Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hastur's Challenge - Level 1 Completed!

So, I finished the 10th project for Hastur's Challenge this week, a simple beanie knit out of Wool-Ease for Sweetie's sister. I'm actually quite surprised at how quickly these tem projects have worked up - I didn't change my style of knitting, I just refrained from buying a few patterns I otherwise would have picked up. Notably, Arianne and a few lace shawls. I did buy yarn once or twice (okay, three times), but twice was out of gift money and I didn't use them to make projects for the Challenge. I'm thinking for my reward, I'm going to go ahead and kit up for the Victoriana Top from Elann, in their baby silk. Maybe nab some yarn for Arianne while I'm there.

So, after this notable achievement, I've of course got to set up for the next level of the challenge - 15 projects before I buy my next pattern. I'm going to have two changes to my prior Challenge, one being that I can get Interweave Knits magazine when it comes out (I'd subscribe, but I'm so paranoid about moving and not getting an issue!), and I can buy yarn. I still have to make items out of yarn that is stash when I start the challenge - and I'm not starting yet, let me be clear on this - but I can acquire some stash yarn, when I'm in other cities and whatnot and need souveniers, and it counts for the next level of the challenge. This challenge will go into effect on the 15th of January, when the mini-mester is done and my schedule has calmed down some. I hope to finish Frost Flowers and Icar-ish, and those should count for quite a bit.

Speaking of Icar-ish, I picked up another copy of the Summer 06 IK to review the pattern. Turns out I have more than a few differences - I'm up a needle size, I've got eleven stitches per ray instead of nine, and I started it in a different place. So I need to take gague and see how it compares to the original, and from there see if I need to alter the number of rays from what the pattern dictates, and adapt the lace pattern a little to account for the extra stitches. I'm feeling pretty good about this, and since I got a digital camera for Christmas (thanks, PrimaryBrother!) I'll even have pictures to post!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Grrr.

So, here's the thing. I don't see my family that often. Christmas, thanksgiving, basically the holidays that involve lots of food, occassional other trips through the year but not often. When there isn't a holiday to work around, we don't really know what to do with each other if I visit. AND YET, every time I've seen them for the past two or three years? They've remarked on how "fat I'm getting."

Okay, you know what? I know I'm overweight. I'm 180 on a 160 frame, I know quite well that I've got a heed's worth of extra flesh up in here. This ain't no surprise. It's even LESS of a surprise since I've been carrying this weight for THREE YEARS. I don't slim down right after new years and suddenly gain it all back for family gatherings -- all this ass is staying right where it is. And it's not like my parents aren't both overweight themselves, or everyone in our extended family. We're a family of fat people, okay? The only skinny ones of the lot are TwinSister, who excersizes and counts calories like people with OCD wash their hands, and the seriously extended family Adolfi's wife brought from Pakistan. So this whole PPN putting on 20 lbs in 3 years? Not a damn national crisis. Yet every time I stop in to see my family, be it for an hour or a week, my weight is brought up. Not "are you happy, PPN." Not, "how's that depression working out?" or "what's that you're knitting?" or even "so how is Sweetie doing?" No, just endless repetitions of "Hot damn, that's a big fat ass. You must be somehow unaware of your physical form, so allow me to clue you in -- it's large."

What really pisses me off, though, is how the classifications have changed since I put on weight. Instead of TwinSister and I being "the pretty one" and "the smart one", we're now suddenly "the pretty one" and "the fat one", with people being surprised that I'm getting my goddamn degree this may and going for my masters and doctorate after that. It's like I can see the wheels turning in their heads, 'good thing she's going for her education, 'cause those looks ain't doing a damn thing for her.' It makes me want to punch people. But more than that, it makes me not want to visit home. And that's a damn shame.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Remember Me?



Yeah, I've missed you too, baby. Come on home, Mama's got a new pair of needles just for you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Well, Crap.

Okay, so I finally finished my Christmas shopping. I got my dad something that plugs into the TV so he can play Ms. Pac-Man (one of his old favorites) and PrimaryBrother a nice pocketknife, and LittlerBrother I'm just finishing the DS case for. The problem? Now TwinSister's hat looks like an insufficient gift. So what's a girl to do, but give away the Emma scarf? Hopefully I'll get to take a picture of her wearing it, and use that to pimp the pattern. Or maybe I'll just post it up here for free - honestly, I just want to get some damn pics of it up already.

Speaking of segues, I got some nice yarn up at Hill Country Weavers this past weekend. I got two skeins of apple-green kid mohair (about 1000 yards total) and a nice Merino gossamerweight, about 1500 yards by itself. They're not going to count towards the Challenge, but I don't care. Oh, and I finished a sleeping socklet - it's got latex in the inside of the heel, so I can put mousturizer in it. I think it's pretty swanky.

So, I guess it's time to head out. I'd like to take my wheel with me this time, but what with the cats in the car there isn't going to be room. So until next time, my dears: Same Persian time, same Persian channel.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Arglefraster!

So, Fox's scarf is coming along slower than I'd hoped. I switched to some hairpin crochet, but then I remembered I suck at crochet, so right now me and this scarf are in somewhat of a standoff. In other news, I made TwinSister a nice, cabled brown hat (using the chart from Shedir, only with 2-stitch cables instead of 1-stitch, and over worsted weight - I really must post a picture), and now I'm making myself one to match since I love it that hard. LittlerBrother is getting an old-school NES controller-shaped DS case (a la Craftster), Dad I'm hoping to get an orange tree... so that just leaves PrimaryBrother and Mom to shop for. If PrimaryBrother was living in the dorms I'd get him, you know, dorm things, a whiteboard and a box of condoms (hey, he's 18, he should have something on hand). Maybe I still will. For Mom... you know, 24 years I've known her and she's no easier to shop for. Maybe I should give her this other hat I'm making? Or make her one like it? She's in the used RV business now, so she needs some classy cold-weather gear. Sweetie is trying to make a knotwork bracelet out of ParaCord for FavCousin, if that works out well I'd like to do something similar for PrimaryBrother maybe.

Oh, and I hate my job. Nothing new there, except that I'm actively looking to replace it now.

I guess that's about all for updates at the moment. That, and that I plan to fall off the wagon this weekend, since I'm going to be visiting K-the-knitter up in Austin and we'll actually get to go check out FUCKING HILL COUNTRY WEAVERS. Nothing I get there will be able to count towards the challenge, and I can't get any patterns, but I have enough for a modest yarn budget, and by gad, I'm a-getting some yarn.

And since it's been a while since I posted any of my old art, here you go (I used to have a thing for cats and horses, how cliche of me):




Friday, December 01, 2006

In Which the Persian Pen Name Learns a New Skill

Well, Fox's scarf? Not so much. I tried (and tried and tried) swatching for this thing, and no kind of scarf was it going to be. Plus, it made my hands hurt. So I called up my old nemesis, that dark art, that I swore never again to do once I first picked up my needles....

That's right. I crocheted.

Now, I'm certain that there are all kinds of people out there who are right handy at crochet. I'm sure they've made many a lovely thing, garments that would make me weep with joy to gaze upon, articles of lace and the pure fire of inspiration. Me? I am not that person. Crochet, with me, is all about speed and lack of hand-hurties. I can granny square with the best of 'em, but I'll hate myself (and the project) in the morning. I just don't like the look, feel, and textile qualities of crochet. That said, I started looking for a pattern.

Do you have any idea how many really bad scarf patterns there are for crochet? Fox wanted a "black, squishy scarf", and as long as those criteria were met she said she didn't really care how it looks. But I care. So on I searched.

Eventually, I came across this pattern from Saks Fifth Avenue. It said it was crocheted, and surprise! It didn't suck! Of course, it was a stitch with which I was unfamiliar, so I asked around on Craftster and eventually discovered that the center panels were made with Hairpin crochet (which to me, must explain the lack of suck). So I traded a loom for some yarn with Mr. Hastur (whose hat and scarf are going to look great, by the way) and started loopin'.

Damn you, hairpin crochet. Your siren song. Your speedy output of scarfly goodness. Your consistent tension and all around enjoyableness. Damn you for making me enjoy crocheting again.

Oh, and meme tracking? Totally cool. You guys should help out with this. Link to everyone's good buddy Scott (the grad student studying intarweb memes hoping to present at an MLA conference) and ping Technocrati.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Scarf for Fox

So, at some point this weekend I saw a scarf. It was lovely, and had those holes you get when you stagger stacked yarnovers, which I can't really describe verbally, but it was lovely.

So, of course, this is the scarf I want to knit for Fox. I figure I start with 24 sts, and work into a chart something like this:

III|IIIOOOIII
III|OIIIOOIII
III|OOIIIOIII
III|OOOIIIIII
III|OOIIIOIII
III|OIIIOOIII
III|IIIOOOIII -> Foundation row

So this is my idea. Three repeats across, plus the three edge stitches on the left of the chart. I'm wondering if purling the center stitch in each column would be a good idea - it might stop it from curling some. Or I could do 4 sts of 1x1 rib. I guess it's time to swatch!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another Project Down - Eleventy Million Requested!

Do you remember that skein of pumpkin orange alpaca that went home with me when it shouldn't have? Well, as it turns out it made a mighty fine hat - albeit a touch on the large side, but I wasn't about to rip the decreases again and shorten it up, so it was okay. I used the ribbed lace pattern from A Gathering of Lace, so it's cables and faggoting and goodness all around. I finished it last week, and since it hadn't been part of my stash when I started the challenge, I wasn't going to count it as one of my projects. Hastur let me know that if I gave it away as a gift, that was okay, since you can buy materials for gifts - but my hat? My beautiful pumpkin spice hat? Why would I ever give THAT away?

