Saturday, January 26, 2008

Knitterly things as promised, finally

It is a parade of finished, UFOs and in progress works. Grab a cuppa.

For Catherine who is undergoing chemotherapy I made two different hats.
The first one
was an easy decision because the name of the pattern is Santa Cruz. I've been on an email list with Janice for several years and Catherine is her partner. Back in July 2006 they came to California for a family wedding, they live in Albion, MI so this was a unique opportunity to meet up with them. Several us were able to do a fabulous meet up on a beach in Santa Cruz, hence the pattern being a no-brainer. This was with yarn gifted from Adrienne.

Then I decided to use the fabulously soft yarn I had purchased for a hat for Catherine and make a second. I mean why not? This alpaca yarn was so soft and not very expensive. Still have one ball left, maybe another hat for TGF because it's a great colour for her as well.

Many man
y moons ago I purchased a measly two skeins of Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool because it was on sale and the perfect colour for TGF. After giving her a few option of hat designs she chose Odessa, which I had been wanting to give a go. This is a very easy, but with just a bit of elegance pattern. It was not the best match up of yarn and pattern but it was her choosing so that's good. Since TGF is not a bead girl this was not made with beads.

I really liked the patte
rn and got bitten by the pseudo-designer bug. It struck me that it would be really cool to use that stitch pattern in a pair of fingerless gloves. Again not the best match of pattern and yarn but these are a super basic prototype and I will make another pair in a more appropriate yarn soon. Perhaps experimenting with different thumb designs as I found an article in an old Interweave Knits on thumb gussets. I may even have two volunteers for test knitters when I'm ready. I am way too pleased with myself over this thing. A bit of preening was tempting as I finished the second one. Greg's word "chuffed" came to mind a lot. Next on the list is to try a scarf pattern to create a whole "set". However this test piece will be with another yarn as I am out of the silky wool.

Since seeing the pattern when it first came out a few months ago in Knitty I have been a bit enamored with it. I kept imagining using the silky wool with it. Once the hat and mitts were completed I realized I might have enough yarn left over to make Tudora. To get the right gauge I used two strands at a time. Really quick pattern, just a few hours total, over two days. This is a gift for a friend. Just needs a button which I may have the giftee choose themselves. I absolutely adore the feel of the fabric knitted up two stranded.

Another pattern over at Knitty that has been very popular is Foliage. I gathered up a bunch of yarn, again from Adrienne and turned this out quickly. In my mind I thought this hat might be for me. I wore it to NY and Sunny threatened to steal it. When I saw Deb briefly in Cleveland during my return trip she noted how nice the hat was. Had I not been so tired and our time so short I would have realized sooner it was really her hat. I sent it to her after weaving in the ends. I am fairly certain that the pink colour is someone's homespun fiber. It makes me so happy to hear that she is wearing to the farmer's market with her daughters and on hike at dusk.

Eons ago I mentioned a project I was making for our niece, T'Mane. If I had finished last spring, as intended, she probably could have worn it this summer. There was just a tiny bit left but it suffered from my knitting inertia this spring/summer. It will unfortunately need to be frogged. For now it sits as a UFO.

A quick project that I finished and wore today is a little lacy headband out of Lion's Brand Microspun in a bri
ght dark purple. The pattern is from Interweave. Quick, a little narrow maybe but keeps my bangs (which are below my chin now) out of the way.

Recently a friend in California asked if she could "commission me" to knit a project, perhaps two. Aft
er a few go rounds she let me decide on the pattern and yarn (#3105). As of this afternoon I have 40% of it done. It's going rather well now that I have the pattern down a bit more. Hopefully I will have enough yarn or things will get awful messy and crazed around here if I need to find more in the same colour which won't be the same dye lot I'm sure! If this goes well she may ask me to make something else. Kinda cool. Hell just being asked was one of the coolest things ever.

