26 January, 2010

Things To Do, 1/26

This is what my To Do list looked like today:

At 10 pm, I looked at it again and realized that if I were to blog, I would have done everything on my To Do list. Blogging doesn't take a whole lot of effort, per se, but sometimes setting up for it does, especially when it's dark and thus difficult to photograph finished knits. But more on that later!

This weekend it continued to rain in Roseville.
So THB and I decided to head down to Alameda to visit our Second Brother. We picked up a couple of friends on the way, namely That Sarah and Kai's roommate, and headed out for a fairly epic Bar Crawl. Now, I've never been one for bar crawls. Usually we pick a place and stay there all night. But this time, there was a double mission: to try all the bars in town (or as many as we could handle, which turned out to be quite a few), and to find The Birthday Guy. We accomplished the first goal admirably and to everyone's satisfaction, but unfortunately Birthday Guy didn't show up. I'm beginning to think he may have been a figment of my imagination. But I digress.

Here are four of us near the beginning of the night:
SB's Roommate, Me, THB, Second Brother
(That Sarah is missing because she's the photographer)

On Saturday we all woke up, staggered about for a bit, and then headed to a local diner for some greasy breakfast food. Later, my San Francisco friends showed up and we got to see Baby E, who is 3.5 months old and weighs a mere 9+ pounds. She's like a pocket baby!
And also super-cute to boot!
I, for one, am thrilled that she's a wee slip of a thing because it means that she can still wear the baby-sized things I made for her before she was born (that only took 6+ months to get to her parents ::cough::)!

Then THB and I went to the Oracle Arena to meet up with some friends and see EDDIE IZZARD!! This is the face I made pretty much the whole time:
Eddie is one of my very favorite comedians. He's smart, thinks about things, and his comedy is intelligent. He's also altruistic and freakin' adorable, which doesn't hurt. I should have taken my camera in - I was going to, but I didn't know if cameras were allowed and I didn't want to have to run back to the car. So no pictures of Eddie. Boo.

But there ARE finished knits! Awhile ago I promised That Sarah a pair of socks for her birthday. Her 2008 birthday. She has been patiently reminding me of this promise ever since, and I finally am ready to pay up. I actually wanted to finish the socks in time to give them to her this weekend, but I ended up about 1/2" plus the toe short, so I'll have to mail them. However, she's already seen them and approved, so I can show the rest of you as well:
Vanilla Rib Socks, 258 yds.
Fannie's Farmhouse Yarn, "Victoria"

The colors here are pretty accurate. My bedroom walls are not quite that radioactive green, but the socks at least are pretty vibrantly pink and black. AND I have another 150 yards to do something else fun with! But not right away...

I mentioned in this post that I needed to finish 2 projects before I would allow myself to start something new, and I did in fact stick to that (go me!). But the project I started was not the Stonington I had planned, despite the wicked-cool center I graphed out for said shawl and the beautiful silvery lace yarn all wound up and ready to go. Instead I started a [REDACTED] for [REDACTED], who I am pretty sure reads this blog at least occasionally, so until I'm done you're going to get only hints and snippets of information and some color-altered close-ups like this one:
I think that [REDACTED] will be tickled pink, don't you?

So I leave you now with some words of wisdom that I remembered over the weekend: don't try to finish the night with giant margaritas. It can only end in a desperate need for greasy breakfast the next day.
And possibly in some utterly hilarious pictures.

18 January, 2010

A Quiet Holiday

Today it is raining outside
But my house is snug and warm.
There is completed knitting
Citron #2, 440 yds.
Malabrigo Sock "Velvet Grapes"

And Knitting-in-Progress.
I am listening to Anna Karenina and watching the rain on the windows. The spring green of my walls keeps the room cheerful even when outside is cold and damp. I have hot tea with milk, warm handmade socks and nothing to do today on this last day of my between-term-vacation. It's peaceful here, unlike so many places in the world. I wish I had a skill that would allow me to go to Haiti and help Doctors Without Borders, but I fear I would just be in the way, so I stay home and knit in the rain. On this day, the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am knitting prayers for Haitians into the socks I make. Prayers for peace, for health, for aid. Prayers that this disaster will open up new lines of communication between Haiti and other governments of the world and help this little nation blossom into peace and prosperity. My prayers climb the raindrops like a child climbing up the down escalator, high into the heavens that have finally opened up and wept for the devastation of a people who did not deserve such a blow. Weep, you heavens. I will pray.