So I go to thanksgiving with my family. My most favorite aunt hosts it every year, and her son is my most favorite cousin (we grew up together, he's like the triplet I never had). I pull out the Emma scarf and the pumpkin hat to show off, and FavCousin is astounded - a beanie with no seams! He excitedly puts it on, proclaiming loudly that this is THE perfect beanie, and he can't believe why textile companies would seam them when they can be made this wonderful. So I give it to him (he mentions a few other colors he likes in beanies, in case I want to make him some for christmas), and now it gets to count for Hastur's Challenge :)

Of course, TwinSister saw the Emma scarf (you know, the one I agonized over whether or not to give her, and decided to keep for myself?), and declared that it is also the Perfect Scarf - exactly the length, color, and thickness that she would love in a scarf, and the design is just right, and I'll be making one for her for christmas, right? So I said sure. She's my twin and I love her. I'll get to unraveling the rest of that sweater as soon as I get home. I'm thinking I might just take apart this camel-colored cashmere sweater and make another Emma out of that, and give her the original. A true appreciation of handknits should be well-rewarded, after all.

So the holidays have been wonderful. I'm hoping to sneak over to Yarntopia sometime today and pick up some Malabrigio or Fleece Artist, which I can't get in BCS. It would make this weekend complete.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Icar-ish

I realized today that I haven't really given any details about my current projects. Sure, there's the jacket (which is waiting to be given a good eulacan soak, since the colors run), the sunshine socks knit two-at-once on a set of five size 0 DPNs. These are the "need something to do with my hands and less so my brain" knitting. But this is lacevember, and I am knitting lace. Enter, Icarus.

See, I like Icarus. It's a good pattern with awesome design elements, it uses just as much yarn as is in one ball of Handpaintedyarn.com's laceweight (and lucky me, I've got an extra ball in Cadmium), and I've got the magazine with the pattern. Right?

Now wait a tick. It seems I can't find my copy of that issue. I know I have it. I have all the interweave knits issues since two summers ago, when I started knitting. Blast! Was it lost in the move? Could I replace it from the LYS? Would that be violating Hastur's Challenge, and count as pattern-buying, or would it merely be replacing what I know I somewhere have? Is it maybe in Sweetie's room somewhere, well-gnawed-upon by the cats?

So I look at some pictures. Triangle shawl, knit from the top, increases at the top and down the center line. Okay, easy peesy there. More increase lines radiating from the top, no bulky stitch between the yarnovers, so it must decrease into the solid blocks. That's... that's doable. Give it ten stitches between yarnovers? Oh, wait, there's an extra stitch on this first one, then. Eleven will work just as well, right? Sure. Oh, what's this? The first diagonal ray in Icarus comes from the start of the shawl? Huh, mine's got a solid bar there. Ah well.

So it's not Icarus. I tried, and it's close, and when I get the pattern (and will count it towards my reward for the Challenge, I promise) I'll figure out how to work with what I've got to make her edging fit my shawl. Icarus it ain't, but it's damned close.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lacevember Questionaire

I thought I'd join up with Lacevember (since, you know, lace is what I seem to be knitting recently), so I made a button and sent in my request to join. (hint: the pic in the button? It's a portion of the Anya scarf!)

The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting?


I've been knitting for about a year and a half now. I've been blogginb about knitting for almost as long.

How did you learn to knit?

My then-roommate's then-fiancee (now wife) was a knitter, and she asked if I wanted to go to the yarn shop and sit in on a sock-knitting class with her. I tatted and crocheted at the time, and had tried unsuccessfully to learn to knit before, but watching her learn how to do heels, I became determined to learn for good. Soon after, she sat me down and taught me one cast-on and the knit and purl stitches. I forgot how to purl when I picked it up at home, so moved my hands so I could watch the knit stitch from the back of the work, and figured it out from there. Turns out, that's all that kept me from learning to twist my purl stitches, which she had a habit of doing :) Thanks again, K-the-knitter!

Favorite thing about knitting?

Not only to you get to play with string, you get something usefull at the end of it! Honestly, just having an excuse to buy all that yarn would be enough for me. The FOs are an added bonus.

How long have you been knitting lace?

Goodness... about half a year. The first serious (i.e. not a swatch) piece of lace I finished was K-the-knitter's wedding shawl, then I cast on for Frost Flowers, then Anya, then Emma, and now Icar-ish and a few other doodles.

Favorite thing about knitting lace?

I like the manipulation of positive and negative space possible with lace - it the holes can be the foreground or the background, the stitches can frame the design or pop with texture. That's amazing to me.

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn?


I love KnitPicks with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but my favorites right now are a 2200yd skein of alpaca gossamerweight I got off Etsy ($20!) and some hand-dyed wool/silk laceweight in EnchantedForest by chewyspaghetty (also from etsy). And I have a special, special lust for the one skein of Fleece Artist mohair I was able to get in Houston (they had more, and one day, oh yes, I shall return for it).

variegated or solids for shawls?

Probably the semi-solid colors, where there's just enough variation to draw your eyes into it.

Favorite lace color?

Wine red. Hands down.

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights?


I prefer circs, if only because they're easier on my wrists and I can sharpen the hell out of them (usually).

Favorite lace knitting trick?

Splicing, and the stretchy (russian?) bind-off. As soon as I figure out turning corners in-pattern, I'm sure it'll be that.

Lifelines? If so with what?

Every vertical repeat, on non-scarf items. Usually with cheap-ass crochet cotton.

Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?

Pfft! Save that money for yarn! Stick some pins in the carpet!

Pattern, or can you follow directions

Shawls or lacey items?


Shawls so far, if only because I haven't found lacy items I fancy.

Triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?

Yes.

Charts or printed instructions?

CHARTS. CHARTS CHARTS CHARTS. If you give me written instructions, I will chart them.

Favorite lace you've knit?

I'm pretty damn fond of Emma, but I think it'll be the Wings of the Moth shawl when it's all said and done.

Favorite lace you want to knit?

I want to design, spin and knit (or just design and knit) an honest-to-goodness wedding ring shawl. Until then, I just want to shrink Wings of the Moth down a scootch, so I can finish with 800 yards.

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor?


Marshmellow and buttered popcorn. Together.

Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red.....

Great fun at parties, tried to invite the cool kids from America.

Coke, classic or with lime?

I actually like both, but I prefer Dr. Pepper.

Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves?

I hate carols. I hate that they start playing them before halloween, that they play the same kitchy ones over and over again, and that you can't get away from them if you decide to leave your house and buy food.

What is the definition of irony?

When the cat won't eat the soup you made, then goes and drinks out of the toilet.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?

All of them.

Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door?

Military coup in his stomach - they have to put the old dictators somewhere.

What is your superhero power?

I've actually thought about this one before. I want the power to make things teleport to where I am. "Damn, forgot my keys." "Oh, no! We're out of milk!" ZOT.

If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be?

Blue and green. Make an undersea adventure of the place!

What's for dinner tonight?

Grilled cheese and tomato soup with milk.

What is clogging my children's bathtub drain?

Nothing. The water's just claustrophobic.

I Voted My Uterus (But My Uterus Lost)

Well, except for Chet Edwards.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

NaNoWriMo!

WELL.

It's been an interesting week down here in Aggieland. And by "interesting", I mean "holy crap".

First, the boring stuff. I'm teaching myself to cook, as you might have noticed, and I've tried a few good recipes lately. And by "tried", I mean "consulted a few, tried to see the similarities, and jury-rigged something that looked like it fit the pattern". So far, this has resulted in one seriously ass-kicking cream of mushroom soup. I could eat it for days. Sweetie, however, seems physically incapable of eating the same thing two nights in a row, regardless of whether or not I actually made it myself, so I've become resigned to the fact that he'll have one bowl on the first night and the rest I'll have to finish. Incentive to learn if ever I've seen it).

Anyway, one super-delicious cream of mushroom soup (seriously, ask Hastur, it's freaking fantastic), one... good but not spectacular chicken noodle soup. It needed spices of some kind. I'm not sure which ones, but I know that somewhere there are spices that I would recognize the taste of, and that this soup would benefit from. I only work with pre-cooked chicken right now, as I am not yet strong enough in the force to combat chicken cooties, and I only own the spices I need for the things I've cooked so far. I think I have maybe seven, eight?

So, tonight I wanted to make a lemony chicken soup (you might notice the continuing soup theme - my early success encourages me down this route, plus, the chicken cooties). I looked at a bunch of recipes, decided on something that sounded pretty straightforward: Broth. Meat. Lemon. Eggs (I don't understand the eggs, but I was willing to go on faith). And barley.

See, I like barley. I've never prepared it before, myself, but I've had it in things, and it always reminds me of those popped-rice cereals I ate as a kid, aside from just being plain delicious. What I didn't know about barley is that it's some form of grain-based sponge. Since my last two soups ended up pretty damn solid, I wanted to have a mostly-broth soup to drink at work. Therefore, I tripled (that's right, tripled) the amount of water in the simplest recipe, substituted a couple cups of barley for the same amount of rice called for, and read the package with dismay to discover I'd need to wait a damn hour to proceed, with the barley cooking on lowish heat.

So, I wait. Hell, it's National Novel Writing Month, and I made a bet with Sweetie and a friend of ours that I would finish before they did (so far, I am, and I'm still crazy behind where I should be), so I sat and worked on that for an hour (still behind). Tra la la, soon there would be delicious lemony soupy goodness.

An hour later? There was no soupy goodness. There was a pot full of barley and spices, puffed up to crazy proportions (Mind you, it was a damn tasty potfull, but still). So I added more water. And more. Lemon juice and egg, again tripling the proportions, since I was evidently making enough soup to feed the neighborhood. The chicken! Blast, I didn't have enough chicken, did I? Well, I had most of a pound, that would have to do. Add more boullion and hope it works out.