The sweater from NaKniSweMo is still on the needles. I had started the first sleeve, doing 12 out of 16 increases but decided it was too sloppy and ripped all the
increases out. I am just about back to the 12 increases, I think. Then of course there is the second sleeve which I hope won't suffer from a variation of "second sock syndrome". Part of the problem is I really don't like the needles I am using, not very smooth or quick (Clover size 8 double points) I had hoped to finish by TGF's birthday but I think that is looking more and more unlikely as I have less than a week. The commission is due the same time. I suppose if I do nothing else but knit this week it could all happen.

I think that catches all of y'all up on my knitting world. There are a host of projects I really want to start but the sweater and scarf need to be finished soon! There are socks, maybe for me, some projects for Sunny and Lindsay, more for TGF, testing the pattern I wrote, developing a scarf version - so much to do!

Monday, January 21, 2008

In which our herione continues the job search

I know, I haven't posted in forever. I threatened fiber photos and updates, nothing. It seems I am less than inspired, the words aren't bubbling up right now.

Last week I submitted a resume and cover letter for the first job I am serious excited about since starting my search a few months ago. My fingers are crosses that I at least get an interview but I realize the institution may already have a person lined up and just "legally" has to post the position. So it's a careful balance of hope because I am totally qualified for the position, and acceptance that nothing might happen but it has nothing to do with whether I could do the job.

In other general news, we had dinner with Julie and Chris at Thai 9 in the Oregon district a few weeks back. I continue to go to knit meet ups. Last week Emily and I ventured to a new (to us) group at a local yarn store. It was definitely fun. When some one pointed a sale basket of Cherry Tree Hill yarns, Emily said "it not calling your name". My response was that TGF must be paying her to keep me in check. In truth I left with two circular needles I needed and 2 balls of Plymouth Boku (colour 4) so I could try making Quant to practice entrelac knitting.

In part I have hopes that my knitting get togethers will help me network a job, hence part of my addiction to them, aside from them being way too much fun. Soon I will work on looking at volunteer opportunities with the prosecutors office (victim's advocate) and/or CASA work. Both would fall into the categories of areas of interest, experience and would be helpful if I ever finish my degree. Also I hear that volunteering in the prosecutor's office often leads to a job (it also helps when various in-laws work in law enforcement in the area). There is the added benefit of me having a schedule, somewhere to go which would also help my moods which while mostly manageable my emotional life could be a tad more stable.

So that's the news from here. How are all you doing?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Apparently I am Mohair

I received my Knitter's Review in my inbox this morning and Clara's publishers created a little quiz to help tell what kind of fiber the readers are. Well I haven't published (or even taken) a quiz in forever so I decided this would be a fun one.

Mohair – A smooth, polished surface
“Mohair is warmer than wool, with larger, flatter scales that contribute to an overall silky-smooth appearance. The fiber absorbs dye readily and, thanks to that smooth surface, reflects it back brilliantly.” –The Knitter’s Book of Yarn

Mohairs are positive and confident. You always strive to make a good first impression because you are a proud person, and you care a good deal about what people think of you. You are careful with your words and are always tactful. You enjoy having a broad base of support and respect from those whom you come in contact. You attract this with your warm, sunny, and inquisitive personality.

I was quite intrigued by the description of camel yarn
(“Camel has very little elasticity, and it doesn’t felt easily. The fiber also doesn’t bleach easily, so you’ll normally find it used in yarns whose color either masks or enhances the natural tan shade of the camel fiber.” ) since my dear friend Greg is hoping to lead an artist adventure in Morocco in April and well there are camels there. Here is a link to the rough draft of the information - if you are interested contact me so I can get a cut of his fee. Kidding! Clearly I need to win the lottery or something because I so SO desperately want to go to Morocco and this place has bunch of excellent sounding tours.

