28 May, 2007

Yarn pr0n!

All the stuff I ordered in my post-school year frenzy has arrived, and let me tell you... I am one sated knitter. First, I got my swift and ball winder from Knitting Notions. Isn't it lovely? Then came these from Australia:

From The Knittery: Wildflowers (top) and Passionfruit sock yarn accompanied by size 1 Addi's!
And these from Britain (on the same day, no less!):

From Colourmart: 6000 yards of 45% cashmere/55% silk laceweight in "Tussah"

Erick and I headed up to my mother's for the weekend, where he endeared himself to her forever by cutting down and then cutting up three of the dead poplars on the property. Oh lordy, that boy knows how to work the mom angle, let me tell you! Then, despite my determination NOT to spend any of the $50 I have left for the next 2 weeks until my first paycheck from the Tutoring Place, my mother and I spent a bunch of money on fabric at the local Ben Franklin's. But, dear reader, it was for a purpose! We spent yesterday designing and making these aDORable reversible sock project bags!

The first one with no pockets:

And the second one with 2 pockets (one inside, one outside):

I'm quite enamored of them, and came away with enough cut fabric to make several more. With what, you may ask? Why, with this!

My very own Bernina 1000!
I think I shall name her, but I don't know what. Any suggestions?

Since I was away from Darcy all weekend, I have no kitty pictures to show you. Instead, we visited my mother's friend Karenna and her newest addition:
Isn't she just too darn cute for words?!?

25 May, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap

Progress! Or lack thereof. I have cast on for my Slytherin's socks about oh, 4 times and the beginning continues to elude me. But at least she won't know who she is, since I haven't gotten far enough along for it to be discernable!

The yarn is Rowan 4-ply soft, 100% merino. I like it very much - it's springy and has good loft. I *might* only make the socks in green and make up the silver bits later, but that remains to be seen. Today at lunch I'm going to rip this incarnation of the cast-on and begin afresh, and hopefully make some good progress! I got my pal's stitch markers in the mail today. Green and white pearls from zero.etsy.com. Go Ravenclaw!

Maybe Erick will drive to my mother's today so I can knit in the car. Yea, he's here. Till next Saturday. More on that situation later, 'cause I'm late for work! We're taking the camera to The Farm this weekend, so updates will ensue.

22 May, 2007

And then there was one...

Three down, one to go. My Islamic final went surprisingly well - other than the expected choking I did on the slide identifications. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when one spends too much time "decompressing" by knitting Super-Secret S--x projects and not enough time compressing. So I didn't study the 500000 slides she assigned. At least I wrote a pretty okay essay, and I shouldn't get below a C in the class. I know, I know. Not exactly what I had in mind grade-wise but whatever. At some point, it's time to just Be Done, and since I'm not going to go searching for a master's program any time soon, we're just going to call this one a wash. Good news though - the same prof is teaching Ancient Egyptian Art next term at a time I can squeeze in with my new job! Hurrah! Teachers like loyalty in students, I've noticed.

I would like to announce my current score (get your mind out of the gutter! It's not that kind of score.):
Panda Cotton: 0, Tikabelle: 1.

It was a close squeeze, but I ended up with a yard and a half left of my Panda Cotton after binding off the first of a pair of Monkeys. It was close there for awhile, sort of touch-and go. But I managed to pull ahead at the end, all the while considering what might be several universal truths:

1) Knitting faster does not make your yarn longer, although there is some stubborn part of me that still believes it will.
2) Staying up knitting frantically until 2am will not make your yarn longer. This holds true even if you have to work at 5am the next morning, despite what your sleep-deprived brain will try to tell you.
3) Staying up knitting frantically to use up your yarn will not keep away the Yard Gnomes - those pesky buggers who steal a yard here, a yard there and mean that you end up with (you guessed it) slightly less yarn than you need to finish your project.
4) Knitting more tightly does not make your yarn longer, although it may have adverse effects on your gauge.
5) Check your lot numbers before buying two skeins of anything. Especially if - for some mysterious reason - you are racing with the Yard Gnomes for final posession of your Finished Object.
6) A single Monkey sock takes approximately 168.5 yards with some slight modifications in the toe for the purposes of conserving the last few inches of yarn.