13 January, 2010

The Knit Signal

I cut/pasted this directly from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog. I'm certain that nearly everyone who reads THIS blog also reads HERS, but even one extra person's donation helps. The moment my financial aid hits my bank account (please, PTB's, this week would be great...), I pledge to send $60 to Doctors Without Borders. Let me know in the comments if you make a donation; I'd love to hear how we help!

The Knit-Signal

As I'm sure most of you know by now, yesterday, while we knit, ate, drank and slept - a massive earthquake struck Haiti, largely effecting the city of Port au Prince. Haiti itself is a very poor country with other problems - and that means two things. (Well. It means a lot of things actually, but lets only dwell on two of them at the moment.) First, it means that they entirely lack the ability to respond to this emergency without a lot of help, and secondly, it means that when the quake struck, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières was already there.

While you and I knit and we (or at least me) considered problems that now seem rather trivial, there are suddenly dead people, hurt people, trapped people, lost people and hundreds of thousands of homeless - all struggling to figure out what comes next. I spoke briefly on the phone this morning with the MSF office here in Toronto, and they confirmed several things.

Things are bad.

The MSF Hospital has sustained damage that means it isn't functioning as a hospital right now. Staff have moved to the courtyard and set up tents and what materials they could retrieve from the building and are doing their best to help people as they can. Doctors who were providing maternity care are now running a trauma centre.

They, and their sister offices in other countries spent all night figuring out who could go and how to get them there, and staff is packing as we read this to get there as fast as they can. They'll be taking inflatable surgery suites with them so they can use that instead of their damaged buildings.

They believe that some of their staff are among the casualties.

They recognize the power of Knitters Without Borders and the force that we can marshal in a pinch, and they are grateful that you've been able to help them in the past, and they would very much like your help now, and right away.

There are directed donation sites set up for Haiti on all of their websites, but I'd like to take a moment to ask you to please make your donation "undirected". Money given to a specific fund can only be used for that area and making sure your donation is undirected helps them a lot. It lets them keep serving other crises that continue to happen while the world watches Haiti, and more importantly, it allows them to be first responders.

On their websites (Canada here, USA here, Other countries can find their site here) when you give there is a drop-down menu that you'll see called "I would like my gift to be directed to..." and you'll see a lot of choices. Please consider selecting "Greatest Needs" or "Emergency Relief" so that they can have the flexibility that they need to do their best work.

I'm going right now to give my share, and I know from my inbox that many of you have already done the same. Really, it's pretty hard to sit here with a Bohus, a pot of coffee, a laptop and this much sock yarn and do otherwise. I hope you feel the same way. They need you knitters, I hope you can help, even if it's only a few dollars of your yarn money.

I'm going to go and keep the Knitters without borders tally running, since it's a tangible way to see how donations, even little ones, add up like stitches on a sweater, and people are already offering karmic balancing gifts for any draw I might do... though I know that really, nobody cares about that right now. If you're like me, you're too busy being grateful that you're not a mother in Port au Prince right now.

Boldly go, Knitters.

11 January, 2010

Filmy Goodness

Happy Kate Winslet Day, everyone!

Feel free to celebrate by watching your favorite Kate movie or perhaps one you have never seen. For myself, if I can't find a copy of Titanic in our house (likely, depending on THB's movie collection), I will indulge in Sense and Sensibility while adding a few choice titles to my Netflix queue.

10 January, 2010


...I haz it.

