Monday, January 31, 2005

Oh, but for the grace of cross-dressing cats go I...

I needed a good weekend. I mean, deep in my soul needed.

And I got one!

I was a little nervous about the day, because Saturday night we got sleet and hail, and then it snowed Sunday morning, leaving us with a lovely sheet of ice with snow on top. But Anj and Martha were still up for the day, and I so very much wanted to see them. You know the roads are bad when on exit ramps to and from I-95 drivers are actually going the speed limit (in Baltimore, normally the sign that says "20 mph" is interpretted as "if you don't go fast enough that two wheels actually leave the pavement, 20 crack whores will spit on you")* but for the most part the drive was easy. I didn't even get lost, which is proof that the fates were with me, since I can get (and have gotten) lost on the way home from work.

*Crack Whore reference expressly for Anj's enjoyment

The day with Anj and Martha was like a mini-Christmas-just-for-me. It's such a joy to be able to spend time with them, precious friends that Knitters Review gave me. In addition to spending time with those two beautiful women that I adore, they came bearing gifts. Anj rewarded me for winning her caption contest with a pound of heavenly merino/silk fiber from Halcyon, in "Princess Blue".

Princess Amie approves.

Martha gave me a smudge stick (which I had honestly JUST been thinking I might try, but hadn't mentioned that to anyone!) to clear some negative energy from my life, and a crystal (Mikasa) angel candle holder, and also an adorable quilted box.

I wasn't the only one to get gifts this weekend, though. Martha also gave Trevor and Aslan a toy, which will be played with ad nauseum tonight.

And Oscar got a new bone.

No, that's not Oscar, why do you ask?

Poor Oscar had a rough week. Aslan finally let him at the bone (Oscar is standing about three feet away in that photo, wishing he could play with the bone, but knowing better than to go near Aslan) he had to go out into the cold for a little.

When he came back in, it was to a fresh, full bowl of food, which I thought would make him happy. I went into the other room, but Oscar kept coming to get me and doing a Lassie-like "follow me!" I would go into the kitchen, where Trevor was sitting at the dog bowl, clearly preventing the dog from eating. This happened three times, and I finally gave up and brought the food in to sit at my feet so I could shoo Trevor with minimal effort on my part (it's hard for a girl to get any spinning done when she's protecting her pitbull from cats).

Friday, January 28, 2005

Know what I knit last night?

Nothing. Not a stitch. I did look briefly at the socks in my purse. But I didn't knit them. And I touched the bobbin of alpaca on Fiona. Didn't spin. Most of my night was spent rocking back and forth, cuddling with my toasty "Sleepy Pete".

He's one of those bean-bag things that you put in the microwave and then use like a hot water bottle. I love him very much, and he has gotten much attention from me this week. Nancy gave him to me, and said after she sent it something occurred to her. That very same thing occurred to Trevor and Aslan as well. That thing, is that he's just as big as a cat lying down in "cold cat feet" position. And he is. They love him as much as I do, but I'm stronger than they are, so I got to play with him this week.

I wasn't expecting to have knitting class this morning, since my two regular students each said they couldn't make it. I didn't mind - I was planning on sleeping as much as I could, since I haven't been sleeping well all week. But when I called the store to check, I had three students after all. I went in, and it was quite nice after all. One of my regulars had changed her schedule so she could make it after all (the kinda slow one) and then I had two new students, one crocheter who'd not knit at all, and one who could cast on, knit, purl, and bind off, but wants to make her mother socks. They kept me moving all morning, rotating various problems, but they were all patient and understanding, and it was a good morning. They all said they'd be back tomorrow morning, too, so that's good. If I have two students, I make back what I loose from the hours missed here at the radio station, and if I have more than that, it's extra money. Extra money is good.