And one more little tidbit for good measure. I am a child of the 80's, so swatching brings me a special sort of joy. I hum the Swatch commercial to myself when I begin and have been known to totter into the kitchen chanting "swatch, swatch, swatch... my that's fun to say... swatch swatch swatch..." in what my roommate assures me is not an at all alarming fashion. I started swatching my Hogwart's Sock Swap socks today, and came up with a solid 8.5/inch on Addi zeros instead of 8/inch like I was shooting for. My Addi size 1's have not yet arrived; I'm going to try out the Crystal Palace size 1's tonight. Hopefully I don't have to do fussy math to get gauge for my partner's socks.

No Darcy picture today (or pictures of any sort really but I know what's important!). The little Feline Impersonator decided to spook while I was holding him up near my shoulder, and *bam!* my ear was bleeding all over everything. Luckily he scratched my ear and didn't snag and/or rip out my hoops, but it was a near miss. Because I know it wasn't his fault, I tried very hard not to be upset with him, but I'm retaliating against his alien race by not posting his picture today. Do you hear me, aliens? I'm SO on to you! My ear hurts. :(

18 May, 2007

Lawsy lawsy! The times, they are a-changin'

I'm half-way through finals and it feels as if my brain is sort of spattered on the inside of my skull. So what did I do? I indulged in a little of what we like to call "retail therapy." Now, some of you know that I am what we like to call "dead broke," so my indulgence may come as somewhat of a surprise. But that's all part of the million and six things that have happened since I came back from Michigan, all million and six of which can be reasonably defined as Earthshaking Changes.

I finally convinced my Egyptian sock to pose for a photograph. It preened a little, but finally calmed down enough to get all of itself into the picture: I'm a big fan of the star-shaped stranded toe. I may have to incorporate it into some other socks, but how I have no idea. Toe-up might be a good place to start.

I'm sure you recall the Saga of the Finger, which thankfully has ended well although I think it will be awhile before I attempt marathon stranded work again. I recovered enough to finish my first German Stocking, of which I am quite proud. I resumed work on the Super Secret S--x project, which seems to be going along swimmingly since I swallowed my pride and ripped back the four pattern repeats to the original site of the missing yarnover. Now there is the proper number of stitches and everything is going well. I quite like the yarn and the colorway just tickles me to death, so I'm perpetually entertained. Then again, that's not difficult given my current (some would say permanent, and I know who you are!) state of being.

And now back to the retail therapy portion of our show. Last Friday, I took an interview with a tutoring company that was looking for a writing/English teacher. The interview went so well that I drove straight over to my usual LYS and bought my first Koigu and Lorna's Laces.
Oh, smooshy yarn I love you so! And in such pretty colors! Originally I was looking for something for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal - a Slytherin - but I definitely came away with yarn I am unwilling to part with. Or should I say, yarn with which I am unwilling to part. Ending a sentence with a preposition is bad, mmkay? And I should know, because after all I am a tutor. And given my current obsession with knee-highs, I may have to pick up one more skein in each colorway before the dye-lots change on me.

Anyway, the interview went really well and on Saturday I was offered a full-time job with benefits and everything. Hurrah for a new job, with no more 5am mornings or snaggy fingernails or harsh chemicals! Can I get a hurrah - in case you missed it the first time - for no more 5am mornings? This clearly deserved more celebratory yarn purchases, so I ordered some things from Knitting Notions. Then I headed to Purlesence, where I actually found yarn for my sock swap partner.

Whew! All that searching and celebrating put a dent in the $900 refund from my student aid, but not as much as tomorrow's trip to H&M will. Since I am moving up in the world, I need more than one pair of khakis. Apparently teachers don't usually wear jeans and t-shirts to work like coffee jerks do. Who knew? So I'm saving some, but most of the rest of that refund is going to end up morphing magically into clothes that are work-appropriate.