In a sense, this recipe was a learning experience. I learned that, in the future, I will lay out a bowl of water and barley in the morning, and collect what I need when I get home. I learned that adding more water will mean the barley will absorb more water. I'm hoping that adding even more will at some point result in a soup with broth, instead of lemony chickeny barley squishes, however delightful those squishes might be. Seriously, though, they were allright. Good tasting, even. Next time, I try this recipe with rice, maybe I even get a soup. But all in all I'm still taking it to work with no complaints.



So, thus, the boring of my week. Now on to the adrenaline-inducing.


I saw a little girl get hit by a truck on tuesday night. Let me just say right now, she's okay. Completely unharmed, save for a scratch on one knee.


Sweetie and I were driving down to get some jack in the box, we're stopped at a light, girl on bike is crossing. See, there are no crosswalks down the main street of College Station. NONE. The only way to get from one side of the city to another is to drive or jaywalk. Therefore, you see a lot of people jaywalking at the lights. And a lot of them get hit, especially at night. Go whereever it it they have the statistics for that sort of thing and look us up - it's very distressing.

So this little girl (she was fourteen, only two years older than LittlerBrother) is crossing, our light is red, she's good to go. There are two white trucks, a big one on the left, a small one on the right, as the first cars at the light. The big truck is blocking the view of the girl and the small truck, and you know, she's booking it, because that's how you cross Texas, you book it and hope to not get hit. So she's riding her bike at a reasonable-for-the-circumstances speed, the light turns green, smalltruck guy starts to go forward and hits the girl square in the middle of the bike. She, thankfully, fell to the side and not UNDER the truck. Sweetie and I called 911, pulled into a parking lot and with a bunch of other people helped get her out of the road. The ambulance folk and police arrived quickly, her mom was found, hell, even her chinese take-out was all okay (which, incidentally, was the first thing she asked about). But GODDAMN.

One thing I noticed with all this. When she was hit, like six or seven cars of people stopped and helped her. But when it was clear that she was not seriously hurt, and that the EMTs and police were on their way, everybody scrammed. I think Sweetie and I were the only ones to give statements, and I know for a fact we were the only ones to wait with her until her mom arrived, and see if there was anything else we could do to help. It just... I don't understand that. Even though there weren't any big injuries, you don't leave a kid like that. That'll shake you up. Her damn shoes flew off! It blows my mind.


I guess some knitting stuff has been going on, too. I've worked more on the jacket, only to notice while splicing on the knee of my jeans that the dye is running big time. I'll be soaking the remaining hanks in some eulacan tonight, then splicing them together (may as well get it all done) and soaking the work I've done so far. I'm feeling pretty good about it, all in all. Hey, maybe it'll even grow some, and I'll have less to do, eh? Hastur came home with a skein of the most delicious alpaca fingering-weight in a kind of pearly-grey, that I'm almost paralyzed with love for. I want to make something that'll really highlight the awesomenicity of this yarn, but I can't find anything that suits it just right. I can wait, though. I know by now I've just got to let it simmer before it starts to talk to me. I've also split some sock yarn of unknown origin into two balls, so I can make some happy-sunshine-yellow socks during this beautifull fall weather. I've got matching-ish laceweight (I'm sure you all remember dear Cadmium) that I'm dying to make into something. So far I was thinking of the flowering eucalyptus shawl that Margaret Stove wrote up - you know the edging from that? Maybe that, mirrored, as a scarf. Or that, on a rectangle, as a scarf. I don't know. All I know is that I need something happy. Something squishy and warm. Something yellow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yay for Jackets!

You might remember around this time last year, when I was lamenting my lack of a non-fugly jacket. Seriously, I've got only the one, and it's been with me since the mid-nineties. Added to that amount of fug, all the rigors and trauma of being worn for nigh on 15 years by someone who, shall we say, does not treat her clothings gently. In short, I have one jacket, and it makes me look like a hobo (this is not to offend actual homeless people, to whom said jacket will soon be donated).

So a few months back, I order the Madeline jacket pattern from White Lies Designs. It's good looking, but I had no bulky yarn with which to knit it, and the back, quite frankly, is ugly. So, I stashed it, and promptly forgot it existed.

Enter present day. One of my co-workers asked if I'd knit him a pair of knee-high tabi socks (the ones with the split between the big toe and the rest). I restrained my laughter, and quoted him an honest price. He then suggested a craft exchange, since he sews. What luck! For the price of two pairs of Opal grey sock yarn, I'll be getting a nice, wool coat! And since I am the Queen of Thrift (when I want to be), I found good wool for only $8 a yard, in a lovely charcoal grey. This brings our materials prices to a rough equilibrium at $30-40 per person, isn't that wonderful? Plus I've recently learned how to knit both socks at once on DPNs, so I can avoid the dreaded kneehigh version of second sock syndrome.

Of course, there are complications. For example, while ordering yarn for Lady Eleanor (which I still intent to make one day, when I can figure out how to make the back not look all ugly), I picked up a bunch of olive and rose yarn. Well, as it turns out, it's not maybe the best for Lady E, but will work perfectly as the madeline jacket! Of course, the back as written for the madeline jacket is still fugly, so Zimmerman to the rescue! EZ's Knitter's Almanac recently came into our library (yes, the book ordering has been going well), so I subbed out fugly-back for EZ's pretty lace Pi Shawl. So far I've used one ball of yarn and the shawl/jacket is 22" across. It's half the diameter it needs to be before I add in the sleeves, but I have no idea what that means percentage-wise.

So, I did pick up a little new yarn. I know, I know! Hartur's Challenge. But the yarn, it was for a craft exchange! My friend who does the skeletal jewelry is making me a set of snake-spine bracelets (really quite lovely, I'll have to post pictures) in exchange for a scarf, and she wanted a black scarf, and I didn't have any black yarn, so you see I had to buy some. What's that? The skein of spice-orange alpaca I bought with it?

Well, I didn't want it to be lonely on the ride home, that's all. Besides, I could use a hat myself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Early Voting

Wow, a whole week? I am behind, aren't I? Things have been happening, be assured. Emma is off the needles (and on the neck, it's finally getting cold in texas!) and I'm starting to work on Frost Flowers again.

In other news, it's early voting time here in Aggieland, and I'd rig me up a blue layout if I wasn't so pleased with the current one. There are good people running for the Dems in Texas right now, which is handy, since I promised myself I'd vote my uterus on this one. Here's a handy lineup:

Senatorial race:

Barbara Ann Radnofsky supports Roe v. Wade, raising minimum wage, AND wants there to at least be a freaking plan for getting out of Iraq.

House race:

Well... Chet Edwards voted for parental notification, but he voted against abortion bans. That's not great, but it's better than Van Taylor, who's strictly anti-birth control anti-choice anti-substantive-sex-education (i.e. abstinence only, condoms cause AIDS/breast cancer, and vaccinating girls against HPV will make them sluts). So, Dems win again. Edwards has a 50% positive rating with the ACLU, and even that's impressive these days. Ah, Texas. The official State of Lowered Expectations.

Gubernatorial race:

I have to admit, I want to vote Kinky. Not only because, well, it's Kinky Friedman, but because he's actually got a pretty good platform going. Give teachers money. Give kids health care. Get Texas some sustainable energy already. I still don't know his stance on reproductive rights, though, so I'll be looking into that before I decide.

I plan to look more at the other races an whatnot today after work. Updates to come.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Sheep Body Balm

Well, in the end it came down to only a few main ingredients needed. They are:

Rosewater
Beeswax
Oil (olive, sweet almond, or oil of your choice)
Honey
Lanolin

Pretty much what I'd wanted in a recipe, right? For all the batches, I heat all the ingredients but the water until the beeswax is melted, removed from heat, added the water and stirred the everloving bejeesus out of it until it was completely cool. It ends up a gold-y whitish color, with the more solid batches a deeper gold. Here's how it threw down:

Batch I:

1/3 cup sweet almond/olive oil (ran out of almond oil)
1 tbs beeswax
honey
1/3 cup rosewater

Result I:

This is a nearly buttercream color, very liquid lotion. Very liquid. A little goes a long way, it sinks into skin well and leaves no residue (unless you use too much, which you do the first time because you have no way of knowing). Feels so watery that you think you need more than you do, but it is lying. Subtle but definite rose scent, not overpowering or cloying at all. Personally, my favorite.

Batch II:

2 tbsp beeswax
2 tbsp lanolin
honey
1/2 cup olive oil
3-ish tbsp rosewater

Result II:

Slightly darker color, more of a firmer, "body butter" consistancy. Lightly greasy feel, leaves light residue consistant with commercial body lotions. Is it the lanolin, or the extra oil? So far, seems best for TwinSister. Smells less strongly of rosewaterbut still pleasant.

Batch III (originally an attempt to replicate Batch II):

2 tbs beeswax
1.5 tbsp cocoa butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
honey
1/3 cup olive/peanut oil (ran out of olive)
2 tbsp rosewater

Confound: Before you start this, go and make sure you have enough oil. Seriously. I started adding the cocoa butter and coconut & peanut oils in a desperate attempt to not make a 2 oz jar of solid wax.

Result III:

Between the two in color, actually a little browner. I'm thinking now the color may be due more to my choice of oils (or the inclusion of the cocoa butter, even though it was white). I'll definitely be sticking with the sweet almond or olive from now on, I think. This one smells faintest of all, and in consistancy is between Batches I and II, more like a commercial lotion instead of a butter. I think I like the consistancy of Batch II the best, and the smell of Batch I. Ah well. That's what future batches are for, right? I'm thinking next time, 2-3 tbsp of the wax, 4 of the rosewater, 2 tbsp lanolin, and 1/2 cup sweet almond oil. I expect to do that one tomorrow, after rat lab. Maybe I'll swing by work with Batches I and II to show my boss - I am, after all, a praise-powered organism.

Birthday for TwinSister

Well, I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to give Emma to my sister for her birthday, but I do know I'm making her (and me!) some nice skin lotions, which may or may not go well with Emma. If I give her up. Which I don't want to. But I might.