I ordered some more of that super yummy Misti Baby Alpaca (in the deep red, although I want enough for a sweater each in the worsted weight burnt orange and pistachio - this stuff is sinful) and I'm hoping it gets to my house tonight... it's what I'm making a shawl for me out of, on my "My Stuff Weekends" and I was thinking I'd get the first two seasons of Alias from Blockbuster tonight and veg out in front of them with some alpaca this weekend. I'm going to dinner and a play with my parents tomorrow, and the spending Sunday with Martha and Anj so it's going to be a pretty busy weekend for me. I'll need those times to lay like broccoli.

And now I'm off to call the doctor. I was hoping the blinding pain would be done, but it seems to strike just after I think "gosh, I haven't been in pain for a while now"... and I can't seem to learn to stop thinking that. Have a wonderful weekend!


Hours Spent Knitting: 11
Rows Completed (of 222): 21

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sorry for no post yesterday. I've been feeling generally icky all week - some funky stomach thing that's driving me nuts - and wasn't feeling up to putting thoughts in a coherant order. I'd really like to take a few days off work, but it's not a rush to the bathroom kind of stomach thing, nothing I've done at all has made any difference, and since I get paid by the hour, I might as well feel like this and get money for it than feel like this and have to explain to the cats that sitting on me is appreciated but not enjoyed right now.

The good news is that I counted and recounted the TSC shawl, and I wasn't 40 stitches off, after all. I was 2 off. Ask me how I counted wrong by 38? Couldn't tell ya. But I've counted it something like 87 times since then, and came up with 405 stitches (instead of the 403 the pattern claims I'll have) each time. So that's good news. I still wasn't up to working on it, as crippling stomach pain can make a girl drop a stitch every now and again, and I wasn't in the mood for that, so I spun for a little bit on the alpaca that I started ages ago and haven't been able to get back to. I still didn't do a lot of that, but I did make a little progress, and I'm enjoying the spinning and the yarn so much that I'm making plans to spin some more, finer, for myself when this project is done. I'll then dye some lime green, and some... I don't know, maybe fuscia? and make argyle socks (I've got some lovely charcoal alpaca that wants to be a pair of socks for me).


Hours Spent Knitting: 11
Rows Completed (of 222): 21
Estimated Time of Completion: 116.28 hours

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Radio Knows

After a long day at work yesterday, I had a meeting with the officers of the Knitting Guild of which I am Vice-President for planning out our year, and drove carefully home in the dark. The roads were slick, and there was some black ice, so it was with extra care that I made my way home, thinking of poor Oscar, warm in his room, but probably with yellow eyeballs and crossed legs.

Less than a block from home, a police officer pulled me over. When I asked if there was a problem, he said my tags came up expired. Now, some of you may recall the nightmare I went through when I moved back to Maryland. I was NOT pleased to hear that the tags might not be good. I pulled out all the information I had, and showed him. Registration: expires April 30, 2005. According to the Zelda calendar I have in my office, it is not yet April 30, 2005. Doesn't that mean I'm okay?

You would think so, wouldn't you? You would be wrong.

The officer seemed very friendly, and though a very big part of me wanted to indignantly demand that he tell me what inspired him to run my tags through the computer to begin with, since I wasn't speeding or driving recklessly, somewhere, deep inside, I had a moment of lucidity, and I simply remained charming and friendly. It must have been a stomach bug or something, but I am grateful to it, as the fine for driving on expired tags is $275, and I didn't exactly have that in my ash tray. He said "well, I probably won't give you a ticket, just a warning, since you seem like a nice person" and I exclaimed "my mom thinks so and she's really smart!" and he laughed. When he came back with the warning, he let me know that the DMV was claiming they'd sent me a notice that I hadn't had little Norman's emissions tested and my tags had been suspended for over a month. He also said "I don't mean to scare you but" (is there ANYWAY that phrase in itself won't be scary???) if I got pulled over again, the cop would be full within his/her right to give me that $275 ticket. Oy.

