Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some long promised FOtos

Here's me wearing the Pearls of Wisdom at D&M's wedding:

A better shot:

While we were working on the Shanty, I met Amy Singer:

I blocked my Print o' the Wave:

And until I get a shot of me in the shawl, here is Colleen, wearing it like a shroud (she may have declared that she wants to be buried in it):

I know I've promised more, and they're coming.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lace, Learning, and Love

First: I love knitting lace. The whole experience thus far has been incredibly rewarding and pleasant.


I am what could be described as a haughty, sometimes, overconfident knitter. I was eager to cast on the Lily of the Valley shawl (from Lace Style), and in my haste, ignored the directions to do a crocheted cast on.

"Eh, who needs a crocheted cast on!" I said. "I'll just pick up the stitches at the end."

I neglected to read the directions all the way through to the end. Where you knit across the live stitches and increase on the same round that you pick up a bazillion stitches on each long side.

I spent TWO HOURS unpicking my cast on edge and picking up the stitches. A hundred little, tiny, petulant stitches. At the end of this exercise of atonement for my knitting bravado, I may have vowed to never knit again, and to remove my burning, exhausted eyes.

But that would be melodramatic.

What I have learned:

Designers usually have a reason for telling you to do something. Usually. In lace, do the provisional/invisible/crocheted/whatever cast on.

What I love:

We've had a conference going on at work, which meant a lot of sitting and listening. I vacillated between knitting, or not for a few minutes- because the idea of sitting for more than two hours without knitting guarantees a number of things, including:

Thinking of blog topics. Writing the script for the commercial I'm going to put up on the blog. Ideas for a theoretical Podcast. Wishing I was knitting. The list goes on.

My better judgment told me to take my knitting in a bag, just in case. So, here I am, laptop, notebook, pen, and knitting, and I see everyone in the room doing things like chatting on Messenger, or reading e-mail, or surfing the web. All stuff that I can't do and listen at the same time. I whip out my knitting (which was Lily of the Valley, not really the best lecture knitting, but not the worst, either), and put on three or four repeats of the lace before the afternoon is done.

Everyone wins, I actually focus and listen, and I get a little more done on my stole. I also have the bulletproof defense of my knitting by pointing out that the laptops are MUCH more distracting than my knitting, which was politely hidden by my laptop.

Anyhow, I love my job. I've been here over four months, and being a knitter makes me neither stupid nor quaint in the eyes of my peers. It's always "cool" and my co-workers ask intelligent questions about it. It's the antithesis of C.H.O.K.E.(Cultural Humiliation Of Knitters Everywhere) as defined by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

So, in short, I love my job, lace, and (to a certain extent) the continued learning curve that is knitting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Decisions, decisions.

The phosphoric green rambouillet has been spun and plied. I'll post pictures of it once it's skeined and the twist has been set. I also have spun and plied the Rhiannon's Fire- I'm planning on doing a set-the-twist-athon soon. In all seriousness, I love the smell of wet wool.

I broke down and ordered an adjustable skein winder from Carolina Homespun, because I desperately wanted a yardage counter attached. Strangely enough, the prospect of counting hundreds and hundreds of tiny little strands doesn't appeal to me. Neither does motion sickness from counting each turn of my existing skein winder.

A skein winder that keeps track of yardage for me, however, has endless appeal. I've been indulging in binge behavior- roving and lace yarn. All I need is another pair of arms, and I'll be set. When one is torn between knitting lace and spinning, it's truly a hard choice.

Speaking of making choices, I've found that I've had a problem making decisions lately. I've bought half a dozen yarns (and a couple of bumps of roving) trying to determine what to make the Peacock Shawl out of. I know I want to knit it. I just don't have a clear enough picture of what I want to knit it *with*. I'll likely post pictures and get suggestions.

I've never had this problem before, not being able to decide on what yarn to knit something out of. I have an idea of what I want, and I'm not finding it, or roving that is just right to make it out of myself. I have an idea of a shiny purple that is heathered with teals, but no luck so far. Maybe a shiny purple will do it for me. Who knows?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Fertile Crescent?

I went to the Monterey County Fair for the wool auction, and came home with a crescent-shaped sunburn. It looks like my lower back is smiling. Andrew has taken to mocking it by grinning widely at me. He mocks my pain. More posts soon, unpacking is going well and things should quiet down some starting now.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Geeking Out

The last month or so has taught me a lot about what kind of person I am. I joke that I'm not handy, or technically adept, with every passing day I'm doing something new that I never thought I could do.

Yesterday, we set up the TV. When we got the new TV, we talked about getting a new DVD player with an HD upconverter, but I wanted to make sure I could make it an all-regions DVD player. Mom's current favorite show is a BBC show, and she wanted to buy the first season as soon as we could get our hands on it- which we did, but it's a Region 2 DVD set.