So, I spent much of today looking at recipes online for various hand/body/face lotions/creams/butters/bars, and most of the ingredients were the same as what I was using for lip balm (which is nice). The only things I don't seem to have are vitamin E (which I may or may not include in my own lotion, since it tends to destroy henna stains and I want my lotions to be henna-friendly), aloe gel and/or juice (seriously,
aloe juice? aloe juice?), glycerine (meh), and borax. Now, I don't know much about chemistry, but isn't borax.... not so good for you? Doesn't enough of it kill you? Well, enough of anything will likely kill you, but you know what I mean. So I may not use the borax. Here are the ingredients I currently have:

Beeswax
Lanolin
Honey
Rosewater
Olive oil
Sweet almond oil
Coconut oil
Cocoa butter
Orange-vanilla FO (somewhere)
Tea Tree EO
Lavender EO (somewhere)
Sandalwood-almond EO (somewhere)
Vanilla, Almond, Peppermint extracts


So, I think I've got a good base here for lotion making. I know I definitely want to include the beeswax, lanolin, honey, and probably rosewater. I figure I can call it "happy sheep balm" or something silly like that, and tie one of the sheepie stitch
markers to the lid. I think she'd like it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Poinsett...ish?

So, with the end of Emma in sight and FF&L not yet back into the groove, I've begun to get some serious startitis. Organizing the stash both helps and not helps with this, as I'm really pleased to see all my yarns sorted by weight all nice and neat, but it also reminds me that I've got some good stuff that deserves to be used. I think I feel this pull most strongly with the laceweights because a lone ball or two is enough for a large project. It's must easier to pick up a 1300 yard ball of gossamer and say, "What, of all this sea of possibility, will this ball become?" than to grab a 200 yard ball of worsted and say, "So... hat? Maybe a scarf, or a pair of socks?" It just seems more limiting somehow, and while I know that my best work comes when I'm somehow limited, the inspiration needs a serious kick-start. All of this, plus the fact that I like to keep projects relatively uniform in texture, so no mixing and matching between the slubby-nubby Peace Fleece and the smooth, workhorse worsted.

At any rate, the Lust List has been calling to me. I went through it more thoroughly, and realized that the picture of the poinsettiashawl? it really sucks. In fact, ALL pictures of the poinsettia shawl I'd seen so far really sucked. So I set out on a mission, to find a picture of the damn shawl that showed it in actual use by a person, not the same ho-hum promotion pick that seems to be everywhere.

And I did.
And I read up on it.
And I hate it.

Seriously, let me clue you in here if you haven't looked over this shawl yourself. You're supposed to do four squares, sew them all together into one big square, then make strips of edging, then sew that onto the big square. What the fuck? Do the words regular increases mean nothing here? FF&L is a center-out shawl, and there's no reason Poinsettia couldn't also be.

So, in summary, while I work on finishing FF&L, I'll also be designing my own jury-rigged center-out poinsettia-inspired-but-not-all-stupid shawl. And you know what? I'm using the lavender. So there.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Do Not Open...

... to avoid confusion and all the troubles, asshown."

Thus read the badly translated (yay engrish!) instructions for one of the airsoft rifles brought along for this weekend. Sure enough, the owner of said rifle then had to open the gun itself, unleashing a barrage of springs and mystery components. "Oh no!" said K-the-knitter. "All the troubles!"

All the troubles aside, it was a great 4-day weekend. Mr. Hasturdrove us up to Nixon, where one of our buddies owns some cows and land (this IS Texas, after all), and we gamed and shot each other with plastic bb's, and K. made delicious food for 14 people multiple times a day (and worked entirely too hard on it, must do something nice for her).

Not wanting to spoil the weekend with the finishing of the SBT, I worked frenzied on it the day before we left, and was able to drop it off at the yarn shop in plenty of time. It's done! It's finished! I never have to work on it again! So now I just have Emma and good old Frost Flowers to work on. I brought FF along with me, with the chart, and hooboy. It's been a while. I think I need to string a lifeline through the live stitches, until I get back in the habit.

During the trip, Hastur called up and told me that since it would be Mr. Hastur's birthday on that sunday, to stop by their place on the way home so there could be surprise cake and celebrations. It was very easy to get him to agree to this little detour, and when we got there it turned out Hastur had told him to get me there for the same reason, as by birthday is on the 19th! Yes, I am easily duped, but the cake was delicious and Hastur gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts I think I've ever received. She stitched and framed the "Rat Bastard" design from Subversive Cross-stitch for me! It's glorious. We took pictures of the cake (48 candles, half for me, half for Mr. Hastur), the stitching, and the stitching with the rat :) Go check out her blog for photos!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sheepie Sheepie Sheepies!

Whew, what a couple of days! I've blatantly stolen the ideas of others, and made a slew (a dozen is a slew, right?) of sheepie stitch markers out of polymer clay. With the few questions that had to be thrown out due to grammatical confusion, I made a 100 on my last psych test. I've set up an interview for a new job (honestly, I love the library, but woman cannot live on minimum wage alone), which should help out considerably in the ability to buy grocieries department. Our internet's been consistantly down for days, and tonight there was a city-wide power outage that lasted a good couple of hours. Candles, talk of gaming, and socializing with good friends filled out the evening nicely. The SBT has only the neckband left to finish (which I'll do during class tomorrow and drop off at my LYS), and I couldn't be happier to see it go. As it turns out, I'm not terribly skilled at horizontal armbands, I picked up the requisite 3:4 stitches and it still feels too inelastic to me. Maybe some people like them that way? At any rate, I'm intent on finishing it before I leave for Happy Fun Time this weekend. And have I mentioned my perfect 100 on my psych test? My five-chapter-spanning infant developmental psychology test? Where the professor not only has given me permission to knit in class, but remembers my name and test scores without having to consult her notes? I love psychology so hard.

The Emma scarf continues along well. 9 pattern repeats is looking like the right size for her, and I'm almost done with he 5th. My tendonitis is back (seems to flare up whenever I work on the SBT - could I be allergic to bobbles?) and I'm alternating between babying it and knitting like a fiend. I keep working on Emma and thinking, TwinSister sure would love this. This would match the hat I gave her for christmas last year. She really appreciates handmade gifts, and our birthday IS coming up. Damnit. I know I have enough to make another Emma - seriously, there's a lot of sweater left to work with, plus one that's cashmere and another that's angora/lambswool instead of angora/nylon, so it's not like I couldn't make myself another one. But damnit, I want Emma to be mine, I've worked so hard on her already. My gifting impulses always seem to kick in right as I'm finishing something. Maybe I could make her an Emma out of the cashmere sweater - it's a light cafe au lait, it would really suit her coloration. I know I said I'll only knit lace for me, but if you can't knit lace for your twin, who can you knit for?

Oh, and on the request of Mr. Hastur, here's some more of my scribblings. I think I'll try and put up one a week.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Anya is Submitted

Well, today I sent out all of Anya's information, so hopefully she'll be getting published (or at least fondly regarded). If she doesn't make it with Yarn Monkey, I'll likely try her with Knitty and MagKnits, so I don't want to post any pictures just yet. I got some nice shots of SulRoss modeling for me, the best one taken by Hastur as Sweetie hid behind the statue. Good times.

So, the SBT only has the edgings left to do. I discovered, when I went to pick up for the arm bands, that by casting on eight tiny stitches when I divided for the front and back, I could have knit the bands together with the body and had a completely seamless sweater. Ah well. Such is life. I'm adapting for horizontal bands, since it's much easier for me to knit more stitches on less rows than it is to knit four stitches on a bunch of rows, decreasing every other to join it (Plus, it'll look better).

Hopefully I'll hear about Anya within the next week or two, and then I'll be able to post pictures!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sock Wars

Well. Sock Wars started early due to weather complications over at Yarnmonkey's end of things - I found this out Saturday evening, when I got an email from my victim with a few corrections to her info. Now in a bit of a rush, with the only yarn store within 90 miles not open on Sundays, I went stashdiving and found a nice angora/wool yarn to match with some more of that recycled angora/nylon that I'm making Emma from (seriously, I've got mounds off this stuff, I haven't even used all the yarn from the crazy-neck). I know these yarns do good by each other, since that's what LittlerBrother's christmas hat was made from last year, and aside from the size (seriously, 12 year olds should NOT have the same size head as me!) he had no complaints.

So I cast on, and through a fruitful day I manage to get all the way through the cuff and finish the heel flap of the first sock. Rock on, I thought, I might have a chance at this thing after all!

Monday was In Class All Day day, and since I've got a test and a final tomorrow, I did the probably smarter but less viscerally satisfying thing of studying instead of knitting all evening. I know. Yay for me. And guess what? That night, as I check my email before bed, what do I see? An email from my assassin, asking for my address. She's already done!

So tonight I'm shipping out my Sock of Doom, and Sock Wars will have officially come and gone for me. It's a humbling experience, to be so quickly out-knit, but definitely a fun one :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fucking OW.