By then it was really late, so I got the dog out and drained, I cuddled with the cats, and I tried to sleep. I called my dad this morning, who will henceforth be known as the coolest dad EVER. I thought he wasn't using his car, and asked if I could borrow it, since I had a knitting class this morning and couldn't go down to the DMV to argue. He agreed, dug into his own car to find its emissions slip and found a toll free number to see what we could do. It's one of those things where we can't go to get the emissions test done without the slip from the DMV, but as friendly and cheerful as the employees of the DMV tend to be (oh, watch that you don't step in that puddle of sarcasm, it seems to be dripping around here...) chances are they would give us a hard time if we tried to go in there without the passed emissions test. I had to leave to teach my class, and drove in his car thoroughly irked. I was maybe 20 minutes down the road and my father called my cell phone. He had called that toll-free number, spoke to someone who said "oh, that happens a lot" (HELLO???? Do we think maybe the system is BROKEN???) "we'll just extend her due date to May and send her another notice in March, she can drive the car freely now!" type type type, Thank you very much, and the whole matter is settled. See? Coolest dad EVER.

So I'll return his car to him after work tonight, and I'm feeling much better about driving poor little Norman (gosh, imagine if I'd gotten into an accident with supposedly expired tags!). But the thing is -- RIGHT after I hung up the phone from hearing the good news about Norman's legal reprise, the song "I Fought the Law and the Law Won" came on...

In other news, my slow knitting student figured out not only how to do the knit stitch, but how to fix it when she twists her stitches. I kept her just knitting today, and we'll start purl next time she comes in. I don't want to teach her that purl is harder, since she's got enough of a mental block about the whole thing, but I sure don't want her to get at all confused, so I told her I wanted her to feel very secure, and she agreed. My speedy gal will be starting a sweater for her father when she comes next. We did a few swatches today - she was getting about 5 st/inch using st-st, but wants to do a cabled sweater, so I had her do a cabled swatch, and we talked about what could have happened if she'd assumed she was still knitting 5 st/inch when the cabled swatch came in as 8 st/inch! It was a good little lesson in gauge, and I'm looking forward to her starting on the sweater.

And in TSC news, I did another two rows last night in trying to calm down after the tag incident, and when I checked, I've got something like 40 stitches more than I'm supposed to. I can't imagine how that happened - I can see a few stitches off, but 40 is immense. I'll double count tonight when I'm a little more coherant, and if I have to rip back to row ten, I'll cry while I do it.

Hours Spent Knitting: 11
Rows Completed (of 222): 21
Estimated Time of Completion: 116.28 hours

Monday, January 24, 2005

In addition to the blizzard, which brought just enough snow to inspire us to try to teach Oscar to become a sled dog (I think he would have been successful if GB had tried it on a slope so he could get the idea first...), it was my first official "My Stuff Weekend". That means that most of my weekend was spent doing this:

I still had yarn leftover from GB's fair isle hat that I did last weekend, and a smidge of the blue that he originally panned and got put into DSS's mom's Christmas gift, so I designed and knit this hat for myself:

I also worked on a shawl for myself, that I'm loving loving loving (baby alpaca yarn. TO DIE FOR.) but it's also my own design, and I'm still working out some kinks, so I'll wait to show you that until I'm finished, if you don't mind. Because of the shawl, I extended "My Stuff Weekend" to this morning before work, because all I had left on the hat was a some of the decreases at the top, and I couldn't bear leaving the project on the needles all week, just for that.

So here it is, finished and fitting! It's a smidge loose, actually, though it had to be for the repeats in the fair isle, so I'm considering felting it ever so slightly - I like a snug hat. If I do, I'll hand felt it.

This is what went on in the rest of the house.

GB took this picture, being as moved by the sheer adorable-ness of it as I was. We had to get real close so you could see the little pink nose and ears, because he's actually sleeping on a blanket that is the exact color as he is. It nearly killed him three or four times this weekend as we narrowly missed sitting on him. But I am happy to say Aslan is alive, well, and rested.


OH! I almost forgot! Please go wish Bess a very happy day - her little darling married girl darling Saturday... She's been just giddy about this relationship since before the engagement, and having been lucky enough to meet all her darlings, I can very much see why - they are a beautiful couple, inside and out, and girl darling now has some of the best in-laws one could ask for.... A very blessed marriage to you both, Ws!
Bride & Groom

Friday, January 21, 2005

Triple Threat!

