30 April, 2007

Of Verbs and Vices

Here are some verbs I have come across in the last 2 weeks:

Gallivant: v., 1. to gad about with members of the opposite sex, 2. to go about in search of amusement or excitement.

Reproduce: v., to produce again; make, form, or bring into existence again or anew in some way, as, (...) d) to make a copy, close imitation duplication, etc., of; e) to bring (a past scene) before the mind again.

Knit: vt., to make by looping yarn or thread together with special needles.

I arrived in Michigan on Friday to hang out with Erick for his graduation. I'm taking the week off of school and staying for about 10 days, so we'll see how *that* all turns out. I had an instant of panic last week and chucked the embroidery project in favor of reproducing a pair of Mamluk socks from roughly 1100-1300CE. It's such a relief, since I wasn't going to finish the embroidery in time for the last day of class, but the stockings are ticking along quite nicely. Added bonus that it's the first time I've done stranded knitting, and picked up the idea quite quickly once I figured out how to hold both strands of yarn in my left hand. I'm sure I'm going at it all wrong, and my Fair Isle friends would be horrified, but since they're due the 14th of May and I'm not likely to wear them myself, I'm just focused on not making glaring mistakes and getting the things off my needles. I'm quite enjoying the process though; watching designs spring (mostly) full-formed from my yarn-tangled fingers is delightful.

As far as the rest of my knitting is concerned, well. I've put myself on a Yarn Diet until I can get some of my needles free - one of the benefits to having a limited number of needles is that I can only have a limited number of projects going at once (or that's what I'm telling myself). I have a few things up my sleeve, including finishing my German Stockings and the Mystery Monkey socks (x2, but that's another story - and no peeking, Swix!!). I also need to start my Hogwarts Swap Socks. Perhaps I'll give in and simply order the proper yarn since I am using the last of my Bare stash for the Mamluks, but I haven't decided yet and really don't need to until 1) I get home and 2) get the Mamluks off my needles (school projects trump sock swaps, after all).

And as for vices, well... how can I resist this face?

15 April, 2007

It goes without saying.

I love my family. They are a huge barrel of crazy, but I love them. I adore my mom because she wears the ill-fitting socks I made for her the very first day. Because she oooh's and ahhhh's with me over clear water full of Kool-aid dyed yarn, and wonders out loud with me about what Kool-Aid does to our insides if it does that to sock yarn? I adore my brother because we still act like siblings but now that he's a grown-up, we can talk about our childhoods - and there were definitely 2 separate childhoods going on at the same time back then. My stepdad is funny and lurks and makes googly eyes and drives me NUTS, but he makes my mom happy and for that I love him too. Even though I didn't grow up there, the house on the "farm" feels like home. The chickens are delightful, our ancient Peking duck named Donald still lets me pet him even though I've been gone forever, and the cats sleep on my feet. It's nice.

HOWEVER, I have learned something very valuable this weekend, and I'm writing it down so I don't forget next time. Going back to the farm for a "quiet weekend away" is a bad idea. My family loves me and so they make plans, which I then whine about because I just wanted to stay in a room that isn't in my apartment and be silent all weekend. So the next time I want a quiet weekend I'll do it somewhere else - home is more for family time than Tika time.

Speaking of heading home, my train trip didn't materialize due to the City of San Jose being completely incompetent. The train station for San Jose is across the street from the HP Pavilion, pretty close to downtown proper. And while it is on a direct bus line to my house, the bus doesn't run on Sundays. So I decided that rather than catching the bus to the station and then having to catch a cab home on Sunday evening, I would just pay for weekend parking at the train station lot. I packed and left my house in enough time to hit Starbucks so I could avoid train coffee (shudder!). I arrived at the parking lot and found a sign that read "24-hour maximum." At a train station. W.T.F? So I had to drive home instead of sitting on the train, happily knitting away. Grrrr. City of San Jose, I'm putting you On Notice. Having 24-hour maximums at a train station parking lot is stupid. When I am in charge, heads will roll.

I did do a few good things this weekend. I took my dyed yarn up to Ellen and she was properly appreciative. She also helped me with one of Cookie A's sock patterns, since I didn't want to email Cookie herself while she was at Sock Camp. And then, I ripped all 7 inches of that sock out and started over because even though I checked my gauge and even though I was so careful to knit tighter than usual, the size I should have been according to the pattern was too small. Or maybe I like my socks too tight - one or the other. Thankfully, I was diligent all weekend and I'm back to where I was before I headed home, having lost nothing but some time - which although in short supply isn't that big of a deal. And now I'm going to watch Scrubs and work more on that sock. I highly recommend Scrubs, by the way. Great knitting television.