So, the tendonitis is back. And by "back", I mean "it was never really gone but now it's bad again only it's in both hands", which is handy since I've got two braces now. I'd like to finish the Emma Frost scarf in time enough to submit it to Yarnmonkey, but I guess we'll see. I've got 57% of it finished at the moment, and exactly 8 days to do the other 63% while studying for two tests and working overtime, so we'll see. I'm hoping to get a nice weekend in October off from the rat lab, so that'll be my first actual free weekend in a good while. I may have to take a rest at actual work, since using a mouse for 9 hours a day is certainly not helping. Ah well. Tonight, I sleep in braces. Think I'll get on that right about now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Joining in on Hastur's Insanity

Whee! I've decided to semi-commit to Hastur's challenge to reduce my pattern-stash. Of course, I'm only going to be able to work from my yarn stash to do so, and I fully intend on rewarding myself with something from my Lust List for every ten objects I complete. Hell, I'll even order it kitted up! Ten FOs are worth it. So, here's the rules for me:

I, Persian Pen Name, do solemnly swear that I will not purchase any pattern or patterns until such time as I have finished ten objects (sadly not including the Anya scarf, because I finished it just to early) using yarn from my stash. Yarn given me to make shop models for my LYS count. Any pair of socks counts as two items, and every three square feet of in any FO counts as another item, so if I should finish a crazy 6ft x 6ft shawl (36 sq ft), that would count as 16 items and another mark against my sanity. At the end of this time, I am allowed to sing and dance in a silly manner, which may or may not include the shaking of my 'groove thang' and inducing the shaking of the 'groove thangs' of others. At this time, I also should purchase one pattern from my Lust List and the appropriate yarn to make it, or two patterns if I already have the yarn for both. If I only have yarn for one, I can only purchase one pattern. Cajoling, begging, and offering sex acts for yarn are permitted, though not encouraged. The selling of firstborn children in disallowed, because I don't know anyone who'd buy 'em. Trading for yarn and patterns is OK, obtaining free patterns is OK, convincing my library to buy books so I can get the patterns is OK if I can get away with it, and any money gotten for my upcoming birthday can (and should!) be used for yarn and/or entertainment purposes, so long as I already have rent. Getting a second job to fund yarn purchase is not allowed. Getting a second job to fund the grocieries is OK. Trading FOs for other people's handiwork is OK. Snakes on a Plane rocks it hard. I don't have to do chores the day before a test :)

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Happy TLAP Day! In honor of the day, I... well, I went to work. But I totally plundered a cookie.

Update: Oh man, I can totally post the pirate-y peacock Pooka I drew last year. Why didn't I think of that earlier?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Things to Do:

-Change layout to 3-column minima
- Design color scheme and convince Nitty to enact
- Make a "lust list" of purchasable patterns
- Pick up ILL books
- WORK ON SBT!

Friday, September 15, 2006

O RLY?

Midterms went well wednesday. Swiftly and well. Animal handling training was... tolerable. I ended up not being able to do the shots, bleeding, and euthanasia, so all I'm qualified for now is general rat-wrangling, and I think I'm happier for it. I do somewhat feel like I've failed in something at which I could have succeeded - I know I can give IP injections. I just don't know if I want to, or if that matters. Regardless, there'll be no more injecting for me, but I can still run experiments and that's what matters.

In Knitland (Knitopolis? Knitsylvania?), I've started up work again on the Stupid Bobble Top. I've split for the neck and am trying to figure out how to do the tops of the shoulders in the round. I'm thinking now it might just be impossible, and I'll have to break down and graft.

The Emma scarf goes well. I'm not sure how far along it is, because I'm not sure how long I'm going to want it. It's knit from recycled sweater yarn (50/50 angora/nylon), and this ball I'm working from was the entire front of the sweater, so if I want some crazy Dr. Who lace, I'm stocked for it.

The lure of new projets is hard to resist right now. I've compromised by carrying new patterns and yarn with me, but not actually casting on. It's a shaky truce at best. The lovely Handmaiden mohair in Midnight is destined for the Wings of the Moth shawl, the hand-dyed green laceweight from chewyspaghetti is begging to be the Forest Path stole, the yellow laceweight from handpaintedyarn.com is (oddly enough) asking to be both Icarus and Goddess Knits' River shawl... many a project is calling my name.

I think, though, that once I'm finished with Emma and The SBT, I'll take a hint from Emma and wait. Finish old projects, like Frost Flowers. Let the yarn tell me what it wants to be. Hell, I'd had that sweater for over a year before Emma was conceived. I'm a little concerned that I won't have enough yardage for Wings of the Moth (800, and I need 900-1000), but if I go up a needle size or two that shouldn't matter too much, right?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cupcakes and Credit Memos, Midterms and Euthanasia

Well, what a day it's turning out to be. Yesterday's animal handling training was cut short (by way of inter-office baby shower), so we weren't able to complete it - we handled and restrained the never-before-handled rats, got them used to people, and today we get to do injections, blood collection, and euthanasia. Wow. I'm not sure if I can do it, but I guess we'll find out.

In other news, midterm today. Right after the training. Good times!

Thank god I made all these cupcakes for people leaving and other folk having birthdays. Chocolate can replace happiness, right? Right?

more later.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Holy Fucking Shit!

So, yerba mate. Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever tried it? It's damn tasty. See, it's this tree from south america, and you brew it much liketea, but without taking the little twigs and whatnot out. You drink it through a straw with a filter on the end (how awesome is that? I can use it for all my loose teas!) and while it's got, like, 1% caffeine, it's got this other thing called matene, which is also a stimulant but has far fewer side effects. And MAN does it give you a rush! It's like, la la la, drinking some tea, ho hum... fwoooooooom! Mental focus!

Which I will now take advantage of, and go study for wednesday's midterm. Yep, that's right - wednesday's midterm. Yay oceanography! Yay 1 hour science credits! Yay 5 week courses!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Church of Entrelac

Can you convert to a technique? If so, oh baby.

As ought to be readily apparent by now, I have no patience. None. I have to be doing something, be it knitting, reading, knitting, surfing the web, knitting, taking classes, whatever. I can wait for some things (like ordering yarn online), but I've got to have something going in the interim.

Case in point: the Lady Eleanor stole.

I fell in love with this stole recently. I'd been seeing it around (and around and around) and thought it was quite nice, but all of a sudden, it's shifting, subtle hues, it's simple form, it's compellingly non-lace-weight gague and new-to-me construction all somehow came together in that way that things do to cry, 'KNIT ME!'

I had to have it.

So I went to handpainted yarn last night, and I order 7 hanks, which so far as I can tell should be plenty. If it's not, I'll end up with a Lady E. blanket, and honestly, fuck that. Today I was in a daze - Olive! Rose! The permutations! The possibilities! My hands itched. I've finished Anya, I'm working on the Stupid Bobble Top during classes, I need something for me, me, me! Something with color, something with style, something that screams that Autumn is coming.

A skein of orange-pink-green-wine yarn leapt into my hand at the LYS. 'Learn entrelac, bitch!' it demanded, and in the guise of needing to swatch I complied. It is a lie.

You can't really have too many scarves.

Rat Lab, Take II

So, the rest of my weekend was fun. I was working with a different grad student, who expected me to jump right in on the injections and rat-running. Now, I don't mind injections and rat-running in theory. It's just that... well... it was my second day. And you have to pick them up by their tails, which is mean. And swing them. And then poke them. Without prior warning.

So, yeah, I was eventually able to give the rat an injection, but it was hard. Hard to make myself pick him up by the tail, which I know is painful. Hard (even though I'd accidentally stuck myself with the harmless peptide needle) to poke him in his tummy. Harder than I'd thought, and easier almost than it felt it had any right to be. The physical act was surprisingly simple and easy, it was the making myself do it that was difficult.

Which, I guess, is a good thing. Right? If it was easy for me to do this to an animal right off the bat, I don't think I should be allowed to do it. I do care about the animal's comfort and welfare, so I'm going to try and learn to do this quickly and well. I'd never injected anything before, and I wasn't very good at it - took me three goes to get just most of the peptide in, before the grad student took over. So, I can see the neccessity of the tail-swinging hold to keep him still, so that I only have to stick him once per shot. It's definitely a learning experience, and I hope it'll teach me more about myself as well as about laboratory conditions.

Here's hoping.




In knitting news, I've caved in several fronts. I ordered yarn for the Forest Path stole, for Claptois, and for Lady Eleanor. I know they're oft-seen in the knitting world, I know they're a dime a dozen in blogland. I don't care. They're pretty, they're simple, in the case of Eleanor they're a quick, chunky knit (comparatively, to laceweight). I need something easy and rewarding. I got the Rose & Olive colorway of both laceweight (my cardinal sin) and worsted from Handpaintedyarn.com, and also their 'little lovely' pink-and-ruby laceweight. I figure the worsted for Lady Eleanor, with a matching (in color, anyway) underscarf, and the pink for Claptois. Maybe this'll knock me out of my funk?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rat Lab!

Today was my first day in the rat lab, and it was FABULOUS! I get to work with the awesome TA I had for experimental last year, which I love, because she's a total nerd like me. We talked about our pets (she can actually HAVE rats at her place), and Battlestar Gallactica, and our crafts (she's a cross-stitcher). I have such hero worship for her, I know, it's hilarious to hear me speak. Anyway, I rat two rats with her as an orientation, which consisted of taking their baseline behavior in the skinner box, injecting them with a tiny amount of cocaine, letting them relax for 10 minutes, then taking the new reading back in the skinner box. Both of the rats were "her brats", one liked to push the lever with the leash attatched to his skull (and pooped on her when she picked him up), and the other kept pushing the wrong lever and sticking his nose through the hole in the top that the leash goes through. I thought they were total sweeties, they're well-handled and really don't seem to mind when you screw the leash onto their heads. Then she had me weight a few of the new rats, they're only 3 months old and haven't been handled much so I wore a biteproof leather glove. Most of them were fine, but one of them... he was a little difficult. Still, she says that once I get used to the work, I won't have any problem handling the new guys. I got out early today, so I can take care of some stuff at home, and I go back in this weekend. Yay for science!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time... Is On My Side

Yes it is.

We went and took pictures of the Anya scarf in action (I didn't model, I left that to Sullivan Ross), thinking we were just barely going to make YarnMonkey's deadline. Late last night, I realize that sometime between dinner and bedtime, I've gone home and forgotten to upload the photos from Hastur's camera to my computer! I hurriedly check YarnMonkey's site to see if there's anything regarding extensions, and guess what?