In the meantime, the actual therapy occurred today to celebrate the middle of finals, two-weeks notice at the coffee shop and a successful first day at the Tutoring Place. I bought some things from The Knittery and some things from Etsy and and stopped there to create my very own Etsy shop, which will justify some of the purchases of the last 3 days. Once finals are over, I will start dyeing yarn. Hopefully it will continue to come out like this: So that's what's been going on. Lots of changes, no? There are more. Remember the Luscious Boy I mentioned visiting in Michigan? He may be moving here. And since Jer and Elizabeth are moving to San Francisco, he may be moving in with me, which has me in an interestingly mixed state of mild panic and excitement. Updates as they occur.

Can you see the problem with my Stash Drawer?
Technically there are two problems. One is that it is kitty-free - all that unlicked yarn! - but the second has to do with the top right corner. Oh, the depravity! And just so this post isn't as problematic as my Stash Drawer, here is your gratuitous tummy-and-paws shot of the day. Stay back, ladies! He's aaaall mine:

07 May, 2007

Oh Oh Cee

I can't believe this has happened. I'm so annoyed, I may just burst. And at the same time, I'm relieved and fully plan to use this little setback as a perfect excuse to A) procrastintae profusely on my projects and B) alliterate to my hearts content. But first, the back story!

Last Wednesday I was curled up in Erick's bed, warm and sprawly in a queen-sized set of UofM-colored sheets. Everything was fine. Then, Erick himself toddled in and curled up next to me (he sleeps on the hide-a-bed when I visit in order to Keep Up Appearances for his lovely parental units) and said "baby, I don't feel so good..." So like any good Big Sister has learned to do, I kissed his forehead. Yep, fever. And for the last 5 days of my trip, he alternately sweated and shivered on the hide-a-bed while I worked on my sock and drank Airborne like it's going out of style. Poor boy, he gets fretful when he's ill and says things like "I'm sorry I'm sick, I'm ruining your trip, where is that ginger ale you promised me? I need my ginger ale! Why are you so mean to me? I like you," and snuggles up until the pattern repeats. It's trying, but it's adorable. Men, hmpf!

I thought the Airborne had done its job, and came home on Sunday. This morning I woke up with a suspicious lump in the back of my throat - one that says "you may not get away with this..." So I feel a sickness coming on. It's possible that I got it from Erick, but it's also possible that the blogosphere made me sick. Wendy was sick, Stephanie McPhee was sick, and now maybe me. What illustrious company I'm in!

But the impending doom of Blog Flu isn't what annoys me. Sure, being ill sucks bigtime, like onions. The question is, what do knitters do when they are under the weather? They finish projects. They work on easy stuff and catch up on Grey's Anatomy, which feverish recent Michigan graduates seem to have an aversion to, even though their nurses luuuust after McSteamy with a passion bordering on the obsessed. (On second thought, perhaps it is the lust for McSteamy that the UofM graduates have an aversion to. This requires more research.) And what could possibly make a knitter unable to knit? Well, a swollen tendon in the little finger of her left hand, for starters. That's right, I have a Knitting Related Injury. During the last repeat of Egyptian Sock #1, I noticed that my little finger was going prickly. Then the joint started hurting. I bound off the sock just in time for some irritating, my-knuckle-needs-to-pop feelings, and haven't picked up my needles since.

There is hope on the horizon, however. I mentioned my KRI to my professor, who assured me that one completed sock was fine (I sense an eternal excuse for Second Sock Syndrome coming on) and that I shouldn't strain myself. Which, like I said before, is a perfect reason to procrastinate. Unfortunately, my usual form of procrastination comes with CraftLit or Lime&Violet on the speakers and a pair of needles in my hands, so we'll see how long all of that works out.

Okay, I'm done whining. I think I'll go play some video games instead of writing my papers... doesn't that sound like a brilliant plan? I thought so too.

Mr. Darcy is in his element - in the closet and surrounded by mylar. He was happy to have me come home though - after an appropriate period of ignoring me for abandoning him, that is.