Aslan the cat (warming by heater) Aslan the sock (showing little progress) and Aslan the Mouse (cat toy extraordinaire)

The TSC Shawl got a little attention, too. I think it's going to be pretty, you know, when my children finish it for me. The yarn is a little more gold knit up than the sandy yellow it seems to be on the ball, but I think it's quite nice.

Jen sent me this adorable calendar. I LOVE it, Jen! I'll keep all my knitting guild/teaching appointments in there.

It's filled with cute cartoons like this one:

I had another class this morning, the same two students from Tuesday. The one who's just whizzing along discussed with me some future projects, and she'll come prepared to start one of them next time. I've been thinking she was about 18, both from her appearance and the fact that she said she was in college. She mentioned today having a 12 year old son. Geez.

The one who was having such a hard time Tuesday (the leftie) continued to have a hard time. She spent the past few days practicing cast on, and got that alright. We spent the entire two hours working on just the knit stitch today. I would say "put the needle in, wrap the yarn around it, pull the needle back out, and slide the stitch off" and she would say "Got it!" then put the needle in, wrap the yarn, and slide the stitch off.... for an hour and a half straight. I even wrote down the four steps, and she still struggled. She's really completely unaware of what her body is doing, it's bizarre. My patience is trying, but I refuse to give up, and while I don't consider myself overly patient, I do consider myself overly stubborn. This woman will knit if it's the last thing I do.

In the last fifteen minutes of the class she was able to knit without me talking her through each step, and she'll keep working on that. I'm thinking we'll wait and not head into purl in the next class, until she's 150% solid on casting on and knitting. Whew. What a work out.

And a few people asked why I didn't post yesterday. I'm sure you know my politics. I was miserable, and sad, and ashamed and unhappy, and was trying to practice the "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" school of thought. There is only one thing I have to say nice about our government as it stands now, and as I fear it will become in the next four years. That one nice thing is that the number in my sidebar goes down every day.

Hours Spent Knitting: 10
Rows Completed (of 222): 19
Estimated Time of Completion: 116.84 hours

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My home should be renamed the "Home of Brotherly Love" today. I know it's not as cold out there as it is in some places. Heck, we're above zero at least. But it's still mind-numbingly cold. Cold enough that Trevor and Aslan have formed a truce, and are willing to cuddle with each other, without even growling. Growl at that thing that's giving off heat? Never! Oscar is even allowed closer... poor little shivering Oscar. We have a teeny-tiny home that is heated only with a few space heaters (including one in the bathroom that you can't convince me is doing anything other than making noise) and a wood-burning stove.
Warm By The Fire
It's significantly warmer inside than out, but it's still very cold. I want desparately to knit gloves out of the Manx Logtan/Angora blend fiber Jen sent me for my birthday, but there's just a little left to spin, and then to ply, and there's no way I'm staying outside of those blankets long enough to do that. What I need it to make a tent so that there's a pocket of warm air large enough for me to knit without my fingers freezing and breaking off.
Fall To Pieces
Trouble is, whenever I try that, that air pocket gets filled with a cat.

I took some adorable pictures last night, loaded them into the computer this morning, and forgot to upload them all, for some reason. Proof that the cold really is that mind numbing?
So they'll have to wait until tomorrow. For now, if you need me, I'll be in the microwave. It's a bad sign when even AC complains about the cold.


Hours Spent Knitting: 7
Rows Completed (of 222): 10
Estimated Time of Completion: 317.14 hours

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Another class this morning, which is going swimmingly. The one student, R, that I just can't scare away, made a tiny cat-sized hat on double pointed needles with cables. It was her first knitting in the round, first time on DPNs, and first time doing decreases and cables. I told her I was pushing her, but she said she felt like it was the right thing - the things that make her sort of quiver I've pushed her into, and she's not afraid anymore. She's going to be one heck of a knitter.

