Saturday, February 27, 2010


I may have just picked up a new hobby.

This is the bracelet I made in beading class the other night. I only know that the big ones are quartz.

Monday, February 22, 2010

That didn't take long

The pruning might not be all done, but these are. An addictive pattern on 64 stitches in a colorway and yarn that I like going quickly? Who knew?

These are the embossed leaves socks I started couple weeks ago. Ha, what took the longest was figuring out when to stop. I've had a Crisis of Sock lately, feeling as if most of my handknit socks are too loose or grow too loose with wear, both width and lengthwise. I'm trying to make these deliberately a little tight in the length.

I kept pretty close to the pattern, except:

1. I did 2 extra rows on the heel (deep heels),

2. picked up 1 extra stitch each side of the heel flap

3. decreased most of the gusset to pattern (decreases every other row), until the last 4 or so and then it was every 4 rows. I find this gives me a better fit.

4. decreased the first 2 purls in the pattern with a p2tog the row after I joined everything up with the heel flap. That way it matches the other side, which has a single purl stitch border. The star toe requires a very specific number of stitches, so I increased a stitch on the first row of the toe shaping where the purl used to be.

5. modified the toe: finished the last couple rows of the pattern without a knit row in between, and stopped at 14 stitches on each needle and kitchenered it closed. Star toes were really never meant to be grafted shut, so it looks a little wonky off the foot. On the foot my big toe stretches it out just fine. They do look a bit truncated, but eh.

6. I didn't break the yarn at the heel

7. when I got to the toe, I shifted the beginning of the round to the beginning of the pattern. I don't know why, probably I accidentally went too far and was too lazy to tink back. It makes the star toe work out nicely, though.

8. added extra repeat or 1/2 repeat or something to the foot to accommodate my size 11s.

The heel is odd - stockinette with a garter stitch border. It's a real PITA picking up stitches from the garter stitch, and I'm not sure how it'll wear, although usually my feet o' doom destroy sock toes first before the heel goes.

Semi-miraculously, I didn't run out of yarn.

Yes, they're lacy, but not screamingly so, and they fit beautifully. Yay!

This one's for my evil twin

Flying bat-frogs!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interesting is Overrated

So tonight when I was chatting with the server when I picked up my takeout dinner (yeah, we got takeout. It was late and I was out of ideas), he said, he was about the same, nothing interesting happening. That's what I told him back. interesting == overrated.

I like my dull life. The last time things got interesting I hurt my back (twice!), got a new job, my cat got cancer, and both my grandparents died. NO thank you we don't want any interesting here.

Oh, here's one of the rounds of interesting from last summer:
Yeah, I even took a picture for y'all, good little blogger that I am, but decided not to post after all. I dredged it up for now, since I miss fresh strawberries (T-3.5 months and counting). It's posed and all, right after I'd gotten home after a CAT scan and blood draw (I have deep veins and the CAT scan people had already used the one accessible one in my elbow, so they used my hand). Why'd I get a CAT scan? I went to dinner on Saturday before, put my hand on the side of my neck, and found a lump. I had no idea how long it'd been there. It was still there 5 days later so I went to the doctor who looked worried and ordered the CAT and the blood scans.

It's all ok, there's a happy ending. None of the tests showed signs of anything weird. They just figure it was a deep-set cervical lymph node having too much of a good time. It subsided soon after and now I can no longer rock the Frankenstein lumpy-neck look (drat, there goes the Halloween costume)

Like I said, I like my dull life. I like messing around with dyeing, and quilting, and knitting, and riding my bike around. You know what I do when I go places? I like to walk around and look at things. I like to find good restaurants and cafes and enjoy the food and people-watch.

I look forward to sitting around in the summer on the patio with a margarita, staring at the flowers. People ask me what I do for fun and appear bored out of their gourds when I tell them about my little fiber obsessions (most present company excluded, of course). They perk up a little at the biking, as there's always the added excitement of CARS and possible excitement of MOUNTAINS, but since I can dislocate a knee just walking down some stairs (true! What can I say, I'm talented. Actually, that hasn't happened for a while), I kind of stay away from mountains. I seem to be one of those people while not outright clumsy, seem to easily injure themselves doing basic things. Since I like being able to walk distances, I'm ok with the no possibly-dangerous sports rule.

