31 December, 2008

Obligatory Yearly Round-Up

Tonight, I say goodbye to 2008. It wasn't the best of years, but it wasn't entirely bad either. I learned a lot, played a lot of video games, knitted and spun, and accumulated enough fiber/yarn to fill several big Rubbermaid bins.

However, despite the allowance in the Social Pressure Experiment and my dwindling finances, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, I said "nothing." That's right, instead of yarn, I said, "nothing," because I am an idiot. On the plus side, I did get several checks in varying amounts, so I decided to do the only possible appropriate thing: I used my Christmas money to buy yarn.

My first internet stop was WEBS, where I discovered that they sell 4 pound cones of Franklin sock yarn for $60. Actually, it's $48 because the discount kicks in, but let's just say $60 and include the shipping. That's 7200 yards, or roughly 20.5 pairs of Tika socks. I would like some recognition here and now for heroically abstaining from buying 4 pounds of yarn that I have never knit with, and instead buying only two skeins of the hand-dyed version instead. One is here:

Valley Yarns Franklin, "Macaw"
SW Merino/Nylon

And the other was curiously the only colorway that was sold out. Maybe it has something to do with the name. I also picked up the new Lorna's Laces colorway by Anne Modesitt, but it was mis-shipped so I'm waiting for that one too. Ah, the holiday season!

My second internet stop was at the Loopy Ewe, where I picked up some more Franklin-colored yarn:

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, "Franklin's Panopticon"
SW Merino/Nylon

Delicious. And as if that weren't enough to keep me drooling all day, Jasmin and I went to the Bobbin's Nest yesterday for a sale. A 35% off sale. A sale at which I picked up these little beauties from Pagewood Farm:

Alyeska Sock Yarn "River Rock"
SW Merino/Cashmere/Nylon

Denali Sock Yarn "Santa Fe"
SW Merino/Nylon

And this one from Hazel Knits:
Artisan Sock Yarn, "Euphorbia"
SW Merino/Nylon

Yum. Even ManCandy was impressed with my carefully chosen haul. I also picked up Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Just, y'know, 'cause they were there. And because I'm involved in a supa-secret project that - should it come to fruition - would require a higher level of intimacy with designing than the one I currently possess.

So that was Christmas, not including the lovely case of 2-Buck Chuck hand-picked for me by THB and a set of awesome Dead Sea Spa products from the Mother Ship. Wine, spa, and yarn. Doesn't get much better than that!

All in all, this year I completed 8 miles, 944 yards-worth of knitted items, not counting my infernal Ribbi Cardi and languishing Salina Sweater. That's 50 items all together, spread out over 75 blog posts! Next year, I'm shooting for 12 miles again, but I think I've got a better handle on how to approach it. Next year I'm also going to begin knitting through EZ's Knitter's Workshop, as I said t'other day. I snuggled up and read the first 4 chapters last night and went to bed with visions of sweaters dancing in my head. I'm pretty excited to finish up these Seeded Rib Scarves and get started! Only 2.5 more to go...

I announced to Jasmin before Christmas this year that I was stealing her self-renewal idea for myself. Thus, Tika 2009 will encompass several ideas, all of which I will try to apply to several areas of my life.

1) Experimentation. I used to be the girl who said "sure, let's do it!" but somewhere along the line I lost my way. While my new, in-my-30's experimentation will involve fewer rock stars, I'd like to go back to the impetuosity that kept my life... well, if not enriched, at least entertaining.

2) Organization. I am an organization nightmare. When it comes to work or school, I'm totally on top of things, but in my house I have stuff everywhere and it's driving me nuts. I'd like to get rid of a lot of Things - the kinds of Things that weigh on the soul, not the Things that are made of wool or silk or paper! Books and yarn will always have a place in my home. They're insulating.

3) Reasonable Expectations. Cleaning out a box of stuff every day is not reasonable beyond 2-3 days. One per week, on the other hand, might be do-able. This is an offshoot of the SPE, since our whole intention was to adjust our expectations and habits.

Really, Tika 2009-75 might be about all of these things. But in keeping with #3, we'll just try it out for a year and see how it goes, shall we?

Happy New Year to all! It should kick off nicely with the inauguration, don't you think? The unknown has always held a special fascination for me; I'm excited to see how this year, with all its changes and adjustments will play out. Much love!