I also had another woman, who wasn't catching on quite as quickly. I felt so bad for her, because she came into my class and said "I tried to take the crochet class on Saturday but the teacher said she couldn't teach me because I'm left handed."

Eyes Poppin

I was floored that someone would say that. I apologized for the crochet teacher (who I've never met) and said "well, knitting uses both hands equally, so first I'm going to teach you Right Handed knitting - which only means that the yarn is moving from the left hand to the right hand, not that the right hand is more active. If you have a harder time than usual with that, I'll sit so that you can mirror my actions and we'll teach you left handed knitting that way." It took two hours to get her to cast on, but by gum she did it. Several times, on her own. She'll be back and we'll go into knitting from there. And I don't think the left-handedness caused any problems, I think she's just one of those people who isn't really aware of what she's doing. I'd say "touch the needle to your thumb" and she'd touch her index finger. "Point the needle between these two strands," and she'd wrap the needle somewhere else. Very odd. But I stayed very patient (she kept saying "you're so sweet and patient" and I finally just said "I seriously doubt my husband would agree with you on that!") and by the end she was casting on slowly, and felt like she'd gotten it. She was very excited.

Some people teach knitting before they teach casting on - which I think is absolutely valid. But when I taught myself, I wanted to feel like I could do each step before I moved on to the next. I learned from a book (one of the books they sell at AC Moore, actually, and I still feel very warm and fuzzy towards it!) and I spent two weeks making myself cast on over and over until I could do it with my eyes closed. Then I learned the knit stitch.

One of the ideas I try to stress is that it's okay to rip out and start over. I make them pull the needle out of their stitches and then look, so they see that the stitches don't disolve unless you pull them. I think it's important to hit the scary mistakes - like dropping a stitch - early on, so they don't panic, and can learn to get past them. But they can't do that if they can't rip all the way back and start over. If all they know is knit, and they have to rip back from the beginning, they can't start over, and are likely to loose their interest before they can get the problem fixed. Or so is my theory. But since I also stress that there is no "wrong" there is only "not what I wanted" teaching them to knit first works too!

Thumbs Up

I did run into an interesting problem I'd love some knitterly imput on. R has really thrown herself into this, which is fantastic. She went to DIY (a network that I don't get at home, but it runs the show "Knitty Gritty") and printed out a million or so little stitch patterns, to try my suggestion of knitting dishcloths of stitch patterns. One of them got her stuck, and frankly, it got me stuck, too! It's this one. (that's a PDF file - if you don't want to open it, go to this page and scroll down until you see "tucks" and that's the pattern that got us confused)

What threw me off was that I don't recall having seen "Knit into stitch below" as anything but an increase method, and there are no decreases in this pattern. Can someone type me through this? I'm sure I'm just missing something simple...


Hours Spent Knitting: 7
Rows Completed (of 222): 10
Estimated Time of Completion: 317.14 hours

Monday, January 17, 2005

And she knits, too!

Yeah, I've been pretty darn unimpressive in the production department. The shawl is going so slowly, how many times do you want to hear "the shawl is going so slowly"? Pictures of it are truly unimpressive at this point. Not that that's going to stop me from whining about it, but still.

However, I noticed that most of my projects right now are teeny tiny - shawl, socks - so I decided to sit down and do a hat - the hat for GB that couldn't be in pretty colors, had to be in Ravens colors, remember?

I did find a great gold that worked out beautifully - I e-mailed the lovely owner of Little Knits and asked if she had something that would work, she responded quickly, and I ordered just as fast! Because of her lovely service (and lovely yarn) I was able to design and knit this:

On the offhand chance there's a non-knitter reading this who might be more impressive with the outside of the hat than with the inside (silly thing, you) this is what it looks like for real:

I've also been busy trying to make this alpaca

into this yarn

which is coming along, slowly but surely.