I suppose that Hawaii last year could be classified as good-interesting. I'll make a concession. Current interesting is that my place of employment seems to be slowly (and occasionally not so slowly) imploding, which is really annoying because I really enjoy the company of my coworkers. And also because I suck mightily at interviewing. bleh.

It's been really lovely weather lately - unseasonably warm and sunny, and it was a gorgeous day to bike in this morning. This evening I got home and the sky is so clear and starry and there's the perfect crescent moon just hanging there. The winter stars are so much more impressive, and Mars is almost straight overhead and very bright and red. I don't know any of the winter constellations except Orion. See, there's another dull thing, stargazing. I also put in peas today. MY EXCITING LIFE! Bite me.

P.S. it's back to blogger again for comments, as Haloscan is dying the death of the acquired company. I'll pick up another one once blogger comments piss me off enough again, probably Disqus or however they spell it (since they appear to be able to import the XML from Haloscan with a little hacking), but it cuts into my quilting time and lately I've been going for gold in the procrastination event.

Please know that unless blogger has changed recently, it DOES NOT GIVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS so I cannot respond to comments, except as another comment or if I already have your address. Not as if I'm not bad enough already about comment responding.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

QAWM squares

My first set of squares:
* brighter in person

I wanted to work all weekend on these (plus some knitting on the side) but I did something funky to my left wrist Friday night and it hurt to rotate. Knitting wasn't so bad but cutting & sewing were a little painful. I had a bike ride Sunday I didn't want to miss so I babied it all weekend and did almost nothing quilty 'til Sunday afternoon. grump.

My original idea of dark prints in the thin middle strip didn't really turn out when I started laying things side by side. I decided to use some medium-darkish purples that I hand-dyed. I'm pretty pleased with how it looks next to those bright borders.

I started throwing various prints next to the bright outside and purplish borders, after my first idea of light middle squares was looking meh. Did I also mention that I am also fond of black background funky prints? Yeah, got a few of those too (why yes, those are flaming chile peppers). I didn't fussy cut the black centers, I swear, but the love bug on the right side ended up smack dab in the middle.

Just seeing all those bright colors makes me happy. Also, I got to use some of my flying bat-frog print, woohoo!

Now I have to decide whether to cut the big blocks into 4 squares or leave them as is. If the latter, I definitely want some sashing, but not really sure what. I might take my 2 least favorite blocks, cut them up, and see what they look like. Got any opinions? Should I cut or leave them in their full 10.5" glory?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A list

  • I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of this fibre dyeing thing.

  • The roving from tuesday turned out really well. The secret seems to be DON'T TOUCH 'TIL IT'S DRY WE REALLY MEAN IT.

  • I'll occasionally spell things British-ly, such as 'fibre'. 'Gray' always looks wrong so it's always been 'grey'. It's not an affectation but when I notice myself doing it (thanks, spellchecker) I worry that it'll be perceived as such and maybe I should consciously correct myself to Americanized spelling. And then I realize I've got better things to angst about.

  • Back almost a year ago I was working on these stripey socks. I finished one but was unhappy about the toe (I'm not used to doing short row heels and the foot fit was unfamiliar). I finally got around to ripping out the toe (for about the 4th time... which is why it took a long time to get around to it again) and redoing. Now I'm on the 2nd sock. They're cute but I forgot what a pain knitting this single is. Oh take me down to Splitty City where the yarn is smooth and the plies are pretty.

  • I just watched CSA: The Confederate States of America and enjoyed it immensely. It's a faux documentary of the US if the Confederacy had won the Civil War, complete with fake commercials/ It's very clever (the comparison show to "Cops" had me busting out laughing). The most interesting part for me is that I watched all this fake history and then wondered just how much of the history I'm familiar with was glossed over, prettied up, or just invented wholecloth. Sure, I know that logically, the answer is "a lot. Pretty much almost everything", but most of the time that doesn't really register, viscerally. Also I started examining what cultural items that I just take for granted -- are they innocuous or am I just making that assumption because that's the way it's always been?

  • Your candidate for office may be evil, but is he a DEVIL SHEEP??!? (disclaimer: I watched only the first 30 seconds of this, with no sound. It was still funny)

Monday, February 08, 2010


A quilter whose work I much admire recently decided to have a quilt-along during February, and I joined up with Quilt Along With Melody. I don't have much time except on weekends lately, but let's see how far I can get. I'm going to be using the basic block she started with in this post, and go from there. I've been kind of itching to play with fabric lately.