Twelve in 2009

Here are my self-imposed and somewhat flexible rules for my 2009 12-Mile Quest:

1) Knit and/or spin through 12 miles of completed items in 2009.
a) Handspun yarn can be counted twice - once for the spinning and once for the knitting.
b)The yardage of completed items is based on weight, using the weight/yardage ratios printed on the ball band.
c) If yardage is not available, reasonable estimation is allowed.

2) Works in progress as of 1/1/09 can be counted, except the Infernal Ribbi Cardi, which has its knitting completed and is only waiting on a matching Infernal Zipper.

3) Some form of Stash Equilibrium should be maintained. Perhaps there will be more on this later, and perhaps there won't. Maybe I'll just try to keep up some Reasonable Habits (TM).

2008 Finished Objects

Ok, it's still "objects finished in 2008," but this title is much more goal-worthy, don't you agree??

1/6 - Grape Jelly pencil roving, 113 yds.
1/11 - Copperpot Woolies Dye4U roving, 205 yds.
1/13 - Charade Socks for Gabe, ~326 yds.
1/24 - Flor de Loto roving, 233 yds.
2/6 - Cargo Pants, 202 yds.
2/14 - Hedera Socks, 268 yds.
2/17 - A Fetching Rainbow, 83 yds.
2/20 - Faina's Scarf, 462 yds.
3/18 - Rhubarb roving, 202 yds.
3/19 - Zombie socks, 315 yds.
3/25 - Egyptian Jungle Cardigan, ~200 yds.
3/29 - Black Magic roving, 383 yds.
4/3 - Reversai Socks, 347 yds.
4/18 - Quietude roving, 171 yds.
4/18 - Millefiore roving, 205 yds.
5/2 - Buffalo Soldier roving, 233 yds.
5/20 - Perplexed roving, 450 yds.
6/11 - Wussy No More Socks, 311 yds
6/13 - Juno Wedding Shawl, ~950 yds.
6/26 - Black Forest Shawl, 383 yds.
7/5 - Tobacco Road roving, 903 yds.
7/11 - Stutter Socks, 436 yds.
7/18 - Pink Sky Socks, 51 yds.
7/27 - Under the Boardwalk roving, 694 yds.
7/29 - Seed Stitch Shoes, 56 yds.
7/29 - Veteran's Hat #1, 106 yds.
7/31 - Veteran's Hat #2, 142 yds.
8/1 - Veteran's Hat #3, 87 yds.
8/4 - Veteran's Hat #4, 92 yds.
8/8 - Torch Island, 255 yds.
8/11 - Veteran's Hat #5, 120 yds.
8/15 - Veteran's Hat #6, 120 yds.
8/20 - Baby Mama Shawl, 267 yds.
8/23 - Baby Surprise Jacket, 360 yds.
8/28 - No-Purl Monkey Socks, 257 yds.
9/6 - Daffodil Socks, 294 yds.
9/6 - Theodora Sweater, 198 yds.
9/13 - No-Purl Monkeys, 298 yds.
9/20 - Torch Island Hat and Scarf, 255 yds.
10/4 - Pink Lightning Socks, 303 yds.
10/25 - Elphaba Socks, 531 yds.
11/1 - Duckling Dove Socks - 319 yds.
11/13 - Seeded Rib Scarf - 233 yds.
11/20 - Gabe's Socks - 400 yds.
12/17 - Alexander's Hat - 120 yds.
12/19 - Erick's Hat - 120 yds.
12/20 - Seeded Rib Scarf #2 - 215 yds.
12/22 - Seeded Rib Scarf #3 - 216 yds.
12/27 - Seeded Rib Scarf #4 - 215 yds.

29 December, 2008

Meddy Wistas!

I hope you all had a lovely Merry Christmas and are looking forward to 2009 as much as I am! In the next year I will graduate from college, get a Big Girl job, and try very hard to modify my expectations so that they are a) reasonable and b) achievable. I will also try to knit myself enough socks to carry me through any winter harsher than a Silicon Valley one. But more on that later; I have pictures!

Seeded Rib Scarf #3 for Aunt C.
Malabrigo "Indigo," 216 yds.