11 April, 2007

Somebody stop me!

I joined another sock swap. I think I might be a "joiner," but hopefully only in the most positive sense. This one is Sockapalooza and seems like great fun. I'm already behind on the 52-Pair Plunge, but I'm going to do my best to catch up over the weekend since I'll be taking the train to Rocklin and back. My grandfather Jones was a railroad man, so taking a train makes me feel close to him as well as to Those Who Came Before, much like knitting makes me feel closer to women down the ages. One of my favorite train rides was from Sacramento to Oakland. We got stuck for an hour or so due to some track snafu and I was sitting behind an elderly lady dressed in her hat and gloves. She began telling her travelling companion about how she had been taking this particular train ride since she was a little girl during the Great Depression. It was just lovely to hear her stories and made me feel so much better than if I had been sitting in traffic.

Here are the promised pictures of my Very First Socks! I realized today that I had better take some since they are for my mommy and I'll be giving them to her this weekend. All in all, they turned out fairly well and I'm excited to try new techniques and patterns.

WARNING! If your name begins with an S and ends with an X, do not follow the next link under pain of ruining surprises! Here is the picture of the project I'm currently working on until my newest Knitpicks order arrives and I can start my CookieA pattern. Speak of the devil, there's the doorbell! Maybe it's the mailman!

[runs off to open the door]

Oh frabjous day, caloo-callay! My mailman must think I'm crazy. I nearly hugged him I was so excited! We will now cut short this blog to go fondle yarn.

09 April, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap!!

Oh dear. Something about finishing a project must have set me off, because now I've become officially Knitting Obsessed. I dreamed about Monkey socks last night and my fingers started to itch during class today because I couldn't concentrate without knitting in my hands. This is a Bad Sign, people. A Very Bad Sign.

Since the last Harry Potter book comes out this summer (sniffle...), and since Heather Ordover of CraftLit and 1870 Pearl have both been sorted into Ravenclaw like I have, I decided to join the Hogwarts Sock Swap. Hooray! I think I'll use this opportunity to dye some of my own yarn and maybe try out some stitch marker ideas. The house assignment is appropriate, I must say. Ever since the first Sorting Hat Quizzes appeared on the 'Net, I've consistently been sorted into Ravenclaw. Not for me the brave, the dedicated or the sneaky. Oh no - I am clever. And damned proud of it! Just ask any of my professors.

So without further ado, here is the Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire!

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Ravenclaw, hurrah!

2. Shoe size? US 7.5, European 37

3. Foot Length? 22.5cm

4. Foot Circumference? 22cm

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
a. Crystal Palace #0-1, 6 inches
b. Britanny #1 or 1.5, 5 inches
c. Clover Bamboo #0-1, 7 inches

6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
I tend to have to size down my needles to get proper gauge, so anything from 00-1.5 would be perfect. I have a slight allergy to nickel so I avoid metal needles whenever possible (most metal needles are nickel-plated), but anything made of bamboo or wood I would love to try! I'm most comfortable with 5-6" DPN's but I'm not picky... about *that* part.

If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? I definitely prefer the blue/bronze of the books to the blue/silver of the movies. In the Grand Scheme of Tikabelle's Coloring, silver = invalid but bronze = healthy glow.

Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? Ooo, yes please!

08 April, 2007

Such a Fanboi

My Very First Socks are donedonedone! I grafted the last toe together, slipped them over my feet and danced around my living room a bit. They don't quite fit properly, the heel of one is juuuusst out of line with the toe seam and I'm not sure about how long the gussets will hold up, but they're done! Plus, they're for Unit 1 and she has to wear them - she's my mommy and it's her job to wear every lumpy, bumpy, misshapen thing I send her like it came from the needles of Coco Chanel herself. And, to her credit, she does. I love my mommy.

Next up is probably a pair of Monkey socks. I broke down on Thursday and bought some sock patterns from Cookie A, along with another order of Bare from Knitpicks. Then, in order to keep myself from casting on for my newly downloaded sock pattern, I dyed the rest of the Bare from my first order. I tried my own version of rainbow dyeing - which if I'm honest I know nothing about - and it turned out quite pretty, not to mention that my house smelled like Kool-Aid all day. I hung the yarn to dry on a nylon line I rigged up on my porch, giving the neighbors a peek at my exclusive upcoming line of hand-dyed sock yarns that probably none of them appreciated as much as they should have. Muggles, I tell ya!