It ends at the end of september. I have another month to work with, should I so feel like it. I could do a full-size shawl at that rate. I could rest, and let my wrists recover. I could knit a sequel to Anya. I could finish that damn hat.

You know what? I think I'll just go to bed.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Finished!

Well, it turns out there was enough yarn for only four diamonds, so four it is. The scarf is finished, rudimentarily blocked (i.e. I stretched it out wet, fussed over it, and let it dry ultimately without pins) and looking wonderful. I did manage to get a full 60" out of it (go figure!) and it's much wider than I'd thought it would be.

So, yes. I love it. And for those of you huffy about my post-tendonitis marathon knitting this weekend to finish it, fret not. My hand started hurting again last night. I'll take it easy at least till the end of the month. Until Sock Wars, at any rate.

So classes begin today. Fun, eh? I'm taking 8 credit hours of classes, 3 credit hours in the Rat Lab, and 23 actual hours of work, all before 5 p.m. Since these classes actually take 13 hours to attend, and Rat Lab is a 10 hours committment, I've actually comitted 46 out of 54 hours this semester (if I work 9 hours days 6 days a week).

Good times!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bwahahahahaha.

I forsee finishing either today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Marathon Knitting!

I know, I know; I'm not supposed to be straining my hand (especially since it started hurting again last night). BUT, yarnmonkey's deadline is the end of the month, and I'm only now starting the third of the diamonds, and this scarf really won't work with just four. Ergo, marathon knitting! I figure if I finish one section of either mesh or a diamond every night, I might just be able to get this done in time. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Luke, I Am Your Plot Device

So, my friend Hastur the cross-stitcher has been trying to convert me for ages. I can dig it. I do the same to her. At any rate, during my bout with Tendonitis, I was weakened. I wanted to go over to the Dark Side. I wanted to stitch the Japanese Octogonal Box by Chatelaine.

"We could each get the pattern," she says. "We can work on it together, won't that be fun?"

I am tempted.

"They even have DMC conversions, so the materials won't cost you a million million dollars."

I weaken. Then the kicker:

"Think about it - you could put your tea in it!"

Damn you, cross-stitch, and your siren song! You had to tag-team me with the tea, didn't you?

I'm going to hobby lobby after work.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Moving Right Along

Zoom!

1. Made more lip gloss. This batch doesn't suck as hard, not too firm, and my favorites taste like butter rum :) Yum!

2. Changed the Anya scarf. Added more space between the diamons.

3. Knit more on the Anya scarf. Zoom! Can you believe this thing's almost 20 inches already?

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Made Lip Balm!

It's true! I went out and picked up some ingredients from Hobby Lobby, a few plastic containers (not intended for lip balm, little plastic 3/$1.00 boxes) and a glass jar to both melt and store the bulk of it in, and I love it! Here's what I did:

-Cut up some beeswax. I think, now, that I used too much of it, since I would prefer a softer balm. (I may melt the bulk balm again tonight and add more of the soft stuff)
-Chuck two tbs of shea butter, 2.5 tbs cononut oil (which is surprisingly solid!), 4 tbs olive oil (must remember to get some-a-that sweet almond oil I've heard so much about) and the too-much beeswax into a small glass jar, which was sitting in a pot of water, double-boiler style
- Melt it all, heat on medium. The beeswax takes forever.
- Add a glub of honey! Yay honey!
- Add a few tbs of chai spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom). In the future, be sure and grind these all up real good. Expect powder at the bottom of your balm.
- Ladle (I used a teaspoon, small jar opening) into tiny containers and allow to cool. Enjoy!


So, yes, it was crazy fun. I have six small containers of balm, a giant jar full of balm (I didn't expect it go that far!), and the itch to try more flavors. I think with the next batch, I'll make just a jar of generic unflavored balm, and try adding oils to it (peppermint, vanilla, etc) as it's going in the little containers.

In knitting news, I've been chugging away at the Anya scarf! I've almost finished the first motif, and it's much more square than it look on the progress bar. This, of course, means that I have to get to do more of it! So once the bar is chocolate (mmm, chocolate), it'll likely go pink again. I'm aiming for 40" unblocked (since that's what texas humidity will make of it) before I bind off.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Whee! Back on the Needles!

I hereby pronounce myself recovered enough to knit! And knit I have, on the Anya scarf, as often as I can get a moment (while taking breaks, and not knitting for longer than 20 minutes at a time - see? I can learn), and it's really surprising how quickly I'm tearing through the chart. I guess it goes twice as fast when you chart all the rows, eh? I'm also loving the contrast in the positive space of the outer design, and the negative space of the inside one. It's eminently diggable. So I made myself another little progress image (you know how I love those) and I plan to keep it updated on the bottom of my posts for the rest of the month :)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Anya Scarf

I woke up today with barely any hand pain whatsoever. It only hurts when I put actual pressure on it, not when it just gets the least bit bendy. I even forgot to wear my wrist brace today, that's how good I'm feeling. Well, that and I remembered it after my neighbor's mean-ass beagle charged at me (WTF is up with letting your MEAN dog sit around unattended, outside on a chain that can REACH THE SIDEWALK when you KNOW he'll try and bite someone? In one million degree weather? I'm complaining to her when I go home today), and I didn't feel hurty enough in the wrist to dare bite marks on the ass. I hate that woman and her dogs.

Anyway, tolerable wrist discomfort = take-it-easy knitting! So no giant sweaters until I go home (must get done with this godawful bobble top), which means it's time for lace!

I've written out the chart for the scarf I'm submitting to YarnMonkey, and sent it to her on the off-chance I can actually finish it in time. If not, I'll still have a bitchin' awesome scarf, envy of all the land, and I'll post the pattern. I'm measuring the unblocked length, since it's merino and this is texas, but I'll block it out nice and pretty for the photographs. So far I have about three inches - tiny, measly thing it is. But oh so pretty. I do love her so.

I've decided to call this scarf Anya. Not only is it a pretty, russian-sounding name to fit a pretty, russian-themed scarf (no actual orenburg construction, but orenburg designs), but also because, nerds that we are, Sweetie and I recently finished watching the final season of Buffy, and Anya is my favorite character. She finally defines herself NOT in relation to other people, faces her fears, and dies in the most human way possible - protecting others against impossible odds. Hokey, yes, but I don't care. It's my scarf and I'll call it what I like.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Joys of Mate (MAH-tay)

So, the other night we went over to some friends' house, Hastur and Mr. Haster, another library/gamer couple that we've known for years yet I now realize I haven't mentioned yet on the blog. At any rate, the subject of tea came up, and of my crazy zealousness acquiring and drinking new varieties since my hand is still all kinds of fucked up (though feeling markedly better; I was even able to knit two inches on the lace scarf this weekend with only moderate wristly tightness), and Mr. Hastur brought up that he'd had something called Mate while in South America for the peace corps. Like rooibos and honeybush, it's an herb that's treated like tea (except it's not roasted), and damn tasty besides. He'd picked up a mix that Republic of Tea makes (the mate latte), and HOOBOY was that good stuff. So it's funny, now, that my favorite teas are for the most part not teas at all. I'm looking into more traditional methods of making it (out of curiosity and also fun - you drink it loose-leaf with a filtered straw and that sounds cool as hell), and www.mymateworld looks like a promising place.

Also, my week in a brace has been fun, and will hopefully end soon. It did really (REALLY) help my wrist, so I'm going to be knitting a pair for future use under slightly less dire circumstances. I figure I'll keep the pocket for the metal bar that keeps you from bending, and add a pocket on the top to hold a heat pad or ice pack. And, of course, dye it fun color in superwash wool :) Etsy here I come!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The List

Well. I think, after months of checking out books from interlibrary loan, skimming them all, perusing the promising-looking ones in greater depth, and when neccessary swatching something found inside, that I have my list of books. This, ladies and gents, will be the list I give my library. These titles will breathe new life into our craft section.

Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning
Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti
Color in Spinning
Folk Socks (and everything else by Nancy Bush)
Socks, Socks, Socks
Everything by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Gossamer Webs
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, by Barbara Walker (all 4 volumes)
>Scarf Style
Knitting in the Old Way by Gibson-Roberts
Knitters Handbook by Montse Stanley
The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson
The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee
The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things Tendonitis Has Taught Me:

1. When the Doctor says no knitting, he says it for a reason.
2. Knitting while wearing the brace still counts as knitting, and will hurt you.
3. Just because you weren't specifically advised not to crochet doesn't mean you can.
4. Same goes for spinning.
5. And tatting.
6. And cross-stitch.
7. Even if you're wearing the brace while you do it.
8. Even if you only do it a little.
9. Doing laundry hurts.
10. That means it's your partner's turn to do it.
11. Surprisingly, it doesn't hurt to do the dishes.
12. Telling your partner this means it's your turn to do the dishes.
13. Playing with clay does not hurt you. (As long as someone else softens it up first)
14. When you bring special "humor the injured lady" tea to work, don't keep it in the break room. Other people will take it home.
15. Making a special glass jar decorated with clay that says the contents are specifically your tea may or may not stop people from stealing your tea. It will, however, make them assholes if they do.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Crap in a Hat!

Well, it's official. I knit my wrist off. Or rather, I knit myself into a fine case of tendonitis. I'm now having to maneuver the strange world of the right-handed, while my left is lovingly enclosed ina stiff brace (which, incidentally, gives me karate-chop action). The doc told me not to knit for at least a week, and to take it easy after that. I figure that "taking it easy" will mean only knitting heavy things (like the bobble top, which I only need to do the front from the armpits up to finish) while sitting down, and leaving those light, lacey scarves as my walking-to-class projects.

Basically, flexing my wrist? Hurts like a bitch, for three days now. Heat makes me feel better, cold makes the injury get better while I live all ache-y and irritable. No knitting for a week!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Like Tea

It's true! I've always had a great love for the tea. When I was little, I made my dad a pot of tea every night for a summer in exchange for a new bike :) Now that I'm older, my tastes are getting more complex, and I know there's more to tea than I am aware of.