Seeded Rib Scarf #4 for Grandma A.
Malabrigo "Stonechat," 216 yds.
(This is actually Scarf #2, but it's the same scarf)

I've begun my FIFTH Seeded Rib Scarf out of Manos del Uruguay man-colored yarn that I bought ages ago at The Knitting Arts. I also began my KAL project with Brie: the creatively named Scarf #21 with Edging Insert from Victorian Lace Today. I chose some Schaefer Anne from my stash that my friend Robin gave me. This is the first time I've used the Anne - mostly I just sit and pet it obsessively - and I'm in not just love, but lurve. It's perfect for lace, and as soon as I'm done with my 2.5 remaining seeded rib scarves I plan to dive into this scarf with perfect abandon. And possibly the the rest of my stash of Anne.

This year, I'm also going to attempt to put myself through garment construction school by working my way through Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Workshop. So, to sum up the impending new year: Graduate, Big Girl Job, Reasonable Expectations, Socks and Sweaters.

23 December, 2008

A Snort of Reprieve

I had a crappy night. My boss assured me that I would indeed be needed at 8am sharp tomorrow - groan. You may recall that the cat food ran out (see yesterday under barrel, bottom of)  and when I tried to go buy new, they had 2/3 of the kinds of cat food I need to keep my petit chats digestive systems in working order. Believe me, petless people, when I say that changing the mixture of a cat's food and then leaving for 3 days will almost guarantee that you return home to a newer, smellier and more textured floor covering than you left behind. It's practically begging for it. And the nice guy at the pet food store helpfully informed me that the shipment of the 1/3 I need will be coming in - you guessed it - tomorrow at 8am. ARGH. 

So I bought 2 30-pound bags and one 3 pound bag and mixed myself up a mere 9 pounds of cat food - enough to last for the next couple of weeks, but mama doesn't mess with a working recipe. So 9 pounds it is. And then, to add insults to my pile of heaping coals and quickly degenerating mood, when I tried to change the litter out of the boxes on the porch, I did it wrong and got used cat litter all over my (rotting) porch. More on the rotting later, but it doesn't really fit into this story. I haven't fallen through... yet. 

I staggered back inside after cleaning everything up to find Panza scratching at a suspiciously wet spot on the Red Futon of Undying Ugliness. Oh, yes. While I was cleaning his toilet, the little bastard pissed all over my futon. 

I got so mad I bundled the whole thing up and dragged it to the trash. 

Then I called ManCandy in Illinois to inform him that we are now two seats/one bed short in our living room, and what did he intend to do about it? Because clearly if he hadn't left and had been sitting at his computer, Panza would never have christened the futon. The fact that he likely would have christened my bed instead was something MC was wise enough not to bring up. 

Lastly, I cracked a bottle of Ravenswood Old Vine Shiraz - smells like chocolate and black cherries - and sat down to watch my new obsession: Smallville. Surely packing could wait until I was calmer.

Then... my boss called to inform me that she does not, in fact, need me tomorrow, Merry Christmas, and she'll see me on the 5th. Next, ManCandy called to say that I shouldn't worry about the weird smell in the fridge, that it'll keep (HAH!) till Saturday, and that he'll clean it when he gets back home. Plus he loves me even when I blame him for things that aren't his fault (or so he claims). And lastly, my mom called to tell me that my grandmother isn't coming to Christmas after all due to the horrible weather in Portland - which makes me sad, but also means I have all the gifts finished for Household #2. 

I think I'll have another glass of wine, oogle Lex Luthor while contemplating why a girl with 3 feet of hair is attracted to a bald guy, sleep in tomorrow morning, and then leave for family, hearth and home for Christmas. All in all, it turned out rather well, I'd say.

22 December, 2008

Spend It, But Don't Waste It

As I may have mentioned before, the Relatively Normals are Jewish. This means that instead of taking the Elder to catechism, I take her to Hebrew school, and that I get what are to me random days off when there is a Jewish holiday. It also means that around Christmas time they need a sitter for their kids, as they don't celebrate the season the same way my family does.

All this to say, today and tomorrow I planned to work from 8-6 so that the parental units could work while the kids enjoyed Hannukah break at home. Unfortunately, the Father caught some sort of 24-hour flu that has been going around his family - first the Younger, then the Mother. I got a call at 7 this morning telling me for God's sake to please stay home and don't breathe around anyone who might be sick, because they would certainly need me tomorrow. I told them to call me if they needed me to shove anything through the mail slot.

