Wednesday, August 29, 2007
If I can resist casting on something else before it's done, it should be completely finished in another coupla weeks. It won't be cold enough to wear it any time soon, but I would like to take it on the honeymoon in November, and the sooner it's done, the less likely it is to be left unseamed in the frenzy of wedding planning.
It's not really planning at this point, though. Most of the decisions have been made and it's mostly just a big honking To Do list. Is there a more accurate term for that? Wedding prep? Buying stuff? Thinking about buying stuff? Worrying that I haven't gotten around to buying stuff?
Well, by the time I come up with le mot juste, I'll be moseying down the aisle. So let's just go with Doing Wedding Stuff.
In my continuing effort to subtly beg for comments--any advice on how to make the last coupla months before the day go smoothly? Besides worrying about whether or not I'll grow out my bad haircut from May in time so much that I'm too distracted to worry about anything else.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Or Part Two, but in German. I dunno. I don't parlez-vous the German.
Anyway, last week, MoMA showed Dr. M, a 1990 french-german-italian "remake" of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. I don't use air quotes lightly, but here, I think they're merited. It was only a little bit like the original and it was almost completely lacking in cool spy gear, and crimes commited with style and flair. There was a frickin laser, but it only went off once.
As HA put it, there was a much cooler and more interesting movie underneath, trying to get out.
Instead of Dr. Mabuse as a symbol of Hitler, they used the evil mastermind as a symbol of the Berlin Wall. Which came down that year. Thye even had him look directly into the camera and say, "I am the wall!"
Yeah, whatever doc.
Andrew McCarthy was in it for less than 5 minutes as an assassin all hopped up on the drugs. This movie needed much more of that sort fo thing, and much less taking itself seriously.
We've also been listening to the commentray track for the original Mabuse film, Dr. Mabuse the Gambler. 4 hours is a lot of commentary, but it's interesting to place the film in a larger context. Plus, the Fritz Lang scholar who's doing the commentary really seems to get what's so awesome about these films. He even signed off his commentary to the first film by telling us to join him for the second film--"Same Mabuse time, same Mabuse channel." You gotta like that.
I kept at the back of the Green Tea Raglan during the Mabuse. I have about 4 inches now. I'm looking forward to getting the back done, since I want to change the neckline of the front and I figure I'll use the back to help me design the changes to the front.
While I was winding up some of the yarn into center-pull balls, I started to worry that I might run out of yarn. Even though I should have enough to make the optional belt, which I could skip if I had to. Or make with a different dye lot, if it came to that. And I have the world's largest swatch that I could unravel and use.
Maybe I'm worrying about running out because of habit. Or maybe it's traditional. Have any of you ever made a sweater without worrying about running out?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I'm using Dusty Lavender for the Green Tea Raglan, so I may end up folowing other people's example and calling it the Lavender Tea Raglan. (Speaking of which--yum.)
I swatched before I had figured out what was causing my sizing issues with the Somewhat Cowl, so I swatched like a mofo. I mean, look at this thing--it's ginormous!
I used 2 needle sizes for the stockinette and 3 needle sizes for the seed stitch. But when I meaured it, all 3 needle sizes got the me the same exact gauge. And it wasn't the right gauge for the pattern. I even started a new swatch with 2 more needle sizes. I still got the same gauge.
So I threw the thing in the wash and I figured that after some more measuring, I'd just have to do some math and probably make one size for the sleeves and another size for the body to compensate for the gauge issues and hopefully it would all fit in the end.
So I sat down with my gauge, a ruler and a calculator. And wouldn't you know it? The freaking thing now had the right gauge. In the section where I used the needle size called for in the freaking pattern.
Consider me a convert to the Church of Diligent Swatching.
This was Tuesday. Both sleeves are done and I've started the back. The seed stitch is going more slowly, but I'm still making good progress.
Of course, now I've discovered that Main Line is not actually machine washable. Um...oops?
I'm thinking that I'll machine wash & dry the pieces before I sew them together (with or without blocking--I'll be playing it by ear). That way, I'll get the same gauge as the swatch. As for washing the sweater after that, well...I guess I can always re-wash the watch and see what happens.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
You are The Lovers
Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.
The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.
Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that's actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can't understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
I hardly ever take these quizzes, but since I used to do tarot readings pretty often, I didn't bother trying to resist. I don't disagree with the above, but mostly it just makes me want to get out my cards and do a reading for myself. Whenever there was relationship drama, or I was confused about something and didn't know what to do, out came the cards. I'd also bring them to parties or family get togethers for shits and giggles.