So basically, I'm trying to find out what different kinds of teas there are, and yes, I'm including herbal tisanes, infusions and whatnot in my definition of tea. I'd really like to try some rooibos and honeybush, they've got a nice-looking rooibos/rosebud tea over a World Market that I'd love to try. Better yet, what I'd like to do is get all of these crazy ingredients that people put in their tea blends (vanilla beans, rose petals, bits-o-orange) so I can try a little mix-and-match myself. I imagine myself five, ten years down the road, older and wiser, with not only a spice rack that would make buddah blush, but this crazy assortment of note-cards detailing failed and successful tea experiments, with the winners bound in tiny bundles, perfect for dropping into a single cup when company comes over. Yeah, I have weird daydreams, but wouldn't it be pretty? Tiny sachets of honeybush and rosehips with a hint of orange, or a strong pu-erh black and ginger. I also imagine a tiny, tiny window garden, teas and mints and herbs and maaaaaybe avocado and henna trees.

I'm horrible at keeping plants alive, you know. That's how I know this is all dreaming.

Zoom!

Oh man, working with all these lace and fingering weight yarns, I had forgotten how quickly Worsted can go! I've decided to do this hat (must think of a name) in the lavender Peace Fleece on 7s, and the beige Baby Silk on 3s (going a size down for the ribbings, of course). I can't decide for the finer one whether I want to do more zigzaggy lines between the cables, or more open space, or what. I'll swatch it and see what I like better. Swatching fixes everything.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Things are Going Well

They are! My yarn from handpaintedyarn.com arrived, lovely lovely cadmium yellow, so as soon as I finish this blasted be-bobbled (enbobbled?) top, I can get to work on that. Also, I've had a few ideas for hats, which, hopefully, YarnMonkey will find pleasing. If not, I'll still have new hats :) This may not sound like much to those of you (i.e. everyone but me and the cat) without a working knowledge of my stash, but this idea? Wonderful enough that I pulled out the Peace Fleece skeins in lavender and harvest orange - you know, the ones I was saving until the perfect pattern leapt into my hands and said "KNIT ME, WOMAN!" Yes, those skeins are a-talkin' now. I figure I'll write up the pattern for two different weights, worsted and fingering, to fit most of my stash. Also, this means that I'll not only get an awesome hat in both lavender and harvst orange, I'll also get one in sandy beige Baby Silk :) And it'll rock exactly that hard.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ode to Sheep

You may or may not have seen the newest Spin-Off magazine already, and seeing it you may or may not have bought it. Perhaps you looked on the cover and said 'What the hell, sheep puppets? I don't need no stinkin' sheep puppets.'

Why, I bet you didn't even look inside, did you?

If you had, you would have seen that the Sheepies are at least twenty times cuter on the inside (and in person!) than they appear on the cover. Plus, fun colorwork! Even if (like me) you'd never done stranded colorwork before! And if it looks a little like a dyspeptic llama (what with the not doing stranded colorwork before), who cares? It's a puppet! It can as easily be a dyspeptic llama puppet as a sheepie.

So far it's been three days since I cast on for Pilvie (the grey and brown one on the cover) and he's done except for the face. Not 'done except for embroidering on features', but 'the knitting of the face is all that's left'. Ergo, he runs around all faceless, asking people if he can have their faces. So far, no takers. Ergo, I'll have to find him one myself :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It Is Done!

And it is GLORIOUS.
GLORIOUS!

Which is to say, rather, that it will be glorious, once it's done. It has potential gloriousness? And knitting converts it into kinetic gloriosity? But then, you could knit from it multiple times - an infinite amount of times, if you wanted. Does that mean it has infinite potential glory?

See, this is the kind of shit that keeps me up at night.

Regardless, click for the full image if you like. The blue squares are stitches that will be done a la short-row, and the yellow is the border of plain knit stitches (actually garter, now that I think about it) to give the turning some extra stability. Obviously, this is the first time I've done something like this, but I'm feeling pretty hopefull. What do you think?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Have I Mentioned...

the super-awesome treat I'm getting for myself when I finish this top? It's yellow. It's gloriously, gloriously yellow.

Good Times

Well, the vacation has come and gone, and it was wonderful. Sweetie and I had a great time, his little cousins that went with us are awesome, and of course I love the rest of his family. We rode many a ride, got stuck on a few (one for half an hour, we had to walk down - I shit you not - 14 flights of stairs to get down), and all in all it was about as perfect a vacation as you could wish.

During much of the car trip (it's a good 13 hour drive either way) I had intended to work on my newest project - see, the owner of our LYS wants me to knit her a small top, and is paying me in twice the top's amount of yarn, a lovely 10 balls of SWTC's Pure, 100% soysilk - like I'm going to pass that up? Anyway, I had planned to get at least a quarter done on the drive, packed the yarn and needles and gague swatch, and what did I forget? The pattern, obviously XD It's coming along well now that I'm home, I only have to do an inch and a half a day to finish on time. It'll go faster, of course, once this 6.5" of 3x3 rib with absolutely pointless tiny bobbles are done.

God I hate bobbles. There is no point at which the phrase "Hey, you know what'd look good here? Bobbles!" is anything but drunk talk. They're like the vestigal tails of the knitting beast.

Anyway, schematic to come, since I like doing them, and folks like seeing 'em :) And now, back to work!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Library, Meet the Knitter

So, I got this library job, see. It's pretty awesome, the people are nice and the work all makes sense. There's a lot of paperwork, but it's all based on the same stuff, so that's not bad. It's in the department that buys the books, so of course my first thought is knitting.

We have some knitting books already, but for the most part our collection sucks. If you're wanting to learn how to knit, how to design patterns, or want to have anything to do with lace at all, you're basically screwed. So I went up to my department head today, and pitched an idea: What if I get a list of books and other good material on knitting, that basically follows the whole learning curve, contains no (overly) superfluous volumes, is jam-packed of awesome-resource type books for when you're at the top of your game, and then the library buys the things on the list?

Wonder of wonders, she said yes! So now the A&M library is going to be chock-full of knitterly (and spinnerly!) goodness, from the classics to modern stuff, and folk'll come the state over to admire it :D

Or at least, that's my dream. the list begins.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What's this? MORE math?

So I've done some more fancy fenangling (by which I mean basic math), and come to some conclusions. I am on ball 7, and finishing the third repeat of chart B in Frost Flowers. Doing the pattern as written, the end of this chart would have had me at 30.6% of finished. This would be fine were it an even 1/3 of the way, but that 3% got me nervous. One third of 22 balls? Seven and one third. That's finishing with room to spare. 30% of 22 balls? Six and two thirds. So as you can see, I'd need to get at least 7 balls out of 30% to be comfy here. Ergo, I could either order more yarn with no hope of getting the same dyelot (seriously, NO hope), or I could eliminate a repeat of the chart. I have opted for the second, which will give me a 5-foot shawl instead of a 5-foot-6-inch shawl, but will leave me with my sanity intact, and is still more shawl than I'm likely to need in Texas.

This, of course, needs a new graphic:


Glorious, is it not? So now, instead of being almost 30% of the way finished, I'm almost 35%! Yay Frost Flowers! Yay me!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Beware the Ides of... June.

Yes, I know, technically the ides of June was yesterday. Nevermind that. The first wedding Sweetie and I were invited to last weekend went very well (nobody ran away screaming, which is always a good sign); they had a big Catholic wedding and a big nerdy reception, both of which were intriguing and awesome. Sweetie caught the garter (again), though I missed the bouquet, so I've got to try again at the wedding we're invited to this NEXT weekend. To summarize, work goes well, I'm eating better, I cut 16 inches from my hair (it's to my collarbone now, if that gives you any perspective) and the Jayne hat is sitting atop my bookshelf with half an earflap. In the meantime, LACE!

I have once again gotten Sharon Miller's Heirloom Lace on interlibrary loan. I don't know what kind of crazy-juice my brain was making the first time I ordered it, that I only flipped through in passing and dismissed it as 'not worth the $50'. I was wrong. So incredibly, incredibly wrong. As soon as budget allows, Heirloom Lace and the Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning are both coming home with me. They're just such fantastic resources!

For example, I have decided that the Midnight Fleece Artist mohair is just too pretty for something as easy to knit as Claptois. This may, in retrospect, be a mistake, but hey - it's my knitting, and the thought of getting row upon row of mohair to actually drop didn't seem as easy and fun as it once had. So I had it suggested I write some lace for it - maybe use that giant Miller book I had on hand for once. So I did. And it's awesome.

What I'm doing started out as simple Print o' the Wave, but then I wanted an edging. Use the PotW edging to match? Too easy. Pick an edging with the same row count as my main body design? Too sensible. Pick an edging that's knit on later, neccessitating picking up a million stitches in mohair? Too insane. So in the end, it's Print 'o the Wave, with the full Wedding Veil edging, which is to say a border and an edging, where the border is two rows taller than both the edging and the main body pattern, so that you need to do seven repeats on the outside and center, and six in the middle. Sounds like a fun thing to cast on unprepared using mohair, right? So I'm test-knitting it in some Knitpicks, the paint your own laceweight, and it's a lot of fun. I don't really know how corners are supposed to be addressed - I emailed Eunny about it for Unravelling, can't wait to hear back, so of course I charted away and now have to figure out how to actually work this chart. I'm thinking short-rows?

Anyway, provided any of this works out at all, I will of course provide photos and the pattern. Hell, I may even submit it to Knitty or Magknits - I'd have a better chance on Magknits, I think, since they update more often, but Knitty seems to have better patterns, so I hope I can get in there. It would be a hoot to get the Sul Ross statue to model for me in the pictures - wouldn't he look fetching in a nice lace stole?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

And We're Back!

