, but resigned to the fact that six weeks wouldn't be enough to get through Numero Dos. I cast on and put aside all my other projects in the hope that I could at least finish the cuff by the necessary date.

Somewhere back in the middle of the first k/h, I must've acquired some brains because I actually made a plan and wrote out the calf and ankle shaping details before starting them. Sadly, this means that the pair are not nearly twins - more like cousins. Well, to make a long story palatably shorter, I managed to knit all the way through my notes with perfect shaping and no frogging, and bound off the second hose two days before the birthday.

There was one thing needing a correction, though. The cuff of the first didn't match the second because I started at the wrong row of the cable repeat. I tried to unravel starting at the cast-on, but when that failed utterly I just plain cut off the offending rows. Then I picked up and knit back down through to the top, cast off, and promptly asked my husband when he wanted his present. Lesson #3 is that casting off is much tighter than casting on. Can you guess which is the first sock in the picture?

He tried them on for the first time about an hour before the clock actually rolled over to his birthdate, and miraculously, they fit to a tee. And best of all, he was totally surprised.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sad Days

As it turns out, another wonderful side effect of knitting with aran weight yarn on size three needles is that muscles tend to protest. In my case, repetitive use damage in my left forearm and hand. In other words....I.Can't.Knit. Eek!

As you might imagine, beginning another large project would not be a good idea. I did though, a garter stitch blanket that you see in it's beginning stages off to the left there. And down below in it's current state. I was fine for a few weeks after the k/h but then suddenly I couldn't hold anything in my left hand without shooting pain. Rats. So the blanket languishes, getting a new row or two a day. I'm icing the heck out of my hand, but working four days a week isn't helping either.

I'm sure everything will turn out fine. I can feel healing progress already. But this blanket, now half done, is a wedding gift and the wedding is only a month away. (I did make call yesterday to get one more skein of each color since I was beginning to worry I wouldn't have enough.)

Incidentally, I also have the first of a pair of socks, a baby hat, and a pie R square shawl on the needles. You can guess how fast they're all progressing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


It was truly glorious to be in a room full of so many knitters. I was a tad late to get the pick of seating, but on a fluke I was able to sit right up front. One of the perks of not having a knittig buddy to pal around with is that a single available seat isn't a problem.

Ms. SPM is just as hilarious in person as on her blog. I take for granted that she would be just like any of us, but she seemed a bit nervous at the beginning. She did a fantastic job, of course, and the whole room was filled with laughter from beginning to end. Oh to be able to write that well.

A spot up front pretty much meant a spot at the front of the queue (after moms with babies, et. al.), so I had my book signed and pictures taken before I had a chance to get bored. Look, she's holding my sock! (Sadly, I had to rip it out a couple days ago after turning the heel and finding there was just no way this pattern was going to be viable for my foot.)

It was a good night to be in Portland, folks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Newness and Procrastination

The bad news first:

I have a mostly-written post about the kilt hose project coming soon. It's long and needs some editing/massive revision, and though I'm fairly certain nobody in their right mind would make a pair like mine, it does make a semi-interesting story.

Now for the good:

I checked out two new LYS's. I am not unhappy with my regular place, but I'm curious who else is out there and when they have knit night. (Thursday seems to be ramping up for me at work.) First, I went to Knitting Bee looking for Dream In Color sock. They're a lovely little shop quite near my house and they sell some things I haven't seen anywhere else. There isn't an air of pretension (deserved or otherwise) at the KB, so I'm all kinds of comfortable there. Haven't checked out their night yet (Wednesday), but I did go down to Dublin Bay on theirs (Tuesday) and was surprised to find only the person working that evening. The two of us sat and chatted (and watched some awful cable show) for an hour and a half. Even though the place was a bit of a ghost town, I'm definitely going back for the fabulous products they stock.

In the process of checking out those two shops, I found out how close I was to two more: Lint and Knit Knot. Lint was already on my list of places to try, but I thought I'd be making a short trip up the freeway to get there. Logistically, that makes it a not-going-to-happen-any-time-soon, unless I happen to be in the area. Well, here's how the list looks now:

Tried: Farmhouse Knits, Abundant Yarn, Yarn Garden, Knit Purl, Knitting Bee, Dublin Bay, Northwest Wools

Untried: Lint, The Naked Sheep, Knit Knot, Twisted (opening soon), Kathy's Knit Korner (KKK? Really?), Molehill Farm (if you wish to go that far afield), and speaking of "afield" I see that there are four or five more shops I could take a peek at in Tigard and West Linn (also subs of Portland).

So, yeah, there are few places to buy yarn in my town.