Well, not exactly. I really hate it when someone disrespects the cards. But people like to have their cards read. And I used to love how wise I'd feel while doing it. People treated me like I was the Royal Smart Person. The readee's subconscious (or random chance) would determine which cards turned up, I'd look it all up in a book and answer their questions.
I'm sure there's a point or some deeper meaning in there. But right now, I can only come up with: Wisdom lies in having the right books.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Made for: My friend John
Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth, with modifications
Yarn: Emore Pisgah Peaches & Cream in Silver Grey, Black & Delft Blue
Mods: I had already made the Ballband Dishcloth in Dalek colors (same as above) for us, but I wasn't 100% satisfied. The bumps were too big to be Dalek bumps. So I modified the pattern so that the bumps were only 3 stitiches wide, instead of 5.
Apparently, I didn't modify the pattern enough, because when I gave them to John and told him that they were Dalek dischloths, he still asked, "What makes them Dalek?"
Honestly! Just look:
I mean, I suppose bobbles are more like Dalek bumps, but I didn't think that bobbles would make for good dishcloths.
I was also told by 2 people at the party that the dishcloths were, in fact, pot holders. One kept insisting, even after I worriedly explained that they were too thin (and uninsulated) to be potholders and that using one as such would get you burned.
Also, a couple of months ago, I made some linen hand towels for a friend as a wedding gift. As soon as she got them in the mail, she shot me off an e-mail thinking me for the lovely scarves. I had included an index card with washing instructions that said "Linen hand towels" at the top.
Is it just me? Has anyone else presented someone with a handmade gift that no one got? I felt like a kindergartener who brought home a clay turtle they made in art class only to have Mommy say, "Ooh, an ameoba!"
Monday, August 20, 2007
I logged into Ravelry the other day and added a couple of people as Friends. This was after I realized that you didn't actually have to be friends with the person and I wouldn't get chased away for adding someone who didn't know me as a friend.
So I added a couple of designers so I could keep track of their work and Brenda Dayne, because I've been listening to her podcast and some people whose blogs I read. Just a few to get my toes wet.
Then I logged on and discovered that Wendy of Knit and Tonic has added me as a friend right back.
So now, I'm worried that she'll find my post about my Somewhat Cowl sweater and think I was trash talking her pattern, even though I wasn't.
And I'm also crazy overawed and dorking out. Hers was the first knitting blog I read regularly. I don't even remember how I found her in the first place. She was my gateway drug into the knit-blogosphere.
I've knit 4 sweaters for myself and 2 of them were her patterns. And for one of the other 2, I followed her top-down raglan instructions until it was time to separate the sleeves.
Plus, I'm really looking forward to her upcoming book, so I can make more of her designs.
I'm tempted to send her a Ravelry message to let her know how much I like her work, but I'd probably just gush and come across like a crazed stalker.
And then she'd un-friend me like the loser I am.
Must. not. approach. the. cool. kids.
Yes, I was picked on in school, why do you ask?
Then the next day, Kate Gilbert and Brenda Dayne both friended me back too! Gosh, knitters are awesome. And normal, actual people.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Why are you telling me this? I'll be stuck in an office building all day. It may
be the hottest day of the year, but I'll be cold from the air conditioning. The
day's high temp? Not an issue if I'm not going out for lunch. I only need two
pieces of information, smart guy.
1. Will I need to wear a jacket during my commute and if yes, how heavy?
2. Will I need to bring an umbrella, and if yes, will I need a raincoat too?
None of that other stuff matters because I'm not going to be outside, no matter how much I might want to be! Don't you see that telling me what a gorgeous day it's going to be is just mean?
Or is that just me?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Last week, I went to the Summer of Love exhibit of Psychedelic Art at The Whitney. The pieces were exuberant and exciting and I think it's great that they're in a freaking museum. But clearly, most or all of the video installations weren't "art" so much as they were "trippy looking stuff for you to look out while stoned".
As I was not stoned, there was much snickering.
There was a free tour going on, and my friend Judy and I caught up with them right after the guide (who may not have been alive in the 70s, let alone the 60s) was discussing a video piece the group had just peeked in on. Tour Guide Girl claimed that people would go to concerts, not just for the music, but also for the video art behind the stage. Judy doesn't quite remember it that way, but I was willing to allow that maybe the video artists themselves were interested in each other's work.
We listened to her a while longer, and goshdarnit if there weren't Art Nouveau influences in some of them thar concert posters. Before much longer though, the urge to heckle became too much and we left the group. This proved to be the right decision, since when we bumped into them again at the end of the tour, Tour Guide was discussing the Kent State Shootings in which "many" people died. I may have hurt myself from rolling my eyes so much. Two is a couple, Three is a few, and Four is some. Many is more than 10, at least.
