Monday, September 28, 2009

Playing catch-up

*blows dust off the blog*

I suppose since I haven't posted a darn thing since May, that I ought to do a little catch-up posting. What exactly have I been doing the past four months? A brief run-down:

-- Spent a little time learning that, when something you really, really want fails to work out, the best way to deal with it is to cut your losses and move on.

-- Spent a little more time discovering that being a caretaker requires patience of a divine nature.

-- Finally exposed myself to Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

-- Unofficially joined the Bible study that my mom has been attending.

-- Delved deeper into the foods and ideas associated with veganism and have enjoyed every minute of it, including attending a local Vegetarian Expo and testing out numerous amazing cookbooks.

-- Acquired another guinea pig, named her Abbey, and subsequently discovered that Zivah was not, in fact, a girl. No further guinea pigs resulted, but Zivah did have to be neutered and was subsequently re-named McGee. (Why yes, I am an NCIS fan...why do you ask?)

And, of course, I've been knitting. Not as much as I would like, but still an appreciable amount. This is a good thing, considering the NY Sheep & Wool Festival is fast approaching, and I still have a bunch of yarn and fiber from last year that hasn't yet seen the light of day.

I did some more sample items for the local yarn shop:

Put It All Together gloves from Kristin Knits, and the Keath scarf from Oceanwind Knits. I really enjoyed doing the gloves, which I think is unusual for me. I prefer to knit gloves with DK or even fingering weight yarns, and am completely unused to adding details with duplicate stitch, but it all worked out in the end. The scarf, too, was perfect; knit in Duo (100% acrylic, which doesn't feel a thing like 100% acrylic) on big needles with pattern changes occurring just often enough to keep my brain interested while still being a great mindless knit.

I finished Stricken:

and moved on to Poseidon, which has been my pride and joy as of late.

I'm currently working my way through the dolphin pattern on sock #2, and am determined to finish them before Sheep & Wool. Why? Because this kit's been sitting in the stash since last year's Sheep & Wool, and my budget-conscious self can't justify buying another of the Tsock Tsarina's amazing kits until I'm done with the one I already have.

(Well, okay, I probably could. But I'd feel a lot better about myself if I had these done before another kit made its way into my stash...)

And that, dear readers, is what I've been up to these past months. I will be trying to work blogging back into the equation somehow, though there will no doubt be more activity over on my other blog once I officially re-launch it for the Vegan Month of Food.

Yep, Vegan MoFo is nearly upon us. And I love food. So you can see where that will be going...

Mood: apathetic
Music: The Swell Season - Paper Cup (live @ NPR)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time is still marching on...

I haven't yet given in to the ribbed tank, if only because life has exploded (in a good way) to the point where I can barely keep on top of eating and showering, much less knitting!

Which is not to say I haven't been knitting, just that I haven't been doing so very quickly. And that, my blog friends, is because this happened:

After months of planning and learning the necessary business steps as I went along, I finally did something I've been wanting to do for ages. I became my own boss.

Long story short: in 2005, a coffeehouse called Slow Jed's Mud House opened in a town very close to where I live. Being the eclectic sort, I fell completely in love with it and practically lived there until it closed in early 2008. And since '08, it just sat. And sat. And sat.

When it became apparent that nobody else was going to go in and reopen it, I got the crazy idea that maybe I should. And it wasn't an easy or fast process, but I managed it. I now run the very place I loved as a customer for two awesome years. It's completely exhausting, but rewarding as hell.

Now, of course, most of my not-quite-so-rapid knitting gets done during lulls at the cafe rather than at home, but I am moving along with my two pairs of socks!

One plain old sock, done save for grafting, in Plymouth Yarns Sockin' Socks. (Can't remember the colorway right now, but it's a departure from my predominantly blue sock collection!)

And Cookie A's Stricken, in progress, in KnitPicks Essential Kettle-Dyed. It was the Spruce colorway, but it looked too green to me and was subsequently overdyed to a color more my liking.

The plain socks are better for cafe knitting, since I don't need to cart a pattern around and I can stop and pick back up with relative ease. But I may toss Stricken in my bag tomorrow for a bit of a challenge. We shall see if I can keep up with it between pulling espresso shots and steaming milk for lattes!

Mood: tired
Music: The Airborne Toxic Event - Innocence

Monday, May 4, 2009

It never rains, but it pours

It must be some sort of variation on Murphy's Law that knitters get startitis at the most inopportune times.