I think my plan will be that the weekends are for me - that's when I can do whatever I choose - but during the week I have to focus on the TSC Shawl and David's afghan. That way I won't get too bored with the long term projects, and I won't feel like I'll never finish another knitting project again for the rest of my life. The socks will remain in my purse for movies and someone-else-is-driving knitting.

I had a big knitting class on Saturday - 7 folks. Three moms, three daughters, and a polish woman who knits beautifully but doesn't know how to read an English pattern. I had the uncomfortable experience of having one of the daughters be terribly rude to her mother. It clearly unsettled at least one of the other mothers as well, but a child of my own speaking like that wouldn't have lived long.

The classroom has lots of other classes in it, so there are models and paintings all around the room. The little girl in question (who was between 10 - 12 in age, I would say) was the least interested in the group. She would pause from what she was doing and say things like "that painting is pretty" or other comments about the "decor" of the room. Her mother said quietly "shhh..." and the little girl turned around and said "Don't tell me to shush, I wasn't talking to you so you can't tell me to shush" in a truly nasty tone. She made a few other comments of that type. I tried my best to ignore it, but holy cow. The mother was very nice to me, but I do think it was her fault that her daughter felt it was appropriate to speak to anyone else that way. It was quite shocking.

Anyway, I know the cats get a lot of attention 'round these parts, but look at this handsome head:

Isn't he cute?


Hours Spent Knitting: 7
Rows Completed (of 222): 10
Estimated Time of Completion: 317.14 hours

Friday, January 14, 2005


Even if you like Michael Keaton,

Even if you like movies with supernatural themes,

do not - I repeat, do NOT - waste $9 on

Michael Keaton did an admirable job trying to rescue a movie that was doomed to end... well, stupidly. He committed to the role, he tried to add real human emotion, but he should have run from the producers of this and never looked back. I will even confess to jumping two times, which I don't normally do in movies. Both times were visual effects, and hey, reflexes are reflexes. But at the end of the movie, I looked at GB and said "I'm so sorry" (I had asked specifically that we see the movie) and he said "I'm so glad it wasn't just me who felt that way about it."

Hey, at least from there Electra and Racing Stripes (the two movies I'd like to see this weekend) can't be bad. It's all a step up from there.

In other news, I had another knitting class this morning, and had a new student. The one who did cables Tuesday came back and was still enthusiastic and excited. We did a few more run through with the cables, because she wanted to be talked through it a few more times, but she did say "I'm not afraid of them anymore!" And the new student had done knitting before, and said she just wasn't happy with what she was doing... well, what she was doing was just knitting VERY VERY tightly! So I had her cast on intentionally making the stitches loose and sloppy. She kept saying "but they're uneven, they're uneven!" and then when she got a few rows up, I had her look back... and they had all evened out! She's going to work on knitting a little more loosely, and said "this is already more fun, and more enjoyable!" and seemed really thrilled with what we did. I wish I could teach knitting full-time, it's such a high, and good learning for me too!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thoughts on the Way to Work This Morning

Oh, my GOSH! Mine too!

Why is it only raining on my car?

I think I've spun about 3 ounces of that alpaca.

Who decided it was cool to speak into a cell phone by holding it six inches from your head and looking bored?

We have a chain of windshield washers six cars long all because we keep over-shooting. They can build a car that senses road conditions and they can't build a washer-squirter that only hits the one car.

Skiddemerinky Dinky Dink Skiddermerinky Doo Iiiii Loooove Yooouuuu

B's gonna be at work today so I'd better be really productive.

Linda Ligon says "weaved" and "spinned"... nope, still sounds stupid to me. Wove, spun, and knit.

I don't think I've touched David's afghan since Christmas. I should probably do some of that this weekend.

Huh, why is Celeste STILL out? It's okay, I like Amy better.

I remember listening to the radio for the music, not the jocks.... vaguely...

I think that was the best job I've ever done waxing my eyebrows...

Socks are an awful lot to take on at the next guild meeting... I'll send an e-mail to Sandy to see if we can break it down a little...

I need a sign, to help me find a way... I hate this song...

Wow, when they say "Wide Load", they mean wide load!