Now, four students killed is four too many, but Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have a freaking song about it that includes the actual number. She should've been able to remember how many it actually was instead of being all vague and, "Who needs historical details when you have Art?"
Even better, she should've spent her time talking about the giant latex swirl of colors on the floor that was being protected by 3 guards. If it was supposed to be something besides "really cool", I would've liked to have heard about it.
The highlight of the exhibit for me (besides the giant latex thing) was the framed LSD tabs. It's not that the artwork was particularly fantastic, but there were acid tabs. In frames. In the freaking Whitney.
It simply does not get more awesome than that.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I was once as miserable as you.
Nothin to prove, nothin to prove.
I've got nothin to prove.
Those lines are from a great little song by Jill Sobule. Go there and download some of her songs. They even have a sort-of live album available for download at the moment. (I was at that show--good show.) Really, go--I'll be here when you get back.
It doesn't seem likely that she'll ever record Nothing to Prove, except live, but those lines have become my yoga mantra.
Until last week, I was off the mat for over 2 months wile I was settling in to the new job. My first few times back have been challenge, but they haven't been frustrating.
As the fat girl in yoga class, I used to feel that if I was having trouble with a pose, I must look like a walrus, flopping clumsily on the beach. And I worried that when I didn't do certain poses because of my bad knees, back and neck, the other yoginis would think that it was because of my weight.
After a few years, though, I started to realize that we all had some yoga-related limitation. You see enough skinny women whose shoulders are too tight for them to hold their arms at certain angles, and you realize that hardly anyone can do every single thing the teacher says. There were plenty of times where I looked up and spotted a pretty young thing who could barely hold Triangle pose. At moments like that, I'd even allow myself a feeling of superiority.
Another year or so after that, and I even stopped looking at the others in class and making comparisons. It took a conscious effort, but it helped me get perspective. I wasn't there to be the most flexible, or to prove that the big girls can keep up. I was there to get my workout and to get my regular dose of whatever it is that helps me keep my head on straight.
It's been easy to remember that, these first few classes back. I had that song stuck in my head for the entire class tonight.
When I discovered that my hips had gone as far as they were going to tonight,
when I had to rest instead of doing the 30th vinyasa of the evening,
when I had twisted as much as I can and it wasn't that much...
Well, fuck you kid, I got nothing to prove.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
So it's really hot in the kitchen because I tried to get back into my Sunday routine of cooking a lot of food that I could then take to work for lunch. I used to do this all the time, so that I'd have a freezer full of choices for low cal lunches. So I made dinner, plus a pot of soup and I was on my feet for 2.5 hours and that doesn't even include the time I spent food shopping.
Anyway, brain tired. Or brain hot and not capable of thinking. One of those things.
But I have a couple of Finished Objects!
The little square on the left is a Small Comfort blanket that I made for my future niece. She's starting pre-school and her mom (my future sister-in-law) asked for a little square that the little-un could fit into her backpack instead of having to drag along her big blankie (or worse, go cold turkey). It's 6" square stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border made with leftovers from the sweater I knit the little-un for last Christmas. I think it's a very clever idea and I'm considering knitting myself a Small Comfort to keep in my pocket for times of stress. Never underestimate the power of the yarn love.
On the right is a Ballband Dishcloth that I whipped up to include in the package. They're so addictive that I started another one right away.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
And who do you think was the very last person in line when I walked into Chipotle?
His Awesomeness, himself.
We both go to that location fairly often, so I shouldn't have been so shocked, but I kept poking him to make sure he wasn't a figment of my imagination.
Clearly, he anticipated my spontaneous change in plans and prevented me from eating alone and re-reading Harry Potter 7. The stinker.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
His Awesomness is in the middle of trying to watch every DVD released by The Criterion Collection, aided by MoMA, Netflix and our pet DVR. This means that he's as likely to be watching something high falutin as he is to be watching Sponge Bob or Gomer Pyle. (He is a man of great depth and complexity, HA is.)
Sometimes High Falutin means the 3rd Japanese samurai film in as many weeks and sometimes it means the greatness that is The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.
HA caught it on DVR and loved it so much that for his birthday, I bought him the DVD, plus the DVD of the original Mabuse film (Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler) and a couple of lesser sequels that were not made by Fritz Lang. Yes, that Fritz Lang.