Like now. The past week has been one of the busiest of my life, and yet my brain continues to clamor at me to cast on new projects. It doesn't seem to care that I'm already working on Stricken (after messing it up three times); or that a recent trip to my LYS yielded a beautiful skein of Plymouth Yarn's Sockin' Socks, which is now being worked up into a pair of plain vanilla socks, ready to be picked up in the rare moments of downtime.

No, for my insistent brain, regular life business, a stack of library books, and two ongoing projects is not enough! It is now demanding that I cast on a ribbed tank, the very same ribbed tank that I once tried to knit before gauge and I had become friends (and therefore failed at miserably). It craves the mindlessness of k2p2 on large needles, and it just plain won't take no for an answer.

I haven't given in yet. But the six skeins of blue-purple ribbon yarn in the stash are calling to me.

Watch them not be enough.

Music: Harry Nilsson - Everybody's Talkin
Mood: antsy

Friday, April 24, 2009

More stitches, less introspection

In the spring, a knitter's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of lace. (Unless you're me, whose knitting mind is nearly always fixated on socks, but as I often tell people, I pride myself on being a freak of nature.)

Needless to say, the Print O' the Wave stole is done! (Yarn used: Maple Creek Farm Merino in colorway "Tucan Sam".)

I took it on a quick jaunt yesterday, but as it's not yet quite warm enough here to be going without a coat, it only saw a little time in public.

I really am excited to have it done. I just never know what face to make in "modeling my own FOs" pictures.

Next up, Cookie A.'s Stricken. (It was going to be the Sourwood Mitts from knitty, but for once in my life, my insanely tight knitting did not conspire along with the weight of the yarn to help me get gauge. I may be forced to pop down to the LYS later and get something that will work better...)

In other news, I've realized that, in reading other knitblogs, I've sort of "gotten to know" people via the bits of their daily lives they care to share with the blogsphere at large. And I've realized that I don't really blog a lot about myself here. That used to be because I was rather active over on LiveJournal and babbled about everything there, so once I was done with that, all that was left over was the knitting talk. But LJ has since lost its charm for me, for whatever reason, and that leaves this blog as my "main" blog, so to speak.

I'm not one to go divulging my deepest, darkest secrets to the internet (as if I even have any, lol), but I'm wondering if it might be time to start talking about myself at least a little, outside of the bits of my life that involve yarn.

This ought to make a tentative start, at least:

A more recent picture of my dear Zivah Faraday, who is growing quickly and amassing enough fur that my fingers tend to disappear in it when I pick her up. She has also, thank goodness, started to learn that biting me does not make her food appear faster, nor does it make holding her any easier for either of us. In other words, she's growing up!

(Also, that orange stuff is bell pepper. She adores it even more than hay, which she sucks down like it's going out of style.)

That's all for now. I know I say it all the time, but--I'll try to post a little more often in future. This month-between-posts stuff is insane!

Mood: productive
Music: Paramore - I Caught Myself

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It never ceases to amaze me, as humans, the sheer amount of information we fire off on a weekly, daily, hourly basis.

We Facebook and Myspace and Twitter. We YouTube and blog and instant message. Many of us are in a near-constant state of connectivity thanks to portable devices and wireless networks.

And yet, for all of this, how much do we really say? How much of what we shoot off into electronic space is real communication? In utilizing all these massive sources of information, are we simply creating a shield behind which we can hide and only reveal exactly what we want other people to see? Are we lulling ourselves into a false sense of security so thick that, when one of us chooses to reveal something a little more personal, a little more serious, a little more one can handle it? Have we opened the door to a forum that requires us to constantly pretend, or otherwise be ripped apart by our peers--or worse, by people we don't even know?

By using these ways to "connect", have we simply exacerbated an existing problem? Have we amplified the flaws in our species ability to communicate?

I wonder all these things when I look at the electronic community at large, but then I think of sites like Ravelry, and of networks like the knitting blog community. I marvel at the way people of so many different backgrounds, religions, political affiliations, etc., etc., can suddenly push all of that aside--push aside the things that so regularly tear people apart--and become one truly caring community. I'm continually amazed how one common denominator, one shared hobby, can unite people as different as night and day.

And I wonder...why can't it always be like that, with all people?

Mood: conflicted
Music: Mutemath - Spotlight

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Here's Davy Jones singing 'It's Been Lonesome in the Saddle Since My Horse Died'!"

You know those times in life when absolutely everything that can go wrong, does?

Yeah, I've been going through one of those times lately. In fact, I've been feeling rather like Everything That Can Go Wrong showed up at my door like an uninvited houseguest, barged in, put up its feet, and has been eating me out of house and home.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, when this state of affairs hits, it can be hard to concentrate on anything for long enough to make decent headway. You get half a row into the shawl you're knitting, and suddenly Everything That Can Go Wrong is bellowing from the recliner that it needs another beer and, damn it, don't you get any decent sports channels?