But it gives me an unexpected day, for which I am grateful beyond belief. I intend to buy cat food because the term "scraping the bottom of the barrel" became thoroughly clear to me this morning, and to take my student assistant papers to the SJSU HR department so that I can work in the slide room next semester. After that, my duties will be done and I can watch Smallville for the rest of the day.


21 December, 2008

Getting There

Let's see. I have pictures and FO's and yes, the embroidery pictures. But first, a confession that will shock no one: I have failed at my 12-Mile Quest for 2008. I tried everything from knitting faster to squinting sideways, but there wasn't any real, practical way to get my tally up from barely starting Mile 9 to over Mile 12. That, my friends, is three sweaters, or 12 pairs of socks, or one really scary Wedding Shawl. None of which are feasible between now and oh, 10 days hence.

So, on January 1, I'm starting over. I'm going to maintain my attempt at having reasonable expectations for myself, and say 12 miles for the entire year of 2009, instead of getting to September and realizing that I need to extend my goals. There is a stress point at which I operate perfectly - there's just enough pressure that I feel motivated, but not so much that I throw up my hands and admit defeat. Next year will be about trying to nail down that stress point more clearly so that I can be more productive but less agitated. We'll see if that works...

I'm also debating between 2009 as the Year of Lace or the Year of Socks. Mostly because I'm graduating in May - surely you've heard - and if I move it will be to somewhere colder than the Silicon Valley, and I will need more hand-knitted socks if I intend to survive. Which I do - if only to avoid passing my student loan debt onto my parents. Anyway, these are the things I ponder when I don't have slide tests to cram for or papers to whip up.

Yesterday I finished up this little beauty:

Seeded Rib Scarf #2, Malabrigo "Stonechat," 215 yds.

It'll be for Grandma M. Next up is a Seeded Rib Scarf #3 out of Malabrigo's "Indigo" for my Aunt C.; I've discovered that I'm quite fond of how the seeded rib looks, so that's the theme for the rest of the Christmas and King's Feast scarves. Only one more for Household 2!

In between Alexander's Hat and the Seeded Rib #2, I made a hat for ManCandy in Michigan colors. Neither hat is in my possession at the moment, but they're pretty standard hats, and based on the weights of the Veteran's Hats I made this summer should be around 120 yards, so that's what I'm putting for each. Which brings today's 12-Mile Quest total up to 455 yards; not that I'm counting so much at the moment, but maybe I'll finish up Mile 9 before the year turns.

In other news, here are the embroidery pictures:

Mandala #1, mostly finished

Mandala #2, about 1/2 finished

Sort-of comparative sizes.

Ultimately there will be 3 mandalas on the rectangular piece of fabric, all pretty much the same size (about 5" square). Currently the first one is about 4" square and the smaller one is about 2". In terms of time commitment, I had completed about 95% of what you see in Mandala #1 before I decided to use this as my art project for school, so it only took about 2-3 hours to get it to where it is now. Mandala #2 represents about 40 hours of work up to this point, and I left out some of the filler in favor of overall size. The mandalas themselves were designed by Martina Weber, who is a gifted artist in terms of her embroidery work. I have several of her designs stashed away, waiting for the whim to overtake me. She prefers to work in silks and beads, which are beautiful but also expensive, and so I don't have many of her pieces kitted up.

The piece is being worked on 40-count linen over 2 threads, which means that instead of each cross stitch taking up only one warp/weft pair in the fabric (+), it takes up 4 (#). Therefore, there are 20 stitches per inch on the fabric, which means I need quiet, a big chunk of time, and good strong light to work on this. It is, to say the least, rather time consuming.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I'm off to finish reveling in my only day off with no one in the house. I think I'll celebrate with a glass of wine and some television. And, of course, a Seeded Rib Scarf.

17 December, 2008

Epic But Not Legendary

There's this famous line of Mandy Patinkin's in The Princess Bride that talks about how difficult it is to explain everything, and instead one should just simply sum up. You probably know it. And hence, you probably already anticipate what I'm about to do.