And then? I packed my as-yet-unfinished Very First (Second) Sock into my purse, gathered my courage and headed to Bobaknit. Oh, what joy! What rapture! A Tapioca Express full of knitters and purl tea (iseewutudidthre), and right in the middle, Cookie herself. Whose patterns I dreamed about and fashioned an entire outfit around. Now, I will freely admit that part of the reason I didn't start a new project on Thursday is that my next pair of socks will be one of her patterns (probably the ones after that, too since I don't know whether I'll be able to stand the suspense generated by the USPS). I will also freely admit that part of the reason I decided on Bobaknit instead of the Campbell SnB is because I love Knitters Anonymous and I knew that the blog authors would be there. What I refuse to whisper even to my treasured ball of Tilli Thomas 100% silk in the exact color of the baby blanket whose shreds are still in my closet and so provides both comfort and yarn pr0n in one handful of silken love is that I studiously - studiously, dear reader! - ignored her the entire night in an effort not to gush about how much I love her patterns and how I caved and bought two that very day and by the way I dye my own sock yarn canIgiveyousomeprettyplease and willyoubemyfriendbecauseyouusedthewordwhackinyourlastKnittybio! Loose lips sink (possible friend)ships, people. So I kept mine buttoned and tried not to look starstruck. I think I failed. Ah well, there's always next time.

I did make a few aquaintances there that I'm hoping will turn into full-fledged friendships. Sarah from Bella Knitting is a lovely treat of a human being who is growing a verytinyhuman of her own. We waxed rhapsodic about the Harlot's upcoming visit to Napa in June, and how to score ourselves tickets. So rhapsodic, in fact, that I traipsed over to B&N on my way home from work on Friday and bought one of her books. Thank goodness it was payday!

All in all, a quite satisfying week. Aside from school stuff, that is. Damn, am I still procrastinating about my ARTH175 paper? Nooooo, I'm just organizing in my head. Yea, that's it.

Jer took the camera to the Giants game with him today so I can't show you My Very First Socks, but I did dig up a picture of Darcy in his natural element:
Yes, he pulled the books down on his own and made an alien-shaped spot on the shelf. Impressive, no?

02 April, 2007

Flash Your Stash 2007

Well people, it's that time again! Let's see those stashes - mine is regrettably small, but I'm workin' on it, trust me. In all its tiny stashy glory, here it is!

Spring break is over, and I suppose I should rehash my List of Demands. I'll admit I was lazier than I intended to be, but it was Spring Break, and I keep a fairly good schoolwork-to-games ratio so I'm pretty content. Here's the updated list:

1. Starting Monday, do not spend any money for 1 week (not including plane ticket or bills automatically deducted from bank account). This was the big one, hooray for me!
2. Get laundry situation under control. White socks do not look good with black shoes! Laundry, to my great and abiding despair, does not stay done. Unlike, say, a paper for ARTH 175...
3. Begin ARTH 175 paper, due April 10. Notice that this is the thing due soonest. Surprised? HAH!
4. Begin ARTH 183C project. I'm counting this as completed because I've been working diligently on it and also don't need 100% of the chart to be finished in order to start the actual stitching.
4a. Scan and print stitch descriptions Now that I can spend my spare change, I'm heading to Kinko's instead.
4b. Chart motif (2/6 pages complete)
4c. Pull colors/linen from stash. And boy howdy, are they pretty! I'm excited!
4d. Begin stitching (outlines first?). Only a couple stitches into the fabric so far, but it's a beginning.
5. Finish My Very First Socks. Or at least *almost* finish them, because the 52-Pair Plunge begins April 1. I'm not above stacking the deck in my favor, especially with Spring Break Demands 4 and 7 on the books! Sock #1 is about 1/2 inch from being finished, and it will count for the Plunge. Oh yes.
6. Kool-Aid dye first set of KnitPicks yarn. They're pretty! I'm impressed with myself.
7. Choose a topic for ARTH 185B paper, or design a project. One fewer paper to write will be a blessing come May, I'm sure. Not yet, but project ideas are percolating in my brain...
8. Finish tearing apart, washing and skeining RUS's. Not a chance. Didn't even look at'em. But Darcy enjoyed sleeping on the ready-to-be-torn sweater pieces, so that counts for something right?
9. Get to 70 in World of Warcraft (yes, I said video games! What?!?) Made it to a hairs-breadth from 69. A few hours diligence here would have me at 70, but I chose schoolwork and knitting over games. I'm so good.
10. Catch up on Battlestar Galactica. Made it up through 2/18, so only a few episodes to go. Argh! The suspense!

And just in case you were missing him, here is Mistah Daaaahcy in all his glory:

Yes, he's licking my Manos del Uruguay. No, I'm not sure what it means, but I'm still highly amused.