Well, that was fun, wasn't it? We're all moved in to the new place, though not unpacked by a long shot (all of my clothes are still in laundry baskets. They're usually in laundry baskets, but my yarn is in a similar condition, so you see the gravity of the situation). Gaming has been only slightly interrupted, knitting moreso. A wave of pure sanity hit me yesterday, and I broke down and bought a stole for the weddings, instead of trying to knit 12 square feet in six days. The Fleece Artist mohair/nylon blend in lovely, lovely Midnight is currently sitting on my desk, eagerly awaiting her first stitches into a new life. I'm thinking Claptois - it's dressy enough for her color and composition, simple enough in look that the mohair halo will be a plus, not something hiding all kinds of fancy stitchwork, but intriguiging enough in construction that I don't think I'll get terribly bored. Frost Flowers, sadly, is still on semi-hold while I await the longer needles. It hurts me to not work on my baby. I picked her up today and I couldn't tell where I was from the stitch markers, I had to go and actually check the pattern! Of course, once I (stupidly) realised I was in mid-leaf, everything clicked and I pumped out another few rows. Nothing worth updating the schematics for, but I was happy. I'll take her to work tomorrow.

On a side note, I've thought of a few ideas for hats lately. One is a hat with cables, only instead of a purl background, separate them by exactly one yarn over. They'll float up your head! Obviously, gague will be important. Another idea is that since I seem to have trouble making hats that are exactly as deep as they should be (most are too shallow or swallow your head), putting in a band of garter stitch about mid-hat. It's got a great deal of vertical squish, so you could pull it as shallow or deep as you need it to be for that day. Sounds interesting, eh? eh?

Also, I have started (and mostly finished) a Jayne hat. All that is left is earflaps and the pom-pom. Sweetie looks remarkably cute in it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Moving!

Whee, moving week is upon us! The computer is being disconnected this afternoon, so don't expect to hear from me until at least thursday (Sorry Nitty!). My yarn and fiber stash is now lovingly encased in three very large boxes, and three giant trashbags when we ran out of boxes. The roomie called Utilities and told them to shut off the power, just a day earlier than Sweetie and I had expected, so for us, we have to be done with all cleaning and vacuuming and taking of showers tomorrow evening at the latest - fun!

Of course I'm really excited, though. I get a whole new place to cover with my stuff, and fewer people's stuff to compete with :) Bookshelves in the living room! Spinning wheel next to the couch! Litter box not in my closet! It's going to be a good week.

In pre-wedding news, I finally have a dress, and shoes to be borrowed from my sister to go with it. Still need to run it by the bride, but the only dress that fit and wasn't $300 was both black AND white, so I've got to see if that's going to be okay. Sadly, it won't go with Frost Flowers at all, so I've got 10 days after the move to get Claptois knitted up out of some Fiber Artist kid mohair in Midnight that I picked up at Yarntopia (which IS as good as it sounds!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Holy Crap!

Got off work, went to World Market, sat and knit while Sweetie and roomie talked pretentiously about wine (pretentious on purpose). Join of the weed wacker cord to the knitting needle broke, lost maybe three inches of stitches for a row or two. Was able to stop further unraveling, thank god I have a lifeline in. Fixable, as soon as I get my new cord in!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Now I See Why Sleep Is Important

I got up today at 6 in the morning, for perhaps the first time in two years. I've had the luxury of a well-paying 9 to 5 job all that time, and I sure as hell wasn't going to schedule classes any earlier (I think I've had one 8 a.m. class in my college history, and it didn't go well). Since the busses are running hourly if at all inbetween the fall and first summer session, Sweetie and I and one of our good friends are all walking up to work together. It's a good hour's amble, plus home again, so I'm hoping to walk off a little of my excess tummy, and in the process get all that good anti-depression excersize mojo. I just have to learn once and for all that if I'm going to be getting up before the sun (literally!), I need to go to sleep at ten, instead of my usual 1 a.m. Luckily I've got the Fellowship of the Ring audiobook to fall asleep to - it's like having Ian McKellen reading you a bedtime story!

In knitting news, I'm working on the third repeat of Frost Flowers chart B, and I'm on my sixth ball of yarn. I did some fancy math (mostly addition), and some fancy graphics to show off my fancy math (squares), and this is what I came up with:


As you can see, it is very swanky indeed. [Update: The top numbers give the stitches per side/per round, and the bottom one the percentage (based on stitches) finished in that repeat. Told you it was swanky!] Also, since the 12" DPNs I made were actually size 5 and incredibly unwieldy, I tried another approach for the cord. Since I now had an extra 24" circ, I cut it in half, picked up some weed whacker cord, heated it up and stuck the ends together, making one really fantastic HUGE circular needle. I think it's somewhere between 72 and 80 inches, but it's holding all the stitches comfortably, and it seems to actually take a little of the strain off my wrists when I'm walking with it. Weird, huh?

Also, I made a needle case :) It's fabric stash from when I used to sew, orange and gold sari silk on the inside and suede paisly-ish on the outside. It's just the right size for my assorted sock needles, stitch markers, extra sissors and whatnot, and the lady at the LYS says if I figure out how to use bias tape to make the edges not suck so hard, she'll stock them :) I don't forsee that happening until after the move, but it's encouraging. And now, it is time to go get a sandwich and a glass of milk, and start heading out the door!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Meat Overdose?

So this week was Sweetie's birthday, and we celebrated today because nobody (most notably Sweetie) had to work in the morning. Hastur, K-the-Knitter and I went to the University's meat shop (agricultural schools have butchering classes, see) to see what they had that we could grill up for dinner. For a tidy $4.65, Sweetie was treated to steaks the size of his head. The entire extended company of guests (7 people, ourselves included) was filled to the gills with meat for about $40, and we could have fed two more. And while I did stop and think of how incredibly lucky we are to be living in a place where fire is the optional cooking method, where food and clean water is cheap and plentiful, most of the night I was just fighting off the post-steak fullness + warmth = sleep phenomena which is my usual plan of action. Seriously, you fill be up with anything and give me a warm comforter to snuggle in, and I'm out all night. I don't expect to be hungry again until tuesday.

In knitting news, the LYS didn't have a bamboo size 4 circ in stock in anything longer than a 24" cord, so she's ordering me one. 36" or longer, it's all good at that point, I just needs me a needle that can hold all of these stitches! Since it'll be a week until the new stuff's in, I picked up another 24" one, and tried to work it on both, like you do with socks if for some baffling reason you're not DPN-friendly (seriously, I know some folks just aren't, and while I can respect that, I don't understand it at all). That... that didn't work well. So I got some 12" dowels and made DPNs of them, a set of five 12" size 4 DPNs. You'd think that four 12" dowels (48" total) would be able to hold the same amount of stitches as were being held on a 24" cord with less crowding - you'd think that, but evidently you'd be wrong. God I hope the new needles comes in soon.

In other news, I got a new job :) I start on monday. Oddly, the strongest points of the interview seemed to be around knitting and working at Pizza Hut, and my almost two years of secretarial work since then didn't come up at all.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Silk and Cashmere

So, I've got in my posession three large hanks of laceweight silk noil yarn, a wonderfully soft (in the way that cotton is soft, almost), wonderfully organic, textured yarn. This is a yarn with personality. This is a yarn that wants to be made into a more meaty shawl - something more earthy, slightly rustic, where the sheer overwhelming awesomeness of this yarn will work with the pattern, instead of competing. I had thought to use it for Frost Flowers, but I got impatient and cast on with the Baby Silk while this was waiting in the mail, and, well, you know how that turned out. But something as sumptuous as Frost Flowers, something that would benefit from maybe being a little chunky, that's what I want to knit with this. Not now, of course - now is Frost Flowers time. But soon. Maybe after the weddings, during the family trip that I may just be able to go to? Maybe in the time I'll sit around the house missing my Sweetie, if I can't attend? Regardless, soon. So I needs me a chunky earthy meaty pattern to take up space in my imagination.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Frost Flowers Baby Silk Shawl

So, I've been working on the Frost Flowers shawl from A Gathering of Lace and it's turning out lovely - everything I could have dreamed it would be. I started out with 22 balls of Elann's baby silk in Oxblood (inspired by Eunny's lovely red shawl, but much less pricey than pure hand-dyed laceweight silk, lovely as it may be), and I'm just now finishing the first repeat of the second chart, and my third ball. I think I've decided that I want this shawl to be a wower - I want folks to whistle in appreciation as I walk by in this sucker, so it MUST be at least a six foot square. The original pattern, of course, calls for laceweight yarn and sixe 6 needles to produce a six foot square, and I'm doing fingering weight on 4s, so I'm fairly certain that more repeats of the second chart will be in order to get this puppy the size I want. I'm terribly free today at work, so I'll be putting in a lifeline and dryblocking it on the floor right quick. I've been marking where, row-wise, my balls have been ending, and it looks like I'm getting about 5-6 thousand stitches per ball (I'm pretty sure my first ball was short, but let's say 5000 to be safe). So once I block it and measure from the last lifeline to the new one, which is the entirity of chart B, and measure the current width, I'll know how many repeats (assuming the third chart takes the same amount of width as the second one, it's comparable on number of rows) of the second chart I want to add to get my width, and I can calculate how many stitches there'll be in each progressive chart repeat (including adding the extra pattern repeat on the final chart for each chart B I add), and figure out how much I can get out of the balls I'll have. Hopefully, this will let me maxamize the amount of this yarn that I can fit into this shawl - who cares if it's monstrously huge! It's a shawl! There's only one very small step from shawl to blanket.

[Update]

Wow. So I've got more done that I'd thought! The first chart and first repeat of the second constitute a good chunk of this shawl. I'm still going t measure it and see how big it'll be at the end, but right now, of the seven repeats included in the pattern, this is what I've got done:



Impressive, no?