Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Updates, Earthquakes, and Headaches

I am a terrible blogger. I let work get in the way of the blog. But, until this blog turns into a book deal, off to work I go. Part of what keeps me from blogging is lack of photos.

Until about a year and a half ago, this was a text-only blog. BO-ring! I find that I like reading blogs that have pictures better, and I don't want poorly lit, blurry pictures. I try to keep my photo quality high; I do decent work, and I want it to be an accurate representation online. Some of you readers don't see me in person, so what's the use of posting a crappy picture?

I normally try to take pictures when the light is good, which is increasingly challenging as the days become shorter. Still, I do my best.

I've begun plying "Wild Thing", which is now 75% superwash merino, 25% silk (for you who don't like math, that's 3 plies of the Crown Mountain, one of the Susan's Spinning Bunny Silk). It's a light fingering weight, which just means that I need to chill out when I'm spinning.

I'm still fixated on lace, but one of my projects is making me want to rip out my hair. I'm not going to go into detail, but how can SUCH a simple lace pattern require so much brainpower?! I have 8 repeats to go, plus edging. This is totally do-able. I just have to do it.

I was the lucky recipient of an Alison (yes, that Alison!) shawl. I think the yarn is Lisa Souza's superwash, in Valentine. The pattern is "Bigfoot", which is on my list of things to start. Photos of the shawl are pending. When I showed Mom the shawl I said, "MINE. You have your own Alison shawl."

I've been working on the Argyle 2 socks, which bleed like a mofo and turn my hands blue, but I'm down to the heel on #2, so those are almost done. A guy at the chiropractor's office commented on it.

"Wow, you'd think you came to the chiropractor to knit," he says, looking at my sock. Yeah, we'd been waiting for maybe 15 minutes.

"It keeps me patient," I say, "This whole sock has been knit while I've been waiting in different places."

He looks at the sock, and huffs at the tangibility of (what I like to call) "line-time". ("Line-time" is like the space-time continuum, but different. It's full of physics.)

"There's no getting around waiting; at the end I'll have a pair of socks," I said, feeling very Zen about the whole thing.

A few hours later, the earth shook below our feet (5.6!), and I learned that instant messenger won't crash when everyone is on it, but the phones will. After trying to get in touch with people by phone for an hour, I assumed my friends and loved ones were fine, and went back to watching TV and plying.

I'm all heart, I know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sometimes you just have to suck it up

I won't lie to you.

I'm officially bitter about not going to Rhinebeck. (This would be a side effect of reading all the knit/spinning bloggers who are posting about it.) I know, deciding to buy the new house was the better choice. Better? Yes. More fun? No.

I don't like making choices. It's true; given a choice between two desserts, I'm most likely to order both, buy both blouses, or two fleeces. I especially don't like making responsible choices that will directly impact my future.

I know that I don't need any more roving or yarn. I know. But I waaaaaant more.

Temptation has been waving it's nasty little self under my nose: Crown Mountain has their new colors up, and there are like 20 that I desperately want. (Let's do the math, folks: 20 x 19 = 380.) That's not happening for a while.

To be fair, at the pace I'm spinning the stuff, one bump has taken me close to three weeks of nightly spinning. That's the downside of spinning it at a sub-fingering weight, but it SOOOOO pretty that way. It's also not the only roving I own- though, I technically have MUCH less roving than yarn. You know, since roving turns INTO yarn, it's all a destructive cycle, but I digress.

I could, forseeably, spin all the roving I have in the next year, barring new roving/wool purchases. At one point, during what I like to refer to as Jasmin's Spinning Resurgence, I really did run out of roving, and Mom brought me a box of roving that she had bought more than TEN years ago. I plowed through some of that, but I still have about 2 lbs of that left.

Being a grown-up totally sucks sometimes. So does logic.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Catching up and catching my breath

So, this last week or so has been pretty long. I don't like to use the blog as a complaint forum (Hello? That's why I have a knitting group!), so I apologize if this sounds like a litany of woes.

Saturday (10/13) we attended a 75th birthday party for Andrew's uncle. We drove all the way to Grass Valley, and stopped at two incredibly underwhelming yarn shops. In Sacramento, we went to Rumplestilskin, where I bought an out-of-print book. That was it. They had some boring yarn and disappointing roving. The up side was that Andrew got a good look at what a Saxony-style wheel looks like, and I think my next wheel will be a pretty Saxony.

In Grass Valley, we went to a very "stylized" yarn shop, where I wasn't enthused by any of the yarn, and left without buying anything. The fun side of this was that I managed to talk my way into a "closed" yarn shop.

The party was interesting; there's nothing like family to make you appreciate your friends. I wasn't really keen on the seven hour round-trip, but it was better for us to come home and sleep in our own beds and rest on Sunday.

Andrew and I both got pretty sick after that, and spent the better part of last week sick. As we both started to feel better, we decided to go and clean out the townhouse. When I went to gather the cleaning supplies, I noticed a stream of water coming from the water heater.

Fortunately, the home warranty is covering most of it (the expensive part), and we were only without hot water for two and a half days.

I've been actively updating my Ravelry page (I'm "cuteknitter"), so that means there are more photos for the blog as well.

In doggie news, we discovered last night that Niki has lost his ID tag with his name, address, and our phone number. Elphie's is firmly in place, but somehow Hairy Houdini managed to lose JUST that one tag. He still has his "I'm microchipped" tag, rabies tag, and the tag from the rescue. But still.

We've been doing some extra obedience and dominance work with Elphie, which has drastically improved her behavior.