Tomorrow is my last final. It's not going to be tough because my professor is going to Iran on the 27th and doesn't wish to grade any essays, so we get slide ID's instead. I love this. I can cram for slide ID's like my brain was made for it. Therefore, in my head, I'm pretty much done with this semester, and it looks like I'll only need 2 more classes to get a BA. TWO. After twelve years of college, fiddy-billion credits and not a few false starts in majors for which I am clearly ill-suited, I'm going to be done. Done, done done!!

Give me 5 years in the real world and I'll be begging to get back into academics.

Since the middle of November, lots of things have been going on. I direct your attention to my San Diego Trip * and also the joint Birthday Party that Chloe and I had at the Cal Academy. Missing is the Mexico Trip because the photos are all on my laptop and I'll have to upload them later. There were pelicans, baby lions and tigers, pelicans, family, and lots of long-exposure night shots. It's awesome, and apparently I have a thing for Mexican pelicans. Weird.

My Salina sweater is a double fail. It's still sitting in the bag; I've finished up to the armpits and half-way up the top of the back, but good lord that much stockinette is mind-numbing. Also I had to work on an as-yet unphotographed embroidery piece for my Islamic Art class, which cut into my knitting time by quite a bit. However, I still intend to finish it; I'm taking it to Mom's for Christmas holiday knitting. Here's what I have finished recently:
Socks for Gabe in Regia 4-ply (Man Yarn!)

One of 2 Elder R-N Socks - leftover Opal from Natalie's BSJ
A beanie for Alexander - leftover Classy from umpteen baby projects

Seriously, I think I have a hob goblin of some sort in my Dream in Color stash. I've been knitting with this Classy for a year, inserting it here and there, and it's still not gone. I thought for sure this hat would finish at least one of the 2 colors off, but no. Hopefully the addition of a huge pompon on the top will help. Anyone know where I can get a giant pompon maker?

These projects bring me close to completion of my Christmas Knitting. Of the 4 households I intended to give knitted gifts to, I have one completed (minus the pompon...) and nearly wrapped and ready to ship up to Alaska. I'm not finished with Household #2 because my mother called me and announced that my grandmother, aunt, and 2 cousins are coming for Christmas, so I added Aunt C and Grandma M to the list. (Maybe I won't be knitting on my Salina after all...). Household 3 celebrates on January 6, so I'm ok to start late for them - which is good, because I just ordered the yarn for their Christmas gifts yesterday. Hats and Scarves for all on that one. This is one of those times when I bemoan my inability to knit with chunky yarns! The 4th household is the Relatively-Normals, and while I may not get their gifts finished in time, I can give them knits any time. Maybe I'll buy them a board game instead - perhaps Settlers of Catan.

So the count stands at:

Household 1: 4/4 (pompon!)
Household 2: 2/4
Household 3: 0/4
Household 4: .5/2

Sigh. And I thought I was doing so well! Tika 2009 is going to be all about reasonable expectations, I swear. But more on that later - Tika 2008 needs to feverishly finish her Christmas knitting.

* Complete with Adorable BabyBean pictures! Laurie, I set it so they're not downloadable, but if you want'em I'll email them. Malia, same for you.

01 December, 2008

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming...

... to announce our own Private Knitting Olympics, which will take place in that special spot in Hell that also services Finals, Work, and Blind Panic. 


Because I encountered an Epic Fail in my NaKniSweMo sweater, which is exactly as far along as it was last time I posted a picture. 

Because my Islamic Art professor invited me to a gathering at her house on the 14th of December. And present at this gathering will be Carol Beir, most recent president of the Textile Society of America. A woman whose experience and knowledge surpass my own so much that I may not get sound to pass through my vocal cords. And my professor specifically invited me to help me make the contact with this titan of the textile world.


I'll see you all on the 15th with the promised San Diego, Thanksgiving and Big Day updates. Excuse me, I have to go knit a sweater.

Happy December!

Wow. It's December already?!? I'm looking outside, and I feel like nothing has changed, but that's been a common theme lately. Somehow winter went from my least favorite to my most anticipated season - I think it has something to do with the lack of actual winter in California. 

Anyway, I'm off to class. It's down to 2 weeks before finals, so I'm in Paper Writing Hell, but I'll try to update you guys on the San Diego trip, the Mexico trip, and the upcoming Big Day (not THAT kind of Big Day. A different one. Involving multiples of decades and a birth.)


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