But I have been persevering. Between determination and startitis, some good things have been happening on the needles.

The Twisted Flower socks are done! I've been wearing them here and there, and boy are they comfy. They look good, too, for which I'm glad. It's the second pair of lace socks that I've knit in superwash yarn, and I was a little worried that the pattern wouldn't look quite lacy enough, but once they're on, I think it pops. Plus I adore Trekking XXL. It's become one of my sock yarns of choice.

And this is a result of my startitis; the Print O' the Wave stole by Eunny Jang. I'll readily admit that the bug bit me when I saw the finished product on Franklin's blog. Despite all the concentration that lace takes compared to other things I could be knitting, I had to get this on the needles. So I pulled out the lovely Maple Creek Farm yarn I've had sitting in the stash (waiting for the perfect project) and cast on.

(The colorway is called "Tucan Sam". I don't know about you, but it does remind me of the original Froot Loops, back when they only had three colors.)

One distraction from this lovely pattern arrived on Saturday.

This is Zivah Faraday, "Zeeves" for short. With nods to two TV characters and a scientist, I realize it's a pretty big name for a guinea pig to carry, but out of all the names I looked up to consider, Zivah was the one that stuck.

Except for a rather skittish day yesterday, she's quite amicable and loves to sit in laps. She also loves to baffle me by completely ignoring the wooden chew sticks I bought her and electing to chew on the cage instead.

Now, I am not a "small, furry domestic animal" person. I've always had a rather distant relationship with dogs, cats, etc. I get along better with animals of the fiber-bearing sort. (Big surprise, right?) So, of course, I never intended to have any pets more demanding than fish. But on Saturday, my mom and I were at the mall and she wanted to make a trip into the pet store to look at rabbits. And wouldn't you know it, on one side of the rabbit pen, there were three guinea pigs: two a more camel-colored brown, and Zivah. Something made me want to hold her and, once she was in my hands, I knew I couldn't leave without her. And now that I have her home, I've found her nothing less than enchanting...except maybe for that moment yesterday when she tried to climb inside my shirt.

Two of the funniest things she does so far:
1) Runs around the cage in glee after I put her filled food dish in the corner.
2) Purrs at the sound of rock music. (I kid you not!)

That face. How can you not love it?

Oh my, I'm gushing. I think I'd better go work on the stole.

Mood: annoyed
Music: Tom McWatters - Dishonesty is the Second Best Policy

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Visually uninteresting

I often hesitate to make a post here without any pictures, which is sort of strange, since I blogged like a fiend on LiveJournal for years without worrying about anything but words. Granted, that was a personal blog and this is more about knitting, but I still probably shouldn't be worried about whether or not every single post is visually entertaining.

I'm posting now because I just spent a bit of time catching up on blogs via my GoogleReader feeds, and as I read one of Franklin's recent posts, I realized something. Something sort of depressing. I realized that it's been a long time since I last knit something that truly captivated me.

Now, I love knitting in general. I love shopping for yarn, choosing patterns, knitting up patterns...everything except finishing, which I think just about everyone harbors a secret (or not-so-secret) grudge against. And it's not that I dislike what I'm knitting now--far from it. I have thus far found it quite impossible to dislike a sock designed by Cookie A. It's just that I feel like I've been working on my WIPs forever, even though I haven't and there are only two of them. It's knitting ennui; I want to try something new and exciting.

By "new and exciting", I mean new yarn, as well. My stash is a good stash. It's a servicable stash, with some real gems hiding in it, some of which I know exactly what to do with and some of which I'm still trying to decide on. But in going through it recently, I haven't touched upon a yarn that screams, "Knit me now!" For someone on as tight a budget as I am at the moment, this can be a bit of a problem.

I have decided, however, to say screw budget this one time, and to buy myself some brand-new yarn to knit this beautiful cardigan (the Saddle Shoulder Aran by Meg Swansen for those of you not on Ravelry). I've been eyeing it for ages, and it's time. It's time to knit something a little bigger than a pair of socks (much as I adore socks), something that's going to give me not only a new garment to layer up with, but also the satisfaction of seeing a large pattern come together. The satisfatction of knowing that yes, I knit this, I had a good time, and I'm damn proud of it, thank you very much.

I've also been eyeing larger lace projects, but I'm not sure if I ought to dive into one of those yet. I must be having a more wicked case of startitis than I thought.