So maybe I need to knit with more mohair. We will see. I don't have much in the queue for mohair. Finishing my self designed fingerless mitt for TGF, finishing her sweater, starting a secret project, starting socks for me(!), designing a scarf pattern, a project for Lindsay, a project for Sunny. Nope, no mohair in that list. The rest of the queue (including something for Mr. Greg Frux and Janet Morgan, his lovely wife, a sweater for our "god son", something for T'Mane), still no mohair that I can think of. Of well, maybe it's an excuse to buy some more yarn.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Yarn Store Visit

Because Sunny is indulgent, and because she is the recipient of a lot of my crafting, I was able to visit Flying Fingers again. Now I was sure I knew where on Main Street the store was but as we went driving it was not where I thought. Sunny, in an unusual display of geographical acuity said, "Are you sure it's not a different store you are thinking of?" In truth we were both right. It was the same store, but they had moved from village of Irvington (where they were down near the train station as I remembered) to the tiny little hamlet of Tarrytown (in the photo showing the Music Hall, that corner is where FF lives). Both addresses were similar, 15 Main in one town, and 19 in the other. However now they were much closer to Route 9 and not the river. Sigh.

They were having a 40% off all books for the month of December so after initially fondling all the fiber I could quickly I dashed upstairs to scour for books that I have been yearning after. I found two that had been on my wish list for a few years so I felt quick lucky. Interweaves's Wrap Style, contains the Shetland Triangle wrap which has been on my list to make for quite some time. I also had Sunny skim so I could get an idea of what she might like for a future knit. Handknit Holidays has intrigued for a long time as well. I like a number of the patterns but I especially appreciate the acknowledgment of other winter holidays besides christmas.

addition to searching for books I had a mission to purchase a 16-inch circular needle in size 10.5 to make a second cozy neckwarmer, this time for TGF, as she fondled the one I made for Sunny frequently. I had also made a pair of matching ankle warmers for Sunny since had requested a pair some time ago. This yarn, Rio de la Plata's Merino is like crack. So soft and squishy; such a great colour. I.Must.Get.More. Unfortunately this particular line of theirs is being discontinued. Not to mention that it is far pricier than most of my yarn purchases. I completed the second neckwarmer on the way home from NY to surprise TGF with as one of her holiday gifts.

The other hunt was for yarn for boot toppers as shown in the holiday issue of Interweave Knits. Sunny thought they were adorable and I had a yen to try them as it would give me practice in colourwork. So I stocked up on four colours of Nature Spun in worsted weight: mallard (N21), regal purple (205), peruvanian pink (N85), and boysenberry (157W) . There should be enough yarn left over to make a matching tam I figure.

The women there were a lot of fun and the owner complimented me on my choice of books. She explained that the sale was to make psychological room for new books. Too funny.

Upon getting home later that Saturday I discovered that somehow the needles neither made it on the receipt or in the bag. Desperate I made plans to head back there on Sunday before going to Amy's (Sunny's friend who has the most gorgeous home!) holiday open house which we were going to stop in at before heading to Grand Central Station for an impromptu Raging Grannies event which Sunny wanted meet up with.

Sunday I meandered through extremely foggy conditions south back towards Tarrytown with a mission to get the damn needle and now with an additional mission: yarn for a leg warmer for Lindsay (Sunny's husband), for his bad leg. It had to be a superwash as he is not one for hand washing his laundry at all. There was a different woman running the counter who was delightful. Her statement that she had enough sock yarn to knit a pair a week for a year and half both thrilled and frightened me just a bit.

As I was contemplating needle sizing I mentioned something about Ravelry. "Oh! Let me look you up", she says. As she goes to my profile and clicks on my blog she says, "I've visited your site before". Wow. Of course she is on it as well and adds me as a friend (which I do later with her). From there I was able to determine that I did not have the second needle size I was pondering so I bought both pairs. Again, let me count the ways I love Ravelry.

So I left with yarn for Lindsay (Mission Falls 1824 Wool in Navy), two pair of circular needles (one of which seems to have disappeared since arriving home), yarn for me! (Blackberry Ridge lace weight in medium lilac) and a new friend. Since then I have read a bit of her blog and really enjoy getting to know Earthtones girl that way.