Despite the myriad of things I have on my needles (Salina, I'm looking at you! Really, it's on my desk right now staring right back at me. Sigh.), I can't help but be distracted by the even bigger myriad of things getting started right now. Maybe it's because I rarely knit the same thing twice. Maybe it's because January seems like a good time of year for starting new things. Maybe it's because I just have a raging case of start-itis and that's all there is to it.

The primary offender is Brie, who started a Stonington Shawl the other day. I'm deeply jealous because I have some beautiful silvery (or maybe the purple...) Gloss Lace that would make a fantabulous Stonington.

This jealousy is increased by my sudden and immediate love for my Citron Shawl. I've been wearing it almost non-stop since I pulled it off the blocking pins, and as much as I love having hand-knitted socks on my feet, I love wearing a ruffly neckwarmer even more. It feels grown-up and pretty and goes really well with my brown wool Anne Klein Jacket, and I just love knowing I maaaaaaade it. In fact, I wore it to my final class of the session, and before my teacher allowed me to begin a presentation she made me take it off and show everyone. They were appropriately impressed and I was appropriately bashful. My friend Jay - the only guy in the class and a future amazing teacher - asked me to knit him a pair of slinky boxer shorts out of the Malabrigo Sock Yarn because his wife would love them. I replied that I am nervous about how our relationship is progressing: when we first me, he wanted a beanie, and now he wants underwear! I may, however, be prevailed upon to knit him and his 2 sons (one 11 and one 3 months) matching hats. Maybe. One of these days.

So here's a list of things I'd like to begin in 2010. This list is, like all of my lists, subject to change, but these are the projects that have been weighing on my mind lately:
1. Stonington Shawl (all Brie's Fault!)
2. Spiderman Blanket - another repeat, but really I have a ton of friends and they are multiplying apace.
3. Wool Peddler's Shawl - All knitting all the time until the lace border. Cuddly and warm.

That's it, really. One of the things I notice about these 3 projects is the abundance of plain knit stitch. Throw in the Vanilla Rib socks that have come off the needles lately, and it's not a huge step to think that maybe my Knitting Mojo is telling me something...

I've set myself a goal of finishing 2 current projects before I cast on for a new one. I'm not sure how long that resolution will survive given the pull of the silver yarn I pulled out of the stash the other day, so to that end I'm of to knit like the wind in hopes of outpacing the Start-itis demons!

06 January, 2010

A Good Beginning

Today is the last day of my first grad class, and tomorrow is the last day of my first semester as a grad student! I'm on track to be done with all my projects and provided nothing goes horribly wrong in the next 30 hours I will have accomplished something that I have never even tried to do before: I will have turned in every single assignment for all of my classes for an entire semester. I may have mentioned this before, but my modus operandi for my entire school career has been to figure out the absolute minimum of busy work I could do and still get a decent grade while I bank on my excellent test-taking abilities. But I have had no desire to skip any of my assignments this time around, which might have some root in the fact that this grad program feels more like vocational training than anything else. I can easily see why I need to know how to write a lesson plan, understand multiple intelligences, and learn good classroom management skills; so I'm willing to actually do the work.

And speaking of work, I have some completed knitting!
Citron Shawl
Malabrigo Sock, "Lettuce," 440 yds.

I plowed right through this project. It was an easy knit, I am thoroughly chuffed with the results, I've gotten huge compliments on it, and all I've been able to think about is how much I'd like one in purple, one in black, and possibly one in rust. It's fairly rare that I come across a pattern I want to knit over and over again, and I'm not certain how long my Citron mania will last, but in the mean time I've been giving my lace and sock yarn stashes the hairy eyeball.

I haven't made any more progress on my Salina, but I'm okay with that. This might be a 2-year Sweater, or I might pick up steam on it again later. For the moment, I'm enjoying knitting stuff that a) doesn't have a specific size or b) I know how to make fit already (socks...).

So that's the New Year so far! And now to go diving into the stash. I thought it was organized when I put it all into the big plastic tubs, but it turns out that it was only organized in my HEAD and not in REALITY. There is an excel spreadsheet and a new stash bin numbering system in my future...