Mood: impatient
Music: They Might Be Giants - My Man

Friday, February 13, 2009

Late again

I've gotta knock off this month-between-posts stuff. My online presence has been far too lacking lately! This is due in part to being rather sick and spending half my time sleeping that off, and also in part to the fact that my laptop is off for repairs, so therefore I can't laze around on the futon while simultaneously using the computer.

I can, however, knit!

First Twisted Flower sock, done!

I also made these for one of my mom's very pregnant co-workers:

Because, come on, how can you resist little Converse booties? I hear they were well-received. Hopefully I'll get pictures of the little recipient wearing them once he's born!

Other than that, I'm afraid there's not much to report. Life has been slowed to a crawl with the illness-and-resting bit, leading me to watch more House and play more Facebook-based Tetris than is probably healthy.

On the upside, all that time on Facebook led me to discover Paperback Swap. How cool is a site that lets you get rid of the books you never read (or bought in error...yeah, that never happens to me *innocent whistling*) in exchange for ones you actually want? It's like a library, only far, far more vast. Very cool, in my opinion.

Now for more of that "resting" stuff. Illness does go away at some point, right?

Mood: tired
Music: Iron & Wine - Naked As We Came

Friday, January 16, 2009

Arctic knitting

It's 8:15am, it's freezing ice cold out, and I'm curled up on the futon, drinking Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper. I realize that, given the weather, this may be a tactical error, and that there are much warmer things like coffee and tea at my disposal, but man...cherry vanilla.

I have also finally been jumped by the cold that's been trying to get me for weeks, and have thusly been rendered lazier than usual. Alas, after I post this, I'm going to have to venture out into the arctic air to do the grocery shopping, because it's very hard to eat food that we don't actually have.

But, as I was saying to a couple of friends last night, I knit, therefore I have wool things, and thank God for that!

Speaking of wool things, I am once again on a sock kick. Trystero is done:

And I've begun Twisted Flower, which is a simply gorgeous pattern:

(The yarn is Trekking XXL in color 329. Nice, no?)

Also on the needles is a pair of Broadstreet mittens for my mom, but given the pattern's tendency to run large and the fact that I'm substituting a yarn with a different gauge, it's mostly trial-and-error at this point (i.e., I did the ribbing, convinced that I had all the stitch counts right, and it turns out I need to rip it all out and go one size smaller with the needles).

So there's wool on the needles, wood in the stove, and blankets easily at hand. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to try not to freeze while buying produce and such.

(P.S. Is anyone else massively excited about next Wednesday?)

Mood: cold
Music: Ani DiFranco - Napoleon (Canon version)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

I haven't a clue how it got to be after Christmas already. Surely some sort of quantum weirdness--a freak wormhole, perhaps--is responsible, because there is no way that 2008 could possibly have passed this quickly and shuffled us all into the tiny space between Christmas Day and the dawn of a new year.

I understand that some people like New Year's. I don't. When it comes to a new year, that "brand new start", I am not a glass-is-half-full sort of person. I am a "how the hell did the old year go so fast, and how did I do such massive amounts of nothing?" sort of person. I think part of the problem is that it's a human tendency to look at other people's accomplishments and measure our own against them. This is, of course, one of the greatest follies of humankind, since what we accomplish is unique to each of us, but I think a great many of us do it anyway.

Maybe that's why we take stock at the end of the year. The advice to count our blessings may not be as cliché as it sounds.

In lieu of any sort of "this was the year, this was what happened, wasn't it grand?" sort of blogging...let's move on to the knitting.

The cardigan is finally, finally done!

I checked my Ravelry queue...that thing had been on the needles since July. July! I knew I'd taken a few little breaks here and there, but I had no idea that it had been quite that long. But it was worth the wait. The yarn is great, the adaptations I made to the pattern worked out just fine, and it looked perfect as it was sitting there, blocking.

After blocking, it fits like a dream. It's rare that a women's pattern has the proper armhole and sleeve sizes for me, but between the pattern and the cooperative nature of the yarn once it was wet, everything worked out great!

Modifications: only one, which is the obvious hood! I was using this yarn for another pattern at one point and, due to a miscalculation of gauge, ran out before I finished. I was afraid of the same thing happening with this, so instead of adding the hood to the left and right fronts, I bound off, then added cabled edging around the neck, picking up stitches as I went. It was the first time I've ever knitted an edging onto a finished piece that way, and I think it worked out well!

All I have left on the needles is the second Trystero sock, and then I'll be ready to pursue new and exciting patterns! And also make a pair of Broadstreet mittens for my mom, because she loves mine and thinks it's a great idea.

For those of you who can manage it better than I can...Happy New Year. :)

Mood: disappointed
Music: Savage Garden - Promises