There will be photos of some knitting soon, I promise. (Greg, hush and put up with it. Think of it as fiber arts and just nod appreciatively even if you don't "get" it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In which our herione partied like it was...

it was the last night of 2007.

A few days before we had received an invite from Danielle, one of the lovely women of South Park. Then I heard from Chris and Julie asking if we were going. Well that clinched it in my book!

As it happened Sunday we went in search of St*ples, but somehow I would up at DSW. Go fi
gure. Under the pretense of still being without winter boots I sauntered in. Since they had nothing that qualified I reasoned that just the other day I realized that should I ever get an interview I had nothing to wear on my feet that wasn't open toed sandals like or slinky f*ck-me pumps. Hence the hunt was on. Instantly I found something. The bonus is I now know what size I wear in Mudd. And they were another 30 or 40% off the sticker price.

So for the first time in forever I dressed up. For the first time in literally years I put on a skirt that actually bared my knees. Those who d
on't know me in real life, I don't generally show my knees. I do not wear shorts. I do not wear skirts. Except if I feel skinny, which is almost never. I didn't really feel particularly skinny Monday but I figure what the hey.

My outfit included my new purchase, which were positively commented on more than once that evening.

In a hunt for suitable clothing I went into the attic closet and rummaged through the black garbage bags of my belonging because I have yet to hang rods to turn it into a proper closet. For my birthday in 2006 I went to a good second hand clothing place on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley and bought this skirt on a whim (see above). It was just too cute to pass up. Since I now had appropriate shoes that were not sky high heels nor open toe (it is winter after all!) I thought just maybe I would wear it. Then began the hunt for black tights. Amazingly I had a pair with no runs. So along with a black lace tee shirt, a velvet jacket I wore the skirt.

Of course TGF assured me I looked fine. I chose to think I did too when in truth I knew that I was sporting what my friend Barrie referred to as "hooker legs" - thick legs peeking out of skirt thinking they are all that.

The party was great, fun, noisy, good conversation and lots of alcohol. If I had one cosmo I had at least four or five. Luckily they weren't very strong so they went down really easy. Danielle and Andy were great hosts, their children adorable, especially Asher who partied with us through the dropping of the ball. Hardy two year old. Whereas their eldest, Tess (age 7), asked TGF, Andy and I to keep it down during the house tour as she was trying to sleep. Lola the middle child, age 5,
pranced around in a variety of costumes. Winter's husband Chris is our new best friend, and if he tries to get rid of us we will put those phone videos we took of him doing karaoke on You Tube.

Julie is still in a soft cast after some foot surgery and we had too much fun coming up with tawdry stories for her to tell about her "accident" because who needs the truth. It is just such a bummer that they are moving away this summer to Wisconsin. Part and parcel of academia. Chris works at Antioch which is having all sorts of fiscal issues and is mere yards from the chopping block. She wisely decided to be proactive, unfortunately it means moving from the neighborhood. Anyone want a sweet house with a rented cottage in back?

Around here people identify themselves by their homes (the yellow cottage on Oak, to the left of the green Victorian, number 314) or by their pets (Hi, I'm Shana, four dogs and two cats). It is really funny but really does help to break the ice. If
people aren't proud of their house, it's their kids or their animals, or any combination thereof. After several meetings I finally know that Danielle is a philosophy professor at University of Dayton, which is a private Catholic university. Which is especially amusing as she looks about 25, has a Tigger tattoo on her chest and a pierced tongue. Have I mentioned that I love this area?

I cannot tell you the last time I went out for New Years Eve, hell there have been years of late where I don't even see midnight. This time, I partied, joked, drank, and I had an absolute blast.

When we left the winds were blowing wildly as we exited, not exactly tired but feeling we needed to get home to let the boy out and things were slowly winding down. We marveled at our luck at finding this place.

The next morning when the boy kindly woke me up around 9:15a.m. to go out we walked the green it was so quiet: no cars, no other people walking around. There was a light dusting of snow as we walked up and down the quiet path.
It was a stark but somehow proper contrast to just nine hours earlier. The new year has begun.