I wanted kind of a general theme but Oh my Bob do I have a lot of fabric. Where do I start? Hmm, I do have a fondness for bright colors. And when I say bright perhaps most people would say eye-searing. I don't use them much since no one but my rockin' brother and my 5-year-old nieces are big fans of rainbow-colored dinosaurs. I yanked out a bunch of ones I haven't had much of a chance to use - especially the multi-colors.
Sorry, crappy picture. Hi February in western Oregon! (Do you see the yellow one on the top row in the middle with all the dots of different sizes? I adore that one. I can't hardly bear to cut it up, it's full of such dotty fabulousness. And the orange one to its right with black rings and yellow inside of that. LOVE. K calls it the "eye print". I've got another half yard of it in turquoise, somewhere. I think there are a lot of Jan Mullen prints. I had quite the Jan Mullen crush for a while)

I think I'm going to start with the top row and keep to oranges and yellows and reds for the moment. I plan to play this pretty straight by value, and most of these brights are about medium values. Just to be contrary I don't want to showcase the brights as the center square. Instead I'll keep them as the outer border, do a dark inner border, and a light inner square. I don't know if it'll work but I'll mess around a bit and see. I'm also thinking about cutting on the diagonals if the squares aren't all that I'd hoped for.

And that's the problem usually, the thing in my head often looks nothing like what's popping out in the design wall (and not in a good way). Oh well. I still love my day-glo-pink with fluorescent orange hibiscus flowers print. And now maybe it'll get to see the light of day.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Roses are Red, Leaves are Green

I love you with all of my spleen!

My current little obsession:
Embossed Leaves socks by Mona Schmidt, from the Interweave Favorite Socks book.

The yarn is my hand-dyed in, oh, I couldn't decide which name I liked better: Jungle Boogie, or I-said-I-wanted-green-dammit, or my current favorite, "Norman Rockwell Green" (from a Jean Shepherd story I just listened to). The base is Socks that Rock lightweight, a millend skein in natural. After my last project I really wanted to do some socks with my own hand dyed yarn. I adore this green. It's variegated enough to tell in the skein, but it doesn't obscure the pattern too much.

This is an addictive little pattern. It's really easy to just keep knitting away on it, and it's not hard to memorize once you get the rhythm of it.

I'm even knitting these pretty close to pattern (except shortening the toe a bit and not doing the first couple of rows as written, just went straight into the twisted rib). I'm using size 0s. I thought for sure I'd run out of yarn but it looks like I'll have just barely enough. I wish the leg were longer, though. Not enough yarn for an extra repeat.

I feel as if I should add a disclaimer that I don't require that nature-motifs be true to color; it just kind of worked out that way. Here's to Spring!

Monday, February 01, 2010

The weekend is over

The in-laws left last Thurdsay. Both K and I are slammed at work right now so the weekend was work (only 1 day for me) but at least I got to stay home and not do anything unless I wanted to (except for work, and it was interesting). Sunday was nice and I fixed up my bike brakes and went for a ride. Today my butt is surprisingly non-sore. Too bad I went for a ride to the yarn store "just to look around" and they were having a 60% off clearance yarn sale. Uh-hunh yes I did come home with some.

The 'rents found 2 houses, both a bit more than they were "hoping" for, both ginormous mcMansions in some state of bank-ownership or foreclosure with big sweeping views and huge garages, and we'd be expected to go caretake. Which, you know, I don't mind so much as they did spend a lot of time & money on their son and it's nice to pay back a little, but what pisses me off is they didn't even bother to ask us if we would, just assumed.

I don't really want them living nearby at all. I guess it comes down to that. I don't want to interact with them and I don't want to listen to them more than rarely. I don't want to come up with safe small talk around them. I suppose that at least I wouldn't have to come up with Things To Do. (tip: if you want to visit me for more than 3 days: come up with your own itinerary. Invite me along, but don't be insulted if I need some time away from hanging out with you for days. Sitting around saying "whatever you want to do!" is not being accommodating, it's being annoying, and it makes me feel like a tour director. Unpaid. Also, what I want to do is knit. What do YOU want to do?)

Anyway, they're down in [warm southwestern state] now, scoping out houses in [urban hell where no one walks anywhere] and this is all predicated on whether their relatives are willing to go in with them on this and everyone agrees on the house and all that (part of the need for the size. Everyone needs their own master bedroom and then some)

All of this makes me feel particularly ugly inside; the selfishness is busting out at the seams.