I wonder what time GB will be home...

I need a better job.

I-way eed-nay a-way etter-bay ob-jay.

I-vish ne-vish-eed a-vish be-vish-ter-vish jo-vish-ob.

Actually I should do a little more work on my left eyebrow, I think...

If I work on the TSC Shawl and David's afghan all this month, maybe I can start a summer sweater for me by mid-February...


Hours Spent Knitting: 7
Rows Completed (of 222): 10
Estimated Time of Completion: 317.14 hours

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hooray for Anonymous! I'm not sure who you are but you were able to tell me which picture was the green tomato picture, and I'm not going to confess how many times I glanced right past that without a thought in the world that it could possibly be what I was looking for. While I might make a few more adaptations, I like the top much better now. What do you think? Roses, not green tomatoes! Novel idea, I know, but I've always lived life on the edge.

Tonight I'm teaching Combination knitting at my guild meeting. GB took several pictures of my hands (action shots of knitting - bestill my heart) so I'd have handouts for the others, and I'm going to look around at Annie's site and see if there's stuff there I want to bring along as far as increases or decreases, but it's really mostly the purl that changes things. The differences on the shaping are fairly simple.

I was so exausted yesterday that I barely knit at all (but you may notice the new running tally of the Creatures of the Reef Shawl for my MIL that is the TSC shawl to me) although I did make myself get on the treadmill for a little. I really need to get one of those wrist things so I can knit on the treadmill. Perhaps knitting and television combined will be enough to convince me that I'm not walking uphill bothways and getting no where. (my treadmill is on an incline)

Other than that ... not so much going on... wow - three days without knitting or spinning photos, isn't it? I'll do my best to get some shots of the alpaca I'm spinning for MSF/KWB if for no other reason than to prove to you I'm not a total sloth.


Hours Spent Knitting: 7
Rows Completed: 10

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Veeerrrry late today, because it's been madly busy. AC was sick yesterday. This means I had the choice of having him come in, blow his nose all day and hack germs all over the studio, or having me come in for a double shift. Guess which I picked!

I started work just after six am and left around five-thirty. Not the longest day I've ever worked, but I was beat by the end of it. I still think it was better than GermFest 2005, even if I did spend most of the day spraying Lysol on everything he ever touched.

I did manage to get four more rows done on the Time Space Continuem shawl (henceforth known as TSC) so I may have found a small wrinkle in time, which I'm sure will never again be duplicated. I'm on row ten, and I think the rest of the pattern is charted. I know how to read charts, and I like them in theory. But I'm ever so slightly dyslexic, so relying on my brain to tell the difference between / and \ without exploding is no fun, and slows me down a great deal because of the number of times I have to check and recheck. I can tell the difference between K2tog and SSK much more easily. Advancing on TSC from here on out may be tedious if I have to handwrite out each charted row. Pray for me.

I had another class this morning (my third actually, the second being Friday). I've got more students signed up for the weekend, but during the week the numbers are low. That's fine, though, as I get my feet under me. One student didn't show up, so it was a private lesson today. It was nice though, because the one I did have was the one who was farthest along (furthest?) last week, and I'd been unsure she would come back because I felt like I didn't have much time to teach her much last week. But she got the bug bad, and said she hadn't come on Friday because she thought she was only allowed to come once a week. She's already inherited a huge stash of needles and yarn (mostly worsted weight acryllics) and is very excited to learn. Because it was just her, I taught her cables first thing, and finished with YO and K2Tog. So in two lessons she learned cast on, knit, purl, ribbing, cables and lace! Not too shabby, eh? I told her in her next class we'd talk about gauge a lot, since she has some patterns she'd like to try (she's already getting huge requests from family!) and we're going to make a hat. I'll also discuss the slants of increases and decreases, but I wanted today to give her skills that made her feel like she could do something impressive, and as anyone knows, once you've done cables, they're cake, but before that you think they're rocket surgery. So she felt excited and "full" by the end of class, and I think it went really well.