As far as my crack-tastic dreams are concerned, I dreamt that there was a wasp-feeder in our house (like a hummingbird feeder, but you know, for wasps), it was at the top of the vaulted ceiling (which we don't have), and they were the size of Iranian cockroaches.

For knitting content, I'm working on a bunch of socks, my Ribbi Cardi is currently a Ribby Halter, and I pulled yarn out of my stash to cast on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan.

My spinning has been going slow, but that seems to be the consequence of spinning singles that (when 3-plied) are a light fingering weight. It's not good for my project ADD, and I MAY be doing some slightly self-defeating things along the way. Like weighing my bump before I start, and at the end of a disk of Six Feet Under (ahem, 3-4 hours), and noticing that I've only spun 6 grams. Andrew is discouraging the weighing. I can't help it. I need to see progress.

Here's the finished Big Yellow Taxi:

Here's the Wild Thing:

So, to leave you on a more positive note, I got moved to an awesome cube at work, which is bigger than my last cube, gets natural light, and has a view of the window. It has improved my mood something fierce, and I'm not dreading coming into the office anymore. I still hate traffic and EVERYONE who drives on 101.

Except for you. Y'all are awesome.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Genius With A “J”

I may be, without a doubt, the most absent-minded person who ever lived.

I check the weather every day, sometimes, several times a day. I could tell you last week that it was going to rain last night. Did I remember to roll up the windows that I left cracked?


Did I realize this when I got into the car this morning?


Do I have a wet spot on my pants from sitting in a damp seat?

You betcha.

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's beginning to seem a lot like... Christmas?

I would like to announce that I have bought both my mother's AND Andrew's Christmas gifts. I have also found a day for the Minion annual Holiday Extravaganza, and begun planning what I'd like set up for the holidays.

Also- does anyone know where I could get a prop guillotine for Halloween?

Here's my vision:

-Set up the guillotine in the front yard with a headless body. [This will be accomplished by stuffing some clothes with newspaper. I know, I'm truly an original thinker.]

-A puddle of red stuff at the base of the guillotine. [Ketchup/BBQ sauce on Saran Wrap so I don't stain the driveway.]

-Put a fake head in the bowl of candy.

-Knit with white wool. Use red dye to simulate blood spatter.

-Dress up in appropriate costume, sit and knit in front of the house, hand out candy. Speak with a bad French accent.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Purging. Just Purging.

This last week, the weight of my possessions has been smothering me. Not to sound like a drama queen, but it became physically uncomfortable for me. I would look around and just panic.

The only solution was to get rid of the stuff that was smothering me.

The cotton yarn that I bought to make summer tops? Gone. Knitting with cotton hurts my hands, and life is too short. Plus, I hate knitting with cotton. I got rid of a duffel-sized bag of cotton. That's about 75 lbs off of my chest.

I looked around the house, and there was my old wheel, the Traveler, sitting in the corner, covered in dust. Last week, I found the Saxony wheel of my dreams (altogether about $1500 with all the bells and whistles), and decided that if I was going to buy that one, I had to get rid of the Traveler.

Don't get me wrong- the Traveler has been a faithful, hardworking wheel. But when I bought the Schacht, it was because I had outgrown the limits of the Traveler. I talked to Ursula, who has an interest in spinning (but needed more practice) and what started as loaning her the wheel became, "Here, have a wheel!"

I spent all day cleaning the wheel and treating the wood (with Wood Beams) until it shone. Two hours, a disk of "The Office", and two shiny wheels later, I was ready to part with the Traveler. Mom remarked that this is the best the Traveler has ever looked, and I agree.

Parting with the Traveler means parting with a wheel, ten bobbins, and a Lazy [Clever] Kate. More weight off of my chest, and I have made certain that Ursula has caught the spinning bug. Resistance is futile.

Then, I attacked the closet. The suit that hasn't fit me in six years? Gone. The blouse I haven't worn since 8th grade? See ya! It was a scene fit for Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. Two giant DSW bags later, and I'm not done yet.

My challenge is this: I have a handful of nice, handknit sweaters (mostly knit by me) that I'm tired of wearing, but don't want to donate to charity. They will fit a 32-38" bust. Anyone interested? Let me know.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Promises, Promises

Things I will post:

-Pictures of dyeing day. You can read reviews at Patricia's and Rachel's blogs. The whole thing was a blur of discolored hands and beautiful yarn. The occasional threat of an ass-kicking may have also happened.

-Pictures of myself at the corset party. (Also, if you read this and you don't mind pictures of yourself being posted here on the very public internet, drop me an e-mail.)

-Spinning stuff. I have been spinning VERY VERY fine singles, and 3-plying them into a light fingering-weight. I have finished spinning and plying Crown Mountain's "Big Yellow Taxi", and I am working on "Wild Thing".

Things I will update:

Links. The links in the sidebar are to people and blogs that I like, but like me, my friends are slackers and never update. In their defense, they all have lives.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I *heart* Math!

It's true. Despite what I thought in high school, I'm pretty good at math. I discovered this when I was doing my internship at XRX three years ago- I was working on Module Magic, and actually REMEMBERED how to calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle (as well as a number of other geometric formulae).

I know a lot of women have "math phobias" or "math blocks", and I get it. From seventh grade through college, I thought I wasn't good at math. I got good grades, but I didn't *get* it, you know? Knitting is why I'm math confident. Since I've started using math in terms of knitting, I can do unit conversions in my head (usually), and can usually get a realistic grasp on a number of other things.

So, now I want to knit the Tilted Duster, and I had a (potentially) wicked awesome idea, involving math. I'll talk about it more if the math works in my favor.