We've been watching our way through these movies and, man, there is nothing these films don't have. Dr. Mabuse is an evil, criminal mastermind hypnotist and master of disguise. He's got henchmen, nefarious plans and crazy hypnotist eyes. There are spy gadgets! There's a badass inspector who you just know is going to solve everything in the end because he's just that awesome.
And if that weren't enough, everytime the Inspector's assistant calls out to him, "Kriminal Kommissar," you get to sing, "Don't turn around. Oh. Oh. Oh."
This may just be the perfect movie series.
What's your favorite obscure film?
Monday, August 6, 2007
Yes, I know that image is sideways. I was about to fix it and then I realized--it's round! There is no right side up. And it looks trippy this way.
Pattern: Pinwheel Baby Blanket
Needles: Size 7 Denise Interchangeable needles. Perfect for this project--I was able to add cords as the blanket grew.
Yarn: less than 1 cone of Elmore-Pisgah Strawberry Cream
Recipient: Alyssa, daughter of one of my cousins
Time: A little over a week.
Notes: After looking at pictures of other people's Pinwheel Baby Blankets on Ravelry, I discovered that I'd need to add an edging to minimize rolling. I added a little over an inch of garter stitch. It doesn't lay completely flat and that might be because I didn't continue doing the increases for the edging. Since I didn't rip back and re-do the edging, I'm not sure if that really was the problem.
Care instructions given to the parents: Use it! It's dishcloth cotton. It can hold up to all the spit up the baby can come up with. It's machine washable! (This after finding out that the acrylic, machine washable garter stitch blankie made for Alyssa's older brother doesn't get much use. Use the hand knits people! This isn't Franklin's christening shawl we're talking about here.) (Warning: looking at pictures of Franklin's christening shawl may cause lightheadedness. It's just that amazing.)
This is a fast, fun knit and although I wouldn't use dishcloth cotton for an afghan or a blanket for adults, I think for the no frills needs of a baby, it's just right.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
You may have also noticed the word "knitting" up there on the top of the page. And what we call a Lack of Knitting Content.
OK, so here ya go.
This pattern is Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic. If you're familiar with the pattern (or visit her site and see the picture of her Somewhat Cowl), you may look at my sweater and say to yourself what I said to myself all day while I wearing it for the first time.
"Hmmmm...that sure doesn't fit the way Wendy designed it to."
And this is my second attempt. My first attempt was huge and after a brief cooling off period, I decided to face reality and frogged it (aka Demoted it to String). I started it again in a smaller size. This at least fits like something that's reasonably close to my size.
But I still couldn't help but feel that I had let Wendy down somehow. She designs a sexy, close-fitting sweater and I produce something kinda baggy.
Mind you, the collar is dramatic enough that no one seems to have noticed that there were issues with the sweater when I wore it. I even got a compliment. But I still felt that I had done Wendy wrong and I had no idea why.
Then, through the miracle of Ravelry, I discovered the problem. I was not losing my mind, or imagining things. Several other people have made this pattern and commented on Ravelry that the instructions for the raglan measurement are too big.
For the uninitiated, the way this sweater is knit, is you start with some stitches that will be the top of the sweater, and then you add stitches at the seams around the armholes. You keep adding stitches until that line there by the shoulder (the raglan seam) is X inches long. Then you separate the sleeves and add armpits and you can try the thing on.
It feels like magic because you have a flat piece of knitting and then you have something 3 dimensional just like that. It's so impressive than when you try it on and the arm holes are clearly Way Too Big, you are blinded to the fact that this means there are way too many stitches and the entire sweater is too big and you need to Stop Now and Turn Back because this is not going to be OK and continuing to knit isn't going to change that.
And by "you", I mean "me".
I finished the entire body, the sleeves and the collar before I realized that self delusion wasn't going to make this sweater fit me. At this point, I could've found someone who the sweater would have fit, given it to them, and moved on.
But no, I wanted a Somewhat Cowl. That's the shade of green that looks good on me, so no one else is allowed to wear it. So I ripped the entire thing out and started over again.
I suspected that the raglan measurements weren't right for my body, so I made a smaller size and guessed at how long the raglan seam should be to fit me. I briefly considered measuring the back of the sweater to check how wide it was getting, but that would've required getting up off the couch, so it didn't happen.
Over time, I must have decided that the pattern was perfectly right and I was doing something wrong somewhere. And then I proceeded to do the same thing wrong. Again.
Apparently, I was incapable of knitting one of Wendy's designs without Screwing Up Royally. As she has a book coming out, full of designs I'm sure I'll want to make, this was Worrisome.