Other than that, does anyone know how to change the image at the top of my blog? The one that on my blog looks like a closeup of green tomatoes? It's not that I don't like green tomatoes, I just wanted to change it, and I can't find anything "image-y" looking in the code of my template. I know what image I want there, I just can't put it there. Of course Blogger help says it's not possible. Still, I find it hard to believe that the page was created and that image accidentally occurred there and they don't know how to make it something different....

Monday, January 10, 2005

Elayne wanted to know how I did the sock toe.

I cast on 6 stitches, st-st for 7 rows (starting and ending with a purl row) and the picked up 6 stitches from each of the remaining sides. I then increased at the beginning of each needle, every row, mostly because I get distracted way too easily and remembering which row I'm on (to increase or not to increase, that is the question) is downright impossible. If one were able to remember to stop increasing at the start of every other row, one would have a more gradual slope. It's not entirely my fault, I was at work at the time, although Annie and I have a theory that red is the new blonde. I also intended to alternate increases - right or left slant - so that the toe would sort of lean towards the more ovular foot shape (ovular - that's a word right? a three year old once told me my cat Misha was ovular, so it must be!) rather than completely round, but I don't think I ended up doing that - it looks a little pinwheely. But I actually think I like that, because it let me choose completely which half was up and which was down.

I got a few more rows done on the Time-Space-Continuem shawl for my MIL.

I've timed myself knitting before, and I can generally knit between 50 - 70 stitches a minute, depending on how leisurely I'm feeling. For some reason, I pick up this shawl, which is NOT difficult, and it's like I'm barely knitting a stitch a minute. 437 stitches in the cast on and the first row took me over an hour. At this rate, I will have to pass the shawl onto grandchildren for them to finish, and since I don't plan on having kids of my own, that's saying something. I have deduced that the shawl is causing me to enter a time-space continuem, and being as I am no relation of Einstien (clever, yes, witty, sure, intelligent, highly, rocket scientist, eh not so much) I just don't know if I can beat it. What you see there is five hours of work. Seriously. It's more than a little scary.

And if you remember this adventure

you might be interested in a fashion follow-up. Here you can see that I've had to use a harness to actually strap the coat to him. He broke that harness later that day. He's now gazing out the window at Trouble, the German Shepherd next door that's about twice his size. They (luckily) get along well, and I must say I'm sorry for any bad guy that might try to sneak through a back fence with those two on guard. They're both loving dogs who are quite protective of their families, and both consider the back yard shared territory of which they are both allowed to be protective.

This is Oscar doing his "Down" command. What you can't see is that it lasted exactly as long as it took the camera to take the shot. If you look closely, you'll see his elbows aren't even on the ground. He will occasionally stay down, and it's something we're working on, but he's so impressed with himself that he knows the command that he tends to do a wrestler-like body slam onto the ground and bounce right back up. If you roll your eyes, he slams down again as if to say "look, I did it once, I'll do it again, now can I have the treat?" We don't even use treats when he's training, but he has to do tricks to get the treats, and despite the fact that GB is trying to teach him to dance, he knows down, so that's the one he'll do when he sees a treat anywhere around.

and dispite his expression here, he was not being mocked or reprimanded. I'm not sure why he thought he was in trouble, but at least you get to see his "I didn't mean for you to catch me" face.

I spent about 5 hours at the Knitathon Saturday. Knit a baby hat and baby blanket from start to finish, in an uncomfortable chair, in florescent retail lighting, and came home and wiped out. AC is out sick today, so that means twelve hours straight for me. I'm hoping that Cold Eaze keeps its word. Seems to be doing the trick so far. A mild period of feeling pooped, and a nightmare about not being able to blow my nose enough (seriously) but otherwise I'm hanging tough. I'm also spinning up some natural white alpaca, roughly laceweight, maybe sport when plied, to donate to Stephanie and the Knitters Without Borders. It's going pretty slowly too, although I am enjoying the process, so maybe it's the house that has the time space continuem, and not just the shawl itself...

Marriage is love.