I did a ton of research for that one, and it took me about a half hour to work out which hack would work. The second one that I hacked took about 30 seconds after setup.

I looked at Best Buy, wrote down the model number of the DVD player that I was looking at purchasing, and lo and behold- there were five websites that concurred that there (a) was a region-free hack and (b) all of them were identical. That was very encouraging for this fledgling geek.

I went to back my purse and go to BB, but Andrew suggested that I wait for Cynthia, since she's really into all this A/V stuff. I did. We loaded up the car and headed over to BB, I grabbed the DVD player, we admired Cynthia's next TV, and off we went.

While everyone was in the backyard, I rigged up power for the TV, hooked up the DVD player (with RCA cables, not the HDMI cable), and called Cynthia into the house. In 30 seconds, it was region-free, and we tested it.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that Robin Hood is silly, anachronistic, and not great television- but it's incredibly entertaining. Seeing the rich colors of Sherwood Forest on the screen was… an experience.

It turns out that I am a little savvier than I thought I was.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Swan Lake or The Ugly Duckling?

Ok, so I mentioned that I joined the Mystery Stole #3 knitalong. I may have mentioned that I'm not a follower in life, so it's really no shock that I haven't actually been knitting "along" with anyone through the whole thing.

This has worked out in a number of ways- not being the first to finish a clue means not being the first person to find problems with the chart. Clearly, with 7000 people participating, if I lag behind, the mistakes are corrected before it's even close to becoming an issue.

Secondly, if the instructions are even * slightly * unclear, all 7000 people appear to complain about it and Melanie clarifies.

Lastly, it turns out that the MS3 stole is not actually truly a stole at all. It has a "wing" on one end, themed after Swan Lake or the Swan Princess, or possibly (if it turns out poorly), the Ugly Duckling. Worse yet, for those who kept up the whole time, if they want a rectangular shawl (or a "stole", if you will), they have to rip out 50 rows of lace knitting.

That's right. 50 rows of lace knitting. Or just short of 5000 stitches. Did you choke a little on your coffee? I did.

Unlike the rest of the list (which is full of echoes of "Melanie is so great!" and "Isn't it great to be a sheep and follow the herd!"), she seemed to be the ONLY person who was sorely pissed about having wasted the time knitting the extra 50 rows when Melanie could have simply said, "Stop at the lifeline and wait for the next clue."

The rest of the "sheeples" (that would be defined as the mindless masses who follow the herd) complained loudly that she is an ingrate and that Melanie is a philanthropic genius for sharing the experience with all of us.

Now, not to speak against the sainted Melanie (who I'm sure is a very nice person), but the lack of foresight was… thoughtless. I know that I have no desire to have a misshapen stole- even if it's asymmetrical on purpose, when I wear it out, asymmetrical knits have a tendency to look… shitty. There, I said it.

There are already enough nasty stereotypes about knitters and knitting. Asymmetry only perpetuates the ignorance. But, if you like asymmetry, go for it. It's just not my thing.

What I'll probably do is just reverse the charts and knit it back symmetrically, but I have only finished the first chart of the first clue, so I have ample time to decide.

In any case, I would like to think that my lack of project dedication really paid off this time.

Take that, you knitting overachievers!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

“Would you like some poultry with your lime sherbet?”

I bought the most AMAZING roving on eBay on Monday, moments after Gretchen pinged me with the link, asking me whether I thought it would fluoresce under blacklight.

Since I am nothing if not scientific, I believe in gathering my own empirical (and experiential) evidence. Moments later, I was the proud winner of the auction.

I glanced a little closer at the description, and it was a Rambouillet fleece (which is fine), with… Peacock feathers?

That can't be right. I thought, Maybe it's slang for something else in spinning.

The box arrives. Sure enough, they were peacock feathers. From a peacock. If I knew what kind of noise a peacock makes, I would thrill you with the appropriate onomatopoeia.

I was worried that my disgust was based on ignorance, and I just wasn't classy enough to realize what a gem these peacock feathers were. As always, when in doubt, ask Sandi.

I took my Victoria (and lime sherbet) over to Purlescence, where I asked, very candidly, how one should spin incorporated peacock feathers into one's lime green rambouillet.

Sandi looked at it, made a face, and assured me that by removing them I would not be committing any crimes against wool.

The presence of the peacock feather wisps led to a discussion about perceived class through ownership of peacocks down to my saying:

"Ugh. It's like peacock pubes," as Nathania was using her OCT (that's Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies) to remove the offending peacock bits.

Pictures coming, as soon as my camera cables materialize from the boxes.