And then I uploaded the picture of my Somewhat Cowl to Ravelry and decided to have a look at other people's versions of the same sweater. And I learned that it wasn't Just Me Being Stupid. It was Me Being Obedient an following the pattern blindly instead of using my brain and measuring tape to figure it out.
Any idiot can realize that if something looks too big, then it probably is and something can be done about it. And finally, I am that idiot.
Oh, yeah, project stats--there were needles involved. And yarn. The exact details pale in comparison to the facts that
1. I have a Wearable Sweater,
2. I am Not Losing My Mind, and
3. Armed with this new enlightenment, I'll be able to knit any top-down raglan (including those designed by Wendy) with minimal wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
The calories don't count when they're medicinal. Now, if I could only convince my body not to turn the extra calories into fat. By supernatural means, of course. I could exercise the calories away, but I have a headache. The avoiding the gym is medicinal too.
What's your favorite headache voodoo?
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
But that was interrupted by the appearance of Yet Another Unreasonably Large Roach. I ran to get HA's weapons of choice (dustpan and old large yogurt container), all the while deciding that I would instead post about how he was Not There in my Time of Need.
And then I was too freaked out to actually smack the bug with the dustpan and cursed HA for Turning Me Into a Wuss.
Then I ran away and looked in all the cabinets for bug spray that I was sure we didn't have because I prefer the catch and release method. I also prefer my bugs to be small enoguh to fit under the yogurt container. We are talking about the big 2 pounder here. Any living thing in my apartment too big to fit under one of those things needs to be chipping in on the rent. Instead, it just kept waving its antennae at me, as if to say, "Yeah, I know I'm making your skin crawl. Whaddya going to do about it?"
Just as I was wondering if spraying the damn thing with oven cleaner would get me anywhere, I found a big honking can of Raid. From HA's old apartment. He has now been promotoed to His Awesomeness, Provider of Spray Poison That Allowed Me to Teach That Fucker Who's Boss.
There's no food in this room, so I don;t know what the buggers want anyway. I just hope they're not after the yarn.
You see, I've resisted blogging because I'm allegedly writing a novel, on top of working full time and having a reasonably-active social life and all that. Blogging would just take time away from the novel writing. I even put off buying a digital camera because I knew that if I had one, the urge to knitblog would become irresistible. And then no novel writing would get done.
Mind you, there has been barely any novel writing to speak of since Sept '06. Between then and now, I've gotten engaged, moved, started a new job and am planning a wedding. Planning to write and then not having the energy just would've led to more stress and so I had to cut myself some slack. His Awesomeness and I have agreed that next year he's going to try to make a feature film and I'll be able to work on my novel, so I definitely have a plan to get back on the wagon.
I should've just given in to the urge to blog months ago, so that I could've been writing something, anything during all this time. But I am a Woman of Great Stubbornness and I guess I didn't want to take time away from Not Working on the Novel.
But then I got my invite to Ravelry and it was just as awesome as they say, but since I didn't have any pictures to post, I felt like that kid in junior high with tape on their glasses who gets picked last for teams in gym class. And since I already was that kid when I was in junior high, I decided to go ahead and get a digital camera now rather than wait a couple of months to get one for the honeymoon.
I absolutely had to take pictures of my yarn because all the other kids had done it. Perhaps a more apt metaphor would've been the last girl in class to get Capezios. Except, of course, that photographs of yarn will never go out of style.
As soon as the camera was ordered, I started saying out loud that I might start a blog. I knew the camera would be my gateway drug and so it has been. No one even tried to talk some sense into me.
And the giant roach? I was sitting at the iMac last night, adding projects to my Ravelry queue when I heard a scritchy noise. I looked up a couple of times, but didn't see the cause. Until I looked up the third time and saw a big roach crawling up the side of a box about a foot away from my leg. It may even have been bigger than the bug I paid my brother $20 to kill when we were teenagers. It was probably as long as my middle finger.
And no, I didn't think to give it the finger. It's just as well. That might have angered it and the critter looked big enough to carry me away in its jaws.
Now, I lived alone for about 10 years, during which I dealt with a variety of bugs and mice, both living and deceased. But since the Great Shacking Up of Aught Seven, I defer all bug-related activity to His Awesomeness.
I used to be so capable, so butch, so un-spueamish. And now I just run out of the room, yell, "Bug!" and he comes and deals with it. I am a wuss because I can be.
Afterwards, after heaping many accolades upon my hero, I thought of the name, "His Awesomeness" and decided that now that I had a clever nickname for the man, I really had no excuse not to blog. He's not really a Hubbo or a Husbeast, and actual pet names are too cute for public consumption. So there's that settled.
So here we go.